Talk Into the Phone Episode #10: Jennifer Lawrence Loves Pizza


Kara, if you could vacation with one celebrity, who would it be and where would you go?

I would vacation with Jennifer Lawrence. It’s probably a stereotypical answer, but she’s really funny. Girl’s favorite food is pizza, so you can’t go wrong there. I feel like you could just sit in the sand and talk about life.

So you’d go to the beach?

I would definitely go to the beach.

Which beach?

I’ve always wanted to go to St. Lucia or St. Martin- some place with one of those saint names that people vacation to all the time. Hopefully she’d pay for it- she’s got the money.

How did you find your way into the community?

I found my way into the community by good ol’ Abbi Carlson. Love that girl. I think it must have been freshman year, in chem class, and she asked me if I was a Christian and I was like “yeah,” so I came a bit freshman year. Then I kind of fell off the bandwagon for a while, and then junior year she sort of re-asked me. I was like “eh”- I know I needed God but I wasn’t sure if I could find a good community, but, lo and behold, I did. I’ve been coming ever since then and it’s been great.

What draws you in to the community?

I think the intentionality of the community draws me in. If I miss a week, I get a couple text messages from people checking in. My grandma just passed away and I just had an overwhelming response of love from this community, people asking am I emotionally okay, do I need anything, asking about my family. That meant a lot to me that people intentionally saw that I was in pain and took initiative to say “are you okay?” and I’ve never had that from friends before so it felt really good.

Why are you a Christian?

I’m a Christian because God never gave up on me. I definitely was in a very dark place a few years ago and didn’t think I needed God all that much, and he pulled me out and chased after my heart in a way that was unique and specific to how I would respond to him, which I thought was really cool. I stay a Christian because being a Christian doesn’t mean you don’t have doubts or questions, it just means that you screw up all the time but there is this savior Jesus who chases after your heart, who’s not gonna give up on you. He loves you so much that he wants to capture you in his arms all the time, and it’s amazing and beautiful.

What draws you to Jesus?

I kind of like that he was radical for his time. I think it was cool that he had to step out of his norms, he had to kind of go against the grain and share what the father had to say and challenge people in ways they’d never been challenged. I also like how selfless he was because I have such a hard time being selfless, and then I go back and think about the fact that Jesus died for me- this most excruciating and painful death and he still chose it. He’s also intentional, too. His community is intentional and he is intentional in the way he communicates and moves in our lives to be able to steer us on this path he wants us to go on.

What breaks your heart?

It breaks my heart when people think they don’t have a place. That’s really sad when people don’t have a community or someone to confide in. I never want people to feel alone or left out. It hurts that some people feel like they have no one- like they don’t have a place. I hope that I can help people feel like they have a place. Being alone sucks and I never want anyone to feel that way. It’s awful. Also, what breaks my heart is the kids that I’ve come into contact with on mission trips who live in these impoverished places and they are still so joyful. It breaks my heart that I can’t be joyful with all I have, and these kids are joyful with nothing. It’s a nice mental check that I need to be grateful.

What feeds your soul? What makes you come alive?

I’ve got a wide range of things that feed my soul- intentional conversations with people, time with God while the sun rises, hearing rain fall on the rooftop, watching the stars, hugs. My mom’s chicken and dumplings feed my soul; she makes them every time I come home. She picked up on that as I’ve gone to college and come home and she’s like “oh, I know you always ask for this,” so it’s an automatic thing, and it really makes me feel good that she noticed something and continues to do it. Thoughtful things feed my soul.

What is one book everyone should read?

I would say Crazy Love by Francis Chan- this book rocked my world. It’s an intense read. I remember I was praying for God to speak to me and I didn’t realize that God could speak through other things besides this audible voice or burning bush. I was in my room reading this book and I was like “holy cow, this is God speaking to me.” I remember I started crying because God had answered a prayer that was unique to me, because reading is one of my favorite things to do. Instead of an audible voice, he decided to speak through a book. That really touched my heart that God connected with me in that way. This book challenges you to think and really puts you outside of your little comfort zone that I think some Christians can get into. It really expands your thoughts on how you live your life and how you want to impact this world.

Any parting words?

First, I want to say thanks to this community for embracing me and all my little quirks, because that means a lot that I can be myself all the time and no one will ever judge me or not let me hang out with them. They really draw close to everyone and make them feel welcome. The other thing is that, through the highs and lows of college, God is always there. Whether you feel him or not, his presence is there. In the moments where you can’t feel him, just keep pressing forward and reading your Bible. Don’t forget to pray, too, because even when you feel like God doesn’t hear your prayers, everyone words are valid. Don’t give up on God because he doesn’t give up on you.

Talk Into the Phone #9: Thirty-Five is the new Twenty-One


Kelly, if you could be one age forever, what age would you be and why?


Why thirty-five?

Because you can still do all the things you want to do, but you’re not old- you can still run a marathon and have kids and such.

That makes sense. So, how did you find Agape?

Well, I was really committed to finding a Christian ministry when I came to school so I actually did research on Loyola’s website before I even got here and found Ecclesia and then went to the org fair, met Mike Moore, and got invited to Agape. Started going the first week and haven’t stopped since.

What keeps you coming back? What draws you in?

Well, our community specifically I always found the most welcoming, um, I’d gone to other ministries and didn’t really feel invited into the community in the same way that I did here. And just seeing the way that we love each other and love Jesus just keeps me coming back.

Why are you a Christian?

I was raised in a Christian family, so I knew all the right answers about Jesus since I was a little kid, and I thought I was a Christian and knew what I was doing and then, when I was a senior in high school, I met a lot of people who really knew who Jesus was and I realized I didn’t know who he really was; I just knew all the right answers when people asked me questions. But literally everything changed the moment that I met them, and I hung out with them a couple of weeks after I started seeing them at school regularly and praying with them and I prayed out loud for the first time in my life with these people that I’d never really known before and at that moment, I knew it was real and, if God could pull me into that, he was who he said he was.

What draws you to Jesus?

So many things, but mostly when I think about that time in my life where I met all those people, there was a lot of bad stuff happening in my life and at the time, I remember thinking “oh this is so horrible, and how can I believe in a God who loves me if all this really horrible stuff is happening to me,” but when I think about it now, I think about all of the worse things that could have happened to me, how God really protected me from so many other horrible situations. And, being a Christian doesn’t mean that everything is going to be beautiful, and sometimes it means you have to go through the messy stuff to appreciate the beautiful stuff, but even in the messy stuff God has provided for me and protected me from so much worse.

What breaks your heart?

As a social worker, a lot of things. I think the thing at the forefront of my mind, just because I see it day after day, is child abuse. Just seeing the damage that that can do to the individual, especially with the kids that I work with, and on top of that to be rejected by so many people who aren’t their parents, they don’t feel like anyone loves them or cares about them.

What gives you hope?

I think there have been a couple of times at my work where I’d been feeling pretty sad, and then one of the kids has a Bible and asks me to read it, and I don’t know how much he knows what’s going on, but it’s still encouraging to know that that’s still happening. Some of the kids are asking to go to church, and I actually had an hour-long conversation with someone on staff about God and why I think it’s important, so there have been little moments that remind me why I’m there. God is still allowing opportunities for me to have conversations and to be a light in that place.

What’s one book that you think everyone should read?

The book that I read really early in my faith that changed a lot of things was “Blue Like Jazz,” because at that point, Donald Miller gets down to the core of issues in that book in a way that everyone can understand- it changed the way I looked at Christianity.

Any parting words?

I guess, even when everything seems really hopeless and desolate, God has still been there. It’s still been a growing experience for me, maybe not in the way that I wanted, but at the end of it I can see how God was working in that situation. Just because things are bad, that doesn’t mean God has left you.

Praise Night and Baptisms

Today I met a rock that was hiding under a rock for the past few months.  The rock asked me if I knew about Praise Night and Baptisms.  I was like, “Whoa!  Even a rock hiding underneath a rock knows what is going down!”

In case you were hiding under that rock and it failed share:

AGAPE PRAISE NIGHT is this Wednesday at 7:00pm in Damen MPR.  Get there early at 7:00pm for pizza dinner!

ECCLESIA BAPTISMS are this Sunday at 10:30am in Crown Center Lobby.  Repeat: 10:30am.  Several of our sister chuches and alumni will be joining us in worship.  A potluck is to follow so please bring a dish to pass.

If you have anymore questions than trek up to Damen 223 where you can most likely find Agape & Ecclesia peeps.


Nothing is Normal

This is our last week of the year where we have “normal” Agape & Ecclesia meetings.

Join us this Wednesday for our last time in our small groups! Agape will be gathering at 730pm in the Damen MPR.

Additionally, Praise Night is coming next week! Please sign up to display your gifts and talents. #roots&fruits

Sunday is our last traditional Ecclesia service! We will be worshiping at 730pm in Palm Court with another special guest preacher.  Word on the street is that she is going to be live tweeting the entire sermon under the hashtag #hallerback

Lastly, this Saturday is the Fun Run, where we bless the campus, raise support for Kids Caring 4 Kids, and bring glory to God.


Talk Into the Phone #8: We’re Not Sure What a Rodent Is


Tom, if you could be a rodent for one day, what you be and what would do?

Any rodent?! What qualifies as a rodent? Does a marsupial qualify as a rodent?

No, not for this.

I’m not too well-versed in rodents.

You could be a rat, a rabbit, a squirrel.

Rabbits are rodents?

Yeah, technically…I think…for this conversation.

I guess I could be a mouse…girls tend to think mice are cuter than rats.

How did you find Agape?

I found Agape when I applied to Loyola, I think first thing I looked up before I actually sent in my application was whether there was a community on campus. So, I found out that way and kind of just checked the box of “non-denominational Christian” on my application. Then I got an e-mail from Mike, didn’t really pay any attention to it, but then I just checked it all out.

What was your first experience with the community?

I went to the faith fest, and I remember Sarah Harrington and being very bubbly. I honestly don’t even remember meeting Mike, which I think that blows me away more than anything, because having the head of this ministry being someone who’s so easily relatable that I almost forget him, looking back that’s cool about Agape and Ecclesia.

What draws you into the community?

Well, I think what draws me in is the fact that this community is hungry for something. You’ll see a number of other communities on campus that are all hungry for something, they have a goal or something, but the main goal of growing closer to God and closer as a community is definitely something that drew me to stay. The main focus was a relationship with God, and having other things flow out of that definitely stood out to me.

Why are you a Christian?

I suppose the reason why I’m a Christian has a lot to do with what Jesus offers, almost more so than redemption and salvation, was hope. Growing up I didn’t see any avenues to attain hope- I saw the allure of getting money or fame or prestige in different occupations, but I didn’t see any hope or anything worthwhile in that, so everything was kind of a dead end in my mind until Jesus came into my life and showed me the hope he had for me and his death on the cross. Obviously there’s other stuff but that’s the thing that stands out to me.

What draws you to Jesus?

This is gonna sound silly, but in business school some folks will say that in the interview process, a lot of people won’t be looking at your grades or what school you went to. They want to know if you’re serviceable in your career path and if you’re someone people would want to have a beer with. I would want to have a beer with Jesus. He’s someone who is perfect in every way, but someone I feel like I can sit down with and hang out with. At the same time, the people you sit down and have a beer with are the people you can count on a lot of the time.

What has God done for you that you couldn’t do for yourself?

I think the biggest thing that’s very easily noticeable is how he rescued me from my anger. That’s a big part of my testimony- just recognizing how God worked in my life. I feel like, yeah, I’ll get frustrated and upset, but irrational anger isn’t a part of my persona anymore.

If you could have everyone you ever meet see one movie, what would it be? What makes you say “that story, that’s it”?

I feel like it would have to be a comedy. There’s something so amazing about laughing together- there’s nothing like eating and laughing together with other people. From there, the first thing that comes to my mind, the other night Mike and I were talking about “Super Troopers” and he gave me some very direct quotes from that movie, and I love that movie in general because there’s so much goofiness in the make-up of it. Anyone can enjoy it- there are a lot of people who would find it crude, but I’m like “this is for you too- you need to have some fun.”

Any final words for the reader?

I would say that you are really not as busy as you think you are. In all likelihood, you’re not even busy. You have classes and stuff going on, but look at a single mother’s life and think about how busy you are. Make time for yourself and do something you love. Make time for rest- read a book, go on a walk.