Free Sermon Illustrations

A website by Illustration Exchange

Category: Fear

Good Morning Videos Help Comfort Dementia Patients

Printer Friendly
Topic: Comfort
Scripture: Psalm 63:1-8
Source: “Families make videos to reassure patients with dementia” by Associated Press, posted FoxNews.com, April 17, 2015
Author: Illustration Exchange

Morning can be a really tough time for our aging loved ones struggling with Alzheimers or other forms of dementia. As both the body and the mind effectively reset after a night of sleep, many may need help to “break through the morning fog of forgetfulness that can often cause them agitation and fear.”

Why am I here? How did I get here? How am I supposed to get through this day? These and other questions–not to mention feelings of loneliness, abandonment, even anger–all combine to make the common admonish to “rise and shine” seem nearly impossible.

Continue reading

The Sound of Pounding Footsteps

Printer Friendly
Topic: Atheism
Scripture: Romans 10:15; 1 Peter 2:15
Source: As quoted in THE REAL FACE OF ATHEISM, revised and updated edition, by Ravi Zacharias, p. 135.
Author: Ravi Zacharias / Illustration Exchange

In a debate between social critic Dennis Prager and Oxford atheistic professor Jonathan Glover, Prager asked:

“If you, Professor Glover, were stranded at the midnight hour in a desolate Los Angeles street and if, as you stepped out of your car with fear and trembling, you were suddenly to hear the weight of pounding footsteps behind you, and you saw ten burly men who had just stepped out of a dwelling coming toward you, would it or would it not make a difference to you to know that they were coming from a Bible study?”

Application:

While atheists are loath to admit that the world needs what Christianity has to offer, they’d most assuredly prefer to be discovered in the wrong place, at the wrong time, by the “pounding footsteps” of young men who are followers of Christ.

Knowing Christ makes a difference–to everyone!

“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:15).

“For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people” (1 Peter 2:15).

Want More Illustrations On This Topic?  Click Illustration Exchange Now!

Police Dole Out Gifts Not Tickets

Printer Friendly
Topic: Christmas
Scripture: Isaiah 9:6
Source: “These Drivers Thought They Were Getting Tickets. Instead, Police Gave Them Christmas Gifts” by Kate Abbey-Lambertz, posted HUFFINGTON POST, 12/12/14
Author: Kate Abbey-Lambertz / Illustration Exchange

“Getting pulled over by a police officer can make a good day bad and a bad day worse. Unless, of course, he helps you with your Christmas shopping instead of writing you a ticket,” reports the HUFFINGTON POST:

In a video released Tuesday, the police department in Lowell, Michigan, did just that.* Over two days in November, Officer Scot VanSolkema stopped unsuspecting drivers for minor infractions, like illegally tinted windows, that the department might normally let slide, according to Today.

After he pulled them over, VanSolkema made small talk and sneakily asked drivers what they or their kids wanted for Christmas. Meanwhile, a group of helpers were standing by at a nearby store. As soon as they heard a driver’s Christmas wish, they’d race to find, buy, wrap and deliver it to VanSolkema.

Instead of tickets, the officer handed over gifts, like a new TV and an electric scooter. Drivers had reactions that turned from irritation into confusion before melting into joy, and, in some cases, hugs.

*Click link to source above to view the video.

Application:

Isn’t it sad that those who have been tasked with the job of “keeping the peace” usually evoke such a sense of fear and dread within us? There’s no doubt that those Lowell, Michigan, citizens were convinced that the officer approaching their car was there to drop the hammer and nail them on one infraction or another.

Some of that stems from our own sense of guilt and shame. We’re just sure that we must have done something wrong! And some of it stems from an expectation that those who are charged with keeping the law take some sort of perverted delight in catching us when we break it.

But on this day, all expectations were shattered. It’s important to note that the officer pulled over the drivers for legitimate reasons (illegal tinting or a burned out turn signal). Yet he chose to look right past the driver’s guilt to the driver’s need for those yet unfulfilled gifts on their Christmas lists.

This is exactly the way our gracious God chooses to deal with us each and every day!

While many of us see Him as the great “law keeper” in the sky, just waiting to nail us on one thing or another, the reality is exactly the opposite. He’s the great keeper of the peace Who has Himself already satisfied all the requirements of the Law, so that He can look right past our guilt to our need. And the best part is HE is our gift!

It shatters our expectations. It’s confusing. But let the reality sink in, then just melt into the joy!

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

Want More Illustrations On This Topic?  Click Illustration Exchange Now!

Man Burns House Down Killing Spider

Printer Friendly
Topic: Peace
Scripture: John 14:27
Source: “Man Tries to Kill a Spider and Ends Up Burning His House Down” by Samantha Grossman, TIME Online, July 16, 2014
Author: Scott Maclean / Illustration Exchange

Visit the source

A Seattle man accidentally burnt his house to the ground recently after trying to kill a spider with a cigarette lighter and a can of spray paint. The man later told police that the spider had been lurking in the laundry, and he had accidentally lit the wall on fire with his makeshift flame thrower.

Surprisingly, this happens more often than you might think! Just a few weeks earlier, Ginny Griffith of Hutchinson, Kansas, lit her laundry on fire after seeing a spider crawl into a pile of towels. The fire quickly got out of hand, and her home went up in flames. She’s been charged with aggravated arson.

Application:

Too often, we tend to overreact to problems. As believers, we need to remember that even in the midst of trouble, it’s possible to have a trouble-free heart. Jesus didn’t say we wouldn’t have problems, but He did say: Let not your heart be troubled.

Don’t take a flame thrower to the spiders that lurk in your life. Remember that it is more important to experience God’s peace than it is to rid yourself of life’s annoyances.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).

Want More Illustrations On This Topic?  Click Illustration Exchange Now!

God Is Bigger Than Your Troubles

Printer Friendly
Topic: Anxiety
Scripture: 1 Peter 5:6-7
Source: SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT by Raymond McHenry, p. 141
Author: Raymond McHenry / Illustration Exchange

Inspirational writer Raymond McHenry notes that in times of uncertainty it is good to know these simple facts from Isaiah 40:

* The oceans of the world contain more than 340 quintillion gallons of water, yet God holds them “in the hollow of his hand” (40:12).

* The earth weighs 6 sextillion metric tons, yet God says it is but “dust on the scales” (40:15).

* The known universe stretches more than 30 billion light years (200 sextillion miles), but God measures it by the width of his hand (40:12).

* Scientists claim there are at least 100 billion galaxies and each galaxy is made up of about 100 billion stars. To such mind-boggling math Isaiah reminds us that God calls each star “by name” (40:26).

[Dr. Raymond McHenry has served as pastor of Westgate Memorial Baptist Church. He earned his Master of Divinity and his Doctor of Ministry degrees from Southwestern Baptist Bible Seminary.  Through his books and quarterly newsletter, IN OTHER WORDS, he has become a highly respected compiler of biblical illustrative materials.]

Application:

If God can hold the waters of the ocean in the hollow of His hand, consider the weight of the Earth as but dust, measure the width of the Universe with span of his hand, and call each start by name, surely he can handle the details and dramas of our lives.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7).

Want More Illustrations On This Topic?  Click Illustration Exchange Now!

An Unlikely Rescue

Printer Friendly Topic: Adversity
Author: Walter A Maier / Illustration Exchange
Scripture: Romans 10:9
Source: Decision Magazine

A shipwrecked man managed to reach an uninhabited island. There, to protect himself against the elements and to safeguard the few possessions he had salvaged, he painstakingly built a little hut from which he constantly and prayerfully scanned the horizon for the approach of a ship.

Returning one evening after a search for food, he was terrified to find the hut completely enveloped in flames. Yet by divine mercy this hard affliction was changed into a mighty advantage. Early the following morning he awoke to find a ship anchored off the island. When the captain stepped ashore, he explained, “We saw your smoke signal and came.”

Everything the marooned man owned had to be destroyed for him to be rescued!

Application:

The process of experiencing salvation can be very similar. Confession and repentance feel like giving up things that are precious to us. But the reality is all we give up is being shipwrecked, marooned and impoverished.

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

Want More Illustrations On This Topic?  Click Illustration Exchange Now!

Even Superman Ducks!

Printer Friendly Topic: Courage
Author: Mitchell Dillon
Scripture: 1 Peter 4:16
Source: Illustration Exchange

In the original television series, Superman, our favorite super hero would confidently posture himself, legs spread, fists on his hips, chest pushed forward, while he stared down the barrel of a gun.  As the bullets bounced off his chest, Superman would smile, with no thought of retreat.  Then something would happen that defies explanation.  Once the rounds were spent, the bad guy, in desperation, would hurl the gun at Superman, and the caped super hero would duck!!!  Superman, the man who was fearless in the face of oncoming bullets, would cower to avoid being hit by an empty gun!

Application:

Just like Superman, we cower and duck at things that shouldn’t intimidate us.  As believers, we are perfectly loved and accepted by an all powerful, all knowing, all everything God. And as if this weren’t enough, we are promised that “all things will work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28). So, what should cause us to fear?  What else matters when compared to the assurance of God’s love?

In truth, God has given us every reason to face life boldly–with our legs spread, fists on hips, chest out. Nevertheless, we duck at small things.  We fret over a setback in our plans, or become discouraged at a disappointing turn of events, or we hesitate to speak boldly of our faith for fear of the reaction it might incite. Our fears send us reeling, even though we live in this world with the certainty of God’s eternal promises.  Life makes us flinch in a thousand little ways.  Like Superman, we duck when we should fearlessly stare them all down.

On the night that Jesus was betrayed, Peter cowered in fear of being associated with HIm. “I don’t know the man,” he claimed. Three times he denied his relationship with Christ. Three times he flinched as the empty gun of man’s threats was hurled his way. But years later Peter would eventually overcome his fear of empty guns. As a more mature, more courageous follower of Christ he would write, “if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name” (1 Peter 4:16).  In other words, Peter is telling us to face life boldly–with our legs spread, fists on hips, chest out, fully assured of God’s great love!

Want More Illustrations On This Topic?  Click Illustration Exchange Now!