Sermon Illustrations


Christopher Parkening is regarded as the world’s greatest classical guitarist, and he’s played guitar with orchestras the world over, even for several presidents in the White House. He’s also a world-class fly-fishing champion.

By his own testimony, he writes, "By age 30, I’d achieved all my dreams in the musical world, but I was tired of hotel rooms, performances and recording sessions. It was time to go fishing, so with the money I had earned, I found my dream stream on a ranch in Montana. I bought the ranch, called my management group at Colombia, and told them I had no desire to play anymore. I had earned enough money that I didn’t need to work anyway.

"So for several years, I did what I wanted, but as time went by, my life became more empty. I found out that when you have everything you thought would make you happy, and it doesn’t– you start asking questions like: What’s missing?

"While in California visiting friends, I attended a church where I heard a sermon entitled, "Examine yourself whether you are in the faith." The preacher said that you could know all about Christ, the Bible, even pray to God, and Jesus could still say, ’Depart from me, you worker of iniquity, I never knew you.’ I was convinced if I had died that night, Jesus would have spoken those words to me.

"So I walked down the aisle, surrendered my life to Christ, and was baptized. I read the Bible when I was a kid, but I never wanted a Lord to obey unconditionally. I went home that day broken over my selfish ways.

"That night, I couldn’t sleep, so I got up and started reading the Bible, and I developed a great hunger for the Word. Soon I came across 1 Corinthians 10:31 that said, "Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." I realized there were only two things I knew how to do: fly fish and play guitar. I am playing the guitar today for God’s glory, and that’s what I tell my students at Pepperdine, where I teach. I now have peace and joy unspeakable that I never had before. My life has purpose and I’ve learned the true secret of genuine happiness! Have you?"

(From a sermon by Gene Edwards, "Who Does God Bless?" 2/16/2009)

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