Glimpses of the Gospel

cyb2Ok so my “indefinite time away” turned out to be not so long. It’s been 10 days since I commented here, and 2 weeks since I posted an article. New world records! It has been a crazy time off, having to deal with the emtional angst of finding out yet another abuse story that has not been dealt with properly by the ubf echelon. But onto today’s topic: affirming gospel messages in culture.

Monster Energy drink: evil?

This week I watched a video of a Christian pointing out how drinking the Monster energy drink means supporting the antichrist. This made me think: What happened to Christianity? There was a time when Christians affirmed the good they found in society. But today the self-appointed Christian role seems to be to discover hidden messages and point out what they think is not inline with Christian behavoir.

Dr. Who and the Gospel

Pointing out hidden 666 messages (which could actually be seen as Hebrew 777 messages :) may be needed. But I find it more edifying to affirm the gospel messages I come across. For example, I’m a huge Dr. Who fan. And the latest Dr. Who series has shown me some glimpses of the gospel.

Cybermen: Example of religious zealots

The Cybermen in Dr.Who are essentially living robots, built from uniform suits of steel and remnants of human beings. They have two main goals:

1) to recruit new humans to be upgraded to a better person
2) to delete anyone who resists being upgraded.

The Cybermen also used emotional inhibitors. An emotional inhibitor was a device placed into all Cybermen. The device allowed a human brain to exist without suffering a meltdown of overwhelming emotions. This inhibitor allowed the Cybermen to carry out its two goals more efficiently.

Love resists conversion

When people fight back and resist being converted, it is love that provides the resistence. In one TV episode, a man used love for his son to resist, which overloaded the emotional inhibitors of the six Cybermen trying to convert him, resulting in their destruction.

Gospel Love

Some examples of gospel love can be seen in the Doctor himself. For example, this recent TV conversation was stunning to watch.

The Doctor: You betrayed me. You betrayed our trust, you betrayed our friendship, you betrayed everything that I’ve ever stood for. You let me down!

Clara: Then why are you helping me?

The Doctor: Why? Do you think that I care for you so little that betraying me would make a difference?

Cyber tears

cyb1I know of at least three examples of Cybermen doing good actions. One episode showed a Cyberman crying while sacrificing himself to help the Doctor. Two more examples are in the latest Dr.Who episode. One Cyberman used his love for his daughter to motivate him to protect the world. Another Cyberman used his love for his girlfriend to rescue a boy from the Nethersphere.

Monday questions

Are there glimpses of the gospel among ubf chapters? If so, what have you seen? Who are the leaders with “cyber tears” who will step forward and take action for the good of the ubf organization? What good changes can we affirm among ubf leaders? What gospel messages have you seen displayed, such as peace, forgiveness and repentance?


  1. I’m so glad you’re back, Brian! Honestly, even if some might have secretly rejoiced that you wanted to take a hiatus, life is a lot more fun when you’re back in the fray.

    From 1980, for the first two decades plus of my Christian life I genuinely thought that the singular best way for me to display, express and live out the gospel was to “make disciples” (Mt 28:19). No matter what it took to achieve and accomplish this end, I was determined to do so. In many ways, very very sadly, my ends invariably justified my means.

    Today, I would say that my underlying modus operandi is to “testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Ac 20:24). Though I surely do so poorly and inadequately I pray that my life, speech, body language, tone, teaching, blogging, preaching, leadership, church planting may somehow express and communicate the grace of Jesus by the help of the Spirit. Hopefully, I may shed much tears for this, and that others may also shed tears when they come to experience the marvelous grace of Jesus.

  2. Is this you, Brian;)? Glimpses of the gospel in UBF? I would say the Well 2011, when Pastor Ron shared about his son and his desire to be reconciled with him. It was a picture of God’s heart for us; he longs for us to be with him. I would also say Mother Barry who truly is a mother to me and looking out for me, while my own mom is an ocean away. I would say my conversations with J Yoon and Dr. B and Christy Toh when I ranted and they listened and supported me. I love my community at West Loop; it’s not perfect, but the important thing is that they are present and available. Even the bad times I had in the abusive chapter I was in had times of joy, like the time we visited the Elderly home on Christmas and I realized what Christmas is truly about. I see glimpses of the gospel everywhere.

    • Yep, this is me! I understand that some people won’t be able to see past my rhetoric and polemic sub-texts… but those who can see through such things may just find something amazing. I will stay in these conversations, Lord willing, for many more decades because I love ubf people. I just need a break every now and then due to the severity of the stories shared with me. If there is one thing I look for, it is glimpses of the gospel. I’m really encouraged that you have eyes to see such things MJ!

  3. The study of Galatians is newly leaving an imprint on my soul this time around. Because of it, I am not comfortable with the question posed above, “Who are the leaders…who will step forward and take action?” I’d like to quote Andrew Murray from the 2nd chapter of “Waiting on God.” It changed my life 10 years ago and I am still blown away every time I pick it up. It’s available as a pdf file online.

    “What he asks of us, in the way of surrender, obedience, desire and trust, is all comprised in this one word: waiting on Him, waiting for His salvation. It combines the deep sense of our entire helplessness and our perfect confidence that our God will work all in His divine power.”

    “We can do as little toward the work as toward creating the world, except as God works in us to will and to do. God only asks us to yield, to consent, to wait upon Him, and He will do it all.”

    • Hi friend,

      I’m really glad you shared something that made you uncomfortable. It is ok to express such things. The thought to “just wait” makes me uncomfortable because I “just waited” for over 20 years.

      As Joe mentioned, there is a time for waiting and a time for action. That should be abundantly clear from all of Scripture. It surely is not Christ-like to always be “waiting people”. Sometimes Christ waited; sometimes He acted. The key is to keep in step with the Spirit and the direction He is leading you for your life.

  4. Joe Schafer

    I agree that there are times when God calls us to wait. But God also calls people to action. Wisdom is about reading the times. Andrew Murray’s words are good. But they are exactly the kind of advice, for example, that the elders of Mars Hill Seattle used to silence people who had legitimate concerns about church leadership. Following that advice caused MH to implode.

    Ecclesiates 3:1-8

    There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,

    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,

    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,

    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,

    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,

    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

  5. The reason I chose the quote I did was because he mentioned “what He asks of us in the way of surrender, obedience…” Waiting is not necessarily passive. Obedience requires action, but it is an action aligned with God’s will and purpose for us. What is that action? That is something to be settled between God and each person. A person can act on what he thinks is obedience to God but he could be wrong or he could get off track. The problem is we all get off track, we all make mistakes, some of them bigger than others. But faith is believing God is bigger than all our mistakes and he is working out his plan among us. He loves and supports us, teaches and corrects us. He does everything. We receive from God what he gives us. We act based on how God directs us. I’m not saying to “wait” for a certain result. That is a personal decision. But we should never separate action from waiting on God. Like Sharon said, we don’t have to play God anymore. We just enjoy his love and what he has given us.