Leading Hearts July/August 2016 Issue

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“Mom.” The somberness of my ten-year-old’s voice cut quick into my heart as our eyes fixed for a moment in the rearview mirror. “Mom, the guys called me weird because I didn’t know the words to a song they were singing.” Fighting every urge to pull over and wrap my arms around my little boy, I experienced an unexpected calmness. “Wow! That wasn’t very nice. I’m sorry, son.” “Yeah.” Sammie’s words captured my breath as his eyes stared out the passenger window. “I told them it’s not the kind of music we listen to in our home. And I walked away.” As we pulled into our driveway, I wasn’t quite sure what to say to my fifth-grader. So I assumed the worst and tried to encourage my son. “It’s not easy when friendships break up, Sammie. I’m proud of you for standing up for what we believe. God will bring you new friends.” He had jumped out of the car to open our gate but paused mid-step, looked me in the eyes, and with a slight grin said, “Oh no, Mom. They found me later and said they didn’t like that music either. We’re good.” A brave leader was birthed in the eyes of his peers and the heart of his mom.


We’ll all be called to be brave, to stand up for our beliefs by the choices we make. Daniel exemplified this. He was determined not to defile himself by eating the sacrificial food and wine the king gave him and his friends, so he stepped out and trusted God. (Daniel 1:8) Daniel’s faith gave him courage, and he refused to go against God. His friends stood with him, and God blessed their obedience. As you read this issue of Leading Hearts, I hope it encourages you to step out in brave leadership, I know He’ll bless yours, too. S Hugs in Him, LINDA GOLDFARB GUEST PUBLISHER INTERNATIONAL SPEAKER, AUTHOR, FOUNDER OF PARENTING AWESOME KIDS

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EDITORIAL STAFF PUBLISHER... .................Linda Evans Shepherd EDITOR/ART DIRECTOR.....Amber Weigand-Buckley ADVERTISING. ........... Linda Evans Shepherd & Angelina Locricchio EDITOR/ART DIRECTOR.....Amber Weigand-Buckley COPY EDITOR...............Tom Young EDITORIAL SECRETARY. ....Angelina Locricchio CONTRIBUTORS..... Penelope Carlevato, Kathy Collard Miller, Michelle S. Cox, Sharon Norris Elliot, Pam Farrel, Linda Goldfarb, Karen Porter, Rhonda Rhea, Heather Riggleman, Cynthia L. Simmons, Saundra Dalton Smith, Jennifer Taylor, Heather Van Allen and Karen H. Whiting

RIGHT TO THE HEART BOARD MEMBERS Linda Evans Shepherd (President), Dianne Butts, Sharon Norris Elliot, Kathy Collard Miller, Karen Porter, Rhonda Rhea and Carole Whang Schutter and Joy A. Schneider

INFORMATION Leading Hearts Magazine for Christian Women is published bimonthly by Right to the Heart Ministries 2016. ISSN 2380-5455 ADVERTISING | Display rates are available at leadinghearts.com. By accepting an advertisement, Leading Hearts does not endorse any advertiser or product. We reserve the right to reject advertisements not consistent with the magazines objectives. MANUSCRIPTS | Writers guidelines are available at leadinghearts.com. Leading Hearts | PO Box 6421, Longmont, CO 80501 phone: (303) 835-8473 | fax: (303)678-0260 email: lindareply@gmail.com MEMBER | 2016 Evangelical Press Association Award of Merit Winner All rights reserved. Copyrighted material reprinted with permission Photos courtesy of: barefacedgirl.com, John Buckley, Centricity Music, Dollar Photo Club, Hoganson Media Relations, Kerry Kara Photography /KLS Photos & Imaging, Pixabay, Maureen Pratt, Reunion Records

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I’M NOT GONNA LIE. WHEN I WAS HANDED MY DIAGNOSIS OF BIPOLAR TYPE ONE WITH “PSYCHOTIC EPISODES,” I FELT THAT I HAD BEEN DEALT THE BIGGEST “CONE OF SHAME” ON THE PLANET. In fact, I couldn’t stand the idea that I was literally “falling apart” in front of an audience that I loved, desired respect from, and had the responsibility to encourage and be a role model pointing to the goodness of God. My heart hadn’t changed. God wasn’t to blame. I was in pain, extremely ill, under attack, and in denial. I was wallowing in the toxicity of my mind, ignoring what was happening. Everything was pushing through, like a pile of sick, to the surface. One thing was for sure: I was breaking down. This reality was not only stopping me in my tracks; it had knocked me down for the count. 3-2-1 Ding! Ding! Ding! In the psychiatric ward of the hospital and every day since then, the shame cloud liked to hover right in front of my face. In fact, I never thought anyone would be able to see old Amber in the same way—without the shame cloud. It was in this frailty that God turned the light on to reality —He is present in my pit. He also helped me see that even with a pit diagnosis, I didn’t have to live there. One thing I realized was that I had to give up my “cone of shame.” To do this, I had to become “barefaced” about my condition. But moreover, I had

to use my voice to be the person I was divinely created to be—and dissolve the stigma in the b-word. I acknowledge that I can’t relate to everyone with bipolar disorder, but I know that many of you deal with an invisible illness. For me to say, “I am Bipolar” would be like someone else saying, “I am Cancer.” Bipolar does not equal broken. Anxiety does not equal disorder. It just makes those of us who deal with it approach living from a different perspective—and with a different routine to keep health in check. So I walk this journey, dealing with the stigma, stereotypes, and all those uncomfortable pauses every time I release something of vulnerability in conversations or cyberspace. But I know in this journey I’ve found that vulnerability paints the most beautiful pictures of His love and grace. And I’m not going even try to fake an “Apple Pie Baking Super Mum” persona. And you know what? I’m the beautiful, one-of-a-kind, unique Amber God’s created me to be. Yes, there is beauty even in challenge of this headspace, because I have the unique ability to see things many people miss in life. I may travel this road, but I thank God every day I never have to journey on my own. And neither do you! I’m praying this issue of Leading Hearts encourages you to step up and be brave for His Glory. I’m praying you’ll be blessed. S Peace!


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I had strategy, determination and faith...until the critique.

I had strategy, determination, and faith. Until the critique. Because it wasn’t the first. A friend had also recently suggested that perhaps I shouldn’t take those business trips alone a couple times a year. Away from my seven-year-old daughter and all. Because her parents had never left her with others while she was being raised and how could I possibly feel comfortable doing that?

“YOU’RE WORKING ON A WEDNESDAY NIGHT? THE WOMAN WHO OWNED THE PLACE BEFORE NEVER DID THAT.” In a crisp white blouse and black-striped skirt, our knees almost touching as we faced one another. She reached out a hand decorated with three oversized gems as she accepted the progress update we’d just reviewed.

“MOST FOLKS AROUND HERE ARE IN CHURCH ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT.” I pushed myself back in the brown leather chair. Most folks. Except both of us? A thirty-something entrepreneur, I’d recently purchased an existing franchise and had dreams of success. I wanted to meet the needs of others with excellence, but I also had some financial goals. I love God deeply so I had prayed through the purchase of this business, wanting to honor Him. I determined reasonable goals, including business hours. I felt good about it. And more importantly, I felt like God was good with it.

She just wanted what was best for us, after all. Maybe they were right. Maybe I should have been in church every Wednesday night. Maybe it’s more than tradition. Perhaps I shouldn’t miss any opportunity to connect with others. And maybe my daughter did need my attention round-the-clock and somehow I was failing her by heading off to educate myself on better business practices. Right or wrong, it was these sort of doubts that started choking my dreams, guilting me away from welllaid, well-prayed-through plans. And I soon found myself surrendering control of my life to the opinions of others. Because that’s the sort of thing that happens when doubt and anxiety start leading your faith: you feel like a failure at things you shouldn’t. I spent too many years struggling to marry the dreams of my career with my relationship with God. But God had long before given me the liberty to be productive and effective and to use my skills to win. He simply wanted me to do it His way.


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-continued from p.9-

If so, I want to encourage you to redirect that energy and passion into these areas where a healthier perspective will directly impact your success:

1. Purpose

Don’t let doubt stop you from pursuing your purpose. Your “why” needs to be front and center, bigger than any obstacles that tempt you. Think it through. Why are you doing this? What has God promised you if you move forward? Ground your thoughts here. Line up everything else in life beneath these truths.


Though we won’t often admit it, there are times we

think we know better than God. A false humility won’t advance our purpose. (Ask me how I know.) We can’t keep discounting our accomplishments, degrading them to luck or timing if we want to succeed. God probably wants to use our skills and talents.

3. Peace

Almost everything and everyone in life come with a set of expectations. Respect the reasonable ones and adjust the rest. I don’t know anyone who enjoys disappointing people, but sometimes it can’t be helped. We’re called to be at peace with others as much as we can, yes, but not to always please them. Some folks will still judge; it’s human nature. But

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refuse any false sense of shame.

4. Patience

In a world where many want to tell us how to look and think and feel, it’s important to hold fast to your true self.

A GODLY CONFIDENCE FUELS SUCCESS. Be patient with yourself. God is. In spite of our past or personality or the absence of our own patience, His mercies are new every day. This life is a process; stick with Him through the process. If you’re a parent, I imagine you understand how God might feel when we’re tempted to cave to guilt or doubt. Consider those times we watch our children do anything that requires practice, discipline, or skill.

Aren’t we pleased when they win? I wasn’t winning at life because the opinion of others mattered more to me than the opinion of God. Over the years, Galatians 1:10 became a much-needed filter of truth:

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? . . . If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (ESV). I learned that God is the ultimate authority in every detail of our lives. That includes our Wednesday nights, our travel plans, and any dreams of success tucked deep in our hearts. S

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-continued on p. 16-

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-continued from p. 15-

When I dig in the dirt, a sense of quiet and calm comes over me. Along with the slow pace of growing plants, there’s also a connection with God’s natural world that reminds me of the Creator’s creativity and my own place as a steward of that beauty. Growing African Violets is a true stress-buster for me, and a way to lessen the daily burden of living with the symptoms of lupus and other chronic illnesses. Some days, when I am in a flare and not feeling good at all, the splash of color on my plant shelves is all I need to turn a bad day into a good one! Also, as I’ve moved into showing, judging, and hybridizing African violets, the people I’ve met through the African Violet Society of America (www.avsa.org) and local clubs have become friends, which is another wonderful way to bring more goodness into my life.

When the Going Gets Tough In fact, this is one of the keys to coping with crises that I talk about in my new book, Don’t Panic!: How to Keep Going When the Going Gets Tough.

received my diagnosis. In the late-1990s, I became horribly ill with something doctors couldn’t, at first, identify. I was working very long hours and traveling a lot, and my body was just giving out. I began to lose my thick, blond hair in big clumps, and my hands were so weak that at times I couldn’t hold a glass of water. A rash broke out on my face, my joints felt as if they were on fire, and I was so tired that I would oversleep my alarm. For a full year, my doctor kept saying, “You’re just stressed.” But I sensed something else was wrong. Finally, the Holy Spirit inspired me to demand that my doctor do some blood tests. I know it was the Holy Spirit because I was at my wit’s end about what could be wrong, and didn’t even know what I should be asking of my doctor. But the Holy Spirit did! When the tests came back, they showed that my platelet count was plunging; this was extremely serious. After more tests, a rheumatologist confirmed that several of my internal organs, including my heart, were being assailed by the inflammation caused by lupus.

She said, “Lupus is trying to kill you. If you don’t stop working and take care of yourself, it will.” As a You see, at some point, each one of us will face some single woman going through the lupus diagnosis, lostraumatic, life-altering event, like I did when I ing a brother, and facing civil unrest in my {16.} - -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

#REALCHURCHladies Los Angeles community during the riots, learning not to panic has become my key survival skill.

Don’t Get Stuck! At the end of the day—laying down my fears, resting in the moment, trusting that whatever came my way—I was still in God’s hands...even when the pain wouldn’t let up. Along my illness journey, I have witnessed many chronic illness and pain sufferers get “stuck” on wanting God to cure them, to take away the illness and completely erase the pain. I do believe that God can do this at any time and that Our Lord Jesus Christ did and can make the blind to see and the lame to walk! But these miracles are entirely in God’s hands, gifts that are His will to bestow. For some of us, God’s will is that we walk with our pain and illness throughout our lives. This, I believe, is not meant to be punishment, not any kind of retribution. Rather, it is a way that we may be brought even closer to Jesus. With our pain and suffering, we are walking right alongside Our Lord all the way up to Calvary.

brothers in Christ with the understanding that we are much more courageous, resilient, and supported than we might think we are. We are not “victims” who have to cower and wait for the proverbial knight on a mighty steed to save us. We’re already saved! God is right there with us, at all times and especially in the midst of a crisis. We can pray anytime, anywhere. We breathe, and the more we use our physical, emotional, and spiritual deep breathing to confront our stresses, the more we will benefit from that simple, yet profound, action. We have each other, a wonderful, wide circle of encouragement and support. And, we have faith—rich, deep, beautiful, and alive! S For more of Maureen’s story visit her at www.maureenpratt.com .


I hope that Don’t Panic! will provide my sisters and

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IN GOD WE TRUST SOMETIMES PARENTING CAN BE A TOUGH JOB— ESPECIALLY WHEN IT CONCERNS ISSUES THAT BRING FEAR TO OUR CHILDREN. We live in the grandest country on earth, but the attacks and tragic events of the past few months—the horrifying images that we see on television and the Internet—can be unsettling for both parents and children. And, often, our children internalize their concerns rather than talk to us about them. So what should parents do? Well, this is the perfect time for moms and dads to teach their children that it’s “In God we trust.” Here are a few tips:

G- Go to God’s Word. Did you know that there are 365 verses about fear? Yes, one for every day of the year. Type “verses about fear” and “verses about trust” in your search engine. Write those verses out on slips of paper and put them in a jar on your breakfast table. Pull one out each week and memorize them together. Talk about what those verses mean. Those precious promises will comfort your children for the rest of their lives.

O- Open the doors of communication with your children. Ask them if they are afraid. Discuss their fears. Be proactive and talk about what to do in dangerous situations. Then share how God is with us in every moment and that nothing can happen to us unless it comes through Him first.

D- Determine that you and your family will pray together for our country and our leaders. Pray for protection. Pray for your family and those you love. Pray for those who serve in our military—the brave men and women who fight to keep us safe and free. And pray for those who would harm us. As we reflect on our freedoms as a country, take a few minutes to give thanks for the blessings God’s given us—and for the security of knowing that we can trust Him no matter what situations we face. In God we trust. Such simple words, but the best protection plan ever for our families. S

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in his life and difficult to see his natural skill in friendship and athletic ability. Choosing to say, “I know you are going to grow out of this because you are gifted with people and with your physical abilities,” took a lot more effort than blurting out, “Why are you being so difficult? Just straighten up.” He already knew he was off and didn’t need a reminder. What he needed was someone to believe he could find away to be his best without dismissing bad behavior.


Ephesians 6:4, you’ll also notice the verse also says not to do it. However sometimes, as parents we are more conscientious of extending that kind of grace when your teaching Sunday School to other people’s children than it comes when alone your with your own. After all, your kids “should know better.”

The way to combat this is to focus on “training” and “instruction.” “Training” refers to discipline that leads to self-discipline. The first goal of parenthood is to raise young people who have the ability to discipline their time, their desires, their habits and their commitments. Early in their lives, we apply discipline and make many decisions for them. As they mature, the goal is to transfer decisions to them as they discern natural consequences to their choices. “Instruction” is not the average word for teaching. It refers to admonishing—using all available methods— in order to help a child do the right thing. In other words, the second strategy of parenthood is a willingness to use words, actions, appeals, principles, involvement, consequences, and sacrifices to inspire our kids to do what is right.

The truth is a dad or mom who is never pleased with their kids, critical of everything they do, and demanding that they always produce more and act better will watch those loved ones diminish in motivation and accomplishments.

It is the parental application of John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (NIV). Jesus demonstrated His love by giving up His life on the cross. We demonstrate our love for our kids when we give of ourselves in selfless devotion to helping them discover God’s best for them.

When our middle son was growing up, it was common for him to be angry, sullen and aggressive towards others. He had a medical issue he couldn’t control and often felt he was living in the shadow of his older brother. It was easy to see the negative traits

We asked our kids when they were grown, “What did we do that actually helped you?” The first answer that stood out was, “You were the same people in public that you were in private, so we knew you believed what you were telling us.” S

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When God calls you to pray,

what will your answer be? In Called to Pray Pray, Linda Evans Shepherd shares dozens of inspiring true stories of people who have heeded God’s call to pray and the astonishing results of those impromptu prayers. Through accounts of people being protected from harm and rescued from danger, of needs being met and hearts being encouraged, you’ll see that God is involved in an active and dynamic relationship with us—and that we can be part of his plan to bless others.



Available wherever books and ebooks are sold.



WHAT A GREAT QUESTION! As Christians we base our faith on the wording of the Bible, so it’s vital that we can verify its authenticity. I’ll touch on a few highlights of this important topic.

When we talk about validating historical information, we first look at the number of old manuscripts, and the time span between the writing and the events reported. Historians accept materials up to 1,000 years after the event. Two hundred fifty manuscripts of Caesar’s Gallic Wars remain. The oldest manuscript dates 950 years after the incidents described, and no one questions their validity. In contrast, we have around 17,000 manuscripts of the Old Testament. Given the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the manuscripts fall into the time range scholars accept as reasonable. With 24,000 manuscripts, the New Testament enjoys phenomenal attestation. Our oldest fragments of John’s Gospel dates at about ninety A.D.—a mere 60 years after the crucifixion. The Apostle Paul lived in Jerusalem during the passion of Christ. He later wrote of his conversion and then of his visit to Jerusalem. Referencing his other writings, scholars believe he received a creed from the early church fathers about five years after the death of Christ. (I Corinthians 15:3-6) Pretty amazing!

Historians also examine the accuracy of the manuscripts. Jewish scribes adhered to meticulous rules for copying manuscripts. After completing their work, rabbis subjected each text to extensive examination. For instance, they knew the number of characters that should be on each page and the middle character of the book. Unless the new manuscript met each criterion, they destroyed it. When archeologists discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls, they were amazed at the accuracy of the Old Testament. Some words had variations in spelling. For instance, if you live in Great Britain, the word ‘armory’ would have an extra ‘u,’ as in ‘armoury.’ That small change doesn’t prevent you from grasping the meaning. Most New Testament writers had firsthand experience of incidents described, or like Dr. Luke, who interviewed eyewitnesses. Later, monks also had rigid standards for copying old manuscripts too. Scholars have found small changes in manuscripts in different regions, but the differences are slight and have no impact on the underlying message. For those interested in pursuing the topic, Josh McDowell (josh.org) has written many books on the validity of Scripture and apologetics and is continually adding to his research. It is so exciting to know we can rely on what Paul said to the Colossian church, “Christ in you the hope of glory.” S

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experienced enveloped us. The cliché was true: We couldn’t see our hands before our face. When the lights came back on, there was an audible sigh of relief in the crowd. Then we joked, “That’s how it was at creation when God said, ‘Let there be light.’” John the beloved Apostle wrote these profound and emphatic words,

“God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all” (1 John 1:5, NLT).

Consider what happens in the dark. We stumble. We run into obstacles. We can’t see. We don’t understand clearly or know where to turn or step. We feel alone and helpless. But in the light, we walk sure-footed, observing the obstacles before us. As the light sheds around us, we find understanding, appreciation, and empathy. The light changes our situation. Since God is light, we can determine the best next steps because His will becomes unmistakable. Having the light of God gives us power and hope.

Greater Freedom

I believe there is something deeper and more profound when we compare the darkness and light in John’s words. God’s light offers us an even bigger and broader freedom. In darkness, we can hide. No one can see our secrets—or our sin. But in His light, everything is visible—our private habits, our inner thoughts, and our hidden flaws. In God’s light, the unseen becomes known. We see the flaws—and so does everyone else.

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• I hate her, but no one knows, so it doesn’t matter. • I’ll do this and then ask God for forgiveness. In God’s light, we see these lies and can join David in his prayer, “Keep me from lying to myself ” (Psalm 119:29, NLT).

Leading with Light

Experts agree that one of the key characteristics of a good leader is transparency. As a leader, the light must shine on your core values. This visibility lets everyone in your organization know that you are genuine—even in your weaknesses.


Exposing our secrets sounds scary, I know, but God’s light also sheds His mercy. Once, a group of angry men brought a woman to Jesus. They had caught her in the act of adultery. Talk about exposed. Yet Jesus told the crowd to consider their own sin before condemning her. Why? Because Jesus’ light had exposed their secrets and sins; no one threw a stone because Jesus’ light also contains mercy and grace. Another woman met Jesus at a well one day. When His light shed on her disgraceful past, she felt a new freedom—enough to go into town praising God that her hidden shame was now public. Because in His light, there is forgiveness. Freedom comes from light because Jesus’ light brings understanding and pardon.

Seeing Myself

God’s light opens up the deepest crevices and corners of my heart. And when those areas are uncovered, I discover the clever tools I’ve used to keep them covered up. One way is lying to myself. • • •

If no one sees me, no one will know. If I eat this ice cream in the car, the calories won’t count. What I do doesn’t hurt anyone else.

Leading in the light inspires trust because you tell the truth and keep your promises. You become a leader that people will follow. You take responsibility and do not pass blame. You see what your group needs and you take actions to fulfill those needs.

Let there be light.

Let’s Talk

1. Read the entire first chapter of 1 John. Describe the other features of God’s light. 2. Have you told yourself any lies? Ask God to shine His light into your thoughts? 3. As a leader, have you hidden a weakness or flaw from those you lead? Are you willing to be transparent, trusting God’s light to shower mercy? What action do you think you should take to become more transparent with those you lead? S

lauren daigle-


At the age of 15, a debilitating illness took Lauren out of school and community for two years. Once a social butterfly, she started to get lonely and drifted into a season of depression. It was then that her mother encouraged her to stay focused on persevering to wellness, and Lauren began to research people who had overcome difficulties.

LAUREN DAIGLE HAS BURST INTO MUSIC STARDOM LIKE A FIRECRACKER. Audiences immediately took notice of Lauren when the first single from her debut album, How Can It Be hit radio airwaves. And then the awards came rolling in: K-Love Artist of the Year, Dove New Artist of the Year, and multiple Grammy nominations. In fact, Lauren has been so in demand and her schedule has been so non-stop just sinking an interview with this amazing lady is prize all its own. Lauren has been on the tour bus all summer performing with artists and bands like For King & Country, Hillsong United, Francesca Battistelli, and Switchfoot. As Lauren puts it, her schedule has been “nonstop but a lot of fun.” All the unexpected accolades still “takes [Lauren’s] breath away.” The 24 year-old-gal from Lafayette, Louisiana praises God for her ability to adapt to the changes his brought into her life in such a short amount of time. “God has been faithful to bring little surprises along the way to keep me in tune and inspired over and over again,” she says. “People are connecting, and God is promoting.” While Lauren is tackling the new pace of life like a pro, about nine years ago life was much different.

Through her studies, she began to ask God the purpose of this journey, and then she saw Him as her comforter, friend, and confidant. She shares these words of encouragement to those facing a difficult time today, “Let [your situation] be the motivation to propel you into the next season. Find out what the purpose is for it because there is a purpose for everything.” That season of debilitation did motivate Lauren to overcome and live bravely. When faced with obstacles now, she reminds herself that “Do not fear” is listed in the Bible 365 times, a daily reminder. When approached by moments of fear, she replaces with The Truth of His Word. “I’m called lovely and pure just because who Jesus is, and I try to take on the promises that come with being a child of The Most High King,” Lauren says. “One of those perfect promises is that His love casts out all fear.” In the hustle, Lauren admits she has wrestled with decision making, but God encourages us to keep our hearts in the position to honor Him. She explained that we think God will be disappointed if we make a wrong decision. However, He gave us the free will to make a decision. “I just want to stay in that position of submission and honor,” she says. “living in a place where I can’t make a wrong decision because He makes all things right. He makes all things good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” This fall, Lauren will headline her first tour, A Night with Lauren Daigle. Her prayer for the tour is for everyone to receive a refreshing from God. “I am preparing for the impact that I want to come out of these nights,” she says. “I feel like it’s going to be a time for the body of Christ to reconnect, share stories, and love each other.”

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-continued from p. 27On the tour, Lauren will be partnering with CURE International, as medical missions are near to her heart. “I used to write in my journals, as a kid, how I wanted to open up children’s homes and help heal the sick and mother the orphans,” she says. “Connecting with CURE International, where that is their same heartbeat, it was a common thread between us.” To many of her fans, young and young at heart, Lauren is living the American dream. But from Lauren’s perspective that dream is much different. “In America, the mindset is to strive, strive, strive. Climb the ladder,” she says. “But when you strip it all down, success looks like following through with the call that God places on your life.” Lauren notes that success for some looks like a classroom, for others that will be the mission field and yet for others that will be cleaning the floors in a retirement community. “It’s important to be aware of what God places in front of us,” Lauren says. “I think that living in complete submission and earnestly seeking how the Kingdom can come to Earth through what God is calling you to—that is what success is in my eyes.” Much of that belief is rooted in her favorite Scripture passage, Proverbs 16:9: “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (NASB). Lauren says that those words have assured her that she doesn’t have to strive to make it all work. “He is the One holding it all together. He’s aligning every step along the way,” she says. “There’s no risk in the kingdom of God. He is covering you all the way. Knowing that definitely relieves the pressure. He covers everything that could happen along that journey because His love for us is so deep.” S Be sure to follow Lauren Daigle on all the social media outlets for her latest music videos. For more information, visit her at www.laurendaigle.com. Amber Weigand-Buckley, LH editor interviewed Lauren.


— t h g u o h t r o f d foo LIFE BYTES




AS A BRIT BY BIRTH AND AN ANGLOPHILE I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN FASCINATED BY THE CELEBRATIONS AND HISTORY SURROUNDING THE LIFE OF QUEEN ELIZABETH II. She recently became the longest reigning monarch, surpassing her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria, who ruled for 63 years. This year the Queen turned 90 and the events celebrating Her Majesty’s birthday have been amazing and widespread, even spreading to celebrations here in the U.S.

the Queen, not a staff writer, writes these talks. In her speech on Christmas 2015, she said this: “For me, the life of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, whose birth we celebrate today, is an inspiration and an anchor in my life. A role model of reconciliation and forgiveness, he stretched out his hands in love, acceptance, and healing. Christ’s example has taught me to seek to respect and value all people of whatever faith or none.” The Queen’s coronation in 1953, when she was 25 years old, began a life for her that has characterized a consistency of concerns for others and a steadfast love for God. I am delighted that the Queen is sharing from her life more boldly and openly and pray that this will encourage others to share their faith.

One event that has been overlooked by the media is the release of a new book that was written to celebrate her birthday, The Servant Queen and the King She Serves. This book uses the Queen’s own words to describe her belief and trust in Jesus Christ and the role that God has played in her 64 years on the throne.

Three days of celebrations were planned for her official birthday (her real birthday is April 21st) beginning with The National Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral, then the annual Trooping the Colour followed by the Patron’s Lunch on Sunday. The royal family will greet the many well-wishers by an appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

While English royalty rarely speak of their beliefs, the Queen has written about her faith in the forward of the book. She has lived a life of service to her country and models her life on the examples of Christ. Published by HOPE, The Bible Society and London Institute for Contemporary Christianity, the book’s primary objective is to share the gospel and lead others to Christ.

Many of the celebrations for the Queen’s birthday center around food, with street parties and lawn picnics in the form of BBQ’s or afternoon teas. The Patron’s Lunch, organized by the Queen’s oldest grandson, Peter Phillips, was held on The Mall at St. James Park with 10,000 guests.

As the ruling monarch, the Queen is the Defender of the Faith, which means she is the Supreme Governor or head of the Church of England, but with a very personal meaning as it acknowledges her dependence on Christ. In each of her Christmas Addresses to the Nation, she has professed her faith in Christ. This is especially notable as

Over 600 organizations and charities across the UK and the Commonwealth were invited to the affair, with an opportunity for the public to join in through a ballot system. Each guest purchased a hamper lunch provided by Marks and Spencers and enjoyed the afternoon celebrating the Queen’s 90th. God Save the Queen!

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In 1953 when Queen Elizabeth II was crowned Queen of the British Empire, the entire country celebrated. This salad was made in her honor for the Coronation Luncheon. There are many variations, but I think you will enjoy this one.

Coronation Chicken Sandwiches 2 cups cooked and chopped chicken 3-4 stalks of celery, chopped 3 ounces dried apricots, chopped 1 ounce slivered almonds 1/4 jar mango or peach chutney (cut-up large bits of fruit) 1 teaspoon (or more) curry powder 3 finely chopped green onions Salt and pepper to taste Enough mayonnaise to hold salad together


• Place all ingredients in a bowl, mix well and refrigerate for several hours. • Spread on white or whole wheat buttered bread, or serve on a bed of lettuce. • Cut off crusts and cut into triangles. • Keep covered until ready to serve. This sandwich is usually a favorite, so make plenty. Two-quarters of each sandwich per person are average. S

Recipe from Penelope’s new book: The Art of Afternoon Tea: From the Era of Downton Abbey and the Titanic. (Available from PenelopesTeaTime.com)


The Servant Queen and the King She Serves can be ordered from

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Q. WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES YOU A GREAT TEAM, AND WHY? A: I think Tom and I really work well together. The main thing that makes us a great team is the fact that we truly want to honor the Lord with what we do. We seek Him separately and then together in our decisions. The Lord blessed us each with opportunities to pursue degrees in higher education, and we have been able to use that knowledge often in our business now.


I have worked in event planning and marketing, and Tom is very gifted in business and design and also uses his legal experience often. We are both very organized, and we keep a joint calendar that we can access on our phones and computers. We both realize that work can be, well, “work” sometimes, but we try hard to have fun in all that we do. Our motto for our four boys is, “Botos have fun wherever they go.” So, even in the mundane, we try to make the best of it. Q. HOW DO THE TWO OF YOU CHALLENGE OR ABIDE BY TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE STANDARDS? A: We have learned to embrace our roles in our marriage. Tom is the primary bread winner, and I work from home and can focus on the kids during the day. When we were first married, Tom still had one more year of law school, so the roles were reversed. There are situations where the wife needs to work fulltime for a season, and there is nothing wrong with that. Each couple needs to pray about their situation and seek wisdom from the Lord. As far as the house goes, I generally take care of the inside, and he takes care of the outside. I think I got the

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Q: WHAT IS THE BEST BIBLE VERSE FOR MARRIED COUPLES? A: Love covers over so many offenses. Most arguments or “discussions” as we call them are over things that do not matter in the bigger picture. Another verse is Proverbs 17:9, “Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends” (NIV).

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better end of that deal because Tom actually helps on the inside too. And, now, the boys are old enough to really help as well!



A: First of all, pray about it. Pray separately, and also ask the Lord together for wisdom. Be sure that you are clear in your expectations and that you are both on board. Any new business venture takes a lot of time, and honestly can be quite stressful. So, at the end of the day, if you aren’t both 100 percent on board from the beginning and feel that the Lord is leading in that direction, it would be very challenging.

A: Tom and I have talked about this a lot because we both want to fulfill the role that God has for us. In this culture, it goes against the norm to use the term submissive. I always have to go back to what Scripture says about my role in Ephesians. “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands” (Ephesians 5:24, ESV).

Believe in the mission and purpose of the company. It can be easy to get caught up in the numbers or the challenges, but I find comfort and joy in the fact Owlegories has the potential to impact not only kids lives now, but for eternity by sharing the gospel with them.

I wish I could say it is always easy or in my nature, but let’s be honest: submission to any authority can be challenging. Tom is a great leader and treats me with love and respect, but it is still a choice that I have to make. I think the bottom line is that I trust his leadership. I know that he values my opinion, and I get to rest in the fact that He prays about decisions for our family. If it comes down to it, and he makes a decision I don’t agree with, I know that it is for a good reason and not just because “he is in charge.” Being submissive means showing respect even when I disagree with his opinion, trusting him in leading our family, and not trying to be in control of everything.

Q: WHAT IS ONE KEY WAY TO NUTURE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR SPOUSE—AS YOUR PARTNER IN MINISTRY AS WELL AS LIFE? Besides your commitment to pray and study the Bible together, know that you must work at your marriage just like any other relationship. Take time to sit down periodically and assess how things are going. Be open to adjusting where needed. Any time there are two sinners together, there is going to be potential for conflict. Also, have fun together! Schedule time for things that you both enjoy doing together. Tom does an excellent job of tentatively scheduling when we are going to have a date night. We love to have fun together. Laughter is essential. S .

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— e m i t t abou




TAKE CONTROL OF TIME TYRANTS to take care of all the details. But, filling every quarter hour makes for a wearisome day and lots of distractions. Instead, break days into three or so blocks of time (morning, afternoon, evening) and schedule one primary activity for each block. 2. Build in time cushions Be sure you designate spaces of time between activities for catching your breath and preparing for the next event. It keeps you from rushing and running late. It also helps to have time breaks in case of emergencies. For speakers, be sure to schedule in time to pack and prepare for trips. 3. Choose what fits your direction in life Pray and seek guidance from God. Ask for a vision of the future He wants for you. Note the dreams that may seem far off. Then. With each request that would suck your time, ask if it fits your direction and moves you toward your dreams. If not, learn to decline graciously. If yes, and you have time, set a few boundaries (length of commitment, cost, weekly time, etc.). If it fits, agree to get involved.


I had some speaking trips noted, but no routine activities. I felt free. I’ve learned the hard way, after some struggles with over-commitment, to keep from scheduling too many activities and getting into time debt. 1. Move from tight schedules to blocks of time Daily planners are ideal for doctors who have a crew

4. Say “No” Graciously State that the activity doesn’t fit God’s call or your family’s needs. • “It’s not a fit for my talents; I wouldn’t do it justice.” • “I’m sorry, but I’m already booked.” • “My husband has other plans to occupy my time.” • “It would be unfair to commitments I’ve made.” • “I cannot do it, but I will pray for the right person to step forward.” • “I am honored you asked me, but I must decline.” 5. Time to Bless Others Make sure each day has a little time to bless someone. Let God direct who you will bless. Investing a few moments in other people will enrich your life, and the smiles of thanks will add joy to your day. S

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Many of us see love as a topic we put on the shelf to bring out every February. For five years, comfort foods were my stress reducers, or so I thought. Flowers, pink paper hearts, and chocolates are wonderful ways to express love, but these tokens pale in comparison to the hidden inner benefits of loving well. Love is multi-faceted. It has the ability to build up every part of your body. Loving well can help you stay healthy physically, mentally, and spiritually. The secret to unlocking these benefits lies in having the courage

to love freely. I’m sure you have been hurt by love at some point in life. I know I have. Allowing others access to your heart is risky business. Those painful memories can cause us to build a fortress around our heart preventing us from loving well. Instead we love on guard, ready to defend our heart from potential dangers. Living life on the defensive can lead to early aging, heart disease, and illness. Our bodies were created to reside in a state of homeostasis, or peace. “At ease” is the command given to soldiers when they are to rest. In this position, their hands are often behind their back. They are no longer taking a defensive stand but rather unarmed and open. This is the state our body, soul, and spirit longs to find. The only way to be free to love others well is to be unarmed and open. Loving well requires we resist

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HEALTHTRACKS firing back to make our point heard, and instead open ourselves to deeper conversation. Loving well means we seek to heal the brokenness in others, by sharing our own broken journeys. Loving well demands we stand strong in the face of our own insecurities, fears, and doubts while allowing ourselves to reach out to others in need. Here are even more motivation to spread the love


Health Benefits of Loving Well.

1. Love improves your memory.The natural calming effect of a

loving environment promotes the best setting for the healing and renewing of nerve cells. These cells are important in your cognitive health and are needed to maintain your short-term memory.

2. Love creates an environment for healing.

Research has found that wounds heal faster when you are in loving relationships rather than when you are in relationships filled with anger, unforgiveness, and resentment. In one study, blisters healed twice as fast in couple who were in happy marriages compared to those in unhappy unions.

3. Love reduces stress.

Loving relationships cause a release of hormones in the body which can cause you to feel less tense, reduces negative energy and produces a feeling of wellbeing. In addition to the physical changes, the emotional support of those who love you can help you cope better when you face a stressful situations.

4. Love alleviates pain.

The part of the brain responsible for how you sense pain is in the same part of your brain which recognizes the feeling we associate with love. How you perceive pain is affected by your feelings of love.

5. Love helps you fight back against cancer.

Studies show stronger immune systems in those who are in satisfying relationships. Happy couples had more white blood cells, which are the cell responsible for identifying intruders in your body like cancer and removes them. These are also the cells responsible for helping your fight back against colds and flu virues.

6. Love boosts your circulation.

Studies show stronger immune systems in those who are in satisfying relationships. Happy couples had more white blood cells, which are the cell responsible for identifying intruders in your body like cancer and removes them. These are also the cells responsible for helping your fight back against colds and flu virues.

7. Love strengthens your emotions.

A Rutgers study found that when participants looked at photos of people they love, they had an increase of dopamine brain activity. Dopamine is associated with optimism, energy and a general sense of well-being.

8. Love leads to longevity.The National Longitudinal

Mortality Study has shown that people who give and receive love out live those who prefer social isolation. A loving community not only gives the needed emotional support, but also is more likely to see that its occupants have the tangible support needed for the necessities of daily living. If you want to live well you must first learn to love well. This summer find ways to build community. Pack a care package for a soldier oversees. Take some treats to your local nursing home. Write a letter to someone in prison. Consider the least of these and ask yourself what you would desire if you were in their situation. What would make you feel loved? Don’t stop with the question. Love is active, so get moving! S

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ZIPLINE ONE SATURDAY AFTERNOON, WHILE ON BREAK FROM SPEAKING AT A CONFERENCE IN AUSTIN, I FOLLOWED A GROUP OF CONFEREES SO I COULD WATCH THEM ZIPLINE ACROSS THE LAKE. One by one, each of these limber, young women, geared up in a harness and helmet then climbed the telephone pole to the platform that hovered fifteen feet above us. On a count of three, they each jumped off, gliding down a wire that crossed the lake. They were fun to watch and when they invited me to follow them, I said, “Sure,” never expecting I would hit a snag. My problems started on my climb up the telephone pole. It seemed that each time my foot groped for the next peg, I’d kick it off the pole. But no worries; my young, lanky friends came to my rescue, shimmering up the pole to replace each peg I knocked down. The zipline master clipped me onto the wire, and pushed me to the edge of the platform, and through my heart was hammering, I could still hear the longago voice of my mother, “So, if all your friends were to jump off a cliff, would you jump too?”

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PRAYER CIRCLE Beads of sweat trickled between my shoulder blades. I swayed in time with chants of the women below me, “One, two, three…jump!” Not a chance. The zipline master suggested, “Stop looking down. Close your eyes and push off the edge of the platform, just as if you were pushing toward God.” I closed my eyes and recited the chant, “One, two, three… jump!” as my heart prayed, “Lord, I push into you!” Suddenly, the wind fingered through my hair and I opened my eyes to discover total bliss as the peaceful lake rushed beneath me. Soon, I fell into the waiting arms on the other side of the lake. Trusting God is a lot like jumping off a cliff. It’s hard to do when you’re focusing on your fears. The solution? You have to close your eyes and trust God as you let go of everything else. To commemorate my jump, I paraphrased Psalms 23. The Lord is my zipline master. I shall not want to scream. He makes me to harness up in the green pastures. He leads me to glide over still waters. He restores my soul.

He leads me up telephone poles of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yeah, though I fling myself through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not fear falling. For you are belaying me. Your ropes and clips, they comfort me. You prepare a launch pad before me in the presence of both friends and enemies. You anoint my hair with wind. My endorphins runneth over. Surely other zipliners will follow me All the days of my life And I will glide in the afternoons with the Lord - forever. So remember, the next time you’re paralyzed by fear, stop focusing on that fear and push toward God. That’s the only way to make that leap of faith. Dear Lord, May my focus stay on you so that I do not fear falling into the pitfalls of the enemy. I push into you, knowing that your waiting arms are always there S to catch me. In Jesus name, Amen To receive a free Prayer Toolbox filled with warfare prayers to pray over you and your loved ones, text LEADINGHEARTS to 95577. —LINDA EVANS SHEPHERD

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You know what’s a little sad? It’s sad that there are a lot of women who are automatically intimidated by me when I meet them. They’re intimidated because I’m a leader in several ministries—and mostly because I’m a minister’s wife. Because that, of course, makes me automatically “more spiritual” than the next person, right? Oh. My. But the biggest reason it’s all so sad is that after they’ve spent a little time getting to know me—and it doesn’t even really take all that long—they ‘re not intimidated anymore. Not in the slightest. Sigh. Sometimes functioning in a position of leadership can

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change the way people see us. Some give us credit we haven’t earned. Others judge us a little more harshly than we deserve. “What? You’re a pastor’s wife, and you don’t play the piano??” Of course, with that one I can always come back with the fact that I can play “Heart and Soul.” Not well, but still. Interestingly, in over 30 years in ministry, I can’t remember even one time someone needed me to plug my poorly done “Heart and Soul” into a service. Go figure. While I’m disqualifying myself as a good leader and a good pastor’s wife, I might as well go ahead and tell you that I also never bring extravagantly prepared dishes to potluck dinners. Seriously, I don’t even know what a pressure cooker is. Some churches call them pot “bless” dinners. But if I brought a homemade dish, I’ll tell you right now, it would no longer be a blessing. If I believed in luck, and if I cooked for one of those dinners, it would also be apparent to everyone that it isn’t even good luck. So I’ve learned over the years that, hey, somebody needs to bring the Oreos. The kids all love me. Most of the time I bring a few bags of potato chips or something like that to round it all out. Potato chips in my house count as vegetables. The most common comment I get almost everywhere I go is: “You’re not like any other pastor’s wife I’ve ever met.” It’s almost always said while they’re scrutinizing me with just one eye. I never know whether I should thank them … or apologize. It’s always good to remember that we are who we are because of Jesus. The perfect leader? The perfect pastor’s wife? I’m sure I don’t need to tell you I’m not either one of those. On the other hand, I’ve never actually met the perfect leader. Some have come annoyingly close (that’s a joke—mostly). The good news is that I don’t have to be that kind of perfect. You don’t either. Our identity as a leader is an honor we can wear. And sometimes a burden we bear. But who you are as a leader is never the “who” of what makes you, “you.” If our identity is entirely

wrapped up in any role like that, we’ll almost always find ourselves coming down heavy on the pride side, puffed up with a skewed view of our spirituality. Or we’ll come down heavy on the self-deprecating, inadequate side, knowing we’ll never be all that we need to be, and never feeling up to the task. When we get to heaven, I don’t think our nametags will say “ministry leader” or “pastor’s wife” or any of those kinds of labels. I think the name tags will likely just read: “His.” That eases a lot of pressure to be someone we’re not. It balances us out when we’re a little too full of ourselves. It helps the bumps in the road make a little more sense and the challenges entirely worth it. It eases guilt in the failures and helps us understand and celebrate more completely the victories. It’s also good to remember that the Father doesn’t put us all into one big lump. By His creative plan, we’re all so incredibly unique. As different as I am from the typical leader, He’s not only okay with it— He planned it. And God doesn’t judge me by the successful counseling I’ve done. Or the unsuccessful counseling. He doesn’t judge me by the covered dish I bring—or don’t bring. He doesn’t judge me by how many committees I’ve chaired or whether or not I’m directing VBS this year or how many followers I have on Twitter. He doesn’t judge me by how many people I’ve disappointed or how many times I’ve not measured up to someone else’s ideal leader. He doesn’t even judge me by whether or not I can play the piano.

I believe it’s with great love that He looks at me and says, “You’re not like any other pastor’s wife I’ve ever made.” S Adapted from Join the Insanity (New Hope Publishers, 2014) .

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BOOKS TO READ WHILE MY SOLDIER SERVES by Edie Melson Edie Melson has written a jewel of a prayer book about God’s care and how to keep a strong faith while your soldier serves. She has included not only prayers for your soldier but for yourself, as well ,as you grapple with the fact your loved one could and most likely is in danger at every moment of ‘ every day. The wisdom of God and faith to make it through the long months of waiting fill this book. It’s a keeper and a book to share as well. These prayers spread God’s wings of protection over your loved one. ­­ —Elva Cobb Martin, President South Carolina Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. www.elvamartin.com

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PRAYERS FOR A WOMAN’S SOUL by Julie Gillies “Julie K. Gillies has a written a book every woman needs! My heart was fed with encouragement from start to finish. Prayers for a Woman’s Soul is the perfect blend of personal stories, powerful prayers, and topic-specific Scriptures to reflect on, helping us draw strength from the Father so we can live from the fullness of all He has for us as women, wives, moms, and friends. I’m going to use it as my personal devotion book this year and get a copy for several friends!” —Renee Swope, bestselling author of A Confident Heart, Proverbs 31 Ministries radio co-host and speaker www.reneeswope.com

THE WIDOW WORE PINK by Robyn Dykstra The Widow Wore Pink is Robyn’s story of survival, of finding God in our worst-cases, of trusting Him along the way, of experiencing His faithfulness when life stinks. I couldn’t put it down. I just never knew what was going to happen next. An ex-Playboy Bunny in a Bible Study? Say what? I cried. I gasped. I blushed. I laughed (a lot) ... separately and all at the same time! But most importantly, I walked away from The Widow Wore Pink with a renewed hope in how good, faithful, loving and big our God really is. I NEEDed this story. I’m deeply thankful for it. You will be too. Get it. Read it. It won’t disappoint! Thank you, Robyn! You are a gifted storyteller! —Lauren Befus, Connect Pastor, Vineyard North Church www.vineyardnorth.com

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MUSIC REVIEWS PLANETSHAKERS Live in Manila Planetshakers Band has released a 5-track EP, Momentum: Live in Manila, capturing the energy of 30,000 worshippers during two back-to-back Planetshakers events in Manila. The album launches with two explosive praise songs, the original “Momentum” and familiar favorite “Nothing Is Impossible,” both recorded live in Manila’s Araneta Coliseum, which is featured, with an overhead snapshot, on the album cover art. The record then slows and mellows into a worshipful attitude and intimate encounter with God, with “I Know Who You Are” and “Face to Face.” Returning to an up-tempo pace, the EP closes with pop-dance track “Come Right Now.” In the world of worship music, Planetshakers rarely disappoints, and Momentum: Live in Manila is no exception.

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JESUS CULTURE Let it Echo Unplugged Jesus Culture’s recently released Let it Echo Unplugged features acoustic versions of tracks from their ninth live album, Let it Echo, released early in 2016. The high caliber vocals of the four featured voices on the seven-track record form a strong worship session. Jesus Culture shows that acoustic is not synonymous with sleepy, as powerful songs, such as “Never Gonna Stop Singing,” “Fierce,” and “Alive In You,” wake up the spirit with a jolt and get it moving, inspired to praise. The album’s pace winds down a bit during the final three songs, which includes the title track, but the element of intimacy is stronger. A real passion comes through the album, evident in the enthusiasm of the worship leaders, and also in the captured shouts and claps of the audience. Let it Echo Unplugged brings the listener into a personal encounter with God. With this live recording, Jesus Culture may be unplugged, but they are not disconnected.

TRAVIS RYAN Until My Voice is Gone Songwriter and recording artist, Travis Ryan’s newest release, Until My Voice is Gone, is a solid set of worship tracks. The album is a compilation of two EPs, You Hold It All, released in the fall of 2015, and Heartbeat, released at the same time as the full album. The album also features new radio single “You Come Running” as a bonus track. Recorded live over two nights at LifePoint Church (Smyrna, Tennessee), each song lifts worship to God for His love, goodness, steadfastness and faithfulness in all circumstances. The tracks, some widely familiar to church congregations across the nation (“We Believe” and “The Goodness of Lord,” for example), remind us that even when we don’t know what else to do, we can—and should—still worship. God has a way of making His presence known and moving mightily in those moments. Until My Voice is Gone would make a great companion for personal time with God.

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SOMETIMES THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF WRITING IS COMING UP WITH A GOOD BEGINNING. Here are some examples of lead paragraphs for an article on marriage. 1. Examples of other people’s struggle. “Ray and Jean have two children and a fairly satisfying marriage. We say fairly because Jean is troubled by one aspect of their relationship. ‘Ray sometimes get stressed out from his work,’ Jean told us, ‘or he feels down about something. I know when something is bothering him, but I’m never sure what it is. It could be me, for all I know. When I ask him about it, I always get the same reply: he insists that nothing is wrong.’” 2. Anecdote of personal struggle. “I never realized how much my pattern of anger would impact our marriage. But by the time we’d been married seven years, it was the only way I responded to my husband.” 3. Refer to reader directly. “We all face job stress from time to time, but when that stress follows you home, your marriage can suffer.” 4. Statistic about the need. “Everyone is convinced as many marriages of ‘Christian people’ end in divorce as

unbelievers, but it depends upon your definition of being a Christian.” 5. Generalization about the need. “I know a place in North Carolina where two rivers come together. From the top of a high bluff, you can watch the rivers move calmly toward their meeting point. But where they converge, the real battle takes place. One strong, independent stream meets an equally strong, independent stream, and water from the two churns and foams in a noisy, rushing current. Marriage is similar to the merging of those two rivers. One independent person meets another independent person, and they decide to join their lives into one. Like the rivers, two marriage partners become a separate creation. But two people do not join their lives easily or without conflict.” 6. Quote or Scripture. Socrates said, “By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you will become very happy. If you get a bad one, you will become a philosopher, and that is also good.” 7. A question. “How can a woman keep marital romance alive?” Most often, whatever you write initially for your opening paragraph(s) can be deleted during editing. It’s often the way we start the engine but seems unnecessary later on. S

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WHEN MY HUSBAND AND I VISITED NIAGARA FALLS, WE DISCOVERED THAT THE AREA HAD ONCE BEEN A PRIME LOCATION OF THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD. Runaway slaves sought out abolitionists in the area who could help them escape the brutality of slavery by getting them to and across the Niagara River, which separates the United States from Canada.



Ever since our Niagara experience with the historic Underground Railroad sites, we have become Underground Railroad connoisseurs, searching out other areas that have preserved the basements, lofts, nooks, and trails upon which our forefathers stealthily traveled to get to freedom. So far, we’ve been to Buffalo, New York; Memphis, Tennessee; Cleveland, Ohio; and Columbus, Ohio, seeing the sites, hearing the stories, and reliving the heart pain

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of our ancestors. Sorrow and anger well up as we read the stories of the hardships of slavery. We also feel an amazing sense of pride realizing that the strength and determination those runaways had also run through our veins. Many times, the punishments upon the slaves were so harsh that those being beaten would wish for death. It seemed that death was the only way to stop the excruciating pain. Unfortunately, before slavery came to an end, that was true in many cases. But now, it’s good news to know that death will free us from sin.

“He who has died has been freed from sin” (Romans 6:7, NKJV). That may not sound like good news until we realize that we do not die of ourselves. By identifying with Jesus Christ, we are “buried with Him through baptism into [His] death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4, NKJV). The passage even asks the question, “How shall we

who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Romans 6:2, NKJV). That would be as ridiculous as a freed man going back to volunteer to be a slave again. Just like the change brought about by transitioning from slavery to freedom, this death to sin leads to a brand new kind of life. Since “death no longer has dominion over Him [Jesus],” we who are dead to sin in Him are able to “reckon [ourselves] to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:9,11, NKJV). In one of the Underground Railroad locations, I read an account of a runaway slave who made it to Canada. The gentleman was so happy that he kissed the ground and jumped up and down yelling, “I’m free, I’m free, I’m free!” That’s how we should feel and act every day about our release from sin. Whenever we’re enticed by sin (the captor that tries to lure us), or threatened by the whips of guilt and shame, we can remember we are standing on the free soil of salvation in Christ. Look that enslaving temptation in the eye and yell, “I’m free, I’m free, I’m free!”


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JO ANN FORE is known as “The HOPE Coach.” She is passionate about women walking in freedom. As an author, teacher, and certified life coach, she leads women into full, free lives— lives of joy and purpose. www.JoAnnFore.com PAM FARREL along with husband Bill are speakers and authors of 40 books including their newest: 7 Simple Skills for Success for Men. For more information visit www.LoveWise.com BRIANA GOFORTH KLIENE served as the Spring 2016 intern for Leading Hearts magazine.She is a recent graduate of Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri.

meet linda

LINDA EVANS SHEPHERD @LINDASHEPHERD is publisher of Leading Hearts magazine. She is also a best-selling author, an in-demand speaker, and president of Right to the Heart ministries. She is founder of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA). She lives in Colorado with husband Paul, daughter Laura and son Jimmy. www.Sheppro.com

LINDA GOLDFARB is an international speaker with over 1000 engagements under her wide-banded, hip-hugging belt. As a board certified Christian life coach and certified Personalities coach, Linda combines her years of living the REAL life, biblical truth and a splash of humor to empower women, parents & couples to move from their living good life to experiencing God’s best… physically, spiritually, and relationally. www.LivePowerfullyNow.org KAREN PORTER is an international speaker and the author of six books and a successful business woman. She is president of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, serves on several boards, and coaches aspiring writers and speakers. She and her husband, George, own Bold Vision Books a Christian publishing company. www.karenporter.com HEATHER RIGGLEMAN is an author, speaker, journalist and full-time wife and mom. You can download a FREE copy of her latest ebook, Let’s Talk About Prayer on her blog, www.HeatherRiggleman.com.

meet amber

AMBER WEIGAND-BUCKLEY @BAREFACEDGIRL is managing editor and art director for Leading Hearts magazine. She is a writer, speaker and multi-award winning editor, having spent 21 years in the magazine industry. When not working on Leading Hearts, she provides communications and social media support for non-profits and missionaries. She and her Brit-native husband Philip live in Missouri with their three daughters: Saffron, Imogen and Penelope. www.barefacedgirl.com

RHONDA RHEA is an author, humor columnist and radio personality. She lives in the St. Louis area with her pastor-hub and has five grown children. www.rhondarhea.com

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PENELOPE CARLEVATO is an author of Afternoon Tea: From the Era of Downton Abby and the Titanic as well as Tea on the Titanic and First Class Etiquette. She speaks on hospitality, historical entertaining, and etiquette and manners for all ages and all occasions. Penelope lives in the Denver, CO. area and is the grandmother of 11. www.PenelopesTeaTime.com MICHELLE S. COX is an author and speaker and the creator of the Just 18 Summers® parenting resources and products.Visit her parenting blog www.just18summers.com. www.Facebook.com/just18summers.

SHARON NORRIS ELLIOTT’S engaging yet challenging messages touch hearts and tickle the funny-bones of her audiences, making her a popular, sought-after speaker. She and husband James enjoy their empty nest in Southern California. www.lifethatmatters.net KATHY COLLARD MILLER is a speaker and author whose newest book Never Ever Be the Same: A New You Starts Today released in January. Find her at www.KathyCollardMiller.com CYNTHIA L. SIMMONS is an author, speaker as well as radio host

and producer of Heart of the Matter Radio. During each broadcast, Cynthia takes an in-depth look at issues women face in our complex culture.She and husband Ray have five grown children. www.clsimmons.com

SAUNDRA DALTON SMITH is an internal medicine physician, author, and speaker. She shares with audiences nationwide on the topics of eliminating limiting emotions, breaking free from mental bondage, and helps others see God’s plan for them to live free in Christ. She is the founder of I Choose My Best Life, a movement to renew hope in a generation where depression, stress, and fear is peaking. www.ichoosemybestlife.com JENNIFER TAYLOR is a music and profile contributor for Leading Hearts magazine. HEATHER VAN ALLEN is a music reviewer for Leading Hearts magazine. KAREN WHITING is an international speaker, former TV host, and the author of twenty books. Her newest release is “365 Devotions for Hope” www KarenWrhiting.com.