Grounded Podcast

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A Right Theology of Christian Conflict, with Mark Vroegop

Conflict is bound to occur in a world of broken people. How can we embrace it in a healthy way, especially in times of heightened tension in our world? Mark Vroegop tackles this topic and points to how conflict can be used as an opportunity for the gospel. Discover practical ways to deal with conflict in your relationships as you work toward a resolution.

Connect with Mark:

Instagram: @vroegopmark

Twitter: @markvroegop

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Episode Notes:

Ruth Women of the Bible podcast

Erin Davis: Good morning, welcome back to Grounded a production of Revive Our Hearts. I'm Erin Davis

Portia Collins: And I'm Portia Collins and we are here to give you an infusion of hope and perspective.

Erin: We are about those two words—hope and perspective. That put a lump in my throat this morning because I'm fighting for mine. I struggled to get out of bed this morning. I was pinned to the mattress, frankly, by fear and more than fear . . . frustration and confusion. But I did get out of bed. I slid right out of my bed and straight onto the floor.

I prayed on my face. Because here's what I know is true this morning. It's true every morning. Right now, Jesus is seated on the throne. He's not pacing. He's not curled into the fetal position. He is seated on the throne of the right hand of the Father, and He's not just seated on the throne at the right hand of the Father. He is interceding there for us, for His Bride. And that gives me great hope.

Portia: Well, how about this for some perspective this morning? Brittany wrote to us that her husband is a sergeant with the Kenosha police department. You might recognize Kenosha for making headlines following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Brittany said today, again, there's more unrest. “He's starting a fourteen-hour shift, and I'm going to Revive Our Hearts for wisdom and comfort. I just want to thank you for being a steady voice to me through these times.”

Erin: Man, I love that word study. But I hope you're not looking to me to give you steady this morning, because I don't have it. Portia doesn't have it, Dannah and Alejandra. We can’t offer you steady on our own. But God's Word does steady us like nothing else will, and that's where we're going to turn together this morning.

Portia: That is absolutely right. Brittany went on to write. “There have been nights when I can't sleep, and I just play Revive Our Hearts episodes to renew my mind and help it because doing crazy long days at home with the three little kids, I need it. I just play a snippet to help ground me and remind me of truth.” Then she asked for prayer, that light would shine bright in all darkness. She said, both the officers and community are in desperate need of Christ's love and hope.

Erin: And it doesn't matter if you live in Kenosha, or in the United States at all, or around the world. Everyone in your community is in need of Christ’s love and hope. I love, Brittany, that you asked us to pray for the light to pierce the darkness. I think we should stop and pray right now for Brittany's request that the light of Jesus would shine brightly during this very dark moment. So wherever you are, wherever you're watching and listening, let's just take a moment and pray this morning.

Jesus, you are the light of the world. In You there is no darkness at all. In fact, even the darkness is as light to You. And so, You are and always have been our only hope. We do join Brittany in praying that Your love would push back against the darkness. The darkness in our communities, the darkness in our hearts, the darkness in our world, Lord. We ask you to intervene. We ask for the light of Jesus the true hope to shine brightly today. Maybe because the darkness is so dark Lord, You would shine ever brighter. Help us to be bearers of the light today. We love You. It's in Your name I pray, amen.

Portia: Amen. Today's topic is certainly timely. And Mark Vroegop is back with us this morning. You looked to him last time he was on Grounded. He's going to help us consider how the Bible calls Christians to respond to conflict.

Erin: And how the Bible calls Christians to respond to conflict. That is certainly timely. This is one of those very rare, Grounded episodes that we prerecorded, to accommodate Mark's schedule. We actually are recording this on Thursday, for it to air on Monday. And listen, some things may transpire between Thursday and Monday that we don't yet know about.

We just want you to know that as we consider Christian response to conflict, we're not just talking about the kind that makes the headlines, though we certainly do need to know how God's Word asks us to respond to the kind of conflicts we're seeing in our news feeds, but also the conflicts in our own communities, the conflicts in our own homes, and the conflicts inside the walls of our own churches.

Portia: That's right. Today, our mission is to equip you to shine the light of Jesus in the midst of conflict. But first, here's my favorite part of the day. We need some good news. Dannah, Alejandra, are you there?

Dannah Gresh: We are here friends. We are here, and we are like everyone else praying for our nation. And praying along with our sweet friend. My heart is heavy, but hopeful, this morning.

Alejandra, are you there?

Alejandra Slemin: I am.

Dannah: I was just making sure. Well you know, thank the Lord for moments of levity and air-headedness and blondness. Even on these hard days, we still have good news if we look with the right eyes. So here we go. I don't know about you, but something that helps me through all the bad news is just a little bit of levity. Do you guys mind if I cheese up the show for just a moment? Yeah, today's good news story makes me a little “emoji-tional.”

Alejandra: Oh, I see what you did there. That's right. Because we're going to be talking this morning a little bit. And the good news about emojis and what a coalition of faith-based organizations in Finland are leading the charge to create and distribute—a forgiveness emoji.

Dannah: There's a pastor in Finland. Erin assigned me his name to pronounce Thank you, Erin Davis. Let me try Tuomo Pesonen. He came up with an idea and launched the forgive emoji campaign. #forgiveemoji

Alejandra: Wow, you know Pastor Tuomo said that in our modern digital communication culture, emojis are an essential way of expressing human feelings beyond words. We were surprised he said to realize that the official emoji selection has dozens of different cats and even two designs of zombies. But there was not any emoji for forgiveness.

Dannah: Okay, for the record, I've never used the zombie emojis. I didn't know they were there. Anyway, this tweet is on a mission to change all of that. He hopes the forgiveness emoji will help encourage people to foster reconciliation in their relationships. Now, stick with us. This might sound a little silly. But communication experts have begun studying the impact of emojis on our interpersonal communication. Who knew they have found that emojis are in fact effective at sending off significant relational signals?

Alejandra: Wow. And you know what? As God's people, we need forgiveness. And that is one signal that for sure we need to be sending.

Dannah: Yes, I agree. But Alejandra, I've been wondering since I've heard about this emoji, what's a forgiveness emoji going to look like?

Alejandra: Oh, this pastor and his team received many ideas, Dannah, from all over the world, including some cute drawings from little kids.

Dannah: Sounds cute.

Alejandra: That is very creative. It’s this one, two hands, giving a thumbs up under a heart.

Dannah: Ah, I like that. I like that. I like that a lot. The new emoji is yet to be added to our phones. And here's a little bit of trivia for you about our emojis. The Unicode Consortium is the group that puts them into our phones and they just haven't gotten around to it just yet. But did you know there's a group responsible for overseeing what gets programmed into our phones?

Alejandra: Who knew? Who knew such a thing? I mean, even that gets interesting.

Dannah: Yep. The soon to come forgiveness emoji, it's just another piece of proof that people have a desire for reconciliation. And I think that's good news.

Alejandra: It is good news.

Erin: That is good news, that was such a fun good news story, but I was looking on my phone and I think I do have the symbol for forgiveness on my phone you ready for it?

Dannah: I can’t see it just yet.

Erin: It’s the cross. Right? Isn't that the universal signal for forgiveness? So, I'm going to write to the Unicode Consortium and see if they want to use that as a universal symbol. I'm so grateful that Christ forgave us so that you can forgive each other. Thanks for that good news.

Well, it's time for us to get Grounded with God's people. Mark Vroegop is with us this morning. I'm so grateful to have a pastor like Mark joining us on Grounded because we need shepherds. And he has a tremendous shepherd's heart. He's the lead pastor at College Park Church. He's a husband he's a father. Welcome back to Grounded, Mark.

Mark Vroegop: Erin, thanks for having me on your program. You also should add there, he also has a fair amount of conflict in his life. I tend to know a little bit about how to navigate it.

Erin: Well, you're going to be our conflict expert this morning. So that’s good.

Mark: I don't know about that. I just have my share of conflict in my lifetime, right?

Erin: Me too. Well, Mark for three weeks in a row you taught in our staff chapel for Revive Our Hearts and Life Action on the subject of conflict. I don't know that we've ever done three chapels in a row on one subject ,so that fact alone speaks to the need to address this topic. I was riveted. I'm going to make a confession. If you don't tell my boss, a lot of chapels, I'm checking my email.

But these I was taking notes. I was paying attention. I told Dannah that other than the apostle Paul, this is high praise. I've never heard anyone talk about conflict so candidly, and with so much hope (because Paul had a lot of conflict in his life too) that God can really use conflict for good. So, I think Christians tend to be conflict avoided, so much so that we don't have a lot of helpful conversations about how to handle conflict in Christ likewise. Why do you think God's people tend to be so conflict avoidant?

Mark: Well, it's just hard, and we don't like hard things. We'd rather have things be easy. It's also really uncomfortable. I think also Christians want to live at peace. They know that's a cherished value in the context of the Scripture. So when there is conflict, I think if you're a mature godly believer, and if you have a level of humility, your first question is, What did I do wrong? or How did this happen? Or it must be that something is just really, really wrong here.

I think our theology is helpful in addressing conflict if we get the right understanding of it. But initially, we could allow both our emotions, just kind of feelings of guilt, and just even uncomfortableness make us see conflict through really, and frankly, unbiblical lens.

Erin: Right, that all conflict is bad, and we just kind of throw that baby out with the bathwater. And yet, here's something that's taken me maybe most of my forty years to learn: conflict is the norm, not the exception. I used to think I was a lightning rod, and I do have a bit of that personality. But then I started looking around and noticing that some of the people who I admire most in their faith, who walk the closest with Jesus, they have conflict in their lives, too.

So, it wasn't necessarily that I was just the biggest, fattest sinner in every room. It’s that conflict is just part of it. So listen, we're in a very conflictual moment in human history, but certainly not the most conflictual moment in human history. So, conflict of varying degrees has always been prevalent. What lens does Scripture give us for this idea that we all have conflict in our lives?

Mark: Christians know the story of the gospel, which is that our world is fundamentally broken. We're broken people. I think that that offers both an explanation of why conflict happens, and the fact that we ought to expect that it's going to happen, because we have a robust understanding of our own brokenness. And the fact that after coming to faith in Christ, we still have remaining levels of sinfulness within us. So, in that respect, our conflicts ought not to be so surprising. I think if we can just take that step first, I think it's super helpful, because some of us embrace additional sin issues out of the shock, that conflict is taking place when really if we have a robust understanding of sin, we ought to be shocked when conflict doesn't happen. We ought to be amazed that people can get along together.

And you know, the other thing is that the gospel offers hope. In the context of my premarital counseling, 25 plus years ago, I remember our counselor telling me that Christian home is not a perfect place. It's a place where sinners live, but they know what to do about their sin. And that was incredibly helpful. It relieves me from the performance pressure of trying to be absolutely perfect, so there's no conflict. At the same time, not throwing me into hopeless despair. It gave me a path to say, “Look complex things are going to happen. But by God's grace, we know what to do with our conflict. I think that's super hopeful. It's a bit realistic. And we have those.

Erin: I love that. My Mimi, who's 91 has a little conflict going on with another family member right now. I said to my husband, “She's 91, and she hasn't outrun it.” And that for me was like, I'm never just going to outgrow my sin tendencies, which also means I'm never going to outgrow my need for Jesus.

One of the things you said that really gripped me is that conflict is an opportunity to apply the gospel. So, I want to go macro first, as Christian living in a world filled with conflict, can you shift our perspectives to see how can we see those conflicts as opportunities to apply the gospel?

Mark: First and foremost, it's an opportunity just to live in our theology, right. So, Christians live through what we believe. If we believe that the world is broken, if it's filled with sin, if I believe that I'm a sinner saved by grace, but I still have remaining levels of spiritual maturity that need to be formed in me, then the result of that is I can see the world through that lens and see my myself through that lens. As a result, I can look to the gospel for the hope that I need, not looking to it in the context of myself. I realize that it's an opportunity for me to not only live out my theology, but also to practice humility, to use it as a teaching moment to realize that. We learn lessons best not by really easy things.

We can learn some lessons that way. But most of the really important lessons we've learned in life have come the hard way. God uses that kind of discipline to shape and form Christ likeness in us. We can see it as I want to grow, I want to be like Jesus, this conflict provides that opportunity. So instead of, I want to be right. I want to be treated fairly. I want to make it through. All of which aren't bad goals in and of themselves. Those aren't sinful desires. But if you get them in the wrong order, they really make conflict resolution difficult.

I want to make sure I kind of do a triage of values through a biblical lens and thinking through what it means to be a follower of Jesus when the brokenness of the world and sinfulness of my own soul shows itself.

Erin: I love that. I think that applies macro and micro. If we’re watching the headlines, it's gospel hope, or no hope at all. And in our homes, it's the same, right?

Mark: Right.

Erin: Well, in chapel, he talks about Ephesians 4:29. And I have lived in Ephesians, for the past several months. And here's why, because I've had a lot of conflict in my life. I've needed a grid to deal with conflict and Ephesians 4 is a good grid. I'm going to read verse 29, to us, it packs a punch, then I’d love to hear some of your thoughts on it.

Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

As a pastor and a human, I bet you have a front row seat to a lot of conflict. Why do you think Scripture gives us this guardrail for how we communicate, let no corrupting talk come out of your mouth, but only what's helpful and building up? And then what does it look like with someone you disagree with? Maybe you disagree with strongly to not let corrupting talk come out and say things that build up?

Mark: Well, I think the reason the Scripture talks this way, is when we're in the middle of a conflict and realize the most of the New Testament epistles were written because of conflict. I mean, without conflict, we wouldn't have most of the Bible. That's so incredibly helpful to us. That there's a tendency to think about what the other person is doing and what they have done that's hurt us or offended us. And again, I don't want to diminish that. It’s real and that needs to be addressed.

But in this context, the question that needs to be asked first is, to what extent can I do to try and help resolve it? As much as lies within me, I want to be at peace with all men. And so, when Paul says, “Let no corrupting words come out of your mouth, but only such as what is good for building up,” as fits the occasion that I may give grace. So the whole focus on that is, how are my words going to land on somebody else?

Part of living in humility in Christ and other-centeredness is not just thinking about what has made me mad, but thinking through how can I use my words to actually move us more towards a solution together. And sometimes it doesn't work. I mean, sometimes the person just doesn't want to resolve the conflict. But the extent to which that I can use words that help to motivate them to be moved towards God's grace, I want to do that the very best that I can. In that way, it's a really good starting point to think about how we have how we have these conversations.

Erin: Yeah, that's the using conflict as a gospel opportunity. If my goal is not to be right, necessarily, but to be shaped into Christ's image more . . . let Christ shape them into Him as His image more, that certainly should change what I say. All right, I want to get practical you gave us this OIC strategy in chapel And it's probably hard to truncate it. But I'd love for you to give us some handles for how to apply it in the conflicts in our lives, those that are happening broadly, and those that are happening within our homes.

Mark: So, years ago, like 25 years ago, somebody in a seminar gave me these three points, which I have just used as a guide. I can't even remember who it was, so they're not original with me. They have served to be really, really helpful. They're helpful, not only because of what they say, but also their simplicity. Because when you're in the middle of a conflict, you need, like, what are the three things I need to do here. It's, OIC: observe, interpret, and clarify.

So, what this goal is, or the goal is rather in this, and you don't necessarily have to do it this way every single time. There are some scenarios where because of the seriousness of the situation, you need to kind of jump into a different model. But this is kind of the normative method that I think is helpful.

First, make an observation. So when we are in this meeting, or when you sent me this email, or when we are having this conversation, this is what happened. And the purpose of that is just to take it in a sort of objective reality. Say, this is the this is the thing that happened. And so, I'd like to be able to have a conversation about it. In some cases, right then the conflicts going to be resolved. They are like, “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, I did not mean to say that. That's actually not what I said.” And so therefore, there could be clarification very, very quickly.

Make the observation. Sometimes we can't make the observation because we don't have an actual thing to talk about. You have to wait until you've got a situation that you could actually have a conversation with the person about.

So number two, interpretation. This means I say to somebody, “Look, this is what happened now.” I usually give them two or three options. Now, it could be this, it could be that, it could be this. I'm trying to give them the benefit of the doubt. I'm trying to believe the best. I'm trying to consider their needs as more important than my own.

Or I could say, “You said this in the meeting, and it could have been that I just didn't hear you right. It could have been that you were trying to make a point, and I didn't understand it. Or you made it poorly. Or it could have been that you were trying to kind of come after me. And that's kind of how it landed.”

So I’m trying to give them the benefit of the doubt to have them not put up their defenses. Because most of us know when our defenses go up, the likelihood of conflict resolution just plummets. We can get there, but it's really hard.

So, observation, interpretation. Finally, it's just clarification, give them an opportunity. And it's simply as simple as saying, “Can you help me out? I'd like to understand this.” So again, I'm trying to understand. I haven't drawn conclusions. I may have a suspicion as to what the reason is, but I want to give them the opportunity to clarify so that we can move towards one another in our conflict resolution process.

So OIC: observe, interpret, clarify. And those three points have really served to help me pastorally, personally, as a parent, as a husband, just wherever there are people, this particular model, I have found to be helpful as a guide.

Erin: I love that tool. Because I feel like for most conflicts, I need to do a little homework on the front end. I run the complex, I'm not even sure why I'm upset. It might take me 45 minutes to talk to that. And then the thing is just totally inflamed. I think if I took a moment, even on a Post-It note to OIC, that a lot of conflicts would probably defuse.

I'm glad you hit on defensiveness. I got one more question about defensiveness. Because man, does defensiveness rise up easily in me. There's a Winston Churchill quote that I love. It's not Scripture, but I love it. He says, “Don't defend; don't explain.” And but what I want to defend and explain everything. I wonder in conflicts, big or small, that have caused defensiveness to rise up in us today or in the future, how do we as God's people walk in the Spirit when our flesh is so defensive?

Mark: I think first and foremost is just realizing the value of conflict. Again, seeing it as an opportunity of living through my theology and realizing that this thing God intends for my good, even this painful conversation where I feel like I'm misunderstood, I can still choose to be like Christ. I don't have to be defensive. In fact, the gospel frees me to not be defensive. If this person thinks that I make mistakes, well, newsflash, I do. If somebody thinks that I'm unkind, yep, I am. If somebody thinks I'm a sinner, that's 100% true.

We can just kind of get over ourselves and be like, “I don't have to be understood because I don't say things perfectly. I make mistakes all the time.” There's just a lot of internal pride and internal desire to be something that we're actually not. An opportunity or conflict as an opportunity rather to live out what we say that we believe. It really matters when that conflict surfaces, the validity of what we say that we really cherish. If I'm a sinner saved by God's grace, I ought to expect conflict. When it comes, I should embrace it as a learning opportunity for both them and for me, because at the end of the day, I want to be Christ-like more than I want a conflict-free life.

Erin: I love that that is the exclamation point at the end of this interview. Well, thanks so much for being on Grounded with us. I don't say this often, Mark, but you're one of my favorite guests. You're always welcome here on Grounded.

Mark: Well, thanks for having me on and I hope you have a conflict-less day.

Erin: Thank you. What practical step can we Grounded ladies take to tame the conflict in our culture? Dannah Gresh is going to open up God's Word in just a moment to help us consider one option. But first, I want you to watch this one-minute video. I hope you have some Kleenex handy. I have mine because pastor Bill Elliff, another Grounded favorite, folks. I'm very teary. You're going to see tears running down his face in this video, when he joined us for one of our True Woman events a few years ago. These words seem appropriate for us today.

Bill Elliff: I'm not sure that every woman recognizes the power that they hold in their pipes. This shape, in great manner, the destiny of the next generation. When a woman walks with Christ, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, that testimony is even more greatly amplified. I believe that the women that are here today and are learning about true womanhood could start a revolution that could change this nation. And we drastically need it!

Dannah: Wow. I don't know about you, but those tender words from a tender, godly man spoke a whole message to me and preached to my spirit so powerfully. Words matter. My words matter. Your words matter. They have great power. In fact, let me show you how. Sit back. Just consider how it feels to hear these words: I am so thankful for you. I'm so glad you're here today. It's a joy to be with you. Or how about this one? I'm sorry.

Sure, it feels nice to hear sweet words, doesn't it? On January 6th of 2020, our nation had some moments of heartbreak—talk about the epitome of conflict. I don't know about you, but the words in my social media feed were anything but sweet. They were in the best cases, at least intense. It could take a while to get over this one. Don't you think? You know, before those events took place, we had this episode on conflict already planned, not realizing how much we would need it today. I don't believe that was a coincidence. God knew.

As I crawled into bed Thursday evening, a bit stunned and heartbroken for our nation. I just decided the only thing I could do is pray and soak in God's Word. I had such a desire to be a very small part of the solution to our very big conflict. But I was at a loss about what I could do. What can one woman do? I just prayed, sunk into my pillow, curled up in my blankets, and I cried out, Lord help. It was all I could muster. But He did help.

Do you ever have one of those times where a verse just popped out as if God has taken a holy highlighter and said this is the one? Well, Proverbs 16:24 stuck out to me like that. And sometimes when God uses a highlighter to speak to my spirit, I like to grab my physical highlighter and highlight the passage. Let me read proverbs 16:24 to you. It says, “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul health to the body. In other words, nothing is more appealing than speaking beautiful life-giving words they release. sweetness in our souls, and they bring healing. Oh, man, do we need healing right now, friends. I believe what Bill Elliff said a moment ago is true; we need a revolution of words. And that means we need sweet words.

Now, at the same time, I do want to say this that Proverbs 10:19 also tells us that sometimes. It's okay not to use words at all, but to have restraint and wisdom. If we're going to say words, though, let's let them be sweet. Because you know what? It is possible to say the right thing in the wrong way. We need sweet words.

I realized that might sound a little superficial to some of you who are reeling, particularly in pain this morning. It might seem like an improbable solution to our nation's problems. I'm certainly not saying it will solve everything, but could it be one practical and important step to quell the anger that's rippling through our country right now? After all, Proverbs 15:1, I know that one because I need it quite often, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Soft answers, sweet words.

What could happen, friend, if God raised up thousands of women, through this Grounded videocast to wield those often-overlooked weapons in our nation's dialogue? I'll tell you what would happen. Because if you believe that what God's Word says is true, we can count on this. If we started using softer answers and sweeter words, no matter what we're saying, our homes would change, our churches would change, our workplaces would change. And eventually, I believe our nation could change.

Now, I'm preaching to myself this morning, because let me be honest, soft and sweet don't characterize the words that come from this tongue all the time. And for several weeks, starting sometime in December, God began convicting me of this. He was showing me that in my own home, some of the conflict, or the escalation in it, is a result of my lack of softness and sweetness. So I'm working on it. You know, those words I spoke a moment ago, they're words that I've been writing in my prayer journal. I’m asking God to help me use them more often: I'm thankful for you. You're fun. I like being with you. I'm sorry. They don't come out as naturally as I'd like.

How about you? Are your words soft? Are your answers soft? Are your words sweet? My friend, you and I, we hold great power in our tongues. If only we could truly understand that that strength is wielded. Not through strong words, but soft words, not through harsh words, but sweet words.

I feel like I should pray for us. Lord, it's so easy to see the specks in eyes as we scroll through our social media feed recently and see that even some of the things that are right and need to be said are aren't very soft, aren't very sweet. God we want to be a testimony of you and always have your gentleness of your character. And so Lord, in our homes, with conflicts with our children, with our husbands, with our roommates, in our workplaces, with conflicts with our coworkers in our church, with conflicts about how we should really be responding to this world's circumstances and in our nation, Lord, may we rise up to be women who are recognized to have power because we have soft and sweet words. Help us Lord. Help, Lord, in the precious name of Jesus, we ask this. Amen.

Oh, friend, I don't know if that's something that you needed to hear today. But I needed to counsel my own heart with that truth. How about you, Portia?

Portia: Absolutely, absolutely. I needed that. I needed that. Well, Dannah,

Dannah: Yes.

Portia: I want to know about walking in the Word.

Dannah: I have friends who have been tagging me in Instagram with their walk in the Word comments, experiences, even some of them are sending me photos.

Portia: Oh, I love it. I've been seeing photos. I've been seeing all of those things. stuff on social media. I think now is certainly the time that many of us need to be walking and meditating on God's Word.

Dannah: Yes, Amen

Alejandra: You know what, girls? I wasn’t with you last week. But I watched it later. I heard about the word and the war, the walk and the word challenge. I loved it.

Portia: Absolutely. Like I said, I'm loving it. I know you at home are loving it, too. You're telling us you are walking and listening to God's Word all over this world. And you know, just like this Grounded viewer in Austria, check out this pic guys. She is working it. Look at her. She's got her cute outfit on. She is war. I love it. I love it.

Alejandra: That’s something special with that kind of weather. But you know what, here's some more familiar faces that I think you could recognize. There's our dear Erin.

Portia: And the chickens.

Alejandra: Yes. And the chickens. And there was also Dannah. I'm also doing some of the word and the war challenge. But someone else wrote to us too. Her name was Jane. And can you believe that she already had been doing the walk and the word challenge even before we thought of it. This is something that Jane said to us. She says, “Oh, listening to Revive Our Hearts and my morning walks have been my lockdown joy.” I love that. You know, we could all use some lockdown joy.

Portia: Yes, yes. Yes, you bet we could. In case you missed it last week, we challenge you to get out and walk this month. But we don't want to just get your feet moving. We don't want you to just exercise your physical body. We want you to get some spiritual exercise again. We want your heart moving toward God's Word. We are here to give you podcast recommendations to listen to as you walk.

Alejandra: This week, we recommend the latest season of the Women of the Bible podcast. This new series covers the book of Ruth.

Portia: Our very own Erin Davis hosts the Women of the Bible podcast. And guess what? I got to be a guest on this season. I’m all super excited about that we walked through the whole book of Ruth. It was like a marathon, by the way. We consider the theme of restoration. You know, Ruth went through some significant family hardships, and that forced dramatic changes in in her life.

Alejandra: I can totally identify. My family has been through so much lately. It has been a season of struggles and change for all of us. But I can testify that walking has been a great balm and healing. I live close to the ocean, very close to the ocean on the rainy West Coast. I've been going for walks with my children about three times a week. As we walk, I tell my children, you know, look around and tell me three things you can praise God for. And they say it out loud. Even people walking around does look at us, and we're like, “Jesus, we praise You for this and we praise you for that.” It really seems that our struggles become very small in comparison to God's power and God's goodness as we walk

Portia: Amen. You know, reminds me of last week. I said on the episode I was talking about how our praise can be a tool for evangelism. You just sharing that it's like a stamp of approval.

Alejandra: Yes.

Portia: Praising and keep sharing the goodness of God in all parts of our lives. Even as you do simple things with your children. Well friends, let's keep walking. Keep sending us your pics. Keep tagging us tagging Revive Our Hearts. But more importantly, let's keep finding ways to be grounded in God's Word during these dark and cold months.

Dannah: That's right. Oh Alejandra, I love that you're taking your kids on your walk in the Word challenges That's awesome. I want to see some pictures of kids. You'll just send us a picture Alejandra. I don't know about you friends. I sure needed this episode as we walk through this crazy time in our world, to counsel my heart to walk through the difficult conversations that I'm probably going to need to have this week.

Erin: A marked reminder of conflict being gospel opportunities. I'm going to carry that through the day. As I face the heat out there and at home. Isn't this an opportunity to showcase that yes, we are growing broken. We have hope in Jesus.

Dannah: So that reminds me, Erin, that something my husband asked me when I feel like I need to say something about this on social media. He says, “Ask this question: Is what you're about to post doing to draw people to Jesus or push them away?” Period. End of story.

Erin: So good. So good. Such a good episode.

Portia: Yeah, this topic is so important. And we couldn't cover it all in the in a single episode. So, guess what? We're going to continue talking about how God's Word calls us to respond to conflict with new guests next week.

Erin: Listen, if you miss Grounded next week, I will send you the forgiveness emoji, but I'm not going to want to. I want you to be here with us next week as we're talking about conflict, and more specifically, what are we talking about more specifically?

Alejandra: Don't be like me, I forgot my tissue for this week. But do not forget your tissue because you're gonna cry. Tara Barthel will be with us. And she's going to be teaching us how to be peacemakers.

Dannah: And can I just say this once again? We planned this topic weeks ago, friends, but God knew then what we would need now. I don't know if you're the same mind. But doesn't it seem like we need a refresher and peacemaking? In fact, let me encourage you, you might need to just host some watch parties for next week's episode.

Erin: I can't think of a single person I know who doesn't need a refresher on what it means to be a peacemaker. And certainly, God's people need to be reminded of what that call is in our lives. I hope you're going to tell everybody about next week's episode. I'm going to. Until then, remember: soft answers, sweet words. Here's my prayer for us, Jesus. Keep us grounded in your Word, no matter what's happening in the world this week. Let's wake up with hope together next Monday on Grounded.

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About the Hosts

Erin Davis

Erin Davis

Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. She is the author of many books and Bible studies including: 7 Feasts, Connected, Beautiful Encounters, and the My Name Is Erin series. She serves on the ministry team of Revive Our Hearts. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

Portia Collins

Portia Collins

Portia Collins is a Christian Bible teacher and writer/blogger who enjoys studying and teaching Scripture.  Portia is the founder of "She Shall Be Called" (SSBC), a women’s ministry centered on helping women understand and embrace true biblical womanhood through solid study of God's Word. To learn more about SSBC, visit www.sheshallbecalled.com.  Portia and her husband, Mikhail, have a daughter and currently live in the Mississippi Delta. 

Dannah Gresh

Dannah Gresh

When Dannah Gresh was eight years old, she began praying that God would use her as a Bible teacher for “the nations.” When she sees the flags of many countries waving at a Revive Our Hearts event, it feels like an answer to her prayer.

Dannah is the founder of True Girl which provides tools for moms and grandmothers to disciple their 7–12 year-old girls. On Monday nights, you’ll find Dannah hosting them in her online Bible study. She has authored over twenty-eight books, including Ruth: Becoming a Girl of Loyalty, Lies Girls Believe, and a Bible study for adult women based on the book of Habakkuk. She and her husband, Bob, live on a hobby farm in central Pennsylvania.

Alejandra Slemin

Alejandra Slemin

Alejandra is a sinner who believed in Jesus at the age of seven in her native country, Dominican Republic. She is a wife and homeschool mom. She's passionate about Christ, studying the Scriptures, discipling, teaching, and learning alongside women. Currently, she supports her husband as he serves as a church planter in Victoria, BC, Canada. Alejandra loves herbs, designing headbands with her daughter, being outdoors, and serving her community.

About the Guest