Illustrations

  • Illustration: Pastoral Care

    J. Michael Shannon
    The news recently carried a story about a Memphis delivery person who probably saved a customer's life. Jean Wilson had ordered pizza every day for three years. We might debate the health ramifications of that; but in this case, her habit alerted people to her condition. For three days, there were no orders from Jean. Susan Guy said her boss told her about the change in habit.
  • Illustration: Mothers

    J. Michael Shannon
    Some years ago, there was a cartoon that pictured a psychologist talking to a mother.
  • Illustration: Mothers

    J. Michael Shannon
    One child said to another, "I'm really worried. My mom works all day, comes home to make us supper, then she cleans the house and washes the clothes."
  • Illustration: Materialism

    J. Michael Shannon
    The eminently quotable G.K. Chesterton had good insights on the subject of money.
  • Illustration: Marriage

    J. Michael Shannon
    A recent survey from the Pew Research Center, reported by USA Today, gives insight into the current view of marriage. According to the survey of approximately 2,700 people, 39 percent said marriage is becoming obsolete.
  • Illustration: God

    J. Michael Shannon
    Unfortunately Edwin Booth is known primarily as the brother of John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of Abraham Lincoln. Booth was a celebrated Shakespearean actor.
  • Illustration: God

    J. Michael Shannon
    Sir Ernest Shackleton became a folk hero because of his expeditions to Antarctica. He once described his journeys this way:
  • Illustration: Generosity

    J. Michael Shannon
    Wayne Dyer, motivational speaker and writer, likes to tell an ancient story about a woman who finds a valuable stone in a river. She places the stone in a bag. Later a traveler comes to the woman and asks for something to eat. While she is reaching in the bag for a crust of bread, the traveler sees the valuable stone. He asks her to give him the stone. She readily does so and throws in some bread, as well.
  • Illustration: Encouragement

    J. Michael Shannon
    Randall Richardson decided to change his ways radically. He never had been an affectionate person, so his 2010 New Year's resolution was to hug 1,000 people.
  • Illustration: Dangers

    Upon entering a little country store, the stranger noticed a sign saying "DANGER! BEWARE OF DOG!" posted on the glass door. Inside, he noticed a harmless old hound dog asleep on the floor near the cash register.
  • Illustration: Promises, Salvation

    F. Duane Lindsey writes, “When Crowfoot, the great chief of the Blackfoot confederacy in southern Alberta, gave the Canadian Pacific Railroad permission to cross the Blackfoot land from Medicine Hat to Calgary, he was given in return a lifetime railroad pass."
  • Illustration: Language

    We take English for granted; but if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write, but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?
  • Illustration: Easter

    An old legend tells of a parish priest who found a branch of a thorn tree twisted around so that it resembled a crown of thorns. Thinking it a symbol of the crucifixion of Christ, he took it to his chapel and placed it on the altar on Good Friday.
  • Illustration: Courage

    J. Michael Shannon
    The inimitable Dr. Seuss in his book, I Had Trouble Getting to Solla Sellew, wrote these simple words that can give us courage:
  • Illustration: Keeping Watch

    The crowded cafeteria sported a large sign reading: "Watch Your Hat and Overcoat."
  • Illustration: Easter, Cross

    In a church marketing newsletter just a few years ago, a campaign was suggested to attract people to church during the season of Easter. In this public relations campaign, it was suggested the cross be removed from the altar. According to the author, a survey has revealed the cross is one of those symbols the new generation of churchgoers considered too churchy. One pastor interviewed for the campaign gave his wholehearted endorsement. “We are going to attempt to concentrate on the resurrection, and not the death of Jesus.”
  • Illustration: Easter, Resurrection

    In his day, Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin was one of the most powerful men on earth. Bukharin was a Russian Communist leader who took part in the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, was editor of the Soviet newspaper Pravda and was a member of the Politburo. His works on economics and political science were big sellers.
  • Illustration: Heaven

    The pastor was speaking to the children’s Sunday School class, and asked them: Who wants to go to heaven? All the children raised their hands except one little boy.
  • Illustration: Prayer, Faith

    A pastor had a little kitten stuck up in a tree, and the kitty would not come down. The tree was not sturdy enough to climb, so the pastor decided that if he tied a rope to his car and drove until the tree bent down, he could then reach up and get the kitten. As he moved just a little too far, the rope broke. The tree snapped upright and the kitten instantly sailed through the air and out of sight.
  • Illustration: Easter

    Don Aycock tells the story of Menelik II, who was the Emperor of Ethiopia from 1889 until 1913: “News of a successful new means of dispatching criminals reached him. The news was about a device known as an electric chair. The Emperor eagerly ordered one for his country. Unfortunately, no one bothered to warn him that it never would work because Ethiopia at that time had no electricity."