Christmas is coming! And with it the usual stories telling us...
There’s something about this moment in the life of our nation, with this technology, and at this time in the Christian year which gives us all a remarkable opportunity to share our stories, says Rev Robin Ham
In my experience, some of us tend to be a bit more reluctant than others when it comes to sharing our Jesus stories!
Maybe you think your story isn't dramatic enough? Not enough sex, drugs and rock and roll. More strolling down the high street, rather than blinded on Damascus road? To be honest, I can relate. I've felt that way too at times.
Every story has a hero
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t believe Jesus loved me. My parents were both Christians, so I fondly remember prayers at bedtime, Christian kids’ music on car journeys, and going to church every week.
There are moments that stand out in my mind: the weekend-away where my youth worker outlined the need for Jesus to be the ‘boss of my life’; a year on the other side of the globe wrestling with who I was and learning to trust my heavenly father; getting my head and heart round God’s astonishing grace as a student on campus…
But at times I’ve wondered if it’s too ordinary. I’ve even felt the temptation to exaggerate certain ‘chapters’ for dramatic effect, as if that somehow validated it.
But as I heard one Christian teacher say, if every Christian's story involves the God of the universe stepping into this world, dying and rising for us, and pouring his spirit into our hearts, then how can we ever say our story is boring?
And ultimately it’s not about us. Jesus is the hero of our stories. As the writer Gloria Furman puts it, “The idea that anyone’s testimony of blood-bought salvation could be uninteresting or unspectacular is a defamation of the work of Christ.”
How fresh is your story?
When we’re asked to ‘share our testimony’, we instinctively think of explaining how we first became a Christian.
But that assumes our ‘Jesus story’ stopped the moment we signed up on the dotted line. Yes, it can be helpful to show we struggled with the same objections as our friends, but don’t we have more to say that that?
What difference has knowing Jesus made to you this past week, when we’re facing another day at home with the kids? When we’re worrying about what’s going to happen after three months of furlough? When we’re starting to show symptoms of COVID-19 and reading all the horror stories online?
It’s been said that people today aren’t so much asking what is the meaning of life, but what is the method of life. People are wanting to know, ‘Does this work?’, rather than ‘Is it true?”
In other words, the thing about stories is that they can show the impact of the gospel plugged into a real life. How do you live well? How do you cope? How do you carry on despite failure?
Let’s learn to tell those fresh stories, as well as the story of how we first put our trust in Christ.
Sharing your story this Easter
A bunch of us were chatting during our online church service last Sunday about how we could share the wonder of Easter when we’re all stuck at home.
It’s been amazing seeing Christians serving in all sorts of ways over the past month, amidst all the challenges of Coronavirus. But it can seem hard to know how we can actually give a reason for the hope we have, at this most unsettling of times.
Last year we were all inviting friends and family to our Easter Sunday baptism celebration, but now our buildings are shut and events have been cancelled. It’s a different world.
But Easter is still a time in our cultural calendar when it’s expected that Christians have something to say. While it might be tempting to see our buildings being closed as a missed opportunity, the fact that so many of us are spending more time online means here is surely the natural place to share our stories.
And so we thought, well, why don’t we share our stories online?
It’s hardly an original idea. But it seems there’s something about this moment in the life of our nation, with this technology, and at this time in the Christian year. Who knows what God might do?
So why not join us in sharing the difference that Jesus’ death and resurrection makes using ‘selfie-style’ videos on social media - all with the hashtag #EasterChangedMyLife.
We’ve all got a story. And for Christians, the historical events of Easter have changed our stories. Yes, Easter changed my life, but you’re the only one who can tell your story. Will you join us?
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