Another Christmas Sermon Idea

Jon Bloom is one of my favorite authors. I love the way the Lord gifted him to write and how he shares that gift with us. If you are looking for a Christmas sermon idea, let me encourage you to get his book Not By Sight, turn to chapter 11, and read the chapter “Stables of Desperation are the Birthplaces of God’s Grace.” Here’s how Bloom starts the chapter: “The first Christmas night was a holy night. But it was not a silent night. All was not calm. After walking a hundred miles, Joseph arrived in an overcrowded Bethlehem, with...

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Sermon Illustration: Rise and Shine

To introduce the 2017 Advent Season, I preached out of Isaiah 60:1-3. The first words from the first verse state, “Arise, shine!” The purpose of the sermon was to encourage my congregation not to fall into the trap of being deflated by these commands. The intent was/is NOT for us to think we have to “get up and get to work” to show the world what great Christians we are. The point is to free us, by pointing us to the reality that we don’t shine OUR light. We shine the light that has come upon us. The Light (Jesus)...

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Christmas Sermon Idea

Jon Bloom is one of my favorite authors. I love the way the Lord gifted him to write and how he shares that gift with us. If you are looking for a Christmas sermon idea, let me encourage you to get his book Not By Sight, turn to chapter 10, and read the chapter “Facing a Painful Decision.” Here’s how Bloom starts the chapter: “Have you ever wondered why God sent the angel to inform Mary that she would conceive the Messiah by the Holy Spirit, yet forced Joseph to agonize over what to do about Mary’s pregnancy before sending...

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Sermon Illustration: God and the Dog Collar

Here is an opening illustration I used recently to preach a sermon on Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch from Acts 8. The point of the sermon was to help encourage my congregation to engage the lost anywhere and anytime. If you have a dog, preacher, perhaps you can use something similar.   You’ve heard me talk about the Pearson family dog Eddie. Eddie is a wonderful dog, but during this first year of residence at the Pearson home he has single-handedly destroyed every piece of furniture and carpet in our bedroom and den. We have an invisible fence that works...

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Three Advent Series Ideas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No doubt. Who doesn’t love Christmas? But let’s be honest, preachers. . . how we do we say what’s already been said (many times, many ways . . . see what I did there?) and what everyone already knows in a compelling way? It’s hard. If you have pastored at a church for more than a couple of years, thinking of ways to say the “old, old story” in a captivating way can be difficult. So, let’s share some ideas with each other shall we? Below are three years’ worth of Advent...

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Sermon Illustration: Treating Church Like a Dance

I found this thought from Jared Wilson’s The Imperfect Disciple helpful the next time I preach a sermon on community and/or the purpose of the local church. The community called the church, then, moving according to the rhythms of the kingdom, is like a great big dance.  But if you’re like me you hate dances – great big ones, especially. If you’re like me, you approach the dance as one who wants to look like he belongs there without really participating too much. You want to stand against the wall, bobbing your head to the music while not actually getting...

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Determining HOW to Preach the Text: Look Around

You’ve determined what text to preach. You’ve determined how the passage fits in the context of the Bible book. You’ve determined the specific meaning of the passage. Although this is  hard work (I hate to say this, BUT. . . ), it is not the most difficult part of sermon prep. Resources abound to help you determine the meaning of a text. But NO ONE has written a book on how to preach it to YOUR people. There are tons of experts on the Bible you can glean from. Chances are, other than you, there are zero experts on your...

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Sermon Illustration: The Whole Dose

In an attempt to help the congregation understand how we believers can be guilty of not living in the reality of the Whole Gospel, I used two illustrations – both dealing with medicine. First, thanks to Mike Glenn, I asked the congregation how many of them were guilty of being prescribed an antibiotic from the doctor and stopping before the bottle was empty? We all have. We get sick. We go to the doctor. We get an antibiotic. The directions say take the 14 day supply until all the pills are gone. We feel better after day 6 and stop...

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Determine the Specific Meaning of the Text

“A text can never mean today what it never meant then.” The preacher’s job is to determine what the author meant when he was inspired by the Spirit to write what he wrote. Once the broad meaning of the text is determined, the next step is to get into specifics of the passage being prepared to preach. In other words, when you have figured out why the passage you are studying is there (broad meaning) – you need to get into the weeds for specifics. This will help you begin to see how the form of the sermon might look....

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Sermon Illustration: Loving the Whole Person

Sometimes we walk away when people really just need to be loved. Southern Baptist’s have been guilty of loving people until they are converted. The second someone “prays a prayer” or “signs a card” or “nods in agreement” that they really mean it – we leave and hope they figure out life on their own. We love people until we “get us another one for heaven.” We love the baby until he or she is born. We love all people until a different “kind” moves in next door or sits in our pew. To illustrate this in a recent sermon,...

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