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Contributed By:
Donnie  Martin
 
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DO YOU KNOW HOW TO PRAY

I heard a story of a ship that was sinking in the middle of a storm, and the captain called out to the crew and said, "Does anyone here know how to pray?"

One man stepped forward and said, "Yes sir, I know how to pray."

The captain said, "Wonderful, you pray while the rest of us put on life jackets--we're one short."

Author unknown. Taken from pastorlife.com.

 
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Sermon Central Staff
 
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ATTITUDE NOT APTITUDE

Jesus' message here is that everybody can be great ... because anybody can serve. Dave Stone says that "service is the language of grace."

One day a couple of church members were out distributing loaves of bread in a low-income housing complex. They came to an apartment where they heard arguing through the door, but they decided to knock anyway. A man opened the door and asked what they wanted. One of the visitors said, "We don't want anything. We just wondered if you know anyone who could use some loaves of bread?"

"Why are you doing that?" the man asked.

"Just to let people know that God loves them."

"What did you just say?" the man asked, rather anxiously.

"We're just handing out loaves of bread to let people know that God loves them."

The man stared and said, "I can't believe this. We just buried our three-week-old son yesterday, and now here you are at our door."

The visitors offered to pray with them, and the couple accepted their offer. As they were leaving, and the door was being closed, they heard the husband say to his wife, "See, honey? I told you God cares. We thought he wasn't paying attention to us, but he sent those people here to make sure we knew."

Too many people make excuses as to why they can't serve. Can you bake a cake? Can you cook some food item? Can you cut someone's grass? Can you call people and give them an encouraging word? Can you do housework? Can you do handy work? Can you donate anything of value? Can you stop along your way and give a smile? Can you take an interest in someone else's life?

The big thing is that you have to be ready to serve. You have to open your eyes and your ears to the needs of others. 1 Pet. 4:10 -- "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms."

(From a sermon by Michael Luke, The Demonstration Factor, 5/5/2011)

 
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Sermon Central Staff
 
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EILEEN'S STORY

"In an article in Campus Life a young nurse writes of her pilgrimage in learning to see in a patient the image of God beneath a very 'distressing disguise.'

"Eileen was one of her first patients, a person who was totally helpless. 'A cerebral aneurysm (broken blood vessels in the brain) had left her with no conscious control over her body,' the nurse writes. As near as the doctors could tell Eileen was totally unconscious, unable to feel pain and unaware of anything going on around her. It was the job of the hospital staff to turn her every hour to prevent bedsores and to feed her twice a day 'what looked like a thin mush through a stomach tube.' Caring for her was a thankless task. 'When it's this bad,' an older student nurse told her, 'you have to detach yourself emotionally from the whole situation...' As a result, more and more she came to be treated as a thing, a vegetable...

"But the young student nurse decided that she could not treat this person like the others had treated her. She talked to Eileen, sang to her, encouraged her, and even brought her little gifts. One day when things were especially difficult and it would have been easy for the young nurse to take out her frustrations on the patient, she was especially kind. It was Thanksgiving Day and the nurse said to the patient, 'I was in a cruddy mood this morning, Eileen, because it was supposed to be my day off. But now that I'm here, I'm glad. I wouldn't have wanted to miss seeing you on Thanksgiving. Do you know this is Thanksgiving?'

"Just then the telephone rang, and as the nurse turned to answer it, she looked quickly back at Eileen. 'Suddenly,' she writes, Eileen was 'looking at me... crying. Big damp circles stained her pillow, and she was shaking all over.

"That was the only human emotion that Eileen ever showed any of them, but it was enough to change the whole attitude of the hospital staff toward her. Not long afterward, Eileen died. The young nurse closes her story, saying, 'I keep thinking about her... It occurred to me that I owe her an awful lot. Except for Eileen, I might never have known what it's like to give my self to someone who can't give back'" (Rebecca Manley Pippert, Stories from the Heart (Multnomah Books: Sisters, Oregon, 1996), 31-32).

What have you been confronted with that seems impossible to overcome? How are you allowing God to use you to meet the needs of others through the divine resources he has?

(From a sermon by Eric Lenhart, Are We Manufacturers or Distributors? 8/12/2010)

 
Contributed By:
Kenneth Squires
 
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2. Gary Thomas, a friend of Rick Warren, noticed that many Christians were stuck in a worship rut. He raised the question, “Since God has intentionally made us all different, why should everyone be expected to love (worship) God the same way?”(1) Gary has discovered that for 2,000 years Christians have used many different paths to enjoy intimacy with God. In his book Sacred Pathways, Gary identifies nine ways that people draw near to God:
· Naturalists love God best when they are outdoors.
· Sensates love God best when all their senses are engaged.
· Traditionalists love God best when they are able to stick close to ritual, symbols, and familiarity.
· Ascetics love God best in solitude and simplicity.
· Activists love God best when they are battling injustice and evil.
· Caregivers love God best through caring for those who hurt.
· Enthusiasts love God best by experiencing celebration.
· Contemplatives love God best through adoration and meditation.
· Intellectuals love God...

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Contributed By:
Russell Brownworth
 
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Or would you be more like the woman who was bitten by a rabid dog, and it looked like she was going to die from rabies. The doctor told her to put her final affairs in order. So the woman took pen and paper, and began writing furiously. In fact she wrote and wrote and wrote. Finally the doctor said, "That sure is a long will you’re making." She snorted, "Will, nothing! I’m making a list of all the people I’m going to bite!"

 
Contributed By:
MELVIN NEWLAND
 
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Leadership Magazine carried a story about 4 young men, Bible College students, who were renting a house together. One Saturday morning someone knocked on their door. And when they opened it, there stood this bedraggled-looking old man. His eyes were kind of marbleized, & he had a silvery stub of whiskers on his face.

His clothes were ragged & torn. His shoes didn’t match. In fact, they were both for the same foot. And he carried a wicker basket full of unappealing vegetables that he was trying to sell. The boys felt sorry for him & bought some of his vegetables just to help him out. Then he went on his way.

But from that time on, every Saturday he appeared at their door with his basket of vegetables. As the boys got to know him a little bit better, they began inviting him in to visit a while before continuing on his rounds.

They soon discovered that his eyes looked marbleized, not because of drugs or alcohol, but because of cataracts. They learned that he lived just down the street in an old shack. They also found out that he could play the harmonica, & that he loved to play Christian hymns, & that he really loved God.

So every Saturday they would invite him in, & he would play his harmonica & they would sing Christian hymns together. They became good friends, & the boys began trying to figure out ways to help him.

One Saturday morning, the story says, right in the middle of all their singing & praising, he suddenly said to them, "God is so good!" And they all agreed, "Yes, God is so good." He went on, "You know why he is so good?" They said, "Why?" He said, "Because yesterday, when I got up & opened my door, there were boxes full of clothes & shoes & coats & gloves. Yes, God is so good!" And the boys smiled at each other & chimed in, "Yes, God is so good."

He went on, "You know why He is so good?" They answered, "You already told us why. What more?" He said, "Because I found a family who could use those things, & I gave them all away."

 
Contributed By:
Owen Bourgaize
 
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Conference after conference is held to discuss the destruction of the Earth’s environment and to solve the poverty of two thirds of the world’s population but very little gets done when the talking is over. Isn’t it essentially a problem of selfishness, greed and exploitation? Desmond Tutu, the former Archbishop of Cape Town, said famously, “When missionaries came to South Africa, they had the Bible and we (the Africans) had the land. They said, ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them, we had the Bible and they had the land!”

 
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REALLY GIVING
The great Alliance preacher and renowned Christian author, A. W. Tozer, makes this observation:
“Before the judgment seat of Christ my service will be judged not by how much I have done but by how much I could have done!... In God’s sight, my giving is measured not by how much I have given but how much I have left after I made my gift… Not by its size is my gift judged, but by how much of me there is in it. No man gives at all unt...

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Contributed By:
Josh Hunt
 
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FRANKL AND THE MEANING OF LIFE

When Jewish psychiatrist Viktor Frankl was arrested by the Nazis in World War II and put in Auschwitz, the infamous death camp, he was stripped of everything: property, family, possessions, and a manuscript he had spent years researching and writing on finding meaning in life. The manuscript had been sewn into the lining of his coat.

"Now it seemed as if nothing and no one would survive me; neither a physical nor a spiritual child of my own," Frankl wrote. "I found myself confronted with the question of whether under such circumstances my life was ultimately void of any meaning."

A few days later, the Nazis forced the prisoners to give up what little clothing they still wore. "I had to surrender my clothes and in turn inherited the worn-out rags of an inmate who had been sent to the gas chamber," said Frankl. "Instead of the many pages of my manuscript, I found in the pocket of the newly acquired coat a single page torn out of a Hebrew prayer book, which contained the Jewish prayer 'Shema Yisrael' (Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one God. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.)

"How should I have interpreted such a 'coincidence' other than as a challenge to 'live' my thoughts instead of merely putting them on paper?"

Frankl later reflected on his ordeal in Man's Search for Meaning, saying, "There is nothing in the world that would so effectively help one to survive even the worst conditions, as the knowledge that there is meaning in one's life.... He who has a 'why' to live for can bear almost any 'how.' "

[Based on Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning (Pocket, 1997). Larson, C. B., & Ten Elshof, P. (2008). 1001 illustrations that connect (241). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.]

 
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In his book Enjoying Intimacy with God, J. Oswald Sanders makes a piercing observation: "We are at this moment as close to God as we really choose to be. True, there are times when we would like to know a deeper intimacy, but when it comes to the point, we are not prepared to pay the price involved."

 
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