- Robert Wolgemuth tells the story of a teenager he worked with who had already developed a hardened edge and seemed to be on the fast track to prison. Wolgemuth writes: “Sean took drugs and sold them to other kids. He befriended an elderly widow near his home, then stole her heirloom jewelry, pawned it and paid cash for a brand-new Porsche. As he’d done countless times before, Sean’s dad intervened and ‘fixed’ his son’s problem. “One day at summer camp, Sean asked me if I’d go for a walk with him in the nearby woods. As we walked, he began to pour out his regret for his evil and perverse life. He asked if I’d pray with him. “We found a large fallen tree and Sean climbed up, sitting cross-legged on the log. He prayed first, and I heard words of confession and remorse. This wayward and rebellious youngster cried out to God for grace and forgiveness. “I opened my eyes to see if this really was the same young man who [said he] ’hated everyone because they’re all so stupid.’ Here’s what I saw. Sean, the bad boy, was sitting in God’s awesome presence with his hands and face turned upward. Tears were streaming down his cheeks. ‘I’m sorry, God, for the terrible things I’ve done,’ Sean prayed. ‘Please forgive me and help me to be new.’”...
- A "homeless person" shakes up a church.
- ("Isak Dinesen wrote a book called Out of Africa. In it a young Kikuyu boy named Kitau appears at Dinesen's door to ask for a job. She hires him but is surprised when after three months he asks her for a letter of recommendation to Sheik Ali bin Salim, a Muslim living in a nearby town..." and other illustrations)
- ("When Tom Mason retired he bought a few acres out in the country. He wanted a big garden. He soon found he could not handle all the work so he advertised for help. When a young man showed up, Tom asked him: 'Know anything about gardening?' The youth admitted he knew very little..." and other illustrations)
- A week after my son started first grade, he came home with the news that Roger, the only African American in the class, was his playground partner. I swallowed and said, "That's nice. How long before someone else gets him for a partner?" "Oh, I've got him for good," replied Bill. In another week, I had news that Bill had asked if Roger could be his desk partner. Unless you were born and reared in the Deep South, as I was, you cannot know what this means. I went for an appointment with the teacher. She met me with tired cynical eyes. "Well, I suppose you want a new desk partner for your child, too," she said. "Can you wait a few minutes? I have another mother coming in right now."
- ("If we reach heaven, it could be interesting who we'll glimpse. It could be that annoying neighbour, not to mention that brother or sister we didn't talk to for years. There you stand with your mouth open in astonishment at who's there. And then, in a chastening thought, your realise that everyone else is equally as astonished to see you there. ...")
- ("One time, a rabbi master of the Talmud, taught some seminary students a valuable lesson. They were playing checkers when they should have been studying the Talmud. He told them not to be ashamed since they could always find time to study the law. He then proceeded to ask them if they knew the rules for the game of checkers. They said nothing, since they were sure that the rabbi knew more than they did. So the rabbi told them the rules..." and other illustrations)
- ("Mike Rowe has made a career out of doing disgusting stuff. As the host of the Discovery Channel series Dirty Jobs, Rowe has mucked-out, dug under, flushed, slogged, and slid through some of the most filthy and foul places on the planet. But whether he has been hanging from rafters or slipping through sewers, Rowe has consistently shown his viewers how even the most grungy, grimy, gross job still has its own dirty dignity...")
- ("Mr. Meant-to has a comrade And his name is Didn't-do, Have you ever chanced to meet them? Did they ever call on you?...")
- ("Yes, I'll go where You want me to go, Dear Lord, Real service is what I desire, I'll say what You want me to say, Dear Lord, But don't ask me to sing in the choir...")
- ("Do you remember what happened 30 years ago this week? 1972. Does the name Paul Henderson help out? Yes, 30 years ago this week Paul Henderson scored arguably the most famous goal ever scored in the history of hockey...")
- ("There's a book about the history of military drill called Keeping Together in Time. In a sense I'm suggesting that we too need to march together in time, or in step, with Jesus. It turns out that the roots of the drill lie in prehistoric hunting dances...")
- ("A young Australian woman was travelling around India. And she was walking through a street in Calcutta when she came across a small boy who looked about 5 years old and, apparently, had been beaten and left to die...")
- ("Edmond Browning says: 'Stewardship is more than setting up soup kitchens and overnight shelters. It is good and right that we reach into the river of despair and rescue people who are drowning...")
- Robert Wuthnow, sociologist of religion at Princeton University, has studied stewardship in the church and discovered that preachers do a good job of promoting stewardship. They study it, think about it, explain it well. But folks don't get it. Though many of us are well intentioned, we have invested our lives in consumerism. We have a love affair with "more" - and we will never have enough. Consumerism is not simply a marketing strategy. It has become a demonic spiritual force among us and the theological question facing us is whether the gospel has the power to help us withstand it.