Illustrations Add Color and Flavor

Illustrations Add Color and Flavor

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I think it's a sin to preach boring sermons. It's the eleventh commandment. It's somewhere in Leviticus. Everyone hates boring sermons. I'm sure God does too because we know that God's Word is not boring. Growing up I hated Sunday school so much that my brother and I would actually skip class and cause mischief elsewhere in the church. We once tied up a boy to a chair and duct taped his mouth as a joke. Turned out that he couldn't breathe and because he had asthma we almost made him pass out. Mom spanked us (rightfully so) and I remember blaming my boring Sunday school teacher for pushing me to skip class because she was a boring teacher. Her sins weren't her fault but her bad preaching was.Boredom in…
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Biblistrations

Biblistrations

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In another blog I stated that the greatest illustration a preacher can use is The Cross of Christ. Today I want to talk about the second greatest illustration a preacher can use. The strongest illustrations a preacher can use is what I call the Biblistration. Biblistrations are illustrations from The Bible. Biblistrations are some of the most powerful illustrations because God’s Word is imbued with His power. They are His Words and therefore are blessed Words. His Word carries authority and power that our common illustrations don’t inherently contain. They are easier for our people to remember because they come from The Word that they are reading every week. The Bible interprets the Bible. This is the first rule in faithful hermeneutics. Biblistrations Help our people make sense of Biblical…
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Illustrations Illuminate

Illustrations Illuminate

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I'm a horrendous driver. Ask my wife, ask my friends, and ask anyone who has been in my passenger street. I've got a bad habit of being impulsive, erratic, and I am horrible with directions. I think a part of it is my ADD but frankly it has a lot to do with my selfishness. It gets bad in the rain and even worse in the fog. When it's foggy outside I just about lose my mind because I can't see what's ahead. This makes me a hazard to everyone around me. The beauty about Texas is that although it rains here the sun is always shining here as well. This means that soon the sun will breakthrough and the fog will dissipate.Illustrations are like the sun cutting through the…
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Illustrations Don’t Have To Be Long

Illustrations Don’t Have To Be Long

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I'll never forget early on in my preaching I was told that I should use stories in all of my sermons. I built sermon points and used personal stories as a means of delivering sermon points and I found out that they do work well.  Stories are fantastic. They captivate, they inspire, and they help communicate a point. Stories make for some of the best illustrations. So hear me when I say that I am a fan of stories as illustrations. I also want to help expand your repertoire of tools as you prepare to preach. Stories are not the only types of illustrations out there. There are illustrations that you can use that don't take as much time to communicate as a story.Charles Haddon Spurgeon is the Prince of…
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Illustrations Can Be Layered

Illustrations Can Be Layered

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Efficiency is my thing. I love efficiency. I don't know why but I'm obsessed with efficiency. This works itself out primarily with how I allocate time. I listen to podcasts any second I get. If the wife wants me to get Chic Fil A I'm going to listen to the podcast for eleven minutes. If I need to do dishes I'm going to listen to a teaching. If I'm commuting to/from work I'm either praying or learning. If I'm waiting in line I'm not scrolling through Facebook I'm preparing my next sermon or reading a book on leadership. I can't stand time wasted.There is a way to use illustrations in a multi layered way. Illustrations can and do serve multiple purposes and if you use them strategically you have the…
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Illustrations Cut to the Heart

Illustrations Cut to the Heart

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Have you ever been watching a show and been interrupted with a commercial that jars you a bit? It happens to me every time I watch a commercial about a poor and starving child in a third world company. The commercial follows up with a call to action that leads to you donating generously to make a difference. There's something profoundly wrong in the American Psyche. Some would argue that there are a multitude of issues but I just want to take time to point out one. We recoil from being confronted with the reality of poverty. We are unwilling to do something about it despite the fact that we have unparalleled resources to make a difference. These commercials are a vivid reminder of our ability to do something about…
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How Do You Build Sermon Points?

How Do You Build Sermon Points?

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You are an architect. You are Picasso. You are Michelangelo. You are an engineer. You are like God because you are creating. In the beginning God said “Let there be light…” (Genesis 1:3) and out of nothing (Ex Nihilo) He created everything. Your sermon prep is similar in that you are creating a sermon that didn't exist before. But your sermon prep is different in that you are drawing upon the raw material of God’s word to prepare your sermon. In order to build sermon points you must identify your scripture, draw out what the text is communicating, and synthesize the content to build out your points. Identifying your text is the first step in the process of building sermon points. You can't preach points ex nihilo. Your points must…
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How Do You Preach Relevant Sermons?

How Do You Preach Relevant Sermons?

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Everyone shares what they love. It’s hardwired in the heart of humanity. You did it this week. If you enjoyed a show you shared it. If you ate an exceptional meal someone heard about it. If you received a special gift you made it a point to let someone know. Why? Because we like to celebrate when we receive something valuable. Which means when you give a gift to someone and that person never celebrates they are communicating that what you gave wasn’t worth sharing. What I’m about to say is tough to hear but you need to hear it. This means that if we give people our gift of preaching every week and they don’t share the content with someone else they don’t find it worth sharing. It means…
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How Do You Hold Attention When You Preach?

How Do You Hold Attention When You Preach?

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My parents immigrated to the United States on the run from an Ethiopian government that was systematically murdering my family’s people group. They were committing genocide because of a rebel group that was winning a civil war against the government. The TPLF was a rebel force comprised of people that were from Tigray (a region in Ethiopia). As the TPLF began to win the war the Ethiopian dictatorship became even more vicious and began to slaughter civilians, particularly Tigrains. My father was a national meteorologist in the capital city of Ethiopia. He’s from Tigray. Naturally he became a target. His friends were being rounded up, imprisoned, and tortured under the regime. My father was eventually imprisoned for a week. He told me he was never tortured. He fled the country…
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Recapturing Lost Momentum

Recapturing Lost Momentum

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Something’s wrong with me. I enjoy watching clumsy people fall on YouTube. I know it’s messed up but I can’t help it. I’ve been conditioned from childhood (via shows like America’s Funniest Home Videos) to laugh at individuals who find themselves on my screen falling for the world to see. Apparently I’m not the only one. These videos have hundreds of millions of views which means I’m not the person getting a kick out this stuff. I’m no scientist but at the end of the day falling from a technical standpoint is lost momentum. And the only thing worse than losing momentum in front of people that know you is losing momentum while the camera is running. It happens to everyone. Every preacher loses momentum in their sermon. It’s the…
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