Today's Word for Pastors...
And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"
Today's Preaching Insight...
Major sections of Scripture are biographical. The Holy Spirit's use of biography to communicate the Truth is a high recommendation for this source of sermon illustrations. Of course, the major difference is in who's handling the material.
Biography is defined as the "reconstruction in print or on film, of the lives of real men and women." The genre has a long history, dating from inscriptions on palace walls of Egypt and Assyria. In the second century, Plutarch wrote The Parallel Lives, comparing and evaluating the morals and achievements of four individuals. Every era of history has included some biographies that were more fantasy than fact, usually trying to enhance a life in support of a cause or an institution. In 1791 James Boswell wrote The Life of Samuel Johnson, described as "the first definitive biography." Biographies are now a staple of publishing and also television's History Channel.
The use of biography applies truth to real people and heightens listener response. People are always more interesting than things. Preaching the truth includes working with propositional statements, but these truths live when illustrated in the lives of others. Craig Larson wrote, "The average church attender finds People magazine more engaging than PC User. Listeners identify with people's emotions, thoughts, opinions, and weaknesses. While illustrations drawn from nature, mechanics and mathematics can help clarify, people illustrations are more likely to stir emotions. They are alive." Biography is a rich treasure for... people-centered illustrations. However, every kind of illustrative material has limitations.
(To read the entire article, "Illustrating Sermons with Biography" by Bill D. Whittaker at Preaching.com, click here)
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Linda Wolfe holds the record as the most married woman in the world. The Guinness Book of World Records has verified it. Linda, 68, has been married 23 times. Her longest marriage was for seven years. She reports that her marriages have failed for a variety of reasons—some trivial, some significant. The most astonishing thing is that she wants to get married again, but it is not to keep the record. The reason is, by her own admission, that she is lonely.
We could look at that story and analyze and criticize. No doubt there is much to think about in this situation. We might think further and ponder how desperate loneliness makes us and how much human relationships mean to the average person. Whether she should marry again or not is a matter of debate, but we would agree that she needs companionship and fellowship. Loneliness is devastating.
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