Archive for the ‘Storytelling’ Category


Back in my teen years, I dreamed of being a rock star, touring night after night in town after town. Lack of musical talent pretty much put an end to that idea and that’s okay. Nonetheless here I am decades later, and I find myself in a very real sense “touring,” though in a very different way. I’ve been privileged to spend most of the last month traveling from place to place, painting and preaching and it’s been really good, at least in some ways. This year started off slow on the speaking schedule, but for some reason most people wanted me from July to October. As I write this, I’m doing the final packing for a three day trip to the Jersey shore ministering at a chapel on the boardwalk, from there I come home, do some church work, before heading to Maryland to speak at a family camp, if the Lord wills.

Like I said, it’s been really nice, for the most part, but I’ve learned a few lessons. First, it’s really important to have a system. A place for everything and everything in it’s place. This does not come easily for me, because I am usually organizationally challenged, but when you’re hundreds of miles from home base, it’s hard to get back home to get what you need.

Secondly, be prepared and flexible. Each venue is different. I’m not to the point of having contracts and riders to make the venue provide everything I need and I’m not sure I want to be that guy anyway. Last thing a minister of the Gospel should be is demanding. That being said, this means if I have something I need to do my best presentation, I need to make sure I take it with me or that I know a way to do without it. Further, even if I’ve done a presentation a hundred times, it is important that I go over it so that I can present well. This is the Gospel I’m sharing, and God and the “audience” deserve my best.

Thirdly, things tend to happen when I’m away. I need to be “prayed up” and to be bathing my family, my church, etc. in prayer.

Fourth, I need to be mindful of my health and well being. It’s really easy to gain weight on the road and to be honest, I often do. If I’m going to be in this for the long haul, I need to take care of myself on the road. I also need to make sure that I am staying strong and wise, making good choices and avoiding anything that even looks like impropriety.

In my teen years, I got the idea that touring was glamorous. It’s not. It’s a whole lot of driving, mostly alone, followed by a lot of set up and tear down, and there are no roadies on this tour, mostly it’s just me and the wonderful people who stay after to help. Bottom line, the road is a lot of work. Oh but the time and privilege of presenting God’s word makes it all worthwhile. Also I have made a lot of friends I would have never met were it not for me being out on the road. I’ve experienced a wide sampling of the body of Christ, and have seen God move in many ways that have bolstered my faith. “Touring” can be really great, but being away from my family is hard, and there’s no place like home.

If you are called to this kind of ministry, you need wisdom, a work ethic, flexibility and a good dose of humility. God is faithful to provide all we need.


My dad has a saying, “If you can’t dazzle ’em with brilliance, baffle them with [a compound word starting with “bull”]. While I don’t necessarily concur with all of that, I have heard many speakers who seemed to be trying to dazzle the audience with their brilliance and have left me feeling like Dad might be right. At the very least, I had no idea what they were saying and as such, by my judgment, they failed. The purpose of communication is to be understood, period.

Take my experience this week. I’m ministering to adults with developmental disabilities. This is a tough balance to strike. They aren’t kids, they are adults, so making it “kiddy” will not work. These folks are worthy of my respect and of my very best. The key is to present the information in a way they understand. After all, I am bringing them the most important message of all, the Gospel. These folks don’t need to know how smart I am. They don’t need to be dazzled, they need to hear the truth, the simple truth, in a way that they can understand, a way that honors God and them. I owe them that. I owe God that.

You owe your audience the same thing. An audience is a privilege. Not everybody gets one. Make sure you honor yours by giving them what God has given you in a way that they understand. That usually means it’s best to lead with the simple truth.

After all that’s what everyone needs to know and understand.


Well if you’re David Garibaldi, you go to church. He is fresh off being the warm up act on the Kiss End of the Road European Tour, and will be returning for the final American leg later this Summer, but in between, he made an appearance at a church in New Jersey painting his amazing portrait of Jesus.

Please stick around for his comments at the end. Good to see brothers in Christ getting the opportunity to put their talents out there before the world and then coming home and spreading the Word.


One of the great blessings of living where I live is that we are located about an hour from Sight and Sound Theater, in Lancaster, PA. What an amazing place! Yesterday a group from my church went to see their production called Jesus, and it was incredible. This was a top of the line production with elaborate sets and visuals that could rival even the very best Broadway stages, but with a fantastic Gospel message. The actor playing Jesus did a wonderful job, his portrayal of our Lord at Gethsemane was particularly riveting. He showed us a Jesus with a full range of human emotions and while no one compares to the real Jesus, I felt as if I was transported back to watch the events as they happened. The theater uses video and special effects to such an extent that the stage takes on whole new dimensions and one could literally feel like they were watching from the streets of Jerusalem, and the shores of Galilee. The scene where Jesus walks on the water is so realistic that you expect the waves to wash over you at any moment.

Of course it is hard to weave together all the elements of Jesus’ life into a single two hour show, and they took some liberties with the time line to get it all in, but other than this every scene was very accurate biblically. The use of live animals really added to the realism. It was quite impressive to be seated near the aisle as roman soldiers on stallions went riding up and seeing “Jesus” ride past you on a donkey on the triumphal entry was otherworldly. They also very effectively used “scenes within scenes” (for lack of a better word) to illustrate points. Jesus sitting on a hill teaching as the parables are acted out in front of us. Mary Magdalene singing about Jesus freeing her as the scene is acted out is another example, but none compares to Mary mother of Jesus, singing her heart out at the tomb juxtaposed against the nativity, as both “Mary’s” young and old, sing the story from their perspective. I’m not ashamed to admit that I was fighting back tears quite a few times, both tears of sadness and at times tears of joy as I witnessed “Jesus” doing the things I have read about so many times. I’ve often had mixed feelings of portrayals I have seen of Jesus in films and theater. This was far and away the best portrayal I have seen and I have seen many.

I loved this production, not just for it’s amazing quality, but for it’s clear presentation of the Gospel. It’s going to run a few more months before closing and if there’s any way you can get here to see it, you really should.


A few weeks ago, someone liked one of my posts on one of my sites from a web site that publishes stories of no more than 100 words. I thought that sounded like an intriguing challenge, so I tried and submitted. Unfortunately, my submission was not what they were looking for. That’s their prerogative, I limit things on here for content as well. Nonetheless, I thought I would share it here. I see it as a 100 word testimony of sorts. I really liked this challenge. It helps to learn to be concise. Not everyone will want to sit and listen to your 15 minute testimony. Can you express it in five?

The End
Bowing at the altar, I came to the end of myself. I tried everything to fix my mess. Nothing worked. Depressed, defeated, I reached for something that would make it alright—that would make me alright. I was not enough to fix what was broken. I gave up. I wasn’t sure why I was there. A strange force was drawing me in. Part of me wanted to resist, but that force kept beckoning. I fell to my knees as if this was the end. I cried out, “God help me!” and in that moment, I knew.
It would be alright.


Today was a blessed day of ministry. I was privileged to lead a deacon retreat for a church here in my area this morning (Little Swatara Church of the Brethren). A few of the deacons in this church are people I went to High School with, and working with them always reminds me of the 180 Jesus has done in my life from when I was in HS ’til now. Great group of people. While I’ve done leadership workshops before, this one was the first in this format. The people were very kind and participatory, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them and pray they were blessed and that the Lord uses the things he laid on my heart to build up the body at their church. Because it was groundhog day, I built my theme accordingly.

Then this evening, I traveled to Middletown PA for my second trip to the Rock Cafe. It was a rock band called Testimony, a rapper named Constant Battle and his crew and me. I really enjoy this type of ministry as well. The music is always great and the ministry is better. I brought a message based on Mark chapter 2 about the man who was lowered through the roof to see Jesus. I’m still working on a title for this message, at least in this format, but I’m thinking of calling it “The Greater Miracle.” This format gives me the opportunity to pare things down and work with shorter messages, which at times comes in very handy. Well speaking of shorter messages, it’s midnight and time to cut this one off and go to bed. I should be back on the regular schedule Monday, Lord willing. If you’re a person who likes rap and rock, get yourself to Middletown, PA on the first Saturday of the month. It’s always fun.

Thanks to everyone who gave me the opportunity to minister today, and to God be the glory. Good night.


At my church this year for advent, I wanted to address something that worries me, that, on the surface, sounds like it shouldn’t. I sometimes worry that we know the Christmas story too well. I know, right? You might be thinking, “Cry me a river, pastor. You think people might know a text too well.” Not exactly. What concerns me is that people know the story so well that they take it for granted, and cease to be blown away by how amazing the story actually is. I mean, this is the incarnation, God becomes a man and comes to earth, born a baby, to experience all of life as we do, set a perfect example, prepare the way for us to receive eternal life, teach us all that the Lord wants us to know and dying to secure the way to God for all who will believe. It’s a beautiful, nearly scandalous story that I never want to see people miss because they think they know it. So how to present this powerful story in a way that makes people really take it to heart? Well I got creative.

I started reading through the text, selected four people intimately involved in the story and really studied all that the Scripture says about them. This led to a series I called “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord.” In the series I looked at four “men” (one of them was an angel, hence the quotes) and told the story as best I could, from their perspective as if I were them, dramatically. It was one of the most commented upon series I have ever done, but aside from that, it blessed me. I had to really delve into the story. I had to dig deep and I had to really put myself in their shoes, because I was going to quite literally put myself in their shoes. I had to think things like, “How would they have experienced this moment?” and “Would he really say that?” It was one of the most rewarding study experiences I have ever had.

The other thing was, I had no desire and felt no leading for costumes, but his would I get the people to forget it was me and imagine the person in question was speaking to them. I ended up doing what I do best, i.e., making art. I did a portrait of each of the people I was portraying and put them in the front of the sanctuary. Rather than speed painting these “live” since advent series’ tend to be very full, I took my time and painted them in my studio. This also ended up being a blessing, because I could really push myself artistically. I had a great time with this series, but that’s not why I share this. I share it to encourage you to take the familiar passages and find a different way to present them—a way that will be faithful to the text and yet creative enough to get people to see something they already know with fresh eyes. I believe God gave us our creative gifts for this very reason. How can you help people to really see God’s truth?

Here are the portraits. They are Gabriel, a shepherd (who I named Itzhak), John the Baptist (because if you’re going to talk about preparing the way for Jesus, he can’t be left out) and finally Joseph.