Sermon Illustrations

There is a book by Michael Lewis entitled The Blind Side. It is a true story based in Memphis which is my hometown. The central character is a black athlete named Michael Oher (pronounced ’oar’). Oher now plays left tackle for the University of Mississippi and is a pre-season All American and predicted to be a great professional football player.

Michael Oher grew up in the 3rd poorest zip code in America, a ghetto area in Memphis. His father was killed in a crime related situation. His mother was a drug addict and non-factor in his life. Oher basically grew up carrying a garbage bag of his stuff from one friend’s house to another for years. He was parentless and homeless. He was also huge. By the time he was 15 he was 6’5” and weighed 350 pounds.

To make a long story short, Oher was discovered by Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, a wealthy white family in Memphis, who took him into their home. He attended the same exclusive private school that the Tuohy’s daughter and son attended.

Oher was a giant of a man but afraid of everything. He never raised his head and looked anyone in the eye. He never answered a question or spoke to anyone. It was as if he tried to live an invisible life so that he wouldn’t be any trouble to anyone and he’d therefore have a place to sleep overnight.

But the Tuohy’s reached out to him, provided him a home, clothes, food, tutoring and involvement in sports. They then witnessed a transformation. This almost non-person began to receive the love of a family. He began to get an education for the first time. After playing one year of football he was identified by college scouts as the best high school lineman in the nation.

The longer Oher lived with the Tuohys as their son the more confident he grew in their home and in life. The Tuohys owned several Taco Bell restaurants in Memphis and they told Oher, “Any time you’re hungry just go into any of the stores you want and eat whatever you want.” One day Mrs. Tuohy received a telephone call from one of the stores. An employee said, “Mrs. Tuohy, sorry to bother you. But there is a very large black man here who claims that he is your son and that he is supposed to have his meal for free.”

Of course Mrs. Tuohy confirmed that Oher was indeed her “son”. Notice the shift in Michael Oher. He went from invisible non-person who would neither raise his head nor speak to claiming to be a son of a wealthy white family. That’s the kind of confidence that happens in you and me when we come to Christ.

We have no business even thinking about approaching God. We are sinful, broken, ugly people. But in His generosity, Jesus reached out to us and He has so saved us that He has made us sons and daughters of the God of the universe. Therefore, we confidently, boldly come into the presence of God as family. There is no shame that hinders our coming to God because we are forgiven of all of our sins.

Is that true for you? Have you received Christ into your life? Do you now follow Christ as a disciple and as a son (daughter).

From Scott Brewer’s Sermon: Confidence in the Lord