your mouth imageThis week as I was preparing this message I had a quote from one of my favorite books keep coming to me.  Now I am about to read this quote, and it can be a bit polarizing but I want you to hear it, and think about this.

“There are basically two types if people in the world: complainers and worshipers. And there isn’t much circumstantial difference between the two. Complainers will always find something to complain about. Worshipers will always find something to praise God about. They simply have different default settings.” -Mark Batterson (In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day)

I want to ask you a question today, and it is a very important one.  Which one are you?  Are you a worshiper or are you a complainer?  What is interesting is that I think some of us couldn’t even answer that question about ourselves.  Maybe you have never thought about it…but it is a very, very important question.  What is kind of funny to think about is that whether you can answer that question for yourself or not, I am willing to bet you that the people around you can answer that question for you.  The people that you are around each and every day, they know whether you are a worshiper or a complainer because they walk in either the joy or the weight of the worship or complaints coming from you.

If you are sitting there right now wondering whether or not you are a worshiper or a complainer I will tell you it isn’t very hard to figure out, because your words are revealing it to the world around you.  Your family, your co-workers, your friends…they know very clearly who you are by the words that come out of your mouth.  If you want to know if you are a worshiper or a complainer simply listen to what you are saying.  Remember the words of Jesus:

Matthew 12:33-37  “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”  NIV

The easiest way to know if you are a worshiper or a complainer is to see what words are coming out of you.  Jesus would tell you that it’s out of the overflow of your heart that the mouth speaks.

I thought that Ken and TJ did a wonderful job last week helping us understand that our words carry weight.  The Bible talks about that weight that our words put on people a lot, here is a pretty clear example…

Proverbs 18:21 Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit — you choose. (MSG)

Did you know this?  That your words carry this much power?  That you can take life from people just by criticizing, whispering, sharing your “concerns”…did you ever think that words could do this much damage.  You could use your words to literally smother out all the passion and life from a leader above you or you could use your words to bring that same leader to greater heights of creativity and passion.  You can use your words to bring your work place’s atmosphere to life, or you can use your words to put an absolute oppression on that place.  You can do that here at church too.  You can use your words to build others up and set the spiritual atmosphere of this place to new heights…or you can put a weight in here that could smother the energy and passion right out of this building.

Your words matter.  The words of a complainer bring death.  The words of a worshiper bring life…and that is why we need to figure out if we are worshipers or complainers!  We need to know because only one of these types of people brings life to people and I don’t know about you but I want to be a worshiper!  If you still aren’t sure which one you are, and you aren’t self-aware enough to think through the words coming from your mouth, your spouse can tell you which one you are on the way home…if he/she isn’t willing to let you know, then I want you to think about something today.

What are you focused on?

You guys know that I coach my son’s soccer team, and it has truly been an awesome experience for me and I think that it has helped my son grow as person too which has been really neat to see.  Last year we had our first opportunity to play in a “championship game.”  We had won our way through a tournament and had made it to the championship game…and while the mighty Dillsburg Cyclones tried hard, we lost the game 2-0.  Jaden played very well but he was devastated over the loss, and we had an amazing moment that night.  When I went up to tuck him in his bed, he was laying there with tears in his eyes and I said “what is the matter man…you guys made it all the way to the finals, that is awesome.”  Jaden looked up at me and said “it would have been better if we would have lost the game before that.  I would have rather finished third than come that close to the championship and finishing second because all I can think about is that we didn’t finish first.”  Jaden often surprised me with his perspectives and deep thoughts and this situation was no different.

Did you know that they have actually done studies on this very scenario with Olympic athletes?  Scientific studies show that the athlete who wins the bronze medal is way happier than the one who wins the silver medal because the silver medalist focuses only on how close he came to winning the gold.  The bronze medalist is focused on how close he came to almost not winning a medal at all and that athlete is just happy to be on the podium receiving a medal.

Think about that for a moment- That means that your focus determines your joy.  You literally determine your attitude.  How we feel is not determined by the circumstances we are in.  How we feel is determined by our focus. 

This brings a bible story to mind:

Acts 16:16-24 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her. 19 When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.” 22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. NIV

So I think that from this you and I could agree that Paul and Silas were not having a good day.  They find themselves stripped, beaten and severely whipped…meaning there flesh is torn to pieces and they are thrown into prison chained up.  For all accounts this is a worse day than the day your wireless router didn’t work properly or the day that you’re your third vehicle had to go into the shop.  This is a bad day.

What is interesting to me is that for me, when I find myself in my own trials and difficult moment I’m realizing that my focus is completely on…well, ME!  Have you ever found yourself in a spiritual or emotional slump?  Often times you can’t seem to get out of that slump until you realize that your focus has shifted from God to yourself.  So what we need to do is somehow get our focus to shift back to what matters…and what matters is God!  You know how that happens…it happens through worshiping God.  Watch what Paul and Silas do here…

Acts 16:25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.  NIV

So Paul and Silas have been beaten, humiliated, whipped severely and our chained up in prison and what are they doing?  They are singing praises to God!  Their focus has never shifted from God.  When I place myself in this moment I think that my focus would be completely on me, and the horrible predicament that I was in…but not these guys.  Paul and Silas are worshipers…they never lose sight of God.

Remember there are two types of people in the world…worshipers and complainers.  Worshipers bring joy and a complete focus on God.  When we worship we renew our minds and it enables us to find joy regardless of our circumstances because our focus is on HIM!  Look, I am not going to pretend this is an easy thing to do but we need to keep an eye on our focus.  We want to be worshipers, not complainers.

Paul and Silas are worshipers.  They sang out praises to God and the other prisoners were listening!  Think about what those prisoners and the jailer must have been thinking.

Listen to what happens next!

Acts 16:26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved-you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God-he and his whole family.  35 When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.” 36 The jailer told Paul, “The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.”37 But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.”38 The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed.   39 They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city. 40 After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and encouraged them. Then they left.  NIV


When they worshiped they changed the atmosphere in that prison.  It literally charged the atmosphere with the Holy Spirit!  Did you ever think that you have the ability to change the atmosphere all around you?  I know you aren’t the great apostle Paul but you have this same ability!

Do you remember last week when Ken said your words are spiritual?  This is exactly what he meant!  They carry weight, power, and give have the ability to change the atmosphere around you for the good or bad!

You have the ability to change the spiritual atmosphere in this place today!  You can change the atmosphere in your work place and every environment of your life!  In fact you are changing it, each and every day.  So let me ask you again…Are you a worshiper or a complainer?

So what are you focused on this morning?  Did you walk into church this morning bringing prayer and an open heart to this place?  Did you stand in the lobby and use your words to build up this place and it’s leadership?  Or did you walk in hear complaining and critiquing this place?  Did you use your words to build up…or did you use them to share concerns, gossip, or question the authority around you?  Are you so concerned with the spiritual atmosphere in here that you don’t realize that you are actually destroying it with your words?  Your words carry weight.

When you go to the ball field and see the coach out there working with your children.  You have a decision to make, you can be a worshiper or a complainer.  You can bring life to that coach and that environment or you can bring death…the choice is up to you.  Your words carry weight.

When you go to work tomorrow what will you do?  The choice is up to you.  You can be a worshiper or a complainer.  You can bring life to your workplace or you can bring death.  You have a say in the atmosphere around you…because your words carry weight.  You can criticize and complain, or you can build up and bring life.

Now for some of you as this talk has gone on you have been able to identify which one of these two types of people you are.  You may realize that you are a worshiper.  That is great!  That means you see the best in others.  You have realized that you are using your words to build others up.  You are enhancing the spiritual atmosphere in every environment of your life and that is awesome.  But for some of us, we are realizing that we are complainers.  We are identifying that the words coming from our mouths are not bringing life they are bringing weight, and sucking the life out of people, they are actually bringing death.  We are realizing that in every environment we aren’t focused on the right things.  Hey, that is ok, identifying this is a really big deal.  Seeing it means that you can do something about it because we all want to be worshipers don’t we?  I will tell you identifying it is a great thing because there are people that will never see themselves as complainers.  They will never understand the wreckage they cause in others and the atmospheres around them by constantly sharing concerns, opinions, and complaints.  They will never see that they are destroying the spiritual atmosphere in the environments around them, and that is a scary, scary thing with devastating results.

So if you have been listening to this talk and have determined that you are falling into the category of complainer you can do something about it.  I want to take you back to the words of Jesus because in his teaching we can see how to combat this thing.  Remember what we a read at the start of this talk?


Matthew 12:33-37  “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”  NIV

If you find yourself in the category of complainer can I ask you something?  Are you spending time with God each day?  Are you investing time into a relationship with Him?  Are you getting alone with God?  You see if you aren’t putting good things in, then good things are not going to come out?  If all you place into your heart is work, hobbies, and movies…well, that is what will come out.  You have to put in good to have good come out.  Spending time in the presence of God will change you…it will give you that Paul and Silas type of focus, you will no longer be focused on the circumstances you are in…but now you can focus on God and the people around you.

Remember your circumstances don’t determine your joy, your focus does.  Jaden could have been thrilled with his second place trophy but all he could think of was how close they came to winning it all.  You determine your attitude!  This is why Paul sat in a jail cell beaten to a pulp and worshiped God.

The big question of the day is this…are you are worshiper or a complainer?  How you answer that determines everything.  It determines a lot about the atmosphere of your home, your work place, your church, your child’s ball team, and your community.  I don’t know about you but I want to be a worshiper.  I want to be known as someone who can bring his best to those around him.  I don’t want to be that wet blanket…I want to bring life.  I want my focus to be on the positives, and I want to know that I was able to help others experience joy, passion, and bring out the best in them!

You know while this quote is a little polarizing, it is a big deal statement…we need to see it, and understand which one we are…because in the end your words bring life, or your words bring death.  Paul and Silas could sit in a jail cell and worship, and because of their worship everyone around them was impacted.  So let me ask you, what are you doing to change the spiritual atmosphere around you?

Are you full of worship and bringing life or are you full of complaints, criticism, and concerns.  The reality is that how you answer this question is making a difference in you and everyone around you.  If you can’t figure out yet which one you are, the words coming out of you will tell you.  It starts with your focus…it ends with what you are feeding your heart with…in the end what you put in, will come out.  Worshipers make a huge difference in the people around them, unfortunately so do complainers…so which one are you?

Let’s be a community of worshipers, let’s stay focused on God, and use our words to bring life, bring joy, and bring God of love into every atmosphere that we are a part of.