Sermon Illustrations

Two men were flying to Orlando from California and met on an airplane. After exchanging pleasantries, conversation turned to the needs of their community.

One of them was a pastor who shared his vision for a soup kitchen just starting up in downtown Orlando. He also told of local churches that had been helping people with finances, pantry items and clothing and expressed his concern that ministry might die if they didn’t find the support they needed.

The other man was a local restaurateur. He shared his heart with the pastor and told of a time when he was hungry and someone helped him. He was reminded of the promise he made to God to someday repay this act of kindness. Each man was at crossroads in his life, 30,000 feet in the air.

Within a few weeks, a ministry called Daily Bread was organized and sponsored with food from one of Orlando’s most prestigious restaurants. Churches supplied volunteers. A staff was funded to help organize this task. And, lives were touched ... one meal at a time. Within nine years, more than 900,000 meals were served by Daily Bread. Thirty years later the lives of millions of people are changed forever because of what God did 30,000 feet in the air.

The two men on the airplane were Dr. Howard Chadwick, Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Orlando and the restaurateur Champ Williams, owner of Skyline Restaurants, the largest restaurant chain in central Florida.

Dr. Chadwick built one of the great urban churches in America in downtown Orlando with that kind of vision. He also was my childhood pastor.

He confirmed me at Central Presbyterian Church in Kansas City. That day he whispered a word from Scripture in my ear that changed my life forever. It was Matthew 5:16. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

As Paul wrote in his letters, we are to live in such a way that we give God all the glory, so we can say, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Dr. Chadwick is now old. He is in his 90’s – the age I hope to sometime be. He gave his life in a way that mattered. He was not ashamed of the gospel

You and I have to choose how we live. Do we live for ourselves, seeking every way we can to build our economic and life security? Or do we live for him?

If you are going to live for something, live for something that matters more than money. More than fame. More than security. Live in such a way that you can say “I am not ashamed of the Gospel!”

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