Sermon Illustrations


Ann Kimball had a marvelous way of talking about Jesus. She was the dean of women at Eastern Nazarene College in Boston, and she would speak all over the country. She was flying from Boston to San Francisco to speak, and she said she was just so tired from the week that she sat down in her seat and asked the Lord to not have her talk to anybody.

About that time, a businessman comes and sits next to her and the Lord says, "Ann, talk to him." She says, "Lord, no, I'm so tired." The Lord says, "Yes, go ahead." So she looks over at the man and says, "Hi I'm Ann." The man says, "Hi Ann. I'm Hap."

"Hap, would you do me a favor?" He said, "Sure, what is it?" "Can I sing a little song to you? It will be short and quiet, and I won't embarrass you." He said, "OK, but hurry it up."

She sang, "Something beautiful, something good, all of my confusion, he understood...You know what confusion is, Hap? I do. All I have to offer him is brokenness and strife. You know what brokenness and strife is, Hap? I do. He made something beautiful of my life."

Hap said, "Ann, thanks a million, I love your song. My wife would love your song, she's a wonderful Catholic lady, a very religious person. She goes to mass five times a week, she would love your song. But I am an atheist." Ann said, "Oh a real live atheist, that's wonderful." Hap said, "It is?" Ann said, "Yes, I've never met a real live atheist before." Hap said, "You haven't?" She said, "No. Just because you don't believe in a God, Hap, doesn't mean that there's not one." He said, "Really?" She said, "O yeah. I have a giant of a God in me, Hap. We're out to change the world, my God and I. We dream great dreams for guys like you." He said, "You do?"

They had this conversation that went on for several minutes, and she said she looked at him, and he had turned his head away and tears started run down his check onto his shirt. She said she didn't even know what to do; they hadn't even taken off yet. The plane finally took from Boston on its way to San Francisco, and at 35,000 feet for five and a half hours, they talked about the God who "is".

She said when they landed, she liked to be the first off, but Hap asked if he could write to her. So she gave him the address, and she told him, "Remember, Hap, I have a giant of a God in me. My God and me, we dream big dreams for guys like you, and someday when you least expect it, he may invade your life." And with that, she got off.

Two weeks later back in Boston, Ann Kimball got a letter from Hap that said, "Dear Ann, I have not asked this Jesus that you talked about into my heart yet, but I want you to know that somewhere at 35,000 feet between Boston and San Francisco, for the first time in my life, I believed that God is."

(From Sam Tollison's Sermon "Believe in God or Believe God")

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