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Bob Young

About Me

Thanks for visiting this website! This month's photo was taken in September 2014. During my mission trip to Nicaragua, I had to privilege of speaking on the national television program, "Nicaragua For Christ." Pictured with me is Miguel Nicanor, 2013 Baxter graduate and host of the program. [Click picture to enlarge.]

national TV in Nicaragua

I am Jan's husband; this is her work as well as mine. I am also dad and papaw. 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 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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Christmas Hymns-1

December 20th, 2014

I am part of a religious tradition which has been known historically for its tendency to avoid celebrating December 25 as the birthday of Christ. That preference, often rising to the level of a doctrinal stance, has brought at least two results. First, we are not familiar with the wonderful variety of Nativity hymnody which exists. Two, to avoid the appearance of acknowledging or celebrating December 25 as the birthday of Christ, we generally sing the familiar songs which we do know at times other than the Christmas season.
As a former music major, I share over the next several days various carols or portions of carols, some longer and some shorter, some only excerpts, which suggest the rich depth of Christmas carols. I begin today with selections from three songs.

What babe new born is this that in a manger cries?
Near on her lowly bed his happy mother lies.
Oh, see the air is shaken with white and heavenly wings –
This is the Lord of all the earth, this is the King of Kings.
–Richard Watson Gilder, A Christmas Hymn (st. 4)

This is the month, and this the happy morn,
Wherein the Son of Heaven’s eternal King,
Of wedded maid and virgin mother born,
Our great redemption from above did bring,
For so the holy sages once did sing,
That He our deadly forfeit should release,
and with His Father work us a perpetual peace.
–John Milton, Hymn – On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity

God rest ye, little children; let nothing you affright,
For Jesus Christ, your Saviour, was born this happy night;
Along the hills of Galilee the white flocks sleeping lay,
When Christ, the Child of Nazareth, was born on Christmas Day.
–Dinah Maria Mulock (used pseudonym, Mrs. Craik), Christmas Carol (st. 2)

Christmas 2014: Peace, Hope, and Fear

December 19th, 2014

In order to talk about the joy and peace of the Christmas season, and the hope that inevitably springs forth at the beginning of a New Year, we must first talk about fear. Peace is only a blessing when we recognize how desperately we need it. Hope is only hopeful when we recognize the hopelessness of our current circumstances. These require that we identify the things we fear and why we fear them.

We all have fears—things that we keep ourselves from thinking about, things we can’t stop thinking about, and things that cause us to tear up just at the thought. The Christmas story, though, answers our worst fears and gives us hope: Christ is with us through it all.
The reality of the gospel, Christ’s death and resurrection, buoys our spirits with new hope.

Sort out the fears of your heart and allow faith to conquer them and drive you to Christ.

It’s Sunday Again: Knowing the Jesus who Gives Life [John’s Gospel]

December 7th, 2014

John paints a wonderful and amazing portrait of Jesus. Jesus comes to make possible “life.” John’s theme song is not salvation. (In fact salvation is not among the most common New Testament words. Salvation is little and infrequently used in the New Testament–rather interesting given the vocabulary of popular preachers today. Especially for John, Jesus is much more than mere Savior.)

Jesus is the cosmic Lord! (1:1-4) As the Word, the revelation of God, he is what makes sense of life (logic).

Jesus is the incarnation of God, the incarnate Lord, becoming flesh, the very embodiment of the God of grace and truth (1:14ff).

This cosmic leader in the battle of conflicting worlds focuses the genuine nature of life (or the nature of genuine life), a life that continues through his presence through the Comforter. Thus he is our leader in conflict.

Jesus is the Lord of comfort, in his presence and words, and in the Holy Spirit comforter.

Jesus is the coming Lord. That which ties the story together is the fact that Jesus is the going and coming Lord. The gospel of John is ultimately a story of descent and ascent, coming down and lifting up. This process leads to the real goal of life: not glory which calls attention to self and is based on our accomplishments, but glory to God and glory given to us by God.

It’s Sunday Again: Knowing the Jesus who came for everyone [Luke’s Gospel]

November 30th, 2014

Do You Know My Jesus? Do you know the Jesus who came for everyone?  Good questions, and foundation for understanding the Gospels of Jesus.

  • Matthew’s portrait of Jesus is of royalty–the Jewish Messiah (Christ, Anointed One) who comes as King in the Kingdom of God, but a different kind of King, benevolent and persuasive rather than coercive, a king who is also servant of all.

  • Mark’s picture is of a suffering servant who bridges the divide between God and humanity–Son of God and Son of Man.

  • John paints a cosmic picture, bigger than this world, bigger than life, pointing to genuine life
  • Against the other gospels, Luke’s picture of Jesus often seems plodding and deliberate. Long chapters, long verses, the longest Gospel, packed with unique stories despite being identified as one of the Synoptic Gospels with obvious parallels to Matthew and Mark. All of that plays into the picture Luke provides:  Jesus is for Everyone! He is Messiah, Lord, Savior. He is “for” us. He seeks to save all who are lost. He comes for everyone–rich and poor, the “ins” and the “outs”. He cares for the outcasts of first-century Jewish and Roman society–women, children, tax-collectors, half-breeds (Samaritans), beggars, people who have made mistakes.  He comes teaching and demonstrating prayer, the gift of God’s Spirit, the spirit of universal care and concern and compassion and salvation.

    The Gospel of Luke is not always easy reading–but it’s worth it! Especially if you need a reminder that the story of Jesus applies to YOU! It is both eye-opening and heart-opening (but that’s another theme that I encourage you to discover for yourself).

    It’s Sunday Again: People Jesus Touched [Gospel of Mark]

    November 23rd, 2014

    When I present seminars on Mark’s Gospel, I like to include a series of lessons I call, “People Jesus Touched.”  Many of these lessons come from Mark 5-8.  [Outline Note: Mark 1-4 answers the question, “Who is Jesus?”  Mark 5:1-8:21 asks, “Who can be a follower of Jesus?”  Mark 8:22-10:52, deals with the question, “What does following Jesus look like?”]

    Jesus came touching people.  He came helping and healing the hurting and hungry.  He confronted the powers of demons, was compassionate when doctors had taken advantage, and bold in the face of ridicule.  He gently guided his disciples to new understandings.  He understood fear, admitted its reality, and used it as a beginning point to generate faith.  He called the Pharisees on the carpet when tradition got in the way of caring for people.  He touched the untouchable, he reached out to the unreachable. He rescued, healed, saved.
    As people thronged about him, he saw the results of sin’s entry into the world–illness and infirmity, sickness and sorrow, hopelessness and hunger.  He sighed.  He hurt when others hurt.  That his heart was touched may explain his reason for touching others with healing and salvation.

    Two thoughts echo in my mind during this week:  I am grateful that Jesus has touched me and continually touches me; I wonder whom Jesus wants me to touch.

    It’s Sunday Again: Seeking Kingdom Things [Matthew’s Discourses]

    November 16th, 2014

    What does the Gospel of Matthew reveal about the Kingdom? How does one seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness?

    Matthew’s Gospel has five major discourses or teaching sections. These are clearly marked in the text by parallel concluding phrases (Mt. 7:28; 11:1; 13:53; 19:1; 26:1). One can easily identify the teaching sections by looking at what immediately precedes these verses (and the red letters in some Bibles). For example, the first of the discourses is the Sermon on the Mount (5-7), the middle discourse includes several “kingdom of heaven” parables (13:1-52), and the last discourse includes the parables of the virgins and talents, and the judgment scene (25).

    In good oration and teaching, discourses include a conclusion. (An exception is those sermons that ramble and eventually just stop rambling!) Good speeches end by answering the question, what is the point? What should one remember? So it is in the teachings of Jesus. Each of the discourses has a point. The final words indicate to us the point of the teaching. What conclusions does Jesus want his listeners to reach?

    When I present seminars on the Gospel of of Matthew, one of my favorite approaches is to examine these teaching discourses, based on the concluding words.  (Outlines and notes are posted on my website.)  This week would be an excellent time to read or re-read the discourses. The following may help you identify and remember the content.

    • Kingdom Blessings: Who is blessed in the Kingdom? Those who develop “kingdom hearts” (5-7, Sermon on the Mount)
    • Kingdom Commitment: Authentic Kingdom Discipleship (10, instructions when sending out the Twelve)
    • Kingdom Thinking: Understanding the Surprising Hiddenness of the Kingdom (13, parables)
    • Kingdom Principles: Life in the Kingdom (18, settling controversies in the kingdom of heaven)
    • Kingdom Priorities: Will Be Clearly Seen When the King Comes! (25, parables and judgment)

    It’s Sunday Again: Life in Christ’s kingdom

    November 9th, 2014

    For many in churches of Christ, historically evangelism has been primarily a cognitive process focused on the acceptance of certain truths or propositions by an individual. The goal and primary emphasis has been simple–salvation. More recently some of us have been asking about transformed lives and genuine discipleship, seeking to be and help others become learners who follow Jesus (Savior) Christ (King). Do not miss the difference. Jesus never asked, “Do you accept me as your personal Savior?” He did said, “Follow me.” The purpose of a disciple must be the same as that of the Teacher.

    How could a follower of Jesus, a disciple of Jesus, have a mission other than the mission of Jesus? If Jesus is our Lord, if he is our Teacher, if he is our King, does it not follow that his task is our task? That what matters to him matters to us? Jesus began his ministry and defined his own mission in the world by reading an Old Testament text in a Nazareth synagogue. He did not take up the prophecies of Isaiah 7, 9 or 53. He took up the words of Isaiah 61 (Luke 4:14-21).

    Jesus declares to us the meaning of life under the kingdom rule of God. He alone can save. In Jesus Christ, salvation signifies deliverance from one kingdom (of darkness) to another kingdom (of light). Without doubt, we who are genuinely his disciples imitate his concern for the poor, persons in prison, the blind, and the burdened. We follow his example of righteousness, compassion, and love. These are part of the renewed kingdom. But until these are coupled with preaching the Good News and helping people experience the transformation from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of Jesus, the kingdom renewal of our own lives is incomplete.

    For whose soul are you praying today? Whose soul are you seeking for the kingdom? “If the souls all around you are living in sin…will you not tell them the good news today?”

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