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The Slippery Slope of Peacemaking

Matt Erickson:

I posted this for an earlier series but am re-posting it today after I mentioned it in my sermon this past weekend.

Originally posted on Renovate:

In my message this past weekend on working through conflict in relationships, I mentioned the “slippery slope of peacemaking” developed by Ken Sande, author of The Peacemaker and Resolving Everyday Conflict. There are a variety of ways we can respond to conflict in our lives. Sande highlights a spectrum of dealing with conflict and seeking peace. The the top of the slope is where we want to be in proactively dealing with conflict by making peace. The extremes are the tendencies we move toward as we slip off the path of pursuing peace in our conflicts.

slope

I summarized Sande’s “slippery slope” around three ideas:

1. Peace-faking by avoiding or escaping conflict. This is typified in the life of Jacob who steals his brother’s birthright, deceives his father and then flees from the conflict by hiding with his uncle, Laban (see Genesis 28). The problem with avoiding or escaping from…

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Posted by on October 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Generous Faith (discussion questions)

Faith Life Series Gfx_4x3 TitleHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Generous Faith,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This was the third part of our series “Faith Life.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. What do you think it looks like to be generous? When was a time you experienced the generosity of others in your life?
  2. This week, we continue the “Faith Life” series at Eastbrook by looking at the way Abraham responds to God’s goodness as displayed in Genesis, chapters 13 and 14. Ask God to speak to you before reading this portion of Scripture aloud.
  3. What is the cause of the conflict between Abraham and Lot in Genesis 13:5-7? (It is important to see here that God’s promises in Genesis 12:1-3 are already being fulfilled in abundance.)
  4. What do you find most remarkable about Abraham’s response to Lot, who is both younger than him and dependent upon his generosity, in Genesis 13:8-13?
  5. Following the separation between Abraham and Lot, God affirms His previous promises (see Genesis 12:1-3) to Abraham in Genesis 13:14-18. What do you think this meant to Abraham?
  6. In contrast to Abraham’s compromise in Genesis 12:10-20, chapter 13 is bookended by Abraham calling upon God at altars he has built (13:4, 18). Why do you think this is important given all that transpires in Genesis 13?
  7. When did you have to make a clear decision to rely upon God in the face of challenging circumstances? What happened?
  8. What were some of the risks that Abraham takes to assist his nephew, Lot, in Genesis 14:1-16?
  9. Contrast the response of the King of Sodom and Melchizedek, the King of Salem, in Genesis 14:17-24. What is God doing for Abraham in this section?
  10. These two chapters show Abraham stepping out in radical generosity toward Lot because of God’s generous goodness toward him. Take a moment to reflect on how you could extend generosity in some of your specific relationships this week. If you are alone, write down the names of people God is speaking to you about. Commit to pray for them and seek out ways to bless them this week. If you are with a small group, share together about those you sense God is asking you to be generous with this week. Pray for those people as you conclude your time with this study.

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Posted by on September 30, 2014 in Eastbrook, Scripture reflections

 

Generous Faith

Faith Life Series Gfx_16x9 TitleWhat happens when we really get a sense of God’s grace in our lives? It changes us and how we relate to others.

This weekend at Eastbrook Church we explored how God’s unstoppable grace leads us into a generous faith in the third part our series, “Faith Life.” This series is a journey around themes of faith from the life of Abraham. This week took us through Abraham’s interactions with Lot in Genesis 13 and 14.

The outline and video file for the message are below. You can listen to the message via our audio podcast here. You can access the entire series of messages from the “Faith Life” series here. You can also visit Eastbrook Church on VimeoFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

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Posted by on September 29, 2014 in Communication, Eastbrook

 

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Share Your Story


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My message this past weekend at Eastbrook was in part a celebration of God’s grace interwoven into the midst of our lives, including our failure.

I want to encourage you to respond to this theme by reflecting on how God has been faithful in your life, and to celebrate that by writing it down or sharing it with someone.

Every follower of Jesus has a story. Some stories appear more dramatic and sudden, while others appear more basic and gradual. Regardless of appearances, the truth is that every one of us has a meaningful and important story of our life with God. That story is uniquely yours, and writing it down or sharing it will affirm the work of God in your life and often lead others to ask questions about God’s Story!

If you have never written down your God Story, take out a piece of paper and organize your story under the three headings: “My Life Before Christ”, “Encountering Christ”, and “My Life Since Meeting Christ.”

You could also share your God Story with others by completing the online form at:www.eastbrook.org/godstory.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2014 in Discipleship

 

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God Calling (discussion questions)

Faith Life Series Gfx_4x3 TitleHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Fumbling with Faith,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This was the second part of our series “Faith Life.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. When was a time that you most struggled to be obedient to God in your faith? How did you grow through it?
  2. We continue the “Faith Life” series at Eastbrook by looking at two episodes in Abraham’s life found in Genesis 12:10-20 and 20:1-18. Ask God to speak to you before reading those two portions of Scripture aloud.
  3. What is it that leads Abraham to begin traveling in both of these stories?
  4. As they travel into the land of Egypt (12:10) and the area around Gerar (20:2), what motivates Abraham to tell the half-truth about his relationship to Sarah? How do you think Sarah felt about this?
  5. Abraham specifically mentions his anxieties that “there is surely no fear of God in this place” (20:11). How does Abimelek actually act in response to God’s words (20:3-16)? How does the character of Abimelek and Abraham compare in this situation?
  6. Have you ever been surprised to find a God-fearing person, like Abimelek, in an unexpected place like? What happened?
  7. God protects Abraham and Sarah, even bringing greater blessing upon them (12:16; 20:14-16), despite the failure. Why would God do this?
  8. In Genesis 12:1-3 God speaks about the promise of a future and in Genesis 21 the child of promise, Isaac, is finally born. There is a lot of distance between God’s promise and actual fulfillment. What did the experience of waiting seem to do to Abraham and Sarah? How have you navigated seasons of waiting for God to act in your life?
 
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Posted by on September 23, 2014 in Eastbrook, Scripture reflections

 

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Fumbling with Faith

Faith Life Series Gfx_16x9 TitleWhat happens when we have significant failure in our life? Can we still move forward as people of faith?

This weekend at Eastbrook Church I explored these questions as we looked at two ‘epic fail’ moments in Abraham’s life. This was the second part of our “Faith Life” series, which is a journey around themes of faith from the life of Abraham. The main theme of the message was that God is faithful even when we are failures. The texts we looked at are the parallels in Genesis 12:10-20 and 20:1-18.

The outline and video file for the message are below. You can listen to the message via our audio podcast here. You can access the entire series of messages from the “Faith Life” series here. You can also visit Eastbrook Church on VimeoFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

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Posted by on September 22, 2014 in Communication, Eastbrook

 

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Listening to God

Faith Life Series Gfx_16x9 TitleAs a response to my message this past weekend on Abraham’s calling by God, I want to provide a spiritual exercise that we could all put into practice on listening to God. We see in Abraham’s life that his faith journey began when God spoke. So, too, in our lives faith begins by listening to God.

I want to encourage you to take time with the spiritual practice of listening to God sometime this week. Set a specific time this week where you can be in a quiet, undistracted place with God. In that time and place, invite God to speak to you as you begin to meet with Him. Slowly read Abraham’s story in Genesis 12:1-9 three times. Quietly reflect on what is happening in the story. Next, listen for how God is speaking to you about your own journey of faith. You may become distracted. That’s to be expected. Just take those distractions and release them into God’s hands. Listen for God for an extended amount of time. As you conclude this exercises, write down anything you sensed God speaking to you and then thank Him for His presence in your life.

You may also want to take a look at a small series of posts I wrote a few years back on this topic:

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2014 in Discipleship

 

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