Psalm 103:2 “Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefit.”
Annual Daily Bread Writers’ meeting was held on June 3, in Riyadh House, Chicago UBF world mission office, from 1:00pm till 4:30pm. The attendees were Dennis Miller, Yvonne Lee, Tony King, Dr. Jose Ahn, P. Kevin Albright, P. Steve Stasinos, P. Abraham Kim, Dr. Mark Yang, Dr. James Joung, Dr. Augustine Suh, Dr. Jose Wert and David Miller attended via google hangout, and absentees were Dr. Jason Perry (traveling in Ukraine) and Kevin Jesmer (attending his daughter’s graduation). James Joung, Daily Bread coordinator presided the meeting.
After opening prayer by Dennis Miller, Dr. Jose Ahn gave heart-moving message on the meaning of daily bread training from Exodus 16:1-5 with the title, “God is the provider of daily bread.”
Pastor Steve Stasinos delivered his testimony on “the benefit of writing daily bread.” He shared it based on his personal experience why writing was a blessing to him and to readers. He said that writing was responsibility and privilege. He felt how blessed he was when he found one person restored through the daily bread written by him and knowing that he was serving the body of the Lord in North America and of the world. His testimony is attached.
Discussion was led by Pastor Kevin Albright. We focused on 2 topics: (1) Biblical basis for Daily Bread and (2) Main purpose of the Daily Bread. Each shared the thoughts based on the Bible verses, such as
“Man does not live on bread alone but the word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Dt 8:3 and Mt 4:4), “...and on his law he meditates day and night.” (Ps 1:2), “Like a newborn baby crave pure spiritual milk.” (1 Peter 2:2), “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (Ps 119:105)
More discussion: To find new writers among young servants and one from UK shepherds. About the importance of mentorship with senior pastors. P. Abraham Kim encouraged the writers to have inspiration, compassion and vision in writing. He also suggested that UBF chapters of six continents may use the daily bread written on the same Bible passage each day. We adjourned our meeting with closing prayer by Dr. Mark Yang. Please pray for writers to have faith in the word and be filled with inspiration to write.
Daily Bread Writer’s Meeting Presentation
The Benefits of Writing Daily Bread By Steve Stasinos
In 2009, I joined the team under Dr. James Joung as a Daily Bread Writer. Over the past 8 years, I’ve written on several books, including: Matthew (2010, 2015), Galatians (2010, 2011), Philippians (2011), Colossians (2011), 1Timothy (2011,2017), 2Timothy (2012,2017), Hebrews (2012, 2017), 2 Chronicles (2014), Hosea (2014), Ephesians (2016), as well as parts of other books, such as Psalms and Jeremiah. Without a doubt engaging in this work has been a great blessing in my life. Yet it has not been without its hardships and sacrifices. When Dr. James asked me to give this presentation, immediately the question formed in my mind: Is writing Daily Bread worth the sacrifice? In what ways? We’ll have a more formal discussion, but I want to share based on my personal experience the ways in which being a Daily Bread Writer has been a blessing to me, to our UBF community, and to the world.
As I’m thinking of this, I’m remembering Psalm 103:2, “Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits –” So what are the benefits I’ve experienced as a Daily Bread Writer? I will share with you five that I have discovered:
First, personal engagement with the Bible. As a Daily Bread Writer, I’ve had the great privilege and and responsibility to engage with parts of the Bible that we don’t always cover on Sunday worship service. For example, 2 Chronicles, and Hosea. Of course we read them in our personal Bible reading, but as a writer I’m tasked to delve deep, come up with my own introduction, tackle the whole book, and generally engage the Bible in a deeper, more personal way. Getting this big picture personally deepens my love for the Bible, and gives depth to Bible teaching in general. As lay people, we don’t often have the time to devote to preparing deeply even the Sunday studies, as staff do, so writing Daily Bread is our chance to do so. For example, last year we studied Hebrews at our Chicago Sunday Worship Service. It was very edifying and deep, but I was amply prepared to study it, because in 2011-2012 I had to write Daily Bread on it. It was an intimidating book, but through the inductive method, writing a thorough factual study and outline, and using the tools I received from Daily Bread (specifically The New Inductive Study Bible) I was thoroughly prepared to study Hebrews. What a wonderful experience, and I was able to preach on it as well. Like me, many of us came to UBF specifically for this reason: to study the Bible. As a Daily Bread Writer, this may be the best benefit of all, to study different parts of the Bible deeply.
Second, we serve our church and other North America Chapters in a real way. Since our labor and investment is being published to all of North America, the members of our local church, as well as chapters across our country are being served through our labor. In Chicago our key verse this year is John 13:34, Jesus’ new command to love one another. Writing Daily Bread may be the best way to really love our brothers and sisters. I’ll share one experience. There was a time when I felt very burned out, a couple years ago, and frankly the deadlines for Daily Bread writing were so draining. At that time I was talking with a fellow leader, as she and I were praying to help one young person. She shared with me how she was struggling, but how the recent daily bread had been like life to her soul. She was overcome with thankfulness, even tears, for the current series of Daily Bread. It turns out I had been writing that series. It was a comfort to my soul at that time, God’s personal validation that my labor was not in vain. Not only in our local church, but UBF churches across our country use this tool to build community, pray together, and disciple Bible students. What a blessing to serve and to love Jesus’ body in such a practical way! Since most of our chapters are small one or two families, who are in our hearts all the time, we want to do something to help, to bless them. Daily Bread is one great blessing and gift to them.
Not only that, but I’ve found that writing Daily Bread has deepened my ability as a Bible teacher for others as well. The depth of our understanding of God’s greater narrative in the Bible deeply informs our Bible teaching in every area, as Jesus explained in Matthew 13:52, “He said to them, ‘Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.’” One recent example of this is studying the book of Genesis with students at Loyola. In the past the only context I could study was the book itself, and so it became more of a study of moral principles and examples of our Patriarchs. But through being a Daily Bread writer, having studied more books deeply, particularly Galatians and Hebrews, the depth of Genesis Bible study takes on a far more big picture of the entire narrative of the Bible, finding direct relevance in the lives of those whom I teach. Thank God for this blessing.
Third, we serve world mission in a real way. Our Daily Bread is not only published in our country, but around the english-speaking world. Even continents that publish in their own languages use our materials as reference. As UBF members, we have a passion and heart for world mission. Yet often we seem challenged to support world mission in a real way. Daily Bread writers have the privilege and responsibility of directly serving our brothers and sisters on the front lines of world mission. What an awesome thing to consider, that I’m serving world mission! What I do here matters globally!
Fourth, UBF Daily Bread fills a niche in the world of copy-cat devotionals. There are so many devotionals for Christians to use, written by really great people. Perhaps the most well known would be Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening, and perhaps Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest. Do we really need to publish UBF Daily Bread, when so many great things are being done, that we could just take off the shelf? This was a question I was personally was struggling with. My start as a Daily Bread writer was pretty rough; in fact, I was overwhelmed. So I researched as many other devotional publications I could find, and chose 6 to compare directly to UBF Daily Bread. What came out of that research was the presentation and lecture “The Uniqueness of UBF Daily Bread”, presented at the 2010 Daily Bread Writer’s meeting. I came to realize that our Daily Bread was completely unique in two major areas: 1) we emphasize the Bible itself, what it says, rather than the writer’s interpretation, by going through the Bible verse by verse, rather than topically, and 2) with our schedule, a faithful Daily Bread user will have studied the entire Bible in 5 years. So our work serves not only the UBF world, but provides a service to the entire Kingdom of God.
Lastly, getting to work closely with a Senior UBF leader as an editor: Dr. Mark Yang. I’m not sure about the older Daily Bread Writers, but for us younger ones we were assigned an editor from among the senior staff to work with, such as Sarah Barry, Mark Vucekovich, Pastor Ron Ward, Dr. James Joung, Jose Ahn, and many others. This may be the greatest blessing for me personally. As I shared, writing Daily Bread was overwhelming at first. But working with Dr. Mark Yang, he helped me to learn to break it down, to schedule my work properly, and to be a great sounding board and idea person. More than that, we became really good friends, and I respect him as a personal mentor who understands me so well. If I had not been a Daily Bread Writer, I would not have this relationship, for which I’m so indebted. I pray that as we include younger writers, this may be the best benefit, of allowing cross-generational and cross-cultural friendships, rooted in the word of God, as a writer and editor team. I would recommend it to anyone.
I have not thoroughly addressed the drawbacks and difficulties, of which you are all well aware of. It is always a sacrifice to add another thing to our already overwhelming schedule as full time workers, Bible teachers, chapter leaders, parents, spouses, grandparents, etc… It is hard to balance this well with all the deadlines and other activities. Since it doesn’t always directly impact our family and ministry, we are tempted to want to drop it, and focus on other things. But as I review the blessing of being a Daily Bread Writer, I can’t but see it is as one of the LORD’s best benefits.
In Conclusion, Daily Bread Writing is a Holy Privilege and Responsibility. When I explained to my wife Amy about this presentation, she was inspired from the BBF Catechism. Question 15 asks: “Who wrote the Bible?” Answer: “Holy Men who were taught by the Holy Spirit.” She worded it as: Chosen men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit.” At the end of the day, this is why I write daily bread: God’s Calling and His Inspiration. Let this encourage us to be faithful and committed to this divine duty and privilege.
Father, thank you for all the benefits you lavish on us, to know and study your word, and share with others. Please renew our identity and your calling on us through this meeting, and please call and inspire a new generation of Daily Bread Writers. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.