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FREE

JULY/AUGUST 2014 1ST ANNIVERSARY ISSUE

Rebuilding

Generations Men, cars and fellowship

KEEPERS OF

The Home Hope and homemaking

BRIGHTER

Side

Near-death experience

SISTERS ync.

Women soaring together


Teaching and Talk that Inspires, Encourages, and Edifies. New Life Live - Steve Arterburn Family Talk - James Dobson Insight for Living - Chuck Swindoll Turning Point - David Jeremiah Family Life Today - Dennis Rainey Matt Slick Live - Matt Slick Focus on the Family - Jim Daly Truth for Life - Alistair Begg Destined for Victory - Paul Sheppard

7-2014

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Contents July / August 2014 “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” — Isaiah 26:3

Features

6

Home fellowships: Put love first

Dresstravanganza: Prom dress ministry

10

Dresstravanganza — The details

Keepers of the Home:

11

14

Hope and homemaking

Columns 8

Breaking Free: Nowhere to hide

with 28 Outdoors Dougherty:

Making memories

12

Maximum Health: The Word’s power

13

Marriage Toolbox: Godly intimacy

& Finances: 18 Faith Dare greatly Brighter Side: 24 The Near-death experience from Home: 29 Notes Happy or sad? This: 30 Consider Transformed by testing

Departments

Cover Story —

7

Creativity in the Kitchen: Hot Potato Salad

SISTERS ync.:

Spotlight: 26 Business Connie King

16-17 In Each Edition 22

Women soaring together www.boisechristianliving.com

Editor Gaye Bunderson gayeb@sterlingmedialtd.com 208-639-8301 Sales & Marketing Melva Bade melvab@sterlingmedialtd.com 208-501-9024 • Maria Jones mjones.bcl@gmail.com 208-353-2090 • Sandy Jones boisechristianliving@gmail.com 208-703-7860 Graphic Design Denice King Contributors Dan Bobinsky, Carl Boockholdt, Dan Dougherty, Dani Grigg, Leo Hellyer, Hilarey Johnson, Joel Lund, Rosie Main, Brian Raymond, Dan Woodworth and Ron Kern

Cover Photos Provided by Kevin Keep Website Design SEO Idaho Webmaster Kyle Struchen

Brian Rodriguez

A car connection

Publisher Sandy Jones

Distribution Specialists Doris Evans and Shauna Howard

20 Christian Businesspeople:

Rebuilding Generations:

Volume 2, Number 4

4

Publisher’s Corner: Health of humanity

5

Quotes & Scripture: Forgiving others

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 2014 by Christian Living Magazine LLC. Christian Living is published every other month and is available in over 800 locations throughout the Treasure Valley, including most grocery stores, convenience stores, medical waiting areas, and churches. If your church would like additional copies please email us today at boisechristianliving@gmail.com

Christian Living | July / August 2014 


PUBLISHER’S Corner

The health of humanity gives me hope cancer, offering her services. We had offers of By Sandy Jones help with the children and support from other In March when my husband Steve and I cancer survivors for Shannon as well. became the owners of Christian Living we were Then in a moment of grateful weakness, elated — joy upon joy! You couldn’t wipe the through tear-filled eyes, I typed a note of thanks, smile off my face. Not only had God blessed me sharing that although she hasn’t been fighting with the passion of my heart, but the outpourthis battle long, there are times one just feels so ing of support was phenomenal. It seems the alone. It was meant as a most sincere compliTreasure Valley is starving for good news and ment to the group as a whole — not another the promise of hope. On top of that I get to plea for help. Much to my surprise a gentleman hear people’s wonderful stories every day! I get reached out, sharing that he and his wife have to share in their joy, hear their testimonials and walked this mile and “although strangers, we celebrate with them. will help, contribute, talk, comfort and listen as On April 30 all of that changed — dramatiyou go through this.” He then offered up both cally! That was the day our daughter-in-law, of their private email addresses. Shannon, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Sandy Jones, Publisher Christian The entire evening was one humbling experiA week later our world was once again turned ence after another. How many times can one say, upside down as we were told that it was Stage IV Living Magazine “Thank You, Lord!”? and had spread to her bones. We watched ShanI realize this is an unusual way to open our July/August issue, non, with our son Drew by her side, fast forward through all but I feel it’s also the perfect way to open this edition. You see the tests imaginable, while loving and entertaining their 4- and as I’ve been out sharing with area businesses, churches and 6-year-old children; we have the peace that they know Who is private individuals, I’ve been explaining that Christian Living is in control. not about the issues, or legalisms, rather it’s about showing how Knowing Who is in control does not make you less human we, as Christians, are to be the hands and feet of Christ. What — trust me on this. The first two full weeks I walked around that looks like. How it’s done. Then BAM!!! My family is thrust in a daze, completely unable to think clearly. Shannon beat Hodgkin’s Lymphoma 12 years ago — she’s been a part of our right in the very middle of it all. As we print this, our first anniversary edition, I thank you, family the last 9 years — so we’ve always known this was a posTreasure Valley, for allowing our little group here at Christian sibility. That does not lessen the shock factor one bit! Drew had just started a brand new church plant in mid-April. Living to “Uplift, Entertain and Enlighten” you with our stories and shared experiences. I also thank you, Treasure Valley, for Has that stopped his church families from other churches he’s confirming what I’ve really known all along: that all of huattended or helped with from showering he and Shannon with manity is not lost — that the dark side is not winning the war, love? Not in the least! Our pastor, who watched him grow up only an occasional battle. God still sits on the throne, and IS in has been there for all of us — as has all of our church family. Shannon’s brothers and sisters and parents, Drew’s brother and control. Romans 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for step-sister, my brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins and the good of those who love him, who have been called accordfriends...the people in our lives have rallied around all of us, ing to his purpose. n offering all kinds of love and support. What has surprised me the very most is the absolute outpouring of support from people none of us have ever met. One warm spring evening Shannon and Drew’s air conditioner quit. Three days out from a chemo treatment, white blood count down, tired, nauseated and feeling pretty rough, Shannon was honestly in no shape to sit in a hot house if she didn’t have to. A big fan of Facebook, I jumped on a private group that I belong to and put out a plea for help. It was after hours, and I really didn’t know which way to turn, and was hoping to avoid after hours charges. Within minutes they had offers to come out from four different companies and/or individuals. They called one, who dropped everything at 8 o’clock in the evening. This company fixed the air conditioner and wouldn’t take a dime, saying they were in business to help others, not just make money. But the HVAC community wasn’t the only one who answered that call. Several people stated they didn’t know anything about air conditioners, but they knew all about prayer. A woman who owns a cleaning company jumped into the mix, attaching the link to a group that cleans houses at no charge for cancer patients, telling me to get Shannon signed up. Suddenly I had a private message from a professional photographer who donates her time to women who are either survivors or fighting breast Shannon and Drew Brown, with their children Josh and Gabbie.

 July / August 2014 | Christian Living

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QUOTES & Scripture

Forgiveness: it’s free, give it away By Gaye Bunderson I suppose one of the things I need to work on most is forgiving others. Forgiveness is a two-way street. Not for us to forgive God, of course, but for us to forgive other people according to His directives. When I started to think about forgiveness, I realized I was mostly on the receiving end. That’s how it works

with God; I seek forgiveness, He gives it. But I was leaving out a very important component of the forgiveness principle: me forgiving my fellow flawed human beings or asking them to forgive me for the fallible person I am. Below are some others’ thoughts — and scripture verses — on the subject.

“I know for me, going back to the person I’ve bad-mouthed or lied to is absolutely humiliating! But isn’t it interesting that ‘humiliating’ has the same root word as ‘humility’? Part of humility is taking responsibility for my sin and asking forgiveness even when it doesn’t feel good. God wants to heal and restore your relationships, but it’s not easy.” — Chip Ingram, teacher, author, pastor and coach “Forgiveness is always free. But that doesn’t mean that confession is always easy. Sometimes it is hard. Incredibly hard. It is painful to admit our sins and entrust ourselves to God’s care.” — Erwin Lutzer, evangelical Christian pastor, teacher and author “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” — Mark 11:25 Continued on page 27

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Christian Living | July / August 2014 


HOME Fellowships

Best if done in spirit of love And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighBy Dan Bobinski Many churches have some form of small bor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophgroup ministry, and I’m a firm believer ets hang on these two commandments.” that small groups are the best thing going Ever since I became a believer, this statefor helping people grow in the grace and ment of Jesus has amazed me. “All” the law knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is, and “all” the prophets hang on those two if Christ is the focus of the meeting. If small commandments. Not some. All. group meetings revolve around the leader’s I liken that word picture to a mobile hangego or a tight adherence to a rote but empty ing in a child’s room, with all 600-plus laws routine, then those activities are not doing and all the prophets hanging from two hooks much to build the Body of Christ. connected to the ceiling, holding all the laws Throughout the New Testament we read and prophets in place. about believers meeting in their homes, and Also, the word “love” used by Christ is in the past decades we’ve seen a resurgence agape, which is different from the touchyof home fellowships in the modern church. feeling love we’ve come to think of today. In addition to being the host of a home Having been a believer for three decades, And in 1 Corinthians Paul gives us the defifellowship, Dan Bobinski is the owner of I’ve attended a variety of different types of nition of agape. Patience, kindness, etc. meetings. To be fair, they’re all well-intended, Workplace-Excellence.com, an international In other places we’re told to “speak the truth training and consulting firm based in the and I certainly believe that God reveals in love” (again, agape — patience, kindness, Himself to those who diligently seek Him. So Treasure Valley. etc). if you’re in the market for home fellowship, I divert there, because sometimes I see fellow definitely try one out. If nothing else, you’re making an effort believers getting irate with other believers because of some to grow in Christ. perceived disagreement in how to interpret a passage of scripThat said, many different forms of home fellowships exist, so ture. It befuddles me that their impatience gives way to abusive I’m not going to take time right now to get into the details of and condemning voice tones, yet they still say they’re speaking the many ways to form one. However, I do believe that livthe truth “in love.” ing out Christ’s love is an absolute command that every home You’ve probably heard it: “I’m just telling that person the fellowship should strive to do, so I’d like to take a moment to truth because I love him/her and don’t want to see them in emphasize that. In fact, it’s often called “The Greatest Command”: Love the error.” Sorry. Not only is that an incorrect interpretation of speaking Lord, and love your neighbor as yourself. the truth in love, it’s also what hurts fellow believers in what is Remember in Matthew 22 where the lawyers were trying to supposed to be a safe, nurturing growth experience at a home trap Jesus in His words? They asked Him to identify the greatest command, to which He replied, “‘Love the Lord your God fellowship. At the home fellowship my wife and I host, we strive to crewith all your heart and with all your soul and with all your ate a patient and kind environment. We definitely mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. engage people in examining the Word of God, but never will anyone get berated. I guess you could also think of Proverbs 15:1, which says a “gentle answer turns away wrath.” A more modern idiom is that we’ll win more with honey than with vinegar. So my one wish for every home fellowship is that people practice the Greatest Commandment in every Bible discussion. It means more patience in how we dialogue with each other so as to create a safe environment that allows people to grow. It means more “seeking to understand others” (another part of the definition of agape) and less bashing people over the head in debate. It really doesn’t matter what kind of home fellowship we’re in. If agape love is not the standard of our behavior, we’re not creating an environment for optimal growth. I have no doubt God will use every opportunity to draw people to Him, but there’s no reason to have someone’s ego or a rote, yet empty study inhibit us from truly drawing closer to the Creator of the universe. n

 July / August 2014 | Christian Living

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BREAKING Free

Vegas slogan won’t work with God

By Brian Raymond In 2003 the ad agency of R & R Partners developed one of the most famous ad slogans in the history of marketing: “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” The slogan was so successful that it has recently been enshrined on the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame. As famous as this advertising campaign has been and as hard as the television commercials tried to convince us that we truly could get away with ANYTHING in Las Vegas, as Christians we are told something quite the opposite. In Hebrews 4:13 we find the truth that God reveals to us regarding whether or not we can hide our iniquities from Him: “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.” NLT In Genesis 3:7-12 we are told that Adam and Eve were the originators of the “Vegas Mindset”: “And as they ate it, suddenly they became aware of their nakedness, and were embarrassed. So they strung fig leaves together to cover themselves around the hips. That evening they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden; and they hid themselves among the trees. The Lord God called to Adam, “Why are you hiding?” And Adam replied, “I heard you coming and didn’t want you to see me naked. So I hid.” “Who told you that you were naked?” the Lord God asked. “Have you eaten fruit from the tree I warned you about?” “Yes,” Adam admitted…” LBT How often have we sinned and tried to hide the sin from our spouse, children, neighbors, bosses, friends, or even God? I am hoping that I am not the only person, other than Adam and Eve, who has fallen into this delusional form of sin. Ecclesiastes 1:9 reminds us that, “there is nothing new under the sun.” So in reality, the campaign to try and hide sin was not started in 2003 but began with the first man, the first woman and the Father of Lies who is still roaming the Earth seeking whom he may devour. When we are tempted to cover our sin we must realize that we may be able to hide the sin(s) from others, perhaps, but we will NEVER be able to hide any of the sin from God. It is said that

 July / August 2014 | Christian Living

confession is good for the soul (Psalm 119:26). Confession of sin to others may make us feel good but confessing to others does not clear the record with God. In order to have our sins forgiven and forgotten by God, we must confess them to Him. At the moment we do so we will then feel the freedom from them that only God himself can provide. Micah 7:19 tells us that at the point of confession and repentance of our sins, God will “have compassion on us.” He will “trample our sins” under His feet and “throw them into the depths of the ocean!” No smokescreen, cleverness, or even the mighty metropolis of Las Vegas can alter the promise that we will not be able to outrun the eyes of God. Proverbs 15:3 reminds us that: “The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.” If we believe that we are fooling God it is really we who are being fooled. God cannot and will not let sin go unchecked. God loves us too much to let unconfessed sin dwell in us without giving us an opportunity to confess it. King David asserted in Psalm 32:3-5 that hidden sin is in no way beneficial for us: “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.’ And you forgave the guilt of my sin.” NIV If true freedom in Christ is to be found we must be honest with ourselves and with God and confess our sin(s) to Him. The illusion that a mecca on Earth exists, such as Las Vegas, where sin can be hidden is no more true today than it was in the Garden of Eden 6,000 years ago. n Brian Raymond is a licensed clinical social worker specializing in Nouthetic/Biblical counseling. In January 2010 he was the co-founder of Christian Clinical Concepts, LLC in Nampa. He is currently in private practice at Christian Clinical Concepts. He may be contacted at (208) 475-1875 Monday through Friday.

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Dresstravaganza

Relevant ministry in a storefront church walls. The teenage years are hard enough without the added stress of not being able to participate in activities because of finances, and Dresstravaganza meets these girls at an often dark point in their lives. Some of them have very in-depth, life-changing questions. The Dresstravaganza volunteers are there for more than just manning the store, organizing dry cleaning, alterations and fittings. They are mentors. It becomes a very practical way to love on the girls when they can provide a chance to feel attractive inside and out. Stamper calls the high schools each spring and discovers the busiest prom weekends. She then schedules a fullday makeover event at Dresstravaganza. Last year, Paul Mitchell The School, Boise, brought about 20 students and set up hair and nail stations. The makeovers were free to the girls as well. Those who didn’t have prom that day Dresstravaganza is a prom dress ministry that helps young women get nice formal wear for free. The concept has expanded to include ball gowns and even some wed- received a gift certificate. ding dresses. (Photo courtesy of Monica Stamper) Stamper remembers one girl saying, “I’ve never felt beautiful,” after she received her makeover. It is a full-time By Hilarey Johnson ministry that costs her money, but Stamper feels blessed Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he because she gets to see Dresstravaganza’s impact through is old, he will not depart from it.* Many Christian parents notes, phone calls and relationships. Sometimes, the girls count on this promise — and have seen it fulfilled. But return just because they felt loved. One told her, “I knew I Monica Stamper feels we are living in a new era where it needed help, but I had no idea where to go.” is not the standard for mothers and grandmothers to pass Stamper frequently posts the full-circle stories on Facealong life-giving principles. book and in a new blog. It has given her a burden for these young adults who do The volunteers at Dresstravaganza even received a note not have a biblical foundation. Because when they are old, attached to a brand new dress donation. A girl knew she she said, “this generation doesn’t have anything to go back was supposed to buy a dress that didn’t fit her. She saved to.” it for years while God spoke to her heart about how He About six years ago she was involved in a youth outreach cares for each life and all the details. When the girl found downtown with her church, The Journey. The group was out about Dresstravaganza, she realized God was using brainstorming ideas to get more exposure and on a whim she said, “Let’s give away prom dresses.” the dress to restore her faith. Someone asked if she had prom dresses to give away, Now with the storefront, Dresstravaganza is able to serand since she did not, they proceeded to create an ad on vice year-round for homecoming, prom and military balls Craigslist. They ended up with a hundred dresses that based out of Gowen Field and Mountain Home. A new year and gave them away at The Journey Church. evolution of the ministry is wedding dresses. Stamper’s The idea is that most girls only wear a formal dress to heart is to serve the girls for more than just an event, and one event. After, it merely collects dust until it’s severely the question weighing on her mind is, “How do we reach out of style (but not yet retro or vintage) and then tossed this generation of young adults, because after prom they away. Dresstravaganza is an opportunity to recycle that are moving on to college.” dress, usually to a girl who would not otherwise be able to Corporate sponsors keep the doors open, but it is the afford a formal gown at all. community who donates dresses and the volunteers who Here’s the best part: it’s free. give themselves to the girls, which Stamper describes as, When the dance is over, the girls return the dresses so “Fun. Rewarding. Painful. Beautiful.” another person will have the chance to wear it. If possible, Beautiful. Just how a girl wants to feel. many contribute the $5 it costs for dry cleaning. Although *Proverbs 22:6, KJV n not many dresses came back that first year, Stamper said they currently have about 1,000 dresses ranging in size Hilarey Johnson is a freelance writer living in Meridian. from 0 to 24. As the ministry and the number of dresses She tends to an urban garden complete with chickens grew, it became difficult to store them in a Sunday school and teaches martial arts with her husband and children. classroom. Dresstravaganza needed a storefront. She blogs infrequently at Hilarey.com. Her first novel, “Sovereign Ground,” has just been released. Described The 2,700-square-foot retail space, located in Boise, is as “A Young Adult Novel of Redemption,” it is available more than a storefront. It’s a relevant ministry outside on Amazon for both Kindle and print copies.

10 July / August 2014 | Christian Living

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Dresstravaganza — The Details Drop-off locations (see individual business hours): Boise Outlet Mall: Van Heusen, 6882 S. Eisenman Rd., Boise SE Boise/Micron: Modern Dental, 2031 E. Hospitality Ln., Boise Towne Square Mall area: Home Fabrics, 8567 Franklin Rd., Boise SW Boise: Star $2.50 Cleaners, 1521 S. Five Mile Rd., Boise Garden City: Diamond Heating, 4464 W. Chinden Blvd., Suite E, Boise Caldwell: American Music, 2912 Cleveland Blvd., Caldwell Meridian: location needed Nampa: location needed

Contact information: Dresstravaganza — Available one day/week by appointment only Address: 6876 S. Eisenman, Boise Phone: (208) 297-3332 Email: dresstravaganza@gmail.com Facebook: facebook.com/dresstravaganza Blog: dressstravaganza.blogspot.com

Current needs: Corporate sponsors Wedding dresses Formal gowns, especially plus sizes

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MAXIMUM Health

You have been given authority your morning prayer time to be equipped By Rosie Main with His protection to go seek and save that Many of you just like me have struggled which is lost, like it mentions in Luke 19:10. with taking authority over what God has Our vision in my practice is to encourage given us to do. When we go out to reach those others to live a “maximized life,” and with who need to hear truth, we must remember a vision that mighty we can’t do it through that Ephesians 6:12 says that we wrestle not our power but with Him. So I want to ask all against flesh and blood but against princiof you reading this that you grow deeper in palities, against powers, against rulers of the your time with God’s Word and start speaking darkness of this world. But we must also be truth through His Word over your life, over reminded that Jesus Christ has already won your finances, over your mission, and over the battle, and that we have authority through every area in your life and the people you put Him over all of it. your hands on. So if right now you are struggling with anyI am reminded of a lady who came in this thing such as fear, doubt, insecurity, health, last month and had been bleeding for over finances, relationships, or anything, I just Rosie Main is a chiropractor, USA team eight years and she was weak and desperate want to say to you that you have been given doctor and a Maximized Living doctor. She because after being to all doctors and after authority to speak over it. Through my 14 years in practice there have owns Main Health Solutions at 2300 W. having chemo and radiation she had not had Everest Lane, Suite 175, in Meridian. She any success. After two weeks in our office, for been times of great increase as well as great may be reached at (208) 859-6170 or the first time in eight years, she has not bled. loss and battles. We have seen people make rjmaindc@yahoo.com. For more informaOf course, doubt comes creeping in my head amazing transformations and disease and tion, visit MaximizedLivingDrMain.com. telling me that I had nothing to do with it. cancers falling off, yet there have been moWell, I have to remember that I have the power ments when I was put to the test with financial to tread over serpents and scorpions and not let them defeat me struggles, patients’ complaints, or issues with just running a through my thinking and, like it says in Mark 16:15-18, I have practice. What I have learned is that through these moments, it brought also been given the power to go into this world and speak to the masses and that those who believe shall “take up serpents” and it me closer to His Word. When Jesus healed many after His 40 shall not hurt them, and that we shall lay hands on the sick and days in the wilderness, He spoke to them about their blessings they will recover. and He said: I see too many patients walk into my practice with lost hope. “Count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or They feel helpless and feel chained to their medications. I know throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it that in John 10:10 it says a thief comes to lie, steal and destroy, means is the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncombut Jesus came to give life in abundance. fortable. But be glad if they don’t like it...I do!” So I want to pray for you all today that you remember this apIt is with His word that I get up and claim authority over all plies to everything in your life as well if you remember His Word things that occur in my life and put on the armor each day to and apply it in everything you do. keep doing what I do. I encourage you that if you don’t already Be blessed and go take ownership of what God has given you. n do it that you get up and read Ephesians 6:11-18 and add it to

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MARRIAGE Toolbox

Enjoying godly marital intimacy By Leo Hellyer There are many areas of our lives that impact our relationship as a loving, godly man and woman united in marriage. As we seek to have a marriage that honors God, and His design for this relationship that He originated, one area quite often suffers as the daily distractions of life happen. Many times emotional and physical intimacy between a husband and wife suffers in the battle between life’s many priorities, temptations, and struggles. There are many resources in the area of marital intimacy available to us. These resources come from various directions, to communicate to us God’s design for marital intimacy in a manner that we can comprehend, absorb, and put into practice. I want to share three resources with you that come from three distinctly different directions, but all of which can truly transform your marriage into a completely intimate, God-honoring marriage. Two couples, Dr. Joseph and Linda Dillow and Dr. Peter and Lorraine Pintus, have provided us with a book titled “Intimacy Ignited.” This book takes us on a journey that can bring pure passion into the marriage relationship. The authors use the Song of Solomon as the basis for their conversations with us. Reading this book is an absolute adventure. It is a biblical commentary, a marriage manual, and a Bible study that is life-changing. What you get out of this book depends on what you put into it. Just like scripture, it can either be words on a sheet of paper, or it can be words of truth and love that can change your entire life. Dr. Kevin Leman has written a book titled “Sheet Music” that comes from another point of view. As Leman himself points out in a Note to the Reader at the beginning of the book, “Some of what you read in this book may be too blunt or straightforward for your personal taste. If you’re willing to forge ahead for the sake of the best marriage you can imagine, then this book is for you.” God designed marital sex, or intimacy if you prefer, not only for procreation but also for our enjoyment. I believe that if you will go through this book, even if you have to go out of your comfort zone, you will gain a new understanding of and desire for a pure, active, and physically intimate relationship as husband and wife. Marital intimacy is found from another direction in “The Discovery Game.” As it says in the rules pamphlet that comes with the

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game, “The purpose of this game is to have fun with, and discover or rediscover, emotional and physical intimacy with your spouse.” This game is a fantastic adventure in the marriage relationship. This is an opportunity to discover who you are as an individual and as a couple. The Discovery Game also comes with a booklet that takes married couples deeper into their relationship. The booklet also has an extensive list of additional marriage relationship resources available through many different authors and ministries. The Discovery Game is endorsed or sold by Shaunti Feldhahn, Christianbook.com, FamilyLife, and American Association of Christian Counselors. Marital intimacy is unfortunately an area in our marriages that many times takes a back burner because the other aspects of our marriages can consume much of our time and energy. To have a marriage that lasts a lifetime, intimacy must be a priority. That intimacy may look and feel different depending on what season of life our marriage is in. God designed marriage to be a fully intimate and pure relationship between a man and woman who He united for a lifetime. If you want to honor God in your marriage, make your marriage as intimate as possible. Fully enjoy and honor the spouse who God designed specifically for you. We are very blessed to have access to many tools that we can put into our Marriage Toolbox. For these tools to be effective they must be used. My desire is to search out the right tools to put into your Marriage Toolboxes. I hope that you will use them on a daily basis, and that you will be so excited that you can’t wait to share your latest tool with your friends and families so they can experience all of the blessings of godly marriage as well. n Leo Hellyer is a non-staff pastor with a local church and has been married to his wife, Norma, for 41 years. The couple volunteered with FamilyLife on its Boise ministry team for 20 years. They are both employed by Boise Rescue Mission Ministries, Norma at City Light Home for Women & Children and Leo at River of Life Rescue Mission. They may be reached at silverplate426@msn.com. If you have questions about Marriage Toolbox, or need other assistance, Leo may be reached at 344-1357, ext. 4.

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Christian Living | July / August 2014 13


KEEPERS Of The Home

Giving hope and homemaking tips

Keepers of the Home attracts women who are seeking both fellowship and practical homemaking tips. The group meets at The Journey, 9105 W. Overland Road in Boise. (Photo by Steve Jones)

“... and so to train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” — Titus 2:4-5

By Sandy Jones We met the first time on a sunny March morning, having been told by a mutual friend that we “just had to get together.” I knew immediately why. I knew Lori Gammon on sight. No it wasn’t from her Facebook photo, although that didn’t hurt any. I just knew. Having been told about Lori’s ability to mentor others first through her own lifestyle and now through monthly classes she holds, I figured I was meeting Martha Stewart. Quite the opposite; Lori exudes the love of the Lord, with genuine humility and kindness. I wanted to be her friend instantly. While living in Florida, Lori knew the Lord was calling her to help others; she just didn’t know how or when. One day when teaching one of her eight children to swim, three young mothers approached her, asking her if she would share tips on parenting and just how to keep it all going. You see, even with eight children Lori makes it look easy. By the time of their first meeting, these three had invited five more friends; thus Keepers of the Home was born. The original plan was for them to have a six-week session, over the summer, but at the end of the appointed time they wanted more, so they started meeting once a month. As word spread her little group grew, with so many women (and men) finding her time-tested advice quite valuable. Lori points out that, “Keepers is about giving hope, encouragement and practical homemaking ideas to women of all ages.” Keepers’ name came from Lori’s own mentor, who encouraged Lori as she struggled as a young wife and mother. After meeting for three years, word came that her husband’s employer was transferring them to Idaho. As she packed and moved to the Gem State, she felt that her mentoring season had come to an end. She was fine with that — she had been

obedient to God’s calling, and believed that He, better than she, knew where this new path would lead. On a home schooling field trip in Idaho, she was approached by a mother who was adopting, wanting to know if Lori, also an adoptive mother, would be willing to meet with and give her some advice. She then called, asking if she could bring a friend; by the time of the first meeting of the Idaho-based Keepers of the Home there were eight in attendance. And so it grows. They soon outgrew the space she and her husband Mark had available at their home, and they moved into one of Calvary Chapel’s meeting areas, only to outgrow that space. Today they meet the first Monday of each month at The Journey, a church located at 9105 W. Overland Road in Boise. Lori’s classes, and her life for that matter, are based on Titus 2:4-5, showing genuine love the way the Lord would have us do. Lori covers four basic areas in her monthly classes: Personal Growth, Marriage, Parenting, and Home Organization, or “Feathering Your Nest,” as she so lovingly calls it. Each of these four segments lasts three to five meetings. Her classes are free and open to anyone; copies of her notes and material are available at each class for $3. Lori shares that most times it costs more than the $3 to produce the information packets, but that with the group growing so large she and her husband simply could no longer continue to absorb these costs. Attending the May 5 Keepers of the Home meeting, the first of her current home organization classes, I found the entire group to be caring and supportive of each other. While there were many there who had one or two children, I was surprised at how many of the mothers had five or more children. Some home schooled, some did not. Some were stay-at-home moms, others worked outside of the home. These were ladies of all

14 July / August 2014 | Christian Living

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MERIDIAN Lori Gammon is leader and founder of Keepers of the Home. (Photo by Steve Jones)

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ages, from different churches and backgrounds. Regardless of these factors they all seemed to genuinely lift each other up. That evening’s guest speaker, Tabitha Rowedder, mother of five with number six due any day, shared how she’s organized many areas of her home. Home schooling her children, she also shared how she organizes their time through scheduling, showing how by scheduling they actually have more free time. She spoke from her heart, sharing her experiences, successes and failures, strengths and weaknesses, encouraging the others that evening to not be afraid to try new things, and explaining that a family’s needs change with each season in their lives, cheering them on to not “grow weary.” Unusual for the meetings, after the guest speaker was finished, Lori had the ladies break into discussion groups, and one mother in our group had 11 children. This mother was remarkable in that she was dressed beautifully, hair done, make-up on. She didn’t look like the frazzled woman one might expect the mother of 11 to be. The young mother beside me leaned over and whispered encouragement for me to really listen to this woman because we could glean so much great information from her. She was right! The common theme through all of the Keepers of the Homes’ classes and Facebook posts is love — loving like the Lord Jesus commanded us to. On Lori’s own website, choosingtobloom.com, she explains her classes teach ‘how to strengthen and enjoy our marriage relationship; coming alongside our children, drawing them close to mentor and disciple them as we all grow in godly character and learn to love as Jesus loves; [and] organizing our home to be comfortable and to bring more order and peace...’ She humbly goes on to state: “I am still purposing to live these principles each day myself…not perfectly but intentionally…the next right thing, and then the next by God’s grace. It’s sometimes overwhelming to look at the big picture, but often the next step seems doable when we stop to think about it.” Lori and I have since met for coffee one more time, and she shared what she feels is the most important thing she hopes her “girls” take from being a member of Keepers: “My desire is for women to be encouraged in the God-given, high calling of being wives and mothers. My hope is that through the Keepers ministry they will be strengthened in their walk with Christ, grow in godly character (becoming more Christ-like), loving their spouses and children better and more effectively, as they serve God in their home first and foremost and also in their community.” n

For information on adding your church to this directory, please call 208-957-6430 or email: boisechristianliving@ gmail.com

Christian Living | July / August 2014 15


COVER STORY

Hot rodding to heaven

Young men, older mentors customize cars for Christ By Carl Boockholdt When asked about what the connection is between old cars and Jesus Christ, Kevin Keep, founder and head of the Rebuilding Generations youth mentorship ministry in Eagle, provided a great metaphor. “Before we come to Christ,” he said, “we are broken and battered, much like the cars we restore. When we accept Christ, we are restored in Him.” Rebuilding Generations is a ministry that provides an opportunity for young men to learn about Christ, cars and life from the “old guys,” as Keep likes to call the program’s mentors. Vintage cars create a great focal point for this ministry because the youngsters and oldsters are equally enthusiastic about them. The passion for hot rods and custom cars began in the 1920s when guys from Southern California began modifying the cheap and plentiful Ford Model T’s and Model A’s to race on the dry lakebeds in the area. The main goal was going faster than the next guy in a long, straight flat-out run for top speed. Since going light means going fast, these lakebed racers stripped everything off of the cars that wasn’t absolutely necessary, installed taller tires on the rear for an easy gearing change and smaller wheels on the front for a bit of aerodynamic improvement, and the first hot rods were born. Americans have been modifying and customizing cars ever since, to the point that the size of the aftermarket business (businesses specializing in accessories and services to modify stock automobiles) is estimated to be a $307.7 billion business that employs as many as 4.2 million workers. Keep is one of those workers. His company, My Deals LLC, provides marketing solutions to many of the top companies in the automotive aftermarket. Like many of the current hot rodders, he owes much of his knowledge and interest to his dad and stepdad, both accomplished mechanics. And he seems to be especially sensitive to the fact that not all boys have the advantage of a dad at home who shares his interests with his sons.

Glen Burman, at center in ball cap, practices some of his newly learned car refurbishing techniques. (Photo by Carl Boockholdt)

16 July / August 2014 | Christian Living

Lynn Hawkins is a senior mentor in Rebuilding Generations, a ministry built around restoring old cars. (Photo by Carl Boockholdt)

The inspiration for Rebuilding Generations came to Keep when he noticed that there wasn’t much interaction between the young men at his church and the older men. It seemed that the younger guys were losing respect for the seniors and the older folks didn’t really understand the youngsters. Keep felt that these two groups had a lot to offer each other, and he thought a common interest in cool old cars might just be the catalyst that could create a bond between them. The program began in April of 2013 with their first project, a 1971 Ford Mustang that was in need of some love. There was no lack of attention for that aging beauty, with 15 eager young men and an equal number of seasoned gents pouring over the car, attending to its every need. After about eight months of this high level care, the Mustang was ready for the unveiling at the Specialty Equipment Market Association show. According to its promoters, “The SEMA show is the premier automotive specialty products trade event in the world.” Many of the companies that provide sponsorships for car rebuilding projects attend the SEMA event, and the kids get the chance to meet and thank sponsors for the support they have given the program. One particularly memorable encounter at SEMA happened when the Rebuilding Generations crew thanked one of their higher profile sponsors, Meguiar’s Wax. The team was introduced to Barry Meguiar, president of the company and host of the Velocity Channel show “Car Crazy.” Meguiar, a devoted Christian, spent a lot of time talking with the young men in the program and left them with two Bible verses: Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths” and Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” Trust in the Lord is something that is critical to the Rebuilding Generations program. As with many fledgling programs,

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Young men and their older mentors customize beautiful cars like this dark blue Mustang through a fellowship called Rebuilding Generations, the brainchild of Kevin Keep of Eagle. (Courtesy photo)

finances are a challenge. Even with sponsorships it requires cash to provide the momentum for Rebuilding Generations to move forward. In its short existence the program has brought souls to salvation through Jesus Christ, brought the Gospels to non-believers and healed hearts. Keep hopes to expand the ministry by getting other Christian organizations throughout the country to adopt the program for the young men in their communities. He also hopes to build a show car that would be entered in car shows around the region. The bigger shows attract thousands of attendees and Keep believes between the cars and the testimonies of the kids in the program there would be a myriad of opportunities to share Christ with people. Right now the program is primarily supported by donations through the Rebuilding Generations website and Keep’s own finances. Over the course of the Mustang project the kids were exposed to a wide variety of mechanical skills. The Mustang received a full renovation of the suspension and exhaust system as well as an engine rebuild, refurbished electrical system, new interior and convertible top plus fresh paint. And even though the tutelage in technical expertise was comprehensive, it didn’t stop with wrench spinning. The young men in this program were involved in cataloging and ordering needed parts, communicating with suppliers and sponsors, documenting the work

Rick Karaffa, a Rebuilding Generations mentor, has learned life’s lessons the hard way and hopes to help kids avoid the same mistakes. (Photo by Carl Boockholdt)

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Chuck Evans, right, a paint and body expert from the 3M Corporation, conducts a class on paint finishing techniques. (Photo by Carl Boockholdt)

and a host of other tasks related to the business side of car restoring and customizing. While Rebuilding Generations is clearly a great way for young men to acquire skill sets that could be instrumental in landing a job, this is far from a vocational training program. First and foremost, this is a faith-based program with Christ at the center of everything they do. Weekly meetings start with a prayer and a community meal followed by a devotional before the first wrench is turned. “The real lessons here are life lessons: patience, teamwork, being reliable, work ethic, attention to safety and doing things the right way,” Keep said. The kids aren’t the only ones learning. Lynn Hawkins has been one of the senior mentors since the start of Rebuilding Generations. “I’ve always been interested in cars and I’ve always been interested in youth programs. This (program) provided a really unique opportunity to pass on not only just knowledge but a heart for people,” he said. Some of the young men attend the program with their fathers. “The neat part is that we have some dads working with us and they have learned a lot about their kids. I think we provide a little balance in that whole thing,” Hawkins said. He hopes to learn something from the kids as well. “I want to get into this Facebook thing,” he said. n To learn more about Rebuilding Generations, go to www.RebuildingGenerations.com; visit Facebook at www.facebook.com/RebuildingGenerations; or follow on Twitter at https://twitter.com/rebuildinggen.

Christian Living | July / August 2014 17


FAITH And Finances

Do not dare not to dare

By Joel Lund It’s summertime! And that means loads of movie releases. Who doesn’t love to catch a blockbuster movie in an air-conditioned theatre when it’s too hot to do much of anything outside? If you look up the 50 top grossing movies of all time, you’ll be struck by some common themes. Perhaps you’ll be astonished. How come? Because the vast majority of movies (94 percent by one count) take place in another time or place. In other words, roughly 9 out of 10 of the top movies of all time are based in fantasy or science fiction. Nearly all of them have a heroic element to the plot, if not a hugely heroic lead character. So, it’s clear that we really like big, epic stories that grab our imaginations and shake them like a dog bone. But, why is that? Some would argue that these kinds of stories — with lush, alternate realities where hobbits, wizards, Vader, the Navi, Jurassic dinos, zombie pirates, Neo and Nemo face down amazing perils — allow us to live through someone else, even a madeup someone else. But, again, why is that? What’s the attraction? Given that the top 50 bestselling movies generated well north of $5 billion with just the top 10…we must find something very compelling about these kinds of tales. The reason, I believe, is summed up in the title of this article: Do not dare not to dare. It comes from another series of stories about an alternate reality, based in the world of Narnia. C.S. Lewis, the acclaimed author who invented Narnia, summed up in a single, very simple statement from one of his most compelling characters (Aslan), a truism that all of us should listen to: do not dare not to dare. You can find the saying in “The Horse and His Boy,” in the Chronicles of Narnia. Sounds kind of crazy, though, doesn’t it? “Do not dare not to dare.” Who does that kind of stuff ? People who are living full lives do.

we have loved — even adored! — our epic fantasy and sci-fi tales. At least we could see somebody win. We could see them win against insurmountable odds. We could feel the hero’s success through them, even when it was hard to find any success in our own lives or the lives of those dear to us. Right? Who can’t name someone who didn’t suffer financial hardship through those years? Or who doesn’t still suffer? And that’s why it’s a shame. Because too many people are still waiting for a Hollywood ending to a real life challenge. Solving complex issues in this world takes much longer Joel Lund is an experienced financial advisor, author, than a couple of hours, and requires and former youth minister. He is also CEO of his way more resources than a bag of own company, Prepare For Rain, LLC. He may be popcorn. reached on Facebook/Prepare For Rain; by email at Joel@PrepareForRain.com; or on Twitter, @ It takes intention. Lots of focus. PrepareForRain. And grit. Perseverance. Dedication To dare what we would not dare… to and probably a serious uptick in disintentionally engage in what frightens ciplined behavior. Plus getting back us… to willfully go against the safe up. A lot. and secure… isn’t that what allows The truth is that being an agent us to grow? How else do we venture of positive change in our own realinto new places, whether they are ity absolutely requires faith, not only emotional, physical, intellectual or spiritual? in ourselves but also in the world Of course, it is much more comfort- around us. We must change our limitable to venture into new places when ing belief that we live in a world of there is no risk involved, like when scarcity — where there’s not enough we watch blockbuster movies. It’s to go around and that’s why the great especially comfortable when we’re cocooned in a temperature controlled recession happened — to a liberating belief that the world is abundant. theatre. That there is more than enough. And that’s a shame. Now don’t get me wrong. As much That opportunities are everywhere as anyone, in our house we love when we are open to seeing them. watching great, epic stories of charOpen versus closed. We choose. acters thrust into adventures with Coming up with a solution is posfantastic creatures or superheroes, pitted against unrelenting forces bent sible, but only when we dig deep — really deep — and go for it. Just on their defeat. In fact, I’m writing and publishing these kinds of stories. like the characters we love so much But it’s still a shame. in our favorite summer blockbusters. Through all the years of what has We love those characters because been termed “The Great Recession” they did not dare not to dare. We can the biggest movies were escapist in do the same. We must do the same. nature. Throughout those financially Dare greatly, keep the faith, and difficult years from 2007 until now, make your dent in the universe! n

18 July / August 2014 | Christian Living

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CHRISTIAN Businesspeople

Brian Rodriguez on God and business

“Thank you, Stephanie Rodriguez, for being so patient with me for over 20 years.” — Brian Rodriguez (Photo by Sandy Jones)

By Sandy Jones Leaving home at the age of 14 Brian Rodriguez was no stranger to hard work. He went to California to live on his own. He learned what it is to be truly independent; to go without food; to live under a Highway 91 overpass on Placentia Avenue; to be all on his own. He readily admits he seemed to be drawn to that “shady element,” made some poor decisions, and paid his dues. Brian and his wife Stephanie met in California in 1994. Brian knew he had to have a fresh start and came back to his roots here in Idaho. Stephanie, his rock, followed a short time later. In 1998 Brian’s 12-year old-son, J.R., from a previous marriage came to Idaho to live with them, and they became a family. It was on April 15 that same year that Brian, a painter since the age of 19, decided it was time to venture out on his own and he started Brush Above the Rest Painting (formerly BAR Painting). He confesses that things were tight, and if Stephanie had not worked outside of the home the first couple of years they never would have made it. Fast forward nearly two decades and today he is a successful businessman, father of five, husband, and man of God. J.R. is now married with two children of his own. Brian and Stephanie still have four children at home: Morgan, 12; Richard, 11; Graydon, 5; and Parker, 3. Brian is adamant about the importance of family. His pride of family doesn’t stop with his wife and children though. He speaks fondly of his grandfather, who led the family in devotions every morning and listened to his 20 July / August 2014 | Christian Living

grandchildren’s bedtime prayers each night, insuring that each member of the family knew Jesus. Brian is proud of his siblings as well, and boasts of their accomplishments: his brother Richard, also a painter, owns Picasso Painting; sister Lisa, a restaurateur, owns a’Tavola Gourmet Marketplace & Café, where she works with their other sister, Brandi; and the third brother, Mike, owns and operates Christian Brothers Construction. The siblings’ entrepreneurialism is all based on a tradition of a good work ethic instilled by both their father and grandfather. One family member, who has been very instrumental in Brian’s life, is his brother-in-law, Peter (Lisa’s husband). As Brian was struggling with alcohol, Peter was always right there talking to him, but never pushing him too far, letting Brian know that he was always there for him. Then one day Peter gave Brian a book called “One Dollar Rehab” and asked Brian to read it; that was the first step to sobriety and a new look on life. That was 18 months ago. Brian now attends AA and is grateful that Peter’s encouragement and faith in him has helped him be a better person for himself and his family. Reflecting back on his grandfather’s teachings, Brian laments that “it’s unfortunate my grandfather didn’t get to see me not drinkin’, or going to church without being forced to, or praying at my own table with my kids without anyone making me.” Brian thanks God daily for everything he has; he feels it’s the most important thing he does. He’s thankful for a www.boisechristianliving.com


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wonderful wife, five healthy children, two healthy grandchildren, and work. Brian doesn’t stress like he used to; since he and his family have started attending church and growing closer to God, Brian knows everything will be taken care of. He doesn’t take his relationship with God lightly: making a permanent impression, he replaced a bracelet his sister Lisa bought him with a colorful tattoo with the very powerful reminder that “I am second” on his left forearm. There have been times in Brian’s life when he needed help but just wouldn’t accept it, so he understands need. Brian takes that understanding and applies it in his business. He willingly hires those down on their luck, and who are truly willing to work. Brian also comprehends that life happens. Sometimes people don’t plan effectively and simply can’t take care of their homes — want to, but simply can’t. In those cases he has been known to sit down with a client and set up payment arrangements, so the client can take pride in their home once again. Brian works hard to not judge others, stating that what someone else does is between them and God at judgment, not them and Brian. He also hopes for the same grace, stating, “This is who I am now — I am not the same person I was 20 years ago.” It was a long road to get where he’s at, and Brian is grateful for everything he has. n

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Christian Living | July / August 2014 21


SISTERS ync.

Syncing, soaring with other women

Some of the women of SISTERS ync. pray for a member at last year’s fall conference. (Courtesy photo)

By Gaye Bunderson Tracey Auer came to Boise in 2000 with a performing arts background in acting, singing and dancing in Florida. She had been a church worship leader at Sunset Bay Chapel in that state and made the move to Idaho when her husband got a job here. “It was a God thing,” she said. “I came here sight unseen. I just knew we were supposed to do this.” The Gem State obviously wasn’t entirely like the Sunset State. “It was different, but great,” Auer said. She relates with humor how arriving in May was pleasant enough. The spring weather here matched Florida’s spring weather. Then fall came and experiencing autumn in Idaho was new to her. When winter arrived, seeing snow for the first time early in the season was fun. “Then it became January and I was pushing a shopping cart through the snow,” she said, laughing. About six years after she arrived, she felt God was speaking in her spirit about something new. “I felt He was putting women on my heart: their needs, how hard they work, how they don’t say how they need help. They’re super women on the surface, but underneath, a lot of life is going on,” Auer said. For two years, Auer continued to feel she needed to reach out to women, but the exact nature of the ministry remained undefined during that time. The trained dancer is a proponent of natural childbirth and is an experienced doula, someone who assists women throughout the birthing process. Unable to get a handle on where God was leading her,

22 July / August 2014 | Christian Living

she said she joked, “What am I going to be? The tap-dancing doula?” On the first anniversary of her father’s death, she and a group of friends gathered at a coffee shop in Meridian for what they thought was a bit of grief support. It was at this time that Auer decided to share the vision God had been placing on her heart. She invited the women present to join her, and an organization called SISTERS ync. started to develop. The original members united around the theme of restoring women to “their intended destiny through mental, physical and spiritual growth” (from sistersync.com). The coffee group started meeting regularly on Tuesdays and began by sending out questionnaires asking women to comment on their challenges, their biggest heartaches, and other matters of importance to them. “We came up with the vision of creating the environment and objective to let every woman know they are loved, valued and relevant to this generation,” Auer said. “The seasons and times are changing. Our mothers’ and grandmothers’ times are not relevant now. The challenge is to give women time and space to figure out who they are, where they’re going, and to find God at the center of it all. The point of our vision was to ‘get to real,’ to empower women in a practical manner that is biblically based and current for the times. The Bible is still as relevant today as at its inception. It can meet the realities of today.” Anne Reeve, bookkeeper for SISTERS ync., said, “It’s like puzzle pieces, reading what the Bible says and bringing it into modern context.” SISTERS ync. stands for Soaring In Sync Together: Empowering, Restoring, Succeeding. The “ync” is also meant to reinforce the word “sync” when combined with the last S in SISTERS. Does the message of being loved, valued and relevant have meaning for men as well? Absolutely, Auer said. She started holding church service to encompass everyone — men, women and children — and embrace the worth of the family unit and the idea all people in it are essential. 3E Chapel meets at 10:30 a.m. Sundays in the Teton Room of the Boise Hotel at 3300 Vista Ave.; 3E stands for Encourage, Equip, Empower. “Are we male bashers? My gosh, no. Nothing could be further from the truth,” she said, noting she is the mother of six children and four of them are boys. The children who attend 3E Chapel with their parents are not scooted off to a separate area during church. “It’s important for children to feel involved too; they serve the same God we do,” Auer said. “It’s certainly not a traditional service, but there’s a lovely sense of the Lord being there.” Auer conducts the service, and Reeve referred to her as “our fearless leader.” Asked to comment on some of the things more traditional Christians might be concerned about regarding the female-led services, Auer doesn’t flinch. She feels confident she is serving where God wants her. What about 1 Corinthians 14:34: “Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak...”?

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7-2014

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“Anyone in a position of leadership has a healthy responsibility to lead. I lead men as the mother of four sons,” Auer said. “Every person needs to go worship where they’re lead, and you can examine the fruit in a person’s walk with the Lord. We welcome anyone who would like to join us and feels called to worship with us, or just check us out.” What about Colossians 3:18: “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord...”? “You can still be submissive to your husbands, but you still have your own voice,” Auer said. She admitted the husbands of SISTERS ync. members are not necessarily cut from a conventional mold. Reeve agreed, stating, “There’s a definite sense you (the wife) are an individual.” Auer doesn’t twist Scripture to suit her, nor make light of its value. “What is the Word to me? It’s everything,” she said. Currently, there are 274 registered members of SISTERS ync., although many women in the valley who aren’t registered members attend the organization’s events, including seminars and conferences. “The sisters of SISTERS ync. meet daily with each other through our website (sistersync.com) and Facebook for prayer support, topic discussions, daily inspirational posts, and casual conversations,” Carol Ogren, communications manager for the group, said. “Our organized activities include weekly chapel — open to sisters, misters, family, friends, and anyone who’s looking for a church home — quarterly Bible studies and book studies, Girls’ Night Out summer fun, an annual spring seminar and a fall conference, and special events and holiday celebrations throughout the year. There is no cost to join SISTERS ync. and no membership fees.” The 2014 Fall Conference is set for Oct. 3-5. Anyone interested in attending the conference or joining SISTERS ync. may contact Ogren at carol@sistersync.com or 209-918-8983 (209 is the correct area code). n

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Christian Living | July / August 2014 23


THE Brighter Side

Near-death experience of ‘Perfect Love’ By Ronald Kern It was a day like any other for Glenn O’Dell, at his home in a rural city in Idaho, on September 23, 2009. “I remember it like yesterday,” he told me. “I had just finished lunch and sat down in my den with 3 or 4 pieces of licorice and all of a sudden, ‘wham’ in the chest. It was excruciating pain and I instantly knew it was a heart attack.” Glenn did his best to make a croaking sound (it was hard to make any sound due to lack of oxygen and intense pain), and gained the attention of his son Shawn. Glenn told him to drive to the city of Kuna and find paramedics, so Shawn loaded him in the car and off they went. Along the way they came to a railroad crossing and a train was passing through, which forced them to stop. “I remember seeing the train and it was moving so slow, I focused on my breathing, which helped me calm down,” Glenn said. The bad luck and timing of the train was offset by the vehicle in front of them, which was also waiting for the train to pass. The vehicle happened to be an Ada County Police Officer, who Shawn quickly updated on the dire situation. The officer radioed for an ambulance, which arrived promptly. At this point, Glenn was “in and out” but does recall hearing the siren, which was music to his ears. Glenn then recalls arriving in the emergency room, where they cut off his clothes and gave him the news. Two blood clots, which likely came loose from a previous knee surgery, were the cause of his heart attack. One blood clot was 17 centimeters long, while the other was 11 centimeters. One went to both lungs while the other traveled to the right ventricles of his heart. For perspective, that equates to 6.7” and 4.3” respectively, almost the length of a ruler combined. While the doctor was sharing the dismal news, Glenn was in and out of consciousness, but at one point opened his eyes and all of his family were standing around him. Did Glenn have a living will? Would heroic life-saving measures be used? These difficult topics confirmed what everyone already knew: the situation was a very serious one. As Glenn was wheeled into the operating room he remembers it being very cold. The anesthesiologist told him that once asleep, a tube was going to be

placed down his throat. Glenn jokingly replied with, “Thanks for that.” Surgery began and the physicians were wearing optical glasses, sterilized suits, masks, goggles and face shields, and many tools, tubes and machines surrounded the table. Suddenly Glenn realized that he was above the room looking down at everything taking place. He was even above the lights that hung on the ceiling and his first thought was, “I’ve been abducted by spacemen!” From Glenn’s high vantage point, it could easily resemble spacemen poking and prodding a subject. “My chest was broken wide open, and there was a drape in front of my head, and as I looked down everyone was working diligently, but not in a panic or chaotic manner.” Seeing this, one could estimate that fear would be the most notable emotion but not so in Glenn’s case. “I looked around further, but all I felt was a fantastic peace. I felt so loved, like being embraced and never being let go; it was an awesome feeling.” Many people experiencing a neardeath experience (NDE) speak of seeing a bright white light. Glenn’s light was, “more of a sunset color, warm and comforting, and I felt myself being led to it, and I wanted to go. The light was the most incredible high, which neither words or emotions can describe how wonderful it was. “I thought at this exact moment I had indeed died, and I couldn’t have been more happy!” I asked him if he saw family or friends who died before him, Jesus, or the Pearly Gates. He said, “No.” I asked if that concerned him and he said, “I didn’t care as I felt so incredibly loved and good, it really didn’t matter. I have never felt so loved and had such a sense of immersion of goodness. The English language doesn’t offer any words that can describe this feeling.” Glenn said that the closest description he can use, which still falls well short, is “Perfect Love.” The 8-hour surgery was finally complete, and he was wheeled into recovery. He woke up to a lot of pain and was immediately very upset about it, but much more so that this wonderful feeling and experience were no longer happening. Over the next several weeks his body was making progress to recover, but his mind and mental state were not. “I was

24 July / August 2014 | Christian Living

Glenn O’Dell so upset and depressed that I lived,” he said. I asked him if he would choose his NDE over everything and everyone he has ever encountered in his entire life. Glenn quickly and without hesitation said, “In a heartbeat.” If you are willing to cast aside everything you have ever known for something, that “something” must be absolutely inconceivable. This extraordinary journey he had taken was so powerful that he wanted nothing else but to go back to it. It was clear that the perfect love he felt, the comfort and sense of belonging and peace, knowing all was just right, had been the most wondrous experience ever for him, and he wanted it back, period. Glenn became more depressed and angry for several months afterwards, for “being short circuited from completing my transition.” This feeling of peace and perfection was so great that Glenn even considered suicide. The many lessons Glenn took away from his visit were insightful and incredible. “It was like being plugged into a ‘super-computer’ and instantly I had answers to all of my questions. I was exposed to truth and that we all have a purpose here on earth; there weren’t any secrets.” Glenn relayed to me the many lessons he learned during his NDE, all of which he hopes people take seriously, as it could change their life. “Do not fear death and live every single moment, in that moment. It’s real, folks,” he said.

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a grin on his face. He has no benefit or gain in coming up with or exaggerating a story, and frankly, I was surprised he agreed to sit down for an interview. He said he was ready to get his story out if it would help others. He shares his NDE so that anyone reading this is aware that there is “The Perfect Love” waiting for them. I prepared myself with great research on this topic, both people who believe near-death experiences exist, and equally of those who do not. Additionally, I spent hours looking up medical possibilities for NDE’s, such as lack of oxygen, drugs, hallucinations and others. All of these in my estimation were, for lack of a better word, debunked. Although my complete findings can be found on my YouTube Channel, I do want to share the highlights. A reason, claimed by many, say that NDE’s can’t exist as the Bible doesn’t allow or mention glimpses into Heaven, but agree you can (glimpse Heaven) but only after you have died. However in my research, that isn’t accurate. Stephen, Paul and John all saw Heaven while alive and were taken there. Stephen remarked about seeing Christ in Acts 7:56, Paul wasn’t as eager to talk about his experience but did in 2 Corinthians 12:1-4, and John relayed his visit in Revelations. I am not one to judge who has or hasn’t had a glimpse into Heaven, but I do agree that any NDE should be evaluated closely. This would include considering the source, how it relates (or contradicts) the Bible, or the motive behind it. Continued on page 27

07-2014

I let my mind marinate on this and it was so simple in theory but hard to truly comprehend. If you don’t fear death, then what possibly could bother you or cause you fear here on earth? If you don’t fear death, as you know there is more afterwards, don’t you think you would really, sincerely, and truly start to “live?” I suppose it’s easier to not fear it if you have personally had an NDE, but then again, perhaps that is where faith steps in. Glenn added, “So many cause themselves to suffer with bills, dreams, finances, prestige, relationships and countless other items. Don’t sweat the details and get caught up in unimportant things.” Glenn continued with more lessons. “Everyone is connected in some way, so know this prior to casting judgment. Spend more time with your loved ones and value and cherish the times you have.” Glenn also added firmly, “Fame, fortune, and material things mean nothing — family means everything.” I should also add here that he mentioned this several times during our conversation. I shifted gears at this point and played the part of a non-believer, someone on the fence, or even an atheist. I asked Glenn, “What would you say to someone who thinks your story was a fluke, not real, was due to lack of oxygen, the drugs they gave you, or just hallucinations?” Glenn responded confidently, “I know the truth when I was plugged in and connected. There is a purpose to your life.” I want to mention that Glenn O’Dell is a very private person. He doesn’t stand on a corner shouting about his experience, nor does he try to change, convert, or impress others with it. He has done well and is respected in business, is content with being at home with his family, and doesn’t venture too far off, typically. Glenn also completed 31 years of military service in the Army, where he reached the rank of colonel, the fifth highest position you can hold. I don’t believe Glenn has an agenda or motive in sharing his experience, other than to help comfort and share what he experienced with 110 percent certainty. Glenn is in the minority of people that “look forward to death,” which he said with

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Christian Living | July / August 2014 25


BUSINESS Spotlight

Connie King an ‘angel’ to soldiers

Connie King sells Mary Kay and devotes herself to the company’s Soldiers’ Angels project, benefiting America’s men and women in uniform. (Photo by Gaye Bunderson)

Of the various Mary Kay programs that benefit the community, King said she chose Soldiers’ Angels because of family military history. Her father was an Army paratrooper during World War II; her husband’s father was on a Navy battleship during WWII; and later, her husband Dale served in the Navy as an airplane mechanic. For many years, King stood out as the first and only woman employed in auto parts departments in area car dealerships, even working her way up to parts department manager at Peterson Autoplex (now Peterson Auto Group), where she worked for 18 years. She started her career in 1971 at Wolfe Day Ford in Caldwell (later Happy Day Ford). When fire destroyed the building that housed the dealership and it moved temporarily to Simplot Field House, King was in charge of putting parts into bins to make the transition. “Then I was the only one who could find the parts,” she said.

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That translated into job security for her. Over the years she became certified in sales of parts for all makes and models, including Toyota, Ford, Lincoln-Mercury, Lexus, Jeep, Chrysler, Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, Kia and Scion. Three years postretirement, she can still rattle off parts numbers. “D3TZ16612A,” she said. “That’s a first division 1973 Ford truck hood. … Fuel pumps were 9350.” There was even a numerical association with her telephone number. “The numbers never go away. They float around in your head forever,” she said. “I used to look things up in books, then microfiche, then cell phones, then computers. It’s all computers now, for referencing and for ordering. … But those books used to weigh 20 pounds apiece.” During her career she won various industry awards for excellence, acknowledging her vast expertise, and was honored with a TWIN award in 1998. (TWIN stands for Tribute to Women and Industry and is a program of the local Women’s & Children’s Alliance.) She said she chose to work with Mary Kay following her retirement because after working so many years surrounded by men, she wanted to do something that put her in touch with women. “I wanted a way to show women that everyone can do something. Everyone can make a difference, and everyone is beautiful,” King said. She praised Mary Kay for its givingback component. “The reason I chose Mary Kay is they put God and faith first, family and friends second, and career third,” King said. “The Mary Kay Foundation has given millions to women’s and children’s causes and to cancer research.” n To contact Connie to contribute to Soldiers’ Angels/Operation Mary Kay call 208-866-4824 or email: connieking@live.com.

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By Gaye Bunderson Retired several years ago from an auto parts department career, Connie King of Caldwell wanted to do something with her life to pay it forward. She got involved with cosmetics company Mary Kay and started collecting donations to benefit the firm’s Soldiers’ Angels project. The motto for the project is “May No Soldier Go Unloved.” Through it, military personnel are sent kits full of items such as sunscreen, after-shave gel, facial cleansing cloths, foot care products, body wash, and other supplies. King has been participating in the program since 2011. “My goal this year is 500 kits. In the past, I’ve gathered enough donations for 200,” King said. She will need $10,000 to send 500 kits to U.S. soldiers wherever they’re stationed. In 2013, she gathered $2,400 in donations and she acknowledged $10,000 is a big challenge. She started working toward reaching the goal in April and will send the kits to soldiers throughout July and August. To raise funds, she places small donation boxes in businesses throughout the Treasure Valley, as well as makes presentations to Lions and Eagles clubs telling members about Soldiers’ Angels and how they may participate. She also seeks sponsorships. Anyone who makes a contribution in any amount gets a thank you card to fill out and send in the kit that is sent to the soldier. “Lots of letters come back saying ‘thank you,’” King said.

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Quotes & Scripture

Continued from page 5

“Then Peter came and said to Him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’” — Matthew 18:21-22 “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” — Ephesians 4:31-32

A former business owner in Meridian for more than 20 years, Ronald Kern and his wife, Lisa, are now retired. They are founders of Kern Ministry Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit Christian organization that provides life’s essentials, medical supplies and educational resources for children, families and communities worldwide. Kern is an entrepreneur, business and life consultant, author, motivational speaker and philanthropist. Contact him anytime at www.RonaldAKern.com or TheBrighterSide@icloud.com.

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7-2014

Using military language, Glenn feels he has been “given an additional mission” by not dying that day. He uses this story to help veterans who may be close to dying, and hopes his experience brings comfort to them. He also is a huge advocate for veterans and assists them with benefits after getting discharged, and also has a store called “Vets 4 Success” which is a way to help them without the government’s involvement or assistance. I think some may find it harder than others to consider or believe experiences like Glenn’s, as it isn’t something tangible and not 100 percent supported by science, which is why “faith” is such a critical word. Nobody can, with all certainty, prove or disprove if these types of near-death experiences take place, so it’s easier to not believe until it’s “proven” to them. Our society has become obsessed with requiring physical proof before believing. I am sure you have felt love, joy, peace or contentment in your life, right? You cannot see these emotions, so do they exist? The actions from these emotions might be visible, but not the emotions themselves. Either way he knows that people who have passed away are now enjoying “The Perfect Love.” When he hears about someone passing away he now thinks they are the lucky ones, experiencing full time what he had a glimpse into. I believe a fitting scripture to close with is John 20:29, “Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.’” If you wish to contact Glenn, email me at TheBrighterSide@ icloud.com, and I’ll pass it along. Watch excerpts of Glenn telling his story on my YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube. com/TheBrighterSide4U. To learn more about his non-profit organization, visit: http://www.vets4success.org. n

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Near Death Continued from page 25

Christian Living | July / August 2014 27


OUTDOORS With Dougherty

Memorial Day weekend memories Just as we were finishing off catching By Dan Dougherty our limits of fish, many more people Memorial Day weekend 2014 found from granddads to small children us once again on our annual family outbegin to arrive for some fishing fun. ing to the mountains, six months since They were greatly encouraged to hear my last visit to board up the cabin for the news and see our fish. Peggy and the winter. I had taken the trailer up I returned two days later and quickly with the four-wheeler a week earlier, limited out again. making sure the road was passable. My Friday evening the rest of the family wife Peggy and I left on Thursday after members who were coming up arher work to take the camp trailer up to rived. Five of the six grandkids were the property, where it stays until huntthere. Our youngest son, Jakoub, had ing season. to work. Our middle son, David, his The weather was perfect, and leavwife Sarah and 4-year-old Cashlan ing on Thursday put us ahead of the were preparing to head to Arkansas to Memorial Day weekend traffic. visit relatives for two weeks. We had a The evening trip was a beautiful great Memorial Day weekend of fun ride. The traffic was light and the and laughter. It so good to get away view gave pause to thank God for His from TV and cell phone coverage where creation. A vivid blue sky with a slight people actually have to interact on a scattering of fluffy white clouds, personal level. The Peep Smores around vibrant green hillsides of grass and the camp fire are always a big hit. It’s trees, and the raging Payette River amazing how quickly the time passes provided an unforgettable panorama. and another memory is recorded. I couldn’t help but be in awe of the My dad died a couple of weeks before brave kayakers that continually chalMemorial Day in 2001. We spent many lenge the river. Memorial Days fishing in past years. He We were arriving just before always told me that, “Memories help sunset. Several hundred yards up mold you to who you are — so make from the property we observed four good ones.” elk feeding in the meadow near the I have been retired since last May. Dad reflected waters of the beaver pond Dan Dougherty did well at both fishing and making family with its dam in perfect repair. On the memories on Memorial Day weekend 2014. (Courtesy photo) told me before he died that when I retired to go support my brother in his church. As opposite side of the pond we viewed I was preparing to retire I followed his suggestion. As Memothree more elk. As we crossed into the property, Camp Creek rial Day has just passed and Father’s Day is coming it brings to was flowing to the top of its banks and everything was pristine mind a poem I wrote last year on making that change. and green. Rapid Creek on the opposite side of the property was not a creek but a roaring river as the runoff from Jug Handle Memories Mountain was in full swing. I have The announcements given, a prayer was prayed, the singing now was done. never seen it so high. It was good to The smiling minister up ready to speak was also my father’s son. see that much water. We had the trailer leveled and set As I sat there listening, and his spirit-filled words touched my soul, up by dark and went to bed after With a bowed head and closed, glistening eyes, my tears begin to flow. a long day. I always marvel at how well I sleep in the mountains. I have The voice, the words, a message of love, what memories to me it brought. heard many others express the same I could hear my father preaching now and how by his example we were taught. sentiment. Also the appetite in the “The greatest gift a father can give is one of unconditional love.” morning always seems to be enhanced. After breakfast Peggy and It was for this love Jesus died for us, sent from His Father above. I headed into Brown’s Pond for our usual fishing trip. It is about a quarWhen the service concluded, in the sanctuary we prepared to leave ter mile walk in. No one was there I smiled from my memories as I dried my eyes upon my sleeve. yet and we had it all to ourselves. From the loving model he set before me, I know when my life is done As I caught my first fish, a Fish At our reunion in heaven I will hear, “It is good to see you, son.” and Game truck came through the locked gate and up to the pond. In short order the young man dumped 1,200 fish into the pond right beside Go out and make some good memories with those you love. n us. As he left he assured us the fishing should be good. It was!

28 July / August 2014 | Christian Living

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NOTES From Home

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A world where Mommy will never smile again is a tragic world, indeed. I hate that I gave him a glimpse of that. It was a powerful reminder, though, of how much my mood affects those around me. My lovely, lovable children are naturally inclined to happiness, and they deserve to be happy. If the price I have to pay to give that to them is to choose to be happy myself, is that really much of a price? Sometimes I forget that happiness is my choice. I walk around stressed or annoyed or bored or whatever and Jonah sees a look he can’t define in my face. He asks, “Mommy, are you happy or sad?” I LOVE that those are the two options for him. It’s true. If I’m not sad, then the only thing left for me to be should be happy. These in-between emotions are optional. I can choose to put a smile on my face and look into my sweet boy’s eyes and see happiness reflected and magnified there. I can be happy. Happiness feeds on itself, especially with little children around. I am blessed to have two happiness amplifiers pulling my hair and kissing my cheeks and feeding my joy every day. I suppose I need to amend my description of Jonah’s emotional repertoire. A few weeks ago, happy and sad were the only two options for him. He’s since added a third: tired. n

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By Dani Grigg I had a mothering moment recently that will go down in history filed under “WHY?” I’m going to tell you why, but you’re going to shake your head at me sadly and say, “That’s no excuse,” and you’ll be right. The why is this: I was so, so tired. It was 9 p.m. My two small boys theoretically go to bed at 8, and the three hours between that moment and my own bedtime I guard selfishly. Stingily. They’re MINE. But, this night, it was 9 p.m., and my boys were giddily resisting standard nighttime operating procedures. They were darting away from the hands trying to dress them and brush their teeth and give them their last drink of milk. They were pretending not to hear commands to come to my husband and me for prayers and hugs and kisses. They were squirmy and squealy. I was miserable. I saw my precious downtime slipping down the drain faster and faster. My 3-year-old son, Jonah, eventually slowed down enough to notice the darkness in my face as I glared at the wall, feeling sorry for myself. He said, “Mommy? When are you going to be happy again?” This was the moment. My goodness urged me to smile at him. I know my happiness means a lot to this sweet little boy. I know it, but I was selfish and pathetic and so, so tired. I shifted my empty eyes to him and said, “NEVER.” NOT OKAY. I know. That’s just not an okay thing to say to a 3year-old. He burst into tears. He wailed. His dad came rushing in from wrangling our 2-year-old and asked what was the matter. Jonah bawled, “Mommy’s not going to smile again!” This poor child. I immediately snapped back into acceptable mothering mode and hugged him and smiled at him and assured him that it was okay, that I was happy.

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Christian Living | July / August 2014 29


CONSIDER This

Testing: tormenting or transforming? ful than any problem! Don’t be intimidated by fear, anxiety, rejection, failure, hopelessness, confusion or any other test. Don’t even look twice. Do we remember Lot’s wife who looked back a second time and was turned into a pillar of salt in Genesis 19:26? Why? Because God, Your God, is always ahead of you. He’s always right there with you. He won’t ever let you down. He won’t ever leave you. The Greek meaning in Hebrews 13:5 is even more powerful: I (Your Lord) will never, never, never leave you and I will never, never, never forsake you! I believe the number one reason we try to avoid facing our tests is that our culture (influenced by the devil) has convinced us that we are all alone in our testing. Satan will prey on our feelings of fear and abandonment. We have been conditioned to doubt just like Adam and Eve were. The problem, especially a fiery test, catches us by surprise and we haven’t been trained to immediately look to Christ, who is the Author and Finisher of our faith.

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30 July / August 2014 | Christian Living

Dr. Dan Woodworth is an adviser, author and inspirational speaker. He is well known for his uplifting messages, and in his own life has overcome illness to become what he calls “a healthy and happy man.” He has worked as a fisheries research biologist, consultant, teacher, counselor, real estate property manager, ordained pastor and chaplain. He may be reached at dan@danwoodworth.org. For more information visit www.danwoodworth.org.

615 Caldwell Blvd. Nampa, Idaho

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By Dan Woodworth All of us face tests and challenges living on this earth. Our secular culture and the church culture in the United States seek to avoid or escape from tests. We have been “conditioned” to see tests as “bad” or “tormenting.” Let’s look at how our Living Lord wants to respond to testing (challenges, conflict and contrary circumstances). Let’s open our hearts and minds and see and hear from His perspective in The Message in Deuteronomy 31:6: Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you. Our Loving Lord wants us to be empowered in Him (Ephesians 6:10) and face our tests head on. He wants us to look them straight in the face and see Christ in the middle of the mess. He deeply desires for us to see the miracle moment! What does He mean by not being intimidated and not giving them a second thought? His Promise is much more power-

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The test or problem looks bigger than the promise because our feelings don’t match our faith until our minds are renewed by the Word of God empowered by the Holy Spirit! Let’s look at His words of Spirit and Life in Ephesians 4:2224 in The Message: Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything — and I do mean everything — connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life — a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you. I am continually learning how to “perceive” testing. I repeat the powerful promises of God out loud every day several times a day. I need to continually renew my mind to think and feel the way Christ feels. All of us encounter disappointments, disruptions, delays, detours and dramas with ourselves, our relationships and with strangers. His joy is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). We must rejoice in the Lord always (Philippians 4:4) and we must continually thank Him for giving us strength to not be weary in well doing. We will reap if we don’t faint (Galatians 6:9). All of us are either in a test or tests, just leaving one or about to enter another one. We all need to see the perspective of our Captivating Creator! Let’s look at James 1:2-4 in The Message: Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open

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and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. Most of us look at a test and our first response is: “I don’t need this right now or ever.” But look at our Lord’s perspective. He says for us to consider testing as a gift with pure joy! Why? Because testing produces endurance, steadfastness and patience. The Greek meaning is “remaining under.” In other words, don’t try and wiggle out of it until it has completely worked into you what the Lord desires. Let it do its work! Why? So you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Do you want to be a complete, whole person having no defects and lacking in nothing? Welcome to testing! If we don’t learn and grow more and more into the image of Christ, guess what? He will take us through it again until we “get it.” Why? Because He loves us. The choice is ours. Torment by avoiding testing, grumbling in it or trying to wiggle out of it prematurely or transformation into the image of Christ in ever increasing splendor! I thank our Lord every day for transforming my fear into fun and fulfillment, hurt into healing and hope, pain into peace and power, trauma into tranquility and triumph and pressing problems (testings) into powerful possibilities with His amazing answers! I want to encourage you to “perceive” testing the way He “perceives” it! n

Christian Living | July / August 2014 31


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