Authority and Common Sense

rOne unspoken rule I have noticed in traditional UBF chapters is there is this idea that life decisions and choices must be approved by a pastor or shepherd before being undertaken. When directly asked this a shepherd will reply “You are free. Everything is permissible.” But then under his breath he adds “But not beneficial unless I say so.” I have not reacted well to this idea, because it seems insane to me. Recently I heard of a young man who broke his chapter leader’s directive and later when the young man protested this idea that things must be approved, he was told it was not a rule, but rather it was “common sense”.

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Sometimes we need Hero and Villain

mSometimes theologians and church people forget how culture expresses the “spirit of the times” and that such expressions can have something profound to teach the church. Often that great enemy, the secular world, is seen as entirely bad and merely a means to our mission. We forget there are human beings in that world, remarkable human beings who also have discovered amazing truths. So it is with the latest Disney movie Maleficent.

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Forests Proposes A Toast

dSeeing as I was in such a rush to have dinner with Ben Toh, I failed to give a toast to my roommate and Ben West. I have chosen to present my toast a few days late and a dollar short. I have posted it on the internet because nothing that is put on the internet can die. It’s kinda like Jesus in a way- except with way more pornography. Without further adieu I present my toast:
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Six Stages of Training

cBen’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.

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Good Teachers Make Themselves Unneeded

LewisNoLongerNeedHow 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 →

God, Not Man, As Shepherd

psalm-23-1Lacking 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 →

He Is

This video is stunning and amazing.s

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My Dad

dadI am working on my sermon next Sun with the theme of Father for Father’s day. Then I began thinking about my dad.

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 →

Admin: Technology update

tHey 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.

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How do you communicate with God?

pI 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.

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