In Part 1 I spoke of the lead up to my trip. This story is the story of my trip so I will begin with my initial impressions. When I last left Paul had spoken to Ben. My shepherd’s last words of advice to me were to be careful not to become married or introduced. He said Filipinos were “crazy for Americans” and that “it wasn’t my time”. With that I departed for the Philippines. Although I started the story and have proceeded chronologically I will depart from this to explain some major lessons from my time in the Philippines.
It is very hard to start this story, because in some sense my trip has changed me in remarkable ways. Maybe it’s best if I start at the start.
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Who are the top commenters here? Who has submitted the most articles? Someone who recently left a ubf chapter mentioned something in a comment that intrigued me. nb93 mentioned a rumor spreading about this website community, that ubfriends articles are “written by people that left UBF and are spreading rumors“. So I thought it would be relevant and interesting to post some statistics about who has contributed to the discussions here.
This past weekend, Hyde Park, Waterloo and West Loop UBF gathered for a combined Easter retreat in Michigan. It was fresh, spirited and joyful. It was planned, organized and led in its entirety by young leaders–without any interference from old folks like me! Perhaps, that’s why it felt spirit-led and spirit-filled, especially the spirit of joy and laughter that is rooted in tears of repentance. My longstanding conviction has been that young leaders who are called by God may lead in the forefront, while older leaders step back and fully support them in all ways possible.
It’s been a while. But finally I experienced an Easter free of guilt, free of shame and free of exasperation. Such guilt-laden memories are fading fast from my mind, and they can’t go quickly enough. This Easter was a weekend of family time, both with our children and with our extended family. A family egg hunt, a family meal, a family gathering and a family photo. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate Easter than as a family-centered man.
This year, for the first time almost 30 years, I observed the Lent season. The Spirit made it clear in my heart what to abstain from: blogging. I love blogging and it feels good to be back! It was also healthy to abstain from blogging for the 40+ days of Lent. As I return to the blogging world and this virtual community called ubfriends, I would like to share my thoughts on why I observed Lent and what I experienced.
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I recommend The Third Day especially for those who like comics. This small book of 48 colorful pages contains the Bible text of Luke 22-24 (in the Holman Christian Standard Bible) with graphic drawings that illustrate the text with drama, detail, emotion and passion, which engages you and draws you into the Easter story. This picture is of Lk 23:23 showing Jesus before an angry crowd, held back by Roman soldiers, demanding his crucifixion.
Déjà vu came over me when I saw this public post on Facebook by a UBF chapter director: “In 2013, I received a lot of grace from God in serving 1:1 and Sunday worship service (SWS). But I did not pray much. I did not get up early in the morning. I did not take care of my wife and two sons well. I did not pray for our church members deeply. I just enjoyed Bible study and my work. Through my son not getting an interview for medical school, my children’s struggles and church’s stagnancy were big blows to me and I realized that I was lazy and complacent. God is right. He is good. He loves his chosen people and disciplines them. I chose Dt 6:5 because my problem is that I didn’t love God wholeheartedly. As I prayed, I set a number “1-15-20-25” for our church. All our church members may read the whole Bible, serve 15 students weekly, pray for at least 20 minutes daily and 25 attendees for SWS. Personally I set my heart on praying to God every morning, 10 1:1, serving church members and loving my family.”
If God loves man, why does he command him not to eat the forbidden fruit? This is the story of my mystical conversion. In 1980 I left my homeland Malaysia and went to Chicago to do my residency in Internal Medicine. I met Dr. John Lee, a UBF missionary, at Cook County Hospital and he invited me to study Genesis. One night before going to bed, I was preparing Genesis Lesson 2, God Planted A Garden (Gen 2:4-25). One question asked, “If God loves man, why did he forbid him to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?”
“What kind of a God is this?” This question made me very angry. I thought to myself, “God is setting the man up to fail! He put this tree right in the middle of the garden where he will always see it, and says, ‘You must not eat it!’ (Gen 2:9, 17) It’s like putting a stunningly attractive woman in the room with you and saying, ‘Don’t even look at her.’” [I was a non-Christian, single and very lonely at the time!] I was confused and confounded for half an hour by my table in my poorly lit doctor’s dormitory room.
God is God. Continue reading →
When I saw this list on Facebook, I was surprised that it described me, though I never thought of myself as creative. Then I chucked to myself, thinking that people will really be quite annoyed by anyone with these traits. See if you have them. Surprisingly (or not), Jesus might actually be the most creative person of all.
1. Easily bored. I’ve said often that a great sin of Christians or the church is being boring (and predictable), because Jesus was never boring! When told that they are committing the sin of killing people with boredom, they say that the complainers are unspiritual and sinful. But in the gospels, it is the unspiritual and sinful that are attracted to Jesus! The ones who disliked Jesus were the boring people among the religious leaders.