Posted in Fridays are For Illustrations

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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Sermon Illustration: What if You Stopped Believing in God?

I recently read this article from Relevant magazine about the Christian music group Gungor. A comment Lisa Gungor made about her husband, Michael, stopped me in my tracks. In the article, Lisa talks about how her husband stopped believing in God. She proceeded to share how surprised he was about how his life didn’t change after he made his “atheist” declaration. Here’s the quote: “He didn’t become a different person,” Lisa recalls. “I think there was this idea in my head that once you don’t believe in God, now he’s gonna cheat on me and murder people. What [is he]...

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Sermon Illustration: Poking and Prodding at Human Longings

In preparation for this week’s message on Jesus feeding the 5,000 from John 6 (sign #4), I came across some incredible quotes from a chapter in Winn Collier’s Holy Curiosity: Encountering Jesus’ Provocative Questions. See if you don’t agree: Jesus steadily asserted that our most profound hunger and thirst, the cravings that exert a compulsive influence over the person we become and the life we pursue and the dreams we clutch, can only be satisfied by eating and drinking him. During his ministry, Jesus poked and prodded at base human longings, suggesting that, properly recognized, they all point to God. We are hungry for...

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Sermon Illustration: Getting My Oil Changed

Confession: I HATE getting my oil changed. In fact, hatred isn’t a strong enough word for it. Not only is it a hassle every 3-4 months, but it is one of those things that I am forced to trust a group of greasy guys whom I have never met. I have a hard time believing they have my best interest at heart. I know nothing about cars. I can put gas in the tank when the gauge reads “E.” I can check the oil. I can put air in the tires. I can change a tire if I have to. But that’s...

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Sermon Illustration: Recommitted?

Studying for this week’s sermon on the Second Sign of Jesus from John 4:43-54, I came across the following story from this commentary. During my first semester in seminary a professor told me a remarkable story from his early years as a pastor. A young woman had become critically ill and her prognosis was grim; she would likely die within the year. Her family had a nominal “Easter and Christmas Eve” commitment to the church, so the discussions in the hospital between this young pastor and this family always plowed new ground. The woman challenged him: If Jesus healed in...

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Sermon Illustration: A Father’s Day Gift I Had Nothing to do With

To illustrate the point that we cannot love like Jesus on our own, I began a Father’s Day message with this story. . .   I love to receive gifts. I love to give gifts. But I am awful at being creative and thoughtful in gift-giving. As a matter of fact, I don’t have a creative bone in my body. Gift-giving is something I enjoy doing. I just don’t put a lot of time and energy and thought into it. I am known as the son who is happy to get a card in the mail that gets to my dad...

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