Sermon Illustrations on Disorientation


Admiration often Leads to Disappointment

For some reason I have always had a tendency to be a hero worshiper…Unfortunately I carried this tendency into my life in the church. Even those I learned to love and admire let me down. From an early age my dad introduced me to famous preachers, and I began to look up to them. I hero-worshiped many preachers. But little by little I began to get a different picture of some of them. I began to hear stories of inconsistent living, their upholding high standards for their followers but living hypocritically in secret. Some of these people became friends, some very close friends. I learned a long time ago—years before we went to England—every person I began to admire a little bit too much sooner or later disappointed me.

R.T. Kendall, Totally Forgiving God, Charisma House.


Begging to Stay

During his time as commander in the Roman army, Caesar Augustus (who would become the first Roman Emperor) had to relieve a soldier from duty for bad behavior. The man begged to remain in military service, but Augustus wouldn’t budge. Finally the man said, “How am I to go home? What shall I tell my father?” “Tell your father that you didn’t find me to your liking,” the emperor answered.

Stuart Strachan Jr.

Jonathan Swift’s Exhortation

While primarily known today as the author of Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift also served as an Anglican priest in his home country of Ireland. While his writing gained significant traction throughout Britain, his ministry was not quite so successful. 

While serving a small parish in Laracor, Ireland in 1709, the author and clergyman regularly drew less than a dozen souls to Sunday worship. His prayer meetings were even less-well received, where he could only depend on a “congregation of one,” that is, his clerk and bell-ringer Roger Cox. Apparently it was recorded at the beginning of one of these meetings, “Dearly beloved Roger, the Scripture moveth you and me in sundry places …’ 

Stuart Strachan Jr., Source Material from Hesketh Pearson, Lives of the Wits, 1962

Not Until After My Death

Frederick William I was a king of Prussia in the early 18th century. Personality-wise, he was described as exacting, frugal and austere. He was known to beat his children when they disappointed him. His eldest son, the future king Frederick William II, along with two friends, attempted to run away to escape his father’s ire. One escaped, but the other was imprisoned, and after a season, executed in front of the son in an attempt to reform the child’s wayward path.

As he lay on his deathbed, the pastor attending him told him he must forgive all his enemies. Immediately he thought of his brother in law, George II of England. “In that case,” he told his wife reluctantly, “write to your brother and tell him I forgive him, but be sure not to do it until after my death.”

Stuart Strachan Jr.


Lifting the Rock

One day a father decided to take his son to play at the local park. The boy quickly gravitated to the sandbox and found himself mesmerized by the colors and textures surrounding him. After a short time, he began digging around to see what treasures might reveal themselves to him. 

As his hands plunged under the sand he discovered something rather large, and having pushed enough of the sand away, realized it was a large rock. Instantly he knew he needed to move that rock, no matter how big it was. This rock was the obstacle to his dreams of a sandbox clear of all extraneous matter.

So the boy tried as hard as he could to move the rock. He pushed and pushed and pushed, and finally he was able to get it to the edge of the sandbox. But the next step would be the hardest. How could he get it over the edge? Again the boy pushed and pushed until his energy was completely fried. The rock’s stuckness matched the boy’s feelings of the situation. Eventually he started to sob.

The boy’s father watched all this, and just when the meltdown began, the father went over to his son and began to comfort his overtaxed, dejected son. 

“Why didn’t you use all the strength available to you to move the rock?” the father asked. 

The boy was confused, “I did daddy, it’s just too heavy.” 

“No son,” you didn’t. You didn’t ask me to help.” And at that, the father lifted the rock with a single hand and tossed it out of the sandbox.

Original Source Unknown, adapted by Stuart Strachan Jr.

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