Illustrations Add Sparkle To Sermons
COOPERATION - Value of
Did you hear about the two moving men who were struggling with the big crate they found in the doorway? They pushed and worked until both of them were worn out. Finally the man on the outside said, "We might as well give up. We'll never get this thing in."
All at once the man on the inside said, "What do you mean, get it in? I thought we were trying to get it out!"
Sometimes we're just like that: some pushing one way, others pushing another. There's nothing like cooperation to get us working in the same direction and get the job done.
J.R.R. Tolkien was sitting in his study at Oxford correcting a student's thesis. The year was 1926. For some reason, the student had turned in a blank page. When Tolkien came to it, he picked up his pen and wrote on the page, "In a hole in a ground there lived a hobbit," thus launching one of the most remarkable literary careers of our time. On being asked why he did it, Tolkien replied, "It popped into my head."
Creativity is God-like. No amount of technology, no matter how intricate, can produce a single truly creative act. No matter how complex our computers, we remember that they are nothing more than state-of-the art adding machines that can print out only those choices that have been programmed in.
Toy Valentine Light
Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your own way. Pinwheel Pink Pages
DIRECTION - In Life
Little Jimmy was given the class assignment of writing about his origins. He went to his mother and asked: "Where did grandmother come from?" His mother answered: "The stork." He asked his mother where she came from and received the same answer. "Where did I come from?" he asked, and again came the answer: "The stork."
Jimmy went to his room and began to write: "There has not been a natural childbirth in this family for three generations."
We all want to know where we came from — to know our roots. Yet's it's just as important — even more so — to know where we're going.
EVANGELISM - Requires Building Bridges
Richard Cunningham tells of a former student, Palmer Ofuoku, who is now a distinguished preacher in Nigeria. Palmer told of how he became a Christian. Though his family was not Christian, they placed him in a mission school to obtain an education. He attended many years but remained an adherent of traditional religion. He met many missionaries over those years, some the kind who enjoyed a bit of domination over African colleagues. Palmer was not impressed with those. One year a new missionary came to the school who became involved in the lives of the Nigerians. He brought a new quality of relationship, and that missionary led Palmer to Jesus Christ. Palmer later recalled: "He
built a bridge of friendship to me, and Jesus walked across."
Isn't that our call as witnesses of the Gospel — to build bridges to others so that Jesus can walk across?
"Mission to Modern Macedonia"
In his book, Victory in the Valleys of Life, Charles L. Allen tells about 5-year old Johnny who was in the kitchen as his mother made supper. She asked him to go into the pantry and get her a can of tomato soup, but he didn't want to go in alone. "It's dark in there and I'm scared." She asked again, and he persisted. Finally she said, "It's OK - Jesus will be in there with you." Johnny walked hesitantly to the door and slowly opened it. He peeked inside, saw it was dark, and started to leave when all at once an idea came, and he said: "Jesus, if you're in there, would you hand me that can of tomato soup?"
As Allen says, "There are times when it is difficult to understand that 'God is in there.' "
GRACE - Greatness of God's
Phillips Brooks told the story of Alexander the Great, who one day received a friend asking for money. The man asked for ten talents, but Alexander had fifty delivered to him. When the man returned and said that ten would be sufficient, Alexander replied: "Ten are sufficient for you to take, but not for me to give."
So it is with God's grace. God is generous to the utmost extreme, bestowing His grace freely on all who will receive it.
HUNGER - Problem Growing
The crisis of world hunger is almost unfathomable: 200 people die from hunger related problems every day in Ethiopia; 15 million infants and children die every year due to diseases when weakened by malnutrition; 150 million Africans (a third of Africa's total population) may be affected by drought in 1985.
SBC Christian Life Commission
Little do we suspect the influence we have on those around us, like the mother who had taken her young son shopping. After a day in the stores, a clerk handed the little boy a lollipop.
"What do you say?" the mother said to the boy, to which he replied, "Charge it!"
Courier-Journal Sunday Magazine
NEGATIVE ATTITUDE -Destructive
Someone recently observed: Think about the oyster. It takes a grain of sand and turns it into a beautiful pearl. Too often, we are just the opposite — we take pearls and turn them into grains of sand.
PATIENCE - Value of
"Patience serves as a protection against wrongs as clothes do against cold. For if you put on more clothes as the cold increases it will have no power to hurt you. So in like manner you must grow in patience when you meet with great wrongs, and they will then be powerless to vex your mind." Leonardo da Vinci
PRIDE - Makes Us Vulnerable
Did you hear about the clever salesman who closed hundreds of sales with this line: "Let me show you something several of your neighbors said you couldn't afford."
SERVICE - To Others
An unknown author captured eloquently the way in which we so religiously fall short of Christ's demand of service for others:
I was hungry and you formed a
humanities club and discussed
my hunger. I was imprisoned and you crept off
quietly to your chapel and
prayed for my release. I was naked and in your mind you
debated the morality of my
appearance. I was sick and you knelt and
thanked God for your health. I was homeless and you preached
to me of the spiritual shelter of
the love of God. I was lonely and you left me alone
to pray for me. You seem so holy, so close to God.
But I'm still very hungry and
lonely and cold.
We must hear again the words of James: "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only" (1:22).
SUFFERING - Can bring Insight
In his A Spiritual Autobiography, William Barclay recalls the experience of his mother's agonizing death of cancer of the spine. Through the tragedy, he says, he came face to face with theological questions which he never solved. Why should his mother a good woman and otherwise health — be forced to die a painful death like
that, and just as her son was being licensed as a preacher.
He recounted the words of his father: "You'll have a new note in your preaching now." Barclay goes on: "And so I had.. .not the note of one who knew the answers and had solved the problems, but the note of one who now knew what the problems were."
"Among the ancient Greeks, the winner of the race was not the man who crossed the finish line first, but he who crossed it in the least time with his torch still burning; it is a hollow victory to be a "winner" if your torch is burned out by the time you get there." Sydney ]. Harris News America syndicate
YOUTH - Not So Bad
One commentator has observed about youth: "Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in places of exercise. They no longer rise when others enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble their food, and tyrannize their teachers."
A good description of today's youth? Actually, it was written by Socrates, describing the young people of 5th century Greece. Could it be that youth haven't changed all that much after all? A