God is at work in my life.
- I’m learning new things from reading in Scripture.
- I’m seeing God’s hand of provision for this ministry and our work in Latin America.
- I’m being challenged by God’s Word to make some specific changes in my life.
Specific examples of each one of these would be the first story that every Christian should master.
I call this: The What’s New Story.
What kind of story is this?
What are these stories?
What’s New stories describe the current activity of God in your life.
These stories answer this question:
What is God doing in your life today (in this season of life, not a 24 hour time period) that makes the gospel good news?
Surprisingly many people I encounter have a hard time answering that question.
It’s like they have lost the language to speak of God’s current activity such as:
- how He pursued us prior to our declaring our loyalty to Him, or
- how He has met us in current events, or
- how He walked with us through prior suffering.
What’s New stories allow us to let our friends know that Jesus is at work in our life, no matter what circumstances we face.
Look at these two citations from Scripture.
- Psalm 73:28 But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.
- Isaiah 63:7 I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the Lord has done for us— yes, the many good things he has done for Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses.
What’s New stories call us to tell of ALL the deeds of the Lord.
What’s New stories call us to share “the many good things He has done.”
What’s New stories are real time evidence of your vibrant relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
An Example of What’s New stories
I used to walk with my friend on a regular basis. (Because we have moved to a new city, we now meet weekly online to continue our faith conversations).
In one of our conversations, I brought up the topic of my small group discussion from the night before:
How do we live out our faith in the “fear of the Lord?”
The question came from Proverbs 1:7 that says
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
With the same casual nature as a friendly conversation about daily events, I reported on the conversation.
I shared some of my thinking as I interacted with the question in my small group. I shared what felt I was learning from the Lord as I did my own self evaluation.
Talking about my small group conversation opened up nearly an hour long two way conversation that dwelt in themes like:
- How to develop a relationship with God
- What about the people who have never heard the gospel?
- “All religions are true” and why that does not make any sense.
- How sin affects each person no matter how good they think they are.
- How Jesus reconciled us to God so that we might have a relationship with Him.
- How many good works does one have to do to secure the blessing of God and earn a spot in heaven.
The Joy in Telling These stories
I like to use this question and to solicit stories:
What is God doing in your today that makes the gospel good news?
We once did a little exercise at our Presbytery meeting, using that question.
After I told a story of what God was doing in my life, I asked the members of the Presbytery to turn to one another and share. The buzz in the room indicated that a lot of sharing was going on.
After about 10 minutes of chatting, I brought the meeting back to order and asked
“How many of you felt encouraged hearing about God’s work?”
Hands went up.
“How many of you felt a little clumsy talking about your faith?” Several more hands went up.
We provided a safe place for people to try talking about their faith.
Feedback we received from many of the presbyters that day indicated that this little exercise was a highlight of the meeting.
Sharing stories of God’s current activity in our life is one portion of evangelism as we define evangelism here, “joyfully proclaiming the good news of the sovereign love of God.”
How to find these stories
I like to capture stories in my journal during my devotional time.
During my time of prayers of thanksgiving, I might make a note of how I saw God’s hand in my life the day before.
During my time of reading the Bible and writing my thoughts in my journal, I might observe a question that I might use in a conversation.
Hint: Think back over the last 30 days. How have you seen God’s kindness at work in your life?
You might see evidence of God’s work in:
- Speaking to you
- Growing a particular fruit of the Spirit
- A season of testing
- To be a blessing in the life of another
To find your What’s New story, you must intentionally nurture your relationship with Christ.
You need to spend regular time with Him to cultivate the sensitivity to see His Hand at work in your life.
As you get guidance from the Lord, and take steps of obedience, you’ll live into the adventure of faith and have new stories.
When you invest the time in your devotional life, you will find new stories.
You will always have a fresh What’s New story to share.
Two questions come to mind since the definition of Evangelism I use begins with “Joyfully sharing the good news of the sovereign love of God.”
- Do you have a faith worth sharing?
- Do you have someone to share it with?
To help answer the first question, ponder it in this way:
What is God’s activity in your life now that makes the gospel of Jesus Christ “good news?”
Think about it for a few minutes. Where do you see God’s activity in your life and how would you describe it?
After thinking about it for a while, turn to someone next to you and share your story of God’s current activity in your life.
Let me ask you this?
As a devotional exercise, write down the answer to this question:
What is God doing in your life today?
Imagine describing your answer to a non-Christian. How would you help them see God’s activity with clarity? How would you paint a visual picture in their mind?