Friday, July 16, 2010

An Oak Tree In Late Winter

"...His (Christ) is the kindest, most patient, most steadfast and most conquering love" - Josh Rosenthal

I recently got back from a road trip/youth camp with some of my students through the Republic of Texas and pulled in my driveway to realize that the grass in my yard grows faster here in CO that it did in Lubbock. I just mowed right before I left (which was the 2nd mow in a week). I secretly suspect my neighbor of creating a hybrid fertilizer/steroid that he tests on my yard when I am gone...but that is beside the point.

I find it hard to mow because the motivation to mow is not there until I start to fear a notice from the HOA. I get easily distracted with the day to day things at the church that I let more of my free time activities slide away unnoticed. Writing this blog has been one of those activities that is an escape for me and I had lost the motivation to write anything because I am always looking ahead to the next thing on the calendar and do not take enough time to simply sit and reflect over the previous commitments that I have experienced. I am still trying to find time to mentally unpack and process all that I experienced in Costa Rica this summer with the Bribri people.

Sometimes something has to hit me over the head hard to reignite a passion such as writing blogs, running, or any other activity. Finally that motivation hit me when I checked my mailbox after returning from Texas. It was Josh Rosenthal's new book (also his first) An Oak Tree Late In Winter (Ten Vignettes & A Triptych). I was excited to read the book knowing that Josh was flexing his creative muscle in a venue that is slightly foreign to him, and if any of you were wondering how well a musician could write a book let me tell you...very well.

Josh has a relaxed style that makes you feel less like you are reading a book and more like you are enjoying coffee with an old and intimate friend. I use the terms "old" and "intimate" for a reason. Josh has now reservation of being very familiar with his reader and letting you see not just his actions (rather heroic, selfish, or shameful) but he also allows the reader to have insight into his thought process while making these decisions. Josh does not set himself up to be the hero of his story, very often he is the antagonist raging against the mercies that are given to him by God.

I takes a lot of courage to be as vulnerable as Rosenthal is in this book. He is not censored, polished, or PC, instead he throws out the mask of having it all together and achieves something that is hard to do in the realm of Christianity and that is to be real.

Josh's story reads like a more relatable Blue Like Jazz because he does not deal with how things in the world affect him, but how he(we) live everyday in need of a grace that can transform how we view the world around us, rather that be the pain of a broken family, the cynicism of dealing with a religious subculture, or the apathy that calls us to numb ourselves to all of these feelings. Josh calls us to feel these things, to be honest about where we are, and to seek comfort in Christ and in His church.

This book is easily one of the most challenging books I have read, not in a way that pushes us to stop what we are doing and loading us up with guilt for doing it, but in a way that encourages me to seek vulnerability and community. It is clear when reading Josh's story and how it so closely mirrors my own story (not in names and places but in the need for real friendships and grace).

This book is about more than just a kid who moved from Fort Worth to Lubbock and then to Utah. It is a story about how God is directing our lives and showing us our need for Him. I feel like I could easily continue writing about this book until this review becomes unbearable to read so I will shut it off.

So to any of you reading this who are on the fence about rather to order this book let me strongly encourage you to. It is phenomenal, in fact I give it ten out of ten cross-stitched lions (this is a purposefully placed inside joke that you will not get unless you order this book...intriguing right?)

Also, to Josh, thank you for your willingness to be transparent and writing this book. It has encouraged me and challenged me more than most books or stories ever have. Your story is worth reading and it is exciting to see the masterpiece that God is painting with our pain.

One more note: If you visit Josh's online store here and use the promo code BLOG you can receive 10% off the book. You can order it by itself or with the albums that inspired this book or you can order it in pairs so you have one to give away to a friend who need to hear this story.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Bible In 90 Days: Day 2

So I have decided to try to make this a semi-regular thing over the next 90 days. I am not promising that I will be posting these observations everyday, but as close as possible I will be...

That being said I hope that these observations can help you to realize all of the exciting things that take place in the bible are exciting and not in the least bit boring.

Observations from the reading for Day 2 (Gen 17:1-28:29):
-God makes a covenant with Abram that involves circumcision
-Abram takes all of his servants to get circumcised, I would not be excited to be one of his servants.
-Abraham laughs when God tells him that he is going to have a kid
-Abraham gets circumcised at the age of 99...crazy
-God and to angels visit Abraham
-A debate of 'did not/did to' breaks our between God and Sarah when she laughs over the idea of having a kid (which is apparently something that Abraham and Sarah had in common).
-God does not display the best bargaining skills when Abraham is pleading for Sodom (50 about about 30, 20, 10)
-The men in Sodom have a MESSED UP welcome wagon going around...(i.e. trying to rape God and angels is not a great way to save your city)
-Lot is willing to give up his daughter's virginity to the men of Sodom
-Lot's wife turns into salt
-Lot's daughters get him drunk to sleep with him...these story lines are better than most soap operas...pretty sure this movie would be rated themes and what not.
-Abraham breaks out with the "wife is my sister" bit.
-A very old lady gives birth to a son.
-She laughs about having a kid again...this time not because of how ridiculous it sounds but out of joy.
-Sarah sends away her servant and the kid she had with her husband.
-When they were out of water God provided a well for them.
-Abraham is willing to sacrifice his only son
-God provides a ram for them
-Abraham's wife dies and he refuses to take land for free
-Rebekah gets a nose ring....'see mom, it's not a big deal'
-Isaac and his wife have two say they had a rivalry is a understatement.
-Their oldest son (Esau) is red and hairy....apparently a leprechaun.
-Esau trades a his birthright for a cup of soup....hope is was good soup hairy man
-Jacob steals the blessing from Isaac.
-The blessing is a beautiful word that would make Shakespeare jealous.
-He steals it my covering himself in goat hairy was this guy.
-Jacob has a tripy dream involving a stairway to heaven...he calls the place "House of God"

If you have never read the Bible all the way through I hope you will join me for it.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Bible in 90 Days: Day 1

Today I am starting out ona journey to read the Bible over a 90 Day period. Today was Day 1.

I read Genesis 1:1-16:16.

For those who do not think that the Bible is exciting, here is some of what happens in Day 1:

-Naming Animals
-People Fall In Love
-A man writes a song for a woman (first love song written)
-The fall
-First fasion show (made of fig about living green)
-A Game of hide and seek
-People blaming others
-First gospel presentation (Gen 3:15)
-First sacrifice (3:21)
-An angel with a sword that is on fire...sweet!
-Someone becoming invincible (4:15)
-The start of prayer (4:26)
-Lots of baby making
-Someone disappears (Enoch)
-A man is named "Ham"...unfortunate
-Lots of violence around the world (6:11)
-Promise of destruction
-40 day rain storm (must have been in Seattle)
-Everyone but Noah and the animals drown...nust sure why this is a big story in children's church
-First exclimation point in the Bible...right after an olive leaf
-Noah loses his pet dove
-Some of the animals on the ark are sacrificed (which is why he took 7 of those and not just two)
-God promises seasons and harvest as long as the earth endures...which won't be forever
-God tells Noah and his family to make more babies
-A Rainbow
-Noash gets drunk ans passes out naked
-Someone else is named Nimrod...worse than Ham
-God introduces a lot of new languages
-The first construction site gets abandoned (Babel)
-A Great promise is made to Abram
-Abram obeyed immediately
-A famine
-Abram calims his wife is his sister...look like counseling for those two
-Abram and Lot go in seperate directions
-Abram becomes an action hero and rescues Lot
-Abram tries to get a son through another woman...which he does...but that does not sway God's promise to him

I mean seriously....this is day 1. The bible is not boring
89 days to go.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Josh Rosenthal - The Villages Suites. 10% Off All Josh Rosenthal Merchandise

My friend, Josh Rosenthal, spent the last year developing a series of 4 CDs, ending with a Christmas album that just came out called For a Day (Pictured Below). This album is a perfect addition to Josh's previous Christmas album, Narratives.

The suite of CDs called Villages captures the idea of our need for connection with one another. The Villages Suite culminates with For a Day, an album where Josh spent one day collaborating with different artists for each song.
Each of these albums is fantastic in their own way. Josh has really pulled out all of the stops to showcase his ability to craft excellent and meaningful songs in a variety of styles. He never sacrifices honest lyrics or musical integrity. I highly recommend the album 'Lonely Together'.
He has a variety of Christmas specials online with several CDs and t-shirt combinations. You can purchase them through his online store at He gave me a special promotional code for my friends and blog readers to get an extra 10% off. At checkout use HOWIE to get the discount. This would be a great Christmas gift or stocking stuffer idea. Everyone appreciates the gift of good music. You can click on the link here or at the banner at the top of this post.

This is not something I am posting to get some returned favor down the is because Josh is a very authentic individual and a great friend of mine. I could give you stories of Josh's generous and caring spirit, but it is all evident in the music the creates. So please check out his store and pick up a little something for friends, family, yourself, or you pet turtle that you named "Mother".

Thanks so much and Merry Christmas!
To preview his music go to his myspace at:
To purchase his music with my promotional code go to:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Caliente Dog

I know it's been over a month but this is what I have been spending time doing

Monday, October 12, 2009

Josh Rosenthal - Lonely Together

Josh Rosenthal is about to release his 3rd release in a 4 part series known as the Village Suite. This third EP is entitled "Lonely Together" and is by far the best of the three that have been release so far.

I know I tend to say that Josh's albums are better than their predecessors but it is true. Josh continues to excel as a songwriter and musician.

This album kicks off with the album version of "Amy Please" which I will spare you the write up on it because I discussed this great song one my review of Josh's "Overture EP".

The second song on the album is by far my favorite Rosenthal track "Leave". This song starts out with a catchy riff that reminds me of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's album "Howl". This bluesy song is very strong lyrically reminding us that our problem will not go away just because we do. This is evident in lines like "maybe it's not where I am that hurts so bad, maybe it's not much geography". This song is brutally honest (which is all Josh knows how to write) and is a refreshing song that showcases a new style to Josh's body of work.

The album then does into "No More Lies" which was co-penned with Josh Wilson and offers the guest vocals of Alli Rogers which sound fantastic alongside Josh's voice. This song is about the importance and power of the vows made between a couple, that they will not be broken if the couple takes them seriously no matter what the other person brings in. It is a plea for total honesty between two people and a deceleration of unwavering love. It is a beautiful song and is one of the slower songs on the album

The album picks up again with the song 'You Followed Me". A song about a God who pursues us even when we make the decision to start to walk down our own path. This song has a little bit of a Fray sound in the chorus which is incredibly catchy and is prone to get stuck in your head. This is a great reminder about how great our God is in His love for us. This song is upbeat and a would highly recommend it. This is probably my 3rd favorite song on the album behind "Leave" and "Amy, Please".

The album starts to take a more mellow turn with "Take It Away" which is a song that reminds me of Paul's pleading for God to take away the thorn in his side. This song is one that grows on you with repeat listens. This song is Josh at his most honest and transparent. For those of you who struggle with community or letting people get close to speak truth into your life I would HIGHLY recommend this song for you.

The album closes out with a remake of one of Josh''s older songs "Going Home" which first appeared on his "Anatomy of Healing EP". It is a song about being apart from the one you love and being excited about returning to that person. This version is much better than they original with better recording, production, and an additional 3 years of experience under Josh's belt as a performer.

I can not tell you how great this album is, I can only encourage you to go and buy it tomorrow when it comes out on itunes at midnight EST.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


last night we had the privilege of partnering with 7 other youth groups in the Aurora areas and hosted a See You At The Pole rally at New Life.

It was great on several fronts...

-We had over 150 students there to get excited about See You At The Pole

-We kicked off an on campus bible study group to equip and encourage our students to be missionaries on their campus.

-I got to see one of our former students do an incredible job in leading people in worship.

-We got to see God moving among a group of students and seeing what can happen when ministries put down ownership of ministry and start actually doing ministry together.