Keith and Kristyn Getty in Grand Rapids

Last year, I posted about modern hymn-writers Keith and Kristyn Getty (authors of “In Christ Alone”, “By Faith”, “Come, People of the Risen King“, and “O Church Arise” among many others). I am pleased to post that they are coming to Grand Rapids, Michigan on Thursday, February 9.

For tickets and information visit here.


EURO 2012 Draw

It has been a while since I have posted on any football (soccer) stuff lately…

This summer, the second-largest soccer event next to the FIFA World Cup is set to take place. The European Football Championships, known this year as UEFA EURO 2012, kicks off in June. Today, December 2 at noon EST is the official “draw” to determine what groups the teams will be playing in. The event showcases sixteen of Europe’s best football nations. Although the FIFA World Cup is a larger competition (32 teams from all over the world), this is considered by some the better of the competitions. Europe generally dominates the FIFA World Rankings – presently 18 of the top 28 teams in the world are from Europe, including 7 of the top ten with defending champion and World Cup 2010 winner Spain ranked #1. (In contrast, the World Cup has at least one qualifier from each confederation, which means that teams like New Zealand ranked 119th and North Korea ranked 110th, can play their way into the global event as they did in 2010.)

Runners-up at the World Cup two years ago – the Netherlands – is ranked #2 with Germany in the third spot. Notorious underachievers, England, round out the top five.

The draw will be televised live from Kiev, Ukraine on ESPN News and ESPN3.com.

Here are the sixteen teams who have qualified for this summer’s event: Who do you think will win?
Spain (#1)
Netherlands (#2)
Germany (#3)
England (#5)
Portugal (#7)
Croatia (#8)
Italy (#9)
Denmark (#11)
Russia (#12)
Greece (#14)
France (#15)
Sweden (#18)
Republic of Ireland (#21)
Czech Republic (#33)
Ukraine (co-hosts) (#55)
Poland (co-hosts) (#66)


The Bellevue – EP

Many years ago I was a middle-school pastor at a church outside Chicago. There was a student in our ministry that was exceptionally talented in many ways. This tall, slender 7th grader wanted to learn the bass and eventually join our middle-school youth ministry band. He did just that and much more.

Now, he has grown up into one of the best, funkiest, bass-players I have ever seen. Not only is he an amazing bass player, he also plays guitar, sings and is a songwriter.

Blake Stratton has released a 5-song EP, titled The Bellevue and is available on iTunes.

Check it out.

Open Arms for Broken Hearts

 “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘… I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you…”’ (Luke 15:17–19 NLT).

“Open Arms” by Elbow


You’re a law unto yourself
And we don’t suffer dreamers
But neither should you walk the earth alone

So with finger rolls and folding chairs
And a volley of streamers
We can be there for tweaks and repairs
Should you come back home

We got open arms for broken hearts
Like yours my boy, come home again

Tables are for pounding here
And when we’ve got you surrounded
The man you are will know the boy you were

And you’re not the man who fell to earth
You’re the man of La Mancha
And we’ve love enough to light the street
‘Cause everybody’s here

We got open arms for broken hearts
Like yours my boy, come home again
We got open arms for broken hearts
Like yours my boy, come home again

Everyone’s here
Everyone’s here
The moon is out looking for trouble
And everyone’s here…


I apologize for such a long break between Bonhoeffer posts. Much reading (and outside yard-work!) to do in recent weeks. I should have several more tidbits and quotes in the coming weeks. The book is exceptional and was awarded “Christian Book of the Year” for 2011 by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association last week.

Metaxas cites one of Bonhoeffer’s student as having recalled that “Bonhoeffer unapologetically approached the Bible as the word of God” (Metaxas, Bonhoeffer, 128). Inge Karding, in an interview with Martin Doblmeier, says about Bonhoeffer:

“[He said] when you read the Bible, you must think that here and now God is speaking with me. … He wasn’t as abstract as the Greek teachers and all the others. Rather, from the very beginning, he taught us that we had to read the Bible as it was directed at us, as the word of God directly to us. Not something general, not something generally applicable, but rather with a personal relationship to us. He repeated this to us very early on, that the whole thing comes from that” (ibid, 128–29).