Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Good News, Good Deeds

Here are a few articles from Campus Crusade for Christ that I wanted to post to show the powerful results of living and breathing the Gospel...in word and deed:

Pass Christian Proclaims "Travis Todd" Day

Travis Todd is a staff member who, along with wife Sonya and daughters Madison and Hailey, lived in East Asia. That is until Katrina devastated his hometown of Pass Christian. Travis was appointed as a point person to help mobilize Campus Crusade relief efforts in the city. As a result of Travis' work, and because of Campus Crusade's extensive involvement in Katrina relief, the city recently gave him a unique honor.

Be it resolved by the Mayor and Board of Alderman of the city of Pass Christian as follows: The Governing authorities do hereby proclaim April 26, 2006 as "TRAVIS TODD DAY" and to urge all citizens to commend him for his invaluable efforts and leadership for which the City will be eternally grateful.

How Relief Work Tore Down Invisible Walls

The students on our college campuses have never responded to anything as they did to the relief work.

For the six weeks of college Spring Break we saw over 12,000 students go to Pass Christian and New Orleans. We expected around 2,000 and were blown away as more and more kept signing up.

Many of these students are ones that would not usually come to a Campus Crusade event. Some were from gay and lesbian societies and non-Christian service groups. They worked side by side with Christians and were able to see Christ's love in action. They were able to see what a true follower of Christ really is. Here is a powerful story from one of the students who went to New Orleans:

Testimony from Corrie, Campus Crusade Student Volunteer

We had about 95 students total join us (Texas State) on our trip to New Orleans and about 25-30% were people who have never even stepped foot in a Campus Crusade meeting, some not even in a church.

I had the privilege of being teamed up with five students who came from our transsexual, gay and lesbian organization on campus. We quickly made relationships with these students through working together, eating together and living together all week long. It was the most amazing experience to have an entire week devoted to sharing our lives with one another.

Almost all five of the students had spiritual conversations with various students from our team and other students we brought from Campus Crusade.

At our first CRU meeting back, all five of our new friends showed up and expressed that they have never felt so loved and accepted by a group of people in their lives and that we have completely changed their opinion of Christians, which in their experience have always been hypocritical and judgmental.

I'm so excited to see how God is going to work in their lives and how he is going to grow us as a body as we learn how to minister to their needs.

This is my third year involved in Campus Crusade and I feel as though this is the best thing we have done as an organization.

Monday, October 30, 2006

How to Grow

I'm impatient when it comes to spiritual growth. Actually I'm impatient when it comes to a lot of things, but especially when it comes to the most important thing, my relationship with Jesus.

I have a strong desire to have an impact for Christ. I want to see people's lives changed, to see them taste the sweet goodness of the Lord and never run to an empty well again. I long to help others worship God in a way that satisfies the deepest longings of their soul. Sometimes I get in a rush to do all these really good things.

God spoke to me afresh the other day during my morning reading from His Word. He told me once again how to have an effective ministry. 2 Peter 1:3-8:
As we know Jesus better, his divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life. He has called us to receive his own glory and goodness! And by that same mighty power, he has given us all of his rich and wonderful promises. He has promised that you will escape the decadence all around you caused by evil desires and that you will share in his divine nature. So make every effort to apply the benefits of these promises to your life. Then your faith will produce a life of moral excellence. A life of moral excellence leads to knowing God better. Knowing God leads to self-control. Self-control leads to patient endurance, and patient endurance leads to godliness. Godliness leads to love for other Christians, and finally you will grow to have genuine love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more you will become productive and useful in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

About right in the middle of this passage, Peter makes an application point: Make every effort to apply the benefits of these promises to your life. What happens as a result of that? Well, you can read the list.

Too many times I forget that in order to see God's kingdom come through my life and ministry, I must first be about experiencing the reality of that kingdom personally. To put it in more cliche terms: If I want to see God move through me, I must make sure He moves in me.

Peter, however, doesn't draw a linear diagram. He simply gives a pattern of spiritual formation. God still works through those who choose to apply only a few of God's promises, but their impact for the kingdom will never come close to matching their potential.

It seems to me that those who have the greatest impact for Christ in the world today are those Christians who understand that the eternal storehouse of God's blessings has been unlocked. We have been given every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms (Eph. 1:3). This is not a health and wealth Gospel. It is a declaration from God Himself. Should we choose to accept His blessings and appropriate them in our lives, we will see His power unleashed.

Help me O God to take hold of your blessings that I might broadcast your glory to the nations!

Monday, October 23, 2006

I Received Christ Again

Yesterday was an interesting day. I attended a church with one of the girls on the STINT team, Kat. I wasn't sure what time the service started, so we decided to get to the church at 10:00. It turns out that the service didn't start until 11:00, but our early arrival allowed us to connect with many leaders of the church.

We sat in on an "encuentro" class. They had one class that was pre-encuentro and one that was post-encuentro. I was trying to figure out exactly what this "encuentro" thing was all about but could never put my finger on it. It seemed to be some sort of experiencing God three day retreat.

Well, the class went well. I understood nearly everything the teacher was saying. The service however was a different story. I thought one of the gentleman I had spoken with when I arrived said the service lasted from 11:00 - 12:00. That seemed miraculous considering they normally go for three hours. Well, I had misunderstood. The service did in fact run until 2:00, which I figured out at about 12:30.

The woman delivering the message was the pastor's wife. She was from Venezuela (unfortunately for me and Kat). We could hardly understand anything she said. It took me a while just to get over the fact that she was preaching in a skirt and stilettos.

By the time she asked everyone to bow their heads and pray, I was ready for my siesta. I faded in and out during the prayer time, and when I looked up people were going forward. I asked the lady next to me what was happening. She replied, "You go up if it's your first time." I thought, "Oh, they're calling all the visitors to the front." So Kat and I started toward the front with about 20 other people. Just about the time the Venezuelan woman started to lead everyone in a prayer, I knew we had made a mistake. "This is an alter call, and these people are coming forward to receive Christ," I told Kat. Praise the Lord the lights were down and we sat near the front. We sheepishly crept back to our seats. I told the nice lady sitting next to me, "That's for people receiving Christ." She said, "Oh, you've done that already?" I wanted to say, "Next time, could you clarify by saying it's for your first time receiving Christ." I resisted.

I suppose the Lord wanted us to be able to identify more with the students that will come to Christ during our time in Mexico City.

It really was amazing to see how many people gave their lives to Christ. This church probably has 500-600 members, and they saw 20 converts on just this one Sunday.

We went out to lunch with several of the leaders after the service. I shared with them our vision to launch movements on every campus in the city. Next week I hope to connect with the pastor to talk about forming a partnership. There are several churches like this one in the city. This one seems to be growing rapidly.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Jesuit Leadership Model

I just read an old post on Eric Swanson's blog that really grabbed my attention (read Eric's blog).

He writes about the book, "Heroic Leadership--How a 450 year-old company changed the world".

Founded by Ignatius Loyola (at the age of 49), the Jesuits cut a huge swath across the globe, founding 30 colleges in 12 years and 200 in the first 60 years (and eventually over 700 secondary schools and universities). By the 1800's one out of every five Europeans was educated in a Jesuit school.

This struck a heart chord for me because I want Enfoque Mexico to generate the same type of world-changing results. Listed below are the values that enabled the Jesuits to see so much happen:

1. Self-awareness—understanding strengths, weaknesses, values and worldview

2. Ingenuity—innovate and adapt in a changing world—not just thinking outside the box but living outside the box

3. Love in deed, not mere words

4. Heroism—energize self and others for heroic action—choose heroism as a way of working and living.

Their motto: "Magis"--Latin for "more"--always something more...something greater

I love this. To me, this incapsulates Ephesians 3:20, the idea that God can provide immeasureably more than all we ask or imagine.

Their "modo de prodecer": "Equip others to discern, on their own, what needs to be done"

This is exactly what we're shooting for with Enfoque. We locate leaders and empower them to do what needs to be done to launch a movement. The Apostle Paul did the same thing. He didn't hang around to preach every Sunday or to lead Bible studies. He stayed long enough to locate and equip a leader. Then he moved on.

Their perspective: "The whole world is your house"-- living detached from things and places

Their recruiting slogan: “quamplurimi et quam aptissimi”—”as many as possible of the very best”

That's what it will take to launch movements all across Mexico City -- as many as possible of the very best.

Loyola described the ideal Jesuit as "living with one foot raised", always ready to respond to emerging opportunities.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The First Movement Launchers

This is the second time we have visited Capital City Baptist Church. The first time was exciting, but yesterday was even better.

The two girls pictured on the left side of the picture, Azarel and Adreana, are amazing. They are from Oaxaca and have helped launch several movements across the city there. They've been doing for years what we're hoping to see happen in Mexico City.

Craig Johring knew them from his adventures in Oaxaca and he invited them up for a week to help us connect with pastors and students. We met with half a dozen highly interested students at Capital City Baptist. Wow, it was amazing to hear these girls tell their stories, coach these students, and answer questions.

Just before our meeting at Capital City Baptist we met with another group of pastors. They have a vision to hold a major conference in Azteca Stadium, the largest stadium in Mexico with a capacity of 110,000.

Now, let me back up a few months. When I was preparing to come down to Mexico City, Craig shared his vision with me of seeing thousands of students gather in Azteca Stadium for training in how to launch and lead movements. I began to pray bigger prayers and made that vision part of my prayers before the Lord.

As we sat across the table from these pastors yesterday I couldn't help but sense the overwhelming presence of the Lord in what we're doing. These pastors plan on having this conference in November of 2007, and they want to have a session for us to speak to thousands of college students. Praise the Lord! Pray that it all pans out.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Changing a city

Check out this short clip of Campus Crusade for Christ's involvement with Hurricane Katrina relief. Just click on the link below the image.


10,000 Campus Crusade college students choose to spend spring break doing Katrina relief work. They changed lives and infected a city with hope.

I traveled to New Orleans with 30 students from the University of New Mexico the week before Anderson Cooper arrived. It was incredible! We're asking God to do something similar here in Mexico City.

For spring break this year, we're recruiting students from the U.S. to come help launch movements all across the city. We hope to have hundreds of laborers converge on the city to help surface Mexican students who love the Lord and have a passion to help change the world.

Check out more at www.mexicofocus.com.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

No Magic in Small Plans

I considered making my first blog about my frustration in having such a common name when trying to create a blogspot address but decided it wasn't worth it.

"There is no magic in small plans. When I consider my ministry, I think of the world. Anything less than that would not be worthy of Christ nor of His will for my life."

Henrietta Mears, the great Christian educator and mentor of Bill Bright and Billy Graham, said these words and lived them out. It's words like these that capture my soul. Something within me desperately longs to impact the world for the glory of Jesus Christ. My greatest fear is to come to the end of my time on this earth and to look back on a life of insignificance.

That's why I'm here in Mexico City. It's not for the food or the culture or the experience, and it's definitely not for the beautiful scenery and superb air quality. It's to touch the lives of thousands of Mexican college students so they might know the King of Kings.

Our organization, Enfoque Mexico (Mexico Focus), aims to put the Gospel within arms reach of each of the 1,000,000 college students in the city...to put a spiritual movement on their doorstep. I love the size of the vision. It sometimes makes my head hurt, but I wouldn't be here if it were anything less than what it is.

I love Bill Bright's quote: "Whatever we vividly envision, ardently desire, sincerely believe and enthusiastically act upon must inevitably come to pass, provided there is scriptural authority for it."

I have the privilege of working alongside an all-star team here with Craig Johring and Steve Van Diest. We bathe in vision everyday, but we get to help put feet to it as well. I love it. I love planning and strategizing but also knowing that none of it will work without Jesus showing up. I love that feeling. It's like the sensation you get when you swim as far as you possible can underwater and then come up for that exhilerating breath of fresh air that rushes into your lungs. It's a rush.

That's what it's like here...gasping for the sweet presence of Christ in all that we do, and then swimming until we think we're going to pass out.