Last Weeks Sermon


"TALK IS NOT CHEAP"



Boy, after reading this passage from James, anyone who is still willing to teach Sunday school or lead Men’s Bible Study or PW, must be a very brave person!  I mean, sure this passage applies to preachers too, but at least they send preachers to school for three years first.  The Lay teachers of the church are just plain ordinary Christians who are willing to teach
with no special training and little encouragement from the congregation and little support from the pastor.
And, as if that wasn't enough of a cross to bear - James adds - that teachers are judged by a stricter standard than other folks!
To hear James tell it,  agreeing to teach Sunday school, Men’s Bible Study or PW is like accepting an engraved invitation to screw up!  When I first read this, it sounded like James was saying that teachers (and us preachers) are volunteering for trouble because we volunteer to use our tongues.  Tongues (according to James) are dangerous little things.
If the tongue is going astray, the body soon will follow.  But,  that doesn't make sense without a little elaboration.
If you volunteer to use your tongue to teach Sunday school or Men’s Bible study or PW,  isn't that a good thing? 
Surely that's using your tongue for blessing and surely that beats using your tongue for a cursing or for gossip.

If James was talking about the teachers' tongue, surely he ought to be congratulating the teachers for putting a bridle on their words.  So I read the passage again, and we talked about it in SFF and this time I remembered that the church itself might be the body that James was talking about.  The church which is the body of Christ.  Maybe what James was saying was that we,
the church, the Body, should choose our teachers and preachers wisely, since they will be serving as our tongues, our rudders,
guiding the body to do good or to do wrong.  And that felt true!


 And then I remembered something I saw on TV a few years back, something shocking and troubling.  You may have seen some similar stories about a "minister" somewhere in Kansas I think.  This minister was spending all of his time and resources cursing the members of his community who were gay or lesbian.  He was picketing their homes and businesses with signs that said things like:  "Homosexuals are worthy of death."  He was picketing their funerals with signs that said
"AIDS is God's judgment on Gays," and "Gays and Lesbians will burn in hell forever." 
And whenever anyone suggested that he was being cruel or that his behavior was harassment and therefore not protected by the Constitution's guarantee of Free Speech, he added them to his campaign.  He picketed them.
He sent faxes to their friends, relatives and business associates, calling them "adulterers and Jezebels and whores."
And he did all this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Calling himself a Christian minister even though no denomination would claim him.  Even though his "church" consisted almost entirely of his own family.  Even though the other ministers in the town condemned his hate-filled actions.


 And,  I thought about another "minister" in Pensacola, Florida, who despising abortion, and those who had abortions, and those who did abortions, blew up a clinic and killed the people he had judged to be sinners and a few innocent people too,
including the unborn children they were carrying.  The very  ones he claimed to be protecting.
And he did all this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Calling himself a priest even though the Roman Catholic church had removed him from serving any church.  And I thought, maybe James made more than a little sense.  The church must be careful, very careful, about who it allows to teach, for these people are the tongues of the body.  And even though the tongue is a very small part of the body, it is a very powerful part.   Where it leads, the body will follow.  And it is not possible for the church to bless God and simultaneously curse human beings who are made in God's image.


This morning we prayed for God to bless our understanding of his Word, but we can't stop there.
We have to pray for teachers and preachers (I hope), And for SFF groups and all Bible study groups.
But we must also remember that the tongue is only a small part of the body and it never functions alone.
The tongue can do nothing without the brain which guides it, without the heart which sustains it,
without the lungs which supply it with air.  All Christians are called to be brain and heart and lungs.
­Those of us who are brain must guide the tongues with our resources and knowledge .
We are the organ which passes the Word to the tongue.  Those of us who are lungs must share our spirit and enthusiasm.
We are the organ through which the Holy Spirit moves to enable the tongues.
Those of us who are heart must sustain them with our love and prayers.  We are the organ which pumps God's love to them.
And a few of us must risk being the tongue, the teachers and preachers.
We all have a part to play in this crucial business of the Body speaking.  And it is crucial business, for the tongue is a fire,
and no human being can tame it.  
But the Body of Christ can and must!

 

 “Talk is not cheap”

Boy, after reading this passage from James, anyone who is still willing to teach Sunday school or lead Men’s Bible Study or PW much be a very brave person!
I mean sure this passage applies to preachers too
but at least they send preachers to school for 3 years first
the Lay teachers of the church are just plain ordinary Christians who are willing to teach
with no special training
and little encouragement from the congregation
and little support from the pastor
And as if that wasn't enough of a cross to bear - James adds
that teachers are judged by a stricter standard than other folks!
To hear James tell it agreeing to teach Sunday school, Men’s bible study or PW is like accepting an engraved invitation to screw up!
When I first read this it sounded like James was saying that teachers (and us preachers) are volunteering for trouble because we volunteer to use our tongues
and tongues (according to James) are dangerous little things
If the tongue is going astray, the body soon will follow
But that doesn't make sense without a little elaboration
if you volunteer to use your tongue to teach Sunday school or Men’s Bible study or PW isn't that a good thing? 
Surely that's using your tongue for blessing

and surely that beats using your tongue for a cursing

or for gossip

If James was talking about the teachers' tongues, surely he ought to be congratulating the teachers for putting a bridle on their words
So I read the passage again and we talked about it in SFF
and this time I remembered that the church itself might be the body that James was talking about.
The church which is the body of Christ
Maybe what James was saying was that we,
the church, the Body,
should choose our teachers and preachers wisely,

since they will be serving as our tongues, our rudders,

guiding the body to do good or to do wrong

And that felt true!
And then I remembered something I saw on TV a few years back
Something shocking and troubling
You may have seen some similar stories
about a "minister" somewhere in Kansas I think
This minister was spending all of his time and resources cursing the members of his community who were gay or lesbian

He was picketing their homes and businesses with signs that said things like:

"Homosexuals are worthy of death"

He was picketing their funerals with signs that said

"AIDS is God's judgment on Gays"

and "Gays and Lesbians will burn in hell forever."

And whenever anyone suggested that he was being cruel or that his behavior was harrassment and therefore not protected by the Constitution's guarantee of Free Speech
He added them to his campaign
He picketed them
He sent faxes to their friends, relatives and business associates calling them "adulterers and Jezebels and whores."
And he did all this in the name of Jesus Christ
calling himself a Christian minister
even though no denomination would claim him
even though his "church" consisted almost entirely of his own family
even though the other ministers in the town condemned his hate filled actions
And I thought about another "minister" in Pensacola, Florida, who
despising abortion, and those who had abortions, and those who did abortions
blew up a clinic
and killed the people he had judged to be sinners
and a few innocent people too
including the unborn children they were carrying
the very  ones he claimed to be protecting
And he did all this in the name of Jesus Christ
calling himself a priest
even though the Roman Catholic church had removed him from serving any church
and I thought, maybe James made more than a little sense
the church must be careful, very careful, about who it allows to teach
for these people are the tongues of the body
and even though the tongue is a very small part of the body,
it is a very powerful part
and where it leads, the body will follow
And it is not possible for the church to bless God
and simultaneously curse human beings who are made in God's image
This morning we prayed for God to bless our understanding of his Word
but we can't stop there
We have to pray for teachers
And preachers (I hope),
And for SFF groups and all Bible study groups
But we must also remember that
The tongue is only a small part of the body
and it never functions alone
The tongue can do nothing without the brain which guides it
without the heart which sustains it
without the lungs which supply it with air
all Christians are called to be brain and heart and lungs
­Those of us who are brain must guide the tongues with our resources, and knowledge –
we are the organ which passes the Word to the tongue
Those of us who are lungs must share our spirit and enthusiasm –
we are the organ through which the Holy Spirit moves to enable the tongues
Those of us who are heart must sustain them with our love and prayers –
we are the organ which pumps God's love to them
And a few of us must risk being the tongue
The teachers
preachers
We all have a part to play in this crucial business of the Body speaking
And it is crucial business
For the tongue is a fire,
and no human being can tame it
But the Body of Christ can
and must!

 

 “Talk is not cheap”

Boy, after reading this passage from James, anyone who is still willing to teach Sunday school or lead Men’s Bible Study or PW much be a very brave person!
I mean sure this passage applies to preachers too
but at least they send preachers to school for 3 years first
the Lay teachers of the church are just plain ordinary Christians who are willing to teach
with no special training
and little encouragement from the congregation
and little support from the pastor
And as if that wasn't enough of a cross to bear - James adds
that teachers are judged by a stricter standard than other folks!
To hear James tell it agreeing to teach Sunday school, Men’s bible study or PW is like accepting an engraved invitation to screw up!
When I first read this it sounded like James was saying that teachers (and us preachers) are volunteering for trouble because we volunteer to use our tongues
and tongues (according to James) are dangerous little things
If the tongue is going astray, the body soon will follow
But that doesn't make sense without a little elaboration
if you volunteer to use your tongue to teach Sunday school or Men’s Bible study or PW isn't that a good thing? 
Surely that's using your tongue for blessing

and surely that beats using your tongue for a cursing

or for gossip

If James was talking about the teachers' tongues, surely he ought to be congratulating the teachers for putting a bridle on their words
So I read the passage again and we talked about it in SFF
and this time I remembered that the church itself might be the body that James was talking about.
The church which is the body of Christ
Maybe what James was saying was that we,
the church, the Body,
should choose our teachers and preachers wisely,

since they will be serving as our tongues, our rudders,

guiding the body to do good or to do wrong

And that felt true!
And then I remembered something I saw on TV a few years back
Something shocking and troubling
You may have seen some similar stories
about a "minister" somewhere in Kansas I think
This minister was spending all of his time and resources cursing the members of his community who were gay or lesbian

He was picketing their homes and businesses with signs that said things like:

"Homosexuals are worthy of death"

He was picketing their funerals with signs that said

"AIDS is God's judgment on Gays"

and "Gays and Lesbians will burn in hell forever."

And whenever anyone suggested that he was being cruel or that his behavior was harrassment and therefore not protected by the Constitution's guarantee of Free Speech
He added them to his campaign
He picketed them
He sent faxes to their friends, relatives and business associates calling them "adulterers and Jezebels and whores."
And he did all this in the name of Jesus Christ
calling himself a Christian minister
even though no denomination would claim him
even though his "church" consisted almost entirely of his own family
even though the other ministers in the town condemned his hate filled actions
And I thought about another "minister" in Pensacola, Florida, who
despising abortion, and those who had abortions, and those who did abortions
blew up a clinic
and killed the people he had judged to be sinners
and a few innocent people too
including the unborn children they were carrying
the very  ones he claimed to be protecting
And he did all this in the name of Jesus Christ
calling himself a priest
even though the Roman Catholic church had removed him from serving any church
and I thought, maybe James made more than a little sense
the church must be careful, very careful, about who it allows to teach
for these people are the tongues of the body
and even though the tongue is a very small part of the body,
it is a very powerful part
and where it leads, the body will follow
And it is not possible for the church to bless God
and simultaneously curse human beings who are made in God's image
This morning we prayed for God to bless our understanding of his Word
but we can't stop there
We have to pray for teachers
And preachers (I hope),
And for SFF groups and all Bible study groups
But we must also remember that
The tongue is only a small part of the body
and it never functions alone
The tongue can do nothing without the brain which guides it
without the heart which sustains it
without the lungs which supply it with air
all Christians are called to be brain and heart and lungs
­Those of us who are brain must guide the tongues with our resources, and knowledge –
we are the organ which passes the Word to the tongue
Those of us who are lungs must share our spirit and enthusiasm –
we are the organ through which the Holy Spirit moves to enable the tongues
Those of us who are heart must sustain them with our love and prayers –
we are the organ which pumps God's love to them
And a few of us must risk being the tongue
The teachers
preachers
We all have a part to play in this crucial business of the Body speaking
And it is crucial business
For the tongue is a fire,
and no human being can tame it
But the Body of Christ can
and must!

 

 “Talk is not cheap”

Boy, after reading this passage from James, anyone who is still willing to teach Sunday school or lead Men’s Bible Study or PW much be a very brave person!
I mean sure this passage applies to preachers too
but at least they send preachers to school for 3 years first
the Lay teachers of the church are just plain ordinary Christians who are willing to teach
with no special training
and little encouragement from the congregation
and little support from the pastor
And as if that wasn't enough of a cross to bear - James adds
that teachers are judged by a stricter standard than other folks!
To hear James tell it agreeing to teach Sunday school, Men’s bible study or PW is like accepting an engraved invitation to screw up!
When I first read this it sounded like James was saying that teachers (and us preachers) are volunteering for trouble because we volunteer to use our tongues
and tongues (according to James) are dangerous little things
If the tongue is going astray, the body soon will follow
But that doesn't make sense without a little elaboration
if you volunteer to use your tongue to teach Sunday school or Men’s Bible study or PW isn't that a good thing? 
Surely that's using your tongue for blessing

and surely that beats using your tongue for a cursing

or for gossip

If James was talking about the teachers' tongues, surely he ought to be congratulating the teachers for putting a bridle on their words
So I read the passage again and we talked about it in SFF
and this time I remembered that the church itself might be the body that James was talking about.
The church which is the body of Christ
Maybe what James was saying was that we,
the church, the Body,
should choose our teachers and preachers wisely,

since they will be serving as our tongues, our rudders,

guiding the body to do good or to do wrong

And that felt true!
And then I remembered something I saw on TV a few years back
Something shocking and troubling
You may have seen some similar stories
about a "minister" somewhere in Kansas I think
This minister was spending all of his time and resources cursing the members of his community who were gay or lesbian

He was picketing their homes and businesses with signs that said things like:

"Homosexuals are worthy of death"

He was picketing their funerals with signs that said

"AIDS is God's judgment on Gays"

and "Gays and Lesbians will burn in hell forever."

And whenever anyone suggested that he was being cruel or that his behavior was harrassment and therefore not protected by the Constitution's guarantee of Free Speech
He added them to his campaign
He picketed them
He sent faxes to their friends, relatives and business associates calling them "adulterers and Jezebels and whores."
And he did all this in the name of Jesus Christ
calling himself a Christian minister
even though no denomination would claim him
even though his "church" consisted almost entirely of his own family
even though the other ministers in the town condemned his hate filled actions
And I thought about another "minister" in Pensacola, Florida, who
despising abortion, and those who had abortions, and those who did abortions
blew up a clinic
and killed the people he had judged to be sinners
and a few innocent people too
including the unborn children they were carrying
the very  ones he claimed to be protecting
And he did all this in the name of Jesus Christ
calling himself a priest
even though the Roman Catholic church had removed him from serving any church
and I thought, maybe James made more than a little sense
the church must be careful, very careful, about who it allows to teach
for these people are the tongues of the body
and even though the tongue is a very small part of the body,
it is a very powerful part
and where it leads, the body will follow
And it is not possible for the church to bless God
and simultaneously curse human beings who are made in God's image
This morning we prayed for God to bless our understanding of his Word
but we can't stop there
We have to pray for teachers
And preachers (I hope),
And for SFF groups and all Bible study groups
But we must also remember that
The tongue is only a small part of the body
and it never functions alone
The tongue can do nothing without the brain which guides it
without the heart which sustains it
without the lungs which supply it with air
all Christians are called to be brain and heart and lungs
­Those of us who are brain must guide the tongues with our resources, and knowledge –
we are the organ which passes the Word to the tongue
Those of us who are lungs must share our spirit and enthusiasm –
we are the organ through which the Holy Spirit moves to enable the tongues
Those of us who are heart must sustain them with our love and prayers –
we are the organ which pumps God's love to them
And a few of us must risk being the tongue
The teachers
preachers
We all have a part to play in this crucial business of the Body speaking
And it is crucial business
For the tongue is a fire,
and no human being can tame it
But the Body of Christ can
and must!