Episode 080 – The Power of Story

Key Passage(s): Mark 4:1-2

Jesus knew how to tell a good story. And he leveraged the power of story because he knew it was the most effective strategy for spreading a message. When we understand the power of story, and how Jesus utilized it, we’ll not only better understand his parables, but we’ll also be convinced that we must tell more stories if we want our most significant messages to spread.

Discussion Questions

  • What was your biggest takeaway from the teaching?
  • Knowing more about the power of story, what did this teach you about Jesus’s intentionality when it came to teaching?
  • How have you experienced the power of story in your life? How have stories shaped you?
  • How do you leverage the power of story with your family, at work, with your friends, etc.?
  • Where can you utilize stories more in communicating with others?
  • How will you begin living out the truths of this teaching this week?

For Further Study

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  1. James L. Young September 3, 2019 at 9:43 am - Reply

    I just finished reading your book, “Make Your Mark,” as research for my dissertation, recommended by our son, Lance Young, whom you know. Along with it, I read Philip Yancey;s book, “The Jesus I Never Really Knew,” in which he gives a lot of attention to The Sermon on the Mount.” Jesus did know how to tell a story. He knew, too, that exaggerating His points caused one to realize just how high God’s standards were/are compared to ours, and how important His grace is due to our sinful, imperfect lives. Thanks for sharing your expertise and wisdom on LinkedIn.

    • Brad Gray September 4, 2019 at 4:09 pm - Reply

      You are most welcome, James! And Lance is one outstanding man 🙂

  2. Janet Clark September 3, 2019 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    Wow! That is fascinating to see how the brain actually connects to story telling! When I was involved in deaf ministry, I was introduced to books by Ong; Terry; Willis and Snowden; and Steffen. But thank you for your expertise and your recommendation of books for our own hearing culture, and for showing the power of the story in our daily and business situations. I have forwarded this video to others.

    • Brad Gray September 4, 2019 at 4:08 pm - Reply

      Really appreciate you sharing this teaching with others, Janet.

  3. Keith Bandli September 3, 2019 at 9:06 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the information. I totally agree with this and have forgotten the power of story telling. I need to utilize this strategy more with my presentations. Once again, thanks for all your inspiration and motivation. Oh yeah, your book “Make Your Mark” was amazing too by the way!!!

    • Brad Gray September 4, 2019 at 4:08 pm - Reply

      So great to hear, Keith. Thanks for sharing that!

  4. Drew September 4, 2019 at 6:42 am - Reply

    Brad, thanks for these teachings! I’m
    Curious if you’ll tackle Mark 4:10-13, or Mark 4:33-34 in this parable series. I’ve always been a little baffled by these passages, as it seems to read that Jesus spoke these parables to leave people with more questions than answers. And even the disciples don’t seem to understand some of these parables without an explanation. I get this mental picture of people leaving the area after Jesus is done teaching, and being asked by a friend who wasn’t present what Rabbi Jesus spoke of, and them saying “well, I’m not sure what it meant, but he told a lot of unusual, fascinating stories.” — the idea of hearing, but not understanding. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these. =)

    • Brad Gray September 4, 2019 at 4:08 pm - Reply

      Drew, you’re ahead of the game! Well done 🙂 I’ll be tackling Mark 4 and the Parable of the Sower (really Soils) in Episodes 81 and 82 and will be addressing that confusing aspect of Mark 4:10-13.

      • Drew September 10, 2019 at 7:14 am - Reply

        Awesome. Can’t wait!!

  5. Vance Ferrigno September 4, 2019 at 10:29 am - Reply

    Thanks for the great teaching. I had read Story Brand a couple of years ago and understand the importance of using story but I have struggled with how to tie story into a presentation that is largely based on scientific review literature on a specific subject. Any thoughts?

    • Brad Gray September 4, 2019 at 4:06 pm - Reply

      Hi Vance, yes, I do have some thoughts. What benefit does the scientific review literature have on the audience? Why do they care? How does it make their life better? Once you’ve identified that, what story or stories can you tell that helps them to see that benefit in their lives? Or another set of questions … what do you want your audience to do as a result of your presentation? What hurdles would get in the way of them doing it? What stories could you tell that would inspire them to jump those hurdles? The benefit of story is that it moves people. Too often, people give presentations and they never tell their audience what they want them to do with it. Once you’ve helped them to understand what you want them to do, you need to compel them with both logic (rational) and emotion. Story is a great way to combine both.

  6. Imer Santiago September 4, 2019 at 1:58 pm - Reply


    What an inspiring message (again)!

    I am going to forward to a couple of friends of mine who are professional communicators as well. I especially love that we can tell stories in so many contexts, including to our children, when correcting, encouraging, or admonishing them!

    Thank you again for all you do through the Teaching Series!


    Central FL

  7. Sophie September 6, 2019 at 10:28 am - Reply

    Brad, thank you again for your thorough preparation and excellent communication.
    Thank you for the new series Jesus and His parables.
    It is completely fascinating to learn how the brain engages in the process of telling a story : what happens with the speaker and the listener.
    And always thank you for recommending resources like the book about Ted Talks about effective communication that includes good story telling.
    Every one of your teaching episodes is so thoroughly researched and well presented. You are a very engaging teacher, and your work blesses multitudes.
    Blessings on your ministry and team. Sophie

    • Brad Gray September 6, 2019 at 12:45 pm - Reply

      I really appreciate all of your kind comments, Sophie, and I bless God that you find all of the episodes so helpful. Very encouraging to hear!

  8. Jim September 8, 2019 at 9:53 am - Reply

    Hi Brad, Thank you for this clear perspective on why parables. One of our flock said “I just want a single paragraph that explains all about the Kingdom of God”. I was caught a little off guard, and my quick response was “Jesus didn’t explain it that way, and neither will I”. I didn’t mean it to be flippant, rather I was referring to how Jesus taught in parables. So, we have been going through the Kingdom of Heaven / Kingdom of God for the last seven weeks, and we’re not complete. Maybe in twelve? For sure, however, this week we will all be talking about your lesson(s) on the parables

    • Brad Gray September 9, 2019 at 5:28 pm - Reply

      Thank you for sharing this, Jim. You’ve probably seen Episode 069 – The Lord’s Prayer Pt 5 – Heaven Comes Here. If not, I explain the Kingdom of Heaven, and provide a succinct definition that may help that person. You could always give it to them to watch for “homework.”

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