Monthly Archives: March 2013

What I Took Away from Re:Write (Besides a Big Check!)

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At times, I still have to pinch myself and ask, “Did it really happen?” How did a guy from the middle of nowhere with a simple book about grace win a writing contest? No one was more surprised than me.

Jan and Esther
Jan Long Harris (Tyndale) & Esther Fedorkevich (Fedd & Company)

Above and beyond winning, and besides a nice fat check from Tyndale, everything about Re:Write 2012 amazed me. Being a bit of a conference junkie, I went expecting the same thing I usually get at conferences, one or two inspiring sessions and some free stuff. What I got was so much more.

I sat every moment on the edge of my seat taking copious notes and fascinated by both the variety and the content of this conference. How did they get such an incredible line up of speakers? Batterson. Young. Barna. DeMuth (and the list goes on). Their insights, their practical wisdom and their hearts blew me away.

Here are just a handful of the gems I took away from the speakers:

  • Write because you are called by God to write.
  • Writing is hard, but one changed life makes it all worth it!
  • It’s never too late to be who you might have been. (That one was worth the price of admission. Thank you, Mark.)
  • Stop writing with a performance orientation. (That one hit home, big time! Thank you, Paul.)
  • Every brilliant story leads to God.

Trust me, I could go on and on. Never have I been so encouraged and challenged in one single conference. I can hardly wait to return.

For those of you still just thinking about attending the Re:Write conference and questioning whether you should enter the writing contest or not, here are a few things to consider.

  • You have nothing to lose by putting together a book proposal. I knew that even if what I prepared for Re:Write never got past someone’s first glance, I would still need to write a proposal if I ever wanted to get published anywhere. If I did something, something might happen. If I did nothing, I was guaranteed nothing would. Seriously, what do you have to lose? The hardest step is often the first step. I know. But carve out some time and just do it. I promise you, win or lose, you won’t regret the investment.
  • I wrote Epic Grace because it was burning in my heart to do so. Writing is the best way for some of us to share our passion. For me, it’s almost therapeutic. If you’ve poured your heart into a manuscript, it’s time to let others see that heart. The potential for impact is awesome when we bless people with our God-given words.
  •  On a more personal note, I made some new friends at Re:Write that continue to speak into my life with their gifts. We serve an awesome God who delights in surprising us with His goodness.

Without a doubt, the moment my name was announced as the winner of the writing contest was a defining moment in my life. The past six months or so have been an amazing journey for me, and it has really just begun.

Mark Batterson
Mark Batterson & Kurt Bubna


I don’t know what God has in store for you, but I do know this conference may change your life, and I pray it will.

Hope to see ya at Re:Write 2013.  I’ll be the guy sitting in the back typing his brains out!


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6 Responses to What I Took Away from Re:Write (Besides a Big Check!)

  1. Such an exciting adventure for you! I can’t wait to own and read an autographed copy!!! I dream of writing a book someday! Your words have offered some pearls of wisdom to contemplate. I’m encouraged! Thank you!

  2. What is Re:write? Please give me either some information or some contact information. Thank you.

  3. Congrats on your win last year and your book release coming up! I found your blog space through the Re:Write Conference. I’m headed to Re:write this year in Austin (just a short drive from my city of Houston – sweet!) and I’m looking so forward to it because I’ve read so many wonderful things. I’m trying hard not to wish away the next few months until it gets here. Hope to see you in Austin…I’ll be typing in a frenzy as well. 🙂

    • Thanks, Hannah! I’m really looking forward to Re:Write again this year. It’s going to be awesome. See ya there!

What Makes a Great Person, Great?

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Just about everybody wants to be great at something. Perhaps they want to be a great mom or dad, a great friend, a great skier or bingo player. There is something inside of us that longs for greatness.

I think God put that longing in our hearts.

So the question we must consider is: what makes a great man or woman great?

Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great

A couple of days ago, my wife, Laura, and I watched a very old movie. It was about Alexander the Great and starred Richard Burton (I told you it was old). Honestly, for my wife it was two hours and eighteen minutes of torture, but I loved it. I loved the history and the epicness of this story based on a ruler who lived about 300 years before Christ.

Alexander was an amazing conqueror, and he thought of himself as a god. He never lost a battle and ruled much of the known world at one time. He did all of this before he was thirty-two years old! During his final years, however, he exhibited signs of megalomania and paranoia. The sad reality is, Alexander was great by human standards, but not even close to being great by God’s.

As I lay in bed that night after the movie, here’s what I thought about:

  • True greatness is not measured by physical strength, but by the strength of our character.
  • In the kingdom of God, greatness is not about conquering, but about serving.
  • A great man or woman does not seek self-preservation, but selfless sacrifice.
  • Great people are not known for their fickleness, but their faithfulness.
  • By God’s definition, greatness is all about love, not fear.

Our world tends to make heroes out of conquerors. God makes heroes out of the conquered. In fact, Jesus said, “If you want to find your life, lose it” (Mark 8:35).

Jesus Washing Feet
Jesus Washing Feet

I want to suggest that our god-given longing for greatness should be radically different from what we’ve been told in our culture. According to God, it is a path toward humble and selfless serving. True greatness is seen in washing the feet of others and in dying to ourselves.

So go be great today! Find a need and meet it. Willingly lay your life down for another. Serve like Jesus served.

The world may never produce a movie about your life, but all of heaven will celebrate you!

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.”  Matthew 20:25-27 (NLT)

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One Response to What Makes a Great Person, Great?

  1. Greatness lies in your humility, the numbers of problem your able to solve and to accept others and help them no matter what the have gone through or what there are going through right now, all you need to do is to spread out your helping hands to all, That is what jesus did to us all.

Remembering Phineas

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I’m not a big fan of looking back. I’d rather look forward. Not for a second do I want to be the old guy who’s always talking about the good ol’ days. But sometimes we have to look at what was to fully appreciate what is and what is to come.


To better appreciate my wife, it’s good to look back at our almost four decades together (she deserves a medal for her patience with me).

To truly value my children and grandchildren, it’s helpful to remember all the joy they have brought into my life.

To accurately assess where I’m at spiritually, it’s useful to recall my journey to date.

I know . . . sometimes we look back and it stirs a storm of regrets. Sometimes we remember our past with pain and deep sorrow. Sometimes we get lost in a maze of should haves and could haves.

I know.

But who we are today is the result of all that has happened in our lives so far. Our mistakes, our failures and our hurts have molded us. Our joys and past successes have shaped us. Even the sins against us have played a role in forming us into the people we are right now.

And here’s a greater truth: Nothing is beyond God’s power to redeem. Nothing is beyond His ability to restore. And therefore, nothing is ever wasted by Him.

Any life surrendered to the Father can be renewed and restored. We don’t have to stay stuck in what was in hopeless despair.

Five years ago today, my first grandson, Phineas, was born. Due to a premature birth and undeveloped lungs, he only lived an hour. Though I have lost many friends and family members over the years, no death has been more painful for me. Every detail of the first and last time I held Phineas in that hospital room in Portland is forever etched in my mind. The agony and sorrow in my son and daughter-in-law’s eyes still brings tears to mine.

It is a memory I sometimes wish I could forget. And if that were all there was—pain and sorrow—those emotions would consume me. But the story doesn’t end there.

Somehow, the loss of Phineas has developed in me an even deeper longing for heaven and a hope for what is to come. This world and this life are not all there is.

Somehow, the pain of my past has taught me to run to Abba Father and to snuggle close to Him when I’m hurting.

And somehow, whatever has happened in my life to date reminds me that God is bigger than my circumstances and always with me no matter what.

Grow from your past. Live in the moment. Press on toward your future. However, don’t keep your eyes fixed just on what was, but on what is and can be through the One who is always working for your benefit.

18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. 28 We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:18, 28 (NLT)

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4 Responses to Remembering Phineas

  1. It is very hard to look back at my past n see all the mistakes n poor choices that I have made
    But it also helps me to realize how much God truly loves me n never has left my side.
    Having had two failed marriages one in which my husband committed adultery n
    The stress of that caused me to have a miscarriage, I lost my husband my unborn child at the same time.
    My second marriage was very abusive, spiritually, emotionally, n physically. In all that I’ve been through, I have been very blessed n I have 3 wonderful beautiful children n now a loving, devoted husband. God has risen me out of a horrible scary place n now has put an overwhelming desire in my heart to help others
    That are hurting n may be going through some of the same things that I have went through. He has stabilized me n given me the strength to return back to school to finish my bachelor’s degree n then pursue my degree in counseling. Jeremiah 29:11 was the verse that I used to repeat to myself when I was being abused n felt hopeless. It kept me from accepting that being abused was what God wanted for me n helped me to release the guilt that I had been controlled by. Looking back is very painful for me at times, but it also helps me to see how far I have come with God’s strength in me and no matter what trials I have to endure in this life with the strength of my God, there is nothing that I can’t overcome.

    • Thank you, Shannah, for sharing a bit of your story. I love to hear about the grace of God in the lives of His people. You are loved!

  2. I am a lucky girl to be friends with Michelle and Kyle… thanks so much, Kurt, for a beautiful moment and a wonderful testimony that touched my heart (and also made me cry.. 🙂 I wish my dad would blog.. They lost their first baby, too.. He is a pastor (retired) as well.. Bless you!

The Older I Get, the Better I Was?

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Today is my 56th birthday. Thank you! I can hear you singing, and I appreciate the well wishes. Lately, however, I’ve been very aware that unless I live to be 112, I have a lot fewer birthdays ahead of me than I do behind me.

I’m also aware of the fact that my hair is thinning, my belly is bulging, my back is frequently aching, and my brain sometimes takes a nap while the rest of me is wide awake. I think they call them “senior moments,” but I can’t remember.

Kurt at 90? (Gotta love aging software!)
Kurt at 90? (Gotta love aging software!)

The funny thing is I don’t think of myself as an old guy, and I’m often surprised by the age of the face looking back at me in the mirror. But the marks of age are there and undeniable.  (Side note: why is nose/ear hair apparently enhanced with age?)

Truth is, I’m comfortable in my skin. I have no desire or plans to color my hair, lipo-suck my belly, or tighten the wrinkles on my face. It is what it is, and I am what I am.

Unless I become the bionic man and get new knees, I’ll never run another marathon.

Unless I get miraculously healed, I’m going to have to learn to manage around some advancing arthritis.

Unless they come up with a fat pill that truly does work (I’ve tried the ones that don’t), I will probably always struggle with my weight simply due to a slowing metabolism.

And unless I can get a brain transplant, someday I might forget more than I remember.

Granted, aging has its downsides, but here are the things I’m choosing to focus on:

  • After 50+ years of doing life, I think I can pass some valuable lessons along to the next generation.
  • I see each day as a gift from God, and I waste a lot less time than I used to doing meaningless things.
  • The growing pool of people who call me pastor, friend, and even grandpa mean far more to me than any thing I have. I truly am blessed.
  • I’m embracing this next season of my life and ministry as an opportunity to do even more of the things I love—mentoring, writing and traveling.
  • Whatever weeks, months, or years we have left together, I want to continue to grow more madly in love with my wife and best friend.

Take it from an old guy, life is short, and before you know it, you too will see an old face in the mirror. But it’s okay . . . it’s even good. Rather than fight the inevitable, embrace each season of life with gusto! All you really have is now, so make the most of this moment and live your life on purpose and with intentionality.

“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” Isaiah 46:4 (NIV)

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