Good morning! Rachel and the kids and I are out of town today. We're at Keith and Deborah's farm with the rest of Rachel's family. I'm really glad to be taking a weekend off and spending it with my family, but I will also miss being with my church family. I look forward to worshiping with you next week. For now, let me give you a preview of the morning you're going to have... I love to read the first sentences of some of my favorite stories: • "I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice." -A Prayer for Owen Meany • "It was a dark and stormy night." -A Wrinkle in Time • "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit." -The Hobbit • "All this happened, more or less."-Slaughterhouse Five And my new favorite... • "I told you last night that I might be gone sometime, and you said, Where, and I said, To be with the Good Lord, and you said, Why, and I said, because I'm old, and you said, I don't think you're old."-Gilead Of course, what makes a story good isn't just the beginning but the rest of it, as well. I love every one of the stories quoted above. I've read them all multiple times, with the exception of the last one (which I read for the first time just last year). I don't remember a thing about the beginnings of stories I have not cared for. And, as good as those first sentences are (I wish I had come up with any of them), I really love them because I know the rest of each story. I know the depth of the narrator's memory for Owen Meany, the boy with the wrecked voice. I know what adventure awaits Meg Murray on that dark and stormy night. I know the playfulness and the seriousness with which Vonnegut says everything in the story happened. And I know the beautifully heartbreaking words of farewell that John Ames is about write to his young son. This morning you'll get to hear a couple of stories that I love. The first is the story of Paul and of his conversion to the Way of Christ. I think that someone ought to write a modern version of Paul's story. It's amazing. There's a great novel in it, just waiting to be brought forth. The other story you'll get to hear is the story of Bill Hromada and of his conversion to the Way of Christ. It is also an amazing story. Bill's story is a rousing example of how a life can be changed through Jesus. As you worship this morning. As you reflect on your life during the Lord's Supper, let me invite you to also reflect on your story. How has Jesus changed your life? How is Jesus changing your life even now? I also invite you to share that story with others. We need to hear these stories. They can be a great source of faith. They can inspire. They can spur us on to let Jesus have a hold of our story.