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Chapel Service

Daytona Int’l Speedway

February 19, 2013

“Greek Fire”

Bob Butcher


If you didn’t already know, I really get into history and like to know the background history of what I happen to be studying or teaching about, especially Biblical history when it comes to scripture.  That can reveal so much more than just the written Word we have today.  Scripture is written about a certain incident, series of events, culture of that day, the people’s belief system of that period, …or in other words, the why, the how’s, the circumstances involved, or you might say “if the media of that day was like today’s, then you would have TV specials” about it all.

While studying the other day I ran across ”Greek Fire” again, and then at the same time the Our Daily Bread little daily devotionals which I make available to you ran their devotional that day using it as a back drop.

Obviously, that peaked my interest for a Chapel message since this is sort of a one-off message before the season starts.  First, let me explain what Greek Fire was:

Greek fire was a chemical solution that was used in ancient warfare by the Byzantine Empire* against its enemies. According to one online source, it was developed around  672 AD, and was used with devastating effect, especially in sea warfare because it could burn on water. What was Greek fire? Its actual chemical composition remains a mystery. It was such a valuable military weapon that the formula was kept an absolute secret—and ultimately was lost to the ravages of history. Today, researchers continue to try to replicate that ancient formula, but without success.  That’s pretty astonishing if you think about it.  Secrets today rarely last long …as in the old saying “Loose lips sink ships.”

However, lets briefly look at the most destructive force in all of history: That source of catastrophic destruction among believers in Christ, or mankind however, is not a mystery. James tells us that the source of ruin in our relationships is often a very different kind of fire. He wrote, “The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body” (James 3:6 NKJ Version)  Let me restate that as follows:

The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on 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, destroy a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and then go up in smoke with it, and the smoke we go up in is right from the pit of hell.           James 3: 6    (GBB)

” Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit— those who love it and speak kindly will eat its fruit. You choose.”       Proverbs 18:21    (GBB)

Those strong words remind us how damaging unguarded words can be to those around us.

I know there are more than 77 scriptures in the Bible about the damaging power of the tongue or the required taming of it.

As we begin the 2013 racing season I have a challenge for each one of us:  Let’s challenge ourselves to learn how to control our tongue as we speak to one another on our team, in our series, at work, at home, and everywhere we personally walk.  We can make it our new race season’s resolution.  Then, at the end of the season take note of how much more you enjoyed this year along with feeling like a champion as you overcame the temptations that our tongue brings and you WON!  

Instead of creating the kind of verbal “Greek fire” that can destroy  race teams, any relationship, families, and churches, let’s yield our tongue to the Holy Spirit’s control and allow our words to glorify the Lord.  It may be tough, but with God’s help we ALL can do it.

We can each pray this:  It seems, Father, that sometimes we are our own worst enemies. Forgive us for speaking destructively to fellow Christians, along with everyone we come in contact; and teach us to use wise words that can encourage and build their walk with You.

To bridle your tongue, give God the reins of your heart.

  • For the short of who the Byzantine’s were, they were the “later” Roman Empire that held Constantinople (Istanbul today) as it’s capital until it’s ultimate fall to the Turks/Arabs/Muslims or Ottoman Empire in 1453.  It’s demise fell to constant wars & four Crusades.

 Byzantine Empire in dark

As you begin to think about Chapel this season I was wondering if you might give me some feedback on what you would like to talk about or study this year.

Can you please ponder this and talk with Kathy or me, email or Facebook us, or text us your thoughts on this.

·      Any particular book of the Bible?

·      Any particular subject?

●      Take words of worship songs and dig the riches from them?

●      (other)_____________________________________________________


Thank you for considering this.

Oh yeah, and by the way, since we will not race after Phoenix until after Easter ( or Resurrection Day as I call it) that will be the subject in Phoenix.

Lastly, I cannot recommend more highly than taking less than an hour each Monday evening and go to our website front page or Chapel Service page and follow our “DEEP PURPLE” recorded series by two of our closest friends.  It is also easily found by simply going to:

and clicking on Latest Sermon in the purple box.  The series began February 10, 2013; however you can listen to them all at your convenience.  Believe us when we say, this WILL change your thinking!

Have a safe and prosperous race today!