One of the craziest stories in Scripture is found in Mark 5. Jesus and his disciples arrive in Gergesa and are immediately met by a demon possessed man. He was naked, dirty, and covered in cuts and wounds. This man lived among the tombs. People that lived near him tried to tie him up with chains to restrain him, but he was too strong and broke free. This man was an outcast. This man was lonely. This man was hurting.
When Jesus calls the man he immediately runs to Jesus. When asked his name the man responds "Legion - for we are many." A legion was a term of measurement used by the Roman military to refer to a group of 1,000-1,500 soldiers. This man was possessed by 1,000ish demons.
The demons knew who Jesus was and the power He held. They begged him not to send them back to hell and so Jesus sends them into a nearby group of pigs. After they entered the pigs the entire herd ran off a cliff into open waters. Imagine witnessing 2,000 pigs running off a cliff and drowning.
The man was no longer possessed. He had encountered Jesus and been changed. Everything about this man was now different. Those that witnessed what took place asked Jesus to leave. As Jesus was getting into his boat the man asks if he can go with. Jesus responds by saying,
"Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord
has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you."
A little while later we see Jesus go back to Gergesa and he's met by thousands of people. These people had heard the story of the possessed man and wanted to experience Jesus in the same way.
Like the demoniac we're called to go and tell what Christ has done for us. Many of us get scared and don't think we have enough training to tell others about Jesus. Maybe you think you need to be a Pastor or have a degree from a seminary. The reality is the only command we've been given is to go and tell.
Stories are a building block of life. There are entire cultures where their history isn't written down, but passed on from generation to generation by storytelling. Movies with great special effects are dull if the story is bad. Before bed little kids love to hear bedtime stories. A well told story allows us to visit places we've never been too, meet characters that may or may not exist, and experience things we've never done.
Stories are also relatable and educational. We connect with people through stories and shared experiences. Your story is important! Telling other people what God has done in your life is one of the most powerful ways you can tell others about Him.
Your story is comprised of three parts.
Did you grow up going to church? Had you never stepped foot in one? Did you have a great childhood? Were you homeschooled? Were you public schooled? Did you get picked on? Were you an athelete? Did you experiement with drugs? Did you always do the right things?
We know the important events in our life - our birth day, an anniversary, a death in the family. Experiencing Christ is a life changing event and you should be able to identify it.
How has life changed since experiencing Jesus. Like the demoniac an experience with Christ will leave you changed forever. Share how different you are now.
Julie went to the doctor for a routine colonoscopy. The news she received was devastating. Yet through the physical pain of surgery, and the fear of the unknown, she knows that God is at work.
From a young age, Byron struggled with drug addiction and lived a life in and out of jail. On February 14, 2014, Byron was arrested and faced severe drug related charges. After his arrest he was invited to SCC by a friend. Through the grace of God and the help of community, Byron's life has taken a major turn in a different direction.
Chris has experienced a tremendous amount considering he's still in his twenties. Through multiple tours to Iraq, the death of close friends, and two broken marriages, Chris' faith has grown stronger and helped carried him through.
Robbie and Joe share details of an encounter that took place over ten years ago and the unlikely reunion that took place during a small group at SCC.
Three and a half years ago the Blackford family suffered a devistating loss. Isaac, their 14 year old son, passed away. With his passing Dan and Nancy have been forced to wrestle with God's plan for their family.
Todd and Tammy's marriage has faced a lot of major challenges. Todd shares about an addiction and going through a failed business that lead to bankruptcy. Through these challenges God grabbed ahold of Todd's heart and has healed his marriage.
"I was just tired. I was worn out by by my addiction and it just seemed like there was no other option, because i didn't have the strength to keep it up anymore."
I remember thinking "Jesus how can you love me? You've seen everything that i've done. You've forgiven me and you want a relationship with me and I don't get it." I realized that Jesus' suffering wasn't wasted on me... I didn't have any other response but to follow him and put him at the center of my life. it was worth it for me to confess to tammy what I was doing. It was worth it to go through a bankruptcy. It was worth it to wade through all that junk to get to where I am now. You're going to have to call on Him daily and thats the way He wants it. He wants us to depend on him daily... and thats a good place to be!"
Brooke shares what it was like growing up in a strict church that focused on rules and regulations. Leaving the religion that was such a huge part of her life and so important to her family was the hardest decision she's had to make. Coming to SCC and experiencing Jesus in a new way has shown her the freedom she can only find in the grace of Jesus.
"It's really hard trying to perform your way into Heaven... because it's impossible. You're always going to mess up, you're always going to fall, I can't do this without Jesus. Jesus is the ultimate sacrifce. There is nothing I could sacrifice that would beat that. I can't do better than what Jesus did on the cross... No one can. And that's why he did it."
Jim grew up in church, but was always looking for approval. His desire to be successful created a lifestyle that caused him to drift from his relationship with God. Through a difficult season and a series of yes's Jim recommited his life to following Jesus.
Alva and Amanda Catt went on a motorcycle ride that completely turned their lives upside down. It was through this event that God got ahold of Alva's life.