Friday, November 17, 2006

Everybody Has a Story--What Now?

Everybody has a story. That is what Steve Hartman said as Gloria continued to tell her story. You will remember we talked earlier about the loss of her son, how that drove her to sadness and despair, and how that despair drove her to God. Gloria, the childhood friend of my buddy June, tried and tried to have another child. But to no avail. And she thought she would never have a second chance to be a mom.

Until one day, she came to the realization. A child is a precious gift no matter where it comes from. So Gloria chose to adopt Lisa. And she invested her life in caring for this child that was orphaned, that had nobody else to car for her and love her.

“I always knew I was loved” Lisa says as the story turns to her “Always….always..” Gloria now has 3 grandchildren and works part-time at the propane store to keep active.

Everybody has a story. Everyone has a history. Everyone has life defining moments, whether tragic or joyful, that lead them to a decision. And in the story of each person’s choices on faith, each choice has a direction in life that flows out of those choices.

The apostle Paul has a complete life change as a result of his experience with God on the road to Damascus. He chooses to preach Jesus. He chooses to live a life reaching out to Gentiles with the good news of Jesus’ love and forgiveness. He chooses to travel the world and be persecuted by others in the same way he used to persecute others. And he calls it the best decision he has ever made by the time he gets to Phillipians 3.

Gloria’s life was changed by grace as well. She chose to keep giving herself in love because she experienced the forgiveness of God that made her capable of doing so.

The friend that I told you about earlier is now helping to lead youth group on Sunday night, and faithfully attends CHOW every week. He is noticeably different. His countenance is different. His attitudes are peppered with a little more kindness and grace than before.

I think churches do well at accepting people who are spiritually seeking into their midst most of the time. I think we do well at times helping people identify and trust the “God-moments” in their lives. I think we struggle to believe that God can transform us, our neighbor, our fellow church member, our church, our community, and our world.

The truth is, God is in the growth business. He means to make us “new creation”. The Scripture says if anyone is in Christ---NEW CREATION—the old is gone, the new has come”

Why do we have so little faith?

Maybe the smallness of our faith limits the God-sized things God is wanting to do?

Ya think?

Look at your life. How has grown you? How has your life a “new creation” of God’s?

If you want to know if your life is been changed by God, look at the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 6.

Are you growing love? Are you becoming more kind? Are you finding you faith (or trust) in God in your day to day life growing within you? Are you patient? Are you allowing God to teach you self-control?

Maybe you see God at work. Maybe you wonder.

It could be because right now you are at the crossroads. It could be right now you are needing to envision a new future. Maybe you are needing God’s help to be a better mother or father, a better husband or wife, a better friend or neighbor, or simply a stronger person.

What now? Where are you at in the story? Do you need to bring the wisdom and love of God into the story of your life? Let this moment BE THE MOMENT. The moment where a change was made. Where everything is different. Where you can envision a new hope and a new future. Where you can see all that God has in store for you right ahead.

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