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)