Which sermon illustration database should you use?

A number of pastors have expressed confusion at all the databases and archives I offer. If it seems like a lot of it overlaps you are absolutely correct! Below I give a summary of my recommendations.

First of all, everyone can download the "1,000+ Sermon Archive" in the CHM (help-file) version. It sets up automatically on your computer in the directory C:\PROGRAM FILES\KERUX SERMON MATERIALS. It has all my sermons for the last 20+ years and even if you don't like the outline style you will find many of the illustrations are word-for-word.  The Archive has the same content as my sermon website but the downloadable version has a keyword index and can do searches.

Here are your database options:

1. Decide which front-end you prefer to use.  The "front-end" is the visible screen that present the records in the database.  All the database formats have the same sermon and illustration material.  They differ in how they present them, and the degree to which you can manipulate them.

The SID front-end is very clean and easy to use.  Here is the opening screen showing a search for records tagged with "grace" and "Eph 2:10".  Here is the resulting record in Simple View and Detailed View.  More information on this file can be found at the developers' site at http://www.jesusplusnothing.com/sid/.  With the mega-database version there are no other files to install.

The other main format is based on the Microsoft Access database program.  Even if you don't own the Microsoft program you can use Kerux2010 (after you download some free runtime software from them).  It is probably the most powerful version we offer at this point.  Here is a screenshot of the opening screen; a complete online helpfile that includes a tutorial can be found here.  A different flavor of the Access front-end actually resembles the SID front-end but it requires you to own the Microsoft Access 2002 program.  If you own this program and try to open the database and it gives you the option of converting it, do that.  Here is a virtual tour of the Access 2002 version.

2. You don't have the Microsoft Access program but you have FoxPro, Paradox, dBASE or some other commercial program.  If you know how to program forms, download the dBASE-IV databases at my site.  These contain data files, period, and have not been updated in a long time. There are no forms or macros for displaying the data.  Your program should be able to open them and use them like a regular database and you can modify them and construct forms to your heart's content. The content is identical to the Access 2002 version but there are no macros, help screens, menu screens, etc.

3. You use LINUX.  The best option is to download SID and use a Windows Emulator.  More details can be found here.

4. You have a Mac.  I don't think anyone has figured out how to run any of these databases on a Mac.  If you know how, or are willing to program a Mac-compatible version of the SID database, contact me.


Still confused? Don't download everything because it will sit on your hard-drive forever and never even get unzipped!  (I know - I do it all the time.)  If you are a pastor I challenge you to invest one or two hours and try out one of these programs because I am certain it will pay you dividends. There are no hidden strings or gimmicks.

Rev. David Holwick
Updated November 10, 2013

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