How To Get Along With Others

How To Get Along With OthersJohn Maxwell famously said, “The entire world—with one minor exception—is made up of other people.” That “one minor exception”? It’s the person staring at you in the mirror every morning! Obviously learning how to get along with all the “others” in the world is hugely important.

It’s even more important for those who call themselves Christians.

The Bible makes it quite clear that people watch how Christians treat one another to see if the message they preach is one worth living. And Jesus told one of His most well-known stories to make the point that all of the Bible is fulfilled in just two things: (1) Loving God and (2) Loving others.

 

To live above with the God that we love,
Oh, wouldn’t that be glory!
But to live below with the saints that we know,
Well, that’s a different story!

The Bible says a lot about “one another.” In fact, that phrase is used nearly 60 times in the New Testament! Not only is there much that the Scripture has to say to us about getting along with one another, but most of what was written has been confirmed by modern psychology.

Join me this Sunday at Calvary Assembly of God as we begin a new series called How To Get Along With Others. We’ll be learning some practical training along with biblical insights to help us excel at this vitally important life skill.

You can find directions to our church here, and if you can’t join us in person, be sure to tune in to our Periscope broadcast (follow me @craigtowens to be notified when the broadcast starts).

Brain-Savvy Leaders (book review)

Brain-Savvy LeadersThe human brain is an amazingly complex invention that only Someone like the Creator God could have designed! The brain plays a huge part in our day-to-day interactions with other people, so Charles Stone has given us a great resource in Brain-Savvy Leaders: The Science of Significant Ministry.

In the introduction, Charles explains the purpose of this book: “By intersecting biblical insights with insights about the brain, we can develop new learnings and language to help us become better leaders, like actually listening to a board member disagree with you rather than becoming defensive and cutting him or her off.”

Charles Stone brings a unique combination of mechanical engineering, pastoral studies, and his own family’s personal journey with a daughter going through multiple brain surgeries. This diverse background was very readable for me, as I believe it will be for anyone who believes that the Creator of the brain is the best One to describe its operational aspects.

Because we learn best using both our logical (left) brain and our creative (right) brain, Charles presents all of his concepts with logical words, descriptive pictures, and memorable acronyms for each of the main sections. Charles presents the technical information in a way that a non-medical layman can comprehend, and in a way that will be easy to apply in both your personal and corporate roles.

Although the book has “leaders” in its title, Brain-Savvy Leaders is a good read for anyone who would like to step up their interpersonal skills.

I am an Abingdon Press reviewer.

Embracing Conflict

Come alongsideA quick survey… Please raise your hand if any of these pertain to you:

  • Have you ever had a disagreement with someone?
  • Have you had a disagreement with someone you love?
  • Have you had a disagreement with someone you love, who also called themselves a Christian?

If you raised your hand for these questions, you join 100% of my congregation who answered “yes” to all three.

When we are in close proximity to anyone, there will be conflict. In fact, close proximity usually leads to more conflict, because closeness increases friction. For a Christian the issue is not if we will have conflict with others in the Church, but how we will navigate and resolve these conflicts.

The Apostle Paul wrote a thank you letter to the church at Philippi, in which he speaks in some of the most glowingly loving terms of any of his letters. Clearly this was a group of people close to his heart. So when he heard about the conflict between two ladies in this congregation, he took time to address it in his letter—

I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. (Philippians 4:2)

We don’t know why these ladies were arguing, but notice that Paul doesn’t take sides. He simply says “I please with Euodia AND I plead with Syntyche.” The word for plead means someone who comes alongside to help. In using this terminology, Paul gives us an important principle…

We can come alongside those in conflict without taking sides with either one of those in conflict.

In the next verse Paul implores the rest of the church to join him in the alongside-ness

And I exhort you too, my genuine yokefellow, help these two women to keep on cooperating…. (v. 3, Amplified Bible)

In other words, Paul wants the rest of the church to embrace these at-odds sisters too, without taking sides. He addresses the members of the church as yokefellow. It’s not a word we use too often today (although it is still in the dictionary), but it paints a crystal clear picture of our role. Here’s what we CAN’T do as yokefellow:

  • Look away
  • Mind our own business
  • Hope the situation will work itself out
  • Try to navigate around the problem

Instead we embrace the conflict by embracing those in the conflict. We help them to cooperate and to work in harmony in the Lord (v. 2, Amplified Bible). It’s our responsibility to help maintain the bonds of peace, so that the Body of Christ can grow in a way that is healthy and God-honoring.

Do you know someone in conflict right now? Are you in the conflict yourself? Ask God to show you how you can come alongside—not take sides—those in this conflict to bring about peace.

Please join me next Sunday as I continue this series of message on Life Together.

Get Some Face Time

Face timeThe Apostle John closed his second and third letters very similarly—

I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete. (2 John 12; 3 John 13)

John didn’t use his advanced years, or the difficulty and expense of travel, or the busyness of his schedule, or even the inconvenience of trying to work something into someone else’s schedule as an excuse to stay home and fire off letters.

Certainly letters have their value, but they are a one-way talking TO people. Personal visits are face to face time. They are a two-way talking WITH people. And this, John says, leads to joy for both parties!

How many excuses could I use today?

  • My schedule is so busy
  • Technology is very convenient to use
  • I’m not sure if they have the time
  • I really don’t have that much to say

Can I paraphrase John’s desire in a modern setting?

I have much to say to you, but I do not want to use Facebook or Twitter or texting. Instead I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.

Make some time for face time, and you’ll be increasing both your joy and the joy of your friend as you talk WITH each other.

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