Monthly Archives: February 2018

STORY Time

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Everyone has a story. We live off stories, we thrive off stories, it’s what makes us who we are. I have to say, having studied literature I’m probably a little biased but I love stories; hearing them, telling them, making them. That’s why I’m so excited about what’s going on right now. Christian Unions across the country have had or are having a STORY week in which they invite people to come and tell their stories, ask their questions and hear the beautiful story of Jesus.

‘The Joy of the Lord is my strength.’ That was my anthem last week as I had the delight of joining STORY Swansea. Not only did I get to hear inspiring testimony of olympians, scientists, bankers, ex drug addicts, but I got to see stories unfolding there and then. The sheer amount of people I got to stop and chat to handing out flyers on a gloriously sunny day. The faithfulness of the students handing out flyers and talking to people all day – one student having wonderfully given his life to the Lord just the week before and still boldly stepping out each day with a smile on his face to tell people about Jesus. The conversations I got to have with people , hearing their ideas and lives, it was a privilege to be a part of, it still astounds me every day that God would choose to use and bless me in this way. To hear people from a lifetime of suffering to say this is the hope they need, to hear people say that Jesus is knocking, to hear people say that all the suffering they have faced has been used for God’s glory.

Sometimes I have those moments where I feel like I’m glimpsing glory as I call it. Most commonly when I’m surrounded by a roomful of people that love Jesus shouting his praises and our hearts sing with one accord. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced that but it’s those times when I can’t help but smile uncontrollably that I stop and think this must be a little but of what it’s like to be living in glory. To experience just a taste of the sure hope that we have. Well I think I was glimpsing glory last week. To see one person give their life to the Lord on Tuesday and come back on Wednesday saying it’s been just such a great day, so happy, so free. The Kingdom was growing in Swansea, the Lord is saving mightily. The joy of the Lord really was my strength – it may have been exhausting but it was brilliant, every minute, seeing the joy Jesus brings to people, that’s what puts a spring in my step as I walk around campus, that gives us strength and keeps us going. Whether it was talking late into the evening, praying with people as they step out in faith or driving along the beach listening to the Greatest Showman so loud we couldn’t hear ourselves shout and eating horrendously big ice creams by the sea, I like to think I was glimpsing glory. Someone recently said the Church or more broadly Christians are just walking each other home. I think that’s wonderful and so true, as we go through this week, we’re just bringing people home.

This is why I cannot wait for STORY Lancaster next week. Inviting people to come into our big marquee all week to share their stories, to hear stories, to make stories, to see lives transformed, because this is just the beginning.

My story? I’d say my story of walking with Jesus is one of shattered dreams. Shattered dreams but an infinitely better reality. I’m a dreamer, I won’t deny it. I dream about every way my life could go, the best possible things I can imagine happening. I dream of distant futures as I’m falling to sleep, I’m lost in daydreams of everything this world could offer me. But dreams don’t always come true, sorry kids. But I have a reality that is so much more than I could ever imagine. I plan things out in my head all the time and yet rarely are these the things I love the most. My story is being constantly surprised by the new blessings God gives me, turning my life in a new direction far away from any of my dizziest daydreams. Did I expect to be living like this had you asked me five years ago? Definitely not. Am I glad? Definitely. My dreams are limited to my imagination but thankfully God is not. It certainly makes things a lot more exciting that way.

In his letter, John tells us that God is love. He doesn’t say God is loving or love is godly, but that God is love, it is his very nature. With that in mind I was thinking about a few lines of a well known song:

Love, love changes everything,
How you live and how you die

Yes Love, love changes everything,
Now I tremble at your name,
Nothing in the world will ever be the same

Love, love changes everything,
Days are longer, words mean more,
Love, love changes everything,
Pain is deeper than before,
Love will turn your world around,
And that world will last forever,
Yes love, love changes everything.

We get to spend a week and a lifetime sharing the greatest story ever told. Everyone will have different responses to this story, that’s what makes us all so wonderful and unique, but if it’s true, it changes everything. 🙂

 

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