3-Week Series: Double Blessing


Summary: Week 9 of 13

Seismic Shifts

Session 9 “From Burning to Building”

RBW (inspired from “seismic shifts” book)

+ Domino intro

+ Intro Bowlingual video clip

I’m probably barking up the wrong tree today, but what do you communicate?

Today we’re asked to make a shift in how we communicate. From burning to building.

And I figure if an old dog can learn new tricks so can we.

+ Stand for Scripture reading:

Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

+ Pass out dominoes

The Bible has a lot to say about how we should communicate with one another.

Now, this may be the biggest shift for many of us during this series, because our culture has adopted the unethical standard that it’s ok to cut-down and demean one another.

Just sit for 10 mins through a sitcom, you’ll see what I mean. The most popular comedy style today is making fun of another person.

Well, the Bible is very clear that we either tear-down or build-up with our words.

+Turn to: Proverbs 12:18 (NIV)

18 Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

We build-up or we tear-down!

+Proverbs 18:21 (NIV)

21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

There’s fruit in our words, healing in our words, life in our words… or death!

So, we make the choice with what we communicate… death or life.

Remember what your grandma used to say,

+ “if you can’t say something good… don’t say anything at all.”

That’s what Paul meant in Ephesians 4:29 by + “unwholesome talk.” σαπρός [sapros /sap•ros/].

It means “to rot or decay.”

+How many of you remember Smokey the Bear? He used to say, “Only you can prevent forest fires!”

That’s not just true in the forests but also true for communication in relationships,

+James 3:5-6 (NIV)

5 Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

No wonder so many Monks take a vow of silence.

It’s so easy to pattern the way we communicate, by the standards of the world and say things we really shouldn’t say to get whatever results we’re looking for.


+Like the Man in Phoenix who called his son on the phone in New York the day before Thanksgiving and said, “I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing. Forty five years of misery is enough.”

“Dad, what are you talking about?” the son screamed.

“We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer,” said the father. “We’re sick of each other, and I’m sick of talking about it, so you call your sister in Chicago and tell her.” (hangs up).

Frantic, the son calls his sister who explodes on the phone, “there’s no way they’re getting divorced!” she shouts. “I’ll take care of this.” She calls Phoenix immediately and screams at her father.

“You’re not getting divorced and that’s final! Don’t do a single thing until I get there. I’m calling my brother back, and we’ll both be there tomorrow. Until then, don’t do a thing. DO YOU HEAR ME?” And she hangs up.

The father hangs up his phone and turns to his wife and says, “okay it’s set. They’re both coming for Thanksgiving and paying their own way.”

There’s a natural tendency to use the words that get us the results we want, rather than using the words that get us the results that God wants, or the results that bring edification to someone else.

+For example, we get angry and we strike back with hurtful words.

Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Matthew 12:36-37 (NIV)

36 But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

The Psalmist declares, Psalm 141:3-4 (NIV)

3 Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.

4 Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evildoers; let me not eat of their delicacies. (man-am = charms)

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