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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sermonette: Poking Holes in the Darkness

Many years ago while I lived in Phoenix, AZ, I had a talented Toastmasters friend named Brian Cavanaugh. He was a dynamite speaker--he nearly always won contests he participated in. He made to the International Contest at least one time that I know of.

Let me tell you how he got to compete at the International level. I'll need a few drum rolls between contests, please.

He won his club contest (clubs usually have between ten and one hundred members and as many as want to may compete).

He won his area contest (usually five to eight contestants).

He won his division contest (usually five to eight contestants). The competition at this level is a bit stiffer.

He won his district contest (competing against seven other polished speakers).

He won his regional contest (against about a dozen other amazing contestants).

The next level is the International. He competed against the best of the best of the best of the best of the best from every country with Toastmasters in the world. I don't remember for sure, but I don't think he placed at this level. However, just making it to that level is an accomplishment VERY few of the quarter-million Toastmasters will ever achieve.

Because I knew Brian, I knew something more about him--he is a deeply committed Christian and family man. One of his contest-winning speeches had to do with poking holes in the darkness. I've heard thousands of Toastmaster speeches, but this one really spoke to me.

Imagine being inside an enclosure with absolutely no light. I remember twice on a tour of caves the guides turned out the lights. Another time, someone turned out the lights when I was working inside a dam. It's so dark you can't see your hand in front of your eyes. It's so dark you can lose your balance just standing still.

The relief when you finally see a light is palpable. The guides turned the lights back on, and I had a flashlight in the dam.

Now imagine that someone pokes a hole in the wall of your enclosure, allowing light to seep through. The amazing thing is that light comes in through that hole, but darkness doesn't seep outside the enclosure. The more holes that are poked in the wall, the lighter the enclosure becomes--but the outside does not become darker.

Think about it.

Are you the one sitting in the darkness seeking the Light?

Or are you the Light-bringer?

I've been both places, physically and spiritually. Walking in the darkness, afraid of falling. Showing the Light to someone who needs Him.

Where are you?