Justin Hiebert

Catalyzing Change

Meet the Author Behind the Story

Posted on 27 Apr 2015 in Bible, Discipleship, missional theology | 1 comment

It’s a regular habit of mine, as both a personal discipline and a group strategy, to ask the question: Where have I (or we) seen God recently?

It forces me to stop and look around.

To observe.

To breath.

To pay attention to the details of life that so easily rush by.

It’s an easy thing for us to do really, to miss it, I mean. Life zooms by with a new job offer or the children that grow up way to fast, or the unexpected news over the phone last night.

And we race from one activity to another piling up stresses like miles on the odometer of the mini van.

We need to realize that what we will benefit from most is stopping.

Our life is a story, unfolding one page at a time, and by forcing ourselves to stop and observe, we can meet the author of our story.

The Reading

 From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem. From Perga they went on to Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down. After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the leaders of the synagogue sent word to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have a word of exhortation for the people, please speak.”

Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: “Fellow Israelites and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me! The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt; with mighty power he led them out of that country; for about forty years he endured their conduct in the wilderness; and he overthrew seven nations in Canaan, giving their land to his people as their inheritance. All this took about 450 years. lightstock_167786_medium_justin_

“After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet. Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years. After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’

“From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised. Before the coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel. As John was completing his work, he said: ‘Who do you suppose I am? I am not the one you are looking for. But there is one coming after me whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.’ Acts 13:13-25

The Story of Where We’ve Been

Paul, using a similar method and style of preaching as Stephen, begins his preaching by highlight the story of the Jewish people. It’s not because they don’t know the story, it’s because they need to be reminded to see God in it. Much like our own reflective practices, they needed to see more than the story, they needed to see the author. Paul is setting the stage (as we’ll see in the next section of this passage) to show them how the author is not only penning the words, but enfleshing himself into the story.

God will become human. Jesus is taking center stage. The story is taking on a new twist.

But Paul doesn’t start there. He doesn’t rush into it. He starts by reminding his audience (and us as the readers) of the way God has been orchestrating everything since the foundations of the world.

He is, in effect, asking his audience the question, “Where have you seen God working?” He wants them to see how the story is taking shape.

And soon, Paul will offer his perception of the situation, his answer to where he has experienced and seen God working.

Paul wants us to not just know the story; but live it, experience it, relish in it, and find God in it.

Owning Your Story

Reflecting on a passage like this, it’s easy to see the importance with which we need to know and understand our story.

[pullquote]

Where have I seen God recently?

 

[/pullquote]There’s a quote from the television show The Simpsons in which the family is gathered around the dinner table and Bart offers the family prayer by saying, “Dear god we paid for this food so thanks for nothing.”

That’s the level that we can all slip into if we aren’t aware and practicing reflection.lightstock_157084_medium_justin_

God is moving.

His Spirit is acting.

He is up to something.

Jesus’ emergence on the pages of history is no accident and it changes everything.

But we must never forget to look.

So, where have you seen God working lately?

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Justin Hiebert

Leadership Catalyst - Entrepreneur - Coach at JSHiebert Leadership Coaching
I am a Business and Life Coach in both non-profit and for profit settings. I coach leaders, executives, and pastors in areas of vision, clarity, and values. In relationship coaching I focus on healthy and sustainable relationships, and in leadership development roles I catalyze change for individuals and groups to thrive. I also consult churches and organizations on how to train new leaders and create a healthy culture. In addition to that, I am an Anabaptist pastor in the Denver metro area. I specialize on topics that include: missional theology, discipleship, culture and the church in today’s society. I am married to my wonderful wife Elise and we have three kids. I grew up and now work in the United States Mennonite Brethren Church (USMB) and love the people and history of the Mennonite Brethren faith. I am a graduate of Tabor College with a dual degree in Youth Ministry and Christian Leadership, a graduate of Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary with a Masters of Divinity, and a Doctoral Student and Bethel Seminary. I also teach college classes in areas of Bible, Communication, and Business.

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