The Power of our Stories - Carolyn Hostetter
Written by Carolyn Hostetter
February 28, 2016, was sort of a pivotal day for me. That’s the day Javin began a sermon series on how we are storytellers. Printed on the bulletin was: “At Grace Church we no longer call ourselves volunteers, only storytellers. We have the privilege of telling the greatest story ever told.” My mind went immediately to some hymns I had learned when I was a child growing up in the 50’s like “I Love To Tell the Story,” “Tell Me the Old, Old Story,” “We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations.” I wished at the moment that I could to hear those songs again. They brought back so many memories and feelings of my early days in the church, and visions of the older men in their suits and ties standing on the sidewalk out front talking and smoking.
Javin began to talk about our involvement in the Kingdom as sons and daughters of the King and the story of Christ and His genuine love for us. He said that God communicates to us though Jesus and His words. The Bible is a book of stories. Our story is about what God is doing in our lives. Through our stories and the circumstances of our lives, God uses us to tell His story of never-ending love, a love that transforms every person who believes into adopted sons and daughters of the living God. By that, we get to be involved in the Kingdom of God here and now. We’re family!
As I was listening to this wonderful message, I was thinking, “he wants us to tell our stories. I don’t really have a story, or at least one that I would feel comfortable sharing. I could tell about growing up in a Baptist church in Greensboro, NC – that’s too long to write. I could tell about when I first recognized who Jesus actually is. That would be good but probably too long to write.” Then Javin started talking about participating with Christ in the Kingdom. “I want to get involved in the Kingdom but I’m not a ministry-type person and I don’t know how to tell people I don’t know about the Good News. And I’m so new to the grace message that I still don’t understand all of it and have lots of questions myself.”
Do you see what I was doing here? I actually didn’t see it myself at first. I didn’t even know where I was going with this. But here’s the pivot for me. I just joined the Writer’s Group at Grace and I had asked God what He wanted me to write about. This is it. (Ask and ye shall receive.) God took my thoughts back to February 28th. He’s really good about course corrections. Through this, I realized I had been focusing all my thoughts on MY story, what I was going to write about me, what I could or couldn’t do. Not only was my thinking focused on myself, it was negative self-talk as well.
First, it’s not all about me. It’s about Him. Jesus. The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. It’s about His story, and my story is yoked to His story. I am the means through which He tells His story. Without Him, I don’t have a story. He is alive within us, and as we are living our lives, He is doing His mighty works and lavishing us with His amazing grace. Our focus is on Christ. The power of our stories comes from our relationship with Christ and outflows from our circumstances. It overwhelms me that He lets me speak for Him.
Second, God never sees us as incapable, or not knowing enough. Because He supplies all of our needs, it’s just the opposite. When God asks us to do anything, he always gives us the means to accomplish it. He doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.
By His amazing grace, He has freed us up to live and to have stories to tell others about how much He loves us all and the power of the cross. We are unencumbered. That’s a story I love to tell.
I’d like to encourage everybody to write their story, or one of their stories. God has given each of us many, many stories to share with our brothers and sisters and others, and you never know when one of the circumstances in your life may help someone else who God has put on your path. He uses it all. We are called according to His purpose, and one of His purposes is for us to tell His story, the old, old story, to our children, our neighbors, to the nations and to the world!
WRITERS GROUP/ GRACE JOURNAL
Part of Grace Church’s heart and mission is to inspire an awareness of the finished work of Christ. We are driven to help others deepen a renewed understanding of the finality of our Savior's sacrifice. As believers, we celebrate and share in the privilege of being an active and significant part of HIStory - The Jesus Narrative. We have been given a unique opportunity to share this narrative with others through insights of a grace engaged culture. Using powerful individual stories collected and woven together with the common thread of Christ, our hope is to display and honor the personal and ardent love that our Savior has for each of us.
It's our sincerest hope and desire to use the Grace Journal as an inspirational teaching tool, a demonstration of a life lived in the knowledge of our identity in Christ, and as a resource for our church family as well as those outside of our church.
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We are looking for stories and devotional pieces that are fresh and present an authentic look at lives impacted by God and the Grace message. Our aim is to illustrate our faith and to love and edify people.