Sermon Illustration: Tempted Not to Tithe

I am a 41 year old pastor and still get tempted not to tithe. I have been giving to the local church since I was a young boy. In fact, I don’t remember NOT tithing. It is a habit my parents instilled in me early. I can remember turning in an envelope to my Sunday School teacher during my elementary school days. But I still get tempted – to this day – not to tithe. Never have I been more tempted, however, than in seminary. Katie and I were poor. . . dirt poor. Like “hold your breath when you...

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The Local Church will Never Fail

Below is an article I recently wrote for JourneyOn Today for Brentwood Baptist Church. 32 Now the entire group of those who believed were of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but instead they held everything in common. 33 With great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on all of them. 34 For there was not a needy person among them because all those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the proceeds of what was sold, 35...

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What Nickname Would YOU Receive?

Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus by birth, the one the apostles called Barnabas (which is translated Son of Encouragement), sold a field he owned, brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. Acts 4:36-37 A nickname is not something you give yourself. It is something that is earned. You may love it. You may hate it. You may tolerate it. But something you did or said, or something that was done to you or said about you – made sense. It stuck. And “it” became your nickname. A man named Joseph was given the nickname Barnabas, which Luke...

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Correcting Those You Influence

Then a dispute also arose among them about who should be considered the greatest. But he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who have authority over them have themselves called ‘Benefactors.’ It is not to be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever is greatest among you should become like the youngest, and whoever leads, like the one serving. For who is greater, the one at the table or the one serving? Isn’t it the one at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves. You are those who stood by me in my...

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Sermon Illustration: Welcome to College

Earlier this week, the New York Times posted an article entitled “Welcome to College. Your Parents are in the Tents Next Door.” The article begins with this: Tianjin, China – When Yang Zheyu arrived at Tianjin University this fall for the start of his first year, he had all the essentials. Winter coat. Dictionary. Four pairs of shoes. Toothpaste. And a few hundred yards from his dormitory, in a cobalt-blue tent set up on the floor of a gymnasium, he had his mother at his beck and call, ready to bring him bowls of instant noodles, buy him soap and...

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Disciple-Making is Counter-Everything

What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in the concerns of civilian life; he seeks to please the commanding officer. Also, if anyone competes as an athlete, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer ought to be the first to get a share of the crops.(2 Timothy 2:2-6) Disciple-making is hard because everything around us pushes against us doing this one thing. After Paul instructed...

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Sermon Illustration: Nissan Pathfinder

Recently, my 2001 Honda Accord kicked the bucket. A couple of failed emission tests and a need to purchase a catalytic converter forced me to trade it in. Sad day. One, because I loved that car. Two, because I loved the monthly payments (Read: I didn’t have any). My wife and I traded in the Accord for a Nissan Pathfinder. So far, we love it. Not the monthly payment, mind you. . . the vehicle itself. Since owning the car, I have noticed something. Actually, I have noticed A LOT of somethings. Nissan Pathfinders are everywhere! When I drive down...

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Slow Down

“Even zeal is not good without knowledge, and the one who acts hastily sins.” (Proverbs 19:2) Before you make that accusation, check your facts. Before you make the big decision, know what you are getting into. Before you post, take a deep breath. Before you act on a whim, make sure it is wise. Before you make another assumption, determine the truth. For sure, we can be guilty of “paralysis by analysis.” We sometimes do nothing because we are scared to mess up. But we can also go to the other extreme. Passionately respond without knowing. Acting in haste without...

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Sermon Illustration: How to Murder Your Husband

Nancy Brophy, a sweet looking granny is in jail for murdering her husband. Yep. A granny who looks like someone who could make a mouth watering apple pie and famous turkey and dressing is now behind bars because she didn’t want her husband around anymore. The crazy thing? She is a novelist who, years earlier, wrote a fiction novel about murdering your husband and getting away with it. Later she wrote an essay on how to write a compelling novel about this very topic. Yep. She wrote books and essays on how to murder your husband and get away with...

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Hamburger Helper vs. Filet Mignon

“Better a dry crust with peace, than a house full of feasting with strife.” (Proverbs 17:1) What would you rather have? Peace or a Feast? You can’t NOT afford counseling. Better to take time off from work and get professional help, than to keep at it – trying to force it away with more money. Is counseling expensive? You bet it is. But it’s better to eat Hamburger Helper every meal where there is wholeness, than filet mignon where there is division. Why are you gone from home all the time? To make more? So your family can have lobster...

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