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(You Can Do This)

DO WHAT MATTERS

church leaders must know to

ENGAGE BOOMERS

Discover THAT THING God wired you to do... and use it to serve HIM

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This Is My More Story. What’s Yours? My grandmother taught me how to sew when I was a little girl. She gave me a love for the texture, color, and feel of fabric, which started a collection that in 45 years threatened to take over my house. But two years ago, God gave my fabric stash a purpose by urging me to gather my friends and make a quilt for a woman battling cancer. Since then, our quilt ministry has donated more than 160 quilts to people going through medical, spiritual, or emotional hard times. The quilts serve as a physical reminder of God’s love for each recipient. We also partner with quilt bloggers around the world who donate fabric and quilts-in-progress to the ministry. Who doesn’t love the feel of a freshly washed quilt, bringing comfort and warmth on a less-than-perfect day? I know I do, especially since I’m now battling cancer. It warms my heart to see how God took a group of women who really didn’t know how to quilt and used them to create a vital, growing ministry that touches lives around the world. Because of my grandmother’s legacy and the promptings of the Holy Spirit, I’ve discovered my More! –Sarah Craig, 54 See page 58 for the story of my friend, Nancy.

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To learn more about Piece*Love*Quilt, a ministry of Gladeville Baptist Church in Mt. Juliet, Tenn., visit Confessionsofafabricaddict. blogspot.com.


PRODUCTION & MINISTRY TEAM

IVEY HARRINGTON BECKMAN NANCY COMEAUX STEPHANIE SALVATORE ALAN RAUGHTON Has the h g DAVID APPLE u la best on the CHANDRA BENNETT planet!

Once while bi cycling,

she was ch ased Lead Editor by a very fa st Production Editor LLAMA . Ser io usly. Graphic Design Specialist Lead Adult Ministry Specialist Adult Ministry Specialist Editorial Project Leader

Send questions/comments to: Editor, More Living One LifeWay Plaza, Nashville, TN 37234-0175 or email us at moreliving@lifeway.com

MANAGEMENT PERSONNEL

BRET ROBBE EBBIE JOHNSON, KEN BRADDY, RON KECK D BILL CRAIG Expert on ALL THINGS Boomer.

Director, Leadership and Adult Publishing Managing Directors, Leadership and Adult Publishing Director, Leadership and Adult Ministry

ADVERTISING

RHONDA EDGE BUESCHER Director, Magazine Advertising & Circulation SCOTT HANCOCK Advertising Production

Send advertising questions/comments to: One LifeWay Plaza, MSN 136, Nashville, TN 37234 Email: magazineadvertising@lifeway.com Media kits: www.lifeway.com/mediaoptions COVER PHOTO: Getty Images More Living (Item 005490044) is published monthly by LifeWay Press速, One LifeWay Plaza, Nashville, TN 37234, Thom S. Rainer, President. 息Copyright 2011 LifeWay Press速. For inquiries visit www.lifeway.com, or write LifeWay Church Resources Customer Service, One LifeWay Plaza, Nashville, TN 37234-0113. For subscriptions or subscription address changes, visit www.lifeway.com/magazines, fax (615) 251-5818, or write to the above address. For bulk orders shipped to one address, visit www.lifeway.com/ magazines, fax (615) 251-5933, or write to the above address. Printed in the United States of America. Annual individual or gift subscription, $29.95. Bulk orders shipped to one address when ordered with other literature, $1.60 each per month, plus shipping. Please allow six to eight weeks for arrival of first issue. Advertisement Disclaimer: This magazine includes paid advertisements for some products and services not affiliated with LifeWay. The inclusion of the paid advertisements does not constitute an endorsement by LifeWay Christian Resources of the products or services. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible速, copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. We believe that the Bible has God for its author; salvation for its end; and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter and that all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. The 2000 statement of The Baptist Faith and Message is our doctrinal guideline.

Be inspired to put your faith into action in practical ways as you get to know both the man and the Book of James during this 8-session study.

LIFEWAY.COM/BETHMOORE


Inside More

32

More Passion

More Focus

More Joy

{for Christ}

{on Living Well}

{for the Journey}

09-30

31-44

45-58

Use your gifts, talents, and wisdom for God’s glory.

Make smart choices so you can serve well.

Celebrate relationships and have some fun.

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Features 10 The Power of More

40

Our generation has never embraced the status quo; we’re all about “Go Big or Go Home.” And right now we want more of three things.

16 A Beautiful Show of Hands

In the chiseled grip of an old man, a God-given destiny was fulfilled.

24 Resolution Day

Right in the middle of her self-centered, very busy, and highly emotional life, a woman makes a crazy promise to pray daily for a stranger.

32 What’s Your Next Great Adventure?

OK, the kids have finally flown the coop. So, what cool thing does God want you to do now?

46

40 Wired for Change

The inventor of the Slinky gave up everything for the mission field. But he may have missed his true calling.

46 A Few Good Muddy Men

Men are hard-wired for adventure. And when they don’t get it, things can get ugly.

50 Reaching the Middle of Nowhere

Judy Seale saw a deep need in the military – and knew God had gifted her to fill it.

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Scripture Unscrambled Chandra Bennett Mentor Power Chuck Lawless Money Talks O.S. Hawkins Boomer Humor Marie Armenia

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14 Living Truth Straight talk 18 Inventure Spiritual growth 36 Stewardship of Life Wise choices 54 Kicks & Grins Funny stuff

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I took money

MALE CALL!

homeless woman.

Need to

from a

Why Guys

Get Muddy

7

Questions to ask in TOUGH TIMES

MENTOR POWER

A HUGE

in a World Gone Bad

What

church leaders must know to

(You Can Do This)

DO WHAT MATTERS

57

ENGAGE BOOMERS

Discover THAT THING God wired you to do... and use it to serve HIM

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In Every Issue

2 My More Story 6 The Progressive Lens 30 Salvation in Real Life 42 Food for Thought 57 Church Action Plan 58 A Living Example of More

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Force for Good

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Life up close

Get the Picture? When I hit my 50s, I started seeing things differently. Granted, some of this was because I suddenly needed up-close magnification (drat those reading glasses!) But for the better part, it was because I finally got the picture: Like who I really am. And who God wired me to be. You might say, I relaxed and got comfortable in my own skin. A progressive step to this new vision was my penchant for stopping by a shabby chic store called Three French Hens on my way home from work. I immediately relaxed when I walked through that squeaky old door. The place just called out to me. I loved seeing cast-off things given new life and fresh purpose: A rusty colander had become a

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cool light fixture. A long-abandoned suitcase was transformed into a comfy dog bed. An old picture frame spoke volumes as a new chalkboard. This process of redemption reminds me of how Jesus gives us new life and fresh purpose: to glorify Him by telling others that He makes all things new. And I now have my own booth in that shabby chic store (editor by day ... junk transformer by night). As I give old things new life, I get to share the redemption story with other dealers and customers while contributing sales profits to my church’s building fund. Who knew my love for old things would become my More? God did! (He’s cool that way.) So what’s your More? I encourage you as a first-time reader of More Living to discover it. This preview edition will help you focus your unique gifts, talents, and passions on something that really matters — something that makes both you and God smile. So, grab your reading glasses and get up close and personal with this magazine. Soon you, too, will get the picture of the new cool thing God wants you to do.

P.S. Just for grins, see my pic today contrasted with this one of me in my 30s. Gotta love that stiff business suit and those braces! (See, I told you I’d relaxed a bit.)


Daily Devotionals

More

for Women & Men

ONLINE

Journey ®

A WOMAN’S GUIDE TO INTIMACY WITH

GOD

God Is Good—

Even When You Circumstance r s Aren’t

Frazzled?

Are You Out of Balance?

Connect with us: online: www.lifeway.com/moreliving tablet app: Coming soon! Watch for the free “More Living Preview” in the Apple app store! Facebook: facebook/morelivingmagazine

LifeSpan BECOMING MORE LIKE CHRIST FROM BIRTH TO HEAVEN C  ONNECT encourages you to worship, pray, and fellowship with others at church, work, and home. Mark 12:29-31 G  ROW helps you cultivate an increased understanding and knowledge of God through Bible study. Romans 12:2 S  ERVE points to ways you can minister among your church family. 1 Peter 4:10-11 GO moves you into the community and the world to share the good news of Christ through evangelism and missions. Matthew 28:19-20

orDer toDay!

Individual subscriptions $24.95 per year. Or, place a bulk order of Journey or Stand Firm for your small group or church at a discounted rate of just $1.55 per copy, per issue. That’s only $4.65 per quarter (3 monthly issues) per person.

lifeway.com/magazines 800.458.2772

Learn more at www.lifeway.com/adultstrategy Pricing and availability subject to change without notice.


It’s time for More. We rocked. We rolled. We did it! The More Living team has created a magazine that gets Boomers. Here’s the preview edition, the beliefs we live by, and the Scriptures that back them up. & Bill , Bret handra ebbie BACK: C nie & D ha p Ste y, Ivey, nc a N : ONT

FR

4 MORE LIVING TRUTHS

V We believe Boomers can change the world by giving more and being more for God’s glory. V We believe the “Me” generation can become the “We” generation. V We believe it’s time to reawaken passions and embrace possibilities. V We believe the best choice is always Do What Matters.

ARE YOU IN? RECITE THE MORE LIVING CREED: MORE OF CHRIST, LESS OF ME “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

MORE GIVING, LESS GETTING “In every way I’ve shown you that by laboring like this, it is necessary to help the weak and to keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus, for He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35).

“Happy are the people who know the joyful shout; Yahweh, they walk in the light of Your presence” (Psalms 89:15).

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© MARK WRAGG/ISTOCK

MORE CELEBRATION, LESS HESITATION


MORE

Passion {for Christ}


TIM PLATT PHOTOGRAPHY/GETTY

BY BILL FARREL

Our generation has never settled for status quo — we’re all about “Go Big or Go Home.”

A

t a recent wedding, I expected to quickly show my support for the young couple and make a graceful exit. At the reception, though, the groom stopped my hasty departure with this: “I want to thank all of you who have come here today. You’ve had remarkable influence in our lives and we wouldn’t be the people we are today without you.” Who were these remarkable influences? I wondered. I decided to work the crowd — and discovered a large majority of the influencers were Boomers. Everywhere I turned, I found reminders that our generation has always been aware of the importance of life. These days, we’re in our most influential years. We’re at our peak when people in the past were winding

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down. Don’t believe it? Consider that currently, the average American expects to live well beyond 79. In 1900, the average man lived to about 48 and in 1960, it was about 67. We haven’t always done it perfectly, but we’ve embraced some truly influential biblical principles.

WE WANT TO HELP MORE Bill, father of the bride, and his table of Harley Hawgs club members reminded me that we care deeply about causes. “Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress” is the calling of James 1:27. We get this. When he hit his 50s, Bill bought a Harley and looked for a riding club.


What he found has revolutionized his life. I asked the Hawgs about their motorcycle adventures, but they talked more about their ministry muscle. Their focus is not on rolling to freedom but rather a revolutionary journey to make the world a better place. Bill summed it up this way: We help kids, single moms, and guys who have lost their jobs. This is an awesome group.” Hawg Ben added, “Last year, we paid the mortgage of a widow for three months so she could grieve and get her feet underneath her.” And fellow Hawg Dale explained, “We have more energy than our parents did at our age. We’re way more active and involved in more people’s lives. I’ll never forget delivering food last Thanksgiving to needy families. We drove our bikes to the houses, and one little girl asked me, ‘How did you get the turkey to get on your motorcycle? Wasn’t it scared to go so fast?’ The kids hovered around our motorcycles while their parents said, ‘thank you,’ over and over again. What a rush!” By the time they were done, those bikers almost convinced me to buy a

Harley so I could be a part of all the good things they were doing. They had tapped into our generation’s desire to make a difference in the lives of others by ministering up close and personal rather than just cutting a check for some far-away cause.

WE WANT TO LOVE MORE A woman named Stacie reminded me that we rally around relationships, even when finding authentic intimacy proves challenging. She recounted the story of how she met her husband, Nick. They had both been hurt by others. Something inside them, however, wouldn’t give up, so when their moms set them up for a blind date, the two thought Why not? They gave it a try and discovered true love. Stacie was thrilled to be at the wedding because Lori, the mother of the bride, had mentored her, and she was grateful for the opportunity to give back by helping Lori to plan her daughter’s wedding. Our idealistic generation believes love is the most powerful force on earth. Our relationships have been

By the time they were done, those bikers almost convinced me to buy a Harley so I could be a part of all the good things they were doing.

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We eagerly focus on the vastness and omnipotence of God, which creates enthusiasm that can be harnessed as a powerful force for good in a world going bad.

complicated, but we’ve taken to heart Jesus’ words, “‘Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another’” (John 13:34-35). We love that love works like this.

WE WANT TO ACCOMPLISH MORE A guest named Brian reminded me that our generation has always believed in going big. We’re confident that Ephesians 3:20 was written for us: “Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us.” Brian trains salespeople at car dealerships to be excited about their products. I started laughing when I heard him say, “348 horsepower is enough power for most people.” In reality, it’s more than enough power for anybody, but revving things up has always been the way Boomers approach life. We’ve made everything in life bigger, faster, stronger. We’ve sped up communication from fax machines to instant messaging. We’ve

multiplied our connections by moving from phones to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, email, and texting. Sure, we started our lives with 48 horsepower Volkswagen Bugs, but we’ll race to the end with 348 horsepower sports cars and SUVs. “Go Big or Go Home!” isn’t just a T-shirt phrase for us. We eagerly focus on the vastness and omnipotence of God, which creates enthusiasm that can be harnessed as a powerful force for good in a world going bad. Sure, we ushered in more than our share of unhealthy freedoms: easy divorce, ready access to abortions, and widespread pornography, but we’ve never lost our hope. These days, we have more to give to our churches, our communities, and our world than any previous generation. We’re embracing our most influential years and, God willing, anything we put our hands to will make the world a better place. Bill Farrel believes we should do what we love for a career and has passionately developed a writing and speaking ministry showcasing resources to help people succeed according to their unique design. To learn more visit love-wise.com.

Harness the Influence: What Church Leaders Must Know to Get Results We Boomers are naturally motivated to make a difference in our world, but we’re driven by a sense of self-fulfillment. We believe we’ve been created for influence, and we trust our abilities. Designing ministry that’s attractive to us, therefore, has some unique characteristics. If you want to capture the contribution of history’s largest generation: A GIVE US OPPORTUNITIES to do what we love as a ministry rather than ask us to do what everyone else is doing. A ASK US TO BE INVOLVED in helping people personally rather than expect us to support people we don’t know or feel we can never know. A BUILD MINISTRIES that help us develop relationships rather than put us on schedules to simply get tasks done. A GIVE US PROBLEMS to solve rather than tasks to finish.


Tired of trying to be a good Christian? You give, you share your faith, you do all the things you’re supposed to do as a disciple of Christ. But does it feel like something is still missing? Find out what happens when you understand how to let the gospel work in your heart the way religion never has, or ever could. Through this eight-week study and the use of the “Gospel Prayer,” you’ll understand how to truly abide in Jesus. The natural results are passion, self-control, kindness, patience, and radical generosity. Your marriage can change. You can become more self-disciplined and less selfish. Not by concentrating on these things, but as a result of being captivated by the love of Christ.

lifeway.com/gospel | 800.458.2772 | LifeWay Christian Stores


RENÉ MANSI/ISTOCKPHOTO

MORE PASSION FOR CHRIST LIVING TRUTH

The

Accumulation Generation • BY JOHN KRAMP •

I stared at 30-plus garbage bags filled with shredded paper. In my driveway, a large dumpster bulged with its fifth load of plaques, knickknacks, and premium landfill. A fortress of boxes filled with giveaway books lined the wall.

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For three successive years, I had added a big purge to my annual to-do list. For three years, it remained daunting and undone. As I reflected on the odd collection of bags, boxes, and the large dumpster, a lyric from a Michael Card song looped in my mind: “It’s hard to imagine the freedom we find from the things we leave behind.” In that moment, I totally understood Card’s potent lyric. A shift from a corporate office to a home office had propelled me into action. To be honest, I needed that kick-start. Why had


I procrastinated so long? It’s a common issue that traps many of us in an accumulation cul-de-sac. Card’s freedom equation is the way out and is simple to grasp: What you have minus what you leave behind equals more freedom. The power of this equation bubbles up from Jesus’ basic call to discipleship in Luke 5:27-28: “After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, ‘Follow Me!’ So, leaving everything behind, he got up and began to follow Him.” Jesus issued the same call to everyone He met. In the midst of their busy, possession-laden lives, Jesus offered a new start. His focus wasn’t on what people left behind; He cared about what held them back. Jesus knew that following Him was the only way people could be truly free. Granted, there’s no comparison between my purge and leaving everything to follow

Jesus. But the core truth remains potent: By setting things down, we can respond to Jesus’ call with less hesitation. And the freedom equation works on a proportional basis too: Small steps of obedience yield increasing measures of freedom. So why do we often fail to act and unleash this latent power? ■ CUMULATIVE ACCUMULATION We live at the trailing end of the accumulation years. Add to our own stuff the plethora of items passed along by our parents, and we begin contemplating off-site storage. ■ DEMANDING SCHEDULES As our professional lives peak, we’re pulled apart in a no-win tugging match of conflicting demands. Schedules suffocate from lack of time. ■ ENERGY INERTIA Too much stuff coupled with too little time zaps energy. The adage becomes, “If it can wait, let it wait.”

What you have minus what you leave behind = more freedom.

Steps to DECLUTTER STEP ONE: Identify one category of stuff that’s bugging you (unused tools, junk in an attic, old tax returns, etc.). STEP TWO: Tackle that category and dispose of it, preferably in less than two hours. STEP THREE: Celebrate that you did something, even if it wasn’t much.

This season of life is a prime time to leave behind material stuff and focus on what really matters. Jesus continually calls us to follow Him. As we respond, we discover the immense power of the freedom equation — and that powerful lyric plays on in our minds: “It’s hard to imagine the freedom we find from the things we leave behind.”

John Kramp is an author, songwriter, and organizational consultant in Brentwood, Tenn. He is a leader and teacher at Grace Community Church. He and his wife, Lynn Marie, have two grown daughters.

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For years the old man had longed. Had prayed. Had believed that I would one day come and stand my ground.


BY IVEY HARRINGTON BECKMAN

It was my first day in Africa, my first missions trip — 8 hours ahead of my U.S. time zone and as far out of my comfort zone as I had ever been in my entire life. I was standing in a small village on a dirt street strewn with all kinds of trash, surrounded by mud-walled buildings glued together with what I would later learn was cow dung. The thrown-together village made any U.S. ghetto I had ever seen look upper class. From the moment I learned of the missions trip to Kericho, Kenya, I had known without a doubt that I was to go — even though I was terrified. Shy by nature and nervous about this, that, and who knows what, I think I had unknowingly held my breath until the moment the old man said, “You are that woman.” Until God used me to lead 39 people to Christ that first day. Until I saw an

old man dance with joy and a young woman cry with relief because I gave them hope for a better tomorrow. Until I heard a group of bare-footed children wearing rags sing “Jesus Loves Me” at the top of their lungs. Then, awe, gratitude, and confidence booted fear. I knew without a doubt that my steps on Kenyan soil were firmly guided by the Holy Spirit. I was exactly where I was supposed to be, standing on ground reserved long ago by God for me. Why me? I don’t know. But standing on a dirt road in Kenya that day, I knew it was my time, my calling, and my ground to cover for the cause of Christ. For reasons far beyond my comprehension, God let me be the living answer to a prayer lifted up by an old man for many years. But, truth is, it really wasn’t about me at all. It was about less of me and more of Christ. It was about understanding the true value of getting less and giving more. It was about less hesitation and more celebration of Christlike love that transcends time, place, and people. I celebrated my 54th birthday in Kenya, surrounded not by my family of origin but by 39 people born in Africa — and reborn there into the family of God on a dirty, trash-strewn street that I had walked by the power of the Holy Spirit. My hands had been held by those of a tough old man who believed in his tender heart that the Good News would one day come. He waited years for me to bring him that Good News and had prayed protection all around me long before I needed it. He had longed. He had waited. He had prayed again and again for such a time as this. And by God’s grace I came. It still makes the air whoosh out of my lungs when I think about it.

Ivey Harrington Beckman is the Lead Editor of More Living. Last year, she and 15 other team members had the privilege of welcoming more than 3,800 Kenyans into the family of God.

CJ WELLS PHOTOGRAPHY

MITCHELL KANASHKEVICH/GETTY

ust before he changed my life, the old man wrapped my small hands in his large weathered ones. Concrete-like callouses chiseled by decades of doing stuff I could not even imagine plowed into my tender skin. The dirt stains under his nails popped against my clean neat ones. And even though I was dressed in Goodwill garb, I still looked a bit princess while his clothes screamed poor. But the old man’s face? Well, it was a study in priceless — wrinkles glowing brightly with something money cannot begin to buy: Joy. Real joy. “The ground you are standing on is protected just for you,” he told me excitedly, vise-gripping my hands as if they were his lifeline, big smile on his face, tears in his eyes, stirring up dust as he practically danced a jig in his dusty worn-out shoes. “I’ve known for years that a woman would one day come to our village to tell us about Jesus. Years! You are that woman. Welcome! Welcome!” The hairs on the back of my neck stood straight up and then vibrated left and right even as that verse from the Book of Esther flitted through my mind — “for such a time as this... .” I felt the air whoosh out of my lungs.

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MORE PASSION FOR CHRIST INVENTURE

This is a

generation

RYAN MCVAY/THINKSTOCK

of individuals who have never sat by passively and accepted the status quo. They have always been about change and doing things differently, and they are approaching the second half of life with this same

fervor.

–Amy Hanson in Baby Boomers and Beyond: Tapping the Ministry Talents and Passions of Adults over 50

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How’s Your Presence? Heads up! As a believer, you have the Spirit of God living in you and carry Him everywhere you go. Translation? You are the presence of Christ everywhere, all the time. You are His presence at the grocery store, at the gas station, in that long line to get another flight when yours is cancelled, and in traffic when you’re cut off. Who reacts: you or Christ? You are the presence of Christ at the restaurant when the service stinks. You are the presence of Christ at home (­ where they know the real you). You are the presence of Christ when that off-color joke is told in your circle of friends. You are the presence of Christ to your children and grandchildren (a huge responsibility). Because Christ lives in you, you are His presence no matter where you are. Makes you rethink that little fit you threw in Walmart, doesn’t it? Enough said.


ARE WE PRAYING? According to a recent Pew Center survey, Boomer prayer has grown since the 1980s:

45%

56% That jumped to 56 percent in the late 90s,

In the late 80s, 45 percent prayed daily.

And according to LifeWay Research, among those of us who attend a Protestant church once a month or more:

62% to 62 percent today.

WHAT ARE WE PRAYING ABOUT?

71%

61%

55%

46%

Pray for fellow Christians weekly.

Pray for a church and/or church leaders at least once a week.

Pray regularly for people who are not professing Christians.

Pray in a group with other Christians.

7 Questions to Ask in Tough Times These days, a lost job, under-employment, and starting over are a part of life for many of us. Ask yourself these questions to glean a different perspective.

■ COULD THIS BE the start of a new beginning? ■ HAS GOD brought me to this place to start something new and better? ■ WILL MY PRAYER be answered today? If so, will I recognize the answer? STÍGUR KARLSSON/ISTOCKPHOTO

■ IS THIS EXPERIENCE preparing me for the next step in my life?

■ COULD GOD BE SPEAKING to me in a new way? ■ IS GOD TRYING to get my attention? Am I listening? ■ IS THE NEXT PERSON I meet the key to move me forward?

Real Smarts: “To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.” – Albert Einstein

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© JAIME GONZÁLEZ/ISTOCK

olvable, maze s it Is this yes. Yes , ? Why er you ask nt ce e rt in th is. Sta way to ke your and ma . m in ste the bra

Remap Your Brain “Memorizing Scripture allows us to properly handle temptation. But it also shapes our lives. In a sense, memorizing Scripture is remapping the brain. Romans 12:1 commands, ‘Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ My mind is being transformed and renewed the more I fill it with Scripture. And so it matters deeply that I make memorizing Scripture a habit.” — Ed Stetzer, author of Lost and Found (B&H Books)

ONLINE REALITY Myth: PEOPLE OVER 50 DON’T SPEND MONEY ONLINE. Fact: 71% of us shop online.

Fact:

THAT’S ALMOST

During one recent holiday period, those of us over 50 spent an average of $1,819.00 online.

HMM, SEEMS THAT “GO BIG OR GO HOME” MOTTO DOESN’T APPLY TO TITHING! WE MUST GET OUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT. IMAGINE WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF THAT 9 PERCENT BECAME 99 PERCENT!

3 TIMES THE NATIONAL AVERAGE OF $629.

Fact: Only 9% of us tithe. The average gift to a church is $720.95/year or $13.86/week.

[THE MORE LIVING STAFF DID THE MATH. CHECK IT OUT ON FACEBOOK /MORELIVINGMAGAZINE.]

Fact:

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). Sources: Mediacaster Magazine, Zona Research, Empty Tomb, The Barna Group (barna.org)

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MORE

PASSION FOR CHRIST

THINKSTOCK

INVENTURE

Memorize This: “I have sought You with all my heart; don’t let me wander from Your commands. I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You. LORD, may You be praised; teach me Your statutes” (Ps. 119:10-12).

A Modern Way to Make It Stick:

Church Alert: Same old stuff will not cut it

T

he Census Bureau is projecting that by 2018 (just six years away) those over 60 will outnumber children 5 and under for the first time. This has huge implications for the church. Amy Hanson in her book Baby Boomers and Beyond: Tapping the Ministry Talents and Passions of Adults over 50 (Jossey-Bass) states “… It is no accident that God has allowed such a large number of older people to be alive at this moment in time. In His great sovereignty and wisdom, He chose this time to raise up an army of older adults for His purposes. We must tap into God’s plan for the members of this generation, to see them come to Christ, grow in Him, and be engaged in meaningful service.” But here’s the deal: The same old stuff will not cut it. No, our generation demands meaningful ministry that we

can be involved in to make a difference in the world. We possess business skills; technical skills; teaching, homemaking, and medical skills that are needed and all learned over a lifetime of work. Alert churches are beginning to offer ministry experiences for those of us who have the time, experience, and knowledge base to effectively serve and share the gospel. (One church uses skilled people from our generation to repair cars and give them to needy families. Now that’s hands-on ministry.) God expects us to be ready, willing, and able to serve. And we are. Churches will find that if they fail to provide fresh avenues of service, our trained and passionate army will seek other service paths. For churches, Boomers could be the “We Can Generation.” (See “Harness the Influence” on page 12 for ministry tips.)

S E AR C H

“Scripture Memory Apps” on your smart phone, iPad, Kindle Fire, BlackBerry or computer. Lots of variety out there. (BTW, before you buy an app, for heaven’s sake TITHE!) THEN

Get to Work You know anything worth doing requires effort and that you’ll likely encounter a bit of spiritual warfare. Nothing new there. So press on.

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COLUMN: SCRIPTURE UNSCRAMBLED

Full-Color Power Enough already. If you’re stuck in a tiresome, repetitive, and colorless place, ask yourself: Why am I living a beige existence when God has empowered me for full color? Maybe you’ve lost your passion for Christ. What follows that are monotonous, hard-tochange habits that leave life dull and unproductive. But the power to refire passion and end beige living is close at hand. Not the sweaty, muscle-popping kind of strength that comes from pumping iron in the gym but the spiritual power to fulfill everything God expects of you — to become a full-color hero of the faith, not for your kudos but for God’s glory. And a great first connection is to look at such a hero — the Apostle Paul. Some Christians love him because he was an outstanding missionary and theologian of the early church. Others admire him because he authored a huge chunk of the New Testament, penning 13 letters to several churches and ministry associates.

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be empowered to make a great impact on their world for God’s glory. As Paul continued, he prayed the Ephesians would have greater understanding of God’s love and that they would have the divine power needed to stand firm in their daily lives (Ephesians 3:17-19).

But perhaps his greatest attribute was fiery passion. Without a doubt, he was one of Christianity’s most determined go-getters. When he believed in something, he went after If you’re it wholeheartedly and stuck in a persuaded others to tiresome, believe the same. Even when he was playing for the wrong repetitive, team, persecuting and Christians he colorless believed were place, a threat to the traditional Jewish ask yourself religion, Paul did it “why?” with undeniable zeal. In Ephesians 3:14-21, Paul prayed a passionate am I living a prayer for the Christians in beige existence the church at Ephesus. His when God has requests weren’t like the selfish letter-to-Santa prayers empowered me believers often pray. Paul began for full color? his prayer by spotlighting what the believers in Ephesus needed most: spiritual strength. Paul wanted miraculous transformation of these believers only God’s Spirit could accomplish. Then and only then would they

Why

DAMONINC/ISTOCK

Humdrum Land. Same-old stuff day-in, day-out. A beige-on-beige landscape. Are you living there?


Chandra Bennett

Now for the high-voltage portion of Paul’s passionate prayer: “Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us — to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21). Wham! Paul didn’t end his prayer with a simple “Amen.” He closed with a passionate doxology — an expression of praise to God. That’s because Paul was well aware that God “is able.” ■ GOD IS ABLE to do “above,” because His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9). ■ GOD IS ABLE to do “beyond,” because He owns everything and His resources are unlimited (Psalms 24:1). ■ GOD IS ABLE to do more than “we ask or think,” because He can do anything. God has limitless power; He never fails. Paul praised God for His power to grant Christ followers these requests and much more. (Really, would you want to serve a God who can do only what you can think of?) At the moment you received Christ by faith, the Holy Spirit became “the power that works in [you].” This is the same

THE SPOKEN WORD Power: [dunamis (doo’-nam-is) in Greek]: Used more than 100 times in the New Testament, the word dunamis is generally used by Paul throughout his epistles to describe divine empowerment. Through the Holy Spirit, you have the God-given power necessary for completing divine assignments and for overcoming life’s challenges. And always remember that God never commands you to do what He does not also enable you to complete.

amazing power that raised Christ from the dead and gives every Christ follower new life (Ephesians 1:19-20; 2:6). This means that when you surrender to and obey the Holy Spirit’s leading, the limitless power of God works in you to accomplish His plans and purposes. You are wired to be an amazing full-color force for good in this world. Today, right now, you can choose to go full force, to embrace life empowered by God’s Spirit. He wants to do in you something only His Spirit can accomplish. Something that really matters. Something that will bring Him glory forever and ever.

READY TO GO FULL COLOR?

life to count. God wants you to make a difference — to do what matters. 2. Pray for power. God is both willing and able to grant you His amazing strength. 3. Listen for and respond to the Holy Spirit. Even if He nudges you to do something far outside your comfort zone, make sure your answer is, “Yes, Lord. I will.” There’s no telling how God will use you to make a lasting difference in your family, church, community, and in the world. You have His power. Use it.

1. Make a decision. Don’t hesitate. Monotony and mediocrity can end today. God wants your

Chandra Bennett serves as the Editorial Project Leader of LifeWay’s adult magazines and devotionals.

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Resolution Day by River Jordan

My two sons were marching off to war, one to Iraq, one to Afghanistan. They were all I wanted to think about. Then, out of the clear blue sky, a New Year’s resolution dropped into my spirit.

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was standing in my kitchen when it happened. I froze for a moment, the way that old RCA dog looked with his head turned sideways, and thought, Hmmm. New Year’s resolution: Pray for a stranger every day. As a writer, I received that little burst of inspiration the way I do when a new character shows up in my mind. I might get a glimpse of a character’s face and then put that idea on my writer’s shelf until I can get around to it. I want to file this “praying for strangers” resolution right next to that barefoot character who has


MACIEJ NOSKOWSKI/ISTOCKPHOTO

been sitting on her porch for seven years waiting for me to tell her story. But this idea won’t be so easily dismissed because the minute the resolution crosses my mind, I think of another day when a stranger crossed my path. I was lying on a blanket in a city park, when a woman approached me carrying a multitude of bags. She talked first to herself, then to me, asking if I had a dollar to spare. “No,” I told her, which was true. I’m usually good for a dollar and don’t care where it goes because it’s the giving of it that interests me. But on this day, I didn’t have a dollar with me. “Not a dollar,” I said. “Not a dime.” The woman paused. She looked down at me. I cupped my hands over my eyes to shield them from the sun, and I focused on the shadow of her. She put down her bags and shuffled through her jeans. “Look here,” she said. “God have mercy on me when I don’t have something to give. Let me help you out.” She pulled out a worn dollar from her jeans, a dollar that had seen some things, and rattled out coins from half a dozen pockets. “For you,” she said. I started to protest, but she pulled up her pant leg, showed me her metal leg. “Lost it in a wreck,” she said. “All I have to do is show it to people and tell them my story. I’ll get a dollar.” No doubt, I thought. And why not? If a metal leg wasn’t worth a dollar, the story of it surely was. Then she asked me my name, which she liked a lot and told me hers: Esther. Then she told me to keep the amber in my hair and that I should always wear earth tones. “Listen to what I am saying now and don’t forget, earth tones look best on your skin. You might not believe me, but I know what I’m saying. I know about colors.”

Any stranger met could be an angel disguised as human. Someone sent to test the human spirit. But Esther looked all real woman, less one leg.

Looking at Esther with her hand out, I immediately thought of the story of the man who passed a beggar on the street who kept asking for coins. The man finally told the beggar, “I have no coins to offer you. All I have are my prayers, but those I will gladly share.” So I offered to pray for Esther. What else could I do for a homeless person with one leg when I had no food or money on me? To be honest, I don’t remember if at that moment I prayed for Esther, for her metal leg, for her riches, or the lack of them. But I remember Esther praying for me. Because she did. A highand-mighty, somebody-sure-is-listening prayer. A somebody-who-had-read-the-Bible prayer. An open-handed prayer. Esther prayed for this pilgrim with all her heart. As she walked off, she said, “Remember me in your prayers, River Jordan.” Then she praised God for something I couldn’t hear and raised her hands to the sky. For just a moment, I watched her go and thought about the stories I’d heard from my grandmother about entertaining angels unaware. To her, any stranger met could be an angel disguised as a human. Someone sent to test the human spirit. But Esther looked all real woman, less one leg. Later, my husband asked incredulously, “You took money from a homeless woman?” “Yes,” I said. I couldn’t explain the logic of that act: me taking money from someone living

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MACIEJ NOSKOWSKI/ISTOCKPHOTO

RESOLUTE THINKING OK, you’re not a spring chicken, but you have a wealth of wisdom, optimism, and a lot of energy reserves. Whether it’s praying daily for strangers, mentoring a teenager, or launching a service ministry at your church, today is a great day to ask God for a fresh resolution for your life. If it’s out of your comfort zone, all the better because that will stretch your body, mind, and spirit. Resolve to embrace this workout.

on the streets. But logic had nothing to do with it. There was just me and Esther caught in a moment in the park. A simple slice of time when one human being met another and there was that momentary bubble — that moment of strangerto-stranger acknowledging that we were alive and the same in spite of everything. That we were sisters with stories to tell. That we could pass a few minutes, or even hours, in one another’s company and both be the better for it. Later that night, I stepped inside a church and I placed Esther’s money in the offering plate. I wrote her story and her name on the back of the envelope, then paused a moment before turning to leave. I was thinking about how the smallest gift could be counted as the greatest. About how someone offering everything she had, even when it added up to so little, could be the greatest gift of all. Of how Esther’s dollar reeked of selflessness. Of an open palm and unclenched hand. And then I prayed miracles for Esther. Some nights Esther’s parting words, “Pray for me, River Jordan,” echo in my soul. And I remember and pray, “Lord, keep Esther warm tonight. And give her food, and keep her safe.”

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And all this comes to mind in a split second when I hear that phrase — pray for a stranger every day. This is what it looks like so I get it. I know what praying for a perfect stranger who crosses your path looks like. But my plate is full with two sons deployed, with a family that has their own special needs. Pray for a stranger every day? I need prayer and a whole lot of it just to keep up with my life and take care of my people. I’m not feeling like Mother Teresa, not too altruistic, not too holy at all. I’m tired, busy, and carrying a double load of my own concerns. But oddly enough, I began watching people as I moved through my days, toying with the resolution idea. What I saw overwhelmed me: That little kid who looks like he’s wearing hand-me-down clothes and destined to live a hand-me-down life. That mother slowly counting out her money in the checkout line, nervous that she has too little. Even that man who looks like he has everything money can buy, yet his faced is pinched with worry. I’m wondering, if I even decide to do it — how can I possibly choose just one person? From the looks of things, everyone needs prayer. Life can be funny sometimes. The kind of funny that is strange. Sometimes circumstances force you to face things you’re determined to ignore. Something that basically says, Oh, no, River. You’re not backing out or forgetting what you’re supposed to do. So right in the middle of your self-centered, very busy, and understandably, highly emotional life, you’re still going to focus on something, someone beyond you. That’s what life says to me. It leaves me no options, no second guesses, and no escaping it. I will embrace this praying for strangers resolution with all my might. It will be the first resolution I’ve ever kept.

Reprinted by arrangement with The Berkley Publishing Group, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. From Praying for Strangers © 2011 by River Jordan.


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COLUMN: MENTOR POWER

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Mentoring is a God-given relationship in which one growing believer encourages and equips another to reach full potential as a disciple.

You Can Do This The knock on the door caught me off guard, and the package left there surprised me even more. Nobody had a reason to send me a gift. My birthday was six months earlier, and Christmas was still six months away. Father’s Day would be the following Sunday, but my wife and I had no children.

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Inside the box was a photograph of me and Brandon (“B”), a young man I had been mentoring. I couldn’t recall posing for the picture, but it prompted memories of things B and I had done together: talking for hours about understanding God’s call, trying to figure out how to best love our spouses, speaking at a local prison, whitewater rafting, weeping over sin, reading and discussing books, visiting a hospital, and learning to work through disagreements. Week after week we had walked through life together.


Chuck Lawless

Accompanying that photograph was a Father’s Day card — my first ever. “Thanks for being a father in my life,” B had written. Little did I realize how much those words would mean to me until I saw them in print. More than once in the busyness of life I’ve returned to that card, simply to be reminded that relationships matter more than meetings, budgets, calendars, and emails. Mentoring has a way of teaching that simple truth. Most of us roll through life, heading to work, church, and back home again without thinking enough about the people around us. Consequently, we fail to see needs right before our eyes. And we miss incredible opportunities to invest in someone’s life. When you go to church this week, slow down enough to consider the people there. How many young believers would love to have someone your age model Christian faith for them? Are there students at your church who struggle because they have no Christian witness at home? Do you know young couples who need an experienced couple to guide them in growing a godly home? What man in your church is losing the battle with sin, even as he

longs for someone to hold him accountable? What woman is praying for God to provide an experienced mom to teach her about raising a preschooler? Every church has believers who want mentors. This shouldn’t be surprising, if we understand that mentoring is a primary means of biblical disciple making — a God-given relationship in which one growing believer encourages and equips another to reach full potential as a disciple. Moses invested in Joshua, preparing him for leading the Hebrews when Moses was not permitted to enter the Promised Land. Paul enlisted Timothy, modeled life before him, and turned

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ministry over to him as the apostle prepared for his own death. That’s the way it should be: an older believer teaching a younger believer so the work of the gospel goes on when God calls us home. Ten years after receiving that Father’s Day card, I have pictures in my office of B’s two children who know me only as “Papaw Chuck.” What began as investment in a mentoring relationship has now given me a son and grandchildren — dividends well worth the cost.

Chuck Lawless is the author of Mentor: How Along-the-Way Discipleship Will Change Your Life (LifeWay). He is also president of the Lawless Group, a church consulting firm.

most common excuses for not mentoring

... and why you need to ditch them ...

1. “I don’t know how.” 2. “I’ve never been mentored.” 3. “I don’t have enough time.” 4. “I might get hurt.” 5. “It requires vulnerability.” 6. “I don’t know anybody who wants a mentor.” 7. “I won’t have all the answers.”

■ The Bible teaches disciplemaking through mentoring. ■ God will give you the strength to do whatever He demands. ■ Lives can be changed. ■ God teaches you so you might teach others. ■ The potential benefits of mentoring are worth the risks.

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MARIA DURSO:

The Redemption of Presumption

“Michael,” I said, “I want to go to church when we get back to New York.” “Smoke a joint, Maria” was his response. When I was 25, I vacationed in Mexico with my live-in boyfriend, Michael Durso. One evening, alone in the hotel room, I wondered, Why don’t the clothes, jewelry, drugs, and handsome boyfriend make me happy and take away this deep emptiness? I started shaking my fist at God, asking, “What kind of God allows people to live in such misery?” Suddenly, I heard Him speak my name in my heart, Maria, give Me your life before it’s too late. I realized then that God knew me, loved me, and wanted me. I felt convicted of sin, but I didn’t feel condemned. I knew there was hope for me. “Michael,” I said, “I want to go to church when we get back to New York.” “Smoke a joint, Maria,” was his response. When we got home, we went to church — and I ran to the altar to give my life to Jesus. So did Michael. In that moment, God’s love flooded me so completely that it washed away all my unforgiveness toward my father, those who had wounded me in boarding school, and anyone who had ever hurt me. I was a new creature inside. If my life had gone the way everyone presumed it would, I might never have known that God’s love has the power to resurrect my broken heart.

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HOW TO FIND NEW LIFE IN CHRIST

Some people think a personal relationship with God is something only theologians can comprehend. Actually, God’s plan of salvation is simple enough for everyone to understand. Here are the ABCs of salvation. ADMIT to God that you are a sinner. All people need salvation. Each of us has a problem that the Bible calls sin. Sin is a refusal to acknowledge God’s authority over our lives. Everyone who does not live a life of perfect obedience to the Lord is guilty of sin. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Since none of us is perfect, all of us are sinners (Romans 3:10-18). BELIEVE in Jesus Christ as God’s Son and receive Jesus’ gift of forgiveness from sin. God loves each of us. God offers us salvation. Although we have done nothing to deserve His love and salvation, God wants to save us. In the death of Jesus on the cross, God provided salvation for all who would repent of their sins and believe in Jesus. “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). CONFESS your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord to others. After you have received Jesus Christ into your life, share your decision with another person. Tell your pastor or a Christian friend about your decision. Following Christ’s example, ask for baptism by immersion in your local church as a public expression of your faith. “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation” (Romans 10:9-10). For the past three decades, Michael Durso has been the pastor of Christ Tabernacle, a church in Queens, New York, which is affiliated with The Brooklyn Tabernacle. Maria is a women’s conference Bible teacher. Their three sons serve in ministry with them at the church.

JULIE & VIC PIGULA/GETTY IMAGES

I

f my life had gone the way everyone presumed it would, I would have grown up as the doted-upon daughter of wealthy parents living a New York City life of glitz and glamour. My father was a wellconnected nightclub owner in Greenwich Village and my mother was a singer in his club. But five months into her pregnancy, my mother died as a result of undiagnosed brain cancer. The doctors took me, a 2½-pound baby girl, from my dying mother’s womb. My father had no desire to raise a daughter on his own. From the age of 3 until I was 10, a boarding school was my home. There, I was subjected to emotional and physical abuse and repeatedly told, “God hates you. You are evil. That’s why He took your mother away.” I believed it. My father died when I was 20, leaving me a substantial inheritance. I was a rich, well-dressed, angry, drug-addicted party girl.


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Focus {on living well}

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Use your empty nest years to find and fulfill the unique purpose God has for you.

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T

by Barbara Rainey and Susan Yates

his is the day you’ve always dreamed — maybe even feared would come. The kids are out of the house and the daily demands of parenthood are behind you. What’s next? The Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.” What a startling concept! God has unique tasks and purposes for each of us that He prepared from the beginning of time. Incredible! So how do you go about discovering your purpose at the emptynest stage? Let’s first agree that this purpose isn’t about sitting in a rocking chair, idling away days. As Kate Dewey said of the Boomer generation, “I think we’re going to rewrite what retirement means. ... It’s not going to be a passive experience.” Judy Douglass, wife of the president of Cru (formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ), makes a similar observation: “… as long as we are on this earth, God has a great plan for our lives. He wants to use and leverage our maturity and experience for greater things in our second half of life.” There is so much more you can do with your life in this season for the sake of others and for God’s kingdom. There is indeed a next great adventure. It will take an army of men and women combining time, talents, and treasures to bring about significant changes in our world. And we have an army: Millions of us could become world changers. Each one of us can and should seriously consider what God wants us to do.


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Passion for Christ and others is what makes us feel alive, fulfilled, and significant.

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DAVID MALAN /GETTY

WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?

BEGIN THE JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY STEP 1: KNOW YOUR STORY: V What has God worked into your life that He wants to use now? V What have you always loved doing since you were a child? V What gets your adrenaline flowing? V What do you do to refuel when your emotional tank is empty? STEP 2: KNOW WHAT YOU LOVE: V What do you wish you could fix? V What passion has He given you? V What desires has He placed in your heart for His glory, knowing that you can do those particular things for Him? V Who are the people, outside of your family, whom God wants you to love: the homeless? The abused? Orphans? The elderly? The disabled? Those who have suffered through divorce or the children of divorce? V Do you have a heart for evangelism, hospice care, or AIDS work? STEP 3: KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS: There are many tools that can help you better understand your strengths. Consider these. V Place Ministries Assessment Tool. This self-discovery process reveals how God created you. Includes personality

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discovery, learning your spiritual gifts, abilities awareness, and connecting passion with ministry. placeministries.org $9.95  V

V

S  ervants by Design™ Inventory. This online personal strengths assessment provides a 12-page report detailing how God wired you (i.e., your viewpoint on life, your motivation, your best work situations, your significant abilities and interests). youruniquedesign.com. $35 S  piritual gifts assessments. If your church doesn’t have such a tool, go online to church growth.org/analysis and take a simple, free, online survey to receive an immediate tally of your spiritual gifts. This website also provides information on how to use your spiritual gifts and what they mean to your church.

STEP 4: KNOW YOUR FIT: To write your Next Great Adventure Mission Statement: 1. State your strengths. 2. Combine them with what you love. 3. Focus them on a cause that makes God’s heart sing.

At this point, you may be stumped. But rest assured, God placed passions into your life. Combine them with the experiences you’ve had and values, gifts, and talents already in place, you’re close to discovering your next great adventure. As a parent, you probably made the development of your kids’ talents a priority, and rightly so. But now you have the opportunity to evaluate your own uniqueness, including the spiritual gifts God has given you as a follower of Christ. The empty nest is ripe for self-discovery. To get started, first inventory your life. Approach this season of self-discovery with great intentionality. Here are four things you need to know.

1. KNOW YOUR STORY The themes that have colored your life thus far are a significant part of figuring out God’s next purpose. The journey behind you supports the purpose before you. Do you most engage with people or tasks? Creating or organizing? Doing or thinking? There are no right or wrong answers, yet there are themes that keep surfacing to bring color to your life. Ask God to guide you in seeing what He sees in you, to see what He has been weaving into your life. Discover who you are.

2. KNOW WHO YOU LOVE From your life story will emerge themes of compassion and


recognition of those to whom your heart is drawn. This compassion will become the platform for expressing the heart of God to others. The pain in our world is endless, and God calls us to care for the least of these and to overcome evil with good. It’s not optional but rather a clear message to all who are believers.

you. So be courageous and explore. You might discover greater significance in life — something new, something different that God has for you. If your goal is to become all God intended, then take the time to understand the way He wired you. As Mary Jenson says in Taking Flight from the Empty Nest, “The question has changed from ‘How will my

things and my love of travel with my heart for foreign missions, I will coordinate my church’s mission trips for God’s glory, training those who go and serving as a team leader and mentor during the trips I take. A mission statement becomes your North Star, the direction of your new life purpose. It’s what keeps you from saying yes to a host of activities that might be

A personal mission connects your uniqueness with God’s purposes and ignites the hope that your life reaches beyond yourself. Passion for Christ and others is what makes us feel alive, fulfilled, and significant. To discover your passions, ask yourself these questions. Then ask your spouse or a friend who knows you well to give additional feedback. • What would I change if I knew I couldn’t fail? • When do I most feel God’s pleasure? • What moves me most deeply? • What do I find myself thinking about over and over again? • What change would I address that would affect the most change in the world?

3. KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS Each individual possesses from 100 to 150 strengths, talents, and abilities. Can you believe this is true of you? It is. As a human you are complex, and there’s always more to know about how God has made

kids turn out?’ to ‘How will I turn out?’”

4. KNOW YOUR A+ FIT When you go shopping for clothes, a smart approach is, “Buy only an A+ fit.” Eliminate all that’s merely acceptable in favor of the best. This is the approach to take as you consider your next great adventure. Review your options. Evaluate what you’ve discovered. What’s your A+ fit? Got it? Now, summarize who you are and those you love in relation to your strengths, values, and passions by writing a personal mission statement that reflects your life. It should summarize the journey God has you on and envision where He’s taking you next. Here’s an example of a skill- and passionspecific personal mission statement: Combining my God-given ability to organize

good but aren’t best. A personal mission connects your uniqueness with God’s purposes and ignites the hope that your life reaches beyond yourself. It channels your energy toward issues that really matter and burdens that God has placed on your heart. Sure, the process of discovery and the risk of trying new things can be intimidating. But you’ll find it liberating, and your excitement will build as you discover how God has been preparing you for this new season and its many great adventures.

Adapted with permission from Barbara & Susan’s Guide to the Empty Nest by Barbara Rainey and Susan Yates (Family Life Publishing). FamilyLife.com

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“All Hail Walnuts!” 7 CROWNING BENEFITS Walnuts are the health king of nuts. But note that the benefits come in small packages; seven whole walnuts equals an ounce — an appropriate serving size. Don’t overdo it. And, no, chocolate-covered doesn’t count.

1. Walnuts contain twice as many antioxidants as other nuts.

2. There’s as much heart-healthy omega 3 in 3. 4.

walnuts as in a piece of salmon. Studies are beginning to show that walnuts may help improve memory function. Despite the relatively high fat content found in any nut, consuming an appropriate serving sizes does not seem to

cause weight gain.

5. As with all nuts, walnuts bring a decreased risk of heart disease, certain kinds of cancer, gallstones, and type 2 diabetes.

6. Walnuts help decrease inflammation in the blood stream, preventing hardening of arteries and plaque buildup.

7. Walnuts help triple the amount of melatonin your body produces so you sleep better.

Apology Rejected Ever had an apology fall flat? Maybe the offender wasn’t speaking your language. Drs. Gary Chapman & Jennifer Thomas have discovered five languages of an apology: • EXPRESSING REGRET: “I am sorry.” • ACCEPTING RESPONSIBILITY: “I was wrong.” • MAKING RESTITUTION: “What can I do to make it right?” • GENUINELY REPENTING: “I’ll try not to do that again” • REQUESTING FORGIVENESS: “Will you please forgive me?” So, which one appeases you? To take a free apology assessment, visit 5lovelanguages.com /assessments/personal-profiles/apology. You’ll learn how to recognize your own language while speaking the languages of those you love — and maybe those of a few people you seem to bug.

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MORE FOCUS ON LIVING WELL STEWARDSHIP OF LIFE

MAKE THE MOST OF MONDAYS EVERY MONDAY can be like New Year’s Day — a chance to start over with new goals. The idea is simple: Commit that one day a week to making a smart change. Hmm, how about making Monday your day of prayer? MEATLESS MONDAYS (meatlessmonday.com) is the granddaddy of the Monday makeovers. Drop meat from your diet for one day a week for improved health. Your heart will get a kick out of it.

BENEFITS OF GOING THE SECOND MILE Jesus said it, so you know it packs power. But really, what are the benefits of going the extra mile? HEART: Jesus’ story dealt with loving and serving your enemy. Who’s your enemy today? He or she may be under your own roof. Drop anger and walk in forgiveness. You’ll reap both health and relational benefits. HEALTH: Go that second mile in exercise as well. Studies have shown that walking two miles per day cuts the risk of death from cancer almost in half. HELP: The travel partnership Go the Second Mile (go2ndmile. org) arranges travel/work excursions to some of the most hurting places in the world. Travelers get the added benefit of experiencing the culture while they serve.

DANIEL LAFLOR/ISTOCK

OTHER MONDAY MAKEOVER MOVEMENTS include “Quit and Stay Quit” smoking cessation; “Move It Monday” for exercise; and “Caregivers Monday,” which encourages caregivers to focus on their own needs — and rest — that one day.

WELL SAID:

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” – Hall of Fame Basketball Coach John Wooden

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MORE FOCUS ON LIVING WELL STEWARDSHIP OF LIFE

A BIG GULP OF STEWARDSHIP: WHAT $50 WILL BUY IN 14 DAYS  14

Tall Café Mochas for You OR Life-saving Treatments for a Hurting World

Your morning café mocha may seem like it’s one of life’s necessities (and granted some days it might just be). But forgo your daily café mochas for just two weeks and: PROVIDE CLEAN WATER FOR 50 AFRICANS for an entire year. See bloodwatermission.com for more information. PROVIDE A MICROLOAN TO HELP A WOMAN start a small business in an underdeveloped nation. Learn more at mercycorps.org. BUY A LOW-FLOW TOILET to help provide decent, affordable housing through Habitat for Humanity . Check out habitat.org to learn more. ®

PYRAMID SUDOKU This is a tough one, but fire up that brain of yours and give it a go. Fill in the grid so each row, column, 3-by-3 block, and pyramid contains the numbers 1-9 exactly once. Look for the answer on our Facebook page.

Better yet, challenge your office mates to join you in whatever mission you pick. Added bonus: You will all endure cranky, caffeinewithdrawal mode together.

SMART MINUTE MANAGEMENT Does your time keep slip sliding away? Learn how to wrap your fingers around

m i n u 7

5 5

2 3

1

6 7

5

3 9

3

4 6

5 1 8

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8 6

7

4 1

2

t

e

s.

5 Minutes OK, so 5 minutes doesn’t seem like it can pack a punch, but it can. • While you are in line at the grocery store, pray for everyone ahead of you. (The average wait is 5 minutes with an average of two people in line ahead of you.) Even if you only hit the grocery store once a week, by year’s end you will have prayed for 96 strangers. Add exhausted cashiers and your number hits 144. • Looking at a messy room? Ask your spouse to join you for a 5-minute pickup race. You’re bound to start laughing as you lug stuff to the proper places.


COLUMN: MONEY TALKS

O.S. Hawkins

THE BIG

3

What do your money and possessions say about you? Money talks. In fact, it speaks volumes about what you think is important and where you are on your spiritual journey. Want to ensure that your money habits speak well of you? Follow three rules.

1. Be careful how you get

money. Recall that the love of money was at the root of Christ’s own betrayal. Judas loved money, and he added 30 pieces of silver to his belongings that fateful day — a hefty sum. But look how Judas got it! Money talks. Be careful how you get it.

2. Be mindful of how you

guard your money. Guarded wealth not used for God’s glory brings misery. There’s nothing inherently wrong with possessions — unless those possessions begin to possess you. And there’s nothing inherently wrong with money. But hoarded wealth will never spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. However, money in the hands of a faithful steward can be a tremendous testimony.

3. Be wise about how you

give money. In today’s world, accumulation is the name of the game. Caught in this trap, many people make all the money they can and guard it as long as possible. Some believers must think the main question at the judgment seat will be, “How much have you accumulated?” However, God will most likely ask, “Were you a good steward?” A will plays a vital role in how you give money to others. This document ensures that your possessions are distributed as you desire. A will prevents potential misunderstanding among your children and heirs. It also reduces expenses and alleviates taxes, which can in turn leave more of your money to the ministries close to your heart.

By the way, there’s a reason it’s called a “last will and testament.” Someday, this will be your last opportunity to testify about what was important to you. In a lawyer’s office or courtroom, people will gather to hear your final testimony. Make sure that it pleases Christ and advances His kingdom on earth even while you’re with Him in heaven. O.S. Hawkins is President and Chief Executive Officer of GuideStone® Financial Resources. He is the author of more than 25 books, including Getting Down to Brass Tacks.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with possessions — unless those possessions begin to possess you.

ISTOCKPHOTO

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Wired lllll

for

lllll

Change BY DAV I D R U P E RT

The inventor of the SlinkyÂŽ sacrificed fame and fortune for the mission field. But did he miss his true calling?

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ichard James was an engineer working In a letter to a friend he wrote, “God has shown during the waning months of World me both sides of having much of this world’s goods War II. One of the tension springs he was fitting and having nothing. The more I am in this world, for a battleship’s power monitor meter accidenthe more I can see that there is nothing — family, tally fell to the ground. It bounced, righted itself, money, education, factories, position, reputaand then began to walk across the floor. With a tion — that amounts to a piece of dust, outside of little more tinkering, the Slinky was born. Christ. He is everything, all total. I want Him and It was that easy. Since then, more than 300 only Him.” million have sold around the world. At first, I was struck by the selflessness of this What wasn’t easy was the fame and fortune man, giving up everything. What devotion! But then that grew out of the toy company James founded I read the rest of the story. He was so enamored with just $500 in seed money. with his mission call, that he abandoned his wife He and his wife, Betty, traveled the world, and six children — a dark mark on any “righteous garnishing celebrity treatment. They were act.” I’ve seen first-hand such misguided fervency, wealthy many times over. But it was a classic and there’s little honor in that. story of emptiness and longing, despite the James also abandoned his company and its fortune and prestige. employees, totally unconcerned with its fate. James had an encounter with God and fell Truth is, your mission can often be found under deep conviction. He was serious with right where you are — serving at the ticket his faith and began to turn his life — counter, at the construction site, or and his fortune — over to God. the data center. Eventually, he cleaned out his So my question is as simple — bank accounts and liquidated and complex — as the Slinky At first, I was struck by his stocks and bonds, giving design: What if Richard James the selflessness of this man, had stuck with Slinky, using his much of it to Wycliffe Bible Translators in Bolivia. giving up everything. What business smarts, fortune, and He surprised many when passion for Jesus? Could he devotion! But then I read have developed people — both he announced that he was walking away from the at home and abroad? Could the rest of the story. company and moving to South he have found ways to make a America to serve the mission difference in Bolivia, South America, full time. While in Bolivia, he was and the globe? committed to living a life of poverty. And what if he had been as devoted to his Refusing to raise support, he trusted God for every family as he was to God? nickel. When an uncle died, leaving him $40,000, No doubt he influenced some Bolivians, and James gave that away too. I would never disparage those serving on the The story is told that he still held on to a metal mission field. But in this case, James really only die of his famous invention, thinking that if things changed himself. If he had stayed at Slinky, he didn’t work out, he could manufacture and might have changed the world. market the toy to a South American audience. © 2001-2011 H. E. Butt Foundation. All rights reserved. Reprinted Eventually, he threw the die into the sea, wanting with permission from Laity Lodge and TheHighCalling.org. no escape clause. Article by David Rupert.

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THINKSTOCK

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Get Figgy With It F

rom the beginning of time, figs have been the front-and-center fruit. Because of the size of fig leaves, they were used as coverings by Adam and Eve. It was a sign of prosperity to sit under your own fig tree with friends, and dried figs were often placed on a string and used as a nutritional snack when traveling long distances. Go figs! These days, figs, which flourish in the summer, are a great choice because they contain more fiber than any other fruit and are full of antioxidants, potassium, and calcium. Figs really rock! Who knew? Their Creator.

Spiced Fig Jam

Fig & Pistachio Muffins

Though simple to make, fig jam feels special. Spread it on toast or on water crackers with a bit of cream cheese.

Start your morning with an energy boost from these muffins.

1 cup water 3 tablespoons sugar 10-12 dried figs, destemmed, roughly chopped zest of 1 orange (or lemon) 1 cinnamon stick 3 cloves ¼ to ½ teaspoon nutmeg ½ teaspoon salt juice of ½ orange (or lemon)

QUENTIN BACON/STOCKFOOD

Stir water, sugar, and figs in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add orange zest, cinnamon stick, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until most of the liquid evaporates, figs are tender, and jam thickens. Remove from heat and discard cinnamon stick and cloves. Slowly stir in orange juice. Allow to cool, then place in an 8-ounce jar. Keep refrigerated for up to one month. Extra Hints: • When using dried figs, soak in water for 15 to 20 minutes before chopping. • If you prefer smooth jam, pulse in a food processor. If jam is too thick, add water a little at a time until desired consistency is reached.

1¼ cup white flour ½ cup whole wheat flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon cinnamon ⅓ cup bran 1¼ c ups chopped figs (about 10)

3 over-ripe bananas ¼ cup white sugar ¼ cup brown sugar 1 egg 1 teaspoon vanilla 1½ cups buttermilk 2 tablespoons canola oil ½ cup chopped pistachios, divided 2 tablespoons raw sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin cups. Sift together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Stir in bran and chopped figs. Set aside. Mash together bananas and sugars. Mix in egg, vanilla, buttermilk, and oil. Stir together wet and dry ingredients, just until combined. Be careful not to over mix to avoid tough muffins. Fold in chopped pistachios (save 2 tablespoons) and spoon into muffin cups. Sprinkle tops of muffins with raw sugar and pistachio bits. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. (Makes 16 muffins.)

I keep a bag of muffins in the freezer. I set a couple out the night before, warm them in microwave for a few seconds the next morning, and then pop one in a take-out box to drop on a coworker’s desk with an encouraging note. (The other one is for me!) –Stef, Tenn. CHECK OUT OUR MORE LIVING APP FOR FREEZING TIPS AND MORE HELPFUL FACTS ABOUT FIGS.

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GREG RANNELLS PHOTOGRAPHY, INC./STOCKFOOD

Fig and Pancetta Pizza For Pizza Dough: Your favorite pizzerias will sell you pre-made dough for a few bucks. Purchase enough for two 12- to 14-inch pizzas. For Pizza Topping: ½ cup basil pesto 2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese 4 tablespoons Parmesan, freshly grated 12 slices mild pancetta 8 fresh figs, washed and sliced Salt, to taste Freshly ground black pepper, to taste ½ teaspoon dried oregano 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped Olive oil, for drizzling

Lightly oil two 12- to 14-inch pizza pans and dust with fine cornmeal. Transfer the pizzeria dough to the pans. Using your fingers, form slightly thicker rims around the edge of the pizzas. Brush all but the rims with olive oil. Using a rubber spatula, spread the pesto evenly over the pizza dough, followed by the ricotta cheese. Sprinkle each pizza with 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Divide the pancetta and figs evenly among the pizzas. Season with salt, pepper, oregano, and chopped basil. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Place panned pizza in 400° preheated oven. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and cut into wedges. Serve.

The Odd Coupled Host your church’s college group for a make-yourown-pizza night. Provide prepared crusts and fixin’s, including a few odd ones, such as avocado, figs, and goat cheese. Test and give prizes for tastiest and most creative.

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MICHAEL SULLIVAN /GETTY

each creation


MORE

Joy {for the journey}


A Few Good

MUDDY MEN •

by Matt Tullos •

Men are hard-wired for adventure. And when they don’t get it, things can get ugly.

A

nyone who tells you that Vikings, bearded Mongols, and Mickey Mouse can’t run has never been to a Warrior Dash. Recently More Living tapped me as a hired pen to observe a Dash in McMinnville, Tenn., on the same soil that muddies the chicanery of Bonnaroo, (a four-day music festival akin to a modern-day Woodstock). The aforementioned characters were there in force — along with nuns, the Mario Brothers, the Hulk, KISS, Luke Skywalker, Batman, Smurfs, and even Big Foot. Warrior Dashes, held all over the United States

(see warriordash.com), are a mud-crawling, fire-leaping, wall-climbing endurance run for an intense 3.1 miles. The release sheet, signed by participants, includes these vows: I assume risk of wild animals and insects that may be present on the course; I understand that some of the obstacles may go through water which has not been tested for chemicals or disease; I agree to not dive or enter into the mud pit head-first. (After reading those caveats, I was quite content to be an observer with a pen rather than a warrior with a number since I’m not up to date on my shots.)

“I don’t think men need to run in crazy races or even run to recapture the drive for challenge and adventure. The important thing is for men to do something. I just happen to be drawn to mud pits.”

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WIRED AS CONQUERORS Fueled by loud music, smoked turkey legs, and crazy outfits, the warrior count surpassed 11,000. In the middle of it all were Tim Garnto, Mike White, and Frank Adams — a 40-ish trio of runners who call themselves OCDs: “Old Christian Dudes.” As I panned the scenery, I couldn’t help but notice the beer signs, so using my most sanctimonious pastor’s voice I asked, “For heaven’s sake, what are good ol’ guys like you doing in a beer-fest place like this?” Turns out, part of it is for heaven’s sake. “It’s important we don’t isolate ourselves,” Mike explained. “We believe what we believe and we believe in a purpose. But we still get to be


a part of the world and how it interacts. We want to live our lives the way God wants us to live them, and if that happens to be around people who don’t believe the same way we do and if we can be a good influence, we will.” Since Mike seemed to be on a holy roll, I asked him why, beer-drinking aside, he thinks races like the Warrior Dash are growing in popularity. “I believe God, generally, has wired men to be conquerors,” he said. “With many of today’s males being raised in single family homes without a healthy male role model, that conquering mentality could drift toward unhealthy aggression — or toward

unintentionally feminizing of males. Our current culture has a tendency to see masculinity as politically incorrect.” Certainly for most men, conquering something is a deep itch we desperately need to scratch. We long to connect life and adventure. The things we conquer define us. They make us feel alive. Perhaps that’s why the midlife stage is both challenging ­— and dangerous. The Warrior Dash brought this theory into light. It’s a metaphor for overcoming adversity.

THE BRAWN OF COMMUNITY MUSCLE While we’re on the conquering thing, it amazed me to hear Frank’s story of conquering his weight battle. Five years ago

SPOTLESS RUNNING SHOES Every day is a warrior dash and the hazards aren’t man-made; they’re spiritual. Being a warrior is only possible in groups. So find a group of like-minded men and immerse your heart and mind into that. Fight for the things that really matter. Don’t misuse your passion. Don’t disqualify yourself from the race. Ask yourself: • What other men are keeping me in the battle? • Who knows all my secrets and hidden weaknesses? • Who has my back and is bold enough to get in my face? The race to the finish is all about teamwork. Really go all in. The race is not for those with spotless running shoes who tiptoe around big challenges. The race is for the full-on, gofor-broke muddy warrior.

Mike White made this muddy swim look fun — until some of the muck splashed in his mouth. Later, he was pretty closed-mouthed when asked about the flavor.

ALLEN CLARK

ALLEN CLARK

Warriors Frank Adams, Tim Garnto, and Mike White aren’t afraid to get dirty — or lock horns with challenge (and goofiness it seems).

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ALLEN CLARK

The few. The proud. The muddy make the finish. It’s medal time!

MARK DRISCOLL

ON WARRIOR MEN Men are built to defend truth and justice, to conquer evil, and to promote righteousness, and to protect the helpless and the vulnerable and the weak. God has enemies, and men have enemies. Those enemies, the Bible says, are not just flesh and blood. They’re powers and principalities and spirits. So, men need to take the weapons of their war and they need to defend against lies and against death and against Satan and against hell. And they need to champion the cause of righteousness and truth and justice. If a man doesn’t know how to fight or if he’s wicked, he starts to fight for the wrong things, and hurts the innocent and not his enemies. These men become very dangerous. blog.marshill.com/2010/07/20/why-men-arecultivators-warriors-and-sages

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he found community among runners and has shed 100 pounds in the process. “It’s fellowship with other runners that provides community and support,” Frank explained. “I met Tim and Mike about three years ago.

FIT FOR THE FIGHT Bill Beausay, author of The Leadership Genius of Jesus (Kindle ebooks) and a former Director at the Academy of Sports Psychology, links physical and spiritual goals to achievements.

“Retirement is not an option for the Christian man. We have to stay in the fight.” When I started walking for exercise I weighed 295. Then I started running with these two guys. My life in general has improved in so many areas. Running helped my faith. I saw the benefit of fellowship, and it spurred me on to be a leader at church. Community plays a huge role for men even though we don’t always admit it.”

“One of the keys to recapturing the warrior inside us is to avoid the foe of exhaustion. Vince Lombardi once said, ‘Fatigue makes cowards of us all.’ Many men fail in this area because they lack or neglect their physical stamina. I’ve discovered that if I feel vigor and vitality within me, all this other stuff starts falling into


place. Want bigger spiritual goals? Decide to run a marathon. Want to lose weight? Take vitamins regularly. Take care of yourself physically first and the table is set for greater things.” After the Warrior Dash, as Mike dumped mud out of his pockets and shoes, he noted, “Guys our age have the tendency to pass the ministry torch way too early. I immediately lose my stamina as soon as I stop running, and I believe the same works for our spiritual lives. As soon as we say we’ve arrived and don’t need to minister, we immediately begin to lose our ministry muscle. Retirement is not an option for the Christian man. We have to stay in the fight.”

LIGHTING UP MIDLIFE

ALLEN CLARK

So where do wives fit in with all this male mud-slinging? “The 40s are treacherous water for many men,” cautions

Bill. “That’s when most midlife crises rear their ugly heads. Honesty about this is primary. In other words, make the struggle public or at least interpersonal. Midlife crises are like mushrooms — they grow best alone, in the dark. A wife can be aware of this and do her best to shine light into her husband’s dark corners through asking engaging questions, making candid observations, and by avoiding harsh interrogation in favor of thoughtful dialogue. Nobody is born knowing how to do this. Drawing another human being out on deep dark issues is learned. Wives must start educating themselves.” Frank noted that midlife men often say they don’t have time for the physical and spiritual challenges they are faced with on a daily basis. His solution? Join a small group or better yet start one. “God has a plan for all of us men,” Frank said. “We

Frank Adams hot-foots it over burning timbers with a wary Tim Garnto on his heels.

CRESTING MT. MUDDYSHOE What happens with the mountains of muddy shoes discarded by dashing warriors? Most end up in developing countries or are recycled as absorbance material, thanks to non-profit organization Green Sneakers greensneakers.org.

need to open our hearts and minds and let God lead us.” Tim added, “I don’t think men need to run in crazy races or even run to recapture the drive for challenge and adventure. The important thing is for men to do something. I just happen to be drawn to mud pits.” After the race, our three OCD runners were filthy, but they had a bright gleam in their eyes. They had banded together to triumph over the elements amid a motley band of Vikings and Smurfs. Covered with mud and grass, they certainly looked the picture of adventuresome men and proved that old Christian guys still have what it takes to do the hard stuff. Matt Tullos is senior pastor of Bluegrass Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tenn.

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MIDDLE OF

D. SLATER FF SGT. MISTY E PHOTO / STA U.S. AIR FORC

Averett was 1st Lt. Chris Iraq for the our escort in rriors Return” “Wounded Wa took two of TV special. I heroes, Spcs. our wounded y, nd Scott Lille Joe Bowser a the exact back to visit re they locations whe were injured.

NMCB 24 / CM

Z HARMON

R E AC H I N G T H E

Z HARMON

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NMCB 24 / CM

NMCB 24 / CM

g . Jones thankin Lt. Col. Luis D r ad singer fo Cody Collins (le passing him a Lonestar) by A via handshake. challenge coin ar ul ic from a part Challenge Coin st is the highe base or person u can receive “compliment” yo in the military, from someone ally signed specific and each is de /unit. for the person

ert in Al Asad, During a conc he worst dust Iraq, one of t ory hit just storms in hist iels stepped on as Charlie Dan refused to the stage. He en though it quit playing, ev eath and we was hard to br yone in the couldn’t see an stage! front of the


Judy Seale saw a deep need in the military — and knew God had gifted her to fill it. BY DEBORAH EVANS PRICE

T

he country music industry isn’t typically a dangerous gig. But for Judy Seale, CEO of a booking agency that bears her name, making sure that military personnel in some of the world’s remote trouble spots receive entertainment has meant she’s been shot at, had bombs fly overhead, and been there moments before a soldier left on his final mission. Seale’s unique ministry, Stars for Stripes, has taken entertainers such as Charlie Daniels, the Bellamy Brothers, Chris Young, Diamond Rio, Darryl Worley, and many others into the combat zone. “I wanted to make sure entertainment reached the troops in the little ‘fobs’ [forward operating bases] that rarely receive celebrity visits,” Seale says.

The celebrities who have accompanied Seale on concert tours are as grateful as the soldiers. “I’ve been all over the world with Judy, and she’s so good about getting entertainment to the troops in desolate places,” Daniels says. “It means a lot to those guys and gals when somebody comes to a little base out in the middle of nowhere. Judy has a heart for that.” Boosting morale in a war zone is a dangerous endeavor. “There were people on the ground shooting at us,” Daniels says, recalling a helicopter landing at Balad, about 30 minutes from Baghdad. “But many people back home were praying for me. The U.S. military is going to take care of you for sure. Things can go wrong, but the Lord gave me

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the greatest peace about being there.” Seale’s military contacts are extremely appreciative of her efforts.“Stars for Stripes has been at the leading edge of providing entertainment to our warfighters,” Air Force General Steve Sargeant explains. “Despite dangers, such as a

in Germany, Seale invited Joshua’s parents on the trip so they could meet the young men who spent the last months of their son’s life with him. She hoped it would be healing for them. “When we arrived in Germany, Joshua’s four best friends were waiting for us

“People ask me all the time how much longer I’m going to do this

and my daughter Lindsey answers that I will have a walker and be yelling,

‘Get on the helicopter! If I can do it, so can you!’ She might be right.” nearby rocket attack during the Air Force Birthday performance, their fearless entertainers ensured the shows went on.” Seale has a vivid memory of that show. “Right in the middle of a performance, a mortar zoomed over the stage. Fortunately, it was a dud.”

LESSONS IN LOSS The realities of war are all too real for Seale and the performers who support Stars for Stripes. She recalls a show at a small base in Iraq. One of the young soldiers they met, 21-year-old Army specialist Joshua Henry, was killed shortly after. When the unit returned to their headquarters

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with tears running down their faces,” Seale recalls. “I’d never seen men in uniform cry, and it had a profound impact on me. Joshua’s parents ended up being the ones to give comfort instead of being comforted.”

MAKE A DIFFERENCE Seale has been profoundly affected by her experiences. “The more I give, the more I receive,” she says. “God gave me a unique ability to solicit celebrities for tours and coordinate the aspects so the celebrities have a lifetime of memories and in turn encourage others to tour. We must take advantage of the talents God gives us. I would

say to others, ‘Just do one thing today that will make a difference in someone’s life. You’ll want to do it again and again.’ Everyone has a unique talent, maybe hidden deep inside. Find it and take advantage of it to make a difference.” Seale knows God has called her to this unique ministry with Stars for Stripes. “Why else would I get two to four hours of sleep a night, give up time with my family, venture into war zones where we’ve had missiles fired at us and never once felt that we were not safe?” she asks.“God watches over us every day no matter where we are, and it often seems much safer over there than it is driving the crazy streets of Nashville!” Seale says with a smile. “God has blessed me by showing me how I can give back, and I’m grateful for every opportunity,” Seale adds. “But there’s no way we can ever repay the sacrifices the troops and their families have made. People ask me how much longer I’m going to do this, and my daughter Lindsey answers that I will have a walker and be yelling, ‘Get on the helicopter! If I can do it, so can you!’ And, you know, she might be right.” Deborah Evans Price is a Nashvillebased freelance writer. Her father served in the Air Force for 23 years.

STARS IN ACTION

To learn more about the Stars for Stripes ministry, visit starsforstripes.com.


DaySpring’s Recordable Storybooksread and pray with your loved ones, even when you can’t be there! This keepsake can be preserved and enjoyed for generations to come through Voice-SaveTM technology! As they turn each page, they’ll hear your voice. A perfect gift for grandchildren to treasure forever. Easy to record.

www.dayspring.com/storybook


MORE JOY FOR THE JOURNEY KICKS & GRINS

PUBLIC DOMAIN

What the FBI can learn

Socks the cat addresses the nation, 1995

{ from AARP }

Since AARP can find anyone within 90 days of their 50th birthday (and we mean anyone), to reduce costs and guarantee arrests the FBI should simply change public records to show the age of all fugitives as 49 years, 9 months and follow mail carriers delivering the introductory AARP welcome packs. It’s a guaranteed “Book ’em, Danno.”

Then

& Now

COST OF STRAIGHT HAIR

1972 6 empty orange juice cans

$0

2012 Flat iron

$29 to $129

That same vintage suit will

COST OF LOOKING COOL

set you back $249 today.

1977

2012

A hip leisure suit

Jeans and a comfy T-shirt

$65

$50-$150 COST OF CELL PHONE BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY IMAGES

1983

2012

Motorola DynaTAC8000X

iPhone 4S

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$3995

$199-$399

White House-Broken Pets Chances are good you can identify the U.S.

presidents from 1953 to present, and you might even know the names of their spouses. But can you match the following pet names to the correct administration? (Consider the exercise akin to walking your mind around the block a few times at a fast clip. Keeps that rubbery gray matter limber.) ⊲ LIBERTY – a golden retriever ⊲ SOCKS – a cat and BUDDY – a chocolate Labrador retriever ⊲ MACARONI – believe it or not, a pony ⊲ REX – a Cavalier King Charles spaniel ⊲ BARNEY AND MISS BEAZLEY – Scottish terriers ⊲ HIM AND HER – beagles ⊲ BO – a Portuguese water dog ⊲ MISTY MALARKY YING YANG – a Siamese cat ⊲ VICKY – a French poodle, PASHA – a Yorkshire terrier, and KING TIMAHOE – an Irish setter ⊲ MILLIE – a Springer spaniel ⊲ HEIDI – Weimaraner Answers: Liberty (Gerald Ford), Socks & Buddy (Bill Clinton), Macaroni (John F. Kennedy for Caroline), Rex (Ronald Reagan), Barney & Miss Beazley (George W. Bush), Him & Her (Lyndon Johnson), Bo (Barack Obama), Misty Malarky Ying Yang (Jimmy Carter for Amy), Vicky, Pasha, and King Timahoe (Richard Nixon), Millie (George Bush), Heidi (Dwight D. Eishenhower)

SCORE: SO, HOW’D YOU DO? ⊲ 1 to 3: Whew! You need to scoop up more knowledge. ⊲ 4 to 6: Good job. You deserve a rub behind the ears. ⊲ 7 to 10: You are historically pet smart. Walk with your head held high (but watch where you step). Source: presidentialpetmuseum.com


Potluck

1950

BY T H E D E C A D E

Potluck suppers have been a church and social group standard for longer than any of us can remember, and perhaps it’s fitting that the stories regarding the origin of the potluck dinner are as varied as the meals themselves. Now, admittedly, potluck recipes are often passed from generation to generation, but take a look at the timeline for a snapshot of what was commonly served in each decade. And here’s an etiquette tip for today: Bringing a bucket of the Colonel’s chicken is barely acceptable. Microwaveable food purchased at the local gas station — not so much.

1960

1950s: Melon balls, broiled grapefruit, the much maligned cheese ball, and tuna-noodle casserole — the dish that, apparently, will never go away. 1960s: Rumaki (chicken livers and water chestnuts skewered with a toothpick and wrapped in bacon), green bean casserole, fondue, casseroles featuring cream of mushroom soup, and Swedish meatballs (plus enough salt to skyrocket blood pressure).

1970

1970s: Ambrosia salad, three-bean salad, crackers with canned cheese (eee gads!), potato skins, and cantaloupe wrapped in ham or prosciutto. 1980s: Broccoli with cheese sauce, stuffed or fried zucchini, Buffalo wings, coconut shrimp, and gourmet popcorn.

1980

1990s: 7-layer dip, barbecued chicken pizza, sushi (doesn’t seem like a good idea), and kiwi-strawberry desserts. Source: Foodtimeline.org, Chowhound

“It would be nice if the FDA stopped issuing warnings about toxic substances and just gave me the names of one or two things still safe to eat.”

1990

– Robert Fuoss

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COLUMN: BOOMER HUMOR ILLUSTRATION: MCMILLAN DIGITAL ART /GETTY

Marie Armenia

Boomees Rule!

ast year, a Facebook friend of mine started a page and included me as a member. I faced a quandary: Did I want humanity to think I actually took the time to join the millionth “We Want the Old Facebook Page Back” or risk hurting her feelings by unliking it? Maybe I don’t want the old Facebook back. Maybe I want to keep my brain cells alert by learning to adapt to major Facebook changes every few weeks. If I want to be part of a club, I want to join it myself. I don’t like being included in a club I didn’t ask to join. Which brings me to this: Who asked to be part of a huge group of humanity called “Baby Boomers”? I, for one, did not. However, sociologists,

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demographers, and the media define Baby Boomers as those born between 1946 and 1964 — and that includes yours truly. The boom in babies was a result of thousands of men returning from World War II and starting families. This is understandable, but how long did those people need? Evidently, they needed 18 years. Really? Eighteen years? In 2012, the first Boomer turns 66 and the last Boomer hits 48. There’s a world of difference between someone who is 66 and someone who is 48. We’ve got people who grew up listening to Buddy Holly grouped with people who were newborns when the Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. Yet, whatever we do, we do as a group. Wherever we go, we go as a group.

booming babies for 18 years. Therefore, they are Boomers. We, their offspring, are “Boomees.” I don’t know why no one else has pointed this out. Do I have to do everything? I think I might have to start a Facebook page titled “We Are Boomees” and include all my friends without asking them. Whatever you call us, we’ve changed the world. Every seven seconds another Boomee turns 50, and we’ve decided that 50 is the new 40. We’re not getting old without a fight. “Boomees Rule!” And speaking of changing the world, when I was a little girl, I joined a chosen group and I was chosen. It’s not Boomers or Generations X, Y, Z. It’s a holy generation that I’m proud to be part of. “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,

We’ve decided 50 is the new 40. We’re not getting old without a fight. And may I bring up another issue? Technically, I’m a “Boomee,” not a “Boomer.” Let me explain. An employer creates jobs that the employee works at. The employer creates; the employee works at it. Our parents are the ones who were

His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9, NKJV). Marie Armenia is a gifted writer and songwriter who often speaks at women’s conferences.


More Living Goes to Work for Your Church Want to get Boomers engaged in discipleship and service? A GIVE THEM OPPORTUNITIES to do what they love as a

ministry rather than ask them to do what everyone else is doing. This preview edition of More Living will help Boomers in your church begin the journey to discover the unique plans God has for them in this season of life.

A ASK THEM TO BE INVOLVED in helping people personally rather than expect them to support people they don’t know or feel they can never know. Boomers are people people. More Living challenges them to serve in a personal way and also shows church staff how to get Boomers excited about discipling younger generations.

A ENCOURAGE THEM TO HELP BUILD MINISTRIES that develop relationships rather than put them on schedules to simply get tasks done.

The same old stuff won’t work with Boomers. More Living is a great idea source for developing new ministries that invigorate today’s largest and most influential generation.

A GIVE THEM PROBLEMS to solve rather than tasks to finish. Got problems? Your Boomers have solutions. More Living helps church leaders tap Boomer wisdom.

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I Am a Living Example of More. One week after my cancer surgery, I received an amazing quilt from my church. It’s the 47th one made by Gladeville Baptist’s Piece*Love*Quilt ministry, which is lovingly led by Sarah Craig. The quilt is a beautiful illustration of God’s perfect timing. Just 24 hours earlier, I’d learned my cancer had spread. But the expression of love and the prayers sewn into every stitch of my quilt gave me sweet peace. I knew Sarah and her team of quilters were lifting me up.   My quilt and I were inseparable throughout visits for radiation, chemo treatments, and countless trips to the doctor’s office. My fear was real and cold — not of physical death, but rather the side effects of cancer treatment: weakness, pain, brain fog, and nausea. But God continually showed me His peace is far greater than my fear. As I continually wrapped myself in my quilt, I claimed Psalm 23.  At times, I wondered if the hospital visits would ever end. But God used those visits for His glory. Other patients, doctors, and nurses often commented on my quilt, opening the door for me to witness to people I would not have otherwise known. My life has been enriched, and God has been glorified through the Piece*Love*Quilt ministry. I am now cancer free. Still, my quilt is always close by. A simple look or touch reminds me of God’s love, the power of prayer, and the love God’s people have for one another. I truly am a living example of the power of More. –Nancy Fricke, 65 See page 2 for the story of my friend, Sarah.

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I ntro duc I ng b e t h m o o r e’s

so Long, Insecurity

Group Experience The new So Long Insecurity, Group Experience guide is the perfect companion to beth moore’s bestselling book. beth encourages women of all ages to support one another in the struggle against crippling insecurity. now you and your friends can form a group and utilize the group experience on the journey to soul-deep security.

Great gift item!

Leader’s guide also available. Available at LifeWay christian stores or your local book retailer.


Coming September 2012

DO WHAT MATTERS LESS EXISTING,

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IT

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More Living encourages Boomers to accomplish great things for God; embrace the opportunity

I took money

MALE CALL!

homeless woman.

Need to

Why Guys

from a

7toQuestions ask in

TOUGH TIMES

MENTOR POWER

Get Muddy

younger generations; and so much . . . More.

A HUGE

Force for Good

in a World Gone Bad

What

(You Can Do This)

to go to the lost world for Christ’s sake; mentor

church leaders must know to

DO WHAT MATTERS

ENGAGE BOOMERS

Discover THAT THING God wired you to do... and use it to serve HIM

More Living gives church leaders the tools to fully engage Boomers in discipleship and service. It’s easy for your church to provide More Living. Buy in bulk and save.

005503578

LIFEWAY.COM/MORELIVING 1.800.458.2772


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