Monthly Archives: September 2014

Restful Dissatisfaction

In my study for my Oasis (high school ministry) lesson plan this week, I read something that really stuck with me. I was studying Matthew 5:48 where Jesus says that we are to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. That’s a pretty weighty expectation. Each of us falls far short of perfection. Yet, we know that perfection is the standard. So how do we live in that place? How do we acknowledge the goal and our failure to meet it without growing weary?

In the NIV Application Commentary on Matthew, Michael J Wilkins shares some helpful thoughts on this. We need to have a proper understanding of our standing before God. Titus 3:4-7 tells us that we’ve been declared righteous before God because of Christ’s finished work on the cross. Yet, there’s a gap between how God views us in Christ and our experience here on earth. II Corinthians 3:18 tells us that God is at work to make us more like Jesus. Wilkins combines these ideas in what he calls “restful dissatisfaction”.

I rest content with what Christ has done in my life and with the growth that has occurred, yet at the same time I balance that contentment with the desire to move on. At any one point in my life I want to be satisfied with what God has been doing in my life, yet I want to be dissatisfied to the degree that I press on to complete maturity.

I hope that you find this concept helpful.

Grace,

Chris

A Powerful Story

This past Sunday one of our newest elders, Patrick Dawson, led us into our time of celebrating communion. He did a great job and it was a good reminder that we should intentionally prepare ourselves to receive communion – not just taking it flippantly or thoughtlessly.

Last summer Patrick shared his testimony of God’s design in his life. It was powerful. And well produced (kudos Scott Williams!). So much so, that I thought it was worth posting again. Enjoy.

Peace,

Dave

Speak the Truth in Love

Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.  -Ephesians 4:15

I’m continually challenged by this verse. Truth be told, I hate conflict. I’d much rather brush a problem under the rug than deal with it head on. Yet, I know how unhealthy that is. I know that that falls far short of God’s best for my life. As I think about this verse, the words “speak the truth in love” stick out to me. These words challenge me to consider how my natural reactions to conflict measure up.

Natural reaction 1 – Ignore the problem. Sometimes I tell myself it’s really the most loving thing to do to ignore the issue and move on. After all, I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by bringing it up. But is that really loving? I’ve found that most often this slowly builds a wall between me and the individual, putting our relationship in jeopardy. Ignoring the problem may be easier than confrontation, but it is definitely not the most loving option.

Natural reaction 2 – React in anger. The opposite end of the spectrum. If the conflict catches me on a bad day, I may lash out in anger. This obviously is not speaking in love and may end up doing far more damage than good. While anger is not always wrong (think of Jesus clearing the temple in John 2) there are certainly appropriate and inappropriate ways of handling it.

Neither of these natural reactions live up to the goal of speaking the truth in love. The second part of this verse talks about us becoming more and more like Christ. That’s a process that involves taking off the old (natural reactions) and putting on the new. In regard to conflict, here’s what that looks like for me

1 – Consider motive. I ask questions like, “why does this bother me?” “what am I hoping to accomplish in confronting this person?” and “what would happen if I don’t confront?” This step helps me to determine if my heart is in the right place in the matter.

2 – Consider words. I think through the language I want to use in addressing the conflict. Important to avoid words that attack the individual or assign blame or make assumptions. This step helps me to make sure my words are loving.

3 – Consider follow-up. I make a point to seek out the individual and engage in casual conversation soon after the confrontation. Even if things go well, the relationship can feel awkward. I try to overcome that by going directly to them and putting their mind at ease.

I still hate conflict, but the steps listed above have helped me to speak the truth in love in this difficult area. I hope it does the same for you.

Grace,

Chris

 

Sticky Faith

I thought the attached article on teens leaving the faith was outstanding. My personal feeling is that we need to allow our children to ask questions as they grow in their faith walk. Even in the Bible, when Jesus miraculously drove out a demon from a father’s son, the man said, “I believe; help my unbelief”. I think it is normal for children and teens to ask questions. We need to be open to those questions and engage in honest dialogue with our children. I hope you enjoy this article as much as I did.

Kris

http://www.lifeway.com/Article/ministry-family-Why-are-Teens-Leaving-the-Faith

 

Hope and Healing

“Hello, my name is Vickie and I was sexually abused as a child.” I was well into adulthood before I could say those words openly and without shame.

While the exact ages and duration are fuzzy, around the time I was 10 or 11 until I was 13, I was sexually abused by my best friend’s step dad. He also abused my best friend and her two older sisters. His justification was that he would give us money to go get candy at the corner store. I do remember the day it stopped, my friend and I were riding in the back on his pick-up truck and he pulled over to the side of the road and wanted us to come up to the cab with him and I said no, I was not doing that anymore. That was it, it stopped.

My teen years and young adult life were a series of bad choices and looking for love in all the wrong places. I was promiscuous and used whatever means possible to find acceptance with men. I had a messed up view of love and sex. In my late twenties, Jesus got a hold of my life, but it took a couple years before the healing process began. At the age of 35, a friend stepped into my life and saw me for what I was, a hurt and broken woman who did not understand the enormity of the pain that was instilled by the abuse. I looked at the abuse as something that happened to me, like getting a broken arm, not a big deal, you get over it and move on, but abuse of any kind is not like that, it damages the soul. If my friend, who knew the symptoms of abuse, did not step in and show me how to start the healing process, I would never have found the wholeness that Christ offers.

Through the process, I understood how much anger I had at the man who ruined my childhood and how hurt and alone I felt all the time. I had to grieve for the little girl who lost her innocence way too young. I had to learn to forgive when all I wanted was revenge. I wrestled with the idea of a loving God allowing this to happen in my life. Slowly, I started finding peace, joy and compassion in my soul. God showed me Romans 8:28, “And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. “ (NIV, 1984) and in 2007, he laid on my heart a passion to see other women find healing from sexual abuse.

In January of this year, that became a reality when I was able to start a support group for women who are victims of sexual abuse. One in four women has been sexually abused. We should be horrified by that statistic! If you are reading this and have been abused, I know how much shame, guilt and self-blame is attached to the abuse, but I know that that is not how Jesus wants you to live your life. There is no shame in what happened to you! Jesus loves you and wants you to live a life of freedom and joy. The process is hard, but it is worth it in the end.

If you have been sexually abused and want to be in a loving, safe, supportive community exploring the healing process, please join our Hope and Healing Support Group on Thursday nights. You can get more information by emailing me at hopeandhealing@acchurch.org.

Guest Blogger: Vickie Kerr

BEING SALT & LIGHT: INVITE

We showed this video this past Sunday morning. I love it!

A simple, friendly invite to a neighbor, friend, classmate, co-worker or family member could be the first step toward their getting connected (or re-connected) to God.

Pray. Then invite. See what happens.

Peace,

Dave

NO!

“The art of leadership is not saying yes, it is saying no.” – Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister

Saying-No - Copy

This quote comes from a great book I am reading, REPLENISH by Lance Witt. I so resonate with this thought. Saying “yes” is easy. It pleases people when we do this. It makes us feel important and needed. Our own lack of boundaries and insecurities causes us to over commit ourselves into exhaustion and ineffectiveness.

 

Saying “no” requires us to break our addiction to people pleasing. It demands that we determine our priorities and values and then make sure we are saying “yes” to these things. It allows us to be more focused, less harried and in tune with who God is created us to be.

 

I fear that within the church many of us have equated busyness with spirituality; frenetic activity with commitment; considering constant fatigue as proof that we aren’t lazy. All of these thoughts are lies. Let’s not deceive ourselves any longer.

Let’s learn to say “no”. It’s what leaders do.

Peace,

Dave