Good News Sharing

Last night at our midweek service, we simply had a session of good news sharing. This is a tried and true ICOC tradition that would degrade at times into “I did a good deed” sharing instead. However, while giving the congregation an opportunity to share what God’s doing can be risky in that you don’t have control over what is said, it can also be profoundly up lifting and faith building.
I’ve heard folks complain that they don’t like these sessions because they feel cheated. They don’t get anything out of it. My response to that is, are you listening? Here’s some things I heard last night:

  • This was Mat’s first service back with us. It’s been a month since I updated you and in that time he was moved out of the ICU to the James Cancer Center. I’m not sure when he was released, but I suspect it was within the last week. But he was there last night and he stood up with Jess as she shared for the two of them what an encouraging journey it has been. All the support of the church, seeing Mat sharing about Jesus with anything that moved in the hospital to how his doctor’s office took up an amazing collection to help them pay for their wedding. As Jess shared, they were responsible for him being alive, yet they were still giving to them. Through it all, they were drawn closer irresistibly to God.
  • Mark and Sandie (yes Jeff, that Mark and Sandie) stood up and shared that their newly adopted baby boy was officially and legally theirs now. If you knew them, you’d understand that it was an answered prayer that Sandie was standing, let alone standing and holding her own son up high.
  • Cheri stood and shared about her niece. This young woman, who’s she’s shared about and asked for prayers for in the past, has spent most of her 18 years in abusive relationships. Her mother was married to an abuser who isolated her from her family. He was recently convicted of that abuse and sentenced to 18 years as a result. Escaping that into foster care, she was placed with a foster parent who behaved the same way. She’s known nothing but abusive situations and when given the opportunity to escape a few years ago, chose to stay because it was all she knew.
    Last night, thanking the church for their prayers, Cheri shared through tears that “Tomorrow I’m finally picking her up and bringing her home.” That emphasis was her’s not mine. That’s how she said it, she will finally be home. She’s spend years loving her through praying for her, researching the psychology behind her situation and reaching out to her. It’s only for a few weeks, but the joy in Cherri was obvious that all of that effort in love was finally bearing fruit.
    This made me think of the parallels to our own lives. We spend years in an abusive world, trying to meet it’s demands and follow it’s ways. It beats us up no matter how we try, but we keep trying. God is there, calling us out, but we return because it is all we know to do. He hurts each time we do, but He does not give up. When we finally decide to turn from the world and to Him, I imagine that His tears of joy are as real as Cheri’s as he says “I’m finally picking them up and bringing them home.” No wonder the angels rejoice.
  • Erica stood and shared about her reaching out to a coworker and a work social function. The conversation turned to his social life and she mentioned that he should stop some reckless behavior. He said something about how he needed something in his life. Erica immediately though “God, I guess that’s my cue.” and shared with him about Jesus and our church.
    What an amazing heart. How many times do I miss my cue? Am in tune with God’s spirit the way she was, always on alert, waiting for my cue? God made the hand off, ans she ran with the ball. Too often, I fumble because I’m not ready or paying attention.

That’s what I heard last night. There was more. I didn’t share about the news from the Amazing Race statewide teen event that we hosted last weekend, the Big City Christain hip-hop concert last Saturday that moved teens into their Bibles and encouraged his heart as well or about our new summer campus interns that are already bearing fruit after only being here a week.
You could argue that our minister got a pass last night, not having to prepare a lesson. I would say no, he just stepped aside for a minute to make sure that God was getting center stage.

10 thoughts on “Good News Sharing

  1. The minister’s job goes far beyond preparing and delivering lessons. If the service built up the body, then it was a good thing.
    I admit to having weird feelings about “good news sharing” but I also admit it can be a wonderful thing. Thanks for posting on this.

  2. If it’s spontaneous it’s great. If it’s choreographed it’s kinda weird. I remember ministers sharing that they were thinking of having good news shared was there any out there. People would share about what was happening and then he’d say ok have them share. We’d go back make sure they would share and it kinda took from the faith part of it for me. It does help us get outwardly focused and more grateful and less complaining. And, if it is spontaneous and good hearted can be uplifiting.

  3. P.S. – That’s great about Mat.
    And, I’ve often thought the same thing about abusive relationships. That’s great that Cheri is going to be able to help her niece. It will be really hard for both of them and they will continue to need lots of prayer and help from others.

  4. I’ve never experienced anything like that … except perhaps once, in a very progressive church on Long Island when I was a teenager.
    Do you know what I’d love to see?
    People telling other folks’ stories in the assembly … without even using their names.
    I’ll bet if I did that in church about my friends Ben and Sheila over the years opening their homes to a couple dozen foster babies and toddlers – often of a race different from their own – they probably wouldn’t even realize I was talking about them.

  5. I led a women’s group that always tried to have prayer and praise time. Sharing the good news is tell how great God works in our lives. I’m alive and well today because God was with me Monday night when my car was totaled. Had he hit a smaller car with children someone might be mourning the loss today. God put me in that place for a reason and protected me along the way. We should take the time to share the good news.

  6. Cheri stood and shared about her niece. This young woman, who’s she’s shared about and asked for prayers for in the past, has spent most of her 18 years in abusive relationships. Her mother was married to an abuser who isolated her from her family. He was recently convicted of that abuse and sentenced to 18 years as a result. Escaping that into foster care, she was placed with a foster parent who behaved the same way. She’s known nothing but abusive situations and when given the opportunity to escape a few years ago, chose to stay because it was all she knew.
    Last night, thanking the church for their prayers, Cheri shared through tears that “Tomorrow I’m finally picking her up and bringing her home.” That emphasis was her’s not mine. That’s how she said it, she will finally be home. She’s spend years loving her through praying for her, researching the psychology behind her situation and reaching out to her. It’s only for a few weeks, but the joy in Cherri was obvious that all of that effort in love was finally bearing fruit.

    This completely breaks my heart and makes me want to cry. Child abuse, or spousal or any kind of abuse is the work of devils. It is his determination to ruin humanity. He lives under a curse, and to God’s glory will end in a just and mighty eternal death! I have 0 tolerance for child abuse, and have known too many people who were abused as children (including myself), and it infuriates me. That’s my heart…my spirit tells me to obey the will of Christ and even love our enemies…but it is hard. I do know that the Power of Christ can heal anybody, and I am excited that this young lady will have that opportunity! Praise God! That IS good news…

  7. You could argue that our minister got a pass last night, not having to prepare a lesson. I would say no, he just stepped aside for a minute to make sure that God was getting center stage.

    I love this comment!

  8. Hmm… my quote didn’t post. I had copied and pasted your final paragraph, about the minister stepping aside to let God take center stage. That’s the comment I love.

  9. Daughter – I fixed your quote. Using less than and greater than signs doesn’t work well. These tell your browser that the following is an HTML tag, don’t display it. The tags tell your browser to start using bold, or to put the following text in a quote box. Another tag, preceded with a ‘/’ tells the browser to stop using bold or the quote box.
    You can use the ” button to define a quote box (called a blockquote) and you can also watch the space to the right to check that your comment will display properly.
    The other nice thing about using the buttons is that you can see the HTML tags at work so you can understand a little bit of how they operate.

  10. Like Alan said, I get a little twitchy at the phrase, but there is no substitute for being able to encourage one another from the heart.
    Thank you for posting this, it is wonderful news, indeed.

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