Determining HOW to Preach the Text: 4 Ways to “Go With It”

I do my best to start the sermon off with something that will help me gauge the temperature of the audience. I like to get a feel early on whether or not I am dealing with a rowdy bunch or a sleepy bunch; a hungry crowd or a “have to be there” crowd; a happy people or a grumpy people. Though I have my preferences as to which kind of crowd they are, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. When preaching a text of Scripture, I have to go with it. And to preach it most effectively,...

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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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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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Last Minute Christmas Idea/Illustration

If you’re like me, you will take any ideas in order to make the final Christmas/Christmas Eve/Advent message special. Every preacher wants to carefully craft his words on Christmas Eve in order to make the service meaningful and Christ-exalting. Recently, on the 3rd Sunday of Advent, I preached a sermon on Zechariah’s song (the Benedictus) from Luke 1:67-79. Looking back through Luke 1, I challenged the congregation to learn from what the Lord did to Zechariah by being still and listening. Instead of us being so diligent about telling God how to do His job, we would serve our souls...

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Sermon Illustration: How Do You Receive Jesus?

Tim Keller has written an outstanding book titled Hidden Christmas. In chapter 1, he gives a couple of thoughts/examples as to how one receives certain gifts. I have pasted a portion of it below. It is a great illustration to use at Christmas and one the preacher can tweak to his own situation and circumstances. Enjoy! . . .When we trust in Christ’s work on our behalf, rather than in our own moral efforts, God forgives and accepts us and implants his Holy Spirit in us to renew us from the inside out. This great salvation, this light that flashes...

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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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