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God stories

September 20, 2011 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

“We live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)

As a preacher, I have learned that one of the best ways to connect a message to a listener is to tell a personal story. As I prepare a sermon, my first priorities are to try to faithfully communicate the intent of the original author, as well as to discern what the text means for us in 21st century America. Then, after I have accomplished those goals, I try to make the message more interesting and memorable by adding personal stories, analogies, quotes, and so on.

But there is one thing I notice from time to time as I try to add personal stories. How many of my stories are from 10 years ago? How many of my God-moments happened in college, or in my days as a youth pastor? Do I have many recent examples of times when God showed Himself in memorable ways in my life, or am I depending on a faith from when I was younger?

I love to tell the stories where God unmistakably proved Himself to be true in my life – like the time he provided a house for our youth group to meet in, or the time he revealed to me that despite my failures at UConn, He knew my heart and He knew I loved Him. But I have learned to be vigilant for whether or not I have any more recent stories of God’s reality in my life. Am I still living by faith today, taking risks, putting myself in places where I need God to show up? Or am I playing it safe, living on stories from the past, and living for my own security more than I am for God’s glory?

What about you? Do you have fresh, current testimonies of the reality of God in your life? Or are all your stories of the reality of God from 10 or 20 years ago? Praise God for those markers in your life where He showed Himself to be real. But do not grow complacent and timid along the path. Walk by faith, and not by sight, taking risks for God, praying bold prayers, and live in such a way that you will know without a doubt that God is real.

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