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check out th is issue o nline cham pionsc entre.c om


VISION

E X E C U T IV E P U B L IS H ER S

Kevin Gerald

Sheila Gerald

E DITOR- IN- C H IE F

Jodi Gerald-Cameron S E NIOR P ROJE C T MAN AG E R

Jen Mueller ART DIRE C TOR

Adam Welch, Hemisphere Design MARK E T ING & COMMU N I C AT I O N S

Tinia Nelson CONT RIB U T ING E DITO R S

Abbie Buck Andrea Dashiell Kim Ludwick Raelynn Poulin

Leslie Powell Elizabeth Quick Judi Shackett

CONT RIB U T ING P H OTO G R A PH Y

J. Hobson Photography CONT RIB U T ING GRAPH I C D E S I G N

Venessa Koehn

Mickey Elliott

CONT RIB U T ING WRIT E R S

Erik Van Alstine Sheila Gerald Corianne Cohee Nichole Moore Rachel Dillard Tasha Prince Annie Eshleman Philip & Holly Wagner DIST RIB U T ION

Kim Ludwick P RODU C E R

Champion Life Magazine is produced by Kevin Gerald Communications (KGC). KGC is a department of Champions Centre in Tacoma | Bellevue, WA, a non-profit organization. QU E ST IONS / COMME N TS / I D E AS

championlife@championscentre.com MAIL

Champion Life Editorial 1819 E. 72nd St. Tacoma, WA 98404

Visit championscentre.com for more information on weekly service times and our event calendar. 425 • 289 • 1878 253 • 475 • 6454 Follow us on Twitter @kevingerald @cctacoma @ccbellevue

Produced by Champions Centre Publishing © 2010. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without expressed written permission is prohibited and a violation of applicable laws. 2010 copyright Printed by Capitol City Press


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F E AT U R E S

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Life's Biggest Question by Kevin Gerald

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Speak Up by Sheila Gerald

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"Where there is no hope in the future, there is no power

For Better or For Worse by Philip & Holly Wagner

in the present."

- John Maxwell

IN EVERY ISSUE 3 Let’s Talk 1 0 Champions Foundation Update 1 2 Champion Finds

ABOUT US Champion Life Magazine purposes to equip people to live successful Christian lives.

2 2 Real Life Champions 2 4 K. Wise Winter 2010

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LET’S TaLK LET’S TaLK experience as you begin to ve lie be I r to a clea it is important I hope you have success in life, examples, but God xt r ne be re e u’ em th r yo m nded and re flies when lling vision fo e ou pe gr m tim ay co y st d sa an ey Th e says, ogress. Your ur life. The Bibl ing urce of your pr yo nn so of gi e th be on is e as ar se e ly I‘m having fun. W ide you not on people perish.” vision should gu “Without vision le g op a tin d pe ar in e w th pr to n of so t al with visio our fifth year to your goals, bu convinced that (CLM). d. You can read e in Go az in ag ith M fa fe er Li . ng ish ro on st ur pi flo m ha C ung women look o incredible yo e tw w t s e ou A us ab it? no of ve through you want is Can you belie grown their faith ve Knowing what ha ho it. w r e fo th k e st and se willing to as t in Champions unless you are back at the pa their involvemen ay: they w at th l at fu th erican English er w ns sformatio tion at the Am Words are po an da tr y un M le e. Fo ib lif ed or cr h in u deat age 10). No cited n either bring yo ex y in Bulgaria (p ca e em ar ad e k w Ac ea e, Sp ac in us how to have taken pl u find yourself wife, Sheila, tells matter where yo and also r the aged es fo ur liv r co on ou si en vi in be s h ill ea es Up for key ar and full of fr faith life, you w at ur th yo ds or w go after in speaking s great things never too late to how to prevent is ha it od at G th . re ). tu 14 fu ck (page you read the would set us ba your dreams as look forward to e w d an e of our own e, or st ing story of on ve our ng ha le al to l ch er el w ov as ld d ). ans unfo We are honore pions (page 22 rom watching His pl Real Life Cham Holly Wagner (f d an il Ph ds en fri ars. Center) de, a new year, the next five ye Oasis Christian It is a new deca in your life. a ”hisn and a new day provide us with hat is your visio W u? yo e t iv as you ct ou t pe ab en How Be confid and-hers” pers ing what it ow Kn ? re in all that tu d fu ar s e for th move forw on what it take important in is t an w u in this u yo yo r t is that God has fo e to have a grea believe to be on I t ha on! w g as ). in 18 se er e g answ upcomin e marriage (pag Questions (pag t es gg Bi ’s em fe of Li You can hear th ppen in a short al 4). A lot can ha s live at our annu ithin five year W e. tim of hip d perio MESH Relations scovered the di s bu m lu Co time, h Conference in , and both Nort Bahamas, Cuba e fiv February. ica. In less than and South Amer of are wrote nine years, Shakespe sion s. Maybe your vi his famous play e either of thos is different than

Winter 2010

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LIFE'S

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too many people are literally less alive due to a lack of vision

QUESTION


i

n 1954, a milkshake

rights to McDonald's and made it

hand, I've seen many people living

machine salesman

a household name. The difference

strong, weathering the storms of

between Kroc and the McDonald

life, pushing forward and sacrificing

visited a restaurant in

brothers was a simple difference of

to make a difference. They are so

vision. Kroc saw potential, while the

much more alive than those without

amazed at the quality of

McDonald brothers saw problems.

vision. Vision-centered people make

food and service at the small

The McDonald brothers didn't enjoy

me very happy as a pastor! I believe

drive-in, he said to the two

the financial rewards of the ham-

when a person’s vision is strong, he

burger empire built in their name,

or she is strong.

San Bernardino, California.

brothers who owned it, "i

mostly because they didn't want

have never seen anything

anything to take them away from

with this much potential. Why

their comfortable life.

don't you open more stores?" "Without a vision," Solomon said

There is perhaps no better example of vision in Scripture than the story of one of my favorite Bible people, Nehemiah, the great rebuilder of

3,000 years ago, "the people

Jerusalem. Nehemiah was a cup-

One brother pointed up to the hill

perish." Without something

bearer to Artaxerxes, the ancient

overlooking the restaurant. "See

greater to reach for in our mind's

king of Persia. But Nehemiah wasn't

that big white house with the wide

eye, there's little reason to reach

a Persian. He was a Hebrew. His

front porch?" he asked. "That's our

out and stretch ourselves! We

nation, Israel, had been destroyed

home and we love it. We sit out

won't leave our comfort zones. We

130 years earlier when king

there and watch the sunset and

don't find any drive for living at a

Nebuchadnezzar sacked Jerusalem

look down on our place here. It's

higher level and serving a greater

and took all the inhabitants into

peaceful. We don't need any more

purpose. In my more than 20 years

exile in Babylon. Then, when Cyrus

problems. We are in a position to

of ministry, I've seen too many

of Persia conquered Babylon about

enjoy life now, and that's just what

people who are literally less alive

50 years later, the new empire

we intend to do."

because of a lack of vision. “If you

became favorable to the Jewish

Who were these brothers? Mac

are bored with life, if you don’t get

exiles, giving them their freedom.

and Dick McDonald, owners of the

up every morning with a burning

Nehemiah grew up in this favor-

original McDonald's restaurant.

desire to do things," said college

able era—a free Jew in the Persian

And the milkshake machine sales-

football coach Lou Holtz, "you don’t

Empire, living a comfortable life as

man? Ray Kroc, who bought the

have enough goals.” On the other

a trusted servant to the king.

by Kevin Gerald

Winter 2010

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But unlike so many fellow Israelites who were happy making a living with their house on a

strong as they should be. Nehemiah’s vision

hill, Nehemiah had a vision that went beyond

for a flourishing House of God in a thriving

the satisfaction of his own needs. He wasn't

city of God burdened his heart and motivated

just a pew-warming churchgoer. His radio

him to pray for restoration.

station wasn't constantly tuned to WII-FM (What's In It For Me). No, his life was bigger How can you be a

than these small things. He had a heart to

vision builder if you

build the Kingdom of God. He was tuned in

keep thinking like

to WGW-FM (What's God Want For Me?). He

a cupbearer? You

saw the possibility of a better tomorrow for

have to take on the

God's people and was willing to sacrifice his

thinking of a builder.

life of luxury to bring that possibility to pass. Nehemiah Chapter One picks up the story:

I'm a builder, not a barrier. I'm a builder, not a blunder. I'm a builder, not a blabber. I'm a builder, not a breaker. I'm a builder, not a burden.

"one of my brothers came from Judah with some other men, and i questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. They said to me, 'Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.' When i heard these things, i sat down and wept. For some days i mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven."

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Nehemiah's "heart for the kingdom" showed through in Nehemiah Chapter Two: "i had not been sad in his [the king’s] presence before; so the king asked me, 'Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.' i was very much afraid, but i said to the king, 'may the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?' The king said to me, 'What is it you want?'" Think about the weight of this moment. Artaxerxes was the most powerful person in the world. He had all the resources of the Persian Empire at his disposal. It would be bigger than the President of the United States telling you he'd put the full power of the government behind anything you

The city of God was struggling. The people

wanted to do. It would be like having billions

of God were unprotected, weak, and dis-

of dollars and connections at your disposal.

graced. In the same way that Jesus mourned

Nehemiah could literally have anything that

over Jerusalem in the time of his ministry,

money and earthly power could warrant.

Nehemiah mourned that the people of God

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and the House of God weren't as glorious and


REaL

LiFE

a p p L i C aT i o n

I love how Nehemiah responds to this ques-

deeply rooted

tion, and I hope you have the same response

by Nichole Moore

for the purpose and vision God is calling you to. Nehemiah's first response was to seek God's purpose through prayer. Verse four says that right after Artaxerxes asked the question, Nehemiah "prayed to the God of heaven." Since God is the Creator and Author of all life, it only makes sense that He is the source of our purpose in life as well. Nehemiah's first response to Life's Biggest Question was to consider the will of God.

WHEN FRIENDS AND FAMILY COME TO VISIT US FROM out of town, typically their first comment is about the amazing trees we have in Washington. People are in awe many times of how majestic and mighty they stand, as if shouting their grandeur to the rest of creation. I often wonder if this is why King Nebuchadnezzar was compared to a tree in Daniel chapter four. He certainly had the image of strength and security, and he never struggled to project his importance to the rest of the world. Yet his vision of power, strength, and prosperity led him further from God, rather than toward Him.

What would your answer be to what could perhaps be called Life's Biggest Question?

But then Nehemiah does a second thing: he discerns the desires and purposes of his heart. Once we've submitted ourselves to God, we find that pure, godly dreams and aspirations start to rise up to the surface. "Delight yourself in the LORD," David said in Psalm 37:4, "and he will give you the desires of your heart." Just a few verses after Nehemiah prays to the God of heaven, we see him admitting where he found his answer to the king: "I had not told anyone," Continued on page 8 Âť

The vision for our life exists within the ongoing tension between what is now and what is in the future. Our vision can accelerate us towards the purposes of our tomorrows or stifle any progress. If we’re not careful, we, like Nebuchadnezzar, can rely too heavily on our man-made vision. This vision establishes the belief that it is our own strength, talents, gifts, and resources that accomplish our purpose. It provides for us a false sense of stability. In contrast, the life of the healthy believer is steeped in God-vision. The image of Him as the one who is far exalted above all things becomes the lens with which we view the rest of the things of our life. When God is the Most High in our lives, our vision is healthy. It becomes anchored through our faith and guides us towards our trust in God. In turn, our life becomes more like the majestic, flourishing trees of the Northwest. It is well established and deeply rooted in its dependence on God. It does not break in stormy weather. Instead, it adjusts to resistance and grows increasingly stronger. Nichole Moore is an active member of Champions Centre and an instructor at Wisdom for Life Leadership School. Whether teaching her students in the classroom or guiding her three children at home, Nichole believes each teachable moment is an opportunity to better understand who and where we are in our journey towards our Goddestined purpose.

Winter 2010

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he said, "what God had put in my

asked the king for help.

heart to do for Jerusalem." Did

"Then i prayed to the God of heaven, and i answered the king, 'if it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that i can

you catch the language here? Who put the purpose in his heart? God did. Why did Nehemiah weep for Jerusalem? Why such a burden for their restoration? Because God was at work. God had put purpose into Nehemiah's heart, purposes that were revealed in the sadness Nehemiah felt for Jerusalem. His weeping was a sign that there were deep desires in his heart, something planted by God and discerned through prayer and wisdom. Proverbs 20:5 declares that, "the purposes of a man's heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out." After Nehemiah first submitted himself to God's purposes in prayer, he checked his heart to discern God's purposes through wisdom, then acted on that purpose. He

rebuild it.'"

in prayer, discern the purpose He has planted in your heart, and boldly act on those purposes by asking, seeking, knocking, and working until those purposes come to pass. Which leads me to life's second biggest question: When are you going to get off your backside

Nehemiah could have asked for

and do something great for the

anything, but he asked for the ful-

Kingdom of God?

fillment of the Kingdom purposes. He pursued the godly aspirations of his heart, and "because the gracious hand of my God was upon me," Nehemiah declared, "the king granted my requests." No question that Nehemiah knew that God was the real giver behind the favor of the king. So to sum it up, the Nehemiah method for answering Life's Biggest Question is to find godly vision as you seek God's purposes

God is sovereign in the affairs of men. he has planted purpose deep inside your heart. and when God's purposes are at work inside of you, you can take comfort that those purposes will be fulfilled.

Kevin Gerald is the lead CHAMPION FIND ViSion BUiLdinG Insights from the Life of Nehemiah.

pastor of Champions Centre in Tacoma and Bellevue, WA. For great resources from Kevin, visit kevingerald.tv.

* Ray Kroc, Grinding it Out: The Making of McDonalds (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1977), p. 12.

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Initiative: EDUCATION ChampionsFoundation.com

The American English Academy, an international Christian school in Sofia, Bulgaria, has been given a platform to influence the nations through its teachers and students and to reach out to the local Bulgarian community.

Rachel Dillard

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a noTE FRom RaChEL

dance, or simply spend time talking

After five years in Bulgaria, my

with them.

view of life has been dramatically

I remember one visit to the orphan-

altered. I went to Bulgaria for what

age being devastating. Tausha, one

I thought would be a short nine-

of the other teachers, and I walked

month trip, only to fall in love with

in to see 150 orphans with little

the people, country, and school,

to no food available to them for

the American English Academy

the next few weeks. The orphan-

(AEA). Living in a foreign country

age kitchen had been broken into

and being a part of the AEA and

and robbed of its pots and pans,

its vision to impact young students

eating utensils, and food. One of

was a life-changing experience.

the orphans, Remi, told us he was

With children from more than 30

only given an egg and a piece of

nations represented within the

bread for the entire day. In an act

student body, each day was a cul-

of urgency, AEA partnered with

tural learning experience for every

the orphanage to provide eating

teacher and student alike. These

utensils for each of the children the

students are not only receiving an

next day. The orphanage director

excellent education but are also

was impressed by the school’s

being nurtured in a loving, Christian

generosity and eagerness to take

environment. Some of the most

immediate action. The following

influential moments during the

day, we visited during dinnertime

time I was in Bulgaria were watch-

and all the children proudly held

ing our students apply what they

up their spoons to show us as they

learned in school and seeing them

went to the sink to wash them.

become involved in the community.

I have never witnessed children

In preparation for field trips to a

who had so little express such an

local orphanage, students collected

abundance of joy over something

clothing, shoes, food, and money

as simple as a new spoon.

to reach out in love to the orphans

Since spending time in Bulgaria, I

who were in desperate need. One

have been inspired and challenged

of the biggest needs of the orphans

to look beyond myself and meet

is social interaction with peers out-

the needs of others. I make it my

side of the orphanage. Their faces

goal to find joy in even the most

lit up when our students arrived

basic aspects of daily life, even if it

to play soccer, draw pictures with

is just a spoon.

sidewalk chalk, teach English and


"an absolute inspiration to me is seeing young people discover their purpose and achieve their dreams." - Tausha

a noTE FRom TaUSha

eyes as he sat in his chair staring

Serving at the American English

at me. With deep confusion, he

Academy (AEA) in Sofia, Bulgaria

slowly raised his hand and said,

has given me the opportunity

“Ms. Tausha, what is Christmas?”

to see life and God's view of

Thinking that maybe this was

humanity in such a different way.

a translation error I quickly

Many of our students come from

responded, "Christmas is when

families of international business

we celebrate the birth of Jesus.”

leaders and ambassadors from

Again, he paused and looked at

other countries. At the same

me with a blank expression and

time, Bulgaria is a country of

said, “Ms. Tausha, who is Jesus?”

poverty as it is striving to recover

It took me a minute to gather my

from communism. It is a great

thoughts as I realized the sincerity

responsibility and honor to be in

of his question. This was the first

a position of influence in the lives

time I was face to face with a

and hearts of the next generation.

person who had never heard of

I was greatly impacted by Santoosh, a student from India, during my first year of teaching at AEA. My view of ministry was never the same after this encounter. I was preparing my 7th grade Life Skills Class to write a journal entry about their favorite Christmas memory. I will never forget the look in Santoosh’s

Christmas or the name of Jesus. My world was turned upside down that day and life began to have a greater purpose. Santoosh’s blank stare was seared in my mind as a permanent reminder of our calling to make the name of Jesus known on the earth. Mark 16: "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”

Tausha Prince

Champions Foundation is a nonprofit organization. Our mission is to inspire faith, hope, compassion and education through collaborative partnerships in our community and in the world.

Education Initiatives promote learning through innovative programs and scholarship funds. Learn more online at: ChampionsFoundation.com Winter 2010

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Champion FindS FindS Champion

“Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.� ~ Henry Miller

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253.475.6454 ext. 361 888.935.6914 kevingerald.tv

RESoURCE

YoURSELF

Pardon Me, I’m Prospering Book; 4 CDs; DVD Don’t feel like you need to apologize for having or wanting a blessed, prosperous life! This 10th anniversary edition reminds us that prosperity is a Bible word and is not something to be ashamed of in our lives.

Smart Goals 3 CDs In life, as in sports, you won’t go far unless you know where the goal is. Experience success in your life as you learn to set positive, smart goals that lead you into a place of God’s blessing!

God in the Box 3 CDs; DVD People often put God in a box created by their own concepts, lack of knowledge, bias, and personal preference. Be challenged as you are reminded that God is bigger than the boxes people put Him in.

Winter 2010

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SPEAK by SHEILA GERALD

O

ne thing I know for sure: Words are powerful. They can set the atmosphere of my whole world. I have learned throughout my life that our words are influential. The words you and I speak can be life-giving, encouraging, and even God-ordained seeds of motivation. And at the same time, words also have the power to completely detour the will of God in your life or mine. I believe each of us is called to speak up! But, what are you saying? We need to speak God’s purpose over our lives and nothing else. If you’re wondering what to say, or what to speak up for, here are some key areas in our lives where I’m encouraging you to use your voice.

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SPEAK UP

FOR YOUR HOUSE

I want you to think of “your house” in terms of your everyday life—the people you come in contact with, your family, and coworkers—along with your physical home and workplace. How do you respond to challenges as they come your way? Honestly, problems are inevitable, but the worst thing we can do is magnify our issues into a mountain with our words. Think about it like this: If we’re facing a dilemma on the job or with a spouse or the kids, the first opportunity we

You can use your voice to speak up for your world, and you can move mountains! get, we usually want to talk about OUR MOUNTAIN. We take it with us everywhere we go. We eat it for lunch. We toil over it and analyze it and let it seep into areas where it doesn’t belong. This is especially

true for all of the gals out there. It is almost as if we want everyone to know and share the frustration with us. We really have two choices. We can speak to move the mountain or we can speak to magnify it. There’s clearly a better choice between the two. Matthew 17:20 says, “…If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” How amazing is that?! We know the problem is there. The problem doesn’t fix itself if we refuse to acknowledge it or choose to magnify it, but we can make up our mind that we won't speak about the mountain unless we are COMMANDING it. That’s right, you and I have the ability to shrink our problem down to size. We have the choice to focus on the problem or focus on the solution. You can use your voice to speak up for your world, and you can move mountains!

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SPEAK UP

FOR YOUR HEART

What is your passion? One of my favorite quotes is from Mother Theresa: "We may just be one drop of water… but EVERY DROP makes an ocean." God has you strategically placed somewhere. You have a purpose, and tag – you're it! If you're breathing then God isn‘t through with you, and now is the time for you to use your voice for your passion. If you’re struggling to nail down your passion in life, take a look at a quote from TD Jakes. He says, "Whatever your misery, is your ministry." Wow! What a powerful thought! Ask yourself a few questions: • What makes you angry? • What keeps you up at night? • What struggle in your past has become your testimony of God’s mercy and grace? • Where do you ache to see the hand of God? In our economy? In broken marriages or hurting children? In helping AIDS orphans? If an answer is jumping out at you, write it down. in my own life, i’ve always had a passion to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. helping children and women who have been hurt or abused in some way moves me to compassion. in 2006, we were given the opportunity to open a home for orphans who have been effected by aidS in South africa. i spoke up for something in my heart—something i was passionate about! We decided to partner with people in our church and the community to begin Champions Foundation and purchase the home. The amazing thing is the local business owner from our church who helped us initially purchase the home looked me in the eye and said, “i have found my purpose for living—making a difference in the lives of these children.” at that point, i

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knew because i had spoken up for it—not only was i helping children, but we were helping other people fulfill their purpose in life. What is God prompting you to speak up for? Here’s the deal. You don't have to get up on the platform, or write your story in a magazine or book to live out your purpose or to reach thousands. Just look around your world and be aware of where God has placed you for such a time as this. One thing I often encourage people to do is to simply pay attention to the people in their world. For example:

What is God prompting you to speak up for?

• Be the person who smiles first. • Tell someone what you see in him or her today. • Mentor someone younger than you. • Compliment a friend (or stranger!) unexpectedly. • Refuse to go to bed angry (especially if you’re married and that anger is directed toward your spouse). Your life-giving words may be just the fuel a person needs to help him or her recognize where God has put them. Whether you see the outcome or not, if you’re a catalyst for someone else’s dream, then that is a job well done. Just remember to represent God well, always. Be open-minded and receptive to the possibilities… they are endless for us! Speak up for what’s in your heart and for those things you are passionate about. And remember, sometimes it’s just a matter of flipping the switch to illuminate what God has already put in you.


SPEAK UP

FOR HOPE

The Bible says we walk by faith and not by sight. Even when something seems impossible or unavailable we can speak to the possibilities. There is a popular worship song that we sing in our church with lyrics that say, “I don’t need to see it to believe it.” I love that line because I know that I really don’t need to see something before I believe in the possibilities. When doctors told me I couldn‘t have children, Kevin and I spoke up. We spoke hope into the life of our future family daily. Our faith told us that we would have children. When our daughter was born, we prayed the same prayer over her daily: “You are a woman of God. You are a leader, not a follower. No drugs, alcohol, or nicotine shall enter your body. No weapon formed against you shall prosper.” I even remember calling from the Philippines and speaking those affirmations over her, over the phone. When Jodi was young, I had a mom come up and ask me, “How can you be so arrogant to say those things?” Some people cannot comprehend how I could proclaim the things I saw for her future so confidently. The bottom line is, I was speaking up for hope.

Don’t let your dreams stay dormant. Give them a voice.

“If you have FAITH NOTHING will be

impossible for you."

What are you hoping for? What are your dreams? What we say today will be the harvest we walk in tomorrow. Don’t let your dreams stay dormant. Give them a voice. Faith will carry you. We all have the ability to speak up—into our own lives and into lives of the people God has placed in our world. Never underestimate the plan God has for you. If you’re not sure when to speak up in your world, or what to say, He knows. You just have to listen! Sometimes, He’s already spoken into our world and it’s just a matter of shedding light on what has already been said. Get your expectations up! If you are expecting a revolution of God’s will, He will deliver, whether it be in a passing conversation with a local barista, a newspaper headline screaming out to you, or the impeccable timing of a Sunday sermon. Grab a pen, and prepare your voice. You must be ready.

Sheila Gerald lives to ignite and illuminate purpose to people she meets everyday. Sheila is the co-lead pastor of Champions Centre and is the co-founder of Champions Foundation.

- Matthew 17:20


by Philip & Holly Wagner WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO HAVE

their marriages. I’ve seen people

a great relationship? In this day

turn their lifeless or disappointing

and age, is it even possible any

marriage around. What looked

more? We have been married for

like a relationship headed for a

25 years, and although we have

‘train wreck’ became a fulfilling

Excerpt from GodChicks and the Men They Love

had struggles and challenges, we and wonderful relationship. In have a great relationship today.

every relationship that works

I have also coached others on

there are a few similar qualities.

Winter 2010

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honoring your spouse If you are married and are wondering what’s missing in your marriage – it could be honor. If you want to breathe some life back into a stalled relationship – add a dose of genuine honor into your marital diet. Demonstrate how important they are to you by honoring them their strengths, their goals, and their feelings. Recognize their fears, the situations that make them hesitate, and instead of criticizing them - honor them. Accept their likes and dislikes because you accept them. You admire them. A great way to express honor is to communicate admiration. What famous person would you like to meet? Who is impressive to you? Who would you see in a crowd that would make you – take a breath in – ‘uhhh’ – “Look who’s over there!” I got to meet Michael Jordan in person one time. You have to realize, MJ was a hero to me. I loved watching him play basketball. I enjoyed hearing about his story off the court and on the court. In my opinion, he was a ‘once in a lifetime’ kind of basketball player. He was filming the movie Space Jam

FROM PHILIP

and had a temporary gym erected in a large tent on the back lot in Burbank. Some friends had access to the tent and invited me along. I was introduced to Michael and we shook hands and exchanged some casual greetings. Are you kidding me? I just met Michael Jordan! I was trying to look very cool on the outside but on the inside - I was pumped! I told everyone about that moment. It was such an honor to meet MJ. I admired him.

Because you and your husband are not two clones, you will have differences…and the differences will create conflict. And when handled 20

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Who is that someone, that would on some level cause you to go “wow!”? It seems like a natural response to react that way to someone famous, but it’s actually much more important that we honor those who we love and are building a relationship with.

Without honor, every relationship begins to die.

That was several years ago and he doesn’t call me anymore … Actually, he never called me. I never see him. Basically, I have no relationship with him. But I did meet him and we spoke. And I realized, sadly, I could easily express more honor for MJ to my friends than I would of my own wife sometimes.

The woman, who I want to spend the rest of my life with, often did not get the honor due her, from me, the man who had promised to cherish her. But, it seemed I could give honor to MJ all day long – who has never even called

valuing your differences Recently I read this science fiction book about clones….very cool. This young girl had been cloned and so grew up with three other girls just like her. They all had the same name, same personality, same movements, and lived the same life. There were no differences to create conflict.

me. I recognized that I needed to put some of that same enthusiastic honor into my relationship with my wife.

maturely, is a very good thing. Conflict can deepen a relationship and sharpen us as individuals, making us stronger as a couple. A couple’s ability to deal with differences is a sign of their maturity. Children demand that others agree with them. Immature couples do the same. A husband calls his wife ‘selfish’ and has a tantrum when his wife does not see things his way. Or a wife gets discouraged when things aren’t

My suggestion is that you put some effort into honoring someone you will be doing life with; you know, that person who is looking to you for love and respect. Honor them with some of the same passion you would show to a celebrity – a celebrity whom you will probably never have a relationship with. Without that injection of honor, every relationship begins to die – just a little every day.

FROM HOLLY

perfect and withdraws in resignation that "we’ll just never see eye to eye". Such spouses will not be able to live in the tension that the other person won’t change his or her mind, and they may become the prey of intruders who agree with them. Philip and I have been married 25 years, and most of them have been great. Although there were moments when I wondered if we would make it another year. Dealing with our


differences was probably the biggest challenge we had to deal with. And honestly, we still deal with it. Because he is still who he is, and I am still who I am. We have certainly grown over the years, but we will never be different people. I will only ever be a better version of me. I will never be him. I have talked to hundreds of couples over the years, and there has not been one couple, who at one point in their relationship, did not say, “We are just too different. We have irreconcilable differences.” Well, duh! We all have differences. Honestly, you wouldn’t have been attracted to someone who wasn’t different than you. I think God watches us as we are dating, and thinks, “This is going to be fun!” Marriage is a lifelong process of learning to love the differences. When I have asked couples who have been married under 15 years what they would change about their spouse, they usually have a list. And when I ask couples who have been married longer than 40 years the same question, they usually say that they wouldn’t change a thing. What happened? I think if we can work through the challenge of understanding the differences, we will grow to love where we are different.

When we are dating, we might notice the differences, but we don’t see that they could ever be a challenge. Because we are "in love." That brain-dead state, where reality is not within reach. This is the time in a relationship where you will go to every sporting event known to man, just because you want to be with him. This is the time when he will take you to chick flicks, and say things like, “I could hold you forever.” He can do no wrong. All of this feels great... this cloudy, in love, euphoric feeling. Awesome. And experts say it can last about two years. Mature love is what you do when the exciting, euphoric feelings aren’t there. We must move into mature love, which is so much stronger and doesn’t rely on a cloudy feeling. If we don’t, then when the euphoric feeling is not there, we leave or withdraw, maybe divorce, hoping to find that feeling again. So what are the differences we must learn to deal with?

We all have “irreconcilable differences.” All of us. There are plenty of differences that can divide. I am encouraging you to see them as bringing strength to the whole. Yes, there are differences. But perhaps what needs to happen is that we look for where we are similar. If we continue to focus on where we are different, we can get frustrated, or make the other wrong. So how about focusing on where you are the same. Recently I wrote down a list of our differences, and then a list of where we are the same. The list of our similarities was much longer. Maybe that is where we need to keep focused!

Marriage is a lifelong process of learning to love differences.

Differences in gender. Differences in backgrounds. Differences in personality. So many differences. I am not sure Philip and I could be any more different.

PHILIP AND HOLLY WAGNER co-pastor the Oasis Christian Center – a growing, relevant, multi-cultural, multi-generational church located in the heart of Los Angeles. Together they have taught many relationship seminars around the world and are committed to healthy marriages, especially their own! They love spending time with their two young adult children, Jordan and Paris, and enjoy seeing them fulfilling God’s purpose for their lives.

Winter 2010

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y life started off with all of the potential in the world. My parents were very much in love with each other and with God, and were very involved in the local church. But that all changed because of one poor decision. When I was four years old, my parents felt offended by their pastors. They allowed themselves to become bitter and left their church in search of another, better church where they wouldn’t be offended. But, of course, there is no perfect church, so our family was never again firmly planted in the House of God. The following three years were a steady decline into fighting and chaos in my home, which ended with my dad leaving my mom. There was a real lack of protection in both of my parents' homes, and before I turned eight I was exposed to things that no child should be exposed to, such as violence and sexual abuse. As a teenager, I struggled with my own identity and would party on the weekends to fit in. I lost my virginity when I was 15 to someone who I didn’t care about, and later that same year I began a relationship with a 24-yearold man. Looking back, I can see that I wanted him to save me from my life. When I realized that he couldn’t save me, I turned to excessive drinking and

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REaL LiFE ChampionS REaL LiFE ChampionS

n a m ShLE

E E i ann

"I was able to show God’s love and strength and use it as

drug use. I was anxious and depressed

wasn’t. I had some serious addictions

and seriously considered suicide

and “mind monsters” that needed to

a time of ministering

several times.

be healed. A couple of years after I got saved, I was healed of depression and

to my family."

One day, I met my future husband, Jerry. He was different from all of the guys I had dated before, and I fell head over heels in love with him. I followed him to Los Angeles after I graduated at the age of 17. But, L.A. wasn’t the

the heart murmur during a service at church. I dumped my anti-depressants down the sink drain and haven’t had an episode with the murmur since. Slowly, but surely, God worked on me and has

best environment for a depressed and

made me who I am today.

broken girl. It didn’t take long for the

Now when I face challenges I am able to

stress and drug use to catch up with

handle them God’s way. When my mom

me. One day, while making a bank

was diagnosed with cancer, it was one

deposit for my employer, I passed out

of the hardest things I had ever been

standing in line at the bank. I went to

through, but it was also an incredible

the cardiologist and was diagnosed

time for me to grow in my faith. I was

with an incurable heart murmur. That

able to show God’s love and strength

was just another thing I didn’t know

and use it as a time of ministering to

how to cope with.

my family. My step-father and sister

September 11, 2001, was a day that

were both saved in the process. I have

changed my life. It scared me so much that I told Jerry that we had to go to church that Sunday. We went and I learned about a God who loves me and accepts me no matter what I’ve done wrong. That weekend Jerry and I got saved and started going to church every Sunday thereafter. I’d like to say that my life was perfect immediately, but it

forgiven my parents and other offenders for my past and have now taken responsibility for my future. My husband and I moved back to Washington and are now planted and involved at Champions Centre Bellevue Campus. I thank God every day for saving me, and believe there is no greater cause on the planet than the cause of Christ.

Winter 2010

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k.WISE Ready or not, change happens. Change imposes itself on you. It doesn't wait for you to be ready. It doesn't ask you for permission to come into your life. But, change is not a bad word. The truth is, when we move forward with vision for our lives we discover that change is a natural by-product. The question is, "How will you respond to it? What kind of attitude will you have toward it?" Here are some ways to thrive in the season of change because none of us can stop change from happening: 1. Don't get stuck in a time or season of life. I’ve heard it said, “Yesterday’s excellence is today's mediocrity and tomorrow’s failure.” In Isaiah 43:19 it says, "God is into new things and if you want to experience God in the present you can't linger in the past!" People sometimes remain in yesterday, but God doesn't stay there. God is doing something new in your life right now. 2. Realize that change is supposed to happen. When change happens people assume that something is wrong, but change is not just an indicator that something's wrong. I believe life isn't supposed to stay like it is. Change is supposed to happen. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity (or purpose) under Heaven." God's will and purpose is fulfilled within the context of times and seasons and transition.

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3. Recognize change as an opportunity for personal growth. One of the reasons change is supposed to happen is for us to grow and transform. The metamorphosis of life develops our character and makes us strong. Changes in life bring changes in you! 4. Stay positive about change. When God was transitioning the nation of Israel, the greatest challenge was getting them to think positively throughout the season of change. They grumbled about all of the changes occurring and complained that nothing was like it used to be. If you keep your attitude positive, God will take you through the difficult transitions and bring you through to a better place.


W

I

T

H

VISION there is

NO ROOM TO BE

frightened, no reason for

intimidation da dation . It’s time to

MARCH

FORWARD! let’s be CONFIDENT

&

POSITIVE.


Champion Life Magazine Winter 2010  

CLM's Purpose is to Equip People To Live Successful Christian Lives. Winter 2010 issue features: Life's Biggest Question - Kevin Gerald, Spe...

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