February 05, 2011

Telling Stories

Mark 5:1-20

“Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you …”
Mark 5:19


Recovery groups like Alcoholics Anonymous have clear principles and methods, but the power of such a group comes from telling stories. Maybe you’ve heard the famous opening line: “Hi, my name is , and I’m an alcoholic.”

Group meetings are essentially storytelling sessions. As group members share their stories, they remember who they really are, what they’ve been through, and their hopes for the future. Group members are provided with sponsors who walk with them through the ongoing scenes in their story, helping them follow the storyline of their recovery.

In this sense the church is really a recovery group for sinners. As we tell our stories, we remember who we are, we share what we’ve been through, and we remind each other of just where our hope can be found. We share how much the Lord has done for us!

In this month’s readings we’re going to focus on the stories of two recovering sinners from the Old Testament. Jacob, the son of Isaac, was a fast-talking hustler who needed to discover that he had to give up trying to run his own life. And David, a king of Israel, was a passionate follower of God who needed to learn how easily his passions could lead him astray.

From these stories we’ll learn how our stories also lead us through the past to the present and into the future—with God’s grace.

Lord, lead us by your Spirit to rediscover the old, old story of your saving grace for us. Amen.

About the author — Ron Vanderwell

Ron Vanderwell recently became the senior pastor of New Life Church in New Lenox, Illinois. He has been a pastor for 22 years, serving as a church planter for the previous 12 years at The Gathering in Sacramento, California, and before that as a pastor in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ron and his wife, Deb, have three sons: John, Adam, and Jake. Ron shares more of his reflections on “squinting” for God in his blog at www.squintforgod.com.

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