"Just Tell Your Story"
Just Tell Your Story (1)
"You will be My witnesses." Acts 1:8 NIV
In a courtroom a witness is not expected to argue the case or press for a verdict; that's the attorney's job. Witnesses simply tell the story of what they saw and experienced. And Jesus said: "You will be my witnesses."
There's no other story like yours! Only you can share it. If you don't it'll be lost forever. You may not be a Bible scholar but you are the authority on your life. Actually, your testimony is more effective than a sermon because people see pastors as professional salesmen, but they see you as a satisfied customer. They lose interest when you quote theologians but they've a natural curiosity about experiences they've never had. So, all you have to do is use your story to build a bridge that Jesus can walk across into their heart.
Your story bypasses their intellectual defenses. Many people who don't necessarily accept the authority of the Bible will respect your personal experience. That's why on six different occasions Paul used his life story to share the Gospel. Peter writes: "Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you" (1Pe 3:15 TEV). Notice the words "be ready". To be ready, write out your story and memorize the main points. "What are they?" you ask. (1) What life was like before. (2) When you realized you needed Jesus. (3) How you committed your life to Him. (4) The difference He's made. Okay? Now go tell your story!
Just Tell Your Story (2)
"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish...the saving of many lives." Genesis 50:20 NIV
Make a list of the circumstances and crises that God has brought you through, then be sensitive; use the story your listener will best relate to. What lessons have you learned about relationships, problems, temptations, habits, and other aspects of life? David prayed: "God teach me lessons for living so I can stay the course" (Ps 119:33 TM).
Now while it's smart to learn from experience, there simply isn't enough time to learn everything by trial and error. So much frustration could be avoided if only we'd learn from each other's experiences. Wise people develop the habit of extracting lessons from every day life. So start making your list. You don't really know what you know, until you've written it down. Here are a few questions to jog your memory and get you started. What has God taught me from failure? What has He taught me from lack of money? What has He taught me from pain or depression? What has He taught me through waiting? What has He taught me from disappointment? What have I learned from my family, my church, my career, my relationships, my mentors, my friends, my critics? When you can look at your life as Joseph did and say: "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish...the saving of many lives," you've a story that will interest others and attract them to Christ.
Just Tell Your Story (3)
"Your message burns in my heart...I cannot keep silent." Jeremiah 20:9 CEV
God's a passionate God. He loves certain things and hates others. And He'll impassion you for something He cares about deeply. Whatever it is, you'll feel compelled to speak up or do what you can to make a difference. You cannot keep yourself from sharing what you care about most. Jesus said: "A man's heart determines his speech" (Mt 12:34 TLB). God will impassion you to champion a cause; often it'll relate to something you've personally experienced such as abuse, addiction, divorce, depression, a disease, or some other challenge.
God uses passionate people to fulfill His purposes. He'll give you a burning desire to fund new churches, support Christian stations, train leaders. You may be given a passion for reaching a particular group of people: businessmen, teenagers, singles, foreign exchange students, unwed mothers, prisoners, victims of incest, those with a particular hobby or sport. If you ask God He'll burden your heart for a specific country or ethnic group.
God gives each of us different passions. Why? So that everything He wants done, will get done! But don't expect everybody to be equally passionate about your passion. Learn to listen to and value the other guy's God-given passion, because nobody can do it all. Never belittle somebody's passion. The Bible says: "It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good" (Gal 4:18 NIV). So, what do you feel passionate about today?
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