Posted by: Chris Sandel | May 19, 2014

Our 10th Anniversary

Ten minutes (or maybe 12) celebrating ten incredible years and two wonderful kids!

Posted by: Chris Sandel | April 29, 2012

Sandel Family Adventures

Obviously, I don’t post much anymore.  I still use twitter pretty regularly so you can always catch me there.  However, we have a little baby girl on the way this week so we’ll be updating our new Sandel Family Adventures blog a little more often.  Check it out.  We can wait to introduce everyone to our new baby girl!

Posted by: Chris Sandel | March 3, 2011

A Stirring

God has been stirring something in me for a little while now.  Not sure what’s promting it…that’s not true.  I know it’s the Holy Spirit of course.  Looking at the circumstances around me though, it’s a combination of a lot of things.  It’s time spent assessing our ministry to students and families.  It’s time looking forward to potential plans for new student ministry space.  It’s some personal spiritual challenges and inventory that has left me with some questions.  Most of all is a growing passion to move beyond the status quo.  To move away from a comfortable ministry and a comfortable life.  It’s a desire to really make Christ the CENTER of my world in every way, not just in lip service.  It’s a desire to call students to a life altering, every day decision to let Jesus shatter their world.

Tonight I watched a video our senior minister passed on to our ministry staff.  It’s a video made by a church and it is basically an apology for some many things we, as Christians, have done wrong.  Not sins of hundreds of years ago (holy wars, etc) but things so many of us do right now, every day.  It’s a little longer than a typical video I’d watch on the web.  It’s almost ten minutes long.  But as I sat and watched I couldn’t help but be overcome by so many of the things said.  So many of the things that I need forgiveness for.  I haven’t blogged much…really at all…for quite some time.  I’m betting not many people see this.  That’s ok.  I just needed a place to process.

We’re preparing to build a new student center at West Side.  We want to make it obvious how much we care about students.  It’s an exciting time.  We want our church to be a place where students’ lives are changed.  We want to create a great space for students while also being wise with our resources.  At the same time, it is so easy to slip into a desire for more and cooler.  To want to be proud of “our” space.  I find my self searching for a balance between what will be the best space/resource to facilitate outreach and life change in students and going to far, just wanting more cool stuff to show off. 

As I sit and listen to the video, I have so much I need forgiveness for.  Not just building related.  Whole life related.  I find myself being challenged to call students to something more but knowing that the calls starts with me. 

Forgive me…

  • for my lack of compassion
  • for focusing so much on myself and forgetting so many others who are hurting
  • for settling into comfort instead of sacrificing for others
  • for americanizing the gospel from world changing new life to minor improvements made to the old life
  • for making converts rather than Christ followers
  • for being ashamed of the foolishness of the cross
  • for not living fully surrendered but for asking others to fully surrender their lives
  • for being too busy with church activities to notice the activity of God
  • for attending to my own pleasures instead of the urgent needs around me
  • for no longer seeking out the lost but developing programs to make myself feel better about things
  • for losing my passion to worship an awesome, loving, holy God
  • for failing to love like God loves
  • for laziness in so many parts of my faith

God, help me not to get so caught up in “doing” ministry and getting things done that I forget that where ever you are moving is where I should be.  Help me to quite thinking of it as “my” time and give it all to you.  Help me to get over my fear of looking foolish (I look foolish for a living for goodness sake) so I can reach out to the people around me who may be hurting and in need of someone to love like you love.  Most of all, help me to make you the center of every part of my life and help that to overflow into a passionate challenge for students to do the same. 

Posted by: Chris Sandel | January 28, 2010


It’s long been known by people from Illinois that Chicago is pretty much it’s own state.  Anything south of Kankakee is Chicago to us southerners, anything south of Chicago is southern Illinois for Chicagoans. 

Just ran accross this map on Neatorama.  It’s a represenation of what the U.S. would look like if it were divided into 50 equal population areas.  Naturally Chicago is on it’s own.  I guess the rest would be called Lincoln.

Posted by: Chris Sandel | January 25, 2010

10 Years Underground

Last Tuesday Melissa and I made the trek back to our homeland, Champaign-Urbana, for an Illini basketball game.  Sadly, our beloved were not quite able to take down Purdue despite a valiant effort.  The game though was only part of our trip.

Ten years ago, as freshmen in college, Melissa and I shared a romantic evening together and as a part of it we wrote notes to each other, took a few pictures (35mm even!) together.  Then we headed out to a local park with a shovel to bury it where it would remain for the next 10 years.

Nine years and 363 days later, we arrived back at that park in hopes of finding our buried time capsule.  We had a plan.  We remembered (or thought we remembered) burying it 21 days away from a large tree.  We didn’t however, remember exactly what direction, or whose 21 steps they were.  Note to anyone planning to bury a time capsule…make it someplace easy to find if you don’t want to bring in a bull dozer to find it.

Despite all the odds, and thanks to the help of a great friend who lent us a metal detector, we were able to eventually find our long buried, heart shaped, memory tin.  Where did we find it…exactly 17 steps from the tree and in the opposite direction of where I thought.  Just call me Mr. Memory.

Our little packaged was double wrapped in Ziploc bags and appeared to be in decent shape, other than the huge dent from my shovel.  We took it back to the car to open it up.  We found this tin that still had a label on it with my parents address.

Upon opening our tin we were sad to find our folded up notes soaked completely through.  We started to try to unfold them but they were so soaked that they were just falling apart.  We decided to let them dry and go from there.  At this point, we still haven’t had any luck actually reading them but I was pretty excited just to find them still in the ground.

No word yet on if our roll of 35mm film can be salvaged.  It was rusted but it didn’t appear to be broken open.  We had to search all over town to find somene who could develop such a roll of film.  I wasn’t even sure anyone did that anymore.  If we do get any photos from it, I’ll be sure to scan them right away (if they aren’t digital, what will I ever do with them right?) and share a few here.

All in all, it was a pretty cool night.  And it’s been an amazing 10+ years.  I sometimes take for granted how blessed Melissa and I have been.  We met in High School and we’ve only ever dated each other.  It’s kind of hard to imagine it today’s world but God allowed us to grow together and challenge each other year by year and he’s continued to bless our time together.

I can’t wait to see what God allows us to do in the next 10+ years.  There is no one I’d rather spend them with!

Posted by: Chris Sandel | January 25, 2010

Lost is Coming

I’m looking forward to Lost returning next week.  Hard to believe it is the last season.  I’m sure lots of stuff won’t get answered and I’ll be amazed if the finale can live up to the hype but I’m looking forward to the ride either way.  

A bunch of my friends have done the rewatch, catching every episode between the end of the last season and the start of the final season.  Melissa and I started but stopped about half way through season 3.  Having a kid will do that to you.  (It’ll also slow down your blogging.) 

I guess I’ll just have to use this to catch up.

Posted by: Chris Sandel | November 10, 2009

Pick Me Up

So I hadn’t been to my own blog in a long time, let alone many of my former sources of entertainment.  Life in general and Jack Sandel have been keeping me plenty busy (not to be confused with…which hasn’t seen much of my time either).  However, something caught my eye tonight and I wandered over to one of my former favorites, Today’s Big Thing, a video site.  This was one they posted a few days ago.  Nothing deep but it made me smile and caught me at a good time.

Then I hopped on over to good ol’ and saw that, while I haven’t visited the site in a few months, it appears as if I posted a few days ago.  I think I must have predated a post a long, long time ago thinking I’d use in on Halloween.  I wonder if I have a stockpile of other old posts coming up.  I guess I’ll have to check back and see.  Or I suppose I could come up with some new fun stuff of my own.  We’ll see.


Posted by: Chris Sandel | October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween


Posted by: Chris Sandel | September 21, 2009

Like Umm…

Like, umm…like, I’m thinking you should stick to tackling people.  The PR stuff might not be your thing.

Posted by: Chris Sandel | June 29, 2009

Keeping Up

I’ve been away from my blog for quite some time but I haven’t been totally incommunicado.  There has been a lot going on with family and ministry but I have been posting to a number of different places.

Don’t take this post as me abandoning the blog.  I still hope to post.  But I realized I should probably let everyone know how you can keep up with me since I’m actually posting quite a bit.  I update Twitter especially often so if you want to know what I had for dinner or what I’m up to with Jack, check there.

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