Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine - April 2015 Edition

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Baton Rouge

Christian Magazine

Jarred Coates His Mission After God’s Not Dead Gardere Community Christian School

Faith Life Ordinary Woman, Extraordinary Faith

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APRIL 15, 2015

The Governor’s Prayer Breakfast is a statewide obser vance held annually near the opening days of the Louisiana Legislature. Its purpose is to seek God’s guidance for all leaders and citizens of our State, and to strengthen ourselves for the journey as we tr y to live as a responsible community of faith. It is an interdenominational event centered on the person of Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world and is intended to promote His glor y. People of all faiths are welcome to attend. The first Louisiana Governor’s Prayer Breakfast was held in Baton Rouge on May 10, 1965 at the Jack Tar Capitol House. This event is an outgrow th of the INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN LE ADERSHIP movement which spawned the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., and similar events held annually in thousands of U.S. cities and at least fifty other countries.




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Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l April 2015


Table of Christian CONTENTS Baton Rouge

Feature STORY

16-21 GREAT NEWS! GOD’S NOT DEAD by Beth Townsend

Feature Columns

6-9 faith LIFE On The Other Side: Juanette Benigno Testimony

10-12 FAMILY LIFE Time for Family Renewal by Roger Butner


Publisher’s letter


PAstor’s perspective by Hawley Wolfe



April 2015 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

issue 1, volume 1 april 2015 PUBLISHER/Editor Beth Townsend printed by RR Donnelley / Memphis, TN contributing writers Dr. Roger Butner Cheri Bowling Krista Bordelon Rev. Hawley Wolfe Kristen Hogan Stephanie Ryan Malin ASSISTING EDITOR Kelli Knight

13 Inside Each Issue


READING FOR LIFE The Insanity of Unbelief Review by Cheri Bowling

22-24 learning for LIFE Gardere Community Christian School by Krista Bordelon


healthy LIFE Camping At The “Y” by Kristen Hogan

Play Streets Coming To A Neighborhood Near Your by Stephanie Ryan Malin

COVER PHOTO Ireland Coates, Gabriel Coates, Garrett Coates, and Jarred Coates LAYOUT & DESIGN BY Illuminated Designs Studio CREATIVE CONTRIBUTIONS DiChiara Creative Advertising Agency


Publisher’s LETTER


Happy Easter!

Welcome to the first edition of The Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine! We are so happy to have this edition finally in your hands! Our goal is simple, to bring unity and enthusiasm to the Body of Christ around Baton Rouge. Many passionate people are doing creative work in the name of our Lord Jesus! Whether across town or across the world, we are uncovering a wealth of incredible stories right in our midst. Stay tuned! Each month we will have various stories falling into repetitive categories. Faith Life, Family Life, Learning for Life, Healthy Life and Opportunities for Life. A “Pastor’s Perspective” will also be a regular feature. We’ve recently decided to add “Geaux Life” within a few months, as many local folks are having a tremendous impact in the far corners of the earth. While the majority of our focus will be what God is doing close to home, there are many stories involving neighbors having an international impact that need to be shared. Our content will be testimony driven. One of the best ways to experience God is to hear first-hand what He is doing in the lives of others. Whether a person makes movies, opens a school, or witnesses to a friend, we know that supernatural things happen when people’s faith intersects with God’s faithfulness. You can expect to be encouraged, challenged, and hopefully educated as you learn more about what God is doing in our neighborhoods, churches, workplaces, and schools. He is Alive and at work! We are honored to have the privilege to share with you.


Many have helped bring this publication to life. Our stories, advertisers, as well as our production team have worked hard to provide a magazine of quality content, great reading, and Godly inspiration. Our prayer is to involve our community by helping connect those in ministry to those in need. As we engage the Body of Christ, we believe great works will be done as we work together. Thanks for reading! We are thankful for the interest many have expressed the last few weeks. We are also encouraged by your encouragement! Keep in touch, keep reading, but most of all pray for discernment, wisdom and that our work will bring glory to God and make Him known in our city.

In the fullness of Life,

Beth Townsend Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l April 2015



Faith LIFE

“On the Other Side”

The Juanette Benigno Testimony


airy tales start with “Once Upon a Time.” The story of Juanette Benigno is no fairy tale. It is a journey of deep abiding faith and the miracle of answered prayer.

A medical miracle, in fact, so amazing that even her doctor told her it was the work of “her Jesus.” “In January of 2013 I began a journey of healing for Non–Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer,” Juanette begins her story. “I began to be very fatigued and went to three different doctors with no diagnosis. My skin had begun to turn yellow by March but all tests proved negative, so my doctor decided to admit me to the hospital for a few in depth tests.”

aggressive form of chemotherapy. This would include eight, one week stays in the hospital. I would receive several drugs twenty four hours a day.” Mrs. Benigno continued, “The Holy Spirit began to remind me of God’s promises as the doctor stood there declaring this death sentence. ‘I have only two things to say doctor,’ I boldly proclaimed, ‘one, I am not afraid to die because I know where I will spend

Whether she tells her story, one-onone or to large gatherings of believers, people are eye-to-eye with a living, breathing example of His faithfulness. She continues her testimony, “I began to declare God’s Word from that moment on over my life to the doctor, the nurses and any one who would listen. I never said I had cancer one time. I declared Psalm 91:16 that ‘I believed and I would live and not die’ and 1 Corinthians 2:5, that ‘I would not place my faith in the wisdom of man but the power of God’!”

I never said I had cancer one time. I declared Psalm 91:16 that ‘I believed and I would live and not die’ and 1 Corinthians 2:5, that ‘I would not place my faith in the wisdom of man but the power of God’!”

After tests results were analyzed the report would have brought most of us to our knees in fear and trepidation. Juanette recalls it clearly, “the oncologist walked into my room with the test results and declared the bad news. I had the most aggressive form of cancer there was - large B-cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma- stage three. My entire gastric system had tumors and one was shutting off my bile duct leading to my liver.” For Juanette that was the bad news. Then there came the “good news”. The doctor said, “that it could be treated with the most 6

April 2015 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

eternity and two, I declare that I will not die but I will proclaim the mighty works of what the Lord has done’.” Her faith was rooted in Psalm 118:18, “Yes, the Lord has definitely disciplined me but He didn’t hand me over to death.”

“I made posters with God’s healing promises and taped them on the walls of my hospital room during each visit. I told every nurse, aide, cleaning woman, and doctor what I believed and most of all that I would not die! God’s Word encouraged a lot of people in that hospital for the next few months. I had my scriptures in front of my hospital bed to see and read when my brain was foggy with the drugs. I also placed them on the door to my prayer room at home and typed

Faith LIFE


ultimately HE is the one that makes the medicine heal your body.” Juanette is a professional clown. Here she is shown during treatment with some “co-workers”.

them on paper and placed them in my Bible to pray out loud in my prayer time. My prayer always began with ‘God I thank you that…’ followed by the scripture promise out loud.” The assurance ‘because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel’ was epitomized in Juanette. She was at peace in a way that no one else could possibly comprehend. “I was thanking Him in advance of my healing being manifest,” she remembered. As the chemotherapy began and continued into the summer of 2013, the physicians readied for tests to see what progress the treatment was having. “I did my first PET scan in June, four months after I was diagnosed and after my fourth round of chemo,” Juanette recalls with enthusiasm. “The doctor wanted to see if the medicines were working and if the tumors were shrinking

in my body. The doctor read the results and declared that all my tumors were completely gone! No dot or speck left anywhere! I started to thank the doctor

Of course, there would be additional tests. “I had my second PET scan three months later. It revealed a spot on my lung, Mrs. Benigno continues. “I declared to the doctor that “I would not believe an evil report, but my heart was fixed, trusting in the Lord,” as she held fast to the words of Psalm 112:7. “I was scheduled for a pulmonary scope test. The pulmonary doctor came out after the test and apologized to us saying, ‘I’m sorry I put you through this. There is nothing there’.” Juanette did not seem surprised by the prognosis. “My third PET scan showed something on my liver. Once again I made my

“I started to thank the doctor at which point he interrupted me and said, ‘No, you need to thank your Jesus first for this.’” at which point he interrupted me and said, ‘No, you need to thank your Jesus first for this.’ He acknowledged that truly it was God’s hand that had healed me after only four rounds of chemo!” And, after pausing thoughtfully, Juanette admonishes us, “Remember, sometimes God does use physicians, but

declaration upon exiting the doctors office. After an MRI test was done to confirm it, a liver biopsy was done and the results were, once again, negative!” Today the story of Juanette and her medical miracle is inspiring, but the miracles of provision followed along with the physical healing. There were financial miracles too. “Cancer treatment is costly even with insurance. God provided us with grants that we never heard of, money from unexpected places, and even $10,000 from a relative after my husband had sown $500 into another cancer patients need. He knew we Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l April 2015



Faith LIFE

“G o d g a v e m e this vision as I lay there in t h e h o s p i t a l. It was a big nest with a gigantic eagle o n i t.”

needed all we had but he was obedient to God and God did exceedingly above what we could ask or think. (Ephesians 6:21) “In Psalm 91:4 it says, ‘He shall cover you with his feathers and under His wings shall you trust and find refuge.’ It was hard to rest the first week of chemo. I was overwhelmed with the chemo meds and events of the days. I asked God for peace of mind and heart. God gave me this vision as I lay there in the hospital. It was a big nest with a gigantic eagle on it. He told me to climb up into the nest and then he covered me with his wings and told me there was nothing I could do about anything but to just find peace 8

and rest under His wings and let Him take care of everything. God knew what promise to give me. My personality is

prone to control and I was learning to be still, under his wings, and trust in His ability to perform His will in my life during the night seasons. “The Lord is my shepherd…he leads me beside still waters. . . though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, he is with me “. (Psalm 23) In the next six months I came to know and experience my Lord as “MY” shepherd in a real and personal way. Each night when Satan would attack me with fear, I would see myself at the entrance to the sheepfold, laying close to the shepherd’s breast, listening to his heartbeat and he would wrap his cloak around me and ask me to trust him. I would lay there, safe in my shepherd’s arms, knowing He was my protector and he was taking care of all my needs, “I was weak but He was strong”.

“The Lord is my shepherd…he leads me beside still waters. . . though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, he is with me “. (Psalm 23) In the next six months I came to know and experience my Lord as “MY” shepherd in a real and personal way. Each night when Satan would attack me with fear, I would see myself at the entrance to the sheepfold, laying close to the shepherd’s breast, listening to his heartbeat and he would wrap his cloak around me and ask me to trust him. I would lay there, safe in my shepherd’s arms, knowing He was my protector and he was taking care of all my needs, “I was weak but He was strong”. “…That my sickness will leave and not come back” (Nahum 1:9) I don’t like the word remission because that indicates to me that it will come back and I won’t declare that. If a sickness attacks me again – it will not be the same one as before.

April 2015 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Faith LIFE


“…That my sickness will leave and not come back” (Nahum 1:9) I don’t like the word remission because that indicates to me that it will come back and I won’t declare that. If a sickness attacks me again – it will not be the same one as before. I have been cancer free 19 months as of February 2015. I know that “I will not die before my allotted time.” (Psalm 91:16) but I also know that if I keep His word before me He will extend my life and that if I keep His commandments in my heart – they will prolong my years. (Proverbs 3)

To contact Juanette, email her at Juanette happy, healthy, and cancer free with her husband, Ben.

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Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l April 2015



Family LIFE

Time for Family Renewal by Dr. Roger Butner


aste r seas o n s o ofte n le a ds ou r he a rts a n d m in ds to a n e a ge r desire for re n ewa l . The sounds and smells of yards being mowed again, the warming weather, and the amazing colors of the azaleas along Highland Road reflect the new life God is always so eager to share with us. And the sacrifice and victory of Christ through the cross and the empty tomb remind us of the incredible worth God has placed on sharing life with us forever. We once again set our sights higher, asking Him to lead us closer to His will and 10

April 2015 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

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Family LIFE righteousness. What a wonderful opportunity for us to lead our families deeper in our faith and relationships with Him! What kind of transformation might our families experience if we

more this year? Something deeper, more substantial, and more life giving? What if we made our summer vacation plans more about Him than about our own desires? I want to share with you the idea the Holy Spirit has been forming in my heart.


serving others, or some other area of His goodness. Once you have a word from Him on how He is calling your family to grow, choose a portion of Scripture, a Christian book related to that topic, or both, and begin reading and meditating on them together

If you are anything like me, your desire for family vacation is simply getting a break from work, experiencing the adventure of a new place, making some fun memories with your family, or some combination of these. But what if we aimed for something more this year? began preparing our hearts now for a special time of heart renewal together this summer? If you are anything like me, your desire for family vacation is simply getting a break from work, experiencing the adventure of a new place, making some fun memories with your family, or some combination of these. These are all so important to living with a healthy spiritual rhythm. But what if we aimed for something

Take a couple of weeks to pray, asking God to give you a word on what area of renewal your family needs most. Perhaps your family needs to grow in showing loving kindness to one another. Maybe you need to change your routine to allow for regular time to sit expectantly together at the feet of Jesus. Or the Lord may call you to grow in forgiveness, self-control, personal responsibility,

as a family for the next few weeks. Finding a time that works consistently, such as dinnertime or bedtime, is often the best way to ensure your family will stick with it and begin to look forward to this regular discipline and blessing together. Taking this time together over the course of several weeks or months should be a wonderful way to prepare the soil of your hearts for God to plant something new and beautiful

Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l April 2015



Family LIFE

to display His love and goodness in your family. With this in mind, make plans this summer for a special family retreat where the focus will be on deeply cultivating this new life He is creating within and among you. Your whole family may share the summer retreat together, or you could use a combination of father/son and mother/daughter retreats. Go ahead and plan for your trip to include a beautiful place or fun times, as you normally would for a family vacation. But center your plans on discussing and celebrating together the transformation God has been sharing with your family. Pray together. Worship Him together. Share your excitement, hopes, and fears with Him together. You probably always come back from vacation with lots of pictures to remember your adventures and your moments together. This time, be sure you create a journal or scrapbook or memory box together to include what God revealed to and through you during your family life renewal together. And please share with us the blessings of your family’s experience!

Dr. Roger Butner

Dr. Roger Butner is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who loves The Lord and loves helping people live more joyfully and abundantly. In addition to his private practice, Dr. Butner speaks at churches, schools, and other organizations to inspire and encourage better living. While his wife, Chemaine, grew up here, they and their son have greatly enjoyed calling Baton Rouge home together for twelve years now. Dr. Butner’s website is 12

April 2015 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Reading for LIFE

A Review of


The Insanity of Unbelief by Cheri Bowling


rancis Schaeffer once noted that if there is no truth, there is no hope. But, what exactly is true? More importantly, what is truth? With over 234 isms

out there, each representing a philosophical doctrine or belief system, arguments attacking Christianity abound from without as well as from within. Even for those who profess a strong faith, life’s harshest realities have a way of stirring up doubts and unbelief. With the skill and patience of a brilliant trial lawyer, local author Max Davis lays out a compelling case against unbelief in his book The Insanity of Unbelief. As a journalist, Davis’ personal journey through youthful belief and skepticism to deep faith is the launching pad from which he investigates and records convincing scientific evidence that God exists and interacts with people. Davis’ book also tells us why Christians can be sure that miracles really do happen; that the Bible is a supernatural, historical and inerrant document; and that Satan is real.

The Insanity of Unbelief is a thoroughly entertaining and easy to read treatise on Christian apologetics. It is not only uplifting and faith affirming for the believer, Max Davis it also stirs up a deep hope that even the most hardened unbeliever can be turned into a true worshipper.

Cheri Bowling is the owner of Cadeaux, Inc., a multi-faceted communications company. Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l April 2015


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April 2015 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

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Pastor’s Perspective

P astor’ s P e rs pe ctiv e


by Rev. Hawley Wolfe


pastor once got a phone call asking him to come down and help decorate the church for Easter. The worship committee wanted to surprise the congregation with brightly colored streamers. They had gone to the local hospital and gotten old threadbare bed sheets

that were about to be discarded. By tearing them in strips and dyeing them pastel Easter colors, they were giving the old sheets a “new lease on life.” Instead of being reminders of suffering and illness, they would now proclaim New Life in Christ, by celebrating Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. In the same way, the glory of Resurrection springs from the agonizing death of the Lord Jesus on Calvary. There is no “Easter” without a “Good Friday” first. Jesus had to die in order to be raised back to life. There is no other way he could prove the reality of life after death. He had to first experience death itself. In this way, Jesus is a mirror of the whole human experience. As we go through life, we discover that the road to blessing is always routed through the valley of difficulty--the “Valley of the Shadow”. If we want to be fully alive in this life, we must be willing to risk, in order to be obedient to God. ...we do not explain the Resurrection. The Resurrection explains us. Without the Resurrection, christians would merely be a quaint group of folks following a dead philosopher... Easter is a great mystery to me. It only happened once. No one can replicate it in a science lab. In the end, I have decided, we do not explain the Resurrection. The Resurrection explains us. Without the Resurrection, christians would merely be a quaint group of folks following a dead philosopher--a man who talked a lot about forgiveness, and loved children, and healed some sick people. Instead, followers of Jesus are joyous proclaimers of a Living Savior--energized, empowered, alive. Once, a man named Harry Rimmer was traveling in Egypt. In a conversation with that country’s secretary of state, who was a Muslim, Rimmer told the man that christian believers honor three basic revelations. “We believe that God shows Himself in the works of creation.” The host said, “Yes, we also believe that all nature shows the power of Allah.” Rimmer went on, “We also believe that God shows Himself in a sacred book, the Bible.” His host said, “Yes, we also believe that God is revealed in our holy book, the Quran.” Finally, Rimmer said, “We christians believe that God has shown himself in his Son Jesus, who came back from the dead, and is still alive in the world.” The host was silent, and his face fell: “We have no knowledge of Muhammad since the time of his death.” Easter is truly “the day death died.” In the postEaster world, death has lost its power of fear, forever. Easter may raise many questions in our minds, but the most important question of all is this: “Jesus is alive in the world, but, is Jesus alive in me?”

Reverend Hawley Wolfe is the editor of Inspire Louisiana. He received a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1981. As an ordained Presbyterian minister, he has served churches in Deerfield, Illinois; Midland, Texas’; Eldorado, Texas; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He has been in Baton Rouge since 1999. Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l April 2015


Great News! N

God’s Not Dead!

ot only is this the exciting Easter headline in churches on Easter Sunday, but for much of 2014, it was the headline at box offices all across America.

Having impacted just over seven million souls, eternity has been impacted forever. “I knew there was a market for good quality films. I felt success was going to happen with God’s Not Dead,” says co-producer and Baton Rouge native Jarred Coates. The success of the movie is proof of this talented film-maker’s instincts. Having ranked sixth in the box office revenues in the Christian genre, it has respectfully taken it’s place among other Hollywood releases. Even though it was a lower budget film with a limited release, the outstanding results speak for themselves. 71 million combined U.S. and International box office tickets sold. 1.5 million DVD’s sold at launch. It was ranked the number one independent film of 2014. In case you missed it, this is a brief summary. Present-day college freshman and devout Christian, Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper), finds his faith challenged on his first day of philosophy class by the dogmatic 16

by Beth Townsend

and argumentative Professor Radisson (Kevin Sorbo). Radisson begins class by informing students that they will need to disavow, in writing, the existence of God on that first day, or face a failing grade. As other students in the class begin scribbling the words “God Is Dead” on pieces of paper as instructed, Josh finds himself at a crossroads, having to choose between his faith and his future. Josh offers a nervous refusal,

provoking an irate reaction from his smug professor. Radisson assigns him a daunting task: if Josh will not admit that “God Is Dead,” he must prove God’s existence by presenting wellresearched, intellectual arguments and evidence over the course of the semester, and engage Radisson in a head-to-head debate in front of the class. If Josh fails to convince his classmates of God’s existence, he will fail the course and hinder his lofty academic goals. With almost no one in his corner, Josh wonders if he can really fight for what he believes. Can he actually prove the existence of God? Wouldn’t it just be easier just to write “God Is Dead” and put the whole incident behind him?

A lower budget film with a limited release, the outstanding results speak for themselves. 71 million combined U.S. and International box office tickets sold. 1.5 million DVD’s sold at launch. God’s Not Dead was ranked the number one independent film of 2014.

April 2015 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

If you haven’t seen the film, it’s worth the time. “It’s all God who did this anyway,” says Coates. “If God prepares me to do films as He has called me to do, whether successful or not, it’s because of Him. He opened the doors. He get’s the glory. It’s not about me.” Coates is humbled by the success. “We felt like it would impact people’s lives. It’s great to see that when you spend so much time on

Feature STORY


Kevin Sorbo and Shane Harper from God’s Not Dead

“It’s all God who did this anyway,” says Coates referring to his film and his passion to create. “If God prepares me to do films as He has called me to do, whether successful or not, it’s because of Him.” something and put in so much effort, then it reaches so many. It’s humbling.” His childhood served as a training ground for making Christian movies. Born and raised in Baton Rouge, his grandmother was his biggest Christian influence. Each summer after a couple of weeks with her, “we had been infused with the gospel,” he laughed. “We went to church, we went to church camps, she was the plumb line of the family,”

he recalled while remembering the celebration of her life that had taken place during her funeral last year. “We knew if you couldn’t tell Granny what you were doing, you shouldn’t be doing it!” Having a strong family background, Jarred attended Dunham School, followed by LSU, then onto Bethany Church’s Ministers Training Institute (MTI). When he and his wife at the

time were about to have their third child, he wrestled with a desire to attend film school. Stepping out in faith, they agreed he should pursue that dream. In 2003 he went to Full Sail Film School in Orlando to immerse himself in 8-16 hours a day of classes required to earn another degree that would allow him to pursue what God was calling him to do. Vast experience would serve as additional training ground for his Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l April 2015


X Feature STORY career. During his time at LSU he became a committed Christian, which led to him get involved in Living Waters at Christian Life Academy. “That was great foundational learning for me. Leaders from that group have gone out and started churches all over the country and world. Our leaders, Rusty Domingue and John Seibeling, had a vision for missions, and we helped plant churches and work in orphanages all over the world.” This group was instrumental in giving me a world vision for Christ! From there he became an associate pastor in Jarred and Lisa Arnold with Gretchen Carleson at FOX Memphis and worked in the inner city and missions. “I didn’t like being in the church offices, I wanted to be out ‘in the world’ While an associate pastor in Memphis, doing what was needed.” Jarred’s work was intense. “God was getting me prepared with all kinds of His desire to make films started when Star Wars was released in 1977. Fascinated training, I was exposed to a lot.” That with the phenomena, he recognized the cutting edge quality that made the films so included working in overseas missions, successful. “Back then, making films meant going to Hollywood or New York, so I inner city ministry, and working with wasn’t really driven at the time.” inmates in prison. “In prison ministries, I was working with guys on death row as well as those who’d committed white collar crimes. There was a time when I was overseeing five facilities that worked with various levels of inmates. That helped prepare me for the film industry, because it has so many moving parts.” In film school, his vision became clearer and his passion was ignited. He became comfortable with God’s plan to use him wherever He leads. “I don’t care where I am, I’ll talk about Jesus. He’s placed me out in the world where others don’t know him.”

Filming on location 18

April 2015 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Coates built his company, Red Entertainment, on simple principles and quality work. “On our sets, we treat people well, that’s just the Jesus in us.” Often the budgets are lower, with

Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l April 2015


X Feature STORY

From the upcoming movie, Caged

smaller salaries than large features, but people want to work with us. “We do films that have significant meaning and value, so we want the people who work with us and view our films, to walk away feeling inspired,” he observed.

so its for His glory.” Jarred went on to note that the key to happiness and joy is found in doing what God has called you to do. “He places something in our hearts, who cares if it’s something big or small, you will find peace working in that lane or area!”

lies in its purpose: to move a generation to act and bring an end to oppression. It’s more than a film, it’s a movement aimed at raising awareness of human trafficking and supporting the many ministries around the world already fighting Human Trafficking. It will also aid in connecting anti-trafficking organizations, equip parents, schools and churches, to aid in prevention and assist in eradicating trafficking.

Jarred is also daddy to three precious children. As a carpooling father, he uses His next film, Caged, will serve as a that time to instruct his children as the call to action to our nation. Caged is Lord teaches him. Recalling a recent The power of this movie lies in its purpose: to move conversation, he With an accredited used an illustration a generation to act and bring an end to oppression. to demonstrate It’s more than a film, it’s a movement aimed at raising and impressive cast, this movie matters. priorities. “Why awareness of human trafficking... Human Trafficking would we or generates $9.5 should we be billion yearly in the U.S. and $32 billion proud or boastful if God rewards us produced by Jarred and his partner/ worldwide. An estimated 27 million with a big job, or successful movie, or director Lisa Arnold. It opens in the people are enslaved worldwide. 1.2 athletic talents? It’s God who opened fall 2015, with a starting release in over million children are trafficked each year. the doors and gave us those blessings, 500 theaters. The power of this movie 20

April 2015 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Feature STORY


Human trafficking is the world’s fastest growing global crime. And it’s not just over-seas; it’s in our neighborhoods. Early reviews are promising. “I know God will bless this film through all of your hard work and vocal support of the movement to stop human trafficking around the world and inside the U.S.” says Scott Rolfe of The Dove Foundation. “It was eye opening and very inspiring to hear from those you brought to us (at the set visit). I am blown away at this issue and the fact that it is happening in our country and even our city,” says Scott Mills of Lifeway Films. “This film is a crossover film, it has faith elements, but it is a film for everyone to enjoy and be inspired.” We hope that every person who sees it will walk away and say, ‘I can do something about that.’ It can be something small and use our influence, but there are so many ways to get involved to help stop Human Trafficking,” says Coates. “This is a trilogy, and the first one is a cliffhanger,” smiles Jarred. Seeing the movie is one way we can participate. Getting the message out and educating the public on current issues is paramount to energizing the Body of Christ with a call to action. Making movies has led to a heart that looks beyond the set and at the humanity of people. “When we do a film, half the ministry is taking place while shooting, that is why we don’t require everyone on the team to be a Christian. I want people to see Jesus

Jarred and his children (Ireland, Garrett, Gabriel) on set

in me and the stories we are telling. I’m not perfect, I make mistakes. But we as Christians should not shun one another because of our mistakes.” In discussing ways to unite our Body of Christ in Baton Rouge, his advice is simple yet practical. “I think we can get too caught up in who believes what and various doctrines. Jesus said ‘lift me up and I’ll draw men to me.’ We are all different. It’s all Jesus and what He is doing. How we worship Him does not matter. It’s about who He is and what He as done for us.”

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Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l April 2015



Learning for LIFE

Gardere Community Christian School by Krista Bordelon


..ou know I love you,’” says Nancy Zito with a warm smile. As founding principal and executive director of Gardere Community Christian School, she knows what her students love to hear.

“I say that more than anything.” No doubt she means it, because you can feel the love radiating from every inch of the building. There’s nothing seemingly different when you first approach the school, except you will easily spot the free library box sitting out front. Once you enter you are greeted by a friendly staff. If you are lucky and the students happen to see you, you will also receive warm hugs and a personal introduction to “their” school. The front desk is home to piles of resources for the parents, a bulletin board boasts a picture and a quote about each of the 65 students. Boxes of donated resources line the back wall. The atmosphere is so welcoming that it is very easy to see why the students so enthusiastically embrace it as theirs. 22

April 2015 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

The Gardere Community

Christian School began in the heart of one woman. Nancy and her husband relocated to Baton Rouge, bringing with her with 30 years of teaching experience in the New York public school system. At first there was no doubt that their children would attend public school, but instead were drawn to the academic excellence of the private school options. As Nancy embraced those options, she recognized a heavy burden for the families who would not be able to have the same opportunity. Each day as she drove through the Gardere-area she felt drawn to it. She fell in love with the community, and God kept impressing on her to provide an option for the families who live there.

“That’s really big. That’s prayer big.” In 2006, her pastor Reverend Dr. Gerrit Dawson at First Presbyterian Church encouraged her to pray for two years before making any decisions about opening a school. Believe it or not, she actually did take his advice! “Every answer just kept coming back to yes! I started telling people after six months that I was going to open this school. My husband said, ‘You’re really putting us in a position here because people are expecting us to do this.’ I just told him, ‘If every answer keeps saying we are, then we are!’ And God just continued to pour this vision into me.” She listened to what God was saying to her, and at the two year mark, Nancy had books full of notes and a

Learning for LIFE


“...We’re having great success with the children here, and I’m hoping others will see our success and implement this model in other areas here in Baton Rouge.”

Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l April 2015



Learning for LIFE

plan. With the support from her church and peers at Dunham School, where she’d been working as a teacher, things began to fall into place. It started as a free tutoring program financed by donors in 2008 in one room in First Presbyterian. “God just brought the people on board.” This lead to her teaching 10 students in a homeschool environment. Today, they have their own building. “I used to hate the phrase ‘It takes a village’, but it takes a village coming together to support not only academics, but Christian theology.” Many in the community have stepped up to make a genuine inner city private education possible. None of this would have happened without the funding, resources, and volunteering that were poured into this vision. Because of the local businesses, churches, and individuals, their team has been able to meet the needs of these students exactly where they are. What are they doing differently? Nancy says it is simple. “We get to know the families, we get to go into their homes, we get to tell them about God. We’re having great success with the children here, and I’m hoping others will see our success and implement this model in other areas here in Baton Rouge.” Not only do they invest in the lives of the families, they understand the importance of the heart of each child. “We can pray with them, guide them, and tell them what the Bible says,” added Lauren Crump, development director. “That is a big help for the child, especially when the family continues that from home. Recent excitement has the staff all smiles as they recalled a donation match campaign during 2014. “Through partnership with GCCS matching supporters, we received $50,000 towards the match dollars,” exclaimed Lauren. “The total donation was $100,000. God is good, He sees our combined effort and recognizes our needs.” It’s no secret that education is a hot button issue in Baton Rouge. However, Nancy knew that God was providing her with an opportunity to bring hope to what is a desperate situation for many. The Gardere Community Christian School did not happen overnight and did not come easily, but what was once a dream is now a reality. In addition, the school leadership is positioning the school for expansion with an aggressive plan outlining goals through 2019. 24

April 2015 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

With the support from First Presbyterian and her peers at Dunham School, where she’d been working as a teacher, things began to fall into place. It started as a free tutoring program (financed by First Presbyterian and donors) in 2008 in a room in the church. “God just brought the people on board.” To see where the program has come from and where it is headed is nothing short of an answer to prayer right here in our city. An answer that the community has joined together and carries out. Nancy’s a simple solution to education reform is evident from her insightful observation. “We’ve lost the focus of education. Kids aren’t a business.” Gardere Community Christian School thrives because of that reasoning and children will continue to be the focus on campus and primary investment. Krista is a passionate writer, speaker, and mother. Outside of writing, her life includes homeschooling, leading worship, training for a fitness competition, and lots of adventure. She uses her blogging at The Mommy Calling and many others as a ministry to share her heart with other Krista Bordelon

moms and the world. Krista’s goal is to spend each day turning the ordinary into the extraordinary!


50580-37346_Postcard.indd 1

A New Neighbor Downtown!

“An Oasis of Christian Hospitality� 320 Third Street Baton Rouge, LA 70801

11/14/14 2:40 PM 225.397.6393 Reverend David Melville, Executive Director

Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l April 2015



Healthy LIFE

C amping at the Y Keeps Youth

Moving, Learning and Exploring...


ummer is the ideal time for kids to get up, get out and explore. But, for some kids summer means no access to recreational and educational activities to help them learn, grow and thrive during out-of-school time. As a result, some

kids can experience learning loss and gain weight twice as fast than during the school year. For parents and caregivers looking to keep kids’ minds and bodies active, the Y is offering summer camp to give youth an adventurous, active and healthy summer. YMCA camp programs provide a fun and unique experience that gives children and teens the opportunity to explore the outdoors, meet new friends, discover new interests and create memories that last a lifetime. This year the Y will transform summer camp into YU, Y University. Children will participated in weekly themed activities such as Rock of Ages, Geaux Team, Smarty Pants, Ocean Commotion and more! Children will also enjoy weekly field trips and daily swimming activities.

“YMCA summer camp supports the social-emotional, cognitive development and physical well-being of kids,” says Kristen Hogan, Marketing Director, YMCA of the Capital Area. In our summer camp, kids are in a welcoming environment where they can belong, build relationships, develop character and achieve – discovering their potential. We really encourage parents to give their kids the gift of camp so that every child can benefit from the experience.” 26

April 2015 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

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Healthy LIFE

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Summer Long Hogan says there are five reasons why children and teens should attend summer camp:

1. ADVENTURE: Summer camp is all about a wide variety of fun adventures and new experiences, and especially exploring the outdoors. YMCA camps have a new adventure for every child and teen. Visit for details.

2. HEALTHY FUN: Day and resident camps offer fun, stimulating activities that engage the body and mind, and also help children and teens learn the importance of nutrition to help improve their healthy eating habits.

3. PERSONAL GROWTH: While being away from the routine back home, youth have a chance to learn new skills, and develop confidence and independence by taking on new responsibilities and challenges. Camps offer cognitive learning and social-emotional development opportunities for achievement.

4. NEW FRIENDSHIPS: Amidst the fun of camp games, songs, swimming, canoeing and talent shows, campers meet new friends and strengthen existing friendships. The relationships formed at camp are important and lasting for many youth.

5. MEMORIES: Summer camp is an unforgettable experience that will give each camper memories (and camp traditions) that will last a lifetime. Youth return to school with plenty of camp stories to share! A leading nonprofit committed to nurturing the potential of youth, the Y has been a leader in providing summer camp for nearly 130 years. The Y continues to give youth an enriching, safe experience with caring staff and volunteers who model positive values that help build their kids’ character. Registration for the upcoming camp season will be open until May 8, 2015. The Y encourages parents to give their kids the gift of camp. To ensure that all youth have the chance to experience camp, the YMCA of the Capital Area offers financial assistance to those in need.

For more information, visit or contact your local YMCA location. Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l April 2015



Healthy LIFE

Play Streets Coming to a Neighborhood Near You by Stephanie Ryan Malin Media Relations Manager l Writer Communications Department


ow many times did your parents tell you as a child not to play in the street? Traffic was just too dangerous, they said. For many children, traffic isn’t the only thing keeping them from playing outdoors. Some kids don’t live in neighborhoods where their parents feel safe allowing them to play outside. Others don’t have access, or in some cases safe access, to neighborhood parks. That’s why researchers at Pennington Biomedical Research Center are working to re-imagine the neighborhood street as a playground of sorts with a concept called Play Streets. Pennington Biomedical’s Dr. Stephanie Broyles and Dr. Robert L. Newton Jr. study community health and they are working to bring the concept to Baton Rouge with the help of the ExxonMobil Foundation and BREC Foundation. Neighborhoods in cities like New York City have already tested the concept and have found success. Here’s how it works: neighborhoods come together to close off a street or a section of a street on a regular basis to allow children to get outside and play in spaces where they may not normally be able to play.


April 2015 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

“This is really critical in ensuring the health of our city’s children, considering that one in two of Louisiana’s children are currently overweight or obese,” said Dr. Broyles. “Playing outside is a fantastic opportunity to get away from the television, phones, and other screens that can consume our time. Play Streets incorporates physical activity into life so that children are having fun while they exercise.” Broyles and her team are currently testing the idea with leaders in north Baton Rouge who are helping to organize the first of several Play Streets dates. “It really is up to the community how they want to orchestrate their Play Streets concept,” said Broyles. “We want to ensure that the neighborhood has input and helps to guide the sorts of play options that are available to children, how often the streets are closed for play, and how long children play. This is about doing what works for each neighborhood.” Broyles met earlier this year with two neighborhood leadership groups who were excited about the opportunity. They envisioned choosing a street to close that already had lower traffic than others but that had several families living along it. Among their plans were ideas to invite

local businesses to provide play equipment like footballs, jump ropes and bounce houses, along with healthy snacks. They also discussed assigning street captains to help plan and recruit families to participate in the events. The researchers and neighborhood are still working to determine how often the Play Streets concept will be utilized, but they are excited about the chance for their children to get outside more. “Play Streets allows neighbors to get to know each other, which may foster additional opportunities for play outside because parents know they can trust their neighbors to watch out for their children when they’re playing outside,” Broyles said. “This has the potential to transform communities into healthier places for children to grow up, which is what Play Streets is all about.” If you are interested in learning more about or participating in this great local effort, contact Arwen Marker with Pennington Biomedical at Dr. Stephanie Broyles 225-763-3080.



Get ready for May; the theme of the month will be Mentoring! You will enjoy our interview with LSU Football Player/NY Giant, 2-time Superbowl Champ, Corey Webster. Our Learning for Life Story will share the amazing accomplishments of a talented student from Dunham School. Each story in May will highlight the importance of mentoring others in our Walk with Christ.

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and peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart (2 Tim. 2:22) • PK3 through Grade 12


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• College Preparatory Curriculum • Christian • Developing Critical Thinkers • Numerous Enrichment Opportunities • State of the Art Technology • Small Class Sizes

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• Dedicated and Nurturing Faculty • A Personalized Approach to Education

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Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l April 2015



Opportunities for LIFE

Calendar of Events APRIL 1 - MAY 16

YMCA summer Sports Registration All players participate throughout practices and games. Ages: Basketball 3-17, Baseball/T-Ball 3-12, Cheerleading 3-12, Volleyball 9-13

APRIL 3 and 17

Women in Business Group La Madeleine’s Perkins Rowe 8AM - 9AM Conference Room Discussing Biblical principles for success. Get there early if coffee or breakfast is desired.

APRIL 6-10

YMCA Holiday Camp Camp is open to children ages 4 to 13. Camp is from 7am until 6pm.


THIN MINT SPRINT 5K & DAISY DASH fun run 7AM - 11:30AM Tammany Trace Trailhead/Mandeville Hosted by Girl Scouts Louisiana East Open to girls, grades K – 12 and their families (225) 927-8946 /


Annual Legislative Pastor’s Briefing 9:00 a.m. at the Crowne Plaza in Baton Rouge. Hosted by Louisiana Family Forum

Pastors from across Louisiana are invited to join LFF and special guests as they unpack how local pastors can be involved in the Legislative process and make a huge impact for your community and state.

Call 800- 606- 6470 or visit


Women in Business Group La Madeleine’s Perkins Rowe 8AM - 9AM

April 17th - 19th

Spring Retreat The Gift of Abiding in Christ

April 17

Tough Guys & Drama Queens parenting seminar 7PM - 9PM

April 18

Tough Guys & Drama Queens parenting seminar 9AM - 12N • The Chapel • 9611 Siegen Lane (225) 387-4416 / the 30

April 2015 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

April 22

Darkness to Light Child Abuse Prevention Training 12 p.m. A.C. Lewis YMCA, 350 South Foster Drive

April 25

Darkness to Light Child Abuse Prevention Training 11:30 a.m. ExxonMobil YMCA, 7717 Howell Blvd.


YMCA Healthy Kids Day Free family health and wellness event at the Y! A.C. Lewis YMCA, 350 South Foster Drive Americana YMCA, 4200 Liberty Way Paula G. Manship YMCA, 8100 YMCA Plaza


LASM NATIONAL ASTRONOMY DAY 1PM - 5PM Louisiana Art & Science Museum, 100 River Road South Hosted by Girl Scouts Louisiana East Open to girls, grades K – 12, and their families Visit for updates MAY 29-31 CYT presents Rapunzel, a Magical Musical at BRCC Magnolia Theater Recovery Support at Addis is a ministry of First Baptist Church Addis for individuals seeking freedom from destructive habits. Men meet Fridays at 7pm Contact James (225) 218-5630 Women meet Sundays 6pm Contact Ellie (225) 776-1652 There is no fee for attending. For more info call (225) 749-3756 6781 LA Hwy 1 Addis, LA 70710

Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Bringing together the people of Christ in our community

We recognize the Founding Businesses that have brought Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine to life Peters Wealth Advisors Peterbilt of LA Treads and Care PBC Industrial Supplies Edward Jones, Tex Morris Auto Yes

Town and Country Furniture Juban Insurance Group Christ in the City Remax First, The Gaspard Team I•Catchers Hair & Body Spa The Chapel

The Dunham School Lane Thomas Housing Roedel, Parsons, Koch, Blache, Balhoff and McCollister The Lumpkin Agency Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l April 2015