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Baton Rouge

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Table of CONTENTS

Feature STORY

20-24 The Miracle of the Bible

Baton Rouge

Christian Magazine

issue 10, volume 1 JANUARY 2016

Feature Columns

PUBLISHER/Editor Beth Townsend

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ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER/EDITOR McKenzie Moffett

faith LIFE The Miracle that Revealed Jesus is Real

SALES REPRESENTATIVE Sharon Frank

by Philip Zimmerman

by Mark Hunter

Miracle Moment: Don Piper’s “90 Minutes in Heaven”

contributing writers Mark Hunter Susan Brown Kristen Hogan Lisa Tramontana Stephanie Ryan Malin Tonya Woodridge-Jarvis Jehan Seals Joel Wilson Kerney Thomas Philip Zimmerman Elmo Winters Father Trey Nelson

by Beth Townsend

What’s A Miracle, Really? by Father Trey Nelson

Salvation: The Miracle of Miracles by Elmo Winters

11 - 12 13-19

geaux LIFE True Love and a Shared Passion...For Christ by Lisa Tramontana

Inside Each Issue

5 34 38

Family LIFE

by Tonya Woodridge-Jarvis

The Miracle of Prayer DRESS TO KILL

Publisher’s letter

by Jehan Seals by Beth Townsend

by Joel Wilson

Lagniappe

27 37 4

Witness at work by Lisa Tramontana

When god closes a door by Beth Townsend

miracle moment: renew your mind with the word of god

LAYOUT & DESIGN BY Illuminated Designs Studio

Broken Together: A Marriage Miracle

PAstor’s perspective

OPPORTUNITIES FOR LIFE

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COVER PHOTO BY Mark Hunter

A Question of Belief

30-33 35-36

by Kerney Thomas

January 2016 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

LEarning FOR LIFE

Kids Hope USA: The Miracle of Mentoring by Susan Brown

A Healthier You in the New Year

healthy LIFE by Kristen Hogan

Science-backed weight loss program helps people get healthy by Stephanie Ryan Malin

BATON ROUGE CHRISTIAN LIFE MAGAZINE 9655 Perkins Road, Suite C-133 Baton Rouge, LA 70810 225-910-7426 batonrougechristianlifemagazine.com BATON ROUGE CHRISTIAN LIFE MAGAZINE WEBSITE BY McKenzie Moffett printed by RR Donnelley / Memphis, TN


Publisher’s LETTER

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I Believe in Miracles! It was really a matter of necessity. For years I was afraid—checking closets and behind doors as a nightly routine. Survival mode was exhausting. That is what happens after you survive a home invasion as well as a bank robbery, both involving guns. Not to mention other dangerous situations that required me to grow up a little too quickly in order to navigate adult decision-making a bit too early. “Read Psalm 91, it will help,” I was told by a counseling pastor. After reading it once, no changes. Disappointed, I kept up the same tiresome nightly routine. Thankfully, I kept reading that passage in the meantime. Somehow those words of safety brought me comfort. Then one day, it was no less than a miracle for me—literally one night I was no longer afraid. Those routines were no longer necessary, and I began to repeat those verses to that Psalm when I felt afraid.

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The Word of God came alive. Its truth became my comfort. After memorizing every word of Psalm 91 and quoting it out loud as needed, it hit me. Amazingly, this was just the beginning. There were other areas of my life that needed a serious dose of that same kind of miraculous truth. If Psalm 91 could take that fear that had dominated my life for years, I wanted more. I needed more. The Bible is alive. It really does work miracles. That is why we’ve chosen it for our cover story this month. We simply just cannot put people on the cover of our magazine when we are writing about the Bible. The Bible is above all other things. Do you believe in miracles? This edition will help. The people who shared their miraculous stories will encourage you as you seek things to believe in in 2016. We believe that faith in God, trusting in Jesus as Savior, and letting the Holy Spirit lead our lives and teach our spirits is the only way to find peace and purpose. Each month of this year, our themes will come from the spiritual gifts in the Bible. February will be mercy, with an emphasis on love. We can’t avoid the fact that February is all about Valentine’s Day and yes, love. But, love is not enough, so you’ll enjoy hearing stories about what love can do by prompting God’s people into action. Happy New Year! We are expecting big things in 2016. Why? Because we believe in miracles. Join us!

In the fullness of Life,

Beth Townsend

Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l January 2016

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Faith LIFE

The Miracle That Revealed Jesus is REAL!

by Philip Zimmerman

“Oh my Jesus you’re real how can this be … ” Soon my mind was overfilled with emotion and wonder as I simply stood in the middle of the boulevard, shaking as if chilled, while tears streamed down my face. It was at this moment I went from believing Jesus was real, to k n o w i n g He was real. This miraculous discovery was initiated in the spring of 8th grade at Broadmoor Junior High when my father asked me to go to school and say my goodbyes as we were moving to Akron, Ohio that coming weekend. I was dumbfounded; how could this be? I obeyed, saying my goodbyes with a sense of dread while having my teachers sign school transfer papers, as boxes at my house were being filled and loaded into a moving van. For three straight nights in hotel beds on our way to Akron, I cried myself to sleep repeating this prayer, “Jesus, if you’re real you’ll let me graduate with my high school class and I’ll be OK with this move. Jesus, if you’re … ” Upon arrival in Akron my life was upside down with a new school, no friends, and only six weeks left in 8th grade. I was miserable and didn’t recover until P.E. soccer in October of 9th grade when I met Joe Flohr, 6

January 2016 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

who had a motorcycle, and invited me to ride. Life had made a change for the better. In January of my junior year I heard my mom talking about how my dad had lost his job and was sending out his résumé. I didn’t know what that meant until early April when my dad said he had very nice job offers in Virginia Beach, Va., Orange, Texas, and Lake Charles, La., and asked me to which of the three would I like to move? I sheepishly said Lake Charles, thinking perhaps of being closer to Baton Rouge and going to LSU. But inside I was devastated, as I had to move again and miss my senior year with now close friends. The night before my dad left to formally accept the job, he received a call from a company that had just built a plant in Plaquemine like the one he was going to manage


Faith LIFE in Lake Charles; problem was they didn’t have anyone to run it. They were calling to see if they could make my dad an offer that would change his mind about Lake Charles and get him to manage their plant in Plaquemine instead. An acceptable offer was made and my dad flew to Baton Rouge and began working in Plaquemine. He came back to Akron after a week with pictures of a new house for my mother to inspect. When I asked where the house was located and where I’d go to school my dad said Tara Subdivision and Tara High School; both brand new. When he asked why I looked so disappointed, I asked about living near our old house and perhaps going to Broadmoor High. My dad purchased a house in Sherwood Forest less than a half-mile from our former house on Goodwood Boulevard and lived there until we arrived at the end of the school year. When I arrived at our new house I spent about an hour checking it out and then, bored, thought I’d walk up Goodwood to Broadmoor High. I had walked the half-mile to our former house on Goodwood on the way to the school. As I was walking I looked toward my old house on my left and it struck me like a ton of bricks: “I’m going to graduate with my high school class!”

my mind was overfilled with emotion and wonder as I simply stood in the middle of the boulevard chilled and shaking in 90+ degree heat while tears streamed down my face. It was at this moment Jesus proved to me he was real, no doubt about it! I tried to continue the walk but was too overwhelmed with emotion so I returned home and went immediately into my room. I stayed there until well past dinner, crying and wondering what was happening and how I could find this Jesus who I now knew to be real. I’ll save that for another day, but have one postscript.

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While I told all my friends and anyone who would like to listen the account I’ve just given, I didn’t tell most of my family and still haven’t some 40 years later. I did tell my dad a few years after my mother passed away when he was curious about what happened that made me seek Jesus. Upon hearing the story he cried out in a whale that was sincere, “Oh Philip, why didn’t you tell me when that happened? It would have allowed me to process better all that was happening in my life at that time. If I’d only known you were the reason we moved and not me … ” Be careful what you pray for as you just might get it and unintended consequences as well.

Philip Zimmerman is founder of Engineering Leadership a professional coaching company artfully bridging meaning, purpose and calling in people and organizations. His life pursuit is continually gaining in the knowledge of Christ.

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I froze in my tracks, I literally could not move, I started shaking as chills ran throughout my body. It was not until that very moment that I vividly remembered the prayer I’d prayed for three straight nights when moving to Akron: “Jesus, if you’re real you’ll let me graduate with my high school class and I’ll be OK with this move.” My next thought was, “Oh my Jesus you’re real how can this be … ” Soon

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Miracle Moment Faith LIFE

Miracle Moment Don Piper’s “90 Minutes in Heaven” by Beth Townsend

Don Piper and David Melville

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ouisiana native, LSU alumnus, and best selling author Don Piper understands miracles.

“I am a miracle!” he says. “My left arm was in the back seat of the car, my left leg was cut off. We are standing here now, I’m standing on my own two legs and my left arm is right here beside me.” On his way home from a United Methodist Church conference in 1989, Piper’s car was hit head-on by an 18-wheeler. Emergency personnel responded and after attempting to revive him, four paramedics pronounced him dead on the scene. A minister from the conference, traveling separately in a car behind Piper, got an audible message from God to pray for the man in the red car. That pastor, understanding that nothing in theology indicated praying over a dead body, concluded the message could only be from God and pushed forward. He received permission to stand by Don’s car, put his hand under the tarp that covered the lifeless body and began praying. Ninety minutes after being pronounced dead, Don returned to life on earth with vivid memories of God’s perfect place— heaven. Thirty-four operations and 8

years of recovery forced Don and his family to find a new “normal.” His inspirational story touched millions around the globe, helping many to find hope following tragedy and loss. “One of the things that distinguishes God from everyone and everything is else is miracles. Only God can pull that off, that is his territory,” Piper shares. Don also gives credit to the power of prayer. Many upon hearing of his accident began to pray, not realizing he had been pronounced dead at the scene. Last year he was able to shake hands with one of those prayer warriors. “I was in Modesto, Calif., speaking. A guy walked up to me and extended his hand. Weeping he said, ‘I prayed for you that day.’ Twenty-six years later I am meeting this guy face to face!” I said to him, “Keep praying, it works!” This is a man who believes in Jesus. “There is only one person who died and lived again to save us. Jesus is that person. One of his last statements is, ‘I am the way. No man comes to the

January 2016 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Hosted on November 29 by Reverend David Melville of Christ in the City and by Broadmoor United Methodist Church

Father except through me.’ I would say to a dead and dying world, there is hope eternally and there is hope for now.” In his book “90 Minutes in Heaven,” Piper shares how he visited heaven. Yet, he believes that glory starts here on earth. “Jesus can help you have a better life now. And he wants to do that. That is why he spent time with his disciples, preparing them for what is next. And the world looks to Christ now because those men got the word out.”


Faith LIFE

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What’s a Miracle, Really? by Father Trey Nelson, St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Church

On October 28, 2004 at 7:15 a.m., I found myself in a place where I had never been before, in pre-op for a major surgery. Five months prior to that, out of the blue, I had been diagnosed with esophageal cancer. There was a golf ball sized tumor in my esophagus. I sat down to eat lunch one day and BAM! I couldn’t swallow. I attributed it to stress, given the fact that along with the two churches at which I was already serving as pastor, I had been asked to take on a third. Five months and several doses of chemotherapy and radiation later, there I was, about to undergo what one surgeon had termed, “the most complicated surgery that a general surgeon would ever perform.” Forget about the fact that this cancer was common in people in their late 60s and chronic smokers, I was 41 at the time and had never smoked. As far as asking “why” or “how” goes, I was way beyond that, too. I was too afraid to be afraid, if that makes any sense. I was extremely overweight, weighing almost 350 pounds at the time. I’m not proud of it, but that’s just where I was. There were major complications during the surgery, which lasted anywhere from 10-12 hours depending on whom you ask. I spent one week in ICU and another week in a room on the cardiac floor. Most of it is a blur, but I do remember some things. I remember how amazing everyone was toward me. My doctors, nurses, and family carried me through those days. My brother, Tim, reflects back and says that, at one point one of my physicians pulled him to the side and told him, “You need to take your mom

home and prepare her for the worst, because your brother may more than likely not go home.” I remember the hallucinations too. They seemed so real and frightening, that I would cry as I described them to my family. Eventually I went home. In all, I was on medical leave from my ministry for roughly seven months.

miracle? Watch a mom or dad say goodbye to a child in death and still have the resilience to move on; witness a terminally ill patient turn it around and embrace the Lord in their suffering and minister to others in their final moments; hold a newborn baby in your hands; listen to someone forgive the unforgivable.

The road back was an incredibly difficult one. The upside of it all is that I became and have remained healthier than I had ever been in my life prior to that point. I backpack and climb mountains in the summer. I run. I have no difficulty walking up the stairs at work, and so on. In the ten months following the surgery, I dropped to 185 pounds and have been at or near that weight ever since. I certainly do not believe that God caused my cancer, but I definitely do believe that He gave me the blessing that came from it.

If I were to attach the concept of a miracle to my experience of cancer, I would say that it has been in the outcome. Cancer woke me up. It humbled me. It made me realize that I am just as weak and vulnerable as anyone else, and the day that I forget that, well, that’s when the real problem sets in. In my mind, a “miracle” is any experience that unites us more closely to Jesus Christ and the grace of our humanity. It’s something that brings us to an even clearer vision of the Lord’s presence in our life and the love that He has for us, any experience that makes you realize that God is in control and you’re not.

I have often shied away from a traditional notion of miracles. As a Catholic, I’ve heard stories of miracles attributed to the Saints of our church throughout my life. But I have to be honest with you, none of those ever really moved me. I don’t doubt them, but they never really moved me. My experience with miracles? It’s in everyday life. It’s seen in people who, because of their openness to God’s Word and the Holy Spirit, become conduits, vessels of God’s grace and goodness. You want to witness a real

Father Trey, the oldest of 7 children, was born and grew up in Baton Rouge. He attended Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Elementary School and is a 1980 graduate of Catholic High School. He attended the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas and graduated from there in 1984 with a Bachelor of Communications degree. Father Trey has published 5 other works and is Pastor of St. Jude The Apostle Church in Baton Rouge. Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l January 2016

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YOUR BODYIS A Salvation: X Faith LIFE

TEMPLE... The Miracle of GLORIFY

GOD IN YOUR body

My passion is to help others take care of their ’temple’. We can help take care of the ’temple’ God has gifted us with; how are you taking care of yours?

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Miracles

by Elmo Winters

Nearly every day we hear a story about how someone defied the laws of nature or of some experience that is at best unexplainable. It may be in the form of an infant surviving extreme premature birthing, or the survival of ordinary people after some catastrophic natural disaster, or some unimaginable outcome against the most challenging odds. We quickly identify these occurrences as miracles without question. In fact, they perfectly fit the definition of a miracle - an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers. The key to understanding miracles is found in the fact that they transcend all known natural powers or logical explanations. As believers we readily accept that they are the activities of the supernatural, specifically the things that God does on a regular basis. When we consider the biblical account of creation, we see the very origin of everything to be the result of God miraculously speaking. The words of Genesis 1:3 clearly tells us, “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” And then we read in verse 9, “And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.” And this God did repeatedly as the world was brought into being. We can even conclude that the Bible, the written Word of God, is a continuous presentation of one miracle after another. From the beginning of mankind in the Garden of Eden to our very existence today, we see the picture of an all-powerful creator operating in a manner that totally escapes the natural understanding and wisdom of man. Moses was confronted with this phenomenon

January 2016 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

when he stood witnessing a burning bush that was not being consumed. The Jews witnessed this at the parting of the Red Sea, along with so many mighty acts by God during their wilderness wandering. The New Testament continued the flow of miracles as Jesus did great wonders throughout His lifetime. He turned water into wine; fed thousands with two barley loaves of bread and five little fishes; He healed many and even raised the dead back to life. How does one logically explain

Elmo Winters with a graduate of the Kingdom School of Witnessing


Geaux Life these things? We don’t; we simply rationalize that they are miracles. In His infinite wisdom however, God reserved His greatest miracle for those whom he loved the most, mankind. His ultimate miracle, the miracle of all miracles, was salvation: God’s plan of reconciliation with and redemption of man. He came in the form of His own son as a baby born of a virgin. That baby, Jesus (Christ) lived 33 miraculous years sharing the love of God with so many. Yet, as had been prophesized He would sacrificially die by crucifixion on a cross, be buried, and on the third day rise from the dead. It was through all of this that the words of John the Baptist became clear, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” It is this miracle of salvation that takes away the sin of all who believe in the redemptive work of Christ. That is the message of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The key here is “whosoever believeth in him,” for salvation, although free, is not automatic. It does require faith, sincerely believing in the work of God through His son, Christ. Attempts to experience Salvation by any other means are futile; it is the gift of God according to His grace. For this reason, we are instructed by Christ to go into all of the world and tell others about this miracle of Salvation. Far too many, countless millions, have never heard the Good News (Gospel) of Christ. Thus, it is imperative that believers reach out to those and bring them into the blessing of this powerful gesture of God. It is why I wrote the book, “Growing By Going,” where the simple principles of leading people to Christ are shared. Additionally, I work tirelessly to train and coach others on becoming effective witnesses, through the KINGDOM School of Witnessing.

Elmo Winters has been in ministry for over 38 years. He leads the KINGDOM School of Witnessing. As a pastor, church planter, hospice chaplain, Bible Institute instructor, and short-term missionary he has witnessed to thousands of lost people leading many to Christ. Reverend Winters is the CEO of the Kingdom Group International, LLC and author of “Going by Going”, the teaching manual for the KINGDOM School of Witnessing. He holds a Masters in Business Administration. Possessing a powerful passion for the unsaved, Rev. Winters believes the call of God to win souls is the responsibility of every Christian.

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True Love and a Shared Passion … for Christ by Lisa Tramontana

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ennifer and Donald Hartung were still newlyweds when they packed their belongings, left their Baton Rouge families, and headed to Phnom Penh, Cambodia in December 2014. They were on their way to work as missionaries through their church, River Ministries International, based in Addis, La. Preaching the gospel was a shared dream, but one that started with separate callings. Donald had chosen his path while he was attending culinary school as a teenager. He began attending church with his father and became interested in missionary work. Six years earlier, Donald’s father had participated in a missionary program and had shared stories with his son about his experiences in Asia. “I grew up hearing these stories and I had vivid images of what it had been like,” said Donald. “Once I joined the church, I knew I wanted to do the same thing.” After completing culinary school, Donald went through a training program in southeast Asia. He visited Cambodia, learned about the culture, studied the language, and prepared for a life of mission work. He might have thought all of his big decisions were behind him, but nothing could be further from the truth. Not long after he returned to Baton Rouge, he and Jenn started spending time together and romantic sparks began to fly. The timing certainly wasn’t ideal, but it forced the couple to think deeply about their relationship, their future and their faith.

Donald draws a diagram to accompany Jenn’s discussion on the steps to salvation. Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l January 2016

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Geaux Life

“I knew that he was committed to the life of a missionary, so it was a struggle for me,” said Jenn, who was finishing a business degree at LSU. “I didn’t want to start a relationship that might not work out. And I didn’t want to interfere with his plans. But I had certainly never imagined myself as a missionary. I had always put them on a pedestal. I asked God, ‘Is it possible you would trust me to serve in this way?’ I just wasn’t sure if I was worthy.” In the end, after much thought and prayer, Jenn felt that God was not only speaking to her, but calling her to a life as a missionary and as a wife and partner to Donald. “I remember the moment I realized my calling. I was walking through Free Speech Alley at LSU, feeling as light as air, in love and happy that I knew what God wanted for me.” The wedding took place in August and four months later, Jenn and Donald flew to Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital city located on the Mekong River. There, they worked under the mentorship of Jeremy and Danielle Fontenot, another missionary couple (from Baton Rouge) who had been living in Cambodia for several years and had founded three “home churches” in the area. Jenn and Donald worked as instructors, teaching English and preaching the gospel in the nearby towns of Kien Svay and Preh Kampues.

In time, they began working at an orphanage in Phnom Penh, and recently started making monthly visits to a Christian school in Toul Kork, about an hour from their home. At the orphanage, Donald and other male missionaries organized a soccer team, not just to extend their relationship-building, but to provide positive male role models for the children, especially the young boys. When they share the gospel, Jenn says, they are always careful to respect the Cambodian social and religious cultures. “The people there are very polite, but we don’t want to cause any trouble for them. We know that in their Buddhist society, many of them are mocked and mistreated when they become Christians. Of course, we always speak the truth, but we are also careful in our approach.” The River Ministries website states that the church’s vision is to take the Good News gospel of Christ to an international audience, teaching children and adults Biblical values and planting “miracle workers” in the harvest fields of the world. The Hartungs are a living example of this vision. “Faith isn’t easy,” said Donald. “Our nature is to give up on it, but it is something we must grow. The Bible describes faith as small as a mustard seed. If we are going to stake our lives on it, we must water it and

Donald and Jenn arrived in Phnom Penh in December 2014

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January 2016 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

tend to it daily in order to make it strong.” The Hartungs came home to Baton Rouge a few days before Thanksgiving to spend time with their families and to touch base with their church. They will return to Cambodia in January. Jenn says their year in Cambodia has strengthened their commitment and desire to serve God. “Our faith is our life, our breath, the reason for everything we do,” said Jenn. “It is not just a belief, doctrine, or knowledge that we’ve acquired. It’s the whole of us, our means and our end. Our faith has given us an eternal perspective, one that has helped us to see the true value of things further than their purpose here and now. Our lives would be drastically different had we chosen not to give our lives to faith in Jesus.” Leaders at River Ministries International are excited about their Cambodian ministry. For anyone interested in helping to support the program or in becoming a missionary, visit the website at riverup.org.

Many Cambodian children have little or no opportunity for an education

The Hartungs dream of doing missionary work in India someday.


Family LIFE

A Question of Belief

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by Tonya Woodridge-Jarvis

Believing in miracles is something often said but less often believed…The Refresher The Bible says in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” Someone asked me if I believed in miracles? My response was, “I believe in the power of God.”

Read this miraculous story illustrating the power of God: Alana Greene is a fun-loving 8-year-old girl who loves being a majorette and marching with her local high school band. Yes, that’s right she is only eight and good enough to march with the high school band. Recently Alana developed a rash on her arm and thinking nothing of it, her mother treated it with over-the-counter- products. But the rash started to spread and soon covered her body from head to toe. Her parents rushed her to the hospital where she was treated as a lab rat. The doctors were

making educated guesses as to what they thought it could be. They treated her as if she was a burn victim scraping her skin 2-3 times a day. She would remain in the hospital for 11 days before she was diagnosed with a rare skin disorder called Steven Johnson’s Syndrome—a life threatening skin condition that causes the outer layers of the skin to separate from the inner layers with rashes, blisters and lesions all over the body. She was unrecognizable. The doctors informed Ms. Greene that she would likely remain in the hospital for months. Ms. Greene understood that she couldn’t tackle this alone, so she reached out to her church (LFCC) requesting prayer for this unknown disease. The church responded and sent a busload of prayer warriors to the hospital. Three days later Alana’s skin was clearing up and the family was headed

home. The doctors were stumped. Alana is now back in school and on the honor roll. I challenge the people reading this to connect with God using the very powerful tool called prayer. Prayer really does work. So the next time you are faced with a question of belief, remember that God is just as real today as he was yesterday.

Alana Greene

Tonya Woodridge-Jarvis is a Certified Marriage/Relationship Educator, author of The Refresher’s Course and Still Being Refreshed and owner of The Refresher Course, Inc.

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The Miracle of Prayer

by Jehan Seals

Dress to kill (In the Armor of God)

Only once in a lifetime maybe do you want something so badly that nothing else compares. You would give your life to see a dream or promise come to fruition, yet the matter can only be won by God. These battles of opposition stand so tall that your best efforts fail to get the job done. In these moments we press God because we can’t figure out a way. I can’t accomplish this alone you say, God where are you, I need a miracle! Oftentimes this sense of urgency forms out of fear, “but it’s faith we need to move God, not fear,” says Renee Hymel. “The first miracle happens inside the heart of the mother. When she begins to believe God’s Word, it changes her.” Renee knows about the power of miracles through prayer personally, as well as through the testimony of others. As a steadfast praying mother of four, Renee joined forces with Worldwide Mom’s Day of Prayer to build and transform the heart of a mother. Worldwide Mom’s Day of Prayer was founded by Kathy Coleman and has gained international recognition. Now with the spreading of the good news,

churches are inviting the WMDOP ministry to build, equip, and empower moms to stand in faith on behalf of their children. Renee and The Church in St. Amant diligently carry out the vision to encourage and equip moms to be steadfast in prayer for their children. “I opened a praying magazine and there was an article about Worldwide Mom’s Day of prayer, I got the contact information, called my pastor, and in January 2007 we hosted our first event.” Renee explains how after seeking more effective ways to pray for her then unsaved son Scott, she found relief through WMDOP and immediately got involved. “Six weeks later my son whom I had been praying for was saved. By Easter he was baptized at Healing Place Church. Today he’s a pastor whom I serve under.” She explains the miracle is in believing God’s Word. “The scriptural promises in God’s Word are plentiful however, the miracle is in believing the word. Isaiah 59:21 confirms the covenant God made with our forefathers, it’s up to us to search the scriptures, believe and cease not to pray.”

Speaker prays at a WMDOP event

Women worshiping at a WMDOP event

Renee Hymel praying at a WMDOP event

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January 2016 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine


Family Life “As a mom, prayers are continual. They don’t end with salvation. The title requires a lifelong commitment.” Renee adds how with the heartbreaking loss of her granddaughter Eliyah Kate meant learning to trust God even in times of heartache. “Those first months my grief was not my own, for I ached in prayer for my children and though the grief was hard to walk through, I witnessed an incredible time of intimacy in the Lord as I watched him take my family through the valley of the shadow of death.”

“WMDOP are like drills that equip me in the battle against the enemy’s lies and deception with my child,” Pam Gautreau says. “As I stand with other praying moms, I am invigorated and encouraged in the realization that Jesus has already won the battle for me. I just have to continue to trust in God’s promises and never lose hope because he is always faithful.”

Ephesians 6:12 provides us with an image of the armor of God and how as children of God we should be dressed: “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Worldwide Mom’s Day of Prayer is about developing the heart of a mother to stand in the most important role of her life outside of being conformed to the image of Christ, prayer warrior. “We come together throughout the year, but daily we encourage, build, and strengthen each other to stand firm.” “The times in my life before Christ when I was in no shape to cry out for my own soul, I knew deep down that the cries of my mother would be heard,” Scott says. “The constant prayers of my mother have brought great profit, for now I live in Christ.”

“WDOP has equipped me to fight for my own prodigal son from the side of victory and God’s promises rather than guilt, fear and defeat,” Melissa Delage says. “It has given me hope and a body of other mom’s that can stand with and for me when my arms grow weary and I feel hopeless.”

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Women worshiping at a WMDOP event

Jehan enjoys writing and serving in the ministry. She spends her nights working at WBRZ news 2 in Baton Rouge and her days working at Ace hardware in her hometown. Her goals in life are simply to follow Gods leading and be a vessel in which he can right: Care packages ready to ship use for his glory.

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Family LiFE

Broken Together:

A Marriage Miracle

by Beth Townsend

“I’m done!” Kristen Landry yelled from the other room. Her husband Brent was on the phone, and though he heard her speaking, he waived, as if to say ‘wait a minute.’ The business call was important. my son,” Brent responded.

She didn’t wait. “I’m done. Hey ... I’m done. Done with you! I want a divorce.” With her voice raised, frustration oozing in her tone, she was at the end of her rope and it couldn’t wait another minute.

Soon after she quit that job she graduated high school, and within a month, a drunk driver tragically killed her 12-year-old cousin. These events, paired with living a prodigal life, left her devastated and convicted.

They’d come home from church like any other ordinary Sunday. Yet today was the day she gave up. Tired of fighting, tired of laundry, tired of raising three kids while he was at work, she was ready to throw in the towel.

It was at that time that God visited her in a dream, awaking her to her own reality. Brent was in a season of tremendous change “The next night after I had the dream I was as he went through the annulment process. confessing my sins to God, each by name.” He too had challenges to overcome as a She admitted to God she didn’t want to live result of childhood pain. “I grew up in a that way anymore. She prayed, “I know strong Catholic family. My parents have that you love me, help me to find you.” She been married for 52 years. My dad was an opened her Bible and began to read, finding alcoholic and has been sober for 36 years much of what was in her dream in the very now. My sister was killed in a tragic car Word of God. The now 18-year-old, crying accident when I was 7-years-old.” profusely, plead, “God please tell me that I am going to be saved, that you forgive me and She was no ordinary sister, but had that you love me.” Then she recalls, “I went to undertaken the role of Brent’s surrogate mom. a scripture box that my mom had and I pulled out a card that said, ‘So Founded by Dr. Nick Kalivoda I will save you and you “But the word of the Lord endures forever. Now this is the word by shall be a blessing.’”

Most married couples have felt similarly at one time or another; the give-and-take life of compromise can be daunting. Some statistics support that more than half of all marriages end in divorce but should that be the case with Christians? This heated conversation in the Landry home happened about a year ago. Realizing they had not been there for one another, this crisis opened the door for last-ditch efforts to fix what had been wrong for years. Kristen is from Baton Rouge and Brent is from Donaldsonville. They attend Ascension Catholic Church. Kristen’s life before Brent had its ups and downs. “I grew up active in the church but had one foot in and one foot out, my flesh was weak growing up.” The relationship with her father was distant. The youngest of three children, she was constantly looking for that male relationship to make up for the one that was distant with her father. “I became promiscuous at an early age. I didn’t know at that time that I was so hungry, hungry for God and hungry for that father figure.” At 17, she went to work at White Oak Plantation where Brent, age 24, hired her. He was in a failing marriage at that time. They connected initially but decided to go their separate ways and would reconnect later in life.

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Kristen and Brent reconnected quickly. Yet, realizing their previous relationship was not a Godly one, they chose simply to be friends and start fresh with God as the center of their relationship.

Radio Bible Courses, Ltd.

At that time, Brent was dealing with his own demons. In treatment for alcohol addiction, Kristen decided to call to see how he had been since they’d gone their separate ways a few months earlier. “I had prayed for he and Melissa to work things out, to have the Lord in their life and to be good together as a married couple.” She learned that Brent was at his parents’ and his wife was leaving. “She was preparing to depart with her boyfriend and

January 2016 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

which the Gospel was preached to you.” - 1 Peter 1:25

Join us during the month of January as Jack Lynch teaches from Romans 4:2b - 4:9

■ What the Bible means by what it says ■ Open to the Public ■ Q&A Session

■ Sunday mornings 9:15 AM - 10:00 AM

Jack Lynch

Justified by faith apart from works Visit our website to view our Schedule of Speakers and download free materials from Dr. Kalivoda’s teachings:

www.rbcword.org

The Campus Bible Class meets at: Burden Conference Center - LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens 4560 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge, LA

■ Come early and join us before the class for coffee & cookies ■


Family LiFE

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L – R: : John David, Maggie, Jessica, Kristen, Brent, Garrison, Sam Aguillar, Jacques

“My mom was always chasing my dad because he was active in his addictions. My sister taught me how to tell time and how to tie my shoes. Then one day God tragically took her away from us,” he remembered with sadness. “This led to my dad’s drinking intensifying and eventually to him sobering up. I had developed anger toward God. When I went through treatment in 1992 that was one of the focal points of therapy. The counselor helped me to properly deal with the anger and grief of losing my sister. From that moment on my anger toward God was released.” Through the process, Brent learned to accept his own personal truths that had impacted his wife. “I am a workaholic, everything I do, I do too much of. I play hard, I love hard, and I sleep hard. The same pattern that I went through in my first marriage I ended up going through many years later in our marriage. “My son Jacques is 25 now. He and his mom had moved away. The next 20 years I would see him one week at a time during Christmas or summer. When he came home after he was gone for 20 years I cried for three days, I could not turn it off. It was a combination of joy and pain and grief. He was home to stay,” Brent recalled poignantly. Brent and Kristen married in 1996. Just two years later Brent’s brother committed suicide. “I was sober in 1992, then two years into our marriage I found my brother dead with a gunshot wound to the heart. He was manic-depressive with Schizophrenia Bipolar. He was an artist and he had just painted a 3x5 picture of Satan,” Brent said sadly. The tragedy caused Brent to struggle internally, a spiritual battle that would last ten years. Because the couple had committed their marriage to Christ, they realized they needed counseling to learn to communicate.

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Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l January 2016

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Kristen commented, “I was a stuffer. I grew up in a family where you did not talk about your feelings. Brent was a lover and he was trying to fix things.” “We learned in counseling that the only way to get through differences is to communicate. That one thing, outside of putting God first in our lives is what got us through every step.” Kristen was 27 when they found out they were going to have a baby. He was born with Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome and lived only six weeks. Brent’s voice quivered as he remembered, “I watched her hold that baby when he died. I admired Kristen so much, how she handled the loss. She sung Ava Maria to him daily. It had a tremendous impact on Kristen. A lot of couples go by the way side with an event like that, but it made us stronger. It was painful, there was a lot of grief and mourning. But Matthew was a miracle in our lives. He was sent to us to teach us how to love.” “Brent was instrumental in pulling me out of that pit,” Kristen recalled. “He was down too, but he did not handle Matthew’s death the same way I did. We struggled together. We sought support. Woman’s Hospital has a support group for infant loss, so we plugged in. We also plugged in closely with another Catholic couple that mentored us, and that was key. Seek help from another Christian rooted in the Word that is going to a church who can guide you.” Kristen learned other habits that helped as they have worked through their trials.

whose marriage is struggling and gossip and complain. Go get help where help is needed and keep your mouth shut otherwise. Do not feed the fire of the negative,” she said adamantly. A year after Matthew’s death, Brent and Kristen began to trust God again to work on having children. Because of the autosomal recessive gene they carried, they were told they had a one in four chance of each child having the syndrome and dying just as Matthew did. Kristen got pregnant right away but miscarried shortly thereafter. After grieving once more and throwing their hands in the air, God blessed Brent and Kristen with three healthy, biological children of their own. Currently they have five children who are 9, 12, 14, 14 and 25, one of which is an adopted niece. Brent smiled and said proudly, “Kristen now has a wonderful relationship with my son, Jacques.” Pain always has a purpose. “I do feel that I need to share with other women and couples. Because of my upbringing, I still battle anger,” Kristen stated. “I am a strong choleric, driver personality, the baby of the family and like to plan everything. Fear is a driving force of that. Learning how to relinquish control over Brent, our children, and circumstances is hard. Giving God control over my life is even harder but extremely worth the effort. There is indescribable peace that comes from letting go and letting God.”

“Don’t get on the phone with your friend

Kristen recognized that better communication was the catalyst for a better relationship. “My love language is time, and his is words,” she offered. “He doesn’t have to spend time with me to know 225painting.com he is loved. Because Endorsed Interior 30 Years of 30 he is a workaholic and by & References Years we’ve had financial Angie’s List Experience Exterior Available struggles, he was always out hitting the daily grind. Often I felt like a single mom. I was angry and bitter.

225 House

Painting

225.205.1027

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January 2016 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Brent and Kristen Landry

We looked good and smelt good, but we were not on the same page for years.” Unfortunately Kristen took that anger out on Brent and the kids. For a season she struggled greatly with thoughts of infidelity. He struggled with working too much. She went back to work in 2012 after being a stay at home mom for ten years, and the relationship began to further plummet. He was trying to solve money problems, while in reality there was a huge spiritual problem. The door to some very painful months was opened. Brent ended up back in addiction treatment struggling with prescription drugs and ADD medications. The couple also started drinking more after Matthew’s death. Brent added, “We were married for 18 years. When she brought up divorce, it led me to be suicidal.” At that point they sought the help from marriage counselor Steven Fox. Fox advised Kristen not to take lightly Brent’s suicidal thoughts. It was a delicate time, the threat real, and signs evident. Christian counseling became key. Their first meeting required tough answers. Fox asked, “Do you hate each other and want to go your separate ways? Or do you love each other and want to make it work?” They left that meeting and had a long talk. “It was as though we’d just found out how to communicate. It had been years since we just sat and poured our hearts out to each other. We both cried, angry and hurting, each bitter,” Kristen said. Brent recalled, “For the first ten years of marriage, we were side-by-side, building


Family LiFE ministry and raising children. But you can’t let your children be more important than your marriage. Go to the Lord together, try to communicate and work through things because the world will pull you apart. Plus, we always let the lack of money be the excuse for not having family time or going on dates.”

free at last.

Many marriages that end in divorce are the result of misunderstandings and poor communication. Kristen advises, “I had to look him in the eye and say ‘I love you, I want to be with you.’ I am screaming, ‘let’s make this work.’ While we are feeling abandoned on the inside we are crying out ‘I love you.’”

Often, in marriage, couples dream of the idyllic life behind the white picket fence. Then blindsided to the reality of raising a family, couples tend to think they are failures, that picket fences are for other people ... just not us. It was that Kristen wanted to fix her broken childhood by providing the perfect environment for her family. “Steve asked me to close my eyes, and I was mourning over not having the house with the white picket fence,” Kristen remembered. Then her paradigm shifted. “Now the white meant purity of our family. The fence is God’s army protecting us.”

The problem was the couple was speaking different languages. They didn’t know how to speak to each other effectively until Fox introduced a book called “Love and Respect.” “This book is amazing,” the Landrys said in unison. Learning to accept where they had been and where they needed to go, they learned things about one another that were painful. Coming clean on secrets, finally, reality was on the table. Kristen sighed. “My biggest prayer had become ‘God change me.’ I was done trying to make him the man that I think he needs to be. ‘God show me Brent as you see him, as you want him to be. Help me to love him for who he is and who you created him to be.’” Brent fought his need for help. Still suicidal, Kristen cried out, “Dear God something has to give here!” Seven months ago on April 17, 2015, Brent was convinced of his need and went to Serenity Center in Baton Rouge where Beaux Danton is a counselor. Brent was trusting God, yet in the back of his mind, he had doubts that Kristen would be waiting when he returned. “My biggest fear was losing Kristen and the kids. I had been through it before and I didn’t want that again,” he shared. The Landrys communicated by letter while Brent was in treatment, which helped begin the healing process. During treatment Brent was able to admit to and deal with a traumatic issue he’d kept hidden in his heart since high school. This was a final piece in the missing puzzle that unlocked the deep healing his soul was seeking. Finally confessing to Beaux and letting go of that tremendous pain, he was

When he shared the depth of that healing with Kristen, it all made sense: the drugs, the alcohol, and the obsessive behaviors. He’d been hurt. He needed supernatural healing, and that weekend he got it.

The couple realized they were missing out on the best that God had had for them. Kristen said, “We are broken together. We are whole and at peace because the Lord is the head of the family. That is the miracle! We are together because of Jesus Christ.” And, Kristen and Brent adopted as their theme song, “Broken Together” by Casting Crowns.

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“During the height of our struggles, we were not there for the children; we were fighting, they were fighting. They were disrespectful to each other; it was a house full of disrespect. But we’ve been honest with them that you don’t give up when things don’t go your way. You work it through and God will see you through even when you don’t see the end. You hold on tight and trust in the Lord. He will work the miracle out. To say that things are perfect would be a stretch. The kids can mess up a house faster than I can clean it. But my relationship with my children is flourishing, I am looking forward to continued progress.” Today Kristen and Brent love to point other couples to Christ. His love and presence has been the glue that has held them together. They want to see others rise in that same victory. “We live in a glass house, if we can help others, we would love to. You can’t teach what you haven’t walked, but once you have walked something, you have a lot to offer,” Kristen says with sincerity. Their contact information is: Kristen: krel1973@gmail.com Brent: blandry410@gmail.com

Professional help was a key in learning the skills the Landrys needed to communicate effectively. Reading Bible-based books together was monumental and kept the conversations going daily. “We absolutely promote two books,” they agreed, “The Power of a Praying Marriage,” and “Love and Respect.” Even though children see their parents’ struggles in a home, they can in these situations learn to deal with conflict and solve problems instead of avoiding them. Nodding at Brent she continued, Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l January 2016

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Jack Lynch, Louis Hilliard, Jimmy Gill

The Miracle of The Bible

Photo by Mark Hunter

PAR T O N E

“A

ll 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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work,” II Timothy 3:16-17. Christianity and the Christian life - and, in fact, basic life here on Earth - is a miracle no matter how you look at it. God created time and the universe, the Earth and all that is in it and He made mankind in his own image. He guides history, past, present and future, and provided Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. He inspired dozens of writers to describe what He was telling us and why, in the library of 66 books we know as the Holy Bible. The miracle of all that is taught on a regular basis, book by book, verse by verse, by the teachers of the Radio Bible Courses, Ltd.; James “Jimmy” Gill, Jr., Rev. Louis J. Hilliard, and Jack Lynch.

Jack Lynch - God’s Miracles, Genesis and You Essentially, a miracle is an unusual manifestation of God’s power designed to accomplish a specific purpose. The creation of the universe out of absolutely nothing at all would be a good example. If there ever was a “time” when nothing existed, what would exist now? Obviously nothing. Therefore, the fact that we exist—the fact that anything at all exists—means that there is someone who has always existed, and who has used His power to bring us into existence. Therefore, God has always existed, and has miraculously created the universe, and us in His image. God’s Word tells us, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them,” Genesis 1:1, 27. If we are told that we are the result of matter plus time plus chance, then there … is no ultimate significance to our existence.

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Feature STORY

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Photo by Mark Hunter photo by Jessica Knight

Jack teaches Romans 1

...the fact that we exist—the fact that anything at all exists—means that there is someone who has always existed, and who has used His power to bring us into existence. The true flow of history starts in Genesis. There, we learn of God’s miraculous, historic space-time creation out of nothing; the creation of man in God’s image; a real, historic, in-spaceand-in-time moral fall. Because we have been made in God’s image, we are capable of great good and beauty. And because of the fall, we are capable of unspeakable evil. The true flow of history—found only in God’s Word—allows us to understand that sin is real, and we need a Savior. Now when Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:3a-4b that, “Christ died for our sins…and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,” we see the tremendous impact this miracle has upon our lives!

k

Louis J. Hilliard - The Bible is God-breathed God gave us the Bible over many centuries through many different writers, according to II Tim 3:16-17. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God … The word ‘inspiration’ in Greek is ‘theopneustos’ which literally means God breathed - the very breath of God - which makes it different from any other book - from Shakespeare or Milton or anyone else.” It is a living book - the miracle is that it comes from God and is alive. Hebrews 4:12 says the Word is, ‘alive and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword.’ And, II Peter 1:20 says, ‘knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of private interpretation,’ it is not of man - not Shakespeare or Milton Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l January 2016

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or any of those guys - it came - Peter says - ‘by holy men of God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit’ - the miracle is that God got all of these writers to write the words that he desired to go into scripture at the same time allowing their personalities to go into it.

r Jimmy Gill The miracle of salvation We’re blessed because we are living in the church period and our salvation has been accomplished. It was over with, accomplished, in human terms, when Christ died. He came, he lived a sinless life, he offered himself as king of Israel and as was prophesied by Daniel and Isaiah, he was rejected. But that rejection led to his crucifixion and his shed blood, which paid for the sin of Adam and all sins that came from it forever. God accepted that as complete payment forever.

Photo by Mark Hunter

Radio Bible Courses Jimmy talks to class

How can Christ’s death at that time pay for future sins? The answer is - God can - because God’s not trapped by time - He created time for us. Miracles are the fact that God is outside of time and that in eternity past he established the full and complete plan to bring man - that he knew would sin - not only back to Him, but also back to Him not as a creature, but in His Christ. Now he wants to show this group of people the miracle of Christ, his death, burial and resurrection, that we become joined to him as discussed in Ephesians chapters 1, 2, and 3. It is all done by God, it’s all guaranteed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and it is all free grace.

Photo by Mark Hunter

Radio Bible Courses open Bible & notebook

He has chosen us, in the church, to show the world his perfect grace, saving sinners while they were yet sinners, because Christ paid the price for that sin. All we have, as the church, is one commandment and that is to, ‘love one another as I have loved you.’ And when we do that and we remember who has bought us with His blood and we choose to live His way - that’s what He wants from the church - and that is the miracle that He has planned.

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Feature STORY

The Miracle of The Bible

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PAR T T W O

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he miracle of the Bible and the miracles in the Bible are studied verse by verse every Sunday morning at the Campus Bible Study, hosted by the Radio Bible Courses Ltd., at the Burden Center. Founded by the late Nick Kalivoda (1922-2013), in 1986, the nondenominational, expository - meaning verse-by-verse - Bible study began in the Kalivoda home and soon expanded to the LSU campus. They moved the group to the Burden Center’s Visitor

“We call the group a class intentionally because we want people to feel free to be in an atmosphere where they are comfortable and where they sit,” Gill, 79, said with a laugh, hinting at how many regular church-goers sit in their same spot week after week. The RBC group does not ask for money, but they do accept donations and financially support the Voice of the Martyrs, the Cutting Edge Foundation, which provides medical services in the African nation of Chad, and Lamb Ministries of New Orleans.

including Catholicism, [and] various Protestant denominations; people who have been turned off by organized churches so they find this as an alternative,” Kalivoda said. “For a number of the people here - this is their church - some attend other churches.” “We are definitely non-denominational, it’s purely Bible based, verse by verse teaching,” Kalivoda said, “all it is - is a class - people come in, have coffee and study the Bible - we don’t have a choir or sing songs.”

“If you are interested in the Word of God, knowing what the Bible has to say, you need to attend a good Bible teaching class and that is what this is,” Beasley said. “No politics, no talking about what’s going on, it’s strictly 100 percent good Bible teaching.” Information building’s main conference room four years ago. Kalivoda produced hundreds of hours of verse-by-verse Bible study that can be heard daily on five radio stations (see sidebar list), and also on the group’s web site. He also wrote two booklets, “Grace” and “Heaven’s Password,” and most of his teachings, via a large DVD/ CD/tape library, are available for free at: www.rbcword.org Radio Bible Courses, Ltd., is, according to biblical definition, a church; a group of Christian believers who meet on a regular basis to study the Scriptures and support each other spiritually and emotionally. For IRS tax purposes, it is a 501(c)(3) non-profit ministry, explained board President and longtime teacher James “Jimmy” Gill, Jr.

Gill and Jack Lynch rotate each month in their teaching and the Rev. Louis J. Hilliard teaches each fifth Sunday.

When asked to further define their theology, Kalivoda said “we’re evangelical - we’re born-again Christian people.”

Average attendance is about 50, Gill said, and, like many regular churches, if everyone on the rolls all showed up at once that attendance would double. The conference room seats about 100, so Baton Rouge Christian Life readers are all invited to visit and/or join them. The class time is set for 9:15 a.m., so members can attend their own regular church service but many of the members say the group is their church. Eric Kalivoda is Nick Kalivoda’s second son and is secretary of the board of directors. “We have people that come out of all denominations and backgrounds

Gerry McArthur said she has been attending the class for 22 years. “I was raised Catholic - we didn’t even have a Bible, and I thought it was all works,” McArthur said with a big, happy smile. “Nick Kalivoda inspired me and my husband that Jesus was the right way. It opened my eyes!” She invites Christian Life readers to attend their class, and if not here - “Get the best teacher that can give you God’s word. The Bible is the best inspiration it is not works it is by believing His word that you can have everlasting life.” Warren Beasley drives over from Hammond to Baton Rouge every Sunday

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Radio Bible Courses class crowd Photo by Mark Hunter

to attend the class, he said. He’s affiliated with the Church of God in Christ, and has been attending at least 4 years.

The Campus Bible Study meets at 9:15 Sunday morning on the Louisiana State University Agriculture Campus in the One Burden Conference Center (Rural Life Museum) located at 4560 Essen Lane.

“If you are interested in the Word of God, knowing what the Bible has to say, you need to attend a good Bible teaching class and that is what this is,” Beasley said. “No politics, no talking about what’s going on, it’s strictly 100 percent good Bible teaching.” “It’s knowledge - it’s teaching, not preaching,” Beasley said. “When you’re traveling you want to know how to get there and that is what knowledge isthat’s what the Word of God is. It’s not about whoopin’ and hollerin’ and choir or building funds or pastor celebrities - it’s about the word of God - John 1:1, says, ‘in the beginning was the word and the word was God.’” 24

January 2016 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Current weekday Radio Bible Course broadcasts: 7:45 a.m. (CST) on WSHO New Orleans - 800 KHz AM 7:45 a.m. (CST) on KWDF Alexandria - 840 KHz AM 8:00 a.m. and 7:15 p.m. (CST) Mobile - 1270 KHz AM 7:45-8:00 am (CST) on KIOU Shreveport - 1480 KHz AM

Internet stream broadcasts: Mark Hunter Christian Journalist mhhunter@cox.net

www.wsho.com 7:45 a.m. (CST)


Witness at Work Lagniappe

Bill Peters Has Always Been Guided by Faith

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by Lisa Tramontana

At just 35 years old, Bill Peters had already achieved success. He was a bank vice president, and had just become the first person in Baton Rouge to receive the designation of CERTIFED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM. He and his wife Liz had three children and a happy home life. But he wanted more. He wanted his own company and the opportunity to use his Christian faith to help others. With encouragement from friends and family, he left the banking business in 1982, opened Peters Wealth Advisors, and has enjoyed more than 33 years of continuous success. He gives all the credit to God. “God is the one who gave me the tools I needed,” he said of his investment and financial planning firm. “I always knew I wanted to help people. Well, God showed me that I could do that in a way that used my financial skills. I could help someone structure a financial plan for his or her life. Other companies meet their clients and immediately start trying to sell them products. My approach has always been to talk to clients and find out what they want for their future, their happiness. That’s what guides me.”

Christian business owners to be open about their faith … like Bill. He has great compassion and his moral beliefs are guided by Christ. I’ve enjoyed our Christian journey together.” Peters has earned the respect of business and community leaders in Baton Rouge, not just for his financial skills, but for his willingness to share and demonstrate his faith. Over the years, he has served on more boards than he can count. The one that is nearest and dearest to his heart is Mary Bird Perkins, where he was treated for prostate cancer several years ago, and where Liz was treated for breast cancer before she died in 2003. Another cause that he supports is Christian

education, so he is proud of his long affiliation with The Dunham School, which he helped establish. Peters is also active with Cancer Services, Baton Rouge General Foundation, Baton Rouge Rotary Club and the Louisiana Governor’s Prayer Breakfast. The Prayer Breakfast is a statewide observance that takes place near the opening days of the Louisiana Legislature. It originated in 1965 as a way to seek God’s guidance for living as a community of faith. Now in his 60s, Peters says he is grateful for many things, especially the fact that he found love again after his first wife’s passing. He and his current wife, Cherie, are avid LSU fans, attending as many home games as possible (football, baseball and basketball).

Though some Christians feel compelled to share their beliefs within seconds of meeting a stranger, Peters says that’s never been his style. “If I have a truthful exchange with someone and I show compassion for them, I believe God will shine through me. I don’t have to announce it.” Eight years ago, Bill’s son-in-law Dustin Dowling joined him in the business and is now the company’s CEO. The two are a good team, probably because Dustin shares a similar philosophy. “Without my faith, I would be directionless and unsatisfied,” Dustin said. “I think it’s important for

Front Row: Becky Peters, Liam Dowling, J.P. Dowling, Scottie Peters, Ellie Dowling Back Row: Dustin & Patti Dowling, Paul Peters, Bill & Cherie Peters

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They have traveled all over the world, though they plan to concentrate on U.S. destinations in the near future. They are also active in their church and enjoy spending time with their 15 grandchildren. “Any insight or wisdom I might possess comes from God,” Peters says … “and only because I’ve been around so long.” He encourages others to lead as good a life as possible and realize that our time on Earth is short. “Here is my advice,” Peters said. “Decide what kind of legacy you want to leave and then act on it. Whatever your passion or mission turns out to be, become vitally interested in it until your last breath … until God calls you home. Do this and you will be blessed with so many rewarding experiences in your life.”

Get the Word Out

Ways to Witness at Work

Whether you work at a bank, a restaurant or a hospital, doing a good job should not conflict with your Christian values. After all, excellence at work is just one of many ways to serve God. Just remember that many workplaces strive for diversity, so it’s important to be respectful of your co-workers regardless of their religious affiliations and moral beliefs.

If you want to witness for God, the best approach is to set a good example that others will notice. 3 Have a positive attitude. People notice when someone refrains from gossip, criticism and negativity. They are drawn to those who smile, have an open heart, and tend to look on the bright side. 3 Show kindness to everyone. Make it a point to be caring and thoughtful in everything you do. Be the person who always offers assistance to those who need it.

3 Remember that actions speak louder than words. Your behavior is a reflection of your character. Be honest, fair, and trustworthy. Don’t just talk about being a good person. Demonstrate it. 3 Be inclusive. Offer your friendship to everyone, not just other Christians. When you make an effort to get to know someone, he will likely return the favor, giving you an opportunity to share your beliefs.

Front: Bill Peters, Dustin Dowling Middle: Dania Tanguis, Ann Michael Lagarde Back: Cheryl Comeaux, Bill Campbell

3 Share your faith (but not on company time). Once you’ve established a relationship with a co-worker, there will be times when it feels natural to talk about your faith. Be creative. If they show interest, invite them to coffee, lunch, or a church

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event so they can experience firsthand the Christian lifestyle. 3 Participate in worthy causes. Join that health walk to promote awareness of cancer. Buy a candy bar to support a child’s school. Make a donation to a workrelated charity.

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January 2016 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine


When God Closes A Door lagniappe

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When God Closes A Door W by Beth Townsend

hen God calls people into ministry there is often a misperception that things will be easy; that the path will be illuminated while doors swing wide open so that ministry can flourish. That is often not the case.

Those called to ministry usually have their faith shaped by roadblocks, trials, and for pastor Errol Faust, the unlikely blessing of a closed door. In fact, at the time, it seemed the door was slammed shut for no good reason. Faust did not give up when that door closed, knowing that his calling was true, that his God was real, and he could trust in circumstances to lead his ministry where God wanted him to go. “I was pastoring a church, and there was a lady who came in who had a 22-year cocaine addiction,” he recounts. “I knew enough about recovery that she needed to get some help. Sitting there and praying with her was not enough. We found her a place to recover, where she went away for 28 days.” Upon her return, they began to walk through the Celebrate Recovery program together. They met together every Tuesday. Over time, the pastor realized that the woman had friends who also needed recovery. Feeling that he could help, Faust suggested that she invite her friends to start a group on Tuesdays. Once that group began to grow, the program was moved to Friday nights. Then things began to take off. Faust was an associate pastor of a church, but found that some in church leadership

a Godsend, a friend eager to help. Errol recalled how the story unfolded. “We built the 2,400 square-foot building.” Faust admitted that he was concerned that they would never fill the space. Then Hurricane Katrina hit. Suddenly the building became a warehouse for supplies. Word got out; people from all around filled the building with supplies that were needed for hurricane victims. People came and went; others delivered supplies. Suddenly this building became a church.

were increasingly uncomfortable with this shift in ministry. Finally, those in charge called Faust into a meeting to tell him they determined that the church did not want to host or grow a recovery ministry. The pastor was stunned at the decision. He was told, “We like your preaching, but we look around and there are crackheads in the church. We don’t want them and we don’t want you.” Left with no choice except to accept their decision, Faust knew he could not quit what God started. People who needed help were seeking help and he could not walk away. “I went back the next Sunday and preached. It was my last Sunday,” he recalled. With no church, no place to meet and not wanting to lose momentum, Faust remembered the next step. “I went to a friend and asked him if he had any property. ‘I need some help, pretty quickly.’” That is when God’s hand appeared mightily. The man responded to Faust’s question saying, “I just bought a property that will work! I’ll build you a building and put $500 in the bank. Then I will rent it to you.” It was

“We got busy. We opened the doors to everyone. We had water and clothes. We were not preaching, we didn’t want people to have to listen to a sermon; we were just giving stuff out. We even had a big pot of red beans,” he laughed. “Then people started asking where we were from.” The phones started ringing at this little place called Fountain of Life in the little town of Albany. Starting officially with a Friday night service, Errol was still concerned no one would come. “Then it got to where they were lining up, looking through the doors. You could not fit in another person, often there were three deep standing around the doors, kitchen and waiting room. I was preaching and we had a person doing music.” Soon, Errol was approached by Mark DuBois, a young man who liked what they were doing. DuBois shared the same passion for a recovery ministry, and wanted to help.

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When God Closes A Door lagniappe

Faust remembered, “He had a job making good money. But he told me, ‘The Lord sent me to you to be a Barnabus.’ I said, ‘have you lost your mind?’” Together the men started fighting an uphill battle with little money, but they agreed this was of the Lord. Soon the ministry had the team in place to start a residential treatment home for men fighting addictions. “At first you come in and stay 30-days, we look at it as discipleship. The addiction is not what we are immediately focused on. My philosophy is that we are all in recovery from the fall, it’s called sin. Sometimes it comes out in addiction or gluttony,” Faust says. “We have Bible studies twice a day, everyday. We are all in recovery, no matter the sin, so don’t put down this sin or that sin. But the person that over-eats is not endangering other people. Addiction needs to be jumped on fast because they can get out on the highway and can kill people. You have to get it under control, we need a place for them to go and stay.”
 
 Facing expenses was and remains an area of faith. Apart from God, the ministry could not provide what people needed. “It costs $14,000 a month, whether we have one person or ten,” Faust shares. “ We ask everyone who comes in to pay $600 a month. We will feed you and give you a safe place to live, and then we will help you. We don’t turn anybody away because of money, but we do ask them to commit to

six months. We can teach you John 3:16 fast. But we want to disciple you so you have a foothold in your relationship with Christ.” Some people in the area label The Fountain of Life as the “drug church.” Faust admits that even though he graduated from a seminary, people sometimes look at him funny. “My momma is a Godly-woman, but when I told her I was going to open up a drug ministry, she said ‘They will kill you, you are going to have to watch them,’” he said with a laugh. Yet there is a realization that things have changed and today, the typical drug user is not easily recognized. “They are sitting in church beside you,” Faust states matter-offactly. “I am 47. When I was growing up, you would see a guy riding a motorcycle, tattooed with chains hanging, and we would say ‘there is a drug user.’ Now they look like me and you.” Still The Fountain of Life experienced tremendous growth over the past decade, becoming more and more a regular church, while remaining welcoming to all. “We do Sunday morning church from 10-11 a.m. Amazingly, we have reached 40,000 people in ten years. Sometimes God has a unique way of showing Faust how his obedience affected others. “I felt someone tap me on the shoulder recently who was a former client,” the pastor shared. “He said, ‘Errol, if you

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Errol and Michelle Faust

would not have obeyed God, I would not be buying steaks and potatoes for me and my wife.’ The Lord was showing me we are making a difference. I went to Cherry Street and O’Neal Lane and eight or nine random people approached me and said ‘that place changed my life,’” Faust continued with humility. “The Lord uses those people to remind us, we are making a difference. That is how He says ‘keep doing this.’” Semi-weekly on Tuesday nights at 7 p.m., the church offers a program called Ear to Hear. Randy and Yvonne Volles come from Baton Rouge. Their son was once a resident and they wanted to remain involved in the addiction ministry. They host small group discussion with people affected by addictions and recovery. Faust explains, “Sometimes, you just need an ear to hear. You are not going to fix people, but you can learn some steps to take. We try to help the whole family. My daddy was an addict so our whole family was in Al-Anon. But you must know who that the higher power they talk about in that program is ... Now-a-days God could mean anything. Preachers need to talk about Jesus. If you will cry out and say ‘God would you help me?’ He will start revealing himself to you. We’ve had atheist, Hindu, Muslim, a homosexual.” Life is different now for Faust than when he worked on a church staff. The pastor recalls, “Back then I could sit back in my office with a full staff. I was getting comfortable when the Lord started stirring. God said, ‘Don’t get comfortable here.’ Now and I see how


When God Closes A Door lagniappe the Lord brought me here. I’ve always had a soft spot for this ministry, because I know what it is like to have addiction in a family. When daddy had to go to CDU, it brought our family together. He died 40 years later of a heart attack. My two siblings and myself are now very close.” Still the road to building a ministry has been rocky. Faust suffered a personal setback when his wife left him. “In 2006 she said ‘see you later.’ It was the lowest part in my life. I did not see it coming. I was like, ‘God, I have been serving you and doing all this and this is what I get? To hell with all this.’ I had a 13-year-old and a 16-year-old and me and a ministry.” Faust remembers it as his season of confusion. This led to ministry taking a back seat to personal issues. Through the hurting he was in his own season of loss. As Faust struggled, unsure of what to do with his ministry, others took over the pulpit, and the church kept going. After a few months of what he called ‘getting his head on straight,’ Pastor Faust decided to start preaching again on Friday nights. Even a mentor to many, sometimes we all need one of our own. For Faust that was Jerry Kinchen. “Mr. Jerry Kinchen has been a supporter of our ministry. When I went through the divorce, I would cry. He would come every day and sit with me in the church. He would drink coffee and read a magazine. He was a family friend, but now he is like my daddy. Sad thing is he has a son who is addicted to drugs.” Months later, Faust met Michelle. “I needed to find my girls a mamma!” he laughed. “I called her and asked her out, it was God who brought us together,” he says lovingly. The couple has been married eight years. Staying true to his call, Faust has learned a lot from starting a residential recovery ministry. “Treatment is not a cookie cutter treatment,” he explains. “One person may get healthy in a month, the next person may take two months. Under-treatment or overtreatment is equally bad.

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Beyond the recovery ministry, however, Fountain of Life is a busy place. That 2,400 square-foot building, which Faust once feared might never be filled, hosts services Sunday morning, Wednesday and Friday nights. Every other week on Tuesday there is Ear to Hear. On Thursdays there is a men’s fellowship with an average attendance of about 30. “Sunday mornings Arun Rahman, Trey Sanchez, Blake Perry, Seth Pujol we offer children’s church. We have a metal building and have been As it so often happens when God closes talking about what to do with that space doors, followers of Jesus find that closed for two years. With the idea of using it for door just may be our own personal miracle ministry, Mr. Jerry (Kinchen) called and from God. That is the revelation of Errol said ‘I will pour the concrete.’ That was a Faust and the genesis of a giant ministry, good start. The church decided to launch a Fountain of Life, in the small town of fundraiser to get that building ready. The Albany, Louisiana. leaders agreed to use a drawn thermometer to keep the congregation updated on fundraising efforts. One Sunday Faust announced the plans to Need an interpreter to the congregation. “We came out of church,” Faust remembered, “and, there is this guy who came for the first time and has only been back one time. His name is Kevin Keller, he is a contractor who just came to visit our church. He said, ‘Tell Jerry that I will pay $40,000. On Monday they came with the plans, and on Tuesday they started to work. They bricked it, put windows in, carpet, AC stuff, put classrooms in and glass doors.”

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Learning for LIFE

L: Rev. Colleen Bookter, Associate Pastor, UUMC R: Shirley Flake, Kids Hope USA Director, UUMC

Kids Hope USA:

The Miracle of M entoring by Susan Brown

Children coping with multiple challenges, adults anchored by experience and faith, and a vision for mentoring, not with one-size-fits-all formulas but simply by bringing people together. Kids Hope USA provides a weekly academic workout and an environment that nurtures children into the realization that they are important, that they can be successful. The real question is, “How could we not do this,” according to University United Methodist Church Associate Pastor Colleen Bookter whose church partners with University Terrace Elementary. “Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger 30

or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’” Matthew 25:44. Five local churches have teamed up with schools through Kids Hope USA to match mentors with children in K-5th grades. Through Kids Hope USA, one church typically partners with one school to send mentors for an

January 2016 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

hour each week at a time convenient for each mentor and teacher. The mentoring hour includes time for conversation, academics and fun. “It was just a vision from God,” said Rev. Linda Joseph of Neely United Methodist Church, in partnership with Polk Elementary School. Seventeen


Learning for LIFE years ago, she realized that although churches were on nearly every corner of her neighborhood, they were not working with schools to eliminate poverty. As a counselor at Baton Rouge High School, she had noticed the stark contrast in kids with a good foundation, and community kids who were struggling both scholastically and socially. “I think it’s so rewarding when a child is in middle school getting ready to graduate and says thank you,” said Rev. Joseph. “You helped to mold, shape and nurture this young man and look at him now. He’s smiling. He feels so good about himself and, yes, he can do it. Yes, he can be a success.” These kids are dealing with more than the average childhood issues. Talking helps them work through their concerns and reassures them that someone cares when a mother is taken to jail, when their house burns down, when they’re trying to adapt to a new country and language, or when they’re struggling with delayed learning. “Reading levels improved dramatically; math improved in many situations,” said Kathleen Conrad, KHUSA co-director for Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church in partnership with Progress Elementary School. “Children become more open and friendly. I think it’s because of the one-on-one relationships – I’m here for you.” The influence of one caring adult is more profound than many people realize, according to University United Methodist KHUSA Director Shirley Flake. A student from Rwanda emailed to tell her he was graduating from high school, 11 years after his family fled genocide in his home country. Upon arrival in Baton Rouge, University Terrace Elementary

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Left to Right: Lisette West, KHUSA Director for the Chapel Betty Hodges, Prayer Coordinator for KHUSA, Zachary United Methodist Church, Bonnie Byland, KHUSA Director, Zachary UMC Susan Brown, BRCLM writer

immediately placed him in the Kids Hope USA program. Although he had lost contact with his mentors, he had not forgotten their dedication to his academic success and their glad hearts.

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“I want to thank you as well for being the director of this wonderful program that gave me a fighting chance,” Elie Nyembo wrote. “If you could somehow contact the people that I named and tell them thank you as well it [would] bring me much joy.” The academic and social challenges facing these children seem daunting to some volunteers, according to Lisette West, KHUSA director for The Chapel in partnership with Wildwood Elementary. The school draws students from the LSU/Gardere area and includes a large international population. She recalls encouragement from worship leader Jonathan Madrid: “If you think you’re not equipped to

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go and visit with an at-risk child, then great! Because now you’re going to depend on the Lord for every day.” “God has been good through the whole thing, and let us know we can’t do anything without him and everything with him,” said Kathleen Conrad. That’s where prayer partners come in. Every mentor has a confidential prayer partner from the church who prays for a specific child. A prayer group also meets weekly at Camphor UMC and prays for KHUSA concerns. “Academic struggles improve as a result of patience we have prayed for along with the ability to grasp what is being taught,” Conrad said. “‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,’” Philippians 4:13. “It’s hard to describe how you feel when you’re praying for that child,” said Betty Hodges, prayer coordinator for Zachary United Methodist Church. “You’re talking to the mentors and they’re telling you what they need prayer for, then to see the children themselves. It’s just remarkable.” While Kids Hope USA respects separation of church and state, mentors sometimes face spiritual questions from children: “Does God still love my daddy even though he’s in prison?” “When I’m afraid, I can ask God to protect me, right?” One first grade teacher wrote, “You all are letting your light shine, and shine HE will, even when we can’t speak his wonderful name!” The idea of a school-church partnership can be a tough sell at first, according to Zachary UMC KHUSA Director Bonnie Byland whose church partners with Zachary Elementary and Rollins Place Elementary. While the school system is 100 percent behind

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January 2016 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Rev. Linda Joseph, Neely United Methodist Church


Learning for LIFE the program, teachers had their doubts and church members didn’t see the need. “We get it. When you’re a classroom teacher and someone says, ‘Hey we have a volunteer who can come and help you, you just think – oh my goodness! What kind of can of worms is this going to open for me?” said Byland, a retired English teacher. “Now the school’s comfortable with us because many teachers have seen the program and it’s just going like crazy. They’re seeing confidence in kids; they’re seeing a decrease in acting out behavior because they’re getting a little bit of that self-esteem and positive reinforcement one-on-one.” Another challenge was educating the congregation about community needs. “Zachary is the number one performing school district; it’s perceived as a relatively affluent community,” said Byland. But when the church realized that 40 percent of the children in their schools qualify for free lunches, they threw their support behind the program, not only with volunteers but also with supplies, household goods, Wal-Mart gift cards, and field trip scholarships. Often, the mentoring experience

parents to offer resources for finding jobs, for finding the assistance they need,” said Wildwood KHUSA director Lisette West.

leads a church to invest other resources. University UMC and Camphor Memorial UMC teach edible gardening. Most KHUSA churches help with special holiday events and collect supplies and uniforms. The Chapel donated its entire Easter offering to community projects, including major funding to set up a Hope Center at Wildwood. At the principal’s suggestion, the new building provides space for mentoring

Mentors sometimes face spiritual questions from children: “Does God still love my daddy even though he’s in prison?” “When I’m afraid, I can ask God to protect me, right? and a community-parenting center complete with computer stations. “Our hope is to work alongside the principal’s vision which is to hold every child as a valuable person in this world to a higher standard than they’ve been held to before and to work with

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“They give of their time generously and the bond that is built with the students is strong and lasting,” said Wildwood principal Natalie Jadid. “As the school principal, I am grateful for the extra hands and big hearts that work with our students individually on social, academic, or life skills that will lead them to successful futures. WILDWOOD LOVES KIDS HOPE USA.”

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 where she continues to volunteer.

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Pastor’s PERSPECTIVE

Saved, Healed, Delivered! by Joel Wilson

After growing up in relative obscurity in the family carpentry business, Jesus burst onto the scene in Galilee proclaiming, “Give up your agenda! The kingdom of God is at hand! God is here to rule and reign on the earth!” He further explains that he came to, “destroy the works of the devil.” After a visit to nearby Capernaum, where amazing healing miracles took place, Jesus visited the synagogue in his hometown, Nazareth. There he read from the scrolls of the Prophet Isaiah, “The Spirit of The Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor...freedom for the prisoners...sight to the blind...set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of God’s favor,” Luke 4:18-19.

Not only was Jesus a carpenter, but he had also been trained as a rabbi. Those who became followers or students of Rabbi Jesus endeavored to emulate him in every way. They came to understand that his words and his works were inseparable. Proclamation of the Gospel and demonstrations of power always went together. He said, “The kingdom is near,” and then he healed the sick, or he would expel demons and then say, “The kingdom of God has come.” As present day followers of Jesus, we continue following this same model. For many years the yearning of my heart has been, “Lord, there must be more!” There must be more than the initial salvation experience, which is vital and amazing, then just waiting to go to heaven. What about that interim period between salvation and heaven? Where does the “life more abundant” fit in? At New Life Church we are very intentional about our role in the rule and reign of God on earth. When questioned about his return to the earth in Acts 1, Jesus clearly directed his followers to focus instead on the kingdom now and the mandate to bring this gospel of the kingdom to every corner of the earth. With this “kingdom now” idea in mind, I want to highlight two ministries that New Life provides to Baton Rouge - Bethel Sozo and Healing Rooms. Currently, individuals from at least ten local churches participate on teams in these two ministries.

Sozo is the Greek word translated “salvation” in scripture. It means: “saved, healed, and delivered.” It is not only justification by faith, but it encompasses the ongoing process of making whole the body, soul, and spirit. This is a unique inner healing ministry aimed at getting to the root issues that hinder our connection to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Vickie Willson and Sherry Hartt are the directors of this ministry and Sozo sessions are by appointment only. If your primary need is physical healing, Healing Rooms is the place you need to be. Terry Hale, director and Peter and Marcela Jowett, assistant directors open the Healing Rooms from 5-7 PM every second and fourth Sunday at New Life Church. No appointment is necessary and every session is completely confidential. Come in and soak in the presence of the Holy Spirit and then receive healing prayer from a trained team of ministers. There is not enough space here for testimonies from these ministries, but we have some great ones.

Father God loves us dearly and he wants his children to walk in wholeness and blessing. The answer to my yearning is, “Yes! There is more! This truly is the time of God’s favor!”

Joel Wilson is pastor of New Life Church in Baton Rouge

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January 2016 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine


Healthy LIFE

A Healthier You in the New Year!

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by Kristen Hogan, YMCA

E

ach year millions of Americans resolve to get in better shape and become healthier versions of themselves.

According to a recent YMCA survey of more than 1,000 adults, less than a quarter of respondents kept their resolution. However, there is hope for the upcoming year. One-third of survey respondents plan to make a resolution and stick to it to reach their goals. More than half believe that encouragement from others will keep them on track. Finding a supportive community like the Y can be beneficial in keeping resolutions on track, because the Y organization is so much more than a gym.

Here are five tips to help make a healthy New Year’s resolution successful:

1 2 3 4 5

Start small. Set attainable resolutions. If you plan to lose 30 pounds, try losing five pounds first, and then work your way up to your 30-pound goal. Take it one step at a time. Making a New Year’s resolution does not require you to reassess every little detail of your life. Replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones takes time. Do not become overwhelmed. Work to change one behavior at a time, and then go from there. Track your progress. Keep track of each small and large success. Each accomplishment helps keep you motivated. Keeping a journal or log of your progress can help you stay on track. Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t obsess over the occasional slip. Changing your lifestyle takes time. Stay focused on your goal and take one day at a time. Reward Yourself. This does not mean you can eat an entire tub of ice cream if your resolution is to eat healthier. Instead, reward yourself by going to the movies, or buying a new workout shirt. For additional tips on healthy living, visit ymcabr.org/healthyfamilyhome

Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l January 2016

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Healthy LIFE

Science-backed weight loss program helps people get healthy by Stephanie Ryan Malin

“M

y family and friends, they all ask me, ‘What are you doing?’ and I just smile,” Washington said. He has

lost 34 pounds over the course of 12 weeks as part of the Elite Health and Wellness Program, a new multidisciplinary approach to weight loss from LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center. The program is based on medical research and tailored around the lifestyle of each person who is participating. Washington is an attorney by trade and while his colleagues in the courtroom may refer to his stunning weight loss as a wonder, Washington brushes that notion off, noting that his weight loss is a result of the sophisticated program that was developed by Pennington Biomedical’s world-renowned scientists who specialize in metabolism and weight loss. “It’s really science-backed, and that’s why I decided to give it a try. What sets the Elite Health and Wellness Program apart for me is that it’s based on research,” said Washington. “Over the years I’ve seen all the work Pennington Biomedical has done to help people lose weight and get healthy, and I really wanted to improve my health—that was my number one goal.” Washington weighed in on day one of his weight loss journey at 268 pounds, having already tried diet after diet. 36

“When I stepped on the scale, I was disappointed and felt sadness, because I’d tried everything—the paleo diet, the low-carb diet, and I even went vegan for a while, but nothing seemed to work,” said Washington, who was ready to make his health a priority. “I have type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure and my doctor was always telling me I needed to lose weight to avoid some really dangerous additional health problems. Now that I’m 34 pounds down, she is going to be so surprised to see me the next time— and proud too. Now I’m excited to step on that scale at the doctor’s office,” Washington said. The Elite Health and Wellness Program began seeing clients earlier this fall during a soft launch of the program, which provides a combination of one-on-one health counseling, personalized meal plans, and an array of state-of-the-art health tests. “What we are doing is bringing our science to those in our community looking for a healthy way to lose weight and keep it off,” said Rob Leonhard, program manager for the Elite Health and Wellness Program. “What makes this program different is that we’re providing you with insight into your health that you wouldn’t find at your ordinary weight loss clinic, along with a program designed with your unique needs in mind.” That insight comes through scientific tests such as an assessment of resting metabolic

January 2016 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

photo courtesy wikipedia

rate, biochemical profile monitoring, body composition analysis which shows precise measurements of body fat, lean tissue mass, and bone density, a VO2Max test to determine aerobic fitness levels, and more. Washington said his health coaches at Pennington Biomedical have streamlined the details of his health assessments to ensure the weight loss process has remained straightforward and easy to follow. “I’ve been lifting weights for about a decade, but they told me what kind of cardio would be best for me and I can see a difference. I’m no longer huffing and puffing when I jog and I’m not feeling all those pains I used to,” said Washington, who has also benefitted from the nutritional counseling. “I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is about making choices—how to choose what kinds of foods I’m going to eat every day, and that’s what is going to help me keep the weight off long-term. The people at Pennington Biomedical helped me learn how to make my choices work for my lifestyle, and I still eat those foods I love, but now I have a plan to limit them, and I have a team of people who are backing me up,” said Washington. If you’re interested in learning more about investing in your health through the Elite Health and Wellness Program, visit www.penningtonelitehealth.com.


Miracle Moment LagniaPPE

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Miracle Moment Renew Your Mind with the Word of God This Year!

by Kerney Thomas, Pastor, Opelousas Life Church

D

o you remember the famous line, “Do you believe in miracles?” uttered by hall-of-fame sportscaster Al Michaels when the USA Olympic Hockey team beat the USSR in the 1980 Winter Olympics? Well, it wasn’t actually a real “miracle,” it was just a major upset. But, there are real miracles that happen every day performed by God through His people. Miracles are not supposed to happen. Miracles aren’t scientifically provable. Yet God regularly causes the impossible to happen. Man alone can’t perform a miracle because each real miracle is a miracle of God. The question remains, do you believe in miracles? Many of us today don’t because they weren’t taught that God is still in the miracle business. Yet every day miracles do happen. Changing those thought patterns about the existence of miracles is as simple as renewing your mind. You have to change your way of thinking; that is what faith is all about. You can change your way of thinking but that is done by reading the Word. Faith comes by hearing; hearing comes by the word of God. You have to read and hear with an open mind. God is able to do what he said he would do. Faith is simply taking God at His word. Sometimes we must discern if we believe in God, or, indeed if we believe God Himself. There is a difference!

To believe God takes a new perspective. I have to believe that he is going to do what he says he is going to do. When I get sick, I have to believe that, ‘by his strips ye were healed,’ and take it to be true. Faith should be like a sixth sense. I don’t have to think about smelling, I just smell. I don’t have to think about seeing, I just see.

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It’s almost impossible to believe God, while at the same time grumbling and complaining about all that is wrong. Your faith and words should match. One of the most important things God has given us is our tongue. The power of life and death is in the tongue. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

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I can tell what I believe by what I am saying. For me to say that I am sick is for me to say that I don’t believe God is my healer. How can I say that I’m broke when God has supplied all my needs? That is a bad testimony against my God. I have more than enough. Abundance of life, abundance of health, abundance of thankfulness that is how I live life. Perhaps renewing our mind with the Word of God can help our faith to grow into that sixth sense. That is a great New Year’s Revelation!

Kerney Thomas is Pastor for the Opelousas Life Church

Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine l January 2016

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Opportunities for LIFE

Calendar of Events

GARDERE INITIATIVE JANUARY 4

Monday 9-10 a.m., 8435-A Ned, Monday with Moms topic: Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response

JANUARY 6

Wednesday 9-10 a.m., 8425-A Ned, Gardere Initiative coalition meeting

JANUARY 14

Thursday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., 7117 Florida Blvd, Affordable HealthCare Act training will cover the basics of the ACA law in relationship to federal income tax returns.

january 16

Worldwide Mom’s Day of Prayer Worldwide Mom’s Day of Prayer will hold a morning of prayer on January 16, 2016 at The Church in St. Amant. We will begin at 8:30 a.m., with fellowship and coffee followed by prayer from 9 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. This will be an incredible time of “praying it forward” and strengthening, encouraging, and developing a mom’s heart for prayer. All are welcome. WWMDOP@thechurchinstamant.org

JANUARY 20

WOMEN IN BUSINESS Attention “ Women in Business” You’re invited to a monthly Bible study on the first Monday night of every month at La Madeleine’s Perkins Rowe from 5:30 p.m. 7. Dinner is optional. Come study Biblical principles for success with us and be encouraged. Contact Carol Thomas for more info: 225-248-6880

Reign Women Service Reign Women Service - Wed @ 6:30 p.m. The Church in St. Amant, 13423 Hwy 431, Saint Amant, LA 70774 TheChurch.FM Reign is where we gather the women and their daughters to worship the Lord together. Dinner is served at 6 p.m., and the service begins at 6:30 p.m. Come experience the presence of God with us as we worship the Lord together!

JANUARY 6, 13, 20, 27

JANUARY 27

January 4

La Divina Italian Café Hosts Weekly “Kids’ Night” with Local Children’s Authors 5 to 7pm Wednesday Nights

The events are free and no purchase is necessary. Kids menu and dessert. Kid’s night usually includes a free craft and coloring page. 3535 Perkins Road Suite 360.

January 8

touchpoint prayer Friday, January 8, 2016 @ 6 p.m., Touch Point Prayer at The Chapel in the Oaks

January 9

The Search for Sandy! CYT Baton Rouge is conducting dog auditions for the perfect “Sandy” to perform in our upcoming performance of “Annie JR.” January 9, 2016 from 3-6pm @ Camp Bow Wow $5 audition fee. Dog must be able to perform basic commands and be kennel trained. Contact Jeanne for more info: jeanneandken@cox.net

JANUARY 10

Perspectives Baton Rouge Perspectives Baton Rouge: A 15-week discipleship class to help believers from all walks of life see how they can be threaded into God’s story of redeeming people from every tribe, tongue, and nation. National and local speakers provide Biblical, historical, and cultural teachings of God’s heart for the nations. Classes begin the week of January 10 and the first two classes are free! For more information and class locations and times, visit https://class.perspectives.org/Visitor/Public.aspx?ClassId=432893 for the Sunday afternoon class and https://class.perspectives.org/Visitor/Public.aspx?ClassId=432894 for the Tuesday night class: $300 which includes all course materials. For further information, contact Cheryl Yennie at 225-343-1814.

Real Men Service Real Men Service - Wed @ 6:30 p.m. The Church in St. Amant, 13423 Hwy 431, Saint Amant, LA 70774 TheChurch.FM Real Men is where we gather the men and their boys to worship the Lord together. Dinner is served at 6 p.m., and the service begins at 6:30 p.m. Come rally with us to worship and hear the Word of God and continue to grow together to become Real Men of God!

JANUARY 28

Propel Women Luncheon Our Propel Women Luncheon will be kicking off Thursday, January 28th at Healing Place Church in the Connect Foyer entry 7. Doors open at 11:30 a.m., for networking lounge and lunch is served at noon.!

january 28

Women in Spirit 12NOON, St. Joseph Cathedral Parish Hall Murelle Harrison, Gardere Initiative Executive Director Free, non-denominational, complimentary lunch RSVP: sjwomeninspirit@aol.com or call the Cathedral at 387-5928

JANUARY 29-30

Red Stick Weekend Red Stick Weekend for 2nd-5th Graders istrouma.org/redstick

EACH FRIDAY & SUNDAY 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 6781 LA Hwy 1 Addis, LA 70710 There is no fee for attending. www.churchataddis.com For more info: (225) 749-3756

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January 2016 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine


Baton Rouge

Christian Magazine

Special thanks to our advertisers! Join our team and help change our city! Email Sharon Frank at sharonfrank123@gmail.com for details! Check our website for locations to find your copy. Carl’s Computer Care Juban Insurance Group Peters Wealth Advisors Radio Bible Courses, Ltd. Dr. C. Farrell Fruge’, Jr. i-Catchers Salon Edward Jones, Tex Morris

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The Kingdom Group International Roger D. Butner, PHD, LMFT 225 House Painters Bic Media Solutions Isogenix Alexander Law Firm, LLC

Who Was YOUR Celebrity Crush? If you ever dreamed about meeting your celebrity crush, you will totally get LOVE FOR DUNCES. This novel follows the lives of Ollie McBride and Ash Bradford, lead guitarist of Ollie’s favorite high school band, Heaven. Fifteen years later, fate is smiling in her direction and she’ll be at a Heaven concert, and even their meet & greet. Now, to have every last one of her dreams come true all Ollie has to do is find the love of her life. Ollie’s hopes are high as her path crosses several eligible bachelors. But, someone comes back into her life sending her into a myriad of self-examinations and commotion.

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January 2016 l Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine - January 2016 Edition  
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