Tell Me the Story

Today’s Reading:  Matthew 1:18-25

“Tell me the story of Jesus, Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious, Sweetest that ever was heard.
Tell how the angels in chorus, Sang as they welcomed His birth,
“Glory to God in the highest! Peace and good tidings to earth.”

Tell me the story of Jesus, Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious, Sweetest that ever was heard…”

Written in 1880 by France J. Crosby, these words still speak to me today.  Do these song lyrics speak to the desire of your heart?  As we read through the story of our Savior, do you want THAT kind of impact on your life?  To have God write the story of Jesus on our heart would have a huge impact on the way we respond to His call on our life.  Let’s submit to whatever the Spirit wants to do in us as we study once more the life of Jesus.

This is how… – Matthew 1:18

This is how…  Everyone’s story can be started with these three words.  This is how Sherry came to know Christ.  This is how Scott and Sherry fell in love and married.  This is how Sherry came to work for Living Alternatives Pregnancy Resource Center.  This is how the Sherwood family came to live in Pekin, Illinois.  

Jesus’ story in Matthew starts in this same way.  

This is how Jesus was born.  

This is how the virgin, Mary, came to be with child.  

This is how Joseph decided to marry her instead of divorcing her quietly.  

This is how Mary & Joseph were in Bethlehem when Jesus was born.  

This is how Jesus was born in a stable instead of an inn.

This is how shepherds and wisemen came to visit the baby Jesus.  

This is how Herod came to know of the birth of King Jesus.  

This is how the prophecy of Isaiah came to be fulfilled in the birth of Jesus.

This is how Jesus the Messiah was born.  His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph.  But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.

As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him a dream, “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.  For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.  And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:

“Look!  The virgin will conceive a child!

She will give birth to a son,

and they will call him Immanuel,

which means ‘God is with us.’”

When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife.  But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born.  And Joseph named him Jesus.  – Matthew 1:18-25

So what is your story?  How did you come to know Christ?  What circumstances brought you to the place in life you are today?  How would you finish this sentence:  This is how…  

In a trust exercise at work last year, our leadership team went around the table sharing a little about our backstory – Where were you born?  How many siblings do you have and where are you in the birth order?  What is something about your childhood that speaks loudly into the adult you are today?  It was a moment of honesty and vulnerability – a moment when we trusted each other with new information and purposefully began a journey to increase our trust in one another for the sake of our effectiveness in ministry.

Knowing where we have been and how we arrived to where we are at today helps us gain focus of where we are going.  As Paul Harvey would ask, what is the rest of the story?   We have the opportunity to write the next chapter of our lives – our next “This is how…”

Heavenly Father, as we bow before you this beautiful morning in May, we ask that you would see into our hearts.  Lord, see the desire of our heart to live a life that pleases you.  We thank you for our story, for the way you have been with us through the great times and through the difficult ones.  We ask for a special touch this morning as we hear again how you gave your Son to us, to be born in a manger and to die on a cross.  May our hearts be open to any new insights you have for us as we read through the gospels – your story!  Lord, we bring to you the gift of our lives and we give you where our story goes from here.  Father, take the pen out of my hand and write the rest of my story for me.  I submit to your plan.  Amen.