June 1, 2015

Closer Look

62 1 9Revival Hymns and Choruses EP

Chris Picco


Every generation believes they can do things better, with more meaning, and with more relevance to their day. But every now and then there is an artist who steps out of that pack and brings to focus the sheer beauty of inspiration. He reaches back into the past and intimately brings forward the depth, emotion, and pure artistry of our spiritual DNA. California-based Adventist artist Chris Picco does just that with Revival Hymns and Choruses EP.

His voice leads to what makes these lyrics relevant to our world today. The calling of the gospel through his complementing arrangements soothes the frenetic pace of our connected world.

Picco’s arrangement of “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” takes the listener to places no choir can. It leads to the calmness that is found in prayerful reflection of the source of where all good originates. “This Is My Father’s World” sounds above the jarring debate about creation and melodically lays the integral belief for all Christians that ownership and beauty comes from only one source. “Praise to the Lord” begins with significant depth, but as it grows, it is more established in tone and arrangement, and reflects a maturing and understanding of why all creation sings.

Chris Picco treats the songs like family, and it shows. Our musical ancestry is rich in lyric, and Picco leads us to understanding that wealth.

Available on iTunes and chrispicco.bandcamp.com.

Falvo Fowler is editor/executive producer in the Sabbath School/Personal Ministries Department of the General Conference.

62 2 1Eight Twenty Eight:

When Love Didn’t Give Up

Larissa and Ian Murphy, B&H Publishing Group, 2014, 243 pages, $13.90, paperback.


If you’re like me, you enjoy a casual walk through a bookstore. Often a cover grabs my attention, but just as often it remains on the shelf. Eight Twenty Eight was displayed in my local Christian bookstore. I recognized the couple on the cover from an online video clip.

Larissa and Ian were like any other young couple in love and planning a future together. He was searching for the ring. Their love story, however, was soon rewritten by a car accident that left Ian with a permanent brain injury. All dreams appeared to be shattered.

Eight Twenty Eight is the story of a love that pressed on, even during times of uncertainty. Larissa Murphy writes of her new life with Ian after his accident. At times she wondered how she could continue a relationship with someone who might never support her as she had dreamed. But through her faith and love for Christ, she discovered that loving God was more important than loving comfort, and through the process, her eyes were opened to a love stronger than any love imaginable—Christ’s love for us.

While we may not go through a situation like theirs, we certainly face predicaments that cause us to question how things will work out. Sometimes we battle with our faith and how to love others as Christ loves us.

Their story is a great reminder of the true meaning of love. Love isn’t always easy. But looking to Christ as our perfect example, we can find the strength to press on and ultimately be changed through the process.

If you are struggling with how to love—your spouse, significant other, or those in your life who are challenging—or you are simply wondering how to follow God’s plan and increase your faith, this is definitely a good read. I learned many valuable lessons from Larissa and Ian, and I promise you will too.

Lisa Poirier graduated this May with a degree in music education from Southern Adventist University in Tennessee.

62 3 0Gracelink Sabbath School Videos


I used the Gracelink videos at home before I became a Sabbath school teacher. My children enjoyed them, and we often watched more than one video each Friday evening. I became a Sabbath school teacher approximately 20 months ago and incorporated the Gracelink videos into the lesson study. I use the videos almost every time I teach, cached on my iPad. Incorporating the video into the lesson study has been simple. I usually play the video, then engage the children in a conversation about what they’ve seen. Sometimes this includes asking them to help retell or act out the story. Another teacher at my church will pause the video several times to ask the children questions.

For children who learn visually, the videos bring the story to life. Research states that good readers visualize while reading. Not everyone is able to visualize while reading or listening to stories, which can hinder story comprehension. The videos help make the Bible stories real for all children. The Gracelink videos shouldn’t replace the lesson study—some children are not visual learners and benefit from acting out, listening to, or discussing the lesson. The videos are a wonderful addition to the lesson presentations: children would like the video length to be longer!

Gracelink videos are available free through the Web site www.gracelink.net, Vimeo (kindergarten), and YouTube. Videos are for ages 3-9, Kindergarten and Primary classes.

Peggie Laurence-Whitlock, a speech-language pathologist,teaches kindergarten Sabbath school at Beltsville Seventh-day Adventist Church in Maryland.