The Peacemaking Church: God uses conflict to reveal our idols.

This past week in ABF we studied the third lesson in a series of eight on resolving conflict. The key principle stated was God uses conflict to reveal our idols taken primarily from James 4. What was most revealing about the lesson was the progression of idolatry according to James 4.1-3.

  1. I desire. – “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, eve of your lusts that war in  your members.” James 4.1
  2. I demand. (the birth of an idol) – “Ye lust, and have not, ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.” James 4.2
  3. I judge. “Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law.” James 4.11
  4. I punish. “…ye kill…ye fight and war….”
What circumstances are you experiencing in your life where you find these destructive patterns taking place? Identifying the conflict is the first step to resolution.

2 Minute Video on Conflict as an Opportunity

5 Minute Challenge

After watching this video go here to pray for your first country

Charles Spurgeon Documentary

Hardly a Sunday goes by when a pastor doesn’t use a quote from this pastor-preacher, Charles Spurgeon. If you’ve often heard Spurgeon quoted, but don’t know much about his life watch this:

Charles & Marcia Strong – Philippines

As you may know Chuck and Marcia S. are serving for the next two weeks in the Philippines with one of our missionaries, Tim & Laura Berrey. Here’s an update about their trip so far:

Our trip began quite eventful. After having boarded our plane and while proceeding over Canada to about the western border of  the Great Lakes our plane turned around and headed back to Newark, NJ where we started. Apparently there was a problem with the water tank so the toilets would not flush. I’ll spare all the “fun” details but we finally boarded another plane and arrived in Tokyo Japan at about 9:30 PM way too late to make our original connecting flight. Continental Airlines arranged for our Hotel stay in Tokyo (arrived there at about 11:00 PM and left at 7:00 AM) and for our departure to Manila the next morning via Philippine Airlines. We arrived about 1:30 PM, local time on Monday. Thankfully we finally made it safe and sound and our luggage made it too! We met a man and a woman who were on our flight from Newark to Manila. We were able to give them tracts and our phone numbers.

I felt bad for Tim having to wait so long for us, our flight arrived a bit later than he expected and our luggage took about an hour to make it to the baggage claim area. However, it was wonderful to see a familiar and friendly face and to be greeted by his four children. We then went on another adventure of driving through Manila! In the 48 hour period from leaving home I had about four hours of sleep and Marcia had a bit more. 

Yesterday I was able to attend a couple of classes at Bob Jones Memorial  Bible College (“BJMBC”). Then it was time to go shopping for my barong or what I would call my Filipino going to church shirt. Marcia and Laura were pleased with my choice so I guess I made the right one. Tim stayed home with the children and I didn’t blame him. The shopping mall was a few city blocks long. Yes, a shopper’s paradise.

Today Marcia gave a devotional to about 8 or 9 ladies in the girl’s dormitory. While Marcia was ministering to these ladies, I went off with Tim to the Tahanan Drug Rehab Center. There were 88 men and 11 women from the center who came out for the program. There were about ten students from BJMBC who were leading the program to minister to these people. The program began with a film communicating the Gospel beginning at creation then depicting Jesus life and finally the coming judgment. Following the film Joseph, one of the men students from BJMBC, then gave his personal testimony. After Joseph’s testimony we broke into small groups and I was able to present the Gospel through an interpreter to about a dozen men. My presentation along with a  Q & A time lasted about 45 minutes. I did not know or expect to be doing this but praise the Lord I was given the opportunity to do so! (Note: I only had about a minutes notice to figure out what I was going to say.) Some of the questions were quite interesting like “Why did God allow man to sin?” Another amazing part of all of this was the interpreter was a staff member from the Rehab Center. I do not know if he is a true believer but most likely not. Yes, God works in mysterious ways! It did not stop there because the Director of the Rehab Center let it clearly be known he wants the school to come back again.

Tomorrow at 6:00 AM, which is before your Wednesday evening Prayer Meeting, I will be giving a devotional to the men in the dormitory. The dormitory is part of the building where the Berrey’s live and where we are staying. This property will hopefully soon be the new location of BJMBC. There is a real space issue at the current location. The current location houses the Gospel Light Baptist Church, the Gospel Light Christian Academy and BJMBC. The Academy has grown so much that there is no room for BJMBC to grow. They need about $800,000 to build a new building. They have already saved about $25,000. So please pray the Lord will provide the funds to construct this new building. Also pray for the Director of BJMBC he is having some health issues.

You had asked before we left if I would be teaching a class and I responded in the negative. Well tonight I found out that I will be teaching a class next week. I guess I am learning what it is like to be on the mission field. Marcia will also be speaking again but I’m not sure when.

We are still adjusting to the time difference. What a new experience!

I came here seeking to know the Lord’s will for our future. Right now I feel I have more questions then answers. However, praise the Lord because I know he is working in my heart and mind. I have claimed Psalm 32: 8. “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way that thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.”

Lord willing we will be returning on February 25th.



Chuck & Marcia

The Peacemaking Church: Living at peace is a key to our Christian witness.

This past Sunday we walked through our second lesson on biblical conflict resolution. The lesson was titled: Living at Peace. Here’s a quick review of the lesson to help you as you seek to live these truths out this week.

Three dimensions of peace:

  1. Peace with God (Col 1.19-20)
  2. Peace with others – unity (Rom 12.18)
  3. Peace within ourselves (Is 32.17)

Four helpful principles were given:

  • Jesus reputation depends on peace and unity in the church (Jn 13.34-35)
  • Jesus calls us to seek reconciliation ahead of worship (Matt 5.23-24)
  • Peacemaking shows that we take the Gospel seriously (Eph 4.1-3)
  • Even our lawsuits should be resolved within the church (1 Cor 6.1-8)

If you’d like to work through the book called The Peacemaker you can purchase it here.

Love Your Neighbor Week

Today is the beginning of what we call Love Your Neighbor Week. I hope you’ll take time to invest in your God-given relationships this week of those who live closest to you or whom you interact with on a daily basis. Here are a few ideas:

Ideas for Children


  • Bake goods for a fire or police station
  • Take stuffed animals to the children’s hospital wing
  • Take coloring books to a doctor’s office
  • Give out free lemonade on the front lawn
  • Take dog or cat treats to a veterinary hospital
  • Make bookmarks and hand them out at a library or hospital
  • Take dog food or cat food to an animal shelter
  • Make crafts for local city officials to use as office décor


Ideas for Teens

  • Wash windows in a parking lot
  • Take a pie to an elderly neighbor
  • Rake someone’s leaves
  • Take up a neighbor’s trash cans
  • Trim a neighbor’s bushes
  • Sweep a neighbor’s patio
  • Wash someone’s car for free
  • Volunteer at a nursing home
  • Clean bathrooms at a local business
  • Plant flowers in a neighbor’s flower box
  • Offer to babysit for free


Ideas for Adults

  • Pay for the person behind you at a drive-through
  • Bring in baked goods to the office
  • Fill a coworker’s candy dish
  • Fill a coworker’s fridge with water
  • Buy a coworker coffee , a snack, or lunch unexpectedly
  • Take a roll of quarters to the laundromat and distribute them
  • Place a tissue box on a coworker’s desk
  • Bring hot chocolate mix and marshmallows to the break room
  • Buy a newspapers for  the office or your neighbor
  • Bring flowers to work and share them
  • Treat a coworker to fresh fruit
  • Give out stamps at the post office
  • Leave a flower on a windshield or desk
  • Paint ladies’ nails or do makeup at a nursing home
  • Clean bathrooms at a local business
  • Meet the mailman with a bottle of water
  • Volunteer to be a tutor in a public school
  • Business owners: donate a percentage of revenue for the week to a special cause
  • Serve refreshments to customers at a retail center
  • Let your staff leave work an hour early
  • Leave an extra big tip for the waiter/waitress
  • Offer to return a shopping cart for someone loading a car
  • Let the person behind you in the grocery line go first
  • Slip some money to someone who you know is having financial difficulty
  • Leave money in the vending machine for the next person to get a treat


Ideas for Families

  • Take baked goods to a fire or police station
  • Take baked goods to a neighbor
  • Take stuffed animals to the children’s hospital wing
  • Take coloring books or magazines to a doctor’s office
  • Take a pie to an elderly neighbor
  • Rake someone’s leaves
  • Visit the elderly in a retirement community
  • Take your dog to a retirement community
  • Take a bag of groceries to a needy family
  • Make bookmarks and hand them out at a library or hospital
  • Plant flowers in a neighbor’s flower box