Just Get on Base

Without doubt, one of the most freeing pieces of advice on preaching I have ever received was to simply “get on base.” Jim Shaddix, one of my preaching professors at NOBTS, wisely told us preacher boys that when you try to hit a home run every Sunday, you will usually strike out. But when you just try to get on base, you will eventually score some runs. That, preacher friend, will free you up. Jim Shaddix is right. The harder you swing for the seats, the more you will swing and miss. But focusing on getting your people to first...

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Sermon Illustration: How’s Your Soul?

To kick off a 3-week series called “Being Present with God,” I wanted to begin by bringing up the obvious: we spend a lot of time watching a screen. The point of the first sermon, using Psalm 46, was to turn it all off and remember who our God is. To set the stage, I started by listing 5 or 6 current events from the past week. This established the reality that we are bombarded with messages constantly. Messages that push us to our devices to know more. Following that, I proceeded to spout off facts. Facts about how often...

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Great Sermon Series Idea

At the end chapter 12 of Jesus is the Question: The 307 Questions Jesus Asked and the 3 He Answered, Martin Copenhaver summarizes his book with 3 foundational questions. As a matter of fact, I believe how he words it, the questions could serve as a tremendous 3-part sermon series. See if you don’t agree. Consider: There are three questions that Jesus repeats in the Gospels. Those three questions, read together, capture so much about what it means to encounter Jesus:  Jesus asks, “What are you looking for?” He asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” And...

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Sermon Illustration: Old Spice

In an attempt to grab the congregation’s attention, I flashed on the screens a picture of an Old Spice bottle of cologne. The old school version. The purpose was to compare Old Spice cologne to the Sabbath. I began the message similar to this: When you see a bottle of Old Spice cologne, I assume one of several thoughts come into your mind. For some of you, you see that and think, “Wow. That is old school. That is what my granddad used to wear.” Or, “That was the very first cologne I put on myself when I was a...

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Helping Those Who Think They Know God

I’ve written elsewhere my conviction and calling to preach to “churched” people. I want to help those who think they know God see and experience and taste the God of the Bible. In other words, there are so many who really believe they know the God of the Bible but don’t yet. They’ve read and studied their Bible’s. But they have yet to truly encounter the loving God behind it all. I am called to help change that – even if only for a few. Jesus did this. He wasn’t satisfied with the “church” people’s understanding of God. He wanted...

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Sermon Illustration: Twins

Without a doubt, the best book I have ever read on the Sabbath is Mark Buchanan’s The Rest of God. In my opinion, it is a MUST READ. He begins chapter 6 in a unique way. It includes a great lesson for preachers. To introduce a sermon, the illustration doesn’t have to capture the essence of the message. Sometimes all you need is unique thought to help you dive into the subject matter. The goal of an introduction is to intrigue your people enough to compel them to keep listening. Watch (read?) and learn how Buchanan leads us into the...

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What A Dolphin Cruise Taught Me About Preaching

My oldest child loves dolphins. Let me rephrase that. My oldest child is amazed, enthralled, and obsessed with dolphins. This summer, while on family vacation, I shelled out just south of $100 so the family could see dolphins up close on a “guaranteed to see ’em” dolphin cruise. The Pearson Five woke up early, got ready, ate breakfast, greased up spots showing skin, and drove the half hour to the designated departure area. Excitement was high. Anticipation was brewing. Thoughts and discussion of seeing dolphins jump and swim and show their fins and blow water out of the holes on...

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Sermon Illustration: What’s Your Approach?

Recently I preached a message on approach to spiritual influence. We looked at Paul’s approach to influencing the Ephesians to become more Christ-like. I began the sermon with the following illustration (ahem. . . joke). Enjoy. . . When you want to influence someone spiritually, what is your approach? Recently I heard about a preacher who held a baptism service for anyone wanting to find Jesus. He and a group from town gathered at the creek behind the church building and baptized anyone looking for Jesus. To everyone’s amazement, the town drunk made his way down to the creek where...

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What Is a Sermon?

In chapter 7 of Eugene Peterson’s As KingFishers Catch Fire, he reveals how the book of Deuteronomy formed his preaching. He said: I was in the early years of being a pastor when I learned this story of the discovery of Deuteronomy and the revolutionary reform led by Josiah and Jeremiah. I suddenly knew why preaching is important. It develops an imagination adequate to embrace revolution. (Bold mine) He then goes on to describes what a sermon is: This sermon (the book of Deuteronomy) does what all sermons are intended to do: takes God’s words, written and spoken in the past;...

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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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