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