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In this message, we learn the importance of speaking life in our relationships.

Well good morning everyone. Welcome to Valley Creek Church. It’s great to be with you and from wherever you’re joining us, whichever campus, let’s all welcome each other together to Valley Creek. I mean hasn’t this Healthy Relationship series been great. It’s been awesome and so much fun, we really had the best summer ever at Valley Creek Church. And we’re going to wrap up the Healthy Relationship series this weekend and we’ve talk through really some very specific ways to bring health to our relationships. We’ve talked about receiving from Jesus, going first, forgiving and apologizing, intentionally investing.

And we’re going to wrap this series up with what just might be the most important one throughout the series because if it’s not laced into every single area, then instead of bringing health to our relationships, it’ll begin to break them down. And this last but so important area is peaking life, speaking life. Now couple of weeks ago, I was in Buffalo, New York and I was going to gang out with some church leaders there and one of the people that I hang out with was Kim and Kim might be the most life-giving person I’ve ever been around. I mean when you say good morning to Kim, Kim is like, “It is a good morning and it’s just the most beautiful day outside and I am so glad you’re here to share this morning with me and I just want you to know you’re a wonderful person and I’m grateful for you and I can’t wait to see what the rest of this day has.” And like, man I was just hoping for good morning back but I guess it really is a good morning. And I thought about nothing preparing message like I’ll just report, record some clips of Kim and I’ll just play that for you guys. Like here’s how we speak live. But I think I had to do that so I did prepare a message for you.

And here is what I want to talk to you about. I want talk to you about why it is so important to speak life. What are some ways that we can do that and then how we move forward with it? So it’s a really practical message. Why, why and how. So let’s talk about the why first. Why it’s so important for us to speak life because I think it’s an area we really underestimate. We underestimate why it’s so important and that’s because it’s talking. And talking is really, really easy. I mean but the only other thing is in talking is breathing. But breathing is almost as easy as talking and so we forget that it’s so natural and easy to speak that it’s very significant and it’s very important. So I’ve got three whys that I want to share with you about why it’s so important to speak life and the first one is this. It’s the volume of our words. The volume of our words like the sheer quantity of the words that we speak because we talk a lot. I mean think about this.

The average Tom Clancy novel, it has 600 pages in it and over 500,000 words. That’s a lot of word. Now the average person opens their mouth 700 times a day and out of that 700 times they open their mouth, they’ll speak 18,000 words, the average person. Because I know some of you, you’ll get your 18,000 out before lunch. But that’s the average person and that totals to 6.5 million words a year. That’s a lot of words. That enough to fill 13 Tom Clancy novels with your mouth every single year. so we talk a lot. There’s no wonder the bible addresses the tongue to frequently because God and his wisdom and his goodness knew we would talk and we would talk a whole lot. So just the volume of our words alone show us why it can be so important to speak life. The second area is this, is the power of our words.

Now our memory verses for this year, for this year of healthy relationships have been Ephesians 4:29 through 5:2 which says, “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. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. And be imitators of God therefore as dearly loved children and live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Those are great powerful verses for us about speaking life. And if you hone in the very first one, Ephesians 4:29 that said, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth but only that which is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

That’s some really strong words there. I mean those were absolutes. Do not let and don’t any but only. I mean strong words and that’s because God wasn’t being joking or flippant when he tells us in Proverbs 18:21 that the tongue has the power of life and death. Your words have the power of life and death. Like words will build up or they will tear down. They will hurt or they will heal. They’ll bring life or they’ll bring death. Words are not neutral. Your words are going to fall on one side of the scale or the other and they will have an impact. We think about some of the most significant movements in history. All of them were started with words, think of in life with words. And think about some of those most powerful speeches.

You know, like Winston Churchill’s, “We will fight on the beaches.” It’s a speech that rallied a nation to life and is still remembered to this day. And when you think about those significant movements, you know, it wasn’t the movement that galvanized people, it was the words that did it. It was the words that rallied them, it’s the words that unified them, it was the words that inspired them. It was with words that the movements took on life because words are powerful. And in fact, I bet, if you took a moment to think about it, some of your most treasured memories, the things you value the most deeply are not from things that have been done for you but the things that have been said to you. And like water that shapes a riverbank, choices you’ve made, places you’ve gone, things that you have done, the paths you’ve taken having been shaped nearly as much by what people have done as it has by what people have said because words are powerful. And just like words have the power to bring life, they have the power to bring death.

Like it was Hitler’s Nazi rhetoric that brought about death. And it’s with words that cult and religious leaders enslave people. And John 10:10 tells us that Satan’s desire is to steal, and kill, and destroy. That’s his only mission to bring death. And John 8:44 says that Satan is the father of lies. And one lie that he has been telling since we were little kids and probably in here could chant it with me but we have just gobbled this lie up like free candy. As sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. That’s a lie from the pit of hell. That is such a lie because what is true is sticks and stones may break my bones but words can actually kill me. Because like verbal abuse and cyber bullying, those are some of the leading causes for depression and self-harm that you see sometimes it’s not as much by what has been done to you but by what has been said to you that hurts you so deeply.

And think about that one for a moment. Some of your probably deepest scars and wounds and hurts are not from when you’ve been hurt physically but when someone has said something to you that hurts you mentally, emotionally and spiritually because our words are powerful. So what the bible tells us in James 1:19 says, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen and slow to speak.” Because when wielding something as powerful as our words, we need to be patient, we need to be aware. The third reason why it’s so important to speak life is the design for our words. If you look back in Genesis, Genesis 1 and 2, it really paints a really clear picture of the design for our words that since the beginning, God has designed for words and life to be together.

Because God could have chosen any way to create things. That should create the world to create the sun and the moon and to create plants and animals and people but he chose to speak things into existence for words to release life. He started it in Genesis 1:3, he says, “Let there be light,” and it was so. “Let there be the sun and the moon,” and it was so and let there be plants and it was so. To say let there be and it was so over and over and over. And that was God’s design. And then in Genesis 1:26 says, And then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created me in kind of his own image and the image of God he created them, male and female, he created them. And God blessed them.

And he said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth subdue it,” and it was so. This was God’s design to speak forth life and it was so. And this design continues right into the New Testament. If you flip over to John 1, chapter 1 verse 1, it continues with Jesus, says, “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God. And he was with God in the beginning. And through him, all things were made, without him, nothing was made that had been made. And in him, was life. And now life is the light of all mankind. The word released life.” So the process of speaking has been God’s design for everything but it’s his design for us as well. Like our design is to speak life, it’s what we are created to do. If you look in Genesis 2, there’s a little bit more detailed account of the creation.

In Genesis 2:7, when God has created Adam and Eve, it says, “God breathe into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” It was the very breath of God that gave him life. And then it says that God then brought hold the animal in front of Adam and he had Adam declare identity over them, declare life. For now, Adam to say, “Let there be and it was so.” And with every breathe that Adam took, it was the reminder of the life that God has placed in him. And now with every word that it released, it was his design to release life. Just think about that, that’s our design. Like we have to breathe in in order to speak out. It’s important to speak without taking a breathe. Your design is to remember every time you breathe in, the life of God that has been placed in you to now speak out the life that God has for you to release, to receive from God and release to others. That’s our design.

Sometimes, we just need to do a little more breathing. Slow down, breath in and reminded of the life of God that’s flooding your body and then release that life to others. So our words are many, our words are powerful. And we’re designed to speak life. That’s why it’s so important to speak life. And let’s take that to relationships. How can we bring that into our relationship? What are some ways we can bring health to our relationships through speaking life? So I had three whys, I got three whats. So the first one is this that we can give life-giving encouragement, life-giving encouragement. Just say encouraging things. Now that one is probably like it’d pay, we all knew that, that’s not any new revelation. We should say encouraging things. But why don’t we do that? If we know we should encourage people, why don’t we encourage them?

I think it’s because we get caught up and wondering why should we do it or if we should do it. We get caught up and wondering if they really need it. We get caught up and wondering do they even deserve it. Well here’s the answer for that. It’s grace. We need to focus on grace. Because it doesn’t matter if we know if they need it or not. It doesn’t matter if we think they deserve it or not. If we will focus on grace, life-giving encouragement will flow out. Because think about grace for us, this is what’s so amazing about grace. We always need it, we never deserve it and Jesus always gives it. If we will take that same approaches, look at people with grace and shared grace, encouragement will flow out. And in fact, it’s when people least deserve it that encouragement will typically mean the most. It’s what Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everything.”

You’ll always have the right thing to say if it’s gracious. You can’t go wrong with showing grace and encouraging people in a life-giving way. And here is what I’m talking about with that. So our daughter Paisley, she just turned eight today. Today is her birthday. So little eight-year-old Paisley is a world-class encourager. I’ve told her like, “You go to sending your stuff in the Hallmark so I can retire because you’d be a millionaire like immediately.” She’s so great at saying encouraging things and at eight years she has figured out two really powerful things. One is to encourage qualities and identity over abilities because abilities can come and go. But not your qualities, not your identity. So to really affirm and encourage those things and she has figured out, there’s no bad time to do it. To do it in the good times and to do it in the bad times and so not a week goes by that Paisley doesn’t create a card or a poster for somebody.

She’s always either saying things or she’s creating something and giving it and she start talking about like, “You know, you’re such a joy to be around and you bring so much joy in every situation and I just love having you in our family. I love that you are my friend. Thank you for being such a faithful friend. Or you are the best dad or brother ever.” I mean she’s even written one for my little son’s bearded dragon and he’s got it taped on the cage. I mean you had to go so far as to do it for the pets but better too much than not enough. And so she does it all the time and she’s even starting to work some humor into it. You know, it’s just Father’s Day and she wrote this big kind of card poster for me for Father’s Day and she’s telling me how I’m the most amazing dad ever and she just loves that I’m in our family and out of the one dad that she has, I’m the best that there is. And she would never trade me for anything but no one’s given her an offer yet. I mean she’s writing this on the card, I’m like, “Okay, that’s alright.” I mean have fun with speaking life. That is okay. The point is to encourage. Just to encourage, just to do it.

And another really powerful way to give life-giving encouragement is with a verbal blessing which is a verbal blessing. The word bless in the Greek is ulogeo which means to speak well off. That’s the first thing that God did. If you look back at that Genesis account, when he created Adam and Eve that says that he blessed them. He spoke well of them. It’s where we get our modern day word for eulogy. It’s what we use for funerals and memorials but why don’t we wait until people are dead to speak well of them. Like what if we did it while they were still alive? We just spoke well of people like that would be super life-giving. It’s what Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:12, he says, “When you enter the home, give it a blessing.” Have you ever just blessed somebody when you go in their home? It’s not a formal process. It’s not anything laborious. You can just say, “And may peace be in your home. May joy fill your life. May health abound in your family.” Just bless them.

Because being a world that is dark and pessimistic, it can be incredibly life-giving. Just to have somebody bless you. So what if we stop wondering if we should do it and we just started speaking life by encouraging and blessing people, it can be life-changing. The next area is this, life-giving correction, life-giving correction. And this is probably the area that we miss it the most. Because we tend to think it’s correction like this is the time to bring the hammer. This is the time for justice, this is the time to right the wrong, this is not the time to speak life. But in reality, this is absolutely probably the best time to speak life, to build someone up versus tearing them down, because correction really is bringing the hammer. But as you’re swinging that hammer of correction, think to yourself, am I doing demolition or am I doing construction?

Am I building them up or am I tearing them down? And the key for this is wisdom. If you’ll focus on wisdom and life-giving correction to have the wisdom to know how to value the person and the relationship in the correction. So in Proverbs 8, when it’s talking about wisdom and I guess at verse 35 and it says, “Whoever finds me finds life.” If you will receive wisdom, you’ll bring life into your correction. Wisdom to know the right time, wisdom to guide the hands and the heart, wisdom to coach, wisdom to develop, wisdom to give clarity and unity, wisdom to actually strengthen the relationship versus tearing it down. And Jesus was the master at life-giving correction. And if you look through the gospels like the disciples gave him every opportunity under the sun to be torn down to nothing but he build them up into world changers.

If you look like in Luke 9, you know, the disciples are arguing about who’s the greatest and instead of shaming them, condemning them for their pride and their arrogance, Jesus uses it to coach and teach them about humility, he brings a child into their midst and he says, “This is the greatest in the kingdom, right here, simple like a child, a pure faith, a humble pasture.” And then in just a few verses later, the disciples are trying to stop a guy from casting out demons and again instead of being harsh with them and condemning them, Jesus teaches about unity and he says, “Hey guys, if he’s not against us then he is for us.” And then just a few verses later, the disciples want to call down fire on a Samaritan village that they’re anger with. I mean burn everyone, the men, the women, the children, the pets, everybody, smoke them all. And Jesus uses that to teach them about love and grace. He says, “Guys, I didn’t come to destroy lives, I came to save them.”

It’s life-giving correction. Correction that builds up that doesn’t tear down. And my wife is fantastic at this. She’s so good at life-giving correction and there was a time just a little while back where our son Thatcher and our daughter Paisley and they have been going at it. And she kind of hit her limit and she could have — man just wrecked her harshly, she could’ve yelled at him, she could’ve grounded him. She could’ve condemned him, she could’ve shame him. But she said, “You know, I’m going to do some life-giving correction.” She said, here’s what I want you to do, I want you to each go in your rooms and I want you to write a letter to the other about all of the things that you appreciate and admire most about each other. And we knew they could be there for days or weeks, you know, completing this task but, you know. And they were there for a while but eventually, they finished the letters and they gave them to each other and it’s incredible what had happened. Because she used to build them up and to looking at the best in people instead of tearing them down over their mistake.

And as they exchange those letters, it so encourage them that they now each keep those letters in their little keep safe drawers, you know, with all the things that they hold valuable because she used life-giving correction. She invited wisdom into it, wisdom to know the right time and the right way to build somebody up, because the opposite is very true. When you correct without that, it tears down really fast and there’s about 2.5 years ago, my mom, wife and I, we were at kind of a really low point in our marriage and we were sitting in the couch one night like opposite couches from each other having some would call it a discussion, some would call it an argument. And my wife was being very vulnerable and real, she was just sharing with me just the places that she was hurt and discouraged and the distance. And instead of inviting wisdom into it, man, I just immediately brought correction.

And so as she was at just her most vulnerable place, I said, “Well you know what, you just need to be more grateful.” You know, the thought I dumped like gallons of gasoline on hot coals because it just — you ever seen a conniption before? That’s the first time I ever seen a conniption just boom. Well, I use to have that really robust hair and it blew it all off right then. Because what I didn’t know is I swung that hammer of correction that was doing demolition. I’ve knocked out like the last board that was holding everything together for her. And what I should’ve done was I should’ve just taken a breath. I should’ve focus on the life that God was giving in me and release the life back to her. What she needed more than anything at that point was to be encouraged, not any form of correction. And so before you correct somebody, just pause and think about that.

Is what I’m about to say going to build them up or it’s going to tear them down. Think of life-giving correction. And the last, what we can do is life-giving prophecy, life-giving prophecy. Now that word may sound intimidating, just the word prophecy. But remember, if you look back in Genesis like this was our design, that God said in place that he continued for us is to say let there be and it was so. To speak things that are not as though they are, that God’s reality is superior reality. And if you’re wondering like if I can do this, how can I do this, you know, the answer for that is faith. Yes, you can. Just have faith. Faith to believe things like Romans 4:17 where it tells us that God is the God who gives life to dead things. And calls him to being things that were not. Faith to believe that God wants to show you things to speak out and faith that e wants to use your words to release life.

Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by hearing. So when you speak those things out, it actually plants seeds of truth in people that begin to grow their faith. As they hear it, it grows their faith to believe because there are countless people that have dead dreams, dead hopes, dead passions, dead missions because people have spoken over them death. They’ve said, “You don’t have what it takes to do that. You don’t know how to do that. You can’t, you’re going to fail.” And those things are lying there lifeless. Giftings, anointings, missions from God are just sitting there dormant. But if you can look with eyes of faith and you can speak with words of life, you can be the one to resurrect that to give life to it. And thank goodness, I had a couple of friends that have always done that for me.

Two of my closest friends, Rhiane and John, I’ve been friends with them for probably close to 15 years and they’ve known me a long time. And they have looked at me consistently through eyes of faith, to be willing to see things that other people haven’t seen. Because this is not, definitely not what I’ve always done, I use to have an insurance agency. And people had knew me that long ago thought, I mean there’s a better chance he’s going to end up dead in a ditch than as a pastor. And so man, but these guys saw things in me and they kept it call them out, they kept speaking them out, speaking life, speaking things that are not as though they were. Because I’d never done any public speaking, I’ve never led leaders before, but as I begin to hear those things over the years, I began to believe them. My faith begin to grow and I started to take steps into those things and over a period of years and over a period of steps, and I left the insurance industry and came on to Valley Creek as a pastor.

And something that I could never have imagined doing, I can’t imagine ever doing anything else. Who do you need to do that for? Like who do you need to look at with eyes of faith and speak words of life. Because the best place to do that, it was those that are closest to us. With your spouses, your kids, your parents, your coworkers, your good friends, the people that you see regularly is the best place to look with eyes of faith. At things that God wants you to speak life to, to give them the faith to believe. So can we be at church that does that? With our close relationships, look with faith and speak with life. Because personally, I’m telling you it’s life-changing. Now it’s been pretty serious, let’s bring it up a little bit. Let’s have little bit fun here. Everybody, when you came in, you should’ve got a speak life card, this speak life mad lips card.

And this is something we wanted to give you just really kind of a practical way to go and speak life to people and I’m going to model how to do this because what we want you to do is to have fun with it. Don’t be serious but like have fun. And so I’m going to enlist the help of one of my friends, Pastor Jason, he’s over here. And so we’re going to do this together. So here’s what I want you to do. Here Jason, give me a nickname. Chewy. Chewy. Alright. And give me an adjective. Nocturnal. Nocturnal. Alright. And an animal. Narwhal. Narwhal. Nar, how do you spell narwhal? Alright. And give me another adjective. Confused. Confused. Yup. And your favorite place? Nail salon. The nail salon. Everybody seen and hearing this. A verb ending in ing. Square dancing. Square dancing. Love it. Another verb. Smile. Smile. Another verb. Jump. Jump. One more verb. Break dance. Break dance. This is going to be good. And a noun? Encourager. Encourager. And an adjective. Real. Real. Okay, great. So here’s what I want to do, I want to give this card to one of my best friends, Pastor Ben at the Louisville campus, Ben Marino, this goes out to you. So for those of you who don’t know, he’s got a nickname. Dear Chewy, you’re my favorite nocturnal narwhal.

And when first met — when we first met, I was so confused. At the nail saloon, we always have a blast. And I’ll never forget when we went square dancing, we always smile and jump when we’re together and you taught me how to break dance. I hope you know that I think you’re the best encourager in the whole world. Thank you for being real. Justin. There you go Ben, I love you buddy. So, that’s his big life card. So what we want you to do is just go this week and don’t tuck that away, don’t throw it away, go give it somebody in your close relationships. Give it to your spouse, parents, kids, brothers, sisters, friends, coworkers, the people close. And have fun with it. Maybe have somebody else fill it out with you or you can fill out yourself and give it to him but just use it to release life. Have a good time and release life. So life-giving encouragement, life-giving correction and life-giving prophecy, these are ways that we can bring health to our relationships. But how do we do that? How do we go about those things? It’s actually so easy. It’s really easy. We ask, we listen and we respond, that’s it. Ask, listen, respond. John 14:26 says, ” But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” The Holy Spirit is your guide, is your counselor. And remember you’re Genesis design.

You were designed for this, to receive the life of God and release that life to others. So Valley Creek Church, you are Jesus focused. You focus more on what Jesus has done for you than what you have to do for him. And you are spirit-filled. You walk in the character and power of Jesus and you are life-giving. You receive and release the life of Jesus everywhere you go. You are gracious, you are kind and you are fun. And I am proud to be a part of this church family. And now what I would like to do, I want to close with this, I would like to bless you guys. And the bible is so good to literally gives us everything we need for everything. So in Numbers 6, it actually tells you this is how you bless. This is how to do a blessing. So what I’d ask you to do is would you just close your eyes and have the faith to receive this blessing.

And feel free to just even open up your hands to receive it as I speak this over you. It’s Numbers 6:24 through 26, “May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Father, we thank you that it was you who filled us with life so that we have life to give away. Thank you for holding nothing back from us. Thank you for giving us everything and thank you for teaching us and showing us exactly what to do. And so Father, I pray for miracles to be released today. I pray that we would a people who go with faith, to go and give life-giving encouragement and life-giving correction and life-giving prophecy.

And that as we do, health would flood our relationships. Father, I pray that relationships that have been broke would be completely healed. I pray that you would use those words of life to resurrect the dead things in people’s lives, to bring back hopes and callings and passions that they would get stirred up and released. And I pray that above all, we would see the goodness in the life of God abound everywhere around us. And Father, I pray for the biggest miracle of all that as we go and speak life that somebody would take hold a life for the very time that they would receive the life of Jesus for themselves and cross from darkness and into light. God, may we be a people, a church that is known as a church that speaks life and may it change us. May we never be the same. So God, we love you. Thank you for loving us. We pray this all in the might name of Jesus, amen. Amen.

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