Tag Archives: message

Mixed message


by Stan Mitchell

Here are some signs of the times that probably communicated something that wasn’t intended:

  • Spotted in a Safari Park: “Elephants please stay in your car.”
  • Notice in a field: “The farmer allows walkers to cross the field for free, but the bull charges.”
  • Message on a leaflet: “If you cannot read, this leaflet will tell you how to get lessons.”
  • Outside a second hand shop: “We exchange anything — bicycles, washing machines, etc. Why not bring your wife?”
  • Outside a disco: “Smarts is the most exclusive disco in town. Everyone welcome!”

Some mixed messages are unintended and humorous. Others are involuntary and a little more unfortunate.

  • What message do we send to our children when we speak of the love of God, for instance, and “smoke” our brethren with unkind words and gossip?
  • What kind of message do we send visitors to worship when we act as if our time in God’s presence is a matter of little consequence, an event which we are frequently late for, and which we ignore while we chat with our friends?
  • What message do we send to the Lord when we seek his help in a crisis, but forget our covenant responsibilities to him in the good times? All of these actions send out a mixed message.

“This people honors me with their lips,” the Lord once declared, “but their heart is far from me” (Matthew 15:8, ESV).

The reason for the mixed message in this case is the gap between expression and intention, words and actions. Bloopers on signs and notices are humorous, but in our Christian walk when our sentiments and lifestyles do not match, it is time for serious self-examination.

What makes this matter so urgent is the fact that we cannot help sending out a message, of one kind or another. Even failing to act sends a message of sorts.

The only solution to a mixed message is a pure heart. Those who are “pure in heart” (Matthew 5:8), whose motives and desires match their words, will send out a consistent message. And they shall “see God.”

What's Your Sermon?

by Paula Harrington
Pulpit44.jpgI was cleaning out cabinets recently when I came across a shoe box full of cassette tapes. All were old sermons from some of my favorite preachers of years gone by.
Some of the best sermons, however, aren’t captured on cassette nor will they ever be available on the Internet. They are preached by the way ordinary men and women live their lives.
One of the best sermons I’ve ever known was on perseverance and preached by a single mother who brought her young children to Bible class and then wrestled them alone until they grew and became faithful Christians.
Another on faith was taught by a sweet lady who went through dialysis but never complained. Instead she always had a smile and encouraging word.
A powerful one on love and marriage was by a man who diligently cared for his sick wife. He would feed her, dress her, and then bring her with him to the worship service.
The greatest sermons in history weren’t originally declared to large crowds. Some were broadcast from a lonely jail cell (Genesis 41), a fiery furnace (Daniel 3), a lion’s den (Daniel 6) and a manger (Matthew 1, Luke 2,). Of course, the one that impacted the world more than any other was proclaimed in an empty tomb (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20).
Every Christian is a minister, but most will never stand at the front of the auditorium. They will quietly speak messages of love, mercy, and forgiveness in the way they treat others and handle life’s situations.
They will show the world that pain and heartache don’t define a life. They will smile or say a kind word when they could more easily walk away. They will write notes of encouragement and offer much needed hugs and in doing so will influence more people for Jesus than they will ever realize.
What are you preaching to your friends and family? Is it a sermon of love and grace or one of hypocrisy and complaining? If you haven’t started thinking about your message, today’s the day. Set your mind on things above and then with a good attitude and a servant’s heart, boldly live the Word of God.
Remember, you don’t need a passport to be a missionary and you certainly don’t need a podium to be a preacher.