Go Home. Tell Your Story.

What would you do if Jesus saved you but wouldn’t let you travel with him or study at his feet?

Legion’s Encounter with Jesus

A legion was a Roman army unit containing several thousand soldiers. Legion had earn his nickname because he was possessed by so many demons that when Jesus sent them into a herd of pigs, the entire herd (about 2,000 pigs) rushed toward a lake and drowned. (Mark 5:1-20)

When the story of this miracle reached the surrounding area, people went to see for themselves if it was true. When they discovered a perfectly normal Legion sitting and talking with Jesus, “they were afraid” (Mark 5:15) and “began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.” (Mark 5:17) But Legion “begged to go with him.” (Mark 5:18)

The Command

As interesting as Legion’s story is, I am intrigued by what Jesus told him to do and how the people reacted when he did as he was told.

Jesus told Legion, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” (Mark 5:19) After healing Legion—saving him—Jesus instructed him to return to where he lived before demon possession had caused him to live among the tombs AND to tell his family, former friends, and acquaintances—everyone back home—what Jesus had done for him and the mercy shown to him.

Obedience

Legion didn’t just return home to tell his story, he “began to tell in the Decapolis [the Ten Cities] how much Jesus had done for him.” (Mark 5:20)

Legion didn’t spend all his days studying about Jesus. All he knew was that Jesus had saved him. He didn’t just return home and sit in his living room sharing his story with those who happened to visit or attend Sunday worship services. He traveled the area surrounding his hometown and told whoever would listen what Jesus had done for him and about the saving mercy He had shown.

Jesus did not let Legion travel with Him, but He did give Legion something to do–go home and tell his story. He was to share what God had done. It can be much easier to study God’s Word than it is to share our stories, but telling others what God has done for us will help them see Him.

It can be much easier to study God’s Word than it is to share our stories, but telling others what God has done for us will help them see Him.

Amazed

Here’s the fascinating part: “And all the people were amazed.” (Mark 5:20) This man’s obedience in going and telling his story caused the people to be amazed. Our obedience to tell our stories has the potential to cause people to be amazed by God.

The Greek word used here for amazed is thaumázō.  It means to “…wonder at, be amazed… astonished out of one’s senses; awestruck… to regard with amazement, and with a suggestion of beginning to speculate on the matter.”[i]

By sharing his story Legion caused the people to be so struck with wonder that they couldn’t think straight. Amazed by the change in this man’s life, they began to speculate about the cause—about Jesus. Our stories can cause people to begin to think about Jesus.

Tell Your Story

Regardless of who God is asking us to go to, in order to accomplish the task, we must take that first step. We must go and tell our story—to cause people to sit up and take notice of the amazing change in our lives so they will wonder about Jesus.

Being transparent enough to tell our stories is difficult. We don’t want people to know our weaknesses, do we? But it is seeing God’s mercy through those weaknesses that will cause those around us amazement. Our stories are what cause people to wonder about Jesus. Like Legion, we need to go and tell others our stories, so they will notice God in us and be amazed by Him.

(As we explore how to Tell Your Story, each contributor will share a part of their God story with us. Trisha’s Story is here.)

Think about:

  • What has God done for you that would cause others to wonder about Jesus?
  • Where—to whom—should you personally go?
  • How can you share your story with that person or persons?
  • Do you spend so much time learning at the feet of Jesus that you do not tell others your story?

 

First post in series: Tell Your Story
Previous post in series: Who Touched Me?
Next post in series: Because of What You Say

 


[i]HELPS <http://biblesuite.com/greek/2296.htm>

Always Be Prepared

 

 

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International version®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

Storytelling Rules

Have you written your story, yet?

Do you know how? Do you know where to begin? Do you ever wish that someone would just tell you what to say or give you a format to follow?

If you don’t even know how to start, let me introduce you to a few of Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling. These rule were tweeted some time ago by Emma Coats, one of Pixar’s Story Artists.

One rule in particular is helpful as we explore ways to tell our story. Rule #4:

“Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.”

An example of using this to tell our God story would be:
Once I was living a destructive lifestyle. Every day I did the same sinful thing. One day someone told me the story of how they overcame the very same issue. Because of that I started to ask them questions about God. Because of that I began to go to church (or attend a Bible study). Until finally I accepted Jesus as my Savior (or God’s help to change). Praise God!

Getting started on writing out your God story is as easy as that. Can you see how your story could fit into the Pixar format? Of course this will be the bare bones version, an outline of sorts. Once you have that in place, you can add the details that make the story uniquely yours.

Some of Pixar’s other storytelling rules might also be helpful. Here are just a few:

Rule #5: “Simplify. Focus…Hop over detours.”

Rule #8: “Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect.”

Rule #14: “Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.”

There are many ways to tell your story. If you don’t know where to begin, this is a simple format to get started. Why don’t you spend some time this week thinking about your experiences with God and see if they fit into Pixar’s pattern of storytelling? You might be surprised by how many stories of God’s work in your life will fit into this format.

Anyone want to share their Pixar Rule #4 story lines? Don’t worry. You’ll be given the opportunity to share more details in a few weeks.

I’ll start:
There was a time when I was over-committed at church. Every time someone needed help, I was there. One day I burned out. Because of that, I began to struggle with questions about God. Because of that, I began to struggle with depression. Until finally, I shared with a friend who prayed for me. Then I gradually found healing, answers, and strength through the power of God. (To see the expanded version go to Trisha’s Story.)

Regardless of whether or not you are ready to share your story, I’d love to here your answer to Rule #14: “Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of?”

One caution: Remember to use “transparency with modesty” whenever you are deciding which details to share. While the person you are sharing with needs enough details to be able to understand your story, there is still the danger of “too much information.”

 

First post in series: Tell Your Story
Previous post in series: How to Tell Your Story
Next post in series: Get Up. Take Your Mat. Go Home.

 

To see Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling: https://www.aerogrammestudio.com/2013/03/07/pixars-22-rules-of-storytelling/