This Is Your Captain Speaking (1 Thess 5:11-24)

By | September 21, 2014

Turbulence Ahead #3


     There’s a great scene in the old Dick Van Dyke Show in which Buddy has pay a quarter ever time he insults Mel. Mel is astounded that Bubby has to pay. Of course in his own way Buddy continues to heckle Mel until he can hardly stand it. When it comes time to read the script to Alan Brady, Mel tells the crew that Rob and Sally can go but not Buddy.

     Buddy asks, “Well, want do you want me to do.”

     Mel walks up to Buddy, starts to say something, then very dramatically turns, walks over to the insult can and starts dropping coin after coin in it. He then turns to Buddy and says, “That’s for what I was going to say.” And then storms out of the office.

     I wonder sometimes if it wouldn’t be better for all of us to have to pay if we said something hurtful or negative about someone else. It would be better if we all acted like Mel and paid without saying anything. Because Words Matter. Mark Twain once said, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”

     Words can and do hurt. Words can leave wounds as deep as your soul. Words can break your heart and haunt every moment of the day and night. Words can besmirch a reputation and destroy a relationship.

     But words can also inspire and heal the deep wounds of the soul. Words can mend a broken heart and cause the soul to sing for joy every moment of day and night. Words can build a reputation and heal a broken relationship. Words Matter.

     Just think about how the simple words, “This Is Your Captain Speaking” make you feel when you’re flying. If the weather’s clear they don’t affect you at all. But if it’s dark and stormy and there’s turbulence, you can actually feel your anxiety level begin to rise. As we come to our final message in the series Turbulence Ahead, today I want to think about the Words we use with one another and especially the words we use with our families.


1 Thessalonians 5:11-24 (NRSV)

[11] Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.

[12] But we appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labor among you, and have charge of you in the Lord and admonish you;

[13] esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.

[14] And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them.

[15] See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all.

[16] Rejoice always,

[17] pray without ceasing,

[18] give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

[19] Do not quench the Spirit.

[20] Do not despise the words of prophets,

[21] but test everything; hold fast to what is good;

[22] abstain from every form of evil.

[23] May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

[24] The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.


     A. Years ago a preacher told about visiting a new family in the community. He said the father introduced the children like this: “This is Pete. He’s the clumsy one. That’s Kathy coming in with mud on her shoes. She’s the sloppy one. And as always, Mike’s last. He’ll be late for his own funeral.”

     That father’s introduction gave a lot of insight into his life and into that family. That father not only named his children, but he labeled them too. He labeled them with their faults and mistakes. People do that to us all the time. People do that to the ones we love all the time. The world wants to remind us of our failures, our errors, our sins, and our short comings.

     The world doesn’t want us to let those things go. The world wants to be able to rub our nose in that guilt. It wants us to relive that shame so we forget that we’re forgiven and have been made new creations through the love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The world doesn’t want us to let go of those labels, so it constantly tries to remind us and undermine the work of Christ.

     B. But that’s not what Paul says to the church in Thessalonica. He writes “encourage one another and build up each other.”

     We talked about words of encouragement a couple of weeks ago. This is a reminder of how important that is in the life of your family, especially in the lives of your children. Everybody needs a cheerleader. Everybody needs recognition for their accomplishments. Most of us don’t make that need known to others like the little boy who said to his father: “Let’s play darts, Daddy. I’ll throw and you say ‘Wonderful!’” (1)

     We all need words of encouragement, especially our children. They are under a whole lot more stress than you and I ever faced in school. Our children face difficult circumstances every day. No matter how good our school system is, no matter how great our community is, there are always pressures and temptations to do the wrong thing or to say the wrong thing.

     As parents, grandparents and significant people in the lives of our youth and children, we can teach  them what is right by our example and our words. We can build them up and encourage them.


     One of the best ways to build up and encourage is not only through words of encouragement but through “Praying Without Ceasing.” We need to bathe our children and youth in prayer every single day. If you’ve never developed a prayer life, now is the time to begin. Our kids, our families, our community, our church needs all the support we can give and all the help which God can provide. But we have to ask for it.

     I’m not talking about some puny little prayer like “Lord, watch over Mary today.”

     No, I’m talking about taking the time to go into detail. “Lord, be with Mary today. Help her to stay in love with you. Help her to hear your guidance as she makes decisions. Bless her with deep and abiding friends and friendship. Help her to be a good example. Help her to be strong when facing temptation. Open her mind as she studies and help her to remember all she learns.”

     Or something like this, “Gracious God, be with Billy today, he has a test and he’s nervous because he had a soccer game last night and didn’t get to study as much as he should have. Help him to focus. Help him to remember. Help him to be calm and diligent in his work. Help him remember to read and reread the questions. Help him do the best job possible.”

     One of the greatest gifts we can give the children and youth of our church and this community is to bathe them in prayer.

     Pray for their friends. Pray for their friend’s parents. Pray for their hobbies and extracurricular activities. Pray for their likes and dislikes. Pray that you will be patient and open to whatever they tell you, without first screaming and yelling and accusing. Listen and help keep the lines of communication open. Remember the Apostle Paul said, “Do not quench the Spirit.”

     We called our oldest son Paul the 11:00 o’clock news, because we’d be in bed reading, almost asleep  and he’d roll into the door frame, like only teenage boys can do. And he’d start talking. Sometimes he’d move to the end of the bed. But we talked. Sometimes he told us things we wished we didn’t know. And sometimes he told us things we didn’t want to hear.

     But it was while listening to his concern for his friends and the things going on in their lives, that I grew to realize the faith and compassion my son had. I also realized it was his way of asking that we pray for his friends and their families. And so we did. Pray With Ceasing.



     A. I don’t know about you, but one of the things I like to do when I’m flying is to look through the SkY Mall magazine. I’m amazed at some of the useless things and some of the cool things they have in there. Let me give you a couple of examples. Did you know you can buy a gong?

     The Gong – It’s only $89.95

     How about a Grillbot – an automatic grill cleaning robot for only $120

     Keeping with the whole grill thing how about an LED lighted Spatula for $30

     How about the iPhone Lens and Tripod for $45. My question is “where do you keep those accessories?”

     I guess you could keep it in the $40 Beer Pouch Hoodie

     It might even fit in the $22 Laptop Beverage Holder

     Or down the side of your $20 Beard Hat

     Of course you can always buy your own King Tut cabinet for $950

     Or British Phone Booth for $2,250

     Or even your own throne for $2,350

     And if all of that is too expensive the for $10 you can buy a USB Cup Warmer with 4 Port Hub. (2)

     The reason I showed all of that to you is that there’s a lot of useless stuff out there. And when we don’t have anything else to do, we start looking at all that useless junk and we start to think it looks pretty good or we start to think we have to have it. If we’re tempted by this kind of stuff just think how our children and youth are tempted. They haven’t developed the maturity to say no or the filters to weed out what’s junk and what’s real. That’s where our Prayers and our Blessings can help.

     B. And that’s why I put together a little SkY Call booklet for you. It’s not a catalog, it is a booklet filled with blessings, prayers, Scripture which can be prayed and used as prayers to help you support your children, youth and even each other.

     There’s one in particular that I think is important. Wendi shared it with me and it’s based on the Shema – the verses in Deuteronomy 6:5-9 (NRSV)

[5] You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.

[6] Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart.

[7] Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise.

[8] Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead,

[9] and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.    

     And using the word BLESS, you can fulfill this Scripture and live it out every day.  

     B – Be committed to bless your child

     L – Lovingly touch your child (show affection)

     E – Express value (words of encouragement)

     S – See potential (imagine a bright future for your child)

     S – Say it out loud and say it daily

     That may be one of the most important aspects, saying it out loud daily.

     C. With that in mind, I’d like you to join me in a prayer of blessing and encouragement. The words will be on the screen. Your part is in Yellow.

     Brothers and sisters, let us praise and thank the Lord Jesus who held up to all his followers the simplicity and trust of children as a condition for entering the kingdom of heaven. Let us therefore call on Jesus in prayer, saying:

We are your people, Lord Jesus; a people of faith; children bubbling over with joy and questions, parents searching for answers, young people setting out on our faith journey, wise elders sharing our wisdom.

With the loving vulnerability of a tiny baby,

We open ourselves to you, O God.

With the infinite curiosity of a growing child,

We search for you, O God.

With the joyful responsibility of young parents,

We rely on you, O God. 

With the reflective experience of maturity,

We sense your presence, O God.

With the creaking wisdom of advancing years,

We rest in a hope strong and secure.

Our hope is that children and youth will grow up nurtured by loving parents.

Help us in our relationships of family and friendship to foster an atmosphere of love and security.

Our hope is that children and youth will be free to develop their own gifts and talents.

Give us, O God, the willingness to see the special abilities of others; we will encourage them to put their talents to work.

Our hope is that children and youth will find joy and a sense of purpose through faith in Jesus Christ.

Inspire us to persist on our faith journey, so that our quality of living may model the compassion and creativity that we wish for our children.

Our hope is that children and youth will find joy and life and hope through this church.

Encourage us, O God, to create an accepting fellowship where young and old learn from, and share with, one another.

In our loving, in our forgiving, in our giving, in our receiving, in our gain, in our loss; in our living and even in our dying, we look to you, O God, Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer. In the name of Jesus, our Savior, the Word made flesh. AMEN


     Words: They hold incredible power. They shape us and mold us. They build up or tear down.

     How you speak can have positive or negative power. An unkind word spoken can harden one’s heart and wound one’s soul but a loving word will bring healing and fill the heart with joy and peace

     One unkind word can build hatred and execute innocence. One kind word can demolish guilt and inspire hope. One word can harden hearts or demonstrate faith, display forgiveness, offer acceptance and nurture love.

     Words: They hold incredible power. They shape and mold our families, our children, our youth and even our opinions of ourselves. The world is harsh enough. Choose your words carefully.

     This is the word of the Lord for this day. Or in the vernacular of airline pilots: “This is your captain speaking.” Make your words a blessing. “The one who calls you is faithful, and will do this.”

This is the Word of the Lord for this day.



1. Bits & Pieces, December 9, 1993, p. 24