In the movie, Miss Congeniality, starring Sandra Bullock, Sandra plays an uncover cop in a beauty pageant as one of the contestants while trying to keep the young ladies safe from someone that wants to blow them up. It sounds like an action/thriller plot, but if you’ve seen the movie, you know it’s more of a comedy. While the movie does make light of beauty pageants in general, over and over again, the ladies wish for world peace and that’s not a joking matter. Our world needs peace.
Our world today is full of violence and in desperate need of peacemakers. Being a peacemaker does not mean that there is no conflict or that we avoid conflict in our lives. It doesn’t mean that we appease, accommodate, or give in. We don’t look the other way, pretending everything is okay when it isn’t. When Jesus said blessed are the peacemakers, He was identifying those who diligently work to bring people to God and to each other. The truth about peace is it can only be found in Christ.
The Hebrew word for peace is shalom and often used as a greeting or departing word that expresses a desire for the other person to experience the full presence, peace, prosperity and blessings of God. It’s a word that implies harmony, wholeness, prosperity, and welfare. What if we went through life with the true desire for others to experience exactly that? Would the headline news have nothing to report? Would there be less road rage? Less mass murders? Less rapes? Less domestic violence? Less children in foster care?
Without Christ there can never be continual peace. Even Christians don’t always agree and as a result churches split, denominations draw lines in the sand, and Christian couples end up divorced. As long as we are broken sinners, there will be conflict. Satan wants nothing more than to ruin the testimony of Christians so he stirs up strife and contentions. Conflict is simply a part of living in a broken world.
But Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Jesus didn’t need to command us to avoid conflict or to protect our own tranquility. That’s what we do naturally. He didn’t need to command us to stick up for ourselves and our opinions and make sure everyone knows that we are right. We do that naturally too. Naturally, we are self-centered sinners and when you get two or more self-centered sinners together, eventually there will be conflict. Jesus, instead, blesses the one doesn’t do what’s natural. He blesses the person who brings true peace to others.
Can you think of a person you know who is a peacemaker? My younger sister has always been one. And I have always been the opinionated sister – the one who spoke – then thought. Thankfully, as I’ve matured, I’ve learned to mostly think first but when I’m really upset, the words fly out faster than the brain works. But as I think about Kathy, I’d so much would rather be like her. Always ready to build the bridge to peace.
To be a peacemaker, one must find a way to bring those at odds to the negotiating table, put aside their differences and find a solution to the problem while remaining level headed and maintaining an inner sense of prayer throughout the conflict. A Christian peacemaker will listen for the inner voice of the Holy Spirit who is giving them wisdom and guidance to help bring about peace.
When chaos arises its hard to consider the full presence, peace, prosperity and blessings of God much less have a heart-felt desire for the other person to experiences. We get caught up in how we were offended, hurt, taken advantage of, laughed at, or gossiped about and thoughts of harmony, wholeness, prosperity, and welfare are no where to be found. So how can we be peacemakers that God blesses?
The first thing is to pray. Too often prayer becomes our last resort when we don’t know what else to do. Learn to pray first. Pray for God to give you wisdom for how to best handle the conflict. Ask Him to give you humility, a willingness to see the other person’s side of the story, grace to accept when you’re wrong, and a forgiving heart for where the other person is wrong. Pray for him to give you discernment and compassion. Pray for the other person as well.
The second thing is to remember there is always another side to the story so ask them. Any conversation that revolves around conflict is difficult, but don’t wait and let bitterness and anger fester inside. Go to the other person as soon as possible – with an open mind that truly wants to hear their side. Listen as they share with a spirit of prayer and a desire for resolution and peace.
The third thing to being a peacemaker is to be willing to say, “I’m sorry.” If you recognize a part of the conflict that is your fault, own up to it and ask for their forgiveness. It is very hard to admit to others our faults but we need to remember that we are no more perfect that they other person is. Sometimes conflict is nothing more than a simple misunderstanding. Other times it goes much deeper. Rarely is conflict a one-sided issue where only one person is in the wrong. A peacemaker is willing to humble themselves and admit to their part and work toward restoring peace.
Lastly, there are times when a peacemaker needs to humbly step in help the other person acknowledge sin in their life that has caused the conflict and point them back to God so they can find peace with Him. It isn’t done with pride or accusation but with a Christ-like love and a desire to see the other person have a restored relationship with God.
Its impossible to go through life without conflict. So the next time conflict comes remember that Jesus is softly saying, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Peace doesn’t just happen because we wish it were so…peace has to be made and peacemakers take the initiative. Be the person that works to restore peace – not the one that stirs up tensions and strife. Bring harmony, wholeness, and welfare to others. Be the person who desires for others to experience the full presence, peace, prosperity, and blessings of God.
And yes…we really do want world peace.
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BOOKING NOW! Be a host site for the NEW God, Love & Marshmallow Wars Book Tour & Couples Conference:
This event helps couples understand why the daily activities found in the book will equip them to build a stronger marriage and the book provides them with 365 intentional activities to take what they learn at the event and apply it on a daily basis. Through the event, couples will discover the Biblical “why” behind the categories of activities found in the book and the “how” these activities are important to building a stronger marriage. Focus points of the event includes :
- How memorizing scripture together and studying God’s Word together as they study, meditate and apply scriptures related to marriage and life issues will help them develop marriages that honor God.
- Why utilizing fun conversation starters that spark meaningful conversations will keep interest alive as they continually learn new things about each other.
- Why keeping romance alive is essential to intimacy and connectivity.
- How making memories and working together builds relationship investment bonds and how these investment bonds can become the knots that keeps them together through the tough times.
- How they can understand what they are or are not contributing to the marriage as well as how they might be contributing to problems or potential problems within the relationship through the use of targeted, intentional personal reflections
- Why it is important that couples never stop dating and how group dates with Christian friends can be both an encouragement and accountability to their own relationship.
During the event, couples will be given an activity from each focus point to do together, making this event an interactive, fun, and engaging event with practical, hands-on learning. Unlike other couple events that are over when the event ends, couples who attend the GLMW event will be able to apply what they learn when utilizing the book on a daily basis for a year. Since the book is not dated, couples are able to reuse the activities year after year to continue being intentional in strengthening their relationship with each other and with God as they strive to live out God’s design for marriage every day.
Learn more about hosting this event at your church or conference site by clicking here.
About the book: The GLMW book contains 365 daily challenges for couples to strengthen their relationships to each other and with God. Couples will complete activities such as Scripture memory, conversation starters, relationship builders, learning about Biblical marriage, romance builders, personal reflections, and date ideas. Click here to purchase your copy. (This link will open a new widow and take you to Westbow Press’ bookstore.) It is also available at Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble
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Looking for a keynote speaker for your next ministry event? Julia is now booking for 2019 and 2020 Christian events for women’s and couples’ ministries for both small and large events.
Book with us now.
Julia is CEO of Wellspring Christian Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people and couples develop a passionate relationship with God. A public speaker, conference trainer, event planner, and blog writer, Julia is a two-time graduate from Grand Canyon University with a bachelor in Psychology and a masters in Professional Counseling. Saved as a child and raised in church and in a Christian home and private Christian School as a Pastor’s kid, Julia has taught Sunday school, led music, played the piano, served as Children’s Director, and engaged her gifts in many other areas of church life. Previously employed with the Florida Baptist Convention, Julia organized events and led conferences for church ministry assistants. Today, Julia enjoys sharing her journey as a growing Christian with others looking for a deeper connection with God. Through Bible study and her own life experiences, God has given Julia a passion to help couples understand God’s design for marriage while they learn to place God first in their marriage, cultivate meaningful relationships, build intimacy, and address the tougher issues that come in every marriage so that they can experience a marriage that honors and glorifies God. Julia also loves mentoring, teaching, and working with women to help them learn to live as Godly women.
With her history and experience growing up in both small and large churches, Julia enjoys bringing top level quality events to churches of all sizes. Her father largely pastored small churches and therefore she understands that these vital parts of the believing community need to be good stewards of the resources God provides them with. This knowledge inspires her passion for being available with a fresh perspective for those who want to provide their congregations with meaningful spiritual growth opportunities, regardless of size.
To request more information or a booking,
fill out the online form here.
Or call us at 904.524.8073
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By Provident Films
From the creators of War Room, Courageous and Fireproof. Basketball coach John Harrison’s high school team is crushed by the closing of the town’s largest employer. Hundreds of families move, leaving him running a struggling cross-country program. But then he meets Hannah and begins helping this unlikely runner attempt the impossible in the year’s biggest race. Starring Alex Kendrick, Priscilla Shirer, and Aryn Wright-Thompson. Rated PG. Dove approved (12+). Approx. 119 minutes.
- The Heart of Overcomer
- Creating the Opening Drone Shot
- Working with the Kendricks
- Post-Production Behind-the-Scenes: Editing, Scoring, Coloring, and Sound Design
- “Enough” (Lyric Video) Featuring Koryn Hawthorne
- Don’t Mess with the Editors
- The Making of Overcomer
- 10 Minutes of Additional Scenes
- Commentary with Director Alex Kendrick and Producer Stephen Kendrick
- Overcomer in 60 Seconds
- The Theme of Identity
- The Power of Forgiveness
- “Overcomer” (Lip Sync Music Video) Featuring Mandisa and More!
- Audio: English, French (PAR), Spanish, Thai
- Subtitles: English, English (SDH), Spanish, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), Tagalog, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese
||Waiting on God
By Charles F. Stanley / Howard Books
Are you waiting for God to answer your prayers? Does time tick by without any hint that things will change? You’re not alone! Drawing on personal experiences and biblical principles, Stanley offers a practical and encouraging guide to making the most of the “delays” and following God’s lead to the blessings he has planned for you.
||Letters to the Church
By Francis Chan / David C Cook
If God had it His way, what would our churches look like?
In his most powerful book yet, Pastor Francis Chan digs deep into biblical truths, reflections on his own failures and dreams, and stories of ordinary people God is using to change the world.
As Chan says, “We’ve strayed so far from what God calls Church. We all know it. We know that what we’re experiencing is radically different from the Church in Scripture. For decades, church leaders like myself have lost sight of the inherent mystery of the Church. We have trained people sitting in the pews to become addicted to lesser things. It’s time for that to change.”
When Jesus returns, will He find us caring for His Bride-even more than for our own lives? Letters to the Church reminds us of how powerful, how glorious the Church once was … and calls us to once again be the Church God intended us to be.
Bonus Videos: The 4 videos from Francis Chan’s BASIC Study series (Fellowship, Communion, Teaching, Prayer) are included here as additional material for you to feel free to use in your church. They are not part of the “Letters to the Church” series.
||A Hunger for God: Desiring God Through Fasting and Prayer
By John Piper / Crossway
Is your soul so stuffed with worldly desires that you have little room left for God? Piper invites you to turn from materialism and sharpen your appetite for God through prayer and fasting. His exploration of fasting will help you understand how this ancient biblical practice can nourish your spiritual life and satisfy your longings. 201 pages, softcover from Crossway.
||Erasing Hell: What God Said About Eternity, and the Things We’ve Made Up
By Francis Chan & Preston Sprinkle / David C Cook
In Erasing Hell, Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle take on the topic of hell and our eternal destiny, with a sense of humility and a deep respect for the inspired Word of God. They will address questions such as “Will everyone be saved?” and “Does God Get What He Wants in the End?” as well as reviewing in depth, everything Jesus said about Hell. Chan and Sprinkle lay all the evidence on the table and present all the facts from Scripture, so that people can decide what to believe for themselves.
||Double Blessing: How to Get It. How to Give It.
By Mark Batterson / Multnomah
New York Times bestselling author and pastor Mark Batterson believes the key to radically increasing your faith, joy, and abundance can be found in these three words:
Flip the blessing.
His discovery started with a simple experiment. Whenever he received a blessing, he would give a similar blessing away. If someone paid him a compliment or gave him a gift or went out of their way to help him, he would return the favor by doing something similar for someone else.
We flip the blessing by blessing others in the way God has blessed us. That’s how the blessing becomes a double blessing. It turns giving into a game–one we can’t win because God will always outgive us! It’s an ancient truth found within the Abrahamic covenant: “I will bless you…and you will be a blessing.”
In other words, we are blessed to bless. In a day and age where the idea of blessing has been reduced to a hashtag (#blessed), Batteron challenges readers to pursue true, God-glorifying blessing and experience an exponential impact by participating in the double blessing. Don’t settle for half of what God offers. Discover how you can both get it and give it.
||Not Safe: Discovering God’s Dangerous Plan for Your Life
By Mark Batterson / Zondervan
As believers, we may feel tempted to “play it safe”—but God wants to make us dangerous on his behalf! In this inspiring message based on his book All In, Batterson explains that “holding the fort” was never Jesus’ plan for his followers. Instead, he dares you to choose a radical life of spiritual surrender—beginning today. 160 pages, hardcover from Zondervan.
||Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God
By Mark Batterson / Multnomah
God still speaks today. His voice and guidance wasn’t only for the saints and prophets of old, but for followers of Jesus now. In Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God, author and pastor Mark Batterson shares seven ways that God communicates with His followers, if they’ll stop to listen. Through the tools of Scripture, Doors, Dreams, People, Promptings, and Pain, God weaves divine messages of love, encouragement and insight, into our lives every day. Hardcover.
||Zondervan’s 2020 Church and Nonprofit Tax & Financial Guide
By D. Busby, V. Laue, M. Martin & J. Van Drunen / Zondervan
One of the few resources offering advice to churches and nonprofit organizations on issues of financial accountability, receiving and maintaining tax-exempt status, and charitable gifts. Also includes a thorough description of tax laws, sample policies and procedures with easy techniques for simplifying them, insights on medical expense reimbursements, sound compensation planning, and examples of required IRS filings. 224 pages, softcover.
||Zondervan’s 2020 Minister’s Tax and Financial Guide
By D. Busby, V. Laue, M. Martin & J. Van Drunen / Zondervan
If you find April 15 taxing in more ways than one, let this easy-to-follow manual come to the rescue! The 2020 edition features a line-by-line explanation of Form 1040 and recent changes in the tax code—with valuable hints about how to reduce next year’s bill. Also includes guidance on compensation, retirement, and ways to maximize business expense reimbursements. 192 pages, softcover.
||2020 Multiple Blessings Create It Planner
By Caroline Simas Simas / Perfect Timing Inc
Multiple Blessings Create-It Planner lets you plan out your schedule the way you want with pages for reminders, lists, monthly goals and special dates. Blank calendar grids in a perpetual 12-month format lets you start on any month you choose in weekly and monthly views. Includes additional space for project tracking, contact and password info, and drawing make this all-in-one planner a must-have!
- Colorful art design by Caroline Simas
- 120+ coordinating stickers
- Color-coordinating elastic band closure
- 218 pages of premium paper.
- Spiral bound, Linen-embossed hardcover
- Measures 7″ x 9″
||2020 Planner Too Blessed to be Stressed
By Debora Coty / Barbour Publishing
Ideal for personal or home use, the 2020 Too Blessed to be Stressed 15-month engagement planner, features memorable quotes from Debora M. Coty’s heartwarming devotional, Too Blessed to be Stressed, as well as specially selected Scripture quotations.
Other features include:
- Weekly, monthly, and year-at-a-glance calendars
- 17 months of inspiring readings from inspirational humorist Debora M. Coty
- Pages for monthly goal-setting
- 17 months of planning – August 2019 – January 2021
- Address book for frequent contacts
- Color coordinating pages
- Elastic belly band to all your notes contained
- Scripture from various translations
- 4.375” x 7.25”
||2020 Mornings with Jesus
Begin each day with Jesus . . . and get to know him as your Redeemer, Friend, and Faithful One! Designed to take just five minutes every morning, these 365 engaging readings include Scripture verses, meditations from 13 different authors, and challenging “Faith Steps” meant to inspire and encourage you in your daily walk. 379 pages, softcover from Zondervan.
||One in a Million: Journey to Your Promised Land, Member Book
By Priscilla Shirer / Lifeway
One in a Million: Journey to Your Promised Land – Member Book by Priscilla Shirer provides a personal study experience five days a week plus viewer guides for the group video sessions of this discussion-driven women’s Bible study. Priscilla encourages participants to fully engage in the abundant life God has waiting for those who will allow Him to take the lead in daily living. One in a Million is an opportunity for you to experience your deliverance from strongholds, to conquer your wilderness living, and to claim your God-given inheritance. 6 Sessions. Includes Leader Guide.
||Before Amen: The Power of Simple Prayer (Study Guide)
By Max Lucado / Thomas Nelson
In Before Amen, Max Lucado, a self-professed “recovering prayer wimp,” reveals his personal struggles with prayer. He will show you how he discovered that prayer is not a privilege for the pious or the art of a chosen few but a simple tool all believers have been given to have a conversation with God. Through the use of a simple, easy-to-remember, pocket-sized prayer that he distilled from the prayers in the Bible, he will lead your church members in building a prayer life that is stronger, better and deeper.
Designed to be used with the Before Amen 4-session small group DVD study, this study guide includes leader helps, discussion questions, conversation starters, and between-session activities to enhance your understanding and application of Max’s teaching.
First Lesson Free! PDF Study Guide
God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars: 365 Daily Challenges to Grow Your Marriage
By Julia M. Bruce / WestBow Press