Language is a Bridge Builder

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” – Colossians 4:6 Continuing our focus on the power of words, yesterday we spoke of one man’s attempt to unify the world through one language and usher in world peace. It’s important to honor culture and language as we travel, especially internationally. Learning basic greetings, statements, and questions in another country’s language shows you care, even if most people there speak English and you are an English speaker. If you put in a small amount of effort, you will be amazed at the benefits you will receive.    On a trip to Paris, I learned that very often Americans would visit and never learn any French or think about the culture of Paris. If you go into a bakery in Paris, the proud owner of the shop will greet anyone who

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Words Create Culture

“If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” – 1 Peter 4:11 Our focus the last few days has been on the power of our words in a team or organization. My focus today is on the ability we have to use the right words to create the type of culture we want within a group. A group can be your family, church, community cause, workplace, or business. Words matter because they can impact people positively or negatively. They can also dictate actions and affect morale within a group. Language has the power to reinforce attitudes and behaviors, and can shift culture in either a

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Your Words are Powerful

“She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” – Proverbs 31:26 We continue to explore the value and power of words. When you use the right kind of language in organizations, your team’s morale and value stays high! When I went on humanitarian and missionary trips in high school and college, there were always important rules around words. Many Americans and others take comforts for granted, such as air conditioning, an abundance of food, cars, and technology. It’s easy for a westernized American to be disgruntled in a non-developed country when they don’t have access to their everyday conveniences. This is why the rules we had in place for our teams proved valuable! One of the rules was “Not to state the obvious.” If it’s hot outside, don’t say, “It’s hot outside.” If the food doesn’t taste good, don’t say, “The food doesn’t taste good.” If you

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The Splashiness of Words

“For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” – Matthew 12:37 In our next series, we will explore the value and power of words. Our words are the most valuable commodity on the planet, and today, I want to emphasize the splashiness of words. Children playfully splash water on one another when they are in a pool on a hot summer day. Likewise, you cannot use words on others without getting a little bit on yourself. A proverb from ancient times states, “Cursing someone by casting a spell or cursing them with your words always costs both of you.” The cost to you is reaping negative consequences from words you use that are damaging, pessimistic, or cynical. In addition, if you lash out at someone by speaking negative words and you don’t think they’ll retaliate, I promise you they will. They will

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A Man of Unclean Lips

“Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, ‘See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.’ ” – Isaiah 6:6,7 Yesterday, we saw God’s love and mercy extended to His servant, Isaiah, the prophet who was dedicated in service to the temple of the Lord. His whole life changed after one moment in the temple where God in theophany appeared. His reaction: “Woe is me. I am a man of unclean lips.” Today, I want to share that as a teenager, I would teach our small high school Bible study from this passage in Isaiah Chapter 6. I thought that “unclean lips” meant he cussed, so I would teach my peers not to use foul language. I have

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Receive the New Wine

“Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” – Matthew 9:17 The discussion of new wine began with Jesus being questioned by the disciples of John the Baptist who wanted to know why the disciples of Jesus did not fast. I picture Jesus saying, “You don’t fast at a wedding when you are with the bridegroom.” Why would you fast at a party? You don’t sew new cloth into an old garment and you definitely do not put new wine into an old wineskin or it will tear, as found in Matthew 9:14-17. Do you know what wine is a symbol of in the Bible? Wine is a symbol of joy, celebration, and abundance.  There are some practical things

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Silence vs. Negative Speech

“The angel said to him, ‘I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.’” – Luke 1:19,20 To wrap up our discussion about Zechariah, I want to conclude by saying that when God shuts our mouths, there’s always a good reason. Though we’re not likely to be visited by an angel and have our tongues physically tied, if we remain sensitive to the Holy Spirit, there may be times when the Lord tells us to stay silent. When this happens, it’s usually because He wants to work something out in us, and to speak too hastily might do more harm than good.

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Speak Victory!

“David said to the Philistine, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.’” – 1 Samuel 17:45 Lest any of us forget, words are powerful, and the things we say to ourselves and to others dramatically impact our outcomes. David was proof of this. Although he was young, inexperienced, and may have looked foolhardy to some, he spoke affirmatively and confidently in the presence of people. In fact, such a leader was he that he used his words to comfort and assure King Saul himself, telling him not to lose heart, and reminding him that the Philistines would ultimately be defeated. Even when Goliath spoke violently and intimidatingly in his hearing, the young shepherd responded with resolve as he invoked the name of His great

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“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs…” -Ephesians 4:29

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