"...for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard." (Acts 4:20 NASB)
As Pastor Marty shared this past Sunday on the story of Peter and John in Acts chapter 4, the thing that struck me most was the power of their story. They had been with Jesus. They had "seen" things and "heard" things that blew people away in those days. And all I could do was think to myself, "Dang. I hope I get to see God do stuff like that."
Waaaaaaait a minute. I get it. Have I been with Jesus? Maybe God could do things through me if I follow Jesus and choose to spend time with him.
What could God do? Even if he does something, it wouldn't be like the church in Acts... Would it?
Peter and John weren't worried about what could happen. They weren't worried about their beliefs offending anyone. All they knew was their story.
And they were telling it. To anyone and everyone who wanted to hear it... And even to some who didn't.
So what's my story? What's your story? We act like "we have seen and heard," but can we "not stop talking about it"?
What have I seen? What have I heard from the Lord? What has he done in my life? What has been done in the name of Jesus that has changed me?
People don't want to hear about Peter or John's stories until they've heard my story and your story. I'm reminded of a lyric in a song we've sung over the last year or so:
I'll walk through the fire with my head lifted high
And my spirit revived in Your story
I'll look to the cross as my failure is lost in the light of Your glorious grace
Our failures don't hinder our stories. Because ultimately, our failures are lost in Jesus, our stories are made whole in His grace. When we share our stories, He takes them and makes them part of His story... And it's His story that revives people.
In late 2013 we started a series of worship events called Awaken. Born out of a scripture in Ephesians 5, we started these events to gather and seek God for revival, to worship Him and ask Him to breathe life into the dead places with an understanding that revival begins with the church... With me... With you.
In the midst of the birth of those events I wrote a song based on the name of the events (Awaken) and based on this scripture in Acts 4:20and the passage in Ephesians 5.
You can listen to the song here: http://youtu.be/1ZjxtHUFghg
But as I listened this last Sunday, I was struck by these lyrics all over again.
We have heard, we have seen
We cry out awaken
Lord let Your glory cover the heavens
Lord may Your praises fill the earth.
If we have truly seen and heard of the Lord Jesus and his work in our lives, our desire should be awakening. If we have tasted of his goodness our cry should be that His praises would come from all over the earth... And how does that happen?
The same way it did for Peter and John. By gathering together in one place (Acts 2), each of us sharing our stories and speaking in the name of Jesus (Acts 4) and when people see us changed and praising God for it ("walking and leaping and praising God" - Acts 3).
So let's do it. Let's see our city changed by gathering, sharing our stories and praising God... Because we are the revival and to follow Him is to fish