Words are important. We use somewhere between 10000-25000 each day. All kinds of words too. Words of encouragement, love, appreciation, thanks, honour, fun stuff, decision making, alongside plenty of general nonsense and whether we like to admit it or not there’s possibly a whole bunch of unkind, harsh, bitter, angry and downright rude words too.

They can be our salvation. They can be our damnation.

Jesus said that there are two key things that impact words we speak…our minds and our heart.

Too often our minds are like snake pits. Full of venom, full of nastiness, full of foul and mindless comments. Such can only produce rubbish.

In addition, our hearts demonstrate to others what’s really going on inside of us. When we are pushed or provoked how we respond reveals out heart and what it’s full of.

As we walk with God, let us consider the words we use. Even those throw-away comments. Are they life giving? Are they encouraging? Are they positive? Are they honouring to the God we serve?

You have minds like a snake pit! How do you suppose what you say is worth anything when you are so foul-minded? It’s your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is a blight on the orchard. Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation. [Matthew 12:34-37]

Say Something Worth Hearing

Heard a comment the other day about how some politicians when they sit through a 20 minute interview their aim is to just make sure that they answer the questions without really saying anything. I think we could agree that on most occasions they are doing that really well.

Political commentators would argue that that is why people like Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson do so well. They have nothing to lose and are therefore more willing to say something that people will actually listen to. Even if what they say isn’t necessarily right and maybe the majority don’t always agree with them.

As Christians I think we are guilty of falling into the category of being people who speak without really saying anything. We avoid conversations so we don’t get caught into giving a comment that might polarise opinion. We keep ourselves in the safe zone when it comes to dialogue and we go through life loving Jesus but hoping no one really finds out.

I’m not advocating that we just say anything. That’s silly. We have to be measured in how we speak. We have to be truthful when we speak. We have to treat our words with care. What we must never be though is just bland. Jesus was never bland. When He spoke people listened. It provoked. It challenged. It created conversation. He spoke truth. He showed grace.

Jesus said something worth hearing. We must do the same.

Next time you find yourself in a conversation that calls for an opinion, why not give it. Not with a pointed finger in the face. I’m not meaning an ‘I told you so’ opinion but rather a well thought out point that lines up with the word of God. Do it well. Speak from your heart, from your beliefs and to be honest, worry less about what others may think.

Say something worth hearing. The alternative isn’t worth the effort.

Be a Conversational Architect [3]

Continuing to unpack this idea of being a conversational architect I would encourage you to speak from a position of BEING RESPONSIBLE

Even the Apostle Paul says this is important…
If you choose to speak, you’re also responsible for how and when you speak. [1 Corinthians 14:32]

“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. [Luke 6:43-45]

When we speak or comment we must do it from a position of being responsible. Not just responsible FOR people but responsible TO people. To speak from a position of creating the right culture – building, planting & caring for them. If we are responsible for them then we will try and tell them, fix them, manipulate them. If we are responsible to them then we would always speak wanting them to discover answers for themselves. It is a subtle difference but a difference nonetheless.

This means taking responsibility for what comes out of our mouths, which means taking responsibility for what goes in the heart because that’s what eventually comes out.

Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts [Proverbs 4:23] Being vigilant takes effort, it doesn’t happen by chance.

Be responsible to people by doing the following things…
make the message clear – examine what you will say
focus on the others first – if you are just saying something for the sake of saying something then it might need changing
live out your message – Jesus tells us we will be known by our fruit – become more consistent – be responsible to make your words and actions match up

Be a Conversational Architect [1]
Be a Conversational Architect [2]

Be a Conversational Architect [2]

How to become a better conversational architect…

Speak from a position of LOVE & LOYALTY

Don’t lose your grip on Love and Loyalty. Tie them around your neck; carve their initials on your heart. [Proverbs 3:3]

You can nip a lot in the bud when it comes to how we speak to others but never let go of love & loyalty. Everything we say & do should be flavoured with love. You may not always agree with everything but you can still demonstrate love & loyalty to the bigger cause in the way that you speak.

The thing with love & loyalty is that they are the opposite of the selfishness that can so easily colour our conversations.

So here’s the challenge…how loyal are you? How faithful to the cause? How supportive are you of the vision? In your words…do they match up with your actions.

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. (or a loud noise) [1 Corinthians 13:1]

Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose. [Proverbs 18:21]

Words should be encouraging. It doesn’t mean you don’t speak the truth, instead you speak it with grace. You can still challenge the status quo but do it with an attitude of love & loyalty (faithful adherence to a sovereign/leader – not your church leaders even – how about Jesus)

As John Maxwell says – people don’t care how much you know (or think you know) until they know how much you care. Love & loyalty mean you should care how your words will be received.

Be a Conversational Architect [1]

Thought I might share some thoughts from my preach on Sunday…
In becoming a conversational architect we have know that who we are is important, but should not underestimate the value of how we are perceived.

Conversations lead to relationships and relationships lead to affinity. Affinity is a great word…
…to have affinity with another means to have a natural liking for or attraction to a person, thing or idea
…whenever we have a conversation or make a comment via our social media outlets we are giving people opportunities to have affinity with us or not
…the choice they make will be based on what they know about us and our existing affinities

We need to remember that what we say is coloured by many things…
…our family background
…our experiences
…our love for God
…our ministry team
…our connection with Xcel Church

These known affinities determine peoples view of us and then influence how they receive what we say. Making sure our words and actions match up becomes more important otherwise we discredit ourselves and it may never get the opportunity to be heard on more important matters. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13 – even if I speak eloquently but don’t speak from a position of love then I am nothing more than a loud noise. [1 Cor 13:1]

If life change happens in relationships, then we must develop some relational collateral. We need to become architects in our conversations. To not consider this way is to be naive, if not worse. Want to lose your influence and integrity…then never think about what you are saying or how others might receive it.