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Illustrate Like Max and John (pt. 2)

Seven skills for finding daily life examples for preaching

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This is part two of a three-part series. In part one, Larson explained the importance of continual observation and of moving from the specific to the general.

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When we observe an interesting daily life experience and begin to brainstorm possible illustration topics or fiddle with the pyramid of abstraction, some people will have a greater capacity to generate ideas than others. What determines that capacity is knowledge.

Let me illustrate. As a boy, I received a clear-plastic coin-sorter one Christmas—the kind meant for kids, not bank clerks. You could watch the coins roll down a winding path and then drop through slots of varying sizes that sorted them into piles of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. The sequence of these variable-sized slots mattered, proceeding from smallest to largest. If the largest slot, intended for quarters, had been first, all the coins would have fallen in the quarters pile. But with the smallest slot, intended for dimes, being first, the larger ...

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