Monthly Archives: April 2011

Conflict Resolution

Who enjoys conflict? For most of us the answer is a resounding no one. However, if we really don’t enjoy it, then we ought to know how to deal with it. For example, I do not enjoy fixing things around the house. I really am no good at it and often the situation ends up worse than when I started. I can’t avoid the problem though. In fact, if I do choose to avoid the problem, then all that happens is the problem gets worse. Conflict is going to happen. We are people created by God to have relationships with Him and with others. Relationships will almost always involve a form of conflict.

Now, I don’t believe our greatest need today as husbands, wives, children, students, or pastors is better communication skills. I believe our greatest need today is to understand how God has told us to handle conflict. Many people have helpful tips, but only God knows what we need for growth in Christ and stronger relationships with others.

Conflict Resolution is the topic for the month of May in the Youth Ministry. Quite frankly it could be the topic for the year and we would still need more to learn. I am really praying for God to teach us all how to understand conflict more Biblically. I will frequently be updating this with material on this topic. I will be referencing different resources as well.

Chances are, you and I were in some type of conflict today with another person (someone we probably care a lot about also). What was the root issue of the conflict? Did I handle the situation in a way that honors Christ? Is there something I can do to help avoid it next time? Is it still unresolved and influencing bitterness in me? Does it have an impact on other people in my life?

I hope this month’s topic will be helpful to you and your walk with Christ.

Peacemaker Ministries–Good website with lots of information

Relationships: A Mess Worth Making–A book written from the realistic perspective that conflict is an opportunity for growth.

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Family Ministry

I watched this and thought it was powerful. However, if true then what next?

A Place of Security

It has been quite a week in the Evansville area. As many of us look at the paper, the news, or even in our own backyards, we see the flooding that continues to devastate our communities. In fact, even as I write this, there is the threat of continued rain and rising waters. If the flooding weren’t enough, we seem to have continual tornado watches and warnings.

A few evenings ago, when a particular storm was approaching, the news had strongly encouraged residents to find shelter for fear of a tornado that could develop. A place of shelter for our family, and our neighbor’s family, this particular evening was in the basement of our home. In fact, when the storm had arrived and the winds began to grow very strong, our power was knocked out and it seemed like the roof of our house was about to come off. We all went to the basement and almost immediately the tension dropped and we were calm and having normal conversation. In the basement of our home you cannot hear what is going on outside. In fact, you almost forget there is even a storm going on outside.

As I was reading the Bible this morning I came across these verses from the book of Hebrews.

“So that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizidek (Hebrews 6:18-20).”

These verses reminded me this morning of the refuge I have in Jesus amidst the storm. These verses reminded me of hope that I have because of Jesus. Now, I am not just talking about a thunderstorm outside. What do we need hope from?

First, we need to recognize the storm. By this I am referring to my rebellion against a holy and righteous God. The Creator of the universe, and you and me, has every right and a responsibility to respond justly to my sin in judgment. This is the storm I refer to symbolically.

Second, we need to face the storm or seek refuge from it. The writer of Hebrews says we can flee for refuge “safety” if we hold fast “a strong grip” to the hope set before us (v 18). What is this hope? This hope is not a “what” but a “who.” Our hope is Jesus. Now Jesus doesn’t find me a shelter or a basement and hide down there with me! No, Jesus knows that the storm is coming because I have chosen to go my own way and not follow God’s ways. Jesus knows that the storm cannot be avoided. However, Jesus says He will go through the storm for me. I get safety because Jesus willing takes destruction. Jesus takes the cross and all the just wrath from the Father in my place.

Now the readers of this book would have understood the role of the high priest in the days of Israel. His role would have been to go before God in the Holiest of Holies. The priest would have represented the people before God. The priest would have sacrificed an offering for his sins and then for the sins of the people. The priests would continually do this year after year. Now the writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is our High Priest who goes behind the curtain and offers Himself as the sacrifice and no other sacrifice is necessary (vv 19-20).

In Jesus (His life, death, and resurrection) the storm has been dealt with. No, the air current didn’t move and the storm avoided, but Jesus our Savior and God took the storm for us. Now I have peace. I, like in the bottom of my basement, am not worried about the Day of Judgment and the storm that used to wage in my mind and heart. I have peace knowing the Lion has fought the battle and is victorious. Do you? Do you have a place of security? Do you have a “Person” of Security? Are you trusting in Jesus?

If you are interested in learning more about what that means, you might want to click the link The Story.

D3 Conference this Summer

We are excited to offer this opportunity to any student at Vann currently in the high school. This week is going to be an action-packed week complete with worship, fellowship, personal growth, and life-shaping opportunities. The four day event (June 27th-June 30th) will include general sessions led by Albert Mohler and Eric Bancroft, with worship led by Dave Hoffman. There will also be late night socials, small group devotionals, awesome team games, a concert with Grammy nominated Christian rap artist FLAME (A Boyce graduate and SBTS student), and a trip to Holiday World amusement park!

If you are a parent or guardian and know that your student IS planning to go, please contact me no later than May 15th. If you want to check it out on-line click this link D3 Conference.

Here is a short video highlighting some of the events of last years D3 Conference.

Youth Spring Jam

If you live with or know a student between the grades 7th through 12th, then you will want to encourage them to be at Vann Avenue this Saturday night, April 23rd from 6PM-10PM. We are going to have a great evening of pizza, dodgeball, and music. We will also be giving a couple gifts away through a drawing. We hope you will plan to be here. If you want a little more info, click the link…Youth Spring Jam.

Do I Look Like the Majority?

As we continue on Wednesdays through Crazy Love in the youth, we arrive at chapter 7. This is a challenging chapter where we are confronted with the question, “What am I doing right now that requires faith?” Am I living the comfortable Christian life? In speaking about the life Jesus calls us to Chan says, “This place of trust isn’t a comfortable place to be; in fact, it flies in the face of everything we’ve been taught about proper planning. We like finding refuge in what we already have rather than in what we hope God will provide. But when Christ says to count the cost of following Him, it means we must surrender everything.”

Broken People

I have recently started reading a book titled The Sacrament of Evangelism. In the book the author states, “The kingdom of God is made up of broken men and women mended by the love and mercy of God. If we deny the riches of His love in our own communities, we will be less likely to tell others about the grace of God. This grace will be so foreign to us that we will be unable to share it naturally. But if we have tasted the “perfect love that casts out fear” and are living in its light, then it will be hard to keep us quiet.”

This quote reminded me of this song. Whether we are headed to work, school, Southwest Ohio , or Haiti (where this video was shot), we head with a message. The message is about God’s love, through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus, that mends broken people back together who turn to Him. He has mended and continues to mend my life as follower of Jesus, husband to my wife, father to my children, and missionary to the world.

Have you experienced His grace? Are you living in its light? Have you told anyone recently about Jesus? Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Now What?

You might be asking yourself this question if you have been attending Vann’s recent revival meetings. This is a good question. In fact, asking this question doesn’t reflect poorly upon our speaker, Randy Chestnut, but positively. We believe when God communicates, graciously speaks to His children through His word by means of a man, the rightful response by His child is to ask “now what?”

How were you challenged this week? I want to offer some helpful, at least I hope helpful, tips as we continue to do life at Vann after the revival.

First, pray. Pray to your Father in heaven. Pray for a heart to respond rightly to the word He spoke to you this week. I would encourage you to write down in a journal a specific thought, reflection, or command that you remember stirring your heart. If you want to hear a message or all the messages again you can go to our website and click the media tab where some of the messages have been downloaded and all will be soon.

Second, talk. Talk with other believers who were here as well. Talk with them about what stirred their and your heart. I would encourage this to take place in groups or with just one other. You will encourage them in areas they may have not thought about and they will you as well. Wow does that please God! Letting others know how He is working in your life.

Third, share. Share with unbelievers what your God encouraged and challenged you with this week. Maybe you have a co-worker or a classmate that you can share just a thought. We know that God has created us for relationships. We know that God has restored our relationship with Him by faith in the crucifixion and resurrection of His Son, Jesus. If any relationship was worth talking about today, it should be this one. We will talk about what we are most amazed about.

This is not overly complicated. I hope this will help you as we all continue to do life and follow Jesus after the revival has ended.

“Let us lay hold upon Him and plead with Him to vindicate His own truth and the doctrines which are so dear to our hearts, that the church may be revived and masses of people may be saved…Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ prayer for true revival.”

You Don’t Want to Miss It!

I am really looking forward to Vann Avenue’s upcoming revival starting this weekend. I must be honest, that hasn’t always been the case. In fact, I have been a part of plenty of revivals in my past, that when the evangelist leaves, so does the church remaining evangelistic. It seems we put all our time and attention into one event instead of a lifestyle. A lifestyle that looks like the New Testament follower of Jesus.

Our speaker this week, Randy Chestnut, has been a model for me as to what it means to have a lifestyle of evangelism. In fact, it was under his leadership at North Dayton Baptist Church as Pastor when God saved Shannon and I. Randy has always demonstrated to me what it means to love people, the church, and to maintain a lifestyle of building relationships with people to share the good news of Jesus.

In fact, I have recently began reading a book that he recommended to me, The Externally Focused Church. In this book the author states, “Externally focused churches are internally strong, but they are oriented externally. Their external focus is reflected in those things for which they staff and budget. Because they engage their communities with the good works and good news of Jesus Christ, their communities are better places in which to live. These churches look for ways to be useful to their communities, to be  apart of their hopes and dreams. They build bridges to their communities instead of walls around themselves. They don’t shout at the dirty stream; they get in the water and begin cleaning it up…They ask, “Whose lives are different because of this church?”

It is my prayer and expectation that Vann Avenue will be internally stronger and willing to be more externally focused after having Randy with us this weekend and next week. You don’t want to miss it!!!!

Sunday Morning…9:30 Small Groups and 10:30 Worship

Sunday Night…6:00PM Worship (Youth come to Outreach Center at 5PM for food and conversation)

Monday Night…6:30PM Worship

Tuesday Night…6:30PM Worship

Wednesday Night…6:30PM Worship

Don’t Stop!

Are you tired? Are you getting to the point in your life where you may stop praying for that person or that situation? Let this encourage you. Keep praying, keep asking, keep going to the throne!