Sermon Illustrations
Posted by Douglas on Oct 15, 2018

Sometimes an entire theological discussion can hinge on a single word, so it's good to think carefully about the words you use, and consider how others are using them as well.

The words "worth" and "worthy" are two words which, while they are very similar, and come from the same root, have vastly different meanings.

The word "worth" means "value."
The word "worthy" means "deserving."

One of the words (worthy) is a binary - either you are or you are not worthy; there is no middle ground. The other is a spectrum with "worthless" at one end of the spectrum,...

Posted by Douglas on Sep 16, 2018

In addition to being an itinerant preacher, I also work as a high school math teacher. This year I'm teaching (for the first time) a Pre-Algebra course for middle school students. One of the things I've been doing with them as an "enrichment activity" is to play my sum-and-product game. In the sum and product game, I say, "I'm thinking of two numbers that add to ____ and multiply to ____." The students' job is to find the two numbers. For example, if I say I want two numbers that add to 14 and multiply to 48, the students will...

Posted by Douglas on Sep 15, 2018

This morning I had the song "He owns the cattle on a thousand hills" running through my mind because tomorrow I will be preaching on giving. The song references Psalm 50:

50:10For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.11I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine.Psalms 50:10-11 (ESV)

That verse raises the question "Why do we give? After all, it's not like God needs my money!" By extension, we could also expand that question to "Why do we serve? After all, it's...

Posted by Douglas on Aug 18, 2018

When I was a teenager, I painted a picture of a snowy scene with trees in the foreground and a farmhouse in the background. It was not a masterpiece, but even today when I look at it, I'm surprised at how good it was for a teenaged dabbler!

It was painted on canvas board, and on the back of it I wrote my name. I gave it to my grandparents as a Christmas gift one year. Fast forward about 20 years to when my grandfather had passed away, and my grandmother needed to downsize - that painting came back to...

Posted by Douglas on Aug 08, 2018

We had an interesting experience at supper-time yesterday. We were having a rather spicy pepper-steak meal. I've told the kids that if they're eating something spicy, and it's too hot for them, instead of drinking water (which can make the spiciness even worse), they should eat some bread, or drink some milk.

While we were eating, Laura and I simultaneously realized that our son was sitting in his seat with his leg propped up and his foot resting on the edge of the table. We gave him a quick rebuke and reminded him that putting his feet on the dinner...

Posted by Douglas on Jul 09, 2018

This morning my son and I were planting trees again. The first part of the process was to dig eighteen holes, and pour a bucket of water into each hole. So right after breakfast we got a wagon, filled two five-gallon buckets of water, added a spade, and headed for the field where we're planting.

While I dug the holes, my son scooped water and poured it into holes so there would be plenty of moisture in the soil when we planted the trees. The temperature was already on the rise, and I was dripping with sweat, so I wasn't in...

Posted by Douglas on Jul 09, 2018

I love music. I've always loved music. But when I started playing a musical instrument in fourth grade I had no sense of rhythm. In fact, it took me many years to develop that sense. My mom and I would drive a half an hour to my private violin lessons with Mrs. Small, a tiny lady who used to be my mother's music teacher when she was young, and who insisted that now that she was over 85, she was allowed to subtract a year from her age for each birthday. I can still remember her asking me, week after week,...

Posted by Douglas on Jul 02, 2018

12:2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.Romans 12:2 (ESV)

My life is controlled by a clock. School begins at 8:00 a.m., and I am there at 7:30 to work with students. First period ends at 9:30, and new students arrive. And so on, through the day. Then, when school is over, I have my first music student at 3:00. My first math tutoring session is at 3:30. And on it goes....

Posted by Douglas on Jun 25, 2018

Years ago, when I was in college, I participated in a Bible study group for college students. The object lesson I'm sharing here is not mine; I first heard it from Lenny, the leader of that Bible study group. I found it helpful, so I thought I'd share it here.

Imagine that you get a phone call from a friend who says he has a gift to give you. Curious, you ask him what it is. He tells you that he has received a van Gogh painting, and he would like to pass it on to you. You are stunned, knowing...

Posted by Douglas on Jun 25, 2018

If you've spent much time browsing this site, you've probably figured out by now that I'm a fan of hiking. Some of my best times of thought, meditation, and prayer happen on a quiet trail through the woods to a mountain peak.

But my priorities in hiking have changed quite a bit in the last few years. For a long time I set as a goal for myself to hike all the four-thousand-foot peaks in the state of Maine. What? Maine has four-thousand-footers? You bet! We have fourteen of them. And I intended to hike all of them. So far I've...

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