Sermon Illustrations

One of my favorite books is called This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women. It is a compilation of eighty essays based on the National Public Radio series of the same name. The essays are from the famous and the unknown. One of the essays that I found most moving is entitled “The God Who Embraced Me” by John W. Fountain. He writes:

I believe in God. Not that cosmic, intangible spirit-in-the-sky that Mama told me as a little boy “always was and always will be.” But the God who embraced me when Daddy disappeared from our lives—from my life at age four—the night police led him away from our front door, down the stairs in handcuffs.

The God who warmed me when we could see our breath inside our freezing apartment, where the gas was disconnected in the dead of another wind-whipped Chicago winter, and there was no food, little hope, and no hot water.

The God who held my hand when I witnessed boys in my ’hood swallowed by the elements, by death, and by hopelessness; who claimed me when I felt like “no-man’s son,” amid the absence of any man to wrap his arms around me and tell me, “everything’s going to be okay,” to speak proudly of me, to call me son.

I believe in God, God the Father, embodied in his son Jesus Christ. The God who allowed me to feel His presence—whether by the warmth that filled my belly like a hot chocolate...

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