Last Sunday at Mt Vernon, we had the incredible privilege of sharing Carla’s story. This is an incredible story of life change worth sharing again. Enjoy!
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Everyone has a story. When you know their story, you get a glimpse into God’s beautifully redemptive work throughout an entire life. Here is Abby’s story, one that we shared at Mt Vernon Church earlier this year.
Thank you Abby, for sharing your beautiful story with us.
Earlier this year my family went down to New Orleans for a short vacation. While there, I able to engage in a favorite past-time: people watching. “People watching” sounds much nicer than “creeping,” so I’ll stick with that.
Two guys captivated my attention while there. The first guy worked at the New Orleans Insectarium. He was in his late 20s, and he screamed ‘beatnik’ with his Shaggy-like beard. He looked like the guy who would hit the hippest coffee shop in town after work. Here’s my favorite part: his job at the Insectarium was to hold live roaches and let paying guests (like me) play with them and pet them. That’s what he did all day. He sat on a stool and played with roaches. Where was that job on Career Day in high school?
The second guy that captivated me was in the New Orleans Aquarium. While we were eating lunch in the Aquarium Food Court, he was sitting behind a portable hot dog stand, waiting to sell someone a hot dog. No one came. For the entire 45 minutes we ate lunch, no one came to his stand. So he just sat there, staring blankly into space, for 45 minutes. He was young, early 20s. He looked fit. If this is what he did all day, where did he find his purpose?
Have you ever encountered someone and tried to imagine what their life was like? Next time you see someone on the sidewalk, pay for gas, or have someone bag your food at the grocery store, try to imagine their life. What’s their story?
Your story is the sum total of your life experiences, your childhood, your difficult circumstances, your personality quirks that you inherited from your aunt, the twisting, winding road that brought you to where you are today. That’s your story. The question is, how many stories do we really know? If we don’t know someone’s story, we don’t know them.
Spend some time and find someone’s story this week. See what it does to you.
Image courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net
Have you ever wondered what we’re really here to do? Christians, I mean. After we make that fateful decision, while we’re sitting around waiting for heaven, what are we supposed to do here on earth? Just attend church a bunch of times and rack up extra Jesus points? Live it up here on earth while we still can, throwing the occasional “please forgive me” up to heaven? Plug KLove into our ears and drown out the sound of the rest of the world dying? More potlucks, maybe that’s it.
Our mandate is found on a dusty hillside 2000 years ago, where a band of misfits gathered together. They were by no means the best and brightest of the day: illiterate fisherman, social outcasts, former prostitutes. And yet this rag tag group would soon change the world. Their lives started ordinary enough. Some were raised in the monotonous family business of fishing. You got up, you fished, you went to bed. That was life. Some fell victim to the darker side of life early and couldn’t find a way to break out. Others wandered through life, searching for meaning. And then one day they encountered a remarkable man named Jesus of Nazareth.
He changed their existence. He redirected the purpose and passion of their lives, and then he was crucified. When all hope was lost, Jesus proved his power over death and rose from the grave. Truly he was the Son of God. Now risen and victorious, Jesus gathered with his small group of followers and gave them a simple command that changed the course of human history. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8
This one sentence changed everything. It would soon topple the greatest empire on the earth. It would direct the course of history for entire continents. And 2000 years later, we would still be implementing this edict. The key this mandate is the word “witnesses.” Christ wants his followers to be witnesses to what they saw, taking the gospel to the ends of the earth. But what does it mean to be a “witness”? How does that translate for a 21st century American Christian today?
Simple. Tell your story. That’s what Christ was telling his followers. Tell the story of what you saw, what you experienced, and what I’ve done in your life. Tell your story to everyone you meet. Take this story to the furthest reaches of the planet. But above all, tell your story.
That’s it. That’s the Great Mandate we’ve received. No commendations for consecutive VBS’s in attendance or number of beautiful Easter dresses. Just a command to tell your story.
So, are you?
QUESTION: What does it mean to tell your story in your everyday world?