Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Intentional Family Fun

Somehow, and I have no idea how, K has this crazy motivation and knack for getting us to do family activities. There was the time when she had us do a Christmas play (in the comfort of our own home of course) and over Thanksgiving she had everyone write down what they were thankful for on the back of a cardboard leaf.

Tonight we played Christmas music and each of the four of us had to draw a Christmas picture. Eventually, they will all get taped together into a big Christmas family poster. In case you see it, mine is the very simple one....

I think this is a great streak K has got. Growing up, my family was never intentional about anything like this, we never did these kinds of things, nor did anyone in my family even think about it.

On the other hand, maybe our kids are much more environmental than we think they are. Maybe they listen a lot more than we think they do as we brainstorm crazy ways to engage students. Like when the SPACEintern used other leaves, when we did a beach party at a nursing home, scavenger hunt in an airport...

Photo: K, E and D drawing their Christmas posters.

Saddleback, Willow Creek and AIDS

So Lynn pulled together willing volunteers and without money, they began planning and dreaming "as if they had money and staff." In 2004 Willow did "Christmas on location" with the three teaching pastors going to various parts of the globe. Bill and Lynne went to an AIDS clinic in Africa. When the 20 minute broadcast was piped back to Willow on Christmas eve, $600,000 was raised for this ministry. Their strategy was to partner with churches in Africa that doing something to help with HIV / AIDS.
Good details in the post about Saddleback and Willow Creek and their efforts in light of Worlds AIDS Day, tomorrow, December 1st. Also cool to hear someone marching forward with a dream but no money and no staff - sounds like a person that MUST. Read more from Eric Swanson here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Delicious firefox extension

I don't know how long the extension has been around, but I've used it for 10 minutes and *love* *love* *love* it. Find it here.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Three conversations

I've had three phenomenal conversations in the past few weeks. Significant conversations with people that are in and around the SPACE universe. (I know, corny corny...)
- People that I have spent quite a bit of time with, they have been involved in a bunch of SPACE stuff.
- They are going way past the experiences they have already had and seeking to build on that.
- Involving ideas like 'I want to be investing in people even more,' 'I want to live as a missionary,' 'I want to be involved with Gods heart for justice'
- Doing things that SPACE never really dreamed of

Simply having people be involved with SPACE and really eat up the mission and vision is such a cool thing, students that are like that really energize me. But to have people come out of a SPACE experience and go on and do more, thats something totally different. And I think this is one of the essences that we must strive for - to prepare students to do something more in the future. To know that SPACE is not an end to itself but the mere beginning for living a life of impact. For students to understand their lives are God's chosen plan to bless the world and live and make significant decisions accordingly. These three conversations - and individuals (you know who you are) - are making it all worth it.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Rhymes with

My dad and I had our first talk about sex in a Chinese restaurant. I was about 23, I think. I had been dating D for a while and the conversation amounted to my dad making sure that I knew about AIDS. "You know about AIDS, right?" That was pretty much the whole thing.

The other night, Aunt Jaq, E, K and I were sitting around getting ready to watch Episode III. (We've watched the whole series in about 10 days and it's been a blast to see my kids totally mesmerized by the epic story of good and evil, right and wrong...ok another post.) We were talking about something and K asks me, out of the blue, "Have you heard of d*** (the slang word for the male organ that rhymes with rick) ?" I felt like the wind had just gotten knocked out of me. I stammered, "Huh?" She said, "You know, d***" and said it again. I just about jumped up and tried to cover her mouth with my hand. Aunt Jaq left the room bursting in laughter.

I then proceeded to talk to K just a bit about how we don't use that word, its a bad word, like bathroom talk and like using God's name in vain, a dirty word. I asked her where she learned that word and she said two boys at school told her about it. (I always tell my girls to stay away from boys.) It was a good conversation though, I was very calm and collected, and therefore, it was just a conversation. K didn't feel like she was in trouble at all - and she wasn't. She simply didn't know any better. Aunt Jaq later said she didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

And that is the essence isn't it? An innocent eight year old girl learns the slang name of a male organ. It is kind of sad. But on the other hand, it's maybe not so surprising.

I think two things from this:
First, I think its time for the first of a series of sex talks with K. The first because I think she is old enough to learn about the basics of human anatomy. (Of course, D will have to weigh in on this too.) A series because I think we will need to revisit the subject a few different times at different ages.
Second, at some point, our kids are going to learn that bad word and a whole host of others. And maybe learn some bad habits and listen to some bad music and watch some bad movies. And maybe hang out with some kids that aren't so great. We can overprotect and when we do - and I mean OVERprotect - we will be doing our kids a disservice. Our challenge as parents is learning the fine balance of what is reasonable and what is not and protecting and teaching appropriately, critically and with engagement.

You parents of older kids, got any good advice?

Saturday, November 26, 2005

public Bloglines

I just edited all my Bloglines subscriptions to be public, after I realized that you can publish just a folder to your blogroll. Much better. Now all of you, if you wanted, could read all the rss feeds I read, not just what is on my blogroll. Thought you might be interested and I think this is the way it's meant to be. Cool. Here is the link for my subscriptions.

SPACE expedition

Speaking of retreats, looks like we are finalizing a cool weekend partnership with a family friend and a ministry that he helps out. More details soon but here are some elements that I think are going to be significant about this weekend:
- the first SPACE expedition (not a retreat, haha)
- built around serving and blessing
- give the students sigificant time to work with AND hear from B and J Grap
- B and J Grap have done this for literally decades - to hear their collective wisdom AND to see them work - that is modeling it at its best
- low cost since staying at family house
- urban, inner city, homeless, recovery type of ministry

Friday, November 25, 2005

Sheng power

A power strip with lots of different electrical plugs for different parts of the world. Made by a company called Zhong *Sheng*. How cool is that? HT - BoingBoing.

Retreat Thoughts

One of the comments in another post (a long time ago) asked me to jot down some thoughts about retreats. The exact quote from my post that started it was something like this, "And I'm beginning to be philosophically opposed to retreats..."

"We believe that an alternative, missional approach to being and doing church is best supported by an alternative approach to Christian spirituality. Too much Christendom spiritualy has been concerned with retreat and reflection. While we acknowledge the value of a rich interior life, as well as the value of solitude in interority, we believe that retreat and reflection should be embraced as part of a broader spirituality that values engagement and action. We need to find a renewed framework and basis for understanding everyday life and our actions as a vital source of experience of God." - The Shaping of Things to Come

I think that quote sums it up for me. A big caveat though - I think GCC runs the best student retreats around.
- There is always a small group component after the talks. Speakers are asked to set up small groups, so usually, after the talks, small group leaders have a set of questions that serve as follow up discussion points for their groups.
- Well thought out details. From registration to brochures to facilities, all the details are designed to make the weekend run as smooth as possible.
- A huge number of volunteers and their huge hearts. We have people that give up a weekend because they love students that much. They serve and serve and serve - they do whatever needs to get done.
- Retreats provide an incredible environment for students to get to know their leaders, small groups to really gel and for new kids to make connections. Even some kids meet Jesus.

Even with all that said, and the quote resonating with me, I think the concept of retreats is still something I need to think about some more. And - this doesn't at all mean that I won't encourage kids to go on our retreats, or even go myself to help out. One thing it does mean though - is that SPACE would probably not run a retreat in the traditional sense of 'retreat.' But you probably already knew that.

Love to hear your feedback.

Photo: The seniors of 2005-2006 on the Fall 2005 retreat (see I told you I wasn't THAT against them)

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here is hoping all of you readers a Happy Thanksgiving! The fam and I are in CT at the Madre's house for a few days. That means a lot of sleeping, eating and lounging around. Nice.

A few things for us to be thankful for:
- family and friends and good health
- that God loves that we are part of His plan for the world
- good friends all over the world that know that students are worth it

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

the Interns Waking the Dead notes

You long time readers know that I like the book Waking the Dead a lot. So much that it's on the reading list for the SPACEintern. Fun surprise when her notes popped up in my rss reader. Here are some of the highlights.
You are never a great man when you have more mind than heart. -Beauchene
The Heart is central. The Bible addresses the heart more than any other topic-more than works or service, more than belief or obedience more than money, and even more than worship.
The heart is our source of faith, hope, and love.

Memory, Creativity and Courage are functions of the heart.

Enemy's plan: Make them so busy, they ignore the heart. Wound them so deeply, they don't want a heart. Twist their theology, so they despise the heart. Take away their courage. Destroy their creativity. Make intimacy with God impossible for them.
Three Eternal Truths:
1.Things are not what they seem
2.This is a world at war
3.We have a crucial role to play

This is our most desperate hour.

What sort of tale have I fallen into?

"We and the world, my children, will always be at war.
Retreat is impossible.
Arm yourselves." -Leif Enger
You can read more from her notes at post 1 and 2.

Once again, a kind of cool feedback loop from being able to read notes real-time.

Staying Healthy While Flying

InflightHQ has a post about staying healthy while flying here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Top gifts for mission students

My top list for gifts for students interested in missions.

1. book - Operation World
2. book - The Shaping of Things to Come
3. movie - Crash (for post high school students though)
4. headlamp/flashlight - Black Diamond Night Ray
5. video message series - Louie Giglio - Passport
6. motion sick? - Sea Bands
7. digital storage - USB flash drive - but be slick and put some good reading material on there
8. book - Short Term Missions Workbook
9. Flickr pro account
10. Charge to Go - charge your cell phone (various types of cell phones and iPod shuffle connectors too) with a AA battery

Monday, November 21, 2005

3 years old!

Well, yesterday came and went and I totally missed this - this blog just turned 3 years old.... Wow.

Here is a link to my first months set of posts. Whew, that was boring.

Anyway, this blog has been tons of fun. Thank you readers for the comments, feedback and most of all - what you are doing out there with your friends, the students you know, and your communities. Looking forward to what the next 3 years, in the blogosphere and in real life, will bring.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

USCWM calling Christian Aid out

"Many years ago a little Chinese girl fearfully stepped into the house of some newly-arrived missionaries 100 miles north of Beijing. Her parents had insisted that she listen to nothing these foreign devils; would say to her; she was only to help with the children, for her family desperately needed the extra income. She didn't listen. But she saw the husband open doors for his wife and treat her lovingly in other ways. She was totally astonished. Christianity was for her! Her grandson, Thomas Wang, is one of the most widely-known Chinese believers in the world today.
Only foreign missionaries physically present can make such an impact. In many countries the mistreatment of women, even by pastors, continues precisely because something else has not been modeled for them by redeemed believers from afar. Sending money to such pastors won't make those changes.
Sending money cannot take the place of sending godly people, godly families. This is what it means to respond to Jesus' call for us "to be my witnesses," not just send words. Sending money is not sending witnesses. In all of the remaining untouched people groups there are, by definition, not yet any local pastors to pay to evangelize. Actions speak louder than words or checks. The sheer example of a Christian family is the most often under-rated factor in missions!
It is with real sadness that we produce this issue at this time. Very rarely does a major mission organization come out with such blatantly harmful and misleading information. But now we have in our hands the Summer 2005 issue of Christian Aid's bulletin, Christian Mission, describing in some detail the work Bob Finley has been doing; from 1953 to 1976 with International Students, Inc., and from 1976 to the present with Christian Aid Mission. However, the actual work Christian Aid is doing is not so much the issue as what they are saying about other forms of mission." - Ralph Winter
Sounds like the US Center for World Mission is calling Christian Aid out on a few things. "Christian Aid Mission and some other similar missions don't send people but just money, loudly proclaiming that theirs is the only legitimate kind of mission, and that sending people of love and integrity is both unbiblical and harmful." Er right, sending people isn't at all what God had in mind...

Should be interesting to see what comes of it. One thing I've learned in the past few years - efforts in missions need to come under a bit of critical analysis and scrutiny instead of the mentality that, "It's missions so it must be great and we don't need to exercise accountability or ask any questions." In my role, people come to me when they are interested in missions experiences and I in turn always start asking a lot of questions. Many times, they've got a grand plan in mind by the time they come to me. When I ask these questions:
- I feel bad. I mean, these people have some great motives and are willing to really sacrifice time, comfort and money.
- They can feel defensive. They just told me about a desire for a great thing and I bring on the inquisition. "What is *his* problem?"
- I've learned to tell people at the very beginning that I will have a lot of questions and it's not them but our desire to be wise about mission experiences.

The entire Nov/Dec issue of Mission Frontiers is dedicated to this topic. The decision to bring this to light was very difficult I'm sure. But the USCWM and Dr. Winter "are out to promote the overall mission cause and anything that will enhance or protect it."

Interns to Leaders

"The best leaders are not those who win the most followers, but those who create other leaders." - Neil Cole

I've written a lot about our SPACEintern. She is doing a fabulous job. This morning we had a quick conversation about some of the work she needs to do and maybe how she could fit it into something literal and tangible. We also talked about the birthing of new events and experiences. Those new things shouldn't be based on what is cool or fun, or missional tourism - oh that sounds like a cool place to go, just for the sake of going. Instead, our experiences (and ministry in general) should be based on where our students are and what they need. Once we have a gauge on those two elements, only then can we put together an experience that is valid. She also has to do some kind of research paper, but instead, she wants to do something that will have a tangible effect on students. And that was totally her perspective. Cool huh?

Our youth ministry actually has two other students doing internships. One of them is EmGberg, who was on my Brazil team this summer. She is doing her internship with the head of GCC's Mission Task Force, the group of people responsible for everything dealing with missions in our community. A lot of her internship has her reading and writing about the Perspectives readings. (I also wrote about ability to relate to total strangers, even in another country, here.)

The other intern is JF, who is working with our youth ministry administrator, dealing with back office administrative tasks. JF has been helping out in the office, especially of late with retreat paperwork. She is also putting together a scrapbook about her time in the ministry.

My thinking about the internships is this - the internships aren't just to have interns. The internships are about building leaders that can create and shape the future. Same deal goes with SPACE. We can rake a bunch of leaves and send teams all over the world to help missionaries, and those in and of themselves are good things. But if we are doing those things as ends to themselves, if we have interns just to help us do some legwork, we have missed the point. We should be about building leaders, about erupting the Gospel in students who live missionally, preparing students to make an impact in their community and to the nations.

Malcolm Gladwell on Rick Warren

"There is only one thing big enough to handle the world's problems, and that is the millions and millions of churches spread out around the world," he says. "I can take you to thousands of villages where they don't have a school. They don't have a grocery store, don't have a fire department. But they have a church. They have a pastor. They have volunteers. The problem today is distribution. In the tsunami, millions of dollars of foodstuffs piled up on the shores and people couldn't get it into the places that needed it, because they didn't have a network. Well, the biggest distribution network in the world is local churches. There are millions of them, far more than all the franchises in the world. Put together, they could be a force for good."

Interesting read from Malcolm Gladwell about Rick Warren. Read more here. HT - Jordon.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Thats What We Do

Steve Argue is at the National Youthworker Convention and writes,
What if ministry was done out of true expression instead of other things?
What are the “other things?”

You can probably fill in the blanks just as well as me…
- guilt
- fear
- significance
- competition
- anger
- grandstanding
- fame
… yuck… I’m feeling sick that I can rattle these off so fast. Maybe this is a form of confession.

If ministry is really out of true expression, however… then we live with the attitude of “that’s what we do,” “that’s what we’re called to do,” “that’s my place in the grand symphony of love that God plays for the world of which I’m (by the grace of God) a part.”

Read the whole post here.

Launch thank you card

This is the card I got from that lady I wrote about from our Launch. Icing on the cake. (Click for a larger size, a little hard to read.)

Friday, November 18, 2005

LB to MI

My good friend LB leaves tonight to help out with hurricane relief in Mississippi. Here is a post that details the work she is going to do over Thanksgiving break. Throw up a quick prayer for her and the team if you get some time.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Stings of Leadership

You know... sometimes leadership stings and sometimes it hurts like !#$@#$! Sometimes, things don't go that great and being in charge isn't a lot of fun.

I don't write much about my day job, but if you know me, you know that I've been at odds with it for a little while. Most of the time I wish I could be doing something else. My attitude and the attention I have not given to my career has both come back to haunt me.

I'm a leader at work (a manager) but I'm also a follower. I am a supervisor, but I also have a supervisor. And after our 30 hour marathon, which was mostly my team's responsibility, I was in a bit of trouble. There were some things my boss felt like I had not done correctly. Not just not executed correctly, but ignored in an attitude of apathy. And I got called out on these issues.

I thought I was in a huge amount of trouble. But we had a great conversation about how things went and how things can progress moving forward. Very interesting, something totally unexpected, God chose to bless.

Its been a very tangible reminder of a few things for me:
- If we want people to do the right things, they must care about the right things. My problem was I didn't care about the right things.
- Don't always think that the people know that you value them. My boss communicated value in my contributions, which in turn made me decide to care about the right things again. It took about 10 minutes and resulted in a huge attitude change for me. (I hope for my sake it lasts.)
- Sometimes, people need to work through their own issues not matter what you do. There was an underlying context of some other stuff that I just had to let go of.

I think some of these points need to translate into other areas of my life.

I know this post may seem to have a lot of obscure, 'talking in code' stuff. But thats okay. The gist is - leadership is difficult, both when you are a leader and for the person leading you.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

My friend Dennis has started, which focuses on video clips and how to use those in youth ministry. Looks like a great resource. He is also the one that has encouraged me to try to use more video on this blog. (Look Dennis - got the screen capture working!)

Global Fast Cities

- Dublin, Ireland
With a pub on nearly every corner, Dublin has no shortage of "third places"
- Helsinki, Finland
- Montreal, Quebec
Among international cities, Montreal boasts the fifth-largest creative-class workforce.
- Sydney, Australia
represents 180 countries and 140 languages
- Vancouver, BC
has one of the highest percentages of immigrants (31%) of any major city
Read more here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Future Generation Missionary

- The future generation of missionary will be the rank-and-file businessman.
- Christian-run companies are multiplying in just about every corner of the globe, reshaping overseas mission work. These businesses form a movement known variously as business as mission, kingdom business and great commission companies, after the biblical charge to "make disciples of all the nations."
Read the rest of the article titled "Their Mission: Spreading the world through Business" (NYT free registration required.)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Things I wish someone had told me while I was learning how to be creative

I've had to learn a lot about leadership in the past week. Most of it has had to deal with my shortcomings as a leader AND as a follower, and the majority the latter. It hasn't been fun. In fact, it has been rotten. More on that later.

In the meantime, a list from the Radical Careering blog about creativity... see the full list here.
Revolutionary ideas always feel uncomfortable at first.
Don'?t choose your typeface by just scrolling down the font menu.
Kill any work that's "fine."
Experiment. Fail. Experiment again.
Don't base your self-image on positive feedback, because you can't count on that.
No matter how good it is, somebody won't like it.
Don't waste time or money on ideas you're not thrilled about.
Buy a cheap portfolio case. All an employer cares about is what's inside.
Being creative is only a small part of being a good creative.

As we engage students to engage the world, we must remember that we are creative beings. That the innate desire to create, innovate, and be artistic is a good thing. And that as we create, experiment and innovate, we model to our students that taking risks to reach a dying world is an okay thing to do, and is sometimes well worth it.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

November Raking Bus Launch

Another year of the raking bus has come and gone and just like previous years, this one's was also a success. A crazy idea has now become a fun tradition.

Here are some quick stats:
- bagged 228 bags of leaves
- 7 houses
- we teamed up with another local church and their youth pastor, but none of her kids came
- one house didn't want them bagged and we thought it would be okay to bag them anyway...But then she wanted us to get rid of the bags too...So we had to load about 50 bags into the church van and an SUB and take those down the street to aforementioned youth pastor's house/parsonage - "The most successful people are those who are good at Plan B." - James Yorke
- 1 school bus, lots of rakes
- D made a chili dip, bought some drinks and had the kids over at our house for a lunch break. Our girls also came with me during the afternoon.
- a lightweight worship set at the very end.
- cut up two strands of Christmas star lights to give one to each student at the end - idea of light of the world and what impact we make when we are all strung together, like on a school bus (and the idea that these kids can serve and bless others themselves)

There is this family we raked today, and they have done a tremendous amount for the student ministry at GCC. Both of their kids came through it and the younger one now serves as a small group leader. The mom is now going through her second round of cancer (a second type in 5 or 6 years.) The most poignant image for me all day was Mrs. G sitting in a chair in her doorway, with her crutches next to her, watching us the whole time we were raking, with an absolute look of joy on her face.

There are a few more images at my flickr tag SPACE200511Launch .

And to those of you that came out for another SPACE Launch, thank you for serving and impacting our community. YOU shine. And there is no putting you under a bowl.

Click on the image below to see some video clips from the day.

Friday, November 11, 2005

SPACE Nov Prayer

Dear friends,
We would love it if you would say a quick prayer for the SPACE Launch tomorrow. The Rake Bus Launch is tomorrow and we would love it if you would talk to God about safety, fun and and eruption of students being passionate about reaching their friends and community.
Thanks for praying!

Final prep

Done today:
- maps
- list
- advance warning to two families about us (the blessings are already moving out)

Still to do:
- straighten up house
- prepare launch gift - think using wiresnips a lot
- the inevitable last minute calls from parents (already 3)
- pick up van
- think about what to say for two minutes after its all over
- charge batteries

I don't think its going too badly.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

A Small World

If I had not been there that day to trigger that salute as an emissary of Christ, someone else's emissary would have triggered it later, possibly with quite different motives and results. Those who advocate that the world's remaining tribal groups should be left to themselves do not realize how naive their notion is! The world just isn't big enough anymore for anyone to be left alone! It is a foregone conclusion that even if missionaries do not go in to give, lumbermen, crocodile hunters, prospectors or farmers will still go in to take! The issue is not then, should anyone go in, because obviously someone will. The issue is rather, will the most sympathetic person get there first?
As the one who got there first to live among the Sawi, it was my aim to combine faithfulness to God and the Scriptures with respect for the Sawi and their culture. The crucial question was, would Sawi culture and the Scriptures prove so opposite in their basic premises as to render this two-way loyalty impossible? I intended to find out.
Don Richardson, in Peace Child, written in 1975

Character is...

"Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the mood in which it has been made has passed."
Jesus, I need some of this ability right now...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Real Game of Bigger and Better

D first told me of this game her youth group used to play called "Bigger and Better" or something like that. Anyway, this guy is doing it for real.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

More Indonesia violence

Jakarta, Nov. 08 (AsiaNews) - New violence has flared in Indonesia, in the town where three girls from a Christian school were decapitated on October 29, the AsiaNews service reports.
Two more girls were shot in the head in the evening of November 8 in Poso, in central Sulawesi-- a province marred by months of bloodshed, as Muslims have clashed with Christians. The two girls are in critical condition in a local hospital.
HT from The Persecution Blog

SPACE prep ingredients

1 SPACEintern with lots of energy and creativity
1 vehicle with gas
2 flashlights
7 potential yards that we can rake on Saturday
7 good sets of directions to potential yards (so we were missing one set of *good* directions... we had directions, they weren't just that good)
1 bamboo plant that we bought at a grocery store - I don't know why bamboo, but they looked cool and I like being different
1 big smiley face balloon
1 recipient of aforementioned balloon and bamboo plant - a junior in our ministry that just had brain surgery last week, shes doing great by the way - we are going to rake her house and stopped in to visit

Whats left?
- Take a look at one more house and get the right directions.
- Pick up church van on Friday. Maybe put some of the seats back in.
- Finalize count and number of buses on Thurs. (I think only one unless the count goes berzerk.)
- Figure out intro activity for when students arrive and mingle. (Intern)
- See if we can still buy the launch gift idea. If not, do a little more thinking.
- Straighten up my house for lunch.

Photo: bamboo

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Going to [undisclosed location]?

We spent a nice leisurely afternoon today hanging out with some friends at a local park and playground. Interestingly enough, our friends are a GCC family that usually live in [undisclosed location at this time]. They are home for a few months and we hadn't really seen them too much until today. It was a nice afternoon.

They showed us some pictures, told us a bit about life overseas, told us some funny stories. Of course, we just have no idea what kind of reality living in another culture is really like. They have also followed SPACE since its inception and have been big fans of it. They are big enough fans that we spent a lot of time talking about what it would look like for them to host a SPACE team. Their excitement was practically written on their foreheads.

The idea of taking a team to their location scares me. Really scares me. I'm just way unsure of the whole deal. Most of it deals them living in [undisclosed location at this time]. In terms of both distance and culture difference, this would be huge. I think its okay to be scared, to a certain degree. Mission leaders take on huge levels of responsibilities.

On the flip side, I know if we were lead to send a team there, it would be fantastic - absolutely fantastic - because this family:
- lived in Howard County before and is one of GCC's own families
- has hosted multiple teams before, mostly college kids
- has already WELL thought through details dealing with:
* entry/jetlag/culture orientation
* housing with local families/churched/unchurched
* partnership with teams - what can visiting teams do, what do they need help with
* fun things to show visitors
* disaster and evacuation planning
* debriefing details and location

Today also confirmed for me, again, that there are cross cultural workers that would love for their sending churches to visit, encourage, and partner on the field. Not everyone can go, and these families can't host all the time, but if the conditions are right, these families would absolutely love visitors.

God will certainly speak to us about this one. And once He calls, once He paves the way and goes before us, we just go.

Image: Google Earth, where I spent a lot of time this evening, looking at [undisclosed location at this time]. K tried to see how fast she could spin the Earth. (FYI - The Earth spins at about 1083 miles per second.)

Frosty at LC

Frosty the Snowman showed up at our middle school church service this morning. Two things come to mind: 1 - I have no idea why Frosty showed up. 2 - Our middle school team does a fantastic Sunday every week.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Quote Library

I decided to put this online so I could add to it easily.

You’re the highest risk that God has taken. The safaris of Africa or the deep oceans of the Atlantic are wild, but they could never be a rebel or curse their creator. We, on the other hand, could and did. When God chose to create us, He knew that we would spit in His face, profane the sacred and laugh at His laws. But he also know that if He didn’t take the risk of rejection, the risk of watching His son brutally die on the cross, he would have never gotten love.
Risk, it seems, is woven into every cell of our bodies. And if we don’t give in, are bodies get weak, minds depressed and spirits broken. Risk comes in different packages for each one of us. You know what I’m taking about, when your at the church picnic and you eye that person, of the opposite sex, that catches your imagination, but are to fearful to do anything about it. When you feel that nudge, from the Holy Spirit, to tell someone about your love story with God, yet you shy away. And when you hear the gentle whisper of our Father leading you to unfamiliar ground, out of your comfort zone.
Risk is a funny thing. If you fail to do it you might regret it for the rest of your life. But if you do take on the challenge and let your inhibitions go, it could be the scariest and the most Christ-like thing you ever do. - John Eldredge

Anyone can devise a plan by which good people go to heaven. Only God can devise a plan whereby sinners, which are His enemies, can go to heaven. -Lewis Sperry Chafer

It is God and God alone who determines absolute truth. Truth is objective because God exists outside ourselves; it is universal because God is above all; it is constant because God is eternal. -Josh McDowell

'For the first few days after the September attack, it looked like the W philosophy was to speak incoherently and carry a big stick. That changed, and maybe his presidency did as well, during an un-scripted moment at Ground Zero. Bush was speaking through a megaphone with his arm around a retired fireman when some called out "We can't hear you." Without missing a beat, W responded, "Well I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked down these buildings will hear all of us soon." And thus, a presidency.' - Dave Pell, NextDraft

Jesus did not intend His church merely to provide bigger and better amusement for bigger and more upscale audiences. His vision was of a church that would inject His light and life into a dark and dying world. So we had better take the vision of Jesus seriously, or we won't just be amusing ourselves to death. We'll be amusing people to hell. -Leighton Ford, author and speaker

Jesus of Nazareth, without money and arms, conquered more millions than Alexander, Caesar, Mahomet, and Napoleon; without science and learning, He shed more light on things human and divine than all philosophers and schools combined; without the eloquence of schools, He spoke words of life such as never were spoken before or since, and produced effects which lie beyond the reach of any orator or poet; without writing a single line, He has set more pens in motion, and furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions, learned volumes, works of art and sweet songs of praise, than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times. Born in a manger, and crucified as a malefactor, He now controls the destinies of the civilized world, and rules a spiritual empire, which embraces one-third of the inhabitants of the globe. There never was in this world a life so unpretending, modest, and lowly in its outward form and condition, and yet producing such extraordinary effects upon all ages, nations, and classes of men. The annals of history produce no other example of such complete and astonishing success in spite of the absence of those material, social, literary, and artistic powers and influences which are indispensable to success for a mere man. -Philip Schaff (1819-1893)

'Of one hundred men, one will read the bible, the 99 will read the christian' - Dwight Moody

"Today's shocks are tomorrow's conventions."

"The strategy was flawed because it had an assumption. The assumption was that the people in leadership are actually leaders. [I thought] all I need to do is give them the right information and they can draw the right conclusions….Most people who are in positions of leadership in local churches aren't leaders. They're great people, but they're not really leaders." - George Barna


Noted Christian author and speaker Tony Campolo tells a story of his visit to Honolulu for a
Christian conference several years ago. His first night there, Tony awoke sometime after three (a six-hour time difference had confused his sleep pattern) and left the hotel in search of a place to get something to eat.
Eventually he found a tiny coffee shop, with one man behind the counter who served him coffee and a doughnut. Tony was the only customer until, quite suddenly, the coffee shop was overrun with women. Some sat at small tables; others sat at the counter near Tony.
From their conversation, Tony learned an astonishing amount about Honolulu's night life, for the
girls were discussing their night's work and their male clients. The girls were prostitutes.
Here's the rest of the story in Tony's own words:

I overheard the woman sitting beside me say, "Tomorrow's my birthday. I'm going to be
Her "friend" responded in a nasty tone, "So what do you want from me? A birthday party? What do you want? Ya want me to get you a cake and sing 'Happy Birthday'?"
"Come on!" said the woman sitting next to me. "Why do you have to be so mean? I was just telling you, that's all. Why do you have to put me down? I was just telling you it was my birthday. I don't want anything from you. I mean, why should you give me a birthday party? I've never had a birthday party in my whole life. Why should I have one now?"
When I heard that, I made a decision. I sat and waited until the women had left. Then I called
over the fat guy behind the counter and I asked him, "Do they come in here every night?"
"Yeah!" he answered.
"The one right next to me, does she come here every night?"
"Yeah," he said. "That's Agnes. Yeah, she comes in here every night. Why d'ya wanta know?"
"Because I heard her say that tomorrow is her birthday," I told him. "What do you say you and I do something about that? What do you think about us throwing a birthday party for her--right
here--tomorrow night?"
A cute smile slowly crossed his chubby cheeks and he answered with measured delight, "That's
"Look," I told him, "if it's okay with you, I'll get back here tomorrow morning about 2:30 and
decorate the place. I'll even get a birthday cake!"
"No way," said Harry (that was his name). "The birthday cake's my thing. I'll make the cake."
At 2:30 the next morning, I was back at the diner. I had picked up some crepe-paper decorations at the store and had made a sign out of big pieces of cardboard that read, "Happy Birthday, Agnes!" I decorated the diner from one end to the other. I had that diner looking good. The woman who did the cooking must have gotten the word out on the street, because by 3:15 every prostitute in Honolulu was in the place. It was wall-to-wall prostitutes ... and me!
At 3:30 on the dot, the door of the diner swung open and in came Agnes and her friend. I had
everybody ready (after all I was kind of the emcee of the affair), and when they came in we all
screamed, "Happy birthday!"
Never have I seen a person so flabbergasted ... so stunned ... so shaken. Her mouth fell open. Her legs seemed to buckle a bit. Her friend grabbed her arm to steady her. As she was led to sit on one of the stools along the counter, we all sang "Happy Birthday" to her.
As we came to the end of our singing with "Happy birthday, dear Agnes, happy birthday to you," her eyes moistened. When the birthday cake with all the candles on it was carried out, she lost it and just openly cried.
Harry gruffly mumbled, "Blow out the candles, Agnes! Come on! Blow out the candles! If you don't blow out the candles, I'm gonna hafta blow out the candles." And, after an endless few seconds, he did. Then he handed her a knife and told her, "Cut the cake, Agnes. Yo, Agnes, we all want some cake."
Agnes looked down at the cake. Then without taking her eyes off it, she slowly and softly said,
"Look, Harry, is it all right with you if I ...I mean, is it okay if I kind of ... want I want to
ask you is ... is it OK if keep the cake a little while? I mean, is it all right if we don't eat it
right away?"
Harry shrugged and answered, "Sure! It's okay. If you want to keep the cake, keep the cake. Take it home if you want to."
"Can I?" she asked. Then, looking at me, she said, "I live just down the street a couple of doors.
I want to take the cake home, OK? I'll be right back. Honest!" She got off the stool, picked up
the cake, and, carrying it like it was the Holy Grail, walked slowly toward the door.
As we all just stood there motionless, she left. When the door closed, there was a stunned silence in the place. Not knowing what else to do, I broke the silence by saying, "What do you say we pray?"
Looking back on it now, it seems more than strange for a sociologist to be leading a prayer
meeting with a bunch of prostitutes in a diner in Honolulu at 3:30 in the morning. But then it just felt like the right thing to do. I prayed for Agnes. I prayed for her salvation. I prayed that her life would be changed and that God would be good to her.

When I finished, Harry leaned over the counter and, with a trace of hostility in his voice, said,
"Hey! You never told me you were a preacher. What kind of church do you belong to?"
In one of those moments when just the right words came, I answered, "I belong to a church that
throws birthday parties for prostitutes at 3:30 in the morning."
Harry waited a moment and then almost sneered as he answered, "No, you don't. There's no church like that. If there was, I'd join it. I'd join a church like that!"
May our churches become the type of churches that would throw a birthday party for prostitutes at 3:30 in the morning, and may we all become the kind of Christian who would bring the cake!


"He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." --Jim Elliot

Ministry is what we leave in our wake as we follow Jesus - Gerald Hartis

The soul dies a bit every time it is involved in a lifestyle that competes. - Gordon McDonald

Corporate Lesson 3
A sales rep, an administration clerk and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out in a puff of smoke. The Genie says, "I usually only grant three wishes, so I'll give each of you just one."
"Me first! Me first!" says the admin clerk. "I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat, without a care in the world."
Poof! She's gone.
In astonishment, "Me next! Me next!" says the sales rep. "I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of pina coladas and the love of my life."
Poof! He's gone.
"OK, you're up," the Genie says to the manager.
The manager says, "I want those two back in the office after lunch."
Moral of story: always let your boss have the first say.

Jesus promised his disciples three things--that they would be completely fearless, absurdly happy and in constant trouble. -G.K. Chesterton

The day people stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them." - Colin Powell

"argue for your limitations and sure enough they are yours" - jerry weast

How would telling people to be nice to one another get a man crucified? What government would execute Mister Rogers or Captain Kangaroo? - Philip Yancey

The tragedy of life is what dies inside a man while he lives. - Albert Schweitzer

The place where God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet. - Frederick Buechner

When the church becomes an end to itself, it acts pious and begins to turn sour. Anyone with a sensitive nose will smell that and find it dreadful. - Karl Barth

It's easier to count bottles than describe the wine. -- Thomas Stewart, writing in Fortune magazine

Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions. - G.K. Chesterton

Leaders don't create followers, they create more leaders. - Tom Peters

"In Japan, employees occasionally work themselves to death. It's called Karoshi. I don't want that to happen to anybody in my department. The trick is to take a break as soon as you see a bright light and hear dead relatives beckon."-- Scott Adams, Dilbert

"This is the American Dream. Work. Buy. Display. Repeat." C. S. Lewis

We need to clear in our heads about what discipleship is. My definition: A disciple is a person who has decided that the most important thing in their life is to learn how to do what Jesus said to do. A disciple is not a person who has things under control, or knows a lot of things. Disciples simply are people who are constantly revising their affairs to carry through on their decision to follow Jesus. – Dallas Williard

If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful after all." - Michelangelo (1475-1564)

"My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition."-- Indira Gandhi

"The practice of medicine is an art, not a trade; a calling, not a business; a calling in which your heart will be exercised equally with your head. Often the best part of your work will have nothing to do with potions and powders, but with the exercise of an influence of the strong upon the weak, of the righteous upon the wicked, of the wise upon the foolish. To you, as the trusted family counselor, the father will come with his anxieties, the mother with her hidden grief, the daughter with her trials, and the son with his follies. Fully one-third of the work you do will be entered in other books than yours" - Sir William Osler

"If Jesus loved people like we do, he would have lived a long, prosperous life."
--- a quote by someone I don't know

"If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditures excludes them." MERE CHRISTIANITY, p.82.

Yet, you and I have no rights. We are dead. Our lives are hidden with Christ in God. We’ve been purchased with a price, the precious blood of the Lord Jesus. To surrender yourself totally, irrevocably, without reservations to the living Christ is the greatest privilege man can know in this life. To live the self-centered life is to live in self-imposed spiritual poverty. I'm eighty-one years old, and even though I've preached for many years, I'm just now beginning to truly understand the importance of being dead to Bill Bright. Bill Bright has no rights in my life. Christ has purchased me. I belong to Him. Now every morning you and I must get on our knees and acknowledge we belong to Jesus Christ. Only then can true revival begin. – Bill Bright

Great minds have purposes, others have wishes. - Washington Irving

"Integrity is the unwillingness to violate one's own identity."-- Erich Fromm, psychiatrist and author

It has also been "well said" that "a fish rots from the head down". First rate people hire first rate people. Second rate people hire third rate people.
The fact of the matter is that it is the leaders who set the ethical standards. The followers will follow, because that`s what followers do...they follow.

The most enlightening part of Ron Martoia's session for me was his observation that there are 67 dialogs in the gospels between Jesus and someone else. In 50 of those dialogs, Jesus asks a question he doesn't answer. We aren't called to be walking encyclopedias. We are stewards of mysteries. Colossians 4:3 says we're called to "proclaim the mystery of Christ." Translation: we talk about unanswerable and unfathomable questions.
Mark Batterson, Pastor of National Community Church

"Optimism is the truest form of moral courage"-- Ernest Shackleton

It doesn't take a majority to make a rebellion; it takes only a few determined leaders and a sound cause. - H.L. Mencken

Every organization has to prepare for the abandonment of everything it does. -- Peter Drucker, Harvard Business Review

Awkwardness is natural. If people aren’t feeling awkward doing something new, they’re not doing something new. -- Ken Blanchard

Don’t punish a learner. If you do, you’ll immobilize him. -- Ken Blanchard

Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. --Chinese Proverb

John Chancellor said, "If you want to see God laugh, tell him your plans."

"If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less." —General Eric Shinseki, Chief of Staff. U. S. Army

"The future is already here; it's just not evenly distributed"—William Gibson

"A man without a smiling face must not open a shop." —Chinese Proverb

Robert Bellah, a sociologist who teaches at the Univesity of California, Berkely, is very interested in the influence of religion on the community. In an interview in Psychology Today he said, “We should not underestimate the significance of the small group of people who have a new vision of a just and gentle world. The quality of a culture may be changed when 2 percent of its people have a new vision.” – John Stott

It seems to me that the Christian life, when properly lived, is a rhythmic alternation between turning toward God in worship and running toward the world in love and with a passion for justice, between congregation and disperal, liturgy and labor, worship and work, adoration and obedience. – Nicholas Wolterstorff

"You aren't wealthy until you have something that money can't buy" - Garth Brooks

"An idea can turn to dust or magic, depending on the talent that rubs against it" - William Bernbach

"The two most powerful words in any language are: What If" - Kraig Kramers

"The quality of your leadership is reflected in the caliber of people choosing to follow you" - Dennis Pear

CNN: Nazi hunter Wiesenthal dead at 96. In his book "Justice, Not Vengeance," Wiesenthal wrote: "Survival is a privilege which entails obligations. I am forever asking myself what I can do for those who have not survived.

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. —John Quincy Adams

"Before you can inspire with emotion, you must be swamped with it yourself. Before you can move their tears, your own must flow. To convince them, you must yourself believe." —Winston Churchill

"The most successful people are those who are good at Plan B." —James Yorke, mathematician, on chaos theory in The New Scientist

I love the story of the night Michael Jordan scored 69 points in one game. It was a blow-out and at the end of the game the coach pulled M.J. out and put in a little known sub who scored two meaningless points in the closing seconds of play. A few weeks later a reporter asked the sub, "What is the highlight of your professional career?" He said, "The night Michael Jordan and I scored 71 points together." This is how I feel about what Jesus is building at Trinity Church. He is doing the work and it is a privilege to partner with Him in His Kingdom.
Mike Sprague

Walt Disney's widow was being interviewed after the completion of Disney World in Florida. The reporter remarked, "Isn't it a shame that your husband never got to see this?" Mrs. Disney quickly corrected him. "He did see it. That is why it is here!"

"Design is treated like a religion at BMW."

"Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation." Steve Jobs

"Every Starbucks store is carefully designed to enhance the quality of everything the customers see, touch, hear, smell or taste," writes CEO Howard Schultz.

"The leaders of Great Groups love talent and know where to find it. They revel in the talent of others."Warren Bennis & Patricia Ward Biederman, Organizing Genius

"I have always believed that the purpose of the corporation is to be a blessing to the employees." —Boyd Clarke

"People want to be part of something larger than themselves. They want to be part of something they're really proud of, that they'll fight for, sacrifice for, trust." —Howard Schultz, Starbucks

"The first duty of a revolutionary is to get away with it." - Abbie Hoffman

"When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

"The most important thing about education is appetite." - Winston Churchill

"an adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered." -gk chesterton

"When life gives you lemons, cleanse your palate with lemon sorbet.
Passion isn't the frosting on top. It's the whole damn entree."- Sally Hogshead

"It is still God's policy to work through the embarrasingly insignificant to change his world and create his future" - Tom Sine

"On my door there's a cartoon of two turtles. One says, 'Sometimes I'd like to ask God why he allows poverty, famine, and injustice when he could do something about it.' The other turtle says, 'I'm afraid God might ask me the same question.' Those who have Jesus' heart toward hurting people need to live out their faith by alleviating suffering where they can, by making a difference, by embodying his love in practical ways."
--Peter John Kreeft

"Poverty, at its very core is a mindset. It’s the cruel message whispered by Satan himself: 'You don’t matter. Nobody cares about you. Give up!' More than anything else, the poor feel overwhelmed. Without money, shelter, food, education, justice, or skills to address their plight, they succumb to a downward spiral that leads to despair, then apathy, and ultimately to fatalism." Wess Stafford, President, Compassion Int’l.

Robert F. Kennedy, borrowing from George Bernard Shaw: 'Some people see things as they are and say: "why" I dream things that never were and say "why not?"'

"First step in leadership development -- buy a mirror." - author unidentified

"Don't skate to where the puck is; skate to where the puck will be."- Wayne Gretzsky

"Certainty is the death of imagination." Milton Glaser, ABC Corporation

"When it comes to leadership, the crazy are those who don't hear voices." - Alex McManus.

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom - George Patton

"Do one thing every day that scares you." - Eleanor Roosevelt

"A church that is centered on itself is not a church." - Deitrich Bonhoffer, The Cost of Discipleship

"Explode through the hole. Don't be timid. If you're going to make a mistake, make it at full speed." - Charlie Weis, Notre Dame

"Measure self-worth not by what others think of you but by what you think of them." Phillip Yancy, Reaching for the Invisible God, p. 92

"Christianity got over the difficulty of combining furious opposites, by keeping them both and keeping them bot furious." GK Chesterton, quoted in Reaching for the Invisible God, p. 92

"Occasionally we talk of our Christianity as something that solves problems, and there is a sense in which it does. Long before it does,so, however, it increases both the number and the intensity of the problems. Even our intellectual questions are increased by the acceptance of a strong religious faith...If a man wishes to avoid the disturbing effect of paradoxes, the best advise is for him to leave the Christian faith alone." Elton Trueblood, quoted in Reaching for the Invisible God, p. 94

"We may not be interested in chaos but chaos is interested in us." - Robert Cooper, The Breaking of Nations: Order and Chaos in the Twenty-first Century

"A leader is a dealer in hope." - Napoleon

"If you are going through hell, keep going." Winston Churchill

Inches make champions. - Vince Lombardi

Sometimes even to live is an act of courage. - Seneca

Do first things first, and second things not at all. - Peter Drucker

"It's kind of fun to do the impossible." - Walt Disney

"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough." - Mario Andretti

"There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread." - Mahatma Gandhi

"Money can't buy you happiness, but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery." - Donald Trump

"Any movement which has benefited society in the long haul has at its core a group of people committed to a cause that they consider greater than themselves and to one another as friends." - James McGregor Burns

"Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you & I make every day are of such infinite importance." - CS Lewis

"If you simply aim at doing the right thing, you will never get where you need to be. You need to aim at being the kind of person who does the right thing." - John Ortberg

"There is no heavier burden than a great potential" - Charles Schulz

"Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forward." - Kierkegaard

"There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come" - Victor Hugo

"History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it." - Winston Churchill

"The language of business is not the language of the soul or the language of humanity. It's a language of indifference; it's a language of separation, of secrecy, of hierarchy." - Anita Roddick

"Without risk, there is no faith, and the greater the risk, the greater the faith" - Kierkegaard

"When everyone is against you, it means that you are absolutely wrong - or absolutely right." - Albert Guinon

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missles and misguided men." - Martin Luther King Jr.

"Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd." -Voltaire

"One of the greatest injustices we do to our young people is to ask them to be conservative. Christianity is not conservative but revolutionary. To be conservative today is to miss the whole point, for conservatism means standing in the flow of the status quo and the status quo no longer belongs to us.If we want to be fair we must teach the young to be revolutionaries, revolutionaries against the status quo" - Francis Schaeffer

"If your church is full of members, you get an occasional missionary. If your church is full of missionaries, the rest is geography". - Erwin McManus

"The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it." - Michelangelo

"You can't behave in a calm, rational manner. You've got to be out there on the lunatic fringe." - Jack Welch

"I don't use the word 'evangelism' because if you're not a Christian, it sounds like a disease...and if you are a Christian, it is one." - Rob Bell, "The Revolutionary Voice", YS Convention ATL 2004

"It is a shame children must die for you to live as you wish" - Mother T.

"Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten." - Motto of the Gucci family

"Never let us negotiate out of fear but never let us fear to negotiate." - John F Kennedy in his inaugural address

"Let others complain that this age is evil. My complaint is that this age is paltry. It lacks passion. " - Soren Kierkegaard

"To become an 'admirer of Jesus' is much easier than to become a follower." - Soren Kierkegaard

"Don't worry about people stealing an idea. If it's original, you will have to ram it down their throats." - Howard Aiken

"The people around us are not interested in our Christology, but from time to time they show interest in our neighborology." - Japanese Theologian, Kosuke Koyama

"Nothing is as fast as the speed of trust." - Stephen M.R. Covey (son of Stephen Covey)

"It seemed the world was divided into good and bad people. The good ones slept better... while the bad ones seemed to enjoy the waking hours much more." - Woody Allen

"The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources." - Albert Einstein

"You are not obliged to finish the task, nor are you released from undertaking it." - Rabbi Tarfon

"Marriage is the only adventure open to the cowardly." - Voltaire

"Only he who believes is obedient and only he who is obedient believes." - D Bonhoeffer

"No leader sets out to be a leader per se, but rather to express him- or herself freely and fully. That is leaders have no interest in proving themselves, but an abiding interest in expressing themselves." - Warren Bennis

"Remember that as a teenager you are at the last stage of your life when you will be happy to hear that the phone is for you." - Fran Lebowitz

"There is a great man who makes every man feel small. But the real great man is the man who makes every man feel great." - G. K. Chesterton

"The church is at its most false when it seeks to preserve a separation from the world." - D Bonhoeffer

"The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

"The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."
"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." Albert Einstein

"One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time." - Andre Gide

"Do not be afraid of going slowly, be afraid only of standing still." - Chinese Proverb

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" - Mary Oliver

"A year from now you may wish you had started today." - Karen Lamb

"Let me write the songs of a nation and I care not who writes its laws." - Plato

"If you want to make enemies, try to change something." - Woodrow Wilson

"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn." - Alvin Toffler

"It is generally much easier to kill an organization than change it substantially." - Kevin Kelly

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

"I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that he didn't trust me so much." - Mother Teresa

"That which we would change, we must first love." - Martin Luther King Jr.

"To the world you might be one person, but to one person you might be the world." - author unidentified

"Our Creator would never have made such lovely days, and given us the deep hearts to enjoy them, above and beyond all thought, unless we were meant to be immortal" - Nathaniel Hawthrone

"Hell begins the day God grants you the vision to see all you could have done, should have done, would have done but did not do." - Johann Wolfgang Goethe

"I have never thought of writing for reputation and honor. What I have in my heart must come out; that is the reason why I compose." - Ludwig van Beethoven

"The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul." - G.K. Chesterton

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened." - Winston Churchill

"Your enemies will define you so make them interesting." - Bono

"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at its testing point." - C.S. Lewis

"Most of us prefer the hell of a predictable situation rather than risk the joy of an unpredictable one." - Maxie Dunnam

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends upon the unreasonable man." - George Bernard Shaw

"If you want to build a ship, don't summon people to buy wood, prepare tools, distribute jobs, and organize the work, rather teach people the yearning for the wide, boundless ocean." - Antoine de Saint Extupery

"The evidence for Jesus' resurrection is so strong that nobody would question it except for two things: First, it is a very unusual event. And second, if you believe it happened, you have to change the way you live." - Wolfhart Pannenberg

"He who has a why can endure any how." - Friedrich Nietzsche

"God never pulls you in without sending you out." - Tim Keller

"Orville Wright never had a pilot's license" - Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter

A volunteer is someone who executes someone else’s vision. A leader is someone with a vision of his or her own. - Mike Breen

Talk doesn't cook rice. - Chinese Proverb

"Anything's possible if you've got enough nerve." -J.K. Rowling

"If what I do has no consequences it doesn't make me free. It makes me meaningless." -Dick Foth

A team is not a group of people that work together. A team is a group of people that trust each other. - Simon Sinek

Don't let your budget determine your vision. Faith is having vision beyond your resources - Mark Batterson

"The world doesn’t need better leaders, the world needs better people who lead." - Erwin McManus

Here's the question: If you left your leaders by themselves, would they know what to do? - Mike Breen

Ultimately, each church will be evaluated by only one thing - its disciples. Your church is only as good as her disciples. It does not matter how good your praise, preaching, programs, or property are; if your disciples are passive, needy, consumeristic, and not radically obedient, your church is not good. - Neil Cole

"The bold adventurer succeeds the best." - Ovid

“We spend a lot of time teaching leaders what to do. We don’t spend enough time teaching leaders what to stop.” - Peter Drucker

Are you a missiologist?

You start to become a missiologist when you want to explore how Jesus and the Bible call us into mission. Missiologists get drawn into looking at the many nuances of mission, such as:
What makes mission good or bad?
What kinds of mission create dependencies?
What kinds build capacity for the local community?
In what ways can mission efforts collaborate by forming networks?
What are the new successes - and new mistakes - people are making in mission?
What is the impact of short-term mission teams on the communities they visit?
Do we support nationals in mission or send in missionaries?

Also missiologists:
- Will want to read what other missiologists are thinking.
- Will want to reflect on the principles of mission with seriousness no matter whether we can influence just a few or a great number of people.
- Almost naturally produce materials others can use in guiding, preparing, preaching, teaching, and training in mission.
- Sense that God definitely wants to mobilize the whole Christian Body for the missional purpose of Christ's Church.
- Have a conviction that God means much more than assisting a few who might become exceptionally involved in missional activities and commitment. God's entire church is a missionary church.

Read more here.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Momentum Mag - Nov/Dec 05

A few snippets from Momentum Magazine, a new magazine dedicated to online help believers passionately, quickly, and effectively reach the least-reached 27% of our world.

On Urban megacitites:
In 2000, the largest cities: Tokyo (26.4), Mexico City (18.1), Mumbai (18.1), Sao Paulo (17.8), New York (16.6), Lagos (13.4), Los Angeles (13.1), Calcutta (12.9), Shanghai (12.9), and Buenos Aires (12.6). Together these accounted for 161 million people, or over half the population of the United States.
By 2010, the largest cities will be Tokyo (26.4), Mumbai (23.6), Lagos (20.2), Sao Paulo (19.7), Mexico City (18.7), Dhaka (18.4), New York (17.2), Karachi (16.6), Calcutta (15.6), and Jakarta (15.3), accounting for 191 million people.

Some good questions posed as a learner about what someone from another culture thinks about Americans:
1. What do you think are the key characteristics of a real American [or other culture] man or woman? What makes a [American] a "good [American]"?
2. Finish this sentence, "A good [American] would never . . ."
3. Finish this sentence, "A good [American] is always . . ."
4. Finish this sentence, "A good [American] would give up almost anything if he or she could have . . ."
5. Finish this sentence, "A good [American] would think that life is not worth living without . . ."
6. Finish this sentence, "A good [American] dislikes and avoids people who . . ."
7. An [American] proverb says [such and such]. Can you explain that for me? Perhaps you can use an example of a situation when you would use that proverb.
8. A [American] proverb says [such and such]. Why is that so important to [American] people? Are there other proverbs that make the same point?
9. In my country we have a proverb that says [such and such]. Do you think most [American] would think that is good advice? Why or why not?

Some Indonesian proverbs:
Where there is smoke, there is fire.
Where there is sugar, there are ants.
There is a shrimp behind the stone.
Water with ripple is shallow.
Water dripping from the roof will eventually go to the reservoir.
Seaweed chopped up by water but not cut off.
Milk is repaid with poison.
Never think that still water doesn’t have crocodiles.
As if kerakap leaf on a rock, unwilling to live, unwilling to die.
Like the fingernail and the flesh beneath.

Great magazine, the first two issues have been some great reading. Magazine sections in html here.

Image: World's children population with respect to the 10/40 window. Also from the current issue. Click for full size.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Last day of Ramadan

Today is the last day of Ramadan, so I'm sort of fasting during lunch. Sort of meaning - OJ, one bag of sunchips, two small pieces of Mr. Goodbar. Some really great info about Ramadan at 30-days of Prayer.

Hodos #1

I've started to be a part of a group blog called Hodos with my friend MM and a friend of his. It's kind of interesting to be in a group blogger and these guys bring up some good conversations.
Here is a post I just wrote for that blog.

Mark writes in the previous post about the quest for the radical middle - being radical because of what God has done in us - and has jotted down a few areas for being radical and standing apart. I'm going to throw one more idea in the ring - and that idea deals with culture.

Of course, the term 'culture' can be a huge and massive concept. Specifically, I think we need to think about the idea of engagement with the culture that we live in. As the Mosaic crew likes to say, "Relevance to the culture is not optional."

Foreign missions work has known for a long time that to impact a community, one must contextualize into the community. This entails studying the local culture, learning the language, experimenting with food. It also means understanding subtleties of religious background and beliefs, worldviews and superstitions. Cross cultural workers study local legends, myths and belief systems.

We need to understand that contextualization is not just a requirement for cross cultural ministry. Rather this idea of contextualization should be standard for all of us as Jesus followers. After all, Jesus embraced his context. And when we look at through the stunning stories of Scripture with the lens of culture, we find that they are pretty serious about engaging with the worldview of the people they are relating to. Paul preaching in Athens, Daniel serving in Nebuchadnezzar's court, and Esther relating to the king - they all were students of their context and culture.

Here are a few ideas:
- Be students of the culture. Donald Larson, in one of the papers for the Perspectives course, categorizes three postures for being students of a different culture - Learner, Trader, and Storyteller.
- Consistently watch some movies. Movies have a huge role in our culture today, film is the dominant medium for story telling. We could learn a lot about how to tell a really good story just by watching some movies and good films give us some great opportunities to dialogue about the human condition.
- Listen to some music that you don't like. We are all aware of the phenomenon where rap music that started in the inner city has permeated all youth subcultures, including rural America.

Mark Batterson, pastor of National Community Church in Washington DC, has more ideas along these lines in a post entitled Cultural Exegesis, especially along the lines of music and film and the dominant roles those cultural elements play in our culture today.
"We've had more than one noted evangelical leader tell us, 'You can examine culture and understand contemporary trends if you like. As for me I'll just preach the Bible.' In many cases where we ignore principles of contextualization our preaching of the bible may well have as much impact as preaching in Swahili to English speakers."
- The Shaping of Things to Come

Neil Cole interview - Growing God's Kingdom

Neil Cole is the Executive Director and a founder of Church Multiplication Associates. Neil has been in pastoral ministry for fifteen years and is an experienced church planter, author and consultant. Neil is also a founding leader of the Awakening Chapels and of Organic Church planting movements. His most recent book is entitled, Organic Church, Growing Faith Where Life Happens.

On church growth success:
For instance we don’t care if our churches live a year, twenty years, or a hundred years. We care that while they live, they give birth. We may start a church that lasts a year, but while it lives, it births two daughter churches. That is a success. We think that if every church reproduces in that way, then the Kingdom of God will continue and grow.
But if we think that every church has to last forever, we will try to do everything we can to keep it alive artificially, and that’s not good. We find fruitfulness most often in the small, not the large.

On economics of the "Organic Church":
If we could get our leaders to learn to live by faith not by finances, then finances in the church would be a breeze. But the moment you make your decisions based on the need for security, dependence on organizational support, those kinds of things, then you are already making decisions based on the wrong things. You are not living by faith.

On words of encouragement about the "Organic Church":
I think we are making a shift from the day of the ordained to the day of the ordinary. A day when common Christians are empowered to do extraordinary things for God and they are no longer going to wait for their pastors to say, “Go.”
I think the layers and layers of decision-makers between God’s people and God will be removed, so that God can have direct communication with His people without any filters, without any middlemen to interpret. When we reach that state we will see massive global implications.
I think God is setting us up that way. Some of the trends that are happening today are global in scale. They are not just regional or national, but all across the world people are saying and discovering these things. That has never happened in history, except maybe in the first century. We are on the verge of seeing something akin to the Book of Acts happening in our day, if we are faithful to God’s voice.

Very compelling article, read it here from Next Wave. I also quoted from Neil Cole in this post about Paul's journeys.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Theresia, Ida, and Alfina

The names of the three Christian teenagers that were beheaded in Indonesia last Saturday morning. More info here.
I just got off the phone with the The Embassy of Indonesia in Washington D.C., and wanted to give you an update.
According to the woman I spoke to at the Embassy there are currently six suspects in the brutal beheadings of the three Christian Indonesian girls last week. However, due to the investigation, no other details are being released at this time.
I was thanked for calling and showing my interest in what has happened in Indonesia because the Embassy is taking reaction from the American public.
So, if this situation upsets you as much as it does me please call the Indonesian Embassy in Washington, DC and tell them that you are concerned about the persecution of Christians, and that you'd like to see them do everything they can to make sure these killers are caught and prosecuted.
Please call 202-775-5200 . Thanks!
From Stacy at the Christian Persecution blog. If you are really, really inclined, this post here has a picture of one of the beheaded girls. WARNING - VERY GRAPHIC. But it is a reality that some people live with every single day.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Conference call stats

Look at the stats on this conference call.... I wasn't on there quite the whole time....
Conference start time = 11/01/2005 - 09:56:46 AM (CST)
Conference end time = 11/01/2005 - 10:27:39 PM (CST)

The SPACEintern doesn't sleep, she dreams

More fun with the SPACEintern tonight. We sat down to map out the Spring and what it looks like. Since she has taken on the responsibility and risk of being our first intern, I wanted to give her a chance to see her dreams and visions come to fruition. It was great fun to sit and dream a little bit.

A few of the cool things that we did or talked about during our dream session:
- a matrix of all potential summer mission team leaders and mission localities
- a slightly different way to do summer mission prep
- some concepts and principles she wants to capture for her senior intern project (basically another Black Hole, but for her class)
- a few launches/excursions centered around the beach (???)
- the first ever SPACE weekend expedition in late January (much more to come about this)
- all the people I need to get in touch with to make some of this happen

Of course, there is much more to tell about all of these things. But I can't divulge many of the details to some of you readers, since that would taint your SPACE experience. But don't worry, soon enough.

We did a lot of dreaming and not too much concrete planning, which was totally fine with me. Overall, two things stood out to me. #1 - She bleeds this stuff. #2 - The harvest is ripe.