Sermon Illustrations

The good ship Commerce under Captain Riley and his 11-man crew

Wrecked on the north coast of Africa in 1815.

They were alone on the edge of the largest desert in the world – the Sahara.

They were men without hope.

Desert nomads came upon them and they thought they were saved,

But they turned out to be thieves who stripped them

And left them to die of thirst and heat.

Close to death, they saw a passing caravan

They gave themselves up as slaves,

Hope slightly came alive.

They were treated brutally and given almost nothing.

Yet defying the improbable they somehow stayed alive,

Their grief was endless.

Captain Riley – laid down one night promising himself

he would commit suicide in the morning.

but he had a dream so real, when he awoke it was hard to believe

it was only a dream.

In this dream a well dressed Englishman, gently lifted him up and promised him,

Not that things would be alright,

But that in time he would be saved and see his family again.

Captain Riley – would never put any stock in dreams, had new inspiration.

That day another nomad showed up.

Riley convinced the man to buy he and his crew from their current masters

And a friend in Swearah, a city on the sea would pay 100 times his cost.

The nomad a greed, but there was no friend – it was just a lie.

His crew held fast to the hope he had given them.

Riley held fast to his lie, for his men’s sake – maybe they could escape.

But there was no escape.

They arrived at Swearah and

The time came for Riley to write the note to his “friend”

Which he did, knowing it would be the last thing he ever would write.

To his surprise the nomad came back to take Riley and his crew to his friend.

Apparently, by chance,

The nomad ran into an Englishman as he entered the city.

What are the chances of that?

When they arrived in the city, having dropped from 240 lbs to about 90 lbs,

There meeting them, was the exact man, Riley experienced in his dream,

Down to every vivid detail,

Clothes, voice, human features, even his scent….

It was God who was there that night in the desert.

It was God who gave the dream of hope.

It was God who gave the hope.

And it wasn’t the hope they had all depended upon,

The hope of a desperate lie,

The hope that maybe something might turn up.

No the kind of hope Peter is speaking of


In spite of the circumstances surrounding you

Your hope is a living hope for today, now, and tomorrow

Never to go away

Not that you are going to be able to avoid bad things in life

But in the worst possible desert of you life,

There will be an unexpected visit,

A man will life up your head telling you that you will be whole again,

And beyond any explanation possible,

It is, and it will be true