In the January 2011 issue of Leadership, we will be featuring an interview with Ken Sande, head of Peacemaker Ministries, which helps Christians and their churches respond to conflict biblically, and assists with reconciliation. This week, Ken Sande is in Cape Town, South Africa, for the gathering of 4,000 ministry leaders from around the globe. Ken's report (distributed through the Peacemaker.net email newsletter) for yesterday was so fascinating that we thought you'd appreciate it.
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As I entered the Cape Town Conference Center this morning, I encountered two young people who were struggling with serious conflict. So instead of joining the worship service, I spent an hour helping them apply the transforming promises of the gospel to some difficult issues in their relationship. It was time well spent, and at the end of our conversation they both expressed a renewed hope to continue serving Christ together.
While we talked, John Piper was teaching on Ephesians 3. Later a friend gave me the essence of his talk. John had challenged our group to remember that as important as it is to exert ourselves to obey Jesus' command to relieve suffering in this world, we must give equal effort to the prayerful, diligent proclamation of the gospel, which is the key to preventing human suffering for eternity. It is so difficult to give proper attention to both of these messages. Churches that are strong in evangelism are often weak in engaging the culture, and vice versa. May God give us grace to preach and live out the gospel in all of its saving and transforming power.
After John Piper's talk, we heard a gripping testimony by Libby Little, wife of Tom Little, who was killed along with seven other aid workers in Afghanistan a couple of months ago. Their sacrifice was a powerful example of another statement John Piper made: "The gospel isn't going to spread without suffering and without prayer, because the places that remain to be reached are largely places that don't welcome Christians."
Two speakers from Nigeria and the United Kingdom challenged us further regarding our responsibility to take the gospel to people of other faiths. As one of them said:
"The missionaries of old are great examples of this. No matter what the opposition, no matter how fearsome the opposition looked, no matter how entrenched the tradition, no matter what the cost might be, they continued undeterred, living and teaching in such a way that people of all faiths or none might see the transforming effect of the gospel. The gospel was lived before the eyes of the entire world, young and old, rich and poor, men and women, people of any and every race and tongue, tribe and nation. The gospel is for all and we must dare to reach out to all."
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