Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Impact Your Story Makes

We often talk about doctrine in regards to a church or a denomination, but it is simply “teaching” - something we’ve learned about a particular subject or topic. Church doctrine is usually formal, written down, taught and preached, where personal doctrine I believe is more experiential. I am continually impressed by the power of our own personal experiences with Christ and how they impact others lives.

If I’ve ever had a divine appointment it was three weeks ago in North Carolina. A friend and I were at the firepit after our evening session and there was a couple in front of us. My friend asked them if they were there for a conference, they answered excitedly, “Yes, a marriage conference.” They told us they had seen a comedian that night, but couldn’t remember his name. They pulled out their program and I asked if I could see it. That’s where I saw her, a long lost acquaintance. I remembered how fond we were of each other so long ago, but hadn’t had any contact for seven years.

I thought to myself, “If she is here in North Carolina at the same retreat facility, I need to see her.” I pulled out a business card and asked the couple if they would give it to her and tell her I’d love to see her.

The next day I received her animated text. She said, “I’m freaking out that you are here. We have got to meet up.” We agreed to meet after our evening sessions ended.

I knocked on her hotel room door and the first words out of her mouth were, “Wait till I tell you what God did through you!” I cocked my head a little not sure what to think of her statement.

We made our way to a sitting area next to her hotel room. Another couple walked by and she pulled them into the space and said, “Look at her face! Because tomorrow I am going to tell you a story about her and I need you to see her face.” Again, I wasn’t sure about all the excitement.

We finally sat on the couch and she brought me up to date on her life. She had received a diagnosis and had been in extreme pain for four years. She said every time she had wanted to give up she saw my face telling her not to do it. I asked if she knew my story? She said I had told her at a retreat. At that moment the impact of sharing my story hit me. God used my story, His redemption to save her and I didn’t even have to be there.

Walking to her hotel room I that night I was hit with anxiety because I had been divorced since I’d seen her last and felt a little ashamed, after all, she was here teaching a marriage conference. But, I didn’t let that stop me. I knew enough of her to remember her love and knew enough of God that if we found each other at a conference center states away from our homes He had orchestrated it.

Then yesterday a friend posted this verse:
So many others have tried their hand at putting together a story of the wonderful harvest of Scripture and history that took place among us, using reports handed down by the original eyewitnesses who served this Word with their very lives. Since I have investigated all the reports in close detail, starting from the story’s beginning, I decided to write it all out for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can know beyond the shadow of a doubt the reliability of what you were taught. Luke 1:1-4 The Message
In the Amplified version it says, "so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught [that is, the history and doctrine of the faith]."

Our stories matter!

Our "doctrine" matters!

I don’t know why I told her that part of my story at that retreat, I honestly don’t remember telling it, but God! He knew she needed to hear it and I’m glad I was faithful to tell it. My story impacted her repeatedly years later, to God be the glory.

We are “eyewitnesses” to the Word being made manifest in the earth and people need to hear the “truth” about what is being taught. Just hearing the truth isn’t sufficient any more people want to see it, hear it and experience it. If you’ve done any of that, share it.

I could have easily held back, in my mind she was in a different league, a pastor’s wife. Pride or fear could have kept me from opening up to her, but I’m glad that at that moment so long ago I pushed all that aside and shared what God did for me. How He saved me!

The truth is He doesn’t play favorites and what He does for one, He will certainly do for another!

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