What is a story? Is it simple communication, a way torelay information about an event? Is there more to a story than that? In fact, stories are powerful. They not onlyinspire our imagination, but they also serve as a connection with our past,preserving core events in our history. Stories can create a feeling ofcommunity, bonding people together in a common history. They reveal truths tous that would otherwise remain hidden. Sometimes we cannot grasp a notion until it is revealed in a story. Fromthe story of our birth to our newspaper obituary, stories are the fabric of ourlives. It is no wonder that Jesus taught us using parables,defined in the introduction as "simple translations of the unfathomable word ofGod into human language." Like other stories in our lives, Jesus' parablesoffer humanity hope and enlightenment. Consequently, stories have pervaded ourworship of God, the master storyteller. Through sermons, prayers, and hymns,the grand tale of God's relationship with humanity is retold every Sunday. It is in this spirit that Tales and Prayers for NewLife in Christ is given. Each story, complete with a synopsis, a linkto the liturgical calendar, and a corresponding scripture, offers us a glimpseinto the mystery of life and faith. These stories, including "Angie," "BullpenMud," and "A Vision of Peace," can be used in sermons, small group discussions,or even as a complement to personal prayer and reflection. It is suitable forcongregations, families, friends, and individuals. Let each tale lay down thefoundation on which you create a story of your own. Karl Evans has ministered in several Methodist,Presbyterian, and Lutheran churches in such states as Washington, Oregon,Idaho, Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada. His service has focused on congregationaldevelopment and poverty research. He holds a B.A. from Willamette University(Salem, Oregon), a M.Div. from Emory University (Atlanta, Georgia), and aD.Min. from Drew University (Madison, New Jersey). He currently lives in Oregonwith his wife, Donella, and together they have four children, seven grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.