Grace (Eph 2:8-9; Tit 2:11). Love (Jer 31:3; Gal 2:20; 1 Jn 4:19). Election, i.e., being chosen (Jn 15:16) before the creation of the world (Eph 1:4), and saved and called before the beginning of time (2 Tim 1:9). If this is not predominant and preeminent in my thoughts and emotions, then everything else that I am thankful for feels far less great, or may not mean as much as it should.
My dear wife who has put up with me for 32 years and counting. The fact that she still loves me in spite of me is a daily living reminder of the gospel to me. This story of a husband who was going to divorce his wife is touching and meaningful; it expresses just how much he hurt his wife of 10 years because he now loved another woman. Continue reading →
When I asked, What is the central theme of your life, Brian answered and explained why his center is justice, which is a crucial center for God (Gen 18:25; Dt 32:4; Ps 9:7-8) and Jesus (Mt 12:18-21; Isa 42:1-4). As I wondered why I and so many love The Hunger Games, I think a major reason is that it cries out for justice by those who are oppressed and humiliated. A prominent biblical theme is that our God is a God of justice and he hears the cries of the poor, the widows, the fatherless, the foreigners, the helpless and the oppressed (Dt 10:18; 24:19) and he beckons to rescue them (Ex 2:24-25).
I am reading John Frame’s magnum opus–Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief. It is 1,220 pages. I am surprised that I am enjoying reading it. My first of many reflections is to ask, “What is the central theme of your life?” “What is the central theme of Jesus’ life?” I thought of this because Frame wrote that many theological writers have one theme around which they structure their writings.
- Martin Luther (1483-1546): justification by faith alone.
- John Calvin (1509-1564): the sovereignty of God.
- Immanuel Kant (1724-1804): ethics.
- Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834): feeling. Continue reading →
“ But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. “ (NIV)
This is for all those who preached grace and talked grace, but held onto some forms of legalism in the deep crevices of their hearts. This is my story and I pray it may set free, someone who was struggling as I was. This one is for you!
Not to distract from bigbear’s important letter to Cincinnati UBF and to UBF at large and his first post (kudos!), my post provides some levity and counter-programming. On Fri my wife Christy and I went to see Gravity which I thoroughly enjoyed. Christy felt stress and didn’t like it. She even said, “There’s no story line,” which shocked me! Despite her being quite unimpressed, Gravity will be nominated for major awards and Sandra Bullock might win her second best actress Academy Award following The Blind Side.
Dear Cincinnati UBF and all in UBF:
It has been over a year and slowly God has revealed to me the truth about UBF and it’s practices. UBF is abusive to families and to children and to many students in the name of raising disciples and living under the dome of truth. I could write a fifth book about all the abuses that I have personally suffered under you as God’s servant and the bad theology and the anti-family mentality in the framework of UBF. It is hard to see this truth while living under the leadership of UBF but I saw it in Cincinnati and was afraid to speak out because of the control and because I was taught to never forget God’s grace which was more of a control mechanism than a love for God.
Recently I shared a two-part article about what was happening in Toledo UBF. In part 1, I shared how the Toledo UBF members tore down the old center building that James Kim had built and how 7 families, 38 people, 282 years of committment from American leaders was lost in a short time period. In part 2, I shared several thoughtful, heartfelt and restrained responses from my friends who left the ministry around the same time my family did. This week Toledo UBF finally responded. A generic form letter was sent to several of those people who had shared in my “part 2” article. We each got the same letter. Here is my public reaction.
Ronwad Thicke made this interesting comment about my attendance at Samuel Lee’s memorial service last month: “…most of you continue to engage in this form of idolatry. Even Mr. Toh, who–for all his recent enlightened and reformed thinking–still cannot help but fall on his own sword for Samuel Lee…”
Though I do not know who Ronwad Thicke is, I usually enjoy responding to comments made about me, especially those that are not complementary, because they are simply a lot of fun. I especially love his statement that I “still cannot help but fall on (my) own sword for Samuel Lee.” By the way, I think that some traditional UBFers would love such a statement, though I seriously doubt that they would believe that it is true of me! Anyway, here is my brief response. Continue reading →
Word clouds are fascinating to me. For example, copy and paste some text into wordle.net and you’ll be able to create a visual image of the most repeated words in the text. Someone did this with the bible, and found the word “Lord” is the most repeated word in the bible. I’ve since found a renewed interest in bible study through asking such questions. For example, what is the most repeated command in the bible? Many have done this research and found the most repeated command to be: do not be afraid! “Fear not” is the Lord’s repeated command throughout Scripture.
I am reviewing a new book Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret by Larry Osborne for Cross Focused Reviews. Osborne is a senior pastor at North Coast Church, a megachurch of 9,000, in San Diego County. He speaks extensively on leadership and spiritual formation. He is the author of many books and a consultant to non-profit and business leaders.
The book, which I recommend reading, addresses reasons why churches and organizations stop growing and what can be done about it.
Stuck in the past. Continue reading →