Story Session 1: Dan Allender

Dan B. Allender, Ph.D, is a fly fisherman who also serves as president and professor of counseling at Mars Hill Graduate School near Seattle, Washington. He is a therapist in private practice, and a frequent speaker and seminar leader. Dan received his M.Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Michigan State University. He is the author of To Be Told: Know Your Story / Shape Your Future, How Children Raise Parents, and The Healing Path, as well as The Wounded Heart, Bold Love, and Intimate Allies. He and his wife, Rebecca, are the parents of three children.

  • We live in the midst of a constant array of stories
  • Part of the problem with stories, it is hard to know what stories are meant most for you to live in. Which ones are meant to bring before the lives of others.
  • God has given you a very unique story.
  • The question that is asked today, “Is God good?”
  • What does it mean for you act out your unique role in the context of the Gospel, and the drama of the Gospel?
  • How do I act out my unique role in the Gospel, in regards to a very small matter, such as a delayed meal?
  • What is your unique role in living out the story of God on this earth?
  • He tells a story about him in a situation in a gathering of people who are watching him because they know he is a Christian. Someone starts telling an off-color story.
  • As the story came to an end, he knew he had to respond. I asked the guy, “Do you like sex?” By the story alone, you could presume that he loved sex. The guy responded with a surprised, “yeah.” He was not prepared for the question, but he had to say yes.
  • We are to bring people to speak the uncomfortable truthful answer.
  • Our purpose is to bring to bear and mimic the
  • The task is not to offer people the resurrection in our stories. Usually it happens like this, we struggled, but it ends well.
  • The dilemma is that we are to sing praise to God, but we are also to sing Johnny Cash singing about hurt.
  • Can we hold those stories simultaneously?
  • We live our story as if it is sequential. Instead of allowing our story to be told simultaneously.
  • If we can bring both death and life together then we have begun to tell a story that captures the human heart.
  • So I responded, “I like sex too.” But I said, “But sex terrifies me. It is so holy.” “Does your wife bring you something that is both holy and earthly?”
  • So this guy put me on trial, but I had won his respect. This invited him to say his next words, “You’re mad.” I said, “Then you have some idea of what it is that I believe of the character of God.”
  • I told him my role on this earth.
  • Your first stories mark you. Your story of you how you were sexually abused. Your story of how you were bullied in school. Your story of how well or poorly you did in school.
  • We must take into account the stories that have shaped us with death. The stories that have marked us.
  • Part of what we are to bring into our world is the familiarity with death. So that we don’t bring the Gospel into the world as an anecdote of death.
  • Have you blessed the death that is your own?
  • I have to read my own stories, in order to act out the stories that God has called me to.
  • Consider Genesis 16. It is a wild story.
  • There is a very important cruel point from this story. There is violence in every life in this room. You have not been able to escape the fall of the world.
  • Here is a common story. A manipulative, cruel woman, and a passive, cowardly man, and there is an Egyptian woman. God has promised them that he would give them abundance of offspring.
  • Wherever there is good, there will soon come tragedy.
  • Tragedy is inevitable in everyone of our lives. That is the nature of living in a world like ours.
  • The first recorded moment of God showing himself to a woman is Hagar. He asks, “Where are you from?”
  • This is the question of, how has the past helped shape who I am today?
  • The drama is in the present, but the real issue is in the past and the future
  • What did Hagar say? She her name to the Lord. “For I have now seen, the one who sees me.”
  • Your role will come more clearly as you see God.
  • You stories are a gift
  • You must know the name of God. You speak God, and God humbly bears the name that an Egyptian gives him.
  • What is the name that you give God? May it bear the name of how he redeemed, and redeems you.
  • You have no greater gift, than you give the world your stories.
  • It is indeed the context where you say that death does not have the final word. But Christ is risen.
  • Where are you from?
  • Where are you going?
  • Nothing is a greater gift than to know your name for God

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