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Tag Archives: Public speaking

A Place That Will Change Your Life Forever

On earth, travel agencies will try to convince clients of a sweet deal, hidden gem or destination that will change your life.  As spring approaches, television commercials will display eye popping images as states hope your summer plans include a family vacation to one their resorts.  While memories can be forever etched into your mind, the thought of work quickly snaps individuals back to reality, ending any memorable getaway.

From a spiritual perspective, people may recall the place they got baptized, the church they were married in or a retreat center where they met God for the first time.  Inside a sanctuary, family’s tend to gravitate toward their favorite pew, stare at magnificent stain glass windows or recall taking their first communion.  According to Exodus 29:37, the altar made for the Tent of Meeting possessed supernatural powers, making those priests who touched it holy.  While not the Tent of Meeting, the altar at a church in Friendship, Maryland changed my life forever.

During my senior year of college, I was asked to serve on a Lay Witness Mission team for a church seeking to revive its congregation.  My role was to be a small group leader for the youth group and its college students, sharing how God had made a difference in my life.  Usually, one of the leaders was asked to share part of their faith journey, a snapshot of their life.  On Saturday night, our leader Ken told me that I would be speaking to the entire congregation Sunday morning.  Caught off guard, my initial instinct was fear, pondering, “how can someone who stutters speak for 15 minutes?”

Subsequently, I was led to pray, asking the Holy Spirit and my roommate to clue me in on what God wanted me to say to several hundred strangers.  Tossing and turning, I was reminded of a song that I brought, called The Altar.  Studying the lyrics in my mind, a vision for my first sermon was conceived, drifting me off into a peaceful sleep.  As I made my closing remarks, I gave an altar call, inviting anyone who was touched by the Holy Spirit to come to the altar while I played Ray Boltz’s song.

To my amazement, one college student literally ran to the altar as soon as the song began.  Others quickly, followed, filling up the semi-circle shaped altar in front of the pulpit.  When the music ended, people were standing in line, waiting to kneel at the altar.  Elders and leaders of the church began to lay hands on those crying, quietly whispering words up to heaven on their behalf.  As I joined the congregation following my message, the senior pastor shared a few words, summarizing these amazing events of this 3 day event, encouraging people to continue lay their burdens up to Jesus at the altar, Matthew 11:28.  On earth, there are countless wonders of the world, but for me, I will never forget this day when lives were changed forever at the altar.

by Jay Mankus

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Opening Day 2013

About a month ago, I began to ponder in my mind the message I wanted to communicate to my 11-12 year old baseball team and their parents on opening day.  Since I believe brevity is clarity, I try to say as little as possible, maximizing the power of each word.  Unsuccessful in my initial attempts, the novel idea of praying for wisdom led to form the  invocation I shared today for Greater Newark’s Baseball League’s Opening Day Ceremony.

Not shy about public speaking, last year I was put on the spot after the reverend who was scheduled could not attend, called in from the bullpen to relieve the starter.  With  3 words on my heart, today’s last second notice was not as shocking.  Thus, the theme I wanted to share with just my team, was broadcast to all in attendance, in accordance with God’s will!

The first word God gave me was memories.  Whether a ball player hits a home run, assists in making a double and triple play or makes a game winning catch, these moments in time will be forever etched in a youth’s mind.  No one can take these memories away, brought to recall each time they pass a ball field in life.

This second word has had a much deeper meaning in my life, friendship.  After my 3 children spent 10 years at the same private school, a lost job thrust each into the public school system, scary for any parent, especially in Delaware.  On the first day of his new school, my middle child Daniel came home estatic.  In homeroom, one of his best friends from baseball, Xavier, introduced him several students, making him feel at home.

Finally, the last word the Holy Spirit gave me was legacy.  The game of baseball provides a series of tests, blown calls from umpires to name of few.  Yet, this game teaches great life lessons which can develop character within a child’s life, James 1:4.  Therefore, how you respond to these circumstances dictates the legacy you leave behind: good, bad or ugly.  At the conclusion of the game, when the scoreboard is turned off and the crowds part ways, how will people remember you?  Until this day, play ball!

by Jay Mankus

U-Centered Writing: How to Capture the Attention of your Audience

Whether you are teaching a class of students or preaching to a congregation of 1,000 members, there are 5 common thoughts flowing through the minds of your audience.

1) Are you going to say something interesting today?

2) What facts, information or story will hold my attention for your entire talk?

3) So what, how does what you are saying apply to me and my situation?

4) You’re out of your mind, show me something tangible that I can grasp or see.

5) How can I be assured that if I do what you say will I will succeed?

These mental obstacles will continue to distract listeners and readers until you develop a strategy for conquering these communication barriers.  Spirits of rejection, indifference, skepticism, procrastination and fear lurk in the shadows, attempting the block your message.  However, there is hope for the battle against minds tuning you out.

According to 2 Timothy 3:16, all scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.  The author of Hebrews concurs, claiming the Bible is unlike any other book as these words are living, able to penetrate deep into an individual’s spirit and soul, Hebrews 4:12.  The apostle Paul’s first letter to the church at Thessalonica provides evidence of this supernatural power, a blue print for educators, pastors and writers to follow.

Immediately following his Dear church comments in verse 1, Paul overcomes the spirit of rejection by thanking God publicly for the church of Thessalonica in verse 2.  If anyone was asleep or not paying attention, Paul adds another U-centered comment by expressing his continual prayers for the church and its members.  The key to being successful day in and day out is by making sure you are genuine, not fake or phoney in your compliments.

Paul quickly tackles indifference within verse 3 by praising their work done in faith, as a labor of love and the endurance displayed through their personal relationship with Jesus.  From his initial experience in Acts 17:1-9, he recognizes how difficult it is to stay committed to Christ while living in Thessalonica.  From a modern sense, Paul’s compliment is another way of saying, “that a boy or way to go!”  You must put yourself in the shoes of your audience to connect with and strike a cord with each individual.

Beginning in verse 5, Paul addresses skepticism with a painful truth, “you can’t do it alone!”  Paul wants to make sure he isn’t seen as some kind of super Christian.  Rather, Paul informs Thessalonica that the gospel came to him through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Remember, whether you or speaking, teaching or writing, they are only so many words you can say or write.  Therefore, rely on the power of the Bible to make your point, Romans 10:17, to convict the hearts of your audience and drive home your message.

The best way to conquer procrastination is to cast vision as demonstrated by Paul in verse 7.  Paul reminds each believer of the ideal situation, where your faith becomes a model for others to emulate.  If you don’t practice what you preach, your respect will plummet like the stock market on Black Friday, commencing the Great Depression.  However, when you become a living example for your flock, the masses will eventually be drawn to you thinking, “I want what this person has!”

Finally, Paul eliminates any fear through his words in verses 8-10.  Positive reinforcement is used to illuminate progress Christians have already made within Thessalonica.  Paul highlights their spiritual fruit which is slowly transforming the culture of their city.  Essentially, Paul is suggesting, “look how far you have come, why would you want to return to your formal spiritual condition.”  While this may be the most powerful obstacle to overcome, with God all things are possible, Luke 1:37.  May the power of the Holy Spirit talk your preaching, teaching and writing to new heights!

by Jay Mankus

Follower of Jesus for 29 years

Writer for the past 19

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