Sermon Illustrations

ian Hardin tells the story of traveling a lot for work with his friend Bobby. As they travelled, he’d read the Bible aloud to him. But he wasn’t reading the Bible to gain deep insights… or to solve theological quandaries. He was just reading it… yet even then, it often said something that got stuck in a corner of his mind and loitered there for days. Stuff like, “The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life” Galatians 6:7-8 MSG. This was his life right there on the page, echoing prophetically over a couple millennia. It not only contextualized what he’d been experiencing; it gave him a north star and a measure of hope that he couldn’t rationalize but also couldn’t deny either.

Brian was working tirelessly at work but by the end of the year he found himself sitting alone on his couch, devastated. All the work he’d built had crumbled before his eyes in a matter of months, and now he was in a crisis of faith. As New Year’s approached, he tossed up a prayer about wanting to get closer to God, but it was all but forgotten by the 2nd week of January. Then God spoke to him to really read God’s Word and so he obeyed God’s direction and began to read through the Bible, taking in a portion of the Bible every day. When he completed his first full revolution through the Bible, he recalled one day looking in the mirror and realizing that he didn’t see anything the same. He had been unwittingly transformed from the inside out, and he looked at just about everything through different eyes. And then he writes, “My friendship with the Bible has taken me the scenic route from who I was to who I was created to be. My path began with an act of obedience to read the Bible every day, and it wound its way almost backward to the beginning, forcing me to deal with the stresses and compulsions of trying to carve out an identity that was mine alone with God relegated to a back-up plan. It took me back to the wounds that life can bring and invited me to compare what they were saying about me with what God was declaring over me. It (transformed me and it) can do the same for you.”

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