Pastor's Notes

 
Dear Friends,
 Are you aware that the average person speaks 11,000,000 words a year.  I know.  It’s easier to believe about some of us than others. Do you know how many words that is in a lifetime?  At the age of 65 it is 715,000,000 words.  Imagine the power of that many words.  Words are incredibly powerful.  They can build up, encourage, and motivate.  Words can also tear down, hurt, and cause pain.  Remember the saying many of us used as kids, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me."  It isn't true.   Words can hurt.  Some of us are living with the scars of the hurtful words of others. 
 Jesus said, "And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak." Matthew 12:36 (NLT)  Jesus spoke plainly about our use of words.  He tells us, "for every careless word" there will be an accounting.  Some of us speak words carelessly, without concern for their impact on others.
 I am guilty.  Just a short time ago, I made a stupid comment in the grocery store.  My remark was unnecessary and uncalled for.  I regret making the comment.  I evidently hurt someone badly.  I am incredibly sorry for the hurt I have caused.  
 The Bible says, “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”  Ephesians 4:29 (NLT)  The Bible challenges us to use our words to build others up, not to tear them down.   Zig Ziglar is quoted as saying, "He climbs highest who helps another up."   Our words can have an incredibly positive effect.   Don't underestimate the value of an encouraging word.
 I am going to be much more careful to guard against engaging my tongue without engaging my mind.  Join me in taking a moment to think before you speak.  Here's an acrostic to help evaluate what you are about to say.   Ask the following questions:

T - is it true?
H - is it helpful?
I - is it inspiring?
N - is it necessary?
K - is it kind?

 If what you are about to say does not pass this simple test, then don't say it.  Think before you speak.

 In the Master’s service, Steve