Sermon Illustration - My Life's Most Embarrassing Moment Happened at Church!
Some things should be more than embarrassing
My life's most embarrassing moment took place in church! Life is full of embarrassing moments isn't it? And I suppose that all of us have that one moment in time that we will do almost anything to keep quite. So, part of me is wondering why I'm writing you about that very time in my life, but I believe that my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will use it for good.
This is my very first Hub, (1st in the series) but I hope it is only the first of many. Most of my Hub's will contain several good sermon illustrations, Lord willing. However, I will also use these illustrations as an opportunity to discuss important spiritual issues as well. In addition I will endeavor to provide you with some helpful links, ideas on how to use the illustrations, and maybe even some sermon ideas. Now if you are only here to read about my very embarrassing experience scroll down to the section titled 'The very embarrassing part.' Oh, and please let me know if you liked it in the comments section.
This is how the Webster's Dictionary defines these two words:
EMBAR'RASSED, pp. Perplexed; rendered intricate; confused; confounded.
SHAME, n. A painful sensation excited by a consciousness of guilt, or of having done something which injures reputation; or by of that which nature nature or modesty prompts us to conceal. Shame is particularly excited by the disclosure of actions which, in the view of men, are mean and degrading. Hence it it is often or always manifested by a downcast look or by blushes, called confusion of face.
Encouragement for the criticized and advice to the critical
Winston Churchill said:
“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”
“You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."
“A man is about as big as the things that make him angry.”
Benjamin Franklin said:
“Any fool can criticize and complain and most fools do.”
Abraham Lincoln said:
“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt”
Criticizing the world does not attract the world
Now before I tell you about my most embarrassing moment let me remind you that there are a lot of things that we should be embarrassed about. For instance for the first time I posted a comment on another HubPage.
I was reading several posts form other hubbers that were complaining about the mean spirited language of some “religious hubbers.” Religious people using derogatory remarks to people who do not believe in God? Now that is something every Christian should be embarrassed about.
The Bible clearly states in James 3:9-10' Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
How can we win them for Jesus if we are calling them names? Please keep in mind that Jesus did not come to condemn the world (John 3:17). The duty of the Christian is to share the good news of the Gospel to them (Matthew 28:19-20).
The video (upper left) on how Abraham Lincoln handled criticism can be found at YouTube at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6QZEyCIGFQ
The famose quotes (left) are from Thinkesist. com and can be found at: http://thinkexist.com/quotations/criticism/
Criticism from the unbelievers was embraced by Christ
Now it didn't take me long to realize that there was plenty of name calling and criticism being handed out to the believers as well, but let me remind you that before the crucifiction, Christ was mocked as well and He did not answer them with one word. In fact, the Bible says that everyone that lives godly will suffer persecution. Please however, do not be discouraged, but rather encouraged, because Jesus said that we (Christians) should rejoice when we are persecuted for His sake.
Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Notice our rejoicing is because of the coming rewards, not because we enjoy criticism. Now please “religious person” don't think you will be rewarded for suffering criticism because you sat in judgment of a nonbeliever, these rewards are reserved for those that are persecuted for Lord's sake and righteousness sake.
Another thing, please pray that I do not lash out in anger, because even the Apostle Paul asked for prayer that he would not commit the same sin that he preached against. I am a sinner and I need all the prayer I can get.
The unborn would cry stop! ...if they were only given a chance.
The shame of abortion
While we are on the subject of things that should embarrass Christians, I want to discuss several more realities, in no particular order, that ought to shame the “religious people” of America into action.
1. Abortion – This is not an attempt to persuade anyone that abortion is wrong, even though I know it is. In fact, I want to complement those people who are in favor of abortion, and here is why. At least they stand up for what they believe. The average “religious person” doesn't even want to bring it up. It amazes me to realise that we fought a war in the middle east because of the deaths of about 3000 people, and we rarely even make a peep about the millions of babies that are slaughtered here!
Don't get me wrong, I was in favor of going to war in Iraq, but I seems amazingly hypacritical to avenge the deaths of 3000 murdered victums on 911 and do verterally nothing to defend the unborn! Keep this in mind, since 1973 there have been several Republican Presidents and Row vs. Wade still stands, so how can that be blamed on the Democrats. After 911, it didn't matter what party you were from, if you did not support the war you were on dangerous ground. The war was more important than the economy, but why is the economy more important now than the murders of hundreds of thousands of babies? What a shame!
While I was writing this Hub I looked at the abortion counter found at http://www.poodwaddle.com/clocks16.htm, it was changing at least two times every second. How do you think they would want you to vote? When I looked at it 09-02-09 at 5:20 a.m. Central standard time, the total number of abortions was more than 30,750,000. Look at it now and see how many deaths have taken place.
Which one do we speak out against the most?
The shame of apathy
2. The lack of soul-winning – Advertisers spend billions of dollars every year promoting their products, $264 billion in 2004 according to AdWeek, (http://blogs.zdnet.com/ITFacts/?p=71), but the average Christian may never explain the Gospel to one person. So, why are we surprised that President Obama stated that America is no longer a Christian nation, (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/06/obama-us-not-a-christian_n_183772.html)?
In my opinion America isn't a Christian nation any more either, but why should our country support Christian values when the Christians don't speak up.
Romans 10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. Mark 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
It seems that the Christian movement is the only movement that believes that living by example will win the opposition. Would you want your political party to adapt that strategy? What a shame!
The shame of worldliness
3. Separation – Today it seems like every church in America is trying to be like the world. The Bible, which Christians claim to believe, says in 2 Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,.
it seems that many churches are more concerned about being received by the lost, then they are about being received by the Lord. The Lord has always been concerned about the message and the method. For a good example of this read what happened when Uzzah touched the Ark of the Covenant in 2Samuel 6:6-7.
A friend of mine was telling me a few years back that after visiting a church, the people that he sat next to, (he did not know them), invited him out to Hooters for lunch. He was blown away! At the time he was trying to overcome an addiction to cocaine, and this invitation caused him to never return to that church.
Keep in mind the word church itself means to be a called out assembly. Here was a man that was far from God, and even he had a better understanding of what a Christian should live like than these “religious people.” What a shame!
The shame of divorce
4. Divorce - The rate of divorce in the Christian church is not doing anything to attract unbelievers, but how can this be? When two Christians get married they should grow closer together as they grow closer to Christ.
However, according to the Barna Research Group, “divorce rates among conservative Christians were significantly higher than for other faith groups, and much higher than Atheists and Agnostics experience,” and “Hughes Claimed that 90% of divorces among born-again couples occur after they have been saved.” What a shame!
For more disturbing results about divorce among "religious people" visit http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_dira.htm
The shame of ignorance
5. Bible Knowledge - I know that Bible knowledge is declining at an alarming rate because the number of people who attend church is declining at an alarming rate. You may ask what is the connection? I found the connection in my devotions today.
Matthew 13:19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not,then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
Jesus said the devil stole away the seed from those who did not understand the Word, not from those that rejected it. Why don't they understand the Word? Because, so little time is given to the teaching of it.
Now I really enjoy an exciting church service, and nothing is more discouraging than spending your time in a boring, unorganized church, but really, doesn't the Bible deserve more attention than our singing? Whose words are more important ours or His? When our preaching can't be any longer than the cit-comes then something is seriously wrong.
Years ago when I first became a pastor, there was a 92 year old lady in the church that confessed to me, that she did not know if she was saved. She just didn't understand salvation. I was surprised to say the least. For more than 70 years she had been attending this church faithfully, she even was married in the church parsonage when she was 21, so how after 70 years did she not understand? Well maybe the answer lies in her comment she made to me one day. She said “we've never had preaching like this before.”
If our pastors do not have the time to explain or do not know how to explain the Bible then how will the church members understand, and how will the lost understand? What a shame!
DON'T LOOK! DON'T LOOK
The very embarrassing part
Now back to my life's most embarrassing moment. I was in eleventh grade at the time and I played center half-back on our Christian school's soccer team. Every Wednesday after practice I would get cleaned up and stay for our church's mid-week service. But that day someone had stolen my pants, (which I never did get back) and I was forced to go to church in my sweats, because there was not time to go home and change.
During the service I was sitting on the third row in an auditorium that held about 200 people. I remember it so well, and I think if I ever get Alzheimer's this will be one of the few things I remember. I sat on the far left side and right next to me sat a teenage girl. At the end of the service everybody stood up for the invitation and then it happened.
The boy sitting behind me, who I've always wondered if he stole my pants, reached forward and in an instant pulled my sweats down right in church! Well as you can imagine, with lighting speed I pulled them back up and sat down!
Have you ever lived through a moment in time that seemed to last an eternity? That is exactly how I felt at that very moment. Even while I was pulling up my sweats and sitting down at the speed of light, I still had time to make eye contact with every person in the room, or so it seemed. Remember the girl sitting next to me? The look on her face was indescribable, and for some reason she never sat by me again. Immediately after the service I quickly made my way to my youth pastor's office and cried, and that night I vowed to never go to that church or school again.
But three days later my youth pastor showed up at my door step. Why did it take him so long to come and see me? Well what do you say to an eleventh grader who just had his pants pulled down in church? They don't prepare you for these kinds of things in seminary, and I have not come across a book yet that teaches you how to comfort people during life's most embarrassing moments.
You see my youth pastor was shamed by that teenagers behavior and it prodded him into action. He did not break off his ministry with the guilty one, but he did try to rescue the innocent. Perhaps we can learn from his example.
This HubPage covers several areas that should shame any Christian, the question is will you be ashamed enough of the behavior to take action?
Let me suggest some steps of action:
1. I think all of the “religious people” should get right with God, either through confession or salvation. 2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
2. The “religious people” should lift up there voice, long and loud and become as determined to end abortion as the other side is determined to keep it. Please during the elections vote more on behalf of the one million babies that will be killed this year than on your wallet.
3. Start telling everyone the good news of the Gospel and leave the judgmental attitude alone.
4. Listen, read, study, memorize, and most importantly mediate on the Bible. If you want to attract the world to Christ then you need to show them something is radically different about your life. If your life was full of love, joy, and peace that would be radically different.
Psalms 1:1-3 Blessed (happy) is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
The key to happiness is meditating on the word of God, because meditation is the key to transformation. When your life is transformed God will show you how to be a separated Christian, you won't need me to give you a list of do's and don'ts. When you become that loving, joyful, peaceful person God wants you to be, your wife won't want to divorce you no matter what church you go to.
What the previous paragraph is describing is discipleship and without a doubt the ministry that has the best discipleship program I know of is Reformers Unanimous. The course is called the Personal Discovery Kit (see above image) and it is the tool that God used to change my life, and you will not regret the investment. This ministry may have started out working for the addicted, but I think that they have helped just as many people that were not addicted to drugs and alcohol, like me. Their web address is www.reformu.com. I have also included their promotional video at the end of this Hub. (I receive no income from Reformers Unanimous, I just think they're great!
5. Preacher/Teachers give your people a feast when you teach the Bible, instead of just a snack.
6. This of course is just the start, but if you don't take these steps you will probably not take any.
Hints: For Using Someone Else's Illustration
The original purpose of this HubPage is to give you, the preacher or you the teacher, some good illustrations to use, because I know how hard a good illustration is to come by.
But how do you use an illustration that is not your own? This part of the HubPage may not help many of you but I know I sure could have used this advice years ago.
Here are some of the ways I would move from my preaching into the main illustration of this HubPage.
...in Jesus name, Amen... Every Wednesday he would leave practice, shower and stay for the evening Bible study, there was just no time to go home...
There are certainly many things that ought to cause the Christian to blush. Ezra said in chapter 9 verse 6 ...O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens. Recently, I read an true account of a young man that...
When we are ashamed by sin, weather it is our own or some one else's, it should prompt us into action. King Solomon said in Proverbs 17:9, He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends. This reminds me of a young man who after soccer practice one day...
The following is a promotional video from Reformers Unanimous (RU). RU is an addiction abstinence program, but they also have discipleship materials that are great for everyone. Enjoy!
- Personal Discovery Kit
I have personally used these materials, and have seen God transform my life with them. I have also helped hundreds of other people use these materials and saw incredible results. These tools showed me what a Christian School and Bible College didn't!
- Journeys - Our Daily Bread
If you're looking for a periodical that can get you into the right mindset for your devotions, this is the one. By the way Pastor's these spiritually challenging stories make great sermon illustrations!
- Sermon Illustrations
It would take years to use all of these illustrations, and that's if you only used each one once. Prayerfully I'll have as many sermon illustrations as these guys do someday. If you buy this, make sure you still read my Hubs.
- Bible Illustrator Deluxe 3.0 - Bits & Bytes, Inc.
Bible Illustrator 3.0 Deluxe CD-ROM includes 6,000 illustrations from the pages of Leadership Journal and Christianity Today PLUS seven additional illustration databases! These illustrations can make your sermons come alive!
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