Power of the Tongue

Posted in Encouragement, Weekend Reflections, Words by PCraig on October 27, 2011

I don’t think we understand, and often underestimate, the power of our words.  I’m not talking about how powerful you think your words are.  Instead, I’m referring here to what the Bible says about our words.  In Proverbs 18:21 it says, “The tongue has the power of life and death.”  Wow, that’s pretty powerful!  But think about it, haven’t you seen someone kill someone else with their words?  Maybe you or your former spouse killed your first marriage with words that were spoken?  Or, how about that job you lost because of something you said to someone that got back to the boss?

Too often, we are way too careless with our tongue and the words that quickly roll off of it.  That’s why in the book of James, he warns us that our tongue is like a fire that can burn down our marriage, relationships and influence.  Some of us need to get the fire extinguisher handy!

Last weekend, we launched a new series on the tongue and how to tame it.  The question I want us to address is this, “Am I a better criticizer or a builder of people around me?”  Anyone can criticize.  It takes no skill, intellect, or wisdom to provide a negative comment.  But, building someone up – that takes time to study a person’s strengths, character and personality, all with the intent of encouraging them.

People tend to live up to the expectations we place on them, so if you don’t like what’s going on around you, then you might just want to look at what’s coming out of your mouth.  That boss might just be trying to live up to the jerk you think he is.  Or, your kids might be trying to be the underachievers you declare they are.  And your spouse might be trying to hit the target that you speak over them by assuming the worst instead of believing the best.

Why don’t you give it a try for the next 30 days?  Your spouse may fall in love with you all over again, your children might start being more responsible, and your boss may accuse you of taking happy pills.  One things for sure, our world would be a better place if we would put this into practice, don’t you think?

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That’s Controversial

Can controversy be a good thing or bad thing?  I think it can be either one, it just depends upon what’s behind it.  If you are being controversial for the sake of being controversial, then I think that’s phony.  If you are being controversial to draw attention to yourself, then I think that’s pride.  If you are being controversial to answer questions no one is asking, then that can be sensationalism.

But, what if you’re being controversial for the sake of being relevant?  For example, we recently did a sermon series called Q&A in which the congregation got to vote on the topics by way of texting.  I then took the most popular subjects and made a series out of them.  Several of these had to do with sex, such as masturbation, homosexuality, pornography and living together.  Others were concerned with theological issues, like why is life unfair? and end times.  Still others concerned themselves with social subjects of tattoos, suicide, drinking and cursing.

The series was quite popular with the congregation, but it also had a lot of controversy considering some of the topics.  My feeling is the Bible is pretty graphic and detailed when it comes to these sorts of topics and so why can’t the church speak that directly?    When the Bible spoke directly, then we let it speak for itself, at other times we looked at principles to apply, but always we sought unity.

The positive feedback far outweighed the negative and some pretty powerful things happened as well.  For example, one guy came to me a few weeks later and admitted an addiction to lustful thoughts and was powerfully convicted by the series.  Another person said that the material shared on suicide gave them great comfort because of someone who had taken their life.  These are just a couple of examples of the way God used it.

My point is that we didn’t do the series to be cute, edgy, or controversial.  We did the series to speak directly to the topics our culture is struggling with the most and give a biblical response.  Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”  There’s something I love about releasing the truth of God’s Word and watching it set people free that makes any risk of being misinterpreted worth it.  Are you willing to take the risk to be relevant and watch God set people free?  Let’s do all we can, with all we have to reach one more for Jesus!

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Warning Signals

Posted in Marriage, Relationships by PCraig on October 13, 2011

Last weekend I told the story of how I had a Toyota with 240,000 miles on it when we first started the church.  I loved that car!  But, one day as I was driving down the highway a red light illuminated on the dash that said, “Check Engine Soon”.  Within moments the car was bucking and jumping and by the time I got pulled over to the side it had died and wouldn’t restart.  After towing it to a service center, I learned the oil pump went out and the engine burnt up.  It was too late to do anything to repair the car at that point, so we had to scrap it and get another one.

Too often in relationships, warning lights are going off about danger ahead and no one is paying attention.  Instead, we keep driving down the road until the relationship is beyond repair.  A few of those warning signs are: character of the other person, their friends or other relationships, their emotional health, and most of all their relationship with God and His church.

Instead of seeing these as indicators of potential problems, too many defective daters make excuses for them and allow love (emotions) to blind them.

If you’re seriously dating someone and there are signs you have seen, or others who truly love you have mentioned, then seek counsel.  Get godly counsel from a Christian Counselor or insightful people to prevent you from being blindsided before you take the next step.

If you’re already married and you see some signals of danger ahead, then call a godly, Christian Counselor TODAY and make an appointment.  Quit thinking it will just magically go away or fix itself over time.  God wants each of us to have thriving relationships and the warning signals are there to help you get there.  What warning signals are you currently pretending not to notice?

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Fruit for Better Relationships

Posted in Attitude, Fruit of the Spirit, Holy Spirit, Relationships by PCraig on October 6, 2011

At last night’s 1st Wednesday service I shared about another of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit from Galatians chapter five called “Gentleness.”  At first glance, this may not seem like that desirable of a character trait for you in the “dog eat dog” world you live in.  However, as we learned, this trait is all about the power of your potential under God’s control.  In other words, a gentle person, is a person of power, reaching their potential under God’s direction.

What this looks like is instead of blowing up and burning down relationships with your tongue; you actually cultivate relationships with gentleness.  As people witness this incredible ability to control yourself in even the most difficult of circumstances, it earns respect.  They see us as being proactive instead of reactive.   Reactive people blame others for why the blow up all the time, or say it was the conditions they were under at the time.  They would rather do anything other than accept the blame themselves and acknowledge their lack of surrender to God’s Spirit.

If you have a fruit problem, you have a root problem.  Go ahead and make a list of all your personality traits that are hindering your relationships (write small so you don’t have to use as much paper! :)).  Then take that list before God and allow him to change you from the inside out.  When you fully surrender to the Holy Spirit, it’s amazing how gentleness fills our lives and brings life to our relationships.

What are you waiting for?  Invite the Holy Spirit inside you and give him total control today!

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