Monday, September 12, 2011

Meeting Kathy Thurston

I have not long ago turned 50-what a sobering and re-orienting experience. Like all significant birthdays, it was a God given opportunity to re-assess my life. There is some regret about how little I have dealt with sin in my life and how little I still know about the Lord Jesus (I have been a Christian for 35 of those 50 years and in ministry with my husband for over 25 of those 50 years). There is thankfulness for the many blessings He has given me but the overwhelming emotion on turning 50 is the desire to make the rest of my life count for Jesus (and that was before I heard John Piper!)

Why am I telling you this, I hear you ask? Well, because my life at the moment is characterized by change-personal, family, work and church and when asked to tell you a bit about myself, there seem no easy boxes. After 24 years where my priority has been mothering, I find myself counting the days to when our youngest child leaves school and after 20 years of church planning in Sydney, we find ourselves settling into growing a church in the suburbs of Sydney that has a building! I am so looking forward to what God has in store for me for the next 50 years!

Let me admit right now that reading doesn’t come naturally to me. It’s what you do on holidays (in which case, I’ll be reading fiction with a mystery, perhaps McCall Smith in Botswana or Edinburgh) or when you drop into bed (in which case, it will be a Christian book from the list of books recommended by friends). Because of this, any Christian book needs to be practical, relevant and easy to read so it can keep me awake. Which brings me to the book I am reviewing for EQUIP Book Club this month. I was first introduced to Ken Sande’s “The Peace Maker” as a resource for Church Consultancy as part of the team for the Presbyterian Church in NSW and how I wished it had been written 10 years earlier, when we found ourselves in the middle of a church conflict. Since then, I have been able to apply it’s wisdom to personal relationships and church situations.

“The Peace Maker” is a summary of the peacemaking principles behind Sande’s Peacemakers Ministry. The ministry provides mediation in workplaces and churches throughout the world and training in peacemaking skills. Now the book provides those peacemaker principles for us to apply in our personal relationships as well as in more formal church settings.

In Sande’s words “peacemakers are people who breathe grace-they draw on the goodness and power of Jesus and then bring his love, mercy, forgiveness, strength and wisdom to the conflicts of daily life.

Conflict is a fact of life so it is essential for Christians to work through a biblical attitude to conflict, learn some skills and commit ourselves to being God’s person in the situations of conflict that we find ourselves. This immensely practical, biblical and logical book can help us do that so I look forward to sharing some of it’s wisdom with you over the next month.

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