In Manila, I am witnessing a vibrant work of the Holy Spirit in Philippines UBF, which I have not experienced in 32 years as a Christian in UBF USA. John Baik’s recent report of El Camino UBF from 2/28/2012 is encouraging and inspiring with many Americans coming to Christ and being fired up for evangelization through 1:1 Bible study. With UBF Founder Samuel Lee serving my fellowship at UIC, I personally experienced many UIC students becoming Christians in the late 80s and 90s who committed themselves to living for mission. But this influx of students and new Christians has not continued in the past 1 to 2 decades. Why? What, if anything, can be done?
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We Christians want a revival in our own ministries, churches, nation and world. But no revival happens corporately before it happens individually. No revival happens in non-Christians unless it first happens in Christians. In Isa 6:1-7 Isaiah saw God who is holy and a revival began in him. No revival ever happens without seeing the (“triple”) holy God (Isa 6:3; Rev 4:8). Meeting God transformed him from a “regular” believer to a “revived” believer. There are at least 4 signs of revival in Isaiah (4 ways to assess whether or not there is a revival in ourselves). Continue reading →
This is my response to your report “How to Read and Study the Bible” which you gave at our 2005 summer conference. Please accept this as constructive criticism from an informed source. I know a great deal about you, more than you realize. And my existence and prosperity depend on you.
When you said those things in your report, you spoke with an air of certainty and conviction. You tried to sound as though you were declaring absolute truth directly from God’s mouth. Face it: those declarations were applause lines. To that audience, they made your message “powerful.” But none of them are absolutes. For each of those statements, an informed reader of the Bible could give counterexamples. Real life and the Bible are more complicated than you suggest.
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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Recently I finished reading the book “Once An Arafat Man” by Tass Saada. I found his true-life story to be immensely helpful, hopeful and inspiring. I would like to share a brief review and his concluding points about how to find peace between two factions. Tass Saada was once a Fata fighter. He was a Muslim extremist fighting for what he believed was right. His story is astounding and breathtaking. Here are a few quotes from reviews to set the stage for his “Roadmap to Peace”.
No one can approach the Bible without bias. Our understanding of Scripture is shaped by our culture and traditions, personality, history, relationships and commitments. To say this is to simply to acknowledge a fact. Humans are inherently subjective. Our subjectivity is not the result of sin. It is rooted in who we are, creatures who live in particular places and times. None of us can see as God sees.
Growth requires that we acknowledge this subjectivity. A person who is emotionally and spiritually mature knows many of his own prejudices and understands where they came from. He will allow his prejudices to be examined and challenged as he engages in respectful dialogue with those who see things differently from him.
This is based on a fascinating 9 min video by Father Robert Barron about how he would teach his seminary students as the new President of Mundalein Seminary, which is one of the largest seminaries in the U.S. How would he communicate to his seminarians the principles of evangelizing our culture today? His 5 points below of excitement, knowledge, audience, culture, and TGIF certainly fully apply to all UBF leaders, preachers and Bible teachers who want to reach and touch others for Christ effectively in this generation.
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