Sermon illustrations


Gipp’s Ghost Helps Notre Dame to Classic Win

George Gipp was the first All-American football player to play for Notre Dame. He played multiple positions including halfback, quarterback, and punter. His career was tragically cut short in 1920 when a throat infection turned to a deadly case of pneumonia. While on his deathbed, he said to his coach, the renowned Knute Rockne, “Someday, when things look real tough for Notre Dame, ask the boys to go out there and win one for the Gipper.”

Almost ten years later, in 1928, the Fighting Irish were recovering from a horrible previous season in which they lost 18-0 to Army. Before the game Rockne called the team into a huddle and repeated Gipp’s deathbed request.

“I’ve never used Gipp’s request until now,” he said. “This is that game. It’s up to you.” The Fighting Irish went out and played some of the best football of their lives. At the end of the game, the score was Army 6, Notre Dame 12.

The next day the New York Daily News headline read: “Gipp’s Ghost Beats Army.” After that, the legend of George Gipp was forever immortalized  as “the Gipp Game” and “Win one for the Gipper” had become a household name (phrase).

Stuart Strachan Jr.

Inspired from Above

The British poet and dramatist Alfred Austin was sometimes criticized for grammatical mistakes in his works.  Austin pardoned himself saying, “I dare not alter these things; they come to me from above.”

Stuart Strachan Jr.

The Land of O-Z

The American writer and journalist Frank Lyman Baum found that his first book began when a band of children, including his own four sons, asked him to tell a story one night in their home in Chicago. The story began immediately with a farm girl from Kansas named Dorothy and the amazing journeys she went on. At one point, the children asked what country Dorothy had landed in, and Baum needed a little inspiration. The first thing his eyes landed upon was a filing cabinet, with the label O-Z. “The land of Oz!” he exclaimed!

Stuart Strachan Jr.

Now and Then

It is said that fourteenth-century philosopher and theologian Catherine of Siena once asked the Lord why he seemed so present to his people in the time of the Scriptures but seemed so absent in her own time. God’s answer is as true today as it was then: 

[God seemed so present to people in biblical times] because they came to Him as faithful disciples to await His inspiration, allowing themselves to be fashioned like gold in the crucible or painted on by His hands like an artist’s canvas, and letting Him write the law of love in their hearts. Christians of [Catherine’s] time acted as if He could not see or hear them, and wanted to do and say everything by themselves, keeping themselves so busy and restless that they would not allow Him to work in them.

Taken From Alan Fadling, An Unhurried Life: Following Jesus’ Rhythms of Work and Rest, InterVarsity Press.

See also Illustrations on Dreams, Ideas, Thought/s, Vision

Still Looking for inspiration?

Consider checking out our quotes page on inspiration. Don’t forget, sometimes a great quote is an illustration in itself!

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