Month: June 2012

Fire Update – Part Two

We have a huge opportunity to bless our city and region this Friday and Saturday. Thanks to the tremendous generosity of an organization called Gleaning for the World, which is led by my friend Jonathan Falwell, we have four semi-trailers of relief supplies headed our way.  We will be getting bottled water, food, pet supplies, items for babies, blankets, some fresh produce, and personal toiletry items.

We will also be working closely with local relief groups, supplying them with anything they need. We are so thankful for local food banks and shelters who have done an amazing job the past week. We hope these incoming supplies will be a blessing to them, too.

We need help on Friday unloading these semi-trailers and help on Saturday from 9am to 4pm as we bless the thousands of people who have been scattered because of the evacuations. If you can help in any way on these two days, email Rina Thompson at rthompson@newlifechurch.org and let us know. Also, please help us spread the word about Saturday using your email contacts and by posting this on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks for all the prayers and encouragement and a big thank you, again, to Gleaning for the World and Jonathan Falwell for their kindness.

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Fire Update

First, I am so proud of the way our church has mobilized into our city to help during this fire storm. The offers continue to pour in by the hour for shelter, food, and donations. You are the church at its finest.

We have offered our campus to several local agencies, but right now, there is a lot of available space at local schools, especially since it is summer break. They have better shower and bath facilities, which makes sense for families who may need shelter for several days. We are more than ready to take in fire refugees, though.

We decided to go forward with Desperation, which starts Wednesday and ends Friday night. Most of them were already en route, when the fires turned suddenly toward our city. Our campus is safe from the flames and we will limit outside activities since the air quality is so poor. I also believe it will be powerful to have thousands of students here to pray for rain, plus our local hotels and restaurants will be blessed at a time when a lot of tourists are cancelling their trips to our city.

We will be working closely with many New Lifers who lost their homes last night and I will make you aware of any opportunities to serve them or our city. I am thankful there has been no loss of life and very few injuries. Our prayers are important now, more than ever. God is faithful to us even when circumstances are not what we had planned or imagined. Seems like someone spoke on this very subject at New Life last Sunday. Now we get to live it and believe it together.

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Conflict Resolution 101

 

An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city, and disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel. – Proverbs 18:19

Some of the best work our enemy does is an inside job. Christians tend to rally around one another when there is an outside attack or threat, but it seems we do not fare so well when the battle is amongst us. Where two or more people are gathered, trying to live life together, there is bound to be tension, hurt feelings, misunderstandings, poor communication, and what we call in the South, fussing.

But we can do better. We must do better. Here are some practical reminders to begin the journey of healing broken relationships and restoring the unity that is so critical for all of us.

1. Emails are the worst.

Please do not pound out a lengthy email and fire away at your assumed adversary. 80% of communication is non-verbal and your emotions and intent cannot be determined by reading words on a screen. What you meant and what is read are usually two different things. Trust me on this.

2. Talk when you are rested

Make sure you are not tired when you confront someone. For those of you with small children, this may mean about you have about a 30-second window for dialogue each day. Seriously, though, a good nights sleep always changes your perspective for the better and allows for those frothy emotions to simmer and settle a bit.

3. Leave room for enlightenment

I know this is a long shot, but could there be a slim chance you are the one who is wrong? I know you won’t believe me, but there was this one time, I was wrong and did not know it. Okay, actually, it is pretty common for me and probably for you, too. We can learn from every disagreement and sometimes, being “right” is not as important as we think. Relationships are hard to get and easy to lose.

4. Pray for God’s eyes

If we cannot see or imagine anything of worth in the other person, we are not seeing them as God does. Most of the time, people are hurtful and angry at us because of a wound that happened in their lives long before we met them. Give them grace and space. God is at work in them whether we can see it or not.

5. Ignoring it will not help

Half the world’s population are introverts and usually get stomach pains when reading these kind of blogs. Conflict is something they tend to avoid like left over sushi in the fridge. But, the Scriptures are clear, we must go to our brother if we know there is something wrong in the relationship. Avoid passive aggressive behaviors like blog posts, facebook rants and phone calls to your “prayer” partner. Follow the above steps and then initiate a meeting. The meeting should be face to face if possible, but a phone call to someone a distance away is also good. Use Skype or facetime so you can see each other.

Unity is a powerful force. With it, we can do most anything. Without it, we are defeated. Relationships are worth the struggle. In fact, most sincere, long time friendships were forged after two mature people decided to talk to one another instead of hide from one another.

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