A few years ago, a good friend of mine spent months studying the way Jesus used the physical world around him to illuminate Scripture. Salt, light, roads, flowers, birds, and bread are all examples of concrete, vivid illustrations Jesus pulled from everyday life. He told stories with tax collectors, Samaritans, Roman centurions, and farmers because those were the people around him.
When you’re trying to make a point, the way you talk changes. Maybe you change your rhythm. You switch from long, rapid sentences to short, slow fragments where every word carries more weight. Or you might drastically change your volume. You drop to a whisper or raise your voice in excitement or passion to draw your audience in.
Great preachers utilize numerous techniques to make their main points resonate with the people who hear them. Likewise, your sermon slides can visually emphasize the main ideas you want to get across.
Here are four ways your sermon slides can make your main points pop.
As you probably (hopefully) know, Mother’s Day is this Sunday. If your master plan to honor your wife, mom, grandma, or women who aren’t moms (but basically are) is already well under way, well done. And if you just realized Mother’s Day is on Sunday, well, here’s something to get you started, before you frantically Google “last-minute Mother’s Day gift ideas.”
Easter is a huge opportunity for your church. There are more people attending church than almost any other time of year. Your Easter sermon is arguably the most important sermon your church will hear all year. And people who almost never go to church and know little or nothing about the Bible will be sitting among your congregation.
You do this every year—so how do you keep it interesting?
You have to decide if things that worked well in the past are reusable. Can you recycle some Easter sermon ideas you used a few years ago? Did you nail the Easter stage design last year? Does your team have the perfect worship set for Easter?
Those are all things for your staff to prayerfully consider and prepare based on the needs and resources of your church.
If you’re looking to freshen up your Easter service this year, Proclaim Church Presentation Software has some free Easter media to help you with the details, so you can focus on what matters—whether you own Proclaim or not you can use our free media to create smooth transitions, set the tone for your service, and compliment your sermon.
We live in a world that expects results. Nobody wants to waste their life or spend their time on things that don’t matter.
That’s part of what makes it so devastating when our ministries feel fruitless—no one gives their life to Christ, the financial troubles never end, or the sermons fall flat. It feels as though all our efforts have been for nothing, or a wrong choice put us in the wrong place. We don’t have stories of transformed lives, people meeting Christ, or God’s hand in our work.
Have you ever spent time digging into the Song of Solomon? More than that, have you ever applied the verses in Song of Solomon to your love life or the love lives of those you’ve counseled?
As a pastor, you’ve probably served as a marital or pre-marital counselor at some point. Whether you’re married, dating, or single, the words recorded in Song of Solomon help us understand God’s design for love. As we strive to have a relationship that glorifies God, the words in Song of Solomon are both timeless and beautiful—but they can often feel obscure or hard to understand.
Small groups help us take “community” from the abstract to the concrete. They allow our relationships with fellow believers to flourish into meaningful friendships as we grow and serve and study the Word together. They provide both a context for us to meet together and the intimacy we need to practically motivate one another towards acts of love and good works (Hebrews 10:24–25). And the better we know each other, the better equipped we are to speak wisdom into each other’s lives.
You can join Faithlife Groups that use unique document-sharing capabilities, but there are a lot more ways to interact with your faith community.
If you want to explore Faithlife Groups but haven’t started one of your own yet, here are five groups anyone can join right now:
The prayer-list feature helps your group keep track of prayer requests. Prayer Partners is a public, user-created group that lets you share prayer requests with fellow believers who love to pray. If you have a passion for prayer, or want prayer yourself, check out this Faithlife Group.
There are lots of ways to use Community Notes, and this user-created group hopes to create a massive collection of insights from anyone and everyone. The group has over 150 members, and together they share thoughts on passages, notes from sermons, favorite verses, and more. If you want to see Community Notes in action, join Community Study Bible.
To explore what can be known about God through natural human capacity, check out Prayson Daniel’s group, Natural Theology. The group shares and discusses quotes and articles about natural theology, reading plans and notes for famous works like Summa Theologica, and more. Join Natural Theology today and start a conversation. Or, grab some friends, and start a theology-based group of your own!
If you consider yourself a hands-on learner, Faithlife Groups 101 is for you. Created by an experienced user, this public group gives you free reign to interact with new and experienced users (even some Faithlife employees!) and experiment with features until you’re comfortable starting a group of your own. Want to know how other people use Community Notes? Documents? Discussions? Ask away!
Faithlife Beta is where users can make their voices heard. If you have requests about new features or fixes, this is one of the best places to go. If you use Faithlife Groups, join Faithlife Beta to give you a direct line to the developers who work on it every day. You can also use this group to test new features and provide feedback, so we can keep making Faithlife Groups a better tool for you and your faith community.
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With Logos 6, you get the tools of Logos Bible Software and the collaborative power of Faithlife Groups.
Isaiah’s magnificent prophecy spans not only history, going from creation (e.g., 42:5) to eternity (e.g., 9:7), but also geography, with an interest ranging between God’s own people through all of humanity (e.v., 2:2). Containing both words of hope and horror, its key theme is God himself, who is referred to hundreds of times.”
In the first chapter of Isaiah, God expresses his dissatisfaction with the sacrifices Israel offered (Isaiah 1:11–16). On the outside, they are doing exactly as God asked: they sacrifice rams and bulls, fat and blood, lambs, goats, and incense. They honor the Sabbath. They have a system for remembering when to feast and celebrate what God has done (Isaiah 1:14).
But God says their sacrifices are meaningless. “I have had enough . . . I do not delight . . . bring no more.” Quantity is not the issue. Quality is. And it’s not a matter of extravagance. Their elaborate prayers use their lips and their hands (Isaiah 1:15) and look great on the outside (Matthew 6:5), but there is no heart behind them.
Other religions made sacrifices to their gods because they believed they were feeding them. The Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary says, “Popular Israelite religion frequently forgot that God was not actually fed through sacrifice and sought to manipulate him through such offerings.” They forgot why they were making sacrifices—they thought they had to feed the God who created the world. But God wasn’t dependent on the Israelites and their sacrifices. They were dependent on him.
The Faithlife Study Bible says, “An increase in offerings is meaningless without a change in attitudes. The sacrifice fundamentally represented Israel’s relationship with Yahweh, by which Israelites acknowledge dependence on Him. There was no point in going through the motions if they’d abandoned that dependence—either through idolatry or pride in their self-sufficiency.”
The sacrifices were meant to be an external symbol of an internal process: repentance (Isaiah 1:16–20). The FSB says “God calls for inward repentance after condemning the empty efforts of outward observance.” They were cleaning the outside of the cup, while filth festered on the inside (Luke 11:39).
The system God established for dealing with sins had been abused for too long. The death of innocent animals was not enough for guilty humans to see the error of their ways (Hebrews 10:4). The status quo wasn’t working. Isaiah called for change in the present, and pointed to a bigger change in the future (Hebrews 10:10).
Isaiah 9:6 introduces Israel to powerful names for a son who was yet to come. Wonderful Counselor. Mighty God. Everlasting Father. Prince of Peace.
The people of Israel didn’t crack open their New Testaments to John 3:16 and say, “Hey, that’s Jesus!” They looked to the current line of David for an immediate answer—someone who could live up to these prophetic titles. The Faithlife Study Bible reminds us that “the prediction of a future ideal Davidic ruler point ultimately to the Messiah, but immediate hopes for Judah’s future would have been directed at the Davidic line, continued through Hezekiah.”
But there was a problem. Some of these titles could only be attributed to God. No man could measure up to names like “Mighty God”—that’s blasphemy (John 8:58–59). As he so often does, God had a different plan than man.
People can’t overcome sin by their own power. The sacrifices which were once acceptable to God had become useless buckets on a sinking ship. God needed to intervene, or the world would drown in sin.
No matter how mighty God made a man, that man could never save Israel from sin—he himself would be corrupted by it (Romans 3:23). The names of this future son were only fit for God because God was the only one who could solve the problem.
They needed a Wonderful Counselor: someone who could give them the wisdom they needed to truly repent (James 1:5, Hebrews 2:18).
They had a Mighty God, but they needed a personal relationship with him (John 1:10–13, Colossians 1:15–16).
With Abraham, they were entitled to an earthly inheritance, but through their Everlasting Father, they had an eternal one to aspire to (Hebrews 9:15, Romans 8:16–17).
And to abolish the old sacrificial system which put a bandage on their sin, they needed the Prince of Peace to restore them (Ephesians 2:13–18, Philippians 4:6–7).
The Christmas season is a time to celebrate the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy: “For to us, a child is born, to us, a son is given.” Remember where that son came from (John 3:16), and glorify God for providing the sacrifice to end all sacrifices.
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Take some time to reflect on God’s Word this Christmas season: check out the resources available in our Christmas sale.