Assemblies of God Empowered Magazine God's Eternal Word - Page 8

EXECUTIVE The Power of Story Pastor Pat Lamborn, Executive Presbyter and OM Facilitator, Senior Pastor, Connect Church Christchurch, NZ The most exciting thing in my life happened when I was 19. After a series of accidents that should have killed me I accepted Christ. He changed everything for me and I wanted to tell everyone about it. I did too. I memorised ‘The Roman Road’ with the four ‘spiritual laws’, started knocking on doors and talking to people about the Lord. Strangely enough, I didn’t get a very good reception! It seemed that people, even those I knew, didn’t want to hear that they were sinners heading to hell and only faith in Jesus could save them! I had such great news, but as I got through the everyday welcome and social talk and went to the scriptures they weren’t interested and sometimes were quite hostile. This ‘witnessing’ was hard work and not very fruitful. It seemed another approach was needed. It was a number of years later that I learned of another approach. It was all about just telling your story! Something we do all the time and is so natural. People love telling and listening to stories; it’s what we do. It turns out that in our changing society many people don’t read or respect the Scriptures as much as earlier generations did. Memorising and repeating scripture to make your point lacks the impact it once had. It has been said that the only Bible many people read today is you! In Acts 1:8 we are promised that we would receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on us, power to be His ‘witnesses’ in our community, country and even into the nations. And we’ve often misunderstood the word, ‘witness’. A witness is someone who tells others what they have seen, heard or experienced. It’s our first-hand story. We ALL have a story of what happened to us when we met Jesus. It seems the Holy Spirit has come to empower us to tell our story to other people. 8 | EMPOWERED MAGAZINE In John 4 we read the story of Jesus’ interaction with a Samaritan woman. Jesus starts a conversation with her and during it he reveals something about her life which leads to him revealing who he is to her. On leaving Jesus the woman hastens back into her village: “Come, see and man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” …Many Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” (John 4:29,39). Earlier in his gospel John records that Jesus ‘had’ to go through Samaria, a route that almost all Jews avoided, preferring the longer, ‘cleaner’ route away from the detested Samaritans. Could it be that he went out of his way to speak to this one woman who would tell her story and open the hearts of the villagers to him? In Mark 5 we read the story of the demon-possessed man living in the tombs in the region of the Gerasenes, on the eastern bank of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus and his disciples had sailed through a storm to set this man free from his torment. When he does, the freed man’s response is what we’d expect, but not what Jesus had planned for him: ‘As Jesus was getting in the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you. So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.’ (Mk 5:18-20). Mark Chapters 7 and 8 record Jesus’ return visit to the area and the thousands who came to see him this time! There is power in your story. We all have a story, of our life or experience before we met Christ, of how we met him and what happened as a result. Your ‘story’ may not just be of your salvation, but of any time you experienced Christ’s power in your life: that healing, that intervention, that answer to prayer, that freedom …we