Saturday, April 12, 2008

Day Twelve: Fighting Well

Today Kerry has us in the boxing ring learning how to fight well because he says that most of us have no idea how to resolve conflict.

His first piece of advice is to stay in the ring and off the ropes. Too many people either run from the ring or choose to not engage in the fight by resting on the ropes. Men are especially good at this slipping into the garage or the basement or the boat, etc. to withdraw from their wife.

Kerry gives us five styles of fights:

  1. The Rope-a-Dope fighter. They avoid conflict, refuse to engage, and retreat when emotions arise, avoiding conflict whenever it surfaces in a relationship.
  2. The Knock-Out Artist. The people insist on winning and will do whatever it takes to conquer their opponent.
  3. The Take-the-Fall fighter. They throw in the towel early looking for a false peace. But they often stuff their anger and develop severe cases of resentment.
  4. The One-Two Puncher is the fighter who is committed to give and take. This style is a bit more healthy because this fighter is willing to stay in the ring an exchange blows until they establish a clear winner.
  5. The Sparring Partner. This fight is not "to win" but to make both people better. No one is looking for a knock out. Both fighters see themselves as team mates.

Kerry also suggests a few ground rules for fighting;

  1. Affirm your commitment to the relationship...that you are not out to hurt the person.
  2. Wear a "mouthguard" - be careful that you don't use words that inflame or wound.
  3. Don't attack, causing the other person to go on the defensive and shutting down.
  4. Own your own feelings. Acknowledge them and seek to express them in contructive ways.
  5. Don't bring up past history but focus on the present issue at hand.
  6. Bring the Prince of Peace (Jesus) into the ring to make sure it's a good fight.

As you think about your last 30 days on earth what are some unresolved fights that need resolving? What are some unfair fights that you need to apologize for?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Day 11: Obstacles to Unity

Kerry Shook is obviously an action oriented man! Yesterday he had us scuba diving and today we are mountain climbing as we consider how to love completely. He says...

If we are counting the days before we left this earth, we would be looking for ways to build bridges, to bring about healing, and to enjoy our most important relationships. No one wants to leave this earth with unfinished business. We want to leave our loved ones having experienced the summit of our relationships as the result of our courage to love. (page 82)

He says that every relationship has mountains to climb to achieve unity:

  1. The mountain of misunderstanding
  2. The mountain of "me first" attitude
  3. The mountain of mistakes and relational missteps.

To really love the people in our lives, we have to overcome these relational alps and learn to work through the mistakes and push beyond our self-interests. We have to grow in our willingness and ability to pour ourselves into those we love, motivating them to stay on the trail with us and empowering them to persevere after we're no longer with them. (page 84)

Kerry said that some of the best things we can do to overcome these mountains are the small consistent things that we do everyday...eating together, talking about the day, taking a walk together, praying together, surprising the people you love with something special, etc. Think of just one small thing you can do today for someone you love...and then do it!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Day Ten: The Depths of Forgiveness

Kerry Shook uses the analogy of scuba diving to help us consider the depths of love. He said that most of life is spent on the beach or skimming the surface. But few of us risk going deep in our relationships. But those who do are rewarded. How do you "go deep"? ..

  1. By confessing your faults. So often we live in denial, hiding what others already know about us. Why not come clean by confessing your faults and asking forgiveness of the people that you've offended?
  2. By forgiving those who have hurt you. Shook says that forgiveness in life is like an air tank in can't live without it.

Make a list of those closest to you. Who do you need to forgive? What do you need to confess? Come clean over these next few weeks and feel the weight lift and your relationships go deep.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Day Nine: The Price of Love

Today starts the second section of the book "One Month to Live" focusing on how to Love Completely.

Kerry Shook says that "Our investment in the people we care about is the only legacy that has the power to endure beyond our lifetime." When you think about it, Jesus invested in people, not the stock market. Not that the stock market is bad but you have to ask...where's my focus? Where's my primary investment in life? In people? My job? My finances? Or...? I hope your answer is people.

So, if you only had one month to live...who are those people that you would want to spend time with? Who would you need to apologize to or express your love to in tangible ways? What's standing in the way of that?

Kerry tells us that "Love can't be bought, but it definitely carries a price, and it's called sacrifice." Yes, expressing your love is going to cost you something...some time, maybe some money, some emotion, some pride... But as with any investment the wise investor doesn't focus on the expense but the return. The expense is always worth a healthy ROI (return on investment). Think about the return of investing in the lives of those you love and then spend freely.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Day Eight: Full Throttle

Note: If you'd like these recaps emailed to you every day please let me know.

Do you have trouble changing? Many people resist change because they feel that the sum total of their life's circumstances is insurmountable. It just takes too much energy for too long of a time to turn their ship around. So they give up before they start. Does that describe you?

God understands this problem and that's exactly why he gave us his Spirit to power our changes. He understands that left to ourselves we are powerless. But with his Spirit we can do the impossible. That's why Paul prayed for us...

I pray that you will begin to understand how incredibly great his power is to help those who believe him. It is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead. Ephesians 1:19,20

What are those areas of your life where you feel like a complete failure? Kerry Shook tells us to do three things.

  1. Admit your weakness.
  2. Release your guilt.
  3. Receive God's strength to change.

Write out what's keeping you from each one of these steps and then meet with someone to help you start the process.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Day Seven: Pursuing Dreams

We've all got dreams but how many of us pursue them with passion? Before you die don't you want the satisfaction of knowing that you pursued your dreams?

Kerry Shook says that God has put us here for a reason and planted dreams within us so we can do our part in seeing them realized. He says that "if-onlys" and "what-ifs" will haunt us unless we know that we poured ourselves into bringing our unique dreams to life.

How can we tell if our dreams are from God and not just our own idea?

1. God's dreams won't contradict what He tells us in the Bible.
2. It will be so big that you'll know that without God you can't accomplish it.
3. It will make a difference in the lives of others and not just benefit you.

Be aware that wherever God's dream exist the devil will seek to thwart it by wounding your heart and causing you to doubt. But patience, passion and persistence will overcome these things and enable you to achieve God's dreams for your life.

What are those dreams that God has placed on your heart? How might God use you to be a blessing to others?