Serve it up fresh

2

06/12/2017 by Chris Green

I used to keep a large ring binder, with a card index system, of quotes, stories and illustrations.  I’d picked the system up from a senior pastor at some point, and it worked. Then one day, I just binned it. It was cumbersome and time consuming, but that wasn’t why I threw it away.  I could do the same thing today with Evernote if I chose. But I don’t.

No, I chucked it because it was stale, and it didn’t need to be.  Every item in that file was gathering dust and whiskers by the day, but the bible I was reading kept being proved true by the way people behaved on that day’s news.

The key principle is this: if the bible is true, then it will be ringingly true today.  That’s because creation and salvation both find their origin in the same, consistent God, even though creation is subject to the fall and salvation isn’t.  Everyone finds themselves at home in the ‘creation’ category, Christians find themselves at home in both, choosing salvation when forced to decide.  But Salvation and Creation are not enemy categories. They rhyme, if you like.

Salvation and Creation are not enemy categories. They rhyme.

So you’ll be able to illustrate the truths of a biblical issue, if you need to, from what’s going on today.

So here’s my challenge.

I do believe in illustrating from outside the bible (I know that gets me into trouble with some of my readers) and it’s not because I don’t sign up for a particular doctrine or other.  No, it’s because I’m looking for echoes of plausibility – those elusive ‘rhymes’ – and they are the most plausible when they are fresh.

So this week, as you prep your sermon, chuck out every illustration and quotation that you could have used last week.

Serve it up hot, and with the smell of fresh coffee.

coffee-2608864_1920

2 thoughts on “Serve it up fresh

  1. Ian Crossley says:

    Chris, I agree. Over the years I’ve seen books of illustrations (the missing subtitle might be ‘for the unimaginative preacher’) but with a few exceptions found them stale. There is so much happening in the world around us that we can use.

    I remember your advice from many years ago along the lines of ‘never read a book without pencil and notebook handy’. Perhaps we could expand it to ‘Never go through life without…’ Although nowadays I tend to use an app on my phone if I see something that inspires an illustration for something I’m going to be speaking about.

    The current illustration concept is one advocated in Bruce Mawhinney’s book Preaching with Freshness, http://amzn.to/2juMTYa which is a good motivator for anyone feeling their preaching is getting bit stale.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Publication of The Goldilocks Zone

Launch dayJanuary 18th, 2018
33 days to go.

Living as a Christian in the 21st century means we face constant battles to please God. That’s why I wrote ‘PURITY: Living to please God in an impure world – 15 daily readings in 1 Thessalonians.’

There’s only way to get it – by subscribing to my  email newsletter here.

Topics

God, Suffering and Joy

A conversation between me (with cancer) and Michael (with Multiple Sclerosis)

Terms and conditions

This blog does not share personal information with third parties nor do I store any information about your visit to this blog other than to analyse and optimise your content and reading experience. I am not responsible for republished content from this blog on other blogs or websites without my permission. This privacy policy is subject to change without notice.

I welcome your participation on the Ministrynutsandbolts site, and invite you to share ideas elsewhere on what you learn and read here. At the same time, I ask that you respect my intellectual property rights in the process.

You are welcome to link to my site or any specific post on my site, extract and re-post less than 200 words on any other site, provided you link back to my original post, or print my posts in any non-commercial publication (e.g., company newsletter, class syllabus, church newsletter, etc.), provided you include this copyright notice: “© 2017 Chris Green. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.ministrynutsandbolts.com.”

Please do not do the following without written consent: Re-post one of my posts in its entirety anywhere else on the Internet, use this content for commercial purposes, including selling or licensing printed or digital versions of my content, or alter, transform, or build upon this work.

If you have some use for my content that is not covered here, please contact me. If you would like me to do a guest post on your blog, email me at ministrynutsandbolts@gmail.com

Copyright does not apply to the titles of books, but transparency means I should own that the title of the blog is taken from the excellent ‘Ministry Nuts and Bolts: What They Don’t Teach Pastors in Seminary ‘ by Aubrey Malphurs (Kregel: 2nd edn. 2009)

© 2017 Chris Green

%d bloggers like this: