Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hanlding Conflict: ANGER

21 "You have heard that the ancients were told, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.' 22 "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, 'You good-for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. 23 "Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering . 25 "Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 "Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent. Matthew 5:21-26 (NASB95)

I just want to talk about the first part of this.....especially with MEN and ANGER. Ladies deal with it too, but I don't think as much as men do. (opinion of mine of course)

This passage says that Punishment is due: ANGER leads to this punishment!!


Aristotle wrote: (384–322 bce), “are all those feelings that so change men as to affect their judgements, and that are also attended by pain or pleasure. Such are anger, pity, fear and the like, with their opposites.”


Psychologists say that the goal of anger management is to reduce both your emotional feelings and the physiological arousal that anger causes. You can't get rid of, or avoid, the things or the people that enrage you, nor can you change them, but you can learn to control your reactions.


Dr. Tom Stevens, psychologist from Cal Sate Univ./Long Beach has done extensive research in this area: Underlying anger is caused by a perceived loss of control over factors affecting important values. The values in the above examples might be pride, getting someplace on time, someone you love, money, or being treated "fairly"--we are frustrated about not getting what we want or expect. With anger, we usually think we know what caused the problem. We have some target(s) for our anger. It may be the person criticizing you, the person who cut you off on the freeway, an attacker, your boss, or even yourself. With anger, we may hope that a burst of energy aimed at the threat will defeat it. Or we may hope that a burst of energy will break the barrier stopping us from meeting our goal. For most situations anger clouds our judgment and creates extra stress. If anger prompts aggressive behavior toward other people, it can permanently harm relationships--especially with those we love. Prolonged or frequent resentment (mild anger) has been shown to be a significant cause of cardiovascular problems and heart attacks.

PROBLEM: The main problem WE HAVE IS FOCUS

The problem we have is “focus”: there are things around that can make you angry, but if you are focused on following Christ, instead of being a big ball of emotion and letting your selfish feelings control you, then where are you. (Last week’s verse: whether you eat or drink, do all for the glory of God) That is our problem today with people who SAY they are believers. We believe in Christ, but we don’t want to follow His will. Some of you are still living in the sinful nature you had before you came to know Jesus, you haven’t surrendered. If you blew up at anything before you knew Christ, (or physically or emotionally harmed someone), today because of Christ you are a loving peacemaker because that is his will: kind and compassionate disciples is who Jesus is leading. But if your sinful attitudes and behavior have not changed or at a moments notice you can easily dive right back to the sin, you have crossed a line in the sand my friends and you are not following the Lord, you are following your selfish desires and THAT IS NOT THE BEHAVIOR OF A DISCIPLE OF JESUS CHRIST.

Where are you today with this? How has ANGER destroyed your life and how has it messed up your walk with the Lord?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Handling Conflict: What should we do first?

31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; 33 just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved. 1 Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:31 – 11:1

God has created us as unique individuals with different opinions, convictions, desires, perspectives, and priorities. At some point in life, you will have conflict with someone. It will be at work, at church, family reunions or in inner family circles, with friends, with neighbors, on the baseball field, at restaurants, and we could go on. God shares with us about how to handle conflict all over the New Testament. I think we need to seek His understanding of how we, as Christians, are supposed to handle conflict.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “You can’t please all of the people all of the time.” William Ellery Channing said, “Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict.” Paul has stated certain great principles that relate to Christian liberty. One of those principles is: "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient." Also, "all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not." Now here is another one: "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, and whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." This is the test every believer should apply to his life. Not "should I do this, or should I do that," but "can I do it for the glory of God?" Unfortunately, there are Christians who don't even go to church for the glory of God. They go for some other reason -- maybe to criticize or to gossip. With a motive like that it is better to stay at home. Whatever a believer does should be done for the glory of God. That is very important. —J. Vernon McGee's Thru The Bible

Three things we can take away from this:
I. Sinful Attitudes and Behavior

If we are to follow the Great Commandment given my our Savior, “Love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul, strength, and love your neighbor as yourself”, then our focus is clear. We cannot love the world and love God, love our jobs, then love God, love our spouses and then love God….the point is to love God first and focus on Him totally.

WE HAVE A PROBLEM: WE FOCUS ON SELF. Roman unbelievers described: “The being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;” Romans 1:29-31 (NASB95)

“Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander” 1 Peter 2:1 (NASB95)

INSTEAD WE NEED TO FOCUS ON “What Christ wants me to do?”, God’s Purpose for my life and His Will….My obedience towards His will. NON-CHRISTIANS do not have Christ nor the Holy Spirit. They do not understand the love that Christ has shared with us that we are to share with others and the sacrifice He has made for us. WEAK CHRISTIANS are to look at the stronger Christians as examples as mentors of how to live out life with Christ and to be disciples of Christ living in the world. STRONG CHRISTIANS are to be the examples living according to God's will and all can see the fruits of the Spirit in their life.

II. Give no Offense….Serve

Here Paul divides the whole world into three groups: Jews, Gentiles, and church of God. Some of these folk have differing beliefs. An example would be the Jewish abhorrence of pork. It would certainly give offense to invite a Jewish friend for dinner and serve him ham. A believer should love other people enough so that his actions will not offend them. There are a lot of Gentiles who have peculiar notions too. It would be impossible to please all of them, but we should try not to offend those with whom we have contact. Neither should we offend those who are of the church of God.

Some young people who were rebelling against "the establishment" came to me and said they had attended a certain church and were rebuked because of the way they dressed. They asked me if I thought the members of that church were all wrong. I told them I thought that both groups were wrong. Neither acted in love. The members of the church were wrong in criticizing them before others. On the other hand, these young folk knew their clothes and hair would be an offense to the members of the church. So none of them showed love toward the other. We are told that we are not to offend either the Jews, the Gentiles, or the church of God. This includes the entire human family.

"These are the three divisions of the human family today, but one of these days the church of God is going to leave this earth. Then there will be only the Jews and Gentiles in the world, and God has a tremendous program which will take place at that time." —J. Vernon McGee's Thru The Bible

“Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way.” Romans 14:13 (NASB95)

Why are we to serve them? We should please all men so that they may be saved!!! That’s the goal: keep the peace, lead in the example in Jesus Christ, so that mankind would be saved…our little example…for the world. This is how deep our discipleship is….how deep our calling…..how deep our understanding of God’s will for our life should be.

III. Be Imitators

Now primarily what we do we are to do for the glory of God -- "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." A Christian woman can wash dishes and sweep the floor to the glory of God. A Christian man can mow the lawn and dig a ditch for the glory of God. Regardless of what you are doing, if you cannot do it for the glory of God, you should not be doing it. As we live like this we are a testimony to the world -- that those who are lost might be saved.—J.Vernon McGee's Thru The Bible

We should be pressed to lead and serve by example....to show others Jesus by our examples. Why? We are showing Christ through us. We are told to share the Good News and I am not taking away from that. We also, by imitating Christ, are showing others who He is with our attitudes, actions, behaviors, speech, passions and desires. Do we desire to imitate Christ in our daily lives? Don't just sit there....DO SOMETHING!!!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Spiritual Leadership: What to Leaders do

This is an ongoing leadership blog for the meantime as I look at spiritual leadership. I recall all the companies and jobs I have been a part of. The churches and organizations I have been a part of. I begin to realize that there has been many different types of leaders in these various aspects.

Interesting in the beginning of the chapter in the book Spiritual Leadership is an age old question I think we all have asked from time to time to peak our interest: "How can I move people to do what needs to be done?" Oswald Sanders is quoted as saying, "Leadership is influence, the ability of one person to influence others." There is much to that statement because we have seen dictators who dictate and expect those under him/her to get it done with no excuses. Then there are the leaders who are team leaders that inspire those under him to accomplish the tasks at hand. What about the team leaders who want to be friendly with all but when the time comes to accomplish something, they can't lead because they are trying to make friends instead of lead people. So, there are the leaders who are trying hard to lead but those under him/her are not hearing or paying attention to their leadership. I am sure I have missed so many other different types of leaders.

Henry and Richard Blackaby writes in Spiritual Leadership that there are 5 ways in which leaders can infuence others:
1. Spiritual Leaders pray. Spiritual Leaders must retreat daily with quality time with the Lord.
2. Spiritual Leaders work hard. Their work ethic must be focused and be a good manager of time. If they are not giving time to their family, they are working too hard and not being effective.
3. Spiritual Leaders communicate. Vision, mission, team work, focus, etc.
4. Spiritual Leaders serve. Leaders must show a heart of humility and compassion as they invest in and serve people.
5. Spiritual Leaders maintain positive attitudes. The cause is clear and a positive attitude will influence others to follow their lead.

I believe that this is a good instrument to gage from for minister search committees or any group that desires to call someone to lead their people. If you are already leading people, this list is good to reflect on about twice a year to see how focused you are to lead and influence others. I know that I always adjust my life according to this list, because I let my focus slip towards other things at times.

How am I........is a good question to ask on each item. I am almost done with this book and it has challenged me and my leadership to see exactly what I am doing and where I am going. It's good to check your focus frequently!!