Dear friends:

I take some comfort in the fact that people in the first century faced challenges similar to our own. We’ll continue to explore those challenges this week in our sermon series entitled “Beautiful Mess.”

In particular, we’ll explore what faith has to say about conflict, how to engage in it, mitigate it, and navigate it successfully.
Years ago, a generous elder sent the whole church staff to a seminar by Stephen Covey entitled “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” I was wary, to say the least, and not at all convinced I wanted to invest my time that way. And yet, one principle Covey offered has deeply affected my life. He said, “The space between stimulus and response, is a place of freedom.” He encouraged us to lengthen that space of freedom by pausing between the point at which we are stimulated and the point in which we respond. 
It’s excellent advice for parenting, marriages, and any important relationship. Pause before judging. Pause before assuming (my favorite!). Pause before accusing. Pause before speaking. Because, the space between stimulus and response is a place of freedom, space that gives us the latitude to think, pray, and choose the wisest response.
We’ll explore this passage in depth this weekend, and I hope you’ll read it ahead of time. The Apostle Paul encourages people of faith to resist lawsuits, not so much because people don’t get wronged and need legal recourse, but because he believes there is a better way to deal with conflict.
I look forward to exploring it with you and hope you’ll invite a family member or friend who is struggling with conflict.
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