by Ben Crawshaw
You can use stories to preach on praise. Below is a fine example of enriching your sermons with true-to-life stories of people praising God, even in the less than ideal circumstances.
The book The Hiding Place, is the story of Corrie Ten Boom, her sister, Betsie, and their father who hid Jews in their home during World War II. They were eventually found out and taken to concentration camps to live under despicable conditions. The sisters were placed in Barracks 28, where Corrie despaired of hope. Betsie suggested that they give thanks—that it would encourage their hearts. Corrie said that she could give thanks for everything but the fleas, which were everywhere and horrible to live with. As the days wore on, Corrie and Betsie had the freedom to talk to other prisoners, read the Bible with them, and minister without interference. Then one day a prisoner asked a guard to settle a dispute, and the guard said, “That place is crawling with fleas. I’m not stepping through the door.” Corrie realized why they had been given such liberties in that place—even the fleas were instruments of God. Who knew!? God.
And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:20 NLT).
When we praise God, we are letting go of the need to “see” first, and then submit. We don’t wait until we feel like it to give thanks; we do it out of obedience. We stop fighting the circumstances and acknowledge God’s participating presence. Praise may seem passive to you; you stop and worship and rest in God’s sovereignty. But it is also active, because when you give thanks, you are involving God, inviting Him into the circumstance, and “getting out of the way.”
This is an excerpt from 25 New Preaching Stories, a resource to get your best sermon out of you, when it otherwise seems stuck inside. Beginning your sermon planning and writing with the right story is the key to connecting to your audience. Want 25 New Preaching Stories for yourself? You can order the complete volume here.