Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Taste of Revelation

Two days in Busan and a 24 hour trip home, and I arrived in Orlando at 5:30 pm. At least my body was here. It was an awesome time of planning for CM2007. It's going to happen here, at Bexco in 3 months. It looks like over 5,000 students from outside of Korea will be there. About 15,000 in all.
But what is most exciting is not the total numbers. It's the vision of Christ being magnified with the so many nations physically present. A taste of the future reality we will all share, described in Revelations 7:9-12, with every tribe, tongue and nation worshipping Christ. Who knows what kind of wave of revival this will instigate? But I believe it will result in millions more students hearing the gospel as movements are launched around the world, as the Spirit compels us to go to the remotest parts of the earth.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

CM2007: The global road starts at a youth hostel

Bexco is the gigantor convention center here in Busan where CM2007 will be held. I'm staying at a youth hostel-style hotel just down the street from it, for our Design Team meetings. I just arrived. I think it's Spring Break in Busan. High school kids are running up and down the halls screaming and yelling. It's like I traveled around the world and ended up 1 hour away at Daytona Beach, with jet lag.

Some thoughts while I was flying... The CM before 2007 stands for Campus Mission. It also means, “Completed Mission”. It’s seeing movements of students so that everyone knows someone who truly follows Jesus, on every campus in the world. Do you realize, when that happens, we will have fulfilled the Great Commission among the students of the world? 120 million strong and growing each year. While each student may not have heard the gospel, they will have that opportunity if there is an “alive” body of believers. (As opposed to the dead wood, sit on your hands, variety.) And as a bonus, radical leaders for the future of the Church will spring forth by the thousand, maybe millions.

Ultimately, this is why I’m “in” for CM2007. And the varieties of Kimchi, Korea’s staple at the top of the food pyramid. Hot and spicy. Mmm good.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Road to Korea

I'm on my way to the last major planning meetings for CM2007. The big gathering in Pusan, South Korea, is June 30- July 5th. We are expecting 15,000 - 20,000 students from about 100 countries. And for a great moving of God's Spirit to unleash these students to bring the reality of Jesus to the nations. You can see where I'm headed from the map. I've never been to this location in Korea. But I"ve been to their usual summer conference of 10,000 Korean students three of the last four summers, and its an awesome experience. I'm praying this conference will ignite a spark among the students of the world that we've never seen but have dreamed and prayed about for years. If you're a student, or interested in reaching out to students, I hope you are coming.
I got upgraded to business class on the journey from Orlando to San Francisco, where I am right now. I didn't even have to take the drastic action to upgrade that I blogged about earlier. (Look in my Archives under Travel Channel.) But the next 12 hours I'm living elbow to elbow with about 200 of my new closest friends. Ahhh. You can see more info on the conference over on the Road to Korea link, or go to I'll try to send a picture from the conference site.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Kingdom of God is like a Mustard Seed

I've been thinking of Jesus' comments on the Mustard Seed alot, being reminded of it from Shane Claiborne's book, "The Irresistible Revolution". A quick summary of some thoughts from Jesus' Parable in Matthew 13:31,32.

The kingdom starts small, almost invisibly, and grows large. What might not look like much can do some serious "damage" for God.
The kingdom is a radical thing. Jews did not plant mustard in their herb gardens. He was proposing something provocative. Movements that change must push against the prevailing norms of society, and in the case of followers of Jesus, it would seem to be alot about love and sacrifice for others.
The kingdom is invasive. Mustard plants took over a garden. They are like that vine you never get out of your garden at home. They slowly, almost imperceptibly, take over.

This is what movements of students all over a city must reflect, the nature of the mustard seed.
Check out Andy McCullough's trip to Mexico City as his team is seeking to do this very thing.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

When in Rome...

Rome is one of those obvious World Class cities. And La Sapienza is one of those World Class universities, with 138,000 students, the largest in Western Europe. And certainly one of the oldest (started in 1303 by Pope Boniface VIII.) And students from Miami of Ohio just spent a week there. Mark Brown, the director from Miami, told me they saw 2 students come to Christ. (Not the 2 guys posing in the front.)
The Spring Breakers climbed these steps (the Spanish Stairs). They drank good coffee. They did their own version of "The Amazing Race". They drank more good coffee. They prayed, and laughed, shared Christ, and trusted God to do some God-sized stuff in Rome. And then they drank still more good coffee.

There are 12 long term staff who have recently moved there, and a STINT team that's trusting God every day to take them to students who would love and follow Christ and lead movements of Italian students. What if God would bring just 1% of these Italian students into a relationship with Himself in the next 3 years? That's almost 1400 students. Surely at least this can happen. It seems small to ask God for 1% to move from death to life. But 1400 seems like a lot right now. But how will this happen...? Don't you want to be there when it does?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Mexico City: CSI

Have you noticed the lack of crime drama out there on television! So I thought I'd propose one more CSI, except it stands for Center of Strategic Influence. There are many universities in the leading cities of the world, and that makes them very strategic to consider.

WSN leaders with our international partners are meeting this Spring, even now, to plan and pray about the future of campus ministry in several major cities in the world; including Rome, Mexico City, Tokyo, Berlin, Moscow, and one in the Middle East. Each of these cities are significant World Class cities, holding great influence not only in their country and region, but across around the world. And there are others like them. How many students live and study there? Probably about 1 million each in Moscow, Tokyo and Mexico City, and these students are the ones who will determine the future of their countries.

In Mexico City, we are learning to quickly launch movements among students at 400 different campuses and universities around the city. Not just Bible Studies. Clusters of students all over the city who are taking the Great Commission seriously, and want our help to reach their friends with the gospel. It's becoming a place where students and staff can come for as short as a week and launch a movement. It's happening right now during Spring Break. Students from around the US are going there every week to share Christ and trust God to raise up movements. In just the past 2 weeks they have seen 31 students trust Christ, and there are 40 of those clusters forming around the city. We are trusting God for 400 of them. You can jump on Craig Johring's blog to keep updated on it. (It's also on my "Points of Interest" on the right.) God is on the move.

You don't get this on the Travel Channel

Over the weekend I read of 2 unrelated travel stories. These are good to be aware of as you go around the world. One story of an elderly woman who died on the plane trip from India to London. They moved her from coach up to first class after she died. That is a really hard way to get an upgrade if you ask me. Needless to say, some of the first class passengers who paid $4500 per ticket were a little upset by their new cabin mate.
The other was of a guy from Orlando who fell 60 feet off his balcony on a cruise ship on the way to the Bahamas. He spent the night in the ocean, and was actually rescued 8 hours later. He weighed 300 pounds, so the extra weight probably saved him. This has given me new impetus to start my emergency survival training by eating more desserts.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Or you could just throw a dart at the map...

Researching universities, cities , and their connections somehow strangely veered into a desperate need to set some priorities (or more specifically just crossing off what I'm not going to do) and schedule travel for the next several months. This is exhausting, but its done. However, I am also energized by a philosophy of "no plan is so good that it can't be changed at the last minute", so it will probably morph several more times.
Before this detour, I did discover some cool websites about cities and universities. Do you live in one of the top 500 city populations of the world? Or in a world class city? Maybe you don't but you'd like to, or maybe just want to take a short visit/mission trip there? Now for a trifecta, get the name of every university in the world. Pick a country and you'll see how many universities are there, and possibly even a website that will tell you about each one. So, where do you want to go next? Pick a city, pick a country, choose a university. Mix in prayer, faith, and some of your friends. Go share your faith, help some people in the name of Christ who live there with something they need. Now you've got a mission trip.

I almost forgot to mention the best trip on my global road of the past 3 days was going all the way to Daytona Beach (1 hour drive) to speak to students from Indiana and Ohio about daily living a fully surrendered life to Christ. From 2 Cor. 4:12, Paul says "death is at work in us, but life in you." How do we live a life characterized as"always carrying around in our body the death of Jesus"? Definitely doesn't make one of those feel good motivational posters you stick on the wall. But other phrases like "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me" have become so popular they have almost lost their meaning. Of course they haven't lost their meaning cause they are from God, but I think you know what I mean.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Next Big Challenge

I can't remember when the 10/40 window became the motivational metaphor of choice for the missions world. Perhaps the early 90's, like 15 years ago or so. It served well to focus the prayer and sending of laborers to those who because of religious background or political boundaries are most secluded from the gospel. It's also happens to be where most of the people in the world live since it includes India and lots of China. The numbers were always stunning as you looked at that window.
In the last few years, the conversation has shifted to the cities of the world. By 2050, 75% of the world's population will live in 100 cities. That will be roughly 6 billion people in 100 places, if I can do math at 7 am. Just think, most of the world will be stuck in traffic every day. I'm going to get some figures on where the majority of university students are right now and post them soon. I have this somewhere but haven't had enough coffee yet this morning to function at the "go find stuff" level. That usually takes me until about 10 am. More on this in days to come.

Monday, March 12, 2007

You never know what you'll find

Drew, one of the Stinters in Istanbul just sent me this. He was walking down Independence Street yesterday, and ran a cross a huge photo collection of 100 women from 100 different places around the world. It was in celebration of World Women's Day (March 8th, in case you missed it...pencil it in for next year.) There in the array of large photos was this one, taken in Sofia, Bulgaria. Notice she is holding a Bible and "Would you like to know God personally?" booklet.

So, I'll let him tell it in his own words..."I was looking at the pictures and saw this one and froze in my tracks. A sign? A prediction of things to come? Maybe, maybe not. But I think God was even simply reminding me that he is present and always ready to act in surprising new ways, never letting me pigeonhole him or predict what he'll do next."

That's a good word from Drew. And a perfect entree into talking about God's amazing work among the students of the world in the days ahead. Send your story to

Friday, March 9, 2007

Coffee with Steve in Orlando

I'm running out the door to see one of my best friends at my favorite coffee shop in Orlando. I met Steve about 8 years ago when I lived in Indianapolis, and we used to meet about every other week for coffee to gripe and complain and laugh at each other about our pathetic little lives. "We're in our 40's, we should have more of life figured out." Our journeys in work and life in general were very similar, though he was in real estate and I'm a missionary. We shared the experience of God prompting us to take big steps of faith to move to new locations in rather sudden, dramatic fashion. But he ended up in Dallas and I'm in Orlando. He's here on business, and even though we still talk all the time, it's cool to be face to face. I wonder what we'll laugh about today? Probably the fact that I'm blogging.

You must check out the recent blogs on US Stint leaders and Joe Cross in Mexico City. I think its their post from Wednesday, outstanding stories of God at work among the students of the world. The Stint story is actually about a team from Canada in Tanzania. Andy's bit on Isaiah is also cool. I will start getting help from him about Isaiah.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

blah, blah, blah

I've been reading Isaiah lately. So far I don't understand most of it without some notes in the margins by some smart people who really study hard for a long time. So, I'm reading chapter 28 today. God is fed up with some of His people in the region of Ephraim and Isaiah is calling them out. This won't be pretty.

But instead of responding to Isaiah's warnings, it turns out that the people mocked God's message with a babbling of some sort. If it happened today, it might well have been, "blah, blah, blah, same old, same old, blah, blah, blah." I'd like to think I'm different from people in 700 BC. And I am, except for when I'm not. Read a familiar passage, push on through without much thought. Same old, same old. Get on with the day.

On what I think is a totally unrelated issue and far more amusing, I saw that Michael Jackson had 300 guests pay $3500 each to spend 30 seconds with him. First, to be fair, it did include a nice buffet dinner. Second, if you would like to meet me for 30 seconds, I'd charge much less than that. Just let me know.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Yellow School Buses

I came up on a school bus at a railroad track the other day and the bus stopped. Why do buses stop at railroad tracks? Obviously so they don't get hit by a train, but cars don't stop at railroad crossings and they don't get hit (usually). So, can you really not see a train coming if you are driving a bus unless you stop? It seems there is more glass in a bus to look out of. Do you not hear the train unless you open the bus doors? It seems that school buses are the least sound proof of all vehicles I've ever been in. This is a reason I'd never get hired to drive a bus.

My brothers all have coached high school basketball teams and have spent most of their adult lives riding buses. I wonder how much time they've spent stopped, waiting for trains that never came. They definitely would not hire me to drive their buses. I think its good to scratch off jobs that aren't a good fit as soon as you can.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Al Qaida loves the internet

I'm so new at this, I just wrote it and then before I could post it I lost it and I'm redoing it, so here is what I said in so many words...

I got home on Sunday night from a conference. I'd been gone for a week and was dog tired, and sat down on the couch. While flipping through the channels, I ran across a segment on "60 Minutes". It was about Al Qaida on the internet. Do you know there are 5,000 internet sites that are designed to educate and motivate young muslims to be terrorists and martyrs? Then I fell asleep.

Every day in Iraq and Afghanistan 17 year old boys are captured or killed who've been recruited online. The head of US Counter Intelligence says the biggest weapon in the Jihad is the internet. They are showing up from everywhere. There is a "Myspace" type site for radical muslim istruction with chat rooms and message boards. They showed it live and 17,869 were online. (I missed all that while sleeping so I had to go online and review it on

That these kids can be so easily duped makes me mad. I wonder how deep their deception and disillusionment must be. Sad. I also wonder what Christian students are doing online. Troubling. Are their conversations leading each other toward the One worth living for? Living a radical life with Jesus, plotting how to love others to the Savior? I hope so.

This was pretty serious for a second post.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Ready, Fire, Aim...

Like much in my life, this feels a little like jumping off a cliff without a parachute, but has few of the potential nasty side effects of failure. Maybe some emotional, but oh well. Some of those folks end up as heroes on American Idol. Others just end up angry.

I have a small goal: to inspire anyone interested in bringing the reality of Jesus to the students of the world. I think they are (and have been for a really long time) the most significant single group of people on the planet. So, if you are a student or someone who cares deeply about them, and the impact they have for Jesus Christ, we need to talk to each other.

I graduated from Southwest Missouri State a long time ago. Recently it lost its geographical destination, and now its just Missouri State University. But there is a girl who goes to school there now, Amy, who wanted serve Christ in Uganda last summer by helping kids in an orphanage. So, she set the whole thing up on her own, invited three of her friends to go with her, and raised $11,000 from 60 churches and $9,000 from students (that's interesting) and she's going back again this summer to do the same plus bring the gospel to university students in Kampala. Is this not amazing? I think it should be more normal.

For some reason I find this far more interesting than knowing that Brittany has shaved her head and had to go in rehab, or that Anna Nicole finally got buried somewhere. I want the world to know about thousands of Amy's out there changing the world, one life, one decision at a time.

I think Amy had to jump, to believe that God would show up and catch her in the free fall moments. You don't get to Uganda by figuring it all out first. We all need to jump more.