Posted in Fridays are For Illustrations

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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Fridays are For Illustrations: Helicopter Parents

Often I will refer to articles I recently read to help emphasize or illustrate a point I want to make. Sometimes I will quote from the article itself. Other times I will refer to it and summarize the guts of it in a sentence. Recently, when attempting to encourage parents to allow their children learn mistakes on their own, I referred to a newspaper/web article. Entitled “How Helicopter Parents are Ruining College Students,” the article was from The Washington Post. In the sermon, I merely referred to the article and made a comment about its contents. However, had I quoted it,...

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Sermon Illustration: Chattahoochee

To open a sermon about Moses’ time in Midian (Exodus 2:11-25), I quoted the great theologian Alan Jackson. His song “Chattahoochee” was one of my favorites back in the day. The song is a reflection of Jackson’s time growing up on the Chattahoochee River. Looking back on his time there, he came to realize it was a season in his life where he learned about life. It was a time he went from being a boy to being a man. “Yeah way down yonder on the Chattahoochee Never knew how much that muddy water meant to me But I learned...

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Sermon Illustration: Rachael Denhollander

To kick off an 8-week series on the first 12 chapters of Exodus, I did my best to show though the Lord brought His people to Egypt (end of Genesis); and, after years in Egypt, His people were slaves and forced to drown their male children (Exodus 1); God was working out His sovereign, good, and loving plan (Exodus 2:1-10). You can find it here. The point was that even though we often find ourselves in situations we never would have planned, we must bank our hope in the reality that God is good and God is love. To close...

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Sermon Illustration: My Meeting with “George”

I recently closed a sermon on Acts 13:1-4 with the following story. Actually, it was the close of a 4-week Vision Series. The story is personal in nature, but I am guessing any preacher can identify, have their own similar stories, and can tweak it to make it their own for similar purposes.   Last week I received a phone call from a man I had never heard of. He wanted to come by my office to meet me. To protect his privacy, let’s call him George. George heard I was living in Franklin, Tennessee – the same city he...

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Sermon Illustration: Can ANYONE Partake of the Lord’s Supper?

The last time we observed the Lord’s Supper at The Church at West Franklin we did so in the middle of the song service, rather than the end of the sermon. Usually (9 times out of 10), I will preach TO the Lord’s Supper. This time, however, I preached OUT OF the Lord’s Supper. I did so due to the point of the passage I was preaching that day (Acts 11:25-26). I wanted to emphasize that the Antioch Christians gathered and studied the Word, not for more information, but for transformation. So, I opened the message (having come out of...

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Sermon Illustration: Great Quote

Okay, so this may not be a good sermon illustration. However, I have a pretty good feeling you (preacher) can use this somewhere. In a sermon. In an article you write. In a talk you give. In a counseling session in your office. For the good of your own soul. This is one of the best paragraphs I have read in a while. Winn Collier wrote this in chapter 6 of his book Holy Curiosity: Encountering Jesus’ Provocative Questions. Enjoy. Jesus did not come to help us maneuver around our brokenness; Jesus came to enter our brokenness with us. The...

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Sermon Illustration: The Wrong Question

Below is an illustration I used recently to conclude a Vision sermon for our campus. It is a personal story, but one that can be easily applied with any preacher (especially if you and your wife are due a brunch together!).   On Sunday, December 31st, 2017 my wife and I didn’t attend a church service. Our children were with grandparents. We stayed home and went to brunch later in the morning. The brunch was fantastic. This never happens. I don’t remember ever being at home on a Sunday morning. I usually leave between 6:30 – 7:00 AM and get...

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Sermon Illustration: J. M. Barrie and Young Peter

I am currently reading Winn Collier’s Holy Curiosity. Chapter 3, entitled “Why are You Afraid? The Grace of Letting Go,” is Collier’s meditation on the question Jesus asks His disciples when they assumed they were drowning in the storm. In the middle of the chapter, he gave an illustration I thought would be helpful for when I preach on this story. He writes: After Jesus woke to the barbarous conditions and his unnerved disciples, he stepped to the ship’s edge and spoke words to the wind. He simply told the wind to stop. And it did. The disciples didn’t know...

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