2004 Monthly Letter
Partner In Ministry,
On Sunday mornings after worship, some church attendees have
pot roast, pork roast, or pastor roast!
of the churches I am privileged to visit each year, experience
some problems with pastoral/people relations. It's quite natural!
Recently, I was with such a congregation. People were talking.
Sides were being taken. A denominational Committee on Relations
was brought in. Issues were resolved. Some members left the
fellowship in disagreement.
Since the beginning of the year, I have been stressing in
the various Weekend sessions, the freedom that
comes when we truly forgive.
teaching focuses upon: 1) confessing our own judgments of
others that often come with strained relations; 2) acknowledging
the pain, hurt, or anger that also accompanies the strain;
and 3) making and acting upon some healthy choices to forgive
those who have affected us and
thereby release the offense in the process.
an elder who is a highly respected by the pastor and members,
introduced himself. Several years ago he had a "test of
faith" experience. While using a table saw, his left arm
was severed from his body. A prosthesis now replaces it.
is a dedicated man of prayer and witnessing. He related this
story: While at a nursing home he met a paraplegic without
one leg. He said, "We have something in common!"; proceeded
to remove his left arm; and ended up leading him to the Lord!
the men's session, Jim was the first to come up, take a hammer,
and kneel beside the cross on the floor. He looked up at me
and said, "Ron, you will have to hold a nail for me so
I can pound it? I responded with, "If you hit my hand
I guess I will have to admit the pain and grant instant forgiveness,
right?" He replied, "Yeah, if you practice what you
preach you will."
Jim said outloud, "Father, I have violated Your command
to 'judge not'. I openly confess my sins of judging others
of this church. Have mercy on me and forgive me." What
a humble example! What a clear sign of spiritual leadership!
His model created a tremendous freedom for the other men to
come and do like wise! It was a unique and divinely appointed
moment. In the 15 years of this Ministry, this was the
first and only time a man has made an audible
confession of sin!
you for the opportunities you offer me of "upbuilding others
in practical Christianity. Individuals are being
set free and congregations are benefiting!