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Illustrations

  • Illustration: Scripture, Illumination

    In his book Primal, Mark Batterson shares this story: “In 1801, Sir David Brewster was awarded an honorary master of arts degree from the University of Edinburgh and was ordained to preach. His first sermon turned into his last sermon. Brewster was so nervous when he got behind the pulpit that he vowed never to do it again. In the words of a colleague, 'It was a pity for the National Church of Scotland, but a good day for science.' Brewster decided to pursue his first love, the science of optics. In 1816, his childlike passion produced an invention that has captured the imagination of children ever since. Brewster called it a kaleidoscope. Containing fragments of colored glass, the kaleidoscope reflects light in an endless variety of colors and patterns.
  • Sermon Illustration about Christmas Gifts

    Here are a few suggestions for special gifts: a firm handshake to a shaky soul, a kind word to a lonely person...
  • Sermon Illustration about Gifts

    "Thanks for the harmonica you gave me for Christmas," Johnny said to his Uncle Rodney the first time he saw him after the holidays. "It's the best Christmas present I ever got."
  • Sermon Illustration about Christmas, Humility

    Maurice A. Fetty
    The story is told of Teddy Roosevelt entertaining guests at his Sagamore Hill estate on Long Island. After a late dinner, he invited his guests outside to walk beneath the brilliant nighttime sky. After a silent, reverent stroll Roosevelt said, "I guess we've been humbled enough now. Let's go inside."
  • Sermon Illustration about Treasures

    J. Michael Shannon
    Two divers found a strange treasure in the River Wear near Durham Cathedral. They found a stash of coins, medals and religious objects. To whom did this treasure belong? They were the possessions of the late Michael Ramsey, former archbishop of Canterbury. This spot in the river was very near where Ramsay served and later retired in 1974.
  • Sermon Illustration about Meaning

    J. Michael Shannon
    Alan Loy McGinnis tells a story about a man who stood on the bank of Lake Michigan in despair. He was 32 years old, a college dropout and financially bankrupt. On the verge of throwing himself into the lake, he looked to the sky and a thought came to him: “You have no right to eliminate yourself. You do not belong to you. You belong to the universe.”
  • Health

    J. Michael Shannon
    Satchel Paige was a baseball legend. His promotion to the major leagues was delayed because of the infamous color barrier. He came to the majors at the age of 42 and pitched in a game when he was 59. Here were his rules for staying young:
  • Decisions

    J. Michael Shannon
    Do you remember the old story about a soldier undergoing basic training? He was consigned to KP duty and given the task of sorting potatoes. There was a mountain of them, and the mess sergeant told him to put all the bad potatoes in one container and all the good ones in the other. The sergeant came back after about two hours and saw the soldier staring at one potato. There was nothing in either container.
  • Concern/Empathy

    J. Michael Shannon
    Far too often, Christians are like the man who met an old friend and asked, “How’s everything with you?” The other man said, “Terrible. You know my wife just died.” The first man said, “Well, it could have been worse.” We cannot be that indifferent. The Spirit of Christ demands that we genuinely feel the hurts of our brothers and sisters and work to alleviate them.
  • Commandments

    J. Michael Shannon
    It has been reported that the Emperor Caligula would write out his decrees in very small letters and post them so high that no one could read them. Still, he enjoyed punishing offenders for breaking those laws.
  • Christmas

    It was Christmas and the judge was in a merry mood as he asked the prisoner, "What are you charged with?" "Doing my Christmas shopping early," replied the defendant.
  • Christmas, Traditions

    In northern Europe, a walk through a winter's forest is a bleak affair—white, stark, cold, lifeless except for occasional boughs of green holly bearing bright red berries. In Medieval times, these boughs were brought inside to brighten the interior of the small houses. As Christianity spread, people noticed that the thorny points of the holly leaves could symbolize our Lord's crown of thorns...
  • Thanksgiving

    Jimmy Gentry
    Thanksgiving by way of daily thanks-living demands that we pray, yes; but it also demands that we "unload" our prayers at the doorsteps of those who are hungry, lonely and just plain without.
  • Thanksgiving

    J. Michael Shannon
    A grandmother was showing her grandchildren one of those pictures of a Pilgrim family going to church on Thanksgiving Day. Thinking she might make a point, she said, “The Pilgrim children really enjoyed going to church with their mothers and fathers and praying to God.” Her youngest grandson looked at her and asked, “So, why is their dad carrying that rifle?”
  • Thanksgiving

    J. Michael Shannon
    A fourth-grader stood up in his public school class, giving a report concerning the origins of the Thanksgiving holiday. Here’s how he began:
  • Resurrection

    J. Michael Shannon
    Some find it impossible to believe in the resurrection of Jesus. Christians find it impossible not to believe in the resurrection of Jesus. If the world's best Man did not survive death, if the world's one perfect Man did not survive the grave, what hope is that for us? "We are of all men most miserable" (1 Cor. 15:19).
  • Preaching

    J. Michael Shannon
    Preachers hear a great number of fascinating comments when they stand at the door after the service. One preacher reported the most unusual compliment he ever received: An old, soft-spoken gentleman came out to greet the preacher after the service and said, “Missed my nap today.” The preacher took it as a compliment. No doubt that is how the man meant it.
  • Love

    J. Michael Shannon
    A lady on television was interviewing a woman who starred for many years on the "Lawrence Welk Show" and asked, “What did you learn from Lawrence Welk?” She replied, “To love the audience.” If we preach from hostility the listeners will sense it. If we preach from love, they will sense it. We don’t have to tell them—they will pick it up in other ways.
  • Conversion

    J. Michael Shannon
    In 1902, a huge volcano erupted and killed the 30,000 inhabitants of St. Pierre, Martinique. Only one man survived—a condemned prisoner, convicted of murder, who was protected because of the sturdiness of his prison cell. He witnessed the whole calamity and was blinded by the volcanic ash. Government officials evidently thought he had been punished enough and pardoned him. He was so moved by his second chance that he became a Christian missionary.
  • Communion

    J. Michael Shannon
    In his famous autobiography, Seven Storey Mountain, Thomas Merton wrote of the death of Christ and used three little prases: He was sacrificed for us, by us and with us. We understand that it was for us. We never held a hammer or drove a nail, but we know it was by us. Time means nothing to God. Jesus could die because of our sins before we’re even born. The Bible says that when we sin, we do it all over again; we “crucify Him afresh.” What does it mean that He was sacrificed with us? The apostle Paul understood it. He said that by the cross “the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world.”