Month: September 2004

short film as a window to the soul….

For the last several months one of my background tasks has been participating in the creation of a film festival event. I spent the morning yesterday working with a team that is writing a script for an introduction and discussion starter for some short films. The idea is to highlight several films from past Damah Film Festivals (cf and create an evening of discussion around them about spiritual issues. What most of us choose to ignore in our life is our own internal corruption. Sometimes it’s not even recognized. Among other things, many of these films, by using story, bring out the darkness inside us. Once we see it, we are closer to understanding our need for redemption.

Vienna Schoenbrunn Palace Gardens

Originally uploaded by squarejer.

No school today, so we all drove to Vienna for some Central European history. Schoenbrunn Palace filled most of our day. We saw where Mozart gave a concert at age 6 and where John F. Kennedy met Breshnev at one point. Out back there was a hedge-maze that made for some great fun. And just so we wouldn’t be lost in the mid-eighteenth century we spent half hour at the skateboard park across the street! – And then drove to Starbucks.

If you click through on the picture here, there are some other photos of the day.

Why I’m not a preacher

The 4th chapter of the Gospel of John (Jesus and the woman of Sychar) is not an unfamiliar one to me. But I could have read it and studied it a million years and still not found the treasure I saw in it this morning, thanks to the commentary of Ronnie Stevens.

Two things.

First, what a thorough demonstration Jesus gave to people of his perspective on people. At one point earlier he has an interview with Nichodemus, the most politically and spiritually connected person of his culture. Nichodemus couldn’t have been born into a better position, and he couldn’t have achieved higher social standing, but still Jesus said he would need another birth of an entirely different nature before he could experience true life.

Then, Jesus interviews someone at the other end of the social spectrum – an outcast of Sycharian female society, who were collectively at the bottom of the social situation relative to the Sycharian men, who were collectively disdained by the Jews. Remember, too, the Jews, as a whole and throughout history, have been rejected by the world. Yet Jesus validated her by giving her the clearest statement of his identity than he gave anyone else!

Secondly, who could have made this up? Who would have made this up? Ronnie did a better job at listing all the ways this little history defied any logic of the day.

You should listen to him. Here’s a link to an MP3 file of his talk.(37:00 min. 4 MB)

I need to Get a life…

It’s 3:30 am Sunday morning. All the pages on our website (well almost all) look different now. I’m trying to figure out how to format this blog template to look somewhat similar to our website.

If you know, tell me how. (Specifically I want the blog title, “Get a life…” to show up. It’s there, just not visible. I can’t seem to make the color definition talk to me.)

blog surfing; try it

I just wasted 20 minutes blog surfing. Click the “Next Blog” button at the top of any Blogger blog. Fascinating.

Later Note: The days when you could do this safely are gone. Now there are too many obscene blog sites on to recommend blog browsing.

A defeat for organized football

A defeat for organized football

Well, soccer, really. Here’s how the game unfolded yesterday:

When we learned that we’d be playing “indoor” rules instead of outdoor rules: As we walked up to the field. (Their field was on an old clay tennis court, surrounded by a fence.)

When we distributed the uniforms for our team: At the scheduled start time of the game. It was OK, though, because they were still chalking lines on the field.

When we decided how many players would be on the field: 1 minute before play began.

When we decided who would play goalie for our team: 10 minutes before play began.

When our goalie got his first practice: first shot on goal.

When we realized our goalie needed gloves: after first goal through his hands.

When we learned that there is no “offsides” with indoor rules: after the first goal scored by an “offsides” player from their team.

When we learned what the length of each half would be: when the first half ended, five minutes before we expected.

When we all started having fun: When we realized we wouldn’t win, or even score, and just played to show them we wouldn’t give up.

The photo is my son’s face AFTER the game, with the winning team doing their victory dance in the background.

courage to fail

In my mailbox this morning was an article about leading change. It reminded me to have courage to stay the course Tom and I are on. We ask our co-workers to create websites that engage people with the person of Jesus Christ. Yet we can’t assure them that more people will come to their weekly campus meetings as a result, or that the effort won’t consume a big chunk of their people, time, and money. But if we don’t create a voice on the Internet in Eastern European languages, then who will? If we don’t speak on the Internet, how can we be relevant?

We aren’t experts, and we don’t know if what we’re trying will work or not.

The article was from the Connection magazine of DTS, based on Chapter 24, “Learn, Unlearn, and Relearn,” Change Is Like a Slinky, by Hans Finzel, Northfield Publishing, 2004.

Spiritual thirst

This morning it occurred to me that I am not spiritually thirsty anymore. Someone gave me water that quenched my thirst. Sure, I want to know the person better who gave me this water, but I don’t crave to know whether God exists or not, or whether he would reveal himself to man, or whether it’s possible to know him. I feel satisfied in these, and they don’t bother me anymore.

Ronnie Stevens’ comments on Jesus’ words in John 4:14 brought this to mind.
Hear more here.(35:00 min. 4 MB mp3)

Hertzler family

Hertzler family

This is one of the photos Joel Dassalla took of us. I’m also posting
this to see if I can stop the double-posting that has been occurring on
the RSS feed from this blog.

6th Floor

6th Floor

This is the lobby of the sixth floor of the hotel at Club Tihány on Lake Balaton, the location of the next New Life Eastern Europe (Campus Crusade) staff conference. On Tuesday a group of us visited to check it out and start planning the conference. It’s a beautiful place; the preferred resort location for all of Hungary and much of Europe. It was gorgeous. Too bad we can’t have our staff conference there right now. Instead we’ll do it in January when the lake is frozen, the leaves are gone, and the prices are down.

Google famous

“There are two kinds of people in the world, famous people, and people you have to Google.”

– from article by Rob Long in “Almost Famous”

(This blog neither agrees nor disagrees with opinions stated in Rob’s article or

New job

New job

A friend of mine, Doug Leppard, says, “No good deed goes unpunished.” This summer I offered to upload some mp3 files of recorded sermons from our church, Danube International Church.
Now I’m in charge of doing all the recordings.

But I enjoy it. I use Goldwave Audio Editor and record right to hard drive. It’s amazing what you can do to the sound wave once you have it digitized. In fact, if I didn’t know better I would swear Daffy Duck made a cameo appearance this morning!

Seriously, Ronnie Stevens is a great teacher, and his sermons are well worth the download time. You won’t be disappointed.

Tigger in Warsaw

Tigger in Warsaw
Originally uploaded by squarejer.

Last week in Warsaw while I was sitting at Old Town after our meetings, this guy was standing by a walkway posing for money. I sat down near him and watched him a while. Pretty soon he sat down, too. Then he counted his money, and that’s when I took this picture. Maybe I should have paid him.



I was feeling a little green last week in Warsaw, so while my traveling buddies walked around Old Town, I sat down and watched life go by. Sitting next to me was this troop of scouts. They were in Warsaw to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of Poland. We also saw a commemoration ceremony at the Presidential palace which involved about 50 ambassadors and a color guard of Polish troops. Really interesting.