Posted in Fridays are For Illustrations

Sermon Illustration: “Here Comes the Bride” & Fasting

Recently, while officiating a wedding, I learned one of the key reasons for fasting. The bride and groom are the kind of cute that almost makes you want to vomit a little. They are both “pretty people” (if you know what I mean) and are totally in love with each other. Their giddiness to get married was unmatched. As many couples do, this particular couple chose not to see or speak to one another until the bride walked down the aisle. I love getting to stand where I normally do at weddings. I get to see the bride and her...

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Sermon Illustration: Volunteer or Called?

Depending on who you read, Tennessee became known as the Volunteer State for one of two reasons. (Or, I guess both could be true?) Some say the title “Volunteers” came as a result of the War of 1812 when so many men from Tennessee volunteered to fight in order to interfere with England’s plan to destroy America – particularly at the Battle of New Orleans.  Others say it was a result of a war with Mexico that occurred almost a half century later. According to historians, President Polk was forced to call for states to raise up 2,600 men to...

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Sermon Illustration: Words Matter

A great illustration when discussing the power of affirmation, I found this from chapter 7 in Chip and Dan Heath’s The Power of Moments: Kira Sloop remembers it as the worst year of her life. It was 1983 and she was entering the sixth grade. “Imagine, if you will, an awkward 11-year-old with a terrible set of teeth, out-of-control curls, and very low self-esteem,” she said. Her parents had divorced during the summer prior to the start of school.  The one class she looked forward to was chorus. Sloop had a powerful voice and a “flair for the dramatic,” she...

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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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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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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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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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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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Sermon Illustration: Making Disciples (Football Edition)

If you’re a dad of young children (particularly boys), you are making disciples. Trust me. Making a disciple happens, period. Dads (and moms, but for the sake of this illustration bear with me) make disciples all the time. Next Saturday, notice what shirt or hat your son is wearing. Or, notice the questions he asks you. He’s probably wearing something that represents “your team.” He’s probably asking what time the game starts, or if the team is going to be any good this year, or who “we’re” playing. He probably already knows that your day is scheduled around watching the...

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Sermon Illustration: All Inclusive

Recently, my wife and I had an incredible opportunity to get away for a week at an all-inclusive resort in Cancun, Mexico. We had never been able to do this before, so we were excited, but cautious. People told us how wonderful it was, but in the back our minds said to ourselves, “that sounds too good to be true.” Well let me tell you – everything we heard was TRUE. All-inclusive means – ALL INCLUSIVE! All access – all the time – to the beach. All access – all the time – to the pool. All access – all...

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