You Do What YOU Can Do!

Living at peace can be hard.

Add other people to your life, and it gets really tough!

As I mentioned last Sunday in church, conflict is everywhere! We usually don’t have to go looking for conflict…it finds us fairly easily.

There are many ways it gets started…someone says something you take offense to, someone takes credit for your work, someone accuses you wrongly…the situations are almost innumerable.

The real question is, What do you DO about it?

As I mentioned briefly Sunday, there are 3 types of people in this world (even within most churches): Peace-TAKERS, Peace-FAKERS, and Peace-MAKERS. Let me target, specifically, Christians who fill these roles.

Peace-TAKERS are those who try to stir up controversy and division. These are gossips, and those who get into debates about everything from politics to the music in the church to the ways the church is spending money to the Pastors’ outfit. They may have heard something about a church member that is potentially serious, but rather than go to that brother/sister, they tell others about it…’for prayer’.

Peace-FAKERS are those who try to Pretend that everything’s fine. They want to keep up a veneer of peace, so they minimize every conflict, almost to a comical extreme. People like this simply refuse to admit when there are interpersonal problems, because ‘Christians shouldn’t have problems’ like this. These people invest a huge amount of emotional energy in keeping the appearance of peace, but can never really relax and enjoy their relationships, because their relationships don’t grow beyond the superficial.

Peace-MAKERS are those who see both of the above, and have a desire to work through it. They may see elements of the above within themselves–but they know it’s not right, and want to change. More than anything, they know that the Lord wants His children to ‘seek peace and pursue it’ (Psalm 34:14), and they want to heed Jesus’ words: “Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9). 

But the question remains, What Should We Do in order to make peace?

I think a few quick guidelines are helpful:

1. Commit to communicate.  

So often, there is conflict because of misunderstanding of words/intent. If you think things are strained, TALK about it (not via text or email). Matthew 18:15:  “If your brother or sister sins, against you, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.”

2. Keep short accounts. 

Everybody messes up. Everybody hurts feelings from time to time. Forgive and move on. Don’t keep bringing past wrongs back up…that’s not forgiveness! Proverbs 19:11: “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.”

3. Assume the best.

1 Corinthians 13:7 “Love always trusts” (or “Love Believes the Best”). Assume that your Christian brother/sister is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and therefore wants peace and healing, just like you do. Don’t believe the gossip–if they’re willing to gossip about the ‘other’, they’re probably willing to gossip about you. Give the benefit of the doubt.

4. Be Gracious. 

You did not deserve God’s grace or forgiveness, yet He gave it because of His love and character. Extend that grace to others–even if they don’t ‘deserve’ it.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

5. Do what you can do.

Ultimately, even if you’ve tried those things, you may not be able to reach a ‘peaceful’ solution. The other person might not cooperate! Simply make sure that–for your part–you’re doing everything you can to help. Romans 12:17-18: “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

If you and I do all these things, there is a very good possibility that you and I will experience Peace, and we will become Peacemakers…and our world NEEDS many more of those!

Want to hear the message from last Sunday? Go here:

http://kalamazoocommunitychurch.com/KCCpodcast/2016/01/24/move-forward-be-gracious-youve-received-it-now-show-it-01242016/

Foundations

Spend enough time on the Foundation, and the rest will be strong too!

Limitless

The construction of One World Trade Center was like that of any other modern-day skyscraper that has been constructed recently, with exception to the memorial character it holds. The methods used for constructing such a magnificent structure (1,776 ft) are similar in nature to the way that it has been done for ages now; starting from the ground.

It took a whole year from the time of OneWTC’s groundbreaking (Nov. 18, 2006) for the completion of it’s foundation (Dec. 2007) once construction had accelerated. When the next year came around, in January of 2008, two large construction cranes were moved into the construction site of OneWTC. By March of 2008, steel construction of the tower had finally reached a height of 70 feet.

Despite the many advancements that the construction industry has made since the stone-laying age, the importance of strong foundations and their proper formation have remained, if not…

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Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

You (and I) ARE special and unique–praise God!

shortfuzed

We all have those weird, random obsessions that we’ve had since we were little kids, those interests that cause people to look at us and wonder what happened to us in our childhood that caused us to care so much about THAT. Bugs, art, rocks, these are all examples of  interests that many children have that stick with them as they grow up. For me, one of those interests was/is the human body.

Actually, I’m amazed at God’s creation in general. But for as long as I can remember, I’ve always been into studying the human body. As a kid, I remember going through different parts and systems of the human body like they were life phases- the throat, the digestive system, the immune system, you get the idea. I would  look at pictures of organs and watch videos on how they work for HOURS, and I would be entertained…as…

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Are You POSITIVE About That?

You know the kind…

The person who’s always positive.

The one who always seems happy, and seems to try to take the ‘up’ side of issues.

Those people. Makes you wonder what it is about them–they’re weird!

Yet…let’s think about that for a minute.

What do they do that we dislike?

They try to respond to challenges well…they try to see the best in everyone…they try to be encouraging…they try to accentuate the good stuff.

Why do some of us view being positive ‘weird’? Why is it that positive people are resented? We almost seem to cheer when things go wrong for them!

Who’s weird now?

Instead, we should try to learn from positive people. Certainly, our world could use more ‘positive’ people!

The truth is that negative attitudes are easy to spread. Negativism is contagious. It takes no maturity, no self control, no faith, to be negative and pessimistic.

As a Christian, which should I be: Positive or Negative?

Well, let me think: I believe that God is real, He loves me, He sent Jesus to pay for my sin so that I could have Him a relationship with Him (in the here and now), and the hope of eternal life with Him in the future.

I have the truth of Romans 8:28 (and many others) being proven in my life every day. “…we know that God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.” 

The real question is, ‘As a Christian, why wouldn’t I be positive?’

Why would I–a child of God, by the grace of God, be a negative, pessimistic, complaining, argumentative, or insulting person?

I can’t think of a single good reason…other than that we’ve allowed our world and our enemy and his forces to influence us too much.

We do know this: Jesus came to bring us LIFE–Full, Abundant, and Eternal LIFE! Our enemy comes to steal and ruin that life. John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that they might have LIFE, and have it to the full!” 

So, Christian: Which are you living out today?

Are you taking a ‘positive’ approach to the world, trying to be encouraging, gracious, optimistic and faith-driven–because of your faith? Or, are you taking a ‘negative’ approach to the world–pessimistic, complaining, crabby, and unforgiving?

There should be no doubt!

Read Romans, Chapter 8. Remember that God loves you and that NOTHING can separate you from that love!

Be positive about that!

 

Destination: Unknown?

As we enter fully into our New Year of 2015, oops–2016, many of us are already into our ‘routines’. Any hope of a ‘new leaf’ being turned over is, for all practical purposes, gone. Any lessons to reflect on and learn from last year and take into this year may already be forgotten, because of the crush of schedules and obligations. ‘Who has time to reflect and change?’ we might ask.

I want to encourage you to Push Back from the calendar, the time clock and the rat race…breathe, think, reflect and pray on this one question: What is your destination?

Seriously, where are you headed?

If you follow the same path in 2016 as you did in 2015 (and probably 2014 before that), where will you end up?

Will you be healthier? Will your relationships be stronger? Will you be doing something more fulfilling with your life?

Most importantly (in my mind anyway), is ‘Where will GOD be in your life’?

Many of us need to let this question bump around in our brains for a while, even if it messes us up.

‘What is your destination’?

Far too many people live as though we have no destination–we simply go through life, one day at a time, hoping that today is a little nicer, a little more profitable, a little less stressful than the day before.

If followed for 365 days, that will lead us to virtually the same exact spot.

We need to raise our eyes a bit. We need to shoot higher!

To start with, if our ‘Destination’ doesn’t include faith–real, practical, live it out FAITH–in Jesus Christ,  then we are guilty, at best, of short-term thinking.

However, many people who do have faith–legit faith–in Jesus just don’t think much about their destination.

Paul wrote this to the Christians at Ephesus: “14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Ephesians 4:14-16)

What is the ‘destination’ that Paul is speaking of? He says it in v. 15: We will “in become, in every respect, the mature [body of Christ]”. It is in the maturing–being made increasingly like Him–that should be our destination.

So, are we doing anything that will actually lead us there?

We’ve talked about it a lot around our church: Jesus promised His followers “Life to the Full” (John 10:10). How do we experience it? It starts with this: “we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ” (v. 15, NASB).

What are YOU doing to grow into Him–in all areas?

If you don’t know where to begin, or are having a hard time getting going, I encourage you to start with praying, searching the Scriptures and, if you don’t have a church that is helping you get there, come to KCC every Sunday at 9:30 or 11.

Let’s ‘go there’ together!