Guess What ‘Mending Fences’ Means? – Todd Stocker.com

fences mended.001Just 3 blocks from my home are fields — acres of them.  They stretch the expanse of my vision.  Corn, beans, hay — they are all there.  As I biked through the road that bordered them, I noticed one old farmer re-twisting wire on a fence that, for sure, pre-dates the turn of the century, plus a hundred years.  He was ‘mending fences’.

You know I’m a word guy, so when I finished the ride, I looked up that phrase. Currently, the phrase means, “Re-establish good relations with people one has disagreed with.”  I thought that definition odd so I kept digging for origin. 

I found a proverb in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotation that dates back to the 17th century, that says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors’.  The American poet, Robert Frost, gave the proverb a boost in the American consciousness with his 1914 poem Mending Walls:

He will not go behind his father’s saying,

And he likes having thought of it so well

He says again, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.

So let me extrapolate.

When one of your relationships breaks down, it is as if one or the other party caused an offense to the fence that somewhat defined your relationship (see what I did there :)) A trust broken.  A secret revealed.  A feeling discarded.  All of these ‘fences’ that give direction and meaning to your interactions now need mending.

Here are ways to mend those fences

  • Use the wire of apology.  It is amazing what happens in the other person when you apologize for an offense.  Even if you feel that you were not the culprit, apologizing for the break in the relational fence is a step forward.
  • Use the wire of humility.  In every relational breakage, there is an aspect that you can own.  Remember that a physical fence has two sides.  Don’t power up, humble down.  Emotionally, this puts you in a place to be able to listen and understand the other person’s point of view.
  • Use the wire of gentleness.  The bible says that a gentle word turns away wrath.  Proverbs 15:1.  Converse with care.  Speak words of life not death.

Are there relational fences that are broken down in your life right now?  Put on your overalls.  Grab the wire.  Its time to go to work.

Peace!

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Biblical Relationships Toward Changing the World

Have you ever wondered how to have more of an impact in the world?  Have you desired to pour your life into others and make a difference?  Have you wanted your life to count but didn’t know where to start?  The way Jesus designed His team of disciples is a great model of relational impact.  Think of three circles like a target.

The smallest, inner circle consisted of Jesus’ closest disciples – Peter, James and John.  They were the three with whom Jesus seemingly spent the most time.

The next were the twelve disciples.  They were the closest witnesses of what Jesus said, did and taught.  They were the leaders into which Jesus poured His ministry.

The outer circle was a larger following.  Scholars say this group was somewhere 70 to 120.  Others say even larger but for the sake of our application, let’s say 120. Through them, He taught humanity how to love, respect, set priorities and tell the message that He was the Savior of the world.

Think about that.  Through 120 people – which isn’t very many – Jesus changed the world.

Application:

  1. Ask “Other than my immediate family, who are three people into whom I can pour my life?”  Write their names down and pray for opportunities to take them out for coffee.
  2. Ask “Which group of 12 people can I impact simply through my presence?”  It may be a small group at church.  It may be a bible study or life study group you teach.
  3. Ask “How can I get involved in my church or community in such a way that I can have an affect on 120 people or more?”  It may be leading a community event or being on a team that helps serve in someway.

You’d be surprise at how God can use your willingness to impact others.  Remember:

God doesn’t want your ability so much as He wants your availability.

Peace

Why I want a Chameleon

I know what I want for my birthday.  My mom used to have one when she was young and it sounds like a cool possession … a Chameleon.  Here’s why I want one and what they remind me to do:

These are fascinating little creatures.  Their bodies adapt and change depending on their background.  I found out that they can change based on their mood, the temperature and even the breezes in the air.  Many think that they change their color to hide but research has found that they change their color to draw less attention to themselves as they hunt for food.   They make their prey feel at ease so that they can engage.  Their identity is always as a Chameleon, but they change to draw others close and to draw close to others.

What would it look like if we put away our pride and harsh judgments and became more like Mr. Chameleon?  What if we could be so confident in our convictions, values and morals yet be flexible in how we engage in conversation.  I believe more would be open to hearing about Hope in Christ and less would be turned off by the judgmental opinions of a few in our well-meaning denominations.

When you want to communicate a message, be Chameleon-like:  be firm on truth and flexible in presentation. (1 Corinthians 9:19-23).

Click for a great Chameleon Video.

Peace,

My new website:

Live, Laugh, Love

(((I realize that there are many who stumble upon (or over) this blog as a result of a chance meeting with someone who knows Makenzie.  If you are one of whom I speak, then this post is for you;  a quick synopsis of my little girl who is dancing with Jesus (and with us :)) on the streets of gold.)))

How would you sum up your life?   Photo’s speak your memory.  Writings tell your story.  Relationships carry your legacy.  Yet if you were asked what phrase would describe your existence on this earth, what would it be?

Makenzie’s phrase would be “Live, Laugh, Love.”  I saw it in a store (again) not too long ago; carved in a rustic piece of flat board and stenciled with vines.  Nice phrase, but to me … now … it rebirths memories of who my little girl whom God has used to change so many of us.

Live:  Makenzie embraced life with all of its adventure and wonder; easily calling a dead bug or a dissected mink “amazing!”

Laugh:  Ok, maybe it was more of a cute snort, but Makenzie found laughter to be more of a celebration of the good rather than a reaction to the funny.

Love:  Makenzie disliked some, but loved all.  Friends and family who were easy to love, often watched from the sidelines as she found time for and loved on those to whom society had placed off the center.  People who were new at school or who had isolated themselves for whatever reason couldn’t escape her bouncing into their world with a friendly, “Hey guys!”

All of this … Live, Laugh, Love … grew out of the core relationship in her life.  That core was not me; not her mom, brother or sister.  Not friends or other family.  Makenzie’s core relationship was (and is) with this guy.  His name is Jesus.  And He makes life worth living (oh, and loving).

What would your life phrase be?

Peace,

todd

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