Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Being Hope

I was asked to share about my trip to Honduras today during our staff prayer time.
Here are my notes...

A Hybels/Willow mantra is that “the local church is the HOPE of the world”

This got me thinking… what is the local church to me? and to my/our world.
Personally, the local church is:
a place of community/relationship
where I experience God in worship differently than in other experiences
where I receive teaching and am challenged to grow in my faith
where I have found purpose in using my gifts
The bad news is, that while these are all good and fine… these are pretty much all about me.

More globally, what is the local church to our "world?" and by that I mean America, the northwest in particular.
Statistics are everywhere on line, but about half of people believe in God but only 7% give positive comments regarding the Christian church. 20% of people view Christians negatively, 57% neutrally and only 17% positively

What I saw in Honduras was different and I am challenged and changed as a result.
The church there… it was a place of HOPE.

I heard a woman share her story of being healed of a tumor. 15 people made commitments to Christ in that service. This reminded me that God works in our lives for His glory. It also reminded me of the power of sharing our stories.

I watched a youth pastor living life with his students, investing in them in real one on one relationships. This reminded me of Kurt/Austin, Cliff/Kent and challenged me to be more open to this in my own life.

And I heard the story of a young, poor, simple pastor who is SO sensitive to the needs of the people in his community who are hurting and being abused that he is going to law school to become a lawyer so that he can bring hope as a part of his ministry there.

The church is not here to meet our needs. We are the church here to meet the needs of the world. - Erwin McManus

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mother's Intuition

Saturday Westview Cheer hosted a cheer competition.
I worked with my friend Kathy in the snack bar all day and when it came time for the Westview team to do an exhibition cheer I decided to stay behind and let the other moms go watch. The minute I made this decision I felt my gut say that Molly was going to get hurt... I brushed it off and went back to work stocking, rotating and facing pop (i've discovered a ocd issue when i work snack bars).

I could hear the girls cheer in the background and then applause... :-)
Then, my friend Kathy came to me looking very troubled and said, "go find Molly she got hurt."

Turns out it's a nasty black eye from being hit catching her flyer. Who says cheerleading is for sissys? She'll be fine but it's ugly.

So, what was that? Intuition? I'm not sure that it would have been better to watch it happen...

Friday, November 14, 2008

this could... change my life

ok, probably an overstatement... but... today i got a starbucks gold card. There was a fee... but it will allow me wifi access for up to two hours a day at any participating starbucks. Seriously. As much as I love my new office... I will be so excited to use this benefit.
and, i get a 10% discount on all purchases... so it will be paid for in no time.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What I Didn't See

My trip to Honduras was very focused on producing the Summit and building relationships with the team I would serve with. But literally across the street and this river from our venue is the Honduras I didn't see with my own eyes.

I had the opportunity to hear stories about this part of life in Honduras through the pictures taken by some traveling with the WCA and the stories of Honduran pastors over dinner. The hardship they face doing ministry with little or no financial resources, with crime and oppresion, I cannot find words...

Compassion Internation traveled with several WCA pastors to build relationships between American churches and the Honduran churches who are ministering to this part of the community. Some people who have sponosored Honduran children got to meet their kids. It was powerful for them to see the work and impact that Compassion is actually having there.
I'll share some photos from their experience...

This is the neighborhood...

This is this families home. Can you get a sense of the size? This is all there is? They all share this bed. The newspaper is on the walls to provide insulation.

The children who are sponsored through Compaasion International get food and medical care and education.
This clip was put together by one of the American pastors who visited the projects. (Turns out he's married to Art Wilmore's daughter... shout out to my home church in California)
Half of the Honduran population is under 25 and WAY too many of them live like this. The local church, Compassion Intl. and I pray, the Summit will make a difference in the lives of these kids and as a result their families and the community. Sponsor a child

Monday, November 10, 2008


sur⋅prise   /sərˈpraɪz, sə-/ verb,
1. to strike or occur to with a sudden feeling of wonder or astonishment, as through unexpectedness:

This morning when I awoke I could still feel the pulse of Honduras in me… my heart felt full to overflowing. The idea that I would begin to lose my grip on the power of the trip seemed out of the question.

Now… hours later, I can feel myself going back to normal and with all that is within me I DON’T want that to happen.

My friend Julie challenged me today to write down the things I do not want to lose.

I have hesitated for two reasons…
the first is.. how cliché this is? I go to a third world country and have an awakening... it was only 5 days...
The second is that these are mere heartbeats… not well formed ideas yet. But because I am beginning to feel numb again and I will spurt them out here…

I was surprised to discover some of what being poor may really be and what it isn’t (lesser people).

I was surprised to discover people who on the surface, when they are still, seem weathered, in some cases even sad, but when they are engaged a warmth and life… a light, exudes from them like none I have ever seen.

I am surprised to be so challenged by the reality that saying your friends are your family… really isn’t the same as family being family.

I was surprised by Coty's answer, when I asked her what Hondurans like to eat? what their specialty was... she said "our food is for sustenance." What a concept. (Though... the black beans at Power Chicken are the best I've ever tasted)

I was surprised how much more tangible, close to the surface, as though it were in their veins, their relationship and dependence on God is.

I am surprised to learn how the separation of church and state in our country has created road blocks to the way the local church really can be the hope of the world; I saw church which wasn't a building, but in community, I saw sanctuary, a place of hope and refuge and grace rather than the government playing these roles…

I am surprised to be able to finally feel free to say that I love working with men. I have not fully owned this but Catherine Rohr’s testimony gave me permission to be real in this way... and heck, her men are convicted felons and murderers.

I am surprised to learn the universal power of communication. When you don't have common language and when you don't need it.

I am surprised to be so deeply affected by the reality that something I was part of really mattered. It was intoxicating, and it leaves me somehow longing and restless.

I am surprised how close to the surface a level of new intolerance for "much ado about nothing" stuff is. At times I wanted to scream don’t you/they/I realize that so little of what we concern ourselves with… really matters.

I am surprised how bothered I am that I don't really live a life focusing on the Next Generation with my own kids and with others and how simple it looked when i saw it in action.

I am surprised how little I know.

I am surprised how small the world really is and how little my world has become. two different things.

I am surprised how numbing my life, our culture is... the pace, the stimulus, the distractions. I am convicted at the pace of life that I lead and what I have missed and not gained, as a result.

Larry challenged me to being open to being surprised and he was so wise.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I've always wondered....

What the term “venture capitalist” meant. Now I know.
You see… on the plane home from Honduras I shared a row with Roberto.
He was friendly, inquisitive, interesting and easy to talk to.
And with each conversation he revealed a little more of his story... you just never know who you are sitting next to...
Roberto is a venture capitalist, Honduran born, Harvard grad, who currently lives in Grenich Village with a beautiful (second) wife, father of 8. Roberto was parked next to the van that blew up in the first World Trade Center bombing, he was OK but not his car… he worked for Lehman Bros, was in the building next to Tower 1 on 9.11 and had to evacuate, his business partner thinks he's jinxed... but more on him later. Roberto managed two hedge funds but got out early. We discussed the possibility of me investing 20 million in his energy project in Roatan, or his Casino in San Pedro Sula. I reminded him that I am middle class and work for a non-profit...
His business partner, also traveling on the plane is the delightful Irwin Menken, yeah Menken, think… Alan Menken, you know... 8 grammys, Little Mermail etc. composer, his cousin. Irwin is a bass player, recently finished an album which is available on itunes, he played me a track on his iphone. He’s also a Jew who told jokes I had to say that I didn’t get, being that he was the first Jew I’ve had dinner with… (Ira Glass doesn’t count, since that’s via itunes) but the good news is that I am the first Oregonian Christ follower he’s had dinner with, so maybe we're even? He was looking for a book and I recommended "the year of living biblically" since it's also written by an agnostic Jew... :-)
We talked about religion or the lack there of… our lives, they showed me pics of their kids and bought me a great dinner. It was a great way to end this adventure.

Am boarding the plane in Houston now... headed home. I miss my family, friends, bed, NPR and Starbucks...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

as if...

as if the final day of the Summit wasn't enough...

the production team invited me to their service tonight... it was an incredible honor and experience. We had about 45 minutes between the end of the Summit and the beginning of their service in a different location. They have an open air canopy, Saturday night service, seating about 1600...
Let's take a minute out to describe the players here... there are two churches here that I've connected with. Coti and Leo are from one, called PIER and the other is Grand Commision: (in the picture... front row left to right...
Cesar- the worship director- his worship team are young and he's great- learning on the job, talented, well prepared, servant(L)eader.
(top row- white shirt)Chiki-(nickname) Take Ryan, Tres and Blake, stir them in a blender and you have Chiki. I want to adopt him, but he's 22... he's a kindred spirit and we seemed able to communicate non-verbally since language was a serious issue.
(back down to front row)Oved- Technical Director (like most, he seems tough when you meet him, but in about a day, he's got the sweetest smile and most tender heart)and i love his wife, Dixie and their children.
Jim Mellado- WCA
Dennis- Summit producer and Grand Commision pastor; a PASTOR, you can tell that people love him and he loves them, funny, a quick smile, very warm and I love his wife, Flor.
Hemi- knows everything and can do anything... and is a wife and mother.
Anyway, they invited me to the Gran Commision service. Chiki let me hang out in the booth which was wonderful. The service ended up including a time of saying goodbye to one of their pastors, which was needless to say, a very tender moment, so of course... i kept tearing up.
Then... AS IF that wasn't enough... they lit candles (Christmas Eve style) in honor of this pastor, as a symbol of how his ministry has spread to them and how they must spread it to one another... well, duh, I'm hardly keeping it together at this point then Cesar, Oved and his family, Chiki and other members of the team invited me to be their guest for dinner. I had hoped to get to spend some time with them outside of a "booth" so this was wonderful. At the end of dinner, both Oved and Chiki shared a message of thanks and how serving together had impacted them.
This was the kind of moment you want to bottle and keep with you on the really hard days of ministry.
So here I am in Honduras crying because this experience and these people have been so amazing for me... and as much as I am looking forward to being home... I will dearly miss this new family and the ministry here.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Cumbre Dia Uno

Realized that I left my laptop cable at the venue... so this will be brief.
Today went GREAT! It was day one of the Summit. The team worked hard and things went very well.
The screen arrived just before the first session so we used the wall until lunch and then we put it up. It (of course) arrived with no screws to attach the frame legs... so... we used the universal solution- zip ties (that's for you Mac :))We ran Hybel's Decision making, Gary Haugen and John Burke today... and the last session of the day was a TD Jakes talk that was awesome! It really connected with the room. Relationally, things just felt way more comfortable today with the team. They are SO warm and inviting, i can already tell that it will be hard to leave them. This is Coti (19) who is my translator and has been wonderful, she and Leo really take such good care of me.
Tonight after the Summit I was invited to eat with the WCA/Compaasion Intl Vision team again. This was really fun and I sat next to someone who really made me miss my friends at home... his sense of humor was so much like Mac's, who would have thought that was possible? AND... he listens to NPR (almost) all the time! And... sitting across from the Compassion Intl Church Relations Director... pretty much sealed the deal, it's time that we sponsor a child. A few of the people on this trip had the opportunity to meet the child they sponsor... that would be amazing. I have never been exposed to the level of hardship and poverty that I see here, it makes even our simple life look so different. We are incredibly blessed and self absorbed. I am sure that there is a nicer way to say that... but... my battery is about to die and it's really how i feel at this moment.
I miss home, family, friends, my church, but I know that i will leave part of me here when I come home. Thanks for your prayer and support and encouragement. J

Thursday, November 6, 2008

settling in and falling a little in love

Today is about adjusting to this new world and I think i'm there or here or whatever. I spent most of the day at the venue... it's being held in at a university here. Pretty new facility... good room... the school houses high school in the day and college at night. I've now met all the people on my list, so I have faces to go with names. Everyone here has been unbelievably kind and caring. I'm really enjoying spending time with Leo and Coti who have been hosting me and translating. I'll post pics of them soon. Leo is the youth pastor of one of the churches and Coti is the Sr. Pastor's daughter, they are dating. I'm beginning to get over the fact that I dont understand most of what I hear. One thing that is amazing to me is the number of kids who are bi-lingual. It is certainly a challenge to enter a team where the adults speak little or no English, and I bet it's a challenge to have a stranger, a woman no less, enter their team and speak such little Spanish, but the kids are helping me out. Technically... the team, especially the lead, is strong. There are glitches though... as there always are when you're doing something important... the screen arrived today. Well "A" screen arrived today... it's not right and was filthy. The team spent time cleaning it but it will not work so as of now, we are without a screen until at least 7am tomorrow and the Summit begins at 9am. The soundcheck literally took 3 hours tonight. In this way, I am grateful for my experience... it keeps me from freaking out. :-) It seems that each day I am getting more than I am giving, which is not comfortable for me, but i'm trying to stay open to why God has me here and how it can form me for ministry. Today... the thing is that the people I am spending time with seem to truly understand what it means to "focus on the next generation." It's challenging and compelling to see... I'm anxious to post some video but the wifi is pretty weak at the hotel.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pinch me...

Did I wake up this morning in the dorm room of a 20 year old college student in Houston, Texas?

Did I get on a plane and suddenly realize I hadn't devoted quite enough time to my spanish lessons?

Did I sit next to a very nice man who is one week younger than me, was born in Holland, is a ship (think shipping vessel) something or other who helped me through all the immigration, customs paperwork, could name every landmark we could see from the plane, has been at sea for 7 months and is heading home to a small village in Honduras where life is simpler? Oh, and he said... the world is my home and he meant it.

Did I seriously land on that little airstrip, amidst banana and palm trees?Did I finally learn to recognize my own suitcase, not in the standing upright position, to which I am accustomed, but upside down and backwards amidst 100's of others?

Did I play Amazing Race today with a 19 year old young woman named Coti?
Find cool things in the market while Guns & Roses was playing... have kids try to sell us fruit at our car windows? drove around San Pedro Sula Honduran style... (she was great, but wow!)and then walk back alone to my hotel (only 7 blocks in broad daylight- though it was still a bit of a rush, saw two rifles along the way) in order to get the Fraser traditional walk the town thing done? Note- the rifles made me feel MORE safe, than less, that definately wasn't expected..

Did I learn that traveling alone is no fun because there's no one to tell you your outfit is cute before going to dinner with 30 strangers?

Did I seriously have dinner? Steak... in a beautiful roof top open air restaurant in Honduras? Were there really pastors there sharing their testimonies about third world ministry which makes budget cuts at my church seem somehow less critical? And was the Compassion Intl. team there with the WCA doing a Vision trip? And oh, was that really Jim Mellado and did I seriously introduce myself and tell him I was working for him this week?

Will someone please pinch me?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A book and a videoblog for the day

I bought this book, The Year of Living Biblically, in the PDX airport and am L O V I N G it! The basic premise... A J Jacobs was raised in a secular family but became increasing interested in the relevance of faith in the modern world. So, he decides to dive in headfirst and attempt to obey the Bible as literally as possible for one full year. The resulting spiritual journey is at once funny and profound...

I am absolutely riveted to this book... am loving watching him wrestle with Scripture. I have no idea what a year of this will turn out to be... but i'm having trouble putting the book down because I want to know.

Today has been a FULL LONG day... been up since 1AM. It's so good to see Chris... how normal his life is here, and how wonderful his friends are.

Tomorrow a.m. i leave for Honduras.

4 Nov 4 am PDX video log

I'm hoping to post video from the trip... here's my first try...

And yes, I realize I have to learn to look at the camera when I talk :-)

heading out

My alarm is set to ring in one hour.
Of course, I've already been up an hour because my head won't stop imagining what the next few days will bring...
This morning I leave for Houston and then on to Honduras Wednesday.
I am not afraid of the travel or of finding my way in a foreign country, these things exhilerate me.
But, if I am to be honest, I am afraid of the task that awaits me in Honduras. Who's crazy idea was this?
Why did I think I could do this?
What in the world was Larry thinking?

As I leave to do the Summit there are two major themes at play in my head.
One is all about me. Will I succeed? Will I fail? Will I live up to what Willow and Larry are hoping? Will the decision to "send me" have been a mistake?
The other theme, comes from my experience in ministry... be prayed up, show up and serve.

I know that my life in ministry has been so full of these moments and I know this is how God works. This is the way he designed ministry and His church to grow after all. .

I've been camped in Philippians lately and this morning this passage is just what I needed...
1-4If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Molly's Senior Pics

Molly has her senior pics back... my blog... my favs go up :-)
and yes, i realize (now) that there is dust on my scanner... but this will have to do, for now :-)

And one of Michael's favorites...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Living in the Moment

lately... i've been trying to live in the moment.
I'm a planner... a solver... a doer, so this is a stretch for me.
Today we "fell back" one hour, this morning God woke me up at what would have been the normal time, so I've spent the day trying to figure out how to spend my extra hour. It was a full day... work, lunch with Mike and Molly, home for less than an hour of nap, so that didn't count, back to work, speak at Pathways & Connections for a little bit, singing at hymn night and then it happened. I had the chance to have dinner with the Carlson's and Kathy Hartrum. We had a nice visit and it was a great way to spend the hour with some people I dont normally get to see.

So, how did you spend yours?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Summit Marathon

Before I leave for the GLS my goal is to watch the 8 sessions we'll show in order, so I can be prepared to understand what is happening in the room (since it will be translated into Spanish)and assist the facilitator for the Sessions.

This morning as I'm watching Session One... I'm reminded why I love the Summit and it's got me so excited to take it to Honduras next week. Here are some notes.

Session One – El Gran Dilema para la Toma de Decisiones- Bill Hybels
The Summit promise: we will break our backs to host an event every year that has a lazer focus on leadership. All new material, every session, every year. A faculty of fired up practitioners and not just arrogant theorists, a high intensity, high challenge atmosphere that we don’t apologize for, ever. We dumb nothing down.
We teach leadership from a Christian perspective unapologetically.
We believe that leaderships highest usage is not just the making of money or attaining of power, but that leaderships highest usage is to advance the purposes of God in this world, everything else is alright but that’s just the best thing.
God rock the Summit, rock it with your presence and power, rock every leader, every life, every church, every company, every organization represented here.

Give us the discipline to learn well and to learn deeply.

Anyone who leads makes decisions every day. So much of leadership is making decisions. Some of our decisions have very high stakes. This is part of what leaders do, it’s why God gave some of us the gift of leadership. A leader can master the art of decision making.

Do you have a framework, process that you go through routinely that helps you arrive at an effective God- honoring decision.
1- Does the Bible say anything about this?
2- What would smart advisors advise me to do? Listen to all sides of the counsel but know at the end of the day you have to make the decision yourself
3- PG&E question
a. What have I learned from the PAIN of last decisions? Fresh wounds or old wounds, the pain that I or others have experienced.
b. What have I learned from the GAINS of experiences in the past that would inform you for this upcoming decision?
c. What have I experienced in the past. . Add to the vault of your own wisdom over time as you lead.
4- Is there a prompting of the Holy Spirit? Rely on the promptings of the Spirit. Romans 8:6 when you are in step with the Spirit it leads to life and peace. When you are heading the right direction there will be a vitality of spirit, a serenity in your inner world, even though the decision may have huge implications. Suggest: Make a trial decision before the decision has to be made to see if life and peace are coming as a result of the decision or if a kind of worry and anxiety is present, in which case I can make a change in the decision before the decision is due.

Leaders cannot be decision averse. It’s what they do. You have to take responsibility for the decision.
If the decision turns out well you… thank God, that others, the experience vault, the Spirit, thank everyone.
If the decision turns out bad- you blame no one and you take the hit, you bear the consequences, take full responsibility.
Staying absolutely clear about owning responsibility for the poor decisions you make as a leader is what keeps the learning intensity so high in your life. If you’re fuzzy about who made the bad decision, chances are everyone will be fuzzy about what should be learned so that better decisions are made in the future. And we all want to get better at decision making so take responsibility.

Taking this to the next level:
Some leaders not only have a framework like we described, but they learn to condense/compress them in to self-composed leadership proverbs that give them focus counsel, micro-waved counsel for their decision making. I shared a few of my leadership "axioms" at this post in August.