Every year before I head out on a summer whirlwind of camps and workshops, I dig into The Word to see what God is going to give me to say to these students, parents, club leaders, and coaches. Sure, I know how to pick an Interp or how to make learning about Platform or Limited Prep Speeches fun. But what is it that God really wants to say through me? That’s what really matters!! I’ll admit it, after a long competition season, I feel like I am going to the well parched and ready. In Speech and Debate, we spend so much time focusing our lives around the competition, club meetings, Debate briefs, research, practicing, tournaments, etc. I feel like the summer is for rejuvenation. Psalm 81:10, “For it was I, the Lord your God who rescued you from the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things.” How better to get rejuvenated… through Him!! Yet, why did I wait until summer!?
God placed a team of people in my life to assist me in this process of rejuvenation, and together we have been creating The Lasting Impact! Devotional. This has been a labor of love to watch grow and develop. We hope that club leaders will help spread these messages. We hope families use it as an opportunity to grow together. I say quite often, this activity of Speech and Debate is much bigger than one individualized competitor, club, or any given tournament. This is a “we thing, not a me thing.” Let us come together like Ephesians 4:12-13, “to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in faith and in knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” God put together over 10 individuals to construct over 25 different devotionals. We are each on a journey, on our own individual path, but God has orchestrated our meeting, and by these connections through Speech and Debate, may we be transformed by Him.
I reiterate what Paul said in Romans 15:13, “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
We hope you enjoy a sample devo, from The Lasting Impact! Devotional…
By Elyse Rawlson
Isa 30:18 NASB Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.
Col 4:6a NLT Let your conversation be gracious and attractive…
Some of my favorite Speech and Debate memories occurred during my son’s first year of competition. He was a 12-year-old debating for the very first time. And as typically happens, he wound up debating juniors and seniors with far more experience than him. But each time, those seasoned competitors not only treated him with kindness and respect in the debate round, but they also went far and above. They contacted him to set up practice rounds, they shared evidence and ideas, they even watched him debate with the sole purpose of giving him feedback to improve. They spent their time encouraging a young competitor who could have easily felt defeated and insecure and instead was shown kindness and respect which encouraged him to want to be like them.
The word gracious in the Greek means to bend or stoop down in kindness to an inferior. Col 4:6 compels us by declaring, “Let your conversation be gracious and attractive.” And that is exactly what these older competitors did. At that time, my son was obviously inferior to them in skill level. Yet instead of making sure that he knew that, they chose to bend down and treat him with kindness, to be gracious to him.
Another perfect example of this was shown to us by Jesus. Parents brought their little children to Him to be blessed. In Jesus’ day, children were not deemed very important, so his disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. But instead of turning them away, Jesus bent down, took them in His arms and blessed them. He was exceedingly gracious to them.
This reminds me of all the times I have watched the face of a young ten year old, junior competitor light up when someone older and more experienced took the time to notice them and make them feel special and important. Sometimes all it takes to be gracious is a minute of your time. That minute could help change a scary, lonely experience into an extraordinary moment that will never be forgotten.
And guess what? It only gets better. Not only did Jesus model this for us on Earth, but we have a heavenly Father who is longing to show His kindness to each of us every single day. Isaiah 30:18 states, “Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.” Wow! Our God is waiting to bend down from heaven and show kindness and compassion to each of us. I don’t know about you, but that is extraordinary to me and makes me all the more eager to show kindness to others.
AND THE BEST NEWS IS THAT WE ALL CAN BE GRACIOUS
Those reaching the end of their high school careers have countless opportunities to show kindness and leave a legacy of graciousness. First-year competitors only have to glance at all the junior competitors to find someone who looks up to them. Everyone in between need only look around to easily find someone who would benefit from a kind word or compassionate deed. If our God in heaven is truly longing to be gracious to us, how much more should we desire to show this same type of kindness to those around us? It only takes a moment to bend down and show kindness to someone, but that moment can truly change someone else’s life.
1. Look up the word gracious. Write out in your own words what you think this looks like in real life.
2. Think of a time when someone was gracious to you? How did that make you feel?
3. Think of 3 ways you can be gracious to someone. Make a specific plan to act upon it.
We hope to have the Devotional out in the next two weeks. Topics will include…
- What is a True Champion
- Making Mistakes
- Taming the Tongue
- Running the Race
- … and so much more!
We can’t wait to see how God is going to use His Word through the experiences of Speech and Debate. Each devotional has questions/applications to ponder and grow. It also has a page for notes. This compilation of thoughts and ideas is precious. I know I will be using it for my children, my students, and future students to come. For the lessons to be learned in this competitive sport go far beyond our years in Speech and Debate.