- ("Fred Craddock tells about a trip to his home state of Tennessee. He was in a restaurant in the Smoky Mountains. It was one of those informal places where the proprietor is the waiter, the cashier, and the greeter. He moved from table to table, visiting with the diners. He introduced himself to Dr. Craddock and wanted to know who he was and what he did...")
- (includes several illustrations)
- ("Late one spring a former student came by Tom Long's office for a cup of coffee. They chatted about this and that and then she said, 'I have a secret to tell you.' 'What is it,' Tom said. 'I'm pregnant,' she said. He was overjoyed. She and her husband had a seven-year-old daughter, and they had been trying since their daughter had been born to have another child, but had been unsuccessful and had finally given up.' and other illustrations)
- A store owner had placed a sign in his store window which read PUPPIES FOR SALE. One day, a little boy stopped by and inquired about the puppies. "How much are you selling the puppies for?" he asked the owner. The man told the lad he didn't expect to let any of them go for less than $50. The boy reached in his pocket, pulled out some change, looked up at the store owner and said, "I have two dollars and thirty-seven cents. Can I look at them?" The store owner smiled and whistled. From the kennel, a dog named Lady came running down the aisle, followed by five tiny balls of fur. One puppy lagged behind. Immediately, the little boy asked about the limping puppy. "What's wrong with that doggie?" "The veterinarian told us the dog is missing a hip socket," said the store owner. "He'll always limp like that." "That's the one I want to buy," the lad said without hesitation. The store owner replied, "No, you don't want to buy that dog. If you really want him, I'll just give him to you for free."...
- ("The story is told of a pastor's words to a baby shortly after he had baptized her. No doubt, the minister was speaking as much to the congregation as to the infant. "Little sister, by this act of baptism, we welcome you to a journey that will take your whole life. This isn't the end. It's the beginning of God's experiment with your life..." and several others)
- Retired Presbyterian pastor John Buchanan tells of baptizing a two-year-old boy in a Sunday worship service. After the child had been baptized, Pastor Buchanan, following the directions of the Presbyterian prayer book, put his hand on the little boy's head and addressed him like this. He said, "You are a child of God, sealed by the Spirit in your baptism, and you belong to Jesus Christ forever."
Unexpectedly, the little boy looked up and responded, "Uh-oh."
The people in the congregation smiled, of course. But, writes Buchanan, the child's response was appropriate. Buchanan called it a "stunning theological affirmation" from the mouth of a child.
- ("Do we look like we have a heavenly Father? Do I look more "orphaned" than "sonlike" as I pray "Our Father"? Just imagine if each of us with our words and witness lived the truth that "I have a Father". If you know Him, communicate him; if you don't, get to know Him. It will change your life....")
- "Around the time Irish writer James Joyce was defecting from the Roman Catholic Church, he explained to his brother Stanislaus that epiphanies were sort of 'inadvertent revelations', and said they were 'little errors and gestures — mere straws in the wind — by which people betrayed the very things they were most careful to conceal..." and other quotes
- ("On a hot summer's day the year I turned 14, my best friend's parents offered to drive us all to the beach for the afternoon. Even though I'd grown up in southern California, I was far from a beach bunny, and in fact this day with friends was the first time I'd ever risked going far enough into the water that I could actually body surf the waves back to shore...")
- ("In a sermon of his from 1991, Henri Nouwen said, 'I would like to tell you a little story about our community of mentally challenged people. There is one of my friends there, Janet, who is quite handicapped but a wonderful, wonderful lady. She said to me, "Henri, can you bless me?"...")
- ("How many of your New Year's Resolutions have made it intact through the first full week of 2011? Have you missed a day of exercise yet? Have you stuck to your diet? Are you texting less, talking more, always telling the truth? Most 'resolutions' we make are self-directed: get thinner, work smarter, be stronger, take control of your life...")
- ("I was there in the beginning. All around me was a formless void; a void filled with watery chaos. There, while I hovered in the darkness over the chaos covering all the earth, I began what I must begin; the battle that would fill all time and all space...")
- ("One of the sad signs of our pagan culture today is the wide variety of crimes we need to be on guard against, including what is called identity theft....")
- ("The internet is buzzing with warnings about an extremely dangerous chemical. Called dihydrogen oxide, or DHO, it is, quote, 'colorless, odorless, tasteless, and kills uncounted thousands of people each year...")
- ("I remember the day of my Ordination, June 20, 1963. I drove to the local airport to pick up the president of Luther Theological Seminary, Dr. Alvin Rogness. He was going to do the ordination...")
- ("Baptism can became a bit of a battleground even in Royal families. New attitudes clash with old understandings. Take Crown Prince Laurent of Belgium who last year expressed the wish to have a Muslim Godfather for his new born daughter...")
- ("The teacher announced one morning that the play she had chosen for the class members to perform was Cinderella. The usual chaos ensued, every hand went up, waving madly, as all the students fell to begging for an important part...")
- ("Television courtroom shows are covering the airwaves these days. The People's Court, Judge Judy, Judge Mills Lane, Power of Attorney. Even though these are staged events, they're based on reality: a genuine dispute is resolved in a courtroom before a judge, and sometimes with lawyers, all in 30 minutes...")
- ("There is the story of an African-American minister whose sister in Atlanta was desperately ill and so he took a train to Atlanta to visit her. The train stopped in a little south Georgia town to take on water..." and other illustrations)
- ("The famous artist Vincent Van Gogh certainly understood the communal dimensions of baptism. Most people don't know that he wasn't always a painter. He was a pastor in his early years. In 1879, he was posted to a Belgian mining community known as Wasmes. He was shocked to discover that the miners in that community endured deplorable working conditions and poverty-level wages...")
- ("Have you ever thought about how 'God's voice' would sound? I always think of a particular movie actor. If there is any one single voice that I think everyone remembers, it is the voice of James Earl Jones..." and another illustration)
- ("I'll never forget the day I finally gave my heart to Jesus. Daddy had just about given up on me. Here he was, pastor of Blue Crick Primitive Baptist Church, and his only child still unbaptized at near 14. How could I tell him that I'd never be good enough, never holy enough?...")