Tools like Facebook, Twitter & Blogging can be an inexpensive way to take your business to a whole new level. It can also be a colossal waste of time.
Regardless of what tool you use, the principles for success are the same. In this class you will learn the advantages and disadvantages of the major social media platforms. More importantly you will learn the philosophy needed to make you a success online.
Learn how to pick the right blend for your business and which tools to avoid altogether.
If you are just starting out marketing your organization online this class is for you. We have plenty of time for questions and discussion during the class.
SEO 101 – 7 Strategies to Boost Your Google Ranking
Increase Your Website’s Rankings With On-Site Optimization
Ranking high on Google is one of the best ways to boost sales for your business. The problem is most people don’t know how to rank high and much of the advice they get is out dated and wrong.
In this class you will learn seven best practices that will help you improve your website’s ranking. These are not black hat tricks. They are simple, proven techniques you can use on your own website without paying an SEO expert.
You don’t need to be a techie person to take this class. It will help if you already have your own website. It also helps if you can update it yourself.
At Patriot Academy this year I gave a talk about how technology has changed the world. While everything has changed, nothing is new under the sun. Everything that is has been before. By studying the past we can predict the future even when it comes to social media. Here are the slides for the talk. I’m sorry if they don’t make much sense if you missed the talk.
One of my favorite things in the world is teaching. Now I (sometimes) get paid to do something I love. If you would like to learn how to use Twitter better you are invited to come hear me speak. I’m just getting started as a professional speaker and so many of my classes are still free.
I have also added an upcoming speaking events widget to the sidebar.
The following video is by Lia who is only 12 years old. She gave this speech to her 7th grade class. Are the public figures emerging?
Generation Y, my generation, is much more pro life than Generation X and the Baby Boomer generation. I can’t wait for the male baby boomer pro-life establishment to be augmented and replaced by young women.
From a public speaking standpoint I want to point out some observations.
Lia has a great original introduction that grabs your attention and sets up the rest of the talk.
Lia uses short stories to impact her argument.
Lia doesn’t get bogged down in citing sources although she could briefly mention a few more particularly right before her statistical barrage towards the end.
Lia kept her message short. If this talk were 10 minutes long she may have only received a few thousand views. As it is it has already received over 500k views.
Lia could have impacted the numbers a bit more. She shares a few statistics and the millions tend to get lost.What is the difference between 10 million and 45 million. Without impact they are both just big numbers.
Lia is authentic. This video would not have been as powerful if delivered by a 12 year old boy.
Lia is passionate without sounding extreme.
Lia is cute. Her attractiveness fosters attention. Conservatives often overlook the importance of physical appearance in the arena of ideas. We prefer hard facts and cold reason. We get defeated by good looking actors who tell stories. Is it stupid? Sure. But its how the world works.
Lia stays focused on the main point and does not get distracted on side issues.
Those are my thoughts on the video. What do you think?
If you are a writer or a speaker this will help you understand how words work and how to make you message stick. This talk comes from the books Presentation Zen by Garr Reynold and Language in Thought and Action by S. I. Hayakawa.
Here is a recording and slides for the Ladder of Abstraction talk that I gave at the Austin Rhetoric Club a few weeks ago.
Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!
The Ladder of Abstraction I got this blog and I set up a RSS syndication feed which means that you can subscribe to it though an RSS agrigator on your computer but I was having some trouble yesterday because I was also trying to syndicate the RSS feed from cgames.com podcast which is also a blog onto my blog so that you could see both feeds on the same page.
The problem was that the RSS feed that was on there was looking toward the wrong FTP server so the xemail link was bad. Who understood what I just said? Two people! That was exactly what I was expecting.
What I will be talking about today is something called the “curse of knowledge.”
Believe it or not knowledge is a curse or it can be. Here are a few reasons why knowledge can be such a curse. #1 It can make us proud. “Knowledge puffeth up” is what the Bible says. #2 The other thing that knowledge does to speakers is it makes it hard for us to communicate. The way that it does that is when we have knowledge it’s difficult for us to understand that other people don’t have that same knowledge. So when we speak to them we speak in terms and abstractions that make perfect sense to us but that have no meaning for our listeners.
So when I talk about an RSS agrigator only a few people know what that means. If you know what that means it opens up a whole world of meaning in your mind but if you don’t know what it means you start to fall asleep. I was looking at some of your expressions and you were like “oh, no! This guy is talking about stuff that I totally don’t understand!” I don’t blame you. I wouldn’t of understood what I just said until my blog broke yesterday and I had to fix it. I was asking Google help and then I had a friend come over and fix it. So the talk that I’m giving is based off of two books. One is “Presentation Zen” which came out recently. It is amazing! The guy is Japanese so he mentions Zen but it’s not very Buddhist despite the name. He has some really great principles on simple communication.
The other one is by another Japanese guy; “The Love Langue of Thought and Action.” That is what this talk is about in part and the Ladder of Abstraction. So most speeches are boring, right? Most speeches are boring. Why is that? What makes speeches boring? Because of the person that presents it? O.K. more specifically how does that person make it boring? Monotone voice? To fast? Some one has heard that talk before? They pause? There are lot’s of things about the way that we speak that can make it boring but it also a lot about what we say that can make it boring and unclear.
You see even if I was what I was saying earlier in that example was interesting and I was saying it in a good way because of what I was saying was unclear it was boring. So, I bet you are asking what is the “Ladder of Abstraction?” Well, let’s look at our good friend, Bessie, the cow. She is a key to understanding the ladder of abstraction. You see, Bessie, here is not any cow. This particular cow is Bessie! She is seperated from all of the other cows is Bessie the very specific, individual cow.
The word cow is a little more generic. It’s a little more abstract. It doesn’t just include, Bessie, it also includes all of the other cows that are in existence. Now remember we are talking about words that make words make sense. Because if our words don’t make sense we don’t make sense and if we don’t make sense we are BORING! Right? So to explain the ladder of abstraction I have a slide.
On the bottom of the ladder I have “Bessie” A level up from that I have “cow” which includes Bessie and the other cows. Then I have “livestock” which also includes “Horton the pig” and all of the other pigs. Then up above that we have “farm assets which not only includes the livestock but also the tractors, the shovel, the elbow grease that the farmer puts in…well that isn’t really an asset……anyways, you go on up and there you have asset which not only includes stuff on the farm but his stuff in the bank and the real estate that he owns. And then finally we have “money.”
So, Bessie, down here at the bottom is money in a kind of abstract way. Y’all laugh about this but so often we tend to be way up high on the ladder of abstraction. We say money but we’re thinking Bessie but we aren’t saying Bessie. One of the things that I want to warn you about is dead level abstracting. Dead level abstracting is very bad. Dead level abstracting is basically not moving up and down the level of abstraction. Dead level abstracting takes to forms. Number one is people who get stuck in the details.
Who gets stuck in the details? Team Policy people or Lincoln Douglass debators? Team Policy! Oh, we love those details! I have pieces of evidence to read in four minutes and by, Golly, you are going to hear all of those pieces in the first minute and a half! So, we try to cram in all of the details. Allot of you have read Science text books that cram in all of the details. What happens when you cuddle up at night with your Science text book? You have a great sleep! Some of my best naps were inspired by Science text books!
The thing is, and I do remember taking Science, and all I needed to grasp Science, and I did get this in Biology was the big picture. How does this information connect with everything else that I am learning? How does it apply to my life? In Biology they were like germs make you sick. You need to know what is going on in your body and what makes you get sick and I was, like, okay! I understood that! Then I took Chemistry.
I asked my Chemistry professor why I needed this. His answer was; “Well, you need it so that you can get into college!” Well, I went to a college that didn’t need it. So I didn’t need it and I didn’t get the big picture that I so desperately needed. The other temptation is to get caught up in the clouds. Who does this? Team policy or Lincoln Douglass people? Lincoln Douglass people! “Judge, I’m here to talk to you today about Justice.
I’m not exactly sure what Justice is or what exactly comprises Justice but it is very important. In fact, I value Justice!” So we then have very abstract, very unclear debates. What you’ll have is two Lincoln Douglass debators using such abstract terms that at the end of the round the judge had no idea what they were saying so they will vote for the person that they liked the best or who spoke the best and it will wind up being all about persuasive speaking. That is why for Lincoln Douglass people it’s all about being persuasive because the judges won’t know what you are saying half of the time! If they could understand you then they would vote for you a lot more. Does that make sense?
Also learning how to go up and down the ladder of abstraction can be helpful when you play games. Have you ever played “Twenty Questions?” Have you ever played “Twenty Questions” and not been able to figure it out even after forty questions?
If you’re doing dead level abstracting you will never win “Twenty Questions.” “Is it a vegetable, animal, or mineral?”
“It’s an animal.”
“Is it a cow?”
“Is it a bear?”
See you could do that all day and use up all twenty of your questions but if you understood the ladder of abstraction you could win “Twenty Questions” with far less questions than twenty. My mom once got the wax on top of the king of spades in her drawer back in her room within twenty questions. Her family is very compitive at this game and they have little machines, you can get a computer that will have you think of things and it will ask you twenty questions, with you answering yes or no and it will figure it out.
People will be, like, “It’s magic!” No, it’s not! It’s the ladder of abstraction! Okay, it’s this thing. The the ladder of abstraction is very helpful but not only that if you are ever using a filing system it uses the same type of thing. What the is this on the ladder of abstraction? You’ve got a really big filing cabinet for finances.
In one drawer you have you’re family’s finances and in that drawer you have you’re budget folder. In that folder you have you’re January budget and in that folder on a certain piece of paper you will have you’re January budget for food. You see how that is very specific and yet still a little piece of a larger more abstract system? Now we will focus more on how to use the ladder of abstraction.
The ladder of abstraction can help you win debate rounds. It can also help you to communicate better. The goal is to make your arguments sticky. If you’re judge can not remember your first speech as he’s casting his ballot you lose unless he remembers the other team even less. The goal is to get your arguments sticky.
To illustrate this I’m going to give you to messages on the same idea and you can tell me which one is more sticky. Our mission is to become the international leader in the space industry though maximum team centered innovation and strategically targeted arrow placed intitiaves. Or we could say “Our mission is to put a man on the moon and return him safely by the end of the decade.” The 2nd statement was from JFK. He said those word and our nation was like, “Yes! Beat the Russians!”
So we put a man on the moon and brought him back safely by then end of the decade. Allot of men died in the process but by Golly, we got it done! What it was was it was sticky! It stuck in the minds of Americans. It rallied us to a common purpose and we got things done.
Now, I’m going to quickly give you some principles from “Presentation Zen.” One of the keys to a sticky argument is to keep it simple. There was a reason why Jesus’ talks in the wilderness were repeated and repeated and repeated to the edges of the earth. The reason why is because He kept His message simple. While we take it for granted how simple Jesus’ messages were can you imagine someone who contains all knowledge communicating to us?
Can you imagine how complex what He said could of been? Have you ever heard a college professor talk? A college professor doesn’t have a fraction of the knowledge that Jesus had and yet he is still so complex in what he says that sometimes you’re like; “I think what he just said was good or I might have disagreed with it. I don’t know!” Jesus was talking about very abstract concepts. How did He talk about concepts? Lets take the Kingdom of Heaven?
He used simple, simple langue. “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a pearl of great price that a man found. He sold all that he had so that he could buy that pearl.” It’s very very simple. Another thing that helps make our arguments sticky is if they are unexpected. Who expected me to start talking about computer programming langue at the beginning of this talk? Sometimes what you need to do is do the unexpected. Jesus did a lot of unexpected things. He would be talking and then some one would ask Him if it is lawful to pay taxes and everyone would get quite wondering what he was going to say. Jesus said; “Give me a coin.” It was so simple.
I would venture to guess that most people don’t have most of the Bible memorized. but that was so simple, so unexpected, so concrete that we would remember. If we can speak in those little proverbial terms such as “ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.” It’s those simple little things that are so concrete. Another thing that is helpful is to make it concrete. Jesus spoke in very concrete langue. He talked a lot about farms, farmers, shepards, coins, fig trees, things that we would all interact with. Things that are concrete.
He didn’t use big words. The theologians have taken Jesus’ simple words and have added big words to them. Jesus didn’t need big words. He was so smart. So cool. By Golly, he could talk about a coin and make it profound. Another thing is credible. People won’t listen to you much if they don’t beleive what you’re saying. I want everyone to listen to what I’m about to say; “Statistics do no make you credible.” You can use statistics but what makes you credible is the contextuluzation of those statistics. Steve Jobs, I would encourage you to watch him.
He’s one of the better presenters in the more modern form with using slides. The best, I think, traditional speaker is Alan Keys. If you can find a recording of him, he’s great! They’re styles are very different. We need a kind of balance. Anyways, Steve Jobs presented statistics at the beginning of his most recent talk he’s talking about market shares. Instead of listing off how are market share was 26% or whatever he compared his market shares to other peoples’ market shares. That made it very credible. Very real. He told us a story and used contextulazation.
Here is an even better example. You can say; “66 grams of fat” and then you can talk about how fattening that is or you can say “66 grams of fat is equivalent to 3 big Macs.” Suddenly, that can stick in my mind. “3 Big Macs! That’s a lot of fat!” That is what you need to do. Don’t just sight statistics. Break it down. Next is emotion.
What I’ve learned in my marketing classes is that we Americans think that we are rational beings and we think that we buy products for rational reasons and marketeers are very good at getting you to think that you are buying their product for a rational reason. When really you’re not. This is also true with sharing the gospel. I can think of only one person that I know that actually came to Christ by looking at the stats and the figures and logic.
This guy is an engineer and he’s very effective and he’s well very much an engineer. The rest of us are not engineers and we don’t make desicions based off of facts and reason. Most everyone makes their desicion based on emotion and then come up with a reason. It’s very important to learn to appeal to emotion. Let’s say that you’re talking about the devastation of the Hurricane Katrina or the war or immigration. You could share a lot of facts about how badly they are treated or you could tell a story about a family who came to the U.S. to keep from dying, to keep from starving to death.
They already had a few children in the U.S. who were citizens but when the came over the Immigration Services nabbed the family and thrust them back into Mexico, took the children who had been born in the U.S. and put them into foster care and absoulutly destroyed that family. Did you see how much more impactful that was them a bunch of statistics. You could tell about Katrina and how millions of people were displaced or you could tell a story of one person who you know who had to flee for their lives from the water. Connecting emontioally is so much more effective then just giving facts.
That is the best way to up and down the ladder of abstraction, it’s sticky and memorable. The best way is to tell stories. Jesus did this all the time and so did God. He had a book of 66 little books. What does He spend the whole first book doing? Telling a story! There is basically no preaching at all in Genesis. It’s the same way with the first part of Exodus and then around Exodus 20 He tells us how to live.
He talks about murder and you can look back to Genesis and see the first story of the first murder and you can see how that broke God’s heart and Adams’ heart. He says not to steal. You can look back and find stories about people stealing. You can look back and see what that means in the context of a story. They do this in Japan very well. The way they do training is they have a Sin Pi and a Co hie.
The Sin pie is the trainer or the coach and the Co hie is the greenie. The guy that doesn’t know anything. They match them together and the Sin pi trains the Co hie by telling him stories. Instead of saying here are all of these facts and how you are more likely to get hurt if you don’t wear you’re hard hat he tells him the story of that one poor fool who didn’t wear his hardhat and died.
So the Co hie always wears his hard hat and every time he takes it off he remembers poor Johnnie who didn’t wear his hard hat. It’s far more effective. Okay, back to the ladder of abstraction. Dictionaries do not give words their meanings.
Now this is really important when you’re competing and you’re saying I have Black Law’s dictionary or I have Webster’s. Dictionaries don’t give words their meanings. The meanings existed so we had to attach words to them. Sometimes there are meanings that words can’t hardly express so that is why we have art. That’s why God not only wrote the Bible but He also wrote the Clear Testimony of Nature.
Paul talks about this how the Gospel is clear in nature. You can look at a tree and be like what can this tree teach me about the Kingdom? It’s not that the tree is the Kingdom but if the tree can teach us things. That is why Jesus was able to use such concrete examples from the very beginning because God wrote those truths into nature from the very beginning.
If you’re looking and asking the right questions you can find the truth in nature but when you read the Bible and study nature you learn so much more. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit is like breath, like wind. So you’re like “I need to go learn about wind!” So you go learn about wind and suddenly what you learn about wind shows you more about the Holy Spirit. So the meanings existed and we simply attached words to the meanings.
There are different types of definitions. Extetionsal and Intentional . Extensional means that you can just point at something and say that is a pig and I mean a pink animal with four legs. But if I point at you and say that you are a pig it has a totally different meaning. Some words their connotative meanings speaks so loudly that their denotative meaning is lost. The denotative meaning of say the stars and the bars, that flag, is that it was a nation that existed and believed in states rights but the conative meaning of that flag is slavery and racial hatred.
You have to be careful with the words that you use, that their conative meaning is not offensive. A lot of time it simply depends on the context of the word. Like a note. The notes in a melody make sense in the context of the song just as the words make sense in the context of what we’re saying. That is how stories help. They give some context to what we say. Here is a real life example of how using the ladder of abstraction can help you. If someone defines something by going up on the ladder of abstraction take them into the clouds.
For example; “What do you mean by the word red?” “Well it’s a color!” (Go up on the ladder) “What’s a color?” “Well, it’s a quality.” “What’s a quality?” “Hey, what are you trying to do anyways?” Form a definition loop around the other team. You can do this allot. This happens when the other team defines a word by staying on the same level of the ladder.
“What do you mean by democracy?”
“Democracy means the preservation of Human Rights.”
“What do you mean by rights?”
“By rights I mean those privileges that God grants us , inherent privlages.”
“Liberty, for example.”
“What do you mean by Liberty?”
“Religious and Political Freedom.”
“What do you mean by religious and political freedom?”
“Well, it’s what enjoy under a democracy.”
See? It’s gone in a full circle. Pull people down in cross examination and make them be more specific. Get them to reveal the true truth of what they are saying. A politician can get up and talk for a really long time and say nothing by simply staying abstract. “I beleive we should improve education in the U.S.!
We need to do this by making sure that the class rooms teach better materials and that the students learn better. We need a smaller government. We need to do things smaller! We need to have a better economy!(Everyone is like “yeah, better economy! Fix the economy!) But they never say how they are going to fix the economy. Be careful of that in a debate round. You can easily lose the round or bore you’re judge. You don’t want to be boring. Go up and down the ladder of abstraction.
If you can tell an emontially compelling story to connect with the judge you can get them to vote for you. I used to tell a story of story of a blizzard and the currant IRS system and how they take up so much time. The judges were like “Yeah!” So you need to connect with judges.
In closing I would like to tell a story. Antioch in the Bible was located on the southern border of Turkey and the northern border of Syria. The church in Antioch was known for it’s church planting.
It sent out mission teams. It sent out Paul and Barnabas, John, Mark, and Paul and Sylas. That church planted all though out the Roman world. God allowed the lamp of the church to be exstinusished in that place. Two decades ago you could count the number of people in the churches by the dozens.
The lamp of the Gospel had completely gone out. He is allowing the lamps of Europe to also go out. If you look and see what has happened in Europe in the last 100 years we can see that His light is going out.
We can look and see the same thing happening here in the U.S. but God is wanting to do something with our generation. God has a plan but the enemy is fighting against Him. The enemy has a 3 fold plan to stop God’s plan. One way is though addictions. We can get distracted with addictions such as gaming, alcohol, or drugs. We can not do what God wants us to do if this addiction is consuming our passions.
The second way that Satan is trying to stop us is though abortion. He knows that we can not speak if we are dead. 1/3 or my generation has been killed. The enemy is serious. Dead serious. The third thing that the Devil is trying to do to destroy the light is though apathy. If he can’t kill us or addict us, he’ll get us to just not care, to keep the truth we know to ourselves. He’ll keep us out of the public square, out of the voting booth. Out of a world that is falling. I ask you to say no to these three things. Say no to addiction. If you know some one who is addicted pray for them.
Say no to abortion. Take a stand. Say no to apathy. We must make stand up and make a difference and help stop these dying children. So that we might defeat the enemy and also his third plan, that of apathy. We can stand up and say no. You can say no. You can say I will stand up for God’s purpose in this generation.
I will not let the lamp go out while I’m alive. Generations of Christians have died to see the light of their nation continue to b urn. The lam p in China is beginning to shine for after more than 1800 years. God wants to use you. Thank you!
As you can see from my last post I am not a big fan of self confidence. So often presenters struggle with fear and so they compensate for their insecurities with self confidence. The Bible has a word for self confidence. The Bible calls it pride. Confidence might make you feel better but it can turn your audience off. Our confidence should be in Jesus Christ alone.
I found these not to long ago and they were so good I wanted to share them with you.
Confidence is about you – enthusiasm is about your subject
As long as you’re focused on ‘being confident’, you are the focus of attention.
Confidence is about you (again) – enthusiasm is about others
when you focus on your audience – whether one person, a roomful or a whole stadium – you stop worrying about your own performance. Instead, your attention is on the audience’s experience
Confidence is impressive – enthusiasm is infectious
Think of a time when you heard someone talk about a subject you had previously no interest in, but they were so enthusiastic about it, you couldn’t help being intrigued, even fascinated. There’s something contagious about the body language of enthusiasm – when you see someone talking excitedly, smiling, gesturing, full of energy and keen to share what they know, you can’t help responding
Confidence is certain – enthusiasm is creative
Confidence is serious – enthusiasm is fun
When you start talking or thinking about being confident, you’re likely to start taking things a bit seriously. When you want to be confident about doing something, it’s because you think it’s important.
I am going to start reposting achieved posts from my old blog on the first of each month.
The enemy thinks he can purify pride with Disney films and encouraging posters. Motivational books tell people they need more self-esteem in order to succeed. Many say, “If we only thought higher of ourselves we could accomplish more.” Just “believe in yourself” the cartoons say.
Yet, throughout the Bible God shows the dangers of pride:
“Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom” (Pro. 11:2)
“Pride leads to arguments; those who take advice are wise” (Pro. 13:10)
“Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall” (Pro. 16:18)
“Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor” (Pro. 29:23)
Successful people are confident, however. People, who look at the ground, talk softly and never take risks rarely change the world. The question is, “from where should our confidence come?” God actively looks for humble hearts, for He knows that nothing can stop those who place their trust in Him alone. Confidence is crucial for success, but only trust in Christ is of any use for the Kingdom.
Joseph – the jailbird
Moses – the mumbler
Gideon – the coward
King David – the forgotten shepherd son
Daniel – the slave
Esther – the peasant girl
Peter – the foot eater
These people had little confidence in themselves, but they changed the world. The enemy comes against the work of God by tricking us into believing in ourselves instead of in Jesus.
Look at the tower of Babble or the rich man who died in his sleep. These people had plenty of self-esteem. Nebuchadnezzar accomplished great acts; but when he got cocky, he ate grass like a cow.
The world needs you about as much as it needs another grain of sand at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. What it needs is Jesus. To the extent we allow Christ to shine through us is the extent in which we are able to change the world for Him. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).
If Jesus said that he did nothing on his own (John 8:28), why do we think we can live differently? Jesus had no self-esteem in the way we think of it today. While Jesus was “in very nature God, [He] did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.” (Phil. 2:6)
Take for example Romo the self-confident quarterback. His football talent and winning streak lead him to believe that he is a great player.
But, what if Romo misses a crucial throw causing a crushing defeat in a big game? Joe’s confidence drops as his failure grows. But, if he put his confidence in something or someone bigger then he will not be so easily shaken.
When we put our confidence in Christ then we can count it all joy when we fail because we know that Jesus will be glorified despite our best efforts. He won’t have to blame others for our failures as “self esteemers” often do. We can instead take the blame and then take the failure to Christ.
The world comes against Christians, tempting us to put on the tough skin of arrogance. This hardening of our hearts is just what the Bible speaks against. Pharoh’s hardened heart caused great pain for Egypt and the hard hearts of the Israelites caused continual judgment.
He who esteems himself is his own god.
He who esteems Jesus fulfills his purpose.
We can put our confidence in Jesus because He earned it on the cross. God may not use as many posters and movies as the world, but His truth is as good now as it was for King David who said, “Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.”
Here is a talk I gave at the 2007 Christmas Evangelism Boot Camp. You may recognize the first few minutes as from my blog. The audio quality improves dramatically after about five minutes.
Learn the principles that ground good evangelical methods. Learn to balance your presentation of the Gospel between Spirit Truth and Love. In this talk we discuss the challenges to balanced evangelism and how to overcome them. You can get the Balance in Evangelism Handout from here .
Before we get started, I would like to share a story. A family once had a pool party at their house. They had friends from all over filling their backyard.
While no one was looking a young boy creep ed over to the pool and fell in. "That kid can’t swim!" One of the ladies said. Then a man replied; "Why don’t you go and help him?"
"Oh, no!" The lady responded. "I’m just the eyes of this party. I don’t have the gift for saving people." She then turned back to her food and continued eating while the child gasped for breath.
One guest thought about saving the boy but then he decided that he might offend someone by implying that children shouldn’t swim.
Another guest felt sorry for the boy so he ate his food by the edge of the pool, hoping to make dry ground look so appealing that the boy would want to leave the pool and get out of the water.
Yet, another man, behind a grill was so busy serving the guest that he never even noticed the drowned child. "I will call my father about this." A man hesitant to get wet lives said. "He lives in just the next town and he loves children. I’m sure he would love to come in and save this child for us."
Finally a teenage girl saw the baby now floating in the water. She jumped in, grabbed the boy, and tossed him out of the pool. She listened for breathing an hearing none she started roughly pressing on the baby’s stomach, as the girl tried to administer CPR and save the babies life, the guest gathered around the girl and began to criticize the girl’s efforts.
"You’re being much to rough with that child." One of the guest responded. "You should be much more gentle."
"You’re not pushing hard enough!" An elderly man commented. "And you’re pressing in the wrong place." Finally in desperation the young girl cried out; "Will someone please call 911?" At first none of the guest made a move but finally a lady sighed, walked into the house, and made the call. The paramedics came and whizzed the baby away. Soon all was quiet. As the sirens faded away into the distance the guests turned upon the teenager. "How dare you order us to call 911?" one said. "Did you see how rudely you splashed water all over those guests when you jumped in? You’re going to scare visitors away from this party."
These comments hurt deeply. She didn’t want to be rude or hurt anyone. All she wanted to do was to save the baby but the guest continued. "You should be ashamed of yourself for how insensitive you were to that child." A man said. "You just grabbed him and tossed him out of the water. You should be more loving."
He didn’t even asked to get saved!" said another. "Who are you to jump in and force your dry ground on someone else? You should never of forced your own air down someone Else’s throat."
Finally the girl could not take it anymore. She ran away from the party. The guest never did find out if the baby survived or not.
I share this story tonight to give us some respect for what evangelism is really all about. It’s not about techniques or methods. It’s about reaching into a lost and dying world. A world that is gasping for breath and who desperately needs a Savior. We have a passion that makes it easier for us to share the gospel and frankly it makes it easier for us to withstand persecution because the world does come to persecute us. He who is in us is stronger than he who is in the world.
Today, I’m going to be sharing some principles for grounding our methods. The reason that I’m doing this is not to criticize methods. I don’t want to be like the guest at the pool and, frankly, I don’t want you to be, either. I have been on the receiving end of quiet a bit of criticism when it comes to evangelism and unfortunately I’ve been on the giving end as well.
I’ve realized that he who plants is nothing and he who waters is nothing. The way that they plant and water is nothing. God uses us despite our mess ups and it is He who does the saving.
That said, I think that there are some Biblical principles that we can apply to the methods we use weather those methods of the "Evangelic Cube" or the "WWJD" questions there are some Biblical principles that we need to apply to be in accordance with God’s law. There are three things that we need to keep in balance. To talk about these three things I would like to talk about a simile of the fire.
There are three components that you have to have for a fire to burn correctly. What are those three components? Fuel, heat, and oxygen. Alright, so you have to have fuel, you have to have heat or spark and you have to have oxygen. Each one of these corresponds with each of the three critical things that we need for evangelism.
The heat is like spirit. The fuel is like truth and the air is like love. These are the three things that I am primarily going to be talking about, today.
Love is vital. Who here has seen a lump of charcoal? We’ve all seen them. Who hear has tried to burn one? They’re kind of hard to burn, right? Once they get started they will burn but by themselves they will not burn very well at all. If you’re trying to build a fire and all you have is charcoal it’s going to be very difficult. Why is that? You’ve got the match, you’ve got the heat, and you’ve got the fuel right there so why doesn’t charcoal burn?
Well, there was a competition to see who could burn a lump of charcoal the fastest. They brought in engineers from all over and they could do whatever they wanted to this lump of charcoal to see who could consume it the fastest. You could use a blowtorch or use any other type of fuel.There was one team that was able to completely burn up a lump of charcoal in less than a second.
In a fraction of a second it burned up the entire charcoal. I was like, how do they do that? Charcoal is so hard to burn. Well, they figured out what charcoal needed. It didn’t need more fuel. See, other teams were doing jet-fuel and other really flammable liquids. Charcoal doesn’t need more fuel, it has all of the fuel that it needs. There were some teams that were using blowtorches to add more heat. It doesn’t need that either. What the charcoal desperately needed to burn was oxygen. What this team did was soak this piece of charcoal in liquid oxygen. You lit a match and that was all that it needed, the charcoal was gone!
Now when you cook something or heat it up you suck the life right out of that. We see this as a bad thing but it is actually used to create something that many of y’all like. It’s called coffee. When you make coffee, you burn the beans in such a way that sucks the life out of them without destroying the bean. What they do is roast coffee beans in a vacuum so that they don’t catch fire and become consumed. If you’ve ever tried to cook or dry a coffee bean you have discovered that there is no life in them.
This is what happens when we share the gospel without love. We just cook someone and they become this dried up shell. We become a clanging gong and a resounding cymbal. The Apostle Paul says that without love we are nothing. Love is vital. I think we all can agree on that.
Truth is also vital. Without truth there is no message. It’s just a puff of smoke. You’ve got heat and air but there is nothing that sustains it. Often we do lot’s of well intentioned evangelism but we are afraid to share the truth. So we do everything but that. We will spend thousands of dollars to go somewhere and we will spend thousands of dollars to build a house.
We will smile a lot and we will hug these people and we will tell them how much we love them but we never share the gospel. Then we leave. The fire hasn’t been started. It’s just a puff of smoke.This is often what many Christians do and this is what their evanglism is. They don’t include the truth because they are afraid too. Are they don’t include the vital elements of the truth because it might be offensive. The thing is, is truth is HARD! If you have a block of wood….it’s hard but that doesn’t mean that it’s not vital.
Spirit is also vital. You have a fire. It’s ready to burn. It even has cardboard on the top so that when that spark hits it it will be ready to go. Imagine this fire. You have all of the people around it…they’re doing all of the motions. They’re warming their hands. You even have some people with some marsh mellows and a guy with some hot dogs. The thing is is that they are not burning.
They are like, we’re doing it all perfect. I’ve got my marsh mellows on the stick just right! This fire is perfectly constructed. It is soaked in gasoline. It has tender at the bottom. All it needs is to get started. All it needs is the spark of the spirit. So often we do it all right. We’ve got the structure just right. We have everything set up and we’re going though all of the motions like it’s supposed to happen. We’re, like, "we’re doing it just like those Christians over there that we heard about who were warming their hand!" But there is no fire. There is no spirit. The spirit is vital. It’s like everything without the match. You have to have both.
So we have these three. Spirit, Truth, and Love. Usually what happens, in my experience, is that people will tend to combine a couple of them. They will really try to emphasize on those two. They will criticize people for not doing those two as well as they do. I would like to do some math here and just see what happens when you add up two of these and don’t include the third one.
So truth and love. What happens when you take truth and love together with no spirit. You get nothing. It is powerless. Oftentimes this is what happens in modern evangelism but it is powerless. There is no power in it. We can get our tracts and make them be the pretties tracts in the world. But if God does not bring the increase there is no increase.
So what about spirit and truth and no love? What happens? The people that I’ve seen share without love tend to wash out in about a year if they make it that long. A lot of the people that came here last year are not here because they could not take it. The lack of love just turned black like those coffee beans. It did damage to their souls and it hurt their souls, sharing with others without love. It’s very damaging to share with others without love.
O.Kay, what happens if you have spirit and love without truth? Heresy! Exactly! You get away from the Bible. It’s like you’re floating with the spirit and all of the sudden you start floating with the wrong spirit. The Bible calls the Holy Spirit holy for a reason. The Holy Spirit is set apart. The Holy Spirit is different from all of the different spirits. We each have a spirit in us so there are many spirits in this room with each one of these people and there are also unseen spirits and domains and things that we do not know much about.
The Bible talks about them and we see Jesus and the disciples interacting with them and they can be very distracting. Sometimes we think that we are being led by the Holy Spirit and we’re actually just being led by our own spirit. You have to be grounded in the Bible. You have to be grounded in the Word. You have that truth or you get into trouble.
I challenge you to examine the way that you share the gospel, whether you are doing open air preaching, using the "Evan gel Cube," doing relationship witnessing, or whatever. Look and see if you are really being led by the Spirit and if you are really listening to God and co-laboring with God in this person’s heart. Listen and ask God if you are doing it though a heart of love. Are your motivations and means of love? or is it "oh, I must love them or I wouldn’t be sharing the truth." Sharing the truth is loving.
It can be an act of love but it can also be an act of hate. Who is that almost only ever spoke the truth in the Bible regarding Jesus and His true nature? The Devil! The Demons! Every time Jesus came up to speak to someone possessed by a devil or demon they almost were always like; "What will you have with me, Son of God? He has come to take away the sins of the earth!" or something like that. They were saying totally who Jesus was and they were telling the truth.
Still it was sin. Why? Because they were sharing the truth out of an evil motive. Sharing the truth is important but it must be done at the right time, at the right place, with the right motive, and to the right person. The truth can be very damaging. It is like a two edged sword. If you don’t share it in the right way it can be destructive.
That is one thing that we need to keep in balance. Another thing is the way that we are sharing the Gospel. This is more balancing around the person. You see 85% of people think that they are going to heaven. They think that they are Christians. So if people think that they already have Jesus they aren’t going to see that they actually do need Him. They are not going to see that sin separates’s them because in reality they are in sin. When you are far away from a whole you can’t see it. O.K. so God is a big huge God and you’re looking but you don’t see this big huge hole which is a Cosme of sin. You’re way back here looking forward and saying; "me and God, we’re cool!"
Most people in the U.S., this is not true all over the world. If you go to places like in the Muslim world where they don’t see themselves and God as being "cool." So you would share the Gospel with them differently because their needs are different and they are in a different spiritual place.
So if we have people that are far away from the their hole of sin how do we get them to go to the edge and see the hole? So that they can see how their sin is separating them from a Holy God? The Truth? The Ten Commandments? Exactly! The law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. You see the law doesn’t save us, in fact, it kills us. Here is a neat thing about the law. The law was written on our hearts and our conscience in bearing witness. So that the whole world is without excuse, right?
So, when did we get a conscience? Knowledge of good and evil? At the time of the fall. Eve took that apple, what was the apple? The apple was the law, the knowledge of good and evil. The law is what brings the knowledge of good and evil. She bites into the apple and suddenly she has a realization of sin. Then sin entered into the world, what does sin bring? What does the law bring? Death! It killed her! It killed Adam and it is going to kill all of us! It’s a big problem!
What did God promise when He was explaining to Adam and Eve what they had just done? He said that there is going to be a coming One. He promised of Jesus. He said that Jesus would crush the heel of the serpent. The law was intended even from the very beginning. The law was intended to bring us to Christ.
It doesn’t save us. It just leaves us helpless. The law can not do all of the work. That’s not the Gospel. Only Christ can get us to the Father. It is only by One name that we are saved and that is Jesus Christ. No one else can do it. There is no hope except though Him. That is the purpose of the law. It is a good tool for what is was intended but it is not good for any other use. Sometimes you’re going to be talking to people who are already broken.
I talked to this one guy…….about two years ago he had a big showdown with God and he is realizing the extent of his sin. I was talking with him and he was like, "Yeah, I’ve been trying and I’ve quit a lot of stuff but I haven’t quiet gotten it all together." He was really struggling with his sin and he has a knowledge of it. He know he doesn’t have victory. He said that his mom had been praying with him. I asked him if he had been born again. He was, like, "no." So I explained to him what that means, being born again means putting your trust and faith in Jesus Christ, you realize that you can not do everything on your own and you turn from your sins once and for all and you say: "Jesus, I’m giving you Lordship over every aspect of my life. Not just Sundays but Saturdays and Friday nights and Wednesday afternoons."
I told him that once you do that Jesus will give you a new heart. He will give you new desires and that you’re old desires for sin would be taken away and you would be given new desires for righteousness. I told him that this is so radical that that the Bible calls it being born again. You could just see it click in his eyes. He was like, "I’ve got it!" I told him that he was not far from the Kingdom. He wasn’t quiet ready to make that commitment.
Committing your whole entire life to Jesus is a big deal. It’s not something that you can push someone into or manipulate someone into. Some people with strong personalities can manipulate people into saying the prayer of commitment. That’s like manipulating someone into getting married. Our commitment to Christ ought to be and is even stronger than our commitment to our spouse. None of you would of had someone say to you; "Read these vows real quick before you change your mind!" And you have this person on the other side of you and you’re, like, "Hi!" and they’re, like, "Hi!" Nobody would do that!
That is what we’re trying to do with the Gospel so often. When we’re shoving the sinner’s prayer down peoples’ mouths or throats. I don’t want to criticize to much evangelism but you do need to be mindful of that.
Another thing that we need to keep in balance is the two extremes. Temporal salvation. Temporal salvation is people who are starving and you have Christians who come in and feed them but don’t tell them about the gospel. I have read books from India. There are millions of them. "White man has fed millions of us into hell." We have sent millions of people into hell with a full stomach. We go in, feed them, and these people are not saved so they are out. It’s a tragedy.
People who only focus on the Eternal salvation…..I heard a story of this one Christian hospital and they bring in these people in from the villages and they are about to die and they are about to admit them and the doctor comes up and is like: "Have you prayed with them to receive Christ, yet?" And this person is dying on the table. There is a time where before they can hear the gospel you need to take care of temporal things. Jesus, oftentimes, before He would share the gospel with them would heal them. Then He had their attention. Other times He would just share the Gospel. So I think that there is a place of balance here where we need to be mindful of the whole person. Both their eternal person, their soul and spirit, but also their physical person. You can’t separate one from the other.
We don’t think of ourselves as separate beings, we’re made in the image of our Father, we’re tri-part beings, we have a spirit or heart, a soul, and flesh, right? And we are supposed to love the Lord our God with all three of those. We don’t see ourselves that way. I am, Thomas, the one person, even though sometimes I will very much disagree with myself, I’m still one person.
Have you ever had that? Where you had a big decision and you’re debating with yourself about different stuff. Oftentimes that’s like you’re spirit or mind saying one thing and you’re emotions are saying another thing. Anyways, it’s kind of interesting, so that is one thing that we need to keep in mind.
Another thing is "growing the church versus growing the Kingdom." On one side we have people who all they do is hare the Gospel with other people and they just leave them out to dry. It’s, like, "Here pray this prayer." or "O.K. find yourself a good church." Now that can be useful and it is Biblical but it can also be dangerous because, you know, they might find themselves a "good" Latter Day Saints Church or something like that. I mean, it looked just like a church. It had church in the name, a really pretty building, it has all this money…."
So you have to be mindful of growing the Kingdom. On the other side, I’ve heard pastors say that the only purpose of evanglism is to grow this church. Have any of you experianced that? You’ve been to a church where whenever you talk to someone and then talk to your pastor or one of the elders they are, like, "Well, did you get their information so that you can follow up and they can join this church?" Where it’s all kind of about growing the local church. Sometimes the best church for someone is not your church.
Actually, I’ve found out that it is nor-mall that way. I was at a fair one time sharing the Gospel with these three girls, one of them went to, Temple Bible Church, which is a really good solid church and the other two basically realized that they were going to hell and that they needed to get right with Jesus. I was, like, "you need to give your life to Jesus and then tonight go to church with your friend." They would already have a relationship there. She could take them to church and get them plugged in as opposed to me saying; "Oh, you have to come to my church!" See how that could be better? Sometimes we have to listen to God and realize that there is a better church for this person than my church.
Another reason for this is that sometimes there can be huge cultural distances. Sometimes God will bring in a huge cultural mismatch into your church to make your church more diverse, culturally. Other times this person simply needs a place where they can grow and not have to worry about the fact that everyone else is completely and totally different then them in every single way.
Have you ever gone to a church were you are pretty much, totally different then anyone else in every single way? Like, everyone else was about 5 times wealthier than you were and their shoes cost more than you’re entire outfit? I’ve been to churches like that. I was, like, "Okay! I’m glad I parked far away and that I was late!" Anyways that is another thing to keep in balance.
We have another thing. "Converters opposed to Diciplemakers," the goal, ideally, is that every person we share the Gospel with comes to know Jesus, they get set on fire for Him, then they go out and share the Gospel, and tell others about God. However, this does not happen overnight. Pretty much you have Christians who only want to do one or the other. You have some who say; "I am here to make converts, by Golly!"
So they do not have any disciples. They don’t have anyone following them on a day to day basis. They don’t have any one that they are trying to invest in for the long run. They are just scattering seeds. That is important but again we want to be whole Christians. We want to model Christ who did both of these. He went and He made converts. He preached to 5,000 people, and He spent a lot of time with Peter, James, and John. There was a whole range between. He spent time with the 12, with the 72, with the 120, so don’t feel bad if you’re just, like, I just not a "converter" it’s easy to feel guilty and walk around condemned and ashamed all of the time. That is not the goal of my talk. I do not want to be one of the people at the pool criticizing. But I don want to encourage you to try to engage in more than one level.
One question y’all are probably asking is; "So what? How does this apply to my actual sharing the Gospel with someone, having no idea what to say next, where do I apply this?" Well, allot of these things are heart things. Things that you decide ahead of time. You decide ahead of time that you are going here under the motive of compassion and out of love. There are some people who are sharing the Gospel not out of love or compassion but for the "rush" or to have fun. It is fun. It is scary. It has a lot of adrenaline but that is not a good reason. I encourage you to examine your hearts.Each one of you to see whether or not that is why you are here.
Some of you are sharing the Gospel because someone drug you. Basically they grabbed you by the ear and yanked you in. That can be good but I was reading a passage in Deuteronomy. It was the passage the Palestine’s were going to war and God said to Moses. "Look at your army and have everyone raise their hands." He didn’t say it quiet this way but this is kind of what He said. "Everyone who raises their hands, send them home." I think the only General in the Bible who actually went by this protocol was Gideon and he totally whipped those Malachite’s with just a handful of people.
So you had everyone who was scared leave and everyone who had gotten married in the last year raise their hands and they were to go home and be with their wives. It was not right for a man to die at war when he had just gotten married. And then God said; "Everyone who has just bought a field and it has not tasted it’s first fruit you go home, too, because it is not fitting for someone to not taste the first fruit of their fields."
The Gospel and God is not needy. That is something that we all have to come to the tragic conclusion of. "I am not vital." Now with that said, that does not mean that God doesn’t want you. He has called forth every single one of us as believers and commissioned us to go forth and proclaim the gospel. There was a guy that went to Africa, David Livingston. David said: "A commission in any army is considered a great honor, how could a commission from the Heavenly Father be any less of a great honor?" A commission in the army says; "I trust you. to be responsible for a certain number of men. I trust you to be a leader. I trust you to lead men into the fields.
When we have been given the great commission, we have been given a very similar commission where God is calling you to be responsible for certain souls that He says that He will give to you to share the Gospel with. That is why we are here. That is why I shared the story at the very beginning of the boy and the pool. We want to be the girl, who even though everyone is criticizing us, is still faithful to go and to reach the loss. She does not answer to other people at the party. We do not answer to the other people at the party. We answer to our Heavenly Father and to Him alone.
When I gave a talk at a Rotary Club I could just see everyone cringe as I pulled out my projector. As soon as a presenter shows their first slide riddled with text we know we are in for a long boring talk.
But PowerPoint does not need to be boring.
A guy named Cliff Atkinson author of the book Beyond Bullet Points opened my eyes to a radical new way to present using Power Point. I used his approach and the Rotarians thanked me for not boring them. I’m not a great presenter but I have sat through hundreds of hours of bad presentations, so I know some things to avoid. Here are some tips I hope you find helpful.
Tip #1 – Use Graphics Instead of Text
A clever graphic not only catches and keeps your audience’s attention but it can add to your credibility and their understanding. Which of the following two slides do you think is more effective?
When people see the photo in the first slide they can think of that drugged feeling they get from a long time on the computer. The photo to sells the concept.
Remember the goal for Keynote slides is not to present the information. It is to help you present the information.
When searching for clip art it is important to register for the site and in order to avoid any adult only images. The best sites wont give you that trash but it’s safe to make sure.
Tip #2 – Don’t Let Your Underwear Show
Your notes are important and private. You are not Madonna. You’re underwear is not for public display. Don’t show the audience your notes.
If you blast your audience with bullets they will read them ahead of you, zone out and get bored. It keeps you from having any surprises any secrets. It ruins your comic timing. When people get bored they whip out their iPhone or Blackbarry and totally stop listening until you say "in conclusion."
People will respect you more if you stay modest.
Tip #3 Kiss Your Audience
Steve Jobs , one of the best modern communicators, knows how to make things simple. He has made a fortune making complex things like mp3 players iPod easy. He presents in the same way. He often will use only a simple photo or a singe word on a black background.
(photos from presentation zen)
There is a reason that millions of people download and watch his keynotes while Bill Gates who also talks about cool gadgets gets ignored. The book Presentation Zen has a great comparison of these two styles as embodied by these two men.
Tip #4 – 1 Minute Max
Don’t use one slide for 3 minutes when you can break it up into three one minute slides.
An easy way to do this is keep your slides to one concept. Try not to ever spend more than a minute on any given slide. Keep the audience’s attention by keeping the slide fresh.
Are you telling a story that takes longer than a minute? Switch to a blank screen or tell the story with photos.
You are talking to a crowd that used to watching commercials that show a new shot every 4 seconds. Once you pass the ten second mark the clock starts ticking and once you hit sixty seconds the iPhones start popping out of pockets.
Another way to get invited back is to finish early. Leave time for questions. People love asking questions and you might find the most interesting part of your presentation is the dialog at the end. If no one has any questions bait the audience by asking one of your own. Answer it and the questions will come.
Tip #5 – Keep your Bullets in Your Concealed Firearm
PowerPoint and Keynote both have excellent "presenter notes" sections that you can print or display on your laptop as you present.
Like real bullets, digital bullets are ineffective and dangerous when they are out of place. Hitting a rifle round with a hammer might make a lot of noise but you wont hit your target unless you "hide" your bullets in your gun. Keep your bullets out of site and you will find your presentations will become more interesting.
To learn how to go bullet free I would recommend that you watch the following video. This video is what caused me to join the bullet free revolution.