Friday, July 30, 2010

See you in September

Hey happy readers, I'm taking a little break from the blog. Don't worry though, still some fun things to tell you about later, like:

- some AZ team follow up
- syncing up with all those friends who spent time overseas in the past few months
- setting up for Ember 2010-2011 intern(s)
- going over the border with the fam next week.
- today Dea and I celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary. ow ow.

See you after August is over.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wednesday Burn

::: The Big Mac Index
The index is a lighthearted attempt to gauge how far currencies are from their fair value.

::: Whats In Whats Out in Leadership
fantastic list from Brad

::: Within 5 years,
all kindergartners in China will be studying English. Link via @DanielPink

Monday, July 26, 2010

Where to Really Dig

I've been doing some research since returning from AZ - yes, research on facebook.

The dialogue on there - statuses, pictures, videos, wall-to-wall conversations - is a gold mine for gauging the emotional responses from our trip. Not only that, it's fun to see who else was/is following the team and trip closely - it's a well connected world we live in.

Two other thoughts:
1 - sometimes that biggest fans are on the fringe.
2 - my developer talent consistently asks, "what can we do to engage this person to catalyze growth?"

Sponges and Vultures

I knew they were sort of like this - but never seen it to the extent like last week. I know I mentioned it before in one of the AZ posts but it's worth stating again in different language: the next generation have an incredible posture of learning and they do this a lot faster than you or I. Never had I seen a group of young people so absolutely hungry for wisdom. The images are representative of what happened the whole week. Anytime there was someone in the room that was wiser or older or more experienced, there would be a group of students surrounding them. Lots of questions, writing notes and dialogue.

So when it comes to getting yourself ready for the future, grab someone younger, engage them in great things, see that they pulled 75% of the material, and then unleash them.

Friday, July 23, 2010

AZ wrap up

Global cultures, cultivating the apostolic, world missions, global poverty, church planting-this trip covered all the good stuff.
That tweet really capture the essence of this week - a really really amazing week, as you could probably tell from the posts. This is a long post, so don't feel bad about skimming it.

+ Team
Loved this team, absolutely no drama with them, they all worked collectively and really encouraged each other the whole week. Much of that was really taken care of before we left - each person was ready for what this week would bring in terms of their character, their obedience and their perspective on the world. Not only did the team really serve Amadeo Church with their impact to the community, immersing them team into this kind of apostolic culture is going to be core to them doing some amazing things for the Kingdom. You should expect a lot out of them.

+ The Clouds
Like in 2005, I loved working with Ben and Mandy. Relational, easy going, totally sold out to lead a church that has a heart for the world - working with them again was a dream. Many of the students that I personally know - and my own kids - would [and did] grow immensely from learning from the Clouds for a week. Not only do I love Ben's heart for the world but I love his willingness to risk - he's absolutely unafraid to fail and he makes fast, excellent mistakes. For example, the healing prayer stuff we did was the first time he's ever tried this. We've already started talking about what's next - and I'm scared.

+ Our Family
My kids grew a big amount on this trip. Even though we've been around students and been on mission teams before, both our girls really felt like they were a part of the team this time. That's really big. God was also very real this week - not just talk. Also, two things we all felt like we needed to change as a family - how much we pray together and our time together in the Scriptures.

+ Me
To be honest, I wasn't sure I could do this again. After stepping down from SPACE in 2008, I've certainly still been passionate about students and mission. But, I wasn't totally confident that I could put together another experience that really catalyzed high schoolers for the future. Not that I have that much to do with it, but God, this trip and our teams did it again.

I'm so optimistic, hopeful and proud of both our team and our new friends in AZ. And like you, I'm very expectant about these students - the future will be different because of them. But I'm hoping we only see a glimpse - it's going to be much, much bigger.

+ Here are my tweets from the trip:
- Wheels down hello merryland. Monday, July 19, 2010 10:57:27 PM
- Getting ready to board to fly out of PHX. What an amazing week. Monday, July 19, 2010 6:05:15 PM
- Every host I've worked with has cried during working with our teams. Its because god has put together some amazing students. Monday, July 19, 2010 4:36:40 PM
- Great feeling when you are lost on az freeway and you see signs for LA Monday, July 19, 2010 4:00:21 PM
- Cause creates community-@alex_mcmanus. Saying goodbye to some sweet new friends today. Monday, July 19, 2010 11:10:59 AM
- Said some goodbyes. Some sad people. That's what you get with movement. Monday, July 19, 2010 1:49:41 AM
- In and out burger Sunday, July 18, 2010 4:48:50 PM
- How difficult it is to go home:how quality the mission experience has been Sunday, July 18, 2010 12:57:57 PM
- Setting up for church this am. Amadeo meets in a school so our team gets to see a portable church up close. Sunday, July 18, 2010 10:17:55 AM
- Amazing day. Team spent 90 mins encouraging other on van ride home. Sunday, July 18, 2010 2:27:49 AM
- Dinner in sedona Saturday, July 17, 2010 10:48:27 PM
- Two decompress questions on the train home from the grand canyon. Don't you love epic debriefing locations? Saturday, July 17, 2010 6:33:57 PM
- Planes grand canyon train white 12 pass van Saturday, July 17, 2010 12:15:54 PM
- Up too early. Going to grand canyon. Saturday, July 17, 2010 7:30:14 AM
- Global cultures, cultivating the apostolic, world missions, global poverty, church planting-this trip covered all the good stuff. Saturday, July 17, 2010 12:34:53 AM
- A lot of life flows from passion doesn't it? Saturday, July 17, 2010 12:10:21 AM
- Its raining. The people that live here are dancing around like money is falling from the sky. Friday, July 16, 2010 9:42:16 PM
Homeless outreach at escalante comm center. Amadeo provides food every Fri night. Friday, July 16, 2010 8:59:03 PM
- quick session on God's mission in all of scripture, what is a person of peace and examples of redemptive analogies. how i love this. Friday, July 16, 2010 12:38:46 PM
- Breakfast about mentoring with bens personal mentor Roy Friday, July 16, 2010 11:01:26 AM
- Vbs is over. Fantastic even in the heat. Huge achievement so proud of the teams. Thursday, July 15, 2010 11:23:50 PM
- Vbs night 3. Maybe @theembercast should buy a portable water slide. Thursday, July 15, 2010 8:10:36 PM
- Fabulous session on Islam from Josh at frontiers Thursday, July 15, 2010 2:34:29 PM
- Team is going to hear from frontiers mission org staff person about Islam. We were going to go there but their AC broke. Thursday, July 15, 2010 12:41:02 PM
- Solidified ember intern for 10-11 Ryanayl-very excited. Thursday, July 15, 2010 12:40:02 PM
- Healing prayer on the streets day 3. Some wild stuff going on. Asked them to pray over my mom Thursday, July 15, 2010 11:06:58 AM
- Mandy cloud bens wife got cussed out by mom in apt complex for doing vbs. Don't mess with a pastors wife and I mean that in the best way. Wednesday, July 14, 2010 10:29:51 PM
- Mike rose did a session on the incarnation. Vbs day 2 this evening. Teams really excited to run it again tonight. Wednesday, July 14, 2010 7:12:18 PM
- Headed to re:store a non profit amadeo started for food and clothing resourcing. Wednesday, July 14, 2010 3:20:03 PM
- Pray on the streets day 2. Wednesday, July 14, 2010 10:16:58 AM
- I had 2 freezie pops, 2 bottles of water and a capri sun in 2 hours of vbs. #itsadryheat Wednesday, July 14, 2010 12:58:23 AM
- Amadeo church bought a water slide for vbs Tuesday, July 13, 2010 8:48:14 PM
- Oh and I'm giving a short talk on casting fire in 20 mins. Tuesday, July 13, 2010 5:41:45 PM
- Quick swim and then first night of vbs tonight. Context is local apt complex in amadeo community. Tuesday, July 13, 2010 5:18:04 PM
- Lunch qa at Chinese restaurant with ben and ember guides. Tuesday, July 13, 2010 2:47:52 PM
- Pastor ben leads the prayer on the streets with his Harley. #missiontripsarefun Tuesday, July 13, 2010 10:42:24 AM
- Heading out to pray for people on the streets. Not sure what to expect from this but I'm sure we are going to learn something. Tuesday, July 13, 2010 9:14:24 AM
- Pray on the streets training. Monday, July 12, 2010 8:18:58 PM
- Ben cloud teaching on the kingdom of god. Pray on the streets later this aft. Monday, July 12, 2010 6:24:35 PM
- Most mission team leaders focus on temp growth versus grooming catalysts that reproduce themselves. Monday, July 12, 2010 1:24:20 PM
- About 30 people on love of god tour this week from az, north Ireland, Colorado and merryland. Sunday, July 11, 2010 9:31:19 PM
- Handing out flyers for vbs. Its hot but a dry heat Sunday, July 11, 2010 8:24:56 PM
- Hello PHX 11:50 AM Jul 11th

[Related wrap ups: Brasil 05, Cameroon 06, Hungary 07, Hungary 08]

The Photos Don't Do It Justice

see more photos here.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

AZ finances and resources

+ Financial Summary

Support Raised - $7652.50

Airfare - $4747.40
Baggage - $396.00
Rental van - $896.08
[fuel costs were underwritten...]
Grand Canyon - $1210.00
Amadeo gift - $125.00
Total Expenses: $7347.48

Net: +$305.02 - tell you more about this later, but all of this will go to support student missions projects in the future.
Approx $668 per person

[And in terms of support, thanks to so many of you that sent in money, well wishes and were praying for us. Like always, a privilege to share this experience with the readers here on the blog.]

+ Resources
- A1 vans
I got a 12 passenger van from these guys and they were great. Very thorough and cost effective - ended up costing about $10 per day per person.
- Grand Canyon railway
- Re:Store
- Amadeo Church
- Friends Feed Friends

+ Various
idea initiation - March 17
execution - July 11
duration - 18 weeks
team size - 11

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

AZ random stories

+ My team met G when two nights in a row, she brought these elaborate and delicious cakes she had made for our teams. Come to find out later that she hadn't been going to Amadeo for that long and she lived in San Clemente, the apartment community where we were doing VBS. In fact, she was one of the first people from that community to go to Amadeo and when there was enough momentum to start a home group there, it was hosted at her apartment. She knows all her neighbors well enough to influence them, she's friendly, engaging, and connects people to one another - she has a good reputation among many. She's a textbook example of a person of peace.

+ All through the week, Ben brought in different people to speak on various topics. After every single session, students would gather around the speaker to dive in to the topics with more depth - sponges and vultures. Learning is an intentional posture.

+ J&S run Re:Store, the sister organization that serves to help people in the community with food, clothing and utility assistance. J used to be in a bike gang, wears a lot of leather, has a ton of tattoos and has a wild past. But he also has an enormous amount of clarity about his reality now - that God saved him and prepared him for his job now, helping run Re:Store. Oh and volunteering at the public library two days a week. [Oh and don't you love the name of Re:store?]

+ Amadeo reminded me of the church in Acts 2. There were people at the Cloud's house almost all the time and every time I came in, someone was playing the guitar. Stuff was being shared all the time to meet needs - cars, food, a refrigerator, a mattress - sometimes needs that weren't even shared outloud yet... Re:store was donated half a pallet of eggs [that's 5000 eggs!]

+ We drove back from the Grand Canyon on Saturday and drove through Sedona with a quick stop for dinner. On the way home, AR talked for a few minutes about our team and kicked off a time for everyone to say encouraging things about each other, which lasted about 90 minutes. Always amazing listening to students say why they love each other. Even more special this time because our two girls jumped in.

+ Amadeo hangs out with the homeless every Friday evening. Actually, two people from Amadeo are point leaders for this. Lots of other people have come alongside and many, many of them aren't even interested in 'church.' They even started a little org for this. Ben tells a story of one guy totally disinterested in church giving a ride to a homeless person to church but waiting for them in the car through the whole service. There's something significant when a church is doing something unchurched people dive in to.

+ RyanAyl had his wrist healed during one of the healing prayer sessions. I don't know what you think about healing prayer - I'm not sure I even know what to think. But we did it because Jesus said we should. RyanAyl will be doing an informal internship with Ember this coming school year, tell you more about that later.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Missiological Concepts for Students

There are some significant missiological concepts that not many high school students are getting. Teach these at the right time, in the right context, and we will grow students to do amazing things for the Kingdom. A 10th grader is old enough to get these.

Here's a few that we taught this week in AZ. Most of these were "taught" in decompression/debriefing sessions. Hopefully, they were more caught this week since we were seeing these concepts in real life.

cultural distance - two cultures being different along a continuum, some cultures are closer than others.
contextualization - bringing the Gospel in the right context, every culture and person has a back story going on.
person of peace - well connected influencers in the community [tell you more about this one later]
cause creates community - community almost never exists for itself, but comes from a greater cause [from my mentor @alex_mcmanus]
unreached/unengaged people groups
redemptive analogy
And of course, like everything on this blog, feel free to use and steal this.

AZ sunday

Our last real day in AZ. Church in the morning for both services which included some VBS wrap up with the little kids, Ben and Mandy getting their hair dyed green, and Ben sharing with the church about everything that happened with the Love of God tour. Some of our kids also shared about their perspective, what they learned and how they grew.

Great message by Ben wrapping up the week in terms of risk, loving neighbors and moving in faith. Amadeo has a very very tight community - that's a big thing our kids learned from this expression of a local church.

Sunday evening included a pool party and a final session where the leaders anointed and pray over the students. Absolutely one of my favorite ways to cement a week like this.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

AZ friday

friday was another great day here in AZ. the morning was spent at a breakfast with one of ben's mentors - talking about the discipleship mentoring process, why it's important and why these kids should take the initiative now in their lives.

friday afternoon was a break time and then the early evening was spent with a homeless outreach that amadeo does every friday evening. this is a consistent presence that some people from the church have in a local community center/park. interestingly enough, the core team that does this have a lot of unchurched people on the team.

decompression included the idea of a person of peace and having fun identifying who that is is san clemente [the apt complex that hosted vbs] and some of the stories behind that.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Q and A with Ben Cloud

The guides and I took a quick lunch break and had a Q&A session with Ben Cloud. Here are some of the highlights.

Context: Amadeo Church launched in 2006. About 150 people in two services, meets at a elementary school. Was a youth pastor before this and also served bi-vocationally working as an engineer part time. Bachelors degree in Education and Masters in Applied Linguistics.

On church growth:
can only grow a church to 150 for right now.

On personal health:
meet with 12 guys right now, wanting them to own the ministry. decided to focus on 3 things for Amadeo in this season right now - child ministry, outreach and prayer. had to personally lead the prayer team.
spent a week in our cabin with family the week before this week and will do that the week after we are done too.

On organic growth:
adults don't do organic. college kids do it but don't get anything done.

On discipleship:
chart out how much free time you really have - break your calendar into 15 minute samples. start to spend some of that time to meet with one person and challenge them in growth.

On sabbath month every summer:
every time we do it, we lose 2 or 3 families. could be too legalistic or too liberal.

On going to college:
get a marketable degree so you can get a real job when you come out. continue to serve wherever you can in Kingdom work as you work a real job and make as much money as you can to support your friends in ministry.

On vocational ministry:
only do vocational ministry if that's the only thing you can imagine doing. can't do this unless god calls you - otherwise you will blame everything and everyone else when the tough times come, which they will.

AZ thursday

Final full day of ministry - it's been an intense 3 days. Healing prayer on the streets in the morning.

After the prayer session, we took a break and then had a guest speaker - Josh Liverman who is the director of short term missions from Frontiers. He gave a quick overview about what their missions agency focuses on, talked about the basics of Islam, and gave some ideas on how students could take the next step if they were interested in that kind of focus for missions. Great guy - fit in very well with the kind of students we had. And he had lots of tattoos for a missionary =).

We also had a special worship leader this afternoon [like these kids need a worship 'leader'] and a speaker talking about worship as a lifestyle.

The evening was VBS again which was awesome. These teams did so great, creating this out of nothing. And running it in the 105 degree heat was just about crazy.

So proud of what our teams have done this week and so many elements of this trip have aligned perfectly.

[Edited post since I totally forgot exactly what we were doing this day when I originally wrote it.]

Thursday, July 15, 2010

AZ wednesday

Wednesday was a very full day of ministry. Prayer on the streets first thing in the morning. We aren't a lot of people come but there are some cool things going on in our group. A few people have been prayed over and that's been pretty wild. Of course, a theology of healing can be a controversial thing to open up. Suffice to say that we are doing it because Jesus asked the disciples to do that.

In the afternoon we went to Re:store, which is a food and clothing pantry that was started by some folks at Amadeo. It is now an independent nonprofit and is being used in cool ways to impact the community. We sorted some food and clothing, cleaned up and helped distribute some food boxes to a few customers. Re:store started in someone's garage and then it moved into the church office and then it took over the office - control and possession is not an easy thing to give up.

The evening was VBS again, night 2. Things flowed better in terms of setup, our teams said that some kids were much more responsive to them and operationally things seem to work a bit better. One slight bump - some lady came out to cuss out Ben's wife because of the noise. That's always fun.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Casting Fire - Session Notes

Jer 20:9
Heb 12:29
Psalm 97:3
Deut 4:24
Exo 13:21

[disclaimer - most of these concepts are stolen, sorry for the disorg]

Look at fire as a paradigm for your life. Light vs. dark, heat vs. cold, etc.]

1 - Jesus fire in each student.
You have the ability to be a part of the movement Jesus started centuries ago. The pretense of having to be ready to do this is false.
Mark 5 - the demon possessed guy - he was sent back to be responsible for a region of 10 cities, immediately after becoming healed by Jesus.

2 - We need apostolic starters.
Starting and seeding the gospel in places where it doesn't exist. A DNA of starting, initiating, beginning. Relationships, conversations, causes, momentum.
US Church in crisis, global urban migration, shift of center of Christianity - all making the most exciting times to be a Christian today.
You will start things that we can't even imagine right now.

AZ tuesday

Tuesday was our first real day of ministry and it was amazing. We started with the praying on the streets. Set up some tents on a lot just outside the city limits with some signs and banners. We had one person stop. Sometimes, it only takes one.

For lunch, the guides and I and Ben went out for chinese and to do a Q&A together. More notes on that later.

Later in the afternoon, I spoke for a few minutes - I'll post some notes for that later too.

The evening was vbs at a local apartment complex that Amadeo has been hanging out with. There are now 15 families from the complex that are now involved. VBS on the road sounds like a phenomenal idea - you should know that it's a huge logistical challenge. Also, Amadeo bought a water slide for this. They also feed families dinner as the first part of VBS.

Lots of chaos and movement since both the prayer and the VBS today were the first time they have tried this. As apostolic starters, this team needs to get used to the chaos. And Ben is a great example of creativity, innovation and trying a bunch of stuff and keeping what works.

Debriefing included culture and context; operational logistics; going after the 1 instead of the 99 [Luke 15]; and getting used to the chaos. [I'll be updating these posts with pictures later]

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

AZ monday

monday was another chill day - lots of getting to know the other team, corporate worship, individual devotions, stuffs like that.

very tight community here - lots of people in and out of the cloud home. lots of praying too - they pray like nobodies business. we also did prep for our pray on the streets time - that's going to be awesome and really interesting.

everyone on the team is doing well - all healthy and having fun. debriefing included the concept of "cause creates community."

Monday, July 12, 2010

AZ sunday

long travel day due to catching a 7.30 am flight. arrived in time to catch part of the second service at amadeo church where ben is the lead pastor. total portable church that meets in a school - fun to help out packing it up after church and see how that is really done. they have a closet that they keep all their stuff in at the school, versus having to pack it away in storage offsite. ben clearly articulated why amadeo exists in his message yesterday, 'we exist here to bless out there.' love that.

about 30 young people are here from all over the place - colorado, northern ireland, us and canada. most of the day was spent hanging, getting to know them and us getting situated. and eating - we ate 4 meals yesterday.

we also passed our flyers for the vbs in the apartment complex where that is occurring later this week. evening was spent with some worship, a short talk, sharing hopes and fears and lots of praying.

our team time was focused on cultural icons and the concept of cultural distance.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Now on Twitter

Grace's lead pastor Mark Norman is now on Twitter. He started following me yesterday - this is either really good or really bad....

Seriously though, you know how much I love twitter - it's an amazing collaboration tool. But you already know that too.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Team Praying Prep

Since Monday, I've been sending out a daily text to our team for a quick thing to pray for that day - hoping that it helps us all prepare our hearts and minds. Here's the list - thanks for praying with us.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Wednesday Burn

::: 67 great innovations
My favorite three:
#2 - free english lessons at spanish restaurant chain
#7 - mobile laundry + clothing donations
#17 - fragrance vending machines in Paris metro
Link via Brad Lomenick
And you know.... you could create some of these....

::: One year in under 40 pounds
Link via youthmissions

::: The German Football revolution

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

T minus 6

6 days until we depart - so excited to spend time with this team. Here are some random things on my list - in case it might help you with your mission team planning.

+ finalize devotional guide - Guides
+ booked 12 passenger van - 2 drivers
+ getting signed health/liability forms including a copy of everyone's health id cards
+ figure out where to meet in the airport at 5:30am [you read that right - am]
+ outlined a daily text to the team for items to pray about, predeparture
+ buy ribbon to mark all of our luggage
+ dea is our team's point person to help coordinate food during the week - a huge help
+ about 30 people all together between our team and Amadeo's team
+ long and fun conversation last night with AR about a future in full time apostolic starting
+ break down our team into VBS age groups
+ pack
+ airport check in - 24 hours before departure
+ grab barf bags once I'm in my seat

Friday, July 02, 2010

Driving Freedom

Americans and cars - I think that's something distinct about our culture - we love our cars. I'm there on this one too - I've loved cars ever since I was a little kid - especially after getting my drivers license the day I turned 16. I was driving and it didn't matter that it was an old beat up VW bug.

Cars have always been friends to me. This week, we had to say goodbye to my 99 Montero Sport - the vehicle I drove while both SPACE and Ember were launched. Lots of great memories about that car including:
- buying it right before Em was born
- driving to Dteam every week [and a student putting a dent in it with a Frisbee]
- live Christmas trees every few years on the roof
- Mission Advance 06 - when it leaked water inside and having to drive it out of the floods
- only two speeding tickets [I think...]
- bridge+ice+guardrail
- using it as my portable office for so much SPACE and Ember stuff - lunches, planning meetings, leader recruiting meetups, missional experiences.
It was a good friend to me.

Remember that feeling of driving for the first time? Going where you [mostly] wanted, not having someone else drop you off, being able to dictate time and distance and speed all to and for yourself. Americans and cars. Something about that screams freedom.

Happy Independence Day.