The Bitter Root (8 of 9) by Jeff Strite

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The Bitter Root (8 of 9)
Series: Moses and Friends
Jeff Strite
Numbers 16:1-40

OPEN: In Winchester, Ohio there's a church called the Bethlehem Church of Christ. It's been in existence for over 150 years, and over the years different events have been recorded in their ''history'' book. One of their recent ministers was reading back over the different entries in this book when he ran across the following item from the year 1840:

''We had fighting right here at home. The Democrats and Republicans were so bitter against one another, it broke the church up.'' One eyewitness reported a fist fight over the issue: ''Two of our best men fought to a finish. One wanted to know if the other had enough. He said he had, so he let him up.''

(Tom Claibourne, Restoration Herald. Sept. 07)

A fist fight on the church property? That hardly seems right, does it? You wouldn't think such a thing would happen at church. These people are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. They should be the kindest, gentlest, most understanding people you've ever met. (pause) But they aren't always.

ILLUS: According to a survey conducted in 2004, preachers from across the nation were asked what topic they felt hadn't been properly covered in their Bible college training and the top answer was: Conflict management - 31%. (John C. LaRue, Vice President of ''Online Services for Christianity Today International'')

Now, why wouldn't Bible colleges cover that topic? Well, in a PERFECT church, you wouldn't expect to have a lot of conflict. But throughout my life, I've heard of churches that have had:

Power struggles, church splits, and people who would come to church for decades and wouldn't talk to one another. Who wouldn't shake hands with each other. I've even heard about a church that had people so mad at each other that they would sit on opposite side of the church building and would refuse to ever sit on the same side of the aisle as ''those others''.

Why would this happen? Why ...


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