“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


I found this beauty of a blog written by my friend Doug Eaton and had to post it!  It was written back in November of 2009 on “Godward Thoughts,” Doug’s blog site.  You should definitely check this blog regulalry and be edified by its content. 

It’s been such a blessing to have the Eaton’s in the membership of Bethel Grace.  I am very excited about Doug’s coming and future involvement in our teaching ministry.  Doug will be teaching in the Salt & Light class the next couple weeks, and then will spend some time with the Basic Truth class in June.

And now, the 10 ways daily Bible reading will enhance public worship.  They all rang  so true in my heart!  Blessings!

~Jeff

 
1. When a scripture is read you will already have some idea of the context of the passage and be able to draw more from it.

2. As you sing songs in worship you will recognize many of the passages of scriptures alluded to in the music, which will enrich the truths they are communicating.

3. You will better understand the significance of the ordinances like baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which will make you be able to see more of the imagery of the law and gospel in them.

4. As you study the text while it is being preached, you will be able to relate it to other passages of scripture not included in the sermon.

5. During discussion times you will better be able to contribute to discussions and edify others.

6. You will have a greater hunger for the word because you have been feeding on it and finding satisfaction in it. This hunger takes away much of the dryness that some people experience when attending church and makes it a pleasure to be in the house of the Lord.

7. In times of fellowship you will be able to apply the scripture to people’s lives as they talk about their daily joys and struggles.

8. It will reveal your sinfulness and give you strength as you fight against the indwelling sin in your own life, and make you better able to strengthen others. And better understanding this struggle produces contrition and begins to eliminate the pride which causes unneeded divisions in many churches.

9. As you desire success for your church, you will better understand what true church success is, and it will keep you trusting in the Lord who gives the increase instead of trusting in worldly tactics as you seek growth.

10. Since the Word moves us to prayer, you will be more prayerful as you spend time in the Lord’s house which is called a house of prayer.

This list is designed to let people know a few of the ways daily bible reading will enhance the corporate worship in bible teaching churches. If you attend a church where the bible is neglected and pop psychology is the main course, attending those types of churches while engaged in daily bible reading will only frustrate you. This is because you will find that motivational “preaching” neglects the main themes that run throughout scripture and replaces theology with therapy and replaces redemption with a self-help regimen. Of course even that frustration is a good thing.

-Doug Eaton-

Family Worship

May 2, 2010

When it comes to books about theology and the Christian life it has been said for every new book one should read two old books. Wonderfully rich theology is contained in them. I wanted to mention one such book.

Thoughts on Family Worship by James W. Alexander
Which can be read for free at the link below.

http://books.google.com/books?id=n4gQAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=thoughts+on+family+worship&source=bl&ots=sHudzZLa8n&sig=rG6dkvGwoMdcjH35MacTDIP8uwk&hl=en&ei=vRXdS4n_HpTWsQP517XBBg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CCkQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false

I am the worship leader in my home

One of the primary reasons worship is misunderstood, misconstrued or otherwise neglected in the church is because it is being neglected in the home. Family worship as the name communicates is the collective worship given to God by the members of one household.

It would be incorrect to say that leading in scripture reading, singing of hymns and spiritual songs or in prayer, would be in addition to the responsibilities of a husband and father. More correct would be that these activities are the outpouring of a healthy family whose leader is fulfilling his responsibility to those entrusted to his care, through family worship.

Leading and modeling

After the initial understanding of the call to family worship many efforts in such an endeavor fall short still. A great leader once said I never ask my troops to do something that I would not myself do nor know nothing about. Family worship time should be an expression and an indication of each member’s personal worship and devotion time. In most cases, neither family nor individual worship will exceed that which is modeled by the father/husband as the shepherd of his family.

Methods of family worship

The author gives a suggestion and example of how a family devotion time might be conducted. Inquiries of the family as to the particular graces extended to them throughout the course of their day for which collective praises might be rendered and or further supplications of continued grace in those matters. The father/Husband might turn the family’s attention to a hymn that has blessed his own devotion time during the week. He might teach the hymn if necessary, lead the family in singing and probe the depths of the theological truths within the hymn and consult the scriptures for edification.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the father/husband has a particular role in molding the worshippers entrusted to his household. This is no small task and one that he does not go at alone. God has been using the godly examples of fathers, since creation, to teach their children what an acceptable sacrifice looks like. Able learned how to prepare his sacrifice to the Lord, no doubt, through the teaching and example of Adam and it was acceptable in the Lord’s eyes.

Blessings,

Alvin

New Book by Dr. Michael Fabarez

Have you ever either asked that question or wondered, how should I be praying for my Pastor? Certainly pastors have myriads of things that the body could be praying for. However, no prayer that you take before the throne room of grace has as far reaching and blessing potential than when you pray for the pastor’s time in the word and delivery of that word. Here is something from Pastor Fabarez that outlines specific ways to pray for the study, delivery and response to the word of God.

Interceding for the Sermon
“…pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word…” Col. 4:3


Pray for the Crafting of the Sermon

1. Pray that the message your pastor is preparing to preach would be an evident part of his own life.
2. Pray for the protection of your pastor’s sermon preparation time.
3. Pray that your pastor will be given grace and illumination to rightly divide God’s word.
4. Pray that the words your pastor chooses to frame the outline would be effective and powerful tools for the Holy Spirit to employ.
5. Pray that your pastor would have insight into the needs of the congregation as he prepares the sermon.

Pray for the Delivery of the Sermon

1. Pray that people will attend the preaching event.
2. Pray that the congregation will arrive in the right frame of mind.
3. Pray to God would guard against preaching distractions.
4. Pray for clarity and power in the pastor’s vocabulary.
5. Pray to God would give understanding to all who hear this week’s sermon.
6. Ask God for the most effective and fruitful sermon your pastor has ever preached.

Pray for the Response to the Sermon

1. Pray that all, including yourself, will put the sermon into practice.
2. Pray that the sermon will not be compartmentalized.
3. Pray that the application of the sermon would be contagious.
4. Pray that the sermon itself will be repeatedly delivered.

Praying for Sunday, You, Your Pastor, and the Next Sermon, Dr. Mike Fabarez

Gripped by Grace,
Alvin

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After church services yesterday, I called Jonathan to come to the car so we could drive home.  He approached with a pensive look on his face.  He went on to clarify the “new terms” of our relationship. 

“Daddy, when you don’t tell me what to do, I’ll do it.  And, when you tell me what to do, I won’t do it.”

…Sigh…  Part of me wanted to crack up laughing.  Part of me wanted to weep. 

I love my little boy so much it hurts.  Jonathan, like all of us in our fallen nature, does not want to have an authority over his life.  He wants to be the captain of his own ship. 

I went on the explain to him that God made him.  God is his authority.  God has entrusted him to Kristy and I as authorities over his life as well.   And God has called  him to live in the circle of obedience to his parents. 

In Shepherding a Child’s Heart, Tedd Tripp has identified objectives for parenting during three stages of a child’s life.  This book and these principles have been very helpful to Kristy and me as we lead them in God’s ways.  We recommend the book to you for further equipping and support.  

~Jeff

Here is a glimpse of these three stages and objectives for each stage: 

Read the rest of this entry »

There are a number of posts I’d link to link to, so here’s another “Smorgasboard” post. Once again, I found most of this stuff thanks to Tim Challies and Justin Taylor!

  • Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck wrote the widely appreciated Why We’re Not Emergent: By Two Guys Who Should Be, and they’ve just released Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion. The duo were also recently given an opportunity to wrote a column for the Washington Post entitled, Church: Love It, Don’t Leave It.
  • The Youth Small Groups have been going through Crazy Love by Francis Chan. During the month of July, this excellent book is available as a free audio book from ChristianAudio.com (download it here). Other resources associated with this book include free introductory videos to each chapter (available here), and a DVD of videos that are helpful for encouraging group discussion based on each chapter (available here).
  • Ligonier Ministries Blog: “Over the course of several months, Keith Mathison put together a list of his top 5 commentaries for each book of the Bible.” For links to Mathison’s recommended commentaries on each book of the Bible, click here. (Another great resource on good commentaries can be found here).
  • On a personal note: In my opinion, rugby is the greatest sport on earth! : ) The South African national team, the Springboks, is currently playing a series against the British and Irish Lions (the very best of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales) – a team that is only put together once every 4 years. Well, South Africa have won the first 2 matches! There is 1 more game this Saturday…  For an awesome piece of play, click here and start watching from about 45 seconds into the video…

Blessings…

~Donovan

It’s been a busy week, and I haven’t had a chance to post anything. I have come across several good posts on-line though, and since I don’t know which to link to, here’s a smorgasboard of good stuff from around the web (as usual, I found most of this stuff thanks to Tim Challies and Justin Taylor!):

  • John Piper wrote a thought-provoking post entitled, “Why I Don’t Have a Television and Rarely Go to Movies” . This post also includes a wonderful example of humbly confessing sin. 
  • Keith and Kristen Getty have released a new album of modern, celtic-style hymns. Their lyrics are saturated with Scripture and their music is beautiful! You can listen to samples and/or order the CD here.
  • Sovereign Grace Music has released another children’s album entitled, To Be Like Jesus. Read about it here.
  • Tim Challies asked John Bell, pastor of New City Baptist Church in Toronto, to share about his experience sharing the gospel with the gay community in his city. It is well worth reading – to help us think biblically about homosexuality, and to help us in God-honoring evangelism and church life. There is also some very interesting discussion in the comments, especially involving a number of men who struggle with homosexuality but turn from it because of their commitment to Christ. Read this post here
  • If you’re compiling a summer reading list, you might find these 2 posts from David Powlison to be of interest. Powlison is a bilical counselor, professor, and author, and he spent some time this week discussing some of his favorite literature with CJ Mahaney. You can read part 1 here, and part 2 here.  
  • What does Kurt Warner, a Christian who plays quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals, like most about being a professional football player? His very encouraging answer is here.   

Blessings…

~Donovan

Paul Tripp’s newest book is called “Broken Down House“. This blurb is from the Shepherd’s Press website:

“Sin has ravaged the house that God created. It sits slumped, disheveled and in pain, groaning for the restoration that can only be accomplished by the hands of him who built it in the first place. The good news is that the divine Builder will not relent until everything about his house is made new again. The bad news is that you and I are living right in the middle of the restoration process. We live each day in a house that is terribly broken, where nothing works exactly as intended. But Emmanuel lives here as well, and he is at work returning his house to its former beauty.”

Here’s a video introduction:

~Donovan

NPFNoel Piper has written a new book for children entitled, “Do you want a friend?”

Justin Taylor:

“Written for kids ages 3-7, it shows that there are potential friends all around us, but leads to the truth that Jesus is the best friend we could ever have…

You can browse the book online for free.”

Thabiti Anyabwile recently blogged about few things he really appreciates about this book. Read them here.

~Donovan

HT: Justin Taylor

Russel Moore’s much anticipated  and widely endorsed book, “Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches“, has just been released.

 Tim Challies:

It might be easy to write off a book like this one, assuming that it only has relevance to families who are actually considering adopting a child. But Moore’s ambition goes beyond asking young families to adopt orphaned children. “In this book I want to call us all to consider how encouraging adoption—whether we adopt or whether we help others adopt—can help us peer into the ancient mystery of our faith in Christ and can help us restore the fracturing unity and the atrophied mission of our congregation.” As Moore explains, “The gospel of Jesus Christ means our families and churches ought to be at the forefront of the adoption of orphans close to home and around the world.” It is the gospel that calls us to adopt but it is also the gospel that teaches us how to understand adoption. In fact, “as we become more adoption-friendly, we’ll be better able to understand the gospel.” And so this book is for anyone and everyone.

Read Tim Challies’ full review here.

I’ve ordered a copy and look forward to reading it.

~Donovan