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UpBuilding Events
12-14 Noblesville, IN
        1st Pres Ch
           UpBuilding Weekend
19-21 Waynesville, VA
        1st Pres Ch
           Evangelism Training
26-28 Marco Island, FL
        Wesley U. Meth Ch
           Evangelism Training

2-4 Langhorne, PA
        Langhorne Pres Ch
           UpBuliding Weekend

9-11 Jacksonville, FL
        Lakewood Pres Ch
           Evangelism Training
12 Naples, FL
       N Naples U. Meth Ch
         Marriage Seminar
16-18 Lake Jackson, TX
        1st Pres Ch
           UpBuilding Weekend
23-25 New Castle, PA
       Clen-Moore Pres Ch
          UpBuilding Weekend

Leaving the Past Behind

UpBuilding Ministries
10624 Breedshill Dr. Cincinnati, OH 45239

The Passing of the Old
January 2006

"Behold, I will do a new thing," says the Lord." Isaiah 43:19

I begin this new year with a story of an older pastor who was "renewed" last year. It is a bit longer that my usual monthly letter, so please bear with me.

James is 74 years old. He has retired twice. But he agreed to become an interim for a yoked parish of two small sized congregations in rural PA. He is handsome, a Clark Gable type, with a muscular physique and an excellent speaking voice. The only difference was he walked with a distinct limp from his left foot, which was supported by a specially designed shoe.

On Weekends I rarely stay in a pastor's home. But this time God arranged my accommodations. James has a PHD in counseling. His home office looked like a counseling library. It contained all the oldies and goodies from Rollo May to "I'm Okay, You're Okay." With glee he spoke of numerous people he had seen God heal through the help of the Holy Spirit and his acquired skills.

When James drove home after the men's session, a major catharsis began. The garage became a "safe space" for him to share a part of his life's history.

He said,"I experienced what I would call a 'visitation from the Lord' during the time at cross with the hammer and nails." Tears quickly began to flow and continued to do so for some time. They came from deep within him. Upon composing himself he continued,

"My heart's desire as a boy was to be a professional baseball player. I was outstanding in my high school years and had several colleges show interest in me. I don't mean to boast, but I really believed I had a great chance of seeing this dream come true.

My dad was a foreman at a coal mine. A man name Joe H. lived with us. He was a miner and an alcoholic. Every pay-day he would go off on a 3 to 4 day binge. One Monday when he had not returned, my dad asked me to fill in for Joe at the mine. I did it as I had done so before.

I was 17 at the time. My brother Vernon was with me and a man named Dodi E. Wouldn't you know that on that day, there was a cave-in. Coal was literally bursting from the walls from the pressure. My brother and Dodi got out but as I trailed them, a ton of rock fell on me, covering my entire body except for my head. Several other miners in the shaft came to rescue me, unpiling the boulders on my body. Two of my veribrae were broken and my left foot and leg were crushed. I was in great pain but still conscious.

They were able to remove all the boulders except one about 300 pounds that encased my left leg. That's when we all experienced a clear 'visitation from the Lord.' He empowered my brother Vernon with a rush of super natural adrenalin! He alone lifted that boulder while the other men dragged me from beneath it. I had heard about such happenings before, but now I saw it with my own eyes.

Today as you taught about forgiveness and releasing people of our past, the Holy Spirit reminded me of this incident. I realized in my deep heart I had never forgiven Joe H. for shattering my dream of becoming a baseball player! If he had not been drunk, I would not have been in that mine!

Many times I have applied the principles of forgiveness I've learned over the years to myself. I really didn't think I needed to forgive anyone until today. God brought me back to this experience in the mine. That was 57 years ago! Can you believe that? The hurt was so deep within me that I believe I had repressed it from my memory. Well, today as I pounded a nail into the cross, I forgave Joe H. and immediately felt a release deep within my heart. Do you understand now what I mean when I say I had a 'visitation from the Lord today?' "

What a privilege it was for me to be a "listening ear" to this revelation of what the Holy Spirit had done. I saw his tears of sorrow turn into tears of joy that come when past hurts and wounds are released through forgiveness!

James closed with: "You know Ron, I don't mean to be self centered, but if for nothing else, I believe God sent you here this weekend for me! My interim will soon be over. I can't think of a greater finale for me. Isn't the Lord wonderful.'

I agreed and asked to pray for him and with him. Together we praised the Lord for this manifestation. Jesus had done one of the things He announced He came to do: set the captives free!

Thank you, Partners, for your involvement with me in UpBuilding a pastor, whose ministry is that of upbuilding others. The Holy Spirit, Whom Jesus called The Counselor, came and counseled this PHD counselor and brought healing and release to his own spirit! Hallelujah!

"Everything we do, beloved, is for the sake of building you up!" - 2 Cor 12:19