In Jail Charged with Sexual Assault

Yesterday, I visited a former Bible student in jail. Last weekend, he was arrested and charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault and attempted robbery. On Sun night, while on my PC, I heard his name mentioned on the local news. I turned to watch and heard an eyewitness account and the charges against him. I was shocked and stunned. A Google search provided the painful details and allegations. His bail was set at $700,000. I write this to share the emotional turmoil I experienced when I visited him in jail and to pray for him.
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Healthy and Unhealthy Leadership

Unhealthy leadership is coercive. Leadership was addressed in my very first blog: Why Do We Have Divisions. Leadership is always important. The future of any church or organization is dependent on the type of leadership displayed. My favorite definition of a leader is this: “Just look behind you. If someone is following you, you’re a leader.” This surely exemplifies Jesus’ leadership, which is real leadership. When a Christian beholds the Cross, his heart is transformed to catch a glimpse of glory (2 Cor 3:18). He wants to follow Jesus all the days of his life, no matter what the cost or loss or sacrifice (Lk 14:26,33). Jesus’ leadership is never coercive, manipulative, controlling, or ego-driven. Jesus’ leadership is definitely NOT Top-Down, which has repeatedly been identified as the most common, least effective and most unhealthy form of leadership, both Christian and non-Christian. Unhealthy leadership is primarily coercive in order to enforce compliance. But it does not necessarily win one’s heart and consent. It is not based on appeal, winsomeness and influence, but on human positional authority or rank. Basically, unhealthy leadership says (either explicitly or implicitly), “You have to obey me, because I am your leader.” Although there is an element of truth to this (Heb 13:17), Jesus does not lead like this (Mk 10:42-45).
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Elijah Blew It (T4G 2012)

This week, my wife and I attended the T4G (Together for the Gospel) conference in Louisville, KY from Apr 10-12. 7,000+ attended with the majority age group being men in their 20s and 30s. T4G started in 2006 when 4 long-time pastor friends joined together to encourage other pastors to stand together for the same gospel. It was repeated in 2008, 2010 and this year. The 9 excellent plenary sermons are available on video or audio. Rather than review the conference, I am sharing my reflections on the sermon that most touched me. It is by Ligon Duncan based on 1 Kings 19:1-18: God’s Ruthless, Compassionate Grace in the Pursuit of His Own Glory and His Ministers’ Joy (transcribed here). I retitled it “Elijah Blew It.”
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Praying like Daniel?

I recently participated in an encouraging and delightful bible study where we studied the famous story of Daniel in the lion’s den (Daniel 6). In particular, the fact that Daniel prayed three times a day was very intriguing to most of us. To pray three times a day is not a biblical command or a doctrine. But the New Testament tells me: “Be unceasing in prayer.” Thus, a very straightforward application from Daniel’s story could have been: “Go and do like-wise.”

But I have to admit that something in my heart went against it. Continue reading →

Racism in the Church

Is there racism in UBF? Might some leaders be racist? If so, is the racism the result of a strong “honor culture”? Some may not like such questions because they interpret it as an accusation against UBF or her leaders. But questions are not accusations. Questions are important. Otherwise, we may never address hard issues. I thought of such questions when I watched an excellent video about racism: Race and the Christian (which I use as a springboard to address the uncomfortable and unspoken racial issues that may exist in UBF between missionaries and native indigenous leaders of many nations). In the video, John Piper first spoke about the gospel as the only solution to the universal problem of racism. Next, Tim Keller spoke about racism as a corporate evil and sin, which is important but often ignored or unaddressed. Finally, Anthony Bradley, a black Christian professor, raised racial issues which are uncomfortable for some white evangelicals to hear. The 3 lectures are about 25 minutes each. You can read a synopsis here of all 3 lectures. These are my reflections.
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A Parody: Conversation NOT

I found MJ’s comment cute. Hopefully she does not mind me re-posting it. It is a parody of two people talking and disagreeing. I found this interesting because I believe that relationships deepen, blossom and become richer and more meaningful and intimate if and when we are able to get to the fringes and to the edges of discussing delicate and sensitive topics and issues. In UBF, perhaps a most sensitive, delicate and difficult topic to address and speak about is a person’s “sense of honor” and his/her seemingly absolute need to “save face” at all costs. This, I believe, has resulted in countless misunderstandings and strained or broken relationships among us in UBF. I hope that such topics may be discussed in depth privately, as well as publicly and openly more and more in order to improve communication and promote transparency. Here’s what MJ wrote (with some minor edits):

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