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Who inspires you to tell your story?

I was recently watching a popular, sports short documentary called 30 For 30 Shorts. This particular afternoon highlighted 2 episodes that featured two of my favorite authors, George Plimpton and Hunter S. Thompson. Plimpton was best known for immersing himself into a sport or a team to chronicle first-hand the experience as an athlete. As an adolescent sports fan I read the book Paper Lion, his story about joining the Detroit Lions summer training camp as a backup quarterback, so many times the cover came off! Then a few years later as a teenager, I was introduced to Gonzo Journalism, a style of writing Thompson introduced where he reported sporting events like the Kentucky Derby and Super Bowl through the lens of his own story from an angle slanted by how he experienced the event.
Both of these authors inspired me in different ways as a young person seeking out ways to express myself through writing. Plimpton showed me the courage to jump into an experience to truly understand the story and Thompson showed me that its ok to share YOUR story as part of THE story. In actuality, Plimpton challenged me to become a sports writer for the local newspaper as a teenager and then Hunter crushed my spirit as I realized I could never tell a Gonzo story like him!
As an adult, these two writers along with countless others, classical and contemporary, have shaped how I view literature, in particular the Bible. Now I draw inspiration from Luke and John in how they shared the story of Jesus. Luke was purportedly the ultimate outsider, a Gentile who was compiling his story “after-the-fact” from the people that were there. I can only imagine that Luke’s passion for telling Jesus’ story helped him build authentic relationships with the people that walked with Jesus, like his mother Mary. Luke’s story is intertwined with his presentation of the Gospel, but his journey inspires all of us that have come after Jesus to tell our own story how the Gospel has shaped us.
John was there and his story and the story of the other disciples helped to shape the writing of his Gospel. John’s recollection of minute details that most of us would have long forgotten show the impact Jesus made in his life. For example, when he remembers his first encounter with Jesus early in the Gospel of John, he notes that it was around 4 o’clock in the afternoon. A superfluous detail at best, but the experience was so emblazoned into his story that he remembers the exact time and place when he first encountered his Messiah! Then at the end of the Gospel, when Jesus is awaiting the disciples to come in from a night of fishing, John notes that Jesus is cooking breakfast over a charcoal fire. Not just any fire, but a fire of charcoal. Why the detail, because the smell of charcoal burning scorched the vivid memory of the night Jesus was arrested and the disciples scattered. Jesus was reclaiming this sensation for the disciples as the memory when they returned to the risen Savior.
What does this have to do with our own stories about our relationship with Jesus?  Well, for me anyway, it means that Jesus’ story through my life can have an impact on someone else. An important part of my story is that I feel compelled to help encourage others to share their stories too.
So, who is inspiring you tell your story? Not sure, maybe return to the Gospels of Luke and John and hear, see, and smell their stories in new ways that will help you understand Jesus in your own life. Then tell your story to someone, in some way, soon!

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