Sermon Illustrations

Recently, while the residents of Charlotte, N.C., were trying to decide whether to name a new park after their most famous son, Billy Graham, the city’s newspaper ran some of the mail they have received on the subject. Most writers felt this is a fitting tribute to the world-famous evangelist; some didn’t want to go that far; but the final letter pulled me up short.

"Graham and his God don’t deserve honor," wrote Paul Jamison. "He promotes a God who gets heinously violent (plagues, floods, a bloody sacrifice of his Son, threatens to destroy the earth and finally a torturous eternal punishment) for nonbelievers. So I say no to naming a peaceful city park after a believer of (sic) this raging God."

It probably does us church folk good to hear such from outsiders occasionally. It’s like a glass of ice water in the face…

I’m always fascinated when I hear people accusing Bible-believers of concocting these stories. These are not made-for-our-comfort bedtime lullabies. They are in-your-face true accounts of the dealings of Almighty God with humankind. No one would voluntarily create such a difficult image of God. The gods earthlings manufacture tend to be the kind we can manipulate for our purposes. But this God will not be manipulated. One who knows Him well put it like this: "Our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases" (Ps. 115:3). (Pulpit Helps)