Sermon illustrations


All Flame

There’s a story told in The Sayings of the Desert Fathers…Abba Lot said to Abba Joseph, “Abba, as far as I can I say my little office, I fast a little, I pray and meditate, I live in peace and as far as I can, I purify my thoughts. What else can I do?”

In answer to Lot’s question, Joseph “stood up and stretched his hands towards heaven.” As he did so, “his fingers became like ten lamps of fire,” and he said to Lot, “If you will, you can become all flame.”

Andrew Arndt, All Flame: Entering into the Life of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, NavPress, 2020.

Circles of Intimacy

Circles of intimacy—marriages, families, friendships, and churches—exist not only for themselves but to enrich the lives of those outside the circle as well. // Here’s a phrase you’ll never read in the Bible: “Where do you go to church?” In fact, there’s no place in the Bible that even says you should go to church. // There’s an important reason for this. // At the time when the New Testament books were written, nobody thought about calling a building a church. The church didn’t even have any buildings then. It just had people. But then, over the centuries, a strange thing happened. What used to describe a group of people came to be the name of a building. //

Sometimes, people will look at a building where a group of people congregate and say, “You have a beautiful church.” But to the early Christians, that would have made as much sense as someone looking at a crib and saying, “You have a beautiful baby.” // Babies are people. A crib is just a place where you put the baby—and not all the time. You put the baby in the crib so that he or she can rest up and recharge to go back into the world. The world is where the action is.

John Ortberg, I’d Like You More If You Were More Like Me: Getting Real About Getting Close (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2017), Kindle Electronic Version

Intimacy & Sex

Somewhere along the way, in the minds of a lot of people in our culture, the word intimacy got all tangled up with sex. But even though there is a connection between the two words, they are not interchangeable, and one is not necessarily dependent on the other. We don’t need to have sex to be intimate with someone. And we don’t need to be intimate with someone in order to have sex. In fact, the vast majority of our intimate relationships have absolutely nothing to do with sex. Intimacy also applies to our relationships with our kids, our parents, our friends, our coworkers—and even with God.

John Ortberg, I’d Like You More If You Were More Like Me: Getting Real About Getting Close (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2017), Kindle Electronic Version.

When We Were Young

An elderly couple lies in bed.  She is not satisfied with the distance between them.  She reminds him, “When we were young, you used to hold my hand in bed.” He hesitates, but in a few moments a wrinkled hand snakes across the bed and grasps hers.  She is not satisfied “When we were young, you used to cuddle right up next to me.” More serious hesitation now.  But eventually, with a few groans, he laboriously turns his body and cradles hers as best he can.

She is not satisfied.

“When we were young, you used to nibble on my ear.”

Loud sigh.  He throws back the covers and bolts out of bed.  She is somewhat hurt by this.

“Where are you going?”

 “To get my teeth.”

Taken from John Ortberg, Love Beyond Reason (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998).

See also Illustrations on Belonging, (Being) Chosen, The Christian Life, Communion (The Lord’s Supper), Community, God’s Presence, Love, Divine Love (Agape), Vulnerability