Dealing with Conflict

July 18, 2016 — 1 Comment

How did your parents teach you to deal with conflict with your siblings?

Here are some of my favorite examples of what NOT TO DO:

Put your boys in a cage!

cage

A parent braided her daughter’s hair together.

punishment-braid

Now, this is actually a clever idea:

o-OUR-GET-ALONG-SHIRT-facebook
I know of a father who made his sons box to work out their problems.

boxing

Now, that’s a fun idea!

I think I’ve found a way for us to work out our problems with other people in the church!🙂

Here’s the problem, as far as I see it: The problem is that many of us had no good role models for how to work out our problems.

So much of what we learn about dealing with conflict comes from watching our parents, which is problematic if our parents dealt with conflict in one of the following ways:
Yelling—Maybe your parents yelled at each other to “work out” their problems.
Laughing—Maybe you had a parent who just made a joke out of everything to avoid having serious conversations.
Avoiding—Maybe your parents just didn’t talk about it. One would leave or one would change the subject.
Medicating—Maybe you had a parent who would get drunk or high to avoid facing conflict.

This side of getting out the boxing gloves, I think we need to know how to work out our conflicts.

The Christians in Corinth were not handling their conflicts very well. In fact, they were suing each other’s pants off.

Jewish people didn’t ordinarily take their problems to public courts, so Paul is really talking to the Gentile Christians.

The Greeks were known for being a litigious people.

They used the courts for entertainment and amusement.

They would have loved shows like the People’s Court.

Taking someone to court was fun for them.

The Greek Christians in Corinth had brought their love for the courts and suing each other into the Church and Paul—who had been Jewish—was deeply offended.

He didn’t understand why they were looking for justice in the presence of the unjust.
He didn’t understand why they were looking for righteous answers from the unrighteous.

1 Corinthians 6:1
When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints?

Ironically, they were eager to judge each other in legal matters, but not in moral matters.

Paul just finished rebuking them for not judging the guy who was committing incest, but now he’s rebuking them for judging each other in legal matters.

It’s easier to sue another Christian than to have a face-to-face conversation where you confront them on their sin.

So, what’s the process we should follow when we have a disagreement with another Christian?

Well, I can tell you it starts with Facebook!🙂

And, here are the best ways to confront another Christian on Facebook:

Sarcasm
“I’ll try being nicer when you try being more like Jesus!”

Passive Agressiveness
“2 Kings 2:23,24”

Are you not familiar with those verses?

23 He went up from there to Bethel, and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” 24 And he turned around, and when he saw them, he cursed them in the name of the Lord. And two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys.

Vague Accusations
“God and I both know what you did to me.”

Rip a King James Version Scripture out of Context

“Judge not, lest ye be judged.”

Public Shaming
“Hey Rhonda Chambers! When I said that I was not as good-looking at Matthew McConaughey and you yelled ‘Amen’ that really hurt my feelings. How dare you?”

No, really. That’s not how we should deal with interpersonal conflict.

We should be able to work out our problems on our own and when we can’t or refuse to, we are disobeying a clear teaching of Jesus.

Matthew 18:15-17
15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

A couple of important questions to ask yourself before diving into conflict?
Do you really have all the facts?
Have you really been “sinned against”?
Is this really my battle to fight?
Is this really a hill worth dying on?

So, how should Christians deal with interpersonal conflict according to Jesus?
Face-to-face confrontation…in private!

Important: Facebook is not PRIVATE!

Take one or two others with you to confront the offender with evidence.

Important: Assumptions & Rumors & Gossip are not Evidence

If the offender is completely resistant to listening, repenting, changing, or doing anything to resolve the conflict, bring it before other Christians (i.e. The Church).

Important: The purpose of this step is not alienation but reconciliation.

If the offender refuses to listen, repent, change, or do anything to resolve the conflict after all of this then you have no choice but to regard the person as someone to be avoided.

Important: We are supposed to love everybody, but that doesn’t mean I have to sit in a fishing boat with you all day…especially if the fish aren’t biting.

In the context of how we should deal with conflict, Paul gives us a glimpse into the future and shows us how we will deal with conflict in the future.

1 Corinthians 6:2,3
2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!

We are going to participate with God in judging on Judgment Day.

We will judge the world.
So, wait.
No need to start that job too early, because it’s not the right time for that.
We are going to be entrusted to help Jesus in judging the world.

We will judge angels.
3 things:
Angels exist to serve us.
There are good angels and bad angels.
Apparently, as a part of the final judgment, we will participate in judging them, too.
We are going to be entrusted to help judge angels.

What’s Paul’s Point: If we’re going to help Jesus judge the world and judge angels…
We are more than qualified to work stuff out on our own.

1 Corinthians 6:4-6
4 So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, 6 but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers?

We have it in us to work out our problems amongst ourselves.

Relationships are hard work.
But, it’s worth it because we are family.

1 Corinthians 6:7,8
7 To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? 8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers!

Paul comes back to his earlier point: Unrighteous people have no business judging righteous people.

Are we going to have conflict with each other? Yes.
Should we ask “unrighteous” people to mediate our problems? No.
Why is this such a big issue?
We’re family (brothers).
Family should be able to work it out with family.
We shouldn’t air our “dirty laundry” in front of lost people.
Why? It hurts our witness and just makes the laundry even dirtier.
We are better than that.

Let’s keep reading…

1 Corinthians 6:9a
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?

Not only will we help Jesus in the final judgment, we will also…
Inherit the Kingdom of God.

Unrighteous people will not judge anything at the end of time, so they have no business judging our conflicts now.

Unrighteous people will not inherit anything at the end of time, so they have no authority over the Kingdom of God now.

Did you hear that?
In Christ, we inherit the Kingdom of God!

How cool is that?!?

Every inherited anything? Inheritance always come by way of a loss and a tragedy.

And, it’s a tragedy for anyone to miss out on the treasures of Heaven because they preferred the pleasures of Earth.

That’s why Paul describes for the Corinthian Christians was “unrighteousness” looks like.

1 Corinthians 6:9b,10
Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Our momentary choices can have eternal ramifications.
Sin is deadly.
Sin is not cute.
Sin is a thief that steals our inheritance.

The righteous will inherit the Kingdom of God.
The unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

Let me pause here and make an important point.

Are we supposed to hate unrighteous people? Absolutely not!

I love what Paul reminds the Christians of in verse 11:

1 Corinthians 6:11
And such were some of you.

That’s such an important reminder in the context of dealing with conflict and judging each other.

Why?

It reminds us to enter conflict with grace.

We don’t hate unrighteous people at Journey because we’ve all been unrighteous people.

We’re all a bunch of “use-to-be’s.”

I can imagine what it must have been like at Corinthian small group gatherings.

“My name is Joe and I used to be an adulterer.”
And then someone else would say, “Me too!”

“My name is Mary and I used to be a thief.”
And then someone would say, “Me too!”

“My name is Tom and I used to be greedy.”
And then someone would say, “Me too!”

Christians, let’s always lead with grace because we’re all a bunch of use-to-be’s.
We used-to-be a lot of things that no longer define us.
But, there is one thing that we need to remember:
We used-to-be unrighteous, but we aren’t unrighteous anymore.
We used-to-be lost, but we aren’t lost anymore!

We do grace—and we must always do grace—because we’re all a bunch of used-to-be’s!

It reminds us to enter conflict with humility.

We are righteous and we may help Jesus judge in the future, but WE ARE NOT GOD.

Being righteous does not give us a right to be self-righteous.

What does it mean to be righteous?

Every once in a while, a member of my team and I will have a hard conversation. Often, when we’re done, I’ll ask a “DTR” question- a “defining the relationship” question.

I’ll ask, “Are we good?”

Or, in other words, “Is our relationship as it should be?”

Being righteous means….
That we are “good” with God.

Maybe you need a “DTR” conversation with God today?
Are you good with God?

Oh, it’s important to know, the only way to be “good” with God is to be “good” with Jesus.

If you are a Christian, you are good with God…you are not God!

How do we become “good” with God?
Paul tells us.

1 Corinthians 6:11
But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

How do we become righteous?
Baptism. (Sins are washed away)
Sanctification. (Supernaturally clean)
Justification. (Being forgiven of all of our bad stuff)

Let me pause here and make another important point.

Does Jesus hate unrighteous people? Absolutely not!

He loves unrighteous people so much that He died on a cross to give them a chance to become righteous…or “good” with Him.

You can become righteous today by putting your faith in Christ.
And then, once you’re righteous you’ll understand the importance of putting down the boxing gloves.

We’re better than that.

We are more than qualified to work stuff out on our own.

We are family.

We work things out when we have a conflict with someone else because God worked things out when we had a conflict with him.

And, brothers don’t hit each other.

But, if they do, they really should use boxing gloves🙂

If you need to make peace with someone today. It’s time to do it.

©2016 Arron Chambers

pinky

I Corinthians 12:14-20, 26

14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body . . 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it..

Today I want to talk to you about your pinky toe—actually my wife’s pinky toe.

My wife has a habit of breaking her pinky toe. It seems that about every two years my wife will kick her foot on the bed, on a toy, on a curb, or on something else that she didn’t see and break her toe. I always know when she’s done it. It always starts with a loud banging noise followed by my wife’s reaction. Now, my wife was raised with three brothers in the mountains of Upper East Tennessee, so—if she were so inclined—she could swear for about three minutes without repeating herself, but—since she’s not so inclined—she just groans.

I always feel so bad, that she feels so bad.

I’ve never broken my little toe, but I know it hurts, because I’ve seen what it does to my wife. When she breaks her pinky toe, she can’t walk. It hurts to put even the smallest amount of weight on her foot, so, for a couple of days, she has to hop around on one leg if she wants to get around. It hurts to put on a sock, and a shoe feels like an instrument of torture.

My wife does not need to be convinced that her pinky toe is important. It may be a small part of the body, but it is definitely an important part of the body.

Every part of the body is important.

Which is why I love Phil so much.

Phil is a faithful servant at Journey Christian Church. He is one of the first people at church on most Sunday mornings, he opens the church building whenever someone needs to get in, he routinely locks the church up after events, he helps wherever and whenever we need him. I’m so grateful for Phil and can’t imagine Journey without him. He may not feel significant, but he is very important to Journey, to Jesus, and to me.

The Church is a body and every part of the Church is important.

Apparently, some of the members of the church in Corinth were not convinced that some of the other members were an important part of their church, so the Apostle Paul reminds them that every single part of the body, although different, is important. He also reminds them that, in a healthy body, the parts share both pain and joy.

In a healthy church there’s a place for the mouths—those who speak words of inspiration, healing, and encouragement.

In a healthy church there’s a place for the hands—those who touch the hurting, serve the needy, and point the way to God.

In a healthy church there’s a place for the arms—those who hold the tired, protect the vulnerable, and lift the downcast.

In a healthy church there’s a place for the legs—those who stand up for truth and righteousness.

In a healthy church there’s a place for the feet—those who take the message of hope and salvation to everyone everywhere.

In a healthy church body there’s a place for every part, because every part of the body is important.

In a healthy church body there’s even a place for pinky toes like me and Phil.

©2016 Arron Chambers

Ducks on the Pond!

May 13, 2016 — 2 Comments

ducks-on-the-pond_60020

Ephesians 5:15,16

15Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

Today has 1,440.

Every year has 525,600.

The typical life has 39,420,000.

Every minute of every day of every year of every typical life is an opportunity. Every opportunity is a chance to grow into more, or shrink into less. Some opportunities are divine and some are not. Some opportunities are Satan’s attempts to get us off track. Satan wants to mislead us as much as God was to lead us.

Knowing not every opportunity is a good opportunity, Paul warns, “Be very careful, then, how you live.” Make good choices. Seek the Lord. Seek the lost. Redeem the times.

My son, Sylas, is preparing for summer baseball. One thing his coach will probably say at some point this season is, “Ducks on the pond!”

This saying is typically used by the coach when cheering on a hitter to drive in a few runs. The Baseball Journal notes, “It can be said in a state of relief (We finally got some ducks on the pond) or in a situation where runs are needed (Let’s go! You got some ducks on the pond!). Either way, you know that there are runners on base who are ready to cross home plate and score some runs. They don’t want to be stranded in the field.”

It’s about seizing an opportunity.

Paul’s correct: “The days are evil” and the nights will one day never end in the place prepared for those who choose to embrace evil opportunities and reject divine ones. Paul is writing to Christians who, in their former reality outside of Christ, were “darkness” (Eph. 5:8). Notice, Paul doesn’t say they lived in darkness; he says that they “were once darkness” (emphasis mine). Choosing to embrace opportunities for evil transforms us from light into darkness incarnate. Opportunities for evil are as equally abundant as opportunities for good, but those who choose to do good are few. Affirming this, Jesus said, “Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Mt. 7:13, 14).

Quoting the Prophet Isaiah, Paul writes, “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (Eph. 5:14). Paul wants these Christians to wake up to the reality that the ducks are on the pond! They are standing at the plate and there are runners in scoring position.

We are standing at the plate.

Each day divine opportunities come our way and we have a choice. We can choose to make the most of every opportunity, or we can choose to make excuses. Each divine opportunity is a step on a path that leads us to the center of God’s will. Each divine opportunity comes with love—true love—so we are not forced to seize any or all opportunities. Unaccepted opportunities will disappear into our past like mile-markers in our rear-view mirror, but each divine opportunity we accept makes Heaven more real and worth the journey.

It’s been said that, “Opportunity only knocks once.” This is an idiom that means that you only get one chance to achieve what you really want to do. I think only idiots believe this idiom.

I think God immerses us in opportunities. I think He surrounds us with opportunities. I think He daily sends opportunities to our door—occasionally, we hear the knock; rarely, we open the door; and almost never do we recognize opportunity for who He really is.

We say things like:

“You must have the wrong house.”

“I’m not going to accept that—it costs too much.”

“You want the guy next door.”

“I’m not ready. Can you come back later?”

“That’s too nice. That can’t be for me. You must be looking for the person down the street.”

I don’t think the problem is a lack of opportunity, but the inability to recognize opportunity when it’s standing on your front porch.

That’s why coaches yell things like, “The ducks are on the pond!”

This is essentially what the Apostle Paul is doing in this passage. It’s as if he’s saying, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, because the ducks are on the pond!”

What about you?

Can you recognize opportunity when it’s knocking on your door?

What do you see when your wife is on the front porch and she’s asking you to come home early from work so you can talk?

What do you see when your son is on the front porch asking you to play catch after dinner?

What do you see when a co-worker is on the front porch admitting trouble in his marriage and asking you if you have time to talk?

What do you see when that homeless guy is on your front porch—again—asking if there’s anything you can do to help?

What do you see when your neighbor is on your front porch asking you to explain to her the reason for the hope you have?

Looks to me like the ducks are on the pond.

So, you better not strike out.

©2016 Arron Chambers

planting-tomatoes

I don’t have a green thumb. I don’t even have a green pinky.

Plants have a picture of me on the wall of their post offices. Why? I kill plants on a regular basis. This is not intentional. I’m just not a very good gardener.

My brother-in-law, on the other hand, is a fantastic gardener. He can actually put tomato seeds in the ground and tomato plants grow that actually produce tomatoes. Can you believe that? I can’t, because when I put seeds in the ground, dirt grows. Nothing happens, and it should. That’s how God designed the process.

Seeds go in, and something—very unseedy—comes out. I know this process occurs trillions of times every second of every day, but it still amazes me.

Put a seed in the ground and, in the hidden realm of worms, dirt, moisture, and darkness, a transformation occurs that unleashes intended potential. God intends for seeds to become plants. That’s what seeds were designed to do. Unplanted seeds are destined to always be . . . seeds. Unplanted seeds will never know the pleasure of sunshine on their leaves. Unplanted seeds will never know the joy of blooming. Unplanted seeds will never experience the pleasure of providing nourishment and pleasure to others. Unplanted seeds will never know the pleasure of being a tulip and the pleasure of being seen as an expression of God’s faithfulness.

Two important things occur when seeds are planted: death and life.

When a seed is planted in the ground a death of identity occurs—while beneath the surface the seed dies to itself and becomes not seed. But, life occurs as a plant pushes up through the dirt reaching for the nourishment of the sun.

For all of these reasons—and for others we may not fully understand with minds familiar only with the modern approach to horticulture—the Apostle Paul compares being baptized to being planted.

In Romans 6:5, Paul, when describing what happens at baptism, uses a word that is only used one time in the Bible and that word means, “Planted.” This is how verse five literally reads, “If we have been planted with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection” (emphasis mine).

At my baptism, in the spring of 1978, I too, was planted.

At your baptism you were planted.

At our baptisms, you and I experienced death and life. When we were beneath the surface, like a seed, we died to ourselves and became new. As we came up out of the water our intended potential was realized. We emerged as new creations, with a new life, and new identity.

I hope you never look at tulips and baptismal services the same way again.

©2015 Arron Chambers

 

christmas-presents-453onv52

Boy, do I have a gift for you!  Do you need a “pick-me-up” this holiday season?

If so, here you go!

I asked my Facebook friends to share the best Christmas gift they ever received. I suggested that “Jesus” and “Salvation” are givens.🙂

Keely Tidwell Evans–My husband home for christmas then he was in bootcamp and the year he was supposed to deploy. That time we had together on christmas exodus was so cherished because it was short, and the other time because he was supposed to be gone and got to be home.

Teresa Lewis–The birth of my youngest son Shane.. nick named my “Christmas Puddin’

Andy Woods–Three spiral notebooks. My Dad tells the best stories and he’s not getting any younger. A few years ago I was bugging him about writing them down. On Christmas I unwrapped my present to find three notebooks full of stories. Family who didn’t know what was going on couldn’t understand why I was so excited over three 99 cent notebooks.

Jim Ray– My Dad recorded about six cassettes of stories from his life that Donna spent months transcribing and now typing up to print books for all of my brothers and sisters to receive this Christmas.

Emmalie Spackman Armstrong–My husband once bought me a vase before we were married. I thought it was a terrible gift at the time but 18 years later he still buys me flowers to put in it. It has become my favorite gift.

Bobbie Jo Gorman Pittman–My homemade/ handmade cabbage patch doll. My grandparents couldn’t afford one (way back when they first came out and were like $100)so Grandma made one right down to her crcrocheted clothes!!! My Grandma is gone now and my daughter, Macie never got meet her but she gets to play with that doll.

Jeffrey T. Hare–My wife!

Piney Grove Christian Church–Two seater go cart

Andres Augustine Benavides–A plane ticket to Colorado for the holidays!

Christine Cavazos Gonzales–My second grade son’s $ .99 light bulb earrings that turned my ears green! Gaudy but I was so touched he bought them for mom.

Glen Fritzler–Best Christmas ever hands down, was the last Christmas both my mom and dad were still alive.

Karah Long–My grandma made us a cook book of family recipes

RaVae Erickson–My engagement ring. I got my hubby 5 months later!

Ben Siemon–techno super bowl

Donny Hughes–Tangible Object – Stretch Arm Strong – my sisters tore him apart frown emoticon The best gift has been memories and precious time with family (laughs, heartfelt thank you tears, jokes, catching up and of course traditional Christmas Drama) These are fun, thank you for letting us get involved.

Ivy Moya–My camera. I love capturing special and everyday moments.

Cassie Dawn Ruhl–Life!

Fred S. Turner–Atari 2600 when I was 12- complete with Asteroids, Space Invaders, Etc.. Knew there was no way my parents could afford it. Later learned they attended an all day time share sale presentation where it was the “prize” for showing up. Knowing how my parents disliked being sold anything, it made me appreciate them investing all that time and enduring the pressured sales pitch.

Angela Dowling Brogan–A saddle because I knew there must be a horse out back!!!!!!

Jude Champagne–Dog tags and letter explaining their significance from my marine brother while he was on leave.

Rose Marriott Larimer–My daughter got everyone a nerf gun and instructed us all to open them at the same time. The room spontaneously erupted into a good half hour of shooting each other all over the house. Lots of noisy laughter and silly frivolity. Not a real gift perhaps, but a great Christmas memory enjoyed by all ages of family members.
Donna Hays–My husband has given me the best gifts B/C he always gives me something I didn’t ask for but, apparently, needed. Our second Christmas together, he gave me a wool comforter and mattress pad to keep me warm during the Winter. That was one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever gotten.

Laura Pattee–Our firstborn child.

Jim Ray–My first guitar was a Christmas gift. I only asked for it because my older brother (and biggest rival) asked for a ukulele. I had no idea at the time how the gift of music would enhance the rest of my life.

Jonathan Dana Blayney–My daughter birth 2010, first date with my wife 2007, guitar 1985

Kimberly Lee–A blue bike and a blue coat when I was about 10 that I heard Santa bring into the house.

Anisha Gutierrez–A few years ago, about a week before Christmas, we noticed that a couple of our items had gone missing. It turned out that the kids had snatched a couple of our things, wraped them and put them under the Christmas tree. I had never been so excited to see my hairbrush and I think Mikel got his belt returned to Him smile emoticon The kids told us they knew that we would love the gifts they got us. We laughed so hard!

Kitty Johnson–A 1989 Mustang XL that my grandparents got for me. It was hidden next door (Kirsten’s house) & everyone knew about it but me! My Papa was so proud to give that to me & I was blown away. I still remember him taking me by the arm to lead me next door & I was clueless. Meanwhile half the neighborhood is creeping out of their house to see my reaction. It was white with a humongous red bow on top. (Thanks for letting me relive that too. Got me teary.)

Amy McBride Chirichigno–My Nook! #bookworm

Katie Babbino–My mom gave me $1000 for a computer, all in $1 bills, rigged in a cookie tin to burst open and spray the money everywhere when it was opened. My last Christmas with her 🙂

Jennifer Barnett Seminara–A pair of diamond earrings. My husband Joe had given me a pair when my daughter Paulina was born. Unfortunately someone stole them and I was heart broken. My husband replaced them on Christmas with an upgraded pair .. The best part was that he had put them in an ornament that had been hanging in the tree all season. He had me hunt the tree for them. I had no idea he was replacing them and he made it a fun process .

Jeffery McDowell–My wife Liz. I proposed to her on Christmas 15 and she said yes! God took a hurt rebellious meth head like me and restored me in Him. He gave me a beautiful gift! Restoration in Him after straying for many many years! :)

Laura Jones Sampson–Grandma jones saved back jewelry and trinkets that had belonged to her mom and gave them to us over the next couple years after she died so we would remember her at Christmas. 💕

Leah McManus–My parents, aunts and uncles and grandparents pooled together and bought my violin when I was 14 or 15 years old. My mother insisted it would be the only gift I got for Christmas that year because it was expensive by our standards. I still use it every week to teach my violin students.

Anissa Keaton Snow–on Christmas morning when I really needed to feel/see God working in my life.

Audra Kingsley Blythe–After being married at 18 and 21, I cherished my wedding ring (that he picked all on his own) for 21 years. We’d talked about new rings for a few years, but I’m not a big jewelry person and it just wasn’t that important. Christmas of 2013, with our kids (18 and 20) present he was being a bit weird and really watching which present I opened. I grabbed a 8×8 box and as I opened it he got down on one knee…and began to sob. He eventually told me how much he loved me and handed me the little box inside as he appoligize for not being able to talk. My best Christmas present ever was his willingness to tell me, with our family present, how much I meant to him. The ring was just an extra…though I wear it happily, knowing how much thought he put into it 21 years later!

Aaron Gossage–My dad got me a flight in a T-6 Texan, a WW2 era aircraft.

Lizzie Johnstone–My keyboard I got last year

Connie Slaymaker–When my dad came down from Canada.
Hadn’t seen him in 6yrs. He worked the pipeline so rarely could get away. He spent a whole week with me in California.
I’ll never forget it.

PeteNheather Ramsey–My mom made life size rag dolls for me and my sister. They were made from some of our old clothes and looked like us. She must have put so much time into it. I am sure I didn’t appreciate it then. She worked full time, but gave so much of herself and time late into the night to make us happy. Now I know just how difficult that is to do

Amy Woodrum–An engagement ring. Funny story about that, The next year my husband got me the “Indiana Jones” movie set and he thought I didn’t like it b/c my reaction was nothing like the year before. I tried to explain that when you start with a wedding ring as a present it’s all kinda downhill from there LOL

Cheryl Grom–Record player

Ramona Griffin Eldridge–A cassette Walkman with an Amy Grant Christmas cassette inside it.

Melissa Kelly Colgate–My first Christmas together with George at my brother’s house.

Josey Sampson Corbett–It’s so relative! Not many can relate to this I suppose… When I was in Bulgaria, I got an awesome care package one Christmas. My two favorite items were toilet paper and crunchy peanut butter. I hid them both from guests of all nationalities. :)

Denise Casseday Finning–Gavin! He was born at 11:17 on Christmas morning 16 years ago! There is more to the story though… My grandpa, who was so excited to have a great grandson passed away on Dec. 3 that year.

Aaron Jennifer Warnick–My engagement ring or the spa gift card.

Rene’ Corbett–A teddy bear from my grandmother that has been made from a quilt top made by my great grandmother.

Beverly Jackson–Proposal from my husband

Tammy Skogen–The movie Scrooge. wink emoticon

Brenda Frame–After my husband passed away right before Thanksgiving, my teenage kids bought me a Bose radio so I could listen to talk radio. They definitely couldn’t afford it.

Julie McGrath–A really beautiful ring…to a ten year old girl? Ooh lala!!

Marina Davidson–Christmas was my Christmas present. Before I got married my family did not celebrate Christmas. I went to friends houses sometimes at Christmas time, but never had a Christmas at home. So when I was finally able to celebrate and make memories and go to church, and open presents and have Christmas morning breakfast and Celebrate Jesus it was and still is the best gift! My 10th real Christmas!!! ♡

Kelly Jones–My favorite gifts were the ones my sister picked out from Sanrio Surprise (a store for just hello kitty merchandise). Every year dad would fund a trip for each of us to pick out stuff for other one. Then we would wrap each individual item, including each pencil, tiny accessory, or knick knack. They were my favorite!

Lisa Barham-Dopler–A “Big Wheel” when I was 5.

Marrianne Kay Davis–A cabbage patch doll…when I was 18!! AND my mom and my aunt sewed and crocheted a ton of cute clothes for her!! I still have her!!

Susan Bartsch Smit–2 things…
My own bicycle… my Dad had been at sea and I had learned to ride on my big brothers’ much too tall for me bikes. Dad didn’t know I’d been learning so when I was happily surprised with a bike for me under the tree, he took me out to show me how to ride. My Mom and I had a great time watching his face as he held the bike for me and I surprised him by taking off and riding. The second gift is anytime we’re able to be with family and friends to hang out and/or share a meal. It’s always so special!

Janet Morris–A Blizzard! Sue and I were stuck in her little apartment in Denver and all our presents and Christmas dinner was in Greeley! We had no electricity and only soup and crackers for Christmas dinner…but one of my best gifts. We sang Christmas carols by candlelight and talked ourselves hoarse! And the soup was “blessed” extensively!

Drew Bromm Risk–Lord of the Rings trilogy edition

Kyle Andrew Morrissey–White Power Ranger Gloves

Shannon Tetiva–My parents got me the baby doll I wanted! I know it was expensive for them as my dad was layed off. I still have that doll.

Susie Moreno–1973 Barbie Townhouse. We lived at Island Grove Apt., Mom, Dad, and 6 kids. We didn’t have a lot, in fact we had very little, but they always made sure we got a new outfit and at least one really good gift. So something like a Barbie Townhouse was AMAZING! I loved that thing. It was also the last gift they gave me before splitting up so that might have something to do with it holding such fond memories for me.

Pat Brunner–First and foremost would be God’s gift of his Son. But also my family’s love was, is and always will be my best Christmas gift over material things.

Ginny Mackey Graham–One of my most memorable Christmas gifts was a velvet long robe. It was even more special to know my dad picked it out. I think I was 12 years old.

Sheryl Wilson–I have to explain …My husband never just gives a gift because you want it, in his head he has to understand why and see value in it or you may not get it!! A couple years ago he got me a mic and stand as well as a book on carving, he stepped out of his comfort zone and gave me a gift I find joy in doing!! If you knew him you would understand how priceless that gift was too me!

Melody Willert–First and foremost, Jesus. The one gift I remember, and I’ve lived through 63 Christmases, was a gold bookmarker with an “M” on it from my cousin Penny. I was probably 8 or 9.

Julie Nelson–Positive pregnancy test/the gift of becoming a parent!

Terri Herrington–The only ring my husband has bought me….he couldn’t afford anything when we got married….so a couple years later he bought me a heart shaped ring with a diamond in the middle. I wear it everyday and think of him everyday for he is forever on my mind and in my heart.

Mark Wheeler–Baptized into Christ December 1988 and engaged a couple days later to my now wife of almost 27 years!

Dave Jones–Stretch Armstrong!

Sheryl Wilson–A few years back!! I had ask my husband if he would go to church with me for Christmas, je would not answer because he had not made up his mind, he surprised me and very last minute he came with me, best gift ever to be with your husband on such a day of blessings

John Jordan–December 26, 1992 I got Jennifer Jordan; December 27, 1994 I got Joshua Jordan

Sarah Badding Selby–Arianna telling me all she wants for Christmas this year is “a happy Christmas”

Kathy Cook–One year we were struggling financially and my sister BETH gave us a honey baked ham. I was so excited that I could put a holiday meal on the table. Will never forget that year.

Melissa Schultz Smith–One year when we were really struggling we had an anonymous card with $200 given to us at church. The only inscription was”here is your Christmas miracle”

Tara Woods–My parents divorced when I was young, but a few years back we decided to all have Christmas together. It was the only time it happened, but it was the best Christmas I’ve had thus far greatest gift I’ve received is being with ALL my family at once!

Annie Lathim Bellis–Our daughter, Hannah! Went through a lot to have her and almost lost her while having her on December 22, 1997!

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Join the conversation! What is the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received?

©2015 Arron Chambers

Lord, I’m Thankful For…

November 26, 2015 — 1 Comment

20-vintage-thanksgiving.w529.h352

Salvation

Forgiveness

Grace

Mercy

Jesus

Life

Hope

Your Word.

Your Body.

My wife of 25 years, Rhonda

My kids, Ashton, Levi, Sylas, and Payton

My son-in-law, CJ Jenkins

My parents, Roger and Linda Chambers

My in-laws, John and Mary Smith

My siblings and their families

My brothers and sisters in-law and their kids

Journey Christian Church

My health

My friends

Calling us to Greeley

Seasons

Snow

My team: Terry, Matt, Patrick, Chris, Darlene, Stephany, Isaiah, Brad, Gus, Tammy, Sandy, Timothy, Dan, Keri, Steve, Mark

My Elders: Mark, Neal, David, Dave, Mark, Jason, Ryan

My heritage

Florida Christian College

Abilene Christian University

Blythe Daniel

Don Pape

My Covenant Group: Alan Ahlgrim, Greg Marksberry, Rick Grover, Bryan Myers

Drs Ben and Sheri Lerner

Your Word

The Holy Spirit

Calvin Miller, Donald Miller, Steve Miller

Being able to preach for You

Being able to write about You

Being able to serve people in Your name

Sonny’s Bar-B-Q

Krispy Kreme Donuts

Bloomin’ Onions

Fellow Coaches at Frontier Academy: Brett Shanklin, Ashlynn Rhule, Bobby Lewis, Laura Hodgson, Dan Biscelgia, Heath Miller, Ben Harrison, Daniel Zender, Mike Danson

Frontier Cross Country Team

Southside Christian Church in Orlando

America

Service men and women.

Coal, Lucky, and Belle

Coffee

The Blue Mug

Pop Secret Home-style Microwave Popcorn

Skiing

Work Out West

Peyton Manning & The Broncos

University of Tennessee Football

FSU Football

Steve Jackson

NavPress

Mark Taylor

Dr. Brad Keeney

Angel Flores

The 2016 NACC Planning Team

Tastebuds

Turkey

Pecan pie

Green bean casserole

Thanksgiving

Receiving our thanks

Loving us

Saving us.

For these things Lord, I’m especially grateful today.

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What are you thankful for?

I have 2 blogs.

This one and one designed for marriage and family issues called, Extraordinary Marriages for Ordinary People

Well, yesterday on my other blog, I posted an article entitled, 3 Reasons Why Married Couples Should Have More Sex, and it is going viral. Just yesterday alone about 1,500 people read it!

I decided to link to it here, so you can read it. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Also, I’ve been struck by something else. From my informal research, it appears about 70% of those who have “liked” or shared the article are women.

So, let me ask my women readers a question. This survey is for women only.

©2015 Arron Chambers