The first three messages in the “2011 UBF Shepherd Missionary Seminar spirit, ministry, vision” book are as follows:
“What do these stones mean?” by Samuel H. Lee
“You are a royal priesthood” by John Jun
“A testimony to all nations” by Sarah Barry
First, “What do these stones mean?” (pages 7-10)
The first message is really just an opening address. The message is labelled as “World Mission Report 2011 Opening Address.” Based on Joshua 4:21-22, people are welcomed:
“At this 50th anniversary of our spiritual community I attribute all glory to God. I thank and praise God for blessing the 50th anniversary World Mission Report and renewing his call and vision for us to be “a royal priesthood”!
The attendants of the meeting are addressed as “…all of you who are here today are front-line, spiritual warriors and great builders of the kingdom of God. I love an respect you.”
The conclusion of this opening address is:
“I pray that we will be used as a kingdom of priests and a holy nation to send out missionaries to 140 unpioneered countries and 100,000 self-supporting tent-maker missionaries to 233 countries by 2041, and that God’s kingdom may come. I also pray that God will give the same grace to all of our UBF family members around the world who are not with us today.”
Second, “You are a royal priesthood” (pages 11-18)
The second message presents one path for UBF to follow the next 50 years: the path of being a royal priesthood. Such a priesthood is defined in the first sentence:
“We give thanks to God that he established UBF in 1961 and through the past 50 years, raised around 2,000 missionaries in 93 countries to serve world campus evangelism.”
Based on 1 Peter 2:9, this message exhorts UBF people to be a royal priesthood.
Part 1: The Lord made us a holy nation, a people belonging to God (9a,c).
“God’s nation also has its own nature and character. The unique character of the people of America is generosity, a can-do spirit, individualism, and pleasure seeking. The character of God’s people is holiness and purity. God’s people have been cleansed of their sins by the blood of Jesus. They have to live holy and pure lives unlike secular people in the world.” (pg 12-13)
“Some believers being tempted by sin, fail to live holy lives and end up being objects of criticism. Some live as shameful and secular people rather than as a holy nation. In particular, these days in the USA, many believers being influence by the world live disgraceful and dirty lives and are criticized by non-believers. Most spiritual leaders deplore this with one voice.” (pg 13)
Part 2: The Lord appointed us as a royal priesthood (9b)
“Look at verse 9b. “…a royal priesthood.” This verse tells us that our identity is as a king and priest like Melchizedek the king of Salem (Ge 14:18). Through spiritual union with Christ, believers reign over the whole world and at the same time, serve God as priests like Christ (Rev 5:10).” (pg 13)
The conclusion of this message is:
“UBF shepherds should continue to devote themselves to the task of a royal priesthood. I pray that we may renew the certificate of appointment as a royal priesthood from the Lord and faithfully fulfill our responsibility. I thank and praise the Lord who saved smelly sinners with the word and the Holy Spirit and appointed us as a royal priesthood. I praise the Lord that he has been using America as a kingdom of priests for the whole world. ” (pg 18)
Third, “A testimony to all nations” (pages 19-28)
This third message is the longest and presents a second path for UBF people to follow: the path of being a testimony to all nations. Of the three opening messages, this one is the most like what I might hear at a Christian conference. Based on Matthew 24:1-35 (not just a key verse but the whole passage), the message expounds on Matthew 24.
“As we celebrate our 50th anniversary, we give thanks to God. We are here to praise God for his gracious work in and among us. We are here to worship him. We are here to pray for one another and encourage one another. Through the blood of Jesus and by God’s grace alone we have forgiveness of sin. Through his resurrection, we have life and hope in the kingdom of God. We are ready to welcome and worship our King when he comes.” (pg 19)
Part 1: Jesus’ sorrow– Jerusalem destroyed
“In Matthew 21, Jesus entered Jerusalem as a humble king, riding on a donkey. He went first to the temple. He cleansed it. He drove out all those who were doing worldly business there. He rebuked the Pharisees for their hypocrisy. He wept over Jerusalem because it rejected God’s love and blessing.” (pg 20)
Part 2: The end of the age and Jesus’ second coming
“Jesus begins his answer to the question about signs with a warning: Do not be deceived. People who look only for signs are frequently deceived. Watch out that no one deceives you-false Messiah’s will come.” (pg 22)
“Like Noah, we should walk with God in prayer, listen to his word and be ready. Jesus will come like a thief in the night. He will come at a time when we do not expect him. Therefore, we should keep watch.” (pg 24)
Part 3: What God is doing in these times and what will he do?
“What is God doing? First, he is working to help his elect stand firm.” (pg 24)
“God’s elect are those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord.” (pg 24)
“We have ‘Roman Roads’ in our time too. We live in the world of the internet, satellite TV and radio; in the world of facebook and Twitter and Youtube.” (pg 26)
“Jesus keeps his promise. His coming is our glorious hope.” (pg 27)
Part 4: How can we respond to what God is doing?
“We can love God and love one another.” (pg 27)
“We are in Christ and he is in us. We can stand firm. May God use our lives as a testimony to the nations.” (pg 28)