Tag Archive | "WORDS"

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CLERGY CORNER: Watch your mouth!

Posted on 28 March 2019 by LeslieM

President Calvin Coolidge was known to be a man of very few words. He was nicknamed “Silent Cal” because of this propensity. His wife, Grace, once related the story of a young woman who happened to be seated next to her husband at a dinner party. The young woman told the president that she had made a bet with a friend that she could get at least three words of conversation from him. President Coolidge quietly responded, “You lose.” He had learned and mastered the art of carefully selecting words that kept his responses brief and to the point. It is a skill that we would do well to develop for use in our conversations and communications with each other. Mature people have learned not to utter everything that comes to their minds, especially in heated and emotional conversations. They have realized that there is a responsibility that comes with speech and thereby they choose their words carefully.

In a world where passions are easily inflamed by the words that we use, James 3:5 reminds us just how dangerous loose lips and an unrestrained tongue can be. It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that (MSG).

In recent months, we’ve seen images of the awesome devastation caused by fires in California. Thousands of acres burned up, numerous homes and neighborhoods devastated, and the heartbreak of families that have lost everything. It is reported that the 2018 wildfire season was the deadliest and has caused the greatest destruction on record in California. When you consider that a tiny spark can produce a raging inferno in nature you can begin to understand the destructive power of the tongue.

How many friendships have been ruined, lives irreparably damaged, marriages broken, fights erupted and wars declared because of the negative potential of the tongue? It may be small in comparison to other parts of the human body, but the tongue can be lethal. It is our chief means of communication and expression and is the first skill that we master after birth. Consider that, even before forming words and coherent speech, babies announce their presence, demand attention and have their needs tended to by crying out loudly, and making noises with their mouths. Mastery of speech and language enables us to communicate clearly as we grow. Consequently, we’re conditioned in our relationships to respond to what people say in our conversations. Maturity is revealed in using the right words at the appropriate times.

But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison (James 3:8 NKJV). Ouch! With a direct and blunt comment James further reminds us of the attention we need to pay to our words. Thoughtless or emotionally charged speech can get out of control very quickly and change the mood of a conversation. Some people pride themselves on speaking their minds and have no qualms about making their points in a direct manner, but caution is required to avoid escalating the dialogue into an argument.

Washington Irving, who wrote Rip Van Winkle, once said, “A sharp tongue is the only edged tool that grows keener with constant use.” James suggests putting a bridle on our tongues (James 1:26)to keep our words and conversations in check. In other words, exercise some restraint when you speak.

William Norris, an American journalist, once wrote great advice for tongue control: “If your lips would keep from slips, five things observe with care: To whom you speak; of whom you speak; and how, and when, and where.”

Perhaps if we simply listened to what our parents, teachers and elders told us growing up, we would have better control over our unruly tongues — “Think before you speak, choose your words carefully, and watch your mouth!”

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.

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CLERGY CORNER: When words matter in the dark

Posted on 15 July 2016 by LeslieM

Minutes before midnight on Dec. 29, 1979, Eastern Airlines flight 401, originating from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, with 163 passengers and 13 crew on board, crashed into the Everglades, just short of their destination, Miami International Airport. In total, 96 lives were lost due to a faulty light.

While on approach to land, the nose wheel “down-and-locked” indicator light failed to illuminate. A missed approach was executed, which included climbing to 2000 ft. over the Everglades. The crew re-engaged the autopilot and investigated.

During the commotion, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined the captain, when turning to speak with the flight engineer, may have inadvertently disconnected the autopilot, resulting in a shallow descent. Given the moonless night and dark terrain below, it would have been near impossible to visually recognize the departure from the established altitude.

Allow me to pause. Do you believe what we say and how we say it matters? Proverbs 18:21 teaches that “death and life are in the power of the tongue.” James likens the tongue to a small rudder which “makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go — “for, if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.” (James 3:2-3). It’s important for us to understand that even seemingly insignificant words carry this same power.

We could argue the first link broke in the chain of events leading to the disaster stems from a seemingly insignificant piece of hardware. This malfunctioning light interrupted a normal approach and diverted the crews’ attention — a large catastrophe caused by a little light bulb.

If you’re like me, the latest catastrophes around the world can be overwhelming. I understand the “call to love” more. But can my personal choice to do so really make any difference in the grand scheme of the world’s problems? Then, I am reminded of Eastern Airlines Flight 401. Little things can make a huge difference — for better … or for worse.

For instance, now, if the autopilot is bumped off, an audible alert sounds. Another modest improvement, which has saved countless lives, is the concept of “pilot-flying” and “pilot-not-flying.” In the event of a situation, as with Flight 401, a crew-member’s sole responsibility would have been to positively monitor the instruments, immediately noticing the break from altitude. It’s simple, yet powerful — like our words (and even our actions).

From this day forward, recognize the power you possess to share love with others. It may seem trite, but let someone into traffic ahead of you. Buy the lunch of the person behind you in the drive-through. Visit a nursing home or VA. Write a personal note to someone. Call your parents. When someone is walking your way on the sidewalk, make room for them to pass — or honk less in traffic.

Love is a verb with limitless opportunities to be expressed. And while governing authorities may serve as relief, it is the power of love, exhibited on the personal level — albeit even minuscule — which heals a relationship, a family, a neighborhood, a community, a city, a state, a nation, a world. Never underestimate the capacity of simple words … it’s the power of life and death.

C.J. Wetzler is the NextGen pastor at First Baptist Church of Deerfield Beach. Before transitioning into full-time ministry, CJ was a commercial airline captain and high school leadership and science teacher. For questions or comments he can be reached at cj@deerfieldfirst.com.

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CLERGY CORNER: The power of words

Posted on 26 May 2016 by LeslieM

This election cycle has produced an ongoing war of words between opposing candidates. And while it is not a new phenomenon in the contest to attain a political office, the growth of Twitter and other social media platforms has increased the exposure that candidates and their words normally receive. In this season, the demeaning and destructive tone of political rhetoric has resounded among both of the dominant parties of this country. Many are beginning to lament that what ought to be a contest of ideas has degraded to carefully crafted attacks intended to destroy one’s opponent.

In his observation of human life and behavior, King Solomon concluded that “death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). There is a power inherent in words to set or change the course of a person’s life and destiny. Our earliest awareness of this is during childhood, when kind words spoken to us make us feel good about ourselves whereas harsh words create hurt, fear, or sadness. The old expression “sticks and stones may break my bones but names can never harm me” was not true at all. Name calling, especially among children and the emotionally fragile, can inflict grievous psychological and spiritual injury. Consider the effect that bullying has on young people who felt trapped, and who gave in to despair.

We must be careful to monitor what we say in conversation with each other. Even as adults we are not immune to the effects of positive or negative discourse. An ill-timed word can quickly create an argument, but a well-placed word can just as soon quiet a verbal tempest. What we say is important, and how we say it is even more so. Our thought life is affected primarily by the words that we hear or read throughout our lives, and we communicate chiefly through our speech and conversations. How much easier would it be for us to live together if we were more encouraging, helpful, and kind with our words?

Jesus taught that we will be called into account for the things that we say. In Matthew 12:36-37 He stated, “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

It is true that the intense emotions of our particular circumstances can often be the stimulus for hasty speech and unplanned outbursts, but a well-managed demeanor is a characteristic of mature individuals. Constantly apologizing for words that were spoken can be indicative of a problem that one should seek help in correcting. Those who excuse their harsh and critical language may discover that their words will return to haunt them one day.

Perhaps this is why King David demonstrated an awareness of the power of words in some of his psalms. He advised, “Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies” in Psalm 34:13. And he prayed that God would approve of his conversations in Psalm 19:14, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” That sounds like good practice and a good petition for all of us to mimic and employ in our interaction with each other. Choose your words carefully for they have power to bring about both good and bad.

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441, 954-427-0302.

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CLERGY CORNER: How to use your words for good

Posted on 29 October 2015 by LeslieM

The words you speak every day carry more power than you realize. They have the potential to take your life – and the lives of those around you – in either a positive or a negative direction. To use your words for good, you must first begin focusing on certain categories of words while working to eliminate others from your vocabulary altogether.

Specifically, decide to create a habit of speaking words of praise and encouragement. At the same time, choose to steer clear of any kind of gossip or complaining. When you do, you will see a positive difference in your life and in the effect you have on other people. Here’s a quick look at each of these types of words to help you get started:

Praise – Words of praise shift your attention away from selfishness and toward God’s goodness. Try starting every day by praising God for who He is and for the blessings in your life. Let those words settle into your heart and become part of the wellspring you speak from for the rest of the day.

Encouragement – Everyone needs encouragement. As you begin speaking from a God-focused heart, encouraging words will come naturally. You will begin seeing other people as God sees them, which will make you want to use your words to help them grow in that direction. When you stop focusing on others’ shortcomings and, instead, become a source of encouragement, you are cooperating with God in building them into the people He wants them to be.

On the negative side of the equation, there are two major categories of words that can sabotage your life and your relationships. Speaking these words is like ingesting small, daily doses of poison:

Gossip – Gossip, in all forms, is destructive. Not only does it tear others down, it also deteriorates people’s trust in you. When you gossip, you are engaging in an activity that has no possible end result but harm. Others are hurt, and the noxious words seep into your soul, creating internal toxicity.

Complaints – Complaints become self-fulfilling prophecies. If you feed the small irritations in your life with words, they will grow into more substantial problems. The energy you spend focusing on them gives them heightened potential to derail your best life.

Nelson Searcy is the founding and lead pastor of The Journey Church in Boca Raton. Sunday services are held at 9:30 and 11 a.m. www.bocajourney.com.

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Posted on 29 January 2015 by LeslieM

The words you speak on a daily basis are powerful. They carry more weight than you may realize. Not only do they shape your thinking and, therefore, determine your actions, they also direct your relationships, your accomplishments, and, ultimately, define your reality. Still, it’s easy to underestimate the significance of words because they are so commonplace. You are immersed in them on a daily basis like a fish in water.

Stepping back and choosing to see the power and impact of your linguistic habits takes intentionality. But, when you are able to do just that, you’ll begin to realize that every word you say has the ability to change your life for better or for worse. The first step in using what comes out of your mouth to create the life you’ve imagined is to recognize three essential truths about the nature of words:

1. Words are a gift from God. The ability to use words at all is a gift from God. He was the first one to harness the creative force of words – and he has entrusted you with the same ability to use words to create the world around you. Given the substantial nature of this gift, you can’t just throw your words around any old way you please; they contain too much power and carry with them too much responsibility.

2. Words can build up or tear down. As a kid, you probably chanted the phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Even though it sounds good in theory, the phrase is just plain wrong. Words can hurt. I bet you don’t have any problem remembering the last harsh words that were spoken to you, or the last encouraging words you received. Other people’s words have incredible impact on your heart, as do your words on theirs. Keep this in mind as you speak to your spouse, your children, your friends and your coworkers.

3. The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your words. Words aren’t neutral. Every word that goes out has a consequence attached to it. How you speak to the people in your life will determine the quality of those relationships. How well you communicate with God through prayer will determine the quality of your connection with him. Your internal dialogue with yourself will determine the quality of your actions and interactions each day. When you consider all of these things together, it naturally follows that the quality of your very life is created by the words you speak. Using your words intentionally is crucial to living the life you’ve imagined.

As you become more conscious of the way you use language, you can begin to take advantage of its power to shape the life you want. In the process, you will be able to stop inadvertently sabotaging others and yourself with words that do nothing to help you.

To explore the power and significance of your words in more depth, be sure to check out my new book, Tongue Pierced: How the Words You Speak Transform the Life You Live (David C. Cook, 2015). Pick up your copy at Amazon. com, a book retailer near you or by visiting The Journey Church in Boca Raton. We would love to see you at our 9:30 or 11 a.m. service this Sunday! The Journey Church meets at Boca Raton High School.

Nelson Searcy is the author of 13 books and serves as the lead pastor of The Journey Church in Boca Raton. www.bocajourney.com.

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