Part 4. The Bible describes the tongue, the words we speak, as “a restless evil.” God has a standard, not just for how we live but how we speak. What comes out of our mouths reveals what is built in our hearts. But it doesn’t just affect ourselves, it has the power to feed or harm others. We must come to grips with a specific struggle with our words that hits our lives with disastrous effect.
It’s all over Facebook. You can’t miss it. Even Indiana Jones is in on it now. Starbucks removed “Merry Christmas” from their red cups (if it was ever there before). A simple change by an international company has split the Christian community in two.
Some want to “prank” Starbucks. It isn’t a boycott; quite the opposite really. The plan is to introduce ways to get Starbucks to do what it has decided not to do: acknowledge Christmas. No one is trying to close stores or hurt the company’s bottom line. The original video actually calls on Christians to bring their business to any and all Starbucks locations to reintroduce Jesus and Christmas.
The other side of the battle is annoyed that anyone would go to so much trouble over something so trivial. It’s a coffee cup. “What would Jesus do?” Start a revolution, an international prank-fest? If you don’t like it, drink your coffee somewhere else. #MerryChristmasStarbucks isn’t worth the bad publicity it produces for the church.
But is it really that simple? It never is. The fact the campaign went from a positive video on one guy’s Facebook page to negative and pocking-fun memes galore reveals how big a nerve was hit. The church just found out it has an exposed nerve, and it doesn’t have anything to do with coffee cups.
Part 3. If we believe God’s Word to be words from God for us to live by, and we hear the Gospel’s call to change, we must evaluate how we are doing at living by the Book. Jesus said He would build His church, and He has shared the blueprint with us through the Scripture. To be the church Jesus builds is to live the way the Word tells us to live.
This message goes back to the first proofs of a living relationship with Jesus Christ. If we are truly disciples of Jesus, we will love. That sounds easy, but it isn’t. There is one key that can help us, and it changes how we treat one another.
Part 1. The Bible is precious. It is God’s word. Though He spoke through different people in different ways over the centuries, the Bible is God’s continual word to His people, and it will not pass away until every last word is fulfilled.
Like everything that is too available to us, we fail to cherish God’s word. It gives us life. We know a lot about it, but what does that knowledge inspire for us? The Thessalonian church gives us a picture of how we should embrace the Bible and live as people of God’s word.
It’s Thanksgiving weekend in Canada, but without hope our season of thanks will be short-lived. We face the real world when the turkey and pies are gone. To believe in Jesus means we step into that world living Jesus’ way.
Some of us have tried to walk that road and been hurt. God clearly led the way but trouble or pain resulted. We’ve lost hope in God’s path. But God says it has to be this way. He doesn’t make mistakes. We have to look for hope when God’s way leads to trouble.
It’s good to know we can have hope when the world’s mess surrounds us. But what about when the mess is our fault? We aren’t perfect. So sooner or later we are going to be the cause of the trouble and pain in our lives and even for those close to us.
The instant we recognize the mess is our fault, we face a moment of decision. There are two options. Will we surrender our hope, dooming ourselves to the darkness of despair? It’s a dark fate and it never ends well. Or will we hold on to the faintest glimmer of hope, believing good is still possible?