My Concerns About The International Conference

SoLoved(My original title was “Why I Won’t Attend the International Conference.” But I was persuaded to change it to a “less hostile” title.) Let me state that my prayer is for God’s abundant and overflowing blessing upon our conference and that Christ is truly honored and exalted through the conference. Everything henceforth should be understood with this prayer in mind.

UBF’s glory. This is my predominant major concern: There is an undertow and impression that the unspoken purpose of UBF conferences is to show the greatness of UBF, of UBF missionaries and of senior UBF leaders, rather than to display and declare the greatness and glory of Christ. This is subtle, subjective and subjunctive. This can be denied because no one ever says, “Our UBF conference is to show how great UBF is, or how great Korean missionaries are.” But my contention is that UBF palpably glorifies UBF, UBF missionaries, and senior UBF leaders rather than God Himself. This is a very very very serious charge. So, if this is incorrect, then please correct me.

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Not So With You

jRecently I shared the conclusion of the study group my wife and I attended for about nine months. Today I am sharing about the beginning of the Emerging Journey study. The first lesson, and the foundation of the study, is rooted Jesus’ words “not so with you”. The “not so with you” theme was woven throughout the lessons and permeated our group discussions and writings. The big theme for me was that Christ-followers are distinctive. Yes Christianity has much in common with philosophies and religions, but there are some unmistakable marks of Christians. One of those is “not so with you”.

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The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, Part two

tk1This is part two of Keller’s book “The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness” report. Freedom is so precious like diamond. It cannot be easily obtained. It requires leap of faith. It defies human logic, common sense and fixed ideas.According to Keller, there are several signs when we do not have true freedom of Self-Forgetfulness.

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John Armstrong on Knowing When to Stop

stopsignAs I read Brian’s last article, “It Must Come to an End,” I thought about the importance of knowing when to stop.

How many organizational leaders have gotten themselves and their followers into severe trouble because they failed to see their own limitations? Because they held on to their positions of authority for so long that they lost the ability to self-reflect? Because they failed to allow the next generation to take over in a timely manner? Because they imagined that they were the rightful owners of the organization and that it couldn’t survive without them?

Then, purely by chance, I happened to watch a video of a lecture by my friend John Armstrong. It was the fifth in a series of seven lectures on Spiritual Leadership that John presented to UBF leaders in the Chicago area.

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It Must Come to an End

Php2.12-13It must come to an end. If it doesn’t end, it won’t be healthy for any of us. That was the advice one of our pastors gave to a member of our cohort group as we concluded our nine-month “Emerging Journey” class. One of my new friends in this class was sad that the fellowship had to end. Nine months have flown by so quickly! As we finished our class last night, none of us wanted it to end. All night our pastor’s words bounced around in my head. He reminded us that it is unhealthy for a spiritual discipline or church program to go on and on without conclusion.

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Why Are UBF Missionaries Tired?

burned-outAt every major UBF conference one prayer topic is invariably to encourage tired, burdened, burnt out and discouraged missionaries. “This conference is for you–tired missionary. Come to the conference to be refreshed and renewed!” Fair enough. But perhaps a more fundamental question is why are UBF missionaries tired?

It is said, “Our UBF missionaries worked so hard for mission, and they suffered and sacrificed so much to serve God and feed selfish sheep.” PTL! But Mother Barry has said countless times with great beaming joy, “I have sacrificed nothing for Jesus.” I believe her. So are our UBF missionaries tired and burnt out because they suffered and sacrificed more than Mother Barry?

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Telling The Truth (How West Loop UBF Began)

tellTheTruthAs Joe is telling it to the church (I am lovin’ it with high fives!), I wish to tell the truth as a parallel post. UBF leaders like to say among themselves that UBFriends is declining with only the same few tired commenters. Translation: “Don’t worry about UBFriends. We are still in control.” Nonetheless in just the last few days, as Joe tells it to the church, there were over 140 comments in 3 days! and with new fresh commenters who had not commented before. For the record, UBFriends has no political agenda. As Joe said, which I echo, “Neither of us (Joe and Ben) has tried to gather supporters behind us to start a countermovement to make demands from ubf leaders. Basically, all we have done is to write articles on this website to express our opinions.” Amen. Continue reading →

Telling it to the Church, Part 2

In the discussion following my last article, a reader who goes by the name “vmi” asked a good question.

I just want to ask Joe if you have tried the second step enough.

Have you confronted this issue with two or three more people? especially with witnesses?

I know you have already brought this before the church.

But if you haven’t done the second step, you may follow Jesus’ instruction, which is to go as a group rather than only you.

megaphoneIn Matthew 18:15-17, it appears that Jesus was instructing his disciples on how to deal with interpersonal conflicts. It doesn’t give us a step-by-step guide for how to handle systemic problems in the church. Yet I believe we can generalize Jesus’ teaching to community-wide situations. For dealing with corporal sins, a reasonable implementation would be:

  • Step 1. Bring up the matters as privately and gently as possible with community leaders who are in a position to do something about them. If they do not listen, then proceed to…
  • Step 2. Involve some more people (witnesses) who can back up your claims and testify that what you are saying is credible. Give the leaders hard evidence. Offer to work with them toward reasonable solutions. Do so patiently and persistently. If after repeated attempts they still do not listen, after you have exhausted all the reasonable alternatives, then proceed to…
  • Step 3. Tell it to the church.

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