“Choose & Use” . . . .

smoke detector2

Various Pastors & Preachers have different strengths and homiletical patterns . . . .

John MacArthur – The Bible Teacher — If you are looking for an understanding of the text or passage, MacArthur will probably provide that for you — presenting the best understanding of the passage.

Charles Swindoll  – The Artist — He’s an artist. Not only does he love photography, but he is a master at painting verbal pictures and bringing in unusual and colorful illustrations of various biblical ideas.

James MacDonald  –  Vocal Imprinter — Surprisingly for his age, James MacDonald follows a very typical pattern of my era — “three points” (usually alliterated). However, they are often connected to a single unifying concept and share that quality with Andy Stanley. One of MacDonald’s great strength is his vocal style and variety which “vocally prints” itself onto the listener’s mind – in 72 point copperplate. 

Warren Wiersbe -The Painter — Dr. Wiersbe reflects a homiletical style of which its pattern is the turn of a phrase. When you listen or read his messages or books, you are amazed by how he is able to state an idea in such an interesting way.

Andy Stanley – The Contemporary — “Big Ideas” is Andy’s strength. He just keeps circling around one central idea that he wants the audience to focus on and frames it in a memorable way (sometimes called “sticky”). Personally, I believe that Andy Stanley may be one of the best communicators of our day!  He represents the preaching style of our day — not longer “three points and a poem.”

J. Vernon McGee – The Down Home Bible Teacher — Yes, even McGee’s contribution to preaching today is worth examining if you are looking for a word by word or phrase by phrase explanation of a passage along with some downhome stories thrown in – which are usable either for direct citing/quoting or to jog your mind about a story which is your own.

John Monroe – The Attorney — Dr. Monroe may not be as well known as many others, but he pastors one of the largest churches in the Charlotte area. Monroe understands following the argument of a passage better than any preacher I have listened to over the years – and no surprise, he was a lawyer who left his practice in the United Kingdom, attended Dallas Seminary, and now pastors Calvary Church in Charlotte.

Charles Stanley  – The Traditionalist — Vastly different than his son Andy, Dr. Stanley reflects an older style. I call it “three points and a poem.” When I use that phrase it does not mean that there are only three points and an ending poem. Rather, it refers to a style where there are three or four points (from a passage or topically from the whole of Scripture) which are explained and illustrated throughout and then followed by a closing time of application.

Tony Evans – The Visualizer — If you want to hear a speaker, or read a writer, who is a master at taking objects, events, and/or general experiences, which come from very familiar areas of today’s world and use them to visualize an idea . . . . then listen to Tony Evans.

Dr. Evans is able “to choose and then use” various parts and pieces of objects, events, or experiences, and make a biblical concept more understandable, visual, or clear?

Let me illustrate that . . . . and as you see what Dr. Evans is doing you yourself can purposefully “choose and use” parts and pieces of the object, events, or experiences in your sermon content.



Dr. Evans’ Message: “Emotional Strongholds”

Stated Outline: “Let me look at three things very quickly today so that we can be on target and start to overcome these emotional strong first of all the causes of emotional strong was what caused.”

  1.  the causes
  2.  the categories – a, b, c
  3.  . . . .

“Let me look at three things . . . very quickly today . . . so that we can be on target and start to overcome these emotional strongholds . . .  first of all the causes of emotional strongholds . . . what causedit?

Most of us have in our homes smoke detectors. Those smoke detectors are there to detect smoke.

If the smoke detector goes off.

It would not be advisable to take a hammer and smash it to try to get rid of the noise

It wouldn’t be advisable to cover your ears so that you don’t hear the noise.

It wouldn’t be advisable simply to hear it . . . listen to it . . . and say . . . I’ll get used to the noise.

Because . . . 

  • the smoke detector is not alarming so that you can hear its noise . . . that’s not why it’s coming and making the noise . . .
  • the smoke detector is letting you know you need to check out something else . . .
  • the smoke detector is not concerned with itself it’s concerned that in some room of the house a fire is breaking out  . . .
  • so don’t check the detector . . . check the fire

What the smoke detector is to the house  . . .  emotions are to the soul

They are the signals that God has given the soul of men to say . . . watch this . . . that something else is wrong.
When you are emotionally distraught . . . as a lifestyle . . . strongholds . . .
It’s like spending all your time dealing with your emotions . . . 

It’s like spending all your time dealing with the smoke detector and never locating the fire.

Emotions are merely a way to let you know . . . . something else is wrong . . . . and the signal has just gone off.

then I raised the question . . . 

What is the cause of the emotional strongholds . . . . What is the cause of emotional strongholds that I’m not physiologically tied.

one word . . . all emotional strongholds, that are not physically related physical illnesses of the body . . . . are rooted in  . . . sin

Tony Evans takes the simple object of a “smoke detector” and chooses the elements of that object which he is then going to use in developing the concept he is talking about. pieces he wants to

To understand why I have highlighted the words “chooses & uses” you only have to realize that there are other elements of a smoke detector that could have been identified, mentioned, highlighted, selected, emphasized and/or applied.  For instance . . . .

  • Smoke detectors are designed to warn the occupants so that they can escape a fire before succumbing to smoke inhalation or burns.
  • Many smoke detectors use an optical beam to search for smoke — mechanically it searches for some sign of smoke by detecting a clouding of its light beam . . . .  It is always searching for something  . . .  something that is obscuring its sight.
  • Many smoke detectors detect smoke by what is called “an ionization chamber” (ICSD – Ionization Chamber Smoke Detector ) which is quicker at sensing fire and can detect a fire which may initially produce very little smoke.
  • Most smoke detectors are backed up by a battery because the beginning of a fire may be caused by an electrical circuit in that house, and it may initially “trip” the breaker which is going to that smoke detector, and leave it “powerless.”
  • Most smoke detectors are backed up by a 9-volt battery and we are told to check and/or change that battery every time “daylight savings” occurs — because we may think we are being protected by that smoke detector, but the reality is, it is just “dead” — doing nothing – just a bump mounted on the wall or ceiling.
  • Typically the smoke detector is mounted on the ceiling or very close to the ceiling because heat and thereby smoke rises upwards.  The most likely place that smoke or heat will be detected first is at the top of a room, at the ceiling!   If it is not in a place where it can detect a problem, the quickest . . . you might die

Each one of these above points (and we could add others if one wanted to search it out and learn more about this common item . . .  which Tony Evans repeatedly and purposefully “chooses and uses”  to drive home a point) could be used in yet another and different sermon.

While the bulleted points may well not fit what Tony Evans wants to do in drawing from a smoke detector, they would be useful in your sermon.  Now that is not to say that Dr. Evans could not also incorporate any of the bulleted points which I have made (though he does not and need not).  He could extend his use of a smoke detector and “choose and use” yet other elements of that object.

The point is that . . . .

Once you see what Dr. Evans is doing . . . you can “replicate” the technique.

  • you can “replicate” the technique
  • you can learn more about that object, event, or experience and then take a different tack on it
  • you can rework the original “choose and use” in a different way
  • you can take another kind of “alerting object” (security system / stove has reached temperature / dynamite countdown signal / cell phone battery almost depleted) and run with it in a similar manner


What you are doing is specifically “choosing and using” what object, events, or experience you want to use, and then also “choosing and using” what element or aspect you want to use concerning that object, event, or experience, in order to drive home a point, concept, or idea.

Danger: You get lost in the weeds in explaining the object, event, experience — The third bullet point could be an example of that danger if you are not careful.

I say “choose and use” because you are the one who is choosing & using what object-event-experience and the characteristics or elements of that object-event-experience for the point you want to make.

The reason you are talking about the characteristics or elements of that object-event-experience is because you are going to swing it around to where you want to head!


Note FYI: Later on, Dr. Evans makes another and single reference to his “choose and use smoke detector object.” — “If you don’t realize that . . . the alarm will go off and you will never see the fire.”


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