Posted in Fridays are For Illustrations

Sermon Illustration: Using the Bible to Illustrate the Bible

Often the preacher doesn’t have to go very far to find an illustration for his sermon. In fact, he may not even have to leave his seat. Many times, the illustration he needs is right under his nose, in the same book he is studying. At the end of John’s Gospel (John 21:20-23), Peter seeks to compare himself to John. He wants to know what life will look like for the “beloved disciple” (John). In other words, he wants to compare what Jesus said about Peter (John 21: 18-19) to what is going to happen to John. Jesus, of course, doesn’t...

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Sermon Illustration: When a Quote Saves the Day

To begin a sermon from John 21:18-19, I confessed my struggle with the text the previous week…   There are some weeks when I am preparing a sermon where the thought for the sermon and direction I feel the text is going comes easily. Like a hot knife through butter. There are other weeks when I wrestle and toss and turn and think and process and read and read and read and nothing seems to come. Like a hot knife through stone. This has been one of those weeks. A hot knife through stone weeks. It’s one thing to know the essence of...

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Sermon Illustration: The Most Important Question

To begin a sermon on the conversation between Peter and Jesus in John 21, I started off describing an earlier conversation between these two from Matthew 16… Matthew records for us in the 16th chapter of his book a critical question Jesus poses to His disciples. First, He asks them, “Who are people saying that I am?” They give Jesus some answers. Some were saying Jesus was like Elijah and Isaiah. Some were even saying Jesus was John the Baptist returned from the dead. Then He asks them this question: “Who do YOU say that I am?” I imagine Him looking...

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Sermon Illustration: Facebook and the Awkward Leak

In a recent sermon from John 21, I wanted to set up a situation to get my hearers thinking about being “caught” in an awkward situation. Being that Facebook has been in the news a lot, I decided picked on this social media giant. Here was my approach… For once in my life, I am glad I’m not Mark Zuckerberg. The head honcho at Facebook is going to have to answer some serious questions before congress about leaked information. Not only was it determined that millions of Facebook users’ private information leaked in 2014; we now know that Facebook leaders knew about it and decided to stay...

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Sermon Illustration: Annual Physical & Easter Sunday

I would love to hear how some of you preachers started out your Easter sermon this year. To set up a sermon on Peace from John 20, here’s the route I chose… I was blessed this week to have an annual physical with my physician in Nashville. It was so much fun. Apart from having tremendous eyesight and perfect bloodwork, for which I am grateful, there are a couple of things he brought to my attention. First, I have put on some pounds since last year. When I got on the scales, I thought they were playing an early April Fool’s joke...

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Sermon Illustration: Preacher, Please Don’t Do This

Preacher, this Sunday is April 1st. This Sunday is also Easter Sunday. That’s right – Easter Sunday is on April Fool’s Day. For those of you who know me, you know I am ALL about using anything to get people’s attention. Even at the risk of being cheesy. Sometimes way too cheesy. So maybe this is a warning to myself as much as it is to any preacher who reads this. If you are anything like me, you will be tempted to start the sermon with a quip about how Jesus’ bones have been found; or that it was determined recently...

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Sermon Illustration: What Would YOU Do?

In an effort to explain God’s harsh treatment of the Egyptians in Exodus 7-10, I asked several questions.  On the surface, it seems like the Father is being remarkably ruthless. Sure, the Egyptians deserved it. Yes, Pharoah continued to harden his heart time and time again. But why did God proceed to pummel the Egyptians over and over and over again? Reading these chapters in Exodus is like watching a fight where the stronger one refuses to relent or let up. Using the following questions as illustrations, here was my best shot to explain: Have you ever walked by a bird’s...

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Sermon Illustration: Talking to Yourself

Recently, I began a sermon by pointing out that our salvation is not based on our feelings. God’s love for His children is not determined by how we are feeling at the moment. Hallelujah. However, what we say to ourselves about ourselves is critical to our well-being. So, to set up a sermon challenging the congregation to not be like the Hebrews and Moses in Exodus 6 (see verse 9), I gave two very captivating quotes. First, from Paul Tripp: No one is more influential in your life than you are, because no one talks to you as much as you talk...

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Fridays are for Illustrations: Gary Said It Would Be Like This

I used this illustration in a recent sermon on how believers can expect situations and circumstances to not go as planned…especially when obeying the Lord. I grew up in North Alabama. One of the 3 channels we got on our family television was WAAY 31. The weatherman (chief meteorologist) at the time was Gary Dobbs. Everyone loved Gary. Especially our family. Whoever ran the Public Relations for WAAY 31 and Gary Dobbs was an absolute genius. Scattered throughout North Alabama were billboards. Blue background. White letters. The only thing written on the billboards was this: “Gary said it was going...

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Fridays Are For Illustrations: Two Thoughts to Set Up a Sermon

Recently, when preaching from Exodus 4:1-17, I wanted to grab the congregation’s attention AND put them in Moses’ shoes before we walked through the text together First, to get their attention, I said how bizarre it is that we want to watch someone fail. During the Olympics, we watch a replay of a crash over and over and over again. We want to look away. Our faces grimace at the sight. But we keep watching (BTW – I wanted to mention the Olympics because it was on people’s mind. It had been on TV the previous 2 weeks). When we...

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