29 Jun

Friends: I’ve been collecting illustrations for about 30 years now. I once dreamed of publishing a book of these, but have decided to give them away for FREE!  I’ll post my collection — one letter at a time — over the next little while.

Let me know if you find any of these useful!




“In the second commandment God goes on to describe himself as ‘a jealous God’. There is no need to be disturbed by this. Jealousy is a resentment of rivals, and whether it is good or evil depends on whether the rival has any right to be there. Since God is unique, and there is no other, he has the right to ask that we worship him alone.” (John Stott, from page 96 Christian Basics, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1969.


“‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Bk. 2, Ch. 3)

“One reason why I find the Incarnation compelling . . . in the figure of Jesus the Christ there is something that escapes us. He has been the subject of the greatest efforts at systematization in the history of man. But anyone who has ever tried this has had, in the end, to admit that the seams keep bursting. He sooner or later discovers that he is in touch, not with a pale Galilean, but with a towering, and furious figure who will not be managed.” (Thomas Howard, Christ the Tiger, pp. 9-10)

“Alexander, Caesar, and Hannibal conquered the world but they had no friends. . . . Jesus founded his empire upon love, and at this hour millions would die for him. . . . He has won the hearts of men, a task a conqueror cannot do.” (Napoleon Bonaparte)

“Jesus is all we have; He is all we need and all we want. We are shipwrecked on God and stranded on omnipotence!” (Vance Havner)

“. . . the Christ that Harnack sees, looking back through nineteen centuries of Catholic darkness, is only the reflection of a Liberal Protestant face, seen as the bottom of a dark well.” (George Tyrrell)

Jesus (emotions of)

I am spellbound by the intensity of Jesus’ emotions: not a twinge of pity, but heartbroken compassion; not a passing irritation, but terrifying anger; not a silent tear, but groans of anguish; not a weak smile, but ecstatic celebration. Jesus’ emotions are like a mountain river cascading with clear water. My emotions are more like a muddy foam or a feeble trickle. –G. Walter Hansen

in Christianity Today


Joseph Haydn was once criticized for the gaiety of his church music. He replied: “I cannot help it. I give forth what is in me. When I think of the Divine Being, my heart is so full of joy that the notes fly off as from a spindle. And as I have a cheerful heart, He will pardon me if I serve Him cheerfully.” (Catherine Drinker Brown, Biography: The Craft and the Calling)

“Cheerfulness is what greases the axles of the world. Some people go through life creaking.” (H.W. Byles) “Christians owe it to the world to be supernaturally joyful!” (A.W. Tozer)

Someone has said that the mentally and emotionally healthy are those that have learned when to say Yes, when to say No, and when to say Whoopee! (Willard S. Krabill, M.D.)

“One filled with joy preaches without preaching.” (Mother Teresa)

“Jesus came not to hush the actual music of men’s lives, nor to fill it with storm and agitation, but to re-tune every silver chord and to make it echo with the harmonies of heaven.” (James Farrar)

“A joyful Christianity is the most arresting advertisement for the transforming power of the gospel.” (J.I. Packer, Hot Tub Religion, p. 137)

Definition of misery: Assigning too much importance to things of little eternal consequence.

Saint Teresa of Avila (1515-1582): “From silly devotions and from sour-faced saints, good Lord, deliver us.”

In one of his booklets, Adrian Rogers tells of some gold prospectors who discovered an exceptionally rich mine. One of them said, “Hey, we’ve got it made as long as we don’t tell anybody else before we stake our claims.” So they each vowed to keep the secret. Because they had to have more tools and provisions, they headed for town. After buying all the supplies they needed, they hurried back to the mine site. But they weren’t alone. A crowd of people followed them because their discovery was written all over their faces!

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)

I have a friend who says he has found the secret of a happy marriage. “Two nights a week we go out and have a wonderful time at dinner. Soft lights and candles and nice music. She goes on Tuesday — and I go on Thursday! (Stephen Brown)

Joy, according to C.S. Lewis, is “the serious business of heaven.” (A Mind Awake, p. 27)

“Joy is the flay flown from the citadel of the heart when the king is in residence.” “Some people march to a different drummer — and some people polka.”

“Some Christians act like they’ve been given a misery pill and are sent out to medicate the rest of the world.” (Stephen Brown)

“Salvation does not give you joy. It simply makes it possible.” (Stephen Brown)


In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in
the room. There were no distinguishing features save for the one
wall covered with small index card files. They were like the ones
in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical
order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endlessly in either direction, had very different headings. As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention

was one that read “People I Have Liked”. I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize
that I recognized the names written on each one.
And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This

lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for
my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and
small, in a detail my memory couldn’t match.
A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred
within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of
shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to
see if anyone was watching. A file named “Friends” was next to one
marked “Friends I Have Betrayed”.
The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. “Books
I Have Read”, “Lies I Have Told”, “Comfort I Have Given”, “Jokes
I Have Laughed At”. Some were almost hilarious in their exactness:
“Things I’ve Yelled at My Brothers.” Others I couldn’t laugh at: “Things
I Have Done in My Anger”, “Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents”. I never ceased to be surprised by the contents. Often there
were many more cards than I expected.
Sometimes fewer than I hoped.
I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived.
Could it be possible that I had the time in my 19 years to write
each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card
confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting.
Each signed with my signature.
When I pulled out the file marked “Songs I Have Listened To”, I
realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn’t found
the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality
of music, but more by the vast amount of time I knew that file
represented. When I came to a file marked “Lustful Thoughts”,
I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch,
not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I
shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such

a moment had been recorded. An almost animal rage broke on me.

One thought dominated my mind: “No one must ever see these cards!
No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!”
In an insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn’t matter
now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took it at
one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge
a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to
find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it.
Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot.
Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying
sigh. And then I saw it. The title bore “People I Have Shared the Gospel With”. The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three
inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on
one hand. And then the tears came. I began to weep.
Sobs so deep that the hurt started in my stomach and shook
through me. I fell on my knees and> cried. I cried out of shame,
from the overwheming shame of it all.
The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one
must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the
key. But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. No, please not
Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus. I watched helplessly as He
began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn’t bear to
watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to
look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every
one? Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn’t anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so
many things. But He didn’t say a word. He just cried with me.
Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at
one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to
sign His name over mine on each card.
“No!” I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was “No,
no,” as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn’t be on these
cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The
name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood.
He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to
sign the cards. I don’t think I’ll ever understand how He did it
so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the
last file and walked back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, “It is finished.”
I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on
its door. There were still cards to be written.

A Charlotte, North Carolina man, having purchased a case of rare, very expensive cigars, insured them against …. get this …. fire. Within a month, having smoked his entire stockpile of fabulous cigars, and having yet to make a single premium payment on the policy, the man filed a claim against the insurance company. In his claim, the man stated that he had lost the cigars in “a series of small fires.” The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason that the man had consumed the cigars in a normal fashion. The man sued … and won!! In delivering his ruling, the judge stated that since the man held a policy from the company in which it had warranted that the cigars were insurable, and also guaranteed that it would insure the cigars against fire, without defining what it considered to be “unacceptable fire,” it was obligated to compensate the insured for his loss. Rather than endure a lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the judge’s ruling and paid the man $15,000 for

the rare cigars he lost in “the fires.” After the man cashed his check, however, the insurance company had him arrested… on 24 counts of arson! With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case being used as evidence against him, the man was convicted of intentionally burning the rare cigars and sentenced to 24 consecutive one year terms. Kimberly Rosel

A number of years ago lightning struck the English church of the liberal bishop David Jenkins, a man who had publicly denied the Virgin Birth and the deity of Christ. Some conservative Christians rejoiced in what appeared at the time to be an act of God’s judgment against unbelief. Philip Yancey asks, however, “Why should David Jenkins provoke divine wrath when the outright blasphemer Bertrand Russell lived unpunished into cranky old age? If God consistently sent lightning bolts in response to bad doctrine, our plant would sparkle nightly like a Christmas tree.” (Philip Yancey, Disappointment with God)

“The powerful voice of God warns of judgment, and the same voice expresses His compassion for those who come back to Him in His given way. We are to listen with the same intensity of awe we feel when we observe the power of water. His spoken truth is not for us to judge or edit; we are to listen, absorb, understand, and bow.” (Edith Schaeffer, quoted in Haddon Robinson, Biblical Preaching)

“`The day that you sin, you shall surely die.’ Is that unjust? Think about it. Was it evil for God to impose the death penalty for all sin? If you say yes, be careful. If you say yes, you are saying that as an expression of the very fallen, sinful nature that exposes you to the death penalty in the first place. If you say yes, you slander the character of God. If you say yes, you do violence to His holiness.” (R.C. Sproul, The Holiness of God)

“It had been a long day in traffic court, and the judge was listening to the final case on the docket. The police officer stated that he had observed the defendant traveling significantly above the posted speed limit. In response, the defendant went on and on about the road conditions, the amount of traffic and his innocence. Then, certain he had won his case, he melodramatically proclaimed, `Why, Your Honor, I’ll even take a lie-detector test.’ `Son,’ the judge wearily replied, `I am the lie detector.'” (Crissey DeButts in Readers’ Digest)

“In this life you sometimes have to choose between pleasing God and pleasing man. In the long run it’s better to please God — He’s more apt to remember.” (Harry Kemelman)

A pastor was counseling a couple who had marital problems. The woman came in first and said all the horrible things she could about her husband. The pastor said to her, “You’re know, you’re right!” The assistant pastor was there, and watched the woman leave. The next day her husband came in and said all kinds of bad things about his wife. When he had finished the pastor said to him, “You know you are right. You are absolutely right!” After the husband left, the assistant pastor said to the pastor, “What kind of marital counseling it that? You told both of those people that they were right!” The pastor answered and said, “You know, you’re right. You’re absolutely right!” (Stephen Brown)

“Don’t worry about the world ending today — it’s already tomorrow in Australia.” (Charles M. Schulz)

“If the end of the world appeared in all the literal trappings of the Apocalypse, if the modern materialist saw with his own eyes the heavens rolled up and the great white throne appearing, if he had the sensation of being himself hurled into the Lake of Fire, he would continue forever, in that lake itself, to regard his experience as an illusion and to find the explanation of it in psycho-analysis, or cerebral pathology.” (C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock)


An Oklahoma judge granted the request of a criminal who wanted his 30-year prison sentence increased three years to match Larry Bird’s Celtics jersey number.

“How much easier it is to be generous than just! Men are sometimes bountiful who are not honest!” (Junios)

“Criminals think that they will not get caught. If caught, they think that they will not be convicted. If convicted, they think that they will get a light sentence. We, the noncriminals, have contributed greatly to their way of thinking.” (Angie Papadakis)



There was a magician on a cruise ship and he had a great show. He didn’t have to find new tricks because the passengers would change every week – and he had a new audience. But he did have a problem. The problem was that the captain of the ship had a parrot – and the parrot would watch the magic show, learn the tricks, and reveal the tricks to the audience. The parrot would say, “It’s a different hat!” The parrot would say, “ALL of the cards are Aces of Spades!” He would say, “The rabbit is UNDER the table!” And that irritated the magician a whole lot, but afterall it was the captain’s parrot, and so he learned to live with the problems he had been given. And then one day there was a terrible storm, a hurricane, and the ship was sunk. And the parrot and the magician found themselves clinging to the same life preserver. They looked at each other for days. And finally the parrot broke the silence. “All right,” he said. “I give up. What did you do with the ship?”

A lawyer and a blonde are sitting next to each other on a long flight from LA to NY. The lawyer leans over to her and asks if she would like to play a fun game. The blonde just wants to take a nap, so she politely declines and rolls over to the window to catch a few winks. The lawyer persists and explains that the game is really easy and a lot of fun. He explains: “I ask you a question, and if you don’t know the answer, you pay me $5, and visa-versa.” Again, she politely declines and tries to get some sleep.

The lawyer, now somewhat agitated, says, “Okay, if you don’t know the answer you pay me $5, and if I don’t know the answer, I will pay you $50” figuring that since she is a blonde that he will easily win the match. This catches the blonde’s attention and, figuring that there

will be no end to this torment unless she plays, she agrees to the game.

The lawyer asks the first question: “What’s the distance from the earth to the moon?” The blonde doesn’t say a word, reaches into her purse, pulls out a five-dollar bill and hands it to the lawyer. Now, it’s the blonde’s turn. She asks the lawyer: “What goes up a hill with three legs, and comes down with four?”

The lawyer looks at her with a puzzled look. He takes out his laptop computer and searches all his references. He taps into the digital cellphone via infrared wireless connection to his modem port and searches the Net and the Library of Congress. Frustrated, he sends E-mail to all his coworkers, friends, clients, and suppliers

that he knows. And then some. All to no avail. After over an hour, he wakes the blonde and hands her $50. The blonde politely takes the $50 and turns away to get back to sleep. The lawyer, who is more than a little miffed, wakes the blonde and asks, “Well, so what IS the answer?” Without a word, the blonde reaches into her purse, hands the lawyer $5, and goes back to sleep.

It was the final examination for an introductory English course at the local university. The examination was two hours long, and exam booklets were provided. The professor was very strict and told the class that any exam that was not on his desk in exactly two hours would not be accepted and the student would fail. A half hour into the exam, a student came rushing in and asked the professor for an exam booklet.

“You’re not going to have time to finish this,” the professor stated sarcastically as he handed the student a booklet.

“Yes I will,” replied the student. He then took a seat and began writing. After two hours, the professor called for the exams, and the students filed up and handed them in. All except the late student, who continued writing. A half hour later, the last student came up to the professor who was sitting at his desk preparing for his next class. He attempted to put his exam on the stack of exam booklets already there.

“No you don’t, I’m not going to accept that. It’s late.” The student looked incredulous and angry. “Do you know WHO I am?”
“No, as a matter of fact I don’t,” replied the professor.
“DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?” the student asked again.

“No, and I don’t care.” replied the professor with an air of superiority.

“Good,” replied the student, who quickly lifted the stack of completed exams, stuffed his in the middle, and walked out of the room.

ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED FROM NOAH’S ARK 1. Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.

2. Stay fit. When you’re 600 years old, someone might ask you to do something REALLY big.

3. Don’t listen to critics — do what has to be done. 4. Build on high ground.
5. For safety’s sake, travel in pairs.
6. Two heads are better than one.

7. Speed isn’t always an advantage. The cheetahs were on board, but so were the snails.

8. If you can’t fight or flee — float!

9. Take care of your animals as if they were the last ones on earth.

10. Don’t forget that we’re all in the same boat.

11. When the doo-doo gets really deep, don’t sit there and complain — shovel!!!

12. Stay below deck during the storm.

13. Remember that the ark was built by amateurs and the Titanic was built by professionals.

14. If you have to start over, have a friend by your side.

15. Remember that the woodpeckers INSIDE are often a bigger threat than the storm outside.

16. Don’t miss the boat.


17. No matter how bleak it looks, there’s always a rainbow on the other side.

A middle aged woman has a heart attack and is taken to the hospital. While on the operating table she has a near death experience. During that experience she sees God and asks if this is it. God says no and explains that she has another 30-40 years to live. Upon her recovery she decides to just stay in the hospital and have major cosmetic surgery: a face lift, liposuction, tummy tuck, etc. She even has someone come in and change her hair color. She figures, since she’s got another 30 or 40 years, she might as well make the most of it. She walks out the hospital after the last operation and is killed by an ambulance speeding up to the hospital. She arrives in front of God and asks, “I thought you said I had another 30-40 years?” God replies, “Sorry, I didn’t recognize you.”

A student was asked to list the 10 Commandments in any order. His response was: 3, 6, 1, 8, 4, 5, 9, 2, 10, 7.

WIFE: “There’s trouble with the car. It has water in the carburetor.”
HUSBAND: “Water in the carburetor? That’s ridiculous.”
WIFE: “I tell you the car has water in the carburetor.”
HUSBAND: “You don’t even know what a carburetor is. I’ll check it out. Where’s the car?” WIFE: “In the pool.”

A drunk decides to go ice fishing, so he gathers his gear and goes walking around until he finds a big patch of ice. He heads into the center of the ice and begins to saw a hole. All of sudden, a loud booming voice comes out of the sky. “You will find no fish under that ice.” The drunk looks around, but sees no one. He starts sawing again. Once more, the voice speaks, “As I said before, there are no fish under the ice.” The drunk looks all around, high and low, but can’t see a single soul. He picks up the saw and tries one more time to finish. Before he can even start cutting, the huge voice interrupts. “I have warned you three times now. There are no fish!” The drunk is now flustered and somewhat scared, so he asks the voice, “How do you know there are no fish? Are you God trying to warn me?” “No”, the voice replied. “I am the manager of this hockey area!

Submitted by: Rebecca Levy @
Researchers at Bell Laboratories estimate that there is more imformation in a weekday edition of The New York

Times than a person in the 16th century processed in a lifetime. (Science Digest)

Singer-actor Ruben Blades, in discussing the concept of interactive television, expresses concern that so many options in entertainment will not help man’s advance in knowledge. “I think that we risk becoming the best- informed society that ever died of ignorance.” (“Two-Way TV Viewed at Turn of Century”, Winnipeg Free Press, March 17, 1993)

Woman to a friend about her husband working fervently under the kitchen sink: “He knows just enough about plumbing to be dangerous.” (Hoest, King Features)

“The man mounting new tires for me,” writes Dennis R. Custer, “had no way of knowing that I am a mechanical engineer. As he worked, he asked, `Do you know why I put half of the weights on the inside rim and half on the outside?’ `As a matter of fact, I do,’ I replied. `The imbalance can be resolved to a point mass located in the plane of imbalance. If an equal mass is placed at 180 degrees opposite and at an equivalent radius, then perfect balance will result. However,’ I continued, `the plane of imbalance is located somewhere between the planes of the rims. By dividing the weights between the rims, you can approximate the ideal balance.’ The fellow stared at me for a moment and then said, `Yeah, ’cause if you don’t, it’ll wobble.'” (Dennis R. Custer)

There was a teacher who had a boy in her class who was a real challenge. She couldn’t get him to understand anything. She tried hard, for she was a veteran teacher. Finally, she called in the boy’s mother and said, “You know, your child, I suspect, is quite intelligent, but he does not respond to anything that I teach.” Later on the mother

asked her little boy, “Son, why is it that you don’t get anything from Mrs. Smith’s teaching?” He responded with child-like, yet sincere, honesty, “Because, Mom, she doesn’t teach anything I want to learn!” (Stephen Brown)

One preacher said to another, “You know, a person who acts like he knows everything is quite irritating to those of us who do!”

“A salty pagan, full of the juices of life, is a hundred times dearer to God, and also far more attractive to men, than a scribe who knows his Bible . . . in whom none of this results in repentance, action, and above all, death of the self. A terrible curse hangs over the know-it-all who does nothing.” (Helmut Thielicke)


Posted by on June 29, 2012 in illustrations, preaching


Tags: ,


  1. conmakhalira

    September 3, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Dr. Larry, I was looking for illustrations for my sermon when I came to your blog. Although I haven’t found the type of the illustration I was looking for still this post has been a blessing. To God alone be the glory!

  2. Anonymous

    September 5, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Thank you, my friend. Welcome!


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