Posts Tagged ‘echoprayer.com’
Seems like a normal enough question, right? Sadly, a lot of us don’t really think about God’s involvement in our lives on a day to day basis. The result is that we end up thinking about God’s impact in the past tense. This, I believe, is why most of us aren’t sharing our faith very often, if at all.
The logic is solid if you think about it. Try to remember your last vacation. Could you tell the story in detail if someone asked you about the experience? Well, if your holiday was within the last few months, I would hope so. Now think about the first vacation you ever went on as a kid. How much detail can you remember? Probably just the highlights, right? Details become pretty fuzzy because it happened so long ago. We often treat our Christian testimonies in a similar way–as a fading memory of something that happened a long time ago.
Now think about the last time you encountered a ‘new’ Christian. Tons of energy, zeal, excitement, motivation–all oozing out of a person who was dead and is now alive. The experience of life-change through the Gospel is fresh and for this reason, their enthusiasm is off the charts. It’s not uncommon to see a new believer sharing his faith with anything that has a pulse! Though this passion seems to wane as we grow in our faith over the years, I believe we can all continue to live like this–super-excited about God’s life-giving and life-changing Gospel. And I believe we are CALLED to live this way.
Here’s how to do it:
Begin to catalog all the stories God is writing in your life–today–the ones that strengthen your faith. Then pray that the Holy Spirit will lead you to moments where you can share your stories.
My testimony of coming to know Jesus is a bit unromantic as far as I can see… I grew up in a ministry home and at 11 years old, my father said to me, “You know, Adam, God has no grandchildren.” I had to think about it for a while, but I finally figured out that Dad was telling me that just because he and Mom follow Jesus doesn’t mean I do automatically. It had to be my decision. And I made it. As my friend Stephen pointed out to me, this is the best kind of testimony–one where God, in His infinite wisdom and grace, somehow decided to spare me of self-destruction and heartbreak before I submitted to Him.
Well then, the only problem with my testimony is me. For a long time, I relied on this story for gaining energy and perspective on God’s interaction with me. After a while, my excitement began to dissolve and I began to think thoughts like, “I wish my life was like it used to be…” I believe that when we leave this part of our lives unchecked, we can all fall into this pattern–thinking about God in the past tense. The remedy is to recognize God in the present tense, that is, to remember.
Some of the derivatives of the word remember, as found in the Greek text of the New Testament are to abide in or to gnaw on. I love it! You see, God is daily writing stories in your life; some are little and short, and some are huge and life-long. As believers, we are inspired to share the love God has poured out on us when we “abide in” or “gnaw on” those stories. It’s a picture of constancy. God is constantly there, and we ought to constantly acknowledge His presence. The way we do this is by identifying the stories. And when we do this, we are filled by the passion of the Holy Spirit–you won’t be able to contain yourself! Sharing these stories will become a natural outflow of your thought life.
The things we are most passionate about are the things we spend the most time thinking about, talking about and doing .
So if you want to gnaw on the stories that God is writing in your life, try this:
Create a document that you can turn into your computer desktop background, phone wallpaper, etc. If you’re old school, you can use index cards that you can place on the mirror, in the shower or on the dashboard. On the document, list off the following:
Here are 5 conversations, interactions or experiences that have happened in the last month that I’m grateful for:
Next to each of these, answer this question: How did God influence this?
Make a new one of these on the first of each month. When you’re done with one, file it somewhere accessible. If you’re like me, you will begin to get a much deeper sense of God’s presence in your life. It will get to the point where you won’t be able to help sharing these stories within the context of your every day conversations.(Last week, I shared a God story with the guy that does my printing… He’s not a believer, but the story just completely rocked him–goose bumps and everything. I can’t wait to have to print something again so we can continue the conversation!)
Also, I use EchoPrayer.com as a tool to remind me to be in prayer and Scripture throughout the day. I’ve set up my prayer list and set 13 reminders (one per hour during the day) that come to me (randomized) in the form of email. I don’t spend more than about 3-5 minutes on each, but by the end of the day, I’ve spent close to an hour in conversation with God. It’s been life-changing.
It seems that for everything we do, we have a framework–Standard Operating Procedures at work, set-up instructions for toys and electronics, cooking recipes, the list goes on. I’ve just given you my recipe for daily grateful living. We need a framework for faith. Without it, God becomes past tense in our thoughts and actions. With it, God remains present tense, right now. And we become His passionate storytellers.