Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Song that Saves

I watched Walk the Line, the story of Johnny Cash, for the first time yesterday. A short monologue by the manager of Johnny's recording agency made me pause. It made me think about the song I sing to others. Not the song that comes out of my mouth (thankfully for them), but the song that resonates from my life. I thought you might like to hear what he had to say too. He was speaking to Johnny during his first audition and just after he had played a sappy cover song.
All right, let's bring it home.

If you was hit by a truck

and you were lying out
in that gutter dying...

and you had time to sing
one song, huh, one song...

people would remember
before you're dirt...

one song that would let

God know what you felt about
your time here on earth...

one song that would sum you up...

you telling me
that's the song you'd sing?

That same Jimmie Davis tune
we hear on the radio all day?

About your peace within
and how it's real

and how you're
gonna shout it?

Or would you sing
something different?

Something real,
something you felt?

Because I'm telling you
right now...

that's the kind of song
people want to hear.

That's the kind of song
that truly saves people.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Saturday, February 16, 2008

At Passion in Dallas

We've been treated like royalty as special guests at the Passion event happening in Dallas right now. The event officially began last night with worship by Chris Tomlin, a talk by Louie Giglio (with a great story of a girl coming to Christ), and a resounding finish to the evening by the David Crowder Band.

Keith and Kim Bubalo, the Worldwide Student Network Directors for Campus Crusade for Christ, made the trip out here with us. We are believing God to shore up a true partnership between Passion and Mexico Focus that will allow us to help 10,000 college students exalt the name of Christ and learn how to reach their campuses and their city for Him in Mexico City.

Friday, February 15, 2008

A Crazy Mosaic Story

Get this...last Sunday I'm visiting Mosaic church in downtown LA. Someone tells me that I just have to meet this guy from Mexico City. They introduce us, and I tell him I'm from Kansas. He mentions he has a lot of family and friends in Kansas and that he went to Manhattan Christian College right next door to Kansas State. As it turns out, I went to K-State the exact same years he went to MCC.

So, I asked if he had ever heard of the "I Agree With Joe" campaign (a big evangelistic campaign we did in 2002). He had, and in fact, he still has the t-shirt. He had actually prayed over me during the campaign when I spoke in the men's dorm at the Christian College. Now here we were, reconnecting halfway across the country in downtown LA.

Well, things only got better. I asked Anthony to meet me again to talk more about Mexico City. Anthony left Mexico City when he was 17 to study in the U.S. His people skills are off the charts. His high school in Wichita voted him prom king his first year there. He met his wife at MCC, and they now have two kids. He studies with Erwin and the crew through a Mosaic graduate program.

So a few days later, we invited Anthony to join us in helping transform Mexico City through the power of the Gospel. He told us he couldn't stop thinking about what we shared with him on Sunday. He has family in Mexico City, and his brother wants to start a Christian sports outreach there. He has two more years in his grad program, so for now, he has joined us as an adviser (with a pretty elite group of amazing folks).

I just loved connecting with this guy and hope to see a lot more of him. Divine appointment might be an understatement for this reunion.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Bear Hug from Rick Warren

We went to the Saddleback campus/city yesterday to meet with David Tamez, Rick Warren's purpose-driven guy for Latin America and a good personal friend. As you can see, Craig enjoyed the nice break room of the Saddleback office building. I think he thought we were going to watch a movie too.

After meeting with David for a spell, a vibrant personality burst through the door sporting an unmistakable Hawaiian shirt. Rick came up and gave all three of us monster bear hugs. He said he couldn't wait to come down to Mexico City. He commented about its immensity and said he loves the city already because it has so many people. We're praying that God will use his influence to catalyze a transformation that will touch every one of its 28 million people.

David then took us for some pretty good fish tacos and a visit to the rest of the Saddleback campus. I felt like I was at Disneyland.

Gems from Organic Movements Conference

Gems from this last weekend at the Organic Movements Conference in Ontario, CA.

Curtis Sergeant (helped plant 1,000,000 simple churches in India): To help multiply disciples, ask them just two questions - how have they obeyed what they have heard, and how have they passed it on? If they haven't passed it on, stay on that teaching until they do. If it takes several weeks, find out if it's an understanding, opportunity, or obedience issue. If it's the latter, you need to deal with it according to the church discipline outlined in the Bible.

Disciple happens best in groups of 4-6. One-on-one discipleship is not most effective because much of discipleship concerns how we relate to one another. Much like in basketball, someone really good one-on-one, will not have the same skills and benefits playing on a team.

Neil Cole (author of Organic Church): Jesus was the ultimate expression of the Ephesians 4:11 gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher. Because Christ lives within each believer, we have all the potential of the gifts latent within each one of us. However, only one or two may become our primary role/function. Leadership teams should hold people with different primary roles to better reflect the glory of Christ.

The gifts are not given to us but through us to the rest of the body. And there are different measurements and capacities for these gifts.

People can equip others in the gifts only after maturing through growth, calling, and circumstances.

Alan Hirsch (author of The Forgotten Ways): Communitas is the intense community experience. It usually happens through experiencing liminality together. Liminality is the experience of being pushed to the margins and put in danger, often seen as rites of passage in many cultures. We often squelch this important process in our Christian fish tank - controlled environments that prevent Christians from being touched by the rest of the world.

A good example of this: 80% of students in high school youth groups leave their faith in college. We have put them in the artificial environment of the fish tank instead of helping them risk.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Post Grammy Party with the Stars

After hanging out at Mosaic Church in LA and listening to Erwin McManus, Craig and I headed out for dinner at a swanky little pizza joint, only to discover that the Warner Music Group was throwing a post Grammy party across the street.

We hung around long enough to mingle with the stars. You can see my phone shots of Natalie Cole and Kid Rock. I took these before the security realized I wasn't with the press. We took off before Seal arrived, and no sign of U2.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Management Model that Transformed Japan

I often recall lessons learned in a management class I took at Kansas State. I've tried to retain and apply the gems obtained in that class taught by my favorite dean of engineering. I wanted to share one of those gems with you about how one man helped change a country. I long to see a similar change in Mexico City.

After WWII, Dr. W. Edwards Deming played a role in the reconstruction of Japan. Helping prepare for the 1951 Japanese census, the country wisely recognized his expertise in quality control, and they asked him to teach statistical control to hundreds of engineers, managers and scholars. Many top managers and executives began to apply his techniques widely and experienced a revolutions of sorts in quality and productivity. This dramatic rise in development led to an increased demand for Japanese products worldwide.

Despite widespread recognition and success in Japan, it took the United States many years to utilize Deming's techniques. Thankfully they finally caught on:

David Salsburg wrote:

"He was known for his kindness to and consideration for those he worked with, for his robust, if very subtle, humor, and for his interest in music. He sang in a choir, played drums and flute, and published several original pieces of sacred music."

Later, from his home in Washington, D.C., Dr. Deming continued running his own consultancy business in the United States, largely unknown and unrecognized in his country of origin and work. In 1980, he was featured prominently in an NBC documentary titled If Japan can... Why can't we? about the increasing industrial competition the United States was facing from Japan. As a result of the broadcast, demand for his services increased dramatically, and Deming continued consulting for industry throughout the world until his death at the age of 93.

Ford Motor Company was one of the first American corporations to seek help from Deming. In 1981, Ford recruited Deming to help jump-start its quality movement. Ford's sales were falling. Between 1979 and 1982, Ford had incurred $3 billion in losses. Deming questioned the company's culture and the way its managers operated. To Ford's surprise, Deming talked not about quality but about management. He told Ford that management actions were responsible for 85% of all problems in developing better cars. After 1982, Ford came out with a profitable line of cars, the Taurus-Sable line. In a letter to Autoweek Magazine, Donald Petersen, then Ford Chairman, said, "We are moving toward building a quality culture at Ford and the many changes that have been taking place here have their roots directly in Dr. Deming's teachings." By 1986, Ford had become the most profitable American auto company. For the first time since the 1920s, its earnings had exceeded those of arch rival General Motors (GM). Ford had come to lead the American automobile industry in improvements. Ford's following years' earnings confirmed that its success was not a fluke, for its earnings continued to exceed GM and Chrysler's.