Archive for April, 2010

What To Do With Loneliness

April 30, 2010

People today will admit any problem—drugs, divorce, alcoholism—but there’s one admission that people are loath to make, whether they’re a star on television or someone who fixes televisions in a repair shop. It’s just too embarrassing. It penetrates too deeply to the core of who they are. People don’t want to admit that they are (sometimes) lonely.

Loneliness is such a humiliating malady that it ought to have its own politically correct euphemism—’relationally challenged’—r its own telethon, anything to make it safer to confess. Because right now it’s a taboo, an affliction of losers and misfits. And to be honest, of respectable people like you and me.

Source: Lee Strobel, God’s Outrageous Claims, p. 118-134.

Rate this Illustration | Find more illustrations

Grace and Boots

April 29, 2010

It seems that one day a kindergarten teacher was helping one of her students put on his cowboy boots? He asked for help, and she could see why. Even with her pulling and him pushing, the little boots still didn’t want to go on. Finally, when the second boot was on, she had worked up a sweat. She almost cried when the little boy said, “Teacher, they’re on the wrong feet.” She looked down and, sure enough, they were.

It wasn’t any easier pulling the boots off than it was putting them on. But she managed to keep her cool as together they worked to get the boots back on—this time on the right feet. And it was only then that he announced, “These aren’t my boots.”

She bit her tongue rather than scream, “Why didn’t you say so?” like she wanted to. And once again, she struggled to help him pull the ill-fitting boots off his little feet. No sooner had they got the boots off then he said, “They’re my brother’s boots. My Mom made me wear ’em today.”

Stifling a scream, she mustered up the grace and courage she had left to wrestle the ill-fitting boots on his feet again. Helping him into his coat, she asked, “Now, where are your mittens?”

To which he replied, “I stuffed ’em in the toes of my boots.”

Contributed by: Ken Kersten

Rate this Illustration | Find more illustrations

Seek First the Kingdom

April 28, 2010

When Whistler was at the height of his artistic career, a wealthy patron purchased one of his pictures on the condition that the artist would accompany him home and help select a spot to hang the picture. Once at his mansion, the man held up the picture first here and then there, each time asking, “How about this? Finally Whistler said, “You are going about this all wrong. What you must do is remove all the furnishings from the room, hang the picture where it will be best displayed, and then arrange the furniture in relationship to the picture.”

Many would like to add God to the furnishings of their lives. What He requires is that He be placed as the focal point of our existence, and only then may we arrange the miscellaneous paraphernalia of our lives. “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matt. 6:33 NLT).

Contributed by: Bobby Scobey

Rate this Illustration | Find more illustrations

Stay and Keep Them

April 27, 2010

A businessman well known for his ruthlessness once announced to writer Mark Twain, “Before I die I mean to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I will climb Mount Sinai and read the 10 Commandments aloud at the top.”

“I have a better idea,” replied Twain. “You could stay in Boston and keep them.”

Source: Moody Bible Institute’s Today in the Word, September, 1991, p. 32.

Rate this Illustration | Find more illustrations

Staying Warm Together

April 26, 2010

In what the news called “The Miracle at Quecreek,” nine miners trapped for three days 240 feet underground in a water-filled mine shaft “decided early on they were either going to live or die as a group.”

The 55 degree (Fahrenheit) water threatened to kill them slowly by hypothermia, so according to one news report “When one would get cold, the other eight would huddle around the person and warm that person, and when another person got cold, the favor was returned.”

“Everybody had strong moments,” miner Harry B. Mayhugh told reporters after being released from Somerset Hospital in Somerset. “But any certain time maybe one guy got down, and then the rest pulled together. And then that guy would get back up, and maybe someone else would feel a little weaker, but it was a team effort. That’s the only way it could have been.”

They faced incredibly hostile conditions together—and they all came out alive together. What a picture of the body of Christ.

SOURCE: Bill White, Paramount, California; Citation: adapted from “Teamwork Helped Miners Survive Underground,” (7-28-02).

Rate this Illustration | Find more illustrations

Pushing the Rock

April 24, 2010

I have been pondering a story of a weak sickly man. The man was so sick and he could not afford going to town to the doctor. The man lived in the deep back woods in an old log cabin, his condition seemed to grow worse.

Out in front of his cabin was a hugh boulder. The rock was massive in front of his place. One night in a very real vision, God told him to go out there and push the huge rock all day long, day after day. The man got up early in the morning, and with great excitement he pushed the rock until lunch, then he rested a while and pushed the rock until supper time. The man loved pushing against the rock, it gave him meaning.

The dream was so real that it was with great excitement he pushed against the rock. Day after day he pushed. Day rolled into week, and week into months, he faithfully pushed against the rock.

After 8 months of pushing the rock, the weak sickly man was getting tired of pushing the rock so much, in his tiredness he started to doubt his dream. So one day he measured from his porch to the rock, and after daily pushing the rock, he would measure to see how much he had moved the rock. After two weeks of pushing and measuring, he realized he had not moved the boulder not a 1/32 of an inch? As a matter of fact, the boulder was in the same place as when he started.

The man was so disappointed, he thought the dream was so special and now after 9 months he saw his work had accomplished nothing, he was tired and his dream seemed dashed upon the rock. The man sat on his porch and cried and cried, he had invested many hundred hours into nothing. Nothing, it was all nothing!

As the sun was sitting in the west, Jesus came and sat down next to the man as he cried. Jesus said, “Son, why are you crying?”

The man replied, “Lord, You know how sick and weak I am, and then this dumb dream gave me a false hope and I have pushed with all that was within me for over 9 months, and that dumb old rock is right where it was when I started.”

Jesus was kind and said to him, “I never told you to move the rock. I told you to push against the rock.”

The man replied, “Yes, Sir, that was the dream.”

Jesus told the man to step in front of the mirror and look at himself. As an act of obedience the man stepped in front of a mirror and looked at himself. The man was amazed, he had been so sickly and weak, and what he saw in the mirror was a strong muscular man. The man realized that he had not been coughing all night. The man started thinking of how well he felt for several months and the strength that he had built by pushing on the rock. Then the man realized, that the plan of God was not for the rock, but for the man.

So, I suggest to you today, that God is building people. God is building churches. The storms, the trials, the heartaches, the disappointments, are all but part of the process. We should never use people to build the church, we must use the church to build people. Don’t start measuring your success, trust the God that will take the process, and build His people. God is stretching you, God is growing you! Understand the plan! Trust His Hands!

Contributed by Wade Hughes, Sr.

Rate this Illustration | Find more illustrations

For Everyone–Communion Meditation

April 23, 2010

James W. Moore of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Houston tells a story about one of his minister friends. His name is Tom, and he does a fascinating thing each month. Even though he has an extremely busy schedule, he still makes the time each month to go down to the homeless shelter in his city to work in their soup kitchen.

After the homeless people have been fed, he then invites them to join him in a service of Holy Communion, and many of them will come with him to the little chapel in the homeless shelter and join in the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. They have shared soup together in the soup kitchen, and then they come to share the bread and the cup together at the altar in the chapel.

One day, Tom had an unforgettable experience in the communion service. As he was moving down the altar serving communion, he came to a man kneeling there who looked like he had been out on the streets for quite some time. The man looked up at Tom and whispered: “Skip me.”

“What? Pardon me?” Tom said.

In a louder whisper, the man said again, “Skip me.”

“Why?” Tom asked.

“Because,” the man said, “I’m not worthy.”

Tom said, “Neither am I.” Then Tom added: “I’ll tell you what. I’m going to serve communion to these other people. Then, I’m going to come back and serve communion to you, and then I would like you to serve it to me.”

The man blinked and said to Tom, “Father, is that legal?”

“Yes, it’s legal; it’s beautiful and that’s
what we are going to do!” Tom answered.

Tom went on down the altar and served all the other people kneeling there. Then he came back to the reluctant man and said, “What’s your name?”

The man said, “Josh.”

Tom placed the elements of the Lord’s Supper before him and said, “Josh, here is the Body of Christ and here is the Blood of Christ given for you. Eat this and drink this in the remembrance that Christ came for you and Christ died for you. Amen.”

Josh blinked back the tears in his eyes and received Holy Communion. Then Tom knelt and handed Josh the trays of bread and wine and said, “Now, you serve me.”

Josh nervously took the trays and again he said, “Father, are you sure this is legal?”

“Yes, it’s legal. Just do it.”

Josh’s eyes were darting from side to side as he looked over this shoulder and then the other. as if he expected (at any moment) the police, the FBI, the CIA or the Pope to come rushing in to arrest him. Finally, he held the trays toward Tom and as Tom received the Sacrament Josh muttered: “Body–Blood–for you. Hang in there!”

Tom said later, “Of all the communion rituals I have ever heard, I don’t recall the words ‘Hang in there’ in any of them. But at that moment for me, Holy Communion had never been more ‘holy.'”

This cup and this bread is for EVERYONE who believes.

Contributed by: Troy Mason

Rate this Illustration | Find more illustrations

I Wish I Could Be Like That

April 22, 2010

It was the Christmas season and Paul had received a special pre-Christmas gift from his brother. It was a beautiful brand new automobile.

On Christmas Eve, when Paul came out of his office, a street kid was walking around the shiny new car, admiring it. When Paul went to get into the car the kid asked him, “Mister, is this your car?”

When Paul replied that it was, and that his brother had given it to him for Christmas, the boy said, “You mean your brother gave it to you, and it didn’t cost you anything? Free, for nothing? Gosh, I wish…”

The boy hesitated, and Paul knew what he was about to say. He had heard it many times over the past few days. He was going to wish he had a brother like that. But what the boy said jarred Paul all the way down to his toes. “I wish…” the boy went on, “…that I could be a brother like that.”

Source: From a sermon by Steven Angus, “A Servant Like That” 1/21/2009

Rate this Illustration | Find more illustrations

There Must Be Life

April 21, 2010

A.W. Tozer: “One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organization do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team. The first requisite is life, always.”

Rate this Illustration | Find more illustrations

Working With Buddy

April 20, 2010

An out-of-towner drove his car into a ditch in a desolated area. Luckily, a local farmer came to help with his big strong horse named Buddy.

He hitched Buddy up to the car and yelled, “Pull, Nellie, pull!” Buddy didn’t move.

Then the farmer hollered, “Pull, Buster, pull!” Buddy didn’t respond.

Once more the farmer commanded, “Pull, Coco, pull!” Nothing.

Then the farmer nonchalantly said, “Pull, Buddy, pull!” And the horse easily dragged the car out of the ditch.

The motorist was most appreciative and very curious. He asked the farmer why he called his horse by the
wrong name three times.

“Well… Buddy is blind and if he thought he was the only one pulling, he wouldn’t even try!”

Contributed by: Donn Anderson

Rate this Illustration | Find more illustrations