In week one of this series, we discovered that God wants all to come to His party (Luke 14:16-23) and in fact he is willing that no-one should perish. God’s story is all about His great love for humanity and the extreme that He went so that mankind could have relationship with Him (John 3:16). Week two of this series is all about other people’s stories and also our story. According to 2 Cor 5:18, we have been reconciled to God and have also been given the ministry of reconciliation. We have been adopted into the Father’s great family and have been employed in the ‘family business’. Our job so to speak is to bring the good news to others. 2 Corinthians 5:19 describes to us what this good news is. “For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them . This is the wonderful message He has given us to tell others’. In bringing this good news to others, it is important to understand other people’s stories and also our own story.Their Story
Can you think of someone right now in your world who does not know God personally? Someone who does not know the truth of the lyrics, ‘I once was blind but now I see’. What is their name? What is their story?
- Listen To What People Are Saying.
Jesus is a great example to us when it comes to knowing other people’s stories. In John 4:1-27 we see Jesus meet up with a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. This woman is a promiscuous woman who does not have a good reputation around her town. As Jesus sits and engages with the woman he displays an incredible ability to look past any outward facades, past any masks and really observes what this woman is all about. He observes her actions, her life, and her words and HEARS what she is actually saying. Peter Drukker says that the most important aspect of communication is to hear what ‘isn’t’ being said. (1) It is a challenge to us all, to be more active when listening to those around us. We need to have the ears of Jesus, the eyes of Jesus to hear and see what people are saying. Can I suggest that as we listen, we may hear hurt, anger, disappointment, loneliness, longings for comfort, desires for purpose and much more. Our response to people, needs to be one that draws people closer to Jesus.
- Decide on Appropriate Good Works .
Bill Hybels (2) talks about ‘next steps’. Where to after we have heard what people are really saying. One next step is to decide on appropriate good works. Matthew 5:16 says, ‘In the same way, let your good deed shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly father’. As ‘all’, including those who are the Christ followers and those who are not, see good deeds they will praise our heavenly Father. Good works are those deeds we do for others that are pure in motive and motivated by the love of God in our hearts. They are deeds we do that we expect no personal gain from. As we do good deeds toward those who do not know Christ, they are impacted significantly. They get to see a glimpse of the very nature and character of God. They are in fact drawn closer to God through the good deed. I refer to this as the ‘redeeming qualities’ of good works. Good works do not save someone, however they are something God uses to draw people closer to Himself.
It is highly recommended that as Christians, we become confident in telling our story. We each have our own journey with Christ; we have our own experiences that are undeniable. Sceptics may deny our doctrine but they cannot ignore the certainty of a changed life (3)
. When telling your story, remember the following keys:
Divide your story into three equal parts. Your life before you were actively walking with Christ; the circumstances surrounding your conversion experience and your life now that you are following Christ.
Cut out all the religious or Chistianese words from your story. Words like saved, fellowship, blood of the lamb and praise the Lord are what we refer to as Christianese and many people do not understand what they mean. Use language so that others can understand.
Learn to tell your story in three minutes . Simply put, people are more inclined to give you a short time than a long time.
Include your themes or themes in your story. Some people share that they were very fearful before following Jesus; some say they were very lonely; others say they had no self-esteem. These circumstances changed after they meet Jesus. These are what we refer to as the themes of our story. These themes often connect well with people as we reach out. Knowing your themes will be very beneficial.
Partner with the providence or divine positioning of God. Life is not random when you believe that God interacts with his people daily and orchestrates many circumstances in our lives. The seeming coincidences in our lives are often the very real interactions of God in our world. Praying for an unchurched friend and then that friend just happening to move house to live right near you is not an accident. In this circumstance we are to be diligent in then spending more genuine time with this person and in affect, we are partnering with God’s divine positioning.Sample Discussion Questions
- Tell of a time in your life when you were able to hear what ‘wasn’t being said’ in the life of an unbeliever. Explain how your response led that person closer to Christ?
- How have you seen the power of good works begin to transform another’s life? Explain.
- What is the main theme or themes of your story? Discuss.
- When has God divinely positioned someone in your life in which you were able to partner with Him and see them come closer to knowing Christ?
- Finish with prayer for friends, family members or work associates who are not Christians.
Peter Drukker has written many books on management and is well recognised. His writings on non-profit organisations are highly recommended.(2)
Senior Minister of Willow Creek Church in Barrington, Illinois.(3)
Comment by Chuck Swindoll.