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Posts Tagged ‘Men’

Key Bible Verse: “I pray also that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me” (John 17:21). Bonus Reading: John 17:21-23

In effect, Jesus said, “The world will be won not through the wisdom of our words, but through the witness of our oneness.” Our best hope for convincing the world that he was no ordinary human being is our unity. For only then do we accurately reflect the inner nature of God—a nature in which the diversity of Father, Son, and Spirit coexist in perfect complementarity.

What would happen if we focused less on the church’s shortcomings and more on its wondrous possibilities? Suppose we kept constantly aware that the way we relate to our fellow believers is the primary proof of God’s presence in Jesus Christ. (If, after all, God’s power can’t change your prejudices and mine, can persons outside the Christian faith really expect him to change their lives?)

Perhaps then the world would see that despite its many failures, the church is a wondrous miracle. It is loving and forgiving, laughing and weeping, worshiping and seeking God in the midst of this motley multitude of sinners and saints.

—Timothy Paul Jones in Prayers Jesus Prayed

My Response: A member of God’s family that I’ve laughed or wept with during the last week is ____.

Thought to Apply: The best place to start building unity in the church is to start working with a team of diverse people who are united by their common faith in Christ and their mission. —G. Walter Hansen (seminary professor)

Adapted from Prayers Jesus Prayed (Regal, 2002).

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Consider the Person

 

Key Bible Verse: Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up … (Ephesians 4:29 NIV). Bonus Reading: Romans 15:2-3

 

The friendship of a couple I knew was amazing. They were able to say the toughest things to each other, things that are hard both to say and to hear, yet they could say them with love. They seemed to avoid self-serving flattery and unloving criticism. They didn’t trim the truth with one another yet said what needed to be said in the best possible way. I was impressed by their enormous respect for each other, how easily their communication flowed, and how readily they seemed to listen to the other.

 

Wholesome communication is other-centered communication. Paul says I should never say anything to you that is not helpful for you. Since God is focused on remaking you into his image, I should speak in a way that builds you up. This is not just a matter of what I say but how I say it. I now have a redemptive agenda for talking about everything. I want all of our talk to be redemptively constructive, from the most mundane details to the huge life decisions. I never want my words to be an obstacle to the work God is doing. The words of an ambassador are always other- centered.

—Tim Lane & Paul Tripp in Relationships: A Mess Worth Making

 

My Response: Today I’ll work at making my listening and responding less me-centered, more you-centered.

 

Thought to Apply: Apt words have power to assuage the tumors of the troubled mind.—John Milton (English poet)

 

Adapted from Adapted from Relationships: A Mess Worth Making (New Growth Press, 2006) by permission. All rights reserved by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp and/or New Growth Press.

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Egalitarianism

[ih-gal’-ih-tayr-ee-uh-niz’-um]

(French egal, “equal”)

Theological position held by many Christians (contra complementarianism) believing the Bible does not teach that women are in any sense, functionally or ontologically, subservient to men. Women and men hold positions in society, ministry, and the family according to their gifts, not their gender. The principle of mutual submission teaches that husbands and wives are to submit to each other equally. Prominent egalitarians include Doug Groothuis, Ruth Tucker, William Webb, Gorden Fee, and Linda Belleville.

Does anyone have an opinion on this? As someone about to be married, what is your perspective on complementarianism /egalitarianism?  What advice can you give me?

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“Everyday” Doesn’t Mean “Insignficant”

Key Bible Verse: “What you say flows from what is in your heart.” (Luke 6:45). Bonus Reading: Matthew 12:33-37

Your everyday communication influences the shape, quality, and direction of your relationships. Every day your words give your relationships their tone. Every day you tell  people what you think of them, what you want from them, and what you’d like to enjoy with them.

But you don’t do this in grand moments of oratory. You do it in quick side comments in the bedroom as you get ready for work, at the curb as you hop into your car, in the kitchen as you grab a sandwich, over dessert at the local bistro, or in the family room during a commercial.

Because our talk lives in the world of the ordinary, it’s easy to forget its true significance. It’s easy to forget the impact our words have on every relationship. There has never been a good relationship without good communication. And there has never been a bad relationship that didn’t get that way in part because of something that was said.

Our ability to express ourselves verbally is anything but ordinary. It gets right to the heart of who God made us as our Creator, and how he is remaking us as our Savior. The Bible can help you diagnose where you are in your talk and how to get where you need to be.

—Tim Lane & Paul Tripp in Relationships: A Mess Worth Making

My Response: A recent casual comment of mine that threatened a relationship was …

Adapted from Adapted from Relationships: A Mess Worth Making (New Growth Press, 2006) by permission. All rights reserved by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp and/or New Growth Press.

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Consider the Problem

Key Bible Verse: Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs (Ephesians 4:29 NIV). Bonus Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:14-6:1

Every word an ambassador speaks is directed by the king’s interest and will. What we say must be driven by what God is seeking to accomplish in us and in the other person. God is intent on reconciliation. He is working in every situation and relationship to reclaim our wandering hearts. He wants to make us people who are more interested in what he wants for us than what we want for ourselves. He won’t relent until we are free from our slavery to an agenda of personal happiness.

God is calling us to speak in a way that has his reconciliation agenda in view. When we do, we can be confident that our words will produce a harvest of comfort, encouragement, hope, insight, unity, and joy, and that they will stimulate love.

An ambassador is always asking, “What is the problem at this moment?” Before I speak, I must think about what you are struggling with and what you most need. Do you need encouragement, comfort, hope, direction, wisdom, courage, rebuke, warning, forgiveness, patience, teaching, correction, thanks, insight, a job description, or something else? An ambassador’s words always address the person’s true need of the moment.

—Tim Lane & Paul Tripp in Relationships: A Mess Worth Making

My Response: Today I’ll shape my words to meet ____ at his/her current need.

Thought to Apply: Good words are worth much and cost little. —George Herbert (English cleric & author)

Adapted from Adapted from Relationships: A Mess Worth Making (New Growth Press, 2006) by permission. All rights reserved by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp and/or New Growth Press.

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A Mini-King or an Ambassador?

Key Bible Verse: He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him. … We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us (2 Corinthians 5:15, 20 NIV). Bonus Reading: Romans 14:7-9

A mini-king is always seeking to establish his will rather than submit to God’s will. He flatters his friend because he wants to be liked. He trims the truth to avoid conflict. He yells at his child about his messy room. Winning an argument is all he cares about. There’s no end to the battle of words when two mini-kings talk to each other! His words reflect the self-focused desires of his heart rather than God’s work of reconciliation.

An ambassador, on the other hand, is seeking to be part of what the King is doing. He does one thing only—represent. Every word he speaks is directed by the king’s interests and will. What he says is driven by what God is seeking to accomplish in him and in the other person.

Does that mean that an ambassador quotes Scripture incessantly or constantly points out the sin in others? Does it mean he can never talk about sports, the weather, or family schedules? Speaking as an ambassador isn’t about using biblical words; it’s about speaking with a biblical agenda.

—Tim Lane & Paul Tripp in Relationships: A Mess Worth Making

My Response: A self-promoting spin on my words that I should abandon is …

Thought to Apply: What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and to enjoy him forever. —Westminster Shorter Catechism

Adapted from Adapted from Relationships: A Mess Worth Making (New Growth Press, 2006) by permission. All rights reserved by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp and/or New Growth Press.

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Family Fractures

Key Bible Verse: How wonderful it is, how pleasant, when brothers live together in harmony! (Psalm 133:1). Bonus Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10

Beginning in the Garden of Eden, Satan has been the CEO of division, driving a wedge of separation between the Creator and his creation. But God so loved his created ones that he provided a way for the division to be mended through his Son, the CEO of unity. In the model prayer that Jesus taught his disciples (Matthew 6:9-13), the first phrase, “our Father,” identifies us as brothers and sisters, part of one family in Christ. When community among believers is working right, there’s nothing else as beautiful, pleasant, or divine. It honors God and blesses people.

While some measure of sibling rivalry is normal in families, as a dad, my heart is broken whenever my children fight with each other. I want the family to be in unity and to not be at odds with each other. Disagreements are okay, but when discussion turns into words of anger and hate, I’m dismayed and begin the discipline process if agreement and forgiveness don’t soon transpire. I can only imagine what our heavenly Father must feel when his children are at odds with one another. When we reaffirm in prayer that we are, indeed, children of our heavenly Father, this reminds us of our spiritual connection and responsibilities as family members.

—David A. Anderson in Gracism

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