Monday, November 12, 2007

Reflections of a Starbucks Barista

Today is my last shift working for Starbucks. It's 16.5 months since I started working for store 4666 on Innes and Lanthier in Orleans. I don't know if I will get used to paying full price for coffee now. As I look back on my life as a barista, here are some lessons I've learned.

1. Values must always be translated into a few measureable behaviors to mean anything.

2. Values and behavior must be reinforced often.

3. A strong system can make even the weakest partner look good.

4. It is important to manage someone according to both their motivation and skill level.

5. Management is no substitute for leadership.

6. Though the book is not exactly the same as the actual experience, aiming for an ideal and falling short is better than not aiming at all.

7. Choose your attitude. Be there. Play. Make their day.

8. The secret to the Starbucks Experience is the partners.

9. Just say, "Yes!"

10. Not everyone will be your friend but treat them with respect and dignity anyways.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

New Directions

I submitted my letter of resignation from Starbucks last week. It felt a little odd doing that. i guess I'm more emotionally attached to working there than I thought.

Anyways, I made that decision with the idea that I would be focusing on 4 areas from this point on:

1. Producing video teachings every month for UFCTC Philippines.

2. Developing SOULNET in Ottawa, Toronto and possibly California.

3. Building my business with ACN.

4. Writing a discipleship primer for the new movement in the Philippines.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Mark's Itinerary in the Philippines

I'm in the Philippines on a mission trip for the United Followers of Christ International Ministries (UFCIM). This was started by my late grandfather, Rev. Lingkod A. Juane many years ago to train pastors and church leaders and to bring spiritual renewal to hundred of local churches.

My shcedule of activities is posted here for those of you who wish to pray specifically for me on these days. Keep in mind that the Philippines is 12 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. Thanks!

October 2-25

2 - Aldersgate Board Meeting ( I sit on the Board of this ministry that hosts and annual spiritual renewal conference in January for about a thousand people representing hundreds of churches all over the Philippines.

4 - Pick up UFCIM Board members arriving from the US

5 - Pick up UFCIM Board members arriving from Canada
UFCTC Faculty Dinner with UFCIM Board Members

6 - Cavite District Pastors Gathering with DS Balatan and Bishop Sol Toquero of the United Methodist Church

7 - 10am Preaching in a United Methodist Church in Bulacan (north of Manila)
3pm Preaching in Knox United Methodist Church in Manila

8-9 Retreat with Pastors from Nueva Ecija at the Riverview Resort

10 - Teaching at United Followers of Christ Training Center (UFCTC) in Pampanga

11 - Teaching in UFCTC Manila

12 - Teaching in UFCTC Cavite

13 - Teaching in UFCTC Taytay

14 - Preaching at Shekinah UMC in Pampanga

15-20 Conducting a Regional Leadership Institute for 33 pastors at the Riverview Resort

18 - UFCIM Board Meeting

21 - Preaching at NUCOMM with debrief and evaluation of trip with UFCIM Board members

22 - Tour of Corrigidor Island

23 - UFCIM Board Members Depart

24 - UFCIM Board Members Depart

26 - Mark Departs

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Hello, my name is Mark. I'm a ______

My friends Jon and VIkki Ruby has been hanging out in our SOULNET gatherings. I love these guys for the honesty they bring. Jon is a recovering addict who is actively involved in helping others in recovery through Jericho Road Ministries in downtown Ottawa. He and his wife, Vikki, are not ashamed to openly admit their situation and Jon's condition. They remind me that all of us are damaged in some way and addicted to something to cover up that damage. But they also remind me that Jesus offers us a way of recovery.

As I think of my own life, I want to openly declare that I'm damaged. I'm not addicted to drugs, alcohol or any other chemical substance. My damage has to do with feelings of being alone. For some reason, which I have yet to figure out, I really struggle with feelings of loneliness. At this point, I need to say that this has nothing to do with any shortcomings of my friends or family. I feel I have great relationships with people. Yet, in spite of that, I have a tendency to feel that I am alone. Being a leader exacerbates these feelings because everyone knows that "it's lonely at the top." Everyday I feel like I am the only one leading the charge to see our movement, SOULNET, happen.

My friend, Al, has constantly reminded me that I am not alone. And that he hurts when he hears me expressing my loneliness.

Someone once gave me an acronym to remind me about certain conditions that we need to be aware of that puts us in a vulnerable position. When we are in one of these conditions we need to HALT.

H - Hungry
A - Angry
L - Lonely
T - Tired

I've noticed that the times in my life that seemed to be more of a struggle was when I was in one or more of these conditions.

Hello, my name is Mark. I struggle with loneliness.

Back to Blogging

I decided to revive this blog site as a place to put down my personal story: struggles, victories, things that happen to me, things that make me go "hmmmm."

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Check out my new blog at Just click on the title of this blog and you'll get there.

The SOULNET blog is the place where I will be journaling about our new missional movement in Canada and beyond. It will cover a range of topics from being a movement to updates on how things are going as a ministry. See you there!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

When A Soup Company Replaces The Church

True Dads Take Action (caption)

So now we have the soup company, Campbell's, telling us how to raise our kids!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

New Leadership for a New World

Here's the last part of an interview of Margaret Wheatley conducted by Scott London from the radio program Insight & Outlook. Wheatley is the author of a breakthrough title Leadership and The New Science. I think she has a lot to say towards 21st century organizations, the new world of work, and the emerging missional church...

(Click the title of this entry to read the whole interview.)

London: What do you think are some of the critical questions we need to ask during this period of transition?

Wheatley: For me, the basic organizing question is: What do we want to create? So, if we are in a school system, what do we want this school to mean in this particular community, in this context, with this population. What are we trying to create?

We've backed away from this fundamental question. I have a colleague who asks it even more strongly. She urges people whenever they organize together to ask: How is the world going to be different because you and I are working together? I think those questions are not being asked. I don't think they are being asked at the national level. We are grumbling about "What is America?" and "What holds us together as a nation?" But we're afraid to get into this as a national conversation about what we would like to create now that we're an America of the 21st century. What is the future that we want given who we are demographically, economically, and everything else? Who are we going to be in the future? What's possible and what's needed?

Corporations are going to have to at least acknowledge the fact that what they want to create in terms of growth and profit is not necessarily what people are willing to work for in terms of greater meaning and shared purpose. That's a lesson that's starting to creep in.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Suburban Idol: Consumerism

I just saw a commercial for some Super Bingo Lottery thing. How silly it seemed to me especially with the commercial jingle repeating "Happiness is playing...happiness is playing." What a crude example of how marketers are trying to tap into the souls of people by positioning a game of chance as something fulfilling to the soul.

When you think about it, consumerism (the obsessive pursuit of safety, security, comfort, and convenience) has just as much influence as emperor worship (Caesar) in the first century Roman empire. Suburbanites regularly bow to the god of comfort and convenience in the name of their children's future and well-being. But in the end, they are sacrificing their souls. After being deeply embedded in the kingdom of consumerism, suburbanites end up feeling empty and BORED.

The challenge is how followers of Christ engage this today...What does the gospel of the Kingdom sound like and look like to desperate housewives and their husbands?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Silent for a While

I know that I've been pretty quiet when it comes to posting here on my blog. Some time in the later half of 2006, I felt that I was blogging faster than I was processing. Over the past several months, I have processed a whole lot of info. I've also had some incredible circumstances happen in the last few months. I just got back from my trip to the Philippines. I've needed the past few days to recover from jetlagging. I also happened to get a respiratory tract infection during most of my trip. So I was sick most of the time I was over there. I'm still at around 80% of my true self so I hope those of you wondering what's happened can be a little more patient.

I plan to post a series of thoughts on the gospel, discipleship and the church as it relates to our new church plant. Please keep this in prayer. February 4 is the big day when we will have a lot of people over to the house to share the vision and plans for a fresh movement of new communities in Ottawa.

Hopefully, I'll see you back here soon...

(The picture is me with NUCOMM's Executive Pastor Jon Soriano and his new wife, Billie. I married them on December 30, 2006)

Friday, January 05, 2007

My Trip to the Philippines

Well, I am back in the Philippines. Won't be going back to Ottawa until January 18.

I have to say that getting here was one of the toughest travel experiences I've had. Basically, I was en route for 36 hours! I had a 3 hour stop over in Toronto, a 3 hour stopver in Seattle with a 2 hour delay, and a 7 hour stopver in Taipei. That's 12 hours of waiting in airports!

In Seattle, I had to walk back and forth from one end of the terminal to the other...twice! The earthquake in Taipei messed up China Airlines' computers so they did everything by hand...and the ticketing agent ommitted certain details on my boarding pass so security sent me back twice! I told the China Air ticket agent, if I have to come back a third time, you better put me in first class! Alas, it was not to be.

From Seattle to Taipei, the seat I was assigned was too small. I was in the front row where they put the bassinet for babies. Well, those seats have armrests that do not adjust! I knew that they would have to use pry bars to get me out of that seat if I stayed there for the whole 13 hour flight! So they switched me with a man from the very back row. That seat was better but still uncomfortable. I did not sleep the whole flight into Taipei.

At least my Taipei to Manila flight was fine. But when I landed in Manila, I hadn't slept for over 40 hours.

I'm gonna go back to sleep now....


May God's favor rest upon your life in 2007...and may you discover the joy found only Jesus Christ the Lord.