Sermon and Teaching Illustrations
People Stories, Quotes, Discussion Starters, Object Lessons, Activities
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"The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will
not use the thoughts of other men's brains, proves that he has no brains of his own." (Charles Spurgeon,Commenting and Commentaries, NY: Sheldon, 1876, p. 62)
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Don't you love it when God gives you just the right story or joke or illustration to clinch your point? I'll forget a teacher's clever outline and beautifully crafted sentences before I leave the building. I may remember his powerful stories for years. It's no wonder that Jesus often taught His followers with stories.
We draw from many sources, but specialize in finding biblical truth illustrated in people's lives. We read widely, from billionaire Bill Gates and creative genius Steven Spielberg to missionaries. Hudson Taylor or William Carey, from Ozzy Osborne to Mother Theresa and Leonardo da Vinci. We also draw from relevant statistics, jokes and movies, all topically categorized and searchable. (Tired of reading this and want to click through for your free subscription? Click here!)
Our illustration database contains over 3500 resources that you can easily access by either searching for key words or browsing our index of topics. We continually add new illustrations, so visit us regularly to see what's new! If at all possible, we document our quotes so that they will be more useful to writers and all who wish to check for accuracy. If you find any illustrations that have either been misquoted or should have contained a permission statement, please let us know.
Many illustrations will not be found in other databases, since we prioritize fresh quotes, current facts, recent movie clips, drawing primarily from our own research rather than other collections. Also, we target resources that appeal to the younger generations.
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Restrictions: permission for resale, translation, or any other form of distribution outside your local church or ministry must be secured in writing from Steve Miller at email@example.com
"A good illustration is worth its weight in gold. I have found the Reach Out web site to be a gold mine of practical and interesting illustrative material. I rarely teach a lesson or sermon without checking it out."
Author and Senior Pastor
Fellowship Bible Church
"'Awesome' is the student ministry word to describe [Legacy's]' illustration database. Filled with stories, quotes and anecdotes alike, this illustration resource will have something you can use every week, every message. It is updated regularly and often by youth ministers with youth ministry in mind. Surf it often for your illustration needs."
Director of Student Ministries
It's a long time, if ever, since I have come across a site as good as yours. Do keep up the good work.
Pastor Gerald Rodgers, Northern Ireland
Click HERE for scores of other testimonies.
Guidelines for Copying and Distributing
Many of our illustrations are copyrighted material. We welcome and encourage people to translate resources and send them out in newsletter form to their country’s youth workers. This was the original design of these materials, and we have been encouraged by the response. But please do not translate or distribute without the permission of Steve Miller. We want to know how and where the materials are being used. This both guards the integrity of the materials and avoids duplication of efforts.
Copyright information should remain on all copies or translations. If you are distributing the materials, please do not make changes without Steve’s permission. Although we encourage adaptations necessary for cross-cultural distribution, we are want to guard against our name becoming attached to something of a different theological slant than it was originally intended.
Title: Schwarzenegger's Mentor
I love this quote that I found in Schwarzenegger’s autobiography! Use it to 1) challenge students to pursue Christ-likeness with the same passion that Schwarzenegger pursued Reg Park-likeness 2) If we know that our present pains have some benefit (II Corinthians 4:17), we can endure them with a better attitude. 3) We need to have mentors in the areas in which we want to excel (spiritual, vocational, physical, etc.).
At 15 years of age, Arnold Schwarzenegger decided he wanted to be the best body builder in the world. And when he saw a massive bodybuilder named Reg Park in a movie, he knew he had found his hero. In Schwarzenegger’s own words,
"From that point on I was utterly dominated by Reg Park. His image was my ideal. I found out everything I could about Reg Park. I bought all the magazines that published his programs. I learned how he started training, what he ate, how he lived, and how he did his workouts. I became obsessed with Reg Park; he was the image in front of me from the time I started training…. I pasted his pictures on all the walls of my bedroom. I studied every photograph of him I could get my hands on – noting the size of his chest, arms, thighs, back and abdominals. This inspired me to work even harder. When I felt my lungs burning as though they would burst and my veins bulging with blood, I loved it. I knew then that I was growing, making one more step toward becoming like Reg Park.." (Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder, by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Douglas Kent Hall, A Fireside Book, New York, pp. 18-20. Used by Permission.)
Topic: Zeal and Goals
Title: Shoot For A Star
It’s better to shoot for a star and hit a mountain peak
Than to aim for a mud puddle and hit it every time. (Source Unknown)
Topic: Mind and Media
Title: What Could You Accomplish in 7 years?
Want a shocker? Take the average amount of time that you watch TV or play Video games per day, e.g., two hours (below the national average). Do you realize that over a period of 60 years, you will spend the equivalent of 7 1 years, sitting in front of the TV every waking hour of the day? ! Imagine what a person could accomplish given 7 1 years in which to accomplish it!
1. In some fields, you could go through college and get a Masters and Doctorate. 2. Become an accomplished guitar or keyboard player. Spend a year immersing yourself in another culture and get a conversational understanding of the language. Spend the next 6 1/2 years continuing mastery of the language and impacting the culture. 3. Become really good at several sports.
[To really make it sink in, go through the math with your group, letting some youth help with calculators. Here it is: 2 hours x 365 (days per year) = 730 total hours of TV per year. Divide this by 16 to get the total number of days of that year that I would have spent every waking hour (16 hours) watching TV (45.625 days). Multiply this by 60 to get the total number of 16 hour days I would have spent totally on TV over a period of 60 years (2737.5). Divide this by 365 to find the total amount of years I would have spent watching TV every single waking hour of each day. I come up with 7.5 years of spending every waking moment watching TV!]
An easier way to figure it (but perhaps not as easy for youth to see) would be to say that 2 hours is 1/8 of the waking hours of a day. So 1/8 of all my waking time is spent watching TV. Thus, 1/8 of my next 60 years are spent watching TV [60 divided by 8]. This gives me 7.5 years.
Another way to introduce this point: What Could You Accomplish in 7.5 years? 1 - Earn a Doctorate degree. 2 – Become an accomplished musician 3 – Master some field you want to excel in 4 – Become formidable at some sport 5 - ..... or, simply watch 2 hours of TV per day over a period of 60 years.
(Steve Miller. Idea from Al Menconi)
Title: Mission: Impossible and Your Mind
(Good for an introduction. Consider using the actual clip) In the movie "Mission Impossible" Tom Cruise plays Ethan Hunt, a CIA agent who finds himself accused of treason. To prove his innocence, he must obtain a highly classified list, which reveals the identities and whereabouts of America’s spies. So Hunt and his team proceed to pull off a spectacular penetration into the heart of CIA headquarters in order to access its meticulously protected computer. Get the picture: Only one man is allowed to access the computer. Only his unique handprint and voice can unlock the entrance to the room. Upon his departure, lasers crisscross the room, the disturbance of which will set off an alarm. So much as a slight change in temperature, a noise above a certain decibel level, or even a drop of sweat on the floor would signal a foreign presence, setting off the alarm system.
Now, think with me for a minute about this computer. Why do you think it is so heavily guarded? (Because the spies’ very lives depend upon their anonymity.) So what would you think of the CIA if they allowed just any hacker to come in and repair, reprogram and tamper with this computer? (They would be irresponsible idiots.)
In the incredible lengths we go to in order to keep valuable computers from being tampered with, does it seem odd to you that so many people have declared open season for any hacker to come in and reprogram their own incredibly advanced computers: their minds? And the effects may be just as disastrous as for the loss of CIA information. (To prove your point, you could follow this with a story of mass murderer Ted Bundy, who had all the potential in the world, but let pornography have free reign over his mind.) (Steve Miller)
We Love Feedback!
At YouthMinistry.Info, our desire is to serve you in the best way possible. But we can’t know if these materials are scratching where you itch without your feedback, whether it be praise or criticism. So let us know what you think! If you want to send a good illustration, please try to include where you heard or read it, since we try to document our sources. If you added an activity or put a new twist on a lesson that you think others would benefit from, send it in and we’ll try to include it in a "How I Taught It" section. Send to Steve Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org