Illustrations are to sermons what milk is to a bowl of Raisin Bran: refreshing!
Yesterday, we talked about some good places to find sermon illustrations as well as some not so good places.
Today I want to share my favorite, and in my opinion, most effective: my own life!
When I was 16 and just starting out teaching at my youth group, I began to realize that a sermon without illustrations can be like eating a cracker without a drink – somewhat enjoyable but very dry! I prayed a prayer that I believe God is still answering today. It went something like this: “God, help me to see the Gospel and the truth of Your Word through my every day life so that I can relate it to people in a more meaningful way.” It was a simple prayer that revolutionized my teaching. In fact, I believe God is still answering that prayer today. Whenever something happens that illustrates something I’ll be teaching soon (or might teach some time), I normally make a quick note of it on my iPhone. I’ve even recorded myself talking about it using my iPhone’s voice memo app. Those are just a couple quick, simple ways to remember what happened and how it could relate to God’s Word. If you’re old school, call and leave yourself a message or write it down in your journal or on a receipt. Or, if you’re super old school, write it on a note card and stick it in your fanny pack with your lip balm. Keep track of them so you don’t forget!
Life is the best way to illustrate Scripture – it’s real, unscripted, and honest. You can be yourself and make your sermon personal with those stories.
Let me let you in on one more secret of how to find some of the all-time best (and funniest) sermon illustrations.
If you want really great sermon illustrations, follow these 3 simple steps (guys):
1) Find a godly woman.
2) Settle down.
3) Have babies.
I’m kidding. Kind of. God has taught me more about Himself through my girls than through anyone else! I’m kidding about the making babies part, but I’m serious when I say learn from everyone – even the kids in your life!
Some life situations that can make great illustrations: work situations, a family issue, driving, people watching, and the list goes on. Almost any situation you’re in can relate back to the Gospel and put a personal touch on whatever you’re trying to say. So keep your eyes and ears open all the time.
If you’re a little skeptical about this teaching-from-your-life method, you must have skipped over the Gospels in your Bible reading, because Jesus did this constantly! He used the wind and waves, some fish, a fishing net, money, grapes, a vine, seeds, birds, flowers, a camel, and many more daily, ordinary things to tie-in deep, spiritual truths. Gospel truth is everywhere – pay attention!
I hope that gives you some direction with where to head with illustrations.
Surely I missed something. Help me out here. Where do you go to find the best illustrations?