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Sermon illustrations aid understanding

ADVERSITY -- Can overcome
As William Malick notes, Winston Churchill had an overwhelming desire to influence the political life of Britain. Yet his unwillingness to compromise led to his resignation from the government in 1931 and a decade of deliberate exclusion from the reins of power.
"During that decade Churchill did not sit idly and bemoan his fate. He used that time to write and publish more than one million words, impacting not only his generation but every succeeding one." (Malick is pastor of Holiday Park Baptist Church, Plum Boro, PA)
BIBLE -- Quotations
"Nobody ever outgrows Scripture; the Book widens and deepens with our years." (Charles H. Spurgeon)
"The Bible is the greatest benefit which the human race has ever experienced." (Immanuel Kant)
"The Bible is God's chart for you to steer by, to keep you from the bottom of the sea, and to show you where the harbour is, and how to reach it without running on the rocks and bars." (Henry Ward Beecher)
"If we would destroy the Christian religion, we must first of all destroy man's belief in the Bible." (Voltaire)
CHILDREN
A mother of three unruly preschoolers was asked whether she'd have children if she had to do it all over again.
"Sure," she responded, "but not the same ones!"
DEATH -- Christ removed power
John A. Huffman tells of a friend whose son is allergic to bee stings -- so intensely that doctors have warned that a single sting could kill him. One day he was horrified to see a bee land on the boy's cheek. Suddenly the bee flew over to land on the father's arm and stung him. Then the bee returned to the boy.
"This time the father had no fear. You know why? He was the one experiencing the pain. He had taken the sting out of the bee and rendered it harmless. Now his son was safe. That is precisely what God has done for you and me. He has taken the sting out of death by removing sin and condemnation." (Huffman is Pastor of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, Newport Beach, CA)
ENEMY -- Must know
At the start of World War I, the British War Ministry dispatched a coded message to officials in a British colony in a remote area of Africa. The message said, "War declared. Arrest all enemy aliens in your district."
They got a prompt reply: "Have arrested ten Germans, six Dutch, four French, two Italians, three Austrians, and an American. Please advise immediately who we're at war with."
FAITH
"God has revealed many truths which He has not explained. We will just have to be content to let Him know some things we do not and take Him at His word." (B. A. Copass)
GOD -- Should be focus
Rabbi Harold Kushner recently observed the way in which human achievement has shifted our focus away from God and toward ourselves. He recalled the words of Samuel Morse when he invented the telegraph in 1844: "What has God wrought?" And he contrasted that with Neil Armstrong's words when he stepped onto the moon's surface in 1969: "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."
JESUS -- Reveals God
Dwight A. Moody, a Pennsylvania pastor, describes the time his family was gathered around the table playing a homemade version of the game "Pictionary." It was Christmas, so they had created some holiday themes and phrases that the players would try to demonstrate through their own drawings.
Dwight's nine-year-old daughter, Sarah, drew the difficult phrase, "Glory to God in the highest." How would you draw "glory" or "highest" or "God"? As Dwight recalls:
"The first two stumped her, but not 'God.' Without a moment's hesitation, she drew a human form -- with face, arms, legs -- and then large hands ... with nail prints. It was Jesus she had drawn to convey to us 'God'."
That's what the Gospel is all about. In Jesus, we are able to see God. (Moody is Pastor of North Park Baptist Church, Allison Park, PA)
MONEY -- Doesn't give meaning
A popular bumper sticker declares: "The one who dies with the most toys wins." Edward Chinn observes:
"Some people die with more 'toys' than other people. So what? Was Howard Hughes a winner? In the last ten years of his life, he lived like a hermit in his Desert Inn Hotel on the Las Vegas strip. Was Aristotle Onassis a winner? Talking about making money, Onassis said, 'The sensible thing would be for me to stop now. But I can't. I have to keep aiming higher and higher -- just for the thrill'." (Edward Chinn is Pastor of All Saints' Church, Philadelphia, PA)
OBEDIENCE
"Obedience must be the struggle and desire of our lives. Obedience, not hard and forced, but ready, loving and spontaneous; the doing of duty, not merely that the duty may be done, but that the soul in doing it may become capable of receiving and uttering God." (Phillips Brooks)
SELF-CONFIDENCE -- Importance of
Carl Wallenda, the famous circus performer, was killed several years ago in a tragic fall from the high wire. His widow reported later that for three months before the accident, all he had been thinking about was falling. He was apparently putting all his energy into not falling instead of into walking the tightrope.
A loss of self-confidence can produce failure and tragedy in any area of life.