watching, reading, and writing stories

Illustrations from an Easter Sermon

So, yesterday was Easter, and it was a memorable one for me. Not only did I enjoy seeing lots of kids hunt Easter eggs, and get my own Easter basket stuffed with goodies, but I also really learned a lot from my pastor’s Easter Sermon. He used 3 illustrations that I’d never heard before and really stuck out to me. So I thought I’d go ahead and share them here. I hope you enjoy and Happy Easter!

Milky Way, Andromeda, Stars, Galaxy, Cosmos, Space

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1. The Astronomer and the Pastor
The first illustration was about how Big God is and was a story about an Astronomer and a Pastor sitting at a bar. As they’re sitting drinking a beer, the Astronomer says something like, “You know when I think about God, all that comes to mind is ‘Jesus Loves the Little Children.’ And that was okay as a child, but I’ve outgrown it. I don’t need it anymore.” And the pastor listens, takes another drink of beer and finally says, “Well when I think of Astronomy, all I think of is ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.'” The point was, just as our universe with all it’s galaxies, black holes, and things we don’t even understand can’t be contained in a kid’s song, neither can God, who made the universe and everything in it. There’s nothing wrong with little kid’s songs, but they can’t describe the complexity and hugeness of our universe, or our God. And we’re foolish to think of either as so small.

Waterfalls, River, Stream, Water

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2. The River Boat and the Waterfall
This second illustration is about the reality of our situation as humans. It’s like we’re on a riverboat cruising down the river with the current, enjoying good food and music and for the most part enjoying ourselves. But the boat is heading for a waterfall, and no matter what we believe about the waterfall’s existence, eventually the boat will get to the waterfall and go over the edge, and anyone on the boat will die. So Jesus, is like someone warning us, “Get off the boat and follow me or you’ll die.” And we can choose to trust Him and leave, or say “No I’m good, I don’t need help. I’m fine here.” Without Jesus, we stand condemned before God, that is our situation, and the only thing that can save us is Jesus. He is the only rescuer, the only one who could take our place and receive God’s just punishment for sin. Without Him, we are dead.

Easter Egg, Grass, Spring, Holiday, Easter

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3. The Easter Egg Hunt
The last illustration my pastor gave was about what it’s like to follow Jesus now. He said it’s almost like a continual Easter Egg Hunt, where God has hidden these treasures of grace and joy in the most unlikely places. And just as a parent will give hints to their kids of where to look for an egg they’ve hidden, he will nudge at our hearts, telling us to go somewhere, or do something, or talk to someone. And it might seem like the strangest or most awkward situation to us, but if we say yes and follow Him, we’ll see Him show up in that place. And it’s more exciting than a kid finding an Easter Egg.

Well I hope you enjoyed those illustrations as much as I did and I hope you had a great Easter!


Proposing and Predestination


So a couple of weeks ago, I had to try to explain predestination to some Jr. High kids at church. This is one of those subjects that can be hard to understand even for an adult. and oftentimes results in negative responses. I know I’ve had my issues with predestination in the past. So I started brainstorming about how to explain predestination. Then God revealed to me that “proposing” can be a great example or illustration of predestination. I know it’s not a perfect analogy, but it helped simplify the concept for the younger audience. So I thought I’d share it on this blog.

So basically when a guy is going to propose to his girlfriend, he usually puts a lot of forethought, planning, and effort into how he’s going to do it. It’s not usually a random thing. A guy can go to a lot of trouble trying to make everything perfect, and the plethora of videos on Youtube can attest to how extravagant a guy can get. But all these planned efforts have a purpose behind them; to show the girl that he loves her. In the end, however, when the ring comes out, the girl can still say “yes” or “no.”

Couple, Love, Sunset, Proposal Marriage, Water, Sun

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It’s kind of the same way with God. He has predestined, or planned out our lives, with events and circumstances in an effort to show us that He loves and cares for us. But we still get to choose between loving Him back or rejecting Him.

It doesn’t really make sense to say that God forces us to love Him, because He’s predestined it, anymore than a girl could say a guy is forcing her to marry him because of an awesome proposal. God wants our love to be real and genuine, not forced.

In addition, when a girl gets proposed to, most don’t respond with “Wow, I’m so awesome,” or start looking around at the people nearby and asking why the guy didn’t get flowers for everyone. Instead, what we hope to see is a grateful smile, an excited “Yes!” and a declaration of love from the girl.

I think that’s what God longs to hear from us. He doesn’t want us to start thinking all high and mighty of ourselves, becoming prideful, or start wondering if God isn’t fair because he doesn’t choose to save everyone. Instead He longs for our hearts to be filled with gratitude, love, and devotion to Him.

That’s how I try to respond to God’s choice to love me. Sometimes I do have questions, predestination is a hard concept to get, but ultimately I choose to trust that God knows what He’s doing even if I don’t understand it.


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