Story-teller

“This is the west, Sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”—from “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” 1962 dir. John Ford

Each of us is a storyteller. I don’t mean that we are all liars, although many are. I mean we tell a story with our lives. What’s more, we live our lives based on a story that we believe is true.

What makes a story?
The elements of a story are three:

  1. Character,
  2. Conflict, and
  3. Conclusion.

The narrative structure of a story is also a three-part reality:

  1. Exposition,
  2. Development, and
  3. Finale.

If life were a play, we would say it this way:

  • Act One—the Beginning: childhood,
  • Act Two—the Middle: adulthood, and
  • Act Three—the End: eternity.

Apply these three trinities to the Jesus Story:

  • Act One—The Exposition:
    -The backstory of creation and the Nation of Israel
    -The Nativity
    -Theme: The Coming Redemption of Humanity
  • Act Two—Development
    -The earthly ministry of Jesus
    -The early church and the wisdom of the Apostles
    -Theme: Redeeming Love
  • Act Three—Finale
    -The End-time drama of Revelation
    -The absolute Victory of Christ over evil
    -The New Heaven and the New Earth
    -Theme: Redemption and New Creation

No Legend, This!
We live in a world of lies and legends. As Isaiah predicted, “Truth has stumbled in the streets.” We who tell a story that is neither legend nor lie have work to do. We don’t need filmmakers, or the news media, or atheists, or cynics, or comics, or celebrities, or gossips on social media. We need the love of Jesus in our hearts, the fire of the Spirit in our bones, and the truth of God in our souls.

Jesus said the contents of our hearts would come spilling out of our mouths.
Let’s fill our hearts with the Story of Jesus.

  • Let’s tell it with words of truth, deeds of mercy, tithes and offerings, prayers and supplications, and with praise and worship.
  • Let’s tell it to each other, to our children and grandchildren, to our neighbors and friends, to our enemies, to those passing and let’s tell it to ourselves in prayer every day.
  •  Let’s tell it as we work, rest, and play and let us dream of it when we sleep.
  • Let’s let the zeal of His house consume us until we disappear into the blinding, healing revelation of who Jesus is right now.
  •  Preachers, tell it when you take the pulpit. It is the power of God unto salvation for all!
  • Worship Leaders, tell it when you choose the songs.
  • Musicians, tell it with your voices and instruments.
  • Writers, write it; painters paint it; poets, set it to verse.

And let us be sure to tell the whole story, Act One, Act Two, and Act Three:

  • Jesus is our Savior.
  • Jesus is our Healer.
  • Jesus is our Baptizer in the Spirit.Jesus is our Soon-Coming King!
  • No other story rescues people from sin and destruction. No other story drains the heart of its despair and fills it again with hope and peace.

Tell me the story of Jesus, Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious, Sweetest that ever was heard.

Storytellers We Must Be!

Scriptures:
Isaiah 59:14-15 NIV
So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.
Romans 1:16-17 NIV
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Matthew 24:12-14 NIV
Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Matthew 26:6-13 NIV
While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
Colossians 3:17; 23-25 NIV
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Romans 1:15 NKJV
So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel…

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I have a story to tell—Your story! Like the Apostle, I am not ashamed of Your story for it is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe. Help me to tell your story with words and deeds, with thoughts and intentions of the heart, and with compassion and empathy for all I meet. Never let my humanity spoil the story. Never let me betray the truth with phony living. I invite the Holy Spirit to anoint me in all dimensions so that my life will be an open letter to the world, a moving narrative of Your life in me. For Your glory, Lord! Amen.

Song:
Tell Me the Story of Jesus
Words: Fanny Crosby; Music: John R. Sweney

1. Tell me the story of Jesus, Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious, Sweetest that ever was heard.
Tell how the angels in chorus, Sang as they welcomed His birth,
“Glory to God in the highest! Peace and good tidings to earth.”

Refrain:
Tell me the story of Jesus, Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious, Sweetest that ever was heard.

2. Fasting alone in the desert, Tell of the days that are past,
How for our sins He was tempted, Yet was triumphant at last.
Tell of the years of His labor, Tell of the sorrow He bore;
He was despised and afflicted, Homeless, rejected and poor.

Refrain

3. Tell of the cross where they nailed Him, Writhing in anguish and pain;
Tell of the grave where they laid Him, Tell how He liveth again.
Love in that story so tender, Clearer than ever I see;
Stay, let me weep while you whisper, “Love paid the ransom for me.”

Refrain

4. Tell how He’s gone back to heaven, Up to the right hand of God:
How He is there interceding While on this earth we must trod.
Tell of the sweet Holy Spirit He has poured out from above;
Tell how He’s coming in glory For all the saints of His love.

Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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