"Worship is man's full reason for existence. Worship is why we are born and why we are born again." A.W. Tozer

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Books Read: 2013

Part 8 of the posts regarding books that I have read lately. Part 1: books read in 2009, Part 2: books read in January - June of 2010, Part 3: books read in July - December of 2010, Part 4: books read in January - June of 2011, Part 5: books read in July - December of 2011, Part 6: books read in January - June of 2012, and Part 7: books read in July - December of 2012.

Unfortunately this year was not a year for reading for me. I hope to remedy that in 2014.

Who Do You Think You Are? by Mark Driscoll *
Jesus Is _____. by Judah Smith *
On the Grace of God by Justin Holcomb
Let Hope In by Pete Wilson *

What are you reading? Leave me a comment with your recommendations!

Special thanks to BookSneeze/Thomas Nelson for providing some of these books to read and review (marked by a *).

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Struggling in a new season...

For two and a half weeks I've been staring at this page trying to figure out how to write about what is going on. I've got a great group of friends here in California that have been walking with me through this journey, but I feel like I need to get the word out there to a broader audience and friends that I don't have daily contact with.

Two and a half weeks ago I returned from a trip to Ohio and Michigan to spend a little over a week with my family at my grandpa's cottage. It was such a great trip. Nice and relaxing and always great to spend time with family. Yet when I returned to California I was returning to a new season in life without a job or a permanent place to live. And these past two weeks have been very overwhelming. I'm struggling with the decisions that need to be made. I'm fighting so many questions and emotions that I don't know what direction to take and I feel completely lost. I don't know what to do.

I need prayer, guidance, insight, help, etc.

I'm fighting two different options. One, stay in California where I've got a great group of friends and an awesome church, but would mean looking for anything as a job. Two, look for a music ministry position which would definitely mean not at my current church and most likely somewhere completely different geographically. And here's what I'm fighting with those options. I don't want just any job. I want to find something I'll enjoy doing and I long to finally find something I can make a career of. That something still feels like music ministry to me. However, a part of me is afraid to start looking in that direction because of the potential "no" I will hear because I'm now divorced.

Just a little of where my head and heart are lately. I know God has everything under control, but I'm having a hard time believing it and living like it's true. I feel like such a mess right now and a little like I've been left behind and forgotten in the world.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Beyond Ordinary by Justin & Trisha Davis

"This is not an ordinary marriage book." What Justin and Trisha Davis have given us in their book Beyond Ordinary: When a Good Marriage Just Isn't Good Enough is a book that is anything but ordinary; it is extraordinary. Having said that though, I thought words about this book would just flow out onto this page. However, that hasn't been the case. At the time that I received this book and started reading it, I was going through a divorce. Why read a book on marriage then? I want to learn and grow even in the midst of my current circumstance. Though it was hard to read, I wanted to read it. God has been teaching me a lot lately and He's used Justin and Trisha's story to continue to teach me. The Davis' openly and honestly invite us into their story and that's what makes this an amazing book. They call this book a "he said, she said memoir." As you read each chapter you will hear from Justin, then you will hear from Trisha, and then they will both come together and share insights on what they learned and what we can learn from them. They are open, honest, and candid about what they went through. Hearing from both Justin and Trisha gives you a complete picture of what was happening, what was said, what was not said, and how the other person was interpreting it. I wish I could say that after reading this book my marriage was saved, but I can't. What I can say is that through my own situation and struggle and by reading books like this one, God is changing me. This book and the Davis' story is just as much about God changing the person as it is about changing a marriage. They write this early on in the book, "God doesn't want to improve your marriage; he wants to transform it. God doesn't want to modify your behavior; he wants to change your heart. Extraordinary comes when you, as a husband or wife, invite God to change you." I would highly recommend that everyone, whether single, dating, engaged, or married read this book, and especially those involved in ministry. Yes this is a marriage book, but there is something in this book for everyone as we all deal with relationships on some level.
     "Ordinary is the biggest enemy of a great marriage. Ordinary is characterized by dissatisfaction, misunderstanding, and stale love. Ordinary is the birthplace of adultery. Ordinary is a place where divorce looks better than staying together. Ordinary is the subtle trap that convinces you that your marriage is as good as it will ever get. Ordinary marriages lose hope. Ordinary marriages lose vision. Ordinary marriages give in to compromise.
     The way to an ordinary marriage is the path of least resistance. If you want an extraordinary marriage, you will have to choose it.
     This book is a weapon designed to wage war against ordinary. It isn't about communicating better or learning what planet your spouse is from or what love language he or she speaks. Instead, this book is a transparent look into the lives of two people who have journeyed from extraordinary to ordinary to nightmarish—and back again, by God's grace. This is a book about the heart: our hearts, your heart, and the heart of every marriage."

Special thanks to Tyndale for providing this complimentary book to read and review. You can purchase the book here on Be sure to check out the Davis' ministry RefineUs. And visit for more information about this book.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Who Do You Think You Are? by Mark Driscoll

"Who are you? What defines you? What is your identity? How you answer those questions affects every aspect of your life: personal, public, and spiritual. So it's vital to get the answer right." Mark Driscoll's latest book Who Do You Think You Are?: Finding Your True Identity in Christ, guides readers to answer those very questions. When I first heard about this book, I knew it was going to be a book I couldn't wait to read. The topic of identity is something I struggled with, and if I'm honest, still struggle with. A friend and mentor spent a lot of time with me in this area. I believe in this day and age identity crisis is more rampant than ever. The message is out there is that our identity and worth lies in what we do, our status in the world, how much stuff we have, what kind of car we drive, how big of a house we have, etc. Driscoll writes this, "We're continually forgetting who we are in Christ and filling that void by placing our identity in pretty much anything else." He continues by writing, "This world's fundamental problem is that we don't understand who we truly are—children of God made in his image—and instead define ourselves by any number of things other than Jesus." I found myself basing my worth in what I did; the job I had, as well as the job I wanted but wasn't getting. Driscoll uses the message in the book of Ephesians as the base text for this book. Each chapter focuses on an aspect of who we are when we look to Jesus as our identity; I Am in Christ, I Am a Saint, I Am Blessed, I Am Appreciated, I Am Saved, I Am Reconciled, I Am Afflicted, I Am Heard, I Am Gifted, I Am New, I Am Forgiven, I Am Adopted, I Am Loved, I Am Rewarded, I Am Victorious.
"As Christians, we live from our identity, not for our identity. We are defined by who we are in Christ, not what we do or fail to do for Christ. Christ defines who we are by who he is and what he's done for us, in us, and through us.

Knowing Jesus and being saved by him in faith is the key to your identity and the defeat of your idolatry. It's not about you. It's all about Jesus."
What a great reminder! IT'S ALL ABOUT JESUS!

Currently, Mark Driscoll's church, Mars Hill, is doing a sermon series based off the book; Ephesians: Who Do You Think You Are?. You can check those out here.

Special thanks to Thomas Nelson and BookSneeze for providing this complimentary book to read and review. You can purchase the book here on

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Rend Collective Experiment | Campfire

"Imagine intimate worship around the glow of embers and friendship. Imagine church as a shared celebration of our stories, struggles and lives. And imagine mission as the ignition of God's people as they huddle closely around 'The Consuming Fire.' With Campfire, a 12-track collection recorded live on a beach in Northern Ireland, Rend Collective Experiment dare us to re-imagine worship and community." I wish that I could have been on the beach to experience this recording. Having listened to this album the last two weeks, there is something so unique, fresh, and special in the music. Even being on the other side of the Atlantic ocean with time having passed since this moment was recorded, the spirit of worship that encompasses this recording can't help but be felt and in turn draws you into worship as if you were on the beach around that very same campfire. The songs on this project will be familiar if you've listened to Rend Collective Experiment's previous two albums, Organic Family Hymnal and Homemade Worship by Handmade People. You will however notice new instrumentation as well as new arrangements. One new song they add to this album is a version of Matt Redman's song "10,000 Reasons." This album comes across as pure worship through music. It's not about the performance or production; no fancy lights, no smoke, no loud sound system. It is the church, the body of Christ, coming together to lift up praises to God through music.
"The album is entirely driven by classic, retro folk instruments that could be played by the fireside and by the ocean. The result is an album that captures the raw, rootsy, foot-stomping energy of the Irish worshippers, which has been infectious among audiences across the globe, as well as the vulnerability and intimacy of home group worship."

Special thanks to Integrity Music for providing this complimentary pre-release album to listen to and review. You can download the album here on iTunes.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Books Read: July - December 2012

Part 7 of the posts regarding books that I have read lately. Part 1: books read in 2009, Part 2: books read in January - June of 2010, Part 3: books read in July - December of 2010, Part 4: books read in January - June of 2011, Part 5: books read in July - December of 2011, and Part 6: books read in January - June of 2012.

Discovering the Mind of a Woman by Ken Nair
No Ordinary Marriage by Tim Savage *
Unleash! by Perry Noble
Captured by Grace by David Jeremiah
Note to Self by Joe Thorn
Glorious Ruin by Tullian Tchividjian
Torn by Jud Wilhite (re-read)
Grace by Max Lucado *
Mistakes Leaders Make by Dave Kraft *
Redemption by Mike Wilkerson
Date Your Wife by Justin Buzzard (re-read)
Every Man's Battle by Stephen Arterburn & Fred Stoeker
Grace Transforming by Phil Ryken *
Beyond Ordinary by Justin & Trisha Davis *

What are you reading? Leave me a comment with your recommendations!

Special thanks to BookSneeze/Thomas Nelson, Tyndale, and Crossway for providing some of these books to read and review (marked by a *).

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Grace Transforming by Phil Ryken

Grace Transforming by Phil Ryken began as a series of messages from chapel at Wheaton College where he is the president. Throughout this book Ryken looks at eight different aspects of God's life-changing grace; 1) Grace's Humbling Necessity, 2) Grace's Costly Provision, 3) Grace's Justifying Righteousness, 4) Grace's Sanctifying Power, 5) Grace's Clarifying Perspective, 6) Grace's Perpetual Abundance, 7) Grace's Precious Testimony, and 8) Grace's Endless Kindness. This isn't a long book, it's easy to read, but at the same time it's challenging. It is also a refreshing book to read as you reflect on how the grace of God has already changed you. As I continue to read books on the grace of God I am continually blown away at how much God loves us to freely offer us something we truly don't deserve. The subject of grace and my identity has been a subject heavily on my mind this year and throughout this book Ryken clearly links the two together. He writes this at the very beginning of the book; "Instead of being defined by who we are and what we do, we are defined by who Jesus is and what he has done for us in his death and resurrection." I don't think there is any way to ever exhaust the subject of God's grace, but through books like Ryken's we are challenged to never forget it. "Grace is not something we leave behind once we decide to follow Jesus. Grace is our present need as well as our past experience." "We never outgrow our need for God's life-changing grace―the gospel of the cross and the empty tomb." "Grace is not just the way into the Christian life; it is also the way on in the Christian life. So as we seek to live in a way that is pleasing to God, we never stop needing his mercy."

Special thanks to Crossway for providing this complimentary book to read and review. You can purchase the book here on