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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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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 […]

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Failure Sermon Illustrations Success

Who Am I?

Who am I? When I was 7 years old my family was forced out of their home on a legal technicality, and I had to work to help support them. At age 9 my mother died. At 22 I lost my job as a store clerk. I wanted to go to law school, but my […]

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Family Marriage Priorities Sermon Illustrations Success

Wayne Bennett

Wayne Bennett is one of the most successful coaches in rugby league history. For over a decade he coached the “Brisbane Bronco’s” (a club side in the Australian rugby league competition). Bennett is revered by players, notoriously difficult for journalists, and widely admired and respected. In 2002 he released a book Don’t Die With the Music […]

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Failure Sermon Illustrations Success

Thomas Edison and the Lightbulb

Thomas Edison tried two thousand different materials in search of a filament for the light bulb. When none worked satisfactorily, his assistant complained, “All our work is in vain. We have learned nothing.” Edison replied very confidently, “Oh, we have come a long way and we have learned a lot. We now that there are […]

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Criticism Sermon Illustrations Success

Ole Bull

How a person reacts to criticism often means the difference between success and failure. Take the case of Ole Bull, the famous Norwegian violinist of the nineteenth century. His practical father, a chemist, sent him to the University of Christiania to study for the ministry and forbade him to play his beloved violin. He promptly […]

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Family Sermon Illustrations Success

The Greatest Moment

Marian Anderson was one of the great contralto singers of all time. An African-American born in Philadelphia USA, she was acclaimed across the world. Perhaps the most well remembered episode from her career was the occasion in 1939 when she was refused permission to sing in Washington’s Constitution Hall because of her race. The venue […]

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Friendship Sacrifice Sermon Illustrations Success

Sacrificing an Olympic Dream

Kathy Poe and Esther Kim were best friends. They were also competing to represent the US in taekwondo at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Working through separate sides of the draw they both made it to the final of the Olympic trials. Whichever of them won would go to the Games. Poe however dislocated her knee […]

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Influence Sermon Illustrations Success Vocation

Mr Holland’s Opus

The movie Mr Holland’s Opus tells the story of a musician who struggles to find success in life. Mr Holland dreams of composing a magnificent symphony that will be played by orchestras across the world. The problem is the real world presents him with bills that have to be paid. He takes a job as […]

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Materialism Poor Sermon Illustrations Success

How Poor You Are

The great novelist Rudyard Kipling, once gave a commencement address at McGill University in Montreal. He warned them about making money, position or glory their life ambition. “Some day,” he said, “you will meet a man who cares for none of these things. Then you will know how poor you are.” Source: Reported by Dale […]

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Church Community Sermon Illustrations Strength Success Teamwork

Greater Than the Sum of It’s Parts

Did you know that a rope has greater strength than the combined individual strength of the strands that make it up? Why is this? The answer is quite simple. Individual strands have weak spots along them, points at which they easily break. But in a rope, the weak spots are randomly distributed along the length […]

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Determination Perseverance Sermon Illustrations Success

Success Don’t Come Easy

It’s often easy to look at “successful” people and think that it’s all come easily to them. In many cases this is not what happened.  Colonel Sanders went to more than 1,000 places trying to sell his chicken recipe before he found an interested buyer. Thomas Edison tried almost 10,000 times before he succeeded in […]

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Leadership Relationships Sermon Illustrations Success

Collective Wisdom

I want to give you a scenario. You’re 22 years old – it’s already attractive to many of you isn’t it? You do well at school and head off to Uni. You work hard and do so well that even before you finish your uni course you land a plum job in a merchant bank. […]

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Sermon Illustrations Servanthood Service Success

Einstein’s Pictures

Albert Einstein, Albert Schweitzer and Mahatma Ghandi were three towering figures of the twentieth century. Schweitzer was a brilliant German theologian and philosopher who felt the call of God to work as a missionary doctor in Africa. So to the highly esteemed professsor returned to his university as a student of medicine.  Family and friends […]