Monthly Archives: September 2013

Speaker Endorsements

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“Kurt Bubna’s transparency, coupled with a genuine passion for individuals to experience the love of Jesus, delivered grace in bucket-loads to the people of our church. Few people can create an environment in which individuals drop their guard and become vulnerable before their heavenly Father the way Kurt does. Our people laughed, with tears welling up in their eyes, all the while, empowered to move beyond their pasts and into the future that God’s forgiveness offers them. Kurt is a welcome breath of fresh air and grace, any time.”  Brad Williams, Lead Pastor, Summit Ridge Christian Fellowship

“Kurt recently was a guest speaker at Crossroads Community Church in Camarillo, CA.  He was tremendous – animated, engaging, challenging, motivating, entertaining, and most important of all Biblically on-point. Before and after our services he engaged with our church family and was generous enough to sign copies of his excellent book, Epic Grace: Chronicles of a Recovering Idiot. We’re looking forward to having Kurt again when the opportunity presents itself.  We highly recommend Kurt for any Christ-centered speaking engagement.” Keith Coble, Elder

As a member of the 2015 Inland NW Christian Writer’s Conference faculty, Kurt Bubna was a huge hit with the attendees. His friendly, no nonsense approach to topics that writers need and want spoke volumes to those who attended his class. As the conference director, I heard many positive comments about his workshops. Kurt is willing to contribute to the overall success of the event and is a pleasure to work with.  Jan Cline, Inland NW Writer’s Conference Director

Kurt recently spoke at our Married Couples Retreat and did a great job. I highly recommend him. I love his heart, his style and his desire to serve God and people. He is a very gifted communicator with an engaging approach that is both encouraging and straightforward. Our retreat couples loved Kurt’s vulnerability as he shared stories from his own life. I personally love to listen to him and I know you will too!  Matt Clark, Couples and Family Pastor, Life Center Church

“When Kurt spoke at our church he said that he bleeds grace, and that’s true. The thing about bleeding is that it requires a wound. Pastor’s rarely share their wounds, yet that’s what makes Kurt’s speaking so powerful. He’s honest, authentic, and shares a message of transformation. Simply put Kurt says, ‘If God can restore me, God can restore anyone.’ That’s a message your audience needs to hear.”   Marc Schelske, Teaching Elder, Bridge City Community Church

“Kurt Bubna is a gifted communicator who combines practical wisdom with inspiring storytelling. Kurt’s rich life experience, heart for people, and passion for grace is guaranteed to leave audiences encouraged, uplifted, and empowered.”  Kip Jacob, Lead Pastor, SouthLake Church

“Kurt and I have been close friends and ministry partners for over 38 years. I have had the privilege of watching Kurt’s relationship with Jesus and his ministry grow and deepen over the years. He is the real deal! Kurt is as real on stage as off, and God uses his authenticity to touch and change people. He has spoken many times at Life Center and is deeply loved by our church. I heartily recommend him as a speaker and promise you won’t be disappointed.”  Joe Wittwer, Sr. Pastor, Life Center

“I attended both a workshop and a group mentoring session hosted by Kurt Bubna at a Christian writers’ conference. I appreciated that Kurt’s generous advice on braving the murky waters of first-time publishing was not only very practical and well-informed, but also biblical. He has a true pastor’s heart, and a real gift for speaking honestly — even bluntly — but in a way that’s infused with grace, kindness and genuine understanding. I would highly recommend him for similar events.”  Tyler Francke, Journalist and Author, Oregon City, OR

 

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21 Things I Learned in 21 Days

21 Things I Learned in 21 Days

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I hate to fast, but I love the focus it gives me in my relationship with Jesus when I do. Fasting is not so much about us getting God’s attention as it is about God getting ours.

At the beginning of September, I started what is commonly called the “Daniel Fast” (taken from Daniel 10). Essentially, I gave up meat, sweets, juice, TV, and coffee. I really missed my four-plus cups of java every day.

These past three weeks have been very powerful for me. Here are twenty-one lessons I’ve learned (or re-learned) over the past twenty-one days:

1.         God loves to reveal His majesty even in the messy moments of my life.

2.         Information without inspiration rarely incites motivation.

coffee3.         I can live without coffee (I think), but I can’t live without love.

4.         The single most important thing I need from God is not a thing . . . it is simply His presence.

5.         It’s hard to describe a sunset to someone who is blind; it’s harder to describe a passion for God to someone who is dead (spiritually).

6.         I measure life too often by a different set of standards than God does, and my standards are too often driven by broken cultural values.

7.         Fame is fleeting. Glory is fickle. Only what I do for the honor of the One lasts forever.

8.         There is a wretched little Pharisee in me who tends to think too highly of himself and too little of others.

9.         To change a culture you must change hearts. Hearts are changed through selfless acts of love, not through angry acts of rage.

10.       Sometimes I ache for the brokenness of this world so much, and yet I can’t even begin to imagine the pain in God’s heart.

11.       With God in the mix, the surreal becomes real; the impossible becomes HIMpossible.

12.       My best friends are those who know my heart is right even when my mouth is wrong.

13.       I occasionally waste too much time worrying about the wrong things and focusing on the trivial rather than the eternal.

14.       I must learn to live more for my audience of One and less for the praise of others.

15.       Sometimes in the darkest places God does His deepest miracles.

16.       Something greater than me must happen for something bigger than me to happen. Thankfully, I serve a great great big God.

17.       Life is precious. Life is hard. And life is often lived in tension between those two realities.

18.       Childlike faith believes there’s a great adventure around every corner. I need to dream, believe, and trust more like a child. A mature faith is childlike faith.

19.       God loves to create the extraordinary out of the ordinary; it makes Him smile.

20.       How long does it take to grow a saint? It takes a lifetime. God’s definitely not finished with me yet.

21.       To live without the possibility of loss is to live without the potential of adventure. To eliminate risk is to eliminate the prospect of great joy.

Each insight above is connected to a story that would take too long to tell here. But suffice it to say, it’s been an incredible three weeks of growth for me. I might have to try this fasting thing more often. (But maybe I will fast everything else BUT coffee and donuts!)

donut

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12 Responses to 21 Things I Learned in 21 Days

  1. I love your expeience and i ask for the grace to also fast and come out with a lesson for myself and people around me, i have often fasted without getting any lesson from all, please how can i be focus to get connected to God because i long to know him better.

    • Hi Ruth,
      Best thing I can tell you is to immerse yourself in God’s Word, in prayer, and open your heart to hear from Him. He longs for us to draw near. He will reveal His heart to those who come close enough to listen.
      You are loved,
      Kurt

  2. Kurt,
    Thanks so much, I think number 4 was God’s prophetic heart for me right now. But I will be hanging this list at my desk and I am sure the other 20 will have their voice in do time. But my flesh will fight hard against # 3. Still remember your first latte going out to hear Ron Mehl share at a Pastors lunch. You had maybe three sips and you could not sit still. Hehe! Good times. Love you Kurt!

  3. I love your heart, Kurt! Isn’t it amazing that whatever we fast from loses its control on our hearts?! It’s hard, but I love the results too.

    Great insights as usual. You are gifted!

  4. I’ll look forward to the book of stories linked to these insights too long to include in this post. 😉 Good stuff downloaded during your fast; and you probably lost weight, too!

I hurt a friend today . . .

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Failure tearsIt wasn’t intentional, and it wasn’t done with any evil motivation or wicked design. There wasn’t any master plan to damage this person or our relationship. In fact, I did what I did thinking it was best for all concerned, but it wasn’t.

Ever been there? You’re trying to avoid stepping in a pile of poo only to find yourself knee deep in it. You honestly expected something good, or at least you didn’t believe it was awful, but the result was all messed up nonetheless.

When this happens to me, I usually find myself self-absorbed with regret and disappointment. I can’t sleep. I can eat (way too much comfort food). And I keep replaying what happened over and over in my brain-damaged noggin as if somehow reliving the experience will change something.

Note to self: It doesn’t.

When reality starts to creep in, I realize again that I can’t undo what’s been done, so I tend to go from regret to despair.

“What’s wrong with me? Why did I do that? When am I going to learn?”

I keep hoping that someday I’ll get beyond failure and be mistake-free. Uhhhh, guess what? I am growing, but the likelihood of me becoming perfect any day soon is an unreasonable expectation.

I have failed.

I do fail.

I will fail.

So what should I (we) do in the face of our brokenness and humanity? Here are some things to consider:

  • Get real. There was only one person who ever walked on planet earth without sin, and it’s not you or me. Of course, this doesn’t ignore or excuse our stupidity and sin, but we’ve got to stop beating ourselves up for being human. I find great comfort in these words found in Psalm 103:14 (NLT), “God knows how weak we are; He remembers we are only dust.” God gets us. He knows better than we do the weakness of our flesh. I’m pretty sure He expects more failure from us than we do.
  • Get forgiven. The best and only real antidote to failure is forgiveness. We must ask God to forgive us. We must ask the offended to forgive us. And in the end, we must forgive ourselves. To walk in unforgiveness is foolish, and it denies the power of the cross and what Jesus did for us. Forgiveness frees us from the ugly cycle of regret, self-anger, and despair. Live by these words of David, “Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered” (Psalm 32:1, NIV).
  • Get better. I truly wish I could learn every lesson without ever making any mistakes, but I seem destined to learn most lessons the hard way. What matters most, however, is learning and growing. Again, we all fail, but we don’t all take to heart the lessons we can learn through failure. Someone once coined the phrase, “When you fail, fail forward.” In other words, keep going and growing even when you blow it. Stuck sucks! So rather than getting stuck in a pity party, let your failures teach and mold you into a better man or woman of God.

I love this verse written by another man prone to failure, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8, NIV).

Love covers. Period. End of story.

It covers our idiocy. It covers our mistakes. It covers our sins. Mine and yours.

So above all, I’ve decided to live loved when I fail and love others deeply when they fail me.

How about you?

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11 Responses to I hurt a friend today . . .

  1. Thank you for writing Epic Grace!
    I picked it up because my sis, Diane told me about your great adventure!
    I’ve cried and laughed through the first 15 chapters!
    I read the first half in one sitting and now I am enjoying the rest!
    Identifying a lot w/your struggle and enjoying your humorous word pictures that give the visual punch a lot like Billy Crystal!
    That’s who I’m reminded of, often because of his descriptive painful blunders he plays in the movies!
    Love the joy that you bring to my heart, bringing comfort in recognizing our humanity and the forgiveness that our God so longs for us to receive!
    Joy to you Kurt for your transparency it does a body good & spirit!

    Sharon

    • Thank you so much, Sharon. I’m really glad the book is blessing and encouraging you. Don’t think I’ve ever been mentioned in the same sentence with Billy Crystal! Made me smile… 🙂
      You are loved,
      Kurt

  2. This is silly, quoting a Bible passage to a Pastor, but I am a little weird and this has meaning for me. Read it all. Paul was a great man, and he was personally chosen by Jesus to bring His message to all of US. He did a wonderful job, and has for centuries, given us all guidelines that are true. So, if Paul can have problems, well, what are we to do??? Learn from what we do wrong, and pray a lot and as Kurt says, ask forgiveness and ATTEMPT to do better next time.
    Roman 7:
    14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

    21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

    Jesus is the ONLY answer. For everything. Keep praying!!!

  3. Hi Kurt,
    This doesn’t relate to your topic, but I wanted to see if you are the same Kurt Bubna who is married to Laura, and if your family took care of my baby son 25 years ago while I was in the hospital. His name is Jordan and this family had him for 6 weeks and brought him to visit me in the hospital. I was just looking at a picture of that family and had your names written by it. I was telling my other son what a blessing that family was to us. I decided to look them up on Facebook. I have remarried but my name then was Sharon Gibler. If that’s you, can you let me know?
    Thanks!!

    • Hi Sharon,
      Yes! It’s us. Wow! So amazing to reconnect after all these years. Please give Jordan our love. You can connect with Laura on Facebook (she would love that) at Laura “Battles” Bubna and me as well.
      You are loved,
      Kurt

  4. Hello 🙂

    I just wanted to take the time to say thank you for Epic Grace. I don’t believe it was just some mere coincidence that I found your book. Nearly every time I open up your book it almost exactly pertains to what I’m going through…I’m only half way through and at the finish of every chapter I want to cry. Thank you for your brutal honesty. I truly tThank jesus for using you to speak to me. I’m only 21 and in that utterly confusing and depressing time of life and words just can’t fully express how much I value your wisdom..its almost like having a mentor by my side when I don’t fully have a ton of friends

    So thank you. 🙂

    • Hi Jasmine,
      So glad you’re getting impacted by Epic Grace. Your very kind words meant a lot to me. In fact, what is happening to you as you read my simple words is why I write. KNOW I am praying for you. Hold on…you are loved.
      Kurt

  5. I think this is one of my favorite of your blog posts. Always appreciate your transparency lovingly outreaching to others to give them a hand out from the pit of condemnation and despair of all sorts. Very helpful and uplifting advice as usual!

Grace that is really grace is EPIC grace! ~ Guest Post by Brandon Cox

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Most of the books that I read on the subject of grace tackle it from a theological point-of-view in which the subject of grace is systematically defined and expounded upon. And I love books that comprehensively address grace, a topic with which it seems I’m never familiar enough. But sometimes, I like to read a book that builds on the foundation of a healthy theology of grace but focuses on grace lived out.

Kurt Bubna’s book Epic Grace is just that. It’s sort of a memoir that involves teaching through story. Kurt’s stories often made me laugh and always made me think. And the basis of the book is that grace is so big, so epic, that it’s the one and only thing that will get us through the thickest and thinnest experiences of our lives.

Epic Grace Cover High ResAnd whether Kurt intended his book to come across this way or not, I love the un-systematic nature of it. Every chapter covers an aspect of grace, or a related subject, illustrating the underlying principles from Scripture and from his own experience. It’s the kind of book that makes me want to hear Kurt read it out loud with me sitting across from him in front of a fireplace.

I think if that happened, I’d be laughing, crying, and thinking with Kurt because I, too, am a man desperately in need of Epic Grace.

 

 

 

 

Brandon CoxBrandon Cox has been a Pastor for fifteen years and is currently planting a church in northwest Arkansas, sponsored by Saddleback Church and other strategic partners. He also serves as Editor of Pastors.com and Rick Warren’s Pastors’ Toolbox, and authors a top 100 blog for church leaders.

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