500 Illustrations

Stories from Life for Preaching & Teaching

By Paul H. Jones, Curtis Jones Published
Paperback ISBN: 9780687015450 $25.99 Buy
They are the lifeblood of preaching, the sparks that allow the sermon to catch fire in the imaginations of the congregation. Without them the best exegesis of the text, the most well-reasoned argument, the most polished delivery fall flat. They are illustrations, and they are an indispensable part of the preacher's craft. Consistently they appear at the top of the list when pastors identify the areas in which they need more and better resources for preaching. Books of illustrations have been around for a long time to help address this problem, but too often the illustrations they contain have been circulating for fifty years or more, and therefore sound out-of-date or simply not in tune with the lives of today's congregations. 500 Illustrations: Stories from Life for Preaching and Teaching meets the need for contemporary, engaging stories and quotations with which to illustrate the sermon. Each of the illustrations has been taken from recent newspapers, magazines, television programs, and the like. They are truly what the book's title suggests: stories drawn from the lives of real people, presented as brief anecdotes to be used to deepen the preaching and teaching of the gospel.

Reviews

This book is a collection of prepackaged sermon stories provided by Curtis Jones and Paul Jones who happen to be father and son. The "canned" sermon illustration has been around for a long time and many of the tried and true stories have been overused over time. However, the long and popular history that these kinds of book enjoy is also a testament to their need and acceptance within the guild of preachers.
On the one hand, these collections of illustration can be something of a source of embarrassment for preachers who strive to preach from scratch each and every Sunday. Realistically, however, most pastors' preparation time for preaching continues to shrink as they are called to be everything from ministerial cheerleader to the CEO of their local churches. Therefore, if one needs to use books of illustrations they might as well be good ones. 500 Illustrations fits this bill.
One of the features that makes it useful is that this book is new and fresh. Divided into 50 sections from addiction to worship, most of the illustrations have a contemporary and fresh feel to them. The shopworn and hackneyed stories of yesterday are absent and in their place are stories to which modern 21st-century people can generally relate. If you need stories to help your preaching connect with the people in your pews, then I suggest that you take a look at this assortment of illustrations.
--David Neil Mosser
The Clergy Journal
August 2000 Issue

About the Authors

Paul H. Jones

Paul H. Jones is Dean of the Chapel, Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky.

Curtis Jones

G. Curtis Jones is a well-known Southern Baptist preacher and author of Jacksonville, Florida.