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This week I will be speaking twice.  In my home town.

I am nervous.  Unable to focus.  Doubtful.   It isn’t that I doubt the mentoring ministry I represent.   Nearly every day I see evidence that our culture has lost its way.  That we’ve forgotten (or never been told) how to live as men and women.   The Word of God compels me more today than it did when I was first nudged from my comfort zone to begin Titus 2 for Life.

But, I’m a person affected by environment.  I’ve been known to take a candle along with me on a trip just in case the hotel room is cold and unwelcoming.  I’m also affected by other people.  It matters to me that relationships are built, not destroyed.   I’m acutely aware of body language.  Once, while speaking about a controversial issue, I heard a scribbling noise.  To my side, a woman was pressing her pencil hard on a page in her study guide.  Head bent down, whole body engaged, she blackened the paper with great sweeping motions.   Was she angry… or hurting?   Whichever, she had my attention: How should I respond?

So, what happens when speaking in my own home town?  To the people with whom I live?  I’m extra sensitive to my closest neighbors and tender relationships.  Differing perspectives.  Maturity and immaturity.  A sense — or lack — of humor.  Personal history.  Agreement.  Disagreement.  Defenses down… or up.  Do I only imagine it, or does the room close in?  Confuse my thoughts?  Leave me a bumbling fool?   What words can I utter that will be right for everyone?  These people with real lives… my closest neighbors?

His Words.  Not mine.  His Truth.  Not my opinion.

Every word of God proves true; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.  Do not add to His words . . . (Proverbs 30:5).”

I covet your prayer: His Truth from my mouth.  For the sake of my neighbors.

Maybe I will take a candle.

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