Posts Tagged ‘National Christian Forensics and Communications Association’

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“HAVE YOU SEEN JACOB THACKSTON?” – March 6

March 5, 2017

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” Galatians 5:6

Have you seen Jacob Thackston?  Is that name recognizable?

Google will not readily yield an accurate association.
The trappings of fame are not its acclaim.
Familiarity does not come from notoriety.

The name, Jacob Thackston, has a particular importance to me.  It is a name that has come to transcend even the owner in my mind.  I associate this name more with a characteristic than a particular personage.  It represents a potential that resides in each and every one of us.

We are all potential Jacob Thackstons.

Four years ago, Jacob Thackston was one of the top Lincoln Douglas debaters in Region II of the National Christian Forensic and Communication Association (NCFCA).  He won several tournaments and qualified for the NCFCA National Championship.  However, I don’t remember Jacob Thackston for these reasons.

I don’t remember any of his speeches;
I don’t remember any of his cases;
I don’t even remember what he looks like.

In fact, Jacob Thackston had thoroughly faded from my memory when an event just five weeks ago brought his name flooding back to my remembrance.

It was my family’s first year of involvement in NCFCA that I became familiar with the name Jacob Thackston.  My son was 14 years old and we were at our second tournament.  We were still figuring out this whole crazy, one-clap, NCFCA experience.  My son was struggling with some learning challenges.  He was doing cognitive therapy and we were simply thrilled that he was doing one speech, an Illustrated Oratory speech.

The first time I heard the name Jacob Thackston was as we were leaving the tournament and a young man walked out of the building and yelled:

Hey Kyle, I want to see you doing LD next year.

My wife and I, were “who was that”?  And my son said, “That’s Jacob Thackston”.
It was a long ride home and that name came up repeatedly.

Jacob Thackston was a senior and he had won the Lincoln-Douglas final debate at that particular tournament and my son was a fan. My son had followed Jacob Thackston around the whole tournament and timed all of his rounds.  Yet, I discovered that Jacob Thackston had done a remarkable thing as a senior to this novice speaker, my son.

He showed kindness to my son.  He encouraged my son.

What I heard from my son the entire ride home was:

“Jacob Thackston thinks I should do LD”;
“Jacob Thackston said that he would help me”;
“Jacob Thackston thinks I can do it”.

I must confess that I did not agree with Jacob Thackston.  I thought this whole LD idea was a bad idea.  My son had learning challenges; he was going to get slaughtered…but we tried to be good parents, sucked it up and said, “Oh I think that will be wonderful.”

That made what I saw five weeks ago so incredible in my eyes.  Five weeks ago at the NCFCA Spokane Open, my son walked across the stage the winner of a NCFCA national open in Lincoln Douglas debate.  I was astounded.  Honestly, it was a sight that I never thought I would see while driving across the State of Washington and hearing my son first tell me about Jacob Thackston.As my son received his trophy, I was as proud as a Dad can be and I was grateful to a lot of people.  Like most NCFCA competitors, my son has received a lot of help and encouragement along the way.  Yet, Jacob Thackston specifically came to my mind because it had all started with him.

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It had all started with his kindness.

Consider what his words could have done.

He could have been harsh or condescending;
He could have been indifferent or aloof;
He could have said nothing;
He could have discouraged my son…
to the point that our second tournament was our last.

Now, you may not think that showing simple kindness is a big deal but I will vehemently disagree with you. It may have been a simple thing but just because it was simple does not negate its tremendous impact.

Jacob Thackston’s simple kindness changed our lives.

  • Kindness changed my son’s life. His life is different because of his involvement in NCFCA; profoundly, positively different.  Kindness tilled the opportunity of participation to be planted in his life.
  • Kindness changed my life.  I am on the board of directors for NCFCA.  The simple kindness of a teenager started a whole series of events that have brought me to participate in a way that I had never aspired.

That is the profoundly powerful impact of kind words.

The kindness of Jacob Thackston was more than a good guy being friendly.  The spirit of God can be recognized in his action. I believe that his actions were the result of the faith of a child of God working through love – specifically love in the form of kindness.

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. (Galatians 5:6)

What do you think counts from the second tournament that my family attended?  Do you think the trophy Jacob Thackston took home all those years ago counts for more than the change his kindness made in my family’s life?

The kindness of Jacob Thackston is an example of how to combine what we do with how we do it, for the glory of God.  Jacob Thackston competed with intensity; he pursued excellence; he was focused; he was prepared; he was ready to address life issues from a biblical worldview.  He was successful.

However, what he did at that tournament in Washington did not eclipse how he did.  The kindness shown to my son demonstrated a faith working through love and that made all of his actions count.  It was his faith working through kindness toward a novice teenager that has continued to bring glory to God.

Kind words do not cost much.  Yet they accomplish much.
~ Blaise Pascal

Therefore, my encouragement is to never underestimate the power of simple kindness.  Speak what needs to be spoken.  Do what needs to be done.  Yet, always speak and do from a heart that loves God, a soul that hopes in God, a mind that is set on God and an attitude that loves your neighbor as much as yourself.  May our words accomplish much and may our legacy be a legacy of kindness for the glory of God.

Have you seen Jacob Thackston?
Have you been Jacob Thackston?

May we all become Jacob Thackston!

PRAYER: Lord, I thank you for the how you have used and continue to use the kindness of Jacob Thackston.  Father, help me to be like Jacob Thackston.  Help me to live a life characterized by simple kindness.   May the fruit of you Spirit flourish in my life in a love for you and for all those with how I interact for your glory.  May we all become a people who glorify you through our kindness.   I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

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“PURE WORDS” – April 13

April 13, 2016

“The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.”  Psalm 12:6

ncfcaThis past week I had the occasion to attend another NCFCA speech and debate tournament with my family.  I was afforded the opportunity to be a parent judge on multiple speech and debate rounds.  As a result, I had the privilege of judging the finals of the Biblical Presentation speeches.

This was the first time I had witnessed Biblical Presentation as it is a new event this year in the NCFCA.  “Biblical presentation is a speech that creatively develops and presents one or two selections of scriptures in an effort to foster understanding of God’s word, deepen the speaker’s Christian faith, and encourage the listener”.  NCFCA Speech

I now have a new favorite speech category.  I could not get enough of these speeches.  Each speech presented warmed my soul because at their core, each speech was the pure Word of God.  I got to listen to approximately 80 minutes of teenagers presenting 8-10 minutes each of memorized biblical passages, word for word,  in extremely engaging and creative ways.

There was one in particular that is still blessing me.  The speaker was not the most creative.  She did not have the most powerful or engaging voice.  She did not have the most dynamic interpretation.  However, she made the most significant impact on me in her 10 minutes.  She presented two of her favorite passages from Isaiah in such a genuine and heart-felt manner that tears welled up in my eyes from the unadulterated beauty of God’s word.

It was almost startling to hear sacred words simply spoken.   I was not preoccupied by her presentation.  Her interpretation was not a distraction.  On the contrary, I was drawn into the words.  I was captured by the Spirit.  I was renewed in the wonderful truths that filled the room with each utterance.

In recollecting that speech, I have been struck by the reality of how rare it is for us to simply hear the Word of God earnestly spoken in its entirety as the author intended.  So often, we sit silently reading our Bibles or we hear a few verses read before a Pastor spends an hour telling us what they mean.

Both are needed and good so I am not being critical.

However, the presentation of Isaiah reminded me of the power of the Word of God and the benefit from simply listening to the pure words of the Lord.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for the opportunity to hear anew the purity of your Word.  Thank you for showing me the beauty of inspired scripture.  I pray for all of those who are memorizing and sharing your Words through the NCFCA.  I pray that you will bless each one of these competitors and write your word on their hearts.   I pray that the purity of your words will abound and refine all those who hear for their enrichment and your glory.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

 

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“PERSUADED BY IMPERFECTION” – Feb. 17

February 17, 2016

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  2 Corinthians 12:9-10

She walked into the competition room with a face set in determination.  A faint smile graced her face in recognition of the judges patiently awaiting her arrival.  However, this polite acknowledgement faded the instant she found her mark, centered before the three seated personages, who were to witness her assault on the challenge before her.

She stood before a long table, which separated her from these strangers.  With head slightly downcast and her arms held rigidly at her side, she appeared to be using every ounce of will containing the urge to flee the room.  It was clear that the coming moment was to be more a personal confrontation of self than a speech competition.

She began to speak in a quiet, clear voice.  Her eyes lifting to make contact with each judge yet her brow remaining determinedly fixed forward.  She spoke smoothly through the memorized lines with the only movement being the slight rotation of her hands with fingers earnestly extending as if to dispel the building nervous anxiety.

And then, it happened.  The speaking stopped.  It sputtered to life again only to fall into an awkward quiet, allowing the room to fill with an oppressive silence.

She retreated into herself.  The seconds ticked on.  Her eyes closed.  The seconds ticked on.  Her lips whispered words already spoken.  The seconds ticked on.  Anxiety growing with the silence.  An anxiety easily observed  by a reddening complexion as it proceeded with each tick up her neck and over her ears.

Don’t run…the seconds ticked…find your place…the seconds ticked…you can do this!

Then, as if catching a rail at the last moment, the words began to flow.  Her reddened complexion receding with each remember line.  She finished with a slightly embarrassed smile, shook the judges’ hands, and quickly escaped the room.

I sat emotionally drained.  I had just witnessed something remarkable, but it has taken me a while to truly appreciate the accomplishment of this young lady.  As I contemplated what I had the privileged to observe, I realized that I had been thoroughly persuaded.  I was persuaded as much by the actions of this speaker as her words.

Her actions gave meaning to her persuasive speech, “how to overcome the fear of public speaking.”

I am still persuaded by this young speaker even though this NCFCA speech and debate competition is now more than a month in the past.  Tears well up as I remember this young lady who so boldly stood before me and triumphed over her fear.

She was not the best speaker that I judged that day.  She was not the most articulate or polished.  She was not smooth or natural.  She did not excel in a competition that placed her at the boundary of her natural gifts.

Yet, she was the most poignant speaker I heard.

She was effective because I could see the reality of her words in the practical accomplishment of overcoming a struggle.  She practiced what she preached.  I saw the raw reality in her overwhelming weakness.  Her weakness gave credence to her words.  That is what made her speech so persuasive.

We need more of that raw reality in the world.

There are so many people whose lives abound with insecurities and failures hidden behind carefully manicured personas of perfection.  I consider the associations of my life and see very little raw reality of weakness.  I scroll through Facebook but see few facing fears, standing amidst failure, or admitting to weakness.

I know that it is there because it exists in my life.

I don’t have it all together but you will never learn that from Facebook.  I battle doubt.  I clash with consistency.  My hope continues to find residency in my 401k account.  I am frustrated by a faith that feels incapable of moving a mole hill.

The longer I live, the more I realize  the weakness of my existence.  The raw reality of my life is that weakness exists even in my strengths.  I know this same raw reality exists in every Christian.

No one is the person they want to be.
Yet, is that the reality that we regularly see?

PreachThis young lady reminded me that the raw reality of weakness combined with Truth is the most persuasive when they are in unison.  We deprive our message of a powerful impact when we pretend to be perfect.

My weakness is testimony to the power of Christ in my life.  Through all my disobedience, failures, and faithlessness, I am still standing as a child of God through the sufficiency of His grace.  His power is demonstrated in my inability to obtain righteousness through my own strength.  I am far from self-righteous perfect.  I am consistently humbled in my weaknesses,I believe, for the expressed purpose of keeping me from being conceited.

Why should I then live behind a false illusion of perfection, depriving my testimony of the practical demonstration of the power of Christ to overwhelm my weakness?

It is why I can be content in confessing my weakness.
My weakness gives credence to the power of God’s word.

As Christians, we have always been called to live in the strength of God’s power; not our own strength.  We have been called to love God and our neighbor from the raw reality of our faith’s current condition.  Love forced through a false reality will tend to appear phony.

The world has enough phony Christians pretending to be perfect, while really living in pride.

The world needs more Christians willing to live in the raw reality of humble weakness – demonstrating the sufficiency and power of God’s amazing grace.

PRAYER: Lord, I thank you for my weaknesses.  Forgive me for my pride; for trying to portray an illusion that I am stronger than I really am.  Help me to be real with those who are in my life.  Help me to acknowledge your grace in all that I do.  May we all become a people who glorify you through our weakness.   I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

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EMBRACING JUDGMENT – Mar. 17

March 17, 2014

“Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.”  Philippians 3:17

National Christian Forensics and Communication...

National Christian Forensics and Communications Association (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have spent the last three days, five if you count travel, with my family in Richland, Washington for the National Christian Forensics and Communication Association (NCFCA), Tri-Windy Speech and Debate tournament.  My son competed in two speech categories and Lincoln- Douglas debate.  However, I think that I was more consumed with this tournament than he was.

These tournaments rely upon community members to be judges for the students.  Parents are used to fill in the judging gaps as necessary.  Unfortunately, there were a lot of gaps to fill at this tournament, so I spent a lot of time judging.  I was responsible for determining winners and losers of debates.  I had to place speakers in a ranking order from 1 to 7 or 8.  I had to have opinions.  I had to have preferences.  I had to judge and reveal my conclusions.

After a speech or debate, I was thanked by each competitor for giving my time to come and be a judge for them.  They welcomed being judged.  While I was there for them, I don’t know if these competitors grasp how much they are impacting the judges that sit before them.  Those who judge cannot help but be influenced by those they are judging.

I am two days removed from the competition but I am still lingering over the spoken words from that tournament:

I am still savoring the tears of compassion elicited by words spoken with a quiet, confident, spirit.

I am still smiling in remembrance of the precious lisp of a voice given to a cricket who just wanted to be a butterfly (I Wish I Were a Butterfly).

I am still feeling the empathy that came from a delicate portrayal of mental illness. (The Yellow Wallpaper)

I am still appreciating how two competitors made a caterpillar come to life.  (Alice in Wonderland)

I am still awakened to the reality of a child soldier. (War Child: A Child Soldier’s Story)

I am still relishing the tears of laughter from the creativity of an interpretation of  Dr. Seuss.

I am still encouraged by the student who endured when his memory failed him.  He fought through to the end with courage greater than the comic-book characters he was portraying.

This tournament was ostensibly about the competitors.  However, there is always so much more happening when an individual embraces judgment.  The judged will inevitably influence the judge.  These competitors are learning the skills of the spoken word.  These are skills that will assist them in influencing their world for the rest of their lives.  However, that influence is not just in the future – I was influenced by their words.  These speech and debate tournaments are less about the competitors than they may realize.  These competitors are influencing the judging adults that sit before them now because of their willingness to be judged.

If they were not willing to be judged,
they would never influence these adults.

Georg Gsell. "The Apostle Paul."

We live in a world resistant to judging.  Often, we will try to protect ourselves from judgmental eyes.  However, we will never influence a world without embracing judgment.  When Paul challenged us to imitate him, he was opening himself up to judgment.  We form opinions about Paul’s life because of his challenge; we have to determine if his example is worthy of following.  Paul embraced the judgment of others and profoundly influenced the world.  If Paul had worried about judgment, he would never have interacted with the world.  He would never have spoken publicly.  He would never have written letters.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Paul had a profound influence over the world, because he was willing to be judged.

The world watches all of us.
We can either scorn their judgmental opinions or
we can embrace the opportunity to influence.

Going out into the world is a declaration of our willingness to subject our lives to the judgment of the world.

Are you willing to allow your words to be judged?
Are you willing to allow your decisions to be judged?
Are you willing to allow your beliefs to be judged?
Are you willing to allow your life to be judged?

It is not about us; it is about influencing those who judge.   The willingness of those who are willing to be judged are an example to me:

Judge the words I speak;
Judge the words I write;
Judge how I conduct business;
Judge how I have chosen to raise my family;
Judge my faith.

I want to live a life that influences my world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Therefore, I embrace the judgment of those who watch.  I embrace their judgment because I know that they will be influenced while they evaluate me.  May we all be willing to stand before the judging eyes of our world so that we may be profound influences upon those who are watching and listening.

PRAYER: Father, forgive me of my fear of other people’s judgment.  Forgive me for relinquishing opportunities to influence this world because I am afraid of a negative reaction.  Help me to welcome the evaluation of my life; use my life to influence the world around me.  Lord, I pray that you will draw others to your Son, Jesus Christ, through the influence that comes from a willingness to be judged.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

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ADVICE – The Three Stages of Editing

February 26, 2014

Writing

In my ADVICE – How to Become a Better Writer blog post, I initially had a spelling error in the title.  It was just a slightly more public reminder of my continuing struggles with editing.

Long ago, my wife noted my struggles and merciful took upon herself the task of being my editor.  It is not an easy task.  She surely did not realize what she was getting into when she agreed.  In bewilderment, she regularly calls me over to read a sentence I have written.  I will read out loud a sentence of pure literature only to have her point out that the words I spoke were not the words I had written.  My brain simply compensates, substituting what I intended to write, despite what my fingers might actually type.  If the world could only hear what things sound like in my head, I would win a Pulitzer.

English: Hands collaborating in co-writing or ...

Given my propensity for writing errors, my wife is not very sympathetic when I embarrass myself by going rogue and publishing a blog prior to her editing.

That is what happened with “ADVICE – How to Become a Better Writer”.  It was short, I reasoned, ‘How could I messed that up?’  Evidently, I don’t even require a full sentence to make an editing mistake.  I can do it in a title.

My wife and son are out-of-town at a NCFCA speech and debate tournament so I am without my beloved editor.  I could refrain from publishing anything until she returns but what is the fun in that?  Therefore, I apologize in advance because it is going to be a rough couple days.  I did some research in anticipation of my impending difficulties and went looking for some advice on how to improve my editing.

I thought I would pass along some of the good advice I found from The Three Stages of Editing .  We will see how it works over the next couple days…starting now.

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“KALEIDOSCOPE OF A PEOPLE” – May 6

May 6, 2013

“Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who give breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it. ”  Isaiah 42:5

We made the day-long drive back from the NCFCA Regional Speech and Debate Tournament where my son competed.  We caravanned across the expanses of the State of Washington and Eastern Oregon with two other families from our club.  At one of our many stops, a club member asked me, “Mr. Blom, what was your favorite experience from the competition?”

My immediate response was the duo interpretation finals.  I was so glad that I did not have to judge these exceptional speeches and I could just lean back and enjoy them.  Several of the speeches caused me to belly laugh, nearly to the point of being a distraction.  They were so funny I had tears running down my eyes. If you have never seen this type of speech, I have attached a couple links to previous duo interpretation competitions.

We all climbed back into our mini-Van cages and proceeded across the wide plains of Eastern Oregon.  It gave me time to contemplate my answers.  I think that I may have answered too hastily.  While I did full enjoy the duo interpretation finals, I don’t believe that was what I will remember most about the competition.  I think that what I will remember most about the competition are the people.  I was so blessed by the people at this competition in a kaleidoscope sense.

I am always encouraged by the gathering of God’s people.  I particularly love the gathering of His people from diverse areas and backgrounds.  I realize that this competition was not that diverse since it was a gathering of individuals from just across the west.  Never the less, there is something special about watching people who have never met or interacted extensively with one another  exhibit the same Spirit.  I am blessed to watch people with such different personalities and experiences worshiping the same God, together.   I realize that God has blessed us with a wonderful canvas of His own people.

When we gather together in events like an NCFCA competition, where His people are drawn from far and wide, we get a wonderful opportunity to behold the Master Artist.  We are all created in the image of God but have you considered what a wonderfully extensive palate of color He uses to display that image through His people.

I saw people who are wonderful bursts of energy; vibrant colors thrown against the canvas in a chaotic merging of purpose and mess.

I saw individuals of stoic self-control; very precise pencil portraits in black and white but with incredible depth and detail.

I saw refined people; as detailed as any Dutch-master oil painting with careful brush strokes and a careful balance of light and energy.

I saw the delicate; finely crafted water-colors with so smooth and transparent edges.

I saw the bold; block and aggressively bold with a particular few colors that make their statement.

I saw the reserved; charcoal drawings that are easy to overlook until you gaze into the depths of the shading to see the master’s hand.

I saw the unique; the cubist approach that views the world from a wholly unique perspective.

I saw the informative; pure information unadulterated by form.

Louvre Dutch MastersAnd I saw all combinations of these, beautiful mingled personalities forming a wonderful kaleidoscope of colors and depths that seemed to change with every walk down the hall or turn of a corner.

I don’t think that we really understand how deeply blessed we are by the variety of personalities that God has given His people.  It would be a very boring and drab world if everyone was like me.  I probably would not be as easily irritated by these strange other people if they would simply think like me but consider what we would be missing.

God is displaying His masterpiece every time His people come together.  He has used a mind-boggling array of colors and depths in this portrait that He has continued to craft throughout the centuries.  In every generation, He gives vibrant life to His people in surprising ways and masterful strokes of His mighty hand and every generation comes together into an exquisite portrait of the same image – His Spirit.  Stand back at any large gathering of God’s blessed people and the image that should come through from the variety of personalities, experiences, joys, sorrows, failures, and victories is God.  He is proclaiming His mighty Name through the masterpiece of His people.

That was the image I was blessed to see these last several days and that was my favorite experience from the NCFCA Regional Tournament.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for blessing us in ways that we do not often even realize.  Lord, help me to slow down and behold.  Give me eyes to see your hand in all things.  Thank you for your people.  Thank you for displaying your Spirit through us.  May we never diminish that blessing.  I praise you and pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

1st place Duo Interpretation NCFCA Nationals

Grayum Pitzele The Hobbitt, Duo Interp, NCFCA Nationals 2011

“Cheaper By The Dozen” NCFCA 2010 National championship Duo Interp

A FUTURE IN GOOD AND CAPABLE HANDS – Jan. 21

“DAMAGING NORMAL” – May 3

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“DAMAGING NORMAL” – May 3

May 4, 2013

“O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you! ”  Psalm 84:12

National Christian Forensics and Communication...

National Christian Forensics and Communications Association (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am on the last day of a four-day, National Christian Forensics and Communications association (NCFCA), Regional tournament.  I believe I am on the verge of a severe speech and debate overdose and may need an extended recovery period.  However, my over-exposure to so many excellent speech and debate competitors has provided me with a unique perspective that has led to a startling conclusion.

Based on my observation, I am resolved that prolonged exposure to NCFCA will result in permanent brain damage.

Fact No.1The typical brain responds to public speaking with a fear induced adrenaline dump resulting in flight.

Fact No. 2The severity of the typical brain’s fear response increases inversely with a decrease in speech preparation time.

Fact No. 3The typical brain will become inoperable when public speaking is combined with the reality that other people are actually judging their speaking performance.

Over the last couple days, I have observed students that do not exhibit any of the common and expected manifestations of a normally functioning brain.  The common denominator among these students is exposure to the NCFCA.

I have watched young people get up in front of their peers and do fairy tale interpretations, complete with silly voices and actions – that should be scary.

I have seen some competitors deliver speeches on current event topics, with limited preparation.  I don’t think that some of these competitors were prepared for their selected topic but they got up to deliver their speech in spite of this – that should have sent them to the bathroom for a good purge.

I have seen adolescents tackle deep theological questions in front of stern looking adults – what could be more terrifying for a teenager?

These NCFCA students do not exhibit normal responses.  The ease at which these students accomplished these activities demonstrates that there is something abnormal about their brains.

Those who have been in NCFCA for extended durations often enter multiple events.  These are the students who do what is called the Ironman of speech and debate.  The Ironman competitors enter at least five speech competitions and the debate competition.  The result of this particular malady is that these competitors often can give more the 24 speeches in a day and still enjoy the process.

That is conclusive evidence of a completely damaged brain.  Their exposure to NCFCA has probably damaged them for the rest of their lives.

They will most likely suffer from an annoying ease in standing in front of other people and communicating effectively and persuasively.

This is an example where damaging normal is a good thing.  There are so many other areas in our lives where normal needs to be likewise damaged.

It can take a long time for the fear response of our brains to be sufficiently broken.  In my opinion, it is best for a person to face their fears in small controlled events that irradiate their natural fear response from one degree to a lesser degree.  These NCFCA students have successfully killed the debilitating fear of public speaking by doing what most people would never consider doing.  They typically started speaking in small classes; then moved onto broader groups in the clubs; then they enter one event at a competition; and then more, until they are orating three days of more than twenty speeches per day.  The more often they submit their fears to action, the easier it has become to overcome.  In addition, they have surrounded themselves with doers.  They are encouraged by their peers and coaches to do more and improve.

NCFCA is a fear killing organization that is permanently changing how our children communicate with the world they live in.

I have meditated on the successfulness of the NCFCA.  I am convinced that we need various forms of NCFCA-like organizations in our lives.  Our spiritual lives are so often inhibited by fear.  Consider our apprehension – fear – of fully trusting God.  We can be so fearful of trusting God that we live in the adrenaline induced world of the control-freak.  We try to control our little worlds through a deception created by fear.

The majority of people find it a fearful activity to trust God with all that they value.  That is not considered normal by this world.  Trusting in the sovereignty of God is considered strange and weird by many.  It is considered irresponsible due to fear.

We need to work at killing this fear by the same principles of the NCFCA.  We kill our inner control freak by doing – trusting God.  When we trust God in the small way, then we will realize that He is trustworthy.  When we trust God in close and trusted environments, then we will discover that He knows what we need.  The longer we are engaged in the action of actually trusting God and being around those who trust God the more we discover that there is nothing to fear.  The sovereignty of God is a reality that we experience when we trust God.

The apprehension of trusting God can be killed by facing our fear and going forward in faith, despite our fear.

Step out in faith and your brain will be changed permanently from the normal and prepared for the extraordinary.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for transforming our hearts.  Thank you for changing how we think.  Thank you for killing fear.  Lord, you have been so good to me.  You have been so faithful.  Forgive me for not trusting you like I should.  Show me those areas in my life where I am not trusting you.  Help me to step out in faith; my your Spirit kill my sin of fear.   I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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