Stories like this make a lesson come alive.

Suppose you are teaching on the text,  "But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips." Colossians 3:8 (NIV)

How would you teach it?  Whatever else you do, find some stories. You might use this one:

THERE was a parrot that had a foul mouth. It cursed like a sailor. A lady went into the pet store and fell in love with the parrot. It was cute to look at, even though it had a terrible mouth. The lady figured it would be OK. She would buy it and then train it to talk differently. So she took the parrot home and worked with it. She successfully turned it into a Christian talking parrot. She trained the parrot to say phrases like, "Praise the Lord!" and "Hallelujah!"

One day she forgot to feed the parrot. The parrot was ticked off and went back to his old ways. It started cussing like a sailor. The lady figured she had to teach the parrot a lesson. So she put the parrot in the freezer. After about five or ten minutes, she took the parrot out and asked it, "Have you learned your lesson?"

The parrot said, "Yeeesssss, ma'am." Everything went well for a while; he went back to praising the Lord and saying Christian things.

About four or five months later, the lady forgot to feed the parrot again. He again went back to his old ways. The lady carried him out of the cage and back to the freezer, saying, "I told you, we're not going to have this kind of language in my house!" She put the parrot in but forgot about it. It dawned on her hours later that she'd left her parrot in the freezer. She ran into the kitchen and got the parrot out. When it finally thawed out, the lady asked, "Have you learned your lesson now?"

"Ooooooohhhh, yyyyyeeeeeeee-sssss, maaaaa'am! But can I ask you a question?"

"Yes, what is it?"

"I thought I knew every curse word there was, but I guess that I don't. What words exactly did the turkey say?" -- Tony Evans' Book of Illustrations: Stories, Quotes, and Anecdotes from More than 30 Years of Preaching and Public Speaking.

The secret of good teaching is digging up great stories. It is how Jesus taught. All Jesus did that day was tell stories—a long storytelling afternoon." Matthew 13:34 (MSG)

I spend most of every day writing Good Questions That Have Groups Talking. For answers, I try to find as many stories as I can. Stories make a lesson come alive. Stories connect. Stories change lives.

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