A year and a half ago, I met Bruce and Heather Moore. I had somehow caught wind of their story and was so inspired that we invited them out to California to attend Saddleback’s leadership conference. Bruce had served on staff at two different suburban megachurches, but God had called he and Heather into a new ministry venture leading a dying church. Their new congregation in downtown Tampa had one year to live, and over that year, God worked a miracle through their leadership and began authoring a new story for Christ Fellowship.
Bruce and Heather are sold out for the gospel’s sake, and God keeps using them to lead others to Jesus. NavPress wisely approached them about writing a new book called ReWritten: Exchanging Your Story for God’s Story. I read the manuscript early on and loved the concept. I wholeheartedly endorsed it and want to do so now that the book is going to be released to the public.
Here’s an excerpt from the book…
Your life matters. It matters a great deal.
Truth be told, life will never be satisfying until you know who God created you to be and exchange your story with the story God has for you. you are God’s image bearer, which means you have the potential to accomplish something great. So does every person on the face of the earth, because we are all created imago dei—in God’s image.
Imago dei is a spiritual concept that often gets overlooked. The creation account makes for great children’s Sunday school lessons but somehow never makes the leap to adulthood. it’s nice to teach a toddler that God created creepy crawly bugs, giant dinosaurs, and tossed a few million stars in the sky. But when that toddler becomes a teen or young adult, what does he or she know about living life in order to reflect God’s image? Somehow the concept gets lost in translation, and we live our lives unaware that whatever we are in life—doctor, plumber, stay-at-home mom, code writer, mail carrier—we are first and foremost designed to bear God’s image to a world that is broken.
Problem is, most of us are not living the life God created us to live. Most of us have lives that are far from perfect. We are living out stories that are different than what we had dreamed about. We all have areas of our lives that are plagued with internal disappointments, fear, or shame. The great news is that no matter where you are in life, what God desires for you is not just a better version of what you currently have but something altogether new. He designed you for a unique purpose that only you can fulfill.
That’s why your life matters
It’s the kind of book that would be awesome to use as a message series, in small groups, or to give as a gift to anyone in need of God’s grace (that’s all of us!). Bruce and Heather have given their family and their lives to seeing others transformed by the power of the gospel – to seeing stories rewritten. Now you can enjoy the fruit of their study and their labor of love.
Some stories are timeless, like this one, written by one Ella Grace, my eight-year-old daughter. Enjoy.
Once there was a baby named Sam and he had the smelliest diaper in the world. He had decided to that if he distracted his family he could make a run for the White House.
So one day he crawled into the living room while carrying a pooperang! He threw it at them and made a run for the stairs. He ran down the stairs and out the front door. But when he got outside there was a huge dog right in front of him! He reached into his pocket and pulled out another pooperang. He threw it at the dog and the dog was knocked out!
Then he went down the street. But he ran into the town super hero named Robo Baby. Robo Baby was half machine, half baby and he was going for his daily walk doing good deeds. They both gave a nasty look to each other and went on their way. Robo baby wasn’t a very good super hero most of the time. He didn’t care much about baby Sam because he was very hard to defeat.
When Sam reached the White House there were five guards at the front door. He tied them up and threw them out of town. Then he opened the heavy front door. He ran up two flights of stairs to the President’s Office. He captured the President and flushed him down the toilet. Within two weeks he had taken over the country!
I love the ending, but I’m not quite sure if Sam is the villain… or the real hero of the story.
In the gospel of John, chapter nine, Jesus healed a man who was blind from birth. He happened to do it on the sabbath, which made the religious people mad, so they interrogated the formerly blind man about his healing experience. As they sought to peg Jesus as a sinner, they questioned the man, looking for something of which they could accuse Jesus. They told him, “We know he is a sinner.”
This scene reminds me of a polide drama. The healed man is sitting in a chair with a couple of tough Pharisees in his face peppering him with confusing questions trying to trap him in an answer that would allow them to arrest Jesus. Then comes the moment when the man can stand no more and then comes his answer:
Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”
~ John 9:25 ESV
We can argue the finer points all day, but the evidence of Jesus’ handiwork in this man’s life was undeniable evidence of divine power at work.
I don’t understand all the mysteries of the Godhead. I can’t explain the Trinity or the incarnation in such a way that it will make perfect sense. I don’t know why God allows the innocent to suffer. I don’t understand why cancer or AIDS exists. I just know that I was once blind, but now I see.
I know my life has been changed and affected by the power of Jesus.
I’m not saying our faith should be based on experiential evidence. I do believe faith in God is reasonable and defensible. But I also believe that the effects of something are impossible to deny.
We know an earthquake has occurred by the rubble of fallen buildings. We know a tornado has blown through because pieces of homes are spread all over the ground. And I know that Jesus is exactly who He claims to be because my life and eternity are different.
If you haven’t already, you MUST watch this video…
Now… are you smiling? Exactly! You can read a pretty great article about how Coke created its “happiness machine” and read some of the great observations that came out of the interview, but I’d like to throw some observations out there that I made while watching, even before studying how Coke pulled this off.
Making people happy is easy. It just is.
While happiness is not God’s biggest goal for people (holiness is), Jesus still made a whole lot of people happy.
Smiles spread. I was so glad the girl got the pizza even though I couldn’t share the pizza through the screen.
Little things can make a big impact.
Little things that make a big impact require thought and intentionality.
Happiness goes viral. So does unhappiness.
Personal works. Getting a coke from the machine is expected – seeing hands serve it to you (while creepy) is pretty astounding.
To generate sales, advertise. To recruit brand evangelists, create conversations and sales will be the byproduct.
Sometimes you apparently have to destroy some walls to connect with people.
Coke beats Pepsi. No, the video doesn’t really say that, but it’s my opinion… especially now!
Here’s another thought that hit me while watching this… when churches do similar things in the name of evangelism, people criticize. That tells me that within the church are some of the grumpiest people in the world. I know, that’s off subject, but that thought did hit me while smiling.
So be creative. Use your hands. Make somebody smile. The end goal for our audience is still a deepening relationship with Christ, but maybe making someone smile is somehow a part of that process? Or at least Jesus thought so.