Posts Tagged ‘Conflict Resolution’

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Enemy Behind the Lines- Self-Righteousness

July 16, 2009

In our series on the Enemy Behind the Lines, we have explored a number of enemies to our personal walk with Christ.  These enemies behind the line refer to those sometimes silent, stealthy that can undermine the efforts made in our daily walk with Christ.

Take a moment to read Romans 1: 28-32.  In this passage, chance are, you find yourself nodding in agreement.  It is pretty easy find some sense of comfort or a sense of the next Enemy Behind the Linesself-righteousness.

“Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, fighting, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip.  They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They are forever inventing new ways of sinning and are disobedient to their parents.”  Romans 1: 29-30

You and I both know these “type of people.”  You know the ones.  Those who are perpetually lost and seem to be devoid of God’s hand in their life.  As it states in Romans 1, God, at some point, will leave those to their own desires after denying the Truth for so long.

I found myself nodding in agreement with Paul as he spoke of these people.  I kept nodding until I began Chapter 2!

Someone has once coined the definition of a jury as: “twelve people chosen to decide who has the best lawyer.” The Jews were generally a proud sort of people, that looked with a great deal of scorn and contempt upon the poor Gentiles, as not worthy to be set with the dogs of their flock; while in the mean time they were themselves just as bad.  Paul shifted from talking about the Gentiles to talking about the Jews who had the law and still disobeyed.  The Jews, like those of us who are Christian, know that God will judge according to the Truth, not just interpretation.  We must be careful not to point out the wrongs in everyone else’s life or be so eager to condemn those who are not Christian.  (There is a difference in holding a fellow Christian accountable and condemning someone who is already lost and we will discuss that in one of the next posts.)

Many of the Jews seemed to have felt and acted in a similar manner to many of us who are Christians today.

Romans 2: 3  “Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?”

These two verses fit the saying, “Mercy for me and justice for everyone else.”   Paul takes some time to compare the two presumptions that Christians could make about the judgment of God

i.      First: We will escape the judgment of God

ii.      Second: God is kind to those who love him so we will merely get by

In Enemy Behind the Lines- Self-Righteousness Part II, we will continue with the remaining part of Romans 2 and delve further into this concept of Self-Righteousness in the Christian mindset.  Paul brings out three attributes of God’s riches: kindness, forbearance and patience.  All three are to complete a specific mission on Christ’ behalf.  Be sure to join us in this series on enemies behind the line.

If you liked this post, you might want to check out the others in this series:

Guilt

Fear Part I

Fear Part II

Unwillingness to Change

Unforgiveness

Regret

Self-Reliance

The Lie

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

Christ-like Leadership, Christian coaching, Christian Leader, Christian Leadership, Christian perspectives, church leadership, Christian men, Christian warrior, Christian Home Leadership, Christian father, Christian husband, Christian dad, Christian family leadership, Christian children, Enemy Behind the Lines

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Enemy Behind the Lines: Fear

April 3, 2009

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear.”
H.P. Lovecraft

Here is an interesting list for you to consider:

  1. The number 13
  2. Air
  3. Body Odors
  4. Dentists
  5. Dust

So what do all of these have in common?  They are all listed as diagnosed phobias.  The list of diagnosed phobias was pretty exhaustive and surprising.

Alektorophobia.  That is the phobia I have.  Pretty terrifying and to save you some time researching, let me define it for you.  I have a gripping fear of chickens, well, roosters primarily.  Oh, and I have another one, Coulrophobia.  Again, another serious phobia I have of clowns.  I know you are laughing to yourself, but you have them too.  Those silent, hidden fears that keep you caged in yourself.

I found it interesting that when trying to determine the total number of phobias, the answer was quite simple, “there are as many phobias as there are things and situation.”  When I reread over Genesis, I read about the numerous items God created, but found it interesting that fear was not one of them.  So when did fear become so common and accepted as something just to name and accept.  Who comes up with all of these names for the million phobias listed? I would daresay Adam had the easier job naming all of the animals.

Why is fear considered an enemy behind the line?  Interestingly enough, even when you would describe yourself as fearless, you truly are not.  I found this to be true personally.  Granted, I have a distorted fear of clowns and roosters, I thought when it came to faith, I could be considered as fearless.   After comparing myself to some of the people in Scripture, I am not that fearless.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them,  – Acts 16:25

After reading about Paul and Silas singing in the midst of facing almost certain execution… painful execution, I can’t really say I am all that fearless.  Of all of the emotions and all of the possible behaviors to display in a time like that, I can’t say that I I would have necessarily chosen to sing hymns to God first.  That, in my humble opinion, is pretty fearless. In today’s environment, we need more of that type of fearlessness.

Most of us, however, would recognize our other fears or phobias.  Those who are afraid of heights stay away from high places.  Others who are afraid of flying don’t even go to http://www.travelosity.com to price flights, it’s just not an option to consider.  And those of us who are afraid of clowns, we steer clear of circuses.  We are able to embrace the fears we know about, but not the fears that are “behind the line.”

If I asked you to speak to a group of people regarding your testimony or to simply share the Gospel with them, unless you were agorophobic, you would not have a tremendous problem with it right?  Chances are, the group I assembled would be somewhat believers ready to receive or at least listen to what you had to say right?  Let’s change the situation.  What if I were to ask you to stand up in a crowded movie theater before a movie started share the Gospel?  Ok, that feeling you just felt in the pit of your stomach, that is the enemy behind the lines… fear.

We all have it, fear of failure, embarrassment, humiliation, or rejection.  This fear is the fear crippling many Christians, especially Christian Men in today’s society.  As a man, it is easy to be the bold one in business, the “take no prisoners” type.  Personally, at one time in my life, I felt great pride in taking down an opponent whether it be a competitor in business or simply someone who, in my opinion, needed to be put in their place.  It was almost second nature.  The tide has shifted though for those of us who have submitted ourselves to Christ.

There is a fear infested in us that lies dormant, it seems, until we commit ourselves to Christ and take up His armor and mission rather than our own?  Suddenly, your ability to “take down enemies” seems to be nonexistent when it comes to defending your faith.  What am I speaking of?  Let’s say someone in your office speaks about women in a lewd and disgraceful manner.  Will you stand up and tell them that it is no longer acceptable to speak in those ways about women?  Ok, if you answered yes, let’s take it one step further.  If you were asked why the sudden change, would your answer be, “Because I have committed myself to Christ and we are to love and honor our wives as Christ loves the church, not speak about them so harshly.”  Yeah, not as easy.

Fear cripples most of us and we do not know how infested our camp is with fear until we are faced with one of these moments.  Most of the time, myself included, we back down and simply retreat thinking there will be another day to fight.  I have thought the same, but have been asked by Christ through my spirit, “What if the battle you needed to fight was today?”  That’s a hard question to answer.

Paul and Silas may have had some fear about singing hymns while in prison, but then again, what did they have to lose?  Chances are, they were told they would be executed or beaten.  They had a bodily threat where today, most of us only have a threat to our egos.  Paul and Silas had a greater fear though: the fear of the Lord.  They knew who was truly in control and submitted themselves to Christ again, in the midst of their fear.  Sometimes, that is all Christ is wanting from us, simple submission.  I am quite sure that as these two men sang, their fear began to subside back into the darkened corners of the prison where it belonged.

As a result of their prayers and praise through their fear, a Phillippian jailer was converted.  Their choice to overcome their fear through fervent prayer and worship saved not only the jailer, but his family.  What a testimony we have in this passage!  As a Christian Warrior, we are called to be bold and fearless in Christ.  Greater is he that we serve than he that comes against us.  If we all were to realize this slippery enemy in our own camp, perhaps Christ could use us more to reach out to the lost men we are constantly working with, speaking to, working out with, coaching with, etc.  Could you imagine the impact it would have on the Kingdom?

If you liked this post, you might want to check out the others in this series:

Unforgiveness

Regret

Self-Reliance

The Lie

Have new posts delivered right to your email, click here.
Subscribe to Christian Men-Christian Warriors by Email
Share/Save/Bookmark

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

urch Development as a Church Consultant.

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Enemy Behind the Line-Unforgiveness

March 20, 2009


Continuing our series on the “Enemy Behind the Line“, I wanted to spend some time on one I have struggled with and continue to struggle with: unforgiveness.  Read this Scripture Passage from Luke 15:

“The son got up and went to his father. While he was yet a long way off, his father saw him. The father was full of loving-pity for him. He ran and threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am not good enough to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to the workmen he owned, ‘Hurry! Get the best coat and put it on him. Put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet. 23 Bring the calf that is fat and kill it. Let us eat and be glad. 24 For my son was dead and now he is alive again. He was lost and now he is found. Let us eat and have a good time.’

While pondering today’s Scripture Reading, I noticed one line of this story I had never really taken into account.  Of course, we all know the story of the two sons, one son who works the fields while the other one spends his inheritance on matters of the world and after finding himself with the pigs, decides to go back to his father for forgiveness.  You know this story as do I and most us focus on the wonderful correlation to how the father welcomed his son home regardless of his faults and how Christ does that to all of us when we turn back to him.

When reading this passage this morning, I was struck by one line, look below:    

The son got up and went to his father. While he was yet a long way off, his father saw him.

Notice the part I underlined.  These four words brought a totally new perspective for me to this story.  I felt the Holy Spirit inspire me to ask myself the question, “How did the father see his son from afar if he wasn’t already looking for him?”  Of course with my mind, I began racing to the mental theater in my mind now seeing a piece of the play I had not paid any attention to before.  Rather than the father simply seeing his son by happen-chance, I now see the father pacing on the hill, constantly looking for his lost son to return home and when seeing him, being filled with joy and then running to embrace him.

This has helped me better understand something about Christ that I have always been told and an attribute that Scripture supports.  We all use the passage in Revelation about Christ knocking on the door and “letting him in to dine with us,” but isn’t it a comforting revelation for all of us who strive toward a more Christ-like life to know in our heart of hearts that when we have strayed from the right path, Christ, like the father in the parable, is pacing on a hill looking for us to return?  And it’s not like He waits for us to run to Him and throw ourselves before his feet and beg for forgiveness, the simple act of turning to Him and taking the first step almost forces the heart of Christ to run to us where we are.  Now that is a Saviour!  Unlike those we live with day in and day out who wait for us to approach them wtih an apology, and at times revel in our graveling for their forgiveness, Christ waits to run to us.

I think we all to often forget that forgiveness is part of the requirement of us.  It is very easy for me to sit and brew over something.  Although I say I have forgiven that person, in actuality, I have not.  Unfortunately, I believe this is a battle many of us have to fight.  One simple foothold Satan can use in our lives is that of unforgiveness.  It is the seed of so many thorns in our lives that will choke the Word being scattered in our lives by Christ.  It starts as a simple vine, then eventually, it will take over.  It is one of the enemies behind the line.  As a Christian man or Christian Leader, you have to uproot this weed before it is too late.

One final thought for you to ponder: Do you think it is ironic that the father in this story was pacing on a hill looking for his lost son?  I can’t see anything Christ doing as being simply ironic, but rather, divinely inspired, only because He still paces on a hill waiting for us.  The hill is called Calvary!

So if you are a father or in a leadership position, let’s try to remember to be actively looking for opportunities to forgive and embrace those who change their hearts…

If you liked this post, you might want to check out the others in this series:

Unforgiveness

Self-Reliance

The Lie

Have new posts delivered right to your email, click here.
Subscribe to Christian Men-Christian Warriors by Email
Share/Save/Bookmark

Subscribe//

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

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Leading through Turbulence- Moses

November 7, 2008

untitledIf there were ever a sign that the Israelite nation should have seen after crossing the Red Sea, I would imagine it should have looked something like this sign!  Granted, they had just witnessed a miracle of miracles and been heroically saved from the grips of their enemy Pharaoh, but the days of true trial were ahead.

In many situations, as a leader, you may identify with Moses.  What would some of the similarities be?  As yourself these questions:

1.  Have you ever been forced to lead a group of people who constantly grumbled and complained about everything?

2. Have you ever led, convinced you were doing God’s will, but couldn’t help fighting the feeling that you were passing around the same mountain?

3.  Did you ever get tired of constantly having to prove your leadership and discernment to a group of people you were leading?  Only to have to do it again?  and again?  and yet again?

Well, if you answered yes to even one of the above, you can identify with Moses.  Let’s not forget that Moses was no spring chicken when God called him to this great task of freedom.  Most 80 year olds today enjoy peaceful retirement, but Moses was told to take off his sandals and put on his walking shoes.  If ever there were a leader who could identify with leading during a turbulent time, it would be Moses.

I could not help but to hear a hint of joy in President Bush’s voice the other night during his congratulatory speech to the new president elect.  If I were in W’s shoes, I cannot say that I would not also be overjoyed with the idea of no longer having to lead a country of grumbling people and constantly live in the state of “never doing anything right.”  In the span of 8 years, Bush has had to lead a country who has witnessed a horrific attack on New York, a Stock Market crash (after 9/11), the burst of mortgage growth and the housing market, the fall of the mortgage industry and housing market, national banks failing left and right, two wars on two different fronts, need I go on?  That list is enough to wear on any leader.  So what are we to do if we find ourselves leading during the most turbulent of times?

If we were to follow Moses, there are a couple of simple ideas to implement for success.

moses-holding-up-his-arms-during-the-battle1.  Quiet time with God–  If you were to read of the chronicles of Moses, you would find there are numerous references to Moses ascending to the mountain of God.  In fact, Moses is known as the “friend of God” because of his humility and his focus on God.  For Moses, I would imagine this was one of the habits that kept him on track and not wanting to simply violate one of the commandments and be done with the whole grumbling tribe.  Through his quiet time with God, Moses was able to discern his direction, receive blessing, and get his focus back onto God’s plan.  What a simple habit that most of us look over due to the business we call life.

2.  Persistence with the Plan–  Moses did not know where the Promise Land was exactly, but he did know that God would lead them there.  That is what Moses focused on.  When others were wanting to turn back and give up, Moses stuck to the plan-God’s Providence.

3.  Surround yourself with Godly Council–  Moses sought most of his direction from God, but there were those like Aaron and Joshua who built him up as well.  They were his council of sorts, those who protected him from being so worn by the day to day management of the group.  Surrounding yourself with Godly council will most of the time provide you the little boost you need on those days you feel you do not have any more to give.  Moses sought peace in their presence to just be Moses.  We all need that from time to time.  Also, one important trait of Godly council is that they can recognize when it is time for you to pray and will tell you so.  This is a great thing to have when you are facing battles on every front.  Not only should you have a group that prays for you and pushes you along, it’s good that they take the time to push you to honor the first principle we discussed.

With all of the news about the layoffs, the market crashing, international woes, or even just the fact that your car didn’t start today, it’s good to know that God gave us leaders to look to.  Although they were not perfect, they did seek his heart and were noted in His book.  I believe I am going to try to be more like Moses and honor the three principles above.  Maybe by focussing more on God, I will focus less on what’s going on around me!  That is true Christian Leadership!

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About the Writer:

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Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

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Being Christian in dealing with conflict

September 12, 2008

One subject I run across in Christian circles (including church staff) is the idea that we as Christians have to dance around topics that may be hard to deal with. Where exactly does this idea come from? Now, let me go ahead and clear the air before getting into this subject by saying I am one who tries to avoid direct confrontation/coaching whenever possible, however, there are times when “dancing” just isn’t going to get through.

I remember speaking to a pastor about a premarital counseling program recently and he mentioned one major source of spiritual heartburn were those cases where the couple just really should not get married. This minister told me about a recent situation. He, having a strong gut feeling that after doing some pre-marriage counseling, felt, “This couple is not ready for or compatible enough for marriage.” He also mentioned how his spiritual gut was writhing over this union. How did he handle it? He married them rather than deal head on with the potential confrontation or difficult situation. I guess I am just wired a bit differently in that my fear for God would be a bit stronger if not a lot stronger than my fear of confrontation.

So just where do we get this idea of “humility and peace only?” It cannot be from Jesus’ example since he went head to head with some of the strongest religious scholars of the day and held nothing back. Paul definitely did not confronting Peter on his wavering on the subject of preaching to the Gentiles in the book of Acts. In fact, both referenced provide a great measure for dealing with confrontation or tough subjects. Both Paul and Jesus always started their … arguments with one thing. A question.

More on this topic in the next blog. If you have comments or situations you would like to offer up, please comment back so we can discuss.

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Subscribe to Christian Men-Christian Warriors by Email
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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.