Whether you’re a preacher, teacher, or writer, every communicator needs fresh ideas that reinforce or highlight his or her points. For decades I’ve collected illustrations and cataloged them by topic. I’m making the database available to everyone.
Check it out at www.hillcrestaustin.info/sermonillustrations.
To use it, simply enter your desired topic in the Topic field. If you enter multiple topic words, separated by spaces, you’ll find only those illustrations that address both topics. We’ve found that it sometimes helps to use double quotes, with spaces, to get more exact results. So, if you just enter the word sin, you’ll get all the illustrations under the topics of sin, sing, and single. If you enter the word as “sin “ you are more likely to find what you’re looking for.
The Text field is helpful if you want to search within the text of the illustrations themselves. So, do a search for “Tim Keller” and you’ll get all the illustrations that have “Tim Keller” in them. (Again, use the quotes. Just typing the words Tim and Keller will get you every illustration with both Tim and Keller somewhere in the text, but it might have nothing to do with Tim Keller — e.g., it may be an article about Tim Knight and Roger Keller.)
The ID# field is useful if you have found a specific illustration to which you would like to return later. Just note that illustration’s ID# and then, when you want to return to that specific illustration, enter the ID# in the appropriate search field.
This database has evolved over the years to meet my own unique needs as a communicator, so you’ll have to take it as it comes. Some entries include links to Kindle books that won’t take you to my Kindle content. (You’ll get the author’s complete quote, though.) Also, items clipped from a web page and copied into the database often preserve the formatting from the original source, which may make the entry look odd. Despite the “raw” look to the entries, however, I hope you’ll still find some use from my database.
While I’m making stuff available for free, here is more content that has always been available:
Newsletters. All my newsletters since 2003 are available here. “Winning Ways” is my devotional column that is sent by email every Wednesday, and “LeaderLines” is an occasional newsletter addressing issues of church leadership. You can subscribe to either or both of these here. The archive page has a search field that enables you to find a particular word or phrase across the entire collection of newsletters. Please credit me as the author if you use my newsletters in your not-for-sale work. If you want to use my content in your for-sale work, get my permission first (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Sermons. All sermons delivered at Hillcrest since 2000 are available here. In many cases, listener outlines and small-group discussion guides are included. Please credit me if you use the sermons in your not-for-sale work, and credit Hillcrest if you use the printed material in your not-for-sale work. If you want to use any of the content in your for-sale work, get my permission first (email@example.com).
Evangelism Material. If you’re looking for ideas on creating a more evangelistic church, I have a 90-page guide available here.
For any questions on the use of the illustration database, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. My thanks to Paul Waldo for managing this database (along will all the other content on our church’s auxiliary website (www.hillcrestaustin.info). For our church’s main website, go to www.hillcrestaustin.org.