Posted in Fridays are For Illustrations

Sermon Illustration: How Do You Receive Jesus? (Repost)

Tim Keller has written an outstanding book titled Hidden Christmas. In chapter 1, he gives a couple of thoughts/examples as to how one receives certain gifts. I have pasted a portion of it below. It is a great illustration to use at Christmas and one the preacher can tweak to his own situation and circumstances. Enjoy! . . .When we trust in Christ’s work on our behalf, rather than in our own moral efforts, God forgives and accepts us and implants his Holy Spirit in us to renew us from the inside out. This great salvation, this light that flashes...

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Sermon Illustration: Resistance

Okay, so this is more of a “quote” for a sermon than an illustration. Nevertheless, it is great (and convicting!) food for thought. From Fleming Rutledge’s Advent: The Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ: “Your calling is to discern the place of resistance that the Lord has set before you. You will recognize it by the temptation to avoid it. It will be way out of your comfort zone. It will be characterized by pressure, by disturbance, by antagonism, by pain, by humiliation.” (from the chapter “The Call to Resistance”)  

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Sermon Illustration: Waiting and Hastening

From Fleming Rutledge’s Advent: The Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ: Waiting and hastening! How can you wait and hasten at the same time? That, my fellow Americans, is the secret of the Christian life, knowing how to keep those two modes in creative tension, “waiting and hastening the coming day of God. . . [the] new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” This is so typical of Advent, the time of contrasts and opposites: darkness and light, good and evil, past and future, now and not-yet. Finding the right balance between waiting and hastening is the...

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Sermon Illustration: Pumpkin Pie and Missions

Did you know Thanksgiving first started with missionaries to America? I know, right? Here is how Stephen Mansfield tells it: It must have been the most horrifying experience of their lives. Though there were slightly more than a hundred people aboard The Mayflower, only 54 were from the band of Separatists who had lived in Holland the previous twelve years to escape persecution in England. They were farmers and sheepherders for the most part, though some may have been craftsmen of one kind or another. Yet never had they been on the high seas. So it must have seemed as...

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Sermon Illustration: Healing Your Church Hurt

Tremendous quote from Stephen Mansfield’s Healing Your Church Hurt: What to do When You Still Love God But Have Been Wounded By His People: “In time, I became aware that what is important is not so much the cause of the offense, but rather the common characteristics of the offended soul itself. No matter the size or importance of the event that had led to the offense, I encountered a poisoned soul. In each case, a soul was distanced from God. In each case, a leaking toxic bitterness was tainting everything that soul touched. In each case, morality, vision, and...

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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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