The Value of Acceptance

aWe just want to be accepted. This is often the cry of humanity. And far too often the response (directly or indirectly) of the Christian church is: You are not accepted. Or more often: You must change in order to be acceptable. What do I want most as a former leader at ubf? I want to be accepted. I want to be known and accepted for who I am, not as some Shepherd X caricature, or as some sinner who needs to change into some preconceived ideal image. I don’t want to be known as some agent of Satan or as someone defined only by ubf. I want to be me. As Ben rightly stated in his recent article about my books, ubf will always be a part of my life story. Wherever I go I accept that ubf training formed much of who I am.

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Missions Conference 2014 Synopsis

There was a Missions Conference at Moody Bible Institute October 14-17, 2014. I wish all of you could have attended. It was completely free. I decided to make a synopsis so that you could know what happened even though you didn’t attend.

Day I: Tuesday evening session
Speaker: Pastor Oscar
Anecdote: George Mueller
Challenge: 10 hairy audacious prayer topics

This sermon was based on George Mueller. His goal was to live in a way that showed people God can be trusted. He built orphanages throughout England, but never asked for a penny. In the morning he would wake up and tell the orphans that there was no food for breakfast, but they should pray and thank God. Then someone would usually come and bring breakfast because God put it on their heart to serve. He never took a salary. When he was 70, he decided to go out as a missionary and for more than a decade he went out traveling the world and preaching. The Pastor challenge us to pray prayer topics that “make God sweat.” Usually we pray things like: give me an “A” on my exam or in the mall, “Lord give me a parking spot.” But the Pastor dared us to pray 10 hairy audacious prayer topics that God will answer. A few I thought of was WL having its own building and not one more death from gang violence in Chicago. Or praying for my cousin, D, who is a hostile atheist to serve the Lord or C to have a job in finance paying more than 45K a year. These are crazy scary prayer topics and I realized I don’t pray them because I am scared that God will not deliver. But he is God and he can be trusted. Continue reading →

The Symposium


I have only been in my current chapter for a little over a year now, but I feel like what happened last night was something, by accounts of many former and current long standing members that at the very least was very new. Instead of having a bible study, testimony sharing bible symposium my pastor decided that we should do something to minister to non-believers, or sceptics. This was a key idea in Stephan Lutz’s book that was required reading for UBF leaders recently. The idea that book, of which I cannot recall the name, is that if only minister to the churched we are not really fulfilling the great commission. As followers of Christ we must take the message to the places that need it the most and this includes hostile arenas. In my experience colleges offer the most hostile arenas for the modern evangelist. I can recall just two days ago a pastor coming to SIUE to preach on the quad. He was assaulted by an atheist after affirming that Levitical Law was the word of God (to be fair to all involved, his wording could have been a little bit better in light of Galatians…) I was very inspired by the change I saw in my pastor’s move for this. Here are some things of note. Continue reading →

How To Be A Team Member

Jesus-disciplesHow An Older Christian Can Be An Effective Member In An Intergenerational Mission Team

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:34-35).

In June 2013, I was blessed to be part of an exploratory team to Northern Canada to explore the feasibility of sending missionaries to the Aboriginal people. There were five of us. Two of the members, the pastor and myself, are in our forties. The other three were in their mid twenties. We were all from the white, middle class suburbia of a Midwest university town nestled in the midst of corn fields. The trip lasted for eight days. We drove together for 15 hours, stayed in hotels, in two cabins, road in a train for 18 hours, and drove home 15 hours. We were in close proximity. We had many things in common, like a common faith in Jesus and a common calling to the North and a desire to serve Christ in the region. But there were differences. Continue reading →

The Gospel of Christ Vs. The Gospel of Mission

good-newsDuring my ten years of Bible study in UBF, I was taught many wonderful truths. Some of those truths led me into a personal relationship with my Lord Jesus, helped me to accept His forgiveness, and become a new creation in Him. However, mixed in with those wonderful, timeless truths, there were elements that I’d call “the gospel of mission.” See how the “gospel of mission” as I understood it compares and contrasts with the gospel as I’m learning about it now: Continue reading →

Why the Shepherding Movement Failed

w1Have you heard of the Shepherding Movement? It was a phenomena that occurred in America mainly in the 1970’s. The Shepherding Movement, which had roots in the 1960’s cultural revolution, grew quickly and seemed to disappear just as quickly. Are there any similarities between this movement and the UBF ministry?
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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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What I Feel Right Now

A few days ago, Wesley posted this comment which was addressed to Brian.


I apologize I haven’t read all your postings here. Help me out. What do you feel toward those who have hurt you?

AloneWesley, this is such a good question. Brian has given you his response. I want to respond as well and explain to you how I feel. My answer has gotten too long to comfortably fit in the comment section, so I have decided to post it as an article.

Some people who come to this website perceive a lot of “bitterness.” They assume that this “bitterness” is unhealthy and dangerous and lies at the root of the broken relationships between our members and former members. They see the “bitterness” as our moral failure.

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Do You Link Your Shepherding With Your Salvation?

What is the real source of your happiness? We Christians are rightfully so happy when someone accepts Christ through our shepherding and Bible teaching. I love going to Manila every year because I am elated beyond words that many young students are openly responding to the gospel I share with them. Jesus’ disciples were too. When Jesus sent out the 72 to proclaim the kingdom of God (Lk 10:9), they were overjoyed at the success of their evangelism. They said excitedly, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name” (Lk 10:16). Jesus was happy about the defeat of Satan (Lk 10:18). Yet he said seriously to his disciples and to us, “Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but that your names are written in heaven” (Lk 10:20). It meant, “Do not link your ministry success with your salvation.”
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What a First Day in Philippines UBF

For 8 years, I visited Philippines UBF yearly. It has been an indigenous UBF ministry led from the outset by Filipinos for the last 25 years. I have felt the wind of the Spirit blow palpably and visibly (Jn 3:8), which is why I visit regularly.

Sandwitched between 2 staggering sorrows. I arrived in Manila at 1 am on Fri July 20. I didn’t sleep because of jet lag. I received an email about the horrific Colorado shootings, which killed 12 and wounded 58. The next day I received another staggering news of a close friend having a stillborn birth. My heart has been aching and thrown into a tailspin ever since I arrived in Manila. Sandwitched between these 2 sorrows, I attended Antipolo UBF on Fri evening, a 2 year old church plant. The lead church planter is Dr. John Talavera, a professor of Anatomy and Physiology and his lovely wife Hannah.
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