Holwick's Links to the Best Free Sermon Illustrations

Updated March 31, 2018.  Please report dead links or new sites to Pastor Holwick.
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Best online illustration sites Searchable Christian archive sites Free illustrations by e-mail
Hillcrest Illustrations  (new) A Daily Devotion Illustrations by Brett Blair
Find the Power  (see note) Baptist News Global Preaching Now
  Joyful Heart newsletter Colson's Breakpoint e-mail
Bible.org Heartlight archive Baptist Press daily e-mail
Higher Praise Moody's "Today in the Word" Christian Quotation of the Day
SermonIllustrations.com Ron Hutchcraft's "A Word With You" Belief Net (Chicken Soup, etc.)
SermonSearch  Woodmont Hills "Fax of Life"

This Is True

Ministry123  Illustration Exchange Wit and Wisdom
Stories for Preaching Secular archive sites Fee-based sites with samples
SermonCentral Motivating Moments Preaching Today
Grace Quotes News of the Weird archive Pulpit Helps Online
Sermon Illustrator

Reader's Digest humor archive

Desperate Preacher
Tim Gibson's online illustrations Wise Old Sayings and Quotes SermonWriter
More Illustrations   SoundFaith (Logos)
  Christian Magazines with indexes Voicings
All My Lessons  (new) Today's Christian magazine  
Christian Bible & Research Mission Frontiers Free downloadable programs/files
Kent Crockett Soul Food (Methodist Reporter) Holwick's Illustrations
Sermon Illustrations Plus (Tan)   Gibson's Illustrations and Jokes
Sermons.org Other Link sites  
Sheep's Crib Kir Shalom Illustration Links  
Zingale's Illustrations    

If you know of other sites, or think any of my ratings or comments are off the mark, let me know by clicking HERE.

Comments on Links

A Daily Devotion Ron Newhouse's daily internet devotions are sermon illustration-style. Go to the home page and on the left side menu click "Past" for previous devotions.  There is no search feature or overall index but he gets a ton of visitors.
All My Lessons A theologically sound Bible object lesson site with object lessons for every age.  Probably better for children's sermons than the main sermon.  Search by topic or an alphabetical list of lesson titles.  Lyle Ratzlaff is the editor.  [added March 22, 2018]

(Southern) Baptist Press


Baptist News Global

Two groups of Baptists in the South offer newsletters by email.  The Baptist Press is run by the regular Southern Baptists. In my opinion this one has the best testimonies and sermon ideas and their email goes out every weekday.  For the free subscription, go here and click on "Subscribe" on the right side of the menu bar.

Baptist News Global
, formerly Associated Baptist Press, is run by moderate (break-away?) Southern Baptists (CBF) and sends out an email several times a week to those who subscribe (see right side of main page).  It is more liberal than the SBC Baptist Press but has some provocative articles. 

For other Christian daily emails, sign up for as many as you want at Crosswalk.com  [updated March 31, 2018]
Belief Net What used to be "Daily In Box" has been taken over by BeliefNet.  If you like getting short emails with illustration potential, you will like this page. It includes Bits&Pieces, Quotes From the Masters, Messages From the Masters, and Chicken Soup for the Soul. Some are heavy in the motivate-for-success mindset but I have found good material on a regular basis. Warning: go on vacation and you'll need a shovel to get through this pile. [updated May 13, 2006]
Bible.org Excellent site - hundreds of illustrations categorized alphabetically with most topics having several illustrations. Everything is tied into the NET Bible program so a search for Bible verse brings up illustrations, commentary, Bible studies and other material. There is so much stuff you can get lost in the mountains of data.  It was formerly named the Biblical Studies Foundation.   [updated January 6, 2013]
Christian Bible & Research Center Online illustrations are presented after you choose from a list of 65+ topics. Most topics have three to five illustrations and they seem to be pretty fresh. It also has an "Illustration of the Week." Site has a very clean appearance and is run by Keith Smith; it is part of the Church of Christ webring.
Christian Quotation of the Day Classic Christian quotes compiled by Robert McAnally Adams. The opening screen offers today's quote and an archive page. He now has indexes and a keyword search of the archive that is extremely helpful. You can have quotations sent to you for free by signing up. If you like daily devotionals he has links to other quality sites.   [updated January 26, 2010]
Colson's Breakpoint archives Chuck Colson's pithy "Breakpoint" commentaries are archived at this site, as well as more recent commentaries by their current staff - look on the sidebar under "BreakPoint Commentaries." Excellent for current social issues from a Christian perspective. You can also have Breakpoint commentaries emailed to you.
Cybersalt Illustrations [as of January 26, 2017, website has a security issue]

This e-Groups site has a database of 350+ illustrations which are searchable. Most are compiled by Rev. Tim Davis but other submissions are encouraged. You can be part of the e-Group and get illustrations by email by subscribing for free at illustrations-subscribe@egroups.com . I see the potential for more stars if more contributors participate, but nothing has been added since 2002. Note that the search engine sees "Psalm 15" as "Psalm" and "15" so Bible references are difficult to search.

Desperate Preacher Not an illustration site exactly but a forum for sermon ideas that sometimes contains illustrations.  You follow the discussion on specific texts.  More resources are available with a paid subscription.  [listed Jan 20, 2004]
Fax of Life Now taken over by Dr. Rubel Shelly.  It has a weekly devotional and a search engine to ferret out topics. Many contain good sermon starters.  [updated September 1, 2008]
Find the Power [site is online but not working as of March 2018, probably due to a coding issue] This site contains 40,000 illustrations (many of them from my database) that can be accessed from a search page.  The search page is somewhat confusing -- you enter your search phrase at the bottom in #6 -- but you can use Boolean logic to search for very specific material.  A summary of the search results is given in a small box at the top of the results page.  You can also use an extensive alphabetical index of keywords.  One drawback is that you cannot search by Scripture reference and the Boolean searches seem to be limited to keywords rather than the content of the illustration itself.  The site contains a ton of other material as well.  This is my first 5-star rating.  [added February 8, 2013]
Gibson's Illustrations and Jokes This is a downloadable archive in the form of a Windows help file. It used to be free but now costs $5 to unlock for full usage.  It is well done and includes around 350 illustrations and 300 quotes which are accessed from a list of topics. (Listed Nov. 20, 1999, updated September 8, 2011)
Gibson's Online Illustrations Searchable online illustration database, plus a topics page. The white box on the left-hand side allows you to type in search words, or you can click "Main Menu" to browse through a list of topics.  Each topic has several illustrations and many have links to related topics.  It appears that many of the illustrations in his archive program have been adapted to the internet. Site was give a major revamping in early 2005. (Listed Jan. 7, 2002, updated Jan 17, 2005)
Grace Quotes Archive of thousands of quotes on spiritual topics by noted Christians.  Pastor Randy Smith has arranged them by detailed topics (1,200+) with each topic bringing up numerous quotes.  He also offers to email you a quote every day. [listed Sept 8, 2008, updated Jan 26, 2017]
Heartlight archive Archive of two-minute devotionals by Phil Ware. Good for sermon ideas. It also has a search engine.   [updated Sept 1, 2008]
Higher Praise Site claims to have 10,000 illustrations which are grouped in topics.  No overall search feature, but many of the illustrations are current and quite good.  Apparently many of them are derived from Bible.org  [updated Jan 26, 2017]
Hillcrest Illustrations An online illustration with a search engine and apparently thousands of illustrations.  Many are current.  Site is a ministry of Hillcrest Baptist Church of Austin, Texas, and is edited by Tom Goodman.  It received my second 5-star rating and is the only one that is currently working.   [added March 22, 2018]
Holwick's Illustrations This is my own site. The only online illustrations are contained in the online sermons.

My main offer is a free, and massive, sermon and illustration database.  The Kerux database comes in several versions (all have the same sermon and illustration material).  The most popular is known as S.I.D. for Sermon and Illustration Database.  A different format with many advanced features is called Kerux2010.  All versions allow you to enter your own material and download supplements of illustrations and sermons from others.  You can search by Bible verse, topic or even phrases. 

Everything at my site is free as long as it is used for God's Glory.  [updated Sept 5, 2011]

Illustration Exchange This site is a combination forum and archive.  Membership is either by monthly fee or by submitting a monthly illustration.  Members can search the archive by topic or text.  Currently the selection seems to be limited.  Dr. Mitchell Dillon and his son Seth run the site.  [updated Sept 5, 2011]
Joyful Heart newsletter Searchable index of devotionals by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson.
Kent Crockett's Illustrations Site is by a Christian author who has arranged illustrations and quotes from his material under 150+ topics with 1 to 5 entries per topic.  He continually updates it.  [updated Sept 1, 2008]
Kir Shalom Illustration Links Kir Shalom sermon illustration link page. Lots of other stuff here, too.
Mission Frontiers Mission Frontiers magazine has excellent articles on the modern mission movement. Many of the articles are inspirational, as are the illustrations from the lives of missionaries. It is free, and better yet it has a fantastic search engine that shows your search word(s) in the context of the article. An excellent resource. [listed June 7, 2001]
Moody's "Today in the Word" Daily Bread-type devotions which focus on a Bible passage and often lead off with an illustration. The whole collection of devotions can be searched with a decent search engine, so you can look up a particular Bible verse or topic.
More Illustrations A index-style website with around 20,000 illustrations.  One quirky feature is a collection of illustrations based on chemistry experiments.  Many of the illustrations are from older sources.  The site includes collections of object lessons and children's sermons.  [updated March 21, 2014]
Methodist Webpage They used to have a page called Soul Food with a searchable archive of short stories from the United Methodist Reporter (Interactive). They now have a weekly sermon help section based on the lectionary.  Material can be emailed to you.  [updated Jan 26, 2017]
Ministry127 Appears to have over a thousand illustrations, searchable by text or topic (a clickable chart of over 100 topics is on the opening page).  A ministry of Dr. Paul Chappell.  [updated Jan 26, 2017]
Motivating Moments User-submitted submitted poems (lots), quotes, and stories (mostly fiction). Much of the material is in the genre of Chicken Soup of the Soul. Organized by category and date submitted.
News of the Weird Skeptic Chuck Shepherd has an interesting site with very strange real-life stories of stupid criminals, ignorant politicians and lots of other folks you will recognize. You can use his search engine to look up stories matching keywords, such as the state you live in.   [updated Sept 8, 2011]
Preaching Preaching magazine is no longer published and all the material on the site is now free.  It now offers a search engine for material on the website that finds that word or phrase in their articles and illustrations (they do not seem to have keywords associated with them).    [updated July 26, 2017]
Preaching Today Fee-based site offers one free illustration each week by email. A searchable illustration database, a journal, and others articles are available by paid subscription.
Pulpit Helps (AMG) Pulpit Helps ceased publication in December 2009 and was taken over by Disciple Magazine.  There is a search engine for the archive of past issues but it requires a fee-based membership.  [updated Sept 8, 2011]
Reader's Digest humor archive Laugh Bank of Reader's Digest with 4000 funny stories. [Link takes you to their main page because the Laugh Bank moves around.]
Ron Hutchcraft's "A Word With You" Archive of Ron Hutchcraft's radio messages which now has a search engine. Devotional length and each has his energetic style. One site notes that these make great sermon starters.  Daily emails are offered.  [updated Jan 26, 2017]
SermonCentral Illustrations The illustration page of what is probably the world's largest online sermon site.  You can search for illustrations by Keyword, Scripture, Topic and Date.  Topics are pretty much Keywords selected from a drop-down list.  One quirk is that some of the illustrations break off in the middle and require a paid subscription to get the rest, which is why I limit it to three stars.  The quality is a mix of old and new and appears to be generated mostly by user contributions.  [updated January 6, 2013]
SermonIllustrations.com Methodist pastor Brett Blair offers a free weekly e-mail of sermon illustrations and his site contains online illustrations accessed from an alphabetical page.  There seem to be hundreds and they tend to be current.  There is no search engine.  More complete resources are available with fee-based membership to eSermons.com.

The signup for the weekly illustration email is at the upper left corner of the page.  
[updated Sept 8, 2011]
Sermon Illustrations Plus (Tan) Tan's famous "15,000 Illustrations" book is in a (very) condensed version at this site. Each of the 38 topics has four or five illustrations but the topics only go from A to G.
Sermon Illustrator 6,000+ illustrations accessed with a search engine which does a bulk search rather than just for topics. Illustrations are fairly standard but some are quite good. Promoted on July 12, 1999 to three stars.  This site makes consistent improvements.  A daily email is also available.  [updated Jan 26, 2017]
Sermons.org Good source of online sermons and illustrations. The main page is a list of topics but only the ones in blue (a decided minority except for "A") link to illustrations. Links are also given for Parson's Biblical Illustrator and supplements, the Illustration Exchange, Sermon Illustrations.com and Leadership; each of which is commented on separately in my links. When you go to the links from here, the original program continues to frame it. There is also an extensive sermon index which highlights Baptist Bible Fellowship preaching. Site maintained by Pastor Shelton Cole.  [updated Jan 26, 2017]
SoundFaith A service of Logos Bible Software.  Membership is now required though a free one is offered for 30 days.  Type in a keyword or Bible reference and lots of material pops up.  Tens of thousands of sermons and illustrations and a forum for users as well.  (updated Jan 26, 2017]
SermonSearch Free illustrations on a for-fee sermon site.  Several thousand illustrations accessed from a topic list with at least 1,325 entries.  They are not associated with any Bible verses.  [added Mar 10, 2014]
SermonWriter 4 free back issues of a paid illustration service. Richard Donovan specializes in "True Stories" which tie in with a lectionary reading. For each reading he suggests a sermon title, sermon idea, and an appropriate true story, which is usually contemporary. I was impressed by several of them. [updated Jan 26, 2017]
Sheep's Crib Pastor (and blogger) John Gillmartin's illustration page with a blog format.  About 100 topics are on the right-hand side, often with multiple illustrations.  You can type in search words as well.  No new material has been added since 2008.  [listed April 7, 2005, updated Jan 26, 2017]
Stories For Preaching An index-style illustration page with material that is fresh and well-written; Scott Higgins aspires to quality over quantity and currently has hundreds of illustrations.  You can search by a topic list or with a search engine.  There is a noticeable liberal/progressive slant - I noticed one illustration on the Second Coming but 26 on Community, and the Homosexuality articles tend to be affirming.  Scott works for Baptist World Aid in Australia and blogs at scottjhiggins.com.  [added Jan 3, 2013, updated Jan 26, 2017]
This Is True Weekly email by Colorado humorist Randy Cassingham. It is secular but has very funny stories that will grab your congregation's interest.
Today's Christian magazine Formerly called Christian Reader magazine. Good for personal testimonies of well-known evangelical personalities and has some helpful articles. The site is now Christianity.com.  Search engine for keywords and of course a free daily email is offered.  [updated Jan 26, 2017]
Voicings For-fee sermon site.  16,000+ illustrations accessed by an index but most of them require a paid subscription.  They do not include Bible references. Used to be called Preacher's Illustration Service and is now called Sunday Sermons.  [added Mar 10, 2014, updated Jan 26, 2017]
Wise Old Sayings 800+ clickable categories of quotes. You can also use their Google "custom search" feature to find quotes by specific people.  [added Apr 17, 2016]
Wit and Wisdom Due to Richard Wimer's health, this site ceased to add new material in 2007 but you can search the archives.  Each entry has short illustrations, quotes and trivia.  [updated Sept 8, 2011]
Discontinued Illustration Sites (now on a page of their own)

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