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Sermon Illustrations: Perseverance

John wanted to be a writer. He wrote his first book and submitted it to a publisher. Some time later he received a rejection slip. He tried again. He got another rejection slip. He tried again and got another. 100, 200 - most people would have given up. He received more than 700 rejection slips until finally his first book was published in 1932. John Creasey went on to write over 600 books under 17 pseudonyms and founded the Crime Writers' Association in 1953.

It takes a strong man to swim against the current but dead fish will float with it.

Consider the postage stamp, my son. Its usefulness consists in sticking to one thing till it gets there. Josh Billings

Fred Astaire was without dispute one of the top singers, dancers and actors of all time. In Top Hat, Swing Time, Holiday Inn, and other famous movies, he danced and crooned his way into people's hearts worldwide. But in 1932, when Astaire was starting out, a Hollywood talent judge wrote on his screen test: "Can't act. Can't sing. Can dance a little."

DON'T YOU QUIT: When things go wrong as they sometimes will, When the road you're trudging seems uphill, When the funds are low and the debts are high, And you want to smile, but you have to sigh, When cares are pressing you down a bit, Rest if you must, but don't you quit. Life is strange with its twists and turns As all of us sometime must learn. And many a failure turns about, When we might have won had we stuck it out. Don't give up, though the pace seems slow, You may succeed with another blow. Success is failure turned inside out, The silver tint of the clouds of doubt. And you never can tell how close you are, It may be near when it seems so far. So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit- It's when things get worse that you must not quit. T. L. Osborn

Irving Berlin wrote over one thousand songs, including the Academy Award winning White Christmas, which sold fifty million recordings. His first song, Marie From Sunny Italy, earned him thirty-seven cents! It pays to not give up.

From John Wesley's diary: Sunday morning, May 5, preached in St. Ann's, was asked not to come back anymore. Sunday p.m., May 5, preached at St. John's, deacons said "Get out and stay out". Sunday a.m., May 12, preached at St. Jude's, can't go back there either. Sunday p.m., May 12, preached at St. George's, kicked out again. Sunday a.m., May 19, preached at St. somebody else's, deacons called a special meeting and said I couldn't return. Sunday p.m., May 19, preached on the street, kicked off the street. Sunday a.m., May 26, preached in meadow, chased out of meadow as a bull was turned loose during the services. Sunday a.m., June 2, preached out at the edge of town, kicked off the highway. Sunday p.m., June 2, afternoon service, preached in a pasture, 10,000 people came to hear me.1

It doesn't matter how big the dog is in the fight; it matters how big the fight is in the dog.

Are you a lion or a snail's eyeball? All you have to do is touch a snail's eyeball and it shrivels. But the righteous are as bold as a lion. Prov 28:1

In 1947 Lester Wunderman was arbitrarily fired from his advertising job in New York. But he felt he still had a lot to learn from the head of the agency, Max Sackheim. So the next morning Wunderman went back to his office and began working as he had before. He talked to co-workers and clients; he sat in on meetings - all without pay. Sackheim ignored him for a month. Finally he walked up to Wunderman: "Okay, you win," he said, shaking his head. "I never saw a man who wanted a job more than he wanted money." Well, guess what? Wunderman went on to be one of the most successful advertising men of the century. He's credited with having invented preprinted newspaper inserts, plus subscription cards such as those used by Time-Life Books and the Columbia Record Club; ideas that have produced billions of dollars in profit. Rhema Broadcasting Group

Twice General MacArthur was refused admission to West Point. But the third time he was accepted, and marched into the history books. Rudyard Kipling received a rejection letter from the San Francisco Examiner saying, "Sorry Mr. Kipling, but you just don't know how to use the English language." After a lifetime of defeats, at age 65 Winston Churchill became one of Britain's greatest Prime Ministers. Enrico Caruso's music teacher told him he had "no voice at all and couldn't sing." Einstein's schoolteachers described him as, "mentally slow, unsociable and adrift in his foolish dreams." By age 46, Beethoven was completely deaf, yet he wrote five of his greatest symphonies without hearing a note. Word for Today 16-1-08

It is impossible to succeed in life without overcoming your past. When the great Ignacy Jan Paderewski first started to study piano his teacher told him his hands were too small to master the keyboard. Yet the fire in his soul drove him to become a world-renowned pianist. When Enrico Caruso first started to study voice his teacher said he sounded like the wind whistling through the window. Word For Today 7-2-08 on Phil 3:13

1 Newman, Bill The Ten Laws Of Leadership p40-41