The Power of Story

At Starrsville UMC we are in the middle of a sermon series based on the book, Just Walk Across the Room, Simple Steps Pointing People to Faith by Bill Hybels.  I like this book because Hybels is concise in his writing style along with providing practical ways that we are to share our faith.  Jesus was clear at the end of the gospel of Matthew.  Go and make disciples.

Most often we concentrate on the “make” word and mistakenly believe that in order to share our faith we have to make the decision about whom we share our faith with.  This usually means making judgments based on whether or not people are just like us or similar to us–are they “safe” to approach, are they basically a good person just a little misled, or they are really bad off and need someone to pray a specific prayer or quote some specific scripture so that they will be saved.  We forget that Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God are in charge of changing and transforming people.  Our work is to offer an invitation for people to walk with us as we, too, are becoming followers/disciples of Jesus and being changed and transformed daily.

Sharing our story of the ways our belief in Jesus has changed our lives because we choose daily to follow Christ is the best way to develop friendships/relationships with people.  We cannot share our story until we hear other’s stories of their lives–what’s happening in their lives along with all the stuff that keeps them from following Christ.  It’s a messy process Hybels warns, and it is a process.  Salvation is a process.  We’re all a mess.  We’re all sinners.  Daily we strive with the power of the Holy Spirit to live with and accept the love of Jesus for ourselves just as much as we share it with everyone we meet.  In what ways can you serve others each day by listening and hearing what they are willing to share with you about their life?

In the gospel of Luke chapter four, Jesus is in the synagogue and handed the scroll of Isaiah.  He reads:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, 
    because the Lord has anointed me.
He has sent me to preach good news to the poor, 
    to proclaim release to the prisoners 
    and recovery of sight to the blind, 
    to liberate the oppressed, 
   and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon all followers of Christ so that each of us can be sent to preach good news to the poor, 
    to proclaim release to the prisoners 
    and recovery of sight to the blind, 
    to liberate the oppressed, 
   and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

All we have to do is listen to people’s stories, discern the ways we can help and serve them where they are, and take action to do and to go and share (preach is usually a word that will get most of us in the wrong place) the good news of the Lord’s favor.

 

 

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