Biblical Illuminations
Sermon illustrations,
object lessons, and
teaching ideas.

Object Lessons and Illustrations

Object lessons and illustrations ("illuminations") can be used in teaching children, adults, or teens. Many of these illustrations would work for any age group, which is part of the beauty of an illustration.

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Recent Illustrations

Christmas Is a Letdown
Christmas can be a letdown, as we face what is supposed to be a time of great cheer in times of darkness and discouragement
Honor God, the Creator of Beautiful Things
Some thoughts about creating beautiful things as a way of honoring the creator of all beauty
He's Coming Back!
An illustration involving a snowstorm, a snowblower, and a small child
Rules for Little Children
Instructing our young child in a way that is not burdensome.
Symphony orchestras, and honorable gifts
A lesson from I Corinthians 12 involving a symphony orchestra, and the parts of the body of Christ.
Baby food, grown-up food, and God's blessings
An illustration about contentment and God's blessings. Illustration involves our baby boy eating his breakfast food.
Mount Chocorua - Darkness and Light Illustration
A lesson learned about darkness and light from my time spent on top of a mountain.
Self-Referencing Paradoxes
Anything that references itself is in danger of paradox; we must look to an outside view for accurate analysis.
Discovering Blueberries on a mountain
A Bible illustration that relates to a recent hike on Blueberry and Speckled Mountain
Recycle Me - Some Thoughts about Parenthood
My little son is already mimicking my behaviors - he'll pick up my attitudes and ideas as well
Scripture reading - your spiritual floss!
Scripture reading is a bit like flossing your teeth. An easily understood object lesson for a sermon.
Eye Contact, and the Apple of His Eye
A lesson from the life of my little five-month old baby, about God's watchfulness.
Teaching the Bible to all Age Groups
A series of articles with some tips on teaching the Bible to groups containing all ages
Wash Me and I Will be White as Snow
An illustration about bath time for a baby, and the Christian faith
Respect for Elders - a lesson involving puppets!
Analyzing how I interact with my ventriloquial figures (puppets), brings me to an interesting lesson about age and respect.
My Food is to do the Will of My Father
A story about our cat, Pumpkin, and an illustration about the life of Christ
Starfish Limb Regeneration and Titus 3:5
Starfish can do some extraordinary things, and perhaps their regenerative powers will help us understand Titus 3:5
Hurricane Sandy Rescue Work and Evacuation
Thoughts about rescue workers who went out into the storm to rescue those who didn't evacuate
Thickly Peeled Potatoes - Delayed Gratification
A depression era story about a family's dilemma with failing potato crops
The Mustang Life: Living a Life as an Ambassador of Christ
What it means to live as an ambassador of Christ, in both our words and our deeds. An illustration involving a driving academy and a Mustang
Handle with Care: A Bible Lesson on How We Treat One Another
A simple lesson about a newborn baby, and how we ought to treat one another with gentleness
Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet - A Lesson in Service
Jesus washing the disciples' feet is a lesson in humility, and also a lesson in service.
Unmovable and Unshakable: Trees that put down deep roots
Trees that put down deep roots are able to withstand storms, but trees growing out of soil-covered granite don't do well
Mountains, Music, and Paintings: A few of my favorite things
How God reveals Himself to us: a Bible lesson that centers around John 14:21 and some of my favorite things.
Family Likeness - An illustration on being like Christ
When we think about family resemblances, we ought to ask ourselves, how much do I resemble God?
Context! An Illustration about Colors and Context
An illustration that compares the way we see colors in and out of context with the way we read God's Word
Contentment and Snowshoeing on the Ice
A short Bible lesson involving contentment, and snowshoeing on icy surfaces
Make The Roads Straight
Announcing the King - every valley shall be lifted up, every valley shall be made low.
A Clogged Drain - A Lesson About Human Nature
Human nature could be compared to a clogged drain, as I describe in the story told here.
I Am The Resurrection And The Life - A Personal Story
A message I taught this summer at several camps, from the book of John chapter 11. The hope of resurrection
Whose Home Is It? A lesson on the Way, the Truth, the Life
In a pluralistic society, Jesus' claim to be 'The Way, the Truth, and the Life' seems arrogant and narrow minded to many.
Peter Gets Distracted - The Last Supper
Jesus has something very important to say to his disciples, but Peter gets distracted
A lightning strike on my car
A brief illustration about the power of sin, using a lightning strike on my car
Just a Pawn - A Short Sermon llustration about God's Love
If God is to the universe as a chess master is to the game of chess, that doesn't mean we're just pawns!
A Greater Strategist Than The Best Chess Player
God is a better strategist than the very best chess player in the world. Do you believe in His plans even when you don't understand?
Mister Rogers Neighborhood - A Lesson On Character
A simple Bible lesson or sermon illustration that comes from the beloved children's show Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Pre-Written Obituaries and Celebrity Death
Death of Brad Renfro and Heath Ledger, along with news about Britney Spears and pre-written obituaries.
Moral Values Begin With The Small Things
A story about a pastor, a religious organization, and a political candidate here in Maine
Why The Law Then? An illustration of Galatians 3:19
Why The Law Then? A discussion and illustration of Galatians 3:19, involving teens in the youth group
Love God with your Whole Heart: an Illustration for Deut 6:5
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength - a sermon illustration involving a dog and his master
Philippians 4:8 Illustration - Squirrels and Campers
Philippians 4:8 Illustration - whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, and lovely. A sermon illustration involving squirrels and campers
Love God with your whole heart, mind, and soul - Matt 22:37
Sermon illustration involving a low fat diet (because of gallstones) and Jesus' great commandment to love God with your whole heart mind, and soul
Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere
Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere - A sermon illustration involving a cat and a door
Moral Excellence: superiority and eminence in moral behavior
Moral Excellence - an illustration to help picture moral excellence, as described in II Peter 1:5. Defensive and Offensive excellence
Diligence - constant and earnest effort to accomplish a goal
Diligence - an illustration describing diligence. Diligence is required in a healthy spiritual life, according to 2 Peter 1:5
Running Out Of Gas - An Illustration of Romans 12:2
Romans 12:2 tells us to renew our minds. We must constantly pay attention to the state of our minds, or we run out of gas spiritually
Missed Blessings - Disobedience Resulting In Lost Blessings
Sometimes our disobedience causes us to lose out on wonderful things. And sometimes we never know what we missed.
Today If You Hear His Voice, Do Not Harden Your Heart.
An illustration for the Psalm 95 passage that speaks about hearing God's voice and hardening our hearts
Bus Station Bomb - A story about our Scary World
Bus Station Bomb in Beersheeba - a sermon illustration that helps us see that the world is a scary place. But Jesus overcomes.
The Colossal Squid - The Voice of the Lord is upon the Water
The recently discovered Colossal Squid, found by New Zealand fishermen, is an example of how extraordinary is God's creation.
Personal Convictions and Judging - Football Illustration
An illustration of personal convictions and judging others, involving expensive tickets to a Sunday football game
Righteous vs Wicked - Healthy Trees and Dried Up Twigs
Psalm 1 talks about the righteous and the wicked - some thoughts on spiritual health and life, and my trip to Israel
Counsel Of The Wicked - Don't Take Advice From Troublemakers
Psalm 1 talks about those who take counsel from the wicked - here is an illustration of that idea
Christian Service and Growth, and a Ping Pong Story
Christian Service, Christian Growth, and an illustration involving the game of ping pong
Faith In Faith? Faith In Jesus? The Gospel Message
What is the Gospel message? The Gospel Message is that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again.
Singing Birds - Hoping For The Sun In Troubled Times
Lesson from Isaiah 35:4 and the early morning birds singing to welcome the sunrise
Ulterior Motives, Servanthood, and the Attitude of Christ
Thoughts about ulterior motives in business (amazon, and my own business) and the nature of a servant, as demonstrated by Christ
Unfair Treatment, the Cross of Jesus Christ, and 1 Peter
Unfair treatment is guaranteed; we all face it. The true test of character is how we respond to unfair treatment. Do we respond like Jesus?
Yard Work and Spring Cleaning - Doing What Is Excellent
A lesson about going above and beyond the call of duty, of doing what is excellent.
Ice Age 2 - An Illustration about Aliens And Strangers
Ice Age 2 - The squirrel discovers a world far beyond his wildest dreams, and will never be at home in the ice age again.
Voice Recognition - Recognizing the Voice of Jesus
Voice recognition - two illustrations of how we recognize the voices of those we know well, and application to spiritual life
Fear Factor - A lesson about life from I Peter and a TV Show
Sermon illustration - Fear Factor: Life is like the television show Fear Factor. We face trials and troubles for the sake of an eventual reward.
Trials, Troubles, Life Perspectives and Roller Coasters
Life is not like a roller coaster - it's like standing in line for a roller coaster. The real excitement is when the waiting is over.
Domain Snatchers and The Golden Rule - Matthew 7:12
Sermon illustration from The Sermon On The Mount and The Golden Rule - Domain Snatchers and domain name brokers
Honey, Pepperoni, and Self Control - Lesson From Proverbs 25
Proverbs 25 talks about knowing when enough is enough, and having self control to stop. An illustration involving eating too much pepperoni.
Funerals, Foundations, and Focus - Fixing Our Eyes On Jesus
I Peter 2:4 and Hebrews 12:2 talk about our foundation and focus. Story about a funeral makes a point about our foundation and focus
Youth Group Events, Disappointment, and Jesus Christ
I Peter promises that those who put their faith in Jesus Christ will not be disappointed. An illustration from youth group summer events.
Frivolous Lawsuits, Arguing Your Case, the Book Of Proverbs
Frivolous lawsuits abound in our society, but the book of Proverbs tells us not to be hasty to argue your case against your neighbor.
Borrowing A Quarter - A Story about Trust
What does it mean to trust in the Lord with all your heart? To trust Him completely in both the big and the small things.
Malice, Deceit, and a High School Basketball Tournament
Malice and Deceit - letting your view of events be clouded by your own anger and bitterness. Story about an accident at a high school basketball game.
Faithful Messenger - Illustration From The Hay Fields
Faithful Messenger: Proverbs tells us that someone who faithfully fulfills their duty and responsibility is as refreshing as 'snow in harvest'
Solids, Liquids, and Gases - The Church
Are you a solid, a liquid, or a gas? Have you been bound into a structure? Or are you floating free?
The Windsor Guildhall - A Story with a Spiritual Lesson
Christopher Wren designed the Windsor Guildhall with eighteen supporting pillars - but the town councillors rejected his plan.
Contentment in all circumstances - Underground Home Story
Contentment in both need and plenty, contentment in poverty and wealth. Being content is challenging when we have experienced both extremes
Envy vs Contentment - The Battle of the Toast
Envy vs Contentment - when we have to keep up with the Jones's, we miss out on contentment. Story about breakfast time when I was growing up.
Deceit, Dishonesty, and a Hunger for God's Word
Deceit and dishonesty, telling lies, fibs, and invented stories - it may make you look good, but eventually your sin will find you out.
A Cord of Three Strands - Ecclesiastes and John Donne
Ecclesiastes says 'a cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart'. John Donne says 'No man is an island'. We are not meant to be alone.
Living Stones built on a foundation - Load Bearing Walls
Peter calls us 'Living Stones' Ephesians says that we're 'built on a foundation', and 'fitted together'
God understands our weaknesses - He knows how we were formed
God understands our weaknesses - He knows how we were formed from the dust of the earth. An illustration involving sand castles at Popham beach
External Appearance vs Internal Character
The cycle of life, the fleeting quality of external beauty and appearance, and the focus on internal character (Ecclesiastes and I Peter)
Micah 6:8 - Justice, Mercy, Humility, the Will of God
Micah 6:8 spells out the Will of God for us: God's will is for us to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him.
Spiritual Appetites-Malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, slander
Spiritual appetites: Our spiritual appetite for malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander destroys our spiritual appetite for the Word of God.
Selfishness and Wealth Illustration - Slaughtering Chickens
Selfishness, hoarding, wealth, and greed. These are things James warns about when he talks about the day of judgement.
God's Word is a Mirror - A lesson From James
James tells us that God's word is like a mirror. Understanding this changes the way we are reading God's Word
Ask For Wisdom: an Illustration from Physics Class
Ask For Wisdom: When we ask God for wisdom, we can trust that he is not just knowledgeable, but also generous to give His wisdom
Dealing With Trials and Troubles - Violin Maker Illustration
Dealing with trials and troubles - the violin maker and the tree give us a good illustration of the relationship between us and God
Live sensibly, with good sense, restraint and consideration
Live sensibly, Paul says several times in the book of Titus. Live with good sense, restraint and consideration. What will be the result of my actions?
Tickled Ears, or Being Wounded by The Word Of God?
II Timothy talks about people who want to have their ears tickled. This may be more entertaining, but it does not bring spiritual health.
Swearing Oaths, and the Hair Of Your Head
Swearing oaths on the hair of your head is not allowed, Jesus says in the Sermon On The Mount!
Empty Conceit - Being Preoccupied With Myself
Empty Conceit, vanity, and self admiration; these are what Paul warns about in Philippians 2:3.
Love Believes All Things: I Corinthians Optimism Principle
Love Believes all things - part of the I Corinthians 'Love' chapter - The optimism principle invites us to give the benefit of the doubt, out of love
Steps Of Faith - A Story Of a Mt Katahdin Hike
Mt. Katahdin: Mount Katahdin's Knife Edge was the scene of a great object lesson on taking steps of faith day by day.
Violent Explosions and Slow Burns: Which Personality Type?
Violent explosions and slow burns - the violent exploders flare up in a moment, causing great destruction. Slow burners fester with anger and hate.
Precious Gifts - Costly, Life Changing, and Special
Precious Gifts - what makes a gift precious? It is costly, it is life changing, or it is from someone we love
Bearing Burdens - He's Not Heavy, He's My Brother
Bearing one another's burdens. Bearing burdens is easy for a family - he's not heavy, he's my brother!

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