Posted in Preaching

What Nickname Would YOU Receive?

Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus by birth, the one the apostles called Barnabas (which is translated Son of Encouragement), sold a field he owned, brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. Acts 4:36-37 A nickname is not something you give yourself. It is something that is earned. You may love it. You may hate it. You may tolerate it. But something you did or said, or something that was done to you or said about you – made sense. It stuck. And “it” became your nickname. A man named Joseph was given the nickname Barnabas, which Luke...

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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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The Most Important Part of a Great Sermon

“But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” Acts 6:4 If it is true that great sermons are in the eyes and ears of those sitting in the pews; and if that implies the preacher is completely dependent on the Spirit to do the work; then THAT means the preacher’s most important task is to pray for his people. When the disciples chose the first deacons in Acts 6, Luke tells us they did so in order to give themselves first to prayer and then the ministry of the word. Recently, I had an opportunity to lead a group of preachers...

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Pack – Unpack – Pack

“The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” (Psalm 119:130) Last week, I wrote about the reality that great sermons are great due to what is going on in the heart, mind, and soul of the person in the pew. Preachers of the Word have an obligation to prepare and set the table for the Spirit to work. However. At the end of the day, we have zero control over the spiritual work that must go on in the life of the hearer. We can prepare a really good sermon. But it is only great...

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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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