Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Holy Conversation - Week 2

The subject for week two of the study was on the value of stories during evangelism and spiritual conversations. Illustrative stories can be very helpful for explaining an idea; Jesus always seemed to have a parable at hand to explain the nature of God or the Kingdom. Paul began his speeches before gentile audiences with stories. It's just a well known idea, people like stories. There's no faster way to draw in an audience than with stories.

More specifically, however, this chapter looked at stories from your spiritual journey. This can be a tricky area. It can be easy to ignore, overlook, or even ridicule the stories others have of experiencing the supernatural. They can be brushed off as coincidental at best and signs of mental illness at worst. The experiences are no less meaningful to folks, however, so it's important for Christians to understand how to respond to these stories and use them as tools of evangelism. Incidentally, it's not just Christians who have stories of the supernatural or spiritual experiences.

From PRC's 2009 study of the rise of the "nones."
One of the points we discussed was just how important being able to share these stories can be. I thought I'd use this week's post, then, to share one of my own stories, one in which I almost died.

(Continue reading)

First, I'll admit that "I almost died" stories can often be, as I said, coincidental on the surface. I suppose this is just one of those "He who has ears to hear" sort of things. If you're religiously inclined, it's never a surprise just how many "coincidences" in a person's life played a role in becoming the person they are or finding God (or not.) (For the record, see Acts 17:26-27)

My story begins when I was not-quite thirteen and had just started seventh grade. My sister was playing with a friend who lived down the street from us. She only lived a few blocks away, so my mother was fine with my sister walking. However, always a little anxious, she called from work to ask me to look down the street and see if my sister had started on her way home yet. Still on the phone, I obliged, stepping out into the street to see down the sidewalk on the other side. That's when I was hit by the car coming from the other direction.

Well, not exactly. I sort of "walked into" the car as it passed by. The only real contact was the rear bumper of the vehicle clipping my left leg; I still have a divot in my leg where it hit. I was thrown back on the curb and hit my head. I ended up with a concussion, but no permanent damage, no broken bones, not even any abrasions.

Because of the concussion, I don't remember much of what happened afterwards. I was apparently still on the phone with my mother, to whom I said, "Mom, I need to call you back, I was just hit by a car." I'm not a parent yet, but I can still imagine the levels of panic that must have induced. The guy who hit me used our phone to call an ambulance. I think he was probably as grateful as anyone that I wasn't seriously injured.

A difference of a single second would have likely killed me. I believe firmly that God spared my life. It was a year later that I finally professed faith in Christ. Although it was years before my understanding of the significance of this event came to fruition, it played heavily on how my first year of junior high turned out, which was critical to my decision to become a Christian.

That first year, however, is another story for another time.

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