Sermon Illustration: Volunteer or Called?

Depending on who you read, Tennessee became known as the Volunteer State for one of two reasons. (Or, I guess both could be true?) Some say the title “Volunteers” came as a result of the War of 1812 when so many men from Tennessee volunteered to fight in order to interfere with England’s plan to destroy America – particularly at the Battle of New Orleans.  Others say it was a result of a war with Mexico that occurred almost a half century later. According to historians, President Polk was forced to call for states to raise up 2,600 men to...

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Allow Yourself to “Go There”

1 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God concerning them is for their salvation. 2 I can testify about them that they have zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 Since they are ignorant of the righteousness of God and attempted to establish their own righteousness, they have not submitted to God’s righteousness. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes, 5 since Moses writes about the righteousness that is from the law: The one who does these things will live by them. 6 But the righteousness that comes from faith speaks like this: Do not say in your heart, “Who will go up to...

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Sermon Illustration: Words Matter

A great illustration when discussing the power of affirmation, I found this from chapter 7 in Chip and Dan Heath’s The Power of Moments: Kira Sloop remembers it as the worst year of her life. It was 1983 and she was entering the sixth grade. “Imagine, if you will, an awkward 11-year-old with a terrible set of teeth, out-of-control curls, and very low self-esteem,” she said. Her parents had divorced during the summer prior to the start of school.  The one class she looked forward to was chorus. Sloop had a powerful voice and a “flair for the dramatic,” she...

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“Stay With Us”

25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Wasn’t it necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted for them the things concerning himself in all the Scriptures. 28 They came near the village where they were going, and he gave the impression that he was going farther. 29 But they urged him, “Stay with us, because it’s almost evening, and now the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. Luke 24:25-29 Do you find it odd that two men...

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Sermon Illustration: Tempted Not to Tithe

I am a 41 year old pastor and still get tempted not to tithe. I have been giving to the local church since I was a young boy. In fact, I don’t remember NOT tithing. It is a habit my parents instilled in me early. I can remember turning in an envelope to my Sunday School teacher during my elementary school days. But I still get tempted – to this day – not to tithe. Never have I been more tempted, however, than in seminary. Katie and I were poor. . . dirt poor. Like “hold your breath when you...

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The Local Church will Never Fail

Below is an article I recently wrote for JourneyOn Today for Brentwood Baptist Church. 32 Now the entire group of those who believed were of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but instead they held everything in common. 33 With great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on all of them. 34 For there was not a needy person among them because all those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the proceeds of what was sold, 35...

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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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Correcting Those You Influence

Then a dispute also arose among them about who should be considered the greatest. But he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who have authority over them have themselves called ‘Benefactors.’ It is not to be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever is greatest among you should become like the youngest, and whoever leads, like the one serving. For who is greater, the one at the table or the one serving? Isn’t it the one at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves. You are those who stood by me in my...

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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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Disciple-Making is Counter-Everything

What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in the concerns of civilian life; he seeks to please the commanding officer. Also, if anyone competes as an athlete, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer ought to be the first to get a share of the crops.(2 Timothy 2:2-6) Disciple-making is hard because everything around us pushes against us doing this one thing. After Paul instructed...

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