What is the greatest message to communicate? For pastors the answer is clear, how people can come to a living relationship with Jesus Christ. That’s what makes the 2 books I recently read from the Show Me Series by R. Larry Moyer so valuable: Show Me How to Preach Evangelistic Sermons and Show Me How to Illustrate Evangelistic Sermons. And in case you are not a pastor, you might be interested for both books show how to better share one’s faith.
In Show Me How to Preach Evangelistic Sermons, Moyer tells the incredible story of how he came to be a preacher. Overcoming a speech impediment and put downs, God continued to lift him up and guide him to be a powerful evangelist. The lessons he has learned he now passes on in this book to be evangelistic, but also to be an expository (proclaim one text of the Bible) communicator of God’s Word. The expository component keeps the focus on what God has to say. The evangelistic component keeps the focus on what we need to know to come to faith.
The emphasis on the book is how best to communicate these 3 key ideas utilizing the message of God’s Word:
1. We are sinners.
2. Christ died for us and rose again (He paid the price for our sin.)
3. We must trust Christ.
He develops how to do this in a question and answer format over 27 brief chapters spread over 2 parts of the book: Looking at Our Oportunity and Looking at Our Message.
Though I come from a Lutheran background and Moyer from a Dallas Theological Seminary background, I appreciated the emphasis on the cross and sharing that message from the Word of God. I read the book over a couple of days and thought it might best be used by more established communicators by reading a chapter a week. This would allow for some deeper reflection on what is written and would not make so obvious some of the repetition throughout the book. 5 times he shares the observation that in the Gospel of John 98 times the word “believe” is used. Repetition is a great way to preach, not always a great way to write.
In the companion book, Show Me How to Illustrate Evangelistic Sermons, Moyer not only provides illustrations, but how to find them and how to use them. What is unique about this illustration book compared to others I have used is how he often provides transitions, what he calls possible entrances and possible exits. When using an illustration, the question of how well it fits into a message is how one transitions into it, and how one ties into the principle being taught.
I also appreciated how he didn’t simply jump into a list of illustrations but why and how one uses and gathers illustrations, and the proper use of humor (one of my personal favorites!) in communicating.
The bulk of the book is for illustrating the 3 points of an evangelistic message Sin, Substitution, and Saving Faith. Under each of those areas are topics from A to Z. Over 300 pages of the book are dedicated to providing illustrations. Some were a bit dated as he has been collecting for over 40 years. Even there he showed how some of these could be used in a more up to date usage.
Both books go well together. I give them 4 out of 5 stars. I appreciate how they helped me to think through how I proclaim God’s Word and how the message of the cross and the importance of trusting Christ is the foundation for living out one’s faith each day. My thanks to Kregel Publications for giving both books for free in exchange for writing this blog review and for posting on Amazon (you can check all my Amazon reviews by clicking here). I was not required to give a positive review, just an honest one.
So what is your favorite illustration for what Jesus has done for you?