It’s with sober but grateful hearts that we post a prayer request for Ken Sande, the founder of Peacemaker Ministries and President for many, many years. He has recently been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing treatment. God has given him and Corlette “amazing grace” in this trial, and their testimony is a great encouragement to all who come in contact with them. Please keep them in your prayers in the weeks ahead.
By Chip Zimmer, VP of Global Ministries
I enjoy receiving e-mails. A regular part of my work is responding to people who have met God through something Peacemaker Ministries has produced. Their notes are always fresh and charming. Here – misspellings, mis-punctuations and all – is one of my recent favorites:
“By gods grace we conducted our evening seminar on April 4, 2014 at Lutheran Church Veliyannoor Kerala india, It was a blessing for the people.
“In that meeting we introduced your 7 A’s of confession. The people appreciated it. Rev Rooban paras conducted the class and our patron Rev.a.J.Joseph lead the interaction session.In this session we divided people in to small groups and congregation members shared with pastors their problems.People were moved by the 7A understanding ,they said it is a new vision they got through it.”
I love this letter. You can sense the excitement and gratitude in his voice as he struggles to communicate in English what he experienced among the members of his congregation, the “understanding” of confession that has led to a “new vision.” What may not be so obvious is just how difficult it is for people who come from more traditional backgrounds in Asia, Africa and elsewhere, to accept responsibility for their sins and confess to those they have wronged.
In much of the world, preserving personal honor and avoiding shame are critical social dynamics. This goes by many names – “saving face,” “preserving harmony,” even “machismo” come to mind. They are all descriptors given to respecting individual dignity and maintaining relationships. In many societies, truth speaking, directness, and individual accountability matter less than respecting others and promoting social cohesion.
Jesus lived in a culture, the Middle East, which then as now is driven by such values. Honor, status and rank matter. In such settings, admitting fault, asking for forgiveness, and committing to repentance and change are all viewed as shameful. And what brings shame and dishonor is, typically, avoided. A Lebanese friend of mine put it this way: “Shame and honor have trained our community to build masks. According to our culture, confession, humility, and submission, are all signs of weakness.”
Yet, into this mindset, Jesus taught that the meek would inherit the earth, that asking for forgiveness is to be a normative practice, and that honor accrues to the least and the lowliest. If you want to be first, you must become last and a “servant” of all. No wonder he stirred up controversy.
Jesus is no less controversial today. What he taught regularly confronts each of us in those places where we are least comfortable, wherever we may live. The good news for us is that Jesus’ death and resurrection not only deal with our guilt. They also deal with our shame. Incredible as it may seem, we are honored children of the high king, prodigals who have been welcomed home.
Reading about believers in far-off Kerala who are learning to embrace personal responsibility and confess sins raises a question each of us should ask: Where have I become complacent, allowing dominant social norms to dictate how I live out my faith? What “new vision” is God showing to me?
It is a question worth considering as we celebrate our Lord’s resurrection.
This article originally appeared in our April edition of Reconciled. If you’d like to receive Reconciled, subscribe here.
It’s fascinating to use Google Earth to find your home. You click onto the internet and key in your address, then Google Earth zooms in–first to the continent, then your state, and finally your city and neighborhood until there it is: your home. Well, this Harvest Report is a zoomed-in snapshot of the impact, change, growth, significant happenings, and fruit of the work of Peacemaker Ministries throughout the world. We praise God for this work, and we praise him for you. For without your investment in this ministry, we simply could not continue to serve, educate, or train others. We could not help them address relational issues in a God-honoring, others-honoring manner.
Your investment in this work plants the gospel in relationships, producing the fruit of healthy and godly marriages, families, and churches across the country and throughout the world. I am excited about the new materials we are developing. New methods of delivering those materials will allow us to increase our witness and expand the reach and impact of the ministry in ways that are sustainable and repeatable. Consider this an open invitation to you, our friend and supporter, to connect with me personally so I can share some very exciting opportunities with you.
When we pull back and see the bigger picture, we know these moments of impact and change come because God reconciled us to himself. By his grace, we are drawn to him for redemption. When we “turn our eyes to Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, the things of this earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.” Help us as we help others to connect this story of amazing grace with their own stories and challenges. Great people like you further the work of peacemaking. Thank you for giving through your time, your teaching, your sharing, your conciliation, and your financial investment in the ministry. We are grateful.
Click through the link/graphic below to see the other exciting things that went on recently because friends like you support Peacemaker Ministries.
We covet your continued prayers and financial support as we seek to expand and deepen ministry to individuals, churches, and regional networks. If you are already a monthly donor, thank you! If you are not, would you consider becoming one? Monthly giving via direct deposit or automatic credit card payments is an efficient way for you to contribute and it helps the operations team manage the budget. Thank you for praying about this opportunity.
Peacemaker Ministries and Ambassadors of Reconciliation announce the appointment of Dwight Schettler to the office of Vice President of Advancement for Ambassadors of Reconciliation. While it is with mixed emotions that we bring you this news of Dwight’s departure from Peacemaker Ministries, we are confident in God’s provision for both ministries.
Peacemaker Ministries and Ambassadors of Reconciliation are allies and partners in peacemaking. Ted Kober, Dwight’s new boss, was a Peacemaker Ministries board and staff member prior to starting Ambassadors of Reconciliation, a ministry primarily focused on serving the Lutheran Church. Ted has generously provided coaching and a listening ear to our new CEO, Dale Pyne, since he began in October of 2012. Dale expressed, “I am indebted to both men for their personal ministry to me.”
Dwight has been a significant contributor to Peacemaker Ministries for over four years. He has been a rock for our staff and the leadership team during the challenging times of transition that the ministry has had in the last year. Although his title was Director of Training, Dale affectionately called him the “Director of Everything” because he has willingly and very capably absorbed additional responsibilities and leadership with a perpetually cheerful attitude. Dwight is loved, appreciated, and will be sorely missed.
We are thoroughly convinced that this is God moving in both ministries, and we are excited not only for Dwight’s new opportunities with AoR but also for the opportunities that this change provides for Peacemaker Ministries.
Please join us in our expression of gratitude to Dwight for his exemplary service and by offering a blessing to him and his family as they take the next step forward in Kingdom service.