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TO BE OR NOT TO BE... A BLOG

Tuesday
Jul162013

Refresh: Restoring The Soul Of A Leader - JOSHUA

Below is an outline of what i shared this past Sunday evening's Mezzo with the new series: Refresh: Restoring The Soul Of A Leader.  This week was a focus on Joshua.

It was not my plan to hand this out in written form, as it was written for notes to speak from.  Thus i hesitate to print it.  Yet I was asked by so many people if they could have a copy of the notes, hence here they are.

Therefore, offer me grace as you read below, I have not had time to do a rewrite on them.

Thank you for letting me journey with you.

Bruce

 

Refresh: Restoring The Soul Of A Leader - JOSHUA

Coffee Cup story - Old Professor

When you are trying to make big decision in your life how do you know the difference between reality and fantasy.  When do you pull the trigger.

What is true geographically is true spiritually

Younger Bruce had a special gift that the older Bruce no longer had: The gift of being naive.  The upside of being naive is that it is easer to trust people and yourself.  The downside is the you can be way to cocky.  

God in this passage was talking to the older Joshua

Joshua 1: 1-10

The Wilderness Was Necessary  (Exodus)

 

  • A place of healing
  • A place of readjusting
  • A place of rest
  • We always way underestimate how long we will be in the wilderness 
  • Just because you are in a desert experience does not mean you get to escape leadership…

 

Embrace Your Current Reality (2a)

  • Some your mentor died
  • Some you have had your dream die
  • Some of you are tired
  • Some have lost what they once had
  • For young leaders it might be experiencing - but learning to carry the weight of responsibility
  • Some have hit a plateau – time to lay the old you are on to road to rest
  • Some have had a major change and new world
  • You may be a place where no one knows your past accomplishment
  • Could be a good thing a job promotion – but now it is time to figure out where you are going with it
  • Guard against denial
  • Fight against doubt – our minds play tricks on us
  • Accept what needs to be left behind – you have to break free of where you are,-  to get where you want to go
  • You cant get to where you need to go if you don’t know where you are  - (mall map) 
  • Challenge – journal and meditate on that – you might be overwhelmed for that very reason

God Can Do More With Those Who Move Than Those That Wallow  (2b)

  • This is not to minimize the desert experience – but you still had to move

The God Who Has Done Miracles In Your Life In The Past Is Ready To Do Miracles In Your Future (3-4)

Because let me tell you something:

THE GOD WHO HAS DONE MIRACLES IN YOUR LIFE IN THE PAST IS READY TO DO MIRACLES IN YOUR FUTURE (3-4)

  • To believing leader – think back on cool stuff God has done in your life, and ways you have seen him work for your “Moses’s” – It is the same God

Don’t Let Fear Debilitate You (5)

  • Jesus spent a lot of time teaching about not worrying you
  • Chinese word for crisis. In the traditional Chinese characters the word crisis has the same meaning as opportunity; thus, how you view the situation will determine how you respond to it. Often times it’s the responsibility of the SPIRITUAL leader to give perspective to his or her followers so they assume the perspective of God.

Discover The Un-Anxious Confidence That God Offers (6)

  • Vrs 6, 7, 9, 18 all 4 verses say the same thing: BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS 
  • God says it one time –serious, 2xs very serious 3 xs he means business 4xs which is very rare – it is something you should memorize and reflect on for the rest of your life. In fact memorize this week and meditate on it
  • Being strong is a matter of who you are a matter who you are - character  - courage is a matter of what you do, a matter of responsibility – starts out as a deep belief…

What Success Looks Like (7-9ff)

  • Again, Place Your Confidence In God
  • Be Faithful To What You Know
  • Debilitations: Distractions, Anxiety And Discouragement
  • Maintain Intimacy With Jesus (everything points to the cross - hence the Jesus reference) (Be careful not to reduce intimacy with Jesus down to a just a Sunday morning shot - like drinking a Red Bull)
  • Live a life that: Anticipates God’s Blessings 9
  • Get Up And Go 10ff

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts" Winston Churchill

 

SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS

 

  • Name something positive that came from you previous (or current) wilderness experience
  • What fears/ distractions do you find that hold you back?
  • “Be Strong and Courageous”:
    • * What areas of character do you need to work on to build your strength in God?
    • * What risk of faith do you need to take to grow in courage?
  • Describe what your life would look like if you increased your intimacy with Jesus.  What specific action steps are you going to take?
  • What can this group be praying for, when it comes to refreshing your soul as a leader?

 

 

 

Thursday
Jan242013

Being Your Kid's Life Coach

This is a video i used in a teaching seminar I did at my church

 

Wednesday
Jan162013

No More Mr. Nice Group  

No More Mr. Nice Group

Five practices that take small groups beyond polite sharing

 to the disciplines that change lives.

by John Ortberg  in Leadership journal

(NOTE: Below is an article I edited down.  I thought it was an excellent article but suspected many people would find it too long.  Hopefully this will provide a powerful lesson at a quick glance)

God has entrusted us with his most precious treasure—people. He asks us to shepherd and mold them into strong disciples, with brave faith, and good character. I would not give my life to any church that was not serious about this calling—the transformation of human beings. God has decided, for his own good reasons, that people are not transformed outside of community…

When we are alone, it's easy to think, incorrectly, that we are spiritually advanced. I can watch a Hallmark commercial alone and find myself moved to tears. I tell myself that I am a very compassionate person. But when I spend time in community with a person who annoys me, it's amazing how quickly I experience "compassion fatigue."

In community we discover who we really are and how much transformation we still require. This is why I am irrevocably committed to small groups. Through them we can accomplish our God-entrusted work to transform human beings.

However, experience tells us that simply meeting with a small group does not automatically result in spiritual growth. There are certain practices that must be present, spiritual disciplines that must occur, to facilitate the transforming work of Christ in us. The presence of these things is what makes the difference between all-too-typical small groups, and life-transforming communities of spiritual formation.

Confession: remove the masks

We all wear masks. We hide from each other. It's part of our fallenness. That is why one of the most formative practices in a small group is confession. Confession is the appropriate disclosure of my brokenness, temptations, sin, and victories for the purpose of healing, forgiveness, and spiritual growth. Without confession we are a community hiding from the truth.

We need to avoid "confession killers" in our groups. These include the inappropriate use of humor. Some people are embarrassed by deep honesty, so they may mock the person confessing or diffuse the atmosphere with a joke. It sends a signal that this is not a safe place to confess, and the masks go back on.

Judgmental statements also shut down confession. I recall a small group where a man admitted his struggle with lust. That was a risk, and then someone else said, "I can't relate to that struggle at all." I wanted to say to that guy, What kind of hormonally challenged, repressed robot are you? His statement shut down an opportunity for new openness in the group.

To see real transformation, small groups must begin with reality. By removing our masks through the discipline of confession, we acknowledge the reality of who we are and open ourselves to God's transforming work.

Application: look in the mirror

James 1:23 says, "Those who listen to the word, but do not do what it says, are like people who look at their faces in the mirror, and after looking at themselves, go away and immediately forget what they look like." A small group is a place for people to look into the mirror, discover who they are, and then ask, "How do I apply God's word to my life as it really is?"

As a teacher I am regularly astonished by people's ability to hear a sermon, nod at it, be moved by it, write it down, and then do precisely the opposite of what they heard. This frequent occurrence shows the extent to which people need painstaking, patient, and careful application of Scripture to their daily lives.

What we desperately need are small groups to be schools of life. Imagine someone has a problem with anger—a small group leader should ask them: "What kinds of situations tend to get you angry, and how do you respond?" Give them some alternatives to sinful patterns of anger. Roleplay these situations in the small group. Then next week ask, "How did it go?" If they got it right, celebrate it. If they didn't, investigate what happened, and encourage them to do it differently next time.

Accountability: stand on the scale

I have made certain commitments about food and exercise in my life, but how serious I am about those commitments is difficult to determine without measuring my progress. A scale serves as a tool of accountability for me. Am I achieving my goal, or am I missing it? Ultimately the scale reveals how effective I have been in living up to my commitment.

Small groups are the place for people to get on the scale and reveal how intentional they have been to pursue transformation into the image of Christ. William Paulson writes, "It is unlikely that we will deepen our relationship with God in a casual or haphazard manner." I think he understates it. People do not drift into full devotion to Christ. People do not drift into becoming loving, joy-filled, patient, winsome, world changers. It requires intention and effort.

Guidance: follow the map

When people need directions to a place they have never been, they use a map. Too often when people have major life-forming decisions to make, they make them alone.

In every church there are people facing decisions about vocations, ministry involvement, finances, relocation, and relationships. How sad if they make these decisions without the benefit of community. Their decisions may be impulsive, emotional, based on too little information. The result is too many broken lives.

The small group is to be where we find guidance, where we help each other learn how to listen to God. Small groups who rely upon God's Spirit serve as a map for us when making important decisions.

Encouragement: embrace each other

A hug is a gesture of love and encouragement. An embrace represents what we all need from a community of transformation. We need to know that someone is committed to us and loves us. That cannot happen when we are alone, and it cannot happen in a large gathering. It's going to happen through smaller communities.

Today small groups have the privilege of loving and accepting human beings for whom Christ gave his life. In these groups we can supply the love, encouragement, and embrace people need to continue their journey of transformation.

Spiritual formation in community is mostly about loving people, and that is something we can do.

Thursday
Jan102013

Not Created To Be A Victim  

It’s time to quit living as a victim and to become the leader we were created to be.

This morning I was meeting with Pastor Dan who oversees Casa De Luz.  He was sharing with me a powerful story, which ended with how the Lord spoke to him in the middle of the night, and said, “Dan, quit seeing yourself as a victim and be the warrior I created you to be.”

So often we allow our past hurts, broken relationships, failures, circumstances, and insecurities (as Shane taught on last Sunday) define us.  We allow fear, anxiety and self-pity to justify holding us back. (The woman’s retreat coming next fall will be about living in courage)

If you are a follower of Christ, your identity is not defined by your limitations.  You are designed to make a difference in this world.  Joy and abundant living are His plan for the core of who you are. 

If you are a leader, you were not designed to lead from empty.  When we are in sync with what God is up to, we begin to operate out of the overflow.

Our lives are to be “a demonstration of the Spirit’s Power” (1 Corinthians 2:4 – Shane taught on this in staff meeting).  As a follower of Christ, my identity is in Christ.  When we live within our created intent, rather than self-pity, we begin to participate in transforming the world in the way God called us to.

For me in my life, my identity is in Christ.  If you are a follower of Christ, to build your identity as a victim, as one with limits or fear of defeat – you communicate more about your belief in Christ then you do about anything else.

If your self-pity and insecurities have you bound up: stop.  That is not who you are.  Your identity is in Christ, who is waiting on your belief in Him to be used to bring transformation into this world. 

Stop living as a victim, live as an expression of faith, where your identity is found in whom God created you to be.

Friday
Nov302012

BRICKS WITHOUT STRAW

Ex18 Now get to work. You will not be given any straw, yet you must produce your full quota of bricks.”

Life is full of twist and turns.  There are some seasons in which you can do no wrong, as if the very favor of God rest on whatever you pursue.  There are other seasons in which you are called upon to build without tools, to build even though no foundation is given or to have vision without resources.

The latter can be as a result of some form of waywardness on your part, but often it is simply a season God would have you go through.  They can be the most exciting of times where you can see God pull off some pretty cool stuff, or it can be some of the most lonely of times.  Often it is a season that is a mix of the two.  Often, while you might not have brought it upon yourself, it becomes your choice as to what you do with it.

In the 5th chapter of Exodus, we have a picture of every day life, while it may seem like worlds apart from what we experience today, it has amazing modern day application.

The Children of Israel were in bondage to Pharaoh, the cruel taskmaster, ruler of Egypt. They were kept in slavery, making bricks, and were hated and despised.

“Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go… That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and overseers in charge of the people:  “You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ Make the work harder for the people so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.”

Moses did what God told him to do.  The people of God were already trying to do life against all odds. Then life got harder, do more with less resources.  They were accuses of stuff that was not true.  They were ask to accomplish things with their hands tied behind their back.

I was counseled a man who said that his boss expects him to move icebergs, with out a boat, without rope and no acknowledgement that 90% of the iceberg was beneath the water also had to be dealt with.

It was impossible to make bricks without straw. The Children of Israel were completely crushed by Pharaoh, they were beaten for not producing the bricks—Then came the message from Jehovah.

Moses was doing the right thing, yet he looked really badBy every sense of the word, he was set up for failure.  Yet, for those that know the rest of the story, when Moses was at this very low point, feeling quite abandoned God showed up and did some pretty cool stuff.

Of course, God has a timetable of his own and rarely do we feel it is quick enough.

It is hard to understand seasons like this. 

What is the solution?  I would simply say one word.  Tenacity.

God is calling you to a higher standard. Every part of you wants to whine, point fingers, fall into self pity, envy, resentment, and defeat.  What’s worse is that you are right, your arguments are sound, you are fully justified to lack hope in your current situation. 

There is only one problem.  A hopeless life is a miserable way to live.  It is not the life God has called you to.  You may be right, but it is not right.  Your circumstance or your environment may be holding you back, but you were called live a life that is apart of God’s amazing plan.

Take a lion whom was pinned down and shaved, robbed of his mane.  He can’t change that.  But his circumstances are not what gave him, or took away, his ability to lead. 

Tenacity it to say, my life is not defined by my circumstances.  Tenacity is to say my identity and ability is not wrapped up in the things that once gave me street cred.

Tenacity is to say, more bricks without straw is not something I can do, but I serve a God who can. 

Tenacity is to say, I will stand up.  I will lead.  I will be who I was created to be.

Thursday
Nov292012

Milk, Meat and the Malnourished Church

I did not write this article, but i thought it was so well done that i wanted to repost it.

Milk, Meat and the Malnourished Church

By Steven Furtick

Pastor of Elevation Church, Charlotte, North Carolina

 

One of the greatest critiques of the American Church today is it’s malnourished.

Some would even say it’s our most pressing problem.

When most people voice this complaint, the focus is on the worship experience. 

From people who leave these churches, you hear, “I wasn’t getting fed.”

Or, “I just want some deeper teaching.”

From people outside these churches you hear, “Too much milk, not enough meat.”

In some cases, I’m sure this is true. But I really don’t think that’s the real problem.

Yes, American Christians are malnourished. But I don’t believe it has anything to do with milk or meat.

Most American Christians aren’t malnourished because of what they’re getting fed on Sunday. They’re malnourished because they don’t feed themselves Monday through Saturday.

So you had filet mignon on Sunday and learned about the mystical union of Christ and the church as it relates to the rapture and the design of the tabernacle in relation to Levitical dietary laws as understood by the Council of Trent.

Good for you.

Have fun starving yourself the rest of the week and letting your pastor read the Bible so you don’t have to.

So you had some milk on Sunday and learned 37 ways to ________. Have fun having 37 new ways to not obey God during the coming week.

The crisis facing the church today isn’t what people are getting fed on Sundays.

It’s what they’re not feeding themselves the rest of the days.

Who really cares whether you consume meat or milk on Sunday if it’s the only meal you have all week?

I’m not saying this to get pastors and churches off the hook.

It is the shepherd’s job to feed the sheep (John 21). And feed them well based on their needs and faith development.

But it’s also the sheep’s job to eat:

“Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil” (Heb. 5:13-14).

Here’s the point. Churches: We have a responsibility.

We should serve up the Word, hot and fresh every single Sunday. As church leaders, it is our job to create and sustain processes and systems that responsibly enable people to grow in their faith after receiving Christ. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing our philosophy and approach of how we do that at Elevation.

People in our churches: You also have a responsibility.

If you refuse to study the Word, apply it, pray some during the week, join a small group and dig deeper with others, there’s not much we can do to help you. Your malnourishment won’t be cured by anything we give you on Sunday.

So are you an infant and need milk? Drink it for now, but the only way you’re getting more mature and will be ready for meat is by training yourself.

Constantly.

Do you want meat? From these verses, it seems like meat is doing the milk. On your own.

Constantly.

Not getting it served to you once a week.

Monday
Oct012012

Lead Dog Down

There is a one critical difference between a lead dog and a pack dog.  Both are born with the bubble inside of them that is jammed packed with optimism, faith, hope, trust, resilience, determination, fun and idealism.  That bubble is known as their worldview.  It is made out of thick flexible material, while it strong and can endure a lot of outside stress, it is also similar to the titanic: only having the appearance of being unbreakable.  The animal that is fortunate can go it’s whole life with that bubble in tact.  Not that it does not get knocked around, pushed down or mistreated while blazing through this thing we call life, it is just resilient.  Day after day it will bounce back, every time bringing with it a full dose of hope, belief and joy.  It appears unstoppable, until life deals it that regrettable hand.

It is hard to tell what was different with that hand.  Certainly the animal had been dealt many bad hands in the past.  But this time, rather than the thick material of worldview bouncing back, like it had thousands times before, it cracks.  Suddenly all of that belief, optimism, resilience, hope and most of all trust, starts leaking out like a hot air balloon sinking fast.  The dog does what it had previously known what to do, bounce back. But this time something is different, this time it is trying to lead from empty.  This time every blow does not bounce off like before.  This time, what previously could easily could have been shaken off, is striking down deep to it’s core.  Suddenly, the dog goes from always the optimist to snarling at everyone around.  To meet the dog for the first time would be to say the dog is not very friendly.  To have been one of the former abusers you might somehow use the animals new found bitterness to rationalize that it was their bad behavior that broke the world view in the first place.  But to someone who has been down that road, they just know that the dog’s spirit has been crushed, it’s world view had been destroyed, it is simply just broken.

The difference between the pack dog and the lead dog is simple.  Whom it is following.  The pack dog follows the lead, so if a pack dog is broken it no longer knows how to trust a leader, or how to operate on it’s own.  A lead dog, on the other hand, had been following a calling. Rarely did it have something tangible to follow, it just had a clear inner strength that led with confidence, even though, truth be known, it never was certain where it was going.  Just daily following the calling, obediently and enthusiastically plowing ahead.  When the lead dog has it’s worldview cracked, it is more than just loosing trust (which is still a big part) but everything that was once so clear becomes suspect.  Every value, every belief, every form of trust, every purpose, every past success, every ideology, every philosophy, every hope – the whole nine yards becomes suspect and up for reexamination.  It is different, then the blows that simply causes a mid course correction.  That kind of blow you just shake the dust off, reexamining the strategy and plow back on with a fresh perspective.  The lead dog understands that well, it has done that a thousands times.  This time it is different.  This time it is more than a mid course correction, the vision/calling suddenly dissipated.  It is not that it needs to rethink it’s strategy, rather everything that once made sense and everything that it was so tenacious about centering it’s life around, appears to been, dare I say it, a lie.

Perhaps it is a senior pastor who poured his life into a congregation and ideologies that were fresh and real only to have the congregation turn on him.  Perhaps the spouse who worked hard towards a great marriage and being the best wife and mother, sacrificing more than she knew she could, giving up the career she could have had, only to find out her husband has been sleeping around. Perhaps the parents who poured themselves into raising a child discovering deeper forms of love they knew existed, only to have a random act of violence take that child from this world.  There are lots of different scinarios, but all seem to have the same new reality of suffering from some form of post traumatic stress disorder, trying to make sense of their new reality, while trying to reconcile the loss the old one that they had once fully devoted their life too. 

I have come to the place where I no longer think that such devastation of one’s world order is a bad thing.  That would be an obvious statement for someone who was living a destructive lifestyle.  But that is not who I am talking about.  I am talking about the person who worked hard to honor God in everything they did.  The person who had amazing affirmations from God that were so spectacular it would have brought tears to Moses’s eyes.  The person who tried to be consistently obedient to what he/ she believed to be right and always listing for necessary redirection.  The person who devoted his/ her life to a higher calling.

To watch that world unravel is more than a case of some bad mojo.  The person who had the audacity to develop deep core beliefs and fight against all odds to pursue them.  When this person’s world unravels, it is a deeper form of devastation than most will ever know. 

Despite the temptation to believe that you were abandon by God, it is not true.  Despite the temptation to believe that everything you devoted your life to and good you did was but a waste, it is not true.  Despite the confusion about why all of the cool and amazing affirmations you received along the way of your previous journey, they are all still true.

I have come to resolve that some things I may never understand, but I should not confuse that for God’s abandonment or my decrease in value.  We are a vessel in the potter’s hands.  It is His right to break vessels to create something new.  The faith comes in, that the mosaic of your broken pieces will shine far more beauty / value than the old vessel could have ever possibly accomplished.  It is understanding the "lead dog" was not stripped of everything that was good, rather, those pieces have become the new foundation to a new world view.

This is a higher level of faith than mose will ever know.  I have seen people work though this, but I confess that I only seen a few.  Most look at their pile of rubble, walk away and decide, for the first time in their life, that the shallow life turned out to be the better way to go after all.  Even the most noble of bronken people would not be honest if they were to say that those thoughts have not crossed their mind.

It is not always clear to know what the master craftsman has in mind, but a time must come for the broken lead dog to turn a corner.  He no longer sees his freshly broken pieces as useless rubble.  Instead, he is going to stop resisting the master potter and build something far more beautiful then he could ever have achieved before, or ever achieved on his own.

Sunday
Sep302012

Are there times when reconciliation is not possible?

Reconciliation is a pretty big deal in the bible.  The apostle Paul defined our ministry as believers as The Ministry of Reconciliation.  It is a big part of what we do.  We live and grow in a life of reconciliation with God; we strive to grow in reconciliation with others; and we are to have the ministry of helping others to be reconciled with God as well as with their neighbor.

I believe in the Ministry of Reconciliation.  Having said that, are there times you must set boundaries as to what lengths you can bring reconciliation about?  Over the years, as a pastor, I have found this to be a frequent reality.  I had to learn this the hard way, because i want everyone to be reconciled.  In most of the years of my ministry I have gone too far to work things out, going way beyond the call of duty, all to get burnt in the end.  As one who tends to default on the side of grace, I have learned some hard lessons.  As I am licking my wounds, reflecting upon my past, I hit a realization that to others is probably blatantly obvious: Reconciliation has its limits.  

Don't get me wrong; I am still a big advocate for the Ministry of Reconciliation.  This should always be the first step and ultimate goal.  The only difference is that I have now learned to walk into this messy process with my eyes wide open.  I have learned that while I still need to walk in the heart of conflict and be an advocate for health and justice, I have to learn to stop playing super hero. There are just some personality types, barring the power of the Holy Spirit, which is near impossible to achieve reconciliation with.  Here are a few examples:

Borderline Narcissistic Personality Disorder: I once consulted a professional counselor about a troublesome situation I was dealing with.  The counselor, after listing for a long while (he was also somewhat familiar with the situation), said, I want you to go home and goodle BNPD and tell me if that gives you greater understanding of what you are dealing with.  WOW, did he hit the nail on the head.  When I told him that, he explained to me that most professional counselors would not take someone with BNPD.  Despite their high level training, little results have been seen with BNPD patients.  At least now I knew why I was in over my head!  Regrettably, those with BNPD often have past filled with pain and shame. They tend to have this mix of fear of abandonment and an outgoing boisterous inflated personality with the need for affirmation.  Often they come off as humble victims who are not able to see that he or she has done anything wrong.  On the flip side, as a form of self-protection, they have a high view of self.  They are difficult to treat because if she or he “have done nothing wrong” in their mind, their only answer to crucify all of those bullies out there who has made her/ him a victim.  Often those who play a role of authority in this person's life, or even a spouse, will become the target of her/his pain. It is difficult to diagnose, the person often comes off as quite believable because the narcissist in them needs large crowds to affirm them, thus they learned to really work people into be quite believable. This person is often an expert in certain areas, as a way of compensating their lack of self worth.  For some it is to focus on beauty.  To another, beauty is not an option so they become the best as a certain craft, skill or hobby.  Folks like this can be attracted to a church setting because lots of parishioners can be rallied up for the cause of this victim, even at the detriment of the church and the church leadership.  Those with BNPD view themselves as victims, become experts at gaining sympathy of others and can not see where they have done wrong.  It is very difficult to bring reconciliation with someone who “has done no wrong”.

"I have my reputation to keep": This person deals with a great inner conflict.  His or her ego keeps them from admitting they are wrong.  This person does not want to be confused with the facts, he or she just wants to move on, writing off the other person as an idiot of some sort.

The Passive Aggressive: This person might be passively aggressively representing someone else in a conflict or they are saying casual things that are pregnant with harmful meaning. This is also another situation that is quite a challenge. For example, a leader is in a meeting where a conflict is being worked out.  The problem is, this leader has outside influences he/she wants to please.  It could be a spouse, could be a friend or group, who ever it might be, the leader feels obligated to give this person(s) the answer they want to hear.  On the flip side, they don’t want to admit that they are lacking integrity in representing some special interest.  Therefore, no matter what is said in the room, no matter what logic is added to the situation, reconciliation is difficult because the leader cannot come to a consensus.  Further the leader cannot give any clear explanation as to why that is so. Because the passive aggressive is not strait forward with his/her feelings or intentions, it is difficult to narrow in on what the real issues are.

Unresolved Past Issues: This person is often unhappy and needs someone else to blame. Again, this person lacks ownership.  Reconciliation requires certain levels of ownership.  The wild part is that not all unhappy people are the Eeyores in the room. Sometimes they are the Tiggers as well.  They come off as quite joyful, but it is a mask for their sadness.  Often these folks find authority figures or spouses to take their unhappiness out on.  They can hook up with other like-minded unhappy people to give themselves forms of affirmation.  Whatever the latest problem is, it is often subconsciously hooked up with deep unresolved discontent.  Therefore, solving the problem at hand does little to solve their unhappiness.  So no resolution seems satisfactory. 

Ignorance is Bliss: Most people would rather avoid conflict.  In fact, someone who loves conflict scares me.  I don’t enjoy conflict, but that doesn’t not give me the right to avoid it.  Nonetheless, it is easer that way.  Thus if a loud voice cries foul, often the crowds don’t become truth seekers, they will go where it is safe.  That could mean leaving relationships / communities without taking time to find out what is really going on.  Or it could mean taking a side and being “loyal” by not confusing them with the facts.  To take on the latter it is usually easier to go with the one crying foul, because everyone loves an underdog.  It is difficult to reconcile with these folks because they either don’t tell you they have a problem OR they don’t want to be confused with the derails.  Their highest value is avoid conflict.

Power Issues: There are some people that only feel value when they are in a position of power.  This is accentuated when they feel powerless in their job or marriage.  Therefore, leadership in a nonprofit is a place they feel they can meet those unmet needs.  The problem is, when conflict arises, they can quickly loose sight of the issue at hand and start arguing from a self centered point of view. In the end, they are more worried about position, posture and pride then resolving the issue itself.

Is anyone beyond reconciliation? Absolutely not.  Yet it takes humility on both sides to get there, and some personality types are more challenged to take on the cloak of humility.  What I have learned in 20 years of ministry is that I should always strive to live towards The Ministry of Reconciliation, but at the end of the day, I can only be responsible for my attitude, behavior and leadership.  I cant control what another person does, or even multiple people if is I am the mediator.  It is often messy, but it is right and it is good.