Five state youth speakers spoke on the Louisiana College campus May 5 with words that centered on the importance of relationship with Christ.
PINEVILLE – Five state youth speakers spoke on the Louisiana College campus May 5 with words that centered on the importance of relationship with Christ.
Three tenth-graders, one eleventh-grader, and one twelfth-grader from across the state competed in the tournament this year, with first place prizes going to one student from each grade. The winners were sophomore David Lukachick, junior Carmen Harrington, and senior Anna Lukachick.
David Lukachick, from Gonzales and a member at First Baptist there, spoke about the need to make a difference in the world around us, zeroing in on the Great Commission.
“We owe the gospel to this world,” he said. “It isn’t so much am I making a difference, but what difference am I making.” Lukachick also focused on the need for prayer in order to make a difference.
“As we pray, we change, circumstances change, and other people change,” he said. “The power of Christ can and will make us different wherever we are.”
Lukachick left his audience with the question, “Are we doing nothing or are we changing the world around us for Christ?”
Carmen Harrington, a resident at the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home in Monroe and a member at College Place Baptist Church there, spoke on “Life’s Toughest Questions,” specifically focusing on those asked in frustrating times, such as “What did I do to deserve this?”
“The answer is, nothing,” Harrington said, referring to Job’s trials as an example. “God created us. He knows our boundaries. If we didn’t suffer, then we would have no need for God. We suffer through those things so that we can be drawn closer to God.”
“Question Him or not, He will always be with you,” she said, concluding her speech.
Anna Lukachick, a home-schooled senior and sister to sophomore winner David Lukachick, alluded to martyrs such as Rachel Scott, Amy Carmichael, and Jim Elliott. She posed the question: What made these people choose to give their lives for Christ?
Referring to Luke 9:23, Lukachick went on to explain that the three martyrs had each made a series of deliberate choices centered on living their lives for Christ.
“Everybody can choose what they want their life to be about,” she said. “The only way we can be satisfied is to choose Christ.”
Two other competitors, sophomores Lucas House from Oak Grove near Kilbourne and a member at Hill Baptist Church there; and Katie Howard from Walker, and a member at Judson Baptist Church, also spoke on topics pertinent to following Christ.
House used basketball as a metaphor when he spoke on the topic “Guard Your Heart.” He explained Christians must practice certain exercises every day in order to guard their hearts, namely reading scripture, praying, and trusting God, House said.
“Every day is the key word,” House said. Just as a basketball player during a water break might ask his coach for tips, advice and guidance, so should Christians ask God for guidance in the game of life, he said.
Howard spoke on life’s choices, referring to some of her own choices, such as getting a body piercing and how that decision helped her to learn that all choices have consequences.
[Jesus] accepted all the piercings I’ll ever need,” Howard said, concluding that attitude, like action, is a choice.
Kelly Boggs, editor of the Baptist Message; Terry Newton, an English and drama teacher at Pineville High School; and Johnny Rogers, minister of education at Broussard Grove Baptist in Prairieville served as judges for the Youth Speakers Tournament. They followed the competition with some words of advice to the contestants, commending them for the quality of their presentations.
“These five had something to say,” Rogers told the audience. Then, to the competitors, “I learned things from you today. Begin now to think toward next year and prepare yourselves.”
All five competitors said they’d spent months preparing for the tournament through reading and writing. Some studied with adult church members, school teachers, or family members, and others practiced their speeches at school and in front of the mirror.
Preparing for the speech, which can last up to six minutes, as well as giving the speech itself, has untold benefits, most agreed.
“It gives you time to spend with God,” House said. “It gets you prayin and thinking more and helps you memorize verses.”
In addition, the skill of speaking is a life-long asset, Boggs said. Anna Lukachick agreed.
She’s already used the skill to help her share the gospel and her testimony, she said.