Homiletical Tips: #1 – Changing A Day To An Experience

There are many simple ways a speaker can clarify, capture a thought, assist recall, and/or drive a point.  This example is one of many possible  “Homiletical Tips” that can help make your points stick.

You might even want to compose a list of homiletical “tips” that you can use in your sermon preparation!

As you prepare your message, scan down that list to assess whether you can frame an idea or point in a way that will make your sermon more effective.  In classical rhetorical theory, such a “list” is called “topoi.”  “Topoi” comes from the word that means “places.”  Aristotle taught that there are “places” that a speaker can mentally go to call up content, places that the speaker has in his mental stockpile that can be used to make his point.

Likewise, there are places preachers-teachers can go, and in fact, do go whether they realize it or not (or whether they can or have identified them).  There are mental homiletical avenues that speakers repeatedly employ.  Those homiletical avenues are what make one speaker different from another.  Unfortunately, those avenues also result in monotony and predictability.  The listeners have come to listen more passively because they generally know where the pastor is going in his sermon.

That is why having such a list of homiletical tips proves valuable.  It can change up a speaker’s/preacher’s homiletical tenor — at least at that point in the message.  It also adds to his repository of “topoi” for future usefulness.

When you see the “tip” used, you may enjoy, appreciate, and/or be affected by it.  However, you also have the ability to go analytical [1] and then repackage it homiletically. Seeing it used, followed by figuring out how to repackage it homiletically, builds your homiletical stockpile.

Here is an example to begin that list. . . . .

Sermonic List
Tip #1 – Changing A Day To A Experience: 

Rhetorical Example:

A “Day:” Winter Begins On December 21st.
An Experience:Winter starts the first time you cancel plans after looking at the windchill factor.”

Homiletical Repackaging:

A “Day:” Passover falls on the 15th day of the month Nisan.

An Experience: Passover starts the first time you decide that the blood of a “Lamb” is needed to cover the doorpost of your life, and you cancel any idea that you are safe without such a provision.  Passover starts when in your heart . . .


A “Day:” On that day, Cain killed Abel.

An Experience: “Killing” your brother starts the first time you feel that envy or jealousy after seeing him/her favored over you.


A “Day:” “In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to monthto the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar.”

An Experience: While the gallows Haman built did not actually take form until chapter 5, the building of the gallows on which Haman would be hanged was started in chapter 3; in God’s plans, it was started on the month Nisan, when he began casting lots for when it would be best to suggest the extermination of the Jews.


A “Day:” “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.”

An Experience: Augustus’ decree was the day that started the fulfillment of Micah 5, which started the events in the life of Joseph and Mary to travel to Bethlehem in fulfillment of Micah’s prophesy.


A “Day:” There is coming a day, says Paul . . . “when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”

An Experience: That day of “victory” starts the first time you cancel your sinful plans; after looking at all that Christ has done for you in this life, and the life to come, and deciding to say “NO.”

  1. We can not only think; we can think about our thoughts! — See Generating Ideas 


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