In Acts 15:36-41, we read about an argument. Two leaders, two different ideas. They can’t agree; they go their separate ways. Call it the first church split. Paul and Barnabas had been partners. Now they’re ready to return to their mission field and check on the churches they started. Barnabas wants to bring John Mark along. Paul says, “No way. He’s a quitter; he will slow us down.”
They can’t agree. So they split up.
Here’s my question: Which one was right?
You could argue that Paul was right. After this incident, Barnabas drops off the radar, and the rest of the book of Acts is all centered around Paul. Paul writes much of the New Testament.
But you could argue that Barnabas was right. By investing in someone who got off to a bad start, we end up with John Mark, author of the first Gospel written which became an important source for both Matthew and Luke. Even Paul, at the end of his life, admits that he needs Mark (2 Timothy 4:11).
Could they both be right?
I think maybe yes they could. And I wonder in this day of conflict, debate, controversy, and polarization, if maybe what we’re seeing is not so much “I’m right, and you’re wrong,” but more “I’m right, and you’re right; we’re just right in two different ways.”
I don’t know. It’s just a thought. What do you think?
Why does the Lord want us to release our anger before the sun goes down? Many reasons, but here’s one of them: Anger is a burden we are not designed to carry. God can shoulder that weight, but we really cannot.
I’m very excited about this course. I think it will help many people, and I hope you’ll join me in spreading the word. You can give others this link: bit.ly/forgive2
What to expect in this course
4 Reasons Why We Struggle to Forgive … and What You Can Do About It (Lesson #1)
Jesus commands us to forgive. Medical science confirms forgiving others makes us healthier and stronger. But it is so hard to do. Especially when we believe these lies about what happens when we forgive.
Why forgiving others is one of the best things you can do for yourself (Lesson #2)
While it may seem like forgiving others diminishes you, the exact opposite is true. Here’s how forgiving others makes you stronger and healthier both emotionally and spiritually.
Why forgiving others does NOT open the door to abuse (Lesson #3)
Forgiving others does NOT turn you into a doormat. It does NOT invite or excuse abuse. Explore the important differences between forgiving and reconciliation.
Anger shows up as a friend, stays as an enemy (Lesson #4)
Yes, anger does have its place. But, like dynamite in the wrong hands, it can quickly become dangerous. In this lesson, we explore how and why anger is different than most negative emotions, and why it’s so important to know what to do with our anger.
Forgive with your eyes wide open: Why forgiveness has nothing to do with denial (Lesson #5)
“It wasn’t that bad.” “I’m not really that angry.” Sometimes what may sound pious and godly actually gets in the way of forgiving from our hearts.
Why blanket forgiveness seldom works (Lesson #6)
Can you forgive Uncle George in ten minutes if he abused you for ten years? Probably not. But here’s what you can do instead.
Understanding how your mind works reveals why we need to change our approach to forgiving others (Lesson #7)
The vast majority of people don’t understand this simple concept, but once it makes sense, then you can easily see why most approaches to forgiving others simply will not work. Thankfully, God has a much better alternative for us.
The key to moving forward is resolving the past (Lesson #8)
You can try to forget the past, but the past doesn’t forget you—until you deal with it.
The trade-up approach to forgiving others (Lesson #9)
This step-by-step approach puts together everything we’ve learned, and leverages the supernatural power of God to change our hearts.
The under-anger approach to forgiving others (Lesson #10)
Here’s an alternative approach that works better for some people or some situations. Again, we find a way to access God’s grace, so he can do the supernatural work in our lives that only He can do.
Is there a course fee? Here’s how this course works. You take the first six lessons for free. At that point you decide if this is bringing value to you. I’ll suggest a course fee at that point. You are free to pay more or less depending on your situation. If you’re truly destitute, pay nothing. It’s all okay. There’s no pressure. Nobody’s judging you. Nobody’s looking over your shoulder to see what you’re going to do. I don’t want money to prevent you from getting the benefit from this course.
In other news, I haven’t forgotten about The Gift of Your Influence. I plan to reshoot most of those videos and shoot the videos I haven’t completed yet and offer it as an online course hopefully sometime in the next few weeks. I don’t think I’ll continue using the blog and the blog email for that course as I want to free up the blog for other purposes.
What’s it like being married to someone for 40 years?
Kim and I spend time together—far more than most couples. Does familiarity breed contempt? No. I joke with her, and she smiles and rolls her eyes. Then she says, “I laughed at that the first time you told me—35 years ago.” At times we work together. But mostly she does her thing, and I do mine. Then we take a break and play Rack-O or Bible trivia or Casino. In the evening we drive around the block, count deer, and look at the sunset together. It’s a cheap date, but we just like being with each other. She reads books to me at night. Then she says, “Are you asleep?”
I like it that her voice is the last thing I hear every night.
40 years—I guess that’s a long time. It doesn’t seem long. It seems like a week. But when I stop and think about it, I realize it’s more than halfway from “I do” to “’til death do us part.” I ponder that—maybe more than I should. It’s sobering. But it’s also like a mystery. What will my wife be like in that heavenly home where her soul is free from pain, and laughter flows from her heart?
I think of the storms we’ve weathered—storms brought on mainly by my own stupidity and insecurity. It seemed at times like the house of our marriage would crumble, but it didn’t. She kept on believing in me even when I could find no reason to believe in myself.
I think of our children—such a mixture of promise and unpredictability in each one—a treasure that we share. I am humbled and awed that I got to be their dad.
I think of our dreams—what they say about us. We never stopped dreaming. We took the road less traveled; it twisted and turned, taking us places we never imagined we would be.
I hold her hand, and I look up into the heavens. Our lives here are small, yes. But I’m glad, Kim Rohrer Clough, that I get to share mine with you.
PS. The picture is the first picture of Kim and me together taken on my 20th birthday in 1977.
PPS. I plan to come back to The Gift of Your Influence. Sorry for the delay. I just needed some time to focus on some other things. Thanks.
Being a child of God offers us a place to belong, intimacy with God, freedom from fear, and many other benefits. But it also empowers us to make a difference in a world where there are supernatural forces at work resisting good. More on the video…