You are Made of Stories

1077691_68991810Michael Gungor, a singer / songwriter in the band Gungor, says this:

More than skin, and bone, muscle and tendon – you are made of stories. 

And I think that is true. We all have stories that make up who we are. We all have experiences, encounters, and narratives that not only shape who we are, but often define who we are. You are made of stories and so are those around you.

Some of us are made up of difficult stories, stories of pain, hurt, and abuse. Some of us are made up of stories of love, grace, and forgiveness. The point though isn’t to live a life, or a story, without pain or conflict. The point is to live a life that isn’t controlled by pain, fear, or conflict. To live a life, and share a story, that is about something bigger and better. To live a life that joins in the story that God is telling.

There is this really beautiful spiritual practice of reflection. In it you look back over your life, the stories and encounters you’ve had that really impacted you. You can plot them on a paper, as highs or lows, and reflect on the major turning point in your life.

And once you’ve done this you look over your story. The highs and lows,t he good times and difficult. The stories and encounters that build you – who you are. And you ask yourself two simple questions:

  • Where was God moving in those times?
  • And where is God leading today? 

It’s amazing how as you reflect and look back you can see God moving in your life. And as you see where he did move, you can get a sense for where he might be moving you.

So my simple little challenge today is this.: that you are made of stories, and that you look back on the story of your life. And as you look, and remember, pay attention for God. Look and see how he was moving in this moment, and that moment. And look for where he might be moving.

Because Michale Gungor is right, and as you do this you ask a simple question: where has God been leading?

The question really is what stories: More than skin, and bone, muscle and tendon – you are made of stories. And the question is where is your story leading? Is it joining a bigger story – God’s story? We all have good and bad encounters but none of that needs to control our story or destiny. Because here is the beautiful thing: your story isn’t over yet. So live it well.

Spiritual Top Ten Lists

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On Sunday we looked at the top ten lessons that I thought God had taught us this year.

I think this practice is really important. I think taking time to review and reflect on how God has been faithful is so key to being able to follow God. To follow God deeply, we need to remember where he has led us in the past, so that we might get a glimpse of where he is leading us in the future.

So I’d encourage you to take time today, and review you’re year. What were the special highlights, the memories, the occasions you celebrated? And as you reflect on those things remember what happened around those times. How was God active? What was he teaching you? When was he faithful? When did you wish he was more present? What was challenging? What gave you hope?

I think reflecting and remembering is part of following. So do that today. And if you’re interested here are some of the questions we walked away with on Sunday to help us reflect and remember.

  1. How has your trust in Jesus grown or struggled this year? How come?
  2.  How faithful have you been to Jesus this year? What do you need to do to be faithful to Jesus? How faithful has he been to you?
  3. Have you experienced the presence and fullness of Jesus this year at all? When, where, and how?
  4. Have you left God’s side and moved away from him at all this year? If so are you willing to go back to God and let him accept you?
  5. Is God in control and directing your life – or are you?
  6. Did God have your attention this year? Does he have your attention now?
  7. What new thing did God get started in you this year?
  8. Who have you shared your story with this past year? Who are you called to share your story with in the next few weeks?
  9. Have you been a person of grace? How can you show God’s grace?
  10. What direction does God have for you – for this upcoming year?

Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: We need to reflect and remember how God has been active in our lives.

Take Aways…

10 Big Questions to Explore:

  • 1. How has your trust in Jesus grown or struggled this year? How come?
  • 2. How faithful have you been to Jesus this year? What do you need to do to be faithful to Jesus? How faithful has he been to you?
  • 3. Have you experienced the presence and fullness of Jesus this year at all? When, where, and how?
  • 4. Have you left God’s side and moved away from him at all this year? If so are you willing to go back to God and let him accept you?
  • 5. Is God in control and directing your life – or are you?
  • 6. Did God have your attention this year? Does he have your attention now?
  • 7. What new thing did God get started in you this year?
  • 8. Who have you shared your story with this past year? Who are you called to share your story with in the next few weeks?
  • 9. Have you been a person of grace? How can you show God’s grace?
  • 10. What direction does God have for you – for this upcoming year?

Adult / Group Discussion Questions: What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? How did God speak to you through it? What was new?

What are some of the biggest things God’s taught you this year? Spend some time working through those questions – and then take time to share your thoughts with a spouse, friend, or small group. We learn best together, so take some time and review and share with others.

Discussion Questions for Young Families: Why not take some time and ask your kids – what did you learn this year? Let them give you all the answers they can come up with. Ask them what some of their favorite memories were from this year. And then be sure to ask them about what they learned about God. Spend time reflecting and reviewing together and also plan for this year. Ask them what would they like to do – and they why not try to make it happen?

Challenge for this Week: Review and Reflect