Topic | Relationships

Posts Categorized: Relationships

Why Christians Hate Each Other

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Firing Shots at Fellow Christians I remember this time when this friend of mine had a disagreement that turned into a fierce argument. We both shot at each other with bursts of sarcasm attempting to win what had moved from discussion into a contest. Problem was, this sad and disturbing display was semi-public, it was at the place where we worked and all around us were people who we had been witnessing to for some time. One of them addressed us in shock, “The two of you are fighting?!” That gave both of us pause, we stopped the verbal and. . .
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Know Who Your Friends & Your Enemies Are {A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life}

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Waging War Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?—James 4:1 Life together is difficult. I doubt many people will argue with that. We mount wars against each other when we should be blessed peacemakers. If we stop for a moment we can probably all think of an example of this in our own experience. The odd thing is that we keep looking for a serene existence all the while being led by our own desires to trample the perfect commands of God and grind. . .
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Skinflint Stewardship

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Controlling Grip Maybe you’ve seen something like this: someone holds out a twenty dollar bill, but when the other person starts to pull it away, the first person holds on to it with a death grip. They only let go after an imposing glare or a final meaningful remark. The point of such an act is about control. Even when the money finally leaves their hand, the hovering presence of the giver still follows the money around, breathing down the neck of the receiver. This cash comes with strings attached. Scripture tells us plainly that the borrower is the slave. . .
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Staying Put: Sticking it Out When the Going Gets Tough

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The average American moves every five years. That’s a number that has stayed fairly stable for awhile. It includes everyone from the elderly who are not as prone to moving to the 18–24 year olds who are moving every year for college or first jobs or exploring. My experience in witnessing families around me is that this is fairly accurate. Whole families, all the pets and kids and stuff, out of here and on to there. New job, new church, new friends. Wipe your feet and move on down the road. The moves are financial, personal, going to something, going. . .
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What do I say to someone who is dying?

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Over the years, people have come to me about how best to approach someone with the gospel who is dying, be it a friend or neighbor or family member. This is usually a situation where the ailing person has kept their distance in the relationship and/or has been antagonistic when it comes to “talking about religion.” Sometimes it all comes down to the Christian being shy or feeling inadequate to present or argue about their faith in Christ which they desire to share. Time is now running out and so they ask me, “What can I do?” The Heidelberg Maneuver. . .
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Lessons in Love: It’s Hard

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I am writing this on the day before Valentine’s Day. As do many of you, the holiday makes us think of those we love, have loved, or wish we could love (I’m trying to cover as many of the bases as possible here). However, I was thinking along different lines the other day. I was thinking about how we learn about and express our love for others. Learning to Love There are some people for whom loving others comes very easy. We all know people like this. They have open and overflowing hearts that express love freely and joyfully to. . .
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Being Gracious on Non-Essential Issues

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How can we maintain a gracious attitude toward those we have disagreements with about non-essential issues: breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding, home birth vs. hospital birth, vaccinate vs. not-vaccinate,  homeschool or Christian school, organic vs. not-organic. Families have strong opinions about these and other topics. How can we keep these things from becoming divisive? How do we keep from creating laws for each other where God allows freedom?

The Merits of Saying Nothing

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A ten year old boy with a new pocketknife takes it out of his pocket many times throughout the day for no specific reason. He isn’t necessarily planning mischief, but after admiring it and waving it about for the fifteenth time, something ends up getting cut. You are that ten year old boy. Your tongue is that pocketknife. You don’t plan to say something hurtful or thoughtless or dumb, but as the words come tumbling out, some of them get away from you. The worst part is that in many cases there was no reason for you to open your. . .
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The Impossibility of Lonely Christmases

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Lonely Carols There is no better way to respond to Christ’s birth than with singing and over the centuries the Church has amassed a wealth of carols and hymns that is the envy of the world. This has led to all sorts of crooners and warblers without a religious bone in their body recording Christmas albums, interspersing sentimental seasonal fluff alongside forthright carols of Christian joy, topped off with an original or two to try to make their collection distinct. Sometimes this results in a beautiful voice singing beautiful truth, in a plundering-the-Egyptians, blind-squirrel-finding-a-nut sort of way. Other times, we’re. . .
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Parenting Older Children

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How can you help your children move through different stages of life? Do you need to think about a longterm plan when your kids are still young? How do you know when your kids are ready to be released from being parented like a child? What should your relationship with your kids be like after they leave the home and get married?

Contention: Poison in the Field of Righteousness

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Growing Righteousness Where does righteousness grow? This is an important question for everyone who wants to reap a harvest of righteousness like James 3:18 talks about. But a harvest is an outcome and not every field contains the right kind of soil to produce that outcome. Many Christians sow seeds of righteousness only to find that the expected harvest never comes. James addresses this frustrating state of affairs by reminding us that soil matters just as much as seed, that righteous convictions must be combined with peaceful wisdom in order to produce fruit. Christians who share the same high opinion. . .
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Basement Tape #174: Speaking into Each Other’s Lives

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Audio: Speaking into Each Other's Lives (Basement Tapes 174)

“But exhort one another daily,”

“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers,”

“Warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.”

Join us as we have a conversation about the biblical imperative to speak into each other’s lives.

15 Things to Remember When You’re Shattered

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My congregation, Saint Peter Presbyterian Church, had a split ten years ago. It was a sad and ugly affair that hurt deeply and estranged friends from one another. Suspicion, doubt, and anger, permeated our days while sleep evaded our nights. Food had little taste and music did little to comfort. As the Psalmist well said, “weeping endured the night.” We were in a season of great distress and sadness and even when I, as an individual, might succeed in “encouraging yourself in the Lord” I still suffered for others who struggled on wondering just what had happened. Not only did. . .
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Hospitality Tips

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Hospitality Tips (wecome mat with slippers)

How can you make your home into a place where people, even your own children, want to be? How do you keep people prioritized over stuff? Are there biblical ideas that can be applied to how we practice hospitality? Steve and Kara share some things they have learned that help them to be a blessing to the people who come into their home.

Pursuing a Shared Life

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Growing in More than Knowledge When we live in an education-centric society, we tend to see the world through the lens of growing in knowledge and will filter our needs through an educational process. We look at the things we want to grow in, or the parts of our lives that we have a deficiency in, and we begin to seek out how we can better educate ourselves on this particular deficiency. I remember when our oldest son was just a few months old, I wanted to learn about what it’s like to have family worship. For me, this meant. . .
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What if You Died Today?

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The Business of Dying Warning! This article is pretty boring. But that is not to say in the same breath that it isn’t vital. Many of the important things in life are a matter of diligence, being consistent, by nature are routine and are not—how shall we say—the spice of life. But speaking of life, this article is about Your Contingency Plan when your life is over. Recently I had a dear friend, a young friend die suddenly. He was married, with a house full of children, good job, great church, and then he was gone. I think that in. . .
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Showing Hospitality to Strangers

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An Inhospitable Place I had a dream the other night. This isn’t a unique occurrence for me but my dreams usually tend to mirror my conscious fears—something disastrous happening to my children for example. This dream was different. I dreamed that I was in a strange city. I’ve traveled a lot around the country, so this would normally not mean much. However, this was a foreign city. More specifically, I am guessing that it was a city either in the middle east, north Africa, or the region known as Eurasia. It was predominantly Muslim, and non-English speaking. I knew nothing. . .
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What to Do When Sheep Act Like Wolves

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Are They Sheep or Wolves? It’s easy to distinguish in our minds between wolves and sheep: Wolves are the ones attacking and eating sheep, sheep are the ones eating grass and listening to the shepherd’s voice. It becomes complicated though when we have to reckon with the reality of wolves in sheep’s clothing. Having been whacked a time or two or twelve by the shepherd’s rod, a wolf covers himself for a time in behaviors and actions designed to help him blend in with the sheep so that he can devour them on the sly. Thankfully, shepherds know to watch. . .
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Is Your Communication Style Killing Your Marriage?

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Identifying Marital Communication Problems I’ve been reading a lot recently from the writings of Malcolm Gladwell, whose books I have found fascinating and I highly recommend them to you. In his book Blink, as part of a larger discussion of how we know what we know seemingly instinctively, he wrote about a psychologist who studied the communication styles of married couples. He placed them in a room and asked them to talk for thirty minutes about any topic that had caused them tension as a couple. He videotaped and analyzed the interaction repeatedly looking for a large number of specific,. . .
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