Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine, August 2018

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August 2018


Zoo Director Phil Frost Foundations for Marriage Reaching Millennials with Christ The Power of Prayer

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August 2018 issue 4, volume 5 August 2018

columns 7

12 14

22-25 Cover story

PUBLISHER Beth Townsend

Family Life

Associate Editor/Publisher Susan Brown

by Lisa Tramontana

In the Name of Jesus, Turn It into A Church

contributing writers Susan Brown Lisa Tramontana Sharon Furrate Bailey Alton and TaShawnda Jamison Jessica LeBlanc Fred Townsend Rachele Smith Leslie Paul Wilbert Falcolm and Yvonne Hull Rannah Gray Todd Shupe

By Leslie Paul Wilbert

Is Your Marriage Built on the Right Foundation? by Alton and TaShawnda Jamison

Conservation and Christianity

Zoo Director Phil Frost


by Susan Brown

Witness at Work

Mike Rase: Building Relationships, Our Key to Success by Rachele Smith


16 7

Faith Life

A Beautiful Mind


inside each issue

28 28 34

Founders Forum The Gaspard Team


Phil Frost

Man UP

Photo by Beth Townsend

Finding David in Us

LAYOUT & DESIGN BY Illuminated Designs Studio

by Fred Townsend

Creative Life

printed by Baton Rouge Press Baton Rouge, La.

John K. Lee

by Sharon Furrate Bailey

Millennial Life Reaching Young People with Knowledge by Jessica LeBlanc

BATON ROUGE CHRISTIAN LIFE MAGAZINE WEBSITE BY Kadmos Technology and Ellen McDowell-Your Social Butterfly

32 GOOD NEWS 36 Reading for life 37 cooking for life 38 opportunities for life

5 Publisher’s letteR 6 WORD OF THE WORD a little lagniappe

30 Christ LIfted Up Through the Arts

BATON ROUGE CHRISTIAN LIFE MAGAZINE 9655 Perkins Road, Suite C-133 Baton Rouge, LA 70810 225-910-7426 @brclifemagazine 4


August 2018 l

Publisher’s LETTER


Knowledge is Power People-watching can be an excellent teacher. Recently while working out at the YMCA, I noticed in my peripheral vision a young man preparing for his workout. He racked not one, not two, but three huge weights. Just looking at that bar made me hurt. He wasn’t very big, so I couldn’t help but watch as his activity unfolded.

Beth with E.J. Hibbler featured in May’s BRCLM issue.

He walked around the weights, appearing to psych himself up. Once mentally ready, he reached down to lift. No can do. Not going to happen. Leaving them on the floor, he took a longer walk around, turned his music up, danced a bit and tried again. No can do. Another failed attempt. Now I’m hooked, silently rooting for the poor guy but realizing somehow, scientifically, this mathematical equation just does not add up. His third try, after more music and walking, attempting to muster up whatever it was going to take to lift those weights, he fails again. His body language said it all. No more walks. Sagging shoulders. He quietly unpacks the weights, puts them away and leaves. No more pep in his step. He’s defeated, sadly by himself. Pressure and anxiety are often self-imposed by trying to do too much too quickly. As Christians, patience is necessary in living by faith. While life can be demanding, we must carefully guard against rushing ahead of God’s plan. Pushing towards our potential produces growth. However, we must choose to trust the pace of our circumstances in God’s hands as he grows us into who we can become.

Beth with Mike Rase of Paretti Jaguar.

It would be my bet that the guy from the Y struggled the rest of that day. Why didn’t he just reduce the weights and try again? Because he had set his sights too high. The real defeat was present before he racked his weights. Only he couldn’t see it. As Believers, we must pursue our passion while trusting God with our purpose. Getting ahead of God is much like trying to lift weights that are beyond our strength. It is only in His strength and timing that we can accomplish great things. Is Knowledge Power? Yes! That is especially true for those who have invited God into their lives through Christ. We have the spirit of God at work in our lives by way of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, our knowledge is to be based on trust that God is at work in our lives to bring about His will.

Beth with BRCLM editor Susan Brown, Baton Rouge Zoo Director Phil Frost and Baton Rouge Zoo Director of Marketing and PR Robyn Lott.

That Knowledge is Indeed Power!

Beth Townsend l August 2018


X Word of the Word Word Art

7/9/18, 6:49 PM

by Todd Shupe


think society tends to confuse knowledge with education. But a person can have extensive education and college degrees and not necessarily be very knowledgeable. Perhaps they were a poor student and just did the minimum to get by or maybe they have not kept current in their field over the years. If I memorize chemical reactions, mathematical equations, and even scripture, then I have developed some knowledge on the subject, albeit somewhat superficial. A person who has understanding of a subject has mastered the topic and is on the path to wisdom. Proverbs 2:1-6 gives us insight into about:blank knowledge. “My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands. Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God. For the Lord grants wisdom! From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Everything we have is from God, and this includes our education, wisdom, and understanding. God wants us to “tune your ears to wisdom,” which means


listen to those who know more than you do. “Concentrate on understanding” is an invitation to use your God-given brain to move beyond memorization or superficial knowledge and strive to understand. God is giving us advice on how to better understand Him. Then we can use this knowledge to live a Godly life and bring others to Him. Knowledge of God is essential for discipleship. How can you follow God if you have no understanding of Him? The scripture above tells us that God’s mouth provides knowledge and understanding. God’s Word is available to us at all times in the Bible. In 2 Timothy 3:16, we learn that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” You may be familiar with the armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-18. It encourages us to “take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Knowledge of God’s word is essential for us to be “perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:17). Knowledge of the Bible will provide you the wisdom to make proper decisions. We tend to make poor decisions when

August 2018 l

we are hungry or tired. We are told in Matthew 4:2 that Jesus had fasted 40 days after His baptism and was hungry. It was in this condition that the Spirit delivered Him to Satan. The first words that Jesus spoke to the enemy were, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4). Jesus is showing great wisdom in the face of great temptation because He has a complete understanding of scripture. Knowledge is a great thing. We should always be learning new things. All knowledge comes from God and if you have knowledge and understanding of the Page 1 of 1 Bible, you will be prepared for all of life’s challenges and ready for good works. I encourage you to use your knowledge to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Todd Shupe is the president of and a Christian blogger at He currently serves as the president of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is training to become a men’s ministry specialist under the General Commission of United Methodist Men.

Faith LIFE l August 2018




Faith LIFE

A Beautiful Mind by Lisa Tramontana

On the day he accepted a full scholarship from Southern University, Elijah could hardly contain his excitement.


lijah Precciely was literally the answer to a prayer --- his father’s. Steve Precciely was the last male in his family’s line, and after two daughters, he and his wife Pamela desperately wanted a son. They would have to wait 11 years. “At one point, I felt God say to me, ‘What is more important? My desire for you to do my will or your desire to have a son?’ I realized that I needed to be happy doing God’s will … that the situation was beyond my control … so I accepted that it might never happen, and I felt a 8

burden lifted.” And not long afterward, the Preccielys learned they were expecting. Elijah came into the world weighing 9 pounds, 6 ounces --- a big baby destined for big things. “When he was born,” said Steve, “I heard God say, ‘Name him Elijah, for he will be a prophet to the nations.’” At 11, Elijah is already a published author, host of a Christian radio show, and owner of five patents for several inventions. This month, he will become a licensed minister of The Church of God in Christ, and next spring, he will be a

August 2018 l

full-time student at Southern University, where just last month, he was offered a full scholarship to study physics and mechanical engineering. Elijah is a true child prodigy and his parents say they are humbled by God’s grace. “We really believe he’s going to change the world,” said Pamela. “And we want to facilitate what God is doing in his life. We give the glory to God and we let the Holy Spirit lead us.” The Preccielys’ faith is strong. Steve is pastor of Grace and Truth Church in

Faith LIFE


At just five years old, Elijah was so comfor table talking about Scripture that he stepped up to the altar and preached his first “message.” Baton Rouge, while Pamela has served in many ministries throughout their marriage. They home-schooled all of their children and raised them in a godly household. At just five years old, Elijah was so comfortable talking about Scripture that he stepped up to the altar and preached his first “message.” But his parents knew he was gifted long before that. At just 18 months, his daycare teacher told the Preccielys that he should probably be moved up with the 2- and 3-year-old children. This became a pattern. By age 3, Elijah’s parents were amazed by how quickly he

soaked up information. “We had posters on the walls, lists of all the things he had learned,” said Pamela. “The planets, the presidents, the continents, all of the times tables. We couldn’t hold him back.” Television and video games were limited, while books and musical instruments were encouraged. Elijah has played piano, guitar, the recorder, the violin and the drums. “I want to be a jack-of-all-trades,” he said, “and a master of all!” By age 6, he was flipping through college level textbooks, and by 7, he was learning about science and law,

and was elected president of his class at Camp CEES. Through a program called TeenPact, he increased his knowledge of government and civics, and was elected governor among his peers. His parents took a Hebrew class and brought their son with them. Elijah learned Hebrew right alongside them. By age 8, Pamela says she had to find help and looked to nearby Southern University, where a professor suggested he enroll in classes right away. “At that time, Elijah was doing experiments, every day using things from around the house,” Pamela said. “I was always looking for something that had

Surrounded by family and members of the Southern University administration, Elijah poses for photos. l August 2018


X Faith LIFE

Elijah signs copies of his book God’s Got Firsts! 10

August 2018 l

Faith LIFE disappeared from my kitchen.” “I would ask my mom, ‘can we get some liquid nitrogen, some dry ice and some north and south magnets? Please?’” Elijah said. “I just had so many ideas and I didn’t want this information to just sit on a shelf in my brain! When I get thoughts and ideas in my mind, it’s … pop, pop, pop … like popcorn!” The classes at Southern University opened up a new world for Elijah. For the past three years, he has taken one or two classes every semester, mostly math, science and engineering. One of his parents attends every class with him, and they say he is certainly not shy about discussing the material with his instructors. If anything, they have to remind him to let the other students engage in discussions as well. “His hand is always up,” says Steve. As for faith, Elijah says he loves praying and speaking to God. “Someday, I want to use my academic knowledge and show how it’s tied to the stories and lessons in the Bible,” he said. “I want to explain that the Bible is the truth. If there is ever an opportunity to minister to someone, that’s what I’m going to do.” He prays and talks with his parents to get ideas for his radio show. “Sometimes, I’m filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit,” he said, “and I speak in tongues. The Holy Spirit speaks through me and gives me solutions to problems, and shows me how things happening in the world can be used in my radio show. It’s not just a brainstorm. It’s a God-storm!” Dressed smartly in a coat and tie, Elijah is all smiles as he

shakes my hand when we meet. He is articulate and funny, modest and well-mannered. When we mention video games, he talks about their adverse effect on gray matter in the brain. When we mention a Bible verse about fear, he segues into a discussion on the chambers of the heart. When he talks about his love of cooking, he ends up explaining the difference between saturated and trans fats. It’s easy to forget that this little boy with so much encyclopedic knowledge is just 11 years old. “As you can see, we have our own in-house scientist, doctor, dietitian ...,” said Pamela. “You know that phrase --- like a kid in a candy store?’ Well, Elijah is like that in a science lab or a library. He looks around and is so excited by the opportunity to learn new things.” Steve and Pamela are clearly outstanding parents, and it’s easy to see the closeness they share with their son. Seated between them, Elijah smiles as they tell stories about him and occasionally reaches over to rub their arms or hold their hands. “The key for us as parents was to pray every day,” said Steve. “And we got him into the Word of God early on. His faith in Christ is his foundation.”


“And you two,” says Elijah, looking at his mom and dad. “I couldn’t be who I am without my parents. They are my foundation, too.” U Elijah is often asked to speak at academic, community and religious gatherings. If your group would like to schedule an appearance, contact Brianna Craig at (225) 733-9245.

“ I just had so many ideas

and I didn’t want this information to just sit on a shelf in my brain! When I get thoughts and ideas in my mind, it’s ... pop, pop, pop ... like popcorn! ” – Elijah Precciely

Elijah Precciely with his parents and two sisters, Brejena (left) and Brianna (right). l August 2018



Faith LIFE


In the Name of Jesus, Turn It into a Church By Leslie Paul Wilbert

hirty-eight years ago, in Addis, Louisiana, I was talking to Ted Berthelot, Chief of Police, about the increasing crime in that once peaceful town. Chief Berthelot was sharing with me that he knew it was because of two barrooms. Looking and pointing at one of the barrooms, he told me, “In the name of Jesus, I’m going to turn this barroom into my police station.” I thought to myself: if he could pray and ask Jesus to change that barroom into a police station then I could pray and ask Jesus to change the other barroom into a church. While driving to church in Baker one Sunday morning with a friend and fellow believer, Yancy Guerin, I shared with him my conversation with Chief Berthelot. Being new believers and having been taught that prayer changes things, Yancy and I started praying that God, in the name of Jesus, would turn that building into a church. On one occasion, we drove into the parking lot of that building, got out of our vehicle, laid hands on the building and prayed for God to turn it into a church. For the next 18 years, several times a week, as

we would pass the building, we would point to it and pray aloud, “In the name of Jesus, turn it into a church!” As we grew in the Lord and started understanding more about the authority we had in Christ, we would boldly pray, “Jesus, don’t let anything succeed in that building except a church.” During these years, a friend of ours was being saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. This man of God felt a call on his life and spent several years in Bible School and serving other ministries preparing himself to fulfill his call to pastor a church. One Sunday afternoon in 1997 as he and his wife were traveling through Addis, they were asking the question, “When we pastor a church, where do you think it will be located?” Immediately, their attention was drawn to the Addis water tower by a large, brilliant flash of light that went off directly above the tower. On the tower they saw the giant, bold words “ADDIS.” Knowing it was a sign from God, they looked at each other, laughed, and said “No way, not Addis!?” Two years later, in 1999, under the

direction and timing of the Holy Spirit, the church was started in that very building in Addis where the two believers had prayed for it to become a church! It just so happened to be directly across Louisiana Highway 1 from the Addis Water Tower where the brilliant light had flashed two years earlier! The name of the church is River Ministries International and it is pastored by Butch LaBauve and his wife Susan. For the past 19 years, River Ministries International has been a thriving, life-giving, Holy Spirit-filled church spreading the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to West Baton Rouge, its surrounding communities and the nations of the world. U

Leslie Wilbert (left) pictured with pastor Butch LaBauve (right) of River Ministries International Church, the church he began praying for 38 years ago.

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Faith LIFE



BIC Media Solutions launches ‘Leisure Connection’ TV BIC Media Solutions moving forward with several exciting projects


IC Media Solutions has relaunched its popular “The Leisure Connection” magazine, this time as a new regional television series. “The Leisure Connection” is a 30-minute television show that showcases the best in lifestyle experiences, locations and events that you, your friends and family can enjoy

together. The first episode of “The Leisure Connection” featured the Keels & Wheels Concours d’Elegance event, a classic car and vintage wooden boat show in Seabrook, Texas. Viewers of the show were guided through the festival, and the show featured interviews with the owners to highlight the

history and restoration of their classic cars and boats. The first episode of “The Leisure Connection” aired twice in the Houston area on KIAH-TV. Additional episodes of “The Leisure Connection” will explore unique Gulf Coast tours and cruises, sporting events and tailgat-


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BARRY D. HARDY Barry D. Hardy, President & CEO of Training & Development Systems, Inc. (TDS), has been recognized as one of the most experienced and knowledgeable professionals in the field of training and development on the U.S. Gulf Coast. He has guided diverse teams of petroleum industry companies to decisions on issues such as operational excellence, performance improvement, organizational re-engineering, workforce development and corporate training strategies. Barry launched TDS in 1993 to provide comprehensive workforce development and management solutions to the petroleum industry.



In the early days of process technology education, Barry managed the design and development of curriculum for the two-year Applied Associate of Science degree in Process Technology. The program received exemplary status from the Texas Higher Education Board.

THERE ARE MANY BOOKS out there about famous Louisiana athletes and their accomplishments, but little is said about their contributions beyond the field/court. So many of our state’s greatest and lesser known athletes and coaches have used their fame, successes, and faith to make sure those less fortunate get the help they need. Whether it’s Warrick Dunn and his “Homes for the Holidays” program or Sid Edwards and his work with autism, these athletes and coaches are perfect examples of using success for good. Louisiana Sports Legends and Heroes—Leaving A Legacy shows how these athletes and coaches are creating a positive image of what real heroes are, not only across America but also globally.

Sports Legends and Heroes Leaving A Legacy

A BIC Alliance Company

of the lessons. This would have greatly benefited me as a new Process Supervisor, as well as benefited the numerous new foremen and supervisors that were moved into their positions during my time in the chemical process industry. Thanks Barry for a great job filling this need. “

B y B a rr y D. H a rdy wit h Te d M o o n


Leaving A Legacy A collection of inspirational stories from business & industry greats of today & yesterday

“As a former Process Supervisor and Operations Manager I can say that The Journey would have been a great asset for new first line supervisors, as well as second line supervisors and managers. We had little that compared at the time. The story telling style of the book makes for easy reading and quick absorption



Sports Legends and Heroes




“Barry Hardy has distilled the fundamentals of exceptional supervision to their

The Journey – A Practical Guide to Becoming an Exceptional Supervisor presents a number of insightful tips and strategies on exceptional supervision collected by Barry D. Hardy, President and CEO of Training & Development Systems, Inc. (TDS). Barry wrote this book to give new supervisors a head start to becoming exceptional, with practical lessons that can be readily implemented in the plant rather than just collect dust on a bookshelf.

essence in The Journey. The insight and practical suggestions presented here will benefit supervisors of all backgrounds and experience levels—whether they have two weeks or twenty years on the job. This book is also a must-read for managers, operators and technicians—truly, anyone who wants to reach new levels of professional and personal growth." — EARL HEARD, FOUNDER AND CEO, THE BIC ALLIANCE AND BIC MEDIA SOLUTIONS

Barry’s vision then, and still today, is to provide training and tools for TDS customers to maximize safety, efficiency and effectiveness. TDS enables companies in achieving Operations Excellence by focusing on workforce development including technical competency management, front line supervisor development, process safety management, asset reliability programs and business process training.

Earl B. Heard Dave Moormann

Wr i t te n by B a r r y D. Ha r d y wi t h Te d M o o n

Earl Heard & Br ady Porche

Publishers of It’s What We Do Together That Counts & Energy Entrepreneurs

Film production and distribution of faith/familyfriendly films, industry TV shows, TV series, podcasts, and corporate sizzle reels.

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME EXCEPTIONAL? In refineries and petrochemical plants, exceptional supervisors manage their processes and people with a continuous commitment to excellence in safety, operations, plant profitability and efficiency. But the journey to becoming truly exceptional doesn't happen overnight. It requires dedication, targeted focus and a willingness to learn from more experienced managers who exemplify exceptional behaviors in their daily work.


Written in a compelling and straightforward manner, The Journey tells the story of an experienced manager who shares his insight with a new shift supervisor through a series of lessons. With each new lesson, the manager takes the supervisor, and you the reader, further down the path to becoming an exceptional shift supervisor. People of all ages and experience levels will learn something along this “journey,” and can start cultivating exceptional behaviors that pay rich rewards in the workplace and in other aspects of their lives.

“The Leisure Connection” host Lauren Leal, left, interviews Billy Cain of The Fishbone Family of Cos. during the Keels & Wheels Concours d’Elegance event.

ing, Southern-style music and food venues, local restaurants and chefs, hunting and fishing adventures, favorite getaways, pastimes and hobbies of the rich and famous, and much more. The show producers welcome feedback from viewers on their favorite hotspots, events and activities to showcase. Submissions are being accepted online at www.bicmediasolut Provicom, a state-of-the-art video production company based in Houston, is partnering with BIC Media Solutions to produce “The Leisure Connection” episodes. BIC Media Solutions is also working with Provicom to produce videos of its own, including one that explores BIC Alliance’s many ancillary services. “Thanks to Provicom and all of our co-sponsors that helped make the first episode of ‘The Leisure Connection’ a huge success,” said Earl Heard, founder and CEO of BIC Media Solutions. “We are getting a lot of interest in ‘The Leisure Connection,’ and we’re excited to film our next segment.”

‘Urban Country’

Film / Video / TV Top leadership and inspirational speakers for keynotes, seminars, and events.

Speakers Bureau Improve and enhance your management, marketing, and sales presence through consultation, guidance, and training.

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BIC Media Solutions is also moving forward with its latest film, “Urban Country.” The film now has a theatrical release date of Aug. 3, and it will be released in Walmart stores Sept. 4. “Urban Country” stars Brighton Sharbino, Lou Diamond Phillips, Jason London, Candice Michele Barley, Saxon Sharbino, Dean West, Arthur Bryan Marroquin and C. Thomas Howell. “We are thrilled to help bring ‘Urban Country’ to audiences everywhere,” Heard said. “Since 2014, BIC Media has helped fund and/or co-produce several films, including ‘Classic Restoration,’ ‘A Gift Horse,’ ‘Rock Bottom and Back™’ and now ‘Urban Country.’ All these films have been viewed by many. ‘Rock Bottom and Back’ will be the next to air on local television in the Houston area. It’s scheduled to air in August.” For more information about BIC Media’s books, films, speakers bureau, events or video production capabilities, contact Earl Heard at earlheard@bic or call (281) 538-9996.


August 2018

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X Family life

Is Your Marriage Built on the Right Foundation? by Alton and TaShawnda Jamison


he Bible reminds us in Hosea 4:6 that people perish for a lack of knowledge. Marriages are also destroyed for a lack of knowledge. In our current society, people separate and divorce quicker than you can imagine. Marriage has become like cell phone service carriers … if you don’t like the service, you switch to someone else. I submit to you that knowledge is the main ingredient missing in most marriages. Knowledge of what? Knowledge of the Word and its power. The Bible tells us in Genesis 2:24 that “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Most couples fail because they never become one flesh. One flesh is more than just sharing a house or a joint bank account. One flesh means that we both die to self and join in a way that no one can separate. One flesh means that even on our worst days, we find a way to push through because we are joined together both spiritually and naturally. In a social media society, marriage advice shouldn’t

solely come from a Facebook post or an Instagram picture of your favorite celebrity couple. It must come from God’s Word, especially if you are going to build your marriage on a solid foundation. The Word is direct in its command in Joshua 24:15. “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” When the Word of God is paramount in a marriage, then your household will be in order. Why is the foundation of the Word so critical? Well, Jesus illustrates to us in a parable in Matthew 7:24-25. “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.”

Alton and TaShawnda Jamison are the founders of The Empowerment Zone, a ministry designed to “empower people for everyday life” through products, events and messages. In addition, they are the pastors of The Empowerment Zone in Baton Rouge, a church plant that will launch this fall. The Jamisons, who have two children, have been sharing the gospel together for over 17 years. They recently completed their first book, Purpose, Passion & Prosperity: 3 Keys to A Godly Marriage. For more information, visit


August 2018 l

When your marriage and family are built on the Word of God … when the rain, floods and the winds of life come, your marriage can endure. Your marriage may look good on paper, you may have the prettiest kids, a large home and the finest of cars. But if your foundation is not built on God’s Word, then nothing else matters. We are challenged in Mark 8:36 with the profound question, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” If you want your marriage and family to be strong, long-lasting and legacy-making, then exchange the world’s way and embrace God’s way. Storms will come in your marriage and family, but as a friend once said, “The good news about storms is that they all end at some point.” Be encouraged and start building! U

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X Witness at Work

Mike Rase: Building Relationships, Our Key to Success by Rachele Smith


August 2018 l

Witness at work


Stacey and Mike at the annual Michael J.Fox Kickin’ Parkinson’s VIP Gala in NY City.


he year was 1995. It was a time when “Still in Love” by East to West topped the Christian music charts, the World Wide Web was taking flight, and kids, both young and old, were flocking to theaters to see Walt Disney Picture’s “Toy Story” surge in popularity “to infinity and beyond.” But closer to home, Mike Rase, the vice president and general manager of Paretti Jaguar Baton Rouge, was just starting out in the car industry, and he was about to experience something that still influences both his personal and professional life today. Rase’s story begins with a man driving a Harley Davidson motorcycle onto the lot of a Jag dealership. According to Rase, the man had a dog on his back, sported a long ponytail, and was wearing a T-shirt that said “Satan Sucks.” As the first new sales person at this car dealership in 18 years, Rase was selected to help him.

“Being young and not one to be a typical car guy, I wanted to treat him like you are supposed to treat a fellow human being, so I waited on him,” said Rase. “He asked some questions and then left. I thought it was all over, but then he came back a few hours later, and said, ‘I want you to know I’ve been to a lot of different car dealerships and nobody would wait on me. You were the only person that greeted me today.’” The man returned later and purchased a car. Through the years, that same customer has continued to return and has purchased additional cars. “He just doesn’t want to deal with anyone else in the car business,” Rase said. “He is an extremely religious man and does a lot of mission work. He takes in people who have had drug addictions and gives them jobs fixing motorcycles and gets them up and running and back out into society. He’s a gentleman, and I consider him a friend.” For Rase, the lesson learned that day l August 2018



Witness at work

The Rase family includes (from left) Shelby, Mike, Larry, Stacey, Hadley and Landry at Larry's high school graduation May.

was instilled in him through his Christian faith: human dignity. And by doing what he knew was right and just, a lifelong connection was made. The experience also helped Rase realize his basic business intuition was correct. “Certainly, there is a stigma with people (working) in the car business,” Rase said. “When I came into it, I wanted to be different. I didn’t want people to see me as that typical car guy. Every day, since the day I started, I’ve tried to not let anybody see me in that light.” Rase has extended that business idea to his employees at Paretti Jaguar of Baton Rouge. “That means being up front and honest and making friends with the folks, understanding their families. We have a lot of repeat business, and I think that’s because we take care of customers at the end of the day,” he said. Building relationships is key, according to Rase, who was named general manager of Paretti Jaguar when the Paretti family 18

of dealerships in Metairie expanded to Baton Rouge in 1997. “My father-in-law said, ‘We gotta do this (move to Baton Rouge); go make this happen.’ I was a baby in the business. In hindsight, I can’t believe he (my father-inlaw) went out on a limb and really fought for me to be able to become the general manager here,” he said. Back then, the local dealership had only six employees, including Rase. Today, 36 employees are needed to run the company, which also includes a state-ofthe-art Jaguar Land Rover facility. And in February, the Baton Rouge team earned the coveted 2018 Land Rover Pinnacle Award for outstanding overall business performance, one of just 16 dealerships across the country to do so. “It’s an all-encompassing award,” said Rase. “It’s not just about how many cars you sell. (That’s) great because it’s not an award for me. It’s an award for everybody here, for 36 people who all equally won

August 2018 l

that award, and that’s pretty nice.” Rase lives in Covington and has commuted to the capital city for 20 years. He admits he is a “people person” and said he enjoys the personal interaction with his customers. “It’s fun for me to hear what’s going on with their families, and I’ve seen the kids grow up and now we’re selling the children cars, and then it’ll be the grandchildren. We grow with them as time progresses,” he said. In today’s world of cell phones and emails, it can be hard to maintain that personal connection, but Rase believes there is power in that one-on-one relationship with people. “It’s really (about) that connection. Did I make your day or not? Can I surprise and delight you somehow today? (Anything) to be different than that phone going off,” he said. As the father of four children, Rase knows it can be tough finding the right balance between work and family. But he

Founders forum In February, the Baton Rouge team earned the coveted 2018 Land Rover Pinnacle Award for outstanding overall business performance, one of just 16 dealerships across the country to do so. “It’s an all-encompassing award,” said Rase. “It’s not just about how many cars you sell. (That’s) great because it’s not an award for me. It’s an award for everybody here, for 36 people who all equally won that award, and that’s pretty nice.”


credits his wife with helping him keep it together. “I will say without Stacy, none of this is possible. Having that lengthy commute, I’ve missed an awful lot not being at home. My wife has made it all happen on the home front,” he said, noting his four children, all raised in the Catholic communities around St. Anselm Catholic Church in Madisonville and St. Peter Catholic Church in Covington, have all been successful students in and out of the classroom. “Mom takes care of business. She’s the enforcer of a lot of things,” he noted, but when things go really bad, he said, Dad gets a call. “I enjoy being ready and able to go out and tackle whatever that problem is.” As his children get older and head off to college and beyond, Rase is realizing he and his wife are very close to that next stage in life. “We’re about to be empty nesters in two years,” he said. ”We’re probably five years before having grandkids, and the best years of our lives are in front of us. I certainly do look forward to it.” U

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Founders Forum

As for Me and My House … .


t’s fitting that Scott Gaspard and his wife Jessica have a plaque in their home informing guests and visitors that … As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. The scripture takes on an even deeper meaning when you consider that as a Realtor, Gaspard is in the business of matching people and homes, and he views his profession as another way to serve the Lord. The search for a Realtor is often tied to a life-changing event such as a move to a new city, divorce, a new marriage, or a new job. The reasons to buy or sell a home can be happy or sad, Gaspard said, but there is usually an opportunity to connect spiritually. Gaspard doesn’t advertise his faith when he’s with clients, but neither does he hide it. “Guiding people through big decisions gives me an opportunity to get to know them over time. People tell you about their family, their finances, their dreams. This leads to a deeper relationship that happens naturally. It has


opened the door for opportunities to pray with my clients as the Holy Spirit leads. I am humbled and grateful to serve a mighty God.” Gaspard understands that faith is sometimes a long and winding process. He attended church growing up, but pulled away from religion during his high school and college years. At one point, he went to live with his brother Brad, who had given his life to God. “I saw how it absolutely changed his life,” Gaspard said. “It created a lot of conversations between us, and eventually I professed my faith as well. My wife, Jessica, also drew me closer to God. She knew that she wanted a God-centered marriage, and I knew that I wanted her to be my wife. The providence of God blows me away!” Today, the Gaspards have 12 children – yes, 12. “We sleep very little, we work very hard, and we love a lot,” he says. “Our family mission statement is simple – ‘to know God and make Him

August 2018 l

known.’ Our family motto (adopted from a Christian camp) is to be Godcentered, others-focused, seriously fun! I am thankful to be a child of God, husband to an amazing wife, father of 12 beautiful children, and to have a career that allows me to provide for my family and build relationships that last a lifetime.” Gaspard works with his mother Linda, who has been in the real estate business for nearly 40 years. The Gaspard Team also includes Mary DiBenedetto and Cindy Carroll, and the firm has been a supporter of Christian Life Magazine since its beginning. “I think it’s important to share our faith when we can,” Gaspard said, “and it’s good to know that Christian Life Magazine is shining a light on our city and showing people what God is doing here in Baton Rouge day in and day out as He moves through our community. We need to hear those kind of stories.” U


SAVE THE DATE! October 5, 2018 6 P.M.- 9 P.M. and October 6, 2018 9 A.M.-12N • BATON ROUGE Sponsored by Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine and Christ in the City. l August 2018


X Cover Story

Conservation and Christianity For Phil Frost, the two go hand in hand by Susan Brown


aton Rouge Zoo Director Phil Frost knows where a poison dart frog is hiding. He lifts a tiny rock-shaped tent in his office terrarium, and it hops away. “I often find God in small and simple things,� Frost says.


August 2018 l

Photo by Beth Townsend

Cover Story The Central and South American frogs – famous for their striking yellow and black coats - are also deadly. “Seeing my frogs reminds me each day to be careful what choices I make and what paths I take." They are also a reminder to consider the value of each creature. The toxins secreted from the frogs’ skin, once used on the tips of warriors’ arrows, is now the subject of medical research into its use as a muscle relaxant, heart stimulant and anesthetic. Frost delights in the creatures he oversees. To him, conservation and Christianity go together. “I think that in my interpretation of Genesis and creation, this was made, and we were supposed to take care of it and take care of each other,” he says. “I truly feel that I was called to do what I’m doing.” After a difficult, divisive debate over the relocation of the zoo, Frost is wholeheartedly stepping into the next phase: renovation of the zoo at its existing location. He expects responses this month to his call for renovation proposals. The BREC Commission voted against the push to move the zoo to a new location at its March 22 meeting following opposition from residents of the area who cite the historical and economic importance of the current location in north Baton Rouge. “We’ve got a lot of improvements down the road that we’ll be planning, and that’s all starting now, so it’s exciting,” Frost says. “How can we make this the best it can be, sitting right here in Greenwood Park in north Baton Rouge? That’s our charge.” That process will include efforts to restore accreditation by the prestigious American Association of Zoos and Aquariums, removed this spring due largely to the aging infrastructure and animal escapes at the 48-year-old zoo. “To me it’s more than just about a zoo. It’s about people, it’s about education, it’s about teaching people the importance of saving wildlife and wild places,” Frost says. “We wish every kid could go to Af-


A Baird’s tapir named Mia was born at the zoo in March. Although rejected by its parents, the tapir, nicknamed Nugget, is hand-fed daily by the zoo staff as part of its work to preserve endangered species.

rica. We wish every kid could go to South America and see those frogs in the wild. But we know that’s not going to happen.” Seeing animals like the Golden Lion Tamarins – some of the rarest monkeys in the world – helps people realize that animals have problems that humans can help solve. “All of a sudden, zoos have been able to get involved in conservation efforts around the world. We’re involved in programs that deal with frogs in Panama, elephants in Kenya and tigers in Malaysia and Sumatra,” Frost said. He now serves as chair of Species360, a software company that connects more than 1,100 zoos in 90 different countries to collect and share animal records and genealogy.

That allows zoos to look at bloodlines and bring potential mates together to conserve struggling species. “If it had not been for the captive breeding at the New York Bronx Zoo, we would not have bison today, because they had been brought down to such a low number,” Frost says. The big challenge today is adapting to new knowledge about animal habitats and educating the public about realistic methods of conserving endangered species. Zoos around the world – including the Baton Rouge Zoo - are choosing to house a smaller variety of animals in favor of preserving sparse species. For example, eight different cat species were previously housed at the local zoo in what is now the Realm of the Tiger.

Seeing animals like the Golden Lion Tamarins – some of the rarest monkeys in the world – helps people realize that animals have problems that humans can help solve. l August 2018


X Cover Story

For the same reasons, zoo officials are considering whether to replace the 46-yearold elephant, Judy, who died in 2013, and her companion, Bozie, who was transferred to the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Recent studies revealed that elephants are social animals and need to belong to a herd, preferably in the wild where they reproduce best. For rescued elephants, the cost is enormous. While Buckskin Bill raised $6,000 for an elephant exhibit, that amount would not even cover food for a year at today’s costs, and it would take $10-15 million dollars for the exhibit and animals, Frost says. A bird building, at a quarter of the cost, attracts visitors for 25-30 minutes versus a typical five second viewing at an elephant exhibit. “I think that’s what this master planning process is about, bringing the community together and saying what’s really important to them,” Frost says. Frost sees a zoo as a unique gathering place for the community because it appeals to all generations. He wants every child to experience the animals and develop a sense of concern for them, just as he did. His father, a Free Methodist minister, made a point of stopping at the Evansville, Indiana zoo each time they traveled from their home in Illinois to visit grandparents in Kentucky. Frost became fascinated with the tiny prairie dogs but also acquired lessons in responsibility from the time with animals. Missionaries also visited their home and brought information and toy replicas of exotic animals from places like Africa and China. He learned that the best way to solve problems is by equipping the people who live among them. “And so, in many cases, the conservation programs we’re involved in help fund projects that are already on the ground by the people who live there, who know the culture, who are very well established,” Frost says. “We’re supporting those programs with dollars that people donate to us through our Friends of the Zoo.” That sense of responsibility also finds its roots in the beliefs of the Free Methodist church, a denomination that split from mainstream Methodists in the mid1800s over issues including slavery and


August 2018 l

Spencer, one of the Baton Rouge Zoo’s pygmy hippos, is 24 years old.

This bald eagle was captured in a photo by Frost and remains one of his favorite pictures.

Brooke (daughter), Phil, Violet and Adam (son) having lunch at The Arcade in Memphis.

Cover Story free seating at church during a time when wealthy families paid for pews near the front of the sanctuary. “All my life I’ve been raised in a family that truly saw the value in all people,” Frost says. The Frosts are now members of First United Methodist Church in downtown Baton Rouge. His upbringing also informs his understanding of creation and the natural world. “I am a biologist, I am a scientist, but I’m also a Christian. And sometimes those don’t go together,” he says, in reference to the debate over the origin of the universe. “God created it,” he says. “I just believe it, and that’s the way it is. And I’m comfortable with that.” He points to an experience with a minister friend in Tennessee during a tour of the “Rise of Life” exhibit at Grassmere Wildlife Park that Frost helped develop in Nashville. “The fact that there were Smilodon, or Saber-tooth cats, there 2,000 years ago,

the fact that it was under water several million years ago because you can find Mosasaurus skeletons which is a big whale-like fish in all the sand - it was obvious that a lot of things had changed in the last many, many years.” The exhibit referred to the [Big] Bang. “It’s not a fact; it’s a theory,” Frost said. His minister friend remarked, “Yeah, my God could have done it that way.” “And I thought, we don’t have to sit here and argue that’s not how it is. My God did it. And that’s kind of the simplicity that I’ve had,” Frost said. “The science mentality is we’ve got to prove it. I think that’s where faith comes in. You just can’t prove faith.” One of his favorite scripture verses is, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all thy ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5, 6). “We can make a difference in the


world. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed. I think that’s the beauty of what zoos do today,” Frost said. “One of the challenges that zoos have is just being a megaphone, if you will, to people about things that we can do.” U

Susan Brown began her career in radio news. She was news director for WJBO/WFMF radio and a journalism instructor at LSU. She holds master’s degrees from LSU and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and served as a chaplain at Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women. l August 2018


X Man UP

Finding the David in Us by Fred Townsend


here is something about Solomon that fascinates me. Blessed directly by God as the smartest and wisest king ever. Riches beyond the imagination! Author of three books of the Bible--even after 3,000 years, Proverbs is the rulebook for sound decision-making. But with all that going for him, Solomon’s story didn’t end well. Solomon’s pedigree was awesome. Paul recounts that legacy in Acts 22:13: “After removing Saul, He made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’” Get that? Solomon’s daddy was not just a man after God’s own heart, but the Almighty himself testified to it!!! “What a heritage it would be if a prophet proclaimed to a group of believers, my son Rhett amongst them, that God told him: “I have found Fred son of Bernard, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.” Wouldn’t we all want our legacy to be just that? After all, being a man after God’s own heart is the only truly meaningful goal in life! If we do everything God wants us to do, we could claim a place in the roll call of the “great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1). Can any of us think that God knows it about us? So, why do we fall so far short of this standard? More importantly, why accept lesser goals for ourselves? In other words, what is the legacy we leave for our sons and daughters if it is not to be a man after God’s own heart? The very first proverb is about knowledge: “Respect and obey the Lord! This is the beginning of knowledge. Only a fool rejects wisdom and good advice.”


(Proverbs 1:7 NIV). Solomon wrote it. Obviously, he knew its importance. Like his father, Solomon was hard-wired to the Creator of the Universe. God picked David to lead His chosen people. After David’s death, God appeared to young Solomon. 2 Chronicles 1 tells the story. God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Pretty open-ended opportunity! Many of us -- maybe most of us -- would pick riches! But Solomon responded to this question with the answer “discernment.” Pretty selfeffacing for a fifteen year old to pick wisdom over wealth, since God offered an open checkbook. God was so pleased with the answer that he told Solomon (2 Chronicles 1:12 NIV), “therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.” Solomon got off to a bang-up start with the Creator. “Solomon knew stuff! So much stuff that he was famous, and people came from everywhere to listen to him talk about anything and everything. Since it was Solomon who said, “Respect and obey the Lord! This is the beginning of knowledge. Only a fool rejects wisdom and good advice,” he knew that without revering God knowledge was worthless. And without respect for God, there was no wisdom. With both that understanding and with David’s legacy, how then did Solomon drift from his mooring? Despite despicable acts surrounding the illicit relationship with Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, King David never put any god before the God of Israel. Therefore, God forgave even David’s

August 2018 l

most egregious sins. But unlike his father, Solomon placed the world’s gods on equal footing with the one true God. Narcissism did him in. Solomon was an ancient version of the rock star. The world was his oyster, with the trappings of wealth and legions of hangers-on. Everyday was a party with his 700 wives and 300 concubines. Some of the wives and a few girlfriends seduced the king into building temples to their gods, and he bowed down to their idols. The son of the man after God’s own heart, then himself directly blessed, chose to disobey and disrespect the Creator. A foundation of knowledge was washed away. All that wisdom was squandered by the acts of a fool. Predictably his life took a turn for the worse. “The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.” (1 Kings 11:9 NIV). If the only worthwhile goal in life is to be a man after God’s own heart, then why do we fall short? And why do we accept lesser goals? In Ecclesiastes 1:9, Solomon wrote that there is nothing new under the sun. People are the same flawed beings now as the people in ancient times. Many, including Christians, are seduced into the worship of the false gods of fame, sex and money or envy of those who have it. Even believers get caught in the conundrum of what God says versus what the world says. Like Solomon, we may compromise what we know is right, choose wrong and directly disrespect and disobey God. The secular worldview is that “right and wrong” are relative. We can fall into that trap! Frankly, the example we have set for the next generation falls

Man UP short of what God expects, which contributes significantly to an epidemic rejection of belief by millennials who don’t see righteousness in our generation. We live in an abundant, affluent nation, with easy access to education and an unfettered flow-of-information. Yet for far too many, knowledge is not about respect and obedience for God, but the means to selfishly advance themselves by impressing others. Sadly, we often accept lesser goals than living righteously, simply because it’s the easy way out. We’d rather make God angry than face rejection from friends and acquaintances. Vanity can steal our souls just as it did with Solomon. It’s time to man-up. Go after God’s own heart! The next generation and the one that follows must see the David in us; not the Solomon. U

Fred Townsend is the husband of Beth Townsend, the publisher of Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine. His 45-year career in marketing is an eclectic collection of work in everything from political campaign consultant to television producer and creative advertising and executive positions at two Fortune 500 companies.


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Creative LIFE

John K. Lee

Brushstrokes of Love … Thoughtfully Placed 28

August 2018 l

by Sharon Furrate Bailey

Creative LIFE

Q: Describe your journey as an artist. A. My journey is unique. I was born and raised in Baton Rouge. When I was 20, I moved to New York City where I studied business at NYU and worked as an analyst for an advertising conglomerate. After living in NYC for five years, I moved back home and worked as an accountant for a local nonprofit. I did not stay very long. In 2012, I ventured out to southern California where I studied at Fuller Theological Seminary and obtained my Master of Divinity. I enjoyed the dynamic city of Los Angeles. During my time there, I discovered my love for pop culture and my affinity for the arts. After living in California for five years, my journey led me back to Baton Rouge. Throughout most of my life, I worked in financial and administrative roles. But after discovering more about myself and my artistic gifts, I wanted to be an artist. In the summer of 2017, I painted to discover who I truly was in the Lord. Throughout my childhood, it was difficult to love myself --- the ideas I had about myself were false. Life’s challenges gave me wounds that made it hard for me to see myself as worthy of love. But over time, God revealed to me my true identity in Him. He revealed that I was intimately made, made in love, and made in his image. This is true for all of us. Only humanity was formed in this special way. As Erwin Raphael McManus says in The Artisan Soul, “While all creation declares the image of God, we humans bear the image of God.” Being an artist for me is declaring and living out my true identity as God’s child. I believe in a sense that each of us are artists. God is the main artist. He is “Creator” and because we were all created in God’s image, we’re all fundamentally creative beings. Most people may think they have no artistic talent, but we all have creative abilities that we use in our daily lives. For example, a chef uses his culinary skills when cooking and creating beauty on a plate. As an artist, what I care about most is how a person sees himself or herself. My desire is for others to know who they are in God, especially younger people. There are so many false messages in media and throughout our society, and it is important to find a confidence in knowing God’s love. The medium I enjoy using now is mixed media. I enjoy acrylic paint and spray paint on canvas. Abstract art is something I enjoy doing because it uses the deepest recesses of my imagination. I feel that my southern Louisiana upbringing and the fact that I’ve lived in some major metropolitan cities impacts my art, making it contemporary but also intimate and down-to-earth.


Q: What are some of your favorite paintings and why?

A. One of my favorite paintings is Claude Monet’s Water Lilies. There’s such a peace and purity in Monet’s paintings. Another painting I like is Vincent Van Gogh’s Café Terrace At Night. I love the light in it. As for my own art, well, it remains untitled, but it’s a piece that has actual leaves on it from my parents’ backyard that I spray painted. It makes me think of this verse: 1 Peter 1:24-25: “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” My second favorite is called Home. There is great peace in being home after being away for ten years. The white around the image or “blankness” represents starting over and how everything is “blank” in a sense. But even though there’s this blankness, there’s texture in it. The texture represents the experiences I’ve had throughout my journey — smooth terrain and bumps in the road, so to say. They’ve added “texture” or layers to my life. Even though I’m back at square one, those life experiences remain.

Q: Creativity is a spiritual gift. How is painting spiritual to you?

A: Painting is naturally spiritual to me. My parents’ garage is my studio. God is in there and I experience His intimacy while painting. Additionally, I am very passionate about evangelism. The false views and perceptions of God bother me. So many see God as this domineering figure who is judgmental, rigid and mundane. God is quite the opposite, and art gives me a way to draw people close to Him or at least seek the God I have come to know. God is dynamic, diverse, loving, personable and down-to-earth. God is humorous too. We can see the reality and beauty of God in things like art, food, movies, music, fashion and sports. This outlet, or rather new beginning, helps me to present God and his attributes.

John sits among pieces of his collection at The Beautiful Butterfly at Perkins Rowe. l August 2018



Creative LIFE


What is your favorite Scripture and why?

A: One of my favorite scriptures is Psalm 139: 13-15: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.” This scripture shows just how special and how thoughtfully God created us.


Describe your faith life and the people who have influenced you.

A: I became a Christian when I was a freshman in college. I grew up going to church, but I never had a personal relationship with God. At LSU, a good friend named Phil Koch told me how I could have a personal relationship with Jesus. Before this, I always thought being a Christian was about following rules and trying to be a really moral person. One evening in my dorm room, I prayed and asked Jesus to come into my life. I found true fulfillment in life. Because of my experience, I’m passionate about ministry. If it is the Lord’s will, I want to start a church one day and help others have an intimate relationship with God who does hear us, see us and love us. Aside from art, I work as the Connections Coordinator at The Chapel on the Campus. My role is essentially to help welcome and connect people into our church community. Two of my heroes are my mom and dad. My parents have owned a drycleaning business in Baton Rouge for over 30 years. They are the hardest working people I know and the purest example to me of Christ’s sacrificial love. One of my all-time heroes is Erwin Raphael McManus, pastor of Mosaic Church in Hollywood, California where I attended when I lived there. Erwin is an amazing pastor, but he is also a fashion designer, filmmaker, writer, speaker, and artist. His book The Artisan Soul literally changed my life and influenced my views about art. My dream is to be an influential artist in the world who uses art as a platform to speak about beauty and the Gospel. When people see my art, I want them to see love.

John enjoys abstract art that taps into the deep recesses of the imagination.

Q: Where can readers find your work? A: In August, some of my art will be displayed in Magpie Café on Perkins Road. I also have a few pieces in Rue Beignet on Highland Road and I hope to display my art in more local businesses. Mid City Rising and Re-stabbed in the Art are local art events where I have shown my work. One can find my art on facebook ( and Instagram @artbyjohnklee. U 30

August 2018 l

Sharon Furrate Bailey grew up in Alexandria, La., and moved to Baton Rouge to attend LSU. She earned a B.A. in English Literature in 1990. She attends Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church. Sharon has been in the field of marketing, sales and public relations since 1996. She is a gifted artist and has been a columnist since 2005. She can be reached at

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A Little lagniappe

Christ Lifted Up Through the Arts


here is no shortage of fans for Victor Hugo’s historical novel Les Miserables or its many adaptations for film, television and the stage, especially the Broadway musical. Photo by Matthew Murphy

Audiences love the show for its beautiful and touching narrative, and inspiring songs celebrating romance and political revolution. But the play also highlights the qualities of redemption, forgiveness and mercy. This lesser-known side of Les Miserables will be presented in a special performance on August 19 at the Woman’s Club downtown.

The show stars four professional singers – Michelle Willis, Myles Garver, Andre Chiang, and Lori Lusted, a Baton Rouge native who recently completed a Broadway touring production of The Buddy Holly Story. Lusted’s mother Dona Lusted will be the piano accompanist for the event. The cast is representative of several local

organizations, including the LSU School of Music’s Theater and Opera divisions, Broadmoor UMC and Zachary UMC. “This show is another example of Christ being lifted up through art and in the theater, rather than only in church,” said Rev. David Melville, executive director of Christ in the City Ministry, which is presenting the show.U

Les Miserables

The Spiritual Side of the Musical Sunday, August 19 • 3:00 p.m. Woman’s Club • 259 T.J. Jemison Blvd. $20 per person/$10 students (225) 397-6393 32

August 2018 l

Good news

Students in Pursuit of Excellence



By Falcolm and Yvonne Hull

he Overseer Richard Rayborn, Sr. Scholarship Fund held its third annual Scholarship Award Banquet on June 16 at the Christian Assembly Full Gospel Church where Dr. Richard Rayborn II is the pastor. Eight Ascension Parish seniors were recognized and awarded $1,000 for their pursuit of excellence in academics. The students honored are Alexis DeShea Anderson, Dutchtown High School graduate accepted to Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond where she aspires to become a neonatal nurse; Kyali Nicole Anderson, East Ascension High School graduate who will attend Xavier University in New Orleans, majoring in Biology and pre-med; Kailyn Marie Cooper, St. Amant High School graduate who plans to attend Baton Rouge Community College to complete her undergraduate prerequisite courses and transfer to Southeastern Louisiana University Nursing School Program; Cameron Terrell Jones, Dutchtown High School graduate who plans to attend River Parish Community College to receive an Associate Degree in Instrumentation; Lauren Elizabeth Michelli, East Ascension High School graduate who will attend Mississippi College, majoring in Biology and pre-med to pursue a career in ophthalmology; Miquel Joseph Miles, Jr., Donaldsonville High School graduate who will attend Southern University, majoring in agriculture science economics; Jessica Leontine Popularas, Dutchtown High School graduate who will attend Louisiana State University, majoring in kinesiology and focusing on human movement science; Kiersten Janae’ Roberts, Dutchtown High School graduate who will attend Xavier University, majoring in history and pre-med. Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul was the keynote speaker for the occasion, and focused on the importance of education, making the right choices, and living a life that emphasizes faith and family first. Dr. Richard Rayborn II, pastor of the Christian Assembly Full Gospel Church in Gonzales, expressed his pride in the students’ achievements. U

Dr. Richard Rayborn II and Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul.

(left to right) Sandra Rayborn, Eartha Rayborn, Narome Rayborn, Dr. Richard Rayborn II, Scholarship Recipient Cameron Terrell Jones, Teresa and Charlie Chesterfield and Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul, Jr.

The eight Ascension Parish seniors after receiving their awards. l August 2018



Millennial Life

Reaching Young People with Knowledge by Jessica LeBlanc


yre’ Jenkins, 26, is an ordained minister and the youth pastor at House of Prayer Life, Full Gospel Church. He teaches fourth grade and is the founder and CEO of Coaching Kings Inc., an organization that supports and mentors youth. I’ve known him for some years now and when I was thinking about this month’s theme (knowledge), I couldn’t think of a better person to interview. For our interview, he wore a buttoned-down shirt, blue jeans and a Nike baseball cap, a typical outfit for a young millennial. I took note of the gadgets he had in tow --- an Apple watch on his wrist, along with an iPad that held his notes. I couldn’t help but think, this is a long way from the times of Jonathan Edwards during the Great Awakening. If I had just sat down with the celebrated preacher of old and gotten his thoughts on the topic of knowledge (centuries ago), we wouldn’t be surrounded by modern technology. But although it’s a different time now, the message and wisdom from both men are the same. Expounding on the Word of God and rightly dividing the Word of Truth, is a timeless effort, never to be put in a box. Here are some of Tyre’s thoughts on the topic:


Meet Tyre’ D. Jenkins, Chief Executive Officer Coaching Kings, Inc. Tyré can be found at

“Your sons will become kings like their father. You will make them rulers over many lands.”—Psalm 45: 16 NLT

August 2018 l

Q: What made you devote your life to ministry at such a young age? A: Number one, my love for God. After I really gained that love for Him, I took everything that He said as gold. It became a part of my heart and it transformed my heart. Q: When you think of knowledge, what comes to mind? A: I think knowledge is very significant. I think that it could be good or bad … we don’t just need to be knowledgeable of the scripture but we need to be knowledgeable of what God is saying by His Spirit. The Bible says knowledge also puffeth up. People get (some) knowledge and they become arrogant. But the Bible says that in all you’re getting, get an understanding. Q: How do you reach the millennials with the knowledge of Christ? A: One thing that I’ve realized is that you have to meet people where they are. You can’t just throw things at them and expect them to really receive (it) or understand. You have to be very mindful of your approach, mindful of your style. Paul said in the scripture that he had to


Millennial Life really “become like them in order to win them.” Q.Do you think the church is missing something in the way it’s reaching millennials? A: People are falling away. People are losing interest. But I also feel like it’s the church. Looking down south, (there’s) a spirit of religion and tradition. And that is a big, big breach. It’s a big gap between what we’re used to in trying to reach the young people now. God gave me a lens to see their heart. And when I really began to see their heart, and really learned to understand that I needed to be relevant in order to reach them, then that changed my whole perspective about reaching the millennials. One thing about millennials is that they want the truth. You really have to understand where they are and be

patient with them. I think young people often feel that we’re too messed up for God to clean us. So I think where wisdom and knowledge come in is knowing how to see them where they are and pull them out of where they are, so you can put them on the track to where they’re trying to go.

Jessica LeBlanc is an award-winning, Emmynominated journalist who was named one of the top student television news reporters in the country by College Broadcasters in 2011. While in college, she traveled to Europe and wrote political and human interests stories for UPIU. com (an extension of United Press International). Upon graduation from Southeastern Louisiana University, she began working at WBRZ News 2 in Baton Rouge as a multimedia journalist and later an as anchor. Originally from New Orleans, she spends her free time working on her blog Moments with Jess, reading, taking on various speaking engagements and spending time with her family.

Jessica’s Commentary: I believe God is calling us to a life of balance. In Hosea 4:6, He says, “My people perish for lack of knowledge.” So although we must be careful not to get puffed up, we also have to work at gaining the knowledge of knowing the Word of God and sitting at His feet. My prayer for others this month is that God will reveal Himself … by His Spirit … and that He will guide them into all truth. U

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Reading for Life

Divine Providence by Rannah Gray


id something ever happen in your life that you felt was simply meant to be? If you believe in Divine Providence, it isn’t fate or destiny or luck that intervenes. It’s God revealing his hand in our lives and through love and wisdom, directing all things. If ever there was a moment of Divine Providence in my life, it happened in 2013 when I received an email from a young man in England, a complete stranger who had been a student at an academy run by Scott Rogers in the 1990s. Rogers had been accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old boy, but his two-week trial in London where he produced 17 character witnesses, ended in a hung jury. Rogers left England in disgrace and ended up in Baton Rouge, reinventing himself as host of a weekend TV show and emcee of many local charitable events. His former student wanted to warn our community that Rogers was a dangerous child predator who had abused his students for at least a decade. He was able to locate Rogers because he found a letter to the editor I wrote that was published in The Advocate newspaper online. I wrote the letter to correct false statements Rogers had made, and by naming him, I unknowingly helped one of his victims end a 13-year search for Rogers. Faced with his request for help, I felt the best thing I could do was connect the young man with federal law enforcement agents. A year-long international criminal investigation followed, revealing that Rogers made false statements to become a 36

U.S. citizen, obtain a concealed weapons permit, become a foster parent and adopt children. Two little boys he had adopted were removed from his home and a federal grand jury was empaneled to consider charging him with fraud and extraditing him to England to face more serious assault charges there. I wrote the book, Familiar Evil, in collaboration with the British abuse survivor who contacted me (called Ethan in the book) and Mary Jane Marcantel, a paralegal who assisted us. The book takes readers behind the scenes of the investigation and reveals how dangerous child predators operate. Ethan wrote a chapter in Familiar Evil and explained his decision to email me after compiling a list of local people he found through his online research to have connections with Rogers. He described the moment when he chose to send only one email to me after reading my letter, hoping justice for the children would bring healing: “It was late in the afternoon; it had just turned 5 p.m. Here I was. Standing at the cliff, nothing but darkness. As I drafted my email, I knew. This was the beginning. As I pressed send, I felt like I leapt off the edge of a cliff into the darkness, alone. As I fell, a hand caught me. A hand caught me and pulled me into the light.” It still brings tears to my eyes to read how difficult it is for a survivor of child sex abuse to reach out to someone and tell their story. What gave Ethan the courage to contact me was the thought that Rogers would still be abusing children.

August 2018 l

Providence changed both our lives that day. Ethan said he began to heal from the years of abuse he endured as a child when he connected with me, and together we began to search for a path to justice for Rogers’ victims. While we hoped those young men would find that justice in a court of law, Rogers chose the coward’s way out, orchestrating a murder-suicide plot with one of his victims that left both men dead. Only now do the survivors of his abuse finally feel free. Ethan described it as a feeling that everything was supposed to happen the way it did. Providence. I speak throughout the country on Familiar Evil and people are always amazed to learn that Ethan sent one email to one person and this entire story unfolded as a result. But something told me he was telling the truth the instant I received his email. Providence. When it comes to what we do about the suspected abuse of children, we can’t make decisions by asking ourselves, “What if I’m wrong?” We should ask instead, “What if I’m right?” I believe the answer to that question, and the presence of Divine Providence in our lives, will lead us to make better decisions that keep children safe. U

Rannah Gray is a public relations consultant whose career highlights include Louisiana’s two favorite pastimes — politics and sports. Her work as a media producer has been honored with numerous national awards. Politics Magazine named her one of the Top 100 Influencers in Louisiana; and she was named Marketer of the Year and one of Baton Rouge’s Influential Women in Business by the Baton Rouge Business Report.

Sloppy Jeauxs

Cooking for life


What You’ll Need:

1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey 1 cup Seasoning Blend (onion, bell pepper, celery) 1 can diced tomatoes 2/3 cup BBQ sauce ½ cup + 1 tbsp water 1 tsp. garlic powder

¼ tsp. salt 2 tsp. all-purpose flour Hamburger buns Smoked cheddar cheese Diced purple Onion

How to Make It:

Brown ground beef and seasoning blend. Drain and return to pot. Stir in tomatoes, BBQ sauce, ½ cup water, garlic powder and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining 1 Tbsp. of water and flour. Add to meat mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes or until mixture has thickened. Toast buns and top with meat mixture, diced onions and cheddar cheese. Enjoy!

Recipe submitted by Lori Layman. Follow Lori on Facebook at Food Junkie.

Do you have a recipe that you’d like to share? We would love to feature it right here! Send your recipe to Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine and it may be chosen for publication in an upcoming issue. Send it to

All Things Productions

Graphic Design, Web Building, Photography & Videography


Owner: Rachel Boster l August 2018



Opportunities for LIFE

Calendar of Events Do you have an event to share? To have your event included in our calendar, please email a brief summary of your ministry or service-related event to by the 8th of the previous month. Please include details (date/time/location/ information/etc.) so we can be sure it’s ready to print. Please send September submissions by August 8.

AUGUST 1, 8, 15, 22, 29

WEDNESDAY PRAYER SERVICE 6:45 p.m., Mt. Zion First Baptist Church, 356 T. J. Jemison Blvd. Join us for worship and fellowship. For more information, call (225) 383-5401.


AUGUST 1, 8, 15, 22, 29

CASA NEW VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION 9 a.m., CASA office, 848 Louisiana Ave. Find out how you can be a voice for an abused or neglected child while they await a safe and permanent home. Visit or call (225) 379-8598.

AUGUST 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

ANNUAL HERITAGE RANCH GALA 6 p.m., Crowne Plaza, 1728 Constitution Ave. Tickets and tables available at For more information, go to or call (225) 658-1800.

BIBLE STUDY Noon and 7:15 p.m., Mt. Zion First Baptist Church, 356 T. J. Jemison Blvd. Join us for fellowship and discussion. For more information, call (225) 383-5401. THURSDAY DISCIPLES’ LIFE TEACHING 7 p.m., Greater New Bethel Full Gospel Baptist Church, 110 S. 19th St. General Overseer Melvin L. Carter, Elder Patricia Carter and the Greater New Bethel Church family welcomes you.


BATON ROUGE SOLDIER OUTREACH 9-11 a.m., Mooyah’s, 6555 Siegen Lane. Care package stuffing. You can drop off items at Mooyah’s; Gorilla Custom Sports, 9835 Florida Blvd., Walker; UPS Store, 37459 Ultimate Plaza Blvd., Ste. 3, Prairieville; or email info@ to arrange for pick-up of items. CASA NEW VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION 10 a.m., CASA office, 848 Louisiana Ave. Find out how you can be a voice for an abused or neglected child while they await a safe and permanent home. Visit or call (225) 379-8598. BACK TO SCHOOL EXTRAVAGANZA 9 a.m., BREC’s Harley Vey Park, 1702 Gardere Lane. Community and educational resources, spiritual message and 700 back-to-school kits. For more information, email or call (225) 769-0305.

AUGUST 5, 12, 19, 26

SUNDAY SCHOOL 8:30 a.m. followed by 9:30 a.m. worship service, Mt. Zion First Baptist Church, 356 T. J. Jemison Blvd. For more information, call (225) 383-5401.

AUGUST 5, 12, 19, 26

MORNING GLORY WORSHIP 8 a.m., Greater New Bethel Full Gospel Baptist Church, 110 S. 19th St. General Overseer Melvin L. Carter, Elder Patricia Carter and the Greater New Bethel Church family welcomes you.



MEN’S UNITY BREAKFAST 7:30 a.m., Christian Love Baptist Church, 3515 Hudson Blvd., Alexandria. Men, join us as we travel from Baton Rouge to unite with the men of central Louisiana for food, fellowship, and engaging dialogue. For more information, call/text (225) 305-3006 or RSVP at


FAMILY MINISTRY TRAINING 6 p.m., Mt. Zion First Baptist Church, 356 T. J. Jemison Blvd. Join us for fellowship and discussion. Free. For more information, call (225) 383-5401.


CASA NEW VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION 5 p.m., CASA office, 848 Louisiana Ave. Find out how you can be a voice for an abused or neglected child while they await a safe and permanent home. Visit or call (225) 379-8598.


CASA NEW VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION 10 a.m., CASA office, 848 Louisiana Ave. Find out how you can be a voice for an abused or neglected child while they await a safe and permanent home. Visit or call (225) 379-8598.


MEN’S UNITY BREAKFAST 8 a.m., Clinton United Methodist Church, 11321 Old S. Drive, Clinton. Join us for food, fellowship, and engaging dialogue. For more information, call/text (225) 610-0184 or RSVP at



WOMEN IN SPIRIT Noon, St. Joseph Cathedral Parish Hall, 401 Main Street. Speakers Jan Grimes and Dr. Sarah Perez discuss “Music and Medicine: Spirituality and Healing” followed by a complimentary lunch. RSVP or at (225) 387-5928.


LEADERSHIP TRAINING 6 p.m., Mt. Zion First Baptist Church, 356 T. J. Jemison Blvd. Join us for fellowship and discussion. Free. For more information, call (225) 383-5401.

CASA NEW VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION 3 p.m., CASA office, 848 Louisiana Ave. Find out how you can be a voice for an abused or neglected child while they await a safe and permanent home. Visit or call (225) 379-8598. LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE 6 p.m., Mount Pilgrim Family Life Center, 9700 Scenic Hwy., Baker. Christian comedy night featuring comedian Melvin Patin, Spoken Word poet Kim “Poet Noble” Calhoun, comedian Ms. Loubert and comedian Just Kris. Tickets $10. Available on Eventbrite.


WOMEN’S MINISTRY 6 p.m., Mt. Zion First Baptist Church, 356 T. J. Jemison Blvd. Book discussion on War Room by Stephen and Alex Kendrick. For more information, call (225) 383-5401.


COUPLES’ MINISTRY 6:30 p.m., Mt. Zion First Baptist Church, 356 T. J. Jemison Blvd. Book discussion on The 10 Best Decisions a Couple Can Make by Bill and Pam Farrel. For more information, call (225) 383-5401.


August 2018 l



UNDERSTANDING BIBLICAL ‘GOOD WORKS’ 7-8 p.m. each Thursday through October 4, Richmond Inn & Suites, 2683 Energy Drive, off Corporate Blvd. This new short course by Nick Kalivoda III will be conducted in a classroom setting to help improve Bible understanding for everyone. Learn more about the grace of God in a non-denominational environment. The class will a) provide insight on the numerous unsaved people who do works in the name of Jesus in the end time; b) learn what good works really are; and c) offer clarity on the works discussed in James 2:14-26. Fee is $40 per person, payable at the first class, and will be used to offset the cost of the meeting room. Seating is limited, so pre-register at (225) 751-6458. Please come early the first day and bring your Bible.

New Patients Welcome Same Day Crowns & Bridges Are you looking for a way to pay it forward? Join us in helping others by providing ministry and some great food to those in need! Have some free family fun and make a difference!

Did you know? • Bees were about to become an endangered species? • Bees are responsible for most of what we eat? You can help save our planet Don’t kill bees....Call Dr. B. Dr. B removes bees and gives them a new home. l August 2018





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