Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Special Offering

Nobie McGill was an eighty-eight-year-old retiree from the Texas Woman’s Missionary Union. During the Great Depression she set a personal goal of giving $1 to the Southern Baptists’ Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. One hundred pennies doesn’t sound like much, but it took all year for this mother of two to save a dollar. She remembers that offering as “the happiest money I ever gave to anything.” In 1983 Mrs. McGill was inspired by a message from Minette Drumwright and asked God to permit her the opportunity of giving $1,000 above her tithes and offerings. That year she reached her goal and gave $1,000 to foreign missions. The next year she gave $2,000, then $3,000, then $4,000 and finally, (in her eighties) she was able to give $5,000 above her tithe to Lottie Moon. Upon reflection, Mrs. McGill simply said, “I can’t do many things, but I can get money together, and the Lord has really blessed me. I could have lived better, but I got joy out of giving.” In reality, we do live “better” when we find joy in giving, because “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7).

* Baptist Standard, Dec. 22, 1993, p. 11.
McHenry’s Quips, Quotes and Other Notes, HeavenWord Stories for Teachers and Preachers, CD-ROM, Raleigh NC, 1999.

Monday, December 30, 2013


You can tell alot about a man by the way he treats those who can do nothing for him.

From Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations and Quotes - Charles R. Swindoll. Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN, 1998. Page 66

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Sign of Strength and Majesty

The religious and political leaders who were in power at the time misread the events of Jesus’ birth. When a woman is to have a baby, she goes to the best hospital she and her husband can afford. They find the best doctors and highly trained specialists. They get the best that money can buy. And they do this not because they feel strong, but because they feel weak.

When God’s Son was born, He was born in a stable under very austere and unsanitary conditions. It happened this way not because God was poor, but because God was sure of himself.

The leaders misread the signs. The baby born in the stable is not a sign of a weak and ineffectual king. But it is a sign of a majesty who is secure and knows who he is. It is a sign of love. The leader of that time didn’t know anything about that. And so they missed it.
-Earl Palmer

From Illustrations Unlimited – James S. Hewett. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL. Page 76.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Plot Thickens

A small boy was bitterly disappointed at not being cast as Joseph in the school Nativity play. He was given the minor role of the innkeeper instead, and throughout the weeks or rehearsal he brooded on how he could avenge himself on his successful rival.

Came the day of the performance. Joseph and Mary made their entrance and knocked on the door of the inn. The innkeeper opened it a fraction and eyed them coldly. “Can you give us board and lodging for the night?” pleaded Joseph, who then stood back awaiting the expected rebuff.

But the innkeeper had not pondered all those weeks for nothing. He flung the door wide, beamed genially and cried, “Come in, come in. You shall have the best room in the hotel.”

There was a pause, then with great presence of mind, the youthful Joseph said to Mary, “Hold on. I’ll take a look inside first.” He peered past the innkeeper, shook his head firmly and announced, “I’m not taking my wife into a place like that. Come on, Mary, we’ll sleep in the stable.”

The plot was back on course.

From 1001 Quotes, Illustrations and Humorous Stories for Preachers, Teachers, and Writers. Edward K. Rowell and Leadership Journal. Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI, 2005, Page 64.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Significant Gift

Lynne Hybels, the wife of renowned pastor Bill Hybels, tells of a touching scene she witnessed years ago. As a child she was very intrigued with a man in a discount store who was struggling with the purchase of a small and inexpensive figurine. His attire revealed much. He was an older man whose children were no doubt grown. The lines in his face and the worn clothes on his back told of a hard and bittersweet life. Yet everything about this man communicated the intensity of his love for the recipient of that gift. His gift would not compare with the countless other gifts purchased by those whose incomes afforded much more. The wrapping would probably be less than elaborate. It might be the only gift he could give her. But somehow his gift seemed more significant than any other. Since that time Mrs. Hybels has seen thirty years of Christmas shopping frenzies, but each year this anonymous shopper is the one who tugs at her heart and moistens her eyes. She says, “Sometimes the most beautiful love stories are etched on the faces of the lowly and shared by the humble.” May such stories of intentional love define your Christmas season this year!

* Decision, Dec. 1992, p. 33
McHenry’s Quips, Quotes and Other Notes, HeavenWord Stories for Teachers and Preachers, CD-ROM, Raleigh NC, 1999.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Pressing On

In a far country lived a band of minstrels who had traveled far from town to town presenting music to make a living. They had not been doing well. Times were hard; there was little money for the common folk to come to hear the minstrels, even though their fee was small. Attendance had been falling off, so early one evening the group met to discuss their plight. “I see no reason for opening tonight,” one said. “To make things even worse than they may have been, it is starting to snow. Who will venture out on a night like this?” “I agree,” another disheartened singer said. “Last night we performed for just a handful. Fewer will come tonight. Why not give back their meager fees and cancel the concert? No one can expect us to go on when just a few are in the audience.” “How can anyone do his best for so few?” a third inquired. Then he turned to another sitting beside him. “What do you think?” The man appealed to was older than the others. He looked straight at his troupe. “I know you are discouraged. I am too. But we have a responsibility to those who might come. We will go on. And we will do the best job of which we are capable. It is not the fault of those who come that others do not. They should not be punished with less than the best we can give.” Heartened by his words, the minstrels went ahead with their show. They never performed better.

When the show was over and the small audience gone, the old man called his troupe to him. In his hand was a note, handed to him by one of the audience just before the doors closed behind him. “Listen to this, my friends!” Something electrifying in his tone of voice made them turn to him in anticipation. Slowly the old man read: “Thank you for a beautiful performance.” It was signed very simply—“Your King.”

From Illustrations Unlimited – James S. Hewett. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL. Pages 168-169.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


When I was overseas, I was working with a man who was under great stress and pressure. He was a maverick sort of missionary. He didn’t fit the pattern or mold of what you think of as a missionary. His ministry was in great part to the soldiers, who happened to be on the island of Okinawa by the thousands—in fact, it might be safe to say tens of thousands.

I went to his home one evening to visit with him, and his wife said he wasn’t there but was probably down at the office. The office was downtown in a little alley off of the streets of Naha. It was a rainy night. And I decided that I would get on the bus and travel down to be with Bob. She’d mentioned his stress and pressure, so I expected to find the man folded up in despondency, discouragement, and depression, and just ready to finish it off.

I got off that little bus and I walked down the alley about a block and a half and I turned right, down a smaller alley, to a little hut with a tatami mat inside. As I got away from the street noise, I heard singing, “Come, Thou fount of every blessing, / Tune my heart to sing Thy grace.” And then that next stanza, “Prone to wander—Lord, I feel it, / Prone to leave the God I love.”

Quietly I eavesdropped on his private praise service. As I stood in the rain and looked through the walls of that little cheap hut, I saw a man on his knees with his hands toward heaven giving God praise, with his little spiral notebook, worn from use. And I saw him turn from page to page, where he would read it to God, then he would find a hymn and he would sing it to God.

And the remarkable thing is that that pressure that he was under did not leave for perhaps another two weeks, it seems. But that praise service alone before God absolutely revolutionized his life.

From Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations and Quotes - Charles R. Swindoll. Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN, 1998. Pages 627-628.