I Love to Tell the Story

“The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.” — 1 Corinthians 1:18

The gospel — or good news — is the story of Jesus. The power of God to those who believe. In the words of one of my favorite childhood hymns…

I love to tell the story of unseen things above,

Of Jesus and His glory

Of Jesus and His love.

I love to tell the story, for some have never heard

The message of salvation from God’s own Holy Word.

I can’t help but have a smile on my face when I sing these words, but are they true of me? Do I really love to tell the story of my Savior? Or far too often am I ashamed of it, or neglect to really tell it? Do I really spread “the message of salvation from God’s own Holy Word”?

I believe that many Christians, myself included, have fallen into the trap of centering the “gospel” around ourselves, not Jesus. Of telling our story, not His. 

It’s easier, more comfortable, most of the time to talk about our own lives than to boldly proclaim His story. But which one has the power to save?

I could tell people about my life all day long. But no matter how great my life is, or how much God has been working in my life, that story will never save them. Only the power of God will save them. Only the story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Only the story of His taking our place on the cross. Only the story of God making a way for us to be in a right relationship with Him again. 

That story is powerful. That story gives me chills. So why am I afraid to tell it?

I don’t know. 

I make some pretty lame excuses every day of my life. I worry that people won’t listen or will think I am strange. It’s easier to convince myself that I’m doing all I need to do by talking about myself and bringing up Jesus name once in a while. 

But that can’t cut it anymore. 

I want to tell Jesus’ story. The story that saved me and transformed my life. The message that government officials claimed had “upset the world” (Acts 17:6) when the disciples shared it in the first century. The story that has lasted thousands of years and never stopped being faithful. 

What is the story of Jesus? 

He loved us so much, even though we rejected Him, that He wanted to make a way for our sins to be forgotten, for us to live in a perfect relationship with Him again. But since we are far from perfect, and our sin requires death to atone for it, He took that death for us. God’s own Son in the human form of Jesus came down to this earth, lived here as a man and never sinned. He was despised by His own people and they ultimately put Him to death in a gruesome and horrible way. He gave Himself over to them and died completely innocent. But He didn’t stay dead long. Three days later, He rose victoriously from the dead. Proving that He has ultimate power over death. And with that power, He chooses to rescue us from the inevitable death we all deserve. We only have to ask Him to do so. To believe that He alone has the power to save us. To save us from death. To save us from a life marred by sin. To save us from separation from our loving Father. 

As Paul told his jailer who asked how to be saved,

“Believe in the LORD Jesus and you will be saved.” — Acts 16:31

And as he writes in a letter to the Romans…

“Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” — Romans 10:13

That’s good news!! That’s powerful. That’s the gospel. And that’s the story I want to tell from now on. The story that has the power to change hearts and lives. I want to fall in love with telling that story,  Jesus’ story. 

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To Be a Light to the World… you have to be in the World

“You are the light of the world, a city situated on a hill can not be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lamp stand and it give light to all who are in the house. In the same way let you light shine before men so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in Heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

I live in a Christian bubble. I’ve grown up in church, attending a Christian school, and sheltered from a lot of things. I don’t view that as a bad thing. It’s been a blessing to be raised in an environment that nourished and nurtured my faith. 

But now I’m 18. I’m an adult. I’m about to step out into the real world. And I don’t want to be afraid of it. 

God calls us to be in the world and not of it. But I feel like we focus on the second part of that command a lot more than the first part. God calls us to be in the world!

If I’m going to be a light to the world, I have to be in the world to shine my light. My youth pastor likes to talk about how we build disciples to send them out. We can’t just build disciples forever and never send them to do anything. 

To be honest, that’s scary to me! My safe little Christian world looks great to me. And I really do have more gifts and abilities towards discipleship than evangelism. But just because I’m great at one doesn’t annul my responsibility to the other. 

God called me to go make disciples. Look carefully at the wording of some of Jesus last words on earth, 

“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” — Mark 16:15

To proclaim the gospel, we first have to go into all the world. 

Here’s where it gets touchy. 

In our world today, controversy is swirling, boycotts are surrounding us, and Christians are taking stands against all kinds of things. We stay away from the “secular” (which we synonymize with evil) world and the “sinners” that are different from us. I’m as guilty of this as the next person, but God has been laying something different on my heart recently. 

How are Christians supposed to minister and spread the gospel in a world we are staying away from? How are we supposed to be a light to people we avoid? It doesn’t work!

To follow God’s call to be a light, we have to go into dark places. We have to step outside of our safety bubble into the unknown. We have to forego safety and comfort, but it’s more than worth it, and honestly, we don’t have a choice. We, the church, God’s people, are commanded to carry His Name and Good News to the world. Every tribe, every nation. Not select people, not people that haven’t committed a certain sin or only people who have a fairly “respectable” background. 

Sin is in the world. And it’s wrong. I’m not denying that. I’m not suggesting that we overlook sin and darkness, that we condone the evil in the world. What I am suggesting is that we bring light to those places. That we love like Jesus loved. Disciples and tax collectors, Jews and Greeks, children and adults, rich and poor.

We are a part of this dark world as much as anyone. We are just as much sinners, just as dirty, just as in need of our Savior’s cleansing blood. But once He has washed us and filled us with His light, it’s our duty to go spread that light. Not because we’re better than the world, but because we want them to have the hope and salvation we do. We should want that for everyone. And we should be willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen.