Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Perfect Sabbath School

Having posted
Steve's First Sabbath on Spectrum has generated some discussion. It is interesting that in their reposting they titled it "The Perfect Sabbath School: A Story" which tells you something about even the editor's view of Sabbath School. I didn't intend the story to be about the "perfect" Sabbath School class but just one that was working. We have a global Sabbath School crisis which revolves around a loss of identity and purpose.

Many people no longer attend adult Sabbath School. This is not because the people don’t need Sabbath School but because most Sabbath School leaders don’t know what needs Sabbath School is meant to meet. 

This story is not a new idea for Sabbath School. It is built on the four aspects of Sabbath School that are being taught on paper and in workshops by Sabbath School directors from the General right down to the local Conference.

The four aspects are: Fellowship, Outreach, Bible Study, and Mission. There are many ways to word these four things. In effect they are IN, OUT, UP and FAR OUT. I call them Nurture, Evangelism, Worship, and World - the “NEW World Sabbath School.”

The reason people are no longer coming to Sabbath School is because these four aspects have been lost sight of. In various churches different aspects are forgotten.

When Sabbath School leaders forget that Sabbath School is meant to be a place of nurture they avoid personal discussion because it “wastes time.” They don’t ask about people’s lives because the “people just talk about themselves instead of God’s Word!”

When Sabbath School leaders forget that Sabbath School is meant to be a launching pad for local evangelism they stop asking, “What acts of service have we done this week?” And when they stop asking, the people understand that those outreach activities are not important to Sabbath School. It’s not that people stop doing outreach, they just don’t talk about it. And the power of their testimony, both for them and the Sabbath School, is lost.

When Sabbath School teachers forget that Sabbath School is meant to be a time of holistic worship, they abandon the prelims. Singing together is gone. Reports of various kinds (drawing people together as a church) are gone. So far, I have not seen a Sabbath School that has abandoned Bible Study. This, as Adventists, is the one thing we hold on to with gusto. But without the rest of Sabbath School, it’s just another sermon.

When Sabbath School leaders forget that Sabbath School is meant to be about World Mission they stop showing Adventist Mission Videos (Mission Spotlight) and stop reading the mission story because it “wastes time.” If a missionary comes to town (or comes home) they give them a sermon slot instead of asking them to report during Sabbath School.

Many Sabbath Schools around the globe are rediscovering the power of being a holistic Sabbath School Class. They are valuing fellowship, outreach, Bible study and mission equally. They are becoming NEW World Sabbath School Classes. And they are finding that people are coming back to Sabbath School because they need it!

Sabbath School isn't meant to be perfect, just intentional.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Short Thought on Suffering

The events of the last few months have caused one question to continually be on my mind. It is more present at some moments and less at others but it is always somewhere nearby.

It’s the most often asked faith-based question in the world. Every faith tries to answer it. Spiritual leaders wrestles with it. And when it wrestles with you — spiritual or not, leader or not — you will ask this question as well.

You may word the question any number of ways:

“Why is there so much suffering in the world?” 
“If the world is created by an all powerful God, why is there so much pain?
“If God loves me, why am I suffering?”

Over the past few months I have seen and experienced plenty of suffering. And the question comes back. Not so much because of what’s happening to me. I’m fairly laid back and trusting. But, watching those I love who are suffering from leukemia, parkinson's disease, pancreatic cancer and more brings the question into sharp focus. Why is this happening? Must they suffer? Is there reason amidst the chaos? How can I understand and explain this suffering?

It wasn’t until I was in hospital, listening to the stories around me, and watching the ones who serve those who are suffering (nurses, spouses, parents, children) that I realised I was facing the topic from the wrong angle. I was facing it from a victim mentality instead of a victor mentality. We can choose. There is plenty of evil in the world to decimate the victims. But there are warriors among the dying. Why?

Because they have repositioned themselves in their approach to suffering. From watching them, I think many of these servants would be unable to explain their viewpoint. But they live it.

Here’s what I’ve seen:
There are those who ask: “Why is this suffering happening to me?” 
And there are those who ask: “What can I do to lessen the suffering I see?” 

There is a huge paradigm shift between “Why me?” and “How can I help?”
The warriors among us have transitioned from trying to explain suffering to working to expel it.

And that, I believe, is the best answer any of us can give to the suffering world.

How can I help?

The Eyes Have It

Time for another healing update! Things are progressing nicely... slowly, but nicely!

My daily routine involves getting up around 6am and submerging myself in the spa for a soak and stretch. We only got the spa a couple weeks before the surgery and I'm so glad we did! Every morning I have spent a couple of hours in the warm bubbly water stretching my sore right thigh. Yep, it’s still sore! 

For the past few nights I have rolled onto that side (my favourite way to sleep) and tried to find a comfortable position. It feels like I’m laying on a hardback book under my thigh. The book gets a little smaller each night. Thursday was my best night sleep since the surgery. I went to bed at 10pm and didn’t get up until 7am. That’s 9 hours! A usual night (like last night) is about 6 hours sleep. I still prop myself up with a few pillows and sleep on my back to keep my head well above the rest of my body. This keeps the thumping down.

Because of the great sleep Thursday night, I was feeling great Friday. The strength in the left side of my face was stronger than it has been for over a week. I took pain meds at 7:30am. The next time I needed them was 3:30pm. And then again at 10:30pm. That’s the best I’ve done since the surgery. So, as we all know, sleep is important!

The interesting thing about the Panadol and Neurofin is that I don’t often need it for pain anymore. Occasionally I feel some head pain, but the main reason I take the meds is because of the other stuff that happens in my head. First, my left ear (the deaf one) starts hearing the sound of a roaring sea as well as the usual tea kettle. It starts quiet and builds to a tempestuous crescendo. Then the right ear (the good one) starts to get muffled. Voices and sounds seem to be at a distance. They move away slowly until concentrating on any sound is very difficult. Then my vision starts to blur. And shortly after that, the headache starts. That process used to happen, from tempest to thumping, in 10 minutes or less. Now it can take hours. So, depending on my level of human interaction and activity, I decide when to take the meds.

During the past week I have tried to be active. Monday, I went shopping with Rachael for a couple of hours. We walked from shop to shop at Eastland. I sat on a variety of benches. Rachael explored shops. I had a look in a few shops, too. When we got home I was wasted. Tuesday I went to the optometrist and got my eyes tested. I was there for a couple of hours and that tired me out. Wednesday I went to the doctor for a 1 week checkup after the staple removal. Thursday I was absolutely smashed. And it was 37 degrees! I sat on the couch all day, watched tennis and took pain meds often. I felt like I’d gone backwards in time by a week or more. Then I had that great night sleep and my spirits were lifted! 

I’m so glad I went to see the eye doctor! He looked into my eyes with his fancy machines for quite awhile and did the usual sight tests. He then told me that my left eye was concave below the pupil because it was severely dehydrated. He said if my eye wasn’t less sensitive due to the tumour I would be in a lot of pain. Evidently, I have been sleeping with my left partially open for months. He recommended I use medicated eye drops called “Blink Intensive Tears” every 30 minutes while I am awake and apply lacrilube at night before taping the eye closed for the night. I am amazed how much this has helped. My left eye was very blurry. The optometrist didn’t say how long to keep doing it, so I’ll keep going until the supplies run out.

The reason I went to the optometrist was to get glasses. I have known for 6 months or so that I needed them. But, when I found out about the tumour I decided to wait for the glasses until after the surgery. I thought the tumour might be having some effect on my vision. Considering the dryness, I was right. But, it still would have been wiser to go to the eye doctor before the tumour surgery as he would have discovered the dehydration and started me on the drops before the dryness was so bad. 

Yesterday, my glasses arrived. WOW! I didn’t realise how much of the world around me I was missing. There is so much detail to be enjoyed. Australian birds are even more beautiful than I thought! I put seeds on our outdoor table each morning so I can watch the birds while I sit in the spa. Right now (it’s 7:10am Saturday morning) there are two rosellas and a king parrot on the table and two more rosellas under the table - all happily cracking seeds. (I just had to come back - 7:28am - two rainbow lorikeets on the table. They are my favourite!) Reading is also comfortable again. I’m loving the glasses!

Tuesday, Jenny and I will journey back into the city for my post-op CT Scan. I am quite sure they will discover that I am healing very well. So far I have been very blessed. There have been no complications with my surgery or healing. Thank goodness for great doctors, nurses, family and friends. Thanks again for all your thoughts, prayers and words of affirmation.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Animal Parade

In first grade I was in an animal parade on a Sunday afternoon. While my classmates brought dogs, cats, birds, and even rabbits, I had the show stealer—a goose.

“Goose-Goose” wasn’t just any goose—she had a unique passion that took her to the top of the class when it came to animal parades. Goose-Goose was in love with my little red wagon. (Every boy has a little red wagon, right?)

Wherever I pulled my little red wagon Goose-Goose was sure to follow. While other students dragged their humiliated cats around the circuit on leashes or waited for their rabbits to decide to take another hop, Goose-Goose happily continued her love affair with my wagon as I leisurely pulled it along. Waddling unaided a few webbed paces behind the wagon and quacking with gusto, Goose-Goose easily stole the show.
In Isaiah 11:6-8 the prophet tells us about the new earth. It is a place where leopards and goats will nap in each other’s embrace, wolves and lambs will share space, cows and bears will have lunch together (and not at the cow’s expense!), and if you want to see the show stealer, just wait till the children show up!

Isaiah reveals with amazement, “A little child will lead them.” Can you see it? No fences. No leashes. Just kids who are finally allowed to play with the big animals! Can you hear the kids? “Mom, Dad, you have to come to the animal parade! All of us kids are in it!”

Snakes will even be fair game for the little ones. Isaiah says, “The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest” (Isaiah 11:8). It doesn’t seem realistic, does it? No wonder the much-loved children’s Sabbath school song says, “Heaven is a wonderful place!”

But while we wait for Jesus to return and take us to His beautiful home, we remain wary of the wild—sin remains. We protect our children with passion and ferocity—they are our precious possession, our righteous responsibility. This is the parents’ charge: “Impress them [the  commandments] on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deuteronomy 6:7). It is our daily plod and plight that reveals both the nature and nurture of God to our children. The example they receive is the God they believe.

And thus it is so hideous that lions, wolves, and snakes abide unabated in our homes and churches. It was such horrors of the wild that caused Jesus to cradle a child close to His heart and say, “If anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matthew 18:6). God is in the business of judgment.

More so, God is in the business of forgiveness. Paul promised, “I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you” (Acts 13:38). Jesus lives (and died) to create new hearts. Through the prophet He demonstrated His passion for new-hearted people: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). If God can make the lion eat straw like an ox, it stands to reason that He can do even greater things with those created in His image.

Perhaps today is the day for you to seek the healing Jesus is offering, or to encourage someone else to do so. Abusing children is not OK. Hiding it doesn’t heal it. Ignoring it damns the offender, devastates the child, and delights the devil.

Parents, a day is coming when your children “will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children’s peace” (Isaiah 54:13). We must do our utmost to protect the children until the trumpet sounds and all people are changed by the brightness of His coming. Then we can be at peace, knowing that our children cannot be harmed.

I am excited about the day my children can walk through the streets of the New Jerusalem pulling a little red wagon. I wonder what peaceful giant will follow them. I can’t wait to watch the animal parade!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Facially Speaking

During my week in hospital the neurosurgeons visited me numerous times. Every time they would ask me to do the same things.

Stick out your tongue. Move it to the left. Move it to the right. Good!
Now close your eyes as tight as you can. Good!
Puff your cheeks out and try not to let any air out. Good!
Smile. Show me you teeth and smile. Good!
Can you hear this? (rubbing thumb and finger by right ear) Good!
Can you hear this? (rubbing thumb and finger by left ear) Didn’t think so.

Then they would ask me the same questions.

Are you having any trouble swallowing?
Do you hear anything in your left ear? What do you hear?
Are you having any dryness in your left eye?
Does the left side of your face have any numbness?
Do you have any trouble controlling the left side of your face?

They were so very impressed with me. I was glad I was able to make them happy.
Then they told me something. They said it every time after the tests. “Over the next few weeks and months things will change. You will most likely experience some if not all of these things. Your nerves are finding their way back to normal. Don’t worry. Things will stabilize in time. Please rest. Try not to do anything for at least six weeks.”

Amazingly, in the last week, many of the things they tested for have started happening. Right now I can’t puff my cheeks without loosing all the air through my left side. My smile is unbalanced. My left eye is dry - I’m using fake tear drops often. My left eye doesn’t like to blink! Closing my eyes tight is not easy and doesn’t look even. My tongue and swallowing are still fine. And I’m still deaf in the left ear (that’s permanent). It is also cool that the numbness is gone. I’ve been able to feel my face since after the surgery.

It is so weird how, at one point in the day, my entire face will work fine. Then an hour later I’ll be slobbering water when I drink or slurring words when I talk. Then I’m back to normal again in an hour or two. My facial nerve is having a heyday. WOO-HOO look at all this room, lets play! 

Of course, I’m looking forward to the day when my face works perfectly. But for now, it’s all very intriguing. I do enjoy the mirror these days!

10 Days at Home

Today I washed my hair for the second time this year. Seventeen days ago, I went into surgery fully expecting them to shave my head. I came out with a nearly intact head of floppy hair and a warning that I was not to wash it until two days after the staples came out. That’s today. And what a glorious day it has been!

 I have thought many times about writing an update but have been waiting for something truly momentously blog-worthy to happen. Today was the day. My head feels so nice. I feel clean. Now for an update on everything that has happened since the last post. 

I just wrote the MRI-ALARM post. That was blog-worthy... don’t know why I haven’t written it before... lol... anyway, here’s the last 10 days, after coming home on Tuesday afternoon, in a nutshell.

For the week after coming home, I moved between the couch, the bed, the spa, the lawn-chair and the toilet. Each of these resting points served their purpose well. In the hospital I was always propped up (the bed was motorized) so that my head was much higher than my feet. This kept my head from thumping. When I arrived home, I quickly realised that I wasn’t going to be laying down flat for awhile. I have yet to sleep laying down. The two most comfortable places to sleep are sitting up on the couch and in bed with four pillows carefully placed to sit me up. When I am in the right position, I sleep very well.

I take pain medication every four hours. Sometimes I sleep too long and wake up with an absolutely smashing headache. I guess having your skull drilled into has it’s downsides! In the hospital the nurses arrived every four hours with my meds. At home, I thought I would just take Panadol when my head hurt. Bad idea! Taking Panadol BEFORE my head hurts is much wiser. It didn’t take long to figure that out!

Saturday afternoon I noticed my head-wound was oozing. It had been dry for more than a week. And now it was — ‘flowing’ might be a better word — oozing. We called the nurse hotline and she recommended we go to the doctor. Dad took me to the Maroondah Hospital emergency room and, after a brief (lol) wait, I saw a doctor. He said the wound looked very good. No reddness. No swelling. The oozing was safe and to be expected. The staples were holding. He cleaned and dressed the wound. Then he did two things for me that made the trip to the hospital worth it — VERY worth it. First, he prescribed me a course of anti-infection medicine to make sure everything stayed healthy. Second, he told me Panadol and Nurofen work independently and can be used together or overlapping. You can take 4 lots of 2 panadol a day. And you can take 3 lots of 2 Nurofen every day. I was thrilled. Since that night I take 2 of one, then four hours later 2 of the other. I have had a few times where I’ve gone up to seven hours. The headache is getting less as the days go by.

Wednesday morning I got my staples out. That was amazingly painless. After taking 12 out, the nurse asked if I know how many there were. I said 14 and she said she could only find 12. She cleaned the scabs a bit (the doctor had told her not to clean the scabs away) and found the other two. I’m not sure if it was the staples or the idea of them, but since they have come out the wound hurts less. I used to get stabbing sensation in the wound. Now I don’t. 

So, goodbye staples! Thanks for holding my brains in!

Today, after washing my hair twice and blowdrying the hair and wound (doctors orders!) I got out the electric shaver and made the other side and back of my head match. Now my head looks and feels quite normal. My hair flops quite effectively over the undercut all the way around. You can’t see the wound unless I lift my hair away, or the wind blows. 

It is truly amazing what doctors can do. They’ve gone in, taken the tumour, sewed up the hole and predicted everything that would come afterward... more about that in the next post!


I didn’t go home from hospital as quickly as I thought I would be. The surgeon visited on Monday and said I wouldn’t need an MRI and could go home Tuesday morning. Then, at about 10AM on Tuesday morning a lady arrived at my bed with a wheelchair. 

“I’m here to take you to your MRI.” 

Luckily my nurse was nearby and saw her approach. They chatted and decided, since I was still on the MRI schedule (and the limo had arrived), to call the surgeon. He said if they were still expecting me at MRI, I should go ahead and get it done. So, I hopped (shuffled, actually) into the wheelchair and was pushed to the MRI centre. Once there, I waited for nearly an hour before my turn. I fell asleep sitting in a plastic waiting room chair. They took my wheelchair away once I got down there and I was expected to walk from room to room. My leg was still extremely sore, making walking difficult and my brain was befuddled which made the experience quite taxing. 

There are two stages to a brain MRI. First they do a scan. Then they inject you with a colouring agent and do another scan. This gives them a different kind of picture of your brain. Before they put you in the machine, they put earplugs in. I told the doctor I only needed one, as I was now deaf in the left ear. She laughed and said she would like to protect what was left of the left. Once the earplugs were in and I was in position she inserted my head in the MRI machine. I was so tired that when I had the first scan, I fell asleep. She pulled me out of the machine, which woke me, and injected me with the dye. When she started to put me back in the machine, she stopped. She said something, but i couldn’t hear her. I removed the earplug and she said the weirdest thing.

“They haven’t said we need to evacuate the building." 

Well that's good, I thought. I don't think I could shuffle that far.

“Unfortunately, we can’t run the machine until the fire alarm is off. We have to wait.” 

Fire alarm? I couldn’t hear it. I’m not sure how long I laid there, going in and out of sleepy-land, until she said, “OK, we’ve received the all-clear. Let’s resume the test.” And back in I went for scan two. 

After being picked up by my limo-driver and returned to 10-4-1 it was nearly noon. Jenny and Rachael had arrived to take me home about two minutes after I was wheeled away from my bed. My Dad, who was there when the wheelchair arrived, explained where I had gone and they had a nice long chat.

Finally, just minutes before my lunch was due to arrive, we received permission to leave and made our way down to the parking lot and drove home. 

As we drove down the Eastern Freeway I got an overwhelming hunger. I had missed my mashed-potato, milk, apple juice and salad. I realised we were approaching Ringwood, which meant Salsa's Burritto's were within grasp. Yum. I asked Jenny if she could stop and get me a burrito. She said yes! So, Rachael, Jenny and Dad went to the food court, got lunch, and returned quite quickly. 

At least I think it was quickly, because I was asleep. Then I was eating a burrito as Jenny drove. Then I was home. Then I was in my lounge room. Ahoy, me couch, ahoy.

What a day!

Dave Edgren ~ Story: Teller, Author, Trainer ~

Dave Edgren is passionate about creating a values-based storytelling culture. In his engaging and often hilarious way, Dave’s commitment to literacy and learning combine to provide him as story: teller, author and trainer.

Originally from California, Dave has been entertaining, inspiring and educating children for more than 20 years. Having written 5 children’s books and crafted dozens of stories for performance, Dave’s storytelling is professional and intentional.

Dave also speaks regularly to teachers and parents about his love for story and inspires them to use story as a regular teaching tool at home and in the classroom. Dave is a visitor you will want to invite back until he’s a permanent part of your story!

Current Titles and Topics include:
Giant Boots (Humility, Community, Self Worth)
You are Awesome, We are Amazing (Self Worth, Community)
The Story of the Golden Rule (Interfaith Dialogue, Compassion)
Jimmy and the Black Spot (anti-bullying, well being)
Brave Kwami (Multiculturalism, Inclusion)
Be a Hero not a Zero (Self-Awareness, Confidence)

Dave Says:
We are wired for story. We remember stories. We retell stories. We learn best from stories. Stories are why we are who we are. Storytelling is uniquely human!

I tell stories at every opportunity I get. At Christian schools, I tell Bible and faith-based stories. At public schools, I tell values-based stories. I tell stories to people of all ages at summer camps, churches, youth meetings, camp meetings and more.

I also run storytelling workshops. Most people don't realise they are already a storyteller. Storytelling is easy and great fun! Why not INVITE ME to come tell stories to your crowd or run a storytelling workshop? I'd love to join you!

Story: Teller

Flyer for Christian Storytelling
Flyer to Pin at you local shops
Flyer for Values-based Storytelling

The Hope Chanel came to Australia to film local content. The Union President asked me to prepare a 12 episode series of storytelling for Children. I asked storyteller and magician Brian Boyland to give me a hand and we put together a winner! The entire series is available from me on DVD. Here are ten of my stories from the series.

Week of Prayer: "I Want to See Jesus"  - I often get to visit Christian schools for a week, telling stories every day. I love these opportunities to develop and build upon a theme.
Monday - Micah and the Golden Rule
Tuesday - Malcus and the Justice of Jesus
Wednesday - Mary and the Mercy of Jesus
Thursday - Peter and Humility
Friday - Jesus and Your Story (and mine)
So far, I have used this series at Heritage College (Victoria), Edinbourgh Adventist Primary School (Victoria), Macquarie College (New South Wales), Carmel College (Western Australia), Riverside Adventist School (Western Australia)

Harmony Day - A story-set for public schools about unity in diversity and non-bullying.
Interruptability - A story-set about "STOP. LISTEN. HELP." Two stories about Jesus.
Jesus loves Children - VIDEO - Telling a story in a Pakistan Orphanage - on Skype!
Why I don't do drugs! - This is my personal story of the impact drugs has had on my family.
Telling in the Park  - A trip to Echuca turns into a community storytelling opportunity.
Seeing with God's Eyes - A Story-set (30 minutes) on Compassion

Collection of Eight Books - Read by Dave. Watch and choose a favourite!
Puff the Magic Dragon - Classic Peter, Paul and Mary song presented as a children's book.
The Hungry Caterpillar - My wife made a caterpillar and 5 fruits to use in sharing this book.
Storytelling Session - The Yarra Ranges Council runs a Children's Week each year.

Story: Author

I started writing books when I worked at Signs Publishing Company (2006-2009) as a magazine editor. I was telling stories at lots of camp meetings, churches and schools and was constantly being asked, "Do you have your stories written down? I'd love to read them to my children." So, I decided to give it a go.
Click on the image to be taken to my books at
The Serpent Scroll was a test case. I wrote it, shared it with people and sent it to the various Adventist publishing houses around the world. People loved it, but the only word I got back from publishers was "no thanks" until a year later, Pacific Press Publishing Company decided to publish it and asked me for two more. So, over the next two years I wrote The Lamb Scroll and The Kingdom Scroll. This Adventures in the Bible series is to kids what 28 Stories is to youth - A way to study the Bible that works.  

28 Stories is a Bible discussion and journalling guide for youth. In wanting to study the Bible with my son for Baptism, I could find nothing that was open and dialogue driven enough to allow him to express his faith as we studied together. So, I wrote 28 Stories. The 28 Fundamentals are dealt with through story, personal reflection, personal application and Bible Study. Lots of people love 28 Stories!

The Perfect Lamb was originally a narrative easter sermon I preached at Avondale College when I was a student there. 10 years after preaching it the first time (and a few times inbetween) I decided to write it as a Children's book. The Perfect Lamb is a great way to introduce children and families to the emotive meaning of Jesus on the cross.

Giant Boots was a story I made up one morning to tell (just for fun!) to the classmates of my two sons. They had invited me to their classes to tell a story and I wanted something that taught the same value as a recent performance my youngest son and I had done the previous weekend. Mikey and I sang the song in each class and then I told the story of Giant Boots. It was a hit and so I wrote it!

The NEW Church was my core message when I pastored churches, taught Sabbath School principles or spoke to youth. Nearly everything at church fits in the three categories of Nurture, Evangelism or Worship. The NEW Church is just a simple way to ask yourself, "Am I being an effective Christian today?" The NEW Church is for youth and adults.

Published Writing
UnPublished Writing

Story: Trainer

The Seventh-day Adventist Church General Conference's Center for Secular and Post-Modern Studies invited me to Georgia to film this workshop. It is available online, free to use. Please use it to run workshops in your church!

Each topic is in two sections. First there is 10 minutes of story. Then 10 minutes of theory.

Use the PLAYLIST dropdown menu in the video above to choose one of the topics.
To  fully understand the Story Seat (my story-building and storytelling model) watch them all in order.

Here is a short synopsis of each presentation:
Sermon – Using story in a sermon. Narrative plot building
Small Group – How to use story in a friendship group
Educators - Children’s storytellers in church or SS
Personal Witnessing – The Power of you story
Personal Bible Studies – Guided discussion
Educators – Youth pastors, school teachers, SS teachers

The Bookaburra Project is a early-years literacy initiative in the Yarra Ranges Council where I live. I am on the leadership/training team and am one of their regular Volunteer storytellers. Reading to Children is more important than we can ever quantify. It shapes the world, one story at a time!
Bookaburra Storytime - Helping volunteers have the skills and confidence to read to children.
The Bookaburra Blog - What's happening now in the Yarra Ranges Shire Storytelling Project.

Transitional thinking (for all ages!) - The theory behind me... My books, Storytelling, Sermons...
This is a presentation that I gave to the Adventist Youth Directors of Australia. It explains the power of story in transitioning from one faith stage to the next. It also explains the focus of my ministry.

God's Storytellers - Your call (and mine!) to being a storyteller of God's Epic Narrative. This was a formational moment in my life when I realised the powerful reason why prophecy (and the majority of the Bible) is presented in story form.

A Story Like Jesus  An indepth look at the power of story and call to tell! I preach this as a sermon. The editors at "The Journal" wanted a shorter version, so I rewrote it as two articles.
Listen Then Tell - By listening first, we can tell a story that resonates with our audience
1-2-3 of Planning a Story - The only three things you need to prepare before telling a story
Story Building  - The foundation of my values and faith based storytelling
Story Givers  - Background to why storytelling by parents and mentors is so important
Six Stories of Influence  - Notes from book "Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins"
Storytelling Strategies for Life - Using Storytelling principles in everyday life
Good/Bad Storytelling - Christian Comedian Ken Davis tells a story - let's think about it!
The Big Question - A Conversation with a local reporter clarifies how the Bible speaks thru story.
A Story Like Tory - Parenting is all about the story we live and the stories we tell to our children.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My Writing

 Amazon Authors Page
See my Books on Amazon

Over the years, I have been honoured to have articles and books published.
As I write them, I post them on this blog.

Change Agents (Series)
The Diary of Ash (Series)

Books for Adults


Stories, Articles & Dramas

Occasionally I write articles. Here are the links.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

10-4 Over and Out!

Well, I’ve made it. I’m going home today! (in just an hour or so!)

I still have a few months of recovery. The Neurosurgeon told me, “In laymen's terms, you’ve been kicked in the head. Real hard! It’ll take you six weeks before you should be thinking of getting involved in work, life, etc. Just relax. Be a baby again. You need to heal.” 

I’ll try doc!

I’ve got to tell you about my neurosurgeons. They are real gentlemen. Dr Paul and Dr Simon (oh my, I just saw that when I wrote it down... lol... Paul Simon gave me a new song to sing!) lol ... Anyway, Dr Paul and Dr Simon have come in repeatedly to check on me. They are the two who did the tumour removal. On Sunday, Dr Simon brought his son, 5 year old Henry, to the wards with him. That was one of the best experiences for me. Just to see childhood innocence again. And I got to ask him about his favourite show (Little Einsteins) and have fun with him. It was very cathartic. I love kids! 

Dr Paul and Dr Simon have given me lots of attention and it’s amazing really. They are very busy guys. They come individually to have a chat. Then they come together. They are very happy with how my face is working. I think they like to see me smile. :)

The tumour was enmeshing my facial nerve, hearing nerve and balance nerve. They told me beforehand that you always loose your hearing on that side from this tumour removal because they have to cut the hearing nerve and remove the part the tumour has built itself on. The balance and facial control is what they dont know until after they do the surgery. It can be really bad vertigo for some people - taking weeks or months to learn to walk again without getting dizzy. And it can be facial paralysis for some people - which often comes back after a few days or weeks but sometimes remains, like a stroke, forever. 

My tumour was wrapped around my facial nerve. And they were very careful. That’s why it took so long. Dr Paul and Dr Simon didn’t want me to be paralyzed on the left side of my face. Thanks guys! So, they carefully cut away all but a thin sheath of the tumour around the facial nerve. There’s still a tiny remnant of the tumour in there. They will keep an eye on it with MRI’s every few months. Dr Paul said, “They rarely start growing again. But, we will watch it carefully.”

I can taste with both sides of my tongue again. I can feel all of my face (a lot of the left side has been numb for more than three months). I can feel in my left teeth and gums again. I open my left eye a lot wider than I have in a long time. Pr James, when he visited yesterday, said I look younger. My wife, Jenny, says I don’t look tired. Evidently I looked tired before because my left face was droopy. Well, no more! But, I am very tired! I’ve been kicked in the head! lol

So, everyone here is very happy with me. The Doctors say I can go home. The Physio had me walk up a flight of stairs, walk in a straight line looking left and right and then walk straight looking up high then down low while moving quickly. You go try that. It aint easy.

My balance is great. In my pretesting, they discovered the tumour had already taken my balance signals coming from my left ear. Zero signal was getting through. I was hoping that meant after the surgery I wouldn’t have sudden vertigo because I had been compensating slowly for years as the tumour grew. And, it’s true. That’s what’s happened. My only dizzyness is from being kicked in the head and sleeping on concrete (sore hip). I’m good to go!

See you soon!

Oh, 10-4 has been my ward and room. I’m patient number 1. So, 10-04-01 - over and out!

Monday, January 07, 2013

14 Staples!

Ok, gross post. But it's cool!

Sorry about the oily hair. No soap allowed near the wound for a couple of weeks!

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Nurses - God’s Undercover Agents

There is no way to explain how amazing nurses are. They come in a check on you with regular faithfulness, they ask questions to remind you where you are what day it is and they come every time you press that jolly little button. 

I’m serious. Press it. For whatever. And they come. I have yet hear a nurse say, “Oh get over yourself!” And actually, I’m not talking about myself. I’m doing really well. But Sandra*, in the bed next to me calls out 3 to 4 times an hour when she is awake. She, too, has had brain surgery. And her legs don’t work. So, she cries out for someone to “get my hamstrings for me” or “chuck my hamstrings out the window” or in her less lucid moments, “can you get hamstrings with that?”... And then she repeats herself. The nurse will just have left the room and she will cry out about the same need. And the nurse returns. They all give her the “use the button” spiel but they all come when they hear her call.  

One of my nurses spent some quality time massaging Sandra’s legs and positioning and repositioning her on Friday night. Then she passed through the wall into my room. Aren’t angels the only ones on earth who can pass through walls? I had been listening to her deal with Sandra’s suffering and heard the way she used love and kindness to calm Sandra and help her sleep. As she passed through my room, and asked if I needed anything, I was just overcome with her generous spirit. “You’re amazing.” I said. She tried to pass it off, but I continued, “You can be trained in some things, but what you just did for Sandra was wonderful. You are an amazing person.” She smiled and said, “Thank you. Sleep well.” And I did.

Then there’s Jack. He was a firefighter in the Black Saturday fires nearly four years ago. The nurses come and call his name until he responds when he slips away. He got stranded, ran out of water and shut down emotionally. Then he came good - for a couple of months - then one fireless day he called his wife and said, “I’m on a stump. I don’t know where they’ve gone. But I know they need me. The smoke is so intense.” The hospitals had been put on three-month standby for these firefighters. It’s Post-Tramatic-Stress-Syndrome and it can hit up to 90 days after the traumatic event. He’s been in that fire and out of it for nearly four years now. On my first lucid night - I think it was Thursday - he woke me up when he shouted, “Incoming. Get everyone out!” He was dreaming and flash-backing at the same time. His wife is amazing. She nurses him, usually. But, then he started fitting and that put him in hospital - over 3 months ago. He fitted this morning for a few minutes and spent the rest of the day recovering from it. The nurses were there through it all.

One of my nurses was doing the usual checks on me and I asked her a question. My Dad had just been to a majestic cathedral next door to experience Sunday Mass. As this is not in our faith tradition, he and I were both curious. When he returned he was telling me all about it when the nurse walked in. I said to her, “We’ve never been to mass before, so my Dad was very interested in the experience. What about you? Is Mass something from your faith tradition.” She said, “I was brought up going to Mass. I am Catholic. But I don’t practice anymore.” What makes this so intriguing to me is it took all day for my mind to make the obvious link that I normally would have made instantly. Just before she had come in, My Dad had read this “Good Samaritan Card” that he was handed on the way out of Mass. It was a beautiful description of why that church does all they can to help whomever they can at whatever opportunity they are given. Race aside. Creed aside. Faith aside. They will reach to anyone. Tomorrow I will give “The Good Samaritan” card to that nurse. She hasn’t stopped practicing. She’s just started.

Blessings, people. 

*I’ve changed the names to protect the people in this story. They are just every-day Joe’s and Jill’s like me and you.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

St Vincent’ Saturday – 4:40pm

This is the first day and time that I have enough energy or concentration to get out the laptop after the surgery.

All I can say, is, “Wow! That hurt!” The surgery started Tuesday about 11AM and went for about 9 hours and 3 hours were spent getting me out of deep sleep. By far, the most pain came from my left hip on which they had me laying for the entire surgery. Imagine 9 hours, asleep on one side, on concrete. Then, if you want some subsidiary pain, imagine having your head bolted to a brace that held it in place for the surgery. I was in my bed, in recovery by 11:30 pm and Jenny stayed until 1AM. I cannot imagine what it was like for her to wait so long!

Wednesday, they let me sleep all day. Which is a good thing, because that was all I was doing, anyway! It was so hard to focus when I was awake. I was in a half-way la-la-land. My Dad or my Wife were here every time I opened my eyes. That meant a lot.

I’m coming through it as well as everyone expects. The neurosurgeons have been up a few times to check on me. I was given a CT Scan on Thursday and that came back that there was no bleeding on the brain. Which is great news, to say the least!
I got up yesterday with the physio and went for a short walk. Longer than she expected, evidently! Today, I have walked to the lounge and back, had my catheter out and wandered to the toilet a couple of times. I ate a bit of my tea last night, a bit of my breaky this morning, and a big chunk of my lunch. It isn’t easy! All I want to do is shake my head and send the food away. But I know healing doesn’t happen that way! So, I eat. And, after a bit, it tastes all right.

By far the most meaningful stage on my recovery was when my three kids came in to see me today. That was beautifully special. It took everything in me not to cry while they were here. (I’m crying now). They are so beautiful. I am so richly blessed. They were all so anxious to see me and to tell me how much they missed me. I am so loved. It is truly a wonderful life!

Dave Edgren ~ Story: Teller, Author, Trainer ~

BOOK DAVE NOW! Dave Edgren is passionate about creating a values-based storytelling culture. In his engaging and often hilarious way,...