Pictured above is a magnificent example of an American Chestnut tree. Observe how ancient are its limbs, how convoluted its branches.
"Old chestnut" is a term describing stories that are neither fresh nor new. Old chestnuts are good stories, to be sure. At least, they used to be good stories, back when they were saplings.
The problem with such venerable illustrations is precisely that they are so old. Dust off one of these timeworn tales, place it into a sermon, and you'll see smiles and nods of recognition from your people. They may even remember the first time they heard it. Or the second. Or the third.
As a public service to the community of preachers, we've created this virtual chestnut tree. Think of it as a place to hang your most wizened, dried-out, seen-better-days sermon illustrations. Branch 'em from this old trunk. That's what it's here for.
May they serve as a cautionary tale for us all, but especially for those who haven't been preaching for all that long, and may not have heard 'em all before.
If you see it here on this page, you'll know that - unless your ministry is exclusively with the unchurched - your people have probably heard it before. Likely, more than once.
So, be advised. Be very advised.