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?

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.

St. Patrick’s Day Is For More Than Green Beer

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by bobby williams

When most of us think about St. Patrick’s Day, we may think about the river in Chicago being green, corn beef and hash, green beer and avoiding being pinched.

But more than finding something green to wear on this day, St. Patrick’s Day is a day to actually celebrate church planting. Yes…church planting. That is, starting new churches. That is because St. Patrick was an amazing church planter.

Patrick, before he was a saint, was a captive in Ireland for six years. During that time, God put within him a desire for the people, their culture and the gospel to be taken to them. After his time in captivity and slavery there, Patrick returned to the island with the sole purpose of bringing them the gospel. It wasn’t to drive out the snakes (although I would whole-heartedly support that mission).

Patrick was born in the late fourth century and returned some 20 years after he was released from Irish captivity. He was around 48 years old when he returned to the island, assembled a team and began discipling and planting churches, tribe to tribe in Ireland.

David Mathis writes:

Patrick’s teams would have about a dozen members. They would approach a tribe’s leadership and seek conversion, or at least their clearance, and set up camp nearby. The team “would meet the people, engage them in conversation and in ministry, and look for people who appeared receptive” (21). In due course, “One band member or another would probably join with each responsive person to reach out to relatives and friends” (22).

They would minister weeks and months among them, eventually pursuing baptisms and the founding of a church. They would leave behind a team member or two to provide leadership for the fledgling church and move, with a convert or two, to the next tribe. With such an approach, the church which grew up among the people would be “astonishingly indigenous”. (Desiring God)

All told, most scholars say that around 365 churches were planted as a result of St. Patrick’s mission in Ireland. That’s impressive.

So before this day was about 4-leaf clovers, green beer and wearing something green, it was about the spread of the gospel.