Posted in Fridays are For Illustrations

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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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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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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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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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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Sermon Illustration: The Secret of the Universe

Below is an illustration about the Bible from chapter 4 of Jared Wilson’s The Imperfect Disciple. I read it and thought there are several times this (or a similar illustration) could be used. My primary walking-around Bible is an ESV journaling Bible. The binding is coming apart. I have written in nearly every margin. Some pages are crinkled and stained. There is a bloody fingerprint in there somewhere. (It might be chocolate, actually.) If you were passing by my green ’97 Chevy Suburban in a parking lot and happened to see this worn bout book lying on the passenger seat, where...

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Sermon Illustration: Relationship

In a recent sermon on Praying the Scriptures, I wanted to highlight how a benefit of this discipline is deepening our relationship with the Father. He knows how we talk. He knows our language. He knows our heart. However, we aren’t always “well versed” (pun intended) in how He talks and what is on His heart. To go deep with someone in relationship means to relate to them in these areas. Think about it: Those people you know the best, those people you go deep with, those people whom you have a real and intimate relationship with – those are...

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Sermon Illustration: How’s Your Soul?

To kick off a 3-week series called “Being Present with God,” I wanted to begin by bringing up the obvious: we spend a lot of time watching a screen. The point of the first sermon, using Psalm 46, was to turn it all off and remember who our God is. To set the stage, I started by listing 5 or 6 current events from the past week. This established the reality that we are bombarded with messages constantly. Messages that push us to our devices to know more. Following that, I proceeded to spout off facts. Facts about how often...

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Sermon Illustration: Old Spice

In an attempt to grab the congregation’s attention, I flashed on the screens a picture of an Old Spice bottle of cologne. The old school version. The purpose was to compare Old Spice cologne to the Sabbath. I began the message similar to this: When you see a bottle of Old Spice cologne, I assume one of several thoughts come into your mind. For some of you, you see that and think, “Wow. That is old school. That is what my granddad used to wear.” Or, “That was the very first cologne I put on myself when I was a...

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Sermon Illustration: Twins

Without a doubt, the best book I have ever read on the Sabbath is Mark Buchanan’s The Rest of God. In my opinion, it is a MUST READ. He begins chapter 6 in a unique way. It includes a great lesson for preachers. To introduce a sermon, the illustration doesn’t have to capture the essence of the message. Sometimes all you need is unique thought to help you dive into the subject matter. The goal of an introduction is to intrigue your people enough to compel them to keep listening. Watch (read?) and learn how Buchanan leads us into the...

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