Reflections on The Challenge…


By guest blogger, Robby Bader

As I share some of my current thoughts about the past 6 or 8 weeks one of the first words that come to my mind is “miracle”.  The definition of miracle is “An event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature and so is held to be supernatural in origin or an act of God”.  Three such events immediately come to my mind at this moment……The first is that I am writing a blog, the second is that you are reading it and the third is the fact that many of us said in late November and early December that if we actually met the short-term goals of the Challenge it would be a “miracle”.

It has been less than 2 months since the idea of zeroing in on the finances of the Church and Challenging the body to orchestrate a major shift in the financial practices of the Church came to be.  The Church fully supported the idea and agreed to fast, pray and give with a focus on accomplishing 3 short term goals in one month.  Seems simple other than the fact that this would require nearly 2.5 times the average monthly giving during the month of December during the 3rd year of one of the poorest economic environments in decades.  If accomplishing the goals would be considered a miracle what would surpassing the goals by nearly $30,000 without including any gifts that were mailed in on Thursday or Friday be called?

I believe you call it an expected result of a  Church body unified in purpose powered by the Holy Spirit acting out of obedience to the one who created us, sustains us, saves us and desires for us to live this life obediently and boldly pursuing him.  I believe that the results of the Challenge are just a small glimpse into what God can do and wants to do through us, the church.  My prayer is that the same obedience, focus, prayer and dependency on God will mark everything we do individually and corporately as a body in the years ahead.  Ephesians 3:20 tells us that “God is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us”; with that in mind, I am encouraged to think bigger!

It is difficult to explain the experience I have had in the past 7 or 8 weeks and what a blessing it has been to be involved in the process.  I have heard testimonies from families within the body, many of whom I had never before met, that described: years of praying that the Church would aggressively pursue better financial stewardship, that have prayed together as a family like they never have before, that have been encouraged by the unity and common pursuit within the body, that are making changes within their lives and families to more intentionally focus on the cross and less on themselves, that have been “blown away” by what God can do and is doing at UBC.  It has been one of the most encouraging, personally challenging and exciting months I have ever experienced!

This has caused me to wonder how often I am not fully obedient and how much my flesh is limiting the work of the Holy Spirit in my life.  It has increased my desire to be more disciplined in my daily walk with Christ and has caused me to ask God daily to make me more aware of the opportunities he puts in front of me each day to serve him…..and do it!

It has made me praise him more for who he is and what he has done and desires to do within us, the body of UBC.  Read Psalms 148, 149 and 150…..the powerful Creator that is responsible for all miracles and is much bigger than I often live like, this is the God we praise!Z

I recall a phrase coined by Henry Blackaby as he was sharing the Gospel on college campuses, “Find out where God is at work and join him”.

Well….God is at work at UBC, through the people of UBC…..Join in!  My prayer is that soon a goal like the Challenge will simply become a normal happening in our body and it will take something much much bigger to be considered a miracle as we experience how big God is!

We have many reasons to PRAISE THE LORD!



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