July / August 2021
CELEBRATING OUR 8TH YEAR!
New maturity, new music
McMurry Carrying on despite MS
For Poorer ‘One flesh’ in finances
Christian musician Scott Riggan of Emmett
Contents July / August 2021 “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day.”
Volume 10, Number 4
— Genesis 3:8
Kelly McMurry: Hanging in there with MS
Busy and frazzled? Be more like Jesus
Publisher Sandy Jones firstname.lastname@example.org 208-703-7860
Steve Nelson: Where we fit in history
John Locke: Revered by Founders
Editor Gaye Bunderson Submit story ideas, article submissions & press releases email@example.com
Whitney Kay Scott: Mental health advocate
Jesus’ real mission: A closer study
General Info firstname.lastname@example.org 208-703-7860
Scott Riggan: A new maturity
Staying on course: God’s navigation system
Color my artwork: Psalm 145:7
Do nothing… Or act & help
Nix the cynical: Some suggestions
Choosing to Love: Be not self-seeking
Health: 18 Maximum Healthy sun exposure
Road Less Traveled: 10 The ‘This was that Chuck’
Daily Bread: 22 Your For richer, for poorer
Get To!”®: 14 “I Approval concerns
27 Understanding Relationships:
God Dots: Bibles for Rongo
Responsible 32 Biblically Investments:
Wednesday’s Child: Meet Raymond
IN EACH EDITION 4
Publisher’s Corner: Not keeping quiet
Advertising & Sales Kimberly McMullen email@example.com 208-703-7509 • Katy Nelson firstname.lastname@example.org 503-816-3042 • Scott McMurtrey email@example.com 208-841-4583 Cover Photo Jonie McCrory Graphic Design Denice King www.greentreedkdesign.com 208-918-5190 Contributors Daniel Bobinski, Rick Chromey, Jim Day, Roxanne Drury, Joan Endicott, Terry Frisk, Greg Gotewold, Doug Hanson, Jason Herring, Vincent Kituku, Rosie Main, Jerry McMurray, Gary Moore, Steve Nelson, Bethany Riehl and Ed Rybarczyk Website Design SEO Idaho
More than a feeling
Avoid ‘believable lies’
Need Prayer? Call Idaho Chaplains Association
Talk to a Chaplain
Distribution D&S Distribution • 208-985-6904 Christian Living is committed to encouraging and instructing individuals in their daily lives by presenting stories of people in the Treasure Valley who are living on a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ and who serve as uplifting examples to others. Views expressed in Christian Living do not necessarily represent those of the publisher. Every effort has been made by Christian Living to insure accuracy of the publication contents. However, we do not guarantee the accuracy of all information nor the absence of errors and omissions; hence, no responsibility can be or is assumed. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2021 by Christian Living Ministries Inc. Christian Living is published every other month and is available in over 600 locations throughout the Treasure Valley and Twin Falls, including grocery stores, convenience stores, medical waiting areas, and churches. If your church would like additional copies please email us today at firstname.lastname@example.org Annual subscriptions available for $12/year. To start your subscription or give one as a gift send your check or money order, along with complete address information, and a phone number to call in case there’s questions about your subscription to Christian Living Magazine, PO Box 867, Meridian, ID 83680.
Christian Living | July / August 2021 3
I’m not going to just keep quiet
By Sandy Jones When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. But to stop this thing from spreading any
further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.” Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” – Acts 4:13-20 As I read this passage in my devotional one morning, I realized just how much I can relate to Peter and John. A few years shy of my college degree, and not having grown up in
Who is in this week’s
? Join us each week as we take a deeper, more personal dive into people and ministries we’ve covered in Christian Living Magazine Saturdays at Noon MST on 94.1 FM The Voice Listen “live” at www.941thevoice.com or catch the replay under “Program Archives”
4 July / August 2021 | Christian Living
the church, I can certainly relate to the “unI find it truly AWEmazing how God shows up, to remind us that He’s still working today. schooled” and “ordinary” being called into Our family was recently blessed with twin service. granddaughters – and trust me, as this GrandPlease don’t get me wrong, I am certainly ma sat holding those precious tiny hands and not claiming to have some of the gifts that counting 5 perfect toes on each of their little Peter and John were blessed with – let alone feet, the miracle of birth, and God’s creation, their level of faith. And I’m not being critical was not lost on me. Their health and the health of those with degrees or those who grew up in of their beautiful mommy is, I believe, an the church. I am, however, devoted to the call answer to many prayers. We have been truly of sharing the hope and promise found only in blessed. Jesus’ love and mercy. Sandy Jones In closing, if you’re looking for me, I’ll be In this day and age when things seem so turight here, seeking new ways to share God’s multuous, with many claiming obvious wrongs to be right and Hope, His Love, and encouraging you all along the way! doing their best to cast a shadow of doubt over things that And I would be remiss to not say Thank You to all of our are good and pure, it would be easy to shuffle my feet and advertisers! Without them we couldn’t do what we do. Could keep quiet. For those who know me personally, please don’t you please do me a favor? Please frequent them as often as choke on your laughter – I CAN be quiet. possible, and thank them for their part in bringing Christian After all, wouldn’t it be easier to be quiet than to face the Living Magazine to you. ridicule and accusations of those who don’t understand what Until next time… having a relationship with Jesus is about? What His sacrifice God Bless! n means even today? It's times when I’m tempted to do just that – to skulk away Correction – In our May/June 2021 edition we gave the and just be quiet – that I’m reminded that Christ Himself wrong photographer credit for Nataliya’s story on page 24/25. was ridiculed, mocked, laughed at, and tortured until His Rachel Wolf Photography did take the photo on the cover of very death on that cruel cross, and I find myself challenged our May/June 2021 edition; however, the photo on page 24 with the thought, “Am I above Christ? Do I deserve better was taken by Annie Bingham of PortraitsWithAnnie.com. We apologize for this error on our part. than He got?”
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Christian Living | July / August 2021 5
MS changed the way she runs The Closet By Gaye Bunderson Since 2010, Kelly McMurry has helped thousands of teens with not only their clothing needs but their emotional and spiritual needs as well. If she never served another young person for the rest of her life, she could still feel that her 55 years have blessed many. Kelly launched a non-profit she named The Closet in 2010. In a nutshell, the non-profit provides free clothing and shoes to teens in need through its storefront at 10338 W. Fairview Ave. in Boise. The youth are referred by school counselors, juvenile corrections case managers, homeless shelters, and other local agencies. And the young people generally receive a lot more than stylish apparel. They leave with priceless intangibles like a boost in self-confidence and a warm human connection. Now the founder of The Closet is facing a number of changes to how she operates. Not just how she operates the nonprofit, but how she operates herself, her own body. In 2019, Kelly was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. From information provided online by The Mayo Clinic: “Multiple sclerosis is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). In MS, the immune system attacks the protective sheath that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body.” Two years ago in January, Kelly experienced what she calls “a severe case of vertigo.” Later, other things began happening to her. “My left foot was dragging near the end of February,” she said. She was sent to a St. Luke’s balance center, where the therapists worked with her but could not alleviate her symptoms. During one session, she told them she felt “clammy and numb,” which led them to believe she may have been experiencing a heart attack. By this time, she said, “My left leg was only coming with me because it’s attached.” The official diagnosis of MS came on April 5, 2019. But for the story to be complete, one must backtrack all the way to 2004, when the vision went out of Kelly’s left eye. She was given an MRI, and the doctors told her they thought she might have MS. In the intervening 15 years from 2004 to 2019, there were other indications that MS was taking over her body. “In those 15 years, there had been signs of MS. But I was running from it – I didn’t want it,” Kelly said. Lesions on the brain can be an indicator of multiple sclerosis. In 2004, the medical experts tested for lesions on Kelly’s brain and found none; by 2019, they found 22. Roughly one million people in the U.S. live daily with MS, according to information from the National MS Society, and Kelly is now officially one of them. “It’s not a death sentence,” she said, “but it’s a daily battle for me.” In fact, the thought of death concerns her less than the diminishing of her quality of life, further loss of body strength, lack of control, and more limitations. “I’m worried about things like walking and speaking,” Kelly said. She’s depending on natural remedies and is seeing a naturopathic practitioner. A proper diet is essential, which can mean giving up one’s favorites and replacing them with more healthful fare. “I like food; I like to eat...all that’s gone,” said Kelly. “If someone were to ask me, ‘What would you like back that you’ve lost because of MS?’, I would say tomatoes.”
6 July / August 2021 | Christian Living
Kelly McMurry sits on a couch at The Closet with her dog Addie, a 10-year-old toy Aussie. Kelly founded The Closet in 2010 and has helped many teens during that time, and still continues to help them today despite a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis two years ago. (Photo by Rebecca Johnston, Treasure Forever Photography)
All things ripe, red tomato would delight her, and it takes a great deal of self-discipline to stick with a meal plan specifically designed to help with whatever goal a person has set for themselves. But Kelly isn’t just trying to lose weight or have a brighter complexion. “I’m fighting a battle for my health,” she said. “I deal with a high level of pain, and I had to give up the foods I love.” She has a lot of support from her staff of volunteers, and from her family. “My husband Matt is so good to me; he stands by me. We’ve been married 31 years – you take vows to stay with someone in sickness and in health. For some people, those are just words, but he never makes me feel like he doesn’t love me. I know he loves me. If I need anything, he’ll drop everything for me,” Kelly said. “I put up such a brave face [at The Closet, with volunteers, etc.]; but with Matt, there’s communication, and I let myself cry – and there’s nothing wrong with that. Don’t say to people,
‘Don’t cry.’ Let them cry. It’s okay. I mourn the loss of the Kelly I knew. But I don’t stay there. It’s okay to go to sorrow, but don’t stay there. I wasn’t given 6 months to live, but MS affects my future. I lean into God a little more. “I know God uses everything for His good. But I still don’t understand my role in that.” From 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.” People tell her that when they look at her, they see the same Kelly they’ve always seen. Since she doesn’t see or feel like ‘the same Kelly,” she asks them how they can see the same Kelly, and they tell her: “It is because your heart hasn’t changed.” Pondering that, Kelly said, “To know my heart hasn’t changed and that love is still at the center of all things, I’ll take that. … Maybe in that way MS is a gift. It’s caused me to look at life differently. When I go outside, things are more in color – I really see colors brighter. I hear birds chirping more. I pause and notice all that life has to offer and then I think, ‘Aren’t we supposed to do that anyway?’ Maybe illness is a gift – it helps us live life with the perspective of how beautiful life is.” She maintains an essential role at The Closet but has shifted gears. “I had to allow others to help, and I’ve grown as a leader.” She has 15 to 20 volunteers, some in and out, but with a solid core group. Different volunteers bring different skills. Some are good with heavy lifting, while others are good at sorting. “I’m becoming more sensitive to what people can do. In general, I’m more sensitive to people around me. I don’t assume anything anymore. I give more grace.
“The disease has allowed me to let go – in a good way. I share it with others; the volunteers are being blessed – God has surprised me with the greatest volunteers. It’s been interesting to watch His plan unveiling, getting new volunteers, and watching other people stepping up to a new level.” One of her assistant volunteers, Kelly Harvey, sent her an encouraging text recently, part of which said: “I have seen you face your health challenge with great courage and determination and truly admire how you’ve made the sacrifices and changes to your daily lifestyle. I know it’s almost unbearable at times, yet you keep moving forward. I have seen you adapt both at home and at The Closet and believe you’ve grown as a leader. … I absolutely love being part of what God is doing, and grateful for the role you’ve allowed me to have.” Kelly herself has a lot to say about love. “I’ve always felt loved all my life.” She was the youngest of five children and the only girl. She wasn’t born until a full nine years after her youngest brother; in other words, she was something of an accident, but she always felt love in her life. “I’m so fiercely loved,” she said. “Maybe that’s why I feel love for the young people who come to The Closet who’ve never had love. “Love, friendship, family. I feel it greater than ever.” She worries a lot about losing her speech, because “I want to talk all my days of God’s goodness... I ask Him for my voice to remain so I can always tell of His goodness.” n
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Christian Living | July / August 2021 7
CHOOSING to Love
1 Corinthians 13 love is not self-seeking
And so, following the command to love the Lord our God, we demonstrate our love for Note: In March of 2020 I decided to use Him by focusing on Him. One of the easiest this space to focus on God’s greatest comways to do this is via worship. By singing songs mand. If you’re connecting with this series about God and songs that have lyrics singing for the first time and would like to read the directly to God, we have no choice but to focus earlier columns on this topic, I encourage you on Him. And although God does not have to visit Christian Living’s website to read the needs that we can meet, He certainly desires whole series. Visit https://www.christianlivrelationship with us. So, by focusing on God ingmag.com/columns/ and every aspect of who He is, we are showing love to Him. I’m so grateful for 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, because without it we might be debating forever After showing love to God, we must also folabout how to love in a godly fashion. When low the second greatest commandment – to asked to identify the greatest commandment, love our neighbors as ourselves. This takes Jesus said it was, “Love the Lord your God Daniel Bobinski practice because we usually want people to with all your heart and with all your soul pay attention to our own accomplishments and and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark projects. After all, as the saying goes, everyone’s favorite topic 12:30). But if you remember, later on Jesus also said, “If you is themselves. love me, keep my commands” (John 14:15). If we had only I believe part of our problem is we often forget that our selfthose two statements, the truth about love could be difficult to navigate. It would be like looking up “Rutabaga” in the dicesteem comes from accepting the love that God gives us. After tionary and finding it says, “See ‘Turnip,’” then looking up the all, if we are spending time with God, receiving the love He word “Turnip” and finding it says, “See ‘Rutabaga.’” has for us, our “cup” will be full. If we fail to do that, we often Thankfully, with 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, we have an excellent seek validation from others. guide for how to live out God’s version of love. If you’re like me, you know people who always turn the The Greek phrase we’re looking at this time is “zẽteõu heconversation toward themselves. They could ask you about autou,” and you’ll find there’s not much variance in how it’s something going on in your life, but instead of discussing what translated. you’re going through, they say something like, “That reminds KJV & NASB: does not seek its own me of when I _____.” They started out with good intentions, NIV, Amplified, & Berean: is not self-seeking NLT: does not demand its own way but their ability to focus on your thoughts, feelings, or plans is ESV: does not insist on its own way weak – or even non-existent. ASV: seeks not its own Conversely, if someone you know asks questions and listens I should point out that the word, “zẽteõu” is translated attentively to what you’re saying without injecting his or her throughout Scripture as “seek for” and “desire.” The word opinion on the matter, you probably feel appreciated. Perhaps “ou” means an absolute negative, and “heautou” is translated even loved. throughout Scripture as “himself, themselves, yourselves, ourThat’s the behavior we should seek if we’re trying to live out selves, his, their, and itself.” agape love. As one person I know puts it, “It’s not about you.” And so, if there were a Bobinski version, I would probably translate this phrase as, “[love] seeks not itself.” With this in mind, I hope you can see that even by focusing This phrase is smack dab in the middle of Paul’s “love is not” on someone you don’t like, you are loving that person. This section. The entire passage of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is replete is what Jesus was talking about when He said we need to love with verbs (action words), which tells us that true agape love is our enemies. I can discuss the interests of other people even about actions, not feelings. But as I’ve written before, the “love if I don’t have warm fuzzies for them, and by doing so, I’m is not” phrases create a bit of a dilemma. In this case, if love demonstrating God’s love to them. means not focusing on oneself or not seeking or demanding In summary, the steps for living out this aspect of love are or insisting on getting our own way, then what should we do fairly simple. First, get filled with God’s love for you by spendinstead? ing time with Him. Receive the focus (the love) He has for you Personally, I think this is one of the easier passages for identifying an alternative action. Specifically, if you’re not focusing and let your self-esteem by filled by Him. Then, when interacton yourself or seeking to get your way, then you can demoning with others, you’ll have a well of love from which to draw strate love by focusing on others and/or helping them get their so you can focus on them. It’s pretty much a guarantee they needs met. will feel loved if you do. n As always, God is our example in showing love. Think about it; He doesn’t seek Himself, He seeks us! His attention to each Daniel Bobinski, M.Ed. is an award-winning and of us is amazing. He is always there, seeking us out, yearnbest-selling author and a popular speaker at conferences ing for us to tell Him about our day. He doesn’t brag or boast about all the things He does for others in the world, He simply and retreats. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org focuses on us and our needs. or (208) 375-7606. By Daniel Bobinski
8 July / August 2021 | Christian Living
RandyB Funk Christian Rapper
Hip-Hop artist, RandyB Funk has a gift and wants to use it to benefit his community and speak to his generation.
to drop this month. One of his next singles features R-Swift, who many in the industry call the ‘Godfather of Christian Rap.’ R-Swift did a song with RandyB when he was just 15, and also headlined with RandyB at the 3rd Annual Fired-Up Tour on April 2nd 2021.
RandyB continues to create powerful ways of sharing God’s love through Christian Hip-Hop with the Treasure Valley, and beyond. Known for his Christian Hip-Hop music and his monumental SOS Service Drives that benefit Boise Rescue Mission and Idaho Humane Society, he is a hard worker, who has always been involved in his community. He was the Meridian Youth Arts Commissioner for several years, a Prudential Award Recipient, a Meridian Star Award recipient and more. He currently resides in Eagle but loves the whole Treasure Valley. Along with his busy performance schedule, RandyB has also produced three hip-hop shows, dubbed the Annual Fired-Up Benefit Tours. The best Christian rappers are selected for these concerts that also benefit the Boise Rescue Mission. This year’s 3rd Annual Fired-Up Benefit Show, took place in April 2021, followed by another performance at “Preview,” both held at Boise Bible College, where he is a co-curricular student; both high school and college. RandyB will graduate high school in 2022, with two years of college under his belt. RandyB was also chosen by nationally known Effect Radio 91.9 FM, to be the “ARTIST OF THE MONTH,” in September 2020, and in December he was awarded the “DO GOOD CHAMPION,” by Project 88.7. He was the December 5th SPOTLIGHT with our own Sandy Jones for Christian Living Magazine’s radio show, Christian Living Spotlight; and this past April was interviewed by Discover Idaho on TVPBN.com and his Fired-Up concert in April was aired live! RandyB has multiple songs on Christian radio and is now preparing for the release of several singles, followed by his newest video. He is currently working on the production of the HipHop Love Fest, which takes place at Boise Bible College on July16th. While he still has a few more spots open, he has been booked for over a dozen performances this spring/ summer. Additionally, Project 88.7 recently announced that RandyB Funk had been selected to be included in the line-up
RandyB also has an upcoming video shoot in Hawaii this Summer (where he was raised until age seven) for his popular song “NEW DAY” with Derick Sebastian, who is hailed as the best Ukulele player in the world! He’s been blessed to perform with Steven Malcom, 1K Phew, R-Swift and others, and he will perform at the HIP-HOP LOVE FEST with PEABOD! He believes Christian rap can be used as a vehicle to reach those broken and affected by the shut down - especially the kids and teens. for SUMMER SPLASH at Roaring Springs, which features KB, WANDE, ZAUNTEE and, yes, Treasure Valley’s own, RANDYB FUNK! RandyB has been featured in multiple publications, as well as on radio and news shows, where he shares his love of serving his community through his service drives and music. RandyB has major companies now participating in his service drives and is hopeful to get similar support for his concerts. He recently started a promotions company with his Mom, called FIRED UP PROMOTIONS. RandyB has been turned down by most area churches to perform, which he finds sad. He says he’d love to hear from local youth pastors. He shares, “HipHop is the most popular music among young people and when we can replace the harsh words with encouraging ones, real talk, it can truly help our generation to have hope and not feel so alone.” He continues, “I’m incredibly grateful for the support from Boise Bible College and love attending school there.” After an EP and multiple singles, RandyB Funk dropped his first album, titled “DIVIDED,” in 2020. He followed up with another single in January 2021, titled “WORK,” and is working on his second album! No stranger to work, he never stops giving 100 percent to his community. His next song is scheduled
The Hip Hop Love Fest will take place on July 16, 2021 and will focus on the joy of the Lord, and victory over depression and will have a ‘Christian Woodstock’ theme. RandyB shares the following thoughts, “I want to encourage my peers and the community that there is comfort and hope in the love of Jesus. I want to create a space for people who come to my concerts, where they can feel loved; connect, make friends and belong.” He stresses that families are welcome and encourages them to come and support these concerts. “I like to keep it positive and fun. I’m doing what I love and trying to make a difference, we get all ages to come and share in the fun.” RandyB has spoken at the Boise Chamber of Commerce tips groups, Eagle Chamber of Commerce, local fire departments, City Hall and has been attending chamber meetings with his Mom since he was 12. He gleams, “As believers we are commissioned to be lights in the world and to encourage others to shine and use their gifts. People are happiest when they’re using their gifts.” Team RandyB Funk can be contacted at: phone (208)-914-3793; email email@example.com. Find him at randybfunk.com, on social media @ randybfunkmusic, and heard on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music photo copyright 2020 RandyB Funk
THE ROAD Less Traveled
‘This was that Chuck who drilled wells’ By Jason Herring Growing up in my parent’s home I was introduced at an early age to the Parthenon of American Heroes. I’ll never forget my dad coming home from a trip and handing me a comic book of Davy Crockett. The 45rpm read-along record was tucked in a flap in the back of the full color American adventure. Davy Crockett looked like Steve Rogers with blonde hair and big biceps. I could hardly contain my excitement when that year for my birthday I got a coonskin cap and toy long rifle. At 6927 Holmesville Road in Jesup, Georgia, I was King of the Wild Frontier. Back then you could rent films from Disney, and my dad would host movie nights at the church for the youth department. So even though the Disney classic was released in theaters 21 years before I was born, I saw Fess Parker bring Davy Crockett to life on a projector screen in the fellowship hall of our church, and my love for the legend was sealed. Whether it was Daniel Boone or “The Swamp Fox” or Lewis & Clark or Teddy Roosevelt, I was always enamored with the larger-than-life heroes of history. This fueled in me a desire to be great and do great things, and that hunger was further stoked in Sunday School by the stories of the Bible. The Scriptures were filled with heroes of the faith who subdued kingdoms, stopped the mouths of lions, slew giants, and quenched the violence of fire. I remember thumbing through my dad’s Bible from college and seeing written on the top of every page “I WANT TO BE A GIANT FOR GOD.” “Yes. Yes!” I thought. I too wanted to be a “giant for God!” Follow the giants. Follow the great men. “I will get me to the great men for they have known the way of the Lord,” the prophet Jeremiah wrote. And how many times did I hear William Carey’s quote? “Attempt great things for God” and you can “expect great things from God.” Who would want to attempt small things for God? Mediocrity was a sin. And wasn’t being normal just another way of being mediocre? Was there any significance in being ordinary? And what fate could be worse than insignificance? To put an American spin on it: Go big, or go home. In the genealogy of Genesis we read a one-verse description of the sons of Zibeon: Ajah and Anah. “And this was that Anah who found the mules in the wilderness, as he fed the donkeys of Zibeon his father.” That’s it. That’s all we know about Anah. His grand place in the Testament is to be known
as the man who found mules. For some strange reason I don’t recall ever learning about Anah in Sunday School. I don’t remember any illustrations or flannel graph lessons of the moment when he found mules in the wilderness. But does that mean that Anah was insignificant? The stand-out great men are great because of the circumstances that were thrust upon them, not because they sought out great moments in history. If not for Goliath, David could very well be known as “that David who watched over his father’s sheep in the wilderness.” Right after slaying Goliath the Bible says, “he returned from Saul to feed his father’s sheep.” Imagine that. One day you’re a national hero – the Giant Slayer – and the next day you’re watching sheep graze and poop on a hillside. Perhaps this brings to mind the high school and college-aged kids who defeated the Nazi war machine in Fortress Europa to return home as gas station attendants and grocers. So then what about all those jockeys and clerks and factory workers who were never summoned to the frontlines of a global war? Could they be considered heroes? This past week I attended the funeral service of a dear friend in Cottonwood. On my drive up through the Idaho backcountry, I reflected on my friend and why I looked on him as a hero. At seventy-eight years old Chuck Uhlenkott passed away leaving behind 8 children, 30 grandkids, and his wife, Kerry, of 47 years. Chuck worked with his uncle to support his family before taking over Uhlenkott Pump Service in 1973 and then sold the business at his retirement almost 40 years later. In the annals of history it might be recorded: “This was that Chuck who drilled wells and installed pumps.” Was that so insignificant? Not if you ask his children and grandchildren. Not if you ask the community that packed the parish for his homegoing service. Chuck was unassuming, but as soon as you met Chuck you could feel warmth – that warm feeling that comes from meeting a person who is genuinely good and guileless. Had Chuck been born in a time and place to find himself on the ramparts of a besieged little mission on the outskirts of San Antonio de Bexar, he would have been counted amongst the martyrs who gave birth to a new republic. I have no doubt about that. But it is enough that he drilled wells. It is enough that he remained faithful to the same woman for nearly half a century. It is enough that he was a man who gave a legacy of deep abiding faith to his children and grandchildren.
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10 July / August 2021 | Christian Living
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Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines hero as The endless lists of genealogy in the Bible bear a ‘man of distinguished valor,’ an ‘extraorwitness to that. Everyone of those hard-todinary person.’ But Oxford Dictionary has pronounce names were part of a family lineage updated the definition to include someone and faith legacy that spanned generations. who is admired for ‘noble qualities.’ Take my No career, no glory, no pursuit is worth the Uncle Edward Bruce for instance. Even though price of family. If you want to go big, go home. his name combines two of the greatest rivals Life may never require us to risk life and limb in Scottish history, he’s never distinguished for the freedom of others, but every day it himself in valor. And although a veteran of the requires us to love our family. Love thy neighAir Force, he’s never been in a fist fight in his bor as thyself begins first at home, and there entire life. Growing up, I never heard stories is no greater commandment than this. It is not Jason Herring about Uncle Ed kicking-butt-and-taking-names required of stewards to attempt the extraordiof some bully or blowhard like my other uncles and grandfanary and achieve greatness. It is, however, required in stewards ther did. I never saw him stand on a platform and command that a man be found faithful. As a steward to what he had been the attention of a few thousand people like my dad has done. allotted in life and given by God, Chuck was found faithful. But what I have seen him do is model faithfulness, honor God, This was that Chuck who drilled wells. This was my friend. and love the same woman his entire life. He is a man of noble This was my hero. n qualities and no less a hero than my grandfather who fought in Jason Herring is a father to four amazing kids and husband the Battle of the Bulge. to his wife, Suzanne, of 21 years. In 2009 they experienced “There’s an unspoken message that the only stories worth two miscarriages and the loss of their 4-year-old son Josiah telling are the stories that end up in history books,” Viola to cancer. In the wake of that devastation, Jason has sought Davis said in an interview with Brené Brown. “This is not to share hope with others who walk that same valley. He is true. Every story matters.” Indeed. Not every story is equally passionate about his family, mountains, Spartan Races, hiscompelling. It is certain that finding mules in the wilderness tory books, writing, and speaking on the grace of God. is not as interesting as slaying giants. But every story matters.
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Christian Living | July / August 2021 11
Understanding where we fit in history
By Steve Nelson The problem and solution: Most of the world is confused about the future, and Christians are sometimes the most ignorant on this, due to misinformation. For your blessing and understanding, this article will shed light on this exaggerated and over-analyzed subject of popular controversy. We can discover what the truth is, not by watching Hollywood movies about “apocalyptic events,” nor by reading top-selling fantasy books about the “end times,” nor by listening to the next smooth-talking preachers who give us their two cents about when they guess Jesus is coming back. Scripture exclusively is how to know the truth accurately. (“Every word of God is pure...” – Proverbs 30:5) A running head start... The Olympic Games will occur July 23 – August 8, 2021. In light of this legendary sporting event, let’s begin our discussion of time here. The pinnacle of sports achievement is earning a gold medal, and in doing so get your name etched in stone, preserved as a champion. Suppose you are a runner, about to race in the marathon. Once your race begins, what will you think about? Do you dwell upon the previous race? No!! (Philippians 3:13 says to “forget what lies behind.”) Or do you worry about the next race? No!! (Matthew 6:34 tells us “don’t worry about tomorrow.”) Think about the race going on right now. Focus less on the past and future, in proportion to the present. To aid your performance during the long race, you might recall on occasion the successful tactics of previous runners (just like Christians do in looking at Old Testament believers). Also during the race, you might gain motivation as you imagine yourself inspiring future runners (just like Christians
12 July / August 2021 | Christian Living
look forward to the ultimate future ahead when evil is defeated once and for all). Yet thoughts of the past and future are few in comparison to the many thoughts of the present. The race right now requires our urgent and diligent attention! We must adjust to the other competitors constantly, minute by minute and sometimes second by second. Also affecting our speed and endurance, we consider other dynamic factors: terrain, temperature, wind, hydration, energy and many other physical and mental conditions. (The marathon current world record is 2 hours, 1 minute, 39 seconds.) Focusing on the PRESENT is the will of God. Distracted about the future is the will of Satan. To overlook the past completely would cause us to be ignorant. To ignore the future completely would cause us to wander aimlessly. So we keep those things in proper measure. Just like a runner, each human being could and should spend a majority of their focus, energy and effort on the PRESENT. Since this is true, then why are so many Christians distracted, consumed with tunnel vision on the future? This is because Satan prefers this distraction of converting us into fortune tellers and predictors of future events, instead of us Christians focusing on our top priority, being “witnesses unto the uttermost part of the earth” RIGHT NOW. We need to be ambassadors for Jesus Christ about God’s power – it’s available to anyone, RIGHT NOW. The race we run is the most important to us. Hebrews 12:1 tells us to run “the race set before US,” not the race of others in the future. As Christians, we will not be around when Revelation commences anyway, so why fuss about it? Now consider this in the context of studying Scripture. Why not study those things most importantly that relate to us right
believers leave this planet will the “wrath” of now? Study the New Testament writings about the time in which we live now, before we try to Satan commence and the book of Revelation master the next age, which we will not be a part will start to unfold. Romans 5:9 and 1 Thessaof anyway. Enjoy studying Revelation, but do lonians 1:10 document that believers alive now so in balance, not as our primary emphasis. will not have to endure this future wrath. Evidence to consider: 5. The phrase “end times” does not occur 1. God alone created the heavens and the in the Bible. Suggestion: stop using it. Overearth, including humans. In need of redempall, stop listening to people who dwell on the tion, God said we would be rescued some day future, emphasize it, make predictions about it, from our sins, from death, from evil. It took 4,000 years until the Christ was born, with a or spend their focus on trying to interpret it, as fantastic history of God’s people recorded for Steve Nelson if we need to know more about dating future our learning. events than about what is going on right now. 2. In just over 30 years, Jesus lived and sacrificed Himself to Friends, let’s wise up about this subtle distraction by Satan. save us, then was raised from the dead, is still alive in Heaven Conclusion: Just like a marathon runner, we focus on our right now 2,000 years later, coming back at some point in time own race. We can’t run races for others, even if we think about in the future. Only God knows the timing of that epic event them periodically. Understand first the age we live in now, when He will send His Son Jesus back for us (Acts 1:7 and before we try to master understanding the next age which has 1:11). 3. As a result of Jesus Christ’s victory over death, many new not even begun yet. Let’s understand where we fit in history. things opened up for people, including the potential to get God bless you! n saved and become a child of God. Starting on Pentecost, it was first available to become “born again.” This AGE OF GRACE Steve Nelson has been a Bible teacher for over 25 years. still continues to this day and will not conclude until Christ’s This article comes from “Book of Revelation Hype” Segreturn. Nor will the AGE OF WRATH begin a second before ment 75 of “CORE,” a course for families on how to read grace is gone. and understand the Bible. See T4FAMILYCENTER.COM 4. Before us believers are taken to Heaven by Jesus, we are lights in this world, pushing back darkness. Only when the or reach Steve at T4FamilyCenter@gmail.com.
Fourfold Kingdom of God
Design of the Space-time Universe By Gerald Paul Kooyers
Four Functional Realms
One of the more intriguing often repeated themes of the Christian Scriptures is the quantity of four: • 4 types of trees in Garden of Eden • 1 river becomes 4 to water the 4 trees • 4 beasts in the prophecy of Daniel • 4 creatures w/4 faces in Ezekiel’s vision of God • 4 horses/ 4 chariots in Zechariah’s vision • 4 living creatures surround Throne of God in Revelation • 4 Horsemen • 4 Messengers of Destiny
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Christian Living | July / August 2021 13
“I GET TO!”®
Release the need for others’ approval
rejection from a loved one almost a year prior. By Joan Endicott That was the one and only thing that came Crisis creates clarity. There is nothing like to mind. As I looked at my beloved husband staring your own mortality in the face to restanding at the end of the bed, I realized I was mind you of what truly matters in this life and there because I had been too stressed about what absolutely does not! what another broken human thought of me. I was a happy camper on the sunny Saturday I immediately and emphatically declared in afternoon of July 28, 2018. I had just left my my soul, “OH, HELL NO! This is too high of favorite fruit stand with a brimming box of price and I’m not paying it anymore.” Worryfreshly picked peaches, red and green peppers, ing and stressing about another’s opinion of me sweet corn-on-the-cob and vine-ripened tomamust stop now! toes. Now only three miles from home with my This is when I started diving deep into unsunroof open singing along to praise tunes on derstanding and practicing self-compassion. the radio – all the ingredients for another one Remember what a game-changer that was for of those best days ever in this girl’s book! me? Then something shifted significantly. God sightings! Though my vision was still clear, there was an Joan Endicott Later that night in the ICU, as Mark and I odd prism effect in the lower right corner of my compared notes, I asked if my words in my visual frame – like a kaleidoscope. Having never experienced prayerful plea were understandable: “Jesus help me. Jesus help this before, I alternated closing each eye to see if it was only me. Jesus help me!” one specific eye – it was the same effect for both. Since I was He enthusiastically responded, “Crystal clear! That was driving and wanted to make sure it was safe for all, I called Mark (hands-free) and told him where I was so that if I needed crystal clear.” We also compared notes on the assistance we both felt as to pull over, he could come and get me. We talked until I got I was getting up and out of bed. He too felt that wonderful home. power beyond our own. Mark met me when I drove in and by that time my head was Tears fill my eyes even now as they did that night, my soul pounding in pain. I immediately laid on the couch while he flooding with gratitude at the invaluable gift of once again brought an ice pack for my head. Our fully-windowed living experiencing the incredible power in the name of Jesus. room is normally a favorite place, but the light made my head I’m grateful God never wastes our pain, tears or heartaches. hurt even worse, so I moved into our bedroom with the blackout curtains drawn. He brought me pain relievers and another Without question this severed relationship has been one of the biggest heartbreaks of my life. But we can always find God’s ice pack so I could have one on the front and one on the back beautiful gifts wrapped in struggle paper and this is certainly of my head. After a while there was still no relief, so I called no exception. out for Mark and he came in and sat on the edge of the bed So, what was happening with me? At first doctors suspected next to me. Now almost in tears and my thinking confused, I a stroke and gave me an anticoagulant. Once this medicine tried to say something, but no actual words came out. It just is given through IV, the patient needs to be in Intensive Care sounded like babble – nothing was coherent. Fear gripped me for at least 24 hours under close supervision. With the very and I grabbed Mark and looked into his eyes and tried again. extensive testing the doctors did, they concluded that it was not What came out next was louder and more panicked, but still a stroke, rather their best guess was a TIA (transient ischemic no actual words. Now I was terrified. Mark’s eyes revealed his attack). fear as well, as he said, “I’m calling 911!” As is normal with any trauma, it takes time, various thera“Is this it, Lord? Am I dying?” pies, and proven tools to help us heal so we can move through As Mark was answering the 911 dispatcher’s questions, I felt God’s prompt. “Joan, just go – you’re only three minutes from and move on. Although my brain trauma, which one doctor described as a “bruised brain,” took much longer to mend the hospital. Just go now!” Then I felt an actual physical force guiding me up out of bed as Mark came alongside me. I heard than I could have imagined, I am exploding with gratitude that I am physically healthy and well. Additionally, the spiritual, him tell the dispatcher, “I guess we’re going to the hospital… emotional and relationship lessons I’ve learned are more preyes, cancel the ambulance.” (I genuinely believe had you been cious than gold. in our room in that moment, you would have seen angel’s That day I received some beautiful gifts – all wrapped in wings.) Walking through the house to the car, I cried out, “Jesus help struggle paper. Life Lessons we get to learn: me. Jesus help me. Jesus help me.” I knew as my soul was cry1. Do what you can to be at peace with others (Romans ing out, even if no one else could understand me, the God of 12:18). Then give it to God. the universe did. 2. Create and maintain healthy boundaries. Arriving at the Emergency Room, the tests began and a 3. Pleasing others should never be your goal. specialist from Denver was called. He was on the screen at the 4. Control the controllables in your life. end of my bed, asking us questions and taking me through a 5. Stop trying to please the “unpleasables.” Some people will series of tests. Then the doctor asked, “Have you had a lot of stress lately?” not like you no matter what. (Yep, it’s shocking!) Remember, even Mother Teresa had critics. The thing that immediately came to mind was the full-on
14 July / August 2021 | Christian Living
6. Every moment of every day, you get to choose how you will use your time and energy. (Waste it on temporal or invest it in eternal.) 7. Get clarity on what God calls you to and stay focused on that. I appreciate Eleanor Roosevelt’s wisdom: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” The same is true for how we feel and respond to anything in life: criticism, judgment, shaming, unfair treatment, or false accusations. We can never control what others think, say or do. God gave each of us a free will. The great news is, you are only responsible for how you live your life – no one else’s. God will never hold you accountable for the attitudes or actions of your family, friends, or associates. It’s your heart He yearns for. Your power lies in how you respond – which, by His grace, is always your choice and within your power. When it feels impossible, remember, He’s right there ready to put His Super on your natural. “You have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” — St. Augustine, Confessions. n Joan Endicott is an Award-Winning Keynote Speaker, Author of “I Get To!”® ,,founder of GIANT-Slayer Coaching and “WOW!” Women Owning Their Worth©. Her coaching reaches over 30 countries. Meet her and get her FREE videos, book excerpts and content at JoanEndicott.com. Follow her on Instagram – she posts encouraging words daily!
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WHITNEY Kay Scott
Pageant winner, mental health advocate
Whitney Kay Scott served as Mrs. Idaho America starting in 2020 up until June 19, 2021, when she handed her title to another woman. Whitney has known success and has a beautiful family, but she struggles with anxiety and has taken on the responsibility of being an advocate for mental health. (Courtesy photo)
16 July / August 2021 | Christian Living
By Gaye Bunderson Whitney Kay Scott has a message for anyone who has ever experienced anxiety, and it’s a message of support and encouragement. “I want to break the stigma of mental health issues,” said the former Mrs. Idaho America. She has officially NOT been Miss Idaho America for just a brief time. She gave her crown to a new Mrs. Idaho America on June 19. Does the 30-year-old pretty blonde with a handsome husband and two great kids actually have a mental health issue herself ? Yes and she’s not afraid to talk about it. It all started five years ago when she began experiencing anxiety. Knowing what she knows now, she said she would have navigated it all differently. But, back then, she was caught completely off guard. At the time, her husband Brian was a professional race car driver with NASCAR and was set to retire. The couple has two children and always planned to return to Idaho when Brian left NASCAR. “The NASCAR lifestyle is not good for kids,” said Whitney. “Their dad was always busy and there’s lots of traveling.” Whitney said she felt positive about the move back to Idaho and was excited about it. “I was being driven by our bus driver at the racetrack in a golf cart, headed to buy the last of my husband’s fan gear during his race practice, since it was his last race.” While sitting in the passenger seat of the cart, she suddenly felt she couldn’t breathe. Since she and the driver were at a NASCAR stadium, she was taken to the infield care center, where injured drivers are taken, and was examined by medical staff. A nurse told Whitney she was just having an anxiety attack. For her part, Whitney was certain she was having a heart attack. “It was so real; it hurt so bad,” she said, explaining that when her feelings were dismissed as ‘just’ a panic attack, she felt anger. “I thought they were missing something.” But she was nonetheless sent away. “They did nothing, and I left with no information, education, or hope.” She had the driver take her to a hospital. She was given tests but was told her heart was fine. Hospital staff also told her it was ‘only’ anxiety. She continued to struggle, and her struggles continued way beyond that single day. She was given medication for anxiety but found it ineffective. “I couldn’t calm down,” she said. She ultimately admitted to herself that she did indeed have an anxiety disorder. “It was a rough time in my marriage,” Whitney said. “People around me didn’t understand what I was going through. I wanted to be taken away – I didn’t want to feel like a burden to my family. I felt alone. So I learned to lean on God. In that way, I came to see it as not a negative but a blessing, as I learned to lean on Him and trust Him.” With His help, she said: “I found a way out of my tunnel.” She explained that, in her situation, anxiety tends to run in her family, so her mother suggested a Christian counselor that she had gone to and who had helped her. Whitney made an appointment, and her visits with the counselor continued for about 7 to 8 months, first once a week and then once every other week as Whitney progressed.
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Whitney Kay Scott served as Mrs. Idaho America up until June 19. Here, she’s shown with her horse Sam. She said she finds riding horses therapeutic. (Courtesy photo)
Whitney said the counselor would help her read relevant Scripture and would tell her about things Jesus did during His ministry; Whitney found strength and healing in that. Now, teaching others about mental health issues – and working to erase the stigma – is one of her biggest missions, she said. “People have to realize they’re not crazy. I would tell people, ‘I’m Mrs. Idaho America, and I’m not crazy’. … I didn’t think I would ever share about my anxiety with anyone, but I felt a push from God that He wanted me to speak out and this is how He was going to use me.” What did the pageant organizers think? “The pageant folks were awesome,” Whitney said, “and if you’d talk to the judges about it, you found out there were others just like you.” Whitney realizes that anxiety doesn’t just go away, and that even if it’s overcome for a time, it sometimes comes back – that, and it’s sibling emotion, depression. Last November, she experienced a health issue and did not know what the outcome was going to be; with that, she started to sink into depression and anxiety. But she’s better once again. “I realize it’s always going to be a part of me. There’s always a fear that it can happen again – it’s scary and dark. But now I have tools I can use – tools of knowledge and knowing ‘what works’ – and I bounce back quicker,” she said. She feels her first major anxiety experience was prompted by the move she and her husband were planning – big life changes and unknowns can do that. Whitney also said anxiety feels different for each person. Due to COVID-19, she wasn’t able to speak a lot in person during her reign as Mrs. Idaho America, so she got on Instagram, where she shares tips with others and talks about normalcy. “I’m using my Instagram platform to reach out.” She’s at @whitneykayscott, and as of early April, she had 12,400 followers. Her husband now works in his family’s business. Her children include her daughter Brielle, 10, and son Jojo, 6. Whitney loves to ride horses and does so frequently, often with her daughter. She finds being on horseback highly therapeutic. She said she was excited when she passed on the crown to a new woman. That part of her life is over. But, she said, she won’t stop speaking up about mental health. That’s a mission she’ll continue as long as the Lord leads her to do so. n
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Christian Living | July / August 2021 17
Healthy sun exposure leads to healthy skin
Image by chezbeate from Pixabay
By Rosie Main For years we have been told to avoid the sun due to the “damaging” effects of UV radiation to healthy skin. The newest research has shown that the sun’s rays do much more good than harm. The sun’s ability to charge our bodies with vitamin D makes it extremely powerful at minimizing free radical damage and maintaining moisture in the skin. Aging well is absolutely dependent upon healthy sun exposure. Many experts believe that vitamin D is incorrectly named. Vitamins are substances that are crucial to normal everyday life function but cannot be synthesized in sufficient quantities by the body. However, your skin has the ability to manufacture as much as 10,000 IU of vitamin D after 20-30 minutes of summer sun exposure.
Vitamin D3 is a Pro-Hormone: Vitamin D more resembles a hormone than vitamin by function. Hormones are chemical messengers that interact with cell receptors to produce specific biological responses. Calcitriol, the active form of Vitamin D, is arguably the most powerful hormone in the body. It has the ability to activate over 1,000 genes (roughly 5% of the human genome). Too much sun exposure causes free radical damage, leading to wrinkles and cancer cell growth. However, an appropriate amount of sun exposure every day is one of the healthiest things you can do for your skin. What is on Your Skin Gets in Your Blood: Your skin is an extremely absorbent organ. What we apply on our skin enters directly into the bloodstream. The majority of sunscreens
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and sun lotions contain toxic chemicals that 3. Natural sunscreen: If you are going to have long exposure, wear layers or use a natural are harmful for the body. The most damagsunscreen with no man-made ingredients for ing ingredients include sodium lauryl sulfates, healthy skin. I like the Goddess Garden Organparabens, oxybenzones, and padimate O. Many ics brand. of these are known xenoestrogens that interfere with healthy hormonal function. All are linked All-Natural Sunscreen to higher rates of cancer. Ingredients: Natural skin moisturizers include coconut 1 c raw unrefined shea butter oil and olive oil which harmonize the sun and 2/3 c coconut oil allow for a natural tan development. It is also 20 drops myrrh essential oil critical to get lots of antioxidants applied topiRosie Main 30 drops carrot seed essential oil cally to enhance our skin’s health and ability to 20 drops lavender essential oil synthesize vitamin D. Great lotions include green-tea extract, Optional: 2 tbsp zinc oxide powder (a couple of tablespoons aloe vera, and clove oil which provide antioxidant protection per cup of oil/moisturizer – be sure not to inhale) for the skin.
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1. Skin color – Your skin color dictates your sun needs: Light skin = 15-20 minutes daily Medium skin = 25-30 minutes daily Dark skin = 40-45 minutes daily 2. Healthy moisturizers: Use coconut oil, aloe vera, clove oil, and/or green tea extract as a moisturizer before and after sun exposure for added anti-oxidant protection. This is an important and often forgotten principle for healthy skin.
Mix raw unrefined shea butter with coconut oil with a mixer on medium speed until it looks whipped and creamy. (Add in optional zinc oxide powder and mix well.) Add in essential oils. Blend together on low speed. Place sunscreen in a glass jar with a lid. n If you have any questions or want to see how we can help you, please don’t hesitate to call me at 208-859-6170, email email@example.com, or visit me at DoctorMain.com.
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Christian Living | July / August 2021 19
A new maturity births a new recording Scott Riggan started playing the piano at age 5 – and singing at an early age as well. He scored a No. 1 Billboard hit in 2003 and is now releasing a new album. He lives on a farm in Emmett with his family and serves as worship arts pastor at Eagle Christian Church. (Photo by Michael Sean H.)
20 July / August 2021 | Christian Living
By Gaye Bunderson When local Christian recording artist Scott Riggan was 3 years old, he slipped away from his mother while at church and ran to the front of the congregation to belt out a song. Naturally, the adults laughed at his impromptu performance. His reaction? The grown-ups’ chuckles made him mad. “I didn’t think I was cute, I wanted to be taken seriously,” Scott said. Music has always been fundamental to Scott’s existence; and in more ways than one, it all started in church. “We were a church-going family, and me, my dad, and brother would perform,” Scott said. Obviously, he’s been more than a toddler soloist, but he had a deep love for all things musical from a very early age. “I sang all the time,” he said. Around the age of 5, he started piano lessons. He picked it up quickly and preferred unrestricted creativity over following precise musical notes on a page. He’d fetch himself a bit of trouble from his teacher when he’d play one song while seemingly reading another. “I was creating my little melodies – I’ve always been fascinated by music,” he said. He honed his singing skills in a similar fashion. When the eldest Riggan, who plays guitar, would go into a room and shut the door for some privacy, Scott admits he really wanted to be in the room to share musical moments with his father. Thankfully, he was allowed in and not only bonded with his dad but also got some informal singing lessons. “I would try to imitate Dad. I was noticing the vibrato in his voice, and I would try to do that,” he said. He was only 4 years old. Scott came to Idaho from Redding, Calif. to attend Boise Bible College, where he majored in general Bible studies. He said he never felt called to be a pastor and that music has always been his passion. In his 20s, he lived in Nashville and wrote hundreds of songs for a Christian publishing company and traveled extensively with a Christian rock band. He and his band paid to record an album with a Christian recording company. Later, after recording the album, the company cast off its Christian label and took all the references to Jesus out of the lyrics before the songs were aired. Money and musical credibility as a faith-based band were compromised. “At the end of it all, we asked ourselves, ‘How did we find ourselves in this place? Was it just a waste?’” Scott said. They felt it had all amounted to a total loss until a bandmate spoke up and pointed out that for two entire years, they’d met and talked to people who’d never known a Christian before and got the opportunity to share the Gospel with them. At the end of their time as a band, they realized they may not know in this lifetime just how many people they influenced, said Scott. “My professional background is profoundly strange,” said the now 53-year-old. He worked in Christian radio in Nashville and locally. At one point, he worked in nonprofit fund development for Second Harvest Food Bank in Nashville. “It was an ideal job,” he said.
In development, there was no traveling and he was married with one child by then, so constantly being on the road was not an ideal situation. His family also had time to go to church every Sunday. For those things, he has high praise for the employment. But inwardly, something nagged at him: a constant thought that he was called to be a musician, not a development director. “It was a great job, but I think God put me there to make it clear that I was supposed to be in music,” he said. Otherwise, he explained, he’d have felt contentment instead of a gnawing restlessness; and if he’d had a job he hated, he wouldn’t have thought twice about feeling a sense of something out of sync. He recorded another album in Nashville, then came home to Idaho in 2002. “I was glad to be back. I saw how happy my wife was, and how happy she was to be around animals again. It was her turn. She never liked traveling, and I wanted my kids to know their Idaho family.” His wife grew up on a farm in Emmett, unlike her husband, who grew up in a Redding suburb. Now, the family of four resides on a plot of Emmett farmland. At the same time, Scott is worship arts pastor at Eagle Christian Church, a job he’s held since 2007. The album he recorded before returning to Idaho was ultimately going to keep him linked to a musician’s life. “I had been advised that one of the songs on my album could go high on the charts,” he said. The song was “I Love You, Lord,” written by Laurie Klein in the ‘70s. All the other songs were written by Scott, who explained he’d been writing songs that “wrestled with trusting God, wrestled with questions,” such as why does He let bad things happen? Some heavy topics, to be sure. “I put ‘I Love You, Lord’ as a palette-cleansing song at the end of the album,” he said. It turned out to be a very fortuitous decision, as the song soared. It ended up being one of those songs with staggering statistics. It became a Christian radio hit that rocketed to No. 1 on the Billboard charts and stayed there for an unprecedented nine months. Scott rode that wave from 2003-2004. “When I came back to Idaho, I believed my career was over, but then I have a No. 1 song! I feel that God honored my putting my family as a priority,” Scott said. He was playing on huge festival stages, averaging 125 shows per year and traveling throughout the world, including to China, Africa, Italy, and Mexico. “That song opened a lot of doors,” he said. Two years ago, he took a break from so much traveling and slowed down. But he revived his musical aspirations, with plenty of touring plans for 2020 – until COVID-19 waylaid all that. Now he’s released a new album titled, “Beautiful and Terrible.” “In many ways, I’m a ‘new artist’ again, after a long period of laying low. I hope to begin booking shows later this year,” he said. In an Album Companion to the recording, the title is explained this way: “Heartache, joy, loss, gratitude, sorrow...it’s a volatile mix, but these things all coexist in my life right now. The sweet and the bitter are both part of the human experience.” He stated, “There’s been a deepening of my songwriting. I had thought I was done as a songwriter, but one day as I was playing the piano, a lyric came to me: ‘I know so much less than I used to.’ I used to be an arrogant Christian, certain about everything. A lot of my opinions have been shaken up.” Continued on page 23
Christian Living | July / August 2021 21
YOUR Daily Bread
Looking at ‘for richer, for poorer’ vow
equally by each spouse, couples must recognize By Terry Frisk and agree on how they will spend or save their When my wife, Barb, and I were married, we money may not be equal. pledged the traditional Christian vows to each Here are some tips to help you and your other. While there may be some variations of these vows based on faith traditions, the pledge spouse achieve financial harmony in your marwe made was: riage: “To have and to hold, from this day for1. Remember that everything you have is a ward, for better, for worse, for richer, for gift from God. God intends for you to be generpoorer, in sickness or in health, to love and ous with your financial resources. Practice that to cherish till death do us part. According to generosity with each other. God’s holy ordinance and thereto I pledge you 2. Work together to develop a budget. Recogmy faithfulness.” nize that achieving each other’s goals may not Like every marriage, we have certainly necessarily mean individual spending is equal. experienced each of these conditions throughThis may require compromising. out our marriage. Quite often, they are in a 3. When creating a budget, make giving and combination with each other. The better times Terry Frisk saving some of your income a priority. Recogoccur when we are at our strongest physically nize God’s gifts to you by giving back a portion. and mentally and able to work to provide financial stability. In addition, set aside some of your income during richer times The worse times are often brought on by illness that can limit our ability to earn income and incurring medical expanse that so you have funds available to support the poorer times. strains our finances. How we approach the ups and downs of 4. Give each other latitude to spend the budgeted finances as our marriage is an expression of our faith in God and our love each see fit. But, consult one another on major purchases. for each other. In Matthew 9:5 Jesus said: 5. Be transparent with each other to build the trust necessary “For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother for a successful marriage. Hiding income and spending is a and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one recipe for disaster. flesh.” During our 43 years together, Barb and I have worked Becoming one in flesh relates to all aspects of marriage, through many financial issues together. We probably disagree including finances. Through the years, we learned the wisdom on issues as much as we agree. But, through prayer and open of combining our finances. There were years where I earned communication, we have worked through our financial strugmore than Barb and years where she earned more than I gles together. Those conversations are not always easy, but well did. Because we pooled our incomes into a joint account, we worth it in the end. n viewed our income as equally contributed by both. Then, we decide together on how to allocate our combined finances. Terry Frisk is a partner in the firm B2B CFO, providing This can be challenging at times. One spouse may be into financial advisory services to small businesses. He also counoutdoor recreation (hunting, fishing, etc.) while the other may sels individuals on personal financial matters through the prefer different activities. Quite often, there is a significant Cathedral of the Rockies Budget Counseling ministry. He difference in the cost to participate in these activities. How do you deal with this? Just like viewing income as contributed may be contacted through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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22 July / August 2021 | Christian Living
Scott Riggan Continued from page 21
He said he’s gone through a difficult time during the past year or so – taken a gut punch – and that God has used all his troubles to refine him. “I’ve gone through a process of evaluating. I’m more compassionate. The nature of a blind spot is that you don’t know you have it. Now I know with a lot more clarity. It all rests on Jesus and it all rests on Scripture.” He said the lyric “I know so much less than I used to” is almost a ‘thesis statement’ for the new album. He’s lived, learned, and loved, and the trip has amounted to more than 53 consecutive birthdays – or, 50 years since that first church solo. He’s experienced a maturing that has flowered, a faith that has grown, and a Savior who has remained steadfast. Now, there will be more of his music on the radio; more traveling and performing; and when he’s home, more worship at ECC. “I don’t know if I’ve ever been bored in my life,” Scott said. “I would never have put myself into a life where I was constantly idle.” Clearly, idleness will not be a problem for him. n
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Scott Riggan sits at a monument designating Freezeout Hill in Emmett. Scott is a musician who, at 53, brings a more mature perspective to his lyrics and who feels his newly released recording reflects what he’s gained from his life experiences. (Photo by Michael Sean H.)
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Christian Living | July / August 2021 23
JUST like Jesus
Busy and frazzled? Be more like Him By Roxanne Drury Imagine a day that has been so tiring, so jampacked with activity that all you want to do at the end of the day is collapse in exhaustion on the couch or in your bed. Here is an example of one of those days. Be warned... You might get tired just reading about this day. Here goes nothin’! You cart the kids to school in the morning, go to church to volunteer for a couple hours, stop at the post office, the grocery store and to get gas, pick the kids up from school and stop at home long enough for a quick snack for the kids and for them to change their clothes for their activities. You turn right around and head Roxanne out the door for your daughters’ softball practice, which is immediately followed by the boys’ baseball practices, all done with a toddler in tow. By the time you get home, it is time for dinner, which you prepare. By this time hubby is home and he helps clean up after dinner. Way to go, hubby! But it is now bath time As you go to gather up your little one for his bath, you find him sitting very content in his room, drawing on the new dresser — and himself — with Sharpies. (Sigh....) Good thing it is bath time. The little one is now bathed and what we call in our house “jammified,” which means he has his pajamas on. Now it is time to start encouraging the three older ones that it is time to shower. “I don’t need a shower!” “Yes, you do, you are sweaty,” you say. “No, I’m not – not anymore.” Calmly (or maybe not so calmly) you reply, “Please, just go take a shower and I suggest you not say another word. I am the mom and I say go take a shower so go...take...a...shower.” Does this interchange sound in any way familiar? They understand this tone of voice means we better go take a shower and so they go take their showers. After teeth are brushed and everyone is all set, you head up the stairs for ‘good nights’ and
call out, “Time for bed!” “I’m not tired!” is the reply. Needless to say, at this point “It,” whatever “It” is, could easily hit the fan. But, instead, you climb the stairs and give your children an extra 10 minutes to stay up while you check on the little one who is already sound asleep, looking like a sweet angel. You clean up the bathroom and gather a load of laundry before going to kiss your beautiful children good night. I know you have had days like this. Everyone has. Whether it is at home or at the office, we all have them. And so did Jesus. The apostles had been out doing ministry and they came to find Jesus to tell Him about all the things they had done and what they had taught Drury the people. Jesus listened. Jesus sensed that the apostles were tired, and He knew what His day had been like and that none of them had had time to rest or even eat. There had been so many people coming and going, so many people to talk to, so many people asking questions, so many people to heal. So Jesus suggested they find a quiet spot off by themselves in order to rest a bit and perhaps grab a bite to eat. This sounded like a great idea to all of them, so Jesus and His followers climbed in a boat and left for a quiet place where they could be alone. But wait... The people – people from many towns – saw them leaving and came running along the shore of the lake to meet them on the other side. I could just hear all those people saying to each other, “Let’s head them off at the pass!” This was a huge crowd of people – like 5,000 of them. Jesus had already had a full day. He had not eaten. He had not rested. Nor had His apostles. But what does Jesus do? He looks out at all 5,000 of those people as He is stepping out of the boat and He has compassion on them. He was hungry, He was tired. But, He is thinking to Himself, these people are like
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24 July / August 2021 | Christian Living
lost sheep, they have no shepherd. And so, He begins teaching them many things. (Paraphrased by me from Mark 6:30-34.) So often, in our day-to-day lives, we experience days as I described above. It just seems like it is one thing after another and there is no time to rest and no time to eat and then our children push us to the limit. And yet, from somewhere deep within us, we find the strength to keep going; we find patience not to lose our temper; we find compassion to give an extra 10 minutes, just like Jesus. And when we are just like Jesus, I like to think that God our Father smiles and says, “That’s my girl!” or “That’s my boy!” “She/he is just like Jesus!” And isn’t that the goal? “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 2:4-5 “The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to Him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.” — Mark 6: 30-34 n Roxanne Drury is a wife, mother, grandmother, and retired Christian preschool teacher with a teaching certificate in Early Childhood Education. She has served the Lord in children’s ministry for over 40 years and is currently on staff at Rockharbor Church.
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Christian Living | July / August 2021 25
How one philosopher conceived America
But what’s fascinating is where John Locke got By Dr. Rick Chromey his own inspiration and ideas. He was an influential voice in the minds of In John Locke’s two “treatises” on government, our Founding Fathers. His writings significantly he referenced biblical characters, ideas and passagimpacted the Declaration of Independence, U.S. es over 1,500 times. In his First Treatise, he systemConstitution, Bill of Rights and other charter atically attacked arguments for the divine right of documents. Nearly every cherished America value kings using Holy Scripture. In his Second Treatise, can be traced to him. Locke outlined the natural rights of humans and a Ironically, this man lived a full generation before social contract rooted to charity, duty and tolermost of our Founders were even born. Nevertheless, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and ance. Again, using biblical principles and ScripJohn Madison revered him. James Monroe attribture, he laid the foundation for America’s most uted our constitutional philosophy, including the cherished social values, including representational three branches of government, to his works. Noah government, private property rights, freedom of Webster cited him as foundational to American religion, the right to protest, and the “pursuit of educational principles. life, liberty and happiness.” Who could possibly guide our Founding Fathers Essentially, America was built on a foundation of from the grave? It was none other than the English Dr. Rick Chromey biblical doctrine, using the writings of philosopher philosopher John Locke (1632-1704). John Locke. But there’s still one more thing. Locke As the “father of liberalism,” Locke developed social contract felt his novel government functioned best through God’s people. theory – an idea our Founders readily fashioned into a ConstituIf you want to see good government, he wrote, just look to Old tional principle known as “the consent of the governed.” Thomas Testament Israel or the New Testament church. Jefferson later concluded that “Bacon, Locke and Newton...[were] It’s why many unique features of our Constitution – including the three greatest men that have ever lived.”(1) separation of powers, religious freedom and, again, the consent of Indeed, he was. America as we know it might not have existed the people – are biblical concepts for a religious nation. without John Locke’s insight. Forty years ago a group of political scientists studied over 15,000 And yet what’s overlooked is Locke’s influence as a theologian. Founding Era writings to determine “sources” for the establishAnd while some historians classify him as a Deist, that rendering ment of American government. The number one source by a is inaccurate. Many of Locke’s religious works were penned at the wide margin was the Bible. Nearly one-third of the quotes in our end of his life (in the 1690s) when his theological positions clearly gelled. In Locke’s case, he embraced a Protestant (Calvinist) Chris- Founding Fathers’ writings were directly connected to biblical themes, persons or Scripture verses (four times more than any tian perspective. other individual, including John Locke). From his later writings, we can deduce a theologically orthodox This is why John Adams noted, “The general Principles, on and biblically conservative faith. Locke penned an expository comwhich the Fathers [achieved] Independence, were...the general mentary on Paul’s epistles (published post-humous, 1705-1707). Principles of Christianity.”(2) Similarly, his son John Quincy Adams He also compiled Common Place: Book to the Holy Bible (1697), an concluded, “The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerearly topical Bible. stone of human government upon the first precepts of ChristianJohn Locke battled intellectual and cultural attacks on Christiity.”(3) anity in The Reasonableness of Christianity as Delivered in the Scriptures It’s why the patriot Patrick Henry advocated, “The great pillars (1695), which included two sequels: Vindication of the Reasonableof all government and of social life [are] virtue, morality, and ness of Christianity (1695) and A Second Vindication (1697). In these religion.”(4) Or that clergyman and geographer Jedidiah Morse apologetic writings, Locke argued the Bible was verbally inspired warned: “To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that by God and miracles were His authoritative Divine stamps. Locke claimed the entire Bible was true and “reasonable” to the “enlight- degree of civil freedom and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoys…Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall ened” mind. Nevertheless, he encouraged tolerance to all views be overthrown, our present republican forms of government – and save one. Locke felt atheism (because it denied and rejected God) naturally invited social decay and civic chaos. all the blessings which flow from them – must fall with them.”(5) Our Founding Fathers were particularly captivated by Locke’s America was essentially fabricated by John Locke’s ideas to be a Two Treatises of Government (1689). In its 400 pages, Locke outlined nation rooted in biblical principle. the mechanisms for how civil government operated. Our FoundIt remains a novel concept for those who ponder and embrace it. n ers channeled Locke in both the Declaration and Constitution to forge a democratic republic. This novel politic featured a “social Dr. Rick Chromey is an author, historian and theologian who speaks and contract” where “we the people” elected leaders to represent with writes on matters of religion, culture, history, technology and leadership. He’s our consent. Consequently, America required no king or pope to the founder and president of MANNA! Educational Services International lord over us. It’s why we dissolved ties with England. (www.mannasolutions.org). Rick and his wife Linda live in Star, ID. Sources: From a 1789 letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Trumbull commissioning portraits of Francis Bacon, John Locke and Isaac Newton: https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/tr11a.html#obj11 (2) The Adams-Jefferson Letters, edited by Lester J. Cappon (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1959): p. 340. (3) John Quincy Adams, An Oration Delivered Before the Inhabitants of the Town of Newburyport at Their Request on the Sixty-First Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1837 (Newburyport: Charles Whipple, 1837), pp. 5-6. (4) Patrick Henry, Patrick Henry: Life, Correspondence and Speeches, William Wirt Henry, editor (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1891), Vol. II, p. 592, to Archibald Blair on January 8, 1799. (5) Jedidiah Morse, A Sermon, Exhibiting the Present Dangers and Consequent Duties of the Citizens of the United States of America, Delivered at Charlestown, April 25, 1799, The Day of the National Fast (MA: Printed by Samuel Etheridge, 1799), p. 9. (1)
26 July / August 2021 | Christian Living
More than a feeling, more than romance By Gary Moore If I were to ask you, “What makes a good marriage?,” according to the research 90 percent of you would say “Being in love.” Nobody thinks about getting married in hopes that love will eventually show up. Do you realize that for most of history, love had very little to do with marriage? Love wasn’t the motivator. Historically, people married to form alliances between families, gain economic support, or expand the family labor force. Today marriage is seen as a bond that’s all about love and intimacy. Romance is the essential precursor to marriage. It is seen as a precursor and a requirement. For most, it is paramount. And, according to Stephanie Coontz, Director of Research and Public Education at the Council on Contemporary Families, most see marriage as a means to more happiness. In fact, it holds a magical key, many believe, to “living happily ever after.” And that’s the problem. If you’ve been married very long at all, you know marriage, no matter how loving, isn’t a fairy tale. The “perfect person,” your “soul mate,” eventually lets you down.
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Christian Living | July / August 2021 27
A CLOSER study
What was the real mission of Jesus?
God can forgive sins!” Jesus said to them, “So By Ed Rybarczyk that you know that the Son of Man has auWhy did Jesus of Nazareth go public? Milthority on earth to forgive sins,” and, turning lions take for granted the impetus for Jesus’ to the paralytic, He said, “rise, take up your ministry. Common 21st century assumptions pallet, and walk!” Dramatically? He proved include that He came to: bring peace on earth, He had the authority to forgive sins. The room end human hunger, establish the brotherhood was appropriately stunned! (Mark 2:3-12). To a of man, overthrow all systemic oppression, 1st century Jewish worldview? Jesus did many teach a new ethical code, or even offer a paththings that only God Himself could do. This way to heaven. Amid such a surplus of supblew their minds. What was Jesus indicating at posed reasons for Jesus’ public appearance, we every turn? He did indeed have the very power do well to think a bit more carefully. of God because He was Himself God, the Son. First, Jesus did not chose His own vocation. It is astonishing, but a careful reading of both No, His mission was given to Him by God the the Gospels and the New Testament Epistles Father. At age 12 He told His parents, “Don’t makes it clear: Jesus was His own mission. you know that I must be about my Father’s What had Jesus come to do? Establish a new business?” (Lk. 2:49). In Nazareth, at the start Ed Rybarczyk covenant between God and mankind, through of his ministry, Jesus stood in the synagogue His own self, via His own body. What had Jesus come to do? and declared, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because Present Himself as God’s own means of salvation: He is the he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.” (Lk. Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. (Jn. 1:29; 4:18).When the Capernaum crowds wanted Him to remain Rev. 5:6). In fact, so emphatic was Jesus about His own identity and continue healing people, He said to them, “I must proclaim the Kingdom to other cities, too; for I was sent for this that He told His disciples, “Truly I say to you that it will be purpose.” (Lk. 4:44). In John’s Gospel, Jesus was adamant that more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment, than for that city who rejects your Gospel about me.” He had come to accomplish not His own will, but that of the (Mt. 10:15). Father, “Look, I’m not here on my own. The one who sent Sixty years ago C.S. Lewis pointed out that no other relime is true.” (7:28). Or again, “the living Father sent me, and gious leader in history claimed to be either God’s Son or God I live because of the Father.” (7:57). Himself: not Gautama Buddha, or Confucius, or Mohammed, Just as astounding as Jesus’ claims to a divine mission was or Krishna. Lewis noted, Jesus also did not claim to be a moral His claim that God the Father intended to share His heavenly teacher, like those other religious figures. Instead? Jesus made glory with Jesus Himself. “The Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, so that all may honor the Son outlandish claims: “Before Abraham was, I am.” (Jn. 8:58); just as they honor the Father.” (Jn. 5:22-23). Anticipating His and, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me.” (Jn. 14:6). If those claims are murder Jesus said, “Father, the hour has come, glorify your false then Jesus was either a pathological liar or insane. But if Son so that the Son may glorify you.” (Jn. 17:2). Given that the Old Testament repeats the theme that God shares His glo- they are true – as His resurrection and miraculous signs attest – then of course nothing could surpass the identity of Christ, ry with no one, Jesus was thereby obliquely claiming divinity for Himself. His mission was from the Father, He was one with right? What is greater than God? What category surpasses eternal God? All of that to echo the refrain: Jesus was His own the Father, and He would enjoy the holy glory of the Father. But those are not the only insights concerning the purpose of mission. Think of it this way: for 2,000 years it has been called ChrisJesus’ ministry. Across His ministry, He did some things that – tianity. Not “social justice.” Not “love of brother.” Not “the to a 1st century Jewish mind – only God could do. He calmed ethic of love.” For 2,000 years its practitioners have called it a sea storm when the Jews knew only God was Lord over the Christianity because the central element in the Christian faith terrifying seas. He healed unclean lepers, but Jews knew that is Christ. We worship Jesus because He was His own mission. lepers were ceremonially unclean, so said healings indicated He came to offer Himself to us. He came to transform the He had the very power of God to restore. He healed people creation through His very identity. He came to make Himself who were born blind; who had such power but God Himself ? known to you, and to a sinner like me. Oh, beautiful Jesus! n He raised the dead! Are you kidding? In the old covenant it was God Himself alone who held authority over death. And then, of all preposterous things – again, preposterous to Ed Rybarczyk, Ph.D., is both an ordained minister and a retired History of Theology professor. He now produces and hosts a 1st century Jewish mentality – He forgave people’s sins! To the Uncensored Unprofessor podcast @uncensoredunprofessor. a paralytic He said, “Son, you sins are forgiven.” When the roomful of scornful scribes protested, “Stop blaspheming! Only com. He may be reached at email@example.com.
28 July / August 2021 | Christian Living
More than a feeling Continued from page 27
When we’re dating, we are in the sales and Romantic love, by its very nature, is fleeting. marketing business. We’re selling an image of a There are two main schools of thought here. person we hope the other one will buy. In turn, One school believes that the half-life of romanthey are doing the same. And when romantic tic love is about three months. The other school love, initiated by this “sales transaction,” is believes romantic love stays at a peak for two mistaken for lasting love, we marry an idealto three years before it starts to fade. Whichized image of our partner. Only that person ever school is correct, the reality is that mutual does not exist in real life. And in time, marriage idealizing gives way to mutual disillusionment. asks us to look reality squarely in the face and No human being can fulfill an idealized dream. reckon with the fact that we did not marry the Letdown is inevitable. person we thought we did. Strangely, the moment a couple realizes this, Each of us constructs an idealized image of is the moment they find what they were hopthe person we marry. That image is painted ing for all along. Their disenchantment, once by our partners’ eager efforts to put their best accepted as a sign of growth, not despair, foot forward and to sell us. And then the imenables them to move into deeper and enduring age takes root in the rich soil of our romantic intimacy. Gary Moore fantasies. We want to see our partner at their The late English writer Beverley Nichols put best. We imagine, for example, that they would it this way, “Marriage is a book of which the never become irritable or put on excess weight. We believe first chapter is written in poetry and the remaining chapters in their body is exempt from the forces of gravity. We focus on prose.” what we find admirable and blank out every blemish. We see Love is more than a feeling. n them through the lens of romance as more noble, more attractive, more intelligent, and more gifted than they really are. But Gary Moore served as associate pastor at Cloverdale Church of God for 15 not for long. Why? Because, as a married couple, we’re now years. He does couples’ coaching and leads couples’ workshops and retreats called living in closer proximity for extended periods of time in a less MUM’s the Word. He does a weekly radio program called Life Point Plus on controlled environment. Romance is fueled by feelings. And as KBXL 94.1FM at 8:45 a.m. on Fridays. Monday mornings at 10 a.m. he the real person begins to emerge, our idealized images begin to does live relationship teaching called MUM Live on his Facebook page Mutual shatter and our feelings begin to change. Understanding Method. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Christian Living | July / August 2021 29
Rongo, Kenya church gets its first Bibles
Above left: Wycliff Ouma Oyangore, who pastors an as-yet unnamed church in Rongo, Kenya, picks up boxes of Bibles sent to him by members of a small church in Hazelton, Idaho. (Courtesy photo) Above right: Pastor Wycliff distributed the Bibles he got from members of Evangelical Valley Presbyterian Church in Idaho to people who attend his church in Africa. First, the adults were given Bibles, then the young people. (Courtesy photo)
By Jim Day Editor’s note: In the May/June issue of Christian Living Magazine, Jim Day wrote about an email that Evangelical Valley Presbyterian Church in Hazelton, which Jim pastors, received from a pastor in Africa. The small article here, accompanied by photos, is a follow-up to the original article. To read the full original story, go to https://www. christianlivingmag.com/god-dots-africanpastor-calls-small-idaho-church. Thanks to the financial support of folks all around southern Idaho, we were able to provide the Bibles requested by the little church in Jim Day Kenya that as of yet has no name. The church still needs a denominational sponsor (we are working on that), but the Word of God is being taught and heard in the community of Rongo, Kenya.
30 July / August 2021 | Christian Living
Shown here is a photo of Pastor Wycliffe Ouma Oyangore picking up the Bibles as they were delivered, as well as handing out Bibles to the people of Rongo who are now being reached with God’s truth. I truly believe that this is a God Dot. Wycliffe and I email several times a week, and he is very hopeful that his church will receive sponsorship before the deadline. Our little church in Hazelton is looking at sending a couple to minister to Wycliffe and those who count themselves members of his church. It is expensive – about $6,000 to send two people over for a week. We are looking to the Lord for direction and provision. Please stand with us in prayer. Blessings to all and thank you for your prayers! n Jim Day is the pastor of Evangelical Valley Presbyterian Church (EPC) in Hazelton, Idaho. He may be reached at email@example.com.
BIBLICALLY Responsible Investing
Don’t fall for the world’s ‘believable lies’ his wealth is wasted.” Spending money on By Doug Hanson It is a popular group game for getting-toprostitutes may not be a temptation for us, but know-each-other, but one that I do not like. I there are certainly other ways that we can waste have never grown accustomed to lying and that our wealth by focusing on self-gratification. is one of the premises of the game. Some of We should filter all spending decisions through you may have played it in youth groups or other God’s Word. settings: Two Truths and a Lie. As the name We should gain our material wealth implies, everyone is to share two things that are in a godly manner. Proverbs 28:22 reads, true about themselves and one that is not. The “A person with an evil eye hurries after wealth object is for others to figure out which one is and does not know that poverty will come the lie. The best strategy is to tell two obscure upon him.” The mental picture of an “evil truths and one believable lie. Telling a believeye” conjures up images that are not pleasant, able lie often leads to victory. ones that do not honor the Lord. We need to There are many believable lies in this world be careful how we earn wealth – and how we – lies that are mixed with truths. Fortunately, Doug Hanson there is one source that only tells truths, and invest wealth – since both contribute to gaining that is Scripture. Within the financial planning wealth. industry, the term “wealth” is used in many ways: some more We should filter all financial decisions through Proverbs 3:9 valid than others. The good news is that Scripture provides us – “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with your first truthful insights into wealth. Although there are many places fruits of all your produce.” Notice the “and” in the middle we can turn to in Scripture, the book of Proverbs provides us of the verse. Giving of our “first fruits” is important, but it is with five significant truths. only part of the picture. We are also to “honor the Lord” in God blesses us with spiritual wealth. Proverbs 15:6 reads, “Great wealth is in the house of the righteous, but trou- all aspects of our finances, including how we build wealth. In ble is in the income of the wicked.” The righteous – those who America, where we focus on self-sufficiency – especially when are right-before-God – have a treasure that others do not have: it relates to building wealth – we can easily neglect making God a priority in our investments. Our Heavenly Father cares spiritual blessings. These spiritual blessings are manifested in for us deeply and wants us to appropriate the full blessings He this life and for eternity – true spiritual wealth. has for us. God wants us to invest and build wealth (Matthew God blesses us with capability to gain material 25:14-30), but only in a manner that makes Him a priority and wealth. Proverbs 13:11 reads, “Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows honors Him. over time.” God has blessed each of us with unique capabilities The teachings on “wealth” in Proverbs should cause each of to build wealth, but they must be put to good use. Hard work us to take a second look at our priorities. We would be remiss is required to maximize whatever unique abilities and skills the if we followed the believable lies of the world and focused Lord has blessed us with. more on earthly wealth than heavenly wealth. We would also We should focus more on spiritual wealth than mabe remiss if we obscured the truth and distanced Scripture terial wealth. Proverbs 13:7 reads, “One person pretends to from how we handle our earthly wealth. Let us not live a life of be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.” Here we are reminded that it is more important wealth-remiss! n to store up treasures in heaven than riches on Earth. We can Doug Hanson is an investment advisor with Christian strive to do both, but we must keep the right perspective lest Wealth Management in Boise, providing biblically responwe end up pretenders with nothing. sible investment advice to Christians. For more information, We should spend our material wealth in a godly visit investforthegloryofgod.com or contact him at doug@ manner. Proverbs 29:3 reads, “The man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father, but if he hangs around with prostitutes, christianwm.com or (208) 697-3699.
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Raymond, 13, likes church and pancakes
Raymond, 13, is a spirited boy who describes himself as kind, smart and good in school. He enjoys reading, playing basketball, drawing and painting. He loves country music and to be outside with his friends, playing games like Freeze Tag and Capture the Flag. Raymond also enjoys church, pancakes and pizza. He is a sweet boy, with big dreams for his future. He hopes to one day be a firefighter or police officer. Raymond needs an adoptive family that will be supportive of his dreams and engage with him in his daily activities. Raymond is very bright and creative. Given all that he has been through, he still manages to keep smiling and keep others laughing – and he can be quite the jokester. Raymond’s permanency team is looking for a family that will be able to meet Raymond’s individual needs and partner with community resources that will continue to help him learn, grow and thrive. A family that is trauma-informed and who may also have experience in TBRI (Trust-Based Relational Intervention) parenting would be a fantastic fit. Raymond will need a family that values biological connections and will be committed to supporting ongoing relationships with his siblings. If you are ready to start a lifelong adventure full of love and laughter with Raymond, inquire at www. idahowednesdayschild.org to learn more about this special boy. n For more information on the Idaho Wednesday’s Child Program, visit www.idahowednesdayschild.org, or contact Recruitment Coordinator Shawn White at firstname.lastname@example.org or cell 208-488-8989 if you have specific questions.
Jerry’s Life By Jerry McMurray
Christian Living | July / August 2021 33
STAYING on course
People have a ‘navigation system’ from God
By Greg Grotewold May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. – Romans 15:13, ESV The terrain of northeast South Dakota has always fascinated me. Its corn and soybean fields are adjoined by an assortment of winding creeks, sprawling lakes and wetlands, and the majestic prairie of the Coteau Hills. Growing up, I spent a significant amount of time hunting and fishing this motley topographic masterpiece.
Recently back to see my dad and in a reminiscent mood, I asked my son, Luke, if he wanted to go for a drive. He needed some additional hours behind the wheel for his license, and I wanted to revisit some of my old stomping grounds. We weren’t but five minutes into the drive when all of these wonderful memories started to come flooding back. A particular field or lake would produce a particular recollection of a certain shot or catch. And, of course, there was the added benefit of seeing the abundant wildlife that continues to thrive in this rich habitat. Acting like a little kid in a candy store, I startled Luke more than once as I perhaps too enthusiastically pointed out a pheasant running in the ditch or a red-tailed hawk flying overhead. Of particular note were the thousands of snow geese we saw. Taking a respite from their spring migration to the breeding grounds in Canada, the large flocks seemed to cover every inch of open water. It was a Saturday afternoon well spent. The following day, as we headed back home to the Twin Cities, I found myself thinking about those geese, particularly their annual trek north. Knowing that they typically nest in the exact same location every year, I began wondering how they navigate the long journey with such precision. In doing a little research, it appears that in addition to various natural landmarks, geese (and other migratory birds) have a built-in compass. The mechanism allows them to see the Earth’s magnetic field, which aids in deciphering direction and triggering flight pattern adjustments so as to stay on course.* The ingenuity God used in creating these birds, particularly their navigation system, is astonishing – especially to someone like me who, on road trips, becomes quickly disoriented even with the aid of Google Maps. What’s even more impressive, though, is the navigation system the Lord bestows on His redeemed. We too have a built-in compass. The Holy Spirit helps us navigate our spiritual trek, empowering a life of joyful hopefulness. FREE Bibles • Pray y for U.S. Armed Forces
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34 July / August 2021 | Christian Living
ing that treasures exist whose glories rival the That is, if we avail ourselves of such assisLord’s and thus mistakenly conclude I have tance. While perhaps a strained analogy at best, little to lose in seeking them. With my thinking we could learn a thing or two from our feathdulled, I begin resisting the Spirit’s warnings, ered friends. Unlike us, they are always concompromising my defense. It’s a vicious cycle scious of the compass’s existence. And unlike us, of self-initiated distance, discontentment, indifthey always heed its promptings. The compariference, and disobedience. One leads to the son is useful to the extent it helps us recognize other with ever-increasing force. the consequences of neglecting the resources I’ve always found it interesting how cycleavailable to stay on course. prone I am, particularly when it comes to my While the Holy Spirit assists with all aspects of besetting sin of self-exaltation. Too often I see life, the role is particularly salient when danger Greg Grotewold myself as the better treasure, the one whose looms. His is the one true source of power that glories rival the Lord’s. It’s a reality that you permits us to prudently navigate the various would think after this many years of being a Christian I would entrapments life presents. He helps us either avert such enbe more adept at confronting – expediting that which keeps ticements altogether or, if unavoidable, from acting on them. me glued to Christ and impeding that which doesn’t. I’m Equally important, the Spirit is also the only One that can encouraged though. The fact that the Holy Spirit put this topic break a besetting sin and its accompanying enslavement. To on my heart is perhaps a sign of increased growth and matunot heed His overtures, regardless of why, is welcoming a fate rity. often marked by anguish. I don’t need unnecessary anguish in Regardless of where in the cycle I find myself, if I am to my life, and I gather you don’t either. What’s at work when the Spirit’s impact wanes in a believer’s glorify Christ, I must let my compass direct my path. Whether it’s returning to the arms of Jesus sooner and preventing a life? Why do we go through seasons where proper considersmall gap from becoming a large one or clinging even tighter ation isn’t paid to the readings our compass produces? While to an already beautiful embrace, I need the power of the Holy the answer may vary, for me it’s fairly straightforward. The Spirit. I will not consistently abide in Christ without a keen Spirit’s leverage over me at any given moment is directly sensitivity to and adherence of the Spirit’s direction. correlated with my level of intimacy with Christ. The more I May the Holy Spirit have His way with both you and me so abide in Jesus and seek my satisfaction in Him, the greater the Spirit’s influence in guiding me. In other words, I am the most that we stay on course and abound in the great hope that is Jesus Christ. n acutely aware of threats to my joy in Christ when I am the most joyful in Him. My alertness is highest when my fellowship with the Lord is sweetest. It’s a beautiful cycle of Holy Spirit*Taken from The Daily Mail Reporter (author’s name not given). “Birds enabled proximity, contentment, adoration, and obedience. navigate by being able to SEE Earth’s magnetic field.” Dailymail.co.uk, One leads to the other with ever-increasing force. 7-14-2010. Image by Veronika Andrews from Pixabay. Unfortunately, the opposite is true as well. The more I separate myself from Christ, the less delight I take in Him. With Greg lives in Oakdale, Minn. with his wife, Sandi, and my affections dulled, it becomes easier to look elsewhere to their two sons, Luke and Eli. He is a deacon in his local satisfy the longings of my heart. I deceive myself into believchurch and greatly enjoys serving in this capacity.
Christian Living | July / August 2021 35
COLOR my artwork This artwork is created by Lynae Hyatt of Donnelly, who said, “I’d love to give readers the option to send in a picture of their children’s colored picture so I can share it on my art page.” The name of her art page is The Faithful Art Shop, and her Facebook page is at www.facebook.com/ faithfulartshop.
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36 July / August 2021 | Christian Living
DO Nothing... or act?
Being a helping kind of human being
December 12 is Kenya’s Independence Day, one of the most important holidays in the country, when no one is expected to work. I had Just take a moment and think of someone stopped by our school (which we were renovatwaking up and going somewhere to wait for ing to start the girls’ boarding school in a few help without knowing whether or not he or she days) to pick up something on my way to the will get the help, nor when and how. Also think airport for my return trip to America. Only the of how that vulnerable individual feels when the help seems to finally be available – but still watchman was supposed to be there. But there they don’t get helped. While that is a scenario was an elderly shoeless woman with a young in the Bible, working with and for povertygirl (in torn clothes) just sitting on the ground. stricken people puts biblical incidences and When I asked them what they were doing, I miracles into perspective. was informed that they had been coming from In John 5: 2-7a, we read: “Now there is at time to time, hoping that they could meet me Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is and explain their need for help with the girl’s called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five high school tuition. They had walked more Vincent Kituku porches. In these lay a great multitude of impothan five miles, one way. It was also evident they tent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the had not had anything to eat. moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season The problem was, the grandmother and her granddaughter into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the had gone to the school several times and no one had helped troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever them by just getting her information and passing it to me. That disease he had. inaction would have led a girl to languish in poverty for the rest “And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty of her life. and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had That is like one of many occasions that I have gone to my elbeen now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, ‘Wilt thou ementary school – that I left in 1974 and rarely visit – and still be made whole?’ The impotent man answered him, ‘Sir, I have no find someone who stops by regularly, hoping that I am there. man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool…’ “ There was a father of a high school boy who learned that I For most of us, it is unimaginable to think of how someone was in the country and went to the school each day, and when can suffer for 38 years, waiting for help. Then whenever that help seems to be available, someone else (who has somebody to he finally saw me, he broke down. Again, all someone had to do was get the man’s information, call or email me. But there help him/her to receive the help), gets it. was no one who did that. We sponsored his son and now he is The point is, help can be there, but only someone with a in university. helper can be helped. In most cases, our fellow human beings suffer because we When I go to Kenya, this biblical scenario is a reality that ocdo nothing. We don’t have to give tangible help. The fact is, curs repeatedly, breaking my heart each time. Only my driver and the owner of the place where I am going know when I will sometimes our greatest contribution is not material resources arrive. Not even my parents or our employees at Caring Hearts but any act that shows someone that we care. To care, we must High School know. My daily schedule is also unknown. be compassionate – and act. n By Vincent Kituku
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email@example.com Christian Living | July / August 2021 37
NIX the cynical
Some suggestions for living a new way By Bethany Riehl My father and I have a tradition that he began when I was young. Often on Saturday mornings he would take my sister and I out to breakfast to let our mom sleep in. The morning I was married to Mr. Riehl, my dad and grandpa took me to breakfast, bragging to anyone who would listen that it was my wedding day. For years my parents traveled for work, so we would grab breakfast any Saturday Dad happened to be in town. Now that they live here permanently, we have what I have affectionately dubbed, “Saturday with Dad.” Over the years he’s given me a range of advice from “What am I supposed to do with my life?!” to “Okay, for real, how do I get this kid to sleep?” He’s helped me to plot out every book I’ve written, helped me self-publish two of them, and was my sounding board for the Noah series recently published in this honey of a magazine. He is the wisest man I know (my husband of course is a close second; my father wins due to age and experience), because he’s the godliest man I know. He takes the Word of God literally and applies it appropriately. So, if you need advice or guidance or encouragement, he’s a pretty safe place to go. Recently, as you might imagine, our talks center on the world around us. We talk about how to love in a world like this, so full of wickedness and despair. A few months ago, my dad chuckled about some crazy thing I was worked up about and he said, “You know what? We all need to go back to growing our own food. Then we’ll all be so busy and tired at the end of the day that we’ll fall asleep before we have time to get angry about anything.” Well, maybe we can’t all grow our own food, but he is definitely on to something. What if we played a game with our kids or a handful of friends instead of turning on the news in the evening? What if we invited our neighbors over for dinner instead of being angry that their old beat-up car is still sitting in the road in front of their house? What if we prayed for our enemies? What if we got busy instead of cynical? I’ve been thinking lately about the way that my dad simply lives the way God says. He does all things as unto the Lord and lives a peaceful life as a result. Not an easy life, mind you. He’s in his 70s and still works a full-time job. My mother is battling a long-term illness and that takes a toll on both of them. He is at peace, if not at rest. How can we all live like that? With the world’s wickedness swirling all around us, it can seem impossible to keep from being cynical. But not only is it possible, if we claim to be followers of Jesus, it’s what is expected of us. We’re called to be salt and light, full of joy and thankfulness. Ambassadors of Jesus Christ in a dark, lost world. But how can we if we’re tangled up in it? How can we fix our eyes on Jesus instead? These six “tips” have made a big difference in my life this year; I hope they’re helpful to you as well. 1. Saturday with Dad. Find yourself an elder (either in age or the faith) to glean wisdom from. Listen – really listen – to their advice. Laugh with them, cry with them, dine with them. Pick up the tab.
38 July / August 2021 | Christian Living
2. If the news is really dragging you down, read some good books – missionary biographies are a current favorite of mine. It might seem counterintuitive while trying to acquire peace to read stories of people who lived through perilous times, but it truly does amazing things for your faith to read about how the Lord has carried His people through. 3. Go to church. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:23-25). This passage is difficult to obey when we aren’t regularly gathering with a local church body. I know the couch is comfortable and it’s nice to be able to just listen online, but if you’re still home – or if you were home long before the lockdowns last year – you’re not only in disobedience, you’re missing out. And so is your church. The Lord knows what we need and has given us all commands for our good and His glory. Often, obedience comes before understanding. Of course there are some instances where you can’t get to the building. If that’s the case, invite friends and neighbors to watch the sermon and worship with you and be in contact with your pastor. The church is a body, yes, but the toe can’t add to or benefit from the rest of the body if it’s staying home week after week. If you’re afraid of being lonely or overlooked, be the one to reach out to someone sitting alone. 4. Grow something. It really does do something for our soul when we get our hands dirty and nurture the growth of a plant. Watching a dead seed flourish to life is healing in the best way. Don’t have a green thumb? Grow a good habit instead. Take up daily walks or call a loved one once a week. Write a letter, send a card. Plant the seeds of God’s Word in your heart and work to memorize big portions of Scripture. Copy a page from your Bible and carry it with you wherever you go and grow your memory bank. Make every effort to “…not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (Romans 12:2). 5. Read the book of Revelation. No, really. Did you know this is the only book in the Bible that promises a blessing to those who read it (Revelation 1:3)? Many think this is a terrifying passage and because it’s difficult to understand, it’s easy to ignore. But it’s part of the canon of Scripture and it matters. Just as Jesus literally fulfilled each prophecy made about His first coming, so too will He literally fulfill every prophecy made about His second coming. If you’re a Christian, you have nothing to fear about the fulfillment of end times prophecies. Knowing the Lord has gone before us and has a plan (whether it be fulfilled in our lifetime or later) is incredibly assuring. Chuck Missler has a fantastic series on the book of Revelation on YouTube if you want to dig deeper. 6. Abide in the Vine. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13) and we can do nothing apart from Him (John 15:5). It’s right and good to seek ways to be more Christ-like and to have a plan to that effect. Yet we cannot do it apart from Him. We need His guidance and His strength to endure good and bad times. I recently read this from the late Christian author and speaker, Elisabeth Elliot:
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Bethany Riehl “It is only in obeying God that we may know Him.” I’m sure we could come up with dozens of ways to endure hardships, but if we’re not doing them by Him, for Him, and through Him, it’s meaningless wood, hay and stubble that will be swallowed up by flame (1 Corinthians 3:12-13). Praying for you, friends. That you may know peace and assurance. That you fix your eyes on Him, and that when the Lord returns we will all be found faithfully serving Him and the people that He loves so dearly. n Bethany Riehl loves to write stories and articles that explore the complexities of relationships and encourage readers in their relationship with Jesus. She joyfully serves in the children’s ministry at her church, teaches at a homeschool co-op, and drinks more coffee than necessary to keep up with her onlyslightly-crazy life. She is the author of four Christian fiction novels and now lives in Meridian with her spunky kids and very handsome hubby.
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