Friday, February 19, 2010


Well, what a night. I don't really think a word has been invented to describe how the concert went. For those of you who did not know, I went to the Casting Crowns/Kutless/Caleb concert at First Mariner Arena. I went in with a heavy heart and came out feeling God's presence more than I have in a long time.

Caleb started things out first. Caleb is comprised of Caleb and his brother Will. They are Steven Curtis Chapman's sons. They played 3 songs. Caleb shared how one of his songs was written a number of years ago when a friend came and told him that a family member had a serious form of cancer. He started writing the song and decided to “shelf” it. Then on May 21 of last year, his sister was killed in a tragic accident at the family home. Caleb then pulled the song back out and it really ministered to him. It talked about being redeemed. All in all I would say it was a nice short set from the Chapman Boys.

Kutless came on next and did a rather short set for a second band. They opened with “It Is Well”. They then broke right into “Give Us Clean Hands”. Jon Micah then invited the crowd to sing along with the next two songs, the title track from their previous worship album "Strong Tower" and their current worship project "What Faith Can Do. I remember the first time I heard the latter song; I started to get some tears. Sometimes songs can do that when you hear them live, the song has a bigger meaning because you can actually see the emotion from the band singing it Jon Micah shared how the band has gotten tons of emails about how the song has affected their lives. That song made an impact on me hearing it live. Sometimes songs can do that. When you hear them live, it has a bigger meaning because you can actually see the emotion from the band singing it. They then closed with “I’m Still Yours” Followed by them leading the crowd in an acapella version of “Sanctuary”.

After a 5 minute video while the stage was being reset, Casting Crowns came out blazing. It has been 5 years since I have seen these guys live. I saw them twice after their first CD was released Once at Creation and the other being with Steven Curtis Chapman on his “All Things New” tour. I was excited to see what Casting Crowns was like as a headliner.

They kicked things off right away with “Until the Whole World Hears”. This caught me off guard. The song is currently a single on the radio and usually bands play their current single last. But this was ok with me. I was able to sing louder then ever! They then transitioned into “If We Are the Body” followed by “Slow Fade”. All throughout the evening, Mark Hall, who is their lead singer, was making jokes. After “Slow Fade”, Mark introduced themselves as Casting Crowns and said they were not Mercy Me. Apparently, at a lot of their shows; people come up and ask them if they are going to play “I Can Only Imagine”. That would be kind of cool to hear them do that song.

They then played “If We’ve Ever Needed You”. I would have to agree with the message in this song. This world is a cold and dark place. We as Christians are being attacked from all sides. 10 Whether it’s not being allowed to say “Merry Christmas”, or a teacher being hassled for even mentioning “Creationism”. Christians have to stand up for their faith now more than ever before.
The Crowns then proceeded into a little worship set. Kicking things off with “Glorious Day” followed by “Who Am I”, “Mercy” and “To Know You”. It was a very nice time of Worship. You could truly feel God moving.

After the worship set, each member of the band had a seat on different parts of the stage while Mark shared from his heart. Casting Crowns does a lot of ministry work with World Vision. They are an organization who helps needy children throughout the world. He spoke of the situation in Haiti and how thousands of children there were affected by the earthquake. After about 10 minutes of speaking, he invited people to “adopt” a child. The band members then moved to the front of the stage and handed out children to folks who came up. After this, we moved into a brief intermission.

During the intermission I wandered around and also moved seats. The seats at First Mariner arena were not designed for “bigger” people. The gentleman who was sitting to my left and I were quite uncomfortable. Even though I could look straight ahead and see the stage, I moved to a seat more to the left of the stage. It was still a good view. I had no one around me and I could stand without worry that I was blocking someone behind me.

After the intermission, the band came back out with “What This World Needs”. It was during this song that Juan Devevo, one of the bands guitar players and back up vocalist, introduced the band. After the intros, the band played “Holy One”.

The Crowns then all sat in a circle on stools and did a 4 song Acoustic Medley of some of their hits. They started with “I Know You’re There”; followed by “Does Anybody Hear Her” and “Stained Glass Masquerade”. Then Megan Garret, who is another back-up singer, moved up to the piano and played a beautiful version of “Blessed Redeemer”.

Once the stage was reset, Mark shared his story about how he was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADD as a child. He shared how he was taken out of one class in school, away from all of his friends and put in a remedial class where the teacher talked slower. He also said he was afraid to go to Bible Study. His class would always get into a circle and take turns reading verses. He would always count how many people were before him and then he would go to his verse and practice it. Everything was good until the person ahead of him got up to use the restroom.
He said that all his life people were telling him that he couldn’t do what he wanted. But then he heard a voice inside of his head. The voice of God telling him he could do anything. This is the story behind the song “Voice of Truth” which was then played.

“Always Enough” came next followed by a song that has a special meaning to me. A couple of years ago, I was laid off from a job. It came out of no where. My wife and I just had our first child and I was trying to figure out where the money was going to come from. As I got in my car to leave that day, I turned on the local Christian Station 95.1 WRBS. Oddly enough, now that I think about it, “Strong Tower” was just finishing and “Praise You In This Storm” came on right after it. That was a great moment for me. God was telling me, “Hey, I got your back during this rough patch in life. Everything will be ok”. Everything worked out great. I am now working! Praise God!

The band then played “East to West”. It is so good to know that God’s forgiveness stretches beyond our comprehension. How far really is the east from the west? No one except God knows. Mark then stopped and really shared from his heart. He shared how all of Casting Crowns music is based on Bible Studies they do in their home church. Each member of the band has an active role in student ministry at their church. The songs are written based on real life events in some cases. He then clearly shared the Gospel message. He said that he is sure everyone in that arena had something they wanted to leave in that arena when they left. I had something. It felt really good to “leave it behind”. After the invitation, the band played “At Your Feet”. This song really hit me. It has been a long time since I had a passion for Christ and this song helped reignite it.
The band then played “Lifesong” and Jon Micah of Kutless and Caleb Chapman of “Caleb” came out to help with the vocals. They then thanked the crowd and left the stage. That was it… no wait, it wasn’t. After about 5 minutes, the group came back on and Mark asked if we had time for one more song. After a great response, they played one of their signature songs “What If His People Prayed”. They then lead us in an Acapella version of the chorus of “Until The Whole World Hears” and they left the stage.

This show really changed me in a number of ways. It is great to be reminded that this life on Earth is only temporary. We have a loving God who is ALWAYS looking out for us. He knows what is best for us and He is in control of all of the storms in our life. If you get a chance, please go and see this tour. It is coming to Hershey, Pennsylvania on February 28th. You will be challenged and your life may be changed. God Bless!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Way Overdue

Well, I have returned to the world of blogging. Sorry I have taken over a week to update. Life has been so busy. So let's see, where to start.

First and foremost, Johanna and I celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary yesterday. We went to Fogo De Chos in downtown Baltimore. It was so cool. Not only was the food delicious but just the whole experience of eating there. I must have eaten like 1 1/2 pounds of meat. It was so good. The Ribs that I ate were almost as good as the ribs my dad makes. They melted as soon as you put them in your mouth. Johanna got a 12.00 cosmoplitan. So yeah, I would HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who is looking for a nice date night. It is a little pricey. It was a little over 110.00 for us. But it is good.

Onto the diet front. I have been doing rather well with that. I have slacked off and did not go to the gym yesterday or today, I probably will not be able to go tomorrow but I will be going on Monday morning. When I went Thursday night, I got a little brave. After biking for 6 miles, I went over to the treadmill and walked for a 1/2 mile. Then I decided to try running. I ran for 1/2 mile on the treadmill at 5 MPH. I felt really good after that. I actually had sweat dripping down off of my eyebrows. WOW! So I got home and weighed myself on the Wii Fit. I have lost 5 pounds last week!! It is very encouraging. This weekend I was kind of bad, I know that the dinner was an anniversary thing, but we ordered Chinese tonight. Tomorrow my whole family is coming up to White Marsh for lunch. We are going to one of my favorite restuarants. I am planning on getting a salad. They have very good salads there.

Recently on facebook, I have been connecting with a lot of old friends. Some of whom are Christian and some of whom are not. It is very interesting and disheartening at the same time to hear how some of them have walked away from the Christian faith. I did that once for about 5 months. I had done some things I never thought I would have done. I stopped going to church, I stopped hanging out with friends of the faith and I stopped praying. Looking back on that time of my life, I still don't know how I did it. I don't know how I could have ever turned my back on God after all He did for me.

I was planning on using a Steven Curtis Chapman song here, but another one popped into my head. Third Day is one of those bands that you either love em or you really dislike them. I love them, my wife is the latter of the two. Their music has really spoken to me during some trials, especially some recent ones. One of the songs that makes me look back on that point in my life is "Run To You". Below are the lyrics:

I was tired of waiting
Playing all the games and
Living in a place that was not for me
So I thought it was time
For me to get what’s mine
And to do it all, everything I dreamed
What I thought was the best of me turned to be
All the worst I could find

If I run to you
Will you hold me in your arms forevermore
If I run to you
Will you hold me in your arms forevermore
Now I got a feeling
That I’ve got to leave and
Find a way back to where I came from

Though I don’t deserve it
I know it’s unheard but
Living here without you, my life is done
I confess that I shouldn’t have run from you
Now I know I was wrong

Nowhere to run to
And no one to turn to
I’m dying out here on my own
Long before I even thought of returning
Your arms are wide open
Waiting for me to come home

The second part of the second verse really hits me hard. How can we run from God? After all He has done for us, after all of the promises He gives us in His Word. He is always waiting there with open arms. If you ever feel like you have sinned beyond the point of forgiveness, remember, no sin is worse than another. Sure, we view it that murdering someone is 1000 times worse then simplying stealing a candy bar from 7-11. But remember, they are both the same in God's Eyes. No sin you commit can ever make God love you less then He already does.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Well, it has been a whole week since I updated this. Lots going on. I guess I will start with my fact of the “week”. When subjected to an electric current of at least 50 volts, a cat’s tail always points to the north. Hmm…. How did they figure this out?

Let's see, what happened this week? Johanna celebrated her 4 year anniversary with DLA Piper on the 16th and they gave her a coupon to leave work one hour early. Yeah, great gift!

Last night, we were playing with Elijah and Azalea. We kept having Azalea do tricks and Elijah would crack up laughing at it. Jo and I were crying because we were laughing so hard. We have video of it and it will be posted to Jo’s blog soon.

Some big news from the week, I joined a gym! Tuesday, I went to Bally’s near our house just to check it out. I talked with one of the managers and got a great deal. I did not have to sign up for a single/multi-year contract. I am paying 34.99 a month and I can cancel anytime I want too. They have so much stuff, lots of cardio and weights, track that wraps around the whole facility, racquetball and an indoor pool. They also have free childcare if I ever need to take Elijah there.

On Wednesday, while I was biking there, I got to thinking it would be cool to have someone to workout with. We can encourage and push each other. Then I got on facebook and one of my friends had updated his status that he really wanted to loose some weight. His name is Chris and he is the afternoon DJ for my favorite radio station WRBS. So I sent him a message and he sent me one back. We are going to meet for drinks sometime in the near future and talk about it. He is also one of the worship leaders at my church. I am really excited about this possibility.

I tried a gym before and didn’t follow through with it. Johanna and I lost a lot of money because of it. I also was just getting discouraged about not seeing results. I use to be the type of person who wanted results right away. Now I know this is going to be a marathon and not a sprint.
Have you ever felt discouraged? You know, that feeling like everything you have tried you have failed at? Sometimes your life just seems to be like one big storm and there is no way out of it. I have felt that way a lot. But then I hear a voice inside of me telling me everything is going to be alright. I had that feeling again this morning. We have had a lot of stuff going on. Our washer is broken and we need to have it repaired, we need a new hot water heater, among other things. I was getting frustrated about it. Then I heard the following song on the radio. I have heard it before but this time I actually listened. The song is “Jesus Calling” by 33 Miles.

What do you see when you look at your world today
Is it so full of clutter that you feel like your going insane
But you can't fight back 'cause you're just too afraid
And it feels like the clouds in your sky don't wanna change
You see there’s always another story
Another side to every coin
But how you see your circumstance is all about a choice

Chorus:When you see the rushing wind, feel the pouring rain
Hear the thunder now as the clouds roll in You're blinded by the lighting
Do you also hear that still, small voice saying it's okay
You're not alone, you may be scared to death
But I won't let you go You may think the sky above is falling
But can you hear Jesus calling?

What do you see when you look at your world today
Do you see a glimmer of hope or has it all turned to gray
Well start by counting you blessings one by one
And I'm sure right there you'll start to see the sun
You see there’s always another story
Another side to every coin
But how you see your circumstance is all about a choice

So, whenever you are facing a “storm” in life, take that time to hear the still small voice of Christ telling you everything will be ok. I have heard that voice so many times and I am so thankful for it!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Missing Person

Hey everyone,

It's Friday! YAY! I have been thinking about maybe having a Star Wars Movie Marathon this weekend. Yep, all 6 movies. I am sure I won't be able to pull it off, but hey I will try!

Recently, I have networked with a friend online I had met on a Missions Trip to Ocean City. Her name is Karmen and she lives down in AL. I remember that trip a lot. There were 2 teams, one from Faith Community (My old church) and one from a church in AL. When we first all arrived, we kind of stayed away from one another. But then a bunch of us started hanging out with the other church. They were really cool people. I remember our last day there, we had about 25 people from each group participate in a prayer together. That was really cool.

The point of this post you ask? Well, when I was reminiscing about this and other Mission Trips, I got to thinking about what kind of a person I was then. I was really on fire for God. I was willing to tell anyone and everyone about Him and what He had done in my life. Then I thought about who I am now. I am really a different person.

I can't figure out when exactly the change happened. I think a lot of it was due to the fact that I stopped going to Faith. I went to that church for almost 13 years. I grew up there. I know a lot of people there. I was attending that church when I became a Christian. I really miss the fellowship that I had with people there. The church that I am going to now is so huge. Johanna and I do not know anyone. But I am hoping to change that, for me at least.

There is a neat ministry coming up for the men at Mountain. I am really looking forward to it. It is a Men's Fraternity. This is going to be a weekly class where men get together as brothers in Christ and just have the opportunity to share with one another about any struggles we are having.

So, that brings me to the song. There are so many songs with lyrics that touch on what I am going through right now. Frpm "Just Reach Out" by Petra to "What If I Stumble" by DC TALK. I was going to use the DC TALK song, but then I decided to branch out a little. I have been listening to Phillips, Craig and Dean a little bit. They have this one song called "When God Ran". It is based on the story of the Prodigal Son which can be found in the Book of Luke. I really like the lyrics:

Almighty God, the great I am
Immovable rock, omnipotent, powerful, awesome Lord
Victorious warrior, commanding King of Kings Mighty conqueror,
and the only time
the only time I ever saw Him run

Was when He ran to me, He took me in His arms
Held my head to His chest, said “My son’s come home again”
Lifted my face, wiped the tears from my eyes
With forgiveness in His voice He said,“Son do you know I still love you?”
He caught me by surprise
when God ran

The day I left home I knew I’d broken His heart
And I wondered then if things could ever be the same
Then one night I remembered His love for me
And down that dusty road ahead I could see
It was the only time – it was the only time I ever saw Him run

And then He ran to me, He took me in His arms
Held my head to His chest, said “My son’s come home again”
Lifted my face, wiped the tears from my eyes
With forgiveness in His voice He said,“Son do you know I still love you?”
He caught me by surprise as He brought me to my knees
When God ran I saw Him run to me

I was so ashamed, all alone and so far away
But now I know He’s been waiting for this day

I saw Him run to me, He took me in His arms
Held my head to His chest, said “My son’s come home again”
Lifted my face, wiped the tears from my eyes
With forgiveness in His voice I felt His love for me again

He ran to me, He took me in His arms
Held my head to His chest, said “My son’s come home again”
Lifted my face, wiped the tears from my eyes
With forgiveness in His voice He said, “Son”,
He called me Son He said, “Son do you know I still love you?”
He ran to me and then I ran to Him
When God ran

So I just need to keep thinking about that. No matter how far I run from God, I can ALWAYS run back to God and be welcome with open arms. It is really comforting to know.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I am glad I am not a woman....

Did you know that "Women end up digesting most of the lipstick that they apply" Why not just eat the lipstick like a candy bar!

So I have finally uploaded all of my CD's onto my ITUNES library. I have 963 Christian CD's. Yesterday, I was listening to some Relient K stuff. I put the bands albums on shuffle and just listened to whatever played. For some reason, I got 4 of their songs from their Christmas album in a row.

That got me thinking.... why do we only listen to Christmas music at Christmas time? Why not listen to it all year round. Why does the miracle of Christ's birth only have to be celebrated at Christmas time? We should be celebrating all the time. So the song "Don't Save It All For Christmas Day" by Avalon popped into my head. I know, those of you who have heard Reliant K and Avalon know they are 2 completely different styles of music. But the message is what is important. Below are the lyrics:

Don't get so busy that you miss
Giving just a little kiss
To the ones you love
Don't even wait a little while
To give them just a little smile
A little is enough
See how many people are crying
Some people are dying
How many people are asking for love
So don't save it all for Christmas day
Find a way
To give a little love every day
Don't save it all for Christmas day
Find a way
'Cause holidays have come and gone
But love lives on
If you give onLove
How could you wait another minute
A hug is warmer when you're in it
Oh, baby that's a fact
And saying I love you's always better
Seasons, reasons they don't matter
So don't hold back
See how many people in this world
So needful in this world
How many people are praying for love

repeat chorus

So let all the children know
Everywhere that they go
Their whole life long
Let them know love

So remember to show love to those around you at all times. Not just at Christmas time.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

New stuff to do witth my blog

Well, I have decided to do something a little different with my blog. I got this neat application for my IPHONE called 6001 random facts. So each day I am going to post a new and interesting fact. Some may be disturbing... you have been forewarned.

I also want to use this as an encouragement to anyone who reads it. So in addition to the fact, each day I am going to post the lyrics to a song and what they mean to me.

So now onto the fact: It is now possible to print human skin with an inkjet printer

Hmm... very interesting indeed.

One of my favorite Christian Groups is Kutless. They have been around for a few years and I had the opportunity to meet them once. One of there songs is "Promise of a Lifetime" This song has helped me through a lot. Just to know that God is always there to listen to us is amazing. Here is the God who created the whole universe and everything we see around us, yet He loves us just the way we are. What an Awesome feeling. Be Blessed by the lyrics:

I have fallen to my knees
As I sing a lullaby of pain
I’m feeling broken in my melody
As I sing to help the tears go away
Then I remember the pledge you made to me

I know you’re always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I’m clinging to the promise of a lifetime
I hear the words you say
To never walk away from me and leave behind
The promise of a lifetime

Will you help me fall apart
Pick me up, take me in your arms
Find my way back from the storm
And you show me how to grow
Through the change
I still remember the pledge you made to me

I am holding on to the hope I have inside
With you I will stay through every day
Putting my understanding aside
And I am comforted

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Well, lots of stuff to update on.

Frist off, a while ago I had posted something about me going on a diet, well that has been a challenge. I can say that about a week ago, I stepped on our Wii Fit and found out I had lost 7 pounds. That was a big encouragement. That just proved to me that I can loose weight!

I really feel as if God has been talking to me the past couple of Sundays at church. For those who don't know, we go to Mountain Christian Church in Joppa MD. It is a very nice church. Jo and I love worshipping there. We are in the midst of a rebel with a cause series. 2 weeks ago, (Father's Day) Pastor Ben talked about being content with life. Now, I know that being content has always been hard for me. I have always wanted more or better then I have. New car, better home, new IPHONE, better job, more CD's, more children, etc. Well Ben said something that really hit me. God has me right where He wants me right now. I have all He feels I need right now. So it was at that point I decided that I was content. I have a car that runs, (It is still new), I have a roof over my head, I have a phone that calls people, even if it calls people when I don't want it too.

So that afternoon, I got my Father's Day gifts. Johanna had Elijah bring me my card that she made, (She makes all the cards we give out. So much better then Hallmark) Then Elijah handed me this little piece of paper. It was a coupon good for... wait for it.... wait for it.. a new iphone! I was so excited! So we went and picked it up that afternoon. My other Father's Day gift was going down to see my folks. I love my wife!

Then last Sunday, Ben talked about worry. He told us that if we worry, we are in a way saying that God is not in control. God always has our best interests in His heart. (Jer. 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord. Plans to prosper and not harm you, to give you a future and a hope) I have been holding onto that verse for some time now. Things are just starting to really fall into place in my life. I just need to keep leaning on God and knowing that He does have great things in store for me!

So there is my monthly update. I promise to try to update on a more consistent basis! Have a great 4th!