Conflict Can Be An Opportunity or An Obstacle

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by bobby williams

In part 2 of the Family Feud series, we discussed how to navigate impending conflict that can and will come at any time. You can listen here.

Conflict is inevitable. It’s not IF, it’s WHEN.

David Mathis from Desiringgod.org writes, “We’re quick to believe the lie that if we just avoid the conflict, or at least minimize it, then it will diminish over time and eventually go away. But wisdom speaks a different word. Sure, there are offenses we can forebear and personal frustrations we can get over, but interpersonal conflict doesn’t go away with inattention. It festers. It deepens. It curdles.”

In this article he talks about conflict as an opportunity. Read the rest of this article here

Resolving Relational Conflict

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by bobby williams

The following post was originally posted by The Village Church, Geoff Ashley and originally appeared on their site first. 

Something profound and pervasive happened in the Garden. As the taste of fruit lingered on the lips of man and woman, a poison passed through their bodies and souls. The effects of the toxin were immediate and fatal.

In this moment, all creation suffered a dramatic division as mankind was suddenly immersed into struggle with the land, one another, themselves and their Creator. This hostility has marked the world ever since, and no one is immune. We see the tragic effects of this enmity every day in our offices, homes and cars as desires collide with reality.

Conflict is a natural consequence of a fallen creation. But there is a cure to conflict, and that hope is found in the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. As a result of the redemption purchased by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we need not be defined by and enslaved to conflict with our fellow man.

I recently asked Lee Lewis, our Fort Worth campus pastor and an elder of The Village, to speak to the issue of relational conflict. Lee holds a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Counseling and also serves as a biblical counselor at North Texas Christian Counseling.

How would you define conflict?

A heart or soul struggle rooted in pride and/or idolatry that spills into thought, life, relationships, habits, etc.

What is ultimately the root cause of conflict?

Thwarted desires of the heart are what cause conflict. When a person begins to ask for things that are derived from their hearts from people or things or circumstances, then this creates fertile ground for disappointment.

What differentiates biblical conflict resolution from worldly conflict resolution?

The world approaches conflict at a surface level, usually parsing accurately the implications of what is happening in the conflict. The goal usually is to address that issue at its surface to move forward. God uses conflict to expose false allegiances in our hearts. The Scriptures are far more interested in moving beyond the conflict symptom to what is driving the “control to protect” or “control to provide” heart-set that has the conflict front and center.

So how should Christians respond to conflict?

I think for the Christian the response has to be with the Lord first, knowing that conflict tends to reveal more about that relationship than whatever matter is at hand. Looking to the Lord affords us to see beyond the immediate symptom and press into the Truth, which exposes our hearts. This then creates an opportunity for humility to reign as engaging the conflict then takes place.

Are there any practical hints that you can give regarding conflict resolution?

I would say that in conflict it is so easy to take so much personally. But knowing that conflict reveals more about the relationship between God and man than man and man frees us up to depersonalize things and ask the Lord for a godly discernment into the root of what ails.

What are some resources you would recommend for studying conflict resolution?

The Peacemaker by Ken Sande

War of Words by Paul Tripp

The Village’s Church Discipline Guidelines

Messiness Is a Part of Life

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by bobby williams

I have a confession to make: I don’t like messy.  Messiness drives me crazy.   Right now my car has some dirt in the floor board, the windows have smudges and it’s driving me bonkers.

But, messiness is part of life, even if messiness drives me crazy.

The problem with this is that people are messy.  I’m a pastor.  That would seem to pose an issue.  But people are a different kind of messy.  I’m not talking about the dirt messy.

In Jonah chapter 1 we see Jonah clearly go in a different direction from the city he was sent to by God.  Oh Jonah. That city was messy. It was a place called Nineveh and it wasn’t a vacation destination.

Jonah’s first choice was to run from the mess.

But God demonstrated to us through Jesus that we are to run into the mess.

“-BUT God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 

That comma is in a great place isn’t it?  A great place to pause and let that sink in.

I know people are messy because I know I’m messy.  I am thankful that Jesus ran into my mess.

In the book Just Walk Across The Room, Bill Hybels asks a question, “What if redirecting a persons eternity was as simple as walking across a room?”

God did not call believers to side step, turn from or ignore the mess.  He called us to walk into it.

Who’s mess do you need to run to today?

The God That Grieves With Us

  
By Wesley Hicks
Jesus wept. (John 11:35)

The shortest verse in the Bible, yet to me I have found it to have some of the deepest meaning in my life.  

Can I just say that grief and loss sucks? I guess I just did, but can we all agree that none of us wake up this morning hoping to experience grief? 

 The unavoidable fact, however, is that each one of us will at some point or another experience the loss of a loved one. Whether it be a close friend, grandparent, spouse, or child each time we experience loss the sting seemingly wounds our very souls. This is a basic human truth, but what we sometimes miss is how much God also hurts with us and for us.

​Let me start with some of my most painful moments of grief so that what I am saying may become more clearly understood. In 2012 my wife and I were pregnant with our first child, Farrah Adin, and on December 26th of that year we discovered that we lost our daughter a little over half-way through the pregnancy. Needless to say, we were devastated. Even in writing this, I find old wounds resurfacing and my heart breaks at the loss of our daughter.

 After having an amazing daughter a couple of years later, we became pregnant for a third time. This time, twins, but on December 31, 2015, during a routine doctor’s visit, my wife found out that one of our twins had passed away. That was a phone call that I will never forget. My heart had been ripped open yet again to re-live the pain from losing Farrah, and at the same time, the additional devastation of losing one of our sons. To say that I was troubled would be the understatement of a lifetime.

 Loss…….well, loss hits us in some of the deepest and most devastating ways that is humanely possible. Why?

You see, it is in this question of why that oddly enough I began to feel the most peace that I can ever recall experiencing in my entire life to this point. It is the question, “why do these things happen,” that may be a blog for another day, but the question of “why does this hurt so badly.” It was with this question that God met me where I hurt, and John 11:35 spoke into me some of the most life changing truths that I think I have ever received with the only exceptions being the Word as it led me to salvation in Jesus.

The truth is, that it hurts so deeply and intensely because we were never designed to experience it in the first place. It was here that I saw Jesus so deeply troubled with the loss of a friend and the grief of Lazarus’ loved ones that I was reminded that our broken existence also breaks God’s heart. 

 Think about this, you and I were designed at creation to experience life everlasting in communion with each other and open communion with the God of all the universe. Because of sin, that design was transformed into a broken shell of what God created us to experience. The impacts of sin are more than just loss and grief, but it definitely has brought us to a place to specifically experience each of those severely. Now, since we can see that the original design was not for us to encounter death or loss, but to fully experience abundant life with God and with others. We were made for more and when we experience loss it triggers grief as a natural result and can be a reminder of our design to experience more. This is not lost on God.

Jesus Wept. 

 You see all of this is something that deeply impacts God. That statement reminded me of how much He hates what has happened to cause us to experience this broken existence. He hates it so much that it grieves Him, and ultimately so much that He took on flesh so that He could take on death to redeem the brokenness and restore the original design for His children. You see God sees us in our grief and He shares in our pain. I think not only does He share it, but I honestly think it breaks His heart more than it ever hits us. 

When we experience loss, God sees it as a loving Father. Imagine your child, broken and in heart wrenching pain. Can you feel your heart burdened by just that image? That is a dim reflection of the compassion God has for His children as we experience brokenness. He grieves with us and has paid unlimited cost to resolve what causes us to experience it with the currency of His own Son.

Loss hurts, but I have peace in it all. I have peace because my pain is not lost on God, and because He grieves with me and deeper than I can even begin to imagine. I have peace because in it all, He has already paid the price to make new what was broken. I have peace because the one that is in control of the life that experience pain is also the one that grieves the most because of it. I can trust a God that is there through it all, and has never once waivered in His deep love for me. 

 It’s odd; I have never hurt so much as I have in the last few years, and at the same time I can honestly say I have never trusted God more nor had more peace that I do today. 

 Jesus Wept. It’s funny how two words can change everything so much. My hope is that those two words and understanding why will help you to trust Him more than ever before. It does not always take the pain away, but you will never be alone in the middle of it. 

 

Sunday’s Message in 10 Snippets

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bobby williams

Do you know how powerful a simple invite can be?

This Sunday we talked about the power of an invite and how we each can invite others to come and see what God is doing. An invite really can change everything for a person when they come and see what the Lord can do in their lives.

Use these as your own, take credit for them, post them to Facebook, Tweet them out, or make some cool Instagram pics with them.

Here’s our message in 10 bite-sized snippets:

  1. You have no idea what hangs in the balance when invite someone to come and see
  2. An invitation can change everything
  3. You have the power to make an impact in someone’s life by inviting them to come and see what the Lord has done
  4. The gospel is mean to go through you, not end with you
  5. Our goal is to not reach church people. It’s to reach people who know what it’s like and people who are, far from God
  6. Gospel reflection leads to new life and new life leads to gospel reflection
  7. Jesus went out of his way to reach people far from God. Be intentional with your invite
  8. Listen for the 3 NOTs: Not in church, Not going well, Not prepared for
  9. Don’t be weird 
  10. Only church people know church words. Stop using church words

Here’s the video we showed from Krystal Jester and Jeanie Smith talking about them being invited to Ridge Church, 2 years ago on Easter

Jeanie and Krystal – People of The Ridge from The Ridge Church on Vimeo.