"Have you written a book?" It's a question I have heard many times, usually asked by someone with obvious eagerness. "No, not really," I answer. "I have co-authored a couple and "ghost-written" another, but so far I have not written a book that includes many of my own stories."

As of October, 2019, that has changed! Storycatcher, a book that includes more than 30 of my favorite stories, is now available! Hopefully it will be the first of several new storybooks you will want to have on your coffee table. I've included many stories in the book that you'll want to read to your children and share with your neighbors.

I also have another reason for writing Storycatcher. I am sad that many preachers today seem compelled to preach sermons that sound like "white papers" written for a university class. Though these may be excellent exegesis of Bible passages, they lack the communication power of well-told stories. Storycatcher begins with a chapter that also appeared in Ministry Magazine, a journal for pastors. This chapter, "Learning to use stories in your ministry," has been designed to serve as a guide and companion for pastors and other leaders who are studying to become better storytellers. I will be using it personally in seminars on narrative preaching.

Internationally-honored Pastor and Storyteller

Richard Duerksen

"His stories make me

love being loved by God!"

About the "Bird" on the cover:

I am a lover of nature, a professional photographer who is enchanted by lions, elephants, hibiscus, rainbows, and birds. Especially birds.

Once upon a time our family lived in Orlando, Florida near Gatorland, one of Florida's original theme parks. Gatorland isn't much for scream-inducing rides or fairy castles, but if you want to see a wild and crazy man wrestle an alligator, this may be your place! Also, from early December through mid April, Gatorland is a rookery for a bazillion birds. Egrets, cormorants, and a dozen different herons nest above the ever-hopeful gators, squawking and battling over territory as their eggs become ugly chicks that slowly transform into spectacular adult birds.

Take, for instance, the Tri-color Herons who nest along the elevated Gatorland walkways. Mom and Dad pile twigs into a nest-like pile. Mom lays the eggs and the pair share "warming" duties. Then, almost overnight, the nest is filled with the ugliest little demanding beasts you'll ever see! Their feathers stick out in errant Mohawks and their voice are so raucous even the gators move by quickly.

One of these young ones graces our cover. A chick who could use a wee bit of transformation!

On the right side of the back cover is a photo of one of the ugly chick's parents. Imagine what he will become. Someday.

When I stood on the wooden walkway photographing "Mr. Ugly" early one morning I thought about how I must appear to God, and whoever else is looking, in my immature ugly sinfulness. Then one of the parents flew in, stirred up the nest, tossed out the trash, and snuggled down with the kids. Before too many more mornings had passed the nest was empty and the Gatorland greenery was home to eight new Tri-color herons. Beautiful herons. Smart herons. Transformed from ugly chicks into masterpieces crafted in the Creator's workshop.

I photographed one of the finest, preening on a twig, and imagined how God must feel while watching maturing Christians transform.

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