Sermon illustrations


Drifting in the Ocean

If you’ve ever spent time in the ocean, whether it be swimming, body-surfing, boogie-boarding—you know how easy it is to drift. One minute your family is right in front of you on the beach, the next minute you look up they are nowhere to be found. 

Biblical writers wrote about drifting because it is in some ways as easy to do in life as it is in the ocean. We start in one place, but eventually we end up in another. What is required is a harbor, a place we can return to again and again.

Stuart Strachan Jr,


Perhaps the most intense place to experience drifting is commonly known as the EAC, the East Australian Current. If you’ve ever seen the Disney Pixar film Finding Nemo, you’ve been exposed to the EAC, which runs from the Great Barrier Reef down the coastline of Australia. While not quite as fast as it is described in Finding Nemo, it is nevertheless powerful enough to move entire populations of marine life from one part of the ocean to another. At over sixty-two miles wide and almost a mile deep, it is a force to be reckoned with. 

The culture we live in, the people we surround ourselves with, and the circumstances that come in life can act like the EAC in the course of our lives. The question to ask is, will we go with the flow? Or are we strong enough to rise above the current and continue pursuing faith in Christ?

Stuart Strachan Jr.

Follow the Bubbles

When I graduated from college I was given one of the greatest opportunities of my young life. A group of my friends were told that if we were able to purchase a flight to the Cayman Islands, we would essentially be given free room and board in one of a couple different oceanfront properties owned by one of our friends’ family.

Needless to say I found a way to purchase the plane ticket. A few of us decided during the trip that we ought to get scuba certified while we were down there. The Cayman Islands have some of the best scuba diving in the world. After completing our classes, we were invited by our teacher to go on a night dive.

Now, when we were told about this, to me it sounded like a great adventure. The instructor told us we would use underwater flashlights, and I was sure with all the great modern technology that we would be able to see just fine.

So, it turns out, not so much. Right as we entered the water I was alarmed to find out that I could see barely anything at all, and what I could see was only a foot or so directly where the flashlight was shining.

My discomfort only intensified as we descended along a coral shelf, and I found myself disoriented, and unsure exactly which way was up. Now I want you to picture being essentially blind underwater with a relatively limited amount of air for you to breathe.

You have begun to question which way is up, and you are swimming along a coral shelf that makes it such that you cannot just swim in what you assume is up, though again, you’re not quite sure, because, after all, your disoriented by the darkness.

At this point I was in complete freak-out mode. While we were part of a group, there were multiple groups diving, so I was unsure if I was even in the right group.

Now, eventually, we made it back to shore, I didn’t die as I was fairly sure was going to be the case…and we even saw an octopus.

But recently I learned something about night diving.

That is, there is always a way to know which way is up. And the way to do that is to feel your bubbles…that may sound strange…but when you are diving your breaths produce bubbles, and so long as you can feel which direction they are going, you will know which way is up. And I think there is a lesson in that…

When you can’t trust your senses, when you can’t even trust your judgment, you can always trust the bubbles to get you back to the top.

And isn’t life like that some times. We get disoriented. We end up on a path that we didn’t anticipate and at times we can even feel lost. But just as a night diver can trust in the bubbles, we too can trust that God will take care of us when everything seems dark and uncertain.

Stuart Strachan Jr.

Nibbling Our Way To Lostness

 “I live in a small, rural community. There are lots of cattle ranches around here, and, every once in a while, a cow wanders off and gets lost . . . Ask a rancher how a cow gets lost, and chances are he will reply, ‘Well, the cow starts nibbling on a tuft of green grass, and when it finishes, it looks ahead to the next tuft of green grass and starts nibbling on that one, and then it nibbles on a tuft of grass right next to a hole in the fence. It then sees another tuft of green grass on the other side of the fence, so it nibbles on that one and then goes on to the next tuft. The next thing you know, the cow has nibbled itself into being lost.’

“Americans are in the process of nibbling their way to lostness. . . We keep moving from one tuft of activity to another, never noticing how far we have gone from home or how far away from the truth we have managed to end up.” 

Mike Yaconelli, The Wittenburg Door

What We Preach

A strong church once inscribed these words on an archway leading to the churchyard. Over time, two things happened: the church lost its passion for Jesus and His gospel, and ivy began to grow on the archway. The growth of the ivy, covering the message, showed the spiritual decline. Originally it said strongly, “we preach Christ crucified.”

But as the ivy grew, one could only read “we preach Christ”, and the church would preach about Jesus as a great man, but never his crucifixion (and resurrection). The ivy kept growing, and one could soon only read, “we preach.” 

The church also had even lost Jesus in the message, preaching religious platitudes and social graces. Finally, one could only read “we”, and the church also just became another social gathering place, all about “we” and not about God.

David Guzik, Adapted by Stuart Strachan Jr.


See also Illustrations on Deception, Destructive Behavior, Disorientation, Doubt, Lost, Seas, Storms

Still Looking for inspiration?

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

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