Do you like stories? I don’t mean like the ones I catch my kids telling sometimes, I’m talking about peoples stories – the ones that show you how our amazing God is working in and around them to draw them closer to Him.
I LOVE stories.
Have you heard the one about the family that attended our church (HPBC) for the first time recently and on their way home after the first service the little boy said to his Dad, "That’s my church, daddy!"
How about this one: a couple moved here from another state and were afraid they would never find a fellowship in Lumberton like the one that they deeply loved in their previous town. They moved to town and attended a place that wasn’t what they were looking for but honestly thought that it was as close as they could get to their home church. Then one Sunday the wife checked out (HPBC) and WHAM! "I never thought we’d find a home like this away from home" (that’s not an exact quote – that’s basically what I remember…)
Did I tell you that I LOVE people’s stories?
Have you heard the one about the young lady who attended her first time with a friend on Easter Sunday? She was from out of town but recently relocated to Lumberton. She attended alone probably because she didn’t know many people but had liked the church when she attended – why not go again? She attended for a few weeks and noticed that the worship and teaching affected her spiritually in ways she had never experienced. After attending 3 weeks she went and purchased a Bible – all of a sudden there was a desire to learn more about God and (HPBC) is all about the bible. On the 4th Sunday she attended she spoke with me after the service because she had questions about her beliefs – the differences of what she previously understood about God and what we consistently taught. I explained that we are saved by grace through faith and that it’s all in God’s hands – God does the saving; it’s our job to turn from our lifestyle and sin and trust in Him. I could tell God was working in her and said, "Isn’t this unbelievable, that the God of heaven cares so much for you?" As the building emptied out tears welled up in her eyes; She showed me her bible and said "this is the first time i’ve brought my bible to church…" and we both found ourselves crying, amazed at God’s presence. She prayed to receive Jesus, inviting Him to forgive her of her sins and to lead her in this life.
I really love those kind of stories. Don’t you?
I love the ones that I hear about the family who brought their mom this past weekend. Mom comes from a faith known for freedom of worship. As she left she asked her daughter, "are you sure this is a Baptist church?" to which her daughter replied, "that’s what it says on the sign, momma." Mom said, "i’ve been to a lot of great churches in my life, but i’ve never experienced such freedom to worship!"
The greatest story is the one that you’ve personally experienced, the one that brought you to the place of belief. The greatest part of that story is what God has done since you trusted him, NOT, all the bad stuff you did before you knew Him. Learn to tell your story – tell it WELL, tell it consistently and tell it briefly. As we learned this weekend tell it so they’ll ask questions and can be inquisitive and involved. I bet you haven’t thought about it like this but God has given you an incredible evangelistic tool; it’s not FAITH, EE, SHARE JESUS WITHOUT FEAR, THE BRIDGE (Although all of those methods are great!).Your greatest evangelistic tool is your story.
This feature is not about a church, it’s about an awesome God; a God who is at work in many, many lives that are associated with a particular church. All of the above stories are a result of many people telling their story, inviting people to a place that they can meet the God who loves them so. I could go on and on with stories just like those i’ve written – I only chose a few to illustrate the importance of all of us being willing to be used by God (which is a priviledge, not a burden). Those of you reading from Hyde Park, thank you for all you do, for your obedience to serve, invite, bless and most importantly – pray. It’s you that God calls His church, not the building we meet in. You guys make it possible for people to find the God that they so desperately need.
What’s your story? Are you telling it? Everybody loves stories so tell them one…