12 Sermon Introductions

For RSS and Email readers click here to view video.

  1. The “Pay Attention” Introduction
  2. The Contextual Introduction
  3. The Background Introduction
  4. The Example Introduction
  5. A Contrast Introduction
  6. A Topical Introduction
  7. An Advantages Introduction
  8. A Seasonal Introduction
  9. A Question Introduction
  10. A Quotation Introduction
  11. A Statistical Introduction
  12. A “What would you do?” Introduction

For other videos in the How Sermons Work series click here.


Check out

Why do we recite the Apostle’s Creed?
Kim Riddlebarger answers.

4 Ways we Need to Grow in Evangelism
J.D. Grear and his church staff identified four ways in which his church could grow in evangelism.

The Value of Higher Education is More Than Getting a Job
“If you can take advantage of the amazing opportunities that a college education offers, not for job training, but for life training, you will help to ensure that, no matter what the world throws at you, you will be able to adapt and turn your challenges into opportunities. Start thinking about those required classes outside of your area not as a burden, but as a chance to help future-proof education and yourself.”

Ruth: More than a Love Story
“The book of Ruth is first and foremost about the covenant faithfulness of the LORD to ensure the arrival of our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Teaching Resources for Equipping Counselors
Few people give away so much helpful free stuff as Bob Kellemen.

9 of the Best Ways to Boost Creative Thinking


Children’s BIble Reading Plan

This week’s morning and evening reading plan in Word and pdf.

This week’s single reading plan for morning or evening in Word and pdf.

If you want to start at the beginning, this is the first year of the children’s Morning and Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

Jason Henry, a missionary in Mongolia, has very kindly collated and produced the second year of morning and evening readings in Word and pdf.

And here’s the first 12 months of the Morning or Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

Here’s an explanation of the plan.

And here are the daily Bible Studies gathered into individual Bible books. Further explanation of that here.

Old Testament

New Testament

May God bless you and your children as you study the Word of life.


I get what I deserve

Have you ever dealt with someone who will not take responsibility?

No matter what happens, someone else is always to blame.

They have a deep sense of injustice over the way life is unfolding for them.

They feel unfairly treated in every area of life: work, school, relationships, sport, family, etc.

They’re not prepared to work particularly hard in any of these areas, and yet expect to have the best job, the best results, the best friendships, the best scores, etc.

The core belief is “I deserve better.”

How do you deal with this? How would you help this person?

I want to change their core belief to, “I get what I deserve.” I feel this would make them take responsibility and stop blaming everyone else when things don’t work out.

“If I don’t get a job, it’s because I didn’t look hard enough. If I fail my exam, it’s because I didn’t study hard enough. If I don’t have any friends, it’s because I’m not friendly to others. If I don’t win, it’s because I didn’t train hard enough, etc.”

I want to burn into their soul, “I get what I deserve. I get what I deserve. I get what I deserve.”

Because that’s generally how the world works. At times we might suffer a bit of unfairness, and at other times we might enjoy more success than we worked for. But, in general, hard work is rewarded and laziness is punished. We get what we deserve.

And yet. And yet. I hesitate. At least I hesitate to press this too hard.

Because I don’t want to undermine the principle and power of GRACE.

I want this person to be converted to Christ. I want them to embrace salvation by grace, I want them to enjoy the magnificent mercy of being saved despite what we deserve. I want them to experience the exhilarating exchange of “I got what Jesus deserved, and Jesus got what I deserved” (2 Cor. 5:21).

I want them to get the principle and power of GRACE in salvation more than anything else in the world.

Yet I also want them to get the principle and power of JUSTICE in vocation, education, etc.

How do I balance this? How do I prioritize? How do I avoid the “dangers” of grace? How do I avoid the dangers of justice? A life is passing, attitudes are hardening, habits are setting, worldview is engraining.

Can someone help me here?


Check out

Celebrate the “ordinary” AND “extraordinary” testimonies
Why we should want our kids to have “boring” testimonies

Your baby’s ugly
I’m afraid I’ve had to say this quite a few times. Doesn’t get easier for me, the “mom,” or the “baby.”

10 Questions to ask before you engage in controversy
From my peace-making friend, Burk Parsons.

Gospel Entrepreneurship
Gospel + Entrepreneurship + City Serving and Culture Renewing = Gospel Entrepreneurship.

When affliction reveals God’s grace
Joe Thorn reflects on a pretty scary trial.

Living with less. A lot less.
This one’s not for my wife.


Snapshot Sermons

“Sum up four years of your life in a 60-second video.”

That’s the challenge Huntington Willard, director of Duke University’s Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy, has set his doctoral students. In addition to their dissertation, they are to submit a “snapshot dissertation,” 30-60 second video summing up the hundreds of pages and thousands of hours they’ve poured into it.

You can hear the squeals already, can’t you? I have two friends who completed scientific doctorates, and over the years I must have asked them a dozen times each to explain their work to me. Despite many glassy-eyed hours, I’m still none the wiser.

“I’ve always been convinced of the need for scholars to be able to speak ‘in plain English’ to people outside of the academy,” said Willard. “I teach [students] to imagine explaining what they’re learning to their parents or grandparents.” It’s all part of Duke’s Scholars and Public initiative to forge greater connections between the academy and the community.

For the same reason, no matter how much it makes us squeal, preachers (and teachers) should be “forced” (or should force themselves) to sum up their sermon (or lesson) in one sentence. For example, here’s a “Snapshot Sermon” on Psalm 2:

As God offers peace to his enemies before He defeats them, embrace His Son of Peace before He becomes your Judge.

The main points of the sermon were:

  1. The Lord has multiple enemies (1-3)
  2. The Lord will defeat His enemies (4-9)
  3. The Lord offers peace to His enemies (10-12)

We want to compare the snapshot sermon with the main points and ask:

  • Is it comprehensive? Does the summary cover all the main points of the sermon?
  • Is it unified? Do the different parts make up one whole or just lots of disconnected parts?
  • Is it simple? Remove passive voice, complex clauses, technical language, etc?
  • Is it short? Can I say this in fewer words without sacrificing the meaning?
  • Is it purposeful? Does it explain the point, the end, the aim of the sermon?
  • Is it worth it? Sometimes this exercise reveals that for all the good things in the sermon, there’s actually no real substance in it or no great point to it.

Apart from preventing some sermons being preached that should never be preached, this exercise also reveals if we’ve really mastered our subject. It also helps the preacher hone his material, cutting out anything that doesn’t connect with and support the snapshot. In the act of preaching the snapshot helps the preacher to achieve disciplined focus, forward momentum, and fitting climax.

Why not try it…and listen for the squeals.