Ken Sande Keynote Address — Highlight Video

Here’s a little highlight video from the conference that just wrapped up. We’ll have more clips later, but here’s a teaser…


Keynote Highlight: Ken Sande from Peacemaker Ministries on Vimeo.

By the way, we had a wonderful conference; I think everyone there would agree that it was quite possibly our best yet, and God was definitely at work. Thanks for your prayers and, if you were there, thanks for joining us and helping make it great!

Conference Week Is Here!

Just wanted to add a thought to Molly’s previous post…

The week of the conference is here and so most of our staff are either already in Orlando, on their way, or headed that way in the next couple days. Blog posts may be sparse while we’re en route, but once we’re there, we plan to post frequent updates from the conference. So please keep an eye out here for videos, interviews, highlights, and summaries of what’s happening at this event. Should be a bunch of fun stuff going on, and we’ll do our best to tell you all about it.

(And by the way, if by chance you are in driving distance of Orlando, there’s still room at the conference. Just show up and register on site. We’d love to have you there!)

Thanks for your prayers for this event. From the back stage view, it seems like there are many spiritual battles taking place, and so we’d covet your continued intercession on behalf of all the folks headed to the conference. 

For Those Taking the Mediation Training This Week

Here’s a good bit of advice for those of you will will be taking the mediation training this week, especially when you get to the role plays:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

On a serious note, the next few days of pre-conference training and then our annual Peacemaker Conference in Orlando will be pretty intense for our staff, instructors and students. We’d appreciate your prayers for all of us; and students, we are praying for you!

Another Sign that We Live in a Litigious Society

I was flipping through an issue of Time Magazine recently and came upon an article that caught my attention. It was one of those times where I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. Here’s how the article begins:

As if there weren’t enough people out there suing each other, now a Florida attorney has come up with a way to make the process even easier. Beginning next month, anyone with access to the Internet should be able to log onto WhoCanISue.com. The new website plans to help consumers determine whether they actually have a case and help them find an attorney from a list of lawyers who advertise their expertise on the website.

Really? WhoCanISue.com? (And its competitor, SueEasy.com?) Is this what we’ve come to as a society? I know that this is what it often feels like we’re up against as a ministry, but it’s a bit disturbing to actually see it in print (and in URL). Our tendency, even as Christians, is to look for someone else to blame when anything goes wrong. “Someone else needs to pay for my suffering,” we think.

To balance the scales, maybe I’ll look into creating WhyNotRatherBeWronged.com or DudeHaveYouRead1Corinthians6.com… but I just don’t think that they’re as catchy sounding as WhoCanISue.com. Any alternative suggestions?

Grace: Hearing the music rather than listening for errors

I’ve been reading lately in a book called Between Noon and Three, by Robert Farar Capon; it’s an amazing and provocative celebration of grace.

Here’s an excerpt that caught my eye last night.  He’s talking about our “glorious liberty” as children of God, that we get so caught up with following the “rules” (real or perceived) of the Christian life that we miss out on all of the freedom that we have by living in God’s grace.  One simile that I particularly loved — in our natural tendency for using rules to make sure that we’re staying in right relationship to God (rather than resting in Christ’s righteousness), we act like “ill-taught piano students: we play our pieces, but we never really hear them because our main concern is not to make music, but to avoid some flub that will get us in Dutch.”

And then he goes on to say this:

“I have raised (nearly — my nail-biting days will never quite be over) six children. After all these years, I now think my fears that the moral order was always in imminent danger of collapse were misplaced. My children and I have spent a great deal of time doing little else than wave it in front of each other’s noses: my lectures to them on truthfulness were more than balanced by their tirades against me on unfairness. But all the while, there was one thing we most needed even from the start, and certainly will need from here on out into the New Jerusalem: the ability to take our freedom seriously and act on it, to live not in fear of mistakes but in the knowledge that no mistake can hold a candle to the love that draws us home. My repentance, accordingly, is not so much for my failings but for the two-bit attitude toward them by which I made them more sovereign than grace. Grace — the imperative to hear the music, not just listen for errors — makes all infirmities occasions of glory. (p. 147)

I wonder if such a rich understanding and celebration of our freedom in Christ would have any impact on the way that we approach relationships in our churches? On the way we as peacemakers encourage people toward reconciliation? On the way we step into overwhelming situations and trust God’s power to “make all infirmities occasions of glory”…

Preparation and Peacemaking

I’m working right now on one of the workshops that I’ll be co-leading at our conference in a few weeks, and a question popped into my mind that I thought I’d share with you all.

This workshop is on peacemaking on short-term mission (STM) teams. My co-instructor, Susan, and I are putting together some case studies for the participants to discuss, most of which arise out of our own experiences on STMs. In some of the situations, it’s clear that a little bit more upfront preparation, of materials and of the team, could have prevented the conflicts all together. Unfortunately, hind-sight is 20/20 and we’re hoping that participants will jump into the situations where they are “now,” with all the frustration of having potentially been able to avoid the conflict to start with, but still having to move forward in the most constructive and God-glorifying way possible.

Isn’t that so often the case? That led to my two points to ponder:

  • What is the relationship between preparation and biblical peacemaking? How does preparing well show love for God and for our neighbors?
  • Taking for granted that preparation is a way of showing love for God and neighbor, how do we guard our hearts from letting “preparation” grow into an idol? I sense a danger in my own heart that if I am trying to prepare well and others aren’t cooperating, or the lessons don’t stick, or things don’t go according to plan, well, my good desire will turn into a demand, etc, etc.

Okay, back to MY preparation!

Confessing our Sins to God Through His Ten Commandments

This is the corporate confession of sin that we used in church yesterday before celebrating the Lord’s Supper. I was struck about halfway through how vertically-oriented this explanation of the 10 Commandments is, that the commandments pertaining to our relationships with others are still a reflection of our fear of and love for God. And that’s exactly what we believe peacemaking is — our approach to conflict with others flows from what we believe about God. I respond constructively to conflict only because of how God first responded to me.

Pastor: 1st Commandment: You must not have other gods before me. Q. What does this mean?
Congregation: We must fear, love and trust God more than anything else.

2nd Commandment: You must not make for yourself an idol. Q. What does this mean?
We must not worship the Lord according to our own imaginations, but worship him always in accordance with his Word.

3rd Commandment: You must not misuse your God’s name. Q. What does this mean?
We must fear and love God, so that we wll not use his name to curse, swear, lie or deceive, but will use it to call upon him, pray to him, praise him and thank him in all times of trouble.

4th Commandment: You must keep holy the Lord’s day. Q. What does this mean?
We must fear and love God every hour and every day. And on this festive day of rest and celebration, we cherish him by our joyful worship.

5th Commandment: You must honor your father and mother, so that things will go well for you and you will live long on earth. Q. What does this mean?
We must fear and love God, so that we will neither look down on our oparents or superiors nor irritate them, but will honor them, serve them, obey them, love them and value them.

6th Commandment: You must not murder. Q. What does this mean?
We must fear and love God, so that we will neither harm nor hurt our neighbor’s body, but help him and care for him when he is ill.

7th Commandment: You must not commit adultery. Q. What does this mean?
We must fear and love God, so that our words and actions will be clean and decent and so that everyone will love and honor their spouses.

8th Commandment: You must not steal. Q. What does this mean?
We must fear and love God, so that we will neither take our neighbor’s money or property, nor acquire it by fraud or by selling him poorly made products, but will help him improve and protect his property and career.

9th Commandment: You must not tell lies about your neighbor. Q. What does this mean?
We must fear and love God, so that we will not deceive by lying, betraying, slandering or reuining our neighbor’s reputation, but will defend him, say good things about him, and see the best side of everything he does.

10th Commandment: You must not covet your neighbor’s house or anything that belongs to your neighbor. Q. What does this mean?
That we ought not set our desires upon anything contrary to any one of God’s commandments.

Have we kept God’s law perfectly?
We have not.

What is the penalty for failing to keep God’s law perfectly?
The Judge of all the earth rightly declares: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”

What then must we do to be saved?
We can do nothing. God must do everything.

And what has God done?
In love, God sent his Son to atone for our sin, so that all who turn from their own righteousness and trust alone in Christ’s righteousness have the sure promise that God will forgive and justify them, set them apart and purify them unto life everlasting.