The Power of Stories

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Stories have such power. Last week I was attending the national Vietnamese Baptist Fellowship meeting in Addison and was moved by the stories of men and women who told their story of coming to Christ.

One woman living in Wichita Falls had come to trust Christ but was having a difficult time giving up the alter to a false god that was in her home. Her church family lovingly prayed for her and with her. The Holy Spirit assured her that Jesus alone was sufficient. And when the time was right she threw out the altar and now bows only at the feet of Jesus  her Savior.

The next story came from a young man who had been addicted to cocaine. He told of the pain he had caused his family and the hopelessness of his life. Jesus came and delivered him from his drug addiction and he stood with power before us to proclaim that Jesus is all we need.

I sat there drinking in the experience of these two Christ followers and thought to myself, “When was the last time I heard a testimony of Christ’s power at work in someone’s life?” Then the next question quickly followed, “And when was the last time I gave a testimony of God’s power at work in me?”

So for the past week I’ve been pondering the power of stories. Yesterday on the plane coming back from Colorado (someone has to go there and enjoy that cool weather!) I was reading The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21st-Century Church by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch.  Their chapter on “Whispering to the Soul” was an affirmation again about the power of stories. God’s story, our own stories, and the stories from scripture all have power to communicate the gospel.

They spoke of the way Jesus used stories to communicate profound truths about God. Two quick quotes:

  • “Jesus’ teaching was purposefully, cryptic, allowing those who sought answers, rather than those who ‘had all the answers,’ to access the surprising truth of grace.”
  • “In our attempts to make the gospel clear, we have often squeezed all the life out of it.”

In an earlier blog Crystal said it well. People today want to sit down with someone who has experienced the power of God. If we know Him, we all have a story to tell. And if any story has the power to change a life, it is about Jesus at work in us! Isn’t Texas Hope 2010 about story telling? One more quote from Frost and Hirsch, “Their point of intersection, where God’s story, our story, and the biblical stories overlap, is where effective evangelism takes place.”

My story is about God’s power to provide for all my needs when I did not have the ability to do it myself. He has done a work of grace by enabling me to forgive. In that forgiveness I have experienced a freedom from pain and bondage that I had heard others talk about but now have experienced myself. Praise and thanksgiving fill my heart because my God has lavished His care and mercy on me. There is no other God like Him.

That’s just part of my story. What’s your story? I’d love to hear it.

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