The Words of the Cutts Family
Good morning. Signed, sealed, delivered; here I am. And there you are. Please take a seat. Thank you.
As I was preparing for this message I had a dream on Thursday morning. It was kind of a nightmare. All the district pastors and I were here on stage, and there was nobody in the audience, nobody in the congregation. There was nobody at the door to let people in. There was no band, no production crew. But in fact that dream was false, right? You're all here today. The band is here, the production crew is here, the guest greeters are here. All of Lovin' Life is here. It's all self-sustaining. It's not going away.
I bring you greetings from the Southeast of the United States. I am the district pastor of six states: Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and South Carolina. Thank you.
This morning I'd like to talk on the topic of "Prayer Changes Things: Tearful Prayer Changes Everything." I bring you greetings. I also want to welcome the 100 locations all across the country. There are people watching us from across the world. There are people watching us in Italy and England that I'm aware of.
We have kind of a different format, for those of you who are new today with us and watching us in a satellite location. We've had some profound experiences watching Lovin' Life in a home. We were in Louisiana. The state leaders had all come and one of them had written an e-mail to In Jin Nim asking her a question. All during our meeting he kept checking his e-mail to see if she had responded. I said, "No, Pastor, I don't think she's going to write you back this week. She may write you back later. She may even speak to you in her sermon today."
We were in a small room. We had her image projected bigger than life up on the little wall, and we were well into the sermon when she answered the very question that he had. And we were like, "Oh my gosh." The state leaders all turned and looked at each other, saying, "That's amazing!"
But that's the reality. God can speak to you in many different ways. He might even be able to speak to you today. You might come today with a question to him, and he might answer it. So you're participating, not just sitting there passively waiting for God to do something, even if you have just come with a question in your heart and your mind. God has a way of speaking to us in many ways.
I was leading a fund-raising team in New England once. It was a difficult team. One sister particularly never liked the area that I used to drop her off at. Have you ever had those kinds of experiences? So I pulled over at a gas station. Our van was sitting on the side of the road. I was pulled over, with the sidewalk beside me. I was sort of praying, but, more, I was trying to decide if I should drop her off there. "No, she wouldn't like that." "How about over there?" "No, that's no good."
My window was down a little bit and out of the corner of my eye I saw a dark figure walking up to the car. It was a drunk. You could smell the whiskey on his breath. He didn't smell real good, and his hair was all messy. He looked into the window and said, "Just make up your mind." [Laughter] I think that was God. I couldn't believe it. So God might even speak to you today, hopefully.
I want to talk about prayer, especially tearful prayer. Also I've been asked to share a little bit about myself so you can understand how I came to meet True Parents and the Unification Church. I have a wife – we were matched by Rev. and Mrs. Moon, True Parents, about 35 years ago. Our 30th year anniversary will be on July 1st, this year. We have four children, three sons and a daughter. Our oldest son, Brian, is in the U.S. Navy. He's in the EOD, explosive ordnance disposal, unit so it's a dangerous mission. I hope you'll keep not just my son but all of our men and women in the military who are protecting our country in your prayers. Thank you.
My second son, Daniel, is studying to become a veterinarian. He used to walk out in the yard and say, "Hey, Dad, look under this leaf," and he would have an insect I'd never seen before. He kept a praying mantis on our back porch for many years. He would feed him crickets. He loves animals.
We also had a third son, Atombo. He's in Australia with the Oceania Leadership Team. He's having an amazing time out there. And we have a daughter, Rebecca. She's a freshman in high school, she's on the swimming team, and she plays the bassoon and flute and learning trumpet. So we have a lot of things going on at our house.
I'd like to talk today a little bit about prayer and how God works. I know that even in some members of my family there's sort of a question of, "Does God exist at all?" About a couple of years ago I took a friend of mine to Las Vegas for one of the international leadership conferences we had there. He was a lawyer and an avowed atheist. He said, "Tom, I don't believe in God. I like what you're doing; you're doing some good things." Then when we were having dinner he said, "You know, when my taxi pulled in to the parking lot of the hotel, I saw a car in front of me and three young ladies dressed like prostitutes were getting out. My heart just sank, and I started crying for those girls and the life they were living."
I said, "Dick, that proves to me that there is a God." He said, "What?! How can that prove that God exists? How could there be a God that would allow these young girls to live that kind of life?"
I said, "Where do you think that heart of concern came from? You could have looked at them lustfully and thought, 'Oh, wow, I'd like to get them.' Or you could have been real judgmental: 'How could they do that? What bad girls they are.' But you had the heart of a parent who said, 'I really feel sorry for these young ladies. I wish I could help them.' And where does that come from? That's not just out of smoke and mirrors. That has to come from some source. That source is our Heavenly Parent, who has a heart of concern for all of us.'" He's still not convinced, but it's certainly convincing to me.
I come from a Southern Baptist family. My great-grandfather was a Southern Baptist preacher. He had four sons who were also Southern Baptist preachers, and one of those was my grandfather. My parents actually met because my grandfather, my father's father, was a pastor of the church that my mother's mother was secretary for. When my father came home from the service on a leave, my grandfather said, "Why don't you go talk to this girl over here?" They met each other, eventually got married, and raised a family of six kids. So I think that indicates there were arranged marriages in my family for several generations.
I learned several different lessons in my early life. One of them was very important to me. I came home from Sunday School and was complaining to my dad about how bad Sunday School was. He asked me what the problem was. I told him that a girl in that class was so bossy, I just couldn't stand it. He said, "Tom, sometimes when you see something you don't like in someone else, it's because it's something in you that you don't like in yourself." I thought that was pretty profound. It's pretty easy to find stuff wrong with others and not see it in ourselves. Very often it's the same thing we don't see.
I was a Boy Scout; I earned an Eagle award. I have two sons who earned the Eagle award. I also tried out for the God and Country award. I would go to my pastor every week for maybe three or four months. I learned Bible verses; I learned all the books of the Bible in order; and, amazingly, before I finished the training, I came to the conclusion that I didn't believe in God. So I said, "I cannot accept this award because I'd be a hypocrite if I took it."
I had come to a kind of skepticism. I didn't deny God, but God just wasn't in my life. I couldn't see him. I started getting headaches every Sunday and insisting I did not have to go to church, so I was not really your good example of a young person wanting to go to church.
I decided to go to Florida Presbyterian College at the recommendation of my youth pastor, who said, "You're an unusual guy. You might really like this kind of place." I applied, and I was accepted. I remember consciously thinking to myself, "Oh, maybe this is where I can find out about this God that they're always talking about." That was back in the 1960s – the era of sex, drugs and rock 'n roll. It was not a good time to find out about God, so I was not successful in that.
I majored in mathematics. I loved math: No matter how you approach the question, when you get the answer, you know that's the answer, and it doesn't matter how you approach it. My roommate, however, was a history major and I always used to tease him because you could come at history from this direction and get one conclusion or come at it from another direction and get another conclusion. But math was solid for me. I could really know the answer. I went on to get a master's degree in statistics.
One day when I was out riding my bicycle through a neighborhood, I heard a small, still voice. Has anybody heard a small, still voice before? I was riding by houses and cars and a voice said something like, "This is not for you." I was like, " What?!" And the answer, "In the suburbs; being a professor." I had qualified for my doctorate program, but I turned everything around at that point.
I joined the Peace Corps and went to Africa. That was a life-changing experience. Not only are they coming to different conclusions, they're asking different questions. For example, here in America if your house gets struck by lightning, you ask, "How did that happen?" And you have an answer: "Positive charge, negative charge, electrical discharge, and you have lightning." But over there, they ask the question, "Why?" "Who did you offend that something bad happened to you like that?" And I began to see, "Wow, there's a whole different reality out here."
I also witnessed people not able to feed their children. I witnessed people who were in disease. I had experience myself of malaria and tick bite fever and being bitten by a tsetse fly. So I could realize the debilitating aspect of life there.
One time I dated a German girl from the United Nations, and I don't know what was going on in my mind at the time. I was never thinking marriage, but I blurted out, not even to her but just to the universe, "I will never marry a German." I don't know if you caught earlier when I introduced my wife, she's Angelika from Germany. So that was a challenge.
During the matching Father asked, "Would anyone like to be matched to a Japanese?" I'd lived in Japan for a while, so I stood up. And the still small voice, a little more loudly this time, said, "Why do you think I had you study German for seven years?" Like that. It was kind of wild. I was introduced to her shortly after that.
I really didn't believe in God. I wasn't looking for God. I wasn't searching for God, but I think he was hard on the case. When I finished my contract with the Peace Corps, I traveled for another year and a half throughout about 21 different countries. In South Africa I was introduced to Islam. I was walking around with a backpack and an imam from the mosque came up to me and said, "Would you like to come and see how we pray?" Sounds a little bit like Oakland, doesn't it?
So I went in and I stayed with him and his family for about a week. He taught me the Koran and showed me how they prayed. I was very impressed by the faith and realized that God was working, that there was something good in what they were doing.
I also traveled to India and studied Hinduism. I stayed at a yoga ashram for a while. I studied Buddhism in Thailand, where a professor of anthropology from San Diego State University told me, "If you're traveling around and you have some time, you ought to go through Korea." So I made that one of my stops. I was walking through one of the places there and a European guy came up to me and said, "Have you ever heard of Reverend Moon?" I said, "Hey, I'm not looking for a guru," and I walked away. Two years of deep suffering were to follow.
Before I got to the end of that two-year period, I was in Colorado, and on one day some really bad things happened to me I got kicked out of my house; I lost my job; and I got a letter from home saying my dad was on the brink of disowning me. So I got three blasts. But I was not depressed. I'm always very optimistic, but I was driving my car under a bridge and I saw an abutment there. Something said, "Hey, you could kill yourself."
I was shocked. "That's not me! Where did that come from?" I realized that something out there that was trying to kill me. Something that was not me was spiritually trying to influence me.
Wind River Mountain Range
After that I taught high school for a while in Vermont. That was a really profound experience, and it was another part of that deep suffering. There were a lot of things that happened in that period, but I won't go into detail about it. I was dating someone, and it was really uncommitted. I just felt, "That's not where I'm at." I remember walking out to the hillside, and looking up to the mountains – not believing in God, but sort of believing – I was crying and saying, "If I could only have a committed relationship, I don't care what she would look like."
This little voice reminded me of that during the matching. I said, "That's hardly fair. I didn't even believe in you at the time."
I took some kids out camping. I love the outdoors. That's some of my hobbies: hiking, camping, swimming, things like that. I took a group of students to Wyoming. We went to the Wind River Range. It was in early July, and we brought our cross-country snowshoes and cross-country skis. We went into the snow and while we were there all the snow melted. It was such a beautiful experience.
I wanted to go visit California and Eugene, Oregon, so I sent the kids back with another teacher. I went down to San Diego and visited the professor whom I had met in Thailand. Oddly enough, I told his family I was going to go to San Francisco, and his daughter said, "Oh, you should go to Fisherman's Wharf." Somebody knows what I'm talking about. That's where I met Poppie Richie, Katherine Lappa, and Peter Kominski.
They didn't say, "Would you like to come over and join Unification Church." They didn't say that. They said, "Oh, why don't you come over for dinner? We're the Creative Community Project, and we're learning about making good relationships." I thought, "Wow, what I'm looking for is good relationships." The first night there they had some spaghetti or something like that. I remember Katherine was saying, "Oh, this food is so delicious. It's made with true love." My spaghetti had been burned. Have you ever eaten burned spaghetti? It didn't taste like true love at all. That was crazy. I was thinking, "What are you talking about?"
The lecture was so silly, talking about this elephant. I'd heard all that stuff before, but there was something about it – and Poppie was so amazing. It was more important for her that I go to the weekend workshop than it was for me to get on my train and go up to Eugene, Oregon. I really felt, "Man, I guess if it's more important to you for me to go to the workshop than it is for me to go to Eugene, I'll go to the workshop. So that's really a key, isn't it, when you're introducing people to what we're doing. It's a matter of will. You have to really be serious about it.
I love Camp K. There was so much inspiration from the lectures. The fellowship was beautiful. It was really the small groups, where we sat and talked about what we had just heard. But there was also a spirit of positivity. There was no complaining, and we had some guidelines that were really quite fascinating. I want to share some of those. Get out your notebooks; you'll want to get this down.
The first guideline was "No oatmealing." We had oatmeal every day, and people would say, "Oh, man, we had oatmeal yesterday." So "No oatmealing" means what? Don't complain. And what's kind of the opposite of "complain?" Be grateful.
Once when our oldest son, Brian, was about six, and our middle son, Daniel, was about four, I took them to a playground, where we were running around. Then I was holding Brian in my arms, and we looked out as a beautiful sunset was just manifesting itself. I said, "Hey, Brian, look at the sunset." He said, "Daddy, should we pray?" I thought, "Man, where's he getting that?" We should have that kind of heart of gratitude about the good things happening around us, don't you think?
So, "No oatmealing" is negative. In the positive, "Let's be grateful."
Number Two is "Love the hardest person." That's a tough one, isn't it? This is really the key. Have you ever felt unloved or like somebody else is getting more love than you? Did you ever feel like, "Man, the world's not treating me right!"
If you're feeling that way, what's the way to get over that? Love somebody else. So, "Love the hardest person"; take time to love somebody else, and the feeling that you have of not being well loved will go away because God will come into you. God is the one who wants to love others, and he is unselfishly loving. When you unselfishly love, he comes into you and you'll be filled with the love of God.
So, "No oatmealing." "Love the hardest person." "Do the hardest thing" is Number Three. Challenge yourself; step outside your comfort zone.
The other one we used to do was "Jump it." Remember "Jump it?" I hated "Jump it." You've had a long day, you're sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag, and then early in the morning before the cocks are crowing, Joshua Cotter comes in with his guitar, "Oh, when the red, red robin comes bob, bob, bobbing along." I hated that. You know what my solution was? I got up before he started.
That's actually a good practice. If you're sort of lying in bed, you miss a lot. It's almost like the spirit is not with you. If you get up as soon as you wake up, you can get a lot more done. There's a lot more energy behind you to make things happen. So, "Jump it."
The fifth is "Leave the plus." Onni Durst would instruct us, "If you go into a bathroom at a gas station and there's toilet paper and stuff on the floor, pick it up and clean it up before you leave. Take ownership over things." That was amazing, wasn't it? "Leave the plus," even if it doesn't belong to you, because then when you invest your heart in something, it becomes yours.
We would also have teams at dinnertime when we had to do the dishes. The camp director would say, "Okay, which team wants to do the dishes tonight?" Every team would yell and shout and be excited about it, and the team that had the most excitement, that was ready to do it, got the blessing of doing the dishes. I got there the first week and said to myself, "What's the matter with these people? Doing the dishes is not the blessing, is it?"
I had a profound experience of what happened when we were investing ourselves and our mind and body were united, doing the dishes for the sake of the whole purpose. I was amazed. It really did feel like a blessing. It's hard to explain when you get blessings, but that was really a blessing: to be doing something for others in a whole purpose way.
We would also chant a lot. "Glory to heaven. Peace on earth. Bless our True Parents. Success of their mission." And we'd put a lot of action into it as well. When we were out witnessing, "Glory to heaven. Peace on earth. Bless our True Parents. Success of their mission;" and "Bring our second self today and stay."
That's a very powerful tool. If your mind is wandering all over the place, if you're thinking thoughts that you shouldn't be thinking, you can put a chant in there to replace it and pull you away from all that stuff. It's a powerful way for us to control our destiny, if you will. And what a beautiful thing to be thinking about: God's victory and True Parents' victory.
It was kind of hokey, but, at the end of every prayer and every meal and everything we did, we'd all sit in our circle and hold each other's hand: "Choo-choo-choo, choo-choo-choo, yay yay pow." I heard a few of you out there. We taught that to my nephews and whenever we come to visit, they say, "We've got to chooch." It's really exciting.
We also played dodge ball every weekend. I'll never forget Noah Ross. You could never get the guy out. It was almost like he had magnets. He'd catch that ball, and you'd be out, or he'd throw the ball and hit you, but he never got out. I was amazed. At the end of every game, we had a big chant. We'd stand in a circle and say, "A victory for one is a victory for all. Your victory is my victory; my victory is your victory. Victory, victory, victory." It was a wonderful way for us to build community. Think about "Your victory is my victory." If I can help you, and you can help me, we can have a victory together.
It was such an amazing experience being there, living in that kind of community together. It's really something we can put into practice in our own families and our own communities as well.
What were the first couple of those four guidelines? One was what? "Don't oatmeal." "No oatmealing." The other was "Love the hardest person." The other one was "Do the hardest thing." And I want to just put in there, "Leave the plus." Those four are the most important, I think. Okay, "Jump it," if you want.
I had many profound experiences there, even with prayer and with tears. Very often somebody who had been there for a week was put in charge of taking care of somebody else who was just arriving, and you really grew spiritually because you were taking care of someone else. Usually a brother would take care of a brother or a sister would take care of a sister, so I don't know how this happened, but I was asked to take care of a sister.
Her past had been a little bit difficult. She in fact had had a history of being a prostitute. She had met the church in another country and then came to America, and she was not really receiving a lot of the lectures. At our team meeting it was discussed and someone said, "I think she's going to have to leave. If she doesn't change today, then this evening we're going to ask her to go back."
So I went out to the hillside there in Booneville, amidst beautiful golden dried up grass, and I found a big rock. I knelt at that rock and I held onto it and prayed for this sister. I don't know what came over me, but I thought about, " Jesus took care of all kinds of people." It was almost like Jesus came to me and I was shedding tears for this other person.
It's a profound experience when you cry for someone else, when you shed tears for someone else's life. I think that's maybe why we're not attracting people because we're not really that committed to someone else's life. But when you're praying tears for someone else, everything changes. And that sister's life turned around. She was allowed to stay, and today she's a blessed couple with children, still in our movement.
That was probably my first experience with Jesus. I had come from the Christian faith, but I couldn't get all the stories. They didn't make any sense, and so I had kind of rejected all that background. But through the Divine Principle, through the Unification Church I came to have a personal relationship with Jesus.
I invited one of my teachers from Vermont out to Camp K. He came, and he was really enjoying the lectures, but somebody stole his boots and he left. What kind of community is this? I was looking all over for him. I was running all over the hills trying to find him and where he might be. He didn't tell me he was leaving. He just picked up and left. I felt so sorry, and I went up on the hill and started pounding, "Where did he go? Why did he leave?" Then I saw in front of me a sword, and the still small voice said, "Get up. Don't be sitting there crying like that. Get up." So I imagined myself taking this sword and moving forward. That was an exciting moment for me. I got a sword of truth.
My mom, by the way, when she was in college, was chosen as Miss Tift. She was in a play and she played the Lady of the Lake, who gave the sword to King Arthur." Then 40 years later my sister went to the same school and she was also Miss Tift and the Lady of the Lake who gave the sword to King Arthur. So this 40 is rolling in our family, and this sword is rolling in our family.
At Camp K we learned the Divine Principle. We really learned the breaking news. We found out about God, that God is not just a God who's almighty, who can prevent people from getting into trouble, but he's a God of love. He's our parent, and he sent Jesus to save us. He sent Jesus to show us the way, to become the truth and the life, to show us how to become a true man, how to be a true child of God, how to be also a true husband and have a true wife. But he wasn't able to do that because he was murdered.
So now we're living in a time when God's lineage is planted back on this earth through the True Parents. True Father received a commission from Jesus Christ to fulfill what Jesus was not able to complete. Now we see not only the True Parents, but we see also their family expanding here on this earth. This is really an amazing time to be alive.
We also learned about human responsibility and that we need to pay indemnity. One of the things we learned was that if some blessing is going to come, you're going to have to pay indemnity for it. You can pay it before, or you can pay it after. You can pay it before on your terms or you can pay it after, maybe not on your terms. Which do you like? Before is a little better, isn't it? That was what I've always figured.
So I moved in that week. I joined the church in July of 1978. Thank you, Poppie, and all the brothers and sisters from Oakland who made that possible.
I went to Atlanta as a district coordinator. Right at the time when Father was being put into prison in Danbury we got the word that the appeal had been rejected. I was trying to meet ministers, but every church I went to the minister was either away, had just stepped out, or was meeting with another parishioner. So I went to a big Confederate cemetery in downtown Atlanta, grabbed hold of a rock, and started praying the same way I prayed on that hillside in Camp K in Booneville – with tears. I prayed asking God to forgive America and to let me meet some ministers.
While I was there I felt the presence of some of the Confederate soldiers who were asking also to be forgiven: that they had not meant to do anything evil but they had fought on the wrong side.
Then I got back in my car and I felt guided to go to a particular church. Just as I pulled into the parking lot, about 150 pastors were leaving the church from a prayer meeting. I spoke to several groups, telling them how Reverend Moon was being sent to prison unjustly. After the parking lot cleared, I returned to my car and drove away. As I passed another church, I saw a minister who had been at the prayer meeting. He was leaving his church and getting into his car. I wanted to meet him and asked Heavenly Father to find a way for him to stay long enough for me to meet him.
I was in one-way traffic, so I had to go around the block. Amazingly, he had forgotten something; instead of hopping into his car and driving away, he went back into the church just long enough for me to catch him as he got back into his car. That was a hallelujah moment for me. He became very close to us and worked with us for many years. I felt like on the foundation of that prayer of tears, God could begin to shake things and make things a little different.
I had an experience recently in which I went to the church of one of the ministers I've been working with. I called him and said, "Are you going to be preaching in your church this Sunday?" He said, "No, I'll be at another church." I know the minister of that church, so I thought, "Here's a chance for me to see two of them at the same time." So I went to their church, and after services, as I was heading back to the Atlanta Family Church, I stopped for a bite at Wendy's. I was standing in line holding a book and an African American said, "What are you reading?" I said, "It's just a novel."
We started talking and when I told him I'm a pastor, he said, "Oh really? I'm a chaplain." He bought my lunch. I said, "Thank you" and went and sat with him. I gave him a little napkin lecture – the Creation and Fall of Man. He was working a ministry to save marriages, to save the family by preventing the spirit of divorce. So when he saw the Creation and the Fall, he said, "I need that for my ministry."
I told him about the OSDP program taking place in Chicago and then I gave him the autobiography. Then he left, and for several days he was calling me saying, "Send me the application for the program. I want to go." Finally he said, "Also I have a friend in Michigan who wants to go." And I said, "W ell, I think we have room for him too."
So the two of them came to our meeting, and I was amazed. After hearing Reverend Schanker's first two lectures on the first night, they were saying, "Oh, if this is what Reverend Moon's doing then I'm Rev. Moon's son."
Then the minister from Michigan (he was white) said, "Tom, before I came here I made it a point to finish reading the autobiography." I was like, "Oh, you got the autobiography?" What was going through my mind was, "T here's another Blessed couple who gave him the autobiography?" I said, "Who gave you the book?" He said, "Oh, nobody gave it to me. I went to Barnes and Noble and it wasn't there, so I had to order it online."
He had ordered the autobiography online. I said, "W here did you find out about it?" He said, "My friend in Atlanta told me about it." So he had read the autobiography and was hearing the Divine Principle. These two were just completely excited about hearing the Divine Principle and learning about Reverend Moon. When I spoke to my friend in Atlanta later, I said, "How was your weekend in Chicago?" He said, "It was fine. I'm just having a little trouble convincing my wife that Reverend Moon is the messiah of this age."
Last Sunday we had an amazing national leaders meeting here in New York. We heard some incredible testimonies of some of our young leaders. Jin Sung Nim shared very deeply about the True Parents' family. We were staying in the 43rd Street, so I was walking from 43rd Street to the New Yorker. As I was walking along, a young man started walking beside me. I was wearing a suit and tie and he said, "It's a beautiful day today." I said, "Yes, it's a beautiful day."
He said, "Are you going to work?" I said, "No, I'm going to church." He looked at me and said, "I was going to the gym, but can I come with you to church?" As we walked along, he shared about what he had done the night before. He had what I call a "showdown" prayer with God. He was 26 years old and at 17 he had a rebirth experience with God. But then he slipped back into the fallen lifestyle. So at 26, the night before we met on the street of New York, he went to God in prayer and on his knees tearfully repented for his life. He prayed, "God, help me to change. I want to be a different person." And that very same morning he met Lovin' Life. He's come again this week. He also was at Open Mic on Wednesday. So he's really loving it. He's loving life. He says, "I'm part of what you're doing."
I want to share a quote from Jesus. When his disciples were asking him about what life was all about, this is what Jesus told them:
"These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friend. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants. The servant does not know what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, for all I have heard from my father I made known to you." (John 15: 12-16)
You can applaud. Thank God for the words.
What does it mean to lay down our life for another? It doesn't always mean to physically die. It means to really give our life for someone else, to be there for them, to pray for them, to shed tears for them.
I'm always amazed at our True Father. I've had a chance to see him throughout the years. He's now 93 years old. At 93 you would think somebody would be ready to retire, but I want to say this: Our True Father is at the top of his game in making indemnity conditions. Father is on the edge of life and death every day. He is on the top of his game to save 7 billion people here on this earth. And he's going to do it, Amen?
Many of my family, when they talk about Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross, almost come to tears – that he gave his life for them. I don't have that experience. I can't get the tears from that. Even knowing how Father and Mother and the True Family are on the edge of life and death every day, I appreciate it, but I can't feel it. I'm sorry. It's hard for me to get the tears for it. But there's a movie I saw that helps me to feel grateful for somebody's sacrifice for me.
Saving Private Ryan
I would like to show you a film clip from the movie Saving Private Ryan. This World War II film helps me feel more grateful for those who have given up their lives for me. All the sons in the Ryan family had been killed in the war, all the sons except Private James Ryan. To prevent the family from losing all their sons, the U.S. War Department sent a team of soldiers led by Captain John Miller to find Private Ryan and to send him home. In the scene you are about to see, Captain Miller has rescued Private Ryan but was fatally wounded in the effort. Captain Miller's dying words to Private Ryan are "James, earn this. Earn it." Let's watch the film clip.
(Video clip shown.)
Captain John Miller: "James, Earn this. Earn it."
Stage direction: Face and figure of young Private Ryan standing over body of Captain Miller transforms into face of elderly James Ryan standing over grave stone of Captain John Miller.
James Ryan: Tell me I have lived a good life.
James Ryan: Tell me I'm a good man.
Wife: You are.
(End video clip)
Excuse me. I don't know how that affects you, but I think every day we have to ask the question "Have I been a good man?" "Have I been a good woman?" "How many tears have I shed for someone else?" Let me gather my composure here.
I'm really grateful, sincerely grateful for Lovin' Life. In Jin Nim's sermons have helped me to understand better and feel more connected to True Family. Can you remember some of her sermons? I have some favorites. I love them all, but I have some favorites. One is the one in which she spoke about Hosea and God's unending love for us, that he was ready to go out and redeem us at all cost. I also love the one about the shopping list, or Chopin Liszt: Get rid of your shopping list of grievances with one another. Another of my favorites was the one about how a princess had turned the village idiot into the prince of the realm. That was really a very profound message.
Also I'm really grateful for In Jin Nim's husband, Jin Sung Nim. He's been able to share with us, and he's invested so much in our young people. I'm so grateful for how much he spends time and energy and effort to help our young people connect with the True Family. He's in a unique position to show us the challenges of the True Family, and he's helped me to see a lot of those unique challenges. So thank you, Jin Sung Nim.
Lovin' Life has sparked a revolution in our movement. For me particularly, it has given hope. I remember back in about 1987 when our regional director, Rev. Chae Hee Lee was holding a regional workshop and many of us were just beginning to have children. I asked him, "Reverend Lee, w hat's your hope that our children can inherit the faith we have received and become a part of our movement, that we can build God's kingdom on earth?"
His answer to me at that time was his hope was in the emergence of True Children, that they would begin to take leadership, take this world to a whole new level, and connect us then to True Parents. In 1987 that was a little early, and it's not until recently that we've seen the emergence we were looking forward to.
I'm 40 years older than my oldest son. In many ways the leadership in our movement has that same characteristic: a lot of older guys. When I look out in the audience, I see you older guys out there, and we don't have a lot of young people. A few years ago in particular, we didn't have a lot of young people who were filling in.
When I first received this mission, Dr. Chang Shik Yang said, "Okay, you 12 are the first district pastors, but who are going to be the second district pastors? I looked around, and there were really not a lot of young people of the ages of 30 and 40 who were leading our movement. But In Jin Nim by creating Lovin' Life has turned that all around. I'm really excited to see Jaga Gavin and Dave Hunter and our district Lovin' Life pastors like Cliff and Tiff in Atlanta and George and Christian Kazakos in Los Angeles. Let's give them a hand.
I never met anybody like George. He's able to have incredible visions and make them happen. Also Demian Dunkley and his wife, and Dmitry Vilchitsky and his wife in Boston, and Jario and Leena Gavin in Chicago, David and Lilly Freeland in San Francisco, give them all a big hand.
It gives me so much hope to see those 30- and 40-year-old leaders taking responsibility. Actually they're doing a better job than what I was able to do at that time. So I'm really proud of them. I think that's our real desire: to see our next generation do an even better job than we did.
We have a lot of exciting things going on in District 5, in the Atlanta-Miami district, and you're always welcome to come down and join us, or visit us down there. It's warmer. Several of our young people have stepped up to be youth pastors in South Carolina. Just last week Toby Ryan said he wants to be the youth minister in Atlanta. We have Stephen Winter. He came up to the Lovin' Life Leadership College and then graduated from that and has come to Atlanta. We're really excited about his being there.
In Miami, Reverend Chidester has very strategically tried to involve young people in the whole process. They actually run the Sunday Service, and Porti on Mitsuishi is leading that whole effort. Also they've just started a small group leadership team. Last year they studied Dr. Hendricks's five-week program, and now they want to get into the curriculum that our education team, centering on Heather Thalheimer, has produced.
We also have a summer camp for kids whose schedules don't work out to come to the national camp. For the last three years, college age students have been organizing that, staffing that, and bringing speakers for it. So we're really proud of the leadership of our young people.
I know every parent in the Unification Church wants their child to inherit their values and also their love for God. We all want our children to be better than ourselves. Whenever the GPA comes to either Atlanta or Miami – we're a fund -raising and going-off-to-South America stop – I always try to have a chance to visit with the teams. They were having a two-day workshop this past week in Atlanta, and I'm so amazed at our young people. They are so attentive, so appreciative, and as a parent I'm amazed at how respectful they are. They'll come up and introduce themselves. "Oh, my dad says he knows you." Or, "My mom says she knows you." I'm really grateful for them.
The Atlanta group is getting ready to go overseas. They're going to go to Trinidad, Peru, and Panama. From my three and a half years living in the Third World, I know that going out of country is such a precious experience. It's something I want every one of our young people to have. It helps you appreciate what you have a little better, but also it also lets you see what conditions other people are living in.
Also, at the Chicago OSDP I was so pleased to see hundreds of our young people doing ballroom dancing and just being proud to be Unification Church members. Who's proud to be a Unification Church member? So, thank you, True Parents. Thank you, God. Thank you, True Parents. Thank you, True Family. Thank you, In Jin Nim, for your investment in America.
I want to give you a homework assignment. Are you ready for homework? Got your notes? No oatmealing. Love the hardest person. Do the hardest thing. Jump it. When you get up in the morning, don't just wait for someone to kick you out of bed. Jump it and get started on your day. And leave the plus.
And at the end of every day, ask yourself, "Have I been a good man?" "Have I been a good young man?" "Have I been a good young woman?" "Did I contribute something today that makes my being on Earth worthwhile, that God can be proud of and True Parents can be lifted up by?" Can you do that?
God bless you. Have a great week.
Like a fool I went and stayed too long
Now I'm wondering if your love's still strong
Oo, baby, here I am, signed, sealed, delivered, I'm yours!
Then that time I went and said goodbye
Now I'm back and not ashamed to cry
Oo, baby, here I am, signed, sealed, delivered, I'm yours!
Here I am baby
Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm yours
(You got my future in your hands)
Here I am baby
Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm yours
(You got my future in your hands)
I've done a lot of foolish things
That I really didn't mean, didn't I?
Seen a lot of things in this old world
When I touch them, they mean nothing, girl
Oo, baby, here I am, signed, sealed, delivered, I'm yours!
Oowee baby, you set my soul on fire
That's why I know you're my heart's only desire
Here I am baby
Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm yours
(You got my future in your hands)
Here I am baby
Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm yours
(You got my future in your hands)
1: "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
2: Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
3: You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you.
4: Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
5: I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
6: If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned.
7: If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.
8: By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.
9: As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.
10: If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.
11: These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
12: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
13: Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14: You are my friends if you do what I command you.
15: No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
16: You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
17: This I command you, to love one another.
18: "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.
19: If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
20: Remember the word that I said to you, `A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also.
21: But all this they will do to you on my account, because they do not know him who sent me.
22: If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin.
23: He who hates me hates my Father also.
24: If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father.
25: It is to fulfil the word that is written in their law, `They hated me without a cause.'
26: But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me;
27: and you also are witnesses, because you have been with me from the beginning.