Archive for the ‘Grace Experience’ Category

Lessons Learned

Friday, December 10th, 2010


Well, I haven’t done the best with keeping this blog up on my part. I can’t believe this is the last week of normal classes for the semester. Finals start on Monday *cringe*, and then by Thursday afternoon I will be home free for nearly 5 weeks. I don’t think I ever felt this ready to be back home last year. I swear I’ve been itching for a break for close to a month. This semester has been extremely different than last year, and I think it impacted me a lot more than I expected it would. I’m also ready to spend a wonderful Christmas with my family. I love Christmas, and I love my family. So needless to say, Christmastime is my favorite (which is why I posted a little Christmas video too!)

So, in honor of the end of the semester, I will list a few things that I have learned so far in my sophomore year:

1) Even for a person who is extremely outgoing and loves being with people nearly 24/7, I have found that it is okay to lock myself in my room sometimes. It’s not a crime to want to be alone and regroup, especially when the semester is so crazy.

2) I am not the best at dealing with change and adversity. This is something I really want to work on.

3) Giving to others can be the most rewarding feeling ever.

4) My friends are the absolute best, and I am so thankful for them.

5) Of everything I have learned this year, the most important was that I learned to depend on God a lot more than I ever have. Man, have I learned that. This semester has been crazy and I have seen my weaknesses and mistakes very clearly. In a way, that’s been great, because I have found myself running into the arms of my Father so much more. It is important to remember that I am frail and imperfect, and it is even more important that I remember that I am not expected to be by God. It is also so comforting to know that I can rest in the strength of the Lord.

So, that is all for now. I pray that you all are finding peace and relaxation this holiday season. Goodbye for now!


A Holly Jolly Christmas

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

     We totally had the best Christmas Chapel EVER today. It was SO GOOD!!!!!!! There were skits by the Resident Directors, Remnant (the drama team at Grace), and a presentation of the “12 Days of Christmas” (Grace-style) by some of the Kent residents. My personal favorite, however, was the Christmas rap by Jordan, Kyle, and James. The chapel band did a Christmas medley. Dr. Swanson read the Christmas story. People wore ugly Christmas sweaters. There were cookies. It was such a great start to the day.

     Things are winding down for the semester. Tomorrow is the last day of classes before finals. I think I only have to take two tests and I am UNBELIEVABLY thrilled about this. I will fly home to Alaska on Wednesday. My dad has said that he will make me bacon when I get home. I’m going to sleep in my own bed. I’m going to drink coffee made with very very pure mountain water. All of these longings are representative of a general desire for home-going come finals time. College is fantastic, but everybody needs a trip to their original crib once in a while.

        Today, after my Hebrew class, I ran into Dr. Harmon (the professor of Greek and New Testament studies) and he told me about a video he posted on his blog. It is a parody of “Dynamite” about Hannukah/the Maccabean Revolt. This is just a shout-out to anybody out there who is nerdy about that particular culture and would appreciate that video. Check it out. It’s by an a cappella group called “The Maccabeats”.

            That’s all I have to say.


Jesus’ blood

Monday, November 29th, 2010

“Jesus’ blood never fails me.”

Besides being the most repeated line in the Delirious? song “Jesus’ Blood,” it is something that I have been relying on in my own life.  God is so magnificent, so powerful, so loving and so forgiving, that there is nothing that I could do that would cause Him to give up on me.  It is only I that can fail.  And oh how often do I fail.  Were it not for Jesus’ blood being shed for me, I would be in a much darker, much more desperate place.  That is the power of something done two thousand years ago.  Were He not God, I would not care.  But I do. I do so much.  In fact, I want to share His love and compassion with every single person that I come in contact with. 

As we wrap up a snow-less November and head into December, I cannot deny a sudden swelling in my heart.  Christmas is here!  From childhood forward, I have always loved this season.  It is a time of rejuvenation, rejoicing and realization for me every single year.  It is rejuvenating in the way that it causes me to stop and breathe.  Call it foolish in whatever way you want, but I long for nothing more than a still night with a gentle snowfall.  When I close my eyes and fade into the dark with the crystaline gifts from God landing softly on my nose and cheeks, it’s enough to almost bring me to tears.  God has given us a world of such beauty and majesty.  How often do we take the time to sit and think about it?  Better than that, how often do we let it move in and through us and stir up emotions and feelings that we didn’t know were lying so dormant?  I try to do this as often as I can.  Winter is just the time that I find it easiest.  And I always come back to Jesus and the things that He did for us.  The example of a life that He led, the words that He shared, but most importantly, the blood that He shed to cover the sins of the whole world.

Maybe it is too holistic for you to consider, but try looking at every part of Christ’ life this season.  Amidst the family and food and decorations and gift-giving, as you look at Jesus’ life — stop.  Just… listen.  I’m serious. If you find a quiet place to sit and be still with God and meditate on His life and death, you will feel things that you haven’t before.  God is searching for you.  If you reach out to Him, He will come in and be with you. He wants to relate to you in the most private and inner part of your being.  Please don’t get so wrapped up in everything else going on in life that you over-look Him.

Revelation 3:20 – “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”


– Ian Christensen

If a blog falls in the woods and nobody is around…

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Hey faithful blog readers (I see you, Mark),

I’m here again. Sometimes I wonder why I took the assignment to write blogs for Grace.  It’s not that I don’t think that this is a cool idea or that it can be used to give a deeper perspective on Grace student’s lives.  I just wonder if it is reaching the eyes of anyone outside of the admissions office. Ha… Okay, in all honesty, that is likely my damaged self-esteem talking there.  I’m a human, people. Anyway… I digress.

The past few weeks have been crazy.  I mean like troop of bears wielding chainsaws and marching into Suriname crazy (It’s a country… I’m quite sure. Thank you, global perspectives).  Amidst finishing a two part final and delivering a speech on ministering to Muslims to finish up that course, I have been running around like a lizard with its tail cut off.  Not as dramatic as the headless chicken, but hey… there’s a place for drama, and it’s not this blog.  It’s on the stage. 

We finally opened All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten on Friday.  What a rush! I absolutely LOVE acting.  It is something that I could honestly see myself doing my life long.  Had I known this, I might have directed my life towards it at a younger age, but God opens doors where He wills.  My digression continues.  This show is so unique, so poignant that I hope everyone gets a chance to see it sometime in their life.  Just go in with an open mind and a heart that is willing to learn.  If you are reading this before the 18, 19 and 20th, you have chances to see it here at Grace on those dates.  And I hope you do. 

If you are still reading this, I have a request of you.  Since you have spent a few minutes hearing about the personal parts of my life, I would hope to burden you with two more.  Pray first for Grace College.  Pray that its students (and prospective students) will have hearts that reflect Christ.  Pray that the men and women of God who are educated here will go forth and do amazing things for God’s glory.  The second that I would ask of you is to pray for me.  Ask that I would hear God and do His will.  I don’t know what direction my life will take after college, and it is unsettling.  But I know that God has something for me to do.  Of this, I am certain.  Thank you so much.  There, that wasn’t too hard, was it? 

See you soon, oh faithful ones.

-Ian Christensen

…A Month Goes By (or, “Katiekelley Finally Decides to Blog, Part 2″)

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

      It’s not for lack of things to blog about, really. Last time I blogged, I said I was hoping Eric and I got into the variety show for homecoming. Well, we did. I’m really technologically inept so I tried for like five minutes just now to post a picture but I couldn’t figure out how. 🙁 As it is, it took a good ten minutes for me to figure out how to log in to the Grace Experience Blog because the website is newly (and beautifully) formatted. Anyway, Eric and I sang some High School Musical for the homecoming variety show. It went well. I think my favorite part of that whole situation was that he let us pick out a sweater for him to wear – a nice argyle one that matched my dress.

         It’s almost Thanksgiving break. I’m extremely glad about this, but mostly because that means it’s almost time for Christmas. I am going home to Alaska for Christmas and I’m going to go sledding and skiing and drink coffee and sleep in my own bed. Yessss. November, for some reason, is always the worst time of the year for homesickness. I’m feelin’ it. But anyway, for Thanksgiving I get to go to my friend Andy’s house. I’m really excited!! He graduated last year and I’ve missed him a lot, so it’ll be nice to hang out with him and his family. I’m hoping they let me cook something. 🙂

     Classes are going well. It’s almost the end so I’ve finished most of the big projects/presentations/papers for my classes. A few remain, but I’ll get them done. That just leaves finals…so that’s good. Oh we had this SICK band in chapel last week. They’re called Sons of Korah, and they’re from Australia. They basically just put music to the Psalms and they’re unbelievably talented. You should check them out.

     So that’s pretty much my Grace Experience right now. Studying. Lots of studying, especially for Hebrew. Singing. Trying not to get sick ’cause everybody is. OHHH!! One more thing! Okay, so I’m working on working out. I’m chunky and I don’t particularly enjoy exercising. But I know that I should, because it honors God, so I’ve been going to the Rec center. Yesterday, I had an encounter with a treadmill. I’m trying to overcome my dislike (you could even call it “fear”) of them. So yesterday I treaded (trod?) for five minutes. Yeah. Five. I know. But still. It was an accomplishment. Never fear, I did more cardio than five minutes of extremely slow trodding (trotting? Actually, more like “plodding”.) I’ll have to keep you posted on my progressive treadmill usage. It’s a small part of my Grace Experience, but it’s an experience nonetheless. Happy trails! :)\

-KatieKelley 🙂

All I Really Need To Know…

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Oh hey… I’m back. “No! Not this guy again!” You might be thinking.  I challenge you to be nice for once and give me a shot. Sheesh.

So, since it honestly only feels like yesterday that I wrote to you all, I don’t have much to say.  I will do my best though to briefly entertain.  Here’s what I’ve been learning this week: All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten.  And more than that just being the script that I’m memorizing for the fall play (you faithful readers already knew this), it’s been a journey of ideology that has caused me to question my current way of life.  Now, those of you who know anything about my past (it’s short and kind of boring, so you don’t have to ask), know that I was in this show already in high school.  What it did for me then was not nearly what it has the potential to do for me now.

Then, I was only 17.  What did I know about life?  Now, I’m 21.  I know all there is to know. *cough*  Yeah… I am obviously being sarcastic.  What I do know now though, is that we often forget to look at things through the eyes of children.  Why do I need to be 17 or 21 or even 53 to know as much as I can know about the world?  I am realizing that all I have ever needed my whole life long was taught to me at a very young age.  Why do we, as adults, forget to do the things that really matter, like sharing, caring for one another, believing in ourselves, playing, working and resting in balanced manners?  Why do we forget to just stop and look?  How much easier would our lives be if we stopped and looked at situations before we opened our mouths or took unnecessary action?  Think about it.  Matthew 18:3 says, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”  Now, I try to shy away from taking the Bible into texts that it doesn’t belong in, but doesn’t it just make sense?  Jesus was talking about dropping all of our adult “wisdom” and becoming filled with childlike faith. A level of abandonment of ourselves that is required to have full reliance on God.

I want to have that childlike approach to life.  I want to get back to the basics.  Try it.  Live, laugh, love and look. See where it gets you.

-Ian Christensen

Pac-man and Surfing

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

So this weekend has been quite unique for Karl Johnson during his stay in New Zealand. On Friday, the university he attends threw a “Tea Party” where there was live music, free food, and more costumes than you could shake a stick at. The following Saturday was spent surfing at Sumner beach near Christchurch, and napping for three hours from physical exhaustion. All in all, it was a great finish to a week of two all-nighters to complete papers.


That’s enough in the third person. The Tea Party was CRAZY! I counted close to six LEGO dudes, some Crayola girls, two sets of Power Rangers, Captain Planet, Old Gregg, twenty Goku’s from Dragonball Z, and the Cat in the Hat. It was almost as bad as a game of ‘I Spy!’ Of course, I went as Shaggy from Scooby Doo, although I had to leave Scoob at the door. 🙁  But my favorite costumes I saw at the concert was definitely the old school gamer group: four dudes had made legit Pac-man and ghost costumes, and the ghosts were appropriately chasing Pac-man around! Probably the funniest looking thing ever. Besides the blue avatars, the Avatar Airbender, and three Luigi’s, I think there were eight smurfs and some white guy dressed as an Arab carrying around a box with a cell phone and a detonator attached… Slightly disturbing. At any rate, the music was fun, the costumes even better, and the sun blistering hot. I have the tan lines to prove it. The day after, a Saturday, the other students in my program and I went to Sumner beach where we picked up rental gear that ‘our program’ had paid for. (p.s. I love how they trick you into thinking activities are free…)

Sumner beach, onshore wind, 3ft. waves

The man who owned the gear showed us the basics of surfing, and twenty minutes later, we were out in the cold, cold ocean punching into waves to get further out. It confounds me how much balance surfers must have to get up, let alone ride the waves. I am neither physically coordinated or graceful, and unfortunately, that combination does not end well. Nevertheless, I had so much fun just trying to get the hang of it! I think I swallowed close to two gallons of sea water, and by the end of the day my lips were pruned, my throat parched, and face burnt even more. I’ll tell you, the ozone Down Under really is lacking. I can sit in the shade and get goose bumps or stand in the sun and sweat profusely in the same hour. Not that I’m complaining!  It’s “sweet-as, bro!”  I can’t believe I have less than a month left in this gorgeous country. On one hand, I don’t ever want to leave, but at the same time, I cannot WAIT to see my family and friends again. I’ve learned so so so much from studying abroad, and it’s gonna be great returning. New Zealand is fantastic. Until next time,    -Karl Johnson, University of Canterbury, NZ

Lancer Day I: Gone In a Flash

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Today was the first Lancer Day of the year. There were nearly 50 students here today, plus their parents! Thats a great turnout, and I hope they enjoyed what they were able to see of our campus. I heard it went great though! I heard it went great; I don’t know if it was great though. You see I had the [un]fortunate[?] burden of being stuck in class all day today, so I don’t really have an honest report on how the day went. This is my first semester being an ambassador so I was actually looking forward to experiencing a Lancer Day as I never went to one while I was in highschool.

However, I did get to take a few glances at how it was going.  I was there for the chapel services, and I got to see the train of people go down to their reserved seats. Yeah, I said reserved seating! Ok so obviously Lancer Day is off to a good start. Next, I saw a small army of recruits leaving Alpha Dining. I quickly became skeptical about how their day was going. Little did I know, it was BIG OLE CHICKEN BURRITO day. Bam! Experience that! Still a pretty good day then. But what I saw next? It completely had to alter their lives. I was minding my own business, going to my Stats class like the good student that I am, when out of nowhere I see Andrew Rupp leading a tour group. Andrew Rupp!!! Yeah, I just went triple exclamation points on it. A tour led by Andrew Rupp is like getting a tour of the Middle East by Moses, that guy went everywhere over there.

So lets recap. Reserved seating in chapel? Check. Big Ole Chicken Burrito? Check. Best tour guide this side of the pyramids? Check. What else do I need to know about Lancer Day? I think nothing. Well done Admissions staff.

Mr. Andrew Rupp

-Aaron Pierce

KatieKelley Finally Decides to Blog :)

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

       So I’ve been meaning to blog for a month or so now…and here it is. 🙂 It’s a lovely day here at Grace College – we had perfect weather for our Lancer Day visitors and as soon as all official Lancer Day activities ended, the sky began to darken and it’s now raining. This makes me really excited because I have a bright yellow raincoat I wear when it rains…mostly so I can be spotted from space. Not really.

      Before I continue, I should probably introduce myself. My name is KatieKelley – Katie is my first name, Kelley is my last name, but because it is an irresistible alliteration, people say the names together like they’re one word. I’ve since begun writing it that way. Here at Grace, most people know me as “The Girl from Alaska”. It’s true – I was born and raised in Eagle River, Alaska. I’m a Biblical Studies major, I love coffee, and winter is my favorite season.

        Of all the things happening at Grace right now, I’m going to tell you about a few that particularly excite me. The first is School of Ministry Studies week in chapel. I absolutely love my major, and a huge reason for that is that our professors in the School of Ministry Studies are outstanding. They really exemplify what they teach – they’re passionate about the Gospel, about grace (and Grace!), and about Christ and it shows in the way they teach and interact with their students. So three of our Ministry Studies faculty – Dr. Tiberius Rata, Dr. Jeff Gill, and Dr. Matt Harmon, are speaking in chapel this week. Each was asked to choose a biblical character and speak on him or her. On Tuesday, Dr. Rata spoke about Elijah and talked about how it’s okay to be “in a cave” as long as we look to Christ during that experience. Today, Dr. Gill spoke about Jesus healing the leper and talked about the importance of confessing sin and being completely obedient to Christ. I look forward to hearing what Dr. Harmon has to say about Paul tomorrow. You can find these messages and others from Grace College chapel on the chapel website.

        One other exciting thing going on at Grace right now is the preparations for Homecoming Week! All throughout that week, we have different activities planned each night by the Student Activities Board and at the end of the week are the homecoming games and the banquet, dessert and variety show. Auditions for the variety show are coming up next week and my friend Eric and I are hoping to get in! Other than that, classes are going well and I’m loving having a bunch of new faces on campus. 🙂 Now it’s just a matter of getting homework done when all of this fun stuff is going on…

Wherefore art thou, sleep?

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Here I sit, thinking about what to write, where to start and how detailed to get, and I realize… I am tired.  It is actually hard for me to distinguish what the sequence of events has been in the last few weeks.  Tons has happened, but it all feels like one giant cluster of ups, downs and twists.  Here’s what I know for sure: I love my God, this school and the people herein.  So, you may be asking yourself, “Ian, get to the point… what’s going on?” Here goes.

My classes are great.  I love them.  What I do not love though, is that between the class time and homework involved with 18 credit hours, the rest of my life has to be stuffed in.  The rest of my life includes, but is not limited to, being a co-leader of the Remnant drama team (and what a good team we ended up with), an ambassador at Grace College (during which I get to do cool things like blog), an intramural soccer player (we just won our first game of the finals tournament), a member of the fall play cast (All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten), a supportive boyfriend (hey, Grace 😉 ), and a good hall leader (I mean, I AM the only senior in Beta. These guys need someone to learn the ropes from).

Every once in a while, when I’m feeling a little greedy with my “free time,” I’ll do something like call my mom or watch an episode of The Office or go to Chicago for a soccer game.  Did I mention that I went to see USA vs. Poland in an international friendly match this weekend in Chicago? It was amazing!  Even though we ended up sitting about dead smack in the middle of the largest section of Polish supporters (who called themselves Polska), the experience was one I’ll always remember.  I know that Grace College requires that you go on a cross-cultural trip to accompany the Global Perspectives course, but I wonder who I would have to talk to about getting an international soccer match on the list of applicable trips.  Nothing says other-worldly like 25,000 Polish fans screaming various chants and curse words around us.  Crazy.

Wave that flag.

– Ian Christensen