I first heard about the UCB Word for Today in the late 1990s. We were receiving copies of the devotional at church, and I immediately loved it. Reading it affected me a great deal, and I would regularly cut out readings and fax them to friends. I would even pray about it and ask who God wanted me to send the cuttings to. I could see how God was using it to impact many people’s lives, and I would often be asked ‘How can I get a copy?’
A few years later, I was invited to UCB to share my testimony on UCB Radio, and it was there that I also met UCB’s Founder, Ian Mackie. I did not know what was to come!
Sometime later, my wife Jackie and I were invited again to UCB, but this time to meet with the UCB Board of Trustees. That was the first time I met the author of the Word For Today, Bob Gass. At the time, Bob was visiting and spending some time sharing his heart with the Board. I really enjoyed meeting him. He struck me immediately as a man who was soaked in the Word of God. I remember thinking that he was such a likeable guy; he really listened to what everyone in the room was saying, and in all conversations, he always drove us back to the Scriptures. It was in this meeting that (in a complete surprise to me) I was actually invited to join the UCB Board. That was the beginning of my journey with UCB and also my friendship with Bob Gass.
This year, we celebrate 25 years of the UCB Word For Today, and in the 12 years I have been at UCB, I could tell you countless stories of the impact that the devotional has had. Bob has a unique style and a rare gift of taking the Word of God and applying it to everyday life. He writes it in such a way – with the support of a great team – that it appeals to those who don’t know God (so that it acts as an ‘appetiser’), and it also helps more mature believers go deeper in their faith (so that it acts as a ‘vitamim’, especially in challenging times).
Over the years, as I have got to know Bob and his wife, Debby, I have been struck by their obedience to God’s calling. In the early days, Bob was an itinerant preacher and also had a TV show in the US, but he did not think of himself as a writer. However, on his wedding day in 1991, he and Debby were given a prophecy and were told that Bob’s writing would reach more people than his preaching ever would. As Bob himself says, he was getting married that day and had his mind on other things. But Debby wrote the prophecy down, and they did not forget it. Sometime later, the Word for Today became a written reality, and from a small print run of 3,500 copies here in the UK, it now has a global reach through print and digital platforms of over 7.6 million per quarter at the end of 2018. In the UK alone, we send it (in print copy alone) to over 400,000 people every quarter.
Bob’s heart has always been that the readers would get deeper into the Word of God. It has never been about ‘him’ or his ministry, but about seeing lives changed for good by the power of God’s Word. Our ministry partnership over the years has gone from strength to strength, and Bob continues to be a great encouragement to all we do here at UCB. Bob and I have spent hours in my office and on the phone, sharing (and debating!) our thoughts on areas of God’s Word, thinking about new ways to reach people with the truth of Scripture. What a privilege for UCB to partner with such an amazing resource.
This year, as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Word for Today, we are excited about the future and the ways that God will continue to speak into lives through this devotional. We continue to receive story after story from people whose lives have been ‘changed for good by the power of God’s Word’. We are so thankful for our wonderful partnership with Bob and the team.
P.S. If you don’t yet receive the UCB Word for Today, we can send you a copy (free of charge) each quarter. You can sign up at ucb.co.uk/signup