The Bible is mostly a grand story.
We find ourselves in the middle of that story, between a garden and a city. It’s the story of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration.
In Jesus, God proves He is not satisfied to simply author from a distance. Not just the God who sends tablets and laws from heaven – He steps into our story.
Jesus taught in stories, parables.
Story is the most powerful element in communication. As a public speaker you quickly learn – few of my main points will be remembered. But my stories will.
The best oral stories:
Have a point
Can be told in a few minutes
Paul, when on trial for his life, tells his story. I want to read it to you, so you get a sense for just how concise his presentation had gotten.
New International Version (NIV)
26 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.”
So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense: 2 “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before youtoday as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.
4 “The Jewish people all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that I conformed to the strictest sect of our religion, living as a Pharisee. 6 And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our ancestors that I am on trial today. 7 This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. King Agrippa, it is because of this hope that these Jews are accusing me. 8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?
9 “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.
12 “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’
15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’
“ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why some Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22 But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— 23 that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”
Apologetics are important, but our story is the one thing no one can refute.. I want to read it to y
1 Peter 3:15-16
New International Version (NIV)
15 …Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…
What is your story? Can you tell it? Are you ready with an answer?
My short pitch – I believe in Jesus because he revealed Himself to me. He is not far from any one of us.
QUESTIONS – ON SCREEN
- Have you ever had trouble explaining or expressing why you are a follower of Jesus?
- Is there value in thinking through how to tell your “story” in advance, or would that make it forced and not authentic?
- Have one or two in your group share the short version of their story by answering this question: What are three reasons you are a follower of Jesus?
ONE MORE THING
We often get only the shortest of moments to share our faith. An elevator pitch is a great tool to have in your back pocket for those kinds of moments. You don’t have to have a story like Paul’s. You have to have YOUR story. What matters is: why are you willing to give your life away to this?