PRAISE Sermon Illustrations

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PRAISE


Sermon Illustrations

PRAISE

The Duke of Wellington, the British military leader who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo, was not an easy man to serve under. He was brilliant, demanding, and not one to shower his subordinates with compliments. Yet even Wellington realized that his methods left something to be desired. In his old age a young lady asked him what, if anything, he would do differently if he had his life to live over again. Wellington thought for a moment, then replied. "I'd give more praise," he said.

Bits & Pieces, March 31, 1994, p. 24.


Everyone needs recognition for his accomplishments, but few people make the need known quite as clearly as the little boy who said to his father: "Let's play darts. I'll throw and you say "Wonderful!'" 

Bits & Pieces, December 9, 1993, p. 24.


I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed. 

C.S. Lewis.


A compliment can be a great motivator, particularly if you put a little thought into the why, when, and how of delivering it. Be sure to comment whenever someone on your staff keeps working in the face of rejection, handles a difficult situation well, catches an error, given another employee a helping hand, sells a particular product for the first time, or gives you a lead that proves fruitful. Most of the time, a compliment should be given in public, either at a meeting or on the company bulletin board. If the situation is delicate, convey your praise through a personal note that the employee can share with his family. As with all rewards, praise should be given immediately after good performance to provide the greatest reinforcement.

Bits & Pieces, May 27, 1993, p. 12.


John Wesley was about 21 years of age when he went to Oxford University. He came from a Christian home, and he was gifted with a keen mind and good looks. Yet in those days he was a bit snobbish and sarcastic. One night, however, something happened that set in motion a change in Wesley's heart. While speaking with a porter, he discovered that the poor fellow had only one coat and lived in such impoverished conditions that he didn't even have a bed. Yet he was an unusually happy person , filled with gratitude to God. Wesley, being immature, thoughtlessly joked about the man's misfortunes. "And what else do you thank God for?" he said with a touch of sarcasm.  The porter smiled, and in the spirit of meekness replied with joy, "I thank Him that He has given me my life and being, a heart to love Him, and above all a constant desire to serve Him!" Deeply moved, Wesley recognized that this man knew the meaning of true thankfulness. 

Many years later, in 1791, John Wesley lay on his deathbed at the age of 88. Those who gathered around him realized how well he had learned the lesson of praising God in every circumstance. Despite Wesley's extreme weakness, he began singing the hymn, "I'll Praise My Maker While I've Breath." 

Our Daily Bread.


That's precisely what happens to a church when its leaders don't pray -- its ministry becomes powerless and ineffective. E.M. Bounds emphasized the need for a ministry of prayer within the church when he wrote, "It may be laid down as an axiom, that God needs, first of all, leaders in the church, who will be first in prayer, men with whom prayer is habitual and characteristic, men who know the primacy of prayer. But even more than a habit of prayer, and more than prayer being characteristic of them, church leaders are to be men whose lives are made and molded by prayer, whose heart and life are made up of prayer. These are the men -- the only men -- God can use in the furtherance of his kingdom and the implanting of His message in the hearts of men." 

Our Daily Bread.


A conference at a Presbyterian church in Omaha. People were given helium filled balloons and told to release them at some point in the service when they felt like expressing the joy in their hearts. Since they were Presbyterians, they weren't free to say "Hallelujah, Praise the Lord." All through the service balloons ascended, but when it was over 1/3 of the balloons were unreleased. Let your balloon go. 

Bruce Larson, Luke, p. 43.


A body is not crippled 'til its heart has ceased to praise. Louis Albert Banks tells of an elderly Christian man, a fine singer, who learned that he had cancer of the tongue and that surgery was required. In the hospital after everything was ready for the operation, the man said to the doctor, "Are you sure I will never sing again?" The surgeon found it difficult to answer his question. He simply shook his head no. The patient then asked if he could sit up for a moment. "I've had many good times singing the praises of God," he said. "And now you tell me I can never sing again. I have one song that will be my last. It will be of gratitude and praise to God." There in the doctor's presence the man sang softly the words of Isaac Watts' hymn, "I'll praise my Maker while I've breath,/ And when my voice is lost in death,/ Praise shall employ my nobler power;/ My days of praise shall ne'er be past,/ While life, and thought, and being last,/ Or immortality endures." 

Our Daily Bread.


I have never forgotten that Daystar began his Great Insurrection by frowning and skipping his morning Alleluias. It must have seemed minor at the time, but hell grows out of paradise gone sour. Joy is a discipline, and fallen angels were always those who grew negligent with their praise. 

Calvin Miller, The Valiant Papers, p. 18.


Andor Foldes is now seventy-two, but he recalls how praise made all the difference for him early in his career. His first recollection of an affirming word was at age seven when his father kissed him and thanked him for helping in the garden. He remembers it over six decades later, as though it were yesterday.

But the account of another kiss that changed his life says a great deal about our inner need for purpose. At age sixteen, living in Budapest, Foldes was already a skilled pianist. But he was at his personal all-time low because of a conflict with his piano teacher. In the midst of that very troubled year, however, one of the most renowned pianists of the day came to the city to perform. Emil von Sauer was not only famous because of his abilities at the piano, but he could also claim the notoriety of being the last surviving pupil of Franz Liszt.

Sauer requested that young Foldes play for him. Foldes obliged the master with some of the most difficult works of Bach, Beethoven, and Schumann. When he finished, Sauer walked over to him and kissed him on the forehead.

"My son," he said, "when I was your age I became a student of Liszt. He kissed me on the forehead after my first lesson, saying, 'Take good care of this kiss -- it comes from Beethoven, who gave it me after hearing me play.' I have waited for years to pass on this sacred heritage, but now I feel you deserve it."

Tim Kimmel, Little House on the Freeway, pp. 41-42.


Academy Award-winning actor Charlton Heston has not always had rave reviews. He says he learned "The most valuable single truth about criticism" from Laurence Olivier: We'd done a blank-verse play on Broadway...and the blank verse was not Shakespeare. The critics slaughtered us--before the opening-night party we were doomed. Forty minutes later I found myself alone in a restaurant with Olivier and a bottle of brandy. I was young, green and striving for mature detachment. "Well," I said philosophically, I suppose you learn how to forget the bad notices."

Olivier gripped my elbow.. "Laddie!" he said. "What's much harder, and far more important...you have to learn to forget the good ones." He was right. 

American Film, January 1992.


The brilliant physician and writer Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., and his brother John represent two radically different views on the subject of flattery. Dr. Holmes loved to collect compliments, and when he was older he indulged his pastime by saying to someone who had just praised his work, "I am a trifle deaf, you know. Do you mind repeating that a little louder?"

John, however, was unassuming and content to be in his older brother's shadow. He once said that the only compliment he ever received came when he was six. The maid was brushing his hair when she observed to his mother that little John wasn't all that cross-eyed!

Source Unknown.


I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. If it were possible for a created soul fully to 'appreciate,' that is, to love and delight in, the worthiest object of all, and simultaneously at every moment to give this delight perfect expression, then that soul would be in supreme blessedness. To praise God fully we must suppose ourselves to be in perfect love with God, drowned in, dissolved by that delight which, far from remaining pent up within ourselves as incommunicable bliss, flows out from us incessantly again in effortless and perfect expression. Our joy is no more separable from the praise in which it liberates and utters itself than the brightness a mirror receives is separable from the brightness it sheds. 

C.S. Lewis.


He who praises everybody praises nobody. 

Samuel Johnson.


The citizens of Feldkirch, Austria, didn't know what to do. Napoleon's massive army was preparing to attack. Soldiers had been spotted on the heights above the little town, which was situated on the Austrian border. A council of citizens was hastily summoned to decide whether they should try to defend themselves or display the white flag of surrender. It happened to be Easter Sunday, and the people had gathered in the local church. 

The pastor rose and said, "Friends, we have been counting on our own strength, and apparently that has failed. As this is the day of our Lord's resurrection, let us just ring the bells, have our services as usual, and leave the matter in His hands. We know only our weakness, and not the power of God to defend us." 

The council accepted his plan and the church bells rang. The enemy, hearing the sudden peal, concluded that the Austrian army had arrived during the night to defend the town. Before the service ended, the enemy broke camp and left.

Source Unknown.


Practical tips for praising one another: be specific. Describe, don't evaluate. Be sincere, avoid exaggeration. Don't overlook written praise. Give a gift for no reason at all. Plan a special person's party. Praise often. 

Dave and Claudia Arp.


My grandfather once told me that there are two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was less competition there. 

Indira Gandhi, Bits and Pieces, April 1990, p. 11.



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