Tuesday, May 27, 2008

More coming soon, I promise

Some quality links to check out today:
Two videos: OneRepublic - I kind of like their music and this music video makes me like them all the more. They cover Duffy - Mercy (a sweet, get up and move kind of song) and the dude from OneRepublic shows off some killer vocals and they do it justice.
- Matthew Perryman Jones - This dude continues to amaze me and I just found out his new CD is coming out in August and I am pumped. Check out this video of him singing Motherless Child, an old spiritual, and catching the longing, the weariness, and the all out rock found in this song. I love it. You should too.
Brilliant Website of Music: This is a great website called Music City Unsigned I just found and love it. Serious, click on the link and then click on Episodes and then Matthew, Peter and Katie. Not only is this episode great music, but the other artists featured at other times are quality and the music player lets you just play through a solid playlist of people you have probably never heard of but should have.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


If you havent seen the new Indiana Jones, stop reading now and skip to the bold type for free music............... ok the movie was alright but the ending... aliens? Really? I blame George Lucas. I mean... aliens? Aliens? Not a fan of that move.

I will post a little later pictures from our final party, because I leave here in a week. We had a big festa per dire ciao a tutti nostri amici. It was a goodbye party, a good time had by all, and kind of sad to say goodbye to many. I pray God continues to work in their hearts even when I am gone.

Free Music (Saturday, I know)
It is truly an honor to give away free music by The Autumn Film (formerly known as Tifah). They are giving away their new EP, The Gray EP, for free and I cannot say just how much I support this band and what they do. Ridiculously talented, brilliant live show, they have a violinist who loops her violin and that is just freaking sweet and their lead singer can sing. Usually I dont prefer girl lead singers but she is freaking sweet. So check it out, support them.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Random Call

One, Amazing Grace is an incredible song and an incredible movie. I watched it AGAIN tonight and if you have not seen this movie, it is powerful, moving, TRUE, and there is terrific acting in it as well. Get it, watch it.

I am stealing this story (below) from the monthly newsletter published by Agape Europe. But it is incredible to me... God is at work in this world. In that vein, I also had an amazing conversation about John 13-17 today with my friend Jody. He might be a believer and the conversation was a clear sign of growth, as we read and discuss John together and seek to learn together more about what it means to follow Jesus. Thanks Mr. A for always making me go back to scripture to prove my points; today me and Jody continually had to put our "I think..." on the table and go back and see what Jesus said. Good lesson to be learning.

A Random Call

by Bill S

A few months ago, ministry leaders in one Eastern European city were kicked out of the country. Authorities told remaining New Life staff and students that if they explained the gospel in student housing, they would be sent to jail. A student named Dima had just learned to share his faith, and wondered how to put this newfound knowledge into practice. Suddenly his telephone rang.

"Uh, hello, you don’t know me. . . . I just randomly dialed a number because I’m desperate. . . . I was hoping to find someone who would listen to me. … I am a student at the university. I don’t know why I should keep living. . . . Can you help me?”
At first Dima didn’t know what to say, but then he remembered what he had just learned, so he shared the Four Spiritual Laws with Helen over the phone. She prayed and received Christ into her life!

The next day the phone rang again, “Hello? I am a friend of Helen’s. Would you tell me the same thing you told her? Ever since she talked to you, she’s changed. She is so happy now!” So Dima shared the gospel with Alex, too. Alex wasn’t ready to invite Christ into his life, but said, “I will seriously consider what you’ve told me.”

A few days later the phone rang again, but this time Dima heard a deep, mature voice. “Hello, I am Helen’s father.” A shiver ran up Dima’s spine.

“I understand from my daughter that you are a believer. Can you help me know God, too? I have a Bible, but I don’t know where to start. And is there a good church we could go to there? We would be glad to travel.” “Sure," said Dima. "I can help you find a church and tell you about God.” So the family came to the capital to meet Dima; they now stay in weekly contact.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Too Good to Pass Up

Maybe I will edit this later but here is a quote that I saw that was too good to pass up. It is from an article called "Stop Hanging Out With Women and Start Dating Them" and the author is talking about the decline of dating. One of his reasons is the internet being the source of weak social skills. Here is the money quote : "If you’re over 18 and you’re still using Facebook applications to let someone know you’re interested in them, you need to be punched in the face." Hilarious. True.

Free Music Friday: Check out Tokens, a variety show of sorts, and their music from the first show featured this amazing gospel singer, my personal favorite Andrew Peterson, and some quality bluegrass. So click HERE, listen, download, enjoy.

I like Hillsong United: check out a free preview of their music/documentary at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/index.php

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Good, The Tough, and The Shovel to the Face

And The Beautiful... my new niece "Mia" Joni Caruso

The Good: We had Bible Study tonight and it went from a potential 6 students to 2 students showing up. Why is this under the good, you ask? I got to hang out and talk more after with Emiliano, a kid who is an all-star. At the beginning of the year when Sara met Emiliano and then introduced me, I had no idea where he stood spiritually. Quite honestly, I don't think he probably knew where he stood but he was certainly searching. After tonight, I am more and more confident about him. He is one of the most sincere, quality guys I know here, which is funny because at first glance, he wears mostly dark clothing, a goatee, and has hair past his shoulders. That doesnt make anyone insincere, but he is certainly not your "clean cut" looking kid.

So the talk we had tonight after was such an encouragement. For one, he sees a big change in his life since he started to "figure out that something was missing in my life with the spiritual aspect" at the beginning of the year. He is going through a tough time right now but is seeking God throughout it and that is so encouraging. As we talked tonight, I think we both came to the conclusion that God is breaking down the things that he had built his life on, slowly removing them until only God remains. I want to be going through that in my own life, so it is a privilege to see someone else growing in that way, even if it is tough. His attitude is so mature about it all; "I just want to learn something from this, I dont care if I understand it all, I know whatever is after all this crap is better." He is even starting to be open with others about being a Christian... I love this kid and tonight was good, real good.

The Tough: I am realizing once again that I have no power over peoples hearts. I think I have written about my good friend David here before. He has given me my quote of the year, a quote I will never again forget in all my life: "It may not seem like it, but I am a desperate man. I am desperate for some hope but I think I just need to accept that there is none." After another tough, honest conversation with David about why he doesn't believe in God, I have realized once again God will have to change his heart. I told him I would pray for him. He told me that he appreciates it, but I should really spend my time praying for someone else because he is "a lost cause, a lost soul." I am thankful that I serve a God who is in the business of seeking and saving the lost, who gave his life to redeem the unredeemable. And I will continue to pray that David is one of those that the Lord finds. Please join me in that.

The Shovel to the Face: I am coming back here next year and I just got the support goals of how much money I need to raise monthly for this next year. If you want to help me out with that, shoot me an email at christopher.rule@gmail.com because I am not too excited about that :) But God is big.

Since I have not posted a Free Music Friday in quite some time, here are two brilliant websites. One is archive.org, though HERE is a link to a list of all the artists that they have on the website. I know for a fact they have good recordings of The Weepies, Ryan Adams, and Marc Broussard, but there are a ton more so have a ball. And it is totally legit, I promise. The other great website is off of Relevant Magazine. So click HERE for a bunch of great artists. I recommend Derek Webb, Jonezetta, Matt Wertz, Andrew Peterson, Phil Wickham and David Crowder (yes all of them have songs to download here) but I am sure the rest are pretty good too.

For the Link of the Day, this website posted the 100 Must-Read Books for Men... it is actually a great list, I need to get to the library and get some of these. So check it out... really, good books, read and dont watch yet another movie or tv show tonight. Although this list did include Moby Dick, which is an atrocious, horribly overrated book.

And for your daily laugh, who doesn't love Dave Barnes?

Monday, May 5, 2008

This is Home

Ah, my friends, do you feel it like I do? The ache, the longing, the somehow certainty that this world is not home. It is a feeling of homesickness but not homesickness for Columbus, OH. Because I feel it there too, I feel the draw for my home. It is funny, sometimes even in the moments which are quintessentially home, the warm fireside, curled up on the couch listening to Dad's deep voice and laughing at my siblings mingling commentary about some story from our shared past, I feel it the most. The deep pang that this world is not what I was created for.

Watching that video by Switchfoot I felt it. 14th century Dominican friar Meister Eckhart said "God is at home. We are in the far country." Nothing seems to resonate so deeply with me as this simple quote at this point in time. One of my favorite passages in the Bible is in Hebrews 11, which says "All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them." Ah the better country, the far country.

This past weekend was spent on a beautiful beach location in Tuscany, near Livorno at an Agape Italia staff conference. During one of the sessions, we had the chance to break into groups and discuss the questions, "Do you often think of Jesus' return? How would that change the way you lived your life?" For me, the sad answer to the first question was that I don't often think about His return, yet when I do, it is often this homesick feeling that brings it about. The desire for the country I am made for, to see the brokenness that mars this world gone, to view the masterpiece of creation as it was originally intended. This brokenness, the very real presence of death and persecution, was what made the early church say "Come, Lord Jesus!" And their lives were lived out in the reality that this world is not home.

Imagine with me, if you will, that Jesus was coming back tomorrow to take us home. What would be important for you? Would that new iPod? Or that 300 gigabyte harddrive that you won't fill, even with all those pirated movies? Or perhaps it is the new car, the bigger house? Because though none of these things are bad, none of these things truly matter if Jesus were coming back tomorrow. Why do we invest in the things that are here today, gone tomorrow? And I am not pointing the finger, because for me it is the new iPod, the new computer that I want. Yet all these things pale in comparison to home.

My friends, there is more. I was going to try to wittily steal from Andrew Peterson's song "More" but I figured it most effective to simply quote the entire lyrics. Live for the reality that there is More.

This is not the end here at this grave
This is just a hole that someone made
Every hole was made to fill
And every heart can feel it still--
Our nature hates a vacuum

This is not the hardest part of all
This is just the seed that has to fall
All our lives we till the ground
Until we lay our sorrows down
And watch the sky for rain

There is more
More than all this pain
More than all the falling down
And the getting up again
There is more
More than we can see
From our tiny vantage point
In this vast eternity
There is more

A thing resounds when it rings true
Ringing all the bells inside of you
Like a golden sky on a summer eve
Your heart is tugging at your sleeve
And you cannot say why
There must be more

There is more
More than we can stand
Standing in the glory
Of a love that never ends
There is more
More than we can guess
More and more, forever more
And not a second less

There is more than what the naked eye can see
Clothing all our days with mystery
Watching over everything
Wilder than our wildest dreams
Could ever dream to be
There is more