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November / December 2020

RICK

Chromey

Faith, grace & creativity

THE

Mountain A fall, a message, a rescue

MICHELLE

Alden

Once a foster child

SHEPHERDS

& Wise Men Two nights in Bethlehem

Rick Chromey is founder and president of MANNA! Educational Services International


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Keeping Christ in the Center of your Holidays

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Contents November / December 2020 “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” — Psalm 56: 3 NIV

FEATURES Michelle Alden: Once a foster child

Boise Angels:

Aid to kids and families

Volume 9, Number 6

8 10

Publisher Sandy Jones christianlivingmag@gmail.com 208-703-7860

Cover Story —

Foster care informational meetings set 11 Rick Chromey: Saved by grace Interfaith group plans no-contact food drive 11 (and creativity)

International nativities The Days of Noah – to be showcased 11 Part I: Darkness on earth

Bethlehem:

Two epic nights

The Lunds:

A family of writers

The mountain: A fall, a message, a rescue

COLUMNS 5 6 14

16

18 24

The ‘what if’s’:

Lessons from Scripture

Ordinary to extraordinary: David’s story

Loneliness:

Coping techniques

20 28

30 34 35

Choosing to Love: The don’t do’s

Dots: 22 God From America to Tonga

Mom Keep Calm: Your child’s world

Get To!”®: 37 “I Offer kindness

Real Man’s Toolbox: Building relationships

DEPARTMENTS

Faith: 32 Challenging Culture war

on Business: 38 Understanding 12 Spotlight The Ashley Inn Relationships: Daily Bread: 23 Your Shine your light

Health: 36 Maximum What are obesogens?

IN EACH EDITION 4

It isn’t algebra

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Editor Gaye Bunderson Submit story ideas, article submissions & press releases editorgaye@gmail.com Sales & Marketing Kimberly McMullen kim.bcliving@gmail.com 208-703-7509 • Katy Nelson katy.bcliving@gmail.com 503-816-3042 • Scott McMurtrey scott.bcliving@gmail.com 208-841-4583 Cover Photo Steve Jones Graphic Design Denice King www.greentreedkdesign.com 208-918-5190 Contributors Daniel Bobinski, Jim Day, Roxanne Drury, Joan Endicott, Terry Frisk, Leo Hellyer, Jason Herring, Janet Lund, Jessica Lund, Joel Lund, Rosie Main, Gary Moore, Steve Nelson, Stanley Popovich, Bethany Riehl, Bradley Shotts & Samantha Tovalin Website Design SEO Idaho Distribution D&S Distribution 208-985-6904 Christian Living is committed to encouraging and instructing individuals in their daily lives by presenting stories of people in the Treasure Valley who are living on a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ and who serve as uplifting examples to others. Views expressed in Christian Living do not necessarily represent those of the publisher. Every effort has been made by Christian Living to insure accuracy of the publication contents. However, we do not guarantee the accuracy of all information nor the absence of errors and omissions; hence, no responsibility can be or is assumed. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2020 by Christian Living Ministries Inc. Christian Living is published every other month and is available in over 600 locations throughout the Treasure Valley and Twin Falls, including grocery stores, convenience stores, medical waiting areas, and churches. If your church would like additional copies please email us today at christianlivingmag@gmail.com Annual subscriptions available for $12/year. To start your subscription or give one as a gift send your check or money order, along with complete address information, and a phone number to call in case there’s questions about your subscription to Christian Living Magazine, PO Box 867, Meridian, ID 83680.

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Christian Living | November / December 2020 3


PUBLISHER’S Corner

Singing His praises all the day long

to simply spend time with Him. What a refreshBy Sandy Jones ing change. My stress and anxiety levels are A wise man recently shared with me that if considerably less than they’ve been in years. you only have 10 minutes to pray, use the first 8 I’m not suggesting that everyone give up to pray through worship and use words for the their prayer life, nor saying that I’m giving up remaining 2. mine. Quite the contrary – if anything, this has He was not proposing that was how anyone’s turned my worship time into additional prayer prayer life should look all the time, but if one time. I feel like I have a new understanding was limited on time, and needed to feel truly of Philippians 4:6: “Be anxious for nothing, connected, this might be an optimal solution. but in everything by prayer and supplication, It’s no secret that I love what I do. I’m paswith thanksgiving, let your requests be made sionate about Christian Living Ministries – all known to God.” of it – every single facet of all the ministries To say that 2020 has been a unique year that fall under our main title. But the fact of would be an understatement. It’s been a year of the matter is, somedays I feel like I’m meeting uncertainty, of strife, of things we would never myself coming and going. Sandy Jones have imagined a year ago. I know I was not the I had been talking with this gentleman about only one who was amazed by how fast things my prayer life, and how somedays I am so excited that I jump dramatically changed. And yet, by giving God the glory, I’ve into ministry with both feet, and find myself neglecting my found peace. The peace He promises. personal relationship with The Lord. Most definitely not what “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give I want my prayer life to look like. to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled I decided to take his advice and modify it slightly. Instead and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27 of turning on the television in the morning while I’m getting As we go into the holiday season I pray for you, our readers, ready for the day, I now turn on a worship playlist I’ve built to find His peace. When the enemy distracts you with things of over time (funny how this streaming service remembers all the this world, I pray you’ll turn to worshipping God, The Father, songs I’ve ever looked up to play). The Prince of Peace, The Alpha & Omega, The Bright MornI find myself belting out longtime favorites, as well as some ing Star, the rider known as Faithful and True, whose name is new ones, while powdering my nose and curling all of this The Word of God. hair! I sing genuine praises to God. Sometimes I try to imagI cannot forget to ask you to please frequent our advertisers. ine what it would be like to be right there, in Heaven, praising Without them, we couldn’t do Christian Living Magazine. And Him with my whole heart! if you have time, tune into Christian Living Spotlight, our new Funny thing is – all those long lists of prayer requests that radio show, Saturdays at noon on 94.1 FM The Voice, to see I’ve always had, some of which I’ve prayed over and over, evwho’s in this week’s “spotlight.” ery single day – suddenly I’m seeing answers to those prayers, Until next time… while others I no longer feel the burden of need to pray over. God Bless! n Some days I go into prayer and find that all I want or need is

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CHOOSING to Love

Select a ‘do’ to replace a ‘don’t do’

Let me illustrate. The importance of choosing a “do” to replace a “don’t do” came to me in a story about one of the best pitchers in the history of Major League Note: At the beginning of the year I decided to use this Baseball, Warren Spahn. Let’s go back to the 1957 space to focus on God’s greatest command. If you’re conWorld Series, and in Game 4, Spahn was one out away necting with this series for the first time and would like to from winning the game for his team, the Milwaukee read the earlier columns on this topic, I encourage you to Braves. It was the top of the ninth and the Braves were visit Christian Living’s website to read the whole series. ahead 4 to 1, but two men were on base for the New Visit https://www.christianlivingmag.com/columns/ York Yankees, and respected slugger Elston Howard was at the plate with a full count. When asked, Jesus said the greatest command is, Spahn’s manager came out to the mound. He said “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and only one sentence: “Whatever you do, don’t throw him a high with all your soul and with all your strength.” Then outside pitch.” As the manager walked away, the only he immediately volunteered more information, saywords flashing through Spahn’s mind were “high” and ing, “And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor “outside.” And that was the next pitch Spahn threw. as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on Howard swung on it for a home run and tied the game. these two commandments.” Although the Braves eventually went on to win the Daniel Bobinski In modern society, the concept of love often corregame and the series itself, Spahn shared this story lates to having warm fuzzies for someone. This is not throughout the years, questioning why someone would what Jesus meant. Thankfully, the Apostle Paul gave us an itemized motivate another person to do something by giving them a mental picdefinition of “love” in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, and that definition is a ture of what they didn’t want. list of verbs – things we are to DO. I don’t know why the Apostle Paul didn’t follow Warren Spahn’s advice As we work through these verbs, note that in some places Paul (yes, that was humor), but as we go through the verbs in 1 Corinthians 13, tells us what to do, (e.g., be patient, be kind), but also what not to do sometimes Paul tells us what not to do. When that happens, I believe it’s (don’t envy, don’t boast, don’t be proud, etc.). best to seek God and identify an action He might have us do in its place. I strongly believe one key to living a life of agape love is underOptions will always exist, but I believe choosing any godly behavior and standing that nature abhors a vacuum. In other words, we need to focusing on that will be better than relying only on a “don’t do ‘x’.” choose a “do” to replace a “don’t do.” Continued on page 7 By Daniel Bobinski

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“For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” Psalms 100:5

Christian Living | November / December 2020 5


REAL Man’s Toolbox

Make 2021 a year for building relationships By Leo Hellyer 2020 is almost a thing of the past – finally – and 2021 is approaching quickly. As Christian men, we have an opportunity to focus our efforts on exploring new relations and how that can affect the society around us. Instead of harboring ill will or misunderstanding about people who believe differently than us, or who we do not understand for whatever reason, we need to be building relationships. Through relationships, communication, understanding and empathy can take place. “Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” – Colossians 3:14

and use diplomacy in bringing about change. As more and more interpersonal relationships are built, the better our nation will become. We have a lot of past mistakes and injustices to move past as a nation, and maybe as individuals. I think that we need to learn from our past, and move from our past, but I don’t think that it is wise to destroy the history of our past generations and pretend it does not exist. To move forward, we need to know where we came from.

“So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” – Romans 14:19

Let’s begin praying now that 2021 will be the year Relationships are how unity is built up. When we that our nation truly comes to God. Let’s pray for are in relationship with someone, we respect them Leo Hellyer leadership that seeks God’s direction as they make and their opinion, even if it does not align perfectly decisions. Let’s pray that God will use each of us, with our opinions, background, and politics. After doing whatever it is that He wants us to do, wherever He wants us to all, we are all Children of the Living God. God loves all of us. He do it, to bring a revival to our nation. God will probably take some doesn’t like everything we do, but He loves us. All of us. of us out of our “comfort zones,” but we will be better off for it. God has a wonderful plan for us as individuals, and for the United “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to States as a nation, in 2021. We may not fully understand His plan, one another in honor.” – Romans 12:10 but we must remember, He is in control. I believe that part of His plan is for His When we have established a relationship people to rise up and be heard and seen. with someone, we are more inclined to Throughout 2020 we have heard and treat them with respect and brotherly seen a lot from those who wish to delove. We are more likely to have tough, stroy much of what has been built. honest, and challenging conversaI sense God calling His people. For tions while actually listening to us to be seen and heard, we must each other’s thoughts and feelings figuratively tear down the walls bebecause we have invested time and tween us and those who would like energy into the relationship. If we to physically tear down the walls of are living out our Christianity, we our communities. will have a number of friends who We need to build bridges that span are not Christian. If we are striving the chasm that separates us. Once to be more and more Christ-like evagain, this can only be done through ery day, we won’t just huddle around relationship, love, and compassion. We other believers; we will also reach absolutely must have prayer warriors, out to the lost. When Jesus was on the but we also must get out of our church Earth, He sought out the less fortunate, buildings and prayer closets and be seen the hurting, the lonely, the prostitute, and heard, presenting the truth, hope, and and the challenged. power of God Almighty throughout our We need to build relationships with all communities. of the people God brings across our path. We are called to be united and unified. Once These meetings are not just coincidences; again this is best done through building relationthey are Divine Appointments. If you see things ships with those who cross our path. around you that you do not like or agree with, then take steps to bring about change. Christian “… walk in a manner worthy of the calling with men bring about change through relationship, unwhich you have been called, with all humility and derstanding, prayer, compassion, and involvement. We gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in are God’s hands and feet on this Earth. love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond God created mankind to have relationship with Him. If of peace.” – Ephesians 4:1-3 n we are in relationship with God, then we will want to also be in relationship with others He has created and loves. When we Leo Hellyer is a non-staff pastor with a local church and has been married encounter people around us who have different beliefs, priorities, to his wife Norma for more than 45 years. The couple volunteered with the motivations, or commitments, we need to respond to them as God responds to us. God unconditionally loves us, even though He doesn’t Boise FamilyLife Ministry Team for 20 years. Leo has also been serving with like some of the things we do. We can love our brothers and sisters Boise Rescue Mission Ministries for 20 years and is currently serving at the even while we don’t like some of what they do or believe. River of Life Rescue Mission. He is president and chief firearms instructor Although the United States as a whole has some issues, we still live with Helping Hands Firearms Training LLC. If you have questions about in the greatest nation in the world. As Christian men of God, we Real Man’s Toolbox, or need other assistance, Leo may be reached at need to do everything that we can to build our nation up. We need to silverplate426@msn.com or 208-340-5544. build and not destroy. We need to communicate in love, cooperate,

Image by iXimus from Pixabay

6 November / December 2020 | Christian Living

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Select a ‘do’ Continued from page 5

In “does not envy,” the Greek word for envy is zẽloõ, which means “to burn with zeal.” The word can be used in a positive or a negative context, but it’s fair to say Paul wants us to avoid the negative aspects, which, according to the Greek, mean be heated or to boil with envy, hatred, or anger. I should note that Paul’s use of “envy” (a verb) is different from when God says He is a jealous God (an adjective). The Old Testament Hebrew word translated as ‘jealous’ (‘qanna’) means God is someone who bears no rival. He is, after all, the Relational Righteous Ruler of the Universe and has no equal. Thus, the Hebrew word translated jealous and the Greek word translated envy are two distinctly different things. So, if we’re not supposed to “boil with envy,” what should we do instead? Remember, our choice should align with the character of Jesus. When I teach this, I ask people to identify situations in which they get envious. In my own retrospection, I realized that I got envious when I wanted something before someone else could get it. And with that envy came anxiety – another trait that isn’t of the Lord (“be anxious for nothing” – Philippians 4:6a). For example. Years ago, I would look through the Craigslist “free” section for something I might be able to use. Oftentimes those ads say, “It’s in the front yard, we’ll remove this ad once it’s gone.” If I wanted an item, I’d zip over to pick it up. One day someone was giving away some bicycles. I knew someone who was in the market for bikes, so I hurried over to pick them up, and I was anxious the entire way. As you might

guess, when I got to the address, someone was already loading the bikes into their truck. I’m ashamed to say it, but I was heated with envy. “If only I hadn’t hit those red lights!” Later, when contemplating “love does not envy,” I thought, what could I do differently? I realized my action (envy) was a choice, and an alternative choice could be to celebrate someone else being blessed. It’s more than merely accepting I don’t get something. In my heart, I genuinely celebrate someone else being blessed. And it feels good. So celebrating is now my alternative to envy. Remember, God is our example. He’s not envious of us, but He certainly celebrates us. I believe that choice also aligns with Philippians 4:6. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (emphasis added) Pray about it. What is your choice to replace envy? I encourage you to celebrate God, and also the achievements and possessions of your friends and neighbors. And whatever God has chosen to give us, we can celebrate with a heart of thanksgiving. In so doing, we’re living a life of love. n Daniel Bobinski, M.Ed. is an award-winning and best-selling author and a popular speaker at conferences and retreats. Reach him at daniel@eqfactor.net or (208) 375-7606.

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Christian Living | November / December 2020 7


MICHELLE Alden

How her past shaped her future career

Michelle Alden owns five horses and ultimately wants to become an equine therapist. She currently works as a licensed professional counselor, marriage and family counselor, and adoption and attachment specialist. (Courtesy photo)

No one walks alone . w w w. p a t h p re g . o rg

By Gaye Bunderson Michelle Williams-Alden didn’t have so much of an “Aha! moment” as a “What? moment” – in fact, she had two of them. Alden was adopted from foster care at age 6½. What she didn’t realize was how much that experience was shaping her decisions as she grew up. “When I was adopted, it was all about wanting to fit in and belong,” she said. It wasn’t until she volunteered to work with Royal Family Kids’ Camps in 2001 that she realized there was something behind her motivation that she hadn’t put her finger on before. The Royal Family Kids’ Camps are for abused, abandoned and neglected children in the foster care system. “It’s funny. It wasn’t until I started working at the camp that I thought, ‘These are my people,’” Alden explained. But, she said, that thought was followed by a “What?,” as if it hadn’t really occurred to her before. The same thing happened when she told her mom she was going to volunteer with Royal Family Kids. “Mom said, ‘Of course you are.’ I thought, ‘What?’ I didn’t know how my past was affecting me.” Alden is now 54 and actively involved, both professionally and personally, with helping troubled children, families in crisis, and children who have been in and out of foster care. “I started out working with foster and adopted kids and then working with adoptive families. I now work with any parents wanting help with challenging kids, but many adoptive families are referred to me,” she said. “I’m still very passionate about helping adoptive families.” Though her biological family members were not Christian, Alden nonetheless formed her own sense of the spiritual, even as a young child. “I remember always knowing who God was; I was always sensitive to praying and listening to Him. I knew Jesus from a young age and had always thought that God was taking care of me,” she said. When she was adopted, it was by a family of believers, a fact that has helped sustain her faith. Her involvement with Royal Kids solidified her career goals, and she started doing research on abandoned and neglected children to find out how to help the kids she was working with at the camp. By then, she had already earned a bachelor’s degree in religious education and worked as a youth pastor as a teen and as a young woman in her 20s. In 2002, she founded and directed her own nonprofit called Isaiah’s Ranch. Located in Idaho City, the ranch hosts an annual free, faith-based camp for children. “What got me into my current work is that I was training volunteers to work with the kids at Isaiah’s Ranch,” Alden said. Increasingly, she felt motivated to help families with kids who were suffering difficult emotional and mental states, and she earned a master’s degree in family therapy. But it wasn’t all about books and degrees for her. In 2015, she went hands-on and adopted a son, Ethan.

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“He came to me in 2013 and started living with me then,” Alden said. The adoption was finalized before her marriage to her husband, Scott. Now she has five biological children, a stepdaughter, and Ethan. She also has 3 grandchildren, with another on the way as of this writing. One of her pivotal programs is one she conceived and launched herself: Family First. Family First works to keep children in the home and is a program that is part of Alden’s family therapy practice, Healthy Foundations. “I have a big heart for kids, especially those who are often overlooked or misunderstood. I know this first-hand, as I was once a hurt child, separated from my siblings and later adopted,” she said. “I believe that a child’s family is key in restoring hope and safety and resolving past hurts and disappointments. The kids are going to have the most benefit from being with their families – family is a curative agent.” In her private practice (in all, she is a licensed professional counselor, marriage and family counselor, and adoption and attachment specialist) people come to her office. But what is unique about Family First are its online and in-home components. “We do intensive in-home therapy, and we work with agencies that work with families. We work with Optum Idaho so Medicare funding is available to families that need it. “It’s lonely when you have a kid with (emotional) disabilities. It takes a different skill set to parent kids from hard places. But as a parent, you are the best healing agent for your child.” Anyone may use her counseling services, but she said she sometimes gets questions from believers wanting to know how the program fits in with Scripture. “It aligns with biblical principles; it’s trust-based,” she said, pointing out trust – and specifically trusting God – is an essential element in a Christian’s walk. That trust is important, too, in relationships between parents and children.

Alden only temporarily stopped doing in-home therapy after the outbreak of COVID-19. “As a mental health professional, I felt I needed to be available to families. We are sensitive to what a family needs; we follow the protocol the family feels comfortable with. It’s structured, but in a way that works for that family.” Alden is also a published author, having written a series of books about faith and family. She won the Angels in Adoption Award in 2011 for a book she wrote titled, “From the Inside Out,” about adopting a child from foster care. The award is handed out by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, and Alden said of the honor, “It means a lot to me.” Other achievements include: • A work-in-progress named New Hope Ranch LLC. She and her husband currently live on property they call New Hope Ranch, and they have big plans for the site. “It’s just starting, but I eventually want to help people out on the ranch. We’re developing it as a place where people will be able to find hope and healing,” said Alden. • Helping out with a new startup church in Boise named RiverHills Vineyard Church. It has somewhat been a casualty of COVID-19, as they aren’t able to meet as they’d like, but interested people may go to www.riverhillsvineyard.com or visit them on Facebook. The pastor is Jeremy Graves. “We want to be Jesus in the community – BE the church, not just a building people go to,” Alden said. • Working on a doctorate in Human Services Leadership. • And oh yes, in her spare time, she rides horses (she has five of them) and has trained to ultimately become an equine therapist. Said her husband Scott, “This is just the tip of the iceberg on her. She is a strong Christian woman trying to bring her faith to the community around her.” n For more information, go to HealthyFoundations.co (the website is .co rather than .com).

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Christian Living | November / December 2020 9


BOISE Angels

Non-profit helps foster kids, families Curry earned a master’s degree in counseling and is a registered play therapist. In her ‘day job,’ she works with children and uses play as a way to understand the children in her therapeutic care and to communicate with them. She got interested in foster care when she and her husband, Andy, took a trip to Africa. “We volunteered to go to Swaziland in about 2010, and we worked with AIDS kids,” Curry said. “Many people there had orphans in their homes, and that’s when we thought, ‘We can help orphans in the U.S.’” The Currys are people of strong faith, and Amy explained, “We prayed about whether foster care was for us. We’ve always had a heart for vulnerable children.” They ultimately came to the conclusion they weren’t going to be foster parents. “We’re not all called to foster or adopt, but we’re all called to love.” They decided their calling was in helping foster children and their families, making the Angels program a perfect fit for them. “Foster families feel isolated,” Curry said, explaining the families sometimes Curry lose their social network when they take a foster child into their home. Boise Angels steps in to give support, encouragement, and understanding. Also, its thoroughly vetted caseworkers and volunteers seek to establish healthy relationships with the foster kids so the children may experience the presence of stable, caring adults. “We help them feel valued, and we can help that child become a healthy, functioning part “It seemed that people were in and out every day since we took of society. Just being there for these kids is what matters most. They need consistency because sometimes they have been to more than one in my three nephews through the foster care system, more so since foster family, so consistency matters. The ‘Angel’ can follow the child, the oldest was on hospice with muscular dystrophy. Our caseeven if they are returned to their biological family. Some families say worker was explaining Boise Angels and asked if we would be ‘no,’ but others say ‘yes.’” interested. I hesitated; my husband said yes. After the caseworker Boise Angels is strategic about how it matches volunteers with left, he asked me, ‘You didn’t want to?’ I didn’t. We have four families, making sure there is a connection, something in common, kids and had added my three nephews. I didn’t need more people, and good communication. For instance, the family Curry and her more visits, more paperwork, more things clogging up my overhusband help live in their neighborhood and they occasionally run flowing calendar. ... I needed a break. “My nephew Kevin had been sick and we knew he wasn’t going into each other at the store. Another valuable program of Boise Angels is its Dare to Dream to make it much longer. Our first Love Box was delivered the day mentors. Aging out of foster care can be devastating for a young we realized my nephew wouldn’t make it through the weekend. person, and that’s where the mentoring program comes in. Aged-out Child Protective Services reached out to Boise Angels. Instantly youth are often completely on their own at age 18, with nothing in the the week was taken care of. Food was delivered every day. The way of a support system. The heart of the Dare to Dream program is day of Kevin’s funeral, balloons were delivered to us to release in to walk alongside the youth as they navigate life’s challenges. his honor — the Boise Angels even attended his viewing and the Dare to Dream volunteer mentors offer advice, encouragement, and funeral. Every month a box of goodies for us came, a little break, support. They meet with an aged-out youth at least every other week some positivity, love and light in the chaos and fresh grief. and help that young man or woman set goals and determine a path“Amanda, the Boise Angels volunteer, and her family have been way to fulfilling the dreams they have for their lives. Mentors meet so amazing. Inviting us to dinners, outings and even having the practical and emotional needs, as well as provide guidance through kids over, allowing my husband and I our first actual date alone developmental milestones. “Jesus Christ is our compass on which we run. He’s the reason we in a couple of years.” do what we do,” Curry said. But she stressed Boise Angels doesn’t brand as strictly faith-based because they want to help everyone. All Curry first heard of the Angels through an acquaintance in Texas, foster families are welcome. For the Currys, that’s what loving your where an Angels group was already formed. She and another young woman took the model and launched the Boise group in 2018. Now there neighbor looks like. n are two caseworkers, a board of directors, and a team of volunteers. For more information about Boise Angels, go to boiseangels.org. By Gaye Bunderson Angels aren’t just heavenly beings. Sometimes they’re regular folks dressed in clean jeans, wearing smiles, carrying boxes, and filled with helpful hearts. That’s the case with the members of Boise Angels — they’re everyday people who walk alongside foster care families and children and help them navigate the waters of foster parenting and being a child in the foster care network. Nice people, but why are they carrying boxes? Because nothing says “we care” like a special box filled with useful and fun things. Boise Angels calls them Love Boxes. Amy Curry, director of Boise Angels, explained, “The Love Boxes are a means to build a relationship with the foster parents and the foster child. They have thoughtful gifts and resources that meet the real needs of the child and their entire family.” Boise Angels’ information defines the Love Boxes this way: “When our families are matched with committed volunteers who show up monthly with a Love Box, parents feel more supported, and children gain a greater sense of belonging and self-confidence.” Amy Now that’s a pretty important box — and it’s just one of the things the Boise Angels’ group does for foster families. One foster mother who was helped by Boise Angels had the following story to tell:

10 November / December 2020 | Christian Living

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Foster care informational meetings set Make a difference in the community; become a foster parent. Foster parents are needed to provide a safe, temporary home for children and youth who are in foster care. Attending an informational meeting will give potential foster parents a basic understanding of who the children in foster care are, the roles and responsibilities of foster parents, and what’s needed to become licensed to foster. During an informational meeting, participants will hear from an experienced foster parent about the rewards and challenges of fostering, and will learn more about the background of some of the

children and the length of time it will take to get a placement. The meetings are being held through Zoom, so anyone can join from the comfort of their own home. Meetings are sponsored by Fostering Idaho through the EWUFamily Resource and Training Center. Visit their website at https://familyrtc.org/fosteringidaho/events for the full calendar of upcoming meetings. If you have questions, contact Monique Layton, recruitment coordinator, at (208) 249-0180 or mlayton4@ewu.edu n

Interfaith group plans no-contact food drive Meridian’s Interfaith Community Leaders are holding their third annual event – with a twist. In place of their annual “Sing of Him!” Christmas concert, they’ll be holding a no-contact drive-through food drive from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, December 13, at the new Vertical View Climbing Gym at 1334 E. Bird Dog Dr. in Meridian.

Both non-perishable items and cash donations will be accepted. (Cash should be in a sealed envelope.) Many community, faith, and civic leaders will be on hand to help collect the curbside donations. Questions may be directed to Shannon Smurthwaite, event organizer, at shannonisitalian@gmail.com. n

International nativities to be showcased The public is invited to experience the wonder of Christ’s birth in nativity scenes from around the world during the Boise South Five Mile Nativity Exhibit from noon to 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, November 20-21, at the LDS chapel at 2650 S. Five Mile Rd.

There will be more than 150 nativities showcased at the free, family-friendly event. Each nativity represents the culture and time of the artist. For more information, contact the event chairman, Debra Bourne, at dbourne2@yahoo.com or (208) 761-9636. n

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SPOTLIGHT on Business

Ashley Inn: a warm, quiet holiday venue

The lobby of The Ashley Inn in Cascade is always decked-out for Christmas, and 2020 will be no exception. Holiday decor goes up early in November. (Courtesy photo)

12 November / December 2020 | Christian Living

By Sandy Jones I hear it so often: “Our women’s retreat will be at The Ashley Inn this year!” The ladies know how beautiful and serene The Ashley Inn is, but did you know that the holidays are an extra special time at “the Inn”? When asked what her favorite thing is about the holidays at The Ashley Inn, Katrin, who owns the Inn with her husband Ashley, responds, “My personal favorite about Christmas and the Inn is the idea of sitting quietly in the lobby with the fireplace roaring, instrumental music softly playing Christmas carols...maybe add the snow falling gently outside. “‘Be still and know that I am God.’ It’s so hard to get time to really let God’s words settle on you. It’s too easy to be distracted. In the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, it’s nice to have a few days of quiet before getting all the presents bought, decorations up and dinners cooked! “We decorate the Inn the second week of November so that guests have more time to relish that quiet spirit before the hectic pace of the holidays.” Decorating The Ashley Inn in the Spirit of Christmas is no small feat either. Lifelong friends, new friends and family members all come together each year to decorate the Inn – and not just the lobby. Visitors could spend hours wandering the halls, enjoying all the wonderful decorations and specialty prints. If you’re looking for a special gift, be sure and check out the wonderful treasures that are on display starting in the Cascade Room and overflowing throughout the hallways. Covid didn’t rain on this parade – Katrin assures us that they have a full inventory of special treasures for most anyone on your list. You’ll find someone at the front desk 24/7 who is eager to help out. The Ashley Inn offers a big breakfast buffet each morning, and freshly baked cookies served at 8 p.m. each evening. While spring and summer are fun times at the Inn, the area offers much to do in the fall and winter months as well. Visitors can register to take a wagon or sleigh ride to feed elk or play in the snow, or go skiing, snowboarding, or take the kids sledding! Bring your snowmobiles – they have plenty of room to park your truck and trailer. Don’t have snowmobiles, but would love to go? You can find rental contacts at theashleyinn.com. Play all day and then go back to your beautiful room, complete with white cozy robes and your own fireplace. After you’re rested up and have gotten your second wind, you could wander down to the 24-hour indoor pool and whirlpool spa, or work off those cookies in the workout room. Or circle back to the Cascade Room, where you had that wonderful breakfast, to play games or simply gather with friends. Just 75 miles north of Boise, The Ashley Inn is a great get-away for a couple or a family, or a wonderful destination for a family reunion, wedding, meeting or a corporate event. The ladies already know it’s the perfect location for a ladies’ retreat! (Psssst – ask them about their mid-week group discounts.) Learn more at www.theashleyinn.com n

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RandyB Funk Christian Rapper

a difference. RandyB Funk was chosen by nationally known Effect Radio to be the “ARTIST of the MONTH,” in September, 2020. You can hear his music daily on 91.9 FM. His new release, “Juggernaut,” is available on all major platforms and his song “Confetti” is a leading hit. In September 2020, Effect Radio invited RandyB to headline at the Twin Falls County Fair.

RandyB Funk is a Christian Hip Hop artist, who wrote his first EP at age 15. His EP dropped in January 2019, when he was just 16, and his first album, Divided was released in July 2020. Raised in Hawaii until he was seven, he now resides in the Boise, Idaho area and turns 18 this month. RandyB began writing songs that reach into the souls of all ages at twelve years old. His entertaining lyrics inspire and challenge listeners’ complacencies. He has been featured on local T.V. Channels 2, 6, and 7, Boise Weekly, Idaho Statesman, Meridian Press, Christian Living Magazine, and Idaho Press, highlighting his music and /or his service drives. AND, at press time, he had advanced through three preliminary rounds of American Idol auditions! RandyB is one of Idaho’s most active volunteers, creating his own service drives since he was 11 years old, benefiting multiple charities in Idaho. Last year, his promotions generated over 7,300 donated items to help his community. His second annual Fired Up Benefit Tour will be held Dec. 11 at Boise Bible College. This talented entrepreneur and rapper aims to make Idaho proud using his talents and his music to serve his community. He was the Meridian Youth Arts Commissioner for three years and is an active member of the Chamber of Commerce, B2B, MYAC and other networking groups. He’s a recipient of the Meridian Star Award and the Prudential Spirit of Community Award. His lyrics reflect his character and desire to make

At barely 16, RandyB was privileged to record a song with hip hop legend, R-Swift, titled “Life Gets At You.” Besides that collaboration, additional familiar features in his new album will surprise and delight. After three visits to Nashville with chart-topping Christian artists, and two tours under his belt, RandyB Funk is working on his next album, which features some familiar names. He has also toured with the International EXTREME Tour, where he performed with many bands, including the international Mongolian sensation, SULD. His Divided album is available now on all platforms. You can find him on social media @randybfunkmusic RandyB Funk is always interested in speaking with youth and community leaders about his S.O.S Service drives, outreaches and potential performances. His annual S.O.S. Service Drive starts Nov.1, 2020 to gather new socks, underwear, coats and pet supplies for the Boise Rescue Mission, Idaho Humane Society and Meridian Canine Rescue. Meridian Drop-off locations include: Postal Express, 1740 E. Fairview Avenue, Meridian, Meridian Fire Dept. 33 E. Broadway Avenue, Meridian, Grade Power Learning 3327 N Eagle Road #100, Meridian, Gateway Mortgage Group 3067 E Copper Point, Meridian, H3 Pet Foods LLC 1801 W. Cherry Lane, Meridian, Eagle Fire Dept. 1119 E. State St. Suite #240, Eagle, Eagle Christian Church 100 Short Lane Eagle. Team RandyB Funk can be contacted: phone 208-914-3793; email Mcfunk48@gmail.com. Find him at randybfunk.com, on social media @randybfunkmusic, and heard on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music (Available Now)


MOM Keep Calm

Take a step into your child’s world

daughter’s senior year in high school, there was a snow day. So, even though I had work to do, I said, “Forget this! I am taking a snow day!” I spent the whole day playing in the snow with her. We made some great memories. After she left for college, I knew that when she came home for her Christmas breaks, I wanted to take advantage of our time together and do the things she was most passionate about. These were not things I was very good at, but I decided it didn’t matter, because she loved them. Here are three examples:

By Janet Lund There are many ways to communicate your love for your kids. One of the most powerful ways to communicate “I love you” to your child is to get involved in their world. Often as adults, we become so busy in our own world that we forget the importance of taking a rocket ship ride into theirs. Practicing this daily will not only be a great way to get to know your child and nurture your relationship, but it also sets you up for a smoother ride through the teen years. How do you enter your child’s orbit and make a smooth landing onto their planet regularly? You can do this in a variety of ways. Hold onto your moon boots, we are coming in for landing!

Three ways to enter your child’s world:

Out of the comfort zone, into the Twilight Zone!

First, our daughter has always loved drawing and she is exceptionally good at it. During her first Christmas break from college, I ventured to sit beside her and try my hand at drawing. We both looked at a picture and then drew it. She taught me some of the skills she learned over the years from the different classes she attended while growing up. Jessica knew I felt more like the Queen of Stick Figures than Pablo Picasso, but I did it anyway. Years later, she still talks about those days of drawing side-by-side. Second, as you may already know, Jessica became a published author at age 17 under the pen-name Taylor Hunter. The next year when she was home from college, she posted on her Taylor Hunter Facebook page some blogs to encourage writers. She provided a onesentence writing prompt to inspire them to write a short story. I could tell she was extremely excited, and she encouraged me to give it a go. So, I read the prompt and gave it a whirl. When I was done, I read it out loud to her. The look in her eyes was priceless. She was so proud of me and touched that I had given it a try. Finally, last November, Jessica was a newly graduated engineer; her evenings were free of homework. This provided her the opportunity to join her dad, Joel – a.k.a. Brandon King – in the grand adventure of the 2019 NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I thought to myself, “What do I have to lose?” So, I decided to give it a try, too. Jessica immediately jumped in – she helped me set up my special

Janet Lund

1) Listen to them share about their daily activities. Inquire and encourage them to share more by saying, “Tell me more about that.” Showing your child you are interested in learning about their world and what is important to them means so much. This is a wonderful way to say, “I love you and care about what you care about.” 2) Attend their activities. Taking time out of your day to be with your child as they are involved in their activities says to them, “I wouldn’t miss this for the world!” 3) Participate in their passions. Now of course, you can’t just jump onto the soccer field and join your child’s team when they are playing, but there are other ways you can participate in what they are doing. When it comes to sports, you can practice with them at home. If you haven’t a clue how to play the game, have them teach you. This again communicates, “What matters to you matters to me – even if I look ridiculous trying!”

My own journey

Just an FYI, the years go by so much faster than you think they will. When senior year in high school begins, you’ll find yourself saying, “Wait a minute, how did we get here?” I remember during my

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NaNoWriMo dashboard and made me a cover for my book – and on November 1st, all three of us took off on our quest. I was totally out of my comfort zone. I kept asking my two award-winning authors questions. Time and again, I told them that I didn’t know what I was doing. They both smiled, nodded, and said, “Yep, that’s writing! Keep going!” So I did. When all three of us crossed the finish line of writing 50,000 words in 30 days, my mind was blown. We were so excited for each other’s accomplishments and the fact we had done it together. It’s one of those memories our family will never forget.

Stop and think about it

Participating in activities that my daughter loves has meant the world to her. I could tell then, and I can tell now by the twinkle in her eyes when we talk about them. What does your child love? How can you jump in and join them in their passions? Yes, this may push you out of your comfort zone, but you know what? Your actions will have “I love you!” written all over them. Your child may not immediately say, “Wow, I am going to remember this forever!” but the memories you make together will stay with them. Don’t be surprised when one day your child looks at you with a twinkle in their eyes as they take you on a walk down memory lane. Get out there. Step out of your comfort zone. Enter your child’s world! n Janet Lund is a relationship coach who specializes in nurturing the bond between moms and their teen/pre-teen daughters. She leads moms through coaching, speaking, and songwriting. Janet has spoken and performed in Canada, the United States, and Norway. Follow her on facebook.com/momkeepcalm and visit her website at momkeepcalm.com for parenting tools and words of support to be a calm mom.

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Christian Living | November / December 2020 15


SHEPHERDS & wise men

Jesus’ biography: 2 epic nights in Bethlehem By Steve Nelson For 4,000 years since Adam and Eve left Eden, people anticipated the coming of the Savior, promised by God since Genesis 3:15. Well, he arrived! As predicted 600 years earlier in Micah 5:2, Jesus was born in a small town in Judea, Bethlehem, the same birthplace of the second King of Israel, David. It was first the home of David’s great-grandparents, Boaz and Ruth. Jesus’ birth was the most anticipated event ever. The details of Jesus’ first night in Bethlehem are recorded exclusively in Luke 2:1-20. There is a second event in Bethlehem during the young childhood of Jesus. The details of Jesus’ last night in Bethlehem are recorded exclusively in Matthew 2:1-14. Traditional Christian assumptions have placed these two separate events together. However, WHEN each occurred is completely distinct. The shepherds are involved in Luke 2, in a time of the year reasonable for shepherds to be out in the field, September. According to the Hebrew calendar before it was changed, September was once the very beginning of the Hebrew calendar year anyway, thus having the Feast of Trumpets occurring then. The wise men are involved in Matthew 2. According to astronomical and historical and scriptural evidence, they arrived in Jerusalem to speak with Herod the Great in December of the following year. Let’s look together at Scripture to see details of Luke 2 and Matthew 2. Together they form two fantastic pieces of Jesus’ biography. What astonishing details are revealed, written so simply and clearly in the Word of God.

How did “they” know where to go and when?

First the shepherds… “THEY” (thus total number unknown, at least two) were “keeping watch over their flock by night” and were told by angels where the Savior had just been born! The moment of time the shepherds arrive, just as the angels had told them, would be specifically when the newborn was “wrapped in swaddling clothes” (Luke 2:12), an Eastern custom by which parents demonstrated they would raise the child uprightly. This was done immediately after birth, the young child wrapped in small pieces of special fabric, for just a few minutes, signifying this important commitment of the parents. In fact, if Jesus had not been wrapped in swaddling clothes, especially for nobility to be a king someday, he would not be respected. For the shepherds to show up at this exact time was remarkable. As for the wise men… “THEY” (total number unknown – it says they gave three gifts but likely traveled in large caravan, the only way they got Herod the Great’s attention as a large group) had studied astronomical details since at least the time of Daniel, over 400 years! These Persian astronomers noticed major astronomical events, specifically regarding the “king planet” Jupiter (His star), Venus, Mars and Mercury in conjunction in the constellation Leo, the constellation designating Jesus, called the “lion of the tribe of Judah” (Revelation 5:5). Upon seeing these extraordinary sights, the wise men knew the king had been born in Judea and they began their journey. Arriving at the logical place to start their search, Jerusalem the capitol, Herod’s scribes pointed them to Bethlehem (Matthew 2:5-6). They found out where Jesus was in Bethlehem specifically because the shepherds told so many about it earlier in the previous year (Luke 2:17-18).

16 November / December 2020 | Christian Living

Painting by Steve Nelson

Upon finding Jesus, who was there?

The shepherds found Mary and Joseph and “the babe” (Greek word brephos, a newborn baby) “LYING IN A MANGER”. They were not in a manger because they were poor, but because there was no room at the inn. No wise men mentioned in Luke 2. The wise men found Mary and “the young child” (Greek word paidion, a toddler, young child, NOT a baby) “IN A HOUSE”. No longer in a manger, they had settled down in Bethlehem for now. No shepherds are mentioned in Matthew 2. Also note, Joseph wasn’t mentioned either. Perhaps Joseph was out working or something; the Scripture just doesn’t say.

What happened after seeing Jesus?

The shepherds stayed local. The wise men departed back to Persia. Joseph and Mary first arrived in Bethlehem as part of their national census obligations. They left for Egypt to escape the wrath of Herod. We can rejoice at reading AND understanding these details. How awesome that Jesus was born at all, was protected from evil and would eventually grow into a man and save the world. Whether we designate a date in December or not, I’m grateful we celebrate the birth of Jesus at all. Since these two epic nights, Jesus’ very first and very last nights in Bethlehem, it’s been over 2,000 years. Next we await the RETURN of Jesus some day in the future. He’s comin’ back for us! God bless you! n Steve Nelson has been a Bible teacher for over 25 years. This article comes from Segment 73 of “CORE”, a 24-hour course for families on how to read and understand the Bible, now in digital format. See T4FAMILYCENTER.COM or reach Steve at T4FamilyCenter@gmail.com.

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A TRIO of Authors

The Lunds: A family that writes together

Each member of the Lund family loves to write, and they all participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), held annually in November. The family includes, from left, father Joel, daughter Jessica, and mother Janet. (Courtesy photo) Logo courtesy of NaNoWriMo.

By Jessica Lund

We Are Story People

Eighty percent of people on the planet have a story they want to tell; less than 1 percent actually tell it. That is a statistic I don’t like. In fact, that is a statistic that nobody in my family likes. So, we decided to change it. In my household, 100 percent of the people are writers. That’s right – my dad is a writer, my mom is a writer, and I am a writer. That is a statistic we all like – a lot!

Our Backstory

My dad began his journey as Brandon King, author of the Gargoyle Chronicles, when I was 14. Frustrated with work and wanting his junior-high-age daughter to read something more inspiring than twinkly vampires, he crafted new chapters every evening, which I read as his eager audience of one. He published his first novel, The Quest for the Temple Key, a year later – and it won awards. Inspired by my dad’s writing, I returned to a spark of an idea I’d gotten in 6th grade. Between homework sessions and during the hours I could spare over the weekend, I dove into that idea and ran with it, shaping it into the story I always knew it had potential to be. At age 17, I published my first novel, NeverSeen – and it won awards.

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My mom has always been a songwriter, and a brilliant one at that, with two albums on iTunes and more to come. A huge fan of both our series, she’d always supported my dad, and then me, with our writing processes…though never seemed to consider novel-writing herself. Until NaNoWriMo 2019 came along.

What on Earth is NaNoWriMo?

NaNoWriMo stands for “National Novel Writing Month”. It takes place every November, and tons of aspiring and experienced writers flock to it as a personal challenge. The goal? Write 50,000 words in 30 days. If that sounds like a lot, it is; 50,000 words is about two-thirds of an average novel. Writing that much in the span of a month is difficult, but also extremely rewarding. I knew this second-hand from watching my dad commit to – and finish – three consecutive NaNoWriMo events. During these Novembers, my dad would disappear for hours in his study, slogging through the creative wilderness of world-building, character development, and series expansion. One year, my dad didn’t have a chance to get started for almost a week – but as he dove back into his story day after day, the path became clear. As the word count grew, so did his excitement and confidence. He finished 50,000 words with

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days to spare…then, understandably, enjoyed a good deal of Thanksgiving turkey. This was the journey I saw him repeat; this was the journey I wanted to take.

NaNoWriMo 2019

After graduating from college in May 2019, I knew I could finally engage in NaNoWriMo. Dad had already been planning on participating and was excited for me to join the party. The biggest surprise of our lives, however, was when Mom walked into the room and said she wanted to give it a try, too – after all, what was there to lose? With only an inkling of an idea of what she might write, my mom stepped up to the starting line alongside us. And on November 1st, we all took off ! To make time to write, we crafted a strategy: we limited our TV time, planned out simple meals, and blocked out an hour every weekday for writing – and many more hours every weekend. As happens with all writing endeavors, we had highs and lows, big days and small days. Some days, words poured like rivers. Other days, it took every brain cell to string together a coherent sentence. But no matter what kind of day we were having, we all supported each other. We gave each other space, encourage-

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ment, and tips (when requested). Other than that, most of our words went straight to the page. By the end of the month, we had all grown as writers. And my mom? She finished first.

Write Your Story

This year has been one of utter insanity. Nobody saw it coming, and we’re all doing our best to adapt to this strange new world. If you’re looking for a predictable routine – no matter how small – consider engaging in NaNoWriMo 2020. Not sure how to prepare? Get some guidance and direction from my Fantasy Writing Bootcamp at https:// www.taylorhunterauthor.com/fantasy-writingpublishing-boot-camp-courses/. We are all storytellers. Take the opportunity to tell yours. n Jessica Lund is a creative writing coach who specializes in supporting teen and young adult writers. Her Fantasy Writing Bootcamp for Teens is specifically designed to help young and beginning writers craft their ideas into great stories. Follow her on facebook. com/taylorhunterauthor and visit her website at taylorhunterauthor.com for writing updates and advice from her author persona, Taylor Hunter.

Christian Living | November / December 2020 19


Rick Chromey

Creativity helped a boy

COVER STORY Rick Chromey has a lot to be thankful for and doesn’t hold back on praising his Savior. Despite the typical ups and downs of life, he’s remained a committed Christian since his childhood. (Photo by Logan Yott) Right: Rick Chromey (Photo by Paul Hoy)

By Gaye Bunderson Rick Chromey is evidence that no matter where you start out in life, it doesn’t need to define where you end up. Chromey is founder and president of an organization called MANNA! Educational Services International. It’s a non-profit geared toward training leaders, teachers, pastors and parents for spiritual leadership and Christian ministry (mannasolutions.org). It was a long path that led Chromey to his current calling. By his own description, he lived an interesting childhood. But anyone hearing about his younger years might choose a different word than “interesting” to describe Chromey’s experiences. “I was born in Lewistown, Montana. We were lower middle class and lived on the edge of poverty. My dad was a trucker, and my mom was a stay-at-home mom,” Chromey said, as he launched into his life story. He added, “Mom kept us in church.” If it all sounds like a pretty fortuitous upbringing, hold off on that assumption for a bit. “At one point my mom descended into drug and alcohol abuse and ran off with a guy,” Chromey said. “She abandoned us kids, and we didn’t know where she was for a long time. After about 6 months, she resurfaced in Houston, Texas.” Chromey went through some tough years growing up – he was only 12 when his mom left. Credit goes to his grandparents for stepping up when he needed them. “My grandmother was a great person and a wonderful Christian,” Chromey said, also praising his grandfather as a positive influence. “I grew up in church because of my grandparents.”

20 November / December 2020 | Christian Living

Many years of his life are defined by a phone conversation he once had with his mother. “Mom called one Easter Sunday to say ‘I love you and care about you’; I got on the phone and said, ‘I hate you and will until I die,’ and hung up the phone,” Chromey said. “I had a chip on my shoulder; I was an angry, bitter adolescent. Most people saw me as a talented, accomplished, GOOD church kid growing up. Few knew of my inner pain and private struggles.” Today, Chromey is a man with a doctorate, a published author, and well-traveled. But let’s backtrack a little to explore how he got there. “I graduated from high school and poured my energies into finding who I was,” Chromey said. He discovered he was a theater buff, for one thing. He started acting during his sophomore year and felt very comfortable onstage. “I was a part, a personality, and people laughed,” he said. He was also a good communicator and participated in competitive speech and drama. At age 17, for a competitive speech competition, he recited parts of Jonathan Edwards’ Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. In drama competition, he did a competitive piece about baseball. He took both presentations to the state level competition. The creativity in speech and theater were a godsend to the young Chromey, allowing him positive outlets for self-expression. Though only 5’4”, he also played football. Initially, he confesses, it was because he wanted to hit somebody. But a JV coach believed in him and worked to turn him into an athlete. That coach was not the only positive school influence on Chromey. “I was socially reclusive at first, but I had several teachers who ‘saw who Rick was’. Mom put that frame around my life. I had a

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y become a man kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Hruska, who told my mom I was creative, passionate, and energetic,” Chromey said, admitting maybe Mrs. Hruska just said that to all the parents about their kids. Didn’t matter. His mother took those words to heart and reinforced them in her son, frequently telling him he was all those things: creative, passionate, and energetic. (And, yes, this is the same mother who eventually left home without saying so much as a goodbye.) After high school graduation, Chromey went off to Nebraska Christian College. “Grandma wanted one grandson to go to Bible college. I went because it made her happy,” he said. He’d had a full-ride scholarship to attend a university and major in theater, but he passed on that to go to NCC. The bad news by his own admission was that his grades were terrible. The good news was that he was able to join a drama group at NCC called Christ & Co. “I was a good theater guy; I was a good person – compliant.” Christ & Co. performed in churches, especially for youth groups. When he returned to NCC for his second year, he started studying youth ministry. Between 1987 and 1991, he had ministries in Ohio, Kansas, and Missouri. Chromey briefly attended Cincinnati Bible College and Seminary to work toward a master’s degree in Christian education. “In 1991, I went back to finish it,” he said. “I attended CBC&S full-time in 198687, then dropped out to take a full-time youth ministry in Cincinnati (Madeira Church of Christ). I moved away from Cincinnati to Kansas and later Missouri. I took a few grad classes over this time, but it wasn’t until I burned out in the spring of 1991 that I decided to finish that degree (I only had about 16 credits left to do).” By then, he was married with a family. “Unfortunately,” he said, “to finish full-time it was best to move my wife and daughter to her parents’ home in State College, Pennsylvania and then drive to Cincinnati for the fall 1991 semester.” Then, one day, “I saw a little thing about a school in Boise looking for a Christian education teacher,” he said. The school was Boise Bible College; he applied and got the job. He was hired in 1992 and stayed to 1998. While there, he helped develop the Christian education degree curriculum. “We taught people how to be Sunday School teachers, and taught youth and children’s ministries,” he said. Not surprisingly, he noticed a creative void at the school – in drama. “We needed a drama group; there were lots of singing groups but no drama group,” he said. Along with others, he launched the Living Christ Players and, together, they performed all over the Northwest. “I taught at BBC from 1992-1998, then moved to teach Christian education and youth ministry at Saint Louis Christian College (1998-2003) and later moved to Kentucky Christian University to teach youth and family ministry (2003-2007). It was while I was at KCU that I started my doctorate at George Fox Evangelical Seminary (2004-2007). I graduated in 2007 and then took a job with George Fox University-Boise. That’s what brought me back to the area. I had been away from Boise from 1998-2007, my longest time away,” he said. But due to some extenuating circumstances, the job didn’t work out. Chromey was out of work and suddenly found new opportunities difficult to come by due to the so-called Great Recession. “My dream all along had been to write and speak,” so that’s what he started to do. He’s written a number of books over the years, as well as delivered more than 3,000 professional presentations for churches, schools and businesses. His latest book is titled “GenTech” and is billed as “an American story of technology, change, and who we really are.”

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In 2013, when he turned 50, he decided it would be like the Old Testament Year of Jubilee. He told the Lord, “I’ll go anywhere you send me – no restrictions,” and 3 weeks later, the president of an organization named Kidz at Heart International called. Kidz at Heart is a ministry aimed at children, with the goal of training family leaders and church workers how to effectively reach and teach kids for Christ. Chromey was recruited as a trainer. He laughs as he relates this part of his life because he had at one point set 3 conditions on the Lord for what he would and wouldn’t do in His service. One of those conditions was “no cross-cultural missions work.” But soon, as a trainer with Kidz at Heart, he was on his way to Africa to equip and instruct teachers and leaders. Ultimately, he was able to say of his international missions, “I loved it.” He got to visit three continents and six foreign countries, seeing and experiencing many new things. The narrative then switches to the collapse of his 30-year marriage, as well as attendance at Celebrate Recovery for personal reasons. Steps in his recovery process included forgiveness and making amends. He needed to come to terms with the fact he’d never forgiven his parents for, as he puts it, “the hurt my mom caused and the rejection issues from my dad.” At one point in his life he had told his mother, “I will care for your needs, but you’ll never hear me say, ‘I love you, Mom.’... It broke her heart; and I knew it would break her heart, and that’s why I said it.” But on Mother’s Day 2015, he called the woman who had given him life. It had to be a phone call, he said; a letter wasn’t good enough, and it was nothing like the phone call he’d had with her years prior. When his mother came on the line, he told her it was time to release her from the anger and loathing he’d had for her. “I said, ‘I love you, Mom.’ I felt silence at first, and then crying. Mom crying. I felt a chain fall off my life,” Chromey said. “The following December, she passed away.” He also communicated with his dad. They’d had no relationship for 30 years; but they reconciled, and to this day, his dad always says “I love you” when they end a conversation. “My favorite Bible word is ‘grace,’” said Chromey. In 2015, he married a woman named Linda that he met through eHarmony, saying the year they wed was the happiest of his life. He worked with Kidz at Heart for 18 months beginning in 2014 but then felt God telling him, “I want you to do something different.” That’s when plans for his current undertaking, MANNA! Educational Services International, got rolling. In 2017, MANNA! launched as a one-of-a-kind ministry. “We want to be different from your average training company,” Chromey said, describing the organization as interactive, experiential, and “kind of like a show,” perhaps harkening back to his theater roots. “I’ve been with MANNA! for 3 years, and it’s been a wonderful ride.” He has most recently been working on MANNA! Life Groups. “These are home fellowships built around an Acts 2:42 frame (Bible study, fellowship, prayer and the Lord’s supper/communion). We are ‘biblical communities for the spiritually curious,’” Chromey said. “We purposely capitalize MANNA with an exclamation point because our business is serendipity and blessing. Surprise! Be blessed!” Clearly, Rick Chromey is still using his creativity for good. He’s using it for the light side, and the Light of the World is using him. n

Christian Living | November / December 2020 21


GOD Dots

God connects the dots geographically Enter Joe and Mary

By Jim Day Editor’s note: The following story is an introduction to a much bigger story, one centered on a group of Americans who set out to pray for the nation of Tonga. Subsequent issues of Christian Living will feature the story, ultimately in full, as it unfolds in several editions. How can a connection between a small church in Leavenworth, in the U.S., and Tonga, an archipelago south of Samoa, end up changing thousands of lives? Leavenworth is smack dab in the middle of the state of Washington and, well, Tonga is on the other side of the world. About 3,200 miles east of Australia and 1,400 miles north of New Zealand, Tonga is a sovereign nation of Jim Day 176 islands, of which only around 36 are inhabited. Approximately 96 percent of the population are Christians and fervently attend church. With an overall population of around 100,000, there are five main denominations. The Wesleyan church was the first to send missionaries to Tonga and King George Tupou I decreed in 1875 that all of Tonga would be Christian. The country’s national anthem is “Oh Mighty God Above.” Christianity was brought to Tonga in the late 1700s. But like many cultures, the people in Tonga kept some of their superstitious ways – including the hiding or abandoning of children with disabilities. Up until 2002, if a person was born with a disability or was handicapped in any form, it was presumed that it was a curse because of some kind of sin that was committed by a family member. Because of this, parents used to hide any children that were born with “defects,” or completely abandon them to the bush. It would have been easy to assume that there were no people in Tonga with disabilities, because they were all kept in hiding by their families. Many of them couldn’t have left their houses even if they wanted to. They didn’t have wheelchairs or even doorways big enough to push a wheelchair through. Imagine laying in a bed, unable to move yourself, attempting to catch a glimpse of the sky through the one tiny window in your home day after day, month after month, year after year, decade after decade of your whole life. This is what it was like for the disabled in Tonga before 2002.

Cindy and I have the privilege of calling Dr. Joe and Mary Weddle friends. (It’s really more than friendship, but that’s another story.) In many conversations at the Weddles’ huge, round dining room table, we have heard the various stories about how God called them to spend time in Tonga, and in prayer for Tonga. Although they now live in Meridian, they once lived in Leavenworth, and it was there that God placed a burden on their hearts towards Tonga. It all started a little over 20 years ago, when the Lord prompted Charmayne Old, a nurse who lived in Leavenworth, to pray for Tonga. She and her husband, Doc, attended the Nazarene church and started praying and asked some friends to pray with them. Two of their friends were the Weddles, who attended the Four Square church. Joe and Mary knew the power of prayer and recruited more people from their church to pray. They met and prayed faithfully, not knowing exactly what they were praying for. One day, Charmayne suggested that they fly to Tonga to pray there. It sounds a little crazy, but they all agreed. What an amazing display of obedience and faith! That first trip was just to pray. To ask God to reveal what they had been praying for. They just got up every morning and walked around praying. Some locals joined them. One day, as they got near to a heavily forested area, one of the Americans heard something in the bush. They pulled some bushes aside and saw a child. The locals explained that the child had a disability and had been abandoned by its family. The child needed medical care, so Joe and Charmayne prayed for and treated the child. Later that day, they found more children – and they knew why God had called them. They finished the first trip and went home, only to immediately start planning the next trip. With suitcases full of medical supplies, they went again and again. They needed help. This was more than they could handle. They needed a building or facility where they could bring these unwanted children for treatment and care. The folks in Leavenworth were willing, but they only had limited funds. They all prayed and watched expectantly for what God was going to do. n

G O D d o t s

22 November / December 2020 | Christian Living

Next issue: The queen steps in to facilitate a change.

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YOUR Daily Bread

Shine your light this Advent season

By Terry Frisk I believe that everyone would agree that 2020 has been a difficult year. Between the pandemic, civil unrest, politics, and natural disasters, it can be hard to find things to be thankful for. But, as Christians, we must lead the way. In the book of Matthew, Jesus said: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16) Through our faith in God, we can overcome the adversity and brighten this world for others. Here are some ways you can bring light to your life and let it shine on others: • Nurture your spiritual self – Turn to God through Terry Frisk prayer to release your worries and negative feelings. Casting off your negative emotions will improve your outlook and increase joy in your life. This will, in turn, bring joy to others. • Be thankful – “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Even in adversity, focus on what you are thankful for in your life. The resulting positive attitude will lift not only your spirits, but also the spirits of others. • Express gratitude – Take time to express gratitude to those around you. Say thank you to those who serve you, whether it is someone at work, a grocery store, or a restaurant. Send a thank you note to someone who has helped you. Expressing gratitude goes a long way toward brightening someone else’s day. • Offer acts of kindness – Extend a helping hand to others. I do a lot of home improvement projects, which means making many trips to the local home improvement store. Often, there is someone in the parking lot struggling to load something in their vehicle. I have met a lot of people by just simply lending a hand. • Share your abundance – God has blessed you with an abundance. We often think of abundance in terms of material wealth. But true abundance comes from blessings of love, compassion, energy, talents, skills, creativity, and any other spiritual blessings we possess. Recognize how you have been abundantly blessed and share it freely to benefit others. Thanksgiving and Advent celebrations will likely be different this year for most of us. However, you can help others enjoy this time despite the circumstances through letting your light shine for others. You will also be blessed for your good works. Have a joyous Christmas and many blessings in the new year! n

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Christian Living | November / December 2020 23


ALONE on a mountain

Message from God assures fallen climber

Jason Herring of Boise spent the past summer climbing some of Idaho’s tallest mountains, called “the 12ers.” This photo was taken on Mount Idaho, the state’s seventh tallest peak at 12,065 feet. Though Herring successfully navigated the mountain on the way up, he wasn’t so lucky on the way down. He experienced a catastrophe that could have ended his life, but didn’t. (Photo taken by Jason Herring)

By Jason Herring When I first climbed Borah five years ago, it was a profoundly spiritual experience for me. Although I didn’t have any ambitions to continue climbing at that moment, I went back the following year and again the next. Borah was calling. That same year I read an article in the Statesman about someone who climbed all of Idaho’s nine peaks over 12,000 feet, called “12ers”. I didn’t even know there was such a thing, but I was intrigued. John Muir wrote, “We are now in the mountains and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us.” The mountains were in me, and I wanted more. The following year as work and travel took me across the PNW I expanded my resume beyond the familiar high point of Idaho to include mountains in Oregon, Washington, and Utah. Then last year I climbed Hyndman Peak, which sits at number nine on the list. I stood on the summit and looked across the distance at the Lost River Range, home to seven of the 12ers including Borah. It was then that I decided to make it a goal to complete all nine. I was two down; only seven more to go. This year I didn’t think I would have much time for climbing. Between family and a job promotion with added responsibilities, I thought I would be lucky to get in my annual Spartan trifecta. Then COVID hit and with it came the lockdown and subsequent restrictions. Suddenly I’m working from home. Work travel was suspended. The Spartan season was cancelled. And I was going stir crazy. But

24 November / December 2020 | Christian Living

as things progressed throughout the summer, I realized that I had an opportunity to check off a few more 12ers. So I would work hard Monday through Thursday, getting in all of my calls and emails, and then head for the mountains, camp at the trailhead on Friday, climb on Saturday, and return home the same evening so I could attend church the following day. Lost River Peak, which sits at number six on the list, was first this summer. Next was Leatherman, Idaho’s second tallest peak. Then Mount Breitenbach (#5) followed by Mount Church (#3) and Donaldson Peak (#8). There was only one 12er left in the Lost River Range and that was Mount Idaho – number seven on the list of nine and the peak closest to Mount Borah. In my three climbs of Borah, I had always admired Mount Idaho’s rugged pyramid shape from the vantage of Chicken Out Ridge. With Mount Idaho under my belt, the only peak that remained would be Diamond Peak in the neighboring Lemhi Range at number four on the list. It looked as though I would be able to achieve my goal this summer. It was a clear Saturday morning on the first weekend in September when I got ready to embark from the trailhead for Mount Idaho. Before setting out shortly after daybreak, I knelt down on the dirt and thanked God for the health to climb and the opportunity to experience this beautiful part of His creation. The trail rose sharply through the timberline along the vibrant Elkhorn Creek and I saw wolf scat in two places near the trail and spooked a curious lynx observing me from a rockfall.

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With nearly a mile of elevation gain, I finally reached the summit in the early afternoon and took in my last summit view of the mountain range that felt like a home away from home that summer. There was Borah, so clear and magnificent, where it all began a few years earlier, igniting my passion for the mountains. I could see all of the 12ers in the Lost River Range. Looking across the wide basin to the west, I could see Hyndman in the Pioneer Range, and in the opposite direction there was Diamond Peak – the last on my list. “By God’s grace, I’ll summit you next week,” I thought to myself. The wind started gusting pretty hard, so I didn’t linger on the summit for long. I took a few pictures and called my wife to let her know I was okay and on my way down. I took a knee and thanked God for the climb, the view, prayed for my family and some of my co-workers by name, and then I started my descent. Mount Idaho is a gnarly peak with lots of cliffs that require Class 3 scrambling. The only alternative is some sharp scree slopes that are a nightmare even with trekking poles. The best option is to head down the West Face to the ridgeline and try to stay on top of the knife as much as possible. Speed climbers with better knees than mine can practically skip down the mountain like bighorn sheep, but I move at a more methodical pace. Most injuries on mountains happen on the descent, not on the climb up. There was no rush. I had plenty of time and plenty of daylight. Soak it in. Enjoy the journey. I would be back in Arco in time for dinner and there was a juicy burger with my name on it at Pickles Place diner. Unlike some of the neighboring mountains, the Lost River Range is comprised of limestone and dolomite and thus lots of loose rock. You have to test your handholds and footholds before committing your body weight. About a fourth of the way down the West Face, I was traversing along a narrow ledge against a cliff face, trying to stay on top of the ridge. As always, I was keeping three points of contact with the cliff as I made my way over to more promising terrain. My hands were more than shoulder width apart and gripped to the rock when suddenly the entire section of cliff gave way and pushed me backwards. If you’re old school enough to picture this, it was like someone hit the eject button on a VCR player and the tape popped out. There wasn’t even room or time to fight to regain leverage or balance. Immediately I began to freefall backward in what felt like slow motion. As I fell I remember thinking, “This is it”, as though I instinctively knew that I would not survive a backward plunge off a mountain like that. I fell 20 feet before slamming squarely on my back and then

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tumbling in a somersault down the scree slide between the two cliffs before sliding to a rest next to the opposing cliff. It happened in an instant and yet I could clearly remember the thoughts going through my head as though it were minutes. Staring at the bright blue sky above me, I listened to the rockslide that my fall had started down the mountain. “I can’t believe that I’m alive!” I exclaimed. I had landed with such force on my back that I could not believe I wasn’t paralyzed or worse. My NorthFace backpack with its aluminum stays, coupled with my Black Diamond helmet, had saved my bacon by absorbing the impact of my fall. I sat up and began to check myself for compound fractures. My pants were shredded at the knees and I had some minor cuts on my hands and legs. I bandaged the more serious cuts and took some Ibuprofen. But when I tried to stand up I felt a searing pain in my right ankle. In 43 revolutions around the sun, I have never sprained an ankle. I get that from my dad, who is 65 and never sprained an ankle even after years of running and playing competitive sports. Perhaps, this was a first. I took a roll of duct tape out of my backpack and splinted my ankle to keep the swelling down, hoping it would help me regain some mobility. I then bear crawled about 50 feet up the scree slide to level ground where the cliff joined the mountain. What to do next? Little did I know that during my fall my right foot impacted the ground with such force that my ankle bone had driven into my heel, shattering my calcaneus, fracturing it in over nine different places. From my ledge I was able to relax and collect my bearings. I decided to give the Ibuprofen some time to kick in, hoping that I had only bruised my foot. But after 15 minutes when I tried to walk again, I knew something was broken. With two bars on my phone, I called 9-1-1 and explained my predicament to the operator. She put me in touch with the Challis Sheriff ’s Department, which began to coordinate with South Custer Search and Rescue and Air St. Luke’s to get me off the mountain. Using my smart phone, I was able to give them my exact coordinates. The sheriff ’s office was unsure if they could get a helicopter to my location. Winds were gusting at 35 mph and the threshold was 40 mph for the safety of the pilot and crew. The sheriff told me a team from South Custer Search and Rescue was headed to the trailhead and would start working its way towards me – although the team might not get to my location until morning. Would I be okay to spend the night on the mountain with my injuries? Continued on page 26

Christian Living | November / December 2020 25


Message from God Continued from page 25 Was I prepared and in a position where I could bivouac overnight? I told the sheriff that I was prepared to do so. I had a headlamp with extra batteries, two long-sleeved performance shirts, an emergency poncho, an extra liter of water, a Clif Bar, and hopefully enough Ibuprofen to get me through the night. I found a place where I could put my back to the cliff where the rocks partially shielded me from the strong winds. After a couple of hours I heard the distant chop of the helicopter. The only high altitude copter in the Air St. Luke’s fleet came in high from the Lost River Basin and made three passes before the crew finally spotted my location. I was on the phone with the sheriff ’s office, which was coordinating with the crew via radio at the same time. There was a saddle on the ridgeline where they were going to try to land. The sheriff informed me that I needed to try to make it to that location if possible. There was about 45 minutes of daylight left and I was over a half mile away from the landing zone with a 900-foot-plus vertical descent. If I could only make it down the rest of the steep West Face of the mountain, hopefully the search and rescue guys could guide me across the ridgeline where my sight and route finding would be limited. But how? About 10 feet in front of me the mountain disappeared. It was a series of cascading ledges and boulders that plunged down towards the ridgeline. An adventure on a normal day turned into a serious dilemma with a broken foot. It was then that God told me, “I have a plan and a purpose for your life. If I wanted to kill you or punish you for all the mistakes you’ve ever made, I could have done it just now. I protected you in your fall and you’re going to be okay.” I had this overwhelming sense of peace, and I determined to just take it a few feet at a time. Using my arms as legs and my good foot as a brake, I would slide on my butt to the next ledge and peer over to discover the best way down. I continued this way from ledge to ledge all the way down the West Face until I arrived at a huge cairn where the mountain meets the ridgeline. Darkness was just setting in, and Bret, a medical worker from Air St. Luke’s, walked up. Air St. Luke’s had dropped off an EMT and two guys from South Custer Search and Rescue before returning to the hospital because it was shift change and the high winds and darkness presented hazards in the mountains. They would be back at first light to pick me up. In the meantime, my three new-best-friends would help me navigate the ridgeline to the landing zone where we would bivouac for the night. Bret gave me a double dose of morphine to see if I could walk. Almost immediately I felt the effects of the morphine, but when I tried to walk, my ankle buckled. Later the orthopedic surgeon informed me that if I had tried to force it and walk on my broken heel, I would have spread open the fractures like crushing Styrofoam and required major surgery on my foot. As an endurance athlete, you get to know your body. You know the kind of pain that you can push through and you know the kind of pain that says, “You need to stop.” I would have to cross the ridgeline the same way that I descended the West Face. T. J. and Buzz from South Custer Search and Rescue joined us for the painstaking trek back across the ridgeline they had just traversed. “I’m sorry that I’ve ruined your Labor Day weekend plans,” I joked. “No,” they laughed. “We’re just happy that you’re okay and in one piece.” They had personally been involved in some high altitude mountain rescues that turned out to be tragedies. It was a blessing to have Karine Joncas is a skincare system created for women by a woman, with over 19 years of success. She is making a change in women’s lives by offering high performance multifunctional skincare for the modern busy woman. Karine Joncas Consultant Marcee Squire Clark 208.921.8365 karinejoncas.com/marcee @friendsandfacials

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these guys guide me across the ridgeline. Coming up, I had just climbed over the top of the cliffs and rock pillars that stood out like giant fingers and knuckles on the ridge. Now that wasn’t an option and I needed to navigate around them, which was hard to do from the vantage point of sitting on your butt with a headlamp in the dark. It took us two hours to make the trek across the final quarter mile to the landing zone. When we finally made it to the saddle, Bret broke out bivy sacks for each of us, and after finding a couple of nice boulders to lean up against, we hunkered down for a cold night on the mountain. In between morphine-induced power naps, I would look up at the nearly full moon and star-filled sky and think about how lucky I was to be alive – not just that night on the mountain, but every night. I thought of the John Muir quote: “You may be a little cold some nights on mountaintops above the timberline, but you will see the stars, and by and by you can sleep enough in your town bed or at least in your grave. Keep awake while you may in mountain mansions so rare.” Yes, indeed. Mountain mansions so rare. That morning, the helicopter arrived with Tim, the pilot, and Kennah, another EMT. “Are you hungry?” Kennah asked as she walked over with a bag full of sausage McMuffins, hash browns, and chocolate milk. “That looks like a steak dinner to me,” I replied in gratitude. I thanked my friends for their incredible help and support before I was lifted off the mountain. They didn’t have to carry me or use ropes to get me down from the site of my accident to the landing zone. Fortunately no life-saving measures were needed. But I had an injury that put me in a very bad way at high altitude and their assistance and encouragement were invaluable. When T. J. and Buzz showed up at the bottom of the West Face, I told the trio, “You guys are my heroes.” T. J. responded, “Well, we haven’t done anything yet.” “Yes, you have,” I told him. “Just being here. Your presence means a lot.” Accidents sometimes happen. And when it did happen I was prepared, and I didn’t panic. My helmet and my backpack probably saved my life or at the very least saved me from a debilitating injury. But I owe everything to the protection of an almighty Providence, and I could not have made it down off the mountain without the assistance of the amazing team of responders. You never forget the kindness of strangers when you’ve survived a situation like that. Mountains make such great metaphors. From time to time, we’ve all found ourselves stuck or in a bad way. When you see someone in that situation, you don’t have to have all the answers. None of the responders were orthopedic surgeons and no one happened to bring along a portable x-ray machine. But they were there for whatever was needed, and just having someone to talk to while I butt-skied and crab-walked down the mountain was incredibly uplifting. As long as we’re alive, God always has a plan and purpose for each of us, and there is no greater plan, no higher purpose than time spent in service to others. n Jason Herring is a father to four amazing kids and husband to his wife, Suzanne, of 21 years. In 2009 they experienced two miscarriages and the loss of their 4-year-old son Josiah to cancer. In the wake of that devastation, Jason has sought to share hope with others who walk that same valley. He is passionate about his family, mountains, Spartan Races, history books, writing, and speaking on the grace of God.

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THE DAYS of Noah — Part 1

Darkness besets earth and its inhabitants through their years of wandering – held nothing but cold disappointment. Her stomach gnawed at her, making her feel hollow of heart and spirit, as well as food. Seeking distraction, she focused on the temple, looking to resurrect the awe she felt when she first saw it hours ago. Built by the son of Cain to honor the goddess of grain, it was the largest temple known to man. With its sharp angles, intricately carved pillars, and high stone steps leading to the great goddess, it seemed to reach the heavens. The goddess herself was carved of white marble. She sat, legs crossed, one hand outstretched to receive sacrifices, the other raised high. Snakes, the symbol of wisdom and power, encircled her head and twisted around her torso. Forged from gold, the diamond patterns along their backs trimmed in emeralds, eyes made of rubies, they sparkled in the evening lamplight, the torches carried by the priests guiding worshipers up the steps giving life to the cold, stone eyes of the goddess. Yet, the eyes were just that – cold stone. Not a flicker of hope or encouragement for the weary traveler. A sharp whistle caught Zahara’s attention and she met Magara’s eyes just as a man with a strong stride turned the corner. He was simply dressed, but unlike the drunk in the alley, Zahara could see what Magara already had – a full money belt tied at his waist. She nodded as Magara sauntered into his path. “Stranger, you look like a man that could help me,” she said. Zahara only caught fragments of the conversation as she wove through the throng of people on the street to circle around. The man spoke, his voice gravelly, and Magara responded, the seductive tone clear, although the breeze grabbed their words from Zahara’s hearing. She drew close enough to slip a hand through the opening of the man’s cloak opposite from where his attention was fixed on her sister. Her fingers closed over the belt, lifting it carefully. Before she could retreat, Zahara’s wrist was caught in a strong, calloused hand, the heavy money belt dangling from her fingers. “I believe that’s mine.” He took the pouch before he released Zahara’s hand. Hungry and embarrassed, she shoved him hard in frustration. The man gave a huff of shocked laughter and held up his hands. “You seek to deceive me and steal my money and yet you shove me?” Magara placed herself between them. “You’ll have to excuse my sister. We’ve been on a long journey, denying ourselves every pleasure to arrive in the great city of Enoch during the Festival of the Seed. But,” she stepped closer, softening her tone, and reaching to run a finger down his chin, “for a price, we could both be happy.” A rumble echoed around them and only then did Zahara notice that a crowd had circled around to watch the exchange. At Magara’s suggestion, ribald suggestions flew between the spectators. A muscle moved in the man’s jaw and he looked past Magara to Zahara. She had no interest in what her sister was promising, but knew it would never come to that. It was a ploy to get the man alone. Then they could put their blades to good use and be done with it. Zahara raised her chin to meet the man’s gaze, noticing a warmth in

By Bethany Riehl A note from the author: The Days of Noah is a three-part fictional work based on biblical truth. Every effort has been made to stay within the confines of Scripture while exercising creative liberty to bring this time in human history to life. While the Bible tells us very little about this era, we can piece together a vibrant picture from what we know of the nature of man and of God as is told throughout Scripture. My hope is that you’ll be inspired to seek out the truth for yourself and see the ways our current times parallel the time of the Flood just as Jesus predicted in Matthew 24. *** “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually...But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God. Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. Then God said to Noah, ‘The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth. Make for yourself an ark…’ Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.” *** Two hooded figures stood in the shadows and waited. Their eyes were sharp, the blades hooked into their belts sharper; their minds quick, the feet that could scurry them away even quicker. Clumsy footsteps sounded down the dark, quiet street, uneven and faltering. One figure raised a hand in the air and held it. The steps grew louder and the hand sliced downward. In a flash they surrounded the man, too drunk to do much more than widen his eyes and swing his fists ineffectually. He was knocked unconscious and drug back into the alley, where they stripped him of his money belt and cloak. A near full wineskin was held up victoriously before the figures ran back further into the shadows and around a corner. Zahara breathed a sigh of relief as they exited the alley and onto a brightly lit street; she hated the dark. A man bumped into her as she stopped to pull the hood of her cloak from around her face. She cursed at his retreating back, accentuating the nouns with hair-raising adjectives when he waved an obscene gesture. She turned back to her sister, “Please tell me we have enough for bread. I’m starving.” Magara stopped beneath a street lamp to look through the pouch. A breeze kicked up, flickering the flame above them, shadow and light dancing across Magara’s face, accentuating her frown. She threw the belt down in frustration. “Nothing.” Zahara kicked at the dirt and leaned against a stone wall behind her. So far the city of Enoch – the city that beckoned to them

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his hazel eyes that she’d never seen in anyone before. It unnerved her and she dropped her gaze, convinced it was her hunger – not intimidation – that made her knees tremble. She crossed her arms over her growling stomach and met his gaze again when he spoke in a low rumble. “Not interested. But here you go,” he held up the leather bag between two fingers before flicking it to Zahara. Zahara caught it, staring at him in amazement. The crowd grew louder, some booing, others calling out more obscene suggestions. She barely heard the man’s last words before he turned away. “If you Bethany want to know how to find lasting sustenance – and a job with good pay – you’ll know where to find me.” He gestured to the crowd that clearly knew him before turning to walk down the street. Men mocked and called out as he moved past them. “Come on, Shem! Don’t you want to tell them about that ark your father is building?” “Why don’t you tell them about the flood that’s coming?” “Don’t you want to save them? Shem!” “Shem! The Festival begins – you could contribute to society for once.” Zahara and Magara stood bewildered as the insults grew louder. They spit at him, then followed throwing fruit and vegetables – even dung left in the street – at his retreating back. He continued his slow and steady stride, ducking his head slightly to avoid the assault. The crowd eventually dispersed, leaving the sisters to look into the bag on their own. “There’s enough silver here for ten meals!”

Magara gasped. Zahara furrowed her brow and reached into the bag, pulling out a scroll tucked between the coins. She unrolled it and scanned the contents: a drawing of a large building, measurements and figures, a list of building supplies. Along the edge, etched in small letters she read, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…” Zahara looked for Shem again, but he had turned off of the main road. *** Shem followed the path that he knew by heart, pulse pounding in his ears, unable to concentrate. It Riehl wasn’t often that he left the valley where his people had lived for generations. Yet it wasn’t the three-day journey for supplies that had unnerved him, nor the reaction of the people. He was used to that. It was looking into the eyes of those that, after nearly one hundred years of his father Noah’s warnings, still denied the wrath that was coming. The closer the ark came to completion, the more the household of Noah could feel the heaviness of what was to come. And the more the people around them sunk deeper into wickedness. Shem’s family walked a precarious line of hope for a new earth, and despair that no one would be spared unless they repented. He was nearly to the valley when the low rumble began. Distant shouts and screams echoed from the city, slicing through his thoughts, turning his blood to ice. The ground vibrated beneath his feet and he turned back, knowing that until God Himself poured out His wrath, Shem could not turn his back on people in need. Especially in the destructive wake of a brontosaurus stampede. n

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THE GREAT ‘what if?’

Some lessons from Naomi, Ruth and Boaz By Roxanne Drury Have you ever daydreamed a scenario and wondered…what if ? I know I have. A while back, I wondered what if I could spend my days writing curriculum so Sunday school teachers could teach kids about Jesus in a fun, meaningful way. My ‘what if ’ actually happened and I am truly happy as a clam doing it. I have received such a blessing from the work I do because it was God’s plan for me. What if ’s make things happen, what if ’s make dreams come true, what if ’s are the mind at work in new and exciting ways to bring about change. Usually, great things come when the what if ’s actually happen. But sometimes, what if ’s hold us back. I’d like to share with you the greatest what if story I have ever heard. It all starts with a woman named Naomi. Roxanne Scene 1: Naomi has lost her husband and both of her sons. However, she has two wonderful daughters-in-law. Naomi must return to her homeland, Bethlehem. One daughter-in-law returns to her own family. The other daughterin-law, Ruth, refuses to leave Naomi. She claims undying loyalty and devotion and shows much kindness to Naomi and so travels to Bethlehem with her. What if Ruth did not travel with Naomi? Being an older woman, traveling alone, might Naomi have come to harm on the road? Scene 2: Ruth and Naomi get to Bethlehem and Naomi remembers about a cousin, Boaz, and sends Ruth to glean in his field. What if Ruth was not an obedient daughter-in-law? What if Boaz no longer lived there? Scene 3: Boaz notices Ruth and her hard work ethic. He discovers that she is caring for Naomi and recognizes her faithfulness and loyalty to his relative. But he also sees that she is beautiful and vulnerable, so he has his worker protect her. What if Boaz had been too busy to notice Ruth or inquire about her? What if the worker did not protect Ruth or leave extra grain for her? What might have been Ruth’s plight? Scene 4: Boaz arranges for Ruth to be redeemed (i.e., released from the one the culture at the time dictated she should marry) and marries her himself.

What if the one she was supposed to marry refused to let her go? What if Ruth was thinking, “What if Boaz is not a nice man?” Conclusion: Naomi is blessed with a new family. Boaz is blessed with a caring, loyal, hardworking, faithful, beautiful wife. Ruth is blessed with motherhood. Though they were not aware of it, the lives of Naomi, Ruth and Boaz were intertwined in such a way that there was meaning and purpose in every detail. A God-sized plan, if you will, was being played out through these people. What if… • Ruth had not stayed with Naomi and she chose to go her own way. • Ruth wasn’t such a hard worker and didn’t faithfully go to the field every day to gather grain. Drury • Ruth didn’t humble herself at the feet of Boaz, or she refused to marry him. These were all choices that Ruth made. Just think if she made one different choice, she may have missed out on all that God had planned for her. She may have missed out on love and children. She may have missed a blessed life. And what of the world? You may be thinking to yourself, “What does Ruth’s what if story have to do with the world?” Well, my friend, I am so glad you asked. If not for Ruth and who she was and the choices she made to be faithful and loyal and obedient...here it comes...the world may have missed out on a Savior – the extended blessing. Check out Ruth 4:18-22: “This, then, is the family line of Perez: Perez was the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, Boaz the father of Obed (Ruth was his mother), Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David.” From the line of David came the Messiah – the Savior. Yes, God possibly, probably, most definitely would have made it happen some other way if Ruth had made other choices; but the important thing is, He wrote it into Ruth’s story and she followed His plan.

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All this is to say that God has a plan for each and every one of us. It is our job to figure it out and just do it! We can’t let the what if ’s stop us from making the right choices. Each of us can be a Ruth – faithfully serving, staying loyal to family, being obedient to God and ever hard-working, doing His kingdom work however and wherever He places us to do it. God’s plan for you this day, in this time, no matter what is going on in the world, is meaningful and purposeful and blessed. So very blessed. There is no what if that should hold you back from doing the work God has planned for you. None. Zilch. Nada. And the blessings – oh, the blessings – when you follow His plan for your life. They are abundant! You will be blessed because of what you do, and you will be a blessing. It just doesn’t get any better than that. So kick those what if ’s that are holding you back from following God’s plan right out the door. They have no place in your story – the story that God wrote for your life so many, many years ago. Make the choice. Be a Ruth! What could/would happen if you did? n

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CHALLENGING Faith

The modern-day culture war of worldviews By Joel Lund

The Culture War, Finally Unmasked

If you, like me, are really tired of (and from) 2020, you may also be wondering if 2021 will be the sequel…or the antidote. Because the coronavirus, among all of its medical horror, completely removed the curtain that had been hiding the extent of the culture war.

Irreconcilable Differences

There are two competing worldviews prevalent today. There is a war between them. From the look of things, there is no peace on the horizon. It’s been a culture war that’s been smoldering for decades – centuries, really – but is now fully engaged. Let me share with you how we discuss these opposing worldviews in my home. Each has an avatar, if you will. The first is Gene Roddenberry; the second is C.S. Lewis. For people of a certain demographic, we were watching Roddenberry’s Star Trek around the same time we were reading C.S. Lewis. If we were attentive to the differences between their worldviews, the contrasts could not have been greater. Roddenberry’s worldview, as displayed in the now-iconic TV series, can be described as humanistic. Although he’d been raised a Southern Baptist, he rejected a theological worldview for a pantheistic one, where humanity is forever evolving to a better future – a progressively better version of itself. And to achieve that, Roddenberry argued there is not only no need for God, but humanity must utterly reject all religion, mysticism and superstition. Only then will we truly ascend. In opposition to such a lofty, positive view, Lewis argued that the story of humankind is one of descent. From the very beginning, it was humans’ rejection of God that brought sin, disease, violence and death into the world. Moreover, our descent accelerates as time goes by. Lewis warns believers to pay close attention to the world in which they live, in both his non-fiction and fiction. He especially warns of mindlessly accepting whatever is the popular worldview of the day. In God in the Dock (1948), his writing is stunningly relevant today: “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. … To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.” And from his classic and chilling science fiction novel, That Hideous Strength (1945), Lewis writes prophetically: “The physical sciences, good and innocent in themselves, had already... begun to be warped, had been subtly maneuvered in a certain direction. Despair of objective truth had been increasingly insinuated into the scientists; indifference to it, and a concentration upon mere power, had been the result…”

The Church’s Embrace of “Love”

The church’s failure – beginning in the 1960s – led us to where we are today. Far too many believers have absorbed the popular worldview that there is no objective truth. In doing so, they’ve grown indifferent to Truth in favor of trusting not-so-innocent science because that’s where the power is concentrating. And here we are. The culture war is raging. The evidence is everywhere. And it is due in large part to the church accepting the tyranny of love rather than defending the Truth. The failures are many, but four are critically problematic behaviors:

32 November / December 2020 | Christian Living

1. Toward Unbelievers: Although it is commonplace now to find professing Christians arguing that “Love is love,” they can only do so by rejecting clear biblical teaching. And in doing that, they elevate themselves over Scripture and millennia of church teaching, making their beliefs the standard for living, insisting that those who disagree are clinging to outdated beliefs and must be “cured against one’s will.” 2. Toward Believers: Rather than obey clear instruction on how to engage with fellow believers, it is commonplace now to ignore our obligations to each other. It costs nothing – materially and spiritually – to declare “I’ll be praying for you!” But it checks the box marked love, while utterly failing at obeying God’s commands. 3. Toward Life: There is no biblical defense for standing against the unborn. Yet, it is commonplace to see countless Christians argue for the right to do just that. They do so by leaning entirely on the deification of science. However, they proclaim it is the most loving position to take on the subject. 4. Toward Death: For as long as I can recall, marking someone’s death has been an occasion for celebrating that person’s life. The cultural sensibility, apparently, is “Who wouldn’t prefer a celebration of life? Funerals are depressing!” But again, believers have lurched away from clear biblical guidance regarding mourning in favor of a cultural norm. Let’s be clear: Death is not natural; it is a horror…a tearing away. Nowhere in Scripture do we see any death-celebrations; we see grieving. The pandemic has brought tremendous grieving to so many. It reminds us all of the utter fragility of life, as well as the devastation of death. Jesus still wept for Lazarus, right before raising him from the grave.

The Truth Is At Stake

Alistair Begg, the brilliant Scottish preacher, argues that Christians should stand apart from the commonplace and instead be known for their unfiltered expressions of joy. Of all people, have we not the most to be joyful for? Even in the midst of great difficulties, we have a Savior who lives! Be joyous! Celebrate life, even as you protect it. But Begg also says that they should be known for their deep expressions of grief. Of all people, we know that it is sin that brought death into the world. Consequently, death is the final enemy each of us will face. Death’s sting is already removed and death’s fate already sealed. Nevertheless, we do well to never pretend it’s not our enemy, even though vanquished. Grieve deeply. The neverness of death is real. Our own death is required to be reunited with those departed. Live into your obligations to fellow believers. Don’t ignore them. Don’t pretend that your breezy promise of prayers will somehow improve their lives without real interaction and sacrifice from you. Engage the false and horrific narrative of our day that “love is love.” It is the ultimate proclamation of narcissism. However, it comes from the same place that all sin comes from – our impulse to elevate ourselves and to be the unchallenged source of “our own truth.” It is also the place from where we wish to “cure” others from their wrongheaded worldviews. Remember, we’re sent “out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Mt. 10:16 ESV)

Further Up and Further In

By now you have discerned that the culture war we’ve been discussing is actually not new, but as old as humanity itself. And, in fact, it is to its core a spiritual war being played out within our culture. Ultimately, the war demands our taking a side. One either chooses to live by the Roddenberrian worldview that we’re progressively evolving past the quaint (at best) “need” for God into a utopian, humanistic future. Or you choose to live by Lewis’s worldview that there is a God, we’re not Him, and understanding that distinction is central

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to your eternal future, as well as whatever happiness you might have here on earth. In The Last Battle, Lewis’s final installment of The Chronicles of Narnia (for which he is best known), he describes the true human condition this way: “I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now… Come further up, come further in!” ~ Jewel, the unicorn

Joel Lund

We are all, every last one of us, finite and mortal creatures. If we observe the world around us today – honestly and unflinchingly – as well as consider the past, as far back as you wish to go, the story of humanity does not align with Roddenberry’s worldview. However, it absolutely lines up with Lewis’s assertions that over time, humans have only grown less tolerant, less progressive, more hostile, more narcissistic and more power hungry, masters of our own little universe. But we are all, every last one of us, also looking for our real country, the one where we truly belong…the place where we are finally and fully who we were meant to be. It is a fool’s errand to seek that country here on earth. But not everyone knows that. Like Jewel, they don’t know that’s what they’ve been looking for their whole life. As believers, we have the opportunity – especially during this pandemic era – to live fearlessly as if we know that, believe it, expect it and eagerly await it.

Now is the time to resist the prevailing humanistic worldview, but to do so winsomely because responding in kind only empowers the unbeliever’s false understanding. Now is the time to resist the religious virtue-signaling of being no earthly good to your fellow believer, but commit to actually sacrifice a little for each other. Now is the time to take a stand for life rather than hide behind silence, because in this arena, silence really is violence. And now is the time to reject the notion that death is natural. Grieve with those who grieve. Weep with those who weep. Time is short and our day draws near. Soon, we will be journeying further up and further in. Rejoice! n Joel is a certified master coach, business strategist, and author. Most importantly, he’s worked with a lot of people just like you. Chat with him. There’s no charge. Schedule here: http://bit.ly/ Curious-PFR. Image by JL G from Pixabay

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Christian Living | November / December 2020 33


ORDINARY to extraordinary

David’s story could be your story too Was David perfect? No. Did he fail in life at times? By Bradley Shotts Oh yes. But he kept his eyes on God and he cried I never imagined that I would experience in my out to God in times when he failed and allowed lifetime what I’m seeing unfold in the world we God’s grace to sustain him. live in today. It saddens me greatly to see so much When we move away from God and we take our division and hate. I think about those words that we eyes off of God, it is then that we begin to focus on all grew up reciting each morning in school as we our weaknesses and our failures, instead of being started each day, standing at the side of our desks instruments that God can successfully use. with our right hand over our heart: “One nation unThis world seems to have more Goliaths than der God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Davids right now. But there is a David inside all of Change starts with me. Change starts with you. us and we certainly need the Davids of our country We cannot wait any longer for someone else to step to arise and lead and set the example for others to up and do what is right. It is time for us to wake up follow. from our slumber and become courageous for God To be a true David and to be used of God may or and for our country. may not appeal to you. I mean, let’s just be honest Young David, in the Bible, is the perfect example with one another. There will come a day though of what I’m talking about. In reality, David was a when what you have done for God or what you very average boy. He was a shepherd. But David had have not done will become very important. In fact, something burning within him that was magnificent. Bradley Shotts I will even go as far as to say that it will be the most David had a deep passion for God. He was hunimportant thing to you above everything else. gry for God, he sought after God; he had a passion for the spiritual The reason is this: when we get to Heaven, what we have done for things, and he tried to please God despite his failures. This moved God while on Earth will mean absolutely everything to us. It will him from ordinary to extraordinary. We get hung up on our failures and our inadequacies. When David be the only thing that we will have to offer Jesus. It is the only thing that we will carry with us into Heaven. I don’t know about you, but I brought his brother’s lunch that day – they were soldiers in the Israel don’t want to stand before God empty-handed. army – and discovered that there was a giant of a man threatening *** the entire army of God, he very easily could have looked around him Father, may we have enough love and passion for You to say, “Use and joined in the fear of his peers. He could have thought to himself, me, Lord!” May it become a burning desire within us to serve You “What am I supposed to do? I’m just here to deliver lunch. I am just and be willing to do any task You set before us. Forgive us for becoma shepherd attending my flock. I certainly cannot do anything to help this situation. I’m headed back to the fields!” But David had the ing complacent in our lives. May we all turn to You and seek Your face and turn from our wicked ways. As your Word promises us, it is courage to do the extraordinary. then that You will forgive us, bring healing to our land, and Your ears David, under God’s power, single-handedly defeated Goliath, who will be attentive to our prayers. May the Davids come forth, in Jesus stood just under 10 feet tall. He did what an entire army could not. name. Amen. (2 Chronicles 7:14-15) n He also had what an army did not. He had faith in God. David grew into a great man of God, becoming king at the age of Bradley R. Shotts and his wife, Amy, grew up in Tyler, Texas. They have two 30, and he reigned for 40 years. He died at the age of 70, and on his children, Blaine and Braylee, and currently live in Bedford, Texas. Brad has death bed, what did he do? He counseled Solomon to walk in the served the Lord in ministry for 32 years in the funeral industry as a funeral direcways of God. King David knew that if Solomon followed God, he tor. He currently is the general manager for Forest Ridge Funeral Home Memorial would be successful in everything that he did and would accomplish Park Chapel in North Richland Hills, Texas. great things.

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DEALING with loneliness?

You’re not alone in experiencing isolation By Stanley Popovich Many people deal with the fear of being alone. Being alone can make someone feel depressed and unhappy, so it’s important to not let it be a factor in your life. With this in mind, here is a list of techniques that a person can use so that the fear of loneliness doesn’t become a major issue in their life. 1. Find an activity that you enjoy doing: Joining a group activity can be a great way to meet people. Doing something that you like to do will make you happy and the fact that you will be around different people will increase your chances of making friends. 2. Spend your time with a pet: Animals are a great source of companionship. Volunteer at your local animal shelter to help those animals who are in need. Another option is to consider adopting a pet. Regardless, spending time with your favorite pet or animal will overcome your loneliness. 3. Help others through community service: There are many people out there who could benefit from your time and talents. Helping others can give you a sense of pride and accomplishment and help you not to focus on your loneliness. You can also increase your chances of meeting others with similar interests. 4. It could be worse: Imagine that you are married or stuck in a relationship that you can’t get out of and also makes you miserable on a daily basis. Being in an unhappy relationship can be very depressing, so remind yourself of that little known fact the next time you feel a little lonely. 5. Spending time with God can help: Spending time with God and asking God for help in your time of loneliness can be of great comfort. You never know how God will work in your life. Including God in your everyday living can help reduce your loneliness. Talk to a priest or minister for some guidance. 6. The important thing is to be active: Sitting around and doing nothing will not make things any better, whether it is dealing with the fear of being alone or something else. Take it one day at a time and try to make the effort of being active with others in your community. n Stanley Popovich is a published author of a managing fear book and a Los Angeles mental health columnist. For more information, go to managingfear.com.

“HOPE through Transition”

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3 Oaks Ministries is a non-profit, faith-based organization committed to helping the hurting and broken by providing hope for the future through Christ in our communities and beyond. Through community collaboration, our goal is to bring help and hope to those in need so they can realize the potential within them and inspire others to do the same. Bringing Help for the Need and Hope for the Soul.

Idaho Chaplain Association

“The face of Christ in the face of Crisis”©

The Idaho Chaplains Association (ICA) is a valuable community ministry reaching out into the hearts and neighborhoods of Idaho whose vision is to be a present relevant resource bringing help and hope in life’s critical moments. The (ICA) aims to mobilize and equip chaplains to serve our community as well as support our local, state and federal public safety agencies, first responders and Institutions by being the spiritual and emotional presence during life’s critical moments.

Get involved today 1. Need Chaplain Training: The ICA can train you to use your passion and calling to serve others in your community. Contact us today for information or to enroll. Check our training schedule and register. 2. Need a Chaplain: Contact the ICA and find out how a chaplain can serve you or your agency or institution. Our Chaplains can serve you during funerals, weddings, stress and crisis intervention, and special keynote speakers or officiate at events. 3. Support a Chaplain: Support a chaplain and be a part of serving your community through their service.

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Christian Living | November / December 2020 35


MAXIMUM Health

Beware ‘obesogens’ in household products

contact with food can leach obesogenic compounds into the food. This also includes plastic water bottles, plastic utensils, drinking cups, plates, and other plastic kitchen items. Each of these items should be avoided. (The use of microwaves increases the leaching as well.) Plastics also contain synthetic estrogen, which contributes to hormonal disruption. Instead of storing most foods in plastic, opt for glass containers and Mason jars. Note: Plastic containers can be used for foods like Endocrine Disruption pretzels and non-food items, such as storage for items The hormone system regulates the body’s metaboin the garage. lism, energy, hunger and feelings of fullness. Exposure • Filter drinking water – Even though the Safe to obesogens can lead to metabolic distress, which Water Drinking Act regulates 91 contaminates, tap could disrupt the endocrine system. For example, when water containing lead is still a serious problem. the signals to alert the body of hunger and fullness are • Opt for a natural deodorant – There’s a big altered, a person may continue eating when they are difference between antiperspirants and deodorants. actually full. In time, this could lead to weight gain. Rosie Main People like antiperspirants because they eliminate This overeating increases the risk of other health sweaty armpit stains. However, antiperspirants contain issues, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and compounds that are intended to block the sweat glands. Small gel plugs coronary heart disease. Medicines are then prescribed to combat these were created to literally block sweat glands. obesity-related ailments, while the actual cause of the weight gain (obeThis is important because sweating is one of the ways toxins are sogens) goes undetected and untreated. removed from the body. These ingredients also have fragrances, which means they contain synthetic chemicals like phthalates and parabens, which are endocrine disruptors. For this reason, using deodorants may Decreasing Obesogen Exposure be a healthier option. Identifying top sources of obesogen is a critical first step in improvFortunately, there are many non-toxic deodorants to choose from that ing a person’s health. Obesogens are found in more than just household do not have these synthetic compounds. products. Here are a few tips on reducing exposure to this dangerous chemical: • Eat organic fruits and vegetables – Many of the pesticide resiPutting It All Together dues on conventional fruits and veggies contain obesogens. Switching to Obesogens in household products are used in many facets of modern organic varieties can have an immediate impact on decreasing the levels life. While removing these harmful chemicals may seem daunting, it of obesogens in the body. should be viewed as a systematic phase-out. It doesn’t have to be done • Avoid home fragrances – Scented candles, air fresheners, plug-ins overnight or on a weekend. It may take several months or longer, but and other types of home fragrances all contribute to indoor air pollueven the smallest changes can have a tremendous impact on a person’s tion. According to the EPA, scientific evidence indicates indoor air can health over time. n be “more seriously polluted” than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities. Rosie Main, D.C., owns Main Health Solutions at 2300 W. Everest Lane, • Eliminate fabric softeners – The toxins in fabric softeners can Suite 175, in Meridian. She is also the host of Maximized Living Radio be inhaled and absorbed through the skin via clothes, bed sheets, etc. on 94.1 The Voice and KIDO 580 AM. For more information, visit • Decrease the use of plastics – The plastics that come into MaximizedLivingDrMain.com. By Rosie Main Obesogens are defined as “foreign chemical compounds that disrupt normal development.” They are also defined as chemicals that “alter lipid homeostasis and fat storage, change metabolic set points, disrupt energy balance or modify the regulation of appetite to promote fat accumulation and obesity.” There are a few ways obesogens affect the body.

OUTDOORS WITH DOUGHERTY

Dan’s Memorable Adventures

This tribute to our friend & colleague is a compilation of all his articles; Dan’s personal photos & art, even some that were never published. You’ll thoroughly enjoy this walk down memory lane.

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36 November / December 2020 | Christian Living

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“I GET TO!”®

Offer kindness, compassion and hope

“The only difference between those who threw in By Joan Endicott the towel and quit and those who used their energy A father and his 4 children got on a crowded subto rebuild and kept going is found in the word hope. way in New York City. The father took the one seat, What does hope do for humanity? Hope shines which just became vacant and immediately rested brightest when the hour is darkest. Hope motivates his elbows on his knees and held his face in his hands, while the unattended children seemed to be when discouragement comes. Hope energizes when on their own to move in and around other passenthe body is tired. Hope sweetens while the bittergers. They stepped on toes and seemed unruly, esness bites. Hope sings when all melodies are gone. pecially to one particular passenger, who lodged his Hope brings the victory, when no one is winning. complaint to the inattentive dad. Nudging the father, You don’t need a better environment. You just need the passenger said, “Hey mister, aren’t these your more hope. It’s the one thing in your life you can’t kids? Why aren’t you paying attention to them?” do without!” The subway dad slowly looked up with tear stained eyes and said, “Oh, I’m so sorry I haven’t been payHope: ing attention…we just came from the hospital and A feeling that something desirable is likely to happen we lost their mother…” For the majority of people we come in contact Everyone loves stories, which offer hope. CinderJoan Endicott with on any given day, we know very little about ella Man is one such story. James J. Braddock had what they’re really going through. Observing ana good life in the Roaring ‘20s, as a very successful other’s life from our limited perspective is similar to seeing only the tip of an iceberg. The majority of what’s really going on is below the professional boxer with a beautiful wife and three children he loved surface, so we have no idea what heartache and challenges others are and was completely dedicated to. In 1933, however, various events including a broken hand and the facing. Great Depression changed all that. James, aka The Bulldog of BerWe simply don’t know the rest of their story. In most cases we gen, ends up going down to the docks to pick up a days work, whennever will, which is why it’s important to offer kindness and compasever he can to get money for electricity, heat and food for his family. sion, regardless. We may recognize the importance hope offers us personally, yet Though the family is threatened to be split up, his unwillingness for often we’re simply not tuned into that same need in those around us. that to happen seems to strengthen his determination and resolve. In his book Think on These Things, author John Maxwell writes, Continued on page 39 “ I found everything I was looking for here: good Kvass, bread, sprats, dairy all my favorites. Bread was hot out of the oven. I took it home and put sprats on it -AMAZING! This store is clean with plenty of room to move. The staff was kind and friendly.”

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Christian Living | November / December 2020 37


UNDERSTANDING Relationships

Your marriage – it isn’t Algebra 1…

According to the Parrotts, there are three hallBy Gary Moore marks of health and wholeness: (1) Profound signifiRemember back to your high school days. For cance; (2) Unswerving authenticity; (2) Self-giving some of us, that’s a long way back. Most of us love. Another way of saying it: (1) Getting right with took Algebra 1. And, one of the things we learned God (significance); (2) Getting right with yourself in Algebra 1 was that you can take two negatives, multiply them together and get a positive result. You (authenticity); (3) Getting right with others (love). remember: ( -2 X -1 = +2). Let me clarify a popularly held misconception: But that’s Algebra 1, not Relationship 1. You can’t being healthy is not the same as being happy. But take two unhealthy people and put them together you can’t be happy without being healthy. Emotional and get a healthy result. And yet, that’s exactly what health is more than the absence of dysfunctional many people try to do. Instead of realizing that the emotions. Healthy people contend with depression, best thing they can do for their relationship is to stress, anger, anxiety, and all the rest. But they don’t become whole themselves, they are looking for that let their feelings determine their destiny. They man“special someone” to “complete them.” Or, if they age their emotions. They don’t let their emotions are already married, they are looking to their spouse drive them. to be that person. Healthy people are far from perfect, but they are Not long ago I posted this question on my Mutual committed to being honest with themselves – to Gary Moore Understanding Method Facebook page: What’s the seeing themselves as they really are. They own their single most important thing you can do for your dark side, their ugly parts. Not content to accept their shortcomings relationship? Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott say, and I agree with them, and limitations, they move toward growth. They use their pain to get healthy. make progress, their hurts to heal. In their recently released book, “Healthy Me, Healthy Us,” which You may be single or married, young or old. You may live a many of these ideas are taken from, they make this statement: “If charmed life or suffer unthinkable challenges. Whatever your bagyou try to build intimacy with another before you have gotten whole gage or background, each moment of every day you are moving on your own, all your relationships become an attempt to complete yourself.” And guess what? These relationships will fall flat. Why? Be- either away from or toward the person God designed you to be. As a cause nobody was designed to complete you. Not a friend, colleague, result, either your inner self is deteriorating into something unattractfamily member, or even your soul mate. Nobody can do that work for ive or it is quietly becoming a work of art. You are either maximizing you. Nobody in your life is a shortcut to personal wholeness. your moments or allowing them to slip by without notice. You can solicit input (even from professional counselors), read, and As the Parrotts so succinctly put it, “No matter your age, stage, research the subject. But ultimately you are the one who must do faith, or career, all of us, if we choose, are on a journey of wholeness. the work on your own to become psychologically, emotionally, and It’s a process that never ends.” Enjoy the journey. spiritually whole. The reality is that your relationships can only be as Remember, your marriage relationship isn’t Algebra 1. n healthy as you are. If you want to have healthy relationships with other people, parGary Moore served as associate pastor at Cloverdale Church of God for 15 ticularly your spouse, you’ve got to be healthy yourself. Your relation- years. He does couples’ coaching and leads couples’ workshops and retreats called ships don’t necessarily need more skills, tips, or tactics – although MUM’s the Word. He does a weekly radio program called Life Point Plus on those do have their place. What your relationships need most is KBXL 94.1FM at 8:45 a.m. on Fridays. Monday mornings at 10 a.m. he does something deeper, something stronger, something that has more to live relationship teaching called MUM Live on his Facebook page Mutual Underdo with your being than your doing. Your relationships need emostanding Method. He may be contacted at glmoore113@gmail.com. tional health.

Homeskool By Samantha Tovalin

38 November / December 2020 | Christian Living

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Kindness, compassion and hope Continued from page 37

Jim finally gets a break, when given the opportunity to be a lastminute replacement fighter to go up against the No. 2 heavyweight in the world. Although Jim’s expected to merely show up, take a few hits and collect his paycheck, he ends up knocking out his opponent. To everyone’s surprise and delight, he continues winning – one victory after another. Not only does this allow him to provide for his family, it also offers a renewed hope among the discouraged and destitute. That’s exactly why we all love for the underdog to come out as the hero – it just feels right. It gives everyone a sense of hope to cling to, saying and “If he can do it, so can I!” These are the kind of stories we should be talking about – ones filled with hope, the overcoming of obstacles and determination to do the right thing no matter what. In the last month I am sad to say I have heard of several people, from Junior High to adults who have died by suicide – this is an ultimate feeling of hopelessness. The heartbreaking reality is that suicide is now the second leading cause of death among ages 10-34. The seriousness of this issue cannot be overstated. Although this is clearly an enormous concern, it seems few are actually talking about it. This isn’t one of those ignore it and it will go away issues. Please, please be aware of those around you, really look at them, listen to them, genuinely care and be a messenger of hope—true hope in Jesus Christ! Whether feeling desperate to this degree or not, we never know the battle another person is facing. What we do know is that everyone needs encouragement, and everyone needs hope. If you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you have the ultimate hope and you and I get to be messengers to those who need Him. If you do not have the hope that only Christ can give, today is the day! John 3:16 says,

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (NLT)

Everyone should know:

By 2010, depression was considered the #1 disability in the world. The AFSP (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention) site shares these alarming statistics from 2018: 1. On average, 132 Americans died by suicide each day. 2. 1.4 million Americans attempted suicide. 3. 48,344 Americans died by suicide.

H.O.P.E

Having Opportunity (to) Provide Encouragement ~Joan Endicott

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” – Romans 15:13 n A portion of this is an excerpt from Joan’s book. Grab your FREE copy of Joan’s “I Get To!”® book at JoanEndicott.com or sign up for her FREE videos. Joan Endicott is an Award-Winning Keynote Speaker, Author of “I Get To!”® founder of GIANT-Slayer Coaching and “WOW!” Women Owning Their Worth©. Her coaching reaches over 30 countries. Follow her on FB and IG–she posts encouraging words daily!

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Home for the Holidays

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