30 March 2006

God's protection

just got this from my dad in swaziland. something he wrote after a harrowing experince yesterday. if you ever wondered if your prayers for missionaries make a difference, you really need to read this.

A highway intersection.

Two cars totaled in the crash.

Four lives at risk. God intervened and nobody was seriously hurt. Our awesome God protected Jean and me and the other young couple.

Every time a sore muscle makes us wince we are vividly reminded how quickly lives can change and how fragile life is—and how awesome our God is.

We were returning up the mountain to our home in Mbabane after Jean had spoken at a staff meeting of the ladies that help us feed the children at the Children’s Cup Care Points. It had been a great meeting as Jean and the staff discussed the challenges and opportunities of caring for some of the neediest children in the world. Jean told me later that in spite of the spiritual “high” all morning she had a deep urging in her spirit to be in prayer against an accident.

I’m so glad she obeyed.

When we got home one of our Swazi employees told us he had felt the need to pray for us this morning, too.

And because I know how God does things, I’m sure some of you had been praying, too.

It happened at noon Swazi time, which is 5AM Louisiana time—6 hours ago as I write this.

I don’t pretend to understand why the accident was allowed, but I’m sure God will be glorified because of it. It really is true that God will take the worst thing that can happen to you and make it the best thing for you. Right now our sore muscles and the need to replace our vehicle try to challenge this belief in me—but I know it’s true.

I’m writing this to thank you and to encourage you to pray for us and every missionary you know. It truly is a violent warfare when you invade the devil’s strongholds to rescue souls from his clutches.

You may remember that just a few weeks ago a lady helping us clear the brush at our Mozambique Mercy Center site was bitten by a black mamba—one of the deadliest snakes in the world. The doctors said she could not live but she survived and will have total recovery!

I’m believing that in answer to the reserves of your prayers and ours God will guide us through the legal and insurance aftermath of this incident. With our confidence in our prayer-answering Jesus, Jean and I and the ‘Cup Team will press forward into the fray—not with a cavalier or giddy disregard for the enemy, but in the sure knowledge that “Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.”

The eternal souls of hurting little ones are worth the investment and the risk!

29 March 2006

lifechurch.tv - way to go! (more)

i talked with bobby gruenewald from life church in oklahoma on the phone last night about some stuff, part of it being their new open source for messages on their website. you can read my first post about it here.

i'm obviously a big fan of what they did with it. but here's the real reason for for this second post about it: bobby told me the reason they're doing it is because they want to do whatever they can to help get the message out. it isn't about their name or their money. whatever they have to invest to make it work, that's what they want to do - as long as it is helping churches, they want to invest in making it work for those churches.

that's such a right way to think. it just reminded me again why i think God is blessing their church so much. their focus is spreading the Gospel. they've kept the main thing the main thing.

so again, i say - way to go, bobby and the rest of you pseudo-yankees up in oklahoma.

this makes me sick (but thankful for the team i'm a part of)

there's a post on aley and elizabeth demarest's blog from the donaldsonville campus about a lady they've been helping. those of you that know me know that i don't throw around the "mission field in our own back yard" term lightly. a large portion of my family risks their lives daily to work in southern africa with aids orphans - i've been there and i've seen how bad it is there. there's nothing like it here in the US.

that was what i thought until i read this story. if you want to know why hpc does things the way we do, caring for the poor and hurting, this will make it really clear.

the young lady who used to call this shed "home" matters to God and so do her babies. it will be well worth the couple minutes it will take you to read the story.

click here to read the story.

28 March 2006

ever wonder why you should send your kid to stuff at the church?

okay, so this is probably at least as much an unabashed boasting on my part about what is going on in my own daughter's life, but i think there is a decent encouragement in this whole deal for other parents out there.

check out tori's post on her blog about amplified (a weekend in-town retreat that refuge and pathfinders - the student ministries at hpc hosted recently).

27 March 2006

lifechurch.tv - way to go!

life church in oklahoma (and probably someplace near you) is one of the coolest churches around - and they've got so much going right in how they see church. they have just launched an area on their website where you can find just about everything they've ever done as far as message series go - free for the taking. rather than charging for what they've invested to create, they are making it all free aparently because they are more concerned with building the Kingdom than they are with the cost.

we've been doing this for quite a while at hpc but nothing of this scale. all our sermons (podcasts, streaming audio, streaming video and even some transcripts) from weekends and wednesdays are on our website free for the taking, but what these guys have done is so much more than just making it available - they've got a search engine on it that is amazingly helpful, among other things.

now, i know this represents quite a huge investment of their time and resources to make this available - and to ask for nothing in return other than the hope that it will help build the Kingdom - that's cool of them.

way to go, bobby greunewald and all of y'all up there where the "NOK Hornets" are hanging out this year.

26 March 2006

brian burnham

a friend of mine from highschool is a missionary in papua new guinea with new tribes mission. he is the brother of martin burnham who was killed by terrorists after being held hostage with his wife gracia in the southern part of the philippines. brian and i graduated from faith academy near manila back in 1984. when i met brian back in first grade, he was the "bully" i went home and told my mom i was afraid of. i still don't know to this day whether that was a deserved accusation or not. but i do know now that he is one of the hardest-working missionaries i know. he is giving all he has to his family (which as you'll see below is no small task - 9 kids) and he's giving it all to the calling of God on his life to reach people in papua new guinea.

i'm posting this because i feel really strongly that some of you ought to consider adding brian and his family to your missions giving. if you want the real-deal, front-line, no messing around, all-about-God type of missionary to get behind, here you go. and even if you can't afford to add them to your giving, at least shoot them an email (click here) and let them know you'll begin helping to hold the line for them in prayer.

Burnham Bulletin
The Newsletter of Brian and Arlita Burnham
Ministering with New Tribes Mission Aviation in Papua New Guinea
March 2006

Joel Daniel and Nicole Courtney Burnham, 3 days old

ADDITIONS!!! On January 31, 2006, we welcomed Joel and Nicole as the newest members of our family. Joel Daniel was born at 12:01 a.m., weighing 6 lbs. 1 oz. and was 18 ≤ inches. Nicole Courtney was born at 12:27 a.m., weighing 7 lbs. 7 oz. and was 19 inches.

New House: Lord willing, we will be buying the house pictured above from New Tribes Mission Aviation when we return to Papua New Guinea. This will allow our family to have more space to live and it will allow us to have a place to store our household furnishings when we come to the States for “home assignment”’ in four years. NTMA is asking $25,000. We currently have $12,000 towards the purchase of the house.

We hope to return to PNG on June 2nd, arriving in Goroka on June 4th. Here are some of the things that we have planned for the next couple months: speak in our home church in Rose Hill, a visit from Arlita’s folks, finish up the school year, pack, a trip to Mississippi to speak in a supporting church, pack, a trip to Florida for Jeff Burnham’s wedding (Gracia’s oldest son), finish packing and fly back to Papua New Guinea.

Prayer and Praise:
1. PRAISE: We have half of the money needed to buy the house in PNG. PRAY that God will provide the other half.
2. PRAISE: Joshua’s eyes have improved and no surgery is necessary!
3. PRAY: We need to pay for tickets to return to PNG in June. The cost is around $11,000 (the same price we flew home for last year, which is amazing with the rise in fuel costs).
4. PRAISE: God gave us another set of twins. We are grateful that they arrived safely and are healthy.

Thanks once again for supporting us and praying for us. HAPPY EASTER! He is risen!

Forever in His care,
Brian and Arlita Burnham
Melissa, Nate, Megan, Micah, Caleb, Joshua, Jonathan, Joel & Nicole

Gifts: New Tribes Mission
1000 E. First Street
Sanford, FL 32771-1487

Mail: Burnhams, PO Box 38, Whitewater, KS 67154
Email: Brian_Burnham@ntm.org
Phone: 316-799-1263

21 March 2006

bad idea... bad idea.... (i find this hilarious)

from our recent amplified weekend - j high and high schoolers at the end of a service gathering around the front for some slammin' worship.

and then......

eddie geurra stage dive video clip

tyler is on the mic - if you know tyler, you know how "tyler" that whole thing is - "wow.... that was amazing. wow."

thanks eddie. i hope you're okay.

(also, for what it's worth, i just found out that my daughter was one of the kids that cleared out of the way. she told me that some of the kids actually did catch eddie's arms, but it was too late for his back side.)

20 March 2006

west palm beach (day 1)

well, we did the first round of talks today at the multi-site gathering with leadership network. it is being facilitated by none other than geoff surratt and greg ligon.

mark batterson - a punk kid?

mark batterson and a couple guys from his staff up at ncc in washington d.c. are here (joel schmidgall and dave clark) and they brought with them a lot of - well i see it as "cool factor," but another guy in the gathering put it this way:

"i look at you (mark) and i see some punk kid who just went out there and started doing something...."

now, mark has gotten his fair share of not-so-nice commentary lately - i think largely for being so successful in thinking of ways to reach people (they just don't like how he's doing it). but this comment (i don't think) was meant in a negative way at all. i think it was actually meant as a compliment. whatever the intent, i think mark and joel and dave all were sharp enough to take it as such, knowing that "just getting out there and doing something" is probably what many churches would love to be able to do. it certainly gave them a chance to live up to the statement on the back of dave's theaterchurch t-shirt:

mark batterson - a punk kid.

and they're mine

drives me crazy they're so cute.

thoughts on amplified this past weekend

and a couple pics....

my daughter tori and my oldest son jd went to amplified this past weekend (an in-town retreat put on by hpc's student ministries. christine caine from hillsong was the speaker and they had a bunch of cool stuff for everybody to be involved in - like an outreach at a st. patrick's day parade for the high schoolers.

tori getting checked in at amplified (ok you probably can't tell which on is her - c'mon, it's just a cell phone camera

jd waiting for his friend joe david wilkerson to get checked in (the pic is upside-down because i wanted you to see what i had to go through to even get a picture of him - sneaky dad.

jp giving the high schoolers instructions before the parade outreach - "if it starts raining, DON'T RUN." sounded really funny to hear it, but actually, it was a very smart thing to tell them. jp gained a bunch of my trust with that one line.

i got to sit in on some of the closing night's wrap-up altar service. kids giving testimonies like we used to see at youth camps back in the eighties. it was really cool to see that it got beyond the cool stage (which was VERY cool) and the lights and smoke and fun and all that - those things created an environment (as they should) for people to encounter God - and they did. kids met God this weekend.

tyler (pathfinders), dr. tweeze (refuge), and all your teams - thanks for doing what you do. thanks for going the third, fourth, eighteenth and fiftieth miles for the sake of our kids.

dr. tweeze with a dude named brance who got caught up in the moment and tried to mosh his way through the sanctuary wall. the wall won, but it did take a good beating. i know we don't need to go tearing up the sanctuary, but i'm definitely glad we've got enough excitement going on here that a teenager would be dancing that hard.

i also heard a story - rumor has it that there's a video of it - about eddie guerra taking a try at stage diving that didn't work out so well.... (with tyler's voice in the background saying, "no! bad idea, bad idea.... oh man.... wow."

i guess you'll have to bug lance to get him to upload the video on his blog.

a great place for lunch

craig harrington and hpc's multi-site director mark stermer

there's no website to route you to, but if you're ever even close to baton rouge at lunchtime, you've gotta go check out harrington's. craig harrington runs a lunch-only restaurant in the middle of the business district in downtown baton rouge - great cajun food in a nice cafe. i really respect craig's lunch-only deal, too. as much as i'd love to have harrington's be an option for dinner, i think he's SO right to hold off because he's doing so in order to have time for life with his wife and kids. Awesome decision. awesome guy.

helping mrs. paula

this past saturday while tori and jd were at a student ministry retreat, vicki and i took our three youngest kids and her parents down to new orleans to give an elderly lady (in her eighties) a dresser and a couch my mom told us to find someone to give it to.

a friend of ours was working on the sheetrock in her home, and noticed that she was using a couch and dresser and a bunch of other furniture that had been in the flood. mold was all over it. he learned that she had a renter living in the house who died (an elderly gentleman), and she was stuck in the house with his corpse floating in the water for over a week. there are so many stories like hers in new orleans (on in this case, metairie). but we were able to help this one - and we're planning on going back to give her a dining room table as soon as we can land one.

i'm so glad we we able to have my six-year-old with us. to him, mrs. paula is probably not going to be a "hurricane victim" but a lady her met who has a cool ramp to run on (she's living in a fema trailer in her front yard, and has a wheelchair ramp on it that lincoln played on the whole time we were there." but it will be a part of his life forever - he met her, was with us when we prayed with her, and he hugged her when we left.

this story isn't over. mrs. paula was very moved by the kindness we showed her. she's pretty well turned off by tv preaching, and she's never been touched by church or christianity in a tangible way like this was. hopefully this will open the door for us to continue to show her more and more of God's love until the day she crosses the line of faith.

mrs. paula and lincoln and our friend brian

lincoln giving mrs. paula a hug

2:12 am - finally in florida

1:30pm departure from baton rouge - driving to new orleans for a 4:15 flight.
5:00 departure from new orleans.
7:15 arrive in atlanta, but the connecting flight is already gone.
we get put on a flight slated to pull out at 9:15.
that flight leaves out at about 10:00pm.
11:45pm arrive in west palm beach.
12:15am hertz tells us they don't have the car we reserved, but after some insistence by the ever-cool marc cleary, they pull up with our car ready to go (hmmmm....)
12:45am arrive at pga club resort hotel place - walk into our "cottage" and figure out it's really not gonna work (no internet was the biggie).
1:00am ever-cool (cleary) is on the phone working out a new place and getting us out of the unconnected place (stermer and lance are already asleep - out cold).
1:15am ever-cool wakes up stermer and lance and we pack up to relocate.
1:45am we load into our two very nice rooms at the hampton inn (i love hampton inns) and get settled in around 2:00am.

i'm typing this up while logged into the net via my hampton inn complimentary wireless service.

yay, hampton.

time to shut it down - i'm really sleepy. can't wait ti get the leadership network multi-site gathering rolling tomorrow. lots of great guys (and ladies) are getting together to discuss/learn/brainstorm/thought-share on doing multi-site church. more blogging to come on all that.

17 March 2006

from manaus

isaac williams is a friend as well as a key part of our manaus, brazil campus (actually "campuses" - there's several campuses on the interior of brazil that have been born as a result of their work).

Dad and I are heading out today to the interior. We are going to be working on the church building. It's been raining a lot lately. It'll be nice and muddy and wood gets slippery when wet. Please keep us in your prayers. We will be back in town toward the end of the month.
In Christ,

please put isaac and his dad in your prayers. this isn't a "feel good" trip. this is spiritual warfare and our part in this part of the battle is to hold the line while they go to the front. thanks for holding the line with me!

15 March 2006

cold @ frank's

ok - this is louisiana in mid-march. i'm not complaining at all - i could take this weather all year around. but tomorrow we'll probably be in the nineties for a high. oh well.

great meeting this morning at frank's. dino rizzo taught on psalm 112 verse 4 this morning - about being known as a man who is gracious and compassionate, among other things. the 114 men that had braved the cold to come out broke into groups for a short discussion time that i thought was pretty cool. sometimes i can get a little weirded out by that, but this flowed really natural. it was cool to hear the wisdom from some of the older lives, and the passion from some of the younger ones.

in all, it was a cool morning, not just a cold one.

here's my notes from the teaching if you wanna check them out.

14 March 2006

incredible hpc staff meeting with hillsong's christine caine

(here's a link to a pdf of a rough and raw version of my notes i took during the staff meeting.)

christine caine from hillsong in australia spoke to the hpc staff today about the difference between being a servant and a steward. honestly, the term "servant" has been so much a part of my entire training since i was a kid in church, that i almost didn't think i was going to "buy" what she was saying. how could there be anything more important in the kingdom of God than being a servant?

the point was this - it's not like she was saying NOT to have a willingness to serve and to do whatever it takes. that's the fundamental thing about being a servant that we must have. but she distinguished a steward as one who doesn't just do anything he's told to do with a good attitude and do it well. the steward is proactive - because he has a sense of "ownership" of the vision, he'll go after things on his own. she put it much better than i could - so that's why i've put the link to my notes at the top of this post.

i will include this list she closed the talk with. (again, it's my typing while she spoke, so please forgive any odd grammar flows.)

twelve comparisons of servants versus stewards

  • There is a shift from servanthood to friendship. A servant focuses on a task. A friend on harvest (bearing fruit), initiating, entrepreneurial mindset – am I fruitful, am I multiplying?

  • A servant learns obedience through restriction, a steward learns through release. The restriction will reveal what is in your heart. Shift to stewardship will bring promotion from God. you can’t wait until you get promoted to start being a steward. It starts with you first. Then the promotion can come. A steward is given a release over an area but the remain committed to assume a posture of stewardship of the vision.

  • A servant serves where they choose. A stewards serves where it best fits the need of the house. You must shift. Everything you do must be seen/decided upon by the mindset that you have decided to be a steward of the house. Stewards do what the house needs first. We are stewards of the grace of the house because that is what the house needs.

  • A servant has visible rules of assignment. A steward serves invisible assignments. The enemy loves to challenge your stewardship mindset.

  • A servant is empowered by a man. A steward is entrusted with things from God. American church tends to see this to mean that we get to “do our own thing.” But it is better to be a little fish in a big pond with a mission, than to be a big fish in a little pond but have no vision.

  • A servant looks for a reward from man. A steward “has” to do it – is compelled – even if it goes against my natural schedule.

  • A servant blindly follows instructions, but a steward knows intuitively the master’s purposes. If you don’t get the why behind the what, you’ll never understand why God does things the way He does them. Let people know the “why” – that’s how to help them become stewards.

  • A servant isn’t interested in relationships – but stewards are considered friends. A steward may not have sat in a lot of individual time in a meeting with the pastor, but a steward still considers/makes the leader his friend. Listen to everything they say – it must become important to us.

  • A servant is content with serving. A steward wants to steward to grow to graduate to elevate – to buy in at the next level. The buy-in happens here.

  • A servant knows his God. a steward knows the same God as their master. Not talking about clones, but about essential convictions. If you don’t like the vision, leave. You’re not gonna change the pastor - and that’s not what you should even want.

  • A servant is competitive and protective, fighting to be the best at the very base level. A steward helps people not get departmentalized.

  • A servant has limited tenure. A steward becomes part of the future of a house. Don’t use what you’re doing here to build what you’re doing. We steward the house, the language, the whole role of steward is to give away the master’s grace. we are here to distribute the abundance – don’t be like the political barricades that leave containers of food on the dock in a starving nation. We are here to get the abundance to starving people.

13 March 2006

it's not like my kids are all i write about

but if it were all, that'd be fine, too. they're sooooo great.

the twins just made 2. well, actually, they made two somewhere between feb 28 and mar 1. we just took the liberty of scheduling their "party" a few days (ok, well, several days) later. anyway, they were a hoot opening their presents. rhett started yelling loudly and uncontrollably (with joy) when he opened a present that was a toy. but when it was clothing - he started chucking the clothing articles over his shoulder - slinging them dangerously close to taking out the people sitting behind us at the restaurant.

rhodes just seemed determined to get the gifts all opened before worrying much about anything else. however, after the two bag gifts in the video clip, neither of them would even come close to touching the gifts that were bagged instead of wrapped. funny kids.

here's a couple video clips if you wanna see more (clip 1 shows how to not shoot video, but i'll blame it on the phone camera interface) (also, rhett is in yellow, rhodes is in blue).... -clip 1- -clip 2-

10 March 2006

buzz conference

okay - i just found out it is confirmed i'm going with a couple guys from hpc (namely marc cleary and lance leblanc) to mark batterson's buzz conference. i'm wondering who all is going, especially those who are bloggers i read. i know david russell is going (shoot - he's an NCCer now so he has to go.) but what about the rest of you on my blogroll?

babu, john, chris b., joel, dave, chris, rob, dan, gary, todd, tony, perry, randy, terry, chris s., or shawn.

any of y'all going? any one else?

09 March 2006

anyone got some cool message stuff on paul?

we're thinking about doing a series at hpc on the life of paul later this year. we want to connect the life of paul to the need for people to get involved - volunteerism, giving our time and our talents to the work of the local church. originally we were going to do our own version of "living beyond myself" (a la seacoast) but as we've prayed and delved deeper into what we need to communicate, we've turned more to a thought of using paul as a basis for teaching people about being involved in the ministry of the local church.

so - anyone got anything good along those lines to share or point me to?

check out this link on the northwest medical teams website. about our mobile medical clinic. (even links back to my interview with dr. cheri about it. how cool is that?)

07 March 2006

my kids' blogs

i'm becoming quite the blogging evangelist (at least in the circles in which i run). it's a sort of obsession, but i honestly think there's a great value for most people to have a blog if - and only if - they use it as a tool to help them express themselves and thus understand themselves and their calling more clearly. it is a great tool to communicate to others, and to keep in touch with others, and so many other things. but it is just a tool and as such it must be something that we use, not that we are controlled by.

anyway, that's not what this blog is about. this is about three of my kids who are blogging.

tori (my 15-year-old daughter)
we just reworked her blog (a blogspot.com blog) by making some massive adjustments to the blogspot template. it's not perfect - still have some little tweaks to make, but i'm thinking it reflects her much more than it did before. she did a great job of knowing what she wanted to make it be, and i learned a lot during the remake.

jd (my 11-year-old son)
jd's blog is still yet to be reworked to fit him, but we're working on getting more posts in there. homeschool is kinda cool in that projects can be blog posts instead of book reports, etc. plus, he's got like the coolest title on his.

lincoln (my 6-year-old son)
lincoln just started blogging - he's an interesting blogger. you'll get a kick out of it if you have any kind of understanding of six-year-olds.

and there's the twins (rhett is on the left, rhodes on the right)

okay - the twins just made 2, so they aren't quite ready to blog. but rest assured....

i love being a dad.

surratt wisdom

in the process of doing some research for dino rizzo for an upcoming series at hpc on marriages and family, i came across this poignant perception from the deep well of wisdom embodied in the man, geoff surratt (one of the authors of the multi-site revolution):

arguments that begin with "nothing" usually end with "fine."

ah the truth.

01 March 2006

frank's men's bible study pics/notes

another great morning for the men's study on "living a blessed life" with pastor dino teaching on psalm 112:2. this was week two (click here to view week one's notes).

here's a link to this week's notes in case you missed it.

see ya next week! 6am at frank's in prairieville on airline.