Monday, December 31, 2007

India 2007

Back in 1974 I first visited Brazil. It was my first time to be in another country and really be able to see another culture in action. That first experience of another culture was life changing. My world expanded on that day and I would never be the same.

I have just returned from 8 days in India with my dear friends Mani and Pam Maken and my world has expanded again. Truly, India is nearly beyond description for me. The purpose of my trip was to preach the dedication service of a church building the Makens financed. It is the first Christian structure in the entire history of the city called Deri Bassi.

I have spent my entire life working with the inner life of people in the Americas. Often people in the Americas don't even seem to know they have an inner life. Indians know the inner life exists!

Seeing and experiencing India opened a window on an entirely new level of religious life and thought. Never have I been in a culture that was so openly and passionately religious. I am sure it will take a while to process it all. It was overwhelming.

Here are some preliminary observations....

1. Religion will continue to shape our world. The west (USA and Europe) with their bent toward secular thinking will not be able to stop the religious momentum that continues to build in the east. Getting rid of Christianity will not stop religion from coming west. Getting rid of Christianity will only make the eastern momentum pick up speed. A religious tsunami is headed west.

2. Christian leaders who hope to be relevant in India must address the inner spiritual life questions that eastern religions address every day. Going to heaven when we die is not the question being asked in India. How to have a happy marriage is not number one on the list either. Their arranged marriages for the most part do last. They think heaven and hell are here on earth.

The question I saw being asked was about what does life mean right now and how do I connect with the very real spiritual realm to benefit me today. Hinduism, Sikhism and Islam have clear, if confused, answers for the Indian population. I did not sense the Christian community was truly in this discussion in India. That may be the effect of only being 2% of the population, but I just did not sense the Christians were taken seriously. I know 8 days is not time enough to know this for sure, but my contact with non-Christian Indians made me feel like they don't think we have anything to offer from the west except capitalism.
The non-Christians wanted to talk to me about commerce and capitalism (and Brazilian soccer) but they looked on my title "Pastor" as not very impressive when compared with "Iman", "Priest" or "Guru". No non-Christian asked me to explain Christianity's claims for today. When I tried to get in the discussion they looked at me as if the people from the west have no clue.

3. Ideas have consequences. Indian society is tragically chaotic and unjust. Shocking is not a strong enough word to describe it. " The poor are poor because they need to be poor to learn what they need for their next life" is an idea I heard repeated by some very intelligent religious leaders. This idea has left the poor on their own and it shows. 7 million live in the slums of Delhi where I spent my last night in India.

Interestingly, this idea about poverty being deserved made for a safer environment than Brazil. I guess the poor have accepted their lot in life and do not use their poverty to justify violence toward those who have more. I was in places in India that I would have expected violence to be rampant and found myself being told by Indians who were with me to calm down and relax. In Brazil I would have been looking for a quick way to escape.

4. The Abide Message fits India perfectly. The word satisfaction was made for India. Moment by Moment and 24/7 ring true in India. The door to the Abide Brazil ministry is open in India because abiding is about NOW.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

My Father The Farmer

I have just returned from three days teaching the Satisfying Life course and the Six Metaphors of a Happy Marriage series in a nearby state. A small seminary and camp ministry hosted the conference. The group was small but the openness was huge.

As I was teaching at the camp, the farming community that surrounded the camp allowed me to see something entirely new about John 15. It is hard to put into words how this new insight blessed me, but here goes.

Think for a moment about the massive, eternal and revolutionary importance of Christ's teaching and life. Nothing ever has happened that even comes close to God with us in human form. Imagine the last day of Jesus' life. He washes feet, comforts his disciples and prepares them for His coming death and their future of oneness with Him and His Father. Was there ever a more important day to describe everything exactly right?

As Jesus begins John 15 He begins with these words... " I am the true Vine and My Father is the Vinedresser..." There it is.
Everything that has happened through Jesus' perfect life has qualified Jesus to tell us that His Father is a farmer. A farmer. Not a judge. Not a ruler. Not a conquerer. A farmer.
My Father is a farmer, says Jesus, and Jesus is excited about it!

When I saw this, I caught my breath. Have I really understood that God did all He did in Jesus so He could successfully farm here in the world?

Farmers believe they can produce a certain kind of fruit or crop. If they don't believe a crop will come in, they don't plant. Farmers have taken into consideration everything in the environment and they plant believing the harvest can come no matter the circumstances that come. They don't change the environment, they know they can overcome it and harvest.

I mentioned to the students at the seminary that no one plants until someone proves it is worth it. The first to plant a new crop is always accused of being wrong. Jesus was God's proof that sustained human love could grow in this world again. A second Adam had been found. Now with Jesus in us the fruit can appear worldwide. So now God plants us everywhere and we bear Jesus' fruit.

I wonder how different the history of Christianity would have been if the church had always related to the world not as conquerers or judges but as branches of the Farmer? Who do farmers threaten? Who do Vine and branches threaten?

God is farming in this world. Let that thought sink in. Human love can grow right here if Jesus abide in us and we abide in Him. Amazing.

Take a few minutes and think about your concept of God in this world. If you see Him as judge and ruler you must surely be disappointed with what He is not doing. If you think of Him as love's Farmer, keep your eyes open and you will His fruit appearing all over the place.

I am sure the first disciples thought it strange that Jesus would be excited about having a farmer for a Father. Still, when you think about it what more important thing is there to do than sustain and feed the souls of men and women who hunger for love?

2nd photo: Seminary group
3rd photo: Recently planted Vine at the new Abide Center. Click on photos to enlarge.

Monday, December 03, 2007


During a recent trip to central Brazil a pastor took us to see one of the wonders of nature here in Brazil. It is a fruit tree like no other I have ever seen. It is called a jabuticaba tree. The fruit is delicious when eaten right on site.

As Pam and I ate our fair share of this marvelous fruit, we witnessed discipleship in action. The pastor took us to a small farm where a young couple that has just come to Christ met us. They had with them their small son. The pastor wanted us there to influence this young couple. The young couple was hungry and ready to learn.

As you look as these pictures you will see the discipleship process illustrated as Pam and were learning to harvest jabuticaba fruit. The pastor was teaching the new converts. The little boy is learning just like a new Christian must learn to feed himself on God's abundance.

We were all very satisfied!


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Marvelous Metaphor

John 15: 1-8 Marvelous Metaphor
In John 15 it is as if Jesus is saying to me “Listen closely and you will hear and see how spiritual life will work for everyone from now on.”

The words of Jesus are the most important and powerful words ever spoken by human lips. Each time Jesus spoke, God’s eternal intentions for all mankind became clear as they simultaneously appeared as actions through His daily life. Truly His words are “spirit and life” to all who hear them and obey them. Jesus lived what he spoke. He truly was the word that became flesh.

I have known and understood this about Jesus’ words on some level all of my spiritual life but my personal experience with the first 8 verses of John 15 have made me a true believer in the power of Jesus’ words—especially his metaphors. Jesus’ words are the most awesome power on earth and they belong to all who believe.

Jesus promised in John 8 that His words have the power to liberate the human soul if we abide in His words. Jesus knew HIs words were truly the final words on every subject concerning God and human life. He knew because He received and lived each word from His Father and faithfully delivered every word just as He had received them.

On the last day of His life everything Jesus said and did was a coming together of God’s eternal purposes. No detail of Jesus life was unimportant or accidental. Certainly His last words on His last day should hold our attention in a special way. It is clear that He meant for John 15 to be central for His followers. The timing and the tone of John 15 is that of foundational truth for all who would ever follow Him. On that last day it was as if Jesus is leaning close to each of us and saying “Listen closely and you will hear and see how spiritual life will work for everyone from now on.”

On this most wonderful and tragic of all days before His crucifixion Jesus chose to describe the new spiritual reality that was being birthed for mankind by His death, burial and resurrection using a metaphor—the metaphor of God’s new vineyard on earth. Jesus’ use of metaphors, examples and parables is the work of Divine genius. Metaphors have a power to change lives unlike any other form of communication.

I am convinced that the John 15 metaphor is the key to healthy spiritual formation for every generation. Certainly John 15 has been this for me and there is clear evidence in church history that this passage has held tremendous power over all who have sought to truly glorify God and bear fruit that remains. John 15 is life changing when this marvelous metaphor is given its rightful place as the final word of Jesus on spiritual formation and fruit bearing.

Jesus’ use of metaphors began with His very first sermon called the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5-7. This sermon describes a kind of spiritual life that has inspired, informed and infuriated spiritual seekers for nearly 2000 years.

More than an intellectual argument in favor of life found in God, the sermon on the mount is a description of a human life satisfied fully in God. It is the description of the kind of life Jesus would live before His followers. Each metaphor in the sermon paints a picture so the spiritual seeker can hold the infinite truths in place long enough for their power to work their way into the human spirit for permanent and profound life change.

The power of the metaphor is in the fact that it allows an individual to be influenced over time by the truths contained in the metaphor. That is the power of John 15: 1-8. In the metaphor of the Vine and the branches there are essential spiritual truths that can only be understood and lived over time. Jesus knew this and He gave the metaphor at the exact moment when its power was most needed—the last day of His pre-resurrection life.

Meditate on John 15 and you, too, will find it marvelous.


Tomorrow I am heading to southern Brazil to record 35 more radio programs with my dear friend Edson Bruno. Edson used to be our sound and media technician at the First Baptist Church of West Hollywood, Florida. He now is the director of a great radio station in Joinville, Brazil. Edson returned to Brazil at almost exactly the same time Pam and I returned.

It is a joy to work with such a kind and godly man. Those who remember him will be able to tell that he has lost weight and I have gained it. Life is sometimes just not fair.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Loyalty and Love

I recently spoke to a group of Brazilian pastors and leaders in northern Brazil. In the group was a living example of love and loyalty. His name is Rev. João Tenório. He is man who was discipled and prepared for ministry by my father-in-law, Byron McCartney, back in the early 1960s.

When he heard that I would be giving a one day leadership seminar this dear man caught a bus and made the four hour trip to spend just a few minutes with me. He was honoring his love and loyalty for the McCartney family. I still am amazed at how loyal Brazilians are to their friends.

Being with this dear man was worth the trip. I pray I will be as loyal to the friends of my friends.

Mike Wells

There are certain people who have had a great impact on my way of seeing spiritual life. One of those people is counselor and author Mike Wells. Mike's ministry, Abiding Life, leads defeated and broken Christians to the permanent cure that exists in Jesus' presence in us moment by moment. The way Mike leads people to this healing place is truly amazing.

Mike was able to spend three days with us at our new Abide Training Center. He was able to help the 40 leaders who were present gain the confidence they need to counsel and disciple. It was truly a blessed experience.

To learn more about Mike's ministry and to order materials, go to

Thursday, November 15, 2007

My Center Revealed in the Storm

My Center Revealed in the Storm

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give you. Let not your heart be troubled , neither let it be afraid.”
John 14: 27

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in my love.”
John 15:9

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulations, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as you, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”
John 17: 20-21

Jesus promised that His disciples could be as safe, satisfied and successful in the world as He was. Not just in the world to come but in the world as it now is. They all could be as safe, satisfied and successful as He was in the world. He promised.

It is in the direction of this safe, satisfying and successful place that all disciples are to be led by those who disciple them. They are to be led to the safe, satisfying and successful center where Jesus Himself lived. Spiritual directors from ages gone by called this leading process “centering.” Jesus called it abiding.

“Abide in Me, and I in you.” John 15: 4

Every human being lives from some center where they have been led to live. It is the center where they feel their best chance for safety, satisfaction and success can be attained. Discipleship of any kind is about finding and living from this kind of center.

Jesus led His first disciples to His center. He called His center “oneness”.

“I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” John 17:23

The apostles led others to this same center.

"For I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me…” Galatians 2:20

The quality of our personal discipleship centering is tested and proven in the very real storms of the world. The storms reveal the quality of our center.

As our personal storms intensify, the quality and durability of the centering of our lives is revealed. The question of Christian discipleship always is “Will the center from where I truly live and find my life remain safe, satisfying and successful as Jesus said it could during the storms?”

Any discipleship centering that is not equally available for all believers 24/7 and moment by moment is less than Jesus lived and promised to all. Oneness means it must be there for all at the same time and in the same quality. We need a universally available center.

Any discipleship centering that cannot deliver and keep its promise for security, satisfaction and success in the storms of life for all is less than Jesus lived and promised to His disciples. Peace (safety), good cheer (satisfaction) and love (success) in the storms is the universal mark of a properly centered or discipled christian. Peaceful, satisfied, relentless love in the world as it is remains the goal of Christian centering or discipleship.

The storms of our personal worlds are intensifying and discipleship systems that have not centered believers in Jesus are failing. As good and necessary as some systems may be to the experience of the church in the real world, they are being revealed as imperfect and inadequate because they are imperfect and inadequate as a equal center for all. Nothing short of a perfect center for all will stand the storms.

Matthew 7: 24-27 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them. I will liken Him to a wise man who built his house on the rock; and the rain descended, the floods came, and he winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.”

As the storms increase the inadequate centers from which disciples attempt to live will leave them out in the storms. The good news is there is still a perfect center in and for every believer. That perfect center is a Person.

Jesus' last command to His disciples about centering people centered in Himself.

Matthew 28:18-20

“All authority is given to Me…. I am with you always.” This universal command begins, centers and ends in Jesus.

Jesus' last words to His disciples left no doubt where the disciple should center themselves and others.

John 15:1-8

“ I am the Vine…You are the branches…Abide in Me…. without Me you can do nothing.”

A branch can only live centered in the Vine.

The Apostle Paul left no doubt about where the true center for his discipleship was and where he led disciples

I Corin. 1:30 “But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”

I Corin. 2: 2 “For I determined to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
Galatians 4:19 “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you.”

All discipleship centering that does not lead believers in the perfect, personal, loving, eternal presence of Jesus within will cause people to fail in the storms. They are failing already. Too many are not centered in Jesus. Too many fail to abide.

In a strange way, the sooner these good, important things we have centered people in fail the better. The storms are increasing and the disciples that failed to center their lives in Jesus’ perfect presence within are failing. Those who failed to center disciples in the perfect presence of Jesus have failed Jesus’ followers and Jesus Himself.

It is too late to ask for smaller storms. We need to ask for centered disciples not smaller storms.
We need disciples so centered in Jesus that they, like Jesus, can remain safe, satisfied and successful in the storms. Disciples who can go in the direction of the pain and the storms as unrelenting love are in short supply. Abandoned crosses litter the hallways of our churches.

We need to stop fasting and praying for smaller storms and return to and then live from a perfect, personal center that is constantly overcoming the storms. That perfect center is Jesus—the true Vine. This perfect center is in every believer right now. All other centers, no matter how good and noble, must be abandoned as the center. The storm is here but so is the kingdom.

The centers that will fail are not new but those who redesign them and rebuild them for today’s storms will find themselves and their disciples unprepared for the wind and the rain that is upon us.

Here are a few of the discipleship centering systems that must be abandoned as centers from which we live. No matter how good they may be when used correctly in Jesus’ name, all of them must be abandoned as the center of Christian life. They are not perfect and they are not universally available to every believer so therefore they cannot be the center. They cannot produce oneness.

If you have centered yourself in one of these they will not keep you safe, satisfied and successful in the storm. A storm will come and their imperfection with be revealed.

Abandon them as the center in order to find their true place as servants of the center.

The failing discipleship centers are….

Centering on Jesus’ special leaders.

Centering on safe, satisfying and successful leaders will fail in the storms.

The inscription over this center is “Everything depends on the anointed ones.”

Be near the anointed ones and be safe, satisfied and successful.

The central belief is “Discipleship is in them.”

Centering on Jesus’ special churches.

Centering on safe, satisfying and successful churches will fail in the storms.

The inscription over this discipleship center is “Well led churches take us above or through the storms.”

The central belief is “Discipleship is Mobilization.”

Be led well by them to be safe, satisfied and successful.

Centering on Jesus’ special power..

Centering on Jesus’ power for safety, satisfaction and success will fail in the storms.

The inscription over this discipleship center is “Faith can still every storm.”

The central belief is “Discipleship is supernatural power”.

Be powerful like Jesus to be safe, satisfied and successful.

Centering on Jesus’ special commands

Centering on Jesus’ special commands for safety, satisfaction and success will fail in the storms.

The inscription over this discipleship center is “We must all be the same.”

The central belief is “Discipleship is Conformity as a group.”

Conform together to be safe, satisfied and successful.

Centering on Jesus’ special information.

Centering on information for safety, satisfaction and success will fail in the storm.

The inscription over this discipleship center is “Supernatural information prepares for the storm.”

The central belief is the “Bible information is discipleship.”

Learn the Bible to be safe, satisfied and successful.

Centering on Jesus’ special works.

Centering on the special works of Jesus for safety, satisfaction and success will fail in the storm.

The inscription over this discipleship center is “God is with those who do the good works Jesus did.”

The central belief is “Imitating Jesus is discipleship.”

Imitate Jesus’ works to be safe, satisfied and successful.

A Universal Fact.

No one ever abandons the center from which they live until a better center from which to live appears. Only when a safer, more satisfying and more successful way to live appears will a person make the move to the new center.

Knowing this move is only made when such a center is placed within reach of all, Jesus’ plan for new centering or discipleship is revolutionary. It is beyond special things, people or plans. It is perfect. It is available to all equally right now. In his own words Jesus said it was near. It is within.

Every believer need only look within to find the perfect center from which the Christian life lives. It is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Safety, satisfaction and success abide in every believer right now. Safety, satisfaction and success are not a place. It is a living center named Jesus.

How strange it is that we work so hard to build special places to center disciples when the perfect center for all discipleship is a person who abides in every disciple from the moment of new birth. We frantically build outside as if something outside could become perfect enough to be an equal center for all. As we frantically build our new, special cathedrals for centering disciples, centering perfection waits unnoticed and unwanted within.

Whether the reason for building these special Jesus places is good or bad, these very special things and places cannot be the center from which believers live and find safety, satisfaction and success. As centers they must be abandoned. As manifestations of the center, may they grow and be governed from the center!

Make no mistake, many things in which we invest so much of our time and effort can be special. Still, they are never perfect and never available equally to all They are never available equally to all in the storms so they cannot be the center Jesus promised. Anything that is not the same for all cannot produce oneness.

Only abiding in Jesus, who is the center of our lives, makes us all one in the only true safety, satisfaction and success. Centered in Him, let the storms come.

The church is one to the extent that it lives from the same center. That is far beyond the oneness we seek in the special things we do in Jesus’ name.

Jesus is the true center. Are you centered? The storm is upon you. The perfection is within you.

Abide in the true Vine to be safe, satisfied and successful.

“Be of good cheer.”

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Best I am and the Best I have

I have always been fascinated with definitions. Over the years I have come to believe we rise and fall on our definitions because we are constantly interpreting reality according to our definitions.

For example, here in Brazil the definition of a traffic law would be better understood as a suggestion not a a rule. This may not sound like a big deal, but anyone who has driven here will understand that double yellow lines on a highway are mostly for decoration and not obedience. That makes a big difference in the real world. Now that I know that traffic laws here are suggestions, I drive expecting people to do pretty much what they please. When I get back to the USA I change the definition back to a rule and not a suggestion.

How do you define love? Is it a suggestion? A rule? A priority? A life?

One of the best definitions I learned many years ago for love goes something like this....
"Love is behaving toward others the way God has behaved toward us in the person of Jesus Christ."

I have used this definition for many, many years and it has served me well as I have moved through the messy traffic of life.

One of the more recent definitiions I have used is one I have developed personally over time.
"Love is giving relentlessly to another the best one is and the best one has."

Do these two definitions match? I believe they do. God is relentlessly giving us the best He is and the best He has. He is giving us Himself in the person of Jesus. This perfect, relentless love now abides in me so I can begin to relentlessly love in the same way.

When you define love as anything less than Jesus, you just turned love into a suggestion. Love is not a suggestion or a law.
Love is a relentlessly giving person. To love is Christ. To be loved is Christ. The best God is and the best God has is mine and yours right now and relentlessly forever. Relentless love abides in me! Relentless love is what I can now release.

When you read the sermon on the mount the next time you will see that the life being described by Jesus as salt and light is a life of sustained, relentless love. Even our enemies are to receive the best we are the best we have. That is far beyond a suggestion or a rule. It is a life. It is Jesus' life.

The best we are and the best we have is Jesus. The love we give is the love we have received and will forever receive.

Jesus told us to "abide" in His love as He was abiding in His Father's love. Jesus is inviting each of us to live from the best He is and the best He has moment by moment. The fruit of this receiving is relentless love released--the best we are the best we have released for others.

Define love as anything less than Jesus' best for us, in us and through us moment by moment and life's traffic will soon become a source of real frustration and danger.

Someday love will not be a suggestion in the world. We better get used to love now because in the Kingdom of God all traffic flows on love.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Ask 15--China

"God orchestrates our circumstances to educate our faith." Oswald Chambers

From time to time the Lord opens our eyes to His ability to orchestrate circumstances over long periods of time.
Today was one of those eye opening days for me. Today, Oct. 22nd, was also my 40th spiritual birthday! It was a very good day.

I received word this morning from China that the new Satisfying LIfe course I prepared for use in English speaking churches has now been translated into Mandarin Chinese. The way this happened was a God orchestrated event.

Back in the early 80's Pam and I with our young family started the Bible Baptist Temple in the city of Sao Jose dos Campos here in Brazil. This is the same city where we now live and ministry through Abide Brazil ministries. A young couple named Shu and Cida joined our young church.

During our 1987 until 2005 absence from Brazil and this city, we had lost contact with Shu, Cida and their children. Upon returning to Brazil we met again and Shu took an interest in the Abide ministries. He has recently retired from an international career in business which included long stays in China.

When Shu and Cida recently announced they would be visiting their daughter who now lives and works in China, Shu offered to take a copy of the Satisfying Life material with him to see if it could be translated. Here are the two e-mails he sent. I hope you can see God at work.

Dear Pr. Bud,
It has been 3 weeks since I came to Shanghai, 3 blessed weeks. I found a church with some 4000 members, with morning and evening services in Chinese, and 2 afternoon services in English preached by an American pastor, the English service members have also small group meetings during the week. I gave the pastor one copy of the DVD to be used in his small group meetings, and asked him feedback for the material. I gave him the author's permission to make as many copies as needed to be used in the church or SGs, but not for sale.
I also found a young Chinese pastor from a city 4 hours by train from Shanghai, he is a college graduate and took seminary after college. He works in a local church as co-pastor, his English is good and his Chinese is excellent. He writes articles for the local Christian Journal, he gave me a copy of it with his article. So I believe he can make the translation of the booklet without difficulty, and he accepted the challenge. I also gave him a copy of the DVD. I do expect him to finish the work before my return to Brasil. Let's pray God that this happens. After the translation, another friend and sister in Christ will insert all the Bible texts mentioned in the book and put the whole work into digital format. If eveythings works out fine with the help of God, I may have a copy the the book in Chinese in a CD. As we last spoke and if you still agree, I will check the translation after the pastor delivers the work.
Trust that you are well and fine. Best regards in Christ,

Dear Pr. Carlos, (Bud)

Praise the Lord!! How wonderful God is!! I have just received the translation of the Satisfying Life in Chinese. I reviewed it once and am very happy with the translation, professional job. I have it in digital form and will review it once again in Brasil. I asked him to translate also the DVD, he recommends to use the legenda (words on the screen) instead of the dubing, maintaining the original voice, because most Chinese prefer to watch and listen in English with Chinese characters written on the screen. This should take longer time than the book, but my Christian friend here can take it and mail it to me in Brasil when it's finished.

I know that without God this job could never be done. He prepared the pastor and his heart, not in Shanghai as I originally have thought. I was also impressed by his willingness and readyness to help. God is great, praise the Lord.


As you can see, God has used a relationship of many years and a lifetime of business contacts to make this happen.
When God plans things and we cooperate, anything is possible.

The picture is of Shu, Cida and their daughter.


Monday, October 01, 2007


I am beginning to see that all of creation glorifies God by giving its "fruit" as it was designed by God to give. The fruit of the sun is light and warmth. The fruit of the rain is satisfaction of thirst. By being predictable and available, sun and rain bless everyone by simply being what they were designed to be. As humans, we were designed to be predictable in two ways. We are to be predictably loving God and predictably loving our neighbor. Jesus was the only human to ever be 100% predictable as love.

Faith is relaxing in the predictability of God. "He is.... and He rewards". This kind of rest in God's predictability creates rest for our souls (mind, emotions and will). A sign we are bearing fruit is that those closest to us can rest in our presence. We are predictable! We love. By being lovingly predictable, we are not a cause of more soul disturbances in the life of another.

To love is give the best of me and the best I have to others--including enemies-- 24/7 and moment by moment. This is why I must go the extra mile. I must give the best of me even when someone is only demanding one mile. One mile is simply what is required. The best of me is the Vine-Jesus. The best I have is the fruit of the Vine. I give what I receive--the best of Him and the best He has. "Without Me you can do nothing."

Think of all the things we have to deal with each day because we cannot predict how others will act toward us? We arm ourselves. We lock ourselves behind alarm systems and bolted doors. We erect defense systems emotionally to protect our feelings even from those who say they love us. We are prisoners of unpredictability. Possessing and protecting seem to be our only hope.

Abiding is to live in the predictability of God's love toward us moment by moment in the Vine. By abiding we are released from the prisons of unpredictability.

Think of the vulnerability of a vineyard. Its protection is in the tenacity of its life (Vine) and the eyes of its protector (Vinedresser). Think of the fruit that these two predictable and unchanging sources can produce. It is the branches that must abide in these predictable sources 24/7 and moment by moment. "Abide in my love (predictable) as I have abided in my Father's love (predictable).
Fruit is the visible manifestation of God's predictability received by us. "His mercies endure forever".
To bear fruit is to make God's predictable love visible and available to those in my world so they can rest.

When I am no threat to anyone and a source of love then I am bearing fruit. I can only become "no threat" if I can learn to live in God's predictable love in Christ.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Ever Learning


1. Jesus is God’s perfection for us and in us.

2. God demands a perfect life. That perfect life is Jesus. That perfect life is in me right now.

3. The difference between Jesus and me is simple. He was 100% satisfied in God 24 hours a day and seven days a week, and I am not.

4. Affirming each day who I am in Christ motivates me to live accordingly.

5. Living for God is to enter into the flow of God’s intentions which never change.

6. I must receive, rejoice and release. The “source of source” wants to flow through me.

7. The most important thing I can do to start each day is to be a great receiver.

8. Abiding is enjoying a barrier-free relationship with the Vine-Jesus and releasing what the Vine wants to give to others through me.

9. Abiding is the only way to be of any use to God.

10. Fruit that remains is the satisfaction that comes to me from God and now remains in someone else as well.

11. The health of a church is determined by the level of satisfaction being found in God.

12. No church can move faster than the speed of its satisfaction in God.

13. Essence must precede effort in church life. Essence is determined by what we receive, not what we do.

14. Confession of sin is needed so I can locate the place where I became an outcome controller instead of a loving decider.

15. Confession of sin is needed so I can find the place where my heart closes to God and to others.

16. I sin less only because I abide more.

17. Remembering is critical to my spiritual well-being. I must remember before I can reckon before I can run.

18. Listening is first of all spiritual disciplines because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Listening is receiving.

19. A blessed person is one who is like a little child who can only live by receiving from a source of continuous love.

20. To be perfect is to live with a heart completely open to God and a heart completely open to man.

21. Living now with an open heart is true spirituality.

22. Now is what God is allowing to reveal the true state of my heart. My open heart right now is my witness and my opportunity to glorify God.

23. Glorifying God is to reveal His open heart. His heart never closes.

24. Seeking my happiness is to seek God. Seeking my happiness must be my first priority in life.

25. The pursuit of happiness is not evil. To want to feel good is to want to feel God.

26. Complexity is of the devil. Simplicity is of God.

27. When I cooperate with God’s intentions I feel like a man who just ate a wonderful meal for free.

28. Spiritual habits are life disciplines that put me in the best position to receive all Jesus is constantly willing to give to me.

29. The Sermon on the Mount is a description of the kind of life that will emerge when I am perfectly satisfied in God 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

30. To believe is to receive. To increase my faith means to increase my capacity to receive what God has done, is doing or will do.

31. The Kingdom of God is a place where every heart remains continuously open to God and everyone else.

32. To pray in Jesus’ name is to pray in harmony with His intentions.

33. Every church can be perfectly healthy.

34. No church lacks anything. Having Jesus, they have all they need to succeed. They must improve their receiving, not their doing.

35. There are no bad places for a church to exist. There are only places where great receivers must be present.

36. The church needs to go in the direction of pain if we are going where Jesus is going.

37. Success is taking love’s next step. It is moving forward with an open heart toward God and man.

38. Perfection is living with a heart open like God’s.

39. Everything and everyone must be seen through Jesus’ eyes and treated according to His intentions.

40. The goal is God’s glory. When His character is made perfectly visible and available, all will be well.

41. A healthy church is one in which every branch is experiencing true satisfaction in the vine and releasing that satisfaction without hesitation or judging.

42. I sin when I seek satisfaction apart from the vine.

43. The Christian life is as simple as receive, rejoice, release. It is as simple as receiving from Jesus what He is ready, willing and able to give, enjoying now what he is giving and releasing to others what has been received because there is more where that came from.

44. I am always obsessing on something or someone. When I obsess on Jesus the best me emerges naturally.

45. Jesus was behaving naturally 100% of the time. His essence was so at peace with the Father that his effort and effect always revealed God’s glory.

46. Every church can have perfect health, produce much fruit and become a vineyard full of abiding branches glorifying God.

47. As a branch in the vine, my concern should be the vine, not the fruit. The vinedresser will watch for the fruit he wants and do all the pruning necessary to produce it.

48. The greatest compliment I pay to God each day is to show up empty and ask.

49. Being perfect is always about right now. I am perfect moment by moment and that is only possible if God’s moment by moment perfection flows from His open heart through my open heart.

50. One simple question can inform my behavior toward people in sin. “How should we who will never die treat those who may never live?”

Monday, September 03, 2007

Ask 15

At the beginning of 2007 we asked our Abide Partners to "Ask 15". This list of goals included the desire to see 15 international connections for the Abide Ministries. I have learned from this "Ask 15" that one must be ready to "Act 15", too!

Because we asked, I am on my way to India over Christmas. That is what can happen when we ask! Our world expands and we must move toward the open doors.

Back when I was pastor of the First Baptist Church of West Hollywood, a dear family from India joined our community of faith.
The Maken family became dear friends. Mani and Pam Maken dreamed of seeing a church built in India so the people they love could hear about Jesus and the abiding life. Well, that dream is coming true and the building the Makens have helped to build will be dedicated on Dec. 23rd. On Christmas day a citywide celebration will also be held. I am to be the guest speaker at the Maken's request.

That means a 22 hour flight and being away from family on Christmas. We asked! It will be an honor!

I will also be holding a one day retreat for 50 pastors and sharing the Satisfying Life course in English with translation into Hindi.

Now I need one more prayer. "Ask for calm flight". As you know, I only fly by faith alone. Any other way and I would not get on the plane.


Friday, August 17, 2007

The Second Adam and Eve

One of the most interesting names given to Jesus is the title "Second Adam". What Adam publicly did to move us away from God, Jesus, the Second Adam, publicly overcame. As the public respresentatives of humanity Adam #1 and Adam #2 influenced us all. The title "Second Adam" gives the clear message that God has not moved on to a "plan B" in the universe.
God still intends to use human beings as the image bearers of God in the universe. The "plan A" was perfect apart from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

There is no mention of a second Eve in the Bible. There is, however, a bride mentioned for the second Adam. That bride is the church and it would seem that what Eve was to the first Adam, the church is to the second Adam. The church being, in a sense, like a second Eve represents a permanent relational future for humanity. The church is going into the future with the second Adam. He is our future.

The first Adam and first Eve did not resist the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They lost their future and ours as well. The second Adam was able to live 100% satisfied in God day by day and moment by moment. He would not accept anything that came from the world, the flesh or the devil as a stimulus for His behavior. His perfect life secured our future forever.

The church, the second Eve, must prepare herself for her future wedding by learning that God is enough moment by moment.
To learn to leave the tree of the knowledge of good and evil alone is Eve's preparation for the wedding and God's future for mankind.

Reading the sermon on the mount gives us a very clear picture of what leaving the tree of the knowledge looks like in the world where the church now lives. In every word of Jesus there is a clear call for his future bride to find God satisfying enough to die to the world and truly live.

Finding satisfaction apart from God as represented by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is deadly to any relationship as the first Adam and Eve proved once and for all. Finding satisfaction in God moment by moment in our world is life to any relationship as the second Adam proved once and for all. Now it is time for the bride of Christ to see that our preparation for eternal relationship with Jesus has already begun. We need to find God satisfying right now. We need to abide in His love as He was abiding in His Father's love.

A One Question Life


Life is complex for most people. They have more questions than they have time to answer. The have more stimulation than they can respond to. Living in this world of confusion about right and wrong and maximum stimulation can leave anyone overwhelmed and weary.

When we look closely at the life of Jesus, we see an absence of complexity. He was a man who lived answering only one question moment by moment. That question was “Father, what is your will for me right now?” He was a man who was stimulated from one source which was His Father’s will.

I recently met a man who has delivered mail on a daily basis for over 20 years. His entire job description is deliver. It is not his job to judge or condemn those who receive. His job is to simply deliver. It is not his job to control those who receive. It is his job to deliver. He looks at an address and delivers. That is his entire place in the complex city where he lives and works. He delivers. Hundreds of people depend on him to deliver.

Jesus delivered, too. He delivered an accurate picture of God. “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” He delivered love to his disciples day by day. “As the Father has loved, so I have loved you.”

A branch’s life is to deliver what is in the Vine. What if we suddenly realized that our only job is to deliver? What if we left the other details to God and stop trying to control things we don’t like? What if we simplified each moment by looking at the person standing in front of us and said “Lord, this is the right address, give me exactly the right message of love, compassion, forgiveness or joy and I will deliver it!”

How simple. I exist to deliver the fruit of God’s perfections moment by moment. What a great way to live!

Jesus said we are the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world”. Sounds like more delivery to me. When we deliver the good things of Jesus who dwells in us, we are the most like Jesus.

Abiding Life Coaches

There are moments in our lives when dreams become reality. When they do they are often surprise us because they happen in ways that are different than we had expected. Our very first Abiding Life Coaches training was just such a pleasant surprise.

Abding Life Coaches training is a 20 hour spiritual retreat designed to equip local church leaders in what we call the "Abiding Dialog". Jesus discipled His first disciples by combining His perfect life with a day by day dialog about the Father's will. Jesus was the focus and the inspiration of the abdiing dialog and their day to day life with Him was the context and subject for the dialog. Abiding Life coaches learn to focus new disciples on Jesus' perfect daily presence as the True Vine until they learn that He still inspires us moment by moment to do the Father's will.

From August 12th-15th in Naples, Florida Pam and I met with 10 discipleship leaders from the International Bible Baptist Church of Miami, Florida for the first ever Abiding Life Coaches Training. In a spacious, rented home these leaders were preparing for an eight week churchwide focus on The Satisfying LIfe of Jesus.

The churchwide focus on the Satisfying Life of Jesus includes an Abide Brazil small group DVD curriculum desgined to initiate the abiding dialog throughout the church family. These leaders came together to begin the dialog which they will lead in the church. Pastor Russell Johnson of the Miami church will preach eight messages focusing on the perfect life and presence fo Jesus so everyone will have the opportunity to join the dailog.

When we focus on the perfect life and presence of Jesus in us, we discover that the inspiration to live the Christian life is in us 24/7 and moment by moment. Truly, he who has Jesus lacks nothing.

Bud and Pam

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Abide Training Center Begins


August 3-5th marks a new phase of the Abide Brazil ministry. We now have our own space in the mountain city of Campos do Jordao where the dialog about the Satisfying LIfe of Jesus can take root in people's lives. The very existence of this special place is a a miracle of God's provision.
When God wants something to come into existence all He needs is willingness and cooperation among His branches here on earth.

A special thanks to all who have believed in this special place. Someday I pray all who gave and all who prayed can come and learn with us here in Brazil.

Friday through Sunday 39 of us spent over 8 hours in study and many more hours in conversation. Though the room is desgined for only 6 or 7 couples, we discovered that Brazilians can make it work for 39!

Good is good.

Bud and Pam


Thursday, July 26, 2007

July-August Update


ABIDE Prayer and Praise
August 2007


o We have completed two years in Brazil and have our permanent visas. God is good!

o Better health has replaced a phase of physical challenges.

o Construction in the mountains is coming to a beautiful conclusion.

o Publishing projects are just about finished and ready for use in the USA and Brazil.

o Our support has adjusted month to month through special gifts to offset the falling value of the dollar.

o Our daily radio broadcast will begin in August.


o Wisdom and balance in a very busy schedule.

o Continued health and safety.

o Expansion of Abide Brazil to other languages and countries.

o Publishing of materials here in Brazil and in the USA.

o More monthly supporters who believe in the Abide message and life.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Matter of Life and Death

There is a man in our church who lost his left hand in an accident when he was a young boy. To see him in action using only one hand is to witness the definition of adaptability. He is amazing to watch. Still, I would never want to lose a hand unless it was a matter of life and death. In this man’s case it was a life and death situation that took his hand. His wonderful, adapted life is testimony to the choice he made to let the hand go in order to save his own life.

Jesus talked about losing a hand in Matthew 5:30 “And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.”

To me this has been one of the strangest of Jesus’ sayings. For some reason God has kept this verse on my mind for the past few weeks. Here is what He has shown me about the symbolism of cutting off one’s own right hand.

When it comes to sinning we are in a life or death situation. Sin requires that something drastic be done and we must choose to do it based upon the life and death choice that is before us every time we sin. There is nothing more serious than dealing with whatever it is that makes us sin.

Once I have identified how I repeatedly reach for sin with my right hand, I must publicly and permanently admit I cannot stop reaching. By cutting off the hand I make a statement of my public and permanent inability to stop reaching for something that I know makes me sin. Hand cutting is symbolic of public and permanent poverty of spirit.
Only public and permanent poverty of spirit can set the stage for no more sinning.
My missing hand says to me and to all who meet me “Bud couldn’t stop reaching”. The only way to stop sin is a life of public and permanent “I can’t” in the presence of Jesus.

All spiritual progress against sinning begins with the “I can’t” of the missing right hand. Still, the spiritual life does not stop at the cutting of the hand. I still need to reach for things. Only now, I have to ask someone to reach for me and with me. That someone I ask is Jesus.

When a desire to reach for something returns, I need to look at the permanent and public symbol of “I can’t”, turn my attention to Jesus and then ask Jesus to reach for me. It is amazing how quickly I know what He will and will not reach for once my right hand is gone! The painful, public and permanent “I can’t” makes the right kind of reaching with Jesus a public, permanent and joyful possibility. “I can’t” sets the stage for the “I can”.
As Paul said in Phillipians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

To abide is to live the life of a branch. A branch knows it is 100% dependent on the Vine for the reach of it’s life and fruit. The Vine reaches through the branch. The branch can’t reach on its own but the branch can reach if the Vine wants it to. That is why Jesus said “without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

Do you have a missing right hand? Have you concluded what it is you cannot stop reaching for? Everyone one of us who sees sin as a life and death issue should have a missing right hand which is a public and permanent statement and reminder. Everyone of us should willingly admit we could not stop. When we saw stopping as a life and death issue. we decided to make the cut with our own ability and accept the fact that we can now only reach and enjoy what Jesus is willing to reach and hold for us and with us.

Abide Brazil ministries and our growing international outreach will only function through people who are missing their right hand. Don’t be afraid to make the permanent and public cut with your own attempts to stop sin. Go public and permanent with your inability and you will begin to release the reach of Jesus in the place of your reach for sin.

I would love to hear your comments!


Saturday, July 14, 2007

A Quiet Influence

July 15th marks two years since we arrived back in Brazil. What a ride these past two years have been!
July 11th also marked another birthday for Pamela Ruth McCord. What a blessing Pam is!

A group of Pam's friends surprised here with a small party. They recognize Pam's quiet influence. Truly, Pam's influence "sneaks up" on you. Without using anything but the quality of her life and words, Pam wins people over to a more godly life.

Just recently the head maintenance person in our building was saved and baptized. Can you guess who influenced him?
If you had been in our church a few weeks back you would have seen him being baptized. Pam went into the baptistry waters with him since it is the custom of our church for the person who most influenced someone to come to faith in Christ to do so.

It is no small thing for someone to give you this honor at their baptism. This dear man wanted Pam to witness his baptism since she was the quiet influence that made the difference.

I am so glad God reveals Himself in so many ways. I especially like Pam's style of influence. It sure has worked on me!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

A Flower's Life

Living on the 9th floor of an apartment building has its advantages. The view is great and I don't have to cut the lawn. There are some downsides to apartment living, too. Smelling the neighbor's lunch cooking each day gets a little old. All in all apartment life is what it is and adapting to it is part of the process of our life in Brazil.

One of the things I miss is being able to see plants like the ones that surrounded our home in the USA. I loved looking out the windows and seeing plants and flowers growing freely in our yard.

The architects of the building where we lived must have had this in mind when they built a small planter outside the main window of our dining area. The small planter is home to our small collection of plants.

These noble plants and flowers live between concrete, iron protection rails and a net we have up to keep small kids from falling through the window. Our plants live in a 12 inch space trapped inside protection that has nothing to do with them and their needs. Still, the plants are just as beautiful as any plants of their kind in the world. There nature has not been altered by the small space and the confining iron and netting.

As I see the plants each day, I am reminded that the life of Christ in me is able to thrive anywhere and bring beauty to any place.
At times I see Christians in such confined and cramped realities that I want to plant them in another place. Then I notice that they are there not for themselves. They are there because their beauty is makes a huge difference on the 9th floor of someone's life. The Great Architect put them there for now. He knows that the people who seem so bent on protecting themselves from everything have created crazy structures in which to live. So, He lets some of His prettiest flowers live their lives in tiny, cramped spaces. He knows they will be O.K. and He sees to their well-being every day.

Are you living trapped by other people's fears and need for protection? Let the life of Jesus bring beauty to that space right now. One day there will be no more cramped spaces for you. God is preparing your place in His Kingdom and there will be great views but no elevators, ninth floors or cramped lives. Thank God!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

This Moment

As Pam and I have been traveling with the TIME team from Miami, we have been reminded again and again how quickly our life passes by. It seems like only yesterday we brought our first team to Brazil back in 1976. Over thirty years ago we stepped off a plane in Rio with a group of young adults. Some of those young adults are now over 50 years of age!

It is easy to get discouraged with the passing of the years as one watches the energy of youth. Yet, there is a way to embrace the changes that come as time is flying by. We can learn to embrace each moment.

One sign of true spiritual maturity is to learn that the Christian life is one moment at a time. The Christian life is the life of Jesus in us. His life is forever the same in us moment by moment.

We look on the outside for support and affirmation. He is on the inside and He is our support and affirmation. He is the same and we can embrace this moment as just as important as any moment.

Our oldest son, Ken, Just turned 35 years old. I remember being 35 like it was yesterday. I believe a 35 year old man is at his very peak of development. For me, 35 seemed as if I was ready for whatever my calling from God would bring. Little did I realize at the time that being 35 was a moment with Jesus just like the moment I am living now. Right now is a moment for my calling and my complete life in Jesus.

The physical world is not the place to look for affirmation and support. The place to look is into the timeless and perfect life of the One who abides in us.

Saturday, June 30, 2007


Pam and I are hosting a group of young adults from the International Bible Baptist Church of Miami. They are wonderful!
Over the past 5 days we have shared the Gospel in 15 different settings in and around the city of Campos do Jorão. Our audiences have been mostly teens in public schools.

Normally these kids from very poor families are not receptive to groups once they get past 15 our 16 years of age. The Time team holds their attention and a real bond takes place.

So far, we have given the message of Christ to over 3,000 and we still have four days to go.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Map

The Map.
Imagine for a moment that you are a military leader fighting a determined enemy. It seems that every time you make an attack you end up in the wrong place. Your continual losses leave you weakened and afraid. Over time this sense of loss and failure causes you to want to quit the war and give in to the demands of the enemy.

Suddenly you discover the source of the problem. The enemy has put false maps of the battleground into your hands. Every time you plan an attack, you have been starting in the wrong place and you always end up in the wrong place.

Having the right map is critical to any strategic plan. Starting in the wrong place guarantees weakness and loss. Ideas have consequences. Wrong maps produce wrong ideas and wrong consequences every time.

Over the years I have come to believe that our enemy Satan has given God’s people a false map for discipleship. His maps look good but they purposely start in the wrong place. Satan’s discipleship maps start in man and in what is lacking.

Satan’s discipleship map causes us to begin at a place called “ LACK.” When we use the enemy’s map we end up weak and suffering loss every time. For disciples of Jesus, starting at “LACK” can only lead us to “LOSS.” No wonder the enemy changed the maps!

The right map for discipleship is found only in Jesus’ words. Truly, He is the way, the truth and the life. There is no “Lack” on His maps.

God has given us the words of Jesus as the discipleship map for the children of God.
It is a map that begins in God and His abundant Vine. The very first words on Jesus’ map are “Blessed are…” and every page has the words “Fear not…”

In the battle for souls, instead of starting at man and what is lacking, we must now start at God and His Son’s perfect abundance. Starting at Jesus puts us where we must be to disciple others away from the enemy of their souls.

We are each responsible for the map we choose to use in the battle. For this reason Jesus repeated over and over again the word “IF” when talking to His disciples. “IF” you abide means “IF” you start in Me moment by moment then you will arrive at the glory of God. You must choose your map.

This is a very old battle and the warriors of old like David had a good map. His map started with the words, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” That is a good map but the one marked “Abide in Me” is even better. It is for today and for today’s battles.

Make no mistake, we are in a war for the souls of men. Satan has changed the map and we must abide in Jesus’ words or we will be weakened and suffer even greater loss. We must start at the place marked “ABUNDANCE” in the Vine. Start anywhere else and you will find yourself arriving at a place called “LOSS.”

It is not easy to change our old map in the middle of the battle, but we must be absolutely sure our discipleship battle map is consistent with Jesus’ every word. We must look closely at our map because our Enemy never tires in His hatred of God’s abundance. He wants you to start at “LACK.” The enemy of our soul knows when we start at God’s “ABUNDANCE” in the true Vine that means he ends up at “LOSS” every time.

Check your map. If it doesn’t clearly say ABIDE find the one that does. There is a battle raging and you need to be there moment by moment.

Abiding In His Abundance,
Bud and Pam McCord

Monday, June 11, 2007


One of the most interesting things about Brazil is its vast size. Brazil is bigger than the continental USA. It really is surprising how different Brazil's reality differs from region to region. Traveling throughout Brazil leaves one wishing it were possible to live in five or six different cities at the same time. It is never boring here.

This past week I visited a city that is new to me but famous to all Brazilians. I was guest speaker at the annual pastors and leaders conference held in the northern Brazilian city of Fortaleza. What a city! What a conference!

Fortaleza is home to over 3 million and it has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. A mix of beauty and poverty, Fortaleza is home to the Central Baptist Church led by Pastor Armando Bispo. For the past 24 years this dynamic man of God and his dear wife have seen God gather a congregation of nearly 4,000 in weekly attendance. The church is among the finest I have ever seen on any continent. Their energy and passion for Jesus is truly inspiring.

Each year the church hosts a leadership conference and over 500 pastors and leaders come from all over Brazil. The year the theme was "Leaders that Abide". I fit right in! What a privilege it was to preach for hours and hours to this hungry team of leaders.

Fortaleza has become the home to many, many Europeans who are taking advantage of the strong Euro and the excellent weather in Fortaleza. It is amazing to see how "small" the world is becoming day by day. One can see the day not far into the future where Brazil will be seen as a key player in world affairs.

Fortaleza is worth a visit. I, for one, will be going back and wishing I could call Fortaleza home, too.

Pictures from top....
First--Bud speaking at evening session
Second-part of Central Baptist Pastoral team
Third --Closing service of Conference
Fourth--Conference leaders Orlando and Chris
Fifith--Conference theme--Leaders who Abide
Sixth--Evening sessions
Seventh-- Senior Pastor Amando Bispo and wife with Bud