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Compelling Faith Evensong

The image above is from the movie Oliver Twist and he draws the long string…

 “The other thing that comes to mind about compelling content is that….. it leaves me thirsting for more. There’s something about compelling content that drives me to subscribe, join or bookmark because I’ve had a taste of something I’d like a second helping of.”

I know this reaction for myself.

  • When I read a book from a new author that I enjoy I immediately look for more information on the author to see what else they’ve written. I got all of Ellin Hildebrand’s, Sophia Kinsella and Madeline Wickham’s book, and I realized that Sophia and Madeline were the same person, she just wrote under these pseudonyms.
  • When I see someone tweet something that grabs my attention or makes me think – I check out their other tweets or when a news source like huffpost religion or the New York Times post an article I usually read it
  • When I watch a TV show that entertains me, makes me laugh or gives me something to think about – I put it on our “list”
  • When I read a blog post that informs me, teaches me or stretches my mind – like Bishop Ken Carter’s blog that’s currently doing a 6 part series on Fresh Expressions – I bookmark it, to check back to read next week’s installment.

What is the definition of compelling? com·pel·ling kəmˈpeliNG/


  1. evoking interest, attention, or admiration in a powerfully irresistible way.

“his eyes were strangely compelling”

synonyms: enthrallingcaptivatinggrippingrivetingspellbinding, mesmerizing,absorbingirresistible

“a compelling performance”

  • not able to be refuted; inspiring conviction.

“compelling evidence”

synonyms: convincingpersuasivecogentirresistiblepowerfulstrongweighty,plausiblecrediblesoundvalidtellingconclusiveirrefutable,unanswerable

“a compelling argument”

  • not able to be resisted; overwhelming.

“the temptation to give up was compelling”

What makes a compelling story?

What makes you trust the storyteller?

What gives someone a compelling faith story that leaves you wanting more?

Is it the integrity of the story teller?  Is it the way that the storyteller tells the story?  Building up anticipation?

I would wager it has more to do with nonverbal – the sincerity, the vulnerability, the body language, the raw emotion, the honesty.  I would also guess that you have to trust this person.  It doesn’t mean you have to know the person, it just means you have to buy what they’re selling.

As we were giving out free cake today at Santa Fe College, I went into the coffee shop to buy an iced drink as I do.  Two of the co-workers had just gotten our free cake and they were trying to talk their other co-worker into getting a piece.  He said, “I don’t trust free cake.”  They said that we were a church.  He answered, “I don’t trust free cake, especially from a church.”  As he was taking my order and I didn’t tell him I was the pastor of the sketchy church giving out free cake.

Some synonyms for “compelling” are convincing, persuasive, irresistible, strong, credible, valid…I bet if he works that same shift every week and if he sees us and gets to know us and we share stories for a period of time, he will find us more “credible.”

I know I highlight this multiple times a week, but when we share stories, lives together, then that’s when the real change happens.

I know some of you know all about my second brain surgery in 2013 that left me without the ability to speak for three weeks.  I typed a text to Mike a few weeks after the surgery, “The quickness with which I speak comes back?” and it took me 20 minutes to even type that.  Thankfully, my speech has returned for the most part.  When I’m tired, y’all have been great about doing charades to understand what I mean.  I still don’t have the fine motor skills in my right hand, but I can deal with that!  I have to go back to get an MRI and meet with my oncologist every 3 months.  I’m due for that next Wednesday.  Mike and I know the rhythm so well, that we start getting tense when it comes close.  I was diagnosed with a oligodendroglioma when I was 30.  Enoch turned 3 in the two weeks when I first was diagnosed and the first surgery.  Evy was 1.  They don’t remember me not having this diagnosis.  I’ve been brutally honest on my blog that I don’t write very much on any more.  I created the  blog so that I could update everyone about the medical aspects and what my head space was at the time, so I didn’t have to repeat it all the time, and also so I can LIVE my life.  The fullness of it.  I claim the end of John 10:10 “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” and I claim the last verses the song “In Christ Alone.”

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.

You don’t have to have had brain surgery to have a compelling story of faith.  Trust me.

The best stories are from the heart, when you peel back the layers and are vulnerable.  Being real with people is the highest compliment you can pay, because no one likes to be bs-ed.  No one likes to be made a fool of, but when you drop the masks and you KNOW and RECOGNIZE that you don’t have any control of the situation that’s where God’s love steps in and makes a way.  That’s where the trust comes and the faith.  It’s okay to yell at God.  And it’s okay to cry out.  May scriptures come to you in the midst.  May songs come to you in the midst.  May a friend lift you up in the midst.  May you have the courage to be vulnerable and may people’s responses be more than enough…may they lift you up with the grace and mercy of God.

You see, you’ve been invited into the greatest story ever told.  You have your own story of redemption.  You have your own story of the mountaintops and valleys.  You just have to tell it.  God will give you a story.  God will give you the boldness, the tenacity, and the courage to speak it.  Don’t be afraid.  If you’re not a great speaker.  Many people in the Bible and throughout time have had that same problem!  God will give you the words.  God will guide and lead you in all that you do and say.  Tell the story.  Last Easter, we painted the 34th Street Wall with the words of the last song Jake is going to sing tonight.  #BecauseHeLives  Tell the story.  You will have a compelling one, indeed.  The world is hungry for a life-giving, life-tranforming story.


Song During Communion