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  • Illustration: Giving, Excellence

    The Lutheran Witness
    A guest at a hotel was in a hurry to check out when he realized he did not have his briefcase. He went to the bellhop and said, "Would you please hurry to room 1203? I think I left my briefcase there. My limo for the airport leaves in six minutes, so please hurry."
  • Illustration: Talent, Tools

    An amateur photographer was invited to dinner with friends, and he took along a few pictures to show to them. The hostess looked at the photos and commented, "These are very good! You must have a good camera."
  • Illustration: Holy Spirit, Security

    David Jeremiah wrote: "It would be nice to be told, when we leave on a long car trip, something like this: 'I want you to know that you are going to reach your destination safely and on schedule. Regardless of what happens en route--you may get lost, you may encounter a fierce rainstorm, and you may have a flat tire--don't worry. I am here to promise you that you will arrive.
  • Illustration: Revenge

    Little Johnny was in the garden filling in a large hole when his neighbor peered over the fence. Interested in what the youngster was up to, he politely asked, "What'cha doing, Johnny?"
  • Illustration: Leadership

    Coach Vince Lombardi once observed, “One must not hesitate to innovate and change with the times and the varying formations. The leader who stands still is not progressing, and he will not remain a leader for long.”
  • Illustration: Prayer

    “My point is this: One of the best ways to develop your prayer life is to be attentive to the changes and growth that are occurring in your life as a result of prayer. The more you grow, the more you will want to pray.”
  • Illustration: Dependence on God

    Dwight L. Moody told this story: “A minister was one day moving his library upstairs. As he was going up with a load of books, his little boy came in, very anxious to help his father. So his father just told him to go and get an armful, and bring them upstairs. When the father came back, he met the little fellow about half-way up, tugging away at the biggest book in the library. He couldn’t manage to carry it up. It was too big. So he sat down and cried.
  • Illustration: Acceptance, Home

    People often gravitate to where they are accepted. When we were lost, "having no hope and without God in the world" (Eph. 2:12), it was God who "accepted [us] in the Beloved" (Eph. 1:6). Once accepted by Him, we remain because of the riches of grace He bestows upon us.
  • Illustration: Hang in There

    "In many ways, ministry is like golf. It is so difficult to get it right, but every now and again, we do it the way it should be done and gain the confidence to ‘go again.’ So keep swinging and praying. In the end, we will win ‘for the MASTER.' We will reap a harvest if we do not give up! (see Gal. 6:9).”
  • Illustration: Judging Others

    A young couple moves into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside. "That laundry is not very clean," she said. "She doesn't know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap." Her husband looked on, but remained silent.
  • Illustration: Knowledge, Learners

    In the first Men in Black movie, Will Smith (“J”) at first refuses to believe Tommy Lee Jones (“K”) that the earth is playing host to thousands of creatures from other planets. K dismisses J’s “knowledge”:
  • Illustration: Legalism, Self-Righteousness

    John Ortberg
    "All groups of human beings have a tendency to be exclusive; they want to know who is inside and who is out. So they adopt identity markers—visible practices of dress, vocabulary or behavior that serve to distinguish who is inside the group from who is outside. The boundary markers change from century to century, but they all reinforce a false sense of superiority, fed by the intent to exclude others.”
  • Illustration: Expectations, Children

    After school one day, a young first-grade boy was sitting at the kitchen table, eating his afternoon snack, when he blurted out, "Mom, the teacher was asking me today if I have any brothers or sisters who will be coming to school."
  • Illustration: Quality

    There was a long line at the supermarket check-out stand, and the harried clerk had just finished bagging a long order. As the clerk lifted the final bag for the customer, the bottom gave way, sending the contents crashing to the floor.
  • Illustration: Easter, the Cross

    In Peggy Noonan’s book When Character Was King, she tells about a meeting between President George W. Bush and President Vladimir Putin of Russia. It was their first meeting as world leaders and Bush wanted to be sure they connected -- that they looked for depth of soul and character, not simply had a political meeting.
  • Illustration: Pride

    J. Michael Shannon
    Tancredo Neves ran for the presidency of Brazil in the 1980s. He boldly declared that if he got 500,000 votes from his own party, not even God could keep him from being president.
  • Illustration: Praise

    J. Michael Shannon
    The recent disaster in Haiti has produced a number of incredibly sad stories, but there also have been some inspiring ones. The news reported a story of a lady in Haiti who was shouting with joy.
  • Illustration: Peace/Contentment

    J. Michael Shannon
    Tasha Tudor wrote and illustrated more than 75 books. She loved the past and decided to live in another time—in the 1830s. She dressed in antique clothing, wove her own cloth and cooked on a wood stove with 19th century utensils. Previously, she met the followers of the Shaker religion.
  • Illustration: Materialism

    J. Michael Shannon
    It should have been the opportunity of a lifetime for ex-con, Abraham Shakespeare. In 2006, he won $30 million in the Florida lottery. He didn’t think the money would change him. Just three years later, his body was found in the back yard of a friend’s home. While the friend has not been charged with Abraham’s murder, she was charged as an accessory.
  • Illustration: Materialism

    J. Michael Shannon
    Austrian millionaire Karl Rabeder is giving away all of his $4.7-million fortune. He said, “My idea is to have nothing left. Absolutely nothing. Money is counter productive—it prevents happiness to come.”