Welcome marathoners in and for Christ. (1 Corinthians 9:24; Hebrews 12:1; 2 Timothy 4:7) Exhausted, depleted from running the Godly, good, and being-a-blessing-to-others race? Welcome. Sit. Relax. Let’s feast.
Feast of the Heart exists to help bring about Christ-centered “reformation, revival, and constructive revolution” (Francis Schaeffer, Death in the City) so that God will be glorified and people blessed.
Reformation… we seek to abide by and serve up the true truth, pure doctrine of the Bible
Revival… we seek to model biblical Christians living in word and deed
Constructive Revolution… we seek to spread the true gospel right where God has planted us with urgency, compassion, and radical self-abandonment
What Is Most Personal Is Most Universal… So Make Community by Knowing and Sharing Your Story!
Beloved marathoners for Christ, “An infinite God can give all of Himself to each of His children. He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part, but to each one He gives all of Himself as fully as if there were no others.” (A.W. Tozer)
And, as a result, each and every person who ever been born not only has a story as unique as a fingerprint, but each of us has the responsibility and freedom to know and tell that story in all of its intimate detail.
“So take seriously the story that God has given you to live. It’s time to read your own life, because your story is the one that could set us all ablaze. Every human being has a story, but fewer people than at any time is history know their story and can tell it to others.” (Dan B. Allender, To Be Told: Know Your Story, Shape Your Future)
Following are some powerful, prophetic, and inspirational quotes about the importance of our story and God’s purpose of making Himself manifest and glorified as we get to know our story and use it as testimony of God’s universal yet highly personal plan of redemption!
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
“My story is important not because it is mine, God knows, but because if I tell it anything like right, the chances are you will recognize that in many ways it is also yours… it is precisely through these stories in all their particularity, as I have long believed and often said, that God makes himself known to each of us more powerfully and personally. If this is true, it means that to lose track of our stories is to be profoundly impoverished not only humanly but also spiritually.” (Telling Secrets)
“The opening section of my book includes part of my personal story. Not only did this strategy and compassion within me create a relationship of transparency, vulnerability, and trust with the reader, it became one of the most attractive and transformative avenues for people to enter into the sensitive and highly personal conversation about suffering: Readers have commented again and again, “Your openness and freedom to talk about such personal things has freed me to do the same. It’s scary… something I’ve never done… it was never done in my own home… but I know it’s the healthiest and best thing to do.” (The Weeping, the Window, the Way)
“We like to make a distinction between our private and public lives and say, “Whatever I do in my private life is nobody else’s business.” But anyone trying to live a spiritual life will soon discover that the most personal is the most universal, the most hidden is the most public, and the most solitary is the most communal. What we live in the most intimate places of our beings is not just for us but for all people. That is why our inner lives are lives for others. That is why our solitude is a gift to our community, and that is why our most secret thoughts affect our common life.
Jesus says, “No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house” (Matthew 5:14-15). The most inner light is a light for the world. Let’s not have “double lives”; let us allow what we live in private to be known in public.” (Henri Nouwen, Life of the Beloved)
“The tragedy of modern man is not that he knows less and less about the meaning of his own life, but that it bothers him less and less…” (The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life)
The Apostle Paul
“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)
NOTE: The buried treasure within the nearly-untranslatable phrase, “…forgetting what lies behind…”, in more applicable way, what Paul is exhorting his audience to consider is [loosely yet inspiringly] this: “You cannot forget what you do not know about your past, your precious life and God-penned story; I am calling you to a form of ‘holy forgetfulness’; you must remember your past in all it’s glorious detail; its darkest times and its brightest; remember both your happiest days as well as your saddest, most difficult and painful; set aside all the sacred story-gathering time you need to; and what I’m encouraging you to do is put all the parts of your story in the context of your being a New Creation (2 Cor. 5:17), a born-again, adopted, faithful, justified, beloved and freed son of God in Christ Jesus; you are a new person, but carry along a story that does and will influence your words and deeds in the present time; every detail of your past, story has within it a redemptive thread which can be used to inspire and motivate you… but you must know it, embrace it, and remove its sting in order to secure its succor and sustenance; carefully, willfully, intentionally, and communally place all your stories—both the damnable and the delightful—at the foot of the cross; then, and only then, can the call of “straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” be more liberated from “the sea anchor of your past” that’s dragging you down, preventing you from unfurling your sails to be filled with God’s Spirit… and become more and more like your namesake Jesus Christ your King, Champion, Brother, and Priest (Hebrews 2:5–18).”
“The way we relate to each other speaks volumes about our character, our motives, and our basic life ambitions. In other words, it reveals the kind of person we are. And here’s why: God is love. Therefore, love is the highest mark in the ethics of the Scriptures. God is Trinity. God is relational at the very core. And we are too, because we bear God’s image bearers.
You and I have a way we relate to others. It is formed out of our childhood, mostly, and it weaves together what we do to avoid rejection, and what we do to get a little praise. Dan never speaks up because he’s afraid he’ll say something stupid; Susan can’t shut up because she’s so desperate to be liked. Matt talks about his job because he’s trying to impress you and Jan refuses to talk about what she does for fear of embarrassment. Amy dresses really nice because she wants to be noticed and Susan “dresses down” because she fears the attention of men. And on and on and on it goes.
None of it is motivated by love. It is motivated by all sorts of other things, like fear, compulsion, narcissism, pride, honoring man over God, and mostly self-protection. But not love. And so it’s godless. That is why the way we relate to others is high on God’s list for the transformation of our character. It opens the door to a whole world of joy and integrity in discovering we can live a very powerful life wherever we are. We have a style of relating, and it’s motivated by all sorts of things that aren’t so pretty, but God wants to free us of all that and help us learn to relate to Himself, and others, like He does. Wow. How hopeful!” (Ransomed Heart Ministries, emphasis added)
“Men do not long continue to think what they have forgotten how to say.” (On Stories: And Other Essays on Literature)
“My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge. With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come; I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone. O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.” (Psalm 75:15-18)
“Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.” Proverbs 19:1)
“It is our suffering and struggle with sin and injustice that reveals what Jesus endured for our salvation. It is the rescue of God—the surprising, life-giving wonder and awe of his goodness—that proclaims the glory of the resurrection. And it is our [story and] use of the gifts that he has given us to reveal his glory that shouts the blessing of his ascension. If we refuse to suffer—and grieve the depths or our suffering—then we lose power to reveal his death and resurrection. If we don’t name and bless the remarkable gifts he has given us, we cannot celebrate the stories he has written in us to reveal his story.” (Understanding Your Story – An Interview with Dan Allender, parenthesis added)
“There are so many parts to your family story. Your children need to know where you and your parents and grandparents grew up, what your childhood was like, interesting events you witnessed or participated in. They also need to know the spiritual stories—the ones about God’s teachings, provisions, blessings, answers to prayers, and His saving grace. As believers, you and your family have a story, and it’s invaluable.” (Kimberly Crosen Luckabaugh, Capturing Your Family Stories)
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” (I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings)
Some Story Questions… Know and Share Your Story for God’s Glory and the Blessing of Others
The Growing Up Stage… Getting Started:
- When and where were you born?
- Where did you grow up?
- What was it like?
- Who were your parents?
- What were your parents like?
- How was your relationship with your parents?
- Did you get into trouble? What was the worst thing you did?
- Do you have any siblings? What were they like growing up?
- What did you look like?
- How would you describe yourself as a child? Were you happy?
- What is your best memory of childhood? Worst?
- Did you have a nickname? How’d you get it?
- Who were your best friends? What were they like?
- How would you describe a perfect day when you were young?
- What did you think your life would be like when you were older?
- Do you have any favorite stories from your childhood?
(Great Questions, © 2003-2017 StoryCorps, Inc.)
The Gaining Maturity Stage… Getting Holy, Straining Forward Towards the Prize:
- For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? (Matthew 16:26)
- Am I my brother’s keeper? (Genesis 4:9)
- If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
- What is truth? (John 18:38)
- How can anyone be born after having grown old? (John 3:4)
- What do people gain from all the toil at which they toil under the sun? (Ecclesiastes 1:3)
- Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? (Psalm 139:7)
- Who is my neighbor? (Luke 10:29)
- What shall I do to inherit eternal life? (Luke 10:25)
Know Your Story. Co-Author Your Destiny. The Light and Salt of God is Uniquely Seen in YOU… don’t be a stranger!