How Wise People End up in a Foolish Mess (Solomon’s Saga)

How Wise People End up in a Foolish Mess (Solomon’s Saga)

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The story of King Solomon has always fascinated me. It is an epic saga of intrigue, survival, blessing, and eventual costly and tragic failure.

  • Solomon was blessed by God and had no equal. In 1 Kings 3 God promised him both wealth and honor.

  • Solomon was wise and smart. In 1 Kings 4 it says God gave Solomon “wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore.”

Solomon must have had a giant “S” under his royal robe. This guy was the Superman of rulers in his day.

Apparently, however, his sexual appetite was unequaled as well, and that led to some fatal mistakes—about one thousand of them.

Sadly, by the time we get to 1 Kings 11, everything starts to unravel. We are told there that Solomon “loved many foreign women . . . from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, ‘You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after other gods . . . ‘ Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love.”

And sure enough, his 700 wives and 300 concubines led him astray.

For the record, I don’t blame the women; I blame the man. Solomon was responsible for his poor choices.

Perhaps the saddest line in his story is found in 1 Kings 11:4, “As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God.”

The end result? He lost the kingdom of his father, David. “So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates.” 1 Kings 11:11

Talk about your tragic tales of agony and loss.

Why did Solomon start so well but end so badly? How could you go from being the wisest of the wise to the guy who is sacrificing offerings to false gods?

A Few of Solomon’s Problems

  • He chose to put his desires above God’s command to avoid ungodly women. It’s true: bad company corrupts good morals (I Corinthians 15:33). When we choose our way over God’s way, it always leads us astray.

  • His life of sexual self-indulgence, with his many wives and concubines, led to unrestraint in his spiritual life. When we refuse to practice self-control in one area, our lack of discipline often leads to foolishness in others.

  • He demonstrated how affluence often leads to spiritual laziness. I’m not saying rich people are always spiritually apathetic, but Jesus said it’s tough for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God. Why? Because there are too many distractions. I know from personal experience that poverty leads to desperation and desperation leads to prayer! And prayer keeps us focused on the Father.

  • His pride led to his downfall. Arrogance frequently leads to decadence—especially when we think we know more than anyone else, including God. It’s entirely possible that Solomon started to believe his own press (“I’m great, I’m wise!”). I can’t help but shake my head at the irony. It was Solomon who wrote earlier in his life, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” Proverbs 16:18 (NIV).

In his later years, Solomon had multiple adversaries, and even worse, a heart that was cold and distant from God. His disastrous ending was a far cry from his glorious beginning.

On a regular basis, I pray, “God help me to finish well.” I don’t expect to live without imperfections. I know I will make plenty of mistakes along the way. But I want to stay faithful to the end.

By the way, Solomon’s dad, David, failed at times too.

The difference?

David relented and repented. Solomon didn’t.

At any point, had Solomon owned his failure and turned back to the Lord, God would have redeemed, restored, and renewed him. It’s what God does best.

That’s why I plan on being an incredibly good repenter to the very end.

Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.

David ~ Psalm 51: 2-3, 10, 12, 17

 

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Out of Africa (Some Exciting News about My Latest Trip)

Out of Africa (Some Exciting News about My Latest Trip)

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I recently returned from an incredible trip to the continent of Africa. People said Africa would change me. I had no idea how true that statement was until I visited Botswana.

As we flew into the airport in the capital city of Gaborone, I fell in love with the land and its people.

Some points of interest regarding Botswana:

  • Botswana, located just north of South Africa and surrounded by four African nations, is about the size of Texas. It has a relatively small population with just over two million inhabitants. Interestingly, cows in Botswana outnumber people!

  • Over one-third of the inhabitants are under fifteen years of age.

  • This small country boasts the world’s largest concentration of African elephants.

  • HIV is a serious problem (as it is in much of the continent), but Batswana (what the people of Botswana are called) are full of joy and proud of their country.

  • It has one of the most stable and long-term democratic governments in Africa, and though poverty is still a serious issue, Botswana has one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

Why did I go to Botswana?

Eastpoint Church is partnering with the Church in this country to train leaders and implement the Purpose Driven (PD) Church principles first taught by Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church. I and others from our church will serve as mentor-trainer-coaches presenting the PD church model to hundreds of churches during five trips in the next fifteen months.

When I say partnering with “the Church” in this country, I mean the entire Church, nationwide. We will be working with all three of the Christian umbrella organizations in Botswana: the indigenous Church, the Evangelical Church, and the mainline denominational churches.

This opportunity to influence the whole body of Christ in Botswana and potentially the entire nation is mind-blowing. In the history of Botswana, there has never been this much enthusiasm for a common Christ-centered cause or this amount of unity in the Church.

In my last gathering with over 120 leaders in Botswana, I wept as they prayed for one another, for me, and for this new Kingdom venture.

When Jesus prayed for the unity of His Church in John 17, He said that our unity would help a watching world believe that the Father sent the Son. Like never before, the Church of Jesus in Botswana is positioned for incredible impact.

On my last day there, I asked a young woman who worked as a security guard, “Do you go to church anywhere?”

“No, not for a long time.”

I said, “Do you mind me asking why?”

In her somewhat broken English, she essentially said, “The Church has no meaning or value in my life.”

I believe that is about to change as the Church in Botswana becomes healthy, impassioned, and invigorated to move tens of thousands of nominal Christians into whole-hearted discipleship.

The Church in Africa is ready.

Ready to change.

Ready to take the Gospel to every tribe, tongue, city and village.

Ready to address the profound and devastating issues of its people (like poverty and HIV).

And, quite amazingly, ready to work together—across denominational lines—to touch the entire continent and beyond with God’s power and love.

Yes, Africa has already changed me. I pray now that in some small way I might be used by Jesus to support my brothers and sisters in this place of wonder and extraordinary potential.

Ke a leboga (thank you) for taking the time to read a bit about my African adventure.

“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude

that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language,

standing before the throne and before the Lamb.”

Revelation 7:9  (NIV)

 

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16 Responses to Out of Africa (Some Exciting News about My Latest Trip)

  1. It’s a blessings to have Pastor Kurt Bubna and Eastpoint church as our mentor and coach for Botswana. Thank you Philippians 1v6. Botswana for Jesus and we are excited to be trained and to implement Purpose Driven Church Initiative and unifying the three Umbrella bodies to be trained and working together for the common goal in the nation. Pastor Kurt, we pray for you, your family and Eastpoint Church. We love you.

    • Thank you, Noah, for taking on the important role of National Coordinator. We are excited to work with you and the Church in Botswana to advance the Kingdom. Love you brother!

  2. Thank you, Kurt, for sharing this uplifting news about Botswana. It is so encouraging to know that Christians are working across denominational lines to truly make an impact on this country and its people. Wouldn’t it be great if the churches here in our own backyard would do the same?
    Blessings!

    • Hi Martha, I do pray for more unity in the body of Christ. That being said, I have a wonderful and strong working relationship with about 10 churches in Spokane Valley! We are learning to practice unity together.
      Love and appreciate you!

  3. What an amazing adventure. Thank you for sharing. The Lord’s work will definitely be felt. I look forward to what is in store for you next. Amen!

  4. Thanks for sharing what God is doing in Africa! Love how he uses you to bring unity in our Valley and in Africa! Excited for you and us as a body at Eastpoint!

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Some Thoughts About Turning SIXTY! (Millennials Could Learn Something Here Too)

Some Thoughts About Turning SIXTY! (Millennials Could Learn Something Here Too)

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Apparently, ’57 was a good year for Elvis, Chevy’s, and my parents.

I know, I know, you can hardly believe it by looking at me, but I’m turning the ripe old age of 60 on March 13th. It’s a little surreal. I don’t feel that old. I don’t look . . . okay . . . maybe I do look that old. Whatever.

I remember (thankfully, since they say memory is the first thing to go) turning thirty. It was just 10,950 days ago. I was depressed. My 20s were over. Middle age was mocking me to my face, or so I thought. But I pulled out of my misery when it hit me, “At least I ain’t sixty!”

What do I tell myself now?

Sixty is sexy? (Nope.)

Sixty is the new fifty? (Not even close. I did fifty, and it was much better.)

For me, there’s no getting around it; sixty is scary.

Let me explain.

I come from a long line of Bubna men who died in their 60s.

My grandfather, my dad, and one of his two brothers (my uncle), all went to be with Jesus long before they hit 70.

So, you’re thinking, “Ahhh, he’s afraid to die.”

No. That’s not it at all. I openly faced the reality of my mortality over five years ago when I had cancer.

Death isn’t the problem. I’m not worried about dying. All men die.

But I am afraid. I worry that I won’t accomplish the things I still desire to do before I go.

I’m concerned I won’t leave a meaningful legacy.

Frankly, I’m just not done yet.

Yeah, I know, I need to trust in the Sovereignty of God (please don’t go all spiritual on me, I’m trying to have a pity party here).

Yes, I know, just live “one day at a time” (wow, that’s original).

But what if my last “one day” is today?

What if I don’t get that novel done? (It’s on my bucket list.)

What if I don’t get to see at least one of my grandkids give me a great-grandchild?

What if I don’t get to experience one more great movement of God in my lifetime?

Pause. A moment of personal reflection is happening . . .

Maybe there’s something that matters more?

What if I just stop worrying about all the “what ifs?” and decide to measure my life, however long or short it is, by one thing: did I love God and others with all my heart?

You see, young, old, or somewhere in between, what always matters most is not what we accomplished in our days, but whether or not we loved.

With a radical love.

A relentless love.

A revolutionary love.

A profound, uncompromising, and deep-seated love for God and His most-prized creation—you!

It seems appropriate to quote one of the Apostle Paul’s more famous passages here.

“If I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.”  I Cor. 13: 2-3

Bubna Paraphrase Edition: Without love, nothing else matters. Absolutely nothing.

So, with whatever time I have left, I will view each day as a gift and do my best to love as I am loved.

Pity party over.

Wonder how I’m going to feel about turning seventy—just 520 weeks from now?

Hmm.

I’ll be fine.

Especially if I invest the next decade loving God and others even better.

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16 Responses to Some Thoughts About Turning SIXTY! (Millennials Could Learn Something Here Too)

  1. I’ve got two years on you, Kurt, and I can so relate to your words here. No, I’m not afraid of dying either, but I do want to leave a legacy of love when God does call me home. I will share His love with every person, each day, from here on out.
    Blessings!

    • Hi Martha, I think deep inside all of us is the desire to leave a legacy. Praying your love for others leaves a huge mark on many. Blessings back at ya!

  2. Hi Kurt, my 60. last year was one of my best birthdays. For a long time I have struggled with mental illness. But in the last 10 years Jesus did free me slowly from doubts, from low selfesteem with the help of a retired pastor and his lovely wife. Now I can start most days with joy and confidence in Jesus which is incredible good.

    I think in eternity we will have time enough for all good things to do because our God is t h e good and he is infinite. To get to know him can not end.

  3. Thank you for this post… I feared more if a depressing post…it REALLY wasn’t too much a pity party.. I too feel I understand the fear of turning… 50..60..70… mostly because I look at my parents… where they are at… they don’t act the ages they are.. THANK YOU God!! & yet as they do “age” towards those pearly white gates… I will be left alone here… that scares me, makes me sad at times.. the loneliness while they are up there whopping it up with Jesus & my sister..my cats.. hopefully NO allergies Anyway… IT DOES remind ME to try & not take people for granted….to remember manners..& thankfulness at all times.. to cherish everyone while I have time

  4. I’ll join you at 60 in May. This blog was like reading my mind. Thanks for your wise words. I’m a pastor also, and I needed this today.

  5. 2 thumbs up!!! I too will not get my bucket list done so I moved to a get rid of “it” bucket list, 🙂 more liberating and easier to accomplish. Even at 52, life is flying by and the worries of getting things done were the key source of my anxiety, so I quit that!

  6. And I just turned 70, Kurt. I remember 60 well, since I got married later in life, I had 2 sons in college at that time. Now I have 2 grandkids aged 2 and 3 1/2 and I don’t know if I will see great grandkids or not. What I do think about is, if God grants me another decade, where do I want to be and what influence can I leave behind. I remember hearing, when I was in my 20’s, of a person in their 50’s exercising with another in their 90’s and the 90 year old said he had just started his next 10 year plan and was wondering what the 50 year old planned for his next 10 years. I thought that was funny then, now it has more meaning.

  7. Hi Kurt, just turned 72. My 60s were good except for loosing my wife when she was 64 and I was 66. I am still working and blessing my children and grand children. I am blessing Trish too. Life is GOOD and I want to love and live everyday my Lord has for me to live. I so appreciate you and your blogs.

How to Deal with Post-Spiritual-High Depression

How to Deal with Post-Spiritual-High Depression

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Sometimes, following an experience in which God showed up in a powerful way, we can find ourselves overwhelmed with negative emotions. 

Depression.

Fear.

Confusion.

Frustration.

Even anger.

It doesn’t seem to make sense. “Why am I so bummed? Why do I feel so bad after something so good?”

It doesn’t just happen for pastors on Monday. It can happen to anyone after an engaging ministry retreat, a life-changing camp experience, or a cross-cultural mission trip.

Here’s a little-known fact: coming off the “mountain top” of experiencing God is a little bit like coming down from too much caffeine or sugar. When the buzz and thrill are gone, we miss it–badly.

Here’s another fact: it’s normal, and you’ll be okay if you decide to stay the course.

I’ve always been fascinated by the story of Elijah found in 1 Kings.

Elijah was a great man of God. He performed miracles, and he boldly faced down 450 prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18). God worked in him and through him in a powerful way.

But in 1 Kings 19, in the aftermath of that great experience, we find Elijah afraid and running for his life from Jezebel. He ends up isolated and depressed, and he even prays for God to take his life!

One of the things I love about our God is that He knows us better than we know ourselves, and He always pursues us. In fact, God appeared to Elijah and confronted him. “Elijah, what in blazes are you doing?” (Bubna Paraphrase Edition).

Elijah complained to God, but then the Lord essentially said, “Get back to work; I’ve still got a job for you to do!” In other words, “Elijah, stop whining and stay the course.”

In over 38 years of ministry, I’ve taken a lot of people on mission trips around the world. I’ve watched God use simple and humble people (like you and me) to do amazing things. I’ve also seen those same individuals come home and get “lost” in a sea of negative emotions.

I’ve seen couples come home from an exciting and encouraging marriage retreat and crash under the weight of reality the real world.

I’ve seen hundreds of youth return from camps or retreats on fire for Jesus, and they’re pumped—until they’re not. To borrow a phrase from Tamera Alexander, “Too many end up as bored as a spud in the mud!”

Tragically, I’ve even seen many bail on God and His Church because “real life” is too predictable and mundane—or the opposite, too challenging and harsh.

Here’s the antidote . . .

When you’re faced with post-ministry misery, depression, frustration, confusion, and whatever else might be plaguing your soul, get back to work serving God right where you live.

He still has a plan for your life.

It won’t always feel like camp or that incredible mission trip.

The daily grind of the morning after can be tough for pastors.

Day to day isn’t quite as exhilarating or awe-inspiring as that life-changing conference with Beth Moore.

But God shows up in the valleys of life too (remember Psalm 23:4).

Resist the temptation to focus too much on “next year in Guatemala” or “next year at camp” or “next Easter,” while missing what God has for you at this very moment.

No one lives on top of the mountain all the time.

So be present in the here and now. And as Elijah eventually did, listen for God’s gentle whisper, and you’ll be fine.

I promise.

God’s not done with you. Not now. Not ever.

 

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  1. Thanks for the good words of encouragement for pressing on after the mountain top experience. The let-down after a mission trip or conference is real, and we need the reminder to rest and go forward.

How Wise People End up in a Foolish Mess (Solomon’s Saga)
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