[Jesus] went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
(Luke 4:16-21 NIV)
What kind of press does God get in your media market? Are most of the religious stories about "off-the-wall" characters who are trying to build personal kingdoms of power and finance? Have the posers and pretenders moved God into the background? When he does make the news, is it the same old "talking points" and over-used religious slogans and jargon?
Is it that God is not making news or that he's got a horribly ineffective press agent? Or, is it that God has been misrepresented so often that he has opted out of the public news media altogether?
When an actual "God story" is reported, it seems that even believers tend to discount it, or explain it away, or assume that the people involved are just a half a bubble off balance.
There is a clear reason why God stories are missing. God cannot be reduced to a lead or a tease. He's bigger than press releases or poll numbers. God cannot be captured in a marketing campaign, a segment on the evening news, or even a full hour on 20/20. He's bigger and he's timeless, but he's also personal; that's what makes him God. My God!
On a planet filled with brokenness, the news simply repeats a slogan and assumes there is probably no God so ... we hear daily stories of brokenness — brokenhearted people, broken promises, broken homes, broken governments, broken rules, broken peace. So if God exists, he must be broken, too.
Does that work for you?
We fear the future and long for change, a change of story.
Whether we see him or not, God continues to find ways to release the entrapped and ensnared, to open blind eyes and bring light to darkness, and to find new creative ways to inject joy and celebration into a fearful and broken world, all the while writing his story into personal lives all across this planet. He is the story.
Deana, a member of our Faith Notes Community, told me a story you need to hear.
The conference was running longer than expected and Deana needed to pick up Katie Beth at 9:30 pm; so after retrieving her daughter, Deana headed toward the exit.
"I was disappointed that it was too late for Katie Beth to be prayed over," Deana said. "Then near the exit, I saw one of the prayer team. So I told Katie Beth that we were going to stop for just a few minutes and let this woman pray for her."
Katie Beth responded, "Why? I'm not sick."
I explained how some people really have a gift for prayer and that sometimes God uses strangers to bless us. Right there in the lobby the woman got on her knees and introduced herself to Katie Beth.
"Is it OK for me to pray for you, Katie Beth?
She prayed silently, and then asked Deana, "Can I pray about family things?"
Truth is that Deana's life had been filled with the constant worry about her family history, and this was an unexpected blessing. The woman turned to Katie Beth and said, "You are quite the little worshipper, aren't you?"
Katie Beth said, "Yes."
The woman said, "Katie Beth, you worship God with your singing, don't you? "
Katie Beth nodded yes. "And with my painting."
The woman said "Mom, these are gifts you are to nurture. Your daughter will touch the lives that others will not be able to reach because they do not have your daughter's gifts. Please help her and encourage her."
Then together they thanked God for Katie Beth and for his plans for her life.
Do you see the fingerprints here?
Even though they are mostly unnoticed, God's fingerprints are all over this world. Turn off the negative stuff and ask your friends what God is doing in their lives? Look for the fingerprints, the evidence of his presence. Don't stop there. Once you have found the stories of God's encounters with his creation, report the stories. Become a Story Collector.
God is always looking for new additions to his band of reporters; but beyond that, he also wants you to be the story, so others can tell it.
Join in the discussion and share your "God stories" with the Faith Community — http://hlt.me/iEM7sO