Final Thoughts on Budapest Trip

I’m tired. Like a good kind of tired…but tired never the less.

The goal of the week was to speak on the topic of ReFresh to the community of students, staff, and parents of the International Christian School of Budapest. The school mainly serves missionary families based in Budapest as many Christian missionary organizations use the city as a base for all of Eastern Europe. The school also has a smaller population of ‘ex-pat’ kids who are over here because of their parents’ jobs and other students whose parents want their child to learn English in an English speaking environment.

Big nuggets of the week:
God does his best work on altars, not mountaintops. True refreshment will come from altar.
First step in going to an altar is to own your junk.
A lifestyle of refreshment means BEING accountable, not waiting on someone to KEEP you accountable.
Biggest obstacle to this is our desire for happiness more than God’s holiness.
Being holy is more than sin management.
Holiness is not morality, knowledge, insight, or giftedness.
It is understanding I am a part of God’s story, He’s not a part in my story.
Holiness will grow humility, gentleness, patience, unity, and a desire to bear with other people in love inside us.

After 10 talks plus 1 Upper Room service, dozens of offline conversations with students and staff, dozens of “prayer moments,” how ‘effective was the week?

Who knows.

There is a part of me that belittles large group worship experiences and conferences. I’ve been to so many and seen the “return to normal” happen in less than 30 minutes. It’s disheartening and just reinforces my belief that real life change happens on the altar, not mountaintop. In the grind of life on life relationships that push each other to be deeper, more practical, more transparent. And I know how few of us really choose those kinds of relationships because…well, sacrifice is hard. It’s a bloody mess. And who wants to willingly go through that?

On the other hand I’ve seen experiences be a rally point for such altar times. A “marker” that signifies a change that is deeper than the experience itself. But there is no way to know if this week was one or the other on a large group scale. The truth is for some students it was a mountaintop in every sense of the word – great week of teaching and worship experiences, great week of insight and on Monday I have to figure out a way to get that cute girl in my 3rd hour class to talk to me.

For others it may have been a marker of sorts — I know of a few students who are active in some small group bible studies and they already are walking through some of their “altars.”

Personally, I obeyed. I realize how trite that sounds but I’m really trying to simplify my life into that kind of reality – am I obeying the Father when He speaks? When He whispers, nudges? No excuses, no “figuring it out.” Just that simple. It won’t always be that simple. I’ll figure out a way to complicate it.

Now back to the states to fight with the demons that I always seem to deal with when coming home from a trip like this…the kind that says ‘sell all you have, pack up the kids and a suitcase each and go to Russia in His name.” Or Budapest…or Porte Allegre. In my mind, Topeka, Kansas or Denver, Colorado or Little Rock, Arkansas or where ever my stateside address is at the time doesn’t seem as “spiritual” as the places I visit.

That’s a lie. I know it. Topeka has lost people swallowed by their culture that need redeeming as well. And I know God has placed and equipped me to speak to exactly those kinds of people. It’s just not as sexy in my mind at the moment. It will be…because I’ll listen and hear His voice whispering — “you’re right where I want you to be…for now. Just trust me.”


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