We have been talking about stories. We have been sharing testimonies and transformation stories of God. How do we live the story want to tell? Let God help write your story. THE DECISIONS YOU MAKE TODAY DETERMINE THE STORIES YOU TELL TOMORROW.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith… Heb 12:2
Keeping focused on God because He is the author of our stories.
I love people watching. It’s so fun to sit in the mall, a park, or walk downtown and just people watch. I love watching them interact, checking out their clothes, and I love to wonder about their story. I used to sit with friends and watch people and we would make-up our own stories for their life. We would make them part of the CIA, or the Presidents daughter, or a superhero. It was fun to make up story but the truth is; each person we see have their own story.
I wonder as I watch people walk by … I look and wonder what their lives are like … People I’ll never know. I wonder what their stories are … what each person’s story is … what’s going on in their lives? What makes them happy? What has hurt them? What are they most proud of? What do they most long for? We walk past people on the street every day who are Cancer survivors, who are inventors, moms, widows, heroes, adopted, and Atheists. You never know who you are around until YOU get to know them (know their story).
We all have stories. We have stories of tragedy and of triumph. Boys love to tell stories about their SCARS. I can remember the day when I jumped into the pool backwards and my chin hit the side of the pool and I split my chin open. I ended up getting 7 stitches. I still have the scar to prove it. We love to tell these stories because we love to let people know what we went through and how strong we are. We hate going through hard things but its great to share after we have been through it. Scars are a good reminder at times of what we have been through. Scars reveal part of our stories.
I sit at the coffee shop most weeks with guys who are realtors, surgeons, teachers, contractors, bicycle repairmen, and so on. We all have stories and lives. I think the fault of the Church over the years has been the fact we have been inviting and trying to get people to be part of our story without first getting to know their story.
“Tell me a fact and I will learn;
Tell me a truth and I will believe;
Tell me a STORY and it will live in my heart forever!”
I was taught a great connecting technique many years ago.
THEIR story: Learn their story. Get into their lives. This involves being in their life, asking questions and listening.
After you learn their story…
YOUR story: Share your story. People can argue what you believe but they cannot argue your testimony.
“Don’t just tell how much they need Jesus, tell them how much YOU need JESUS.”
Share your stories; your daily stories. (like our video testimonies)
After you learn their story and share your story, you can connect it with.
HIS story (history): His Story is the ultimate story. We are here today because of His story. His story (God’s story) is the ultimate story in HISTORY (that’s why they call it HIS-STORY)
If stories reveal who the person is than all stories throughout scripture reveal who God is. His stories reveal HIS CHARACTER. The Israelites reveal the long-suffering love of the Lord. The story of Rahab reveals Gods grace. The cross reveals all of it, but mostly His love. Biblical stories are transformative, and when connected with our own or another’s story we are transformed!
His character is revealed in the stories. We at times give God characteristics that we not His. We think that God is impatient with us, mad at us, quick-tempered, legalistic; but this is not HIM. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” This is God! GOD IS LOVE!
This is who we need to be LOVE GROW SERVE! We need people to see the TRUE story of God. So many people out there are trying to tarnish His character and reputation. We are called to HONOR Him with our life/walk.
We need to help connect people’s stories to God’s story so they can be the gospel to the World!
Thomas Boomershine writes in Story Journey, “Our lives are story journeys. The events of our lives connect with many other stories. But at the deepest and most profound level, the stories of our lives are empowered and given meaning by being connected with God’s story.”
Our greatest stories are God stories. One day—you’re going to tell a story about this season in life. Hopefully—you’ll tell a story that you’re proud to tell. Some won’t.
So here is the question; how do we live the story want to tell?
I have learned an interesting fact of the years; “We judge ours based on our INTENTIONS but we judge others based on their ACTIONS.” We need to turn our INTENTIONS into ACTIONS! DIRECTION, NOT Intention, determines DESTINATION!
I don’t want to be a Church of ‘good intentions”, I want to be a Church of ‘good actions”.
I don’t want to be a Christian of “good intentions”, I want to be known for good actions.
We live in a society that is full of EXCUSES. We are trying to cover up reasons why we don’t do something. There is always an excuse; “I can do it tomorrow’, ‘I’m too tired’, ‘my dog ate it’, ‘I got looked over’…
My wife shared with me a scripture verse a few years ago that has haunted me. James 4:17 “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins”. If you know what you should do, but don’t do it, you are in sin! How often have we known that we are supposed to to/or not do something and we do it or not do it.? What is God calling all of us to do/become?
We can have great INTENTIONS of reaching our neighbors, co-workers, family, but if its just a hope; then what? Proverbs 3:27 “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor,” Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow” — when you now have it with you”.
What are your good intentions that God wants you to do but you’ve not yet done? Think about it.
• Maybe God wants you to reach out to someone who doesn’t know Christ but you just haven’t done it yet.
• Maybe God wants you to connect intimately with someone, to appreciate them, to express your love for someone, to encourage someone, to say thank you to someone who made a difference in your life, but you just haven’t done it yet.
What good intentions do you have that you haven’t followed through on?
• Maybe God wants you to go on a mission trip, to go serve someone sacrificially in the name of Jesus.
• Maybe God wants you to use your gifts at your church or to start giving faithfully but you just haven’t done it yet.
• Maybe there’s someone that hurt you and God wants you to forgive them, or, maybe there’s someone that you’ve hurt and God wants you to apologize.
What good intentions do you have that you just have not yet acted on?
We have lots of good intentions but at times we lack the follow through.
Never let the good go undone. Do it now. Today.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
“If you want to see the world change, then change it.”
Your best stories are still coming. God still has your best days ahead of you.
Your, with MY story, reveals HIS Story!
When our stories come together, we form a bigger story.
Illustration: I put all the paintings together from each week to form a bigger painting. Each painting was created during each of my sermons the last 4 weeks and then we put them together. Each are its own story. Our individual stories come together to form a bigger story.