Friday, October 28, 2011

Urbana History in Quotes

Urbana 12 Promo from InterVarsity twentyonehundred on Vimeo.

Ahhh...I can't believe Urbana season is here already. The first promotional video was just released and it was fun to listen to the various challenges that have been given over Urbana's history to submit to the Lordship of Jesus.

I still remember vividly hearing Lisa give the challenge that there really are "only three words fit for Jesus". With those words being "Yes, Your Majesty".

Good stuff.

Monday, October 24, 2011

"I Was Once a Witch"

Ok, I didn't write this article...but I thought it was great and a powerful testimony about how God can save the most unlikely people. Plus it's about an InterVarsity alum...and I'm all over that :)

"After finally saying “yes” to her persistent roommates’ invitation to an InterVarsity large group, Sarah Sumpolec heard a striking message about altars and sacrifices. She knew about altars and sacrifices. As a practicing witch, she had once set up an altar in her room. But the speaker talked about a different kind of sacrifice. Explaining Old Testament passages about the sacrifices of Elijah and Isaac, the speaker discussed what it means for Christians today to be living sacrifices to God"....Read "I Was Once a Witch"

Thursday, October 20, 2011


There was a thought provoking question asked over on the Urbana website this past month in the "Ask Jack" Blog section. The question touches on the types of financial asks that missionaries sometimes make through prayer letters. The author vents her frustration about missionaries who appear to be asking for items that are beyond their needs (i.e. an IPad, a vacation, new car) and/or who appear to have lifestyles more lavish than her own. It's a facinating question that's worth the time to read fully:

Matt and I actually spent quite a bit of time talking about this post and it's been challenging to us--both as missionaries who ask for support as well as individuals who support others. These are some of our thoughts:

From a Missionary Perspective:
Whew, what a challenge. In so many ways, the author's frustration get's to the heart of our own personal financial stewardship. I know that all of us one day will face God and be accountable to how we've chosen to spend his money, but Matt and I also realize that we are accountable to every person who chooses to support us. As we were talking about this, Matt wisely asked, "could we show our personal budget to any supporter who asked?"

Ironically, we had sort of been talking about this earlier that week after a Financial Peace University class. During the class, Dave Ramsey mentioned that a budget reveals our values. So Matt and I had already been looking at our budget asking whether our budget lines up with the values that we believe in.

Luckily, both of us realized that we don't have any shame associated with our budget and would be fine showing it to anyone who asked. While most of our financial decisions are not made based on asking, "what would our donors think?", they are made on "How is God asking us to steward his resources". So if you support us, and have ever wondered how we steward our money...ask away.

The other thing that stood out to us was that a person's lifestyle can easily be determined from the impressions left from a prayer letter, facebook post, or blog entry. In some ways, we're glad for that because it keeps us more accountable. :)

From a Supporter's Perspective:
On the flip side, we both love being able to give generously as God calls. So we resonated with the author's frustration about supporting people who seem a bit more reckless with their finances. And so we really appreciated Jack's advice in how to determine whether to keep supporting someone or not. Jack says:
Which of these friends are doing the kind of work that really speaks to my heart?
Which of them are faithful in their reporting and seem to be being used by the Lord?
Which of them indicate an attitude and lifestyle with which I am comfortable?
Jack advises that if a person or organization that you support does not fit these criteria than it could be worth ending your support. As a couple who raises support and as a couple who supports others, we think this is pretty good advice.

So overall, this Ask Jack Question provided some good discussion over breakfast last weekend and has continued to fuel some personal internal dialogue this week.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blue Like Jazz

Last week I had the opportunity to watch a sneak preview of Blue Like Jazz the movie with some fellow co-workers (If you were running around Christian circles about 8 or so years ago, the book was all the rage).

It was odd seeing a movie in it's rough cut and strange to be able to offer the director feedback on the movie.

Overall, I liked it. It's not your typical Christian movie and that was super refreshing. It was raw (it will probably be rated PG13 and reminded me more of The Social Network in terms of how college is portrayed), it was honest (it showcases Christian hypocrisy and the world that many 20 year olds face when they head to college), and it had a sense of being unresolved while still being resolved (the struggle with God is resolved but how that plays out in the main character's life is not).

Maybe it's because I'm a little bit more on the post-modern side, but I was drawn into the oddities of the movie, the internal spiritual conflicts, and found the last scene of the movie quite powerful. The last scene focuses on humility and the power of an apology.

And it left me wanting to see it again.

It also left me wanting to read the book again. I think I last read it 6 or 7 years ago and actually didn't remember much of the book. What I did remember was that the book was more like a compilation of a bunch of thoughts/short stories. So I was impressed they were able to weave that together into a narrative.

Oh and they did manage to pay homage to the Sexy Carrot...if any of you read the book, you'll know what I'm referring too.

Monday, October 10, 2011

If you love me...

you will lose this match"

This is one of my favorite quotes from "A Knights Tale". The background to this quote is that the lovely princess tells the handsome rogue to prove his love by losing a jousting match rather than winning it -- since willfully losing is much harder for a man who always wins.

While not quite the same as jousting, for my birthday I asked Matt to cook me dinner. And as I watched him fumble around the kitchen looking for corn starch in the fridge and rice vinegar in the cupboards...I felt loved. Maybe not as much as if he was a knight taking a beating, but in the dangerous world of knives, forks, and spoons...he managed to make a wonderful Mongolian Beef.

All in all, not bad for a birthday dinner.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Blogs I'm Currently Watching

I ran across these blogs this summer and have found them interesting: - This blog reflects on recent research that deals with religion/spirituality. It's not from a religious standpoint at all which makes it more interesting. I particularly was intrigued by a posting this past month called Is the God Delusion More Disgusting than the Koran? - I ran into this blog doing research on young adult trends and have appreciated the posts and commentary on current adulthood trends. - InterVarsity started a blog over the summer and there's been some great stuff coming out there.