Thursday, August 16, 2012

Just another week...

Yes, it is the middle of August 2012 and there is really not much to talk about in life.  We are in the midst of something amazing here at Groesbeck Church with a rebranding campaign in full swing.  We are just one month away from the relaunch of our Contemporary Service at 11:00am on Sundays and we could not be more excited about the opportunities that are going to come our way as we begin to serve the church.  

But when I really think about it...what seems to keep coming to my mind is why we do what we do?  What is the purpose of living a life as a pastor to a congregation of people who are looking for something.  It is really just that.  All of us inside are seeking something in our lives whether it be fame, fortune, love, happiness, but all of those things still really cannot fill the void that seems to get more vast every second of every day.  That is the amazing gift that we pastors have the opportunity to share on a weekly basis.  

The idea that hope can be find in a relationship with Christ Jesus and Christ Jesus alone.  It makes all those other things seem insignificant.  It brings to light the reason that we pastors stay up late and wake up early, visit the sick, preach on sundays, counsel during the week, because there is a community we are a part of that is looking for something.  We have that something and it is our job to show that to them.  

God has revealed in me that despite all things, he power and hope reigns true in all things.  It is an exciting feeling and most of all a feeling that makes me want to drive to work every morning.  A feeling that excites me when I have the chance to interact with students.  A chance that excites me when I am able to share the gospel with a student and they get it.  There is not a better feeling in life then knowing that you shared the gift of life with someone, the gift of life in Jesus Christ.  

till another day, 


Monday, August 6, 2012

Seasons Change...

As the weather starts to change, the leaves start to fall, and you begin to hear the sound of the marching band coming your way, something stirs in your heart.  Their is just something about the end of a season and the transition of a new way that always gets to me.  It always seems to make me feel sentimental for what happened in the past few months and hopeful for what is to come.

For us here in the midwest United States, it is about time for fall and when I think of fall I think of sweatshirts, college football, a great bowl of chili, beautiful weather, perfection.  But as I think of the future perfection to come, I cannot help but look back at the summer that was 2012 and all it had to bring.

As many of you know, this past spring I married the love of my life Jenny Tod in Indianapolis, IN on March 10th, 2012.  It was the most magical experience of my life.  Such an unexplainable feeling to see something you have dreamed of for so many years finally come true.  Not to mention the fact that for the rest of my life I get to spend time with my best friend, sharing in the good, the bad, and the ugly.  This being said, this was Jenny and I's first summer together and most of all our first summer in Cincinnati.  Man was it hot.  Record heat killed us in our downtown apartment because of the lack of Central A/C (something you don't appreciate until it is gone).   All in all, we had a wonderful summer together downtown just steps away from Street Pops, all the events in OTR, and not to mention Graeter's Ice Cream on Fountain Square.

This was also my first summer at Groesbeck Church as their Pastor of Student Ministries.  It was an exciting event filled summer with trips jam packed into the month of July that I almost felt as though I was not home at all (not a good feeling).  I went on my first trip to Ichthus, Minot, ND, and Awaken the City.  All of these trips giving me the opportunity to get closer with our church family and really  begin to feel at home.  This summer also gave me the drive to get work done as we have begun in our process of redesigning the church as a whole from the ground up.  It is a really exciting, yet scary process as we begin to rethink what God has in store for Groesbeck Church.

This summer being exciting and fun-filled only gives me the sense of hope for the fall.  What is in store just around the corner?  I will never know for sure what is going to happen next, but what I do know is that the Lord is leading us in the direction we are supposed to go and I am so excited to follow him humbly and serve him with all of my heart.  God sure is doing some amazing things in our lives and I am so excited for him to show himself in miraculous ways once again.

till another day,


The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson - Book Review...

Time for another book review.  I most recently finished reading yet another book (I keep buying new books though) and i am excited to share with you my thoughts.

If you have not yet heard of Mark Batterson, he is truly a gifted pastor and author.  The author of the Circle Maker is fairly new to the pastoral author scene (if that is a real thing), but yet he has some exciting words to share.  As the book chronicles Mark is a pastor/church planter in the Metro DC area and a few years ago he felt all to do something unlike he had every thought of.  That was to literally pray circles around his future.  He learned this idea from a novel called the Book of Legends which chronicles legends of jewish history who were monumental.  One in particular was named Honi and he came up with the idea of truly praying to God like the Israelites did on their march to Jericho.  He would not spot praying until the Lord showed himself to all of his people.  This not only showed to be effective, but God showed in ways the Honi did not even think were possible.  As you read through Mark's words, you begin to see his same journey of circling his life and ministry in prayers.  A simple prayer walk around a 4 mile radius of his house paved the way for the future of his ministry in the DC area.  Literal places that Mark did not know existed were given to him to use as a tool for ministry in the future, only to realize that he walked by them on that original prayer walk.

The book along with the DVD curriculum truly shows the power that prayer can have and the fact that the Lord is waiting for us to ask of him miraculous things just so he can show is true colors.  For if we are unwilling to ask the Lord for immeasurably more, then how is he supposed to truly prove himself to his believing.  Mark explains in an amazing way to his readers that prayer is not merely something to calm our nerves or get things off of our chest, but it is the way that we partner with the Lord in life and ministry.  We ask the Lord for amazing miracles and in his time he provides.

This book is truly and inspiration to those who are seeking out a deeper prayer life.  It has transformed the way I pray about my family, my church, and my personal relationship with Christ.  It is a must read for those seeking out how to truly get the most out of their relationship with Christ.

till another day,



I am not a photographer.  If you have been following me on Instagram you can very well see the lack of skill that I have when it comes to manuevering a camera.  But that is not what my wonderful wife saw in me.  She sees photography as an opportunity for her to teach me how to be a great photographer because she is first a great photographer.  Jenny just recently started to get her freelance business really going full steam and she can be found at .  As you have heard me say time and time again she is the most talented, hard working designer/photographer I have ever met.

After a lot of patience and a couple short lessons, she gave me the opportunity to jump behind the camera and shoot a few pictures of her beautiful face as she posed for some self portraits.  This post is the product of that session.  Enjoy.  

Excited to keep shooting and I hope to have more and more pictures up soon,

till another day,


Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Time once again to share with you some of my favorite snapshots from my favorite iPhone application Instagram.  As it updates the application only continues to get better and better with more and more filters and effects to choose.  So here we go:

Got to see it on Opening Day

Hyde Park Comm. UMC
A beautiful Sanctuary to Worship God

Starbuck's Refreshers
A must try if you are looking for a new drink.

Most anticipated album of this year

Mr. Austin Livingood

Just some of the reading I have done this year

So there ya have it, just a look at a couple of my favorite moments using the Instagram App.  If you have not already follow me at username normallyindie .  If you do not have an Instagram, grab yourself and iPhone or other smartphone of choice and download the free app.  It is great and worth your time.

till another day,


First Side of the Record...

It is now August and although it is not exactly half way through 2012 (July was a pretty busy month for me) I felt it was necessary to celebrate those records that just could not stopping ringing through our ears and spinning on our record players.  There were a lot of wonderful albums that were released this year and it is so exciting to be introduced to new bands all the time.  Here it goes:

Best New Finds
1. The Vespers - The Fourth Wall 
2.  Mike Main & the Branches - Home 
3.  Belle Histoire - Dreamers 
4.  Of Monsters & Men - My Head is an Animal 
5.  Birdy - Self-Titled 

Veterans with Style
1.  John Mayer - Born & Raised 
2.  David Crowder Band - Give Us Rest 
3.  The Fray - Scars & Stories 
4.  House of Heroes - Cold Hard Want 
5.  Jack White - Blunderbuss 
Must Have on Vinyl 
1.  Mumford and Sons - Sigh No More 
2.  The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow 
3.  Manchester Orchestra - Simple Math 
4.  Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - Greatest Hits 
5.  Death Cab for Cutie - Plans 

Unknown Faves 
1.  Angus & Julia Stone - 
2.  Birdy - Self-Titled 
3.  Belle Histoire - Dreamers 
4.  The Vespers - the Fourth Wall 
5.  Best Coast - the Only Place 

Belt it Out 
1.  Elevation Worship - For Your Honor 
2.  John Mayer - Born & Raised 
3.  The Rock of Ages - Motion Picture Soundtrack 
4.  Chris Brown - Fortune 
5.  Fun. - Some Nights 

Pumped for the Future 
1.  Mumford & Sons - Babel (Sept. 24th 2012) 
2.  OneRepublic - Rumored 
3.  Seabird - (Title TBA) 
4.  Tenth Avenue North - The Struggle (Aug. 21st 2012) 
5.  Band of Horses - Mirage Rock (Sept. 28th 2012) 

These are just a couple of my top records of these past 7 months and I am so excited for new records to continue to surface and rumors to grow about more of my favorite artists.  Let me know if you have heard any great bands recently and remember support the artist, not the record labels, go to shows, by their physical cds, grab some merch.  

till another day, 


Dreamers - Belle Histoire...

I have had the honor to listen to some pretty great bands over the past years, many of which I have built a friendship (Eric Mac - Irela, TJ - Good Morning Gladys, Aaron Morgan - Seabird, Austin Livingood - Belle Histoire)  Music is a huge part of my life and will continue to be for as long as I live.  Therefore, when I find a great band it is hard for me to want to put their album down for more than 5 minutes.

There have been a couple of exception albums this year of 2012, but none like Belle Histoire's first ever full length titled Dreamers.  A band that calls my home Cincinnati their birthplace, they have been taking over the music scene.  Most recently touring with Death Cab for Cutie and playing at Cincinnati's very first Bunburry Festival this past year, Belle Histoire has only been amping themselves up for their album release this past month.

I currently have been listening to the album on repeat for the last two weeks and it excites me every time.  The vocals are of music genius, but only to be balanced by the smooth guitar and drum beats surrounding it.  All of the songs on the record are filled with passion and heart, but also have a tune that is worth belting out on long road trips, or sometimes in the comfort of your own office.  Their first two EPs were merely teasers for what was to come in this first full length and this time it leaves you itching for more and more.

A great friend of mine happens to be a part of this band and I am so honored to share in this huge moment for him as well as the rest of his band mates.  I wish them the best as always and i suggest jumping onto iTunes and downloading their first every full length entitled DREAMERS.

It is totally worth the purchase and even more so worth seeing this great band perform live.  Also check out their website for tour dates at

Good luck and happy listening.

till another day,


Another Cup of Coffee...

If you have been following this blog at all over the past 6 months, you will have seen a lot of book review and particularly book reviews that regard to my many Starbuck's books.  I began my journey reading Onward by Howard Schultz which is a story about the rough patch that they encountered from 2008 - the present.  Most of all how Schultz handled the pressure of stepping back into a managerial role and turning the company upside down.  I then moved onto the Starbuck's Experience, this book was a perfect read because it encapsulates the 5 point business model that made Starbucks into the powerhouse it is today.  Most recently I moved onto Pour Your Heart Into it by Howard Schultz (and another ghost writer).  This is a little older look at the dynamic company, but it gives an in-depth history lesson of how the company began, thrived, and continues to find success through dynamic relevance.  Thanks to a great friend of mine who is one of Starbuck's thousands of partners/baristas, I will be continuing to read up on this wonderful company.

You may be asking, why/how would a Pastor of Student Ministries find anything relevant for ministry in a book about a for profit company like Starbucks (besides the refreshing aroma of coffee as he reads it in a wonderful Starbucks location).  It is very simple actually.  Starbuck's has always valued the newcomer at a very high level, hoping to transform the way they understand coffee and how they experience it.  Therefore, their baristas, locations, coffee, and food items all emulate a level excellence that truly gives the newcomer the best of experiencing something.   This is exactly what I find to be true with the position I find myself in today.  I have been called to create an experience for people to understand what God has created them for.  It is being very sensitive to a newcomer that needs a little explaining as to why they would ever enjoy something like this.  As well as training those that are working for me to be great advocates for what is happening in the name of God.

Like Starbuck's the church is trying to send a message to the world that their is something out there that they have never experienced before and that is the loving hope of Jesus Christ.

PS.  If you there are any great Starbucks books I have missed please let me know and I will read them right away.

till another day,