Cracking the Simple Present

Learners of English find the Simple Present difficult to master. And there is a reason for that. The Simple Present is neither simple nor present. This tense speaks about the recurrence of a particular action and not about the performance of the action itself, either in the present, the past or in the future.

When I say He reads books, I don’t mean that he read the books or he is reading the books or he will read the books. I mean that he has the hobby or the habit (it depends on how you look at it) of reading books. My uncle reads the newspapers in the toilet!

The verb in the simple present is in the root form; the root forms of the verbs are, for example, go, read, travel and work. We add s to this root form when we combine it with He, she or it.

He works for a bank. I get up at four in the morning. The bus stops here.

We use this tense quite frequently in our speech situations. We use it to speak about what we do every day or every time:

He drives to work. They go to the sea-side every weekend.

We use this tense to speak about how frequently an action is performed.

He goes to church on Sundays. He rarely goes on vacations. Yeah, he calls me sometimes.

We use this tense to speak about customs or norms that people follow.

They celebrate the 21st birthday on a grand scale.

We use this tense to speak about actions that in our opinion are permanent.

He lives in Kenilworth. (He has settled there.) She works for Price Water Coopers. (She holds a permanent position there.)

And finally, we use this tense to speak about what are universal truths. They follow universal laws and do not change.

The sun rises in the east. It rains in August. Water boils at 100 degrees.

We form questions in the simple present by using do or does.

Do you smoke? Does she call you?

We negate the simple present tense by using do not or does not.

She does not smoke. They do not make this product any more.

Remember that do not is contracted to don’t, and does not is contracted to doesn’t.

Next time when you write or speak, find out whether you use this tense correctly.

Powerful Dynamic Leaders With Integrity Appear to Be a Scarce Commodity in These Present Times

Moses, an anointed and dynamic leader, who has much to teach us today, is also a man who is prepared to listen to others and learn from others. Now, there’s a lesson for each of us. These recent articles are based on the Old Testament book of Exodus and we are presently reading and studying in Chapter 18.

Moses’ father-in law spoke to him, and he took the matter to the Lord God Almighty. Moses is open to hear and learn, and the work load is to be shared.

Verse 7. Do check out the actual text. Note the attitude and respect – the warmth and the love – and Jethro is delighted.

On we go to verses 13 and 14. Moses was doing far too much, and it took his father-in-law to see this and advise him. He noticed it immediately.

Verse 17 – what you are doing is not good. If you go on like this you will wear yourself out. Moses was trying to hear all the complaints, grumblings, and whinings of the people!

Moses appoints some 78,000 to assist him in this massive task – 78,600 to be exact and precise, and they are to do the job he was trying to do on his own. This is remarkably similar to Acts Chapter 6 in the New Testament when a problem arose and the spiritual leaders would not be sidetracked. They refused to be diverted from their main task.

They must be men of ability – godly men – integrity is important – and they are to be impartial. If gifts are to be developed in these men they must have the opportunity to develop their gifts.

We so need leaders with integrity in these present days. They appear to be a very scarce commodity.

Every 10 to 12 people should have someone to look after them pastorally and personally. If a man does not have a covering he is in trouble. He can wander off and so easily become a loner. Such a person is in great danger.

There is spending and being spent – II Corinthians Chapter 12 verse 15. Paul was so willing to spend and be spent, but remember that when Paul returned from his journeyings preaching the Gospel and teaching the believers, he always took time in his home church at Antioch to rest and recover and be refreshed, and that is always vital.

In Mark Chapter 6 at verse 31, we have these words of Jesus – come away from the crowds – and from the hustle and bustle – and rest awhile.

It has been said that if we do not come apart we will come apart!

What followed was amazing, and without this advice from Jethro things might have been very very different.

Moses was left to receive and teach the general principles of God’s law.

What a sensible arrangement. God organises our time so much better than we can.

There are things we have to do – things to which we have to say “Yes” – and things to which we have to say “No”.

But can you imagine some people saying – “Well I used to be able to get through to Moses with my problems – and now I have to go to just one of these elders – my problem needs Moses – my problem is special! Well Moses hasn’t been dealing with the things he used to deal with – it has all changed since his father-in-law got him to introduce this new system.”

Moses learned that to delegate is important, or else you will impair your long term usefulness.

There is another side to Jethro which needs to be seen.

Jethro was a man who never got to the Promised Land. He rejoiced in what God was doing for His people. He was glad about what God was doing in the life of his son-in-law – verse 9.

He rejoiced. He was so sensible and practical but he never fully identified himself with what God was doing, and that is always sad. Jethro acknowledges and even sacrifices – but that is not enough – he never went along with them. He didn’t take the vital step of being one of the people of God and following the Lord God Almighty.

He was helpful and positive and practical. He was what the world might call a good man, but the most vital thing in life was missing – commitment to God.

We seek to be fully committed to Jesus Christ – and to what Jesus Christ is doing – and to be overflowing with the Love of the Risen and Living Lord Jesus Christ, even when we wonder what might be around the corner.

We seek to be identified with the purposes of God – and with Christ Jesus – and with the Moving and Leading of the Holy Spirit.

Personal experience, of the Power of God, is a potent means of bringing others to acknowledge the saving Grace of Jesus Christ, and to revealing His Glory.

We seek to have a testimony that is real and living – and to witness and to be a witness in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Sandy Shaw

Sandy Shaw is Pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship, Chaplain at Inverness Prison, and Nairn Academy, and serves on The Children’s Panel in Scotland, and has travelled extensively over these past years teaching, speaking, in America, Canada, South Africa, Australia, making 12 visits to Israel conducting Tours and Pilgrimages, and most recently in Uganda and Kenya, ministering at Pastors and Leaders Seminars, in the poor areas surrounding Kampala, Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.

Presentation Changes for a Bit of Excitement for You and Your Listeners

Is it time for a change? If you have been speaking for awhile, you have probably settled into the comfort of re-using the material that is already prepared and familiar. In this article, I challenge you to make some changes.

Start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do I use the same or similar handouts?
  • Do I have tried and true visuals that I use over and over again?
  • Do I have a particular topic or topics that I always speak about?

If you answer “yes” to all or any, it is time for changes.

Update and upgrade your handouts. I know, I’ve been there. It is so much easier and more efficient to make minor changes on the computer to your saved handouts, thus using basically the same format over and over again. After all, we spent lots of time in the beginning research, writing, tweaking, and creating those super handouts. Unfortunately, that was in the “beginning” and, hopefully, we have grown past that stage. Take a hard, critical look at what you have been handing out to your audience. Could they be shorter and punchier? The long ones are usually filed away and never looked at again. Maybe all you need to hand out is a sheet of resources — recommended links, books and tapes.

Reevaluate your visuals. If you use a lot of visuals, maybe it is time to use fewer with snappier meanings. If they are serious, maybe it is time for some cartoons. People who laugh with you establish rapport with you and will appreciate your presentation more. If you don’t use visuals, think about what type of visual would enhance your presentation. Remember the old saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” If you are using visuals made up of words, think about pictures. The word “cow” doesn’t look like a cow.

Try a brand new topic or approach to a topic. I know that all of the books and speaking gurus stress the value of becoming an expert in a particular field, and I do believe in the importance of that theory. I feel, however, that if you attack a brand new topic — and possibly present it to a different audience for free — you might discover ways to enhance your usual topic and/or topics. Everything is related, and by researching a whole new field, you may find a whole new approach to and way to strengthen what you already are familiar with presenting.

Get out of your comfort zone. Not only will it strengthen your presentations, it will also be fun and exciting for you and your listeners.