In a recent sermon called “Would a Loving God Send People to Hell?” John Ortberg began with this illustration:

“There’s a book that came out several years ago that gives you instructions on what to do in the direst circumstances that you can imagine. It’s called The Worst Case Scenario Survivor’s Handbook. The Worst Case Scenario Survivor’s Handbook has sold millions of copies, and it covers every kind of situation you can imagine:

• How to Perform an Emergency Tracheotomy.
• What to Do if You Run into a Mountain Lion.
• How to Respond if You Jump out of a Plane and the Parachute Doesn’t Open.

“Now it’s written straight. It actually is advice from experts in their fields—the best advice on what to do in these types of situations—but nobody buys the book for the actual advice. It is sold in humor sections of bookstores as kind of a joke.

“I was reading this Handbook a couple of weeks ago, when I turned a page and came to a section that was called, ‘How to Survive a Tsunami.’

“All of a sudden, it wasn’t funny any more. It was so strange. I sat there reading, and all I could think of was how a few months ago how many lives might have been spared—how many hundreds of thousands of hearts might not be broken now if people had just known what is in this book. It is meant to be humorous, and it is until the scenario described actually happens. Then it’s not funny. Then you’d give anything. It’s life or death.”

View more sermon illustrations for inspiration for your next message.

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