A Provocative Thought on Sermon Illustration

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  • My week is being devastated by Chris Erdman and his book, Countdown to Sunday: A Daily Guide for those Who Dare to Preach. This series of brief essays pokes holes in so many foolish assumptions about preaching – from matters of technique to issues of purpose. While I do not agree with everything Erdman writes, I am enjoying the conversation (sometimes argument) about what it means to host the text on Sunday mornings in such a way that you allow the mischief of God in the text to do its missional work in the life of the gathered congregation.

    Here is a thought about sermon illustrations that I just read that I couldn’t resist the urge to share. I think it will be leaning over my shoulder as my prepare my sermons for weeks to come, especially when I began thinking about how to illustrate the message of the text.

    By the way we engage in this business of sermon illustration you’d think we don’t believe that the Bible’s very interesting. By the way we illustration, we preachers seem to be saying that this old, embarrassingly distant, hard-to-understand text requires us preachers to mine its gold, discover a useful theme, and then hammer it into a trusty form for delivery. “Three points and a point.” Or to update the phrase, “three points and a video clip.” (p. 111)


    H.B. Charles Jr.

    Pastor-Teacher at the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church of Jacksonville and Orange Park, Florida.