Edwin Cooper was famous across America, yet almost no one knew his real name. Coming from a family of circus clowns, Cooper began performing before audiences when he was just nine years old. After a stint with the Barnum and Bailey Circus, he became a fixture on television in the 1950s as Bozo the Clown. In addition to entertaining both young and old, Cooper had a message for his “buddies and partners” every week: get checked for cancer. Yet Cooper was so busy working that he neglected to follow his own advice.
On Easter Sunday, 2013, the southbound side of I-77 near the North Carolina-Virginia border was closed for hours following a massive chain of accidents. Police later reported that seventeen different collisions involved ninety-five cars and trucks. The wrecks left three people dead and more than two dozen injured, many of them seriously. The cause of the accidents was people driving into a thick fog that descended over the Interstate that Sunday afternoon. A police spokesman said, “Visibility at the time this accident occurred was down to about one hundred feet or less.”
On July 6, 2011, a hiker, Brian Matayoshi, was attacked by a female grizzly bear near the Wapiti Lake trail in Yellowstone National Park. He and his wife were visiting the park as hundreds of thousands do each year. Apparently they surprised the mother grizzly and her cubs. The National Park Service issued a statement saying, “In an attempt to defend a perceived threat to her cubs, the bear attacked and fatally wounded the man.” Though the man did not intend to harm the bear or her cubs, she did not know that and responded according to her nature—with fatal results.
The final eruption of Mount St. Helens in May of 1980 was not a sudden event. For two months prior to the massive blast—the most deadly and destructive in American history—earthquakes and volcanic activity signaled a major event was underway. Authorities had plenty of time to sound the alarm and warn those living nearby of the looming danger. Yet despite the seriousness of the threat, some people chose to disregard the warnings.
In the 1929 Rose Bowl, the California Golden Bears squared off against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and provided one of the most famous plays in college football history. In the second quarter, California player Roy Riegels recovered a fumble, but instead of advancing it, he got confused and began running toward his own end zone. A teammate finally stopped him at the goal line, but the two points Georgia Tech scored following “Wrong Way” Riegels’ mistake proved the winning margin in the game.
A park ranger at Yellowstone National Park was leading a group of hikers to a fire lookout. The ranger was so intent on telling the hikers about the flowers and animals that he considered the messages on his two-way radio distracting, so he switched it off. As the group neared the tower, the ranger was met by a nearly breathless lookout, who asked why he hadn’t responded to the messages on his radio. A grizzly bear had been seen stalking the group, and the authorities were trying to warn them of the danger.
On June 28, 2008, Asia LeeShawn Ferguson went over two fences and entered a restricted area in Six Flags Over Georgia. The seventeen-year-old was hit and killed by the Batman roller coaster. It is not known why Ferguson climbed the fences; and his father said, “Nobody knows but my son and the Lord.”
Many people try to climb the fences their authority has placed around them, and they enter forbidden territory. It should not be a surprise to them when they get hurt.
Source: Chicago Tribune, June 30, 2008
On Sunday February 18, 2001, Nascar lost one of its greatest drivers. Dale Earnhardt, also known as “The Intimidator,” was in third place on the last lap of the Daytona 500 when his car was tapped from behind and sent head-on into the wall at 180 mph. In a matter of moments it was evident something was terribly wrong. Dale Earnhardt had died in the crash. On the following Monday an autopsy report revealed he had died of blunt force trauma to the head.
There is an old story of a king and his clown or “jester” who sometimes said very foolish things. One day the jester had said something so foolish that the king handing him a staff, said to him: “Take this, and keep it till you find a bigger fool than yourself.”
“Some years later, the king lay on his deathbed. His courtiers were called: his family and his servants also stood round his bedside. The king, addressing them, said, “I am about to leave you. I am going on a very long journey and I shall not return again to this place: so I have called you all to say goodbye.”
A Netherlands-based electronics firm is creating a bracelet that will change color and flicker from yellow to red when a person’s emotions rise to unhealthy levels. It’s being developed chiefly for stock traders on European exchanges. When trading becomes too intense and the trader’s blood pressure rises, the device will issue a warning to, “Take a time-out, wind down or reconsider their actions,” said the manufacturer. The results, hopefully, will be beneficial to investors—to say nothing of the stock brokers themselves.
A boy went down to the river for a little swim. As he left the house his father said, “Be careful, Herbert; the river looks fair and sparkling, but there is an ugly eddy beneath that may prove too much for you. I have tried it and know it is dangerous. It nearly overcame me. Be careful, Son; there is danger.” Herbert went on and was careful for a time, but the river looked so smooth and peaceful he ventured out farther. His companions admonished him to be careful. But he called back and said, “I can swim; there is no danger.” So he ventured out still farther.
In 1997 Chinese firefighters succeeded in putting out a 400 year old fire. The fire in the Baiyanghe coalfield started in 1560. The fire consumed over 127 million tons of coal before it was extinguished.
Four hundred years is a long time, but it is nothing in view of eternity. The fires of Hell will never end or be put out.
Source: Reuters News Agency, 11/29/1997
Submitted by the homiletics class of West Coast Baptist College
Mysophobia is fear of dirt. Hydrophobia is fear of water. Nyclophobia is the fear of darkness. Acrophobia is fear of high places. Taxophobia is fear of being buried alive. Xenophobia is fear of strangers. Necrophobia is fear of the dead. Claustrophobia is fear of confined places. Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number 13.
Speaking to his physician, John cried in great perplexity, “I might not live a week!”
“Of course you may not, John, but very likely you will, and the medicine will be in the house; it will keep; and if you find yourself getting worse, you could take some. I shall not charge anything for it. If you should feel worse tomorrow you might begin even then.”
“Sir, I may be dead tomorrow!”
“When would you propose to begin your medicine then, John?”
“Well, sir, I hoped you would tell me to begin today.”
The mighty Niagara River drops 180 feet at the American and Horseshoe Falls. Above the falls there are violent rapids. Before reaching the rapids, where boats are still able to navigate, there is a bridge for pedestrians. There is a sign mounted to this bridge that says: “Do you have an anchor? Do you know how to use it?”
A Christian must have and use faith to avoid spiritual shipwreck.
Source: Today’s Best Illustrations, Vol. 2, Elesha Hodge
Submitted by the homiletics class of West Coast Baptist College
Golfer Payne Stewart’s jet crashed in 1999. It appears that the pilot and copilot went unconscious during the flight. Air traffic controllers were unable to communicate with the pilots, and two Air Force jets were sent to investigate.
As they pulled alongside Stewart’s jet they could not see any movement in the cockpit, but they could see that the windows were fogged up. It appears that somehow the cabin lost pressure allowing cold air from the stratosphere in the plane. After the plane ran out of fuel it plunged to the earth below.
Dr. J. Wilbur Chapman told of a distinguished minister, Dr. Howard, from Australia who preached very strongly on the subject of sin. After the service, one of the church officers came to counsel with him in the study. “Dr. Howard,” he said, “we don’t want you to talk as openly as you do about man’s guilt and corruption, because if our boys and girls hear you discussing that subject they will more easily become sinners. Call it a mistake if you will, but do not speak so plainly about sin.” The minister took down a small bottle and showing it to the visitor said, “You see that label?
The devil and his cohorts were devising plans to get people to reject the Gospel. “Let’s go to them and say there is no God,” proposed one. Silence prevailed. Every devil knew that most people believe in a supreme being. “Let’s tell them there is no hell, no future punishment for the wicked,” offered another. That was turned down, because men obviously have consciences which tell them that sin must be punished. The concave was going to end in failure when there came a voice from the rear: “Tell them there is a God, there is a hell and that the Bible is the Word of God.
I was reading the story of a railway switchman who testified that he swung his lantern at the crossing as an automobile sped toward a fast train. In spite of the warning, the car sped on, and the driver was killed. The switchman was exonerated. He later confided to a friend that he had no light in his lantern. What an awful guilt would be upon me if I didn’t give you a fair warning of three things.
A manager and a sales rep stood looking at a map on which colored pins indicated the company representative in each area. “I'm not going to fire you, Wilson,” the manager said, “but I'm loosening your pin a bit just to emphasize the insecurity of your situation.”—Bits and Pieces
During a training exercise in the field, a young recruit naively asked the commanding officer, “Sir, where is the fox hole?” The officer said, “You’re standing on it—just throw out the dirt.”