Power of your Story.

 
What happens when you are participating in an Servant Evangelism project or you meet someone and you discover the person you have just served or met is interested in Jesus or exploring faith on a deeper level? How far do you go? When do you end the conversation?

Simple answer. You go as far as the person allows you to go. You end whey the person you are talking to ends the conversation.

Tennis Anyone?

Connecting the good news to people in our sphere of influence is very much like a tennis match. You have just served and hit the ball into their court. 

Many times they will hit the ball back into your court with questions. If you are serving them they may ask, Why are you doing this? What kind of church would wash a car, (give a gift bag, hand me a coke) for free? Etc. 

Our response is important. Smiling, the ‘why’ question is usually answered by the reply, ‘We are showing you God’s love in a practical way.” The ‘what kind’ question can be answered by ‘The kind of church that washes cars for free.’

Often It's Serve, Volley

A lady, pulled in for a car wash. Greeting her with a smile, and handing here a small packet with 3 pieces of Joe Bazooka and a connection card, saying ‘Hi! I’m Steve, here is some bubble gum you can chew while we wash your car.’ 

She replied, ‘What’s the deal? You guys gave me a coke at a stoplight. You came to my door with a free light bulb. Now you are washing my car for free??? What’z up? 

Hitting the ball back. I mentioned ‘what’z up’ is that Jesus is in love with you and we are attempting to show you His love in a practical way. 

Her positive yet puzzled look, que’d me to hit the ball back saying, ‘You ought to check us out sometime.’ 

Her pause, and then a cold response given by her eyes and body language hit the ball back to me as a blocking shot. 

It was obvious she was interested, but the mention of Church was a turn off. At this point I knew I needed to changed my position and stepped back and returned a soft volley by relplying, ‘Have a great day, and thanks for letting us wash your car.’

I then moved on to the next car.

Love

A whole different response. During this match. I was able to pray for the lady whose husband had just had a stroke. It was one of those special moments in time. I was able to tell her about God's love for her and her husband. She informed me she was a lapsed Episcopalian. I was also able to point out our church phone number on the connect card and give her my name. The lady was most grateful. I waved as she drove off with tears in her eyes.

Sometimes I am able to move up to the next level and tell my story. Years ago I  developed my story in written form as a further connection point.


(just a note: my story is always changing, what God has done and is doing in my life, the people I've talked to and my life experience as a believer often can relate to certain situations. I don't always share my "come to Jesus" story.)

Story Your Story Can Make A Difference...(see Bill Hybels Just Walk Across The Room)

The Bible Is His-Story.

Here are several examples:

A woman at a well

Note: her story created interest, wonder and intrigue. After Jesus stayed a few days. They not longer just believed because of her story. They heard for themselves. This is the goal. That people would hear Jesus for themselves and believe. Story is the spark that causes people to ponder, wonder and desire to investigate for themselves.

John 4:28-30
Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, "Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" They came out of the town and made their way toward him.  NIV

John 4:39-42
Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did." So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers.

They said to the woman, "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world." NIV


A blind man


John 9:15
Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. "He put mud on my eyes," the man replied, "and I washed, and now I see." NIV 


This guy was pressed by the hostile questions so he shared his story and finally responded... 'do you want to become his disciple do you?.'

Peter, John, and Paul

 

Life experience is what they shared.



Acts 4:20

For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard." NIV 

Their opponents, stated, 'These people have been with Jesus.'



1 John 1:1-3
That which was from the beginning, 
which 
we have heard
which 
we have seen with our eyes
which
we have looked at  
and 
our hands have touched 


-this 


we proclaim 
concerning the Word of life. 


The life appeared;  


we have seen it and testify to it
and  
we proclaim to you 
the eternal life, 
which 
was with the Father 
and
has appeared to us


We  
proclaim to you 
what  
we have seen 
and heard
so that 
you also
may have fellowship with us. 
And 
our fellowship  
is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. NIV

Acts 26:28-29
Then Agrippa said to Paul, "Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?" Paul replied, "Short time or long-I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains." NIV


Paul didn't get into political posturing, or theological debates, he told his story. 

Tell your story it is relevant.

Telling what you have seen, heard and experienced has amazing power in this generation.

How do you develop your personal story? Follow these simple steps. Write as you go. Think about the language. Think about your experience.

Describe your life before Christ. I was lonely, angry, hurt, unfeeling, guilty, rebellious, a drug user, etc.

What circumstance or situation enabled you to consider becoming a Christian? Was is a crisis, an invitation?, a relationship with another person?, a response to a believing friend?, you attended a church?  or were you just curious?

What brought you to the point of commitment? Describe the process and the moment you asked Jesus to come into your life. We are discovering many people simply pray, ‘Well Lord. Here I am.”

Describe how you have changed since you became a believer. I was angry now I have peace. I was a thief now I don't steal.

Write your thoughts in a concise manner so you can remember how to share your story with another person. Usually when I teach on the topic I encourage the people present to share their story with one another within 1 to 3 minutes. After the sharing time I ask, ‘How many of you were touched by what you heard?’ and ‘How many of you were encouraged by what you shared?’ In almost every instance, people respond in the affirmative.

I’ve discovered that many people are interested in reading or hearing my story. I cannot ever remember a time when my story of my journey of faith was not fitting to the situation.(remember my story is updated by my experience and my journey of faith)


 Here is my past to present story as a sample.

From Death To Life

Hi! I’m Steve. I recently returned to the USA after living 18 years in Scotland. I now live and work in Dayton, Ohio and have an exciting job at The Vineyard a pretty good church. Below is some of my story.

Who Am I?
I grew up in small town USA. My father was the town doctor and I was always known as Doc Bowen’s son. As a result of my small size and various hidden family problems I grew up with massive insecurity and a deep sense of rejection. I struggled to find my identity even though I attended the best schools, and had everything money could offer. I was empty inside. I was looking for something.

Flower Power, Drugs and Rock and Roll!
Moving from the 60’s to the 70’s was a mega transition for my generation. I flowed with the crowd seeking happiness in the hippie culture and all that went with it, in a small town sort of way.

Bad News! Uncle Sam Knocked On My Door!!
Many of the people I knew were drafted and ended up in Vietnam. Some returned messed up physically and emotionally. My number was up! Drafted! I knew it was a matter of days before I would be in Vietnam. To escape this possibility I chose to join the US Navy. A few months later I received my orders. I was sent to Pensacola for 4 years. I was a happy man!

Burn Out!
However, I continued in the drug, drink and party scene. I was still seeking inner peace and my identity. I then met a guy named Tim. He was a real Christian. He lived out what he talked about. He had something I did not have.  I talked to Tim often when stoned or just when I wanted to talk. He told me about Jesus and how Jesus could give me a new life. To be honest I didn’t think it was a very good deal at the time, besides I was having too much fun.

Take Me Home Country Road.
As I continued in drug and alcohol abuse I began to find it very difficult to maintain rational thinking and most of my relationships were a mess. Life became one long blur.
I figured I’d go home for a break. However, I got the break I wasn’t looking for.

The Real End!
I attended a party and ended up overdosed, physically, & emotionally strung out. I was messed up.

Remember Tim?
At this time I remembered what Tim had told me about Jesus. He said if I’d call on the  name of Jesus I would be saved. At that moment I had a strong impression that God was saying, ‘Steve, this is your last chance.’ I broke. I then cried from the depths of my being, ‘God Help Me!’

At that moment I sensed a presence I had not felt before. Somehow, I knew everything would be all right.

Two days later I met a man who told me how I could connect with God through Jesus Christ. I prayed a simple prayer that went something like, ‘Jesus I ask you to forgive me. I give you my life.’

At that moment I sensed something like a large weight being removed from my life.  I somehow knew I had found the reason for my existence on this good ole planet.  I finally knew who I was, I knew where I came from, and more importantly I knew where I was going.

It works.

For over 30 years I have known that there is a Big God out there who loves me and cares for my life. I’d encourage you to think about your life. Jesus really can make a difference.
Thanks for reading!
Steve

Often when I’ve hit the ball and had a positive response I ask, ‘Would you like to read the story of my life. Amazingly, more often than not they say, ‘Yes.’

Take it from me developing your story is a good way to gently share your faith with another. You never know when you’re going to play in the game or when you'll be able to share your story with someone.
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