Christian Media, Christian Radio, Devotional, Faith, Hope, Miracles

Pick your team wisely

This week, UCB’s Board of Trustees met together to review UCB’s activities and accounts for the year so far. It has been a busy few days with our Board travelling in from different areas of the UK, but I am so thankful for each of our Trustees, for their wisdom and ability. 

In any leadership position, it is important to have a GOOD team around you. We are blessed at UCB to have a Board and Executive Team made up of Godly, skilled men and women who have the right balance of professional skills and a heart for ministry. When we look to appoint new people to our team, we are above all, looking for people of integrity with a heart for UCB’s vision, who can help and support UCB to stay focused on the big picture and keep us accountable in all things.

Our Board meetings are a mixture of time spent together with God (this is a non-negotiable) and time spent going over the business and operational side of UCB. 

This meeting was no exception and we began by looking to God’s Word. Although we are governed by a great Board, ultimately God is our chairman and we always start with worship and devotions. This time, one particular area of scripture stood out for me; 1 Samuel 15.  

The prophet Samuel gave Saul an assignment from God. He was to destroy the Amalekites and all their possessions, because they were a people who had dishonoured God. Saul accepted the challenge and defeated the Amalekites but he preserved the life of king Agag and saved the best of the cattle. Knowing that Saul had been disobedient, Samuel went to confront him. Saul declared that he had ‘carried out the command of the Lord’ but (perhaps with a hint of humour), the prophet Samuel said, ‘what then is the bleating of sheep I can hear?’  

Saul had been disobedient but he argued that all these fine lambs would make an even bigger and better sacrifice to the Lord. Samuel reminded him, ‘to obey is better than sacrifice’.

This story reminded us all of the need to be obedient. It is easy sometimes to be focused on matters of business and governance but it is important, first and foremost to fear God. This is not a kind of terrified fear, but a reverent fear which ensures we stay close to Him and when He tells us to do something, we do it!  

That is why, for me, it is important to be surrounded by Godly, discerning people such as our Board, as they bring an ‘outside’ perspective and help to keep us on track. In all areas of life, we each need a ‘team’, a team of people who will support us in the good and bad times and also, if needed, provide a voice of correction. Do not be tempted to surround yourself with ‘yes men’. Find a Samuel.

Our trustees have now gone home but we will be meeting again soon for prayer and updates. 

Can I ask you to join us in prayer for a few issues? For wisdom and discernment for our Board and Executive team? And also for a breakthrough in UCB’s finances. We continue to experience many challenges with UCB’s income stream, but we are looking to the future with faith (not fear). 

Please could you stand with us and believe for a breakthrough?

Christian Media, Christian Radio, Christianity, Faith, Miracles

If God has given you a dream, don’t give up on it.

I have been asked recently, how did I come to UCB? Where did this journey begin?

I want to share with you a few thoughts about the power of having a God-given dream.  If God has given you a dream, do not give up on it.

I first came to the UK in 1973.  I was a rebellious young man, running from the Christian upbringing I had been given.  I wanted to strike out on my own, but it didn’t take long before I realised that I missed the precious atmosphere of God’s presence in my life.  I went to visit my brother who was attending the Assemblies of God conference in Minehead.  I had not planned to go to the actual conference, just meet up with my brother, but I stayed for the meetings and I had a powerful encounter with the Holy Spirit which changed my life.

After that experience, I put myself before God and asked Him, ‘What do you want to do with me? What do you want to do with my life?’  I felt God encourage me to believe for the impossible and He put a dream in my heart, of going all the way to the Boardroom.  At that time I was a janitor, so I did not see how that was possible, but I began to seek God’s Word.

I believe God gave me insight into the verse in Genesis 1:28, where God said to Adam; ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.’   For years, we have read this as a command to have children and populate the earth, but I believe this is also a command to be creative and fruitful in whatever we turn our hands to.  By reading God’s Word, I began to develop business principles to live by and over time,  God allowed me to become very fruitful.

I started out as a janitor working for a national retail chain and before too long, I became a warehouse manager, moving to store manager until eventually (after 23 years), I became the Head of their national discount chain. God had truly fulfilled His promise to me, to take me to the Boardroom. It wasn’t because I wanted the ‘position’ or the power. It was because I believed that God wanted me to be fruitful in what I did. However, I had to learn some painful lessons along the way.

In 1988, the business was going very well and my wife and I had a good life, when very suddenly, we lost our 13 month old son Jamie. Our lives were devastated and we cried out to God for answers, trying to understand what God’s purpose was. However, in years to come, God gave me a very powerful burden for the children and youth of the world. I had seen my own son die and I couldn’t bear to see the young generation spiritually dead and eventually leaving this world not knowing Jesus as their personal saviour and friend.

Over time, God brought me into contact with the wonderful organisation OneHope and eventually He led me out of the retail industry, to work full time as a missionary with OneHope. Those were challenging times but God was so faithful to our family.

I served in that capacity for five years, and then through a mutual friend, I was invited to a meeting at UCB. During my time in retail, the Welsh singer Bryn Yemm had sung in many of our stores. He was also a friend of UCB and had said to members of the leadership team at UCB, ‘you need to meet this French guy’. I was initially invited to share my testimony on air and I had the opportunity to have coffee with Ian Mackie, the founder and at the time Chief Executive of UCB. Over a long period of many prayerful conversations with Ian Mackie, I eventually joined UCB, initially as a Trustee and later as Ministry Director. We were later able to merge OneHope UK into UCB.

And then in 2010, after many faithful years serving as the Chief Executive, Ian Mackie took on additional responsibilities with UCB International. This eventually led me to take on the role of Chief Executive.

There have been difficult times in our ministry journey, but God has been faithful to the dream He gave me in 1973.   If God has given you a dream, be faithful to His Word and don’t give up.

 

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