Make Peace a Priority (Dealing with Conflict)
When it comes to experiencing conflict, we often find ourselves caught in the middle of two points. One the one hand, we recognize that conflict is present, but if we are honest with ourselves, we are also not ready to forgive. The temptation is to just let the situation drift along, hoping that over time everything will turn out OK.
Jesus, however, demonstrates a better way, a way that protects our heart. Because whether you are the offender or the offended, all conflict has a use-by date.
(Matthew 5:21-24, 43-45)
The Art of Questions
Whether we are mentoring, coaching, or facilitating a small group discussion, we use questions to draw the BEST out of people. Questions come in many shapes and sizes, each designed for a particular outcome and used with a specific agenda.
There are some people who seem to ask just the right questions. If you haven’t yet met that kind of person, then perhaps you can become that person. In truth, this effect is a combination of listening skills and an toolbox of strategic questions. We’ll get to the listening skills in a later post, but for now, here are three three types of strategic questions that we can use in both individual and group settings to draw the best out of people.
Must-select questions are very powerful, particularly at the beginning of a conversation, or with a person who is being guarded, as it forces a person to both think and respond, while presenting itself under the guise of simplicity. An example might be:
- “On a scale of one to ten, how courageous do you think you are?”
Must-select questions like this are neither classically ‘open’ nor ‘closed’ (see below), but rather provide options within boundaries, priming the person for a follow-up question based on the information they have already given you. Read More…
Shipwrecks in Life (Jesus Calms the Storm)
A common icebreaker is the question: “If you were shipwrecked on an island, what three things would you take with you?” Whether you believe in God or not, the way you answer this question sheds light on what you think is most important in life. Shipwrecks, whether by circumstance or choice prompt us to think differently, just as Jesus demonstrated in the midst of a storm. Because God uses shipwrecks to clarify what matters most in life.
Jesus Wept (When Faith and Pain Collide)
How much time, energy and effort do we spend trying to convince the world that we have it all together? We are all exposed to the reality of pain in a broken world, it can tear us apart, but what we do with that pain demonstrates who we believe God to be. Two of the most powerful words in the Bible are the from its shortest verse, “Jesus wept,” because when we weep, we can be reminded that Jesus wept too. In his tears, Jesus did not demonstrate a weakness of his humanity, but the strength of God’s character.
Bring your pain to Jesus, that he might turn something broken into something beautiful.
The Death Lane (Jesus’ Baptism)
When you look at the facts, Jesus’ baptism is a strange story. The only person who doesn’t need to participate in a baptism of repentance, insists that he needs to. Why? Because God was doing something new in the world, momentum was building, the Kingdom of God was near, and Jesus wanted in on the action. If we are serious about imitating Jesus, we need to step in so that God can step us up, even if it means risking the death lane.
Where has the Holy Spirit been silent for too long?