Toastmasters Speech #4

Project 4 – How to say it

Objectives:

  1. Select the right words and sentence structure to communicate your ideas clearly, accurately and vividly.
    1. Write for the ear
      1. Short words
      2. Short sentences
  • Short paragraphs
  1. Be specific
  2. Vivid words
  1. Use rhetorical devices to enhance and emphasize ideas.
    1. Incorporate rhetorical devices
      1. Simile
      2. Metaphor
  • Alliteration
  1. Triads
  1. Use words economically
  1. Eliminate jargon and unnecessary words. Use correct grammar.
    1. Watch for jargon.
    2. Say it correctly
      1. Subject/verb agreement
      2. Misplaced modifiers
  • Misused pronouns

Working Title 1: What to do in the case of an emergency.

Working Title 2: In case of emergency, break glass.

Working Title 3: Break Glass!

Honorifics Mr. Toastmaster, Fellow Toastmasters & Guests, greetings!
Joke I was at a work Christmas party once.   I was drinking alcohol. Some of my work mates were shocked. They sidled up to me and breathlessly enquired, “James, I didn’t think you drank alcohol?” I dead-panned my response, “It’s not that I don’t drink alcohol. It’s just that I don’t pay for alcohol.”
Link Did you know that you demonstrate your true nature when faced with a crisis situation? In my case, at that time, I used to be cheeky and cheap. I believe I’ve matured since then.
Introduction Have you ever wondered what you would do if faced with a bomb threat? I never did, until it happened to me. It happened like this.

I was visiting Indonesia in July 2001. Remember, that was just 2 months before the attack on the World Trade Centre. I was on a two-week mission, to donate a PC to a Bible College and set up their computer network. While I was living on the premises, the local Muslims phoned in a bomb threat.   I suppose that the neighbours were fairly upset about the presence of a Christian College, despite it being there for over 20 years. Not a shining example of tolerance, was it?

I realised that I had only 3 options available to me:

·         Fight

·         Flight

·         Faith

1st Point By fight, I don’t me turning on the neighbours. What I mean is reacting to the situation in my own strength: going on a hunt to find the threatened bomb. Indeed, there were staff and students doing just that: out of their rooms, looking shocked, worried and concerned.

Imagine yourself in this situation.   It would be natural, as a Christian minority in a Muslim majority country, to be absolutely overcome with fear.   It would be like Jews in Nazi Germany.

I realised that my nice, safe, little country of New Zealand had not prepared me for this level of intimidation.   Despite the pressure I felt, something else in me rejected this option.

2nd Point The second option available to me was the Flight response. I could have left the Bible College and gone to stay in a nice, safe hotel, until my actual flight home. This would have meant rejecting the hospitality of my hosts. It might even have meant leaving behind my meagre possessions (I had brought at least a suitcase of clothes).

This could have been a perfectly reasonable course of action. It is no shame to escape a helpless situation. As Demosthenes said,

“Better to retreat and marshal your forces than to waste a glorious death in sure defeat.”

I realised at this point that there was no way to know for sure whether a bomb actually existed. If it did, there was no way to know for sure where it was in the school. And finally, if it went off, there was no way to know for sure how large would be the blast.

For all these reason, I chose the 3rd option.

3rd Point I decided to have faith in God.   If I died, I died. In the apostle Paul’s inspired letter to the Philippians, he writes “To live is [gain]; To die is gain.” Living, I get to enjoy time with friends and family.   Dying, I get to enjoy eternity with my Lord.

I chose not to live in fear.

I chose not to live with fear.

I chose to live without fear.

I chose to go to bed!

I didn’t feel particularly brave doing this act. I wasn’t deliberately setting out to set an example, or be some great hero, or even to obey my Lord. I was just tired, and wanted to go to bed. My upbringing had not prepared me to deal with this situation, so I was choosing to ignore it.

In the end, it was the right decision. There was no bomb. The threat was merely meant to instil terror.

Message Subsequent to September 11, the world has changed. We are more aware that there are physical forces who despise our way of life. We are more cautious.

But my hope is this: That when faced with the decision whether to fight the situation, or fly from it or exercise faith in the face of it, that I and you would choose to exercise faith more often.

This doesn’t mean refusing to fight injustice. As John Wesley said,

Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.

This doesn’t mean ignoring every threat.

It does mean, weighing my options and trying to determine, what would Jesus do?

Conclusion I entitled today’s speech “Break Glass”. This was a reference to those fire switches besides the doors at public venues which state, “In case of emergency, break glass.” This is so that you can get to the switch and activate it. This is so that you can sound the alarm, and alert people to a serious situation. This is so that they may flee the fire.

But the glass is there for a reason.   It is there to protect the switch against being used casually or accidently. Because there are people who just want to watch the world run around in circles in a panic. It amuses them.

You and I have the opportunity to be that glass. In a world without faith, that only has the fight or flight response left, we get to show them a third way. We get to intercede on their behalf. We get to determine what’s a real fire and what’s an imagined fire.

Summary In summary, the lesson I want you to take away from my experience with the bomb threat is this simple: in order to determine whether a perceived threat is real or imagined, you have to read the BIBLE:

·         Beginners’s

·         Instructions

·         Before

·         Leaving

·         Earth

Thank you, Mr. Toastmaster.

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