Category Archives: Group Stories

Who Tells God’s Story?

Watch and Wonder

The Woman at the Well
John 4: 5-42

 

Do Tell!

In this story, Jesus sees this woman, this foreign woman, this woman he has NO BUSINESS being with (“Jews and Samaritans do not share things in common!”)–he sees her and reflects back to her the story of her life. In turn, in being seen, she begins to see Jesus for who he is– she sees the story of God unfolding before her. “Could this really be the Messiah?”

Suddenly her story and God’s story are bound together. She runs off to her people to tell them–I have met a man who told me my story, a man who might just be the savior of the world. 

In being known by God, and in witnessing God’s work in Jesus Christ, this woman is compelled to tell God’s story. She becomes God’s story-bearer to the Samaritans. Hearing God’s story come from the Samaritan woman at the well gives it special meaning and purpose–in her telling it, we glimpse more fully what God intends for God’s kingdom.

If I have learned one thing in my time storytelling, it is this: the stories of God belong to ALL people, and should be told by ALL people. So when I was asked to put together an ensemble of first time storytellers for the NEXT Church national gathering of the PC(USA), I was thrilled. The more we can hear these stories told and interpreted by others, especially folks who do not share the same life experience, the more fully we are able to see God’s story.

Tell a Story

As part of your reflecting on this text, tell a story of a time you felt seen/known.

Reflect

  1. For what do you thirst?
  2. What does “living water” look like for you? What feeds and sustains you?
  3. Who in your life is able to tell your story?
  4. If you could tell God’s story in two sentences, what would they be?

 

Image courtesy of The Presbyterian Outlook from the NEXT Church National Gathering (2017)

Conference Resources!

I had the great privilege of attending and providing leadership for two conferences over the last two weeks: the Festival Gathering of the Network of Biblical Storytellers and the Go Disciple Live conference on discipleship and evangelism. You can read more about my talk at the GDL conference here.

I used a few resources over those days, and as promised, I am sharing them here.

VIDEOS

 

other RESOURCES

“To God, before whom I fall” was written and read by the amazing Sarah Agnew. You can find more of Sarah’s poetry and storytelling on her site Sarah Tells Stories. This poem was taken from the book On Wisdom’s Wings. Sarah is doing some incredible work in storytelling, and you should definitely check it out!

LoveCatena by Casey FitzGerald: A weaving of 1 Corinthians 13 with other stories from scripture. (Feel free to use, with credit.)

Hymn: “I Love to Tell the Story” with new verses by Dennis Dewey

“Justus Well”  from the Story Divine Podcast

Story on Fire –learn to tell the Pentecost story with this quick video series! (Method can be used for any story!)

To those at the Go Disciple Live Conference who want to read more regarding Dr. Ralph Basui Watkins lecture on digital/social media, I highly recommend my friend and colleague the Rev. Keith Anderson‘s book The Digital Cathedral

STORY CHOICES

To pair with the annunciation/magnificat narrative (Luke 1:26-56):

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To pair with the story of Jacob meeting Rachel (Genesis 29:1-12):

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To pair with the story of Moses fleeing to Midian (Exodus 2:11-22):

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To pair with the story of Jesus speaking of friendship (John 15:12-17):

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To pair with the story of the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35):Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 8.47.04 PM

Holy Week Roundup!

Palm Sunday

Matthew 21:1-11
As told by the Rev. Jeff Krehbiel

For more Palm Sunday story learning/discussion ideas check the original post HERE.

You can also catch the Story Divine podcast from Palm Sunday last year:

Holy Week with Story Divine

Hear the story of Holy Week as told by Casey FitzGerald on Story Divine. (This is a collection from last year–Casey is currently on maternity leave.)

Episode 11.1 Memory Reboot

 

Episode 11.2 Not I, Lord!

 

Episode 11.3 EXPOSED

 

Episode 11.4 I Don’t Know This Man!

 

Episode 11.5 he was crucified

 

Episode 11.6 he was buried

 

Episode 11.7 HE IS RISEN

 

(Or find any of the Story Divine episodes on iTunes!)

HE IS RISEN!

(My favorite video of all time!)

 

Storytelling Lent 1

This post is a mash-up of previous posts on the story of Jesus in the wilderness for Lent 1. Though the stories told are from Matthew’s gospel (and we are in Luke this time around), they can still be applied!

WATCH and WONDER X 2!

This is one of my favorite kid-telling videos we made at our church. The wonderful Alex Bryant filmed and edited this one, which is why the quality is so great. My own children (who are not in the video) could not stop watching it. Got kids around? Share it with them!!!

Matthew 4:1-11
As told by Rev. Leslianne Braunstein

Thank you, Leslianne!!!

WONDER WORD

FASTING To “fast” is to intentionally not eat food as a way to become closer to God. Here is an explanation of the practice of fasting in biblical times offered by Bible.org: 

“The [Old Testament] uses fasting and abstinence from food to point to something even more necessary for life—communion with and dependence on God. Fasting behaviors were sometimes commanded, sometimes voluntary, and sometimes even ritualized, but the Hebrew Bible rather consistently portrays fasting in conjunction with themes of disruption and restoration. In the midst of disruption, fasting comes to symbolize hope. Through repentance and prayer, fasting can signify the centering of the self in humility, the renewal of the relationship to God’s sustaining force. As such, fasting takes on a dual significance of mourning and hope.”

Have you ever fasted? What was it like? What was the hardest part? Did it make you feel closer to God?

If you haven’t fasted, find someone who has and ask them about their experience! Better yet–try a fast yourself–even a brief fast might help you tell the story!

learn it BY HEART

Verbal Threads Look for the words or phrases that are repeated through the story. Click HERE for the text from Matthew and HERE for the text from Luke (thanks again to gotell.org). There is a lot of repetition in the story, which makes for great storytelling! I like to print out a copy of the story and with my colored pens circle and connect the verbal threads. What do you notice about the repetition?interlaced-herringbone-10

Giving VOICE to the devil I am always struck by what good things the devil offers Jesus. If he’s meant to be the savior of the world, wouldn’t it be great if he was well-fed and already ruled everything??? In order to consider how the devil sounds, you might want to think about (or tell a story about) what tempts you. Is the devil angry or…persuasive…or something else? What works better when one is trying to be tempting

Looking for CLUES What does Jesus look and sound like in this story? Consider what it would be like to fast for 40 days and nights…how might this have affected his speech or the way he stands? Was he hangry? (When I am hungry, I am almost always also short-tempered and angry.) Does he start off the same way he begins, or is he changed over the course of the story? (For example, does he start of weak and get stronger, or could it be the other way around?)

WAYS to WONDER

For all ages: STORY BOARDING This story has great visuals (some kids may need a bit of explanation from adults).

  1. Draw Jesus alone in the wilderness (consider…what is the wilderness?)
  2. Draw the temptation of the bread (consider…what do we “live by”?)
  3. Draw Jesus and the devil on the pinnacle of the temple (consider…how do we test our God?)
  4. Draw them up on a high mountain looking at all the kingdoms (consider…what things in this world are particularly tempting to you?)
  5. Draw Angels attending Jesus (consider…when have you felt God caring for you?)

What do you want from me?

Watch and consider the story of Bartimaeus! Thanks to Burke Presbyterian Church for helping me create this video!

Also check out the Story Divine podcast to hear this story and more!

Kids Tell The Nicodemus Story!

Here is the video we filmed a few years ago! If you are interested in a family liturgy around this story–please visit Practicing Families!

 

He is RISEN! A Video for Easter

I have a lot of thoughts about this video, but for now, I’ll just leave it here for you.

Blessings on this Easter. May you GO and TELL: HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN, INDEED!

Worship Stations for Lent: Part 2

Last year I posted information on our worship stations for our Wednesday night Lenten suppers…but I posted them after they occurred. This meant I could tell you about the stations, what went well, what didn’t–and you could see pictures. This year the only pictures will be borrowed from other sites that have done the projects–my own photos to be inserted later! My thanks to my colleague Patty Chamberlain and our Children’s ministry team members for brainstorming with me!

One final note–as these are for Wednesday nights beginning the week after Ash Wednesday, and focus on the scripture for the following Sundays–there is no “Lent 1″ section! Click HERE for Part I.

LENT 3
Story: Jesus and the Money Lenders
John 2:13-22

Recurring Stations

Look for a variation of these stations each week. In addition to these, there will be 1-2 “special stations” each week.

1. Story video

Thanks to the amazing Alex Bryant for filming and editing. 🙂 It was so fun to work with these kids again…especially noticing how the older ones have grown and changed…and inviting our newest recruits. LOVE THIS WORK.

2. Prayer WallLent prayer wall 2

Prayer prompt will say: “Jesus was upset because people were focused on themselves, and not on God. Write a prayer saying “sorry” to God. We call this a “prayer of confession.” When you are done, make sure to read what the wall says and remember you are forgiven!” (The wall will say: “God sees you, forgives you, loves you.”)

Supplies: Prayer wall (made from wood, chicken wire, chalkboard paint), red slips of paper, markers, instruction sheet.

3. Book Nook

Book nook pic

Featured stories: Enemies of Slavery by David A. Adler (8 & up) and The Honest-to-Goodness Truth by Patricia C. McKissack (4-8)

Thanks again to Storypath for their incredible resource! I have taken the description of the stories (written by Katie Todd) and put them in the inside cover of the books for parents to read and consider.

4. Tell Me a Story

Instructions: Tell a story about a time you were angry. Did people know you were angry? How? What did you do to calm down? (Got an idea for calming down, write it on a post-it note and stick it on the poster!)

Supplies: Poster-board, post-it notes, instructions

5. Sanctuary Sleuths

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Instructions:

  • Pick ONE card
  • Answer the question on the card by investigating the sanctuary
  • When you have the answer, write your name and the answer and place the card in the “answered” basket!

I also included Sleuth Levels

Below are links to the different levels (to be printed on corresponding sheet colors and cut out):
Pink Sanctuary Sleuths
Green Sanctuary Sleuths
Blue Sanctuary Sleuths

6. Making Crosses: Praying the News

Lent cross

Newspaper clippings/headlines are glued on large cross as we pray the news and remember that Jesus came to redeem all.

Questions to consider: How would the story you chose make God feel?

Supplies: Large wooden cross, Mod Podge, brushes, drop cloth, scissors, instructions, newspapers, magazines

 

 

 7. Pew Labyrinth

Labyrinthweekone

This station was the big winner last week…so we are putting a new one in this week. The picture to the left is of last week’s labyrinth. For last week, I had everyone choose a word to walk with on their labyrinth journey. This week I may have them all focus on one word.

 

Below is a drawing of my plans for this week. (There are places it overlaps, but we are limited by bolted-down pews!)Labyplansweek2

Supplies: blue painters tape…and lots of it!

 

 

 

 

New Station

8. With our Hands

Using an idea based on Beth Williams’ worship room at APCE, Patty Chamberlain used an old moving chalkboard, strung Christmas lights across it, then put pieces of white paper (the kind on rolls) on top (so that it is back-lit). Using somewhat transparent colored paper, participants will trace their hands, cut them out and write/draw based on the following prompt:

People in the temple used their hands to sell animals and lend money–taking advantage of those who traveled to the temple for Passover. Jesus used his hands to turn over the tables, to point them out the door, and to remind them about what God wants. On your hand cut-out, use words or pictures to show how YOU can use your hands to do God’s work.

The hands will then be glued on the wall.

Take a copy of the prayer of St. Teresa of Avila home with you–read it at least once a day this week as you consider how God is working through you.

Teresa of Avila (1515–1582)

Christ Has No Body

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

(Taken from HERE.)

Supplies: Christmas lights, large board, transparent-colored paper, scissors, glue sticks, instructions, large roll of white paper, glue

Pictures to follow!

HERE IS A PDF OF ALL THE INSTRUCTION SHEETS FOR THIS WEEK!
Lent 3 Worship Station Instructions

 

You Are So Beautiful

It’s often hard for people to watch themselves on video. (This is generally true of my own experience.) But lately, as I have been making more videos of other people telling biblical stories, I have had a revelation: YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL.

It is a great joy to film folks telling the story. But the unexpected joy has come when I sit down by myself to edit. As I cut and paste and manipulate sound, as I watch the brave faces across the screen, I am filled with a deep joy. YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL. I wish that those in front of the camera could see themselves as I see them in the editing room. This must be something of how God sees us. Perhaps I will even try to see myself that way.

I am grateful for the gift of this storytelling ministry–for the people I encounter and the light that shines in each telling. Beautiful.

Here are two videos I filmed this month with the saints of Burke Presbyterian Church. I had the great joy of keynoting their 3-day intergenerational VBS experience and we filmed these two videos during that time. They are so beautiful.