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Bob Young

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Thanks for visiting our website! The photo this month is from February 2016--I always feel extremely blessed to be invited to speak in chapel when I visit Baxter Institute in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. [Click picture to enlarge.]

speaking in devotional at Baxter

Ministry has always been a team effort--Jan and I have shared the work of ministry and missions for 46+ years! In addition to the customary "Brother Bob," I am also known as dad and papaw. My favorite breakfast is huevos fritos, frijoles, and tortillas, with a good hot sauce and a cup of quality coffee! My greatest joy in life is being part of the kingdom; my #1 priority is to advance "kingdom things" and help develop "kingdom people." I seek to serve and share the good news about Jesus everywhere I go. One of the greatest blessings of my life is to be loved by so many people around the world!

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May 2016, Peru Mission–Modeling God’s Purpose for Missions

May 16th, 2016

Mission is guided by God’s purpose. It has the goal of bringing people to a saving relationship with God through Jesus and keeping that relationship strong and growing in the context of shared faith. God’s mission work advances God’s purpose for salvation and the development of the spiritual body of Christ.

Four important mission principles are (1) that the effort be locally-led as soon as possible, (2) that it be participatory, with the involvement of the local church, (3) that it be outreach-oriented, and (4) that it has a vision for making disciples who make disciples.

Over the next 2 weeks, I will—
*Teach principles of mission, ministry and evangelism at IBI (Bible Institute)
*Teach at the Peru national conference of church leaders and preachers, developing preachers, leaders and members in the churches
*Work with churches around Trujillo, evangelism campaign, healthy church development, spiritual maturity
*Work with about 15 churches in Huamachuco: healthy leaders, healthy churches, evangelism

We must discern God’s plan for mission. Often we develop a plan without asking if it is God’s plan, or how it fits into and is consistent with God’s plan. I am committed to duplicating and advancing biblical models of mission:
*Going to new areas where there is no church to help establish a New Testament church
*Encouraging new churches and helping to share the Good News
*Going to established churches to work on healthy church dynamics and leadership
*Training others to do these things

From my Mother: Wealth

May 8th, 2016

Happy Mother’s Day! If your mother is still living, count your blessings this day.

My mother collected little thoughts and sayings. She had many little pieces of paper, some cut out of a church bulletin, others where she had written down something she had heard or read. She put these scraps of paper everywhere–in the textbooks from which she taught, in her Bible, in the multiplied books of poetry and inspiration she collected. Today I share one that I heard her recite on several different occasions, one that she had written out in her own hand. It is slightly edited from Walter Lewis Smith’s “Fulfillment.”

I have planted a garden, so I know what faith is,
I have seen birch trees swaying in the breeze so I know what grace is,
I have listened to birds caroling, so I know what music is.
I have seen a morning without clouds, after a shower, so I know what beauty is.
I have read a book beside a wood fire, so I know what contentment is.
I have seen the miracle of the sunset, so I know what grandeur is,
And because I have perceived all these things, I know what wealth is.

It’s Sunday Again: I Am, Therefore I Act

April 17th, 2016

We spend a lot of energy in the church trying to get people to do what they ought to do. We study motivation–we encourage, we scold, we “lay on” guilt trips. We have missed a basic truth of Scripture. I am, therefore I act. One cannot get “faith actions” out of “unfaith” people. According to James 2, faith acts. If faith is present, actions follow. If actions are lacking, faith is lacking. My actions tell others who I am. My identity comes first–my actions follow. My actions are consistent with my identity. If I am a person of faith, that faith clearly defines my loyalties and allegiances, priorities and purpose. I do what I am made to do, what I am intended to do, what I must do to live a consistent life (without internal conflicts which lead to doubts).

A great need in the church is the development of genuine faith that determines the nature and actions of our lives in every circumstance. Paul told the Corinthian church that Christians are “compelled by Christ.” Christ is our life. Christ is our identity. Some churches have spent a lot of energy developing mission statements–statements of desired or intended actions. The best of those mission statements begin with identity statements: we are…. Identity statements must precede mission statement. Identity precedes planning. “This is who we are, therefore, this is what we do.” Churches that fail to develop plans are in danger of losing their identity.

Too many Christians live in an “identity crisis.” We think of ourselves as “church members” but have little interest in becoming disciples. We have made it easier to be a member (be baptized) than to be a disciple (total commitment of all I am and do and have). People are baptized but worship only sporadically. We misunderstand: baptism is invitation to forgiveness, commitment and community. We use the word Christian impotently. Some are called Christians (or call themselves Christians) who little resemble Christ. Some who call themselves Christians jump in and out of church like it was a social club or automobile association. Genuine Christians are not “in it” for the benefits. Genuine Christians are “in it” because of who they are, or more accurately, who they have become through the transformation effected in Christ and by Christ.

When people look at our lives–what we do–do they take note that we have been with Jesus?

It’s Sunday Again: Taking Church for Audit

April 3rd, 2016

Twenty years after I graduated from college with my bachelor’s degree, I decided to go back to school to earn a master’s degree. My Hebrew was a little rusty (OK, very rusty!) so I decided to audit a Hebrew course at the local university. There are two ways to audit a course. The first way to audit a course is not demanding—you go to class, you sit and listen, but you don’t have to do anything during the class or during the week between classes. You have the advantage of sitting in class, along with a more relaxed attendance policy, no tests, no compulsion to do homework, and you still get an AU on your transcript. The problem is that when you audit a course that way, you don’t learn much and you can’t do much when you finish. There is a second way to audit a course. You attend every class; you do all of the homework and the teacher grades it. You take the non-mandatory tests to measure your progress. You put pressure on yourself. You benefit, you learn, you grow, you are changed, you act. My ultimate goal in auditing the Hebrew course was to be able to do something—read Hebrew using a minimum of helps. The class was not the goal—the goal was what could occur when I finished the class.

A lot of folks are auditing church using the first method. They sit in class (church) sixty minutes every week, unless something else comes up. They are fulfilling the minimum requirements of their religious audit. They are mostly present, but they are content to let someone else do the studying. A week or two later, they cannot pass a test over the class content (preaching). They do not bring their textbook to class, they do not do any homework between classes; they are not diligent students of God’s Word. They are content to let someone else pray for them—-they leave with the same prayer life they came with. They are content to let others prepare, study, pray, and do the work–before class, during class, and after class.

How can you tell the difference between the academic auditor and the serious student? How can you tell the difference between the church auditor and the serious Christian? Just as in my Hebrew class, the difference is in the results. My goal was to read Hebrew. My success or lack of success was measured by reading Hebrew. Going to church is a good thing, but it is not the ultimate goal. Our commitment to the goal is reflected in how seriously we pursue the course—studying, participating in the discussion group, sharing, practicing, and reviewing. And ultimately, the goal is reflected in how we live, what we do, and how much our lives look like Jesus as a result of our encounter with the Master Teacher.

It’s Sunday Again: “Spiritual”

March 13th, 2016

“I love worship at that church–they are so spiritual….Those are such spiritual men….She is so spiritual.” We talk about it a lot. We think we know what it is. Spiritual–what do we mean? What makes worship or a person or a Bible class spiritual? The idea of being spiritual and the word spirituality are not used frequently in Scripture. What does the Bible say?
The New Testament book that mentions spirituality most often is First Corinthians, a book that is
largely corrective. Spirituality is the opposite of carnality. The context has to do with the influences that guide or control my life. The influences of our human nature are natural, worldly, carnal. The influences of the divine nature or God-image are spiritual.
In First Corinthians (3:2-5), the marks of the human nature are (1) drinks a lot of milk, (2) does not eat much meat and often cannot digest meat, (3) causes or gets involved in envy and strife, (4) mostly lives like the rest of humankind, (5) is divisive in the sense of failing to be a force for uniting, accepting and including. Spirituality is the opposite.
Of course, Paul is not talking about physical food but about spiritual food. A spiritual person digests spiritual food and is nourished by it daily. A spiritual person does not treat the Bible superficially. A spiritual person knows how to to resolve conflict and be a unifying influence. A spiritual person not only deflects strife, such a person knows how to disarm strife. A spiritual person lives by a different value system.
To let the Bible speak, what is spirituality? Paul’s use of the word mentions six things.

  • How you treat others, you always treat others right, 3:1ff
  • Accepting, honoring, and living under Christ’s Lordship, 12:3ff
  • Healthy relationships with all other parts of the body, 12:14ff
  • Demonstrates love, even in the difficult moments, 13:1ff
  • Always building up rather than tearing down, 14:19ff
  • Respect for Scripture, so that every action is guided by God’s ultimate will, 14:37ff
  • The genuinely spiritual person is most easily seen and identified in the difficult moments of life. Spiritual people–treat others right and do what is right, even when it is very hard; develop healthy relationships with the difficult persons, the EGR (extra grace required) people to use a Warren concept; show love to the unlovable; always encourage, involve, include and edify, demonstrating that they are second-mile people; are guided by Scripture, applying Bible principles and honoring God’s ultimate purpose when the lack of specifics can be used to justify doing what everyone else would do.

    It’s Sunday Again: “Letters from an Old Man”

    March 6th, 2016

    Reading Paul’s latter letters, he was probably 60+, perhaps nearing 70. What does an old man see when he looks back on life? Here is only a sampling! What God’s Word says is important–it leads to health and wholeness. God gives instructions, principles, and values–do not get hung up on the what and ignore the why and how. Many Christians do not look much like pilgrims focused on a heavenly homeland–they have bought the lands, houses, and stuff of this world. The contemporary church is too infrequently counter-cultural, too many are guided by the world’s expectations and seek to attract with human words and ideas. Spiritual comes in many forms–God’s spirituality is a rare commodity.

    [Wednesday night class, Park Plaza Church of Christ, “Letters from an Old Man”, Mar-Apr-May, begins this week.]

    It’s Sunday Again: Valentine’s Day, Love and Power

    February 14th, 2016

    We talk about love but do not understand it. We love love, we do not live love.

    Love and power are opposites. They do not coexist. When I operate from power, love is not on display. A bad question: “Who’s going to rule the house?” Another bad question: “Who runs this church?”

    Understand the contrast, difference, relationship of love and power. The one who loves most has the least power and the most authority. Power does not resolve marital problems, kid problems, church problems. Power ends in abuse. Love casts out fear because it casts out power relationships. Power casts out love. Not sure? Read 1 Cor. 13.

    Jesus said power would not be the model among his followers, Mark 10:45, “not so among you.” The home and the church are not driven, not power, not rule and regimentation, domination, control. Power plays should not work. Two basic approaches—use the right one; do not be seduced by power. Power may accomplish the task but it is a shortcut. Jesus rejected that approach in his temptations.

    Love is God’s attraction. Society doesn’t understand it. The macho approach is wrong—period! The world must see love; wives, husbands, children, church members must know love, especially when we are unloveable. The cure to every problem is God’s amazing grace.

    Power is human. Psychology catalogs appetites and needs–survival, belong, accomplishment. One strong will is the lust to power. Tenacity and will to control, dominate, rule, have our own way, receive recognition.

    Forgiveness is a demonstration of love. You cannot forgive and then run over someone like a steam roller. Some preachers, church leaders like to scold and whip and spank and punish. You cannot build a person, family, or church on power. You build on love.

    How Jesus demonstrated his love. -1- No reputation/ego; totally centered in well-being of the other. -2- unselfish, -3- humble service to meet needs of others.

    God’s love. God out there loved me, came down here, picked up the towel, washed feet, served. Can we be ministers of reconciliation, forgive, forget, unify, work, grow, build together—on the basis of love not power.

    Love never fails. It conquers where power fails. It is greater force. The cross stands for love. Fill your space with a sweet spirit, amazing grace; be salt on the earth and light in the world. Blessed by the love of God, guided by the love of God, offering others the love of God.

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