Sunday, November 19, 2006

Keith's blog has moved

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Smoking in Europe is all about the ashtrays

I've learned that the difference in Europe, or Budapest at least, in smoking areas and non-smoking areas of public places is the placement of ashtrays. Earlier today, I was sitting in the Budapest airport waiting to board. I grabbed a quick sandwich for lunch. I sat at a non-smoking table, since my table didn't have an ashtray. The table next to me was a smoking table, since they had an ashtray.

This can be very conveniently self-reconfigured easily. I noticed that one person sat at a non-smoking table (no ashtray), but needed to smoke. So he reached over to the smoking table next to him and took the ashtray, hence "reconfiguring" the arrangement.

Now, I've walked through the Frankfurt airport and noticed the "smoking" area is a table in the main hallway with several ashtrays. It was very crowded as people stood and puffed. There was a measure of anynomity, though, since there was quite a cloud of smoke obscuring the smokers.

By the way, this is my first time through the Frankfurt airport in maybe 25 years. It is a l-o-n-g way from my arrival gate A64 to my departure gate A22! It asctually feels like another terminal, but it's still called "A".

I'm going from Budapest to Amsterdam for a meeting tomorrow (Monday) helping develop internet evangelism and discipleship for Western Europe.

Well, they are boarding. At least, even in Europe, the flights are non-smoking!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

I'm an introvert

I am an introvert. There, I've said it. I'm an introvert in an organization whose purpose is to help everyone know someone who truly follows Jesus. Sometimes it feels like being an introvert in an extrovert organization!

Yesterday was a great day. After 2 weeks of people, people, people as the host or director of several conferences, Kay and I had a day by ourselves. It felt good! Several asked Kay and I to join with them in exploring Budapest, cruising the Danube, exploring castles. All sounded good, but they were with people.

What did we do? Kay and I sat in 3 different coffee shops. We talked. We wrote postcards. We read. We just sat. And it was good.

Kay and I are in Budapest helping host 8 conferences over a 3 week period for leaders from every area of the world. I am directing several of the conferences.

I can remember sitting in Bolton Hall as a newly enrolled freshman in Texas A&M's College of Engineering. The course was Engineering 101. The discussion was all the roles an engineer can have in an organization -- all the way from pure researchers in white lab coats with slide rules (the calculators of that day) to sales people who vaguely remember studying engineering in their distant past. I can clearly remember thinking, “The white lab coat guys seem to have it made. They don't have to deal with people. Ohm's Law works, all the time. Kirchoff's Laws aren't flaky and disappointing to me. I really don't like people. The lab is the choice for me!”

I was an introvert, and didn't know it at the time.

On the way to my ideal lab research job, I met the Holy Spirit. I was a believer, so He already indwelled me. But He didn't direct my life. During my junior year, a student involved with Campus Crusade shared how I could allow the Holy Spirit to give meaning and purpose to my life every day. A light bulb clicked on, and the light began to reveal truths I had never fully understood about the source of power and purpose in life.

And I began to like people.

It's an amazing thing. I never really disliked people, I just had rather be alone. I never expected to enjoy being around people. But as I grew as a Christian, I found myself becoming more and more concerned about people, about their hopes and dreams, about their fears and concerns.

It is not possible to walk closely with Jesus and not be deeply concerned about people.

And I am still an introvert.

I've learned that the difference between introverts and extroverts is where I get my energy. Being around a lot of people consumes energy for an introvert. Being around a lot of people generates energy for an extrovert. Times of aloneness and solitude generates energy for me, as an introvert.

Being in fulltime ministry does not mean changing from introvert to extrovert. It means learning to draw energy from God. So where does the energy come from to host 8 conferences in 20 days? Paul says, “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” (Colossians 4:13). "'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Any good electrical engineer knows that power is the measure of energy over time. It's probably not what the Greek means by “power”, but 2 Corinthians 12:9 is very meaningful to me by realizing that Christ's power is Christ's energy released over time as I help host and lead 8 conferences over 21 days.

So yesterday was a great day. I think I could use several more days, but God gave me one, and He gave me His Holy Spirit who gives me the strength to do all things. Christ's energy is available to me.

He is sufficient.

Operations Leadership Connection Group

Operations Leadership Connection Group
Originally uploaded by Keith999.
Here we are. Almost 90 people in Budapest at the Operations Leadership Connection. We're hosting leaders from Europe, Africa, Asia, Central and South America, the U.S., and Canada. Together, we are planning how to Help build thousands of spiritual movements in locations all around the world. This OLC conference was a the first time top leaders from our global ministry met to learn how to better come alongside others in leadership to build capacity to develop and sustain movements everywhere, and how to develop an operational strategic plan help build local movements everywhere so that everyone knows someone who truly follows Jesus. Our desire is to make sure this is not just a slogan, but a reality, under the leadership and strength of the Holy Spirit.

It's been a great time!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Enjoying Margaret Island in Budapest

Enjoying Margaret Island in Budapest
Originally uploaded by Keith999.
Today, Kay and I took a break between conferences. We have completed 2 conferences with 6 more to go. We're primarily responsible for only one more conference, the Operations Leadership Connection. You can read more about these conferences on the registration website.

Here are some prayer requests for the Operations Leadership Connection
1. Visas some participants who are hoping to receive them in time to travel.

2. The main speakers at the conference. Pray for the daily leadership development sessions and the strategic planning sessions.

3. For Kay and I. I am serving as the Operations Leadership conference director. Kay is helping in many ways with all the details necessary.

4. For Roger Bruehl, the sponsor of the conference, and the preparations he has to make. Pray for him and Maggie that although Maggie is recovering from the bone marrow transplant, she will be able to participate and enjoy the event.

5. For the Eastern European office, as we will be a major disruption for their daily lives for three weeks.

6. For all the participants - that we will be there with open minds, listening to God, learning with one another, and that everybody will be alert, sleep well and stay healthy. For safe travel, good connections, on-time flights, luggage coming with the travelers.

7. For families of the participants, as their loved ones are gone, some for a long time.

You are in Budapest with us, speaking to nearly 100 Campus Crusade leaders from Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, Central America, U.S., Canada, the Middle East...

Keith & Kay Seabourn

Friday, September 08, 2006

Orlando Airport (again)

Orlando Airport (again)
Originally uploaded by Keith999.
Kay and I are sitting in our second home in Orlando, the Orlando International Airport. We're on our way to Budapest, Hungary. Over the next 3 weeks, we will be helping lead 8 conferences involving a total of 97 Campus Crusade leaders from every area of the world. Kay and I are directly responsible for 3 conferences, and have many excellent people helping us.

Sometimes, the way to help fulfill the Great Commission is to do the intense administrative work that allows leaders to learn how to sustain local movements of committed believers. Sometimes, the way to help fulfill the Great Commission is to speak at conferences to cast vision, mobilize the laborers, set direction for the future, outline the way to change and improve, and coach people with personal action plans for their areas. Kay and I will be involved in all these activities over the next 3 weeks.

Campus Crusade for Christ calls this building capacity to establish and sustain movements everywhere so that everyone knows someone who truly follows Jesus.

You can read more about these conferences on the registration website. Much of the information is public. If you go too far down the registration process, it will ask you for an event code. So, don't worry about accidently registering. You won't be able to register.

You can even watch a 1 minute video from me (!!!) on why we are doing this conference. Click here to Keith's video... You might also watch a video from my boss, Roger Bruehl. Click here to see Roger...

We will post updates from our time in Budapest. We'll surely be exhausted, but as always, you are a very important part of our ministry. You will be in Budapest with us, speaking to nearly 100 Campus Crusade leaders from Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, Central America, U.S., Canada, the Middle East...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A new fashion trend in travel luggage

Keith & Kay with travel bags

Originally uploaded by Keith999.

We're back in Orlando!

You have probably heard about the terror plot, arrests, and massive security measures at airports in Great Britain. Kay and I were finishing a few days of vacation with Jennifer in Scotland.

As part of the security measures, hand baggage was not allowed on the plane. No electronics. No computers. No water to drink. No books to read.

Even my Chapstick lip balm was not allowed. I tossed it into a trash can at the security checkpoint.

We were given a clear, plastic bag. We were allowed to have money, credit cards, passports, tickets, and prescription medicine.

Perhaps a new fashion trend in travel luggage is starting!

The lines were long. But people were very patient and understanding.

As we left the conference, I shared a taxi with another staff couple. They dropped out of the taxi first at the railway station. As they removed their bags, they gave the taxi driver a copy of the Jesus film DVD. As he got back into the taxi to take me to the car rental location, he was very excited. He said he had been having some questions about religion and looked forward to watching the story of Jesus. We talked for about 10 minutes as he drove to the Hertz facility. He said he had many questions about how we came into being, how the world began, and the relationship between science and religion. I gave him the website address that addresses many of these issues. As I left the taxi, I gave him a business card and invited him to contact me with any questions after watching the film. As he drove away, I prayed for him. He now knows 3 people who truly follow Jesus.

We're happy to be back home. The holidays in Scotland with Jennifer were very special as we heard amazing stories of her summer in Uganda helping lead the mission project of 90 missionary kids. The Western Europe staff conference was a tremendous time of hearing from God personally, and connecting with our co-laborers around Western Europe in dreaming, praying, and planning for the day when everyone knows someone who truly follows Jesus.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Antonio's Story

“I’ve tried to believe but when I step back and look at it all I just can't. I've been struggling for at least 3 years now. Who is there to talk to about this sort of thing? I'm surrounded by churches but get nervous whenever I think about going into one to ask.”

Antonio, a university student in London left this message after visiting a Campus Crusade website called on 19 February 2006.

This week, I met Antonio, shook his hand, and heard his amazing story.

His story is not only amazing, but his story is increasingly less unique. There are thousands of stories like Antonio's, and they are increasing!

Antonio's plea for help was passed along to Roger, an on-line volunteer. Roger responded and recommended some verses to read and websites to visit. Soon he received the following message from Antonio: “Thank you very much for your reply. The sites you recommended were really useful. I found the 'life stories' section and interviews particularly interesting as I've actually had little insight into how becoming a Christian has affected others. I know it's a very important step, the most important somebody can take, and it's great to be able get help and talk to someone.”

Roger continued corresponding with Antonio. After a few more contacts, they exchanged mobile telephone numbers. After their first ‘live’ conversation, Roger sensed Antonio was ready to say an unreserved “Yes” to Jesus and encouraged him to go back to the original Gospel outline website and pray the prayer of commitment.

Here is the email he received from Antonio a few days later: I just prayed the prayer on the site and am feeling truly overjoyed. I really tried to understand and get my head around how Jesus had suffered so much and died to save us and by the time I said the prayer I was feeling wholly undeserving. It was a surprise to feel such sudden joy after and that something had really changed. I understand now what you meant on the phone about it being the beginning of a great adventure because it really does feel like that now! Thank you so much for your help and guidance; a few weeks ago I couldn't have imagined where I would be now!

After several more email exchanges and telephone chats, Antonio agreed to meet Roger at a McDonald’s restaurant near his home. This visit resulted in the beginning of a genuine friendship and Roger was able to locate a good church close to Antonio. Not only did he find the worship services and sermons meaningful, but Antonio has gone on to join a Bible Study group made up of young adults in the congregation. Through Roger’s encouragement and the help of various websites, Antonio has started sharing his faith with others. Roger has introduced him to the local Agape university ministry staff in London and Antonio plans to get involved in city-wide student events in the autumn.

The "Roger" in this story is a long-time staff veteran of Campus Crusade for Christ and has lived in Europe for 20 years. This year, Roger and I met again at the Europe Internet ministry planning meeting in London last February. God is planting a passion and a vision for internet ministry in Roger. I'm excited!

We are beginning to get significant traction in Europe for the important role Internet ministry can play. A staff member from the Netherlands shared that more people came to Christ through their internet ministry last year than through their other field ministries. This same comment was made by a staff member from Germany. Now I will be among the first to say this is not necessarily an apples-to-apples comparison, but the fruitfulness of internet ministry is catching leadership attention.

In strategizing with the Campus Crusade Vice President for Europe, he commented that leaders around Europe want to bring a strong focus on internet ministry. I have met with several leaders and they are all excited about embracing internet ministry strategies to enhance their field ministries. They are seeing how it has a significant role to play in helping tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.

My heart soars with joy over seeing our leaders as well as our field staff beginning to understand the tremendous opportunities God is giving us through this mission field called the internet. Now, on to Asia, Africa, Oceania, Latin America... It looks like Kay and will continue to travel the world for a while!

NOTE: I've uploaded photos from our trip here in England. They are a combination of trips into the surrounding areas as well as from the conference.