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Beginning Your Message

“Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

‘Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled’” (Matt. 5:3-6).

The multitudes lived a hard life, often filled with disappointment. Perhaps they had little or no hope of ever living a better life. Jesus knew this, so he started his message with words that told the audience he knew how they felt and what they were enduring and with words that gave them hope. Because of these words, the audience could identify with him and his message, which made them more receptive to the rest of his message.

Begin your message with something with which the audience can identify, or which the audience already knows, or with which the audience can agree. Then transition into the rest of your message. Paul did this in his speech at Athens (Acts 17:22-31). He began with something that was already familiar to his audience, the altar which was dedicated to the unknown god. He then transitioned into his message by telling them he knew who this unknown god was.

Generally, you do not begin with something new or something controversial (unless there is a good reason for doing so or the Holy Spirit leads you to do so). You may lose your audience right from the beginning.

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