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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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14 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.

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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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4 Responses to How to Deal with Post-Spiritual-High Depression

  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.

What If This Were the Last Blog I Ever Wrote? (A Few Insights from a Dying Man)

What If This Were the Last Blog I Ever Wrote? (A Few Insights from a Dying Man)

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If you know me, you know I have a bit of a drama queen buried deep inside my soul. At times, I tend to overreact, and I can get a little melodramatic.

But late last night and half asleep as I stumbled through the dark on my way to relief, I wondered, “What if my last day on this side of eternity happens on my trip to Africa?” As you read this, I’m somewhere on the African continent. (Hopefully, with my luggage, but that’s another story.)

Somewhere in the back of my head, I hear my mother saying, “For heaven’s sake, Kurt, why do you have to be so morbid?”

I’m not.

I’m not fixated on death.

I have no premonition of my impending doom.

And for the record, we’re all dying.

But what if?

 What would I want to say to you if I knew that this was my last blog?

A few things come to mind:

  • If I have modeled anything in this life, it is how God can use an imperfect vessel. I take comfort in the myriad examples of fractured people I find throughout God’s Word–men and women who were full of flaws and deficiencies, yet used by God. I have done a few things well, but I have done far more things quite poorly. Yet somehow, God, who delights in using the weak, has chosen to use me. The moral? He can use you — Yes, you!

  • Live the adventure of following Jesus! Life for me is far from boring. Rarely has there been a time when I settled for the routine and mundane. I’ve said it a thousand times, and I will write it here at least one more time: living in faith means taking risks, and God wants you to be a man or woman of faith. Don’t settle. Don’t be a couch potato. Disengage the cruise control button and live boldly. Will you fail? Sometimes. But will you regret living on the edge with Jesus? Nope! Never. So go for it. You were meant for so much more.

  • Possessions and other material things of this world mean nothing compared to priceless relationships. I can promise you this: if my plane goes down over the Atlantic, my last thoughts will be of the people I love. My family. My wife. My kids. My grandchildren. My friends. In the last few moments of my life, I won’t be thinking about my house or my car or anything material. I suspect that will be true for you as well. If so, then why do we worry so much about what matters so little?

That’s it.

Fractured or not (and we’re all fractured)—let God use you!

Get off the bench and get into the adventure of following Jesus!

And build strong, deep relationships because only people are forever!

By the way, if the worst were to happen, say something nice about me at my memorial service, and please add some ground coffee to my ashes before you bury me. Wouldn’t want to show up in heaven without a good cup of java. 🙂

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10 Responses to What If This Were the Last Blog I Ever Wrote? (A Few Insights from a Dying Man)

  1. We have been praying for you Kurt. The words of God that pass through you inspire us. Thank you.

  2. Great blog Kurt. Great thoughts. I think if we think that way God will say, “well done Good and Faithful servant”.Have a great trip.

    Gary

  3. I, too, love how the Bible is rife with God using weak and seemingly insignificant people to convey His will and message. It certainly makes me take heart that He can use me when I surrender to Him.
    Blessings, Kurt!

  4. I would say “God speed” and save me a space! The bad part would be missing your blog! And, of course, the separation for all those who know and love you so much. But you would be so excited! Talk about ultimate drama!

  5. I would go back maybe 50 yrs and say , “OH Wow” What a Joy to Know YOU” !!! – it meant the world to me ‘;) (((HUGS))) across the years and Miles JR Farmer

Showing by author: KurtBubna

Out of Africa (Some Exciting News about My Latest Trip)
I recently returned from an incredible trip to the continent of Africa. People said Africa would ch [more]
Some Thoughts About Turning SIXTY! (Millennials Could Learn Something Here Too)
Apparently, ’57 was a good year for Elvis, Chevy’s, and my parents. I know, I know, you can [more]
How to Deal with Post-Spiritual-High Depression
Sometimes, following an experience in which God showed up in a powerful way, we can find ourselves [more]
What If This Were the Last Blog I Ever Wrote? (A Few Insights from a Dying Man)
If you know me, you know I have a bit of a drama queen buried deep inside my soul. At times, I tend [more]
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The desire to be liked and approved of by others runs deep in most of us. Maybe all of us. We are w [more]