Five Benefits of Powerful Story

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Bethel Church’s @Home Ministry seeks to empower families to thrive, and just as we have enjoyed important resource seasons in the past year or so, so we now begin another called “Movies@Home” (stop by Bethel Church’s @Home Center for great resources about movies as well as tons of other helpful tools for all kinds of family issues). The premise of Movies@Home is that powerful stories may be leveraged to induce life change, and to create a venue by which a biblical worldview may be affirmed.

This brings to mind some of the great stories of the Bible, put forward as reminders that telling stories is a timeless art used to stir the soul and educate the mind. Judges 5 brings to mind one great example. This chapter, traditionally known as the “Song of Deborah,” is a war ballad penned and then presented to the people of Israel on the heels of Deborah’s startling victory over the Canaanite king Jabin and his famed general Sisera. Second Samuel 12 is another great example, for herein the prophet Nathan comes to the side of his once-renowned but now isolated and heart-hardened friend King David to confront him about the sin that has gotten a grip on his life. Nathan presents a brief but stirring word picture that tenderizes David’s heart, and ultimately prompts David to repent.

Jesus was famous for using stories to prove a point, such as the parables that he told regularly to the crowds. One of the more famous samples is found in Luke 15 and is of a certain son who asked his father for his inheritance, only to go and squander it in a far-off land. When the son came to his senses he humbled himself and returned to his father, expecting to be received only as a slave at best, but to in fact be received as the loved son that he was. Jesus used this parable to point out the unending love and grace of our Heavenly Father. Stories have power and grip us to the core, and can be used to make us different.

Five benefits of powerful stories exist; maybe more. If you can think of more please let me know.

First, powerful stories excite the senses. How many times have you shed tears because of a moving story, or laughed out loud, or felt sick in your stomach because of some detail that gripped you? A story well told can easily connect and play with our emotions.

Secondly, powerful stories capture the imagination. Oh that we could only stand in wonder more than we do! Today we have little margin for such things, but powerful stories leave us awestruck, stirring the imagination in ways that little else does. This is good for us.

Thirdly, powerful stories motivate thoughtful reflection. They force us to think, force us to sharpen our saw. We learn to employ discernment and enhance our general wisdom when we can play life circumstances out in the context of stories.

Fourthly, powerful stories influence our behavior. Sometimes this is good, and sometimes it is not, but one thing is true: we are far more influenced by the power of a story than we may ever realize.

Lastly, powerful stories urge important aspirations. They help us discover what kind of people we wish to be or wish to not be, what kind of things we want to do or not do, and what kind of lives we desire to lead or not lead. Stories are incredible tools to give shape to our future.

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“Write This Down” is a summary of select teaching moments offered by Pastor Matthew. The preceding summary is from the message Movies@Home, part of an on-going series designed to empower families to thrive, presented on the weekend of April 28, 2013, at Bethel Church.

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