Tag Archives: books

Catalyst Westcoast 2010 :: What I’m Doing…

Some of you are seeing my Twitter and Facebook updates about #CatWest or Catalyst. I’ve got the privilege of being a part of the ‘Catalyst Family’ and serving with their team at their conference here called Catalyst Westcoast.

My role with Catalyst over these next few days will be:

Hosting: Wednesday is Catalyst Labs and I’m hosting one of the rooms. I’m basically making sure it starts and stops on time, tying in with the Speakers, doing announcements and keeping the thing flowing. The speakers in my room today are Susan Isaacs (Author, Speaker), Michael Hyatt (CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing) and Scott Belsky (CEO of Behance). Amazing people and I’m in for a really good day.

CatalystBackstage.com: Thursday morning the Conference starts and I’ll be teaming up with Carlos Whittaker and Anne Jackson to bring the conference ONLINE to those of you that aren’t able to make it here in person through Friday. We will be interviewing the Speakers, Bands, Leaders of notable organizations all day long. It’s gonna be a lot of fun and I think you should tune in, chat it up with us and engage in the conversations both near and afar. We go LIVE Thursday morning at 9am (PST) @ CatalystBackstage.com

Anyways, that’s what I’m doing and it’s going to be an awesome few days. If you don’t know much about Catalyst…well, get with the program. This organizations is a hub for pointing us to great happenings locally, nationally and globally. Here is the promo video for this week at Catalyst.

If you’re here at Catalyst this week…I WOULD LOVE TO MEET YOU!! Come introduce yourself.

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Robbie Seay Band :: Free Stuff For YOU!

It’s really as simple as this…Robbie Seay is a great friend and a guy making music that I respect in big ways. You may know his song called ‘Song of Hope’ an awesome tune. If you don’t know about Robbie Seay Band let me introduce you to one of your new favorites. He’s got a BRAND new record out entitled ‘Miracle‘. It’s an incredible record full of the tension of struggle and miracle.

Robbie and the crew have given me a SWEET little gift pack to give away here on the blog. It includes the CD, Vinyl and T-Shirt from the newest offering ‘Miracle’. ENTER TO WIN: Leave a comment on this blog post with your NAME, CITY & STATE that says ‘I NEED A MIRACLE’. Also, make sure to leave your best email contact when submitting your comment…so I can get in touch with you if you win! No weird catches…just leave a comment.

ARIZONA FRIENDS: Robbie and the band will be in town this Saturday, April 24th @ 7pm at Mission Community Church in Gilbert. They’ll be playing the new tunes from the new record. I’ve got THREE pairs of tickets to give away to the concert. If you want in on the tickets just comment on this blog post with these words ‘I NEED A MIRACLE AND TICKETS!’. You could win the gift pack and the tickets if miracles still happen. 🙂

I’ll start giving the tickets away on Wednesday, April 21st! We’ll pick a winner for the gift pack on Friday, April 23rd! Get your comment in and spread the good word about all of this goodness!


Mentoring & Donald Miller…

I definitely have a heart for mentoring. I can, unswervingly, say that I am where I am today because of the men and women who have mentored me and are mentoring me in my life (my parents get big props on this too)!! I am so convinced that mentoring is the key in finding holistic success in our lives. I believe we all need at least one mentor in our lives if not a few. Beyond personally being mentored, I think it’s imperative that we are mentoring others at some level. We all have experiences, we all have a story and we all have ears. One of the most important elements in mentoring is listening. I know it’s not always easy, but, sometimes just through the process of listening we can learn about where people are really at and it gives us the opportunity to speak clarity and direction into the life of another person. Mentoring is a gift for all parties involved.

So, if you’ve thought about having a mentor, stop thinking about it and get one. Find that person that you respect and trust in your circle and ask them if they’d ‘mentor’ you. Find a professional mentor for your career ambitions, find a spiritual mentor to speak into your spiritual life or find someone that might have it all wrapped in one package. There’s no formula for how it can work best for you, but, just get started in being mentored.

If you’re ahead of the game and you have some mentors, well, why don’t you pursue someone to take on as a mentoring project. Find that kid you know that doesn’t quite have it all put together. Maybe there’s a son or daughter of a widow that you can just enjoy some hang time with or take to a ball game or just invite them into something you’re doing. If you’re capable of loving, you’re capable of mentoring. If it doesn’t come to you…well…then pursue it.

I can tell you that mentoring someone else can be one of the best things you’ll do for your own personal growth. Taking a step out of the life of YOU and investing yourself into someone ELSE will grow you in so many ways that cannot be explained, but, only experienced. Trust me!!

Donald Miller, who is a communicator and writer of whom I have a DEEP respect in, is taking on a deal called the Mentoring Project and he’s in the process of ramping this whole thing up alongside a group of people at The Mentoring Project. I wonder if you would just help spark this movement along with Donald by blogging about mentoring, starting to following his project, posting one of the videos or engaging in mentoring at some level.

The Mentoring Project is specifically helping to mentor fatherless boys through the means of the local church, which I believe is essential to the future and a commandment of Christ Himself. It’s time for men in the church to chunk out some time in their schedules to start mentoring guys that don’t have a dad. Women, why not take the charge too? Maybe you know some young ladies that need a female in their life to encourage, pray and invest in them. Let’s get after it!

What are your experiences with mentoring? Do you have a mentor? Do you wish you had a mentor? Do you mentor anyone? What has mentoring meant to your life? Do you wish you knew more about mentoring? Does the process scare you at all? Talk to me…I’m curious if this is something you’ve adopted in your life.

Watch the video and Click: ‘The Mentoring Project’ for more information!

Catalyst West Coast – April 22-24, 2009 – Newport Beach, CA

I’ve got two exciting things to announce about Catalyst West Conference that is coming to Newport Beach, CA on Aprill 22-24th, 2009. I’m not gonna share both of them in this post, however, you do get one of the pieces of news. The first bit is kind of fun and if you’re still undecided about going maybe it will motivate you to commit. The line up for this conference is absolutely ridiculous. You will be learning and drinking in from some of the most prolific Kingdom-minded leaders in the world during these days in April. Check out their website. Line up includes:

Worship by Hillsong United, Steve Fee, Aaron Keyes and Joel Auge
Speakers include: Andy Stanley, Craig Groeschel, Rick Warren, Guy Kawasaki, Ravi Zacharias, Francis Chan, Brian Houston, Erwin McManus, Perry Noble, Catherine Rohr, Jud Wilhite, and Luis Palau

ANNOUNCEMENT – PART I

I’ve been given the ability to help you and your team get SPECIAL PRICING on the conference if you reference my name and blog. You have to contact Aaron Foster who is leading the charge on the sales end at Catalyst to get the deal. All you need to do is mention that ‘Brian Wurzell said you’d hook us up’ and he will give you a price that I cannot print. 🙂 You can contact him at aaron.foster@catalystspace.com or on his direct line 678-225-3501. TELL YOUR FRIENDS TOO!

Bring your team, sleep on a family members floor, if you have too, take a day or two off work, but, don’t miss this epic leadership summit. Aaron will take care of you if you call him soon, but, they’re almost sold out so I would try and call him this week to make sure you don’t get left out.

check out my – announcement part deux

The Shack – An Abomination?

I recently saw this clip from a Pastor in the Seattle area named Mark Driscoll. He’s a pretty credible leader within the larger scale of the church and has a wide stroke of influence nationally. I’ve actually visited their church in Seattle and they are doing some AMAZING things in that city. Mark also has some brilliant things to say about leadership, vision and the local church.

I watched this clip and for some reason it just didn’t sit right with me. Honestly, I’ve never read The Shack (and I probably need too), but, I did watch an interview that Jarett Stevens did with the Author of the book at 7:22 back in the fall. Personally, I enjoyed the interview with the Author and I thought he explained the premise on which he wrote the book and did that pretty articulately.

I’m curious what your thoughts are on Marks perspective regarding The Shack. Have you read the book? Is it, truly, heretical as Mark calls it? Do you get the sense that William Paul Young is simply utilizing a story to paint a picture or is he really making a ‘false idol’ for us to try and contain? Watch the clip and post your thoughts!

Barack Obama and Donald Miller – Millers Reasons on Why He’s Voting for Barack Obama

This is a thought provoking interview with Donald Miller, especially, as we are, literally, days away from this election. It’s good to know why you’re casting the vote for your candidate and I think Donald Miller presents some great thoughts in this interview.

This interview was done through a blog that he founded called The Burnside Writers Blog. I’d love to hear your comments on what you read here. Do you think he brings some good things to the table in this interview? Does it make you look at the election any differently? What did you disagree with in this interview and WHY (back it up, don’t just disagree)?


READ AWAY and sound off-

Donald Miller is the best-selling author of Blue Like Jazz, Searching for God Knows What, Through Painted Deserts and To Own a Dragon. He is currently writing his fifth book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, which explores the principles of story-telling in our lives. A feature film is in the works based on Blue Like Jazz, and Don is also in collaboration with the filmmakers behind Nooma for a film series titled Transitus. Don also founded The Mentoring Project (formerly The Belmont Foundation), a non-profit organization which is recruiting ten-thousand mentors through one-thousand church-based mentoring programs.

Don is currently touring with the Obama campaign’s “Faith, Family and Values Tour”, conducting forums in battleground states. On Tuesday, Don spoke in Colorado Springs. We wanted to give him a chance to explain why he made the controversial decision to campaign for Barack Obama.

(Full disclosure: Donald Miller is also the founder of the Burnside Writers Collective, and currently serves as an advisor for us when time allows. He is an invaluable friend and supporter. That said, thoughtful critics, both independent and conservative, have raised some good points in objection to Don’s decision to campaign for Obama. The following questions were drafted by Burnside editors Jordan Green and John Pattison.)

Burnside: Can you lay out your biggest reasons for supporting Barack Obama?

Donald Miller:
First off, I know this is an odd thing for somebody in my position to do, to support a candidate for President. But I do feel this candidate is unique. Barack is the only candidate willing to talk about his faith in Jesus. Other candidates are reluctant, but Obama is not. He is the only one who has consistently talked about the cross, about redemption, and about repentance. Many white evangelicals have a misconception about Barack…they believe that because he is a Democrat, he cannot be a Christian. But times have changed, culture has changed, and political parties change. So one of the reasons I support Barack is because he is my Christian brother, and other Christians are rejecting him.

But that has little to do with his candidacy. In short, there are a few issues I agree with Barack on.

Senator Obama is going to move us past the impasse in our cultural war, something I think of as a cultural Vietnam. On the issue of abortion, he is the only candidate who has a plan to reduce the number of abortions. John McCain’s only plan is the same old trick: say that you are pro life and offer no plan at all other than to criminalize abortion. I simply think that plan hasn’t worked, and we have to face that fact and look for other ways to make progress.

I realize this is controversial, that there are many who would rather vote for a pro-life candidate and keep the abortion rate the same, on principle. And like them I believe in the sanctity of life, I simply think we need to begin making progress, and Barack is offering progress. He is also standing up to his own party on the issue and moving the party forward to elevate the issue of the sanctity of life within the Democratic Party. I also see this as progress. I do wish we could end abortion completely, but the Republicans have not spelled out a realistic plan to do so, and until they do, I won’t vote for a candidate who simply throws us a pro-life line and no plan. It seems insincere.

But let me add this: I do wish Obama were pro-life. His plan to reduce the rate of abortion is a great step for the party, but I also wish he would defend the unborn to a greater degree.

However, at this point, in this election, with these two candidates, I think progress will be made with Barack. Not enough progress, but some progress, especially within the Democratic party, who may soften their stand on the sanctity of life.

A personal connection with me regarding Obama involves the initiative he is taking with responsible fatherhood. He has already drawn up legislation to change the welfare state to stop rewarding families whose fathers leave, and is working to change the economic structure so fathers who stay with their families are given tax relief. This has been an age-old problem that was written about in George Gilder‘s book Sexual Suicide. (Gilder’s) book is a Conservative’s economic manifesto, but Barack sees a lot of value in Gilder’s ideas. But because Barack is a Democrat, Conservatives are unable to even consider his ideas.

BWC: A lot of folks view overturning Roe v. Wade as a pipe dream. But electing John McCain could very likely tip the scales of the Supreme Court toward the conservative side, and Roe v. Wade could be overturned. Do you think the impact of Barack Obama’s plans on abortion would outweigh an outright reversal of the Supreme Court’s decision?

Don: If McCain cared about the issue of abortion enough, he would move forward on the issue. He might draft a constitutional amendment that would make abortion specifically unconstitutional, the way George W. Bush talked of doing with gay marriage. George W. Bush could have done something like this when he had majority votes in both houses of Congress.

But I feel like they didn’t touch the issue because it would have cost them politically. I simply do not see McCain’s stand on abortion being as strong as conservatives think it is. He changed his mind on the issue only a few years ago, in fact. I think it’s a ploy to get votes. If McCain were strong on the issue, he would call it murder, saying abortion should be criminalized, and perhaps Cindy McCain would talk about the issue. Sara Palin would talk about how abortion should be criminalized.

Instead, they throw the pro-life line at us and go on doing nothing. It should make conservatives furious, but it doesn’t. It’s like the argument has become a game about racking up rhetorical points, rather than saving lives. I see this as hypocritcal, and I support Obama’s plan to make actual headway on this issue. The future may change this for me, but at this point, I see some hope on the horizon.

BWC: Is there something to be learned from the failures of the Religious Right? For 30 years, they’ve aligned themselves with the Republican party with very little to show…are you concerned your decision to campaign is just a pendulum swing to the Left?

Don: I don’t know that there is little to show. Religious leaders are very powerful, and Republicans cater to them and cannot win without the religious vote. That said, Republicans have pitched us two issues and reduced the Christian worldview to Gay Marriage and Abortion.

They had to do that because their economic policies are Biblically debatable. And occasionally there are battles won on the two fronts they’ve given the white church, but if you are asking if it was worth it to sell the church to the Republican Party, I would say no. Abortion is still legal, and many Democrats oppose gay marriage. So I don’t see the use in staying in this impasse any longer.

BWC: Some church leaders advocate an “Endorse no one, advise everyone” policy. Do you see yourself breaking from this mindset?

Don: I suppose so. I intend to vote for Obama, so I would consider that an endorsement. I feel free to talk about that. I don’t have a cynicism about elected leaders. I think they are human, that The Fall happened to them just like it happened to me. I recently went to Uganda with a diplomat who, because of his rank and power, could start the court system up in the north, and get kids out of prison who should have gotten off with time served. There is so much good that only diplomats can do.

I think it is very fashionable to remain independent right now, but I don’t see the use. I am willing to look uncool to help the first African-American become President, and to have a strong, Christian leader in the White House. Besides, if I were not willing to work alongside somebody, I doubt they’d be calling to ask for my advice. I see this as a historical race, and I want to be willing to take some heat as an early adapter. And there are many early adapters.

Most evangelicals polled will vote for Barack. It is only the very conservative, mostly white suburban churched who are leaning toward McCain. Today on the news I heard a pastor say you could not possibly be a Christian and vote for Barack Obama. I cringed when I heard it, because yesterday in Colorado I met with about thirty African-American pastors who love Jesus and know Jesus, who will be voting for Barack. I wondered what they might think when they hear something like that, an angry white man telling them they do not know Jesus, and that they are going to hell. When we pick up a bullhorn and speak from within our insular communities, without so much as talking to people who come from another perspective, we do a great deal of damage. I don’t want to be a part of that. But I don’t think my endorsement of Barack is quite like that. I am not saying to the church that they do not know Jesus unless they vote for Barack, or that they are going to go to hell or anything. I am simply saying I am voting for Barack, and explaining why.

BWC: Do you see a difference between voting for a candidate and campaigning for a candidate?

Don: I see a difference socially. We consider it patriotic to vote, but unfashionable to campaign. But that doesn’t matter to me right now. I want to be on the right side of history on this one. Ethically, I do not believe it is wrong to campaign. Biblically, I don’t think it’s wrong either. It just doesn’t look cool, that’s all.

Twenty years from now, when my children asked what I did during this historical campaign, I want to tell them that I went out and worked, made calls, went door to door, and was able to stump for Barack. There are many in my parents generation who regret not being able to say that they worked hard during the civil rights movement, and I don’t want to miss this opportunity.

BWC: You’ve mentioned the goal of ending the violent rhetoric of the “Culture War”. While the division of America has been perpetuated by both sides, a statement like “Stop The Culture War” seems more directed at conservatives, and could be viewed as rhetoric in and of itself. How, practically, do we bring about an end to that sort of language? Do you think the values on either side of the culture war are truly in conflict?

Don: I don’t intend that statement toward conservatives alone. I think both sides feel like the other side is the enemy. But I know both sides. And both sides have very good people working hard to do what they feel is right. I think we have to make it clear that because we support one candidate doesn’t mean we hate the other. I don’t hate John McCain. I like him, in fact. But when I do the math, Obama is my candidate.

I hate the negative advertisements just like everybody else. But those advertisements work on the ignorant, and it gets simple thinkers heated up. We just have to have the discipline to be civil. Many of my friends will vote for McCain, and members of my family too. But it doesn’t matter to me. Family comes first, and so do friends. When I’m on my deathbed, Barack Obama and John McCain won’t be there, but my friends and family will. So they come first, and they are more important. I just won’t let myself get too heated about this stuff. It’s not worth it.

BWC: Are Christians participating in the electoral process are being forced to choose “the lesser of two evils”? I don’t mean to say Barack Obama or John McCain are evil, but supporting either side seems to demand a compromise of our beliefs on some level. Maybe our anti-abortion stance supersedes our beliefs on war, and vice versa.

Don: I think this is basically true, but I’m not drawn to the negative tone of that popular phrase. I don’t think John McCain or Barack Obama are evil. I think they are both good men. But the fall happened, and so things here on earth are messy and no leader is going to be perfect until Christ comes back. Until then, we educate ourselves on the issues, do some careful math, and vote for a candidate that we think will govern the best.