Dear UCB family
We are sad to announce that the author of the UCB Word For Today, Bob Gass, passed away peacefully on the evening of the 5th June, at his home in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Bob’s wife, Debby has given us permission to share this with you, the UCB family, as we know that many of you will have been greatly impacted by his ministry.
Bob’s legacy continues into the future thanks to his planned provision.
Bob himself, actually planned for this day several years ago. The readers of the UCB Word For Today were always at the front of his mind. As he grew older, he and the team wanted to ensure the UCB Word For Today would continue to encourage and support believers for many years to come, so he began a long writing project, which would mean the devotional could continue long after he passed away. Bob had a huge heart for ministry and wanted to ensure that when he finally did go to be with the Lord, the work would continue. We believe that Bob’s legacy will ensure that the UCB Word For Today will reach even more people in years to come than it has over the last 25 years.
Listen to UCB's tribute to Bob Gass:
Bob was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. His father died when he was 12 and Bob’s mother raised Bob and his two siblings, as a single parent.
Bob always described his mother as a formative influence in his life, encouraging him to attend church as often as possible.
'She came into the Kingdom at a hundred miles an hour,' Bob once wrote, 'and never slowed down. She took her family in one hand and her faith in the other, and said, ‘we are going to serve the Lord.’
Every week, she took us to church and I always remember that after the morning service, I would go to two Sunday schools - the Brethren and the Presbyterian. I once said to my mother, ‘my friends only go to one Sunday school, how come I have to go to two?’ ‘It’s a back-up plan’, she would say, ‘just in case you weren’t listening the first time.’ We also went to a Sunday night service, the prayer meeting on Monday, Bible study on a Wednesday and the youth service on a Friday.
One of my mother’s favourite verses was ‘[they shall be] planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God’ (Psalm 92:13 NIV). And so as children, not only were we planted but we were fertilised, watered and pruned. But then an amazing thing happened, when I was 12, I got saved at a mission and soon all my heroes were preachers. I grew up in a culture where men didn’t cry, but I would fight back tears, because I had this burning desire to preach. I had no idea how I would make it from the congregation to the pulpit, but I had this inner tug, this deep calling’.
Thanks to that early influence, Bob preached his first sermon when he was 13 years old and when he was 18, he left Belfast for America, arriving with just a suitcase and 25p in his pocket. A pastor and his wife took Bob in and invited Bob to speak at his church. Over the months that followed, Bob would record his sermons and the pastor would critique Bob’s speaking style and give him advice on delivery and speaking.
Bob wrote, ‘I never did get to go to Bible school, but I had a one-on-one teacher in the form of my pastor friend. He taught me so much, to memorise Scripture, how to speak, how to behave in people’s homes. He held my feet to the fire and kept me accountable. So in my heart, I have always been called to the ministry, but while the calling has never changed, the method has.’
In later years when Bob married his wife Debby, they were given a prophetic word on their wedding day which said, ‘The Lord says that you will reach more people through your writing, than you will in all the years of your preaching.’
Bob did not think of himself as a writer and said, ‘ I didn’t want to write, I didn’t feel qualified, but my wife Debby wrote the prophetic word down and we did not forget it.’
Some years later, when Bob met Ian Mackie and a small group of volunteers, who were trying to launch Christian radio in the UK, he discovered their biggest challenge was ‘how do we get the message out?’ They had no support base and the government wouldn’t give them any radio space or time.
Bob realised then that one of the most read parts of a daily newspaper is often the horoscope section. He wrote, ‘Thank God we don’t need horoscopes, but I realised that by reading them, people want guidance, encouragement and they want answers. So I said to Ian and his team, ‘I’ll write a daily devotional for you. I’ll provide Scripture and thoughts for each day. You can give it out at conferences, set up a table and say to people, “would you like a free devotional?”’
Three-and-a-half years after Bob and Debby received that prophetic word on their wedding day, the UCB Word For Today was printed for the first time. It was just 3,500 copies, but in 25 years, that mailing list and supporter base has grown from 3,000 to over 400,000.
Bob once wrote, ‘people ask how ‘I’ do it. I believe with all my heart that without God’s spirit, I don’t have anything to say, but when God’s spirit touches God’s Word, something ignites and something comes to life. I am reminded of Paul who said, ‘not that we are sufficient of ourselves … but our sufficiency is of God’ (2 Corinthians 3:5 KJV). It’s His Word and all I do is distribute what God says.
I believe we all have a kingdom destiny. We are each called by God to be priests and as believers, we all have access to the same anointing. The same Holy Spirit, the same presence of God rests on each of us and we need to get the message of the gospel to this culture. We live in a world where people are searching for happiness and looking for it in drugs, multiple relationships and money. People think that if they get just one more thing or make some more money, they will be happy. But that is not the answer. We have the answer and His name is Jesus Christ. I am thrilled at how God has used UCB all these years to reach homes across the UK, with His message, His hope, His gospel. But I also know there is much more to be done.
"Jesus is the most exciting, thrilling person and we need to let people know how it’s possible to have a living relationship with Him. If I had a million lives to live, I would live them all for Jesus." Bob Gass
The ministry of Bob Gass and the UCB Word For Today has impacted millions of lives around the world.
If you would like to share a testimony or a message of condolence, please fill in the form below. Your comments will be passed on to the Gass family.