Book Reviews: Preaching with Storytelling

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Preaching with Storytelling by Jackson Day (Self-published)

book day200This book offers a practical treatment of homiletics, the branch of theology that deals with the preparation and delivery of sermons. Noting more than 70 percent of all Scripture flows through narrative and story, the author emphasizes Jesus told stories almost every time he spoke. Jackson Day encourages the reader to become a storytelling preacher and teacher, based on his strong belief it provides the best form to communicate the gospel.

Following an extensive introduction, Day has written 11 excellent chapters on developing storytelling in sermon and lesson preparation. Often quoting from other books he has written on the subject, Day provides a great variety of practical and helpful information concerning this aspect of homiletics. This discussion provides much help for ministers, as well as Sunday school and Bible teachers.

Organizing his chapters in a unique manner—the way a chef would prepare a wonderful and healthy meal—Day’s ideas are very easy to understand. He obviously has spent a productive lifetime developing this aspect of ministry in pastoral and missionary service. The book includes appendices with a list of biblical stories and miracles in chronological order, as well as an enlightening and helpful listing of Jesus’ miracles. This book reveals storytelling as a method of presenting the gospel in an effective way.

Ed Spann, retired dean

College of Fine Arts

Dallas Baptist University

In Borrowed Houses by Frances Fuller (WestBow Press)

Frances Fuller’s In Borrowed Houses will capture the hearts and minds of readers. She was a Southern Baptist missionary who worked as director of Baptist publications in Lebanon. She and her husband, Wayne, served in the Middle East 30 years—the last 24 in Beirut.

Fuller is a master storyteller. Her skill shines in this abbreviated memoir, which encompasses 1980-1987, at the height of a 15-year civil war in Lebanon.

In Borrowed Houses presents a tapestry of seemingly unrelated stories. Fuller weaves them so seamlessly, readers realize they are looking at life on a day-by-day basis, where everything is inter-related. Meeting a deadline for a curriculum series, or crouching with her husband against an inner wall while mortar shells and bullets are flying. Living through a Syrian occupation and an Israeli invasion, hosting a group of 20-somethings after church on Sunday nights. Breaking bread with Beirut brothers and sisters as their houses are bombarded day after day. The disunity produces the unity. The result is a three-dimensional experience of event, intellectual acquisition and spiritual interpretation.

She was, in her words, on high alert against external danger when the enemy tunneled under the walls and invaded her life. Cancer raged on the inside, while Lebanon was hemorrhaging to death outside. She passed through this valley of death only later to encounter the death of her beloved calling to Lebanon. She and the entire Near East Baptist Mission evacuated at the command of the U.S. State Department. They retreated to a hollow, sterile security in Cyprus.

To know the final outcome, I highly recommend this memoir to anyone who has a heart for the mission of God and those who serve willingly, whether in daily routines or when looking down the barrel of a gun.

The Fullers now live in the foothills of the Sierras in Northern California. In Borrowed Houses will be released early in 2014.

Bill O’Brien

Baptist missionary, missions strategist & professor


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