Monthly Archives: October 2011

on Charismatics and Reformation Sunday

yes indeed, worth a click and read

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Was part of ICF, preached at Sion church, had some really helpful conversations with friends old and new, enjoyed some quiet, had great weather for lots of walking (about 15km over three days – who needs a busz pass?), gained an hour as the clocks changed this morning, gonna teach at CC this morning,
and then the next train to Budapest, so as to arrive in Budapest before the 430pm sunset, yes, you read that correctly.

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asking some questions

from Jonathan Edwards:

Do I have/do I want/Am I:

A deepening sense of God’s gracious initiative with me?

A deepening attraction to God and His ways for their (His ways) own sake?

A deepening aesthetic appreciation for the beauty of holiness?

Increasing knowledge and spiritual understanding?

A deepening conviction of the truth of the Gospel and the reality of God?

Growing humility?

Changes in my nature – both temperament and personality?

The development of a more gentle Christ-like spirit within you?

Increasing tenderness of heart and holy fear of the Lord?

More and more balance and symmetry in your life?

Deepening hunger for God – hungering and thirsting for righteousness?

Living a more practical, surrendered, and perseverant life?

From Doug Pollock:

Do I look at people the way Jesus does?

Pray: Lord, as I interact with people, may I do so as you would.

More to come.

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awaiting a train ride

from my window on the train I saw the monastery tower in the distance as I waited…

waiting to leave Szeged

then, under way, with the long awaited return of my netbook, I tried my hand at a description…

The 07:45 train from Szeged to Budapest made it’s way northward across the Hungarian plain through a chilly late October haze. A think blanket of cloud had covered the region two nights earlier producing the haze that was obscuring clear views beyond a few hundred feet. Arriving at the train station early, he had sat outside and had a cappuccino and observed the stream of people who poured out of the station as the 05:53 from Budapest arrived. With a full half hour before departure, he entered the station and located his train on the status board, he would leave from platform five. He made his way through the still quiet station and observed that the station master was a pretty blonde of no more than 30 years of age and taller than five feet. She walked with the due authority of her office having her well-fitting red hat sitting properly on top of her head, her medium length blond hair pulled back in a pony tail. Her authority showed as she carried out her duties.

He had chosen a empty compartment near the back of the train and stood in the window observing the yard crew use the diesel engine move empty cars from one platform to another and passengers arrive, look in windows and decide which car to board. On the platform, standing five meters forward were four railroad employees, three of whom were in the dress of conductors. The younger of the crowd was evidently new. His uniform was crisper than usual and he wore a slight cap that our traveler had not seen before on a conductor. It was the informal type cap worn in the American military when in the casual uniform. He spoke with more youthful enthusiasm than his colleagues, but was seemingly welcomed into the conversation, clearly not quite his first day. When the time came for the train to leave, he moved to his post at the back of the train, closing carriage doors along the way. The station master had returned to platform five signaling that departure time was at hand. She stood in her place to receive the paperwork from our young man who engaged her in conversation, clearly she was more interested in an on time departure than chit-chat with the conductor. After a word from her, he walked up to the middle of the train to close a door and then back to his post, she was alternatively looking at her watch, the platform and the engineer, who awaited her signal that he was free to depart. Our young conductor boarded, she lifted her green sign, the brakes released and we were underway.

Moments earlier, leaning on the window our traveler had noticed a family of three approach the door to the train car. The father lifted the large bag of, no doubt, freshly washed and folded clothing and prepared food while the mother gave instructions, hugged and kissed her son goodbye. The father then shook the son’s hand and the young man, no doubt returning to his university, boarded the train. He joined our traveler in the compartment, choosing the seat next to the door. He arranged his bags so as to be as out of the way as possible while keeping them on the floor. He immediately removed a notebook and began studying, this being exam season at the universities of the country. Other than the necessary greeting, no words were exchanged between the two men, one young, one old.

Just as the train was about to pull out, our traveler noticed that he could see the tower of the monastery. Finding his camera, he took several shots, the winner of which to be decided later. Indeed, as he sat down, he began to look through all the pictures on the camera and smiled at photos taken the week earlier while visiting children’s homes in Ukraine, meeting with partners and friends in ministry and a couple of shots that his translator and friend had taken of him watching a choir from one of the homes practice for a presentation to be made the next for German donors. He also smiled as he thought back to the classes he taught in the high school where his translator taught English and German. He enjoyed the energy of the school, but after a couple of hours, was glad to be able to visit and no longer work all day around such energy as he had for sixteen years.

The train had now arrived in Budapest and had passed the lasted station before arriving at the terminus. As the train made it’s was to Nyugati he wondered if the engineer ever noticed the view at the beginning of the Nyugati yard of the dome of Parliament and further out the tower of St. Mattias church on Buda hill that could be seen to the left of the peak of Nyugatis train shed. To the right he could see the buildings along Vaci ut., where he would soon be sitting with coffee outside Starbucks while waiting for the hour until his continuing train north to Vac. As he stepped off the car, he realized his position at the back of the train put him in the position to go down through the underpass to coffee. He would remember this strategy for future returns to the capital city.

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some sights along the way

These views captured my attention last week as I visited ministry partners in Ukraine.

Kyiv in the morning

fast train to Vinnitsyia

too many signs

wide open spaces

a well among blocks of flats

puppy among shoes

sunset on a farm

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a conference and a question

About 30 social workers, psycologists and other workers with at-risk children gathered today to hear from Ronda Webber who was a great resource for them as she brings wide experience to the conversation. I was present for the beginning of the conference and heard her tell folks that she counsels mothers whose daughters have issues with their view of themselves to work on how they view themselves. This really hit a button for me. In my words, she told these folks not to try to pour out of an empty cup. Here’s a shot from the beginning of the three day conference as I sat for the first few minutes in the back of the room.

This raises an important question: are you trying to pour out of an empty cup? I have invested in one of the guys I work with here talking about his schedule & priorities. We talked about how to maximize time with God and family and then how to think about how he could organize and be intentional about his time. I begin this conversation with an excercise of drawing boxes on a sheet of paper to represent time and priority commitments… it looks like this:


I’ve gone through this excercise with quite a few leaders and their reaction is always the same. “I need to think afresh about the priorities of my life.” Is your cup feeling like its running dry? Maybe you need to get someone to help you walk through some questions about life priorities.

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