UpBuilding Men, Women, and Children in Practical Christianity

March 2004 Monthly Letter

Dear Partner In Ministry,

On Sunday mornings after worship, some church attendees have pot roast, pork roast, or pastor roast!

Several 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.

The 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.

Jim, 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.

He 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!

During 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."

Then 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!

Thank you for the opportunities you offer me of "upbuilding others in practical Christianity. Individuals are being set free and congregations are benefiting!


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