|This Week at PreachingIllustrations.com is a free newsletter from PreachingIllustrations.com that provides 5 free sermon illustrations per week. These illustrations contain no vague stories, "urban legends" or anonymous quotes. The stories are researched using multiple sources and are freshly written so that there are no copyright implications. Each illustration is included in the database because it packs an emotional punch that will help drive home your preaching point.
| Illustrations for Proper 28 | OT 33 | Pentecost 25 — Cycle B
1 Samuel 1:4-20
In November 1782, Charles Simeon became pastor of the Holy Trinity Church in Cambridge, England. The church was less than pleased to receive this blustering minister who insisted that those who called themselves "Christian" be truly saved by grace and live lives more closely conformed to Christ.
Opponents within the church harassed Simeon by locking the family-owned pews, forcing those who wished to hear the new minister to find standing room as best they could. When Simeon brought in benches, the churchwardens took them out and threw them in the churchyard. When he tried to visit from house to house, hardly a door would open to him. This situation lasted at least ten years.
Simeon was also a target from those outside his church. The students at Cambridge held Simeon in disdain for his biblical preaching and his uncompromising stand as an evangelical. They repeatedly disrupted his services and caused a tumult in the streets. One observer wrote from personal experience, For many years Trinity Church and the streets leading to it were the scenes of the most disgraceful tumults.
But through time, Simeon was steady in his ministry. He remained at the Holy Trinity Church for 54 years.
He began a Christian College at Holy Trinity and of the undergraduates Simeon trained during his 54 years, some 1,100 became effective -- and many, distinguished -- parish ministers, chaplains, and missionaries.
"How readily are we to go astray! How easily are we drawn aside into innumerable snares, while in the mean time we are bold and confident, and doubt not but we are right and safe! How much do we stand in need of the wisdom, the power, the condescension, patience, forgiveness, and gentleness of our good Shepherd!" -- Jonathan Edwards
On January 17, 1994, the Northridge earthquake rocked Southern California. Pastor Jack Hayford, the founding pastor of The Church on the Way, Van Nuys, California, remembers the emotions he experienced after the quake:
"When it was over, our family was safe and our home virtually untouched. Yet in the days following the disaster, I was gripped with a fear I had never known.
After four days, I desperately sought God in prayer. 'Lord, I can't understand myself! I am not afraid for my life, and I am not in doubt of your presence and protection. Is there something wrong with me?'
Instantly, I sensed an inner whisper: "My son, there is nothing wrong with you. I allowed you to experience the depth of the trauma and fear that has gripped multitudes so that you might comfort them beyond their fears."
It was the words of 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. God uses his children who have endured difficulty to become strength to others experiencing the same trial. We comfort others not from the foundation of our superior faith, but from the commonality of our mutual struggles."
NEW for Cycle C
Oswald Smith was born in 1899 in Erneston, Ontario, Canada. He came to Christ when he was seven and he attended Toronto Bible College and McCormick Theological Seminary. In 1916, he became the pastor of Dale Presbyterian Church in Toronto.
In 1920, Oswald had the desire to become a missionary. As he stood before the missionary board, he silently prayed over and over again: "Lord, I want to go as a missionary for you. Open a door of service for me."
When the interview was over, the board turned Oswald Smith down. Oswald was crushed. He did not meet their qualifications. He had failed the test.
But God was working in Oswald Smith's life. He planted another idea in Oswald's heart. If he could not go as a missionary, he would build a church that could send out missionaries. The small church combined with a Christian and Missionary Alliance Congregation. By 1928, Oswald Smith's congregation, The People's Church in Toronto, Canada, was sending out more missionaries than any other church at that time. Oswald Smith brought God into the situation, and God transformed his disappointment into a ministry.
To help you prepare better —
NEW for Cycle C
In August 1487, Bartholomew Diaz left Lisbon, Portugal, with two caravels and a storeship. He was appointed by King John II to find a route around Africa that led to the riches of India. Diaz sailed straight from Cape Palmas to the mouth of the Congo, then kept close to the shoreline until he was off the Nambian coast. About New Year's Day 1488, a gale hit his ships and blew them southward, past the southernmost tip of land. For thirteen days, terror and panic gripped the hearts of the men. On February 3, Diaz bravely pointed his Caravels toward the north and he began to notice the shore was oriented toward the northeast. He realized he had found the route around Africa. After stopping for supplies, he turned around and made the journey home.
When he arrived in Portugal in May 1488, Diaz showed the king his chart. He called the southern tip of Africa the "Cape of Storms" because of the violent weather they had encountered.
But King John had the name changed to the "Cape of Good Hope" for he knew that even though the waters were very dangerous there, they also brought a promise of great wealth.