Sunday, December 13, 2009



About 6 or 7 years ago Jesus apprehended my heart and mind in a fresh way. Jesus became my whole focus. I saw Him differently-in a fresh and real way. I'd always taught about Jesus, but this time I had this passion to actually get to know Him. It was clear to me that the biggest obstacle for me to get to know Jesus was me, primarily my theologically educated mind. I have frequently said that I have been educated beyond my intelligence. With this handicap I knew that in order to get to really know Jesus I had to unlearn so much-so much that had become like blinders that kept me from seeing Jesus clearly and layer upon layer of add-ons that kept me from hearing Jesus distinctly.

This new adventure of following Jesus is quite a revolutionary trip. Everything is constantly changing. My learning curve is not a curve at all; it's a perpendicular line. The unlearning and relearning process never ends and just gets better every day. The experience, strength and hope in getting to know Jesus is intense and very real. My personal story is actually becoming Jesus' story in me. This brings us to SECRET #68: The follower of Jesus shares the message of the Master by sharing his personal story.

As a professional speaker over the years I am always asked for a bio to promote who I am and what I've done for whatever the event happens to be. The changes in my bio-my personal story-are dramatic. The primary change is the insertion of Jesus into my story.

Here's how it began experientially. I enjoyed a luncheon with a few friends in the DC area. We discussed what I should say that I do, now that I am a stubborn follower of Jesus. These men shared several ideas to use as vocational handles. One was that I work with the problem of alienation in this country and around the world. I really liked that handle the best.

Right after lunch the hotel set up a town car to take me about an hour north where I was going to spend the night in the Leesburg area of Virginia with some friends. The town car driver was a delightful man by the name of Joseph. He said, "You can call me 'big Joe'." Joseph was from Cameroon, Africa, and we have since developed a family-like friendship.

That car ride changed my life by changing how I share my personal story. Joseph asked, "What do you do?" So, here we go. It's time to practice what I'd just learned at lunch. "I work with a few friends on the problem of alienation", I said. I couldn't believe how big and complicated that word "alienation" sounded as I said it. There's no way Joseph will understand.

Joseph said, "Alienation. You mean, like when people don't get along-families, communities and nations?" Much to my surprise and relief Joseph understood! I said, "Yes, that's right!"

Then Joseph asked the million dollar question, "What is it that you do to counter the problem of alienation?" Well, there it was. The question of the day-the question of my life-presented right there in my lap: "What is it that you really do, Tim?" I couldn't believe it.

So I answered carefully and painfully, "Well, we don't use politics, education, or religion. Those just don't work. What we have found to be the only real answer to alienation is" (I could hardly get it out of my mouth. I'd never said the name of Jesus in such a personal and authentic way.) and then I said it, "JESUS!" I don't know what I expected, but I was pleasantly surprised to hear Joseph's response. He said, "Oh, Jesus. You know in my country we are either Catholic or Muslim, but it really doesn't matter since we worship our ancestors. But I've always loved Jesus. He's so different from all the rest." That day I learned what it means to know Jesus personally and make Him known-really and authentically.

I used to be known as a speaker and people were attracted to me because of that. Now, I am building lots of relationships and most of these new people have never heard me speak. They are attracted to my personal story of following Jesus. You see, my story is actually Jesus' story in me. And that's the most attractive story of all! SECRET #68: The follower of Jesus shares the message of the Master by sharing his personal story.