Archives For Storyline

(Guest post by Julie McMullen)


We are officially beginning the season of Lent.  At Storyline we join together through daily prayer as a community.  Each week we will have a different leader & some topics we don’t want to miss praying about.  To go along with our times of prayer we will post a weekly theme on the Storyline blog to encourage our prayers. This week’s theme is Preparation.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Read Luke 3:21-22; 4:1-15

Jesus is baptized and immediately goes to the wilderness, fasting for 40 days and 40 nights.  He was led by the Spirit. Luke 4:1 says “he was tempted for 40 days.”  Let’s just think about this for a minute – a desert (which means heat without relief, or maybe scorching days & cold nights), NO FOOD, and frequent meetups with the devil tempting him with desirable things.  This seems like a cruel thing for God & the Spirit to do to Jesus.  The Bible doesn’t include any of his conversations he had with God during that desert time, but we can draw conclusions on the importance of what happened here based on how Jesus responded to Satan & what he was like after this experience.  The tempter comes at him with temptation that includes a hook or a nugget of truth in each one…but Jesus doesn’t take the bait, he responds with a focused answer, with what is really true.  He does not waiver.

After the temptation, Luke 4:14-15 says, “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.  He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.” In the desert, Jesus had removed himself from distractions, given God time and himself.  And God did something…God filled him up & prepared him.  He was “in the power of the Spirit.” He went on to call the disciples, teach, preach the good news of the kingdom, heal every disease and sickness among the people.  I’m in awe of Jesus and this mysterious Spirit.  And I have to say that even though I’m slightly terrified of it, I want this.  I want to live IN THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT, to walk in his confidence, his authority, his freedom, his plan & his love.  I want this kind of life for Storyline, I want this kind of life for all believers, I want this kind of life for all people in God’s creation. And I think the first step is joining Jesus in the desert, giving up distracting things; even giving up some essentials to make space for God, to make space for the Spirit.

So we prepare, we not only make room, but say we want nothing else to fill that space but God.  Father, lead us by your Spirit.  May the Spirit open us up to you in a way that hasn’t happened before.  Prepare us Father.  Those things that we are holding onto for dear life, give us courage to let go, to give them to you,

Questions for thought & prayer…

  • What is cluttering your calendar, life, or mind?
  • What are you holding onto tightly?
  • What will you let go of during this season of Lent?

Vancouver, B.C.

[This is a guest post from Paul McMullen, a new co-worker in the Storyline Community. Paul is a pastor with a missionary’s heart.]

Over a year ago, my family visited a Storyline worship gathering at the beginning of a three-month period of travel and discernment. We’d left our belongings in a 10X15 storage unit sitting a few hundred feet off of Vancouver Harbour. That harbour sits in the shadows of the North Vancouver mountains. As we pulled into the parking lot where Storyline met that Sunday, it was hard not to notice the contrasts between our previous home and our new setting. No mountains in Dallas, for one. No one saying, “Eh,” but plenty of “y’alls!” Returning to the south, part of me felt back home and part of me felt completely disoriented.

We learned at least three lessons in our transition from Vancouver to Dallas.

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When I got into church planting, I wanted to do evangelism differently.

Most of the churches I’ve been a part of had a “believe then belong” paradigm for evangelism. In other words, after a person believes in the gospel and gives their life to Jesus then they can belong to the church – that is, participate in ministry, be a full-fledged member of the community, etc.

Even if this paradigm isn’t voiced in churches, non-Christian newcomers can sense it. One doesn’t fully belong until one becomes a Christian. Which makes sense to a certain degree – it is a Christian community, after all.

Practically speaking, evangelistic Bible studies are the front door of interaction with non-Christians in this paradigm. A couple years ago one Christian participant of Storyline observed all the non-Christians hanging out with us at parties and gatherings and asked me why we didn’t have more Bible studies going on with them. She had grown up in the “believe then belong” paradigm.

I was, however, smitten with an alternative paradigm to evangelism – “belong then believe” – articulated by people like George Hunter, Brian McLaren, Will Willimon and Stanley Hauerwas. Non-Christians come to faith by belonging first to a community of believers – participating in ministry, knowing others deeply and being known deeply – and then discover that in the midst of it all they believe!

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This summer the Storyline House Church I’m part of decided to resurrect “Neighbors Lunch” ministry like we did in the “early days” of Storyline (because we’re so old now).

Storyline’s first Neighbors Lunch in June 2008.

The idea initially came to us from Luke 14, where Jesus says something like: “If you’re going to throw a party, don’t invite your rich friends who can repay you. Instead invite the lame, the crippled and the poor. They can’t pay you back so God will have to be the one to reward you.”

We began to wonder: what if we took Jesus seriously and actually did that? I have found that those who ask this question are typically on the cusp of a transformative experience. That’s certainly been the case for us.

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New Partners in Mission

Charles Kiser —  January 10, 2012 — 2 Comments

Storyline commissioned three Partners in Mission this weekend at our Community Gathering.

Partners in Mission are those who want to make Storyline “their church” by aligning themselves with Storyline’s values (dependence on God; mission; life change; genuine relationships) and practices (mission; confession; devotion; community; generosity).

Partners in Mission prepare for partnership through Storyline DNA (orientation to Storyline) and Lifestyle DNA (a six-week course to equip partners in Storyline’s lifestyle.

What a great way to start the new year!

What does partnership with your community of faith look like?