IIT UBF - University Bible Fellowship at IIT

Articles

Being a Storyteller

Date: Mar. 14, 2018

Author: Dan Bockenfeld

People love stories. So, it is no surprise that God’s mission for each of us is simple: to tell a story.

In 2017, the global box office was $39.92 billion and $116 billion was spent in books. We love hearing and seeing stories that inspire us, shock us, make us laugh, make us cry and make us think. They may be fiction or non-fiction, but good stories impact us in ways that can change the course of our lives and the lives of others.

It is no wonder that the Bible is called God’s Word and that much of it is just one big story about what God has done. Even all the way at the beginning in Genesis 1, the Bible has been a great big story about God: who he is, what he has done and how much he loves us. After people disobeyed God in Genesis 3, God still loved his people and promised redemption and clothed Adam and Eve. That deep love is summed up in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” It is all one big story.

It is a story that can change lives even two thousand years after the Jesus’ death and resurrection. It simply needs to be told. Just before Jesus ascended into heaven after his resurrection, he told his disciples, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) Jesus said that his disciples would be witnesses. A witness simply tells of what they had seen and heard. The tell a story. Jesus calls for his disciples to tell the story of God’s redemption plan to bring more people back home to God. On the day the disciples did receive the Holy Spirit, Peter told the story to the people and three thousand people came to believe (Acts 2:14-41).

Many times we think that God’s calling is something that is mysterious and we have to figure it out, but his calling for us in pretty basic and that is to tell his story to others. We tell the greater story of who Jesus and and what he has done and the lesser story of how Jesus has impacted our lives. We tell stories of how God is working in our lives. There are two stories I want to share to back this up.

The first comes from Mark 5 and is about Jesus restoring a demon-possessed man. The man had been possessed by demons for so long that he people chained him up and sent him away. Jesus arrived in the area and the man came toward him. Jesus removed the demons and the man became normal again. The man wanted to join Jesus, but Jesus told him something different. He said, "Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” (Mark 5:19) Jesus wanted the man to tell the people how much the Lord has done for him and of his mercy. The power of God changed him and freed him, and, now, he was to tell everyone about it. His job was to tell the story about the day that Jesus came into his life.

The second story is from John 9. There was a man who was born blind and Jesus heals him on the Sabbath day. After his healing, the man is brought before the Pharisees, some of the Jewish religious leaders. There they question him over and over and each time, his answer was simple, “I was blind but now I see!” He told the simple story and was unwavering about it. Because of the simple story, the man came to the conclusion that Jesus was from God because only God could heal the blind. He simply told the story.

We don't have to be theologians and know that Bible in its original languages. The disciples weren't that type of people. We don't have to have innate knowledge or secret teachings. We simply need to tell the story. Now, we shouldn't embellish the story or even alter it. We must simply tell it as it is. The stories can be of how God has been in your entire life or a smaller story about what God has done. We never know what will really inspire others to come to God. Sometimes, it is the simplest of things. It is not about convincing others that God exists. It is about you sharing convincingly about what God has done for you. If you are convinced and convicted, that passion goes much further to bring people to God than any logical argument.

We have a section on this website devoted to stories. We don’t have much, but I hope people can share how God is working in their lives in great and small ways.

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Prepare to Meet Your God

Amos 4:1-13

Key Verse: 4:12

  “Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel;
    because I will do this to you,
    prepare to meet your God, O Israel!”

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