This is part of a series of posts aimed at supporting and encouraging the volunteers of Lafayette Community Church.
What an incredible Sunday we experienced last week! Not only did we get the weekend started right with our Volunteer Refresh event on Saturday evening, but the whole weekend we were blessed to have Brian Fraaza and his band with us.
It was also a great blessing to have Greg Shackleford, a great friend of mine and a founding member of this church, joining us this weekend as a part of Brian’s band. I also want to recognize Kelsey and Ben who drove down from Kalamazoo with Brian and Greg to bless us with their musical talents.
All in all, I was personally quite refreshed by the weekend and I’m glad they all were here.
If you didn’t get to hear Brian this weekend, I want to draw your attention to his website at http://brianfraaza.com where you can hear his stuff and buy a CD or two.
As far as the message, I addressed another difficult concept when it comes to handling conflict. In fact, it’s the concept that we probably get wrong the most in Christian circles. It’s the concept that when discussing the issues in a conflict, I can be 100% honest and 100% respectful at the same time.
Often, we get ourselves into a mindset that either I will say something hurtful or I need to keep my mouth shut, but that’s a fool’s choice. According to the researchers in “Crucial Conversations” and indeed according to the Bible itself, there is always the possibility to speak the truth and show love.
That’s the concept we addressed. How do I speak the truth in love?
Well, the only problem is that the Bible tells us to speak the truth in love, but it doesn’t tell us how to speak the truth in love. However, there are a few hints in Ephesians 3 and 4 that help us get the framework in which speaking the truth in love can happen.
- First of all, we need to understand that being gracious to others is possible by God’s power.
- Secondly, we need to understand that handling conflict is a non-negotiable for believers. Those who claim to follow Jesus are part of a family that is founded on ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism, ONE God, ONE Father. Ephesians 4 calls us to “make every effort” to maintain the “unity of the Spirit.” In other words, we have no excuse to let conflict go.
- Thirdly, we need to remember that God has given special, unique grace to every believer. Each believer has something special to offer, and we don’t grow unless all of us offer our gifts to each other.
- Finally, it’s in the context of “each one doing his part” that Paul uses the phrase “speak the truth in love.” Therefore, in some measure, the truth we each need to speak to each other is a truth that is uniquely mine to see, and by extension, there is a truth that God has revealed to you that I haven’t been able to see.
The first two points remind us that as Christians we have waived our right to keep silent during conflict, and as Christians we have God’s power to avoid speaking words of violence, but the last two points hit us where we are most uncomfortable. Christians believe that God’s Word reveals the ultimate truth and that truth is not relative to different people. Therefore, Christians can be the most contentious and “pigheaded” people in the world because of our claim to “know the truth.” However, even though I still believe the Bible reveals the total truth of God and that truth is not relative, I also believe the Bible is teaching that each individual has a unique contribution to make toward the “speaking the truth in love.”
Let me be as clear as I can about this: We cannot grow unless we are willing to offer our perspective to others, to receive the perspective of others, and to do it all graciously and lovingly.
Conflict is simply one opportunity to do this free exchange of perspective and therefore, conflict is one opportunity to grow.
So what was the principle? Here you go: Principle “G” — Graciously Get it All Out.
I need to find a way to graciously communicate to you everything in me that’s relevant to this situation, this moment, and our relationship—everything relevant to this, now, and us. Plus, I need to find a way to graciously draw out from you everything in you that’s relevant to this, now, and us.
That last bit, drawing truth out of someone else in a gracious way, is what we will be talking about next Sunday.
- I find it so difficult to be gracious during conflict when the person I’m dealing with continues to be unresponsive, and continues to do the things that upset me in the first place.
- I need to learn to not let fear take over and clamp my mouth shut, but lovingly respond with truths…
- I am going to print off Ephesians 4:1-2 and place it in a spot at work that I can view during the day. Our calling is love, peace and love. Period. In all circumstances without excuses or earthly justice, simply peace and love. Pretty simple.
- Today’s message really spoke to me. – graciously getting it all out. Truth & God’s love is what I need to give.
- Why is driving so conflicting? Run them over or/and speed away!!! LOL Eph. 4:3 “When God gifts are unleashed… truth in love everyone GROWS!”
- Wow, these messages are getting harder & harder to hear, very convicting but refreshing to realize new ways/approaches on how to handle conflict.
What are we looking toward in the next few weeks? What is God moving us toward in the next few months? Here are a few things.
The Do List
Ladies’ Crafty Day // Socializing and Service Saturday @ 10am
Here are the details on facebook!
Photo Directory is finally coming
Many of you through the years have been asking for a photo directory and we are finally ready to start putting that together, here’s how it’s going to work:
- Alicia Allen, who also owns Justified Studio here in Lafayette, will be taking appointment signups for a one-shot family photos. Pictures will happen right at the church building after a service starting November 4 unless you want a cooler background or environment for the photo.
- She’s going to give the digital file to me and I will put it on our password-protected church membership website with a cool interface to help us all put faces to names better.
- Then, if you want to purchase prints of that photo, or have other photos taken, you can arrange that with her directly.
Election Day Communion
On Election Day, November 6, at 7pm, I will be attending a communion service at Evangelical Covenant Church that is a community-wide effort being put together by a number of different churches to affirm that however the elections turn out, we know already who our King is! I’d love it if we could have a strong representation from LCC to affirm our unity with Christ’s body here in Lafayette. Here are a couple links to give you more details:
- http://electiondaycommunion.org/ — the official website for the movement
- http://teammglpw.org/node/110 — the local description of the event
TEAMM Mini Worship Conference
On November 10, at 1pm, TEAMM the local church association is sponsoring a mini conference and training session for worship leaders, musicians, pastors, and sound techs in Lafayette. I’ve personally put a lot of work into this event, so I would like to see some good LCC representation there. If you are involved in our worship ministry in any fashion, or if you are interested in the details and logistics of putting together a Sunday worship service, I think you should join me for that afternoon.
It will be taking place at First Assembly of God on Beck Lane, and it will run from 1pm till 5:30pm.
Coaching in 20 minutes or less
I’ve been going through this coaching material with a number of people recently, and it seems to be making quite a difference in people’s lives. In fact, I’ve realized that it’s the kind of thing that can be done really effectively even with short coaching meetings. If you want to be coached, but you don’t think you have the time for it, let me know. We can work something out where we can do a coaching appointment in just 20 minutes over the phone or by Skype.
I’m making myself available to you especially because as leaders and helpers in the ministries of LCC, you are on the front lines and I want you to know you are supported.
Finally, I want to point you toward our experimental online prayer request board. It’s found at http://lafayettecc.org/members. You’ll need an account to log in, and if you aren’t part of our Prayer Team, you’ll only be able to see the public requests and your own requests. Let me know if you have suggestions for how it should work or if you’d like to join our Prayer Team.