Welcome to Albert's Sermon Illustrations

In this blog, I have collected many stories, quotes, jokes and ideas that I use regularly in my sermons.I have tried to put in the sources and origins of these illustrations. If I have missed some or gotten the wrong sources, please let me know. I will update them. Feel free to use these illustrations for the glory of God. If you have some illustrations that you like to contribute, kindly add them to my blog, so that I and others may benefit from them. God bless!
Reverend Albert Kang

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Spirit Is Willing, But The Body Is Weak

A manager has to take on some sport by his doctor so he decides to play tennis. 

After a couple of weeks his secretary asks him how he's doing. "It's going fine", the manager says, "When I'm on the court and I see the ball speeding towards me my brain immediately says: To the corner! Back hand! To the net! Smash! Go back!"

"Really? What happens then?" the girl asks enthusiastic.

"Then my body says: Who? Me? Don't talk nonsense!"

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.
Matthew 26:41

Nikita's Fear

During his years as premier of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev denounced many of the policies and atrocities of Joseph Stalin. 

Once, as he censured Stalin in a public meeting, Khrushchev was interrupted by a shout from a heckler in the audience. "You were one of Stalin's colleagues. Why didn't you stop him?" 

"Who said that?" roared Khrushchev. An agonizing silence followed as nobody in the room dared move a muscle. 

Then Khrushchev replied quietly, "Now you know why." 
Today in the Word, July 13, 1993.

God In My Corner

George Foreman was a two-time heavyweight boxing champion of the world. At age 45, he became the oldest man in the world to win the title. In his book, God in My Corner, he writes:

When I climbed in the ring during my comeback, the announcers often introduced me as “the former heavyweight champion of the world.” As they introduced me, I’d mumble to myself, “And the next heavyweight champion of the world.”

How could I ever win the title if I didn’t believe that I could? If you have a great dream you are attempting to fulfill in your life, you’ve got to believe it can happen before you can actually do it. I wasn’t trying to be proud. I simply believed what God had promised me—that I would regain the title. 
(George Foreman, God In My Corner, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007, p.135)

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Lion Tamer

A first grade teacher seated her students in a circle. She asked them what they wanted to be when they grew up. One by one, each child got up and announced, "I'd like to be a nurse like my mother," or "I want to be a banker like my father," or "I want to be a teacher like you, Miss Smith."
The last child to speak was the most shy and timid little boy in the class. He said, "When I get big, I'm going to be a lion tamer in the circus. I'm going to face those animals with my whip and chair and make them leap through hoops of fire and obey all of my commands."

Seeing the disbelieving looks on the faces of his classmates that he could ever act so boldly or bravely, he was quick to reassure them, "Well, of course, I'll have my mother with me."

We are sometimes shy and timid about standing up for Christ in the midst of an immoral society. We keep quiet when we ought to speak up. We cower when we ought to take a stand. Where do we get the inner strength to be bold and brave? Only through the assurance that we have Christ by our side.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13).

With that knowledge, take courage today to do something for God that you've been hesitant to do.

Alan Smith alansmith@boone.net www.TFTD-online.com

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cleaning With Killer Soaps

At their school carnival, our kids won four free goldfish (lucky us!), so out I went Saturday morning to find an aquarium. The first few I priced ranged from $40 to $70. Then I spotted it--right in the aisle: a discarded 10-gallon display tank, complete with gravel and filter--f or a mere five bucks. Sold! Of course, it was nasty dirty, but the savings made the two hours of clean-up a breeze. 

Those four new fish looked great in their new home, at least for the first day. But by Sunday one had died. Too bad, but three remained. Monday morning revealed a second casualty, and by Monday night a third goldfish had gone belly up. 

We called in an expert, a member of our church who has a 30-gallon tank. It didn't take him long to discover the problem: I had washed the tank with soap, an absolute no-no. My uninformed efforts had destroyed the very lives I was trying to protect. 

Sometimes in our zeal to clean up our own lives or the lives of others, we unfortunately use "killer soaps"-- condemnation, criticism, nagging, fits of temper. We think we're doing right, but our harsh, self-righteous treatment is more than they can bear.
Richard L. Dunagin

The Guilty Sickle

In the year 1235, a Chinese man named Sun Tzu wrote the first book about forensic entomology: "The Washing of Wrongs." In it, he describes a murder case in which there was some doubt as to which of two sickles was used as the murder weapon. 
Sun Tzu laid them both on the ground and observed that one sickle attracted flies, presumably because there were remnants of the victim's flesh and blood on it. He announced that he had found the murder weapon, and the owner of that sickle confessed to the crime. 
The bible says, "But if you fail to keep your word, then you will have sinned against the LORD, and you may be sure that your sin will find you out." (Numbers 32:23)

As Oswald Chambers has written: "A man's disposition on the inside, i.e., what he possesses in his personality, determines what he is tempted by on the outside. The temptation fits the nature of the one tempted, and reveals the possibilities of that nature. Every man has the setting of this own temptation, and the temptation will come along the line of the ruling disposition. Temptation yielded to... is a proof that it was timidity that prevented the sin before."

So are your sins catching up with you? Are you feeling like keeping your sins hidden is just too much to bear? Why not actually deal with them now? Don’t let circumstances or people other than you be the cause of ‘everything being laid bare’ now. Lay it bare yourself. Be transparent, confess your sins, repent, receive forgiveness, and know the power of God to break confessed sin.

Imaginative Employee

A few weeks after a young man had been employed, he was called into the Human Resources administrator's office.

"What is the meaning of this?" the personnel officer asked. "When you applied for this job, you told us you had three years experience. Now I've discovered this is the first position you've ever held."

"True," the young man answered with a smile. "In your advertisement you said you wanted a person with imagination."

Our Unique Call

So many terrible things happen every day that we start wondering whether the few things we do ourselves make any sense. 

When people are starving only a few thousand miles away, when wars are raging close to our borders, when countless people in our own cities have no homes to live in, our own activities look futile. 

Such considerations, however, can paralyse us and depress us. Here the word call becomes important. We are not called to save the world, solve all problems, and help all people. But we each have our own unique call, in our families, in our work, in our world. 

We have to keep asking God to help us see clearly what our call is and to give us the strength to live out that call with trust. Then we will discover that our faithfulness to a small task is the most healing response to the illnesses of our time.

Henri Nouwen

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Contribution and Commitment

A pig and a chicken were walking by a church where a gala charity event was taking place. 

Getting caught up in the spirit, the pig suggested to the chicken that they each make a contribution.

"Great idea!" the chicken cried. "Let's offer them ham and eggs?"

"Not so fast," said the pig. "For you, that's a contribution. For me, it's a total commitment."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Why Some Christians Do Not Know How To Save Souls

Charles Finney (1792-1875) wrote: 
Make it an object of constant study, and of daily reflection and prayer, to learn how to deal with sinners so as to promote their conversion. It is the great business on earth of every Christian, to save souls.
People often complain that they do not know how to take hold of this matter. Why, the reason is plain enough; they have never studied it. They have never taken the proper pains to qualify themselves for the work. If people made it no more a matter of attention and thought to qualify themselves for their worldly business, than they do to save souls, how do you think they would succeed? 
Now, if you are thus neglecting the main business of life, what are you living for? If you do not make it a matter of study, how you may most successfully act in building up the Kingdom of Christ, you are acting a very wicked and absurd part as a Christian.

—From Charles Finney's sermon “To Win Souls Requires Wisdom”

The Trickiest Questions

“What about all those people who never heard of Jesus, like people in Africa? Do they go to Hell just because they never heard of Him?”
Those are the Trickiest Questions, and they are usually asked by people who don’t want to consider their dismal eternity. 

Please read this article by my friend Tony Yu that explains this more clearly. Then read how I answer this question when it’s posed to me.

True or False: You mean I’m going to Hell just because I don’t believe in Jesus?
The correct answer is “false”.

If you said “true” you have fallen for one of the most subtle deceptions. Please read on before you label me a heretic and a blasphemer.
The key to understanding the correct answer is found in John 3:17-18:

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Did you catch that? Humanity’s condemnation has nothing to do with Jesus. We were condemned before Jesus ever stepped foot on earth. It was our need for a Savior that moved God the Father to send God the Son. This need predated Jesus’ arrival on earth. We would all still be condemned if it wasn’t for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. The best way to explain the principle is with the following illustration:

Sin is the disease, hell is the prognosis, Jesus is the cure.
Is it clear now why the correct answer is “false”? We are not going to Hell because we don’t believe in Jesus. We are going to Hell because we are sinners. 

Every single one of us, because of our sinful nature, is inexorably and irrevocably headed for Hell. Everyone of us has sinned by breaking His 10 Commandments. All have lied, stolen, blasphemed, looked with lust (which is adultery), or hated someone (which is murder). This is the only way that God redeems mankind: to put His own Son on the cross to atone for our sins. 

To say that we are going to Hell because we do not believe in Jesus is tantamount to blaming God for our well-deserved fate. Adam tried to do that in the Garden of Eden when he said “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:12)

Here’s another way to look at this. Imagine you are walking in the woods when all of a sudden you feel a sharp pain in your calf. You look down and see a snake slithering away. You’ve just been bitten by a black mamba. You go to the doctor and he tells you that he needs to administer anti-venom right away or you will surely die. At this point you self-righteously say to the doctor, “Do you mean I’m going to die just because I refuse your anti-venom?”

First, it’s silly to get mad at the doctor. He’s trying to save your life. This is what people do when they get mad at God because Jesus is the only way to Heaven. Rather, we ought to be glad that there is any way at all to Heaven.

Secondly, it is technically true that you will die if you refuse the anti-venom. But the root cause of your impending death is the snake’s venom and your own stubbornness—not the anti-venom. Similarly, you won’t go to Hell just because you don’t believe in Jesus. You are headed for Hell because you have sinned and you won’t believe in Jesus.

Why does it matter?

Is this an exercise in semantics or spiritual trivia? No! There are real-world implications. The enemy did not craft this deception for fun and games. He had a goal in mind when he did this. 

The trickiest part of this question does not lie in the fact that most people—even Christians—get it wrong. The most deceptive aspect of this question is that it’s not even a question. For most who pose this question—especially if there is poison in their voice— it is a statement disguised as a question.

This is what most people are actually asserting when they ask, “You mean I’m going to Hell just because I don’t believe in Jesus?”:
  • This sounds arbitrary and capricious. It doesn’t make any sense.
  • God could never send people to Hell just because I don’t believe in some ancient rabbi.
  • Christianity is nonsense.
  • You are a fool.
Just as the word of God is the Sword of the Spirit, this question is a weapon formed by the enemy to attack God’s servants who are obedient to the Great Commission. Be on notice Christian. 

When an non-believer asks this question, you are most likely being attacked spiritually. You and God are being mocked and discredited before an unbelieving audience. 

If you have a heart to reach the lost and yearn to serve the Lord you need to have the right answer to this question. Fortunately, not only can you deflect this attack, you can turn this attack back upon the one asking the question and go on the offensive (but always in love).

The following is a sample script of how you can effectively defend the faith:

Him: You mean I’m going to Hell just because I don’t believe in Jesus (sarcasm in his voice)?

You: Actually, NO, you’re not going to Hell because you don’t believe in Jesus.

Him: What (stunned)? I thought you Christians think we have to believe in Jesus to get to Heaven.

You: Jesus has nothing to do with you going to Hell. All of human-kind was headed for Hell because we are all sinners. Hell is mankind’s eternal destination because we have all sinned. Jesus came to change all that.

Him: Oh (flabbergasted).

You: Do you understand how you’ve sinned? Do you know what sin is? Would you like to see how you’ve broken God’s law? (You then take this opportunity to go through a few of the Ten Commandments…Have you ever lied, have you ever stolen anything…etc.).
Steve’s note: This is how I answer someone who asks me: “What about all those people in Africa who never heard of Jesus?”

Me: If you are so concerned about those people you should get saved now—then become a missionary so you can tell those people about Jesus.

Source: Stone The Preacher 

Israeli Sense Of Humor At The United Nations

An ingenious example of speech and politics occurred recently in the United Nations Assembly which  made the world community smile.  A representative from Israel began: "Before beginning my talk I want to tell you something about Moses.  When he struck the rock and it brought forth water, he thought, 'What a good opportunity to have a bath!  

Moses removed his clothes, put them aside on the rock and entered the water.  When he got out and wanted to dress, his clothes had vanished.  A Palestinian had stolen them."

The Palestinian representative jumped up furiously and shouted, "What are you talking about?  The Palestinians weren't there then!"

The Israeli representative smiled and said, "And now that we have made that clear, I will begin my speech."

The Sheep With A Broken Leg

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." (Hebrews 12:11)

Robert Munger writes about an American traveling in Syria who became acquainted with a shepherd. Each morning he noticed the shepherd taking food to a sheep that had a broken leg. As he looked at the animal, he asked the shepherd, "How did the sheep break its leg? Did it meet with an accident, fall into a hole, or did some animal break its leg?"

"No," said the shepherd, "I broke this sheep's leg myself."

"You broke it yourself?" queried the surprised traveler.

"Yes, you see, this is a wayward sheep; it would not stay with the flock, but would lead the sheep astray. Then it would not let me near it so I had to break the sheep's leg so that it would allow me, day by day to feed it. In doing this it will get to know me as its shepherd, trust me as its guide, and keep with the flock."2

Sometimes, just sometimes, when we insist of going our own stubborn way and leading others astray, the Shepherd of the fold, may have to "break our leg" too for our own good and that of others. 

Robert Boyd Munger in Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations by Paul Lee Tan

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Laboring Crew

Many churches today remind me of a laboring crew trying to gather in a harvest while they sit in the tool shed. 

They go to the tool shed every Sunday and they study bigger and better methods of agriculture, sharpen their hoes, grease their tractors, and then get up and go home. 

Then they come back that night, study bigger and better methods of agriculture, sharpen their hoes, grease their tractors, and go home again. 

They comeback Wednesday night, and again study bigger and better methods of agriculture, sharpen their hoes, grease their tractors, and get up and go home. 

They do this week in and week out, year in and year out, and nobody ever goes out into the fields to gather in the harvest.

Paul W. Powell, in The Complete Disciple

Fear of Cows

Oliver Hazard Perry suffered a psychopathic fear of cows. He would even cross the road to avoid passing a cow. Yet that same man audaciously and fearlessly directed the American fleet against the British on the Great Lakes in the War of 1812. 

In the midst of battle, with his ship disabled, he rowed from it to another to keep his command afloat. Petrified of cows, he had no fear of guns, swords, or death. Fear of a single thing did not mean cowardice in all things.
Christians struggle with multiple acts of obedience, and we may think we are not Christians because of that struggle. This is not true. The outcome, not the conflict, determines our place with God. We can have every intention of obeying, yet have to fight ourselves to obey. 

Oliver Hazard Perry braved bullets and cannon balls to keep his command afloat
Jesus sympathizes, for he experienced the same struggle when He confronted the cross. His sympathy goes beyond even that. He also understands what it means to accept a burden we don't want to bear, but cannot escape.

Clinging On To Grandpa's Leg

I remember one night when I was taking care of a couple of our grandchildren. It was late in the evening, but since grandfathers usually let their grandchildren stay up longer than they should, they were still awake. 

We were laughing, messing around, and having a great time together when we suddenly heard a knock on the door. Not the doorbell, but a mysterious knocking. Immediately one of my grandsons grabbed hold of my arm. 

"It's OK," I said. The knock came again, and I started to the door. My grandson followed me, but he hung on to my left leg and hid behind me as I opened the door.

It was one of my son's friends who had dropped by unexpectedly. After the person had left and I'd closed the door, my grandson, still holding on to my leg, said in a strong voice, "Bubba, we don't have anything to worry about, do we?" 

And I said, "No, we don't have anything to worry about. Everything's fine." 

You know why he was strong? Because he was hanging on to protection. As long as he was clinging to grandfather's leg, he didn't have to worry about a thing.

Charles R. Swindoll

Leap of Faith

The African impala can jump to a height of over 10 feet and cover a distance of greater than 30 feet. Yet these magnificent creatures can be kept in an enclosure in any zoo with a 3-foot wall.

The animals will not jump if they cannot see where their feet will fall.

Faith is the ability to trust what we cannot see, and with faith we are freed from the flimsy enclosures of life that only fear allows to entrap us.
John Emmons

The Big Black Door

An Arab chief tells the story of a spy captured and sentenced to death by a general in the Persian army. This general had the strange custom of giving condemned criminals a choice between the firing squad and "the big, black door."

The moment for execution drew near, and guards brought the spy to the Persian general. "What will it be," asked the general, "the firing squad or 'the big, black door?'"

The spy hesitated for a long time. Finally he chose the firing squad.

A few minutes later, hearing the shots ring out confirming the spy's execution, the general turned to his aide and said, "They always prefer the known to the unknown. People fear what they don't know. Yet, we gave him a choice."
"What lies beyond the big door?" asked the aide.

"Freedom," replied the general. "I've known only a few brave enough to take that door." 
The best opportunities in our lives stand behind the forbidding door of the great unknown.

Don McCullough

The Mouse

There is a legend which says that there was a mouse who was very afraid of cats. She wished she could become a cat, her wish came true and she turned into a cat. 

Then she saw a dog and became afraid again and wished she were a dog. Her wish was granted and she turned into a dog. 

Then she saw a lion and she was terrified by his power and strength and wished she could become a lion so that she would not have to be terrified of the lion. Her wish was granted and she became a lion. 

Then she saw a man with a gun about to shoot her with his gun. You can imagine what happened next. She wished she could become a human and she did. 

But when she was sitting in her house she saw a mouse and she was scared of the mouse. The little mouse frightened her. 

To break the cycle of fear turn to Jesus.


John G. Wendel and his sisters were some of the most miserly people of all time. Although they had received a huge inheritance from their parents, they spent very little of it and did all they could to keep their wealth for themselves. 

John was able to influence five of his six sisters never to marry, and they lived in the same house in New York City for 50 years. When the last sister died in 1931, her estate was valued at more than $100 million. Her only dress was one that she had made herself, and she had worn it for 25 years.

The Wendels had such a compulsion to hold on to their possessions that they lived like paupers. Even worse, they were like the kind of person Jesus referred to "who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God" (Luke 12:21). 

Daily Walk, June 2, 1993

Changed Whiskey Into Furniture

An alcoholic became a believer. He was asked how he could possibly believe all the nonsense in the Bible about miracles.

"You don't believe that Jesus changed the water into wine do you?"

"I sure do, because in our house Jesus changed the whiskey into furniture."

Ray Stedman, Authentic Christianity, p. 36

Purpose of Miracles

One clear purpose of miracles was to authenticate the character of Jesus and his relationship with his heavenly Father. In this regard, miracles demonstrate the following: 

God is with Jesus (John 3:2); Jesus is from God (John 3:2; 9:342-33); God has sent Jesus (John 5:36); Jesus has authority on earth to forgive sins (Mark 2:10-11; Matt. 9:6-7; Luke 5:24-25); Jesus is approved by God (Acts 2:22); the Father is in Jesus and Jesus is in the Father (John 10:37-38; 14:11); in Jesus the kingdom of God has come (Matt. 12:28; Luke 11:20); and Jesus is the Messiah (Matt. 11:1-6; Luke 7:18-23) and the Son of God (Matt. 14:25-33).

A second purpose of miracles was to authenticate the message about Jesus. This was the major function of the miracles as far as the ministry of the apostles was concerned. Mark says that the Lord "confirmed his word [that the apostles preached] by the signs that accompanied it? (Mark 16:20). When Luke was describing the ministry of Paul and Barnabas at Iconium, he said that the Lord "confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders? (Acts 14:3). 

Notice that in both of these texts the Lord does not confirm the apostles themselves but rather "his word? or 'the message? that the apostles were preaching. Signs and wonders do not testify to the apostles but to the message of salvation preached by the apostles. So the two principal things that are authenticated by miracles are the Lord Jesus and the message about the Lord Jesus.

Surprised by the Power of the Spirit, by Jack Deere, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1993), pp. 103-104.

The King and Four Acorns

A story is told of an Eastern king which illustrates at once our delusion respecting natural processes, and also God's work and presence in them. 

The king was seated in a garden, and one of his counselors was speaking of the wonderful works of God. 

"Show me a sign," said the king, "and I will believe." 

"Here are four acorns," said the counselor, "will you, Majesty, plant them in the ground, and then stoop down for a moment and look into this clear pool of water?" 

The king did so, "Now," said the other, "look up." 

The king looked up and saw four oak-trees where he had planted the acorns. "Wonderful!" he exclaimed, "this is indeed the work of God."

 "How long were you looking into the water?" asked the counselor. 

"Only a second," said the king. "Eighty years have passed as a second," said the other. 

The king looked at his garments; they were threadbare. He looked at his reflection in the water; he had become an old man. "There is no miracle here, then," he said angrily. 

"Yes," said the other, "it is God's work, whether he did it in one second or in eighty years."

Sunday School Times

Forgiveness and Reconciliation

When a believer considers how much God has forgiven him, he is able to extend pardon to others no matter what they have done. 

A Christian husband found this to be true when his wife, who had become an alcoholic, told him of an affair she had had with his best friend ten years earlier. She said she experienced such feelings of guilt that the bottle was a means of escape. Anger and resentment began to sweep over him, for his wife’s drinking had embittered their children and nearly destroyed their home. He was also deeply hurt by the fact that his close friend had betrayed his trust. Then he remembered Jesus’ words, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." As he thought of God’s mercy toward him, he prayed for grace to do the Christlike thing. 

Here is his description of what happened the next time he met the man who had caused him such heartache: "With a sob in my soul, I reached out my hand and gripped his, and for the first time in my life I knew what it was to forgive. I

felt a tremendous sense of release as the unbearable weight of bitterness was lifted from my heart. This freedom enabled me to renew my love for my wife, and to overcome the barrier that had arisen between us. When I said to her, 'I forgive you and will accept you just as I did when I pledged to love and cherish you unto death,’ the healing process began its wonderful work."

Lincoln's Two Letters

When Abraham Lincoln had to write a letter to someone who had irritated him, he would often write two letters. 

The first letter was deliberately insulting. Then, having gotten those feelings out of his system, he would tear it up and write a second letter, this one tactful and discreet.

John Luther in Bits and Pieces, Oct 1990

The Widow of Leonid Brezhnev

Leonid Brezhnev and his wife in May 1972
As Vice President, George Bush represented the U.S. at the funeral of former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. Bush was deeply moved by a silent protest carried out by Brezhnev’s widow. She stood motionless by the coffin until seconds before it was closed. Then, just as the soldiers touched the lid, Brezhnev’s wife performed an act of great courage and hope, a gesture that must surely rank as one of the most profound acts of civil disobedience ever committed: She reached down and made the sign of the cross on her husband’s chest. 

Leonid Brezhnev died on 10 November 1982
There in the citadel of secular, atheistic power, the wife of the man who had run it all hoped that her husband was wrong. She hoped that there was another life, and that that life was best represented by Jesus who died on the cross, and that the same Jesus might yet have mercy on her husband. 

Gary Thomas, in C.T., October 3, 1994, p. 26

The Story of Adoniram Judson

Adoniram Judson
This is the story of Adoniram Judson. It is a kingdom story that we should tell and retell and share with each other. I have posted it here for you and I hope you will share it with others.
The son of a pastor, he was a brilliant boy. His mother taught him to read in one week when he was three to surprise his father when he came home from a trip. When he was sixteen he entered Rhode Island College (later Brown University) as a sophomore and graduated at the top of his class three years later in 1807. 

The Detour from God
What his godly parents did not know was that Adoniram was being lured away from the faith by a fellow student named Jacob Eames who was a Deist. By the time Judson’s college career was finished, he had no Christian faith. He kept this concealed from his parents until his twentieth birthday, August 9, 1808, when he broke their hearts with his announcement that he had no faith and that he wanted to write for the theater and intended to go to New York, which he did six days later on a horse his father gave him as part of his inheritance.

It did not prove to be the life of his dreams. He attached himself to some strolling players and, as he said later, lived “a reckless, vagabond life, finding lodgings where he could, and bilking the landlord where he found opportunity.” The disgust with what he found there was the beginning of several remarkable providences. God was closing in on Adoniram Judson.
He went to visit his Uncle Ephraim in Sheffield but found there instead “a pious young man” who amazed him by being firm in his Christian convictions without being “austere and dictatorial.” Strange that he should find this young man there instead of the uncle he sought.

The Unforgettable Night
The next night he stayed in a small village inn where he had never been before. The innkeeper apologized that his sleep might be interrupted because there was a man critically ill in the next room. Through the night Judson heard comings and goings and low voices and groans and gasps. It bothered him to think that the man next to him may not be prepared to die. He wondered about himself and had terrible thoughts of his own dying. He felt foolish because good Deists weren’t supposed to have these struggles.

When he was leaving in the morning he asked if the man next door was better. “He is dead,” said the innkeeper. Judson was struck with the finality of it all. On his way out he asked, “Do you know who he was?” “Oh yes. Young man from the college in Providence. Name was Eames, Jacob Eames.”

Judson could hardly move. He stayed there for hours pondering death and eternity. If his friend Eames were right, then this was a meaningless event. But Judson could not believe it: “That hell should open in that country inn and snatch Jacob Eames, his dearest friend and guide, from the next bed—this could not, simply could not, be pure coincidence.” God was real. And he was pursuing Adoniram Judson. God knew the man he wanted to reach the Burmese people.

Alive to Christ and Dead to America
Judson’s conversion was not immediate. But now it was sure. God was on his trail, like the apostle Paul on the Damascus road, and there was no escape. There were months of struggle. He entered Andover Seminary in October 1808 and in December made solemn dedication of himself to God. On June 28, 1809, Judson presented himself to the Congregationalists for missionary service in the East.

An Incredible Ministry
On February 17, 1812, after only twelve days of marriage, Judson and his wife Ann set out from Massachusetts. Their missionary journeys, taking them first to India and later to Burma (present-day Myanmar), would prove to be wrought with suffering and tragedy.

They underwent economic challenges, losing the financial backing of their supporters only a few months after leaving the United States. Their plans unexpectedly changed when problems with their visas in India forced them to reluctantly settle in Burma. They faced a severe language barrier that required them to learn the Burmese tongue in a country where no English was spoken. 

Once they could communicate, their message still met with great resistance from the Burmese citizens. In fact, the Judson’s did not see anyone come to Christ for the first six years of their work.

And there were no converts. It was to be six, long, soul-crushing, heart-breaking years before the date of the first decision for Christ. Then, on June 27, 1819, Judson baptized the first Burmese believer, Moung Nau. Judson jotted in his journal: “Oh, may it prove to be the beginning of a series of baptisms in the Burmese empire which shall continue in uninterrupted success to the end of the age.” Converts were added slowly — a second, then three, then six, and on to eighteen.

Nancy visited Adoniram in prison with little Maria
But opposition came, also. Finally Judson was imprisoned as a British spy — an imprisonment of twenty-one months. Judson was condemned to die, but in answer to prayers to God and the incessant pleadings of his wife to officials (one of the most emotional-packed, soul-stirring stories in evangelism), Judson’s life was spared and finally British intervention freed him from imprisonment.

The few who remained faithful were rewarded with intense government persecution. Judson, himself, was also in danger. Suspected of being a spy during Burma’s civil war, he was sent to a death prison where he was hung upside down in leg irons every night and forced on a death march that almost killed him. In addition, Judson faced the pain of loss some two dozen times, burying both his first and second wife. In fact, from 1812 to 1850, twenty-four of Judson’s relatives or close associates died, including several of his children. As a husband, father, missionary, and friend, Judson truly knew what it was to suffer. 

Nevertheless, enduring all of this, he steadfastly pursued his goal of translating the Bible into Burmese. In 1850 he died in obscurity, leaving a Burmese church with only a handful of believers, and some of these so-called believers had openly denied Christ.

By earthly standards, Judson’s life was an utter failure. He jeopardized the lives of his family; he moved far away from the comforts of his North American roots; he endured the pain of rejection, hunger, torture, and loss; and he did all of this to bring the gospel to a generally unreceptive, antagonistic audience. He gave his all, only to die seeing relatively meager results.

In looking back, of course, we see that Judson’s efforts were not in vain. In fact, his translation of the Bible is still used in Myanmar today. In 1993, the head of the Myanmar Evangelical Fellowship stated, “Today, there are 6 million Christians in Myanmar, and every one of us trace our spiritual heritage to one man—the Reverend Adoniram Judson”

Taken from:
John Piper, Don’t Wast Your Life
Paul Borthwick, Adoniram Judson: Endurance Personified

No Situation That God Cannot Get Me Out

There is no situation I can get into that God cannot get me out. 

Some years ago when I was learning to fly, my instructor told me to put the plane into a steep and extended dive. I was totally unprepared for what was about to happen. 

After a brief time the engine stalled, and the plane began to plunge out-of-control. It soon became evident that the instructor was not going to help me at all. After a few seconds, which seemed like eternity, my mind began to function again. I quickly corrected the situation.

Immediately I turned to the instructor and began to vent my fearful frustrations on him. He very calmly said to me, "There is no position you can get this airplane into that I cannot get you out of. If you want to learn to fly, go up there and do it again." 

At that moment God seemed to be saying to me, "Remember this. As you serve Me, there is no situation you can get yourself into that I cannot get you out of. If you trust me, you will be all right."  That lesson has been proven true in my ministry many times over the years.  

James Brown, Evangeline Baptist Church, Wildsville, LA, in Discoveries, Fall, 1991, Vol. 2, No. 4.

Didn't See That Coming

The minister's little six-year-old girl had been so naughty during the week that her mother decided to give her the worst kind of punishment. She told her she couldn't go to the Sunday School Picnic on Saturday.

When the day came, her mother felt she had been too harsh and changed her mind. When she told the little girl she could go to the picnic, the child's reaction was one of gloom and unhappiness.

"What's the matter? I thought you'd be glad to go to the picnic." her mother said.

"It's too late!" the little girl said. "I've already prayed for rain."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Quotes From David Brainerd

"Oh, that I could dedicate my all to God. This is all the return I can make Him."

"It is impossible for any rational creature to be happy without acting all for God. God Himself could not make him happy any other way... There is nothing in the world worth living for but doing good and finishing God's work, doing the work that Christ did. I see nothing else in the world that can yield any satisfaction besides living to God, pleasing Him, and doing his whole will."

"Here am I, send me; send me to the ends of the earth; send me to the rough, the savage pagans of the wilderness; send me from all that is called comfort on earth; send me even to death itself, if it be but in Thy service, and to promote Thy kingdom."

"My desires seem especially to be after weanedness from the world, perfect deadness to it, and that I may be crucified to all its allurements. My soul desires to feel itself more of a pilgrim and a stranger here below, that nothing may divert me from pressing through the lonely desert, till I arrive at my Father's house."

"This morning about nine I withdrew to the woods for prayer. I was in such anguish that when I arose from my knees I felt extremely weak and overcome. ...I cared not how or where I lived, or what hardships I went through, so that I could but gain souls for Christ."

"Oh, that I could spend every moment of my life to God's glory!"

"I have received my all from God. Oh, that I could return my all to God."

"It is sweet to be nothing and less than nothing that Christ may be all in all."

"All my desire was the conversion of the heathen... I declare, now I am dying, I would not have spent my life otherwise for the whole world."

David Brainerd (April 20, 1718–October 9, 1747) was an American missionary to the Native Americans who had a particularly fruitful ministry among the Delaware Indians of New Jersey. During his short life he was beset by many difficulties. As a result, his biography has become a source of inspiration and encouragement to many Christians, including missionaries such as William Carey and Jim Elliot, and Brainerd's cousin, the Second Great Awakening evangelist James Brainerd Taylor (1801–1829).

Prime the Pump

The following letter was found in a baking-power can wired to the handle of an old pump that offered the only hope of drinking water on a very long and seldom-used trail across Nevada's Amargosa Desert: 

This pump is all right as of June 1932. I put a new sucker washer into it and it ought to last five years. But the washer dries out and the pump has got to be primed. Under the white rock I buried a bottle of water, out of the sun and cork end up. 

There's enough water in it to prime the pump, but not if you drink some first. Pour about one-fourth and let her soak to wet the leather. Then pour in the rest medium fast and pump like crazy. You'll git water. The well has never run dry. Have faith. When you git watered up, fill the bottle and put it back like you found it for the next feller. 

(signed) Desert Pete. 
P.S. Don't go drinking the water first. Prime the pump with it and you'll git all you can hold.

Keith Miller and Bruce Larson, The Edge of Adventure.