Sep 17 2014

An Opportunity to Serve

Published by under PeaceMeal

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Conflict presents unique opportunities to serve other people. When others are weighed down with problems and stress, God will sometimes use us to encourage them and help carry their burdens. In other situations, we may be able to give helpful advice, provide a positive example, or suggest creative solutions to problems. Best of all, conflict can provide the opportunity to demonstrate the love of Christ and give witness to the gospel, even to people who are attacking us.

Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 143.

Food for Thought

It seems when we’ve got many problems and much stress, conflict comes at us faster than ever. Our emotions are intensified and things we may have overlooked now become full blown conflicts. No matter which way we turn, it stares us in the face. While this doesn’t provide an excuse to treat others poorly or unfairly, it does provide much opportunity for peacemaking.

The same is true for those around us. There could be circumstances in their lives causing them to respond differently than they normally would. Their burden may be too big for them to carry alone. You just happened to be in the wrong place at the right time. God put you in their path to speak a kind word, offer forgiveness, give advice, or be a listening ear. To put it simply, to serve them. And when we’re serving others, our view of a conflict will often change.

Be on the lookout today for special God-given opportunities to demonstrate the love of Christ even in the midst of conflict. When you actively model the gospel in action, you are making the most of every opportunity to serve other people.

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Sep 15 2014

A Note from Dale

Published by under Conference

A Note From Dale

In less than two weeks, peacemakers from around the world will gather in Colorado Springs to celebrate the Lord’s ministry of reconciliation through biblical peacemaking. I am looking forward to the fellowship, corporate prayer and praise, and the testimonies of Living the Legacy of Peace that God has graciously brought to his people through the ministry of reconciliation. I am also looking forward to the teaching times—the pre-conference training events, the workshops, and the keynote speakers.

The professional biographies for our keynote speakers are listed online, but I would like to tell you a little bit more about why these particular people were invited to serve at our conference:

meyerRev. Dr. Jason Meyer is one of the most humble and gifted men I have ever met. In addition to being a seminary professor and theologian, Pastor Meyer has been entrusted with the pulpit that formerly was filled by the inimitable Rev. Dr. John Piper, which I believe is a clear testament to Rev. Meyer’s extraordinary gifts as a preacher and to his character as a faithful Christ-follower. During his keynote, Rev. Meyer will be sharing with us the tremendous story of peace and peacemaking that his church recently lived out. I’m excited to hear from Rev. Meyer’s heart and I hope you are too.

GaryHoagDr. Gary Hoag brings a message that is especially relevant to peacemakers because he identifies the way Christ-followers can fall into the “common path” (guided by their own desires and purposes and influenced by the media, celebrity and hype, numbers, dollars, and manipulative practices) and then he differentiates that common path from the radically biblical “higher road” path (guided by Kingdom outcomes). As we all know, the pull to self-centered interests is often at the heart of destructive conflict. This is just one reason why I am confident that Dr. Hoag’s New Testament scholarship will greatly benefit us all as he shares with us his insights into peace, shalom, and unity.

BradyBoydResizePastor Brady Boyd is a Texas boy who bravely came to Colorado to take on the daunting task of filling a pulpit following the moral failure of a high-visibility Christian leader. As if the conflicts associated with that desert experience weren’t challenging enough, Pastor Boyd and his church went through the unimaginable horror of a lone gunman shooting and killing several young girls (sisters) while they were attending their church service. The power of God is clearly at work in the testimony and legacy of this church that has ministered peace not only to the family of the dead victims, but also to the family of the dead gunman. This is a keynote session that you do not want to miss.

Val-SheanAnd finally, let me tell you about the treasure we have in Dr. Val Shean Lomilo, who is traveling all the way from Uganda to share with us the story of the Lord’s ministry of peace to a (formerly) warring, violent, aggressive, Karamojong tribe. Thanks to God’s grace ministered through this wise and godly woman, and the US-based team of peacemakers that she brought in to assist with the conflict, the Karamojong people have turned away from generations of revenge killings to establish a new way of life, in a new village—The Peace Village. I have no doubt that we will be on the edge of our seats as we hear more specifics about the oft’ life-threatening circumstances that Dr. Val faced as she worked alongside other peacemakers to serve the Karamojong people, and we will rejoice in how, several years later, God is continuing to transform lives among the tribal members.

DalePyneCroppedWon’t these speakers lead us well in remembering and celebrating Living a Legacy of Peace? And we have many other gifted peacemakers serving us during the workshop times too.

I hope that you will make plans now to join us in Colorado Springs September 25-27. And if you can’t join us in person, I hope to see you online through our virtual conference.

Grateful for the Legacy of Peace and for the future!

DaleSignature

 

 

 

Dale Pyne, CEO of Peacemaker Ministries

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Sep 10 2014

What Revenge Can Teach Us About Forgiveness

Published by under Forgiveness,PeaceMeal

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Forgiveness is not forgetting. Forgetting is a passive process in which a matter fades from memory merely with the passing of time. Forgiving is an active process; it involves a conscious choice and a deliberate course of action. To put it another way, when God says that he “remembers your sins no more” (Isa. 43:25), he is not saying that he cannot remember our sins. Rather, he is promising that he will not remember them. When he forgives us, he chooses not to mention, recount, or think about our sins ever again. Similarly, when we forgive, we must draw on God’s grace and consciously decide not to think or talk about what others have done to hurt us. This may require a lot of effort, especially when an offense is still fresh in mind. Fortunately, when we decide to forgive someone and stop dwelling on an offense, painful memories usually begin to fade.

 
Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 206.

 

Food for Thought

 

“Revenge,” says the famous Sicilian proverb, “is a dish best served cold.” In other words, “effective” revenge requires careful planning as well as emotional distance from the experience that prompted the desire for revenge in the first place.

Interestingly, there’s also a sense in which biblical forgiveness is best as a “chilled dish.” It shouldn’t be emotionally chilled, of course, but it should be carefully planned and originate in a place deeper than our emotions. As Christians, we don’t wait to forgive so that we can let the memory of the offense fade or so the other person will suffer. Instead, we forgive deliberately. We carefully plan for the restoration of the relationship that has been wronged, and we submit our emotional hurt to Christ, who compels us to forgive as he has forgiven us.

As you “plot” your own forgiveness of others, remember that God’s plan for forgiveness was a profoundly deliberate effort that impacted literally every generation over literally centuries of time. If “cold revenge” is deeply satisfying, how infinitely much more so is deliberate, planned biblical forgiveness.

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Sep 09 2014

An Invitation from Brady Boyd

Published by under Conference

Here’s a short video from Pastor Brady Boyd in Colorado Springs inviting you to our annual conference:

Pastor Brady Boyd invite to 2014 Conference from Peacemaker Ministries on Vimeo.

Brady Boyd is the Senior Pastor at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO and you can find him on Twitter under @PastorBrady. Brady is married to his college sweetheart, Pam and is the dad to great kids named Abram and Callie. He has written four books, Addicted to BusyFear No Evil, Sons & Daughters, and Let Her Lead. (All are available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble). He’s also really serious about caring for the people of Colorado Springs by opening numerous Dream Centers.

If you’re interested in attending our conference this year, check out our conference website for more information or to register.

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Sep 04 2014

Holy Forbearance

Published by under Unity

Unity in diversityI’m not exactly sure how I stumbled upon this article from The Presbyterian Outlook, but I’m glad I did. In it James Calvin Davis talks about how Paul’s counsel to the Ephesians when he says to “mak[e] every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” can be related to the decisions made at the last PC(USA) General Assembly. He does a really good job of explaining how anyone who might be tempted to react gracelessly might be able to look to Paul’s epistle for guidance on how to disagree while still fulfilling our efforts to maintain unity as members of the body of Christ.

He states:

What might it mean to practice forbearance in today’s PC(USA)? Surely it requires all of us to approach our disagreements with a healthy dose of humility, acutely aware that we don’t know everything there is to know about this world and God’s intentions for it. Forbearance also demands the exercise of patience, taking time to listen to sisters and brothers and respecting their place in Christian community. It likely requires a commitment to faithfulness, maintaining relationships of trust with one another across theological differences and, more fundamentally, trusting God to reveal truth in God’s time. Ultimately, forbearance invites us to love one another as friends and fellow travelers on this pilgrimage of faith.

And later:

Ephesians doesn’t commend forbearance on the assumption of uniformity in the church. Quite the opposite, in fact! The call to forbearance doesn’t make any sense without high-stakes disagreement in play. But while disagreement has always been a part of being [the] church, so is the cosmic unity in which we negotiate that disagreement.

I’m not part of the PC(USA) and there are probably things I’d disagree with Mr. Davis on but isn’t that the point? I think we all sometimes need to be reminded of the need for Christian ” unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” and I appreciated the call to “faithful witness in times of disagreement.”

You can read the whole things here.

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Sep 03 2014

Don’t Be a “Chocolate Only” Christian!

Published by under PeaceMeal

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Through Jesus you can also experience genuine peace within yourself. Internal peace is a sense of wholeness, contentment, tranquility, order, rest, and security. Although nearly everyone longs for this kind of peace, it eludes most people. Genuine internal peace cannot be directly obtained through our own efforts; it is a gift that God gives only to those who believe in his Son and obey his commands (1 John 3:21-24). In other words, internal peace is a by-product of righteousness. This truth is revealed throughout Scripture:

 

“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” (Isa. 26:3).

“The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever” (Isa. 32:17; cf. Pss. 85:10; 119:165).

“If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea” (Isa. 48:18).

 

These passages show why it is impossible to experience internal peace if you fail to pursue peace with God and peace with others. Internal peace comes only from being reconciled to God through his Son, receiving his righteousness and the power to resist sin, and then obeying what God commands. “And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us” (1 John 3:23). By God’s design, the three dimensions of peace are inseparably joined. As one author expressed it, “Peace with God, peace with each other and peace with ourselves come in the same package.”

 
Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 46-47.

 

Food for Thought

Authentic biblical peace is like Neapolitan ice cream. Peace with God is like the chocolate. Peace with others is like the vanilla. And peace with ourselves is like the strawberry. Some folks, when presented with a carton of Neapolitan ice cream, eat only their favorite flavor (usually the chocolate, right?) before putting the 1/3-empty package back in the freezer. When subsequent snackers drop by, they become crestfallen: Neapolitan without one of the flavors just isn’t Neapolitan! Much of modern Christendom is like this. “Christian” is too often understood only to mean “at peace with God.” Rarely are Christians encouraged to dig their spoons into the vanilla and strawberry dimensions of the faith: making peace with others and experiencing peace within. Sure, the chocolate is important–you might even say it’s the “best part”, but chocolate-only Christians will never change the world. Blessed are the true Neapolitan peacemakers, for they will not be confined to the freezer for long!

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Aug 28 2014

#TBT with Tara Barthel

Published by under Conference

We’re taking this opportunity to do a little Throwback Thursday action (#TBT for you Twitter folk) by reposting Tara Barthel’s keynote session from our conference last year. It really is a great message and I hope you take the time to watch her explain the real source of living a remarkably different life.


2013 Peacemaker Conference – Tara Barthel – General Session from Peacemaker Ministries on Vimeo.

 

We’re also excited that Tara is going to be teaching a few workshop sessions at our conference in Colorado Springs this year. She’s a great component to our stimulating and relevant workshop lineup.

If you’re interested in information about the workshops at our conference or registering to attend, visit our conference website. Also, if you’re interested in more information about Tara, Peacemaking Women, or her awesome blog, visit her website.

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Aug 27 2014

Fruits of Repentance

Published by under PeaceMeal

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“Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” Matthew 3:8

Although repentance is often accompanied by sorrow, simply feeling bad does not prove that one is repentant. In fact, there is a world of difference between mere remorse and genuine repentance… Worldly sorrow means feeling sad because you got caught doing something wrong or because you must suffer the unpleasant consequences of your actions… In contrast, godly sorrow means feeling bad because you have offended God. It means sincerely regretting the fact that what you did was morally wrong, regardless of whether or not you must suffer unpleasant consequences. It involves a change of heart… Godly sorrow will not always be accompanied by intense feelings, but it implies a change in thinking, which should lead to changes in behavior.

Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 118-119.

 

Food for Thought

What does repentance usually look like for you? What role do emotions play? Have you had experiences where there was a lack of emotions?

John the Baptist was a character that would probably not make the cut these days if a church were searching for a leader; he was just too rough. Matthew’s gospel describes a man covered in camel’s hair and leather with a belly full of locusts and wild honey. His sermon was always the same–”Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matt.3.2). If he were to respond today to our supposed moments of repentance, it would be short and sweet–show me the fruit!

And what fruit did the wild man of the Desert of Judea possibly have in mind? Perhaps the apostle Paul helps us here as he wrote to the Galatians: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control ” (5.22-23).

That’s a good picture of what true repentance looks like. If tears and emotions accompany this fruit, that’s fine and many times appropriate; however, they are not the first fruits of repentance. They (the emotions) are the “secondary pickin’s,” if you will. The enemy loves to deceive us when it comes to fruit (remember Eden?), so walk wisely!

Paul’s words indicate the origins of true repentance. It’s a lot easier for tears to fall than patience to rise. Hangdog postures are much easier to assume than stances of gentleness or self-control. The true fruits of repentance are fruits of the Spirit. We couldn’t produce a crop like that on our own if we wanted to; they are a supernatural gift from the Lord’s hand. Remember, He is the vine and we are the branches. Apart from Him, there is no fruit, and we will all end up famished.

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Aug 26 2014

3 Rules for Troll Handling

Published by under General Peacemaking,Misc

No Trolls Allowed

Ah, internet trolls. They can be found in their natural habitat all over the world wide web from the comments sections of YouTube, Reddit, and CNN to Christianity Today and The Gospel Coalition. If you’ve ever spent any time online, you’ve probably come across one which is why I found this article by Emily McFarlan Miller over at the Her.menuetics blog so helpful (and humorous!).

As a Christian, engaging (or not) with internet trolls requires us to realize that there’s a person on the other side of that keyboard and we are called to treat them as Christ would. That’s why Emily’s advice is so good.

Here’s her three tips with a little snippet of the explanation she gives for each point:

1. Thou Shalt Not Feed the Trolls

The first commandment of the Internet is this: “Don’t feed the trolls.”

The reasoning is simple. If the intent is to make people angry or otherwise disturb them, the way to shut it down is simply not to respond. And certainly, there are Proverbs that speak to the futility of answering – or not answering – a fool.

2. Thou Shalt Not Troll

Our response to trolling, Harrington suggests, begins with our own online behavior – removing the digital plank from our eyes, so to speak.

For Jones, deciding how to respond to Internet postings begins with checking herself, asking if this is somebody with whom she normally would engage. Sometimes the seminarian tries to take the interaction offline, a tactic she learned about a year and a half ago when she was shown the same grace.

3. Love Thy Trolls

But even when a person is trolling, Jones said, “they’re still a human being. They’re still a person Jesus is crazy about. … It sounds cheesy, but it really does boil down to loving that person – am I being kind to that person? And it can be real hard to do on the Internet.”

It’s the Golden rule: Treating others on the Internet the way you would want them to treat you, even on your snarkiest, most impulsive of days.

There’s a lot more explanation over at Her.menuetics, so be sure and go read the whole thing.

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Aug 25 2014

Peaces of Power

Published by under Peaces of Power

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Here’s a note of encouragement that testifies of God’s grace that we received from a friend recently and wanted to share with you:

Dear Peacemakers-

Just some feedback to praise God about. I am doing my homework for the September Peacemaker conference. I have done the Peacemakers small group study in church. Therefore, in the homework when they said to think of someone I have a conflict with, there wasn’t anyone. But to be a good student I thought longer and realized there was “Jim,” a co-worker. We don’t have conflict, he just makes me and the rest of the staff crazy … baggage, needs Christ….

Then I did the homework from Ps 37 and Ps73. As I sat before the Lord, I realized my part of the conflict … and confessed it to the Lord. The next time at work, I made efforts to be friendly, and not to stir in my own heart those other baggage things. And that was good.

This week he made a mistake. We are healthcare professionals. No one was hurt. Because I saw him differently, there was no need for gossip, rolling eyes, whispers. We all make mistakes. He felt awful. I could freely remind him we all make mistakes. Had I not done the homework, I could not have done that. Maybe someday I will be able to talk to “Jim” about the Gospel, that the Lord can and will help him unpack his baggage. He helped me unpack mine. Peacemakers and the Gospel kept me from repacking an old suitcase.

Praising God–

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