In another post (a comment from my Forgiveness post), Jeff asks how much I read.  I read LOTS for many reasons, but primarily to glean illustrations, stories, quotes that will be helpful in preaching.  But you might ask… what do you do with those stories, etc.

 Years ago, both Dean Miller, then pastor at Christ Church of the Brethren in Carol Stream, IL, and John Maxwell, Leadership guru… taught me a great system that I have used for nearly 20 years.  When I read, I do so with pen in hand … I mark up all my books… underlining stories, quotes, etc and then in the margin I write a topic or theme.  Then I also record the page number in the back of the book.  When I get a stack of books that I have read, I go to a copier and make copies of the pages listed in the back.  Then I file those stories in a folder that is labeled with the theme.  I keep the file drawer alphabetical by theme.  Then when it comes time to preach on forgiveness, I go to the file drawer and pull out the file folder that says “Forgiveness” and I have lots of possible quotes, stories, etc to choose from.  I also mark the date on the story once I use it so that I know when it was last used.   This has been a real life-saver for me.

 Do you have a system you use?  Share it with us.