Ben’s excellent article, “Good Teachers Make Themselves Unneeded“, which was inspired by a friend’s C.S. Lewis quotes, inspired me to expound on a topic I wrote about in my second book. That topic is the ubf discipleship training cycle. In stark contrast to C.S. Lewis’ thoughts, the ubf model of teaching is a system designed to make people co-dependent on one another. The ubf sheep is trained to depend on the ubf shepherd for spiritual direction and life decision guidance. And the ubf shepherd then becomes dependent on the ubf sheep for affirmation of their spiritual value before God. Can you imagine the condition of a sheepless shepherd at ubf? In short, the ubf model of training is to make the teachers needed.
How to be a good Bible teacher. A friend shared on Facebook an extremely insightful and useful quote by C.S. Lewis from The Four Loves. I think that if all teachers and leaders understand and apply this quote, they will become the best teachers. This would certainly be true of Bible teachers, pastors and leaders in the church. Read this quote slowly and carefully: Continue reading →
Lacking nothing. I read Ps 23:1 this morning, which resonated with me. God is my Shepherd. I felt deeply that I truly lacked nothing, which is nothing but undeserved grace. I have virtually everything I could possibly ever need or want: Christ, my wife’s love, family, friends, church community, a passion for life, relationships, Scripture and the gospel…and not forgetting my three cats. Because the Lord is my shepherd, life felt so good, despite anything else that is happening. Continue reading →
Love. My dad died two decades ago in the mid-90s. My predominant memory of him is that he loved me dearly. When I was little boy he wrestled and bound me tightly so that I could not extricate myself from him. He released me only when I started crying loudly. He took me weekly to watch movies, especially Westerns. He bought me many toys. Once I wanted a whistle at a store. The seller would blow each whistle to test which whistle sounded the best and the loudest. But because he did this my dad ushered me away. He refused to buy me a whistle that someone else had put their unclean mouth to. This is a seemingly miniscule event. But somehow this is embedded in my memory as a story that my dad loves me and cares for me to the smallest detail. Continue reading →
Hey everyone, our website was down this evening for a while, 6/7/2014. I contacted our web host and found out there was a performance issue with the server we are hosted on. One of the causes was too much international traffic. So I’ve enrolled ubfriends.org in a worldwide optimizer solution provided by our webhost company. Now our content will be optimized for faster loading and zoomed around the world, as part of our hosting company’s global cloud network. That means our international readers in countries such as Russia, Ukraine, Germany and South Korea will be able to access ubfriends.org much faster and more reliably. We also get improved stats, additional spammer blocking and less downtime. This is a free service (but please buy my books if you want to financially support this website :) This is probably a good time to also share some helpful tech information.
I understand that I just asked a big question, and one that will certainly not be answered in this short article or on this forum. But it is a question that I think is worth discussing, and highly relevant to our discussions here lately about community. I’ve started to realize something rather amazing. The way I communicate with God has a lot to do with the way I communicate with other people. And thus my communicating with God affects my role in the communities I am participating in. I don’t have any great theological truth to dictate to you today. Nor do I have any grand answers to what some might rightly call an unanswerable question. I do however want to present a framework for a dicussion about a topic I feel is a relevant and highly exciting part of my journey recently. In Christian terms, the primary word for communicating with God is of course prayer.
This is NOT written about UBF. This is from Tough Topics by Sam Storms on legalism, which is related to my previous post: Galatians Set Me Free From Legalism.
You didn’t do what I want! “Legalism is the tendency to regard as divine law things that God has neither required nor forbidden in Scripture, and the corresponding inclination to look with suspicion on others for their failure or refusal to conform.”
Become my slave. “There are professing Christians, who are determined to bring you under their religious thumb. They are bent on making you a slave of their conscience. They have built a tidy religious box…and they strive to stuff you inside and make you conform to its dimensions. They are legalists, and their tools are guilt, fear, intimidation, and self-righteousness. They proclaim God’s unconditional love for you, but insist on certain conditions before including you among the accepted, approved elite of God’s favored few.” Continue reading →
As someone suggested, I decided to blog some of the content of my two books online. Each book is about 100 pages, so I decided to just blog important sections of each book. If you are struggling as a UBF member to understand what is happening to your life or if you are an ex UBF member who is suddenly faced with post-traumatic stress symptoms after leaving UBF, I urge you to consider reading my books. There is a lot going on at UBF ministry that has nothing to do with Christianity or the bible.
As a follow up to an article I didn’t write I think it only apt to say that Galatians Set Me Free From Legalism was the best article I never wrote. That aside, I brought this up with my friend Steven, a seminary graduate. We had a long conversation about my time in UBF and I discussed how I believed that my chapter supported a legalism that was not in line with Paul’s letter to the Galatians. I did not expect him to disagree with me.