Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 in cities

1. Daytona Beach, FL
2. New York City, NY
3. Washington, DC
4. Irvine, CA
5. Hershey, PA
6. Fairfield, CT
7. Phoenix, Tucson, Sedona, Grand Canyon, AZ
8. Savannah, GA
9. Winchester, VA
10. Poughkeepsie, NY

Here is the map. Sadly, all in the United States this year.

Previous years in cities: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 in Books

1. The Last Lecture
2. Two Views on Women in Leadership [notes]
3. Culture Making [notes]
4. Habits of Highly Successful Families [also from 2008]
5. Axiom [notes]
6. Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters [notes] ** best read book of 2009 – can’t say enough good things about it
7. Missional Renaissance
8. Fight for Your Money
9. The Blue Sweater [notes]
10. Wide Awake [notes]
11. God's Continent
12. The Monkey and The Fish [notes]
13. Church Unique - need to reread this
14. Sheet Music [ow ow]
15. The Hole In Our Gospel [notes]
16. The War of Art [notes]
17. Biblical Eldership
18. 200 Pomegrantes and An Audience of One
19. The E-Myth, revisited
20. Find Your Strongest Life [notes]
21. Built to Last
22. Jesus Loves You
23. Movements that Change the World [notes]
24. How the Mighty Fall [notes]
25. Design Thinking [still reading]
26. What The Dog Saw
27. Visioneering [still reading]
28. Primal [notes]
29. My Sisters Keeper

I have to tell you though, for all these books I read this year, my reading of the Bible was pathetic. Looking to change that in 2010, but I'm not going to publicize it, just in case...

Related: 2008, 2007.

Monday, December 28, 2009

If You Can Stand The Sadness

Did you catch this most profound scene from My Sisters Keeper?

And cue Eldredge...
"Miss that moment and you'll miss a boy's heart forever. It's not a question - it's the question, the one every boy and man is longing to ask. Do I have what it takes?" Wild at Heart, p. 62

"every little girl – and every little boy – is asking one fundamental question. But they are very different questions depending on whether you are a little boy or a little girl... Little girls want to know, 'Am I lovely?'" Captivating, p. 46

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Dear Kt,

On this day, as many many before, you continue to overwhelm us. We are amazed at you, your heart for the world, your willingness to risk, your desire to do the right thing. You are growing up to be an amazing woman of God - compassionate, empathetic, resolved to make the world a better place. You dance the line between weeping at the world's tragedies and basking in the miracle of living.

Know that the great Story will require all the wit, strength and dedication you can muster as well as a deep walk hand in hand with the master Storyteller. For this, we expectantly watch, that the nations will be glad because of you.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Book Notes - Primal

Loved reading Mark Batterson's new book, Primal. If you know about NCC, you know about what a unique church it is and the kind of impact they are having in DC and around the world. An environment like that can only be created by dynamic leadership and Primal is a great way to get into lead pastor Mark Batterson's head.

Mark wraps the book around four main ideas - compassion, wonder, curiosity and energy - paralled with the Great Commandment, loving God with our heart [compassion], soul [wonder], mind [ curiosity], and strength [energy]. It's a fun interplay on the ideas and I enjoyed having a different frame of reference for them.

Here are some choice quotes:
+ The very first revelation of God in Genesis is that of an Artist. And the very first reaction recorded is His reaction to His creation. - God saw that it was good.
+ Quantifying and classifying always lead to demystifying. And when you demystify God, you're guilty of intellectual idolatry.
+ When we forget where we come from, we forget where we're going. And memory failure certainly puts the future of the church in jeopardy.
+ I wonder if our lack of creativity stems from a false definition of faithfulness... Faithfulness is not doing it the way it's always been done. Faithfulness is not holding the fort. Faithfulness is not defending the status quo. Faithfulness is the courage to incarnate the gospel in creative ways... Faithfulness is playing offense for the kingdom even if some Pharisees find it offensive.
+ The Aramaic word for "prayer" means to "set a trap."
+ Reformations are not born out of new discoveries. Those are often called cults. Reformations are born out of rediscovering something ancient, something primal. They are born out of primal truths rediscovered, reimagined, and radically reapplied to our lives.
+ Compassion, wonder, curiosity, and energy are nouns. It's our job to turn them into verbs.

I'm lucky to see NCC as a close observer, since I'm local to DC and have some friends who are involved there. But all of us are fortunate that Mark has put some of his thoughts into book form. Pick up a copy - you won't be disappointed.

Disclosure: I was provided a copy of this book for review purposes.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Making Friends at Urbana 09

If you know about missions and are in the US, you know about Urbana. Starting in just 6 days, it's one of the largest college aged missions conferences. I've never been but heard great things about it. This year, I've got some friends that are going that you should meet.

Dennis - youth min professor in Mexico City
Emilie - former SPACE intern
Trevin - current Ember guide
Patti - short term coord for Grace

Also, this looks like a cool place to connect if you use twitter.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Making It Public

Dear Sven and Tricia, if you don't impact the world with your lives, I will come and hunt you down. Love ya, TTS.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Beyond Beyond

Grace wrapped up the Beyond series a few weeks ago and the planning team met last week to decompress the series. [See some of my notes here] A discussion like this centers around the idea of engagement - how do we engage our community of faith, can we influence others to influence others, what can we do to help people act upon what they have learned?

Three quick ideas from our discussion:
+ The relationship between interest, execution and momentum.
Sometimes when you generate a ton of interest, you have to give it a bit of time before people will actually commit to doing something about the idea. Momentum takes time to build - you might accidentally be trying to execute too soon.

+ The Beyond+Joyous Giving raised an amazing amount of money.
Grace takes a "Joyous Giving" offering every November to help people in and near our community during the holiday season. This year, this idea was combined with the Beyond series to help fund a few other needs with some overseas partners as well. The amount of money raised - all for external needs outside of "our ministry" - was amazing. Even in this economy, people want to be invited to join with others to take steps of faith.

+ We have to help people to either identify or to move forward in these big bucket roles in the global missions movement:
Pray | Send | Welcome | Mobilize | Go
You can probably see how this one is a big one to me. To that end, we are planning on a "Missions Launch" gathering to help people identify and go to the next level with this idea. Contact me if you might be interested.

Friday, December 11, 2009


The interns are required to, among other things, write a 'synthesis paper' during their internship. This paper is to have a core idea along with some data and experience to prove that idea. We've been tossing around some thesis statements, thought you might enjoy reading some of them. The blanks are to be filled in, but I filled them in just for fun.
The highest quality of a movement leader is ______. [adaptability, compassion, love for humanity, discipline]
Communities of faith should evolve at a faster rate of the culture they are in.
The best way to ignite a movement is with ____. [indigenous people, strong leadership, outside investments]
In the future, a missionary will look like a ____. [cultural architect, engineer, tribal elder]
Comparison of cultural impact of Christian missions vs. ____. [MTV]
Christian missions is the best vehicle to save a culture.
Technology is hurtful to the movement of Christianity.
Peer driven leadership is the most effective model for local student ministry leadership.
Leadership case study - everyone likes them okay versus some love and some hate them.
The next innovation in student missions is _____. [identification and cultivating the apostolic]
Sustainability/multiplication in a missions movement.
Glad I don't have to write this paper. It would be too long for a blog post... ;-)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Wednesday Burn

:: @NickKristof on how to connect people to important causes
What would happen if aid organizations and other philanthropists embraced the dark arts of marketing spin and psychological persuasion used on Madison Avenue? We'd save millions more lives.

:: Fascinating read on Jim Collins
Read this if you want an example about hyper-measuring purpose and intensity...

:: 100 Top Global Thinkers
Lots of our favorites on here. Tons of links to articles and check out the reading lists.

Monday, December 07, 2009


Most of us will never understand migration from a personal point of view. Populations of the world have been moving - and will continue to move - at unprecedented rates. I believe in the conviction that this is one of the primary shifts God is orchestrating in world demographics.

The Ember interns and I spent a little bit of time this weekend helping with a Middle East Christmas welcoming party. Through a connection with one of the party planners, we spent a few hours helping behind the scenes for a party that was focused on recent immigrants. We didn't get a ton of time actually interacting with the guests, but we did get a short glimpse into their culture.

I loved a ton of elements from the party, including: the hosts having a police officer talk about basic laws; lots of donated goods including kids Christmas gifts and gently used clothing; creating a space for recent immigrants to connect with each other; and some middle and high school kids who served as small group hosts to shepherd the little kids through crafts, games and the works-in-almost-any-culture-for-boys video game room.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Wednesday Burn

:: Must read about malaria from Gladwell
...Fred Soper, who ranks as one of the unsung heroes of the twentieth century. With DDT as his weapon, Soper almost saved the world from one of its most lethal afflictions. Had he succeeded, we would not today be writing DDT's obituary. We would view it in the same heroic light as penicillin and the polio vaccine.
And yes, I'm loving Gladwell's new book.

:: Reverse Culture Shock
and how to deal with some of it.
via @danalynbyers

:: heard at #VergeLA we don't measure our success by how many come to our meeting but how many people we influence outside our meetings
- @DJChuang