Christian Living Magazine May June 2023

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FREE May/June 2023 HONI Deaton Music and Love INC U.S. revivals American history PASTOR T.J. Hankey Refreshing faith
& LEAP Helping people find homes
Bart Cochran is founder and CEO of LEAP Housing
Bart Cochran
Dr. Erwin Lutzer Running to Win Airs Weekdays on 94.1 The Voice 4:15AM; 8:15AM & 1:30PM Dr. Er win Lut zer at Cloverdale Church of God 3755 S. Cloverdale Rd., Boise Thursday, June 15 at 7pm Come he ar Radio Host, Author, Pastor

Contents May / June 2023

Volume 12, Number 3

Publisher Sandy Jones 208-703-7860

Editor Gaye Bunderson

Submit story ideas, article submissions & press releases

General Info 208-703-7860

Cover Photo Nathan Zanders

Graphic Design Denice King 208-918-5190


Steve Bertel, Daniel Bobinski, David Davolt, Roxanne Drury, Joan Endicott, Leo Hellyer, Gary Moore, Steve Nelson,

Christian Living is committed to encouraging and instructing individuals in their daily lives by presenting stories of people in the Treasure Valley who are living on a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ and who serve as uplifting examples to others. Views expressed in Christian Living do not necessarily represent those of the publisher. Every effort has been made by Christian Living to insure accuracy of the publication contents. However, we do not guarantee the accuracy of all information nor the absence of errors and omissions; hence, no responsibility can be or is assumed. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2023 by Christian Living Ministries Inc.

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“The head that once was crowned with thorns is crowned with glory now; a royal diadem adorns the mighty Victor’s brow.”
Real Man’s Toolbox: Who’s watching you? 20 Symbolism & Salvation: Lamb of God, Good Shepherd 5 Wednesday’s Child: Meet Conner and Elijah 30 Understanding Relationships: Four fowls 26 COLUMNS DEPARTMENTS Publisher’s Corner: His power, my weakness 4 “I Get To!”®: Peace with the past 28 FEATURES 16 Honi Deaton: Music and Love INC 6 About God: Three questions 10 U.S. history: The revivals 14 BRIEFS: Churches merge: The kingdom grows 22 Mental health month: Where Idaho ranks 24 Mary Jane Fejeran: At last, a place to live 18 Refresh Church: Reviving faith 8 Time to plant: Water and pray 12 Bible Blanks 21 Cover Story LEAP Housing: Welcoming others home Prayer breakfasts slated 15 for early May Group sets ‘All About Jesus’ 31 prayer event God and Country Festival 31 set for June Love INC Boise plans 31 golf tournament
— Thomas Kelly, hymn writer

His amazing power and my weaknesses

After a long, cold and wet winter it appears that spring has finally arrived. The Monday after Easter actually hit 80 degrees. As someone who detests being cold, I was in heaven, even if it was a windy day. And immediately we’re back in the 50’s for our highs. It’s like the weather can’t decide what season it is from day to day.

Sometimes our walk with the Lord can feel just like this. On fire to serve Him one day, and barely time to even pray the next.

As a leader I frequently remind my team how much I appreciate each and every one of them. Not because that’s what good leaders are supposed to do, but because I genuinely appreciate them. Our team is extremely small, and I wear many, many hats – so anything that I can delegate without concern is a blessing.

Recently I stopped to examine my prayer life. I tell the people in my life how much I appreciate them, but do I tell God how much I appreciate Him? Or am I reverting back to old habits, reducing Him to a mere order taker? ‘Hey God, it’s me again, could you please give me this, or do that for me?’


Yes, He wants to bless His children, but I feel that when I reduce Him to mere order taker, I’m not standing on Who He really is. Whether it’s that I’m too busy, or simply allowing life’s situations to distract me, I’m not focusing on GOD.

Am I reflecting on the fact that He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End? Remembering that He spoke the world into being? He is merciful, loving and kind. He is also a jealous God. He is the Lord of Peace; Lord God Almighty; The Most High God; my Provider; my Comforter; my Strength and my Shield. Without Him I am mere flesh and bone, without purpose or destination.

Again I have to ask myself – Am I glorifying Him?

You are reading our 59th edition of Christian Living Magazine. Longtime readers may recall that I started the magazine for another publisher; subsequently bought it from him; and in 2018 we became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit ministry. This was the perfect solution since a 501(c)(3) nonprofit is its own entity, meaning no one owns it – we acknowledge it’s fully God’s. This magazine, our website, our social media, our radio show, and podcast are all His. It is with pure joy that my team and I get to serve Him in this way.

Please know I’m fully human. I slip up. I make mistakes. I get discouraged, and overwhelmed. I’m living proof that God is still calling the least of these.

On days when this crazy, upside down world gets to me, I remember that God knew these days were coming before the beginning of time, I recall that He chose this time for me to be here, that He’ll equip and carry me through it all.

I’m comforted by the fact that since He is, was, and is to come, He’s also already on the other side of all of this madness. When I focus these facts, I’m able to relax and fully enjoy the life He’s blessed me with.

I follow Toby Mac on social media, and loved a recent meme that said: Don’t let go of your faith because of what you have yet to see. Remember, He is still writing your story. TobyMac#SpeakLife

It’s true. May I be so bold as to ask – what is God writing in your story today?

Thank you for reading us! Whether you’ve been along on this ride a good long time, or if this is your very first issue – thank you! Thank you for those who have taken the time to send an email or drop a note of encouragement. We cherish every one of them. For those who have been able to support us through advertising, or donations – Thank You – we can’t do this without you! Like everyone else inflation has hit this ministry hard, but God always makes a way. We will continue to do our part, and know that He’s got this!

Speaking of our advertisers, it’s true, there would be no Christian Living Magazine without them. So would you do me a big favor? Please shop them. Support them. And thank them for continuing to support Christian Living Magazine and the various ministries under the Christian Living Ministries Inc. umbrella. Until next time –God Bless! n

On a side note – did you notice I mentioned our podcast? It’s true. Christian Living Spotlight still airs on 94.1FM The Voice at noon every Saturday, but it is now also available on major podcast platforms. Whether you listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Podcast Index, Amazon Music or many other platforms, we hope you’ll subscribe to Christian Living Spotlight today so you don’t miss a single episode!

4 May / June 2023 | Christian Living
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 Subscribe & Listen on your favorite streaming service! ? Radio Show or PodcastYou Choose! PUBLISHER’S Corner
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
Corinthians 12:9 NI

The Lamb of God, the Good Shepherd

Throughout the New Testament, Jesus and the gospel writers used various metaphors to help us understand the nature of Jesus and His mission on Earth. Two popular metaphors refer to Jesus as the Lamb of God and the Good Shepherd. Let’s consider both of these analogies.

The Lamb of God

The Lamb of God is a phrase used to describe Jesus’ role as the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of humanity. One of the greatest symbolic precursors of Christ is found in the book of Exodus, where the Israelites were instructed to sacrifice a lamb and smear its blood on their doorposts to protect themselves from the Angel of Death. Specifically, in Exodus 12:13 we read, “The blood will be a sign for you where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.”

The blood being smeared on the doorposts happens to be symbolic all by itself. Scripture says when God saw the blood of the lamb on the door then the angel of death would pass over the house and death would not come to that home. The same concept applies to the door of our hearts. When, by faith, you and I receive the blood of Jesus on the door of our hearts, then God will pass over at the point of our physical death and not send us to the second death.

• Revelation 2:11b: “The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.”

• Revelation 20:6a: “Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them …”

• Revelation 20:14: “Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.”

The blood shed by Jesus on the cross is the blood we are to receive – by faith – on the doorposts of our hearts.

Throughout the Old Testament, God directed that lambs be used as sacrifices to atone for the sins of a family and even the sins of the nation. Several of the key attributes necessary for a lamb to be considered worthy as a sacrificial animal were:

• A male free from defects or blemishes

• No broken bones

• Freely given in an act of obedience

Jesus’ role as the Lamb of God is first mentioned in John 1:29, where John the Baptist sees Jesus and proclaims, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Other New Testament books that refer to Jesus as a Lamb are 1 Corinthians, Hebrews, and Revelation.

And Jesus qualified as a sacrificial lamb. In 1 Peter 1:19 we’re told that Jesus was “without blemish or defect.”

He also never had any broken bones, even when on the cross. Roman soldiers would break the legs of people hanging on crosses to hasten their death by causing suffocation, as a person could no longer push himself up to catch his breath. The soldiers did not break Jesus’ legs because they saw He was already dead.

Continued on page 7

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HONI Deaton Musical skills mix with Love INC service

Honi Deaton is so attuned to all things Christian that when she moved to Boise at the age of 15, it took her a while to feel grounded again. It wasn’t that the local community lacked faith. It was just a matter of finding her own place in it.

From church to school, Deaton had been immersed in walking with the Lord her entire young life. “I was always around church things: attended church, went to a Christian school. I came up here and I thought, ‘What do I do now’?” she said.

Her Texas grandfather was a minister, and her parents lived out their beliefs. In particular, her mother modeled the best of what it means to follow Jesus. “My mom is a woman of faith. She trusts God and pursues His will with prayer, excitement and joy,” Deaton said.

Deaton, now in her 40s, long-ago acclimated to her new Idaho home and is giving back to the Gem State in both spiritual and musical ways. But initially, it was faith that carried her and her mother through after they set foot on Idaho soil following a move from Irving, Texas. Deaton and her mom came here with no money and no job. Her mother ultimately got a job at Nampa Christian High School, and her daughter attended school there after Idaho public school attendance.

Once again, it was her mother’s sense of joy that kept them buoyant in the beginning. “Even through hard and difficult times, she had faith that God was going to help us,” Deaton explained – and He did.

Now, a close look at Deaton’s life in 2023 indicates she’s learned a lot from her mom. Using her musical skills, she’s worked on the worship teams at Eagle Christian Church and Surprise Valley Church in Boise. She comes from a musical family and traveled in her youth with her mother and an aunt in a group they called Soul and Country.

Does she personally practice joy as her mother does? The answer is yes – with a bit of an explanation about how all it’s all tied up in Jesus.

“Joy doesn’t mean you’re not real,” Deaton said. “It means you keep your eyes on Him and hope in Him, and you share His love with others.”

Deaton married a Georgia man she met while attending a bluegrass festival as an adult. Bluegrass is a type of American music that was first introduced in the 1940s by people from the Appalachian region of the U.S. Deaton is proficient on the keyboard piano and the upright bass. She sings alto but is modest when asked if she’s a good singer, stating only that, “I like to sing and make people smile.”

She and her husband, Jeff, don’t just play to entertain – though they have done that, and still continue to do it. For Deaton especially, the art of worship music sits high up on the scale of music she enjoys. “I love worship music, and when I’m leading worship songs, God takes over; I let Him speak to me. I’m grateful for whatever He has given me.”

At one point in their married life, the Deatons spent 7½ years in Georgia, performing music here and there. But when the Great Recession hit in 2007, they headed to Texas, where her brother is a church pastor. The couple supported him in his ministry any way they could. “Jeff was the tech guy and the worship pastor,” Deaton said, referring to this time as “a training ground from God.”

“Bluegrass has a lot of gospel music in it,” she said. She started writing gospel songs, and her music was upbeat as the economy went downward. She learned valuable lessons from her sibling as well.

“My brother is a man after God’s own heart, just like they said about David in the Bible. He’s a good man, and he shared his love for the Lord with me. He taught me how to lead a congregation in worship.”

Something new in her life is service with Love INC Boise, where she works as the Director of Relations, a position she accepted in February of this year. She started on the board of Love INC two years ago after getting to know Pastor Rod Enos of Southside Christian Center, a church she and Jeff attended after returning to Boise in 2015. Pastor Enos served as chairman of the board at Love INC. Deaton was immediately on board with everything Love INC did. “I’d pray for every event they had,” she said.

She got to know Kimbra Shaw, former Executive Director of the organization, and said Kimbra wanted her to MC some of the Love INC events; she accepted the invite. “I’d do it on the fly – I’d just make friends with the audience,” she stated, explaining she might see a woman in the

front row and tell her something like, “That’s a nice blouse you’re wearing.” The audiences befriended Deaton in return.

The primary goal of Love INC is to “Help churches help people.”

The current Executive Director is Paul Simmons. Deaton was largely chosen for the Director of Relations position for her amicability. “They wanted someone who could make friends,” she said. “The Lord prepared me. I know pastors and am getting to know more.”

Deaton encourages churches to partner with Love INC to do good for the community. “The Lord is working mightily to create more unity,” she said. “I’m building relationships and mobilizing the churches. I’m helping them be the hands and feet of Christ.”

For instance, she’s involved with the Abundant Living program of Love INC, serving young single women who might be pregnant, as well as others in need of assistance. “We help with every basic-living thing,” Deaton said. That includes classes to mentoring; child care to the Donation Station, where they can pick up needed items; and GAP (God Always Provides), a ministry that provides resources and services to meet needs that are not being met by agencies or partner churches.

The program also works with husbands and wives and provides family support.

The services are open to all, and earlier this year Deaton worked with a Hindu woman, not discouraging her from her own religion but nonetheless being open about hers. “We share Jesus. We’re not judgmental, and we don’t shove it down people’s throats.

“We’re connecting. The churches partner with us and help to support and integrate people into the church. We’re seed-planting. We do what the Lord asks us; and after that, it’s the Lord’s work.”

How does this all tie in with her musical skills? Along with her band Honi Deaton and DreamGrass, she also put together a second band for a Love INC benefit event, calling that band Honi Deaton and the Cowboys. She’s still a musician at heart, wherever God plants her.

Deaton lost her dad early in 2023 and said, “It changed my life in so many ways. You feel like you’re going in one direction and then the Lord says, ‘Trust Me’.”

Deaton is the mother of three boys: Chase, Beau, and Finn. Along with all her other work, she also gives music lessons and homeschools her sons. Jeff is technical director at Eagle Christian Church.

About her work with Love INC, she said, “You sure have to like people.” And she clearly does. “God loves people, and I am so excited to be part of an organization that is devoted to sharing His love.”

Not bad for someone whose first thought in Idaho was, “What do I do now?” n

To check out Deaton’s singing and piano skills, and hear Jeff Deaton play mandolin, listen to Christian Living Spotlight at or at For more information, go to For Love INC, go to

6 May / June 2023 | Christian Living
Honi Deaton and her husband Jeff have traveled together as musicians. Jeff currently serves as technical director at Eagle Christian Church, while Honi serves at Love INC Boise. (Courtesy photo)

Good Shepherd

Continued from page 5

By the way, this fulfills the prophecy of the messiah from Psalm 34:20 (which is quoted in John 19:36): “He protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.”

Also, Jesus freely gave Himself to be sacrificed in an act of obedience. In Matthew 26:39, we read, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

This metaphor of Jesus being the Lamb of God is powerful because it helps us understand that Jesus’ death on the cross was not just a tragic, random event, but rather a sacrifice planned by God that atones for our sins.

The Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd is a metaphor used by Jesus in John 10 to describe His willingness to lay down His life for the good of His flock, as well as the intimacy and trust that exists between Jesus and those that follow Him.

1. John 10:11: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

2. John 10:14: “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.”

3. John 10:27: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

The analogy of a shepherd and his sheep is also deeply rooted in the Old Testament, as God is often described as a shepherd who cares for His people. For example:

1. In Psalm 23, David writes, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.”

2. In Psalm 80:1, we see, “Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock.”

3. In Isaiah 40:11, we read, “He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.”

This imagery of God as a shepherd who provides for His people is similar to the way Jesus describes Himself as the Good Shepherd. It illustrates His willingness to sacrifice Himself for the sake of humanity as well as His deep personal relationship with each person. It also emphasizes the importance of us who are following Jesus to trust in His guidance.

Bottom line, the analogies of the Lamb of God and the Good Shepherd are two of the most powerful and meaningful metaphors in the New Testament. They help us understand the nature of Jesus and His mission on Earth. They also show us that Jesus is not just a historical figure, but someone who loved us enough to die for us and redeem us, as well as someone to guide us on our path through life.

At question – have you received by faith the blood of His sacrifice, and have you made Him your shepherd? n

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

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T.J. Hankey

Local church helps ‘Refresh’ faith

In each of the early churches he established, the apostle Paul prayerfully and faithfully trekked miles on end into a land he knew very little about – much the same as a local pastor and his wife have done in establishing one of the Treasure Valley’s newest churches.

Growing up in Sarasota, Florida, in a “fairly chaotic” household, as he put it, T.J. Hankey and his family believed in God, but attended church on an irregular basis – usually on Easter, Christmas, and an occasional Sunday. But when he developed a personal relationship with the Lord in his early teen years, things changed. And the church, in his words, “became a very stable part of my life.”

Turning down a lucrative athletic college scholarship, Hankey was called to the ministry shortly after graduating from high school and attended a local church program known as the Master’s Commission, what he describes as “a hands-on internship, learning practical applications from a pastor. That training became the basis for my ministry today.”

That’s also where he met Leah, a young woman from Canada whose father was a local pastor. They were married in 2004.

Several years later, the two set out on what they call an “incredible adventure” of planting a new life-giving church on the west side of Sarasota.

“It was significant because Sarasota is a coastal community. At that time, property values on the west side kept going up and up and up, so churches would sell their historic buildings and move east –where there was more affordable property on which to create church campuses,” Hankey explains. “A church could sell its old building and use the money to build an entirely new facility. So churches ended up leapfrogging further and further east.” That meant there were fewer and fewer churches on the city’s west side. “The churches that remained were pretty traditional in nature, so we wanted to create a little bit more of a contemporary church.”

But planting the church came with its share of challenges, including one big one. “The greatest challenge I faced was not so much with buildings and people and finances, but in questioning my own abilities,” says Hankey. He knew God had called him to lead the church, but he was plagued with thoughts of “I don’t know if I can do this. I don’t know if I have what it takes. So that grind, that mental fortitude of staying faithful was the biggest challenge of all.” But he overcame the challenge by forming relationships with people who soon helped the church grow and prosper. “Those relationships are what fortified my soul and helped me understand what I was doing. I now had people – friends – who could do it with me, who helped me along the way.”

The first day of being a new pastor at a new church “was sort of a blur,” he recalls; 210 people attended the very first service on January 29, 2012. “And it wasn’t until several hours later, as I was writing thank-you letters to all the people who had attended, when it hit me – like a ton of bricks. I came to the realization of ‘Wow. We have just started a church!’ That was incredible!”

The Shore Church grew steadily – as Hankey says, “one person, one family at a time” – and, over the course of some eight years, saw more than 1,000 people dedicate their lives to the Lord.

But even though the church was flourishing and Hankey was comfortable in his lead pastor role, the Lord had different plans. “As I was praying for vision, to figure out what was next and what other opportunities would present themselves to further the church and our ministry, Idaho’s Treasure Valley kept popping up in my heart – to the point where it became somewhat of a distraction, sort of an itch you can’t scratch,” Hankey says.

So he discussed the situation with a friend. “I don’t know what’s next for me. This Idaho thing keeps popping up,” Hankey told him.

“Do you think it’s ‘mission accomplished’ here?” the friend asked.

Hankey replied, “Absolutely not. I think I could be here forever.”

But the Lord was giving him a new vision, a new calling. “It was at that moment I realized the Lord was answering what I had been

praying for, only I hadn’t been listening properly. My friend helped me realize that ‘the Idaho thing’ wasn’t a distraction at all. The Lord had been speaking right. But I hadn’t been listening right. The Lord had put a clear vision in my heart to see every person refreshed and their every purpose discovered – not in Florida any longer, but in Idaho.”

So, in the summer of 2017, the Hankey family took an exploratory SUV road trip to the Gem State. They knew very little about Idaho, and even less about the Treasure Valley. But in driving around “we immediately saw the Boise area was a great place – with lots of things to do, lots of places to explore,” he points out. “And it was so unlike Florida. Florida has beaches; Idaho has mountains. Florida has salt water; Idaho has fresh water.”

During that trip, the Lord gave the young pastor an additional prompt. “I had dropped my wife and kids off at the mall and took our SUV in for an oil change, because we had traveled clear across the country,” Hankey remembers. Waiting in the lobby of the oil change shop, he struck up a conversation with a man seated next to him. Learning Hankey was from Florida, the man asked, “What are you doing way out here?”

Hankey answered, “Well, I pastor a church in Sarasota. And I’m out here on vacation.” The man told him he and his girlfriend were heading up to McCall for the weekend. “I could tell there was something in his soul he was missing,” Hankey says. “Then, a lady sitting across the lobby from us said, ‘I’m sorry to interrupt, but I heard you’re a pastor. My church doesn’t have a pastor. So we’re looking for a church. Do you know of any good churches in the area?’ I told her, ‘I’m sorry, but I’ve only been here about 12 hours. I don’t know anybody or anything about this Valley.’ Then one of the employees behind the counter said he had just moved here from Salt Lake and was looking for a church, too. Honestly, I did not recognize the significance of that moment until we got back home to Florida and I thought, Huh. I wonder what God was trying to tell me? It was then I realized He had given me a ‘slice’ of the people I would be ministering to. Here were three different people with three different stories: a non-believer who didn’t know Jesus, a disconnected believer, and a believer who had just moved to the area. So that was a special moment for me.”

And that moment, that discovery, convinced Hankey to hand over The Shore Church’s reins to another pastor, and to move him and his family clear across the country to start a new church in Idaho. Totally on faith.

As efforts to plant the Scripture-based church were set in motion, Hankey made it a personal goal to meet with as many local pastors as possible, usually over lunch or coffee shop chats. “I really wanted to become part of the fabric of the spiritual community here, and get a feel of the Valley’s spiritual history and spiritual climate. Plus, it goes back to the days [in Sarasota] when I realized I’m not good when I’m working alone. So I wanted that networking, that communication with other pastors,” he explains. That effort paid off, with many pastors not only sharing valuable advice with Hankey, but also promising to financially support the new church.

It wasn’t long before the pastor struck a deal with the West Ada School District to hold the church’s Sunday morning nondenominational services in Owyhee High School’s state-of-the-art auditorium. The school is located 3650 N. Owyhee Storm Ave. in northwest Meridian, in one of the most rapidly-growing areas of the state.

He chose the name Refresh Church, following Proverbs 11:25 which says “… those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” The heart behind Refresh is simple, according to its website: “We desire to see people refreshed by the life-changing presence of God and to see them refresh others.”

Refresh Church opened its doors in September, 2021 … right during the COVID pandemic. “Logistically, yes, it posed some problems for us,” Hankey admits. “People were reluctant to go into large crowds. Plus, there were concerns of whether our congregants

8 May / June 2023 | Christian Living

would be required to wear protective face masks, be vaccinated, or even sit apart from each other. But nothing was going to stop us. And with God’s help, we got through it.”

More than 350 people attended the first service. Average Sunday morning attendance now hovers around 300 or more, what Hankey describes as a diverse congregation of various age and socioeconomic groups. “It’s the only place I know where there are people 20 years older than me and 20 years younger than me.”

Without an actual building, Hankey and his staff work from their homes. “We hold staff meetings in my house throughout the week; we have various opportunities for congregants to gather in small groups. Our youth groups also meet in homes. So we are very much a ‘small group’ church right now.”

In that vein, Refresh has established what Hankey calls an “Opportunity Fund” – “for when God brings us the opportunity to get a permanent facility. We want to make sure we’re ready when God opens that door.”

So, for now, the church continues to meet in groups and at the high school auditorium, opening its doors to the lost, the disconnected, and people new to the area … like those Hankey met at the oil change shop. Also, the church works to help people learn, as Hankey puts it, “how we have been uniquely created and called by God to discover our gifts and purposes. And when our purposes become clear, we find ways to help – to refresh – those around us.” n

Steve Bertel is a multi-award-winning professional radio, television, print media, and social media journalist who recently retired after a 30-year broadcasting career. Now a busy freelance writer, he recently released his debut suspense novel “Dolphins of an Unjust Sea,” available on both Amazon and Kindle. Steve and his wife of 40 years live in Meridian, Idaho. He can be reached at Christian Living | May / June 2023 9 Contractors #RCE-14762 Call Todd Today! Non-porous, grout free & easy maintenance! LIFETIME MANUFACTURER WARRANTY Serving you since 2006 Quality affordable bath solutions 895- 8650 Get T he Look Of Natur al Stone It’s mor e af fordable than you think! Senior & Military Discounts Available
Pastor T.J. Hankey of Refresh Church baptizes a parishioner outside of the church’s temporary home at Owyhee High School in Meridian. (Photo provided by Refresh Church)

Foundational questions about the Creator

Three questions must be answered by every person when thinking about God. We need to get the first two answered so that we can spend a majority of our time in this article answering question 3. The answers to all the questions are obvious, unless a person’s mind gets filled with misinformation and lies from the world.

2 Corinthians 4:4 reveals that many people have their minds blinded from the truth, unless the light of the gospel shines on them. Thus, we are shining some light from God’s Word on this category for your blessing and understanding. Here are the three critical questions.

Question #1: Is there a God? Yes! Psalms 14:1: “Only fools say in their hearts there is no God.” The magnificent handiwork of the universe alone proves this absolutely and convincingly. See the beautiful stars and planets, how such massive objects move so fast in such harmony, sustaining life so amazingly on Earth. Then, take a look at human genetics and the order and brilliance of our DNA, as seen in such a simple example of the precise order of amino acids that form thousands of proteins in each of us. It is mathematically impossible for this to have occurred randomly. Or, note the physical senses we enjoy, like sight, in which our human eyes can see at 576 megapixels of detailed color and our minds can hold and process 2.5 million gigabytes of complex data. Just look in the mirror to see proof of a Creator. God is the Author and Designer of all life.


Question #2: Since there is a God, is that God who created us still actively involved?

Yes! Psalms 105:8: “He remembers his covenant forever, the word which he commanded, for a thousand generations.” As documented by this Scripture, God continues to uphold every detail of what He promised, never slacking on His responsibility to His people. Although the “thousand generations” is figurative, even if you take it literally, since Genesis only hundreds of generations have lived thus far. To suggest the Creator spun everything in motion, then disappeared, is ridiculously untrue. No miracles occur throughout history without God still involved. No prayers answered. No eternal truth revealed via the Word of God. No salvation. No victories over evil. No Heavenly Father who cares for His family. God’s business is us!

Question #3: Since God is actively involved, is God favorable to us? Yes! God likes us. Even more, God super loves us! Not a second goes by when God is not with us, attentively helping us through life, providing us comforting protection and valuable information. His Spirit is with us. His Word is with us. He sent His Son to save us. Psalms 48:14: “For this is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.” God not only sent us a map on how to succeed in this earthly life, but has shown us that He wants to be with us together forever. God is deeply immersed into every fabric of our lives. No matter who, God guides us throughout our entire

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life. God is so good that His mercy endures forever, even though we should be deserving of terrible consequences for our bad thoughts and actions. God is so loving that He gives us free will, the option to reject His guidance and love.

Qualities of God: Indeed God is all-powerful. All-knowing. Everywhere. Eternal. But most importantly, God is all-loving. God’s nature is all light, no darkness whatsoever (1 John 1:5). Not even one ounce of darkness. Yet the world constantly questions the character of God, as if God is evil at times or ambivalent. A popular trend in the world today is to twist Scriptures and cause people to misunderstand what is being written, with intentions of making God look evil. Have you been lead down such a confusing path of half-truths and lies? Find someone who knows better and get some clarity in your mind about what the Scripture really says. Therefore, with quality and accurate knowledge, you can build confidence in the goodness of God. You can recognize God’s love. It is not just some phony religious attitude. It is real. He really cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).

Practical tips on how to see God’s love:

A. Gain experience in reading and understanding the Scripture, enabling you to have mental strength and skill in detecting the true source of things, what is good and what is evil.

B. Know salvation is by grace, thanks to Jesus, but this free gift is not forced upon anyone, merely available to choose by confessing Jesus as Lord and believing God raised Him to life.

C. Once saved, and thus receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, a supernatural potential power, you can learn how to use it, including how to discern spiritual things as God works within you.

D. Learn that God is the Author of Life, not the Author of Death, so you can place your blame for death and evil properly on the Devil and those who walk contrary to God’s ways.

E. Once and for all, stop blindly and foolishly listening to the world’s opinions of God, and instead show respect for the Truth, God’s own personal declaration of how things really are.

F. Realize that God allows choice, and freedom to choose evil and wickedness, and only those who seek God and obey God, the righteous, will be rewarded beyond salvation.

G. Continue to refer back to Tip “A” again and again, since it is the Scripture alone, and nothing else, that defines the qualities of our God, a God that loved us first, despite us being unworthy.

H. By knowing God’s loving nature toward all, that a kind God is worthy of our love, we can love God back with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength, without reluctance or hesitation.

God is loving! Let’s never forget that. God bless you. n

Steve Nelson has been a Bible teacher for over 25 years. This article comes from “Loving” Segment 1 of “CORE,” a course for families on how to read and understand the Bible. See T4FAMILYCENTER.COM or reach Steve at Christian Living | May / June 2023 11 Furnace & A/C Service - Maintenance - Replacemen t 100% Money Back Guarantee 208-378-6624 m Maintenance Plan s $19.50/Month Includes Furnace And AC Maintenance 5090 N. Sawyer • Garden City, ID 24/7 Service Celebrating 23 Ye s in Business! Now Offering Residential Electrical & Plumbing Services
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A TIME to plant Doing the watering and praying

1 Corinthians 3: 6-8 reads, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.”

These verses are rich with meaning for Christians.

First, they remind us of the privilege and responsibility we have to plant seeds of faith in the lives of the people we know who don’t know Jesus. However, what happens with those seeds is not in our control. God controls that. Paul says, “God makes the seeds grow.” That takes some of the load off our shoulders, but we are still responsible for planting and watering those seeds.

Did you ever look at the seeds inside an apple?

When you cut an apple a certain way, you see a cool little star inside of it, and each section of the star houses an apple seed. We can count the seeds inside that apple but not how many apples will come from each seed.

Think about that in terms of the people in your neighborhood or workplace, or even your family or your children. When kids see us reading our Bible, that’s planting seeds. When people see and hear us pray in a restaurant, that’s planting seeds. When they hear us give God credit, that’s plant ing seeds. When you tell someone about something God has done in your life, that’s watering the seeds you have planted. When you share what you learned at church, that’s watering the seeds. When you praise or thank God where those seeds were planted, that’s water ing the seeds. We don’t know what God has planned for each person we plant a little seed of faith in, but we do know that He will grow the seeds that we plant.

That’s why it is so important to keep planting and to keep watering. So that God can keep doing what He does in the lives of those who don’t know Him. So each time you see a flower bloom, let it be a sweet reminder of the tremendous privilege we have to tell others that Jesus is alive, He loves them and wants to have a relationship with them. We can pray for our friends and family that God grows those seeds into a faith that is as alive as Jesus. That they will love like Jesus, have compassion like Jesus, and a life of giving like Jesus. All that from one little seed. Amazing!

You loosen the soil around their hearts by being present in the lives of the people around you, planting little seeds here and there, and watering them with your words and actions and a good dose of prayer. God will do the rest. Who knows? You might plant a seed in the next Billy Graham. It could happen!

Pray that God will give you wisdom and consistency as you plant seeds of faith in the lives of those around you and that God will grow those seeds so that many apples come from them. It’s time to get out our gardening tools. Blessings, friends. Happy planting. n

Roxanne Drury is a wife, mother, grandmother, and retired Christian preschool teacher who loves the Lord and His Word. She has served the Lord in children’s ministry for over 45 years and is currently on staff at Rockharbor Church. She has written a book that she calls “a God-inspired book for little girls” and, recently, a devotional book and group study guide on Psalm 23. She may be reached at

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A history of American revivals

American Christians thrill at the prospect of revival. Revival changes hearts, redirects people’s lives, and even alters the culture. It is over now, but the recent two-week-long, day and night, Asbury University revival sparked both media and church interest across the globe. Newspapers, television shows, and social media outlets covered the student-led revival like it was a royal coronation. Amid that hubbub, believers from around the planet flew to Kentucky to experience the new revival.

We might not realize it today, but the very fabric of the United States is woven through with revival. Our nation was emigrated to and then later founded by folks who wanted to live out their Christian lives free from governmental intrusion. Coming to the new frontier, they sincerely wanted to develop a Christian society. Hence, for 400 years there has been a deep yearn for both pristine Christian expression and religious revitalization. Knowing that about our origins we’re not surprised that there’s been a history of revivals.

The first Great Awakening took place on the Eastern Seaboard from the 1720s to the 1740s. Led by pastors like the cross-eyed George Whitefield and the theologian-pastor Jonathan Edwards, this revival was Calvinist in orientation; the doctrinal emphases were God’s sovereignty and glory. This awakening’s sociological effect saw lay believers begin performing religious duties themselves, rather than relying on professional clergy. And that means it was a populist movement: it promoted local people’s involvement and the directing of their own religious duties.

Revival spread like fire among Congregational, Presbyterian, and Reformed churches. Between 1740 and 1742 alone, some 40,000 people joined New England churches. The growth was swift and amazing! To put that in perspective, at that same rate in contemporary United States demographics it would look like this: there are 330 million people living inside our borders; imagine if 33 million folks attended revivals, confessed Jesus as Lord, and began attending churches. The cumulative effect would be staggering.

The Second Great Awakening also started in the East but spread westward into frontier lands. This revival lasted some 40 years, from 1795-1835. More Arminian than America’s first revival, this movement emphasized the power of human free will. Interestingly, and promoting the first Awakening’s populist character, this revival was developed through a broad series of camp meetings. People would load their wagons, belongings, and livestock and set up a temporary camp somewhere near the edge of a town. Various large tents would be set up for different speakers and services, having assorted musicians, at different times, or even at overlapping times.

Camp meetings were social events that could last for weeks on end.

Circuit riders – preachers on horseback – like Francis Asbury (for whom Asbury University was named) preached camp-meeting sermons about salvation, Christ’s return, and Christian social responsibility. That latter element saw these inspired believers start organi-

zations that served and shaped American culture for a hundred years: the YMCA, YWCA, and the Salvation Army. Moreover, the roots of both the prohibitionist movement and the abolitionist movements were planted and then grew from the second Great Awakening. (It was Christians who worked diligently to end the institution of slavery in America.)

If those two huge national revivals aren’t enough to establish that America is ensconced with a revivalistic-populist imagination, let’s note three more.

First there was the Los Angeles revival, held downtown near the railroad tracks at Azusa Street. (L.A.’s population then was only 150,000, with 8,300 horses.) Led by the one-eyed black holiness pastor, William Seymour, this revival lasted from 1906-1913. With the help of the telegraph, newspapers, church pamphlets, and the U.S. mail, word spread far and wide of the new revival. And with the convenience of railroads, people from all across America, Canada, and Mexico went to Los Angeles and were prayed for, rejuvenated, saved, and physically healed; many spoke in tongues.

Particularly remarkable, then in the post-Civil War Jim Crow era, there was racial mixing at the Azusa Street Mission. Black men hugged white women. White men hugged black women. Those earnest believers knew together that there was no racial divide in the body of Christ. Whereas Rome is the mother-church for all Catholics, that now-non-existent, run-down little wooden horse tack store-turned-church in Southern California is the mother-church for every Pentecostal church and denomination in the world. The second largest grouping of Christians in the world, Pentecostals, all trace their roots to the Azusa Street revival.

Briefly, I’ll touch on two more nationwide revivals. Having begun in 1960 at St. Mark’s Episcopalian church in Van Nuys, Calif., and spreading to Catholic college students at Duquesne University in 1966 and Notre Dame University in 1967, the Charismatic Revival of the 1960s and 1970s swept through Presbyterians, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Catholics, and some Baptists. Amid all that, an entire generation of high-church Christians saw their lives transformed by the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit, and this revival helped to soften traditional denominational barriers.

Lastly, there was the Jesus Movement. Led by pastor Chuck Smith and Lonnie Frisbee (both portrayed in the new movie, Jesus Revolution), this revival began in Orange County, Calif. Ten thousands of hippies abandoned their LSD, their bongs, their “free love,” and their pursuit of Far Eastern Religion to follow Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Both the Calvary Chapel and Vineyard denominations were birthed from the Jesus Movement. On a related front, music is perhaps the most powerful element within any revival. And the Jesus Movement saw the birth of both Christian pop music and Christian worship band music. The legacy of both continues to be widespread today. Famed pop/worship musicians from this era included

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Love Song, Maranatha Music, Phil Keaggy, Barry McGuire, Chuck Gerard, Larry Norman, Second Chapter of Acts, Keith Green, Daniel Amos, Petra, the Resurrection Band, and more.

In summation, today when we hear folks talk excitedly about a new revival breaking out at a college somewhere, we can better understand how revivalism, and with it religious populism, are woven through the American cultural imagination. n

Ed Rybarczyk, Ph.D., is both an ordained minister and a retired History of Theology professor. He now produces and hosts the Uncensored Unprofessor podcast @ He can be reached at

Prayer breakfasts slated for early in May

The National Day of Prayer is scheduled to take place Thursday, May 4. Across the country, believers will gather to pray for the U.S., as well as their local communities and states.

Co-organizer Karla Slonaker stated everyone is welcome to come and participate in seven areas of prayer. Those include: Government, Military, Media, Business, Education, Church and Family. These are considered the seven centers of influence in the nation, as well as on a state and local level. The theme for the 2023 prayer day is “Pray Fervently in Righteousness and Avail Much,” based on James 5:16b.

Sites for prayer programs include the following:

• The Nampa Mayor’s Community Prayer Breakfast will begin at 7 a.m. May 4 at the Nampa Civic Center. One of the Prayer Breakfast committee members is Kathleen Tuck, the Director of Communications and Community Relations for the Nampa School District. Prayers will be said for the children of Nampa. Dave Palumbo of the Kiwanis Club of Nampa is the Prayer Breakfast chairman. He may be reached at (208) 440-1736.

• Bethel Church of the Nazarene, 3001 12th Ave. in Nampa, will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. May 4 for the public to stop in and pray for the seven influences mentioned above. Events are also planned in Eagle, Meridian, Caldwell and Mountain Home.

For more information, go to (click on Post or Find an Event), or contact Slonaker at or 509-669-6179. n Christian Living | May / June 2023 15 Turn Your Beautiful God-Given Brains on Everybody! @uncensoredunprofessor A Podcast for Deeper Christianity

LEAP Housing A leap of faith provides

The real estate field can be very lucrative, and Bart Cochran did well as a real estate agent. But a large segment of the population was missing from the equation. “I was successful with people who have the means to buy houses but not with people who have barriers,” he said.

As the cost of apartments and homes in the Treasure Valley continues its upward climb, decent housing remains out of reach for many. Couple that with some of the lowest wages in the country and the Gem State presents a problem for affordable housing for a significant portion of its citizens.

In the midst of his real estate career, Cochran did some traveling to other countries when he was able, and some of the things he saw first-hand shook him up and got him thinking.

“I had a crisis of faith,” Cochran said, “and was wrestling with God. It was a combination of two things. In traveling to other places, I got a visual view of poverty; I could see it. But here, it’s tucked away.”

When he saw poverty close up, Cochran’s original thought was, “‘Maybe I should be a doctor or a nurse to be able to help people’. But God made it clear that I was supposed to be using my real estate skills in a different direction.” Thus began the story of what was ultimately to become LEAP Housing. Back in the U.S., in 2008, Cochran started a non-profit. Originally, the organization focused on priorities such as clean water, micro-lending, and a volunteer center to “coach would-be founders of projects,” Cochran said. It was named LEAP, which stood for Love, Empowerment and Partnership. “It then took a very firm turn to housing,” said its founder and CEO. The former acronym now stands more for the leap of faith Cochran took in undertaking a non-profit using his real estate skills – this time for people who don’t have half a million dollars to plunk down on a residence. God gave him a vision, and it seemed God was saying, “I can use my skills this way. I don’t need to be a nurse or doctor. You underestimate your own skill set when it’s right under your nose.”

LEAP Housing refers to itself as “faith-informed” rather than “faith-based,” because it has no statement of faith on its website and does not limit its services within religious boundaries. It aims to serve whoever it can with affordable housing options.

A statement at also reads, “We’re building hope, not just homes,” and Cochran explains it is bigger than the four walls of a residence. “We’re very technically good at building housing. But what happens to families and individuals when they are stably housed is they’re healthier, they pursue education, and they increase their income. We do the housing; hope helps the newly housed with all the other attributes that follow.”

LEAP Housing is a non-discriminatory program and also aids in helping newly arriving refugees find homes. Welcome Housing (for refugees) was one of LEAP’s first projects. Also, LEAP looks to two housing avenues for people: rentership and ownership.

One of the main emphases of LEAP is working with church communities to utilize unused land they may have available near the church. YIGBY is the acronym for the program that partners churches with people seeking a place to live. It stands for Yes in God’s Back Yard and centers around putting housing on excess church land, with the church seeing it as, “God’s land, not ours.” The YIGBY philosophy is counter to the Not in My Back Yard, or NIMBY, view of some who don’t want certain kinds of housing in their neighborhoods.

Some of the churches that have participated so far include Collister United Methodist Church in Boise and Lakeview Church of the Nazarene in Nampa.

Collister United Methodist was the first church to work with LEAP, and its pastor, Joseph Bankard, said he and his congregation are thrilled with the outcome. Staff and congregants were searching for a way to use the quarter acre plot in the church’s backlot for something of benefit to everyone in the neighborhood. A parishioner who worked as a fair housing attorney alerted Bankard to LEAP, and Bankard reached out to the non-profit in 2019. The wheels started turning and housing that was eventually named Taft Homes was set in motion. Now, there are two four-bedroom units with garages on the church’s formerly barren land.

16 May / June 2023 | Christian Living
Bart Cochran used his skills in real estate to help launch a non-profit that helps provide housing for people of meager means. The partnerships he’s built through LEAP Housing include valley churches, some of which have provided land to build housing on. (Photo provided by LEAP Housing)

provides homes for many


“We didn’t pay a dime,” Bankard said. “Some churches donate their land or sell it.”

Collister United Methodist opted to lease its land to LEAP Housing for $1 a year for 50 years. “In 50 years, the future church gets the land back, with the structures. The future church can renew the lease for 40 more years,” Bankard explained.

Not only is vacant land now being utilized, but the church and the residents of Taft Homes are amicable neighbors.

“There is no obligation for the residents to come to church, but the church has a Hospitality Team that greets them and offers help should they need it,” Bankard stated.

In acts of welcoming and friendliness, the team has given residents food on occasion and even Christmas items over the holidays. “We let the families know we love them,” said Bankard.

(To see how one Taft Homes resident feels about this, see the sidebar on Mary Jane Fejeran.)

LEAP is literally thinking outside the box-shape of houses in its construction work. Such things as large shipping containers have been turned into safe, affordable, and even pleasing-looking homes. “We’ll always be experimenting with cost and durability,” Cochran said.

But do the NIMBY folks look down their noses at such innovative housing?

Cochran stated: “The neighbors like how things look and feel – the finished product is not negative. We use new technology, things like solar panels.”

The houses present a picture that church members, residents, and surrounding neighbors feel comfortable with, and no NIMBY backlash has surfaced.

LEAP works with construction companies, and Cochran stated that the organization seeks general contractors that are “mission-motivated and flexible.”

Other entities partnering with LEAP include:

• Federal funding agencies

• Valley financial partners that have helped start, grow, and build housing projects

• State and local housing agencies, as well as health care organizations – because, in Cochran’s words, health care and housing are closely linked

• Funding from well-known area businesses, corporations, and organizations

• The Pacific Northwest-based M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, and more

“We’re very reliant on the community to make our work possible,” Cochran said. “We view our work as puzzle pieces, and we’re just one of the pieces. Community collaboration is essential to our work, both in terms of skills and funding.”

LEAP Housing is accomplishing much with its inventive housing solutions and ground-breaking projects. What does Cochran have in mind for future prospects in home ownership for those of meager means?

“It would make me really happy,” he said, “to see the Church be an actor in solving the affordable housing problem. This is the first time churches are utilizing their extra land for housing. It could be used for thousands of units. The Church could make an amazing effect and join in helping the vulnerable of the community.”

Statistics are cited in articles available to read on LEAP’s website that there is enough excess church land in the area that if it were combined, it would be the size of Boise State University’s entire campus.

Cochran said the churches now have examples of how it has worked for other churches in the valley and can see what partnering with LEAP actually looks like. (Web articles at also list some of the affordable housing and rentable units that have been built on otherwise vacant church property in the area.)

Church leaders may feel a housing project is too difficult or confusing for them, but seeing it done by other churches with help from LEAP could alleviate that. Church staff and congregants may have thought at one point, “We don’t have the know-how, the technology,” but they can view the original project – Taft Homes in Boise – and see that it worked out well and stands as an example of what other churches could accomplish with LEAP.

Bankard himself does speaking engagements at area churches to help allay concerns they may have. “We had people in our church who were skeptical in the beginning. But not one of them is skeptical now,” said Bankard. “It’s a powerful way that the people of God can break through to help others in the community. It’s showing God’s love in tangible ways.”

Stated Cochran: “I’m excited about the possibilities. Any church can be involved and say, ‘I’m in!’ The more we normalize it, then it’s not such a hard sell. It starts with a conversation. … We’re bringing a niche idea and want to show how faith communities could become involved. Then we can say, ‘Look what the Church did!’”

Cochran wants not only to encourage churches, but everyone. He seeks to impress on people that they can take whatever skills they have and use them for God, just as he used his skills in real estate.

“They can be a dentist or a beautician and can see themselves as an asset. They just need to realize their skills ARE an asset. I didn’t dream of starting a non-profit, but I asked myself, ‘Is there a way I can help?’”

With that question, God helped him find his different direction, and many have benefited.

For more information, go to

See accompanying story on page 18 Christian Living | May / June 2023 17
Collister United Methodist Church in Boise shared its excess unused land with LEAP Housing so that houses could be built there. The two beautiful new homes shown here are the product of non-profits partnering with churches to provide homes for homeless families. (Photo by Tobin Rogers)

MARY JANE Fejeran God provided a family with a home

months until the cost got to be out of range. They ended up staying in a bad hotel – the epitome of substandard living.

“Getting employment was very slow,” Fejeran said.

The mother and sole provider for her family stated, “I met kind people, and I met unkind people. I met a lot more not-kind people.”

Out of work with children to feed, she was looked down upon by many, including the police, as she occasionally spent a lot of time in a truck she was able to come by during her ongoing anguish. But a bright light for her was an organization known as CATCH, a nonprofit that works to house the homeless.

When she contacted CATCH, she was appointed a case manager named Jesse Fessenden. Fejeran and Fessenden made a great match. “I adore her. She believed in me,” said Fejeran – and to suddenly be encouraged and valued following so much rejection was a blessing.

The affinity Fejeran had – and still has – for her caseworker came to be eclipsed by an even greater one: a love for the Son who would save her. In so many ways.

“I was a believer, but I had lost hope. I was in the truck, crying and praying...big time. I felt things were hopeless, and I was worthless,” Fejeran explained. “But then, Christians – strangers – came out of the woodwork. God-fearing people. Churches helped pay for a hotel and provided food. God showed up. I thought to myself, ‘This can’t fail because it is God.’ It solidified my faith.

“I know God was bringing me to a point. I’m stubborn, with a past. I had everything stripped away. I lost everything – everything but God.”

CATCH works with other non-profit housing providers, including LEAP Housing. (See accompanying story.) Stephanie Day, executive director of CATCH, attends Collister United Methodist Church, a faith institution that partnered with LEAP to build homes on excess church land.

LEAP was in the process of constructing two beautiful new homes on property behind Collister United Methodist, and pivotal connections were made between CATCH, LEAP, and the church.

Mary Jane Fejeran credits the Boise faith community with helping her re-establish a normal life. She also credits LEAP Housing and CATCH for helping her obtain a home when she had no home. But most of all, she praises God for the love and care He showed her through a storm of trouble.

“We were homeless because of the COVID,” Fejeran said. By “we,” she means herself and her children, the youngest of whom is 7. “COVID demolished our stability.”

At the time, the family was living in Burley in a nice apartment with a new car. Fejeran worked a cosmetology job in Twin Falls. When COVID-19 hit, businesses shut down, the world was temporarily upended, and Fejeran experienced the worst of all of it. She lost her job, her car was repossessed, and the family was kicked out of their apartment – a so-called ‘perfect storm’ of disruption.

Fejeran told herself, “I gotta get back to Boise.” Her mother lives here but is disabled and has only a two-bedroom apartment – a limited space for Fejeran and her three children (a fourth child is now 20). She has a friend in Boise, and when the homeless shelters temporarily stopped taking in new people, the family lived with Fejeran’s acquaintance.

But, as Fejeran puts it, “It’s hard to approach family and friends and ask, “Can I bring my huge burden and baggage over and stay with you?’” The stay at her friend’s house was short. For a year and seven months, the family tried hotel rooms, even living in one for six

“I heard houses were going to be dedicated to God for His use. I put all my eggs in that basket and thought, ‘God owns those houses’,” Fejeran said. She was convinced, through faith, that she was going to establish a home in one of the two residences on Taft Street, where the church and homes are located. She even stopped applying for any other housing, she was so certain the Taft Homes was where God was going to put her and her family.

Sure enough, the Fejeran family of four moved into one of the homes in the fall of 2022.

“I don’t look good on paper,” Fejeran said. Trying to purchase a residence on her own was a towering, out of the question option. But the goodness of God and His faithful followers put a dream within reach.

“I have so much gratitude to God,” she said. She is quick to praise His Church as well. “God works through good Christians. I was barely hanging on, with addictions and temptations and shame.”

One church, True Hope Church, paid to put the Fejeran family up in a hotel while they were waiting on construction of their home.

The process wasn’t entirely seamless. “We were denied the house originally,” Fejeran explained. She never vacillated from believing God was going to help her but said she spent a couple of tearful nights – until a small glitch over an item in her application was quickly straightened out. Her money from True Hope was about to run out; and just in time, she got the call that her home was ready.

So now what do she and her children do in a vacant house? She stated: “It’s not just a house. The church was always there for us.”

Christians and CATCH provided dishes, a washer and dryer, beds, bedding, and gift certificates.

Pastor Joe Bankard of Collister United Methodist assured her the house wouldn’t be empty when she moved in, which makes her exclaim with humor that, “I would have moved in anyway – we’d have slept on the floor!”

18 May / June 2023 | Christian Living
Mary Jane Fejeran is shown with her family in front of the house she was able to get through help from CATCH, LEAP Housing, and Collister United Methodist Church. Family members, left to right, include: daughter Kira with baby Mary Jane; mom Mary Jane, center; daughter Bella in front with family dog Sweet Pea; and son Daniel. (Photo by Gaye Bunderson)

The Fejerans’ restoration back to a safe and thriving family again has produced family members with hearts of gratitude and foundations of faith. Fejeran and her children each believe that God was behind their blessings, and that He continues to look out for them. The matriarch of the family also wants to encourage others – both people who are struggling as she was, as well as other churches who might have spare land they are uncertain how to utilize. She said: “If I could petition any church to build these houses, I would say, ‘Give God the opportunity to work with people who need Him and have been praying to Him’.”

She also stated: “I love homeless people now.” She’s gotten to know them, to understand them, and to sympathize with their unfortunate and difficult circumstances. “I have a very rocky past. I had a hard life my whole life. The community rejected us, but the church people were always there for us. I’ll never go back.”

She’s still working through many things, including time spent with mental health counselors, as are her youngsters. “In the morning when I wake up, I tell myself, ‘Keep your eyes on God’. I know I will always have God beside me.”

In the future, when she is able, she hopes to attend Boise Bible College. “I’m going to dedicate my life to Christ and do ministry. I tell Him, ‘I give you myself. I have nothing else to give’.”

When people who’ve known her well over the years see her now, they are moved by how she’s changed. In fact, they tell her, “It’s a miracle.”

Fejeran knows that’s exactly what it is, and she replies, “Yes, only a miracle could do this. Look at me now – only God could accomplish this.” n

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REAL Man’s Toolbox

You’re being watched so be your best

Do you ever have the feeling that you are being watched? Well, generally speaking, you are being watched. Please don’t worry. If you are living your life as a Christian man, more than likely you are being watched. If you are a father, your wife and children are more than likely watching you. Many people are watching you to see how a Christian man, father, husband, etc. handles life as it happens.

In a way, Christian men have many informal mentorship relationships, as different groups of people are looking at them for an example of living life in a manner that pleases God. It is important to remember that none of us are perfect, but God uses us where we are, as we are, and continues to mold and refine us into who He created us to be.

Scripture speaks to us about this process of refining in Philippians 1:6. Paul shares that, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” As imperfect as we are, God does not give up on us. He keeps chiseling on us to smooth out the rough edges and turn us into the masterpiece He designed us to be. We say that we desire God to do this chiseling, but are we really ready for that? There is a great video to watch that illustrates this very well. Go to YouTube and type in, Skit Guys - God’s Chisel. This video is very revealing and to-the-point about how many of us think about the process of growing in Christ Jesus.

If we are really willing to be obedient to God’s chiseling in our lives, we will be able to be a good example of a godly Christian man. Some men have chosen to be “professional” mentors as a vocation or ministry, but many more of us are being mentors by living life as a Christian man as well as we can.

Rodney D. Bullard, Vice President of Community Affairs at Chick-filA and the guest speaker for the 2023 Idaho State Prayer Breakfast, wrote

a great book titled, “Heroes Wanted – Why the World Needs You to Live Your Heart Out.”

Mentors become heroes in the eyes of their mentees. You do not have to be perfect to be a heroic mentor, you just need to be willing to step up and share yourself with a brother who is on this roller coaster we call life. We need to share our heart with brothers that God brings along our path.

In this book, Bullard references many Bible verses for us to build our mentoring ministry upon. The first of these verses is 1 Samuel 16:7, “The Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

Bullard describes the building blocks of a solid mentor: calling, commitment, compassion, connection, conviction, community, courage, charity, and confidence. Great mentors lead by their hearts, and Bullard unpacks this by describing the type of hearts that he believes great mentors need to have – hearts of purpose, faithfulness, service, relationship, a heart to make a difference, unity, boldness, love, and hope.

As we make ourselves available to God, to walk beside other men on this adventure, He will provide us with divine appointments with men who He desires us to pour our lives into. We must always remember that it is God Almighty who is in control. He is the one who knows what is best for us, and for our mentee. Even when His divine appointments come at a time that we feel is inconvenient, His timing is perfect, and we need to be obedient to His lead.

We are not talking about being some secular self-improvement coach, helping men climb the corporate ladder; we are talking about speaking into, and saving the souls of, men. Bullard points out that, “Finishing well as a hero is not about finishing first. It’s about reaching the cross WITH those God has called us to care for, shepherd, mentor and love.”

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Once again, we must remember that God takes us from where we are – flawed and needing chiseling – to smooth out the rough edges, to the point where He reveals who He designed each of us to be. We need to have the confidence to step out in faith, work through our imperfections, and let God perform a modern-day miracle through us – in our lives as well as in other men’s lives.

Don’t wait until the time is perfect; you will never get there. Heroes don’t plan their heroic deeds in advance; they respond to events around them in the moment, and they respond out of love, compassion, commitment, and courage. Men, we need to follow the servant leadership of Jesus Christ as we live our lives. We need to be bold and ask God to bring other men into our lives who He wants us to guide into the Kingdom. We need to step out in faith and be obedient to God’s direction and timing, and get our strength, compassion, and persistence from Him alone.

There are men all around us, waiting for a hero to follow. Don’t leave them hanging. Serve, lead, and sacrifice for others. You will receive your reward from God Almighty. n

Leo Hellyer is a non-staff pastor with a Treasure Valley church and has been married to his wife Norma for 50 years. Leo and Norma served together on the Boise FamilyLife Volunteer Ministry Team for 20 years. Leo has served with Boise Rescue Mission Ministries for 22 years, currently at the River of Life Rescue Mission. He is President and Chief Firearms Instructor with Helping Hands Firearms Training LLC, and is a Civilian Taser Instructor. If you have any questions about Real Man’s Toolbox, or need other assistance, he may be reached at or (208) 240-5544.

each answer, one letter per square. T


ar range t he letters in t he highlighted squares to reveal t he name of …


1. One of those who sur vived King Nebuchadnezzar’s blazing furnace.

2. Jesus tells us, “You have heard it said, ‘L ove your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who _________ you …”

3. T his Old Testament book has 150 chapters

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T HEN USEFUL And T HE M AN W HO WA S USELESS -- THEN USEFUL is : ANSWERS: 1. ABEDNEGO (Daniel 3: 8-30) 2. PERSECUTE (Matthew 5:43-44) 3. PSALM 4. SIGNET RING (Genesis 41:42) THE MAN WHO ASW USELESS -- THEN USEFUL is: ONESIMUS (Philemon 1)1:8-1 Leo Hellyer

Boise churches merge, kingdom grows

COVID-19 impacted churches everywhere in 2020, but two churches in the north end of Boise saw their futures forever altered through a merger that has spurred two years of growth and almost 50 baptisms during 2022.

Capital City Christian Church was a debt-free, 110-year-old congregation that saw its minister resign in February 2020, a month before national COVID closures occurred. He felt a call to a smaller community in Oregon and the congregation encouraged him to follow God’s leading. By the time Capital City regathered in May, attendance had slipped from the 90s to fewer than 50, worshipping in an auditorium that seated more than 300.

Two miles up the road, Hill City Church was a growing church meeting in a remodeled grocery store. The 2013 church plant, led by three Boise Bible College graduates, was averaging almost 200 in the months leading up to the pandemic. At that time, the church was considering a five-year lease on property that would hike their facilities costs to about $20,000 monthly.

The decision by these two church families to come together and consolidate operations under the name Hill City Church at Capital City’s existing site – which has since seen two years of extensive remodeling –has been a blessing to all involved and is fueling kingdom growth.

Hill City was originally a campus of The Pursuit and had become an independent non-denominational church in September 2018. The church had solid leadership, with lead pastor Josh Branham, associate pastor Jake Wright, and family pastor Andrew Branham. All three leaders graduated from Boise Bible College in 2009. During college, the three had dreamed of starting a church together.

Capital City had a large building with more than 16,000 square feet (much of it in need of maintenance), dwindling attendance, and no senior minister.

I had worked as vice president of advancement at Boise Bible College, and I have been a longtime member at Capital City and was working with the elders. Capital City’s leadership considered such options as hiring another minister, becoming an elder-led church, or merging with a larger church in the area. I suggested they meet with the ministers from Hill City, who I knew from working at BBC.

Josh Branham of Hill City remembers the day discussions started.

“The day before our elders were ready to decide on an expensive long-term lease, I got a text from Dave to have coffee that morning,” he said. “That was the start of this merger.”

The merger moved quickly

That initial conversation in early July 2020 prompted leaders from both churches to meet more formally to explore the idea of merging. The process began with much prayer as the two leadership groups got to know each other. Art Freund, a retired minister serving as an elder at Capital City, recalls, “As soon as there was talk of a merger, I formed a prayer team. It started out slow with a couple senior members from the church, but soon we were joined by several members of Hill City. We did not imagine what God would do in the next few years.” Art has worked to extend the prayer team at Hill City.

In September 2020, the ministers from Hill City preached at Capital City, and both congregations were advised of the possible merger. Opinions were solicited. Hill City members were overwhelmingly positive about the possibility. The members at Capital City needed more details and time to decide whether it was a good move. The biggest objection from Capital City’s folks was the planned use of the name Hill City Church moving forward.

Capital City’s building had originally been built by the Disciples of Christ, and a Christian church had met there since 1921. Many longtime members were cautious about the merger until they got to know Wright and the Branham brothers better. A few joint worship evenings were held in the Capital City building.

“In the beginning of our discussions, I knew we were going in a good direction,” said Will Lou, formerly chairman of the elders at Capital City. “The results are much better than anything I imagined.”

Church mergers often take one to two years to complete. This merger was finalized on Jan. 1, 2021, just six months after the possibility was first discussed. The churches’ mission statements and planning documents were similar and very little needed to be changed.

Building improvements and milestones

The first two years as a combined church have seen many milestones.

The century-old building has gone through a $2.5 million renovation overseen by a designer who specializes in restoring older buildings. The original building style has been maintained, though upgrades and maintenance improvements have occurred from the roof of the three-story building to the basement.

The church’s basement was converted to children’s classrooms, which now overflow every Sunday. A unique use of clear garage doors now divides a large room. The main-floor worship center received an enlarged stage, new sound system and projection, new carpet, and refurbished and repadded pews. New restrooms were added and the baptistery was retiled (with a heater added). New lighting was added throughout the building and the electrical system was upgraded. The roof was replaced, and plumbing upgraded. As in most renovation projects on older buildings, there were plenty of surprises. The final project includes air conditioning and upgrading the heating system.

The church has met the budget every month, with double the amount needed given many months. “The Next 110” building fund raised more than $700,000. The church’s debt stands at less than $250,000, and the goal is to be debt-free sometime this year.

The church’s monthly missions budget exceeds $5,000 and helps support outreach missions in Africa, India, the Philippines, Australia, Asia, and Eastern Europe. That same budget also gives to Boise Bible College and several local missions. A missions team traveled to the Philippines in October 2022.

Attendance has grown from just over 200 the first few months of 2021 to an average of more than 500 adults, plus over 100 youth

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and children weekly. Attendance for Easter services in 2022 exceeded 900, while three Christmas Eve services that year saw combined attendance of more than 1,000. The church strongly emphasizes Life Groups, with 385 people meeting regularly in 54 different groups. There were 48 baptisms in 2022.

This merger of two like-minded churches has increased the influence of Jesus in the city of Boise, and Hill City’s leadership hopes to extend that influence internationally through the support of church planting. Leadership already is talking about developing an internship/residency program to help in planting a church in the next couple years.

“God has abundantly blessed our church with people who are eagerly and faithfully devoted to serving, giving, praying, community, discipleship, outreach, and so much more,” associate pastor Jake Wright said. “I can’t wait to see what He is going to do in the next decade.”

The church is located at 9th and Franklin in downtown Boise, next to Boise High School. If you are in the area, stop to see the renovations or better yet come by on Sunday mornings to worship. n

David Davolt and his wife, Melody, began attending Capital City Christian Church upon moving to Boise in 2004. David served as the vice president of advancement at Boise Bible College from 2004 through 2022. COVID-19 forced him off the road in 2020 and allowed him to lead Capital City’s elders after the resignation of their minister. He recently retired from BBC and currently serves as an elder at Hill City Church. Christian Living | May / June 2023 23 Call or Text: 208 880-5039 For the best place to find homes for sale, Or to sign up for automatic updates, go to… “For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” ~Psalms 100:5 16201 Idaho Center Blvd. Nampa, ID 83687 Realtor, GRI, APR, CRS Email: wi xy m A Marketplace Ministry We believe your work is your mission field You’re invited to be a prayerful “gatekeeper” for the airport & community Come visit us Call or email regarding volunteer opportunities email: 208-371-8569 The chapel is located on the ground floor next to Avis Car Rental 3201 W. Airport Way #1000 Boise, ID 83705
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Two churches in the north end of Boise joined to become one, changing the name of the 110-year-old Capital City Christian Church to Hill City Church, bringing two congregations together in fellowship and growth. (Photo by Gaye Bunderson)

WHERE Idaho ranks May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. May has been gaining recognition by many faith communities as an important month to reach out and connect with members in a different way. Mental health is a complex issue, influenced by a variety of factors. Religious and spiritual affiliation can be an important protective factor for mental health, helping to decrease stress by creating feelings of connectedness, community and unity with the larger world.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), an estimat ed 57.8 million adults (20% of the U.S. population) experienced some form of mental illness in 2021. It is also extremely costly to our society, with some estimates that it costs our U.S. economy $193 billion in lost earn ings each year. According to the 2021 Mental Health America (MHA) report, Idaho is ranked 39th out of all 50 states and the District of Columbia in terms of overall mental health status –meaning there is still a long way to come to support those in need in our communities.

Despite being common afflictions, Idaho ranked 50th out of all 50 states and the District of Columbia in regards to overall ranking for mental health, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). They looked at many factors including prevalence of mental illness and rates of access to care. This low ranking may be due to the stigma associated with mental illness, as well as a lack of access to qualified clinicians to help treat them. While psychiatrists and psychologists are expected

to increase in the state, as of May 2021, Idaho had under 150 psychiatrists and 700 psychologists

Some view mental illness as a personal flaw or believe that seeking help is a sign of weakness, yet would never judge a cancer patient or person with diabetes as weak for seeking professional support. Most individuals do not put their mental health crisis in the hands of a psychiatrist or therapist; therefore, it is important for all individuals to learn about mental illness in the same way they would learn about the signs of diabetes or a heart attack.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, increased social isolation, financial insecurity and health concerns created many challenges and stressors worldwide. The pandemic has had a significant impact on mental health in the United States, with higher rates of anxiety, depression, and substance abuse being reported. Mental Health Awareness Month is a time to be brave in conversations with friends and family. It is far more likely that you will notice something wrong sooner than a medical professional, and you can be the first step to them getting the help they are most likely not getting. All it takes is a conversation.

There are many things that can cause an individual to be more likely to experience an episode of mental illness, including traumatic experiences, genetics and poverty. Women are more likely than men to experience mental illness, as well as racial and ethnic minority groups, those living in certain geographic areas and those who

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identify as LGBT+. The most common mental illnesses are anxiety and depression. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses, affecting approximately 31.1% of U.S. adults at some point in their lives. Anxiety disorders include common phobias, such as the fear of snakes, as well as social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, and generalized anxiety disorder. There are a variety of successful treatments available, including medication, therapy and even virtual reality treatments.

Major depressive disorder affects approximately 20 million adults (8.4% of the U.S. population) in a given year. Fortunately, living in Idaho offers a protective factor against depression, with the rate of Idahoans reporting a major depressive episode (MDE) in the past year at 30.2% of adults, compared to 32.3% of adults in the U.S.

One of the greatest impacts of depression is suicide. The CDC finds that the overall suicide rate increased 30% between 2000 and 2020. The suicide rate in Idaho is higher than the national average. In 2020 there were 23.2 suicides per 100,000 people versus the national average of 13.5 per 100,000 people. Suicide is a symptom of major depressive disorder and is treatable with quality interventions. Crisis hotlines like 988 and the text hotline 741741 are helpful, but simply asking directly if you suspect someone may be suicidal can save a life. It does not put the idea in the person’s head or make them more likely to hurt themselves. It shows you care and can create a conversation that may create a lasting impact.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, it is important to seek professional help from a qualified mental health provider. The National Alliance on Mental Illness is a great resource and has classes and support groups. You can help fight the stigma by advocating for mental health support in your community, being vocal and proactive about your own mental health needs and encouraging fellow members of the community to get the help they need as well.

Faith communities are on the front lines of being able to intervene and create a less stressful world for us all. Leaders in these communities are attending trainings about mental illness, creating a supportive culture internally, and providing resources and a sense of connection. n

Alison Riley, LCSW, is a therapist and the owner of Therapy Boise. Therapy Boise is a virtual mental health clinic that supports Idahoans of all ages, including couples and families in their path towards wellness. Reach out at or (208) 261-1157.

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The 4 fowls of marital communication

Communication and intimacy are dynamic processes that are closely related. Think of communication being more like the process of breathing. Without it, we die. And intimacy isn’t something that we one-time gain and retain forever. It is fluid and directly related to the quality of communication between the couple.

Communication, in and of itself, is not enough. It must be healthy communication if we are going to experience intimacy. You can breathe toxic fumes and die. Likewise, unhealthy communication patterns can destroy intimacy. Each partner comes to the marriage with communication and language patterns they learned from their families of origin or from previous relationships. From these differing communication and language patterns, we establish our own unique communication language and patterns. After a while, we are not even aware of our communication patterns and whether or not they are healthy. We are simply doing what comes natural to us.

Some of our communication patterns are positive, leading us to intimacy in marriage. But many times, our communication patterns are unhealthy – leading couples apart rather than together. Many couples genuinely desire intimacy, but unknown to them, their communication patterns lead them further and further apart. As with anything that is unhealthy, if we are to correct it, we must first identify it. Over the years researchers have identified common communication patterns that are detrimental to marital intimacy. And, they’ve found that these patterns are passed from parent to child. It is not uncommon to see these unhealthy patterns repeated generation after generation. The good news is that they can be broken.

Dr. Gary Chapman, author and couples counselor, identifies four unhealthy patterns of communication for us. Almost all of these unhealthy patterns develop from a need to maintain emotional stability, to feel good about ourselves. But when these patterns are negative, they are detrimental to marital intimacy. These unhealthy patterns can be remembered when compared to four fowl: the dove, the hawk, the owl, and the ostrich.

Dove: “I Want Peace at Any Price.” In this pattern, one partner placates the other in order to avoid his/her wrath. Typical dove

statements are, “That’s fine with me,” or “Whatever makes you happy makes me happy.” The dove is always trying to please the other person, often apologizing, even for little things that may have stimulated the anger of the spouse. The dove will almost never disagree with his/her spouse, no matter how they feel.

These peacemakers often marry someone with a fiery personality. To avoid explosions, they simply do things to stay away from them. That may include working longer hours. Or, when at home, spending more time on their computer instead of with their spouse. Each gets involved in their own worlds and grows further and further apart. They don’t have arguments. But after a while, they don’t have a relationship either. In their efforts to avoid conflict and maintain their own sense of emotional stability and safety, they relinquish all possibility of intimacy. This “peace at any price” pattern carries a high price tag.

Hawk: “It’s Your Fault.” The hawk blames his/her spouse for everything. The blamer is the boss, the dictator, the one in charge who never does wrong. Typical hawk statements are: “You never do anything right. You always botch it up. I don’t understand how you could be so stupid. If it weren’t for you, everything would be fine.”

Hawks appear to be strong and belligerent people. In reality, they are weak emotionally. Their pattern of fault-finding has been developed to meet their own emotional weakness. How the other spouse responds to the hawk’s fault-finding depends upon their own emotional pattern. If they happen to struggle with their own self-esteem, they may simply believe what the hawk says and accept it as truth. If they feel good about themselves and have a positive self-image, they may fight, and the relationship may be characterized by periodic verbal battles.

We all know that no one can be wrong all the time while the other is always right. However, in this pattern of communication, the facts are unimportant. Hawks seldom wait for an answer to their accusations. The important thing to them is not what the other person thinks but their own judgment.

Continued on page 30

26 May / June 2023 | Christian Living PEOPLE FIRST. INTEGRITY ALWAYS! Discovering Your Joy in Idaho! WE ARE YOUR TRUSTED PARTNERS IN IDAHO! S 208.891.1222 Veteran owned business • MATTHEW 7:24 Katita Slemp
Gary Moore

Make peace with the past . . .

One unforgettable afternoon, out of the blue, I was confronted with some of my childhood challenges when a simple sound transported me back to a time of fear and trauma. As Mark hurried to change his clothes, the sound of my sweet hubby’s leather belt whipping through his Wrangler jean belt loops instantly brought floods of emotion and tears from the frightened little girl within me.* In those moments when I feel so fragile, I’m indescribably grateful for Mark’s long and strong, compassionate embrace and loving prayers over me.

This offers an important reminder for us all, that even though we naturally want to help provide solutions to anything that causes our loved ones pain, there are some things that no one can do for another. We can, however, provide a safe and loving place for them to process when we are fully present, listen well, offer unconditional love, comfort and compassion—while simultaneously turning off any “I can solve that!” button we might otherwise be tempted to reach for.

My friend, if past traumas ever set off emotional alarms within you, take comfort in knowing you’re not alone. Over 300 million beautiful souls worldwide are navigating the choppy waters of PTSD, which can spring from experiences as diverse as first responders and military service, or deeply personal traumas. In those moments, please remember to be as kind and patient with yourself as you would be with a loved one. Your life happened in layers—so does the healing of it.

So, exactly what is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? The Mayo Clinic defines PTSD as, “A mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event—either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. Symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. Symptoms can vary over time or vary from person to person.”

Clients often ask, “Joan, how do I know if something is resolved or if I still have work to do?” I follow their question with other questions to help them get clarity: “How do you feel when you think about it? What words best describe those feelings? When you think about it, do you feel it in your body?” Every time we think of something, if there is an unpleasant emotion, or a mental or physical response connected to it, it’s a gentle reminder that that is still an issue—an unresolved one. In my young adult years, since I didn’t know what to do with the trauma triggers, I figured it was just a matter of trying not to think about them. Well, clearly we know that “out of sight, out of mind”

is a fallacy and won’t work when it comes to hurts, heartaches, and traumas we’ve experienced. They need to be faced head-on just like David faced his giant, Goliath. Instead of sitting and thinking about it, the Scripture says he ran quickly to the battlefront. Those big ugly Trauma Giants need to be slayed swiftly and deliberately. The sharpest sword available to us is God’s Living Word. (Just pause for a moment and give Him thanks for this incredibly powerful and eternal gift!) There is an arsenal of other weapons available to you as well. Please understand, I know how painful this process can be. I also know that it’s 100 percent worth the effort and that nothing can replace having peace with your past!

Trauma—a deeply distressing or disturbing experience

Resolve—settle or find a solution to a problem, dispute, or contentious matter

Peace—freedom from fears, agitating passions, moral conflict; freedom from disturbance; tranquility; mental calm; serenity

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).

When I was still in the naïve, just-don’t-think-about-it phase, God gave me a great visual of being in the water with an overinflated beach ball and the goal of keeping the ball under the water’s surface. I was working so hard and using all my energy and strength to keep it hidden, completely out of others’ sight—and I was exhausted! BUT, when I found the stem on the ball, opened the valve and started letting the air out, it lost its power. The visual of deflating that ball is a terrific word picture for how you and I can take the stinging power out of past traumas by processing them in healthy ways.

In their excellent book, How We Love, Milan and Kaye Yerkovich expose various experiences people can have in their homes of origin and how those imprints have a profound effect on how we, in turn, naturally give and receive love as adults. I cannot overstate the value of this incredible resource. I recommend every human read it! Yes, It’s that beneficial. In Chapter 2, they ask a simple comfort question: “Can you recall being comforted as a child after a time of emotional distress?” If you answered yes and can think of ways you were comforted with nurturing touch, being listened to, cared about and given relief from your distress, then you are blessed! If you answered no, you have a lot of company.

The authors share that in their work, “roughly 75 percent of the adults we surveyed do not have a single memory of receiving comfort from a primary caregiver when they were children.” The

28 May / June 2023 | Christian Living Gi on a l & Cloverdale Event Center Our F amily Serving Your F amily Dave Salove Managing Partner Jacob Garn Funeral Home Manager Tim T. Gibson Consultant Bob Ross Sr. Funeral Director (208) 375-2212 “I GET TO!”®

first time I read that statistic I was shocked! Not only was my answer also no, as I began asking this comfort question to my clients from all around the globe, I was amazed that 90 percent of those I asked also said no. Clearly, trauma can come as a result of either what did happen or what didn’t happen.

I also found these same clients would often attempt to discount or downplay the significance of the lack of comfort. They grappled with destructive self-talk, questioning why they hadn’t “moved on” or “let go” of something that happened so very long ago, as if time, by itself, heals. It doesn’t. When your inner dialogue is critical and lacks love, care, and compassion needed for healing, see it for what it is—destructive! Compassion, both from others and ourselves, is vital in the healing process.

Attitude for working through trauma triggers:

1. Don’t blame others whose words/actions accidentally trigger you.

2. Verbally process your trigger with a trusted friend.

3. Be willing to go deep and do the work.

4. Find a supportive community.

5. Get help from qualified, vetted professionals.

6. Be honest with yourself and those helping you.

7. Have a plethora of practical tools.

Along with biblically-based counseling, learn practical tools you can implement immediately. For example, when something feels triggering, you can:

• First and foremost, immediately pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you. Memorize verses that directly combat the issue. Just as Jesus did when tempted, quote Scripture and draw the sword of

His Word to slay the Trigger Giants. Truth always triumphs!

• Acknowledge the trigger for what it is and why—to validate your feelings

• Take a brisk 15–20-minute walk outside

• Do Tapping or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)

• Journal your feelings

• Drink 16 oz. of water

• Eat protein/nutritious food

• Lay a weighted blanket across your core

• Practice self-compassion ongoing (See my other self-compassion writings for more details.)

Just by knowing you have specific options, you will naturally reduce anxiety at the prospect of any trigger and feel more peace, ease, and rest. If you plan, prepare, and expect to win these battles, you are already on your way to victory, my friend! The Number One way I have been able to successfully process past traumas and make peace with all that happened is by taking the hand and walking closely with the only One who can carry those burdens for me—Jesus, The Prince of Peace. n

*Please understand, this is not an indictment of loving, appropriate discipline.

Grab your FREE copy of Joan Endicott’s “I Get To!”® book at Joan is an Award-Winning Keynote Speaker, Author and Coach whose coaching has reached over 30 countries. Meet her and enjoy her encouraging messages on Facebook and Instagram! Christian Living | May / June 2023 29 NCCU is announcing its strategic affiliation with Ministry Partners Securities, LLC (MPS) for your long-term financial planning needs. C all 208-466-0916 f or a FREE consult ation We can help YOUR MONE Y GROW! Representatives are registered with and offer securities and advisory services through Ministry Partners Securities, LLC (MPS), a registered broker dealer, insurance agency, investment advisor and member of FINRA and SIPC. Northwest Christian Credit Union has contracted with MPS to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union members. Products offered through MPS may not be federally insured, and
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are not

Continued from page 26

Owl: “Let’s Be Reasonable.” The owl is Mr. or Mrs. Calm, Cool, and Collected. This person shows no feelings; he says the right words; he reveals no emotional reaction when his spouse disagrees with him. He is more like a computer than a person. Owls give you logical answers to every question. An owl usually thinks of himself as being a reasonable and intelligent person. He prides himself on not showing emotion. When the other person shows emotion, he calmly sits until the storm is over and then proceeds with his reasoning.

What is going on inside the owl will vary from person to person, but commonly this individual feels vulnerable inside. Thus, the pattern serves an emotional function for him, but it is an unhealthy function in the marriage relationship.

Ostrich: “Ignore It and It Will Go Away.” The ostrich’s pattern of communicating basically ignores the other person’s actions and comments, especially if he finds them disagreeable. The ostrich seldom responds directly to what the other person says. He doesn’t respond negatively; he simply doesn’t respond. He changes the subject and moves on to something totally unrelated to what the spouse just said. The ostrich is an activist. If he is a talker, he will rattle on and on about nothing related to anything.

For the most part, those who follow the communication pattern of the ostrich think of themselves as “not fitting in.” There is no place for them in the world. Arguments are extremely unsettling to this person. At all costs, they wish to avoid them. They really believe that if you simply ignore it, it will go away. What they do not realize is that the problem never goes away. It simply sits as a barrier to marital intimacy.

Reflect on your communication style. Which fowl are you? Which fowl is your spouse? Which fowl does your spouse think you are? We can’t work on ourselves if we don’t recognize and own who we are. Get off your “perch” and improve your communication. 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 has a weekly radio program – Life Point Plus – on KBXL 94.1FM at 8:45 a.m. on Fridays. His website at has video teachings and other resources for couples. He may be contacted at


Two siblings like games and good food

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

Siblings Conner, 10, and Elijah, 9, both have personalities that are so much fun. Conner is thoughtful and just a bit more reserved than his brother Elijah. He loves riding his bike, running fast, drawing, playing video games, learning about cars, and especially playing soccer. Conner works hard in school and considers math his favorite subject. A great “rainy day” for Conner would be time spent with family playing Uno Dare, watching “Hotel Transylvania” or funny YouTube videos, and helping out in the kitchen, making tamales or his favorite French dip sandwiches for dinner. Conner is a big College of Idaho fan, and his life plans include someday joining the Navy.

Conner & Elijah

Elijah is quite the comedian and a real ball of energy. This confident young man describes his best qualities as being smart, helpful and kind. Some of Elijah’s favorite hobbies include playing video games like Super Mario or Legend of Zelda, watching football, building snowmen in the wintertime, crushing his opponents at a game of Monopoly, and traveling. Elijah’s two current favorite things are definitely playing hockey and learning everything he possibly can about dinosaurs. Elijah has big dreams of becoming an archaeologist and one day hopes to visit Scotland in search of the elusive Loch Ness Monster.

Conner and Elijah’s Permanency Team is ideally searching for potential adoptive families who already possess an approved adoptive home study and who reside in the Treasure Valley area. Fun, active parents who have ample time available to spend with the boys and who can commit to supporting ongoing therapeutic services within the community and maintaining some of their positive birth family relationships would be a good match. If you see your family as a great fit for these amazing brothers, inquire at n

For more information on the Idaho Wednesday’s Child Program, visit, or contact Specialized Recruitment Services Administrator Shawn White at or cell (208) 488-8989.

30 May / June 2023 | Christian Living JOIN US Tuesdays at 7:00 am IHOP 3525 E Fairview Ave. • Meridian, ID 83642 Questions call: (208) 841-7899 & Thursdays at Noon Original Pancake House 5900 W Fairview Ave., Boise Questions call: (208) 859-6038 Fellowship of Christian Businessmen
Marital communication

Group sets ‘All About Jesus’ prayer event

A Boise group is planning a time of praise and worship at the State Capitol, 700 W. Jefferson St. in Boise, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 20. Everyone in the community is welcome at this event, which promises to be a family-friendly program.

Co-organizer Carlene Hansen, who set up a leadership team to oversee and organize the gathering, explained some of the reasons behind the occasion. “The Satanic Temple has become very active at our State Capitol,” she said, “recently holding an induction ceremony for transgender youth. As well as meeting monthly at the Capitol, the Satanists are praying there and trying to put forth legislation that sides with their points of view. The Lord began to stir my heart.

“God’s vision for this event quickly spread to others like a fire, as one person after the other also wanted to be a part of it. God assembled a very qualified leadership group, as well as Christians from many churches who will be attending.”

Pastor Adam Cooper of Gooding Springs Calvary Chapel will be sharing his testimony of salvation from a New Age cult. Additionally, there will be musicians and vocalists from different parts of Idaho sharing their love for God through worship.

“There will be a time of prayers, testimonies, and worship as we focus on our precious Lord,” said Hansen, explaining, “We felt led to call this event ‘All About Jesus, an Interdenominational Prayer and Praise Event’. It is our hope that many will come to know our Lord, and that they will have an encounter that day that will spark revival in their souls to carry back to their individual churches.”

For more information, contact Hansen at (208) 801-3722 or There is also a Facebook page at n

God & Country Festival set for June

The 57th Annual God and Country Festival is set for June 28 at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa. The event was first held in 1966. This year’s non-denominational Festival returns to the outdoor amphitheater and will be a night of family-friendly fun that will include the Treasure Valley’s largest fireworks show, great Christian bands, military appreciation, civic awards, food and fellowship. As always, admission is free; parking at the Ford Idaho Center is $5. This year the City of Nampa has joined with the God and Country Festival for the official City of Nampa Fireworks Show. For more information go to n

Love INC Boise plans golf tournament

Love INC Boise will hold a golf tournament Friday, July 28, at Centennial Golf Course in Nampa.

“This is a fundraising opportunity and a really fun way to help support a great cause,” Honi Deaton, Director of Relations at Love INC Boise, said. (See Deaton’s story in this issue.) The tournament will be sponsored by the Idaho Golf Fellowship. For more information as it becomes available, go to n Christian Living | May / June 2023 31 CHURCHES IN YOUR AREA BOISE NAMPA CALDWELL 600 N. Ten Mile Rd. Meridian, ID Join us on Sundays: • On YouTube - 11:00 am Look for Centra l Va lley Meridian • On Campus • 8:00 am, 9:30 am and 11:00 am • Slavic Service 2:00 pm Calvary Chapel Please join us! 1210 Middleton Rd., Nampa 208-467-7116 Sundays 10 AM Wednesdays 6:30 PM The Sanctuary Cowboy Church Sunday Service 10 AM NEW LOCATION! 912 W. Linden Street Caldwell, ID 83605 208-329-8246 NEW LOCATION: MERIDIAN For information on adding your church to this directory, please call 208-703-7509 or email: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” — Thessalonians 5:11NIV
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