Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content

Sermon Illustrations

Home > Sermon Illustrations

Pastor Makes Tough Decision on Risky Missions Trip

In his book The Jesus Revolution, pastor and author Leith Anderson shares a story about the tension that sometimes comes between obeying God and obeying the law of the land. A number of years ago, he and three others were traveling to a Communist country where Christians were regularly being persecuted. They did not have a direct flight to their destination, so they had to stay in a neighboring country for one evening. That night, while having dinner with a few fellow Christians in that country, Anderson and his companions were approached about smuggling in some Bibles for the underground church. Anderson immediately refused to do so, pointing out that it was illegal. The Christians in that country would not take no for an answer, though. They told Anderson they would return in the morning with the Bibles and that Anderson's group should "ask God what they should do." Anderson writes about the tough decisions that would follow:

Overnight, I made a decision. A Bible or two might be risky, but not impossible. However, I wasn't prepared for the following morning's delivery. It was a small library of Bibles, books about Christianity, study tools, and videos.
I truly can't explain why we did what we did. We divided up the Bibles, books, and videos among the four of us and loaded up every available space in our suitcases, carry-on bags, and purses. It was not a comfortable experience. When nearing our destination, the flight attendants distributed customs forms representing our names, passport numbers, and the answers to pointed questions. Were we bringing guns, narcotics, or literature into the country? The four of us sat paralyzed over what to write. If we said we were not bringing literature, we were lying. If we checked that we were bringing books and Bibles, we were in serious trouble. …
It was one of those moments when the Holy Spirit gave a simple solution that we would not have thought about ourselves. We didn't answer the question. We left it blank. I can't say that we were confident in our choice, but that's what we did. As we passed through immigration surrounded by armed guards and immigration officers, our forms were carefully scrutinized and all four of us were waved through.
What I next remember is the secret night meeting when we turned over the Bibles and literature to Christians from the underground church. Their faces still remain with me all my life.
You may want to criticize my lack of courage or condemn my actions as dishonest. For me, I was suddenly in the sandals of Peter and John who said, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."

Related Sermon Illustrations

Reaching Out to Witches, Warlocks, Satanists, and Vampires

In his book Organic Church, Neil Cole describes a number of missional communities that go where the people are, rather than have the people come to them. Such church communities meet ...

[Read More]

Graduate Student Risks Reputation for One Small Step of Faith

Courtney Ellis writes:

When I attended graduate school for English, there were many occasions when my fellow students openly ridiculed the name of Christ. To my great detriment, I stayed ...

[Read More]