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02Feb


We are updating our data base/church directory!
If you have not filled out the Church Database Update form please do so Sunday and place in the offering basket.

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26Jan

We are updating our data base/church directory!
We'll be giving each person a Church Directory Form. One side is for the basics like name, address and phone number. The other side is a list of skills, interests and abilities. Circling one or more of these will help us to know what kind of talents and abilities we possess as a church so that when a need comes up, we know if we can meet it! Please take one of these sheets and fill it out. This will also help up make sure we have your most up to date contact info so YOU can get the most up to date info about The Road.  

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17Dec

Sit down and read about Hallmark Movies and bringing your family together for the holidays.

 It's that time of year where Hallmark releases 30+ brand new holiday movies. They have done so for the last 10 years, (Countdown to Christmas started in 2009) but they made their first original Christmas movie in 2000. The movies are both widely loved and reviled, strangely enough, for the same reasons. Similar plots, similar conflicts, similar characters and their realism (or lack thereof). In case you have never endured, I mean, enjoyed a Hallmark movie here is a typical holiday movie plot. Some might say it's the plot of every Hallmark movie but that's not totally true . . . well . . . it's 97% true.

    The movie opens, almost always in a city, with a young woman. We find out this woman is with a guy, a fiancee, a steady boyfriend or at the very least, a guy she likes or is good friends with. Then there is a massive change in her life. It could be losing her job, going home to her small town roots for Christmas or her fiancee/boyfriend breaks up with her. After this big change she finds herself in different circumstances where a handsome stranger or handsome person from her past enters the picture. One or both of these individuals either have just one parent or no parents because this increases the empathy factor for the characters. 

     After a series of activities where the girl and the handsome stranger bump into each other, have coffee together, serve at the homeless shelter etc, they decide there is a spark between them. True love is within their grasp. But with just 15 minutes left on the Hallmark movie clock, one or both of the characters does something stupid, misunderstands something the other says or decides to take that job in the big city/small town/far way from each other and the conflict drives them apart. With just seconds left on the clock, someone close to the pair helps one or both of them see the light and they find each other for one final kiss as snow falls, music plays and the townspeople stand around wondering what's going on.

    If you've see one, you've seen them all. I mean, if you've seen one you know exactly what I'm writing about. And yes, I've watched enough of these with my beloved that I know how they go and I still watch them with her. My daughter and I can pick with pinpoint accuracy which direction the plot will go and who will end up with who. But as I've titled this post, life isn't like Hallmark.

     For one, life's path can't be predicted as easily as a Hallmark Christmas movie plot. It is a lot messier than that. Also, unlike Hallmark movies, life continues after the "final" kiss. If the movie kept going, the characters would argue about who left dishes sitting around the living room and why can't the new guy in her life just take off his shoes at the door instead of tracking dirt all over her beautifully furnished apartment? And in real life, the people involved in these circumstances might actually turn to God for help instead of expecting someone in their life to come along and figure it out for them, or for "fate" to decide.

     I realize Hallmark movies aren't meant to be a deep commentary on life. They are clean, family-oriented holiday entertainment for the masses. I'm pretty sure everyone knows that Hallmark movies aren't real life so I'm not warning you against them. If it seems like I'm against them, I'm just having a little fun. At Christmas it's easy to get carried away in the nostalgia and "spirit" of the day. The injection of reality into the "Winter Wonderland", "The most wonderful time of the year" and "Jingle Bells" is Christ in the manger. That's real life and that's the reason we celebrate. 

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08Dec

Learn about Grand Designs.

When I was a kid I used to create floor plans for houses I would like to live in. At one time thought I might be an architect because I liked to draw plans and imagine spaces. I would draw immense houses with multiple floors and bedrooms imagining what they looked like inside. I actually took a couple years of architectural drawing and drafting in high school, back when they taught it without computers.

One thing I never considered was the cost of these monstrous homes I was creating. Indoor pools, twisty slides that led from floor to floor and secret passageways were fun features I added to my homes but never thought about the practicality of such things. I would be expensive to have hidden rooms and secret passageways!

Jody and I sometimes watch a show on Netflix called Grand Designs. Each episode features a family or couple who select a building site or a dilapidated structure and build a beautiful home on it. On every episode we have watched so far, the builders have exceeded their budget. One family intended to build for $750,000 and ended up spending far above $1,000,000.

Wouldn't it be great if hopes, dreams and wishes were all that were needed to make things happen? Wouldn't it be wonderful if money were not an issue? Think of all the things we could do if money didn't stand in the way. I would provide everyone on earth with clean water. I would make sure effective medicines made it to the farthest reaches of our planet. I would fund Bible translations for all the remaining language groups without the Scripture in their tongue. I'm sure you could add to this list.

One basic fact about life is that it requires some kind of currency. Whether it is building houses, running businesses, helping the poor or simply keeping your electricity on, they all demand money.

Governments, municipalities, hospitals, schools - none these institutions function without money. The church is no different. Money is simply one of the ways we are able to do what we do. Money empowers the church to fulfill its mission. As important as it is to give of our time and talent, those two alone won't finish the job. Even the apostle Paul asked his spiritual children to give to the church (2 Corinthians 8-9). Generosity is a vital tool God uses to expand his kingdom and the powerful effect it has on people's lives.

What's incredible is that money doesn't have to present an obstacle to doing God's work. In fact, it's a powerful tool. The only thing that stands in the way is the willingness and generosity of God's people. We can dream about what we'd like to do for God and think "it'll never happen because it's too expensive" OR we can dream about what we'd like to see God do and think "how can I be involved in making this happen?" The question is, are finances an obstacle or an opportunity?

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Many Christians would confirm that they know God's Spirit lives in them. They have asked for forgiveness, they have yielded their lives to God, desiring to serve Him, they pray, asking for blessing and direction each day. But what is their daily experience with God? Do they sense His presence each day? Do most Christians see how God is at work around them? Henry Blackaby wrote an incredible study called "Experiencing God" in which he outlined the Biblical steps for knowing and doing the will of God. I highly recommend it. The fundamental principle is that we must look around us and see where God is already working and then join Him in it. The challenge most Christians face is being able to recognize where God is at work. How do we know when God is at work? What are the indicators of His activity?

The best way to start recognizing God's activity around you is to pursue a relationship with Him daily. As we come to know him better we will more easily recognize an invitation from Him to join Him in whatever He is doing.

As we enter this time of focus on Roots to Branches and all that God wants to do in our church, I want to encourage you to go in with your eyes wide open, seeking ways that God is working around us. I also want you to ask God to enable you to experience Him in a new way, that you would pursue a deeper walk with Him and join Him wherever He is moving.

If you're interested in the 13-week study Experiencing God  you can get here: https://www.christianbook.com/experiencing-workbook-knowing-doing-member-updated/henry-blackaby/9781415858387/pd/858387?event=ESRCQ or on Amazon.

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Most of us would acknowledge that we need more kindness, honesty and patience but how often do we set out to make those traits more prominent in our lives? Patience is a hard thing to ask for because often the only way to develop it is to endure circumstances that require us to exhibit patience! That's no fun at all. The same is true with the final trait we desperately need but rarely pursue - Humility. Humility is a difficult thing to measure. You know it when you see it but how do you know if YOU are exhibiting it? Telling someone you're a humble person violates the spirit of the trait. It's like the old jokes, "I received an award for humility but I displayed it so they took it away" or this gem, "Humility is like underwear - necessary but indecent if it shows."

Humility is not something one can fake over the long haul. It is a trait we need help developing. We must ask God to help us submit to his ways and will. Circumstances that remind us of our fragility are great ways to get some perspective. 1 Peter 5:5-6 says, "Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another for 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you."

An attitude of humility is completely contrary to the world's values and to our own sinful nature. We need God's grace, the power of his Holy Spirit, to clothe ourselves with an attitude of humility as we encounter different people and situations throughout our day.

These verses say act with humility toward one another. This may mean biting your tongue when you want to put someone in their place or responding with kindness to a someone's harsh tone when you'd rather act defensively.

Jerry Bridges, author of the book, "The Blessing of Humility" writes, "Humility is not an optional add-on for the super-spiritual; it is for all believers to practice in our daily lives." To do this and to act humbly toward one another means we must start by obeying 1 Peter 5:6 and humbling ourselves under the mighty hand of God. Peter says that when we do this he will exalt us or lift us up at the proper time. No timeframe is given for this. All we know is that the one who humbles himself will be exalted either in this life or the one to come. Humbling ourselves before God means accepting whatever circumstances, good or bad, God brings our way. It means trusting that God knows best and leading us according to his perfect will.

Are you pursuing humility? I encourage you to study the word humble or humility in Scripture to find our more about it or to read the book by Jerry Bridges, "The Blessing of Humility which is a great study on the topic.

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Things have been pretty easy so far in our "4 Traits" series. Kindness and honesty are positives that even when actively pursued can only enhance our lives and bless us. The next two, however, while still positive traits, come at a cost. Here's the next one in our series: Patience.

   Ah yes, how we would all love more patience and yet the only way to gain this trait is through practice. This means enduring situations where we must learn to be patient. On the scale of favorite things to do, 'waiting' is somewhere near the bottom of everyone's list. Whether it is waiting for a package to come, waiting at a medical office for a visit or waiting in a long line of traffic to merge, almost no one would ever say, they enjoy the wait. We fidget, we get bored, we get angry when we are made to wait. We feel as if we are wasting time just sitting. Patience is a virtue, yes, but it is also very difficult to achieve.

   We desperately need more patience. We've been spoiled in our modern world. I just read about pioneer times, how in one year the people on the frontier went from traveling just a few miles a day on the river to being able to cover almost 100 miles in a day due to the invention of the steam engine. Can you imagine it taking an entire day to go from Howell to Fenton by horse and buggy? And then the next day being able to cover the distance in an hour or less? Such a drastic change would be marvelous. This is why when we know we can get from point A to point B in 30 minutes but traffic or an accident causes it to take 2 hours, steam starts coming out of our ears. We get impatient! And not just with travel but with the mail, coworkers, our electronic devices. If it takes less than the 1 second we are accustomed to, we get impatient. We need more patience. We need to pray that God would make us patient people. And yes, that probably means you will be placed in situations where you will practice that trait. But you can also ask God to help you through the waiting. What does patience look like?

     Patience is the ability to endure, tolerate or accept delay, trouble or suffering without getting upset. It can be daily like waiting in a long line or it can be impatience brought about by waiting for an answered prayer. Regardless of the scenario here are three ways to begin practicing patience in your life.

     One way to begin practicing patience is to ask yourself, "Who's in control?" If the answer is "anyone but you", relax. It's out of your hands and Jesus said that your anxiety can't change your height or lengthen your life so LET.IT.GO. Relinquish control to the one who can handle it - Jesus.

     Another way to invite patience into your life is to ask yourself: What does my impatience do to me? To those around me? When you are stalking around, angry about things not happening on your timetable, observe what happens to people around you. Ever been driving with friends or family in a traffic jam? Did you lose it a little bit? Slam the steering wheel? Yell things at other drivers? If you did, it might have made the ride uncomfortable. Acting out our impatience might feel like a good release at the time but in a moment of clarity we would look back and be embarrassed at how our impatience got the best of us. So look at how it impacts you and those around you.

     A third way to encourage patience is to ask ourselves: What constructive things can I do while I wait? Often, our times of waiting are free moments to do things we normally shove aside and say we don't have time for. Call your parents. Read a book. Pray. Make a to do list. Don't waste time being impatient and fretting over a situation. Use it as time God has given you that you didn't expect.

     It may seem as if you've waited for something for a long time but consider that even the things in your past that you waited for have now come and gone. They probably seem like a long time ago. At the time our waiting feels like an eternity but with a bit of perspective we realize it's not that long at all.

So what about you? Are you a patient person?

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We'd all like to think we are good at assessing our strengths and weaknesses - that we know best where we need to improve. Unfortunately, we are often too close to the problem to see things clearly. Part of being human is having "blind spots" in our character or personality. These are flaws or subtle issues we are unable to see because they lurk at the edges, much like when we're on the highway and we dutifully check our mirrors, click our indicator and start to change lanes only to find a car right next to us that wasn't there a split second ago. We swerve away, startled that something suddenly appeared when we were so sure the lane was clear.  Most of us have done it on the highway and chances are good we've done it in life. We've thought, "this particular negative trait isn't an issue for me." And then at some point it makes a surprise appearance.

Last article, I wrote about being a kind person. We'd all like to think we know how to express kindness but an outside observer might think differently. How effectively are we pursuing the trait of kindness? Today I want to focus on a trait that may surprise you - honesty. 

A brief disclaimer: I am not suggesting that we are ALL big fat pathological liars. What I am suggesting is that we resort to less than 100% truth more often than we realize and probably just need a reminder or slight course correction in this area.

 

We are conditioned in our culture to be social manipulators. We have been taught from a very early age to say what we think others want to hear.

With friends: "How's my new hairdo?" "Oh it looks marvelous!" (but in your opinion it does not)

With spouses: "Are you mad at me?" "No, everything is fine" (but really you just don't want to talk about it)

At the grocery store: "Sorry, am I in your way?" "Nope, just looking" (in reality you need to grab butter or cheese but instead you just circle back later to avoid awkwardness)

In social settings: "How have you been lately?" "Great! Just so busy" (the truth is that you've been awful and you only say you're busy so you don't sound lazy)

In church: "How's your walk with God?" "I should probably pray more but mostly it's good" (actually you're having a crisis of faith or a struggle you'd rather not share)


These are classic examples of truth telling in everyday life. However, none of us wants to be that person who seems to ALWAYS have a crisis or is ALWAYS having a bad week, so many times we just gloss over the truth so we don't have to deal with an awkward conversation or situation.

Sometimes when we are in a social setting we embellish or add to our story of a past event to make it funnier, better or more interesting. We add an inch to the size of the fish we caught, round to the nearest 10 when it comes to the number of pounds we lost on our diet or some other minor issue that becomes important to us.

I think there are two big reasons people sometimes lack 100% honesty.

1. The truth can feel like giving up control. If we are telling the story we can control the narrative. We decide what people hear and what they know about us. Once the truth is out there that option is gone. We also fear the discomfort truth brings. It's the classic dilemma - do I tell the person I'm talking to that they have broccoli stuck in their front teeth? For whom is that conversation more awkward and uncomfortable? You being truthful or them walking around like that for a few hours? If we keep quiet we remain in control.

2. Being truthful all the time means that sometimes the truth will disappoint people. "The truth hurts" became a phrase for a very good reason. It can, and often does, hurt to hear or state the truth. When someone asks for your honest opinion about something personal to them, your opinion might wound them but     Proverbs 27:6  says  - "Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy." This means that a real friend takes the risk of telling the truth even if it might hurt, but because it's coming from a friend you can trust that they have your best interests in mind. Proverbs 6:17 says that a lying tongue is one of the things God hates. You telling the truth might disappoint a friend but your lie will be hated by God.


How can you pray for and pursue honesty?

Give thought to your words Jesus says that we will have to give an answer for every idle word we've spoken. Are your words truthful?

Ask God specifically to make you a wise and careful truthteller. There are ways to tell the truth that are not hurtful. You can be honest without being brutal. The truth must always be offered in love and with kindness.


I welcome your comments and thoughts on this article!

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Anyone who claims to be a follower of Jesus is undergoing a continual process of change. We trust in Jesus, coming to Him as we are, with nothing to offer and then he moves in and begins to change us. He loves us so much he doesn't want us to remain as we are. He steps in and begins the process of what the bible calls, sanctification. Sanctification is the process of being set apart, being made perfect, holy for God's use. It can be at times joy-filled, painful, unwelcome and exhilarating. This is because God uses all of our circumstances to reshape us into the image of Jesus. Sanctification is like the process of creating a sculpture. Many rough edges need to be knocked off and smoothed to bring the statue to life. You can't see what the sculptor is doing until enough rough material is cut away to reveal the outline of the figure. That's what God is doing with us. With that in mind, let's tackle the last thing most Christians give to God.  

     We've looked at Habits, Media, Language, Praying aloud and now we turn to  - Money. However you deal with the green stuff, digitally or otherwise - our money is often the last thing we completely turn over to God.

     We are very good at fooling ourselves into believing that we are the masters of our own fate, our own fortunes. Life goes by, day after day, month after month and we get comfortable as the paychecks come in, and we start to believe we have earned our living. We forget that without God we wouldn't have a life that needed to be supported. Without God we wouldn't have the physical or mental ability to go do anything of value for a paycheck.

      The number one reason Christians don't surrender their resources to God is FEAR. We fear not having enough. We fear that if we give away too much there will be nothing left for us. We fear a life that is less than comfortable. We are afraid if we give to God our needs won't be met.


We should be more afraid of what we'll miss if we withhold from God.

   

   What does it mean to give our money to God? First, it means recognizing that it's all His anyway. Everything you have is from God. Second, it means accepting your role as the manager of what God gives you. We must manage it well. Third it means giving back to God what he's given you as a way of saying "thank you" and "I trust you". Fourth it means giving God more than spare change.

     Imagine a doctor performing a lifesaving surgery on a billionaire. She literally saves his life and then instead of billing him for the work says, "I was glad I could help. Just pay me what you can." The billionaire fishes in his pocket for a few coins, pulls out 87 cents and drops it in the palm of the heroic doctor. If this were a true story we would call him a cheapskate, a skinflint, penny pincher. And maybe a few other words I can't write. And yet that is exactly what we do to God when we refuse to give him what he deserves. He gives us life and provision and we hope he'll be okay with spare change. He doesn't need your money though. What He wants is your heart.

      Giving to God is like investing in a stock with the highest percentage return you can get. If you had three "sure-thing" account options to invest in, would you invest your money in the one with 1% return on your investment, 50% or 1,000%? The answer is obvious yet many Christians go with the 1% option one because they are afraid of what they might lose. They forget what they could gain. It was Jesus who said, store up treasure in heaven where nothing can damage your investment. He also said that we could gain the whole world but lose our soul. Money seems important until you're staring eternity in the face. Don't wait to give your financial future to God.

      The opposite of, and the remedy for fear is faith. Trust him with the money. He's got alot of it and can take care of you.


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 The last five things Christians give to God have so far included our habits, our words and our media choices. This next one is a biggie. There's a reason this one is number two on the list. It is a hangup that plagues Christians young and old. It is - praying aloud. Get in a group of Christians, new and old, and you'll find some who absolutely refuse to pray loud. They might pray on their own, privately,  but even then, they rarely voice their prayerful thoughts. If you are this type of person, who is averse to praying aloud and fears having people hear their words to God spoken aloud, I want to point to three possible reasons you might feel this way. All of these possible reasons stem from a basic misunderstanding about the purpose of prayer.     

THE PURPOSE OF CORPORATE PRAYER

        More than once in ministry, people have asked me what they're supposed to be doing while another person is praying. This is a great question because it aims at the root of many of our fears related to praying aloud. Throughout the book of Acts we read of believers gathering for times of prayer. Sometimes praying for hours at a time. It's not unusual for modern day prayer meetings to last an hour or more. What are we doing during that time? When someone is talking to God are we just awkwardly listening in, wondering where they're coming up with that flood of words? Are we just playing on our phone or daydreaming until it's our turn to talk? What is happening in those moments?

         When we pray in a group setting, one person typically talks out loud, giving voice to the requests the group has agreed on. If you are not talking, this doesn't mean you aren't praying. As that person talks, your role is to agree with them in prayer. It might look like this: Listening to what they are saying and then either verbally or mentally agree with it. A simple, "yes Lord, that is what I'm asking for" or "Please Father, do these things, act on our behalf", even a simple, "yes, Lord" will suffice because you are listening in and directing your thoughts toward God all at the same time.

THE REASONS FOR OUR FEAR

       With the above description of corporate prayer let's outline these beliefs that get between us and praying aloud.

1. Belief that they are being evaluated/Fear of not doing it right - Many people fear praying aloud because they fear they will do it wrong and that people are evaluating them instead of praying along and agreeing with them. "I don't know how to pray" or "I will sound stupid" are common defenses against public, verbalized prayer. The fearful person doesn't trust the Christians they are praying with to simply focus on the request rather than the requestor. I will admit, I've heard people pray some funny things But all it reveals is that they take seriously the idea that we call God, "Father" and we can tell him anything and ask for anything in the name of Jesus. Prayer is difficult to do wrong if the heart is right.

2. Misunderstanding prayer as public speaking - Rather than someone looking at prayer as simply listening in on a conversation with God, many people look at it as speechmaking toward God. We've all heard the flowery language prayers that impress people with their vocabulary, phrasing and eloquence. Some people just naturally pray that way but I am sure most of that is the prayer's own  desire to impress rather than their heart being poured out to God. Prayer is not public speaking. We don't write out our prayers or have bullet points for people to follow along. It's not a performance that we will be evaluated on.

3. Conviction that prayer is personal - some believe that any and all prayer is personal enough that it should not be done aloud and in groups. They insist that they pray but it is all done in secret. Some of this attitude is a misreading of Jesus' words when he says to pray in a secret place and not be like the Pharisees. Jesus was talking about people who were praying publicly just to draw attention to their "holiness", not groups of Christians praying together. Prayer is and can be very personal. But this should not keep us from agreeing together in prayer.

   Here's the challenge - next bible study or small group you are in - pray aloud, even if it's for the snack you are eating or to end the group, sending people out with a blessing. A prayer as simple as, "Thanks for our bible study. Please bless everyone here" is sufficient to start. It's not the number or quality of the words that matters. It's the heart of the prayer.

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In ancient times, kingdoms were defended by strongholds. An enemy might invade opposing territory and burn farms and houses but the presence of a stronghold in an area would deter them from entering certain areas. Strongholds had thick walls, highly defensible gates and held reserve troops readily deployed if needed. To go beyond one of these fortresses meant endangering the soldiers who might be cut off from retreat or safe territory.

On a personal level, every one of us has strongholds - areas of our life that are highly defended against change or conviction. We give God room to roam and change us in certain areas but then we have some areas that are in a stronghold - highly defended life choices that we protect from the redemptive power of Jesus. We've looked at our habits, our language and today we look at our media choices. This is one of the last things we surrender to God's control.

Media is a very personal issue. The music we enjoy, the shows we watch, the movies we attend and the websites we frequent are all matters of personal preference. Our sensitivities and tolerances play into this issue as well. Movies I would never let into my house are some people's favorites. Music I enjoy would never be given a second chance by someone else. But submitting our media choices to God is about more than personal preference. The question we must ask is, "do my choices of what to watch, listen to or visit, reflect a heart fully submitted to Jesus Christ?"

There are two big issues to consider here: One is that if we are followers of Jesus Christ, we have freedom in issues that are not addressed specifically in Scripture. We should be able to engage in the activities we want, without fear of judgment from other Christians. This is Christian liberty and a by-product of the grace by which we are saved.

Two is that when we enjoy certain media products we are giving our endorsement to them and other Christians who are not as strong as us spiritually could take that as license or permission to enjoy it as well, with negative results. For example, you endorse a movie you find entertaining but it contains strong profanity, graphic nudity or satanic/cult elements. Another Christian watches it and is deeply offended or opens themselves up to attack from the Enemy because of the content.

If you are hoping for a set of rules by which you can determine what to watch or listen to, I will disappoint you. The Bible is clear about what pleases God. The question is whether you are willing to submit your media choices to God. For example, you may have always loved movies with graphic violence and blood and gore. But one day, you sense God is telling you to stop watching that kind of content. Are you willing to listen? Again, the issue is not whether that sort of movie is right or wrong, the issue is your willingness to obey.

I, personally, do not watch horror movies with Satanic or cult elements. My conviction is that those types of movies welcome forces and powers into my home that cannot dwell side by side with the Spirit of Jesus. I still remember the day God convicted me about owning a series of movies that celebrated killing, promiscuity and godlessness. These were entertaining movies but they celebrated things I, as a Christian couldn't stand behind. I got rid of them. But even as I write this I know there are still some media choices I should rethink. I need to stay tender to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit and not keep rebuilding strongholds.

So, on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being ready to change, where is your heart? Are you unwilling to yield your media intake to Jesus or are you ready to let him change things up?

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No matter how long we've been following Jesus there are things we still need to work on. Just when we think we've reached a resting place on our Christian journey, we find there is another hill to climb, another habit to break, another stronghold that must be surrendered to the power and will of Christ. Our first of five things we are reluctant to turn over to the control of Christ is negative habits. Generally we all have ways of living and acting that we slowly turn over to Jesus over time.

The second thing Christians are slow to give to God is their words. This includes the words we choose to use when we're frustrated as well as the words we speak when we think few people are listening. James says that sweet and bitter water can't come from the same spring so why do sweet and bitter words often come from the same mouth? (James 3:10-11) Whether it is foul language and dirty talk or gossip and slander, it all pertains to the tongue. What we say can make or break our testimony for Jesus. My daughter pointed out this reality when we were watching a TV show. A person on the show was praying and asking God for help and then in the next scene used an expletive. My daughter, still at the stage where things are only black and white, looked at me and asked how that person could say they loved Jesus one second and then be swearing the next. A good discussion then followed. Obviously, none of us are 100% consistent in our actions and beliefs but she illustrates a point. We often let people know that we believe in and follow Jesus but when we get frustrated or simply let down our guard, our words tell a very different story. They let others know that God hasn't gotten control of our tongue yet. The Bible commands us in Ephesians 4:29 to let no corrupting talk come out of our mouths but only words that build up, words appropriate to the occasion that we may give grace to people who hear us. Do your words give grace or do they shock people with their vulgarity? Do you talk one way at church among other Christians and another way when you're at work?

Perhaps it's not the specific words you use but the way you talk about people. You like gossip. If we are completely honest with ourselves we would all have to admit that we like a juicy bit of information and we like to be the one hearing it and passing it on. Or sometimes we get caught up in conversation and end up saying things about people or offering opinions about people that are not at all Christ-like.

Our words become habitual and it's hard to give this aspect of our lives over to God. That's why it's on a list of the last five things Christians give to God!

What can you do, to turn this stronghold over to God?

1. Repent. Admit that you have a problem with foul language or negative talk. You can't address what you won't admit!

2. Ask for accountability. Tell people who love you that you are really making an effort to tame your tongue. Ask them to call you out when you let loose with inappropriate words.

3. Pray for self-control. This is not a one-time prayer. This should be a daily or multiple times daily, prayer. Ask God to help you hear the Holy Spirit more clearly.


Do you agree with the list so far of the last 5 things Christians give to God?

1. Negative Habits

2. Language

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