The Words of the Cotter Family

One Human Being Can Make a World of Difference

Joshua Cotter
September 4, 2011

Good morning, brothers and sisters. How are you? Happy Sunday, America, on this first Sunday of September. Let's give God a huge hand today. I love God, don't you? It's good to be alive today in September. "Try to Remember the Kind of September": You know that one? All right, have a seat. That's from "The Fantastiks."

You are fantastic, by the way. Welcome to Lovin' Life Ministries. Give yourself another hand. Welcome to all of our new, first-time guests, second-time guests, one-thousandth-time guests all over this great nation of ours and here in New York City. It's good to be with you.

Are you happy today? How about that band? Let's give those guys a big hand. Bigger than that! Sonic Cult – it's taking the world by storm. If you have a chance to pick up the latest copy of Today's World – I give a shameless plug for this magazine – inside are tremendous articles: True Parents' words, Hyung Jin Nim's words, and in this edition there is an interview with Sonic Cult, "The Sacred Application of Rock'n Roll." Check it out.

I just want to thank our singers today, especially Glenn Haider. Didn't he do a great job? Seriously. He was a little nervous backstage. I said, "Don't worry. There's only about 10,000 people watching you right now." I don't know if that helped or hurt, but he did a great job. And our fabulous lead vocalist today, our sister, Kat. She's an incredible singer, isn't she? She's got a wonderful career. I hope you have a chance to hear her sing here in New York City. She's tremendous, and we're just so grateful for her.

A Ministry Rooted in God and True Parents

I want to bring greetings and love of our True Parents to everyone. Our senior pastor In Jin Moon, as you can see, is not with us today. So you get this old man, once again. In August we celebrated the third-year anniversary of our senior pastor's inauguration as the senior pastor, the leader of our nation, so let's give her a big hand.

I have been thinking that the reason this ministry is successful and growing is because it has deep roots. Can you say that with me? "It has deep roots." It is rooted in God, True Parents, and Jesus Christ. You don't get much deeper than that, do you? These three years have been difficult at times. It's been kind of like a spiritual hurricane, if you will. But because of those deep roots, the ministry has been able to take root, and now after these three years it is poised, brothers and sisters, to spread its branches high and wide. Hallelujah. That's what's happening right now.

It reminds me of the Book of Psalms. One of my favorite psalms is actually the first one because it talks about a tree that's planted – where? The tree is planted by the river, by streams of water. And the kind of tree that's being nourished constantly by streams of water, by the life-giving water of God, can grow deep roots. So even if a hurricane comes – like Hurricane Irene came last week – that tree will not be uprooted because its roots are strong and deep, and it's planted in good, fertile soil. That's Lovin' Life Ministries. There's an old gospel song called "I Shall Not Be Moved"; it's about Psalm 1. I love those hymns.

I want to thank you. The last time I stood up here we talked about some funny things, about the re-generation. I got so many lists of "re" words, if you know what I mean, from people all across the country. If you weren't here, you don't know what I'm talking about. And also we talked about instead of complaining, we should come and plane, that is, use that carpenter's tool. Many people called me up and said, "Reverend Cotter, thanks for that sermon. I just want to come plane to you."

I thought, "Wow, I must have gotten through." People are still sending me "re" word lists. It means that somehow you walked out of here and you remembered something from the sermon. That was hopeful, so I appreciate that. And also the testimony that I gave about my own life – I didn't realize what a profound impact it would have on so many people who had struggled with their own families, forgiving their own fathers, or vice versa. There is a need out there for prayer, for forgiveness.

We can't stand before God with anything more than humility and seek God's forgiveness in our lives, constantly. As Pastor Dave Hunter was saying, you have to be constantly changing. At the same time we have to be like that tree that's rooted in God. That's what we're going to talk about today.

We have great news regularly from our True Parents. They were in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago before they left for Korea and we had a beautiful boat-launching ceremony. True Father's an amazing person. Not only is he the messiah, the person whom God sent to save the world, but he's also an amazing scientist and engineer. He designed this beautiful boat that was launched and christened at Lake Mead a couple of weeks ago. It was a fabulous time.

For True Parents, nothing is just an event. This had to do with offering the victory of True Parents' work in America over these decades. It's very profound, brothers and sisters, and you're all a part of that. True Parents wanted to thank our blessed families here and across America from the bottom of their hearts for all that we are doing to work together with them and True Children in this incredible time. So let's give our True Parents a huge round of applause.

They have gone back to Korea and are waiting because they asked us to send 172 members of the clergy from America. The clergy are to bring this victory from America to Korea and share with all the people in Korea in this month of September. That's going to be happening one short week from now. So please pray for our clergy. They have responded to this call in an unprecedented way and are all leaving next week to go to Korea. They're going to speak in every corner of the nation of Korea about God's homeland, God's Fatherland, which is Korea: God's hometown. Amazing.

Surviving a Hurricane Physically and Spiritually

So much is happening, and of course last week nobody was here except me. I was actually walking around here Sunday morning when Hurricane Irene was just about to hit. I was the only one; you guys weren't here. It was lonely, but now it's nice. I know a lot of devastation occurred. Vermont is amazing, still digging out, and New Jersey. Thank God everyone is safe. Some people lost their lives. Some people challenged Irene. There were signs that said, "Come and get me, Irene." Believe me, you don't want to do that with a hurricane.

I lived through many hurricanes in Alabama, which is my second home. Six years ago I went back there and looked at the devastation in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I couldn't believe my eyes. On the property that we own down there in Bayou la Batre, there were 300 vessels of all sizes, and it was a graveyard. They were stuck in the tops of trees: Forty-foot waves carried them into the treetops. It was a graveyard of ships. That was the power of Katrina. It was unbelievable. So don't tell a hurricane to come and get you, because it will. You don't want to fool around with Mother Nature in that way. You have to respect natural laws.

Hurricane Irene, too. There was a guy who went out surfing and lost his life right here. But I thought about poor Reverend Sakamoto. He lives in New Jersey. His house has been flooded out I don't know how many times the last couple of years in New Jersey. But the guy never gives up. His house gets flooded out. He comes in the next Monday morning, still his smiling, cheerful self even though the flooding is devastating. So I'm thinking about Reverend Sakamoto.

Here in New York everything was fine, thank God. I really want to thank the New Yorker Hotel staff. They rocked during Irene. There were 2,500 people here, tourists from all over the world. What were we doing in Irene? They took such good care of everybody. They shut down the elevators, but they took such good care of everyone here. It was like a big family, so I really thank Sylvia and all our staff. It was incredible to see that.

But then over there in New Jersey there's Reverend Sakamoto, who got pummeled. I'm thinking, his house must be under water by now. But God told me, "Don't worry about him. He's on the top of his roof, ballroom dancing with his wife, doing a little cha cha." And sure enough, he shows up Monday morning after the hurricane and says, "Everything's okay. We're going to be living in the church center in New Jersey for a few months." How incredible is that? Natural law is nothing to sneeze at, nothing to take lightly.

Our life can be a spiritual hurricane sometimes, don't you think? Sometimes we're blown about from place to place, but thank God we have God and we have Christ, who is our rock. If we didn't have God, then our life would be a walking disaster. So if you don't have God in your life today, let him in your life. Cling onto God. Become a heavenly Klingon, if you will. You've got to hold onto God's unchanging hand. We have to find the rock, which the Bible says is Christ. Without that, we'd be blown away consistently.

I had an experience about realizing who my rock is – Christ Jesus and True Parents. I think I was telling you last time I went to the Virgin Islands to do some skin diving with my brother, in the 1970s, right before I joined this church. I was by myself in this beautiful part of the Virgin Islands, and I was skin diving off the coast. Then I decided to climb up a rock, which I thought was really solid, on a rocky cliff, and I was hanging onto it. The waves came out of nowhere, like two hands, grabbed me, and pried me off that rock. But they weren't satisfied with that. They took me and pushed me down to the bottom of the ocean.

I could feel my face scraping against the sand. It was like God was rubbing my nose in it. I was scraping across the bottom, and I could not get out of the grip of this wave. I'm thinking, "This is it." Somehow I got back to the surface, and I had broken this finger, which meant I couldn't play the piano for the next three months. Tragic. But I was amazed that I was alive and at the power of those waves that just ripped me off the rock.

Sun Myung Moon and Hak Ja Han, June 11, 2011

Some months later, I understood who True Parents are – that's the best part of my testimony. Through all the struggles, I found True Parents. I received the blessing of marriage from them and I have an awesome, wonderful family now, a wife and three children. But when I first found True Parents, I had a dream. It was kind of like I was back on that beach, and the waves were pulling me out to sea. There was a big rock on the shore amidst all the sand. I just held onto that rock and the waves could not pull me off it. I knew that that rock is Christ. Hallelujah. If we have that connection with God, with our True Parents, then no matter what comes along, we shall not be moved.

We're all familiar with the biblical passage from Matthew 7:24–27, in which Jesus says, "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like the wise man who builds his house upon the rock. The rain came, the floods came, the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, but it did not fall because it had been founded upon the rock."

And then there's the other kind of person. "Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who builds his house on the sand." Again, "the rain came, the floods came, the winds blew," just like Hurricane Irene, "and beat against that house and it fell, and great was the fall of it."

So how about your spiritual house? We've talked about Joshua at the end of his life. He was concerned about which way his leaders would go, so he said to them, "As for me, my family and my house, we will serve the Lord." And that said it all. In other words, he said that we have to be humble to hear the word of God and to do it.

There's another great hymn – forgive me, I like to sing and I like old hymns. This hymn goes, "On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is" – what? Sinking sand. Shall I sing the chorus? "On Christ the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand." It's a sermon, right? All great hymns are sermons. So stand upon the rock, which is Christ. Jesus and our True Parents are the rock, the messiah.

Lichen on rockks

Have you ever been hiking in the mountains? I love to look at rocks, ancient rocks. I used to hike in the Appalachians, which is an ancient mountain chain. On those old rocks there's something green. Have you ever seen that? It's called lichen. If you've ever tried to get lichens off the rock, it's very difficult. It's like part of the rock. It's algae and it's fungus and it's acidic, but it's just there. You can't get rid of it. I think they even have that stuff on the moon. It's fascinating stuff.

You never think about lichens, but that's what we have to be with God. We have to be like the lichens, clinging to the rock, clinging to the messiah, so we can say, "God, no matter what happens, I am clinging to you. And even if you want to get rid of me, you can't get rid of me. I'm part of you. I'm sticking with you, God, like lichens." Then God won't mind. Then God will actually take a "lichen" to you. [Laughter.] In Jin Nim's going to get on me about all this stuff!

But the point is, if we're humble before God, we realize that we need his love. We need his forgiveness. We can't afford to be separated from God, even for a moment. So God sent his representative, Jesus, 2,000 years ago. With Jesus' blessing and authority he has now sent to us True Parents as the messiah. That's the breaking news. Amen? There is no other news worth talking about. There's no other news that's fit to print except that True Parents are the messiah. Print that in the New York Times. True Parents are the rock of my salvation, sent here by God.

That's why our senior pastor always talks about True Parents and the fact that we need unity with True Parents. And she always breaks it down: "Unity. You guys need True Parents." Why do we need unity with True Parents? Because they're the messiah. God sent them on his behalf to save humankind. That's an awesome task, and there is an awesome power and authority they have from God. But brothers and sisters, the good news is that it's the power of true love. Nothing else. It's not the power of force, violence, or anything like that. It's not the power of fear. The Bible tells us that perfect love does what? It casts out fear. That's what it's like with True Parents. So don't fight against that power. Roll with it.

Rip current or riptide

I was on the West Coast with my kids. We went down to Monterrey and were body surfing these beautiful waves on Monterrey beach. Sometime the lifeguards tell you a riptide is coming. If that tide catches you, the worst thing you can do is try to swim against it because you're just going to get pulled out to sea. You've got to roll with it. You've got to kind of go this way until you get your things together and then you come back in. So we were just rolling with those waves.

So don't try to fight against the tide of God and True Parents, the tide of history. Roll with it. Tap into it. Become part of it. And then you can receive that strength and blessing in your life from God. Am I right or wrong? That's the secret of True Children who are standing on the front line right now. Hyung Jin Nim, Kook Jin Nim, and In Jin Nim. They're leading the way for all of us with their words and with their lives. I'm proud of them, and I'm their biggest cheerleader.

True Children as the John the Baptist to True Parents

The mission of the True Children, if you ask them, is to be John the Baptist to True Parents, and they're doing a great job of that, testifying humbly, faithfully. They're very clear that True Parents are True Parents for eternity. We are their children, as are all of us, and it's our mission to let the world know about them and their mission.

John the Baptist was a great man of God. He was born with the most important mission of all. Unfortunately, John was not able to accomplish that mission. As we study in the Divine Principle, Father has made it very clear that John was the one human being who could have changed the course of history by fulfilling his mission. He was given a direct revelation from God, "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased." [Mt 3:17]

John testified to Jesus himself when his spiritual eyes were open at the Jordan, "Behold, the Son of God, the one who comes" – to do what? – "to take away the sins of the world." [John 1:29] He had it exactly right. But when that vision faded, John's own arrogance kicked in, and unfortunately for John the Baptist he went his own way. He even went so far – after knowing exactly from God who Jesus was – as to send two of his disciples to Jesus to ask him on John's behalf, "Are you the messiah? Are you the one who is to come or shall we expect another?"

True Children are not going to make that mistake. They are the John the Baptist to their parents. With humility and amazing heart, they are testifying to them. Humility, brothers and sisters, is really the key for us to keep our connection with God. In I Peter 5:5-7, Peter is speaking to members of various congregations – just like we're doing now – from all over the area he was ministering to. First he instructed the elders, the leaders of the church, that you have to lead with the heart of God. You have to lead with humility, not causing people to suffer under your leadership. Can you resonate with that?

Then he instructed the people themselves, the members of the congregations, and he said to them, "In the same way, you [that's us] who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another because God opposes the arrogant and the proud, but he gives grace to the humble. Therefore, humble yourselves under the powerful hand of God, that he may promote you," or lift you up, "at the proper time." Isn't that an incredible verse?

In other words, wait upon the Lord. Wait for your time. Do not promote yourself. This is what I love especially about our senior pastor. She is not promoting herself. This is all about True Parents. That's how True Children are. And so if anyone comes to her promoting themselves, she loves them but they don't get too far because what happens is such a person always fall into a trap. Peter is telling us, humble yourself. God knows your ability. God knows your potential, and he is preparing you for a specific time. It might be now, hopefully, or it might be a few months from now or a couple of years from now. Don't worry. Be patient, serve humbly, and God will raise you up. He will promote you at the proper time. That's what's happening with Lovin' Life Ministries right now.

My experience with our international president, Rev. Hyung Jin Moon, is the same. He is a profoundly humble person who is at the side of our True Parents night and day, just attending them in the most humble way. In Las Vegas he told me, "I thought I was doing this ministry for three years, and now I'm just here." And he wondered what his value was. But he realized, "That's crazy. The greatest thing I can do is attend True Parents and be by their side."

Then he said he has a profound respect for our Korean elders who are there in Las Vegas, many of them. He said, those people have been with our True Parents for decades, by their side, going through prison, going through countless difficulties and struggles that we could probably not have survived. And so we need to love and respect them, the way our senior pastor does. This is the heart of True Children.

I'm so moved by In Jin Nim, our senior pastor, because she always expresses nothing but praise, respect and love for us, the First Generation. That is not lip service, brothers and sisters. That is from her heart. She thanks those of us who, for these last few decades were here in America and helped lay the foundation that Father is now offering for the sake of the world. Without us, perhaps True Parents would not have made it. Think about that. One person, one human being's faith can make a world of difference.

Rev. Cotter's Wife, True Father's "English Daughter"

I want to talk about my beloved wife for a second. I'm not just bragging on her. The experience she's had – well, I should brag on her. Let me tell you about my wife. My wife is a unique person. We were blessed in marriage by True Parents in 1982. It will be soon be 30 years – and getting better all the time. Our senior pastor asked my wife at the beginning of this year to go to Las Vegas to simply attend our True Parents on In Jin Nim's behalf, to be with them and do whatever was necessary. So she went, because she was asked to by her pastor.

She didn't know what to expect. Quite honestly, she ran into a spiritual hurricane. I'm not going to go into the details. But because she was rooted in that faith in her pastor and rooted in the rock that is True Parents, she endured countless difficulties. I really love her for that, and God does, too. When she first came there, she didn't say, "I'm the wife of the vice president." No, she just came.

She would sit in the back every day at Hoon Dok Hae for hours and hours and hours and just cry. Father didn't even know her name, but he saw this unfamiliar Korean girl in the back and eventually began to take notice. Eventually over time Father came to know her entire life story, and now he tells her story. He calls her his English daughter. Father lifted her up from quietly, humbly serving in the background.

Then Father started to go out in his last couple of weeks in Las Vegas in 110 degree heat, on Lake Mead. There's no way to get out of the heat. Father went fishing every day with elders. He said, "I need one sister to take with me on this trip," and he took my wife every day. She could be on the boat with him fishing, serving him and making sure he didn't pass out from exhaustion. What an amazing experience.

The elders around there were amazed at this person. But it was a testimony to her humility and desire to serve. Now she feels that Father truly is her rock, and not only that, that she's really his daughter. So I was really proud of my wife.

Our mission, brothers and sisters, we are the John the Baptists to the True Children, honestly speaking. That's our mission. They have come of age, so we need to come to True Parents through them. That's why we have to relearn a few things. There's one of those "re" words, relearn. I feel totally blessed, eternally blessed to work together with the True Children at this time. How about you?

The thing is, because they're so humble, anyone can have that chance. Anyone in this audience can do what I'm doing better than I'm doing it. Please see me after the sermon. If you have the will and if you have the heart, you can do it. In Jin Nim will welcome you and she will find a way, if you have the will and the heart.

A Wonderfully Weird Crew

It's amazing how far we've come with this collection of what In Jin Nim calls wonderfully weird people. I like that word. Honestly speaking, we're kind of a motley crew, the crew that's around here, but God is working in amazing, unprecedented ways, almost in spite of us.

The Replacements with Keanu Reeves (right) and Gene Hackman (left)

Did you ever see the movie The Replacements with Keanu Reeves and Gene Hackman? That's kind of what we feel like. The problem is, when you have the new team coming in, the old-timers tend to sit back and watch and want the new team to fail. Some of the old-timers don't want you to go forward, unfortunately. Or sometimes they go to extremes and actually lob grenades out on the playing field just to make it more interesting. So there's been some of that too.

But honestly, everyone who has come forward is very special and has that heart of humility. That's why God is working because also we are rooted in True Parents deeply. This is their ministry. Through this teamwork great victory has come and is coming. Our church is growing for the first time in a long time, substantially growing, and it's just beginning. Young people are being raised up now to become the leaders of this church. We couldn't say that a couple of years ago.

In fact, I've got to put in a shameless plug for the family that's just moved here from Texas. They're going to become the Lovin' Life pastor's family here in New York City, John and Joy Theriot and their beautiful family. Stand up, guys, and welcome them. They are one of five young couples and families that have stepped forward at this time to pastor the major cities in our twelve districts across America. There are four more going to Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, and Seattle, and you'll meet them next week. They're all coming here. We're going to get together, and then they're going to take their places as the pastors in those main churches.

So please, across America, welcome these families. Don't throw any grenades out there, smoke bombs, stink bombs, etcetera. Just help them out and work with them to build this incredible ministry. That's what we want you to do. Don't sit on the sidelines. Jump in there. Suit up. Get yourself out on the playing field.

The other thing is, if we're the John the Baptist, it means we're paving the way for True Children. We shouldn't let them do all the heavy lifting out there. Paving the way, what does it mean? It means you've got to get out there and you've got to level the land; you've got to get out your shovels, rakes, and levels, and so forth; you've got to level that playing field and make sure the rocks are all gone.

Has anybody ever cleared a field of rocks so that you could plant? You have to get the rocks out of there, right? Rock 'n roll. You've got to get it out. Otherwise it's not going to work. We have to get the rocks out and we have to clear the brush. Have you ever taken a machete and hacked through underbrush? It's really invigorating. Those poor plants, but we have to do that. We have to get things spiritually ready. That's what it means to be John the Baptist to True Children, so that they can just come in and do what God needs them to do, which is give the wonderful love of our True Parents, as we've seen, and give life to everyone. I love doing that kind of work – clearing fields and renovating houses. We have to do that spiritually.

What happened, unfortunately, when In Jin Nim came to the field work, if you will, of America, is that it was kind of a "mine"-field. When she went to certain places, people said, "Wait a minute, this ministry is mine. This congregation, this pulpit is mine. I built this with my bare hands. This church is mine. This Sunday School is mine. This program, this summer camp, is mine." She walked into a "mine"-field.

Luckily she had a bunch of First and Second generation who could see the hope, that this is her time. This is True Children's time. Brothers and sisters, we're so blessed. Everywhere I go around the world, whether it's Nigeria, Africa, Europe, Malaysia, Korea, or Japan, people are envious that we in America have this amazing daughter of God and True Parents.

Little Mickey Lamson

There's one particular guy, an amazing John the Baptist to True Children, especially our senior pastor, and he has been from Day One. He's a great cheerleader and he's a wonderful brother. He hangs out a lot at the King Spa in New Jersey. His name is Mike Lamson, our great district pastor out in Ohio. He's my model because he understands that this is the time, as we were saying before, when God is now lifting up and promoting True Children. He humbly is able – not to step back, not retiring, but re-tiring, putting new tires on. He's not resigning, he's re-signing, signing up again. He's re-membering, becoming a new member.

He's like most of us, who didn't necessarily agree with everything that In Jin Nim was talking about, the way she wanted to do things, but he had humility, he recognized the time and he was able to simply unite with her and follow. So whatever she was doing, he wanted to do in Ohio, and that's what he's done. It's brought great blessing, and it's brought life to the young people there. It's amazing to see. We thank Rev. Mike Lamson from the bottom of our hearts for helping to build Lovin' Life, and there are many others like that.

I was thinking about what it may be that Mike Lamson has been eating these past couple of years? He loves his wife. I saw them walking hand in hand in Las Vegas. They have trips to Hawaii and they tell me later about it. They're fantastic. What has this guy been eating that he could do this? I found out. [Shows a box of Life cereal with "Lovin'" added.] "Lovin' Life" cereal. Who knew? The Quaker company. I went to the grocery store because I wanted to find life, and I found this "Lovin' Life" cereal. This is what Mike Lamson has been eating all this time. Look, this doesn't have some chocolate vampire on the front. It's got a mom and her kid. This is like Lovin' Life.

Then I started thinking. Remember those commercials back in the 1970s about Life cereal? Maybe you weren't alive then. There's a little kid called Mikey. This was the longest-running commercial in history. It was three little guys in their house, and their mother was trying to get them to eat Life cereal because it was supposed to be good for them. You know, kids don't want to eat what's good for them. So the two older guys put together a plan. They're sitting at the table and saying, "Look, we don't want to eat this stuff. I know, let's give it to Mikey. Mikey won't like it. He hates everything, and then mom will know that we don't have to eat it."

But their plan backfires big time. They give Mikey a bowl of Life. Mikey never says a word in this commercial. He takes one bite, takes another bite, and the two kids go, "He likes it! Hey, Mikey!" He loved this Life cereal. So little Mikey Lamson. Who knew!

People were coming to Reverend Lamson, thinking, "Let's see how this guy handles it. He's a big leader. Let's see if he unites or goes his own way." So they give Mikey the "Lovin' Life" cereal, and Mikey Lamson eats it. But guess what? He likes it. He loves it; he keeps eating it. So get yours today, your "Lovin' Life" cereal.

This disclaimer is for Quaker Oats. "I apologize for any copyrights that have been violated during the presentation of this sermon." [Laughter.]

Now, True Children is the game in town. Our beloved elder, Rev. Yu, who teaches the Original Divine Principle workshops in Vegas, is such a humble, amazing person. He said this last time, in the past when True Children were all young, the church leaders discussed matters directly with True Parents, sat with them, received directions from them. But he said, "Guess what? The True Children grew up. That means the age of the children has come. With those children leading now, we should not think as we did in the past, that in the old days I had direct contact with True Parents so I should still be allowed to meet with them."

He's saying, "No, you have to humble yourself. Like Reverend Lamson did." We have to go through the True Children and learn about True Parents' intentions through them. That's what we're really doing here. He said, that's the Principle view.

UCI's Mission Is To Unite with True Parents

Brothers and sisters, for a few minutes I need to discuss the challenging situation that's affecting all of us in the Unification Church around the world. That's the situation with UCI, Unification Church International, which is a business part of our movement historically. We're facing challenges, and we need to address them head on. Father was in Kodiak last month, a place that he loves. And Father had to be very stern as a strong father with the leaders of our seafood company there, saying that they have to be clear that True Parents are the owners of this company, the owner of UCI, and all these precious assets that UCI has taken over. Father was very clear with those brothers and sisters. They were able to repent, and they felt liberated by Father himself.

He also scolded our pastors. Rev. Larry Krishnek out there will tell you that he got an earful from True Father, who said, "Why didn't you take better care of these families? Why did you just let them go their own way and be confused? You are responsible for their spiritual lives." Do you think Larry got the point? He did.

So we are responsible for one another. Father, True Parents, and God hold us, especially as pastors, responsible for the spiritual lives of our brothers and sisters. Just as the New Yorker Hotel took responsibility for 2,500 lives during Hurricane Irene, we have to have the same heart toward one another. That was Father's message.

In May our True Parents issued a very clear and very strong declaration, which you may have read, concerning UCI and their activities, especially in terms of Father wanting them immediately to dissolve their boards, turn everything back to True Parents, the rightful owners, and repent. It is plain and simple. That's always been their message. That's what they've asked me and every other church leader in the world to communicate to our members.

Therefore, around the world, in every nation gatherings are being held in which members are coming together to affirm that declaration and to affirm their absolute faith in True Parents. I'm kind of giving you a heads-up. Two weeks from today we will hold a similar gathering here after our service, so please be here for that, and it will be broadcast to our nation.

The purpose is threefold: to reaffirm our faith in True Parents as God's eternal representatives, as the messiah. To rebuff – these are some more "re" words – any attempts from the leaders and supporters of UCI to pull our members away from the rock that is True Parents. And third, to encourage those leaders and supporters themselves to repent and return to our True Parents.

Dr. Pak, one of our respected elders, spoke in Korea at that declaration meeting in May and said that there were three problems here, three sins, if you will. The first is disobedience to True Parents. That's the major sin. The second is usurping assets that belong to True Parents and our worldwide church. The third is disseminating false information, disinformation, that is confusing our church members and causing disunity.

When we talk about UCI, it is a business foundation that Father established in 1977. The purpose of UCI was to establish a financial foundation so that God, True Parents, and our worldwide movement could do the providential mission. You can't do that without finances. None of us can survive without finances. So when this was founded, Father himself said, Unification Church International, this business entity, will be the place where we accumulate the funds and the assets necessary for our world mission work.

I don't know about you, but the work of True Parents to me is the most important work that's ever been done, or ever will be done. Therefore, the foundation financially to do that work is crucial and it is sacred. It cannot be tampered with. Unfortunately, we know that that has really been the root of the worldwide challenge to our membership.

Father Moon's son, Hyun Jin Nim, and Reverend Kwak, one of our elders and his family – unfortunately those who run UCI and support it – have claimed and even sold many of these sacred, precious assets as their own private property, without the permission of True Parents. This is very serious, and it has to be addressed head on.

Recently Hyun Jin Nim actually said at a publication party in early June that UCI's assets do not belong to True Parents or the Unification Church. He said they belong to God and proclaimed that he is now using them for God's will.

Well, you may believe that; he may believe it. But it doesn't mean that it's the truth. You may try to defy natural law and go surfing in a hurricane, but that doesn't mean you'll have successful surfing. Similarly you cannot simply proclaim your own version of the truth and then assume that somehow you'll be successful. There's a huge confusion here.

Actually Hyun Jin Nim, like his brothers and sisters, is in the position of John the Baptist to True Parents. Even more than John knew about Jesus, he has known his parents his entire life. He knows deep in his heart who they are, even if he's denying it now. He's the one that should be proclaiming the mission of True Parents absolutely, loudly, around the world. If True Parents increase, he should – what? Increase. That's how it should be.

Unfortunately, like John the Baptist before him, Hyun Jin Nim is letting his own arrogance prevent him from testifying to what he knows in his heart is true. Arrogance is the problem. It's the opposite of humility. It literally means to claim for oneself. That's what arrogance means. I thought about it, and "arrogance" is like "err again." We make mistakes, and then we continue to make mistakes. We err again and again. The problem with it is, the more mistakes we make, the further we get from God, the more guilty we feel, and we actually come to fear coming back to God, meeting with God face to face, or with True Parents because of our own inner guilt.

That fear is the realm of Satan. It's not the realm of God. So we need to be able to snap out of it, the way the prodigal son did. We need to come to our senses so we don't continue to err and err again. Even if you're on that course right now, confused, you can stop it today. He could stop it today. Reverend Kwak could stop it today. But it means giving up everything.

The prodigal son, what happened to him? He squandered his inheritance with riotous living, but after he had lost it all, he repented. He could come back to his father. His father was not going to whip him. His father embraced him and forgave him. In this case the son is squandering not only his inheritance but the inheritance of True Parents. He needs to be the prodigal son and come back home.

He's being influenced. We know clearly that our elders such as Reverend Kwak are in the archangel position. This is somewhat like Satan's third temptation of Jesus, when he offered him all the kingdoms of the world, the whole foundation of the world, but not on God's behalf. "If you will bow down and worship me." That's the temptation. But Jesus responded to Satan, "You shall worship the Lord your God and serve him only." This is that serious.

Amazingly, everything that God and True Parents have, they want to bequeath to this son, to all their children, to all of us. Everything except one thing. There is only one True Parents for eternity. That is the case. But we will inherit their love, the foundation, the blessings of everything if we are humble.

Again, I Peter 5:7 says that we must be humble before God and let God promote us in his own time. So the solution to arrogance is always repentance with tears and humility. Repentance means that we literally turn around and go the right way: turn ourselves around, seeking God's forgiveness, which he will readily give, and then, with humility, changing.

My experience – maybe yours, too – with repentance is that it took a long time for me to understand it. When I was teaching workshops in the late 1970s I did a 40-day prayer condition – "God, what do I have to repent for? Teach me, what?" – because I couldn't figure out this repentance. For 40 days, there was nothing. I was totally dry, like in the wilderness. I didn't know what to repent for. On the last day of that condition, it was autumn in northern New England. There were beautiful gold and red leaves all over the ground where I was in the mountains. I was on a bed of gold and red leaves, like the blood of God and the heart of God. And in that moment, finally after 40 days, God broke through. I started to weep and weep and weep.

What happened was, God took my spiritually and held me in his arms. And I'm not a spiritual person. He held me in his arms and took me through the events of my life and showed me one after another how I suffered, how I cried, how I felt alone, how I rejected him. He said, "I was there. I was there every moment, every one of those times. I never left your side. But you didn't know I was there. You wouldn't allow me into your life to embrace you." So we just cried for a long time together.

I could finally breathe and realize, "I am your son." I realized that sin is really not what it's about. The sin God will forgive. What really hurts, what repentance is about is that God cannot love us unless we humble ourselves to him, and yes, get rid of our sin, but then joyfully reunite with him. This is the heart that God has, that True Parents have toward all of us, toward humankind.

The Case of the Missing Keyboard

Brothers and sisters, I've spoken too long but I want to conclude with a short personal story. It's the story of the missing keyboard. We went to Nigeria in July and had a wonderful time. I brought my big keyboard, which is oversize and overweight. It was a big problem. We had to pay extra to ship it. We got there and played our concert with Sonic Cult. We put it on the plane in Nigeria, in Abuja. It was going to go through Heathrow, and then come back to JFK, where I would have to pay for it again.

We got back to JFK and I started waiting for the keyboard. This was my worst nightmare. It didn't come. And thus started a 40-day journey of trying to find the missing keyboard. It was an incredible odyssey for me. I was so frustrated. I almost stopped believing in God. I couldn't believe how selfish and possessed I was with this keyboard. But I tried. I went to JFK every day, to the baggage people because they would not answer their phone. But I went to JFK, and the baggage people were trying to help me.

After weeks went by, I filed a claim. I never did talk to a human being, brothers and sisters, at British Air. Sorry, British Air. All I was praying was, "God, I need to talk to one human being." It never happened. I got e-mails saying, "Yes, we're aware of your case." They were automated e-mails. I wrote back, "Please, if there's somebody out there behind these e-mails, please respond to this." Finally, I'd totally given up.

Yet, the incredible faith of people like Kathy Rigney, Kevin Winter, and Michael Kiely, remarkable missionaries in Nigeria, spurred me on. They assured me it was not stolen in Nigeria. "It's somewhere in Heathrow airport," was what they kept telling me. Still, I admit that I had given up.

Finally last week, long story short, after all this frustration and after I had totally given up to the point that any time anyone said, "Reverend Cotter, did you get your keyboard back?" I wanted to punch them out. Oh, it was crazy. Forty days, Lord. And then finally Michael Kiely sends me this e-mail, "Reverend Cotter, don't give up. Don't give up." I said, "Okay, I'll try it one more time. Please, if there's a human being at British Air." They have a customer relations department, but you can't talk to a person. That's an anti-customer relations department.

Amazingly, this week, after the hurricane, an e-mail came from my savior. It was one human being, George Chandler, in customer relations. Whew! I had all but given up hope. He sent me an e-mail. Then the next morning I got a call from George Chandler! He said, "I've followed up on your case and I've talked with Heathrow airport. There is a big case over there. It looks like it might be yours, but the name is wrong, and that's probably why we haven't gotten on it."

I said, "What's the name on it?" "Rendel." I said, "Rendel? David Rendel?" I said, "That's my COO. That's my keyboard." He said, "Calm down, Mr. Cotter." I shouted, "George, I could kiss you, I could hug you, George." Then he said, "Okay, I'm going to follow up on this." And of course for the next 24 hours I just couldn't believe it. He called me the next morning and said, "Yes, it's yours. We've got it. It's on a flight. It will be at JFK this evening." Brothers and sisters, my keyboard came back to me after 40 days. It was delivered to the New Yorker at midnight on Wednesday.

So don't give up. I realized what it must be like to be missing a child. It's so serious. Really. Then I thought, "What about God?" Do you realize that God for thousands and thousands of years was looking for one human being? One human being can make a world of difference. God found Jesus. How many times did he call humanity and get Satan's automated e-mails and phone lines: "Sorry, there's nobody here to take your call, God, but we are very concerned about your predicament. Please, just hold on and we'll get back to you as soon as we possibly can. Thank you. Satan."

And then God finds Jesus! One human being: "A person I can talk to, a person after my own heart." And then he waits for 2,000 years and finds True Father, and now he can talk to this world and bless this world.

So, brothers and sisters, I want you to stand on your feet and thank God that God has someone he can talk to, and you can make a difference in this world. God bless you. Have a great week.


Try to Remember the Kind of September

Try to remember the kind of September
When life was slow and oh, so mellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
When grass was green and grain was yellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
When you were a tender and callow fellow.
Try to remember, and if you remember,
Then follow.

Follow, follow, follow, follow, follow,
Follow, follow, follow, follow.

Try to remember when life was so tender
That no one wept except the willow.
Try to remember when life was so tender
That dreams were kept beside your pillow.
Try to remember when life was so tender
That love was an ember about to billow.
Try to remember, and if you remember,
Then follow.

Follow, follow, follow, follow, follow,
Follow, follow, follow, follow.

Follow, follow, follow, follow, follow,
Follow, follow, follow, follow.

Follow, follow, follow, follow, follow,
Follow, follow, follow, follow.

Deep in December, it's nice to remember,
Although you know the snow will follow.
Deep in December, it's nice to remember,
Without a hurt the heart is hollow.
Deep in December, it's nice to remember,
The fire of September that made us mellow.
Deep in December, our hearts should remember
And follow.

Psalms, chapter 1

1: Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

2: but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

3: He is like a tree
planted by streams of water,
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

4: The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff which the wind drives away.

5: Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

6: for the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

I Shall Not Be Moved

Jesus is my Savior, I shall not be moved;
In His love and favor, I shall not be moved,
Just like a tree that's planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.

I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
Just like a tree that's planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.

In my Christ abiding, I shall not be moved;
In His love I'm hiding, I shall not be moved,
Just like a tree that's planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.

I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
Just like a tree that's planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.

If I trust Him ever, I shall not be moved;
He will fail me never, I shall not be moved,
Just like a tree that's planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.

I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
Just like a tree that's planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.

On His word I'm feeding, I shall not be moved;
He's the One that's leading, I shall not be moved,
Just like a tree that's planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.

I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
Just like a tree that's planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.

Matthew, chapter 7

1: "Judge not, that you be not judged.

2: For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.

3: Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?

4: Or how can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye?

5: You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.

6: "Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you.

7: "Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

8: For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

9: Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?

10: Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?

11: If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

12: So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.

13: "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.

14: For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

15: "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

16: You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles?

17: So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit.

18: A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.

19: Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

20: Thus you will know them by their fruits.

21: "Not every one who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

22: On that day many will say to me, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?'

23: And then will I declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.'

24: "Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock;

25: and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.

26: And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand;

27: and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it."

28: And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching,

29: for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

When darkness seems to hide His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Matthew, chapter 3

1: In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea,

2: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

3: For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight."

4: Now John wore a garment of camel's hair, and a leather girdle around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.

5: Then went out to him Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan,

6: and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

7: But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sad'ducees coming for baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

8: Bear fruit that befits repentance,

9: and do not presume to say to yourselves, `We have Abraham as our father'; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.

10: Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

11: "I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

12: His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."

13: Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him.

14: John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?"

15: But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness." Then he consented.

16: And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him;

17: and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."

John, chapter 1

1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2: He was in the beginning with God;

3: all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.

4: In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

5: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

6: There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

7: He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him.

8: He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.

9: The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world.

10: He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not.

11: He came to his own home, and his own people received him not.

12: But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God;

13: who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.

15: (John bore witness to him, and cried, "This was he of whom I said, `He who comes after me ranks before me, for he was before me.'")

16: And from his fulness have we all received, grace upon grace.

17: For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

18: No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.

19: And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?"

20: He confessed, he did not deny, but confessed, "I am not the Christ."

21: And they asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the prophet?" And he answered, "No."

22: They said to him then, "Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?"

23: He said, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, `Make straight the way of the Lord,' as the prophet Isaiah said."

24: Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.

25: They asked him, "Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?"

26: John answered them, "I baptize with water; but among you stands one whom you do not know,

27: even he who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie."

28: This took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

29: The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

30: This is he of whom I said, `After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before me.'

31: I myself did not know him; but for this I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel."

32: And John bore witness, "I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him.

33: I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, `He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'

34: And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God."

35: The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples;

36: and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!"

37: The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.

38: Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them, "What do you seek?" And they said to him, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?"

39: He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where he was staying; and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.

40: One of the two who heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.

41: He first found his brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which means Christ).

42: He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, "So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas" (which means Peter).

43: The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. And he found Philip and said to him, "Follow me."

44: Now Philip was from Beth-sa'ida, the city of Andrew and Peter.

45: Philip found Nathan'a-el, and said to him, "We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."

46: Nathan'a-el said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see."

47: Jesus saw Nathan'a-el coming to him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!"

48: Nathan'a-el said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."

49: Nathan'a-el answered him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!"

50: Jesus answered him, "Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these."

51: And he said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man."

1 Peter, chapter 5

1: So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker in the glory that is to be revealed.

2: Tend the flock of God that is your charge, not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain but eagerly,

3: not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock.

4: And when the chief Shepherd is manifested you will obtain the unfading crown of glory.

5: Likewise you that are younger be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."

6: Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you.

7: Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you.

8: Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour.

9: Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world.

10: And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, and strengthen you.

11: To him be the dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

12: By Silva'nus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God; stand fast in it.

13: She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings; and so does my son Mark.

14: Greet one another with the kiss of love. Peace to all of you that are in Christ.  

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