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Illustrations

  • Salvation

    J. Michael Shannon
    The Ripley’s Believe It Or Not column tells of a woman in England who received a heart transplant in June of 2007. She decided to go and visit her old heart when it was placed on display in London.
  • Pardon

    J. Michael Shannon
    There is a story from the history of Kentucky about a man named Sam Holmes who was in jail for the charge of murder. He was visited by a childhood friend named Lucien Young. Young was a man of bravery who had been honored for rescuing people from a wrecked ship. It was because of Young’s pleading that the governor decided to reconsider the case and gave him a signed pardon for his friend.
  • Legacy

    J. Michael Shannon
    Elias Boudinot was the first president of the American Bible Society and was also the president of the United States Continental Congress in 1783. His gravestone in Burlington, New Jersey, refurbished by modern admirers, says of him, “His death was the triumph of the Christian faith, the consummation of hope, the dawn and pledge of endless felicity.”
  • God

    J. Michael Shannon
    A missionary came up with a great strategy to share the gospel. He would go to a village, sit with the people around the fire and ask, “What has your god done for you?”
  • Giving

    J. Michael Shannon
    Recently the Charlotte Observer carried the story of one church’s unusual beginning for a capital campaign. Instead of taking an offering, Elevation Church gave $40,000 to the congregation to spend on doing good deeds.
  • Courage

    J. Michael Shannon
    Many perhaps remember several poignant quotes from Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. We remember the opening words, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
  • Corrie ten Boom's Immanuel

    When Corrie ten Boom was a little girl, her father used to tuck her into bed at night. He talked and prayed with her, then laid his big hand on her little face. Later, when Corrie was imprisoned in a brutal concentration camp, she would ask God to tuck her in and lay His hand on her face. "That would bring me peace, and I would be able to sleep," Corrie wrote in her book, Each New Day.
  • Worship During Advent

    Worship During Advent Although most of us are familiar with the story of Christ's birth, realizing the wise men (probably many more than three) are a staple of nativity scenes and stories, many of us don't realize they didn't show up in time to see Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in the stable. Rather, they visited the family in a house. It is unclear exactly how long after the birth they arrived, but they had quite a distance to travel, and Herod had all of the male children under age 2 killed shortly after the family fled
  • Sojourning or Resident Among Thistles?

    Since time is of a premium to me right now, I thought I’d pose a question for you.
  • How to Make Humor Funny

    Humor, especially in the pulpit, can be tricky, but often worth the risk in order to connect with your congregation. You can buy books that have all the variations of humor, but there are three broad categories that make something funny.
  • Things to do with Thanksgiving Leftovers

    Things to do with Thanksgiving Leftovers What to do if you're tired of leftover turkey and the trimmings, turkey sandwiches, turkey salad sandwiches, turkey gumbo ...
  • Out of the Mouths of Babes ...

    A newspaper ran a contest asking kids for their profound thoughts (akin to the old “Deep Thoughts” segment on Saturday Night Live). Here are some submissions:
  • Confession

    Jake was dying, and his wife, Becky, was maintaining a candlelight vigil by his side. She held his fragile hand, tears running down her face. Her praying roused him from his slumber. He looked up and his pale lips began to move slightly...
  • Problems, Unintended Consequences

    A little guy is sitting at the bar just staring at his drink for half an hour when this big trouble-making biker steps next to him, grabs his drink and gulps it down in one swig. The poor little guy starts crying...
  • Second Coming, Preparation

    A young lady busied herself getting ready for a blind date. This was not just dinner and a movie; her date had planned dinner at an exclusive downtown restaurant with live music and dancing. Wanting to make a good first impression she had taken the day off work. She cleaned her apartment; she went out that afternoon to have her hair done and get a manicure. When she got home she did her makeup, put on her best dress and was ready for her date’s arrival. His expected arrival came and went, but she continued to wait patiently...
  • Where Does He Get Those Wonderful Sermon Illustrations?

    Joe McKeever
    Where Does He Get Those Wonderful Sermon Illustrations? "I love to preach and teach, but the hardest part for me is finding just the right story or quote to reinforce what I'm teaching..." If that sounds familiar, click here.
  • Evangelism, Purpose

    Josh McDowell explains that, “An executive recruiter, a ‘head-hunter’ who goes out and hires corporation executives for other firms, once told me, ‘When I get an executive that I'm trying to hire for someone else, I like to disarm him. I offer him a drink, take my coat off, then my vest, undo my tie, throw up my feet and talk about baseball, football, family, whatever, until he's all relaxed...
  • Good News, Bad News

    "This house," said the real estate salesman, "has both its good points and its bad points. To show you I'm honest, I'm going to tell you about both. The disadvantages are that there is a chemical plant one block south and a slaughterhouse a block north...
  • Aging

    "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?" (Satchel Paige)
  • Happiness, Consumerism

    Economist Richard Layard believes that although people are getting wealthier and living more comfortably, they’re not getting happier. He argues in Happiness: Lessons from a New Science that a “zero-sum game of competition for money and status has gripped rich societies, and that this rate race is a big source of unhappiness...