UpBuilding Men, Women, and Children in Practical Christianity

June 2004 Monthly Letter

Dear Partner In Ministry,

"Apples don't fall far from the apple tree!"

This is the phrase I use during the session with both men and women to summarize the principle that children often follow the examples set by their parents.

I used it recently with a group of men at a retreat center on the Island of Captiva. After the session we broke into small groups to discuss the teaching and its personal application.

I joined a group of 7 men. Each took his turn going around the circle and sharing his thoughts and impressions. Finally, John, in his early 70's said:

"The thing that stuck me the most tonight, in fact really hit me between the eyes, was the challenging thought of, have I become like my father?

My father was one of the kindest men who ever lived. If you knew him, you would describe him as 'one who would give you the shirt off his back' as well as always giving compliments to others, always saying nice things about them.

He did this whether at work, at church, at social gatherings, on the golf course. You name it, he was Mr. Kindness, Mr. Compliment! All this is true. No one can deny nor dispute it.

However, there was one place he failed to live up to his reputation. It was at home. He never said a kind word to me or to my sister. No! Never! In fact, he never told us he loved us. It was my mother who told me, "your dad loves you."

Well, tonight as Dr. Rand was speaking, a big beacon light went on inside of me! I realized that I am just like my father! I vowed I would never be like that with my own family, but I am!

You all know me as a caring and giving person. For crying out loud, I'm in the Stephen Ministry! I've had over 50 hours of training on how to show God's love to others through my life and lips. And I do it quite well to everyone except to my own son and daughter!

I need to go home and tell them how much I appreciate them. Compliment both of them on how wonderful they are; tell them how proud I am of them; and how much I love them!

John's candid catharsis was healing. Little did he know that after the next session each man would be given time to write letters of love and affirmation to each of their family members!

Before I taught on Mark 1:11 where the Father says to Jesus, 'You are my beloved son, with you I am well pleased' I had asked John about his willingness to share his story with all of us. Wow! What an introduction to the theme of the importance of affirming our family members!

Obviously, this became John's best ever retreat. He thought it was designed just for him! He told me afterwards, "It was like the Lord was speaking directly to me, gave me the courage to confess my failure, and then do something about it! It is amazing! Nothing less than amazing!

You and I can only imagine what those letters meant to John's son and daughter.

This is one thing that distinguishes UpBuilding Ministries' events from other renewal events. Concrete application of the Word of God. It is as it says in Hebrews 4:12 "God's Word is Living and Active!"

Is there some family member whose spirit would be upbuilt by a letter of affirmation from you?


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