About this book…
As Christians we believe that the gospel impacts the whole of our lives, and especially our relationships with one another, for they are at the core of what we are and do. But too often the message we proclaim is compromised and discredited by our behaviour and fractured relationships.
The relational principles contained within these pages have the potential to:
- help us become more positive about our lives
- transform our relationships
- increase our capacity to contribute to others
- resolve conflict in ways that will help us grow spiritually and relationally
The application of these principles will improve relationships across the church in general as we demonstrate with more integrity what it means to live together as God’s family. If your heart beats for healthier relationships within your church, Living with You, Living with Me is the book for you.
Excerpts from this book…
It is a sign of maturity to be able to respect, value and relate to those who think differently.
Unresolved conflict has the potential to undermine the spiritual life and growth not only of the individuals concerned, but also of the whole church, which can suffer from being consciously or unconsciously caught up in the issues. Furthermore, the gospel is discredited, for it becomes evident to everyone that the claims made for the gospel have not been worked out in that situation.
We also need to remember that sad fact that some people have a vested interest in resisting change, for it is in the status quo that they have recognition, power and influence. They simply do not want to lose it, so they fight to defend what they are secure with. In this context conflict is almost inevitable.
The really important thing is to know the difference between primary issues of principle and matters that are secondary. When our theological perspective is so all-consuming that we cannot relate to those who think differently, even though they might be as committed as we are to gospel principles, surely we have lost something of our focus on the wider church and the greater fact that together we are part of God’s kingdom …Bible truth is not an end in itself. Its ultimate purpose is to enable us to grow into Christ-likeness.
In many instances. The chronic power broker’s life becomes one of self-defence and reaction as they read almost every situation they face in the light of their own sense of non-acceptance. Falling naturally into negative thinking, it is also easy for power brokers to embrace a legalistic view of the gospel that demands constant performance in order to be acceptable to God.
The issue for most churches is not whether they will have to come to grips with change, but how they respond to its inevitability.
So why is it that we as church leaders and individual Christians are so willing to leave conflict unchallenged? Indeed, why is it that in most of our churches and Christian organisations there are unresolved issues that we readily admit hinder the work of the gospel, and yet we fail to address them?
But if forgiving is not forgetting, then what is it? Forgiveness is choosing to refuse to allow what others have done to hinder our moving on in our spiritual, emotional and relational lives. If or when some of the old feelings return, this does not mean the original forgiveness was not real.
It is true that we can do nothing to change the things that happened to us in the past, but it is also true that being created in the image of God means that we have that special characteristic of choice. So we can choose to refuse to allow the consequences of those things to govern our lives in the present.
If we view God in a positive light and truly believe he is unqualified in his commitment to us, we will interpret the difficulties we encounter as a normal part of life in a fallen world, rather than feeling especially singled out for them. We can then confirm our confidence and dependence on him and with thankful hearts begin to find a freedom from the negatives that can only further erode our confidence in who we are and why we exist.
What Christian leaders have said about this book…
‘I wish I had read this book 20 years ago! It makes it very clear that the Biblical sign that we are right with God is that we are right with each other, and challenges us to exhibit such truth. It identifies causes of conflict in the church such as spiritual immaturity, and the role of powerbrokers. It also presents the Biblical way of life that embraces forgiveness, and this chapter alone warrants obtaining this book. It concludes with the appropriate challenge to a commitment to Christian maturity. This is a book for ‘real’ people who are committed to ‘real’ relationships and who hold to the Bible as their authority.’
Rev Dr. Ross Clifford, Principal of Morling Baptist Theological College, NSW
‘God’s church should be the place where relationships are set right, but often there is tension which produces the ungodly responses of either suppression or self-defence. Living with You, Living with Me provides biblical, sensible and workable ways of moving from fractured to godly relationships, for clergy and congregation members alike. This is a book we should all read, reflect upon and pray about.’
Archie Poulos. Archie teaches in the Ministry Department of Moore College.
He has previously worked as a church planter in ethnic ministries, and in recruiting and training at MTS.
‘”Can I have a copy of that ‘Living’ book?” seems to be a comment around our church recently! This book speaks to people on a number of levels. Kel brings together an excellent mix of stories and real life situations, great biblical reflections, and excellent principles of life that reflect the struggle to live Jesus’ priorities, yet also gives us direction and impetus to aspire to God’s priorities in the church. I thank the Lord for Kel’s years of experience that are summed up so wonderfully in this book and that are helping us at HBC get closer to doing church in the Lord’s way!’
Rev Matt Hunt, Ministry Team Leader, Helensvale Baptist Church, QLD
‘Francis Schaeffer once said that unless the Church ‘gets back to community and the sharing of lives personally, the Church is done.’ This is why Living with You, Living with Me is such an important and vital book to have on your shelves. Kel takes us to the essence of what it means to be a Christian and to belong to the body of Christ: the simple fact that we are in relationship with our creator and also each other. This book will contribute greatly to the relational health of our churches and should be in the hands of all pastors and church leaders as the first step in leading people into deeper and more Christian relationships!’
Rev Rob Furlong, Senior Pastor, Thornlie Church of Christ, WA