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F. Nelson: Address to World Summit 2014

Address to World Summit 2014, Seoul, Korea, August 9-13, 2014

 I’m blessed to have a wonderful wife of 48 years. In these 48 years we’ve never had a single argument; we had multiple. But the thing that kept us together was not our differences; it was the things that we have that are alike.

Too frequently in the world of religions we have great debates about what we don’t agree on. But one thing I found that was common among all the religions is that we want to help people be better. I’m a member of an ecumenical group in Washington DC, and most of the religions represented here are a part of it. But we don’t get together and talk about theology. We talk about the cry of the humans who are in pain and how we can bring that to a close.

I don’t know about all other countries, but in America many of the leaders have taken up a celebrity status, which makes the next generation want the celebrity status rather than the work that needs to be done.

I’ve been in the ministry for 60 years, and one of the things that I learned is that the big shots don’t know what’s going on; it’s the servants who know. In the story of Jesus turning the water to wine, the steward asks where the wine came from, and he was the one who should have known. But in the story that Jesus told, the servants who drew the water knew. There are things that you will find out by serving that you will never find out by being served.

The capacity that we have to turn things around has to do with our ability to serve as a unit. David is one of my favorite characters in the Bible. In the story of David and Goliath, he didn’t look at things the way others did. If you look at the surface, it can be frightening. When David saw Goliath, he was not struck and paralyzed with fear. He saw an opportunity. He didn’t see the giant in the same view that the others saw him.

This conference has led me to look at some things much differently. The possibilities have to do with how we view things. David had a conviction. One thing I’ve learned is that when you have convictions about something, you become unstoppable.

One of the things that I appreciated about Rev. Moon was the fact that he instilled in us the calling to live for the sake of others. If you do nothing for anyone, when you transition, there’s nothing that will make you be remembered. This is the second anniversary of Rev. Moon’s transition, but here we are today, still talking about one who has transitioned because of what he has done.

He certainly made it clear to us that religion means nothing if it doesn’t have servants in it.

David looked at Goliath, and his motive was different from the others on his side who saw Goliath. They saw a giant too big to hit. David saw a giant too big to miss.

We have to look at the situations that we as religious leaders are facing in this world. The giant is there, but that means that with the right stone, we can’t miss him. You don’t even have to aim.

I’m not suggesting violence. I’m only using this as a parable to state that together we can bring down any giant that is opposing the coming together of us as religious leaders.

One last thing. Historically every leader elected or put in place had a spiritual leader to partner with. One of the things that’s very important in our world today is that our leaders need us to give them spiritual guidance. Of course you can’t give it if you don’t have a relationship with the Supreme Being.

I spend a lot of time praying because of the things that I see going on in the world. I believe that the Universal Peace Federation has done some fantastic things. I’m just pleased to be a part of helping get it done. There is no job that’s too small when you’re a servant. You will never get to the next level if you don’t do something at the level you are on.

I was elected in March of this year to become the presiding bishop of one of our major Pentecostal organizations in the U.S. and in other countries. I’m amazed at being where I am, because I was born in the state of Michigan in a poor family. My mother had seven children. My father left her with all seven of us, but she kept us together. And one thing she told me that sticks with me today is “Poor is what you are but not who you are.”

If we can understand that, the situations we are facing today are not situations that cannot be remedied, because there are people in those difficult situations but that’s not who they are. They’re there not by choice, and we can help them to get out of what they’re in, like I was helped.

I am spending the rest of my life trying to help people to get out of the situations that are not of their own doing. We can help them get out, and with the help of God and our unity, we can get it done.

For more information about the World Summit, click here.