Power of words - John Van Sloten

November 16, 2008

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Media @ New Hope CalgaryIn this message we’re going to talk about the power of words.

“Passions I allow, and loves I approve, only I would wish that men would alter their object and better their intent.”
From Robert Southwell’s “Marie Magdalens Funeral Tears”

“You're familiar with the command to the ancients, 'Do not murder.' I'm telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother 'idiot!' and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell 'stupid!'
at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire.
The simple moral fact is that words kill.”
Jesus in Matthew 5:21-22, MSG

“A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell. This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can't tame a tongue—it's never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth! “
The Apostle James 3:4-9, MSG

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”
The Apostle John re: Jesus in John 1:1-5

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November 11, 2008
Hi there,
As a bit of background, this has been a rough year for my marriage. After six years, suddenly it’s like our world has collapsed around us. My career has taken a nose dive, I injured myself at my part-time job, which was meant to generate more income than my lagging freelance writing/photography attempts, resulting in even more time away from work. As a freelancer it’s been tough not generating income while shelling out significant sums for healthcare. Did I mention I don't have insurance? This has compounded our difficulties, making it increasingly stressful to come face to face with the realization that we just aren’t in control. My pride has been stomped on. But, as a wise man once said, “I love her.” Just like him, I also love her.

Despite the issues, my wife has stood by me. That doesn’t mean it’s been easy. We recently had another fight, as stressed out, broke, despairing people tend to do. During that scrap, I said that I’m just not sure that all this struggle is worth it. While puttering about in my garage a day and half later, I realized that what I said was hurtful rubbish. She’s worth it, she’s absolutely worth all the scrapping, misunderstanding and grief. She’s worth the awkwardness and the humility, she’s worth the struggle and our marriage is certainly worth fighting for. I made this sign, because she needed to hear those words.

After nearly two days of awkward silence around my house these signs opened the communication lines like liquid plumber in a clogged drain, allowing us to connect deeply for the first time in a long time.

Similarly, my best friend and his wife have been going through significant tribulation. They’ve been dealing with issues that I hope to never face. Through several teary eyed conversations I’ve come to realize the power of forgiveness and the need of humans to hear that someone is proud of them. My wife and I pulled some 007 work and planted this sign on their back fence. We managed to do it despite their 135 pound dog prowling the backyard. Who knows if it was what they needed to hear, it was worth the risk.

Even before this assignment, a good friend and I began scheming to use art in an encouraging way. We both concluded that giving positive messages to those who need to hear them is not only good for them, it’s good for us as well - it’s therapy! We coined the term “theraffiti” to denote the process of producing art that impacts positively. Our guerilla projects have been life changing to me, and perhaps even to others as well. Just the idea of white bread, middle class, generally respectable people, skulking around at night to install random art is enough to make me giggle. The irony is delicious. Anyway, I’ll cut this off. I just wanted to say that I love this concept and it has brought this weary soul much pleasure, joy and healing - keep it up!
Benjamin Bowler

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New Hope Church 2008


relate,person,gJohn 1:1-5,James 3:4-9,Matthew 5:21-22,banners,signs

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