Stories of Faith

Tomorrow I will try and encourage our fellowship to start telling stories again. I don’t know, it’s kind of weird trying to do this. I mean, a sermon on story telling? Watching the ETV special on Freud & Lewis stirred me up a bit. It was awesome and I hope, if anyone reads this that you’ll check it out. There’s Freud trying to convince us that God doesn’t exist, mainly because he’s so mad at Him for losing a family member. That’s reality isn’t it? I don’t like you so I’ll pretend and even try to persuade others, that you don’t exist at all. Does that sound like some marriages?

It was incredible to hear that Tolkien and C.S. Lewis had flipped a coin to see who would write a space story or a mythological tale. Just think, Lewis could have ended up writing something like “The Lord of the Rings” and Tolkien, “The Chronicles of Narnia.” Just makes you wonder what those two great works would have been like had they been written by the other.

We all have a story to tell. We’ve journeyed through this life and have tales to tell. Then there’s God’s wonderful story of His love for us and that love expressed through the commitment of His Son’s love and sacrifice.

In the 70’s we used to sit around and tell our stories of surf adventures, and of sharing Jesus on the streets around the beach. It was great. We’d get so jazzed hearing the stories we would head back out to live another story. Now all these years later I’ve got some great stories to tell. Surf adventures and faith adventures. Why don’t we do that any more? Tell our stories.

What if the church started gathering in their homes and sharing their faith stories (and a few surf stories wouldn’t hurt) again? One person wrote “God wants to ‘story’ with us.” That is, this life is meant to be lived as an adventure, as a novel, every page dripping with experience and excitement.

I was standing in an empty parking lot in Cape Hatteras, NC at the East Coast Surfing Championships. It’s the 70’s and I sure don’t look like a preacher – beard, bleached hair almost to my waist and an old rusty, puke green station wagon where the rust holes have been filled with fiberglass resin and spiritual bumper stickers. It’s almost midnight and I’m trying to call my young wife, who just had a baby boy a few weeks earlier. There’s no one around. It’s almost spooky. Kind of like a Blair Witch scene. One light hung over a bank of phone booths in the middle of a sand parking lot. No other lights or humans around, or so I thought. Only the wind, the thunder in the distance and the mosquitoes that seem as large as helicopters. I’m sunburnt, tired, and homesick. I didn’t see her and she startled me. A young girl stepped from behind a dune line and walked over to where I was. She immediately asks, “You’re a Christian, aren’t you?” Now that was weird. I looked to see if she could see my ride, since it was plastered with statements of my newfound faith. No way. It was in the total dark and she approached from the opposite end of the parking lot. There’s no way I looked the part – especially in 1974. She needed a ride and though it was a sketchy situation, since she was female and I was a married male, I gave her a hitch up the roadways. Before she jumped out we had prayed together and she had committed herself to follow Jesus. She said she knew God was pursuing her, and that night was her night.

Faith stories. How many do we have left to experience and tell about? The most quoted verses from the bible are probably known as the Shema. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” In other words, tell your stories all the time. Tell your tales of faith and God’s love at every possible moment. Why? It impresses upon our hearts God’s power and love.

What if we started telling our stories again? What would our communities of faith look like? You’ve got a story to tell, and many more to experience.

Now, I’ve got to go. Hurricane Jeanne has kicked up quite a swell and I’m off to live another surf story to tell tomorrow, right along with the sermon. Surf’s up! Go live a story!

About Tim Holt

Founding pastor of Seacoast Vineyard Church, Myrtle Beach, SC. Retired January 2021. Pastor to surfers, friends, pastors, etc.
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