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"FILL UP YOUR HEART!" DO 1853 Italy, 06/75
1. MY GRANDFATHER WAS AN ORATOR OF THE OLD SCHOOL, a great man, a great writer, great teacher, preacher & lecturer, & he really knew the language & he knew his grammar & his style & his oratory. He was an artist at it. And whenever he made a speech or a lecture, standing there sometimes in the dark on the platform, pointing at the pictures that I was showing of his travels or this or that, he never used a note! Never when he was in public did I ever see him use a note or notes for his speeches or lectures.
2. SO I ASKED HIM ONE TIME, "GRANDFATHER, HOW DO YOU DO IT? How are you so fluent, & you cover all these points, & sometimes in a one, two, three, four order & all this sort of thing--a very analytical lecture--& you go on & on with all these illustrations & stories & you're so fluent & never seem to forget anything. You're never at a loss for words, you hardly ever pause, it just pours out! How do you do it? How do you know what you're going to say? Don't you ever forget anything?" And he told me something I have never forgotten, & I thank the Lord for it, because I've used it ever since.
3. HE SAID, "DAVID, I DO MY STUDYING BEFOREHAND.--I read, I study, I think, I pray & I get totally full of my subject, so that then when I stand on the platform to speak, out of the fullness of my heart the mouth speaketh." Amen? He said, "If I have any advice at all for you as a young man & if you're ever going to do any speaking, get full of your subject & then when you get up before an audience or a crowd, don't worry about notes or anything. Just speak out of the fullness of your heart & God will inspire you, God will lead you" (Lk.6:45).
4. DO YOUR STUDYING, YOUR WORK, YOUR READING & NOTE-TAKING BEFOREHAND, & when you get up before an audience don't go reading & looking at notes & this sort of thing. Be so full of your subject that you don't have to stop, it just rolls out by inspiration!
5. NOW ON A TEACHING CLASS, or when I write a Letter which is literally a teaching class about some particular subject in which you need to be instructed, I of course look to the Lord for His leading, but it's not quite as supernatural as the prophetic Letters, totally under His absolute control with no use of my own mental facilities whatsoever. In the case of teaching & instruction sessions, I just ask Him to lead me & guide me & give me the thoughts & ideas. In your case, of course, you might need to prepare at least a little & have some notes in case you need them.
6. TO ME THAT'S JUST AS WONDERFUL, that God will lead me & guide me in what to say & inspire me with thoughts, & I often get pictures when I'm just giving a class or talking. God gives me some illustration on life. That's where most of these pictures come from, like "The Tree," "The Birds & the Seeds" & all this sort of thing (Nos.316A, 319).
7. I HAVE THE EASY JOB, ALL I HAVE TO DO IS DESCRIBE IT & ask the Lord for the interpretation & what it means & how it illustrates the thought, & it just rolls & unfolds & it's beautiful how the Lord works!
8. NOW IF YOU'RE INSPIRED OF THE SPIRIT & YOU ASK GOD TO HELP YOU in your speaking, & if you're full of your subject, out of the fullness of the heart the mouth speaketh. By this time you should be full of your subject. Your little mind should be a computer which has memory cells that are just packed with information & experience & instances & illustrations & stories, & this is something you need to use more of.
9. PEOPLE LIKE PICTURES! We're all children, & it's easier to grasp a picture, an illustration or a story than mere theories & facts & lectures & so on. If you'll notice, my Letters are just full of stories, full of illustrations, full of pictures.
10. IF YOU READ WHAT JESUS HAD TO SAY, YOU'LL FIND HIS THE SAME: PARABLE AFTER PARABLE AFTER PARABLE. It says that He never taught them expect by parables, or without a parable (Mt.13:34). Jesus never taught the people without using pictures & illustrations, parables & stories. He was a great Story Teller. And this is a tool of teaching which helps people to learn & to remember more easily, just like your little children.
11. SO I WOULD SUGGEST TO YOU IN MY ADVICE ON YOUR SPEAKING: Make it simple, speak out of the fullness of your heart, from experience, from knowledge you've gained from others, tell stories, give examples, illustration & paint pictures that they'll remember, simple little things. Tell stories about your own life.
12. LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING, IF PEOPLE WILL NOT LISTEN TO ANYTHING ELSE--they may never listen to all the preaching in the World, you could even prophesy & they wouldn't listen, you could do all the rhetorical erudite teaching that you think they might need & they'll never listen--but when you start telling your life story, instantly you have their attention. "This is the way it happened to me & this is my testimony, this is my personal experience," & they're fascinated. People are interested in people.
13. IF YOU'LL NOTICE, EVERY SINGLE TIME THE APOSTLE PAUL BEGAN TO PREACH HE STARTED WITH HIS OWN PERSONAL TESTIMONY, EVERY TIME! When it was a new crowd, new people, new situation, he always said, "Well, this is what happened to me." (Acts 22:3-21; 26:1-23.)--I've told you folks this before.
14. WHEN YOU'RE WITNESSING, BY ALL MEANS GIVE YOUR PERSONAL TESTIMONY, because you are a witness then just like a court witness. They have either got to believe your testimony when you say, "This happened to me," & they've either got to believe it's the truth or you're a downright liar! They have to decide whether you're a true or false witness, whether you're telling the truth or lying, & nine times out of ten, if you say it with sincerity & in the power of the Holy Spirit & in real earnestness & honestness, they will believe it, that you are telling the truth, & they will believe your testimony. That's one thing they cannot deny.
15. I HAVE TALKED TO PEOPLE WHO SAID, "I DON'T BELIEVE IN GOD. I don't believe in the church. I don't believe in the supernatural. I don't believe in anything...." But I have given them my own personal testimony & they wound up saying, even though they claimed they were a skeptic, agnostic, unbeliever & everything else, "Well, if you say so, I believe you.
16. "I BELIEVE THAT IF YOU SAY IT HAPPENED TO YOU. I believe it happened to you. Of course I don't believe it would happen to me or my wife or anybody else, but I don't see how I could doubt what you say, as you say it happened."
17. BUT THE MOMENT THEY CONFESS THAT IT'S POSSIBLE FOR IT TO HAPPEN TO YOU, THEY CONFESS THAT IT'S POSSIBLE FOR IT TO HAPPEN TO OTHERS. If it has happened once it's not a freak, it's most likely to happen again & it can happen to them. They admit the possibility, & there's a spark of faith, a mustard seed of faith that has begun.
18. WE TESTIFIED ONCE FOR EIGHT HOURS, TALKING TO A MEMBER OF INTERPOL, a special investigator who was on a special assignment which I don't have time to tell you about now. He's the fellow we told you about in the Letter who was the first one to ever tell us about Ethiopia & Eritrea. (See No.333B.) And of course we got into witnessing & talking about God, which he didn't believe in, blah blah.
19. BUT WHEN I WAS FINISHED HE HAD TO CONFESS, "Well, I know one thing, I know you believe it." And that's a spark of faith. That's a spark of faith to know that somebody believes, that's admission that there is faith somewhere, that you have faith so there must be such a thing as faith.
20. IF HE KNOWS YOU BELIEVE IT THEN HE HAS FAITH IN YOUR FAITH VICARIOUSLY, & therefore there's a definite possibility for him to have faith himself. If he can believe in you, he can believe in God. That's why I said in witnessing you have to sell yourself first. You have to do the winning & win them to yourself first, really. Isn't that what we really do by our sample & our love & our music? We win them to ourselves & our own happiness & our way of life first, then they want what we've got & what makes us that way.
21. SO WHEN YOU'RE SPEAKING, FIRST OF ALL I WOULD SUGGEST PERHAPS YOU COULD TRY JUST POURING OUT YOUR HEART. And let me tell you right now, we're in a war! Time is more important than perfection. Even though you say it simply, crazily, disjointed, disorganised, & maybe your listeners will say, "Why, this man's a fool," as dear Emanuele quoted one of my readers, some of his intellectuals who have commented on my Letters. "Why, this guy is simple-minded. He speaks as if for children & he keeps repeating himself all the time. He's no literary genius. How did he ever get to be a writer?"
22. WELL, I DIDN'T WRITE OR SPEAK BECAUSE I'M A LITERARY GENIUS & I didn't write because I ever Intended to be a writer or to be popular or to please people or to win their admiration of my journalistic talent. I am just telling people the facts & the truth that they need to know, whether they like it or not, whether they like my style or not or the way I put it or not.
23. STAND UP & SPEAK & JUST TELL THEM WHAT GOD LEADS YOU TO TELL THEM out of your head as it pops out, along with stories & a illustrations. Maybe if you want to have a little subject outline in front of you of the little things you want to say & points you want to cover so you won't wander too far astray, fine.
24. ALSO I WOULD ADVISE YOU IN YOUR SPEAKING LIKE THEY ADVISED THE YARDMAN, who when he joined the circus they hired him because he was so funny. When he wanted to know what he was supposed to do, they said just act natural, be natural! I advise you to do that in your speaking.
25. TALK ABOUT HOW IT HAPPENED TO YOU, how it happened in cases you know about by experience, how it has happened according to what you've heard & read & what the usual case is. But allow for the unusual & allow for exceptions & allow for others that it may not always be that way, it doesn't always have to be that way.
26. JUST LET IT FLOW NATURALLY AS MUCH AS YOU CAN. The thing is to be natural, to let it flow naturally. Don't say it all has to be the same. It's like the five blind men & the elephant. This is an old Indian story. They asked the blind men to tell them what the elephant was like & they led them up to the elephant & they felt the elephant. They couldn't see it but each one felt the elephant to try to figure out what it was like.
27. ONE GRABBED AHOLD OF THE TAIL. "Ah," he said, "Behold, an elephant is like a rope!!" The other one grabbed the leg. "No," he said, "The elephant is like a tree." The other one felt his side, "Ah no, the elephant is like a wall." The other one grabbed the trunk & the long writhing snozzle & said, "No, the elephant is like a serpent." The last one grabbed the ear & said, "No, the elephant is like a leaf." Well now, were they wrong?
28. THEY WERE ALL RIGHT, BUT NONE OF THEM WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO WAS RIGHT. The elephant was not only like a rope, the trunk of a tree, a wall, a leaf or a serpent--the elephant was like all of these. And to get the whole story you've got to put everybody's story together & you've got to have everybody's opinion. And this is what you must remember--you must be tolerant of the opinions of others.
29. SO WHEN YOU SPEAK ALWAYS QUALIFY YOUR LESSONS & always say, "Well, maybe none of this is going to work for you. Maybe none of this is true of you in your case or your disciples or your girls or whatnot! But this is the way it happened to so-&-so, this is the way it happened to most of them & therefore this is the way it will probably happen.' Get away from dogmatism. Get away from rigidity. Get away from dictatorship. Get away from systematic rigid formal frozen conventionalism. You must allow for difference & freedom.
30. SPEAK FROM YOUR HEART, pray for the inspiration of God, ask God to please help you give them what they need. When I start speaking or start writing a Letter, Maria & I both pray, "Lord, give me what they need. Help me to feed the sheep, help me to give them the food that they need, the instruction that they need." And I believe He answers those prayers. Does He? Isn't it usually what you need? It is usually, even if it may not be worded right or it may be crazily put, at least I believe it's the truth & I believe it's the truth that you need.
31. SO NO MATTER HOW YOU SAY IT, SPEAK THE TRUTH, SPEAK IT FROM YOUR HEART, from the fullness of your heart, & give them what they need no matter what. Let the chips fall where they may & whether they like it or not. I just say what first comes off my heart, & I believe my first impulse, my first reaction, my first answer, my first inspiration is the right one because I trust God. If I ask for a fish He's not going to give a serpent, & if I ask for bread He's not going to give a stone! (Mt.7:9-11) If I ask God to lead me, He's going to tell me the right thing to say & I'm going to say what comes out of my heart, & what I believe & what I think is the truth & what they need. Like it or not, that's the way it's going to be.
32. SO GIVE OUT OF THE FULLNESS OF YOUR HEART & LET YOUR MOUTH SPEAK. If your heart is full of Jesus & the truth, that's what you'll give them & it'll be what they need & don't worry about perfection. Try to organise it if you can, if you have to rearrange it a little bit to make it more understandable, but don't spend days & weeks on it.
33. WELL, THAT'S THE SUM & SUBSTANCE OF IT ALL. For God's sake, follow God & then out of the fullness of the heart the mouth will speak & you will give the children what they need & it will be the truth. No matter what it sounds like or what it looks like or what you think it is, trust God that He has given you the right thing & pass it on. And for God's sake, do it. Just trust God that that's the answer and that's the thing, pass it on & leave the rest for the Lord. Trust God! Amen? PTL!