Telling the Story
I'm reading a book by Joshua McNall, titled Long Story Short. The book tells the great Story of the Bible in six movements: creation, the fall, Israel, Jesus, Church and new creation. The book shares the same perspective as The Story, which our congregation studied over most of a year a while back.
That perspective is this: the Bible is a library of 66 books that tell one story - the story of God's redemption of the people He created out of love. It is amazing how the Bible comes alive when we see the grand sweep of the Story. And it is life-changing to see where the story of my life intersects with the great Story of redemption.
The last thing Jesus told His disciples on the day He ascended to heaven was that the Holy Spirit would come upon them and they would receive power to be His witnesses. Being witnesses is not optional for a follower of Jesus. Being witnesses is a natural outworking of the transformation of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. As He changes us, our lives become one chapter of the Story of Jesus and His love.
People tell people about Jesus. I know, some people have come to Jesus through reading about Him in the Bible. Some have come to believe in Jesus through the direct revelation of a vision or dream of His appearing to them. But for the most part, people tell people about Jesus.
The person God used to show me Jesus beyond learning about Him in Sunday School was the girl who became my wife, Shirley. I saw Jesus alive in her in ways I knew He was not living in me. I saw the love. I saw the servant's heart. I saw the holy striving for His will. Those same things still mark the life of my beloved.
Today at Dayton UM Church we conclude a worship series called Missio Dei - the Mission of God. The Missio Dei is redemption. God is a missionary God. God calls us to follow Jesus, and that means we are deployed to fish for people. God commissions us to live as witnesses, both showing and telling others about Jesus and how He has changed our lives.
It does not take a Bible College or Seminary degree to know the Story of God's creating us, our fall into disobedience and sin, God's raising up a nation to show Himself to the world, the coming of His Son to live among us, demonstrate His heart, die for our sins and conquer death for us. And it does not take a degree to tell the story of how Jesus is transforming our lives.
In relationships of love and trust, we simply live for Jesus in all-out love and tell the story of how trusting Jesus and following Him is changing our lives. If we focus on those two simple things, our lives and our words will be witnesses to His reality. We won't have to do witnessing, we will be witnesses! And that is exactly how Jesus longs to use our lives to tell others about Him.
Tell the story. Tell it in winsome love. Tell it to family and friends. Be ready whenever you are asked about how your life works. Tell the story. And Jesus will make your life a witness.