Christian Living Magazine January February 2023

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FREE January / February 2023 TOM Greco His God-led battle SYMBOLISM & Salvation A (good) snake story BUILD Something It’s not too late SAM & Rocio Two lives, one love story
Sam and Rocio Santiago: after a rocky start in life, the couple married last year

Volume 12, Number 1


Sandy Jones 208-703-7860


Gaye Bunderson Submit story ideas, article submissions & press releases

General Info 208-703-7860

Advertising & Sales Kimberly McMullen 208-703-7509

• Katy Nelson 503-816-3042

Cover Photo Steve Jones Graphic Design Denice King 208-918-5190

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 2023 by Christian Living Ministries Inc.

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Contents January / February 2023
Contributors Steve Bertel, Daniel Bobinski, Rick Chromey, Ryan De Amicis, Joan Endicott, Terry Frisk, Leo Hellyer, Jason Herring, Vincent Kituku, Rosie Main, Gary Moore, Steve Nelson,Bethany Riehl and Ed Rybarczyk. Website Design SEO Idaho Distribution D&S Distribution • 208-985-6904 Need Prayer? Call Idaho Chaplains Association Talk to a Chaplain 208-968-1991 IN EACH EDITION “Day is done and now rest. So make your way to the pasture of sleep and allow mercy to hold your weariness. The Shepherd of your soul is overseeing all that concerns you.” —Patsy Clairmont, Christian author and speaker Real Man’s Toolbox: Help is here 17 The Road Less Traveled: Build something 18 History, Culture & Faith: George Washington Carver 14 Symbolism & Salvation: A snake story 6 Wednesday’s Child: Meet Savannah 7 Understanding Relationships: The paradox of intimacy 12 Biblically Responsible Investing: Sinking funds 16 Maximum Health: A handwritten letter 24 Your Daily Bread: From resolutions to goals 22 COLUMNS DEPARTMENTS Publisher’s Corner: Our wildest dreams 4 “I Get To!”®: God’s best 10 FEATURES 20 The Chosen: An ‘extra’ special gift 8 Life in tune: Having the pegs right 30 Tom Greco: A battle in a Storm 34 Jim Winston: Peace officers’ group leader 38 The topic of tithing: A perspective on money 28 Mind of Christ: Proof in the pudding 32 A generous friend: An inspiring ‘last act’ 26 Bible Blanks 31 Cover Story Sam & Rocio: a love story

Humble start leads to amazing things

Welcome January 2023! Although it was ten years ago this month that our editor Gaye Bunderson and I were working on research and development for a yet-to-be-named Christian magazine, it feels like it was just a couple of years ago.

Many things have happened in the last ten years. It’s amazing to me that we’re still here – not just publishing Christian Living Magazine, but how God has lead us as it has evolved into His ministry with a world-wide web presence (you are one of our readers in over 150 countries), a radio show, active social media presence, and a staff chaplain!

I remember asking Gaye one day during the R&D stage, ‘what happens when we run out of story ideas?’ Bless her heart, she patiently reassured me that God would make a way. And He has – a way beyond our wildest dreams!

God has provided so many wonderful stories and articles. We are extremely grateful for our contributors, who share our vision, and want to see the hope and promise of God’s love, grace and mercy delivered in each edition, so much so that they donate their time, talent and expertise.

I am quite aware, though, that I have not yet “arrived.” Our pastor brought this to mind as he reminded me how much I dislike the phrase “some assembly required” one Sunday morning. Having just finished up our family Christmas, I laughed as I realized how much our pastor and I have in common in this. I might look at the diagram of parts, but generally try to just jump in and get whatever the item is put together. All the while my poor hubby is trying desperately to get me to join him in reading the instructions. And just like my pastor, about halfway through I realize it’s not coming together

4 January / February 2023 | Christian Living
Who is in this week’s Join us each week as we take a deeper, more personal dive into people and ministries we’ve covered in Christian Living Magazine Saturdays at Noon MST on 94.1 FM The Voice Listen “live” at or catch the replay under “Program Archives” ?
Today Joy I CHOOSE
Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

correctly, and I have to take it all apart, and, this time, follow the directions, or better yet, I just hand it off to my dear Steve, who is a mechanical whiz.

I’m amazed at how often my life mirrors this behavior. I know that God has given us an instruction manual to guide us along life’s way. Being a “driver” personality, more often than not I plunge into things headfirst, under “Sandy’s power,” instead of asking The Lord to lead me in His way, and with His perfect timing.

I’m not big into New Year’s resolutions, but this year it is my goal to lean more heavily on God’s instruction; to listen more intently to hear His still small voice for direction; and to do my best to live out the truth in 1 Peter 1:6-8 NIV:

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in

praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.

May this be a “golden” year for each of us. I hope you’ll join me in choosing joy.

In closing, a big thank you also goes out to you, our readers. Thank you for making the first 9½ years a success! We love hearing from so many of you about how we’ve somehow touched your lives. Often our advertisers will mention that one of our readers has shopped them, and thanked them for supporting Christian Living Magazine – thank you for this, too – our advertisers make it possible to print and deliver each and every issue. We simply couldn’t do this without them.

Until next time…

God Bless! n Christian Living | January / February 2023 5
Sandy Jones

An interesting story about a snake

Editor’s note: CLM contributor Daniel Bobinski completed his study of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 in his column titled, “Choosing to Love.” In this issue, he launches a new ongoing column on “Symbolism & Salvation.”

In the 21st chapter of the Book of Numbers, we find an odd story. The Israelites had been grumbling against God and Moses, and in response, God sent poisonous snakes to their camp. People who were bit by snakes were dying, and people went running to Moses, saying, “Tell God we’re sorry!”

And so, God had Moses make a snake out of brass and hang it up on a pole in the camp. From there, the instruction was that if anyone bit by a snake simply looked at the snake Moses had hung up on the pole, they would not die from their snakebite.

What an odd set of instructions. All one had to do was look at the snake and “death-by-snakebite” did not happen. How weird!

If that’s all we knew, we might ask, “What was the deal with the snake?” But hundreds of years later, the third chapter of the fourth Gospel quotes Jesus as saying, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” If Jesus didn’t say anything about what happened in Numbers 21, that incident would have been some strange Old Testament story. But if we take a deeper look at the circumstances, it all makes sense.

In the Book of John chapter 3, Jesus is talking to a teacher of the law named Nicodemus. Jesus tells him, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

As a teacher of the law, Nicodemus would have understood the story. People doomed to death from snake poison were spared death simply by believing that God would heal them if they merely looked at the snake.

But for Jesus, that story served as a symbolic analogy. He knew that people doomed to hell (which is a suffering called the Second Death in the Book of Revelation) would be spared that fate if they simply looked to Jesus on the cross.

Then, as if to underscore his point, Jesus uttered what has become the most famous verse in the Bible (John 3:16) – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

“Believes” is better translated “Trusts”

As I’ve mentioned in this space before, the word “believes” is more accurately translated “trusts.” In other words, it’s not just a matter of saying we believe in Jesus. In the Book of James, chapter 2, we’re told that even the demons believe – and they tremble.

Said another way, demons can believe that Jesus died for the sins of mankind all they want, it’s not going to get them a ticket to eternal life in Heaven with the Lord. Their fate is sealed.

For us, our “belief” must be a trust – a trust that Jesus’s blood pays the price for our sins.

More symbolism in “The Lamb of God”

Another symbolic event occurred in Exodus chapter 12, and it leads some to ask, “Why paint a lamb’s blood on the doorframe of your house?”

When He was getting ready to free the nation of Israel from captivity in Egypt, God had people bring a perfect, unblemished lamb into their homes for three days. Then, on the third day, the lamb was slaughtered and its blood was to be painted onto the frame of the door. That night, God brought judgment on Egypt, and the firstborn male of every species in every household was struck down.

But God had a symbolic plan. In verse 13 of that chapter, God says, “The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood I will pass over you.”

That was the first Passover. If God saw the lamb’s blood on a house, He did not strike anyone down in that house.

In the same way, Jesus is “the Lamb of God” (John 1). If we have the blood of the Lamb on us BY FAITH (trust), then when we stand before God, He will see the blood and “pass over” us when it comes to sending people to the second death.

Symbolism and salvation

These are just two symbolic events orchestrated by God to point us to Jesus. But Jesus didn’t come to earth just to die by Himself. Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”

Ephesians chapter 2 also contains some powerful verses, starting with verses 8 and 9: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Many people stop there, but if they keep reading, verse 10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

If a super simplified translation existed, verses 8 – 10 might read, “You’re not saved by your works, you’re saved for your works.”

In other words, yes, Jesus died so we can have eternal life. We can look at what Jesus did on the cross and trust that His blood covers our sins to get us in the door. But once we have that, Jesus has important things He wants each of us to do –things that will change the world. We’ll talk more about that in the next issue. n

Daniel Bobinski, Th.D., is an award-winning and bestselling author and a popular speaker at conferences and retreats. Reach him at or (208) 375-7606.

6 January / February 2023 | Christian Living
SYMBOLISM & Salvation
Daniel Bobinski

Calling all “foodies” and artists! We’d like to introduce you to 15-year-old Savannah, who is currently taking a culinary class and hopes to continue a lifetime of cooking. She’s a big fan of sushi, especially because she recently learned to make it herself and can add her own artistic flair to it.

An artist at heart, Savannah loves to spend time drawing, beading, crocheting, creating origami, and writing poetry that helps her to heal from her difficult past. Music is another creative outlet for her, and she hopes to be able to take lessons to learn to play the guitar and the ukulele sometime soon.

Savannah is a caring and empathetic girl who loves “dad jokes” and has a myriad of other interests as well. Outdoor pursuits she enjoys include horseback riding, paddle-boarding, hiking and camping. She has been on the track team at school and also loves watching volleyball games and cheering on the Dallas Cowboys.

If bad weather keeps her inside, don’t worry about Savannah getting bored. She’s always up for playing board games like Uno, Speed, Clue or Monopoly, or watching anything from Disney favorites to the scariest of scary movies. She is on track educationally and always tries to give her best in school. A bit of an old soul, she loves reading the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries.

Savannah aspires to become either a social worker or a probation officer someday, so that she can help kids like herself who have come from hard places.

When it comes to activities she would love to do as a family, Savannah dreams of everything from the simple things, like spending time volunteering as a family at a soup kitchen or an animal shelter, to grand adventures such as traveling together. She loves flying, as well as traveling by car, and has a wish list of places to visit, including a beach, a Renaissance fair, Comic-Con, and a trip to Italy to visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa and eat gelato.

This resilient young woman describes qualities in the right family for her as any type of parental make up, as long as she has caregivers who are stable, kind, goofy, funny, caring and who won’t give up on her if things get hard. Savannah prefers a family who attends church and has pets in their home. Savannah’s Permanency Team describes the best for her as a family where she will be the oldest child in the home, as she does great with younger children. A family with a strong understanding of trauma would be a great match for her. Savannah and her team are open to hearing from interested Idaho families, as well as families who reside in other states. Are you ready to make memories that will last a lifetime with an amazing teen? If the answer is a resounding “yes,” inquire today to find out more about Savannah. (See below.)n

For more information on the Idaho Wednesday’s Child Program, visit, or contact Specialized Recruitment Services Administrator Shawn White at or cell (208) 488-8989. Christian Living | January / February 2023
WEDNESDAY’S Child Savannah, 15, never gets bored 716 E Colorado Ave • Nampa, ID 83686 208.466.0916 NAMPA BR ANCH Wishing You a FREE $20.23! NO STRING S AT TACHED! The first 3 people to call rst to NCCU at 208-466-0916 & mention code CHRISTIAN LIVING LIVI Magazine will get $20.23… YOUR DEPOSITS ARE INSURED UP TO $500,000 By member choice, this institution is not federally insured.

THE Chosen

Local family gets ‘extra’ special experience

How do you say happy birthday to someone you love in a way that’s truly special? Well, you could fly that person to Texas to be a background actor in a popular movie production, and you could also arrange for her to receive a video message from one of her favorite actors.

That’s what Jim Walker did for his wife Renee’s 78th birthday last year. He paid for her to fly to the Lone Star State to appear as an extra on the set of The Chosen. She took other family members with her, including grandchildren Elijah, Jacob, Benjamin, and Emerson; son Jon and his wife Sarah; and daughter Jamie. It was a cross-generational experience, and everyone got to be an extra in a scene for “The Feeding of the 5,000.”

The Chosen is a crowd-funded series about the life of Christ and His disciples. In order to watch the series, viewers download a free app on their smart phone and then set it up to watch on their smart TV – or watch it right on the phone. The unique production draws millions of viewers from all over the globe.

“It’s free and will always be free,” Renee Walker said. “You can currently live stream Season 3.”

The concept involves ‘paying it forward.’ Though no one is charged for watching, many choose to donate to the production to keep it cost-free for all.

The show is the creation of Dallas Jenkins, also one of The Chosen’s producers and writers. His vision for a faith-based production involved a biblical perspective as opposed to a Hollywood mentality. He is quoted as saying, “It’s not your job to feed the 5,000; it’s your job to bring the loaves and fishes, and the rest is up to God.”

And that’s what he’s done on the set of the ongoing story for several years now.

Nineteen-year-old Elijah explained, “Dallas approaches the production aspect differently in that he’s trusting God it will work out, and he’s doing his part. It’s really remarkable. It’s the first Christian show tailored to [also appeal to] non-Christian people.”

“It shows Christ and His disciples more relatable,” Renee said.

Elijah agreed, stating, “It’s more entertaining, more digestible, not cheesy to watch. They recruited Generation Z people around the country to watch the entire first season.”

“They had no idea what they were watching – and WOW! –they had never seen Christ depicted this way,” Renee said.

Generation Z is the generation of young people who achieved adulthood in the second decade of the current century. They are perceived as being very internet literate from a young age –a perfect first audience for an app-based production.

8 January / February 2023 | Christian Living
The family of Jim Walker of Boise participated as extras in the cast for a shooting of The Chosen segment titled, “The Feeding of the 5,000.” Family members shown on the set include, from left to right, grandson Jacob (standing); grandson Elijah (sitting); granddaughter Emerson (seated); Jim’s wife Renee (seated next to Emerson); and grandson Benjamin (standing at right). Other family members also participated as extras as part of a gift Jim gave to Renee for her birthday. (Courtesy photo)

The Chosen is Bible-centered even though it’s fiction-based in many ways. In other words, it’s one man’s interpretation of how the characters of the Bible might have looked and acted. It’s not intended to replace the Bible but to inspire people to get into the actual Word of God.

As people watch the series, they occasionally develop favorite characters – perhaps Peter or Mary Magdalene – for the way they are depicted. They were once actual flesh-andblood people who walked the Earth and witnessed the Lord firsthand but left no record of themselves apart from Scripture. Renee became a fan of the Mary Magdalene character, and her husband arranged for the actress who portrays her, Elizabeth Tabish, to make a video saying hello to Renee and wishing her well.

The actors are an interesting – and sometimes surprising – bunch. They come from all over and are experts in their craft. Renee stated that people’s lives are being changed by the series, and that includes the lives of some of the actors. For instance, she said, the actor playing Peter is an Orthodox Jew, and the man playing Nicodemus is Buddhist, but they are being affected by the series.

“Things like that are happening. Miracles are changing lives every day. It’s like a family, and there’s a lot of love,” she said.

Renee ought to know, as she was literally there on set for four days. “We made our own costumes. We got some at second-hand stores, and we sewed some.”

They fit right in, in their long-ago garb.

Because Renee and her family were set to be part of the crowd of 5,000 that Jesus fed with loaves and fishes, they

were allowed to choose which day they’d be on the set, as not everyone was there at the same time. She chose a Wednesday, and they met many other extras all excited to be part of the production. “All the people were believers, and they were all enthusiastic,” she said.

Her daughter Jamie stated, “The producers send you directions to follow. … We got a piece of bread to eat [as part of the feeding of the 5,000].”

During breaks in filming, everyone was fed a full lunch and dinner, and entertainment was provided by Christian musicians. Renee said that it was a very hot summer day on the set. The filming took place in Midlothian, Texas, 25 miles southwest of Dallas, during mid-summer 2022.

The entire three-year production has not been without its on-set trials, but once again Dallas Jenkins’s faith-filled mindset keeps it all going. Renee explained, “He said he’ll think about the Red Sea and about how he’s had ‘Red Sea moments’. Difficulties crop up and he thinks they won’t get through them, but they do. He sees them as miracles just like the parting of the Red Sea.”

Covid hasn’t stopped the production; in fact, it was a bit of a production starter, according to super-fan Renee. “It all started in 2021. There was Covid, and God orchestrated The Chosen to happen,” she said.

Though Jim did not attend the event, he heard all about the great time his family members had. “I know they had a blast,” he said.

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Seek and believe for God’s best

As it so happens, though Joan normally worked on Friday nights, she had that night off and her friends had asked her to go roller-skating as well. So, Joan and Mark ended up meeting and visiting with other friends in small groups at the skating rink. When it was close to closing time, with music still playing, they announced it was time for Ladies’ Choice. In rollerskating that’s where the girl gets to ask the guy to skate—without seeming forward.

Joan saw Mark standing behind the partition and asked him if he’d like to skate. He looked surprised and then said, “Oh I would, but I just took off my skates!” Mark said he had mixed emotions because he was very happy that Joan wanted to skate with him but not happy that he had just taken his skates off. Joan felt a little embarrassed, but as she started to skate away, Mark said, “But I can put them back on!” and he did. Though he felt a little awkward with not having much experience skating, they ended the evening holding hands as they skated.

They saw each other a few times, mostly during mealtime in the cafeteria since Mark had grad classes and Joan was a sophomore.

One day, Joan’s English teacher, Barb Darland, gave an assignment to interview someone—anyone—they wanted to get to know better. “Hmmm,” Joan thought, “I’d like to get to know Mark Endicott better! I could ask him for an interview!” This assignment was not due until semester’s end. It’s the ONLY assignment Joan ever got done early!

Joan and Mark Endicott are shown during their college years, when they first met and fell in love. That was 43 years ago. Both Endicotts prayed as young people that God would bring “the right person” into their lives. (Courtesy photo)

Having just celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary on December 20, 2022, it’s fun to watch people’s reaction when they hear that. Often it’s a jaw-dropping reaction. Of course, we’d love to think that those dropped jaws are a result of us looking waaay too young to be married that long. I mean, it just doesn’t seem possible, right? But alas, to many, it’s because being married for so long seems like such an anomaly anymore. Whatever the reason for their surprised response, very often it’s followed with this question, “So, what’s your secret?” Before telling you what we think is foundational to a lasting marriage, let’s go back a few years, shall we?

Once upon a time—actually 43 years ago—two young’uns went on their very first date.

And so, the story goes…It all started September 1979 at Multnomah Bible College in Portland, Oregon. Mark first saw Joan in the Chapel service while she was on stage singing a solo with her buddy Dan accompanying her on guitar. (Mark thought to himself that she must either be married or have a boyfriend.) Joan first saw Mark while she and a friend were walking back to campus from Taco Bell—her go-to for dinner when not working—where he was with a group of other grad classmates who were preparing to go roller-skating.

So next time Joan saw Mark in the cafeteria, she told him about the English class assignment and asked if she could interview him. He agreed and…guess what? Joan left the cafeteria and was walking to the campus post office when Mark caught up with her and suggested they go out for dessert and do the interview over dessert. Joan slyly—I mean shyly smiled and said, “That’s a great idea!” So they made plans to go out on Friday night after Joan got off work at the Gateway Fred Meyer as a grocery cashier.

BUT THEN, something happened that halted those plans— Mark caught a cold. Naturally he wanted to make a good impression, which meant being healthy before going out on that date. He showed up at 7 p.m., cold medicine in hand at her checkout stand. He explained the situation and asked for a rain check for their date. Joan’s insecurities kicked in and she thought this could be just an excuse if he had started having second thoughts. I mean, he didn’t LOOK sick to her—in fact, he looked pretty good!

Several days passed and they would see each other on campus, but Mark never mentioned a new date for the interview. (Did I mention he didn’t LOOK sick to Joan?) So naturally, Joan was thinking he was not actually interested in setting a new date, but she did want to know for sure.

One night when she was at work, she was filling out a rain check for a customer and had a bright idea! Since Mark had specifically asked for a rain check, she decided she’d write one out for him—with a due date and everything. She used an actual paper rain check, wrote it out, and then delivered it to the campus post office. Then, she panicked! She thought Mark would think she was a weirdo for sure, so she decided to ask the clerk to retrieve it for her, but when she went to the post office window to ask, the office was closed! Of course, then she worried, stressed, and second guessed herself all over the place.

10 January / February 2023 | Christian Living
“I GET TO!”®

The next afternoon, another gal in her dorm came to her room and told her there was a phone call for her. When she answered it, the voice on the other end said, “Yes, hello, I have a rain check here and I’d like to know when I could come pick up the package?” Joan laughed and asked, “How would you like the package wrapped?” To which Mark replied, “I thought we could go have Chinese food—do you know of a good place?” They both laughed and laughed and that was the start of something wonderful! (They’ve been laughing ever since!)

Forty-three years ago was a first date that led to becoming best friends, then partners in marriage (mawage), then parents of three amazing humans plus their amazing bonus daughter, and now three grands that call them GiGi and Papa. They are forever grateful to the Lord for His abundant blessings in every chapter of their lives and look forward to continue serving Him for the rest of their lives.

So what is the secret to a long, fulfilling marriage? Let’s go back a few years before that first date in September 1979. When Joan was in high school, she realized it was a good time to start praying for the man she would eventually marry. At 15, she wrote out one of those prayers and put it up on her bedroom wall. Though she had no idea at that time who that would be, she knew this was incredibly important since she had witnessed both extremes, starting with her own parents’ marriage that was on life-support. On the other end of the spectrum were her role-models who had wonderful marriages and they truly were best friends. She wanted God’s best, so she began to pray for it.

When Mark was transitioning from high school to college, he made an even deeper commitment to not just know Jesus as Savior, but committed to put Him first and truly make Him Lord of his life. Wanting God’s best certainly included whom he would marry, so that’s when he started to pray for his future wife. That said, they believed it was important for them to pray for their future mate while seeking to grow closer in their relationship with the Lord themselves. Joan and Mark both believed they would connect with the right person at the right time if they continued to grow spiritually—becoming the exact right fit for the person they were praying for. If Mark hadn’t been walking closely with the Lord, Joan would not have been attracted to him and vice versa.

Some Fundamental Values We Shared:

1. Personal walk with Jesus as Savior and Lord

2. Commitment and belief that divorce wasn’t an option

3. Putting each other before self

We know there are no guarantees. We know so many people who did their part, prayed and believed they had married their right person, only to find out that that person did not have the level of commitment, ethics, values, character and beliefs they represented themselves as having. Our hearts break with you and for you and we are so deeply sorry for what’s happened to you. Please know, you can only control your controllables. You could not predict what that person would decide to do. We all have a free will, friend, and you cannot choose for someone else. Each of us are personally responsible to the Lord. n

Grab your FREE copy of Joan Endicott’s “I Get To!”® book and videos at Joan is an AwardWinning Keynote Speaker, Author and Coach who’s coaching has reached over 30 countries. Meet her and enjoy her encouraging messages on Facebook and Instagram. Christian Living | January / February 2023 11

Need and fear: the paradox of intimacy

Dr. David Augsburger, a Christian author and teacher, says that we not only have a deep longing for intimacy, but we also have a deep fear of intimacy. And so, all the intimacy moves in two directions. It paradoxically enriches both separateness and connectedness.

I (being truly myself) can only be intimate with you as you are you (being truly yourself). Our intimacy increases as you are able to become more fully who you are, and I become more freely who I am.

German psychologist Laura Perls said, “In a traditional confluent marriage, the spouse is not a significant other but an insignificant same.” Reflect on that for a while. But more than just a caricature, this description is a portrait of much marriage in which selfhood is lost in merger. Sonia Murch Nevis and Joseph Zinker say that, “Two people can either ‘marry’ or they can ‘join’. When people ‘join,’ the separateness between them is ever present. The impossible relationship is to ‘marry’: to be totally known and know the other, to merge and be as close as possible. To ‘marry’ is like creating a sauce – its various ingredients are so well blended that they are indistinguishable. The opposing image is of two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that join, but the seam is a separateness that cannot be overcome.”

Gary Moore

closer together and farther apart at the same rate. This is a weird kind of business, but the closer they get, the more separate they are. If they don’t grow more separate, they can’t grow closer. If they can’t increase their individuality, they can’t increase their oneness.”

To truly be with someone in intimacy, there are no requirements governing appearance, compliance or performance. According to Dr. Augsburger, availability, presence and integrity of covenanting are all that is required. The commitment to be there for the other and with the other is what brings us together while recognizing our covenanting selves as separate responsible agents.

Dr. Augsburger says that, “True intimacy is found by linking not forging. Healthy relationships are not in contact, not continuous. Intimacy, paradoxical as it seems, is increased by our recognition of separateness, not by our denial of it.”

Intimacy has its paradoxical aspects: One, a person needs to be separate in order to be close. Two, the ones we love have the greatest power to hurt us. Three, we must seek comfort and healing from those we hurt and who hurt us. These three paradoxical dimensions are central to intimate marriage. They are the puzzles of closeness, crisis, and reconciliation.

Only healthy separate selves are intimate together. In order to be close to one’s partner, one must become a healthy, separate self. Separation and togetherness are most often expressed as an either/ or situation, but that is false; they are best understood as a both/and situation.

We are both becoming more separate selves with a clear sense of identity, and we are both able to come together without fear or reservation.

We are both distinct as centered persons and we are both fulfilled in our blending together in shared emotional experience.

So both distinctness and connectedness, both union and separation, both twoness and oneness, both healthy self-identity and marital unity are central to intimacy.

Carl Whitaker, who has been called by some the dean of family therapists, writes: “As two people live together…then they grow

This commitment is not without fears. To let go and simply be together can evoke a whole family of fears. Dr. Augsburger says there are five major fears blocking intimacy: (1) The fear of merger. If we move closer, I will feel engulfed, absorbed, swallowed up, so I must be on guard. (2) The fear of exposure. If we move closer, I will feel undressed and embarrassed, exposed and shamed, so I must be closed when close. (3) The fear of attack. If we move closer, I may be attacked, injured, penetrated, violated. So, I must be cautious. (4) The fear of abandonment. If we move closer, I may open myself only to be left hanging, risk myself only to be ignored or rejected. (5) The fear of one’s own destructive impulses. If we move closer, I may not be able to control the anger I feel, or the disgust, at parts of you that I try not to think about, but I fear is there about to break out.

As I become emotionally healthier and more at peace with myself, my fears of being absorbed, exposed, attacked, abandoned, or explosive go down. My confidence that I can safely and freely be my whole self in your presence rises and grows. I can risk being spontaneous – not knowing what will come out but trusting it all the same.

Let’s face it. There is no way to avoid hurt in a relationship. When two people move into each other’s inner world, there will be misunderstandings, mistakes, and misfortunes that hurt. Hurts are inevitable but not irreparable.

We always hurt the ones we love, yet we also can be healed and helped by those we love and who love us. Perhaps, just perhaps, we can be healed only by the one whom we have hurt. n

Gary Moore served as associate pastor at Cloverdale Church of God for 15 years. He does couples’ coaching and leads couples’ workshops and retreats called MUM’s the Word. He does a weekly radio program called Life Point Plus on KBXL 94.1FM at 8:45 a.m. on Fridays. Monday mornings at 10 a.m. he does live relationship teaching called MUM Live on his Facebook page Mutual Understanding Method. He may be contacted at

12 January / February 2023 | Christian Living
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History, Culture & Faith

The ‘peanut man’ who transformed farming

landed him a faculty job at Iowa State (the school’s first

These words by George Washing ton Carver (1864-1943) were the frame for one of America’s most in fluential Black lives. It’s likely you’ve heard of Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and Rosa Parks, but don’t miss the transformative “un common way” of George Washington Carver, a man who “commanded the attention of the world.”

Carver was one of America’s greatest botanists, but he also was an educator, conservationist, artist...and dedicated Christian. His story is worth re-telling.

George Washington Carver was born into slavery in Missouri, sometime in 1864. When he was a newborn baby, he and his mother and sister were kidnapped by slave raiders, who transported them to Arkansas (and later sold them in Kentucky).

Carver’s Missouri master desperately tried to locate them, but only found George. After some negotiation, the baby Carver was redeemed, rescued, and returned to Missouri. A few years later, when slavery was formally abolished, George’s master chose to become his father, raising him as one of his own.

From an early age, Carver was encouraged to read, write, investigate, and study. His favorite subject was botany.

At age 11, Carver moved to Neosho, Mo. to continue his schooling. That’s when he met Mariah Watkins, a Black woman who boarded George and encouraged his education. It was important, she said, that Carver “give...learning back to [his] people.” And that’s exactly what he did. His drive to learn as much as possible, no matter where it led him, framed his entire life. George eventually moved to Kansas (where he graduated high school) and then to Simpson College (Indianola, Iowa) to study art and painting.

It was in painting fruits and flowers that George reignited his love for botany.

In 1890, Carver transferred to Iowa State Agricultural College (now Iowa State University) to study agriculture. He was the college’s first Black student and earned his bachelor’s (1894) and master’s (1896) degrees. Carver’s stellar intelligence, positive attitude and impressive agricultural skills

But it didn’t take long for George Washington Carver to receive a higher call. This one from Booker T. Washington, the principal of the esteemed Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Booker offered George a great salary and provided the bachelor with his own two-room campus apartment (with one of the rooms just for his plants). However, Carver’s move to Tuskegee wasn’t easy. His nicer accommodations sparked jealousy among other single instructors (who shared rooms and survived on meager salaries). Furthermore, the transition from “free” Iowa to the Jim Crow South also proved difficult for him. The Ku Klux Klan. Lynching. Black vote suppression. Segregation. It was a culture that Carver would have to learn to But he did. For the next five decades, Carver became a fixture at Tuskegee. He developed the Agriculture Department, taught classes, managed the school’s farms, mentored students, handled janitorial duties, served on multiple committees, and worked with area farmers. Despite his many activities and commitments, Carver was an introvert. He preferred working quietly with his plants more than any other teaching activity.

Carver’s greatest contributions involved his work with poor Alabama sharecroppers. He taught them how to rotate crops, fertilize with “swamp muck,” and feed their livestock better (and cheaper). He encouraged them to stop growing cotton and move to crops (peanuts, sweet potatoes, soybeans) that infused the soil with nitrogen. This allowed the soil to rest and rejuvenate. The high yield in peanuts turned Carver into “The Peanut Man.” In fact, he developed over 300 food, commercial and industrial “peanut” products (milk, sauces, oils, soaps). He even invented cosmetics, paper and medications using peanuts.

By 1910, Carver was famous for his agricultural science, not just in America but around the world. He used his celebrity status to promote his love of peanuts, the Tuskegee Institute, and racial reconciliation. Carver also proved to be a prolific writer, penning books, articles, and bulletins. He was friends with U.S. Presidents and captains of industry. He eventually funded a Tuskegee foundation and museum using his own life savings.

Carver was a devout Christian. In fact, many historians credit his humility, gentleness, compassion, and joy to his deep faith. Although he never married, he kept many close

14 January / February 2023 | Christian Living
“When you can do the common things of life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.”
OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

friendships from his church. He believed only Christianity could eradicate racism and social disharmony. He was also a Bible scholar and popular Sunday School teacher, known for his ability to act out a Scripture story.

In 1922, Carver provided a student with his “eight cardinal virtues”:

• Be clean both inside and out.

• Neither look up to the rich nor down on the poor.

• Lose, if need be, without squealing.

• Win without bragging.

• Always be considerate of women, children and old people.

• Be too brave to lie.

• Be too generous to cheat.

Dr. Rick Chromey

• Take your share of the world and let other people have theirs.

George W. Carver died January 5, 1943. His Tuskegee gravestone reads: “He could have added fortune to fame, but caring for neither, he found happiness and honor in being helpful to the world.” Carver has been memorialized as one of America’s most important persons. His likeness adorns


stamps, coins, and medals. His name appears on schools, bridges, and streets. Carver has state parks and botanical gardens named for him, and his Missouri birthplace is a National Monument. Since 1943, January 5 has been George Washington Carver Day. He’s also been elected to multiple “halls of fame” and awarded honorary degrees.

From slavery to peanuts to presidents, this Tuskegee professor packed a lot of life into his 79 years.

George Washington Carver. Scientist. Educator. Conservationist. Inventor. Artist. Christian. And now you know the rest of HIStory. n

Dr. Rick Chromey helps people interpret history, navigate culture and explore faith. He’s an author, historian, professor, and founder/president of MANNA! Educational Services International. Rick and his wife Linda live in Star. Rick is available to speak and train for your next event. Readers are also invited to subscribe to the Morning MANNA! inspirational and educational (M-F) email. Please visit:

1. “George Washington Carver” (Wikipedia): 2. “George Washington Carver: An Uncommon Life” Documentary (Iowa Public Broadcasting): 3. “George Washington Carver” ( A&E Television Networks. Accessed February 17, 2022. Christian Living | January / February 2023 15 FRESH DILL FRESH PRODUCE Enjoy Our Dine-In Café or Or der-To-Go Hot & Cold DELI - Ready to EAT Soups, Salads, Sandw hiches & More MEAT - SAUSAGES - CHEESE Produce • Seafood • Deli • Bakery 950 E. Fair view Ave., Meridian, ID 83642 • 208.807.2962 Open Mon.-Fri. 10AM - 8PM • Sat. 10AM - 7PM • Sun. 10AM - 6PM Great Selection Number s 6; 24-27 “I’ve always loved different European foods and love to try new foods as well... so many fresh, frozen, and even mixed European favorites... an amazing trip to a foodie’s Disneyland!” Baker y & Cof fee Large Selection of pastries, cookies, cakes & over 250+ kinds of candies Groceries from Over 15+ Countries: Germany, Italy, Poland, Israel, Turkey, Romania, France, Sri Lanka, Bulgaria, Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, Hungary, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus & more

“This is where Dave Ramsey and I disagree…,” Rachel Cruze boldly muttered.

Is it legal for anyone, let alone a Ramsey personality, to have a conflicting opinion to Dave Ramsey? I didn’t think so. Maybe Rachel, the financial guru’s daughter, felt confident Dad would soften up after she brought the grandkids over for the holidays.

Their opinions clashed over the use of sinking funds. After completing Baby Step 3 (meaning all your debt, except your mortgage, is paid off, and you’ve tucked away 3 to 6 months of expenses in your emergency fund), Rachel encourages her listeners to consider starting sinking funds as a means to safeguard your emergency fund. Dave Ramsey, on the other hand, concerned about its potential for complexity, shares a differing opinion on the matter.

What is a sinking fund?

Ryan De Amicis

Though traditional sinking funds are used by companies to proactively put money aside for the repayment of a future debt or bond, this concept can be applied on an individual and family level. There are many ways this term has been redefined. While an emergency fund’s purpose is to save for an unpredictable future expense, a sinking fund is the process of saving money for a predictable future expense.

Here are three advantages of sinking funds:

1. While certain purchase costs (buying a house, a home remodel, and a new-to-you car, for example) may feel overwhelming, a sinking fund allows you to save for anything by allowing you to chip at your goal, one month at a time.

2. Whether you are saving for a cruise with your family or gifts for the holiday, a sinking fund creates an opportunity to build excitement by reminding us monthly of what we are looking forward to as we make each routine contribution.

3. Many of us have experienced buyer’s remorse after a purchase. Knowing you’ve prepared for a specific goal, a sinking fund helps you to enjoy your purchase guilt-free.

With all its advantages and potential for use, if you aren’t careful, you could quickly have many sinking funds and become overwhelmed at the task. Remember, success, in life and finances, is not about perfection; it’s about progress.

So, if you already completed Baby Step 3 (3-6 months of expenses saved in an emergency fund), consider kicking the tires by starting with one sinking fund. Then, you determine whether it’s adding or subtracting value to your life. First, start by determining the purpose of your sinking fund. Some ideas include a

giving fund, house fund, car fund, or travel fund.

Second, determine a realistic amount you can contribute monthly. Then, decide if you want to withdraw cash to collect in an envelope or go to the bank to open an additional checking account. Finally, exercise your discipline muscles of consistency through routine contributions and restraint by protecting your savings for its predetermined goal.

Of the many advantages to sinking funds, my favorite is its ability to bring liberation by helping to enjoy a purchase guilt-free. Proverbs 21:5 states, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.” By requiring another depth of thought and intentionality to our routine financial decisions, haste and poverty is repelled. Rash financial decisions resulting in unwanted, long-term financial consequences are minimized through the practice and use of sinking funds. For more years than I’d like to admit, stress would creep up around the holidays as I wondered where I’d pull the money for gifts. Christmas constantly caught me by surprise. Silly, huh? Though it hasn’t solved all of my problems, creating a giving fund has liberated me to enjoy the holiday season such as the one recently past.

In a world where we are reminded daily how little we control, sinking funds provide us a unique opportunity to put our thoughts and energy towards something we can control – how we spend our money. It’s refreshing to hear a Ramsey personality choose to go against the grain by providing a different perspective on how to prepare our finances for a better future.

Though Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze have differing perspectives on the matter of sinking funds, they both agree Christmas is in December each year – and it will be again in 2023 – and it’s worth setting money aside for it in advance. n

Ryan De Amicis is an investment advisor with Christian Wealth Management in Boise, providing biblically responsible investment advice to Christians. For more information, visit or contact him at ryan@ or (408) 758-6413.

Investment advisory services provided by Creative Financial Designs, Inc. Securities are offered through CFD Investments, Inc., Member FINRA & SIPC, 2704 South Goyer Road, Kokomo, IN 46902, 795-453-9600. Christian Wealth Management, LLC is not affiliated with CFD Investments, Inc. or Creative Financial Designs, Inc

16 January / February 2023 | Christian Living
BIBLICALLY Responsible Investing Can two people disagree on sinking funds?
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Okay, men, it is 2023! As we open our eyes to what we will experience this year, where does your mind go? This can be a great time for strategic planning, or it can be a time of overwhelming stress and trepidation. How we perceive 2023, and how we handle the winding path that we will be on in the next 365 days, depends on what filter we will be looking through.

On the back cover of Max Lucado’s 2022 book titled, “Help Is Here,” there are two hugely impactful statements. The first statement is: “Bills pile up. Savings accounts go down. Marriages go south. Work goes off the rails. Stress goes off the charts. It’s all too much to take on by yourself.” This is a true statement, as you look at an entire year to come. This is a huge bite to chew on, all by ourselves. There is a much better way to proceed through this new year. The second statement points out the truth – that we have “Someone to walk with us, and guide us, to shoulder the load…the Holy Spirit is among us – help is here.” We are not required, or expected, to carry this load all by ourselves.

In the first chapter of the book we read that, “God does not want a bunch of stressed-out, worn-out, done-in, and washed-

up children representing Him in the world. He wants us to be fresher day by day, hour by hour.” It also points out that if we will look through God’s eyes, we will see that, “The Spirit is the dove of peace who calms us, the gift giver who equips us, the river of living water who flows out of us to refresh the world.” When we face challenges in our lives, we are not to allow them to overwhelm us. We are to seek God, call upon Him, and receive strength and guidance from Him. Throughout the book, Lucado implores us to seek out the truth of God. We need to communicate with our Heavenly Father in a frequent and clear manner. We need to search His Word for the answers to living an honorable life.

There are Scriptures that Lucado has placed throughout his book, just like bread crumbs to guide us through the journey. Paul writes in Romans 8:38-39: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Christian Living | January / February 2023 17
Continued on page 19 REAL Man’s Toolbox Help is here! (Hint: it’s the Holy Spirit)
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Leo Hellyer

THE ROAD Less Traveled

It’s never too late to build something

In 1919, William Randolph Hearst was one of the most powerful and influential men in the United States and the world. He owned over 30 newspapers, including numerous magazines, and four film studios. During the Roaring Twenties, one in four Americans read his publications. He was the greatest media mogul in the history of the United States, and he used his clout to get elected twice to the House of Representatives. At the age of 56, there wasn’t much he hadn’t accomplished or attempted, including running for President of the United States. Standing on a hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean where he had spent his childhood, William Randolph Hearst could have wept that there were no more worlds to conquer. But instead, he dared to dream.

On a hilltop that feels more like a mountain, Hearst decided to build a castle. Situated 1,600 feet over the rugged Pacific Coastline, the Enchanted Hill, as Hearst called it, entertained thousands of celebrities and guests, including Winston Churchill and Calvin Coolidge. Designed by architect Julia Morgan to the wishes and changing whims of Hearst, the castle was completely self-sustaining, with its own water supply, livestock, orchards and gardens. The Neptune Pool surrounded by marble columns and the 22-karat gold tile in the indoor Roman Pool are the very definition of opulence. Guests could hunt, swim, fish, golf, play tennis, go horseback riding, visit the world’s largest private zoo, or enjoy an evening movie at the theater in Casa Grande.

But Hearst Castle was more than just a place to entertain and impress celebrities. It was a museum of ancient art and culture that Hearst intended to leave for future generations to appreciate as a monument to his legacy. Every single thing in and around the castle from the rugs to the furniture to the decorations was a conversation starter regarding some period in history. You really have to see it to understand how unique this place is. On my recent visit, one of the most impressive things to me was the 3,000 years old statues of Sekhmet on the Esplanade outside the castle. And yet towering above the Egyptian goddess of war are two crosses crowning the respective towers of Casa Grande. It struck me that 3,000 years ago Egyptians were bowing down to these very statues in worship, and yet millennia later those civilizations are gone and those “gods” are artifacts. Our God is represented in a symbol of profound suffering and self-sacrifice, and it trumps the old gods as well as the new.

As already stated, Hearst was 56 years old when he began construction of Hearst Castle. The average lifespan of an American male in 1919 was 53. For Hearst, he was not too old nor was it ever too late to start something worthwhile. It took William Randolph Hearst and Julia Morgan 27 years to build Hearst Castle. When the last of the construction was completed, Hearst would live another five years before passing away at the age of 88.

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus compares discipleship to building and battling. You don’t go to battle unless you have

the tactical advantage to win, and you don’t build a tower unless you have the resources to finish the project (Luke 14:25-33). The point of this passage is not that we need to have sufficient manpower or money or talent in order to be a disciple. The point is that we need to be all in. A general who engages the enemy in a half-hearted effort is destined to lose the battle. If William Randolph Hearst had only possessed the resources to lay the foundation for Hearst Castle, the site would be a forgotten monument to folly rather than an estate that has attracted 88 million visitors from around the world since its opening to the public.

Often, we as Christians mistakenly think that we need more of something in order to amount to something for God, but in reality, we only need more of God. And the more that God has of us, the more that we have of Him. As we love Him with heart, soul, mind and strength, we build a work of gold, silver and precious stones as opposed to wood, hay and stubble. The only thing that can limit God are the limitations that we set on our own heart.

If only I had more time … If only I were young again … If only …

William Randolph Hearst was three years past the average lifespan of the men of his generation, and yet he embarked on a project that took him 27 years to complete. He was undaunted by his age and the challenge that it presented. Moses was 80 years old when he led the children out of Egypt and to the gateway of the Promised Land. David wanted to build the Temple, but God would not allow him – not because of his age but because of the wars he had fought. So David spent the latter years of his life preparing the project for his son Solomon to build. He forged alliances, secured materials, and drafted plans for his son’s success.

What vision has God placed in your heart? It is never too late to serve in ministry or go on a mission. We are His building, the apostles and prophets being the foundation and Christ Himself the Chief Cornerstone (1 Corinthians 3:9-11; Ephesians 2:19-22). The people business is our Father’s business. We are building lives and families and ministries. What lifesaving, life-sustaining, life-enhancing project are you investing in? You don’t have to be the architect or financier or founder of the project. There are thousands of people in California and in the U.S. who can point to Hearst Castle and tell stories of how their grandparents or great-grandparents helped build or maintain the national landmark. The castle is the legacy of all those who were involved in its construction and maintenance just as the church is a legacy to all who serve. William Randolph Hearst built a palace to the glory of man. We build people to the glory of God. It’s never too late to start building or preparing the way for someone else to build. n

18 January / February 2023 | Christian Living
Jason Herring

Help is Here!

remember, and truly believe, as we embark on our 2023 journey, that we are not on this journey alone. The Holy Spirit is with us all the way. The U.S. POWs that were held in the Hanoi Hilton and other prisons in North Vietnam were stripped of everything that the North Vietnamese could possibly take. When they gloriously returned to U.S. soil, the vast majority of the POWs stated that the only thing that got them through the ordeals that they experienced (including torture) was the presence, protection, and direction of the Holy Spirit. The same Holy Spirit that was with the POWs will be with us in the midst of anything that we will experience, if we will only seek Him.

If we will seek out the Lord, and be obedient to Him, we can be a light in a world of darkness. We will not only be able to press through the challenges that we face personally, but we will be able to help those around us to do the same as they observe how we receive our strength through the Lord. We must be vocal with others about how the Holy Spirit is delivering us through our challenges. We must make it completely clear where our strength, wisdom, and direction come from. Not only do we need to let the Lord know our needs, but we need to take the time to listen to Him, as He communicates to us through the Holy Spirit.

Included at the end of this great book is a section of Questions for Reflection written by Max Lucado’s daughter Andrea. I highly recommend going through this section, in addition to the rest of the book, to really get the most out of the information provided. This is a book that is a must-have for every man’s toolbox. Immersing yourself in the truths presented in this book will brighten 2023 for you and those around you. And also, the full title of this book spotlights what the book is all about. It is: “Help Is Here, Finding FRESH STRENGTH and PURPOSE in the POWER of the HOLY SPIRIT.” God Almighty, the Creator of the Universe, has provided each one of us with the Holy Spirit to firm up our stand and to graciously and lovingly guide us through the challenges of life. Brothers, please remember, you face nothing ALONE. The Holy Spirit is right there with you through thick and thin. Call upon Him and see what awesome, wonderful, and powerful things He will do in your life. It is through the strength of the Holy Spirit that you can overcome any darts that Satan may send your direction. n

Leo Hellyer is a non-staff pastor with a local church and has been married to his wife Norma for 50 years. The couple volunteered with the Boise FamilyLife Ministry Team for 20 years. Leo has also been serving with Boise Rescue Mission Ministries for 20 years and is currently serving at the River of Life Rescue Mission. He is president and chief firearms instructor with Helping Hands Firearms Training LLC. If you have questions about Real Man’s Toolbox, or need other assistance, he may be reached at or (208) 340-5544. Christian Living | January / February 2023 19 High/ Low Deck Trailer Makes Heavy Moves Easy! Reloaders: Reloading Class: February 24th Need a new gun? We have them! Check out our huge selection. If you buy a gun, we’ve got ammo - and then some! WE HAVE FACTORY AMMO We have bullets, powder, brass & primers. Dillon 550 &750 Reloading Machines & Accessories NEW HOURS: Open Mon. - Sat. 10am - 6pm • Closed Sunday God Bless The U.S.A.! WE CAN MOVE YOUR SAFE! We Are Fully Equipped To Move A Wide Variety Of Safes Best Selection Reloading Equipment & Supplies in the Valley Can’t find your favorite ammo? Load your own… It’s not that hard. Cliff will teach you how to load accurate ammo Rifles • Pistols • ARs 11505 W. Fairview Ave • Boise 208-375-8694 Just $60.00 SIGN UP TODAY! Reduce Supressor Time by 90 Days If you’ve never shot with a supressor, come talk to Cliff and save your hearing! It’s Never Too Early To Prep For Varmint Season We must
from page 17

Sam and Rocio Santiago:

Oct. 12, 2017. 5:30 p.m. Near Gilroy, California.

Sam was barreling down Highway 101 at high speed. Pushing 90 mph. Showing off. Drag racing. He looked out his side window at the equally-determined driver alongside him. Their souped-up cars only feet apart. And neck and neck.

Sam wanted to beat this sucker. No matter what it took. So he stood down even harder on the gas pedal.

Suddenly, up ahead, two huge tractor-trailer rigs.

To avoid a collision, Sam twisted the steering wheel, sliding onto the shoulder of the freeway. Still doing 90. “You know when you’re in a car wreck and everything seems to move in slow motion? That’s the way it was for me,” he recalls. “And as I saw myself sliding toward the guard rail, I knew this was not going to end well.”

Sam Santiago and Rocio Madrigal have known each other since they were children. Sam was 11 and Rocio was 9 when they first met.

Each had devoutly Catholic parents who attended home Bible study groups together. “We prayed the Rosary, said grace before each meal, went to church every Sunday,” Sam remembers. “Growing up, Rocio was like a little sister to me – who became my best friend. As we grew older, we started hanging out more together. I always thought she was beautiful, but I never had the courage to tell her.”

As for Rocio, “I was really shy around other people; but with him, I wasn’t.”

Sam was raised by his single father. “I love him. And out of fear and respect for him, I was a really good kid,” he points out. But Sam learned to box in his late teens and soon became rebellious.

And that’s when his life started taking a dark turn. “I was smoking weed [marijuana] and drinking and partying when I was 16 or 17.” But he always hid it from his father. “In fact, my dad didn’t know I was using drugs until I was into the hard stuff.”

Rocio had a similar downward spiral, only at an earlier age. “My parents worked hard and they truly loved me; but I feel they never really took the time to sit down and talk to me about my feelings. Life at home was more about what I was doing wrong than what I was doing right. So I began looking for acceptance, I guess. I started smoking weed when I was 9 or 10; started drinking when I was 11. By the time I was 17, I was smoking weed so much, I often blacked out.” Why? “I wanted to be mischievous, defiant. I wanted to have that label of a ‘bad person.’ I had been raised in church, but I didn’t want to be God’s child anymore. Then, when I was 22, I really went off the deep end when I started doing meth.”

Meanwhile, Sam became a member of the loosely-knit northern California Norteños gang. “When I was in jail one day, I decided I was going to ‘roll with the Hispanics.’ I wanted to be a homeboy. So I became a ‘Northerner’. At 18, I began doing a lot of drugs, selling a lot of drugs. … My best friend’s mom used crank [meth]; in fact, her neighbor made

20 January / February 2023 | Christian Living COVER STORY
Sam and Rocio Santiago sit with their daughter, Angelica. (Photo by Steve Jones)

two lives, one love story

it at his house. So when I would go over to my friend’s, the neighbor would just give it to us. After a while, I had a blast. I had been an unpopular kid growing up, so selling meth –sometimes even giving it away – made me popular.”

Living the violent street life also landed him behind bars. Dozens of times. “I once did a year in county [jail] for beating up a guy with a baseball bat,” he says. “I’ve robbed people, stole cars. I got my teeth knocked out in a bar fight, because I was trying to fight the whole bar. I was messed up. But looking back, I was blessed – God was watching over me – because, of all my felony charges, I was only convicted of one.” And miraculously, he often received light sentences. “In fact, some of the guys I did time with thought I was a snitch. People convicted of the exact same charges went ‘upstate’ [to prison] for multiple years; whereas I just got a lot of county time.”

Rocio has also seen her share of barred jail cell doors electronically sliding closed and locking with a foreboding clank. Over a ten-year period, she served various sentences on charges including drug paraphernalia possession, being under the influence of narcotics, and felony welfare fraud. In 2002, “I started doing meth right after my oldest daughter, Makyla, was born. I broke up with her dad [they were never married] when she was only 2. So I literally deserted her,” she explains.

And Sam was still on the streets, still struggling with the “get arrested/go to jail/ get released/get arrested again” cycle. As he puts it: “I always knew God was in my heart. So when I’d go to jail, it was like pushing the reset button. I would read my Bible in jail; do good when I got out. And there were times I would hold onto God’s hand for a year or two; I’d go to church, do things right. But then, when the ‘I got this!’ feeling of confidence would come over me, I’d let go of God’s hand … and go to the ‘trap houses,’ the places I knew where people would be buying and selling and using drugs – where I knew people would accept me – and I would go off the deep end again.

“Matthew 7:26 says, ‘Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand,’” he goes on. “I had heard His Word. I believed in God. But my relationship was sporad-

ic. He was not my cornerstone. My house was built on sand.”

Rocio’s lifestyle was much the same. “The seed was planted when I was a child. Like Sam, when I would get out of jail, I would try to do good for a month or so – but soon, I would go back drinking and doing drugs. I was lost. Sure, I had people around me who loved me. But I was still missing something in my life, and I didn’t know what it was. I was upset with God with the way I had turned out; I couldn’t figure out why I was doing drugs and was always so miserable, so depressed, while other people had regular, happy lives.”

Then came the afternoon of October 12, 2017.

“I was racing in my friend’s car, a Mercedes C 230,” Sam remembers. “I had evaded the cops three times in that car, mainly because I was very good at driving very fast.

“But then, I hit the guard rail. The windows exploded. And the car rolled over and over. I braced against the steering wheel and closed my eyes. As I said, it was like everything happened in slow motion.” When it was all over, Sam found he had landed some 50 yards away, against a secondary guard rail. At first, he thought, Am I dead? Am I injured? Suffering only some pains and soreness, Sam was able to open a door and climb out. By then, the engine was on fire. Flames were spreading. Drivers who had witnessed the crash pulled over to render aid. And of course, they heard sirens of approaching emergency vehicles. And the police.

Sam knew there were felony warrants out for his arrest. So, determined never to see the inside of a jail cell again, he took off running as fast as he could, escaping across a field.

Police conducted an extensive search, even launching a helicopter to help track him down. But to no avail.

It wasn’t until a month later when he was finally arrested. “I remember one of the officers told me, ‘I’m not a believer but, after seeing all the damage to that car and what little was left of it, something not of this world was with you that night.’” Christian Living | January / February 2023 21
Continued on page 23
As a young man, Sam Santiago enjoyed speed and drag racing. Once, driving down a highway in California doing 90 mph, Santiago had to swerve to miss two tractor-trailer rigs. His vehicle hit a guard rail and rolled multiple times. Windows were shattered, and the engine erupted into flames. Santiago was thrown from the car, landed some 50 yards away, and got up and ran from the scene when he heard the sound of sirens. There were felony warrants out for his arrest. (Submitted photo)


Turn new year resolutions into goals

Happy new year! Most of us greet the new year with resolutions for the upcoming year. However, many of those resolutions are broken within a couple of weeks. Why? Much of the problem is due to resolutions being too generic and the lack of taking the extra step to turn resolutions into formal goals. Establishing formal goals will help you identify and take the necessary steps to achieve your objective.

Young people seem to set goals for themselves naturally. They may have goals for their career path, getting married, starting a family or going on a church mission. They also have the discipline to complete the activities necessary to achieve these goals. When I was young, my career goal was to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). To do so, I needed to complete my college education, receive an accounting degree, pass a comprehensive exam, and incur one year of experience working under the direction of a licensed CPA. I just knew what I wanted to do and the steps it took to get there. However, as we grow older, we seem to lose this ability to establish goals and take the necessary steps to achieve them.

God intends for us to set goals and work toward attaining these goals to achieve our full potential. Proverbs 21:5 states, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.” We all need goals to establish direction in our lives. In addition, whether these goals are personal, professional or spiritual, they must align with our Christian values to further our walk with God. How do you attain your goals? Here is a simple process to follow to help you establish and reach your goals:

1. Prayerfully consider your life’s purpose and direction, then define your top six goals. Make them specific so you have a way to measure your progress (i.e., instead of a goal to lose weight, set a goal to reach a certain weight level) and write them down along with deadlines for achievement.

2. Plan your strategy for achieving your goals. Define the activities you will need to complete to arrive at your goal. If you are trying to achieve a certain weight level, then your activities might include switching to healthier foods and increased exercise. I like taking the dogs for a walk. I not only get some much-needed exercise, but it also allows me to clear my mind and enjoy God’s creation.

3. Review the goals you have written down frequently and build your belief in achieving them through affirmations and visualization. Replace negative thoughts with positive self-talk such as “I can achieve

this!” or “With God, all things are possible!” Visualize what it would look like to achieve your goals. This will reinforce your belief in achieving your goals, making it easier to stay on track.

4. Pray for the strength and wisdom to complete the activities necessary to accomplish your goals. Remember Jesus said, “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith” (Matthew 21:22). When you experience setbacks, refocus on your goals to get yourself back on track. Avoid giving up on yourself. God never gives up on you.

5. Develop a support group of individuals with similar goals. Find people who will provide unconditional support and hold you accountable for achieving your goals. You may find support groups with similar goals at your church or, if not, create a group.

6. Regularly measure your progress. Celebrate your success along the way and praise God for blessing you.

Following these steps will set you on your path to achieving your goals. While it is easier said than done, remember the words of Paul to the Philippians, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). May God bless you on your goal achievement journey. n

Terry Frisk is a retired business financial advisor. He also counsels individuals on personal financial matters through the Cathedral of the Rockies Budget Coaching ministry. He can be contacted through e-mail at

22 January / February 2023 | Christian Living
Terry Frisk Image by Petra from Pixabay

Sam had earlier seen the burnt, mangled wreckage for himself and knew he was lucky to be alive. But the officer’s words struck a chord. “That’s when I realized I did not want to test God anymore. Like the song says, I was looking for love in all the wrong places. So I surrendered my life to Him. I told God, ‘I want to make it this time.’

“And click! – just like that, it was over. My old life was gone. It was as if God told me, ‘Sam, you’ve had enough fun. Now it’s time to be a man and live your life for Me – and your family.’”

Sam’s added motivation: a short time prior, he and Rocio learned they were going to be parents. But they had had a falling out … which Sam was hoping to patch up. “I wanted to do this for Rocio. I wanted to do this for my daughter. My whole life, I had wanted a companion – and a family,” Sam says. “So I got back into God’s Word. For good.”

Rocio earlier had moved to Idaho to clean up her life, kick her meth habit – and to reconcile with Makyla, who was living full-time with her biological father.

“When I was in the hospital detoxing, I knew I needed to transition to a better life. So I gave it to God. I told Him, ‘I’m scared. I’m tired. I’m sick of being sick. So I need a sign from You. I’m not strong enough to do this on my own,’” she recalls, a tear trickling down her cheek. “I was four months pregnant at the time. And I told God, ‘I don’t want to have another daughter and lose custody of her, too.’ But I knew I couldn’t do it on my own.”

Sam agreed to serve a complete year in a California jail – he didn’t want to be on probation, so he could be legally free to come to Idaho and reconnect with Rocio … who, through God’s grace, had not only successfully kicked her drug habit by then, but had reconnected with her daughter.

Although things were a bit rocky at first, the couple eventually reunited, with Sam often coming to Rocio’s home to babysit their cherubic newborn, appropriately named Angelica. “I told Rocio flat out I did not want to live with her unless we were married. I wanted to be a Man of God – and provide for her and our child. I didn’t want to be a deadbeat dad. And I didn’t want Rocio relying on others for help,” he says.

So Sam and Makyla took Rocio out for her birthday at a Boise restaurant one day. “Makyla knew what was going to happen. She was in on it. She had even helped me pick out the ring!” Sam smiles. And when the time came, “I was shaking, nervous. Everything I had planned to say to Rocio just went out the window. But I got down on one knee, in front of everyone at the restaurant, gave her the ring, and asked her to marry me.”

On July 23, 2022, Sam and Rocio officially became husband and wife at a sunny outdoor wedding attended by some 150 family members and church friends.

Today, the Santiagos faithfully attend the Ten Mile Community Church in south Meridian. Sam serves as an usher; Rocio is on the welcoming team. And both are clean and sober. “We don’t even have the desire to drink anymore,” they point out.

As for their future, “I want to be a disciple, an ambassador, a fisher of men,” Sam explains. “So I’m now part of a prison fellowship group. I want to share the gospel with guys who are where I’ve been, to show them there’s a safer way – a sure way.”

Rocio has earned a degree in sociology. “I want to use my life experiences to help women in jail, or maybe even the homeless. I want to volunteer, to give back,” she says. And as for that rebellious attitude she had as a teen? “I still have a little bit today,” she admits. “I still have that fire. But now, I use that energy in a different way: to empower and motivate people I work with.”

Whatever direction life takes them, whatever future challenges they may face, Sam and Rocio both now know their deep love for each other and their steadfast devotion to God will get them through.

Because He first loved them. n

Steve Bertel is a multi-award-winning professional radio, television, print media, and social media journalist, who recently retired after a 30-year broadcasting career. Now a busy freelance writer, he recently released his debut suspense novel “Dolphins of an Unjust Sea”, available on both Amazon and Kindle. Steve and his wife of 40 years live in Meridian, Idaho. He can be reached at Christian Living | January / February 2023 23
Sam and Rocio Santiago Continued
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God speaks through a handwritten letter

It is beautiful what trust and obedience does when we follow God’s plan and provision for our lives.

This unfolding story begins in November of 2021 when I was given a letter from one of my patients, letting me know that God had told her to pray for me and gave her a premonition.

Of course, at first glance, you want to throw the letter away and put it behind you, but I tried to remain calm and simply set it aside.

Then it happened. In early December 2021, my husband and I got hit by news that would devastate any parent – we were told that one of our twin boys had Type 1 diabetes. We had just returned from traveling for Thanksgiving and had noticed one of our boys, “Cruz,” had strange little physical ‘nuances’ like excessive thirst, fatigue, and heart arrhythmia. I decided after rereading the letter and after prayer to check my boys’ blood glucose. My mother died at 56 from the consequences of Type 2 diabetes and my sister at 47 from Type 1 diabetes. I knew all the symptoms, but of course you never think it can happen to your children.

I checked their blood glucose, and Cruz’s was at a 415 glucose level. I immediately checked what are called ketones in his body, and he was in diabetic ketoacidosis, so we immediately took him to the hospital to get him stabilized. You leave the hospital after two days with all your instructions and the hopeless statement, “Your son will always be dependent on insulin.”

We went home and immediately began to pray for direction on what to do to help our son. I remembered the letter I had been given. Now seeing it with a different light, I knew it was His provision to tell me to trust Him. We began to have even more faith in His direction and I remember thinking “Daniel’s Diet,” a biblical diet taken from the book of Daniel.

My husband began to do research, and as we read numerous books on diabetes, natural cures, autoimmune diets, and lesser publicized ideas on healing, God led us to a plan that would combine our knowledge of nutrition and optimal health with new insights and ways to approach diabetes that don’t get taught even in natural minded physician programs.

In December 2021, with our son freshly released from the hospital, we began to implement a whole plant-based diet for him, with only wild salmon and organic grass-fed meat on weekends. We saw that his sugars were doing better almost immediately. In January and February 2022 we began to reduce the amount of

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his blood sugar would go too low at night, which is so much worse than having it high. We began to do lab work to help us find the cause as to what provoked his pancreas to stop working properly. We found out he had gut inflammation, which probably provoked an autoimmune response that attacked his pancreas. We devised a plan to heal his gut, decrease the inflammation, and support his pancreas. After continued scares with too many low sugar levels during the night, we decided in March of 2022 to remove all his insulin and manage it with a full-blown, vegan, whole food, plant-based diet of just fruit and vegetables. I remember it was Cruz’s idea to go “all in.” As soon as he said he wanted to start this, his twin brother Ty said, “I will do it with you.” Mind you, Ty did not have diabetes, but because of the amazing love and bond they have, he wanted to help his brother. After that we all decided to go “all in.” It was the best decision!

In May of 2022 we wanted to repeat the A1c test to gauge Cruz’s glucose levels over the past three months and find out what effects our extreme diet and protocols had. The diabetes clinic ran the test and the results were astounding. The previous December, when diagnosed in the hospital, his A1c was 10.6; this is extremely high. Now less than six months later, his A1c was 5.6; this is classified as normal. While this was amazing news, we know healing takes time and we have a long road ahead of us – but as the letter foretold, we’re expecting victory.

We continued the plant-based diet along with the autoimmune diet, trying to give his body every potential opportunity to help heal his gut. We also continued the pancreatic enzymes, herbs, and other supplements to help assist him, as well as a host of other microbiome gut supplements to improve the imbalance in his body known as dysbiosis. He continued to not need any insulin, and his glucose continued to range from 90-180, even while eating fruit and other whole food carbohydrates. Many naysayers kept touting the idea that he was in a “honeymoon phase” (a term used to say that within the beginning of Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas is still able to produce insulin). We trusted in God’s promise, and we kept going.

In October of 2022 we redid some important medical tests and blood work, and low and behold, his A1C was 5.4 and his C-peptides were normal (which indicate pancreatic insulin production). He also had very limited dysbiosis. That month we decided to reintroduce foods we had eliminated while following the autoimmune diet and began to see he was fine with that. We also began to introduce wild fish and organic free-range chicken. So far he continues to do amazingly well.

We will continue to do our part as a family, and I hope our story can offer a little light for anyone going through dark times. What the enemy meant for evil, God has turned to good. Victory. n Christian Living | January / February 2023 25 Famil y is why we do it all. Chelsea Stutzman, MBA Owner-Agent 600 S. Rivershore Lane
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LESSONS from a friend

Will your ‘last act’ in life inspire others?

What will be my last act in life – the one thing someone who will be left behind, still living, could see me do and inspire him or her to want to do the same thing?

I wish I had a concrete answer to this question. I was prompted to start thinking about it by a woman I had admired and whose kindness and generosity I appreciated in her last few days of life. It has occupied a central part of my thought process recently.

Beth heard me talk with a cashier at one of the office supply stores in Boise. She immediately recognized my “Wyoming accent” and said, “You are the one I listen to on the radio! I love listening to you and what you say.” We talked briefly and l left to check something else I needed from the store.

Then I heard, “Vincent” from behind. It was Beth with her hand stretched and her fist closed. All she said was, “This is for the children you are helping in Kenya.” I had been given money, randomly, for Caring Hearts and Hands of Hope (CHHH), the organization I founded to raise money for high school tuition and fees for needy children in Kenya.

Before I left the store, I asked for her contact information, which she gladly scribbled on a piece of paper. In most cases, the instant giving is a one-time deal. What sets Beth apart, however, was that she continued giving regularly from that moment. She searched the internet and learned more about the organization, found its contact information and started mailing checks.

Over the years, we talked over the phone or exchanged emails. Beth always wanted to find ways she could help more. She talked to several of her friends about meeting at her house to learn what I was doing, only to find that they were already supporters of CHHH causes and regular contributors.

After arriving back in America on August 15, 2015, from a trip to Kenya, I found a check from my friend, Beth, and wrote an email thanking her for the continued support. She didn’t reply. A few days later, I called her home and her husband picked up the

telephone and told me the bad news – Beth’s cancer had returned and was advanced. “It is just a matter of days, Vincent,” he said. Beth, a vibrant lady, had never disclosed that she had cancer.

When he handed the phone to Beth, she thought there was no need for me to come see her. It was on a Saturday. I went home, but about 7 p.m. I felt the need to go back to my office –something I have been unable to understand to this day. I checked the phone and there was Beth’s message asking me to come and pray with her. I was at their house the next morning.

We talked about life: Beth, her husband and I. Where they were born, how they met, when they moved to Boise, what they had done for a living before retirement, and about their children.

I expressed my appreciation for her initiative in talking to me and choosing to support CHHH.

I told Beth that I pray that I have the same spirit of helping others even in my most vulnerable moment. Then I handed her a customized key holder I had made for her in Kenya. On September 9, a beautiful soul moved to another form of life, who teaches us in absentia.

I left the house wondering, “What will be my last act in life?”

The reality of the matter is, at our last moment, when we are on our deathbed, chances are that we cannot do something we have never done or thought of doing. In our most fragile moment, whatever we can think about or do is most likely something we have thought or done repeatedly in our lives. Doing good with our lives up until that final moment ensures that our last act will be a tribute to how we lived.

So what will be your last act? n

©Dr. Vincent Muli Wa Kituku, motivational speaker and author of “Overcoming Buffaloes at Work & in Life,” is the founder and executive director of Caring Hearts and Hands of Hope, a non-profit organization that raises tuition and fees for poor orphans and other children from poverty-stricken families in Kenya. Contact him at or (208) 376-8724.

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Caring Hear ts and Hands of Hope TRANSFORMING LIVES 2011 2017 Pictured in 2011 and 2017: Dominic (who is blind), Pauline, Patrick and Naomi were living in poverty without hope, but now three are teachers and one is an electrical technician. They pay-it-forward to others in need. W hen you contribute to Caring Hear ts & Hands of Hope • Orphans & Vulnerable Children’s’ lives are transformed • They are saved from child labor, forced marriage, drugs, abuse or life of crime • Provide education, nutritious food & safe living conditions EDUCATION IS THEIR LIFELINE! What can we provide with your generous donation? • $25 for hygienic supplies keeping a girl in class all year long • $725 ($1.99/day) for annual high school tuition and expenses including boarding, meals, uniform and educational expenses • $1,000 ($2.74/day) for annual university tuition and expenses And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them. ~Mark 10:16 For more infor mation or to donate visit www.caringhear tsandhandsofhope.or g or call (208) 376-8724 CHHH oper ates separ ate two separ ate Christian boar ding schools for boys & gir ls in Machakos, Kenya. 501-C3 Non-Profit Would you please consider helping us to tr ansform mor e young peoples’ lives?

THE TOPIC of tithing

A perspective on how to approach money

Two masters – Mistakenly, people often say money is the root of all evil, misquoting 1 Timothy 6:10. This verse accurately reads that “the LOVE of money is the root of all evil.” You may already know this important distinction. Money is neutral, neither good nor evil. It’s like other tools – it depends on what you do with it.

The “LOVE of God” is the root of all good – a truth that resounds all over the Bible. In Mark 12:30, Jesus said that loving God was most important. Also in Luke 16:13 Jesus taught, “No servant can serve two masters... ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Mammon = treasure, riches, money and the false confidence that comes with it. So, who do we serve? God or money? Be honest, what or who is on our mind more? Money defined – Money is a thing. It is lifeless until energy is put into it. If paper, or coins, or digitally tracked, all types of money are the same – a means of exchange for products and services in society. It’s an idea in which both parties agree on the perceived value of stuff. Although money is a symbol of purchasing power in the physical realm, it’s affected by spiritual factors that are good or evil, depending on how people use it.

That’s right, we determine the impact of our money based on the decisions in our hearts. The type of energy put into acquiring and spending money has far-reaching ramifications. This motivation behind money is very important to God. It’s not necessarily how much we have, it’s what we do with it.

“We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Timothy 6:7).

God’s financial advice – God is the best financial planner, giving detailed financial instructions in His Word, even what to do before spending on food, clothing and shelter. The devil is the second best financial planner, offering lots of “wisdom,” but all his ideas skip God. Sad reality: most people ignore God regarding money. For example, money on self or family first is not advice from God.

Unless God is involved in our first decision about money, we are being misled with an illusion that the world is smarter than God. Has someone taught you that the Bible is no longer relevant about money? You’ve been fooled, my friend. Without knowledge from God, money “experts” are merely imperfect humans who can only see things from a physical point of view, not spiritual. “Seek the kingdom of God FIRST” is still the best strategy (Matthew 6:33).

Prove God with this financial action – God’s first financial principle is TITHING. It’s not a new concept, nor an outdated concept. It’s a principle that works today, as it did since before 1896 BC for Abram (later became Abraham), who was the first to tithe. See Genesis 14:18-20. Then prior to 1500 BC Moses recorded this: Leviticus 27:30, “And all the tithe of the land... is the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD.”

What is tithing? It’s giving exactly 10% of our net income to God, before a dime is spent on anything else. The amount is not ambiguous, nor based on how much extra we have after

28 January / February 2023 | Christian Living

paying bills, nor on emotional hype when we hear a hot sermon from some preacher or not. The tithe is exactly 10% off the top, every single time.

Practical ways to “give our money to God” – We cannot throw money up into the sky as if God will catch it. Haha! We give it to God’s representative. In our day that means giving money to a church, or ministry or organization – whoever is teaching us God’s Word. Giving more than 10% of our income goes beyond the tithe and has blessings as well, but the tithe at 10% is the minimum financial obligation we are told to obey. To obey is to believe. If we respect God, then we’ll do what God says. If not, people have been giving excuses in their hearts for years on reasons not to tithe. Don’t believe the lie that tithing is obsolete. Nor the lie that you can’t find someone worthy to tithe to. We don’t live under law but we still put God first. And all churches and ministries are imperfect! Let God worry about how the money is handled. That’s His job. Our job is to give. No excuses. Once we drop it in the mail or send it digitally, at that exact moment we’ve tithed. Then, God does the rest.

Benefits of tithing – Malachi 3:8-12 has amazing details about tithing. To not do it is just as bad as if a person is robbing God, it says. Robbing God? Wow, that’s dramatic. And without tithing, it says we are cursed with a curse. In other words, the spiritual energy of our efforts is not blessed by God.

On the positive side, when people tithe, the physical needs of life are supplied. God will pour out huge blessings and rebuke Satan for our sakes. Our physical needs will be guaranteed, no matter how much money we make or what the world’s economy is up to. God tells us to prove His Word works by tithing. We spiritually recognize that 90% with God’s blessing goes further than 100% without.

Conclusion – Food for thought: wouldn’t it be wise if people went to God proactively before financial troubles come? Now a better idea: for thousands of years the tithe has been the best financial principle and it has not been improved upon. Tricked into doing nothing: people question the logic of tithing and usually end up doing nothing at all.

Tithing is a financial choice which is backed by guaranteed promises to us from God Almighty. For those who respect God, we take this action and see the blessings in our lives. Make a decision today. Tithe! It primes the pump of giving and God will come through. God bless you! n

Steve Nelson has been a Bible teacher for over 25 years. This article comes from “Tithing and Giving” Segment 87 of “CORE”, a course for families on how to read and understand the Bible. See T4FAMILYCENTER.COM or reach Steve at Christian Living | January / February 2023 29 KETO HEATING & COOLING Serving Idaho Since 1957 Call 208-375-1100 To Schedule Appointment There’s never been a better time to switch to natural gas! For a complete list of our services go to Proudly Serving all of the Treasure Valley Since 1957 For information on efficiency rebates visit 12 months no interest financing Cold belongs outside! Keep the inside warm & cozy with a new gas furnace!
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Turn the pegs of your life God’s way

Deep breath and…exhale. Whew. We made it to January 2023.

Magazines are a funny thing. As I write this to you, we’re on the cusp of all of the Christmas craziness. My calendar is filling up with events, my pantry is full of ingredients for seasonal treats, I’m in the thick of my soft caramel season (I sell them to a handful of very loyal customers – one calls me her “dealer”), and my quiet mornings are frequently interrupted by my mischievous cat playing in the tree.

But! Once this magazine is in your hands that will all be behind us, and we’ll be standing in a new year – twelve months of possibility stretched out ahead of us.

Which, of course, leads me to think about resolutions. Do you make resolutions? Are you tired of hearing about them already?

I do make resolutions, but only half-heartedly. I seem to know myself well enough to know that “sugar only on weekends” sounds glorious after a month of too many sweets, but by Valentine’s Day? Well, that’s a different story.

Indulge me while I tell a seemingly unrelated story. I promise I’ll circle back.

Recently my daughter was babysitting and in the closet of the playroom, she spotted a ukulele. She plays both ukulele and guitar so, knowing she could entertain the five-year-old with it, she tuned the instrument and strummed a song. He excitedly took the ukulele from her, twisted the tuning pegs so they were all perfectly straight, and tried to play a song, too.

Of course, instead of a beautiful melody, all that came out was the thump, dump, whump of an out of tune instrument. He bemoaned that he couldn’t make it sound like she did and when she tried to show him that he’d taken it out of tune, he insisted that the pegs needed to be straight. He liked it better that way. She shrugged and told him that his music wouldn’t sound right, then.

It reminded me of something our pastor had shared with the kids during an Adventure Club meeting recently. He was sharing what it means that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

He explained that the way God breathed out His Word was through the work of the Holy Spirit. He then showed the kids an instrument that only works by blowing into it. The authors of the Bible were the instruments and God’s breath worked through them. I loved the analogy so much and can’t stop thinking about it.

Now, the canon of Scripture is closed – complete – and we should question anyone who tells us they’ve heard any new revelations from God outside of the Bible. God is not breathing out new words or new Scripture, but we are no less instruments in His hand, to do with as He pleases.

Which brings me back to resolutions.

It occurred to me that, while it’s worthwhile to have goals and plans to be more organized, healthy, successful, or whatever the case may be, is that the song God wants to play through us? Or are we turning pegs in the way that seems right to us but can only result in a clamber of noise rather than the Lord’s symphony?

Are we trying to make our lives better for our benefit or to glorify Him?

Instead of focusing on eating a specific way to alter our figures, what if God would rather we focus on a habit of fasting for the purpose of prayer, devotion, and spiritual discipline?

Instead of a goal to read X number of books this year, what if we choose to sit more deeply in a handful of books that will grow our relationship with the Lord?

Instead of using the first hour of the day to catch up on the news, what if we curated a habit of reaching for the Bible before anything else and sitting with the Savior, listening to what He has to say through His Word every day?

30 January / February 2023 | Christian Living
in tune

What if we didn’t sign up for new podcasts or programs to develop productivity, but rather practiced our daily routine in silence, to allow our minds to breathe instead of constantly filling them with more and more information?

What if we took walks with the intent to pray and meditate on Scripture instead of being entertained with audiobooks?

What if instead of curating new hobbies, we use our free time to serve the local church body more diligently?

What if instead of a goal to eat at home each night to save money, we focused on inviting people into our homes more often and serving them good food and hearty hospitality?

Bethany Riehl

What if the idea was less “me time” and more “God, my time is in Your hands”?

Of course, none of the things that typically make the resolution list are wrong or sinful. And it could be that the Lord will lead you or me into new habits and goals to overcome slothful behavior or to glean off of a hectic, unhealthy schedule.

My point is, instead of striving to be better according to our own desires or in the eyes of the world around us, what if our goals were focused to be more holy, more Christlike, and more determined than ever to be pleasing to the Lord?

Sometimes that’s just not as exciting to write out in a new bullet journal, is it? Holiness takes longer to notice than a slim-

mer waistline. It’s also not a plan we get to be in control of – that’s entirely based on obedience.

Finding joy, contentment, and purpose in life – which is the point of resolutions, no? – is a lofty goal, a good thing, and pleasing to the Lord. But, Christian, let us be sure as we bring our plans and purposes to Him, that we hand it all over, submitting to where He sets the tuning pegs, knowing that our Creator has better plans for us than we could ever have for ourselves.

As the Baptist Catechism says:

Question 2: What is the chief end of man?

Answer: Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 10:31; Psalm 16:11; 37:4; 73:2526; Isaiah 43:7 n

Bethany Riehl lives in the Treasure Valley with her husband, three kids, and one super chill dog. She writes articles and fictional novels when she can, and her one desire is to point others to the love and sufficiency of Jesus Christ. Her books can be found on Amazon or at your local library…after you request them to be in stock, of course.

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REMAIN faithful

The mind of Christ: proof in the pudding

What does it mean to have the mind of Christ? Is it a matter of having one’s IQ raised upon conversion? Maybe it’s that believers, blessed by God, become walking encyclopedias of knowledge? Or could it be that, as so many church-folk assume, we will finally “know as we are known” (1 Cor. 13:12) and somehow become omniscient? Today I want to explore layers about having the mind of Christ. Along similar definitional lines, there is a great deal of confusion around what it means to be a Christian here in the 21st century. Who really is a member of the body of Christ? A piercing way to answer this goes back to my earlier questions concerning the mind of Christ.

We all know the name “Christian” is not just a label. If one’s confession of Christ is legitimate, there just has to be – following the New Testament itself – proof in the pudding, some kind of discernible difference. If Christianity merely means what every individual person feels it means, then it doesn’t really mean much.

In Philippians, the apostle Paul urged believers to have the mind of Christ. Here’s what Paul said in 2:5-8 (NRSV), “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross.” The apostle wanted believers to be like Jesus by virtue of embodying the same attitude (in Koiné Greek, phroneite: mindset, attitude, consciousness) that Jesus Himself embodied: total obedience to the will of God coupled with a humble willingness to choose God and His commandments over all else.

And we know that that read – practicing obedience and humility, coupled with a life’s encompassing orientation to God – is the correct read because shortly thereafter, in verse 12,

Paul, staying on the same theme, tells the Philippians to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” a.k.a. work it out with humility. And lest they were still somehow unclear, Paul touches on it yet again in verses 14-15, “Do all things without murmuring or arguing, so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish.” Christians were to have a different foundational orientation to life than non-believers. Paul wanted them to be different from the surrounding prideful and immoral Gentile culture by virtue of their practicing the same humility, the same obedience to godly morality, and the same life-directing orientation to God the Father as did Jesus Himself.

So, the mind of Christ in the book of Philippians? It’s a life’sorientation, a different frame-of-being than those not indwelt by Christ. An attitudinal frame that is embodied in a bearing of humility, godly obedience, and

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Today we are right to wonder if someone is really a Christ-follower if they exhibit ongoing patterns (this is not about single instances) of pridefulness in one’s own opinions, indifference to the moral teachings of Scripture, haughtiness toward others, or a life-directing orientation that is outside of God incarnate. When earlier in the New Testament Jesus had said, “you will know them by their fruit,” (Matt. 7:16) He was referring to the same measures and filters about which St. Paul admonished in Philippians: humility, obedience, godly living, and directing one’s entire life toward the things of God.

Maybe like me you are watching a fascinating cleaving at work among self-proclaimed Christians. Our epochal cultural turn is overwhelming the identities of even those who grew up in church. The darkness is being thrown into contrast with the light in ways we could never have imagined one short decade ago. Now we observe that millions – no, tens of millions –proclaim they are followers of the Risen One, but their values and lives do not align with that confession. In 2021 the Family Research Council together with the Barna Agency conducted a poll and found out that in America, only six percent of respondents embrace and practice a biblical worldview. Six percent! Wow. That’s a shocker. I might have more generously guessed it would be 30% who follow the biblical worldview.

Just one fair way to sift and discern the quality of someone’s confession is to ask: do they exhibit the mind of Christ? Do they affirm biblical teachings on morality? (Jesus never qualified or erased a single Old Testament moral teaching. On some matters He was more stringent than the Hebrew writings had been!) Do they insist that their own feelings are lord or do they defer to the Lord Jesus Himself? Do they think the grace of Christ is a license to sin? In short, do they bow their knee to the claims of Jesus or do they prop up passing cultural fads as the new Christian norms?

On my theology podcast, I have described our recent enormous cultural shift as being akin to watching a four-mile wide glacier go off a cliff. After decades and decades of near-invisible sliding across the valley floor, that gigantic wall of ice finally plunged over the jagged precipice. It had been moving slowly, almost imperceptibly. But now that it has gone over the cliff, it is pulling anything and anyone nearby over the cliff with it. Holy God, give us the mind of Christ so that we may remain faithful to You and Your ways! n

Ed Rybarczyk, Ph.D., is both an ordained minister and a retired History of Theology professor. He now produces and hosts the Uncensored Unprofessor podcast He can be reached at Christian Living | January / February 2023 33
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TOM Greco

A God-led military battle in a Storm

In the midst of fog and rain, a difficult military mission was scheduled. A helicopter assault unit was to go deep behind enemy lines to secure critical positions, preventing the opposing army from reinforcing its troops or retreating. The members of the air assault unit would be isolated from their allies and possibly put in the position of confronting the enemy from all directions. Making the mission even harder was a previously unanticipated flooded river and a subsequent sea of mud.

This was the daunting battle facing young U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Tom Greco, a West Point graduate and leader of the men who were tasked with accomplishing this formidable mission during the U.S.led Operation Desert Storm in the early ‘90s. Iraq’s Saddam Hussein had plunged his army into peaceful, sovereign Kuwait in an attempt to expand his domain, and then-President George H.W. Bush formed a coalition of allies to send him packing.

Greco previously thought of himself as a confident man, and to be sure his list of accomplishments was impressive; but with this mission, his self-confidence was shaken. He’d tackled so many things alone with assurance and determination throughout his life. Now with the prospect of possibly losing up to 40% of his unit – as he was warned by a higher ranking officer – he felt subdued.

“For 19 years in the military,” he said, “my mission was to prepare soldiers for war and bring everybody home.”

But could he bring everybody home from this military operation deep into Iraq and directly in the face of the wellarmed, skillfully trained Iraqi army?

Thomas Greco was born in 1951 in Quantico, W.V., where his father served in the Marine Corps. The family eventually moved to Pennsylvania and Greco graduated from high school in the state that’s home to the Liberty Bell. He qualified to attend both the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md. He admits he gets seasick, so Annapolis was nixed; still, he had other reasons for choosing West Point other than being landbased.

“I liked the idea of being a soldier, of being an Army officer where you’re close to your soldiers in combat,” Greco said. “Going to West Point prepared me to keep our nation free, and I wanted to make a commitment to something bigger than myself – that’s the way God made me.”

But while at West Point, Greco wasn’t thinking much about God; he’d abandoned the God of his younger years. “In my second year at West Point, I ran away from God,” Greco said, admitting he was the typical youth seeking to explore a life apart from family and the routine of church attendance.

“I came to know Christ in 1991, so I didn’t come back to God until I was 40,” Greco stated.

Not coincidentally, that’s the same year he was preparing to lead soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division into a battle that would likely be the most dangerous they’d ever undertake.

“I thought I was hot stuff. I was a lieutenant colonel and the youngest battalion commander in the Army, and I thought, ‘We can do this!’ … But everything was going wrong,” Greco said. “I’d had faith in myself. I’d thought I could do it all and didn’t think I needed God at all.”

But Greco was about to face a sea change in outlook.

It happened that one night while overseas with his troops, preparing for the approaching violent engagement with the enemy, he pulled out his Bible and read in the book of Joshua about the battle of Jericho. He learned that in that battle God gave the Israelites a decisive victory over the Canaanites. All they had to do was be obedient to Him and God would defend them.

In the middle of reading, Greco’s chest began to tighten. Shortly after, he experienced a divine communication. “God said, ‘Why don’t you give Me this battle?’ God was getting hold of me,” Greco explained. “I thought I was leader of my life and leader of my soldiers. After that, I just knew Jesus was the leader of my life and my unit, and the pain in my chest abated.”

Rehearsals preceded the daring mission Greco and his soldiers would soon launch. “We practice so we can win; we learn to fight,” Greco said. “The practice and all the rehearsals went well. The commanders went from idiots to geniuses. I became more in tune with how God was in charge of my unit, not me.”

His unit got very good and reported back to him that “something happened we can’t explain.”

Greco, now 71, is fully able to diagram that actual battle and recalls all the details that transpired during those handful of hard days carrying out his assigned duty. Some of the many challenges the mission presented, taken from Greco’s own written testimony, included*:

34 January / February 2023 | Christian Living
Lt. Col. Tom Greco (1991 official U.S. Army photo)

• “Our satellite and reconnaissance planes told us we would be flying between and behind elements of potentially two Iraqi divisions. There were 5,000-6,000 soldiers in each division. These enemy troops were equipped with the latest Sovietmade equipment to include surface-to-air hand-held missiles. The weather was cold and raining.”

• “Our UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, loaded with 14 heavy-laden soldiers, would be flying 150 miles deep into Iraq, less than 15 feet off the ground, at 90-100 miles per hour and with pilots wearing night vision goggles.”

• “Our soldiers advanced to their assigned objectives. The flooding had been more extensive than our photos showed and we could not dig foxholes because of the high water table. We also did not want to build up our positions, thus telling the Iraqis, ‘Here we are.’ We conceded that to maintain our position, we would have to remain exposed, both to the elements and the enemy.”

In the same testimony, Greco details the comfort he took from believing God was guarding them:

• “On Day 2 the weather had soured again, cloud cover and dense fog came in, and our soldiers were cold, wet, and scared. Our USAF air cover and attack helicopter support were unable to support us. We were alone on the battlefield – “sitting ducks” – for the Iraqi artillery and tanks. We had no cover from artillery, no place to hide, no air support and no way, except by foot, to run or evacuate any wounded. But we had, in our heart, my heart, God’s promise that He was our leader.”

• “For the next two days we fought violent fights. The landscape around our positions was surreal. Burning vehicles littered the fields. Large craters from artillery were everywhere, and numerous Iraqi lay dead on the roads and fields around us. We waited for the Iraqi brigade to come, but it never did attack us. The initial report I received was that this Iraqi brigade just ‘disappeared from any radar.’ We later found out the Iraqi armor brigade that was advancing towards our positions was stalled by bad weather, sandstorms, and poor roads. This Iraqi brigade was decimated by another Army mechanized/ tank unit as the storm lifted in early morning of Day 3. The

two parallel storms on Day 1 and the storm on Days 2-3 often reminds me of the events and God’s provision during the exodus of the Israeli nation from Egypt. The ceasefire order came on Day 4. The coalition forces, more than 400 miles south of us, had defeated the Iraqi forces, liberated Kuwait, and the war was over in just four days.”

Greco said of the experience: “That changed my whole life, those four days.” He retired four years later. Instantly, his mission in life had changed. “After I came to know Christ, my mission was to share the Good News, through teaching, leading, and by example.”

Once out of the military, he explored options. He taught at West Point, teaching ethics and leadership. Later, he moved west with his wife Gail, who is from Idaho and has family here. While attending a church in Boise called New Heights Christian Fellowship, the pastor at that now-defunct church asked him to take on a pastorship. That was his first time pastoring a congregation.

As his life changed, so did his priorities; he’s now putting God and family first. Gail had been a soldier as well when the couple first met but retired from the military earlier than her spouse. “She was an incredible Army wife,” Greco said. “Gail lives by her faith. She would pray for me, take me to church. She was planting seeds that sprouted and grew during Desert Storm.”

Everything he learned at West Point and while serving in the military has been useful and beneficial in his current calling. He is presently lead pastor at Ontario Community Church.

While he did not attend seminary, he teaches classes at seminaries and helps the students understand how to deal with difficult people; administration and running a meeting; and overseeing finances. He attributes his military training to his being effective in these categories and said, “Military skills are easily transferrable, including organization, structure, and leadership skills.” Christian Living | January / February 2023 35 JOIN US Tuesdays at 7:00 am Wild West Bakery and Espresso 83 E. State St., Eagle Questions call: (208) 841-7899 & Thursdays at Noon Original Pancake House 5900 W Fairview Ave., Boise Questions call: (208) 859-6038 Fellowship of Christian Businessmen
Continued on page 36

Currently, an important interest for Greco is work he is doing with YUGO, or Youth Unlimited Gospel Outreach, helping build houses for the poor in Mexico. Gail had been on the building mission twice without Tom, who owns the fact he was just dragging his feet.

“On the third trip, in 2007, Gail told me, ‘You’re going!’” He did and has now gone every year since and helped build 45-50 homes. He also ultimately became chairman of the mission, and when asked why he was initially reluctant to go, he admitted he was worried his carpentry skills wouldn’t pass muster. He claimed that, at the time, he could barely handle a hammer.

But he said God told him, “I don’t need your talents and gifts. I just need your heart.”

God has pretty much had Tom Greco’s whole heart for 31 years now.

Tom and Gail live in Star, Idaho, and the former army officer is training for a triathlon. He has also written a book titled, “Living in the Light.” Having served in the military for 24 years and having retired with the rank of colonel, he values his service and does not forget what and who he left behind, including all the soldiers he was able to bring safely back home. With God’s help. n

*These are direct quotes, edited for brevity, and are a mere summary of the confrontation.

Tom Greco may be reached at

36 January / February 2023 | Christian Living
Tom Greco Continued from page 35
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Tom Greco is shown with his wife Gail in 2021. A West Point graduate and former military commander, Greco now serves as lead pastor at Ontario Community Church. (Photo by Chelsey Schaffeld at

As head of the Treasure Valley Chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers, Jim Winston is working to revive an organization that has been dormant in Idaho since 2017. He started to reactivate the FCPO chapter in 2019 but, like so many things, his plans were waylaid by the pandemic. Now his efforts have been recharged, and he’s giving the project everything he’s got.

“I think our mission is to support believers in the law enforcement profession and to encourage them, both with fellowship and discipleship,” Winston said. “The other prong is to witness to those who are not believers and show them the benefit of faith in Christ.”

So what challenges might he face, or has been facing?

“Some cops believe they can’t be a Christian in this profession because of the things they have done,” Winston said. “Others are watching to see if you practice what you preach.”

peace officers group

Another challenge is the temperament of many in law enforcement. “They’re Type A people, and they don’t like to admit they need help. Control freaks can’t give their life to God,” Winston said, admitting he knows this from first-hand experience.

He acknowledged that he himself is still a Type A person, but it’s different now. He’s given up trying to control everything on his own and discovered, “It’s amazing what God can do through you when you give up control.”

His law enforcement experience and his devotion to God make him the perfect candidate to relaunch and lead the FCPO.

Winston, now 61, was not born into a Christian family; his parents divorced when he was very young, and his mom raised him. They would occasionally go to church, but it was not a full-time commitment. Raised in Manteca, Calif., he went to a junior college post-high school and got a degree in forestry. At the time, there were no jobs in that field, so he went back to college and studied criminal justice. He then put himself through the police academy and got a job as a reserve officer for the Tracy, Calif., police force for almost two years. He became a full-time policeman in January of 1986 and worked in that position for 27 years before retiring in 2015.

During that time, he married and had two children. His wife of 37 years, Penny, grew up in church, but about 5-6 years into the couple’s marriage, Winston explained, they started “partying”; and while his wife went along with it initially, she eventually said to him, “I want to get back into church.”

His reaction was to say okay, he’d go, but only conditionally. If a sports game he wanted to watch was on TV or he wanted to take a ride on his motorbike on a Sunday, he wasn’t going to church that day and that had to be fine with her. She agreed, said she could live with that, and didn’t fight him. But when she’d go to church without him, people would ask, “Where’s Jim?”, and she’d say, “He’s not here, and we need to pray for him.”

When he did go to church, Winston said, he was seeing good men, godly men, some of whom belonged to Promise Keepers, an evangelical Christian organization for males; and he now realizes that God was showing him what a godly man was like.

At one point during his hit-and-miss church attendance, Winston realized that his wife and two kids were saved, in the Christian sense, and he hadn’t made that decision. In that regard, he felt he wasn’t a great example to them. His Type A personality fought with his inner willingness to take that step into salvation. He felt he’d lose his autonomy and his much vaunted sense of being in control if he surrendered to God. But he soon realized he couldn’t do it all, couldn’t fix everything, and couldn’t figure it all out. He also struggled with thinking he wasn’t worthy, until he came to understand, “God wants to fix us.” He thought he’d made himself a more presentable

38 January / February 2023 | Christian Living
JIM Winston Ex-cop works to revive
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Jim Winston, left, and former fellow police officer Jim Boetjer, right, manned a booth together at last year’s Parktacular event at Expo Idaho. They handed out Bibles specifically designed for men and women in law enforcement. (Courtesy photo)

person by watching his language, among other things. “Then a lightbulb came on,” he said, “and I thought, ‘I’ve been going about this all wrong’. I’m really supposed to be giving ALL of my life to God.”

He too was now saved, redeemed through grace and faith, and destined for eternal life with his Savior. Winston stated that through his faith, he came to see that being in law enforcement was not just a job or a profession but a calling. And he lived out his calling on the Tracy police force for many years after that.

Now his calling has led him to revive the Idaho chapters of the Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers. He joined FCPO because, “I was looking for an avenue. I was looking for something post-retirement. I wanted to serve the Lord and serve law enforcement.”

His mother grew up in Nampa, and they’d visited family here over the years. So in 2016, he and his wife moved up to Payette following Winston’s retirement.

After settling into Idaho, he started doing research. He went to the FCPO website and saw there were three chapters in Idaho. However, after further research, he found all three chapters were now defunct. He contacted the national office of FCPO in Chattanooga, Tenn., and they encouraged him to reactivate an Idaho branch, which ultimately became the Treasure Valley Chapter – officially, Chapter 139.

He began by trying to find prayer groups that were law enforcementfocused, and he’d meet with them and talk with them about joining FCPO. He even found a law enforcement Christian group in Boise that had been meeting since 1972 to pray and hold a Bible study. It was not an FCPOaffiliated group but, Winston said, “Out of that, I got a few people to come on board.”

Winston and his wife attend the annual National Police Week in Washington, D.C., and set up a table there to pass out FCPO information. It was there that Winston met an officer in May of 2022 in D.C. at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. “He said because he has killed people as a police officer – and also as a soldier – he couldn’t be forgiven,” Winston explained. “He took the ‘thou shalt not kill’ literally, when it [has more to do with] ‘thou shalt not murder’.”

Winston conceded there are times in the course of a law officer’s job –and certainly a soldier’s – when they may be in a position to need to protect themselves or others, and it is unfortunate, but a weapon may have to be used in the interest of safety.

Regarding the man at the memorial, Winston said he “made an attempt” to talk to him and offered to pray with him – but sometimes, according to the FCPO leader, those offers are rejected: “Then we don’t pray WITH them, we pray FOR them.”

Asked how many LE officers are believers, he replied, “There’s more believers than you might think.” Winston met another law enforcement retiree, Jim Boetjer, and the pair have manned information booths at KTSY’s Parktacular events and at Greg Laurie’s Harvest Crusade held in Boise in 2022.

Winston and Boetjer, who leads a men’s ministry called Man in the Mirror, connected shortly after Boetjer moved to Idaho from northern California five years ago. “I began thinking about whether or not FCPO had a chapter here in the Boise area. I had previously been the chapter president in San Bernardino for many years while I was a policeman there. I contacted the national headquarters for information, they put me in touch with Jim, and we began meeting and became friends.”

Winston and Boetjer, having similar backgrounds and beliefs, understand police officers’ lives out of their own shared experiences. Said Boetjer: “In light of the unique and enormous strain and stress from on-the-job experiences, it is imperative that effective ministry to the law enforcement community be offered. The problem lies in the fact that most people outside of law enforcement cannot completely identify with the life and experiences that they have. FCPO is comprised of fellow officers who know what cops in crisis struggle with. In addition, they offer biblical answers and connection with God, which is missing in secular counseling. FCPO also offers community and connection with brothers and sisters who are Christ followers. It is a chance to deepen their walk with Jesus through Bible studies and fellowship.”

FCPO would like to partner with a church looking for an outreach ministry. “Reach out to us, and we can meet,” Winston said. Contact him via email at or by phone at (209) 470-8692. Others interested in the group may look on its national website at, search out the local chapter, and reach out to Winston online.

Winston’s family has always respected what he does for a living. “My wife has been a law enforcement wife for 30 years, and that’s a hard job,” he said. Currently, both his wife and a son are probation officers in Payette County, and Winston serves as coordinator.

When asked about the rough talk cops are sometimes noted for, the FCPO leader who cleaned up his speech, stated: “Our language is one aspect that can be quickly addressed. I see many in law enforcement (and society in general) that are professed Christians, but it would be hard to realize that from their language. I have come to realize that one of the hardest things for me to hear someone say about me would be, ‘I didn’t know you were a Christian.’ That, to me, would be an indicator that I am not living my life in a way that reflects my relationship with Christ.” n Christian Living | January / February 2023 39 La tt e’ Da 208-996-7887 762 E. Wythe Creek Ct. • Kuna www .lat m t edak Mon. - Fri. 6am to 5pm • Sat. 7am to 5pm Closed Sundays Comfortable and fun atmosphere where you can get a great cup of coffee, pastry, or numerous non-coffee drinks, including infused soda! Plus FREE wi-fi!
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