Communicating the Wondrous Truth of God’s Love and Mercy

People, past and present, love to communicate and share stories. Throughout our history, we have found new ways to communicate over distances near and far. People want to communicate important moments in their lives and share them with others. Ages ago, in Altimira, Spain and in Lascaux, France, prehistoric people painted cave drawings depicting their existence and their daily struggle to survive. From cave drawings, we advanced to writing letters on papyrus. Papyrus is like thick paper and prepared from the pithy stem of the papyrus water plant. Joined together, side by side, and rolled up in a scroll, papyrus was used to make early forms of books. The alphabet took shape and the Greeks and Romans introduced ways of composing letters, teaching these methods in their schools.

The early Christian church relied on communication to share the Gospel and to spread their faith. Jesus, the son of God, himself, used stories to teach valuable lessons to his followers and vast audiences. While miracles demonstrate God’s power and mercy, parables illustrate God’s grace and judgment. The truths of the parables teach the natural and confirm the inevitable.

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In the mid-1400s, Johaness Gutenberg introduced his printing press to the world, using it to record early church processes and capturing an early written version of the Bible in print. His moveable type press sparked the beginning of the Printing Revolution, making it possible for people to replicate their ideas rapidly and share them with large audiences.

Fast forward to the late 20th century and 1989, the year that public commercial use of the Internet began, followed by the introduction of social media, a group of computer-facilitated technologies that make it easy for people to create and share information, ideas, interests, and many other forms of expression through virtual communities and networks.

Today, more than ever, Christians have a greater ability to spread the Gospel and to share their God-stories with a lost and hurting world. The internet and social media can be great tools to communicate what we are for, what we are about, and how God has transformed our lives for the better. In a barrage of news highlighting our shortcomings and failures, we need to do a better job illustrating that we are for people, not against them.

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We can use modern communication methods to show how God has worked in our lives and how He is continually at work around us. We can share stories about having the privilege of joining God in His work and tout the modern-day miracles God is performing in our midst, in a world often too blind to see them or too hard-hearted to accept them.

If the early Christian church grew through sharing stories and letters recorded at the hands and feet of the early disciples, many who were unschooled fisher men, then imagine what we can do to advance the Kingdom with the embarrassing abundance of tools we have available to us to communicate the love, grace, and mercy of God.

We have the tools. How we use them is up to us. We can use them to sow discord or we can let the world hear the Good News that we have, by His grace, come to know.

I pray that you will share what was freely given to you with someone today. Our world needs to hear the Gospel more than ever. When you do, I’d love to hear about it. Please share your experiences in the comments section. Blessings.

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This Is What Happens When You Reminisce About Good Times Past

Thankfully, Sweet T and I are at the age where we can look back and joyfully recall our childhood memories while commenting about how much times have changed since way back when. So it’s not unusual for me to find myself reminiscing about good times past.

Sweet T and I dig kicking back and binging on Netflix and we love watching movies. We talk a lot about current events and what’s going on in the world. Thanks to my 6th grade teacher Mrs. Williams (shout out to J.H. Moore Elementary!), I’m a bit of a news junkie. She urged all of her students to make a habit of reading the paper and watching the evening news (which was way more limited than it is today). Thankfully, T appreciates my news habit and indulges my penchant for docu-dramas. (FYI, if you haven’t watched it yet, check out Cuba Gooding Jr. portraying O.J. Simpson in ‘The People vs. O.J. Simpson’).

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Growing up in the Ark-La-Tex, I remember that we only had three channels, not counting PBS. The national news came on at 5:30 p.m., followed by the local news at 6. Walter Cronkite and Harry Reasoner were among the nightly staples, along with the local news pros like Al Pierce, Liz Swaine,  Al Bolton, and Bob Griffin. And who can forget the legendary Bill Moyers? Credibility and accuracy in reporting seemed to be more valued back then. Getting it right mattered.

The pressure of today’s 24-7-365 competitive information jungle has elevated being first above getting it right. As one of my old RTV professors observed back in the 80s–“It’s about ratings.” Ratings drive advertising. Advertising drives revenues. Viewers drive both. If we don’t watch, ratings decline, advertisers bail. That’s the case even more today than back then. But regardless of the age you live in, truth and accuracy matter.

A Clip from Bill Moyers ‘Growing Up in Marshall, Texas’

As a kid, there were a number of shows that were mainstays like ‘The Andy Griffith Show’, ‘The Rifleman‘, and ‘Bonanza’. The stories were not only entertaining but also taught life lessons. In those days, the good guys still won and people understood the difference between right and wrong. I find the best stories entertain and edify us.

Conjunction Junction

If you’re anywhere near my age, you’ll remember ABC’s ‘Schoolhouse Rock.’ The animated short made learning reading, writing, arithmetic, and science fun. The program, on-air originally from 1973-1985 and revived in the 90s for a second tour of duty, celebrates the 45th anniversary of its debut this year. The toe-tapping, sing-a-long taught us civics, history and much more. I can’t help but think it’s definitely a show whose multi-faceted lessons we seem to be missing today.

Energy Blues

Along my journey, I’ve learned that faith and science are not mortal opposites, but complement each other. I can be a person of faith and reason simultaneously.  Learning math, science, and how to read and write is critical to living excellently. Growing in our understanding of the Word of God helps us maneuver the trials and trails of life. To me, it’s more of a both/and rather than either/or. The wonders of science cause me to marvel at the work of God, not question it.

Keeping up with what’s going in the world is important. At the same time, having faith—believing in something greater than ourselves— is critical. Without hope, we remain lost.

Over the centuries, storytelling has served our civilization well. Stories teach, explore, and illuminate the world around us—present, past, and future. Once upon a time, people relied on oral storytelling, verbally handing down history and sharing current events. In our modern 21st century, we have more means to communicate at our disposal than ever before in history. Yet, at times, we talk right past each other.

I hope we remember to use these tools to tell stories that are important and pass along valuable lessons as a new generation comes of age. Stories teach us about who we were, who we are, and who we can be. Good stories teach us while making us laugh, cheer, scream, and cry. It’s why God gave them to us. And God should know. After all, when it comes to crafting a story, no one is better than the Lord.

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What’s your story? Tell it.

You can catch more of episodes of ‘Schoolhouse Rock!’ here.