Monthly Archives: August 2013

Epic Grace . . . it’s not about me . . . but I will shamelessly promote it!

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TIMELY REPOST with the release of my book this week . . .

In our Christian culture, self-promotion is frowned upon. Anything that smacks of pride is immediately dismissed as worldly, or worse yet, satanic. So before I go any further, let me clearly say, I’m a fan of humility.

I wholeheartedly agree with the wisdom of Solomon who wrote, “Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth.” (Proverbs 27:2).

I understand the value of humility and fully embrace the words of the apostle Paul, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).

I get it. I really do. Humility is good. Pride is bad.

So how can I “shamelessly promote” my book? Epic Grace Cover High Res

First, when you read it you’ll find story after story of my past idiocy. The subtitle is: Chronicles of a Recovering Idiot! It’s hard to get too prideful when you’re basically exposing the raw nakedness of your soul and a track record of learning lessons the hard way.

Second, I believe in grace . . . EPIC grace! Grace beyond our imagination and understanding. Grace that changes everything because it changes us. My hope is that many will read this and think, “Wow! God really is a God of second chances who is full of grace and mercy. If he can redeem, restore and renew Bubna’s life—He can do so for anyone . . . even me.” I am no C.S. Lewis, but I’m convinced this simple book has the potential to impact the lives of many.

Third, long ago (before I even had a book contract), the Lord spoke to my heart and asked if I would “reverse tithe” on any profit from this book. Without hesitation, I said, “Yes.” I do so out of love, and I do so to keep my heart pure in this journey. I never want it to be about money. And giving God 90% of whatever comes my way gives me the freedom to pray that LOTS of books get sold.

So if you planned on buying one, buy two! If you planned on buying two, buy five! And if you planned on buying five, buy a case! Give them away to anybody you know who struggles with a past filled with brokenness and sin (and that would be all of us).

I am truly humbled and grateful for the wonder of God’s grace and the miraculous journey I’ve been on from the beginning of this book. I know it will bless you.

Epic Grace ~ Chronicles of a Recovering Idiot is scheduled for release in September. You can, however, pre-order for a reduced rate at any of the following:

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Epic-Grace-Chronicles-Recovering-Idiot/dp/1414385048/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366238620&sr=1-1&keywords=Epic+Grace+by+Kurt+Bubna

Barnes and Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/epic-grace-kurt-w-bubna/1114918369?ean=9781414385044

Christian Book Distributors:

http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=385044&product_redirect=1&Ntt=385044&item_code=&Ntk=keywords&event=ESRCP

Advance Praise for Epic Grace

Kurt’s honest, heartfelt, and sometimes hilarious experiences will encourage you to walk in a grace that is truly epic! I pray that you will open your heart and allow his hard-learned lessons about grace to both challenge and encourage you in your journey.   Mark Batterson, New York Times best selling author and pastor

Kurt Bubna’s near-lyrical storytelling focuses on a grace by which we can “live beyond our limitations.” Jack W. Hayford, Chancellor, The King’s University, Los Angeles and Dallas

I was captivated by his life stories and left immersed in the splendor of God’s amazing grace. Wayne Cordeiro, Best selling author and pastor, New Hope Christian Fellowship, Honolulu, HI

Kurt bravely chronicles how epic grace has transformed his life, his marriage, and his relationships, throwing a life jacket of hope to fellow recovering idiots like me. Ronna Snyder, Author of Hot Flashes from Heaven

A cascade of words rushes to my mind when I think of this book: funny, real, observant, insightful, genuine. . . . It is a story of how God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. Jerry Sittser, Professor of theology, Whitworth University; author of A Grace Disguised and A Grace Revealed

Full of stories, depth, and affection, Bubna leads us to a life of possibilities. Mary DeMuth, Author of The Wall around Your Heart

 

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6 Responses to Epic Grace . . . it’s not about me . . . but I will shamelessly promote it!

  1. Congratulations on your book. I can’t wait to read it! All of us La Crescenta folks are so proud of you!

    • You are most welcome, Joel. Please let me know what you think and how I can pray for you!
      In His grace,
      Kurt

What to do when the battle rages!

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spiritual-warfare

Spiritual warfare. Two words that few of us like to think about. Two words you won’t find used anywhere in the Bible (but referred to often). Two words that tend to inspire some and terrify others.

So what is spiritual warfare? How can we define it?

Let’s first define what it’s not. It’s not bad things that happen to us because of our foolish choices. We can’t blame everything on the devil. Often the hardships we face are the result of our poor decisions. We also live in a fallen world, and sometimes life gets goobered-up because of that reality and not because we’re under spiritual attack.

An acquaintance of mine recently had his wife leave him and he lost his job all in the span of just three months. When he told me what was going on, he said, “Guess I’m really under attack.” The truth is, he’d made some really lousy choices that led to the demise of his marriage and the loss of his job. Can the enemy be behind loss in our life? Sure. But in his case, ungodly character flaws resulted in way too many ungodly choices. I challenged him to stop blaming the devil, to take responsibility for his actions, and to change.

The Bible describes spiritual warfare as an assault by demonic forces determined to defeat, discourage, and devour us. It can come in the form of temptation or trials. Generally, this demonic attack has very little to do with the choices we’ve made. It’s more about what’s done against us by evil forces. In addressing this reality, Peter challenged us to “be alert . . . your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

When your spiritual, emotional, or physical life is threatened, it may be the enemy, and you might be under attack. When the battle rages in your mind or you are facing unusual and unwarranted struggle, often the force behind this onslaught is demonic.

Recognizing you are in a battle will help you to overcome it. But besides awareness and being “alert,” what else can you do?

  • Live in faith rather than fear. Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart. I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). The apostle John wrote, “. . . the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Fear must be replaced by a confidence in God’s perfect love leading to faith in His plan and care.  
  • Yield to God as you resist the darkness. James, the brother of Jesus wrote, “Submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). The first critical step you must take is to submit control of your life to God. (BTW, this is demonstrated and practiced as you put on the full armor of God. See Ephesians 6.) You must surrender to His will and His purpose for you. When you are walking in His light and in His power, the enemy doesn’t just casually saunter away; he runs. Furthermore, the best way to overcome temptation is not to focus on the darkness or the temptation but to walk in the light. Confess your struggle. Get help from others. Cry out to God for wisdom and strength. The devil cannot defeat a submitted Christ-follower who lives in the fullness of God’s Spirit. This doesn’t mean that life will always be peachy-keen, but the safest place to be in a storm is in God’s hands.  
  • Pray and fast. Nothing terrifies the enemy more than a saint on his or her knees. Years ago, I began the practice of praying the scriptures back to God. I turned my daily Bible reading into a template for my prayers. The Word is powerful and an effective tool in prayer and in spiritual warfare. When it comes to fasting, nothing helps you stay focused more on God than a hungry, growling tummy. Honestly, I hate to fast, but I love the results. It is my conviction that fasting is not so much about you getting God’s attention as it is God getting yours. There’s something about prayer and fasting that helps you prepare for battle, stay the course, and stay fixed on God.

Why all this talk about spiritual warfare? War

Because in all my years as a Christian and pastor, I’ve never experienced more battle than I have in the past 6-12 months. I’ve seen it in my life and in the lives of many others. The battle is definitely raging!

I also believe the Church is positioned more than ever before to make an eternal difference in the lives of many. Consequently, the battle rages. If I sense it and see it, so does the enemy, but we need not fear his roar.

So here’s my invitation to you: Join me for 21 days of extraordinary prayer and fasting beginning on September 1. Let’s lock hearts and arms together for a season of intense pursuit of God and preparation for what is to come.

I will be practicing what some call a “Daniel’s Fast” (found in Daniel chapter 10). Essentially, I’m giving up desserts, meat, all beverages besides water, and sacrificing some other “comforts” (such as watching TV) during this 21-day period.

Will it be easy? No. Will it be worth it? Absolutely. The extraordinary presence and power of God is manifested through the humble and the submitted.

The battle may be intense, but we can be more than conquerors through the One who loves us more than His own life.

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10 Responses to What to do when the battle rages!

  1. Yes, I am also going to commit to this 21 day fast starting 9-1-13. There has to be a change in my mind or I won’t be able to stand in the harder times ahead. I am already so exhausted in so many ways. Last night as I cried out, again, for God to rescue me from crippling anxiety. I am believing, again! Thank you for your articles and time you give to all of us! Cindy

    • Sorry, I didn’t write the above comment correctly. I would like to add, after crying out to God I knew He was listening and this fast seems right to do. I am believing again! Cindy

      • Thank you, Cindy, for joining our 21 day challenge. Know I will be praying specifically for you as well during this season. You are loved!

  2. What a great post Kurt. So much concise and accurate information in a few short paragraphs on an overwhelming subject! I appreciated your assessment of being able to discern the difference between our own poor choices and actual warfare. Plus the points of how to stay focused when the battle rages. And it does…

    I am going to prayerfully consider your challenge on Sept 1st.

  3. I so agree that the battle seems to have intensified in recent months/years. And I also appreciate the distinction between our own sin getting us into trouble and true spiritual warfare. Printing this post out for my “discuss with the kids” stack (we homeschool, and I keep a running stack of things I find online to discuss together), and praying about joining the challenge.

  4. Psalm 27:1
    The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?
    To be completely trusting of God is to give our life to Him for His use. We are mortal, He isn’t. He has made promises to us that give us hope beyond death, and gives us a “peace beyond all understanding” in the life we are living. Thanks Kurt for your reminders, and giving us the resources to take what is given by God, His Holy and Precious Word, to live our lives by and take that confidence with us always. We do live in a war zone, and from time to time there are casualties. But to know that God is with us, even till the end of all ages, is comforting and encouraging.

The 5 Greatest Lessons I’ve Learned as a Rookie Writer

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My journey as a writer has been a bit unusual. I actually started my book (Epic Grace: Chronicles of a Recovering Idiot, Tyndale) as a journal for my children and grandchildren. I had no aspirations of getting anything published.

After the death of one of my favorite uncles who served as a missionary for over twenty-five years, I realized I had no idea what he had experienced along the way. I also have a songbook and a set of commentaries that once belonged to my great-great grandfather who was a circuit-riding preacher in the 19th century. Again, I have no clue about what he learned in his walk of faith.

So one day, I sat down to write some of the stories of my life. I wrote about my failures and some lessons learned the hard way. I wrote about my heart and about my deepest convictions regarding God, faith, and grace. In the beginning, my journaling was simply an act of love for the generations who would follow in my wake.

After reading my ramblings, my wife said, “This is really good. I think you should consider getting it published.” I literally laughed and said, “Who would want to read about my life?”

Just for the fun of it, however, I passed a very rough draft along to some friends. Imagine my surprise when they agreed with my wife! In fact, one of them said, “I heard about this writing conference called Re:Write; I think you should enter it.”

Honestly, I laughed again. It seemed preposterous to me that anyone would be interested in stories written by a guy named Bubna (yes, pronounced boob-nah) who lived in the middle of nowhere on the backside of Hicksville.  (I love Spokane, but it’s no NYC or LA.)

Something in me (apparently God) said, “Do it.” So with less than twenty-four hours to the entry deadline, I spent an entire day working on the lengthy book proposal required for entrance in the contest. I remember thinking as I emailed it off, “I wonder if anything will ever come out of all of this time and effort?”

Trust me when I say no one was more surprised than me when I won that contest which included a $15,000 check, an amazing agent (Esther Fedorkevich, The Fedd Agency), and a book contract with Tyndale. The rest, as they say, is history.

Bubna-Square2

To say that my life has been radically changed over the past year would be a gross understatement. I still pinch myself on a regular basis just to make sure it hasn’t all been a dream. I am humbled, grateful, and continually blown away.

Let me briefly share with you a few lessons I’ve learned this past year:

1.            Don’t write to be validated; write for the benefit of others and God’s kingdom. It’s not just about you (or me). More than once, I’ve been tempted to write out of some foolish need to be approved by others. I’ve lived too much of my life with a performance orientation. Here’s an important question we all need to wrestle with: Why are you doing what you are doing? Why do you write if you’re a writer or sing if you’re a performer? If it’s truly an act of selfless love for the benefit of others, I believe God will bless you beyond your wildest imagination.

2.            Have a humble heart and a hefty hide. I wrote this note in my personal journal early in the editing process of my book: What’s black and blue and red all over? A rookie author and his manuscript in the hands of a professional editor! It was a bit painful at first. When you’ve created something and you’ve poured your blood, sweat, and tears into a manuscript, it’s like having a baby, and nobody wants to be told their baby isn’t perfect. However, one day it hit me, my editor is making me a better me. I learned to humbly listen, and I’ve grown because of it.

3.            Stay the course and keep writing. You are not as bad or as good as you might think. Dealing with the emotional aspects of writing is critical. I’ve finished a couple of marathons in my life, and I know from experience, you have to put in a lot of time and miles to prepare for 26.2 miles of running. Frankly, I’m a better writer today than I was a year ago, and I will continue to grow. I have no idea how Epic Grace will do in the market, but I’m excited about my next book (already in progress; working title: Epic Life), and I believe it will be better.

4.            If you don’t ask—the answer is always “no.” No one likes to be rejected. Asking professional people and successful authors for an endorsement can be emotionally risky. You better learn how to deal with rejection. But if you don’t ask for the support, you’ll probably never get it. No one called me and offered to write an endorsement; I called them. You’d be surprised to know who I asked. Admittedly, I got a little too bold and crazy. (What? Obama! You’re too busy?) Yet Epic Grace ended up with twenty-four amazing endorsements. The list includes several best-selling and award-winning authors and a number of mega-church pastors. Here’s what you need to know: I asked over fifty people. Do the math; that means I had an over 50% rejection rate. It’s okay. Deal with it, and just keep asking. It’s good for your character.

5.            If you don’t manage your time well, you won’t manage to survive. We’re all busy. I pastor a large church. I have a large family. I actually already have a very full and fulfilling life. At first, I had no idea how I was going to meet all the demands and keep all the plates spinning. It was a serious concern. Sadly, somebody once said, “Your life gets lived while you are doing other things.” I so did not want that to be true of me. My goal has always been to live with intentionality and purpose. So I prayed hard, “God, give me the wisdom to know what to do and not to do and when to do it.” He answered my prayer. (I also learned how to live with less sleep!)

Author and friend, Mary DeMuth, told the Re:Write attendees, “If you are going to persevere and be in this for the long haul, you have to know you are called to write. Keep writing and God will honor your faithfulness.” I treasure those words.

I’m still growing, still learning, and still amazed at the goodness of God. And I wouldn’t trade this past year for anything. It truly has been epic!

Check out the Re:Write Conference happening in Austin, Texas, October 18-20. It’s one of the best conferences I’ve ever been to (and yes, I would say that even if I hadn’t won the contest last year!).

EP Day Four Pic

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27 Responses to The 5 Greatest Lessons I’ve Learned as a Rookie Writer

  1. Great post, Kurt! I, too, learned a lot from the conference last year. That part about not being afraid the ask is a tough one for me. Sometimes I think it’s easier to just be quiet, but we need to put ourselves out there and take risks. Otherwise I’ll always ask the “what if” questions. Thanks for sharing!

    • Yup . . . the answer is already “no” if we don’t ask. Besides, I think most folks love to help. Love ya Ruth!

  2. Kurt, I’ve read your story before, but I appreciate this insider’s glimpse, especially the advice you provide. I just released my first book two weeks ago and your first point hit me a little too squarely between the eyes!

    • Thanks, Blake. I’ll have to check out your book. What’s the title? Where can I order a copy?

    • Yes . . . number 1 is number 1 with me too. Something I have to circle back to on a regular basis to remember. Thank you, Mari-Anna.

    • Thank you, Connie. Uncle Jack is and always will be one of my heroes! I plan on using part of his story in my next book, Epic Life.

  3. MORE great writing, friend! “On the sixth day God created writers. On the SEVENTH day, he gave editors to the GOOD ones.” Welcome to the 7th day. You deserve all the joys that come with it.

  4. Kurt, this gives me hope that one day maybe I will get published as well on my book ” When Your Home becomes a Prison: Out of anxiety, fear and agoraphobia.” Thanks for the opportunity to participate in book launch.

  5. Thank, Kurt, for sharing your message. I joined the Tyndale bloggers recently and plan to request Epic Grace for my next review. Thanks for encouraging others by sharing your journey.

  6. Thanks for being a pioneer and sending a road map to those of us who hope to follow in your footsteps one day. We met briefly a Re:Write last year. I hope to see you there again this year and to get to know you better. I’m excited to read “Epic Grace”. I love honesty in writing and seeing how God reveals the grace we all need to others. Congratulations on the launch of your book.

    • Thank you, Chris. I absolutely will be at Re:Write this year. I wouldn’t miss it! See ya in Austin.

  7. Kurt
    Just got home from church and hearing you speak at Summit Ridge. The books were sold out before I got to the table so came home and downloaded it onto my Kindle.
    Hope your shoulders are broad enough to take the blame for NO MORE YARD WORK THIS LABOUR DAY! YAHOO Going outside to sit and read!
    Thank you for your transparent self and your obvious heart for GRACE…..AMAZING GRACE….EPIC GRACE!

    All the best to you and your family and may God continue to richly bless you
    Jo

  8. I don’t think you have a clue……….. of how proud I am of you. Not only for having your book published, far from it. For having the courage and grace of learning from our past and then being able to help others grow, through the grace of God. I swear….. I always thought “Grace” was something said at the dinner table. I obviously have alot to learn. Love you Big Brother.

What to do when life goes left, and you want to go right!

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left_turn_sign

Have you ever had those moments when you’re pretty sure you wanted to go one way only to discover that circumstances beyond your control took you the opposite direction? Have you ever arranged and organized something (like an outdoor wedding in August), and nothing went according to your master plan?

Of course you have. We all have. And being the recovering control freak that I am can make moments like that very stressful for me.

I planned on my website working this week as I began the pre-launch for my upcoming book, but it got goobered up.

I scheduled two very important meetings, but people got sick (the nerve!), and the meetings got canceled.

I had every intention of getting back into a routine of exercise, but my back and the weather had other plans.

Life happens. Rather than get freaked out when things go sideways, here are some lessons I’m learning about dealing with the unexpected:

  • Chill. Take a deep breath and remember, “This too shall pass.” Trust me, I realize how hard it is to do this when you’re in the midst of a storm. I know the LAST thing we want to hear from some well-meaning friend is, “Relax.” But let me ask you, when has your anxiety ever really made any situation better? Here’s a crazy idea: Maybe Jesus was right when He said in Matthew 6:27 (NLT), “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” Answer: No. So stop, breathe, and wait patiently on God. Even if you end up dealing with this current challenge for the rest of your life, remember, this life is not the end of the story.  
  • Step back and look up. I often speak and write about perspective. Why? Because our perspective changes everything. We are being self-centered and faithless when we zoom-in, lose perspective, and get overwhelmed by the unexpected. Typically, when we get lost in the maze of life, it’s because we are no longer God-centered or walking in trust. We’ve taken our eyes off of Him and focused on the problem rather than the One who promised to never leave or forsake us. God challenged Jeremiah in his struggle with these words, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jer. 32:27 NIV). Answer: No, there is nothing too big for God. So trust in Him. Nothing is beyond God’s power to redeem, restore, and renew. Nothing.  
  • Pray your guts out, and pray with praise. Prayer is a huge part of changing our perspective because it turns our attention to God. Prayer is also an emotional safety valve. Rather than verbally vomit on my wife, kids, or even a friend, it’s always best to take my pain to God first. He can handle my frustration. He knows and understands me better than anyone. And somehow in the weeping and wailing before Him, it opens my heart to receive His peace. As I empty my mind of all that worries me and try to find something (anything) to be thankful for, then the place where stress resided in my soul is now able to receive a peace that goes beyond my comprehension. Here’s how the apostle Paul put it:

Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7 (CEB)

Today, tomorrow, this week, this year . . . something will happen that you didn’t see coming. You’ll be whistling along headed down a sunny path of bliss when all of a sudden you will find yourself in a dark and scary alley.

I’m sorry. I ache for you. I know how hard it is to find yourself in a place far from what you ever imagined. But stay fixed on Jesus and hold on. Even when you end up somewhere you never would have chosen—you are not alone—He is with you always.

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3 Responses to What to do when life goes left, and you want to go right!

  1. Thanks for sharing this. My perspective needs some tweaking due to an undesirable circumstance and this post is a great reminder!

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