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.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Even The Strongest Hero

Josh Rosenthal's second album in The Village Suite series released yesterday on itunes as well on his own website.

Much like the Overture -EP this EP is 5 songs, however these songs are just Josh and a guitar. After a string of albums with a full band Josh has brought it back to the simple (although tougher) format of a voice, a guitar, and a microphone.

Even The Strongest Hero is a great album that is worth repeats listens.

The album starts out with "Alone" a up front attack on the John Wayne mentality that is still so prevalent in our culture. Josh creatively and clearly builds up the idea that we were created for community and to purposefully remove ourselves from culture is to go against "what is written on our souls" I actually used this song last night as I closed out our series on relationships, reminding students that all of our relationships are important for our growth in Christ.

The second track "Change" has some creative world play comparing spare change to the change we all desire in our lives, also the idea of a wishing well making us well. This song is a reminder that it is OK to not be OK, it is OK to be yourself. Although it means accepting our faults. This is a simple song with a simple picking pattern, it is not quite as technical as some of Josh's other songs, but still possesses a nice melody that works well with the sound of the song.

Josh then brings it down a notch with "Inside Asleep" which is a honest song about the struggles of living a life of faith when you sometimes feel that Jesus is "inside asleep" much like on the boat in the sea of Galilee. This song is quiet, slow, but full of technical riffs mixed in. This, to me, is vintage Rosenthal and is my second favorite track on the album behind "Alone".

"Better Man" is a solid love song that speaks the truth that any man has felt when they find a woman how is patient with them and shows mercy on more that one occasion.

The album ends with a cover of "Will You Remember Me". I was honestly expecting there to be a little bit of a cheesy feel to the song since it has been used in so many graduation slide shows over the years, but Josh does a great job of making the song feel sincere which is a feat for any song that has been overused in different venues.

It's only $4.95 on I will obviously recommend the whole album. If you are so cheap that you will not give Josh more than $2 of your money then at least buy the following songs...

Songs to Download Immediately:
-Inside Asleep

Monday, September 14, 2009

Baron Batch

As you probably know I am a big Texas Tech fan. Growing up in the great town of Lubbock it was hard not to be.

Well recently I came acoss this nifty little blog that Baron Batch (Texas Tech Running Back) keeps up with. It is great to see a great player who has a great heart communicating this way.

As a youth pastor it makes it even more encouraging to hear this guy giving glory to God and encouraging others in their faith. You would expect a a gifted college athlete to be a little bit arrogant but there is not even a hint of it in his blog. Check out his more recent blog where he encourages us to not be afraid of praying for God to do big things. It is as if he is reading Francis Chan's newest book "Forgotten God" which I highly recommend

Baron Batch's Blog

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Josh Rosenthal - Overture EP

I know I am a little late on this review since the album actually came out last month but it is still worth reviewing.

Josh Rosenthal's "Overture" EP is the first of four volumes in what is being referred to as 'The Villiage Suite" series. This first album offers a small taste of what is to come from each of the next volumes which are set to release once a month for the next three months (vol. 2 which is entitled "Even The Strongest Hero" drops this coming Tuesday, Sept. 15th).

Like each of Josh's albums Overture is more diverse, mature, and better produced than each of it's predecessors.

This album starts off with what might be one of the best songs Rosenthal has written yet "Amy, Please" which chronicles the night that Josh discovered that his parents were getting divorced. This songs features a full band and is a more upbeat tune, especially considering the subject matter. This song has a diverse and changing tempo which makes it interesting to listen to, in a good way. The instruments are well mixed and showcase Rosenthal's talent to peice multiple instruments into a songs while mainting a beauitful sound.

Following this track is the song "All That Matters" which is a song featuring Josh and a piano. This song is from the point of view of a young man thinking back on his grandfather's life. From a musical standpoint it is not the strongest song on the album, but features a simple and beautiful piano piece and still causes the listener to consider the life that they are leaving, this is a challenge for most any artist whether they are a musician, painter, preacher, author, or poet. The lyrics remind me a little bit of a Cormac McCarthy novel put to music

The third track is another stripped down song featuring Josh;s voice and acoustic guirar. It is a song that reminds me of Josh getting back to what drew me to him as a songwriter. Honest lyrics and a guitar. Although this song is less technical than his earlier songs it is still very well crafted. It is a songs about the dangers of being alone and pushing people away.

The fourth track is a cover of the old spiritual "Down To The River To Pray" which is one of the most amazing tracks that Josh has released. The song is sung accapella which seems like it should be out of place for a songwriter who is such a skilled musician but Rosenthal pulls this off in an incredible way. I would put this version tow to toe with Alison Kraus' version any day.

The final track is an acoustic version of "Amy, Please" which is well preformed. I won't spend a lot of time going over this track since I did that earlir in the post.

Once again Josh has release and exceptional album. It is short but still packs a punch and merits repeat listens on my itunes. It is only available on itunes so I highly suggest you get on there and purchase it or else you are just cheating yourself.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Say What You Mean

I feel like lately I have been seeing a lot of "touch feely" talk to advertise what is supposed to be Christian events. I am finding it a bit more frustrating the more I see them.

I understand that "church talk" can turn people off to events or even conversations with people, but at the same time cheesy fluff does the same thing. For example I saw an event on facebook that is hosted by a Christian ministry that stated "I know our hearts have been on some exciting journeys over the summer, come to our bbq so we can discuss the journey of our hearts and how we have been impacted by the events that cross our journeys. Let us all respect each other's journeys and spend the night in conversation".

I have absolutely now idea what they are talking about. Are they saying "we are getting together to talk about what God is doing in our lives"? It seems like that would be a fantastic idea. It is important to discuss what God has been doing in our lives.

I think I am just getting a little weary of the shift we are making from naming the driving force in our lives (Jesus) and instead talking about how we are having different "heart journeys" (this is just an example of it).

I don't say this to gripe about what other's are doing so much as to encourage anyone who reads this to not be afraid to say what it is that is working in your life. Let's put a name to the thing we have put our faith in. Let us not water down the message of Jesus to make an event seem more open than it is. This does not mean just talk as though you are holier than thou...but be real. Be authentic about who you trust in. Let us not be afraid to say the name "Jesus"...even at our "Christian" events.

I feel like we at times can lose the truth of the freedom that is found in Jesus' name. I feel it is summed well in David Crowder's version of "For A Thousand Tongues To Sing" where he writes the extra bridge that says "There are so few words that never get old...Jesus"

Let us content for the faith that has been handed down to the saints (this is from Jude...not as in "Hey Jude" but the book of the Bible).

Anyway, just my thoughts. I don't mean to sound like a jerk, but if I do feel free to make the following statement to me...