25
Apr 14

Today began with coffee in the shower.

Today, like everyday, began with a cup of coffee in the shower. Yep.

And the work day began like every weekday in the office. We had a prayer and devotion meeting while sitting on pillows in the small carpeted meeting area of our office/art gallery. On Fridays, instead of reading the next chapter of the Bible as devotional material, we discuss the week’s headlines and pray. This is where I had a second cup of coffee.

james on carpet 1400 x 395 40

This is the carpet where we meet and pray. That’s not me.

Then, I had a meeting with our Mission Mobilization team members (6 of our staff members working to recruit, train and send new missionaries to the field) to discuss new strategy and our current plan to recruit for next year’s internship (it begins in September. Read about that here).

Mobilization team

This is Carlos, Kaitlyn and Emery at the Mission Mobilization meeting.

After the meeting, I answered some emails about some upcoming events and church services. We attend a lot of events to speak about mission among unreached peoples. I also spoke with a couple people on the field in Central Asia.

Then, I met with a staff member to go over a debrief summary report (a summary of a set of meetings and conversations we have to help missionaries to be equipped to manage re-entry into their home country healthily) to be sent to a missionary who recently came home from several years on the field.

At 11:30, I met with one of the participants in our Mission Training Internship to talk about her post-internship trip plans and needs. She’ll be going long-term to a country in the Middle East. We talked about fundraising, decision-making, disciple-making and a few other things.

my office

This is my office. Some of my meetings and lots of my work happens here. Can you find the hula dancing doll?

I went to lunch at a restaurant near us here in downtown Richmond, VA with 3 other staff members and one staff-member’s mother. We sat outside. Since service at the restaurant was very slow today, I also had to take a scheduled call to talk with someone from another organization about how to get a ministry internship program started. This is when I had my third cup of coffee.

We walked the 4 blocks back to the office and joined the rest of the staff to write our newsletters and blogs. The 4th Friday of every month is “Newsletter Friday”. We set aside 90 minutes per month in the office to write updates to our friends, families, supporters etc. I’m now drinking my fourth cup of coffee.

After writing this blog post, I will meet with Ben, our office’s resident artist and Art as Mission ministry leader to talk about the new art gallery exhibit he will open in our organization’s art gallery (Our art gallery has become one of the most popular art galleries in the city of Richmond).

Ben

This is Ben making art.

Tonight, I’ll go home and throw my kids around the living room a little bit while they shoot me with nerf guns and otherwise attack me. Then I’ll make dinner.

jumping

This is a photo of the time I taught my family how to jump.

Later tonight, I will teach some ESL classes for Rosetta Stone. I will also probably grade some assignments for the courses I teach for Liberty University while watching TV with my wife, Yurihn. I will not be drinking coffee.

Every day I work toward accomplishing short-term goals along with 3, 5 and 10 year goals. We will make the world better by working hard to accomplish big things that can only be done with long-term work and investment. We pray and work so that people and nations will know about Jesus for the first time.

 


04
Mar 14

Some good things I’ve learned from people.

I’ve learned good things from people. I’ve been thinking about a few of those things and people today.

These things made me better.

From my former manager – Tony K.
You’re not fully dressed unless you’re wearing a belt.
Always carry a pen.
Never have a meeting without a printed agenda.

From the pastor of the church I grew up in – Joe J.
Commitment to a cause can be measured by a person’s checkbook and date book.

From my 5th grade teacher – Mr. Wiseman
The Old Man and the Sea is Good Literature
Simon and Garfunkel is good music

From my 7th grade History Teacher – Mr. Bagley
You can call the country “ear-rack” or “ear-rock”, but you may not call it “eye-rack” or “eye-rock”

From my former youth pastor – Carl R.
Men should behave as knights. Women should be treated as queens.

From my mother
There is no such thing as too much compassion.

From my father
Spelling always counts.


09
Oct 13

My Corn Bread Stuffing Recipe

Ingredients:
2 small packages of corn bread mix
2 pounds loose Virginia sausage
8 ounces decent red wine
16 ounces dried berries and grapes
2+ cups chicken stock
4 stalks celery
1 onion
2 cups fresh corn kernels, pureed
1 cup fresh corn kernels, not pureed
Sage
Black pepper

1. Bake a pan of cornbread (a boxed mix is OK) with corn added. (some blended and some whole kernels). Crumble it when cooled.

2. Drink the red wine.

3. Cook 2 pounds of loose Virginia sausage.Season it with black pepper and sage. Drain it well and set aside. Leave a small amount of grease in the pan and discard the rest.

4.. In 2 cups of chicken stock, cook 4 stalks of chopped celery, 1 chopped onion and 16oz or so of dried fruit/berries/raisins until tender. Season with sage, salt, pepper.

5.. Mix the sausage, crumbled corn bread and vegetables together into a casserole dish. Adding more stock if the mixture is very dry.

5. Bake for 20 minutes at 300 degrees


09
Oct 13

A small window into my days

I lead a Christian mission ministry from its U.S. headquarters office.

Weekday mornings, I sit on a pillow on the carpet in the office. The 12 to 16 of us meet there to read and discuss the next chapter of the Bible, pray and then talk about tasks and projects. Jonny, one of interns training to do mission, will lead the Bible discussion today. Each of the interns are learning and practicing to lead Bible discussions.

After the morning meeting, we work.
I balance most of my office time between planning and organizing the ministry’s next activities, corresponding with our team members living on the field in other countries and teaching the interns. This morning, I will lead our group of 7 interns in a teaching discussion about the theology of mission.
These interns have come to learn to do mission among the world’s least reached nations. A few months from now, those interns will be sent to various field team locations for a 3 to 6 month mission “externship”. They will then come home and make decisions about long term mission.

Lunch happens.
Interns usually go upstairs to their apartments above the office to eat. Most days I teach online classes over lunch. I teach online for a few different schools as a “side job”.
If I’m not teaching for lunch, I like to go to the restaurant across the street. I love being a regular at a restaurant. I’m writing this from my usual seat at that restaurant right now. I’m drinking espresso.

We work in the office until 5pm.
This afternoon, my wife will teach a session on Spiritual Gifts for the interns, and the staff will each work on the tasks of their ministry area. I will speak, via Skype, with at least one of our missionaries on the field, assign tasks to other staff and prepare some speaking notes for a message I will give later this month at a church in Indiana.

This work is more than a job. It is how I am living toward the accomplishment of my prayers and it is how I respond to God’s call.


30
Jul 13

Eight Commandments of Facebook Etiquette

1. Never post an “if you were a decent human, you would click ‘like'” message.
2. Never let a game or app automatically “invite” your friends to play.
3. Make love not war.
4. Do not re-post urban myths, religious conspiracy theories or other spammy nonsense.
5. Never use a shirtless photo of yourself as your profile photo.
6. Learn the meaning of the words “literally” and “random” before you use them.
7. Think twice, post once.
8. Understand the concept of the “humblebrag” before you post.

Do you have one or two for the list?


29
Jul 13

Questions I think I’ll ask about the boy my daughter wants to marry

Does he love God more than life?
Does he have purpose?
Does he have big dreams?
Is he smart enough to make his dreams happen?
Does he work hard?
Does he do what he says he will do?
Does he appreciate truly good food?
Does he know it’s more important to be generous and gracious than frugal and efficient?


23
Jul 13

Preventing Idiocy: Classes people should take as adults

This list is in progress. Feel free to contribute thoughts.

The bare minimum essentials:
Creative Writing
Visual Design
Public Speaking
Hermeneutics
Statistics
Geography
Philosophy
Nutrition

Electives:


20
Jun 13

Bad Conscience Medicine

Be true to yourself.
I have/don’t have a peace about it.
That’s not my calling.
Just do what makes you happy. That’s all that counts.
It’s OK, we cracked a window.
It’ll buff out.
I’m just sayin’.
I’ll do it later.
I sent an email. I’m waiting for a reply.
Why go far away when there is so much need in your own backyard.
God closed that door.
God opened that door.
That’s just what I believe.


23
May 13

You can support Art as Mission for the sake of disciples yet to be made in the nations.

Hillside Missions Organization and World Horizons USA are two mission organizations collaborating to make disciples among the world’s least reached nations. One of the ways we’re accomplishing that is by innovating with Art as Mission. We need this effort to be collaborative. We need many people to be personally invested in our work through art as mission among the least reached. Our mission organizations currently have about 400 people in 30 different countries. We can imagine Art as Mission as an important and fruitful model for ministry and disciple-making in those places and in nations where we have yet to work.

We’re working to get churches excited about doing mission in those parts of the world where there is no access to the message of the Gospel. And, we’re working to get 50 new missionaries to those places by 2017. Some of them will be missionary artists.

Our Kickstarter project funded successfully!

Would you please consider donating to this project and be invested in doing Art as Mission excellently?

I explain it a little more here:


19
Mar 13

I’m in Indonesia

I left Phnom Penh for Indonesia early yesterday morning. During my 4 hour layover in Singapore, a friend picked me up and we went to lunch. It was my first time in Singapore and since we left the airport and had a good meal, I can now add Singapore to the list of places I’ve been. We also visited Bill’s office and walked quickly around downtown. Here’s a picture of my friend Bill with his office team in Singapore. Bill is the white guy.

image

I got to Surabaya, Indonesia at about 5PM and my friend Quan and a new friend Pastor Indro picked me up and took me to dinner. We ate well. Last night I stayed at a Bible school run by a church. There are almost 50 students studying Bible and ministry here. This is a good place.