Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 in Cities

01 - New Freedom, PA, USA
02 - Charleston, SC, USA
03 - Hilton Head Island, SC, USA
04 - Katoomba, NSW, Australia
05 - Southport, QLD, Australia
06 - Sydney, NSW, Australia
07 - Fairfield, CT, USA
08 - Washington, DC
09 - Sicily, Italy
10 - Athens, Greece
11 - Vouliagmeni, Greece
12 - Selbyville, DE, USA
13 - San Diego, CA, USA
14 - Newport Beach, CA, USA
15 - Los Angeles, CA, USA
16 - Sturbridge, MA, USA
17 - Abu Dhabi, UAE
18 - Al Reem, Abu Dhabi, UAE
19 - Tybee Island, GA, USA

Standing goal - out of the USA once a year.

[2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 in cities]

Saturday, December 29, 2018

2018 in Books

Thirst, Scott Harrison *
The Power of Moments, Heath brothers +
Drive, Dan Pink
Unclobber, Colby Martin
Redeeming Sex, Debra Hirsch *
The New Copernicans, John Seel
Powerful, Patty McCord
Draw the Circle, Mark Batterson
Love into Light, Peter Hubbard +
The Messy Middle, Scott Belsky *
Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson *

* highly recommended
+ did not finish yet

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Happy 21st!

Dear Katie

Happy 21st!

Now you are officially legal and officially responsible. Of course, you've been responsible long before this - responsible for the things you have seen that most of us have not.

You are also responsible for your soul. No one will care about your growth and development except you. This also requires you to think and act properly to those you serve and bless and deeply understand the why behind the what.

Mommy and I are thrilled at your life. We are your biggest fans. Keep living life to the full.


Monday, December 17, 2018

Better Practices - The 40 Day Rule

This is a series of posts that outline our better practices - tactical things that you could do right now that The Ember Cast has found highly profitable for growing global leaders. Feel free to use these ideas with attribution, meaning just say, "I got this from The Ember Cast."

We have a 40 day rule for returning summer teams. It is strong encouragement that no one makes a major decision within 40 days. Getting a new job, starting/stopping a relationship, dropping out of high school, etc. The motivation for this encouragement is to detach emotion from action.

It is easy to make commitments while still on an emotional upswing from a cross cultural experience. We think it's actually wiser to let emotions temper before making big commitments. If your decision is sound and smart, your plan will still work after you've calmed down and decompressed.

The other piece to the 40 day rule is to spend it praying about your experience. For your hosts, for your team, for the people you met, for yourself, that you continue to grow in grace and character.

If you are involved with short term teams, put in a system to help your participants make smart decisions after their time on the field. It might look something like this 40 day rule or not, but detaching emotions from decisions should be part of it.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Friday Burn

::: How do European Countries Differ in Religious Commitment?
Link via Justin Long

::: How I Made Sure all 12 of My Kids Could Pay for College Themselves
Link via Terry Storch

::: Your Phone is a Tool Not Your Boss
This is incredible. Most of you should read this and do at least a few of these.
Link via Tim Ferriss

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Meeting Culture

A few weeks ago, I attended a lunch time gathering of supporters/partners for a little refugee drop in center we've been doing some work with. The main goal was to introduce partners to each other so they knew who was who. Another goal was to share milestones from 2018. They've got a Christmas outreach coming up so some of that was talked about too.

This center is in early stage start-up ministry mode. Founder working 24x7 on anything and everything. Communications is either non existent or all over the map. Partners don't know other partners, they only know the founder - he is the central hub and they are spokes. There is not much process and no one knows quite who is in charge of any given initiative or project. So much chaos. I love it.

In the Western world, we want a schedule and a point of contact. Our host said, "In the Middle East, we don't have deadlines."

Monday, December 10, 2018

From Intern To

One of the first summers of the existence of The Ember Cast, we partnered with Serve the City Baltimore to deliver a few talks for one of their teams. This was the first time I met Deanna [yes, same name as my wife], 7th from the right in the black shirt. She would later join us as an Ember intern - before we renamed our intern program to ProtoGuides.

Deanna joined us as an intern for literally almost everything we did. She was pretty much constant for 18 months, including two summer teams, lots of student gatherings, a few large scale training events, and at least four culture service learning weekends.

Since her time with Ember, she finished college, got married, moved to Philly for a season, led teams to Latin America and Asia, and is now going to be serving on a local college campus with her husband in vocational college ministry. We're thrilled for the Lord's call on her life and expectant about this next season. Ember might be partnering with her ministry with some things around our core competencies too.

Not everything we do works out great. And the cycle of return is at least four years. But there's a few bright spots that we keep in touch with that makes it stick: Emilie 06, Trevin 08, Tricia 08, John 10, Drew 10, Carolyn 11, Wendy 12, Deanna 13, Hope 14, Tess 14, Lindsey 14, Shannon 15. Keep on, the world needs you at your best.

Friday, December 07, 2018

Friday Burn

Big Tech has Your Kid's Data and You Probably Gave it to Them
... by the time a kid turns 18, there will be 70,000 posts about them on the internet.

::: Five Year Trends from the US Census Bureau
For the 2013 to 2017 period, among the geographic areas with 10,000 people or more, the locations with the highest median household incomes were, by county and county equivalent: Loudoun County, Va.; Fairfax County, Va.; Howard County, Md.; Falls Church City, Va.; and Arlington County, Va., were among the highest counties by median household income.

::: The IRS is now on Instagram
Tag away.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Senior Senioring

College envelope for Em... and it was an acceptance with a good amount of scholarship money. It's that time of year for many seniors.

This particular school is Biola, in So Cal. We've all loved and been impressed with the school. Most notably for me, they have hosted one of the longest running student missions conferences in the US.

Proud of our Em. More decisions soon.

Monday, December 03, 2018

Thoughts about Giving Tuesday

+ I don't want to feel this way because I know Giving Tuesday has great intentions. But it always feels a bit dirty to me. Like a flea market, where people are trying to get you to see the stuff on their table. It feels like the lowest level of engagement when it comes to working with charitable donors.
+ Even with that, it took a few simple clicks to create a fundraiser on Facebook for The Ember Cast and we raised a good bit of money relative to our budget.
+ There were a few people that I only interact with when they are trying to fund something. It's commonly referred to as ministry partnership but it really is sponsorship. If you are reading this, it's not your fault - you asked and I gave. To their credit, I asked if they would be willing to give to Ember too and they all did, one incredibly generously.
+ If you are giving or receiving, my encouragement to you is to set the bar really high when it comes to engaging with your donors and charitable organizations. I know for The Ember Cast, your attention and trust is worth way more than your donations.