One of the tools I have used for many years (even before using Excel) was to create a comparison chart when I was trying to make the sermon outline alliterative. I would find one descriptive word for each point in my outline and then place that word along the top and the first letter of those words down the left side. I would go to my thesaurus (more recently I have been using www.thesaurus.com) and see what words I could find beginning with those letters on the left that carried in some way the sense of the original word at the top of each column.
Below is a chart that I used last week in my preparation for yesterday’s sermon. It is better than some and worse than others. Notice that if I had two words with the same initial letter (below: P & T) I put those words on the same line even though they were a separate column.
I could have used the “R” row, but I didn’t think some of the words fit the meaning I wanted to convey. I ended up using the “P” row, even though I could not make some of the words fit into my descriptive sentences. My outline is below. The words in all caps are from above. The sentence outline follows:
How We React to Persecution
- PREACH: They continued to preach (12-16)
- POSITIVE: They trusted that God was in control even when facing unjust treatment (19-20)
- PERFORM: They obeyed God. (21)
- PERCEIVE: They knew who their ultimate authority was
- PROCLAIM: They testified to their experience (32)
- PAIN: While they still suffered there were limits to the suffering God would allow (34-40)
- PRAISE: They rejoiced in the privilege of suffering for Christ (41)
- PERSEVE: They were not cowered in fear (42)