{November 13, 2022}

Heartland Community Church


Slow To Speak

By Allison Antrim

I came to church today with the aftermath of a recent painful conversation still fresh in my mind. God’s timing is truly perfect, as today’s message allowed me to not only think back to what went down in that painful conversation, but to think in a new and comprehensive way about how I engage with those I disagree with. I see how very important it is as christians that we get our thoughts and attitudes right within us before we have difficult conversations with others. Doing so brings an opportunity to show the love of God and let it rule over our own emotions and egos.

James’ metaphors for the impact of the tongue – comparing it to a bit, then a rudder, and finally a fire – are some of the clearest metaphors I’ve encountered in the whole Bible. Although I don’t have a horse (despite my fiercest childhood dreams), I’ve ridden horses enough to marvel at how a small piece of metal, connected to a bridle, can direct an animal weighing hundreds of pounds more than me. And fire, as Brad pointed out with the horrific Colorado fire of a few years ago, is easy to understand as something that can so quickly change from offering comfort in a contained space to unleashing ceaseless destruction if left unchecked. (I’ve not been on many boats with rudders, so I just have to trust James on that one.)

So what do I do now, considering the great harm and healing of which my tongue is capable? How do I honor God in the next difficult conversation that comes my way?

Be slow to assume. The Bible tells me that all people are made in God’s image, and we are all sinners in need of a Savior. Approaching someone with these truths in mind from the very beginning of a conversation should chart the course for words and behaviors that honor both God and the individual to whom I am talking.

Be slow to defend. God made our brains so that we could respond to life’s challenges and do what it takes to survive. He also made it possible for our brains to overrule those fight-or-flight instincts that can cause so much damage through our words. If I can get curious about my own reactions during difficult conversations, I may discover the nuance that’s needed to not be up in arms against the other person.

Be slow to harm. This one stings a little after my recent painful conversation. I remember with crystalline clarity several things I said that I wish I hadn’t. It is comforting to know there’s a path forward even though I’ve messed up, and that I can prepare to offer gracious words for next time. 

Think of a time when your words have caused harm and a time in which they caused healing. In light of the message today, how do you interpret what happened in both situations? How will you be slow to speak this week? 


{Sunday, November 13}

Read James 1:19, James 3:2-12

Take note of the examples James provides of the power in our words. What might God be inviting you to notice and consider in these passages? How might you practice the SLOW to speak tips Brad offered today?


Reading Through Romans

For the next month we will focus our daily reflections on the book of Romans, Paul’s letter to the believers in Rome. The awesome thing about this book is the bold declaration that Jesus and the good news he carried into the world was for everyone . . . all who choose to believe and explore how to follow Jesus have access to this hope and all of his promises. Check out this overview of Romans 1-4, and Romans 5-16 from our friends at The Bible Project.


{Monday, November 14}

Read Romans 7:7-13

If you’ve ever spent time with a toddler, you may have seen what happens when someone tells him or her, “No!” Something about this word seems to compel the toddler to keep on doing whatever is not allowed. This is not that far off from what Paul is talking about in this passage. Before he began to follow the law, Paul says he didn’t have an awareness of coveting, but once he knew it was forbidden, he found himself coveting left and right. The law is a good thing because it shows what is sinful and what is not, even though our sinful natures often compel us to do that to which the law says “no.” Because of the law, we see sin for what it is: deceitful, destructive, and deadly. Consequently, our need for a Savior to rescue us becomes crystal clear. What sin do you see outlawed in the Bible that is hard for you to avoid? How is God’s word and his guiding presence good in those moments when you’re tempted to sin?


{Tuesday, November 15}

Read Romans 7:14-25

"The verb “do,” along with its other forms “does” and “doing,” appears 24 times in these 12 verses! What we do is evidence of what we think, feel, and believe, as Paul shows here with his own example: “For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me” (v. 22-23). The metaphor of being a prisoner of sin hits hard and feels hopeless – until Paul pauses to proclaim that Jesus Christ offers deliverance (v. 25). Think of a time when your desire to obey God was competing against your desire to sin. At that time, which desire won? How does Jesus provide ultimate victory over your past, present, and future sin?


{Wednesday, November 16}

Read Romans 8:1-17

Here Paul contrasts the flesh and the Spirit as one of two ways that the human mind can be directed. The flesh is the realm of those who don’t believe in Jesus, and it’s a bad place to be – forever chasing desires that lead to death, restless and roving. But the realm of those who believe in Jesus, who have the Holy Spirit, is a great place to be – a place of peace that leads to life. It also leads to sonship. Without Jesus, we are slaves to sin; with Jesus, we are sons and daughters of God. This truth helps us endure, even as we experience suffering and challenges brought about by obedience to where the Spirit leads us. God is our Father, but even more than that he is “Abba,” an Aramaic term for “dear father.” He is one we worship and respect, but also know intimately and with great love. When has God been a “dear father” to you? How could remembering this term for him help you when you face suffering and challenges because of your obedience to him?


{Thursday, November 17}

Read Romans 8:18-30

Paul describes the effect of sin on creation as causing it to be in “bondage to decay” (v. 21), a phrase that can be helpful in explaining the pain and sorrow we see all around us. Although Jesus has come and his Spirit dwells in those who believe in him, that hasn’t automatically made creation perfect again as it once was. Both we and creation itself long for that perfection to return. That longing can be so great that sometimes words fail us when we pray, but we don’t need to worry that God won’t listen unless we offer up perfect prayers with eloquent prose. When we pray, no matter how we do it, the Spirit intercedes for us (v. 26-27). Now we come to verse 28, one of those verses where the context is crucial to understand what it means. If you believe in Jesus, you are being conformed to his image, and you can be sure that the God conforming you will use everything you experience – even suffering –  to work to your good. Think of an example of suffering you have experienced. Where can you see something good God did during that time? If you are suffering and can’t see what good God is up to, how do these verses help in the meantime?


{Friday, November 18}

Read Romans 8:31-39

Here the text takes on a triumphant tone with rising energy, building on the previous verses to what I think is one of the most important conclusions in all of Scripture. Because of Jesus, the Christian can be sure that no charge of “guilty” will stick to him, that no condemnation will shame her, and that nothing and no one can come between them and their God. Once the blood of Jesus is accepted as the perfect sacrifice on our behalf, guilt and shame are ours no longer. Jesus intercedes for believers constantly, so despite the long list of troubles and dangers that they have faced and will face, his love for them can never be thwarted. How comforting it is to consider that, though I’m bound to experience suffering on this side of heaven, the love of God will never leave me. Do you wrestle with guilt and shame even though you believe in Jesus? How can you remind yourself of what Jesus has done for you and his great love for you?


{Saturday, November 19}

Read Romans 9:1-24

This is a tough passage that Christians have been contending with for centuries. Verse 8 contains the main idea: “In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.” Just because someone is an Israelite doesn’t mean they are automatically one of God’s people, and likewise, just because someone is a Gentile doesn’t mean they are automatically not one of God’s people. Because of Jesus, membership in the household of God is no longer a matter of ethnicity or race; it’s a matter of inward belief. God’s mercy and grace fall on all people, but there’s a mystery in how those things are applied to some and not to others. Paul suggests it’s to make believers aware of how great the “riches of his glory” that have been lavished upon them. While this passage may be difficult, it does show the good news that becoming one of God’s people is possible for all who receive him for who he is. What questions arise as you read this passage? Ask God to help you understand what is crucial in these verses. 




{extra journey resources}

CLICK HERE to visit The Bible Project site and explore their super simple, super informative Bible videos (and other resources). You can also download The Bible Project App HERE.

CLICK HERE to get the Read Scripture App, from our friends at The Bible Project.

CLICK HERE for more on how to use the observe-reflect-apply approach to getting the most out of your Bible reading.

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Bible Gateway Provides advanced Bible searching capabilities, which allow readers to find passages in scripture based on keywords, phrases, or scripture reference.

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12175 S Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062

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