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Discipleship Godliness Honouring God Integrity Religions Sermon Illustrations

The Prayer of Arthur Burns

Arthur E Burns was an American economist whose career was spent across academia and government. For most of the 1970s he was the chairman of the United States Federal Reserve. During this time he participated in a prayer group that gathered regularly in the White House. It included politicians and senior officials from across the […]

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Ambition Attitude Calling Compromise Expertise From Little Things Big Things Grow Giftedness Goals Motivation Purpose Sermon Illustrations Spiritual Gifts Vision Vocation

I Want Nothing to Do With It

Yehudi Menuhin, the renowned maestro and violinist, has held audiences all over the world spellbound with his conducting and virtuoso playing. Like many great musicians, his gifts were precocious. He made his violin debut in San Francisco at the age of seven and launched his worldwide career at the age of twelve with a historic […]

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Creation Environment Sermon Illustrations

Olga Huckins Writes a Revolution

In 1958 Olga Owens Huckins penned a letter to The Boston Globe that triggered a revolution. In an effort to control mosquitoes, her property and a large number of others had been sprayed with DDT.  The unforeseen consequence was the death of many birds and  Olga Huckins wrote to the Boston Globe to express her […]

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Climate Change Environment Sermon Illustrations

Two Boats

In 1986 archaeologists discovered a hidden treasure in the mud of the Sea of Galilee, the intact hull of a fishing boat from the time of Jesus. A little over 8 metres long and 2.3 metres wide, it was the type of boat from which James and John fished when Jesus called them. The same […]

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Belonging Community Cruelty Family Fatherhood God's Love Grace Inclusion

Because I’m Yours. The little girl who finally went to Disney World

I never dreamed that taking a child to Disney World could be so difficult — or that such a trip could teach me so much about God’s outrageous grace. Our middle daughter had been previously adopted by another family. I am sure this couple had the best of intentions, but they never quite integrated the […]

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Advocacy Calling Challenges Change Choices Community Compassion Courage Determination Empathy Influence Mission Politics Power

The end of slavery

At the close of the eighteenth century the slave trade was a thriving and very big business. Prominent families held slaves and interests in the slave business, a vast swathe of people depended on slavery for their livelihoods, and public opinion was undisturbed by it. When Clarkson threw in his lot with a small group […]

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Courage Justice Leadership Poor Power

Oscar Romero

On February 23, 1997, a priest named Oscar Romero was installed as Catholic Archbishop of El Salvador. His appointment dismayed a number of his fellow priests and delighted the repressive governing regime. Romero was known as a conservative and both the government and reform minded priests thought he would remain silent on the human rights […]

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Justice

When benevolence becomes an instrument of oppression

In 1976 the philosopher Nicholas Wolterstorff attended a conference in South Africa. The participants included Afrikaner, black and “coloured” theologians from South Africa and scholars from Europe and the US. Apartheid was in full force and the air was filled with tension. The Dutch theologians were furious with the Dutch Reformed Afrikaners for supporting apartheid. […]

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Compassion Hope Justice

We can wait no longer. Martin Luther King’s Letter to White Church Leaders

In 1960, Martin Luther King was imprisoned after leading a civil rights march. His dream seemed a long way off. Criticised by white church leaders, he responded with his famous “Letter from an Alabama Jail”, which included this section: We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The […]

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Evangelism Love Mission Witness

The Power of Love and the Rise of Christianity

Many historians believe that central to the rise of Christianity was the simple fact that Christians generously loved each other and their neighbours. They point out that in the ancient world mercy was widely seen as a character defect that ran counter to justice. Justice demanded people get what they deserved and was seen as […]

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Gratitude Thankfulness

Daily Discipline of Gratitude

In 2008 a young Australian woman, Hailey Bartholomew, found that she wasn’t enjoying life. She described herself as feeling lost and stuck on a treadmill. It was almost inexplicable. She was married to a man she loved and had beautiful children who held her heart. So why was she feeling so down about her life? […]

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Choices Family Fatherhood Priorities

I’d much rather have known my father

George Mallory is the famous mountain climber who died attempting to reach the peak of Mount Everest, and may well have been the first person to reach the peak. But the pursuit of his dream took a toll on his family. In the introduction to the book Last Climb, George’s son John, who is was […]

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Beatitudes Beliefs Character Choices Christ Church Commitment Community Conscience Courage Depending on One Another Determination Discipleship From Little Things Big Things Grow Honesty Hope Influence Integrity Justice Perspective Politics Service Society Wealth Words

One small voice can start a revolution

In 2004 Victor Yushchenko stood for the presidency of the Ukraine. Vehemently opposed by the ruling party Yushchenko’s face was disfigured and he almost lost his life when he was mysteriously poisoned. This was not enough to deter him from standing for the presidency. On the day of the election Yushchenko was comfortably in the […]

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God's Love Gospel - Transformational Power Grace Witness

God’s love and a German soldier

It was 1945, World War II had drawn to a close, and a young man sat broken inside a POW camp. He had been a reluctant soldier in Hitler’s army and here, inside a prison in Scotland, he had months to contemplate what had been and what was to come. The cities of his homeland […]

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Busyness

Busy, very busy

In his book Hamlets Blackberry, William Powers tells the story of a friend from a non-English-speaking background who had migrated to the United States. Whenever he asked her how she was, she would inevitably reply “busy, very busy”. Powers thought this was strange, particularly given his friend Maria would often applied a very upbeat time. […]

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Generosity Influence Kindness

Shaping a Pulitzer Prize Winner

Geraldine Brooks won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her novel March. Her love for books was nurtured by a woman named Althea Glasby, a friend of her grandfather’s. One day Geraldine’s grandfather mentioned to Miss Glasby that his little granddaughter loved to read. From that day forward a parcel arrived for Geraldine every […]

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Dignity Sermon Illustrations Worth

Your Father’s Bones

The famous conqueror of the ancient world, Alexander the Great one day came across the philosopher Diogenes. Diogenes was staring attentively at a heap of bones. “What are you looking for?” asks Alexander. “Something that I cannot find” replied Diogenes. “And what might that be?” “The difference between your father’s bones and those of his […]

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Ambition Bitterness Character Choices Circumstances Confession Criticism Deceit Doubt Envy Expertise Failure Greed Gullibility Honesty Human Nature Materialism Motivation Pride Respect Revenge Success Temptation

The Greatest Forger

It was perhaps the greatest hoax in art history. Han van Meegeren was an artist with a grudge. Painting in the Netherlands pre World War 2, critics mercilessly panned his exhibitions. One critic described him as “A gifted technician who has made a sort of composite facsimile of the Renaissance school, he has every virtue except originality.” […]

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Choices Environment Failure Foolishness Life Experience Preparation Sermon Illustrations

The Lake Becomes a Whirlpool

November 21, 1980 began like any other day for the men aboard a Texaco oil rig on Lake Pegneur, a 1300 acre lake in Louisiana USA. Day in, day out they would sink a drill down through the muddy bottom of the lake searching for oil. But on November 21, 1980 things got a little […]

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Calling Christlikeness Goals Image of God Love Meaning of Life Priorities Purpose Service Suffering

Reflecting Light Into Dark Places

During the Second World War, German paratroopers invaded the island of Crete. When they landed at Maleme, the islanders met them, bearing nothing other than kitchen knives and hay scythes. The consequences of resistance were devastating. The residents of entire villages were lined up and shot. Overlooking the airstrip today is an institute for peace […]

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Failure

JK Rowling and Failure

A few years ago JK Rowling, author of the best selling Harry Potter novels,  delivered an amazing commencement speech at Harvard University. Titled “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination”, Rowling describes how seven years after graduating university her marriage had broken down and she found herself an unemployed, single parent living in […]

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Choices Death Sermon Illustrations

Steve Jobs on Death

In 2005 Steve Jobs gave the commencement speech at Stamford University. In commencement speeches the speaker traditionally passes on some wisdom for life that will help the graduating students commence the next phase of their life. Steve Jobs spoke about three things and one of them was death. He described going to a doctor’s appointment […]

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Character Sermon Illustrations Trust

Yuri Gagarin

Yuri Gagarin is famous as the first man to fly in space. After the end of the Cold War some of Russia’s cosmonauts revealed the pressures under which he operated. Gagarin’s rocketship was armed with an explosive charge which could be detonated by radio signal. The Russians wanted to ensure Gagarin wouldn’t defect by re […]

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Character Integrity Sermon Illustrations

Yours Sincerely

When we write letters we commonly end them with “Yours sincerely”. Have you ever wondered why you do this? The practice has its origins in ancient Rome. Roman sculptors often concealed cracks in apparently flawless marble statues with melted beeswax. When the wax dried and crumbled, the angry purchaser sought compensation. Reputable sculptors guaranteed their […]

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God's Children Identity Sermon Illustrations

You’re the Son of God

Fred Craddock is a lecturer at Phillips Theological Seminary in the United States. He tells of a time he was on holiday in Tennessee. He and his wife were having dinner at a restaurant when an old man started talking to them, asking them how they were doing and if they were enjoying their holiday. […]

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Christ - Return God's Love Hope Sermon Illustrations

You’re Not Forgotten

During the Second World War the US Army was forced to retreat from the Philippines. Some of their soldiers were left behind, and became prisoners of the Japanese. The men called themselves “ghosts”, souls unseen by their nation, and on the infamous Bataan Death March were forced to walk over 70 miles, knowing that those […]

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Disappointment with God Faith God's Mystery God's Presence God's will Healing Sermon Illustrations Suffering

Your God is Too Big

Daniel Hans is a Presbyterian minister in the United States. In 1986 he and his wife Beth lost their three year old daughter Laura to cancer. Daniel and Beth watched in agony as their little girl faced nine hospitalisations and four separate operations in the last nine months of her life. Their hearts broke as […]

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Consumerism Contentment Life Materialism Sermon Illustrations Wealth

I Wish You Enough

Speaker Bob Perks was at an airport when he ‘overheard a father and daughter in their last moments together. They had announced her departure and standing near the security gate, they hugged and he said, “I love you. I wish you enough.” She in turn said, “Daddy, our life together has been more than enough. […]

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Character Sermon Illustrations Success

Wilbur Wright

Wilbur and Orville Wright are well known for carrying out the first every successful air flight, at Kittyhawk in 1903. They came from a close family, even though their father, a bishop in United Brethren Church, was initially skeptical about their venture. Wilbur died at the age of 45. His father left a record of […]