Monday, September 7, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Scraps from the Kitchen table

For those who are just beginning the journey on the global road, "Scraps" are disconnected thoughts or events with little real purpose or meaning, as far as I can tell. Which is why I share them with the world.

I returned on Wed night from STINT Briefing Conference up at Copper Mt, CO. (A fantastic week with lots of meaning and is a reflection of God's work in 250 lives and a glimpse of eternal impact across the world). I was exhausted and entered 2 straight days of national meetings.

I hit the fatigue wall about noon yesterday, and felt like I might pass out. After panang curry lunch, I revived enough to almost understand our conversation the rest of the afternoon. Vaguely recall something about students and Jesus, I'm not sure really.

I can get pretty sarcastic when I'm really tired. I think I only broke out once yesterday, but it was probably more and I didn't even notice.

Tried to watch a movie last night from Blockbuster, but it wouldn't work, so we watched Comedy Channel with Flight of the Conchords. If I was a talented musician, I think I would have ended up doing a verson of what they do.

Why do so many car dealership owners put their kids in their commercials? Is this marketing tactic really so wise? Don't most adults get really annoyed at children in cars? "are we there yet?", "my brother is annoying me". Do we really want that memory when we go to buy a car? (I just reread this and must have been channeling Andy Rooney from 60 minutes. I know no one under 30 even knows that guy, but the little dude is still around giving commentary on just about everything.)

And about cars, I had a new Nissan Altima rental while in Colorado. It has a start/stop button, so you don't turn a key, you just press a button. I found this so much easier on my wrist, no more troublesome inserting a key and then all that rigorous 90 degree turning of the wrist to start the car.

I mow my jungle/yard today before the afternoon rains come. Going 10 days in Florida without mowing this time of year is not recommended.

I love weekends.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Stint Briefing Conference

Sitting at the Copper Mountain Conference center with 248 stinters getting ready to go to over 30 strategic locations around the world. I've been to one of these every year for over a decade, and I never get bored of what I experience here - the faith, courage, and energy of young men and women trusting God to make an eternal impact in the world. Every Christian who is starting to get a little skeptical or pessimistic about the state of Christianity in the US should come to this for a couple of days. The story line here is one of hope because of the love of Christ that has transformed their lives.
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Saturday, July 25, 2009

10 Reasons the Great Commission will be fulfilled in this generation

Dr. Steve Douglass' view of why the GC will be fulfilled soon.
1. He intends to do it
2. He has commanded us to go.
3. He offers us the power
4. He is moving today
5. His people are praying more
6. Hs people are planning more.
7. His people are more at one.
8. Non-written methods are overcoming illiteracy.
9. Scripture translation is expanding rapidly.
"Never since the beginning of time has every people group had the Bible in their language. This will be happen by 2025."
10. Many other breakthroughs have occurred. E.g. Student-led movements, films (Magdalena, Damascus); leaders reaching leaders;
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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Big Conference

I'm sitting in Moby Gym/CSU at the Staff Conference for CCC. Listening to Tim Keller on Luke 10.
Yesterday I had conversations with leaders from S Korea, the Philippines, Central America, Uruguay, and Western Europe. The common theme - we want and need US students to come as missionairies to our countries. Help us reach more students. Help us raise up leaders. Be our partners in the Great Commission.
Tim Keller's opening comment on CCC paraphrased - if you (CCC) disappeared tomorrow, church leaders would need to start figuring out how to recreate you, because of your role in the world.
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Saturday, May 16, 2009

We all need a mission

I joined several of our illustrious WSN leaders in beautiful downtown Portland for 2 days to plan some next steps for reaching students in global cities. But we weren't the only ones at the Doubletree hotel on a mission. We were overwhelmed in numbers by the knitting convention. Lots of knitting and pearling. An argument in the restaurant where someone was accused of dropping a stitch. Some very interesting clothing, shawls, and other stuff made by knitting. Most of all I liked this car window sticker.
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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Psychotria nervosa is ...

Kim and I ran in to this at the Selby gardens in Sarasota. Whoever named this plant must have not been a regular coffee drinker.
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Thursday, April 9, 2009

"Make disciples"

Powerful last night and last morning of the conference! Over half of the students and staff responded to a challenge to "make disciples", and David Bedolla followed it up this morning with a practical challenge to launch and lead spiritual movements all over their country and the world.
The group of guys in the picture are 2 students and 2 volunteers with Craig Johring, the Enfoqie Mexico team leader. The 2 students are planning a christian concert outreach with a leading music executive sharing the gospel.
Its been a week full of great stories of faith from students reaching students who want to change their country.
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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The past 3 days have been awesome here. Students are excited about their relationship with God. The conference has been creative and professional. Last night they gathered on the beach and let helium balloons go, representing a life that is filled with His Spirit, experiencing freedom from guilt and sin. I speak on the Great Commission in just about an hour. Afterward, students will go on a prayer journey around the world with maps of the continents on the wall and prayer requests at each station.
Today they have been out serving in the community and we'll be hearing some of those stories as well. It should be a big night.
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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Mision Acapulco

Kim and I have joined 200 students from Mexico who came here yesterday for their spring break to share the gospel with fellow students and do community service.
I speak the last night on "La Gran Comision". I am working hard on my Spanish. (not really) Last night was kind of a party plus a message. These kids don't know most of the people at the conference, so it will be cool to see them bond during the next few days. I think the balloons help the bonding process.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Get a piece of the Rock

My soul finds rest in God alone; He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Psalm 62:1,2

When Kim and I were Spain at the midyear retreat for STINTers across Europe and the Middle East, we took a trip to Gibraltar. You drive along the coastal highway, through some hills, round a corner, and then you see it in the distance, rising out of the ocean. Gibraltar is stunning as you look at from up close or faraway. But then you drive onto it, and you realize how big it really is. It is a giant rock fortress that is also a city, still fully owned and operated by the United Kingdom. Everywhere you go, there are signs of past conflict - tunnels dug out of solid rock, large cannons, military barracks and monuments.

But in the middle of this rock is a beautiful garden, with paths, fountains, waterfalls, benches, and scenic views of the bay, all designed for rest and reflection. We were stunned by its beauty, simplicity, and serenity in the middle of this rocky reminder of war and conflict.

King and songwriter David, no stranger to warfare, compared His relationship with God to the experience of a warrior who runs to the high ground, the rock, to be saved. Only in the middle of this fortress can his soul can find rest. The battles may still rage, but rest can be found during it all.

This reminds me that the very need for rest is natural, brought on by the conflicts we find ourselves in each day. Whether we are facing large scale invasions that seem to threaten our stability, sanity, and survival, or the small daily challenges of life common to all, Jesus wants to be our Rock right in the middle of it all.

Real rest is found in Him, in the middle of real life. I can’t find it elsewhere.
Prudential’s slogan had it right – “get a piece of the rock”. It’s just that they don’t offer the rock that never fails.

A view from the top, with the airport and Spain in the background.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

40 Days and 40 Nights...

Yes, it has been that long since I've been on the Global Road. There was not master plan for this, like Jesus' 40 days/nights in the wilderness, or the 40 days of rain that pummeled Noah and his family in the ark. I just ran out of the time and energy; but I am back again, and will bring you up to speed on all the provocative stuff I've been doing.
I'll start with the most recent, 48 hours in Sarasota on the beach with Kim. We usually like to head to Longboat Key, but this time went to Siesta Key, and the beach there is so much better than Longboat. We enjoyed 2 perfect days of weather on the beach, with lots of reading, sleeping, walking, and talking. No real swimming though it was perfect for jumping in to cool off.
Below is a pictorial review of what you've missed while I've been blog-less. I start from the most recent and go back to my trip to Turkey in mid February.

On the way out of town today we visited the Selby Gardens in Sarasota. If you are in that area and you like gardens, you should take time to visit it. This is an awesome tree that I've never heard of before, and I wish I had written down the name. It's all about the root system. It looks like its moving. There were great views of Sarasota Bay, large trees with the canopy to walk through, banyan trees, this incredible tree in the middle, and dart frogs that looked like they were ceramics painted by an elementary school kid. A nice ending before heading home and working on the blog during American Idol.

Walking off the beach at the end of the day, we ran into this drum circle that formed up on Siesta Key. It seemed to include some planned hula hooping and then little kids who just jumped in and tried it on. There were also a few who were just dancing in their own world.

Packin heat in Orlando

This is neighbor Mike. Last weekend he takes me out to the gun range, and we de-stress our lives by shooting things. Last time I remembered firing a gun I was a junior in high school. Wayne Smith took me through a field of corn stalks and mud in November. I shot at stuff. I didn't hit anything. I got really cold. Only 2 redeeming things; I laughed a lot at Wayne and knew I could save time and money by crossing off hunting as a future sport to take up.
So, I was wondering if this would de stress or add stress. I missed the first 2 clay pigeons, but then went 4 for 4. I had found my game. Bring it on. Thanks Mike.

Yes that's me, with a semi-automatic 22. And a slight bald spot. And 2 very impressed friends casting long shadows alongside me. The first several shots I missed completely. Gun range director comes over and says, "You're left-eye dominant". Huh? Who knew. I shot left handed the rest of the day, even got a few on the target. Yours truly, left eye Bubalo.

Bulls Eye with a 22. Hey, I was too aiming at the one on the right. Notice the lower right corner black dot of the target on the left. Oops.

Sea Shack

National Leadership Conference at Hilton Head at the end of February. This annual US Campus Leadership gathering is known for cooler than average weather, meeting with great friends who serve together, celebrating all God has done the past year, and unifying around a common vision for the future. It also requires a pilgrimage to the Sea Shack, standing in line outside to get in, eating seafood prepared with a little homemade flavor and love. (Aka "cheapest seafood dinner on the island.")

On the free afternoon, I took on this challenging par 3 over water, the toughest hole on the course. Great was the celebration as we all - me, Ron, and Jon - all planted on the green and 2 putted. The rest of the game was well, a bit less successful. But it was still a blast.

Friends and colleagues at a Leadership Conference in Turkey Feb. 9 - 11. These men and women have incredible faith as they follow Jesus in some pretty challenging places. I receive far more each time from these gatherings than I ever imagine I will.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

And the Winner is...

Here I am in my personal coffee corner at home. Its a happy place, and a happy moment every morning when the beans start to brew. Here's my favorite brewed at home cup of coffee. I know you've been waiting patiently -
1. Tres Rios, from Costa Rica. I get this delivered from my friend and colleague, Carlos “the Jackal” Tenorio. He lives in Tres Rios region, and this bean makes a superb cup of coffee for any time of day. It’s probably considered a medium roast, and I usually prefer bold, but this is so smooth and full of flavor, that I can drink it all day long. You can get this from Starbucks now, but it isn’t as good at the stash he brings me. When I saw *$ was selling it I was thrilled, but it just doesn’t match up to original.
2. A close second and worth your time to order is Jeff’s Java, from Mission Roasters. I’ve known Jeff for 15 years, and he roasts the beans in his garage with TLC. He’s a chaplain for Orange County fire and rescue, and you can go online and order. Some of every order goes to help a humanitarian cause. And the coffee is so good. Its bold, but not bitter at all. Perfect morning cup of coffee, every morning. So grab a couple of pounds of this.
3. Honorable mention goes to the boldest cup of coffee - Hairbenders - I’ve ever brewed, from the beans sent to me from my buddy Matt in Portland. It was from Stumptown, a coffee shop in Portland. Hairbenders is an appropriate title, and I highly recommend it just for the effect. I left Matt a message after I drank the first cup, and called it Hellraisers, not being able to even think straight after I had a cup.

So, there you have it. Look them up, order your own, and enjoy a great cup today.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Award winning Coffee

The drama has been building as you have waited for the announcement. Here I am pouring the award winning coffee from the past year (or so). The winner ...

will be posted in the next 24 hrs.
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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Watching the Inauguration in Spain with 125 stinters

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

As promised, my personal focus for 2009

John 15 describes a life connected to Jesus, one that results in joy that comes from Jesus Himself and fills our life. As I reflected on 2008, and thought about my life, I felt that joy was NOT a characteristic that I experienced a lot of. What is joy exactly? Here's something I've been thinking - it's connected to "peace", yet different; they go together, like ice and tea, like peanut butter and jelly. This is obviously not a theological defintion. But joy seems like the overflowing expression of peace and contentment. It's an extra step above and beyond that is supernatural, not based on everything workig out right.

So, how do you get that kind of joy? It took me back to John 15:1. Jesus is the true vine. I started thinking about staying connected to Him who is "true", rather than those things which are "false". How often do I try to find life in what is a mirage, a phantom, and not the true life-giving Vine? What are those things? And the result when I do - Not real joy, but all too often a dependence on things working out right.

Here's a list of stuff I plug in to thinking it might bring me life -
-Getting more informed about the world around me
-Getting my inbox emptied out, my work all done
-Being liked and understood by everyone, and all that pushes me to do
-More money, fewer problems, almost anything, except a life totally connected to and immersed in the life and heart of Jesus.

So that will be my focus for the year. To uncover and name those false vines, and to relinquish them as false suitors, hopeless fantasies of real life and joy. And then to connect to Jesus, as a branch stays connected to the vine, and bears much fruit...including a whole bunch of joy.

The fruit of life connected to the true vine will produce the kind of joy that will rise above the ebb and flow of good circumstances. That is the kind of life I want. So that is my focus for the year

Monday, January 12, 2009

Summer project leaders training

Here's Mark Gauthier, our National Director, challenging our leaders to trust God to reach thousands of students for Christ all over the world and in the US this summer.
Mark's first summer project experiences were at Huntington Beach, CA and he momentarily freaked out when he was announced as a leader to go to Romania the next summer.
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