There is incredible power in our words. I did a message series a few months ago called “Dump the Junk”. It was an eye opening experience to go on a 14 day experiment to rid myself of any toxic talk. Here are some of the notes from that message…
“I hate you”
“You’ll never amount to anything”
“You never do anything right”
“You were an accident”
“You are nothing but a failure”
“I have never loved you”
“You’re so stupid”
“Where did you get that outfit?”
“You’re nothing but white trash…”
“You’re just like your dead beat father”
“I wish you were never born”
Words are powerful. The saying goes that “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.” Yeah right. That is false.
How many of you have been negatively affected by someone’s words?
How many of you have tried to forget those words but can’t?
My First two memories:
Hiding behind the couch while my parents were shouting at each other and fearful what my father was going to do to my mom and us kids.
The first time I got spanked. I called my sister a Bitch. My mom said, “Why did you call your sister that?” “Well, that’s what daddy calls you!”
The Bible speaks so strongly about our communication…
Proverbs 18:21 (ESV)
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”
Proverbs 13:3 (ESV)
“Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.”
Proverbs 21:23 (ESV)
“Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.”
James 1:26 (ESV)
“If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.”
Matthew 12:37 (ESV)
“For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Proverbs 15:4 (ESV)
A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
Proverbs 12:18 (ESV)
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
The text that we are going to zero in on today is Ephesians 4:25-32…
“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. 28He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
29“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
These verses cut to the heart of our communication and lists 4 areas of our communication that we need to DUMP.
1. Dump the Lies and Half Truths
“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.”
Half Truth = Full Lie
“Where were you last night?” I was at work. Truth. But you forget to mention that you stopped by your ex-girlfriend’s house on the way home. You see.
You get caught in a string of lies and before you know it, you don’t know what is true anymore.
The Key to this is that you need to get honest with yourself. You need to come clean and dump the junk!
2. Dump the Anger
“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold.”
3 Greek words for anger:
a) Thumos refers to a fury out of control. It sometimes refers to something that went up in smoke.
b) Parorgismos is an internal seething, a fuming resentment that most often arises out of jealousy.
c) Orge refers to anger based on a settled conviction. People have certain priorities they’re committed to, and when something violates those priorities, they respond. For example, you love your children with all your heart, but if someone hurts them, you will be angry.
You can be angry and sin or be angry and not sin. Your motive is the issue.
You can be angry but not sin. This is called righteous indignation or holy discontent.
Examples: Starving children, abuse, neglect, social injustice, etc…
But what happens all too often is what we allow our anger to get the best of us in a given situation and we explode on those we love the most.
Some of you are Exploders
Some of you are Imploders
Silence vs. Violence
Fight vs. Flight
3. Dump the Selfishness
“He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.”
The Bible discusses many different kinds of stealing.
1. Non-payment of debts (Ps. 37:21)
2. Falsifying account books (Luke 16:1-13)
3. Cheating on taxes (Matt. 22:17-22)
4. Using improper measurements (Amos 8:5; Hos. 12:7)
5. Not paying a fair wage (James 5:4)
4. Dump All Other Junk
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”
The Greek word translated “corrupt” (sapros) means “rotten.” It refers to something that is worthless, useless, or diseased. Rotten fruit smells terrible and is worthless. You wouldn’t want to get near it, let alone eat it. The same thing is true of rotten language. Whether it’s in the form of off-color jokes, profanity, dirty stories, or crude speech, none of it should characterize a Christian.
“Bitterness”–smoldering resentment that results in a brooding, grudging, unforgiving spirit.
a wild rage arising from selfishness.
“Anger”–a settled, internal resentment.
“Clamor”–violent public outbursts.
8) Negative Attitude
13) Arrogance (pride)
15) ALL CAPS (e-mail, text, social media)
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
When it comes to communication, write down the main thing that you struggle with…
This week, give this to the Lord and ask Him to help you from the inside out.
A Franciscan Blessing…
May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart. Amen.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace. Amen.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy. Amen.
May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done. Amen.
And the Blessing of God, who Creates, Redeems and Sanctifies, be upon you and all you love an pray for this day, and forever more. Amen
My last post explained to you that God is leading our family to move to my hometown in Kansas City to come on staff at Grace Church as the Spiritual Development Pastor. You can even watch my sermon here where at the end I read my letter to the congregation. I want to give you some random points that are on my heart about this. This is in no particular order but I thought it would give an idea of what is going on in my world…
I am SO looking forward to living around my family. My parents attend Grace and my sister lives just a few miles away (not to mention countless aunts, uncles and cousins who live in the area).
My heart gets happy every time I think about my daughters growing up near family. I only wish that Fran’s family in Jacksonville were closer so they could get the full experience.
Although I am excited about our move, my heart is sad to leave Living Grace. Frances and I absolutely LOVE these people! LGC’ers are the greatest people on the planet. However, we feel that we are leaving LGC in a good place and our prayer is that God will take it to the next level!
Honestly, I am looking forward to working with Tim Howey. He has been a mentor of mine for over 7 years and we will work well together. Having an established relationship of working together for so long has tremendous advantages. I feel so connected already to what God is doing at Grace and I can’t wait to serve in this capacity.
In the same light, I am looking forward to NOT being the senior pastor. I know this may sound strange, but I am looking forward to solely focusing on my passions – leading leaders, building teams, implementing systems and teaching. I found myself getting frustrated because of all of the “other” things that the senior pastor has to do. These “other” things aren’t bad things, but it comes with the point leader’s territory.
I’m NOT looking forward to the cost of living in Overland Park, KS – that’s a wake up call!
Although our last day at Living Grace is May 8th and we don’t start Grace in KC until May 31st, I still feel like everything is happening so fast…sometimes I shake my head and ask, “is this really happening?”
I am sincerely praying for Living Grace as we make this transition together. Everyone has been SO warm and responsive. It has been overwhelming! Thank you for all of your support and commitment to the Lord and our family.
Anticipating great things in the coming days….PK
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
I have written and deleted the first line to this blog post about 30 times…Nothing has seemed to come out right. So, here goes nothing…
Long story short, God has opened up an incredible opportunity for us to move to my hometown in Kansas City and minister along side my long-time mentor, Tim Howey…
I think that I will post my resignation letter that I read to Living Grace to give some background…so you see my heart…
My Church Family,
I was reflecting the other days over the last two and half years at Living Grace and thanking God for lives who have come to Christ, the 75 baptisms, marriages rekindled, families reconnected and all that God has done. We have seen a lot of victories and have come a long way.
You have heard me say numerous times about a “second wave” that I believe that God is going to give this church. I believe that now more than ever!
Looking into the future, I see that the “second wave” of Living Grace Church is within our reach and I believe that we are on the edge of walking into the Promised Land that God has called LGC to inherit. However, after much prayer and counsel, I do not believe that I will be the one who will lead you into that Promised Land and to ride that “second wave” of God’s Spirit.
It is with a heavy heart that I tell you today that I am resigning as your Lead Pastor and my last Sunday will be May 8th.
This is not a light decision. Many prayers and tears have been shed over this. But I believe that it is in the best interest of Living Grace Church as you move towards health and growth and my best interest as a minister of the Gospel.
Along the way, God has given me great confirmation of this decision.
As many of you know, it has been a vision of mine to see Living Grace become a healthy church, not just a large church. I have championed the idea of establishing elders and deacons and, upon my resignation to the Leadership Team a few weeks ago, they unanimously agreed to move forward with this. If my legacy at LGC can be that God used us to bring depth and health to the church body and bring about much needed change, then to God be the glory.
I pray that Living Grace would not be a personality-driven church. Regardless of who is preaching every Sunday morning, I pray that the vision of God for this church supersedes any given personality.
Church, my prayer for you is this…If you want to see change, you have to be a part of the change. I pray that each and every one of you take these next few weeks to prayerfully consider the names of people who you want to help take our church to the next level. Use this time wisely to seek God’s face and see where you fit in His story at Living Grace!
Many of you may be wondering…what happens next?
We have thought through many of the questions that you may have today and I want to put your fears at ease…
- This Leadership Transition is still going to take place.
- Our goal is still July 1st to see the deacons / deaconess in place, the Constitution and By-Laws established.
- A “Transition Team”, led by Associate Pastor Jason Fox, has been established to carry out the implementation of the leadership transition to the elder / deacon modeled church.
- We are currently discussing details of the interim period and will keep you up-to-speed with the progress.
Frances and are committing to praying for you as you take these next steps. We covet your prayers as well as the girls and I transition to a new ministry in Overland Park, KS.
Praying for God’s Best,
I will give you the rest of the details on tomorrow’s post…Stay tuned!