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Conflict is inevitable. What we do with it can have far-reaching consequences. The attitude we take into a conflict (planned or otherwise) greatly effects the outcome.

It is amazing what we do not realize about the way we think – our mindset, paradigms, attitudes. I had no conscious thought of my approach to conflicts until God hit me with the contrast. Two meetings, both occurring within a week of each other, forever adjusted my conflict attitude. Here’s my story:

In the first meeting – a Bible study of Romans – we had arrived at Paul’s exhortation on baptism (chapter six). As the teacher introduced the topic, you could literally feel and see the tension rise in the room. At least half the participants moved to the edge of their chairs waiting, it seemed, to hear the teacher say something with which they did not agree. Looking back, I am convinced that many ears were closed to hearing, and the Holy Spirit was grieved.

The second meeting was a blessed contrast. As with the first, there were people from various church fellowships and denominations. The passage being discussed was Jesus’ instruction regarding the consumption of His flesh and blood. Someone in the group asked, “What did Jesus mean when He said, ‘unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you (John 6:53).'”

After some time of quiet contemplation, one brother said he wasn’t sure, but thought it meant “so and so”. A second brother added, “And it means ‘such and such’ to me.” Several others offered their opinions.

To be honest, I can’t remember what any of them said about the meaning. All I heard in my spirit was the “and” of their responses – the “and” attitude of their hearts. At no time during the conversation was “no” or “or” used. No one corrected or disagreed with the others. It was truly amazing; so amazing that I almost missed the most amazing thing. Read the rest of this entry »

I have two matters to bring to your attention in this edition. First, as I mentioned in the 2016 Mission Report, God is using me to write another book: The Lost Foundations. To help keep myself on track, I am presenting each foundation on a bi-weekly basis, via an online video conference.

The recordings of those meetings can be found on our YouTube channel , and on the inLight Consulting resource site. The website also has a handout for each of the lessons. The newest lesson – number eleven in the series – is on “The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit”. I believe this is one of the best lessons I have been used to teach. I strongly encourage you to watch it.

Second, there is the matter of storytelling. I plan to post a couple of articles on the subject in the next couple of weeks: A related Workplace Ministry Tip; and an encouragement regarding the power of storytelling in our overcoming the division that exists in both the world and church. Be on the lookout for those. In the meantime, here is the crux of the matter:

Sharing stories is the way civilized people have been bonding for millennium. It continues today as a way of life in cultures more relational than America. When we invite someone to share their story, we are saying that we care.

We are also inviting God to create something. That something is relationship – The Father’s response to Jesus’ prayer for our unity (John 17:21-23). Furthermore, hearing someone else’s story creates an opportunity to share our own – to be ambassadors of reconciliation.

The Holy Spirit has stirred a desire in my heart for the story of others. I must say, this is a challenge for me. Some might call me a “loner” – perhaps a nice way of saying impersonal, even self-centered. I am “in process”.

The prospects of this discovery are exciting. I hope and pray that you will join me in tearing down the walls that separate us from one another.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Multi-ethnic pile of handsEvery organization has a structure. That structure tends to be hierarchical and based on worldly principles. Its primary purpose is to support organizational governance. We are all very familiar with these structures. I want you to ignore them for a moment.

Instead, I am encouraging you to consider a different structure – a structure that also exists in the place where you work. I am encouraging you to consider the spiritual structure that God intends to establish in your workplace.

Depending on the workplace, spiritual structures can be very hard to see; but, make no mistake about it: They are real. Spiritual structures do not readily align with hierarchical structures; primarily because they are organic in nature (think vine and branches). Spiritual structures do have an authority component, but the manifestation of that authority seldom looks like a worldly hierarchy (e.g., the greatest must be servant of all).

Point: Jesus is building His church outside the boundaries of meeting time and place. In fact, there is growing proof that He has turned His attention to the place where most of His followers spend most of their waking hours – in the workplace.

Point: Jesus gave gifts to the church; that we might grow up into the vision of the church He is building (Ephesians 4:11-16). Whether these gifts are real people or people that have these gifts, Jesus is working through designated individuals in the workplace.

Point: God is a careful orchestrator. There are no coincidences for His children. He has positioned leaders in the workplace to help assemble and supply a platoon there.

Question: What is your role in this movement of God? How has God defined and described your role? Are you an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher? Are you an elder; or a deacon? Is your role something more supportive; like watchman, or prayer warrior? Read the rest of this entry »

Reach OutA dear friend of mine, who owns a business directory company (ChristiansinBusiness.com), recently asked me to search out and write an article about God’s way for resolving conflict between businesses and their customers – particularly in light of the growing importance of online reviews. I am blessed and excited that he intends to develop a system that will honor and please God. As a business owner or customer, I hope the following encourages you to find God’s way for conflict resolution.

The Potential Impact of Online Reviews

Customer reviews and ratings have become the “word-of-mouth” for 21st Century shoppers; with two noteworthy differences: Their reach is exponentially broader and, consequently, their impact can have significantly greater impact. This is particularly true for the small business owner.

According to an article on Psychology Today, “People are more likely to choose things based on their need to avoid negative experiences, rather than their desire to get positive experiences … psychologists concluded negative experiences or the fear of them has a greater impact on people than positive experiences.”

According to USA Today, “Harvard business school research says that a one-star increase on Yelp can lead to a 9 percent increase in sales. Four out of five consumers, or 80 percent, reverse their purchase decisions based on negative online reviews.

If people remember negative reviews more than the positive ones, which one would you want your small business to be remembered for? This is an important question for both business owners and their customers – particularly when those owners and customers are brothers or sisters in Christ. Read the rest of this entry »

Multi-ethnic pile of handsThere was a time in my life when I would pass over sections of Scripture because they were beyond my understanding. At the time, I didn’t understand how serious God was about our being faithful stewards of the mysteries of His kingdom. I didn’t realize that there were things hidden for me to search out. I also wasn’t aware that He had a “way” of searching that would open up the mysteries of His word. I call this way: The “and” of searching in community.

I discovered this way through a contrast of meetings that providentially happened within a week of each other. In the first meeting, I saw – even felt – the tension rise in the room when the teacher introduced the topic of baptism. At least half the participants moved to the edge of their chairs waiting, it seemed, to hear the teacher say something that they did not agree with. I am convinced that their ears were closed to hearing, and the Spirit was grieved.

The second meeting was a blessed contrast. As with the first, there were people from various denominations. I am sure that each had a different understanding of the topic: Communion. But their hearts were softer towards God word, and each other. They were not looking to be right. They just wanted to know the truth; and knew they didn’t know it all. Read the rest of this entry »

A Storm is ComingConsider for a moment the following passages:

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

Eternal life is in Christ Jesus.

For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Romans 12:4-5

We are one body (united community) in Christ. The body of Christ and Christ are inseparable.

I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:9

Salvation comes through the door that is Christ. He is the only way in.

Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. Luke 13:23-24

Salvation comes to those who strive to enter in. Seeking to enter is not enough.

Now, let me ask you: Are you striving to enter into the community that God has positioned around you? Do you know who they are? That community may be your family, your small group at church, your team at work, or your neighbors. It may be a combination or a blend of these; or some other form of community (He is very dynamic in this regard).

Striving to enter into your community is a strategic imperative in your (and their) entering into the kingdom of God. There is no entering without community. I believe, if you humbly ask God, He will help you find and invest in your community (this tool should help).

Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to help you find the kingdom of God in community.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Sometimes we use a phrase so much, it loses its meaning. Greetings are the most obvious; phrases like: “Good morning, isn’t it?”, “How’s it going?”, and “What’s up?” come to mind. I wish I had a nickel for every time somewhat asked me those questions without pausing for a moment to hear my answer. Let’s face it: We say some things without really knowing what we mean, or really expecting an answer. I think it has something to do with our hurried life.

Some phrases are more important than others. One in particular has caught my attention… and won’t let it go. So, I think I will bring it to yours.  I hope you will slow down enough to consider the deeper meaning of it.

The phrase I have in mind is a particularly Christian one. It is simple, but profound. We Christians read it, hear it and say it all the time. I am not sure we always consider all that it means. Read the rest of this entry »

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