Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Great Challenge of Dealing with Conflict: 5 Styles of Conflict Resolution

CC 2.0 via Flickr
Conflict in relationships, conflict in family, and conflict in churches are terribly difficult things to deal with. I myself have struggled a great deal in responding to conflicts and disagreements in a healthy manner.  This is a tough challenge for my generation.  We tend to want to flee, and run for the hills when conflict dares to intrude upon us.  But running is not always the wisest response to difficult conflicts.  Many times, there are better responses and better ways to deal with inevitable conflict.

The first thing we should recognize about conflict is that it is 100% normal.  We tend to file it under "abnormal" but the fact is, in any community conflict is going to be a part of our interactions.  In any relationship we will tend to have to deal with some sort of conflict from time to time.  There isn't anything wrong with that.  It's simply a part of relationship.  But let's not kid ourselves, conflict is quite awful.  It feels terrribly yucky and for me especially, I simply can't stand conflict.  I'd almost rather disappear completely than have to deal with a conflict.

So how can we deal with conflict in a healthy way?  Conflict is normal.  In fact, conflict is healthy.  Conflict is not fun though.  Think about when the boss calls you into the office and says those fateful words "We have to talk."  It's harder for us to run to the hills when it's our job that is on the line.  We have to stay and deal with the consequences then.  

We should have the same attitude in our personal relationships, and in our church community relations.  It can seem much easier and more convenient to simply start over.  That is what I often did in the past.  I would just start over, throw up my hands and say "I'm done."  But that isn't always the wisest thing to do.  

Don't get me wrong, there may be times when it is necessary to leave and start over in a new situation.  But we should strive to limit those to the most extreme circumstances.  

What are some extreme circumstances that would require us to unabashedly depart from a situation?  Well, one example would be if my group of friends are using drugs regularly.  That is something I simply have no interest being around.  It's a dangerous influence to me, and I'm being foolish if I think I can successfully sit in the barber-shop as it were and not get a hair cut.  

Another situation would be if my boss and/or coworkers are asking me to violate my conscience, or violate the law.  If it's coworkers, then I should go to my boss, or my bosses boss first.  If it's my boss, then I'm left with little options.  I would make sure I've exhausted every means of dealing with the issue, and if nothing seemed to work, then I would depart.

Still another example would be if my spouse were habitually abusive.  That is a situation where fleeing is probably quite wise.  

In a church situation, if the church leadership are teaching false doctrine, abusing children, or teaching things not contained in the Bible, I would need to address that situation directly.  I would need to attempt to sit down and discuss the situation with leaders face to face.  If all attempts to remedy the situation failed, only then should I leave.  

But most situations we face are not this extreme.  In most situations, we have options and there are ways to resolve most conflicts.  For the longest time I didn't think so.  In my family of origin, I had relationships where conflict was perpetual.  And attempting to resolve those conflicts was an exercise in futility.  The person I was attempting resolution with would simply use the negotiations to push their own agenda.  But the person would never, ever offer any sort of real compromise.  So I learned as I grew up, to simply give in, because I knew resolving the conflict was impossible, I knew I would just be forced to do whatever they wanted anyway.  This led to me wanting to avoid conflict at all costs.  

There are several common methods that people use when entering into conflict in relationships.  Often these methods come from what they learned from their family of origin.  The style I tend heavily toward is obviously the avoidant style.  I see conflict through the eyes of childhood, that conflict resolution is an exercise in futility, and the best option is to avoid conflict at all costs or cede to all the demands of the conflict instigator to maintain (at least the appearance of) peace. 

What is your conflict style?  Let's look at the various common methods.

1. Avoidant - just like it sounds, avoid conflict at all costs. Hide feelings and emotions to try and keep the peace.  This tends to cause built up stress, which leads to depression, and relational instability. This style often comes from a dysfunctional family of origin where feelings were hidden, or conflicts were never resolved.  Not a wise way to deal with conflict.

2. Argumentative - this style tends to want to fight it out. They are more used to arguing it out.  Their family of origin tended to be louder, and more up front about emotions.  This style can be healthy in that both sides are attempting to get everything out and find a resolution.  This style can also be unhealthy in that often the argumentative type may even enjoy conflict, triggering them for the enjoyment of it.  Not a healthy way to deal with conflict either.

3. Rage - This style attempts to use force to deal with conflict.  They argue, they push for their way, and they tend to resist compromise. This style at it's worst can be physically abusive, though often also emotionally abusive.

4. Manipulative - This style may seem more like the argumentative style in that they look to argue and talk and try to resolve the issue, but there is an agenda behind this.  The manipulative style rejects all forms of compromise and pushes for their own way. If the person resists, they attempt new arguments and broken record style pushing of their view.  They tend to use passive aggressive attacks and shaming.  Not a healthy style.

5. Assertive - The assertive style knows when to walk away from a conflict and when to resolve a conflict. They express their anger in a healthy way, without letting things go too far.  They are able to compromise, but also able to stand by their core convictions when necessary.  This is a healthy style of conflict resolution.

As you consider how you can deal with conflict in healthier ways, remember to always be prayerful in your approach to conflicts.  Conflicts can be very difficult and emotional.  Remember to pray before entering into discussion.  Remember to pray during discussion if you feel yourself getting out of control.  And try to be brave, even though your afraid or upset.  I encourage you to remember that conflicts can be resolved in healthy ways.  It's not always fun or easy, in fact it's often quite difficult.  But the long term rewards of working out conflicts and building long term relationships outweigh the costs of healthy conflict resolution.

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Home Sweet Home: Confronting the Fear of Death

Audio Message:

Home sweet home. We all dream of home don’t we? In your life what are some places that always felt like home to you? For me, when I think of home I think of my grandma’s kitchen. I think of the smell of cooking food, and the heat and steam from the stove. I think of Christmas morning at the house I grew up in with my parents. I think of my aunt Colleen’s living room where I spent so many days during the summers. I think of the people, the faces, the smells, the feelings, but perhaps most of all I remember how it made me feel. I felt safe. I felt protected. I felted relaxed and at home.

But the truth is this world is not really our home. There is always something missing. Today I’m far from home, and I’m sure many of you feel the same way. It makes life more difficult. But we can take great comfort in that one day we will be home.

We are human beings. We are born, grow up, and then we become adults. We work, serve, care for others, eventually perhaps have families, children, and even grandchildren. But then we begin to grow old, our health slowly grows worse, and then one day we die.

In fact it is appointed for humanity at this stage in history that we each are born, and then we die, and after we die, the word says we will stand before God and given an account of our lives.

Death is something we don’t like to think about. But it comes to us all. In fact it’s the normal of life, though from God’s perspective death is anything but normal. In fact it’s a result of the fall of man, that our ancestors chose to disobey God. And as a result, all of history was affected, and today in the world we struggle with things like poverty, injustice, starvation, racism, sexual abuse, wars, and so many other evils.

God didn’t do these things. It’s interesting how so many will try to blame God for the evils of the world. God didn’t do those things. People did those things. When a young man or woman decides to become a drug dealer, that’s a choice they made. When that drug dealer gives drugs to a young confused teen, and that teen gets into a car accident and kills a family, one might be tempted to blame God for the death of that family. But God didn’t do that. People made choices that set a course of events in motion that caused suffering.

Some might say, well God could’ve prevented it from happening. Well let’s think about that. If God steps in once to force someone to make a different decision, well, how often should God step in? If God stepped in every time I was about to make a bad decision, and if he did that every person on Earth, well the truth is we’d all be robots. We would have no free will. God has given us the incredible gift of the ability to make free choices. This is the essence of being human, that we can think and reason and make choices. So it’s foolish to blame God for evil. God could prevent evil yes, but it would require turning every human into a robot unable to think or make free choices.

Death comes for all of us. And the truth is many of us fear dying. But we shouldn’t fear dying. Why? Because we have a great assurance ahead of us. We have a future beyond the grave. In this life we have such difficulties. In fact the word says “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.” That is a scary thought, that we walk through this low valley, with death shadowed over us like a constant threat to us. But it continues and says “I will fear no evil, for You are with Me.”

God is with us. So we don’t need to be afraid to die. The son of man our Lord Jesus Christ has conquered the grave. He has defeated death and declared victory over death for all humanity across history. He declares that He is Risen and He will cause you to rise as well.

One day we will each behold the face of God. R.C. Sproul a famous theologian said, “When we behold the face of God, all memories of pain and suffering will vanish. Our souls shall be totally healed.”

That is what it means to finally be home. When we talk of going to heaven after we die, of going to paradise, we’re really talking about going home. And home isn’t so much a place as it is a person, our Lord and God is home. And to be with Him is to be home.

In paradise, in the renewed world, made perfect by God, and set right by him there will be no suffering, no pain, and no death.

Revelation 21:4, NKJV. “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

We will live forever. Because God was willing to come to Earth on a rescue mission to save us, Jesus our savior came into the world to save us. And Jesus had to offer himself on the cross as a sacrifice for our salvation. Why?

Hebrews 2:14-15 says “14 Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. 15 Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.

Jesus paid our debt of sin on the cross. And though we must all pass through the veil of death, we will rise to life if we believe that Jesus Christ is our God and our savior. And if we believe Jesus personally, for you and me, paid our debt and gave us new life. So believe this. We all face death, you, me, everyone, but after death comes the next life. The truth is, if we trust in Jesus, we’re going Home. We’re going home, finally, home.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

What is the Salvation Army? Is the Salvation Army a Church?

William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army

The mission of the Salvation Army is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet needs in His name without discrimination. This mission statement helps us to understand that the Salvation Army is in fact a protestant evangelical church movement. For those interested in learning more about this fact, I highly recommend Who are these Salvationists? by Ret. Gen. Shaw Clifton. Shaw Clifton’s work Who are these Salvationists? (1997) emphasizes and underlines the importance of the Salvation Army as a part of protestant evangelicalism.

The Salvation Army’s ministry is based on the Bible and it’s ministry is motivated by the love of God. The Salvation Army is most certainly a church organization, based on a conservative biblical interpretation of the scriptures, which means the Salvation Army is firmly entrenched in the protestant evangelical movements in the world that emphasize grace through faith alone, glory to God alone, Christ alone for salvation, and the Bible alone as the authority of divine teaching (Shaw, 1997).

The Salvation Army as Church
If one were to ask General William Booth if the Salvation Army were a church, he would probably reply, “The Salvation Army is an army!” (Shaw, 1997, p. 9). It’s most probable that Catherine Booth would’ve also recognized TSA as a distinct movement, not fitting any particular or current mold (Shaw, 1997, p. 9).  Later in the history of the army, General Arnold Brown commissioned Frederick Coutts to produce a document on the Salvation Army and if it ought to be called a church (Shaw, 1997, p. 9).  The document Coutts produced simply indicated what was already quite true, the Salvation Army as a group of Christian believers is a part of the body of Christ (Shaw, 1997, p. 9).  The church is simply another way of saying the body of Christ, which is the body of those who follow the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 12:5 New International Version). Sadly in some parts of the world people are quite surprised to learn that the Salvation Army is a church, which Shaw (1997) attributes to a too inward looking attitude and a failure to understand the positive need for a clear articulation of what the army is (Shaw, 1997, p. 10). Never the less, though the international mission statement may be somewhat ambiguous regarding the fact of the Salvation Army being a church, TSA meets all the standards of a legitimate church movement and ought to be considered as such (Shaw, 1997, p. 12-13).

The Salvation Army as Protestant
Protestantism is a collection of movements branching off of the theology of greats like Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Jacob Arminius. These movements are extremely diverse and therefore one might more accurately refer to these movements as protestantisms (Shaw, 1997, p. 21).  Protestantism is based deeply on the foundational value of the Bible alone as the authoritative and inerrant word of God (Shaw, 1997, p. 22).  Perhaps just as importantly Protestantism is based on the concept of an individual responsibility to accept or decline the offer of salvation found in Jesus Christ.  Though this should not be confused to mean that protestants have an individualist view of church activities (Shaw, 1997, p. 22).  Grace is prime to Protestantism (Shaw, 1997, p. 23).  In fact according to Shaw (1997) “There is no more important word in the Protestant vocabulary than grace” (p. 23). The Salvation Army certainly affirms this primacy of grace.  In addition, the Salvation Army’s first doctrine unabashedly affirms the authority and value of the holy scriptures (Shaw, 1997, p. 23).  The Salvation Army affirms all the key tenants of Protestantism including the priesthood of all believers, the importance of holiness, and the worship of God (Shaw, 1997, ch. 2).

The Salvation Army as Evangelical
The Salvation Army is historically firmly rooted in the movements described as evangelicalism (Shaw, 1997, p. 35).  Evangelicalism originally came about in the eighteenth century revivals in England (Shaw, 1997, p. 35).  Many countries were affected by the revivals, including the United States. (Shaw, 1997, p. 35). William Booth was originally part of the Methodist denomination, which came out of the revivals of the likes of Charles Wesley and Jonathan Edwards (Shaw, 1997, p. 36).  One could say that William Booth’s Christian Mission and later the Salvation Army are ideological descendants of evangelicalism and therefore part of modern evangelicalism (Shaw, 1997, p. 36). 
Some of the greats of modern and recent evangelicalism include John R.W. Stott, J.I. Packer, Francis Schaeffer, and of course Billy Graham (Shaw, 1997, p. 36, 40). In fact is one is looking for a ringing endorsement of a prominent evangelical leader, Billy Graham spoke direct praise for the Salvation Army during his years of ministry calling it "Christianity in action!" (Gariepy, 2009).  
General Shaw (1997) indicates four great principles that are hallmarks of evangelicalism: they include insistence on biblical authority, personal emphasis in regard to conversion, recognition of the need for social service and social action, and a firm focus of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross (p. 45). 
Salvationism is deeply influenced by the works of Dr. Francis Schaeffer, in that the Salvation Army rejects a liberal, or low view of scripture (Shaw, 1997, p. 25).  Instead, the Salvation Army affirms the highest view of scripture as the inerrant word of God.  Indeed, the Salvation Army also rejects the relativism of the modern age, which has made for moral chaos and the loss of truth as a concept (Shaw, 1997, p. 44).  The Salvation Army affirms objective moral values, the fact that Christianity is a comprehensive worldview, and the fact of the necessity for modern believers to be vocal on important social and political issues of the day (Shaw, 1997).

The Salvation Army as a Christian movement focused on a dual mission of preaching the gospel and meeting needs, is in fact a protestant evangelical church movement.  The Salvation Army is a church, given the very nature of the army as a body of officers and soldiers who regularly worship God.  The Salvation Army is protestant in that the basic precepts of protestant theology and worship are met in the activities of the army.  And the Salvation Army is evangelical in that the army holds the highest view of scripture, propagates the need for a personal relationship with Jesus, and firmly emphasizes social service work and social action.  Or as Shaw (1997) said in his book, quoting cardinal archbishop Law of Boston, “The Salvation Army is an authentic expression of classical Christianity” (p. 5).


Clifton, Shaw. Who Are These Salvationists?. 1st ed. Alexandria, VA: Crest Books, 1999. Print.
Gariepy, H. (2009). Christianity in Action (1st ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
NIV Bible. 1st ed. London: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, 2007.             Print.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Twelve Steps: A Christian Process for Healing and Transformation

Cc 2.0 via Flickr
Foundation Scripture: Romans 8:1-13

Accompanying Video: 

Audio Presentation:

Our lives are beautiful, astonishing, powerful series of moments that end up defining who we are and what our legacy in life will be. We live in a miraculous world, and we live lives of miracles, victories, defeats, and transformations.

Though many in our world today chock up their lives to random chance and coincidence, as Christians we know there are greater things at work than mere happenstance. Life is a gift. It’s a gift from God. And especially the lives we live today, here in the United States, we have all we want to eat, we have good jobs, friendly communities, and reasonable government. We should be so very grateful for what God has given us.

The greatest gift we’ve ever received, that impacts our lives in the most incredible way is the gift of the grace found in Christ Jesus. The word says: “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.” -Romans 8:1-3

Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe. As we look at ways we can grow in grace, and methods or practical recovery and healing, we must remember that we do everything out of Jesus Christ. If we begin by trying to force growth and healing in our lives, we won’t get anywhere. But if we seek to grow based on the love and relationship we already have in Jesus then we will succeed. We should always be cautious to live out of what we’ve already received in the riches of Christ Jesus. Jesus substituted himself for us. He’s transformed his life and witness to us, as a jacket, a coat of righteousness that we put on every day. We have full relationship with God through Christ. We all have full relationship. We have full adoption into the family of redeemed humanity. We have the Holy Spirit working in us, on us, and through us. All of this comes from Christ alone, not from ourselves. We can do nothing to add to it.

But as a result of what Christ has completed in us, we desire to live a godly, holy life. We want desperately to live the way God wants us to live, because of the incredible gift we’ve received. We’re so happy, so amazed, so grateful for to God, we want to live just the way he has asked us to live.

So today I’d like to share with you some ways to grow in God’s grace. These principles are taken from God’s word, translated through a process called the twelve steps. The twelve steps are Christian in origin, having been developed from the teachings of a 19th century Christian movement called the Oxford groups. These Oxford groups were Christians attempting to live their faith better. And I hope from this message we’ll find some “spiritual tools” to help us live as faithful Christians.

The first principle if something we should all try to understand and grow in, because it’s the foundation of all Christian growth. This principle is the principle of surrender. This is something William Booth talked about a great deal. It’s so vital to what we do. Essentially surrender is about the full, 100% admission that we are powerless, and in need of God’s provision. Apart from God, we can do nothing. But surrender is practical, in that we can practice it.

It can be as simple as a prayer. Lord, I surrender. I can do nothing apart from you. I’m powerless Lord. I need you, nothing more, nothing less. Linked to surrender is humility. If we aren’t humble, then we can never grow or achieve anything. Because someone with pride and ego assumes they already know everything. They can’t be taught anything.

Ego can lock us in a cell, alone by ourselves, unwilling to admit we need help, unwilling to admit we need to change, and for much of the secular world, it’s a prison where they will stubbornly refuse that love and guidance of God.

In my years of wayward struggle, my ego was out of control. But there is one thing that can break down ego: It’s suffering. God gave me exactly what I needed to hit rock bottom and lose all false ego. And once that ego is gone, at the bottom, it’s just you and your sins. There is no barrier between us anymore. Just me and what I’ve become. That’s when calling out to Jesus becomes a real possibility. For Christians like ourselves, we can practice surrender by falling on our knees before God. We can practice humility and surrender by lowering ourselves before God and declaring our full dependence on Him. I encourage you to let your knees hit the floor before our Lord. Stay there. Allow the Lord to dig deep into your and flatten out that ego within. Invite the Lord to do so. Cry out to Him, and weep, and ask for willingness.

Interestingly enough, in recovery programs surrender is step 1 of the process.

Second principle that we can practice in our lives is that of total commitment. God must have all there is of William Booth said the founder of the Salvation Army. God must have all there is of us. All of us. Not just some. Do we practice that? Or do we set aside certain parts of our lives? God you can have this part, but the sex life is my business. God you can have this part of me, but I’ll handle the finances. God you can have the spiritual part, but I’ll handle how I treat my husband, my wife, my kids.

There are no conditions in this agreement between God and man. There are no negotiations. We give our whole lives to God. Practically this means that we look to turn both our will and our entire lives over to God. But what does that mean? To turn our will over to God, is to say that we will now check our decisions against what God wants us to do.

Most people tend to function in our lives attempting to fulfill three basic desires within ourselves: security instinct, social instinct, and sexual instinct. We push our way through life trying to fulfill our desire for safety, which manifests in trying to buy a house, trying to find a good job and so on. Socially, we look for friends, for close relationships with family and coworkers. And in our sexual instinct we look to connect with someone of the opposite sex. Those things aren’t bad. Those are the three dimensions of life. But all of those areas can become problematic if we aren’t living out of the 4th dimension of life, which is the spiritual realm.

We as Christians are called to live in the Spirit. The rest of the world lives in the flesh, attempting to manipulate people and circumstances to fulfill their three basic desires for security, socializing, and sexual desire.

The word says:” Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” -Romans 8:5-6

To turn our will and our lives over to God is to live in the Spirit instead of the flesh, meaning as we live day by day we’re looking to fulfill God’s desires for us, instead of our own petty interests. Are you living that way? If not then I encourage you to commit yourself anew to our Lord, and to begin to consider in your mind: What is God’s will for me in this situation? What would God want me to do right now? It’s not so hard. In fact the more you practice it, the more natural it becomes. This is God-consciousness, what some call a conscious contact with God on a daily basis.

So first we surrender, step 1. And step two and three are the process of coming to believe, and then commiting oneself to attempt to obey the will of God in their daily life. How do we know the will of God? We study his word carefully and know his teachings on various issues.

Many of you probably already practice both surrender and practicing the will of God. Now I’d like to share with you a tool that will transform your entire life.

It’s called the process of taking a personal inventory. For those of you out there today who have been through a lot of traumatic experiences in your life, of you’ve gone through hard times, I can’t recommend this process enough to you. I’m absolutely amazed by the power of putting things down on paper. The act of writing out what we’ve been through is a process by which our soul is cleansed from past struggles.

When we go through hard times, trauma, depression, sorrows, and addictions it’s like we accumulate wreckage in our minds. And pretty soon that wreckage piles up to the point that we can barely function on a daily basis. We begin to live and feel as if we’re constantly surrounded by a cloud of doom. That cloud comes from these piled up past traumas.

So if you’ve got piled up sorrows from the past, grab a notebook and pen, or open up a word document on your computer and start writing. Write down exactly what happened. Honesty is vital in this process. If we rewrite history or leave the worst parts out, we won’t find any healing. But if we share the real truth about what has happened, and what our part was in it, then we’ll find healing. Once we’ve written all these things down, and when I did this I had over fifty pages, we take it to someone we trust deeply. It could be a trusted friend or pastor. And we read what we wrote to them and talk about what happened. This second part of confessing it is vital. The act of telling another person, for some reason, is the part that really clears this stuff out. Then we pray, thanking God for setting us free from these past harms, and many like to burn the pages as a symbol that in Christ all of these things are gone. Set free. He has set us free.

Those are steps four and five. Six and seven are steps that help those seeking healing to identify character defects, like fear, inconsideration, and selfishness, and to begin to practice the opposite of those harmful attitudes. The principle is inventory, matched with confession.

The final principle I’d like to share with you today is called reconciliation. As a non-believer, and an addict I hurt many people in my life. I think my family is who I hurt the worst. But also my extended family. And my close friends, coworkers, and college teachers. When we practice reconciliation, a biblical concept, we go to those we have harmed in the past and we ask for their forgiveness. But in addition, we also ask how we can make it right. They call this making amends.

I’d encourage you to consider in your life, how you’ve hurt others. It’s best I think to start with family. And then consider friends as well. How can I make it right with these people? How can I make amends for the wrongs I’ve done to them? This is probably the hardest part of the principles we’ve talked about so far. It’s very humbling (step 1) to go to family members and friends and admit the wrong we’ve done. But are we so proud? Do we have so much ego?

What would Jesus do? Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, a task seen as below the dignity of any decent person. Jesus did it. I never wanted to admit I was a drug addict. To admit that was to hurt my ego. It was to admit who I really was. But when I did, it changed everything. In the same way, most don’t want to admit they are sinners, and it’s humbling and ego crushing to do so, but once we admit it, we become open to the healing found in Jesus Christ. Making amends encompass steps eight and nine.

Ten, eleven and twelve have to do with continuing to practice the principles already discussed, to continue to grow in communion with God, and to carry the truth to others who don’t yet have it. Let me add this truth: Often when we are depressed, struggling, about to fall apart internally the solution is for us to serve someone else. It’s a paradox I know, but oddly enough, getting out of ourselves and focusing on someone else cures that internal sorrow.

In conclusion, the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans chapter 7: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! -Romans 7:21-25

In the journey of your life, in those moments that come that define who we are and how we live, remember that you are called to live in the Spirit. In this beautiful, amazing, shocking, awe inspiring adventure of our lives we will see so many things, come to know many people, and witness great shifts in society, and in ourselves. Consider how you live, and obey that wonderful Holy Spirit within. God will not lead you astray. He has given us the spiritual tools we need. Surrender, turning our will over to God, inventory, confession, and making amends are all gifts from God in Christ Jesus. Jesus loves us because we have received Him as our savior. As a result and a response to this wonderful completed relationship, let us live our faith and grow as Christians through the timeless principles found in the word of God.

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  6. Seven Objections to the Bible and Seven Reasonable Responses
  7. Quick Fact Sheet: Four Points to Consider
  8. 10 Answers to Common Questions Raised by Skeptics
  9. Believing in the Miraculous: The Work of Jesus Christ on the Cross
  10. Can you see through the illusion?