From the Pastor:        “Watch What You Say”         Rev. Marshall Murphy Jr.


September 12, 2021

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost


Invocation: Good morning and welcome!

Lord, I humbly come to you this day to tell you thank you. You have shown us so much compassion despite our tongues. We have hurt our neighbors, our friends, and our families. Bridle our tongues, God, that we might speak love and not hate. Bridle our tongues, God, that we might uplift and not tear down. Bridle our tongues, God, that we might continue to win more citizens for the kingdom. It’s in the name of the one who saved us, Jesus Christ, that we pray. Amen.


Call to Worship

L: We are called to follow Jesus.
P: But following Jesus isn’t easy.
L: No. It will demand our dedication and our energy.
P: It will change our whole lives.
L: Come, all of you. Come and learn of the Lord Jesus.
P: Lord, we come, seeking your wisdom and your guidance. AMEN.


Words of Welcome and Parish News

Gathering song                                                                                   

Prayer Focus: Kindness

The Lord’s Prayer

 Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.




The New Testament Lesson:

James 3:1-6 (The Message Bible Translation)

1-2 Don’t be in any rush to become a teacher, my friends. Teaching is highly responsible work. Teachers are held to the strictest standards. And none of us is perfectly qualified. We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths. If you could find someone whose speech was perfectly true, you’d have a perfect person, in perfect control of life.

3-5 A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it!

5-6 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.


The Message                        “Watch What You Say”                     Rev. Marshall Murphy Jr.

It’s interesting how in this country we use various names for the same item. For example, some people say pop or soda. But historically and still currently we have people who make biased negative references to people. The people of God have to adhere to the teachings of Christ. However, sometimes we fall short of the mark and say things that would offend people. Often certain words have been put into usage by people for so long they can’t see the harm it may bring.

Today we explore what we say when we think we’re not being monitored by the media or the people around us. Yes, we have had more people’s comments brought into the light when they thought they were having a private conversation. Technology has been a friend and foe in some instances depending on the audience. Imagine if Jesus was heard saying you don’t have to love everyone. This letter of James is speaking to us in 2021. Suppose you decide to teach a class in church or comment on the Bible to someone and before you know it a conflict arises in your class spilling out into the congregation and gets posted on YouTube. The analogy James uses to a bit in a horse’s mouth or a rudder on a ship to watching what we say is so important. We can express our own personal thoughts or feelings without any restraint. Then we are left with trying to walk it back. People in the public arena have a really hard time monitoring what they say on   various topics. Sometimes people will address an incident that has taken place and make comments without any guidance or understanding. Hence, therefore many public figures have spokespersons.  James is trying to let us know that our tongues can light a fuse:

5-6 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.

So, what do we do, you may ask? Sometimes it takes us to be always on guard and think about our intentions. People can have their own opinions, however, will that voiced opinion create chaos and disorder. I remember some people would say they had a slip of the tongue. The relevance to this Scripture lays in the choice of words and how we use them. There are some who will say this is a lecture on being politically correct. This is above and beyond that genre. This is how we evangelize, share the word, and welcome people to become Disciples of Christ. What do you use as a basis to engage in a conversation? Is love and kindness the motivation in our minds and hearts when we speak about the Scriptures? We must remember Jesus is our friend, the cornerstone, the truth, and the Light. We don’t want to be the stumbling block for people having a relationship with Christ.



Offertory Prayer:

We are called to listen to the words of wisdom and to respond with our whole lives. Let us give thanks to God with all that we are and all that we have — in word, thought, and action.

Offertory Music

Doxology:                                                                                                                     UMH 95


*Unison Prayer of Dedication:

May these gifts, not only of our money, but of our very selves—
our words, our thoughts, our actions—be acceptable to you, and help spread your words
of life and love. Amen.


Closing Music:



Sending Forth

Go forth with the words of wisdom crying in your ears.
Go forth with songs of hope singing in your heart.
Know that you are called to be faithful followers
of the One who will always be near you,
will always guide and encourage you
to walk the path of life. Amen.

Recessional (Please remain seated to meditate and reflect on the music) 

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