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Hope in the Citadel of the Secular

Hope Secularism Resurrection

Source: Variously attributed to "Wise Christians Clip Obituaries" by Gary Thomas, as published in CHRISTIANITY TODAY, OCTOBER 3, 1994

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Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-04-07

Scripture: 2 Timothy 2:11

Author: Gary Thomas / Illustration Exchange
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ILLUSTRATION

A story circulates concerning the funeral of Leonid Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1964 until his death in 1982.

As Vice President, George Bush represented the U.S. at the funeral of former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. Bush was deeply moved by a silent protest carried out by Brezhnev's widow. She stood motionless by the coffin until seconds before it was closed. Then, just as the soldiers touched the lid, Brezhnev's wife performed an act of great courage and hope, a gesture that must surely rank as one of the most profound acts of civil disobedience ever committed: She reached down and made the sign of the cross on her husband's chest. There in the citadel of secular, atheistic power, the wife of the man who had run it all hoped that her husband was wrong. She hoped that there was another life, and that that life was best represented by Jesus who died on the cross, and that the same Jesus might yet have mercy on her husband. 

APPLICATION

Brezhnev’s wife's hopes for the post-death salvation of her husband were as empty as the promises of the communist regime to which he'd committed his life. But the source of her hope was anything but empty. Jesus Christ didn't remain in a sealed sepulcher as Brezhnev will. He alone conquered death and offers that same, sweet victory to each one of us who consciously receive it.

"This is a trustworthy saying: If we die with him, we will also live with him" (2 Timothy 2:11, NLT).

Illustration Exchange

Competing Monuments

Atheism Secularism Man's Knowledge

Source: "America’s First Atheist Monument is a 1,500-Pound Granite Bench" By Ollie John, published TIME Magazine NewsFeed, June 04, 2013

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Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-06-08

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 3:10

Author: Illustration Exchange
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ILLUSTRATION

"The first U.S. public monument to Atheism is set to be unveiled outside a Florida courthouse later this month," reports TIME Magazine. "It’s a granite bench engraved with secularist quotes. And weirdly, it owes its existence to the Ten Commandments."

The atheist monument is in direct response to a five foot, six ton stone tablet engraved with the Ten Commandments which is displayed outside the Bradford County, Florida, courthouse. It was commissioned by a local Christian group called the Community Men's Fellowship.

The American Atheists then took Bradford County to court to have the tablets removed on the grounds that they violated the principles of the separation of church and state.

The case ended in a compromise: the Ten Commandments slab would stay, but American Atheists would be allowed to put up their own monument, as well. Hence, the 1,500 lb granite bench, which will be engraved with secularist quotes from figures like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, as well as American Atheists founder Madalyn Murray O’Hair. ... The bench will also feature quotes from the Bible listing punishments for breaking the Ten Commandments, like execution—a move that’s designed to “make it clear that the Ten Commandments are not the ‘great moral code’ they’re often portrayed to be,” as American Atheists Public Relations Director Dave Muscato has said. 

APPLICATION

It's interesting that this first atheist monument will be a stone slab bench upon which one is to sit and rest. It is a fitting symbol of those who would rest their hope and trust on the wisdom of man.

Two monuments. Two foundations. Two choices.

"By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 3:10-11).

The Best Things In The Worst of Times

Cultural Trends Witness Secularism

Source: SHEPERHING THE CHURCH INTO THE 21st CENTURY by Jospesh Stowell, p. 15

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Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2012-12-25

Scripture: Matthew 5:16

Author: Joseph Stowell
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ILLUSTRATION

During a time in England's history when tremendous pressure came to bear upon the church in an effort to divest it of its influence and power, an inscription was laid upon the walls of Harold Church in Staunton, England:

"In the year of 1653, when all things sacred were throughout the nation destroyed or profaned, this church was built to the glory of God by Sir Robert Shirley, whose singular praise it was to have done the best things in the worst times."

Joseph Stowell has categorized the American church of the 21st century as having to endure similar pressures as culture increasingly tries to divest it of its power and influence. He lists society's growing relativism, secularism, pluralism, political correctness, and an anti-authority ethos among the many forces coming together to try to silence the heart and soul of the church.

Joseph Stowell is a teaching pastor, writer, and speaker. He has served as president of both Moody Bible Institute and Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids. He has authored several books and is a major contributor to several respected Christian journals and magazines.

APPLICATION

"While they are for us the church the worst of times," says Stowell, "they hold a strategic opportunity to present the clarity of the gospel to a world that more than ever has an increasing awareness of the needs and emptiness of life."

He challenges us to seize the "strategic opportunity" to do "the best things in the worst of times"--to make a difference by standing in bright contrast to the emptiness of this present generation, and to make this our "singular praise."

"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16, NASB).

Father Shields His Son from Hail of Bullets

Fatherhood Secularism Cynicism

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2012-06-12

Scripture: Proverbs 14:26 ; Proverbs 18:10

Author: Robert Brignall
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Faith Compression

Cultural Trends Secularism Faith

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2012-04-04

Scripture: Romans 1:22

Author: Illustration Exchange
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All Genius Belongs To God

Man's Knowledge Humility Secularism

Contributed By: Mitchell Dillon | Date Posted: 2012-03-23

Author: Mitchell Dillon
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Why Not Wear A Tie?

Faith Secularism Apologetics

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2011-12-24

Scripture: Hebrews 11:1

Author: Byron Sherwin
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Atheism Finds Its Voice in 9/11

Secularism Atheism Cultural Trends

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2011-09-29

Scripture: Proverbs 10:12

Author: Illustration Exchange
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God Gets Little Press This Christmas

Christmas Cultural Trends Secularism

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2010-12-27

Scripture: Luke 2:7

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Distracted And Delayed By Baggage

Greed Materialism Influence

Contributed By: Neal Pollard | Date Posted: 2019-05-11

Scripture: Luke 12:15 ; 1 Timothy 6:9

Author: Neal Pollard
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