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Sermons Illustrations for Proper 13 | OT 18 (2022)

Hosea 11:1-11, Psalm 107:1-9, 43
A.W. Tozer wrote, “Grace is the good pleasure of God that inclines him to bestow benefits upon the undeserving. Its use to us sinful men is to save us and make us sit together in heavenly places to demonstrate to the ages the exceeding riches of God’s kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”

Timothy Paul Jones, co-author of the book, Proof: Finding Freedom through the Intoxicating Joy of Irresistible Grace tells the story of taking his adopted daughter to Disney World. By the time Jones and his family had adopted the little girl, she was eight years old. Her former family had been to Disney before but had never taken her. She’d always had to stay with a family friend. Timothy and his wife announced to the whole family that they were going to Disney. What happened next startled them. Their adopted daughter began to act out. Jones relates how he was thankful he didn’t resort to the threat, “If you don’t start behaving, you won’t go.”  He simply asked her if this trip was something they were doing as a family. When he asked, she nodded. He then said, “you’re going.”  According to Jones, her behavior did not improve until the night of the first day at Disney in the hotel. That night his little girl said to him, ““Daddy, I finally got to go to Disney World. But it wasn’t because I was good; it’s because I’m yours.”

Not because they were good, but because they were his. That’s the story of God’s children, too. We see it plainly in these verses.  May we find comfort and peace in his grace.
Bill T.

* * *

Hosea 11:1-11, Psalm 107:1-9, 43
Both this chapter and Hosea and this thanksgiving Psalm 107 reference the exodus, and God’s continuing steadfast love. Hosea laments the people’s faithlessness, after the wonders of their liberation,they turned to other gods, but like a parent, God has not given up hope for change. God will restore what we have lost. And Psalm 107 talks about the years of wandering in the desert, along with many other times of trial and tribulation, some of our doing, but demonstrates how again and again and again God remembers and restores the people!
Frank R.

* * *

Colossians 3:1-11
A 2021 poll conducted by Real Faith found that a near majority of Americans (45%) think that most Christians are hypocrites.  And yet a 2017 Gallup poll indicated that 55% of us believe that religion can answer all of today’s problems.  How can this tension exist?  Our lesson answers this question in making clear that the Christian life is hidden, that sin remains in Christians so in that sense they are hypocrites and may as well admit it.  Martin Luther had a lot to say on this subject:

Therefore I am at the same time a sinner and a righteous man, for I do evil and I   hate the evil which I do.  (Luther’s Works, Vol. 25, p. 63)

From all this is it evident that sin remains in the baptized and the saints as long as they are flesh and blood and live on earth.  (Luther’s Works, Vol. 32, p. 20)

... our life is hidden in God... finding in ourselves nothing but sin, foolishness, death, and hell...  (Luther’s Works, Vol. 31 p. 41)

When you see nothing in your life but sin, you can’t help but pay more attention to God in Christ, because then you know that he is the only source of goodness in life.
Mark E.

* * *

Luke 12:13-21
Landon Parvin in the “Leaders” section of Readers Digest (May 1996) wrote a humous anecdote that connects with this text.

A miserly man was called on by the chairman of the community charity. “Sir,” said the fund-raiser, “our records show that despite your wealth, you’ve never once given to our drive.”

 “Do your records show that I have an elderly mother who was left penniless when my father died? fumed the tightwad. “Do your records show that I have a disabled brother who is unable to work? Do your records show I have a widowed sister with small children who can barely make ends meet?”

“No, sir,” replied the volunteer. “Our records don’t show that.”

Without missing a beat, the man answered, “Well, I don’t give to any of them, so why should I give anything to you?”

God has words for those who hoard up wealth for themselves. “‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So, it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God” (vs. 20-21).
Bill T.

* * *

Luke 12:13-21
The words of life spoken by Jesus in the leadup to this passage inspires one listener to ask himself, “How can I use this guy to my personal advantage?” This individual sees a wonderful opportunity to take advantage of Jesus’s expertise to pad his pockets. “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” Now this person may have a legitimate case here, but that’s beside the point. This causes us to ask the question: “Is the purpose of the church to increase my bottom line?” Or, “What’s in it for me?” I have heard of people leaving one church to attend another not because of a theological question, but because their child’s coach attends there, and this may increase the child’s playing time. Some choose a church in order to network for business purposes. They see more potential customers at one church instead of another. They want to pin their business card on the bulletin board. Me. Me. Me.

Which leads Jesus into the parable of the rich fool. Me. Me. Me.
Frank R.
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John Jamison
Hello, everyone! (Let them respond.) I have a question for you today. Are you ready to hear it? (Let them respond.) Great! Here we go! Has anyone ever said something to you that didn’t make sense to you? (Let them respond.) After they said it, were you pretty confused about what they meant? (Let them respond.) Yes, I think that happens to all of us. But let me ask this: did Jesus ever say something that didn’t make sense to you or that was just really confusing and hard to understand? (Let them respond.) Well, that has happened to me.

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For August 14, 2022:
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  • Wild Growth by Quantisha Mason-Doll. Based on Isaiah 5:1-7.
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Isaiah 5:1-7, Psalm 80:1-2, 8-19
Charles Paul Conn wrote, in his book Make It Happen, about a church that lost her purpose. The story went something like this.

A preacher was in Atlanta, several years ago, and noticed in the restaurants section of the yellow pages, a place called Church of God Grill. The unusual name aroused his curiosity, so he dialed the number. A man answered with a cheery, “Hello! Church of God Grill!”
Mark J. Molldrem
Note: This installment was originally published in 2007.

"But he's for family values!"

My parishioner could not believe that I didn't like the radio talk show. So what if the host's politics were reprehensible, his theology simplistic, and his biblical interpretation uncritical? The only thing that counted was family values!


Peter Andrew Smith
Abbie walked through the door, threw her coat on the chair and crashed onto the couch. She grabbed for the remote and flipped through the channels on the television. Nothing caught her eye, so she turned it off. She picked up her phone and checked her message and social media. Nothing new. She tossed her phone on the table and slumped back.

“Why is this happening to me?” she muttered.

Linda yelled from the other room. “You back from work?”

“Yeah. I’m starving. Is there any of that pizza left?

The Village Shepherd

Janice B. Scott
Tracey was afraid. They were all playing Truth or Dare, and Tracey didn't know which was worst. The dares were becoming more and more scary, and Tracey didn't want to be part of them. On the other hand, she was terrified of being required to reveal her innermost secrets, for she knew perfectly well all the others would laugh themselves silly.

"Your go, Tracey," announced James. "Truth or dare?"

Tracey hesitated. "Oh come on, Tracey!" cried the others. "What, you scared or something?"


Rick McCracken-Bennett
I have to admit, this is not the Jesus I'm comfortable with. All this talk about bringing fire to the earth and that he can't wait until it's set ablaze. What kind of talk is that? Then there is the part about how households will become divided because of him. For goodness' sake, that's exactly opposite from the kind of community we're trying to build here.
Chrysanne Timm
This summer I decided to take up some simple vegetable gardening. I knew it would happen someday. It's in my blood. My dad has planted and tended summer gardens of various sizes my whole life. For several years, our family's garden filled the whole half acre second lot behind our home. We had strawberries, melons, tomatoes, sweet corn, lettuce, onions, cucumbers, zucchini, acorn squash, and even pumpkins.
Kirk R. Webster
In his colorful commentary on Hebrews, Thomas Long paints a picture of the historical setting surrounding this anonymous New Testament book.

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