5.a new story
Acts 3.1-11; 4.5-22
What do your stories look like surely they’re not as lame as those supposed police candidates in the recruiting ads; but they are everyday stories about everyday things. About our families, our own lives, our work, our interests, our sport, our reading, our TV watching, our facebook friends. About love and about, well, hate; as well as about joy and sadness, celebration and grief; about the seriously important and about the trivial. What was your day like so far? What was the week that’s just passed like for you? How is your health (and don’t tell me no-one wants to know – I do!)? How are those you love and those you struggle to love?
You see you do have a story – everyone has a story; and every story is liberally laced with the transcendent, the divine, the astonishing Presence of God – if only we could see and hear it, or catch the hint of it.
The Making of a Great Story is what’s happening when Peter and John are confronted with the lame beggar in the Temple forecourts [Acts chapter 3]. Watch as Peter brings into confrontation the need of the beggar and the love and ministry that God has placed within in his heart – generated by the beautiful story he has with the Lord. The story in Peter’s heart, built up of his experiences with Jesus, fueled by God’s ever-present Spirit, gave him the confidence to speak words of healing and to bring the man to his feet, startled to find himself healed. I wouldn’t be surprised if we found that Peter was somewhat startled but the completeness of the healing. The beggar jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk!…walking, leaping and praising God…  And because it was in a well frequented public place, many saw and some were angered enough to report it to the Jewish Council (Sanhedrin).
When called to account to the Sanhedrin for the events of the lame man’s healing, Peter answers, but only under the empowering and enabling of the Holy Spirit. Peter answers their concern about authority by clearly stating that this was in the name, the powerful name of Jesus Christ – he adds what is central to his own experience of Jesus and that of the healed one, that Jesus was not only killed but also rose from that unjust death and now is the sole means of saving anyone.
Peter was so eloquent in his boldness that it made these powerful men pause in their passing of judgement. In the end they could but hope to keep the disciples quiet about the name and power of Jesus. Peter and John astonish in their reply by saying they would rather obey God than these rulers and leaders, to which the rulers can only respond with threats because the crowd is so impressed with what God has done.
Boldness and disregard for the consequences characterise the role of the apostles in this encounter because they have a story that cannot be silenced, one whose consequences are going to escape and grab attention no matter who forbids them to tell their story. Peter and John see the demonstration and proclaiming of the power of the risen Christ as obeying what God has commanded.
So what’s your story? Know that it is built out of what God has done in your life and what you’ve seen Him do in the lives of those you love. It comes from the Holy Spirit’s empowering and the boldness that He gives us to try out the life-saving, life-changing ministry in Jesus’ authoritative love. Is your friend sick? You know Jesus heals – pray for and with them. Is your family struggling with some difficulty or other? Bring the power of Jesus to bear on their need. Do you want to help your loved ones with words of wisdom, even of life, but don’t know what to say? Trust the Spirit of truth to give you just the right words.
Learn your own story with God. Learn His story (it starts in Genesis 1 and goes through to Revelation 22). Practise your story – keep a brief version up your sleeve. What can you say? What should you say? What is likely to help? What’s likely to repel?
You know what? This is why fellowship groups are such a great idea, cos you can practice with that story – and hear God in the voice of His people as they tell their stories.
5.a new story