All posts tagged: relationships


Refreshing Times of Reconciliation

This short epistle (letter) written by Paul to Philemon has one of the most powerful messages on conflict resolution in the bible. This story is not only a powerful demonstration of the gospel to transform lives (“formerly he was useless” but “now he is indeed useful,” v. 11), but also a demonstration of the powerful impact the gospel can have on human relationships as well (receive him “no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother,” v. 16). Apparently during Paul’s three-year ministry in Ephesus, Philemon heard the gospel and was saved. He began serving the cause of Christ in the Colossian community, opening his home for a group of Christians to meet there regularly. At some point, Onesimus, one of Philemon’s slaves, fled to Rome, possibly having stolen money (or property) from Philemon and now a fugitive. Onesimus somehow came into contact with the apostle Paul and became a Christian. As he grew in Christ, he spent much time and effort helping Paul, who was severely constrained by his imprisonment. Paul thus wrote this letter as an appeal to Philemon to appreciate …

pastoral prayer

The Power of Honor

God has called us to become vessels of honor. The Bible calls us to honor God in everything we do. The bible says, if we honor God he will honor us. But if we dishonor Him, he will lightly esteem us. I have seen too many Christians buy into the culture of dishonor as displayed on Fox News, MSNBC and other news outlets and blogs toward elected officials. We find this same culture of dishonor in relationships – be it between husband and wife or parents and children. Spiritual authorities are not exempt either from this problem. When it comes to spiritual authorities, I have observed two extremes in the ways church folk relate to them. 1. Church leaders are either put on pedestals – or 2. They are very lightly esteemed As a result, we receive incredibly more value from those we highly esteem,  but no value at all from those we lightly esteem. We receive lots of blessings from those we honor but receive very less blessings from those we dishonor. Is it possible for God to …


Not because the bus stops, you should get on it

My destination was Hayward, but my transit stop was Oakland. I decided to take Greyhound to Oakland, than the train to Hayward because I didn’t want to drive. After waiting for at least two hours, I stepped toward the side door of the bus and handed my ticket to the driver. He ushered me on the bus barely glancing at my ticket. I got in my seat, put my earphones over my ears, closed my eyes, and three hours later I was in Reno. I was furiously boiling inside, to fine myself in Reno and not Oakland, but kept my cool. The bus driver apologized for not looking intently at my ticket and offered a six hours drive on another bus heading to San Francisco. It was a drive that would take me from Reno, back through Sacramento en route to San Francisco. I promptly declined and asked for a bus back to Roseville, Sacramento, where I left my car. My money was reimbursed, and I got a free ticket with priority boarding back home. …

celebrate the life of_wide_t_nt

ReThinking the way you grieve

There is nothing that can replace the absence of someone dear to us, and one should not even attempt to do so. One must simply hold out and endure it. At first that sounds very hard, but at the same time it is also a great comfort. For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled one remains connected to the other person through it. It is wrong to say that God fills the emptiness. God in no way fills it but much more leaves it precisely unfilled and thus helps us preserve — even in pain — the authentic relationship. Furthermore, the more beautiful and full the remembrances, the more difficult the separation. But gratitude transforms the torment of memory into silent joy. One bears what was lovely in the past not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within, a hidden treasure of which one can always be certain. — Dietrich Bonhoeffer

family fellowship_wide_t_nt

3 Things my children will never do

I’m the youngest son of two very loving and generous parents, brother to six beautiful ladies and four handsome guys. I’m the youngest man in this soccer team of 11, but I have two younger sisters. My mother made all the boys in the family take turns, with the girls, preparing dinner for the entire family during the week. Where I’m from, it is considered a thing only women do. But not in my mother’s house. Everything the girls did we did: we cooked, we wash dishes, we did laundry. Growing up, it was important to talk to my parents and older siblings in a way that was polite and respectful. So, Mama and Papa was acceptable, nothing else. I called Marcus – “Boy Marcus” – Florence – “Sister Florence” anything else was not necessarily disrespectful, but a little impolite. Older people, outside our home were politely called – Mr. or Mrs – uncle or aunt – sir or madam, never by their first name. Now, you may argue – “different strokes for different folks” and I’m totally cool with that, but in my home there are three things …

Rising Up Godly Leaders_wide_cb

7 Questions for those who do not like their leaders

And next to them the Tekoites repaired, but their nobles would not stoop to serve their Lord… Nehemiah 3:5 During the time of Nehemiah, the Persian Empire had reached its greatest extent, engulfing nearly the entire Near East. In 539 b.c. the Persians under Cyrus the Great defeated the Babylonians and absorbed the lands of Israel and Judah (known as Beyond the River) into his empire. The next year he allowed the people of Judah (now called Jews) to return home and rebuild the temple of the Lord. Several waves of returning Jews continued to resettle in Judea, and Nehemiah was granted permission to rebuild Jerusalem’s ruined walls around 445 b.c. Little by little, God began renewing his people in the land, to carry out what he promised to Abraham. God in his mercy raised up Ezra the priest and teacher, and Nehemiah the governor, to lead his people in the hard work that this renewal requires.  Nehemiah will encounter some serious opposition to the work, but before the rebuilding of the city wall became a full-fledged conflict …


Guard the spirit of Marriage within you: Don’t cheat on your Spouse

Marriage Counseling for the cheating Spouse You fill the place of worship with your whining and sniveling because you don’t get what you want from God. Do you know why? Simple. Because God was there as a witness when you spoke your marriage vows to your young bride, and now you’ve broken those vows, broken the faith-bond with your vowed companion, your covenant wife. God, not you, made marriage. His Spirit inhabits even the smallest details of marriage. And what does he want from marriage? Children of God, that’s what. So guard the spirit of marriage within you. Don’t cheat on your spouse. I hate divorce,” says the God of Israel. God-of-the-Angel-Armies says, “I hate the violent dismembering of the ‘one flesh’ of marriage.” So watch yourselves. Don’t let your guard down. Don’t cheat. Malachi 2:13-16 (The Message Translation)


Anger does not produce the righteousness that God Requires

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. you covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. James 4:1-2 What causes us to get angry? I believe we get angry because our desires are not fulfilled; our rights violated, our expectations are not met and because we have been hurt by someone. In any case, our unfulfilled desires result into anger. Everyone of us have areas in our lives where we are most susceptible to anger. I can almost hear my wife’s voice in the back of my mind – “stop pushing my button.” Let name a few I struggle with – I will surprised if you don’t: disobedient children a stubborn person yelling stress at work last-minute changes feeling neglected hurtful words unrealistic expectations disrespect unmet desires The list goes on! Our unfulfilled desires lead to fighting and quarreling. When any one of these occur in our lives, it causes us to react in anger. Anger in and of itself is …