To watch a talk on this topic head to the bottom of this study.
We find it easy to tell positive stories from sport, particularly those which involve us. Are we as excited about telling others the story of Christ’s work in our lives? Are you as compelled as the early Christians to speak about what you have seen Jesus do and heard about Jesus? If not, why not?
If in a group, split into two, depending on which experience is closest to yours:
SAMUEL - read 1 Samuel out load. List the benefits of an upbringing like Samuel's. Discuss how that correlates to your experience.
PAUL - Read Acts 26:1-23 out load and study how Paul explains his story, can they break it down into different sections? Discuss how this correlates with your experience.
We all have different stories because we all are unique but, in general, we will likely fit into one of two groups: 1) Those who have been brought up in a Christian home and 2) Those who haven’t been, and who have had a conversion experience. These two groups correspond Biblically with Samuel and Paul.
Christians come with different personalities and from different backgrounds, but for each there will have been a time when each was aware of the reality of God - and had a willingness to respond to that knowledge. The ability to tell this story clearly is an effective way of pointing sportspeople to Jesus Christ.
Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.”
So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense: 2 “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.
4 “The Jewish people all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that I conformed to the strictest sect of our religion, living as a Pharisee. 6 And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our ancestors that I am on trial today. 7 This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. King Agrippa, it is because of this hope that these Jews are accusing me. 8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?
9 “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.
12 “On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’
15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’
“ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyesand turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why some Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22 But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— 23 that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”
Acts 26:1-23 is an example of when Paul tells of his life before being converted (4-11); the point of his conversation - for him it was a very definitive point - (12-18), and now his life afterwards (19-23).
Through Acts 26: 1-23 and 1 Samuel you can see that, in general, there are 3 helpful phases in Paul’s and Samuel’s stories:
Re-tell your story to someone who has the same Samuel/Paul type story (pair up with same type of person if in a group). Use the a.b.c. framework above.
Write it down in three sections if useful.
There are 3 dangers in the way people tell their stories:
What would it look like for you to share your story with a sportsperson this week? Pray together now for opportunities and hold each other accountable next week.
All Bible quotations are taken with permission from the NIV:
Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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