Sunday, December 31, 2006

For 2007

May God bless you with discomfort
at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships
so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger
at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people
so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears
to shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger and war
so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and
to turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness
to believe that you can make a difference in the world
so that you can do what others claim cannot be done
to bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.

(A Franciscan Blessing)

via Joel Vestel

Holiday Media

Some of the new, eclectic media around our family this holiday...

Film DVD - Pulp Fiction
Watching this was at the request of Uncle Dug, who got the DVD for Christmas. Yeah yeah, I know - extremely vulgar and violent. But you have to admit, the director was *certainly* trying to say something - "Redemption" is a major theme in the movie. And you must know that Quentin Tarantino [the director] is a huge influence in our culture. More in this article if you are interested - spoiler alert.

CD - Hannah Montana
Overheard on the long drive home:
me - "I'm totally addicted to this CD."
D - "You would be."

CD - Evanescence, The Open Door

Film - Night at the Museum

Music - Christina Aguilera, Back to Basics

Music - Michael W. Smith, Stand

Book - The Journey of Desire, John Eldredge

Book - Planting Churches Cross-Culturally, David Hesselgrave

Remember, relevance to culture is not optional.

2006 in cities

Oops - totally forgot this one and it's one of my favorites... [post is backdated]

1. Fairfield, CT, USA
2. Leesburg, VA, USA
3. Hagerstown, MD, USA
4. Orlando, FL, USA
5. Savannah, GA, USA
6. New York, NY, USA
7. Chincoteague Island, Virginia VA, USA
8. Rehoboth Beach, DE, USA
9. Los Angeles, CA, USA
10. Anaheim, CA, USA
11. Newport Beach, CA, USA
12. Yaounde, Cameroon, Africa
13. Kribi, Cameroon, Africa
14. Paris, France, Europe
15. Gettysburg, PA, USA
16. Annapolis, MD, USA
17. Patapsco State Park, MD, USA
18. Rehoboth Beach, DE, USA
19. Savannah, GA, USA

[Related - 2005 in cities]

Urbana 06 - Missionary Trading

Urbana 06 is going on right now - you can get both the audio and the video from all the sessions as they become available at, which is really cool. I've never been, but maybe one of these years I should go.

I've been following a few people who are blogging from the conference. One snippet that intrigues me:
"One practical challenge that Muriu [plenary speaker Oscar Muriu] offered – when American churches send a missionary to the Two-Thirds World, they should also work to receive a missionary from the Two-Thirds World. When churches send a team on a short-term trip, they should likewise receive a team from their partnering church or mission. The North American church must realize how much it needs the life and perspectives of our brothers and sisters around the globe to help us live missionally in our own culture. After all, every part of a human body both gives and receives from others. We are impoverished if we think we have nothing to receive from the majority world church."- Al Hsu, from the Suburban Christian
Sort of like our Reverse Missions idea, but even better. Working out an idea like this would continue to make SPACE one of the most innovative, creative and strategic student missions movements around.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

I could get used to this

It's not much, but I call it a remote office. Tybee Island, GA.

Double Confirmation and a Sense of Destiny

"The classic pattern for double confirmation involves four steps. First there is a crucial moment in the leader's ministry when a sure word from God is needed for direction. Second, God gives direction to the leader directly or indirectly. Third, God then confirms this direction through someone else. Fourth, God brings the two together in some unmistakable, sovereign way.
Double confirmation gives divine affirmation to an important decision and validates a leader's spiritual authority. It gives a renewed sense of destiny to the leader, while serving as a sign to outsiders as well as insiders."

- Bobby Clinton in The Making of a Leader

Your experience?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Wednesday Potpourri

::: VBS Ladies
"They can be a blessing, or a source of consternation if they’re given too much authority and allow activities to supersede relationships."
Link from Seth Barnes

::: Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice
Link from Rudy

::: A Biblical Missiology for North American People Groups
Therefore, discipleship of North American people groups is not only a domestic missions agenda but a global one. A biblical missiology that encompasses inclusion, compassion, justice, and proclamation is biblically mandated. If members of people groups are discipled here, many more individuals of unreached people groups can be discipled internationally. As Rajendra K. Pillai boldly states in his book, Reaching the World in our own Backyard: "People from other religions and cultures now live, study, and work among us. They are America’s most overlooked mission field. We cannot make excuses anymore. The eternal destinies of millions are at stake. Remember: If you are not fishing, you are not following!"
Full pdf report from

::: The Delta Scan - A forum for scanning the science and technology horizon over the next 50 years.
There are some amazing outlooks [an internally consistent, plausible view of the future based on the best expertise available - not a prediction or policy or preference] in here, including:
- Studying Human Behavior in Cyberspace
Cyber-ethnography, defined as the study of online interaction, is likely to become an important area of anthropological research as more and more human activites are conducted in cyberspace.
- Application of AI to Global Trade and Logistics
The application of artificial intelligence to commerce may make trade and logistics more efficient.
- Mobile Phones and Economic Growth in the Developing World
Mobile phones have the potential to spur economic growth, especially entrepreneurial business, in the Developing World.
- From Brain Drain to Brain Circulation
The 20th-century phenomenon of 'brain drain', of scientific and engineering talent emigrating from developing countries to North America and Europe, is likely to be replaced by 'brain circulation', in which globally mobile scientists and engineers work for shorter periods in a wider range of countries.
via BoingBoing

Saturday, December 23, 2006


K turns nine today. That is her running in the annual Pumpkin Run at her school from around Halloween. Keep running girl, the world needs you.

Friday, December 22, 2006

On the Move

We are on the move to Savannah for the Christmas holiday. Should be a fun time. Blessings and Merry Christmas to you and your families.

ps - My house is being guarded by one very dangerous housesitter and two very smart dogs.

Photo: K on her new bike she got for her birthday.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Tuesday Potpourri

::: 70
Paralyzed making a decision as a leader? The Marine Corps trains officers to make decisions when they are 70 percent confident of the outcome.
A template for looking at some of the most commonly encountered problems in reaching a decision from Leading Blog.

::: 80
We often fear letting go of things because of someone who will do it as good as us. But, as Maxwell has said, if someone can do it 80% as good as you--let go. When we don’t let things go, not only do we deprive others of getting in the game, but we also don’t get to grow on to new levels of impact ourselves.
7 points about developing leaders from NorthWood Church.

:::The top 5 most dangerous roads in the world
Link via kottke

::: Virgin Komodo Dragon to Give Birth
See, it could happen. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

My Blog Updates to Your Phone?

I'm going to try to enable this very soon. [RSS readers - there is an embedded video in this post.]

via [For some really strange reason, my wife didn't think it was half as funny as I did.]

Monday, December 18, 2006

The End of Poverty - Chapter 3

The third post in a series of posts based on the book The End of Poverty. [Notes from Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.]

Chapter Three - Why Some Countries Fail to Thrive
Eight major categories of problems can cause an economy to stagnate or decline:

1. The Poverty Trap
Poor do not have the ability by themselves to get out of it - too poor to save for the future.

2. Physical Geography
Americans, for example, believe that they earned their wealth all by themselves. They forget that they inherited a vast continent rich in natural resources, with great soils and ample rainfall, immense navigable rivers and thousands of miles of coastline with dozens of natural ports that provide a wonderful foundation for sea-based trade.
Many of the world's poorest countries are severely hindered by high transport costs because they are landlocked; situated in high mountain ranges; or lack navigable rivers, long coastlines or good natural harbors. Culture does not explain the persistence of poverty in Bolivia, Ethiopia, Kyrgyzstan or Tibet. Look instead to the mountain geography of a landlocked region facing crushing transport costs and economic isolation that stifle almost all forms of modern economic activity.
Sub-Saharan Africa, in particular, has an ideal rainfall, temperature and mosquito type that make it the global epicenter of malaria, perhaps the greatest factor in slowing Africa's economic development throughout history.
Fortunately, none of these conditions is fatal to economic development. It's time to banish the bogeyman of geographical determinism, the false accusation that claims about geographical disadvantage are also claims that geography single-handedly and irrevocably determines the economic outcome of nations.

3. Fiscal Trap
Even when the private economy is not impoverished, the government may lack the resources to pay for the infrastructure on which economic growth depends. Governments are critical to investing in public goods and services like primary health care, roads, power grids, ports and the like.

4. Governance Failures
Economic development requires a government oriented toward development.

5. Cultural Barriers
Cultural or religions norms in the society may block the role of women, for example, leaving half of the population without economic or political rights and without education, thereby undermining half of the population in its contribution to overall development.
6. Geopolitics
Trade barriers erected by foreign countries can impede a poor country's economic development.

7. Lack of innovation
Consider the plight of inventors in an impoverished country. Even if inventors are able to develop new scientific approaches to meet local economic needs, the chances of recouping investments in research and development through later sales in the local market are very low.
Rich countries have a big market, which increases the incentive for innovation, brings new technologies to market, further raises productivity and expands the size of the market, and creates new incentives for innovation. This momentum creates, in effect, a chain reaction, which economists call endogenous growth. Innovation raises the size of the market; a larger market raises the incentives for innovation. Therefore, economic growth and innovation proceed in a mutually reinforcing process.
8. The Demographic Trap
Half the world, including all of the rich world, is at or near the so-called replacement rate of fertility, in which each mother is raising one daughter on average to replace her in the next generation.
One reason for a poverty trap is a demographic trap, when impoverished families choose to have lots of children. These choices are understandable, yet the results can be disastrous. When impoverished families have large numbers of children, the families cannot afford to invest in the nutrition, health and education of each child.

My thoughts:
- The problem of extreme poverty is much larger than any one idea or thought.
- This chapter is set up for more of the concrete and tangible solutions later in the book. Look for my notes on those in a few weeks - my library copy of the book can't be renewed anymore.
- The paragraph about Americans "forget[ing] that they inherited a vast continent" was sobering. I never thought about it that way before. Gives even more weight to the idea that we have been blessed to be a blessing.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

December Convergence

When we are the epicenter of a community that resources, trains and sends people back and forth from culture to culture, December can be an amazing convergence. Friends from near and far dropped in last night.

Photo: Some of the Cam team with Tkshi from Yaounde, Cameroon.

Friday, December 15, 2006

A place where you all can comment and share your stories about your friends, people and making an impact on the world. Click.

Friday Potpourri

:::Alan Hirsch on the fringe
In the study of the history of missions, one can even be formulaic about asserting that all great missionary movements begin at the fringes of the church, among the poor and the marginalized, and seldom, if ever, at the center. It is vital that in pursuing missional modes of church, we get out of the stifling equilibrium of the center of our movements and denominations, move to the fringes, and engage in real mission there. But there’s more to it than just mission; most great movements of mission have inspired significant and related movements of renewal in the life of the church. It seems that when the church engages at the fringes, it almost always brings life to the center. This says a whole lot about God and gospel, and the church will do well to heed it.
Link to download the intro and chapter 1 of his new book.

:::Soul Surfing School via the YS Student Newsletter

:::Donate Your USB drives to Africa
Inveneo is a non-profit that brings information and communication technology to remote and rural ares in the developing world. We're holding a Thumb Drive Drive. Donate old USB thumb drives (16mb and larger) so that they can be provided to school labs in the countries where we operate including Uganda, Rwanda, and Mali. Low capacity thumb drives are the AOL floppies of the 2000s. We'd like to put them to good use. Donations are tax deductible.
Link via BoingBoing

Thursday, December 14, 2006

White House Summit on Malaria

D showed me this article which highlights the White House Summit on Malaria, happening today. Some interesting clips:
::: President Bush Announced The President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) In June 2005. PMI is a five-year, $1.2 billion program that challenges the private sector to join the U.S. Government in combating malaria in 15 of the hardest-hit countries. The initiative aims to cut malaria-related deaths by 50 percent in these 15 focus countries in Africa.

::: Through partnerships working in the first three focus countries – Tanzania, Angola and Uganda – aid from the American people has already reached about six million Africans.

::: In June 2006, Mrs. Laura Bush announced the United States will partner with four more focus countries – Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, and Senegal – to provide long-lasting mosquito nets, anti-malarial drugs, and help these countries conduct mosquito-spraying programs. The initiative also includes education and evaluation programs.
See where you can donate money to buy bed nets - $10 buys one. When we were in Cameroon, I personally didn't sleep under nets, maybe because of the time of year when we were there. I did sleep under one in the DR in 1993 and the lucky scenario of having infectious diarrhea and trying to get out of a bed net in the middle of the night was ... er... memorable. But better than getting malaria I'm sure.

Update - LB reminded me that the ladies slept under nets at the beach. Us men didn't because we were up high on a hill with a steady breeze.

Some related malaria reading: Keith's [from Under the Acacias] malaria series, my post about a WashingtonPostMag article, October 2006.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

2006 in books

A list of books that I read [or sort of read] this year with some comments in order of my recommendations to you - top of the list are must-reads.

:::The One Thing You Need to Know
Lots of great stuff about leadership, managing and focus. If you have any influence over people [and you probably do even if you don't think you do] you need to read this. Easy reading, great stories. [My notes - Chapter 2, Chapter 4, Conclusion ]

:::The End of Poverty
Amazing book about the incredible possibility that extreme poverty will be nonexistent when our kids grow up. Gives a great view of the world that most of us never encounter. Those of you that are technically inclined will really appreciate the section on solutions to extreme poverty which are all based on transferable technologies. I'm still working through this one. [My notes - Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.]

:::Organic Church
Very different view on growing churches and people organically. Some good ideas that can be transferred for student ministry. You will enjoy it. [My notes.]

:::A Whole New Mind
Fascinating book dealing with abundance, globalization and teaching our minds to think in different ways. Each chapter also has some great experiential exercises to bring the concepts to tangibility. Some of our students are already wired this way. [My notes on Symphony and Abundance.]

:::The Making of a Leader
This is a really good and weighty book - it takes time to work through. Therefore, I need to read it again and spend more time working through it. And when I say weighty, I mean that you can almost see the impact of *your* leadership and growth on others - both in good and bad ways.

:::Shaping the Spiritual Lives of Students
Good view into adolescent spiritual growth. [My notes - Chapter 7 and random quotes and my review at]

Good. Not as good as Waking the Dead, but good.

:::Confessions of a Reformission Rev
Whether you like Driscoll or not [I do mostly,] it's a good read. As someone not in vocational ministry, reading it gave me a new appreciation for those that are. [My notes.]

Fun and intriguing read. Very interesting ideas and Gladwell has a really fun, engaging style of writing. [My notes]

:::The Celtic Way of Evangelism
Good read - lots of good stuff in here. I'm pretty sure some of it was covered in Perspectives though. So would be good if you haven't taken that class. [If you haven't taken it, GCC is offering it in the Spring - contact me for more details.]

Fun book. Probably a little less of a revelation to those under 30. But a good read.

:::Messy Spirituality
Skimmed it mostly. Lots of people liked it. Didn't engage me like I would have hoped. Could very well be that I need to read it again.

:::Ambassador Children
Skimmed it. Good concept.

Also in there: a few real estate books, Exiles [which is really good but needs more attention] and the Walt Disney World Celebration Catalog.

Monday, December 11, 2006

SPACE Orbiters

You are interested in world cultures, global missions and launching your friends on an adventure while you live a big life that takes on the trajectory of Jesus and his strategic orbit from culture to culture, country to country, planet to planet.

You feel personally responsible for:
- compelling old and new friends to serve humanity in ways largely outside of their comfort zones
- making friends with people that have no idea what the word 'church' means
- engaging friends and strangers that have backgrounds from other cultures
- living a life filled with moments that intersect destiny, hope and mission

You will:
- get a chance to dig deeper in your interests in world cultures and global missions
- watch as your friends impact strangers they never knew existed
- be a part of tri-weekly interactions centered around student missions, the core values of SPACE and your gift to mankind
- help architect mission experiences for your friends and peers based on your interest in cultures, your high tolerance for risk, and your passion for your culture

The world is your playground and your heartache.

Photo: EllyK and TriciaB - SPACE Orbiters - on the beach in Kribi, Cameroon, August 2006.

Yunus - We Can Put Poverty in the Museums

From Muhammad Yunus and his Nobel Peace Prize speech:
We get what we want, or what we don't refuse. We accept the fact that we will always have poor people around us, and that poverty is part of human destiny. This is precisely why we continue to have poor people around us. If we firmly believe that poverty is unacceptable to us, and that it should not belong to a civilized society, we would have built appropriate institutions and policies to create a poverty-free world.

We wanted to go to the moon, so we went there. We achieve what we want to achieve. If we are not achieving something, it is because we have not put our minds to it. We create what we want.

What we want and how we get to it depends on our mindsets. It is extremely difficult to change mindsets once they are formed. We create the world in accordance with our mindset. We need to invent ways to change our perspective continually and reconfigure our mindset quickly as new knowledge emerges. We can reconfigure our world if we can reconfigure our mindset.
Other interesting quotes:
Ninety four percent of the world income goes to 40 percent of the population while sixty percent of people live on only 6 per cent of world income. Half of the world population lives on two dollars a day. Over one billion people live on less than a dollar a day.

Today, Grameen Bank gives loans to nearly 7.0 million poor people, 97 per cent of whom are women, in 73,000 villages in Bangladesh. Grameen Bank gives collateral-free income generating, housing, student and micro-enterprise loans to the poor families and offers a host of attractive savings, pension funds and insurance products for its members. Since it introduced them in 1984, housing loans have been used to construct 640,000 houses. The legal ownership of these houses belongs to the women themselves. We focused on women because we found giving loans to women always brought more benefits to the family.

We are creating a completely new generation that will be well equipped to take their families way out of the reach of poverty. We want to make a break in the historical continuation of poverty.

In Bangladesh 80 percent of the poor families have already been reached with microcredit.

As a first step to bring ICT to the poor we created a mobile phone company, Grameen Phone. We gave loans from Grameen Bank to the poor women to buy mobile phones to sell phone services in the villages. We saw the synergy between microcredit and ICT [Information and communication technology.]

Human beings are a wonderful creation embodied with limitless human qualities and capabilities. Our theoretical constructs should make room for the blossoming of those qualities, not assume them away.
Link via kottke

Saturday, December 09, 2006

What on Earth is Wrong with Bloglines?

For those of you that have seen my 50 and 60 republished posts... it's not me...

Saturday Potpourri

::: Composting Toilets
Typical "low-flush" toilets in the United States and Canada use 6 liters (1.6 gallons) of water per flush, notes Scott Smith, vice president of Canada-based Sancor Industries, which manufactures Envirolet Composting Toilet Systems. Thus, by switching to a no-flush composting toilet, a person can save more than 8,000 liters (2,000 gallons) of water per year, assuming an average flush rate of four times daily. "In 25, 50, 100 years, we probably won’t have…the luxury of using clean water to wash away waste," Smith observes.
Link via WorldChanging

::: China Bloggers
China had 19.87 million bloggers at the beginning of November.
Link via

::: 72 hours a week
Americans aged 13-18 spend a whopping 72 hours a week using "electronic media."
Link via

Don't underestimate the skate culture.

::: MTV moves into Pakistan
"The launches of MTV and Nickelodeon in Pakistan reflect our continued commitment to pioneering the localization strategy in music and kids' entertainment," says Bill Roedy, the president of MTV Networks International. "These new channels enable us to showcase Pakistan's unique and vibrant culture, while celebrating the diversity of music and common experiences among kids and young people."
Can you say indigenous? Link via

[, which I found via YPulse, is a website devoted to youth culture from a more global perspective - since there are 3 billion people in the world under the age of 25. Yes, you read that correct - 3 Billion. And you think *your* youth ministry is understaffed....]

Friday, December 08, 2006

TTS - StrengthsFinder - Arranger

My fourth post in a series based on my specific StrengthsFinder strengths.

You are a conductor. When faced with a complex situation involving many factors, you enjoy managing all of the variables, aligning and realigning them until you are sure you have arranged them in the most productive configuration possible. In your mind there is nothing special about what you are doing. You are simply trying to figure out the best way to get things done. But others, lacking this theme, will be in awe of your ability. "How can you keep so many things in your head at once?" they will ask. "How can you stay so flexible, so willing to shelve well-laid plans in favor of some brand-new configuration that has just occurred to you?" But you cannot imagine behaving in any other way. You are a shining example of effective flexibility, whether you are changing travel schedules at the last minute because a better fare has popped up or mulling over just the right combination of people and resources to accomplish a new project. From the mundane to the complex, you are always looking for the perfect configuration. Of course, you are at your best in dynamic situations. Confronted with the unexpected, some complain that plans devised with such care cannot be changed, while others take refuge in the existing rules or procedures. You don't do either. Instead, you jump into the confusion, devising new options, hunting for new paths of least resistance, and figuring out new partnerships -- because, after all, there might just be a better way.

Action Items:
- Seek complex, dynamic work environments in which there are few routines.
- Make lists of suggestions for how to improve your work environment.
- Develop successful strategies for getting things done. Push yourself to keep adding new wrinkles.
- Learn the goals of the people with whom you work. Let them know that you are aware of their goals.
- Take on the organization of a big event, a convention perhaps, or a company celebration.

Be ready to:
- Explain that your flexibility doesn't mean that your priorities are constantly changing. Tell others that your priorities remain the same, but that you are simply looking for better ways to implement them.
- Give people time to understand your new way of doing things when you present it to them. Your mental juggling is instinctive, but others might find it difficult to break with the existing procedures. Take the time to clearly explain why your new way is more effective.

TTS - Arranger
* "You are a shining example of effective flexibility..." That is a bit surprising to me - sounds more like Adaptability.
* "few routines" - I do like that.
* I volunteered to do some organizing for a few small work related things in the past month after reading this. They were fun and easy.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Reaching Beyond

An over read conversation [with permission]:
If the comment below didn't capture my imagination, then I would be dead. "Warriors needed in a quest to save the universe one planet at a time starting with Earth. Safe return doubtful."
Ah to be 19 again . . . but with a heart for Christ and a spirit to reach beyond the limits of my fear. Trusting the Lord to lead, guide, nourish and protect you. Love, Dad.
LB is joining us for the first part of the Winter-Sheng-Orlando-Fest - Humana 2.0. Incidentally, her family is doing their own reaching beyond today, as they move out of our area, following the Spirit.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

InterVarsity - U of MD College Park - speaking notes

Loads of fun tonight with the gang at College Park - thanks again for hosting me! Below are my notes....


::: Intro
semester as a missions experience
God can speak and mold you
Jonah - God walks Jonah through the experience
spend a few minutes tonight walking through your semester
see it as a missions experience
also talk about going back home

::: This Semester
three questions
- most fun experience
- most embarassing experience
- experience gave you the most self-assurance (talent, strength, energized, etc.)
Share out loud

ST: D's friend in college that shrunk all his clothes

Encourage and challenge you to think about the lessons you learned this semester - not only about the world - but about yourself
College such a great environment to do that

Take the time to work these ideas and burn them in your heart
talk in relationship
serve others in community
ask God to speak to your heart

Resource to be posted - 30 great questions

::: Reentry
All of you will go home soon
Some of you will love it and some of you will hate it
Could be:
great family and home life - empowered, energized, welcomed home
terrible home life - current and history of abuse, neglect, dysfunction
and any extreme in between
Home life is just as important as any mission field

ST: retreat story - homeschooled into public school - "they are really human too"
Sometimes we don't see our family as human

Let's look at going home as re-entry into a different culture as well

one filter:
Learner [vs. Teacher]
posture of humility, engaged, curious, seeking, open
You want to impact a culture, start to learn about it
Language and food - two biggest ones
focus on language
not only on what is being said, but what is not being said
what is really being communicated
patterns of communication that are non-literal
what are the legends in your family
what makes your family simply your family

ST: a dna from my parents is a very low threshold for risk - communicated not in words but in desire and ideas that are elevated and honored

ST: Many many debriefings and rentry discussions
- riding the subway for the first time
- learn another language
- taking risks for Jesus was totally worth it

ST: Cameroon team in Paris
one student - on the brink of a new reality - school on the west coast - right after Africa
scared, excited, a whole range of emotions
need that time to process
prepared for something to come in the future

dont forget that this time is preparing you for something huge
you are the world's only hope

Monday, December 04, 2006

World Map Game

Play this world map game. Comment on your score - I did dismally. via Kottke

[Related - LeapFrog globe that my parents got for the girls last year - we love this toy!]

InterVarsity - U of MD, College Park on Tuesday

I will be hanging at College Park's IV on Tuesday evening, giving a short talk on thinking about the semester like a missions experience. Would love to meet you if you are there. 7.30 at Art/Soc building.

[Related - my speaking notes the last time.]

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sunday Message Notes

Quick notes from Pastor Mark's talk this morning:
- intro to series Scrooge Comes to Grace - Christmas series
- opened with a scene from The Muppet Christmas Carol, talking about Scrooge
- Affluenza - I Tim 6:17-18
- the lie - your plasma is not big enough, you passport is not stamped enough, etc.
- Heb 13:5 - be satisfied
- The average American family has 13 credit cards
- Marshmallow study by Walter Mischel - idea of delayed gratification
- "I remember reading once of a spiritual seeker who interrupted a busy life to spend a few days in a monastery. 'I hope your stay is a blessed one,' said the monk who showed the visitor to his cell. 'If you need anything, let us know, and we’ll teach you how to live without it.'" - Philip Yancy, Christianity Today, March 2006 p. 112
- Prov 11:25

Gotta go - we are having our neighborhood Progressive Dinner party in about an hour.

Movie Clip Help - Revisit

Two of you wrote in about the movie clip help request. Dennis chimed in with the first Back to the Future and Half Moon wrote in about Walking Tall with the Rock. The only other clip I could think of was in Forrest Gump, when Jenny and Forrest walk past her old house, which brings back loads of scarred memories.

Alas, in any case, I think I've run out of time to find one. But of course, you can still comment if one comes to mind...[scene about someone coming home to a different culture, tension with parents, etc.]

Friday, December 01, 2006

Movie Clip Help?

Ok readers - I need some help. I'm prepping for a talk I'm giving next week and I need a clip from a movie. The clip should help describe someone coming home after a time away, engaging in a bit of reverse culture shock, maybe the tension with their family after being away, etc. Any good ideas? Thanks in advance!

World AIDS Day 2006

Support World AIDS DayToday is World AIDS day. If you aren't familiar with how complex AIDS is, here are some items from the UN 2006 global AIDS epidemic report:
- To date around 65 million people have been infected with HIV and AIDS has killed more than 25 million people since it was first recognised in 1981. The vast majority of the 38.6 million people living with HIV in 2005 are unaware of their status. AIDS is among the greatest development and security issues facing the world today.
- In 2005 AIDS claimed the lives of 2.8 million people and over 4 million people were newly infected with the virus.
- At around 17.3 million, women make up almost half of the total number of people living with the virus, 13.2 million of which live in sub-Saharan Africa (76% of all women living with HIV).
- Sub-Saharan remains the most affected region in the world. Two thirds of all people living with HIV are in sub-Saharan Africa where 24.5 million people were living with HIV in 2005.
- Growing epidemics are underway in Eastern Europe and Central Asia where 220,000 people were newly infected with HIV in 2005.
- Declines in HIV prevalence have been noted in Kenya, Zimbabwe, urban parts of Haiti and Burkina Faso and four Indian states including Tamil Nadu.
- Worldwide, less than one in five people at risk of becoming infected with HIV has access to basic prevention services.. Across the world, only one in eight people who want to be tested are currently able to do so.
- Each day, 1500 children worldwide become infected with HIV, the vast majority of them newborns.
Many of you are probably familiar with the session with Bono and Bill Hybels at the Willow Creek Leadership Conference [I personally didn't attend] - specifically on AIDS and the Church - here is a transcript from Bono speaking at last year's National Prayer Breakfast, which I've heard is mostly the same thing. Word on the street says that some leaders at GCC are taking this AIDS thing seriously and that there are some people putting a plan together to make sure we as a church get involved. Would love to tell you more, but that is [sort of] all that I know.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Currents : China

From a post from Alan Hirsch [yup, one of the Shaping of Things to Come guys] ::
100AD There are as little as 25,000 Christians
310AD There are as many as 20,000,000 Christians

...But before the example of the Early Christian Movement can be dismissed as a freak of history, there is another perhaps even more astounding manifestation of that unique and explosive power inherent in all of God’s people in our own time—namely, the underground church in China...
Just read last night in Exiles by Michael Frost [the other Shaping guy] ::
Church historians and missiologists now believe that the communist authorities unwillingly paved the way for the spread of the gospel by removing much of China's idolatry, attempting to deny the supernatural (when people experienced miracles), constructing transportation systems, unifying the language by adopting Mandarin, developing large-scale literacy projects, and creating a hunger for the printed word through controlling the media.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Older and hmm....

Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter. - Mark Twain
The few [and I do mean few!] gray hairs on my head are okay. The speed at which my kids are growing up is also okay, although slightly less easy to accept. When my dad's case manager from the hospital mentioned that age delineation, 70, that was surreal.

It is reasonable to know that I am growing older. Having to go to back-to-school night, hearing friends grapple with the realities of being middle-aged and understanding that the age 40 was three years around the corner - those nuances of 'maturity' took a little bit of time but could be dealt with. But hearing someone else tell me that my father was 70 - isn't that really old? - that took a lot of time to sink in. All of a sudden, my parents, who never seemed to age, are getting old too. Too fast and too real.

This newly visited perspective makes me appreciate those that have been 'sent' so much more. Our friends who have left warm and comfortable homes; familiar houses and cultures that they are used to; and good, intimate friends and communities - they left something else even bigger that I never really took into consideration. They left aging parents.

Many of you are young [at least younger than I] and fearless, the world is your heartache, and you know that we are in our most desperate hour. When you leave home to save the world, remember: your parents are aging too; fly home when you can; and call your mother often.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tuesday Potpourri

::: George Verwer has friends that: drive him all around the US in a motorhome, have shared about Jesus in every country in the world; and have had 99 grandchildren - via one wife. Link.

::: Marc posts about the current challenges in Europe, including:
- declining population
- for every person in Europe that converts to Islam, ten turn to Buddhism.
- And five fluid groups that need Fluid Mission:
youth; immigrants; the marginalized; professional/business groups; temporary communities.

::: Need Practice to be a Stewardess?
5. Remove the cover from several TV dinners. Place them in a hot oven. Leave the food in the oven until it’s completely dried out. Remove the hot trays with your bare hands. Serve to your family. Don’t include anything for yourself.
6. Serve your family a beverage one hour after they’ve received their meal. Make them remain in their seats during this time.
7. Scrounge uneaten rolls off the plates for you to eat two hours later when you’re really hungry.
8. Place a straight-backed chair in a closet facing a blank wall. Use a belt to strap yourself into it. Eat the rolls you saved from your family’s meal.
9. Ask your family to use the bathroom as frequently as possible. Tell them to make splashing water a game and see who can leave the most disgusting mess. Clean the bathroom every hour throughout the day.
10. Make a narrow aisle between several dining room chairs and randomly scatter your husband’s wing-tips and loafers along the way. Turn off the lights and spend the night walking up and down the aisle while banging your shins against the chair legs and tripping over the shoes. Drink several cups of cold coffee to keep yourself awake.
11. Gently wake your family in the morning and serve them a cold sweet roll. Don’t forget to smile and wish them a nice day when they leave for work and school.
via Southwest Airlines Blog

::: Planning on a Napkin
Reminds me of Organic Church [my notes], when it talks about "any substantive truth worth passing on should be reproducible on a napkin while one sits down at a lunch appointment." via Metacool

The End of Poverty - Chapter 2

The second post in a series of posts based on the book The End of Poverty.

Chapter Two – The Spread of Economic Prosperity
- The average income per person in Western Europe in 1820 was around 90% of the average income of Africa today. Life expectancy in Western Europe and Japan as of 1800 was about forty years.

- Global population rose more than sixfold in just two centuries, reaching an astounding 6.1 billion people. [image from Wikipedia]

- As of 1820, the biggest gap between the rich and poor – specifically between the worlds leading economy of the day – the UK and the world's poorest region – Africa, was a ratio of four to one in per capita income. By 1998, the gap between the richest economy – the US and the poorest region Africa had widened to twenty to one.

- Many people assume that the rich have gotten rich because the poor have gotten poor. In other words, they assume that Europe and the United States used military force and political strength during and after the era of colonialism to extract wealth from the poorest regions, and thereby to grow rich. This interpretation of events would be plausible if gross world product had remained constant, with a rising share going to the powerful regions and a declining share going to the poorer regions. However, gross world product rose nearly fifty-fold. Every region of the world experienced some economic growth, but some regions experienced much more growth than others. They key fact of modern times is not the transfer of income from one region to another; by force or otherwise, but rather the overall increase in world income, but at a different rate in different regions.

- The steam engine marked the decisive turning point of modern history. By mobilizing a vast store of primary energy, fossil fuels, the steam engine unlocked the mass production of goods and services on a scale beyond the wildest dreams of the pre-industrial era. Modern energy fueled every aspect of the economic takeoff [food production via chemical fertilizers, industrial production via steel, transport equipment, textile and apparels, etc.]

- Why did the industrial revolution happen in Britain first? 1: British society was open, more scope for individual initiative and social mobility. 2: Strengthening institutions of political liberty – free speech and open debate, personal property rights. 3: leading center of Europe’s scientific revolution. 4: geographical advantage in sea trade. 5: Britain remained sovereign, lesser risk of invasion. 6: Britain had coal.

- In Britain first, and then elsewhere, industrialization meant a shift of people from overwhelmingly agrarian activities to industrial activities, giving rise to urbanization, social mobility, new gender and family roles, a demographic transition and specialization in labor.

- I believe the single most important reason why prosperity spread, and why it continues to spread, is the transmission of technologies and the ideas underlying them. Even more important than having specific resources in the ground, such as coal, was the ability to use modern, science-based ideas to organize production. The beauty of ideas is that they can be used over and over again, without ever being depleted. Economists call ideas nonrival in the sense that one person’s use of an idea does not diminish the ability of others to use it well. This is why we can envision a world in which everybody achieves prosperity. The essence of the first Industrial Revolution was not the coal; it was how to use the coal. Even more generally, it was about how to use a new form of energy. The lessons of coal eventually became the basis for many other energy systems as well, from hydropower, oil and gas, and nuclear power to new forms of renewable energy such as wind and solar power converted to electricity. These lessons are available to all of humanity, not just for the first individuals who discovered them.

My thoughts:
1. The rate of population growth is just amazing isn't it? And if you look at some of the projections for the future [like this one], it's an even higher rate. And you thought the Mall was crowded last night...

2. I never realized what a huge turning point the steam engine provided for the world. One single piece of technology - phenomenal. Like the printing press, the Internet, the [fill in the blank...]

3. Speaking of technology, the last quote there is just amazing and worth repeating, "I believe that the single most important reason why prosperity spread, and why it continues to spread, is the transmission of technologies and the ideas underlying them." Sachs expands on the specific technologies later in the book, but this idea is huge - the idea that ending poverty is based on our understanding and ability to apply technologies in various environments. It also reminds me of the concept of context - the environment, culture, worldview, past behaviors - it all matters. Expand that just a bit and we could also relate the terms of leadership, indigenous, contextualization. And one more - the students we are calling upon to save the world need to be adept at technology and able to speak about that into someone else's life. Can you teach someone how to use Firefox, Facebook and IM? Can you set up a wireless network? Ever toyed with a water filter? Can you get up in front of your peers and speak? Are you a good teacher or writer?

If technology is the key to ending poverty, we should:
- Continue to encourage our students to be geeks [and I mean that term in the best way of course!]
- Give them opportunities to share what they have learned, in any capacity.
- Continue to build environments where they are encouraged to experiment, innovate and create.

[Related post - my notes from Chapter 1]

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Need a Chinese Bible?

"The greatest missionary is the Bible in the mother tongue. It needs no furlough and is never considered a foreigner." - William Cameron Townsend [founder of Wycliffe Bible Translators]
Amy M emailed me a few weeks ago and asked if I could get my hands on a Chinese Bible for a friend of her brothers. A day after that, I got an email update from Brigada Today and in it was details about a Chinese Bible from the Digital Bible Society on CD. Hmm interesting. So I ordered one.

The CD is free and once you get one, you can reproduce as many as you want to give away. And the CD appears to have tons of stuff on it, including 3 searchable Chinese Bibles, two full commentaries, the whole New Testament in audio [in Mandarin], over 200 Christian Books and a bunch of other stuff. I say appears because even though I am Chinese, I can't read a lick of it. Definitely one area of my upbringing I wish I would have stayed engaged with.

If you think you could use one of these CDs, check out the link. Or, I will be more than happy to burn you one and put it in the mail to you - get in touch via email or comment.

And I think the words in the graphic are John 3:16. Isn't that cool?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

OK so 4 years needed a

new template....

Let me know how it looks to you all....

Crazy Idea for 4th Anniv

Ok, so I told you yesterday that it was this blog's 4th year anniversary and that I didn't have any fun ideas. Well, this idea might totally flop or it might be a lot of fun...

Since you readers are so integral to this blog, I want to celebrate you as part of this 4 year anniversary. So here is the idea:
- take a digital picture of yourself
- along with you in the picture, include one of the concepts of this blog - students, world cultures, global missions, etc.
- make it as funny, goofy, etc. or as serious as you want - totally have fun with it
- email it to me - whatever format is fine. [address at the top of the page in the right hand column.]
- i will post all of the pictures i get later this thanksgiving weekend sometime.

ok - ready, set go!

Monday, November 20, 2006

This Blog's 4th Anniversary

Well folks today is my blog's 4th anniversary. I was thinking of a good way to commemorate this grand occasion, but nothing comes to mind... Anyway, you readers are to be congratulated too - a good portion of this blog is to connect with you all - sharing what is in my head as well as hopefully giving you some good resources and telling some stories for where SPACE is going and the precious people that we are moving with.

I ran across this post a few weeks ago talking about the motivation behind blogging and I think it is a valuable analogy.
When you set up a blog, you are moving into the horizontal city. You are putting yourself -- your passions, your ideas, your beliefs -- online, and by doing so you make yourself linkable. People can see you. They can point to you. They can talk to you. You're a citizen.

At first it's just like moving into a new city in the real world. It's lonely. You don't know anyone. Nobody talks to you. But after awhile -- just like in a real-world city -- you start meeting people and having conversations. You leave a comment on someone's blog, or you link to one of their posts. Then they come to your blog to see who you are. The momentum builds and before you know it you are a member of a community -- maybe several communities.

It's like moving to a city in other ways, too. Putting yourself online is not without risk. You're more vulnerable -- to criminals, stalkers and the merely boring. But it's no different than a real city: you take on more risk but you also enter a thriving metropolis, bursting with opportunity and ideas.

Sometimes people say, "So what? I already live in a city. What's so great about the horizontal city?"

...the web runs on our collective passion. When you put yourself online and make yourself linkable you are making your passions explicit, linkable and clickable. Because of this, the people who find you and point to you tend to share your passions.

On the web, your "hit rate" of interesting people is much, much higher than it is in the real world. How often in the real world do you meet people who truly fascinate you? If it's more than 10 percent of the people you meet, I'd say you are very lucky.

But on the web, your "hit rate" is much higher....

And that (I say to my non-blogging friends) is why blogging is a big deal.
So thanks to you readers for reading, commenting and connecting with our collective passion - mobilizing students for mission. Your input and interaction here makes it so much more fun and interesting so please keep engaging. May this blog continue to be one of the many mediums for helping all of us mobilize students into leaders that burn for humanity.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Fun with NavYouth

We had a great time with the NavYouth this weekend where I was a speaker on their Fall Retreat. The retreat was held at Cape Henlopen, DE [same location, but different facility than last summer's Mission Advance - and no rain and flooding of Biblical proportions like last time.] I personally had a very fun time interacting with the students over the course of 4 different talks. We as a family also had a very fun weekend as we were able to get away for a little bit, take part in the retreat's Q-tip war and sandcastle contest, and spend some time swimming and taking it easy in our hotel down the street.

I mentioned before how we had worked into the schedule for there to be small group interactions after every talk [an idea that I had stolen from our own retreats] and these worked great. Retreat speakers really should be catalysts to drive the ministry leaders to go deeper with their own students.

Special thanks to DHelger and his team for inviting and hosting us. It's a fun connection to have and I'm sure our paths will cross soon. I also know that we will see some brave and extraordinary heroes from this group of NavYouth, heroes who are ready to rise to the challenge of being the world's only hope.

Related post: my speaking notes.

PS - My dad came home from the hospital today - thank you all for praying for him. He is doing very well!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Navigator Youth Fall 2006 - Notes

For those of you that might be interested - and just in case my memory goes down the tubes and I lose my printout - here are my speaking notes for this coming weekend. They might be a bit verbose for some of you...

faith to follow

===== #1 Faith In Your Destiny =====
OP: Psalm 139

The idea of destiny - sometimes too mystical, too wacky - we think of Star Wars
but Scripture is pretty clear that each of us has a destiny - wrapped in your uniqueness and God's creativity
Ps 139 - knit us
Phil 1 - finish the good work that was started
Jer 29 - plans to prosper you
uniquely created in the image of a creative God
latent strengths, talents, character, disposition
the odds of you are less than 1 out of 6.5B -
even greater in the mere minutes we have been talking - humankind is growing uniquely
even greater when we account for all of human history and if there is mankind on other planets

Gen 12 - blessed to be a blessing

your experience also tells you this
you have had moments when you know THIS is what you were made for
people around you are enthralled - how did you do that
everything clicked
a God given moment where what He created was unleashed and optimized for His glory
to exercise these talents and gift is an act of faith
nobody else will understand - many times, they will think you are crazy

ST: Cameroon and the pygmy tribe
travel 6000 miles, 3 continents, 2 hours by canoe, 20 minutes by foot to share Jesus with a tribal chief?

you are not like anyone else - for a specific reason - what way-out past-your-imagination idea could God have in mind for you?

ST: KD - combo of alternative energy and Chinese culture
there are ministries, service opportunities and entire industries that have not even been created yet except in your imagination

We lose our way out of faith when we forget how unique God has created us
when we don't think we are special, we coast along and go through the motions instead of fully engaged

- evaluate your talents, skills, experience
- start to imagine a dream that uses these things - allow your mind to wander and your energy to develop
- take one small step towards it and let the critics talk at you

you will not live life fully engaged until you understand the odds of you in the world
It will not be easy
ST: EGrab and Tay - OC, MD - the devil lady

ST: home improve challenges when I leave town
deck table, bathroom shower, garbage disposal

Perfect love cast out fear - is that how Jesus so loved humanity?

ST: SPACE leader app - describe your impact 500 years from now
LB - There will lines that can be traced back to me.... Someone that I've led will have touched every continent.

Is your imagination that large and vivid?
Like the Princess said, It is our most desparate hour. And you are our only hope.

==== #2 - Faith in Jesus =====
OP: Jer 20

The contrast between a 'Christian' and a Jesus follower
It is easy to be a Christian and hard to be a disciple
Easy to believe in the information but not have a transformed life
80% of our culture claims to be a Christian
And when the world looks at Christians, they see it - it is crystal clear to them
The world is looking for passionate people that do what they believe

Two spheres - belief vs.action
Need to line them up

What Does A Real Disciple Do?
You do what Jesus does - Rob Bell
- rabbi and his students - following into the bathroom stall

- pack of students following as close as they could
everything the rabbi steps in gets kicked up on your cloak
level of your passion
'may you be covered in the dust of your rabbi'

Realize that Jesus can pastor you - He can speak into your life - He can shape and mold you

- Go and make disciples - Matt 28 - to the 11 disciples
not converts - different than someone just saying the prayer
It is reproducing your life with Jesus in someone else
That you do what He does
If the 11 only did this with other Christians, the Church would be dead

- Heart for the lost - I Sam 17 - David the shepherd - leave the 99 and go after the one, kills the lion and bear - does this sound like your pastor or shepherd?
ST: food fight party

- Prepare the way - Matt 3 - John the Baptizer [lived to baptize people] - live in the woods and eat locusts - doesn't care about how that looks to others
ST: Larry from UI - moving into different neighborhood to build relationships with Muslims

- The Bible as the portal to God's presence - Jeremiah - says some crazy things and gets put in stocks because the Word is like a fire
I don't think we read the Bible even close to like this
ST: Leg from NYC - wife left him when he accepted Jesus - came to the US to study the Bible

- Hears the shepherds voice - John 10
cares about what God cares about, no matter how crazy it looks
ST: my P&P strategy and CW - makes sense to nobody else

- Cares about the poor
How much did Jesus talk about the poor
Realizes that their money and resources are not just about themselves

A disciple looks different than a Christian does
Caring about the right things will lead to believing the right things - not just a system of beliefs

The first century Church - Acts - was about much more than believing the right things
Are you just going through the motions?

===== #3 - Faith in the Mission =====
OP: Mt 24

vision for what the world really looks like and faith in the mission that God has called you in
because after all, if you are a disciple - you care about this
the grand story of God and Jesus - sent on a mission

what does the world really look like and why does it matter to me
6.5B people in the world
two terms:
1 - people group - the word nations - cluster of people in the same culture, worldview, etc - smallest cluster of people
different than nation-states
Matt 28:18
Matt 24:14
do a study of the word nations in your Bible - or just in Psalms

2 - unreached - 0% access to Jesus - no church, no missionary, 0 chance

Jesus - was He cross cultural?
in fact, He was the model for cross cultural ministry
women and the Well
Good Samaritan

3 - 10/40 window - 2B people live in extreme poverty - less than $1 a day - most of the unreached live here
YLG2006 slide 42 - world population vs foreign missionaries
YLG2006 slide 43 - missionary presence - dismal percent of missionaries to the unreached

4 - other world issues
Europe - most countries in Europe are now less than 1% evangelical - they are postmodern postChristian
Africa - AIDS crisis, malaria, extreme poverty, The End of Poverty - The ONE Campaign - Red

You think 9/11 was bad - 3000 in one day -
24,000 people die every day due to starvation and there is enough food in the world for everyone - distribution issue

It should stagger you the amount of need that the world has
Gen 12 - you are blessed to be a blessing
I still don't know you very well, but I know you are blessed beyond measure to meet the world's deepest needs

The world needs disciples that give up their own comfort, their own safe lifestyle, their own consumeristic existences - to reach those that don't know yet. It needs people that are willing to give up everything for Jesus sake and the life He offers.

ST: $5 gift bag at Target - 3 days of wages for someone on the other side of the world - I'm saying all of this to me as well as you
My kids are very tired of hearing it from me

ST: Ben and Gui - Ben's bible

ST: going to Brasil and Cameroon
"I'm not too interested in going to Cameroon." I want to be safe and live an easy life

God doesn't have a plan B - you are His plan A.
When you lose sight of the mission - because mission always clarifies - it is easy to lose faith to follow.

You have a crucial role to play - time is short and the world needs you - calling for heroic, noble, extraordinary people - no one else can do it but you
Do you feel like Frodo? Incapable, how could God use me, so ill-prepared,
And someone wants you out of the picture

===== #4 - Faith for Home =====
OP: Heb 11:32 to end

review from the previous sessions
- nurture your uniqueness - dream up something so big it would only work if God was in it
- the real picture of a disciple - is that you? heart for the lost, go after the 1, hear His voice
- choose to learn about a significant part of the world - get involved with the One Campaign at your school, write a letter to a missionary that you know

patterns of behavior that will help after you get home
do this via some of my favorite stories

1 - relationship between faith and risk
when you have enough faith, isn't the task no longer risky?

ST: SPACE - tony's experiment
launched from Perspectives
students - great worship and small groups but no community service

kicked out of a nursing home
locked the keys in the church van in front of a homeless mission - with it running
Brasil - 24 hour delay at Dulles

every plan goes down the tube and we come to expect it - increase the risk threshold - and its not my fault
how can we create students that live on a mission 24x7 regardless of what kind of mistakes we make
how can we build students to lead in these dynamic, risky, innovative environments to reach the nations
how can we compel them to so that the world their playground and their heartache
to be motivated not by a plan but by a longing
the world will not be reached by risk averse people

every day do something you are scared of - give God lots of room to work
the world is waiting for Jesus followers to take a risk for humanity
ST: AM truck in Peru

ST: PM flying me to Phoenix for an amazing week

the stories listed in Heb 11 were risky. And they didn't wait until they had enough faith...

2 - listening to God - active listening - maybe he speaks audibly
ST: God speaking that particular last name to me and I did nothing about it
they were in the hospital that weekend

ST: CUs dream with the name of "Miguel " before LA
God would send a suburban high school kid from Columbia to the inner city of LA with the name of Miguel stamped on his heart

3 - understand the culture that you live in
very spiritual culture but not very religious
loves Jesus but hates the church
how can you be a student of this culture in order to point them to God?

You must be relevant to the culture as a Jesus follower - see Jesus movements
Acts 17 - Paul quotes one of their poets

redemptive analogy
Star Wars
Lord of the Rings

how about cyber culture? most people haven't given MySpace enough credit
if people that follow Jesus miss out on the virtual culture - Web 2.0 - we have missed huge
most Christians don't give MySpace enough credit

Don't call us saints; we don't want to be dismissed that easily. Dorothy Day

Reading List:
The Barbarian Way - Erwin McManus
Seizing Your Divine Moment - Erwin McManus
Waking the Dead - John Eldredge
Out of the Saltshaker - Rebecca Pippert

For Leaders:
The Shaping of Things to Come - Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch
An Unstoppable Force - Erwin McManus
Exiles - Michael Frost
The One Thing You Need to Know - Marcus Buckingham
Now, Discover Your Strengths [StrengthsFinder] - Marcus Buckingham
The End of Poverty - Jeffrey Sachs
Organic Church - Neil Cole


Here are the slides that I showed for those of you that might be interested. [This is my first time using SlideShare, which is a fun tool that converts PowerPoint files into a web slide show that can easily be embedded into a post. If you read this via RSS, I think you have to click to my actual post to be able to see it. Let me know how it works for you.]

I Decided What to Have For Lunch

I had beef noodle soup for lunch today. In other words, I was actually able make a decision...

Thanks to you readers and good friends for praying and thinking of us. My dad seemed to be doing pretty well today - he was sitting up when I visited him around lunch time. Our puppy is still fine although we have no idea when this condition may catch up with her. In the meantime, we will enjoy her as long as we can. My retreat notes are done.

And if you read via an RSS reader, sorry about the weird post with the foreign characters - another spammer trying to capture my readership. Those crazy spammers. And thanks to those who alerted me. See you guys on the other side of what should be a really fun weekend - pray that it is significant.
It is the image of God reflected in you that so enrages hell; it is this at which the demons hurl their mightiest weapons. - William Gurnall

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Real Sheng Fun

The past few days have seemed like an alternate reality. Like D wrote, the simplest decisions have paralyzed me for the past few days.

You readers know that my dad had major surgery yesterday. The good news is that he seems to be doing fairly well. The surgery was to remove a part of his colon and they think it went well. Thanks to those of you that were praying, we really appreciate it.

The bad news is that our puppy has tested positive for a kidney condition - her kidneys are malformed and not functioning like they should. This means that she won't live very long because her body cannot rid itself of toxins like it should. 'A very poor prognosis' was the official word. For those of you that have spent anytime with Em, you know that her world revolves around animals. She is going to be crushed when we have to say goodbye to her - which could be as soon as a month.

And this dog is absolutely one of the sweetest dogs I have ever met. Her disposition is so friendly and she loves every person she has met - a definite extrovert like me. She is smart too, we even taught her how to shake and she almost rolls over on command. She loves to have her belly rubbed and she fetches her toys to play. She is the dog that I always wanted - truly a best friend.

Death is a part of life and for us to forget or ignore that is a mistake - even with young children. Sometimes, the best way to prepare for difficult deaths - because they will come - is to understand them via the experience of an easier death - like the one of a pet. This is what happened to K, understanding the death of her other grandfather through remembering her goldfish, "Goldie" dying earlier that year. We could say that Phoebe might do that for Em. Even so, it certainly won't make it any easier.

We are going to have - I have decided without telling anyone yet - a family prayer time for Phoebe and we are going to pray and lay hands on her. Sure, why not - God could make some kidneys for a sweet five month old puppy if He wanted to.

The third piece of fun and/or stress - depending on how you look at it - is that I've been getting my notes together for this retreat I am speaking at this weekend. [Icing on the cake was how I just deleted all my notes by accident a few minutes ago - luckily I had a backup.] I'm very excited about it, I think it's going to be fun and the stuff I'm speaking on is really a summary of my life and my stories. I'm not sorry we are doing it in the midst of everything else that is going on - I accepted the invitation long before the issues with my dad or Phoebe appeared.

With all this going on, you might be wondering - like I am: just how significant is this weekend going to be?

Momma T

Mother Teresa was one of those people who sacrificed great privilege because she encountered such great need. People often ask me what Mother Teresa was like. Sometimes it's like they wonder if she glowed in the dark or had a halo. She was short, wrinkled, and precious, maybe even a little ornery, like a beautiful, wise old granny. But there is one thing I will never forget - her feet. Her feet were deformed. Each morning in Mass, I would stare at them. I wondered if she had contracted leprosy. But I wasn't going to ask, of course. "Hey Mother, what's wrong with your feet?" One day a sister said to us, "Have you noticed her feet?" We nodded, curious. She said, "Her feet are deformed because we get just enough donated shoes for everyone, and Mother does not want anyone to get stuck with the worst pair, so she digs through and finds them. And years of doing that have deformed her feet." Years of loving her neighbor as herself deformed her feet.
- The Irresistible Revolution

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

If you pray could you

If you pray could you pray for my dad today - colon surgery today thanks!

Tuesday Potpourri

** Even more on the Adoption curve here [related post] from an older post from Marc.

** From notes on The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South by Philip Jenkins
In Africa between 1900 and 2000, the number of Christians grew from 10 million to 360 million, from 10 percent of the population to 46 percent.

How is this happening? According to Jenkins, at least three factors are at work:
1. the Bible as a living Word from God;
2. a supernatural worldview
3. the adaptation of the faith to the culture of the recipients. They own it.
Link. If you haven't read The Next Christendom also by Jenkins, you should.

** For each dollar donated to a congregation, denominations spent 2 cents on overseas missions in 2004, down from 7 cents in the 1920s. Link from the Center for Missional Research.

** The top 10 worst ice breakers
- What’s your favorite of The 10 Commandments to break?
- If you could have anything from your neighbor’s house, what would it be?
- Share the juiciest piece of gossip you know so we can pray about it.
- Which people at your church do you wish would find a different church, and why?
More from the Zone Gathering blog - the online community for the leaders of National Community Church.