Bob Young Resources

Bob Young

About Me

Thanks for visiting this website! This month's photo was taken in June 2014. I was in the city park in Ocotepeque, Honduras early on Sunday morning for a quick breakfast before going to church. Several wanted to know the reason for my presence in Ocotepeque. In the picture I am talking about the church and the desire to go back to the Bible. [Click picture to enlarge.]

early Sunday morning Bible study in the park

I am Jan's husband. This is her work as well as mine. My favorite breakfast is huevos fritos, frijoles, and tortillas, with a great hot sauce and a cup of good coffee! My greatest joy in life is being a part of the kingdom; my #1 priority is to advance "kingdom things" and 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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How Should We “Do” Church? (3)

July 16th, 2014

In two previous articles, I have suggested some changes that we must make in how we “do church”. These include a renewed focus on Christ, Scripture, and others; a commitment to the world around us and a commitment to discipleship and involvement rather than consumerism.

Because I am a minister, and have spent my life preparing for ministry, studying ministry, practicing ministry, and teaching ministry, I conclude with four observations for my friends in ministry. I hope by sharing these in a more public forum that I can also help the church understand ministry. Such is essential, because we have developed a model of church where ministry is focused at the top of a pyramid in church leaders and paid staff. We have paid lip service to the thought that “every member is a minister,” but we have not practiced it well in most places.

What kind of minister will help us answer the challenges before us? What kind of minister will help the church be church? What kind of minister will help us “do church” effectively. While many answers can be given, I focus on four commitments from my own life.

  • I want to be a minister that helps the church encounter and wrestle with Scripture as the very Word of God. The preacher must preach the word as it is, not as we have always thought it was. Bible study must be fresh and vibrant. We must study to learn, not just to reinforce what we have always thought.
  • I want to be a minister that lets people see and experience Jesus in their everyday lives. This begins in my personal life when I see and experience Jesus daily. The church will not advance beyond its leaders. I must seek the spiritual life; I must model genuine surrender to the priorities and call of God in my life.
  • I want to be a minister that understands and feels with the hurts of the world that God wants to save. I want to speak the language of our world and culture.  I want to be a viable voice in a world of conflicting siren songs. I want Jesus to have a voice.
  • I want to be a minister that releases Jesus to a waiting world. While we live in a secular world where many have rejected the church, there are many in this world who have not turned their back on Jesus. These are waiting for someone who can show them the reality of Jesus. I want to minister in that way, in a church that has caught the vision.

How Should We “Do” Church (2)

July 15th, 2014

[This blog is a continuation from yesterday. Here are some additional items to consider as we ask whether our focus is biblical and healthy.]

3.  We must focus on people more than task. We must know who we are, and not only what we must do. One can do the right things without being the right person. One cannot be the right person without doing the right things. Thus, we must move our focus from rules to relationships. We must focus on intimacy more than issues. People matter to God. The Sabbath was made for us, not us for the Sabbath. This priority will change your life. God is calling us to togetherness in Christ.

4.  We must focus externally more than internally. What we do as Christians, both down at the church house and in our daily lives, is not about us. It is all about God. It is about God’s desire and plan in this world. Thus, we must move our focus from the church (club) to the community. We must see God’s purpose in our world. We must learn to think glocally (both global and local). We must focus on God more than self.

5.  We must focus on genuine discipleship. You can be a member of most churches of Christ by doing nothing more than attending a time or two each month. You may be able to be a member of the church with such antics, but you cannot be a disciple of Jesus Christ! Discipleship is demanding. Discipleship is hard. Discipleship calls us to discomfort, and giving up self, and cross-bearing, and priorities that are not natural is our world. Discipleship calls our focus away from personal needs, possessions, prestige and prominence, power, and even parents. How should we do church? We should say to one another, because it is what the Bible says, that being a Christian is demanding. You cannot just “get by.” You cannot be half-hearted. Faithfulness is not something that is turned on and off. A Christian everywhere, or a Christian nowhere. Ever a Christian or never a Christian. Christianity changes more than our Sunday schedule.

6.  We must focus on involvement. We must move our focus from consumerism to involvement. The question is not, “what will the church do for me?”, but “what will I do for the church?” (to paraphrase the famous phrase of John F. Kennedy). We are not here to be consumers, and we must not guide our outreach and evangelism by encouraging others to become religious consumers. Church is not about getting comfortable. Jesus came to afflict the comfortable and to comfort the afflicted. We should call people to become Christians, and to live that out daily. Discipleship is daily.

7.  We must focus outside the building. This is not easy. We have built religious centers that attract few. We have put up steeples to say, “Here is religion; here is the church.” God is calling us to be light and salt and leaven in our world. He is not calling us to see how many people we can get inside a building; he is calling us to see how many Christians we can get into our communities and world to provide an example of transformation and spiritual reality.

I hope we have the heart to learn how to do church right. If we fail in answering the call of Jesus in our contemporary world, I fear that we are destined to nothingness, and that more quickly than we can imagine.

How Should We “Do” Church? (1)

July 14th, 2014

A preacher friend of mine and I were visiting about the greeting program at the church where he ministers. He wanted to make some changes to insure a better contact with visitors. His problem? The same deacon had organized the greeters and the greeting program for a long time. It was generally ineffective. My preacher friend couldn’t make any headway against some strong opposition to improvement and change. The only solution we saw was to let the current program continue to function and institute a new parallel program that would do essentially the same thing, only better.

In the course of our conversation, he mentioned a conversation with a minister friend. His friend works in ministry outside the churches of Christ. His friend was trying to help him understand why the churches of Christ are plateaued or declining in growth and are generally ineffective in touching our current world. The comment of his friend was revealing: “You guys have the best preaching in the world. You know how to preach; you know how to work with the text. You just don’t know how to do church!”

You may not agree with this objective assessment from a person who understands ministry and is able to see us with unbiased eyes from a vantage point outside us. My worry is that he may be right. How should we do church? When we come together for worship, are our shared activities informed by Scripture (we would like to think so), by the world about us (God forbid!), or by a body of tradition and habit that has arisen over a long time (the most likely answer).
That this is generally true of our churches becomes more obvious when one spends a little time on the mission field. Our brothers and sisters in other places do a lot of things differently than we do. Visiting the mission field is fresh and vibrant. When I visit other places, I am challenged and encouraged.

Think with me. How must we change?
1.  We must focus on Christ. We must move from our historic focus on church to focus on Christ. Our allegiance is to Christ. He will never disappoint us. He is always the answer–to a whole host of problems. Christ is perfect; the church is imperfect. We are human. The church is not the goal, Christ is the goal. My little children, I suffer the pangs of birth for you, until Christ be formed in you. We conform our lives to Christ. He is our example and model. The model is not the NT church; the model is Christ. The church is the means to the end. This doesn’t mean we never talk about the church. You cannot have Christ without the church. But our focus is Christ. We must focus on Scripture more than tradition. We read the Scripture through the rose-colored glasses of our heritage and our traditions. We cannot change the slightest thing. We have lost freedom in Christ, exchanging it for a box of our own making.

2.  We must focus on others more than self. We must move from self-centeredness to others-centeredness. Christ did not come to the healthy, but to the sick. He did come to rescue saved people; he came to seek and save the lost. Frankly, what we do is mostly for us. We do what we do because we like it and are comfortable doing it. I could make a long list of things that we could do that would not contradict Scripture, but we will not do them because they contradict our traditions and move us outside our comfort zone.

Answering the Call: Surrendering to what counts

July 13th, 2014

You will never be worth much to God in your Christian life until you learn to surrender to what counts. The spiritual disciplines must include surrender.  In fact, surrender may be first, the foundation of every other discipline. Surrender is the ultimate expression of thinking like Jesus (Philippians 2:5). Until we learn the lesson of complete surrender, we will continue to think it is about us and that success depends on us.  Until we learn the lesson of complete surrender, we will not likely become effective servants (slaves) in Jesus’ kingdom.
Do not be confused.  I am not talking about surrender to the minutiae, trivial, or urgent. These are hardly ever worth being the focus of our lives.

Surrendering to what counts is not easy–because a plethora of tasks, good projects, and commendable activities call for our attention. The choice of the best over the better or the good is seldom seen or done without extraordinary effort. Can you see reality, what is really #1? That is the only thing worth giving our lives for.
Surrendering to what counts will cause us to discard as unimportant the things the world teaches us to value. Cross-carrying: that is how Jesus defines surrender. Cross-carrying as Jesus describes and demands will demote self-promotion, possessions, reputation, and the accolades of others.
Surrendering to what counts opens new doors of genuine service and effectiveness in the Kingdom, because all that matters is the business of the King.

God, help us this day to surrender ourselves fully. Help us to identify the things that really matter in life. May we surrender ourselves to what counts, because of the majesty of the One we know as Lord, through whom we come before your throne, Amen.

It’s Sunday Again: Joy

June 8th, 2014

Most people in this world want to be happy. There may be a few scrooges who relish negativism and pessimism, but in my experience such people are the exception. Are we looking for happiness in the wrong places? Many seek happiness in possessions, experiences, work, relationships, prestige, or popularity. John wrote to struggling Christians near the end of the first century, “so that joy might be complete.” What did he write?

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life–the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us–that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.” (1 John 1:1-4, ESV)

“Dear God, as we today contemplate afresh the testimony of eyewitnesses–the resurrected Jesus, the certainty of eternal life through him, and the beauty of sharing life in Him and through Him, teach us rejoicing. Bring joy to our lives in the midst of disappointments and regrets. Give us confidence that nothing that we experience as part of life in this fallen world can separate us from your love. May being reminded of your inexpressible love bring us this day inexpressible joy. Our lives have been forever changed by your immeasurably rich grace–may our new life be continually transformed into the image of Jesus, through whom we pray, Amen.”

It’s Sunday Again: With Pedro Sanchez, my “socio”

May 4th, 2014

Today I will worship in English at the early service; I will immediately go to the Iglesia de Cristo (Spanish church of Christ) and share a time of Bible study and worship. My good friend and brother, Pedro Sanchez, an elder and evangelist from the Nogales church in Santiago, Chile is in Tulsa. The three days we have to spend some time together will seem too little.
Pedro is unique; praise be to God that he is an elder helping train more church leaders and elders. He has a unique grasp of the word of God. He is vibrant, emotional, powerful in the Word of God.

Being with brothers and sisters is one of the things I most look forward to every Sunday. Each one encourages me and strengthens my faith. Those I get to spend less time with are not more special–but the times we share seem more precious because there are fewer of them. Today I will celebrate my gracious God and what he has done for me in Christ. I will also celebrate the beauty of God’s family, and the beauty of each Christian who crosses my path to show me God’s power.

It’s Sunday Again: I will worship

May 4th, 2014

The last twelve psalms of Book II (Psalms 61-72) deserve to be better known than they are in the contemporary church. A personalized reading of the psalm instills in me the desire to worship God with all of my being, committed to praise.

Hear me, O God, listen to my prayer; I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against every enemy. Let me dwell in your house forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! You, O God, have heard my vows; you have given me a heritage among those who fear your name. Prolong my life; may my influence endure to all generations! As a son of royalty, may I reign forever with my God; appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch over me! I will ever sing praises to your name, I will do what I say I will do to bring you glory and honor day after day.

“Dear Heavenly Father, hear us as we call to you. When we are faint and weak, nurture us and protect us, be our refuge and strong tower. We want to know your protection and presence eternally as we walk in the paths of faith. Bless us with the needs of this world, but even more we ask the spiritual blessing of your protecting love and faithfulness. We praise and honor you; we ask your help and forgiveness as we seek to live out in faith our commitment. Today, we worshipfully come into your presence by faith with total adoration and praise, declaring your supremacy, majesty, and splendor, praying In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

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