UpBuilding Men, Women, and Children in Practical Christianity

May 2007 Monthly Letter

Dear Partners, "The Efficacy of God's Word"

"The Word of God shall NOT return to Him empty." Isaiah 55:11

This was one of the most unusual and difficult Weekends I have ever experienced. Why? Prior "new building" meetings consumed the leaders' and members' time; promotion for the Weekend became "last minute"; details such as the sessions' ending times were somehow omitted; and great delays at the start of each session were common. But the most unusual was the participants at the sessions and the worship services rarely laughed!

This latter point literally "depleted" the spiritual energy within me. For instance, at the session for Couples, Dr. Willie B. Kidding, (me, disguised as a Professor of Relationships), comes in costume and opens the session with time-proven comical parody, humor, jokes, stories, and cartoons. BUT everything he said, "fell flat" with "ho-hum" responses!

However, "God's Word shall accomplish what He purposes"---even in situations like this.

The delay to the start of the Men's session was unprecedented. A man began leading us in a long "get-acquainted" exercise. I remember praying quietly, but out loud "Lord, I confess I am frustrated. I know You sent me here. I know You want to work in the lives of these men. How are You going to do it? Time is running out; some men are already leaving; I won't have much time to even share Your Word. I surrender this time to You."

I pruned the content when I finally began to teach. But, in that limited time, the Holy Spirit effectively used Romans 5:8. I asked the men to memorize the verse-to saturate their mind, heart, and spirit with the truth of God's unconditional love. This was aided by asking them to substitute their names for all pronouns. ("But God proves His love for ____ in that while ___was yet a sinner, Christ died for ____."). Over the years of working with men through the FATHERS Ministry and Promise Keepers, I knew that many men have never experienced this kind of love from their earthly fathers, nor in some cases their mothers!

At the close of this abbreviated session, all men but one left. Herb came up to me with a reddened face and eyes softened by gentle tears. His first words were, "I was a mistake, Today, for the first time in my life I realized that I am NOT a mistake." He went on to say:

My siblings are 19, 18, 17 years older than I. My parents repeatedly have told me that I was a "mistake"-an after birth! I have become a workaholic as a means of showing them by my life that I am worth something, that I was not a mistake. But, as hard as I tried, I could not prove to them otherwise. In their eyes, I was a mistake and still am.

Today God got a hold of me. Through this one verse His Spirit penetrated my heart. He convinced me I am not a mistake. Today I heard my Heavenly Father tell me He loved me. He proved it to me even before I was born. And I don't have to prove it to anyone. I am worth something! All that matters is that in His eyes, I---AM---worth---something!"

Together, we celebrated the truth of God's living Word! Herb went on to share that the depth of his childhood wound had extended into his adult life. One of his siblings-a 19 year-older male-was a pastor. He was "the apple of his parent's eye", the "beloved" and "successful son", the one to whom Herb was often compared by his parents and himself!

Later, I discovered that the former pastor of this congregation was a seminary professor whose forte was expounding Greek and Hebrew texts. Perhaps this may explain why this congregation was more "cerebral" rather than "emotional" in its expression. Whatever, God's Word, even when planted in a limited amount of time, does not return to Him empty!

Thank you for allowing me to sow the seeds of His fruitful Word. Through it, you and I made a significant difference in Herb's life! To our Lord be the wonder and glory!

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