Two Stories: His and Yours

Joel Nelson

Director of Church Strengthening, Converge North Central

  • Church strengthening

I had always felt life first as a story: and if there is a story there is a storyteller. - G.K. Chesterton

The Advent season is a season where the story of Christ’s birth is front and center. As pastors, we seek to tell the story in new ways every year. Perhaps it’s the Old Testament prophecies that point to the Messiah. Maybe it’s the story from the perspective of the shepherds, Magi, Mary, or other participants in the narrative. Regardless, the story is about the promised Savior, born of a virgin in a lowly manger, fully God and fully human.

In the introduction of her book, The Jesus Storybook Bible, Sally Lloyd-Jones is writing to children, but her words are worth hearing for all of us.

No, the Bible isn’t a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a Story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne–everything–to rescue the one he loves. It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life!

You see, the best thing about this Story is–it’s true.

There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story. The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.

It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story. And at the center of the Story, there is a baby. Every Story in the Bible whispers his name. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle–the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.

The Christmas story almost tells itself this time of year. It’s everywhere. From holiday television classics to the music playing in the background at the mall. As you seek to tell the Christ story, remember that every story in the Bible whispers his name. Proclaim that clearly. Tell everyone who will listen how the baby born in a stable was and is the missing piece of the puzzle to their story.

But amid the hectic ministry rush towards the end of the year, ask yourself, what’s your story?

Looking back at the past months, what has drained you and what has refreshed you? Are you anticipating the baggage of the past year to be dragged into the new year or do you have an optimistic anticipation of what God is going to do in your life, your family, your church and your ministry?

CNC is putting the finishing touches on a survey tool for pastors which, among other things, will serve as a self-assessment to provide some clarity on your story. Specifically, it will provide an opportunity for you to assess your calling and your self-awareness, as well as measure the resiliency you need to serve amidst the  headwinds and the relationships in which you engage.

The hope in this, is that you would be in a better position to have a stronger, healthier, and more impactful story for your life, church and ministry. CNC will examine the information in order to create opportunities, events, and partnerships to strengthen all of our CNC pastors. When the survey comes to your email, please take the few minutes needed to fill it out.

During this time of Christmas and the New Year as you preach, teach, and reflect upon the story of Christ’s birth, may you hear the whispers from God clearly. And may your heart be soft. Soft to let the light of that Story shine into your story in new and powerful ways.

Finally, if you’re looking for some fresh Christmas music, consider an “old” album by Andrew Peterson, Behold the Lamb of God. As a songwriter/storyteller, when Peterson realized the Bible was one big, unified story with Jesus at the center, he crafted an album to tell that story. Hit the link and take a few minutes to listen to a part of the Christmas story

Merry Christmas!

Joel Nelson, Director of Church Strengthening, Converge North Central

Director of Church Strengthening

Additional articles by Joel Nelson