POWER POINTS: The Trust Protocol by Mac Richard

In an easy-to-read format, Richard dissects trust, tells how to gain it, keep it, and use it to lead well, help others, and leave something behind when you’re gone. (click on the picture of the book to see it on Amazon).


  • The “Trust Protocol” = Aligning what you say and do so that people will trust you.


  • Hebrews 10:24 “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” While this sounds simple, it may be the most difficult thing in the world to do. It guarantees “difficulty, hurt, heartache, disappointment, misunderstanding, restlessness, doubt, uncertainty, trauma, drama, and anger. It is most difficult where it is most crucial – with the people closest to you.


  • “I love you, but I will fire you.” Mac’s friend and employer said this to him when Mac was not living up to his full potential. He was coasting and his boss called it. Then his boss said this, “I can’t keep paying you just because you’re a good guy. You’ve got too much talent, and we’ve got too much to do for me to let you get by without producing something and being a contributor around here. You’ve got great potential, but from now on, potential is profanity for you. All it means is that you haven’t done anything yet.”


  • “Relationships are unavoidable. Relationships of integrity are invincible.”


  • True character is revealed through success. “When we win, do we worship God or congratulate ourselves?”


  • “No one moves away from godly community and healthy connectedness and becomes more like Jesus.”


  • “Never spend a minute of time defending your motives. Spend hours testing them against Scripture, in prayer, and with godly counsel, but don’t worry about defending them. With friends you don’t need to, and your enemies won’t believe you.”


  • Trust is built on two tracks: character and competence.


  • “Mishonesty” – not quite “dishonesty” but still deliberately misleading.


  • “Betrayal is part of the cost of leadership and being part of the human race.” General Tommy Franks answered Mac’s question about betrayal like this, “There’s only been one perfect leader in this world. And I am not him. And he experienced betrayal at a level I cannot imagine. If he would be betrayed, who am I to think it shouldn’t or wouldn’t happen to me?”


  • “The only person who can betray us is someone we’ve chosen to trust who has chosen to break that trust. […] Whenever we choose to trust, we run the risk of betrayal.” 


  • “If you trust, if you love, if you lead, you will be betrayed.”


  • How to address betrayal? Forgiveness. This does not require “re-trusting” but it does mean that we release any bitterness, contempt, disdain, and desire for revenge… “regardless of whether or not they acknowledge the wrong.”


  • “Don’t stay hurt too long.” We can’t control WHEN we are hurt, but we can, to a large extent, determine HOW LONG we will stay hurt.


  • The better your work and the more responsible your decisions, the more autonomy you will be granted. However, if your work is sloppy and your decisions are irresponsible, you will be micromanaged. 


  • “We have to be able to do relationships well if we’re going to do anything of value and substance over time.”


  • Some people argue that “transparency is the currency of trust.” That certainly is part of the Trust Protocol, but Richard argues that “most of our relationships are not built to sustain the weight of transparency. And we should not expect them to be. What we should expect is authenticity.” In other words, everyone doesn’t need to know everything, but everyone does deserve truth. The guiding principle: “authentic with everyone, transparent with a precious few.”


  • “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18 NLT). “All I can do” is all I can do… it turns out that “all I can do” is quite a lot! 


  • Unaddressed problems don’t go away… they get bigger and messier.


  • Often we avoid confrontation and difficult conversations because we imagine what the other person is going to say and how they will respond. In light of our hypothetical conversation we determine not to have the conversation… consequently things get worse. Bottom line… no matter what, we have to try.


  • “It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we must do what is required.” Winston Churchill


  • “Fatigue makes cowards of us all” Vince Lombardi. A weary person is much less likely to address conflict… and consequently breaks the Trust Protocol.


  • The best teachers, coaches, etc. in our lives have PUSHED US! But… we allowed them to push us because we TRUSTED them. We knew they loved us and were doing it for our good.


  • “If you care, you push, you challenge, you critique. If you don’t care, you let things slide. You ignore or disregard or overlook.”


  • Accountability is only as effective as the amount of trust we have in the person holding us accountable. If we trust them we will be honest and reveal what is true even when painful or embarrassing. If we do not trust them, we will hold back the “ugly stuff” and do just enough accountability to check the box.


  • “Should I trust before or after I’ve seen evidence that someone is trustworthy based on their actions?” When you choose to trust, in most instances, trust will be reciprocated. However, there will be times when you get burned… betrayed…. Live with that awareness, choose to trust, and remember you are not entitled to integrity from other people.”


  • “How many can you do when you’re tired?” A question posed to Mac by his Crossfit coach when he was doing pushups after a fatiguing workout. Ask this question when you’re tired and your child wants to cuddle… when you’re tired and tempted… when you’re ready to bail on your dream…


  • Community… we want it, we need it, we seek it… but we also want to be comfortable and easy… and “therein lies the rub.” Healthy community will push us, make us uncomfortable, call us out of our comfort zone! “To truly connect relationally requires a willingness to dig in and hang on.”


  • “I’ve never seen anyone, any family, move away from the church and get better.”


  • “No team or organization will ever out-trust its leadership.”


  • Staying power is perhaps the most beautiful and most powerful payoff of the Trust Protocol. It’s not the power to stay. It’s the power that comes from staying. It’s the power that’s cultivated when we choose to stay – in a marriage, a job, a church, a friendship – and is only realized and experienced after the staying has occurred.


  • “Perseverance may be the most critical life skill we parents ever teach our kids.”


  • Our job as parents is to “prepare our kids for the path, and not the path for our kids.”


  • “Are you competent and do you care?” The two questions Soldiers are quietly asking of officers (according to General Robert Caslen)

POWER POINTS: The Remarkable Ordinary by Frederick Buechner

A collection of Buechner’s lectures pointing out the whispers of God in every day life. The editor, John Sloan, writes, in the foreword:

“Many times we say life is typical, mundane, common, routine, or dull. Buechner convinces us that every moment is worth it. Our steps are the beginning of a walk into a hall of art, life, and meaning that will never disappoint.”


  • Frame the face. We are surrounded by faces… people. So many common, normal, forgettable faces. A most common, forgettable face has become one of the most memorable faces in history… Mona Lisa. What makes that normal face memorable is the frame! The frame draws our attention… makes us stop… look… pay attention… and quickly that common, forgettable face becomes etched into our mind (I’ll bet as soon as you read the words “Mona Lisa” her face popped into your mind). We cannot frame EVERY face in our life… but what would happen if we took the time to frame some faces… to really look into their eyes… to slow down and pay attention to the face in front of us… what might we see that we are currently missing? Frame the face and you might discover a masterpiece!


  • “Look with Rembrandt’s eye, listen with Bach’s ear, look with X-ray eyes that see beneath the surface to whatever lies beneath the surface.”


  • “To love somebody we must see that person’s face, and once in a while we do. Usually because something jolts us into seeing it.”


  • “The faces we lose track of most easily are the faces of the people who are closest to us, the people we love the most whose faces we see so often that we can’t see them anymore.”


  • Sometimes… many times we ask people “How are you”… and hope they don’t really tell us.



  • Fredrick Buechner (male, white, relatively wealthy) – Maya Angelou (female, black, poor)… “I have exactly the same story to tell as Fredrick Buechner.” “We are all born in the same way, we all have to somehow survive our childhoods- the bad parts of them, the confusing and painful parts of them – we all have to find a self to be, we all grow old and grow sick and finally die. This is the human story”(Buechner).


  • The nonverbal arts such as painting and music can help us connect to the divine.


  • Story – a sequence, a chronological sequence of events.  “The king died and then the queen died.” Plot – suggests a because, a cause and effect, a shape, a getting to somewhere. “When the king died, the queen died because she loved the king.” “I think that a part of what to tell one’s won story in a religious sense means is to affirm that there is a plot to one’s life. It’s not just incident following incident without any particular direction or purpose, but things are happening to take you somewhere.”


  • “Looking back at my life and finding that very often things that seemed at the time to have had very little significance were key points in the plot of my life.”


  • On dreams… “There’s a sense in which the dream is yours, your creation, yet at the same time as everybody knows, the dream speaks to you a word that seems to come from someplace other than yourself, because it’s often a revelation. […] So it’s both a word from you, but it’s also a word to you.”


  • “In telling my variation of the human story, I discovered cracks in the ground of my life through which I was able to glimpse the subterranean, life-giving grace of God.”


  • “The crying came much later, fifty years later.” (reflecting on how he dealt with his father’s suicide)


  • Sometimes silence is better than answers… because those answers are often forgotten as quickly as the names of the people who gave them. In the silence we often learn things about God… ourselves… life… that do leave us unchanged. Silence is often “the answer without words.”


  • “With all the time in the world to do what I most wanted to do, I found it impossible to do it.”


  • My life is a source of treasure… a discovery box of God’s grace…


  • “To play it safe, to stay home where the candles are lit and the meal is prepared was to have your life somehow diminished. To go out into the world, even if the world scares the hell out of you, and bores you to death, and intimidates you, and confuses you – that is the only life.”


  • Sometimes we are not ready to hear… we may hear the words but we have no idea what they are saying. Hearing is for those are in the season of listening.


  • “Our peace is threatened by the un-peace of others.”

Experimenting with “Power Points”

I love to read. On average I read two books a month. 

Over the last twenty years I have divided my reading into five categories:

  • Spiritual
  • Leadership
  • Church
  • Professional/Personal Development
  • Biographical/Autobiographical

Over the last twenty years I have accumulated hundreds of books.

Then things changed… I became an Army Chaplain. 

A few ways this changes things:

  • My space for books is smaller.
  • We will move regularly which means I will have to move hundreds of pounds of books regularly. #uggghhh
  • Many of the books which have served me so well in years past will no longer serve me well (e.g. I will not be teaching verse by verse through books of the Bible in 50 minute sermons. Rather, I will be giving 10 minute “field services” in which I share a quick thought with soldiers.

I realize that I have to “cull” my library. This makes me sad… and excited. 

Sad because:

  • These books have been my friends. They have encouraged me; confronted me; inspired me; taught me; humored me; and developed me.
  • Within many of these books are my notes… the story of my evolution. Should anyone care to do so, they would find the course of my life within the pages of these books.
  • These books, in a sense, have given me meaning. I am known as a reader… and these books are the proof. (Shallow… I know… but still it’s my story).

Excited because:

  • I am evolving! I’m letting go of something that has been part of my life for several decades and becoming something new… arguably better (time will tell).
  • I am being forced to think deeply (and painfully) about what I will read, how I will retain what I read, and what I will do with the book once I have read it.

I am a reader. I will always be a reader. I will just be a different kind of reader. 

As I reflect on how and who (i.e. authors) I will interact with in the coming years I am leaning toward this plan:

  • I will read more of fewer authors. Rather than reading everyone… I will read more of, for example, C.S. Lewis. I will be a specialist rather than a generalist. This will require me to pick carefully those people from whom I learn.
  • I will read niche genres. For instance, these last few years I have been interested in the “faith/science” discussion, so I will spend more time in this field and less time in “spirituality/theology” in general.
  • I will take and post notes. Taking a queue from Derek Sivers, I am going to post my notes on this blog and call them “Power Points.” Years ago I did this on my blog. Writing them out helped me remember my “power points” from each book, and it provided a tool to search for specific topics in the future.

And now the big question… what will I do with the book once I have read it?

  • If I take good enough notes I believe I can give it away. #uggghhh
  • Some books I will keep. Many I will give away.

One final thought…

As I considered all the reading I have done over the last couple of decades it occurs to me that I have read thousands of life changing ideas… but I remember a ridiculously small percentage of those… and have implemented even fewer!

So, I ask myself, what if I read less and implemented more?

What if I took 3-5 ideas away from each book and put them into action? Look at this math —

24 (books a year) x 3 (ideas per book) = 72 good practices every year!

OK… truthfully, I’ll not implement that many new ideas, but even 10% of that would be a huge win!!! Imagine improving your life by 10% each year! That would be a huge win!!!

So, that’s my journey… and the introduction to something I’m going to try… “Power Points.” I can’t wait to share with you.

A few questions for you:

  • How do you retain what you read?
  • What do you do with your books when you’re done reading them?
  • How much of what you read do you actually implement?

P.S. I am going to spend some time going through books I have already read and posting “Power Points” from these books… so for a while the authors and the genres will be more varied than they will be in the future.

Five Favorites Friday (11/16/18)

Five of my favorites from this week…

  • I have LOVED the “Cossack Squat”! It has opened up my hips and pushed my ankles to a good place! I’ve done it for a few reps every day this week. Check out this simple tutorial. 


  • Speaking of ankles… this tip from Charles Poliquin (HT to Tim Ferris and “Tools of The Titans”) has been incredibly helpful! 
  • This week I spent some time on Examine.com exploring the benefits of various supplements and foods (e.g. lemons, ginger, etc.). I made some adjustments to our food based on the information I discovered there. The information and valuable research that is available on this site will blow your mind! 


  • This week Sherri (aka “Mrs. Peterson”) and I learned a new communication exercise from a couple of our friends (Thanks Dallas and Courtney). It’s called FANOS (an acronym). It only takes a few minutes every day, and it is a great tool that will enhance communication with and awareness of your spouse! Check out a short summary here.


  • The sentence that keeps running around in my head… “If we’re gonna walk we walk as lions, if we’re gonna stand we stand as giants” (from “Lions” by Skillet). I’m thinking this will end up as some kind of an image tattooed on my body… a constant reminder of the power of God flowing in and through me. 

So there’s five of my favorite things from this week. If you found something helpful… I’d love to hear from you! Have a GREAT weekend! 

Five Favorites Friday

Hey ya’ll!

Here’s five of my favorite things this week…

  • A quote I’ve been contemplating this week comes from my friend, Shawn Lovejoy“Be where your feet are.” This is a call to be fully present in the moment! Good reminder Shawn… especially in these days of transition! Be present for my family. Be present with my friends. Be present as the pastor of Church180.


  • These verses are really important to me right now (especially as we navigate the valley of death known as “being parents of teenagers”):  “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT) #pleasehelpmejesus


  • Friends… this week Sherri and I have spent time with friends from Church180 and the community… eating… laughing… reminiscing… dreaming. As we prepare to transition from Rock Hill we realize, the best thing we have here is people. Friends!


  • Music I’m enjoying – Fathead! Great for a “chillin” kind of mood! (I can’t believe I haven’t heard of these guys sooner! Thanks for the tip Amazon Music!)


  • Tears. I’ve cried a few times this week. Not like a “sobbing” cry… but a “wet eye” cry #hangingontothemancard. This week Sherri and I watched “Indivisible” and “No Greater Love”. Both are stories about Army chaplains and the stuff they see/do in the service of soldiers and country. We know that crazy days lie ahead… but we are equally confident that God has pointed us in this direction! We are humbled, and excited to serve… even if we do it with a few tears in our eyes. (This instagram post from Sarah Sandifer made my eyes leak a little too.) #tearsareagoodthing

So there they are… my five favorite things/experiences this week. How about you? What’s been some of your favorites?

Five Favorites Friday (11/2/18)

Five of my favorite things this week…

  • I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot this week: 

Hard times create strong men.

Strong men create good times.

Good times create weak men.

Weak men create hard times. 


  • I’ve spent time reading through the Bible books of 1 and 2 Kings… and wondering “Why are people so quick to ignore God?” While this may not technically be one of my “favorite” things this week… it may have been one of the more important questions with which I wrestled.


  • Definitely a highlight of this week has been the time spent with people. As we prepare to transition into a new chapter in our lives, we believe that our greatest memories will be of the people we love… so we’re spending time listening, learning, encouraging, and instructing the people we love!


  • This week I picked up Jentzen Franklin’s new book, “Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt. I enjoyed the first part (the second part was largely about marriage… not bad but not what I was expecting.) The first part talked a lot about forgiveness and kindness… two things that God has been counseling me on lately!

These are five things that have taken a lot of space on the desk in my head this week! 

Entry #2: Transitioning

Today I spent about 45 minutes talking with my Superintendent (my church boss… ranking right below Jesus 😉 ) about the logistics of a successful transition at Church180

We are still waiting to hear the “final word” regarding our transition date to the military. In the meantime we are doing a few things:

  • Working with our Superintendent and a core of leaders in our church to make the smoothest possible transition for Church180.
  • Identifying projects and departments around Church180 that need focused attention in the days/weeks to come .
  • Spending time with people from Church180, and people in the community.
  • Planning out the final sermons I will be preaching at Church180… actually, they are the final sermons I will preach as a civilian (at least for a long time).

On the home front…

  • I am training hard! I’ll be one of the older guys in training… but I have every expectation of giving the young dudes a run for their money.
  • I’m watching every video and reading every article I can find about military culture and chaplains. I’m talking with every veteran and chaplain I can find who will shed insight on what it takes to be an effective, helpful chaplain… a chaplain that the soldiers WANT on the team!
  • I am writing out workout plans for Sherri and “Morning Shenanigans” for the ladies to be executed when I am not home. (If you’re not sure what “Morning Shenanigans” are… check out my Instagram page).
  • I am spending time with each of my ladies on our dates and making an effort to capitalize on key moments such as breakfast time conversations, etc.
  • I am reading and thinking a lot about the kind of work/ministry I will do in a military environment.

Yesterday I had the chance to sit down with a local Christian bookstore manager and do an interview. It was fun to talk about our transition and I was able to walk through a few key ideas that have been helpful for us as we have arrived at this decision. You can watch that interview here.