365 Czech Republic

A Good Friday On a Snowy Day

Good Friday (4/3/15)

We woke up this morning to a winter wonderland and the sound of Titus saying, “Mom! Dad! It snowed!” Getting out of bed I wiped my eyes, blinked a few times, and couldn’t believe all the snow that had fallen last night. Knowing this would slow down the morning, I hurried to get dressed and try to get out the door to get Titus to school. Instead of walking, I decided to dig the snow around the garage doors and get the car and drive Titus. Bethany needed it for Avery’s doctor appointment today, so I figured it would be best to get it out for her. As we drove Titus was giddy about the falling snow all around and said, “It’s Christmastime!” Not quite, pal.

Good Friday (4/3/15)

After shuffling through the snow with Titus we made into the school where we got our shoes off and then it hit me–I don’t think there’s school today. Looking around I didn’t see very many jackets hanging in the little cubbies and there were only a handful of shoes. I took Titus upstairs to his class and sure enough the doors were locked. I think this is the third time Titus and I have experienced this. What’s really strange is we thought Titus was going to be “tested” today to see if he can move up to Kindergarten next year. In fact, we had prepared Titus for his teacher to question him and were trying to tell him to be ready and make sure and listen and obey. Come to find out tonight after retranslating the email we got from his teacher, she was actually trying to ask us to “consider whether we should send him to school today.” It’s hard being lost in translation. I told Titus there wasn’t school today and said “let’s go,” and he stopped and said, “Daddy, I want to stay.” He has never done that, but we think he was just excited about something different and what we had prepared him for. We found out later that there’s no school on Good Friday and there’s no school on Easter Monday (the day after Sunday). Oh, the life of a foreigner.

The day wasn’t a complete lost as Bethany was able to take Avery for her check-up which is required for her entering preschool next year. I had a few big meetings at the Josiah Venture office and carpooled with another missionary which allowed Bethany to have the car. The Lord was definitely working behind the scenes on that one because we didn’t know it was going to snow like it did and it was great that Bethany had the car instead of trying to walk.

Good Friday (4/3/15)

Tonight we attended our church’s Good Friday service. I don’t think there was anyone doing English translation, so that was tough, but it was a really full service and we struggled to find a place to sit at first. Above you can see a photo I took and we were way up high in the balcony. They didn’t have any kids program tonight, so we had Titus and Avery with us which was a challenge. The service was long and since it started at 6:00pm it pushed into their normal bedtime. We actually ended up leaving a little early because the kids were restless, but I was glad to be there even though we couldn’t follow what was going on. We were blessed as well tonight by the music of Keith and Kristyn Getty which we listened to before and after the service.

I think I was especially blessed by listening to the song “The Power of the Cross.” It’s a wonderful song with amazing truths, and a perfect song for Good Friday. Here’s a recording of it I found on YouTube and I’m putting the lyrics below the video for you to read. I will echo what many Christians will likely say today, “It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming.”

Oh, to see the dawn
Of the darkest day:
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men,
Torn and beaten, then
Nailed to a cross of wood.

This, the pow’r of the cross:
Christ became sin for us;
Took the blame, bore the wrath—
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Oh, to see the pain
Written on Your face,
Bearing the awesome weight of sin.
Ev’ry bitter thought,
Ev’ry evil deed
Crowning Your bloodstained brow.

Now the daylight flees;
Now the ground beneath
Quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two,
Dead are raised to life;
“Finished!” the vict’ry cry.

Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death;
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.

This, the pow’r of the cross:
Son of God—slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross.

The Power of the Cross
Words and Music by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2005 Thankyou Music

365 Czech Republic

Sick Bodies, Encouraged Hearts

Sick Days (3/3/15)

I’ve lost count of how many hours we’ve slept the last few days. I feel sad for our kids who see us here, but can’t spend the kind of time they want with us because we’re so energy zapped. Titus kept asking me to take him outside to play and I told him while I was lying on the couch, “Sorry, pal. I just can’t.” He said, “But Dad, it’s sunny out!” “I know, bud. I’m sorry.” Above is a photo of me lying on the couch. Even though I pretty much reject the “selfie” movement in our culture, I couldn’t resist documenting how I was feeling today.

Sick Days (3/3/15)

Bethany has been a trooper even though she hasn’t been feeling well and she’s pregnant. She handed me this bowl of soup shown above today for lunch as well as took care of the kids and provided for their needs. I don’t know if the wedding vows “in sickness and in health” meant really bad colds or infections, but Bethany was faithful nonetheless and I’m thankful for her. That being said, she also gave me some other concoction after lunch which was quite fowl. You can see the photo of it below and her caption with my thoughts (aka “witches brew”).

We’re sitting here tonight tired and still sick and I have a doctor’s appointment scheduled for tomorrow at 1pm. It was the earliest I could get and it’s a 35 minute drive from our place. It’s not the doctor I wanted to see, but I have a good recommendation from another missionary here. I’m hopeful we can get some clarity and hopefully some medicine that will help me get back on my feet.

Right now we’re watching the live stream of the Shepherd’s Conference which I had the joy and privilege of attending a year ago before we moved to Czech. I was extremely blessed to hold the kids on my lap tonight and we as a family gathered around my computer to hear the music of Keith and Kristyn Getty. Their modern hymns are a source of encouragement for these sick bodies and make me long for heaven. There is definitely something special about singing songs that reflect the very words of God found in Scripture. Praise the Lord.

365 Czech Republic

Who Would Have Dreamed

Back in September, I wrote about about Sovereign Grace Music’s newest Christmas album called Prepare Him Room. Since then I’ve probably only listened to the entire album a few times through, but I have listened to one song at least a dozen times. The song is called “Who Would Have Dreamed” and as I listened to the chorus the other night I was struck by the depth of the words. It says,

And who would have dreamed or ever foreseen
That we could hold God in our hands?
The Giver of Life is born in the night
Revealing God’s glorious plan
To save the world

The entire song is worth a listen. Here’s a more unplugged version that they posted to YouTube, but I recommend buying the entire album on their site.

Tonight we had our friend Misa over for dinner. She’s a young Czech girl who’s part of the youth ministry at our church and who we have gotten to know better. Misa has been a blessing to us many times when we needed the help of a translator and evening helping us around our house. Tonight over dinner she was filling us in on a lot of Czech culture as she is learning our American culture. In March it looks like she’ll be going to the States to begin to study in English in Pennsylvania so she was excited to share that news with us.

Misa was also a big help tonight as she talked with our landlord about some paperwork that we have been unable to find. We had to change our rental agreement last week in order to apply for our long term visas and our landlord wanted us to return the original. Bethany and scoured the house last weekend trying to find it to no avail. As Misa was explaining this to our landlord, Bethany went back to the very first place we checked (where we thought we had filed it) and found it! Thankfully we got it all straightened out and were thankful for Misa’s help in communicating for us.

Avery Pushing the Cart (12/9/14)

After dinner we made a quick trip to the store with the whole family to get ready for tomorrow. We’re having a few other friends tomorrow and just wanted to get all the shopping done tonight to save Bethany a little time. Above is a photo of Avery pushing our cart all the way out the store and to our car by herself! She was very focused and did a great job. These kids crack us up…what a joy.

365 Czech Republic


UPDATE: Kevin Dickson, the EXIT Tour director in Czech, wrote a comment saying, “48 bibles were given out last night with over 40 people saying that they want to know more about Jesus.” Those are incredible numbers and we praise the Lord for his work in the lives of young people over here!

It’s late so I’m going to keep it short tonight. I had the privilege of being part of a ministry event tonight that is put on by the local churches called “EXIT Tour.” The Josiah Venture team helps put the event on and it’s an evangelistic outreach event that happens all week in public high schools and culminates on Friday or Saturday night. Throughout the week the EXIT team takes over schools doing music, teaching, ethics training, and just spends time with students. There are after school activities where they continue to build relationships with the students and the churches are involved. At the concerts at the end of the week the students hear the gospel, many of them for the very first time.

EXIT Tour (11/7/14)

That’s exactly what happened tonight and I was there capturing photos and video alongside my teammate Daniel. We’re hoping to tell some of the story of what God has been doing at these events where over 60,000 young people have been able to hear the gospel since the tour began a few years ago. It’s amazing how music is such a universal language that can bring many people together.

Here’s a few photos from tonight, most of them of the band and the concert. A lot of great conversations happen after the concert, including passing out Bibles. If you think of it, please pray for this team and the churches here who will welcome many young people to church this Sunday.

EXIT Tour (11/7/14)

EXIT Tour (11/7/14)

EXIT Tour (11/7/14)

EXIT Tour (11/7/14)

EXIT Tour (11/7/14)

365 Christianity

Late Summer Cold and Christmas Music

Fogadelic (9/15/14)

Well that didn’t take long. Last night I wrote that the family had all gotten sick, except for me. But today I was sneezing and sniffling the latter half of the day and I can feel my throat getting a little sore. When I told someone at the Josiah Venture office today that I was worried I may be getting sick, he said, “Well, it’s perfect weather for it.” He’s right. The weather hasn’t been much of a help as it’s been warm and cold, and often rainy. Today it was mostly foggy (photo above) and we saw the sun shine for just a bit around 3pm. It rained on and off throughout the day, but I guess it’s the kind of weather I would expect when we’re not feeling good.

Now don’t judge us, but we had McDonald’s for dinner. The Golden Arches are about twenty minutes from our place and I pass them every day when I go to Josiah Venture. Bethany texted me late in the day and said, “I have no energy…can we have McDonald’s?” She felt worse today than she did yesterday and so of course I said, “Sure.” I brought all the food back and we actually ate outside because I think we all just needed some fresh air and it wasn’t raining so we enjoyed that. Hey, sometimes a little American fast food can make you feel better!

Prepare Him Room

For a week or so I’ve had on my calendar to pre-order a Christmas album that I’m really excited about it. It’s from Sovereign Grace Music (SGM) and it’s called “Prepare Him Room: Celebrating the Birth of Jesus in Song.” It reales on September 29 and it’s only $5 if you pre-order it today or tomorrow (9/15 – 9/16). SGM puts out wonderful music for the church and I’m sure this Christmas album won’t disappoint. Music has always been something Bethany and I have enjoyed together and our kids love music too. So skip the Starbucks today and get some Christmas music that will exalt the Savior and bless your own soul. You can listen to a preview song below and click here to pre-order the album.

365 Czech Republic

One Box At A Time

Some people take life one day at a time, but we like to take it one box at a time. If you’ve ever moved, you know what I’m talking about. It’s like you keep unpacking and unpacking and the more you unpack the harder it gets to find places for everything. There’s actually a part of me that has sort of begun to ignore some of the boxes in our house, but seeing the stack of empty ones that Bethany had from today surprised me. Where are all of these coming from?! Bethany is on a roll right now just tearing through boxes and putting stuff away. I’m so thankful for her. She works so hard for us. I honestly don’t know where she is getting all of this energy.

One Box at a Time (8/11/14)

The past few weeks have actually been very busy at the JV office as we prepare for an international training conference in late September. Over 300 people will come together for an annual conference that JV puts on for the country leaders and others (or least that’s my understanding at this point. I’ve never been to this conference). Needless to say there’s a lot going on with my team to prepare for their arrival and hopefully provide them all the resources they need so they can be equipped to serve Christ better in their countries. For instance, my team is helping build a Web site right now that will be a resource for leadership training material. It goes hand-in-hand with a book that we’re designing (written by JV staff) that will aid leaders to train other leaders. There’s a lot that goes into both projects but things are moving along which is a blessing. My hope and desire is that these will be a blessing to those who use them and more fruit in the Kingdom will come from it!

The other night when Jonny was visiting I was showing him some music that has been blessing me of late. One of the songs I showed him and one that I just can’t seem to stop listening to is “The Only Name (Yours Will Be)” by Benji and Jenna Cowart. I won’t try and explain the song now but recommend you take a listen. It’s a simple worship song and a good reminder about what really matters at the end of the day (or the end of your life!). I’ve placed the lyrics below the video. Enjoy.

The Only Name (Yours Will Be)

Yours will be the only Name that matters to me
The only One Whose favor I seek
The only Name that matters to me

Yours will be the friendship and affection I need
To feel my Father smiling on me
The only Name that matters to me

And Yours is the Name the Name that saved me
Mercy and grace the power that forgave me
And Your love is all I’ve ever needed

When I wake up in the land of glory
With the saints I will tell my story
There will be one Name that I proclaim

Jesus Jesus Jesus just that Name

This song can be found on their EP album “Letters To The Church At Buffalo.”

Christianity Friends Videos

Grace That is Greater Than All Our Sin

It wouldn’t be right to have a Web site called “It’s All Grace” and not talk about grace. That’s why today I figured we would just sing about it.

A classmate and friend of ours, Greg Clark, is the music director at a church near us. He’s been posting some great videos of hymns and some writing he has been doing and the above video is just 2 minutes of “Grace Greater Than Our Sin.” It’s a wonderful hymn and I think you will be blessed by Greg’s playing and singing on this one. Here’s all the verses for you to read as well:

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.


Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.


Dark is the stain that we cannot hide.
What can avail to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today.


Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?


Christianity Family Friends


Shane & Shane with Phil Wickham

Thanks to my roommate from college who invited us and the graciousness of his in-laws who watched our kids, Bethany and I had the unexpected blessing of attending the Shane & Shane Christmas Tour with Phil Wickham concert right here in our own town. We’ve been blessed by the music of Shane & Shane and Phil Wickham for a long time and seeing them live was a double blessing. The concert was Christ-centered and worshipful as we sang Christmas hymns and worship songs as loud as we could. I was brought to tears a few times during the show mainly because the music was beautiful and it was refreshing to have a focused time of singing with a thousand other people.

One of the blessings of being a Christian is that we sing. We sing in our homes, in our churches, and when we gather together. We are commanded to sing (Ephesians 5:19) and we do this as an expression of worship of our great and merciful God. God has given us the gift of music to a blessing to our souls and that’s exactly what it was for us last night. The final words we sang last night were perfect. To the melody of “O Come Let Us Adore Him” our hearts and voices sang loud:

We’ll give You all the glory
We’ll give You all the glory
We’ll give You all the glory
Christ the Lord



Steven Curtis Chapman - JoyIf there’s one thing that permeates our house around Christmas it’s music. Sure, we enjoy our egg nog and peppermint bark as much as the next person, but there’s just something fun about turning up some new or classic Christmas songs. Each year Bethany and I spend a couple bucks on one or two new albums and this year the favorite has to be Steven Curtis Chapman’s new Christmas album JOY.

It’s full of the classics like “Joy to the World”, “Do You Hear What I Hear,” and “What Child is This?” And he’s thrown in some fun ones like “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow” which has a cool jazzy vibe to it. But what I think I appreciate most about Steven Curtis Chapman in general, and which comes out strong on this record is honesty. His song “Christmas Card” is written like a message to those who may be without the hope of Christ this year. In a season where we celebrate the birth of our Savior there are still many who don’t know Him. It’s an honest song with a clear message to Christians: people are broken, they need Jesus, and Steven reminds us why we’re celebrating: “So every lost and lonely broken heart would get found.”

Thank you Steven Curtis Chapman for reminding me that there’s still work to do. Let’s celebrate our Savior and then let’s tell everyone about why He came.


Leeland – The Great Awakening

If there’s one album that I’ve had on repeat the last few weeks it’s The Great Awakening by Leeland. It’s only $5.99 on AmazonMP3 right now and I definitely think it’s worth it. Leeland’s lyrics always bless my soul and challenge me to greater thoughts of God. After 4 albums I’ve found that Leeland hasn’t lost the wonder of Jesus. Seriously, buy this record–you will be blessed.