“That’s mine!,” “Hey give that back!,” “I’ll never forgive him!,” “I can’t talk to them any more!,” Conflict is all around us. Conflict is in us! Our sinful hearts constantly produce excuses to be in conflict. And I suspect you have heard some of these things recently. It may even be a part of your normal speech or a regular occurrence in your home. James 3:10 “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”

Conflict, while it is inevitable, is against God’s design—especially for the church. Jesus puts a high emphasis on being a peacemaker as He teaches that being at peace with your brother is a prerequisite to true worship. Matt 5:23-24.

That is why I highly recommend the Peacemaker books by Ken Sande. The Peacemaker, geared towards adults, The Peacemaker Student Edition and, Peacemaking for Families, are wonderful books to aid you in your pursuit of peace that puts Jesus Christ on display in all your relationships.

Conflict is a restless evil that seeks to undermine the very prayers of our Lord. Consider. John 17:20-21.

Our unity and peace communicates the love of God and the radical transformation that He has done in our hearts. And, if indeed He has done a work in our hearts, the way we deal with conflict ought to look more like Christ and less like the world. Our unity puts Jesus Christ on display and quite the opposite is the case when we are in consistent un-reconciled conflict with each other as believers.

Ken Sande seeks, not only to expose this conflict as utterly sinful but disciples his readers through biblical resolution, restoring relationships that are currently in conflict and helps us build a God-honoring framework for dealing with conflict in the future. He does a superb job of this, communicating as if he were sitting across from you at your local area Starbucks speaking the truth in love to you and tenderly discipling you toward love and good deeds.

Ken goes about this in four parts or the four G’s of peacemaking:

  • Glorify God (I Cor. 10:31)
  • Get the Log out of Your Eye (Matt. 7:5)
  • Gently Restore (Gal. 6:1)
  • Go and be Reconciled (Matt. 5:24)

The chief of all of these, and perhaps the reason for its placement as first, is Glorifying of God. This is the most important aspect of understanding biblical conflict and making steps toward resolution. We are called to glorify God in all that we do. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Ken reminds us that conflict provides opportunity to be true peacemakers rather than breaking peace or faking peace. One of the most valuable tools that Ken uses is his model of The Slippery Slope of peacemaking.

PEACE FAKING: Those of us that find ourselves on the left side of the slippery slope tend to deny that there is conflict at all, wrongly thinking that any kind of conflict is dangerous or thinking that it will damage relationships beyond hope. All of these escape responses are counter productive to unity in the body and glorifying God.

PEACE BREAKING: Those finding that they tend to lash out in anger either physically or with words, slide this way when faced with conflict. These folks tend to see conflict as an opportunity to assert themselves or defend their rights. Ultimately these individuals are more interested in being right than considering others as more important than themselves. The ultimate extreme here would be murder. Before we write that off as impossible, let us all stand guilty under the Lord’s words in Matt 5:21-22 “…everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable.”

PEACEMAKING: These responses are commanded by God. The first three responses are the personal peacekeeping responses. The principle here is to overlook the offense. Proverbs 19:11 A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, And it is his glory to overlook a transgression. The next three Peacemaking responses are called assisted peacemaking. If two people are unable to come to reconciliation on their own, they may need to seek out wise counsel to assist them in the process.

Sanctification doesn’t happen in a bubble. The Lord brings situations and people into our lives to expose our sin. The question is, when that ugly monster sin shows himself will you take the opportunity to wage war with him or will you feed him and pretend that he is not dangerous? What are you doing now? Who is it that the Lord has brought to mind even as you have been reading? Will you leave your offering and go and be reconciled or will you continue the charade? If you need to be reconciled with someone or you recognize that conflict is the theme of one or more of your relationships, then go and pick up a copy of Ken Sande’s book
The Peacemaker. Start today, as much as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

May God be glorified in all your relationships!

Blessings,

Alvin

 

Hudson Taylor, Missionary to China

I received another email that blessed my socks off and propelled me to prayer.  A Bethel Grace member & deacon, John Brown, sent this note.  Please pray that we will in fact see all that John asks about. 

May God richly bless you!,
Jeff

J. Hudson Taylor said, “When God’s work is done in God’s way for God’s glory, it will not lack God’s support.”

God is sending workers who are committed to the work of God. Can it be that we are seeing the first fruits of spiritual revival in our assembly? Will we see a hunger for God’s word? Will we see marriages and relationships made whole? Will we see unity in love? Will we see wide-spread repentance? Will we see the fruit of the Spirit living out in lives? Will we see a love for the lost? Will we see joy and not frowns? Will we stick together when opposition comes?

Give us a revival Lovely Lord. You have ALL authority. Please bless us.

It’s All About Jesus

August 6, 2010


I received an email from my friend Richard Montoya today.   He sent it to several brothers to encourage them in the Lord.  It was his summary of a great message he heard that was just too good for him to keep to himself.  Read the very striking, Christ-exalting, uplifting truth from that message below.

But while we’re here, let me just say that this is a good example of having fellowship in the Word.  First, you get blessed.  Then you pass on the blessing to others.  It might be something you read, heard in a Bible study, or listened to online.  But it struck you, and one way or another, you pass it on to others.  Maybe with an email, with a phone call, or during a chat when you’re hanging out at the park with friends from your Sunday school class. 

Two questions for you:  Are you in the Word?  How are you passing on the blessing?  “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom” ~ Colossians 3:16

Here’s a link to the sermon audio of the Resolved Conference mentioned in the email.  Read Rich’s email here:

~Jeff

Happy Friday Brothers,

I wanted to share this excerpt from a sermon I heard at the Resolved conference this year. Every time I hear these words it brings one big Amen to my day.

* If I could summon any angel from heaven and draw them away from their heavenly gaze to speak to us, they would speak of Jesus

* If I could go to any saint above enjoying their heavenly reward and draw them away from their heavenly gaze, they would speak to us about Jesus

* If I could reach into the depths of hell and rescue someone from their eternal anguish and bring them to us here, they would speak of Jesus

* If the Holy Spirit himself to materialize and stand before us, according to John 14 the Holy spirit would speak to us of Jesus

* If God the Father were to condescend from His eternal throne and stand before us, He would speak of Jesus

* However, If the devil himself and any of his angels were to stand before us, they would want to speak of anything but Jesus. Or better yet,
they would like to speak of Jesus in an inaccurate, an untruthful way. They would as 1 John says, speak to us of another Jesus

Ten Point Test

August 4, 2010


This is Todd Friel. He is one of the speakers for the upcoming Transformed Conference.

With so many in the evangelical community ascribing to easy believism and telling church attendees to”pray a little prayer, ask Jesus into your heart and walla, you’re a Christian”, it’s refreshing to hear this practical application to the biblical mandate for professing believers to test themselves to see whether they are in the faith. 2 Cor 13:5.

For a visual of what Todd is talking about download this Ten Point Test.

Blessings,

Alvin

Are You Afraid? Good!

August 2, 2010

Jeff’s sermon to himself, Monday August 2nd, 2010:

Nehemiah 2
1In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. 2And the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart.” Then I was very much afraid. 3I said to the king, “Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” 4Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ graves, that I may rebuild it.” 6And the king said to me (the queen sitting beside him), “How long will you be gone, and when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me when I had given him a time.

Nehemiah “was very much afraid,” but he trusted God, and prayerfully took a risk to do what his heart was yearning to do in service of God and God’s people. 

Chances are you will never do anything of great significance without being afraid.  Never let fear keep you from doing something awesome.  Ask God to replace your fear with faith and love.  Instead of fearing people, love them instead. 

In the words of J. Oswald Sanders, have holy ambition.  Not personal ambition, but holy ambition to make the name of Christ known in every corner of this land.  God values faith.  Believe in the Lord.  Trust in God.  Step out in faith.  Do hard things in Jesus’ name.  Do things that require you to trust in God’s power.   Advance the Gospel.  Make Christ, the cross, the empty grave and the second coming known.  They all need to know.  Every living creature needs to know about Jesus. 

Amen.