Thursday, July 28, 2016

Belief in the Bywater: A Story Of How God Is At Work In New Orleans, LA

Abuse. Neglect. Drugs. Sex. Jail. Teen pregnancy. Gangs. Violence. Death. All of these things are much too familiar for the kids of the Bywater community. Grace Baptist Church knows this and that is why they lead a Bible club for two full months every summer. At Bible club kids can come eat two good meals, do fun art projects, play outside with the other kids, do cool literacy skill building activities, worship the Lord with upbeat songs, and hear great Bible stories in a safe environment filled with people who care deeply for them. Grace’s Bible club is transforming the lives of those in the community one child at a time. That is why Kaleo has partnered with the church for years and sent many missions teams their way to help lead the Bible club.

I got the opportunity to lead a team of students there in early July and I was shocked at what I found. I met a sweet eight year old who had to find meals for himself and his siblings or risk not getting to eat. That same kid showed up to Bible club with a bash on his eye and he would not tell us how he got it. I met a kid whose mom had committed murder. That same 10 year old had a condom. I met a 13 year old girl who assumed that she wouldn’t get married but instead wind up in jail. I met a young boy who had seen his mother hit and killed by a truck, his cousin gunned down in front of him, and his father leave him. When we asked the kids what Jesus had done for them, he answered “Jesus has helped me not to get shot in the back of the head”. Several years ago that was exactly what happened to a kid in front of the church. Two kids fought at Bible club and the next day one of the kids’ uncle came & shot the other child in the back of the head. These kids have seen and gone through more in their dozen or so years of life than most of us ever have or will in our entire lives.

It is heartbreaking when you sit with this but the thing about the darkness is that the light shines brightest in it. The Lord is indeed the only true light and He is present in the Bywater community & He most definitely acts through the people of Grace Baptist Church. It is in this church that these kids can experience the love of God which flows through all of His followers. The thing about these kids is that for most of them no one is forcing them to come. A lot of them come of their accord. They could do anything with their summer but they come to Bible club week after week, summer after summer because they seek love and they find it at Bible club. And they don’t just find some love, they find a lot of it in us and they find the ultimate author of love at the same time. These kids learn about the God who created them and loves them, and it is so beautiful to see. One day I was sitting with an eight year old girl who had been causing some trouble before Bible Time. I was worried she would make a scene and ruin Bible Time for the other kids. That was the only reason I had the conversation I did with her. As soon as we all sat down for the skit of the day, I asked her if she was ready for the Bible story. She said “this is my favorite part”. I was taken aback a bit (based on her performance earlier in the day). I said “really?” and she said “yes!” I asked her what her favorite Bible story was and she began to tell me the story of David and Goliath. Immediately I thought “oh no, this girl likes this story because of the fighting in it”. But then she surprised me again. She said “the little guy won, and he won because he loved Jesus & Jesus was with him”. I was so impressed. That little girl sat through that entire Bible skit on the edge of her seat. She jumped at the chance to answer a question about the skit and when she did, she explained it all probably even better than I could have. This little girl was truly learning and understanding the Bible and its central message. I am excited for this knowledge reach her heart even more deeply and change her life & the lives of those around her. This message reached the heart of one young man the first day I went to Bible club. He accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior the very day us Kaleo interns visited.

I can’t wait to hear about how Grace’s Bible club continues to impact kids for eternity. I fully anticipate dancing with those kids again in heaven and I am so excited about that. I am changed because of the kids I met and I know our missions team were forever impacted by them too. I am so glad Kaleo Missions partners with existing churches and organizations (such as Grace Baptist Church) that make a difference in their communities year round. Praise the Lord for how He works and how He invites us to be a part of it all!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Declaring The Deliverer in the Darkness

A photo taken in the Bywater area while leading missions teams
in New Orleans with Kaleo Missions in 2016
I have lost count now of how many times I have been asked why I do ministry where I do. "Why do you do ministry in the Phillips neighborhood?" "Why do you evangelize in Dinkytown?" "Why do you go to church in the Powderhorn neighborhood?" "Why would you spend a summer leading missions teams out of the French Quarter?"

These questions generally aren't asked out of basic curiosity or interest. They are generally asked in confusion because doing ministry in those kinds of places does not line up with the American dream. This is because doing ministry like that is not always the safest and you are not in complete control when you're there and you are not separated from those society often deems as less. So doing ministry in the Philips neighborhood, the Powderhorn neighborhood, college towns, or the French Quarter is not what most would call the American dream but who really cares about that? When it comes down to it, I care much more about following Jesus than I do about following the American dream and I really think you should too.

I think we have watered down Christianity to the point where we think of Jesus as this "safe", quiet man who sat with "good" Godly folks and we try to imitate that Jesus. However, when I read the New Testament I encounter a Jesus who sat with tax collectors and prostitutes and everyone else that society set aside. (If you want some examples, just google it. You will find there are plenty to go around.) But we don't encourage folks to imitate that kind of Jesus much these days. We call them foolish and reckless instead. But isn't sitting with the modern day tax collectors and prostitutes and everyone else exactly what we are also called to do? Before departing the world Jesus said "go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20, ESV). Jesus calls us to do exactly as He did. While Jesus did ministry in many expected places, He didn't stop there. He ministered to people everywhere and so should we. We are called to speak the Gospel to our co-workers and in our neighborhoods and in our schools and also in the slums and the streets downtown.

A photo taken of Puerto Maldonado, Peru while on a mission trip
here in 2016
Many Christians (although still not nearly enough) seem to be okay with being around and even sharing the hope of Christ with their neighbors and co-workers and classmates but few seem to even consider sharing the Gospel with those "very different" than them. Perhaps that is where the tragedy lies - in the belief that the homeless, the prostitutes, the alcoholics, and the addicts are so very different than the rest of us. From my experience, we all have many similarities and people aren't always that different than we think. In fact, I think some of the best conversations I have had were when I was out doing ministry of some kind with people who are homeless or otherwise very different than myself. One of my good friends is a man who is in his mid 50s and essentially homeless. His name is Tom. We are so different yet we can carry on for hours about reading, movies, and even Audrey Hepburn. Most people I encounter, no matter how different our lives may seem, are really not all that different from me. We all have hopes, desires, families, friends, fears, strengths, weaknesses, and a deep need for a loving Savior. So just because people seem so different from us should not stop us from sharing the hope and love of Jesus with them.

And yes, doing ministry in the Philips neighborhood, in Dinkytown, and in the French Quarter is not the easiest. And yes, sometimes it can feel very dark in those places. But those places are where Christ's light can shine even brighter and even when the darkness seems to overcome us we can know that Christ goes before us and that He is with us always until the end of the age. As I sit in the French Quarter, I look around every Saturday night and I see brokenness. I see broken people trying to fill the cracks in their lives with drugs and alcohol. The problem is this: that stuff never fills you up. Not even close. Brokenness and darkness seems to flood these streets just like the hurricane once did, but that doesn't mean there is no light. In fact, the light of Christ seems to shine even brighter here. This place, Vieux Carre Baptist Church, is one of those bright beacons of hope. It is because of people like the ones here that I still have hope. People come here when they are in the middle of their deepest despair and they see hope. They see how Christ can completely change their lives. And it is in this darkness they can clearly see the light.

Now, don't get me wrong. When you start trying to mess with the enemy's plans, he will try to stop you and discourage you. But never forget who you are in Christ. You are a soldier commissioned to fight a battle truly worth fighting in. You have been commissioned by the King to go out and save souls. How could you possibly reject that calling?

A phoro of the Dallas skyline taken on a mission trip here in 2014
It takes a lot of faith to step into the unknown but you are stepping into the unknown every day of your life so in my opinion you might as well step out for the most worthy cause there is. Like I said before, I have been asked a lot why I do what I do and like I have been trying to tell you these past few minutes, I do what I do because I believe the God who loves me has commissioned me to do it. But the beautiful thing is God hasn't just left me in the dust there. He has carried me through all the nights of ministry as well as all the unexpected moments of ministry. And He has revealed more of Himself to me because of it. He has shown me who He is and what He is doing in the lives of others. Here in New Orleans I have met people who have turned over their lives to God and overcome insane addictions. A few weeks ago back in Minnesota, I met a man named Daniel who found Christ when he was homeless. He still is to this day, but rather than being caught up in despair like many homeless folks you meet, he takes comfort in the fact that even the Son of Man had no place to lay his head. God has given us such amazing opportunities to see Him work and He has also given us the ability to be used by Him. We don't always get to see the result of what we do but I believe that what we do makes a difference. Just the other day a man here in New Orleans named Gary surrendered his life to Christ. He said the day before some kids came under the bridge and blessed him. That truly seemed to impact him and I believe that whenever we minister to people, God uses it in some way. I think that what we do plants seeds of hope and God waters those seeds. Who knows what ways God has used us to impact people! A few months back we sat with a man named Joshua for an hour and tried to talk him out of killing himself that night. What if God used us to keep that man from going through with it. I don't want it to appear that we save people ourselves. That is ridiculous. But when it comes down to it, for some reason God likes to work through people. So we try to let Him work through us. As for me, I never regret the days I decide to give God control of my life and let Him work.

So we must declare the Deliverer in the darkness, bring the Bread of Life bravely down Bourbon Street, and continue carrying the cross of Christ into the chaos because when we do that we do as Jesus did and share hope with people different yet so similar to us. And when we do this, we can know that Jesus goes before us. And as always, we are to go as a family because we are stronger when we are united.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

33 Things That the Movies & TV Shows Taught Us

1. You should never wear a cape (The Incredibles)
2. We need to be wary of strawberry scented stuffed animals (Toy Story 3)
3. If you want to live in the same home but desire a change in scenery, just tie a bunch of balloons to your home (Up)
4. Fish are friends, not food (Finding Nemo)
5. If you are going to become royalty, keep a special eye on jealous lions (The Lion King)
6. Grasshoppers rule the insect world (A Bug’s Life)
7. Always make sure your potions are properly labeled (The Emperor’s New Groove)
8. Fish control the weather and enjoy peanut butter sandwiches (Lilo & Stitch)
9. Don't go into the watch selling business – the job security is really lacking (The Internship)
10. Instead, everyone should work at Google because it is REALLY cool there (The Internship)
11. If there is a tuba there, it is not a party (Paper Towns)
12. You don't get as scared about things if you sing – remember this the next time you are home alone and have to go to the basement (Paper Towns)
13. If you ever go back in time, make sure you don’t run into your mom because she may fall in love with you (Back to the Future)
14. Chocolate milk has special powers – but we all knew that already, right? (Back to the Future)
15. You could make amazing friends in detention (The Breakfast Club)
16. Always wait for the reviews before attending a new amusement park in case the attractions try to kill you (Jurassic Park)
17. Never swim in the ocean – there are apparently sharks near the shore too (Jaws)
18. Never go to the bathroom – there are monsters there too (Hoot)
19. Egging someone’s home is more than acceptable if they broke up with you because you were going to be blind (Fault in our Stars)
20. If your elephant does not understand English, try speaking to it in Polish (Water for Elephants)
21. If you are going to reunite with the love of your life, bring a garden’s worth of flowers to your neighbor’s living room (The Great Gatsby)
22. Don’t go swimming while waiting for a phone call or you will end up dead (The Great Gatsby)
23. Never stay in a motel by yourself but if for some reason you do need to, don’t shower (Psycho)
24. Be wary of trusting restaurant owners, especially if they own a chicken restaurant (Breaking Bad)
25. Avoid putting Stevia in your tea (Breaking Bad)
26. Ridiculous lies can result in future business ventures (Psych)
27. Tea is like a hug in a cup (The Mentalist)
28. Suits are cool so suit up (How I Met Your Mother)
29. Bubble baths are incredible and if you are a man who is embarrassed about the fact you enjoy bubble baths get yourself a boat to make it a boy bath (Friends)
30. Your family isn’t as dysfunctional as you thought (Arrested Development)
31. If your friend is acting weird, it is probably because they are an alien (3rd Rock from the Sun)
32. We all should live in hotels (The Suite Life of Zach and Cody)
33. Then we should all attend high school on a cruise ship (The Suite Life on Deck)

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Beautiful Truths God Had to Bring Me to the Amazon Jungle to Remind Me Of

This is the letter I wrote to my supporters upon my return from Peru. It was an experience of a lifetime (as you will soon read). Therefore, I wanted to share my experience with all of you out there. Enjoy!

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

As you have probably heard (or at the very least are now becoming aware), I am back from Puerto Maldonado, Peru. It was the trip of a lifetime to say the very least. It challenged me in ways I didn’t anticipate and I loved it. And I think God knew I needed that. As I was walking back from the informational meeting about Peru back in September, I was met with a poster that had just appeared that day. It said this: a ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for. God really took me out the harbor on this one. Wow! Even on the trip I was contemplating what I was going to say to you all when I returned and even as I type I am not entirely sure everything God is trying to teach me and show me through the trip. There are a few things I am absolutely sure about though. One is that I will never forget Peru, the people I went with, the people I met there, or the lessons God taught me. Another is that none of it would have been possible if God hadn’t provided and I firmly believe you all were a grand part of that. That is obviously evident by your financial support (which provided everything I needed for this trip and more!) and your prayers which are evidenced by the results of our trip. We safely traveled 4,000 miles, drove from the Twin Cities to Chicago, took 9 flights, slept in an airport twice, and spent 8 days in the jungle without getting eaten or bitten by anything deadly. So thank you for your support through financial giving and all your prayer.

There are so many things I wish to tell you about the trip but first – the basics. We left on Thursday March 3rd at 3 a.m. We drove to Chicago then flew to El Salvador. From El Salvador we flew to Lima, Peru. After a nice stay on the airport floor, we flew to Cusco and then to our final destination, Puerto Maldonado. The group was small – it was just 4 of us. We spent 8 days serving with El Arca children’s home on a farm in the Amazon jungle. We spent time with the family (especially the kids – man, will I never forget them) and served them by helping wherever needed (making meals, cleaning, painting, fixing the road, etc.) After our time was up, we started our long journey back home. We had a fun night in Lima during our 12 hour layover which was just what we needed after being in the middle of the jungle with no contact with the outside world for over a week. We arrived back home Sunday, March 13th in the evening.

Our trip was filled with so many new adventures and new things for me. I left the continent for the first time. I went to the jungle for the first time. I flew by myself for the first time (from Chicago to Minneapolis). I slept in an airport for the first time (and the second time we were awoken by a woman who was poking us to get us up so she could wash the floor we were sleeping on!). I rode in a taxi for the first time (with a crazy driver in a traffic jam – seatbelt is highly recommended for that ride). I ate octopus and ceviche for the first time. I spilled human waste on myself for the first (and I hope the last) time. I made eggplant lasagna for the first time (that one was an adventure – it turns out it is even more difficult to make lasagna in the jungle). I saw a rat run across the dining room for the first time. I saw spiders bigger than the palm of my hand for the first time. And I went a week without any contact with my parents for the first time. My trip was filled with a lot of firsts and I hope to continuing make such firsts for the rest of my life (except maybe ones like the whole spilling waste on myself thing).

Not only was it filled with a lot of exciting adventures and firsts but it was also filled with a lot of life lessons. One of the things I think God really wanted to remind me of on this trip is how constant He is. There are times in your life when you realize that in more dramatic ways. That first night in the jungle was one of those times for me. I was sitting there and I finally got it. Nothing is constant or guaranteed. Not the presence of friends or family, not your location, not your abilities, not your health, not your safety. Nothing is constant but the Creator of those things. Thankfully, that constant is all we truly need. Even if everything else were to fall away, we would still have all we needed because He is true, He is good, and He is loving. I realized that as I saw this family suffer. They left everything they knew in pursuit of starting this children’s home only to lose many of the kids years into their ministry as a result of the government trying to shut down orphanages. I can only imagine what it must be like for them right now as they choose which children they can keep and try to adopt and which they have to say goodbye to. I wrestled with this striking blow to the ministry of this family. How could God let this happen? I don’t know. My only prayer is that as a result more souls would be won for the kingdom as these children who are not able to stay are sent back to their families. Still, even as I wrestled with this. I noticed that the family wasn’t. Or at least that is what it seemed like. They went on praising God for His goodness and faithfulness. And suddenly I was struck on the head and reminded. God never promises prosperity. He promises His presence. Just like He never asks for fruitfulness, just faithfulness. And that is exactly what this family is doing. Trusting God and being faithful. I don’t know why some things happen but I do know this: God is good and He never lets anything be wasted. And so I want to be faithful. It is a lot easier to be faithful in the easier times of life but it will get harder. When I start my church someday, I hope the Lenz family and their perseverance will pop up in my head and I will be encouraged to continue to be faithful in the difficult season of church planting. As a result of this trip, I also want to get even closer to the Father. When I realized that He is the only true constant I realized that I need to have an even stronger relationship with Him than I already do. If He is my one and only then I need to spend even more time with Him and I want to because He is so so good.

It is still a little hard to believe. This time last week I was sleeping in the Lima, Peru airport after spending a week in the jungle. Now I am sitting in my dorm alone writing to all of you. This time two weeks ago I was almost to Puerto Maldonado with 3 people I barely knew and I came back with 2 sisters and a big brother (I guess traveling 4,000 miles to the jungle bonds people). So many things are uncertain. I don’t know if I will ever see any of those people I met in Peru again this side of heaven. I don’t know all the reasons God sent me to Peru yet. I don’t know where He will send me next (what is more outside my comfort zone than the Amazon jungle with 3 people I barely know?). But I do know this: God is true. God is good. God is loving. God is constant. And He provides. He provides in beautiful ways. He provides with finances, health, safety, and with marvelous family like you. Praise God.

Love, peace, and grace to you all,

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Making a Home a Hole: Why it is Critical We Leave the College Bubble to Serve Others

Note: This post is directed at Christian college students (particularly but not exclusively the UNW community, which is not because I think UNW has this problem more than other colleges do; I am just writing from my point of view which is the Northwestern campus)

The "UNW Bubble" is a very real thing. Not only is it real, but it is dangerous. When students choose to spend their college years mainly within the UNW borders, they lose out on so much. When students choose to make their campus their world they miss out on the chance to experience the world and make an impact in it. I never recognized the dangers of the "UNW Bubble" until I moved onto campus this year. In this post, I hope to help you see that the college bubble is truly a problem, college is the perfect time to serve, and serving is a beautiful thing. I hope this post encourages you to break the bubble by serving and will inspire you to encourage others to do the same. Without further ado, I want to share a story with you of how I have seen the college bubble hold people back from experiencing life that is truly life.

The first time I truly noticed it all was Halloween night this year. The other leaders of Seeds of Hope decided to cancel it for the evening because of the number of people who weren't going to be coming. I felt it on my heart to try to get a group together to go out anyhow so my lovely roommate Breeanna and I decided to invite people to it. We knocked on every single door in the building, so between the two of us we knocked on over 200 doors of rooms with 3 people each. There were 600 possibilities plus more we contacted. Guess how many showed up. Three. (Now, we were absolutely grateful for the three we had. It was the most unbelievable night of ministry I have ever had and if not another one comes around that tops it I won't be too surprised.) That means our success rate in getting Christian college students to spend their Saturday night spreading the love of Christ to our brothers and sisters that evening with us was 0.5%. Now, I am not good with percentages but I know that it is not a good percentage. Yes, it was Halloween. Whatever, I get it (actually I don't) but the excuse that it was Halloween and people may have had plans doesn't fly with me. It doesn't because when I looked in most of their eyes I didn't see any sign of regret at not being able to come or any slight interest even. Breeanna and I could tell that many people were waiting for the moment they could close the doors in our faces and continue doing what they were doing. Sure, many people asked questions, congratulated us, and some even said they would pray for us and those people lifted our spirits. But they don't make up for the sheer volume of Christians in our school who looked at us as though spreading the love of Christ to others that night was the last thing they were going to be doing. It honestly broke my heart. Two months before I was excited to move onto campus because I would finally be somewhere where everyone actually cared and I was finally facing the fact that many of them don't. (Don't get me wrong, since moving to Northwestern I have found an incredible bunch of people who are passionate about loving people the way Christ loves them and they inspire me and bless me. I just wish there were even more of them.) On our trek around the building one girl that we talked to shared my thoughts and feelings to a tee. She said that she sometimes cries at the number of people who do not care. Anger, heartbreak, and confusion take turns owning my heart when I think of all the Christians who choose to spend their entire college careers doing Bible studies and attending chapel and talking about God yet never spend a minute stepping out of their comfort zones to bravely serve Him and His people. Because the truth is this: every moment you spend stepping out of your comfort zone for the sake of the Gospel, every minute you spend serving Him will absolutely be worth it. The past semester has been probably the greatest few months of my life and many of my favorite moments were spent serving. I can honestly say that I love the weekends because I get to serve God wholeheartedly with my friends by caring for His people without worrying about getting my homework done for the next day. As second semester begins I see an opportunity for more students to escape that "bubble" and experience a more beautiful and fulfilling life.

College brings a unique opportunity to serve others and make a real impact in the world. The time to do this is now. Once you have a job and family, the opportunities to do these kinds of things are harder to find time for in the schedule so that is why you should take the time for it now. Another great thing is that the cities neighboring college campuses are amazing places for ministry. Especially with big cities filled with hurting people, the opportunities are endless. And most of the time you don't even have to go into the cities to find those opportunities. Many are sitting and waiting for you on college campuses. UNW has many campus ministries including Living Hope (which works with kids), Way in the Wilderness (which works with people of other cultures), Writing in the Sand (which works with women who are victims of sex-trafficking and abuse), Streetlight (which works with homeless and otherwise impoverished people), and Seeds of Hope (which works with all types of people). I hope wherever you are you find a ministry to get plugged into.

There is no greater thing to be doing than serving. If you need proof, here are 3 reasons...
1. Jesus called us to love our neighbors and serving the people of your own college's city is a great way to do that. When you are focused on studying, going out and serving is a great reminder of your true calling.
2. It is refreshing. Doing what God calls you to can be messy but it can also be beautiful. After a week of preparing presentations, studying for exams and quizzes, reading lots of books, and going over Greek flashcards, I can't wait to serve. Even when going in with a mindset of serving, I always seem to be the one blessed in the end.
3. It is a great way to connect and bond with friends. Not only that but is truly a wonderful way to make friends. After just a few weeks at Streetlight I knew I had a family and my ministry friends have been a core part of my life ever since then. When I look around a car full of people I just spent the evening serving with, I know that these are the moments I will treasure the most from my years here at Northwestern.
4. You see the world in a whole new way. You meet people you otherwise never would have and you grow as a result.

Note for Ministry Majors
For you, this part of the college experience might seem obvious. Serving is an essential part in preparing you for ministry. Not only will you get the real-life ministry skills you will need in the future but serving is also critical in the preparation of the heart for full-time ministry. If you think you don't have time to get involved because of the amount of homework you have, then consider your weekday classes as only half of preparing you for ministry and serving as your other half. It will change how you spend your time and perhaps you will find a little more time in your schedule for it.

Friday, January 1, 2016

80 Reasons the 80's were Great

In actuality, I am a 90's child and I thoroughly enjoy being one - don't get me wrong. But I often feel like I was born in the wrong time because when it comes down to it, I am pretty sure that I am an 80's child at heart. I grew up watching lots of 80's movies and TV shows. I love all the 80's music. And I don't totally hate the fashion either to be honest. There are so many reasons the 80's were cool. Need proof? Okay, here are 80 reasons the 80's were great. Don't need proof? You are getting it anyway.


1. Bright Colored Clothes
Let's be real. Everyone wants to wear bright green pants and
blue tops.

2.  The Preppy Look
No commentary necessary

3. Jean & Leather Jackets

Jean jackets and leather jackets are the greatest.There is simply no other
argument. Basically the main reason I wanted a leather jacket was because of
Mike from Growing Pains. I feel no shame about that. I think the only reason
anyone ever buys a leather jacket is because of Mike from Growing Pains
whether people know it or not.

4. Big Hairstyles
I am pretty sure I could be okay with this look coming

5. Chunky Jewelry
If you are going to wear jewelry might as well make sure people
see it, right? This style is stuff you can see a mile away so
mission accomplished.

6. Thick Framed Glasses
No explanation required


7. Back to the Future Trilogy
Honestly, if you have seen Back to the Future after it came out and haven't
cried because you won't ever get the chance to anticipate the next one then I
am not sure you actually saw it. I am pretty confident the greatest thing to
come out of the 80's was this masterpiece of a trilogy.

8. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Who doesn't want a life like Ferris Bueller's? I still watch this
movie every year before school starts and daydream about
ditching class just once for a day like this. However, with tuition
prices I can't justify it anymore so instead I have Ferris Bueller
moments instead of Ferris Bueller days. I fan-girled a lot when
in Chicago this past summer (it takes place there).

9. Adventures in Babysitting
Chris gets into a ridiculous amount of trouble which is probably
a part of why I love this movie. I am pretty sure this the kind of
trouble my roommate thinks I am destined to get into
But seriously if you did not love this movie
or the very least love George Newbern's character I don't
think you were even actually watching it.

10. Gremlins
I steered clear of this movie for the first 10 years of my existence
because I vividly remember the moment I first encountered the 
VHS tape my family owns of this film. I was like 4 and the cover 
was unfortunately not sweet little Gizmo. It was like the most 
terrifying gremlin ever. But since then I have gotten over that 
trauma and fell in love with this movie. I consider it to be like my 3rd 
favorite Christmas movie and before you judge me, yes I do consider it
 to be a Christmas movie. I wish I could watch this movie in a big
movie theater and get totally freaked out the entire time. *Sigh* 
girl can dream, can't she?

11. The Breakfast Club
I just got this movie from my roommate for Christmas and
I honestly was stoked. This movie isn't the best movie to come
out of the 80's in my humble opinion but there is no doubt it is
and always will be a classic 80's movie.

12. E.T.
Okay, don't freak out but I am not the biggest fan of E.T. I am just not. Maybe that
has to do with the fact that I haven't seen it since elementary school and in those
days if anything was sad I automatically hated it. And there is no doubt
that E.T. is a sad movie. But once again it is an unforgettable film and it
will always make you catch the feels.

13. Ghostbusters
Once again, classic 80's

14. Dirty Dancing
Confession: I have yet to see this movie. I am glad I am not saying this in
front of anyone for fear of being slapped or stared at funny. Still, despite not having
seen it I know this movie is also very well known and loved.

15. Pretty in Pink
The 80's were truly dominated by John Hughes. This movie was no exception.
This movie gave hope to the world because it broke the friend-zone. You are a
hero Duckie. I mean really, "may I admire you again today?" What a line!

16. Footloose
Who doesn't love this movie? The remake they did a few years back is a total
disgrace compared to this gem. Nothing can beat Kevin Bacon.

17. Say Anything
This movie is one of the many 80's movies that completely destroyed my
average relationship goals. Now thanks to this movie and others I have even
more completely unrealistic romantic dreams. But at least Lloyd is always
there for us and standing with a boombox outside our windows.

18. Better Off Dead
Who didn't feel terrible for Lane? This movie is definitely a reminder
that life isn't SO bad.

19. Pee-wee's Big Adventure
There's a lotta things about him you don't know anything about. Things you
wouldn't understand. Things you couldn't understand. Things you shouldn't
understand. But one thing we all understand is that we love Pee Wee.

20. The Money Pit
This movie warned us against fixer-uppers. And we have steered clear since then.
Thanks for the warning Tom. At least this home renovation was filled with laughter
on our end.

21. National Lampoon's Vacation Movies
Who doesn't love watching this family's antics every Christmas?
And who isn't thankful that their dad isn't quite as crazy as Clark was when
they finally got to Wally World? 

22. Short Circuit
Johnny Five became the love of our lives after this movie. How could the world
be great without him?

23. Rain Man
This movie was simply great

24. Batman
There have been like a dozen Batman movies but this one was definitely
my favorite. I mean, honestly Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson were in it!

25. Clue
I have seen this movie probably ten times. I am not joking on this one. I love
the dark humor, cast, constantly changing direction, and various endings. This
was definitely a win for the 80's.

26. Can't Buy Me Love
Once again, this movie gave us unrealistic relationship goals
but it was still way worth it. Plus, look at young Patrick Dempsey.

27. The Land Before Time Movies
Not only did the 80's give us romantic goals it also gave us childhood memories.
Who didn't grow up with these dinos?

28. Kiki's Delivery Service
Jiji (voiced by the one and only Phil Hartman) was the star of this unforgettable


29. The Smurfs
Another childhood treasure

30. Ducktales
Along with this

31. Growing Pains
This show was simply the best

32. Family Ties
Yet another family sit-com that will always be a reminder of how good the
80's were

33. The Facts of Life
This show alone made all girls wish they had gone to a boarding school to have
Miss Garrett as our housemother and these ladies as our roommates

34. Gimme a Break!
This is simply a classic 80's TV show

35. America's Funniest Home Videos
This show, which makes us laugh at things we totally shouldn't, got its start
during this glorious decade so you can thank the 80's that you get to watch
people running into trees and flying off of trampolines.

36. Charles in Charge
Let's be honest we all wanted Charles in charge of us after we saw this show

37. Saved By the Bell
Any day gets 10x better when Saved By the Bell is a part of it. There is no
arguing with it. Any day I have morning class cancelled and most weekend mornings
I grab some breakfast, climb into bed, and put on an episode of this awesome show.

38. Kate & Allie
This show was definitely one of the many reasons the 80's were great - except
the last season. That was ridiculous.

39. Saturday Night Live
This has been on for forever but the very best of it occurred during this decade

40. Cheers
This show rocked because sometimes you really do want to go where everyone
knows your name and is glad you came

41. Press Your Luck
To date, this is still one of the best game shows ever. I still look for it every time
I am watching someone else's cable TV.

42. Knight Rider
Although, I must admit that I enjoyed the 2008 Knight Rider reboot more than
the original it would not even exist without this first version of the series and a
world without KITT would be much less enjoyable

43. ALF
Although this show made us never want ALF to crash into our garage, we also
grew to love him despite his love of eating cats and making messes all the time

44. Mork & Mindy
To continue down the alien theme, we all loved Mork too. We loved him not just
for his sweetness but also for his purely hilarious antics.

45. Three's Company
Jack Tripper made the whole show himself but the rest of the cast added
greatly to the story as well

46. Murder, She Wrote
This was a mysterious crime show that showed one doesn't have
to be young and spry to wrap up a crime and take down the

47. Dallas
Dallas is a timeless drama. It lasted 14 seasons for a reason.

48. Dukes of Hazzard
This show is timeless for its own reasons

I mean, just look at the link. Commercials were so terrible yet so great in the 80's.


50. "Jessie's Girl"
Rick Springfield's song made guys want Jessie's girl and girls want to be Jessie's girl

This song served as the theme song for The Breakfast Club and so it is therefore synonymous with it, which of course makes it a classic

52. "I Love Rock n' Roll"
This memorable Joan Jett song made us all want to put a dime in the jukebox

Who doesn't love a little (or a lot) of Michael Jackson? And this song is definitely one of his best.

54. "Bad"
This one was another MJ hit

55. "Hungry Like The Wolf"
And who isn't a fan of Duran Duran?

56. "Don't Stop Believin'"
I am pretty sure 95% of Americans have heard this one a plethora of times and a majority of them know the lyrics by heart

57. "Eye of the Tiger"
This one's track record is probably not too far off from the previous song's track record

58. "Billie Jean"
Yet another memorable MJ song

59. "Kokomo"
I first heard this one sang by Kermit the Frog. If Kermit sang it, you know it must be good.

60. "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now"
Nothing's gonna stop this song from being great. The only thing that could make it better would be bonding it to Mannequin in some way, which totally happens in this music video.

Few songs make me want to dance around the room like this one and I don't think I am the only one

62. "You Spin Me 'Round (Like a Record)"
This song as great as the video is crazy (and the video is really crazy, just look at it)

63. "867-5309 / Jenny"
Even those who never knew Jenny forever remember her number better than their best friend's number

64. "The Power of Love"
This video that brings together two wonderful things (music and Back to the Future) only deepens my great love for this timeless song

65. "La Bamba"
The movie and Ritchie Valens version of the Mexican folk song are both amazing. But be warned, the movie will not make you want to party like the song will. In fact, it will probably make you want to cry.

66. "Thriller"
Now I think just about everyone is very familiar with this gem too. Most are as well acquainted with the dance moves too. Kids for generations to come will be hearing this one at every dance ever held. (At the very least, it was played at every dance I ever went to in high school)

67. Michael Jackson
This man was the legendary king of pop and a star in the music industry in
the 80's  with hits like "Bad", "Billie Jean", Thriller", and "Beat It"

68. Aerosmith
Aerosmith has had its own share of hits too like "Dream On", "I Don't Want to
Miss a Thing", "Crazy", "Sweet Emotion", "Walk this Way", and "Cryin'".
They got their start in the 1970's but kept going strong throughout the 80's.

69. Queen
This band also got its start in the 70's then went on to dominate in the 80's too.
They had hits like "Bohemian Rhapsody", "We Will Rock You", "We are the
Champions", "Another One Bites the Dust", "Somebody to Love", "Crazy
Little Thing Called Love", and "Killer Queen".

70. Bon Jovi
"Livin' on a Prayer", "Wanted Dead or Alive", "Runaway", and "You Give Love a
Bad Name" - enough said

71. Duran Duran
With "Hungry Like the Wolf", "Girls on Film" and "Rio" these guys won't soon
be forgotten

72. Rush
Hits like "YYZ", "Tom Sawyer", Spirit of Radio", "Limelight",
and "Xanadu" plus having amazing concerts til this day make
this Canadian band more than memorable 


73. Bubble Bobble
This is one of the games that gave my mom carpal tunnel so it must have
been pretty good

74. Donkey Kong
No one needs to be reminded what this game is and no one has ever been so
angry at a monkey and barrels as they were when playing this game

75. Frogger
And here we never hated cars or water so much

76. Pac-Man
This one will forever be an arcade classic

77. Q*Bert
This little guy was a well-known 80's figure too and keeps coming up
over the years

78. Test Drive
This game taught me that video game driving is much harder than actual driving

79. SimCity
This is where our current journey with the Sims began to take off

80. Super Mario Bros.
These brothers are probably the most famous brothers of the 80's and that is for
a reason