A Few Choice Words

Here is a verse that I have been meditating on the last few days:

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O LORD, my Strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

Maybe it’s just me, but I sometimes fail to control what comes out of my mouth. It is so hard to let God have control of our speech. Jesus reminds us that what comes out of our mouth is a reflection of what is in our heart. He stated, “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile a man.” (Matthew 15:18) If you, like me, struggle with this read on. Here are a few choice words on the subject.

A man joined a unique monastery in which for the first ten years he could only speak two words. For the next ten years he could only speak two words, and so on. After his first ten years he said, “Hard bed.” After his next ten years he said, “Bad food.” After ten more years he said, “I quit.” In response the head monk said, “I figured as much. You’ve done nothing but complain ever since you got here.”

The Apostle Paul gives us some great advice in his letter to the church at Ephesus. He writes, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification, according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:29-30) Paul challenges the Christians at Ephesus that their relationship with Christ should even change the way they speak. As Christians who have experienced God’s grace, we must speak differently than the world. If we aren’t careful our speech will be unwholesome. This literally means “rotten”, like spoiled, rancid food. This goes beyond speech that is considered profanity or vulgar; it includes all bickering, negativity and complaining.

In Ephesians 4:29 Paul gives us three characteristics of the speech that should accompany our new nature in Christ. First, Christ-like speech should edify or build up. Do our words tear down a person in any way? If so, they are not words that bring glory to Jesus. Second, Christ-like speech should be appropriate. This means saying the right word at the right time. The wise Solomon stated, “A man has joy in an apt answer, and how delightful is a timely word!” (Proverbs 15:23) Lastly, Christ-like speech should impart grace to the hearers. God shows us grace. It is amazing. However, grace needs to be more than something we only receive; we should also be givers of grace, especially in our speech to one another.

Paul then gives us a particularly good reason for letting our speech be Christ-like. He teaches that not doing so grieves the Holy Spirit of God. The word “grieve” is a very personal. God is saddened and disappointed when His people fail to live up to their new nature. Did you catch the few choice words on the subject of Christ-like speech? Paul reminds us that our speech should build-up, be timely, and impart grace.  It is a pleasure to serve alongside each of you.

PraiSing Him,

Jeff Hagans

Minister of Music

From the Pastor’s Heart

“What do you want to do?” That is a never ending question around my house. It is one that can take our family to experience Florida at its best on one of the many beaches or creeks. But it is also a question that can result in shopping or yard work just as easily. The answer to the question, “What do you want to do?” takes into account many facets of life.

True needs comprise many of the facets. We need food to live. So, sometimes the answer to the question must be shopping for groceries. As much as I dislike shopping, I must say yes to the event of shopping because of the need of eating. We like a maintained house (we at least try!). So, as much as there might be druthers, we must say yes as a family to yard work at times.

But, just enjoying the precious event of life is also a priority for us. So, enjoyment comprises some of the facets of life. So we must say yes to some time together for the express purpose of fun and family time. This becomes one of the “what do you want to do?” answers to life for us. Keep in mind, all of these facets of life and decisions are simply part of the entirety of worship. It is our desire to worship God in and through our yes answers to every facet of life.

I see church in the same view. We must answer the question together, “what do we want to do?” True needs will direct many of these answers just as they do for a family. Our truest need as a family of faith is that of the presence and understanding of God. So, we say “yes” to experiencing God through song and teaching as a result of this need. Other facets of true need for the family of faith include evangelism, fellowship, leadership, unity, operating in giftedness to the temporal needs of paying the bills and maintaining buildings. These are all needs and they direct our answers to “what do we want to do?”.

We usually have no problem saying “yes” to many of the temporal needs of water bills and building maintenance, because they will shut your water off and the building will diminish over time. But just as families tend to neglect seeing the priority of family fun time as a main reason for existence as a family, the church likewise fails to remember that things like evangelism and discipleship and fellowship are really the primary “what we REALLY want to do as a family of faith!” When we know what we really want to do, or better put, what God wants us to do, then we know what we are to say “YES” to regardless of anything else.

Central Baptist Church, one task awaits us as a family of faith in 2014 that will help us answer the question, “what do we want to do?” and that task is discovering together what God says we should be saying “Yes” to first and foremost. Agreeing with God’s agenda is the greatest form of worship we can express as a family of faith!

In Christ’s love,
Leroy Williams