08
Apr 15

My Rules for My Life – another incomplete list

On Food and Drink
Drink your coffee black.
Drink your whiskey neat.
Eat your beef medium or medium rare.
Eat your beef.
Cook with butter. Never use margarine.
Make bread.
On Family
Kids are portable.
Don’t take your kids everywhere.
Eat together.
Fight with Nerf guns.
On Friendship
Love big. Need people and tell them you need them.
Put others first.
On Gifts
Give gifts that have good personal meaning and value.
An inexpensive, but thoughtful gift is better than a gift that is only valuable because it’s expensive.
Give gifts.
On Restaurants
Avoid chain restaurants.
If you must split a check, give more than you owe and never take out a calculator.
Tip 20% minimum.
Never send food or drinks back simply because you don’t like it.
If someone at your table needs more time before ordering, say so. Help the waitstaff avoid the awkward long-pause.
On Grace and Class
Bodily functions and emissions shouldn’t be discussed or exhibited with anyone other than a doctor. And even then, it’s probably not that necessary.
Never snap or whistle at another human being.
Commenting on the physical attractiveness of a third party is almost always a bad idea.
Learn people’s names.
Be a friend first, Facebook later.
React small to the bad stuff.
On Reading
Always be reading something informative and something shallowly entertaining concurrently.
Read on a Kindle reader.
Read first, Facebook later.
On Health
Eat healthy and exercise just often enough to be able to eat unhealthy and relax often enough.
On Fashion
Never tuck in a collarless shirt.
Dry-cleaned and professionally laundered clothes are good for the soul.
Buy more shoes.
Wear more rings.
A sportcoat makes it look better.
Don’t put tattoos where they can’t be easily hidden.
On Productivity
Work hard. There’s big stuff to do.
Prioritize your schedule. Save your “dessert” for last.
Write everything in Evernote first.
Build your life toward some big, scary and right goals.
On Faith
Decide to believe.
On Other Stuff
Avoid the trendy stuff.
Use and carry an all-metal Parker Jotter pen.
Listen to the music that moves you – even if they laugh at you.
Tell people about the good you notice in them. Don’t withhold love and praise.

31
Jan 15

Road Trip Rules

I love road trips with our teams of staff and interns. We often rent big vans and drive to events for our organization. Here are some of the rules.

1. No human gaseous emissions.
2. No touching, lap-sitting, massaging, head-resting on/with a person of the opposite gender – unless it’s your spouse.
3. No headphones. Be with us.
4. The driver chooses the music.
5. No ketchup.
6. No chain restaurants. We will eat good food.
7. Garbage always goes immediately into a garbage bag.
8. No uninvited backseat driving.
9. No whining.
10. An arbitrary number of good-will points is awarded to those stuck in a middle seat. 


24
Jan 15

Stuff from a Communications 101 class

  • 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.

28
Oct 14

Stuff I Like and Stuff I Don’t Like – an incomplete list

Stuff I Like:
Black coffee
Carrot juice
God
Cooking
A good wine glass
Wine
Whiskey
86% dark chocolate
All-metal Parker Jotter pens
Reading to my kids
Reading to other people
Sport jackets
Rings
Tattoos
Warm bread
Butter
Sushi
Shoes
Meats
Cheese
Cities
Kindle E-readers
Friends at my dining room table
Nice restaurants
Dive bars
Stuff I Don’t Like:
Fast food restaurants
Instant food
Airplane food
Generic Q-Tips
Camping
Low sodium soy sauce
Sit-coms
Laziness
Disposable plates and utensils
Velveeta and “American” cheese
The middle seat on airplanes
Pig brain tacos
Mint flavored desserts
Whining
Low-fat ______
Pets (yes, even yours)
Sentences with hashtags instead of words
Suburbs
When people say “I’m too honest…”
Casseroles
Feel free to remind me if I missed something.

27
Jun 14

Why I went to Nigeria and Cambodia

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.

Nigeria
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.

The teams of World Horizons USA and Hillside Missions worked hard and well to be sure the trip was fruitful. I think they 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.
I spoke and prayed at this church in Abuja. Many of the congregants here are relatives of abducted girls.

I spoke and prayed at this church in Abuja. Many of the congregants here are relatives of abducted girls.

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.

Cambodia
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
teaching chinese mission students in cambodia

That’s me teaching mission to Chinese students in Phnom Penh.


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


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?


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.