Morning Mashup 09/28

Morning Mashup

A daily mashup of book recommendations, articles, and videos for your information, edification, and enjoyment.


BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

On Family Worship

Family Worship | Don Whitney | $7.25

Family Worship Book

A Neglected Grace: Family Worship in the Christian Home | Jason Helopoulos | $9.43

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The Family Worship Book: A Resource Book for Family Devotions | Terry Johnson | $19.99

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Family Shepherds: Calling and Equipping Men to Lead Their Homes | Voddie Baucham | $14.62

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ARTICLES

From ‘Dunderhead’ to Demagogue

Mr. Ullrich sets out to strip away the mythology that Hitler created around himself in “Mein Kampf,” and he also tries to look at this “mysterious, calamitous figure” not as a monster or madman, but as a human being with “undeniable talents and obviously deep-seated psychological complexes.”

5 Ways Efficiency Undermines Productivity | Matt Perman

When most people think of productivity, they think of efficiency—getting more things done in less time. It seems logical. If you have a lot to do, your tendency is to speed up. Surprisingly, if efficiency is your first and primary goal, it might actually undermine productivity. Here are five reasons why…

Labor, Delivery, and New Birth | Marshall Segal

Newborns may not be able to stay awake for more than a few hours, or do anything for themselves, but they can teach us an enormous amount about the most important things in the world.

The Freedom in Losing it All | Tullian Tchividjian

After two affairs, a divorce, and being fired from two churches, Tullian Tchividjian shares his journey through the consequences of his sin, which at one point nearly led to a suicide attempt.

Engage Your City with the Gospel | Femi Osunnuyi

The methods we use, the places we go and functions we play will differ according to our calling, gifts, passion, place and time in history. Nonetheless, all those who have been reconciled to God in Christ, placed and serving in local communities are required to reach out to the lost.

VIDEOS

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The Practice of Peacemaking: 7 Principles to Resolve Conflict

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The only means for peacemaking in our daily lives is the peacemaking of the cross. The humble substitutionary sacrifice of Christ is the fuel for all of our peacemaking. We can combat daily conflicts because Jesus stood at enmity with his Father in our place. By bringing us close to God and remaking us in his image, the perfect image of God, the work of Jesus motivates us to resolve conflict and teaches us how to resolve conflict.

With the cross as our means and motivation for peacemaking, there are tangible and practical ways that we can make peace in the midst of our conflict with others. Gospel-centered peacemaking requires self-emptying humility, self-surrendering sacrifice, and self-forsaking satisfaction in Jesus. What we are after in peacemaking is reconciliation. Since conflicts are to be expected in a fallen world, we must be ready to live out the gospel by seeking peace and reconciliation when we sin against others and when others sin against us.

Seeking and offering forgiveness can be sticky, messy, and confusing. While we desire to live peaceably with all, there are times when conflicts must remain because convictions cannot be compromised. But in order to practically seek and offer forgiveness and reconciliation during conflict, some guidance is helpful. Ken Sande offers a helpful guide in seeking peace and reconciliation in a way that is humble, self-sacrificial, and Christ-centered.

In what he calls the “Seven A’s of Confession,” (The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2004. pp. 126-133). Sande provides a practical guide that flows from the peacemaking work of Christ on the cross to help us pursue reconciliation. Here I list his seven steps and provide brief comments below each of them.

1. Address everyone involved.

If we have sinned against a group of people, then we address everyone involved. We don’t just go to those we like. Partiality has no place in gospel-centered reconciliation. In my own life, if I have been hard to get along with in a staff meeting, it isn’t enough to only come to the lead pastor and ask his forgiveness. Before the whole staff, I need to say, “Guys, I was a jerk in that last meeting. Please forgive me.” It’s not enough to only address one person in a group you have sinned against. Address everyone involved.

2. Avoid if, but, and maybe.

When you meet with someone to seek reconciliation, you don’t need to set conditions on your forgiveness or request for forgiveness. Conditions lack humility, sacrifice, and ultimately faith in Christ. Peacemaking requires taking sin seriously. When you place conditions like “if, but, and maybe” on forgiveness and reconciliation, you are making peace, but accusations, which will lead to greater conflict.

3. Admit specifically.

This is crucial. Asking forgiveness for “messing up the other day” is not enough to encourage peace. When confessing sin to others, be specific. You sinned. You know what you did. Be transparent and clear. Specifically confessing sin communicates that you recognize how you have wronged someone and how remorseful you are because of it. Again, in this we see the humility and self-sacrifice of Christ. Pride wants to stay as general as possible. But humble faith in Christ dies to self and admits specific sins.

4. Acknowledge the hurt.

Something I have learned in the early years of my marriage is that it isn’t enough to just ask my wife for forgiveness. I need to truly sympathize with her hurt. The sweetest moments of reconciliation usually come on the heels of silence on my part. Listening to how she feels when I say or do certain things shows that I actually want her forgiveness and that I really want to be reconciled with her. Going through the motions doesn’t fool anyone, especially wives, guys. Humble genuineness goes a long way toward making peace.

5. Accept the consequences.

Reconciliation doesn’t always mean that the relationship goes back to the way it was. There are always consequences to sin. When you sin against someone, you need to accept the fact that there are going to be consequences, and sometimes this means the whole dynamic of the realationship has shifted. Reconciliation is still possible, even if the relationship changes. Accept the consequences.

6. Alter your behavior.

The cross redefines your relationship with God. By no merit of your own, Christ reconciles you to God by the blood of his cross. But this unmerited favor, or grace, isn’t only powerful enough to give you new standing with God. No, this grace empowers you to live out the implications of this new relationship every day. And a reconciled relationship with God means we can have reconciled relationships with others. The grace that reconciled us to God works to reconcile us to others. So, we don’t just ask for forgiveness and then go right back to what we were doing. The gospel demands that we repent. Repentance is the natural vibration of the Christian life. So, from the position of peace with God based on no merit of our own, we should change the way we interact with others. If we are harsh with our tone, ask forgiveness and then change the way you speak to others. Repentance is an expression of your trust in the peacemaking work of Jesus.

7. Ask for forgiveness.

Simple, yet profound. A beautiful expression of Christlike humility and self-sacrifice is to simply walk up to someone you have wronged and say, “Please forgive me.” Whether they actually forgive you or not is irrelevant. We do need to be prepared for the moment when you follow all of these steps, but sometimes you will not be forgiven. If someone doesn’t forgive you, this would not be the time to jump in defense and say, “Hey bro, I humbly repented and asked forgiveness. It’s your job to say, ‘I forgive you.’ Get with it!” No, all you do when someone doesn’t forgive you is love them, bless them, pray for their good, and show them grace. As Paul would say, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Rom. 12:14). As one who has received peace by the blood of Christ, you are to pursue peace regardless of how the other party responds.

Peacemaking requires humility. Peacemaking requires sacrifice. Peacemaking is only possible through the blood of Christ. Pursue peace in all of your relationships. And know that when you fail in your efforts to reconcile, know you belong to one who perfectly offered himself as the perfect image of God to die in your place so that you might eternally be brought into the presence of God where there is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore. In the macro and micro conflicts in your lives, run to the ultimate Peacemaker who makes peace by the blood of his cross.


Mathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Erica. Mathew and Erica live in Tupelo with their son, Jude. You can follow him on Twitter @mat_gilbert.

Morning Mashup 09/16

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A mashup of articles for your information, edification, entertainment, and enjoyment.


A Call for Hope in the Age of Mass Incarceration – Thabiti Anyabwile observes and exposes the reality that most opponents of mass incarceration offer little hope by simply stating the problem. He writes, “Black families affected by mass incarceration need hope that’s stronger than the vicissitudes of this life, built on better promises than social policy can offer. Inner-city communities need hope that places its members’ happiness beyond the reach of their enemies. Vulnerable families need hope stronger than the death that’s so frequently dealt out in its homes and hamlets.”

Dear Mama of Littles – A beautiful article for my wife and all other “Mamas of littles.”

Technology and the Truth about the Viability of the Unborn – Dan Darling: “Either technology will force us to face the truth about abortion, or it will force us to admit we know what we are doing: taking innocent human life.”

The Art of Conferencing – As a children’s pastor, I highly recommend this historically proven method of discipleship in the home.

Why We Must Recover the Master of Divinity Degree – Jason Allen of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary ushers a resounding call for the recovery of a robust and thorough Master of Divinity Degree. His closing spoke to me: “The call to the ministry is indeed the most glorious calling known to man. All whom God has called must be optimally prepared to serve him. Don’t settle for the quickest or easiest degree; aim for being maximally prepared for a lifetime of faithful ministry. Completing the Master of Divinity degree does not ensure a faithful ministry, but it does best position one for it. If at all possible, don’t settle for anything less.”

20 Funny and Strange Things Church Members Say – Pastors and staff were informally polled on Twitter by Thom Rainer to come up with this list. Surely you’ve never said any of these things, right?

Is Suicide and Unforgivable Sin that Will Send You to Hell? – An interesting approach to a sensitive question.

Co-Founder of Subway Restaurant Chain Dies at 67 – Within this NY Times piece is an interesting story about the beginnings of Subway.

Why Can’t Novak Djokovic Get Some Respect? – The title is a bit misleading. Djokovic has tons of respect, but he’s definitely not the darling of men’s tennis quite yet. Our love affair with Federer still rages on. This is odd and unfortunate because Djokovic is insanely talented, a ten-fold Grand Slam champion, and a seemingly likable dude.

Jesus is the first and last person in history to be told that obedience would bring a curse. –Tim Keller