Waynedale United Methodist Church
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

Aug 2, 2015 Sermon

“Let Me Tell You a Story”
Luke 8:5 – 8
Ted Jansen  August 2, 2015  Waynedale UMC
 
1.)        Once upon a time…  On a dark and stormy night… She was waiting longingly by the old oak tree looking off in to the distance…  With a wide eyed enthusiasm he woke up expecting to find wonderful gifts under…. 
            These opening lines lead us to enter stories of our own imagination.  Where will the story take us, what will we experience, how will we leave the story and live?    
           
2.)        I invite you to consider stories.  As you think about your stories sometimes we can remember details and sometimes we forget.  It is interesting when our story involves other people and what we remember.  A story can be made alive again when we tell it or hear it.   
Jesus liked to tell stories.  He told stories so people could use their imagination.  He told stories so that people might remember and make a connection to a truth about God.  
           
3.)        There are three E’s that give a story power in our lives.  We Enter the story, we Experience the story, and we Exit the story. 
            We enter the story when there is a connection that brings us into the story.  If a story has something we can identify with then we enter into the story.  It is like walking into a room, we can see more because we are in the room.  We might enter a story out of curiosity, or intrigue.   
            We experience a story when we imagine the action and the people.  We might have participated in what the story is about, or we have seen it, or we believe it.  It is like being in a room and noticing everything about that room.  We see the action of the story and can identify with it.       
            We exit a story and return to our life to see how the story applies.  It is like walking out of a room through a door and into the next aspect of our day.       
 
4.)        One day, Luke tells us, a large group of people gathered and Jesus told a story. 
            A farmer went out to sow seed.  The people right away could Enter the story because they were farmers or knew them, they had sowed seed or knew someone who had.     
            Jesus said that some seed was scattered on a hard path, some on dry soil, some among the thorns and some on good soil.  The people could Experience the story when they imagined the seed on the path, being eaten by birds, when the seed was on the rocks, and when the seed was among the thorns and grew up and got choked out.  They could also know the feeling of when the seed grew and produced 100 times what was sown.     
            Jesus said, “He who has ears to ear, let him hear.”  That was Jesus’ way of letting people Exit the story.  He wanted them to hear with ears of faith.      
            The people might have reflected on the story by thinking, What kind of soil am I?  Do I keep sowing?  What is the seed?  What is preventing growth?  Do I celebrate when growth happens?  The story allows people to think about their lives.     
            The disciples asked Jesus later to explain the story.  They wanted to know God’s  truth and Jesus’s purpose for telling the story.    
 
5.)        Jesus told 46 different stories (parables) in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  46 different images and invitations to learn about the Kingdom of God were communicated by Jesus.    
            Stories are important to us today.  Stories are meant to be repeated and in shaping people’s lives.    How we tell stories has changed in different periods of history. 
            Years ago the role of the storyteller was by word of mouth, around a campfire or family gathering.  Then stories began to be recorded in written form and printed for many people.  Now we record stories visually, through the arts and people, in different formats like video, which has sounds and sights.    
 
6.)        Movies, TV shows, videos, and music are about stories, “experiences” in life.  Consider the three E’s of media.  We enter, we experience and we exit. 
How do you rate a “good” movie from a “bad” one?  It has to do with; did we enter, did we experience what the story teller desired, did we exit and have a chance to think?     
One creative storyteller show from the past was called, “Wishbone.”  This was a children’s show but was creative in the way it told stories.  It featured Wishbone who was a dog who lived in the modern day with other people.  Wishbone would tell a story from the past in his “voice.”  I thought the show was well done, connecting past and present.   
            Another creative story was the “Star Wars” movies.  The movie series was a pioneer with its special effects and characters.  The story kept you “into” each of the movies.   
            When you read a good book or watch a great TV show part of what happens to you is that you lose perspective of time.  You are inside the story and you let go of time to experience the people and action.  You don’t want to exit, you want to stay in.            
 
7.)        I want to tell you a story, a true story.  So enter into this room, this time and experience as much as possible as you can before you have to exit and go into your day.  
            Long ago, on a night before a great tragedy, a teacher was with his students.  They were enjoying a special meal.  This time together involved talking about the day, telling stories, and sharing a meal of food and drink.  This teacher wanted his students to remember the past and in the future this special moment.        
The teacher, a man, told the other men a story about their ancient forefathers and mothers.  The families were held captive by Egyptians and forced to work under harsh and severe conditions.  The people were hurting. 
God used a man named Moses to rescue the people from slavery.  Moses spoke to the Pharaoh, the Egyptian ruler, and Moses spoke to God. 
The people would need to sacrifice a lamb and put the blood on their doorpost.  They would wait for their rescue, their salvation.  One night an angel passed over the homes where the blood was on the doorpost.  No death occurred.  The home that did not have the blood of the lamb experienced death of the first born male.  After that night the Hebrew people left slavery, God had rescued them.     
God brought them out of Egypt to a new land.  The people thanked God for their new life.    
As they remembered the Passover meal, that the people had been doing for years, Jesus added some new words. 
The Son of God started talking about His life, His body, His blood.  He held the bread and said to them, “Take and eat, this is my body.” (Matthew 26:26)  Then He took the cup and said, “Drink from it, all of you.  This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”  (Matthew 26:27, 28)
Jesus Christ, the Messiah, wanted them to know God’s salvation.  His sacrificial life would bring new life to each of them.  Jesus loved each disciple in that upper room.       
 
8.)        You entered this room, may you believe Jesus is here, like He was in that Upper Room.  May you experience, in this place, God’s love and the amazing grace of Jesus Christ.  As you exit this room may it make a difference in your day. 
Jesus Christ invites us to celebrate the love of God as we share in Communion with the bread and juice.  As your heart is transformed with His love may you know grace, hope, healing, forgiveness, strength, joy and love in a way that you cannot explain.  
 
Holy Spirit, come and enter hearts today