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7 Stories of Hope: Complete Facilitation Guide

What are the Stories of Hope?

The Stories of Hope are a practical way to respond to those interested in learning more about the gospel, but not yet ready to repent and believe.

Why Are The Stories of Hope Effective?

Each story provides an example to follow in the life of a New Testament individual responding with repentance and belief. In this way, each story offers hope to the hearer who can see an example to obey in their own life.

Let’s look at a Biblical example of this kind of person in the Book of Acts.

Summary of the 7 Stories of Hope in the Bible

TitleSummary
Hope for the Rejected (The Sinful Woman) - Luke 7:36-50A sinful woman, rejected by society, finds hope and redemption when she shows profound love and repentance to Jesus, who forgives her sins and offers acceptance.
Hope for the Non-Religious (Pharisee & Tax Collector) - Luke 18:9-17Through a parable, Jesus teaches that genuine hope comes from humble faith and repentance, not from self-righteousness or religious rituals.
Hope Changes Things (Zacchaeus) - Luke 19:1-10Zacchaeus, a despised tax collector, encounters Jesus, and hope leads to a transformative change in his life as he repents and seeks to make amends for his wrongdoings.
Hope Forgives (Unforgiving Servant) - Matthew 18:21-35A parable about forgiveness, where a servant is forgiven a huge debt but fails to extend the same mercy to others. It emphasizes the importance of forgiving others as God forgives us.
Hope Through Death (Thieves on the Cross) - Luke 23:26-43Even in the face of death, hope is offered to a repentant thief crucified alongside Jesus, who receives the promise of paradise in the afterlife.
Hope Rose from the Dead (Resurrection) - Luke 24:1-20The resurrection of Jesus gives hope to His disciples, who initially grieved but later witness His victory over death, fulfilling the promise of eternal life.
Hope is Waiting for You (Prodigal Son) - Luke 15:11-32A parable of a prodigal son who squanders his inheritance but is warmly welcomed back by his forgiving father, illustrating God's unending hope and love for all who return to Him.
The Stories of Hope are a practical way to respond to those interested in learning more about the gospel, but not yet ready to repent and believe.

The Dynamic Responses to the Gospel: Yes, Maybe, and No

In the fascinating accounts of the Book of Acts, we encounter the tireless Apostle Paul as he stood before the diverse assembly in Athens during his second missionary journey, passionately preaching about the resurrection of the dead.

You can read about this exchange in Acts 17:32-34.

What followed was a spectrum of responses from the attentive crowd, which can be distilled into three distinct categories: the resounding “yes,” the thoughtful “maybe,” and the firm “no.”

1. Yes Response: A Spark of Belief

As Paul fervently presented the gospel message, some hearts were instantly ignited with a fervent desire for spiritual transformation.

These individuals wholeheartedly embraced the truth and boldly declared, “Yes! We believe!” Enthusiastically, they chose to follow Paul’s teachings, immersing themselves in the profound and life-changing message of Christ’s resurrection.

In doing so, they became fervent advocates of the gospel and dedicated followers of Paul’s mission.

2. Maybe Response: Curiosity and Contemplation

Alongside those who embraced the gospel with unwavering faith, there were others who exhibited a more reflective stance.

Upon hearing Paul’s powerful words, they found themselves intrigued by the profound nature of the message. Rather than dismissing it outright, they expressed a genuine interest in exploring the gospel further.

Like a cautious yellow light at a crossroads, they hesitated, craving deeper understanding and insight. These souls were not quick to dismiss the message, but instead chose to delve deeper into the transformative power of the gospel.

3. No Response: A Decisive Stand

Not every heart in the assembly responded with openness and curiosity.

Some, in stark contrast, hardened their hearts to the gospel message, firmly rejecting the idea of Christ’s resurrection. With expressions of skepticism and dissent, they scorned the proposition, making their stance unequivocal with a resolute “no.”

In their rejection, they demonstrated the diversity of responses that the gospel can elicit.

The Apostle Paul during his second missionary journey as he stood before the diverse assembly in Athens, passionately preaching about the resurrection of the dead.

Identifying “Yellow Lights” Today

Today, as we encounter the message of the gospel, we may find similar patterns of responses among those we share it with:

1. Yes (green light): There will be those who wholeheartedly accept the gospel, experiencing a profound transformation in their lives, and eagerly embracing a life of faith.

2. Maybe (yellow light): Others might exhibit a mix of curiosity and contemplation, taking time to ponder the implications of the gospel and its relevance to their lives.

3. No (red light): Just as in Paul’s time, some individuals will reject the message outright, choosing to remain unmoved by its profound truths.

Practicing Paul’s Approach

In our efforts to share the gospel with others, we would do well to mirror Paul’s approach.

He fearlessly proclaimed the truth while respecting the autonomy of each individual to respond in their own way.

Rather than imposing the gospel on others, he presented it with love and sincerity, leaving room for diverse reactions. Our job, then, is to be prepared with a strategy for how to disciple and respond to these different groups of people.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the responses to the gospel—whether yes, maybe, or no—are as varied today as they were in Paul’s time.

Just as Paul courageously shared the message, let us also be bold in proclaiming the gospel, and be prepared to respond using Stories of Hope to help “yellow light” individuals take a step towards repenting and believing in Jesus.

Our job, then, is to be prepared with a strategy for how to disciple and respond to these different groups of people.

How to Facilitate Stories of Hope

1. Review the material from the previous session.

2. Ask the person to retell you the story in his/her own words. 

3. Determine if it is appropriate to move on to the next story or to stay on the previous story for an additional session. 

4. Remember: We are teaching for their own spiritual discovery while simultaneously training them to be storytellers. 

Homework 

Encourage the person to complete the following before each meeting: 

• Read the applicable story once a day.
• Pray and look for opportunities to share the story each day.
• Tell the story to someone else at least once a day.
• Report back to the trainer within 48 hours about telling the story. 

Seven Stories of Hope (adapted from George Patterson):

Hope for the Rejected: The Woman Weeping at Jesus’ Feet — Luke 7:36–50

Hope for the Non-Religious: Pharisee & Tax Collector — Luke 18:9–17

Hope Changes Things: Zacchaeus — Luke 18:18–30

Hope Forgives: Unforgiving Servant — Matthew 18:21–35

Hope Through Death: Thieves on the Cross — Luke 22:66–23:25

Hope Rose from the Dead: Resurrection — Luke 24:1–20

Hope is Waiting for You: Prodigal Son — Luke 15:11–32

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