At times, as I listen to a sermon, I often say – “Now run with that thought!” That is – “It is a great point which is being made and/or an excellent illustration which captures the truth but don’t leave “money on the table. Run with it a little further!”
Now, I understand that we can “beat a horse to death” ( Sorry about all the mixed metaphors — but the metaphors describe what can happen in a speech or a message). A speaker can fail to see the full strength contained within . . . .
- a word picture
- an analogy
- a quotation*
- an illustration
- the wording of a Big Idea
- an application
It is not unusual for a member of the audience or a close friend to say after a message “When you said . . . I was thinking . . . . ” Many a time I have responded with, “I wish I had thought of that!” or “I need to run my message past you ahead of time. That is good.”
They were thinking thoughts, initiated by the thoughts spoken by us, which had we thought of could have driven home the point or idea even more effectively! They ran with our idea further than we, and perhaps even more usefully, practically, and/or compellingly than us.
Mac Brunson is the pastor for First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida. He is a worthy preacher to listen to gain an appreciation of . . . .
- vocal variety
- clarity by effective illustrations
- an easy to listen to style
- quotation driven with background*
In a message titled Failing n’ Leaning, he includes a terrific illustration.** Within that illustration, you will also hear an example of repeating and restating to drive home the point.
You say – Well, I’m not sure I exactly understand that.
That is – when you go through a test in life God – He’s my lord -He’s must Savior
God is the one
who is overseeing everything that I’m doing
and is walking with me
and guiding me
and listen let me tell you something – as long as I’m trying to follow Him
God is moving me through that test
He wants you to come through the test successfully.
I don’t know if you remember Aaron Davis – Aaron and Jolene.
– ah – helicopter pilot in the Navy
He’s now a flight trainer
There he is – he’s on the right side – of your screen – that’s Aaron
and there’s his instrument panel right there in front of him.
But you see the bubble up there in front of him — the other helmet — that’s – that’s the guy learning to fly.
So I asked Aaron — I said, Aaron you take these guys – where do you sit?
He said well I sit behind him – in this jet – he said – I sit behind them right here
and ah – and I said – OK
Well, do you have control all over this?
Now I want you to listen to what Aaron – now wake up and listen to what he says.
“I let them work within certain boundaries.
If they try to break those boundaries I step in.”
sound like God to you?
“I already know what parameters I should be seeing throughout the pattern”.
He’s talking about this – he’s really talking about landing because he says landings the most dangerous part.
“I already know what parameters I should be seeing throughout the pattern and am trained to recognize the situation going bad.”
“I will let them make mistakes to a point.”
I wouldn’t if I were him. But he does – he’s got a reason for it – God has a reason for it — the test that you’re going through.
“I will usually make a verbal input if they are starting to get slow.”
He’s talking about coming in – if they begin to get too slow
He says –
“get too slow as long as it is still safe if they don’t make the correction and continue to get slow or low in the pattern then I would make a control input – either help them push the stick forward – to pick up airspeed
or come on to the throttle to add power to keep us from getting any lower – and doing a landing profile.”
In other words, he’s sitting back there in that back seat
you see – this guy in the front seats got a stick in his hand – he’s flying the thing
but Aaron sitting back there he’s got his hand
and if the guy’s going too slow – for a landing – he’s going to push that thing forward.
Now listen – how many times has God pushed that stick forward in your life – and you’re up there with both hands pulling back.
Huh — OK.
Just look – this pilot’s in control – he can override what the test pilot or what the student is doing there
Now let me let me come back to it – because it’s pretty fascinating
“If it is time critical – meaning we’re going to damage the aircraft or hurt ourselves – if I let them continue – then I will outright take control from them and fly the aircraft safely away – circle around and let them try again.”
Not me but he had put them on the ground and say – get out.
Now listen listen listen to what Aaron is saying – he’s saying —
“I will fly them through their failure – circle them around because hopefully, they have learned something.”
God ever done that to you — I’m going to raise my hand – Has God ever taken you to school the second time – and the third time – fourth and fifth time and God said – let’s see if we can get you through this this time – and you can do this right.
In the Christian life – as I walk with the Lord – God is all over what I’m going through.
He’s all over what you’re going through.
Now I don’t know what you’re going through – but let me tell you – God is all over it
and if you’ll be sensitive – He’ll lead you and guide you through that.
and even if there is a failure on your part, He will bring you back around and say – we’re going to learn this lesson before we move on.
Now that’s part of what I want you to see
so Paul is saying as I go through this and everybody says
-it’s a failure
-it’s a failure
-it’s a failure
he says – Listen God is the one who’s the Agent over my life.
- back seat
- through it
- God is all over it
- it’s a failure
Run With It
As I listened to this interesting, unique, and applicative analogy, I said, “Run with it!” “Don’t leave the other clear and potent analogies on the table!” “There’s money there!”
Even though it may be argued that many members of the audience will pick up on the elements of the original illustration and catch their spiritual application, there still will be . . . .
√ those who will not make the flip from the natural to the spiritual
√ many-to-most who have not given the time to thoughtfully carry over the natural to the spiritual (because the message rolls on)
If the speaker does not in some way highlight the “natural-to-spiritual analogies,” they may well be lost to the audience, and at least lessened in their effective potential.
Notice all the compelling or weighty words within the analogy which capture some of the great truths about God bring people through trials.
- control (do you have control over this)
- override (override the student pilot)
- step in
- situation going bad
- mistakes to a point
- damage the aircraft
- hurt ourselves
- to low
- back seat – behind (got his hand on this)
- pickup airspeed
- throughout the pattern
- outright control
- circle around second time – try again (God has taken you around second time)
- safely away
- time critical
- control input
- push the stick forward (holding it back)
Brunson grabs about five key concepts found within the flight trainer’s words.
Don’t misunderstand me — I know that it could be said that Brunson did what he planned to accomplish with his illustrative analogy. It worked. It was sufficient. He made the points he wanted to make. — Perhaps? Perhaps sufficient?
Nevertheless, as you listened to this analogy, did you not think beyond the parts Bruson used and run with it further in your mind?
Do not we as speakers usually wish we had run with it a little further than we did, and/or run with it further when we have a second opportunity to use it at a different time or occasion?
— Just saying! —
— There may be some good money left on that table! —
*With a quotation, there can be some money left on the table if you do not give some information about the person who made that quote. Sometimes, a brief understanding of the person who made that quote drives the strength of the quotation. Brunson illustrates this near the end of his message as well @29:01 minute mark – Herbert Swope
**If you would like to use this illustration, pull out the actual words of the training pilot, Lt. Aaron Davis. Copy and paste and then cite his actual words of explanation, of what it is to train a pilot to land on an aircraft carrier.
“I let them work within certain boundaries.
If they try to break those boundaries, I step in.
I already know what parameters I should be seeing throughout the pattern.
I already know what parameters I should be seeing throughout the pattern and am trained to recognize the situation going bad.
I will let them make mistakes to a point.
I will usually make a verbal input if they are starting to get slow.
get too slow as long as it is still safe if they don’t make the correction and continue to get slow or low in the pattern then I would make a control input – either help them push the stick forward – to pick up airspeed
or come on to the throttle to add power to keep us from getting any lower – and doing a landing profile.
If it is time critical – meaning we’re going to damage the aircraft or hurt ourselves – if I let them continue – then I will outright take control from them and fly the aircraft safely away – circle around and let them try again.
I will fly them through their failure – circle them around because hopefully they have learned something.” — Aaron Davis