A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words. Sometimes.

Images are powerful communicators. When God created the rainbow, it became a powerful image of God’s grace and promise of never sending a flood to the earth again. The Apostle Paul created powerful images in people’s minds by referring to boxing, running, farming, military service, and many more. Jesus used the image of a field ready for harvest to teach the disciples an essential truth about the readiness of people to hear the gospel. The list goes on, but the truth is that communicating visually can create memorable experiences for the people who receive the images.

Actual image of the two bull elk

In Nevada, two elk became entangled. Their horns locked together and the animals were unable to break the grip each held on the other. They were discovered by a rancher as he patrolled his land, and the animals worked in concert to run away from the man. A week later while looking for some missing cows, the rancher remarkably came across the elk duo, whose horns were still locked together! The animals were able to run away again, traveling a mile before one was tranquilized by a game warden who had been called to the scene by the rancher. I have used the image to the right when teaching on the subject of sin. Scripture says it easily entangles us. The image of the two elk help drive that point home for group members. The game warden used a handsaw to cut part of one elk’s horns so the two could be untangled. It took extreme measures to solve their problem, and Jesus also used extreme measures, his death, to untangle us from the grip sin held on us. To read the entire story and see more images of the elk, rancher, and game warden, click here.

This church, once a thriving place of worship, is now a theater.

In another setting, I used the image of the church to the right. In fact, I used a series of images of Scottish churches that had once been thriving centers of worship, now abandoned or converted to something else besides a house of worship. Some churches in my suite of images had become casinos, theaters (that’s the image to the right), or centers of business with secular companies occupying workspaces inside the former churches. One church even had a Subway sandwich shop inside. Other images of churches showed outdoor signage that encouraged people to come in, worship, and believe anything they liked (not believe Scripture, necessarily, but whatever their conscience allowed). These images are a terrifying example of what happens when churches and congregants wander away from the faith and move far away from the core mission of making disciples. If it happened in Scotland, it can happen here, so we must be constantly on guard and protect the doctrine and mission of the church.

The open invitation outside St. Mark’s

Images are powerful communicators, so the next time you guide your group’s Bible study, search for an image (maybe two) that help you communicate the primary truth of the Bible passage your group studies. A picture is worth a thousand words, especially if the image is powerful in its representation of a biblical truth you are driving home to your group members. Find those images in real life (like the ones you see here), on image sites (free images are available at pexels.com, unsplash.com, and pixaby.com).

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