Last week we went to two Conferences
Eastern District Conference
Time of encouragement
Looking at how we can do better as a church
I need to grow, spend time hearing from others who study God's word, and how it is applied to life.
This year's conference focus: Emotions - Good emotions, Negative emotions
"I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages." Spurgeon
These conferences were a good encouragement to me, and a challenge to continue striving in this work of ministry for Him.
We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.
This is the ministry to which I wholeheartedly believe I have been called. I want to do this.
What is it to present everyone perfect in Christ? It is to help them grow into Christ, to grow in maturity. To admonish and teach them to apply the bible to life.
This year you may have noticed that all of the sermons have REAL in them...
My fear is that we have been playing church for so long, that it isn't REAL anymore. It is the old habit of going to church, and then going out and living life.
If someone were to look at me, to examine my life, would they see I am a Christian? Would they see what it means to be a REAL Christian?
If someone were to visit our church, would they see a difference in us when we come together? Would they see a REAL church, and in seeing us, understand what a REAL church is? Our would they see another group of people who come together with smiles, sit in rows, sing some songs, pass a plate, hear a prayer, listen to a lecture and go on their way?
We will be a REAL church.
We will know the REAL good news, that we are imperfect people who live for ourselves thinking, saying and doing things that are wrong in God's eyes. But, God loves us and sent His Son to take our punishment by dying in our place on the cross. That He rose again to give us new, REAL life--that we would no longer live for ourselves. REAL purpose. REAL direction. REAL goal.
We will live a life of Faith in Jesus Christ, leading to REAL change. That we will ask God to search us and show us how we need to continue growing to be more like Jesus in our everyday lives. REAL excitement as I see Him working in me, and through me. REAL hope.
We will come together for REAL help. More than just coming together to hear Bible stories, we will come to learn to apply God's Word to our lives, and that we will have REAL relationships in which we encourage and exhort each other as we share our lives with one another. We are not meant to go through life alone, but together, in Christ!
We will know REAL peace in the midst of the storms of life. Then, people will see a hope in us that they want, and we will be able to share that REAL hope with them, the REAL good news of a God who loves them, and wants to save them and give them REAL life.
My vision is that we will be REAL.
My vision is not something tangible like a bigger, better building. My vision is not for some tangible number of people. My vision is for that intangible individual, and corporate growth in the grace and knowledge of our Lord--Finding REAL truth, REAL hope, REAL peace for REAL life.
Though it is intangible, It is REAL, and it will be REAL exciting! Are you with me? Are you ready for Christ to be REAL to you? Are you ready to be a REAL christian, a part of a REAL church?
I hope so. Let's get into applying God's Word to Life today.
path to REAL peace
path to REAL peace
We live in a world full of conflict
Nature of Conflict
God offers us HOPE and PEACE in the midst of Conflict -
God is there
God is at work for His glory
God is at work in me
God has a better way...
How do we get there?
When we get into conflict, we tend to follow certain paths in the hope of finding peace.
Slippery Slope Diagram
There is a high road that can lead us to REAL peace through the midst of Conflict.
However, we tend to fall off that high road, seeking our own paths to Peace.
I "can't" deal with this. I don't want to have this.
I will win this. I will beat you.
Big Question: How can I glorify and honor God in this situation?
Overlook - Can I show mercy and forgiveness and Overlook this offense?
A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.
Imitate the Heart of God
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
Take the Log out of my eye before focusing on the speck in the other's eye
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?
"Even if I am only 10% responsible for the conflict, I am 100% responsible for that 10%."
He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
Confession. That is not typically the word we use when we go to someone when we are in conflict.
The normal word we use is Apology.
When we are in conflict, we try to bring peace.
We teach our kids to apologize when they have done something wrong.
What's the purpose?
Let's look at the definition of Apology:
1 a: a formal justification: DEFENSE
2: an admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret
3: a poor substitute: MAKESHIFT
I think we have really missed the mark, and moved away from what God desires.
I tried and tried searching Apology, Apologize in the Bible, in Topical Bibles etc. I couldn't find it.
Maybe that is because an Apology is not what God desires! Maybe that is because an Apology is not the path to Peace.
Too Often when we Apologize, we are giving a
Defense of our actions
I'm so sorry. I didn't intend to ...
All I was trying to do was...
I only wanted to...
If you wouldn't have...
I did it because...
An admission of error
I made a mistake
My actions/words could have been perceived to be...
I'm sorry. But I'm not that bad. It was unintentional.
I'm sorry (I got caught).
We minimize our wrongdoing
A poor substitute
I'm sorry. I didn't realize you are so sensitive.
If I hurt you, I'm sorry.
Let's forgive and forget it.
I guess it's not all your fault.
'Apologizing' is not on the pathway to REAL peace.
'Apologizing' is not on the pathway to REAL peace.
Your apology might sound fine on the surface, but you’re not sorry at all. You haven’t taken any responsibility.
What's the purpose? We apologize to
Apologizing misses the mark.
We don't need to escape consequences, avoid responsibility or move on. What we NEED is to bring healing.
We need to Confess
We need to Confess
change of mind... result of looking within, using the mirror of the word of God.
Repent before God.
from Merriam-Websters: "Disclosure of one's sins... Acknowledgement of guilt"
When we truly Look Within, and realize our responsibility, even if it is only for 10%, I am 100% responsible, then we need to not defend, but to Confess.
True Confession is taking responsibility, and seeking to heal the relationship. It is humbling. But it is through this humble act that God works to glorify Himself and restore the relationship.
"7 A's of Confession"
ifs - I don't really think I did anything wrong (perhaps, maybe, possibly, I guess)
buts - blames you or someone/something else
specifically. the more detail you proved when you confess, the more likely you are to get a positive reaction.
the hurt. We need healing in our relationship. Without acknowledging the hurt, we cannot begin healing.
the consequences, this shows genuine confession
(change) your behavior.
You don’t really mean that you are sorry if you don’t commit to not repeating the sin.
“I know I hurt you, and I can understand why it might be hard to forgive me. I want us to be okay with each other, so I hope you can forgive me. In the meantime, I will pray for you and do my best to repair the damage I caused. With God’s help, I will work to overcome my problem. If there’s anything else I can do, please let me know.”
I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’
Repentance... against heaven
Address... against you
Acknowledge the hurt
Accept the consequences... no longer worthy
Alter behavior... let me be like one of your hired men
The Golden Rule tells us to do to others as we want them to do to us. The Golden Result says that people will usually treat us as we treat them. - Resolving Everyday Conflict
Remember, we are wanting REAL peace. Not just moving on. Not just getting away from consequences. But healing, so we are at Peace with all men, as far as it depends on us.
The Pathway to REAL peace begins with Going Higher. How can I glorify God? Then it looks within... what was my part in this? Then it Confesses.
When you go to confess a wrong, remember that you are there to serve the other person, not to get comfort for yourself. Focus on showing God’s love to the person you harmed. And regardless of that person’s response, keep your commitment to repairing any damage you have caused and to changing your choices in the future. This is the fastest road to genuine peace and reconciliation. And once you get the log out of your own eye, you are better prepared to gently correct and restore others.
Ask God to show you where you need to Confess this week, so that you can walk down the path to REAL peace.
Memorize Proverbs 28:13.
Read 2 Corinthians 7:9-10. Paul speaks about Godly sorrow and repentance, vs. wordly sorrow. Describe the difference between Godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. In your own words, what is the difference between an apology, and a confession.
Read Numbers 5:6-7. A expression in The Peacemaker, is that if you are 10% responsible in a conflict, you are 100% responsible for that 10%. According to these verses, to whom are you responsible? To whom are we to confess and make restitution? Have you come to Godly sorrow and repentance for any areas of conflict in your life? Have you confessed and made restitution? To what is God calling you?
Using Your Tongue as a Weapon. The rest of the homework this week is adapted from The Peacemaker. Our tongues are our worst weapons in conflicts. Sticks and stones may break bones, but words inflict more penetrating and lasting damage. Read the following passages, and write out what words must be avoided and why they are a problem. Then, consider how you have used your tongue in these ways. Ask God to show you how you have done so. Write out how each verse applies to you. Reckless words - Prov. 12:18; cf. Prov. 13:3; 17:28; 21:23; 29:20. Grumbling and complaining - Phil. 2:14; James 5:9. Falsehoods (any misrepresentation or deceit including lies, exaggeration, partial truth...) - Prov. 24:28; 2 Cor. 4:2. Gossip - Prov. 16:28; Prov. 26:20; 2 Cor. 12:20; cf. Prov. 11:13; 20:19; 1 Tim. 5:13. Slander - Lev. 19:16; Titus 2:3; 2 Tim. 3:3–5. Worthless words - Eph. 4:29; Matt. 12:36. Godless chatter - 2 Timothy 2:16.
Ask God to reveal any unresolved conflicts in your life. Ask Him to reveal to you your responsibility in the conflict. Ask Him to guide you in writing out a proper Confession (NOT an apology). Use the "7 A's of Confession". Then, pray for mercy, grace and a humble spirit to go and make a proper confession. Remember this is about healing, restoring, a relationship as far as it depends upon you. Avoid bringing up the other's responsibility in the conflict. Focus on making your words, actions and attitudes right. Focus on rectifying any hurt you caused.