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The Authors of The Word for Today

Bob and Debby Gass

Bob Gass, who sadly passed away on 5 June 2019, and his wife, Debby, are the authors of The Word for Today.

Bob Debby Gass

History of Bob’s Life and Ministry

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”.

Bob Gas Young

Thanks to that early influence, Bob preached his first sermon when he was 13 years old. 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 Word For Today was printed for the first time. It was just 3,500 copies and only in the UK. 25 years later it has grown to reach millions worldwide including hundreds of thousands of people in Australia (the Australian edition was also first published in 1994).

Bob had a special place in his heart for Australia, coming here many times during his itinerant ministry years. His final visit was in 2010 where he was very warmly received.

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.”

“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”.

Ian Bob and Phil

Bob’s Aussie Connection

Listen to Bob share his Aussie connection in a 2011 interview with Phil Edwards, or read the transcript below

Some years ago, I had a small ministry with a staff of three and I was $27,000 behind because one of the things we have done for 20 years, just rescue children in Romania from state run orphanages in the sex trade and put them into families. So we’d gotten behind and uh, I was exactly $27,000 in debt and couldn’t move it. It was one week after the Oklahoma City bombing. I was at a little church in Ohio and at the end of the day they gave me a cheque – an honorarium for speaking of $2,000 and immediately God spoke to me and said, that’s not for you.

And people say to me I wish God would talk to me. I look at them and saying, well, exact ly what would you like him to say? Because if He talks to you, he may not be telling you what you want to hear. So I’ve got into this kind of argument with the Lord. You might say ‘how did you know it was The Lord?’… Because I would never have told myself to do that. And the devil is called a thief, so I know he would never have told me to do it. So that just leaves the one other option. And so finally I said, okay Lord, I’ll send it at the cheque was to be sent to the widow of a minister who had died in the Oklahoma City bombing – a Spanish pastor called Gilbert Martinez, with a wife and five children, the youngest was an infant in her arms.

God said, I want you to send that check to his widow. So I did. And you say, well, how did you feel Bob? Honestly, I felt hopeful. I remembered saying, Debbie, I hope this works. I waited for weeks, and then months. I would call my office to see if there were any cheques in the mail – I would take my friends, shake them by the hand and say, “has God been speaking to you?” And, nothing.

Three months later, I got a cheque from Australia. I had just preached at the National Council of the Assemblies of God at their big conference in Melbourne. The lady there who had been touched by the ministry, started getting my tapes and books and eventually when a loved one died and left her on inheritance, God wakened her and told her to send me a cheque. And when we checked – and here’s the funny thing – when I was having my argument with God about giving $2,000, three nights in a row, God wakened her and prompted her to give a tithe of that inheritance to Bob Gass.

Long story short, I got a call from Tommy, my assistant. He said come to the office, you have to see this. He handed me an envelope postmarked Australia and I opened it up and inside is the cheque for $23,000 – the biggest check I had ever received in my life. One day later, I received a cheque for $5,000 from a Pastor and his wife in New York who said I was on their heart an God had told them to send it within 24 hours. I had $28,000 of debt, I couldn’t move. God wiped it out in 24 hours, plus put an extra $1,000 in the bank.”

A Special Ministry with UCB

Initially, The Word for Today began when Bob became aware of the struggles of United Christian Broadcasters in the United Kingdom during his 1991 visit to his homeland.

‘You could broadcast rock, reggae and rap across the airwaves, but not Christian music!’ he said. ‘This — in the land that gave the world the King James Bible and the revival of the Wesleys!’

Bob and UCB formed a special ministry partnership, and after campaigning, the broadcasting law was changed in 1993, enabling UCB to broadcast via a satellite TV channel. In 1994, the first April-June edition of The Word for Today devotional was published, and UCB distributed 3500 copies for free. They used the devotional as a way to keep in touch with supporters and keep the cause of Christian radio in front of increasing numbers of people.

Bob’s vision for The Word for Today is ‘to whet your appetite so much that you’ll say, ‘Wow! I didn’t know that was in the Bible! Maybe I’d better go and read it for myself.”’

Through The Word for Today, Bob and Debby want to give you a lifelong love for the Word of God.