As Soon As the Spiritual Opportunity Presents Itself to You, Seize It!

Over the years you come across sayings that you jot down on a piece of paper, or even worse, forget to note, and later wish you had as you cannot remember or recall them accurately.

When it comes to spiritual sayings and spirituality this is very true.

In many places there has been such a dramatic change in the Church of Jesus Christ that these words take on a new and apposite application. Instead of preaching the good news that sinners can be made righteous in Christ, and escape the wrath to come, the gospel has degenerated into the pretext that we can be happy in Christ and escape the hassles of life. In some places where there is ‘preaching’ that can be the impressions given and it is not only misleading but spiritually highly dangerous.

Keep looking up, with your face down. How relevant a word that can be. No matter how hard your walk in life is, if we keep looking up and looking to the risen and living Lord Jesus Christ, we will discover the help and strength just whenever we need it. Thousands have discovered that to be so true over the centuries.

I recall hearing, or did I read it somewhere, that one day a lady criticized D. L. Moody for his methods of evangelism in attempting to win people to the Lord.Moody’s reply was “I agree with you. I don’t like the way I do it either. Tell me, how do you do it?” The lady replied, “I don’t do it.” Moody responded “I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it.”

Do we not always find that there are those who are so willing to criticise but so reluctant to speak and witness to Christ and testify as to how they were ‘born again’. Of course, they may never have experienced that essential spiritual necessity of being ‘born again’. Jesus spoke about it three times within a few sentences.

Joy is the by-product of obedience, and yes that is true, but only partially true. There are many thousands of disciples of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, being persecuted for their faith in these present days, and I know not what type of joy they have as they endure such hardship and pain and separation from family and fellowship. How would I react in such a scenario? The thought of how poorly I might respond can cause me to tremble.

My greatest thought is my accountability to God, and again that is true and yet it is not fully and wholly true. Yes, one day I will be accountable to God for every word I have preached, taught and written, but there are moments when I tend to forget that spiritual responsibility and that can cause another wave of trembling. We have to be honest!

Then I recall coming across these words and again they are partially true but not the whole truth. The Christian life is an impossible one and it isn’t for everyone. You must enter through the narrow where you must leave everything behind and be stripped naked of yourself. You must get rid of your pride. Many so-called Christians are on the wide road leading to destruction. They may have all the outward signs of being a Christian as they go to church, serve, read the Bible, pray, but there is no inward change of repentance. Ah but God may be preparing these very people for something great in His glorious kingdom.

We never know what lies ahead of us but it is always best to seize the spiritual opportunity whenever we can. As soon as you see the light of God in Christ, seize it.

Sandy Shaw is Pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship, Chaplain at Inverness Prison, and Nairn Academy, and serves on The Children’s Panel in Scotland. He has travelled extensively over these past years teaching, in America, Canada, South Africa, Australia, 12 visits to Israel, and most recently in Uganda and Kenya.

Public Speaking Presentation Techniques

Preparation, Presentation, Persuasion are the key ingredients when you are speaking to 10 or 500 people. Your audience will judge your presentation within 30 seconds; 55% by your body language, 38% the quality of your voice and 7% the words you say. The most effective way to communicate to your audience is with accuracy and energy.

55% of how people perceive you is body language:
* Look at your audience, glancing at your notes only occasionally.
* Step out from behind the lectern or podium to make yourself accessible to the audience.
* Use your hands to emphasize a point, otherwise relax them at your side.
* Use flowing movements. Rocking side to side indicates insecurity.
* Smile and be dramatic or humorous when appropriate. It denotes you are a multi-faceted person.
* If you need notes make them on 5 x 7 index cards; not paper because it’s noisy. Use black ink for your main bullet points and red or another color for sub-points. Number the top corner of the cards.
* Place a glass of lukewarm water near your notes (cold closes your throat).
* If you blank out and forget a point, take a sip of water and check your notes.

38% of how people perceive you is by your voice inflection:
* Practice your speech out loud repeatedly. Eliminate umms, ahs and maybes. A pause is more powerful. If you connect your name and your company together: “Hi, I’m Bill Smith and my company is XYZ”, it would not be as effective as “Hi, I’m Bill Smith. (pause) The name of my company is (pause) XYZ.” This method draws the listener’s attention toward what you will say next. Pausing also helps the listener to digest what you have said before you go on speaking.
* Female speakers, lower your pitch.

7% of how people perceive you is by your words:
* Eliminate words like if, someday, but, problem, issue. If you have a problem, mention it once, and then go into conclusions, results, answers and solutions.
* Use powerful words: memorable, colossal, limitless, family, friendly and excellence.
* Opening your speech is your chance to attract your listeners attention. A powerful technique is to open with a statement or question to get them focused on you and your presentation. An eloquent analogy or comparison to preface what you intend to say is an audience grabber.
* Closing your speech is another opportunity to create a call to action finish for your audience in. You could end by using an famous quotation, or a slogan or a story that sums up your topic.

Your audience is rooting for you. They want to benefit from what you have to say. Practice your speech standing up, record yourself, play it back and have friends or family critique you. Take deep breaths and realize that nervousness is normal. The secret to giving an excellent speech is to commit, prepare and rehearse. Have fun, make audience eye contact, project your voice clearly and be committed to what you are saying.

Army Combat Uniform: Past, Present, and Future

Since its introduction in 2004, the Army Combat Uniform has gone through several changes over the past seven years. Changes have included modifications to the uniform’s design and moving from one camouflage pattern to two. ACU’s original pattern, Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP), proved to not blend in well with Afghanistan’s terrain of woodlands, mountains, and desert whereas the MultiCam® pattern has. Therefore, uniforms in MultiCam® have exclusively been issued to soldiers in Afghanistan since 201 and the Army is presently performing tests to find a new more universally acceptable camouflage pattern.

Replacing the Battle Dress Uniform (BDU), ACU was a significant redesign. At the time, ACU was described as “shapeless” and “untucked” and consisted of a jacket, trousers, and patrol cap in Universal Camo, along with a moisture-wicking t-shirt and tan combat boots. The new uniforms had Mandarin collars, Velcro fasteners, zippers instead of buttons, knee pouches on pants, and sleeve pockets instead of bottom pockets.

UCP was another drastic change for Army uniforms. A digital camouflage pattern, UCP was based on MARPAT, used by the Marine Corps, and has a color scheme of Foliage and Alpha greens, light brownish grey, and grey-yellow brown. Tested by PEO Soldier Systems with soldiers in Iraq and stateside, UCP was designed to blend into desert, urban, and woodland environments. The pattern, however, proved to be more effective in urban areas but did not blend well in woodlands. The pattern’s lack of black, which is disruptive in urban areas, is said to be the cause of UCP’s decreased effectiveness in woodland environments.

MultiCam® was chosen to replace UCP after testing for a new camouflage pattern solely for the Army Combat Uniform in Afghanistan in 2009. A multi-environmental camouflage pattern, MultiCam® tricks the human eyes’ perception of color by taking on an overall green or tan appearance. A gradient pattern, MultiCam® uses a brown to light tan gradient base, which is broken up by drab green dotted by dark brown and pink blotches. For optimal concealment, the camouflage pattern varies across the fabric, which disguises volume and shape.