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LifeGivingWords ~ The Teaching Ministry of Jamie Lash
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::::: Introduction to the Ministry of LifeGivingWords
::::: God's Cure for Stage Fright: How to Sing, Teach,
::::: Preach, or Give a Speech without Nervousness

::::: How to Double Your Reading Speed

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Dear Friend,

I'm glad to be getting back in touch with many friends I've come in
contact with over the years. We're really excited about the contents of
our LifeGivingWords newsletters. Our goal is to enrich your life in every
way we can. As you can see from the titles of today's feature articles, we
will be dealing with very practical issues that can have a profound impact
on your life and on your effectiveness for God's Kingdom.

In future newsletters we will discuss the following:

- Overcoming Unforgiveness
- Overcoming Anger & Frustration
- Faithfulness in Trial
- Freedom from Fear
- How to Be Free from Addictive Sin
- Overcoming Loneliness
- Overcoming Depression
- Freedom from Condemnation, Guilt, and Shame
- How to Set Goals in Such a Way that You Will Actually Do Them
- Overcoming Procrastination
- Minimizing Time Wasters
- Memory Strategies: How to Set Up Easy Retrieval Pathways in Your Brain
- Money Management

Most of these topics are taken from the three conferences I conduct for

1.) This Was Your Life! - Preparing to Meet God Face to Face
2.) Freedom in Christ - There is No Chain That Can't be Broken
3.) Time Management: Reduce your Stress,
Multiply your Effectiveness!

Conference info. available at
In addition to the spiritual content, we'll occasionally share some things
just for fun -- to make you life more enjoyable -- such as tips on family
activities, sports, and even card tricks :)
Since there's no cost involved, and our goal is simply to bless your life,
we only ask that you in turn bless others. If you find an article that
helps you in a significant way, please forward it to friends and encourage
them to do the same. You can enable us to reach people we would never
reach without your help.
If you would like to learn more about my crazy life (my conversion from an
atheist who had no clue why he was alive to a man who considers himself
privileged to be a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ; from a college
drop-out to a college professor), or about the LifeGivingWords ministry --
or if you'd like to see some family photos of my beautiful wife and our
three not-so-little children, please visit

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::::: FEATURE ARTICLE #1: God's Cure for Stage Fright:
::::: How to Sing, Preach, Teach or Give a Speech
::::: Without Nervousness

When I am plagued by stage fright, several nasty symptoms arise:

1.) Sometimes my mind goes blank. An audience stares at me expectantly,
waiting to hear something profound, but I can hardly remember my name.

2.) I talk too fast. Pausing allows people time to let things soak in,
but I'm afraid to pause -- lest people use that moment to conclude that
the speaker is an idiot.

3.) I am too flustered to think clearly. Regardless of how organized my
notes might be, my presentation is disorganized. I often cover points in
the wrong order or leave them out altogether.

4.) My jokes aren't funny. Because my timing is shot to pieces, all
attempts at humor fall flat. If people laugh at all, it's only because
they feel sorry for me.

5.) I fail to establish a rapport with my audience.

Nervousness can diminish or even destroy our effectiveness. These nervous
symptoms can short-circuit the communication process so that very little
penetrates the minds and hearts of the listeners. Fortunately, if we are
willing to face up to the true cause of our nervousness, God has a cure.
                                 Who Are We Trying to Impress?
The nervousness we call "stage fright" is caused by having the wrong goal.
Either my goal is to impress others or to avoid embarrassment -- two sides
of the same selfish coin. In both cases it's all about me. I am not
focusing on the interests of my audience; I am focusing on my own
interests. I'm not trying to advance God's Kingdom; I'm trying to advance my kingdom.

When I'm nervous, what is it that I fear? I'm afraid I'll say or do
something stupid. I seek to avoid being humiliated -- especially in front
of large numbers of people. Tape recorders and video cameras make me even
more nervous because then I can make a fool of myself and have the moment
immortalized on tape. The cure? There's only one -- I must change my goal.
No longer can I seek to impress people or to avoid humiliation. I must
seek to benefit those in the audience.

It's amazing! When I correct my goal, the nervousness always disappears.
There have been no exceptions. Why? Because unlike taking three deep
breaths, listening to tapes of ocean noises, or other methods to reduce
nervousness, this method puts the ax to the root of the problem. Because
nervousness is caused by having the wrong goal, we must change our goal in
order to cure it. Nervousness disappears when we say in our hearts: "Lord,
I'm not here to impress them; I'm here to bless them."

God is calling us to purity of heart, purity of motive. After hearing this
message on overcoming stage fright, one of my university students
approached me after class. "This really explains something to me," he
said. "I'm a youth minister, and I never get nervous when I speak to my
youth group, but I always get nervous once a month when I speak to their
parents. Now I understand why. I'm trying to impress the parents; I'm
trying to help the kids."

The Apostle Paul turned his public speaking opportunities into acts of
love by humbling himself. He describes his goal and the wonderful impact
it had on his public speaking in Acts 20:18, 20: "You yourselves know how
I lived among you...serving the Lord with all humility. I did not shrink
from declaring to you anything that was profitable." Shrinking back is a
form of self-protection -- like a turtle pulling back into it's shell.
Paul did not shrink back, because he wasn't thinking about himself. He was
thinking about how to profit his listeners. His humility gave birth to

Paul not only faced the more common fears of public speakers -- people
falling asleep, rolling their eyes, or walking out -- he also withstood
beatings, stonings, and imprisonment. However, because he adopted the
right goal, Paul didn't shrink back. He lived not for himself, but to
advance God's Kingdom by benefiting others.

John Powell, a Jesuit priest, shares about being gripped by nervousness in
the following testimony:

Along with two others from my order, I was chosen to give a presentation
at several universities in the Midwest. Our little traveling trio made big
waves wherever we went. Finally we came back to speak at Loyola
University, where I teach. There in the audience were 115 Jesuits: the men
I live with, eat with, teach with. They were my brothers and I wanted to
WOW them.

You've never heard me speak, I thought, and I'm really good, and you don't
know it...tonight you're going to know it. But I was very nervous. And so
I said to God, "God, would you relax me? Just put your hands over my heart
or something." And nothing happened.

I said, "Oh come on, God, I want to give a good talk tonight, and if I'm
nervous, I won't." Then I heard the words that, among other peak
experiences with God, have transformed me:

You are getting ready to give a performance, and I don't want a
performance. I want an act of love. You are going to perform for your
brothers so they will know how good you are. They don't need to know how
good you are. I don't want a performance; I want an act of love.

I looked out again. When you're self-conscious, you're using everybody for
a mirror. How am I going over, huh? What do you think? What do you think
of me?

Then there's that wonderful moment of love when you begin to look out
again at those same people and say, What do you want? What do you need?
Where do you hurt? Can I help you?

I looked out at my brothers a second time after I heard what I feel sure
was the voice of God. I looked at four of our priests who were having a
terrible struggle with alcoholism. One of them, poor man, was very sick.
All four were going through a terrible trial.

Then there were those who had been forced to retire from teaching due to
their age. They felt like they were on the shelf, like nobody cared about
them. They didn't say smart things anymore or make bright moves--nobody
needed them. I looked out at their faces for a long time.

Then I looked out at those who were physically sick, for whom every step
was painful, whose heads ached, whose eyes burned. I looked out at those
who were unsuccessful in everything they do. Their students don't like
them; their classes are always unsuccessful. I looked at them for a long
time and I kept thinking: And I wanted to WOW you. I wanted to impress you
with how good I am. I wanted you to admire me. Oh, you don't need me for
that. You need me to love you.

As I looked out at my brothers, all the nervousness disappeared, and I
loved them.

I realized in that moment how cluttered with performances my life has
been. I have been a performer. I have been listening for applause after
every performance. And in that moment I heard God say to me, Not another
performance, but an act of love. [Testimony by John Powell - used with permission.]

God had an act of love in mind when He spoke to Moses about leading two
million Hebrews out of Egyptian slavery, but Moses responded, "Oh, my
Lord, I am not eloquent,...send, I pray, some other person" (Exodus
4:10,13 RSV). Obviously, something was wrong with Moses' response, because
the next verse says, "Then God's anger was kindled against Moses."

God wanted to use Moses to set two million people free, but Moses wasn't
thinking about two million people. Moses was thinking about one person.
His focus was riveted on himself. Pride is preoccupation with self --
regardless of what form it takes. God wanted Moses to humble himself by
focusing on those he was sent to help.

God began teaching me this principle about twenty years ago. Here is the
gist of what He taught me:

Make loving others your goal. Concentrate on the individuals with needs.
Concentrate on how you can help them, on how you can love them best. In
this way you will be pleasing in My sight.

                                 The Place of Preparation

Many people have noticed that their level of nervousness depends in part
on their level of preparation. One Christian magazine editor observed that
some people no longer experience stage fright -- even though their goal is
not to benefit their audience -- because, through preparation, they have
become quite confident of their speaking or singing abilities.

But I ask you, what good is that? If my public speaking is not an act of
love, if it doesn't please the heart of God, then what good is it? Even if
we manage to sing or speak without nervousness, even if we manage to
impress our audience, what value does it have to God if our motives are
contaminated by selfishness?

God is interested in excellence so He certainly wants us to prepare well,
but He's also interested in what motivates us to prepare well. Do we
prepare well in order to impress others? Do we prepare well to avoid being
embarrassed? Or do we prepare well to increase the benefit we can bring to
those who hear? If our secret motive is to exalt ourselves or avoid
humiliation, then God won't be a part of what we're doing.

At the judgment seat of Christ, our works and motives will be exposed (see
I Corinthians 3:9-15). God will test our works by fire to show what was of
value and what was worthless. The "wood, hay, and stubble" will be
consumed; the "gold, silver, and precious stones" will last for all
eternity. Let's turn our public speaking opportunities into gold, silver,
and precious stones by making them acts of love toward our audience.

As wonderful as it would be to avoid the uncomfortable feelings and
symptoms associated with stage fright, there is a much more important
issue here. Will we be people God can use? Will we be people His Kingdom
can flow through to change people's lives? If we humble ourselves and
focus on serving others, we will be.

In teaching about servanthood, Jesus never said if you know these things
you'll be blessed. He said, "If you know these things, blessed are you if
you do them." (John 13:17)

"Father God, thank you for the talents and abilities you have given me. In
every opportunity I have to speak to others, in public or private, empower
me to be a blessing. Please train me to humble myself and to speak boldly
for the sake of others and for the sake of Your Kingdom."

By Jamie Lash
[Copyright 2004. This article may be reprinted in its entirety.]

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::::: How to Double Your Reading Speed
Note: As Director of Student Development at a Christian university, I
teach a course called Advanced Reading Skills. Over 85% of those who have
taken this course have at least doubled their speed with equal or greater
comprehension. Even without taking the course, you can still make dramatic
improvements in your reading skills simply by applying these and other
tips we'll share in future newsletters.
Tip #1: Make eye fixations on groups of 3-5 words rather than on one word
at a time.

When most children first learn to read at age 4 or 5, they slowly sound
out words by stopping their eyes on one letter at a time. We call that the
"crawling stage".

As the young readers progress, they begin to stop their eyes on one word
at a time. This second stage, called the "walking stage" is certainly a
big improvement over the crawling stage, but unfortunately, many people
stay in the walking stage for the rest of their lives! People in this
stage cannot read more than 250 words per minute, and they can easily feel
overwhelmed by their reading load in school or on the job. Many don't even
realize that there is a third stage.

A person in the third stage (the "running stage") makes eye fixations on
groups of words rather than on one word at a time. Ready to practice?
Focus on the word in the middle of the following group but see if you can
still read all three words by using your peripheral vision:

seems   simple   enough

Okay, now here are a few sentences with some white space added between
groups of words. Make only one eye fixation per group. Stop your eyes near
the middle of the group, but use your peripheral vision so that you can
see the whole thing.

God gave you       the gift of     peripheral vision.     Why not use it     
while you read?     With a little practice     you can double

your reading speed     without a loss     in comprehension.

When you first start reading in the running stage, your mind may start
saying things like, "This is really weird. I'm really flying, but can I go
this fast and still understand what I'm reading? If I stop my eyes on
groups of words, can I still comprehend as well?"

As long as this unwanted commentary is going on in your mind, you will not
be able to focus fully on the text. Therefore, in the short run, your
comprehension level may take a nosedive. But you need to persevere! After
only about 15-20 minutes of reading in the running stage, you'll start
getting used to it. Then your brain will stop giving you the unwanted
commentary, and you will be able to focus once again on what the author is
saying. Try it! The benefits are astounding!

(Note: I've heard it said that if you don't apply what you learn within
24 hours, you probably never will.)

By Jamie Lash
[Copyright 2004. This article may be reprinted in its entirety.]

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contains the most life-changing story I've ever heard -- a story my
co-author has shared in over 80 countries around the world.

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Thanks for investing your time in reading this,

Jamie Lash

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