UpBuilding Men, Women, and Children in Practical Christianity

October 2004 Monthly Letter

Dear Partner In Ministry:

Does God's work during an UpBuilding Weekend have a lasting effect?

A pastor friend from Seminole, Florida asked me to preach at a church that had hosted an UpBuilding Weekend some years ago. Neither he nor I could recall the exact date of that Weekend. We just knew it was "a few years ago."

My text for the sermon was Colossians 3:13 "…if anyone has a complaint against one another, forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive." The sermon title was "The Marks of Effective Forgiveness!"

After the first service during the shake-the-preacher's-hand-time, a man named Dan approached me and said, "I remember the exact date you were here before. It was February 14, 2000. You had us write that date in our Bibles after we pounded nails into a cross. It was the date I forgave my dad for his sins against me. See, here it is in my Bible (and proceeded to show me!)

"My father never had anything good to say about me or my sister. He always said we would amount to no good. He shamed us so when both of our marriages ended in divorce. He said,

'See, I told you that both of you were no good. I am ashamed of both of you. Ashamed to call you my son and daughter. Look what you have done to our family name!'

"You see," Dan, went on to say, "One of my dad's greatest sins was pride. He cared more about how he looked to his friends, his church, and the community, than to how he related to his own children. I significantly forgave my father on February 14, 2000, by pounding that nail into the cross.

I also took another nail home on that day and put it into a transparent flask that contains my father's ashes. So now, every time I look at his ashes, I also see the nail. Both remind me that through Jesus' work on the cross, my father's sin against me has been reduced to ashes and so has my sin of bitterness toward him.

It all started when you were here on Valentine's Day, 2004. I was looking forward to your coming back today so that I could tell you how effective God's forgiveness has been in my life!"

The effect of I John 1:9 remains forever true. God's forgiveness AND cleansing from ALL unrighteousness. His cleansing power lasts for four years and forever!

Thank you for the opportunity to represent you and to be an ambassador for the Lamb of God we serve, who takes away, (not just covers), the sins of the world, the sins of our fathers, and the sins we commit when we do not forgive others as He has forgiven us. !


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