Don’t you just love when God radically alters your perspective?
My first week in South Africa did not go as I anticipated, but it went exactly how God planned. For the past week and this upcoming week a few of my teammates are facilitating a Storying Training for Trainers (ST4T) conference at my office. Over 20 world-changing Christ-followers from all over Africa came to learn about how to utilize storying to bring God’s Word to unreached people or their target ministry. Prior to last Sunday I had never heard about storying, but I am grateful I was given the opportunity to participate in the conference last week. Storying works well for oral learners or illiterates, but honestly, storying is for anyone and everyone.
Imagine only having Scripture in spoken word with no written word. That is storying in a sense. It takes several stories (not children’s stories, just stories) from the Bible and puts together a simple story set that covers the over-arching story of the Bible in terms applicable to all cultures. The stories are written so that you can take them to your ministry and craft them further to cater to your audience’s specific worldview and, in time, craft more stories to fill in the gaps. But essentially, the stories cover Scripture from Creation to the Church.
One of my teammates, Sean, who is at a ten-day orientation in Botswana had a quick introduction to storying and learned a general story called “Creation to Church” that he was able to share with a small group of people from a local village that some missionaries are currently serving. In his story group, he ended up leading three people to the Lord! This is just one quick example of how incredibly effective storying can be for evangelical purposes, but it can also be great for discipleship.
I found great joy in storying this week and in the discussion that came from simple questions that followed each story. Each day the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to deeper truths because He was my Teacher as I listened to brothers and sisters share His Word through stories.
One story that was a part of the 21-story set that we went through this week (you usually just do one per week) was titled “Alive” since it covered the resurrection of Jesus. As my friend Keelee was sharing the story with us, I could not help but be overwhelmed with the Spirit when she explained Luke 24:44-47 through storying (after Jesus appears to the disciples and they think He’s a ghost): “Then Jesus explained to them that all this took place to fulfill God’s plan, that He, the Promised Savior, would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. This is the Good News you must take to all peoples.”
When you look throughout the Scripture at the Old Testament prophecies and what Jesus spoke throughout His ministry including the Great Commission and the empowering of the Holy Spirit – God makes it clear that the Good News about Jesus Christ is to go out into the entire world – that we must take it to all peoples.
The Holy Spirit convicted me with this concept because He opened my eyes to see what the Good News is that I am commanded to take to all people – the Good News of Jesus Christ. You see, God never commanded me to go and tell every person I meet my name, where I’m from, what I like to do in my free time, and so on and so forth. The only thing God commanded me to go and tell every person I meet is the Good News of Jesus Christ! So why do I look back and think of all the people I have had the opportunity to meet, but so few of which I have actually shared the Good News of Jesus Christ with? Because I didn’t take God’s commands seriously.
A wise man in my storying group who works with Wycliffe Bible translation, Sebastian, quoted a friend of his during one of our small group discussions. His friend had the opportunity to visit several places throughout the earth where revival has taken place, and this is what he said each story of revival shared: “All of the revivals took place because people took seriously the commands of Jesus.”
Friends, what good will it do someone to know my name and my hometown and what I like to do in my spare time? How easy is that to forget? But the saving Name of Jesus Christ cannot be forgotten – and it will not only do good to others, but it will save others, “for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved,” (Romans 10:13).
Can you imagine what this world would look like if each one of us did just that? God has already told us through His Son and throughout His written Word what He desires and is consistently commanding of each one of us – all we have to do is believe and obey. I can see this world being shaken with the mighty love of God rushing forth from within each one of His children so that the whole world would know the Good News about Jesus Christ – and many would believe. The God we love and serve, and who lives within us – the God we have 24/7 access to in personal prayer – is the Creator of all things and is capable of ANYTHING. Are you with me? I ask that you would join me in prayer that God would use you and me, and our brothers and sisters throughout the earth to wholly surrender to the perfect and glorious will of our Heavenly Father.
In my reading of Romans 10 this morning, God spoke His message loud and clear to my soul as I hungered to pray as Paul prays: “Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved… For ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, ‘How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”
Do we really care about those around us? We are surrounded by a dark world that is headed toward eternal destruction unless they come to know the only One who can save them from an eternity of fear and loneliness – Jesus Christ. God did not adopt us as His children so that we might live life in the comfort of knowing where we will be when we die and enjoying life for ourselves while we wait for that day when He will bring us home. What nonsense! We have been saved – and so we are equipped with the power of the Holy Spirit who reigns within us and we are sent to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with all people!
Join me in taking this daring step of faith to desire to obey God in everything we do by truly loving Him, and therefore loving others, because He first loved us.