BODY CONVERSATIONS

A BIBLICAL FOUNDATION FOR ONENESS AND DIVERSITY

RECONCILING OUR RELATIONSHIPS SERIES 4: Reconciling Relationships through breaking down walls that divide us


ADDRESSING AND BREAKING DOWN WALLS…THAT DIVIDE US! 

LET’S HAVE A CONVERSATION ON ADDRESSING AND BREAKING DOWN WALLS THAT DIVIDE US IN OUR PURSUIT OF ONENESS IN THE BODY OF CHRIST!        

Summary:  God’s heart break over the division in His Church.  Jesus said the greatest proof of His coming to save the world would be the love and unity demonstrated in His Church.  Yet, our lack of love and unity has severely damaged our witness in the world.  There is growing and great division in the land and Church relating to many of these issues:  race/ethnicity, class, politics, generational, geographical, denominational, gender, families, immigration, community/law enforcement, gun control and rights, addictions, violence, and education, just to name a few.  

Today’s Conflict:  If we are not careful, we can hurt our witness and the witness of His church through our divisive words and actions.  Are we wall builders or a bridge builders?  Which one will we choose!

ADDRESSING HURTS THAT DIVIDE US!  

LET’S HAVE A CONVERSATION HOW HURTS THAT ARE NOT HEALED…CAN BE HEALED…TO HELP US BREAK DOWN WALLS THAT DIVIDE US IN OUR FAMILIES, CHURCHES, AND COMMUNITIES.          

Summary:  Sometimes we have past and/or recent hurts that have never healed.  These hurts may impact our ability to achieve oneness and value diversity within our families, churches, and communities.  

Today’s Context:  It is natural for most of us to avoid conflict to address our past and most recent hurts.  Without addressing them and being reconciled to one another, we cannot achieve oneness and value diversity!   

ADDRESSING OUR BLIND SPOTS:  REMOVING THE LOGS AND SPECKS FROM OUR EYES! 

LET’S HAVE A CONVERSATION ON A LIST OF BLIND SPOTS WITHIN OUR FAMILIES, CHURCHES, AND MINISTRIES THAT CAN CREATE WALLS OF DIVISION WITHIN THE BODY OF CHRIST.            

Summary:  According to Jesus, we must first address the logs within our own eyes prior to addressing the speck in others’ eyes (Matthew 7:3-5).  In our relationships, we can have blind spots that inhibit us from living in Biblical Oneness and Diversity with one another.  We pray that the realization of these blind spots will lead to heart, verbal, and other fruits of repentance.  

Today’s Context:  The evil one can tempt believers to fall into the trap of the “Blame Game” to foster division within our families, brothers and sisters in Christ, and in our communities.  Heavenly Father, may we have 20-20 vision regarding our own blind spots before addressing blind spots in others!

ADDRESSING PREJUDICE WITHIN AND OUTSIDE THE CHURCH!

LET’S HAVE A CONVERSATION ON PREJUDICE AND HOW AS MEMBERS OF THE BODY OF CHRIST WE CAN BREAK DOWN BARRIERS OF PREJUDICES TO BECOME MINISTERS OF RECONCILIATION FOR ALL PEOPLE!             

Summary:  Sometimes we find ourselves responding to people who are similar and different than us in different ways within and outside the church.  Our response can be an internal feeling, thought, non-verbal, verbal, and/or behavioral.  What is the root or cause of our different responses?  Is it based on a prejudice or stereotype…fact or fiction?  Is it based on one or a combination of past and/or current experiences? 

Today’s Context:  We tend to think more positive and be more comfortable around people who are similar than people who are different.

BIBLICAL CONFLICT RESOLUTION:  ADDRESSING CONFLICT IN THE LOCAL CHURCH

LET’S HAVE A CONVERSATION TO LOOK AT BIBLICAL STEPS WE CAN TAKE TO RESOLVE CONFLICT AND ACHIEVE RECONCILIATION AND ONENESS IN CHRIST.             

Summary:  In order to achieve and to sustain Biblical Oneness and Diversity in the church and in our communities, we must know how to address conflict between two or more believers in a biblical way.  Within our personal, family, church, and community relationships, conflict will occur and when it does, we can practice and model biblical conflict resolution to achieve biblical reconciliation.   

Today’s Context:  Disagreements, hurts, offensives, and misunderstandings will occur in our relationships within and outside the church.  In most cases, we desire to address these issues, but we may not have the knowledge nor skill to apply a biblical conflict resolution process to bring forth biblical reconciliation.

BIBLICAL LOVE OR BIBLICAL TRUTH OR BOTH? 

LET’S HAVE A CONVERSATION ON BIBLICAL EXAMPLES AND PRACTICAL WAYS TO LIVE OUT GOD’S HEART FOR BOTH, BIBLICAL LOVE AND BIBLICAL TRUTH, IN OUR RELATIONSHIPS.                

Summary:  How do I live out Biblical Love without compromising Biblical Truth?  How do I live out Biblical Truth without compromising Biblical Love?     

Today’s Context:  It is easier to do one or the other.  Biblical Truth is telling and showing someone that you love them…and Biblical Love is telling and showing someone the truth!

BREAKING DOWN MEDIA WALLS…FOR THE COMMON GOOD!

LET’S HAVE A CONVERSATION HOW WE CAN TOGETHER BREAK DOWN MEDIA WALLS THAT DIVIDE US…FOR THE COMMON GOOD OF THE BODY OF CHRIST!

Summary:  Jesus’ heart breaks over the division in His church caused by our influence by media and social media outlets.  With the plethora of media and social media outlets, we can plug into outlets that are opinionated and/or to share our opinions on a topic.  As we buy into shared opinions, many times without facts through media social outlets, we can cause offensives between our brothers and sisters in Christ.  God’s Word is clear, and Jesus shares clearly on how we need to address issues and offenses when they occur.  

Today’s Context:  We can be very passionate about our opinions and sharing our biblical perspectives.  When we share them through social media outlets, we can be misunderstood and hurt one another.  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God, Matthew 5:9.  

GOD, THE GREAT CREATOR: RECONCILING ALL MANKIND INTO HIS KINGDOM TO COME

LET’S HAVE A CONVERSATION ON GOD’S HEART TO RECONCILE ALL MANKIND INTO HIS KINGDOM AND HOW WE ARE CALLED TO HAVE GOD’S HEART FOR ALL MANKIND!

Summary:  Within the Kingdom to come, all nations, tribes, and tongues will be there.  Throughout all history and eternity, God loves and wants all his children to be in fellowship with Him and each other through His divine plan of redemption.  May we commit ourselves to love and serve all mankind on earth to reconcile all mankind to God through His Son!  

Today’s Context: We tend to give people of different backgrounds different levels of worth.  God so loved the entire world!  

MINISTERS OF RECONCILIATION

LET’S HAVE A CONVERSATION ON WHAT IT MEANS TO BE GOD’S MINISTERS OF RECONCILIATION!

Summary: “17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation,” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18)  Jesus’ heart break over the division in His Church and we, as the sons and daughters of God are called to be His Ministers of Reconciliation to lead the way to reconcile God to Man through Jesus as well as reconcile man to man through Jesus.  We, as His Ministers of Reconciliation have been given the Ministry of Love Initiation! We Initiate!  

Today’s Context:  As we become Ministers of Reconciliation, we can then become Jesus’ agents of change to manifest the beauty and power of His One and Diverse Body on Earth…as He already is in Heaven! 

RACISM IN AMERICA: A SKIN OR SIN PROBLEM?

FROM A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE, LET’S HAVE A CONVERSATION ON WHAT IS RACISM AND WHETHER THE HISTORICAL AND CONTINUED RACE PROBLEM IN AMERICA IS ROOTED IN A “HISTORICAL SKIN AND/OR BIBLICAL SIN” PROBLEM!

Summary:  12 For our struggle is not against [e]flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.  (Ephesians 6:12)  There is no doubt that we continue to have a “Race” problem in the United States.  The question is, “Is our root problem a “Skin Problem or a Sin Problem?  

Today’s Context:  The evil one has deceived us to believe that I can be a racist and still be a Christian.  I can choose to be one or the other, but not both.  To love another as Christ has loved us (John 13:34-35) is to have love for all of humanity! (John 3:16)

RECONCILING GENDER INEQUALITY AND CONFUSION…FOR THE COMMON GOOD! 

LET’S HAVE A CONVERSATION HOW WE CAN TOGETHER ADDRESS AND RECONCILE OUR GENDER INEQUALITY AND CONFUSION ISSUES…FOR THE COMMON GOOD OF THE BODY OF CHRIST!

Summary:  Jesus’ heart breaks over the division in His church caused gender inequality and confusion.  May we crucify our flesh to break down gender inequality and confusion walls that divide us.  It is the dream of Jesus for His One and Diverse Body to love and serve our brothers and sisters in Christ, and all people no matter what one’s gender.  

Today’s Context:  Historically and recently, women continue to experience discrimination and inequality.  We are thankful that the Apostle Paul’s in revelation in Galatians 3:28 that there is Neither Male nor Female!

RECONCILING INEQUALITIES IN OUR CHILDREN’S EDUCATIONAL PERFORMANCE AND ACCESS TO QUALITY EDUCATION…FOR THE COMMON GOOD! 

LET’S HAVE A CONVERSATION HOW WE CAN TOGETHER ADDRESS AND RECONCILE INEQUALITIES IN OUR CHILDREN’S EDUCATIONAL PERFORMANCES AND THEIR ACCESS TO QUALITY EDUCATION…FOR THE COMMON GOOD OF THE BODY OF CHRIST!

Summary:  Jesus’ heart breaks over the division in His church caused by inequalities in our children’s educational performance and their access to quality education.  Obvious and documented disparities and inequalities exist regarding factors impacting our children’s educational performance and their access to quality education.  There are strong and passionate views on the direction of providing quality education for all our children including, but not limited to: public, private, charter, Christian, and choice options.  

Today’s Context:  Historical and current disparities exist with all our children having access to quality educational options.  How can the Body of Christ be part of the solution in addressing these educational inequalities for our children?

RECONCILING OUR CLASS DIFFERENCES…FOR THE COMMON GOOD! 

LET’S HAVE A CONVERSATION HOW WE CAN TOGETHER ADDRESS AND RECONCILE OUR CLASS DIFFERENCES…FOR THE COMMON GOOD OF THE BODY OF CHRIST!

Summary:  Jesus’ heart breaks over the division in His church caused by our class differences.  May we crucify our flesh to break down class walls that divide us.  It is the dream of Jesus for His One and Diverse Body to love and serve our brothers and sisters in Christ, and all people no matter what one’s economic or income status.  

Today’s Context:  According to a recent Upward Mobility Study conducted by Harvard University, Charlotte was ranked last among 50 cities regarding economic/class disparities.  When the lines and gaps between the “Haves” and “Have Nots” are widening, it causes greater resentment, mistrust, and misunderstanding between socio-economic classes.

RECONCILING OUR POLITICAL DIFFERENCES…FOR THE COMMON GOOD!  

LET’S HAVE A CONVERSATION HOW WE CAN TOGETHER ADDRESS AND RECONCILE OUR POLITICAL DIFFERENCES…FOR THE COMMON GOOD OF THE BODY OF CHRIST!

Summary:  Jesus’ heart breaks over the division in His church caused by politics.  May we crucify our flesh to break down political walls that divide us.  It is the dream of Jesus for His One and Diverse Body to love and serve our brothers and sisters in Christ and all people no matter what one’s political affiliation.  

Today’s Context:  Over the centuries and even recently, we find political ideologies and parties have grafted Christians and other religious groups into their agenda, and religious groups have grafted political platforms into their theology.  Whose side is Jesus on?

RECONCILING OUR RACIAL/ETHNIC DIFFERENCES…FOR THE COMMON GOOD!  

LET’S HAVE A CONVERSATION HOW WE CAN TOGETHER ADDRESS AND RECONCILE OUR RACIAL AND ETHNIC DIFFERENCES…FOR THE COMMON GOOD OF THE BODY OF CHRIST!

Summary:  Jesus’ heart breaks over the division in His church caused by our racial and ethnic differences.  May we crucify our flesh to break down racial and ethnic walls that divide us.  It is the dream of Jesus for His One and Diverse Body to love and serve our brothers and sisters in Christ, and all people no matter what one’s racial and/or ethnic heritage.   

Today’s Context:  Unfortunately, we cannot separate American History from continuous racial and ethnic discrimination and challenges that continues today.  If we are not careful, we can allow media, political, and historical influences to fan the flames to have us to believe that we have a “Skin” problem versus a “Sin” problem.  God so loves all people!  There is neither Jew nor Greek!

RECONCILING OUR RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN LOCAL COMMUNITIES AND LAW ENFORCEMENT…FOR THE COMMON GOOD!

LET’S HAVE A CONVERSATION HOW WE CAN TOGETHER ADDRESS AND RECONCILE OUR RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN LOCAL COMMUNITIES AND LAW ENFORCEMENT…FOR THE COMMON GOOD OF THE BODY OF CHRIST!

Summary:  Jesus’ heart breaks over the division in His church caused by historical and current challenged relationships between our local communities and law enforcement.  Black Lives and Blue Lives Matters views and protest continue to manifest historical and current offensives and mistrust between the two groups.    

Today’s Context:  The real powder keg events have involved the killing of unarmed Black men by predominantly white law enforcement officers.  These events have been the catalyst of many of the riots, unrest and protest in urban communities including in Charlotte, NC and in Ferguson, Mo.  How can the Body of Christ be part of the solution to reconcile these relationships?

RECONCILING RELATIONSHIP TENSIONS BETWEEN URBAN, SUBURBAN, AND RURAL COMMUNITIES…FOR THE COMMON GOOD!

LET’S HAVE A CONVERSATION HOW WE CAN TOGETHER ADDRESS AND RECONCILE TENSIONS BETWEEN URBAN, SUBURBAN, AND RURAL COMMUNITIES…FOR THE COMMON GOOD OF THE BODY OF CHRIST!

Summary:  Jesus’ heart breaks over the division in His church caused by the different priorities of families residing in urban, suburban, and rural communities.  Urban gentrification, lack of affordable urban housing, loss and shifting of tax revenues, the browning of urban neighborhoods, white flight, disparities in schools and basic community amenities, political, socio-economic, and ethnic-racial differences in these geographic communities causes tensions, mistrust, and misunderstandings.

Today’s Context:  Shifting socio-economic, ethnic-racial, and other demographic changes in urban, suburban, and rural communities have a direct impact of the shifting demographics within our churches and our ability to effectively minister and to reach out to these new populations.  Will the local church be a divider or reconciler in our communities?

THE FIRST CENTURY CHURCH’S STRUGGLE WITH DIVERSITY – RECONCILING AND VALUING ALL PEOPLE

LET’S HAVE A CONVERSATION ON THE 1ST AND 21ST CENTURY CHURCH’S STRUGGLE WITH DIVERSITY, AND BIBLICAL RECONCILIATION SOLUTIONS TO ADDRESS DIVERSITY MATTERS.

Summary:  After the Holy Spirit was poured out on the apostles and all believers on the day of Pentecost, one would think that the issue of Biblical Oneness and Diversity would have been finally resolved.  To the contrary, we find that even believers empowered with the Holy Spirit still struggled with diversity issues.  In 2018 and beyond, we need to become empathic with others, reduce/eliminate condemnation of self and others when we have our own struggles with diversity…although we are still empowered with the power, love, and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

Today’s Context:  The early church faced several issues of diversity and dealt with them head on and after the day of Pentecost.

THE FREEDOM OF BIBLICAL FORGIVENESS:  ACHIEVING BIBLICAL RECONCILIATION THROUGH BIBLICAL FORGIVENESS

LET’S HAVE A CONVERSATION ON WHAT IS BIBLICAL FORGIVENESS AND THE GREAT FREEDOM WE CAN EXPERIENCE FROM IT.   

Summary:  As Jesus taught us how to pray, ”forgive me of my trespasses as I forgive those who trespass against me!” (Matthew 6:12).  What does this truly mean?  What is Biblical Forgiveness and how did Jesus speak about it and model it? 

Today’s Context:  There are many opinions of what true forgiveness is and what it is not.  May we go to Jesus as the Living Word and in the scriptures to find the true answers in all things!