Larson - 750 Engaging Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers, and Writers

 Craig Brian Larson - 750 Engaging Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers, and Writers

 Craig Brian Larson - 750 Engaging Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers, and Writers

Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2007. - 672 p.
ISBN-13: 978-0801091926
I am a pastor who preaches weekly, and I have molded this book to meet the needs I myself sense.
I need contemporary illustrations from the world we live in. While I illustrate from my own life, I also want to illustrate from the world at large, from our common culture. Contemporary illustrations are relevant and interesting to our media-engaged listeners.
I need an illustration book to have an extensive index. I put the bulk of my work and time into studying the biblical text, so I need to be able to access illustrations quickly. Therefore, if anything, I have gone overboard with the alternative subjects that accompany each illustration and are indexed in the endnotes. I have done that for several reasons. First because we all use different handles to lay hold of the same idea. One person might look for an illustration with the word faith and another with the word belief; or you might look for the opposite, doubt. So the alternative subjects often cover the waterfront of synonyms to make it easier to find what you need through the index. In addition, illustrations can be applied in numerous ways, and so the major heading at the top of each illustration indicates how I have applied each one, while alternative subjects at the end of the illustration give other slants that you could take with the same story. For example, a story of an argument between husband and wife could be used to illustrate marriage or anger or conflict or reconciliation or the power of the tongue. Therefore, although this book has 750 illustrations, it in effect has many times that.
I need believable illustrations that have specific places, dates, and people’s names, as well as documented sources. In this book, sources are usually mentioned in the illustration itself, and the endnotes typically contain full references that not only allow you to quote the date that an article appeared if you desire but also to research the story for further details at the library or online.
I need variety and balance. In my selection of material I used an editorial grid that calls for a roughly equal number of illustrations that are positive or negative, figurative or literal, and from Christian or secular sources.
The copyright law of the United States allows for the “fair use” of a limited number of words from other sources, and I have made frequent use of that liberty. Hence my thanks for the talented writers who have contributed unawares. For longer excerpts I have secured the permission of authors and publishers, and for their gracious permission I am deeply grateful.
This book is not intended to make a pastor’s life easier; its purpose is to make your sermons more effective. May the Lord Jesus Christ use these illustrations to advance his truth, bring his lost sheep into the fold, strengthen his precious people, and build his glorious church.
Craig Brian Larson
* * *
Patience 482
A common sight in America’s Southwest desert is the century plant. It’s unique. The century plant (Agave Americana) thrives in rocky, mountainous, desert sites. It has dramatic, splayed leaves that grow up to a foot wide. The plant can reach twelve feet in diameter.
But what makes the century plant unusual, as its name suggests, is its long reproduction cycle. For twenty or thirty years (no, not a literal one hundred years), the six-foot-tall plant stands the same height and puts out no flowers. Then one year, without warning, a new bud sprouts. The bud, which resembles a tree-trunk-size asparagus spear, shoots into the sky at a fantastic rate of seven inches per day and reaches an eventual height of twenty to forty feet. Then it crowns itself with several clumps of yellowish blossoms that last up to three weeks.
Like the century plant, many of the most glorious things that happen to us come only after a long wait.
Aging, Fruitfulness, Growth, Maturity
Gen. 21:1–7; Gal. 5:22–23; 6:9–10; Heb. 10:36
Salvation 590
The following drama was originally reported by Peter Michelmore in the October 1987 Reader’s Digest:
Normally the flight from Nassau to Miami took Walter Wyatt Jr. only sixty-five minutes. But on December 5, 1986, he attempted it after thieves had looted the navigational equipment in his Beechcraft. With only a compass and a hand-held radio, Walter flew into skies blackened by storm clouds.
When his compass began to gyrate, Walter concluded he was headed in the wrong direction. He flew his plane below the clouds, hoping to spot something, but soon he knew he was lost. He put out a mayday call, which brought a Coast Guard Falcon search plane to lead him to an emergency landing strip only six miles away.
Suddenly Wyatt’s right engine coughed its last and died. The fuel tank had run dry. Around 8 p.m. Wyatt could do little more than glide the plane into the water. Wyatt survived the crash, but his plane disappeared quickly, leaving him bobbing on the water in a leaky life vest.
With blood on his forehead, Wyatt floated on his back. Suddenly he felt a hard bump against his body. A shark had found him. Wyatt kicked the intruder and wondered if he would survive the night. He managed to stay afloat for the next ten hours.
In the morning, Wyatt saw no airplanes, but in the water a dorsal fin was headed for him. Twisting, he felt the hide of a shark brush against him. In a moment, two more bull sharks sliced through the water toward him. Again he kicked the sharks, and they veered away, but he was nearing exhaustion.
Then he heard the hum of a distant aircraft. When it was within a half mile, he waved his orange vest. The pilot dropped a smoke canister and radioed the cutter Cape York, which was twelve minutes away: “Get moving, cutter! There’s a shark targeting this guy!”
As the Cape York pulled alongside Wyatt, a Jacob’s ladder was dropped over the side. Wyatt climbed wearily out of the water and onto the ship, where he fell to his knees and kissed the deck.
He’d been saved. He didn’t need encouragement or better techniques. Nothing less than outside intervention could have rescued him from sure death. How much we are like Walter Wyatt!


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