Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

Danny Gutierrez on The Good News

Illustration by Nidhi Balwada from India

Illustration by Nidhi Balwada from India

This entry is a part of an on-going blog series called The Good News, which is taking place throughout the Easter Season, from Easter to Pentecost. A full list of the contributors can be found here. Danny’s local city newspaper is the Pioneer Press in St. Paul MN. Here is Danny Gutierrez on the Good News.

THE GOOD NEWS
People are fascinating. And because they are, my wife and I enjoy preparing food and having people over to eat and share their stories as one of our favorite pastimes. Few people recognize that in some sense, they are much like screenplays, sitcom writers, or authors of powerful drama. We often remark after goodbyes have been said, candles blown out, and the dishes are being cleared, “They have the most amazing story.”

And then we do it all over again, because we know that beyond the pleasantries, the official career titles, and the cultural heritages are more fascinating stories and personal histories.

I suppose the concept of Good News has a thousand ways to be explained. But at its core, I believe the Good News is an intersection of two powerful stories: one ancient and transcending, one that is recent and deeply personal. One that is His and one that is yours and mine. In a sense, the ancient and new each gives life to the other. Thus this Good News spreads not because the story of Jesus was, but because the story of Jesus still is.

The Good News is good because the story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection changes the personal story of those who choose to embrace its reality and power for today. When the pain, unmet expectations, and missed opportunities, the emptiness and struggle of our life stories encounter the Light of God’s love and His unyielding desire to mend what has been broken, something good and worth sharing happens.

Jesus said, “Until John the Baptist, the Law of Moses and the message of the prophets were your guides. But now the Good News of the Kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is eager to get in.” (Luke 16:16 NLT, emphasis mine.) Before the message of Jesus, people had a list of rules, mandatory rituals, and for the most part, scary prophecies about the future. Then the stories of lives being turned right side up began creating a buzz, even when Jesus was asking people to keep it quiet.

The Good News was that Bartimaeus, a blind man, could see. That a lady with an infirmity that made her bleed for years was healed. Zacchaeus, a tax collector bent on avarice, was giving back the money he stole. The psychopath of the town of Gadara had completely changed. The man with a withered hand was cured, and the daughter of Jairus was raised from the dead. And did you hear about the foreigner with leprosy that was cleansed? The stories back then kept pouring in.

And the stories today continue to pour in. Earlier this year, my friend Mario Javier thought his life was over because of a terrible divorce. But now he smiles with new purpose because of the Good News.

The story of Jesus without our own personal stories as witness of its power makes this Good News merely Old News, or at best Good Theology. The miracle happens when we are able to see that His story changes everything in ours. And when that realization comes we feel compelled to pass it on.

“’Your brother is back,’ he was told, ’and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’’’ Luke 15:27 (NLT)

The Good News is beautiful in all its simplicity: Our brother is back. Our sister has returned. Our children are healed. Because of the sacrifice our Father made in Jesus, we celebrate because of their safe return.

Good News is always worth celebrating, and people’s stories of safe return are always Good News.

Danny & Stephanie Gutierrez are church planters in St. Paul, MN. Danny grew up in Peru where his parent’s are still missionaries. He worked on the Small Groups staff at a large church in the Twin Cities for over 10 years before making the leap to plant a church. His greatest joys are his wife, two daughters, and all the amazing people he calls friends.


12 Responses to Danny Gutierrez on The Good News

  1. Jeff Krieg says:

    Nice!

  2. jrwoodward says:

    Danny,

    When I read your entry I get the sense I am reading one of the gospels, because it is framed around story. And my friend David Fitch has said, “When knowledge is viewed as universal fact it must be proved, but when knowledge is viewed as story, it is proclaimed.” As you say, the intersection of two powerful stories creates life change instead of simply mental assent of “old news” or “good theology”f

    The fact is that everybody is a part of some narrative. Everyone lives in some story and the question is why should I live in this one rather than another one? Is there a way to test the narrative of a story to discern if it is one I should fully enter into? Stanley Hauerwas speaks to this. “Just as scientific theories are partially judged by the fruitfulness of the activities they generate, so narratives can and should be judged by the richness of moral character and activity they generate.” You demonstrate this well in your narrative of the good news. Thanks.

  3. Luke Dusek says:

    Very Beautiful! As we become part of each others stories, that is how we become family. Brothers and Sisters together with Christ. We grow closer to God at the same time as we grow closer to each other. I am very thankful to have you apart of my story.

  4. Star says:

    Well said Pastor. I love real stories too, I think that’s why God used them and still is!

  5. sonja says:

    Danny,
    I like the idea of ‘ goodnews is always worth celebrating’.Sonja

  6. Danny says:

    I had the privilege of meeting a young man this morning way out in rural Wisconsin. At only 22, he has been through a ton of heavy stuff. And there we sat, in between services (we both ditched out of Sunday School class!) as he told me his story. I was a complete stranger to him, and yet with passion he told me what God had done for him. He told me about the love he felt. And he told me of his desire to move to Australia to share his life with people he has never even met.

    I can hardly finish the news I read in the papers, and this guy is willing to move from ultra-small town USA to the other side of the globe to share the good news of his life – which has been changed by the life of Christ. I LOVE ministry because these stories are everywhere! It’s just a matter of taking the time to listen to them.

    And I agree, testing the narratives as you point out JR, is necessary. The narratives that cause me to celebrate (I like celebrating like Sonja!) are the ones that show a life turned outward, unfettered by weights from the past, to tell others that in the midst of all the bad news, there will always be Good News.

    Thanks for the kind words everyone.

  7. April says:

    “Authors of powerful drama” made me laugh and almost fall out of my chair :)

    I loved how you said “the good news is beautiful in all of it’s simplicity.” very true and my brain is still chewing on that because it is very simple yet so big.

    So glad I read this, so glad you’re in my life!!

  8. Awesome. It’s exactly what we need to hear. More stories of the good news, past stories and current ones, actually seeping into people’s lives. When the good news becomes about people’s lives being transformed by a bigger story than themselves it is beautiful , so much more beautiful then a church end-of-year report that “23 people got saved last year.”

  9. DK says:

    What happens when stories don’t have a ‘safe return’? Could it still be called Good News?

  10. Danny says:

    DK, Would you have a “for instance?” I suppose I was borrowing the concept of “safe return” from a story Jesus told in the Gospel of Luke (Chapter 15). In this parable, a son returns home from some pretty tough times and is wholeheartedly accepted by his father. My favorite part of the story is when the father, seeing his son from afar, runs to meet up with him and welcomes him home.
    I’d be interested in hearing how you internalized the mention of “safe return.”

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