Good Morning –
Tonight I am looking forward to our discussion of Chapter 3 “Jesus was in the Transformation Business” of Dr. Hanna Steele’s book Living His Story.
Sharing Your Story:
One of the purposes of Dr. Steele’s book is to have us comfortable in sharing our story. All of us have a story to share about Christ in our life. The question is what is your story and how can you tell that story? Why do you call yourself a “Christian”? Why do you attend church on Sunday? (Why are you reading this email?)
Peter writes that we should always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks why we place our hope in Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 3:15. In modern parlance, we should always have an “elevator speech” about our faith. According to Dr. Steele, our account should have several characteristics: (1) we should be prepared to give an account, (2) we should use non-churchy language, (3) we must be authentic and give our story, not a stock Christian story, (4) we must be honest that everything in life is not awesomely great as a Christian, (5) we must be bold in proclaiming Jesus, not simply a vague spirituality, (6) we need to be relevant as to the difference Jesus has made in our lives in a concrete way, (7) we need to look for connections with the person before us who also has their own story, and (8) in all things we must be respectful of the person before us, and listen before we speak because Jesus was almost always respectful before those who came to him (excluding the religiously correct Pharisees).
Tonight, I will ask these questions. If someone asks you “why?”, what is your response?
Living Your Story:
Sharing your story in words is important. Questions are asked and answers should be given. However, living your story is just as important. The way you live your story invites the questions, and the way you live your story provides many of the answers. As Dr. Steele writes, your story cannot be communicated purely with words but it has to be lived as well. (p.65). There is a story to tell, but also a story to live. Think about what type of story you are communicating in the way that you live your life?
For me, at least, the question is whether we are communicating the story of Jesus that we find in the Gospels – a story centered on the love of God for the least of these in society (Matt. 25:45) or are we communicating the story of Pharisees – a story of loading others with burdens too hard to bear that we ourselves do not touch? (Luke 11:46). What type of story are you communicating in the way you live your life and treat others?
Dr. Steele ends this chapter with the following questions:
1. Think of a story of encountering God that you have shared with others or others have shared with you. What did you learn from the experience?
2. In what practical ways might you express God’s love to a neighbor this week?
3. At this point in your Lenten journey, be still for a while and imagine Jesus gazing in your eyes in love. How do you find yourself responding?
Dinner is at 6:30. The menu is vegetable soup and salad. Discussion about 7:15. Hope to see you here.
Conduct yourselves wisely towards outsiders, making the most of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer every one.Colossians 4:5-6