Determining HOW to Preach the Text: Intrigue (4 Suggestions)

I often joke that the 11th Commandment is “Thou Shall Not Bore.” It ought to be a rule of life, in other words, to NEVER – EVER be boring. Life is way too short to be a drag. Unfortunately, far too many people assume that far too many preachers are boring. Let’s change that. But let’s also be real. It can be hard. Especially if you preach to a majority of people who have spent much of their lives in a church. Explaining the Bible to people who have been taught the Bible most of their lives in a compelling...

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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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Preacher, Use Your Imagination

The chapter heading in my Bible tells me Psalm 18 was written after God delivered David from his enemy, Saul (2 Samuel 21). It was a dramatic deliverance, to be sure. It had been a long time coming. A jealous rage came over Saul due to the whole Goliath ordeal and never stopped (you have to go all the way back to 1 Samuel 17). David, as anyone would be, was grateful and full of praise to the Father for it all to finally be over. If you read Psalm 18, however (along with its very similar counterpart in 2...

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2017 Book Recommendations (for Preachers)

If you are a preacher, I hope you are a reader. If you don’t like to read, pray for a desire. The Lord will grant it. I am always looking for books to challenge/enhance my preaching. This year, I came across several that helped my thinking and challenged the way I process, prepare, and deliver sermons. As Kingfishers Catch Fire: A Conversation on the Ways of God Formed by the Words of God by Eugene Peterson This book of sermons is Peterson at his finest. You will find yourself, not only enriched in your soul, but challenged to think through...

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Plan Your Preaching for Protection

Having a preaching plan is essential for the well-being of both the preacher AND the congregation. Mike Glenn has helped me understand a plan will protect the preacher from the following errors: A Preaching Plan Will Protect You From. . .  1. From last second, rush and stressed out preparation.  When you know what are preaching on well in advance, you won’t have to worry about the “Saturday Night Specials” anymore. So much of preaching is figuring out the text and topic of the sermon. When that is decided on in advance, so much of the pre-sermon stress is already...

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One More (Maybe) Christmas Sermon Idea

Jon Bloom is one of my favorite authors. I love the way the Lord gifted him to write and how he shares that gift with us. If you are looking for a Christmas sermon idea, let me encourage you to get his book Not By Sight, turn to chapter 12, and read the chapter “(Un)Planned Detours: Joseph the Carpenter and Guidance.” After creatively walking the reader through the story from Joseph’s perspective, Bloom concludes: One thing Joseph learned very quickly after God had drafted him to be the earthly father of Jesus was that his own plans were not a...

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Sermon Illustration: Whadgya Git?

Recently, I begin a sermon on Isaiah 9:6 this way:   I am guessing that the most frequently asked question over the next 3 weeks is a brief, 4 word question. It’s a 2 word question if you grew up in North Alabama like I did because we just combine syllables. It’s easier that way. Kids will ask it of their friends and siblings and cousins. Parents will ask it of their children. Aunts and uncles and grandparents will come over and ask it. You’ll have it asked of you and you will ask it of others. No, it’s not...

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Another Christmas Sermon Idea

Jon Bloom is one of my favorite authors. I love the way the Lord gifted him to write and how he shares that gift with us. If you are looking for a Christmas sermon idea, let me encourage you to get his book Not By Sight, turn to chapter 11, and read the chapter “Stables of Desperation are the Birthplaces of God’s Grace.” Here’s how Bloom starts the chapter: “The first Christmas night was a holy night. But it was not a silent night. All was not calm. After walking a hundred miles, Joseph arrived in an overcrowded Bethlehem, with...

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Sermon Illustration: Rise and Shine

To introduce the 2017 Advent Season, I preached out of Isaiah 60:1-3. The first words from the first verse state, “Arise, shine!” The purpose of the sermon was to encourage my congregation not to fall into the trap of being deflated by these commands. The intent was/is NOT for us to think we have to “get up and get to work” to show the world what great Christians we are. The point is to free us, by pointing us to the reality that we don’t shine OUR light. We shine the light that has come upon us. The Light (Jesus)...

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Christmas Sermon Idea

Jon Bloom is one of my favorite authors. I love the way the Lord gifted him to write and how he shares that gift with us. If you are looking for a Christmas sermon idea, let me encourage you to get his book Not By Sight, turn to chapter 10, and read the chapter “Facing a Painful Decision.” Here’s how Bloom starts the chapter: “Have you ever wondered why God sent the angel to inform Mary that she would conceive the Messiah by the Holy Spirit, yet forced Joseph to agonize over what to do about Mary’s pregnancy before sending...

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