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Once forgiven, I can still remember my sins — but God cannot!

There are several passages in the Bible that shows how deeply God’s mercy goes. Here at two:

Isaiah 43:25 says, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”  Hebrews 10:17–18 says,  ‘Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.’ And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.”

Obviously, God is all-knowing.

However, He chooses to not just forgive, but to forget our transgressions.

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

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Several years back, I was approached by my friend John “Rusty” Proctor to help him work out a problem.

You see, he had written a play titled Faith Ties: A Christmas Drama, and needed to get it ready for production. The problem: Every time Rusty tried to cut material from his play, he just added more pages.

Normally, I would’ve said no, but Rusty and I had become pretty close. In fact, I blogged about how we met earlier in the year.

The play was an amazing story about forgiveness, redemption and rebirth that followed the spiritual journey embarked on by a pastor’s wife after her husband, a man of unwavering faith and determination, received a vision to grow his church.

The rewrite took me some time, but I was finally done.

Excited, I emailed Rusty to let him know that I was taking a break, but I only had one more scene to go and that I should have a finished product ready by morning.

After taking a break, I hopped on my Macbook only to discover that the file that I was working on became “corrupted”.

I was devastated.

Somehow, I had to break the news to Rusty, who was patiently waiting to read the polished new script.

Thankfully, I remembered almost everyone of the changes that I made and emailed Rusty the changes a day late.

A few days after receiving the rewritten play, Rusty called me and asked to meet. Not only did he ask me thank me, but asked me to direct the stage play.

“I never directed anything before,” I told him.
“I never produced a play before,” he said.

Long story short, the play was a success, mainly because he and I were too naive to realize that we had no business directing or producing anything.  Maybe that’s why, together, we took the next step.

“What do you think about turning this into a movie?” Rusty asked me as the curtains closed to applause on opening night.
“Already working on it,” I smiled.

I quickly adapted the story for the screen. Shortly after, legendary Television icon Demond Wilson came on board. Watch the video below to see what he had to say about the script.


(CLICK HERE if you have problems watching the video.)

For a while, I thought the film version of the play would never be made.

Finally, we returned to method that made the play such as success: Two dudes too naive to realize that we had no business directing or producing anything. Rusty, the creator of the story and play, now has taken on the role of Executive Producer of Faith Ties and the movie is now in pre-production!

Check out the Faith Ties Go Fund Me promo…

(CLICK HERE is you have problems watching the video.)

The script has gone through several rewrites.

In one of the earlier versions, I wrote this sermon on Forgiveness. Like the original play, some scenes were cut while others were added. It seems, as a writer, some of your favorite scene don’t make the cut.

It’s not an easy process. But as they say in the biz, writing is re-writing.

Today, like the Extra Reel on DVD, cut scenes can now be shared. So, here’s a cut scene from the upcoming film Faith Ties. I call it “The Thing That God Forgot

I hope you enjoy it…

INT. BETHEL A.M.E. CHURCH – DAY

The Pastor preaches to the congregation from the pulpit.

                        PASTOR
In a small, secluded African community,

word quickly spread of a young girl who
believed she was talking daily to God.

Soon, members of the congregation stopped
attending Church. Instead, they would
congregate at this infant prophet’s house
to hear God’s Word straight from the
source.

News eventually reached the office of the
Bishop. Concerned that a young minister’s
congregation was no longer attending
Sunday service, the Bishop scheduled an
urgent visit.

Within days, the Bishop arrived to pay
the girl a visit with the intent of
returning the Church members to the pews.
However, before heading out, he asked the
young minister to hear his confession.

Finally, both the Bishop and the parson
arrived in the small village and entered
the young girl’s home and found her to be
just like any girl her age, playing with
her doll.

“Is it true, my child, that you speak
directly to God?” the Bishop asked.
“Yes, it is true, Your Eminence,” she
humbly replied. “He arrives the same time
everyday.”
“How convenient.”
“Oh, God is very convenient,” she glowed.
“Did you talk to God today?” the Bishop
asked.
“Yes,” she replied.
“Will you talk to God tomorrow?”
“If He wills it, yes,” she again
respectfully replied.
“When you talk with God tomorrow, can you
ask him one question for me?”
“Of course Your Eminence,” she submitted.
“What is the question?”
“Can you ask God for the list of sins I
confessed this morning. When I come back
tomorrow, you can tell me what God said.”

The young girl glowed and went back to
playing with her dolls.

As they returned to the rectory, the
young minister thanked the Bishop for
coming, but was confused how his short
visit will return his congregation to
return to his church.

The Bishop grinned.

“Surely, if she can’t tell me what I confessed to you
earlier today, she’s not talking to God
and YOU will again be able to tend to His
flock as you were ordained to do.”

The next day the Bishop returned.

Instead of speaking to the girl
privately, as he did the day before, he
questioned the girl publicly, for all to
hear.

“Did you talk with God this morning,
Child?” the Bishop queried.
“Yes, I did Your Eminence.”
“Could God tell you my list of sins?”
The girl paused and lowered her gaze to
the floor. “Sorry, Your Eminence, He
could not.”

The grin of the Bishop grew as the town
people returned to the young priest for
guidance.

“Please, Child, tell everyone listening
why could God NOT recall the sins I
confessed yesterday?” the Bishop probed.
“Because…”
“Because why?!”
“He already forgot them.”

The pastor pauses, then looks out at his parishioners.

                        PASTOR
He already forgot them!
(a beat)
Was this young girl truly talking to God
or not? I don’t know. But I do
recognize the wisdom in her final words.

God’s forgiveness is limitless! Clear!
Complete! And forever! Amen.

                   PARISHIONERS
Amen!

The CHOIR kicks into song. Pastor moves from the pulpit
to his chair as the MUSIC RISES and FOCUS on the
CROSS.

The moment after you faithfully say these three simple words: “I am sorry,” God forgets your sins — every single one of them.

That’s the thing that God forgets.

 

“I, even I, am he who blots out
your transgressions, for my own sake,
and remembers your sins no more.”

Isaiah 43:25

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE

If you like to know more about the movie Faith Ties, go to FaithTies.com.

Faith Ties: A Christmas Drama.

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The daffodils that my sons and I planted last fall just started to break through the ground … then the Winter Storm Stella hit dropping over two feet of snow on those budding bulbs extending winter, just as Punxsutawney Phil predicted.

It reminded me of sermon I heard when I was a kid after a very similar late season storm.

That year, the winter was unseasonably warm and the birds, which had began their Spring migration North, got caught off guard.

Standing at the podium, my pastor lamented about trying to save a flock of Canada geese in his yard that were now in jeopardy due to the bitter cold.

“I opened up my garage door and tried to corral the geese inside — to safety,” he said. “The harder I tried, the more the geese ignored me.

“I kept shouting, ‘Don’t you know, I’m trying to save you.’ But they just wouldn’t listen,” he explained. “I must’ve been out their for 30 minutes.

“Finally, I gave up,” he sighed. “As I stood in the garage, I thought ‘If I could only become a goose. I could tell them that I was trying to save them.’ And then it hit me….

“God became human.

“That’s why He became one of us.

“To talk directly to us. To tell us directly that he’s trying to save us.”

Now, all we have to do is start listening.

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

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Source: Geralt | Pixabay

My Dad died way too young. Ironically, I was the same exact age when it was discovered that I had nodules on the lung. The alignment was interstitial, so doctor’s suspected lung cancer. (It was not.) Still, the disease was rare, non-specific, and I underwent six months of treatment.

Miraculously, I have no signs of it today. Not even scares on my lungs.

When then the doctor gave me the news, he appeared dumbfounded. He became even more perplexed by what he translated as a sense of disappointment.

“Damn,” I sighed.
“Are you okay?” he asked with concern.
“Oh yes,” I said with a smile as I look up at him. “But I’ve been praying to* John Paul, who needs another miracle to be a Saint, but I also used Brother Andre oil and water from Lourdes, given to me by a former student — so I don’t know who to attribute the miracle too. John Paul? Brother Andre? Or Our Lady of Lourdes.”

Needless to say, my physician looked at me as if I was insane.

Regardless, at the time, though I was married and had an established career, I felt like I had much life left — and much more to accomplish. Maybe that’s why there was so much sadness at my Dad’s wake and funeral.

He seemed in good-health. He was strong. He loved life. He had also given so much — to his family, to his community — but he still had so much more to give.

To all who attended his funeral — and there were many, my father’s death was a tremendous loss, a great tragedy.

So, Why Did Jesus Die in His Thirties?

To make sense of it all, Msgr. Charles Pope,the author who first proposed this question in title, immediately quoted St. Thomas Aquinas.

Christ willed to suffer while yet young, for three reasons. First of all, to commend the more His love by giving up His life for us when He was in His most perfect state of life. Secondly, because it was not becoming for Him to show any decay of nature nor to be subject to disease …. Thirdly, that by dying and rising at an early age Christ might exhibit beforehand in His own person the future condition of those who rise again. Hence it is written (Ephesians 4:13), “Until we all meet into the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ” (Summa Theologica III, 46, 9 ad 4).

So, Why Did Jesus Die in His Thirties?

Christ died in the prime of his life to make His death, on the surface, a tremendous loss, a great tragedy, in turn, making it a greater sacrifice.

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

*AUTHOR’S NOTE:

When Catholics say we are praying to a saint we really mean through or with.  Just like you may ask a friend to pray for you, we believe in the Communion of Saints, our brothers and sisters in Christ who are in Heaven.   So, we are literally saying “John Paul, can you pray for me today”.   The answer to that prayer (a miracle) is our proof that they are indeed in Heaven.  If your in Heaven, you are a Saint, regardless whether your name is John Paul, Padre Pio, Mother Theresa — or Chuck.

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Source: Wokandapix | Pixabay

Have you ever been called out in Church?

Well, I have — and I’m not talking about being called to witness or lead to an altar call.  I mean literally singled out by your priest or pastor in the middle the Church sermon!

“Where’s Jim?” my pastor shouted after awkwardly pausing in the midst of his homily.

Before services, as my wife and I were signing our children up for Religious Ed classes, I questioned my pastor if he could give me the inside scoop on the weekly sermon question.  (Each week he would start his sermon with a question.)

This Sunday, he was grumpy and cross. Long story short, he had a bad week — which included what he described as “the wedding from Hell” and, for the first time in weeks, did not prepare a question for this week’s homily.

For full disclosure, I needled him for a’bit which only seemed to make him even more grumpy. So, it seemed, he was now getting even when he called me out!

“As you know, every week I ask a question and Jim asked me before Church if I had a question today. Well, I don’t,” he continued as he marched down the center aisle in my direction. “So, where is he? He usually sits way in the back.”

Finally, he found me.

“There you are,” he sniped. “Here’s my question: Can God do everything?”
I had a feeling it was a set up, but I gave the standard answer anyway.
“Yes, He can,” I boldly replied, though internally I was wishing I could hide.
“Well then, could He make a rock so big that He couldn’t pick it  up?” he asked, then quickly moved back up the aisle, like a boxer heading to a neutral corner after landing a knockout punch.

If Christians could curse, I surely would’ve let a few fly that day in Church. Oh, wait. Thanks to Tim Hawkins, Christians can cuss — if we use the right words.

Shut the front door! You bleeping fart-knocking son of a motherless goat!”  Now I feel better!  Too bad I didn’t have that comeback prepared back then.

Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling very Christian for the remainder of the homily. For the next 40 minutes, I prayed for God to change my heart, by it was little or no use.  I was still pissed off as the Collect exited the pews.

As I left the Church, I slowed as I approached the exit where my pastor cheerfully greeted parishioners as they went forth.

With each step, I prayed and prayed not to seek vengeance or retribution.

“That’s what I get for listening to your homilies,” I joked — or at least tried to the best of my ability.
“Yes,” he laughed seemingly ignorant to the fact that I was brooding.

Funny how God works.

Though memorable for all the wrong reasons, that experience has turned out to be one of the most fruitful in my Christian formation.

Regardless of whether or not God can or cannot make a rock He cannot lift, we learn from scripture, most certainly, that God can NOT do everything.

God cannot be unjust (Hebrews 6:10). God cannot be disorder (1 Cor. 14:33). God cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13)

Above all, the Triune God cannot contradict Himself.

As R.C. Sproul writes, “If contradiction and truth could exist side by side, we would be left with a God whom we could never know or trust. If He did, we could not believe what He says or know how to follow Him.”

So, no God can’t do everything — and isn’t that a most wonderful thing!

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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When Catholics say we are praying to a saint, we really mean through or with a saint.  Just like you may ask a friend to pray for a loved one — or even for yourself, we ask a member of the Communion of Saints, our brothers and sisters in Christ who are with Him in Heaven, to pray for a loved one — or even for oneself.

So, we are literally saying “Saint (insert name), can you pray for me today”.

The answer to that prayer (a miracle) is simply our proof that they are indeed in Heaven in communication with Christ — and Jesus performed the actual Miracle.

When I’m asked: Why don’t we just go directly to Jesus?  I humbly reply:  I do, but sometimes I need more help.  

In short: If you’re in Heaven, you are a Saint, regardless whether your name is John Paul, Padre Pio, Mother Theresa — or Chuck.

Every family has someone in Heaven, so every family has a Saint Grandpa John or a Saint Uncle Pio or a Saint Aunt Theresa.  Every family has a Saint Chuck to pray to.

Your Saint Chuck may not have an official Feast Day or two credited miracles or have “fame of sanctity” beyond the confines of your home — but that doesn’t make your Saint Chuck any less a saint.

So, ask your Saint Chuck to pray for a friend, for a loved one — or even for yourself.

It’s simple.  All you have to say is…

Saint Chuck pray for us … and then let go.

In God’s time, a miracle will occur.

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

So, who’s the Saint in your family?  Tells us in the comments below.

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