“Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.” – Psalm 40:5.
If you are an average person attending one of the Northstar campuses, you sit in one of our auditoriums with hundreds of other people on any given Sunday. In most cases you have no idea what the questions, struggles, or passions of the people sitting next to you, or in front or behind you really are. Although we are called to be an interconnected body, we often work out our faith more like autonomous individuals. The Bible tells us to encourage one another in the faith, but we rarely know how God is at work in the lives of the people around us.
That’s a tragedy. Because God is at work and when we fail to acknowledge it we miss out on opportunities to worship him and bless others, as well as opportunities to be encouraged and challenged ourselves.
That was the reason for the “Stories” series we just finished. There were several goals for this series, but the foremost of them was to reveal the movement of God in our lives and to equip and encourage one another to honor him.
I am writing this blog to encourage you to keep telling stories and to provide the bigger picture of why this is so important.
English poet and priest John Donne famously said, “No man is an island…” That statement only reinforces the obvious truth that our lives are interconnected. Even the most recluse of us impact others and are impacted by others. You can’t escape that fundamental reality, no matter how much you try to withdraw from people.
Sharing stories remind us that God is actually at work, saving people and redeeming his creation. In times of personal struggle, when God seems distant or absent, a personal testimony can be the encouragement that we desperately need. In times of celebration they can be “Red Bull” for our walk with God.
It’s also important to note that the stories don’t always have to be “Ken Mansfield” dramatic either. Because God works in the miraculous, but he also works on Tuesday afternoons when we’re trying to get the kids to take a nap, or when your 401K takes a dip, or when your daughter flunks an Algebra class. Sometimes the best stories we can have are those that give us a picture of real people working out their faith in the context of real life. Simply put, we need to tell stories because God is working in and around us.
So tell your stories. Some of the stories will dramatic and miraculous and some will be just honest portraits of real life. Some will be about events, but mostly about people. Not every story has full resolution at this point and we can’t wrap a neat bow on them all because, well, reality is in process. God will use your stories for His good.
Of course nothing will ever replace genuine, personal relationships. Building friendships in Northstar Groups and in any myriad of other ways is always the best way to care for one another, and learn from one another.
We pray that God will be glorified and that you will be challenged, encouraged, and inspired by the “Stories” series and in the stories you share and you hear from others. God is at work and I pray that He gives us all eyes to see it.