No Church Today!

We will not be having services today (10.30.11). ??Downed trees,??power-lines??and power-outages have made having our service impossible.

Stay warm. Enjoy your Sunday. ??See you next week.

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Church is On

We'll be having church tomorrow as usual at 5pm. ??The church parking lot will be plowed. ??The roads should be OK.

See you tomorrow.

No Obscenities!

A Post from Vince.

What the $%#@!  No obscenities?  Yep.

Paul writes:  “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths” in Ephesians 4:29

A few verses later, Paul says:  “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk, or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.”  Ephesians 5:4  

No unwholesome talk means no obscenities.  For some of us this is difficult.  The habit is ingrained.  So here are some ideas to help.

First, simply agree with Scripture.  If you believe that speaking obscenities is bad, you’ll be motivated to stop.  If you believe that speaking obscenities is fine, you’ll have no motivation to stop.  So agree with scripture.  Agree that no obscenity should come out of your mouth.

Second, have an alternative in mind.  You’re going to have to say or do something else instead of spewing bad words.  You’re going to have to replace the bad habit with a good one.  You can find a substitute word.  Some people choose silly ones.  Ask yourself:  would I rather sound silly or vulgar?  You can yell:  ARRRRGGGGGG!!!  I find that one works great for me.  But it tends to scare others.  You can simply take a breath and state:  I’m mad.  I’m upset.  I’m frustrated.  That’s of course what we’re trying to communicate, but lazily and poorly through obscenities.  Or you can come up with your own alternative.  But you have to have an alternative in mind.  It’s much, much easier to get rid of a bad habit by replacing it with a good habit.       

Third, ask others to help.  Sometimes people don’t even realize what words are coming out of their mouth.  Ask others to point out when you’re speaking obscenities.  Ask others to help.

Fourth, you can celebrate progress.  The fact you read this blog already is a step in the right direction.  So don’t worry about achieving perfection.  That’s not happening.  Just try to make progress and enlist people to help you who have the same mindset.  If the people you’ve enlisted to help are discouraging and always pointing out your failures, then just tell them to “insert your substitute” off and find some other people to help you. 

 

 


Swearing, Cursing & Obscenity

A Message from Vince.

One application of loving one another with our words is to avoid speaking obscenities.  We’re also to avoid swearing and cursing.  But while we use these terms interchangeably, the Bible does not.  It’s kind of a pet peeve of mine, so just humor me.

We should not swear.  This means we should not make oaths.  I swear by this I’ll do that.  Jesus teaches us to simply let our yes be yes and our no be no.  No oaths.

We should not curse.  This means we should not wish and call down evil upon another person or persons.  Jesus teaches us to bless, not curse even our enemies.  No curses.

We should not use obscenities.  This means we should not speak “bad words”.  And I think we all have a good idea of what these “bad words” are, so I won’t list them.

I do pretty well on the no swearing and the no cursing–not so well on the no obscenities.  I’ve got a plan but that’s for another post.

 


Gossip.

A message from Vince:

In Sunday’s message we talked about how to love one another with our words.  My words are not for me.  My words are for you—for your benefit.  That’s what Paul teaches in Ephesians 4:29.

One application of this teaching is to avoid gossip.  Gossip is listed in several sin lists in the NT.  Clearly we are to avoid gossip.

But what is gossip?  Gossip can be defined as idle talk, and rumor, especially about the affairs of others (see dictionary.com).  But I think a better and clearer definition of gossip comes from the Proverbs.

A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.  Proverbs11:13

Gossiping is betraying confidences.  It is repeating what someone has shared with you without his or her permission.  And we are not to do that.

For example:  Joe shares with me some marital problems he’s having.  I then share with someone else Joe’s marital problems without his permission.  They in turn share with someone else who shares with someone else who shares with someone else.  Pretty soon, the whole church knows about Joe’s marital problems.  And of course the details have been exaggerated along the way, so now Joe and Betty are getting divorced due to the outrageous (untrue) behaviors of both parties.  And none of this talk has helped Joe or his wife Betty in the least. 

So the way to avoid gossip is to keep confidences.  If Joe hasn’t given me his permission to share his marital troubles with others, then I don’t have it.  I keep it to myself.  If I don’t know if Joe has given me permission to share his marital troubles with others, then I don’t have it.  I keep it to myself.

If I’m second, third, fourth or some other link in the gossip chain, and I don’t know if Joe has given permission to anyone, then I keep it to myself and tell the person to stop gossiping.

But doesn’t Joe need prayer?  Of course.  But I won’t betray Joe’s confidence.  I’ll ask him if I can share his trouble with our prayer ministers.  If he says yes, I’ll pass his trouble along.  If he says no, I won’t.  Period.

Often in churches, gossip masquerades as concern:  “Did you hear about Joe?  I’m really concerned about him.  Why?  Let me tell you.”  Often in churches, gossip masquerades as prayer requests:  “We really need to pray for Joe.  Why?  Let me tell you.”

Let’s not do that.  Let’s not gossip.  Let’s keep confidences.  To “help” someone against their will is no help at all.

Are there exceptions?  Of course.  The proverbs offer general wisdom which works most of the time.

But what if the person has confided something really serious?  So serious that you don’t feel like you can or should be silent.  What do you do?

Then you should encourage the person to share with his or her pastor.  Pastors have a lot of experience with this kind of thing.  You encourage the person to share with their pastor.

But what if they won’t?  What if they refuse?  Then, you have a tough choice to make.  You can break the confidence and share with his or her pastor.  Or you can remain silent.  Either way is tough.  But if it were serious, I’d take my chances, share with the pastor, and risk the relationship.

There are times when I’ve broken confidences myself, and I’m a pastor.  I’ve had a few occasions where I’ve had to call the police because the person was in immediate danger to himself or others.  These individuals didn’t given me their permission to share.  But I could not be silent.

Are there exceptions to keeping confidences?  Of course.  But they are few and far between.  So let’s follow the wisdom of the proverbs.  Let’s love one another with our words.  Let’s keep confidences, and not betray them.