- In 1921, Lewis Lawes became the warden at Sing Sing Prison. No prison was tougher than Sing Sing during that time. But when Warden Lawes retired some 20 years later, that prison had become a humanitarian institution. Those who studied the system said credit for the change belonged to Lawes. But when he was asked about the transformation, he said: "I owe it all to my wonderful wife, Catherine, who is buried outside the prison walls." Catherine Lawes was a young mother with three small children when her husband became the warden. Everybody warned her from the beginning that she should never set foot inside the prison walls, but that didn't stop Catherine! When the first prison basketball game was held, she went ... walking into the gym with her three beautiful kids, and she sat in the stands with the inmates. Her attitude was: "My husband and I are going to take care of these men and I believe they will take care of me! I don't have to worry!"
- As a young man, Al was a skilled artist, a potter. He had a wife and two fine sons. One night, his oldest son developed a severe stomach ache. Thinking it was only some common intestinal disorder, neither Al nor his wife took the condition very seriously. But the malady was actually acute appendicitis, and the boy died suddenly that night. Knowing the death could have been prevented if he had only realized the seriousness of the situation, Al's emotional health deteriorated under the enormous burden of his guilt. To make matters worse, his wife left him a short time later, leaving him alone with his six-year-old younger son. The hurt and pain of the two situations were more that Al could handle, and he turned to alcohol to help him cope. In time, Al became an alcoholic. As the alcoholism progressed, Al began to lose everything he possessed - his home, his land, his art objects, everything. Eventually, Al died alone in a San Francisco motel room. When I heard of his death, I reacted with the same disdain that the world shows for one who ends his life with nothing material to show for it. "What a complete failure!" I thought. "What a totally wasted life!" As time went by, I began to re-evaluate my earlier harsh judgment. You see, I knew Al's now adult son, Ernie...
- Charles E. Jefferson once described the difference between an audience and a church. He said, "An audience is a crowd. A church is a family. An audience is a gathering. A church is a fellowship. An audience is a collection. A church is an organism. An audience is a heap of stones. A church is a temple." And he concludes, "Preachers are ordained not to attract an audience, but to build a church." I hope that everyone in this room understands that critical difference. If the Lion's club or the Kiwanis club is torn with dissension, it is a shame. But when the church of Jesus Christ is in turmoil, it is a tragedy. Christ depends on us. And many more...
- ("To Luke, the physician; the chronicler of the Great Physician. Greetings and many blessings to you, my brother in the faith. Tell all my sisters and brothers I, Peter, also send them greetings in the name of Jesus the Christ. You can't imagine my delight at hearing from you Luke...")
- ("One teacher, fed up with the interrupting chirp of phones during class, challenged his students to record their actual phone conversations for a week. By his reckoning, the returns showed that most of the lengthy communications were totally unnecessary...")
- ("Schooldays are not a bad parallel either for what takes place on Ascension Day. In every departure of a parent as they leave their offspring off – there is a goodbye but no real leave-taking. The farewell is only temporary...")
- ("Detectives look for clues after an incident, bereaved relatives divide the estate of a loved one. Computer users leave electronic "footprints" all the time; the delete key does not wipe them out. It seems that one way or another we all leave traces after us- reminders of our presence at a particular place and time...")
- ("The tall Sixth Year stood at the exit door during the Ascension Mass in a school. Throughout, she examined her fingernails, folded the hymnsheet over to an intricate design and after the Gospel took to a serious perusal of her diary. An adult delicately suggested afterwards that Ascension Day didn't mean much to her. 'Why should we celebrate his going away;' she said; 'He hasn't come here yet.'...")
- ("Thirty years ago, next month, I stood at the grave side of my grandmother, my father's mother. Many said her death was a blessing. After all, she had been sick for many years, a victim of that dreaded disease, Alzheimer's, which steals away our loved ones one memory at a time. This was my first funeral as a young teenager and so I as unsure of how to act, where to stand, what to feel...")
- ("Lowell Striker tells a story of two lawyers who ran into a bad beginning while they argued a case in court. From the first words of their opening arguments the two lawyers began calling each other names...")
- ("The departure of a beloved friend was just as tough for the disciples as it was for Elliot in the movie ET. They knew they had to let go, but they also knew that this meant they would lose a friend. Jesus was like E.T. for they both ascended back into the heavens from whence they had come in the first place. Jesus and E.T. both told their friends that although they were leaving, they'd still be among them, inside them, perhaps as a glow in their souls..." and other illustrations)
- ("Seb was selling tart cards. Seeing the collar, he engaged me in conversation - as he hurriedly concealed his tart cards in a pocket of his hoodie. His pal fell into line very close behind me. I remembered getting mugged this way before...")
- ("I have a friend who is a politician. Unfortunately, he's not a very good politician. After 25 years of trying very hard, he has never yet been elected to Parliament. His problem, however, is that the place where he lives is a stronghold of one main party and he belongs to the other main party. So the chances of him ever getting elected are really pretty slim. But once I asked him what he would do if he ever was actually elected to power...")
- ("Richard Bach’s two books: Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Illusions—the Reflections of a Reluctant Messiah have Messianic overtones. The first part of Jonathan Livingston Seagull ends with a scene strikingly similar to Jesus’ Ascension into heaven...")
- ("Larry Walters was a truck driver, but his lifelong dream was to fly. When he graduated from high school, he joined the Air Force in hopes of becoming a pilot. Unfortunately, poor eyesight disqualified him. So when he finally left the service, he had to satisfy himself with watching others fly the fighter jets that crisscrossed the skies over his backyard...")
- "The summer of 1961 we heard the Presbyterians were gonna send us a missionary. Seems like some folks up north had decided the poor people of Kentucky needed a new kind of religion. Our preacher Brother Charles had heard about it and was mad as an old banty rooster struttinâ in the yard..."