“I think the God who made our brains knows how they work and knew that stories would be a great way to teach spiritual lessons,” says Adventist Record editor Jarrod Stackelroth, commenting on the parables of Jesus—and the focus of a new book published by Signs Publishing and Adventist Record. Living Kingdom features 27 chapters reflecting on these parables, with each of these chapters written by (mostly) younger writers from across the South Pacific.
“The parables are so interesting and practical,” Mr Stackelroth adds. “There is much hidden wisdom within them.”
With their distinctive original artwork by former assistant editor Maryellen Hacko, Adventist Record readers will have noticed the “Living Kingdom” series in the magazine over the past 18 months. Like the previous Living 28 collection, this new book compiles the series of articles in a single volume, with added questions for personal reflection or use in small groups, youth groups and classrooms.
Mr Stackelroth acknowledges that many of the stories Jesus told have become so well know that they have become clichés—but this was the key challenge he put to each of the contributors. “We challenged our authors to try to forget the clichéd versions and rediscover the parables for themselves in a new and fresh way,” he explains. “I think they’ve done a great job of doing that and I’m hoping that everyone who reads this collection will discover something new and practical in the book.”
And the practical nature of the Jesus’ teaching is something that Mr Stackelroth says he will take away from this project. “One clear message that stood out to me was that Jesus expects us to be ‘doers’ not just ‘hearers,’” he says. “He told the stories, hoping that they would bring out some kind of real-life application. I also learned how important it is to get fresh perspectives on ‘tired’ stories, because seeing a story through fresh eyes brings it new life and new application. God’s Word is dynamic and can always bring life into new generations.”
Living Kingdom was launched as part of the seminars for Adventist bookshop managers and their staff, held via Zoom on May 17 and 18—for Adventist Book Centres in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands—and May 24—with Adventist booksellers in Australia and New Zealand. Mr Stackelroth talked about the new book with the respective bookshop teams, and shared devotional reflections highlighting the power of words and stories.
“Our seminars were opportunities to learn, to share and to hear of the many challenges and opportunities facing Adventist bookshops,” reports Andrew Irvine, general manager of Signs Publishing Company. “Despite COVID, staffing shortages and global distribution challenges, Adventist bookshops reported strong interest in products and resources for nurturing spiritual growth and sharing our message of hope—and it is good to be able to launch and share new books and products with those who will sell them.”Living Kingdom is available now from Adventist bookshops in Australia and New Zealand, or online.