For All of Us

Like all of us, I’ve noticed the terrible things happening around the world due to racism, politics and religious fundamentalism.

As I watch the racial turmoil in my homeland – the USA – and see vitriol, murder and division caused by the many shades of grey that consider themselves black and white; I see one thing.
As I watch refugees drowning in stateless seas and stranded on islands of (in)convenience; I see one thing.
As I watch people of faith myopically claiming they’re right while others are left for dead; I see one thing.

The one thing I see is me.
Rather than us.
I see the breakdown of community, the fragmenting of family, the loneliness of each of us.

When was the last time you attended a gathering for the sake of the many?
When was the last time you sat in a circle facing those you love?
When was the last time you smiled at a stranger?

So, I’m going to make a commitment – and I invite you to join me – to celebrate the other.

Take a group to a local footy game. Eat lunch with family. Laugh at a child’s joke.
Go to a place where everyone is singing and join the song.
Tell someone pushing a pram how beautiful their baby is.
Buy something at the market made by the person sitting behind the table.
Tell your kids you love them. Then say it again. And again.
Until they laugh. Until they feel the joy they are to you.

Community is the best form of humanity – until it closes its eyes, doors, borders and hearts.
Then it’s the worst.

So, let’s build the world up. Make it stronger. Together, all of us.


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For more parenting pondering, 
see the "Parently" section of this blog.

Dog Attack!

A few years ago, while sitting in a booth representing a company, a young man approached me and said, “Hey Dave, my name is Matt. Can I tell you a story?”

I love a good story, so of course I said, “Yes, please!”

“You came to our church a couple of years ago,” Matt said. “You told the story of The BMW Driver and I remember thinking I could never be like that guy. I get mad easily.”

Matt played rugby and was accustomed to taking his anger out quickly and fiercely. Looking at Matt, who stood nearly 2 metres tall and was built like a brick wall, I cringed at the thought of being on the other team.

“I sell books door to door,” Matt continued. “One door burst open and a huge dog jumped out. It sunk its teeth into my arm, which I had raised to save myself.” Matt pulled up his sleeve, revealing long angry scars on his forearm. “And it raked its claws down my leg, gouging me through my jeans. I heard a boy screaming at the dog and saw him pulling on the dog’s collar. I was so angry!”

“Then something really weird happened,” Matt said. “My eyes met the boy’s eyes. I saw fear and terror on his face. My mind cleared and I had one thought: ‘I want to be the BMW Driver.’ And, Dave, it worked! I stopped worrying about myself and helped the boy wrestle the dog into the back yard. We called the ambulance and talked while we waited. The dog belonged to the boy’s recently deceased uncle. It was all they had left of his dad’s brother.”

Matt shook his head. “I still don’t understand what happened. That story about the BMW Driver just popped back in my mind and took over. I became just like him.”

And that, my friends, is the power of story.

Keep changing the world, one story at a time!

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For more parenting pondering, 
see the "Parently" section of this blog.

The Kingdom of God - Group Study Guide

Icebreaker
What is your favourite place you have ever lived? Why?
What is your favourite person you have ever worked for? Why?
Reign VS Realm – Which best describes the Kingdom of God, for you:
              God’s Realm – the best place to live
              God’s Reign – the best leader to follow
When it comes to spiritual things, are you more interested in the Kingdom or the King?
 - What difference does this make in the way you live your life?
Where is God’s Kingdom? Luke 17:20-21
 - What is Jesus saying about the Kingdom of God, to these Pharisees?
 - How are you challenged by these words of Jesus?

Group Time
Let’s spend some time in groups looking at what happens when the Kingdom of God is in our midst.

From Dothan to Samaria – 2 Kings 6:8-23
Q. What was the purpose of the journey in this story?
Q. What impact do you think it had on the target audience?
Q. What does this story teach us about God’s Kingdom?
Q. How does this story show the Kingdom of God in our midst?

From Jerusalem to Emmaus – Luke 24:13-35
Q. What was the purpose of the journey in this story?
Q. What impact do you think it had on the target audience?
Q. What does this story teach us about God’s Kingdom?
Q. How does this story show the Kingdom of God in our midst?

From Jesus to Every Town – Luke 10:1-12
Q. What was the purpose of the journey in this story?
Q. What impact do you think it had on the target audience?
Q. What does this story teach us about God’s Kingdom?
Q. How does this story show the Kingdom of God in our midst?

Review
Have each group report, telling their story and their answers.
What similarities exist in all three stories?
  - a journey, a search, a meal, a blindness, a revealing, a blessing… etc…
What can we learn about the Kingdom of God in our midst from these stories?

Conclusion
Even though it is clear that Jesus taught His Kingdom was a present reality (Luke 11:20, Matthew 12:28, Luke 17:21) what did He say about His Kingdom when confronted by a ruler from this world?  - John 18:36
Why is it so important to understand the difference between the Kingdom of this world and the Jesus’ Kingdom? How does it help us focus our attention?
What did a thief teach us about the journey from the kingdom of this world into the Kingdom of God? Luke 23:42-43

Ultimately, Jesus’ Kingdom is the only thing worth investing in. Daniel 7:13-14
How does this passage give you purpose and hope?

The BMW Driver

Driving with my family, I reached down to adjust the radio.

My wife’s scream brought my eyes back to the road. It happened so quickly and yet took forever. The car in front of me was at a complete stop. I braked, swerved and smashed my Daihatsu Charade into the back-end of a very nice BMW.

It was only then, looking above the BMW, that I saw the red light.

Staring across the front of my crumpled car, I followed the bruised BMW to the side of the road. My three kids were crying in the back. My wife was beside herself beside me. And I was terrified of the angry tirade I was about to receive from the other driver.

Instead, the BMW driver walked to my wife’s window and asked if she was ok. She said she was. Then he looked into the back and asked the kids. They nodded. Then he looked across at me and said, almost serenely, “We should swap details so our insurance companies can sort this out.”

We did.

And I spent the rest of the day thinking, How did he do that and how can I become like him?

Our children learn from us and how we react to things. The BMW driver has been a repeated story in our home. When we encounter things that happen to us – things that just aren’t fair – How can we be like the BMW driver?

*Note: This story took place years ago.
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For more parenting pondering, 
see the "Parently" section of this blog.

Thankful Juice

Somehow, our Friday night family mealtimes had turned into whinge-sessions. The kids were complaining about school, each-other and everything else. It had to stop!

The next Friday, I made a special drink – mixed fruit juice with fizzy lemonade – in a large jug and placed it in the middle of the table. “This,” I said, “is thankful juice.” I began filling their glasses. “You cannot have your first sip until you say something from this week that made you happy – something you are thankful for.”

The kids loved the game and the next Friday they asked if we could have thankful juice again.

It became a family ritual.

One busy Friday, I left the glasses off the table and hoped it would go unnoticed.

“WHERE’S THE THANKFUL JUICE?!?!” my grade 3 daughter asked in dismay. I explained I had forgotten to buy any and was sorry. She stood and told her grade 6 brother to follow her. As they went into the kitchen, I heard her say, “You get the glasses and I’ll get the thankful juice.”

When they returned to the table, glasses were placed in front of each family member. Then a jug of water was placed in the middle of the table, “This is our thankful juice, tonight.” And it was.

Once thankfulness is part of our lives, we don’t let go of it easily.

Gratitude does great things for our self-esteem, our relationships and our general health.

Create a thankfulness tradition in your family, today!


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For more parenting pondering, 
see the "Parently" section of this blog.

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,...