Lead with a story and follow with a point.
FEBRUARY 9, 2021
Lead with a story and follow with a point. I’ll explain on Key Life.
That was author and seminary professor Steve Brown. And this is Key Life. We’re all about radical grace, because of what Jesus has done, God’s not mad at you. Keep listening and that message will set you free to live a life of joy and surprising faithfulness.
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible open and do the fourth chapter of the book of Galatians, which we’re studying. And we’re going to eventually in this particular text, get to how people become slaves, because of religion. When real religion, the Christian faith is designed to free you from slavery, but we’re not there yet. If you were listening yesterday, we spent a good deal of time talking about how Paul requires his hearers to take their presuppositions still the logical wall. In other words to think of what they’re saying, in Galatians 4:21.
Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law?
In other words, do you know what you’re saying? We talked a lot about that yesterday and I’m not going to spend a lot of time on it, but we do that with our children, don’t we? Do you hear, do you hear people say that they are not going to impose things on their children when they’re little, they want them to grow up and be able to understand and give consent. That’s crazy. parents are talking, I would really rather Johnny didn’t play in the traffic, but if he is not old enough to decide for himself, whether or not he should play in the traffic. I’ll just wait until he’s old enough to consent to that and understand it. I know that Johnny likes candy more than spinach, so I’ll let him eat whatever he wants until he’s mature enough to decide what’s good for him. Or education is an important thing, but Johnny’s little. And he doesn’t want to go to school. I will not force him until he is mature enough to decide. Then, you know, you can move, I’ve got to quit this, cause all kinds of ideas are coming to my mind. But you know, the atheist that says there’s no God. And I want to say, think about that. If there’s no God, there’s no value. And if there’s no value, you’re a turnip. And if there’s no value, Hitler is as right as St. Francis, but we don’t do that. Paul says, think, think about the implications of what you say you believe, but it’s not just unbelievers that do that. We do it too. If you really believe that God was in charge, how would you act? How would your life be different, if you really believe that God loved you, how would you love others? If you really believe that God was your father, how would you react to that alcoholic husband, rebellious child or overbearing boss? It goes on and on, Luther said,
Here I stand. I can do no other. So help me, God.
He was a man who took his presuppositions to the wall. And Paul is suggesting here that we do that too. I have a book that came out not too long ago called Talk the Walk: How to be Right Without Being Insufferable. But there’s the other side of that, walk the talk, live the truth, look at the presuppositions of the truths you believe, and see if that which is real in your life, conforms to that truth. And then take it to the wall. Let me show you something else. I want you to note, if you will, the importance of illustrations. Now we’re going to later on, probably tomorrow, maybe today, but probably not, but we’ll do it tomorrow. We’re going to look at this kind obtuse teaching, that Paul is giving, which is rabbinic and very helpful if you get where he’s coming from. But what he says in Galatians 4:24a is important. He says, now all of these truths, the importance of them and how they apply to our lives, all of this is an allegory. In other words, it’s an illustration to help you see the truth behind the illustration. Paul in that allegory, is not saying anything different than what he’s been saying in the rest of Galatians, but he’s illustrating his truth, that it might be perceived by the hearers. That is so important. For years, I taught a course called Communicating to Post moderns. And one of the things I discovered in doing research for that class was that things have changed culturally. And that story is so very important. We interviewed Louis Marcos about his book Myth Becoming Real, or something like that, reading Roman and Greek mythology through the eyes of a Christian. And he talked about how important those stories were to the people and how very important they were when one realized that Jesus is the fulfillment of the myth, but the illustration was really important, it always is. And so the principle for us, those of us who are communicators is that you lead with a story and you follow with the proposition. In the past, you lead with a proposition and if necessary, you followed with a story, but that’s changed. And it goes back to the first century, the apostle Paul and Jesus himself. I teach or have taught lots of students homiletic’s, on preaching. I have five points of preaching, and one of those points is illustration. It was T U L I P, and the “I” was illustrate, and I said to them, illustrate, illustrate, illustrate. And if you don’t, people won’t get it. During that time, Michael Kelly Blanchard was doing a concert, at our seminary, and he’s one of the finest lyricists in America. He’s the one who wrote,
be glad every debt that you’ve ever had is paid up in full.
He wrote some stuff for Peter Paul and Mary, and he’s incredible, an incredible musician, but he was setting up for his concert. And my class was in hearing distance of where he was setting up for the concert. And I said, Michael, come up here and we’ve got, you know, maybe 40 or 50 young people here, who are going to be communicators. And you’re one of the best communicators I ever heard. So come up here and tell us what might be helpful. And he, and he did, he put his guitar down and he walked up to the podium and he said, let me tell you something, tell stories. For heaven’s sake tell stores. And that’s what Michael does in his songs. He tells stories. And then he said at his home church in Connecticut, when he was taking his children to church, they never listened until the priest told a story. When he told a story, they paid attention and he said, that’s true with everybody, so illustrate, illustrate, illustrate. When you’re witnessing, open with, let me tell you a story. Always lead with a story, when you’re talking to other people, instead of laying out a proposition, defending it and showing people how logically they’re wrong. Say, let me tell you a story. Learn the stories of the faith and use them. In our culture, that is so very important with what we do. Did you hear about the rooster who found an ostrich egg near the chicken coop? And he rolled it into the chicken coop and called the chickens. And he said, now I’m not complaining, girls. I’m simply showing what they’re doing in other places. He understood, I’m sorry, he understood, he understood the importance of illustration. And we should too, we need to learn to tell stories. Let me tell you what happened to me. Let me tell you a story about a guy, who was so lost, he lived in darkness all the time, and that was me. And let me tell you what happened, tell a story, then make the point, if you have to, and sometimes you won’t even have to make the point. Now, I’m going to do a little bit of introduction and we’ll get into it in detail tomorrow. But, the verses that I read to you, Paul takes a historical setting and he uses the characters in that setting, in an allegory to illustrate the most important point that can be made about our salvation. The things he does in the allegory, and I’m going to show you pretty soon are really important. And every person who heard him write this or read what he wrote understood exactly what he was saying. Now we don’t, because we’re not Jewish and we don’t live in the first century, and we’re not into this kind of material. So you got to dig a little deeper. And we’ll do that tomorrow. You think about that. Amen.
Steve Brown there, teaching us from the end of Galatians four, so much more to discover. And as Steve mentioned, we will continue that tomorrow. So here’s a name, Émile Coué de La Châtaigneraie, he was a French psychologist from the late 1800’s. You might not know his name, but he developed a mantra, you might’ve heard of,
Tous les jours Ã tous points de vue je vais de mieux en mieux.
Well, here’s the Steve Brown translation of that,
Better and better, every day and every way.
Yeah, that sounds great, but if that were true, then why do you and I still struggle so much. Why do we still feel guilty? Well, Steve delved into those answers in a powerful sermon called When Being Bad Isn’t Bad Enough and we would love to send you that sermon on a CD, for free. So, would you do this? Take your phone and call 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also email Steve@keylife.org and ask for the CD. If you want to mail your request, just send it to
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