Today Pastor Ed continued the new sermon series "What's Your Story?" by talking about Paul's story.
Paul tells his story in Galatians 1:11-24.
Paul's point is that the good news message he conveyed to them came from God, and they shouldn't let anyone add anything to it.
Paul's primary evidence is his own story.
That tells us a great deal about the power of our own stories.
Paul's story continues in Galatians 2:1-10.
Two critical features:
1) God was the driving force in Paul's story.
1:12 -- Everything I taught you came by revelation of Jesus Christ.
2:2 -- God is the impulse behind Paul's significant decisions.
2:7 -- His life's work and teaching was entrusted to him by God.
The primary driving force in our lives should be our connection to God: Every decision, mindset, relationship...
We get a glimpse of Peter recognizing this in John 6:68 -- "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."
Paul sees his entire life in the context of God as the driving influence.
God was there all along.... "set me apart from birth."
Our entire story has God as the driving force.
Paul had come to realize that his story was a small but significant part of God's story.
When we recognize this it produces important qualities in our lives:
It's not primarily about me. My story is about what God is doing in and through me. (Galatians 2:5) We can more fully do things for others.
Humility is a quality of a great leader, but we don't get that kind of humility without acknowledging God's part in our lives.
It doesn't all depend on me!
I can let go.
God is the driving force in our story.
He's in, around, behind, and below us.
When we try to carry too much control over our lives, we're fooling ourselves and wiring ourselves for anxiety.
2) A decision to turn means everything is affected.
Galatians 1:18-24. Paul went from an opponent to the church's greatest advocate.
Paul's early life was a regimented self-salvation project.
He needed to be saved, not to save himself. (Philippians 3:4-11)
At a certain point in time, Paul made a decision.
What's your story?
I'm going to add a personal note here and share a bit of my story.
At this point in the service, we shared Communion together.
While the cup was being passed, the Worship Team played over and over the tune of the hymn "Take My Life and Let It Be." We sang this hymn at my wedding, so the words were playing over and over in my mind.
Several years ago, my marriage ended in divorce, which was not at all how I wanted my story to go.
But every time I hear this song, I have to remember that it's God's story. I offered Him my life, my heart, my love. So do I really have the right to protest when He does His own thing with those?
And God has truly been faithful.
Here are the words to the verses of the hymn that hit me the hardest.
Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days --
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my voice and let me sing
Always, only for my King;
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.
Take my will and make it Thine --
It shall be no longer mine;
Take my heart -- it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love -- my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store;
Take myself -- and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.
Amen. It's your story, Lord.
So what's your story?