Monday, December 31, 2007


It has been with great joy that I have been reacquainted with one of my old loves "Sim City". I used to spend hours on this game growing up, and built (and destroyed) countless cities. We got Sim City 4 this past Christmas and have already bankrupted one city and have begun mass trading with Matt's new city.

Some of the highlights of this newer version of Sim City are that Robots can attack your city, you can build just about any world wide landmark, and you can actually drive around your city. I'm glad I will now have something to occupy my time when Matt is gone. Although it's already occupying much of my time now.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Favorite Christmas Memory

Playing along with one of my many aunts up in Idaho to try and convince my younger brother and sister that a red airplane light making it's way across the sky late at night was Santa and his sleigh. I'm not sure if they ever bought it.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Puppy Chow Correction

So in talking to my mom tonight, I realized I should have clarified the type of Chex used in the recipie. I had put Chex mix and really you're supposed to use Chex cereal. For whatever reason...I think I call them both the same thing in my mind!

My apologies to any who tried it with Chex mix! Although it probably tastes just as good...but in a different way.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Eye goop

Nothing says Merry Christmas more than sharing the joy of pink eye with your co-workers. Monday Matt and I woke up with pink eye (serves us right for hanging around kids) and three days later we have managed to take out at least 2 other co-workers.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Matt's New Hobby

After giving up Rock Climbing (b/c there are no really good faces to go rappelling off of here) I think I am going to try this on for size. Anyone want to go? (It's called wingsuit flying or jumping.)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

How to Handle Money

I stumbled upon this at and thought it was pretty funny. Enjoy!

Friday, December 14, 2007

From the mouths of Babes

Last night as I babysat for two of the cutest kids at our church and I had the fun job of trying to get both to go to bed. Upon putting the 4 year old back in bed for the 3rd time that night, he very seriously informed me "you know, sometimes its hard for me to keep my eyes closed the whole night." How true is that!

10 minutes later though he was out and I don't think he opened his eyes the rest of the night.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

What Would Jesus Buy

So there's a new movie coming out called "What Would Jesus Buy". After watching the preview, I can't decide to laugh or cry, cheer or moan, hide in shame or promote this movie. But I do think it's a funny topic to make the big screen and I'm very tempted to try and see this if I can convince Matt to go.

Warning: it looks very Michael Mooreish and doesn't necessarily but evangelicalism in a great light. But it looks like some of the underling truths might be very relevant for today's consumer world.

You can see the preview here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Recapturing Advent

There is a fun article up on the Christianity Today website talking about Advent and ways to recapture the meaning of it. That coupled with several recent sermons on Advent has had me reconsidering what I even think about Advent. In all the sermons and article it surprised me how each touched on the idea of "waiting". I'm not sure if I've ever fully thought about the connection that Advent has with waiting. The Israelites were waiting for their king. The king has come, yet we have been left to wait for his return. In a society of instant gratification, do we even know how to wait anymore? And if waiting is something that we have lost, how do we recapture the idea of waiting? Specifically for Jesus to return?

To read the CT article, click here. There's some great ideas in it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Puppy Chow Recipie

Since a number of you have asked (and I was rude to not include the recipe), here's how you make puppy chow. I guess I want to keep hording it to myself!

1 box of Chex Cereal(I used the corn Chex type)
1 bag of Chocolate Chips
1 1/4 cup of peanut butter
1/2 cup of butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
about 2-3 cups powder sugar

Pour all the Chex mix into a large bowl. In a separate microwavable bowl, heat the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter for about 40 seconds. Remove and stir in vanilla. Microwave again for about another minute or until everything is melted. Stir to make sure everything is mixed. While still hot, pour over the Chex mix and stir together until everything is coated. This can almost be a 2-3 person process. Find a plastic bag or container that can be sealed and place half the Chex mix in it with about 1 cup of powder sugar. Shake until the Chex mix is coated. There should be a significant layer of powder sugar over each Chex mix. If you don't put enough powder sugar in, the Chex mix sticks to each other, so if it looks to brown or like it's clumping, put in more powder sugar. Do the same with the other half. Enjoy.

In all honesty, you can't go to wrong with this recipe since it's pretty much all sugar.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Puppy Chow

One of my more distinctive Christmas memories involves coveting and thievery.

Somewhere around 6th grade, my grandma made the most wonderful concoction ever created. It was chex mix that was mixed with chocolate, peanut butter and powder sugar. She only made it one or two years and let us take a zip lock bag of the left overs home with us. Somehow between her house and ours, I managed to siphon off a majority of this chocolate peanut buttery goodness into my own plastic bag which I then promptly hid under my bed so no one else could eat it. For weeks I would pull it out the bag only to let myself eat 5-10 pieces a day. I think I made it to at least the end of February.

Grandma never made it again and ever since then I've longed to find out what this amazing concoction was. I asked her once years later for the recipe and she only gave me a blank look not remembering what it was that she made. I considered it a lost cause.

A few weeks ago however at bible study, someone brought in a whole container of this same treat. I was so excited! I come to find that it is the simplest recipe to make and that most everyone in the world has both eaten it and made it. So "Puppy Chow" has now become a Christmas main stay in the Kirk apartment world.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I Spy

InterVarsity's 2006-2007 Annual Report just came out and many of Matt's photo's were used in it. Specifically the front cover, page 3, 4, 6, 9 and 10 of the pdf version. Can you figure out which ones?

It was pretty cool for me to see Matt's photo's in this. It makes it feel like he's a real photographer or something like that. I guess he is!

If you haven't gotten the annual report, you can download a pdf copy here.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

digging a hole

Ok, so after 27 years of living on this planet. I've finally had the privilege of shoveling snow. I've decided I can do with out it.

This morning we awoke to several neighbors trying to get up our apartment complexs' driveway (which hadn't been plowed yet). With a thick layer of ice covered by 5 inches of fresh wasn't working to well. So Matt and I bundled up and joined several others to dig/chip out paths for the cars. We finally got everyone out, but I think we were all ready to call it a day. Even if it was only 9 in the morning.

More snow is on the way!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


There was an interesting piece on the NewsHour tonight highlighting Iraqi refugee's and the countries that have chosen to harbor them. The report (which you can read the transcript or listen to here) looked at specifically Sweden who has chosen to take on thousands of refugees and specifically those requesting asylum due to direct threats on their life.

The most intriguing part to me was a comment by one of the mayors in Sweden:
"MAYOR ILMAR REEPALU, City of Malmo: Sweden didn't take part in the Iraq invasion. If you look upon the second quarter this year, 4,500 of the Iraqis came to Sweden and were accepted here; 2,500 went to Greece; 400 get to Spain; and 180 to United States, 180. That's half the number that we accepted in Malmo in the same time. How come?"
Now granted there wasn't a US response given in the report nor any commentary on the significance positively or negatively of these facts, but it has made me ponder the role we should have in any country in which we choose to get involved and pursue active political change leading to displacement and death threats towards innocent civilians. A part of me has to believe that we as a country do shoulder some if not a lot of responsibility.

Monday, December 03, 2007

New goal in life

A few weeks ago it was decided that we would be housing one of Twentyonehundred's newest interns for a few months. This time the intern happens to be from Norway (it's north east of England if you're like me and forgot where that is). With this being our second out of the country guest, we've decided we're going to see how many people from different countries we can house before we die. I'm thinking probably we can get about 75% of the countries represented. Matt thinks 50%.

So far we're off to a good start! Canada and Norway down!

I should be interesting to learn more about Norway. My only reference to anything about that country is a Scandinavian cooking show I sometime watch hosted by Claus, and that cheesy credit card commercial with the father and son who are going to look for their roots in Norway (at least I think it's Norway) and find out their Scottish instead. Or something like that. I think I have a lot to learn.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Prayer and Praise

Our newest prayer update letter is now available! Just click the images above to view! Overall, it's been a good fall quarter that was filled with lots of traveling and getting to see some great evangelistic things take place. Thank you for all your prayers!

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Yesterday we ventured down to our parking garage only to find that our lovely jeep (and several other cars) had been broken into. Damage was one broken window, a stolen car stereo and about $2.10 in change. While it did definitely change some of our plans for the day, it did make me thankful for several things:
1) that I have a husband who loves God more than that when his beloved Jeep was damaged, he choose to laugh instead of cry or get really mad.
2) that we even have a car to begin with and that it still does work.
3) that I have never been in a situation where I have been desperate enough to steal to survive.
4) that while things like cars and possessions are nice, I don't have to let them define who I am.
5) that we are so close to the mechanic and that when fun things like this happen, we can always walk!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Heaven on Earth

Next week I get to lead a training session on how to share the gospel in three minutes. It's been a while since I've thought through what it means to share the gospel so it's been good to rethink what it is I really believe. It's also interesting to see all the different ways people have chosen to share the gospel.

The biggest thing I've been stuck by is how more people are beginning to share not only about God's plan to redeem us as individual humans but about God's plan to redeem the earth/world. As I think about the ways I have shared the gospel in the past, I've definitely focused on God and the individual. I don't think that is necessarily wrong, but I'm realizing that by only focusing on that, I'm leaving out a big part of God's plan and the role God asks us to take as a Christian.

Here's a few examples of how others (in the InterVarsity world) are sharing the gospel. You can even watch a video of them stating their gospel version. They don't capture everything...but they are a slightly different take and have been good for me to think through and incorporate into how I share the good news.

From The adapted Bridge Diagram

From The Big Story

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Cali trip

Our trip to California last month was a much needed break. Here's a few favorite moments/favorite pictures from the trip.

Getting to see how much Christopher is like his Mom and getting to catch up with Meridith was a big highlight.

Getting to stop for a day in Santa Barbara and see some of our favorite spots was good for the soul.

The most random thing was running into Ruth Loomer at the Dallas airport. We both left from the same gate! Only 30 minutes apart and she was off to SB and we to Madison. I've always wanted to run into someone randomly at the airport like that. Check that off the list.

Overall we got to spend some quality time with old friends (such as the lovely ladies above). It was great to catch up with everyone and hear everyone's crazy stories from this past year. We saw so many people!!! It made me realize how much I miss everyone out there!

But most of all, it was a sure highlight spending time with family and being back on the beach.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

last few days

-Sarah managed to eat an entire meal with chopsticks
-Matt returned from his trip safely
-Matt returned from his trip with a swollen ankle :(
-Sarah watched an 8 year old for 5 hours and spent that time water coloring, making cookies and learning all about Fetch.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


It's official folks, Sarah is now officially a Wisconsinite. She surrendered her CA drivers license after of year of convieniently avoiding the DMV.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Firery Preacher

So I stopped at Barnes and Noble today and while I was looking at 2008 calenders, someone walked in and began shouting "Citizens of Wisconsin, repent and believe in Christ. Your days are numbered....." I've seen this a lot on college campuses but never in an actual store.

I immediately felt embarrassed to be associated with the same religion as this man. I know that in the grand scheme of the universe, tactics like these can bring people to faith, but it always seems like they are more divisive than anything.

However I did wonder if the Jews had a similar response to Isaiah, John the Baptist, Amos or any of the other prophets. Embarrassed at their message and convinced that God would never reach his people through methods like that. It made me wonder if these types of prophets are more for the sake of those of us who claim to follow him, than for those who don't.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Pray for Matt

Matt left yesterday to spend a week at the Michigan State University to help document a week long evangelism event. It's a pretty cool event where the InterVarsity chapter there is partnering with York Moore and IJM to raise awareness about injustices around the world and God's views those injustices.

"Tuesday through Thursday, November 6-8. Hundreds of student volunteers will depict some of the degrading conditions experienced by those who are caught up in modern slavery. Each evening related programs will be held at several locations on campus, culminating in a presentation entitled The Price of Life, on Thursday evening, at the Kellogg Center’s Big Ten Room." ( One of the cooler ideas is that there will be beds set up around campus with student volunteers "chained" to them as a representation of sex slavery. Pretty in your face.

Pray for Matt as he is there that he might not only be able to capture on film and video what is happening, but that he can have conversations with students that lead to Christ.

Monday, November 05, 2007


It snowed for the first time this season today. It wasn't much...nor did it last long, but it was a good reminder to stop and enjoy the moment, the changing of the season, the newness. I know I'll be tired of snow in a few months...but I'm grateful that there is something captivating about the initial snow fall.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Sarah's favorite pic of the week

And yes, those apples are really that different in size :). We went apple picking for the first time a few weeks ago with some kids from work. It was a lot more fun than I thought it would be and I've never seen apples that big! Just in case anyone is wondering...the big apple is a Cortland apple. I've never heard of that type before...but it has one of the best flavors I've ever tried. I have no idea what the small one is.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

God's Kingdom

As mentioned previously, our church has been going through a series on the Kingdom of God. Last night at bible study we looked at Revelations 19. (To be honest, I'm not sure if I've ever really done a bible study on Revelations.) Overall we focused on how the Kingdom of God ultimately defeats any corrupt system here on earth and it's clear in the end that God really is "King of kings and Lord of Lords."

Personally it made me think back to when I was in Bosnia listening to Bosnian friends pray for God's return. His return was something they were not afraid to ask for and you could sense that it was something they truely were waiting for. At the time, it made me ask, if I was really waiting for God's return? Last night's study made me ask the same question. Am I waiting in eager expectation for God's return?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Fall Colors

So living in the Midwest does have its advantages to California. We actually have color on the trees out here, and lots of it. It is really hard to drive because I (matt) am not only looking at all the trees instead of the road but I also want to stop every 5 minutes to take pictures. My newest thing is to look for large amounts of contrast and backlighting.

I hope you enjoy these pics.

UW Football

I guess we are true Wisconsinites now! We have been to our first Badger Football Game.
Oh it was a slaughter, Northern Illinois University lost one of their own men on the kickoff (a bad enough knee injury to bring out the paramedics, ouch) and 4 downs later Wisconsin scored the first of many, ending in a 44-3 victory. But that wasn’t the best part, watching all these crazy people in red (you get “booed” if you don’t wear red) singing songs, executing complicated cheers, a multi-speed - multi-direction “wave” and much more…it was a lot of fun. Hope some of the photos let you know what you missed!! Thanks to Kristen for the great tickets!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Kingdom Thoughts

So our church has been focusing on Kingdom values for the past few months. It's been a good study and a challenging one. Here's a taste of what we are learning as summed up by a few of our bible study friends with way to much time on their hands.

Ok, so maybe we have a long way to go still in learning about the kingdom.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ca Fires

It's strange being in Wisconsin and reading about all the fire stuff going on. It seems to hit so close to home yet also seems so far away. I do have to admit that it's a bit strange to know that Matt and I were just hiking in some of the hills that are now up in smoke and were visiting friends in some of the evacuated areas just a week ago. While it's comforting to know that our family is currently safe, we do know that many of our friends are being affected by the fires (particularly in San Deigo).

For those of you in the San Deigo area, we are praying that God will continue to keep you safe and that while it may be a fustrating time with work and life disrupted, you will continue to find your strength in our Lord.

For those of you outside California, please pray with us for those affected by the fire. It's going to be a while before things get contained and I know that there are many who covet your prayers right now!

Saturday, October 20, 2007


We were pleasantly surprised last night with the movie Stardust. Neither Matt or I had ever heard of the movie, but decided to try it out last night anyways. Overall it's a cute kids movie that has a lot of Princess Bride similarities. While it doesn't replace Princess Bride, I'd recommend checking it out...even if it's only for the performance of Robert De Niro, who was absolutely hilarious! Definitely a movie that snuck through under the radar.

Friday, October 19, 2007


There is something so amazing about the feeling of coming home. Matt and I have been traveling for the past 2 weeks in California and it was interesting to notice how often I felt like I was home. There was the moment of walking into Mom and Dad's house and smelling the familiar and yet specific scent of my childhood and the overwhelming knowledge of being home. There were all the interactions with close friends and family which spoke to my soul in a way that only deep friendships can. And with each interaction, the fleeting knowledge of being at home in my soul.

Yet what surprised me the most was the overwhelming gratefulness of stepping off the plane at our journey's end knowing that we were finally home: to our small apartment that smells of dust and whatever our next door neighbor might be smoking, to a daily routine that probably wont change anytime soon, to bills, to new friends and to our own bed.

It's strange how I could feel the sense of "being home" in so many different circumstances and makes me wonder how much more intense and satisfying the feeling of being home will be when we are finally at home with our Father. It reminds me of Job's words in Job 19, "I will see Him with my own eyes, I and not another. How my soul longs within me."

Monday, September 24, 2007

Today's College Student

Trying to understand today's college student is not an easy task. The Social Science Research Center just came out with a study and group of essay's about today's college student. Overall there is a tone of encouragement from these reports. My only question is how do these finding compare fit in with the recent studies from the recent Barna research group report on twenty-somethings which almost indicate the opposite?

Here's some of the more interesting quotes:

Religious institutions now enroll one in ten college students; since 1990, enrollment has increased at 102 evangelical colleges by 70% (from 135,000 to 230,000 total) compared to 28% at private institutions and 13% at public ones. -Keeping the Faith

An article in the Los Angeles Times Magazine describes this generation of evangelicals as one that “reconciles science and the Bible, body and soul; opposes both war and abortion;…and leapfrogs the two-party political divide. All the while refusing to renounce its conservative-evangelical tag.” -Student Commitments

To read more from these articles, go here.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

race to approval

Well folks, it's looks like California, Wisconsin and Illinois are now the only states in America who have not been able to pass a state budget for the year yet. Can I just say I'm proud of the fact that I have strong connections to two of these wonderfully, governmentally ineffective states? (sarcasm intended). I'd actually put money on California getting their budget act together before Wisconsin! Never thought I'd say that.

Friday, September 21, 2007


Last weekend I (Sarah) got to go to a quilt expo here in town. It was crazy. People out here are crazy quilters and have way to much time on their hands. But it was fun looking at how different each quilt was as well as all the hundreds of vendors and their fabrics. Definitely not good for the pocket book.

However I'm now inspired to finish up my current projects so I can start on some new ones and try to incorporate some new ideas and techniques into the piece! Maybe someday I can figure out how to do something like the one pictured that received best in show...but again I think I might be aiming to high.

In other news, Matt travels again this weekend to Rhode Island. He's excited about going but still a bit tired from his last any prayers would be welcomed.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Loving Work?

My boss who lives in Colorado is currently in town for a few days. As I am still fairly new to my job, I still don't know a whole lot about him. However I have been amazed at how much my boss absolutely loves his job! I've never heard him complain about what he does and there is almost always a glimmer of joy in his eyes as we talk details about different projects.

It's gotten me thinking about how much our work is really a gift from God and just as one can get excited and joyful over a birthday gift, we can get excited about the gift of work that God has given us. I don't often think of my job as a gift from God. But in many ways it really is.

I guess the challenge for me is that as I settle more and more into the routine of the job, I try to cling to the idea that my job is a gift and it's ok to be excited and find joy in it. It's a weird idea though because I don't think I've ever met to many people who really find joy in their jobs. In many ways I feel like you're looked upon as a freak if you do find some sort of satisfaction in your work. But I think it's something to strive for as well.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Friendship Bread

Mom H. this is for you. ("Pass it On".) brings back memories of that one summer when all we ate was this friendship bread stuff. Even after reading the article, I'm still not sure if I understand fully the point of the bread. But now that it's been a few years since I've eaten any, I might actually give it a try again. No worries though, I don't think I'll try and seed any of the starter to you in the mail. :)

Hot sticky and Sexy Pizza?

I got back from Texas this last week from shooting a Documentary there for InterVarsity. We followed around a staff worker (Nick, second photo above) for a week as he advertised InterVarsity; they gave out free burgers, free popsicles, free tacos, and held a discussion about sex and pizza. It was this last event, titled "Sexy Pizza" that made the paper, along with a photo that happens to contain me. Check it out here. If you actually read the article, keep in mind that both Nick and Carlos (first picture above and in the article) were misquoted. [Nick didn’t give bible verses for every question but facilitated a discussion about biblical principlesand Carlos didn’t say anything about loosing people since last year.]
Anyway, it was a lot of fun, it was really HOT and sticky (in the 100’s plus extreme humidity!!) and we shot a lot of film (over 24 hours for a 4 minute video.) I learned a lot about how to shoot better documentaries while seenig the fun and difficulties of starting an InterVarsity Chapter. I saw the groups faithfulness in spite of adversary and then saw God come through because of prayer. I saw the fruit of InterVarsity on campus, both in creating Christ followers as well as contributing to campus culture. After most interviews we conducted with video I snuck in some portraits shown above.
Thanks for your prayers.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Preservationism vs. Conservationism

Yesterday on PBS (I know we are dorks), there was this really interested documentary on the National Forest Service called "The Greater Good". I mainly highlighted the creation of the National Forest Service and many of the conflicts and scandal's involved with it's evolution.

The most interesting conflict in my opinion centered around whether the Forest Service would be about preservation or conservation. I don't think I have ever considered the slight but significant difference between those two words. To "preserve" an area of land, the resources of that land can not be used for profit. However according to "conservationism", you carefully steward the land so that you can use/harvest/take particular renewable resources and then replenish them to ensure that resource will be around in the future. So in reality it comes down to whether we or humans can touch a piece of land or resource for our own profit.

Anyways, I always thought those two things meant the same thing. And while the show didn't really address this, I think it's interesting how both preservation and conservation are needed in different circumstances. For example, if many of our nation's watershed's wern't turned into preservations, there is a good chance many of those watersheds would have become poluted or destroyed. Yet in the case of many national forests, it's important that they are conserved (stratigic logging/clearing/replanting) so that fire danger remains lower.

Watching shows like these remind me how complicated a world we live in and reveals just how enourmous and serious the task of being stewards of the earth is that God has entrusted us with. It seems such a big task that it's easier to keep living life as is and not think about what it means to both conseve and preserve the nature that is around us. But listening to people's stories and the battles fought around the forest service, it makes me wonder how much more exciting and fulfilling life might be if we really understood and took action on God's desire for us to be good stewards of the earth.

Anyways, I might just have to join the forest service now. It seem like a cool job.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Quote of the Day

"The Church is too much like a football game where 22 professionals are on field in the heat of the battle desperately in need of rest while 100,000 spectotors are in the stands cheering and desperately in need of exercise." -E. Trueblood

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sunset Boulevard

We have some friends that are currently going through the top 100 movies of all time. I'm not sure where they are on the list, but this last week we joined them for Sunset Boulevard.

If you like dead monkey's, suger mommas, and Hollywood writers, this is definately a movie for you. It's actually a pretty funny yet very creapy movie. And even though it's from the 50's, it's very well done.

One thing that surprised me though was the content of the movie. It's was surprisingly dark and messed up. I'd almost expect it to be a story line from a current movie. I guess it just goes to show that even in the 50's, there was an attraction to the weird, bizzare and humanness of man.

It's well worth watching if you want a laugh and some bizzare dreams at night.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Upcoming Events/Happenings

Matt takes off this weekend for a 6 day trip down to Texas. He'll be helping shoot some video of students returning to campus at a university down there as well as some of InterVarsity's kick off events there. He's pretty excited.

We also just found out we get to help teach at an InterVarsity regional weekend camp this upcoming November. It'll be fun to be around students again and do some teaching. We'll get to teach/do some manuscript study on John's "I am" passages. We've started doing a little bit of prep work and it's been a blast!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Foot Washing

This past Monday, our office closed to spend the day praying for InterVarsity campus ministries starting in the fall as well as our different departments. We spent the morning reflecting on John 13 and it was particularly a rich time for me.

One of the thoughts that I spent much of my time pondering over was what made Jesus' act of service (washing his disciple's feet) so different from other acts of service? And why do I tend to get all uncomfortable when it comes to the idea of someone washing my feet?

For the most part, I do enjoy it when people serve me. I'll be honest about that. I love it when Matt decides to take out the garbage, cook me dinner, or comes over unexpected to give me a back massage. I'll take that kind of service any day!!! I won't lie about that. :) So then why is it that I get all uncomfortable when someone wants to "wash" my feet? Even on our wedding day when Matt washed my feet there was a hint of uncomfortableness creeping around in the back of my mind.

I think the biggest difference that I can point to right now is in regards to entitlement. I think in many ways I feel entitled to be served by various people and deep down I kind of expect it. I can think of all the things I've done to deserve Matt cooking me dinner or serving me as my husband. I can point to all the great things I've done at work that would entitle me to a good word from my boss or some kind of bonus...etc.

I feel entitled to be served.

However, I'm realizing more and more that I do become uncomfortable when I know that I am not entitled to the service that God or others might be offering me. When in my dirtiness and humanness, someone decides to offer me grace, forgiveness, or a service that I know deep down I am not entitled to, it's uncomfortable and I want to turn away in shame. When I think back to when Matt washed my feet, I can honestly say a part of my was uncomfortable because I know full well the wretched creature that I am and I knew I am in no way entitled to the love, commitment and sacrifice Matt was willingly choosing into that day.

I left that study wondering how I view Jesus offer to serve me. Have I come to feel entitled to Jesus offering to daily wash my feet? Or do I still recognize the deep significance and awkwardness that surrounds my God choosing to "love me to the end"?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Chicago Review

Our quick trip to Chicago proved to be quite entertaining. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Went to pick up the rental car and had to wait 30 minutes because the manager set his alarm clock wrong and was the only one with keys to the building. So we spent that talking with the freaking out sales representatives trying to assure them that we were not about to strangle them for their boss's incompetence. However the upgrade we got out of that was quite nice.
  • Discovered a wonderful Bosnian restaurant, "Restaurant Sarajevo". We had tasty cavapi and were the only non Bosnians in the restaurant. It was like a piece of heaven.
  • Roamed around Chicago with Natalie and her friends. We were with Natalie...need I say more :)
  • Ate dinner while watching about 10 red hat ladies (who were about 50 years old) dance around the streets of Chicago dressed up in twenties clothing. If that's not a good time, I don't know what is.
  • Made it to our hotel at about 11pm only to find that we had been selected as the guests of the day and therefore received a complimentary upgrade in our room to an executive suite and got free parking. I think I might have just become a Hyatt fan for life.
  • Got to see some dear friends from Santa Barbara who are now living out in the Chicago suburbs on Sunday.

Overall, it was a trip that was good for the soul. If you want to see more pictures of the trip you can click here.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Need Based Oriented Evangilism

So this term "need-based oriented evangelism" has cropped up a number of times recently and has got me pondering what it really means. I think it's a neat term in many ways and and is based on much of how Jesus interacted with people. I think of the bleeding woman, the woman at the well, the blind Bartamaus, all people with pretty specific needs that Jesus chose to meet. And it seems like a lot of churches are trying to do the same: feed the homeless, help a family who needs school supplies, visit the elderly or sick in the hospital.

I wonder though how often in the process of meeting needs, we forget the evangelism part? How often do we let the act of meeting needs take the place of bring people before the throne of God? I'm convinced more and more the greatest need anyone will ever have is to receive God's forgiveness and know His plans for their life. Do we even know how to meet that need anymore?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ode to Christine

Today was a sad day in the Kirk household. We said goodbye to our 2100 intern who had been living with us for the past 3 months while she worked in the graphics department doing various projects for InterVarsity.

It always seems like a gamble when you agree to open your house to some total stranger for an extended period of time. But I have to admit that Christine was a blessing to be around this summer and I (sarah) enjoyed her company and have to admit that I learned a lot from her.

One thing I will always remember Christine for is her commitment to prayer. It's one thing to see people in the process of disciplining themselves to spend time with God (usually that means that you have the intentions but get easily distracted), but it's a whole other thing to see someone who is passed the process of learning to quiet themselves and is actually diligently spending time with God. Other things I am thankful for and will always remember is her servants heart and willingness to go along with all of our crazy summer schemes, her love of enchiladas and how she never quite got how to say "enchiladas" in the American way, how she would laugh at the silliest and simple things, her love of movie trailers, and her desire to learn.

Christine we will miss you and you are always welcome at our place!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Corn Fest

This weekend has been Corn Fest weekend. And what a weekend it has been. Our church sponsored a booth where kids could come and race toy boats by blowing on the sails. Christine, also made this amazing photo board as well (see picture). One of my most favorite moments was when I somehow convinced these two lovely ladies to pose for a portrait. I've never seen old ladies get so giggly and laugh. I've decided that's how I want to be when I get older!

Friday night was a blast watching kids get dizzy and talking with people who had come to enjoy the fair. We even got to meet the Mayor and talk a bit about the town. Saturday was slightly disappointing because it rained the whole day. It made for a much slower day. So we'll see how it goes tomorrow.

The best part so far has been that we got a grocery bag filled with as much corn we could stuff it with for 5 bucks. We're going to be on the corn diet for the next week if anyone wants to join in! :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

special offer for InterVarsity friends and alumni

For those of you interested, you can now get a pretty significant discount to the National Pastor's Convention which will be happening in San Diego this coming February. This discount applies to any InterVarsity alum, or pastor/church leader of an InterVarsity staff. Some of you California folk might be interested in looking into the details. For more details click here.

Monday, August 13, 2007

We are responsible to society for our donations?

Last week at the Leadership Summit, I was struck by a quick comment made by one of the speakers about our moral responsibility to society about how we choose to give our money as donations. Michael Porter suggested that since most of the time we are receiving a tax deduction for our charitable gifts, we are actually using society's money. In other words, a portion of our financial gift would have gone to the government/society if we had not chosen to give it somewhere else. The government in good faith is trusting that we would perhaps spend it better than they would? In any case, Porter suggests that because we are in a way using society's money, we should take interest in how our gifts are used. We're gambling with money that is not necessarily all ours. I thought that was an interesting thought.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Wow...this is crazy...must watch

Wade...time to take some lessons :)

All sounds you hear come from the guitar. Crazy. The artist is Erik Mongrain from Canada. He was featured at the Lead Summit as a guest artist.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Reflections on Leadership Summit

One thing that I love about InterVarsity is their desire to invest in me as a leader. Because of that, I am able to attend the Willow Creek Association's Leadership Summit. While I'm attending via a web cast site, it has been incredibly challenging and thought provoking. I'll probably spend the next few weeks trying to process and share a bit about what I'm learning from these talks.

Bill Hybel's spoke this morning about having a vision to die for. His main points centered how an awe inspiring vision will never become a reality unless it is owned by those who follow. He goes on to describe ownership as a follower's willingness to grasp onto the vision so tightly that they are willing to die or sacrifice everything for it. When a follower does that, a vision becomes a dangerous and powerful thing.

This of course leads to the sobering question as a leader; am I willing to die for a vision? As I think of all the vision planning I have done in the past with students and churches, I'm struck by how awe inspiring our visions and plans are at the time, but how quickly they die when faced with the realities of fear, comfortableness, and risks. Has there ever been a vision I have been willing to die for? Not many.

Take that even a step further as a Christian. God has an amazing vision, as Bill would say, a redemptive vision for this world. That vision was so compelling to God that he was willing to die for it. That vision has in no way disappeared and we are called daily to own that vision as Christ followers. Am I willing to die for that same vision?

I think most of us know from experience that a follower will only grasp onto a vision to the extent that a leader does. Followers know if a leader is willing to sacrifice everything for a vision. They know when a leader backs away. And they take the leader's cues. The challenge that I was left pondering from Bill is as a leader, do I own God's vision? Do I own the vision for my church? Do I own the vision of InterVarsity? And am I willing to die for them?

Hybels drew from a powerful parable that Jesus tells in John 10 about a flock of sheep that was tended by both the owners and hired hands. When hard times came, the hired hands fled. They had no stake in the flock and valued their own safety over caring for the flock. The owner on the other hand was willing to fight and even die for the flock. Everything was at stake. I pray I would fight for the flock (for God's vision) so that when the day of accounting comes, I will never be accused of handling God's vision, be that for the world, the church, or my life, as a hired hand.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


I guess it was inevitable, but Disney has just announced that they will indeed produce all of the Narnia books.

The announcement to continue on the series thus comes as no surprise. The ongoing trend for huge sequels such as Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Lord of the Rings has also added onto the reason to make the decision. (The Christian Post)
I guess it's not surprising after The Lion and the Witch and the Wardrobe did so well. I do have to say I am a bit saddened by it. They had been such childhood favorites growing up and I have such deeply ingrained ideas on what each character and scene looks like. A part of me doesn't want any of that ruined. A part of me also wonders how much of C.S. Lewis's theology will be lost as well since some of it can not be translated to the big screen.

Monday, August 06, 2007


Well, after about a month or two of serious consideration...I canceled my cell phone plan!!! I didn't realize how liberating of a move it would be. Since I'm no longer calling students every 30 seconds and my travel has significantly decreased...and furthermore I'm almost always with Matt who has a cell phone, it seemed kind of silly to keep spending money each month on something that is rarely used.

We'll see if I regret that decision in a few months...but for now I can enjoy the freedom from worry about where my cell phone is!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

How do you take a group photo… of 600+ people… at noon?

As you probably, know from previous postings, that I was in Canada for the IFES World Assembly. I was the event photographer for the once every four year conference where delegates from over 150 countries come to share ideas, stories, and fellowship with other missionaries around the world.

One of my roles (I will hopefully be getting to more of them in the future but for now…) was to take the large group photo shown above. The only thing was that it was during the worst time of day (noon) for lighting and… oh yah, I have never done anything to this size before.
I was really excited to try this new and challenging thing, and after it was all done I had the strange feeling of jubilation mixed with relief and a bit of “That’s it? Its done?” thrown in.
If you want all the technical “how I did it” notes and stuff got to my photo blog at for a lot more in depth tech mumbo jumbo.

The overall rundown is that I got to go up 30 feel it a lift, use some very powerful studio strobes to fill in the shadows, have a blast doing it (and a little scared as well), I learned a ton, and now have one of my photos reproduced over 1,000 times!

Special thanks to Dan, Steve, Scott (who took the photos of me as well), the Redeemer University College Tech Team, and all the others who helped "direct traffic."

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

"The Coming Conflict of Civilization"

Os Guinness is perhaps one of my more favorite modern day thinkers. Today I stumbled across this talk he gave in 1994 at the University of Michigan during a Veritas Form.

His talk gives a good perspective on where we are today as a global society, how different civilizations are attempting to survive in it and how we as Christians fit into it. He raises some interesting questions such as has knowledge replaced wisdom today? Have "words" lost their authority in our world? It's worth listening to if you have 3o minutes or so. (click here to listen)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

How often do you ride through corn fields

Now that summer is almost over (stores are already opening up their Fall displays!!) I finally have my bike in working order. After putting off and putting off getting it fixed I eventually broke down and realized that it wouldn’t fix itself. Last summer…or even earlier maybe…Sarah was riding my mountain bike when the drive side (right) pedal fell off! Turns out that it had stripped itself off and the only way to fix it is to buy a new crank arm. I soon found that I couldn’t just replace the arm but I needed to also replace the entire crank because it is such an old model. I took it into a local shop, found a good deal and ended up replacing the bottom bracket (all the ball bearings that help turn the pedals) while they were in there. Replacing the bottom bracket marks the point where everything on this bike but the frame has been swapped out…it sorta begs the question, “at what point does a bike no longer hold on to its original identity, and where does the soul of a bike reside?” hmmmm… but that is another posting, I was talking about riding!! Anyway, I get it fixed, race home in my jubilation, throw on the pedal and head out to discover all the trails I have been dreaming about. About 8-9 miles out I realize that I can’t go any further (mostly it was my backside yelling with pain) so I turn around. No sooner do I do that then my pedal falls out AGAIN!!! Ok, now I am upset!! I am mostly upset because as I look at it I see that there are shavings of crank on my pedal, therefore when I put on the pedal I must have done something wrong in my haste. I now have taken the bike back to the shop and turns out there is a very easy and cheap way to fix this (why didn’t we do that first, huh?) you just drill out the old threads, and tap in a tube that is threaded for the right size… done in an hour. So I again, came home in my jubilation, and head out for another ride. This time though, I took the pedal in with me to the shop, so that they could put it on right! : )

Monday, July 30, 2007

It's back

Well after a year hiatus, Matt's larger photo website is now operational again. There is nothing new posted there currently, but I'm sure he'll start posting images there again soon!
Matt's photo site

Sunday, July 29, 2007

who is God?

The other week at Bible study we watched a sermon produced by "Nooma" entitled "Kickball". If you ever get chance to watch it, it's pretty good and is filmed in a more artsy style. Anyways, the subject of the talk was about our desires verses God's desires for us. In short the conclusion is that God's way is always better. Very simple sermon with a very simple point.

However I was blown away with a simple thought towards the end of the video. The pastor, Rob Bell, closes by saying that there are a lot of hard things that happen in life that we do not understand. That there are questions that do not have easy answers. Yet despite these injustices and questions, "who do you say that God is? Because how you choose to answer that question will determine how you answer all the hard questions and situation in life."

While simple, it's actually a pretty profound idea. Who do I say that God is? And how does my answer to that question determine my outlook on unjust and unanswerable things in this world? I came to the conclusion that I'm not sure I have an easy answer to who God is. Every time I try and answer, I feel like I'm leaving something out. I think the closest thing I've landed on is that God is the Omnipotent, Unfathomable, Righteous, Father. But....that doesn't seem to do justice to who God is.

It's an interesting idea to think about who God is and what implications that would have on your life perspective. If I say God is a King, that leaves room for him to be perhaps unapproachable and so in response to hard situations I could say they have occurred because God is preoccupied somewhere else. If I say God is a Father, that leaves room for him to be completely relational and more on a buddy buddy basis and so in response to hard situations I could say that they occurred because God doesn't have enough power or authority.

All I can say is that God sure is indescribable, and maybe that's where I should leave it.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Prayer Updates

  • Matt made it back safely last week and has spent the last few days recovering. The trip went well and he was able to spend time interacting with a lot of amazing people of faith. Thank you to all who were praying for him while he was gone. Pray that he would transition back to life at work well over the next few days.
  • Christine, the intern from Canada who is living with us, has been a tremendous blessing. It was great to have her here while Matt was away. Keep praying that we would learn from each other and enjoy the summer God has given us.
  • Sarah will be attending a Leadership Summit in two weeks sponsored by Willow Creek. She's not really sure what to expect, but pray that she would be challenged and open to new ideas.
  • Pray that both of us would continue learning how to rely on God above all else.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Summer reading reviews

I have to admit that I have not read as much as I thought I might this summer, but the following books are worth recommending:

Judaism Before Jesus, by Anthony J. Tomasino: This has been one of the more challenging and informative reads that I've read in a while. The book in short is a condensed history of the events leading up to Christ as well as how theologically Judaism developed over time. It's so easy to forget the other events that coincided with biblical events and accounts.

Africa Bible Commentary, edited by Tokunboh Adeyemo: This may be one of the first if not few non-western commentaries on the bible ever published! While I haven't really read a whole lot out of this commentary, the few pages I have are incredibly rich with insight and challenging. I don't think I would ever just sit down and read a commentary, but I've been finding myself doing just that with this one.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J.K. Rowling: All I can say is that a huge chapter in my life is over! (Sigh). While I don't think the book was better than any of the other Harry Potter books, it's nice to finally have some resolution in my life! Thank you JK for finally putting an end to this series so my life can now move on!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The New Atheism

There was a great editorial article in the Wall Street Journal by Peter Berkowitz the other day who shares his opinion about the rise of commercial atheism. If you have a few minutes it's worth reading. (click here to read article).

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"I believe I need Jesus, but..."

"I believe I need Jesus, but I don't believe he's the only thing I need" -Doug Grimes

This was a quote from a sermon I heard almost a year ago that still haunts me every once in a while. Do I believe that Jesus is the only thing I need? How would my life look different if I truly believed that?

I think what makes that quote so haunting is the reality that God is the only thing that we really need. And he desires us to live like that. Not just because he says so, although that is reason enough, but because he knows how much sweeter our lives will be as we come to realize the full truth of him satisfying every need.

There are so many things other than God which claim to meet our burdens and needs: money, community, diet pills, the internet, a spouse. But I guess in the end, they will always fall short.

I was reminded this morning about a passage from Matthew which in The Message is translated
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." (Matthew 11:28)
There is something freeing in coming to Jesus, and only Jesus. I pray that I would learn what it means to desire Him only and come to Him first before all else.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

July 2007 Prayer letter

Most of you should be receiving our July update letter in the mail any day now! Yippee for snail mail!

For those of you who for some reason have escaped being on our prayer letter list, you can see our prayer letter by clicking on the two images above! If we have somehow missed you and you would like to receive our updates via mail or email let us know!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

World Assembly 07, post 1

Greetings from Ancaster, Canada!

I am currently sitting in an auditorium at World Assembly 2007, an IFES international conference where missionaries from 150 nations have come to gather. While my role here is to be the conference photographer, I am being awed by things other than my job. I never realized the people I would be interacting with here!

Just walking around I’ve had simple conversations with individuals working around the world. We chat about ministry, compare stories and laugh at our similar failures. Later I find that I was chatting with the founder of campus ministry in Africa, or chatting with the General Secretary from Cuba, or talking to an author form somewhere in francophone Africa. Becky Pippert (author of "Out of the Salt Shaker" and founder of Salt Shaker ministries) spoke last night, Stella Kasirye spoke the day before about AIDS in Africa, and Peter Kuzmic has spoken today. It is amazing to hear all the things that God is doing through these people alone, and there are more stories to come!!!

For example, Peter was talking about his ministry in Sarajevo, Bosnia. (yes, that is the place that Sarah and I have gone on Global Projects) He spoke of the church that he was preaching at during the war. Near the end of the service, they heard the air sirens go off and minutes later the shelling began. Outside, the Croatian Army was systematically bombing the city. Sarajevo is still a very diverse city, and even during this time, there were Croatians in the city. Peter know that if he sent his church out to run for cover, they would surly be picked off by a sniper, instead he called them to pray. Over the sound of bombs and explosions, he heard the church surrounding the Croatian families in prayer, welcoming them and comforting them, in effect saying, “we are not judging you like the rest of the city is.” Peter then walked through today’s talk about community in the Christian context and how different we can and should be from the world.

One of my favorite conversations was with a woman from the Caribbean. We talked about what ministry is like there, and how very important it is to minister to the youth. Not just for the obvious reasons of protecting them from the world and talking to them about Jesus, but because these are the future leaders of the country, these are the future doctors, lawyers and politicians, what a great place to have a Christian influence! They are striving to reach every student in High School, before the temptations of the world attract their innocent minds.
In all I think I am experiencing something that my mind cannot wrap itself around. There are 600-700 people here from all around the world, starting and continuing student ministries all over the world, one even said that IFES is the most diverse, and influential non-profit in the world. I think I am hearing all that is going on around me, but not really grasping the full impact that God is making through His people.

Please pray for this conference, pray for the delegates, pray for the countries, pray for perseverance through troubled (and dangerous) times; pray for simple things like fatigue, conversation issues (many, many languages are spoken here) and safety (many people are risking their lives by associating with us here.)