When Saint Paul tells us in 1 Thess 5:17 to “pray without ceasing,” many Christians assume that he must be exaggerating. After all, who could really keep on praying, nonstop? Granted, continuously saying prayers would prove difficult at least, but the Bible doesn’t tell us to say prayers without ceasing. In this talk, Ian explains prayer as a state of union with God. It certainly includes the beauty of saying prayers, but it is also more... it’s an available ongoing connection, a place of grateful receptivity to God’s ever-present love and guidance. And Ian explains it in an exciting way that makes sense, using language, stories, and demonstrations that convey how very real — and powerful — prayer truly is.
Power of Habit
Have you ever seen a powerful night of ministry seemingly become nothing more than a momentary emotional boost? Maybe a dynamic and engaging talk inspired the will to growth and conversion — but when the feelings subsided, so did the decisions to make any necessary life changes. In this uniquely humorous and especially hope-filled talk, Ian gets real about wrestling with our inner monkeys, and searches for the cure for the one-night-only boost. It comes from the teaching of Saint Thomas Aquinas, whose key to lasting growth is the potent effectiveness of forming habits… habits that shape our very character, changing our tendencies, actually altering what we feel inclined to do.
Although most of us have been talking since we were toddlers, true communication may still be a rare thing in our lives. In this presentation, Ian gets honest about the dysfunctional — and outright comical — failures to communicate, all-too-common in our culture. So often, the depression and sense of isolation that can capture and hold onto us come from damaging messages which fuel insecurity, making it feel unsafe to open up and connect. In reality, we were created for the happiness that results from loving friendship with God and with each other. This happiness is experienced in the loving communion of our relationships, in the practice of healthy communication.
Dark Night of the Soul
Among the challenges that we face in our world is how very emotive our culture has become, judging things by our emotions. Many Christians carry the unnecessary burden of believing that their faith is good if they feel God on the mountaintop; but that the valley times of not feeling it indicate that their faith-life must somehow be failing. In this moving and personal presentation, Ian explores the thought of the Catholic mystics on suffering. It’s a great consolation for people to discover they are not alone in their suffering — and an even greater comfort to explore that suffering has been rendered inexpressibly meaningful, by Christ, Who suffered out of love for us.
These are just a few of Ian's favorite topics for youth and young adults. He is always happy to work with event organizers to create a unique presentation to meet the spiritual needs of any group.