Good Sunday morning. This is Mike Sereg, the voice of Vital Ministries, and it’s good to be with you on your Sunday. It is unbelievable that this is the last day of the Iowa State Fair. I’m blown away. It’s always kind of a sad thing when I think about that a little bit, because what it does, it tells us that fall is literally around the corner, and Labor Day is in the horizon. And matter of fact, my my wife, she starts back to school on this coming Monday and the school teachers are back. And then the following week, the students go back and it’s just, you know, it’s a good time. But at the same time, it’s kind of the end of summer, and we usher in fall, and all those other different things. But it has been an incredible summer with in the state of Iowa, I’m so thankful that I lived here, and we get it. We live in four distinct seasons. And it’s just a good thing. But as we get going on today, get a few things before we get started in our teaching that I just wanted to bring to your attention. On September 8, we are having our Vital Gathering again. That’s on September 8. This is on a Sunday evening, from five to seven o’clock. This is an all, anyone can come, it’s open to everyone. Matter of fact, kids, no matter what your age are, and all that it’s just going to be a great event. We’re going to be at Debbie celebration barn here in Oskaloosa on the south side, and be from five to seven and also to it will we will have food music, a teaching and a coffee time afterward just an opportunity to experience something for a different type of experience of presence of how the Holy Spirit works in our lives. And I’m just encouraging you again, that’s on September 8, write that down on your calendars make sure that you participate with us that is going to be an incredible thing of a different experience. We do that every other month. And just something we’ve started out this is our second time of doing that. So it should be a really great time and a good event.
Also September 11 is going to be our Vital Men kickoff. I’m excited about that that is going to be in Pella, Iowa at The Well. We’re going to be from six to eight o’clock. Now this is a men’s event. It’s going to be, again we’re going to have BBQ, we got some guys that can just barbecue like none other it’s going to be a great time for that. So we’re going to have food, we’re also going to bring up the bridge worship band out of a tumble Iowa. Looking forward to that. And along with that our guest speaker this year is going to be Marty Schmidt from the Bridge. Marty is man, talk about a guy that’s full of energy, and some incredible things. He just has a knack for speaking to men. I encourage you to join us, again that’s September 11 from six to eight o’clock on a Wednesday evening at The Well in Pella. The Well is located actually on the east side of Pella right next to across the street from the Hy-Vee where they have their their wine and spirits section and literally right across the street ther. It is also right next to Tony’s auto parts. So it’s just a another time to be participate.
And another great event that we have coming up also to we will will be starting a men’s ministry men’s and our five different locations you go to Vital Ministries.org and check out our website to get a location nearest to you. And I again I just another opportunity to plug in as men and grow spiritually in the in the depth of our faith. Also to one last thing, one thing that I don’t do very well and I don’t ask much. And that is something of donations. Vital Ministries is all based on faith based and of people giving donations and that’s how we survive. And you know, things are getting a little bit lean again. And I always trust, trust the Lord in it. And I always struggle, sometimes asking because people are always asking for something. But if you don’t ask, it won’t be given. So I’m going to make the ask. If you can go to Vital Ministries.org you can go to our website and hit the Donate page. You can do a donation right online or also to you can see our on our webpage the location for us to for you to send a check or money however you might do it. And we would love to receive that and help us along as we do Ministries hopefully that even this radio station is part of a donation experience that, that we try to do the best that we can to, to to proclaim what Jesus has and a change that you can live a better story. So I just pray that those things might be you participate in that as well.
But today we as we look at our series, we’re continuing a series called work we’re going to touch into the very powerful teaching and everyone’s life teaching about we’re going to look at chapter three about tongues. Your words. How does your tongue speak. Your words have power in the place of where you work, and they give you life. They give life, or do they give death. Matter of fact, in the Bible, it says in Proverbs 18:21, death and life are the power of the tongue. We’ve all had these encounters in which we wish we could take back the words that came from our mouths. And my hope and prayer for us this morning is that we become more aware of the words that we speak. I ran across an interesting scene on a movie called Tomorrow Land and it’s it’s really it’s a it’s a really good movie. But it also there’s an interesting portion of a scene that really, I think, hits home with this thing is we talked about the tongue it says this, the movie itself is inspirational and draws a person to living a better life without a doubt agree to that. There is one particular scene though, in which the daughter and the father are talking to each other. And the daughter makes the father remember something that he said. Now it’s usually the father who has given the daughter a word of advice of wisdom, but this scene is reversed. The daughter reminds the dad of a story he once told her. She says this. There were two wolves fighting. The one wolf is darkness and despair. The other wolf is light and hope. The question is which one wins? The father response, the one you feed. This is actually an old Cherokee proverb. But folks, it’s true. Which wolf will you feed. The one who brings darkness or despair, or the one that brings light and hope.
We all have a choice and the words that we speak and God has given us an incredible freedom to choose our words. Some words bring darkness and despair, and are rooted in absolute fear. Some bring light and hope and are rooted in love. You have a choice in the way that you speak your words. That’s why words is so important and how we work out our everyday ordinary lives. There’s a quote by Washington Irving, and he says this, the tongue is the only tool that gets sharper with use. Now you have to think about that for a minute. Powerful true words for us this morning. But we’ll see this morning to James chapter three verses one through 12. Where the writer which is James himself, the brother of Christ dedicates the importance of words on what to say. He will actually dedicate 12 portions of sentences in God’s word about the tongue.
So again, I just want to thank you for listening to KBOE 104.9 FM on your radio dial. Maybe you’re traveling down the highway today you have tuned us in. We just want to thank you for listening and hope that your your journey as you go down the highway is good and safe. And thank you for listening. Maybe you’re on your way to church. Many say, Mike, we listened to you every Sunday morning. Hey, folks, thanks for listening and participating in Vital Ministries. And also to maybe you’re at home, this is your church. And I want to thank you so much for tuning us in and participating. And joining us today.
So let’s open up God’s word this morning to James chapter three. We’re going to work look at the first four verses this morning and kind of look and see how this applies to our lives. It says this, dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. Indeed, we all make many mistakes for if we could control our tongues, we will be perfect and could also control ourselves and every other way. We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a pilot chooses to go even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes great and speeches. So we see Jim James illustrating the tongue as both a bit and a rudder, a bit in a horse that can move this huge animal most generally, wherever you want that animal to go, the bit goes into the horse’s mouth on top of its tongue.
This past week, I was at the State Fair. And I was enjoying, look, I love looking at the horses in the majestic the majestic beauty of this large animal. You also see men and women on horses, who are who are wranglers of livestock that will be parading just nine times out of 10. They’re on the south side of the fair area where the animals come in, I’m amazed at how their the rider moves the horse in a certain directions, all with a bit in the horse’s mouth. The wrangler is in charge of the big horse.
James also illustrates the rudder on a boat. Here’s a small rudder that controls the direction of a boat or a huge ship without the semen or the person steering the boat is powerless of his direction without the rudder pointing it to a certain direction. See the tongue or words do the same thing with our tongues which is small and compared to the rest of our body makes great speeches like James says, we’ve seen that this this this week on TV if you if you go and visit at the fair that the grand speeches that were being given with promises of those who have will turn our country around. Great words are being spoken. But will the words of the promise fulfilled the change? Good question. But I encourage us let’s keep going this morning because we can’t stop there because James gives us even more wisdom as we go along.
Let’s continue in verses five through six. He says this but a tiny spark can get a great forest fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is the whole world of wickedness corrupting your entire body, it can set your life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. Man, those are pretty graphic words when you look at those words that James is speaking but a small spark can start a grand fire. We’ve seen it with our national forest, a camper in the night. Totally not thinking about it sitting around a campfire starts a fire to roast some marshmallows, or to create a night around the fire. That creates a devastating disaster, and which burns down thousands of acres of Forestry. And along with that sometimes gets past that and goes into people’s homes or where they live and mountainous areas. I lived in Estes Park, Colorado from 2000 to 2002. A brief time and which I lived in Colorado but soon returned back to Iowa beautiful country and the Lord allowed me to build homes there. While I was working one time on a job site, I decided that I would have burned some construction debris. All innocent, right? no intentions of ill will. So I made the fire burning the debris. Now bear in mind, I’m building this new home right next to the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park. It wasn’t it wasn’t a big fire. But with fire comes smoke, right? Well, very quickly, here comes this person in a pickup truck, a green one driving up towards our job site. Now he was moving very rapidly. He gets to a gets to the house, he jumps out and says, looks at me directly. What are you doing? Put the fire out immediately, you could have started the whole forest fire with one spark in the air by what you’re doing? No, I didn’t know that. I was naive. Again, I’m a flat-lander. I’m from Iowa. We do these sort of things all the time. But you don’t do that in a forest. He said, this forest can ignite just from the heat of the fire.
Now that’s amazing. When you think about just the heat from the fire itself can ignite the trees. Our words can do the same thing. It can ignite a relationship or a discussion to a disaster in a matter of moments. A month ago, I had a conversation with a person that has held our friendship captive by the words that we spoke to each other. It burned down a relationship in a short amount of time with words that I believe both of us wish we could bring back with regret. See, the problem is when the fire comes out of your mouth and the words that are spoken, and you don’t think about the heat of the moment, it can become disasters, we’ve all had those things that happen. We make we make wrong decisions. And we say things that we cannot take back. And soon that fire that goes from your mouth goes absolutely out of control. And that’s what happens many, many times. These words of fire burn down. They burned down marriages, they burned down family relationships, friendships, and even churches, all because of the words we speak in which bring fire into the moment.
Our words can bring fire from hell itself, James says. And I think that’s amazing. When you think about the intensity of the fire about the words that you use, you can cut a person and in half by the very words that you speak. And it’s so important for us to think about that we’re going to talk about that a little bit more. But let’s keep going this morning. at point number three is this are your words life giving. Let’s continue reading with first seven through 12 and see what James says. People contain all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one contain the tongue. It is restless and evil full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and father and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely brothers and sisters, this is not right. This is spring of water bubble from both fresh water and bitter water. Does a fig tree produce olives? Or a grapevine produces figs? No, you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring, sea blessing and cursing. God comes from our tongue, we can praise God for a moment in the ways that he has blessed us and the same as we can curse him with things that we don’t understand. It’s in the tough moments we curse God, why did you do this? or How could you have take my loved one away? You know, we often get in those moments. And we ask those questions. And we say things when we’re praising the Lord, and the same thing, we’re Christian, we do the same thing with people.
My heart always goes out to people who lose a child. They are pain stricken with grief. Often, the why is always asked or even a moment of hate to God for what happened. All with our words. Now bear in mind, I believe with all its within me are God’s big enough to take whatever words that we can lash out towards him. And he does not get offended by them because he’s bigger that he sees the bigger picture in the midst of our lives and even sent his son down in the midst of our pain, believing our God, our Father, who sits in heaven understands pain, and who sent a son to his death for us to have come back to him. After Jesus was resurrected from the dead in three days. So we see James also illustrating our mouth like a spring of water, My mind goes back to the Jordan River. It gets his water from the snow melt and the mountains from the northern borders. When you go up there, folks, it is amazing. It’s like going into to, to a national forest or into the into the mountains. And you see the spring waters coming out of the mountain as though as a snow melt comes to the same thing.
When you get into Israel, on the on the Jordan River on the northern portion of Israel. It gives life to the Sea of Galilee and life to the nation of Israel. That’s how important the water is. But that fresh water also flows straight into the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea has no outlet. And because of that the water has in itself gets rancid. And it’s awful. A couple of drops will make you spit or throw up in a short amount of time. Trust me I’ve tasted is awful. Our words do the same thing. They can either refresh and bring life or they can be dead and bring death to a situation. All but what we say. This morning, I want to give us five ways that I think will help us to tame our tongues.
I believe it will help us to watch the words that we speak and give us a better understanding of what James is trying to tell us is James chapter three as we live out our ordinary lives living a better story by how we watch how we say words by taming our tongue. The first one is this may be your home when you’re writing, writing them down. I think this is really good stuff that can apply to our lives and set things straight for us. Make us live better. Number one, dedicate your heart, your mind and tongue to the Lord daily. Now, how do you do that you ask God when you pray to protect your mind from the thoughts that that leads to words of destruction. You actually ask Holy Spirit to cleanse your mind of words that slander other people. You pray that your Dear Jesus help me ask the Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit help me to use my words wisely and to bring them to my attention. Now here’s a word in the Bible that speaks into that dedicate your words to the Lord. It says this in Hebrews chapter 13, verse 15. This is what it says in the Bible. Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God proclaiming our allegiance to his name. Start your day by praising Jesus thanking him for this day, another gift to praise God for allowing breath in your lungs, I am encourage you to try it sometime. See if it makes a difference in your day of life by all the words that you speak, I’m looking so forward, I’m going to be heading down to see my son in plantation Florida. And I know it’s going to be essential as I meet different people. And I’m going to be praying, Holy Spirit help me as I go into a culture that I don’t know. And I’ve never experienced, I’m going to meet different people from ethnic groups, races, all types of different religions and faith help me I’m going to ask Holy Spirit, give me the words of wisdom and help my words to be clear. And to be right. I’m going to pray that I’m going to dedicate my heart, my mind and my tongue to the Lord. Next number two is this is pray that God would give you some awareness of your words. Basically, this is this is what I’m saying? Think before you speak, have you ever been around a person whoever says what’s ever under mind without thinking about it, we all have we’ve all done Matter of fact, sometimes we do that are within ourselves, you know exactly where they are, because they’re going to tell you what’s on their mind.
My dad is always reminding me about the five second rule when it comes to speaking, give it five seconds before you say what’s on your minds, especially in heated situations. This week, I had a supplier at the place of work and we work together and we’re very good friends and and I had a product on on a job site that that failed. And I purchased it purchase this product from the from my supplier. And and this product that we put on is a reputable product. And but on this home for the first time this product failed. Well, the homeowner called me up and explained what was happening. So I wanted to see what was going on. And so I went to their home and sure enough that product had failed. And that situation needed to be dealt with. So what one thing I really appreciate too, with the homeowner, is they weren’t going against me about what was happening. Let’s get to the bottom of what happened. Let’s fix it and we can all move on. So the same thing. So the the words that they spoke to me were already in my mind. So I call it my support my supplier, and I was very patient with my words not attacking and explaining what was going on. This is what was happened when you come you actually dismantle you, you take off things when the house by the words you speak about how you say things, immediately, that person was helpful, and was willing to find a solution gave me some information about the warranty that I could take to the homeowner and give them assurance that this situation was going to be taken care of. And at the purchase of the product that I had put on, we’re going to buy new product and put it back on the home. It’s important. So yeah, like what it says in Psalms, Chapter 19, verse 14, may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock, and my Redeemer. David writes these words, Lord, help me be aware of the words I speak, folks, what’s important about this is that you have to be intentional and be aware of the words that you speak.
Number three, surrender up your rights to complain. We don’t get entitlement to complain to our friends, or at places at our work. That’s important for us to remember, no one likes to hang around a person who continually gripes and complaints most of the day about their situation, they are absolutely a downer in that situation, or even to work with. Too often people go to work, and they vent talk about people at work about their spouse, or even about their boss, it creates a cancerous, I’m going to say that, again. It creates a cancerous environment in the place in which we work. We live in a world where we view people of how they think, and they feel they have a place to vent. We can especially see this on Facebook, and even on TV. people complaining about what they don’t like about a person organization are the people who govern our land, picking apart everything that is said or what’s done with this person is trying to do. I don’t know about you, but I don’t look forward at all to this next election year. It’s, it’s it’s bad that people can’t stop complaining about the or their opponent or speaking about what they’re going to do. It would be far better to me in my mind, if that person would make choices in the words that they speak about what they’re going to do to make it better. It would look all different if we could stop the complaining and stop the venting. And that in itself, folks would make our country great again, change the attitude, change the focus, choose not to vent or complain, but bring a better perspective. That’s the Gita. I think that’s so important for us because that’s what Christ commands us to do for us that are called Christian.
Again, number four, ask forgiveness for unloving words or an attitude. Now, this is a tough one to live out, isn’t it folks, asking another person to forgive you about the words that you spoke against them too often, our pride gets in the way and we won’t do it. Because what happens when we do that we become volatile to that person in that situation to the words we spoke with spirit, we especially struggle with this with the ones that we love most those that we live with, at times that fail in my words with my wife, I gotta be honest with you. And I’ll say something that’s harsh or unkind. And it’s usually in the heat of the moment, I’ll walk away, frustrated, and then the Holy Spirit starts speaking to my heart. And I realized that I was unloving, and I need to ask my wife to forgive me. She always does. And sometimes it takes a little time, but she’s always forgiven me and I’m thankful to the Lord, for my wife. She is truly a treasure and I love her and she gives me incredible grace.
Now, don’t allow the enemy to take ground with unlimited words that you might speak. He’ll use those words to harbor bitterness and resentment, which usually leads to hate. Always keep your heart soft. If you need to ask forgiveness, then step into the moment. But also, if you’re the one who’s offended, be willing to forgive the Lord watches for forgiving hearts. Number five, this is my last point for us this morning. practice speaking words that will encourage comfort, edify and aspire. Ephesians 4:29 says this, do not let unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building up others to the needs that might benefit those who listen, I encourage someone means to give support, confidence, or hope that would that’s what it means to encourage someone. I have a friend who has struggled with alcoholism for a long time in their life. And this person has been in and out of self help groups rehabs and spending a times that literally months at treatment centers, there are times I want just go up and hey, can’t you just get out of this. And sometimes even the moment of you want to shake them, let’s say let’s get on let’s get on with life. Let’s get going. But that’s not though, the way that you’re supposed to talk or do things and I and I realized that and recently this, this person said to me that they were afraid to talk to me for the words I might say, Man that hit my heart. For some people, truth is hard. And so for me at times, is to be giving. And truth can only be given in teaspoons. I can rant and rave of why they should change. But the truth is until they have the the got want to to want to make that change, they won’t, they’ll continue to living down the path they live. See, the Holy Spirit was really speaking to me about how I do and how I speak with people. Always be compassionate and bring the good news of Jesus. Jesus always loved on people, he never beat people up with his words. They were always brought in love to encourage that person. So the next day, this person, he called, this person called me back, and they let me know how good it was for for them to spend a few hours with us with me too. And during that time, they felt encouraged. And my hopes are they felt loved, loved by the words that the Holy Spirit gave me. Now, folks, I hope this morning that the five things that we talked about taming the tongue and also to the words of inspiration that James gives us in James chapter three, about what the tongue can do.
I hope that this morning that we all are more aware of the words that we speak. Do the words bring death? Or do our words bring life? That is the choice that you’ve been given each day, you have to decide about that choice.
Let’s pray. Jesus again, I want to thank you for this opportunity this morning to speak out of the words that you gave your brother, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit used him to write about work, about how we live life, about how we live life. And I pray that today that as we talk about our words, I pray Holy Spirit, you would help us to change how we say things, be more aware of the moments that we’re in so that we don’t hurt people that we love people that were an encourager and not a complainer. Lord, I thank you for who you are. And I thank you for your blessing to this day. In your name I pray. Amen.
Folks. I hope that this this is was an encouraging word for you this morning. The words that I spoke, hopefully they they brought edification to your heart today. I want to thank you for listening. I Mike Sereg, the voice of Vital Ministries