Monday, February 18, 2008

Greek Conference

Here's a second hand glimpse at the latest conference Matt and 2100 got to help staff and tech. Overall it was a very good conference where over 500 people attended earlier this month. click here to read update

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Back to School

Great thought provoking documentary about differences school children face around the world. Worth watching. click here

Friday, February 15, 2008


So what is one supposed to do with their life when it has snowed about 80inches within the past 3 months? We're still trying to figure that one out.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Madison Obama Rally

Matt's perspective: Since I have never been to a political rally and we are hosting an intern from another country, I thought attending the Barack Obama rally in Madison last night would be a cultural experience. We waited in line outside in the bitter cold for about 30 min, raced to barely get seats, waited another hour and a half for a 30 min speech. This is an interesting country we live in. Aside from any political feelings for and or against him, Barack is an amazing speaker; articulate and a small town pastor speaking to his congregation. It was a lot of fun and I am really glad I went but a little disappointed my request for a press pass was submitted to late. Click here to see more photos

Sarah's perspective: So I have to admit, I've been very intrigued and excited about the overall presidential election campaign. I don't remember ever being so excited about a campaign since I was required to pay attention to the Clinton/Bush/Perot debates back in Junior High! Regardless of my political leanings (which I wont divulge here), it was fun to go to the rally. Other than watch a few debates on TV, I've never attended anything remotely resembling this in my life and it was fun to watch a master orator at work.

It's been interesting to see how much the idea of hope/change has become a part of all three of the major campaigns. And while Obama has defiantly capitalized on that the most, all three have in many ways tried to instill a sense of hope in the future. Even at the rally, you could sense how much people desired hope and were looking to grasp a hold of a better future. The fact that more than 19,000 people of a very mix age group showed up, waited in line for more than 1 hour in 5 degree weather just to get in, and then another hour just to hear a guy speak for 20 minutes has got to say something about how much people are looking for hope.

In regards to hope, I do admire what Obama said in regards to hope during his speech. It's something I haven't heard many people (political or non) admit about the reality of hope. Obama stated:
"Hope is not blind optimism. I know how hard it will be to make these changes. I know this because I fought on the streets of Chicago as a community organizer to bring jobs to the jobless in the shadow of a shuttered steel plant. I’ve fought in the courts as a civil rights lawyer to make sure people weren’t denied their rights because of what they looked like or where they came from. I’ve fought in the legislature to take power away from lobbyists. I’ve won some of those fights, but I’ve lost some of them too. I’ve seen good legislation die because good intentions weren’t backed by a mandate for change.

The politics of hope does not mean hoping things come easy. Because nothing worthwhile in this country has ever happened unless somebody, somewhere stood up when it was hard; stood up when they were told – no you can’t, and said yes we can."

In today's world, continuing to have hope is something that is not easy. Yet I believe we can still have hope, as long as we are willing to take a stand in the ways God calls us to. I still have hope, not because of any politician but because of God and because of the remarkable things students and the alumni I work with have done because of God's call on their life. While the rally was remarkable, I left saddened that very rarely do you see such similar passion from an entire city searching for hope where true hope lies: the church.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Dangerous Act of Worship

The second book that I've really enjoyed as I mentioned in the last post has been the "Dangerous Act of Worship". It's really challenged my idea of what worship should be. Perhaps the most challenging part has been in regards to expectations. The author Mark Labberton brings up the point that so often we are looking to see if Sunday morning church has met our personal expectations that we forget to ask if our personal worship that morning met God's expectations. Whew. That's a tough questions to ask and if I'm honest with myself, I would have to say that more often than not, my worship has not met God's expectations. Most of the time I never even take the time to ask if my worship on Sunday morning or during the week honors God and His expectations for worship. It's a dangerous question to ask...but a worthwhile one.

And the above is all from one small paragraph in the book! The whole book is just as challenging. If you're looking for a good book, check it out.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Book Plug

Over the past month I have read two books that I would recommend in a heart beat: "The Dangerous Act of Worship" by Mark Labberton and "The Living Church" by John Stott.

John Stott's book in particular has been very helpful to me in thinking about by own thoughts towards today's church. In many ways, I sometimes feel I could honestly walk away from the church as an institution (not God mind you) and join more of the underground church movement going on in America. But Stott's book brings me a lot of hope that the American church can change and provides a vision for what the church should be. But more importantly one of the articles in the appendix's clarified for me for the first time the dangers of both leaving the church or choosing to stay in the church. Paradoxical huh? You'll just have to read it to understand. It's made me realize that while staying may not be my favorite option, it may be the more worthwhile one as long as I can guard myself from mentally checking out.

Overall, "The Living Church" is a challenging word and much wisdom from a man who has survived his whole life serving the "church".

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Cheese Cake adventures

There are some things that I am destined not to succeed at. Tonight I add with great fan fare cheesecake to that list.

I have been eying a recipe for a double layered chocolate mocha cheese cake for a while. I mean with a title like that, who wouldn't. Two hours later after burning out two mixers and blowing an electrical fuse twice, I decided cheesecake is just not my thing. It's in the oven baking right now but I'm fully expecting it to explode or have the oven fall though our floor into the basement below.

The only good thing coming out of this experience (besides an ugly looking, but hopefully good tasting cheesecake) is that Matt now has some great Valentines Day gift options.