Left Ahead

 

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In this world you will have trouble.” John 16.33

The fact that God is good does not mean that he will insulate us from all suffering. Rather, it means that he will be with us in our suffering and accomplish good through it (Isa. 43:2-3). J.I. Packer writes, “We see that he leaves us in a world of sin to be tried, tested, belaboured by troubles that threaten to crush us–in order that we may glorify him by our patience under suffering, and in order that he may display the riches of his grace and call forth new praises from us as he constantly upholds and delivers us.”

Adapted from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 63.

Food for Thought

Imagine this scenario: Jesus is ascending back to heaven as his disciples are looking on and he tells them, “I’ve got to go now. Hang in there, and best of luck.” Sound ludicrous? It would be almost impossible to continue following someone who left you like that. Even those of us who have blood type D (duty) would eventually need a transfusion of something; something to give us hope in this broken world. If that had been the case, then Jesus would have truly left us behind. But that’s not how the story goes.

He left us ahead; he told us what it was going to be like, no surprises (John, chapters 14-16):

  • The world will hate you.
  • They will persecute you.
  • They will put you out of the synagogue.
  • They will think that killing you is a service to God.

And he told us right where he would be:

  • I will be with you.

As we suffer conflicts, insults, and other hardships, we must remember that Christ is our Emmanuel–God with us! We press on through those valleys of the shadow of death, but we don’t press on alone; no, we have the presence of the living Christ guiding, encouraging, refining, strengthening, and protecting us all along the way. And as our faith matures, God does more and more of what God loves to do–display the riches of his grace and call forth new praises from us as he constantly upholds and delivers us.

The Gospel: The Key to Peacemaking

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The principles of biblical peacemaking have proven to be universally counter cultural. No matter what race or country we come from, none of us is naturally inclined to obey Jesus’ commands to love our enemies, confess our wrongs, gently correct others, submit to our church, and forgive those who hurt us. In fact, left to our own instincts, we are disposed to do just the opposite.

Fortunately, God has provided a way for us to overcome our innate weakness as peacemakers and learn to respond to conflict constructively. His solution is the gospel, the good news that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15). God sent his Son to pay the price for our sins through his death and resurrection. When we believe this and put our trust in Jesus, God forgives all our sins. Through the gospel he also enables us to learn how to resist temptation, obey his commands, and live a life that honors him.

This wonderful news can radically change the way we respond to conflict. Through the gospel, the foundational G, the Lord enables us to live out the Four G’s of peacemaking. As we stand in awe of his matchless grace, we find more joy in glorifying God than in pursuing our own selfish ends. When we realize that God has mercy on those who confess their sins, our defensiveness lifts and we are able to admit our wrongs. As we accept and benefit from the way the gospel lovingly shows us our sin, we are inspired to gently correct and restore others who have done wrong. And as we rejoice in the liberating forgiveness of God, we are empowered to go and forgive others in the same way.

Adapted from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) pp. 13-14.

Food for Thought

In the last paragraph above, Ken mentions four ways the Lord uses the gospel to enable us to live out the Four G’s of peacemaking. Remembering the death, burial, and ressurection of Christ should give us reason to restore those broken relationships in our lives. Reflecting on the great cost of our forgiveness should cause us to pursue reconciliation with others. As believers, we have been forgiven an enormous debt.

If you are facing conflict, God provides both the model and motivation for peacemaking through the gospel. Remember and reflect on who God is, what he is like, and what he is doing in your life–then ask him to use you to show his love to others.

From the Board: Introducing Dale Pyne, Our New CEO

 By Karen Strong, Chair, Board of Directors

Some news is just too stupendous to keep quiet! So we’re blessed to make a wonderful announcement.

After a thorough search, the Board of Directors has selected Dale Pyne as our new Chief Executive Officer.

The Board specifically looked for a seasoned, mission-focused, strategic and results-oriented, Christian executive leader. We also sought someone with the skills, personality and sensitivity to maximize the gifts of Peacemaker’s talented team. In Dale, we found all these things undergirded by a mature faith and a passion for peacemaking.

It takes a very special kind of leader to come after a founder, especially one as respected and well-known as Ken Sande. We believe Dale is just the right person to build on the solid foundation that Ken laid, and lead Peacemaker Ministries into its next era. Ken recently shared this about Dale:

“I am grateful that God has called a man of this caliber to lead the Peacemaker team. Dale has impressive gifts and experience, but most importantly, he has a deep love for Jesus and a passion for relying on the gospel to reconcile people and transform relationships. There is no question in my mind that God has called Dale to lead Peacemaker Ministries forward into a new season of vital and fruitful kingdom work.”

What specifically does Dale bring to Peacemaker Ministries?

He’s a seasoned peacemaker. Dale brings with him rich experience—he is a Certified Christian Conciliator who has done coaching, mediation and arbitration professionally in both Christian and secular settings for years. His reputation and effectiveness as a mediator led to his appointment by the Idaho Supreme Court for family mediations and child custody disputes. In addition, Dale has coached and mentored pastors and Christian leaders in building a culture of peace.

Dale serves in this way because the gospel is deeply rooted in his heart.

“Unless and until we are reconciled to the Father through Jesus Christ, we cannot experience true reconciliation with each other. Above all, Peacemaker Ministries points conflicted people to the gospel, the foundation for peace in a broken world.”  ~ Dale Pyne

He’s wired for leadership excellence. By gifting as well as experience, Dale is a leader who sets the right goals and both motivates and equips others to success in meeting them. He’s contributed to corporate success through organizational leadership training and consulting with top leaders in a wide variety of industries. Colleagues and clients consistently describe him as collaborative, trustworthy, effective and motivating, attesting to his wisdom, personal integrity and humility.

He’s skilled in building successful organizations. Dale’s business acumen and leadership track record indicate his readiness for the challenges and opportunities facing Peacemaker Ministries. His experience includes having grown a business from a $1.9 million annual budget to nearly $10 million in two years, and other instances of record-setting, healthy expansion. He’s a continuous learner and understands the importance of good analysis to grasp present realities and set achievable goals that energize an organization for sustainable growth.

For Peacemaker Ministries, the desire to grow is not a quest for temporal accolades. It is connected with the very mission God has given the Church—and the needs are vast.

“It is my great honor to serve as CEO for a ministry that is inseparable from the gospel. This is not a ministry of human creation that we simply ask God to bless. God calls us to join him in his mission to reconcile the world to himself and to exhibit that by being reconciled to one another.” ~ Dale Pyne

I’ve given but a snapshot of the man God has prepared to be our new CEO. In future editions of Reconciled, you will see Dale and the ministry in action. But at this wonderful moment, please join the Board in praise and thanksgiving to God for his provision of just the right person for this time.

“Terri and I are honored and humbled. I am committed to serving with a surrendered heart, the best God has given me in talent and experience, and openness to all things that are possible through Him. We are clear about our calling and rejoice, seeing God’s hand in the big and little things as we move forward. This is a time for renewed hope and great opportunity; I am convinced that exponential growth and ministry impact are a part of Peacemaker Ministries’ future. Words cannot convey the enthusiasm I have for this new time in our lives.” ~ Dale Pyne

Peacemaker Ministries has an exciting future—and it’s already underway! We are blessed by your partnership in this mission and urge you to take it to the next level with us.

Help For Those Who Struggle With A Judgmental Attitude

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Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. Rom.14:4

When [other people] fail to satisfy our desires and live up to our expectations, we criticize and condemn them in our hearts if not with our words. As David Powlison writes:

We judge others–criticize, nit-pick, nag, attack, condemn–because we literally play God. This is heinous. [The Bible says,] “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you to judge your neighbor?” Who are you when you judge? None other than a God wannabe. In this we become like the Devil himself (no surprise that the Devil is mentioned in James 3:15 and 4:7). We act exactly like the adversary who seeks to usurp God’s throne and who acts as the accuser of the brethren.

When you and I fight, our minds become filled with accusations: your wrongs and my rights preoccupy me. We play the self-righteous judge in the mini-kingdoms we establish….

I am not saying that it is inherently wrong to evaluate or even judge others within certain limits. As we will see in chapter 7, Scripture teaches that we should observe and evaluate others’ behavior so that we can respond and minister to them in appropriate ways, which may even involve loving correction (see Matt. 7:1-5; 18:15; Gal. 6:1).

Adapted from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) pp. 106-107.

 

Food for Thought

Why does Scripture repeatedly caution us regarding judging our Christian brothers and sisters? What is the fundamental danger involved in such judgment? Is it that we might judge other Christians inaccurately?

Paul delivers a surprising answer in Romans 14:4. He says that the danger involved in judging other Christians actually has nothing to do with other Christians at all. The danger, he says, is that we judge God inaccurately when we say that other Christians cannot or will not change. “He [the person we are judging] will stand,” Paul asserts, “for the Lord is able to make him stand” (emphasis ours). Judging others is wrong, says Paul, when it leaves the Lord–the only one who can change human hearts, and the one who is passionately committed to change human hearts–out of the change equation. It neglects entirely God’s great promise in Philippians 1:6, “he who began a good work in [that brother or sister] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Judgment of other Christians that is not grounded in God’s power and promises is heinous judgment indeed, as David Powlison notes in the quote above. It is the opposite of humility and confident faith. If you are struggling with a judgmental attitude toward another Christian, remember Scripture’s command to “hope in the Lord” and don’t be discouraged by the actions (or inactions) of that person. Remember and repeat to yourself as you pray for the other person (and for your own patience): The Lord is able to make him stand!

Play Ball!

 

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If it is possible … live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18

There are three dimensions to the peace that God offers to us through Christ: peace with God, peace with one another, and peace within ourselves. Many people care little about their relationships with God and other people, but they still want peace within themselves. As you will see, it is impossible to know genuine internal peace unless you also pursue peace with God and others.

Adapted from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 44.

Food for Thought

As a peacemaker, are you covering your bases?

The batter takes his stance. The pitcher winds up and throws. The batter swings and hits the ball, and immediately runs to… that’s right — first base. Unless you’re watching a bunch of folks goofing off or a really young T-ball team, no batter is going to hit and then run to second base. That’s just not how the game is played. You run to first, then to second, and then on to third; you’ve got to cover all three bases.

Ken reminds us of the three peace bases for the followers of Christ: peace with God, peace with one another, and peace within ourselves. As believers we’ve got to cover all three bases — that’s how the Christian life is lived. Meditate for a few minutes on the following Scripture verses:

Peace with God: Rom. 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Peace with others: 1 Thess. 5:13 “Live in peace with each other.”
Peace with self: Col. 3:15 “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.”

And once you’ve covered the three bases, you get to run… that’s right — HOME!

Six of Satan’s Favorite Conflict Phrases

 

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“Submit yourselves, then, to God.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

Satan promotes conflict in many ways. Among other things, he tempts us so we give in to greed and dishonesty (Acts 5:3), he deceives us and misleads us (2 Tim. 2:25-26), and he takes advantage of unresolved anger (Eph. 4:26-27). Worst of all, he uses false teachers to propagate values and philosophies that encourage selfishness and stimulate controversy (1 Tim. 4:1-3). Here are some of the expressions that often reflect the devil’s lies and influence:

“Look out for Number One.”
“God helps those who help themselves.”
“Surely God doesn’t expect me to stay in an unhappy situation.”
“I’ll forgive you, but I won’t forget.”
“Don’t get mad, get even.”
“I deserve better than this.”

Satan prefers that we do not recognize his role in our conflicts. As long as we see other people as our only adversaries and focus our attacks on them, we will give no thought to guarding against our most dangerous enemy.

Adapted from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) pp. 50-51.

Food for Thought

Read Jesus’ responses to Satan’s temptations in Matthew 4:1-11. Note that in contrast to Satan’s favorite expressions noted above, none of Jesus’ responses contain the word, “I”. What’s more, none of Jesus’ responses to Satan even contain the word, “you”–usually our second favorite word in conflict! How do we prevent Satan from getting a foothold in our conflicts? We keep our conflict responses (and our words) God-centered, remembering that if God is not at the center of our thoughts during a conflict, Satan will be altogether too happy to quietly take God’s place.

Peacemaker Ministries Announces Selection of New CEO

Dale & Terri Pyne

The Peacemaker Ministries Board of Directors is very pleased to announce the appointment of Dale Pyne, from Sandpoint, Idaho, to the position of Chief Executive Officer for Peacemaker Ministries.

Dale and his wife, Terri, feel a strong sense of God’s hand and call in the decision to come to Peacemaker Ministries. They share a passion for Jesus Christ and a commitment to God’s Word; they’ve been active in their local church, disciple­ship small groups, and various ministry outreaches.

Dale is a seasoned peacemaker who received his conciliator certification from the ICC at our recent conference in Denver. He has years of experience mediating and arbitrating professionally in both Christian and secular settings, involving family, government, community, and churches. He’s also been a mentor/coach for pastors and lay leaders. Dale is both a leader and a learner; God has gifted him with a love for people, spiritual discernment, discipline, drive, and wisdom.

He has an extensive business background, having founded and developed multiple successful organi­zations. He consults in organizational leadership with Fortune 100 corporations and nonprofits, with special expertise in executive leadership and Board governance. His early corporate career was with Harley-Davidson, where he co-developed the highly respected Performance Consulting Program and was a top-performing district manager and Harley dealership owner.

A graduate of Indiana Wesleyan, Dale has done graduate work in organizational leadership at Gonzaga University and is currently working on an M.Div. through Wesley Seminary. Dale and Terri are richly blessed by their boys, Joshua and Shane, and their wives, who are both named Sarah; the two couples live in Indianapolis.

Dale has a pilot’s license and a Black Belt in Tae Kwan Do. He describes himself as a lifetime lover of all things motorcycle.

Peacemaker Ministries Founder, Ken Sande, adds this about Dale:

Dale and I have connected deeply and enthusiastically, and I am grateful that God has called a man of this caliber to lead the Peacemaker team. Dale has impressive gifts and experience both in the corporate world and as a mediator and Christian conciliator. Most importantly, he has a deep love for Jesus and a passion for relying on the gospel to reconcile people and transform relationships. There is no question in my mind that God has called Dale to lead Peacemaker Ministries forward into a new season of vital and fruitful kingdom work.

Please join us in welcoming Dale and Terri to the Peacemaker Ministries team!