Eye-Opening Vasectomy

The man-to-man medical chit-chat about vasectomies is light-hearted and common place.  We “bust each others balls,” so to speak, about the snip-snip and being a eunuch.

Then yesterday, I read that, actually, female sterilization is twice as common as male sterilization.  Twice.

What?  So what was the chit-chat of the snip-snip?

Then more shocking news.  According to this New York Times’ article, the reason that women are twice as likely as men to be sterilized is “cultural expectations about what truly defines a man.”

What?  What?  Defining a man?  Is that what my buddies think define them?

It is times like these that I wonder if I live in an alternate universe.  The guys I know (if they are being honest), have vasectomies and, though we do not specifically talk about it, don’t define themselves by the content of their ejaculate (this just become an adult post).

The article did go on to say that men who have vasectomies are “typically white, non-Hispanic,” live in the “Western regions of the country” and have “private insurance.”  Sounds like me.

When I went and saw Dr. Biggers (yes, that was his name) for my vasectomy, I thought I was doing what everyone else did.  I had no idea that it was twice as likely for Brenda to have a procedure than me.  I would have missed out on those post-op days with frozen vegetables on my lap.Balls

The lesson here isn’t about who gets snipped or why (although I do have some serious questions about that).  The lesson is that we all see the world through our personal lens.  That lens is developed by our culture, those that are around us, our region of the country and, even, if we have private insurance (which actually speaks to many things).

Let’s not “bust our balls” but actually better understand our varied experiences…as uncomfortable as they may be.  Just put some frozen veggies on ’em.





New CEO’s First Day on the Job

Jacinta CEO Intro Long
This comes from the Life on the Rutledge monthly enewsletter that gives short blurbs about the ministries with which Mason is involved.  Subscribe.  You can do so by clicking here.
January was a monumental month in the long history of CRISTA Ministries. It isn’t often that we transition between CEOs. CRISTA Ministries has only had six CEOs in its 69-year history. History was also made because we now have our first female CEO of CRISTA Ministries. On January 15, Jacinta Tegman took over the helm.
Vice Chair of the CRISTA Board, Jill Going, introduced Jacinta to the CRISTA employees the morning of her first day. It was a tremendous celebration and opportunity for Jacinta to share her vision.  You can watch the entire CEO introduction and Jacinta’s speech by clicking here.

Jacinta outlined “God’s plan for CRISTA.” She talked about her long history on the campus. How as a young teenager she worked in the laundry for just a few spending dollars. She shared the history of the campus, going back to the pre-CRISTA years, when the campus was a tuberculosis sanatorium. She talked about how this property became a place of hope in a difficult time for people being challenged and outcast by society.

Jacinta reminder the employees that while we are an organization that operates with professionalism and excellence, we are more than just an organization. “We are CRISTA Ministries,” she said, “not CRISTA Industries.”

And what does it mean to be CRISTA Ministries in this new era? Jacinta outlined four points to our common calling:

  1. Serve and Love God – “Our first ministry is to Him and to be transformed by His love, mercy and grace.”
  2. Serve in Mission – “We are called to serve needs. It’s as relevant in 2019 as it was 70-years ago…Ministry means service.”
  3. Service to Each Other – “We must trust the potential in each of us.”
  4. Service to Community and World – “Let us step into the world’s pain and make a lasting difference in Jesus name.”
It was a powerful first day on the job. In the campus’ long history – before titles, organizations or jobs – it was evident that God has been active in this place. “We don’t do the work of God,” Jacinta said. “We join in the work of God. This is a ministry to serve the needs of people with the love of God.”
“We are in the business of hope and the world is starving for it,” Jacinta concluded. “Let us be brokers of hope.”

Pray Specific for Baggage Fees

This month at World Concern, we are praying for $1.96 million in new funding.  That is $1.96 million to be received in this 30-day month.

I had someone say, “Why not just pray for $2 million?”  I thought, “Because after the diligent work of our accounting and income processing people they have determined we need $1.96 million.”  He responded, “Have you met accountants?  You should pray for $2 million.”  Needless to say, this guy was in sales.

When I look at the Bible and the use of figures, numbers and currency, God does not round.  It wasn’t “about 10 disciples.”  They didn’t catch “around 150 fish.”  Baskets didn’t return with a “few loaves.”  Twelve, 153, 5 and 3, 70, 40 and a whole bunch of other numbers were used in exact figures in the Bible.

The God of the Bible is an exact God.  We aren’t whirling out into space on an approximation…”I’m glad that worked.”  He has numbered your days…God is not thinking you will live “for awhile.”  Recall that this is the Lord that knows the very number of hairs on your head.

In the Jewish mindset numbers were very specific.  They didn’t round up, down or simply change figures, because numbers meant something.  Specific numbers were important in the Biblical times, they were important to God and they should be important to us.

Figures may be intimidating.  Even as I share raising $1.96 million in one month, you may think, “Holy cow” (we’ll get to that).  By having an exact figure, we may miss the target and that is disappointing.  We don’t want to be disappointed, especially in our efforts, prayers or especially, God. Our figures are not intimidating to God.  He had a plan.  This is the Lord that owns the cattle on a thousand hills.  Most of the time we just need a cow.

This isn’t just about numbers, God also wants us to do the work.  The Bible is clear that if we are faithful with the small things, God will bless us with the big things.  J. Robert Clinton of Fuller Seminary calls it the 16:10 Principle.  It’s based on the verse, Luke 16:10, that says if you are faithful with the small things, you will be faithful with the big things.

Should you really expect God to answer your prayers for $1.96 million if you don’t even have the ability to truly know if you actually need $1.97m, $2m or $1.7m?  The scripture and personal experience has shown me that if you are not faithful with the small things, like being specific, God will not bless you with the big things of life.

For a time I was managing a number of ministry budgets that were in deficit.  This required a deep dive into ministry operations and budgeting.baggage.jpg

As I poured over budgets and talked to Executive Directors, there was one consistent.  They all had various issues, from lack of income to a bad hire to an event that lost money, that put them in the red.  But there was one expense that all of them had in common.  Each of these ministries had paid a baggage fee for a plane trip.

In their season of mandated money micromanagement, I asked, “Why?”  They responded, “It was just easy.,” “I didn’t have time to pack,” “Wasn’t sure what to do.”  This was the themes to the answers…a general lack of planning and inattention to the small things.

So then I started to look at surplus budgets in-similar organizations.  Those ministries did not have expenses for baggage fees or book orders from a local book store or a large Starbucks account bill (and Lord knows I like my Venti Frap).

Now does $25 for a baggage fee make a difference?  Not in $1.96 million.  What it pointed to is that they were not being thoughtful of the small things.  The thought was that $25 doesn’t matter.  They are correct.  It is a small amount.  It should not be sweated.  Yet, there should be a mindset that says, each little bit counts because it is all God’s and I will act and plan like that it true.

So the accountants have done the work.  We’ve check the figures.  We trust a big God.  And we are praying for $1.96 million this month.  Join in the fun.  Pray with us and let’s see what God does as we push to the end of the month.

Concussed by CEO Change

Unfortunately, I have had my share of concussions.  First, it was youth football.  Today its from packed snow while skiing and chip-seal while cycling.

I was recently diagnosed with another concussion.  The diagnose was three weeks after the head bang.  For a few weeks, I didn’t have good balance, forgot things and had higher levels of anger.  It was an odd existence first diagnosed by my wife’s observation and then the doctor’s examination.

The same time as my physcial concussion, our organization experienced a corporate concussing.  Our President and CEO of 12-years announced that, at 73-years old and having completed what he had set out to do, he would be moving on.  It was a bonk on the head of our busy business world.

Business GuyThis isn’t my first CEO transition.  I’ve been through others.  One was a violent bonk, after an SEC investigation and firing by the Board.  The other was a long process that still doesn’t seem entirely complete even though a new president is at the desk.  It may not have been violent but was no less challenging because of the length.

Not unlike a concussion on a person, an organization is impacted…

Lack of Balance — Everyone can feel a little out of whack with a CEO transition.  The higher you go in the chain, the more the unbalance.  People wonder about their own job.  There can be a general lack of security.

Memory Loss — In wondering about the future, organizations can drift.  “Will our mission objectives change?”  People can put mission work on hold or even lose sight all together as they spend their energy on future thinking rather than current implementation.  “Should I do this if our leadership is changing?”

Anger — Yes, anger.  Some internal employees won’t be considered for the job and they think they should be.  Some won’t like the selection.  Insiders may even apply and get mad for not getting the job.  There can be frustration, disappointment and outright anger.

So what do you do?  How shall you respond in the midst of a transition?

I couldn’t find a concussion protocol in the Bible, but I did find Jesus, Inc., a Family of Ministries, being rocked.  It’s in Mark 4 starting at verse 35.

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36a Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. 

Jesus kept moving.  He didn’t look to be the new CEO of the crowd.  He knew his mission and he kept after it.  The next step in the Great Mission was to step into a boat.  What is your next step in your portion of the organization?

36b There were also other boats with him. 

You may want to invite other people into this transition period with you.  Gather advisers that have experience in managing change.  Ask for their help.  Ask them to pray.  This is a key season, you will  need as much help as you can get.

Not all boats are there to help.  Some are just there to watch …criticize …complain …critique.  I wish this wasn’t the case, but it is true.  Everyone one, fans and critics, are watching your organization in this season.  You are being watched, please act like it.

37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.

This boat is in a serious storm.  There is a strong possibility that it may sink.  Your organization probably will not fold during this season.  That would be rare.  This is none the less a very serious time for your mission and you should act as such.  Your firm is in a furious squall.  Everyone needs to be aware and on-point, doing top notch work.

38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.

Jesus was asleep.  While in the storm, he was doing the very human act of napping.  Everyone does it.  Not a big deal.  You will notice in the life of Jesus that some of his most human of activities are followed by the most miraculous of results.  Take for example, his death.

HirinBossman Twog a new CEO is a very human task.  Every corporation does it, some many times.  A proper view of a CEO hiring is that this will be more than just a human act.  This will be an chance to take a human action and move the organization into miraculous opportunities.

38b The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

The disciples called on Jesus.  There is no more important action.  In the midst of your corporate transition or your own personal insecurity around a transition, call on Jesus.  He is the great teacher who is ready and available to help.

I also find it interesting that they ask if he “cares.”  Not “Save us!” or “Get up!” but “Do you care?”  In the midst of a transition, those in your organization will  wonder if anyone, including their boss and peers, cares.  Show you care.  Say you care.  I have a personal aspiration during our current transition to tell two dudes a day, “I love you.”  It’s important for folks to know that someone cares.

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!”  Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

The result of calling on Jesus was a miracle.  It doesn’t say that the wind and waves simply died down.  No.  Everything went immediately calm.  Jesus is going to do (actually is doing) miracles in your organization, especially in this season.  Be on the look out for them.  What amazing thing is God going to do?  Note them.  Talk about them.  Celebrate them.  They are going to happen (again, they already are).

40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”  41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

At the end of this interaction, the disciples are left asking “Who is this?”  They were afraid of a storm but when they saw what Jesus did, they had a great fear.

My hope is that when you get to the other side of this CEO transition that every individual will be moved to exclaim, “Wow!”  Ask, “How did that happen?”  And consider the greatest question ever asked, the only question that will be answered by every person – today, yesterday or tomorrow – “Who is this?”

So in summary, how should we live in our corporate concussed state?

  1.  Keep Moving.  Keep after it!
  2.  Call on Others.  Ask people for help.
  3.  Recognize the Season.  It’s a key time…and YOU get to be a part of it.
  4.  Look for Jesus in Simple, Human Activity.
  5.  Call on Jesus.  Pray.
  6.  Look for Miracles.  Jesus will respond and stuff will happen.
  7.  Take time to to consider, “Who is this?”

Your organization may be “concussed” during this CEO transition but…

A boat with Jesus in it may be swamped but will not go down.

A bush with God in it may burn but will not be consumed.

A tribe of God may wander but will not be lost.

And a organization with Jesus Christ at the center may be concussed by transition but as they work through it will come to know the truth of  “Who is this?”

Seattle-King County Prayer Breakfast: Intergenerational Leadership

One of the primary ways God is moving in Western Washington is in the integration of faith in the workplace.  The human construct of “ministry” as pastor or parish has been replaced by ministry reflected in your place and profession.

The movement has grown through the careful curating of business leaders, genuinely responsive church leadership (way to go, First Presbyterian Bellevue) and a handful of organizations, like KIROS or C3 Forum.

Prayer BreakfastThe Christmas or Easter event of this movement is the annual Seattle-King County Prayer Breakfast.  These attendees may be on the fringe of a C3 group or occasionally attend a KIROS breakfast, but the Seattle-King County Prayer Breakfast they attend regularly.

This year’s Prayer Breakfast was held this morning at the Seattle Sheraton.

The targeted purpose of this year’s event was intergenerational friendship.  It was stated that the average age of Seattle is 35-years old.  Young professionals are streaming into the region for new jobs and the Northwest lifestyle.  They are moving into the neighborhoods of a long-term population made up of experienced leaders steeped in generosity and innovation.  It is in this unique mix that the Prayer Breakfast invited us to engage.  There is a grand opportunity for generation-to-generation impact.

The keynote was from long-time Seattle attorney, Skip Li.  Here are a few of my notes from his talk…

Intergenerational Friendships

  • I found in these (intergenerational) friendships, like a love relationship, that there is a discovery process.
  • The deeper I get into (intergenerational) friendships, the more I learn about myself…I learn what I need to act on in my life.
  • Investment is the wrong word for a friendship with a young person…Friendship works in the exact opposite actions of exchange, agenda.
  • Skip offered his “Four Rules” here.  He did them so fast that I will have to post them after I am able to find them elsewhere…like maybe the bathroom of the Ave. House where he said they were posted.

Need for Development of Moral Intelligence

  • Moral compasses are so skewed today that they no longer function in the world.
  • We live in a bewildering moral wilderness…church or family can only take you so far…So, how do you do it?
  • Moral intelligence is the ability to live life doing the right thing regardless of the current environment.
  • Moral intelligence finds a way of out of confusion…It uses these roads:
    • The Road of Humility,
    • The Road of Sacrifice and
    • The Road of Faith… Roads that our culture long ago abandoned.


  • Remember the poor.
  • Pray for the poor.
  • Psalm 71.17-18

It was a powerful message and echoed in the introduction offered by Senior Associate of Centered, Jeff Vancil, “Don’t underestimate the power of simple friendship – it is the strategy of God.”

Notes from C3 Forum Leaders Retreat

This weekend I attended the C3 Forum Leaders Retreat at Alderbrook Resort with a number of good friends.  Here are a few notes from the time. These aren’t all of my notes but the notes of note, if you will.  Those in italics were even more significant to me.  I hope you find them helpful and encouraging.

Cary Summers, Museum of the Bible

God has put things/callings into you, but you are just not getting to it.

Who will go for me? – Isaiah 6:8

When God speaks the next thing we say or do is our answer.

  • This will determine the course of your life forever
  • Living in His manifest of His presence.
  • Live in the manifest of His presence.
  • All of us will have to answer.  There is no out, you must answer.

Your calling will involved a “customer”

Run to the goal line and die doing it – A statement against retirement.

“It will be a hoot and a holler” – Dolly Parton

Nehemiah made himself available.

  • Are you in God’s deal?
  • When you are in God’s deal, the rules (math, time, everything) change.

God do something crazy good today – Cary’s daily prayer.

  • God is going to do it
  • If you are willing to submit to Him
  • You can’t explain these moves

Sticking to the Vision – the following timeline of challenges will roll out…

  1. It will start by being Opposed.
  2. Then there will be Mocking.
  3. Conspiracy.
  4. Discouragement will set in.  Know this, God is not a God of discouragement.  He is a God of encouragement.  If you are discouraged, that is from elsewhere.  It is not from God.
  5. Scare Tactics will happen.
  6. Internal Strife.
  7. Hidden Agendas will develop.
  8. Diversion.
  9. Slander
  10. The last step is Compromise — What will be compromised…
    • Finances
    • Worship
    • Relationships

Engage Great People.

God puts the “steel” in you when it is just the two of you together.

If your vision is right, God will use you to touch others hearts.

We are running 100 miles an hour to get to the starting line.

Quality Negotiation

  • Negotiate with your shoes off.  Enter their culture and honor them in the process.
  • Don’t have a McDonald’s philosophy.  Good negotiation takes years and years of drinking coffee.  It’s not a “grab-and-go” drive-thru kind of deal.

Three Key Principles to Success

  • Hire good people and trust them
  • It’s not about us, it all about God.
  • “I wrote the last chapter,” God.


David Gibbons, Pastor/Artist/Consultant

God is doing something new.

Are we sleeping while awake?

Pain Continuim

  1. We try to cover our pain
  2. Then, as we progress, we Confess our pain
  3. We learn to Embrace our pain/brokenness
  4. The pain can become a Guide – The primary determination of our purpose is our pain – suffering.
  5. It can become a gift. – Most of us won’t get close to God without pain.

Stages of Innovation

  1. Echo – Like a child repeating words to learn.
  2. Experimentation
  3. Emergence – Where we find the essence.
  4. Entropy – It’s bare, simple and there is a lac of order.
  5. Elixir – We finally find the “magic” and this can sustain the innovation for life.
  6. Elegance – We need to learn to dance in the now, enjoying the creation.
  7. Exponential – Growing.

Don’t pick your box too small because you are going to live in it.

The church can create a vortex within it’s building that just keeps pulling it’s people to the center of the building rather than sending them out to the world.

Jesus only did what He saw His Father doing.

Do you know who you are?

The main movement in life is from illusions to reality – Parker Palmer

If you start relating to the people, God will show you the person, the one.

The first face I’m going to see is Jesus – teenage blind girl.


You are called.  You are your calling.

I can feel like a carrier pigeon.  I carry the message but it’s not for me.

Global Leadership Summit Day One Highlights

GLS LogoHere are a few of my favorite quotes from yesterday’s Global Leadership Summit…

  • “Passion is like protein. Find your passion, feed your passion and keep your passion bucket full.” – Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor at Willow Creek Community Church
  • The Banana Room.  Hybels shared that growing up their family business had a room, a break room, that always had bananas…the banana room. His dad would fire people in the banana room. Short, quick, no notice firings. Following each, Dad would come out of the room and look around as if to ask, “Any questions?”  Amazingly, there never were.
  • That perfectly round circle that Bill drew. That freehand circle was amazing.
  • “Leadership can be a legal drug that other parts of life cannot compete.  God never intended our vocation to crowd out the rest of our life.” – Hybels
  • “No humor at others expenses…ever.” – Alan Mulally, former President and CEO of the Ford Motor Company
  • “Most employees come to draw a salary, not a cathedral.” – Mulally
  • “Move from I to the We and from We to Service.” – Mulally
  • “I’m an impatient optimist.” – Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • “Faithfulness is not sitting on what you have been given, it is multiplying what you have been given.” – Jossy Chako, Founder and President, Empart, Inc.
  • “When people hear your vision they should understand the size and scale of your God.” – Chako
  • “Build character before you empower…Empowerment needs to be through relationships.  Without relationships you cannot know their character.” -Chako
  • “See risk as a friend to love not an enemy to fear.” – Chako
  • “Don’t let earthly priorities keep you from embracing the heavenly possibilities.” – Chako
  • “Don’t take your gifts and abilities to Heaven.  They aren’t needed in Heaven.” – Chako
  • “Only 36% of people can identify their emotions as they have them.” – Dr. Travis Bradberry, best-selling author and Co-Founder of TalentSmart
  • “When we develop our people, we need to have courage as leaders, as uncomfortable as it is to consistently confront or call-on people.” – Patrick Lencioni, Best-selling Author and Founder of The Table Group
  • “Bitterness and caving in are the two things we need to avoid.” – Lencioni

What were your highlights?  Any quotes from day one that you would add?

Global Leadership Day 1 Highlights

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from yesterday’s Global Leadership Summit…

Passion is like portien. Find your passion, feed your passion and keep your passion bucket full. – Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor at Willow Creek Community Church

The Banana Room.

That perfectly round circle that Bill drew. That freehand circle was amazing.

Leadership can be a legal drug that other parts of life cannot compete.  God never attended our vocation to crowd out the rest of our life. – Hybels

No humor at others expenses…ever. – Alan Mulally, former Chair of Ford Motor Company

Most employees come to draw a salary, not a cathedral. – Mulally

Move from I to the We and from We to Service. – Mulally

I’m an impatient optimist. – Melinda Gates, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation