Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Ok so I wrote this last year, but many of you didn't read my other blog (, which I wrote while I was in Rome), so here it is... hope you enjoy. Have a very merry Christmas.

O Come, let us adore Him. This baby, born amidst the animals, born and laid into a feed manger, born amidst the squalor to a poor, working class guy and his fiancee, is the one who is worthy of our adoration. This baby, whose heralds were both great and small, star and shepherd, women and wise men... this baby is the King of Kings. Is the long awaited Savior, the one to bring a deliverance from a more demanding master than Rome, from a master that wars for the soul. This baby, God in flesh, God clothed in the most undivine clothing of a weak and helpless babe, is the ONE to bring peace on earth, peace in men's hearts.

Hosanna in the highest! The angels couldn't hold back from belting out a song of celestial joy. The wise men drop to a knee, the shepherds reach out with rough calloused hands to stroke the soft cheek of the baby and then sit back an marvel, wonder in their eyes. Joseph stand protectively by, exhausted and confused but remembering his dream and knowing that his adopted son's entrance into the world confirms that this angel who appeared was not just his imagination. And Mary files away the memories with a worn out, contented look on her face, not even minding the smell of the shepherds.

O Come, all ye faithful and adore Christ the Lord! The sacrificial Lamb of God who was born to take away the sin of the world. Kneel before Him, for he alone is worthy of the adoration. Joy to the world! Hosanna in the highest! Amen.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas Music

Sorry I haven't posted in such a long time. I am back in good old Columbus, Ohio. It was kind of a strange end to Florida but I will get to that some other time (maybe). Needless to say, the internship with Relevant is done (though hopefully I will keep writing for them), the Congo River Golf job is done (pictures to be posted soon), and I am looking for work. But as another way of saying Merry Christmas to you (my two readers), here is an opportunity to download Sleeping At Last's Christmas EP. It is wonderful music, the guy has a very unique voice that I am a big fan of... their style? Orchestral pop? Check it out and see for yourself. I have already downloaded it and was not disappointed. And if you like it, go buy their stuff on iTunes. Their latest CD is truly one of the best I have heard of this last year.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Wednesday I got to interview celebrity photographer and founder of Help-Portrait Jeremy Cowart and H-P event coordinator Annie Downs. The resulting feature was posted today at relevantmagazine (CLICK HERE to get to the article). I think Help-Portrait is a pretty cool idea, so check out the interview, the video below, and consider if you would want to get involved in the future.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Lost Kids

Please please please head over the Relevant Magazine's REJECT APATHY website and check out an article I wrote called "The Lost Kids" (CLICK) about orphans and abandoned kids both here in the States and in Russia. It highlights a group in the States called Casey Family Programs and a group in St. Petersburg, Russia called The Harbor. This is perhaps the most important article I think I have ever written, and I would love for you guys to read it, recommend it to friends (if you think it is worthy) and spread knowledge about this ongoing tragic situation. (if you didnt click the above link, CLICK HERE to go the article.)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas in Community

Hey guys, here is LINK to the latest article I have written for Relevant, a reflection on Christmas in musical Community. It was a pretty fun one for me to write, so check it out. CLICK HERE

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Joy to the World

I can't figure out how to embed this video, but I thought I would post the link anyway. If you want to see what I was doing this time last year (aka caroling outside of St. Peters Basilica), click HERE or go to

Friday, December 4, 2009

Puddle Jumping

It has been raining all day here in Orlando, FL and I have been hit with a killer case of writers block. Which is why I am writing about puddle jumping. I walked out back to try to clear my head and there was a stinking huge lake of water in the back road. It was the kind that inspired me to go and jump in the middle of it. I didn't. But I wanted to. Which made me think, when do you grow too old for puddle jumping? I hope I never do. I understand, being at work and all, it was probably a good decision not to jump in the middle of it today. But I want to be the guy who isn't afraid to run and play in the rain, to jump in puddles, to dance to the drum roll of thunder. I know I did it last year, even though our neighbors though we were nuts. Me and Giacomo Campobello (otherwise known a GC, Giacamoney, or Jimmy S) ran outside in the pouring rain and danced in the lake that would form on our terrace. It is a wonderful thing, a random thought that I never want to grow out of that. And neither should you! (below are picture of M

INTERN BLOG: Identity and Security

You can also find this by CLICKING THIS LINK

One of the beautiful things about life here in Orlando FL has been the small group I have been a part of. Though I am sometimes (frequently) the only person who is not married at our weekly Bible Study, I love getting to dive into the Word with these new friends and be challenged by what God has to say to me, especially since I am going through a pretty dry spell of finding time in God's Word.

This week we covered John 13, when Jesus washes the disciples feet at the Last Supper. The part that stuck out to me was "Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper." I guess I had never realized it before but it says that the part that preceded Jesus washing their feet was that he knew "the Father had given all things into his hands and that he had come from God and was going back to God." He knew his identity and that enabled him to serve, to take the lowest of low positions, and wash his disciples feet.

Isn't it interesting how knowing our identity has this effect? As Christians, we have an identity as children of the King of Kings, adopted into His family and made heirs in Christ. Yet how often do we live out of that identity? How often I sit back and place my identity in other things, maybe even good things, but not the ultimate thing. I put my identity in the fact that I write for Relevant, or perhaps in how many people actually read what I write for Relevant (confession: I am a compulsive stat checker). Or there are times that I put my identity in my relationship with my girlfriend and when we have conflict, my whole day is thrown out of wack. Whatever it is, you probably do it too. A job, status, what church you go to, what music you listen to, what clothes you wear... I used to think all that talk about "idols" in life was great but not applicable to me. Sadly I have found myself wrong.

Our identity, our HOPE is secure. Yet we squander it when we place it in things that are passing away, not ever guaranteed for a single day, we are not resting in the peace that Jesus offers. I am currently searching for a job and am not sure what's next. If my identity is in Christ, I know that God's promises are true and he is in control. If it is placed in what job I get, I am constantly stressed out and worried about how it will all turn out because my identity is tied into how it turns out. But in Christ, it becomes more than empty words that I repeat on a Sunday because it is WHO I am. Not these false, insecure identities that I build like sand castles to be washed away at the first wave.

When we find our identity where it should be rooted, we are freed to serve others. Like Jesus, we can humble ourselves because it isn't their opinion that matters. We can lower ourselves because we know that what the World sees does not matter, it is the fact that we are a child of the King. We are secure. Try actually believing that. Don't let it just be empty words... too often I do that, I let words wash over me without truly sinking in. But I don't want to live for others opinions, I don't want to live for a stable and financially secure job, I don't want to see people as means to an end but as people that I can serve. The more I do that, the more I will truly live in what I am created to do.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Andrew Peterson: BTLOG

No, BTLOG is not some texting code that you must figure out. Instead it stands for Behold the Lamb of God: the True tale of the coming of Christ. Presented (and mostly written and sung) by Andrew Peterson, this album is perhaps my favorite Christmas album I own. Strangely enough, it is not an album full of classics. If you have never heard it before, the only songs you will recognize are "O Come O Come Emmanuel" and "O Come Let Us Adore Him." Don't that let that discourage you. Instead, I am EXTREMELY excited to tell you to head to THIS LINK and listen to the entire album streaming on your computer (check out Evie Coates sweet artwork, which is part of the player as you listen to it as well).

Why do I love this album so much? One, it is True (capital T intended). Seeing the story of Christ, beginning with a promise to the children of Israel for deliverance, from the Passover, to the prophets, to the kings, and then to a period of silence before the heavens are ripped open on a night when the angels cant hold back their joy at proclaiming the birth of the God-man... ahh the beauty of the story, what CS Lewis calls the "one true myth", sets my heart soaring. To have that all put to song is even more amazing. I talked about this album so much to my roommates the first year I was in Rome that all three ended up buying the album.

I love how the songs on this album echo with history, are painted with beauty and sink deep into the reality and the mystery of the story. It will even make you laugh with Matthews Begats, a song whose lyrics are mostly made up of the list of names that begins the Gospel of Matthew. If (as a Christian) by the end you are not "Singing out with joy for the brave little boy who was God but made himself nothing," I am not sure what ever will make you do that. Please, my 10 readers, please head over to and give it a try. If you like it, head on over to the Rabbit Room Store and buy the CD. Or better yet, find out if the tour is coming near you and make the trip to go witness it live. It is a concert you will never forget.

As a bonus, I found this video of Jill Phillips singing the song Labor of Love live at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville (used to be the home of the Grand Ole Opry). Her husband, Andy Gullahorn, is on the guitar, Ben Shive on the keys (both amazing songwriters in their own right). The song start out with the line "It was not a silent night..." The way that she sings the song is achingly, hauntingly beautiful.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Worthwhile Christmas Albums

December is upon us and I love it! While it is really weird to be in Orlando, FL and seeing palm trees and the sun, which seems to disappear in Columbus for the month, I love this season. The way I get into it down here is by not looking outside and cranking some Christmas tunes. I know some of you already have your favorite Christmas classics and swear you won't listen to anything but Bing Crosby during this time of year, but allow me to submit some new choices to listen to. From here until Christmas I will periodically post mini-reviews of excellent Christmas CD's that you should give a shot and perhaps haven't. Most of these aren't the classics that you may already know of but each is worth your time.

As a treat, the first one is available for FREE from Noisetrade. Called "Advent Songs" and made by Sojourn Community Church in KY, it is beautiful, joyful, praiseworthy and sets your eyes upon Christ, the reason for the season. The opening track, Joy to the World, is my favorite version of the song I have ever heard (yet). It is worth taking the time to download the album simply for that song. This album came as a surprise to me, because although I love church music, I wasn't expecting something this polished and beautiful from a Kentucky church. Forgive my ignorance and dont make the same mistake I did. Download it!