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GUARD DUTY

When I was in the U.S. Army, I remember we had to pull guard duty many times. The purpose of guard duty was to ensure that other soldiers, equipment, or areas were protected from the enemy. I can recall that in basic training, or boot camp, we had to memorize three General Orders and the first one was, "I will guard everything within the limits of my post and quit my post only when properly relieved."

When we were properly relieved, there was a password that was spoken between the person on guard duty and the one that was relieving them. If the improper password was given, you were not properly relieved. The safety of all that was being guarded depended upon you, the person on guard duty. If something went wrong or the enemy was able to get access into that which you were responsible for guarding, then you were held accountable and punishment was inevitable.

(From a sermon by Melvin Maughmer, Jr., Guard Duty, 5/25/2011)

 
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HE KNOWS ME

David Redding tells of having a big, black Scottish shepherd as a pet when he was growing up on a farm in the country. He named the dog Teddy and they became inseparable companions. Teddy would wait on him to come home from school at the bus stop. Teddy slept at the foot of his bed. Teddy came whenever David whistled a tune. During the night, no one could get within a half mile of their farm without Teddy’s permission. The boy and his dog were inseparable.

Then World War II came and David went away to war. He told his family good-bye, but there was no way to tell a dog you were going away and might never come back.

David Redding went away to boot camp and then was shipped overseas for three years. Finally, the day came when he could go home. The last bus stop was 14 miles from the farm and his parents didn’t have a phone. He simply threw his duffle bag over his shoulder and started walking.

It must have been two o’clock in the morning as he neared the farm. It was pitch dark, but he knew every step of the way. Suddenly, the dog heard someone on the road and began to bark. David said, "I whistled only once and Teddy stopped barking. There was a yelp of recognition, and I knew that a big, black dog was running toward me in the darkness. Almost immediately, he was there and in my arms. He knew me. He recognized me. He loved me. Even after three years, he recognized me and loved me."

Whenever there is a recognition of love, there is joy.
From a sermon by Ray Ellis, Walking With the Risen Christ, 6/14/2010

 
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Jason Bonnicksen
 
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THE JOY OF CITIZENSHIP

Arnold Schwarzenegger once said: "As long as I live, I will never forget that day 21 years ago when I raised my hand and took the oath of citizenship. Do you know how proud I was? I was so proud that I walked around with an American flag around my shoulders all day long."

I have to be honest; I used to take my citizenship for granted. But one day in boot-camp, my attitude changed.

Our company commanders broke us down for hours. But just then, when we couldn't take it anymore, they unveiled a HUGE American flag and played "God Bless the USA" by Lee Greenwood. Like Arnold, we held our flag dear while singing and crying rivers of tears. I felt so grateful that day for the citizenship I was given from this great nation.

I was reminded of this while watching a new episode of Hawaii Five-0 last night. Near the show's end, a foreigner was granted citizenship by the governor. He cried with tears of joy and was so thankful for the gift given to him. Then I thought: How often do we as Christians take for granted our heavenly citizenship?

 
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William Yates
 
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THE PRIZE IS WORTH THE CHALLENGE OF THE JOURNEY

Volleyball was introduced as an Olympic sport in the 1964 Tokyo games. A Japanese women’s team was chosen to represent their nation for the event. Hirofumi Daimatsu, their coach, put the women through a grueling training program that resembled a Marine boot camp. The six day a week training program was quite brutal on the women both physically and mentally. Daimatsu, in fact, was trying to utterly break the women. He promised them two things: those who could not survive would be released from the team, but those who did would win the Olympic gold medal.

The training, however, did pay off and they eventually did win the gold. When they stood to receive their medals every woman was crying.
“It was a glorious moment,” said team captain Masae Kasai. “We all cried for two reasons. We had won the gold medal and had fulfilled our expectations and that of the Japanese people. Even more, we cried because this would be our last game together, and even though we had been through so much pain and anguish it was worth it. I’m sure we would all do i...

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During the Vietnam area in Boot Camp you could have 25 or 30 companies eating during a two-hour period. That’s about 2000 Sailors. All theses companies are in formation and waiting their turn to eat. Company after company lined up about 3 or 4 feet apart. We had been in Boot Camp a little over a week. We were early for chow and not many companies were present. While standing there in formation we heard the command “Company 208 Forward March.” And away we went. Oh, we were marching so well. Our “Guide On” was counting cadence and singing “You had a good home and you left, your right, you had a good home and you left.” We were marching away from the Galley. Finically our “Recruit CPO” realized that it wasn’t our Company Commander that told us to march. It was the Company beside of us. By the time we got back two Companies had gotten in the Galley before us. After that we learned and chose to hear only the voice of the old Chief. If it wasn’t his voice we didn’t do it. And we learn if it was his voice we were to do it.

 
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Mack Armstrong
 
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Gordon was a skinny, underweight lad of 17 when he talked his mother into signing him up so he could join the Marines. The week he left for "Boot Camp" he was in my office and told me the following. He said he wished for one thing only in this life. And, if he could get his wish, he would never ask for anything else. I asked him what that wish could be. He replied that he wished his dad would tell him to do something just once and then make him do it. He informed me that as far as he could remember, if his dad told him to do something and he, Gordon, did not wish to do it, he just did not do it and dad never corrected him. Gordon furhter voiced his opinion that his dad was a "whimp" because of this attitiude and he, Gordon, never viewed his dad with respect. Gordon added, that if his dad would just once, just once, would tell him to do something and then made Gordon do it, he added, "I would respect my dad for the rest of my life. But, I have no respect for my dad at all-he is a whimp."
Gordon left for the Marines and would call me from time to time after he was settled in at his camp. He was the happiest lad I knew at that time. At long last, he had some direction in his life. What he longed for from his dad was guidance, direction, help. What he silently called out to his dad was, "Dad, you have been down this road of life before me-help me. Show me the does and don’ts. I am a child, I need someone to help guide me, gaurd me from pitfalls, errors, ’Dad, help me!’" Gordon’s dad never heard the silent call of his boy hence, Gordon joined the toughest branch of our Armed Services and was at long last at piece with himself. There were, at last, boundraies for him in which to mature.
Dads, our jobs are hard, but we must be faithful to our children. Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, had a hard job on his hands to help raise his earthy Son, but he never shrank from his duty and as a result, Jesus praised His earthly father with living out some of the examples that Joseph taught Him while He was growing into manhood.

 
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Jerry Blaxton
 
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GOD'S BOOT CAMP

When a civilian enters the military, they go through boot camp. It's my understanding that in boot camp, the individual is broken down, and they are retrained to see themselves as part of the unit. They are conditioned to be disciplined to obey the commands of their superiors. In a sense, they stop seeing themselves as they were before boot camp, and when they look into a mirror, they see the soldier they have become, and the qualities that are part of that.

As a believer in Christ, we are to reflect Him. And that comes about because, as we submit to Him, He leads us through a boot camp of His own. Paul says, "[we] are being transformed into His likeness." Like a butterfly is transformed from a caterpillar, he wants to change our lives from slavery to sin, into a victorious life in relationship with Him.

 
Contributed By:
David Schaal
 
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Marine Corps Boot camp lasted 18 weeks when I was in the Corps. During those 18 week, we were never, ever called Marines. The very last week of Boot Camp was so exciting because we new we were going to graduate. Then our Drill Instructors handed us a patch to iron on our camouflaged uniform. The Patch simply said- U.S. Marine! We were finally WORTHY of calling ourselves Marines. One of the proudest moments of my life, is right after graduation, my Senior Drill Instructor, Staff Sgt. Perez- looked me in the eye and said, ‘Congratulations Marine”- The Marine Corps is a very proud, exclusive fighting organization, not everybody can become a Marine. ...

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Missy


Dear Heavenly Father,
I don’t’ know if you have any special place set aside for the small creatures in your future plans, but, I would like to ask a favor of you; that is, if you feel I’m worthy of entrance into your Kingdom.
I know that your eye is on the sparrow and that not one thing in nature happens by chance, but by Divine design and command. You know all things, and yet it pleases you when we come to you in prayer: expressing our gratitude and joy, laying out our fears and worries, and crying out in our pain and anguish. This is going to be a little of all of that, Father, so please bare with me. So you don’t’ need the story, but, it is going to help me to tell it anyway - I’m sorry if it takes up too much of your time.
When I went hunting and camping this fall, I was blessed with an opportunity to harvest a deer on the first day I arrived. I have always felt a certain remorse and a twinge of guilt for killing anything I’ve hunted, and will offer a little prayer at the time and always show respect to your creation by making the wisest use of its flesh, fur or feather. This bounty left me with time to pursue other interests for the remainder of my trip. As camp cook, my responsibilities include taking care of and preparing the meals for the group, seeing to the evening fire in the wood stove (if needed), filling and lighting the lanterns at dark so my comrades can find their way back. This year, my duties were expanded - we had decided to eat “off the land”, taking with us only carrots, onions and potatoes - it was my task to round out the menu with camp meat.
I enjoyed hiking the hills and trails of autumn in peak color despite the cold and wet conditions we were encountering. I had many opportunities to shoot small game animal that were in season, but to be honest, I determined it was better to watch then wound - my heart just wasn’t in it. I fulfilled my duties reluctantly and sparingly; after all with a few extra potatoes added no one would miss the meat. I came back to camp early one afternoon with a brace of squirrels to clean and prepare for dinner. After laying the field dressed animals on the counter of the cook trailer, I went into the tent to secure my gun in its case. Flinging my hunting jacket onto my co, I turned to make a fire in the stove. From underneath my coat something moved. Thinking that a raccoon had gained entry in search of food, I reached for a log on the woodpile with which to defend myself and quickly pulled the jacket up off the bunk. There she was. Startled only slightly from having been fast asleep in the warm, dry folds of my sleeping bag was a scrawny, pint-sized dark tabby cat. We regarded each other casually - as if both recognized instantly the inherent right of the other to occupy the space. Neither future consequence nor immediate action was considered for quite some time. We just kind of looked each other over for a bit.
I would like to be able to say that there was a period of consternation with much shooing and maybe some stick shaking - with perhaps some mild cursing thrown in for punctuation. But, I would be lying if I said any such thing occurred. I went immediately to the cooler and retrieved the last of the breakfast milk in a Styrofoam bowl and brought it back to the tent and proceeded to build the evening fire serenaded by the staccato notes of one very satisfied cat. That cemented our relationship thoroughly and despite the complaints and harsh words of my companions, that cat slept with me every night from then on and always came out to greet me when I returned each evening - never following me into the woods.
I had determined that it would not be fair to leave the cat alone in the place we found her (she having found us) seeing as it was some distance back in from where she might have originated - the farmer who was our host denied all knowledge of her and wanted her shot - that being the case, she must come home with me. After making any and all provisions inside the truck for cat-transport, wondering if she would freak out or be car sick, she simply saw me climb into the passenger seat and jumped right in after.
Clawing up a nice little nest in my buddies hunting coat in the back seat, she slept the whole three-hour trip back, including an hour stop for lunch for the two humans one of whom purchased a chicken fingers kids meal for the passenger in the back seat.
I was going to “surprise” my family with this new addition but was talked out of it by my companions. I think they wanted to hear shouting on the other end of the phone so they could tease me, but I assured them that no such thing would occur - after all we were cat-people - my wife would certainly understand the circumstances and welcome this new visitor with open arms. So all that remained was what to call her. During the week in the tent I had been attempting to get my boots on while she worried at the ends of my bootlaces. After several patient attempts to lace up I finally said,” Look here, Missy, you need to go outside and be a cat!” One of my tent mates heard this and said, “ So you named her Missy!” Good a name as any and better than most, I guess - so it stuck.
I remember the phone call on the way home announcing the new houseguest and how Rindia paused - then sighed - and not sounding at all convinced said she would see me when I got home. My buddy gave me a pet carrier when we returned to his house from vacation and in she went without any trouble. I talked to her on the short ride back to my house to try and soothe her but I think she was asleep. As we both entered the house, there was a quick flurry of activity in which four people and the resident male house cat prepared to greet the newcomer. Missy took it all in stride as she stepped from the open cage door, looked the place over once and sniffed out the food bowl. The next few days were a time of settling and acquisition as everybody had to get used to everybody else - things had to shake down to there own level - and pecking order had to be established. For the most part, Missy ruled the roost. She slept by my side every night and joined the ranks of the starving masses every morning - joining her feeble squeaky meow to the hearty tones of the other cats, one inside and two outside who demanded their meals at the same extremely early hour every morning. Rindia took the brunt of this new challenge with dubious patience. Many times I heard her half-heartedly complain, “CATS! CATS! Were up to our eyeballs in CATS!” as she herded them to their various feeding stations and doled out the victuals.
It was late in the first week when the first signs of real trouble began. Missy began to regurgitate everything she ate almost as soon as she ate it. We then noticed the she drank prodigious amounts of water. This was an intolerable situation to put up with and she was relegated to outside exile with the two yard cats. I was of the mind that she had a temporary gastric problem that would soon go away but was also aware of the many diseases that cats can contract. Nothing on the internet indicated that she was carrying the symptoms of anything serious, just that she was eating too much too fast in competition for food with the others. I kept sneaking her back inside to see if things might be better, but she continued to make a mess in the house - back out she went.
She thrived in the outdoors and ran up the hill to greet me when I got home from work.
I was a little concerned when I saw her spot something moving on the far side of the road and start to head off after it. I stopped her in her tracks with a loud “MISSY!” I assumed she would learn from the other two cats how and when to cross the road as I had seen them do for years, always aware of their surroundings. Occasionally, she would cross the road behind me as I went to get the mail. I would scold her and she always came right back when called.
As time went by she began splitting her time betwee...

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