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One Word Can Change Your Life

Yesterday at First United Methodist Church in Killeen, TX, I unveiled a new script simply entitled The Word. I wrote it to match Rev. Jeff Miller’s upcoming Advent preaching series with the same title.

Actually, to be perfectly honest, I didn’t write the script. It was written long ago by prophets who “spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (II Peter 1:21) “The Word” was entirely based on THE Word. As the stirring strains of the 2001: A Space Odyssey theme filled the sanctuary, I slowly walked down the aisle with the words of Genesis on my lips:

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.”

The notes of Thy Word gently came up and I moved into Psalm 119:105: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” From there I simply quoted scriptures about God’s Word.

The effect on the congregation was profound. One woman in the third service bowed her head and lifted her hand in worship. After another service, a man came up to me with tears in his eyes. “That was so powerful,” he said. A woman shared that her 13-year old son, who normally slumps in the pew and sullenly crosses his arms, sat up and smiled as I read the string of scriptures.

It got me to thinking about the power of words. As I state in my Advent devotional book, Just One Word, there is also power in a single word:

“Walk down the street and hear a cop yell FREEZE and I bet you stop dead in your tracks. Or you’re sitting in a crowded auditorium and someone shouts FIRE, you will find yourself sprinting toward an exit even if you hate exercise.

A track coach motivates a runner with the command, “GO!” A hungry teenager bounds down the stairs when he hears his parent call out “DINNER!” A mother calms her fussy baby with a soothing “Hush.”

Bible culture knew the power of one word, too. Do you remember the story of the Roman centurion who approached Jesus because his servant was bedridden? The Lord announced that He would go to the officer’s home and heal the servant. But the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Instead, just say the word and my servant will be healed.” (Matthew 8:8)

Just say the word.*

What one word would you use to describe your identity in Christ? I grew up with an abusive father whose favorite put-down of me was “Dummy.” If I didn’t understand something he was trying to explain, he would snap, “What are you, a dummy?”

God has changed that word to “Son.”

Your word might be “Healed,” “Fearless,” “Beloved” or “Restored.” Whatever the word is, it has come from God, and that one word describes a life that will never be the same.

*Just One Word (c) 2011 by Mark Winter

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