This week was a trip back in time for me.  Since graduating college in 1998, it’s been 17 years since I’ve lived as a student – going to classes, sleeping in a dorm, and best of all, eating cafeteria food for an entire week!


But that’s what this week was for me.  I spent the week at the Antiochian Village in rural western Pennsylvania as part of a seminary program through the Antiochian House of Studies.  The program is mainly a distance study, but does involve one week of residency every year.

So for the past five days, it was like 1998 once again.

  • Classes all day – from 9:30 am – 10:00 pm, with no more than an hour break at any point in time.
  • Sharing a dorm room with two other guys – but thankfully we at least had the luxury of having them give us fresh towels and clean the bathroom daily.  If not, I don’t think we would have survived.
  • And best/worst of all… my true weakness in life… CAFETERIA FOOD!  As much as I love such fine delicacies as bacon cheeseburgers and “seafood mac and cheese” (don’t knock it till you try it), I think I’m ready to go back to a slightly healthier way of eating.

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Christianity & America

September 1, 2015 — 2 Comments

As many of you know, I recently returned from a two week mission trip to Kenya with my family.  That trip made me think a lot about what mission is and how it applies to life back here in America. In this week’s message, I share those thoughts and how I believe the concept of “mission” translates to the United States of America.

How does “mission” work in America?  Are we supposed to be knocking on people’s doors with Bibles in our hands?  Does the idea of mission even apply to life in America?

How can we – the Christians in America – make an impact on our nation and bring it back to its Christian roots?

That’s the topic in this week’s message.  Hope you enjoy.  And may God bless America.


I have never been so inspired to pray as I am today.  I have never felt so eager to wake up early and spend time with God as I did this morning.  I have never felt so encouraged about the power of prayer as I do right now!

Why is that?  What caused all of that?  A spiritual book?  A sermon?  Some kind of catastrophe?  

Nope.  It’s all because of a movie I saw last night.

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It’s the word that no one likes to hear.  It’s uncomfortable.  It’s intimidating.  And at times, it’s downright frightening.  The mere mention of this word brings to mind a myriad of emotions and rarely are any of them positive ones.  But regardless of how negative our perception of this word might be, we all know we need to hear it and more importantly, we need to do it!

bad word

What is it that word?  ACCOUNTABILITY

No one likes to admit it, but we all know it’s true.  WE NEED HELP.  The problems we are struggling with are simply too big to handle on our own (if they weren’t too big, then they wouldn’t be problems anymore right?).

It’s not that we don’t want to handle them on our own, but we simply can’t.  They’re too big and too heavy.  As I once wrote about in my “Confessions of an Independent-aholic”: If you could’ve you would’ve, but you can’t so you won’t.

Now that you’ve come to that realization – that you can’t carry your burdens on your own – you find yourself at a crossroads.  You have to make one of the most important decisions of your life.

Do you want to GET BETTER or simply LOOK BETTER?

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It’s time for the finale of REAL TALK: Adventures in Love, Sex & Dating and we wrapping up by answering YOUR questions that we accumulated throughout the series.  And as you’ll see from the video, it isn’t just me up on stage; we brought back all of our speakers plus THEIR WIVES!

Definitely a must watch video!

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This is a guest post from Marina Abdel Malak – a guest post favorite.  In her previous posts, Marina spoke about her battle with ANOREXIA NERVOSA and how God helped her overcome it.  Now, thanks to God, Marina is preparing for a vocation in helping others overcome their illnesses as she begins medical school this Fall (congratulations Marina!).  If you too are interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.


I’m the type of person who likes to be busy.

No. Let me say that again. I’m the type of person that NEEDS to be busy.

It’s funny, actually. When I first started university, I hated how I never had time for myself. I wanted free time, and I didn’t have it. This made me feel angry and stressed.

Then summer came along and I felt empty. I was restless, bored out of my mind. I had nothing productive to do. Sure, I could go out, shop, watch a movie, and more. But all these things…something was missing. I found that despite having a full day planned with outings and entertainment, I was lacking something.

And then it hit me: I wasn’t being productive.

My mind, although busy with ‘having fun’, wasn’t engaged in something goal-worthy. I needed to contribute to something, to feel that I was working towards something. Almost immediately, a Bible verse popped into my head:

Idle hands are the devil’s workshop” (Proverbs 16:27)

Ever heard of the phrase ‘an empty mind is a devil’s plaything?’  This Bible verse relates well to that concept. We’re human – we were created to be fruitful, to use our time wisely. When we are productive, we feel useful. But when we remain without goals or work, we become empty and distressed. And at these moments of emptiness, the devil begins fighting us. He tries to fill our minds and hearts with harmful thoughts and feelings, hoping to separate us from God.

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I’M BACK!  Finally!  Thanks be to God!  I’m back and so is my family and I am excited to be home!

In case you didn’t realize it, I’ve been away for the past two weeks.  Our entire family – Marianne, Michael, Lizzie and myself – went on a mission trip to Kenya, serving alongside one of my spiritual fathers and mentors, His Grace Bishop Paul.  We spent two weeks serving with the Coptic Mission in Kenya in the capital city of Nairobi and a rural town called Maseno.


And in case you’re wondering how it went…BEST TWO WEEKS FOR OUR FAMILY EVER!

Why?  There were so many great things about this trip but for today, I’ll just focus on what it meant for us as a family – especially for the kids (age 8 and 10).

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