- ("At the time of Charles Schulz's death, his biographer said, 'He spent a lifetime perfecting failure'. In fact, Schultz himself once wrote, 'All the loves in the strip are unrequited; all the baseball games are lost; all the test scores are D-minuses; the Great Pumpkin never comes; and the football is always pulled away..." and other illustrations)
- One day a mother was having lunch with her husband and their son, Mike, at their Los Angeles home. Mike was a navy helicopter pilot who was visiting from San Diego. At one point during the lunch, Mike and his father began talking about the helicopter that Mike flew.
- Recently we experienced severe thunderstorms with very high winds. My neighbor had a tree which the winds tore off several large limbs. Because the limbs were large it took him several days to get them cut up and removed. There was one very noticeable thing about the limbs that lie there on the ground tore from the trunk of the tree. They died. This may sound very trite and you may be saying, "well of course they did! A limb cannot live separated from the tree." I too know this fact, but seeing them lying there dying drilled home the reality, "apart from the tree the limb cannot survive." This fact of nature was used by Jesus as a metaphor for the Christian life...
and several more
- ("I used to pastor in Mississippi. When my sons, James and Jonathan, were just toddlers, my mom and dad would come two or three times a year and spend several days with us. One visit is burned into my mind forever. We had a couch that pulled out into a bed. Whenever Mom and Dad would come, James would sleep with my mom and Jonathan would sleep with my dad. It thrilled me to watch my mom and dad lie in bed with my kids and tell them stories and play with them and fall asleep with them....")
- ("Danny Simpson lived in Ottawa Canada. The year was 1990, and Danny was desperate. He didn't have the resources he needed to survive. He was short on cash, and shorter on skills. He had run out of time and options, so Danny took the gun that had been handed down through his family's line, went to a bank, and robbed it of $6,000 in a hold-up..." and other short illustrations)
- A member of a certain parish in a cold country to the North of here, who previously had been attending Mass regularly, suddenly stopped going. After a few weeks, the priest decided to visit him. It was a cold evening and the priest found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing coal fire. Guessing the reason for the priest’s visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a big chair near the fireplace and waited...
- ("Some plants can be tied to stakes to force them to grow in a certain way. This staking can be compared to the danger in secular society to conform to the ways of the world. To be conformed to the world is to be tied to the stakes of popularity, to lose your soul in the effort to go along to get along, to live a life of doing what others think you should do...")
- ("C.S. Lewis wrote: 'God has designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy without bothering about religion...")
- ("A member of a certain parish in a cold country to the North of here, who previously had been attending Mass regularly, suddenly stopped going. After a few weeks, the priest decided to visit him. It was a cold evening and the priest found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing coal fire. Guessing the reason for the priest's visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a big chair near the fireplace and waited...")
- ("Someone once said that the secret of pruning is to trick the plant into thinking that it is dying so it will produce great amounts of fruit. This is language that we know, it is the language of faith. We are to 'die to self', 'those who love their life will lose it'. This is the language of baptism...")
- ("Fred Craddock is a world-famous preacher, who tells a similar story about the small church he served as a student pastor. The church was in a community in eastern Tennessee about 20 miles from Oak Ridge. This was in the early days of the nuclear industry and both Oak Ridge and the atomic energy industry were booming. Craddock says, people '...were coming from everywhere...")
- ("Researchers at Amherst College in Massachusetts tried a simple experiment with a squash plant. When the squash was about the size of a person's head, the researchers put a metal band around it that was attached to instruments that would tell them how much pressure the squash was exerting as it tried to grow against the constraint of the band...")
- ("As part of our hope that everyone will feel included, our CE chair spent a great deal of time drawing a huge vine with lots of branches on the walls on each side of the hallway in our educational wing...")