Try out the new BibleStudyTools.com. Click here!

Stories add sparks to sermons

ETHICS - Quotations
"It's discouraging how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit." (Bruce Babbitt)
"There is only one way to achieve happiness on this terrestrial ball / And that is to have either a clear conscience or none at all." (Ogden Nash)
"How is it Congress can pass bills on ethics, which they know nothing about, but can't pass a bill on crime, which they've had tremendous experience with." (Jay Leno)
FAITH
Two rabbits were being chased through the woods by a pack of ferocious foxes. The rabbits dove into a hole. One rabbit cried out, "What will we do?" The other rabbit replied calmly, "We'll just stay in the hole until we outnumber them!"
Robert Kopp adds this insight: "We outnumber all of our problems through faith in Jesus." (Kopp is Pastor of Logans Ferry Presbyterian Church, New Kensington, PA)
GOD'S LOVE
There's a story of our Lord talking to an angel about a man who had lived an especially despicable life. The Lord is about to invite the man into paradise but is interrupted by the angel, who keeps pointing out all of the man's faults.
Finally the angel asks, "Can't you see how vile he is?" And our Lord replies, "I can't see his sins because Jesus is in the way."
As Robert Kopp observes, "That's the good news of Christianity. Our eternal value to God is seen through the filter of Jesus. And through the eyes of God in Jesus, we are loved." (Kopp is Pastor of Logans Ferry Presbyterian Church, New Kensington, PA)
SERVICE - Done for God
An Italian stonemason was putting the finishing touches on a small angelic figure for the top of the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.
"Doesn't it bother you," he was asked, "that after all your work, no one will see it?"
The stonemason replied, "God will see it, and that is enough for me." (from Robert R. Kopp, Pastor, Logans Ferry Presbyterian Church, New Kensington, PA)
SERVICE - How God can use
Doug Nichols relates an experience from his missionary services:
"While serving with Operation Mobilization (O.M.) in India in 1967 I spent several months in a sanitarium with tuberculosis (T.B.). After finally being admitted into the sanitarium, I tried to give tracts to the patients, doctors and nurses, but no one would take them. You could tell they weren't really happy with me, a rich American (to them all Americans were rich), being in a government-free sanitarium. They didn't know that, serving with O.M., I was just as broke as they were!
"I was quite discouraged with being sick, everyone angry at me, not being able to witness because of the language barrier, and no one even bothering to take a tract or Gospel of John. The first few nights, I would wake around 2:00 a.m. coughing. One morning as I was going through my coughing spell, I noticed one of the older, and certainly sicker, patients across the aisle trying to get out of bed. He would sit up on the edge of the bed, try to stand, but because of weakness would fall back into bed. I really didn't understand what was happening or what he was trying to do. He finally fell back into bed exhausted. I then heard him begin to cry softly.
"The next morning I realized what the man was trying to do; he was simply trying to get up and walk to the bathroom! Because of his sickness and extreme weakness he was unable to do this and being so ill he simply went to the toilet in the bed.
"The next morning the stench in our ward was awful. Most of the other patients yelled insults at the man because of the smell. The nurses were extremely agitated and angry because they had to clean up the mess, and moved him roughly from side to side to take care of the problem. One of the nurses in her anger even slapped him. The man, terribly embarrassed, just curled up into a ball and wept.
"The next night, also around 2:00 a.m., I again woke coughing. I noticed the man across the aisle sit up to again try to make his way to the washroom. However, still being so weak, he fell back whimpering as the night before. I'm just like most of you. I don't like bad smells. I didn't want to become involved -- I was sick myself. But before I realized what had happened, not knowing why I did it, I got out of my bed and went over to the old man. He was still crying and did not hear me approach. As I reached down and touched his shoulder, his eyes opened with a fearful questioning look. I simply smiled, put my arm under his head and neck, and my other arm under his legs, and picked him up.
"Even though I was sick and weak, I was certainly stronger than him. He was extremely light because of his old age and advanced T.B. I walked down the hall to the washroom which was really just a smelly, filthy small room with a hole in the floor. I stood behind him with my arms under his arms, holding him so he could take care of himself. After he finished, I picked him up, and carried him back to his bed. As I began to lay down, with my head next to his, he kissed me on the cheek, smiled, and said something which I suppose was 'thank you.'
"It was amazing what happened the next morning. One of the other patients, whom I didn't know, woke me around 4:00 a.m. with a steaming cup of delicious Indian tea. He then made motions with his hands (he knew no English) indicating he wanted a tract. As the sun came up, some of the other patients began to approach me, motioning that they would also like one of the booklets I had tried to distribute before. Throughout the day people came to me, asking for the Gospel booklets. This included the nurses, the hospital interns, the doctors, until everybody in the hospital had a tract, booklet, or Gospel of John. Over the next several days, many indicated they trusted Christ as Savior as a result of reading the Good News!
"What did it take to reach these people with the Good News of salvation in Christ? It certainly wasn't health. It definitely wasn't the ability to speak their language, or to give an intellectually moving discourse. Health, ability to communicate cross-culturally, and sensitivity to other cultures and peoples are all very important, but what did God use to open their hearts to the Gospel? I simply took an old man to the bathroom. Anyone could have done that!" (Nichols is International Director for Action International Ministries, Bothell, WA)