Everyone loves a good story. We remember them and talk about the stories we hear in sermons, watch on TV, and see in the movie theaters. We sometimes wish we could live them! Somehow, stories touch our hearts, bring about emotional responses, affect our decision-making, and eventually transform our worldview. Every culture is transformed and shaped for better or for worse through its stories.
Stories have a ‘magic’ about them that can move people in ways they cannot explain. It touches us at the deepest levels. Stories transport us into a new world with new perceptions and new possibilities. We live the story. We become a part of the story. Stories allow us to experience things we would not have the opportunity to experience in our daily lives. We live vicariously through the story, and in so doing; we experience the same emotions and revelations as the characters in the story. Why should we not use the magic and power of story to allow people to experience God?
Most people do not want to read about the awesome works of God in a book or on a tract. We don’t want to hear a set of propositional truths that try to explain the awesome works of God. We want to experience God. We want to have a relationship with the living God that affects our lives on a daily basis. We don’t ask, “Is there a God?” We ask, “how do we connect our world to God in a relevant way?” The story of God allows the hearer to not only to access knowledge of God’s awesome works, but to be transported into the story and become a player on an eternal stage where life and death hang in the balance.
I was recently in a country very much closed to the Gospel. I was teaching believers there to share the story. I encouraged them to go out into their community and ask God to show them the person with whom they needed to share the story. One young man had always been too afraid to share his faith; even so, he walked into the streets and began to pray. As he walked he walked along, he walked past one of the many militant majority religious leaders in that area. God told him to share the story with this man. As he began to tell the story, the man listened intently. Students from the local religious school walked up and began listening. By the end of the story, he had an audience of over twenty people! When he finished, he asked if he could pray. He looked up from his simple prayer to find everyone in his audience weeping, and this militant religious leader asked, “We have never heard this before. Why is it just now that you are telling us?”
God has placed this need for His story in the hearts of man. If this need is so strong and the story is so powerful, then why aren’t more people telling the story?