If you consider our current news cycles, you know that our world needs better stories than what we are currently seeing, hearing, and reading.
The truth is that you have a better story than the world could ever report.
I do, too.
We all have a story about how someone in another generation influenced or helped us understand our relationship with Jesus. And each of us probably has a story about how we are influencing or helping somebody else understand their relationship with Jesus, too.
Can I be honest with you? Sometimes I get so busy and distracted that I don’t take time to share those inspirational, life-changing moments with anybody. I bet you can relate.
So how do we begin sharing more of these kinds of stories?
I see 2 barriers that hold us back and 3 bridges that will help us get started sharing powerful stories of what God is doing in and through every generation of people.
Barrier #1: We intuitively believe that we need to sell Jesus.
In a culture that thrives on marketing, appearances, and sales being the primary indicator of success, it’s no surprise that we translate that into our spiritual lives, too.
I remember from an early age hearing about how we need to make sure we advertise church events, worship services, and put on a good face and show for Jesus.
Why? Because I believed that Jesus was sending me off for him.
Intuitively, I think that to a degree, we all feel this pressure to "perform for Jesus" (as if Jesus needs us).
Have you ever felt that pressure?
Barrier #2: We fear being rejected, judged, and condemned.
Deep down inside all of us is a desire to be connected to a greater purpose and to other people. It’s how God made us. . . to be connected to and love Him and love and care for His creation.
So, when it comes to sharing stories of Jesus’ life change either in our lives or other people’s lives, there is a part of us that fears rejection.
Simply put, we never want to be a loner (or weird!).
Have you ever been afraid of being a loner (or a weird-o) because of your faith?
Bridge #1: Point out where Jesus is alive… everywhere and in everybody!
What I missed was that Jesus wasn’t sending me off for him… Jesus is sending me off with him.
We were never told and we are not meant to sell Jesus to people. Jesus is not a product to be bartered, sold, traded, or given away. Jesus always gave everything of his away - his life - to us and to the world.
What a relief! Let’s let Jesus do Jesus work.
We are sent with Jesus not to sell his forgiveness, life, and salvation - but to point out where His freedom in forgiveness, life identity, and forever hope is making a difference in an increasingly dark and broken world.
Where do you see freedom, secure identity, and hope in the lives of people (or in yourself!)?
Those are the stories that we want to share!
Bridge #2: Ask yourself, what good can I celebrate in people and the world?
This is more than having a “glass half full” mindset. Jesus said that the fields are ripe for harvest (John 4:35). That means that Jesus’ good work is already done. It’s time to gather it, give it away, and enjoy what God has done for us!
Sometimes I think we fall into the trap of needing to produce something good in somebody else. We need to invest in our kids. We need to teach our grandchildren. We need to show others the Jesus way. And while there is some truth to the fact that God uses people as His hands, feet, and voice - God’s Spirit is already at work for good.
When we share stories of the good that we see in people and the world, we’re really pointing out where God has worked. Every good gift comes from God. So, let’s share it!
What good do you see in people and the world today?
Bridge #3: When in doubt, share how you feel loved by God and others.
Sometimes we need to experience what we want to share.
Who has made you feel loved and accepted?
Share the story of how and why you feel that way.
Meet Pastor Tim
Tim Bayer has served as Our Savior's Lead Pastor since September 2019. He also serves as an Adjunct Instructor at Concordia University - Irvine, a National Leadership Facilitator and Resource, and a Community Mental Health First Aid Instructor. Tim studied sociology, psychology, and theology prior to earning his M.Div at Concordia Seminary - St. Louis. He has also is a candidate for an Ed.D (ABD) in Transformational Leadership. He is married to Beth and they have three young children. Together, they enjoy exploring the outdoors, experiencing culture, and pizza and movie nights.