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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Friday, November 27, 2015

Thankful For Fleas

The barracks where Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsy were kept in the Nazi concentration camp Ravensbruck were terribly overcrowded and flea-infested.

They had been able to miraculously smuggle a Bible into the camp, and in that Bible they had read that in all things they were to give thanks, and that God can use anything for good.

Corrie’s sister Betsy decided that this meant thanking God for the fleas.

This was too much for Corrie, who said she could do no such thing. Betsy insisted, so Corrie gave in and prayed to God, thanking Him even for the fleas.

Over the next several months a wonderful, but curious, thing happened. They found that the guards never entered their barracks.

This meant that women were not assaulted.

It also meant that they were able to do the unthinkable, which was to hold open Bible studies and prayer meetings in the heart of a Nazi concentration camp.

Through this, countless numbers of women came to faith in Christ.

Only at the end did they discover why the guards had left them alone and would not enter into their barracks.

It was because of the fleas.

This Thanksgiving, give thanks to God for every good and perfect gift (James 1:17), but also thank Him for how He will use all things for good in the lives of those who trust Him (Romans 8:28).

In this time of declining home values and rising unemployment; in a time when many are facing physical and emotional challenges; there can be little doubt that such a trusting prayer of gratitude will be challenging to consider.

But when you feel that challenge, take a moment, and remember the fleas of Ravensbruck.

And thank God anyway.

James Emery White

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The 33’: A Beautiful Illustration of the Gospel of Grace

On a Thursday afternoon in August 2010, thirty-three miners were digging, hauling and drilling rock, deep beneath the Atacama Desert, in Chile. A mineshaft above the workers exploded and then collapsed. The 33 Chilean miners were trapped in rubble some three miles underground. For about two weeks, the world assumed the men had died.

Then, 17 days after the collapse, a drill bit returned to the surface with a message taped to it written in bold, red letters: “Estamos bien en el refugio, los 33.” (In English, “We are well in the shelter, the 33 of us.”)

One source records that, “Once the rescuers, and the world, knew that the men were alive, Chile implemented a comprehensive plan to both care for the workers during their entrapment and to rescue the miners from the depths.”

In the same way, when God looked down and saw humanity trapped in the contaminated rubble of sin, He implemented a two-prong rescue plan: First, to sustain us during our entrapment in this fallen world; and second, to rescue us out of this darkness. This is why Jesus left heaven and came to earth, on a rescue operation.

Jesus spoke about this rescue plan when He said, “I have come that you may have abundant (or full) life.” He came from Heaven to give us peace and purpose during our time in this dark world. He also came to rescue us out of the depths entirely. He referred to this escape plan when He said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” He didn’t come to make Rocky Flats into heaven. He came to light the way out of Rocky Flats, to drill to an escape route for you.

This is why Jesus spoke, time and again, of another Kingdom, another world and of “eternal life.” He said, “I go to prepare a place for you…and I will return, to take you there with me” (John 14). And “He who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.”

The government of Chile spent more than $20 million dollars attempting to retrieve those 33 miners. It spared no expense.

Does $20 million seem like a lot to spend on 33 people? Not if you love the people who need rescue, or especially if you love one of them deeply. In the same way, God so valued and so loved you, that He spared no expense to rescue you. God does not desire for anyone to die in the hopelessness of this contaminated world. (1 Tim. 2:4, Titus 2:11)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16)

John S. Dickerson

Friday, November 20, 2015

Tigers in the Dark

"In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and He answered by setting me free. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies." (Psalm 118:5-7)

I read some time ago how a well-known television circus show developed a Bengal tiger act that was performed live before a large audience. One evening, the tiger trainer went into the cage with several tigers to do a routine performance. The door was locked behind him. The spotlights highlighted the cage, the television cameras moved in close, and the audience watched in suspense as the trainer skillfully put the tigers through their paces.

In the middle of the performance, the worst possible fate befell the act: the power went out! For thirty long seconds the trainer was locked in with the tigers. In the darkness they could see him, but he could not see them. A whip and a small kitchen chair seemed meager protection under the circumstances. But he survived, and when the lights came on, he calmly finished the performance.

In an interview afterward, he was asked how he felt knowing the tigers could see him but that he could not see them. He first admitted the chilling fear of the situation, but pointed out that the tigers did not know that he could not see them. He said, "I just kept cracking my whip and talking to them until the lights came on. And they never knew I couldn't see them as well as they could see me."1

Do you ever feel caught in the dark with the "tigers of your heart" or circumstances that seem to be out of your control? I sure have. Two things I do in these situations. First, I keep quoting today's Scripture, "The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" I'm sure David kept saying this when King Saul was out to kill him—and David couldn't know where he was most of the time. Second, I ask God to confront me with the truth and reality of what I might in any way be contributing to the situation I am in.

It's not until I pray for what I am contributing to "my dark nights of despair" that I see the light—and know exactly what I need to do to change my circumstances wherever this is possible, or at least to overcome my tigers of fear.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You that my life is in Your hands and that You are always with me in my dark days of despair just as You are in my happy days of rejoicing. Thank You, too, for Your promise that You will never leave me nor forsake me. Help me to always remember this, and trust my life to You, and be willing to face what I am contributing to my situation, change what I can change, and learn to accept joyfully what I cannot change. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."

Rev Dick Innes
1  Thomas Lane Butts, cited on KneEmailhttp://www.oakhillcoc.org.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

God Has Not Revealed Himself In Any Religion

Karl Barth

"In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son [Jesus], whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe."
(Hebrews 1:1-2).

Karl Barth, a Swiss theologian, who is often regarded as the greatest Protestant theologian of the twentieth century, was lecturing to a group of students at Princeton.

One student asked the renowned German theologian, "Sir, don't you think that God has revealed himself in other religions and not only in Christianity?"

Barth's answer stunned the crowd. With a modest thunder he answered, "No, God has not revealed himself in any religion, including Christianity.

He has revealed himself in his Son,Jesus."

Sunday, October 25, 2015

A Living House

Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. 

At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. 

But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. 

What on earth is He up to? 

The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. 

You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. 

He intends to come and live in it Himself.

C.S. Lewis

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Accuser and Martin Luther

Martin Luther the Reformer told of how the devil approached him one day and accused him of the enormous sin in his life. Satan laid out a long list of sins of which Luther was guilty, and thrust them under his nose in accusation.

Luther said to the devil, “Think a little harder; you must have forgotten some.” So the devil thought a little harder and added another few hundred to the list.

When the devil was finished, Luther said, “Okay, now take a pen and some red ink and write across that list 'The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin.'”

James Emery White

Sunday, October 4, 2015

God of Ample Means

Missionary statesman, Hudson Taylor, had complete trust in God's faithfulness. 

In his journal he wrote: "Our heavenly Father is a very experienced One. He knows very well that His children wake up with a good appetite every morning...He sustained 3 million Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years. 

We do not expect He will send 3 million missionaries to China; but if He did, He would have ample means to sustain them all.

Depend on it, God's work done in God's way will never lack God's supply.

Our Daily Bread, May 16, 1992.

The Piano Player

Imagine a family of mice who lived all their lives in a large piano. To them in their piano-world came the music of the instrument, filling all the dark spaces with sound and harmony. 

At first the mice were impressed by it. They drew comfort and wonder from the thought that there was Someone who made the music--though invisible to them--above, yet close to them. They loved to think of the Great Player whom they could not see. 

Then one day a daring mouse climbed up part of the piano and returned very thoughtful. He had found out how the music was made. Wires were the secret; tightly stretched wires of graduated lengths which trembled and vibrated. 

They must revise all their old beliefs: none but the most conservative could any longer believe in the Unseen Player. 

Later, another explorer carried the explanation further. Hammers were now the secret, numbers of hammers dancing and leaping on the wires. 

This was a more complicated theory, but it all went to show that they lived in a purely mechanical and mathematical world. 

The Unseen Player came to be thought of as a myth. But the pianist continued to play.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Follow Your Bubbles

"I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." Psalm 119:11 (NIV).

Vern Treat tells about a scuba diver who said that when you're in deep water, you're encircled by light, so there's no way you can tell which way is up because the water diffuses the light. You're also totally weightless, so you have no sense of gravity. The only way you can tell which way to get out of the water is to go the direction the bubbles are going.

Surrounded in an aura of light and weightless, it's very easy to lose all sense of direction and get disoriented. You may sense that this way is up even though your air bubbles are going sideways. You may be so convinced that your perception is true that you decide to ignore your bubbles and go the way you think is up.

One of the first things we were told when learning to scuba-dive, Trent said, was to always trust your bubbles—to always follow your bubbles. No matter how you feel, no matter what you think, your bubbles are always right.

Life can be like that at times too. If we base the rules of life on our feelings, perception or what we think, we can be very easily led astray. The philosophy, "If it feels good it must be right," is a dangerous guide to follow because our feelings can play all sorts of tricks on us. If something is wrong, it is wrong regardless of how we feel or what we think. True, it's important that we don't deny or repress our feelings, because we can learn to trust them; but what we can't always trust is our interpretation of them.

The only safe guide to follow when it comes to the rules of life is to trust God and His Word, the Bible. Therein lie the "bubbles of life" to follow. These "bubbles" are always right. Always!

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You for Your Word, the Bible, and for giving us principles for healthy living and loving. Give me a great appreciation and love for Your Word, and the desire to hide it in my heart so I won't sin against You. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name. Amen.

Dick Innes

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Looking-Glass Self - What God Thinks About You

Sociologists have a theory of the looking-glass self: You become what the most important person in your life (e.g., wife, father, boss, etc.) thinks you are. 

How would my life change if I truly believed the Bible's astounding words about God's love for me, if I looked in the mirror and saw what God sees?

Brennan Manning told the story of an Irish priest, who on a walking tour of a rural parish, saw an old peasant kneeling by the side of the road, praying. 

Impressed, the priest said to the man, "You must be very close to God." 

The peasant looks up from his prayers, thinks a moment, and then smiles, "Yes, He's very fond of me."

(Brett Blair, www.Sermons.com Adapted from Phillip Yancey, What's So Amazing about Grace?)

Keeping A Promise - Tiger Phong and Tiger Woods

Earl Woods, the father of Tiger Woods, with a photo taken with his good friend, Colonel Tiger Phong.

In the latter days of the Vietnam War, an American Colonel named Earl Woods made a promise. Woods believed that his friend, a South Vietnamese colonel named Vuong Phong, had saved his life. In gratitude for that act, Woods promised to name his son after his friend, who was known as “Tiger.” Sports fans will immediately understand that the promise was kept. That son has immortalized his father’s friend, for most everyone has heard of Tiger Woods.

 J. Michael Shannon

Here is the story in detail,

On the last day of 1975, the day after Eldrick Woods was born, Tiger Woods was born when his father gazed into a maternity glass and saw both the future and the past.

"Don't worry, Woody," Colonel Phong told Earl in a hushed voice, "I've never lost an advisor yet."

"'I'm glad to hear it, Tiger," he whispered back, "but I damn sure don't want to be the first one."

Tiger Phong and Earl Woods were deep in Vietcong country, exactly where, only Phong knew. The two-jeep caravan of the two light colonels from Phan Thiet was a familiar convoy throughout Binh Thuan Province, where Phong was the Deputy Province Chief for the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and Woods was more than just his U.S. advisor.

The Americans were pulling out. "I got to go," their commander said. Phong's troops were supposed to take over the fire base, but they were overdue. It was sort of a preview of the coming years.

"That's all right, we can defend it ourselves," Phong asserted.

"What?" Woods said.

"You take this cover, I'll take that. My driver can man the third flank, your driver the fourth."

"Tiger, this is ridiculous."

Phong smiled at his friend. Yes, war is certainly ridiculous.

Before taking his position, Woods retrieved an M-79 grenade-launcher from the jeep and set it down in a row with his M-16 rifle and .45-caliber pistol. For three hours, he sweated.

When the ARVN forces eventually showed up and Colonel Phong finished grinding their captain into a fine dry powder, Woods radioed for a helicopter.

The chopper hadn't flown 50 yards before they were under fire. The VC had been there all along. "Wham, wham, wham, wham, wham!" The rounds shot up through the floor of the helicopter directly between the two colonels. As they twirled out of range, Woods said, "Tiger, you crazy son of a bitch." Colonel Phong just laughed.

Later they had a drink in Earl's quarters, "The Blue Room," their mission central and private retreat. More than one drink. It was Phong who had organized the preposterous paint job -- ceiling included -- that gave the room its identity. It was Woods who nicknamed him "Tiger," an expression of admiration but also irony.

Not all of the South Vietnamese soldiers could be called tigers.

The two were closer than friends, brothers. When they weren't fighting side by side, they were playing tennis or tricks. Woods schooled Phong on the rudiments of jazz; Phong gave Woods philosophy. They laughed a tremendous lot, lest they cry a tremendous lot.

But this was a quiet night. Aretha Franklin was singing on the record player. Phong was retelling his dream of being a schoolteacher someday -- he looked like a schoolteacher already. The thing he wished most for his children was just an absence of helicopters.

Woods was thinking of that afternoon in the artillery field: When the Americans left, the Communists should have stormed. Why didn't they? He should be dead. Why wasn't he? Then, and forever, he told himself over and over, "There has to be a reason." 
(Tom Callahan)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

God Stoops Down

An old (American) Indian chief constantly spoke of the Lord Jesus and what He meant to him. “Why do you talk so much about Jesus?” asked a friend. The old chief did not reply, but slowly, deliberately gathered some sticks and bits of grass. He made a circle of them. In the circle he placed a caterpillar. Still silent, he struck a match and lit the sticks and grass.

They watched the caterpillar. As the fire caught around the circle, the trapped caterpillar began to crawl around rapidly, seeking a way to escape. As the fire advanced, the helpless caterpillar raised its head as high as it could. If the creature could have spoken, it would have said, “My help can only come from above.”

Then the old chief stooped down. He extended his finger to the caterpillar which crawled up his finger to safety.
The serious chief said, “That was what the Lord Jesus did for me! I was lost in sin. My condition was hopeless. I was trapped. Then the Lord Jesus stooped down in love and mercy and He drew me out of the horrible pit of sin and shame. How can I help but love Him and talk of His wondrous love and care?”

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Is attendance at a place of worship or membership with a Christian community necessary to a Christian way of life?

C. S. Lewis was once asked, "Is attendance at a place of worship or membership with a Christian community necessary to a Christian way of life?"

His answer was as follows: "That's a question which I cannot answer. My own experience is that when I first became a Christian, about fourteen years ago, I thought that I could do it on my own, by retiring to my rooms and reading theology, and I wouldn't go to the churches and Gospel Halls; and then later I found that it was the only way of flying your flag; and, of course, I found that this meant being a target. 

It is extraordinary how inconvenient to your family it becomes for you to get up early to go to Church. It doesn't matter so much if you get up early for anything else, but if you get up early to go to Church it's very selfish of you and you upset the house. If there is anything in the teaching of the New Testament which is in the nature of a command, it is that you are obliged to take the Sacrament, and you can't do it without going to Church. 

I disliked very much their hymns, which I considered to be fifth-rate poems set to sixth-rate music. But as I went on I saw the great merit of it. I came up against different people of quite different outlooks and different education, and then gradually my conceit just began peeling off. 

I realized that the hymns (which were just sixth-rate music) were, nevertheless, being sung with devotion and benefit by an old saint in elastic-side boots in the opposite pew, and then you realize that you aren't fit to clean those boots. It gets you out of your solitary conceit." 

God in the Dock, pp. 61-62.