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Stories, thoughts and reflections on the Bible from the WSFC Staff.

Hello Friends,

God knew that I needed to hear a new story.

Hurrying into my favorite Starbucks for a quick meeting, a man I see there often, whose name I have not learned, beckoned me to his table.  Honestly, I was in a rush and thought, “How much time is this going to take?”  The man greeted me and introduced Amos, saying that I really should hear his story.  My mind was racing toward the Breve that I was going to order, and also toward the meeting I was on my way to.

Looking up from his tea, Amos said, “Don’t bother this nice man.  He has more important things to do than hear my story.”  Unexpectedly, my hurry came to a full stop when I looked at old Amos.  His clear blue eyes told a story all by themselves.  “Amos,” I found myself saying, “there is no place I would rather be than here listening to your story.”  He broke into a wry smile, as a I pulled up a chair.

“A year ago today,” he began, “I was told I was going to die.  You see, I was scheduled for surgery and the doctors gave me less than ten percent chance of survival.  I was all alone and I was scared.  Didn’t really want to die yet.  I felt there was something I was still supposed to do.  After the doctors left the room, I prayed to God, ‘Father, I think You have more for me to do and I really want to do it.  I’m scared right now.  I don’t want to die yet.  Would You please put some angels around me so I’m not alone.  Thanks, God.’”

I am sitting there, looking into this man’s eyes, riveted.  Then, after a pause and a sip of tea, Amos continued.  “So, I am taken into the operating room, and it’s all white, cold and steel, and they put me under.  I didn’t expect to ever open my eyes again.  You know, that’s not a good feeling.  Then I opened my eyes, and I am surrounded by the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen… Angels!  All around me, looking down at me, are angels.  Real angels.  And I knew I was not alone, and I knew I was alive.”

All I could say to Amos was, “Wow!  I can see in your eyes how amazing that was.”

He paused for another sip of tea, and replied, “You know God?  He’s real.  He saved my life for something, but I’m still not sure what it is.”

Amos told me a God-story that day; one that was personal and intimate to him, and his story impacted me.  Yes, I believe in God and I believe in angels, but hearing Amos tell his story enriched my life and made me feel closer to God, right then and there.  That day I needed the spark that his story provided.

God stories.  God stories have come from my life, and very likely from yours, too. It is amazing how the true stories of God working in our lives impact the people around us, especially when we don’t have an agenda.  I am involved in community outreach called Dream Center, mostly in the Edgewater neighborhood of West Salem.  Every week there are new stories of His help, His hope, and His love impacting the lives of the children we work with, and their families.  A woman named Maria excitedly stopped me in the market recently to tell how her son, Alex, his wife and children had received Jesus as their Savior because Alex had overheard a story that I was telling to a group of kids last fall, as we were outside of his house raking leaves.  His life was changed by eavesdropping on a God story.

Do you know how to find the God stories in your life?  You simply have to start looking for them.  Start with the stories told by Jesus, the disciples, and the prophets in the Bible.  Think about where we would be if no one told the stories of Peter walking on water, or of Daniel in the lions den, or of Esther’s faith and courage saving her people, or of Jesus’ resurrection.  God is still revealing Himself in our lives so that we can know Him and be saved, and so that we can tell the story.

First:  Look for His stories with your eyes.  Jesus said, “The eye is the lamp of the body.  If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.” (Matthew 6:22)  If we look for good, it is good we will see; and if we look for God, we will see God working.  People who look for good are most often positive, and people who look for God are most often inspired.

Second:  Step into His stories by doing what He does.  Jesus said, “…anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing.  He will do even greater things because I am going to My Father.” (John 14:12)   Jesus did many things that we can also do, as we follow in His steps.  If you only sit in your living room you might not see what the Lord is doing today.  But if you step to the edges of life, where light pushes back at the darkness, you will see God working.  You won’t even have to look for long, God will amaze you.  Your life will begin to be filled with God stories.  I see Him working down on the edge, in a place that happens to be called Edge-water.

Where is your edge?  You can find it by following Jesus in the Word, by learning to look for good in this world, and by stepping out to do the things that Jesus did.

Remember old Amos and the story he told me?  Amos said he wasn’t sure why God spared his life.  He was sure God had more for him to do, but he wasn’t sure what it was.  I think I know exactly what it is that Amos has left to do:  Keep on telling his God story!

Blessings,

Craig Oviatt
Outreach & Dream Center