The Story - Chapter 32 - week beginning 11 September 2023

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11 September, 2023

Chapter 32 is about seeing the place of your story in God's Story.

Its about preparing and beling able to share your story.

(Realistically this may take more than one week to do but feel free to do that. If you meet over the school holidays you can take several weeks to do this.

When it comes to sharing your story, a lot of people, don’t know where to start…

Like the bible… they try and explain everything and end up rambling about events that aren’t helpful.

This might sound something like:

Well I was born in 1932 and I rode my pet dinosaur to school, it was a different era back then you see… and then we moved from timbucktoo to Wangaratta or was it warnambool, now I think of it It might have been woolloongabba…

The hearer quickly loses attention.

Remember everyone’s favorite subject is – themselves! Which means we find it easy to talk a lot about our lives in all their detail… but when it comes to sharing our testimony, we are trying NOT to do that. 

So, if you ever are having a conversation with someone, and they ask you, “why do you go to church?”, or “I have no idea why a person would want to be ‘religious?” Then ask them, directly, “do you mind if I spend 2 – 3 minutes sharing with you my story, in response to your query?”

Most people are happy for you to share your story, as it’s your story – it’s personal. It isn’t threatening. In fact, your story is often the most powerful ‘living’ testimony to Jesus, and as such, is a valuable tool in the kit-bag of sharing faith.

So how do we do that?

The attached guide are notes I took about sharing your testimony. Sometimes this is done in the public setting – like a church – but we want to be able to do this as part of an everyday conversation with whosoever, and so it needs to be easily shared, and relatable.

Remember the goal is to keep it succinct, to the point and include a brief description of the gospel.

The general gist is:

1)    Introduction – something attention grabbing ‘I should have died but…’ you know that feeling when?’

Think of a one line introduction that’s a bit out there… (keep it truthful!)

For example, one of my prison chaplains lived in South Africa and took a photo of Nelson Mandela which was published in the New York times. So he (truthfully) would go around and tell people that he was a published international photographer of head’s of state!

2)    Your life before coming to faith (or maybe, your life coming to faith…)

We don’t want to glorify in the sinfulness of our lives. We want to acknowledge that and share about what life without Jesus is like – the goal here is to make your life ‘relatable’ to the hearer; not putting them down and coming across as judgmental but simply recognizing that you had a need for God’s salvation. It could be something like: 

I found life was incredibly hard work. There is a relentlessness to it – work, houses, kids, politics. I found that I was forever working but I felt like I was not getting ahead – you know? 

I lived for myself. I pursued money and pleasure and ultimately that’s all that mattered to me.

I struggled with confidence and found that I couldn’t deal with people…

The point is not to talk about ‘our issues’ or try and present the gospel as a magic wand that ‘fixes’ everything, but rather to simply share your life experience in a way that is succinct and relatable to the hearer.

3)    The Gospel – explain where you heard the gospel, what it is (this needs to be concise, not the whole 31 weeks of the story!) We also want to include the key-points of the gospel:

I remember hearing about a God who loves me and seemed to answer my question of purpose.


At a church service I heard about a God who loves enemies – not good people – but people who were opposed to God and lived as if He didn’t exist … like I was living – but he loved them so much that his son took their place and that really struck me. No one does that! I discovered that -

·      God created,

·      we had all rebelled,

·      God promised and delivered in Jesus.

·      His death in my place…

·      I had to make a choice to follow him…

4)    What’s changed – I now live as a follower of Jesus (and that’s a good thing!)

Even though it looks like going to church and ‘following rules’, it’s actually all about a relationship with the one who made me, who knows me - where I am free and able to be vulnerable about life and find meaning and purpose…

5)    The challenge / invitation. That’s my story, but what about you? A simple bible verse such as John 3:16, or Romans 10:13 or another Scripture would be helpful to share.

Can I share this one verse with you? “whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved“ (Romans 10:13) All we have to do is ‘repent and accept’.

 God is good and invites us to discover our true meaning and purpose in him. In fact, God so loved the world that he gave …

Take some time now to think through your story following the above guidelines. It might be helpful to spend some time to write this out.

If it takes up more than 1 page, it’s probably too long. Remember our goal is to keep it simple, relatable – so 3 minutes max.

If you think you can keep it to that, take turns sharing your story as part of your small group.

Let people give you feedback – if you’re waffling or drifting down a tangent – don’t be offended! It takes PRACTISE!

And remember – in our small group, we can share in a way that is more intimate and vulnerable. This isn’t about perfection, or who has the ‘better’ story.

Take the time to share with one another (be brave!) and pray for opportunities to share your story.

More From 'Dig in at Home'

The Story Chapter 31 - Week beginning 4 September 2023

Chapter 31: Revelation / The End of Time

Timeless Truth: Jesus wins the ultimate victory; he’s coming soon.

Bible Basis: Revelation 1:1–19, 4:1–11, 5:13–14, 19:11–15, 21:10–18, 21–27, 22:7–14, 16–21

Key Verse: “Look! He is coming with the clouds. Every eye will see him” (Revelation 1:7).

Parent Tips:

Use the Table Talk questions to start a discussion around the dinner table during the week. The Living Faith activity demonstrates how God will separate those who believe in him from those who were never his followers. The Extra Mile has your family watch videos of worship songs based on this chapter of The Story and a video about the importance of telling others about God.

Get the Point:

Preschool: Jesus is coming again. I can live in his kingdom forever.

Elementary: Jesus is coming again. I can live in his kingdom forever.

Middle/High School: Jesus is coming to establish his kingdom. Everyone creature on earth will praise him.

Table Talk


- John says the time that all these things will happen “is near,” but that was around 2,000 years ago. Why hasn’t Jesus returned yet?

- It helps to understand that God isn’t bound by time. He’s infinite. Second Peter 3:8 explains it this way: “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years. And a thousand years are like a day.” What would it be like if time didn’t matter?

- Have you ever wanted to go back in time? If you could visit any point in time, where would you go?

- John describes Jesus in a funny way—wool hair, blazing eyes, metal feet, voice like a river and a sword for a tongue. In your own words, describe Jesus. Why do you think John used these words to describe the Savior?

- Take turns as a family describing each other as John might describe you.

- How does it feel to get to the end of The Story and know that God wins?

Note: Young readers will enjoy “A Dream of Heaven” in the Jesus Storybook Bible on page 342.

Middle/High School

- What do you think Jesus means when he tells John, “I hold the keys of death and Hades”? How has Jesus demonstrated that?

- Jesus warns the churches about their behavior. Look at several of them. Do churches battle these same problems today?

- Church in Ephesus—forgotten first love

- Church in Sardis—live according to what you know about God

- Church in Laodicea—lukewarm; need to live on fire

- Which of the above problems do you deal with the most?

- Now that you’ve completed The Story and know more about God, do you think it’s going to be easier or harder to live for him? Why?

- Are you ready, because Jesus says he’s “coming soon”?

Living Faith

Some scary things happen in this chapter of The Story. Battles are fought. Strange looking creatures appear. God judges everybody and separates those who know him and people who never followed him. The Bible says, “Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will enter the city.” When you pray to accept Jesus into your heart, God’s Lamb writes your name in his book. God knows everybody’s heart, so he can easily separate out his followers.

Do a fun experiment that allows you to separate salt from pepper. You’ll need a paper towel, salt, pepper and a balloon. (If you don’t have a balloon, a comb can work, too.) First, create a small pile of salt and pepper. Make sure they’re well mixed together. Second, blow up the balloon and rub it quickly back and forth against your hair. Rubbing it against a wool sweater works, too. Once you’ve created enough static electricity, move the balloon slowly toward the pile. The pepper should “jump” up and stick to the balloon, while the salt will be left behind. Try the same experiment using a comb. Create your pile and salt and pepper, then comb your hair. Put the comb about an inch from the pile and separate out the pepper.

- Is the pepper better than the salt and that’s why it jumps to the comb? (No, the pepper is lighter and more easily attracted.)

- As Christians are we better than people who don’t believe in Jesus? (No, we just followed the Holy Spirit’s prompting and made the decision to follow Jesus.)

- Because God’s judgment day is going to happen, don’t you think it’s super important to share God’s love with everybody?

Extra Mile

Jesus is coming again. It’s a fact! Only those who believe in him will receive eternal life. Those who reject Jesus will suffer forever. The consequences are huge. This video from illusionist Penn Jillette shows the impact that living a real life for Jesus can have on an atheist. It may not be appropriate for every family, but it has a powerful message. Search YouTube for “Penn Jillette gets a Bible” (3:42). Discuss what Jillette says.

- What were some of the things the man did that made Jillette receptive to his gift of a Bible?

- What do you think of Jillette’s question, “How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize [try to convince others about your beliefs]?” Does that change the way you feel about sharing your faith with your friends?

As we conclude, look back with your kids at The Story. What is something they learned during this time that changed their life? What was their favorite part of The Story?


Family Movie Night

Movies are great because they tell a story, much like the narrative of Scripture and the parables that Jesus uses to each his disciples. Often in movies, we can find rich plots, interesting characters, and complex moral dilemmas and in those things, we can often find just the right opportunity to share with our kids how we can live out our faith or how God can meet our deepest needs. They provide great ways for us to help our kids connect the story of Jesus to their world.

One of the resources attached can be used to start conversations with your family or household about any movie that you watch.

the Other 3 relate specifically to the Cars Movies.


The Story Chapter 30 - Week beginning 28 August 2023

Chapter 30: Paul’s Final Days

Timeless Truth: God’s saving grace is worth more than any earthly suffering.

Bible Basis: Acts 20:22–28, 36–38, 22:22–29, 27:1, 9–41, 28:1–10

Key Verse: “I want to complete the work the Lord Jesus has given me. He wants me to give witness to others about the good news of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24).

Parent Tips:

Use the Table Talk questions to start a discussion around the dinner table during the week. The Living Faith activity has your family put on a sock puppet play, featuring the snake that bit Paul. The Extra Mile encourages your family to watch a music video or read a story on the possible discovery of Paul’s sea anchors.

Get the Point:

Preschool: Paul served God with his whole life. God wants me to serve him, too.

Elementary: Paul served God with his whole life. God wants me to serve him, too.

Middle/High School: God is always with us as we follow him.

Table Talk


- Paul says he doesn’t care if he has to go to prison, he wants to finish the work that God gave him—which is to witness to others about God’s love. What are some ways you can show and tell others about God’s love?

- What kind of job do you want to do when you grow up? How can you serve God in that job?

- The Holy Spirit protected Paul many times, but the Spirit also prompted Paul to go to Jerusalem where he knew he’d be arrested. Who also went to Jerusalem even though he knew he’d be arrested? (Jesus)

- By being arrested, Paul got to share about Jesus with a lot of Romans. Do you think that’s part of why God allowed Paul to be arrested?

- Can you always see how God’s plans are going to turn out? Do think God usually shows you his plan one step at a time?

Middle/High School

- Paul is clear that salvation is a gift from God—nothing that’s deserved or can be earned. Since the Bible is so clear, why do people still believe they’ll go to heaven because of their good works?

- Why is it easy to get caught up comparing yourself with other people, instead of to God’s standard?

- Paul writes that “all Scripture is God-breathed.” What does that mean?

- God’s Word is powerful and useful. Paul mentions four specific things where the Bible is helpful (2 Timothy 3:16). Look at each one:

- How is the Bible helpful in teaching?

- How does the Bible rebuke us?

- In what ways can the Bible correct us?

- Why is training in righteousness important?

- Think of verses where the Bible teaches, rebukes, corrects and trains.

Living Faith

Paul’s shipwreck on Malta is one of the most exciting stories in the Bible. As soon as everybody is safely on land, Paul goes to gather firewood and is bitten by a poisonous snake. Paul shakes the snake into the fire as the Maltese people wait for him to swell up and drop dead. But God saves him, and Paul’s able to share about Jesus Christ and see many people come to faith over the next three months.

Put on a family play by creating a snake puppet from an old sock and two buttons. Sew on the buttons for eyes. If you have any red felt or material, cut out a small piece in a forked shape and sew it on as a tongue. You can create two snakes, have the snake talking to Paul or do a snake monologue. Read Acts 27:13-28:10 for background. Ad lib your lines for the play by using one of these ideas:

- Have two snakes talking to each other. One snake is kind of singed since it just bit Paul and was thrown into a fire. This snake is upset because Satan (who once took the form of a serpent) told him to go bite Paul, but nothing happened. In fact, not only is Paul OK, but the islanders think he’s a god and want Paul to tell them about Jesus. The snake is bummed because Satan’s plan isn’t working out. The two snakes get more and more agitated because God’s power always seems to defeat Satan’s plan.

- Snake talking to Paul after biting him. Snake is confused because Paul’s not dying. The snake says stuff like, “I put the poison in you, right?” Paul can explain that God is more powerful than any poison. Paul can explain God’s purpose for life. In the end, Paul casts the snake into the fire.

- Snake monologue. Have the snake give all the details of the day. Again, the snake is singed after escaping from the fire. He retells watching 276 people wash up on the beach and start to build a fire, how he bit Paul, how Paul didn’t die, how Paul was taken to the chief official of the island and healed his father. The snake is amazed at God’s power shown through Paul.

Have family members take turns playing different parts.

Extra Mile

God can use anything in life for his glory. Sometimes we cannot see the complete picture. This week play Tag-Team Drawings. Each member of the family sits at the table with his or her own colored marker and a piece of paper. At "Go," everyone has 30 seconds to begin a drawing.

When the time is up, everyone moves clockwise to the next paper, gives it a quarter turn, and has 30 seconds to continue the drawing. Continue in this manner, with the paper being given a quarter turn by each new artist, until everyone has added to each drawing.

Talk about the following questions as a family:

- Did you know how the picture was going to turn out when you first started drawing?

- Do we know how things turn out when things go bad? How can we trust during those situations?

- Talk about a time in your life that God used something bad for good.