• Topic > Christian Ministry & the Church > Church Life >

    Surviving and Thriving

    The Croods, an animated caveman family, believe that “the only way to survive is if the pack [their small family] stays together.” They are afraid of the world and others, so when looking for a safe place to live they’re filled with fear after discovering a strange family already in the area they’ve chosen. But they soon learn to embrace the differences of their new neighbors, draw strength from them, and survive together. They find that they actually enjoy them and that they do need others to live life fully.

    It can be risky to be in relationship—people can and do hurt…

    Built Together to Serve

    In rural Amish culture, the building of a barn is a social event. It would take months for a single farmer and his family to construct a barn, but the Amish, doing it together, make quick work of it. Lumber is stocked ahead of time; tools are prepped. On the designated day, the entire Amish community gathers early morning, divvies up tasks, and together pitches in to raise a barn. In some cases, a barn is built in a single day.

    This is a good picture of God’s vision for the church and our role in it. The Bible says, “All…

    Witness Marks

    “See that?” The clock repairman pointed his flashlight beam on a small, fine mark roughly engraved inside the old grandfather clock he was working on in our home. “Another repairman could have put that there almost a century ago,” he said. “It’s called a ‘witness mark,’ and it helps me know how to set the mechanism.”

    Before the age of technical bulletins and repair manuals, “witness marks” were used to help the person making a future repair to align moving parts with precision. They were more than just time-saving reminders; they were often left as a simple kindness to the next…

    The Greatest Symphony

    When BBC Music Magazine asked one hundred fifty-one of the world’s leading conductors to list twenty of what they believed to be the greatest symphonies ever written, Beethoven’s Third, Eroica, came out on top. The work, whose title means “heroic,” was written during the turmoil of the French revolution. But it also came out of Beethoven’s own struggle as he slowly lost his hearing. The music evokes extreme swings of emotion that express what it means to be human and alive while facing challenges. Through wild swings of happiness, sadness, and eventual triumph Beethoven’s Third Symphony is regarded as a timeless tribute…

    Companions in Christ

    The Harvard Study of Adult Development is a decades-long project that’s resulted in a greater understanding of the importance of healthy relationships. The research began with a group of 268 sophomores at Harvard University in the 1930s and later expanded to, among others, 456 Boston inner-city residents. Researchers have conducted interviews with the participants and pored over their medical records every few years. What they’ve discovered is that close relationships are the biggest factor in predicting happiness and health. It turns out that if we surround ourselves with the right people, we’ll likely experience a deeper sense of joy.

    This appears…

    Made for Each Other

    “I take care of him. When he’s happy, I’m happy,” says Stella. Merle replies, “I’m happy when she’s around.” Merle and Stella have been married for 79 years. When Merle was recently admitted to a nursing home, he was miserable—so Stella gladly brought him home. He’s 101, and she’s 95. Though she needs a walker to get around, she lovingly does what she can for her husband, such as preparing the food he likes. But she couldn’t do it on her own. Grandchildren and neighbors help with the things Stella can’t manage.

    Stella and Merle’s life together is an example of…

    Created for Relationship

    There’s a growing “rent-a-family” industry in many countries to meet the needs of lonely people. Some use the service to maintain appearances, so that at a social event they can appear to have a happy family. Some hire actors to impersonate estranged relatives, so that they can feel, if briefly, a familial connection they long for.

    This trend reflects a basic truth: Humans are created for relationship. In the creation story found in Genesis, God looks at each thing He has made and sees that it is “very good” (1:31). But when God considers Adam, He says, “It is not good…

    How Should We Respond To Conflict?

    Nobody enjoys conflict. In fact, most of us would rather avoid it. So when conflict rears its ugly head, how should we respond? Today on Discover the Word, the team consider what it looks like to live out your faith when dealing with conflict. Don’t miss the conclusion of the series titled, “Deal with It”, today on Discover the […]

    The Role Of A Mediator

    In any relationship, conflict is inevitable. But what happens when people can’t work out their differences? Today on Discover the Word, we discuss the role of a mediator in conflict between Christians. It’s another practical lesson on conflict resolution from Paul’s letter to the Philippians, today on Discover the Word!

    “Deal With It”

    For centuries, Christians have squabbled over differences in doctrine or tradition. And it’s caused a lot of division in the church. Today on Discover the Word, the group encourages us to—even with our differences—keep the main thing the main thing. Be part of this week’s series titled, “Deal with It,” today on Discover the Word!

    What Does The Bible Say About Conflict Resolution?

    When someone needs correcting, how do you go about it? Do you sugarcoat the situation, or would you rather “show ’em a little tough love”? Today on Discover the Word, we consider the value of relationship when dealing with conflict. Another practical look at biblical conflict resolution, today on Discover the Word!

    How To Deal With Conflict In The Church

    When it comes to conflict, most people either face it head on, or run the other way. But what if there were a third option? Today on Discover the Word, the group discusses the apostle Paul’s advice for dealing with conflict in the church. Join us for a new series titled, “Deal with It,” today on Discover the Word!

    Hiding Our Hurts

    I was guest-speaking in a local church and my topic was an honest story about presenting our brokenness before God and receiving the healing He wants to give. Before closing in prayer, the pastor stood in the center aisle, looked deeply into the eyes of his gathered congregants, and said, “As your pastor I have the privilege of seeing you midweek and hearing your heart-breaking stories of brokenness. Then in our weekend worship services, I have the pain of watching you hide your hurt away.”

    My heart ached at the hidden hurts that God came to heal. The writer of Hebrews…

    Love of Another Kind

    One of my favorite churches started several years ago as a ministry to ex-prisoners who were transitioning back into society. Now the church flourishes with people from all walks of life. I love that church because it reminds me of what I picture heaven will be like—filled with different kinds of people, all redeemed sinners, all bound together by the love of Jesus.

    Sometimes, though, I wonder if church seems more like an exclusive club than a safe-haven for forgiven sinners. As people naturally gravitate into groups of “a certain kind” and cluster around those they feel comfortable with, it leaves…

    How Can I Love the Church that Hurt Me?

    Seven days after I came into the world, my dad became the pastor of the church that I would grow up in. Unlike my siblings, I never knew a time when my Dad wasn’t a pastor.