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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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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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Courage Justice Sermon Illustrations

The Underground Railroad

Levi Coffin is an unsung hero of the American anti-slavery movement. In the 1820’s Coffin moved to Newport, Indiana and opened a shop. His home soon became a central point on the famous Underground Railroad, a pathway from slavery in the USA’s South to freedom in Canada. People like Coffin would take enormous personal risk […]

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Discipleship Hypocricy Justice Love Politics Sermon Illustrations

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was Professor of theology at the University of Berlin in Germany in 1930’s. At this time German Christians were divided over Hitler. One group allied themselves with Hitler, they wanted a “pure” German nation. They formed an official German church which supported Hitler and banned Jews from holding official positions in the Church. […]

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Christ's Victory Courage Faith God's Sovereignty God's Work Justice Perspective Power Sermon Illustrations Theism

Desmond Tutu’s Confidence

During the deepest, darkest days of apartheid when the government tried to shut down opposition by canceling a political rally, Archbishop Desmond Tutu declared that he would hold a church service instead. St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town, South Africa was filled with worshippers. Outside the cathedral hundreds of police gathered, a show of force […]

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Church Gospel - Transformational Power Justice Leadership Racism Sermon Illustrations

Hillbilly Preacher

Being prophetic in leadership and preaching is challenging but it can also be transforming. Take the case of the once racially segregated churches in South Carolina, USA. One of the Baptist Churches there appointed a new preacher, who though very uneducated, understood the gospel. Most pastors would recoil at his preaching method.  For his first […]

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Advocacy Justice Peace Sermon Illustrations

The Heaviest Snowflake

“Tell me the weight of a snowflake,” a cola-mouse asked a wild dove. “Nothing more than nothing,” was the answer. “In that case, I must tell you a marvellous story,” the coal-mouse said. “I sat on the branch of a fir, close to its trunk, when it began to snow-not heavily, not in a raging […]

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Justice Sermon Illustrations

The Four Philanthropists

There is a story about a village which was overtaken by enemy forces. All of the warriors who inhabited the village were gathered together and imprisoned by the conquerors. Amidst the villagers were four philanthropists who became aware of the prison conditions that their compatriots were enduring. The first philanthropist went to the prison and […]

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Advocacy Compassion Courage Humanity Justice Sermon Illustrations Servanthood

Telemachus and the Colosseum

The story of Telemachus is the story of extreme courage in the face of evil. Telemachus was a Christian monk who, in 391CE, went on a pilgrimage to Rome. While there he noticed crowds flocking to the Colosseum to see gladiators do battle. He followed them in, only to witness a sight that repulsed him. […]

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Advocacy Courage Justice Sermon Illustrations

Standing Firm for Justice

It has been said that all that is needed for evil to succeed is for good people to stay quiet. And the converse is also true, when good people speak up, evil can be defeated. This was graphically illustrated inside Bulgaria during the dark days of World War 2. Bulgaria was allied to Germany, with […]

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Christ - Presence Discipleship Finishing the Race God Experiences God's Presence God's will Justice Motivation Sermon Illustrations Strength Vocation

Christ is with Us

The great American civil rights leader Martin Luther King was a person with tremendous courage. He endured vilification, beatings, imprisonments, death threats, his house was firebombed, and as we all know, he eventually was assassinated. So what kept him going? It was his strong sense of God’s call upon his life. King was just 26 […]

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Advocacy Justice Sermon Illustrations

How Could You Have Let This Happen?

Joe Slovo and Ruth First were leaders in the African National Congress, and murdered by a parcel bomb during South Africa’s apartheid era. It was sent by the South African police force. Since apartheid ended, their daughter, Gillian, has travelled extensively across South Africa, seeking to help in her country’s healing and restoration. In the […]

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Justice Sermon Illustrations

Benevolence is not Justice

Nicholas Wolterstorff is the Noah Porter Emeritus Professor of Philosophical Theology at Yale University. A noted philosopher, he is also a passionate advocate for justice. In his book, Justice. Rights and Wrongs, he tells how two experiences awakened this passion.  The first occured in 1976, when he attended a conference in South Africa. Apartheid was in full force, […]

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Commitment Justice Sermon Illustrations

An Ideal for Which I Am Prepared to Die

Nelson Mandela is an iconic figure. Now regarded as one of the world’s great statesmen, he spent decades in prison for his stance against apartheid. He was sentenced in the Rivonia treason trial of 1964. Facing the death sentence he made this statement to the Court: “I have fought against white domination, and I have […]

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God's will Justice Kingdom of God Sermon Illustrations

I Have a Dream

On the twenty-eight of August, 1963, a Baptist pastor stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC ready to deliver a speech. A crowd of more than 200,000 people stretched out in front of him. I imagine he was filled with both excitement and fear. He began delivering the speech he had […]

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Advocacy Influence Justice Sermon Illustrations

A Workable Plan

Is it possible for a small group of people to make a difference to the practises of multinational corporations? In at least some cases it is, as was proven by a group of sociology students from Eastern College in the USA. Set an assignment in which they were asked how a small group of Christians […]