Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fearless Speaking Book Giveaway

Did you know that between 56% and 70% of us suffer from some form of speech anxiety? That translates to millions of Americans suffering from a phobia that negatively impacts their lives, whether they are giving a toast at a wedding or making a presentation at work. There are hundreds of books on public speaking, but only a handful address the actual fear of public speaking.

I’d love to give one of you a copy of the recently-published Fearless Speaking by Dr. Gary Genard. What makes Fearless Speaking stand out? Fearless Speaking is 100% about overcoming your speaking fear through practical tips and hands-on exercises.

Dr. Genard brings decades of experience as an actor, teacher, and speech coach to helping clients conquer their stage fright. With Fearless Speaking, you can learn the same performance-based techniques that form the basis of his in-depth fear reduction system. In fact, this book is the only fully self-guided approach to overcoming fear of public speaking inspired by the theater.

Would you like a copy of Fearless Speaking, which includes 50 practical, hands-on exercises? These are perfect for anyone reentering the workforce or who needs help polishing their presentation skills, no matter the setting (work, church, volunteer opportunities). 

To win the copy of Fearless Speaking you need to do one of two things:
1. Leave a comment on this post. Include your name and email in the form, and tell us a time you had to give some form of a speech in front of a large group that caused you some type of anxiety and how you overcame it. 
2. Tweet or Share (Facebook) the giveaway. Point people to the giveaway via Twitter or Facebook. You can specifically tweet this: "Enter to win a free copy of Gary Genard's book, Fearless Speaking". (Be sure and leave your Twitter name with your comment on the blog so I can find your tweet.) Also it would be helpful if you use #FearlessSpeakingBook.

Entries are cut off Friday evening at 5pm (EST) and the winner will be announced on Monday.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Having the Mind of Christ Sermon Audio

As promised, here is the link to the sermon that I preached recently at Drakes Branch Baptist Church. I am thankful to Drakes Branch and Pastor Adam Blosser for the opportunity to fill the pulpit again for this wonderful family of faith. I apologize that it is not a video upload, but the church currently only does audio recording of sermons. If your church is interested in having me as a guest speaker one weekend here is a link to my speaker request form.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fearless Speaking: Beat Your Anxiety . Build Your Confidence . Change Your Life

Last month Dr. Gary Genard's newest book Fearless Speaking released and I knew that I could not pass up the opportunity for a free copy. My undergraduate degree is in Communication Studies and the first class that really sparked my interests in this field was my Public Speaking class. I will never forget that class because most students were terrified and could not wait to get out of the classroom, but I thrived off of the energy of getting in front of a group of people and speaking.

Although I enjoy public speaking, the majority of people have a fear of speaking in front of large groups of people, which is exactly why this book was written. "Fearless Speaking is about one thing and one thing only: helping you permanently overcome any fears and anxieties about public speaking that have been holding you back and limiting your effectiveness." 

The book is written in a way to be a powerful self-directed course for eliminating speech anxiety while strengthening ones confidence and skills. The goal of the book as stated in the title is to change your life. Speech anxiety is one thing that holds many people back and by overcoming this fear one can develop into an entirely different person with confidence. 

Even though I am confident in my public speaking skills there is still much in this book that I benefited from. The book does not read like a text book, but it is more topical in nature with helpful case studies on each chapter topic. There are exercises in each chapter that help you overcome certain types of anxiety and become comfortable and confident in your public speaking. I currently preach on a regular basis and I am still discovering areas where I struggle in my performance and delivery that this book has helped me improve upon. 

This book really has something for everyone because I have learned that even the most polished speaker struggles in some area of their stage performance. Public speaking is something that I love and want to see others enjoy too. In the words of Genard "Public speaking remains one of the most exciting experiences in modern society." 

Fearless Speaking is a one-stop-shopping approach to overcoming fear of public speaking. The book gives you Genard's complete fear reduction system, the very same techniques he uses with his private clients in Boston. If anyone who reads the book would like to arrange for one-on-one sessions with Dr. Genard, they are welcome to arrange for an in-person appointment by contacting The Genard Method at

To get your copy of the book, visit Fearless Speaking Book to discover what experts in various fields are saying about the book. You can also download a complimentary chapter there, or purchase the book for $19.95 with free shipping in the U.S. (It's also available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble online.)

If you want to wait to purchase the book and take your chances on winning a copy, I will be hosting a giveaway sometime in the next week here on the blog so be sure to keep an eye out.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fearless Speaking Interview with Gary Genard Part 2

This is part two of an interview with Dr. Gary Genard on his recently released book Fearless Speaking. To read part one go here. In the next two weeks I will be posting a review of the book up on the blog along with hosting a giveaway for a free copy of the book to one of my readers.

Q: What are some of the techniques covered in this book?

GG: The techniques in Fearless Speaking encompass a range of performance skills. By mastering proper breathing, for example, anyone can eliminate the short breaths and shaky voice that come from nervousness and anxiety. Another technique involves using body language to create an authoritative speaking style.

The book also covers relaxation and focus, how to use gestures, vocal expressiveness, starting and ending strongly, achieving mindfulness, and many other powerful approaches to speaking effectively. All of the exercises are designed to draw upon your personal experiences with public speaking. That's a powerful tool in itself for transforming one's thinking and becoming a more dynamic speaker. By developing new habits, your skills will always be at your fingertips without you having to think about them.

Q: Who is Fearless Speaking meant to benefit?

GG: This book is for anyone and I really mean that literally - who has jitters, nervousness, anxiety, or self-doubts concerning their speaking skills. Some people only get butterflies, of course, while others suffer full-blown panic attacks. This book is for any one of those speakers.

Fearless Speaking really provides a practical toolbox of hands-on skills that can be applied in any speaking situation from interpersonal communications to presentations to formal speeches. It empowers people to focus on the task at hand so they can speak with confidence, comfort, and control. In fact, the book could have been title "Speak with Confidence." Learning how to speak fearlessly allows you to regain your momentum, pursue opportunities you've been avoiding, and reconnect with the world personally and professionally.

Q: Do the techniques in your Fearless Speaking System take a long time to master?

GG: Not at all. In facts, that's one of the beauties of the book. Fearless Speaking can help you overcome your fear of speaking in as little as twelve days. That's one chapter per day. If you take that approach and do all of the recommended exercises, it's a convenient and easy way to eliminate your fear of public speaking quickly. Best of all, it's based on your own personal experiences, which is the concept behind the Fearless Speaking System. The subtitle says that this book can change your life, and I really believe that.

Q: Can it help with all type of speaking opportunities?

GG: Absolutely! Any speaking application can benefit from the techniques in Fearless Speaking. Whether it's situational anxiety that comes from talking to your boss, to high-profile appearances such as delivering a major address, appearing on television, or being interviewed by The New York Time, the Fearless Speaking System will help you stay poised and professional. After all, giving a toast at a wedding or impressing someone you're on a date with requires you to come across honestly and credibly, while being at your very best!

Q: Does your method work for groups as well as individuals?

GG: All of the techniques featured in Fearless Speaking work just as well for groups as for individuals. The key is for each person to apply the approaches I discuss in terms of their own needs and experiences. The group approach, of course, provides the benefit of practicing before a built-in audience. For instance, companies can host Fearless Speaking Lunch-and-Learns once a week or once a month. Participants can go through the exercises in the book, using Fearless Speaking as a workbook. At the same time, they'll be gaining valuable feedback and support from their colleagues on a regular basis.

Q: Are there any additional costs?

GG: None whatsoever. Fearless Speaking is a one-stop-shopping approach to overcoming fear of public speaking. The book gives you my complete fear reduction system, the very same techniques I use with my private clients in Boston. There are no other costs involved in the Fearless Speaking System. If anyone who reads the book would like to arrange for one-on-one sessions with me, they are welcome to arrange for an in-person appointment by contacting The Genard Method at

Q: How can I get the book and learn more?

GG: Visit Fearless Speaking Book to discover what experts in various fields are saying about this book. You can also download a complimentary chapter there, or purchase the book for $19.95 with free shipping in the U.S. (It's also available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble online.)

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Harvest is Plentiful - The Kingdom Principles of Community Transformation

Jesus Sends Out the Seventy-Two After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ (Luke 10:1-11 ESV)


  • Jesus appointed and sent them (v.1)
  • He sent them into a plentiful harvest (v.2)
  • We are sent ones sent by Jesus himself (v.3)
  • We are given instructions on what not to do (v.4)
  • Declare peace and bring a positive blessing (v.5)
  • We are the carriers of peace to these places (literally the Holy Spirit is going with us) (v.6)
  • Receive the gift of giving, laying aside your preference for the gospel (v.7)
  • Stay in the same place, build upon it, establish a missional community that leads to church (v.7)
  • Heal the sick as a way to show the Kingdom in that place as it is in heaven (v.9)
  • If rejected do not worry because it is not our job to convert. Move on to the next place (v.10-11)

The above post is a condensed sermon outline from the message I preached recently at Drakes Branch Baptist Church in Drakes Branch, VA. To listen to the full sermon click on the link above.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fearless Speaking Book Interview with Gary Genard

I absolutely love public speaking, in fact one of the initial reasons that I considered studying communications for my undergraduate degree was because of my public speaking class. This is a good thing considering my profession and that I am regularly speaking in front of people whether it be to cast vision or pulpit supply preaching. I have learned over the years that not everyone is as enthusiastic about speaking in front of crowds of people as I am, which is why I am glad that Dr. Gary Genard has taken the time to write a book on overcoming the fear of public speaking. Recently I received a copy of the book from his publisher to read and review along with a few other things.

I am still making my way through my own copy, but wanted to post a few questions from an interview that Dr. Genard did on the book to wet your appetite. Once I read it in its entirety then I will post my review up on the blog and be hosting a giving away so that you also have a chance to win a copy for yourself!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Story of Folklore

DISCLAIMER: The following post is the story of Folklore as told by Sam Smith, which is a gathering of folks from various contexts coming together to eat, drink, and discuss the story of God. I am intrigued by their story and considering starting something of similar nature in the Raleigh community. If this interest you and you live in RDU please reach out to me to see what we may get started in our community. 

For the past year we’ve been getting questions from people all around the country asking about Folklore. This has come as a surprise to us and we are humbled that people would take the time to observe us from a distance. To help share who Folklore is we decided to write the story of Folklore and then share it on social media. After reading, if folks still have questions about Folklore we would love to have a conversation with you in the next few months to talk more in depth. 
Folklore actually begin in Austin, Texas, well at least the concept did. Eddie Everette and I were on our annual trip to Austin, Texas to enjoy Austin culture, friendship and the Verge Conference and while we were on the main strip in downtown Austin sipping whiskey and talking about life the idea of Folklore was birthed. This probably wasn’t the first time an idea was birthed when whiskey was involved, but for Eddie and I ideas aren’t that unusual, as we are both ideation guys who desire to work together in order to see the Story of God shared in various contexts. And so Folklore began. We initially took the ideas of both whiskey and theology and merged them together, and so good drink and good conversation was the initial overarching idea. We both love and respect CS Lewis and his group of comrades  (The Inklings) who discussed all sorts of topics in a pub in England and therefore what we called “Whiskey & Theology” was a urban, present day spin off of what they did.
When we returned to Chicago we invited a few friends to join a conversation on a theological topic in Eddie’s living room in Humboldt Park. We had whiskey, beer, non-alcoholic drinks, and homemade pizza. Eddie’s wife Danielle set up candles and created a hospitable environment and twelve people showed up to the first ever “Whiskey and Theology.” The first hour people mingled and then we brought everyone together and the second hour was a moderated conversation on the theological topic. It was a success! Those who attended enjoyed it and we agreed to plan another W&T the next month. The following month we chose another topic and created the same environment; hospitality, food, drink and conversation, and about fifteen people showed up. These conversations were open, yet direct, and we created an environment where people could wrestle with thoughts, share their concerns and ideas and respect one another. All the while we’d share what we believed to be the orthodox Christian view of the topic. Each month we met, people would leave wanting to spend more time together outside of the monthly gathering, they’d desire to go deeper with the topic and they would invite more people in. And so by month three we had outgrown Eddie’s living room and we started to meet in Craig Hensel’s back yard. The first W&T that met in Craig’s backyard we had about thirty people show up and Eddie and I started to think about bringing in some different rhythms and a name change. 
We decided to change the name to Folklore, which worked, as Folklore is the traditional beliefs, customs, and stories of a community, passed through the generation by word of mouth. And we have beliefs, customs and stories that we as a community desire to pass down to our culture and to one another. In our rendition the Legend of the Story is Jesus, for He is the Better and Truer Folklore. 
We also introduced some new rhythms/DNA after our third gathering. We didn’t want to be another Theology Pub, those are great, but we wanted a more missional bent, and we wanted to be like family. And so we created the rhythms of collaboration, creativity, stories, eating and drinking, discussions, guest lectures and parties.  
Collaboration: Folklore is not a local church, it is made up of people from the Church  (followers of Jesus) and people who are not part of the Church. We don’t want it to be connected to one local church because from day one Folklore was a collaborative idea. We desire both Christian and non-Christians to attend and be a part of the Folklore culture. We want to learn from people who are good at a particular craft and it doesn’t matter to us if that is theology or how to make craft coffee. We believe that all good and perfect gifts are from above, from the Father, and we want people to experience and enjoy those good things (and yes the leadership of Folklore wants everyone to ultimately enjoy the Father who gives those good gifts! But whether people do or not doesn’t hinder us from working alongside them and eating and drinking with them). In the heart of collaboration and generosity, the people of Chicago have been incredibly collaborative with their spaces so that Folklore can meet. We’ve used people’s homes, yards, church buildings, lofts spaces and business spaces. And then I should mention that we are diverse as a group of people, we are black, white and tan, male and female, we have different cultures and backstories and personalities and talents.  Our leadership team alone is made up of 15 people that collaborate together and are incredibly diverse. 
Creativity: We at Folklore follow "The Creative." God is the Creator and we believe that human beings are created in his image and thus we are also creative. In light of this we like to highlight creativity and aesthetics. And so everything we do involves the creative element. Each event or gathering we create, we intentionally try to have the theme or topic align with an aesthetic. For example, we recently did a Folklore Gathering on Liturgy and we desired to have the aesthetic match it. And so a local church in Chicago that has stained glass and a beautiful and lofty space agreed to partner with us. We believe this helps create a holistic experience for everyone that attends. Everything we do from how the dinner tables are set up at our Dinner Parties to the space itself is done with a specific aesthetic in mind by our incredible details and design team. 
Eating and Drinking: Human beings love to eat and drink. It’s a natural space for us to create community and have conversation. Each event or gathering we have at Folklore involves some form of food and drink. And the first hour of each gathering is given to eating, drinking and mingling. We want people to connect and we want people to taste and see and not just hear. 
Discussions: Folklore started with the dual foundation of community and conversation. And content and discussion is still a foundational piece of who we are. We create about nine discussion gatherings a year. The first hour of these Gatherings are for eating, drinking and mingling and the second hour is for discussion on a particular topic. The topics vary from theological (On the Incarnation) to practical (Social Media and Community) to informational (Our upcoming Craft series on coffee, beer and community). We lead out and moderate about half of these conversations and the other half we invite in guest lectures who we believe to be experts on a particular topic. 
Parties: Three times a year we throw a party. We find a large space, like a loft space, and we invite in friends, neighbors and co-workers. We eat and drink, mingle and dance. These parties are no-agenda parties, meaning there is no topic to discuss, besides what happens organically as folks connect and mingle. We believe that Christians should be the most celebratory people on the planet and so we eat, drink and be merry. All of this is a foretaste of what is to come, a forever party with a gracious Host. 
Stories: Folklore is a story-formed culture perhaps more than anything. We believe that everyone has a story and that all good films, books, poems, sitcoms and songs are actually influenced by story. And even more, we believe that overarching all of our stories is the Story of God, and so we as Christians are a story-formed people who not only want to share the story of God, but also want to help create good stories, hear one another’s stories and share the stories of others. 
These are the things you are going to encounter if you connect with Folklore. You are going to experience collaboration, community, discussion, stories, good food and drink and a good party. That’s who we are. But we are ever evolving around that DNA. 
Folklore has been around for a little over a year and we have been growing each month.   People are interested in the culture that we’ve created, and we don’t claim to have it all figured out, but we do believe that there’s something here that human beings long for. There has been some unique opportunities that have come our way and we are looking forward to the next season of Folklore. In the next few months you’ll see some of the things that are next for Folklore. We are working on a fresh website, some unique collaborations, some re-branding and some new content. Although we are ever evolving we will always keep to our original DNA as described above. All the things we add have to go through our DNA filter. If you would like to learn more about Folklore or how you could partner with us please contact us. We’d love to set up a Skype/Google Chat call or connect via social media or email.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Oak City Beard and Mustache Competition

Triangle Beard and Mustache Club presents the Inaugural Oak City Beard and Mustache competition at Kings on Saturday, July 19th!
Registration Guidelines:
-Tickets are $10 at the door. A ticket gets you in the event, as well as the chance to register for a competition category.
-Filling out the registration form as a competitor reserves you one ticket.
-You can reserve additional tickets for any spectators you may be bringing with you on the registration form.
-Pre-registration, combined with your $10 ticket, guarantees you a reserved spot in the category of your choosing.
-You can register for as many events as your beard or mustache qualifies you; an additional $10 fee will be required per additional category (pay additional fees at the sign-in table, not the door).
-Pre-judging WILL take place at the event, before the competition begins, to confirm that you are in the correct category.
-All pre-registration must be completed by July 15th.
-After pre-registration is closed, you can still register at the event, but are not guaranteed a spot if categories are filled.
-All registration at the event must be completed by 7:30PM.
To Register:
-Click HERE to download the registration form. It will have guidelines for the category your beard or mustache should be in.
-Click HERE to upload the registration form. If, for some reason, you cannot upload at the site listed, you can also scan the document and email it
-Once your registration form is uploaded, or received via email, you will receive an email confirming your slot. If you do not receive this confirmation within 48 hours of registration, please email to confirm.

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Story of Dennis

We all have a story and I love hearing stories of redemption like the one below about Dennis, a resident of the Wake County Correctional, who through his relationship with members of the Summit Church grew in his desire to know God and make him known.

Dennis from The Summit Church on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Leading of the Holy Spirit in Evangelism

On Sunday I am preaching in Bullock, NC from Acts 8:26-40 on the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. This story is a perfect example of an ordinary guy, a lay person, in the church that is in tune to hearing and listening to the Holy Spirit. If you read the story and look at the context the Ethiopian Eunuch is an unlikely candidate for salvation. Given where he is from, where is traveling, and all of the other religions located in Ethiopia at the time.

But what one sees in this story is how when an ordinary follower of Jesus is listening to the Holy Spirit and obeys that unlikely candidates for salvation become the perfect candidates in God's sovereignty. The story reveals the the eunuch is reading the prophet of Isaiah 53:7-8, which prophesies the Messiah Jesus coming like a lamb to be slain and standing in our place.

An interesting point to note is that even though the eunuch had a passage from Isaiah that described the salvation of Jesus, he still lacked an explanation. He still needed someone to fit the pieces of the puzzle together for him. This is where Philip comes in tells him the good news about Jesus.

The Ethiopian eunuch gives his life to Jesus and immediately requests to be baptized because Philip had obviously told him that it is an immediate and first step of obedience once giving your life to Christ. By the way, this is what I would call a biblical form of a spontaneous baptism and it also says that "they came up out of water," meaning that he was baptized like Jesus through immersion. In other words there is no sprinkling being described here.

My question for you is when is the last time that you heard the Holy Spirit speaking to you? Are you listening? We all have objections on why God cannot use us, but Philip is a prime example of how the Holy Spirit leads an ordinary guy in evangelism and missions to bring salvation that eventually leads to the start of the church in Ethiopia.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Teaching Clip from S. Asia

The video below is a brief teaching clip from my trip in S. Asia. A good friend of mine recorded this on his iPhone so that is the quality that you can expect. My main purpose in sharing is to show what a common teaching setting looks like in that context.