Story is everything!


I’ve been working on a short series of mini videos about the power of our stories.

Story is everything! …Fast Company.

A good story has a beginning, a middle, and a conclusion which is connected to life application.

People are drawn into story. Story enables us to imagine and think visually. Positive stories encourage the heart.

Most of us are moved emotionally when we hear stories about acts of genuine kindness.

People who share how they came through their personal crisis in a positive way encourage our own thought processes. How Jesus brought them through their crisis, their point of need, or having their prayers answered…a hopeful thought forms…”If it happened for you, maybe the positive outcome can happen for me.” 

Everyone who follows Jesus has stories. How we met Jesus. How we were provided for. How He strengthens us in our trials. How He changes us in a positive way. How He heals our hearts and our bodies. How he helps us raise our kids. Etc.

When we truly talk to people by listening to their story, we may be the one who has a fitting story of our own that may encourage their heart.

The next big step in the process of listening, and sharing our story, is to pray for the person and their situation. We can confidently invite The Holy Spirit to come upon them, and to meet their need bringing hope, peace, comfort, and healing.

Yesterday my neighbor shared her recent story.

During our casual conversation she mentioned her husband had passed away a couple of months ago. I listened, asked some questions, and gently replied by mentioning my father who died many years ago and how the grieving process takes time. I told her how three years after my father passed away I was sitting on my bed crying on his birthday. Pattie asked, “Why are you crying?” “I miss my dad.” I told my neighbor “I understand …just a little… of what you are going through.”

My neighbor replied, “Yes. Sometimes it’s a song I hear, or a memory floods my heart and moves me to tears.”

She then showed me her first-ever rose tattoo. All of her kids received a tattoo on the same day in remembrance. She’s 79 years old young. My story helped. She knew I understood, and cared enough to take the time to listen to her.

I’d encourage you to think about your life and the stories He has given to you. Maybe you could ask Jesus, “Thanks you for leading my life. Please remind me of the times you took care of me?”

Grab your notebook jot down your positive life giving memories.

The video is the first of a series.

Our works / our practices reveal us.

I John 3:18-19 TPT
Beloved children, our love can’t be an abstract theory we only talk about, but a way of life demonstrated through our loving deeds. We know that the truth lives within us because we demonstrate love in action, which will reassure our hearts before Him.

Our works/our practices don’t save us. Our works/ our practices reveal us.

Most probably your practices flow from who you are and from what you truly value.

Our actual values are different from our perceived values. Actual values are what we practice(do) and not just give mental acknowledgment to.

I value serving others. Do I consistently serve others?

I value reaching out with the good news. When do I reach out with the good news?

I value drawing near to Jesus. When do I draw near to Jesus?

If you are like me, and don’t like the fruit of some of your practices you can change your focus…your mindset and your lifestyle.

I daily choose to focus on and practice the positive. Sometimes there is a battle when my feelings battle my faith. When I recognize the drift, I know I have to choose to lean in and not pull back. I decide, “Today I’m walking by faith and not by sight.” So, I position myself to give (worship) and to receive (His Grace). 

Think—Spirit, Body, and Soul.. When are you sowing? When are you receiving? What are you giving to Jesus and to others?

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Tip:
 Push pause and look at your life. What are you positively sowing? When? Write down your own practices.

Example:
I practice drawing near to Jesus, reading, worshiping, praying, and resting in His presence daily.

I practice going for nature walks, eating properly, and resting.

I practice listening to my gauges: My mental health, my emotional health, my physical health and seek help when needed, or I adjust my lifestyle accordingly without guilt.

Tip: Focus…Push into the good! Let go / shift away from the not so good.

Sow believing!

Believe for a good harvest as you sow to your Spirit, Body, and Soul.

Galatians 6:5-10 TPT

Every believer is ultimately responsible for his or her own conscience.(life)

For what you plant will be the very thing you harvest. 

The harvest you reap reveals the seed that was planted.

If you plant the good seeds of Spirit-life you will reap the beautiful fruits that grow from the everlasting life of the Spirit. 

And don’t allow yourselves to be weary or disheartened in planting good seeds, for the season of reaping the wonderful harvest you’ve planted is coming! Take advantage of every opportunity to be a blessing to others! 

God’s Kind Intention… A Bible Study

 
God is kind…He is intentional…
The intentional kindness of God is part of his overarching love and will for man.
When we intentionally come into an agreement with the intentionality of our Father in Heaven, His power is released upon our acts of generosity, and upon our acts of kindness.
Ephesians 1 NASB

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
In love
He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself,

according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace,
which
He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.(Jesus)

In Him
we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses,
according to the riches of His grace
which
He lavished on us.

In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will,

according to His kind intention

which He purposed in Him (God was in Christ Redeeming the world to Himself)
with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens, and things on the earth.

In Him
also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,
to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.

In Him,
you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation”having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,
who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

He bestowed grace upon us in the Beloved. (Jesus)…and He lavished grace upon us according to His kind intention.
 
What does bestowed grace and lavished grace look like?

I used to think His love and kindness looked like this.

But now I know His love and kindness looks like this.

Bible dictionaries often define the word kind… by a simple word like: good, gentle, easy, useful, and gracious.

Dictionary Definition.

Kind: being of good or benevolent nature or disposition; characterized by or expressing goodwill or kindly feelings: a benevolent attitude; desiring to help others; charitable; patient, considerate, or helpful; to be kind to another; mild; gentle; loving; affectionate; having an intention to benefit another

Intention: purpose; an aim or plan; a goal to accomplish; what a person intends to do; a moral decision; an attitude to propose to benefit another; a mental state that represents a commitment to carrying out an action, in the present, or the future; an aim that guides one’s actions.

British Dialect. Being loving; affectionate.

How do you know when a person is kind?

Kindness by definition is an action. Kindness is revealed through people.
She is a kind person.

He is a kind man.

What a kind child!

There is kind evidence which flows from their character and from their values into action. Their actions do speak louder than their words!

They are defined as being kind by what they do, by what they say, and how they act.

The same is true for our Father in Heaven.

God is kind to allPs 145:17 NASB
The LORD is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds.

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. (Luke 6:35)

God is Love…
Love is patient and kind.  (1st Corinthians 13:4)

John and 1 John’s theme. God is Love.

As we receive His kindness, He leads us out of our stuff and leads us into His light and love.

Psalm 23:3 EVS You lead me into paths of righteousness for your name’s sake.

John 8:12 EVS Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darknessbut will have the light of life.”

Romans 2:4 NAS Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? (a change of mind and heart which leads you to a radical life shift)

Reading the book of Hosea is an amazing study of the goodness and kindness of God.

Hosea 2:14-15 NASB
His previous statements of Israel’s waywardness leads Him to respond in such a way that reveals His mercy and kindness.

He asks Himself, “What am I going to do with Israel?” 

Therefore, behold,
I will allure her,
Bring her into the wilderness
And speak kindly to her.


Then (after He speaks kindly to her)
I will give her her vineyards from there,
And the valley of Achor (trouble) as a door of hope.
And she will sing there as in the days of her youth,
As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.

Joseph despite his difficulties experiences the Lord’s kindness…
Here is the repeated phrase that followed Joseph…
“But the LORD was with Joseph and extended kindness to him.”

The continued acts of kindness expressed to Joseph were revealed by the extreme Favor upon Joseph’s life… He found favor where ever he went: Pit, Palace, Prison, and to become Prime Minister. He then revealed and released God’s kindness to His family.

Kindness, Loving-kindness was the foundation of all David understood and knew about God.
When he committed unthinkable sin and was exposed, in the midst of his greatest failure, he knew (by experience) his God was kind. He humbled himself and prayed to ask forgiveness (according) to what he knew (by experience) about the goodness, love, mercy, and kindness of God.

Ps 51:1 NASB
According to your loving-kindness have mercy on me.
Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your loving-kindness;
According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.

A lot of people were boasting about many things in Jeremiah’s time. Jeremiah discovered what to truly boast about.
Jeremiah 9:23-24 NIV
This is what the Lord says:
Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
or
the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,
but
let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know me,(that he knows me)
that I am the Lord,
who
exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these, I delight, declares the Lord.

He exercises, releases the action, of His grace, mercy, and kindness on earth… or on us (our earth).

The Lord’s prayer… Your kingdom come, your will be done, on (in us our earth) earth, as it is in heaven.

Kindness, Justice, and Righteousness are in Heaven. It’s a reflection of who God is. He wants to reveal His Kindness, Justice, and Righteousness to the people of our sphere of influence. He wants to do this through us by releasing kindness, expressing His justice when confronted by injustice, and revealing the right paths that lead people toward freedom and abundant living.

Kindness is found in our earth, inside of our being. We have the fruit of the Spirit… Love, joy, peace, kindness within us.

We can release His kindness through our attitudes, through our words and by our actions.

Proverbs 3
1 My son, do not forget my teaching,
But let your heart keep my commandments;
2 For length of days and years of life
And peace they will add to you.

3 Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.

4 So you will find favor and good repute
In the sight of God and man.


The Point:
As believers we should be reflections of the kindness and of the grace He has bestowed, and lavished upon us.
How?
By practicing being kind, and doing acts of intentional kindness; by developing kind attitudes and by speaking kind words.

When we intentionally come into an agreement with the intentionality of our Father in Heaven, His power is released upon our acts of generosity, and upon our acts of kindness.

Come and See…Influence together.

The Upper Room Worship Center in Tipp City is a small town church that has an amazing amount of influence in our community. Several members are prominent in businesses, local government, Police, and Fire departments.

Yesterday I spoke about the power of influence together and how our personal story is the message. I mentioned our invitation to the people within our spheres of influence is …come and see. I reflected back over the past year from April to April.

1 John 1:1-4 NASB What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life—and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us—what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.

The messenger the message is! We embody the message. What Jesus has done in us and for us is the message.

There is power in our story.

Our good deeds do not save us. Good deeds and our actions reveal us. Our actions often speak louder than our words. This is why we serve the people in our spheres of influence. Putting on a heart of love and positive attitudes is imperative.

Our attitudes are important! Have you ever been served by someone who has a bad attitude? This is why we need self-awareness, and why we sow seeds into our hearts that will bear positive fruit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.

All ya’ all, are the light of the world.

Serving outside of our Church reveals the love, kindness, and goodness of God in demonstrable…practical ways.

The You and Your in the above passage is plural. You, all together, are the light of the world.

Going out to serve and love our communities is prophetic, in the sense of unveiling the heart of God to our world. As we go, serve, love, and care for our community, our good deeds reveal the goodness and kindness of God.

Good deeds do not save us. Good deeds reveal us.

Community Care.

The Upper Room, serving from April to April, is an example of a church serving and loving a Community.

Hundreds of people were loved and cared for as we reached out together and as individuals.

Here is some of what we accomplished last year. (‘m writing this hoping you will be encouraged and you will begin to think about what you and your church could do to reach out to your community.

  • We served our community with a Food drive-through during the pandemic in April. (We just happened to have had a translator on our team who led two Spanish-speaking people to Jesus.)
  • Thanksgiving meals were taken to low-income apartments unannounced. Most people received prayer. One person who was healed last year was still healed this year!
  • Grounds For Pleasure, our coffee house, collected items for several organizations throughout the year. The manager, Teanna Lambert, of GFP was invited to be on the board as Vice-President of the Downtown Tipp City Partnership. Serving creates influence within a community.
  • Nicole Simmons increased our connection to our school systems by providing 320 gift cards for one preferred coffee for every employee once a month for a year, which equals 3842 coffees at GFP. Nichole also helped raise hundreds of items for families in need in our school system and engaged in a partnership with two local agencies who were also helping families in need at Christmas.
  • Hundreds of people were served through our Love Explosion’s and Kindness-to-go which we schedule on weekends throughout our year.
  • We also raised thousands of dollars to help meet pressing needs in our community and giving to missionaries and relief agencies beyond our community.

We know what we do reflects Jesus and His love for the people in our community. What we do also reflects our values.

I’m hoping what I’ve written will encourage you and your church to begin to reach out to your community…Together. If you are, leave a note in the comments to let others know what you are doing to be salt and light in your world.

Every person reading this has a sphere of influence. I’d encourage you to begin to ask Jesus, “How can I serve you today?” Tell Him, “I’m open for business. Help me to be aware of what you want to do and who you want me to serve today? Act upon what you hear.