2 Minute Speech on the Meaning of Death!

(A sequel to 2 Minute Speech on the Meaning of Life!)

Hi friends,

Life is all that we have.

One life, and then what? is a big question. If man’s philosophies offer some light when death’s call is sounded then certainly man has no need of God. But are all men and women confident that they can face death’s final call? It is a debatable question indeed.

Now let us move to the beginning. The Bible makes a simple and profound statement as its opening line. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1). A person’s knowledge of God begins or ends here. If he finds it hard to believe that God is the Creator of what he sees and experiences around him; then he can only believe in chance and in evolution.

Now for a moment let us believe that everything evolved. How does it explain decay and death? Why is that man does not live for ever in spite of the fact that most efforts of mankind are directed at extending the quality and longevity of life?

Why is it that no better statement than one made by Moses in the Bible portrays reality like no other: “The length of our days is seventy years–or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10)? The truth is that death is the reality that all confront.

You might say there are reasons for death. But my question is why does death happen? It is because God exists! Just as surely are there laws of nature like the law of gravity there are moral laws that God has set in place in this earth. It is the violation of God’s moral laws that has brought death to man.

And here is how the death sentence was pronounced on man. God said, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return (Genesis 3:19).”

In other words, death came into this world because of man’s rebellion against God. It is a fact that God created man to live for ever and also he intended man to live in dependence on him. The Bible again says, “man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD (Deuteronomy 8:3).”

The fall of man came about because he yielded to the temptation of doubting God’s word. For the first temptation came in these words, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1b). Death resulted when God’s word was doubted and when man chose to run his life independently of God.

Today also the scene is no different. Everywhere people are confronted with this choice. To chose to believe what God has said or to run his life as if God does not exist. But the reality of death compels us to think a second time about the meaning of life and death.

Of course, we do not have all the answers. But seen from God’s eyes life and death has meaning. For life becomes meaningful when you understand that God has a purpose in your creation. And death is a mystery that points out to you the misery, agony, pain and anguish of separation.

If separation from a loved one can give this much pain, it also points to the pain in the heart of God to see the crown of his creation–men and women created in his own image and likeness–separated from him through rebellion and sin. The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death . . .” That is the bad news. But it puts things in perspective as to why death came into this world.

For the moment let us pursue the question of pain. Does God feel pain? At least there are two thoughts we can think about. One, the shortest verse in the Bible which says, “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35). That was in front of the tomb of his friend Lazarus. That means God in flesh experienced the pain of separation of a loved one.

But greater was the pain of separation he felt when he laid down his life shedding his blood on the cross. He cried out to God, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Yes, God in human flesh died.

So when we think of ultimate questions of life–injustice, inequality, suffering, cruelty, war, disabilities, diseases, and death–we do not have all the answers. But we have the companionship of one who tasted death for us. That alone is our comfort. The knowledge that he knows what it feels like. The assurance that he understands the void and vacuum the loss of someone leaves behind.

Now let me come back to the good news. I quoted earlier, “For the wages of sin is death.” Let me now quote it in full. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

That gives it a totally different colour. It shows us that God tasted death so that we can have life. Not just life in human terms; but life which is the very life of God; of the same quality and unending. It shows us that those who believe in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead will share the same experience.

Yes, the good news is that there is life beyond the final curtain. And you too can have it when you trust and believe in the One who made this stupendous claim, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die”(John 11:25, 26).

Life is too short. And it is unpredictable as well. No one knows when his call to meet God will come. For “man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27). Therefore prepare to meet your God!*
——–
All Bible Quotes are from the New International Version (NIV).
*Amos 4:12
“Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades” — Jesus Christ (Revelation 1:17).
Speech on Respect
Jesus Christ of Nazareth!

1 Minute Speech for Children on Gratitude

Once upon a time two angels went from heaven to earth with two huge baskets to collect the prayers of people. One basket was labelled Requests and the other Thanks. When the angels returned to God, the basket of Requests was full and overflowing; but the basket of Thanks was almost empty.

Dear friends, the lesson is quite clear. An attitude of gratitude is often absent. The lack of a thankful heart may be the root cause of many human illness as well.

Let me point out two things:

Firstly, an attitude of gratitude means you to learn to count your blessings in life. When you do so you will find that they far outnumber the difficulties or problems you face in life. Moreover it gives you a joyous heart as well.

You can be thankful for the gift of life, your parents, home and school, your teachers, relatives and friends, for the clothes you wear, the food you eat and the place you live in. The list is endless.

Secondly, an attitude of gratitude helps you value simple joys of life. You may not have the latest gadgets to play with. Instead a thankful heart will help you to be content and satisfied in whatever situation you find yourself in.

A thankful heart will value people more than things, it will value a smile more than riches, it will find joy in giving than grabbing, and it will hold on to hope even when life’s ship moves in troubled waters.

Above all, there is one more reason to be thankful. God so loved the world and gave his Son Jesus as a gift to all of us. Therefore, “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”*

To conclude, let me say that a heart of gratitude brings joy to God’s heart and makes you richer than all billionaires!

Thank you!

*2 Corinthians 9:15 NIV Bible.
Jesus Christ of Nazareth!
Speech on Respect
Today Is a Special Day!
Speech on Importance of English

Jesus Christ of Nazareth!

A burden becomes too heavy to carry at times. It is in those moments that we desire to have someone to carry our burdens.

But there are moments when all human help fails or falls short. And then we despair.

“No one seems to care. Each one is too busy,” we lament. It is easy to think like that when you are alone and lonely and there is no end to one’s troubles.

It is at those moments that you long for someone who has passed through such trouble to come and be with you. Perhaps speak an encouraging word. For only those who have experienced what you are going through can offer any help.

It is at this point that our burden-bearer stands at life’s darkest hours and crossroads. The man who “was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering!”*

Not only does he understand pain and grief, he knows what it is to weep. He knows what it is to carry the greatest burden of mankind–the burden of sin and its accompanying guilt and shame.

The Saviour–the Man Jesus Christ of Nazareth who lived in an earthly home and was a carpenter earning his daily bread. He who taught through short speeches and stories was moved with compassion and met the needs of distressed individuals like no other man ever did!

He bled to death on a cross. But now he lives forever more to carry our burdens.

He can help. He is willing to. One cry for mercy from your heart, “O God help me!” is enough for his help to reach you.

He calls you his friend. More than that, he calls you, “My brother, my sister.”

He who carried the cross will willingly carry your burden as well. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”* That is his call and invitation.

Come. Won’t you?

———
My Valentine
* Isaiah 53:3, Matthew 11:28

“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Saviour, who daily bears our burdens” — Psalm 68:19

Because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” — Hebrews 13:5, 6.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” — 2 Corinthians 12:9.

“For we do not have a high priest [Jesus] who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” — Hebrews 4:15, 16.

But When You Pray
[Quotes from Bible, New International Version]

Speech on The Importance of English
Rise Up in God’s Strength!
Yes You Can!
Speech on Discipline
Run! Life Is a Race!
The Meaning of Life!

Angels

Christmas @ Bejoy Peter's Public SpeakingDuring Christmas celebrations at schools and churches, we often see many young children dressed up as angels in bright and shining clothes and waiting in the wings behind stage. The very spectacle reminds us of the first Christmas when angels played key roles in the unfolding drama.

Many wonder who the angels really are? Angels are created heavenly beings who stand in the presence of a holy God. They are powerful creatures with great might and wisdom. Day and night they worship God singing praises to the splendour of his holiness.

There are different ranks of angels. Some of them are “messengers” (for that is what the word angel means); others act as agents of judgement. Though extremely powerful they do not act according to their wish or fancy, but they stand ready to do God’s will at all times. They are a vast army without number which we humans can’t comprehend or count.

The one qualifying mark of an angel is, to quote the words of Angel Gabriel, “I stand in the presence of God.” Christmas is therefore a reminder of the fact that the earth and its inhabitants are under God’s constant watch and care since angels who stand in the presence of God are sent to earth. The Bible records that “angels are ministering spirits” who are sent to serve those who trust in God.

Angels, though messengers, never forget their primary calling, that is to worship God. They do not accept worship from men but encourage people to worship God. When Jesus was born, they not only announced the message of his birth to shepherds; not only sang “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” (Glory to God in the Highest), but also all angels worshipped him!

Angels also have a protective role. Though they seldom make themselves visible to God’s children, they have often intervened to protect them and deliver them in spectacular and less marvellous ways. Jesus even said that the (guardian) angels of children in heaven always see the face of his Father in heaven.

Angels are immortal. They do not die. Those people who trust in God when they die will be resurrected at the last day, and will die no more and be like the angels. In that sense angels bring us “Intimations of Immortality” to borrow a turn of phrase from Wordsworth.

Angels do have a ministry of encouragement as they are often sent to refresh the weary traveller and the discouraged man. They also strengthen the resolve of those who resist the temptation to do evil.

The first Christmas was punctuated by angelic activity to let us know that the birth of Jesus Christ was no accident. Instead it was planned in heaven and executed on earth. In that sense the birth of Jesus was a fulfilment of the dream a man called Jacob had where he saw a ladder (a stairway) resting on earth and its top touching heaven. The ladder was symbolic of Jesus, and angels were ascending and descending on it. And he is the bridge between man and God.

Someday the world will see the great and vast army of angels. That will happen when Jesus Christ comes again to this earth “on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.” Then all angels will accompany him.
Jesus Christ of Nazareth!

Tips for Compering 7 Great Songs of Christmas

The Tree of Life!

A tree has always been a symbol of life.

It has become more so after Jesus died on a wooden cross. Peter, the foremost disciple of Jesus, comments: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.”

The precious blood that flowed from his body brings forgiveness of sins, peace with God, and unending life to those who believe in him. The wounds of his body bring us healing.

On the cross he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows.
He became a curse for us to save us from all evil.
For it was God’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer that we might have life, and have it to the full.

A look of faith at the One lifted up on the tree of the cross is enough to make one pass from death to life. For there is life-giving power in the blood of the Son of God shed on the cross. It is a fountain of cleansing opened to remove all man’s sin and impurity.

Therefore come to the tree of life and look on the one crucified for you!
Jesus Christ of Nazareth!
7 Sayings of Jesus on the Cross

The Power of Story in Communication

Stories have got great power in communication. Primarily we need to understand that a well-told story is a complete piece of communication. It has a definite beginning. Are we not familiar with the well-loved phrase, “Once upon a time”? And stories do have a definite end. Again, we remember how we loved those fairy tales which ended, “And they lived happily ever after.”

Most stories arouse our curiosity. It gives our imagination a good exercise. Thus we become active participants in the action when we listen to a story. This power to engage the listener is so vital to communication. That is why a story succeeds in capturing attention where other speech techniques probably fail.

Therefore it is important for a speaker to try to communicate using stories. Yet many hesitate to open up before a group especially when it comes to sharing a personal story. The reason is not far to find. Sharing a personal story makes a speaker feel vulnerable. Many speakers confuse this as weakness. It is not. The truth points the other way. When a speaker shares a story from his life, the audience sees beyond a speaker’s credentials. They see a human being on stage with flesh and blood like all the others; with no other claim to greatness than the fact that he or she too is a participant in life’s rise and fall.

Rarely does a story fail to illuminate if told well. But the mastery of story-telling is a little bit difficult to attain. Yet the truth is that we were all master story-tellers as children. Somehow we lost that capability in the process of growing up. Is it because we lose the innocence of childhood as we grow up? Is it that we lose our sense of wonder? Or is it that we forget somehow the art of asking insistent questions to know more? Perhaps all of these. But the sad result is the lost art of story-telling. Becoming like a little child on stage is the key to holding audiences spellbound while communicating, especially through stories.

It is also important to understand that great stories do revolve around themes that lie close to life: Fight between good and evil; competing for love; principles of honour, loyalty and sacrifice; war and hate; heroes and villains; journeys and dead-ends; explorations and conquest; myths and legends; light and darkness; crime and punishment, law and justice, death and beyond; pain and suffering; joy and fear; success and failure; birth and new beginnings. This list is by no means exhaustive. Yet anything from personal life that touches one of these chords will not fail to captivate the audience if told well.

Yet another great theme is the theme of change!

The theme of change is what makes the story of the younger son (prodigal son) a timeless classic. Told by Jesus (recorded in Luke’s Gospel, Chapter 15), it talks about the transformation that happens in the life of a son who was wasting his life in riotous living in a far country when he comes to think of the unconditional love and acceptance offered by his father at home. The moment of realization of this truth makes him begin his journey home. Of course, it is a parable of God’s love towards a sinner who genuinely and sincerely wants to come back to the welcome of God’s home.

Good stories will always fascinate and provoke thought. It will touch our emotions. Beyond that stories help us to understand our lives too as a story whose script is being written even as life goes on!
Jesus Christ of Nazareth!

On Teamwork as Seen on the Seashore

A couple of days ago I got a first-hand glimpse of teamwork. My wife and I decided to take a walk at Shangumugham beach in the morning. It was around 8 O’clock. At that time of the day we almost had the entire beach to ourselves.

We walked the shore for a long distance in the wet sand often glancing behind to see our footprints being left in the sand. At one point my wife asked me, “See if there are footprints of the Unseen One along with ours!” But then ahead of us we had already seen a group of fishermen hauling in the nets after a hard night’s toil. We went to watch.

Scene I
There were two sets of fishermen standing in line. They were holding on to two ends of the fishing net. With great effort they were hauling the net in. Two men were out in the sea guiding the net even as they kept swimming. Though the tide seemed low, the waves were crashing in. And soon it started raining. But my wife and I stood watching the fishing process with great fascination. It was the first time we were seeing it live. We found that our umbrellas were no protection against the slanting rain. And it was cold.

Hauling the net.
Fishermen hauling the net in.

Yet the men toiled on; unmindful of the weather. I admired their sense of unity and purpose and how focused they were on their work. Dark and cloudy skies, crashing waves, heavy rains and biting cold—circumstances that look not promising to an average onlooker did not seem to even bother them the least. And finally they brought in their catch. Small and big fishes were there. They struggled to hold on to their freedom and life one last time. But the game was over. They were soon transferred to the waiting baskets of fisherwomen.

Two thoughts crossed my mind. One, how much we fail to appreciate these group of men who risk their lives each day at sea to earn their bread! With what unfeeling hearts we often bargain with these women who bring these fishes to our doorstep!

Catch of fish.
Catch of fish.

The second thought was about Anchovies (netholi in Malayalam) that were caught in the nets along with other fish. I wondered what these small fishes thought about their lives in this big ocean. Sometimes our smallness in this big world bothers us a little bit; doesn’t it?

Scene II

As the umbrellas offered little protection from the rain, we tried to find shelter underneath the roof a small house nearby. From there we watched a group of fishermen trying to wash their nets. It was a fascinating sight. All of them together carried the bundled up net down to the sea. They were singing and chanting “oh, hoi” encouraging each other and creating a jubilant mood. Perhaps their hearts were content and thankful because of the catch of fish they got and for the safe return of those who had gone out to the sea. Well, in that heavy rain, drenched to the core, they cast the bundled net into the sea. As the waves washed it, they straightened out that net into one long stretch.

As we watched, what happened next fascinated us very much. One fisherman lifted up the straightened out net at one end and drew it towards himself from the sea. After the net had come up two or three feet, another man stepped forward and took hold of the net ahead of the first man.

Washing the net
Fishermen washing the net after the catch.

Then the process repeated. Young and old stepped forward in almost rhythmically timed fashion, one at a time, until the entire net was carried by them in a single file. The wonder was that there was no one to instruct. It all happened with great precision. It was one example of brilliant teamwork.

What I thought was that they knew and understood their roles well. Without jealousy, without any thoughts that one was better than the other, with a great sense of purpose and unity, they toiled.

We left the shore with the thought that the morning was well-spent. It was a joy to learn some life lessons first-hand. I also thought once again about that bit of sidelight information that I had read many times before: Jesus called some of His first disciples “as they were casting a net into the lake” or some others who were “in a boat, preparing their nets.” Did something of the teamwork of those “unschooled, ordinary men” attract Jesus’ attention to them that made Him make them part of His team? I wonder.

Like the sea our lives are a big canvas. Nothing great can be painted there without such teamwork as these fishermen exhibit. Unflagging enthusiasm, unlimited patience, endurance and hope, the joy of celebration; all mark the lives of these men. They rise together as a team. This is their glory even as they wait for each new dawn.
____________________________________________________________________________
Shangumugham beach is located in Thiruvananthapuram and is very near Kovalam beach, Kerala, India.
Jesus Christ of Nazareth!

The RainThe Rainbow