Speaking

 What I love about speaking

I like to talk. I’m opinionated. I like an audience.

A bit ego-centric, are we?

Well, that may be, but God has been engaged in a patient reconstruction of my heart and mind for a few decades now. (No, I’m not telling you how many. Maybe my picture will fool you into thinking I’m young and wise beyond my years.)

I am blessed to attend a large church, where I get to speak on a semi-regular basis. Generally, I teach on spiritual growth topics in adult discipleship classes, Bible studies, and women’s groups. My usual venue is women’s studies or retreats. I have spoken in the main church services a couple times. Here’s the link to my amazing church, West End Assembly of God. http://www.weag.org. Come visit us if you live in Richmond, VA, or you’re just passing through. Our pastor is one handsome, funny, and profound guy (he’s also my husband Shane.)IMG_4010

I began my speaking addiction by teaching children, in church and school settings. Now kids are now only an occasional part of my repertoire, but I still love the opportunity to interact with them over truth. For one thing, they accept truth with sincere faith. The other thing is, you also never know what a kid is going say. It will almost always be something either profound or completely off-point. (Both make me laugh.)

I remember one Sunday morning in 2008, I was teaching in our Kids’ Church. I had just returned from a missions trip to Bulgaria, and I was overwhelmed by the gypsy and orphan situation there. In my talk, I attempted to make 100 suburban kids understand what living in a ghetto or an orphanage might be like. (SEE “Ghettos in Bulgaria.”) One serious boy raised his hand while I explained the gypsy predicament. This kid was smart, so I gleefully anticipated him asking a probing question about orphans or making an application about his responsibility to missions.

His face scrunched up in concerned inquiry. “Have you ever had pork chops? You know–the kind that look like a butterfly ’cause they’re attached in the middle?” He hooked his thumbs together and waved his hands at me, palms out.

I blinked, mute for a moment. Then I stifled a laugh.

I responded with something like: “Yes, I have had that kind of pork chop. It’s delicious. But the gypsy kids haven’t ever eaten pork chops. They mostly eat potatoes grown in contaminated gardens and drink water from contaminated wells. What are we going to do about that?”

(When desperate, you must sometimes ask your own questions and then provide your own applications.) It’s been known to happen on more than one occasion. Even with adults.

MY FAVORITE SPEAKING TOPICS: 

PRAYER

I’ve been obsessed with studying and teaching about prayer for the last 6 years or so. Recently, I’ve written 2 books on prayer, one Christian living title and one corresponding 7-week Bible study. Both bear the title Soulspeak: Praying Change into Unexpected Places. Keep an eye out for publication dates! You can visit my prayer blog at www.7prayersthatwork.com to read and learn more about prayer.

PARENTING

“Disciplining Your Children”—the craft of teaching, training, and disciplining to raise up children who serve God from a pure heart (SEE “Madame Zookeeper” and “10 Responses to Difficult Children” for a fun read and “How to Discipline in Love” and “10 Things I want my Boys to learn about Living” for some practical how-to advice about parenting.

IMG_2613“Establishing a Spiritual Foundation”—the intentional process of developing spiritually-receptive children, tilling hearts to welcome God’s word, and raising children with a God-centered worldview. (SEE “Mothering Alone” and “How to Reach Your Child’s Heart.”)

“Choosing Your Child’s Education”—an un-biased presentation of pros and cons of various educational options  (public, private, Christian, home-school), based on research and experience as a parent and teacher. (SEE “Choosing Public Schools,” “Choosing Private Schools,” “Considering Christian Schools,” and “Considering Home School.“)

DSC_7858-2MARRIAGE:

Covering a variety of topics and applications, my husband and I speak on establishing a godly marriage, living the 100%/100% rule, and looking to God alone for true happiness and holiness. Practical applications and activities include handling in-laws, kids, money, decision-making, friends, infidelity, and personal holiness. Click on “3 Reasons You Can’t Affair-Proof Your Marriage” and “How to be Your Husband’s Best Friend Without Losing Your Identity” (both from Crosswalk.com) to see our anti-cliche prescription for building a healthy Christian marriage.

FATHER LONGING:

This talk addresses the 21st century’s most overwhelming issue–kids who have grown up with absent fathers, either through death, divorce, disconnection, or devastation. I share my own personal story, as well as the stories of others, to broach the important topic of dealing with fatherlessness and how that impacts our ability to trust and follow our Heavenly Father. (SEE my account of finding my father’s crash site in “Searching for my Father” or listening to the podcast. You can also read a little about my perspective on a father’s legacy in “What I think about on Memorial Day.“)

To schedule me to speak, please contact me at sueschlesman@gmail.com so I can check my calendar. I would love to bring God’s truth into your group dynamic in whatever format you deem appropriate. Thank you!

 

 

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