Mack's Corner

This Week

Lead from the Front

A few years ago Craig, 3 ConeHeads (Andi, Jason and Elena) and I went to New Direction Church on Winchester to speak to Mississippi Blvd Church's "Boot Camp". We were talking about "Servant Leadership".  Craig and I have a whole series of talks we do on this, we've done it so many times that we're like an old married couple, we know what the other one is thinking almost all the time. If a question comes up, one of us answers it part way and sets the other guy up to finish. Servant leadership is one of those things that most long time church goers don't get. It's the idea that you come to church to serve others and by doing that you become one of the leaders. Most people think it's the other way around .. i.e. Whoever gets waited on the most and served the most must be the big dog. That works in politics and big corporations but not at church. Nobody gets paid to go to church. So, if you're standing around giving orders and telling people what to do, you usually end up talking to yourself. Hope is full of servant leaders who setup chairs every week, park cars, find seats for people, make coffee, clean bathrooms, greet at doors, wash dishes, cook, lead small groups, teach Sunday school, lead recovery groups, rock little babies…. Stuff like that. The way you lead is to be out in front, then people will follow and do what you do… "Lead from the front!"

I often tell the story about one of my ConeHeads (Brent) fixing a flat tire one Sunday… A woman came to Hope for the first time and had a flat when she drove in to parking lot. Brent saw her and told her if she would leave him her keys, he would have it fixed by the time she got out of church. So he did. He worked for a tire company and changed a lot of tires at his job so this was no big deal to him. He gave her the keys and said "Thanks for coming to Hope". The next week Craig got a 6 page letter from her where she said: "I came to your church and had a flat tire, I didn't know anybody and I didn't know what I was going to do, I knew I couldn't fix it, it was hopeless ….. then an angel (Brent) appeared and fixed my tire ….etc".  Someone from another church asked me "How do you get volunteers to do stuff like that?" She came from a very formal church where everybody dressed up and expected to be treated the way they looked. They weren't servants and had no intension of being one. I told her "It's hard to change a tire in a 3 piece suit."

God's like that: we have things coming at us from all sides, things going wrong that we never expected, but God never said things would be perfect and he never said we would stay clean. He said: "follow me and do what I do, stay close and I'll protect you, do the same for the people following you. Lead from the front" ….

I think I'll go home and watch Braveheart tonight and watch William Wallace lead from the front.. Longshanks leads from the back. Tell me which one you would follow ..  

Cooking 220 - 2 pans, 2 burners, 20 minutes:

This is my favorite kind of recipe for every night after work food. It's simple, fresh, healthy, satisfying, and tastes great. You should have a jar of capers in your fridge all the time, you'll see why after you make this…. SO you're on the way home. You stop at the store and buy 1 lemon and a nice piece of fish, whatever you like. I know it's expensive per/pound, but you're not going to eat a pound, you're going to eat 1/4 of a pound. DON'T BUY MORE THAN YOU CAN EAT!!! YOU WANT TO BUY AS FRESH AS POSSIBLE EVERY TIME. BUY SMALLER, REMEMBER THAT DIET YOU'RE ON?? 

Fish 101: 1. Smell the fish! Tell the guy behind the counter that you want to smell the fish. If it smells fishy, it's old, don't buy it. If it smells like ammonia, it's really old, don't buy it! 2. Ask when their fish comes in. Some will tell you every Tuesday and Thursday, some Monday - Wednesday..etc buy on those days (but still smell it and ask when it came in!!.. if it all smells fishy and like ammonia, buy a steak!). 3. If it's been previously frozen, ask how longs it's been un-frozen. "Yesterday" is a bad answer. "A few hours ago" is a good answer…  You don't owe the store any favors, if they have bad fish, let them keep it. You don't buy spoiled milk or cracked eggs, why buy bad fish? Especially $12 - $16 per pound bad fish??

This was in the New York Times in the Food & Dining section (Every Wednesday edition). From Mark Bittman and his cookbook "How to cook everything". One of the great cookbooks of all time. He has another one that is even easier "How to cook everything The basics" .. Every newlywed should be given one of these books as should every freshman in college..

This is called "Skate Style" because this is the way he cooks Skate Wing.. i.e.  the wings of small Sting Rays.. They are becoming extinct so most chefs have quit cooking them.. Hence the switch to Halibut, which there is plenty..

Halibut, Skate Style for 2 …. remember: only buy as much fish as you are going to eat. If it's just you, get half as much… amount for 1 person in ()

3 to 4 - (2) tablespoons olive oil or butter

1/2 to 3/4 - (1/4) pound halibut, in one thick slice ..

Salt and pepper

1/2 - (1/4) cup white wine, if you have it (this could also be Noilly Prat or any vermouth or any Champaign like wine … taste it first!!! DON'T RUIN YOUR GOOD PIECE OF FISH WITH BAD WINE! IF IT'S NOT GOOD SKIP IT!)

2 or 3 - (1) tablespoons capers, with their vinegar

Lemon juice to taste

1. Heat the oven to 200 degrees. In an 8- or 10-inch skillet, heat 2 or 3 tablespoons of the oil or butter (enough to film the bottom of the pan nicely) over medium-high heat. Add the fish and cook, undisturbed, adjusting the heat so it really sizzles. Check after 4 or 5 minutes; it should be nicely browned. Season it, turn, season it again and cook another 3 minutes or longer, until a thin-bladed knife meets little resistance. Put the fish on a plate, with the more beautiful side up. (If you have a hard time deciding, excellent. Congrats.)

2. Put the plate in the oven and splash a little more oil and/or butter in the pan, along with the white wine, if you have it. When that's reduced a bit, toss in the capers and boil until nearly dry. (Taste the sauce!! Re-season..If you don't like it pour it out and use lemon juice only. You'll be out about 45 cents.. Don't ruin your good fish with bad sauce)..Pour that over the fish, squeeze a bit of lemon juice over that.
Add a salad and you've got a great meal in less than 15 minutes. If you used an Iron skillet, just wipe it out and you're finished with clean-up too!! How can you beat that???


How about saving a kid's life!!

When you give Platelets it's like giving St Jude $700 - $1000. If we don't give them, they have to buy them.

Giving Platelets is like giving blood, it just takes longer (1 1/2 hours) and you get all of your blood back (so you can do it every week if you want) . I know it's a long trip to go all the way down to St Jude, but you may be saving a kid's life . plus you get to watch a movie while you're there. Call Kim at 901.595.2024 and she'll setup an appointment and treat you like family. Just tell her you're from Hope.

Directions: From Poplar, turn north on Third Street, then right on Lauderdale/Jackson Ave (first right after you go under the expressway). Enter through the north guard gate (you'll see the Danny Thomas Pavilion. Gold top).

Tell the guard at the gate that you are here to donate blood. The guard will instruct you where to park. You will then enter the hospital by the red side door closest to the blood donor parking lot. The Blood Donor Center is in the southwest corner of the hospital on the ground floor.

Appointment times are generally available Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:00pm. Except on Tuesdays they start at 9:15am.

See you this weekend. Bring a friend. It's going to be great!!!



Posted by Mack Oates at 4:21 PM