Luke 5: 1-11

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!!]
  • Come, Follow Me

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("In the mid-sixteenth century St. Francis Xavier, a Jesuit, converted many Japanese. By the turn of the seventeenth century, there were half a million Catholics in Japan. The rate of conversion at this point was abruptly interrupted when Buddhist priests and monks convinced Ieyasu, the first of the Tokugawa shoguns, that Catholic missionaries were the advance troops of a foreign invasion...." and another illustration)
  • Modeling After Jesus

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("One day, President Abraham Lincoln was in Charleston, South Carolina, walking through the center of town where they were holding a slave auction. As he looked on at the selling of human beings, in his very soul he felt the stirring of God's anger and concern. So he did a most unusual and rather uncharacteristic thing...." and another illustration)
  • Here I Am, Lord

    by Sil Galvan
    Max Anders, in his book titled GOD points out that in the 1940 version of The Mark of Zorro, there is a remarkable 'chase' scene in which Zorro is fleeing in the dead of night from a band of Spanish army officers. Racing at breakneck speed through woods, over creeks, along narrow paths, Zorro is finally cornered on a bridge suspended about twenty feet over a river.
  • Epiphany 5C

    by Bill Loader
    always good insights!
  • Exegetical Notes (Luke 5:1-11)

    by Brian Stoffregen
    (excellent exegesis)
  • A Boatload of Fish

    by D. Mark Davis
    includes lots of Greek exegesis

Illustrated Resources from 2019 to 2021

  • The Persistent Fishermen

    by Rian Adams
    Isn’t that always the temptation for Epiphany 5’s Gospel… just quit? How does this happen in our churches…? How do we wash the nets…? When we’re tired and what worked before doesn’t… thenhow do we respond? When we’re tempted to call it a day and go to sleep, what is it that could keep us going? We try a Sunday school program, and it fails… or when we try a book study in our but no one was interested… or when we try community outreach, but the nets were utterly empty? “Well… we gave it our best go… Let’s pack up and go home.” We see that in life all the time: Careers, ministries, relationships… Let’s just quit...
  • Christ's Command has the Power to Revolutionize Your Life

    by Klaus Adam
    A few years ago in Mexico, a wealthy executive was kidnapped [his name is Bosco Gutiérrez Cortina]. The kidnappers wanted to extort a large amount of money from his family. They kept him in a room with no windows and no clocks; they piped in the same hour-long music mix repeatedly; they communicated with him only through written notes. After a few days of this, his nerves were completely raw. Then, on Mexican Independence Day, they gave him a note asking if he would like a drink — whatever kind he wanted. He couldn’t believe it. A ray of hope. He wrote down his favorite cocktail. Then he waited. All he could think about was the drink. He started to fantasize about it, to dream about it. It became his idol. When they finally brought him the drink, he held it in his hands like a treasure. He smelled it. He gazed at it. He imagined what it would taste like, building up his anticipation to the maximum. When he was about to take his first sip, a strange thing happened. He heard a voice in his interior. Somehow, he later said, he knew it was God’s voice. It said, “Give me the drink. Offer it up.” He couldn’t believe it. All of his energy and attention and hope had been focused on that drink. He just stared at it, wanting it. He heard God’s voice again: “Offer me the drink.” He battled with himself interiorly. Finally, he realized that if he took the drink, he would be giving in to the kidnappers. If he gave it to God, he would be asserting his own dignity and integrity. He gave it to God. He didn’t drink it. He poured it out. From that moment on, he began to recover his inner strength. Eventually, he actually escaped...
  • Epiphany 5C (2019)

    by David Brooks
    In his well-known book Authority and Its Enemies, the Catholic philosopher Thomas Molnar notes two things about authority: that before authority there must be a norm: a way of believing, speaking or acting that is recognized both by reason and custom; and from a norm arises authority, the judgement that a belief, a word, or an act rests upon and within the shared norm. What Simon recognized that day on the water was not just that Jesus had authority: he had seen his own mother in law healed, he had seen demons sent packing, he had heard the Word Jesus proclaimed. What was different was that Simon understood, in that moment, that his whole life would be different, that the norms upon which he had based his life were blown to rubble (go away from sinful me!) and yet he had been given something better, more glorious, more enduring...
  • The Lies We Tell Ourselves

    by Jim Chern
    A couple of months ago, I read a story about a man by the name of Ari Mahler. Ari is the son of a rabbi, who’s had to endure the evil of Anti-Semitism throughout his life. It’s shocking to read that these kinds of vicious things happen. In high school, he saw drawings of his family being marched into gas chambers, swastikas drawn on his locker – even a appalling note shoved into his locker saying ‘Die Jew. Love, Hitler’. Just reading those things, you wouldn’t blame Ari if he was fearful of others… particularly those who were hateful to Jews. Or, if that caused him to shut down and isolate himself from the world. But the reason we know that’s not the case was because of what happened a few months ago. On October 27 a hate-filled killer by the name of Robert Bowers stormed into the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, started shooting at a congregation gathering for their Shabbat morning services killing 11 people and injuring another 7 individuals. The horrific attack was ended when Bowers was shot by SWAT officers in a gun fight. Bowers was rushed to a local hospital, and one of those who treated him and helped save his life was Ari Mahler, who is an Emergency Room nurse there. As Bowers continued to rant and rave how he wanted all Jews to die, Ari says “I didn’t say a word to him about my religion. I chose not to say anything to him the entire time. I wanted him to feel compassion. I chose to show him empathy. I felt the best way to honor his victims was for a Jew to prove him wrong.”...
  • Follow Me to a Great Catch

    by Craig Condon
    several years ago General Dwight Eisenhower, the man who led the Allied invasion of Normandy during World War II, told an interviewer how the decision was made to go on June 6, 1944. He wanted to go on June 4th or June 5th, and June 4th, 1944, was a beautiful, starlight night. The commanders of the Allied troops were gathered with General Eisenhower at their command post in England. The chief army weatherman was there also, and he told General Eisenhower that gale-force winds and high tides would be hitting the Normandy beaches by the next morning. General Eisenhower had a decision to make. Should he believe what he saw-a beautiful, clear starlight night-or should he listen to the man who knew. His answer was “No go”, even though it would have cost him his first choice and prolong the wait for the troops who were waiting on the ships. On the next day-June 5th-the weather was stormy, just like the weatherman had predicted. The weatherman came in and said, “We’re going to have improved weather tomorrow with moderate winds and tides. It’s going to be a good day to go.” General Eisenhower had to decide to go by his senses or by the man who had the authority. The general paused for about 30 seconds, and then he said two of history’s most famous words-“Let’s go”. The room was clear in two seconds, and the rest is history...
  • A Lesson in Evangelism

    by Don Flowers
    Fritz Kreisler was a world-famous violinist. He had earned a fortune with his concerts and compositions, but he generously gave most of it away. So, when he discovered an exquisite violin on one of his trips, he wasn’t able to buy it. But he remembered the instrument, and later on, having raised enough money to meet the asking price, he returned to the seller, hoping to purchase that beautiful instrument. But to his great dismay he discovered it had been sold to a collector. This man did not play violins, he only collected them. Kreisler made his way to the new owner’s home and offered to buy the violin. The collector said it had become his prized possession and he would not sell it. Kreisler was about to leave when he asked the owner, “Could I play the instrument once more before it is consigned to silence?” Permission was granted, and the great virtuoso filled the room with such heart-moving music that the collector’s emotions were deeply stirred. “I have no right to keep that to myself,” he exclaimed. “It’s yours, Mr. Kreisler. Take it into the world, and let people hear it.”...
  • Epiphany 5C (2019)

    by Scott Hoezee
    It all begins when Jesus comes to us in the middle of our lives, where we work, where we live, the seaside, the classroom, the hospital, the office, the kitchen, and asks us to trust him enough to do one strange little thing, like fishing in the deep water in broad daylight. It’s the kind of thing that’s a little weird, a bit outside your usual routine. But that’s often where Jesus’ call comes to us: where we least expect it. Where we’ve failed. Where we feel over our heads. Where we feel uncomfortable. Where we sense our own futility. Jesus does not typically walk into our lives where we feel in control, where we are flush with our own success. It’s in our places of vulnerability and confusion, failure and sin. He likes to get us out there in the deep water in broad daylight where we feel a little silly and strange...
  • Putting Myself in Simon's Shoes and Getting Out of the Boat

    by Janet Hunt
    This is how it was for me in December. I got an invitation from a member of my congregation to come and talk to her 5th grade class about Christmas. They had a guest speak about Hanukkah a few weeks before and apparently it went well. I said yes, because I have learned to say yes, even to those things which terrify me, because I have found I am almost never sorry. I agreed to get out of the safety of my ‘boat’ and to venture onto dry land...
  • If You Have Felt Regret, You Know What It Means to Sin...And to Grow

    by Terrance Klein
    Can you recall some part of your past that you deeply regret? Not simply a spot when something didn’t go your way but rather a time when you see yourself as having gone awry. If you can, then you are probably an adult, because one way to understand this sort of regret is to see it as an enlargement of your world. Adults feel regret when we can look upon our past actions and recognize, in the light of our present lives, that our past behaviors were too small, too defensive, too rooted in our own selves. This is what regret reveals...
  • Full Stop

    by Anne Le Bas
    We all come to a full stop at some point in our lives – most of us come to one many times over. We come to a full stop when the relationship we are trying to mend can’t be mended, because the other person doesn’t want to mend it. There is nothing more we can do. We come to a full stop when our business runs into difficulties because of global political and economic forces that are beyond our power to change. We come to a full stop when illness or bereavement strike us out of the blue, and all our plans for our lives crumble into dust. Full stops come in many forms – small ones and big ones – times when there is no solution, no magic wand, nothing we can do, try as hard as we might. And eventually death itself brings us all to a full stop. No one escapes it. It doesn’t matter how skilful we are, how powerful, sooner or later life reminds us that we are not all-powerful, and never can be. There are limits to what we can do – limits of time, energy, ability – and we can’t get past them, no matter how clever or dedicated we are...
  • No Miracle at the Mormon Church

    by Larry Patten
    But let me tell you a secret. I actually believe in miracles: in a miraculum attitude. While I don’t think any particular faith tradition is the “one true church,” I have faith that one day we will realize, in the choice between condemning others who are different versus respecting others who are different, we will all find a lusty courage for diverse community. What a wonder and marvel that will be. I was glad to have worshipped with the LDS congregation. Different than me? Yes. Bread that should be upgraded? You betcha! But how much I remember, and was thankful for, their warm welcome.
  • Disciples Wanted: No Experience Necessary

    by David Sellery
    Courageous faith, resilient hope, selfless love… that is what it takes to be a disciple. That is what it takes to follow where Jesus leads…to an earthly life, rich in grace, spent praising God and serving neighbor… then on home to an eternal life, rejoicing in God’s love. In this gospel, Jesus calls across the centuries for us to be his disciples. In prayer, in scripture, in worship… if we listen, we can still hear him calling: Follow me.
  • A Big Fish Tale: Worthy or Willing?

    by Sarah Shelton
    Lutheran pastor, Nadia Bolz Weber, is a recovered substance abuser. She is about six two. She has jet black hair and even in the pulpit, she wears vestments that put her tattoos on display. I think she does these things to keep her struggle with unworthiness visible. In her book Accidental Saints, she tells about a relationship with a parishioner in which she felt unworthy. (Accidental Saints, "Absolution for A--holes") It began when a man visited her church and immediately, she did not like him. She never did much to connect with him personally, and she never bothered to help get him connected with the rest of the congregation. She even purposefully left him off on an all-church email, because she didn't want him to come on the church retreat in his too-baggy pants and halitosis. One day, he called to tell Nadia that he had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. He and his girlfriend wanted to marry before he died, so would Nadia please perform the service? She admits, "If it had been anyone else in the church, I would not have hesitated to say 'yes.'" She would have rearranged her whole calendar to accommodate the asking couple, but not for this guy. She hid behind a convenient excuse and refused. And so, the couple enlisted another minister, they were married, and soon thereafter, he died. After the funeral service, the widow approached Nadia. And she said, "Thank you for having a church where my husband felt so welcome. He spoke so highly of you and your congregation, and I know that having you as his pastor meant a lot for him in his final months." Nadia's shame, Nadia's guilt, Nadia's feelings of "I am not worthy," crushed her so intensely, that she went to her confessor, she told about her despicable actions of negligence and snobbery...
  • Epiphany 5C (2019)

    by Samuel Vaught
    For two seasons in the early two-thousands, CBS aired a television show called Joan of Arcadia—yes, a play on the name of the French heroine and saint Joan of Arc. The show followed a teenaged girl, named Joan, in the fictional town of Arcadia, Maryland, as she navigated the perils of high school and adolescence. Joan was a teenager like any other, with the big exception that she talked to God—or rather, that God talked to her. Perhaps the most audacious thing that the show tried to do was to portray a God who is seen, and known. God talks to Joan—not in dreams, but in the way you and I talk at coffee hour, or more accurately, the way two teenagers talk after school. God talks to Joan, and Joan talks back. Joan can literally give God a hug, and she does, especially when she needs comfort. Joan develops a personal relationship with the creator of the universe. Now I don’t know about you, but I have not experienced God like that in my life. God has never visited me and made God’s will known in such a clear way as a chat over ice cream. Do you ever wish that God would? I know I do...
  • Going Deeper

    by Todd Weir
    The abundant catch creates its own problems. First, it is sinking the boats. The obvious answer is the boats won’t sink if you throw some fish back. But the human tendency is to not let go so easily. We hang on to stuff. Just look at any church basement, filled with holy and sacred things which have outlived usefulness, but we hold on. They worked hard to get those fish. They will risk sinking, before they let go of their prize catch. We can sink clinging to our long-held beliefs, which may have been wonderful, innovative ideas in 1982 or 1992. We can sink defending our theology against all questions and challenges. We can sink clinging to every possession, every dollar, worried that the next day there may be nothing to catch. We can sink doing too many things, spread too thin, too many fish to handle. Sometimes, you have to throw a few fish back and keep your boat sea worthy, knowing that tomorrow is another day. We load the boat when God is abundant with us, fearing that God may not pass our way again...
  • Netting a Dream

    by Carl Wilton
    He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish. In the first forty days a boy had been with him. But after forty days without a fish the boy’s parents had told him that the old man was now definitely and finally salao, which is the worst form of unlucky, and the boy had gone at their orders in another boat which caught three good fish the first week. It made the boy sad to see the old man come in each day with his skiff empty and he always went down to help him carry either the coiled lines or the gaff and harpoon and the sail that was furled around the mast. The sail was patched with flour sacks and, furled, it looked like the flag of permanent defeat.The old man was thin and gaunt with deep wrinkles in the back of his neck. The brown blotches of the benevolent skin cancer the sun brings from its reflection on the tropic sea were on his cheeks. The blotches ran well down the sides of his face and his hands had the deep-creased scars from handling heavy fish on the cords. But none of these scars were fresh. They were as old as erosions in a fishless desert.”...

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

  • A Gigantic Cross, A Living Witness

    by Jim Chern
    "Out of Texas came an interesting story this past week of an ambitious and unique construction project. In the city of Corpus Chrisi (which is Latin, by the way for 'The Body of Christ' which the City was named by a group of Spanish-Catholic settlers in honor of the Eucharist'), a group of Christians broke ground on building what they hope will be the largest Cross in the Western Hemisphere. The plans call for a 210 feet tall (or 19 story) structure, built on this plain of land that would be easily visible for at least 5 miles away..."
  • What We Expect

    by Terrance Klein
    "Taylor Chiu didn’t describe her mother as overly pushy or strict, though, clearly, her mom had high expectations of her daughter. Once, when Taylor mentioned that parents of other students paid them $20 for every “A” they earned, her mom responded, 'Why would we pay you? It’s just what we expect of you.' Taylor went to high school in Palo Alto, Calif., an affluent area, where garnering grades and SAT scores that earn entrance into elite colleges is only part of “what we expect.”..."
  • Ordinary 5C (2016)

    by Alex McAllister
    "The film Topsy-Turvy was about Gilbert and Sullivan and their comic operas. Sir Arthur Sullivan became fed up writing music for WS Gilbert’s librettos which he said were repetitive and unbelievable. WS Gilbert is a bit put out when Sullivan turns down his latest offering. Sullivan claims that Gilbert writes stories about a topsy-turvy world which is not worthy of his great musical talent. Gilbert goes off in the huff but then after visiting a Japanese exhibition conceives the idea of writing the Mikado..."
  • Fishing Boat

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    "Perhaps that was the lesson the disciples were to take with them as they began to catch people (and note that here Jesus doesn't say that they will be fishing for people but rather that they will be catching people). When there are so many people, will we not need our partners? Will it be impossible to pull in all the fish by ourselves or with only the people in our boat? Will we need to call our partners in other boats?..."
  • Fishing with Jesus

    by Dave Russell
    Everybody has a bad day now and then. We all do. One afternoon, New York Yankees star Mickey Mantle went hitless and struck out three times in a row. A bad day. “When I got back to the clubhouse,” he remembered, “I sat down on my stool and held my head in my hands, like I was going to start crying. I heard someone come up to me, and it was little Tommy Berra, Yogi’s son, standing there next to me. He tapped me on the knee, nice and soft, and I figured he was going to say something nice, like ‘You keep hanging in there” or something like that. But all he did was look at me, and then he said in his little kid’s voice, ‘You stink.’”
  • Jesus Said: Try Again

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is a children's book and one of my favorite books of theology. It's about a little boy for whom nothing goes right. The story opens with these words: 'I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there's gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day..."

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

  • Epiphany 5

    by J. Barrington Bates
    ("A few years back, there was a movie called The Perfect Storm, based on a novel by the same name. Did any of you see it or read the book? It's about a small New England fishing town, and the relentless efforts of the fishing community to remain economically viable...")
  • Into the Deep

    by Sarah Buteux
    In 2001, Gary Moorehead, who many of you know, was just one of many students at Gordon Theological seminary. After the attacks of September 11th, while most people were arguing about whether or not we should invade Afghanistan, Gary felt a different set of questions stirring in his soul. “9-11 was a major catalyst; a disaster, an assault, a blow, and an opportunity,” he says, and it made me wonder “what a creative, wise, redemptive, transforming response in the face of evil” could look like. Gary began to feel a call to leave seminary, move to Afghanistan, and find a way to live there amongst the people in order to do whatever he could to improve their lives and share the love and peace and justice of Christ. Out of his efforts the Marigold Fund was born and through that fund bridges have been built, both literal and metaphorical, a special school has been established for children who are deaf, treatment for Tuberculosis has been made available, women have begun to train as midwives to provide basic health care to mothers and infants, and men are learning to craft chairs and desks for their local schools providing their families with much needed income and their children with the tools they need to learn...
  • The Closer You Are to the Source of the Light

    by John Christianson
    ("Now, if you'll pardon me, we'll compare Peter with a dog in a recent cartoon: The cartoon was entitled 'Canine Self-esteem Tapes'. It showed a dog, tucked into a big human style bed -- earphones on his head, a sick, happy, tongue-out smile on his face as he listens to the taped message...")
  • Going Overboard

    by Rob Elder
    A preacher friend of mine once said, “If you don’t know why Peter said, ’Get away from me Jesus,’ then you don’t know about the dangers of fishing with Jesus!”[1] He went on to say, “I told them, before the Stewardship Campaign that it was crazy in a church our size, with our record of giving (or, more accurately, our record of not giving) to plan to increase the budget 18%. I told them. Economy’s bad. There’s been trouble making even this year’s goal. And you want an 18% increase? Are you kidding? I told them, from the pulpit, you will never pledge that budget. By the end of October, they had gone over by two thousand dollars.” It’s enough to make a pastor fall at Jesus’ feet and cry “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” ...
  • Net Results

    by Rob Elder
    ("Here is a truth we can remember, and which should carry us all forward in our discipleship: we do not manipulate the net, we don't own it, it is not ours, we do not mend it, tend it, or haul it in; rather, by the grace of Christ, we become the net..." and other quotes)
  • Satan in a Ray from Paradise

    by Terence Klein
    ("In 19th century France, Jean Valjean is sent to prison for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister's family. Four times Jean Valjean tries to escape his harsh sentence. Each attempt lengthens his time served, so that the wretch pays for that loaf of bread with nineteen years of his life. Hugo writes: 'He sat in judgement on himself and acknowledged that he was wrong to have seized society by the collar...")
  • That Horshack Moment

    by Jim McCrea
    "In 1957 — the year in which Larry King made his first radio broadcast and Elvis Presley made his last appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show — I saw a vision of the Lord. I was only two years old and I was in the hospital for an eye surgery that would force me to have to wear either glasses or contacts the rest of my life..." and other similar illustrations
  • Ordinary 5

    by Paul O'Reilly, SJ
    ("Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory describes the life of a priest during the great atheist persecution in Mexico in the 1930s, when a fascist regime attempted to annihilate the Church in Mexico through persecution. Thousands of priests and nuns were shot; many more simply gave up the faith for their own protection...")
  • The Wildest Bounty

    by Jan Richardson
    ("Fish weren't the only catch of the day; Simon and his companions were hooked. Captivated. Called. And that's what miracles are meant to do: they meet us at our point of need, but they do not leave us there. They call us to move from being recipients to being participants...")
  • The Struggle to Trust

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    ("So we shouldn't be surprised if we still find ourselves, at least on any given day, a long ways from where we want to be. Perhaps the best advice comes from Ruth Burrows, the British Carmelite. In her "Guidelines for Mystical Prayer", she offers us this: 'Surrender and abandonment are like a deep, inviting, frightening ocean into which we are drawn...")
  • Fishing with Fascination

    by David Russell
    ("Everybody has a bad day now and then. We all do. One afternoon, New York Yankees star Mickey Mantle went hitless and struck out three times in a row. "When I got back to the clubhouse," he remembered, "I just sat down on my stool and held my head in my hands, like I was going to start crying. I heard someone come up to me, and it was little Tommy Berra, Yogi's son...")
  • Blessed Are Those Who Hand Over Their Controllers

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("The hundred miles of open water separates the most southern tip of Florida from the most northern coast of Cuba. It's a stretch of water that has claimed hundreds of lives since the Cuban revolution. Flotillas of 'boat people' seeking freedom and family in the US have created desperate 'boats' out of anything that might possibly float long enough to reach US soil...")
  • Sample Sermon

    from the UCC
    ("One way we might think about this story is to ask, 'How big is your boat?' Scholars tell us about a recent and extraordinary discovery by archaeologists of a first-century boat from the Sea of Galilee, right where this story happened. It measures 26 and 1/2 feet long, 7 and 1/2 feet wide, and 4 and 1/2 feet deep, so it gives us a pretty good idea of the size of Simon Peter's boat...")
  • You Gotta Go Deeper

    by Keith Wagner
    ("One time there was a devoted mother who had a son but he was too small to play football. She was a widow and she had several children. She was devoted to keeping her family together. She worked several jobs doing menial tasks. Eventually she took an exam, passed it and became the chief bookkeeper for the city. ...")
  • Movies/Scenes Representing Brothers

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard
  • Movies/Scenes Representing Call

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard
  • Movies Representing Miracles

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard

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

  • Fishing for Folks

    by Robert Allred
    ("C.S. Lewis said to a person whom had led to Christ: 'My feeling about people in whose conversion I have been allowed to play a part is always mixed with awe and even fear: such as a boy might feel on being first allowed to fire a rifle. Think of me as a fellow patient in the same hospital who, having been admitted a little earlier, could give some advice.'...")
  • Deep Water Fishing

    by Mickey Anders
    (can be a Narrative Sermon)
  • Techniques of Fishing for Men

    by Kyle Blanton
    ("In the movie The Perfect Storm, Billy Tine a seasoned sword fish captain began to feel that way when he was unable to find the fish and support his crew. All the while other boats were making a killing. Billy's feeling of inadequacy drove him to a fatal decision to fish one more time much farther out where he was caught in the what became known as the perfect storm...")
  • Before the Grandeur of God

    by Phil Bloom
    ("The legend tells about a young man who comes before a large crucifix to confess his sins. The young man freezes when the hand of the crucifix pulls away from the nail. From the table the hand picks up a cup and gives to the young man. The Crucified Lord tells him that he thirsts and he wants him to fill the cup with water and bring it back...")
  • Epiphany 5

    from the Center for Excellence in Preaching
    ("Suddenly Jesus came up with a strange idea. 'Let's go fishing out into the deep water. I've got a hunch there's a catch out there.' Simon, experienced fisherman that he was, tried to be polite in his answer to this landlubber. 'You know, Master, we've been out the whole night, and caught nothing.' He didn't add, but was probably thinking, 'This guy doesn't realize that no one goes deep sea fishing in broad daylight around here...")
  • I Am What I Am: Listening to Isaiah, Paul and Peter

    by Daniel Clendenin
    ("George Herbert was born to wealth and political power, and after graduation from Cambridge distinguished himself as the university's Public Orator and a member of Parliament. At the age of thirty-six, and despite the objections of friends that he was wasting his life, Herbert renounced his life of privilege and became the pastor at Bemerton, a rural village near Salisbury...")
  • Catch of the Day

    by Nancy Cushman
    ("A 30 year old man named Brian broadcasts a weekly Internet radio show about God not existing. He has issued an atheist challenge based out of his Roman Catholic and Conservative Christian background to blaspheme the Holy Spirit...")
  • Blessed Are You

    by Patricia de Jong
    ("In 2005, Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh returned to his native Viet Nam after a forty-year absence. He sat in front of a large gathering of people; perhaps it was on a mountain or a plain. As he sat there, getting ready to speak, at first he saw only the people of his generation. Looking more closely, he remembered that he was now speaking to their sons and daughters...")
  • Going Overboard

    by Robert Elder
    ("in 1960, Dallas had a new team, the Cowboys. And what a team they turned out to be! I was coming to football consciousness by then, at age 11. And I, who never played a game of football beyond the backyard type, became an avid fan of the Cowboys...")
  • Ordinary 5

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("A famous novelist came back to his home town after many years. He had pledged to contribute two million dollars for a new hospital. Many of his friends from his school days were invited to a reception for him and his wife. Some of them ignored the invitation. Why only two million, they muttered...")
  • The Call of God

    by Donald Hoffman
    ("I felt it! I felt the presence of God! It was the fall of 1968, and I was all alone in my apartment in Eugene. I was reading a devotional commentary on one of the Gospels. All of a sudden ... I knew I wasn’t alone! It’s one thing to be a kid, the first time your parents leave you all alone at home. It’s something else entirely to be an adult, used to being alone, and you suddenly discover you’re NOT alone!...")
  • To Extend the Call

    by Beth Johnston
    "Two children were greeting one another at nursery school one September day. 'What’s your name?' one boy asked another. Neither could read so the name tags were only for the benefit of the teachers. 'I am Robby. Robby MacDonald. That’s R-O-B-B-Y, he replied. I live in Boston, Massachusetts..."
  • Fishing for Christ

    by Edward Markquart
    (includes lots of historical info)
  • New Life

    by David Martyn
    ("Whenever I read the story of the miraculous catch of fish, I experience a sense of awe. Not at some miracle that Jesus did, but my memory of seeing the same thing. I signed onto a drum seiner for one week. My job was simple. I was to take a rope that was attached to one end of the net, tie it to a tree, wait for twenty minutes, untie it and then get back to the boat and help bring the fish into the boat...")
  • Face to Face with the Divine

    by Jim McCrea
    ("Charles Colson is a good example of the effect God can have on a person. Colson was one of the three leading advisors in Richard Nixon's White House. His role was to be the President s hatchet man and people from all parts of the political spectrum say that Colson was as nasty as they come. He would do anything - legal or illegal - to fight the President's enemies...")
  • Ordinary 5

    by Paul O'Reilly, SJ
    ("My father was a schoolteacher. He was never really happy with that. He had hoped for more in life ­ a sparkling career in what he thought was more a glamorous profession and certainly a better paid one. But, for many reasons, he did not succeed in his chosen career and so he settled down reluctantly to be the village school-teacher...")
  • Holy Stumps

    by Nancy Petty
    ("Wendell Berry captures the spirit of Isaiah and Simon Peter and what I am trying to say in a poem he has entitled Lift up the dead leaves. 'Lift up the dead leaves and see, waiting in the dark, in cold March, the purplish stems, leaves, and buds of twinleaf, infinitely tender, infinitely...")
  • Out of the Depths

    by Michael Phillips
    ("I sat with two friends in the picture window of a quaint restaurant just especially good that day. As we talked, my attention was drawn outside, across the street. There, walking into town, was a man who appeared to be carrying all his worldly goods on his back. He was carrying a sign that read, 'I will work for food'...")
  • Sharing the Faith

    by David Prince
    ("In his remarkable book Returning, subtitled 'A Spiritual Journey', the novelist and screenwriter Dan Wakefield recounts his life experience, from a childhood in Indianapolis to Columbia University, to Boston, to Hollywood and back to Boston. As a teenager he had an experience of being flooded with light in such a way that he felt God was present to him in a very real way...")
  • Boxed In

    by James Schmitmeyer
    ("Some people live in a tight little box. So tight that even God has trouble prying pry open the lid and squeezing inside. What's it like to live inside a tight little box? Some days, it nice and cozy inside a box because, when you live inside a box, nobody tells you what to do. It's your box, after all, you created it and you live in it...")
  • Epiphany 5C

    by Katharine Jefferts Schori
    ("Being in Cuba made me think in Hemingway's story The Old Man and the Sea where the struggle with the fish epitomizes the struggle with life; but it also prefigures a life following Jesus. We cannot live the abundant life without risks, and we cannot live it without risking everything...")
  • What's In Your Net?

    by Keith Wagner
    ("The first time my father and I ever went fishing became a family legend. We spent hours waiting for a nibble. The sun was blistering, and this was back in the days before sunscreen. We were hot, sticky and mad that the fish refused to suck up our night crawlers...")
  • Humility in the Presence of the Holy

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
    ("Nine-year-old schoolboy David Liddlelow, told by his father that only Jesus was perfect, wanted to know if famous people like the Queen, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Archbishop of Canterbury ever did wrong. So he wrote and asked them. And to his surprise, they all responded, according to press reports..." and other illustrations)
  • Who's in Charge Here?

    by Carl Wilton
    "Surely it was one of the most lucrative used-car deals in history. It happened a couple of years ago. A 21-year-old German man sold his 1999 Volkswagen Golf with 47,000 miles on it. He had paid just over $10,000 for the car. He sold it on eBay for a quarter of a million – to an American, who would have to travel all the way to Germany to claim it..."
  • At Your Word

    by Tim Zingale
    ("Garrison Keillor tells how he became a Lutheran. So many people kept telling him, 'You have so many stories about Lutherans and Catholics in Lake Woebegone, why don’t you go to church yourself?' And then he would proceed to explain why he didn't go to church. One day a friend made a similar observation but instead of asking him why he didn't go to church, simply said, 'Would you like to go to church with me and see it all "first hand"?'...)

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

  • Fishing For Folks

    by Robert Allred
    ("Every doctor, lawyer, merchant, chief, scout, student, coach, teacher, salesperson, nurse; all of us are called to become Fishers For Folks. A dentist friend tells how he has a perfect opportunity to tell folks about what the Lord is doing in his life, as he has patients stretched out in his dental chair unable to run away....")
  • Deciding for Life

    by Peter Blackburn
    ("Ghandi was deeply impressed by the teachings of Jesus. I understand he always carried a New Testament in his pocket. He was a great person, but he didn't ever come to that final unreserved commitment to Christ as his Saviour and Lord. In his autobiography he gives the reason why. During his student days he was interested in the Bible...")
  • Do Not Be Afraid

    by Phil Bloom
    ("On October 16, 1978, a weary man sat in a Roman hotel. Even tho he achieved some success as a journalist, he felt he had reached the end of the line, that his life was worthless. He had made such a mess of things. On the table were several pills and a glass of whiskey...")
  • Your Life's Work

    by John Buchanan
    ("In the center of Florence there is an ancient building which sits opposite the Cathedral, the Duomo. The building is the Baptistry, octagonal in shape, where the earliest Christian worship took place in Florence and where baptisms have occurred since the early middle ages..." and other illustrations)
  • Deep Waters

    by Daniel Chambers
    ("My aunt, a pediatrician, was summoned by one of the chiefs to examine his son, who was gravely ill. She arrived to find a village seriously concerned about the boy and a father and chief seriously concerned about whether his son would live. None of the folk medicine had worked. As a last resort, they called the western doctor. Upon examination, it was clear that the boy had appendicitis...")
  • Which Boat Are You In?

    by Erin Cole
    ("There is no question but that when the Titanic pulled out of harbor on it's maiden voyage, the most enviable place to be was on that ship; however, not too long after, it was a place of death for hundreds, and instead the lifeboat was the best place to be. Let me ask a question of you today. What boat are you in?..." and other illustrations)
  • Master Fishing

    by Tom Cox
    ("When you think you are beyond the sea When you think nobody is listening When depression fills your heart When you feel defeated, alone When you feel you do not have a solution When you think the way is long. He, Jesus is walking by your side, in the very boat with you...")
  • Let Down Your Nets

    by James E. Davison
    ("Amy Biehl was a 26- year old American who had a Fulbright Scholarship to South Africa. It was in the latter days of apartheid, and it was actually in the latter days of her time on her Fulbright. Then, outside Capetown, she was murdered. Amy Biehl's murderers have gone before the Commission on Truth and Reconciliation. They have asked for forgiveness...")
  • Life with Purpose

    by Ruben Duran
    ("There is a carol written for the Christmas season which refers to shepherds. You might recall the First Noel. It goes, 'The first Noel the angel did say was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay.' I remember my pastor countering this common assumption. Can anyone be sure that these shepherds were poor?...")
  • Ordinary 5

    by Mary G. Durkin
    ("Once upon a time, in the late 60’s a new pastor came to a parish. Up until his arrival, the parish had pretty much limped along with the support of those folks who had grown up in the flourishing parishes of the pre-Vatican II days. They thought of the parish as a place where they belonged...")
  • In a Dark Time, the Eye Can See

    by Robert Edgar
    ("The keynote speaker was Dr. Martin Luther King. This is what Dr. King said: 'We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us bare naked and dejected with lost opportunity....")
  • Unworthy Ministers

    by Ernest Munachi Ezeogu, CSSP
    ("In a certain church there was a man in the choir who couldn't sing very well. The choir director suggested that he should leave the choir. Others felt he should be given more time to improve. The choir director then decided to go to the pastor and complain. 'You've got to get that man out of the choir or else I'm going to resign.'...")
  • Into the Deep Water

    by Richard Fairchild
    "When I was the minister in Sambro - a fishing community just outside of Halifax - a young woman by the name of Marilyn LeBlanc suggested to the church council there that they start a social club - one that could meet one Friday a month for special events like bowling, rotation dinners, card parties, tobogganing, theatre, and so forth. Guess what the Council said?. 'WE TRIED IT BEFORE - AND IT DIDN'T WORK!'..."
  • How Do You Act In the Presence of the Queen?

    by Art Ferry, Jr.
    ("I was getting dressed one Sunday morning to speak at old First Church--a high-steeple church with a rich history. The radio was on. The early morning service from a fast growing Pentecostal church was being broadcast. I knew the pastor. He is not a great preacher--a little too emotional for my liking. But he knows how to reach people no one else can reach..." and other illustrations)
  • Another Fish Story

    by Martin Fors
    ("The River Why is a fishing story about a searching man named Gus who meets someone named Nick who has peace in his life that he envies and wishes for himself. Gus, one night sees that Nick has deep scar in the palm of one of his hands. His curiosity gets the better of him and he asks Nick about the scar....")
  • Faithful Fishermen

    by Stephen Fournier
    ("decided to do a little ice fishing. The lake was frozen nicely. They stopped just before they got to the lake at a little bait shop and got all their tackle. One of them said, 'We're going to need an ice pick.' So they got that, and they took off. In about two hours, one of them was back at the shop and said, 'We're going to need another dozen ice picks.' Well, the fellow in the shop wanted to ask some questions, but he didn't...")
  • Lessons From Peter

    by Stephen Fournier
    ("When I was a little kid a remember a time when my uncle Bobby lived with us. I must have been no more then four years old. I am amazed that I can remember hanging out with my uncle Bob, but I can't remember what I had for dinner last night. But anyway, I really looked up to me uncle Bob. To me he was so cool. He played guitar, which I thought was pretty neat...")
  • Getting a Fresh Start With God

    by Charles Fuller
    ("I remember so well playing outdoor games in my childhood with my little brother and all the guys in our neighborhood. We had a rule that superceded all other rules when were playing games. It was called the 'do over' rule, and we would use it when the outcome of a game didn't go quite as planned...")
  • Epiphany 5

    by Grant Gallup
    ("James Baldwin writes in his book Just Above My Head: 'The most dreadful people I have ever known are those who have been 'saved'as they claim, by Christ--they could not possibly be more deluded--those for whom the heavenly telephone is endlessly ringing, always with disastrous messages for everybody else...")
  • The God of Surprises

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("Take George Frederick Handel as an example. He was dogged with misfortune. He had debt upon debt, despair upon despair. He had a cerebral hemorrhage and was paralyzed on his right side. For four years he could neither walk nor write...")
  • Go Find God

    by Patricia Gillespie
    ("There once was a little boy who decided he wanted to go find God. He knew it would probably be a long trip to find God, so he decided to pack a lunch, four packs of Twinkies and two cans of root beer. He set out on his journey and went a few blocks until he came to a park. In this park on a bench, sat an old woman looking at the pigeons...")
  • Ordinary 5

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time, not so very long ago, a group of kids in an eighth grade class were considered losers by all their 'with it' classmates whose parents disapproved of the group. Many of the teachers and the pastor and the associate pastor also let it be known that they thought the group unruly...")
  • Fish!

    by George Griffin
    ("Moby Dick stars Gregory Peck and Richard Basehart, and gives a passionate and faithful rendering of Herman Melville's classic novel. The story takes place beginning in the whaling town of New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1840. Basehart signs-on board the Pequod commanded by peg-legged Captain Ahab...")
  • Have You Heard His Call?

    by Mark Haines
    ("Nate Saint and fellow missionaries Jim Elliot, Ed McCully, Pete Fleming, and Roger Youderian had set up camp on a little sandbar in hopes of making contact with the primitive Aucas, known for their fierce infighting and hatred of outsiders. The five missionaries had a deep burden to share the gospel message with a South American people known only for hunting and killing. Their first friendly contact ended in death by spearing...")
  • Imagine My Surprise!

    by Beth Johnston
    ("The movie Forrest Gump is a somewhat silly and mindless tale of a tall and gangly man with a simplistic outlook on life who is an expert ping pong player and who serendipitously shows up at or is a significant influence in all of the major events of the 60's and 70's in the United States...")
  • Being Jesus

    by Linda Kraft
    "I want to tell you about a little girl named Amy. Amy was five years old. She'd come home from kindergarten eager to tell her mother about her exciting day. She'd been all giggles and energy as she bounced along on the school bus, and she'd thought she just couldn't contain herself any longer..." and another illustration
  • You Will Be Catching People

    by Kirk Alan Kubicek
    ("Gordon Cosby at the Church of the Savior in Washington, DC, tells the story that when he was a teenager, he and his brother promised not to come home unless they had brought at least one person to Jesus Christ that day. One day Gordon had not been successful, so he climbed on board a bus in Lynchburg, VA, where they lived, and worked the crowd...")
  • A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day!

    by Paul Larsen
    ("There is a children’s story with the very expressive title of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. It is about a little boy for whom nothing goes right. The story opens with these words: 'I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard..." and other illustrations)
  • When Failure Is a Blessing

    by Rufus Lusk
    ("The next time you think you had a bad day at the office or school or home, imagine you’re poor Kerry Collins, the New York Giants quarterback in Super Bowl XXXV. He tied an ignoble Super Bowl record by throwing four interceptions and completed only 15 of 39 passes in the Giants 34-7 drubbing by the Baltimore Ravens...")
  • Fishing for Christ (Gospel Analysis)

    by Edward Markquart
    (includes lots of pictures and historical information)
  • Is Anyone Listening?

    by Janet Marsh
    ("Let me read something attributed to Nelson Mandela but actually written by Marianne Williamson: 'Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?...")
  • Thin Places

    by David Martyn
    Molly Wolf describes the concept in the Celtic tradition that is known as thin places. “There are spots where this world and the realm of the spirit come close together, some claim. That may be; or it may be that there are some places, like some chords in music, that evoke something spiritual in people, as the smell of burning leaves can bring back childhood to many of us; and that some places have more of that power of evocation than others.”
  • Trust Changes Everything

    by Michael Marshall
    ("There is a lovely pulpit story I would like to finish with. It is told of a little boy playing on top of a cliff. It was a very high cliff, and the sea was lapping the side of the cliff many feet below. Nearby were three men who were professional bird egg collectors...")
  • Ordinary 5C (2007)

    by Alex McAllister
    ("Sir Arthur Sullivan became fed up writing music for WS Gilbert's librettos which he said were repetitive and unbelievable. WS Gilbert is a bit put out when Sullivan turns down his latest offering. Sullivan claims that Gilbert writes stories about a topsy-turvy world which is not worthy of his great musical talent...")
  • When I'm Calling You

    by James McCrea
    ("A seminary student was serving her first church and was going through the usual struggles to learn and adjust. After a month or two, she asked her preaching professor to meet with her for a cup of coffee. While they relaxed, the student said, 'I have a problem. I can preach love, hope, and grace, but I cannot bring myself to preach about sin and judgment..." and another illustration from the River Why)
  • Why I Stopped Fishing in a Parking Lot

    by Steven Molin
    "I was about five years old, and my dad, who was a construction worker, had a job in Park Rapids, Minnesota one summer, and he brought me along. The deal was, he would work all day, while I sat in the truck, or threw dirt clods at the construction site, but we would go fishing every night. That was the highlight for me; fishing with my dad for five straight nights..."
  • Amateurs and Rookies

    by Frederick Niedner
    ("Walter Wangerin Jr. touches on this truth about God’s dragnet in his new book, Paul: A Novel. Here we meet a feisty, diminutive, quick-tempered Paul that few of us would gladly welcome in the seat next to us on a long airplane flight. Paul talks continuously...")
  • A Bad Hire?

    by Paul Nuechterlein
    ("Once and Again is a show about the coming together of two divorcee families. Grace, the mother's teenage daughter, is the most straight-laced of all the kids. And she has a girlfriend who is romantically involved with who potential step-brother. The three of them find themselves over at the father's apartment...")
  • Called to Be Kingdom Builders

    by William Oldland
    My grandfather was an oyster man on the coast of South Carolina. One day he took my mother, father and older sister fishing. She was about five or six and I was just a twinkle in my parents' eyes at the time. He rowed them out to an oyster bank and anchored the boat the way he wanted it. He didn't have rods and reels. They used hand lines with two hooks on each line. My sister and my grandfather were on one end of the boat and my mother and father on the other end. When they quit fishing my grandfather and my sister had caught over one hundred spots. My father and mother had caught six. There wasn't any real secret. My grandfather planned it that way. He knew the water. He knew the oyster banks by heart. He knew how to catch fish on those banks. So, he deliberately anchored the boat so my sister would catch more fish than my parents. The more fish he and my sister caught the more fun he had watching my parents. My grandfather loved to play jokes. The point is my grandfather knew his profession...
  • Epiphany 5C (2004)

    by Joseph Parrish
    ("Nicky Gumbel said we tend to vacillate between fear and insensitivity. Nicky tells of his early efforts soon after he became a Christian at age nineteen. He said he went to a dance and took to heart what he thought was the way to approach people about their faith...")
  • Epiphany 5

    by Joe Parrish
    ("Once as a youngster I went fishing with my friend Jimmy in Fountain City Lake. It was a moderate sized manmade lake in the middle of our community, one of the largest unincorporated cities in America. The lake was fed from a spring that trickled out of some big rocks in a hill a little ways from the lake...")
  • Not Me, Lord

    by John Pavelko
    ("In the 18th Century, the superior of a monastery compiled a collection of the letters of a monk under his charge into a book and entitled it, The Practice of the Presence of God. Abbot Joseph de Beaufort had been impressed by the holiness of a humble monk named Brother Lawrence..." and other illustrations)
  • Commitment

    by Beth Quick
    ("Rabbi Zola told of the Jewish tradition of a young man and his father going to the home of a young woman to whom he hoped to become engaged. When the father and son arrived, they would negotiate the price of marriage with the young woman's father...")
  • Being Taken Alive

    by Barry Robinson
    ("In C.S. Lewis' imaginary description of a traveler's visit to Hell, a guide is attempting to explain to a tourist why it is that so many souls find their way to Hell. There is always something they insist on keeping, even at the price of their misery. There is always something they prefer to joy - that is, to reality...")
  • Being Called

    by Thom Shuman
    ("In June 1979, the American Amateur Hockey Association hired a young, relatively unknown from the college ranks to coach the hockey team for the USA in the 1980 Winter Olympics. When Herb Brooks arrived at the summer tryouts, he stunned the rest of the Olympic Committee by selecting the 20 players he wanted to work with...")
  • Love Is...Fishing the Deep Waters

    by Martin Singley
    ("Being a hearty, snow-savvy New Englander, I drove down to the church early that morning to check on conditions. The roads were pretty slippery and the parking lot was even worse. After consulting with our lay leaders and the Public Works people, we decided to cancel services. So I got back into the car and drove home, laughing under my breath about how we had saved all the snow-naive Southerners from the danger of having to drive in the snow...")
  • Launch Out Into the Deep

    by James Standiford
    There was a Catholic priest who was assigned to a new parish. On the first Sunday as he was going to serve mass, he was walking down the street towards the church. A beggar put out his hand, and said, 'Do you have any coins in your pocket?' The priest reached in his pocket and pulled out two coins, and gave them to the beggar...
  • Patterns, Prisms, and Prisons

    by Wiley Stephens
    ("Robert Fulghum in a Storyteller's Creed speaks of this great depth to living and saying: 'I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more important than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief, and I believe that love is stronger than death.'..." and other quotes)
  • Out Into the Deep Water

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("I'll never forget the time a friend and I went fishing. He was the former pastor of the church I was serving. We were in seminary and car pooled to classes when possible. He didn't have a whole lot of opportunity to go fishing where he was serving, so I invited him out to go fishing in one of the stock tanks owned by one of the member. He had never fished it before..." and a review of Super Bowl commercials - very clever!)
  • The Christ Event

    by Alex Thomas
    ("There is a great deal of wisdom found in Potter books. A tiny passage stuck out for me in one of the books The Chamber of Secrets. Let me tell you about it. Harry Potter has met Tom Riddle who is really an incarnation of Boldamort, the Lord of Darkness. Tom Riddle has told Harry that he is much like him...")
  • Encountering Jesus In Our Life

    by John Tung
    ("Tiger Woods had one of the most incredible first years of any professional golfer in 1997. He won the prestigious Masters Tournament by an unheard of 12 strokes. He went on to win 4 of the 15 tournaments, earning $1.8 million in prize money. But he did not stop there. Instead, right after the Masters, he called his coach and told him that he wanted to change his swing...")
  • God Can Use Ordinary People

    by Guthrie Veech
    ("By most traditional standards she was a prude. She was a conservative fundamentalist. Those are not very popular today. She championed family values. She opposed abortion and was not afraid to voice her opposition. "Yet for from being lampooned by the secular media she was hailed in life and death as a saint...")
  • First, You Have to Row a Little Boat

    by Keith Wagner
    ("The inspiration for this sermon comes from the book First You Have to Row a Little Boat by Richard Bode. In his books he states, 'If we want to write, we need a master who speaks to us in a voice that bears a kinship to our own. If we want to paint, we need a master whose vision of light, form and color appeals to our inner eye..." and another illustration)
  • Gone Fishin'

    by Keith Wagner
    ("Last Thursday evening there was a television movie called The Flood. The star of the movie, Richard Thomas, believed he and his town folk had failed since the levy they had built could no longer hold back the waters of the Mississippi. The only way to save the town was to allow his own farm to be swamped by the river...")
  • Epiphany 5

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
    ("Marti Guixe is homeless—unless you call the world his home. Actually, let me revise that. The 36-year-old design consultant has two homes, but he doesn’t live in them much. One is in Barcelona and another is in Berlin, where he shares a flat with a friend whenever he’s in town..." and another illustration)
  • God Calling

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
    ("In our recent history of the Church, Dr. Albert Schweitzer certainly heard Jesus calling him. Albert was an incredibly gifted person. He began as a pastor and wrote several brilliant theological works. These works became important to the theological developments of the twentieth century. He also enjoyed a worldwide reputation as an organist, specializing in the music of J.S. Bach...")
  • Being Called

    by William Westmoreland
    ("How many of you have seen the movie Bruce Almighty with Jim Carrey? It is a really good and funny film on the call of God and how people respond to that call. One of my favorite scenes in the movie is the part where the angry, frustrated Bruce berates God with all of his troubles. He continually asks God for a sign that God is listening...")
  • Get Out of Here!

    by William Willimon
    ("I was not present at the finance committee meeting the night they voted on next year’s budget. Next morning, I got a call from the chair. 'Preacher' she said, 'great meeting last night. I opened with prayer and it was as if the Holy Spirit descended on us. With little discussion we unanimously approved next year’s budget -- a 10 percent increase over this year’s. It was wonderful!'...")
  • Sin as a Byproduct of Worship

    by William Willimon
    ("Andrew Delbanco in his book The Death of Satan: How Americans Have Lost the Sense of Evil notes a rather remarkable difference between the way Americans dealt with two great disasters: the 1912 sinking of the Titanic and the 1986 explosion of the Challenger. When the Titanic went down, press accounts said there was a lesson to be learned. Our technology had its limits..." and other illustrations)
  • The Fish Story

    by Carlos Wilton
    ("Peter's a person to whom we can all relate -- for there's not a man, woman or child among us who hasn't known something of this experience called failure... 'Master, we have worked all night long, but have caught nothing.' 'Day after day, I toil to keep this house clean, to raise you children, and do I ever get a word of thanks?'...")
  • Unworthy

    by Richard Wing
    ("I remember the story of a man whose grandchild came running into his house one day. The grandchild was obviously upset. He was mad. His life-long friend, Jimmy, had made him so mad, he came to his granddad and said, 'You know Jimmy? Sometimes I just want to kill him!'..." and other illustrations)
  • Epiphany 5C (2004)

    by David Zersen
    ("Wilbert Troike, may he rest in peace, used to wail these words regularly from the choir balcony in a high tenor solo in my home congregation. The women in the congregation, my mother included, fairly swooned over this oft-repeated solo, but it was definitely not my favorite. Troike's call became a regular fixture for us: 'Softly and tenderly, Jesus is calling, calling for you and for me!'...")
  • At Your Word

    by Tim Zingale
    ("Garrison Keillor tells how he became a Lutheran. So many people kept telling him, 'You have so many stories about Lutherans and Catholics in Lake Woebegone, why don’t you go to church yourself?' And then he would proceed to explain why he didn't go to church. One day a friend made a similar observation but instead of asking him why he didn't go to church, simply said, 'Would you like to go to church with me and see it all "first hand"?'...)
  • Epiphany 5C (2004)

    by Samuel Zumwalt
    ["J.R.R. Tolkien got it right (and so did Peter Jackson in The Return of the King) when Gandalf says to one of the hobbits that the adventure doesn't end in death. That death is, in any of its forms, the end is most certainly the big lie...")

Other Resources from 2019 to 2021

Other Resources from 2016 to 2018

Other Resources from 2010 to 2015

Other Resources from 2007 to 2009

Other Resources from 2004 to 2006

Other Resources from the Archives

Resources from the Bookstore

  • The Call

    by William Bausch
    "let me share with you the lives of two children. The parents of the first child were somewhat mis-matched. The father was unemployed for most of his life. The lad's mother was a teacher. He was born in Port Huron, Michigan. He was appraised by his teachers as having an IQ of 81. He was taken out of school after three months, being considered too backward to teach..." and other illustrations

Children's Resources and Dramas

The Classics

Recursos en Español

Currently Unavailable