In the 1840s, John Geddie left the pastorate of a church in Canada to take his wife and two small children to the South Sea Islands to begin a mission work there. After a voyage of more than 20,000 miles, they arrived in the New Hebrides Islands at Aneityum. The island chain was filled with cannibals, and more than twenty crew members of a British ship had been killed and eaten just months before the Geddies arrived on the mission field.
In the sixteenth century, there was a protestant reformer in England by the name of Hugh Latimer. He was known as a great preacher of his day and as a result he had many opportunities to speak. Once he found that he was to preach before the King Henry VIII of England. As he thought about his great responsibility to bring a message before the king he realized that the message that God laid on his heart was not the message that the king would want to hear.
Charles Spurgeon preached to thousands in London each Lord’s day, yet he started his ministry by passing out tracts and teaching a Sunday school class as a teenager. He was eventually invited to obscure places in the country side to preach, and after that became known as one of the greatest preachers in England.
Spurgeon said: “I am perfectly sure, that if I had not been willing to preach to those small gatherings of people in obscure country places, I should never have had the privilege of preaching to thousands of men and women in large buildings all over the land.”
There was once a pastor who had a five-year-old daughter. The little girl noticed that every time her dad stood behind the pulpit, and was getting ready to preach, he would bow his head for a moment before he began to preach. The little girl noticed that he did this every time. So one day after the service the little girl went to her dad and asked him, “Why do you bow your head right before you preach your sermon?”
“Well, honey,” the preacher answered, “I’m asking the Lord to help me preach a good sermon.”
After resigning his pastorate to go lead another church, a pastor was approached by an endearing older member of the congregation. She wept over the pastor’s decision to leave and said, “Things will never be the same.”
The minister tried to console her by saying, “Don’t worry, I’m confident you will get a new pastor who is better than me.”
She continued to sob and replied, “That’s what the last three pastors have said, but they just keep getting worse.”
The results of a computerized survey indicate the perfect pastor preaches exactly 15 minutes. He condemns sin but never upsets anyone. He works from 8:00 am to midnight and is also the janitor. He makes $50 a week, wears good clothes, buys good books, drives a good car, and gives about $50 weekly in the offering. He is 28 years old and has been preaching for 30 years. He has a burning desire to work with teenagers and spends all of his time with senior citizens.
A man got up to leave early from a church service and the pastor asked him where he was going.
Joe: To get a haircut.
Pastor: Why didn’t you get one before services?
Joe: I didn’t need one then!
Joe was later heard to remark that his pastor was just like Pharaoh—he would not let the people go.
A preacher gave an unusual sermon one day, and used a peanut to illustrate several things from the Bible. One of the members greeted him at the close of the service and said, “That was very interesting, Pastor. I never expected to learn so much from a nut.”
After a long, dry sermon, the minister announced that he wished to meet with the church board following the close of the service. The first man to arrive was a stranger. “You misunderstood my announcement. This is a meeting of the board,” said the minister.
“I know,” said the man, “but if there is anyone here more bored than I am, I’d like to meet him.”
There is a tale told of the great English actor, Macready. An eminent preacher once said to him: “I wish you would explain to me something.”
“Well, what is it? I don’t know that I can explain anything to a preacher.”
“What is the difference between you and me? You are appearing before crowds night after night with fiction, and the crowds come wherever you go. I am preaching the essential and unchangeable truth, and I am not getting any crowd at all.”
In a British weekly called the “Glass Window” this letter was published: “It seems ministers feel their sermons are very important and spend a great deal of time preparing them. I have been attending church quite regularly for 30 years and I have probably heard 3,000 of them. To my consternation, I discovered I cannot remember a single sermon. I wonder if a minister's time might be more profitable spent on something else”
At one time Mr P.T. Barnum, head of the great Barnum & Bailey Circus, invited Charles Haddon Spurgeon of London to speak in the large tent at his traveling circus. He made every concession to make the offer attractive to Spurgeon. Barnum would provide the musical talent, unless Spurgeon wished to provide his own. He would provide any equipment or manpower Spurgeon desired. Spurgeon could speak as long or as short as he wished. There was only one basic stipulation! Barnum Circus Association would take the gate receipts and pay Spurgeon one thousand dollars per lecture.
It was Easter Sunday, 1973. Uganda groaned under the terror of Idi Amin. Still fresh in young Pastor Kefa Sempangi’s memory was a face burned beyond recognition, the sight of soldiers cruelly beating a man, and the horrible sound of boots crushing bones—all for the crime of being a Christian. But Easter of 1973 Pastor Sempangi bravely and openly preached on the risen Lord in his town’s football stadium to over 7,000 people. After the service, five of Idi Amin’s Secret Police followed Sempangi back to his church and closed the door behind them.