Luke 13: 22-35

Other New Resources

Recommended Resources

{Based on requests from several members (although I am reluctant to do so since my favorites may not be those of others), I am listing here some of my own favorite resources. FWIW!!]
  • A Mother's Sacrifice

    from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
    In early April 2006, a massive F-3 tornado tore through firefighter Jerrod Hawkins' hometown of Henderson, TN. While Jerrod was on duty and could only watch the storm from his fire station, the tornado hit his home directly, ripping the house from its foundation. Amy heroically saved her sons, Jair and Cole, by lying on top of them in the basement. But unfortunately the bricks, debris and concrete that hit Amy caused permanent injuries -- her vertebrae and ribs were crushed, her lungs were punctured, and she sustained serious head trauma. After the tornado subsided, Amy and the boys were found under a pile of rubble by neighbors who called the fire station, where Jerrod had to instruct his neighbors how to give his own wife CPR.
  • A Mother and Her Chicks

    Source Unknown
    ("After a forest fire in Yellowstone Park, rangers found an ashy, ossified bird at the foot of a tree. Sickened, they gently prodded it with a stick and three little chicks scrambled from under the mother bird's wings. They hypothesized that the mother had carried her offspring to the base of the tree, gathering them under her wings, instinctively aware that toxic smoke would rise...")
  • Night and Day

    An Illustration
    ("Late one night, the Teacher sat around a blazing fire with a small number of disciples. Their conversation was broken by periods of silence when they gazed at the stars or stared into the glowing embers. Suddenly the Teacher posed a question: 'How can we know when the night has ended and the day has begun?'...")
  • From Threat to Lament

    by D. Mark Davis
    (includes lots of Greek help)
  • The Narrow Gate

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("Clifton Davis tells about the time he was invited to perform at the National Minority College Golf Scholarship Foundation banquet in Cleveland, Ohio. Although it was his job to entertain and uplift the crowd, someone else stole the spotlight that night. That someone else was Dondre Green, the honored guest at the banquet and a member of the golf team at St. Frederick High School in Louisiana..." and other illustrations)
  • The Narrow Gate (#2)

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("David Jeremiah tells about an old Alfred Hitchcock show, which featured the story of an evil woman, jailed for committing a murder. The woman soon realizes that her only chance for escape is to befriend the old man who serves as the prison undertaker. He is the only inmate who is allowed outside the prison walls..." and another illustration)
  • In Touch with Our Faith

    by Sil Galvan
    Give up your self, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will ever really be yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.
  • Lent 2C

    by Bill Loader
    always good insights!
  • Exegetical Notes

    by Brian Stoffregen
    (excellent exegesis)

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from 2019 to 2021

  • The Hen Is Smarter Than the Fox

    by Craig Condon
    There is a story called “The Fox and the Little Red Hen”. In the story, Papa Fox sneaked up quietly behind the little red hen, grabbed her, and put her into his bag. Then he quickly ran off down the hill toward his home to eat some chicken dinner. Inside the fox’s bag, the little red hen remembered that she had some scissors in her pocket. So, when the fox stopped to rest, she cut a hole in the bag, slipped out, put a large stone in the bag, and ran away. When the fox got home, all he had in his bag was a stone. The little red hen was too smart for the sly old fox!...
  • Someone's Got to Do It

    by Owen Griffiths
    Scottish Olympic athlete Eric Liddell is considered the most popular sports hero in Scotland to this day.[i] Liddell won the gold medal in the men’s 400 meter at the 1924 Paris Olympics. He’d originally been slated to run in the 100 meters, which was his best sprinting event. He refused the event, however, because the heats were to be held on Sunday. Being a devout Calvinist, he felt that competing on Sunday was a sin against the Sabbath. Following a record-setting win at the Olympics, Liddell could’ve gone on to a career in pro athletics. He was famous and popular and was an accomplished rugby player as well as a runner. He chose, however, to follow in his parents’ path and became a Christian missionary to China. He served in the Orient for the better part of two decades, first as a teacher of English for the children of wealthy Chinese, but later as a medical missionary in one of the poorer provinces. In 1943, after disregarding a warning from the British foreign office to evacuate, Liddell was captured by the invading Japanese and sent to an internment camp. There he became a kind of camp pastor, ministering to the spiritual needs of his fellow detainees, teaching the Bible, and coordinating the social life of the camp. He died there in February of 1945, just five months before the camp was liberated. The cause of his death was believed to be a brain tumor, exacerbated by hard work and malnutrition...
  • Sermon Starters (Lent 2C)(2019)

    by Scott Hoezee
    This may not be the most savory example but the spectacle in Luke 13 of the Pharisees approaching Jesus to help him and protect him allegedly from Herod reminds me of the scenario that dominates the last part of the landmark movie The Godfather. As the aging Don Corleone (Marlon Brando) approaches the end of his life, he hands the reins of power in their nefarious mafia business to his son, Michael. But the old Don has been around long enough to know that once he is out of the way, all bets will be off and the other East Coast mafia families will move in and try to kill Michael. And he knows something else: the betrayal will come from a trusted friend who will suggest to arrange a meeting between Michael and the next-most-powerful mafia kingpin, Don Barzini. “And at that meeting,” the Don tells Michael, “you will be assassinated. So whoever comes to you with this Barzini meeting, that’s the traitor. Don’t forget that.” No sooner is the old Don dead—indeed, at his very funeral—Michael is approached by long-time family friend Tessio (played by Abe Vigoda, pictured above with Michael played by Al Pacino) who says he’s got things all arranged to make peace with Barzini if only Michael will come to a meeting. Michael agrees but, of course, never goes to any such meeting. He knows that this “friend” trying to help him is offering him no real help at all...
  • Bows and Arrows

    by Dawn Hutchings
    On Friday I found myself suffering from a case of cabin fever. I’d spent the day working in my office and even though my desk faces a large window, the dull grey hue of the cold, overcast, afternoon made me long for spring, when the sunshine would entice me to open my widow and I’d hear the sounds of the world out there waking up from its long winter nap. From my office window I caught a glimpse of some kids who judging from the time of day, were heading home from school. As they trudged along the sidewalk, the sight of their mother tagging along behind them made me incredibly sad. Those poor kids were being escorted by their mother. How in the world were they ever going to have any adventures with their mother tagging along behind them? I know that the world has changed some since I was a kid, but the adventures that we could have on the way home from school, well let’s just say, what our mothers don’t know can’t hurt them. The kids walking down the street on Friday, were going straight home; something we rarely did. We wandered home from school, and it could take hours to get home. Now I know that some of you may be fond of saying that when we were kids, we had to walk for miles and miles and miles, and it was all uphill and the sidewalks weren’t ploughed back in the day and the snow, well you should have seen it back then it was piled as high as the rooftops and we had to trudge through snow drifts that were taller than we were. Yeah, yeah, kids today, they just don’t know how well off they really are. Or are they?...
  • When Will They Ever Learn?

    by Beth Johnston
    A number of years ago the Swiss Chalet Restaurant in Truro re-opened after renovations and in order to entice people to come in, see the new decor and try their menu, an employee dressed in a chicken suit was sent out to the sidewalk to jump up and down and gesture at approaching cars in the hopes of enticing them to come in and eat, chicken! It was hilarious. This fowl employee looked really “into” his or her designated task, but I suppose was really glad that, unlike this picture, his or her face was not visible. On the next shift no customer would be able to say, “I saw you yesterday; cute chicken suit!”...
  • Visual Lament, Shalom Chant, Song for the Displaced, Unfinished Art and "Roma"

    by Victoria Jones
    Most especially during Lent, we recall the prominence of lament in Scripture: the psalms of lament; David’s lament for Jonathan; the Lamentations of Jeremiah; Christ’s lament over Jerusalem. These laments bear witness to outrage, sorrow, suffering, fear, desolation. And through these passionate cries, the biblical authors allow us to experience and express—in God’s holy presence—our own stories of brokenness and loss. The visual arts make these laments visible...
  • The One Big Thing

    by Stephen Montgomery
    For decades, once a year members of the Ku Klux Klan would don their robes and march down Sweet Auburn Avenue, the heart of black Atlanta, right by Ebenezer Baptist Church. Every year in those Jim Crow days, the African-Americans would close up their shops and retreat into their homes in fear. The Klan's strategy was working. Keep fear alive! But then, one year, some people in that community began to get a vision of their purpose - of God's plan for them. And the Klan began marching down the street, and all the residents came out - and laughed. Laughed at the silliness of it. The Klan never came back...
  • When Terror Stalks

    by Nathan Nettleton
    Written in response to the Mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand on March 15, 2019.

    At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” At that very hour the New Zealand Chief of Police said to them, “Don’t go to the mosque today, for a cold-blooded terrorist wants to kill you. I know it is Friday, a holy day of obligation, but don’t go. He has already killed dozens of your brothers and sisters and he may have accomplices still at large.” And there were people of deep faith in those mosques on Friday who continued to pray even as the shots rang out and the bullets flew They had responded to the call to prayer and they followed that call even in the face of terror The shooter’s manifesto of hate said white European culture must prevail Those who are not us must be turned back We must glory in destroying them purging them from our midst terrorising them The muslims are a threat to us all, he said, they are terrorists who want to kill us...

  • Fox versus Hen

    by David Russell
    A farmer named Ike told the story about the day that the hen house burned down on his grandpa's place just down the road. Ike arrived just in time to help put out the last of the fire. As he and his grandfather sorted through the wreckage, they came upon one hen lying dead near what had been the door of the hen house. Her top feathers were singed brown by the fire's heat, her neck limp. Ike bent down to pick up the dead hen. But as he did so, he felt movement. The hen's four chicks came scurrying out from beneath her burnt body. The chicks survived because they were insulated by the shelter of the hen’s wings, protected and saved even as she died to protect and save them.
  • Eyes Set on Jerusalem

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    One man tells about wanting to go on vacation. He couldn't decide whether to go to Salt Lake City or Denver. He wanted to visit Denver, but money was tight so he decided to let the amount of the fare make his decision for him. He called one airline and asked what the fare was to Denver. "Airfare to Denver is $300 per person," said the reservation agent. Then he asked, "What about Salt Lake City?" "Oh," said the agent, "we have a really great rate right now to Salt Lake City . . . only $99, but there is a stopover." "Where?" asked the man. "In Denver," the agent answered.
  • Jesus, Our True Mother Hen

    by Joseph Peters-Mathews
    Julian of Norwich says this Christ came in our poor flesh to share a mother’s care. Our mothers bear us for pain and for death; our true mother, Jesus, bears us for joy and endless life. Christ carried us within him in love and travail, until the full time of his passion. And when all was completed and he had carried us so for joy, still all this could not satisfy the power of his wonderful love. All that we owe is redeemed in truly loving God, for the love of Christ works in us; Christ is the one whom we love...
  • Rebuilding

    by Drew Tucker
    After nearly two decades of war, Iraq is rebuilding. Cities like Baghdad are bustling with new fashions in clothing and old favorites in food. Mosul, formerly a stronghold of ISIS, is further behind the process but still showing signs of renewed vibrancy. Across the country, the landscape is scattered with rubble of the old and reflections of the new...

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from 2016 to 2018

  • Loving Like a Mother Hen

    by Danae Ashley
    One moonlit night a Fox was prowling about a farmer's chicken coop, and saw a Hen roosting high up beyond his reach. 'Good news, good news!' he cried. 'Why, what is that?' said the Hen. 'King Lion has declared a universal truce. No beast may hurt a bird henceforth, but all shall dwell together in brotherly friendship.' 'Why, that is good news,' said the Hen; 'and there I see someone coming, with whom we can share the good tidings.' And so saying she craned her neck forward and looked far off...
  • Like a Hen Gathering the Chicks

    by Luke Bowman
    The farmyard was dry and dusty against the backdrop of a multiyear West Texas drought. What was once green grass now lay withered and brown around the coop where the chickens slept and laid their eggs. The hens were now out and about, pecking the ground for bits of seed that the farmer had thrown, teaching their chicks to do the same...
  • Lent 2C (2016)

    by Brendan Byrne
    Back in my dim, dark past, when I was employed in the union movement, the wall of my office was adorned with a cartoon depicting an eagle, talons menacingly outstretched, swooping down upon a field mouse. For its part, the mouse had adopted the classic attitude of the condemned awaiting execution: a blindfold over its eyes, smoking a last cigarette. Except that the mouse also had one hand raised, and was making a rather pointed gesture at the eagle – a gesture which, ironically, I believe is known as “flipping the bird” – while the caption read: When faced with total annihilation, absolute defiance is the only alternative...
  • The Dreaded "D" Word

    by Jim Chern
    NBC’s Today Show recently did a story on 30 year old Jaqueline Adan, who shared a story of personal humiliation that caused a life transformation. Five years ago, while with some friends visiting Disneyland, she got stuck in an entrance turnstile because she was severely overweight. Recounting the story now, she shares that while she made a joke of it and laughed it off with her friends, as soon as she spotted the nearest bathroom, she went inside and broke down and sobbed. The rest of the day she needed to use a wheel chair just to get around the park. She felt mortified, and was shocked when she went to Jenny Craig and discovered she weighed 510 pounds.
  • A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

    by Todd Edmondson
    Last week, as the professional basketball season reached its halfway point and conversation began heating up around various players’ contracts and potential trade deals, I heard a lot of discussion about a topic that I’ve probably encountered a million times but never really thought about: the 'opt-out clause'. The opt-out clause states that a player can have the freedom to maneuver out of his contract early if he thinks that he will be worth more on the open market than he is currently being paid...
  • Your Prophetic Voice

    by Christopher Girata
    "A few weeks ago, I received a video link from a friend. In the video, a young man performed a small-scale experiment, a 'social experiment' if you will, on the streets of New York. As he sat on the sidewalk by himself, leaning up against a storefront window, the young man held a sign that read, 'Homeless: need money for weed, drugs, and alcohol'. As people walk by in the video, numerous people stopped to give him money. After collecting a meaningful amount of money, his cup filled with cash, the screen goes dark. The video returns to the same young man dressed the same way, but this time he has a small girl next to him..." and another illustration
  • Mother's Pain, God's Love

    by Owen Griffiths
    God bless Sue Klebold. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be the mom of a boy who turned out to be a mass murderer. You’ll recall—and I doubt any of us who were around on that horrible day in 1999 will ever forget—that Mrs. Klebold’s son Dylan was one of two teenaged gunmen who went on a murder-suicide rampage at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, killing thirteen human beings before taking their own lives. For almost two decades Mrs. Klebold has tried to keep a low profile...
  • Not Too Late

    by Janet Hunt
    I got called to the hospital late after a meeting on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. A woman was entering hospice care. Most of her grown children were there. 'Mom is troubled,' they told me. 'She thinks she has not done enough. Can you assure her that God loves her?' Well, this is the classic Lutheran message of grace, of course and I did so with ease, as I have done countless times before. It was Tuesday. She would breathe her last among us on Friday. It was not too late...
  • The Fox Is in the Henhouse

    by Dawn Hutchings
    Part of my lenten practice of fasting caused me to shun my regular Monday morning consumption of news media, as most of you know, I’m a bit of a news-aholic and so on my day off, I usually spend way too much time catching up on the news of the world. These days the news tends to send my blood pressure racing so, I avoided my usual media haunts in favour of enjoying a few movies and some exercise. As the week wore on, I developed a cold and so Wednesday and Thursday were spent drifting in and out of consciousness as I tried to sleep off the effects of fever and congestion. So, imagine my horror when I finally tuned back into the news of the world on Friday. The fox was actually in the hen house. There he was a fox whose sly cunning makes Herod Antipas look tame, attacking a beautiful tender sweet hen, who over and over again wants for nothing more than to gather children as a mother hen collects her babies beneath her wings. Donald John Trump was attacking the Pope! At first, I thought the decongestants that I was taking were causing hallucinations! Talk about foxes in the hen houses!...
  • Life, Like a Gelateria

    by Terrance Klein
    We’re not sure that anyone is in hell, but the church insists that hell is a real possibility. Why? Because if you cannot say “no” to God—really say “no”—and have that response accepted, then you are nothing more than a distant extension of whatever stands at the core of the universe. You are not someone who choses, in freedom, to love, or not to love, God. God doesn’t narrow the gate; God doesn’t close the gate. Yet the gate is indeed narrow, and it may well swing shut. Not because of who God is. Because of who we become. Because life is like a gelateria. You only taste if you are willing to risk.
  • Get the Picture? (Luke 13)

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    The pictures tell the story. Neither of the first two works here are 'religious' works and yet when we see them through the lens of the gospel reading, it is clear that Jesus fully understood his animal symbols as individuals and in relation to one another. In the top picture a fox sneaks into the picture space in the lower left corner, biting down on the hindquarters of an unsuspecting hen in its jaws...
  • Walls or Bridges?

    by Dave Risendal
    In my lifetime, I can’t remember a Pope ever insinuating publicly that someone is not a Christian. However, as I suggested in my February 21st sermon, I suspect that Pope Francis doesn’t have only Mr. Trump in mind. Certainly he is aware of how strong Mr. Trump’s support is in this country. Certainly he has noticed the groundswell of interest in a candidate who proposes to build a massive wall on our southern border and make Mexico pay for it.
  • That Fox! The Temptations of Herod and the 2016 Hunger Games

    by Nancy Rockwell
    Years ago, in Massachusetts, I knew an eye surgeon at a Harvard teaching hospital, an eminent man, who kept chickens in his yard in a rural town where I preached. One day, when his wife called to report a fox was in the chicken coop, he raced out of the hospital, jumped in his car, sped home, seized his gun and followed the blood trail of his chickens till he found that fox and shot him. 'Those were fine chickens', he told me later, 'gentle. I raised them. I loved them. And I wasn’t going to let that fox destroy them.'...
  • Movies/Scenes Representing Redemption

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from 2010 to 2015

  • The Fox and the Hen

    by Sarah Buteux
    Back in 1967 Martin Luther King Jr. explained it this way. Speaking to his most bitter opponents in a sermon on Christmas day he said: 'We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We shall meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will, and we shall continue to love you. …Throw us in jail and we shall still love you. Send your perpetrators of violence into our communities at the midnight hour and beat us and leave us half dead, and we shall still love you...
  • The Hen's Wings

    by Gordon Bannon
    ("In Mission, British Columbia, a fellow by the name of Ike tells the story about his Grandpa's hen house which burned to the ground one day. Ike arrived just in time to help put out the last of the fire. As he and his grandfather sorted through the wreckage, they came upon one hen lying dead near what had been the door of the hen house...")
  • You Don't Have to Go to Hell

    by Phil Bloom
    (" The story is told about Calvin Coolidge when he was vice-president. One day while he was presiding over the Senate, a fierce argument broke out between two senators. One of them got so angry he told the other he could go straight to hell. The offended Senator approached Vice President Coolidge. 'Did you hear what he said to me?' he asked. Coolidge looked up from his book and said calmly: 'You know, you don't have to go....")
  • Rejected Love

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("Already in Grade 3 Jack had a soft spot for Sandy. It wasn't cool for the boys in Grade 3 to include girls in their circle of friends but secretly Jack thought Sandy was truly someone special. Of course, he always denied it vigorously when his mates 'accused' him of having a girlfriend...")
  • Lent 2C (2010)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("The Pharisees of Jesus' day were unwittingly participants in Israel's long history of failures--but don't tell them that. They had neatly repressed the bad in themselves. So when Jesus sat at table with prostitutes, tax collectors, crooks, drunks, and multiple-partner adulterers, the Pharisees were sure they didn't fit in and so refused to take a seat even when Jesus personally invited them to do so....")
  • Strong and Tender

    by Kate Huey
    (includes several quotes)
  • But...

    by Anne Le Bas
    ("A theologian named John Westerhoff once described four different styles of believing that we tend to move through as we grow. He talked first about experienced faith, the accepting faith of early childhood which responds to the sights and sounds of worship but doesn't really worry about what any of it means...")
  • Gather Us Up

    by Anna Murdock
    ("At some point in my early high school years, I decided that I wanted quail for pets (don't ask why). I went to the local quail hatchery. My three new babies actually hatched in my hands...")
  • Giving Up

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("Ever feel like that? 'Just giving up'? 'Just give up' was the Pharisee's advice to Jesus in today's gospel text. Herod is after you. He has you marked for death. Get out of town quick. Give up your mission here...")

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from 2007 to 2009

  • Lent 2C (2007)

    from the Center for Excellence in Preaching
    ("The Pharisees of Jesus' day were unwittingly participants in Israel's long history of failures--but don't tell them that. They had neatly repressed the bad in themselves. So when Jesus sat at table with prostitutes, tax collectors, crooks, drunks, and multiple-partner adulterers, the Pharisees were sure they didn't fit in and so refused to take a seat even when Jesus personally invited them to do so...")
  • Reverse Divine Psychology (2007)

    by Gwen Drake
    Barbara Brown Taylor tells this story about her nephew Will’s first birthday party. He was a chubby and bald little boy, typical only child, used to being the center of attention, not spoiled because he didn’t know yet how to manipulate love for his own ends. He just thought that everyone was loved the way he was, and he gave his love away as fast as he got it...
  • Paying Attention

    by Heather Entrekin
    ("Joan Chittister, Christian contemplative, tells this story about paying attention: 'Where shall I look for Enlightenment?' the disciple asked. 'Here,' the elder said. 'When will it happen?' the disciple asked. 'It is happening right now,' the elder answered. 'Then why don't I experience it?' the disciple persisted. 'Because you do not look,' the elder said...")
  • Under Protective Wings

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("Some years ago graphic scenes were beamed from USA to our TV screens of riots, the beatings, destruction of property, wholesale looting, people breaking into stores, stripping them bare of their merchandise, and laughing as they did it. A TV reporter interviewed a man who had broken into a music shop and came out carrying a box...")
  • In His Own Time

    by Randy Hyde
    ("One year, during Holy Week, my dad came home with a package. It had holes in it, with little sounds coming from inside. When he showed us our Easter surprise, to our delight we found three little chicks, one for each of us three boys...")
  • Hallelujah Anyway!

    by Beth Johnston
    Have you heard the story of the farmer who went to the convenience store to buy some supplies? Well, this farmer goes up to the cashier and after putting down his other purchases, asks for an 'Insta Pik' ticket. The teller punches the required button on the lotto terminal, hands him the ticket and says to him, 'Say, Charlie, what WOULD you do with all those millions?'...
  • Deep and Terrifying Darkness

    by Anne Le Bas
    ("There was a lot of fuss a few years ago about a film called The Last Temptation of Christ. I never quite understood why, as it was asking a question and making a point that was very powerful. It asked what would have happened if Jesus had chosen to reject his calling, to opt for safety instead of the cross...")
  • God Longs for Us

    by James Lemier
    ("There is a wonderful, deep, moving poem written by the 17th century English Poet George Herbert that describes the dynamic so very well: 'Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back, Guiltie of dust and sinne. But quick-ey'd Love, observing me grow slack, From my first entrance in, Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning, If I lack'd any thing...")
  • Violence: A Rising National Epidemic

    by Edward Markquart
    ("Dr. James Gilligan has a fascinating book and study. The title of his book is VIOLENCE and the subtitle is A RISING NATIONAL EPIDEMIC. Dr. Gilligan works at the Center for the Study of Violence and that center is located at Harvard University. Dr. Gilligan’s primary thesis is that our culture has become addicted to violence...")
  • Let Us Run with Perseverance

    by Robert Martin
    ("We admire Olympic athletes who work hard to compete in various events because that demands much discipline. One name you may remember is Apolo Anton Ohno who provides a good example....")
  • Don't Get Bumped

    by Richard Mueller
    ("Have you ever been “bumped” from an airplane flight for which you had a confirmed reservation? In the past year I have made more than 125 individual airplane flights; and while I was fortunate that I never got bumped, I did see it happen to dozens of people. These days, air carriers routinely overbook their flights in order to make sure that the plane is full...")
  • The Lessons of a Lost Cause

    by John Pavelko
    A baby was born to Mary Teresa Hickey and her husband in 1945. The parents came from Cork, Ireland. The baby was a Down Syndrome boy. Mary Teresa held the baby tightly, saying, “He’s ours and we love him. He is God’s chosen one.” The family lived in the Dorchester section of Boston. Their other boy was Jimmy. The dad died young of a heart attack, and Mary was left to raise the two boys, nine-year-old Jimmy and seven-year-old Danny. To pay the rent she scrubbed floors at a chronic care hospital. Jimmy took good care of Danny. Dan felt at home with all the kids because no one told him he was different. Then one day, as they were boarding a trackless trolley, some strange kids shouted, “No morons on the bus!” That was the day Jimmy Hickey learned to fight. It was also the day Jimmy decided to be a priest. Little Danny attended the Kennedy school in Brighton and eventually obtained a job. In 1991, Mary Teresa Hickey died at age ninety-one after showering her sons with unyielding love all their lives. Father Jim Hickey had been a priest for thirty years. In every parish to which he was assigned, Danny went along with him. The people were favored with both men. In October 1997, Danny was in the hospital. His fifty-two year old body was failing. One night when ordinary people were eating supper, watching a ballgame or going to a movie, a simple story of brotherly love played itself out at the bedside of a man who never felt sorry for himself or thought he was different. Father Jim held his brother and asked, “Do you trust me, Danny?” “I trust you.” “You’re going to be OK.” “I be OK.” Eight hundred people stood in line at his wake. Parishioners packed the church for his funeral. They sang and cried and prayed. Later that day, Daniel Jeremiah Hickey was gently laid beside his parents at New Calvary cemetery. The granite headstone bore his name and the inscription: “God’s Chosen.”...
  • The Yearning, Wooing, Longing, Pleading Heart of God

    by Tim Zingale
    ("A small child, not even old enough for school, went into one of those mirrored mazes at an amusement park. When her father discovered that she had slipped away he saw her trying to find her way out and beginning to cry in fear. She became increasingly confused by all the paths, until she heard her daddy call out, 'Don't cry, honey...")

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from the Archives

  • The Passion of Life

    by Robert Allred
    ("Having done a study some years ago of how Jesus died, and having preached on the texts many times, I can say that the depiction of the scourging in the movie 'The Passion of the Christ' was not over done. The actual event would have been much worse than shown in the movie. As Jay Leno said, 'The movie is so good they are planning to write a book'...")
  • Living By God's Timing

    by Peter Blackburn
    ("John A. Martin comments on this passage, 'These remarks were revolutionary to Jesus' hearers. Most of them assumed that because they were physically related to Abraham they would naturally enter into the promised kingdom. However, his next words were even more revolutionary - in fact devastating - to those who assumed that only the Jewish nation would be involved in the kingdom...")
  • Wide Road to Hell and Narrow Path to Life

    by Phil Bloom
    ("in Dante's Second Circle of Hell are those who have fallen by sensual sins. It holds a huge number of souls, but they never touch one another because they are blown by a powerful whirlwind. Dante recognizes two famous lovers: Paolo and Francesca. Like sparrows in a strong wind, they move in tandem - up and down, one side to the other...")
  • Will Only A Few Be Saved?

    by Phil Bloom
    ("Jesus' warning about the narrow gate, the possibility of being left out, comes down to this: Our present life is serious - and the stakes are enormous. Incalculably greater than the outcome of any election or war. C.S. Lewis expressed it incisively: 'People often think of Christian morality as a kind of bargain in which God says, "If you keep a lot of rules, I'll reward you, and if you don't I'll do the other thing."...")
  • Called, Touched and Healed

    by Allison Cline
    ("Let me tell you about a young woman; it's a true but painful story. This young woman grew up being called stupid and ugly by her parents and teachers, brothers and sisters. Her mother often told her that she was behind the kitchen door when the brains and the looks were handed out...")
  • Living Authentically

    by Tom Cox
    ("An elderly sage was educating his young disciples about life. It tells of a dreadful battle that goes on in every person between two great lions. One lion is wicked: he is fear, rage, jealousy, sadness, greed, pride, self-pity, shame, hatred, weakness, lies, rivalry and superiority...")
  • Opportunity Knocked

    by Tom Cox
    ("The story is told of one recruitment firm's response to a glowing reference for a job applicant. It extolled the candidate's excellent lineage, son of x, nephew of y - oh exalted company indeed! The refusal was direct; 'We are not looking for breeding stock, but for a worker. You never told us about the applicant themselves.'...")
  • Of Chicks and Hens

    by Richard Fairchild
    ("I have a friend who grew up on a farm near Mission, B.C. He tells a story about the day that the hen house burned down on his grandpa's place just down the road. Ike arrived just in time to help put out the last of the fire. As he and his grandfather sorted through the wreckage, they came upon one hen lying dead near what had been the door of the hen house...")
  • A Question of Focus

    by Richard Fairchild
    ("Dr. Eugene Brice once read an account written by a woman born near the turn of the century. She wrote of raising a family on a farm during hard, hard times. She told about one terrible winter when their 18-month-old daughter came down with a cold, then flu, then pneumonia, then diphtheria..." and other illustrations)
  • Narrow Doors, Limitless Horizons

    by Arthur Ferry, Jr.
    ("There is a story about a little girl who had a large collection of dolls, of every description. It was obvious that her dolls brought her much pleasure. A visitor asked her which of her dolls was her favorite. 'Just a moment,' she said as she rushed into another room. In a moment she was back with a doll that would have been rejected by Goodwill..." and several other illustrations)
  • About Hens and Chickens

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("A few years ago twin hippopotami were born in a zoo. A local celebrity was asked to name the two babies. The only hitch was that the mother hippo wouldn’t let anyone close enough to determine whether the babies were male or female – an important piece of information when it comes to giving names...")
  • The Pain of Rejected Love

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("Heidi was in love. The boy who had won her affection was the captain of the football team. Quite a catch since every other girl she knew was trying to get his attention. Each day Heidi would ring her best friend and tell her how much she loved Kevin ... how she stayed home at night waiting for him to call...")
  • Narrow Doors and Teachers' Wings

    by Patricia Gillespie
    Ann Hutchins was a school teacher in the Texas frontier. There was not really a town, only farm houses and ranches, so the school sat out by itself. One day there was an Indian attack on the school. By the time the residents got there, all the children were gone and Ann was found dead at her desk. When they moved the desk and lifted the trap door under her feet, out came the ten children...
  • Ordinary 21 (2004)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time there was a daddy who prided himself on his abilities as a driver. He wouldn’t let the mommy of the family drive when he was in the car. Ever. Nor would he let the one legal teenager drive. They were simply not competent enough, careful enough, responsible enough...")
  • Entering the Unshakeable Kingdom

    by Charles Hoffacker
    ("Can you imagine what it's like to experience an earthquake? I don't mean a tremor that makes the china cabinet rattle -- I mean an EARTHQUAKE that cracks streets, splits open houses, throws people to the floor, an earthquake where walls move, furniture slides, and you're desperate to hang onto something solid. Can you imagine what it's like to experience an earthquake?...")
  • Stand Firm!

    by Don Hoffman
    ("Don't underestimate the power of a mad mother hen. I spent time at the home of my grandparents who raised chickens. One day I was playing with some young 'biddies' as we called them when two mother hens flew up at me, knocked me down, pounced on my chest and began to peck me...")
  • In the Thick of Crisis!

    by John Jewell
    ("Thirty six year old Wyatt Williams had a time like that. He was terminally ill with metastatic bone cancer. His lungs had been ravaged. In an attempt to prolong his life so that he could be with his two young boys just a little longer, he asked for a very experimental surgery on his lungs. His doctors put his chances of coming out of the surgery at about 50%...")
  • Jesus Is a Chicken

    by Beth Johnston
    "Once upon a time there was a prairie farmer who had a barnyard full of laying hens. There was one hen though, the farmer's favourite, who had a brood of chicks. One day a grassfire swept through his yard. Tragically, it burned almost everything in sight. Surveying the damage the farmer noticed the charred carcass of his favourite hen..."
  • The Passion of Christ

    by Fred Kane
    ("Tony Campolo tells of the time he went to a funeral for a man named Kilpatrick. His mother had been after him since he was a boy always to go to funerals. He knew this man Kilpatrick, and so he went to his funeral. He arrived at the funeral home, went into the chapel, and nobody was there..." and other illustrations)
  • Show Him Your Card

    by Nicholas Lang
    "An arrogant, smug highway department employee stopped at a farm to talk with an old farmer. “I need to inspect your farm for a possible new road,” he told the farmer. 'OK,' the old man said, 'but don’t go in that field.' The Highways employee snapped 'I have the government authority behind me and I can go wherever I want..."
  • The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

    by David Leininger
    ("I can think of another Isaac...a young man who grew up hoping to be a school teacher, but God called him to the ministry. He was painfully shy, and wondered how in the world he would ever be able to stand up in front of a congregation to preach from week to week...but he did. Like Isaac, he was religiously conservative; he broke no new theological ground..." and other illustrations)
  • Hoping for a Hug

    by David Leininger
    ("There is a Peanuts cartoon that has been around for years. In the first frame, Lucy is standing next to a tree. Looking up, she shouts to Linus, 'What are doing in that tree?' Linus answers from the branches, 'Looking for something....' Then he adds, "Can you see Snoopy? We climbed up here together, but now I don't see him.'...")
  • A City of Destiny

    by John Manzo
    ("Have you ever noticed that there are critical moments in history when something happens and life is never the same? In 49 BC, Julius Caesar, Rome’s great general and governor of Gaul, now France, had grown so powerful that the Roman Senate decided to remove him from power. Caesar, realizing that they were out to destroy him, gathered his army, and decided to march on Rome...")
  • Will It Sell in Peoria?

    by Edward Markquart
    ("'Will it sell in Peoria?' That question is often asked by professional marketers, especially if you belong to the Coca-Cola Corporation and you want to start a new Coca-Cola product. Where are you going to start your new product? One of the places where they always field test products is in Peoria, Illinois....")
  • Foxes and Chickens

    by David Martyn
    ("Once upon a time, not too long ago, a fox and a chicken were on a journey. Then one day they came to a river. The chicken said 'I can't swim'. 'No problem,' says the fox, 'I can swim and I will carry you in my mouth.' 'Oh, I don't think that is a very good idea,' says the chicken, 'for the minute I was in your mouth, and you tasted me, you would eat me up.'...")
  • The Dark Road Ahead

    by Eric Muirhead
    ("The Stand tells a fictitious story about a biological plague that sweeps across the world and the story of the survivors. Some of the survivors are drawn to an African American woman who lives by herself in Nebraska. A very old devout woman who plays her own guitar, plucks her own chickens and as she says 'I's bakes my own bread.'...")
  • The Road to the Cross: A God Who Suffers

    by Paul Nuechterlein
    ("Walter Wangerin tells this story about his son Matthew. It would probably be easiest if you simply let me tell his story as he does, in the first person: 'Three times I tried to get my son Matthew not to steal comic books! This is the truth! I'm not sure why, but my son started this comic book collection. And when he couldn't get them fast enough by buying them, well, he then began stealing them...")
  • Strive to Enter the Narrow Door

    by William Oldland
    I was very struck by the story of the young girl who was dying of cancer. She was offered the opportunity to have her last wish granted. She could ask for anything she wanted. She could have gone to Disney World. She could have had fun in any way. Yet, she asked that the wishes of all the children suffering from cancer like her might be granted. Her wish was for the funds to be raised to grant her compatriots their wishes. She exhibited love, deep love, and compassion for others. She was willing to give up her opportunity for other people. If I am not mistaken that is the definition of sacrifice. The love she had for others is easy to identify. We know where she comes from. God knows where she comes from. The narrow door is opened...
  • Hard Decisions

    by Raymond Osborne
    ("Chu Wei, age 40, leads a group of over 50 house churches in China. He and his wife, Yin Yan-ling, 37, were among 12 people arrested when PSB officers raided their church in Huaibei City, Anhui Province. The twelve were held all day and interrogated by police, who did not allow them food or water, or even to use the toilet...")
  • You Are Loved

    by Ray Osborne
    ("As authorities prepared to arraign school murder suspect Charles Andrew Williams, this community spent Tuesday asking questions no one could answer, searching for consolation and worrying that blood in a high school hallway may stain the town's conscience. Sheriff's investigators, despite hours of interrogating 15-year-old Williams, were still without a motive for Monday's rampage...")
  • A Mission Driven Life

    by John Pavelko
    Propelled to stardom in 1979 for his portrayal of a cop who becomes a road warrior in the movie Mad Max, Mel Gibson then enjoyed a string of successful films in which he defined the role of action hero. His stardom brought his fame, wealth, power and booze, despair and self-hatred. Struggling with suicidal thoughts, Gibson was driven to his knees only to discover the God who died for his sins. That spiritual journey gave birth to a cinematic mission-how could he depict on screen what God had done for him in Jesus Christ. The idea percolated for 12 years during which he read the historical studies and devotional classics on the death of Christ. He took his idea to various studios but everyone turned him down. Some questioned its audience appeal others were uncomfortable by its religious focus. Others thought it would be a career-ending move for Gibson. Undaunted, Mel Gibson decided to finance the production personally and began filming in August of 2002...
  • Stubborn Refusal

    by John Pavelko
    ("A little girl and her older brother were wrestling in the playroom. What began as some good natured-fun slowly degenerated into a more combative struggle. When the older brother began to dominate the contest his little sister become increasingly frustrated...." and other illustrations)
  • Enter by the Narrow Gate

    by Gerry Pierse, CSsR
    ("To grow spiritually we must detach, we must let go, we must enter through the narrow gate. St. John of the Cross put it this way: To reach satisfaction in all desire its possession in nothing. To come to knowledge of all desire the knowledge of nothing. To come to possess all desire the possession of nothing. To arrive at being all desire to be nothing...")
  • With Eyes Wide Open

    by Barry Robinson
    ("In his wonderfully evocative novel, Son of Laughter, Frederick Buechner imagines Jacob recalling how his father Isaac would speak to him about his grandfather. 'When I was a boy, he sometimes talked to me about his father - Abraham, the father of fathers, the Fear's friend. Abraham was a barrel-chested old man, with a beard dyed crimson and the hooded eyes of the desert...")
  • Center and Circumference

    by Richard Rohr
    ("I would like to begin with a quote from the Irish poet William Butler Yeats. In The Second Coming, he says: Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the center cannot hold...")
  • Courage for the Journey

    by Charlotte Russell
    ("A man worked long hours developing a new way to organize the assembly of a product in the factory where he worked. When it was done, his boss took his ideas and implemented them, taking the credit for himself. Our creative friend received neither compensation for overtime nor the recognition of his contribution. He might have responded in a couple of heartfelt ways...")
  • The Passion of the Christ

    by Byron Shafer
    ("I do find “The Passion” to be both a serious film worthy of study and discussion and also a quite devout reflection on the meaning of Jesus’s Messiahship, and on the importance of Jesus’s suffering and crucifixion for our theological self-understanding, both as humans and as Christians...")
  • Getting Ready Right Before Your Very Eyes

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("I've always found magic fascinating. It is the art of illusion, the art of deception. Sometimes the simplest tricks seem the most amazing and the most elaborate tricks are actually the simplest to perform. Take for example, making the elephant disappear or making the young woman instantaneously transfer from one tower to the next...")
  • As a Hen Gathers Her Brood

    by Barbara Brown Taylor
    ("Jesus won’t be king of the jungle in this or any other story. What he will be is a mother hen, who stands between the chicks and those who mean to do them harm. She has no fangs, no claws, no rippling muscles. All she has is her willingness to shield her babies with her own body. If the fox wants them, he will have to kill her first...")
  • Lent 2C (2001)

    by Robert Tharp
    ("When I was growing up, Grandma and Grandpa said to me, 'Dionhoe, it is very important that the very first thing you do in the morning, before you do anything else, is sing a song.' I said, 'Grandma, Grandpa, why is it important for me to sing a song first thing in the morning?' They said, 'Because we told you so. That's why.'...")
  • Acting With Abandon

    by Alex Thomas
    ("When one has a purpose you can overcome amazing obstacles in life. A few years ago, football player Jerry Kramer, former Green Bay Packers guard, wrote a book called Instant replay: the Green Bay Diary of Jerry Kramer. He remembers the legendary coach Vince Lombardy telling his backs one day: 'This is a game of abandon. You run with complete abandon. You care nothing for anybody or anything..." and other quotes)
  • A Little Bit of Heaven

    by Keith Wagner
    ("It was a bleak, rainy day, and I had no desire to make the drive from the beach to the cold mountain at Lake Arrowhead where my daughter Carolyn lived. A week earlier, she had called and insisted that I come to see the daffodils some woman had planted at the top of the mountain. So, here I was, reluctantly making the two-hour journey...")
  • Lent 2C (2004)

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
    ("The following words of Russian author, Alexander Solzhenitsyn in his book From Under the Rubble certainly speak to the people of Canada today as much as they did to the Russians when the author wrote them. 'The gift of repentance, which perhaps more than anything else distinguishes (human beings) from the animal world, is particularly difficult for modern (people) to recover...")
  • Ordinary 21C (2004)

    by Walter Ray Williams
    ("They tell me that it used to be that when an emperor or empress of Austria would die, that the royal guards, with much ado and fanfare, would take the body in a huge and elaborate carriage through streets of Vienna -- that beautiful city -- up to the doors of St. Stephen's Cathedral. Once there an officer would stride forward and pound on the door for the priests to open up...")
  • Love Forsaken

    by Tim Zingale
    ("There was a little boy named Bobby. Bobby was like most boys of the age 6, he liked to run and play. But Bobby had problem with his ears. It wasn't a problem that the doctors could help him with. Bobby's problem was, he didn't like to listen when he should...")

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Children's Resources

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Currently Unavailable

  • Never Give Up

    by James Farfaglia
    ("The Tour de France, the world famous bicycle race, is well known for its grueling intensity. Lance Armstrong, born in Plano, Texas and raised in Dallas, has won the race five times since his first victory in 1999....")
  • Llamado a Adoración

    por Safiyah Fosua
  • Jesus: CEO

    by Charles Love
  • Ordinary 21

    by Alex McAllister
  • Ordinary 21

    by Daniel Meynen
  • Theology and the City

    by James Perkinson
  • Prayers of Discipleship: To Finish One's Work

    by John and Robin McCullough-Bade
  • The Road to the Cross: A God Who Suffers

    by Paul Nuechterlein
    Three times I tried to get my son Matthew not to steal comic books! This is the truth! I’m not sure why, but my son started this comic book collection. And when he couldn’t get them fast enough by buying them, well, he then began stealing them. I tried three different efforts to get Matthew to stop stealing comic books. Matthew! My dear son! My hungry son! Who collects whatever he collects…in the thousands!The first time I found out that Matthew was stealing he had stolen from a public library. So I figured: shame the kid! I called up the librarian and said, “Look, I’m bringing the kid back, and he’s going to return the comic book which he stole from you. Would you please kind of…chastise him?” I thought that the Lord would look down upon Matthew and that he would feel very uncomfortable when the librarian chastised him. So Matthew came in, put the comic in front of her, and said his piece. And she said, “Matthew, Matthew.” (She was very good. She’s an excellent librarian!) “Do you know what you have done,” she said, steel-eyeing him. “You’ll never do that again, right?”...
  • Lent 2C (2019)

    by David Schnasa Jacobsen
  • What Evidence Do You Have?

    by Jim Chern
    ("Evidence. It's that crucial factor sought in court trials, scientific experiments, medical theories... It's the thing that makes the difference between theories and 'the truth'. Think back over the last few months we have heard stories of pretty high profile court room trials. Probably the one that was the most intense and had nationwide attention was the trial of George Zimmerman...")
  • Lent 1C

    by K. M. Cusick