Apr 2013 01



Buried in the Grave


Death in His Grave

Your Great Name

Jesus Paid it All

Made Alive

Happy Day



Buried in the Grave


Your Great Name

In Christ Alone

Happy Day

How Great Thou Art

Apr 2013 01


I love the ability of art to bring to life what we know to be true but have disengaged with on an emotional and intellectual level.  I’ve found this especially true in my life when it comes to certain narratives of the bible.  The stories of Adam & Eve, Noah, Moses, the exodus of the Israelites, and certainly the life, death and resurrection of Jesus can all become become rote.  The combination of hearing them since I was a child and being removed culturally from the context of the stories can often make it difficult for the true power of these events to break through to our souls.

Elevation Church in North Carolina produced this video for their Easter service this year.  It opens with the line:

“This story is a testament to His plan.  A loving father and a faithful son. Our Father’s righteous plan revealed through the story of Abraham and Isaac.”

They capture the power of the story beautifully.  And for me it brought to life the incredible obedience of Abraham as God asked him kill his son.  Abraham and Isaac journeyed for three days, something I had forgotten or never realized, before they got to where Abraham was to sacrifice Isaac.  As you watch you can see Abraham strain under the burden of knowing what God has asked him to do.  The story is a timely reminder, as we just finished celebrating Easter, of the even greater sacrifice our God gave in offering His son for us.


The Fatal Place from Elevation Church on Vimeo.


Apr 2013 03


Q. Where did you grow up?

A. Although I have lived many cities, Ames is where I consider home.  I have lived here longer than any other place.

I was born in Fort Dodge, IA and grew up on a farm near Eagle Grove, IA. When I was in elementary school my father was diagnosed with cancer.  God spared my father’s life and through his illness and recovery changed the course of our family.  Dad sold the farm after his treatments and for the rest of my childhood he did what was necessary to support his family.

My father used the money from the farm and bought a carnival (yes, you read that correctly). He brought the family on the road with him for a few years.  During the warmer months we operated the carnival throughout the midwest at county fairs and city festivals. We migrated south to New Orleans for the winter season.

After our carnie years came to an end we ended up back in the midwest in western Illinois and finally I graduated high school in Armstrong, IA in north Central Iowa.

I came to Ames to study at ISU where II studied Mechanical Engineering and met my wife Christy. After undergraduate school, Christy moved to Omaha, NE to study Physical Therapy in graduate school. I followed quickly after her and took a job as an Engineer in Council Bluffs, IA.  We were married and for the next few years Christy studied long hours and I worked long hours pursuing my career. When we had our first child, Christy stopped working out of the home, and I was still working long hours.

I resigned from a demanding career path and we moved back to Ames so I could slow down, possibly do some higher education at ISU and be a present father. We now have three children and I am happily working for the City of Ames as an engineer.

Q. When did you start to follow Christ?

A. Since we moved often growing up, we were constantly changing churches. We attended various churches: Lutheran, Catholic, Baptist, Evangelical Free, and now Cornerstone. I heard most all of the bible stories growing up.  I first understood the gospel as a pre-teen and was saved and baptised.

My high school youth pastor was very influential in my spiritual life.  He challenged me to die to myself and pursue Christ.  After high school I worked as a camp counselor at an Evangelical Free church camp in Minnesota.  While studying at ISU I was very involved with The Salt Company.  I had the opportunity to serve on TSC music team and even study a semester overseas in Istanbul, Turkey.

Q. When did you first start to follow your passion for music?

A. Music has been a passion of mine for as long as I could remember. Growing up my mother was the church organist and my father sang in the choir. I started going to choir practice with them as soon as I could walk.

I sang and played instruments through grade school.  I considered two paths when choosing my degree at ISU: Fine arts in music or Engineering. Even though I choose engineering over music as a college degree, God provided an outlet for music through TSC and cornerstone.

Q. How has worship impacted your life?

A. I can so easily fool myself into believing that I only worship on Sunday morning during church when I am singing behind the microphone. At times I’ve been a terrible husband and been angry with my children on Saturday and I show up on Sunday expecting to worship God through singing. 

I didn’t understand how that might sound to God until I became a father myself.  My children love to sing.  Loudly.  Sometimes their singing is pleasant to me as a father.  Sometimes I want to put in earplugs because the sound of my children singing in the midst of their disobedience is worse than nails across a chalkboard.

Worship must be more than music and singing.  Worship is defined in Romans 12.  The apostle Paul writes that our spiritual act of worship is to present our bodies as living sacrifices.  To worship to me means living sacrificially.  Christ is the perfect example.  Although he was God, he humbled himself and sacrificed himself on the cross for our sake.  As a follower of Christ, I then worship by following in his example.

Ok, now what does that mean? Paul continues in Romans 12 to describe that God has gifted us all in different ways.  I believe that worship in my life will look different than in someone else’s life because God has gifted us differently.  Ultimately I believe that worship can be summed up as identifying what gifts God has given you and then using those gifts sacrificially for his Glory.

Therefore, for me, worship can be something as simple as unloading the dishwasher to serve my wife when I really want to sit down and relax at the end of the day.  Or helping a friend fix a car late into the evening when I would rather go to bed. Or using the big house God has given us to give someone in need a place to stay.  Worship is so simple and yet profoundly hard.

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