Tales of the Unexpected Handbook

Tales of the Unexpected Handbook

Stories told by Jesus from Luke's Gospel

from 13 reviews

In Tales of the Unexpected you’ll find four simple but startling stories that Jesus told.

Part of the Jesus and You series.

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This straightforward, four-session course is designed to bring the teaching of Jesus to a broad range of people, including those who normally have difficulty accessing the Christian message.

Use the Tales of the Unexpected DVD and booklet to unpack some truly unexpected words of Jesus, and introduce ordinary people to this most amazing man. Presented by Pete Woodcock and Lizzy Smallwood, two experienced Christian communicators.

Watch the trailer for Tales of the Unexpected.

Everyone likes a good story, especially when there’s a surprise at the end.

Jesus is famous for the stories he told. And many people still read and listen to his words today. Why? — because Jesus’ words seem to understand us and explain us. And they open up the way for us to know God.

In Tales of the Unexpected you’ll find four simple but startling stories that Jesus told. You’ll find some surprising things about yourself, about God and about life.

Using a modern, easy-to-understand translation of the Bible, and the accompanying DVD, this straightforward guide will help you understand who Jesus is, why he came, and the difference he can make for people today.

Requires the accompanying DVD.

We're happy to be able to provide two free resources to help you in running and using Tales of the Unexpected - see the links on the left-hand side.

To help with promoting your course, we now have posters and invitations available for you to download. See the 'Extras' section on the top left-hand side of the page.

Product details


  • 1 The rich fool (Luke 12 v 13-21)
    2 The runaway son (Luke 15 v 11-24)
    3 The stay-at-home son (Luke 15 v 11-32)
    4 The Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18 v 9-14)


Contributors Pete Woodcock, Anne Woodcock
ISBN 9781906334727
Format Paperback
Dimensions 148mm x 210mm x 3mm
Weight 0.08 kg
Language English
Pages 48
No. of studies 4
Publisher The Good Book Company
Customer reviews

16 Dec 2019

“Gospel-centred and appropriate!”

(Review written for 'Tales of the Unexpected (Starter Pack)')

This course has been very helpful in an evangelistic toddlers group for parents as an alternative to other longer courses. All of our unchurched mums have really enjoyed 'Tales of the Unexpected'. It's very accessible for non-Christians and I thoroughly recommend it.

21 Oct 2019

“The profound but simple tellingly told.”

A very down to earth exposition of four parables from Luke's Gospel. Relaxed telling but hard hitting just as it just have been when our Lord originally told them. Two 'tellers' for different audiences. Personal testimonies from individuals whose lives had been arrested by Jesus. Work booklets very helpful but sometimes became a little lost as to which page was next to be explored. Highly recommend for simply telling it sit is according to the Word of Life.

7 Dec 2015


(Review written for 'Tales of the Unexpected (Starter Pack)')

This short course is awesome. Unmerited grace and forgiveness seem to be the major stumbling blocks to people really getting to grips with the heart of the gospel. 'Tales of the Unexpected' presents these so clearly though, and the testimonies at the end of each session helpfully drive home what the personal implications of the gospel are. The questions in each session also really help any participant examine their own standing with God.

I've only run the course in a 1-1 setting, but it works well with both the complete newcomer to the Christian faith or the person who has been sitting in the pew for years. My suggestion is to only use the booklets for the leader preparation and then write down your own questions - this will keep it more relational and make it feel less like a 'course'. But you need to follow the logic / structure of each session, otherwise the videos won't work - and they are the highlight.

Highly, highly recommended.

26 Jul 2015

“Excellent group study for short bites of scripture”

(Review written for 'Tales of the Unexpected (Starter Pack)')

We used this this with a group of 20 which included 2 teenagers. The questions allowed everyone - regardless of their Biblical literacy - to work on the same playing field. The short videos were slick, to the point and opened the way for further discussion. The course helped everyone to grow in their understanding of the riches of God's grace.

Highly recommended.

29 Jun 2014

“Simple but powerful in explaining the truth about Jesus”

(Review written for 'Tales of the Unexpected (Starter Pack)')

Bought this on spec to use in our summer bible study group. It worked really well with our men's group and also with one of our cross cultural ladies' groups.
The material is uncomplicated but very powerful. The study sheets are workable and lead the group into the detail of the story and the videos work really well to highlight the issues. Surprisingly found that the studies stayed with me and influenced my thinking. These studies are a great way of getting groups who have just started on their way with leaning about Jesus to get into important details. People who have been walking with Jesus for a long time will also be challenged to re-examine what Jesus says about a lot of our every day lifestyle choices.

25 Oct 2012

“Relevant and real in 2012”

This is a very good resource to explain the Gospel to interested people.
We used it with a group of about 12 ladies as a follow up to Walk For Life.
It is very well presented, easy to follow and challenging. There is a good variety of discussion and listening, with the dvd providing good teaching in a very non threatening way.
Each programme builds upon the previous one and the whole series gels together.
I would certainly use it again and will possibly go on to look at Jesus and You; Close Encounters.
However we did have some problems with the dvd not working. But The Good Book Company were excellent in replacing the copy very quickly.

7 Jun 2011

“Short, challenging and well-presented”

Well-chosen parables, well presented; the challenge of Jesus' words comes across powerfully. The questions in the booklets work well just as they are and each week builds helpfully on what's gone before.

20 people signed up for our first course - many more than normally come to our 'full-length' evangelistic courses. 8 of these continued to a longer course and all of those now want to do more.

We also had difficulty flicking pages to get to the Bible passages but just photocopied these to use with the studies. Would be helpful to have some invitations available for over-printing.

14 Dec 2010

“A great short easy to use course”

This course is great to use with people who are genuinely interested in finding out about Jesus. It is simple, yet thought provoking. I have been using it with people who are relatively academic, and they have been enjoying it. I think it is good for people who cannot commit to a 10 week course like Christianity Explored.

The only thing that I would change would be perhaps to put the Bible passages in a pull out section, such as in the centre of the book. This would make it easier when answering the Bible study questions .

1 Dec 2010

“Excellent simple studies based on parables in Luke”

Fresh, friendly presentations on the DVD, straightforward helpful studies.

This hit the spot as a good introduction to Christianty for some friends who were interested but have short attention spans and are not accademic. (Christiany Explored would've been far too heavy for them)

Good mix of testimonies at the end of each DVD talk are helpful - adds to the life-example story approach.

As this series is based on parables the cross is not prominent in the way you would normally choose for a gospel outline series.

Small point, but tudy booklet is arranged such that you end up flicking back and forward from passage to questions (passage is included within booklet).

2 Sep 2010

“Excellent gospel material”

This is the most focussed and challenging of all the courses available on what true Christianity is (including Christianity Explored, Christianity Explained et al).

The four parables included are excellent material for group discussion. They are both challenging and focussed, and do not waffle around like some other courses.

It just needs to be expanded by an extra week at the beginning on Gen 2&3 to explain the size of the human problem, and an extra week at the end on John 3 to emphasise the point of new life in Christ.

With such a six week course - this is the best, most direct, user-friendly and straightforward material available.

Highly recommended.

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Tales of the Unexpected Handbook | Pete Woodcock, Anne Woodcock |