Sunday, January 15, 2017

Citizenship in the Ward

I spoke in the Lynnfield LDS Ward today. What an amazing ward! While I found many parts of their services edifying, perhaps the most startling was how early their chapel filled up. I showed up about ten minutes early to the building. At my ward, that would be a near-empty chapel, but in Lynnfield the chapel was pretty full and the overflow was already filling up. I almost wanted to ask if the congregation was really full of Mormons, as nobody seemed to abide by "Mormon standard time." In the end they had to open up into the cultural hall.

The other speaker in the program covered the material really well, so I just had to not mess it up too badly. That's always nice. My assigned topic was "reaching out to our community, strengthening our ward family, then outward." The Bishopric member pointed me at Elder Perry's talk, which focused on Alma, Peter, and John Taylor as examples. I over-prepared as usual, but since I wanted my wife's feedback I actually delivered some of the talk to her the night before. I think that really helped hone the message, and it helped me get rid of things I thought were interesting but that weren't as central. I think the talk ended up covering things pretty well.

Here's the notes, or you can look at the Google doc:

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Spiritual Gifts

I spoke today in the Billerica Ward on spiritual gifts and how Heavenly Father wants us to use them. As usual, I've included the notes below. I also put a link directly to my Google Document notes. Part of my preparation for this talk included asking Reddit for some tips, so I'm including that link too.

Google Document
Reddit post

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Healing Power of Faith and Hope in Jesus Christ

I spoke in the Acton ward this past Sunday on the Healing Power of Faith and Hope in Jesus Christ. I had looked forward to this assignment when I originally received my High Council speaking assignments back in February. I figured I could have a bit of fun with it as I spoke in the ward from which I and my siblings left on our missions. I could say something like: "ha, ha, remember me? I'm on the High Council now. Isn't that funny?" While I'm not sure I would have ever actually delivered on that plan, recent events in the ward indicated the need for a more professional tone.

While we receive our High Council speaking assignments for the whole year, we only receive topics for a quarter at a time. When I received the topic for this talk a few weeks ago (since it's the start of a quarter), I felt overwhelmed. How could I talk about THAT topic to THAT ward. I solicited help with writing my talk from many people, and then solicited more help from other people. As always happens, I learned a lot through preparing this talk, and hopefully somebody also learned from hearing it.

The High Councilors in the Nashua Stake are supposed to bring companion speakers with them this year. The goal there is to utilize recently returned missionaries, and to alleviate the burden of planning from local bishoprics. I struggled with deciding who to ask to accompany me, as I wanted to find somebody I could especially trust with the responsibility. While discussing it with my wife, she suggested her father. That instantly felt right so I asked him to accompany me. After some wailing and gnashing of teeth, he agreed to do it.

Of course, he gave an excellent talk. He took a completely different focus and approach than I did, which then made the two talks go really well together (at least, to me).  He led with an overview of the Savior's example of healing during his ministry, and then moved to how we can and should follow that example. I felt during my preparation that I had not covered that adequately, instead focusing on hope and how to secure more of it. He covered the area I felt I was deficient, and did so masterfully.

Unfortunately, I spent my father-in-law's talk and the special musical number actually listening to them, instead of modifying my talk for time and planning the transitions. So I ended up rambling and fumbling. I should plan items to chop off in the future and how to transition the shortened versions, so I can always pay attention to the actual program (which is what I should do anyway). For those who have an interest, here's the outline and additional notes:

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Personal Revelation

I spoke on "Personal Revelation" today (9/18/16) in the LDS Heritage Park Ward. I had an object lesson in the middle that involved using Google assistant on my phone. It had worked fine the half a dozen times I had tried it previously. It worked fine the time I tried after. It did not work during the two times I tried during the talk. That left me a little flustered. Oh well. I'm including the notes I used below.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Whom do we serve

I spoke on "Whom do we serve" this past Sunday (7/17/16) in the LDS Lowell Ward. I should have practiced some of the transitions between points a bit more, as I rambled a bit at times. However, I think that it went well overall. I'm including the notes I used below.