BY GREG MORSE
What does the dark side of a small group entail? The author quotes C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters to get the point of Satan's desire for the destruction of holiness, by means of community and fellowship within the body of Christ.
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BY KELLY NEEDHAM
Kara seemed to have everything Maddie lacked: she was organized, had great social skills, and was confident in her strong opinions. Maddie was insecure, awkward, and disorganized. Their friendship blossomed on the soccer field sidelines, as they watched their kids run drills at practice every week. Maddie enjoyed Kara immensely, and felt she was a more well-rounded person when they were together. Her confidence grew with such a social butterfly by her side.
So, when Kara announced that her husband had taken another job ten hours away, Maddie’s despair was difficult to hide. What would she do without her best friend?
BY GEORGE SANCHEZ
Issues: Conflicts can take place in our relationships with one another at every level: between husband and wife, between parents and children, with friends, others at work, and even at church. Because we all experience conflict in one way or another, we must know how to deal with it in a biblical, constructive way. What does the Bible say about conflict? What causes conflict? How should we react to it? Is conflict always destructive, or can it be helpful?.....
BY KATHY E. DAHLEN
Forgiveness can pose some slippery questions.
It is the center point around which our faith revolves. But when we are the ones who need to forgive, forgiveness becomes more difficult. To believe that God forgave me millennia ago, pardoning me in a broad theological sweep with billions of others, seems, for some reason, more reasonable than my granting forgiveness to someone who has wronged me....
BY JOHN NORMAN
Henry was a "social leper" in our church — estranged and untouchable like the lepers of Israel. He came from a lifestyle that repelled most people. His opinion of himself had been devastated by his failures, so he struggled to find some sense of worth. He cried out for love with every action, every word, every little gesture. Desperate for love, he would do virtually anything for even the smallest hint that someone cared....
You know me well. I sit toward the front of the church every Sunday — I'm always there. On the way out I always greet you with a handshake and a smile. You seem glad to see me, too. But you don't know the "real" me very well. Behind my happy smile is a life that is somehow unbalanced. Occasionally, you have asked me how I am doing and I have told you, "I'm fine, how are you ?" (I've learned the easiest way to keep to myself is to refocus the attention back on the other person.) The truth is, I'm not sure you really want an answer. I know you deal with a lot of real pain and real suffering: people losing jobs, their homes, their families, loved ones. Frankly, I'm a little embarrassed to talk to you about where I am spiritually. I'm supposed to be on top of things, after all, I’m a successful businessman.....