How to Handle Conflict, Part 1

Put Peace into Practice
Ephesians 4:3
Matthew Raley (2-5-12)

We know that the gospel is aimed at peace, both between human beings and God, and between human beings themselves.  Why then does God allow conflict when it is so costly, painful, and often destructive? Is it possible that he has a purpose for it?

In today’s sermon we find that in answering that question we can learn more about how to guard unity in the church.

Published in: on February 7, 2012 at 5:34 am  Leave a Comment  

Enduring in Love

Put Peace into Practice
Ephesians 4:2
Matthew Raley (1-29-12)

Everyone wants more love – for themselves.  When people complain that a church, for instance, is not “loving”, they are often really talking about the ways they wish they would be treated. They are not usually talking about the actions they themselves are going to take to do love in that church.  Love-talk is very often a disguised drive to control other people.  This is not what Ephesians is about.  In today’s message we will ask:  how can we find a way to love others that is genuinely Christ-like?

Published in: on February 7, 2012 at 5:33 am  Leave a Comment  

Humility and Meekness

Put Peace into Practice
Ephesians 4:2
Matthew Raley (1-22-12)

In Ephesians 4:2 we find that the first ways Paul mentions for us to walk worthy of our calling are with humility and meekness.  By way of reminder, Paul is speaking from an ancient mindset, one which accepts that there are expectations outside of ourselves which we need to meet to be considered worthy.  He is saying that humility and meekness are two of those expectations in Christ. Further, we will learn in today’s sermon that Paul is speaking from the perspective of bonds between people – the fact that some relationships must be held as holy.  The relationship between believers is holy in Christ, and must be treated with special care.

Published in: on February 7, 2012 at 5:31 am  Leave a Comment  

The Bond of Peace

Put Peace into Practice
Ephesians 4:1-6
Matthew Raley (1-15-12)

An orchestra has many players, sometimes eighty individuals, playing instruments of all sizes and shapes, making very different sounds.  How can such a large, diverse group, all with parts that differ, make a common sound?  Well, it all starts with one pitch, an “A” played by an oboe.  Once the players make their instruments agree on that pitch, they have a chance to make music.  And good musicians are very fussy about pitch because there are only two relationships you can have with it: in-tune and out-of-tune.

Likewise, a church is filled with diverse people.  In today’s message we will see that in order for all those people to work together, they have to tune themselves to the right pitch.

Published in: on February 7, 2012 at 5:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Worthiness in Christ

Put Peace into Practice
Ephesians 4:1-6
Matthew Raley (1-8-12)

My early experiences in ministry were filled with out-of-control conflicts fueled by lies, grudges, power-plays, and secret sins.  All these things led to endless fighting, and lots of destruction.  These experiences taught me the high priority of peace as God’s tool for cleansing his people, and forced me to learn the nuts-and-bolts of building peace.

Today we begin a series about the core of Ephesians, the Gospel of peace by which Jesus Christ rules his church.

Published in: on February 7, 2012 at 5:28 am  Leave a Comment  

Honor the Lord With Your Wealth

Giving as a Way of Life
Proverbs 3:1-12
Matthew Raley (1-1-12)

The emotion many of us associate with our financial situation is resignation.  Once the cash is gone in the middle of the month, we heave a sigh and pull out the plastic.   Unless your view of money is transformed, you will always be imprisoned in this emotional jail.  In today’s sermon we will learn that a transformation of your view of money calls you to go deeper than just saying, “There’s not enough.  I need more.”  It calls you to see your use of money as an expression of your spiritual health.

Published in: on February 7, 2012 at 5:25 am  Leave a Comment