Today’s Illustration: Quotation & Then The Story Behind It

quotation marks   Driving A Quotation

Previously, an article was written about using quotations.  Rather than just citing a quotation, there is value in driving the quotation with background information.

In this case, the background not only drives the power of the quote but is necessary because most have not heard of Ron Hall or Denver Moore.

The danger of creating these kinds of illustrations is that you can easily get too deep into the weeds.  There is so much from the story behind this illustration that you will want to lay out far more than you have time to cover.  It is a great read, and there is much more worthy of citation that what is included below.


Here is a . . . . Possible Template:

#1) Quotation: (One of many others)

“Most people want to be circled by safety, not by the unexpected. The unexpected can take you out.  But the unexpected can also take you over and change your life. Put a heart in your body where a stone used to be.”

#2) “That statement was made by Ron Hall after be-friending Denver Moore.  In a book titled, ‘Same Kind of Different As Me,’ Ron Hall lays out how he came to meet and know Denver Moore.”

#3) “Who is Ron Hall & Denver Moore?  Two very unlikely people to meet — except that it was the beginning of a very interesting plan which God had orchestrated in order to challenge thousands.  That challenge not only was turned into a book — “Same Kind Of Different As Me”  — and a movie — but they have personally inspired thousands of others who have listened to and heard the story of Ron Hall & Denver Moore.”

#4) Background:  “Let me tell you just a little about Ron Hall & Denver Moore — in order to put those words into context . . . . .”


The following will provide some of the basic details to answer that question for the audience.  There is more here than you need to cover.  Select what is useful and succinct.

Ron Hall . . . .

  • raised in Texas
  • his father served in the Pacific during WWII
  • while growing up, Ron Hall wanted to be a cowboy but ended up becoming an international art dealer — to this day.
  • Hall tripped across that profession through a series of unusual circumstances.*
  • Ron Hall and Denver Moore met in a homeless shelter in 1998 – Union Gospel Mission.

At Union Gospel Mission of Tarrant County, we’re dedicated to providing love, hope, respect and a new beginning for the homeless. We strive to end homelessness one person at time.” — from their website

  • Ron’s wife, Deborah asked Ron, her husband to join her in serving food there.

It was Deborah who had the inspiration that Denver Moore could and would change the city if befriended by her husband.

Deborah died before seeing that ever come to pass.

“At her funeral, Mr. Moore stood up before the crowd to pay tribute to her. He said that during more than 25 years on the street, no one had ever stopped to ask his name.”

A second book, “What Difference Do It Make” was dedicated in memory of Debbie

  • “In 2007, President Bush appointed Ron to the State Department Cultural Property Committee to advise the President on diplomatic matters regarding international art and antiquities.  He served through December 2011.”
  • In 2014, Paramount Pictures adapted their book for the production of a movie.  The IMDb storyline reads . . . .

Ron Hall lost track of what matters most in life. It took an affair, a confession, a dream and an unlikely friendship with a homeless man to help him remember. From the outside, Ron Hall’s seemingly charmed life looked pretty perfect: He had a flourishing art business, a beautiful wife, two fine teen children and an amazing 15,000 square foot house in Fort Worth, Texas. But appearances can be deceptive.”

  • a graduate of Texas Chrisitan University
  • holds an MBA
  • an international art dealer
  • an author — his second book: “What Difference Do It Make” – 2009 / “Everybody Can Help Somebody” -2013
  • Producer — with Paramount Pictures
  • co-authored “Same Kind of Different As Me” — 590,000 copies sold
  • raised millions of dollars to help the homeless — approximately 32 million
  • captivating public speaker at churches, synagogues, colleges, homeless shelters, etc. — told “the story” approximately 500 times
  • a good friend of Denver Moore!


Denver Moore . . . .

  • was born in 1937
  • grew up in Louisiana – Red River Parrish
  • was raised in poverty primarily by his Uncle James and Aunt Ethel
  • worked on a plantation — as a sharecropper
  • picked cotton for about 30 years
  • was almost hung from a tree

(The books beings with . . . .) — “Until Miss Debbie, I’d never spoke to no white woman before.  Just answered a few questions, maybe — it wasn’t really speaking.  And to me, even that was mighty risky since the last time I was food enough to open my mouth to a white woman, I wound up half-dead and nearly blind.”

  • was nearly dragged to his death for helping a white woman with a flat tire
  • hopped a freight train around 1960 and was a drifter till 1966
  • arrested in 1966 and given a 10-year sentence
  • served his sentence at the Louisiana prison – Angola Prison – hard labor
  • was released in 1976
  • was homeless in Fort Worth, Texas for approximately 22 years
  • met the Halls in 1998
  • became an unlikely friend of Ron Hall – a Texas art dealer
  • worked for years at the Union Gospel Mission
  • became an “artist”

“Denver’s art is raw, yet innocent, and directly from his soul…He began painting at sixty-five before he learned to read and write two years later…He does not consider himself an artist but I do.  I get excited every time I walk into his little studio in our garage and see the latest creation of his hands, and my heart sinks when I go there and see he has done nothing!!!!  People from all across America have bought his art to have a connection to him and his story….Enjoy.” — Ron Hall

“Some of Denver’s paintings are simply words scratched into the paint with little or no imagery.  His words are Biblical scriptures or personal sayings of importance to Denver, which we call “Denverisms.”  Denver learned to read and write at a very late age, so his words were not always written perfectly or spelled correctly – and as Denver said, “that’s just like us as humans.” (not perfect).  Sometimes his messages were broken up or unfinished, but he explained to me what he was trying to write in each piece so we could interpret them.”   –Caroline Crockett Kneese

  • was honored  – along with Ron Hall — by the citizens of Fort Worth, as “Philanthropist of the Year, for his work with homeless people at the Union Gospel Mission.”
  • Co-authored a book with Ron Hall . . . .
  • “. . . . in 1999, after Deborah Hall was found to have colon cancer, they [Hall & Moore] grew even closer. Moore stood faithfully by the couple, often sharing words of wisdom while Ron Hall struggled to keep his faith.
  • Before dying, Deborah Hall had one final wish.

“The last thing she said to me was, ‘Don’t give up on Denver,'” Ron Hall says. “‘God is going to bless your friendship in a way you can never imagine.’ And so I took that responsibility.”

  • After Deborah Hall’s death, her husband invited Moore to live at his home. Moore had an idea.
  • “Ain’t nobody ever gonna believe our story. We need to write us a book,” Moore told Hall.  But Moore didn’t know how to read or write, though he has since learned some. So Moore would talk, and Hall would write.”


  • Denver Moore died March 2012 . . . . — “Mr. Moore, 75, died in his sleep March 31 at his North Dallas apartment.  A celebration of his life will start at 2 p.m. Thursday at McKinney Memorial Bible Church in Fort Worth.”


Here are some other words and quotes by Ron Hall & Denver Moore – you can use them to begin a message, drive home a point, illustrate a point, or conclude.

“To love a man enough to help him, you have to forfeit the warm, self-righteous glow that comes from judging.” — RH

“When you is precious to God, you become important to Satan.” – DM

“Most people want to be circled by safety, not by the unexpected. The unexpected can take you out. But the unexpected can also take you over and change your life. Put a heart in your body where a stone used to be.” — RH

“Sometimes you can only understand why things happen when you see them in the rearview mirror.”  — RH

“The Word says God don’t give us credit for lovin the folks we want to love anyway. No, He gives us credit for loving the unlovable. The perfect love of God don’t come with no conditions…”  – DM

“Ever man should have the courage to stand up and face the enemy,’ I said, ’cause ever person that looks like a enemy on the outside ain’t necessarily one on the inside. We all has more in common that we think. You stood up with courage and faced me when I was dangerous, and it changed my life. You loved me for who I was on the inside, the person God meant for me to be, the one that had just gotten lost for a while on some ugly roads in life.”  — DM

“You never know whose eyes God is watching you through. It might not be your teacher, your preacher, or your Sunday school teacher. More likely it’s gon’ be that bum on the street.”  — RH

“You know, you got to get the devil out the house ‘fore you can clean it up!”  — DM

“You was the onlyest person that looked past my skin and past my meanness and saw that there was somebody on the inside worth savin…We all has more in common than we think. You stood up with courage and faced me when I was dangerous, and it changed my life. You loved me for who I was on the inside, the person God meant for me to be, the one that had just gotten lost for a while on some ugly roads in life.”  — DM


From “Same Kind of Different as Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together”

“I heard that when white folks go fishin they do somethin called ‘catch and release.’
Catch and release? I nodded solemnly, suddenly nervous and curious at the same time.

‘That really bothers me’, Denver went on. ‘I just can’t figure it out. ‘Cause when colored folks go fishin, we really proud of what we catch, and we take it and show it off to everybody that’ll look. Then we eat what we catch…in other words, we use it to SUSTAIN us. So it really bothers me that white folks would go to all the trouble to catch a fish, when when they done caught it, just throw it back in the water.’

He paused again, and the silence between us stretched a full minute. Then: ‘Did you hear what I said?’

I nodded, afraid to speak, afraid to offend.

Denver looked away, searching the blue autumn sky, then locked onto me again with that drill-bit start. ‘So, Mr. Ron, it occurred to me: If you is fishin for a friend you just gon’ catch and release, then I ain’t got no desire to be your friend.’

I returned Denver’s gaze with what I hoped was a receptive expression and hung on.
Suddenly his eyes gentled and he spoke more softly than before: ‘But if you is lookin for a REAL friend, then I’ll be one. Forever.”


Key Illustrative Thoughts:

• getting out of our comfort zones
• compassion
• a real friend
• catch & release
• seeing past skin color
• circled by safety
• Don’t give up on Denver!
• how God sees
• the unlikely
• two unlikely people who became friends
• loving folks we want to love
•  various quotations


Other Information & Links:

*”He [Ron Hall] grew up dreaming of being a cowboy but after receiving a master’s degree from TCU, he got sidetracked in the world of high finance.  While in Houston, Texas in 1971 to buy municipal bonds, he met an art dealer whose envious lifestyle caused Ron to rethink his career.  Within a month, banking took a back seat to art dealing, thus launching a successful career buying and selling museum quality masterpieces in major countries around the world.  His new book, The Poopsie ChroniclesAmerican Dreams and Fine Art Schemes, spins many humorous and unbelievable tales from behind the scenes of the highfalutin art world.”


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