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Contributed By:
Rick Crandall
 
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ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S STUFF

Your encouragement can have great power. One reason why is because everybody needs to be encouraged. The night Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at Ford’s Theatre, he was carrying:
-Two pairs of glasses.
-A small velvet eyeglass cleaner.
-An ivory pocketknife.
-A large handkerchief with "A. Lincoln" stitched in red.
-A tiny pencil.
-A brass sleeve button.
-A fancy watch fob.
-And a brown wallet with a Confederate five-dollar bill.

But Lincoln also carried 8 newspaper clippings that he had cut out and saved. All of those clippings praised him. Everybody needs encouragement.

*http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/trm012.html

 
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COMMUNITY: A LOST ART

I inherited an old trunk that sat in my grandma’s basement. It had belonged to the generation before, who had used it to bring their possessions across the sea from Sweden. It sits in my dining room. It smells a little musty, but I treasure it as a link to my heritage.

I was thrilled to receive the trunk, but even happier when I opened it and saw my bonus surprise. The bottom was lined with pages of a newspaper from May 14, 1912. I framed these pages and hung them on a wall in my house. Whenever I look at them, I find something amusing. They’re full of advertisements for remedies to cure everything from kidney trouble to headaches, dandruff, and excessive perspiration. They contain news stories that remind me of the fleeting nature of some of the things that seem newsworthy today. They also remind me that some things never change.

But page 7, the Society page, makes me a little sad. The Society page contains updates about the travels of Mrs. Northrup, Mr. Graham, the Brooks family, and others. It tells who has out-of-town guests. It provides announcements for bridge parties and an upcoming cooking club get-together. It gives tips for hosting a perfect dinner party or afternoon tea.

Big deal, I know. So Colonel and Mrs. William Allaire had a bridge party--what’s so sad about that? It’s not the bridge parties that make me sad; it’s my feeling that we have lost something these turn-of-the-century folks had. They actually cared to read about these things in their city newspaper.

We can read plenty of gossip in the newspaper any day, but this seems different. These aren’t stories about movie stars, sports stars, criminals, famous addicts, or people who are famous for no particular reason. These were people they actually knew, people they wanted to keep track of. They belonged to a community...

Perhaps community life has become a lost element of our society, its formation a lost art. Where are the bridge parties, ice cream socials, dinner parties, barn dances, and block parties hosted by people who actually live on the block, rather than sponsored by Pepsi?

I used to think it was weird to see silver serving sets, complete sets of beautiful china, ice buckets, crystal glasses, and other entertainment accessories in the homes of people who had been around for a while. It seemed like a waste, but something about it actually makes sense to me. It suggests that people valued hospitality and community and saw those special occasions as worthy of something extra.

(From a sermon by Michael McCartney, Experience the Spirit in Service, 4/14/2011)

 
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WHOSE HANDS ARE YOU THANKFUL FOR?

"A Thanksgiving Day editorial in the newspaper told of a school teacher who asked her first graders to draw a picture of something they were thankful for. She thought of how little these children from pour neighborhoods actually had to be thankful for. But she knew that most of them would draw pictures of turkeys on tables with food. The teacher was taken aback with the picture Douglas handed in... a simple childishly drawn hand.

"But whose hand? This class was captivated by the abstract image. 'I think it must be the hand of God that brings us food,' said one child. 'A farmer,' said another, 'because he grows the turkeys.' Finally when the others were back at work the teacher bent over Douglas's desk and asked whose hand it was. 'It's your hand, Teacher,' he mumbled.

"She recalled that frequently at recess she had taken Douglas, a scrubby forlorn child, by the hand. She often did that with the children. But it meant so much to Douglas. 'Perhaps this is everyone's Thanksgiving, not for the material things given to us, but for the chance, in whatever small way, to give to others,' she thought"

(Author Unknown, Stories from the Heart (Multnomah Books: Sisters, Oregon, 1996), 52). From a sermon by Eric Lenhart, Helping Hands, 8/12/2010

 
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THE CHRISTMAS STORM: A Modern Parable by Paul Harvey

"This is about a modern man, one of us, he was not a scrooge, he was a kind, decent, mostly good man, generous to his family, upright in his dealings with others. But he did not believe in all that incarnation stuff that the Churches proclaim at Christmas time. It just didn’t make sense to him and he was too honest to pretend otherwise. He just could not swallow the Jesus story about God coming to earth as man. I’m truly sorry to distress you, he told his wife, but I’m not going with you to church this Christmas Eve. He said he’d feel like a hypocrite. That he would much rather stay home, but that he would wait up for them. He stayed, they went. Shortly after the family drove away in the car, snow began to fall. He went to the window to watch the flurries getting heavier and heavier, then went back to his fireside chair and began to read his newspaper. Minutes later he was startled by a thudding sound. Then another and another. At first he thought someone must be throwing snowballs against his living room window. Well, when he went to the front door, he found a flock of birds huddled miserably in the snow. They had been caught in the storm and in a desperate search for shelter they had tried to fly through his large landscape window. Well, he couldn’t let the poor creatures lie there and freeze. He remembered the barn where his children stabled their pony. That would provide a warm shelter -- if he could direct the birds to it. He quickly put on his coat and galoshes, trampled through the deepening snow to the barn, opened the door wide, and turned on a light. But the birds did not come in. He figured food would entice them in and he hurried back to the house, fetched bread crumbs, sprinkled them on the snow making a trail to the yellow lighted wide open doorway of the stable, but to his dismay the birds ignored the bread crumbs, and continued to flap around helplessly in the snow. He tried catching them, he tried shooing them into the barn by walking around them waving his arms -- instead they scattered in every direction except into the warm lighted barn. Then he realized they were afraid of him. To them, he reasoned, I am a strange and terrifying creature, if only I could think of some way to let them know they can trust me. That I’m not trying to hurt them, bu...

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Contributed By:
Christian Cheong
 
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HENRY FORD: THE BANG ON THE TABLE

In 1896, Henry Ford attended a company event where Thomas Edison (the great inventor) was the guest of honour. His friend introduced him to Edison as "the man trying to make a car that runs on gasoline."

Edison asked young Henry Ford a host of questions and when the talk was over, Edison banged his fist down on the table and said, "Young man, that's the thing! You have it! Your car is self contained and carries its own power plant."

Years later, Ford, reflecting on their first meeting, said in a newspaper interview, "That bang on the table was worth worlds to me. No man up to then had given me any encouragement. I had hoped that I was headed right. Sometimes I knew that I was, sometimes I only wondered, but here, all at once and out of a clear sky, the greatest inventive genius in the world had given me complete approval. The man who knew most about electricity in the world had said that for the purpose, my gas motor was better than any electric motor could be."

 
Contributed By:
Clark Tanner
 
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"Most everyone knows of the newspaper comic strip called “Family Circus”. It pokes fun in a gentle way at the typical family life in a home with several very young children.
I remember one that started out with the mother giving the oldest boy, who appears to be about 6, something to take to the neighbor next door. Then the next frame is from a bird’s-eye view, and there is a dotted line showing the route the boy took to get next door. The line takes him across the street, through a park, stops at a swing set and slide, moves on to a brick wall that he apparently scaled and walked like a tightrope, around several other houses, stopping to talk to little boys and girls in the neighborhood, and finally stops at the front door of the next door neighbor’s house with the item he was to deliver.
I think that sometimes our days are much like that, except that at the end we haven’t delivered anything of value at all. I wonder how fruitful and prosperous, both for ourselves and the Kingdom of God, our lives would be if we prayed well into the night for the Father’s direction for the coming day?" -c.e.t.

 
Contributed By:
Wade  Hughes, Sr
 
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I am told about this newspaper in England giving a reward for the best definition of what is a friend?
Thousands answered, the winner?
"A FRIEND IS ONE THAT COMES WHEN EVERYONE ELSE GOES."

 
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A FATHER'S FORGIVENESS

In his book, What’s So Amazing About Grace , Phillip Yancey tells the story of Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway grew up in a very devout evangelical family, and yet there he never experienced the grace of Christ. He lived a libertine life that most of us would call "dissolute"… but there was no father, no parent waiting for him and he sank into the mire of a graceless depression. A short story he wrote perhaps reveals the grace that he hoped for. It is the story of a Spanish father who decided to reconcile with his son who had run away to Madrid. The father, in a moment of remorse, takes out this ad in El Libro , a newspaper. "Paco, meet me at Hotel Montana, Noon, Tuesday… All is forgiven… Papa." When the father arrived at the square in hopes of meeti...

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WALT DISNEY'S LEADERSHIP

Walt Disney was a remarkable man of vision. He never gave up. Early in his career a newspaper fired him because they thought he had "no good ideas". That just made Disney try harder. When he was starting out in Kansas City he couldn't sell his cartoons. Some hinted that he had no talent but Walt Disney had a dream so he set out to conquer his foes. He found a minister who paid him a small amount to draw advertising pictures for his church. Disney had no place to stay, so that the church let him sleep in the mouse-infested garage. One of those mice which Disney nicknamed Mickey, became famous -- as the world knows.

The early days were tough; but that remarkable, creative visionary refused to give up. Walt would occasionally present some unbelievable, extensive dream to his board about and idea he was entertaining. Almost without exception, the members of his board would gulp, blink, and stare back at him in disbelief, resisting even the thought of such a thing. But unless every member resisted the idea, Disney usually didn't pursue it. Yes, you heard me correctly. Unless everyone RESISTED the idea he would not take it. The challenge wasn't big enough to merit his time and creative energy unless they were unanimously in disagreement! Is it any wonder that Disneyland and Disney World are now realities? This type of faith is required for visionaries in business -- but also for us as Christians. Like Disney we need to dream big and trust in God for the impossible.

When Walt Disney World in Orlando ,FL. opened in 1974, Mrs. Disney was sitting beside Walter Cronkite. Walt Disney has passed away a few years earlier. Walter Cronkite wanted to say just the right thing to Mrs. Disney, so he leaned over to her and said, "Wouldn't it be great if Walt were here to see this today." Mrs. Disney wisely replied, "If Walt had not first seen this you would not be seeing it today."

(From a sermon by Stephen Sheane, Dry Bones, 8/18/2010)

 
Contributed By:
Perry Greene
 
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SO MANY VALUABLE POSSESSIONS

Waylon Prendergast, 37, of Tampa, Florida, committed a spur-of-the-moment robbery while on his way home from a late-night drinking session. A very inebriated Mr. Prendergast forced his way into the house through an open upstairs window, filling a suitcase with cash and valuables before setting the living room on fire to cover his tracks. He then escaped through the back door and made his way home, chuckling all the way. Only as he turned the corner into his own street, however, and discovered three fire engines outside his house, did he realize that in his drunkenness he had, in fact, burgled and ignited his own property. His comment: "I had no idea I had so many valuable possessions."

While we may not do anything quite that stupid (at least nothing that makes the national newspapers), there are times when Christians need to stop and reflect, coming to same conclusion Mr. Prendergast did: "I had no idea I had so many valuable possessions."

From family and friends to material comforts (like electricity and running water), from our basic needs (like food) to luxuries other generations never dreamed of (like the computer you're sitting at right now), from the freedoms we enjoy to the jobs we hold, there is much that we have been blessed with that we take for granted.

Even beyond the physical blessings, there is so much that God has given us through Jesus Christ. As Paul wrote,

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ."
(Ephesians 1:3)

Truly, I had no idea I had so many valuable possessions. "God, forgive me for taking so much of it for granted."

 
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