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Be The Bulb That Outshines All The Others

Light Witness Perseverance

Source: Burning Since 1901, this Bulb is the Poster Child for Planned Obsolescence, published 2/1/2018 on, retrieved 10/18/2022.

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Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2022-10-19

Scripture: Matthew 5:14 ; Philippians 2:15

Author: Illustration Exchange


How many light bulbs have you had to change in your lifetime? In today’s world, LED light bulbs will only have to be replaced, on average, every 20 years or so. Yet, until just recently, it was commonplace to have to replace the light bulbs in our lamps and fixtures every several months, depending on usage.

In sharp contrast, shining brightly beyond the expectations of any modern bulb, the Centennial Light Bulb has been faithfully casting light for the Livermore Fire Department for over 120 years without burning out.

A website dedicated to the Centennial Bulb reports,

[It was] first installed at the fire department hose cart house on L Street in 1901. Shortly after it moved to the main firehouse on Second. In 1903 it was moved to the new Station 1 on First and McLeod, and survived the renovation of the Firehouse in 1937, when it was off for about a week. During its first 75 years it was connected directly to the 110 Volt city power, (subject to the power outages), and not to the back-up generator for fear of a power surge. In 1976 it was moved with a full police and fire truck escort, under the watch of Captain Kirby Slate, to its present site at Fire Station 6, 4550 East Ave., Livermore, California. It was then hooked to a separate power source at 120V, and UPS according to Frank Maul, Retired City Electrician. There was one interruption in May, 2013, when the UPS failed and it was off for at least 9 1/2 hours.

People are drawn to the light. They come from far and wide to see it burning, and a “bulb cam” was even installed for online viewing.


It seems that light bulbs were invented, from the beginning, with he capacity for great longevity. And while Thomas Edison et al invented the rudimentary bulb, it was the work of Professor Adolphe A. Chaillet and the Shelby Electric Company who invented and developed the improved filament that allowed for seemingly perpetual illumination.

So why has this one bulb lasted decades beyond even our most efficient, modern fixtures? The answer is “Planned Obsolescence.” You see, providing a bulb with seemingly perpetual illumination is not necessarily a profitable venture.

According to various dictionaries, “Planned Obsolescence” can be defined as “a policy of producing consumer goods that rapidly become obsolete and so require replacing, achieved by frequent changes in design, termination of the supply of spare parts, and the use of nondurable materials.”

Enter the Phoebus Cartel

The Phoebus Cartel was a cartel that existed to control the manufacture and sale of incandescent light bulbs by appropriating market territories and fixing the useful life of such bulbs. … The cartel included manufacturers Osram, General Electric, Associated Electrical Industries, and Philips, among others. … [By] 1924, the main bulb manufacturers in America and Europe secretly formed a cartel to limit the average life of lamps to 1,000 hours,” thus ensuring the re-marketability of the product (though it's no longer legal to do so, at least not here in the U.S.).

So while Edison’s original commercial lightbulb from 1881 lasted up to 1500 hours, others began marketing bulbs that lasted nearly double that. Then, by the turn of the new century, Challet’s bulb was lasting for … well … it continues to burn today. Where’s the profit in that?! You’d never need to buy another bulb in your lifetime!

But even with the introduction of LED bulbs, we’re still not seeing the mass production of bulbs with the durability and longevity of the Livermore Fire Department’s Centennial Bulb.


Light bulbs are ubiquitous.  They’re an everyday necessity of life.  So, why do people come from far and wide to see the Centennial Light Bulb? Why are people drawn to this light and not to others?  Well, it hasn't failed in 120 years!  By comparison, every other light bulb is inferior.  This difference is remarkable enough to catch the world's attention.  

Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16, NIV).

Christians aren't the only people who perform good works.  However, there is a different quality to the love that Christians are called to share, one that causes it to stand out.  The sacrificial nature of Jesus' love for the whole world sets the tone for the Christian calling.  And because our love is a reflection of Jesus' love, it is not in pursuit of personal gain — so there's no "planned obsolescence" here! 

Indeed, the light we bear is the light of God; it will never burn out. God intends our light to burn brightly from now into eternity. 

People are drawn to the light. Be the light! Be the bulb that outshines all the others!

“That you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15).

“For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth’” (Acts 13:47, ESV).

And the Survey Says - Christians Don't Witness As They Should

Witness Boldness Gospel

Source: "Most Open to Spiritual Conversations, Few Christians Speaking," by Aaron Earls, Feb 22, 2022

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Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2022-05-20

Scripture: Acts 10:42 ; 1 Corinthians 9:16

Author: Illustration Exchange


An Evangelism Explosion survey of 1002 Americans conducted by Lifeway Research in December 2021 found an alarming disparity between unbelievers’ openness to talking about spiritual things and Christians’ willingness to actually speak about them.*

Some key takeaways from the survey are as follows:

  • 71% say that it is very important to have hope in their life
  • 74% say that it is very important to have peace in their life
  • 66% say that it is very important to have purpose and fulfillment in their life 
  • 55% say that it is very important to have certainty they will go heaven or have eternal life
  • 61% say their interest in spiritual matters hasn’t changed compared to before COVID-19, but 32% are more interested
  • 66% say they are open or very open to having a conversation about the Christian faith with a friend
  • 52% say they are open or very open to having a conversation about the Christian faith with a stranger
  • 65% say they are open or very open to talking with a friend about having a relationship with God
  • 53% say they are open or very open to talking with a stranger about having a relationship with God
  • 71% say when meeting someone new,  they are open or very open to hearing their life story
  • 69% want to hear why someone thinks their faith helps with a core human need
  • 4 out of 10 (40%) say they wouldn’t think about faith on their own if a friend or family member didn’t bring it up
  • 51% are curious as to why some people are devoted to their faith
  • 6 out of 10 (60%) say that many of their friends who claim to be Christians rarely talk about their faith

“This study reveals that most Americans are open to talking about faith,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research.

But the sad, sorry realization is that the conversation is simply not happening as often as it ought. 

Why is that? Can we blame cancel culture? The current war on Christianity? Closed mindedness on the part of the masses? New restrictions on religious liberty?

“It really isn’t about religious liberty, people not wanting to hear, or religion being off-limits. The reason conversations are not happening about the Christian faith is that Christians are not bringing it up.”

“Now, perhaps more than ever, people are open to conversations about faith [A whopping 32% of respondents said that since COVID, they are MORE open to talking about spiritual things], yet few Christians actually take the opportunity to engage in personal evangelism,” says Dr. John B. Sorensen, President and CEO of Evangelism Explosion International. 

At a time when “one in 5 religiously unaffiliated Americans (20%) say they are more interested in spiritual matters,” it is heartbreaking to find that some 60% report that their “friends who claim to be Christians rarely talk about their faith.”



*About 38% of respondents were identified as already having some measure of Christian belief.


It’s hard to “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” when we can’t seem to open our mouths to speak to our neighbors and friends. How can we close our lips when he has “commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10:42).

“For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (I Cor. 9:16 ESV)

I've Decided to Carry Narcan

Witness Spiritual Death Addiction

Source: “I've decided to carry Narcan. I'd ask you to consider it, too,” Tweet by Kyle Clark, 2/21/22.

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2022-02-23

Scripture: 1 Peter 3:15 ; Romans 1:16

Author: Illustration Exchange


The drug problem has gotten so bad in our major cities, that Kyle Clark, a journalist and newscaster on 9News, Denver, Colorado, tweeted out this week that he has decided to carry Narcan* with him at all times.

“It’s a simple thing that we can do to save lives, as fentanyl kills hundreds of Coloradans a year. The City of Denver is now mailing Narcan to any resident who asks for it. … All across Colorado, you can ask for Narcan at a pharmacy and get it without a prescription. 

"If you know someone who is having an opioid overdose, you can easily administer Narcan as easily as you do an allergy spray, and potentially save their life. And it can’t hurt them or someone else accidentally. 

"We learn how to do the Heimlich Maneuver on the off chance that we could someday use it to save a life. Same thing with CPR. 

“I’m gonna carry Narcan; and I ask you to consider it, too.”

Note that Narcan does NOTHING to stop substance abuse. In fact, even its lifesaving, overdose-reversing effects are strikingly temporary, and further medical intervention has to be immediately sought, following its administration. 

As such, some commentators were quick to point out that such efforts might save a life “in the moment,” but the person will still die if their addiction is not permanently addressed.

*[Narcan according to the SAMHSA, is “a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose. It is an opioid antagonist—meaning that it binds to opioid receptors and can reverse and block the effects of other opioids, such as heroin, morphine, and oxycodone, [and fentanyl."]


As Christians, we’ve been given the life-saving remedy that can save not just the body, but the very soul of a man. But do we carry it with us at all times? Are we prepared to administer the cure at a moment's notice? Do we even recognize the enormity and the urgency of all the dying souls around us?  And we're not just talking about addicts.

We are confronted daily by the walking dead – in our classrooms and offices, and subway cars, and grocery stores; on our sidewalks, and highways, and street corners; even in our churches, and in our own living rooms! People all around us are spiritually dying and need the cure of the saving grace of Jesus.

Clark is right. We’re willing to learn the Heimlich Maneuver and CPR.  Some might even be willing to carry Narcan.  But will we carry the truth of the Gospel both in word and deed, always at the ready to share with a dying soul?

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” 1 Pet 3:15 (NKJV)

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Rom 1:16 (ESV)

“For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” Rom 10:13-14 (ESV)

Make Your Meter Run Backwards

Reward Stewardship Witness

Contributed By: Thomas Bevers | Date Posted: 2018-08-13

Scripture: Daniel 12:3 ; John 8:12

Author: Thomas Bevers / Illustration Exchange

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The Hidden Door

Witness Salvation Jesus, Savior

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2018-04-21

Scripture: John 10:9

Author: Illustration Exchange

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Don't Covet Your Neighbor's Lottery Win

Envy Witness Temptation

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-11-08

Scripture: Romans 11:14

Author: Illustration Exchange

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Christians Feel "The Bern"

Gospel Witness Apologetics

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-06-13

Scripture: John 3:16

Author: Illustration Exchange

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A Pencil In God's Hand

Witness Humility Stewardship

Contributed By: Mitchell Dillon | Date Posted: 2017-05-03

Scripture: John 3:30

Author: Mother Teresa

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The Historic Jesus

Jesus' Humanity Apologetics Witness

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-05-03

Author: Josephus

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He Ain't Heavy, He's My Savior

Salvation Witness Jesus, Savior

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-06-07

Scripture: John 6:58

Author: Illustration Exchange

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