Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wildcats Rock Jayhawks

Uh oh, uuuuhhhh oh, my boys, the Wildcats have just entered the building. The K-State Wildcats handed it to the unbeaten KU Jayhawks last night in a shocker in Manhattan. Pay back is sweet. Got awful quiet out there in Jayhawk land.

The Cats have come out of nowhere and now lead the Big 12 at 5-0 in conference play.

Check out the highlights from the game while you can.

Bring on the Cats!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Son Comes Home...the Mega Party

I spent all day yesterday at the biggest Mexican party I've ever been to, and it was a striking portrayal of a father's love for his son.

Paco, a young man now in his twenties, had a relationship with a young lady that resulted in the birth of Jogan Yamil three years ago. After she became pregnant, she sequestered herself in her house and refused to allow Paco near her or the baby. Then one day, about a year ago, she brought the little boy to see Paco. It was a breakthrough that changed Paco's life and brought Paco and this young woman together again.

Yesterday the extended families of the pair gathered together to celebrate Jogan's 3rd birthday. It was an incredible feast:
  • 4 freshly butchered sheep that were cooked in the ground for 18 hours
  • A triple-tiered cake
  • Spiderman gift boxes with candy for all the kids
  • 2 giant piƱatas
  • Too many cases of beer and tequila to count
  • Crosses with Jogan's name as a remembrance gift for everyone
  • Engraved glasses for special guests
  • A mariachi band (with lead singer, Craig Johring)
  • A catholic mass
  • A DJ and lots of dancing
  • A clown that entertained the kids and painted faces
  • Spiderman himself even showed up
And I probably left a few things out. Let me also add that these people are by no means wealthy and the party was held in a poorer section of the city. But the whole family came together to celebrate. The most powerful moment occurred when Jogan joined his father and mother for the first dance of the evening. They danced with the little boy held securely between the two of them.

To me, it was a stirring picture of the Father's love for us. I too was held hostage, unable to step into the arms of my Father, who longed to shower me with His affection. But when that day finally came when we were united, He could hardly wait to unleash the greatest celebration the heavens have ever known. He spared no expense to show me His love. In fact, He just didn't kill a fatted calf or 4 sheep. He allowed the torture and murder of His own Son, so that He could scoop me up and dance with me.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Finding the People that "Get It"

Rich Lotterhos has been in Mexico City with us the past few days. Rich helps lead Global Service Associates and is a leadership guru, especially when it comes to understanding people. We're blessed to call him a good friend and to have him as an adviser to our ministry.

He has been in Mexico City the past few days helping a group of pastors and businessmen understand city transformation. We have used this time to help surface a few folks that really understand the vision and could help us call others to the vision. We need innovators, and in a Latin American culture, they're not easy to find...more to come on that soon.

As you can see from the pics, the group decided to lift Rich up in prayer (literally) at the end of it all. He's the one in the middle of the group with his arms being raised.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Back to Movement Launching

After celebrating my birthday on Sunday (a little disappointing with the Packers loss, but really exciting with good fellowship and a new grill from Craig Johring), we're back to launching movements around this super-city once again.

Our newest team member, Matthew Wiley (right), has already jumped into the fun in only his second day on campus. He pioneered at Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana today, along with Becky Choate (another great new staff woman) and Andrea Byl (right). Matthew put his newly acquired movement launching skills to the test as he searched for a movement leader. After talking with a few students, he was told he should wait to talk with a girl who would be out of class in 15 minutes.

When she appeared, the trio cast the vision to the unsuspecting young lady. The look on her face made Matt ask if she thought this was weird. To his surprise, she said that she had just been wondering how she could have more of an impact for Christ. A group of angels suddenly appeared singing a U2 remix called "I Just Found What I'm Looking For". (I might have made that last line up.)

They walked the student through some basics and made a follow-up appointment. God continues to create divine appointments as our staff believe Him for movement leaders on 400 universities.

(P.S. If you clicked on the link for the university, I hope you read my favorite line: "It has remained completely free of any kind of political or religious influence.")

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Erwin McManus on Leadership and Apostolic Ethos

In his book An Unstoppable Force, McManus, lead pastor of Mosaic in Los Angeles, duly notes that leadership can and does mean different things in different organizations and occupations. The trouble in the church lies in its assigning great value to people who can structure and manage a complex environment, rather than in someone who unleashes one that has to be harnessed. He says, "The danger is going beyond an order of worship to a worship of order."

Here are a few highlights from his book:

"There is a critical distinction between managers who maintain organizations and leaders who create community by catalyzing movement."

"We must focus our attention on the creating and shaping of ethos and then on the structures that best nurture and harness its potential."

On empowering people: "A connection environment is a birthplace for dynamic ministry. When people begin to group together, to join together with others who have common passions and gifting, the result is synergistic. Leaders sometimes get frightened when people do not seem to need their help or guidance. But helping people do what God called them to do is like setting fire to a bomb. A leader may begin the process, but people don't need much from the leader after that. And the reward is greater than the risk."

On creating the right ethos in your ministry: "When being a church attendee is not a culturally expected responsibility, a person who attends but does not begin to serve will drop out within a year."

"An apostolic ethos is an eruption of creativity. It becomes the fountainhead of the ideal and the imaginative. Creativity is the natural result of spirituality."

And this little gem on discipleship and the Gerasene demoniac after Jesus sent him back to his town: "Modern discipleship would tell us that this event was improper and, in fact, immoral. Modern discipleship would say that a baby Christian should never be left to fend for himself in a harsh world, that he must first be protected, and that only if he obtained a certain level of maturity should he be sent out. Yet Jesus instructed the former demoniac to go back to his family and city to tell them all the wonderful things God had done for him. So he did. When Jesus returned, the masses awaited him, all the result of the life of one man who was still ignorant and unlearned."

Monday, January 07, 2008

Key Transformation Meetings

At the Denver Christmas Conference this week with Campus Crusade for Christ. One of our Mexican leaders joined us to speak to 1100 students about joining the endeavor. We're asking God to raise up 100 laborers over the next year.

We've also taken the opportunity to meet with some key leaders in Colorado that have just signed on with us to help tackle transformation in Mexico City. Eric Swanson works with the Leadership Network and co-authored The Externally Focused Church. Sam Williams founded GoodCities and has helped coach city reaching endeavors in over 14 cities nationally and internationally. Rich Lotterhos, a team guru, helps lead Global Service Associates and has lived and ministered in over 30 countries.

Each of these men have provided invaluable insight already. It really got good when Sam pulled out his book of diagrams. Eric said that this is the first international city he's seen using the city domain approach to transformation (targeting nine different city domains).

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

CNN Covers the Little Apple Ball Drop

I headed out into the freezing temperatures of Manhattan, KS last night for our version of the ball drop. Good times had by all. The college couple fighting in front of me and apparently ending a relationship was an added treat to help ring in the new year. Check out the CNN video here (while this link lasts).