8/16 What’s Your Story? Living Out Your Story Romans 1:16-17 1 Peter 3: 13-17
How is your story reading? It’s not finished yet if you are reading this, cause you’re still living. So how is it going? That answer can change at any given time, just like living life does! Truth be told there are things that we really don’t want anyone to read about. Life gets hard sometimes. On the other hand, there were and still are those times that I could go on and on telling you about. Life is fun! Let’s call this the ups and downs of life, or as Pastor George called it Sunday the excitement and challenges, we all face. It’s those times that move us out of our comfort zone, or as we age or our children age there’s a transition taking place. Nothing stays the same way forever. And that’s a good thing. Life has so many factors to it. We learn as we go and grow. Not by the seat of our pants as the saying goes, instead go to the source from whom all things flow, to navigate the life we’ve been given. Living out our life, our story, with our creator. God created us to be with him. Pastor George says, it’s his (God’s) calling on our life to reflect his love and his grace and his mercy. That’s Living Out Your Story!
Landon shared his testimony with us on Sunday giving his GOSPEL presentation. Our Cross-Training students use this acronym G.O.S.P.E.L affirming their faith. Promises to themselves of faith, belief, and commitment. These six truths are the essence of the Bible that Pastor George promotes and teaches. It’s a relationship with God; realizing that our sins push God away and we can do all the good that we want to make it right with God, but it’s never enough. Jesus died on the cross, he is our substitute, he did what we cannot do, covering our sin with his shed blood, making us sinless in the presence of God. It is placing our faith in Jesus alone. This faith gives us eternal life. As Pastor George said, everyone who crossed that line of faith, who trusts in Him alone, now has a new life and an eternal life that started the moment you place your trust in Jesus. It’s this new life, this relationship with Jesus that we are living and walking in right now that continues eternally forever. But it’s not ours to hoard, to keep. We are to share it and to pass it on. That’s evangelism, that’s sharing your story, that’s living out your story.
We had more good teachings from Right Now Media this week. The Power of Knowing God by Tony Evans teaches why we should pursue the person of God. It is a passion you gotta want, says Tony. Call it a relationship, an intimacy with God. A closeness, a fire for the relationship, a joy. Another was Knowing God Discussion Group Series by a group called Explore God. These discussions cause us to stop and think and then discuss how we experience God. We also viewed Sharing Life by Pete Briscoe. Pete talks about us having a heart change for God. He says that we are to bring a foundational attitude, a decision we make to live every day with a biblical attitude. We are sharing a person says Pete, not a program or process. We have no reason to be ashamed of our faith, says Pastor George. We heard from our scripture passage Sunday in Romans, verse 16 that begins “For I am not ashamed of the gospel...” and ends in verse 17 “as it is written, the righteous shall live by faith.” What do we have faith in? Where have you placed your faith? Hopefully not in a God specialist, or a God professional, a secondhand faith, rather our faith as we’ve read above is in Jesus alone, no other. So, living by faith, is living by the ways of Jesus. The other passage from Sunday in 1 Peter 3:15 says “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” As opportunities arise, share your story. As Pastor George encouraged us on Sunday, don’t force it, but don’t hide it. And when you do share it, share it with gentleness and respect.
Pastor George posed the question Sunday, how do we articulate what we believe? We live it. Meaning that our whole life is God centered. We learned in our Discussion Group Series this week that God has made us for contact with Him through Scripture, Prayer and Community. Let’s look briefly at these for explanation and understanding of what that means as we learned through this series on What’s Your Story.
God – God is the ultimate standard of goodness. We are to follow His moral goodness. He is our greatest blessing. He is in control. His justice is rooted in His Holiness. We ask the Holy Spirit to help us see God more clearly; to experience Him more intimately; to tune into the mind of God so we get to know God in the realities of life, says Tony Evans.
Prayer – Prayer is talking with God. Speak to him as it really is. There is no formality to follow. God walks with us throughout the day, so just talk to Him. Look for God in everything. That’s where the opportunity to get to know God in a deeper way is. Ask God for wisdom in our crisis, in the challenges of the world, the flesh, or the devil, that come at us. Ask God for discernment for living in a complex age. Prayer is praising him, seeking him, thanking him for his many blessings.
Scripture – It’s not a textbook. The heart of scripture is finding the person, the Triune God. The Bible is an influential book that introduces us to Jesus and speaks into our life. We get to know the character of God through the Bible. We are to have a firsthand knowledge of him. We learn of him through reading our Bible, studying the Bible, listening to Bible teachers, so many ways we can get the word of God into us.
Community – We grow around people. We learn, we experience, we gain spiritual growth when our lives connect with others. Looking for people who have a natural love for what we long to know of, be it scripture knowledge, deeper prayer life, serving others, or whatever tugs at your heart, can be found within communities where we live, work, and play.
Church – God has placed us in families and in church families. Church matters. We have opportunities for small groups to grow and guide us, helping our studies of the Bible. It is singing songs of praise and worship that too help us learn and grow. It’s taking and being Jesus in a hurting world. Representing Him in the world. Through our willingness we take the Good News beyond the church walls so beautifully displayed – it gives people an encounter of what it feels like to be loved by Jesus.
To Live Out Your Story is many facets. It’s not about doing this by yourself, it’s doing this for yourself. Sharing is Caring; We have Freedom in Christ that we want to tell of, as sinners we are forgiven; it’s to tell of His Grace and Mercy; as we know Him we know His voice and obey; this new life we live – we put behind us our old ways; with the power that comes from inviting Jesus into our life we are changed, our identity is in his love for us; our behaviors and habits are now God focused, doing what’s expected of me I will receive my reward, if not in this life, in eternal life through being faithful, I will receive the Crown of Life.
Sunday, we sang. The same power that rose Jesus from the grave – the same power that commanded the dead to raise – lives in us. We are no longer dead in our sins, but alive in Jesus. Turn your eyes upon Jesus, live life more abundant and free, living in the light of His Glory and Grace.
May we as Christians, little Christ’s, continue to Live Out our story of redemption, to share our story and not be ashamed of what He’s done in our lives. But to have a testimony, a reason for the hope we have, and ready to share it with gentleness and respect. In the Knowing God series this week they wrapped it up this way: Look Up & Taste – meaning a sense of something beyond our world
Look Within – to learn, to live, to grow
Look Outward – telling others about these things
May God Bless us as we do. Amen
Larry and Darlene