- You are not your audience. Everyone does not think like you do. Don’t make bad assumptions.
- Rhyming or starting each point with the same letter doesn’t make your message more memorable. It makes it seem cheap.
- Avoid cliches always. (n.b. We should only get to use some version of “life is a journey” once in our life. Let’s assume you’ve used your chance.)
- We probably don’t ever need you to tell us how the dictionary or “Webster” define anything. Never use any version of the phrase “according to the dictionary…”
- Avoid using “you” when you mean “I”. (e.g. “When someone yells at you, you feel angry.” should probably be “When someone yells at me, I feel angry.”)
- If it’s boring for you to write or say, it’s probably boring for us to read or hear.
- Velveeta is not cheese.
- Don’t use more words when fewer will suffice.
- You can put cream and sugar in your coffee, but you’d be wrong.
- Inspire creativity in yourself by getting out of the ordinary routines. Fill your head with new stimuli and then create.
- Never read from your notes or recite your own words from memory while speaking. Talk naturally through your ideas.
- Never be the hero of the stories you tell.
- Find opportunities to reveal your passion and personality in your speaking. But don’t forget to be gracious.
Stuff I Like:
A good wine glass
86% dark chocolate
All-metal Parker Jotter pens
Reading to my kids
Friends at my dining room table
Stuff I Don’t Like:
Fast food restaurants
Low sodium soy sauce
Disposable plates and utensils
Velveeta and “American” cheese
the middle seat on airplanes
Pig brain tacos
Mint flavored desserts
Pets (yes, even yours)
Sentences with hashtags instead of words
Feel free to remind me if I missed something.
In the past 2 months, I traveled to Nigeria and Cambodia.
Both of these trips were for ministry and I am better because of them.
In April, 300 young girls were kidnapped from their school by a terrorist group called Boko Haram. As I learned and prayed more about this (and the many other abductions like it) happening in that country, I felt compelled to go. God gives me a love that makes my going unstoppable. In May, I went to Abuja, Nigeria.
I went to Nigeria not because I think it needed me, but because I was moved by the tragedy of the girls’ abduction & if I was one of the fathers, I would find some comfort in knowing that people loved enough to come from far away to stand with me.
I went there to love & learn. I think I succeeded.
Some of the things I did in Nigeria:
- I spoke, preached and prayed at 2 churches in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.
- I attended and spoke at rallies in support of action to rescue the abducted girls.
- I met and prayed with the Governor of Borno (the state where the girls were abducted). I was also invited to return and travel as the guest of that governor to pray with families of abducted girls.
- I participated in a simultaneous prayer vigil event held and broadcast at the Nigerian Embassy in Washington, DC and a church in Abuja, Nigeria.
- I ate one too many snails.
- I got embarrassingly ill after eating chicken from a road-side stand.
The girls have still not been returned. As of today, It has been 74 days since the girls were taken. We continue to pray for their safe return. We’re also considering further action we can take.
One of the possible outcomes of the abduction is that the public outcry against Boko Haram would cause that terrorist group to be broken. That’s our prayer also.
In June, I traveled to Phnom Penh Cambodia because I was invited to help to plan and develop a program to train Chinese missionaries who will plant churches among unreached people in Cambodia.
The result of the trip is that there is a training program for Chinese mission interns now operating in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The program is modeled after the Hillside Missions internship program. More work is needed, but they are already up and running with 9 residential Chinese students. Awesome.
The World Horizons USA and Hillside Missions teams are now working to support this training initiative. We’re excited to see waves of Chinese missionaries making disciples in Cambodia.
Initially, John and Christa H. (missionaries with Act Beyond) had asked me to come to help them to discuss and plan for how to develop a mission training internship somewhat modeled after what we’ve built here in Richmond. Their aim is to train and mobilize Chinese missionaries into Cambodia (and eventually other nations). I have known and worked among Chinese peoples with the Harrills for about 12 years.
Samuel, a long-time Chinese missionary to Cambodia, and John H. have been working together with Chinese people in Cambodia. Samuel recently joined World Horizons as a field member. Jonny H. (World Horizons Cambodia team leader) is also supporting the development of the project.
In the long-term, the hope is that a multi-organizational collaborative training program for Chinese missionaries could grow in Phnom Penh.
I left Phnom Penh very encouraged. I believe that the time and resources are very right for this. I’m also encouraged by the collaborative prospect that this entails. We are planning a follow-up trip in October to continue to support the formalization of a mission training program there.
Some of the other things I did in Cambodia:
- I met with Hannah Look in Phnom Penh as she arrived to begin a 5-month externship as the final stage of her mission training with Hillside Missions.
- I ate Japanese food, French food, Mexican food, Cambodian food and Indonesian food.
- I spent time with old friends and made some new friends.
- I taught the 9 Chinese mission students
- I thought about tattoos
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.
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
2 cups fresh corn kernels, pureed
1 cup fresh corn kernels, not pureed
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
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.
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.
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?
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?
This list is in progress. Feel free to contribute thoughts.
The bare minimum essentials:
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.