John 10: 1-10

Illustrated New Resources

  • Easter 4A (2020)

    by Kathy Donley
    During some riots in Palestine in the 1930’s, a village near Haifa was punished by having its sheep and cattle sequestered by the government. Individuals were allowed to redeem their possessions at a fixed price. Among them was an orphan shepherd boy whose six or eight sheep and goats were all he had in the world. Somehow he obtained the money for their redemption. He went to the big enclosure where the animals were penned, offering his money to the British sergeant in charge. The man told him he was welcome to that number of animals, but ridiculed the idea that he could possibly pick out his “little flock” from among the hundreds which had been confiscated. The little shepherd just gave his call on his shepherd’s pipe and “his own” separated from the rest of the animals and trotted out after him...
  • Sermon Starters (Easter 4A)(2020)

    by Scott Hoezee
    Some years ago there was a story carried in various newspapers about a woman from Missouri who was startled out of a dead sleep one night by some desperate cries of “Help! Help!” You know how it is when you awake to some sound: you are not at all certain whether you really heard something or if it was just a dream. At first she thought perhaps her husband had cried out, but he was sleeping soundly next to her. Then suddenly she heard the cries again: “Help! Help!” Finally she threw back the covers and headed downstairs toward their living room. “Help!” went the plaintive voice yet again. “Where are you?” the woman replied. “In the fireplace,” came the rather shocking answer. And sure enough, dangling in the fireplace with his head sticking through the flue was a burglar, upside down and quite snugly stuck! The police and fire department got him out eventually, though not before having to disassemble the mantle and some of the masonry. Perhaps the best part of the story was what this woman did in the meantime. She flipped on all the lights and videotaped the whole thing. I don’t know what the two talked about while waiting for the police and company to arrive, but had I been she, I think I would have hauled out a Bible and given the crook a pointed reading of John 10: “Verily I tell you, anyone who does not enter by the door but climbs in another way is a thief and a robber!”
  • Easter 4A (2020)

    by Kirk Byron Jones
    Frederick Streets tells the story of visiting a home in a village and being hosted warmly. As he spoke with the adults, he noticed a little girl, and he gave her a few pieces of gum. Later, outside, he saw the little girl again—surrounded by other children. She was sharing the gum with her friends. When we are living in God’s overflow, there is an abiding sense of having what you need and always having enough to share. Appreciating what we have, rather than ruminating over what we don’t have, allows us to abide freely and fully in ever-flourishing blessing.
  • Father, Why Can't You Get Married?

    by Jim Chern
    But then you have reminders of the beauty of the priesthood when it’s lived authentically… Like when we heard this story back in March of Fr. Giuseppi Beradelli – Father Beradelli a priest of 47 years in the diocese of Bergamo (which is in Northern Italy), had been rushed to the hospital suffering from the COVID virus. You might remember, Italy’s medical system was so overwhelmed and crashed, and that was partly why United States shut down so radically and in such an unprecedented fashion. We didn’t want that to happen here. Fr. Beradelli was in such bad shape that they wanted to put him on a ventilator. There were such massive shortages in their country of that life-saving equipment that his own parishioners went out and purchased one for him – obviously they knew him and loved him. However, he refused to be on it so that a younger person who was in serious, critical condition could have it… He died on March 15th, in order for this younger person to live. How beautiful is that! Fr. Beradelli was a gate to his sheep...
  • The Gate

    by Whitney Rice
    Martin Laird in Into the Silent Land tells a powerful story. He speaks of walking across a moor with a friend who had four dogs. As they walked, three of the dogs would run out across the moor, leaping over creeks and chasing rabbits and joyfully exploring their environment. But one of the dogs would only run in a small circle right in front of his owner. No matter how many miles they walked or how far afield the other dogs went, this dog would only run in a tight circle very close to them. Laird asked him why, and he replied, “This dog was kept for his entire life prior to coming to me in a very small cage. His body has left the cage, but his mind still carries it with him. For him, the world outside the cage does not exist, and so no matter how big and beautiful the moor, he will never run out across it. I bring him here so he can breathe the fresh air, but he’s still running circles in his cage.”...
  • On Hearing the Voice That Soothes

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    We are always a bit dissatisfied. As Henri Nouwen puts it, in this life it seems that there is no such a thing as a clear-cut, pure joy, but that even our happiest moments come with a shadow, a fear, a jealousy, a restlessness. Inside us, no matter what our age, we are always somewhat lost and full of a sadness that we don’t quite know what to do with. Thoreau was right, we do live lives of quiet desperation. What are we meant to do with that?...

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!!]
  • Figurative Speech With a Twist

    by D. Mark Davis
    (lots of Greek exegesis!!)
  • The Good Shepherd

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("In James Michener's novel Hawaii, an old man contracts leprosy. The year is 1870, and lepers are outcasts in Hawaiian society, forced to live in leper colonies far from their loved ones. When the old man shares this sad news with his family, his wife kneels before him and offers herself as his kokua..." and several other good illustrations)
  • The Shepherd's Voice

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("In the cartoon All in the Family, the squares showed a summer's day. There was much noise. Some kids were hollering in the front yard, playing ball. Dad was mowing the backyard with the old noisy lawnmower. Two younger ones were arguing and shouting at each other in the house..." and other illustrations)
  • He Calls Us Each by Name

    by Sil Galvan
    There was an old Indian sheep farmer whose neighbor's dogs were always killing his sheep. It got so bad that he knew he had to do something. As he saw it, he had three options. One, in true American tradition, he could sue; he could bring a lawsuit and take his neighbor to court. His second option was to build a stronger and higher fence so his neighbor's dogs could not get in. But he took a third option. He gave two lambs to his neighbor's children. In due time the lambs grew into sheep and had other sheep and then the neighbor and his children got to see the sheep not as a impersonal herd, but as something warm and fuzzy, something personal with individual traits and a history and names. They soon penned in their dogs.
  • Easter 4A

    by Bill Loader
    (always good insights!)
  • Exegetical Notes (John 10:1-10)

    by Brian Stoffregen
    ("A husband looks deeply into the big blue eyes of his wife of many years. He sees the accumulating wrinkles, the sprinkling of gray, the passage of time. And yet still he boldly and truthfully proclaims, "You are the most beautiful woman in the world...")
  • Illustrations, Quotes and Lectionary Reflections (Easter 3A)

    by Various Authors
    ("While it is true that sheep may be led by shepherds from either the front or back, the shepherd must invest sufficient time with them that they have become familiar with him and he is familiar with them. To be 'their' shepherd depends on both familiarity and trust built through time and caring...")

Illustrated Resources from 2017 to 2019

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tab”. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • This Is Your Life!

    by Jim Chern
    The idea for the show started when Ralph Edwards, it’s creator and host, was approached by some people from the United States Army and asked if he could "do something" for soldiers who were suffering in a hospital from traumatic injuries and were dealing with major depression as a result. Edwards went and visited them and found one soldier who was particularly despondent. He was pretty much confined to a bed and had this isolation, this distance about him. That’s when Edwards thought of the idea of presenting the man’s life on air. Rather than focusing solely on where the soldier was at that point, he wanted to integrate happier times from his past. So he brought in the soldier’s former track coach, people from his childhood, military officials he knew, and so on, for the first episode of the program, which was an overwhelmingly beautiful experience for the soldier. Hearing these voices, and re-engaging with people from his past, helped him to remember who he was...
  • They Know His Voice

    by Delmer Chilton
    I once saw a TV program about blind slalom skiers. Yes, blind slalom skiers. Here’s how it works. The blind skiers are matched up with sighted skiers. Then, on a flat surface the blind skiers are taught how to make left and right turns. Afterward, they go up on the slopes with their sighted partner. They ski down together, the sighted partner yelling “Right!” or “Left!” to signal which way they are to go. The blind skiers must know their partners’ voices; they must believe what is said; they must do as they are told.
  • Hope for the World

    by Stephen Fowl
    Dom Christian De Cherge, OCSO was prior of the Abbey of our Lady of Atlas in Algeria. During his tenure, Islamic insurgents were seeking to purge Algeria of all foreign influences. In the light of this threat, Fr Christian and his fellow monks discerned that God wanted them to stay where they are and to continue to minister to their Muslim neighbors. Most of the monks were eventually kidnapped by the insurgents and killed. Their story is told in the film, Of Gods and Men. Recognizing that the decision to remain makes their death almost inevitable, Fr. Christian wrote a letter, a testament, to be read after his death. In it he tried both to anticipate some possible responses to his death and to shape the way the world will view their decision to remain in Algeria
  • Saint of the Month: Father John Price

    by Owen Griffiths
    Saint John Price was a Welsh Anglican priest born the son of a poor farmer in 1810. Somehow young John must’ve shown some intellectual promise because he was educated at Queen’s College, Cambridge and ordained to the Anglican priesthood at the age of twenty-four. For a quarter of a century he served as curate (we Lutherans would call him an “Associate Pastor”) in various Welsh parishes before he got a church of his own. In 1859 he was named the vicar of St. Peter’s Llanbedr Painscastle in the county of Powys.
  • The One I Feed

    by Frank Hegedus
    A wise man among the Indians – many Native Americans in the Midwest prefer to be called Indians – was asked by his grandson about the conflict and discord in the world. The elder reflected for a moment and then replied, “My child, there are two dogs battling within my heart. One is full of anger, hatred, and rage. The other is full of love, forgiveness, and peace.” The old man paused, and he and his grandson sat for a moment in silence by the side of the stream. Finally, the boy spoke again, “Grandfather, which dog will win the battle in your heart? The one filled with hatred, or the one filled with love?” The old man looked at his grandson and replied, “The one I feed will win.”...
  • Easter 4A (2017)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("Some years ago, there was a story carried in various newspapers about a woman from Missouri who was startled out of a dead sleep one night by some desperate cries of 'Help! Help!'. You know how it is when you awake to some sound: you are not at all certain whether you really heard something or if it was just a dream...")
  • What's a Meta For?

    by Dawn Hutchings
    The word metaphor comes from two ancient Greek words: meta means beyond, phor comes from a verb that means to carry. A metaphor is a figure of speech that carries you beyond the actual meaning of the words. A mixed metaphor is a figure of speech that that includes a mixture of images.
  • How Do You Recognize the Voice of Christ? It's All in the "Shoop, Shoop Song".

    by Terrance Klein
    Remember “The Shoop Shoop Song”? It was about how to know, really know, if he loves you so. The answer, rather famously, was in his kiss. Does he love me I want to know How can I tell if he loves me so Is it in his eyes? Oh no! You’ll be deceived Is it in his sighs? Oh no! He’ll make believe If you want to know if he loves you so It’s in his kiss That’s where it is. The great lovers among us can decide if the song is on target, that the kiss really is the way to tell if love is true. My question was, why is it called “The Shoop Shoop Song”? The answer: It’s the sound the backup singers make.
  • Do Sheep Only Hear Their Master's Voice?

    Video by Øyvind Kleiveland
  • Abundant Life

    by Peter Lockhart
    This search for life’s meaning and living truly and deeply was captured for me in my late teens when I discovered this quote from Walden by Henry David Thoreau. I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear… I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life.
  • Whose Voice? Which Shepherd?

    by Peter Lockhart
    In W.B. Yeats great poem “The Second Coming” he utters those fateful words “the centre does not hold things fall apart”. Let me recite a little more of the poem: Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity. If we lose our centre, if we lose contact with God, will things fall apart? Are things falling apart?
  • Feeling Sheepish

    by Jim McCrea
    “I was in a church school class some time ago. I began the session [by] asking them to share with the whole group something about them that few people knew. I expected them to share things that put themselves in a positive or humorous light. Each person did until a young woman shared, ‘Well, I guess most people do not know about me that I am a recovering alcoholic.’ “You could have heard a pin drop. “But you know what? “That kind of honesty made a tremendous impact on this group. In the weeks and months following it, we began to draw ever so much closer to one another. Persons began to share out of their own joys and sorrows. We started to truly get to know one another. I believe this was the result of that one brave young woman who freed the rest of us to be who we truly were and find in the process an acceptance and power to become even more than we were.
  • Easter 4A (2017)

    by Aimee Niles
    In the board game “The Settlers of Catan,” the object of the game is to build roads, villages, and cities faster and more efficiently than the other players to become the most powerful person on the island of Catan. A vital resource in the game is… sheep. You can’t be the lord or lady of Catan without having access to sheep. Sheep are a valuable commodity...
  • Of Sheep and Shepherds

    by Beth Quick
    In the The Magician’s Nephew, you learn about the creation of the land of Narnia by Aslan, the lion, the Christ-figure in the books. As a result of a complicated series of events, Aslan sends a little boy named Diggory on a mission to retrieve a fruit from a special tree in a gated garden. The fruit will become a tree which will protect Narnia. But an evil witch is also in the new land of Narnia. When Diggory arrives at the garden, which is surrounded by a wall, he sees the witch climbing over the walls to steal and eat the fruit of the tree Aslan has sent him to find. Only, the gate to the garden isn’t locked – Diggory can walk right in. The witch could have too, but she chose to enter instead in the way of a thief. When Diggory enters the garden himself, he sees a sign at the entrance that reads, “Come in by the gold gates or not at all, Take of my fruit for others or forebear, for those who steal or those who climb my wall shall find their heart’s desire and find despair.”
  • Easter and the Bandit Shepherd

    by Nancy Rockwell
    On Thursday, in New York City, at the Tribeca Film Festival, I saw a new documentary about Syria, City of Ghosts. It tells the story of citizen journalists of Raqqa, a city taken over by ISIS, where hell has been the order of the day for over a year. These citizen journalists were college students when Syria dissolved into civil war a decade ago. One of their journalism professors urged them to become citizen reporters, documenting everything they could with their phones, their laptops, and their expert use of social media. For the past ten years they have been doing just that.
  • Touching Our Loved Ones

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    If someone close to you dies in a state which, externally at least, has him or her at odds with the visible church, your love and forgiveness will continue to bind that person to the Body of Christ and will continue to offer forgiveness to that individual, even after death. GK Chesterton once expressed this in a parable: “A man who was entirely careless of spiritual affairs died and went to hell. And he was much missed on earth by his old friends. His business agent went down to the gates of hell to see if there was any chance of bringing him back. But though he pleaded for the gates to be opened, the iron bars never yielded. His priest also went and argued: ‘He was not really a bad fellow; given time he would have matured. Let him out, please!’ The gate remained stubbornly shut against all their voices. Finally his mother came; she did not beg for his release. Quietly, and with a strange catch in her voice, she said to Satan: ‘Let me in.’ Immediately the great doors swung open upon their hinges. For love goes down through the gates of hell and there redeems the dead.”
  • The Door

    by David Russell
    The school shooting in Parkland, Florida, just the last in a long line of mass shootings, has brought about a lot of conversation - some much-needed national conversation as well as a lot of individual converstions. Marissa Schimmoeller is a 9th and 10th grade English teacher in Ohio. She dreaded going to school the day after the Florida shooting. And sure enough, a student in her class asked, “Mrs. Schimmoeller, what will we do if a shooter comes in your room?” She launched into her pre-planned speech, but then she had to say the hardest part. “I want you to know that I care deeply about each and every one of you. I will do all I can to protect you, but being in a wheelchair, I cannot protect you the same way that an able-bodied teacher can. If there is a chance for you to escape, I want you to go. Do not worry about me. Your safety is my number one priority.” Imagine having to say that to your class. Her words slowly sank in. But then, slowly, another student raised her hand. “Mrs. Schimmoeller, we have already talked about it. If anything happens, we are going to carry you.”...
  • Being Known by Name

    by Alex Thomas
    ["Dr. Paul Tournier has always been a hero of mine though I have only known him through books and tapes. In one of his talks that I have on tape entitled THE MEANING OF PERSONS (which is also the title of his best known book], he talks about how important it is to be treated like an individual, and not just seen as a role, or as part of a crowd, or just another member of society..." and another illustration)
  • Movies/Scenes Representing Satan

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard

Illustrated Resources from 2014 to 2016

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tab”. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • Finding the Gate

    by Christopher Burkett
    "There is a very strict etiquette to gates; a rule book that you must follow because not to do so may cost dearly, or lead to death, or destroy a family's livelihood. This I know because as a child brought up in a very rural community but near a fast railway track; I was often shouted at if I didn't follow the rules. Some, of course, are very obvious like 'shut the gate after you..."
  • Baptism Into the Fold

    by Anthony F. M. Clavier
    In her retirement, some years ago, a woman lived in the English countryside. And from her living-room window, she could see a large hill, at the top of which was the ancient parish church. One of the bell-ringers who helped summon people to worship was a shepherd. In lambing season, his flashlight could be seen at all times of the night, seeking out newborn lambs, making sure they were safely delivered and that the mothers were safe and fine. The young lambs were suitable prey for the foxes that lived in the surrounding woods. The shepherd’s job was to feed, guard and care for all the sheep who lived within the enclosure of the field...
  • Knowing His Voice

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("I recall a mum who has an identical twin sister telling me about her experiences as a twin. They are so identical that it is really hard to tell them apart. Well anyway, one of the sisters had a baby and when he cried the other sister would go in to pick up the baby and for a moment he would be fooled by the person who looked like his mother. However, immediately his mother spoke or his aunt spoke he knew that it wasn't his real mother...")
  • The Gate for the Sheep

    by Janet Hunt
    ("I grew up in a time and place when doors surely marked boundaries, but we were not so afraid of others inappropriately crossing them. In the town I now call home, those who have lived here awhile can remember the day and hour when they started locking the doors. It was the late 1950's. A little girl was abducted when playing outside after supper with a friend. Her body was found miles away several months later...")
  • What You Say, You Say in a Body

    by Terrance Klein
    ("The soul opens by way of the voice. It's our way of sharing human life. Think of your mother's voice. You might be hard pressed to describe it to others, though you'd never fail to recognize it. Its timbre, its cadence, its oft-chosen words are instantly recognizable. That's why those who want to hide what's happening within the soul, don't call their mothers...")
  • The Good Shepherd

    by Nancy Rockwell
    ["The Bible makes it clear that God has a wild bias in favor of Cowboys. (Shepherds, Goatherds, Cowboys, are all the same, but we've always seen cowboys as tough and rough and ready, and shepherds as gentle, soft and sweet. The image adjustment we need is: Shepherd = Cowboy.) Since Genesis, God has had a heart for cowboys. Abel, the Cowboy/Shepherd, won God's favor over Cain, the Farmer..."]
  • Apron's Up!

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("Do you remember playing 'Follow The Leader' when you were a kid? The 'leader' called the shots. Whatever way the leader went, whatever the leader did, the 'followers' were supposed to imitate. It was a fun game until some 'leader' decided to do something, well . . . not smart. Jumping over a ditch was an adventure until someone didn't quite make it and tumbled down and got hurt....")
  • Faith Like a Mother Who Listens

    by Keith Wagner
    ("There is an All In the Family cartoon which takes place on a summer day. But on this particular day there was a lot of noise. Some children were playing in the yard shouting and screaming. Dad was mowing the backyard. Two of the children were running in the house making all kinds of racket. Dad walked into the house with his pocket radio turned up very loud. Just then Mother stopped, turned to Dad and said, 'Listen'...." and other illustrations)

Illustrated Resources from 2011 to 2013

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tab”. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • Extreme Shepherding

    from the Baa-Studs
    (just for fun!!)
  • Finding Pasture

    Story Sermon by Frank Fisher
    ("Your lips form those sounds as you busily graze on the bright green spring grass. For you're a sheep; a four hoofed one who busily follows your shepherd across the gently rolling hills and valleys of your corner of Judah. Not too much in the way of thought crosses your mind as you graze. And that's just as well, for our mind really isn't capable of too much thought.....")
  • I Am the Gate

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("There is one song that every Australian knows and sings with a good deal of gusto - Waltzing Matilda. It's rather strange that a song about a swaggie stealing a jumbuck and then taking his own life as he jumped into the billabong when approached by the mounted troopers has become almost synonymous with the name Australia...")
  • The Good Shepherd

    by Denis Hanly, MM
    John Shea is a theologian and a very fine theologian. And he’s driving his mother to his uncle’s funeral. And he looks over and she’s very quiet. And he’s wondering. She usually has a lot to say, but she’s very quiet. And it’s a long ride and she never says anything. And he looks at her and he figures well she’s mourning, she’s mourning the death of her brother. But she’s been through many mournings. She mourned the death of her mother and father. She mourned the death of her husband and she mourned the death of her sister-in-law. And now she’s mourning the death of a brother. And then, all of a sudden, she opens her mouth and speaks. And she says these words to him, she says, “I’m not going to be afraid anymore. I’m not going to be afraid anymore.” And then he’s quiet and he looks at her and he realises that this is a new mother. He thought she would say, “Oh, isn’t it sad,” or “Oh, I’m going to miss him,” and oh, all these things. But she says, “I’m never going to be afraid again.” And he watched her for the next couple of weeks. And it was true. She became a bit of a changed person...
  • Hearing the Voice

    by Robert Morrison
    ("Why DO we use the word 'pig' to refer to anyone whom we despise – like Charlie Brown's and Lucy van Pelt's friend, who seems to be surrounded, perpetually, with a dust-storm. In that 'character's first appearance on July 13, 1954, in a strip directly parodying the first chapter of Lord of the Flies, he declares, 'I haven't got a name . . . People just call me things . . . Real insulting things.'..." and other quotes)
  • Easter 4A (2011)

    by Paul O'Reilly, SJ
    ("I met Dennis six years ago when I was working in the Philippines. He was the lay minister of a tiny church community -- a small, previously un-evangelized fishing community on the east coast of Luzon; a remote inaccessible place beyond the Sierra Madre, on the dry arid Pacific coast. In the daytime, he worked for the town council; in the evenings and weekends he worked for the Church....")
  • Coyote Beckons

    by Larry Patten
    ("Years ago, while visiting Yosemite, I arose early to enjoy a solitary walk through the sublime valley. I spotted a shadow to my left, then another to my right. A coyote. Two coyotes. They walked. I walked. They started trotting. I joined, keeping pace. As we moved across the valley floor, I realized other coyotes were now ghosting among the trees with me, with us...")
  • Sheep and Other Mamils

    by Andrew Prior
    ("Let me tell you about a good shepherd. My Dad found a sheep which was 'down'. It was sick, and it could not stand up and walk. This is fatal for a sheep. It means no water, no food, and the digestive system of sheep doesn't work properly if they are constantly lying down. They very soon die...")
  • Blessing of the Gate

    by Jan Richardson
    ("Press your hand to this blessing, here along the side where you can feel its seam. Follow the seam and you will find the hinges on which this blessing turns. Feel how your fingers catch on them— top, bottom, the slightest pressure sending the gate gliding open in a glad welcome...")
  • From Temple to Table

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("As the 'wilderness' continues to shrink, the highly populated suburbs weirdly become the new 'edges' of civilization. Why else would coyotes have become the greatest danger for small dogs and cats? Why else would deer have replaced moles, grubs, and crabgrass as the biggest landscaping challenge all over suburbia?...")
  • The Sheepfold

    by Alan Thomas
    ("For two years, my sheepfold was the virtual world created in the computer game World of Warcraft. I lived there more than I did in the real world. I played every day. Often I ate all three meals in front of the computer. But during those stagnant months that stretched into years, I didn't live. I existed...")
  • Being Known by Name

    by Alex Thomas
    "Dr. Paul Tournier has always been a hero of mine though I have only known him through books and tapes. In one of his talks that I have on tape entitled THE MEANING OF PERSONS (which is also the title of his best known book], he talks about how important it is to be treated like an individual, and not just seen as a role, or as part of a crowd, or just another member of society..." and another illustration
  • Easter 4A (2011)

    by Carl Voges
    ("Laura and I have a fondness for the third of the original three movies Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. When we talk about what we like best, it is the search for the Holy Grail - the chalice Christ used at the Last Supper. As one of the guardians of the grail says to the archaeologist Indiana Jones at one point: 'You have to ask yourself why you seek the grail?'...")

Illustrated Resources from 2008 to 2010

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tab”. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • Easter 4A (2008)

    from the Center for Excellence in Preaching
    ("Some years ago there was a story carried in various newspapers about a woman from Missouri who was startled out of a dead sleep one night by some desperate cries of 'Help! Help!'...")
  • Easter 4A (2008)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time there was a college basketball player who was very good and very lazy. He felt he was so good that he didn't need to practice. Even without practice he was all conference and second team all American...")
  • Enter by the Gate

    by Sharon Jacobsen
    ("For years St. Anthony's Catholic Church in San Francisco has served meals to people in need. Over the doorway to its dining room the church has posted a sign bearing the inscription Caritate Dei...")
  • Testimony to a Shepherd's Heart

    by Anna Murdock
    (personal reflection on the shepherd)
  • Living Life to the Fullest

    by John Pavelko
    In September of 2006, Randy Pausch was told that he had pancreatic cancer He chose a very aggressive form of treatment and the cancer went into remission, briefly. It returned with a vengeance in August 2007, metastasizing to his liver and spleen. Randy was given 3-6 months to live. On September 18, 2007 he delivered his “Last Lecture” to the Carnegie Mellon student body and faculty. His talk was part of an ongoing series of lectures in which top academics are asked to think deeply about what matters to them, and then give a hypothetical "final talk," i.e., "what wisdom would you try to impart to the world if you knew it was your last chance?"
  • Who Cares?

    by Alex Thomas
    ("When I was a teenager, probably about 13, my mother taught me a very valuable lesson I've never forgotten. We were grocery shopping in a small store one day when I noticed a family come into the store....")
  • What Door Will You Choose?

    by Keith Wagner
    ("In 1610 Galileo pointed his telescope at Jupiter and observed the orbits of four of its moons. He believed that there was a force which we now call gravity that keeps the moons of Jupiter in their orbits and the same force could keep the earth's moon going around it as the earth moved around the sun...")
  • Long-Living Images of the Shepherd and His Sheep

    by David Zersen
    ("there have been other voices at the threshold, calling people to follow-sometimes maniacal ones. Jim Jones, David Koresh, and the Heaven's Gate group leader all led their people to suicide. When these people died, there was no one lovingly calling them by name. It was groupthink!...")
  • The Cowboy and the Shepherd

    by Timothy Zingale
    ("A traveler was returning to his home from a journey to a distant country. At nightfall he arrived at the entrance to a vast forest. Unable either to delay his journey or retrace his steps, he was prepared to traverse the sullen forest when he came upon an old shepherd from whom he asked the way...")
  • Illustrations (Easter 4A)(2008)

    by Tim Zingale
    ("In his beautiful book I Shall Not Want, Robert Ketchum tells of a Sunday School teacher who asked her group of children if anyone could quote the entire 23rd Psalm. A golden-haired, four-and-a-half-year-old girl was among those who raised their hands. A bit skeptical, the teacher asked if she could really quote the entire psalm..." and several more)

Illustrated Resources from the Archives

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tab”. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • Abundant Abundance

    by Susan Andrews
    ("In his book called God Has A Dream, Archbishop Desmond Tutu describes what fully realized abundant life in Christ will look like. Reflecting on 25 years of transformation in South Africa - a miracle wrought by God despite the sinfulness of hatred and division -Tutu writes...")
  • At Home in God

    by Susan Andrews
    Margaret Wise Brown's The Runaway Bunny is a book for children of all ages. It is the story of a little bunny who dreams about running away from home, only to find 'home' wherever he ends up. His mommy does not stop him from running away, but she does not leave him either..." and other illustrations
  • Stewardship/Home Economics: Living and Loving Abundantly

    by John Auer
    ("The early church used the 23rd Psalm, not just at the end of life, as we often do, but at the beginning, as an allegory for baptismal preparation, which happens to one but connects one with all. According to Gail Ramshaw, 'Green pastures' were seen as the weeks of instruction for baptism. 'Still waters' were baptism...")
  • Called by Name

    from Biblical Studies
    A friend, who was traveling in the East, heard that there was a shepherd who still kept up the custom of calling his sheep by name. He went to the man, and said: 'Let me put on your clothes, and take your crook, and I will call them, and see if they will come to me.'...
  • The Door of the Sheepfold

    from Biblical Studies
    Eva Watts says that as she traveled with a friend though the land where Jesus lived, 'We reached a high ridge overlooking the village of Bethlehem. There we found a sheepfold, and went right in to inspect. It was not long before the owner appeared—a veteran, like Moses, with a long beard...
  • My Sheep Know My Voice

    from Biblical Studies
    A man in Australia was arrested and charged with stealing a sheep. But he claimed emphatically that it was one of his own that had been missing for many days. When the case went to court, the judge was puzzled, not knowing how to decide the matter. At last he asked that the sheep be brought into the courtroom...
  • Reality of Christ's Presence

    from Biblical Studies
    A man who wanted to teach his nephews and nieces about the reality of the living presence of Christ in our lives asked them, 'Where’s your mother?' 'Upstairs,' answered one girl. 'How do you know?' 'I saw her go,' she replied...
  • The Good Shepherd

    by Peter Blackburn
    ("Jimmy Jones led nearly a thousand of his followers to suicide in Guyana. I have seen footage from the early days of his Temple Church in Chicago. In its earliest stages it seemed almost indistinguishable from a typical Pentecostal church of the era. But then, little by little, things began to change...")
  • Going Before

    by Tom Cox
    ("God is in every tomorrow, Therefore I live for today, Certain of finding at sunrise, Guidance and strength for my way...")
  • Live the Hyphen Fully

    by Joan Delaplane
    ("A few years ago Erma Bombeck wrote about Terry Anderson's experience in prison. She said: 'You cannot get a refund or a credit on the days of your lives. Once you have lived them, they're gone.... What I was struck by was Terry Anderson's determination to live each day—one hour at a time..." and other quotes)
  • Giving Sheep a Sense of Place

    by Jennie Dennett
    ("Mr Temple lost almost his entire Herdwick flock to foot-and-mouth sheep hefted to the 800-year-old farmstead meaning that successive generations had learned which part of the fell to stay on....")
  • Fourth Sunday of Easter

    by Mary G. Durkin
    ("This is the story of how a village became the orchard center of the area. The people were on the verge of starvation. The river that flowed through their fields overflowed and destroyed their only crop. People grumbled, 'If only we could have done like other villages and used the land in the hills to plant our seeds.'...")
  • The Good Shepherd

    by Ernest Munachi Ezeogu, CSSP
    ("The pastor of a rich suburban parish was speaking to the Sunday school kids. He told them that as the pastor he was like a shepherd and the members of his congregation were the sheep. He then put this question to them: 'What does the shepherd do for the sheep?'...")
  • Coals and Cucumbers, Faith and Fellowship

    by Richard Fairchild
    ("The expression 'cool as a cucumber' refers to someone who is able to remain calm and collected in the heat of life's battles. The expression actually has its basis in scientific fact. A cucumber lying in the sun on a hot day is cooler on the inside than the outside...")
  • Be Happy!

    by Arthur Ferry Jr.
    ("Now at half-time, as expected, these Colts were being trounced by these New York Giants. It was going as predicted. At half-time this coach of the Colts, this Weeb Eubank was trying to find the words to get his team fired up & in a winning attitude...")
  • Baaa, Baaa

    Story Sermon by Frank Fisher
    ("Your name is Elizur. You're a sheep. At least that's what people have always called you. Even back when you where taking your first toddling steps, through the hot dusty streets of first century Jerusalem, you'd follow after anyone blindly, and without any hesitation at all. If your mother looked away from you for even an instant, you'd be off down the street, tagging along behind a perfect stranger...")
  • Reflections on the Shepherd and His Sheep

    by Martin Fors
    ("I have friends who used to have Scotch Highlander cattle here in the hills of the North East Kingdom, in Vermont. My friend's wife, could call and call for those cows and they'd never come when she called them. But, when her husband Reggie would yell, you could hear them coming crashing through the underbrush on the gallop...")
  • The Sheepish Shepherds

    by Jill Friebel
    ("Now David tells me an even better story which our friend Phil Short told him. Phil would spend weeks at a time out in the bush like this following the Fulani nomadic herds people and getting to know them. One day he was at a watering hole when two shepherds arrived with the their animals..." and another illustration)
  • Sheepgate

    by Ronald T. Glusenkamp
    ("Years ago, when our son Nate was born, I read him this poem. It's a poem called "The Lamb" written by William Blake. And I'd like to read it for you, you child of God on this day: 'Little lamb, who made thee, Dost thou know who made thee?...")
  • Easter 4A (2005)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time two little kids and their father were out sailing on the lake in their small sail boat. The kids were scared because the wind was kind of picking up..")
  • We Need Leaders

    by Mark Haverland
    ("In his book about Martin Luther King Jr., Bearing the Cross, David Garrow tells of a time in King's life when many strange voices competed for King's attention -- voices of fear, voices of doubt, voices of despair. It was during the Montgomery bus boycott: violence had been threatened repeatedly against King and his family, and he was afraid..." and other illustrations)
  • Hear His Voice, Follow His Steps

    by Peter Haynes
    Bob is the principal of a high school in Southern California for students who have problems in the traditional high school setting. He writes: "This year we moved into a new site. I was allowed to design the configuration of the buildings and designed the school with only one entrance and exit. Every morning I stand at the gate where students enter and greet them by name. No one is allowed past me if they are not students. "By greeting each student in the morning I am able to spot potential problems before the student has a chance to get on campus and cause problems. My inspiration for this campus design and my decision to be at the gate when my students arrive and leave is our Gospel passage for this week.
  • Seeing Things Through New Lenses

    by Beth Johnston
    For years William Wilberforce had pushed in Britain's parliament for the abolition of slavery. Discouraged, he was about to give up. His elderly friend, John Wesley, heard of it and from his deathbed called for pen and paper...." and another illustration
  • The Sheep Are Now In Charge

    by Samuel T. Lloyd III
    ("Under normal circumstances one might have thought that sheep and shepherds would be fairly remote subjects for a sermon, but not since Dolly the cloned sheep arrived on the scene. Just two years ago she made the cover of every major news magazine as the first mammal ever to be cloned...")
  • I Am the Door

    by Edward Markquart
    ("While on vacation one time, I was watching a glass blower. He was blowing this glass and started to make a glass plate that looked like a lacey spider web...")
  • The Door to Abundant Life

    by Peter Marty
    "Several years ago a local woman awoke in the middle of the night to desperate, cries of "Help! Help!" Thinking that her husband was in distress, she shook him violently. Then, realizing that he was asleep, she wondered if she might be in the midst of a frantic dream...." and another illustration
  • Counting Sheep

    by Jim McCrea
    ("Rev. Tim Lofstrom tells of a time when he was growing up on a sheep farm. He and his family decided to test just how thoughtless sheep really are. So they organized 200 sheep into a single-file line walking into the barn....")
  • What Kind of Leadership?

    by Paul Neuchterlein
    I’m a big baseball fan, and Friday, April 15th, has been declared Jackie Robinson Day, remembering his bravery in 1947 by breaking the “color-line” in Major League Baseball. As a predecessor of the civil rights movement, there is a sense that even Dr. King was following in the footsteps of others. Listen to this remarkable testimony from baseball great Hank Aaron of what Jackie Robinson’s brand of leadership meant to him. Jackie Robinson meant everything to me. Before I was a teenager, I was telling my father that I was going to be a ballplayer, and he was telling me, ‘Ain’t no colored ballplayers.’ Then Jackie broke into the Brooklyn Dodgers lineup in 1947, and Daddy never said that again…. Jackie not only showed me and my generation what we could do, he also showed us how to do it. By watching him, we knew that we would have to swallow an awful lot of pride to make it in the big leagues. We knew of the hatred and cruelty Jackie had to endure quietly from the fans, the press, and the anti-integrationist teams such as the Cardinals and the Phillies, and even from his teammates. We also knew that he didn’t subject himself to all that for personal benefit. Why would he choose to get spiked and cursed at and spat on for his own account? Jackie was a college football hero, a handsome, intelligent, talented guy with a lot going for him. He didn’t need that kind of humiliation. And it certainly wasn’t in his nature to suffer it silently. But he had to, not for himself, but for me and all the young black kids like me. When Jackie Robinson loosened his fist and turned the other cheek, he was taking the blows for the love and future of his people...
  • Jesus Is the Shepherd and the Gate

    by William Oldland
    ("Therefore, I would like to tell you a story that I believe describes a shepherd and a gate. His life exemplifies the role of a caring shepherd for his flock. The priest's name was Maximilian Kolbe. He was born in 1894 in Poland. His parents were poor..")
  • Hearing the Voice of God

    by John Pavelko
    ("Born in captivity, Neeta had been trained by Frank Church to perform each night before a live audience for the circus. The bond between trainer and elephant had been formed through the hours of disciplined training and the vigorous evening performances...")
  • Living Life to the Fullest

    by John Pavelko
    In September of 2006, Randy Pausch was told that he had pancreatic cancer He chose a very aggressive form of treatment and the cancer went into remission, briefly. It returned with a vengeance in August 2007, metastasizing to his liver and spleen. Randy was given 3-6 months to live. On September 18, 2007 he delivered his “Last Lecture” to the Carnegie Mellon student body and faculty. His talk was part of an ongoing series of lectures in which top academics are asked to think deeply about what matters to them, and then give a hypothetical "final talk," i.e., "what wisdom would you try to impart to the world if you knew it was your last chance?"
  • Watching the Door

    by Gary Roth
    ("I'd like to finish with a little story a gal in my first congregation told me. She was one of those happy, bubbly kinds of Christians who always had something positive to say and a big hug for everyone. On the other hand, she lived next to a gal who was a real worrier....")
  • The Shepherd and the Shepherds

    by Jeeva Sam
    ("During a recent conflict in the Mid-East, Israeli soldiers had to herd huge numbers of sheep away from their pasture, because they got in the way of the advancing armies. When the troops began their withdrawal, one of the Palestinian shepherds, a widow, insisted that they return the 35 sheep which were her only source of income...")
  • Sparing the Rod

    by Nancy Hastings Sehested
    ("When cowboys in the old west caught a wild horse, they saw it as a creature whose spirit had to be broken before it could be useful as a cow pony. An untamed horse was dangerous, not to be approached by anyone but the traditional bronco buster...")
  • Other Sheep

    by Tom Starr
    "Pastor Tom Starr told of a conference he attended where John R. Rice gave one of his last messages. He had suffered a heart attack and spoke from a wheelchair. His text was from John 10, “Other sheep have I who are not of this fold.” and he mentioned other believers who might not be precisely aligned theologically, but nonetheless were believers..."
  • The Shepherd and the Gate

    by Norm Story
    ("There is a story out from Bethlehem: it seems that lots of stray sheep were gathered by Israeli soldiers, and a Palestinian widow needed to get her 25 back. The solders said she could take hers away if she could prove which of the sheep belonged to her...")
  • The Voice of the Shepherd

    by Billy Strayhorn
    ("we went to the roof of the restaurant to see the view. As we looked out over the city we noticed a large patch of pasture, 3-5 acres. All of a sudden, from two directions, we saw a couple of shepherds bringing their flocks..." and other illustrations)
  • Care, Guidance and Presence

    by Alex Thomas
    ("A number of years ago, Ann Landers wrote in one of her columns: 'Since I began writing this column, I've learned plenty - including most meaningfully what Leo Rosten had in mind when he said, "Each of us is a little lonely, deep inside, and cried to be understood...")
  • Fine Tuning Our Faith

    by Keith Wagner
    ("E. Stanley Jones tells the story of a missionary who became lost in an African jungle. Looking around, he saw nothing but bush and a few clearings. He stumbled about until he finally came across a native hut..." and other illustrations)
  • Have We Gone Deaf?

    by Keith Wagner
    ("There used to be a commercial on television about the stock brokerage firm, E.F. Hutton. The commercial always took place in a crowded area. One man would ask the other what his stock broker would say about a particular stock. The other man would then respond, 'Well, my stock broker is E.F. Hutton, and E.F. Hutton says...")
  • The Voice of Assurance

    by Keith Wagner
    ("One time I was counseling a young man who had difficulty making a decision. He was hearing advice from many sources and didn't know who to listen to. I knew something of his background and of his relationship with his father who was deceased....")
  • Jesus, the Door

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
    ("Many doors have four panels, two small upper panels and two larger lower panels. They form in relief a cross-shaped pattern. This style of doorway is no accident. It way fashioned intentionally by the carpenters' guilds of the Middle Ages, before the powers of the industrial age beguiled people into believing that they could make their own heaven..." and other good illustrations)
  • Illustrations (Easter 4A)(2005)

    by Tim Zingale
    ("In his beautiful book I Shall Not Want, Robert Ketchum tells of a Sunday School teacher who asked her group of children if anyone could quote the entire 23rd Psalm. A golden-haired, four-and-a-half-year-old girl was among those who raised their hands. A bit skeptical, the teacher asked if she could really quote the entire psalm..." and several more)
  • Life Abundantly

    by Tim Zingale
    ("One of my all-time favorite movies is Mr. Holland's Opus. It s the story of a musician who really just wants to be a composer. Rather grudgingly, he takes a job teaching music at the local high school, supposing it will give him time to write music while providing an income for he and his wife. One of his students is a very serious redheaded girl who plays the clarinet terribly, even though she practices constantly...")

Other Resources from 2017 to 2019

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tab”. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

Other Resources from 2014 to 2016

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tab”. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

Other Resources from 2011 to 2013

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tab”. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

Other Resources from 2008 to 2010

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tab”. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

Other Resources from 2005 to 2007

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tab”. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

Other Resources from 2002 to 2004

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tab”. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

Other Resources from 1999 to 2001

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tab”. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

Other Resources from the Archives

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tab”. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

Resources from the Bookstore

  • Doctor Life

    by William J. Bausch, from Storytelling the Word
    ("Charlotte often told me, when she was a little girl many, many years ago in Queens, about her crazy bachelor Uncle Lou who knew everything in the world about gardening and golf. She remembers fondly, 'Not only me, but all the kids in the neighborhood--he would teach them the difference between a petunia and a zinnia and that sort of thing..." and other illustrations)

Children's Resources and Dramas

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tab”. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

The Classics

Recursos en Español

Currently Unavailable

  • Easter 4

    by Demetrius Dumm, OSB
  • Recognize the Voice

    by Lois Parker Edstrom
  • Are You Missing Something?

    (Puppet Script by Louise Ferry)
  • Salvation Is for Life

    by Richard Foster
  • No More Narrow Gates

    by Anne Howard
  • The Door to Abundant Life

    by Peter Marty
    ("Several years ago a local woman awoke in the middle of the night to desperate, cries of "Help! Help!" Thinking that her husband was in distress, she shook him violently. Then, realizing that he was asleep, she wondered if she might be in the midst of a frantic dream...." and another illustration)
  • Discipleship: An Instrument of Acceptance

    by John and Robin McCullough-Bade
  • Children's Literature

    from Union Presbyterian Seminary
  • Easter 4

    by Martin Warner
  • Live Abundantly

    by Tim Zingale
  • Pure Imagination: Can Willie Wonka's Chocolate Factory Tell Us Something About Our Call to Be Church?

    by Cameron Fraser
    Come with me and you’ll be In a world of pure imagination… What we’ll see will defy explanation You may recognize these words as the opening lyrics of one of the musical numbers in the 1971 musical comedy film Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, starring Gene Wilder, an adaption of course, of the Roald Dahl book. The story goes that Wonka uses all sorts of magical and unusual methods for making his candy, such as using a waterfall to mix his chocolate, using live squirrels to sort nuts, and many more. His factory is a strange and wondrous universe unto itself, as Wilder sings upon welcoming Charlie and the other winners of the contest – a world, of pure imagination.
  • Easter 4A

    by Stephen Hamilton
  • Easter 4A

    by Jim Schmitmeyer
    The cowboy sits astride a horse, lantern in hand. Snow gathers on his hat and heavy coat. Wedged against the saddle, a newborn calf lies straddled across the horse. In the distance: the light of a line shack. A promise of warmth. The hope of rescue, The satisfaction of a job well done. For some people, this image of the American west —printed on post cards and t-shirts and coffee mugs— is little more than a sentimental souvenir for tourists. Yet, I know an inmate in a Texas prison who carved this scene in the leather cover of his Bible. Beneath the image, he didn’t write, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” He wrote, “The Lord is my Cowboy.”
  • Why Sheep? (SS)

    by Richard Sheffield
    We have done with Hope and Honour, we are lost to Love and Truth, We are dropping down the ladder rung by rung, And the measure of our torment is the measure of our youth. God help us, for we knew the worst too young! Our shame is clean repentance for the crime that brought the sentence, Our pride it is to know no spur of pride, And the Curse of Reuben holds us till an alien turf enfolds us And we die, and none can tell Them where we died. We're poor little lambs who've lost our way, Baa! Baa! Baa!
  • Pascua 4A (2017)

    por Kathleen Maire, OSF
  • Powerpoint Images #2 (John)

    Image for Worship by Dorothy Okray
  • Easter 4

    by Walter Ray Williams