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March 18, 2014

What's Your Story?

This past Saturday evening, I attended the 4th Annual Outdoorsman Banquet held in Suffolk, Virginia, with friend, pastor and speaker Brodie Swisher (www.thrutheseason.com). Scope & Hook was invited to be an exhibitor at the event as well, which gave me an opportunity to talk with those in attendance about the mission and purpose of the ministry. With spring turkey season right around the corner, I brought my full strut mount with me and placed it at the table, as it serves as a good tool to bring folks close and spend some time initially talking turkey with them. As I fully hoped and anticipated, many a hunting story was relived around that table Saturday. All outdoorsmen are alike in at least this one respect - we all have stories that we like to recall with fellow hunters and fishermen. Stories of special trips in the outdoors with friends and family, stories of days gone by when the game was plentiful and the action was unreal, stories of record book fish and game harvested, and stories of missed opportunities and the big ones that got away. And as more time passes from the point in which these hunting and fishing trips took place, the more chance there is that the story surrounding them has been exaggerated and embellished to capture the attention of even more bystanders the next time it's told.
 
2 Timothy 1:7-9 (NASB)
For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity...
 
I know I am as guilty of this as the next person, but why is it that sportsmen feel inclined to exaggerate and embellish the details of stories of game and fish harvested in the woods and on the water? Maybe it's because there always seems to be another hunter or fisherman coming along trying to top or out-do our own story, thus making the details of our experience less interesting, exciting and impactful.
 
Well, just like each sportsman has a story to tell about a hunting or fishing trip he or she has experienced, every Believer possesses a powerful and important story in the narrative of his or her life. It is the one that tells how you were met with the life-giving message of the Gospel, how you acknowledged the futility of your own attempts at being right before God, and how you entered into the open arms of the Savior. Understanding your faith story and being able to share it with others is a necessary component in living out your faith. Our stories encourage other believers while God also uses them to draw unbelievers closer to Himself. Your faith story is an important tool in the hand of a mighty God: it can help others understand how God’s working in their story. Your specific story may be what ultimately leads another to Christ (for more information on sharing your story, go to http://www.hisismine.com/).

So often, though, we view the story of our life in Christ as not glamorous or dramatic enough to truly capture someone's attention, especially those of us who may have attended church at an early age, and that became Christians at a young age. We too often compare our faith story with others who may have experienced God's grace in miraculous ways, and think that our story is boring and not useful in bringing others closer to Him. Yet God's presence and continued work in our lives is perfect and is uniquely designed to speak directly to those with whom God wants you to share your story. So I encourage you, brothers, to understand and have confidence in sharing your faith story - it is ideally suited for you and for those who will need to hear about the grace of the Gospel when their hearts are ready. - GE

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