- ("I read a quirky anecdote in Ann Landers last night from a woman who said she was extremely heavy and always had a hard time on an airplane where the seats are so narrow. She wedged herself into a window seat and soon a cheerful man asked if he could sit down beside her...")
- "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. It looked like a mother, her daughter, and a granddaughter. They were clean but dressed in worn clothes, and it was obvious they were less fortunate..." and other illustrations
- There's a wonderful legend about Saint Francis, the kindly thirteenth century monk, who one day informed his brethren that he planned to go into the nearby village on a preaching mission. He invited a novice to go along. On their way, they passed an injured man and Francis promptly stopped, saw to the poor fellow's needs and arranged medical care for him. They went on and soon passed a homeless man who was near starvation. Again, Francis stopped his journey and ministered to the hungry, homeless man. So it went, through the day: people in need, Francis lovingly caring for them as best he could until the sun was low in the sky. He told his novice friend it was time for them to return, now, to the monastery for evening prayers. But the young man said, "Father, you said we were coming to town to preach to the people." Francis smiled. Then he said, "My friend, that's what we've been doing all day."
and many more!!
- ("Matthew describes the crowd that Jesus met, people like those they will meet, as 'harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd'. The image is a powerful one. The Greek word translated as harassed literally means 'coming to pieces, coming apart at the seams, disintegrating' and the word helpless means 'tossed about'...")
- ("at the commencement exercises at Harvard University, J. K. Rowling urged the grads to use their influence and status to speak out on behalf of the powerless. After talking about how she found herself at a very low ebb after college, and how she thought of herself as a failure, she went on to say...")
- ("These words always make me think of one of my brothers in the Lord, currently a scholastic a Jesuit student - in the Amazon and probably the man who taught me more about faithful Christian living in three months than anyone else in the rest of my so-called 'religious' life...")
- ("Science tells us there are two kinds of forces: centrifugal force that throws everything outward, and centripetal force that throws everything inward (like a whirlpool). Spiritually speaking you're much the same; drawing towards, or driving away, attracting or distracting - there is no middle position when it comes to Christ...")
- ("We use the term 'briefing session' nowadays. In our word saturated society, where a ton of verbage descends with every pronouncement, 'brief' can be the most inaccurate word of all...")
- "Bill Easum writes: Where is Jesus’ mission field? Wherever you are – your living room, driveway, backyard, place of business, recreation time, online activity, and sometimes even the person sitting in the pew next to you or in that dull committee meeting. The mission field is anywhere you find people on a spiritual journey..."
- ("As I’ve cleaned out the office this past week, throwing away all the stuff left by my predecessor, I came upon a page from the New Yorker, August 6, 2001. Circled in red is a quote from a poem of Solzhenitsyn Growing Old. 'How much easier it is then how much more receptive we are to death..." and other illustrations)
- ("William Williman tells the story of visiting a pastor in a poor, neglected inner city church who was presiding over the building of a grand, new and expensive church building...")
- ("One person who understood that was Hugh Strickland's father. Here's how Hugh describes an incident from his childhood: 'There was, down on the river, a long old steamboat dock.... We, and lots of other folks, fished from this dock for food......")
- ("A woman in her 60s or 70s died, leaving a grief-stricken widower, a man who had loved his wife very deeply. Some time after she died, when he felt he was finally emotionally ready to go through her papers, he found something that very much upset him...")
- ("I have to admit that on some days, especially Mondays, whenever there is a knock on the door, there is a part of me that says, "I hope it is someone important, some celebrity who is just dropping by to meet me because they've heard what a gifted preacher I am...")
- When I went through a particular difficult time in my life, struggling through a divorce and at one point being without a job, and all the things that I thought were important to me gone, I had feelings like Kris Kristopherson writes in one of his songs: "Failure had me locked out on the wrong side of the door And all that was behind me was my shadow on the floor And lonesome was more than a state of mind I held on to one small thin thread of faith - that God cares