The cutting remark “Your handwriting looks like trash” still echoes in Winner Olmann’s mind every time he picks up a pen.
The first time the insult was uttered, 7-year-old Winner was on the receiving end. The sharp words came from a close family member as the left-handed Olmann struggled in a world made for right-handed folks.
With that personal story, Olmann introduced a compelling chapel message on the power of words, based on James 3:1-12. Olmann, worship pastor at Family Church Village, spoke last week in a series of Black chapel speakers in celebration of Black History Month.
“Words have a way of attaching themselves to our hearts,” Olmann said.
The Book of James begins with the call to “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.” In other words, believers should joyfully allow God to use suffering to make them more mature followers of Christ, Olmann said.
“We’re supposed to fight against the influence of a world that doesn’t have Christ,” Olmann said.
James 3 begins with a word of caution that not many should become teachers, because teachers will be judged with greater strictness. The warning does not only apply to those with the gift of teaching or high levels of influence, Olmann said. It is a command to all believers to be wise with their words and walks.
Christ-followers must use speech that is controlled, conscious and consistent, Olmann said.
“We as believers are not called to be silent in every situation, but we as believers are called to use controlled speech in every situation,” he said.
James compares the tongue to “a fire, a world of unrighteousness” that can set a forest ablaze. Olmann pointed to a California wildfire sparked by a gender-reveal party that destroyed thousands of acres last year.
Fire can be incredibly detrimental or beneficial, Olmann said. He urged listeners to use their words to encourage their suitemates, professors and coworkers, citing Luke 6:45.
“When God’s joy is in you, God’s joy flows out of you,” he said.
Photo: Winner Olmann, worship pastor of Family Church Village, preaches on James 3:1-12.
Photo 2: Winner Olmann preaches in chapel on Feb. 9, 2021.