November / December 2023
A faraway ministry
Sienknecht Single woman, mom’s heart
But summer rocked
CHRISTMASTIME Season of symbols
Treasure Valley’s Roy Grimm, and his wife Joanne, lead a Philippines church
Blessings... Count your
Thanks for Listening!
Keeping Christ in the Center of your Holidays
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Contents November / December 2023 “For he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear his voice.” — Psalms 95:7 NIV
Volume 12 | Number 6
Christian writers group Nampa Narcan Nativity exhibit Drive-Thru Food Drive
7 7 9 15
Firm foundation: A layer of bedrock
Symbolism & Salvation: Symbols of Christmas “I Get To!”®: Wait for God Real Man’s Toolbox: Finishing strong
6 12 14 26
Dee Sienknecht: Single woman, mom’s heart
Exploring God’s Great Outdoors: Fall’s here (but summer rocked)
Nate Lindskoog: Prosthetic leg, strong faith
History, Culture & Faith: July 8, 1835
Richard: A Rescue Mission story
Farmer Jesus’: Talk with Him
God’s way: Doing Christmas differently
30 Idaho’s Roy Grimm:
Asian Christians: Contending with adversity
Biblically Responsible Investing: Pooling finances Understanding Relationships: Different countries?
Partnering with God: Play your part
Child: persevering love: 37 God’s 38 Wednesday’s Meet Juan It’s a new day
A Philippines ministry
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Denice King • 208-918-5190
Maximum Health: Natural anxiety remedies
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IN EACH EDITION Publisher’s Corner: Celebrating Jesus
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Christian Living is committed to encouraging and instructing individuals in their daily lives by presenting stories of people in the Treasure Valley who are living on a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ and who serve as uplifting examples to others. Views expressed in Christian Living do not necessarily represent those of the publisher. Every effort has been made by Christian Living to insure accuracy of the publication contents. However, we do not guarantee the accuracy of all information nor the absence of errors and omissions; hence, no responsibility can be or is assumed. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2023 by Christian Living Ministries Inc.
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Christian Living | November / December 2023 3
Celebrating Jesus today, tomorrow, always
Jesus knows me. He knows I’m fully human, and In August I posted this on one of my social media that even at my best I will, no matter how hard I accounts – with the thought that if I can’t laugh try, slip and sin. For example, it could be as simple at myself, then I’m in trouble. In the end, I was as coveting an item someone else has, or as serisurprised at how many people, like me, had no clue ous as slipping and gossiping about something. He about this little trick. knows me better than I know myself, and while He “This may go in the “Sandy’s so dumb” colcalls me to do my best, I’m so blessed that it’s not umn - but I’m excited and have to share. We had a my works that save me – it’s Jesus’ free gift of Salvatraveling nurse stay with us the past 3 months. She tion. That’s why He came, lived, and died on the was a delightful lady, and even though she liked her Cross. privacy I had several great conversations with her. That said - she clearly doesn’t know how to use a For God so loved the world that He gave His shower squeegee and our basically brand new glass only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shower enclosure was a water spotted mess after 3 should not perish but have everlasting life. John months. 3:16 NKJV Yes, I YouTubed it - and my last resort was their biggest suggestion - 0000 steel wool. Bible scholars debate when Jesus was born, some Sandy Jones I tried everything else first (cleanest shower in claiming March or April stating that the shepherds the west) - and finally today I gave up and tried the were tending their flocks in the spring; others say 0000 steel wool.... September based on the history of John the Baptist’s conception, Worked like a charm! Shower looks brand new again. and there are even plausible arguments for how and why DecemFirst day I have a bit of time I’ve got a couple of outside windows ber 25th was chosen using the date of his crucifixion as the starting calling ‘0000 Steel Wool - we’d love to meet you....’ point. Add to that those that want to discuss where and exactly what Now - you either already knew about 0000 Steel Wool - or you are the manger was; or the fact that by the time the wise men would running out the door to get some for your own water spots!” have arrived, Jesus would have been a toddler. Some may be asking why I’m sharing this. As I was reflecting on I can get sucked into some of these discussions, but personally I try the wonder of how 0000 steel wool took away all the water spots and to celebrate His birth, death and resurrection every day. I’m grateleft our shower (and many other things since) spotless and looking ful for life, His love and gift of Salvation. I’m always humbled that brand new again - reborn if you will. He’s made this available to me of all people. Even though I accepted The parallel of what this wonder treatment does for glass, and Jesus as my Savior at the age of 7, I was 35 before I fully grasped the what Jesus has done for us is not lost on me. How does that old time magnitude of what it was He really did for me. song go? “He washed me white as snow.” Blemish free. I do love the holidays though. It’s a time when we all become However if Steve and I are not careful that shower will get all more intentional about practicing gratitude, and pausing to remember Jesus’ humble beginnings. The shame Mary and Joseph bore; water spotted again, and I’ll need to break out the 0000 steel wool extremely pregnant Mary riding a donkey to Bethlehem, and then one more time. giving birth in a shelter meant for livestock. All to fulfill the prophecy I see how I’m just like that shower stall – if I’m not careful, and scattered throughout the Old Testament of the coming Messiah. don’t take care of my spiritual walk I’ll get all blemished and sinful The same Messiah that left heaven, and became a man to offer again – run the risk of becoming the prodigal child, and need to repent, confess my new sins, asking Jesus to forgive me again, and again. Salvation to each and every one of us. By Sandy Jones
Who is in this week’s
Your NEW Sock, Underwear, Jacket and Supply donations will go to: River of Life Men’s Shelter and City Light Women’s and Children Shelter Needed: NEW underwear, Socks, Coats, Supplies, etc.
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4 November / December 2023 | Christian Living
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Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
~Phil 2:6-8 NLT
I’m so grateful for His love; how He modeled life; and then bore all of my sin and shame on the cross. How could I not celebrate Him? I hope you know that He did this all for you too! From our staff to each and every one of you – we wish you a blessed holiday season, and thank so many for reaching out with support and encouragement. This includes our wonderful advertisers, without them there would be no Christian Living Magazine.
BIBLE BLANKS by Steve Bertel
Fill in each answer, one letter per square. Then arrange the letters in the highlighted squares to reveal the name of …
THE MAN WHO WAS ONE OF TWELVE 1. Second Chronicles reminds us, “But as for you, be strong and do not ___ ___, for your work will be rewarded.”
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4. Psalm 65 says, “You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with (this).”
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Christian Living | November / December 2023 5
SYMBOLISM & Salvation
Christmas – a season full of symbols
understanding our Christian faith. The doves also With Christmas coming up I got to wondering symbolize peace and love, which are central to the about symbolism in Scripture for this season. To be message of Christ. frank, you’re not going to find Christmas specifics in 3. The three French hens represent Faith, Hope, Scripture. We’re told the whole concept of celebratand Charity, which are the three Christian virtues ing Christ’s birth began sometime in the 4th cenlisted by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 12 and tury, and it took another 500 years until the church 13. These virtues are key to living a Christian life celebrated a specific liturgy for it, with December and are abundant in Christ’s teachings. 25 eventually selected as the special day. 4. The four calling birds represent the four GosGive pause and think about that. Our U.S. pels, which tell the story of Jesus’ life, death, and Constitution is a mere 236 years old, and we often resurrection. The Gospels are the primary source of think of that as happening a long time ago! In other Christian doctrine and are essential to understandwords, Christians weren’t exactly in a hurry to come ing the faith. up with a celebration for Christ’s birth. The reason? 5. The five golden rings represent the first five It was his death on the cross that mattered most! books of the Old Testament, also known as the PenBut humans have a habit of creating traditions, tateuch. These books contain the history and laws and so they did. of the Jewish people and form the foundation of the Daniel Bobinski Of course, the legend of St. Nicholas is now part Christian faith. and parcel with the Christmas holiday. Interestingly, 6. The six geese a-laying represent the six days of the celebration of this saint’s altruism for those in need parallels the creation, as described in the book of Genesis. The geese also symemergence of Christmas celebrations. bolize fertility and abundance, which are blessings from God. Although much of his history is unconfirmed, we’re told the man 7. The seven swans a-swimming represent the seven gifts of the who became St. Nicholas lived in the 4th century. He is believed to Holy Spirit, which are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, have been an altruistic bishop in Asia Minor, and over the centuries, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. These gifts are given to a “Feast of St. Nicholas” was held annually on December 6 in his believers to help them live a holy life. honor. To mark the importance of being a blessing to others, gifts 8. The eight maids a-milking represent the eight Beatitudes, which were given or exchanged the night before. That tradition was well are the teachings of Jesus on how to live a blessed life. The Beatiestablished in many European countries by the 12th century. tudes are a guide to understanding how we can live out the faith. Eventually, because St. Nicholas’ Day and the Christmas celebra9. The nine ladies dancing represent the nine fruits of the Holy tion were so close together, those traditions became combined. Spirit, which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, Of course, many Christians today do not celebrate Christmas, and faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These fruits are the result I’m not going to take sides. But for those who do, I think we benefit of living a life guided by the Holy Spirit. by recognizing the symbolism that exists among the various tradi10. The ten lords a-leaping represent the Ten Commandments, tions. which are the foundation of Christian morality. The CommandFor example, the candy cane is assigned much symbology. Histori- ments are a guide to living a holy life. ans will differ in their opinions on this, but we’re told that the candy 11. The eleven pipers piping represent the eleven faithful apostles, cane originated in Germany in the 1600’s, with bent candy sticks who spread the message of Christ after His death and resurrection. representing shepherds’ hooks. The white stripe is associated with The apostles served as the foundation of the Christian church and purity and represents the sinless nature of Jesus. The red stripe is were unabashedly bold in sharing their faith. associated with Christ’s shed blood. And the stripes overall 12. The twelve drummers drumming represent the are said to represent the stripes that Jesus suffered as twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed, He was being whipped prior to His crucifixion. which is a summary of Christian beliefs. The Christmas bells are another common Apostle’s Creed serves as a guide for many decoration we see, and we’re told that they in understanding the faith. symbolize the ringing in of the good news While it’s entirely possible the origin of the gospel. of this song had nothing to do with the Another Christmas tradition is the symbology I just listed, “The 12 Days song, “The 12 Days of Christmas.” of Christmas” can be assigned these Why 12 days? That’s the number of deep Christian meanings that help days between the traditional day of children (and adults!) learn the difChrist’s birth (December 25) and ferent aspects of our faith. Three Kings Day ( January 6), also However you celebrate the holiknown as Epiphany. day, may you have a joyous season We’re told the 12 days were used as you reflect on the message of to teach children the gospel mesChrist in the symbols that sursage through symbols, with each day round us. n having a Christian meaning that represents a different aspect of the faith. Note: The above information was Here is an analysis of each symbol: taken from multiple sources and 1. The partridge in a pear tree reprecompiled into a single article. sents Jesus Christ, who sacrificed Himself for our salvation. The pear tree symbolizes Daniel Bobinski, Th.D., is an award-winthe cross, and the partridge in the tree reprening and best-selling author and a popular sents Christ’s willingness to die for us. Image by beauty_of_nature speaker at conferences and retreats. 2. The two turtle doves represent the Old and from Pixabay Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org New Testaments, which provide a foundation for or (208) 375-7606. By Daniel Bobinski
6 November / December 2023 | Christian Living
Christian writers Nampa Narcan seeks group launches locally to reduce overdoses
A new group called IdaHope Christian Writers has formed in the Treasure Valley. “ICW aims to encourage those involved in a variety of story creation: every genre of fiction, nonfiction, spoken word, podcasting, narrators, graphic designers, poets, and publishers,” said Hilarey Johnson, ICW President. “So we’re excited to be able to host meetings and events to draw together this diverse community of Christian authors.” The mission of IdaHope Christian Writers (ICW) is to provide support, hope, and guidance for people who desire to pursue the writing craft. “We strive to foster a community of creatives who will contribute to a faith-filled, nurturing environment,” Johnson said. In addition to the Fall Gathering and Annual Spring Conference the group holds, the volunteer-run non-profit hosts monthly member meetings from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month at The Creative Space, 121 E. 34th St. in Garden City. The group also hosts weekly write-ins in various locations in the Treasure Valley. For more information, go to idahopechristianwriters.org. n
Nampa Narcan is a community-driven initiative that was designed to reduce overdose-related deaths and help other at-risk citizens who are struggling with substance misuse. NN started as a partnership between the Nampa Fire Department and Hope Guides, a non-profit launched by Jacob Evans, a Nampan who moved to this area from Martinsburg, W.V. The Nampa Narcan initiative takes a two-pronged approach. First, the EMS and first responders show up to the site of a potential overdose and administer the Narcan while providing other proper emergency responses. Second, the first responders connect the struggling individual with a lifeline (phone number, website, pamphlet) that directly connects them with a Peer Recovery Specialist who helps them navigate the entirety of the recovery process, including clearing a pathway for recovery programs and staying connected to them long term. More information about the program is available at www. nampanarcan.com. Anyone can receive access to the community-driven efforts for free just by filling out the online information form. Then, the Peer Recovery Specialist will help put together a treatment plan and will also help execute the plan. It is completely free of charge to the community, Evans said. For questions or more information, contact Evans at email@example.com. n
Christian Living | November / December 2023 7
A NEED to prevail
Make sure to build a firm foundation
ing and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the Over the years and in several countries, I have been truth.” — 2 Timothy 3:1-8 involved in many building projects. Most were for Fruit of the faulty foundation: “The acts of the clinics and hospitals I was involved with; only one was flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and for my house in the bush of Africa. Though I know debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, disvery little about how to actually build something, I do cord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissenknow that it needs a proper foundation. Otherwise, the sions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and building soon will fall down. the like.” — Galatians 5:19-21 A few years ago, while I was living on a 30-acre The faulty foundation produces fruit that does no ranch in Idaho, I wanted to put an equipment shed one any good; produces harm to the person, family, on the property. The soil was very sandy to a rather society and culture. significant depth. The builder insisted that the building Satan’s plan is to spread mistrust: to convince us would be anchored fine with some pegs that went only that the Bible is not true or not completely true. That 2 feet into the sandy soil. I argued that we lived in a you can decide what is true and not true. He wants to place that had the name Sand Hollow for a reason. He promote self-interest: I am number one, I deserve, I insisted it would be fine. need, I want. He tries to make sin acceptable: “Surely Only a few years later, with a strong gust of wind God will understand, my sin is not really that bad.” By Dr. Larry E. Banta the entire 48’x56’ shed uprooted and moved across the taking God out of the family, Satan promotes violence, driveway, taking out an electric pole, the transformer anger, conflict, and dilutes the authority of the parents. for the entire area, and a couple of good-sized trees. The builder lost a Values and morality are according to how the person feels about them. good deal of money cleaning it up and rebuilding it with proper founda- Once he has his way, the family is used for his purpose and destroyed. tion and anchoring. In other words, Satan’s plan for us is: doubt, distraction, deception, It is very evident at the current time that the family is falling apart. deployment, destruction. There are so many challenges bombarding the family unit that divorce is The strong foundation: When presented with something we need more and more common, as well as child abuse and domestic violence. to assemble or repair, we are far better off to read the instructions so we Of special concern is that so many children are not turning out well. can complete the job properly. The way to build a strong foundation is More and more they are becoming confused and looking for fulfillment in the great instruction book about life: God’s Word. in drugs, crimes, perverse sexuality and other destructive behaviors. “Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I This leads to their own destruction and to sometimes early death. will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who The foundation is lacking. Families are no longer being built on a dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood strong foundation that can withstand the pressures and be victorious. arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, Without a firm foundation, the structure does not stand. Without a because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not firm foundation, our families will not survive in this hostile, difficult do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a world. foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, There are two choices to build on: a faulty foundation or a strong and the ruin of that house was great.” — Luke 6:48 foundation. Fruit of the strong foundation: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, The faulty foundation: This is a foundation that is not solid, not joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness built on anything permanent, just ideas with made-up morals and rules. and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who The world wants to design a paradise leaving God out. The foundation belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and has no real structure. When real questions of life are considered, like desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. our origin, morality, purpose, identity, and our destiny, there is no clear Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” — direction; it has to be made up along the way. Galatians 5:22-26 One’s origin, on this foundation, is that I somehow evolved therefore God has given us instructions in His Word that are for our good and there is no God. I am the highest authority over me. I can be whatever I for the good of our world. The strong foundation of His Word gives us decide I want to be. the operating instructions for ourselves, our family, and our church. We Morality built on the faulty foundation supposes that I can decide can find in the Word the true answers to life’s most important questions. what is wrong or right if I feel it is wrong or right, and that can change Origin: We were created by an eternal God. He made us how we are, from day to day depending on how I might feel. with our talents and abilities. My purpose in life, then, is very vague but mostly that life is such that Morality: We have a rule book, the Bible, which tells us what is right I need to be having fun, becoming as rich as possible, do all I can for myself to have a good life. I need to find myself, looking to drugs, sexual- and wrong and how we should manage our lives. Purpose: It is to worship and serve our God. ity or other pursuits to find out who I am. It is all about ME. Identity: We are God’s children, adopted into His family, when we My destiny is back to the dirt where I came from, which leaves very accept Christ as our Savior. little hope. Some make up stories about what they think might happen Destiny: Heaven, where we will live with God eternally as one big after death, but these are only stories, not based in any truth. FAMILY. It is sort of like having one’s feet planted firmly in the air. God’s plan for His people is that we build and strengthen our families Character of the faulty foundation – godlessness in the last days: on the solid rock of Jesus. He wants not passive parents but active par“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of ents who pass along the faith and values to the children. Our goal must difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, be that our children grow into productive committed Christian adults arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not who will in turn pass it on to their children. n loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of Dr. Larry Banta is an author of several books, a retired psychiatrist, pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliand a former missionary. He served in India, Mexico and Kenya. He ness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them and his wife, Evelyn, a counselor, travel together to provide consultaare those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learn- tion and training in various international locations. By Dr. Larry E. Banta
8 November / December 2023 | Christian Living
Nativity exhibit set for its fourth year
The 4th Annual Boise South Five Mile Nativity Exhibit will be held on Friday and Saturday, November 17-18, from noon to 8 p.m. both days at 2650 South Five Mile Road. There will be more than 100 nativities on display from many countries around the world. Admission is free and the event is family friendly. “Many families have cherished nativities they set out each year as part of their Christmas displays and they have been willing to loan them for this event,” said Debra Bourne, chairman of the exhibit. “Anyone who would like to participate with a nativity Image by Jo Justino from Pixabay would be welcomed. “This is a great way to start the holiday season as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. I’m always impressed at how there are so many artistic interpretations of the same story of Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, wise men, angels, and of course the baby Jesus.” For more information, or to contribute a nativity scene to the program, contact Bourne at firstname.lastname@example.org or text her at (208) 761-9636; or contact Lois Wallace at email@example.com or (208) 340-3968. n
CHURCHES IN YOUR AREA “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” — Thessalonians 5:11 NIV BOISE
Sunday Service 10 AM NEW LOCATION! 912 W. Linden Street Caldwell, ID 83605 208-329-8246 Scowboychurch.com
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• Slavic Service 2:00 pm
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Look for Central Valley Meridian
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Sunday Services 9 am & 10:30 am Wednesday at 7 pm Treasure Valley Worship Center (TVWC)
50 W. Spicewood Dr. Meridian, ID 83646 208-887-0801 www.tvwcidaho.org or www.facebook.com/TVWCID
For information on adding your church to this directory, please call 208-703-7509 or email:firstname.lastname@example.org www.christianlivingmag.com
Christian Living | November / December 2023 9
Single woman with a mother’s heart
Dee Sienknecht is the adoptive mom to 4-year-old Ellie and 10-year-old Josiah. She’s also fostering a baby in her home and once prayed to God, “Put the kids in my home that need me.” (Photo by Gaye Bunderson) By Gaye Bunderson
Her name is pronounced sink-night, and she is 55. Dee Sienknecht was one of those women who spent a lot of years putting her career first. That’s not a bad thing – she cherished her life as a hopeful opera singer and a music teacher. She finished her Bachelor’s degree at Boise State University, Master’s degree at Eastern Washington University, then taught voice, piano and choir at Texas A&M in Kingsville, at Fresco Arts Academy in Eagle, and at schools in Meridian, Boise, and Nampa. She was then, and she is now, a single woman. She had a fulfilling career, yet always assumed she’d get married. “But,” she said, “a husband never came along.” That didn’t stop Sienknecht from dreaming about a family. “In my early 40s, I started thinking, ‘I’m going to pursue being a parent’,” the singer and musician explained. She and God were in agreement with those plans, as Sienknecht thought about fostering children in her home. “I felt it was of God and I started praying, ‘Put the kids in my home that need me, and that I need in my life’. I’ve always loved kids, and I always assumed I’d have children.” Now, she does have children. It just may not look exactly like it does for others. It started with taking in foster children and then ultimately working on adopting some of them. Seeing Sienknecht at a coffee shop with two of her youngsters, watching her care for them, and hearing them call her Mom as they take her hand, one realizes that a mother’s love is viable in more than one circumstance.
10 November / December 2023 | Christian Living
Her first step in caring for a youngster came when she returned to Boise from Texas to help take care of a nephew. She had assisted other family members, including her mother and sister, but the experience was a kind of first step into the world of overseeing a child grow up. She now calls her nephew “a wonderful young man.” In 2012, she attended a foster parent training, got a background check, and met all the other requirements of prospective foster moms. But she said she was more or less viewed, and actually kind of was, one of those people who didn’t want to take in a foster child and then have to say goodbye to him or her. Subsequently, it took her quite a while to be chosen. In 2014, she took in a couple of girls “for respite care” – which means their foster parents were allowed to have a break during that time. But she remained discouraged about the fostering process. “I was frustrated that I wasn’t getting calls from the state about trying to be an adoptive parent myself. I felt like I was their last resort.” She said that when she did take in foster children, what she anticipated happened: it was hard to let them go. “I cried and cried and cried,” she admitted. Then God stepped in. “He gave me a picture that I was just a bridge to get the children over the troubled waters in their lives.” She finally got a letter of recommendation from her church pastor at the time and was then put in touch with some grandparents who were taking care of their children’s children but felt they were possibly too old for the long-term job. They wanted the kids to be in good hands and wanted them raised in the church. Sienknecht was chosen to take in a boy named Josiah at 19 months old. She has since adopted him, he’s now 10, and his grandparents, a brother, and an aunt, uncle, and cousins stay in touch on a regular basis. “We’re very connected – they are a second family to me,” Sienknecht said. Josiah attends church and made his own decision at age 6 to be baptized, according to his mom. As of October 11, Sienknecht adopted another child that had been in her care, 4-year-old Ellie. The child came to her through “regular foster care” when she was 6 months old. Sienknecht is also fostering a baby in her home. The woman who once served as the family babysitter growing up just because she was the only single sibling is now a happy and loving parent herself. Sienknecht serves as worship and arts director at Cloverdale Church of God and said, “I’ve been involved in church music since I was 13. My support system is my church, my sister Deborah, Josiah’s biological grandparents, and my best friend, Karin, is a huge support. She has four kids and one foster child of her own. It was in God’s timing for her to be my friend; she is one of the best gifts I ever received.” Sienknecht is aware that not everyone can be a foster parent, but she offers tips about how others can help, including: • Ask “What do you need?” Don’t wait for a foster (or adoptive) parent to ask for help, just offer it. • One woman contacted Sienknecht and told her, “I’m going to bring a meal over.” It was a delicious and out-of-the-blue blessing, and Sienknecht encourages others to do the same. • Volunteer to take the kids for a day and give the foster parent a much-needed break. • Ask when is the best time for you to come do some cleaning (don’t make it an option). • Play games with the kids. They’ll love you for it. • Buy a movie pass for a foster family so they can all see a movie together (without selling a kidney). Love on the family the way foster and adoptive parents love on the kids. It’s not hard, according to Sienknecht. “It’s easy to love them,” she said. n
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Wait for and enjoy God’s blessings
You may be thinking, Yes, Joan, I agree with all The cheerful girl with bouncy golden curls was that and it sounds great—but why does it feel so almost five. Waiting with her mother in the checkdarn hard at times? The simple answer is, because if out stand, she saw them: a circle of glistening white the devil can distract us from God’s best, we do the “pearls” in a shiny gold-foil box. The pearls looked rest. Our human condition includes a daily battle just like the ones her mommy wore. with the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the “Oh, please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, pride of life. Listen, as you read this, know you are Mommy, please?” not alone so please don’t let the devil pile on guilt Her mother checked the back of the gold box and shame. When we get under that pile and feel no and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of hope for change, it’s easy to do nothing and there her little Jenny’s upturned face. “A dollar ninetywe remain. We are not in a hopeless, helpless state. five. That’s almost $2.00. If you really want them, Christ’s work on the cross defeated the devil and set I’ll think of some extra chores for you and in no us free from those destructive chains. We are more time, you can save enough money to buy them for than conquerors—we have victory in Jesus! yourself. Your birthday’s only a week away and you Listen, friend, it’s nothing new for us humans to might get another crisp dollar bill from Grandma.” be tempted to compromise or settle for less than As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penGod’s best by accepting cheap imitations. We can Joan Endicott ny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, resign ourselves to thoughts like, “I don’t want to she did more than her share of chores and she went miss out. I want something—now. it’s better than to the neighbor, Mrs. Smith, and asked if she could pick dandelions nothing.” for ten cents. It all started in a garden named Eden with an unsuspecting On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill woman named Eve who met a slithering serpent whose aim was to and at last she had enough money to buy the necklace. Jenny loved deceive. her pearls! They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore Satan didn’t even start with an outright lie, simply a question: “Did them everywhere: Sunday school, kindergarten, doing errands with God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?’” mommy and even to bed. The only time she took them off was when And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the she went swimming or had a bubble bath. trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come uplest you die.’” stairs to read her a story. But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For One night when he finished the story, he asked Jenny, “Do you God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you love me?” will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Thus began the slippery “Oh yes, Daddy. You know that I love you!” slope to sin and all its consequences. “Would you consider giving me your pearls?” The implication Satan was making is that God was holding out “Oh, Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess, my white and Eve was going to be missing out! So, it appears Eve originated horse. The one with the fluffy pink mane and tail that you can FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). brush. Remember, Daddy? The one you gave me. She’s my very This starts in us as babies. At just a few months old, when babies favorite!” see something they want and they don’t get it, guess what? They let Her daddy smiled and said, “Oh, that’s okay honey. Sweet dreams. you know if they aren’t happy, and they start to cry. For the rest of Daddy loves you.” And he brushed her cheek with a kiss. our lives, if we don’t choose to grow and mature, we can have the About a week later, after the story time, Jenny’s daddy asked again, same response any time we feel deprived in some way. Though we “Do you love me?” may not outwardly throw a tantrum, it can manifest in a variety of “Daddy, you know I love you!” ways: FOMO, anger, frustration, jealousy, envy, discouragement, “So, what would you think about giving me your pearls?’ depression, or we can look for ways to continually self-soothe which “Oh, please, daddy—not my pearls. But you can have my new leads to unhealthy habits that can become addictions. (Addiction: baby doll, Chrissy. I got her for my birthday, remember? She’s so The fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, beautiful and you can have the soft pink blanket that matches her thing, or activity.) When one thinks of addictions, it’s natural to sleeper.” think of specific substance abuse like drugs, alcohol, pornography, “Oh, that’s okay sweetheart. Sweet dreams. Daddy loves you.” And and sexual addictions. Those are all destructive, but so are the adas always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss. dictions that are more socially acceptable, such as cell phone and Several days later, when Jenny’s father came in to read her a story, social media addictions—which have been proven to cause major Jenny was sitting on her bed, her lower lip trembling and one silent mental health—and—personal relationship issues. tear rolled down her cheek. With a quiver in her voice she held out An addiction is something that clearly feels like a solution, in the her hand. “Here, Daddy, it’s for you.” She opened her hand and her moment, to offer (temporary) relief from participating in the responsibilities of the real world around us. We can escape, be passive, beloved pearl necklace was inside. She gently placed her treasure enjoy a brief visit to LaLa Land where it’s fantasy and dreamlike. In into her father’s hand. With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny’s loving daddy reached our desire for comfort and convenience, we look for the path of least resistance. Because after all, who doesn’t want that? out with one hand to receive the dime-store necklace, and with the Just like cartoons that so aptly show the devil on one shoulder and other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet the angel on the other, the human condition brings with it a literal box with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny. He had battle—a spiritual one. Every moment of every day we are choosing had them all the time and was just waiting for her to give up the if we want to do what is easiest in the moment and simply succumb imitation ones so he could give her the genuine treasure. to our fleshly desires or live for what truly matters and has eternal We can’t begin to fathom how much greater our loving Heavenly value according to our Creator. If I’m living, for instant, temporary Father’s desire is for us to have and enjoy the genuine treasures He offers. The great news is, we don’t even need to guess what that looks gratification rather than a life of true meaning and purpose, my daily decision-making looks vastly different. like because He’s provided a blueprint in His Word. By Joan Endicott
12 November / December 2023 | Christian Living
incest, rape, murder, conspiracy and We can start with honestly asking ourselves: “Do I want God’s best— the list goes on. or—do I just want to live to satisfy the “The ultimate measure of a man What does the substitution of desires of my flesh?” God’s best look like today? It’s not is not where he stands in comfort Then follow-up questions help us a mystery: It’s anything that will process where we are in the modistract us from God’s original deand convenience, but where ment—and where we want to be: 1) sign and desire for us. For example, What do I want now—temporarily? 2) he stands at times of challenge the desire we have for intimacy in What do I want—ultimately? 3) What marriage cannot be filled outside of and controversy.” decision/action will I be satisfied with marriage by any other means. There tomorrow? These are helpful perspec—Martin Luther King Jr. is no possible way we can fill any of tives, whether on the road to recovour legitimate God-given needs by ery from addictions or making daily illegitimate means. There is no room decisions. in our hands to receive God’s best if our hands are already full of In our desire for comfort and convenience, we can begin by believinsatiable imitations. ing the lie that God is somehow holding out on us. That attraction Ultimately, the God-shaped void we all have in our heart cannot and desire we have toward something we can’t—or shouldn’t—have be satisfied with anything other than our Creator. He designed us is what I call The Law of the Forbidden Fruit. and He alone can fill the hole in our soul. David lived with horrific consequences when he gave in to his (*I read the story of the girl, the dad, and the pearls years ago. In temptation and lust for Bathsheba. (My wise husband points out that searching for the author/origin, it is always sourced as Unknown. David wasn’t even where he should have been—with his troops. It’s This is a combination of versions I’ve read, along with a bit of my a great reminder to not put ourselves in places of obvious temptaown flair.) n tion. In a keepin’ it real, lighter note example, I realized years ago not to go into a bakery because “I’m just looking.”) Grab your FREE copy of Joan Endicott’s “I Get To!”® book at David’s sin of adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her JoanEndicott.com. Joan is an Award-Winning Keynote Speaker, husband, Uriah, though forgiven, brought grave consequences: God Author and Coach who’s coaching has reached over 30 countold him, “The sword will never depart your house.” And it didn’t: tries. Meet her and enjoy her encouraging messages on Facebook His newborn son with Bathsheba died, among his children there was and Instagram!
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Christian Living | November / December 2023 13
REAL Man’s Toolbox
Finishing strong as a man of integrity
to use God and His Scripture as our compass and I was recently invited to record a segment for a not be tempted to follow after a cheap but shiny and show titled, “Finishing Strong,” on a local Christian good-looking substitute. radio station. As I was waiting for the scheduled It is truly unfortunate when good Christian men, date to arrive, I began thinking more about what it even good Christian men in ministry, start off very meant to finish strong. I thought about the Chriswell, but somewhere along the line get diverted tian men that I knew who I felt fulfilled the life trait from the godly path that they were on. Quite often, of finishing strong. Some of the men in my close when men fall off the godly path that they started personal circle of friends and mentors who I feel down, they fall hard. Recent indiscretions many finished strong are: Armond Taylor, Harlon Nelson, times will block out earlier achievements, and even Leland Cantrell, and Chuck Mary. great Kingdom service and leadership. Some more distanced mentors of mine who I To finish strong as Christian men we must always feel finished strong, or are in the process of finishhave on the ‘Full Armor of God’. We are in a coning strong, are Dennis Rainey, Stu Weber, Robert stant spiritual battle. God Almighty gives us instrucLewis, and Gene Haub. None of these men lived tions in how to be valiant warriors in this battle. perfect lives. Every one of them faced challenges, In 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 we read: difficulties, and temptations in their lives. But there Leo Hellyer “For though we live in the world, we do not is one unifying trait or strength that each of these wage war as the world does. The weapons we men possessed, and that was integrity. Men, regardless of what age we are, at this moment in time each of fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, us should be pondering what it means to finish strong. How do I live they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the my life as a man of integrity? So, what is integrity? The Cambridge knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it English Dictionary defines integrity as, “... the quality of being honobedient to Christ.” est and having strong moral principles that you refuse to change”. In 1 Peter 5:8-9 we are instructed to, “Be self-controlled and As Christian men, we are provided with a considerable amount of insight and guidance on how to live our lives as men of integrity alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion through the Word of God, the Bible. looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the In Proverbs 4:25-27 we read: faith.” 25 Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly Okay, so how do we finish strong and keep our integrity above rebefore you. proach? How do we finish our race with our head held high and the 26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadlegacy of our lives showing a fruitful and true walk with the Lord? fast in all your ways. We do so by knowing where our strength in battle needs to come 27 Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. from. It is when we try to go into battle under our own strength that In Philippians 4:8 we read: we fail miserably. We can only be victorious in our spiritual battles 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is through the strength of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, Spirit. If you want 20/20 vision in your lifelong journey, look through whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – your life with the vision of Christ. Do not be deceived by Satan, or think about such things. other men or women in your life. God has all of the answers, seek If we are to finish strong as Christian men, we need to make it Him, follow Him, get your strength and direction from Him. n a priority in our lives every day; to make sure we are prayed up; that we are seeking the guidance of the Lord; that we are being still enough to hear the guidance that the Lord provides; and that we are Leo Hellyer is a non-staff pastor with a Treasure Valley church and has been married to his wife Norma for over 50 years. Leo obedient enough to faithfully follow the guidance the Lord provides and Norma served together on the Boise FamilyLife Volunteer us in all things. Ministry Team for 20 years. Leo has served with Boise Rescue This life that we are living is a long, rough journey, with many Mission Ministries for over 22 years, and is currently at the River challenges along the way. As people look at a marathon race, most of Life Rescue Mission. He is a veteran, having served in the U.S. remember the finish, not the start, and not individual points along Air Force for 22½ years. He is President and Chief Firearms Inthe path of travel. Many times, people start out well, but somewhere structor with Helping Hands Firearms Training. If you have any along the way, they lose their sense of direction, they lose their questions about Real Man’s Toolbox, or need other assistance, he compass. All of a sudden, they veer off course and quite often never get back on course. As we try to live life as men of integrity, we need may be reached at email@example.com or (208) 240-5544. By Leo Hellyer
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14 November / December 2023 | Christian Living
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Drive-Thru Food Drive reaches its sixth year Meridian’s Interfaith Community Leaders are holding their sixth annual no-contact Drive-Thru Food Drive from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, December 10. Again, the location will be the Vertical View Climbing Gym parking lot, 1334 E. Bird Dog Dr. in Meridian near the intersection of Locust Grove and Overland roads behind the Maverik station. The group provides food and blankets to the Meridian Food Bank, Star Food Pantry, Blanket the World Charity, and local women’s and children’s services. The Drive-Thru Food Drive will accept non-perishable food items for food banks, new blankets for refugee and homeless shelter residents, and cash or gift cards (Walmart) to provide a brighter holiday season for local families. Those who wish to donate cash or gift cards may note their choice of charity on the outside of a sealed envelope. As in past years, the no-contact nature of the Drive-Thru allows contributions to be made in the warmth and comfort of a vehicle, while community, faith and civic leaders greet everyone curbside and accept donations through a window or an open car trunk. “We sincerely thank those who come and support us every year. The generosity of our community is overwhelming,” said Shannon Smurthwaite, event organizer. “Every item or dollar donated makes an impact on lives, especially at the holidays.” For more information or ways to volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Smurthwaite is at email@example.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org. n
Christian Living | November / December 2023 15
Leg cancer no harm to his faith walk By Gaye Bunderson
Nate Lindskoog sits for a shoe fitting for his partial prosthetic leg. Lindskoog was blessed by a positive attitude, strong faith, family support, and good medical care to see him through his trial with rhabdomyosarcoma. (Courtesy photo)
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Meeting Nate Lindskoog, owner of The Tower Grill at the Nampa Municipal Airport, is an opportunity to meet a positive, upbeat person. Walk into the restaurant and see him chatting amiably with staff and customers. At 41, Lindskoog is spiritually a man complete in his joy of the Lord, while physically he lost part of his right leg below the knee to a form of cancer with a long name: rhabdomyosarcoma. His cancer journey began in 2021. He explained that in July of that year and into July of the following year, he experienced on-and-off discomfort in his leg. For a while, he said, he’d feel bad, then okay, then bad again. This went on until he ended up in the St. Luke’s emergency room on July 28, 2022. He’d been unable to sleep because the pain in his limb had become so severe. Like many a cancer patient, he can tell an intricate story about what happened next. “They did biopsies on me,” Lindskoog said, “but for three weeks, no pathology lab was able to tell me what was wrong, or give it a name.” At one point, medical staff cut his leg open and removed a grapesized chunk filled with purple liquid. “It went to four different pathology labs and they didn’t know what it was,” Lindskoog said. “My own doctor said he’d never seen that before. … That didn’t make me feel too good … ” It was around the first biopsy in August that reconstructive orthopedic surgery specialist, Dr. Jeff Menzner at St. Luke’s in Boise, told Lindskoog that amputation was not off the table. The 41-year-old put that difficult news in what he calls his “brain tumbler” and “let it spin for a while.” Lindskoog and his wife Heidi have six kids, including: a 17-year-old daughter; 15-year-old twins, a boy and a girl; 13-year-old twins, both boys; and a 10-year-old son. “At this point, I was taking it fine, telling the kids, ‘I may get a robot leg’ – kind of reframing it,” he said. Lindskoog then went to a second opinion consultation at Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City on October 4. Important diagnoses and decisions were made, and an amputation was scheduled for 10 days later on October 14. It was not until two weeks later, however, that the doctors were definitively able to identify the type of cancer in Lindskoog’s leg.
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Rhabdomyosarcoma occurs rarely in adults and generally strikes only children. It is “a cancer of soft tissue (such as muscle), connective tissue (such as tendon or cartilage), or bone. It usually begins in muscles that are attached to bones and that help the body move.” (Information taken from cancer.gov, specifically about soft tissue sarcoma at https://www.cancer.gov/types/soft-tissue-sarcoma/patient/ rhabdomyosarcoma-treatment) Family rallied around Lindskoog throughout the medical analysis, the surgery, and the recovery. “Heidi was extremely supportive. We homeschool, and the flexibility was nice. I came home from the hospital two days after surgery and was hopping around within two weeks.” He had a partial prosthetic leg by Christmas. He started chemotherapy this past January and continued it through September 15, his last chemo day. His treatments included five days in a row for five hours, then 21 days off. He’s now required to have an MRI and CT scan on a regular basis for the next two years through 2025. The Tower Grill, which Lindskoog took ownership of on October 13, 2016, remained open throughout his challenges. “My wife and teenagers work regularly,” Lindskoog explained. “What started out as a necessity became a real blessing – I love watching my kids work.” Faith helped Lindskoog through his sarcoma battle as well. And in fact, he’s able to say: “I feel like I’ve been preparing for this my whole life. God has known me since before the foundation of the world ( John 17:24). He knows how many hairs I have on my head (Luke 12:7). He knows what I can handle. “The first three weeks before opening the restaurant, God and I had a conversation. Actually it was more like a ‘Sit down and be quiet’ moment. He asked me, ‘Do you trust Me or not?’”
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Strengthening his trust muscles has been part of both owning the restaurant and getting through cancer. He explained: “For a guy who generally has it all in control, when things are hard does that mean I should not trust God, or do I have peace in the midst of discomfort – the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:6 or 4:7)?” He chose the latter over the former and it served him well. Some of what he has learned includes: • “When things are hard, shhh, be quiet, and watch what happens.” • “It’s not that we shouldn’t pray for miracles, but when you don’t understand or don’t receive what you asked for, don’t let it shake your faith.” • “We’re created for His glory, so if we go through something difficult, we can glorify Him in it.” • “The peace that passes understanding should freak people out a bit because it’s too good to be true. It’s on the side of, ‘I trust You completely’.” • “God may seem silent, but God’s Word is never silent.” One other thing that aided him in his medical journey was a book titled, “Don’t Waste Your Cancer” by John Piper. It includes 10 bullet points on how to glorify God through the experience. Lindskoog has memorized what are called “the five solas.” He explained, “The five solas state that Christians are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, as revealed by Scripture alone, to the glory of God alone.” He was brought up in a Christian home in Northern California. He has always stayed active with exercise and continues it now. “On days when you feel good, get as much exercise as you can,” he said. In the midst of hardship, take a lesson from Lindskoog and exercise those faith muscles as well. n
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Benefiting from the Rescue Mission’s work
(Editor’s note: This article is from a Boise Rescue Mission newsletter and was submitted by Boise Rescue Mission Ministries.)
“Death’s door.” That’s how Richard describes his life before coming to the Boise Rescue Mission last March. Richard says in the year and a half before he joined the Mission’s New Life Discipleship and Recovery Program, he went from a casual drinker to drinking 20 hours a day. “I would go to bed about midnight, wake up around 4 a.m., and just start all over again. I was in a really dark place of pain and mourning.” In 2010, Richard’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. “We got through it. It was difficult, but she was cancer-free in the end. “But then, in 2018, she was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia. Two more tests confirmed the diagnosis as early-onset Alzheimer’s. She had in-home care for a while, and that led to a care facility.” Richard says mourning the loss of his relationship with his wife, his “one-and-only” as he puts it, was more than he could handle on his own, but the choices he made at the time left him to do precisely that – ‘handle’ it all on his own. “I just was having a hard time seeing my wife, my sweetheart, go the way she was, and I lost my way. I could and should have kept my eyes on Jesus, but I went to the bottle instead.” Richard had a lot of people in his life encouraging him to stop drinking and get help, but he resisted for a long time. Then a year ago, he got very sick and couldn’t keep anything down. He
went for four days without any alcohol and started to go into withdrawal. He began experiencing DTs (delirium tremens), including terrifying hallucinations. Richard says one night he saw something or someone in his house and called the police. When the officer came, he noted that there was no one there, but also the evidence that Richard was a heavy drinker. So when Richard called again, saying someone was there, he says, “They came, as did the fire department, the paramedics, and my son and daughter-in-law. “One of the paramedics was a pastor, and we talked for about 30 minutes. He said, ‘I can’t make you come with us since you didn’t do anything illegal, but it’s my advice that you come. We are going to take you to the hospital.’ “My daughter-in-law was just praying like crazy, and I don’t know if it was the Holy Spirit kicking me over the edge, but I finally said, ‘Okay’.” After four days on the psych floor at the hospital, Richard knew he had to get into a program. He says, “I was all set for a 30-day gig. I could do 30 days standing on my head.” But he also knew deep down that he would leave that situation and return to drinking. “But,” he says, “I have, hands down, the coolest daughter-inlaw on the planet. She’s a bulldog. She, in large part, working in league with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, is the reason I’m here. She said, ‘Dad, you know you have got to get help. You’ve got to figure this out. And you won’t be able to do it on your own’.” Richard’s daughter-in-law had already filled out an application
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for him for the New Life Program. He says, “She told me, ‘Dad, this is the Program you have to do!’ Now it’s been one year since that conversation and one year in the Program.” Before all this, Richard had a 12-year career in ministry. He says one thing he has learned in the past year is the importance of working on yourself first before you can help others. He compares it to the instructions you receive for using oxygen masks on airplanes. First, you put the mask on yourself so you can then help someone else. Richard learned how to put his spiritual oxygen mask on first through the Program, its classes, and the opportunities offered. Richard also says he learned a new understanding of how the Holy Spirit works in his life. “The teaching my advisors have laid down is epic. Not just parts about addiction. Those are very, very good, and they’re very necessary, but also ‘The Knowledge of the Holy,’ A.W. Tozer’s work, and now I’m going through ‘The Holiness of God’ by R.C. Sproul. . . These are what really ignited my passion again, to be able to sort things out and to get back to where God wants me to be.” After much prayer, Richard says he is not only experiencing God’s healing spiritually, but in his body as well. He says, “I went to my first gastroenterologist appointment when I got here, and I have cirrhosis of the liver. But I’m being healed. My liver numbers are good now.” Even more than physical healing, Richard is rebuilding beautiful relationships with his family. One example he shares is that he had been searching the internet to figure out where he was going
to live after finishing the Program. “I was just at a loss. Then, out at breakfast one morning, my son said, ‘Hey, Dad, we want you to come and live with us.’ I could have cried. It was amazing because I never, ever even hinted that that might be a possibility. Nobody owes me anything. I owe people, and I owe God. “Then, a few days later, my daughter-in-law texted me. Her text said, ‘I am so incredibly grateful to have you back in our lives!’ Call me a millionaire or a billionaire! I’m like George Bailey in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ I’m the richest man in town. That’s what I have been given back: ‘... grateful to have you back in our lives!’ “To the Mission’s donors, I would just say thank you. Really! Thank you for not giving up on us, even when we give up on ourselves.” Part of Richard’s ministry now is working at our River of Life Shelter’s front desk. “I have this desire and ability to connect with the men, to talk to them, pray with them, even just learn their names – it’s amazing how incredibly powerful that is, for someone to know you know their name. I care about them! “But also, mostly, my ministry will be with my children and grandchildren. “The best thing I can do is take what I’ve learned at the Mission and in this Program and make it count for the Lord.” n
Christian Living | November / December 2023 19
For more information about the Boise Rescue Mission, or to help in the Mission’s work, go to boiserm.org.
Idaho’s Roy Grimm
A ministry on the oth By Steve Bertel
Roy and Joanne Grimm built and maintain the Laoag Community Christian Church in the Philippines. It is a sister church of the Ten Mile Community Church in south Meridian.
Many church-planting pastors will agree that launching an upstart church in these times – getting the word out, organizing a staff, attracting and growing a congregation, even finding an affordable and suitable location in which to worship – can certainly be a daunting task, even with the Lord’s help. It’s even more daunting when that church is located clear on the other side of the world. That’s the challenge Roy Grimm and his wife, Joanne, undertook several years ago – faithfully following where the Lord led them. On February 8, 2015, their Sunday School started with a group of rag-tag kids in a ramshackle bamboo house on a beach. Today, the Laoag Community Christian Church in the community of Cabangan, in the Zambales province of the Philippines, has more than 200 congregants, both adults and children, celebrating God’s grace and goodness several times a week in a brandnew, brick-and-mortar church. It’s also the sister church of the Ten Mile Community Church in south Meridian. But let’s back up a bit. Roy gave his heart to the Lord 42 years ago at a Billy Graham Crusade in Spokane, Washington. “I had listened to TV preachers, but many of them didn’t ring true to me. Billy Graham always did,” Roy says. He was living in Montana at the time and, when he heard Rev. Graham was coming to Spokane, he didn’t hesitate to take the six-hour drive to get there. Years later, in the mid-’80s, Roy and his family moved to the Boise area and started attending Ten Mile Community Church in south Meridian, after being invited by a neighbor who was a long-standing member of the congregation. Roy eventually became one of Ten Mile’s deacons. Professionally, he spent some thirty years in the semiconductor industry working for PerkinElmer, a major scientific instrument company, which later became ASML. Boise-based Micron was one of their first and biggest clients. Roy’s job as an engineering manager often took him overseas; he spent several years in Asia, particularly in Singapore and Taiwan. “In 2004, the church I was [temporarily] attending in Singapore did a mission trip to Cambodia,” he recalls, “And that’s what first put missionary work in my heart.” Four years later, Roy was back in the States and riding his motorcycle along Interstate 84 near Nampa when a careless driver ran him off the highway. His bike slid, and Roy went tumbling across the pavement. His helmet saved his life. But it took months for Roy to recover from his injuries. “During that time, God helped me refocus, to think about what’s important in my life. Surely, relationships are important. But God is more important,” Roy states. “And I could feel Him calling me to ministry.” So he began taking online ministerial courses through the Moody Bible School. Then came 2013. A dark time for Roy. In March of that year, his 82-year-old mother died. In June, his wife died. They had been married 35 years. And in October, his only brother died. “It’s hard to understand when God starts taking people out of your life one by one,” he said. “So I had arguments with Him, asking Him, ‘Why are you taking these people away from me?’ I prayed and yelled and prayed and yelled. And finally, God told me, ‘It’s my plan. My will. Not yours. I have a plan for your life.’ So it was definitely a test of my faith. I had to have faith to realize God knows what He’s doing.”
20 November / December 2023 | Christian Living
her side of the world In 2014, Roy met with Ten Mile’s then-pastor Mark Canady. “I told him of my interest in becoming a missionary, and that I had a contact in Cambodia – a church-planting pastor.” So the church commissioned Roy as its first missionary to Asia. “At age 60, I left my job, took an early retirement, moved to Cambodia, and began working with a Philippine missionary there,” Roy states. But because of the country’s Visa regulations, Roy – as a foreigner – was not allowed to stay in Cambodia more than six weeks at a time. “I had to leave the country every six weeks, then come back.” So he built a little bamboo house for himself on the beach in Zambales, what Roy describes as “ … a ‘rest house’ in the Philippines, during the interim time when I couldn’t be in Cambodia – just a place to be when I wasn’t in the mission field.” A year earlier, he had met Joanne, a Philippine Christian woman, online. They began exchanging texts, emails, and sharing their faith in God, to the point where they were soon writing each other “electronic love letters,” as Roy calls them. In December, 2013, the two finally met in person and, believing in their hearts that God had brought them together, were married two years later. Joanne then joined her husband in his Cambodian ministry and began sharing the little bamboo house on the beach in the Philippines. “I was wanting a partner in the ministry, and God sent me Joanne! She’s the best partner I could ever have!” Roy beams. But little did they realize at the time that their little bamboo house on the beach would soon become the springboard, the catalyst for their mission. The Philippines is known for being predominantly Catholic. And rural. Or as Roy says, “The lifestyle is pretty basic; the living conditions are what we would consider poor by U.S. standards. No electricity. No running water. No indoor plumbing. Farming and fishing are the main economies. A lot of people raise their own meat and vegetables, or they own small fishing boats. They catch good ocean fish and sell them to local markets. But sometimes, the ocean waves are too big for them to go fishing.” Plus, the Philippines has a fairly young population; many are in their twenties and thirties. In fact, most of the people living in the community where Roy and Joanne settled haven’t yet reached their 60th birthday. Living there, “We also noticed there were a lot of kids around,” Roy says. “They weren’t homeless kids or members of gangs, they just roamed the town and played in the dirt streets.” Since there was no church in the area, Roy and Joanne felt God leading them to start a children’s Sunday School in their little bamboo house. So they did. “We prayed for forty kids to show up,” Roy recalls. “The first day, the Lord sent us sixty-three!” Pretty soon, the children’s parents started coming as well. Then more. And more. And more. To the point where Roy and Joanne began thinking about expanding their Sunday School/Bible Study into a Christ-centered community church. “God told me: ‘Build the church. Church body first, church building second,’” Roy remembers. “We prayed about it a lot,” says Joanne. “We told people to spread the word and see if there was a lot or property we could buy to build a church.” And their prayers were soon answered.
Construction of the Laoag Community Christian Church was completed in 2019, and the church opened its doors. On June 14 of this year, the church held a mass wedding ceremony for Filipinos who had been living in common-law marriages. (Photo provided by Roy Grimm)
A Catholic woman who lived in Manila had property for sale in their community, listed for one million pesos, about $20,000 in U.S. money. “She had received a full cash offer from someone who wanted to buy her property but, after talking with one of the ladies in our congregation, she said ‘I want this to be for the church.’ A lot of people thought she was crazy for turning down that cash offer,” Joanne recalls. “So, between our savings and donations, we bought the lot for 450,000 pesos – about $9,000,” Roy adds. Excited by the prospects, the couple came to the United States and started raising money for a building fund. But donations only trickled in. “So we thought, ‘Well, God wants us to build a church, but maybe just not now. We don’t have the money or the resources. We’ll let God do it when He wants to,’” Joanne says. Then, one day, she had a vision. “I was sitting in my living room when I saw silhouettes of people – their heads bowed – shackled by chains at their necks, wrists, and ankles – walking slowly down the street where we wanted to build the church. But there was no building there. Just the lot. Then the people turned, walked onto the property and, as soon as they did, everything became bright! Their chains were broken! After that, I knew God wanted us to build a church.” As Roy explains, “I estimated the building would cost us about $60,000. We had about $20,000 on hand, mainly from savings and the people at Ten Mile. So we went forward with the project because we felt that’s where God was leading us. Me of ‘little faith,’ I figured we would go as far as we could with the $20,000. If we ran out of money, we would simply lay everybody off and wait until more money was raised.” But God had different plans. “The building of the church was truly a miracle upon miracle,” Roy points out. “Our next-door neighbor was a building contractor who lived right across the street from the lot where the church was going to be. He offered to be our contractor – at a reduced rate. He said, ‘If I’m going to be looking at that building from my balcony every day, it’s going to be pretty!’
Continued on page 22
Christian Living | November / December 2023 21
Roy Grimm Continued from page 21
“And God never stopped providing. Donations then started coming in that allowed us to continue building, and to cover all the costs of materials and labor. We never had to stop construction or borrow money or wait for donations every week. We never missed a labor payment. God always supplied.” What’s more, being a tight-knit community, the construction workers were all local; many had children who attended the Grimms’ Sunday School. “So even before it was built, the church was already helping the community, providing the workers with wages every week. It was a big help to their families,” Roy says. (Today, many of the workers and their families still attend the church.) Seven months later, in November, 2019, construction was finished. And the brand-new Laoag Community Christian Church opened its doors. Today, services are held every Sunday morning, livestreamed on Facebook, with a meal thereafter served by the church’s kitchen volunteers. “Our meals consist of comfort foods like stir fry, hot soup, porridge, noodles, even sometimes spaghetti,” Joanne points out. “For some people, it’s their only hot meal of the day.” Roy adds, “We’ve even had some people come to church simply because they were hungry.” Helped by Assistant Pastor Ramon Lacbain II – “who does the preaching and holds down the fort when we’re gone,” Roy says – the church offers a slew of outreach and ministry programs, including going into local schools. Even though the Philippines has a church/ state separation, it’s more lax than the United States’, with Philippine school administrators realizing the benefits of Christian studies. “Teachers came to us, asking if we could teach the Bible in two local schools,” recalls Joanne. “When they saw their students’ grades improving as a result, they invited us to teach every week during recess. So now, we’re ministering to some 180 children from first to seventh grades. It’s interesting the way God works!” The church has also organized community feeding and clothing distribution programs, provides school supplies and medical needs to the community, and even holds semi-annual ocean baptisms. On June 14, 2023, the LCCC went one step further, holding a mass wedding for nineteen area couples. “Our evangelism teams went out into the community and identified couples who had been living in common-law marriages or who had never been married before, because they either didn’t want to go through all the paperwork or they simply didn’t have the money to get married,” Roy explains. “We brought them to the Lord, baptized them, and invited them to the wedding ceremony.”
The church picked up the tab for everything, to the tune of some $2,500. “We provided fitted wedding gowns for the brides – each with a different design; we sized the wedding rings for each couple; and our worship team members were the groomsmen, bridesmaids, ring bearers, and flower girls,” Joanne states. “Of course, many of the couples came with their own kids, since they had been living together for twenty years or more.” “A lot of the couples who were married in the mass wedding are now coming to church every Sunday,” Roy points out. “I’m encouraged with the direction and especially the enthusiasm of all these young people.” What does he see for the future of the church? “We’re still growing. We’re still a young church, but I think the future is very bright,” Roy says. “It’s encouraging to see some of the kids we had in Sunday School back in 2015 who were then thirteen, fourteen, fifteen years old and are now in the twenties and thirties, some with their own families, and very active in our church.” He goes on, “I’m reminded of Romans 10:14 where it says: “But before people can trust in the Lord for help, they must believe in Him. And before they can believe in the Lord, they must hear about Him. And for them to hear about the Lord, someone must tell them.” (From the International Children’s Bible) Reflecting on what God has done so far in his life, Roy says, “As a missionary, I’m now able to have a big impact in a foreign country. I’m not sure how God is going to continue working it all out, but it’s very nice to be a part of it.” You can find more about the Laoag Community Christian Church on its Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/LaoagChurch. And you can donate to the Laoag Community Christian Church through the Ten Mile Community Church in south Meridian. Go to TMCC’s missionary support link at https://tmcc.churchcenter. com/giving/to/missionary-support; or give to the church directly at Ten Mile Community Church, 4440 E. Columbia Road, Meridian, ID 83642. n Steve Bertel is a multi-award-winning professional radio, television, print media, and social media journalist, who retired after a 30-year broadcasting career. Now a busy freelance writer, he recently released his debut suspense novel, “Dolphins of an Unjust Sea,” available on both Amazon and Kindle. Steve and his wife of 41 years live in Meridian, Idaho. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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Head out to the barn and talk with Him
already had both. (Seriously?) Why didn’t I doubleLife is busy. I do not have to tell you that! Praccheck in the garage fridge? tically every single person I know has the same I need a drink! No, not that kind of drink...a drink lament: “I am waaaaay too busy! I have too much of water...I need a drink of water! So I grab the going on!” Even in the summertime when we could bottle off the counter and look forward to being rehave been relaxing and just taking a break, we freshed; I gingerly place the water bottle to my lips found ourselves overbooked and overly busy trying and tilt it, awaiting the cool refreshment and...low to get “it” all in. What is “it” anyway? and behold, I haven’t taken the top off the bottle. Today I find myself at home, alone, Cool! This Duh! is going to be such a nice, relaxing day. I decide to When goofy things like this start happening to start off with a little exercise, get the blood pumpme, I know I am very near the brink of something... ing, and get my steps in for the day; so I hook up like maybe I am about to self-destruct. More than the dog to go for a leisurely walk through our lovely, likely, my brain is on overwhelm by being too busy. quiet neighborhood. Sometimes it is trying to sort things out and is just Of course, Daisy has to “go”. Yes, I always have distracted. At any rate, I have too much processing doggie bags with me. However, the doggie bags I going on in my brain and it just keeps going and gorecently bought and tied to the leash were defecing and going, thinking and thinking and thinking, Roxanne Drury tive – SURPRISE! (Exasperated sigh goes here.) and this wreaks havoc. Unlike the Energizer Bunny, They were not sealed on the sides or the end. Just however, my batteries do run out. I don’t like it, but really cute sheets of plastic and not very helpful. So, after our walk, I it’s true. Do your batteries run out, too? had to go back and pick up the ‘you know what’ with a real bag. My Sometimes we find ourselves in “Airline Mode” – which means conscience won’t let me just leave it there. “overbooked”. Too much going on, too much planned, and absoMoving on... When I got home, I sat on the side of the tub to take lutely no time to just sit for a minute. Being on the go all the time my shoes off and slipped off the side of the tub, landing on my tailcan be so exhausting. bone. Ouch! How did I even do that? Next comes the good news. Next on the agenda: making dinner for some dear friends. I There is hope for those of us who get overwhelmed and are burthought I had everything I needed. Nope. So I hop in the car to go dened with weariness and confusion, who are just too busy at times get sour cream and flour tortillas only to find when I get home that I and our batteries begin running out. His name is Jesus. So today, in
By Roxanne Drury
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the remainder of my home alone time – not to be confused with the movie of the same name – I pulled out my Bible and landed in Matthew. “Come to me, all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 NLT The yoke of Jesus here is meant as a spiritual aid. When we are in “Airline Mode”, it is our very spirit, our soul, that is tired, distracted, overwhelmed, busy, or confused and working overtime. The function of a yoke was to couple the oxen to help with the farmer’s work, the oxen working in tandem, side by side together with the farmer, making the work lighter and easier. Taking on the yoke of Jesus couples us with Him to lighten our burdens. “Come to me” is an invitation to come to Jesus so that He can teach us how to find rest for our souls. The farmer knows that if he has a good pair of oxen and they
work together, his work will be easier. If we work, think, and play or even spend time at home alone in the presence of the Savior, the Bible promises our burdens will be made easier and lighter. In essence, if we submit all of the busyness, confusion, distraction, and weariness to Him by taking on His yoke of gentleness, humility, and rest, we will find rest for our own souls. Overwhelmed? Tired? Confused? Too busy? Head out to the barn and talk to Farmer Jesus about it. Learn from Him how to find rest for your soul. After all, even God rested! Just sayin’. n
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay
Roxanne Drury is a wife, mother, grandmother, and retired Christian preschool teacher who loves the Lord and His Word. She has served the Lord in children’s ministry for over 45 years and is currently on staff at Rockharbor Church in Meridian. She has written a book that she calls “a God-inspired book for little girls” and, recently, a devotional book and group study guide on Psalm 23. She may be reached at email@example.com.
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EXPLORING God’s Great Outdoors
It’s fall now, but summer’s been great
As I’m writing this article, summer is just dashing over the horizon. When I first signed up to write for Christian Living Magazine, I thought, “This is going to be a blast.” It’ll be fun and low-key since I only have an article due every two months. I have weekly newspapers, bi-weekly newspapers, a weekly website, other websites, monthly magazine, etc., etc. Once a website ran six of my articles in one week, which drained the bank I’d built up for them. It can get hectic writing for multiple weekly, biweekly and monthly publications all at once. So, you can see why I thought writing for Christian Living would be relaxing. But it’s not! It’s more stressful than a weekly publication. Think about it. We live in Idaho, which is a sportsman’s paradise. Let me give you an example. Monday, a few weeks ago, I drove over to Swan Valley to check out River Retreat Lodge. Tuesday, we hiked up into the mountains and fly fished on a small river for cutthroats. Then Tuesday night, buddies Ron and Betsy Spomer drove up, and Wednesday we drifted the South Fork of the Snake River. Then Thursday morning we hit some ponds, and afterwards drove home. I got up Friday morning and thought, “You know, this is the last chance I’ll have to go crappie fishing for the year.” So I whipped out some items and took out for my crappie hole. Didn’t do as good as normal. We only kept 48 but nearly all were 10-11 inches. The next morning I got up and cleaned the crappie and thought, “Uh-oh, I better go dove hunting this afternoon because the rest of the month I’ll be archery elk and deer hunting.” I threw in my shotgun, but I also threw in my Umarex airgun so I could clean up on the Eurasian doves. See what I mean? I could’ve gotten 6-8 articles off of that one week alone – and there are four or five weeks in a month. At this
rate in my two-month period I could write 64 articles for Christian Living every issue! How am I going to narrow it down to one topic every two months? And what about all of the other things in season? Scouting, backpacking/fly fishing, sighting in your rifles etc. By the time you’re reading this article you’re probably already elk and deer hunting. So, let’s cover a few fast tips to help you be successful. If you got lucky and drew a tag(s), focus on that hunt first. I remember when I drew a bull moose tag and tried to elk and deer hunt on the western side of the state and moose hunt on the eastern side. I got too strung out. Your tag is a big deal so knock it out first. I’m convinced that hunters that are consistently successful do two things religiously: 1. They preseason scout. 2. They hunt for 10 days. If you don’t scout then you’ll use the first 2-3 days of your hunt scouting. But therein lies the dilemma. Most dads only have two weeks’ vacation. If they spend one week scouting and one week hunting that leaves zero time for family vacation. Next year incorporate some family camping trips as scouting trips. Get up before daylight and go scout and then come back to camp when everyone is waking up and cook breakfast and spend the rest of the day with them. Another big deal is learning how to glass properly. That in and of itself is a whole article. I’ll try to write an article on that topic sometime, or you can hit one of my Glassing for Big Game seminars. Before big game season next year, hopefully I can do a Processing Your Big Game article. Processing your own game extends the hunt. If you drop your deer off at the processor, your hunt’s over; but if you process it, that extends the experience, especially if you make your own sausage. And there’s a couple of obscure cuts that most people don’t even save that make great hors d’oeuvres. Sight-in your rifle. Shoot it at 100, 200 and 300 yards so you know where it hits. Shoot it enough to be comfortable with it. If you’re having trouble getting a good group, try different brands and grains of ammo. I had a rifle that was shooting 2½-inch groups, but after experimenting with many other flavors of ammo, I got down to a 7/8-inch group. Make sure you play the wind and if you can’t, use scent covers, etc. I always clip a couple of Hunter’s Specialties Elk Wafers on my backpack to mask my odor. As we come to a close, I’ve been thinking the last few weeks of something I wanted to do. Periodically in an article I’ll jokingly include a PRO-TIP #21 clip and give some random tip. I thought it might be cool to put a tip at the end of every article to sharpen your Christian life. I’ll try this for a while. So we’ll name this one Christian Tip #1. Here goes . . . You might try this and see if it works for you. I’ve tried it a few times lately and saw some cool stuff happen. The other day I told God I didn’t want to see anyone hurting and just walk by fat, dumb and happy.
26 November / December 2023 | Christian Living
Crappie fishing may be over for 2023, but outdoorsman Tom Claycomb III took advantage of warmer weather to visit his favorite crappie hole. He now has a pile of crappie for him and his family to eat during the winter. (Photo provided by Tom Claycomb III) By Tom Claycomb III
Like the other day I’d been out of state for two weeks and after deboarding the plane saw a girl setting by the wall crying. So I said, “What do you want me to do, God?” A throng of people were hurriedly deboarding and walking by. I asked her if she was okay. She said, “No, I’ve been stuck here for five days.” I asked her if I could pray for her. She said yes. When I first started this deal I was in Vegas at the big SHOT Show. I passed this security girl setting at the doorway. Her eyes were watering. I asked her if she was okay. She said no and started Tom Claycomb III crying. I asked her if I could pray for her. She threw her arms around me and said, “Please do” and laid her head on my shoulder. I prayed for her a minute and then told her, “Look, I don’t know what’s wrong, but I’d advise you to call out to Jesus. I’m on top of the world right now, but it hasn’t always been like that.” Then I tried to find her a church to go to. Or, you can be a real Christian like my daughter and just live it. She was helping me work the big iCAST fishing show in Orlando in July. One night we were tied up until after 9 p.m. and dead tired. I asked her if it was okay if we just ate at the IHOP that was attached to our motel. There weren’t that many diners in there, but I bet we waited a good 20 minutes to place our order. I’m whining to Kolby about the service. Kolby looked around and said, “Daddy, I think she is taking the orders and doing the cooking too.” “No way!” I thought. Sure enough the poor girl was taking orders, running the cash register and doing the cooking. Sweet Kolby got up and started cleaning tables for the poor girl. So you can sit and whine like me, or get up and help people like Kolby does. Who do you think was a good witness in that situation? Oh, and Kolby was 7-months pregnant at the time. I want to be more like Kolby. n For more information, contact Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Christian Living | November / December 2023 27
HISTORY, Culture and Faith
July 8, 1835: A judge, a bell, and an era’s end
including the famed Liberty Bell. She was first rung on One night a stranger sought refuge in a rural tavern. the same day 59 years earlier (July 8, 1776) to invite a The hungry, unkempt visitor was exhausted from public reading of the Declaration of Independence. his travel. He longed for solitude, but soon found he According to legend, it was John Marshall’s funeral had interrupted a debate regarding the “merits of the that cracked the bell named “Liberty.” Christian religion.” In a long, contentious argument, His death signaled the end of the Founding Father several young men discussed Scriptural truth, Christ’s generation. divinity, and God’s nature. The weary outsider reAfter 1835, a new generation of Americans emerged mained silent. that couldn’t recall the American Revolution. They “Well, my old gentleman,” someone yelled to him, also faced new American problems like slavery, the “what do you think?” Civil War, immigration, Indian relations, and westThe tired old man could no longer ignore the conward expansion. test. As he rose to speak, every eye turned. For the next For nearly a century, two “great” Christian revivals hour, he lectured the bawdy tavern crowd into stunned or “awakenings” – the First Great Awakening (1730silence as he systematically and rationally destroyed 1770) and the Second Great Awakening (1795-1835) every irreligious argument they presented. – had tattooed the psyche of a young nation. In 1831, Who was this slovenly man who spoke so eloquently the French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville obDr. Rick Chromey served: in defense of Jesus? Finally someone dared to ask. “Upon my arrival in the United States the religious “My name is John Marshall,” the stranger answered, “Chief Justice of aspect ... was the first thing that struck my attention. . . In France I had the United States.” 1 almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom march**** ing in opposite directions. But in America I found they were intimately John Marshall was born in Germantown, Va. in 1755. During the united and that they reigned in common over the same country...” 6 Revolutionary War, he served under George Washington and near its Early America was a distinctly Christian culture. But change was end, left the military to practice law. Eventually Marshall served in the coming (thanks to a secular French Revoluion). The first fissures in the Virginia House of Delegates and the U.S. House of Representatives. In Liberty Bell surfaced in 1835. The same year John Marshall died and 1800, John Adams appointed him Secretary of State and a year later to the Second Great Awakening ended. the U.S. Supreme Court. Similarly, by 1835, French secularism found root in a Christian naAs chief justice, Marshall worked under six different presidents for 34 tion. years – the longest tenure in U.S. history. He authored over a thousand Two decades later, this secular minority population flexed its muscle. legal decisions to frame America’s constitutional identity. Most notably Enough that Congress commissioned a committee to investigate was Marbury vs. Madison (1803) that forged the principle of judicial America’s founding to answer the “Christian nation” question. Their review, allowing courts to “review” and rule against unconstitutional final judgment: federal and state laws. Marshall’s Court ruled against Andrew Jackson’s “Had the people, during the Revolution, had a suspicion of any atIndian Removal Act (1830) that relocated 46,000 Indians to the West so tempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been Southern slavery could expand on the vast acreage left behind. strangled in its cradle… In this age, there can be no substitute for ChrisIn matters of religion, John Marshall proved enigmatic. For most of tianity… That was the religion of the founders of the republic and they his life he preferred Unitarian Christianity yet attended Episcopal serexpected it to remain the religion of their descendants.” 7 vices. He refused church membership yet considered himself “a sincere In 1835, with John Marshall’s death, a secular “crack” in America friend of religion.” 2 Marshall was a product of the First Great Awaken- first appeared. ing. The Christian America of our Founding Fathers was history. It’s why Marshall endorsed Rev. Jasper Adams’ sermon pamphlet “Liberty” would never ring the same again. n titled The Relation of Christianity to Civil Government in the United States (1833). 3 Marshall penned a surprising observation: “The Dr. Rick Chromey is an historian, author and speaker who helps American population is entirely Christian. It would be strange, indeed, people interpret history, navigate culture, and explore faith. Since if with such a people, our institutions did not presuppose Christianity.” 4 2022, he’s worked as a Lewis and Clark historian for American In early 1835, another clergyman named Alexander Keith deeply Cruise Lines on the Columbia and Snake rivers. Annually he speaks influenced Marshall. His work Evidence of the Truth of the Christian to audiences of all ages on topics related to leadership, classroom Religion persuaded the aging judge to finally abandon his Unitarian management, natural motivation, U.S. history, position.5 creative communication, and Bible/theology. Shortly thereafter, Marshall traveled to Philadelphia for medical care. Unfortunately, his health worsened, and he died July 6, 1835. Two days Christian Living readers are invited to use this QR later, his funeral was held, where he was eulogized for integrity, intelcode to subscribe to Rick’s inspirational (history, ligence, charity and faith. culture, faith) Morning MANNA! (M-F) email. Across the city of Philadelphia, bells rang to honor the storied judge, www.mannasolutions.org By Dr. Rick Chromey
Sources: 1) Albert J. Beveridge, The Life of John Marshall, Volume 4, The Building of the Nation, 1815-1835 (Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1916): 70-71. Available for download at Google books. 2) Ibid., 69. 3) The Relation of Christianity to Civil Government in the United States: A Sermon Preached in St. Michael’s Church, Charleston, February 19, 1833, by Rev. J. Adams (Charleston: A.E. Miller Publisher), 1833. Available for download at Google books. 4) Charles Hobson, ed., The Papers of John Marshall, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006): 278. 5) Alexander Keith, Evidence of the Truth of the Christian Religion: Derived from the Literal Fulfillment of Prophecy (Edinburgh: Waugh & Innes, 1826, 2nd ed.). Available for download at Google books. 6) Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Volume 1 (New York: George Adlard Publishing, 1839): 307. 7) Reports of Committees of the House of Representatives Made During the First Session of the Thirty-Third Congress (Washington: A. O. P. Nicholson, 1854), pp. 6-9.
28 November / December 2023 | Christian Living
CHRISTMAS God’s way
A different look at the biggest holiday
we’re grumbling about traffic, losing patience with others, coveting what we don’t have, and “I will offer You the sacrifice of thanksgiving can become a curmudgeon that spoils the joy for and call on the name of the LORD.” – Psalm everyone. 116:17 But that’s not the example our Savior has given to us. The more miles I added in my training, First things first, an update: last issue I told the more my mind came up with little tricks to you about signing up to run with FiftyTwo.Four, keep me focused and on track. One of them was a non-profit organization that raises funds for knowing that my average time is three and a half orphans with HIV/AIDS in India by committing hours from start to finish (I walk half of it). About to run four half marathons in four weeks. halfway through my first race I found myself wonBy the time you read this, I will be all finished dering, “How can I think three and a half hours with the races, but at the time of my writing this of discomfort is anything compared to the lifetime I have two more half marathons to go. I can tell of suffering my Savior took on for me?” you that God has been faithful to get me to the Because I imagine the weight of flesh was more finish line and has graciously softened the hearts than we can fathom even before He suffered Bethany Riehl of generous people who have donated to the kids under the wrath of God. As I pressed into that on my behalf. It’s been an incredible thing to be a thought, pausing my music to think it over, my part of and I am thankful to each one of you who prayed for me. feet hitting the pavement one slow stride at a time, I thought of I’m not going to sugarcoat it – as wonderful as it has been and everything He must have suffered for my sake. If Jesus came to as thankful as I am for the summer of training, it has been a diflive the life of holiness that I cannot live, He never grumbled, ficult and painful endeavor. I tell my family that after the races never lied (even to spare someone’s feelings); never took what I feel like I’m made of tin and got rained on. My joints and ligawasn’t His, never gossiped, cursed, slandered; never had an ments turn squeaky and stiff, and I limp around for the full day immoral thought or action. He lived in His body of flesh in our afterwards. It’s been good to remember that hard things are not grime and our dirt among unclean people with unclean lips and bad things and sometimes good things require sacrifice. kept His flesh pure. Maybe that’s why the above verse has been on my heart lately. For you. After a season of sacrifice – in time, commitment, brain power, And for me. and physical effort – it hit me differently that the psalmist calls And because He did that, and because He calls us to be holy as thanksgiving a sacrifice. Maybe because thankfulness and conHe is holy, I owe Him every sacrifice of thanksgiving – whatever tentment aren’t exactly our default settings. that may look like – I can muster. With the upcoming holiday season, I thought it would be ben“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one aneficial to press into that a bit. It’s so easy to be discontented and other.” – 1 John 4:11 ruin the whole thing, isn’t it? I don’t know about you, but I love This season, I want to press into that with everything I’ve got. this time of year, from the weather to the music to the food (soups Don’t you? and breads and desserts – oh my!), to the movies and old TV God rest ye merry, dear friends. He has come. specials. But all of those things can also lead to coveting, which “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His leads to idolatry (Colossians 3:5). Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Although it should be a time to first thank God for the great Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. things He has done with the celebration of Thanksgiving, and So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has then reflect with wonder on how He accomplished salvation for for us. God is love and whoever abides in love abides in God, us as we celebrate Christmas (and of course, that can easily be and God abides in him.” – 1 John 4:14-16 n done without the food or weather or music or TV specials), it is very easy to choose the shiny things all around us instead of Bethany Riehl lives in the Treasure Valley with her husband, Christ, who is the substance (Colossians 2:17). If we take our eyes three kids, and one super chill dog. She writes articles and ficoff of Jesus and let discontentment take root, it seeps into every tional novels when she can, and her one desire is to point others nook and cranny of our heart and inevitably leaks out. Suddenly to the love and sufficiency of Jesus Christ. By Bethany Riehl
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30 November / December 2023 | Christian Living
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If we want to have a great and happy marriage, It’s been said that there are two types of people one of our biggest tasks is to learn about the other person’s culture and to develop the flexibility to be who travel to foreign countries – the colonizer and comfortable with either set of customs. Above all, the immigrant. The colonizer wants to visit another we need to learn our partner’s language so that we country but sees it from his own perspective instead can speak it. of experiencing it from the inhabitants’ point of It’s important that we learn not only to speak the view. He looks for signs in his own language and same language but also to make sure we mean the seeks out people who speak his own tongue. He same thing with our words. Your experiences in life, endeavors to find the familiar and fails to venture your mindset, what you intend can give meaning into uncharted territory. He doesn’t branch out and to your words. For example, my wife might ask, learn any words in this foreign language. “Could we stop at the store for a minute on our way The colonizer becomes irritated when he can’t home? I’ll just be a minute.” I might take the work read signs for the bathroom or understand the ‘minute’ literally, but I’d better not. Years of experimenu. Instead of asking for help or learning a few ence have taught me we’re talking about 15 to 20 helpful phrases, he becomes upset. When he talks minutes. to local residents, he approaches them in his own Here’s another classic – ‘fine’. What does ‘fine’ Gary Moore language. They either respond with puzzlement or mean anyway? It’s not unusual for a woman to say a few words they’ve learned and point him in wear a new outfit and ask her husband how it looks. some direction. He wonders, “Why can’t they learn to speak in my When all he says is ‘fine’, what has he really said? Since we men language?” have a tendency to say ‘fine’ for everything, as far as she’s conThe reality is that when you and I got married, even if we married cerned, we really haven’t told her how we feel about it. Is this ‘fine’ someone from our native country, we married a foreigner. We were a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10 or is it a 2? We need to help each other out raised in different homes with different parents, siblings, experihere. Maybe she could have said, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how does ences and, in effect, different cultures. We may have eaten the same this new outfit look on me?” Or, if all she asked was how the outfit types of foods, but they were prepared differently. We have different looked, he could have offered, “On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s an 8.” customs, different rituals, different beliefs and values in our families. Either of those would have been better communication. Remember, And, we each learned a different language. We even have different the goal of communication is to connect, not convince. dictionaries. Continued on page 33 By Gary Moore
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Christian Living | November / December 2023 31
Overcoming modern-day anxiety naturally
Special Mention Foods – Turmeric is one of In the fast-paced and uncertain world we live in, the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods we anxiety has become an all too familiar companion have, especially the extract from turmeric, called for many individuals. It can be overwhelming, leavcurcumin. Turmeric is not commonly used in the ing people feeling lost, alone, and struggling to find U.S., but Indian food has a lot of turmeric with all peace. While modern medicine offers treatments the curry. with medication, exploring natural remedies without Herbs for depression and anxiety include St. dangerous side effects can be a much better option. John’s Wort, the mints, and chamomile tea, which Drawing inspiration from biblical scriptures, we helps calm down and uplift the spirits. can uncover valuable insights that offer solace and Ginger is loaded with antioxidants and potent strength to overcome anxiety. anti-inflammatory properties, and is believed to 1. Embracing the Present Moment – Anxiety play an important role in the health of the brain. often arises from worries about the future or regrets A 2012 study found that ginger extract helped imfrom the past. The biblical verse Matthew 6:34 prove cognitive function and attention in middlewisely reminds us, “Therefore do not worry about aged women. tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Pumpkin seeds are highly essential for the Each day has enough trouble of its own.” By focusfunctioning of the nervous system. They help to Rosie Main ing on the present moment, we can alleviate anxiproduce GABA, an anti-stress neurochemical in ety’s grip on our minds. Mindfulness practices such the brain that soothes nervous irritability and other as meditation and deep breathing techniques help us stay rooted in mental conditions. Pumpkin seed oil exhibits anti-inflammatory the here and now, fostering a sense of calm and inner peace. effects. 2. Nurturing a Grateful Heart – The book of Philippians 4:6-7 Flaxseeds are high in those all-important omega-3 fatty acids that emphasizes, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every are essential for brain development and function. Flax contains situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your alpha-linolenic (ALA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid that boosts the requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all cerebral cortex, an area of the brain that processes sensory informaunderstanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ tion. Jesus.” Cultivating gratitude in our lives can significantly impact our Walnuts and almonds contain a number of neuroprotective commental well-being. Regularly expressing gratitude for the blessings pounds, including vitamin E, folate, melatonin, omega-3 fats, and we have, no matter how small, shifts our focus from negaantioxidants. They may support brain health, cognition, tivity to positivity. and memory. 3. The Healing Power of Nature – God’s Avocados are “full of heart-healthy monounsatucreation is abundant in natural remedies rated fats that promote healthy blood flow in the that soothe anxious minds. Spending brain, along with several of the brain’s most time outdoors, surrounded by nature’s valued nutrients, including folate, vitamin beauty, can offer a sense of peace C, vitamin E, and copper. The B vitamins and tranquility. Whether it’s taking a in avocados relieve stress and keep nerves leisurely walk in the park, stargazing and brain cells healthy. Its high amount of on a clear night, or listening to the potassium helps lower blood pressure. And calming sounds of the ocean, conthe monounsaturated fats also help support necting with nature helps to reduce information-carrying nerves in your brain, stress and anxiety. according to research from the Federation of 4. Physical Activity and Exercise American Societies of Experimental Biology.” – The Apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians Image by Robert Owen-Wahl from Pixabay Supplement with Magnesium – Magnesium 6:19-20, reminds us, “Do you not know that helps to improve the brain’s stress response by protecting the your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom neurons from over-excitation. It also maintains the integrity of the you have received from God? You are not your own.” Taking care blood brain barrier and reduces the amount of stress hormones that of our bodies is not only essential for spiritual reasons but also for are able to get into the brain. Additionally, it helps to balance and our mental well-being. Engaging in regular physical activity, be it stabilize blood sugar levels. through sports, or simply taking a dance class, releases endorphins The best forms of magnesium are those that cross the blood brain that uplift our mood and reduce anxiety. barrier where they can help to modulate the HPA axis* and the 5. The Power of Prayer and Community Support – Seeking body’s stress response system. These include magnesium malate, comfort in prayer and sharing our burdens within a supportive com- magnesium threonate and/or magnesium glycinate. In the Bible, God tells us to “cast our cares upon Him,” in Psalm munity can bring relief in times of distress. The book of Psalms is 55:22. Jesus says in Matthew 11:30 that His “yoke is light and His filled with verses that express the human experience of anxiety and burden is easy.” how seeking God’s refuge can offer solace and strength. Proverbs 17:17 states, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for God wants us to give Him our worries, doubts, fears, stressors and a time of adversity.” Surrounding ourselves with caring individusetbacks. He is our Father and He looks down upon us with a loving als who can offer empathy and understanding can help lighten the concern for our well-being. In fact, He loves us more than we could weight of anxiety. ever love ourselves. Spend time speaking these verses over your life. n 6. A Balanced Diet for a Balanced Mind – Maintaining a balanced and nourishing diet can have a significant impact on our *“The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis involves the central nervous sysemotional well-being. The biblical focus on nourishment and cartem and the endocrine system adjusting the balance of hormones in response to stress ing for our bodies reflects the importance of fueling ourselves with (from Verywell Health at verywellhealth.com).” wholesome foods. Reducing caffeine and sugar intake and opting for a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can stabilize mood If you have questions or need more information, text Rosie Main and reduce anxiety. at (208) 859-6170 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. By Rosie Main
32 November / December 2023 | Christian Living
Understanding Relationships Continued from page 31
Dr. H. Norman Wright says that our three main senses – hearing, seeing and feeling – are actually part of our learning and communication styles. We prefer one to the other two for perceiving life, storing our experiences, making decisions, and connecting with others. And he says that our choice of words gives away our style. If you are an auditory-oriented husband or wife, you tend to depend upon spoken words for information and you use auditory words: that sounds good to me; let’s talk about….; I hear you; tell me a little more. Auditory people want to hear about life. This is how they learn best. If you’re visually oriented, you use your eyes to perceive the world, and you use visual images in remembering and thinking. You also use visual words: I see…; that looks…; I’m not too clear…; that sheds a new light. Visual people relate to the world around them in terms of how things look. This is how they learn best. A visual person talks about how things look rather than how they feel. If you’re a kinesthetically oriented individual, you tend to feel your way through your experiences. Your feelings sort both what you experience inside as well as what comes at you from the outside. And these feelings determine your decisions. A kinesthetic spouse uses phrases such as these: I can’t get a handle on this; I’ve got a good feeling…; can you get in touch with what I’m saying? I don’t grasp what…. These individuals are more spontaneous than auditory or visual people. This trait can be both positive and negative. Another way in which we speak different languages is that some of us are expanders – we give details when we talk. And others of us are condensers. Expanders may respond to a question with eight to ten sentences while a condenser may respond to the same question with one or two sketchy responses. If you don’t understand this dynamic, it can be very frustrating. You may think, “Changing the way we talk to one another sounds like a pointless game that requires a lot of work.” Work, yes; game, no. Effective communication requires mutual understanding and being sensitive and accommodating to the uniqueness of your partner. Remember, you and they are from different countries. n
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Gary Moore served as associate pastor at Cloverdale Church of God for 15 years. He does couples’ coaching and leads couples’ workshops and retreats called MUM’s the Word. He has a weekly radio program – Life Point Plus – on KBXL 94.1FM at 8:45 a.m. on Fridays. His website at www.mutualunderstanding.net has video teachings and other resources for couples. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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CHURCH in Asia
Christian faith and Asia’s many religions
The patience of many believers under suffering is I am upset by some recent, highly visible wonderful to behold. statements to the effect that Christianity is losIn Iraq, there is interest in the gospel among ing ground in the face of the global population the Kurds and considerable spiritual hunger in explosion. Really? We Christians started out as Baghdad and other towns. In Iran, where the a tiny movement. Today, one out of every three pressure against the Christians is steady and people in the world is called a Christian. Obviunrelenting, the news is that the few churches ously, between then and now, the number of there are full and the people are faithful. From Christians in the world has been increasing. Yes. Saudi Arabia, there seems to be more news than Christians went from one in a thousand, to one before, but not always good news. There appear in a hundred, to one in three. That’s expansion, to be remarkable instances of Christ revealing not failure to keep up. Let’s not be too concerned himself to people through dreams, visions, and about the global percentage of “Christians in remarkable coincidences. In the remote regions of general.” Frankly, piling up “nominal Christians” Central Asia, new, quiet work is going on under is not terribly important compared to counting difficult circumstances. In Bangladesh and Inon the number of Bible-believing, Bible-studying, Stephen Silas Gill donesia, we still hear of people turning to Christ or serious Christians, whatever you want to call and remaining loyal to him against great odds. In them. Egypt, there are also legal battles and other forms In Asia, revolutionary changes are occurring in the areas of po- of discrimination that put Christian believers at risk from fundalitical and economic affairs, social and cultural issues, and indusmentalist Muslims, whom the courts tend to favor. Yet, in spite of trialization and technology. Any benefits known to other nations this, there is news of a significant response to the gospel. from global urbanization are far less significant in Asia, where it Sudan is the Calvary of the present, with unrelenting and bruonly seems to intensify the cities’ social dilemmas. In terms of reli- tal pressure on Christians in the south and no help in sight. Regious issues, every major religion in the world originated in Asia, ports indicated that Iran was supplying the training to the units and all of them continue to flourish there. Evangelistic efforts face that seem bent on genocide where it is felt that this will achieve stiff and consistent opposition in the Islamic countries of West the purpose of the powers that be. In the fluctuating fortunes of and South Asia. Often because of extremely low literacy levels, Azerbaijan and Armenia, bitter and seemingly unending conflict the practice of Shariah law, totalitarianism, controlled “democis again the context. They are in an impossible situation with the racy,” and the increasing influence of Islamic fundamentalism, oppression of the Armenian enclave inside Azerbaijan, and yet we Christians have been facing ever-increasing antagonism. cringe when we hear reports of the fighting. It amazes us to learn For several reasons, Christianity bears the stigma of being conthat there is considerable spiritual hunger there, and Armenians sidered a “Western religion” and, therefore, a reminder of what are coming to the Lord. was viewed to be an oppressive imperialist rule. The Church is In Nigeria, a disproportionate number of Christians have been plagued with false theologies, liberalism, disunity, rivalry, pressummarily convicted of culpable homicide related to Muslimsures from resurgent religions, a crisis of leadership, and governChristian rioting. Still, there are many encouraging signs. One ment restrictions. Among the Hindu and Buddhist populations in finds new life and energy among the laity in the Church. Women Asia, there seems to be a subtle openness to the gospel. Still, the are coming forward to assume their rightful places in social leadChurch is not reported to be growing significantly among them. ership. A new generation of young, energetic, enthusiastic leaders Within small pocket areas, such as the nation of Nepal, there is is emerging. The rapid growth of Asia missions and Asians in an official religion that prohibits proselytizing, making open witgreat numbers going out as cross-cultural missionaries is most nessing by Christians very difficult and dangerous. In India, we encouraging. There are ample resources, people and experience have seen that conflict primarily between Muslims and Hindus in Asia if only these could be pooled and shared. If Asia is to over the destruction of the mosque at Ayodhya and the subsebe reached, it has to be primarily by the united efforts of Asian quent riots in Bombay and other places. Inevitably, the Christians have felt the backlash of these events from some undiscrimi- Christians. The challenges to spreading the gospel in Asia are enormous. nating Hindus who want to damage the Christian cause. In other An obvious aspect is the immensity of the size of its population. countries, the conflict tends to be related to the courts. In PakiTwo-thirds of the world’s population lives in one-third of the stan, the application of Shariah law is leading to grave injustice. world’s land mass. By Stephen Silas Gill
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34 November / December 2023 | Christian Living
Asia has thousands of different ethnolinguistic groups and all the problems associated with them. It is here, in Asia, that the majority of the world’s people who have yet to be touched by the gospel dwell. Most of those who have never heard the gospel also happen to be the poorest. They struggle with intense economic disadvantage, social injustice, and the physical and emotional suffering related to unmet human needs. Although there is much wealth in Asia, its distribution is dramatically disproportionate. Often, a sense of fatalism is fostered by people’s religious beliefs, aggravating the problem. Asia’s only hope is the gospel of Christ, lived and shared in boldness and obedience to the Holy Spirit. “The end is not yet! Judge nothing before the time when the Lord shall come! (Matthew 24:6, 1 Corinthians 4:5).” These are times of tribulation for the churches in Islamic lands. We believe that God’s purposes to call out a people for Himself from every person in the world will be fulfilled. In the meantime, there are things we can do. We can keep in touch and pray for all those we know who are seeking to serve Christ in Muslim lands. The Church in Asia needs to be challenged to take the whole gospel to all of Asia. The gospel is more than an antidote for sin and its effects. Sin has penetrated and poisoned all aspects of people’s lives – structural, social, and personal – as well as all areas of each individual’s mind, body, and soul. So the gospel clears away darkness, penetrates, heals, and energizes all areas affected by sin. As sin is holistic in its work of destruction and death, the gospel is holistic in its work of reconciliation, development, and life. This is the gospel we believe, live out, and proclaim. And we hear again, “Before the end comes, the gospel must be preached to all people (nations) (Mark 13:10).” In Asia, this costs God’s people all they have obtained by His grace. n
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Stephen Silas Gill is an author, speaker, youth leader, social worker, and volunteer. He is serving God at Smyrna Church of Pakistan. He is encouraging those believers living in non-Christian states around the world. He is inspiring and uplifting the Christians who have suffered because of their religious convictions. His small church in Pakistan is dedicated to advancing the kingdom of God. He is working to expand his ministry and spread God’s kingdom. For more information about his work, contact him at email@example.com.
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Christian Living | November / December 2023 35
Juan hopes to fight homelessness someday The following information is provided by Wednesday’s Child, an organization that helps Idaho foster children find permanent homes. Juan, 17, is an amazing teen with a huge heart. Those who know him best describe him as kind, fun to spend time with, and a young man who prides himself on keeping his space neat and organized. Juan’s active hobbies include long-boarding, hiking, skating, playing football, bowling, and playing pickle ball. If the weather stops him from being active, he can usually be found building with Legos, playing video games, listening to music, drawing, journaling his thoughts, or with his nose buried in a good James Patterson book. This outgoing young man also loves to spend time traveling and is a big animal lover. He hopes that once he gets settled into his new family home, he will be able to adopt a sweet and chubby cat to call his own. Being creative is important to Juan and he dreams of one day owning his own landscaping business where he can hone his creative skills into spectacular yard art. Juan considers his Christian faith an important part of who he is and has a real heart for helping others who are struggling. He looks forward to becoming successful in his business so that he can someday help out families who are dealing with homelessness. Juan is excited about the possibility of having a fresh start in life with a fun, committed and caring adoptive family that he hopes will remain in his life into young adulthood and well beyond. Juan’s Permanency Team describes the best fit for him as either a family where he can be the only child or a home with older siblings. He is open to any kind of parental makeup. Juan’s team is particularly interested in Idaho and Utah families but is open to hearing from any family that feels they may be a good fit for him. Juan deserves all of the good things that life has to offer and just needs a loving family in order to reach his full potential and have a wonderful future ahead of him. Get more information on Juan at www.idahowednesdayschild.org. n For more information on the Idaho Wednesday’s Child Program, visit www.idahowednesdayschild.org, or contact Specialized Recruitment Services Administrator Shawn White at firstname.lastname@example.org or cell (208) 488-8989.
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36 November / December 2023 | Christian Living
PARTNERSHIP with God
Don’t forget you have a part to play The woman in 2 Kings 4, whose husband Here is the point. God will not do for you had died and creditors wanted to take her what you can do because He does what you can sons as bondmen, did as Elisha instructed her NEVER DO. For God to do what you cannot do, to do. When Mary and Martha and those in you need to do your part. their company obeyed and removed the stone We read in the Bible situations that were beyond from Lazarus’s grave, the dead man was resurwhat any human being is capable of rectifying. Yet rected. in those situations, God invited somebody to do his or her part. The situations had reached a point In some situations, people’s unbelief or were people were desperate, had given up or were unwillingness to do their part delayed the on the verge of giving up. They knew that their rectification of the situation they wanted (even circumstance was beyond their control. prayed) to be rectified. Lazarus remained dead Resurrecting Lazarus required God’s power as his sisters were trying to tell Jesus that there ( John 11). But Christ Jesus wanted Mary, Martha was no need to remove the stone since he had and those mourning with them to remove the been dead for several days. stone that covered Lazarus’s grave. God provided Vincent Kituku It is interesting that the church prayed for manna, but He didn’t put it in His people’s plates (Exodus 16). It was their responsibility to pick up Peter’s situation, but when he knocked on the the free food. door, they didn’t open at first, forcing him to keep knocking. In Acts 12, we see God delivering Peter from a prison where You know, if those guards had followed him, they could have he was chained. There were guards and soldiers and an iron found and arrested him outside because people had delayed dogate – impossible obstacles for a prisoner to overcome. After an ing their part when God had done His. angel freed him, he went to a house where people were gathNaaman (2 Kings 5: 1-19) suffered longer than he had to from ered and were praying. Yet God didn’t open the door to the leprosy, a dreaded disease, because he was unwilling to follow house where Peter went to be with his fellow Christians. They instructions that seemed silly. He had to be convinced by his had to open that door. There are two unquestionable attributes, obedience and servant. faith, that are needed for God to do His part. Not a single situTo bring hope into hopeless situations in partnership with ation was rectified without obedience, people doing what God God, we need to pray, obey, have faith and not be surprised told them to do even if it sounded or seemed stupid or strange. when God does His part. n Peter did what the angel instructed him to do. Peter, a veteran fisherman, had never seen a dime in a fish’s Dr. Vincent Muli Kituku is an author and speaker for business mouth. But when he was instructed by Jesus to go get money organizations, schools and Christian groups. He is the founder for their taxes from a fish’s mouth, he obeyed. When he was of Caring Hearts and Hands of Hope and Caring Hearts High later told where to cast his net, after fishing for a whole night Schools, boarding schools for vulnerable boys and girls in Kenya. without catching anything, he obeyed – we know the outcome Contact him at (208) 376-8724 or email@example.com. in both cases. By Vincent Kituku
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Christian Living | November / December 2023 37
GOD’S persevering love
It’s a new day and a new journey in life
that we would all fail many times in our lives. Right this moment there are magnificently For that reason, Jesus came to pay for all of our talented individuals who have lost their way, sins. Every single one. living depressed, defeated lives. They have Do you know what gave Jesus the strength to crawled into a shell, convinced that life will endure every single lash on His back and body? never feel the same, that God will never use Do you know what gave Jesus the strength to them again, nor does He love them. What has endure the nails being driven into His feet and caused such inward turmoil? Past failures and hands? It was because He closed His eyes and mistakes. He saw you and He saw Bradley Shotts and I know of individuals who were once full of He saw everyone else that would fall and make life, extremely anointed and talented for God, mistakes and would have sin in their lives. At now empty shells, living in the past, replaying any point, all Jesus had to do was just whisper the awful events of yesterday – once standing to the angels to come and rescue Him, but He tall as a tremendous leader, now defeated, a redidn’t. He didn’t because of you and me. Our cluse, living out the remainder of their lives. A sins held Him there until His blood was shed Bradley Shotts great example of Satan’s finest work. He loves for all of us. He died that day and covered all of to entice and lure his victims down paths of our sins. He paid the price. temptation, telling them that this one time will be okay. Satan Not only has God never stopped loving you, His plan for will tell you anything and place anything in your path in an you hasn’t changed either. It is also important to note that attempt to redirect your focus from God. the distance you feel from God is not because He left you, but Once the temptation leads to sin and the child of God falls, because you moved away from Him. Call out to God. He is Satan then does what he is the master of doing: convincing the waiting to hear your voice call His name. fallen how pathetic they are and how they can never be used I think of Paul. If God had a reason to be angry at anyone, of God again. Once that lie from Satan is sown and believed, it would have to be Paul. Named Saul before his conversion, Satan’s victim experiences a downward spiral of defeat, honhe tortured and killed Christians everywhere he traveled. Yet estly believing that God is so angry and disappointed in them. God showed Saul compassion. He met Saul on the road to The regret and the shame compounds the reality – only in Damascus; Saul immediately felt and saw God’s love, turned their mind – that God cannot possibly love them. In actuality, from his evil ways and served God from that day forward. nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus set Saul’s feet on a new path and even gave him a new Did you know that when God called you, He groomed you? name. When He equipped you with all of your abilities and talents, You know what this account of Jesus meeting Saul on the He knew this day would come. He did not say, “Well, why road to Damascus shows us more than anything? It shows us should I waste my time on you, because I know you will fall that no matter where we are or what we have done, Jesus will and make a mistake?” come to meet us. Paul, as we know of him today, is responsible God loves you and cares for you even more now because for writing much of the New Testament, inspired by the Holy He sees and feels your pain and your hurt. Why do you think Spirit. Paul let his past be his past and he set his sights forGod sent Jesus to us? God knew that we were all sinners and ward, serving God. By Bradley Shotts
38 November / December 2023 | Christian Living
So where do you go from here? You spend a lot of time with God in prayer, talking to Him and listening. You spend time in God’s Word, allowing Him to speak to you as you open up your heart and mind. God will strengthen you and He will restore you. In fact, if you allow God to minister healing to your heart and mind, which He will do by your simply asking Him
to, He will make you stronger and better than you ever were before. The same way He did for Paul, David, Moses, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and so many more. Don’t be the person who could have done great things for God. Be the person of God who went on to do great and mighty things for Him in spite of difficulties and failures. n
Father, may we be reminded that you are a God of compassion and understanding. You specialize in restorations. You don’t call the equipped, You equip the called. You love us in spite of our failures and shortcomings. There are so many, Lord, who need Your peace that passes all understanding. Hear their cries, oh God, and come to their aid in times of difficulty. Restore what Satan has tried to destroy in their hearts, souls and minds. Raise them up to be mighty warriors for Christ, never allowing their past to interfere with the bright future that You have for them. In Jesus’ name, Amen. Bradley Shotts began his ministry working in the funeral industry in 1988 at Lloyd James Funeral Home in Tyler, Texas. He currently serves as the general manager of Forest Ridge Funeral Home Memorial Park Chapel in North Richland Hills, Texas. He and his wife, Amy, live in Bedford, Texas. They have two adult children, Blaine and Braylee. He is a member of Rotary International and serves on the board at Shepherd Heart Ministries in Tyler and is an ordained minister
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