Putting It All Together: What’s the Purpose?

You’ve determined the broad and specific meaning of the text. You’ve thought through how it needs to be communicated. (also here and here and here  here). You’ve ensured it is a Christian sermon. You’ve got all of these parts and pieces and thoughts and ideas floating around. How do you put together a sermon in a concise, simple, easy-to-follow, compelling way? You are taking people on a journey. You better know where you are going so you can know when you have arrived. Start by asking yourself, “What’s the purpose?” In other words, considering all you have arranged and put together, you...

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Sermon Illustration: Rachael Denhollander

To kick off an 8-week series on the first 12 chapters of Exodus, I did my best to show though the Lord brought His people to Egypt (end of Genesis); and, after years in Egypt, His people were slaves and forced to drown their male children (Exodus 1); God was working out His sovereign, good, and loving plan (Exodus 2:1-10). You can find it here. The point was that even though we often find ourselves in situations we never would have planned, we must bank our hope in the reality that God is good and God is love. To close...

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Preacher, Make Sure it is a Christian Sermon

Before it is all said and done. Before you close the Bible on Sunday. Before your last point has ended. Before you call for a response. Before the musicians come back on stage. Before you have finished preparing. Before you send the slides to tech guys. Before you drive to the campus on Sunday morning. Before you walk up the steps to the stage – please make sure your sermon is a Christian sermon. Ask yourself this difficult question: “If a Jew were sitting in the pews would he/she agree with everything I have said today?” You see, the Bible...

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Sermon Illustration: My Meeting with “George”

I recently closed a sermon on Acts 13:1-4 with the following story. Actually, it was the close of a 4-week Vision Series. The story is personal in nature, but I am guessing any preacher can identify, have their own similar stories, and can tweak it to make it their own for similar purposes.   Last week I received a phone call from a man I had never heard of. He wanted to come by my office to meet me. To protect his privacy, let’s call him George. George heard I was living in Franklin, Tennessee – the same city he...

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Determining HOW to Preach the Text: Know Your People

There are tons of resources available to help you determine the meaning of a text. There are a choice few – maybe only you – who know your congregation. Therefore, you MUST work hard at – not just knowing the meaning of the text – but knowing how your people will hear and apply what you say. A preacher who just exegetes a text misses the point. The preacher must do the extra difficult work of exegeting his congregation. How? Spend time with them. Be their pastor. Be their shepherd. Be with them. Listen to them. Pay attention to what...

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Sermon Illustration: Can ANYONE Partake of the Lord’s Supper?

The last time we observed the Lord’s Supper at The Church at West Franklin we did so in the middle of the song service, rather than the end of the sermon. Usually (9 times out of 10), I will preach TO the Lord’s Supper. This time, however, I preached OUT OF the Lord’s Supper. I did so due to the point of the passage I was preaching that day (Acts 11:25-26). I wanted to emphasize that the Antioch Christians gathered and studied the Word, not for more information, but for transformation. So, I opened the message (having come out of...

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Determining HOW to Preach the Text: Preach So They Can Teach

Though I mentioned this in a recent post, I want to expand this idea. Much of my preaching ministry has not even given this a second thought. My aim has been to communicate biblical truths to people in the room, hope for a response, hope that some jotted down notes to refer to later, and move on to next week’s sermon. And, to be very honest, I still struggle with implementing this. However, Jesus said we are to be about making disciples (Matthew 28:19); and Paul said pastors were to equip the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12)....

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Sermon Illustration: Great Quote

Okay, so this may not be a good sermon illustration. However, I have a pretty good feeling you (preacher) can use this somewhere. In a sermon. In an article you write. In a talk you give. In a counseling session in your office. For the good of your own soul. This is one of the best paragraphs I have read in a while. Winn Collier wrote this in chapter 6 of his book Holy Curiosity: Encountering Jesus’ Provocative Questions. Enjoy. Jesus did not come to help us maneuver around our brokenness; Jesus came to enter our brokenness with us. The...

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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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