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DOUG CREAMER COLUMN: Swapping stories

Last weekend we planned to have an author signing at Father and Son Produce Market for our new book, “EncouragingU: Summer Stories.” We had hoped to have the whole gang show up, but life happens and kept a few of the writers away. So David Freeze, Jane Patterson, and I greeted the produce-hunting folks that stopped by to see us.

Doug Creamer writes a religion column for the SNAP.

It is so nice to meet people who follow our writings. When you sit down to write a column you never know who will read it and what impact it will have on the reader. You share a little piece of yourself, hoping that your words find a way to lift someone’s burdens, if only for a few moments.

David seemed to know everyone. He told stories and shared laughs with the customers. Some of the people who stopped didn’t know any of us, but they wanted to find out what we were doing there. Once they heard, some of them bought our book, while others shared their stories with us. It was really special to connect with people.

There were moments when no one was engaging with us, which gave us a chance to talk among ourselves. I didn’t know that David and Jane grew up together. They shared stories of their past with me. They kept me laughing with some of their adventures.

Each of us took time to regale the others with stories from our background. Jane talked about growing up on a farm. David shared tales of his bike trips. My favorite was when he met a grizzly bear and almost became the bear’s lunch. I shared my stories.

The conversation and the stories flowed smoothly among us as the temperature rose. When our time was up I am not sure we were ready for the conversation to end, but we all had other things that needed our attention.

We met some readers. We told some wonderful stories. We sold a few of our books. I considered it a wonderful morning building friendships with David and Jane. My favorite part was the opportunity to swap some stories and to connect with fellow writers.

The gift of storytelling has been around since the dawn of time. It’s one of the tools that Jesus used to teach us. Jesus taught his disciples in parables. Parables are stories with a lesson or moral. I have often wondered why Jesus taught using parables. The more I reflect on it, the more I realize that Jesus wanted His listeners to remember what He taught them. It is hard to forget a good story, and it is easy to retell it.

Jesus wanted his followers and us to remember His spiritual truths. His stories were designed to help us live the victorious life that He promised. If we would apply the principles of His stories to our lives we will overcome and live transformed lives. We know His resurrection Spirit lives within us, and that gives us the power to break free from our past.

Change is not an easy process. Old habits die hard. Jesus’ parables provide us with examples of people who succeeded. These stories should give us the courage to take the steps in our own lives to change and be transformed. Jesus didn’t offer us a life that was impossible to obtain. His stories illustrate that with a little faith, we, too, can live our lives differently.

With a mustard seed of faith the prodigal can come home. I know that what I sow in my garden is what I am going to reap. Our Father is in heaven and we are His children. We have found the pearl of great price. We have built our house on the solid rock, not the sand. We have found the narrow path and we will continue to ask, seek and knock. We hope that when others look under the leaves of our lives, they will discover the fruit of the Spirit.

I want to encourage you to remember the stories that you have heard since you were a child in church. Those stories hold the power to help you with whatever you are facing in your life right now. Jesus knows everything about you and He loves you. He also knows that if you will stir your faith to believe and apply the principles found in His stories, you will overcome your circumstances and experience His resurrection power in your life. Stories are powerful teaching tools, and when you have experienced your transformation be sure to tell others your story, too.

Doug Creamer has a new book at Amazon: “EncouragingU: Summer Stories.” Contact him at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or doug@dougcreamer.com