Christian Living Magazine March April 2022

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March / April 2022


Short Believer & golf prodigy


Obstacles Growth opportunities



‘Lola’ creator’s faith


Montgomery Life after abuse

Kristian Short is shown on the first day of practice rounds for the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship 2021 in Pinehurst, N.C.

Contents March / April 2022 FEATURES

Leslie Montgomery: A hard start to life


Sarah Fauth: Connecting Beautiful Pieces


‘God knows my heart’: Yes, but…


Cover Story

“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” — Colossians 3:12


Road Less Traveled: 14 The Grow through obstacles “I Get To!”®: 16 Beautifully broken

Man’s Toolbox: 22 Real John 3:16

Golf prodigy & believer Kids’ poverty: One man’s ‘Burning Bush’ Todd Clark: Drawing on faith Land of opportunity: America’s roots Game of Mao: The need for rules Nampa Prayer Walk Caldwell Prayer Walk

Manage fear: Effective tools

Culture & Faith: 38 History, The path west

For Victory: 24 40 Destined Stinkin’ thinkin’

30 DEPARTMENTS Understanding 18 Relationships: 36 46 46

Need Prayer? Call Idaho Chaplains Association

Talk to a Chaplain


It’s your choice Your Daily Bread: Managing abundance

Health: 42 Maximum Fermented foods


Cover Photo Dad/Caddie Bill Short

Contributors Steve Bertel, Daniel Bobinski, Rick Chromey, Jim Day, Joan Endicott, Doug Hanson, Leo Hellyer, Jason Herring, Vincent Kituku, Rosie Main, Gary Moore, Steve Nelson, Stanley Popovich, Bethany Riehl, Scott Riggan and Paul Sheppard

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Publisher Sandy Jones 208-703-7860 Editor Gaye Bunderson Submit story ideas, article submissions & press releases

to Love: 10 Choosing Love always perseveres

Kristian Short:

Volume 11, Number 3

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 2022 by Christian Living Ministries Inc. Christian Living is published every other month and is available in over 600 locations throughout southern Idaho, including grocery stores, convenience stores, medical waiting areas, and churches. If your church would like additional copies please email us today at Annual subscriptions available for $12/year. To start your subscription or give one as a gift send your check or money order, along with complete address information, including which issue to begin with and a phone number to call in case there’s questions about your subscription to Christian Living Magazine, PO Box 867, Meridian, ID 83680.

Publisher’s Corner: Finding your joy Christian Living | March / April 2022 3


Finding – and keeping – your joy … Sometimes I have to give myself permission By Sandy Jones to be human; have faults; and find my way Turning on the television one Sunday mornback. Today, like every day, is Day One. ing, there was Dr. Charles Stanley asking, When I was the sales manager of a local “Have you lost your joy?” outside sales team, I would tell our sales people Having once again pushed too hard, for too to look themselves in the eye in the mirror each long, I was exhausted and honestly had not morning as they were preparing for the day, been good about binding out the enemy’s atand to say something nice to themselves. After tacks. all, if we don’t speak kindly to ourselves, who I would say “not today satan, not today,” kickwill? Perhaps I need to slow down a bit, and ing him out the back door, then it was as if I’d take my own advice. run to the front door and invite him back in. Why is this important, one might ask. If Dr. Stanley went on to say that if you’ve lost I don’t bind out the enemy and work to see your joy you may be revisiting old regrets. Bingo! Just like past, confessed sin, the enemy myself how God sees me, that leaves me wide loves to beat me down with regrets of things I open for the enemy to constantly remind me of cannot change no matter how hard I have tried Sandy Jones just how unworthy I am. over time. Too often we put more emphasis on what Dr. Stanley went on to boldly suggest that I might even be other human beings think of us, than taking the time to resuffering from the fear of failure. member how God sees and thinks of us. It’s as simple as John What? Who me? Guilty as charged! I don’t want to let 3:16-17 KJV: anyone down; not God; not my family; not our readers; not For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotanyone. ten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, As Pastor Paul Shepherd would say – I had been having a but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the good ol’ pity party. I love his perspective on this and invite you world to condemn the world; but that the world through him to read his column No Room For Stinkin’ Thinkin’ in this might be saved. issue. Why am I sharing this? Because I don’t think I’m alone in this pattern, and right now as our world seems to be changing at head-spinning speed, I think it’s easier to let the enemy distract us from what is really important: things of eternal significance. Once again I find myself vowing to do better. Get more rest. Stop procrastinating, and most importantly keep my eyes fixed firmly on Jesus, my Lord and Savior. Reminding myself that it’s never too late to start over…. again.

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”

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And is reaffirmed in 2 Peter 3:9 KJV: The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. So often I have to remind myself that He promises His mercies are new every, single morning. Every. Single. Day. So dear Reader – if you’ve found that today, or any day, you’ve lost your joy, please take solace in that you are not alone, and that although I may not know your name, or your circumstances, I’m here praying for you. God knows your name and your situation; He loves you so much that He sent His one and only Son for you. On another note – I’d like to add just how excited I am for Greg Laurie’s Boise Harvest event at the Extra Mile Arena on Saturday, April 23rd. Yes, all the worship music will be wonderful, but I am most eager to see how many of you bring your friends to hear about God’s redeeming love, and how Jesus came for them too. What a fantastic way to celebrate the end of the Easter season – first we celebrate Christ’s victori-

ous entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday; we grieve through His capture and ultimate crucifixion, then we rejoice in His resurrection – I can’t think of a better “frosting on the cake” moment than to share the joy and freedom found in His Salvation with those who don’t already know Him. Until next time… God Bless! n __________________________ Over the course of the past few months I have had the pleasure of hearing from several of you. Your notes of encouragement mean so much to our entire team. I have also been truly touched when hearing from our advertisers how many of you have shopped them, and thanked them for supporting this ministry. If that was you – a big Thank You! And as I often ask – please frequent our advertisers, and thank them for their support – without them we couldn’t bring the hope and promise of God’s love found in the pages of each and every issue of Christian Living Magazine.

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Christian Living | March / April 2022 5

LESLIE Montgomery

Success in life despite a harsh childhood “I’ve tried everything, but I haven’t tried You.”

Leslie Montgomery is the author of many books, but her favorite book is still the Bible, and she reads and studies it frequently. (Photo by Gaye Bunderson)

By Gaye Bunderson Leslie Montgomery carries a well-worn Bible wherever she goes. By most standards, the Bible would be considered too ragged and tattered from overuse, something more fit to be tossed into the trash than carried around like a close friend. But by spiritual standards, it could be considered profoundly beautiful. Why? Because the Word saved Leslie’s life, and she absolutely fell in love with it and its Author. The English and Greek handwriting in the margins and the bright yellow highlighting on every page are merely a visual display of her commitment to be a devoted student of God’s Word and a humble servant of the One who became flesh and dwelt among us. Included in this story about the successes in Leslie’s life as a songwriter and author are segments, in her own words, of the story of her early life. But first, a caveat: parts of Leslie’s early life are difficult to read.

The Beginning – Part 1

I was born in Lakewood, Calif. My parents moved to Mountain Home when I was 3, and I was raised here. My dad was an abusive rageaholic and alcoholic. I was the middle child and the only girl. While my brothers were quiet about the abuse in our home, I was confrontive. I put myself in the middle, and I felt I had to protect my mom.

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Our dad would put us kids in the center of a room between him and my mom. He’d demand, “Choose who you love more: me or your mother.” We were scared to answer and would huddle together crying. On another note, when drunk and raging, my father would sometimes carry around a gun and threaten to kill us. When he wasn’t looking or had passed out, my mother would take the gun, dismantle it, and hide the pieces throughout the house. She came from a rough background – one that deprived her of any shred of self-esteem and made her afraid to stand up for herself. She only had a 10th grade education and had three kids to raise, so she put up with my dad. When I was about 11, my family lived in Pine, where my dad worked as a maintenance man for the Forest Service. There, I met a woman named Marta Tiege, who asked me to be a part of her wedding ceremony to Walt Tiege. She took me under her wing. During the ceremony, my dad got sloppy drunk, was hitting on other women, and pulling the fire alarm. I hid from him. That night I helplessly watched my dad rape my mother in horror. I tried to kill myself for the first time. I OD’d on aspirin and got very sick. After that, I just became an angry person. I was angry at everyone – we were being hurt and no one was stopping it.

A man named Art

That was not to be Leslie’s last suicide attempt. She would end up in more than one hospital after overdosing. She struggled with flashbacks from abuse, and from depression and anxiety. She coped by drinking. She married an older man when she was a teenager and had two children she didn’t feel competent enough to raise. “I didn’t know how to care for them,” she said. Her marriage fell apart. Her husband dumped her, married another woman, and announced he was keeping the kids. She bought over-the-counter sleeping pills and tried to put an end to it all. After she took the pills and laid down, she said she heard a voice asking, “Do you really want to die?” And she thought, “I don’t really want to die, but I don’t know how to live.” She was 19 years old. After her last suicide attempt, Leslie’s said, “My mother broke through my front door and found me on the floor next to my bed. After the hospital stabilized me I asked her, ‘Mom, how did you know I was trying to kill myself ?’” Her mom replied, “Leslie, you called me.” But, Leslie claims, “I didn’t have a phone.” When Leslie got out of the hospital, she went directly to jail for writing bad checks. By then, her dad had divorced her mom. He was subsequently married and divorced a couple of times and died roughly five years ago at the age of 68. Her mother moved to Ontario, where she worked as a waitress and became friends with a retired Army colonel named Art Montgomery. Art worked for West Point, and his job was

to drive the West Coast and interview potential cadets and mentor them for the military academy. “He would stop and visit with my mom and they became friends and he’d call her and they’d chat. She told him about me and he became interested in mentoring me like he mentored the West Point cadets,” said Leslie. “He wrote me a letter, and he was the voice of reason and encouragement.” Leslie was 21 by then. Art invited her to come stay in his 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom home in Los Angeles; but first, Leslie and her mom drove to L.A. to make sure it wasn’t in any way an indecent invitation. They met Art at a restaurant to verify it was all on the up-and-up. “He was so kind to me,” said Leslie. Her mom asked him, “What do you want her to call you: Art or Mr. Montgomery?” And Art replied, “I was hoping she’d call me Dad.” Said Leslie: “Mom knew I was going to be okay. I lived with him for two years, and he made a big deal out of everything I did. He was like a dad to me and would always refer to me as ‘my daughter’.” To this day, she still refers to him as Dad. Early on, she’d changed her name to Leslie Montgomery and still uses that name as an author. With Art’s encouragement, she went into counseling and, little by little, negative things were replaced by positive things. Art even encouraged her through her mistakes, by saying things like, “Don’t beat yourself up; you made a mistake, learn from it.” Continued on page 8

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Leslie Montgomery Continued from page 7

“I always loved to write, and Art encouraged me. He believed the best in people,” she said. With Art’s encouragement, Leslie went off to Nashville to pursue a songwriting career. The woman who was once in jail for writing bad checks became a proflific writer of song lyrics instead. She had also earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in pastoral counseling over the years. “I was making good money writing songs and counseling,” she said. “I was successful in everything the world says is a successful life. But I felt a very gaping hole.”

The Beginning – Part 2

My father and grandfather both sexually abused me. No one helped me, not even the police I ran away when I was 12. I went to my friend Melanie’s house across town. I told her I’d run away, and her father overheard and called the police. My mother had called them so they were already looking for me. When they showed up, they said, “So, you’re Red’s kid.” My dad had red hair. He had worked as a cop, and “Red” was his nickname. They took me to the police station and put me in one of those rooms with a two-way mirror with my dad. He smelled of whiskey and toothpaste. He tried to play it off and told them I’d had a fight with my mom and run out the door. I sat there crying with my arms crossed. I knew if I said anything I’d get into trouble. One of the police officers finally said to my dad, “Maybe she’ll feel more comfortable talking if it’s just the two of you,” and they left; but being alone with my dad was the last thing I wanted. As soon as the door clicked shut my dad reached over the table and grabbed me by the collar and pulled me up over the table and into his face. He said, “I hate you! The only reason I’m here is because your mother is at home crying her eyes out! If it were up to me I’d have you in foster care so fast your head would spin!” Sobbing, I sputtered, “I just want you to love me.” And he answered, “You can forget it after a stunt like this!” And he shoved me back into my chair. I didn’t know it then, but the police were watching everything that happened. They called my mom and asked her to write a police report about what happened at home, but she refused because she was afraid of my dad.

Filling the gaping hole

“I used to run three miles a day while living in Nashville,” said Leslie. She was familiar with Psalm 23 because her dad got “radically saved – for about 6 months, before returning to his old life.” But the family briefly went to church together, and that’s where she came to memorize Psalm 23. As she was jogging one day, she thought of the psalm and especially the line “He restoreth my soul.” She said she had tried everything to get herself right, including experimenting with New Age philosophies that left her feeling empty. But the thought that God could restore her soul, she came to feel, was what she really needed. On November 2, 1993, she got it. “I’ve tried everything, but I haven’t tried You,” she told the Lord. But how could she come to feel safe with a Heavenly Father after all she’d been through with her earthly father? The an-

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swer: Art Montgomery. Her own father had despised her, and she ended up not trusting anybody at all, so even trusting God would have been difficult if not for Art. “I wouldn’t have believed in unconditional love until Art,” she said. “Love has such a power – no condemnation, no judgment.” Art came to know everything about Leslie – the shameful and the unattractive – but still cared for her deeply, as his own child. Her own dad hated women, but Art honored and respected them. He erased all the negative messages she had received her whole childhood. “Through God using Art in my life, He made me believe in Him. I could talk to Art about anything, and now I could talk to God about anything. Art saw me, heard me, and he cared about me, and that’s what God does. God is my Father and I can trust Him.” By then, she was 26, and she jumped wholeheartedly into the Word of God. Her current well-thumbed and written-in Bible is actually her third, and the two previous Bibles looked the same way. She said that a trusted person once told her: “God wants me to tell you this. ... ‘Whatever you give Me, I will give back to you’.” She gave him everything, including her kids and her career. People told her she was crazy to give up her songwriting career; but, she said, if she had kept that career, it could have become an idol and led her to become self-sufficient. “I gave it all up. But the gaping hole was filled.”

Ministries & writing

She worked in prison ministry for a while as a chaplain with Corrections Corporation of America and also worked at a YWCA Triangle House, working with girls. Then, in 1999, she began submitting articles to various different ministries under the umbrella of Focus on the Family. “They literally published everything I sent them,” she said. “I was counseling full-time then and was a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. One day the Lord put it on my heart to write a research article on online addiction and send it to the AACC president, which I did, and I received a call from him asking if I would ghostwrite for him. I ended up ghostwriting for him for the next two and a half years. At the end of that time, I wrote three books for him and became AACC’s Director of Publications. “The three books I wrote were very successful, so I thought, if I can write successful books for someone else, I should be able to write successful books of my own, right? So I approached a publisher and they agreed.” • She got her first book deal with LifeWay in 2005, writing a book titled, Were It Not for Grace. • Soon after, she signed with the David C. Cook Publishing Co. and wrote the book, Engaging the Enemy: A Christian Woman’s Guide to Spiritual Warfare. • Then she signed a four-book deal with Crossway, where she pitched the idea for a book titled, The Faith of Condoleezza Rice. “I didn’t know Condoleezza Rice (former Secretary of State during the George W. Bush administration). I just had an idea for the book. In my first book, Were It Not for Grace, I talk about how she overcame the death of her parents through her faith. But in The Faith of Condoleezza Rice, she opened the door for me to interview her family and friends. …

You have to request that and God has to give you favor with these folks. It’s totally a God-thing. You can’t do it on your own. Those doors don’t open to just anyone or everyone. God opens those doors as He sees fit. The Bible says He sways the hearts of kings. He tells me what to write and I listen and follow His lead and I trust that He will open the doors He tells me to walk through. “I’ve worked with a lot of famous people in my life, so I’m not easily impressed with status or money. What I’m most impressed with is the sincerity and authenticity of any person I meet, as well as the care and empathy they have toward others. I get asked to write about the faith of a lot of different leaders in the world and have turned down many opportunities because of these reasons.” Just to mention a few of those ‘famous people’ Leslie met, they include Garth Brooks and Reba McEntire during her Nashville days; former vice president Mike Pence for a book titled, The Faith of Mike Pence; and Billy Graham and Chuck Colson when she joined them in 2005 to share her testimony during one of Mr. Graham’s famed crusades. Art passed away in November of 2017. Leslie is now 55, added a loving spouse to her life, as well as two more children and six grandchildren. She speaks fondly of all her children and grandchildren and is grateful she stopped the cycle of violence in her family line. “My dad had been abused, and his dad had also been abused. But I broke the cycle. And that’s God in me – I didn’t do it myself.

Leslie Montgomery is now into her third Bible. She reads God’s Word so frequently and thoroughly that all her Bibles become tattered from use. (Photo by Gaye Bunderson)

“I think my overall message to people is that if God can do it for me, He can do it for anyone, no matter what they’ve been through and whether or not it’s as extreme as my life. God is faithful.” n This article is short by necessity and has, for reasons of limited space, omitted much more of what Leslie has done, and continues to do, in her life, including speaking nationally and internationally, producing podcast and video programs, blogging and much more, under the umbrella of Yeshu’a Ministries. Go to for more information. For anyone wanting to learn how to connect with God as Leslie has, go to

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Christian Living | March / April 2022 9


Love always perseveres (not just sometimes) By Daniel Bobinski


In terms of relationships, the word can mean to hide or excuse errors and faults of others. In practical terms, this is seen when we choose to love our spouse or our children in spite of their faults. God certainly does this for us. We are sinful creatures who do sinful things, but God loves us in ways we cannot even imagine. He is, after all, the perfect example of love. It is His very nature. We can also see stegõ play out in the love Joseph had for Mary. Before the two were We still have a few words to go, but we are married, the angel Gabriel told Mary that she entering the final stretch of our study on how was pregnant with Jesus, even though she had the Apostle Paul defines agape (ah-GAH-pay), never been with a man. When Joseph learned Daniel Bobinski the word Jesus used when he told us to love of her pregnancy, he chose not to humiliate the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and her publicly, but rather divorce her quietly. His mind, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. intention was to “cover with silence” what he perceived to be a Interestingly, the last verse of Paul’s description (verse 7) of wrong. love is rather poetic, and it also highlights the Apostle’s unique Situations writing style. In terms of situations, the word can mean “to bear up Before we get into “love always protects / bears,” you might against, hold out against, and to endure, bear, or forbear.” In be interested to know that in the original Greek, all four decolloquial terms, one could say it means “to put up with.” scriptors used in 1 Corinthians 13:7 rhyme. In Koine Greek This meaning plays out when we see the word translated in they are stegõ, pisteuõ, elpizõ, and hypomenõ. the other places Paul uses it. Additionally, we see the word for “always” is used four times Translations for stegõ appear in bold: in verse 7, and curiously, Paul uses the same word in the sec• 1 Corinthians 9:12 – If others have this right of support ond and third verses, and again he uses it four times. However, from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more? But we did not in those verses, the word is translated “all.” use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything • If I can solve all mysteries... rather than hinder the gospel of Christ. • If I have all knowledge... • 1 Thessalonians 3:1 – So when we could stand it no • If I have all faith... longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. • If I give away all I possess... • 1 Thessalonians 3:5 – For this reason, when I could stand I point these things out only to illustrate Paul’s unique writing it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid style. He starts with seven abilities, stating that if we can do that in some way the tempter had tempted you and that our all of them but don’t have love, we are nothing. Then, after labors might have been in vain. he begins describing what love is, he shifts to what love is not. In the English translations, we see the words perseveres and Following that, he returns to what love is, and he concludes by bears, and I hope you can see how both of those words can be giving us four universal and rhyming statements about what used in the practical living of love. We can persevere in our love is, saying that love always does them. love for people despite their quirks. That’s not just a sometimes Again, there’s nothing magical here, but as I said, I find thing – it’s an always thing. Paul’s writing style rather poetic. We can also bear the discomfort of difficult situations as we Contents of Verse 7 seek after what the Lord would have us do. Again, it’s not a Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 13:7 in several translations. First, sometimes thing, it’s an always thing. note that the NASB, KJV, ESV, and RSV all translate the verse The world is not a perfect place, and humans are not a exactly the same way: perfect race. But the Lord God is here among us, working in us Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and through us to do His good, pleasing, and perfect will. He is endures all things. love. It is His very nature, and He lives inside those of us who The New International Version shakes it up a bit: have been born again. Because of that, His Holy Spirit lives It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always within us and can manifest agape love through us – if we will perseveres. let Him. For our study this time, we’ll look at the first word stegõ, which Our job is to let Him. n tells us that love always protects, or bears. Interestingly, the word is used only four times in the New Testament. It appears in two Daniel Bobinski, M.Ed. is an award-winning and bestletters, both of which are written by Paul. selling author and a popular speaker at conferences and The word means “to roof over,” or figuratively, to cover with retreats. Reach him at silence, or endure patiently. Interestingly, it can have both a or (208) 375-7606. relational and a situational application.

Note: In March of 2020 I decided to use this space to focus on God’s greatest command. If you’re connecting with this series for the first time and would like to read the earlier columns on this topic, I encourage you to visit Christian Living’s website to read the whole series. Go to columns/

10 March / April 2022 | Christian Living

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A ministry connected by Beautiful Pieces By Gaye Bunderson Can little children really accept Jesus into their hearts and comprehend the value of what they’ve actually done? Sarah Fauth would answer that question in the affirmative. “I accepted Jesus in my heart when I was in kindergarten in Michigan,” she said, “and I felt very close to Him.” Now in her 50s, Sarah remains near to her Savior and pledged herself to His service while a teenager. She explained: “Growing up, when I was in high school I was in youth group and it gave me the knowledge of serving others. I went to a national youth ‘Make a Difference Conference’ in New Mexico and made a commitment to God at that time.” Sarah trained to be a nanny in Omaha, Neb., where a young man she was dating told her they should move to Bolivia and become missionaries. She countered that a believer doesn’t need to go all the way to Bolivia to be a missionary, that service can be done right at home – and at home is where she ultimately started her own work of helping others. In the early 1990s, Sarah met a man from Montana, married him, and lived in the Big Sky state close to her in-laws, who served as pastors. She moved to Idaho in 2002 when her husband received a job transfer. Some 15 or so years later, her husband got his Christmas bonus check and wanted to give his wife something special, so he asked her what she’d like. Sarah told him that two of her favorite Christian singers were coming to town and she’d love tickets to go see them. It turned out that she got to do a lot more than see her favorite faith singers in concert. “I got to serve God at their concert, taking care of their needs,” she said. After that, she wanted to serve in that way whenever and wherever she could. She really liked helping the performers and thought she could do more of it with other performers and other events. So when Winter Jam – an annual program featuring a number of Christian artists who travel around the country – was coming to perform locally, she contacted the organizers and was given the go-ahead to work backstage. The next step in that journey was in 2018, when a good friend of Sarah’s was on The Extreme Tour. The Extreme Tour consists of a group of artists, athletes, and others – all referring to themselves as “a mosaic,” “an alliance,” and “a movement” – that travels nationally and internationally to team up with organizations, churches, and other institutions to “meet the needs of the disenfranchised and underserved” (from In 2019, Sarah was motivated to start making hygiene kits to give out locally and offered to share them with The Extreme Tour members to take and give out to people during their travels. “The hygiene kits help people physically but are also a way to make a spiritual connection with them,” she said. In other words, the kits serve as contact with people who aren’t likely to show up in church, but who can still be reached in practical, meaningful ways.

12 March / April 2022 | Christian Living

That same year, The Extreme Tour invited Sarah to go to Nashville. One of her dreams had always been to be a singer. But God had other plans and told her, “You’re not going to serve Me on the stage; I’m going to use you behind the scenes.” The hygiene kits aren’t the only way that Sarah Fauth serves the Lord out of the spotlight and behind the scenes. Her other acts of service include an online project called Beautiful Pieces, an annual holiday Blessing Tree, and work helping victims of human trafficking. Her giving pleases God, aids others, and has also touched Sarah’s mother’s heart. “My mom had gone to a church camp when she was young and had been asked what she wanted to do with her life. She’d said, ‘I want to be a missionary.’” Sarah explained that her mother’s desire to be a missionary was dismissed by an adult close to her, so she never pursued it. “But she told me in 2019, ‘Sarah, I prayed for years that one of my kids would grow up to be a missionary.’” And now Sarah was doing missions work of all kinds. Though she has at times questioned God, she has not wavered in her belief, and He has not vacillated in His constancy. In 2016, she tore up her shoulder and said she was angry at God, telling Him, “I can’t serve or work or take care of myself.” But He replied, “Just be still and wait on Me.” Waiting on God was her pathway to service. Her compassion for people trapped in the prison of human trafficking started while she was sitting at a table with other volunteers during a concert. She said she learned some disturbing facts about trafficking in the local area. “I was told that on average 3,000 people were for sale right here in our valley – daily,” Sarah said. “It broke my heart to think children my daughters’ ages were going through that. The next day I laid in bed crying to God and praying how I could help. I started to see the border of a puzzle, with God in the middle, and I kept hearing ‘Beautiful Pieces’.” Later, God gave her Jeremiah 17:14. In The Message it reads, “God, pick up the pieces. Put me back together again.” “There it was. Things were coming together. I wasn’t able to work physically because of my shoulder injury so God gave me a ‘gift’. He gave me Beautiful Pieces, a mission I got to do for Him,” said Sarah. Beautiful Pieces was born on November 17, 2017. It thrives on Facebook and Instagram. Sarah takes puzzle pieces and types prayer requests on them. The requests go wherever people around the world follow on social media, but it is only one of her many areas of service. She launched the Blessing Tree in 2018, so far benefiting over 200 people in two states. The Blessing Tree is hosted through Blazen Burger in Nampa. Continued on page 15

THE ROAD Less Traveled

Don’t avoid obstacles, grow through them

taken off the mountain. That’s one out of four! By Jason Herring Then came the Tahoe Beast on my birthday Perhaps you’ve heard about the Spartan Race. weekend in September. Because it was the site of It’s an obstacle course race (OCR) that runs the Spartan World Championships, the obstacles between 4 to 17 miles with anywhere from 20 were doubled in length, and the course was a to 40 obstacles. The distances are divided into lean 17.2 miles, topping out at Granite Chief Sprint, Super, and Beast, and if you can manage Peak at 9,000-feet elevation. The race opened to do all three of the races in a calendar year, you with three giant ditches filled with freezing water earn your Spartan Trifecta. All of these races that you had wade through at chest height. The take place on trails through dirt, rock, mud, and windchill on your soaked skin reminded you that sometimes rain or snow. I’ve raced in extreme were still alive and yet a mere 15 miles from the heat reaching close to a hundred in the mounsite of the Donner Party. Over halfway through tains outside Ogden, and I’ve raced in near freezthe race there was a swim in an alpine pond. ing temperatures at Tahoe. I’ve choked on the Lifejackets were mandatory, which made sense dust clouds in the dry hills of Southwest Idaho, given the temperatures, but only made the swimand I’ve sloshed through a cold downpour near ming more difficult. I can honestly say that I’ve Jason Herring an equestrian ranch outside of Seattle. So you never been that cold in my life. get the point. It’s basically a crazy race for crazy I came out of the water and trudged around the corner to face people that lack the good sense to come in out of the weather. an 8-foot vertical wall. This was an obstacle I could have easily The Spartan Race was designed to push you to your physidone under normal conditions. But I couldn’t stop shaking and cal and mental limits. There’s so much to prepare for. Besides wondered how in the world I was going to make it over the top. the elements, you have to factor in elevation, terrain, and the A friend of mine who is a certified personal trainer had to quit obstacles. Some obstacles test your strength, like pulling a because he was hypothermic. Famed NFL wide-receiver, Randy 90-pound sandbag 25 feet in the air in the Herc Hoist or carryMoss, was competing that day as well and almost quit until Joe ing a 100-pound bucket the length of a football field on the side DeSena put him in a pickup truck with the heater running. But of a mountain in the Bucket Brigade. Other obstacles, like the there was no heated cab waiting for me, and it took me over two Spear Throw, test your coordination as you launch a 2.5-pound miles to get my core temperature back up. spear over 30 feet to hopefully find its mark in a 3-foot target. Somehow I managed to successfully finish all of the obstacles Some obstacles, like the Multi Rig and Rope Climb, will test before I came to the last one with the finish line in sight just your upper body and grip strength as you haul yourself vertically up a 16-foot rope or across a 20-foot apparatus where you swing behind it. It was a 40-foot Spartan Rig, and I made it to within a few feet of the end when I slipped and fell. Exhausted and defrom rings to a bar to a rope with a knot on the end. So what happens if you fail one of these crazy obstacles or lack pleted of every electrolyte in my body, I went to the designated the skill to even attempt it? Burpees. Yes, that weird and dreaded burpee area and did all 30 of my burpees, even as I watched word that defines an exercise that goes from a push-up in a plank other racers cheat and cut their numbers short. The following year I was back at Tahoe to earn my second position to a jump squat. Chest to the ground in push-up and Spartan Trifecta. That year there were signs saying that you feet off the ground in the jump-squat. Thirty times. For every didn’t have to complete an obstacle if you lacked the skill or single obstacle you fail. If you’re wondering what kind of sadist strength to do so. Exactly. But you still had to do 30 burpees. would invent an event like this, his name is Joe DeSena. This And if you couldn’t do that, then you needed to consider a is a guy who did the Iditarod on foot, 14 Ironmans in one year, bubble run or color run. I always tell people who ask that at the and the Ukatak – a 250-mile race in the most extreme winter weather conditions in Quebec, Canada. So he’s actually the big- very least they need to be able to do 30 burpees without feeling completely gassed in order to seriously consider a Spartan Race gest masochist on the planet to punish himself that way and get at the entry-level Sprint distance. Throughout the course that pleasure out of it. Why not package that much fun in manageafternoon, I kept passing these contestants and wondered how able increments and share it with the rest of the world? we were leapfrogging each other since they didn’t appear to be When I did my first Spartan Race in the summer of 2016, in very good shape. Then at the next obstacle I noticed them just I was told by my coach to run hills on dirt and build my grip walk right past it. No burpees. No effort. They didn’t even try. strength. I had been running since I was 6- or 7-years-old, but They just kept walking. The thing is they got a nice t-shirt and I felt like a novice when I started hill running for the first time. medal to show off to their friends at the finish line, but they did a I could easily bench press my bodyweight but working on rings 15-mile hike in the mountains, not a Spartan Beast. and monkey bars exposed my grip strength. Little by little, I Life is full of obstacles, and seldom if ever do we get to determade progress, however, to get ready for my first Spartan Race. mine the obstacles that we face. We certainly don’t get to skip I finished the Boise Sprint without failing a single obstacle, and them, nor do we get to opt out of the burpee penalties that life then it was on to Super in Utah. makes us pay. We have to prepare to the greatest extent that we On the website, the Ogden Mountains looked lush and green, can and remember that failure is a wonderful teacher. Every nothing like the arid dusty desert outside of Boise. I was in for a time I failed an obstacle it gave me experience and a way to rude awakening. The Utah Super was Boise 2.0. Just as hot, just as dry, breathing in just as much dust except at a higher elevation improve. You can’t go around your obstacles, but you can grow over a longer distance with even more obstacles. Of six thousand through them. And each victory will make you more ready for registered participants that year, 1,500 either quit or had to be the next test waiting around the corner. n

14 March / April 2022 | Christian Living

Beautiful Pieces

Continued from page 12

She worked at a nursing home during the shutdown that resulted from COVID-19 in 2020. During that time, she helped the elderly residents connect with their families via video because of the isolation orders. “I had the honor of serving God that way,” she said. In February of 2020, over Valentine’s Day weekend, she started a Beautiful You project in local homeless shelters to demonstrate the Father’s love to His daughters in the shelters. “It was to show the women there how beautiful they are to God, and how He sees them.” The hygiene kits for The Extreme Tour were a Beautiful Pieces project too. She said she feels an inner sense about people she encounters who might be struggling. She also prays, “‘God, will You show me who’s struggling, and who I can help?’ I ask Him to give me discernment.” She hasn’t worked as a nanny for many years. Now she helps people of all ages in so many different circumstances. She never abandoned her desire to help those who are trafficked. She once was a crime victim herself. She was not trafficked and prefers to keep the details private, but it was nonetheless a hard experience. “It gave me a taste of what trafficking victims go through,” she said. When asked how she was able to get through that difficult time, she replied, “God gives me strength.” In October of 2021, she was the host of a virtual world conference on equipping, empowering, and informing people on how to collectively combat human trafficking.

Sarah Fauth uses puzzle pieces to write prayer requests on, such as the one shown above. She then puts the prayer requests online.

If she sometimes comes off a little different from others, she’s okay with that. “Some people think I’m weird, but I don’t care, because God is the only one who can define who I am.” The way she approaches her ministry is simple, and her advice to others is uncomplicated as well. She said: “It’s saying, ‘I’m going to serve you, God,’ and then just being obedient to Him.” n Beautiful Pieces is now a non-profit as of late January 2022. It is a ministry of Innovative Ministries International. As of early February, Beautiful Pieces became part of the website at Sarah also maintains her presence on Facebook and Instagram and is planning a slate of ministry events for this year.

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Christian Living | March / April 2022 15

“I GET TO!”®

Be beautifully broken for His good purpose By Joan Endicott Outside on my deck that spring afternoon I was in the fetal position struggling to breathe through the long, deep, guttural groans and uncontrollable sobbing. My whole soul hurt. Every fiber of my being felt broken after receiving tragic news of a loved one. The shock was something I couldn’t process and didn’t know how I ever would. “Ohhh God—Please help me—I am completely broken. I can’t do this. I am empty. I am broken. I have nothing left…” My heart was broken. I used to think they died from a broken heart was just a line in a country song or simply an expression to emphasize someone’s level of grief when they died. And now I know people really can die from a broken heart. The medical term is Takotsubo syndrome (TTS) or stress cardiomyopathy. Just recently I know of two women diagnosed with this and according to Harvard, the Mayo Clinic and the American Heart Association, Broken-Heart Syndrome is, unfortunately, on the rise. For many of us, this isn’t a surprise. We humans are all broken, aren’t we? In addition to being broken, we have experienced broken promises, broken dreams, broken relationships, broken hearts. For that reason, I love mosaic art because it uses the broken, otherwise discarded pieces and makes something beautiful. In my travels (and on the Internet) I’ve seen some extraordinary pieces made of recycled broken glass, broken dishes and tile retrieved from the trash pile, where the artist created something completely unique and one-of-a-kind. Something extra special! Now more than ever, we live in a society that screams judgment, criticism, and unforgiveness to anyone who dares to be authentic, transparent, and real. (FYI: Reality TV…well, it just isn’t!) We are pummeled with pictures that promote the impossibility of perfectionism. No wonder we learn to be critical and condemning of ourselves and others—to anyone posing as anything less than perfect! I recall the criticism of dear Mother Teresa years ago when her personal writings were published. After Mother Teresa died in 1997, though she requested her writings, journals and correspondences be destroyed, some were posthumously released to the public in a book. I remember how bewildered I was to hear that some people were extremely critical of her, even suggesting hypocrisy, after reading about the times she struggled, doubted her faith, or felt disconnected from God. Personally, I felt less alone in my faith walk to find out how even our beloved Mother Teresa’s faith wavered.

The reality is, we feel a much greater bond when our brokenness is shared because we know we aren’t alone. Yet, it can be so hard to share our mistakes, missteps, and misunderstood moments, can’t it? The ancient Japanese art and philosophy called Kintsugi, also illustrates life’s journey. Kintsugi (金継ぎ, “golden joinery”), also known as kintsukuroi (金繕い, “golden repair”), is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. (Wikipedia) Both mosaic and Kintsugi art wonderfully demonstrate how we can be even more beautiful for having been broken. When we go through any crisis, trauma, or heartbreak, we change. But how we change is what makes us unique. We’ve all seen people go through similar tragedies, yet how they come out on the other side of it can be as varied as one’s DNA. Some are critical, angry and bitter, while others come out better, with even more care and compassion for themselves and others. Life is hard. Life’s battlefield can leave us battered, bloodied, bruised, and broken. As humans, hurts and heartaches are inevitable—however, our response is optional. Giving all our heartbreak to the only One who can reconnect those heartstrings, rebuild the broken, and fill the cracks and crevices to heal us completely, is the Great Physician. Yes, we are all broken. We are all lost. We are all insufficient, inadequate, and incapable of self-repair. That’s why we all need a Savior. We need Someone we can surrender all our broken pieces to. Then, as only He as Creator can, construct something indescribably beautiful that will reflect His face, His character, His hope, His love to every broken heart around us. Isaiah 53:5 (TLB) reminds us that Christ’s brokenness was what saved us: “But he was wounded and bruised for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace; he was lashed—and we were healed.” Though He was sinless, Jesus’ willingness to be beaten and broken gave us hope and healing—not just for now, but for eternity. On that spring afternoon years ago, while still in the fetal position outside on my deck, in those moments I would have welcomed being done with this thing called life. It just felt too hard. Exhausted spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally from the uncontrolled and painful wailings (I am empty. I am broken. I have nothing left). In my spirit I felt The Lord say to me, Now I can really use you!

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16 March / April 2022 | Christian Living

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“Really, Lord? Really—It takes this kind of to you. For me, it represents a greater yearntragedy and indescribable pain for you to use ing for a closer walk with Jesus—the Prince me? WHY? Wasn’t I willing enough before?” of Peace—to heal my brokenness. It also is a Transparently, that is not what I wanted to hear powerful reminder to me that no human can and was a bit confused and frustrated by it. give me what only God can. I’m so grateful we can tell God exactly how We all long to be loved and to belong! we feel and He holds us ever closer as our lovWhat an enormous difference it makes when ing Father, reminding us of how deeply and our faith takes us to the foot of the Cross and unconditionally He loves us. The things we we can count on and claim God’s promises of may not understand at the time can become making beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:3) and clearer to us later—or not. But as I look back that He will work all things together for our on my life and think of how independent I was Joan Endicott good (Romans 8:28). Friend, isn’t it so comfortin some ways, and how interdependent I was ing to know that nothing is wasted or overlooked? No tear, no when it came to craving others’ acceptance, approval, and fear, no sorrow nor grief is unseen by our Creator. No part of affirmation, that was a personal prison for me until I realized I your heart that’s broken off will go to waste. When surrenwas the only one who held the key. dered to Him, all the pain of your past will become someNow I can look back and see that every moment of humanthing beautiful because, in The Master’s Hands, it becomes a ness, neediness and brokenness has driven me to my knees to beautiful Masterpiece. n find comfort at the Cross. Just as a broken bone can actually mend stronger if taken care of correctly, we can be stronger when we surrender all our Grab your FREE copy of Joan Endicott’s “I Get To!”® book brokenness to the Great Physician and receive His healing. at Joan is an Award-Winning KeyI don’t know where you are on your journey, but I hope you note Speaker, Author and Coach who’s coaching has reached will take a few moments to pause, ponder and pray and ask over 30 countries. Meet her and enjoy her encouraging messages yourself if it’s time to start learning what it looks like to apon Facebook and Instagram. preciate all the beauty that’s come from life’s bruises, betrayals Image by SEBASTIEN MARTY from Pixabay and brokenness. Start by asking yourself what it represents

Christian Living | March / April 2022 17


The best or the worst – it’s your choice

Every time this happens there is a choice we make. By Gary Moore Again, most of the time we don’t even realize or recIn every relationship there come those times when ognize that we’re making a choice because it feels like what we expect doesn’t match what we experience. a response, like a reaction. What we usually do then seems more like a reaction The size of the gap between what we expect and than a decision. We really don’t think we have a what we experience is dependent on how much choice at that point and so we just react to the situamutual understanding we have. The more mutual tion. But happy couples make a choice. understanding, the smaller the gap. When faced with What is that choice? It’s found in the book of this gap we always have two choices – and, they’re 1 Corinthians – specifically in chapter 13. Even the same two choices every time. We either choose to though chapter 13 was not written to address mar“believe the best” or we choose to “assume the worst”. riage, many of us had all or a portion of 1 CorinthiHappy couples choose to believe the best. And, they ans 13 read at our weddings. It is popularly known choose to believe the best every time – until they just as the “love chapter”. can’t believe the best anymore. Reflect on your relationship as we look at what In 2005 Marcus Buckingham published a book Apostle Paul says love is. Beginning with verse 4 and titled, The One Thing You Need to Know. In this reading through verse 7, he says, “Love is patient, book he cites a 20-year study of happy couples in love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it Gary Moore the U.S., Canada, and Europe. The researchers were is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not looking for a common denominator as to why these self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. couples still enjoyed each other’s company. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always One of their primary assumptions was that over time happy couples protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” had downgraded their expectations of each other – their motives, Let’s look specifically at verse 7: “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” If you look closely at this verse, there virtues, and character. What they found was just the opposite. These happy couples had, as it turned out, an unrealistically positive view of is one characteristic that doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t make any each other. At the end of their study, here was their recommendation: sense because it’s not dependent on the lover, it’s dependent on the In a relationship, find the most generous explanation for each other’s lovee. And that is, “always trusts”. behavior and believe it. Always trusts – that’s stupid, even naive. Always trusts? Really? What Believes all things… happens when what we experience doesn’t match what we expect? Every single time there’s a gap – even when it’s the same gap over and over – what you place in that gap is what you decide to place there. You’ll either believe the best or you’ll assume the worst. Whichever way you go, it’s your choice. Let’s take a quick look at two obstacles in this process. One is what we experience – he did it again; she did it again. Two is who we are. We didn’t show up in the relationship with a blank slate. Some people have a harder time trusting than others. Because of your past experiences, certain behaviors trigger certain responses. Even with all your junk, it’s still your choice – every single time. Let’s return for a moment to 1 Corinthians 13. Verse 6 says that “love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth”. Love isn’t trying to catch the other person doing something wrong. Love isn’t building a case against the other person so they can finally step in and say, “you did this” – “you said this”. Love doesn’t keep score of the past. Verse 7 says “love always protects”. From what? Love always protects the relationship from suspicion and from a lack of trust. Love knows that whatever I choose to put in the gap between my expectation and my experience affects the relationship. Verse 7 says “always trusts” and, “believes all things”. Love chooses a generous explanation. Verse 7 says “always hopes”. Love always trends positive. And, “always perseveres” – this implies resistance against such things as doubt and negativity. So, here’s the question. Based on your personality, based on your experience, based on what you know about yourself, when what you expect doesn’t match what you experience, do you believe the best? Or, do you assume the worst? It’s your choice. 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

18 March / April 2022 | Christian Living

‘GOD knows my heart’

But never forget His way is right side up

“I know divorce is wrong, but I haven’t been By Bethany Riehl happy in years, and God knows my heart.” Our world is upside down. “Yes, this show is full of profanity, nudity and That might very well be the most obvious senviolence, but it doesn’t really affect me; God tence you will read today. knows my heart.” No matter where you stand on any given issue, We can say this simple phrase and most of I’m certain we can all agree that the world has the time it shuts down anyone that might quesgone mad. Truthfully, it’s been that way since the tion our actions because we insist that they don’t Fall; nothing is new under the sun (Ecclesiastes know our motives the way God does. And that’s 1:9). absolutely true. I’m not here to bemoan the state of our world. It’s important, however, to remember that this is I’m here to share something with you that began what He says of our heart: to dawn on me in the last few months – soft light, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and barely distinguishable at first, but rising ever more desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah on the horizon in brilliant gold and pink hues. 17:9, NIV) Our world, Christian, is the one that is upside Yowch! Not quite the innocence we’re assuming, down. More accurately, our God’s world is right Bethany Riehl right? He goes on: side up and we look at everything from the wrong “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, angle until we look at it from His. The longer we walk with God and saturate our hearts, souls, and to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” (Jeremiah 17:10, NIV) minds with His Word, the more that Word illuminates His ways God knows our hearts and motives better than anyone, and that and gives us an awareness of what is actually true. should make us shudder to ignore any loving admonition prePaul Washer recently said in a sermon, “You see, earth’s problem is: how can God judge? Heaven’s problem is altogether differ- sented to us that seeks to help us grow in righteousness. Does this mean we are helpless and hopeless to do good? Absoent: how can God save – pardon – wicked men and still maintain lutely not. For as many verses about the wicked state of the heart His righteousness?” of man, there are also a great many that ensure us of the miracuThat statement has me looking at everything differently. Take lous changes we undergo in Christ. for example the phrase, “God knows my heart.” Maybe you’ve Ezekiel 36:26 assures us that when we become believers, God said or heard this. As truthful as it is, we can agree that this simple removes our heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh. phrase has more often become Christian lingo for, “Stay out of Now it’s soft and moldable and, to make us more like Him, God my business, I don’t answer to you.” Or, at the least, a quick diswill test our heart and cut out the sin that we hold so dear. missal of things that might require a deeper examination of our Romans 7 reminds us that our flesh and our spirit are in conown motives. stant tension with one another, fighting for control until the day “Yes, I cut that guy off in traffic, but I’m running late, and God we pass from this life to the next. knows my heart.” God knows my heart – yes! And…oh no. It is not as innocent as I “No, I haven’t been to church in years, but I watch online, and would convince myself that it is. God knows my heart.”

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20 March / April 2022 | Christian Living

Recently our family was invited to dine with friends. We shared a special meal with them that they have each week, one where they usher in a day that they set aside as a “Sabbath Day” for their family. We sang the Doxology together, and while dining on delicious pasta and garlic bread by candlelight, they explained their desire to take God literally in His command to work 6 days and rest on the 7th. Our host admitted that it had been hard for him to submit to that at first. “But God knows my heart…” he said. (Reader, you know I cringed a little at this with all of my thoughts recently swirling on that phrase.) He went on, “…and He knew this was an area I needed to surrender to Him.” And there it was. What my mind had been striving for without fully alighting on. God does know us – our thoughts, motives, and intentions. As such, we can rest in our obedience to Him, even when others don’t understand our convictions. Even more, we should trust Him to show us the areas in which we need to surrender, even when we don’t understand or see danger in our own lives. What would be so wrong with this family not taking a Sabbath day of rest? To most of us, nothing at all. But for our host it would be wrong because God, knowing his heart and his needs, had impressed upon him to surrender and take a full Sabbath day. His obedience has resulted in a wonderful blessing for his family, and those they share it with. From the moment of the Fall, our greatest desire – whether we give in to it or not – has been to be our own god, to control our own life. Our secret idols move in and take up residence in our hearts and the greatest offense of all is that they can make us believe that we are too good to offend our God in our secret little sins. We are admonished in Matthew and Luke not to judge one another unfairly, harshly, or hypocritically. But in the same passages, we’re told to inspect the fruit of our faith. To lay our hearts open to our Master Surgeon is a worthy pursuit. He is always busy making us holy and righteous – for our good and (most importantly) His glory. Everything He does is for His glory. His Word is sharper than a double-edged sword and those slices cut deep at times, and in ways we don’t understand. We can surrender to that beautiful truth that God does, in fact, know our hearts and that He wants to mold them to be like His Son. There was more to that Paul Washer quote and here is a good place to share it: “You see, earth’s problem is how can God judge? Heaven’s problem is altogether different: how can God save – pardon – wicked men and still maintain His righteousness? And the answer is in the gospel where God becomes a Man who goes to a tree and bears the sin of His people; and with that sin the curse, and with that curse all the holy hatred, all the righteous judgement of God, is poured down on the head of God’s Son and He absorbs it. He satisfies justice so it no longer has a demand against God’s people. And so, God can be Just and the Justifier of wicked men.” God’s ways are not our ways, His thoughts are far above our scope of understanding. When we say, “God knows my heart,” let it be with humility and awareness that His way is right side up. n Bethany Riehl lives in the Treasure Valley with her husband, three kids, and one super chill dog. She and her husband homeschool their kids and were only slightly embarrassed when their lives didn’t change all that much when the world shut down in 2020. Hashtag, homebodies. 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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REAL Man’s Toolbox

God’s unconditional love verse: John 3:16

He wants us to be with Him for eternity. His By Leo Hellyer love for us is so great that He was willing to give Just recently, I came across a complete update up His only begotten Son, his pride and joy, so to a fantastic Bible study by Max Lucado. Max we would be able to spend eternity with Him. developed the original 3:16 Video Bible Study God also loves us so much that He doesn’t Series as a live presentation with a group of force us to be in relationship with Him. He participants at a church. This study examines loves us so much that He gives us our own free the one verse of John 3:16 in a manner that will. We get to decide whether we want to acbrings depth and clarity to the verse like few cept His gift or not. He also loves us so much have been able to do. This new study is presented through streaming video. that He makes it very easy to accept His gift of In this updated version of “3:16: The Numeternal life. It is not a complicated process. We bers of Hope,” Max starts off by recalling a do not have to choose which way of many ways moment when, as a youth in a Bible class, this to receive the gift of eternal life. All we have to verse came alive for him for the first time. “For do is accept the only way to eternal life with God so loved the world that he gave his one God Almighty, and that is to accept the gift of Leo Hellyer and only Son, that whoever believes in him His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. shall not perish but have eternal life.” This John 3:16 is one verse in the Bible that most is a verse we have all heard many, many times, but few of us of us have heard many more times than we can remember. have deeply examined the truth behind these very familiar The danger of that is that it can become just words on paper. words. As we look into this verse, we find out that 26 words We must remember that the Scriptures are the inspired Word can explain the unconditional love that God has for each and of God. We should always endeavor to extract every bit of wisevery one of us. dom, truth, love, guidance, mercy, etc. that we can out of all Max Lucado is a great communicator and brings life to this Scripture. We cannot just read Scripture as words on a piece verse in a very unique and down-to-earth manner. He sumof paper. Our God communicates with us in many ways, and marizes it in four phrases: He loves, He gave, we believe, His Word is definitely one of those ways. we live. This study is done in a way that allows listeners to John 3:16 is just one verse in the Bible – 26 words – but these feel they are present while Christ is having conversations with few words are the foundation for the salvation of mankind. followers and searchers about how to be saved. This Scripture describes what unconditional love for all means. There are two other presentations on John 3:16 that I highly We need to frequently come back to this one verse, dissect it, recommend you take the time to watch. Both of these presenexamine it, believe it, and live it. tations can be found on YouTube. The first is “Tim Tebow Who knows which method God will reach you with: a pastor, Shares the Incredible Story of John 3:16.” He presents a very a football player, a motivational speaker, a friend, a co-worker, personal story about how John 3:16 has impacted his life fora stranger, or His Word? The truth is, God is reaching out to ever. His story brings out the truth that God speaks to each of you. The question is, are you listening – and what are you gous, in a way that works for us, at a particular time in our lives. ing to do with the truth? n Most of us are well aware that God is in control of all things; but when God brings things about, that really gets our attenLeo Hellyer is a non-staff pastor with a local church and tion, and it reinforces that He is truly in control. The second is a very unique, hard-hitting presentation called has been married to his wife Norma for more than 45 years. “John 3:16 – The Story of Love.” This is a video story about a The couple volunteered with the Boise FamilyLife Ministry Team for 20 years. Leo has also been serving with Boise bridge operator, his young son, and a train full of passengers. Rescue Mission Ministries for 20 years and is currently The story is narrated by Reggie Dabbs. It is an edgy presentaserving at the River of Life Rescue Mission. He is presition, but it is very moving. Be prepared to be affected by this dent and chief firearms instructor with Helping Hands video. Firearms Training LLC. If you have questions about God Almighty created each of us for one purpose, and that Real Man’s Toolbox, or need other assistance, Leo may be purpose is to have relationship with Him. God loved and still loves this world – and each of us in this world – so much that reached at or 208-340-5544.

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22 March / April 2022 | Christian Living

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Kristian Short Youngster loves both By Gaye Bunderson Many a father and son take to the golf course together, especially when the sky is blue and the weather is warm. But late last year, Bill Short and his son Kristian played nine holes at BanBury Golf Course in Eagle the week before Christmas. The temperatures were pleasant, the sun was shining. It wasn’t a competitive match, but of course they kept score. Kristian won with a score of 35, while his dad golfed a 42. Bill Short couldn’t have been prouder of his little boy. At 7 years of age, Kristian Short is something of a golf prodigy. The fact that he beat his 48-year-old father at golf only made the old man beam. Kristian has always been an early bloomer. Golf caught his attention at the grand age of 3, when his dad and grandfather were playing the game. “I bought him some plastic clubs,” Bill said. Kristian progressed up the ladder of beginner clubs pretty quickly. After that first set of plastic clubs, Dad bought him some better plastic clubs. Shortly after, Bill purchased some real clubs for his son, and then, it was time for custom-made clubs. Golf has become more than a sport for the males in the Short family. “I’m trying to give Kristian every opportunity to not only excel at golf but to use this platform to spread the love of Jesus,” Bill said. Kristian attends Calvary Christian School in Boise. He has a favorite Scripture – Isaiah 6:9 – and in accordance with his school requirements can quote it easily, readily, and flawlessly: “And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.” When asked what he likes about that Scripture, Kristian said he loves it because “that’s when Jesus first came to the earth to save us.” The youngster has been golfing for more than three years now and, in the last year, won seven tournaments and qualified for and played in the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship at Pinehurst, N.C. in July of 2021. He didn’t start out a perfect player, according to his dad. “When he started, his hand grip was backwards and his score was more like a good bowling score,” Bill said. Bill signed Kristian up with golf instructor Jake Vetsch of Boise, and in a very short time, his boy’s golfing stance and swing improved and he was taking stroke after stroke off his score. Said Jake of his very young student: “Kristian Kristian Short, 7, takes a swing at a golf ball. The youngster, is the best junior that I teach; he’s the most seriwho is a student at Calvary Christian School, is a talented golfer ous so far. He says he wants to be a professionand, with his father’s encouragement, seeks to use his skills for a al, and he’s a natural. I show him something higher purpose. (Courtesy photo) and he nails it the first time.”

24 March / April 2022 | Christian Living

God and golf Bill wants his son to have self-confidence but also to be humble. He taught him to praise God after both a good shot and a bad one, and when they encounter mean kids or parents at golf tournaments, they respond with courtesy. “We want His light to shine through us in the way we treat them,” Bill said. Kristian’s favorite golfer is Ben Crane, a man he admires for both his golf skills and his faith. He wants to emulate his hero in both tournament wins and charity and would like to build houses for needy people someday if he’s able. When the Short family – along with wife and mother Ann – met Ben at a tournament, the golfer signed a golf ball for Kristian and drew a cross on it. If it seems daunting enough to keep a 7-year-old golf whiz humble, know that Kristian also excels at Taekwondo martial arts and has a pretty good arm for throwing a football, too. Still, at this point he doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously. “I’m never perfect,” he said with a smile. As for how competitive he might be, all he knows is that he has made plenty of new acquaintances through his tournament wins. “I make a lot of friends,” he said. He also has 1,537 ‘friends’ on Facebook from all over the world at Kristian Anderson Short – Golf. As for his parents, they are not ‘stage parents’. They don’t pressure their only child to win at all costs. They also don’t force him to play golf. “At his age, it’s more about giving him opportunity than forcing him,” Bill stated, also acknowledging that staying good at golf takes practice and commitment. “You really need to play golf at least five days a week to stay sharp, and to do it year-round.” That may look like playing a round of golf, just hitting balls on a driving range, or practicing on a putting green. Bill works to keep it all fun for Kristian. “We’ve played at night with glow-in-the-dark balls.” That isn’t to say that golf isn’t taken seriously in the Short household. Even at his very young age, Kristian has a personal trainer – he has to stay in shape – and a chiropractor to make sure he’s not out of alignment by standing a certain way for golf. Bill allows his son personal choices. That might include golfing, going to the dog park, skiing, or some other fun activity. Often, Kristian chooses golf, but he also may prefer to go to the dog park or take to the slopes. “I’m nudging him,” Bill said. He also uses words such as “incentive” – and even “bribe”. “I bribe him with ice cream,” said the proud dad. And don’t forget the word “motivate”. “I motivate him with good things and told him that if he won the Boise spring and fall golf tournaments, I’d get him a puppy.” After all, a kid can’t go to a dog park without a dog. Not surprisingly, Kristian won the tourneys and got himself a puppy, a chocolate lab he named Patriot – for his love of country, according to Dad.


Bill Short and his son Kristian enjoy a round of golf together. At merely age 7, Kristian possesses innate skills at golf, but his dad helps with instruction from time to time. He is also teaching his son to live out his faith on the golf course. (Courtesy photo)

About his wife, Bill said: “Kristian’s mother is amazed by the talent God has given him. She always reminds me that he’s just a kid, but she recognizes that when he’s on the course he looks, acts, and plays like a PGA golfer.” Bill sometimes serves as his son’s caddy and may suggest a certain club for a certain shot, but Kristian has his own ideas – sometimes good, sometimes not. “Part of what I do is teaching him, too,” Bill explained. Kristian will sometimes hit a bad shot, but Bill has taught him that it’s always about the next shot, not the last one. He is still in awe of his son’s skills. “Even today, when he hits the ball and it’s perfect, I can’t believe it.” Kristian makes losing at golf to a child a good experience. Said his father: “He is truly one of the sweetest, kindest 7-year-olds you’ll ever meet.” n Kristian will be playing in his school’s golf tournament on May 20. Anyone who would like more information on the tournament may contact Bill Short at (208) 392-0048.

Christian Living | March / April 2022 25


“Poverty and the Emptiness in Children’s Eyes Were My Burning Bush …”

When he boarded Delta Flight 7604, departQuestion: That must have been tough ing from Boise Airport on the morning of for you after living in the US for more January 16, 2010, Dr. Vincent Muli Kituku, than two decades, knowing here high author, columnist, and renowned motivational school is free. speaker, had no idea that this trip to Kenya, his Vincent: It was more than tough. Before that native country, would transform his life forever. visit I knew nothing about depression, feelVincent left his homeland in 1986 to pursue ing empty, wondering why I was alive and if graduate studies at the University of Wyoming there was a God. And, if there was, why would – where he claims he got his accent. God let those children suffer like that? I was After completing his studies, Dr. Kituku was low, alone and questioned my faith in God. employed by Idaho Power as a Riparian EcoloLittle did I know that the poverty and emptigist in 1992. In the fall of that year, he joined ness I had seen in the place where I grew up Toastmasters, an organization that helps memwith hope was the “Burning Bush” that would bers improve public speaking skills, and immechange my life forever. diately found what he thought was his calling Question: What happened for you to – motivating people to live up to their potential Vincent Kituku overcome that emptiness? using their talents, gifts and experiences. With Vincent: About two months after I came his knack for storytelling, ability to customize his presentations home from Kenya I was driving in Boise and praying for based on research about each work environment, and natural something – anything – I didn’t know what to think. On a skill of captivating audiences, Vincent Kituku soon became a whim, I stopped at a bank and asked if I could open an acsought-after speaker in America. count to raise money to pay high school and university tuition Kituku left corporate America in 1997 to devote his energy, for the children I had seen in Kenya. I asked friends to help creativity and focus to building a thriving motivational speakme establish a non-profit organization. We called it Caring ing business. In 2004, he earned the National Speakers AssoHearts and Hands of Hope. The problem was, I had never ciation Certified Speaking Professional award (CSP) within five before asked more than ten people to donate for anything, years. CSP is the highest award given to members with outalthough I was always happy to write about the needs of the standing records in the speaking profession. At that time, fewer Women and Children’s Alliance or the Boise Rescue Mission, than 750 people worldwide had earned that recognition. where I had served as a board member, and appeal for donaAs a speaker, Dr. Kituku delivered hundreds of presentations tions to those organizations. So, I thought, maybe I can write to organizations such as Hewlett-Packard, the United States and let people know what is going on with the children in my Air Force, Microsoft, Raytheon, many universities and colbirthplace. leges and almost all Idaho K-12 schools. He also served as the Question: Were there challenges in starting the motivational speaker for the successful Boise State University non-profit organization? football team from 1998 until 2018, when his involvement in Vincent: Time and space limit what I can say, but suffice Kenya demanded more time. it to say when you have been reduced to emptiness, you can Dr. Kituku returned to Kenya for the first time after living do anything. What worked for me were all the connections in America for 24 years. We sat down with him to learn how I already had made with the amazing people of this Treathe inadequacies he found in his community became what he sure Valley. A veteran lawyer, who had helped my wife and describes as his “Burning Bush.” me with our Born to Succeed Child Care Center, offered to Question: Vincent, can you please share how that assist me on a pro-bono basis. Another friend provided (and first trip affected you? still does) website development and maintenance on the same Vincent: I left Kenya when AIDS/HIV complications were basis. Others assisted with their talents and skills to get the just being talked about and I didn’t know anyone affected. organization off the ground. Corruption in the country was also not in each and every But there were also diminishing speaking opportunities due segment of public services, as it is now. Even the poorest of to the 2008-2010 Great Recession. What happened in early the poor were able to educate their high school students in my July of 2010 became the biblical cloud the size of a man’s youth. It was devastating to visit my elementary school where, hand. A friend and his colleague called me to their office and in the 1970s, there were only two orphaned children that I said, “Vincent, we know you are trying to help the children of recall, and find more than 300 children who had lost one or Kenya and at the same time feed your family. We want to give both parents due to AIDS/HIV complications. Many couldn’t you some money so that you can take care of your family for afford to enter high school – largely because of corrupt public the next few months and focus on establishing the organizaofficials. tion to help children in Kenya.” That afternoon I asked my It was also on that trip where I read of a mother of six who Kenyan contacts to find as many vulnerable students as they took her own life because she wasn’t able to pay the tuition her could. God had used those two friends to let me know that daughter needed to attend high school, a cost of about $500/ what I was doing was His mission. Continued on page 29 year that covered room and board, books and other expenses.

26 March / April 2022 | Christian Living

YOUR Daily Bread

Five tips for managing your abundance

3. Avoid buying more than you need. By Terry Frisk My wife and I were shopping for a refrigerator There was a time in my life where I believed and found a wide variety of options. Besides that if I could just increase my income, then my the array of door options (2-door, 3-door, money problems would be solved. However, evFrench door, crisper drawer and door-in-door), ery time I received a pay increase, there always seemed to be an additional need. The more I there were models that connect to the Internet made, the more I spent. This left me with the so you could remotely see what’s inside. Some empty feeling of always needing more. This was also have display screens so you can call up when I realized that my problem was not related recipes or make shopping lists. Is it really worth to my income but how I managed the money I the additional cost to be able to look inside spent. your refrigerator from anywhere in the world? Overspending is certainly not a new phenomWouldn’t it be easier to use your tablet or old enon. But, there are many additional ways to school recipe cards which you can keep close spend money today than ever before. Many by while you prepare a dish instead of having items we see as necessities today did not even to go to the refrigerator to read? Terry Frisk exist a generation ago. The first portable cell When shopping, determine what features are phone, the Motorola “brick,” was introduced really useful to you and select what fits your in 1984. Now, Pew Research estimates that 97% of American needs. We purchased a side-by-side with a water and ice disadults have a cell phone and 87% of those cell phones are penser in the door because we knew we would use that feature smart phones linked to the Internet. This technology allows daily. It was about one-third the price of the top-end model. us to purchase items any time of the day or night from almost 4. Limit credit card use. Studies have shown that we anywhere in the world and have it delivered to our doorstep in tend to pay more for items we purchase on a credit card. Many just a few days. financial advisors encourage “cutting up” your credit card. Another issue is we get a daily dose of advertising for new and improved products to better our lives. How do we deal with However, for many of us, this advice is impractical. I have to all these influences? In Luke 12:15, Jesus said: “Take care, and travel periodically in my business and it is nearly impossible to be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does rent a car or stay at a hotel without a credit card. If you have a not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (ESV) credit card, devise a plan for how and when it will be used. Pay God has blessed us with an abundance of choices that enables the balance off each month. For Internet purchases, consider us to enjoy our time on this earth. However, we must be good using an online payment service, like PayPal or Venmo, that is stewards with our money and be content to live within our connected to your bank account. means. The secret of contentment is not to add to your posses5. Develop a spending plan. Create a budget that alsions but diminish your desires. Below are five tips to help you locates your income between giving, savings and spending. take control of your spending behavior: Commit to staying within your spending plan. Make sure you 1. Before purchasing, ask yourself, “Do I really need allocate funds for a periodic treat as a reward for your dedicathis?” Stop and ask yourself whether the product or service tion. will provide more value than it cost or will it just wind up in Financial stewardship is one important step in our faith jouryour next yard sale. I have a collection of tools that I bought ney. Striking a balance between giving, saving and spending is a and used only once on a project I was working on at the time. Now, if I need a special tool, I look for ways to either borrow or matter for prayerful consideration. Achieving that balance results in financial security in accordance with God’s plan for us. n rent it rather than buy it. 2. Avoid impulse purchases. It is easy to get caught up in the moment and buy on impulse. Give yourself a cooling off Terry Frisk is a partner in the firm B2B CFO, providing financial advisory services to small businesses. He also counperiod to ponder the purchase. Go home and pray about it or sels individuals on personal financial matters through the sleep on it and determine the next day whether it is something Cathedral of the Rockies Budget Counseling ministry. He that makes sense, and you can afford it. I have found many times that the answer is “No.” may be contacted through e-mail at We offer free confidential pregnancy testing, verification and limited ultrasounds. Call 208-466-4000 to schedule an appointment

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28 March / April 2022 | Christian Living

My burning bush Question: How did you support the students back then and what has changed? Vincent: When we started, we paid tuition to the schools in which the students were admitted. It was a struggle since some head teachers were not easy to work with, especially given that we never sent money directly to them but to the school bank account for the tuition of specific students. In 2013, I visited the students we were sponsoring and learned the specific challenges of girls. Even after we had paid tuition, they still missed school days each month, due to lack of feminine hygiene supplies. At home, they were also expected to help with family chores, sometimes lacking food, and with limited time to study. That is when we decided to purchase a boarding school facility and take our sponsored girls there in 2015. Question: Did that help the girls and how? Vincent: The results have been overwhelming. In 2020, 35 out of 45 senior class students (77.8%) passed their university entrance exams. Only 19% of the whole country’s senior class students passed the exams. And the 10 girls who didn’t make it to university scored high enough to join vocational training institutions. That’s a 100% success rate for these vulnerable children whose lives were previously destined to misery. Our school also taught leadership skills, cooking, sewing and computer studies while in high school – thus they are equipped to be productive members of society. The success of the girls in our own operated school led to us purchasing a dilapidated school facility in October 2020, demolishing the unsafe structures and building modern classrooms and a dormitory. The boys’ school now has 50 vulnerable boys in its inaugural freshman class. Question: So, how many students are sponsors supporting this year? Vincent: We have 309 boys and girls in high school and 213 university students. Sponsorship is $725/year for a high school student, with a four-year commitment, and $1,000/year for a university student, unless a student is in medical school (where tuition is a little bit higher). We expect those numbers to grow as our schools continue with excellent academic performance. It is possible that we will be sponsoring 1,000 students within the next three years.

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Continued from page 26 I want you to understand that although I started Caring Hearts, nothing would have become of it had we not had so many wonderful, generous and kind people step up to sponsor these children. The sponsors write to their students and receive letters from them. A significant number of sponsors have visited Kenya and met their students. These lifelong connections are the amazing by-products of caring for children on the other side of our planet. Question: What’s next and what do you see yourself doing five years from now? On the second part of the question, only God knows what I will be doing tomorrow, let alone next month or five years from now. The experience of going to Kenya and God interrupting my life forever taught me that my own plans don’t matter. In the meantime, I am hoping to complete construction of the boys’ school dining hall/kitchen, apartments for teachers (required in Kenya) and a counseling center for both schools. Many of the children we serve have lost at least one of their parents. Others have been emotionally abused and/or sexually molested or abandoned by their parents and all suffer from the myriad psychological distresses associated with poverty, so a counseling center is imperative. Question: Do you have lessons learned that could be shared? Vincent: While people consider what I am doing as my calling, I felt I had been thrust into doing something I was not prepared for. I wish I had known what I know now and brought my family along from the very beginning – to have them see this as their mission as well as mine. While they are extremely supportive, they don’t “own” it as I do. Also know that when God disturbs your heart or interrupts your life to do anything, never worry about your lack of talents, experience, or financial resources. That is God’s problem. You already have something He sees in you that can benefit those in need. Be ready to be abandoned by some friends when you ask for money, but you will be astonished by strangers who God sends your way to help in His mission. n If you wish to know more about Caring Hearts and Hands of Hope, visit the website at or call Dr. Vincent Kituku at (208) 376-8724.

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TODD Clark

‘Lola’ comic creator draws on his faith

Todd Clark of Boise, creator of the comic strip “Lola”, is shown at a signing event. (Courtesy photo)

By Steve Bertel Some of us work in large offices … sit in front of multiple computer terminals … and spend our days with co-workers and supervisors. Todd Clark works alone in his garage studio … sits at his drawing board …and spends his days with friends and relatives of a squatty little beer-drinking grandma who’s not afraid to speak her mind. That would be “Lola,” the lovable but acerbic title character of Todd’s internationally-syndicated comic strip, which he cocreated 21 years ago and still writes and draws today. Growing up “an Air Force brat,” Todd and his parents lived in Oklahoma, Massachusetts, New Mexico, California, and even Guam, before finally settling in Boise. His late mother, an artist herself, initially taught him to draw. And as far as developing his sense of humor? “Most people my age grew up reading ‘Peanuts,’” he says, “I grew up reading Mad Magazine.” Now, as an adult, Todd is a strong believer in God – but it wasn’t always that way. “As a child and a teenager, I had always heard and believed that Christ was my savior. But I wasn’t a

30 March / April 2022 | Christian Living

regular church-goer. I’d go only off and on,” he admits. “Quite honestly, at that point in my life, my faith was secondary to everything else. But then my sister, who attended church regularly, gave me a Bible as a graduation present, when I graduated from Borah High.” That Bible eventually helped both strengthen and solidify Todd’s faith; so much so, that what had originally been secondary in his life, was now primary. Today, not only are both he and his wife members of a local church, he has a personallyimpactful Bible verse posted in his studio. “It’s James 1:17 that reads, ‘Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.’ When I read that verse some time ago in a church program, it struck me enough that I cut it out and taped it up where I now see it every day in my office,” he says. Working under daily deadlines of writing comic-strip “gag” humor – and especially Lola’s droll one-liners – has become second nature for him. In fact, chat with Todd even a few minutes and you’ll realize he talks the same way he writes. “Yeah, I initially attended Boise State University (majoring in Advertising Design), thinking I was going to be the next Salvador Dali. But that gig didn’t work out, especially when I looked at other artists’ work and thought, ‘Hm. I’m not all that good. Maybe I need to go back to drawing stick figures,’” he wryly says. But soon, drawing those stick figures – well, okay, maybe a little more than just stick figures – paid off. Todd’s work has since appeared in such publications as The Saturday Evening Post, Disney Adventures and yes, even Mad Magazine. Todd’s cartooning career kicked into high gear back in 1999, when he co-created “Lola” with fellow comic strip artist Steve Dickenson. “We had worked together on a strip called ‘Tar Pit.’ But when the syndicate dropped it, we wanted to develop another one. So Steve came up with the ‘Lola’ character,” Todd explains, a character inspired by Dickenson’s own aunt who, like her comic-strip counterpart, had been a World War II vet. Comic strips generally evolve over years, and “Lola” is no exception. “Steve designed the characters and did a lot of the artwork early-on,” says Todd. “When I took it over, I slowly

moved it to my own style of art. Plus, today, I don’t think Lola is as gruff as she was in the beginning. Back then, she’d either be drinking a beer or smoking a cigar. Today, I still put a beer in her hand occasionally, but I haven’t drawn her with a cigar in years!” The strip is distributed by the Andrews McMeel Universal Syndicate to over 100 newspapers worldwide, with an estimated daily readership of 6.5 million. “She’s even carried in one newspaper in Mumbai, India, and a handful of papers in the Fiji Islands,” Todd says. He points to his family as his greatest personal blessing: his wife, two daughters, and two grandsons. On a professional level, his greatest blessing is “God always being there for me, providing for me; opening doors for almost 30 years now. When one door closed, He opened another. For example, when ‘Tar Pit’ was dropped, we developed ‘Lola,’” he says. “In the beginning, I prayed on it a lot. I asked God, ‘If this is the path I’m supposed to be taking, let me know.’ And He did. It all worked out. I look back on it now and it’s amazing how, as I said, when one door closed, God opened another.” Starting a new strip – and especially convincing a major syndicate to like it enough to distribute it worldwide – is akin to David going up against Goliath. “It’s an incredibly tough business, especially with the shrinking comics pages,” Todd explains. “What’s more, the odds of success are stacked against

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you; syndicates receive like four- to five-thousand submissions per year. And they may accept two.” Even when a strip is accepted, it becomes survival of the fittest. “When a syndicate takes on a new strip, it means someone else’s gets bumped – their strip gets dropped. Honestly, I didn’t expect ‘Lola’ to last more than two years. And now, here I am, coming up on my 22nd year. So I feel truly blessed that ‘Lola’ has beaten the odds.” Avid readers will know Todd likes to every so often drop Boise-related mentions into his strip, referencing local TV news anchors, DJs, even names of Boise streets and businesses. “I put Guru Donuts in there a few times, but I still haven’t gotten any free donuts. I’m still waiting on that,” he smiles. There’s that dry humor again. Even Boise State gets the occasional nod. “If you read the colorized online version, Lola almost always wears a blue-andorange sweatshirt or sweatpants.” Dropping in subtle local references, “is just something fun I like to do.” Speaking of which, Todd is one of only a handful of popular comic strip artists – “Peanuts” creator Charles Schulz, “Shoe” creator Jeff McNally and “B.C.” creator Johnny Hart immediately come to mind – who incorporate their faith in God into their work. “Why wouldn’t I?” Todd shrugs. “My faith is a big part of me. It’s not something I want to hide.” Continued on page 32

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Continued from page 31 In fact, one of his strip’s recurring “Boise reference” characters is the very wise Pastor John, based on the very wise and now-retired Pastor John Kingrey of the Ten Mile Community Church in south Meridian, a church Todd and his wife used to frequently attend. “Pastor John – the comic strip one – and Lola have an interesting relationship; he thinks he’s Lola’s moral compass, but I don’t know if she looks at it that way,” Todd points out. Readers will occasionally see Lola kneeling at her bedside saying her prayers or heading off to Sunday morning church – “but if it’s a nice day for golf, she’ll grab her clubs and head out to the course. After all, she has her priorities,” Todd chuckles, tongue firmly in his cheek. “But she also pesters Pastor John with some theological/moral questions.” Like the panel showing Lola and Pastor John sauntering together along a pathway, engaged in one of Lola’s thoughtful Q&As. Lola: So Pastor John, you’ll be going to heaven, right? Pastor John: That’s sure the plan. Lola: If you get there before me, can you do me a favor? Pastor John: What’s that? Lola: Come to the gates and vouch for me. Pastor John: What if your gates are warm to the touch? Lola: Then bring me marshmallows. But just as Lola and the fictitious Pastor John have history, so does Todd and the real Pastor John. “I’ve known P.J. (as he’s affectionately known by close friends and congregants) for over 20 years. In fact, he baptized me. And I felt sorry for him at the time –” Todd reflects, with another chuckle “ – “because, when you get baptized, you usually say a few sentences about what the baptism means to you. Then you’re lowered into the water, you come up, and you’re good. But when I got baptized, I rambled on and on for like five minutes about what my baptism meant to me. And P.J. had to stand there and wait for me to finish. But he’s a great guy … with a great sense of humor.” But P.J. isn’t the only pastor who has impacted Todd’s walk with the Lord. For the past 12 years, Todd and his family have been members of their now “home church,” the Cloverdale Church of God in west Boise, and have become close friends with Pastor Tom Dougherty there. “He conducted the marriage ceremony

for my oldest daughter … and I’ve even been on his radio show a few times!” Todd says. “Pastor Tom’s great; he’s very relatable, genuine … and I love his sermons! They always strengthen my faith.” But even those living strong in their faith experience their darkest hour. For Todd, it was when “my mother suddenly passed away at age 67 from congestive heart failure. She had had other health issues – and then, when her appendix burst, my wife and I got a call from her doctor telling us she had only a day or two to live. So we spent the last hours with her at the hospital. Coincidentally, Mom died three months to the day after one of my daughters was born. We only have one picture of my mother holding my daughter as an infant. Had we known Mom was going to pass so suddenly, we certainly would have taken more. In addition, Mom had a great artistic talent … and now, my daughter is very artsy herself. It really crushes me that they were never able to know each other. I’m sure, if Mom had lived longer, they would have had a great relationship.” But Todd likes to stay focused on the future. Which brings us to the question: So what’s down the road for “Lola”? “A friend and I have written a ‘Lola’ Christmas special that we’ve shopped around. Plus, there’s been interest in a possible ‘Lola’ TV show, but nothing’s panned out yet,” he replies. And as far as his own future, he says, “I’ll go wherever the Lord leads me.” Todd recently finished work on a screenplay for an animated television special with his friend – and hero – “Berke” Breathed, creator of the long-running Bloom County comic strip. But his “huge passion”, as Todd puts it, is writing. He already has a number of books to his credit: several “Lola” books (a compilation of strips) and the children’s release The Ice Cream Kid: Brain Freeze!, which he also illustrated. “But I’d like to someday write books, be a writer, an author,” he says. “I’d like to be able to develop characters, more than I can now in the standard three-box set-up/set-up/joke comic strip format. I’ve had some interest from publishers … so who knows?” Today, given his faith, his loving family, a successful career, an internationallyread comic strip that beat impossible odds, a bright future, and the opportunity to work from home at his dream job, Todd Clark humbly sums up his life with: “I’m just a guy in his garage … who’s been very, very blessed.” n

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Isaac, 14, has a sweet soul for the elderly

The following information is provided by Wednesday’s Child, an organization that helps Idaho foster children find permanent homes.

Isacar, or Isaac as he likes to go by, is a very social, kind and respectful young man who is looking for an active family consisting of both a mom and a dad, as he is excited about the possibility of having a hands-on father who will teach him more about things like construction and working on cars. Isaac is very athletic and has played on his school’s basketball and track teams in the past. He’s very proud of the fact that he placed third in a statewide cross-country track meet. Isaac would love to try out other sports like football or soccer and is hoping for parents who will be very involved Isaac in his education and extracurricular activities, helping nudge him out of his comfort zone and into trying new things. As a long-time Raiders and Dolphins fan, Isaac’s looking forward to having a family of his own to share the game day excitement with. This well-rounded teen has many interests in things unrelated to sports as well. He enjoys comic books, racing, and video games. He’s also a really talented artist. Isaac’s personality has a way of drawing people to him. He has such a sweet soul and an affinity for the elderly, as well as for others who cannot always advocate for themselves. He finds fulfillment in helping people whenever he can.

Those who know Isaac best continuously praise him for how caring and thoughtful he is and also for the fact that he always keeps his room clean and takes pride in helping out around the house. He loves celebrating special occasions and holidays because it means quality time with family. He has dreams of finding a Forever Family that is adventurous and loves to explore and travel. He is looking forward to days spent biking, hiking and sightseeing in the mountains where he can take wildlife photos. Isaac’s Permanency Team is searching for a family, preferable in southern Idaho, who will support and foster an ongoing relationship with his biological siblings, as they are a very important part of his life. This amazing teen is full of unlimited potential. A loving, supportive and committed family is the key to his ability to make a happy and successful future for himself. One more day in foster care is one too many for this special youngster. If Isaac sounds like a great fit for your family, we can’t wait to hear from you. n For more information on the Idaho Wednesday’s Child Program, visit, or contact Recruitment Coordinator Shawn White at or cell 208-488-8989 if you have specific questions.


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BIBLICALLY Responsible Investing

Creation Mandate: productivity and investment

Image by AVAKA photo from Pixabay

By Doug Hanson Dust filled my nostrils and sweat rolled down my back. But the pay was good. During summers in middle school, I would buck hay bales for two weeks for a local farmer, forgoing my pleasure of afternoons spent staying cool at the city’s public swimming pool. My fingers ached as I grabbed 50-pound bales of hay, lifted them off the stubble-filled ground, and stacked them on a flatbed trailer as a tractor pulled it slowly across the hayfield. Once the hay was stacked securely on the flatbed, we would take it to the barn and stack it again for storage until winter, when it would be used to feed cattle on the farm. Growing the hay and bucking the hay bales was work, but it was necessary for the success of the farm.

34 March / April 2022 | Christian Living

Growing and caring for crops is not a new concept; it is as old as time itself. We read in Genesis 2:9 that God created the Garden of Eden and “made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground – trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.” Then God placed Adam in the Garden “to work it and watch over it” (Genesis 2:15). This is often referred to as the Creation Mandate. “To work it” implies cultivating the soil, tending, and pruning the trees. “To watch over it” implies protecting the trees (perhaps from a crafty snake), so they can produce a good crop. Since the first verse of the Bible tells us that God is a creator, and the 27th verse tells us that we were made in His image, then it stands to reason that we were created to be creative – to be economically productive. We are to develop the resources that God has given us to provide for our current and future needs. Capital (in the form of investors) is often needed to develop resources. For example, to grow and harvest the hay, investors were needed to find and refine the fuel for the tractor, to research and make the rubber and metal used in the tractor, and to engineer and build the tractor. The result was economic productivity: hay to feed the cattle, which produced beef, which fed people. (And provided me a summer job bucking hay bales!) Investing and productivity are central to the economic process. There is a message here for us. As part of God’s creative plan – His plan for us to be economically productive – we should invest. Through our investments, we contribute to the productivity of the economy, both present and future, and provide for ourselves, our families, and society at large. Our investing should not be haphazard. We should seek to invest in companies that improve ways to harness our resources and meet the demands of a growing and changing society, that manage resources so that they can continue to provide for future generations, or that heal what is wrong or broken. To put it another way, since we are created in God’s image, we should ask what God would invest in. What values would influence

His investments? What products would He produce? Which people would He serve? What types of organizations would He invest in? Our investments should display the God we represent. Are you investing? If not, I encourage you to start. We were put on this earth to “work it and watch over it.” Companies need capital to design and produce products, and our investing proDoug Hanson vides that capital. If you do invest, then congratulations! Thank you for progressing the Creation Mandate. But take a closer look at your investments to see what values they represent. We want to make sure that we are investing to improve lives in the future. We have come a long way in growing and harvesting technology since the days of the Garden of Eden. It makes me wonder what it will look like in the future. How will the Creation Mandate be furthered through our investing? Time will tell, but it will be amazing! n Doug Hanson 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 doug@ or (208) 697-3699. 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.

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Christian Living | March / April 2022 35


‘Land of Opportunity’ blessed by God

What makes us unique now? By Steve Nelson Big: Physically, we’re second in terms of The United States of America is a onenatural resources behind Russia and third in of-a-kind extraordinary nation. Why is this? “Blessed is the nation whose God is the food production and population behind China LORD” (Psalms 33:12). No arguments to the and India. We’re third in land size, behind Ruscontrary are reasonable. God is the only explasia and Canada. We‘re bordered by two masnation. Only by understanding and recognizing sive oceans, Pacific and Atlantic, along with two historical facts, plus by looking at the USA from peaceful nations, Canada and Mexico. a physical and spiritual point of view, can we Strong: Economically, Americans are the properly get the right context and an accurate most generous nation by far, giving over $400 perspective of who we are in the world and why. billion annually in philanthropy. This is no How did our amazing country begin? surprise since giving to others is the principle Fact: Politically, the USA declared indepenaction of love as promoted in the Bible. The dence in 1776, then formed a constitution in 1787, then installed George Washington (a dollar is the world’s dominant currency. English Christian) as the first president in 1789. We be- Steve Nelson is the world’s dominant language, similar to the gan with 13 states, then in 1959 added Alaska most popular book in the history of the world, and Hawaii as the 49th and 50th states. Plus we currently have the King James Version of the Bible (written in English). 16 additional “territories.” Christian: There are more Christians in the USA than Myth: The USA has a “Judeo-Christian” heritage. Not true. any other nation, followed by Brazil and Mexico. Read that In reality, the USA has a Christian heritage. Leave out the sentence again. We have the most Christians. Not surpris“Judeo” word as it is not factually correct. Some historians, ing, therefore, is that our nation became the strongest nation based on misinformation, have lumped all people together who and won World War I and II, plus helped in other countless believe portions of the Bible, assuming those who acknowledge only the legitimacy of the Old Testament are part of the same international causes to bring freedom to billions. Most advanreligious grouping as “Christians”. However, our founders tages of technology have been started and/or advanced here were not only believers in the Old Testament, but also in the in the USA, such as: computers, cars, airplanes, light bulbs, New, which absolutely includes Jesus Christ. telephones, cell phones, plastic, microwaves, lasers and the Fact: 56 men signed the Declaration, 39 signed the Constiinternet, to name a few. No “coincidence” played a role in this tution and 6 signed both. Some look back at history and try to frequency of innovation here, but rather God’s hand has obvijustify, through warped interpretations of scattered writings, that some of these signers of the founding documents were not ously been on our nation, as a blessing to the whole world. Changes: For now, we still have the freedom to choose our Christians. Not true! Another misleading modern interpretapersonal religious views, of which a majority (over 50%) of tion declares many signers to be fully “deist,” which is to say Americans still lean toward Christianity. Our nation’s strong they merely believed in a Creator who was no longer involved history and current strength does not suggest that at all times in the creation. In reality, every single one of them was a Christian, proven as they all personally acknowledged their have all decisions or actions been good. Evil is mixed in with religious denominations as such. As examples, these men were every nation on the planet to some degree as there are no permostly Protestants, declaring such beliefs as Anglican, Calvinfectly righteous people on the planet. And God does not favor ist, Congregational, Dutch Reformed, Episcopalian, Lutheran, one person over another, rather God blesses those who believe Methodist, Presbyterian, Quaker, Roman Catholic and Unitar- and act on His Word, no matter which country they live in. ian. All gathered in prayer to Almighty God (the Author of Take notice: Pop culture has tried to eliminate our Christian the Bible, the Creator, Father of Jesus Christ and Father of all heritage from the history books. Even now, it seems the most born again people in the world). dangerous attacks on our nation are internal, attacks on ChrisQuotes: Thomas Jefferson (wrote the Declaration) said, tians, those who practice the Bible. Therefore, what can we do “Christianity is the best friend of government” and “I am about it? First, let’s be thankful for our nation. Second, pray. a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus.” James Madison (drafted the Constitution) said the most Third, let’s continue to do the most effective thing that made noble thing men can declare is of “becoming fervent advocates us great, to speak up just as Jesus instructed us, “ shall be in the cause of Christ” and “the people of the United States witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and having, in this most solemn of all their enactments, professed Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). themselves to be a Christian nation; and having expressed God bless you! n their confidence, that all employed in their service will practice the duties of the Christian faith.” Benjamin Franklin (signed Steve Nelson has been a Bible teacher for over 25 years. This both documents) said, “As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and article comes from “USA: Land of Opportunity” Segment his religion, as he left them to us, is the best the world ever saw, 95 of “CORE,” a course for families on how to read and understand the Bible. See T4FAMILYCENTER.COM or or is likely to see”; and Franklin specifically was the one who called for prayer at the Constitutional Convention. reach Steve at

36 March / April 2022 | Christian Living

RandyB Funk

Christian Rapper Philanthropist, Entrepreneur Nineteen year-old RandyB Funk, is an “up-and-coming” Christian rapper, whose music is featured on over 150 Christian radio stations nationwide. He is a college student at Liberty University, a community organizer, a philanthropist, public speaker and a business owner. RandyB, also has a giant heart for his community, and Loves Jesus. RandyB has opened for, or performed with, some of the most popular names in Christian hip-hop, including KB, Wande, Zauntee, Steven Malcom, 1K-Phew, 1K-Pson, Christafari, R-Swift, PEABOD and more. Other than recording twice with R-Swift, and spending time at Toby Mac’s music camp “Camp Electric” in Nashville, RandyB Funk is completely self taught. He writes, performs and in most cases, produces his own songs. He began writing songs at age 11 and recorded his first album when he was 15 years old, including a song with hip-hop legend, R-Swift. Since then he has released over 16 songs and is finishing his second album which will be released early this year. RandyB just returned from Hawaii, where he released a video of his hit song NEW DAY. In February 2022, he released two new songs SWERVE (feat. Danyelle Speaks & R-Swift) and Life Gets at You (feat. R-Swift) with more on the way! Since age 11, RandyB has also been running service drives for foods banks, pet shelters and rescue missions. He originally started working with the homeless long before that in Maui, Hawaii, where he was raised until he was seven. He’s been awarded the Prudential Award, Meridian Star Award, Presidential award, and served as the Meridian Youth Arts Commissioner for several years. He’s also been named the ‘Artist of the Month for Effect Radio’(CSN) and the ‘Do Good Champion’ by Project 88.7. Still, that’s not why he does it, he truly loves his community and challenges himself each year to help even more. The founder of the SOS Service Drives, RandyB’s drive generated 10,000 items this year for the Boise Rescue Mission, and the Idaho Humane Society!

RandyB Funk also started FIRED UP PROMOTIONS, which he comanages with his Mom. Thousands of dollars have been generated from the ticket sales of multiple concerts, that he created to benefit the Boise Rescue Mission, since 2020. RandyB has also attended Chamber of Commerce meetings since he was 12 years old, and posesses rare maturity and wisdom, for his 19 years of age. He attended college courses for two years, while still in high school, is graduating high school this May, and is already in the Psychology Program at Liberty University. So what’s next for RandyB Funk? The NEW DAY TOUR, which will include some local venue performances (call now church leaders) and a tour that will take him from Florida to the midwest, and finish in California. RandyB Funk’s manager is booking additional performance locations now. RandyB has always offered FREE performances to local churches/youth groups, and does multiple concerts every year at Boise Bible College, and other venues. We asked RandyB where his passion comes from? “God, family and just loving people like Jesus did. I was raised

in a family that believed your life is your ministry. I want my life to make a difference, I want to help people to see themselves like God does, and it just takes a determined effort. You’ve got to wake up grateful and put in the work. I just set goals and take steps to make it happen, God does the rest.” How can people get involved with your ministry and concerts? “I always need volunteers for both my concerts and service drives. Right now I’m also auditioning for talented dancers, who are also believers. We’ve got some exciting concerts planned for this year and I love creating a safe, encouraging space where kids, teens, families and seniors can all enjoy Christian Hip-hop, dancing, and making new friends. We are getting less connected as a society and it’s damaging our youth and young adults. I want to be part of the solution by bringing new friends together, where it’s okay to Love Jesus, encourage others and see yourself as valuable.” Team RandyB Funk can be contacted at: Phone: (208)-914-3793 Email: Find him at and on social media @randybfunkmusic RandyB Funk’s music is available on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Amazon Music, and more.

HISTORY, Culture & Faith

How Christianity carved a new path west

By Dr. Rick Chromey Oregon. Washington. Idaho. Parts of Montana and Wyoming. It’s nearly 300,000 acres of majestic, rugged land known as the Oregon Territory, a portion of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The infamous Oregon Trail snakes through this vast estate, connecting the Great Plains to the Pacific Ocean. Thousands of westward wagons once traveled its corridors and canyons, leaving behind etchings, belongings, and graves. Today it’s interstates and roads that mark the path. But who started the trail? And for what reason? The story originates with five Indians – four Flathead and one Nez Perce – who traveled over 2,000 miles to visit “their great father,” William C. Clark. Clark and Meriwether Lewis had encountered the Nez Perce and Flathead Indians in their exploration of the Missouri and Columbia rivers in 1803-1806. Now these four Indians sought spiritual guidance. They wanted to secure the “book to Heaven” that allowed people to “live forever with the Great Spirit.” And in 1831 they traveled to faraway St. Louis, Mo. to get answers. On the way, one died. The remaining four Indians found Clark at his home. Upon learning of their quest, Clark kindly gave them a tour of town and showed them a cathedral...but offered no answers. When another two Indians died, the remaining pair desperately pled Clark for insight. Don’t send us back “blind...broken and empty,” they begged. A young man overheard the Indians’ request to Clark, wrote their words and eventually published it as “Wise Men from the West” for the Christian Advocate journal (March 1833). The story ignited eastern Christian churches. Somebody needed to go west. A New York physician named Marcus Whitman was inspired...and ready. He hungered for adventures and mission work. Consequently, in 1835, Whitman traveled with another missionary to Montana and Idaho. They purposely visited the Flathead and Nez Perce tribes. From their efforts, some Indians converted to Christianity. The Nez Perce then invited Whitman to live among them and he promised to return. A year later Marcus and his new bride Narcissa – along with another missionary couple – headed west again. This time they

blazed a new trail deep into the Oregon Territory. Narcissa became the first woman to travel west of the Rocky Mountains. For the next decade the Whitmans lived, worked, and churched among the Nez Perce and Cayuse tribes of western Washington. Narcissa was a teacher. She taught the Indians how to read and write. Marcus tended to their health, treating wounds, disease, and aging. Through their Christian service, the Whitmans evangelized numerous Indians. In 1842, Marcus returned east to Washington, D.C. to beg President John Tyler and other politicians to help them settle the Oregon Territory. Christianity was spreading and there was great need for additional Christians to teach, lead, serve and comfort. The idea proved unpopular. Most easterners viewed settling the Oregon Territory as pointless. It was desolate, worthless...and few cared about the Indian. One southern senator chortled he “would not give a pinch of snuff for the whole territory.” But Marcus was not deterred. Eventually President Tyler approved his request and told the buckskin-clad Whitman: “Your long ride and frozen limbs testify to your courage and your patriotism. Your credentials establish your character.” Whitman immediately marshalled a group of “Christian soldiers” – over 200 wagons and a thousand people strong – to head back to Oregon along the path he had charted. The “Oregon Trail” was born. Soon their western route (and news of fertile land) inspired additional wagon trains to form. The Whitmans continued to work among the Indian...and now the emigrant. They eventually opened a school for orphaned children left along the Trail. And they continued to spread Christianity among the Indians. The Nez Perce particularly favored Christianity. Chief Joseph’s father converted, and the famous “chief ” was himself educated in a mission school. Many of the tribes appreciated the Christian settlers who ventured to their land. The relationships were friendly and cooperative. Nevertheless, it didn’t take long for gold-seekers, outlaws, frontiersmen, gamblers, and politicians with greed (not God) on their minds to spark problems. Skirmishes between the Indian and whites increased, and new infectious “white” diseases

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were introduced. Lacking immunity, these nurse the Indians. They came to settle Oregon deadly viruses spread quickly among the Indians. and Washington for God. Marcus Whitman doctored and healed many of Many modern western histories miss the sick Indians but eventually the nearby Cayuse this spiritual element. And too many historitribe grew desperately angry. Their tribe had been ans blame all white men for atrocities against the decimated by measles and they blamed the “mediIndian, but these claims are false. In reality, the West was also settled by Christians who came not cine man” Whitman. On November 29, 1847, for gold, land, or escape...but rather to evangelize, Cayuse warriors massacred Marcus and minister, and educate those in need...particularly Narcissa Whitman along with 12 other settlers. They torched buildings, destroyed property, the Indian. and kidnapped 53 women and children – holding In 1923, President Warren G. Harding summathem hostage for a month. rized this first emigrant expedition: “Never in the Dr. Rick Chromey history of the world has there been a finer example The Whitman mission was gone. But his legacy was not. of civilization following Christianity. The misTwelve years later, a seminary to train ministers was established sionaries led under the banner of the cross, and the settlers moved in his name. Today that college still exists as Whitman close behind under the star-spangled symbol of the nation.” College in Spokane, Wash. In his youth Marcus dreamed Now that’s how the West was really won. n of becoming a clergyman but family and money dissuaded him. Instead, he apprenticed medicine for two years to become a doctor. Dr. Rick Chromey helps people interpret history, navigate culture God used Marcus’s medical skills and Narcissa’s teaching abilities and explore faith. He’s an author, historian, professor, and to serve the Indian. Ultimately, they’d become notable missionaries founder/president of MANNA! Educational Services Internatoo. tional. Rick and his wife Linda live in Star. Rick is available to This is why the Oregon Trail was pioneered. It wasn’t speak and train for your event. Readers are also invited to subcarved by gold seekers, outlaws or easterners seeking new land scribe to the Morning MANNA! inspirational and educational as much as an army of Christians committed to serve, teach and (M-F) email. Visit Sources:

1. Warren G. Harding’s “Address in Meacham, Oregon” on July 3, 1923: 2. How Marcus Whitman Saved Oregon by Oliver W. Nixon, M.D., LL.D. (Chicago: Star Publishing Company, 1895). Available for download at Google books. 3. Marcus Whitman: Pathfinder and Patriot by Rev. Myron Eells, D.D. (Seatte: The Alice Harriman Company, 1909). Available for download at Google books.

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DESTINED for Victory

No room for stinkin’ thinkin’ pity parties

ing for you. I’ve been on my knees for you. By Pastor Paul Sheppard God wants to give you hope.” There is no room for stinkin’ thinkin’ in You don’t want any of that when you’re the kingdom of God. He is the God who planning to hold a pity party. You don’t need takes ugly ashes and turns them into beauty someone trying to make you feel good when and joy. Romans 8:28 does not say God will you’re doing all you can to feel bad! work all things together for good for “some There’s nothing worse than the promises of Christians.” He doesn’t turn everything to God to wreck a perfectly good pity party. good only for the super-spiritual people. This When you open yourself up to self-pity, promise is not based on your spiritual maturity you open yourself up to a world of trouble. or your calling. God does not have favorites. Why? Because if Pity is invited to the party, he No child of His is “inferior” or “unworthy” of invites all his friends. Pity gets a great big pasHis promises. senger van and drives over to Doubt’s house. All things work together for good for all those “Get in,” Pity says. who love Him and are called according to His purpose. “What’s happening?” Doubt asks. Are you a child of God? If so, then you are “We’re having a big party,” says Pity. in. You qualify. The Lord knows you by name. Pastor Paul Sheppard So Doubt jumps in the van, and they head He knows everything about you. Without questions or qualifications, He is working these difficult situa- over to the home of Loneliness. The lights are all off and it looks like nobody’s there, but they ring the doorbell anyway. tions out for your good in the end. Loneliness pokes his head out, and they invite him to the Notice how Paul resisted the temptation to hold a pity party. So it’s three of them in the van now, heading over to party. Have you ever held a pity party? Things are looking so Depression’s house. When they get there, they have to let bad that you begin to nurse that stinkin’ thinkin’. You soak themselves in because, as usual, Depression is still in the bed in that hot tub of self-pity. You call up your friends and say, with the covers pulled up over his head. “Might as well come over, cuz I’m fixin’ to have a party.” “Get up,” say Pity, Doubt and Loneliness. “We’re having a “What kind of party?” big pity party.” “Pity party.” “Well, that sounds like something worth getting up for,” Anybody talking about faith is not welcome at a pity party. says Depression. You don’t want any bright-side-seeing people at a pity party. So all four of them pile into the van and drive to the home No, no! When you get into the wrong frame of mind, you of the twins, Bitterness and Anger. From inside the house want people who can feed your pity. If you see faith folk come shouts and screams and sounds of scrabbling and coming, you say, “Uh uh! They got a scripture for me that I fighting. When the door opens, it’s like releasing a cloud of don’t want to hear.” hornets. When you’re soaking in that self-pity, you don’t need righ“What are you doing over here? What’s the matter with teous folk saying, “The Lord put you on my heart. I woke up this morning and the Spirit of the Lord told me to start pray- you? You have no right coming here without an invitation!”




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WT BOISE 40 March / April 2022 | Christian Living

“Pity is having a party,” they are quick to explain. “We all need you to come.” “Why should we?” yells Anger. “We never got an invitation the last time you had a party,” says Bitterness. Nevertheless, they talk Anger and Bitterness into putting their happy hips in the van. “Don’t forget Fear,” someone calls out. So they go to pick up Fear. The poor creature is so scared it takes all their coaxing to get him into the van. Then they take off, packed with Pity, Doubt, Loneliness, Depression, Anger, Bitterness and Fear. When you invite Pity to a party, he brings all his friends. Make no room for self-pity in your life. It will destroy everything good God is trying to nurse in you. It will only prolong the dark season you need to leave behind. Don’t feed the things that need to starve. Don’t feed your doubts, loneliness, depression, bitterness, anger and fear. Starve self-pity by feeding your faith. Look to God’s Word for encouragement. Look to the wonderful example of Paul. If anyone has a legitimate cause for self-pity, it would be Paul. He should be cursing the people who torment him, when instead, he is looking to bless who-

ever he can. With great joy, he tells the Philippian church, “God is up to something great here, and He wants to do the same in your lives.” Paul shows us how to do exactly the opposite of what you’d expect. When the whole world seems to be turned against you, God says, “Go find somebody else and lift them up.” That is victorious living! God gives us the strength to strengthen others, just when we think we’re at our weakest. He enables us to exercise our faith muscles and encourage others, while God in turn is renewing our strength in the midst of our struggles. Follow Paul’s example and be joyful in all circumstances. Don’t wait until your circumstances change. Do it now. Walk by faith. Expect God to show up, and He will. n This is an excerpt from the series “Keeping THE Main Thing the Main Thing” by Pastor Paul Sheppard. You can hear Pastor Paul’s radio show, “Destined For Victory,” weekday mornings at 9 a.m. MST on 94.1 FM or online at For more information, consult Image by Ulrike Mai from Pixabay

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Christian Living | March / April 2022 41


Why are fermented foods so beneficial?

Sauerkraut. You might say, “Ugh, sauerBy Rosie Main kraut! I hated it as a kid.” But there are now What is fermented food? Fermented foods many different flavors of sauerkraut. There’s a have been around for thousands of years. They pickled flavor that I eat. I get a high dose of ferhave been a way to keep food fresh, especially mented food with a flavor that I like. I can have before the invention of refrigeration. Fermentit with almost any meal. A 16-ounce package of ed foods are put through a fermentation process sauerkraut is equivalent to the number of proin which natural bacteria create lactic acid by biotics in eight bottles of supplements. One bag feeding on sugar and starch. Outside of preof fermented sauerkraut for $4 is equivalent to serving the food, the process creates beneficial 8 bottles of probiotics that might cost upwards enzymes, B vitamins, fatty acids, and various of $60-$70 each. strains of probiotics, all of which have many I highly encourage myself, my family, and you health benefits. to eat this fermented food. Sauerkraut is the Why fermented food? Your body needs easy ticket; two ounces a day is all you need. good bacteria inside of it in order to get balWe’re only talking about a spoonful or two. anced with nature. Oftentimes we were taught You’ll get super high doses – into the trillions of that we shouldn’t have bacteria in our bodies, Rosie Main probiotics on a daily basis – just by getting kraut that we should hand sanitize, clean everything in. off and completely sanitize and kill all the bacteria. The reality Pickles. Pickles are much lower in probiotic content. Read is, that couldn’t be further from the truth. If you eliminate all bacteria, your body is in trouble. We need it in order to symbi- the label. If you get the kind that is not too processed (miniotically live with the environment around us. We actually need mum ingredients), they can be a great source of fermented food. My kids love pickles. And if a pickle gets probiotics in to be exposed to MORE in order to challenge the system and them, I’m all for it. build it up. Kombucha. Kombucha, which has really gotten popular within the last five years, is another good source of probiotics. What are the benefits of fermented foods? It is a form of a fermented tea that is really tasty and comes 1. They are chock-full of probiotics. Probiotics are in different flavors. It’s very friendly for the gut because of its your friends. The body contains more foreign bacteria than probiotic content. cells. Right now, you have trillions of bacteria inside of you Some people actually make their own kombucha. You’ve got called probiotics. You need to have good bacteria in order to be very careful of sugar content, to keep balance with the bad bacteria that comes in. meaning no added, unneeded These probiotic friends are lining your digestive sugars. Some of the most system and make up 80% of your immune system. If popular brands of you do not have enough of them, or they get bogged down kombucha are adding in from antibiotics, caffeine, sugar, or poor diet, you supjuice concentrates, and press and kill the probiotics. Once your good bacteria this completely defeats is gone, your body can’t fight in order to build health. the purpose, so stay Your immune system becomes compromised and can’t away from those. Read fight off sickness and, lastly, your food can’t be digestthe ingredient label. ed the way it’s supposed to be. There you have it – a 2. Your digestive system loves them! Probilittle understanding of otics help break down food and move it through why you need a lot the system. Once this happens, you’ll be going to more fermented food the bathroom with ease. Your food will be broken in your diet to maxidown and absorbed at a much higher level. mize the foods that you’ve been given. Experience real How much fermented food and prohealth. n biotics are needed? Ideally, an adult needs 20 billion CFU’s – colonies If you have of bacteria going into our bodies daily. questions or need How can you get more fermented food? For more information, a long time, I was a big supporter of people taking text Rosie Main at probiotic supplements. I still carry some of these (208) 859-6170 supplements online. However, I’m a huge proponent or email her at of eating fermented food. You do not need to be buyrjmaindc@ ing probiotics if you eat the right high-quality foods. What do I mean by that? Here are some examples of what you can be eating to get the right probiotics in Image by Benjamin Balazs through fermented foods: from Pixabay

42 March / April 2022 | Christian Living

THE benefit of rules

Playing a confusing game called Mao

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By Scott Riggan At a party a few years ago, I got roped into playing a bizarre card game called “Mao”. There are a lot of rules to this game, but the first rule is that, if you’ve never played before, no one can tell you the rules. You observe the game being played, and when it’s your turn, you try to guess how you should play your cards. If you guess right, that’s great. If not, you get penalized. Eventually you figure out, for example, that anytime a spade is played you have to say aloud “Queen of Spades” or “Five of Spades”, or that when an ace is played the next player is skipped. And anytime you mess up, the dealer penalizes you by giving you a card and telling you something like “you failed to clap three times after playing a red card…” This is how you learn Scott Riggan what the rules are. I’m not making this up, I promise. It’s a game with crazy rules that you have to figure out and then remember – and with each hand there are new unspoken rules that you have to also somehow guess. Sound fun to you? Imagine what it would be like if life were “played” like a game of Mao. You’d know there’s a set of rules, but you’d have to try to figure them out as you go. Sometimes your guesses would be correct, sometimes not. Either way you’d have to face the consequences – because, after all, ignorance of the law is no excuse. A game like Mao reinforces, in my mind, how we benefit from If you have found this or another article clear rules. When we have boundaries, we don’t have to wonder or guess – we know how the game is played. If I know, for valuable, please consider helping us example, that it’s against the law to walk out of the convenience bring stories like this to our community store without paying for the Snickers in my pocket, I don’t have a dilemma – I know stealing is wrong. by supporting Christian Living In Romans chapter 7, the Apostle Paul declares that, through Magazine, a 501(c)3 ministry, at Christ, “We have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.” Does this mean the law has no value to us? Paul continues: “I FREE Bibles • Pray y for U.S. Armed Forces would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, ‘Do not covet’.” (Romans 7:7) So there’s no denying that “law” has value. It defines what “Our Guns Are More Fun” pleases and displeases God. But in Christ, I am under grace, not law; my standing with God doesn’t hinge on my ability to stay He’s Not within the lines. Here… So I think what it comes down to is this: • Under the law, we were required to meticulously obey the rules, and offer sacrifices to “pay” for inevitable failures. • Under “the new way of the Spirit” our desire is to please God and, as a result, we want our lives to delight Him. I won’t steal that Snickers. Not because the law restricts me, but He Is because stealing and coveting displease God. I choose to obey out of love and gratitude, not out of fear of the consequence of Hallelujah! lawbreaking. Visit our friendly, helpful, experienced sales team. What a relief that following God isn’t like playing Mao – it’s not We can find the right fit for you! a guessing game, and what pleases Him is clearly revealed. n • (208) 465-3577 FREE Bibles • Pray for U.S. Armed Forces

Christian Living | March / April 2022 43

GOD Dots

God is still in the dot-connecting business

The congregation of a new church in Rongo City, Kenya prays over the wooden structure that will become their temporary church building. They are praising and thanking God for it. (Courtesy photo)

By Jim Day God connected the church I pastor in Hazelton to a pastor in Africa. Wycliffe Ouma Orangore has been called by God to plant a church in Rongo City, Kenya, and the church has grown and is thriving. Last summer, the landlord told Wycliffe and his church members that they needed to be off his property by October in order for him to develop it. The church could not afford to move or to buy another property. The Lord told Wycliffe to reach out to an evangelical church in the USA for help. Most people in Africa think that all Americans are rich. I would like you to ask yourself a Jim Day few questions. 1. When you woke up this morning, did you get out of a bed? 2. Were you able to go to the bathroom without leaving your house? 3. Did you have clean water to wash your face and brush your teeth? 4. Did you eat something for breakfast? 5. Did you then go to work or to school? If you answered yes to these questions, then you are wealthier than 90% of the world’s population. Hard to imagine, isn’t it? Rongo City is a poor community. Muslims are building mosques all over Africa, but the Christian church is lacking. Our church in Hazelton is Evangelical Valley Presbyterian Church. So, when Wycliffe searched online for an evangelical

church, he found us. My cell phone number is on our website and Facebook page so he called me. I in turn saw a call coming in with some extra digits in the number and was going to ignore it, but then I answered. Wycliffe told me his story, his testimony, and I agreed to pray for his church. I asked our elders to pray, and they came back a week later and wanted to help this little church in Africa. Wycliffe and I are brothers in Christ, and we have also become friends. But even more than that, we are partners in an adventure with Jesus. Our little church has managed to send Bibles and money to their little church. Only because the Lord has blessed us with everything have we been able to do that. Wycliffe and his church family have purchased a piece of property and have dug the latrine and fenced the land and built a temporary structure to worship God and help the community see that God is good. Their landlord allowed them to stay where they were until they could make other arrangements because he didn’t want Wycliffe’s God to be angry with him. On Sunday, February 6, the congregation held its first service in the temporary church that they built. Look at what God has done! Thank you for all of your prayers for this little church. May God continue to richly bless you. n

G O D d o t s

44 March / April 2022 | Christian Living

Jim Day is the pastor of Evangelical Valley Presbyterian Church (EPC) in Hazelton, Idaho. He may be reached at or (208) 409-0063.


Prayer can be a very effective tool

where you are located. The important thing is By Stanley Popovich that you are using the power of prayer to help Prayer can be very powerful in managing overcome your mental health issues. your fears, anxieties, and other mental health 6. God’s ways are mysterious: When you issues. There are countless numbers of people pray to God, it is important to be open-minded. who have experienced the power of prayer in God works in mysterious ways and you do not their lives. Here are nine ways prayer can be know how your prayers will be answered. The effective in managing your anxieties, fears, and next time you feel anxious or fearful, say a stresses. simple prayer to God. God is listening and He 1. You are tapping into the power of will help you. God when you pray: God is stronger than 7. Prayer can reduce your stress: People your fears and anxieties and prayer is the conwho pray are able to reduce their stresses and nection to the power of God. A simple prayer anxieties. Not only do high stress levels damage can do wonders in managing your mental mental health, but they can also have a signifihealth issues. cant negative impact on physical health. Reduc2. Prayer is a great way to manage ing levels of stress can go a long way toward your fears and anxieties: When you pray, Stanley Popovich improving both physical and mental health. you are asking God to help you manage your 8. Talk to a church leader: If you have fears. God is the most powerful being in the universe, trouble praying, talk to a member of the clergy to help and He is willing to help you if you ask. deal with your situation. They may be able to provide 3. Prayer works: There are many inspirayou with additional advice and insights on how to deal tional magazines and books on how people were with your current problem. By talking to a trusted helped through the power of prayer. Read some church leader, you will have a better understandarticles to get an idea on how effective prayer ing on how to get the most from praying and can be in your life. Never doubt the power how to get God to help you with your mental of God when it comes to dealing with life’s health issues. challenges. 9. Continue to pray and talk to God: 4. Prayer gives you hope: Prayer Talk to God as if you were talking to a friend. helps you believe that there is hope in Be persistent and be open in the avenues getting through life’s difficult situations. that God may provide to you in solvPraying helps you believe that God will ing your problems. It is not always easy; help shoulder your burdens instead of however, God is in control and He will be you dealing with your stresses and anxithere for you. n eties all by yourself. 5. You can pray anywhere you Image by Check out more from Stanley Popovich on want: You can pray at church or pray Momentmal his website at when you are at home. It doesn’t matter from Pixabay


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Christian Living | March / April 2022 45


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Nampa Prayer Walk to mark its second year The second annual Nampa Prayer Walk is scheduled for Saturday, April 2, according to walk organizer Mary Tschannen. “We will gather at 3 p.m. at the Nampa Train Depot, where the Christmas tree is set up every year. We will start the prayer walk there and make our way to the downtown area, praying at different sites such as the fire station, Roller Dome, Nampa Public Library, irrigation offices, and mayor and city council offices. We will certainly pray for the businesses in our town, as well as any other concerns facing our community.” The prayer walk will end back at the train depot. This is a family event and is for both young and old, adults and children. Everyone is welcome. For more information, contact Tschannen at (208) 466-2242. n

Caldwell Prayer Walk set for April 23

The annual Caldwell Prayer Walk is set for Saturday, April 23. The walk will start at 3 p.m. at the Caldwell Memorial Park Band Shell. MERIDIAN “We walk around downtown Caldwell and stop at various locations and pray,” said walk organizer Arlene Robinett. The list of things the walkers pray for includes: police, paramedics, firemen, health care workers; the town's new mayor and city council members; public schools, the college, students and faculty, administrative staff, and bus drivers; the homeless and food insecure families; human trafficking victims; and the elimination of gangs, illegal drugs, and vio600 N. Ten Mile Rd. lence. Meridian, ID Sunday Morning “All are invited to come and to pray,” Robinett said. “We have a wonAdult Only Service Join us on Sundays: derful time of being together and praying for our wonderful city.” 9:30 AM • On Campus A potluck dinner will be held following the walk, and those who attend Thursday Bible Study 7PM • 8:00 am, 9:30 am and are invited to bring their favorite dish. 11:00 am (Masks optional) All Bikes & Hot Rods Welcome For more information, contact Robinett at (208) 391-8516. n • On YouTube - 11:00 am

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