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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

When It's OK to Talk About People

"When Peter saw this, he said to them..." (Acts 3:12).

Time for confession. I like to talk about people. It's true. But before I am accused of enjoying the latest gossip, let me clarify. I like to talk about people like Kevin. When Kevin was 16 years old, he was rebellious, crude, disrespectful and didn't want to have anything to do with God. I remember one evening praying at the bottom of the basement steps in his home as he and his parents were engaged in a shouting match that sent chills up my spine. It wasn't so much the volume of the conversation, but the possible future impact of the words that were being formed and released from within Kevin's heart. He defiantly declared that he didn't need God and remarked that there was nothing his parents could do to prove that God existed. I like to talk about Kevin. Later that summer Kevin reluctantly attended an event with his church youth group and it changed his life forever. No, it wasn't the event, but God used that event to speak to the very core of Kevin's existence. Kevin realized that he was on a path that was leading him to destruction though he had been blinded in the process. He came home that weekend and begin to make radical decisions that many wouldn't understand. He gave up some things that had been very important to him, though they linked him to crowds and circumstances that proven destructive. Since that day, Kevin has served at a youth pastor, associate pastor, and has traveled the world telling of the awesomeness of the grace, forgiveness, and power to change lives that he found in Jesus Christ. I like to tell his story.

In Acts 3, Peter and John were walking towards the temple gate when they were interrupted by the likes of a crippled beggar asking for money. These two disciples did not offer money, but offered to introduce him to the power of God in a way that he would never forget. They reached out and took his hand and the once-crippled man stood up, and began to jump and shout! This was undoubtedly a sight to see and it inevitably attracted great attention. Peter took advantage of the situation in order to further testify about who Jesus is. No, this wasn't his testimony, but was it was very much connected to the heart of who Christ was and what He had done in him. Peter was determined to talk and to tell the story of what Jesus had done, not just in him, but in the lives of others.

It is amazing to think about what God has done in our lives, and we should! Be sure, however, to tap into the reality that what God is doing is not just about you. It is also about what He as done in is doing the lives of so many people around you. It's great to tell your story, and you should. Tell of how He has saved you, forgiven you, loved you, has changed you, and is continuing to change you. But, also tell the stories of other and how God has impacted their lives. Experiences unite us and can help confirm the experiences of others. Your story alone may be the spark that ignites an interest, but combined with the stories of what God is doing in the lives of friends, family, and others will set that spark ablaze. It will further the credibility of what God can do in the yes of those who are still searching for something real.

So how do you know what to share? Open your eyes and see what God is doing in those around you. Ask people. This will open up incredible doors of opportunity for people to share of their interaction with God and His intervention in their lives. You will encourage them by listening and encourage others by sharing. In the process, share your story with them. People love to hear people talk about people. Give them something to talk about that is worthwhile, God-honoring, and will impact their own lives in the process!

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