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Telling the story

 
Jimmy Cochran Columnist

  My family has always told stories. For as long as I can remember, at almost any meal or sitting on the porch, my parents would tell us stories about our family history and ancestors. Through this practice, I feel like I know my great-great grandparents as well as if I had actually met them and spent time with them. For example, my Uncle Franklin actually lost one of his eyes from a Red Ryder BB gun long before Ralphie made the possibility known. I’ve learned that my Great (x4) Grandmother DeHart used to regularly see Indians looking in their rural home outside Valiparaiso, IN in the years before the Civil War. I know about my Summers uncles who were lined up on their front porch in Union City spitting tobacco into their dirt front yard when my dad brought his “city girlfriend” (my mom) to visit his family one day. I know that my uncle and cousins all grew up in Hampton and McDonough before those cities became cool places to live.

  Being a part of a storytelling family has made a big difference in my life. It has enabled me to have a sense of identity with those who came before. It has also given me a love and appreciation of the art of telling a story in a way that others can identify and enjoy. If you follow me on Facebook, then you can certainly understand how I am continuing the family practice of detailing the lives of me and my family for all those who pay attention. Often to my Mother’s dismay.

  Christians are to be storytellers. How else do you think the story and message of Jesus has spread from 12 common, ordinary men to millions of people worldwide with many more added each day? Those first disciples simply told the story. And those that heard, told someone else, and they told others and so on and so on. And now, here we are in 2013 and still telling the story. And, the amazing thing is that the story has not changed for these 2,000+ years. God loves us and sent His Son to show us and provide a way for us to live in God’s presence for all eternity. Same story then and same story now.

  Oh, various churches and speakers may add various creeds and regulations, but nothing humans do can change that message. God loves you and me. Believe in Jesus and live the best you can in the way He taught us. And ….then….tell others.

  Go, tell and make disciples and followers was the final commandment that Jesus gave us before He returned home to His Father. It wasn’t a suggestion or a casual comment. It was a commandment. We are to tell others. Tell the story of Moses, of Abraham, of Isaac and Joseph. Tell others about David and Ruth and Isaiah and Nebuchadnezzar. People need to know about Jesus and his family, about the disciples, Paul, Peter, John, Mark, Barnabus and all the others who began the story spreading across the world.

  Don’t force the story on people; just share your experience in your words and in your way. That’s what I always try to do. God continues to teach me stuff each day and even though I often mess up, I can know that God is present and glad to help me if I only ask Him for help. How do I know this? Because people have told me their stories of surviving tough times and God’s blessings on them.

  If you are a believer, then you’ve got a story to tell. What are you telling by the way you act and talk and live? Make sure it is the message you want to people to know.

  And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.

 

  Jimmy Cochran is a resident of McDonough, author, musician and minister.

 

 

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