Posted in Fridays are For Illustrations

Sermon Illustration: Stay in Your Lane!

When I think of Arby’s I think of two things: One, I think of delicious and juicy roast beef sandwiches, baptized in their amazing sauce. Two, I think of the guy’s voice in their commercials who says, “Arby’s! We Have . . . THE MEATS!” Arby’s is known for, and good at, piling lots of meat on a sandwich. We need Arby’s to be good at this. This is why I was beyond less than enthused when I learned Arby’s was advertising a line of pizzas and pizza sandwiches. The tag line in the commercial was, “Arby’s! We Have. ....

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Sermon Illustration: Rest

Recently, the Campus Pastors of Brentwood Baptist preached a message aimed to help spiritual leaders refresh their souls and renew their relationship with the Lord. Jay Strother, the Campus and Teaching Pastor at The Church at Station Hill, passed along a unique and convicting version of the 23rd Psalm. It is a fantastic illustration to use in order to help our people realize just how busy we are and just how needy we are to stop and enjoy God’s presence. Psalm 23 Antithesis (Marcia Hornok) The clock is my dictator, I shall not rest. It makes me lie down only...

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Sermon Illustration: The Real Article

When officials are trained to detect counterfeit money, they do not study fake bills. Cops and detectives and store owners are not encouraged, nor taught, nor instructed with examples of fake money. The way, I am told, officials are trained and equipped to detect counterfeit money is to study the real thing. If they know what the real article looks like, feels like, and smells like – they can detect a fake from a mile away. If they have studied a real article, knowing all the marks, all the elements, all the components, all the colors – when a fake...

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Sermon Illustration: The Wedding Prayer

Every time I have an opportunity to officiate a wedding, I do my best to include a prayer I found many years ago from Al Jackson (full disclosure: this is only one of many things I have “borrowed” from him!). And, every time I pray this prayer over the married couple, I am asked – without fail – where they can get a copy of the prayer. Preacher, the next time you have the chance to lead out in a wedding ceremony, I highly recommend praying this over the couple at some point in the service. Not only will it...

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Sermon Illustration: God’s Love

This is one of my all-time favorite illustrations and probably my all-time favorite personal story. Though it is personal to me, I hope it allows memories from your own life that tell a similar story – a story that points you (and others!) to the great love of God. In other words, though you are free to steal this illustration (ha), I hope it will cause a similar story from your own life to bubble up and use in future sermons.   When I was a junior in High School I dated a cheerleader from a nearby town. Her nickname...

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Sermon Illustration: The Magic Coat

This is one of my all-time favorite illustrations. It is a tremendous visual to use to explain how the Spirit of God works inside the believer. I originally heard Al Jackson use it in a sermon on Ephesians 5. I have “borrowed” it numerous times. The good news is that it is a great illustration. The bad news is that – if you are a pastor – you can only use it once for your congregation! If you don’t normally wear a sport coat when you preach, you might want to wear one the day you use this or bring...

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Sermon Illustration: It Happens So Fast

It’s happens so fast. It happens when aren’t expecting it. It happens and you don’t even mean for it to. Last Sunday morning, not only was the AC not working in the sanctuary, but we couldn’t figure out how to turn off the heat. It was really, really hot. The first service was held in the sanctuary, complete with bulletins serving multi-purposefully as fans and information. The second service was held in the fellowship hall where the AC was graciously and wonderfully working. In both services, due to the projectors being too warm to function, we were “forced” to use...

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Sermon Illustration: Power in the Gospel

Recently, in light of Independence Day, I opened the sermon with an illustration using fireworks. The text I preached from was Romans 1:14-17. You can listen to it here. My aim was to cause my listeners to think whether or not they truly believed there was power in the Gospel of Jesus. I wanted the congregation to contemplate whether or not they believed there was more power in a $5 fire cracker to change things in Franklin than there is in the Gospel of Christ. Using two different volunteers in each of the two services, I gave each volunteer on...

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Sermon Illustration: Belief vs. Faith

I found this illustration in chapter 4 of Martin B. Copenhaver’s  Jesus is the Question. Imagine you are at a circus. A skilled high-wire artist has accomplished so many marvelous feats that the audience has come to believe that he can do almost anything. The ringmaster addresses the crowd: “Ladies and gentlemen, how many of you believe that this daring man can ride safely over the high wire on his bicycle while carrying someone on his shoulders? If you believe he can do it, please raise your hand!” If you were in the audience you might raise your hand along...

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Sermon Illustration: “It’s What You Do”

My approach to opening illustrations is to provide a smooth runway. I want there to be an easy and smooth and gripping take off, so a good opening is critical. If the take off is bad, the rest of the message can include a lot of turbulence. The preacher wants something to grab the attention of the congregation, leading them to want more. Recently, in order to help the congregation see the gravity of Luke’s nonchalant statement about all of Asia Minor hearing the message of the Lord (from Acts 19), I started the message with the following reference to...

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