October 2018 Edition, Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

Page 1



Legendary Coach Dale Brown

on Faith and Family

Heritage Ranch: Stronger Than Ever Crime Stoppers Empowers Citizens Families of Children with Special Needs





October 5 | 7–10 p.m.


October 6 | 9–11 a.m.




October 20 | 10 a.m.– noon


October 11 + 12 | 5:30–8:30 p.m. (all ages) October 12 | 9:30–11:30 a.m. (ages 6 & under)





October 12 + 19 + 26 | 6–9 p.m.

October 20 + 21 + 27 + 28 | 9:30 a.m.–4 p.m. MILFORD WAMPOLD MEMORIAL PARK

October 25 | 5:30–7:30 p.m. (ages 12+)




October 26 | 7 p.m.



October 19 | 6–9 p.m.



October 26 | 9:30–11:30 a.m. (ages 6 & under) October 26 + 27 | 5:30–8:30 p.m. (all ages)




October 20 | 6–9 p.m.

October 27 | 5–6 p.m.





OCTOBER 2018 issue 6, volume 4 OCTOBER 2018

columns Faith Life

PUBLISHER Beth Townsend beth@bethtownsend.com

6 Baton Rouge Catholics

Welcome a New Bishop

8 Heritage Ranch:

Associate Editor/Publisher Susan Brown

A Haven for Troubled Youth by Lisa Tramontana

contributing writers Susan Brown Lisa Tramontana Sharon Furrate Bailey Jessica LeBlanc Rachele Smith Fred Townsend Todd Shupe Kelli Knight Dale Brown

Family Life

12 Special Needs Children... Special Needs Families

16-20 Cover story

by Todd Shupe

Memories of Family and Faith

Witness At Work

by Dale Brown

14 Dr. Gray Bailey on Medical a


nd Spiritual healing

Dale Brown

by Rachele Smith


Photo by Rachel Boster of Infinity Designs LAYOUT & DESIGN BY Illuminated Designs Studio

Creative Life

32 Will Wesley, Musician by Sharon Furrate Bailey


inside each issue


Millennial Life

34 Be Angry and Sin Not by Jessica LeBlanc

printed by Baton Rouge Press Baton Rouge, La.

BATON ROUGE CHRISTIAN LIFE MAGAZINE WEBSITE BY Kadmos Technology kadmostech.com and Ellen McDowell-Your Social Butterfly www.ellenmcdowell.com

37 Cooking for life 38 opportunities for life

5 Publisher’s letteR 22 A little lagniappe

Greater Baton Rouge Crime Stoppers by Susan Brown Christian Media Gains Momentum Part 2 Life Imitates Art by Fred Townsend Movie Review: Indivisible by Kelli Knight

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

batonrougechristianlifemagazine.com @brclifemagazine 4


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Publisher’s LETTER


Back to the Basics Do you ever feel frozen in time? As if somehow paralyzed from making a decision just so you don’t make a wrong one? This would describe the recent season in my life. Day after day it’s like I’m wrestling with the same things. With many decisions needing to be made, I’ve found myself thinking and re-thinking just about everything. Many things have changed as a whole at work and at home. As a result, I’ve been trying to decide how that affects my daily routines as well as my long term goals. Did you now Beth is also a professional speaker? www.bethtownsend.com

Then I recall one of my pastors from years back saying some familiar phrases that could always cut to the chase. “Let’s remember to keep the main thing the main thing.” That meant get back to Jesus instead of what committee should do what. “Let’s major in the majors.” That meant let go of little things that in the scheme of things really didn’t matter. That was his way of bringing into focus what needed to be our focus. While this concept is easier said than done, there are times when getting back to the basics is the easiest way to energize our faith and remember the foundation on which we are called to stand. My “Back to the Basics” list: Facts Over Feelings: Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV) “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” This is perhaps the hardest of all. To remember that my heart can lead me astray seems contradictory to everything. My feelings can seem so worthy in the moment. Yet it is in those moments that I must remember “facts over feelings.” In other words, instead of worrying (feelings), I can recall Philippians 4 (facts) which says not to worry about anything, but to pray about everything. It’s my job as a believer to make that shift to trust God instead of my own frustrated feelings. Go to my go-to’s: There are several Scriptures that have truly become life for me. We should all have our list of promises on which we stand, no matter what is happening around us. These are the ones that bring comfort, clarity and calm to the chaos. A few of mine are Psalm 91, Psalm 23, Psalm 121, Psalm 90:17, Luke 10:19, Romans 12, Philippians 4, Ephesians 1 & 2. There are many others. What are yours? One with the One: Often I think Satan, our adversary, uses the things we use most to distract us, such as our phones and calendars. Do you hear that subtle message daily? “Do this, too. Go there, today. Don’t forget that. You don’t have time for quiet time.” Are you too busy? I’d assume we are all too busy. But Jesus was intentional about everything. And when chaos surrounded him, that is when he found solitude with His Father. He knew he needed to be One with the One. Nothing or no one ever tempted him away from that part of His earthly life. We all need a personalized list of how to get back to the basics. My list won’t work for you, as it’s based on my tendencies and temptations. How about making your own? As we close in on the holiday season, let’s be intentional by protecting our path on purpose. Join me? Let’s get back to the Basics and Trust the Lord to meet us with a new agenda.

Beth Townsend BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine.com l october 2018


X Faith LIFE

Baton Rouge Catholics

Welcome a New Bishop


t was “standing room only” on August 24 when Bishop Michael Gerard Duca was installed as the sixth bishop of Baton Rouge, replacing Bishop Robert Muench who retired in June.

In a Church tradition, the new Bishop stood at the door to St. Joseph Cathedral and knocked, indicating his desire to enter and become the new “shepherd” of the diocese. The installation Mass drew more than 700 congregants and 50 priests, bishops and deacons from throughout the state, including New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Duca’s former home of Shreveport. The Catholic community of Shreveport was clearly sad to say good bye to their bishop, who in the past 10 years, had established a reputation as a warm and friendly, optimistic leader willing to speak out on difficult subjects. He is also known for his inclusive nature and his habit of reaching out to Catholics of all backgrounds. In fact, his first Masses in Baton Rouge included readings in French, Spanish and Vietnamese, a nod to the diversity of his new flock. Bishop Duca remarked on this universal theme at his installation Mass. “We are the church … everything we are comes to and from this altar … and we receive from that altar that strength, that nourishment that feeds us. This is where we start and where we end. Here we die with Christ so that we can rise with Christ.”

Photo courtesy of The Catholic Commentator

Bishop Michael Gerard Duca 6

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Fall into Fun at the Library!


Faith LIFE

Your East Baton Rouge Parish Library has planned a variety of fun, FREE annual events for all ages coming up this fall. Check out the schedule below, and mark your calendar to attend! 5th Annual Baton Rouge Mini Maker Faire® 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday, October 6 Main Library at Goodwood

18th Annual Attic Treasures & Collectibles 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Saturday, October 27 Main Library at Goodwood

41st Annual Author-Illustrator Program featuring Brian Floca 7 p.m. Thursday, October 11 Main Library at Goodwood

10th Annual Community History Festival 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday, October 27 Pride-Chaneyville Branch Library

For more information, go online to www.ebrpl.com

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BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine.com l october 2018



Faith LIFE

Heritage Ranch

A H a v e n f o r T r o u b l e d Yo u t h by Lisa Tramontana


n the summer of 2016, Vicki Ellis had plenty of reason to be proud. The residential program she had founded for troubled youth was thriving. It had taken a decade of planning and fundraising, but Heritage Ranch Christian Children’s Home in Zachary was firmly established with its first five residents making great progress academically, behaviorally, and spiritually.

And then came the flood. The 52-acre property, the office, the beautiful home where the boys lived with their house parents --- all were under water now, damaged beyond belief. Ellis would have to start over. The ranch would have to be closed. But worse than anything, the boys would have to be sent home. Imagine Ellis’ disappointment and sadness. Fortunately, Ellis is a fighter and was determined not to give up. Heritage Ranch had been a dream since she was a teenager, and she had poured her heart and soul into seeing that dream come true. “The damage was estimated at $570,000,” she said, “but we rebuilt. The boys continued the program with outpatient counseling, and we were fortunate that so many people helped us by donating supplies, gutting buildings … completely renovating the ranch.” Slowly, the broken pieces were put back together. Heritage Ranch officially reopened last January with a new group of boys who live with house parents Tori and Gage Caszatt, and residential advisor Kyle Sheppard. The program is designed for boys age 10 to 18 dealing with anxiety, depression and mild to


Since she was a teenager, Vicki Ellis has dreamed of establishing a home for troubled youth.

moderate behavioral disorders. They are most often referred by schools, churches, counselors or law enforcement. Many parents say they were out of options and felt they had nowhere else to turn when they discovered Heritage Ranch. Applicants go through a detailed screening process to ensure they will benefit from the structured model and Christian environment. Those

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with a history of violence or sexually inappropriate behavior are not accepted. With a focus on counseling and education in a disciplined environment, the hope is to reunite the boys with their families in a period of about 18 months. The boys participate in school, recreational activities, family dinners, nightly devotions, youth group meetings and daily chores. They return home every

Faith LIFE


Heritage Ranch covers more than 50 acres in Zachary, about 15 miles from Baton Rouge.

other weekend and on holidays. “We expect them to do their schoolwork, get along with their peers and be respectful to others,” Ellis said. “We use a ‘choice and consequence’ model to teach them that their actions matter.” In other words, along with love, praise and support in a family setting, the boys also understand that a refusal to follow rules results in a loss of privileges. “They understand this concept,” Ellis said. “If they act out, they know that the consequence might be extra chores or an early bedtime. In their homes, they might have yelled and screamed and pushed

“I love interacting with the boys, watching them learn new values and helping them meet new challenges.” –Kyle Sheppard

their parents until they gave in, but that doesn’t happen here.” Many parents are conflicted about sending their children to a residential program, often because they feel as if they are giving up. But one of the program’s most appealing aspects is family counseling that involves the parents, siblings and anyone else who participates in the raising of the child. Josh Atwell is the development and marketing director at Heritage Ranch. He promotes the program through social media, annual reports, an E newsletter, and a soon-to-be produced podcast. He

BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine.com l october 2018


X Faith life

Supporters of Heritage Ranch enjoyed an evening gala in the spring.

An annual golf tournament is one of Heritage Ranch’s major fundraisers.

“I knew from the beginning that this was the right place for me. I love helping to create a safe and comfor table home where the boys can grow in so many ways.” – Tori Caszat t 10

Residents and staff members pose for a photo at Heritage Ranch.

Bike rides are a favorite activity at Heritage Ranch.

also helps with fundraising by working with local businesses, donors and churches in the community. “The Heritage Ranch program is a journey of small victories and defeats,” he said, describing an adolescent in the program who refused to engage with the staff. At first, the boy wouldn’t come out of his room, and when he finally did, he refused to wear the appropriate clothing. For a time, he refused to participate in group activities. But in just a few days, his attitude changed. One morning, he joined the other boys for a game of basketball, and they cheered and welcomed him. “These were all small steps,” Atwell said, “but they were steps in the right direction.” “What we’re doing here is life-changing. It’s transformative,” Ellis said. “We want the kids to experience the love of Christ and instill in them the values Christ modeled for us. We want them to know

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that the people in our lives may hurt and disappoint us … but God is always here for us and he loves us unconditionally.” Ellis’ master plan is to eventually have 10 houses that serve 60 boys and girls – and to provide counseling for 200 to 300 family members. Considering the work she is doing and the difference she’s making in the lives of so many families, it will certainly be worth the wait. “This isn’t easy work,” she said. “It requires the Lord to work through us in order to be successful.” There are many ways to support Heritage Ranch. Volunteers are welcome on the first Saturday of each month. Anyone interested in volunteering should visit the website at hrbr.org to apply. The website also includes more details about the program and its staff, and opportunities to donate. You can also call (225) 658-1800. U


Radio Bible Courses, Ltd. Founded by Dr. Nick Kalivoda “But the word of the Lord endures forever. Now this is the word by which the Gospel was preached to you.” - 1 Peter 1:25 the Bible Join us during the ■ What means by month of October what it says as Louis Hilliard ■ Open to the Public teaches ■ Q&A Session the Revelation ■ Sunday mornings of Jesus Christ. 9:15 AM - 10:00 AM

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OPEN TO EVERYONE! 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 ■ BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine.com l october 2018



Family LIFE

Special Needs Children … Special Needs Families by Todd Shupe

On April 26, 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data on the prevalence of autism in the United States. The study identified 1 in 59 children (1 in 37 boys and 1 in 151 girls) as having autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Autism and ASD are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. They are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors.


y second child, Kyle, was born May 24, 2002. He was a big, healthy baby and was, and will always be, a tremendous blessing to me. We

noticed at an early age that he was not reaching the typical milestones for babies and toddlers in terms of walking, talking, etc. We had him tested for hearing loss, brain function, blood tests and more. All of the tests came back normal, but his development was not normal. In particular, he showed little interest in talking and had a very limited vocabulary. Eventually, we received a diagnosis of PDD-NOS (pervasive development disorder – not otherwise specified). I remember looking at that and thinking, “Okay, now we know what we have, so let’s make a plan to fix it.” However, I later realized that his autism is a spectrum disorder with no known cure, and the spectrum covers patients identified as high functioning to severe. To me, the diagnosis sounded more like – We don’t really know what your child has, so we created a category and called it PDD-NOS 12

Todd Shupe loves to experience life with his son Kyle. He says that seeing the joy in his son’s face brings him happiness.

instead of WDK (we don’t know). Families with a special needs child have special needs of their own --- schools, churches, restaurants, dentists, etc. that are accommodating to special needs children. We were blessed to find an excellent Pre-K program at Southdowns Elementary in Baton Rouge. However, Kyle aged out of the program and we were left looking at options that ranged from lousy to expensive. We declined lousy and hired a private teacher to work with our son. Also, our church was

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accommodating and invited us to attend several meetings to discuss setting up a special needs Sunday School room. I have heard some parents say that when they received the diagnosis of autism, they felt as if part of their child had died, that their dreams and hopes for their child had been shattered and that their child would not live a “typical” life. I never felt that way. I believe in continuous improvement. So Kyle goes to school all year long. This is expensive, but it is best for his development.

Family life

Kyle loves Disney characters, especially Mickey Mouse.

I realize that there are many things he will never do, such as get married, drive a car, or play high school sports --- and that is fine with me. I focus on the things that he can do. He can go for walks with me and hold my hand. He can go to the movies with me and share a tub of popcorn and a soda while we enjoy an animated movie. He enjoys playing fetch with our dog. And he can give the best hugs that will cure a headache much better than any aspirin. A child with special needs certainly puts a strain on any marriage. A 2010 study conducted by the University of Wisconsin at Madison found that parents with ASD children were nearly twice as likely to get divorced than couples without disabled children. The study revealed something else interesting: the divorce rates in parents with disabled children did not increase until the children became teens or adults. My own marriage ended after 20 years when Kyle was 12 years old.


Kyle and his sister Emma share a special bond. Both light up when they spend time together.

Kyle has a bright future, and I want him to become as independent as possible. Like other children, he yearns for his father’s approval, and I try to always acknowledge every good thing that he does. So there is no need to change or “cure” Kyle. He is perfect just as he is. He is a child of God and a tremendous blessing to me. I want him to live a happy life. We hold hands and pray before each meal. I offer the blessing and then gently squeeze his hand at the end and he clearly and proudly says, “Amen!” Kyle is a blessing to me and has taught me so much about what is really important in life. U

Todd Shupe is the president of drtoddshupe.com and a Christian blogger at toddshupe.com. He currently serves as the president of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is training to become a men’s ministry specialist under the General Commission of United Methodist Men. BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine.com l october 2018


X Witness at work

Medical and Spiritual Healing D r. G r a y B a i l e y c o m b i n e s b o t h by Rachele Smith


r. Gray Bailey is good at making people smile. And that’s not just because he’s been a dentist for the past 17 years.

Dr. Gray Bailey with his team.

“I had a talk with God about how I didn’t want to see him just yet because I didn’t think he would be too proud of me. I asked him for another chance.” – Gray Bailey 14

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Since opening Absolute Quality Care Family Dentistry in 2001, Bailey has helped thousands of patients with both preventative and emergency dental care. But while this graduate of the LSU School of Dentistry believes in providing the best medical care possible, he also knows about the complete healing that comes from God’s love and compassion. It’s why on any given day, you can find Bailey in his Prairieville practice not only building crowns or performing some of the latest laser technology in dentistry, but you can also find him sharing the love of Christ, both in spoken and unspoken ways. “We do things differently here,” Bailey said, explaining that the direction of medical care and insurance in our country is unfortunately forcing some people to make difficult decisions when it comes to their health. “I’m not working for insurance companies, though. I’m here to just take good care of my patients.” And for this civil engineer turned dentist, that means combining work and faith. “I have pulled teeth for free,” he said, explaining that showing love to others is paramount to who we are with Christ. “The more you give, the more Christ keeps giving to you.” Five years ago, his attitude was much different. Bailey always focused on the best care for his patients, but his faith life was struggling. Then one day at work, he developed severe pain. An ambulance was called, and on the way to the hospital, Bailey unmistakably found what he was

Witness at work

Dr. Gray Bailey and his wife Beth with Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards.

Volunteers often join Dr. Bailey to cook jambalaya for local residents through his Love Thy Neighbor ministry.

Aside from his dental practice, Dr. Bailey has a bee removal business. He keeps about 40 hives on his property and often gives away the jars of honey he collects.

Bailey was inspired to start an organization called ‘Love Thy Neighbor.’ As a ministry, the organization brings Bibles, food and clothing to anyone in need. On any given weekend, Bailey, his wife, Beth, and others go into various neighborhoods and cook a huge pot of jambalaya (using a prizeworthy recipe he secured from his father-in-law).

looking for. “I had a talk with God about how I didn’t want to see him just yet because I didn’t think he would be too proud of me. I asked him for another chance,” Bailey said, softly. Then just as the ambulance neared the hospital, something strange happened. The pain mysteriously began to subside. After some tests, Bailey was able to go home that night. It was believed the intense pain was from a kidney stone. “That night, I was on my hands and knees in the shower,” he said, pausing as the


intensity of those feelings returned. “I thanked God for that second chance and I asked him to show me his love.” Bailey remembers feeling that God “just scooped me up and held me.” During the next two weeks, Bailey’s life totally changed. He described that time as a spiritual journey, noting that he hasn’t been the same since. “For me to share Christ with people now is an honor,” he said. “It’s not hard for me to do. I’m not ashamed of it. I love my God.” Surrounded in Jesus’s love, he sees church today, not as a building of believers, but rather as the living hands and legs of Christ working to bring Scripture to everyone. “I asked God to show me what to do,” he said. “And he did.” By focusing on Matthew 25: 35-46, where Jesus is found in those who are hungry, thirsty and in need, Bailey said he was led to start an organization called “Love They Neighbor.” As a ministry, the organization brings Bibles, food and clothing to anyone in need. It’s also why on any given weekend, Bailey, his wife, Beth, and others go into various neighborhoods and cook a huge pot of jambalaya (using a prize-worthy recipe he secured from his father-in-law). He explained that they are happy to physically and spiritually feed all who join them. “We’re there for anyone,” he said. The father of three grown children and the grandfather of one, Bailey and his wife live on a farm with several animals, including a dog and chickens. But there are other critters, literally, buzzing around: lots and lots of bees. Originally, Bailey said he became interested in the insects for medicinal purposes as bee stings have often been associated with helping arthritic pain. Today, thanks to his free services in trapping and removing unwanted bee colonies, Bailey now has 40 hives on his own property. So, what does he do with all that honey? Just as it was a sign of health for Samuel in the Bible, Bailey uses his honey to gift others. In the end, it’s just another way to keep people smiling. U

BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine.com l october 2018



Cover story

Memories of Family and Faith by Dale Brown

Dale Brown served as the men’s head basketball coach at Louisiana State University from 1972 to 1997. During his 25 years at LSU, the Tigers won 448 games, appeared in 13 NCAA Tournaments, and earned Final Four appearances in 1981 and 1986.


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Cover story

wo days before I was born, my so-called father—I’ve always referred to him as “my mother’s husband”—left my mother, two young sisters, eleven and twelve years of age, and me, and he never returned. His departure put my mother in


a difficult position. She had an eighth-grade education, came off the farm in North Dakota, and couldn’t get a job during the Great Depression in 1935. She became a maid and baby-sitter to earn money, and she had to put our family on welfare. We lived in a oneroom apartment above a bar and hardware store, and I remember my mother getting $42.50 monthly from Ward County welfare. Two times during this difficult period, my mother taught me a lesson that has stayed with me during my entire life. I saw my mother put on her winter coat, walk down a flight of stairs, and take back to the Red Owl and the Piggly Wiggly grocery stores 25 cents and 40 cents, because the clerks had given her too much change for the groceries she’d brought home. Her actions remind me of a poem by Edgar Guest. I would rather see a lesson, than hear one any day, I would rather one would walk with me than merely show the way. The eye’s a better pupil and more willing than the ear, Fine counsel is confusing, but example’s always clear. And the best of all the teachers are the men who live their creeds, For to see the good in action is what everybody needs.

Dale with his mother, Agnes.

I can soon learn how to do it if you’ll let me see it done, I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run. And the lectures you deliver may be wise and true, But I’d rather get my lesson by observing what you do. For I may misunderstand you and the high advice you give, But there’s no misunderstanding how you act and how you live. My mother always followed the advice of St. Francis of Assisi when he said, “Preach the gospel every day, and if necessary use words.” I saw other lessons in the life of my wonderful mother. Not once, after being abandoned, did I hear my mother talk negatively about the man who had walked out on us and never returned, never sent any money, never wrote. She never, drank, smoked, or used profanity. She was never bitter, angry, or ever complained about her situation in life. I learned from her that if you are looking for a helping hand, look at the end of your own arm. My mother’s faith was unbelievable. She brought me to Mass and Communion daily — not just Sunday, but daily. For me, the daily trip to church was a ritual. To my numerous fake illnesses and attempts to avoid going, my mom’s response was always, “Get up, Son. We’re going to Mass and Communion.” I never slept in a bed the first 21 years of my life but the spirit that grew in that little oneroom apartment we lived in, uncomfortable and cramped though it was, made it attractive and peaceful. I was blessed. Being a small place, the apartment never provided any place for me to get away on my own. So at night, I often went to sit above the

Dale had a newspaper route at a very young age. BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine.com l october 2018


X Cover story

alley on the fire escape. One night, the faith my mother instilled in me deepened when I came back in from sitting out there. My mom asked me to sit in her little rocker. She pulled up the footstool and said, “Son, I notice you go outside at night a lot. What do you think about when you’re out there? I said, “Mama, I think of two things. I think of travel.” (We didn’t own a car, a bicycle, or any other form of transportation.) “I think of climbing mountains.” (North Dakota is a very flat state, flatter than the top of a table.) That dream came true --- I have been in 90 countries and climbed the Matterhorn. My mother hesitated just a moment and then said, “You know Son, I’m embarrassed to tell you this, but I need to teach you a lesson. You know when these people come to pick me up to go baby-sit? I’m so embarrassed. There’s no husband in our house. We live in this little one-room apartment. I’ve just got an eighth-grade education. My clothes smell of mothballs.” (She bought her clothes at rummage sales.) “So I’m so worried about my image when these big shots come to pick me up. I look up big words in the dictionary, and then all the way to their house, I inject these words into conversation to try to impress them. That’s called making an image. When you sit out there on the fire escape at night, it’s just you and God, that’s your true character. And Son, if you spend too much time polishing your image, you’ll eventually tarnish your character and be an unhappy man.” That night, my mom taught me that being my true self was far more important than trying to impress people or pretend to be someone I was not. Your character is who you really are and your image is what you are perceived to be. The Church’s Effect on Me No matter how financially tight things got, Mom always scraped together enough money for me to attend Catholic school. I learned a great deal over the course of the 12 years I attended a Catholic school. I learned that rules were important. I learned we all are on this earth to help each other. Two particular lessons stand out in my mind. One morning, I was standing with two friends by the radiators in the hall at school, warming up. We had religion class before 18

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True Leadership Brings people

Together by Dale Brown

If there was ever a moment in our history when leadership was needed, it is now. With all the greed, dishonesty, selfishness, evil, and bad things going on in the world, we need good leaders. A common quality of great leaders through the ages has been their mastery at articulating a vision of the future. They see something that is not yet there and can relay the image to others. In any leadership position, the most important aspect of the job is getting everyone to work together. However, working together is only a beginning. The world needs leaders who find their strength in faith and character. Exceptional leaders will get their team members to feel they’re an integral part of a common goal. How is this done? This may sound odd, but the underlying theme of teamwork is our ability to convey a renewed sense of optimism. Teamwork doesn’t just happen – it takes a captain to steer it in the right direction. The role of the captain – whether it’s a coach, teacher, father, mother, or whomever – is to give the ship direction, purpose, and ultimately success. “The role of most leaders is to get the people to think more of the leader. But the role of the exceptional leader is to get the people to think more of themselves.” – Booker T. Washington We need to make a difference, but we can do it only through the grace of God. I am convinced that we are capable of solving any problem, whether it’s race, crime, poverty, terrorism, pollution, drugs, or whatever plagues humanity. You, with God’s help, are responsible for your future. You’re really free the moment you don’t look outside yourself for someone else to solve your problems. You will know that you’re free when you no longer blame anyone or anything, but realize you control your destiny and are capable of changing the world. People can be divided into three groups: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened. We’ve got to decide which group we will be in. The most important thing to God is our relationships with one another. He made us in such a way that everybody needs somebody. And God’s idea for success is a community, a group of people who are committed to each other and who strive to follow his will. Humans have not advanced a centimeter in the history of the world if we are still fighting, hating, killing and cheating. The only notable advancement humans have ever made is becoming brothers and sisters who labor toward a common goal. You see, the best potential of “me” is “we.” So the question in our life journey is not whether God can bring peace, love and happiness in the world. The question is, can we?


up Dale

In spite of a difficult childhood, Dale Brown was a happy child with a close family and strong support from his school and community.

Cover story


Growing up, Dale received a Catholic education in his hometown of Minot, North Dakota. Dale Brown is pictured here with his mother Agnes and sister, Lorraine.

At St. Leo’s High School, Dale Brown was a standout athlete in football, basketball, and track.

Dale’s sister poses with her baby brother, born in 1935.

During his senior year, he posted the highest scoring average in state basketball history and set a school record in the quarter mile. BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine.com l october 2018



Cover story

Photo courtesy LSU Sports

Dale Brown had a winning season his first year at LSU, and achieved success for the LSU men’s basketball team for the next 25 years.

school every day at 8 a.m., and we were out there before class, talking about the things kids talk about. One of the guys said, “Yeah, the Salvation Army, isn’t that funny what they do? You know, they’re outside ringing the bell, and they’ve got that little pot.” Not really making fun of the Salvation Army, but sort of jesting, like kids do. Well, the bell rang, so we went to religion class. Our religion teacher was Father Hogan. He called on the three of us who had been talking in the hall and asked us to stand up. He said, “You know, I heard you three boys out there talking about the Salvation Army. I wonder, do any of you guys know the motto of the Salvation Army?” We each responded, “No, Father.” Father Hogan continued, “Well, let me tell you what it is. It’s to love those who aren’t loved by anyone else. The next time you good Catholics are going to make fun of something, remember that.” To this day, that lesson about compassion and sensitivity has stayed with me. Every year at Christmas, when I’m shopping with 20

Photo courtesy LSU Sports

In his years at LSU, Dale Brown earned a reputation as a powerful and inspirational speaker, and master motivator.

my wife or daughter and we encounter a Salvation Army volunteer with a red kettle and a ringing bell, I walk over and put money in the pot. I also share with that volunteer what that wonderful priest taught me. Father Hogan taught me a second lesson on the importance of being prompt. There are rules – and they are not meant to be bent, twisted, manipulated, or bartered with. The moment I learned this lesson is vivid in my mind. The sports teams at our tiny Catholic school played the biggest schools in the state. I thought I was a big shot athlete. I was the leading scorer in the history of North Dakota High School basketball. I broke the school record in the 440, and was a star on the football team. I thought I was something! Getting a little full of myself, I felt some of the rules didn’t necessarily apply to me. Every Monday afternoon by 1 p.m., we had to turn in an eligibility slip to play sports that week. One Monday afternoon, I took my eligibility slip down to the office and laid it on the desk of our principal, Father Hogan. Holding my

october 2018 l BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine.com

Photo courtesy LSU Sports

The long relationship between former LSU coach Dale Brown and former Tigers star Shaquille O’Neal is one of Brown’s fondest memories as a coach.

eligibility slip in one hand, he looked over the top of his horn-rimmed glasses at the clock on the wall. “Dale,” he said, “what time does that clock on my wall say?” I had no idea where he was headed, so I said, “One-fifteen.” He held my eligibility slip in front of my face and he said, “What time was this due?” I said, “One o’clock.” “Ah-hah, that’s good you can tell time. And you knew when it was due in my office.” He started ripping my eligibility slip into small pieces, then deposited the pieces in the wastebasket and said, “Now get back up in your classroom and start learning promptness. This slip was due at one o’clock. You’re not going on the road trip this week.” I thought he must be joking. After all, I was the superstar. Well, guess who didn’t go on the road trip? U

Editor’s Note: Dale Brown has more remembrances and personal stories to share. Stay tuned next month as we continue with Dale’s “Getting Over the Four Hurdles of Life.”


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A Little Lagniappe

Greater Baton Rouge

Crime Stoppers by Susan Brown

Sid Newman, Crime Stoppers Executive Director


hen a young Ascension parish girl threatened suicide late one night, a concerned acquaintance reached out to Crime Stoppers, where connections were quickly made with law enforcement and medical personnel. Help arrived in

time to save her life and provide links to ongoing support. Tragedy can be averted, crime can be thwarted, fugitives can be caught because somewhere, somebody knows something. The philosophy of the Greater Baton Rouge Crime Stoppers program is simple: Provide an anonymous way to report information about felonies and an incentive to do so. The remarkable success of the Crime 22

Lt. Don Stone, Crime Stoppers Coordinator

Stoppers program is both a reflection of the decades-long growth in crime and the willingness of the community to step up with information. With 13,447 crimes solved and more than $34 million in stolen property and illegal narcotics recovered since its inception in 1982, Greater Baton Rouge Crime Stoppers attributes much of its success to visibility through the media and outreach in places where people come together. Crime Stoppers Executive Director Sid Newman is hoping more schools and churches will open their doors to inform and train the community to report tips: “If you see something, say something.” For example, when a $60,000 statue went missing from the Mississippi River levee, Crime Stoppers plastered images on Facebook, setting off a ripple effect in the local media. Someone saw the statue

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and called Crime Stoppers. By the next morning, the statue – part of a collection on loan from an Icelandic sculptor – was recovered from a parking lot on River Road, and an anonymous caller picked up a $1,000 check. People want to do the right thing, but they don’t want to get personally involved, often because of fear or just plain apathy. Crime Stoppers was designed to address both issues. “The first incentive would be total anonymity,” Newman said. “They’re scared to death that they’ll have to go to court and testify, then have the fear of being sued or other forms of retaliation.” “So, when they call, we don’t track and trace the telephone lines. We don’t want to know who they are when they give us information,” Newman said. Texts also go through a computer program that blocks

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Crime Stoppers guarantees that callers will remain anonymous.

the number. “They’re automatically assigned a code number and we never come in contact with that person.” Then, there’s apathy. “We offer cash rewards, anywhere from $50 dollars up to $5,000,” Newman said. “And we pay that anonymously as well, which is a unique feature of Crime Stoppers.” Crimes can be reported – and rewards arranged – among the 2,500 Crime Stoppers programs worldwide. “They call us to confirm that their tip was, in fact, good and led to an arrest,” Crime Stoppers Coordinator Lt. Don Stone explained. “We tell them to write on a piece of paper the words ‘Crime Stoppers,’ write their code number and we make up a code word.” Cash is picked up at a local bank drive-through window. “They send it through the tube – cash money. We’ve been doing that since 1982, and we’ve never identified one person who’s been paid.”

“Nationally, we’re the only organization that is allowed to pay anonymous cash rewards without having to report that information to the IRS,” Newman said. “I get audited every year. We get called into court all the time: ‘Who did you give the money to; did you pay a reward - how much?’ We don’t know. We know we paid a reward, we don’t know who we paid it to. And we don’t want to know.” Crime Stoppers is funded through private donations or grants, plus a small fee from crime convictions. “If you get convicted of a crime - and that could be running a stop sign - the court can assess you an additional $2, and that $2 can only go to a certified Crime Stoppers program and only used for catching bad guys,” Newman said. Crime Stoppers is hoping to increase awareness of its Campus Crime Stoppers program for middle and high schools. Student texts or calls have been key

to thwarting potentially dangerous situations. “Say someone’s going to bring a gun on campus tomorrow. A parent gets the information at 5 or 6:00 at night. Who are they going to call?” Newman asked. Crime Stoppers can bring together law enforcement and school contacts to intervene before the student gets to school. “Maybe it’s the bus exchange or somewhere else. People will be there to make sure nobody gets hurt and check them out.” Crime Stoppers only responds to felony crimes or threats. Once students find out about Crime Stoppers, they tend to apply the connection to their neighborhoods. After a student safety fair, Crime Stoppers received a tip that led to the location of Baton Rouge rapper Samuel “Mista Cain” Nicholas, a fugitive who was later arrested by U.S. Marshalls in connection with a homicide case. He was subsequently acquitted.

BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine.com l october 2018


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Brandy Alford takes anonymous tips by phone.

“We’re in the process of working with LSU on hazing,” Newman said. The anti-hazing campaign deals with potential or committed felonies and is expected in high school and college campuses by Christmas. Pastors who have explored the program like what they see, according to Crime Stoppers Coordinator Don Stone. He has reached out to inner city pastors to build public participation. “If you go to church on a regular basis, you trust what your pastor’s going to tell you,” he explained. “If he tells them this is a good program – that they can acknowledge criminal activity and contact people - I guarantee you they’re going to do right.” “Anybody could have information on an unsolved crime, or a crime that’s getting ready to take place,” Newman said. It’s not unusual for callers to report criminal activity by friends or family members – but Crime Stoppers is careful to remove anything that might connect the caller to the person in question. Through its partnership with WAFB television, The 24

“What if that was you? Would you want everything done that could be done? That’s the principle.” – Sid Newman Advocate and Talk 107.3 radio, Crime Stoppers has received tips that led to fugitives, many of whom turn themselves in after their names or pictures appear in the media. New electronic kiosks, the first in the state, are being placed in highly visible locations, including the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles. The kiosks feature fugitives, unsolved crimes and events such as the upcoming emphasis on domestic violence prevention. It comes down to the Golden Rule, Newman said: “Do to others as you would have them do to you” [Luke 6:31]. Most people know someone who

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has been a victim of crime, he said. “What if that was you? Would you want everything done that could be done? That’s the principle.” “We’re saving a lot of manhours which is a lot of tax dollars - that part is very refreshing,” Newman said. “Living in the community, you get a sense of satisfaction that crimes are being solved.” U

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

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Behind the Scenes


Christian Media Gains Momentum: Part 2 In our last issue, we shared encouraging news about trends in Christian media. In this second installment, we meet some very special people God has called to point others to Christ. On her role in “A Question of Faith”

Being in the movie “A Question of Faith” was a dream come true for me. I had always wanted to act. I never really thought much about it because I knew my gift from God was singing and that is the path I’ve chosen. But this opportunity came about and I didn’t know if I could do it. I didn’t know if I’d be good at it. I was a nervous wreck. At the time I was dealing with some vocal issues. I had nodules on both my vocal chords. That means a long rest! So when I read the role for Michelle, it talked about how she lost her voice, and she went through a really hard struggle of finding her identity. I know what that felt like, that you are supposed to be using your gift that God gave you. When you cannot use it at the moment and there is nothing you can do about it, you feel helpless. And you feel the depression setting in. I feel like I can’t do anything for God anymore because my gift is gone. By going through that situation, I learned that there were other gifts I could use for God. And I figured out that God does not need me to have his glory shown. I’m just a vessel. But if I’m open and willing to be used as a vessel, he can make his glory known to anybody. “A Question of Faith” has been a blessing … an honor. The cast has become a family and we all keep in touch. It’s been an amazing journey, and maybe someday down the road God allows me to do it again.

On her dream role

Amber Nelon Thompson Actress Amber Nelon Thompson is a Dove Award recipient and the third generation of the famed gospel singing family The Nelons, (founded by her grandfather Rex Nelon). In Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine’s September issue, Amber talked about her transition to acting and important observations about her generation.

I would love to be a Disney princess in a movie … I want to do the voice. I know every Disney song, I have every DVD … We go there (Disney World) every year. We have season passes. I just love the family environment … I think it’s because it’s a happy place, it’s always positive. It was always an escape when I was younger. If I had a bad day, I could watch a Disney movie and escape for a little while and go to this magical place.

On reaching millennials

I’ve talked to so many kids about this. Often times the church can seem so judgmental --- there is just no better way to put it. Not all of them, but they can look at these millennials and this generation is so different. They are very opinionated. They study everything. There is information fed at them all the time, 24 hours a day. It never stops. There is the internet, TV, Facebook, Twitter, any social media. But no one is listening to them. And what I think we need more of is just sitting down with young people and hearing what they have to say. We don’t always have to agree, but at least if we are willing to just sit down and listen to them, they just might be willing to listen as well. I went to school and got a degree in counseling and I hope to get a master’s degree because I want to help kids who feel misunderstood … like nobody cares and nobody is listening. That is what God does for us. He listens. And that is why we pray to him because He does listen when nobody else does. And we are supposed to be that to other people. BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine.com l october 2018


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On his faith

My faith is unwavering. Sometimes we question our faith, but God is always there for me. When we go through trials and tribulations, setbacks and disappointments, I know who I can call on and who is always there for me. At the end of the road, He is the one who will give me that push so that I know I can make it through. You know that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen. A lot of times we increase our faith and get stronger and stronger as life takes us through different situations.

On his upbringing

We were born and raised in church, but one thing I thank God every day for is that my parents did not throw it in our face. They did not push us in our faith. They wanted us to know God for ourselves. You need to know God for yourself. A lot of times people think that they want to throw faith at their kids when they are like five years old … I had heard about Jesus when I was little, but I didn’t know it for myself until I was fourteen. Then I knew for sure that God is real; there is a God out there. I thank God for my parents who let me understand so that I could make a decision for myself. It’s one thing to give children the information that they need, but it’s another to let them decide for themselves.

Dr. Cameron Lewis Dr. Cameron Lewis grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and practices oral surgery in New York. He felt called to use his talent in other areas and became the executive producer of “A Question of Faith” starring Heather Nelon Thompson. As a man of God, Dr. Lewis spends a great deal of time supporting charitable organizations, including the Mississippi Center for Autism, where Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine caught up with him for an interview.

On his career

My vision does not stop with oral surgery. God has so much in store for me to do to serve his people. Where did you want to take my career? As I was reading about starting a business, it was right there in Deuteronomy 8:18 – “Remember the Lord thy God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth … which he may establish his covenant which he shares with his Father as it is this day.” Once I realized he gave me that Word …. He gave me the power so I need to go out and reach what I need to do. And don’t just be a talker; go and do the work. If you say you are going to do something, do it. Don’t stop when it gets hard. You have to persevere, dedicate yourself. You’ve got to be very strong-minded in what you want to do. Faith without work is completely dead. We are not here to be served; we are here to serve. So if everyone would realize that we are here to help one another … we are here to bless others as we are also being blessed.

” on e i k o o Put “C ild’s your ch list! as m t s i r h C g An amazinr u o y y r o t s ill fall children w h! it w ve lo in




october 2018 l BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine.com

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A Little lagniapppe On her background


My brothers and I grew up singing in church. My mom actually birthed that music and entertainment in our system by always pushing us in that direction. After many years of working in the music industry, I was running a record label for CeCe Winans (probably 2003). I envisioned getting into the television and film industry. Wrote it on my vision board. Started doing research on how to get involved. I took a Hollywood 101 class, which sounds so simple, but it helped prepare me for what I didn’t know was right around the corner. Because we’d been doing independent marketing for music for so long, the industry as a whole recognized what we did. A movie marketing company came to me and said, “You guys know everyone in this African-American faith and family space. Do you think you can lend your expertise?” Without even thinking about it, I said yes. That movie was very successful for us and from there the floodgates opened. So God really was the wind behind our backs.

On living in God’s will

Michelle Duffie Michelle Duffie is the CEO of the D3 Entertainment Group in Nashville, along with her twin brothers. She is considered the premier liaison, deal-maker, marketing strategist and quarterback between the African American faith and family consumer and the corporate, entertainment and sports world. She has structured marketing strategies generating $1.3 billion in revenue for various companies. Born in extreme poverty just outside Chicago, Michelle credits the strength and faith of her mother, the support of her five siblings and the lessons from her mentors as the fuel for propelling her forward. In the midst of promoting her new venture as executive producer of the movie “Beautifully Broken,” she found time to talk with Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine.

Where God has you in life, especially if you are participating in His plan, it’s for a reason … and He needs you to be in certain positions, certain stopping points so He can show Himself strong. It’s the children of Israel at the Red Sea. If they had taken a left turn or a right turn, you miss the whole opportunity for God to do something incredible – to part the Red Sea. A lot of us try to run from our story and from our situation. But if you just stay the course, that story will turn into one of the great stories of all time. And that story turns into one of the movies we’ve seen today. It’s important to own your truth, to own your story, to be comfortable in it, to not compare yourself to anyone else’s journey. Then you get to where God needs you to be so that He can absolutely flourish what He’s planted in you. U

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Life Imitates Art by Fred Townsend

Publisher’s Note: Our September cover story approached the genre of faith-based entertainment from Aristotle’s proposition that “Art Imitates Life” – in other words, that films accurately reflect the daily struggles of today’s Christians. This month, we focus on the shift that has taken place in the past 50 years, a “Life Imitates Art” agenda driven by the pop-culture media. Technology today gives the Christian community a chance to counter this agenda by providing value-based, traditional entertainment.


reg Gudorf, chief executive officer of Pureflix.com, is a former tech-guru turned entertainment executive. In an interview (with publisher Beth Townsend that you can watch in its entirety on the Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine YouTube Channel), Gudorf recalled nostalgically, “there was a time when you could watch a movie whether you were five years old or 95 years old. A lot of people don’t know that the church was actually involved with Hollywood in the early years helping to guide and shape the message of those movies. In the late 50s and early 60s the church began to pull out. In the mid-sixties you can begin to chart very dramatically the rise in language, sex and violence.” Oscar Wilde, a leading 19th century British intellectual, proposed the antimimesis. For 2400 years it was accepted that art imitates life. Wilde challenged that the opposite was true, e.g., life imitates art. Seventy-five years after his death, 20th century technology advanced the influence of art definitively enough to support Wilde’s point. Television allowed “media art” to be distributed universally into living rooms. People became addicted to television to the point it was derisively referred to as the “boob tube”. Pop culture was born. The media arts didn’t go from G to R-rated overnight. Dr. Charles Stanley (First Baptist Church, Atlanta) teaches 28

Greg Gudorf, CEO of Pureflix.com.

that America’s culture was once moored in a safe harbor. Then it was loosened and set adrift. Gradually, our culture drifted further and further and further still from the core values that anchored it. If the drift began in the mid-1960s, when the church lost influence in Hollywood, by

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the 1980s advancing technology created a tidal wave of change. The shift was first facilitated by the videotape recording technology. The idea was simple. Record what you wanted to watch at your leisure and fast forward through commercials. There wasn’t much

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to record. Cable television was just starting to spread across the country. It was strictly regulated, and programming choices were limited. Then Congress deregulated cable television in 1984. At the same time, film distribution changed dramatically when a Texas oil man started a videotape rental store, which became Blockbuster Video. At its peak, there were 4500 Blockbuster locations and thousands of competitive outlets. Anyone could rent pre-recorded movies. Video rental enabled people to view anything they wanted at home. (Arguably some they would not have seen at a theatre lest they be embarrassed by someone seeing them going in.) Simultaneously, cable deregulation opened a Pandora’s box of new programs to both watch and record. In the guise of artistic freedom, television and movie moguls had license to weaponize programming to attack cultural norms. Cable television programs with explicit nudity, implicit sex, and realistic approximations of blood and gore, pushed commercial television executives on the network programs. Commercial television redefined family entertainment. Gudorf shared some eye-opening data. “Parents’ TV Counsel did a survey recently and found that most of what passes for family content on normal TV --- 81% is content of a sexual context and 94% of it has language issues,” he said. “Very different than what others might call family. At the same time the growth of media in our life can’t be ignored. There was a time when mom would just say, ‘Turn that off.’ Right? And that was the end of it. But now media is a part of our life. A child growing up today will spend six times more time with media than in school. Worse yet, 32 times more time with media than the time they spend with their parents. The stats are just scary. In 1970 the average age for a child to watch TV, interacting with media, was four years old. Today, they begin interacting with digital media at four months old.” In pop-culture, life indeed imitates art. After 50 years of drifting, the results surround us. Profanity-laced conversation mirrors TV and movie talk. Dehumanizing gratuitous and graphic violence diminishes the value of life. Blatantly sexualized messaging robs youngsters of their innocence and leads to downright disrespect between sexes. Glorifying antiheroes impacts any viewer, but especially the young people who are the most impressionable. Ironically, however, if technology created the media age and helped fuel negative trends, streaming technology promises a potential solution through more and better choices. Fortune Magazine (Cord Cutting Isn’t Going Away, by Aaron Pressman July 24, 2018) reported that “an estimated 33 million consumers will have cut the cord by the end of this year, rising to 55 million in 2022.” The reasons are many, but simply put, streaming services allow consumers to make choices on programming they prefer. Despite the perception that Christianity is dying in America, the potential audience for both faith-based and real family-friendly television is enormous. Gudorf shared


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Look for Pureflix movies for family entertainment.

surprising marketing numbers. “There are 125 or 130 million households in the U.S. Ninety million of them self report as Christians,” he said. “There are 20 million households that will tell you they make their choices, whether it’s their businesses, the restaurants they go to, the videos they watch --- they make their choices based on how it aligns with their faith. Today’s word of mouth is social media. It’s digital. So Pureflix.com has been working hard in the social media to bring our message and encourage people on the positive trend and to try the Pureflix.com special offer of one month free. The question comes back to whether you cut the cord or not. The issue is to recognize that what we put into our minds and hearts is what comes out. We have to seek the good, the positive, the uplifting message. At Pureflix.com we don’t always get it perfect. But we always strive to give positive, uplifting messages on the platform.” Therefore, the success of streaming services with family-friendly and faithbased programs depends on the number of Christian households purchasing the services. There are a handful of streaming services that offer faith-based programs. As one of these, Pureflix. com thinks growth and success requires thousands of consumer choices on the platform. Pureflix subscribers can choose from thousands of programs. There is a wide variety from classic televisions series, such as old westerns like “Roy 30

Rogers” and the “Lone Ranger,” classic sitcoms like the “Lucy Show,” dozens of children’s series and movies, faith-based education and popular theatrical movies like “Fireproof.” Gudorf explains the growth of the service. “We’re continuing to grow the number of devices that we support,” he said. “You can now get Pureflix.com on Microsoft Xbox gaming platform. We’re always adding more content. We’re licensing programs as well as offering content we produce. For example, recently we added content from the Answers in Genesis organization. They intend to offer all their content on Pureflix.com. We have content that we’re working on in the way of originals. We have a Hope Opera --- we were calling it a soap opera, but a friend said call it a Hope Opera. The first one was “Hilton Head Island” which had a successful first season. It features soap opera stars. The other is a situational comedy, “Malibu Dan the Family Man.” A second season is coming soon.” The original program “Faith Talk” is a conversation-based program that came out of a dinner party where Gudorf and others discussed the difficulty of just good conversation in a sound-bite world. The show airs on Pureflix social media channels and it is archived in its entirety on the Pureflix.com site. It includes many well-known Christians, including Roma Downey of “Touched By an Angel,” Dr. Ben Carson, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and Sadie Robinson

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from “Duck Dynasty.” It seems evident that the Scottsdale, Arizona-based company has been blessed. Gudorf acknowledged this and summarizes its strength in their mission statement: “Pureflix as a company put forth their vision to be one who influences culture for Christ through media.” That vision is very clear. We’re focused on influencing culture for Christ. That’s a big advantage if a company has that sort of clarity for direction,” he said. U * You can see the interview in its entirety on the Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine YouTube Channel.

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

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Movie Review: Indivisible



by Kelli Knight

hen a soldier goes to war, the soldier fights “the enemy.” But, who is “the enemy?” In the movie “Indivisible,” the enemy is the same that every soldier fights. The enemy is the

devil, who insidiously enters the thoughts of good people, placing fear and doubt in their minds. “Indivisible” tells the true story of Darren Turner who served as a U.S. Army chaplain during the Iraq war, and his wife, Heather, and children. As Army chaplain, one would assume that doubting God’s presence isn’t a possibility, but war takes a toll. Darren Turner is only human and what he and his fellow troops experience causes unexpected emotional trauma threatening his marriage and his relationship with God. It seems his family will be the next casualty of war. But God is stronger than the enemy. “Indivisible” emphasizes that a marriage suffering from the turmoil of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or any other outside force, has a chance, if only God is allowed to be present. If you are a fan of military films, this is one not to miss. Most military films focus on soldiers in the battlefield. This movie primarily discloses the life of soldiers during their downtimes and on base, yet the tension is still high and the story is epic. Justin Bruening plays the role of Darren Turner, and Sarah Drew plays the role of Heather Turner. Bruening and Drew, both of “Grey’s Anatomy,” have a chemistry on screen that draws the audience into the turbulence the Turners faced. Other high profile actors, such as Tia Mowry and Jason George, immerse themselves into the reality of military life and make this a one-of-a-kind film. “Indivisible” was produced by Reserve Entertainment in association with Calvary Pictures. It will be released on October 26, nationwide. U Kelli is the owner of Illuminated Designs Studio, specializing in graphic design services, and is the Outreach Coordinator at LaFASA. She received her Liberal Arts degree from LSU and has lived in Baton Rouge for the majority of her life. Over the course of her career she has written for several publications throughout Southeast Lousiana. Find her on facebook: facebook.com/kellissimeaux BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine.com l october 2018



Creative LIFE How did you first discover your Q: musical talent?

Will Wesley,

Musician by Sharon Furrate Bailey

A: I first discovered my musical talent at the age of eleven. My father was a guitarist, and when he would go to bed, I would sneak his guitar out and play. One night he heard me playing along with the radio and he was amazed at how quickly I could play by ear. He believed that God had blessed me with a gift. From that moment on, I began to pursue music more seriously.

How have you grown as an

Q: artist?

A: I play a wide variety of music but that is nothing new. I find it very fulfilling to explore many different styles of music. Currently, I am working on two albums and each has a very different sound. One of my current albums, “Reinvention,” is a rock and roll based album. My second album in the works, titled “Meridian,” has a more country/Americana spin to it. It also features my fiancé, Jenna D’Shay as vocalist. We perform as a duo called “The Yesterdays.” In addition, I consider myself extremely blessed to back Grammy award-winning blues artist Grady Champion. I am making my second tour to Europe with him. In terms of a personal highlight, the music video for my latest single, “The Break” from the “Reinvention” album actually won the Lakeview International Film Festival Award. In 2014 and 2016, I was a finalist in The International Blues Challenge, so there is never a dull moment in this industry. These highlights just make me want to continue writing songs, playing music and pursuing my gift.

Will Wesley holds his trademark, tobaccoburst Gibson Les Paul guitar.


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Will Wesley and Jenna D’Shay perform as ‘The Yesterdays.’

Creative LIFE Artistic talent is a gift from God. Talk about your faith

Do you have a favorite scripture or book of the Bible?


Q: and if you ever felt directed by God.


A: My faith in God has carried me through the most challenging times of my life. I grew up very poor, but God was my constant. He made me feel rich because I knew I could always turn to him and look ahead rather than dwell on my immediate circumstance. He provides hope to me. Though the road is often rocky, our relationship is always growing. It may seem strange to some, but when I write songs, I consider God a cowriter. I feel this way because songwriting or playing music is a universal language. I have always felt the Lord’s presence in my music and I hope when people hear it, they feel a connection as well.

A: I have always liked the Book of Job because it describes in detail the trials and tribulations of a common man. When tempted by the devil, Job never turns his back on the Lord. By holding onto his faith, God gives him double for his trouble. The Book of Genesis is another favorite book in the Bible because though the Fall of Man occurs in this book, there is also a purity revealed in the beginning before temptation crept into the Garden of Eden. One of my favorite scriptures is the one that states “you cannot serve two masters.” Daily we are tested, and daily we have a choice to choose good over evil or obedience over our own desires. Satan loves to tempt us in our minds. Our mind is a battlefield. Yet God is our everpresent help in times of trouble.


Do you have a favorite song, and if so, why is it your favorite?

A: I do not particularly have a favorite song. Yet I will tell you that I love many songs that range in style from bluegrass, country, rock and roll, the blues and jazz. If I had to pick one of my own, it would be “The Hardest of Hearts.” There is a universal message to this song. You will know it when you take time to listen to it, which I hope you will do.


Have you ever had an encounter or experience that you felt was divine intervention?

A: This may be hard to believe, but God has always spoken to me in my dreams. He lets me know where I am going and reminds me of where I have been. I believe that each person has their own individual language with God. Because we are individuals, we all have our own personal relationships with our maker. Dreams and songwriting seem to be my common language between the Lord and me.


What else would you like our readers to know about you?

A: I was raised in a poor, yet very rich family. Though money was often hard to come by, we were rich in our love for each other. When I describe my family, it makes me think of some of the interviews I have heard with Dolly Parton. She talks a lot about growing up a country girl in the Tennessee mountains. In her heart, she was rich. I relate to her humble upbringing. Anyway, my father was a construction worker and my mother stayed home with us most of my life. As a child, in all honesty, I hated how poor we were, but as a man, it was the lack I experienced during those years that helped me have courage and be tough. Family sticks together no matter what is happening and that is the type of family I am glad to be part of while on this earth. I hope people will know that I do not take anything for granted, and I hope that people will discover my music. To sum up my journey, there is a scripture that says, “I will go before you and make the rough places smooth.” (Isaiah 45:2) Hold on and know who has your back if you believe. It is God. He has kept me going. Wesley’s “The Break” is available on YouTube under the channel, The Will Wesley Band. There is also a Christianbased music video called “The Hardest of Hearts.” Visit his website at Willwesley.com or view his Facebook page. The duo, The Yesterdays, is also on Facebook. U

Will’s band gets ready for a performance.

Sharon Furrate Bailey grew up in Alexandria, La., and moved to Baton Rouge to attend LSU. She earned a B.A. in English Literature in 1990. She attends Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church. Sharon has been in the field of marketing, sales and public relations since 1996. She is a gifted artist and has been a columnist since 2005. She can be reached at sharon@brclm.com. BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine.com l october 2018



Millennial Life

Be Angry, and Sin Not by Jessica LeBlanc


n the topic of anger, I think we should first establish there are two different types. One is good. One is bad. Righteous anger, or as the

King James version of the Bible puts it, “righteous indignation,” is something that all believers should have. When it comes to the evil that we see in the world today, we should get angry about that. Whatever God gets angry about, we should get angry about the same thing. However, the other kind of anger is not of God. That kind of anger is a sin. The kind of anger I’m talking about is when someone cuts you off in traffic and you’re tempted to yell or make an obscene gesture; the kind of anger that makes you rude, disrespectful, or harsh


to others; the kind of anger that won’t allow you to forgive offenses committed against you; the kind of anger you’ve held onto for years just because it feels like an old familiar friend and you don’t want to let it go, whatever it is. Also, the kind of anger that makes you bitter toward others because they sin differently than you. The Bible says to be angry and sin not (Ephesians 4:26). What does that mean? I believe it means to be angry at the unrighteousness and injustices we see in the world today. For example, if you are a Christian, it should anger you that innocent children are being abused and killed. It should anger you that people are being gunned down simply because of the color of their skin or because they’re not deemed worthy to live by their murderer. It should anger you that Christians are

october 2018 l BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine.com

being persecuted around the world because they’re sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and fulfilling the great commission (Matthew 28:19-20). You may say that you have the anger part down. How do you work on the “and sin not” part? We must be careful to not let the Devil get a foothold into our hearts and plant seeds of sin that breed misdirected anger. Ephesians 4:29, 31 says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.” To be angry that people hurt other people doesn’t mean that we are to hate them or be unforgiving. Jesus loves them

Millennial Life and so should we. Those people who shoot down other human beings because they don’t look like them – they need prayer too. They need to know that if they repent, God is there to forgive them. We’re supposed to pray for people who are outside of God’s will because we can be that person at any moment. Instead of taking matters into our own hands, we must entrust every situation to God because vengeance is His and He will repay. God is pure and just and He will right every wrong that has been done. Nothing escapes the watchful, loving, but just, eyes of The Most High God. Before coming to Christ, we once were those people. We may not have committed those particular sins, but we were sinners nonetheless and we all have to come to Christ the same way … on our knees in repentance. That’s where mercy and grace come in. I believe to be angry and sin not means to be angry at the sin, but to love the sinner just as Jesus so graciously does with us. God meets each of us where we are. We only need to reach out to Him and ask. My prayer for you is that you seek God for yourself and ask Him to reveal any hidden parts of your heart where you may be harboring anger and to replace it with righteous anger and love for others. “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24) U

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


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Cooking for life


Thumbprint Cookies What You’ll Need:

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 3 oz. cream cheese, room temperature 1 cup of sugar 1 egg yolk 2 tsp. vanilla extract 2 cups all-purpose flour Your choice of jelly or fruit preserves

How to Make It:

In a large mixing bowl, add the cream cheese, butter, and sugar. Use an electric mixer to mix the ingredients together. Add the vanilla, egg, and flour into the bowl and mix together. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and let it chill in the freezer for 30 to 60 minutes. Put some parchment paper over your baking trays and preheat your oven to 350°F 5 minutes before your cookies are finished chilling. With the dough, make small 1-inch dough balls and place onto the trays. (You should put 4 dough balls on each row, 3 if they come out too big.) Take a cup of water and either dip your thumb or the back of a knife in it to make small dents in the center of the dough balls. After making the dents, you can use jelly or fruit preserves to fill up the dents. (Use a teaspoon to scoop the jelly/fruit preserves.) Bake for 10 minutes or until set and then let it cool for 15 minutes. Enjoy! Makes about 24 to 28 cookies.

Diego Aloy is from Miami, Florida. “I love cooking,” he says. “It’s my favorite thing to do in the whole world (besides video games and spending time with my family). I hope to one day become the best chef in the entire world.” Follow Diego on instagram @thenextbestchef.

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

BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine.com l october 2018



Opportunities for LIFE

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


CASA NEW VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION Noon, 848 Louisiana Ave. Free. (225) 379-8598.


FALL FAMILY FUN 10 a.m.-2 p.m., The Church in St. Amant, 13423 Hwy. 431, St. Amant. Food, inflatables, petting zoo and more. Free.

MEN’S UNITY BREAKFAST 7:30 a.m., Church of A.C.T.S., 5305 North Blvd., Alexandria. Men, join us as we travel from Baton Rouge to unite with the men of central Louisiana for food, fellowship, and engaging dialogue. For more information, call/text (225) 305-3006 or RSVP at kingdomgroup.co/MUB-Central-Oct.


UNITY IN THE COMMUNITY HEALTH & WELLNESS FAIR 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Abounding Love Ministries. Free. For more information, call (225) 356-4441.

CASA GOLF BENEFIT TOURNAMENT PRESENTED BY TERRACON 9:30 a.m., University Club. Register at casabr.org/terracon. For more information, call Lisa Smith at (225) 239-2644 or email lisa.smith@terracon.com.


CASA NEW VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION Noon, 848 Louisiana Ave. Free. (225) 379-8598.

FAMILY FITNESS CLASS 6-7 p.m., Town Square downtown, North Boulevard. Hosted by HYPE on the Move & TreadBR. Free. Bring your kids and let’s get moving! For more information, email mtrep@hypebr.com.



CASA NEW VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION 6 p.m., 848 Louisiana Ave. Free. (225) 379-8598.

GARDERE COMMUNITY CHRISTIAN SCHOOL ANNUAL FUND DINNER The Estuary at the Water Campus, 1110 S. River Road. RSVP to Gardereschool.com.



KENDRA GIVES BACK PARTY FOR CASA AND TERRACON 5-7 p.m., 10156 Perkins Rowe, Suite 150. Get 10% off your purchase and Kendra Scott will give back 10% of all sales to Capital Area CASA.


WELCOME RECEPTION 9 a.m.-3 p.m., New Life Church of Baton Rouge, 365 Staring Lane. Louisiana Aglow and New Life Church invite you to join us as we welcome Ruthie Young from Corinth Mississippi. Ruthie will be teaching on redemptive gifts. Break for lunch from noon to 1 p.m. No child care available.


UNDERSTANDING THE FALL FEASTS OF ISRAEL 9 a.m. and 10:45 a.m., Community Bible Church, 8354 Jefferson Hwy. Sunday evening Q&A. For more information, visit 516church.org


CONCERT AND BIBLE DISTRIBUTION Town Square, downtown Baton Rouge, North Boulevard. Music by Broadmoor United Methodist Church. Sponsored by Christ in the City. For more information, email revmelville@cox.net. CASA NEW VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION 3 p.m., 848 Louisiana Ave. Free. (225) 379-8598.



october 2018 l BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine.com

WOMEN IN SPIRIT Noon, St. Joseph Cathedral Parish Hall. Featured speaker: Desiree Honore Thomas, Asst. Commissioner of Statewide Services, La. Division of Administration. Interfaith spirituality lunchtime program. RSVP by emailing wis@cathedralbr.org or by calling (225) 387-5928.


MEN’S UNITY BREAKFAST 8 a.m., Francis Asbury United Methodist Church, 15447 Old Hammond Hwy. Join us for food, fellowship, and engaging dialogue. For more information, call/text (225) 305-3006 or register at kingdomgroup.co/MUB-BR-OCT. CASA NEW VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION 10 a.m., 848 Louisiana Ave. Free. (225) 379-8598.

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

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





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www.jaguarbatonrouge.com THE ART OF PERFORMANCE Model Shown: 2018 Jaguar XE R-Sport. European license plate shown. † XE 25T model. MSRP-$36,700. $3,995 due at signing, $0 security deposit, excludes retailer fees, taxes, title and registration fees. 10,000 miles per year. *For complete details regarding offer shown or Jaguar EliteCare coverage, please visit JAGUARUSA.COM, call 1.855.JAGUARUSA / 1.855.524.8278 or visit your local Jaguar Retailer. © 2018 Jaguar Landoctober Rover North 2018 America, LLC l BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine.com


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