Wednesday, April 30, 2008

In His Time

God is good. Have I ever told you guys that? Let me tell you why. Today I had 5 appointments planned while I was on campus. Of those 5 appointments, 2 were late and 3 did not show up. Why is this a good thing? I never thought you would ask!

I was sitting on a bench in the middle of the Citta Universitaria garden, waiting for my friend Juan to show up. Juan was supposed to meet me at 2:30 but because my appointment before didn't show, I was able to eat with him a little earlier. I was sitting with the sign for "Conversations in English", which I have a love-hate relationship with, when a dude walked up that looked vaguely familiar. I don't know if we had met before but he asked if I was with the English conversations group and I said yes, but we are done for the day. However, since I was waiting on a friend, I could hang out and talk with him and his girlfriend for a while.

Lauren joined us as we chilled on the lawn and began to talk about where they are from (she is Romanian, he is Italian), what they study (architecture), and what they think of Italian vs. Romanian culture. I kept checking my phone and calling Juan, and got no answer. The conversation went deeper and soon we were talking about their ideas of God. She is Orthodox and he is Catholic but both said they were not sure what they believed. In the hour and a half that we sat and talked, we got to share life. I loved it, talking about our college experience, theirs, how we grow and change, and how Christ has affected my life (and Lauren's). It was a complete gift from God to have this time open, to be able to talk about this stuff, and to be able to plan out that we are going to meet next week and read a bit of John together and talk about it. I love how God changes my plans, and makes it better. How he arranges for someone to hear the good news of Jesus Christ, when all I knew is that I was frustrated that I got stood up. God is Good. Amen.

And since I won't be able to post on Friday, here is 5 Free Death Cab for Cutie downloads
And for good measure, you can download The Weepies in a great live concert. I just bought their new cd, I dig it, and you can listen to all the songs from this concert before you download it... really, at least check it out . If you don't like it, I am not offended, I just thought it was pretty good.

Friday, April 25, 2008

'Rents in Rome and Risky Business

My parents came to Rome 2 weeks ago and we had a lovely time together.
I like this picture... my Mom's first time overseas and she got to go to cool places like this :)
My Mom and Dad aren't perfect but they are a great example for me to try to follow. And I love em lots, and think this is an excellent picture of them.
You can see where I get my good looks and charm :)
My Mom is beautiful, my Dad is handsome, and I live in Rome... combine all three and you get a heck of a picture.
The New Frontiers - I know I have mentioned this band before, but if you click on their name, you can listen to the whole album (jury is still out on the album for me) and download the song Mirrors (which I liked).
Micah Dalton : Ok, so I apologize that this is not free, downloadable music, but I have to give this guy a shout out. I have met him, man has got soul, and I just bought his new album and it was completely worth the $10 I paid. So check out his new album, Pawnshop, and listen to the songs from it on his myspace. I hope you enjoy.

Yes my friends, it is risky business to post a song I have written. Many of you do not know, but I have tried to write songs in the past. Most were horrific, one was decent and my brother wrote music for it and it was good. Well, I tried my hand at writing another song recently. Since I am still working on this epic post on the topic of redemption, here is my attempt to give you something to read... enjoy, dont be too harsh in your critique. If it had a title, I would call it "Abraham's Stars."

He saw her from afar, or at least across the room.
The beautiful girl that somehow didn't belong there.
He wasn't sure how to ask because of the butterflies,
but if that night was a cliche, he was lost in her eyes.

He got caught staring and did a guilty look away;
and thought I'm too old for this, at the age of 25.
But unknowingly she stole it, that little piece of his heart,
and he followed that theif as she went outside and that became the start;
And she danced, beneath Abraham's stars
and she laughed, sweet music to his heart
with Abraham's stars as the only light,
it began, yea it all began that night

Knowing he had to make a move, he uprooted his feet.
Picked up his jaw, his courage too, and opened his mouth to speak.
To this day, he'll still say, it was like waking from the dead.
"Yes it's true, i'll dance with you" were the words she said
And they danced, beneath Abraham's stars
and they laughed, sweet music to the heart
with Abraham's stars as the only light
it began, yea it all began that night

If it was a dream, the ending he could create.
But life's no storybook and happily ever after is only for Disney.
He couldn't control, he could only trust, when the end is out of sight
But he thought, "This is enough" as he held her close that night
(chorus again)

Friday, April 11, 2008

A story and a song before I go

My team went to Tropea last weekend, a beautiful seaside town in the south and had some great adventures. Check out the pictures below to get some idea. Hopefully soon I will have a post I am working on about redemption, something that has been on my mind a lot lately, but in the meantime, here are two encouraging stories (at least they were for me).

Me and Steve got to hang out with our buddy Big P, a Italian guy who speaks brilliant English over a beer Tuesday night. We ended up hanging out for 3 hours, laughing and telling stories and comparing observations about life and God. One of the things that stuck out to me is that P is, well, intrigued by us. He asked (for the second time) "I am not just part of your job, right? You guys just don't want me to join your club?" It was good to be able to tell him honestly that 1) I wouldnt be hanging out at 1 AM with him if I didn't want to be, so I think he is a cool guy 2) I could care less if he becomes a member of Agape and 3) I would love to see him become a Christian because I think it is the best thing in the world I can share with people. He accepted the answer and we had a great night together. It was just so cool to hang out and be able to talk about the Gospel, God's love, our Fall and the Redemption offered.

Second encouraging story is from Bible Study on Wednesday. We had two girls come (one a believer, one not) and we looked over some passages in Luke and talked about them. One of the girls, Rosa, shared her testimony about how she came to know Jesus. Her story literally caused my jaw to drop. It began with seeing Jesus in a cartoon on TV and wanting to have a relationship with this "cartoon hero" because the other little girls on the TV show said that Jesus loved them. The story is too long to tell here, right now, but needless to say it followed a journey through the Russian Orthodox Church, Catholic Church, Evangelical church into a relationship with Christ. It included being disowned and kicked out by her Muslim family, going back to them to serve them, and having one of them eventually tell her, "This God you serve must be the real God." It was an encouragement for me to hear her story but also for the other girl there to hear how Jesus Christ changes lives. Yes, Amen, Christ is alive and in the business of changing lives!

This Free Music Friday is courtesy of Ben and David. Thanks to all who have been sending me links to people they enjoy, because it makes it a little easier for me to post music for y’all…

So House of Heroes is courtesy of Ben. House of Heroes is a band hailing from Columbus and is a little different than my typical choice of music but I dig it. So check out the link HERE to listen on myspace or HERE to download 3 free songs (if you don’t want to give them anyone elses email, you can skip Step 2 and still download).

Josh Woodward is courtesy of David. Not entirely brilliant, but I liked the song I'll Be Right Behind You and I Want to Destroy Something. If you like it, go to his website and download a boatload of stuff.

My favorite team picture ever... we are laughing because I tried to sit down on my chair and fell off backwards.
God is the best artist I know.
The water was incredibly blue and cold.
Matt Reis standing on the rock we jumped off.
The view from our porch; cost? 10 Euro a night!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

March Madness

For starters, check out this video about Rome and the vision of Agape Italia. Amos M made it and did a pretty good job in the limited amount of time and it should give you a solid idea of whats going on here.

Cool story: Today I showed up at Conversations in English (English Club) expecting the normal 5 or so students and there were 20+ people who came! Turns out a cultural group on campus had received one of our flyers, thought it was cool, and so a guy named Mario (nice guy, just met today) sent an email out to their list-serve about us. It was so encouraging, we even got interviewed by the local student TV station, and hopefully this partnership of sorts will go somewhere and God can use it to spread his Gospel even more. PRAISE HIM

I am often asked from people, "Chris, your blog is OK but I would like to hear more about what you actually do there." Well, ladies and gentlemen, I'm a people person, I have people skills, cant you see this!! (Office Space anyone?) The reason I don't always post about what I do here is because a lot of the time it looks the same, just insert different names into similar conversations. BUT for your sake, I will tell you what a normal schedule is like:

Monday: Planning 9-12, Campus 12-5 with English Club at 1, team bible study that night -
Prayer 9-11, lunch and Campus time 11-4, bible study with Italians that evening
Half day with the Lord 9-12, Campus time 12-5 with English Club at 1
Personal Development 9-12, Campus time 12-5, La Bella Vita (weekly meeting) 5-7
Team Meeting 9-11, Campus time 12-5
Campus time means I am meeting new students (Ciao, parli inglese? is usually how I start out), meeting with Italian friends I have made and trying to speak about the gospel or build into their lives in some way, or trying to figure out how we can work within the system here by speaking with administrators or professors. English Club is a discussion time for any student who wants to improve their English. We get to talk about cool stuff like Love, Trust, Easter, Politics and I get to meet cool guys like Fabio, Alessio, or Eduardo. Often we end up talking (suprise suprise) about Jesus. La Bella Vita is our weekly meeting, more spiritual in focus than English Club.
We sang the last night in a Piazza in Trastevere and not only was it a blast but Matt busted out some Opera and made 10 euro in tips... so much fun
Me with Giovanni's grandpa (WWII vet above) and Dad (below... Antonio, one cool guy)
Me, Giovanni, and his bro Salvatore... great guys
I went to the heel of the boot for Easter... this is me and Gigi, my italian buddy Giovanni's cousin
Sweet picture of me and David from the grass, an Italian buddy of mine
Tex, Dan, Sam + Me.... I love you guys
Me and Joe went to the beach on my day off, went swimming in cold water, and cut up our feet on the rocks on the bottom
Some of my favorite graffiti in all of Rome
"We Make History" - desire of young people in Rome
Yea, that dude behind me is striking a pose
Me and Jimmy S hanging out in Ostia Antica