Yesterday I returned to the small town and met again with the families on the hill. I told the story of Pentecost from Acts 2. This is the second time I've told this story in a story sessions. Last year, when I told it to the family in the big city, it took about 15 minutes to tell and was not retained very well by the listeners.
This time I did not use the quotes of Joel and David in Peter's sermon, but rather referenced them in passing. This gave the sermon and the overall story a better flow. This time it took about 5 minutes to tell. Retention was much better and after going through it together three times, the families on the hill could retell the story well. I do see a need, however to make recordings of these stories on CD so the families can listen to them and have them for themselves.
Our discussion was fair. I try to ask questions that will lead them to see the truthes in the scripture, but I don't want to do it in a way that is manipulative. Even so, we came across the question of baptism in this story. Peter said "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." I had hoped a simple recognition of this would be all it took to begin talking about when and where our group could be baptized. Instead, they all agreed that this didn't apply to them, since they were already baptized as babies and went through confirmation as children.
I asked them to keep thinking about the story and to be open to what God might show them. I may need to tell tell the story of Apollos in Acts 19. Apollos was already baptized by John the Baptist, but was still urged to be baptized in the name of Jesus. This might be a good story to show that believer's baptism is the ultimate baptism that takes the place of all other baptisms. Whatever direction we take with the stories, it's obvious that this is something that will be resolved only with prayer.
After coming down the hill I met with a businessman of the city. He and I have had a friendship for a while, but he is not often open to spiritual truth. He asked me if I'd was winning any souls for Jesus on the hill. I went to his home and told him honestly. "Some people like to hear the stories of God in the scriptures, but they don't put let it change their lives." His wife asked for an example and so I told Acts one and two as a narrative. I then asked them what they thought of the things the early Christians were doing at the end of the story. They replied "We wish there were a church like that one." The conversation got cut short as I nearly missed the bus and had to run.