November / December 2021
Roscoe Man with a Mission
Story One extra chromosome
His cloak An outcast’s reach
Army Reserve chaplain Rev. Bill Roscoe is President/CEO of the Boise Rescue Mission
Blessings... Count your
Thanks for Listening!
Keeping Christ in the Center of your Holidays
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Contents November / December 2021 FEATURES
Meridian interfaith group plans food drive
Sadie’s story: Gift from above
Nate Wheeler: Army Reserve chaplain The Bible: Modern edits Wonder Woman: Mom’s little lie
Man with a Mission Boise Rescue Mission Outreach Ministries
C12 Forum: Jesus in the marketplace New religious landscape: Things change, truth doesn’t A bottle nearby: Grief & addiction Skip Hall: A new release
Real Christ-followers: Biblically sculpted
Second annual nativity exhibit scheduled
An outcast’s reach: Touching His cloak Our older Brother: Being like Him
“Do not, therefore, fling away your [fearless] confidence, for it has a glorious and great award.”
— Hebrews 10:35, Amplified Bible
18 COLUMNS to Love: 6 Choosing ‘Thinks no evil’ Road Less Traveled: 10 The Just like dad
“I Get To!”®: 14 Never too late
Man’s Toolbox: 28 Real Courageous men
God Dots: A love story
History, Culture & Faith: 38 Ben Franklin 31 For Victory: 40 Destined Small stuff 34
DEPARTMENTS Responsible 20 Biblically Investing: The many benefits
Wednesday’s Child: Meet Carter
44 22 Understanding Relationships: 46 A catalyst for closeness
Need Prayer? Call Idaho Chaplains Association
Talk to a Chaplain
Health: 32 Maximum Tackle digestive issues
IN EACH EDITION 4
Volume 10, Number 6 Publisher Sandy Jones firstname.lastname@example.org 208-703-7860 Editor Gaye Bunderson email@example.com Submit story ideas, article submissions & press releases General Info firstname.lastname@example.org 208-703-7860 Advertising & Sales Kimberly McMullen email@example.com 208-703-7509 • Katy Nelson firstname.lastname@example.org 503-816-3042 • Scott McMurtrey email@example.com 208-841-4583 Cover Photo Boise Rescue Mission Graphic Design Denice King www.greentreedkdesign.com 208-918-5190 Contributors Steve Bertel, Daniel Bobinski, Rick Chromey, Jim Day, Roxanne Drury, Joan Endicott, Heather Goetter, John Greenlee, Doug Hanson, Leo Hellyer, Jason Herring, Barbara Hinther, Rosie Main, Gary Moore, Steve Nelson, Bethany Riehl, Scott Riggan, Ed Rybarczyk, Paul Sheppard, Matthew Tucker Website Design SEO Idaho Distribution D&S Distribution • 208-985-6904 Christian Living is committed to encouraging and instructing individuals in their daily lives by presenting stories of people in the Treasure Valley who are living on a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ and who serve as uplifting examples to others. Views expressed in Christian Living do not necessarily represent those of the publisher. Every effort has been made by Christian Living to insure accuracy of the publication contents. However, we do not guarantee the accuracy of all information nor the absence of errors and omissions; hence, no responsibility can be or is assumed. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2021 by Christian Living Ministries Inc. Christian Living is published every other month and is available in over 600 locations throughout the Treasure Valley and Twin Falls, including grocery stores, convenience stores, medical waiting areas, and churches. If your church would like additional copies please email us today at firstname.lastname@example.org Annual subscriptions available for $12/year. To start your subscription or give one as a gift send your check or money order, along with complete address information, including which issue to begin with and a phone number to call in case there’s questions about your subscription to Christian Living Magazine, PO Box 867, Meridian, ID 83680.
Publisher’s Corner: Winds of change Christian Living | November / December 2021 3
Winds of change blowing in many ‘firsts’
Image by Gerhard G. from Pixabay
By Sandy Jones I think most of us would agree that September was an absolutely gorgeous extension of summer. October started off the same way, until around the 10th – then the wind blew in the real change of season. Fall had arrived. A sprinkle of rain in the valley and a dusting of snow in the hills. The trees in full fall regalia. I may be a warm-weather girl, but I absolutely love the warm colors of fall. Deep oranges, burgundy, yellows and gold. Crisp cold mornings and cool evenings. Aww – pour me a glass of freshly pressed apple juice!
As we enter November, with the holidays just around the corner, I’m reflecting back on just how much I have to thank God for. I’m blessed to get to “do” Christian Living Ministries as my full-time gig. Hearing from you, our readers and radio listeners, about the impact we’ve had on your lives, and how much we encourage each of you, heartens our entire team. In May our oldest son and his wife blessed us with twincesses. It has been an absolute delight to watch these tiny bundles of joy grow and discover so many firsts – often things we take for granted. Who knew that rolling over could bring such squeals of delight? Our local grands have kept us hopping to cheer them on for swim team, track and our first season of volleyball. The littles’ firsts make our older not-so-littles’ firsts seem even more special. It’s like we caught a breath of fresh air, and with it a renewed appreciation for these special moments! We look forward to many “firsts” these next couple of months – all of them to be relished and enjoyed to the fullest. Things like the first time of sharing the Christmas Story with those precious babes, as we pray that the older kids catch some new revelation each year as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. One of my favorite Christmas songs is “Mary Did You Know?” From the initial time I heard those beautiful lyrics, I have found myself spellbound. I was a fairly young mother, and have to admit, I wholeheartedly loved my little baby boy, although I don’t think I had the maturity to appreciate the absolute miracle I was blessed with. Nothing is sweeter than inhaling that fresh baby scent as you cover their face and neck in kisses; I can’t even imagine how Mary must have felt knowing that when she kissed her precious baby, she was kissing the “face of God!”
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4 November / December 2021 | Christian Living
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has many beautiful, comforting, and inspirI realize scholars tell us that Jesus more than likely wasn’t born in December. I get it. I think ing names that describe Him. I also remind more important than when we celebrate the myself that another name He has is “Jealbirth of our Lord and Savior is that we do celous.” That I should be quick to do inventory ebrate His birth, as well as His resurrection. The of my life to ensure that He is not competing enemy would love nothing more than if we’d all with any false gods or idols for my time and get too distracted being busy, or debating whatattention; that I’m not swept away by winds ever the latest shiny object topic is, to really give of change that might distract me from God Jesus the praise and glory that He deserves. Almighty – my Lord and Savior – Who was, I was recently reflecting on some of the many and is, and is to come. names of God: Jehovah Jireh (my provider); The Sandy Jones I pray that you have a blessed Holy season Great Physician; Most High God; God, the Fawith plenty of time to celebrate the day He ther, the Almighty; Jehovah Rapha (the God Who heals); Majesty; Wonderful; Counselor; The Mighty God; The Everlasting came as Our Lord, as we anxiously await His return. Until next time… Father; The Prince of Peace; Bright and Morning Star; Maker God Bless n of all things seen and unseen; Yahweh; Yeshua, to name a few. The list goes on and on. As we close out this year, I would I was recalling when my husband Give thanks to the LORD, be remiss if I didn’t take this opand I first got serious about learning for he is good; his love portunity to thank our advertisers, what we’d claimed to believe for “all and our donors, without whom endures forever. those years,” and I started hearing there would be no Christian Livsome of these names. At first I would — Psalm 107:1 NIV ing Magazine, or radio show. I race home from church, or whatever meeting we’d been at, to look them would ask that you please frequent up. Fearful we’d found our way into a cult, I wanted to know our advertisers as often as possible, and thank them for their who THAT god was, only to find out each time that our God support of this ministry.
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Christian Living | November / December 2021 5
CHOOSING to Love
‘Don’t get mad, get even’ not biblical By Daniel Bobinski Note: In March of 2020 I decided to use this space to focus on God’s greatest command. If you’re connecting with this series for the first time and would like to read the earlier columns on this topic, I encourage you to visit Christian Living’s website to read the whole series. Visit https://www.christianlivingmag.com/columns/
him. Second, an examination of the Greek shows that the word, as used, means, “no longer cares for.” Paul is not saying he’s wiped his memory of what’s behind him – he’s saying he no longer cares for it.
Synthesizing the KJV and NIV
The KJV and NKJV translate our agape phrase in question as “Thinks no evil,” and the NIV says, “Keeps no record of wrongs.” Both of When I sat down to study agape love 30 years these are close, they just need a little help. ago, I didn’t have the internet. My main tools The key to successfully understanding this were my Word Study New Testament by Spiros amazing – and freeing – phrase of Scripture Zodhiates and his corresponding Word Study comes from realizing that the verb (logizomai Dictionary, which I viewed as a concordance – which is translated “Thinks” and “Keeps no on steroids. Zodhiates was a Greek-American record”) is being used with a future connotaBible scholar, and his work opened my eyes to Daniel Bobinski tion. In other words, it’s not about forgetting of the depth of the original language. (This is why wrongs done to us by others in the past, it’s about us choosing www.BlueLetterBible.org is one of my favorite websites today.) to NOT do evil to others in the future. I have been eagerly awaiting the chance to discuss this Consider the KJV this way: I will not think of how I intend to month’s phrase, “Love thinks no evil” (NKJV), because it’s do evil to you. only when one digs into the original language that one finds Consider the NIV this way: I will not keep a record (a list) of the true meaning of this phrase. As you will see, if we rely how I intend to do you wrong. only on English translations, this phrase is easily misunderYou’ve heard the phrase, “I don’t get mad, I get even”? It’s stood. Sadly, as a result, it has been mistaught at thousands not scriptural in the least! Plotting a way to get even with upon thousands of pulpits, causing much unnecessary grief in someone for doing you wrong is NOT living a life of agape people’s lives. To explain, let me share the various ways this phrase is trans- love. This perspective totally aligns with Romans 12:19, which lated: “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for says, • KJV/NKJV: Thinks no evil God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” • NIV: Keeps no record of wrongs says the Lord. • NLT: Keeps no record of being wronged Allow me also to point to Christ’s teaching in Matthew 5:44, • NASB: Keeps no account of a wrong suffered which ways, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those • Amplified: Does not take into account a wrong endured Remember that when one sees an italicized word in a transla- who persecute you.” And yes, the word for love used by Jesus in that verse is agtion, it’s a supposition by the translators to try to add clarity. apao. Sometimes they help, but in these cases, the translators missed By stepping back and looking at this phrase with its future the boat. In fact, three of the translations shown above are not connotation, everything lines up. I am free to forgive someone accurate. Let me explain. and trust that God will exact whatever revenge He sees fit, Often from the pulpit we hear that we are supposed to not whenever He sees fit, and to the extent that He sees fit – if He keep a record of how people have wronged us, that we should sees fit to do it at all. Conversely, if I start plotting and schem“forgive and forget.” By all means, we are to forgive others. Scripture is abundant- ing a way to “get even” with someone, that is NOT living a life ly clear about that, and I can give you personal testimony after of agape love. Let me take a moment here to say that forgiveness and personal testimony on the amazing benefits and blessings that forgetting are two completely different things. With that, it is pour into our lives when we forgive those who sin against us. quite healthy to create boundaries when someone wrongs us But forgetting how people have wronged us? Other than – otherwise we leave ourselves open to let the person hurt us what is found (and misinterpreted) from this verse, I don’t see again. this teaching in Scripture. I definitely see where God says HE We can and should completely forgive people who wrong us, will forget our sins (see Psalm 103:11-12, Isaiah 43:25, Jerbecause we’re instructed throughout Scripture to do just that. emiah 31:34, Acts 3:19, and Hebrews 8:12), but I don’t see in Recall the Lord’s Prayer, which says for God to forgive us in Scripture where God tells US to forget how people sin against the same way that we forgive others. But we must also rememus. To forget opens the door for us to be abused and turned ber to draw boundaries when someone wrongs us. It’s part of into doormats. I’ll guarantee you that Jesus, being the perfect being a mature adult. embodiment of agape love, was NOT a doormat. I encourage everyone to incorporate this aspect of agape love Where I do see a mention of “forgetting” is in Philippians into their lives. It is truly freeing. n 3:13, where Paul is talking about pressing on to what God has in store for him. He says, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is Daniel Bobinski, M.Ed. is an award-winning and best-sellbehind and straining toward what is ahead…” First, notice that ing author and a popular speaker at conferences and retreats. Paul is not saying he’s forgetting how people have wronged Reach him at email@example.com or (208) 375-7606.
6 November / December 2021 | Christian Living
Meridian interfaith group plans food drive
Meridian’s Interfaith Community Leaders are holding their fourth annual no-contact drive-thru food drive. The event is slated for 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, December 12, at the Vertical View Climbing Gym parking lot, 1334 E. Bird Dog Drive in Meridian (behind the Maverik gas station at Locust Grove and Overland roads). “Because of your generosity, this year we are expanding our outreach to provide for the Meridian Food Bank and our neighboring community friends. We are also accepting new or clean (and in good condition) blankets at our event,” Shannon Smurthwaite, co-organizer, said. Those interested in participating should bring non-perishable food items in a bag or box to the parking lot. Cash donations in a sealed envelope will also be accepted. “The 'no-contact' nature of the event allows you to stay safe and warm in the comfort of your vehicle. Your donations will be received by our volunteers through vehicle windows or trunks. Many community, faith, and civic leaders will be assisting. You never know who might be there to greet you curbside,” Smurthwaite said. Last year, the drive collected approximately 7,600 pounds (or almost 4 tons) of food and just over $4,000 in two hours. Questions may be directed to Smurthwaite at firstname.lastname@example.org. The event is endorsed by the office of the Meridian mayor, Robert Simison. “We sincerely thank you for your continued support and for making a difference each year,” Smurthwaite said. n
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Christian Living | November / December 2021 7
Sadie: little bundle of love and blessings
Frankie, Sadie, and Steffanie Larriba (left to right) are a Boise family on a mission to educate the world about the blessings of having a child with Down syndrome. (Courtesy photo)
By Gaye Bunderson Imagine opening a tiny package and seeing inside of it the biggest blessing you’ve ever been given – and it’s not even Christmas yet. When Frankie and Steffanie Larriba of Boise learned they were going to be parents, they experienced the general euphoria of expecting a child. But they were as yet unaware of what a gift they were truly getting. “We opted out of genetic testing,” said Steffanie. Prenatal testing gives expectant parents information about whether their fetus has certain genetic disorders. Steffanie and Frankie were certain that no matter what a test said about the wellness of their coming baby, it would make no difference. They were going ahead with the pregnancy under any circumstances. The baby girl they named Sadie was born January 3, 2018. As it turned out, the Larribas’ beautiful newborn came into the world with an extra chromosome 21. In other words, she is a child with Down syndrome. There were some initial fears that needed to be allayed. “I was scared for Sadie,” said Steffanie, “about how people might treat her.” Also, roughly 50% of babies with Down syndrome have heart conditions, so Steffanie prayed to God, “Please do not let her suffer.” But little Sadie took all the required post-delivery tests, and everything turned out fine. Steffanie was also concerned that her parenting skills needed help. “I told God, ‘I do not know how to be a mother, but I really don’t know how to be a mother of a child with Down syndrome’. It’s amazing the things He’s put in our path and
8 November / December 2021 | Christian Living
how He’s opened every door. We’re a team – it’s a team effort with God.” Now 45, Steffanie was 42 when Sadie was born and had experienced a previous miscarriage. She went through a significant wait before she became a mother, but she definitely feels the delay was worth the benefits. “Sadie is everything I could ever ask for in a child – and more. I feel God created her just for me; she’s healed me. She has brought healing to our whole family and has changed all of us for the better. I didn’t have the best childhood, and God knew my heart needed a lot of healing. He used Sadie to do that. She is the most incredible gift,” said Steffanie. Sadie, at 3, knows sign language as well as spoken words, and one day her mom smelled her hair and said, “I’ll bet this is what heaven smells like.” Then she asked Sadie, “Did you come from heaven?” Sadie answered no, so then her mom asked, “Where did you come from?” And in both sign language and verbally, Sadie replied, “Jesus.” When Steffanie asked her why she came from Jesus, Sadie answered with one word: “Mom.” Steffanie asked, “You came just for me?” and Sadie said out loud, “Yep!” Sadie seems to bless more than just her mother and father. “Everywhere we go, she changes somebody in some way. At church on Sunday, she walks up to different people and hugs them. My husband feels she knows who needs a hug.” Her mother explained that one time Sadie walked up to a stern-faced man and gave him a big grin. He immediately broke out in a smile and got a hug from her. One of the family’s biggest emphasis, and most important missions, is to educate others – including expectant parents – about children with Down syndrome. Sadie herself plays a big role in that. “She changes people’s notions of Down syndrome a lot,” said her mom. “My goal is to show the world that kids with Down syndrome are a gift. The preconceived notion is that they’re ‘less than’ – not as smart or able as other children.” Steffanie, who studies the topic at length, said that as recently as 30 years ago, people with Down syndrome were institutionalized and referred to as “mongoloid.” Steffanie was troubled when she attempted to research Down syndrome on Google. A photo came up of a child with its eyes crossed and its tongue hanging out, and the entry on Google included scary scenarios, such as a child with Down syndrome may never walk or see, painting the darkest of pictures. Anyone deliberately trying to find harsh facts about Down syndrome on Google will definitely succeed. For instance, here are some sources that came up during a recent search (none of the sources were in favor of the information they supplied): • Found at catholicnewsagency.com at: “According to the Danish National Board of Health, 95% of pregnant women whose fetus is found to have a chromosomal abnormality opt for an abortion.” (https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/ news/45724/only-18-babies-with-down-syndrome-born-indenmark-in-2019) • An Atlantic article, dated 2020, was titled “The Last Child of Down Syndrome” and included the subhead: “Prenatal testing is changing who gets born and who doesn’t. This is just the beginning.” (https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/12/the-last-children-of-down-syndrome/616928/
• A CBS News feature from 2017 ran with the headline, “The country where Down syndrome is disappearing,” and included the statement: “Iceland has almost eliminated Down syndrome by aborting virtually 100 percent of fetuses that test positive.” (https:www.cbsnews.com and https://www.cbsnews. com/news/down-syndrome-iceland/) Steffanie feels the Lord opened doors through Sadie to be able to give the world the important message: “These kids are worthy.” She’s written a book titled, “He Gave Them Something Extra.” Illustrated by Leah Riley, one of the boldest messages in the book is that God does not make mistakes – and that remains the truth with kids with an extra chromosome 21, the ‘something extra’ in the book’s title. Following is a brief excerpt: He gave them something extra, He knew right from the start, that He would send these precious ones to show the world His heart. Steffanie spoke early in 2021 to members of the Idaho Legislature in an effort to inform them and push for Down syndrome legislation that protects children and educates mothers. Her speech included the following statement: “We knew Sadie had a special mission when she was born and, wow, has it given us some special opportunities to fight for kiddos like her! Would I have chosen Down syndrome before Sadie was born? No. Would I choose it now that I know better? 100% yes! What an honor to speak at the Capital of our state today to fight for a bill to educate expecting mothers about Down syndrome.” She wants to give women better and more current information to help them make more informed choices, to let them know that help is available, and that children with Down syndrome are not doomed to a dismal life of inadequacy where they are not happy and where they make no contribution to the world they live in.
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Steffanie said Sadie is a bit slower with language than other children, and some pretty ordinary skills can sometimes take her longer to learn (“I worked with her on jumping for six months”), but the world is really wide open to her in so many ways. She takes speech and physical therapy and has the unconditional love and backing of both her parents. Steffanie said that not only did God give her and Frankie the right baby, but He also gave Sadie the right parents – they’ve been completely devoted to her. Of her husband, Steffanie said: “He’s the best dad and the best husband. He never knew he could love a little girl like that. She’s got him wrapped around her finger. She’s the star of the family. We don’t ever hold her back, we tell her she can do it.” As for how she mothers the little girl with Down syndrome, she said: “I never treated her any different than I would treat any other child. I have had to be her main advocate. My goal is to give her the best chance she can have for her life.” Subsequently, Sadie plays five simple musical instruments and has mastered “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” on the chimes. “She loves music,” her mom said. She also loves books. “Her favorite thing is books. I started reading her books when she was 2 years old.” And don’t forget horses. “She loves horses; she’s going to start equine therapy next year when she’s 4.” Along with helping moms and dads make informed choices when told their child has Down syndrome, Steffanie wants to go even further, seeking to help them realize that having a Down syndrome child is a blessing. The world is open to them as it is to everyone else – and they give back as well. “There is a model with Down syndrome in Australia, and they are actors, and they go to college,” she said. Never to be ignored is how their heavenly Father feels about them. “They are true gifts from Him that teach us valuable lessons,” Steffanie said. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” – Jeremiah 1:5 n
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THE ROAD Less Traveled
The best compliment: ‘Just like your dad’
resemble our Father in heaven? It’s not by going By Jason Herring to church every weekend, although church is a Growing up as I kid, I always wanted to be just wonderful way to be encouraged and engage like my dad. From his Florsheim wing-tipped with fellow believers. What is it that causes other shoes to the Consort hairspray that he used, I people to look at a child of God and say: “You wanted to copy him in every way I could. In look and sound so much like your Dad!”? healthy homes, it is natural for young boys to Perhaps your mind is already running to John idolize their fathers, and for fathers to take pride 13:35: “By this shall all men know that you in their sons following in their footsteps. But even are My disciples, that you love one another.” in dysfunctional home environments young men The love of fellow Christ-followers is a sign of tend to imitate their fathers whether they intend authentic discipleship. Jesus reiterates this in John to or not. At the very least we take on certain personality traits and idiosyncrasies that identify 17 when He prays that His followers would be us with our pater familias. unified in the same way that He was unified with How many times over the years have I heard the Father so that “the world may believe that someone say to me: “You sound just like your You have sent Me.” The greatest evidence for the Jason Herring dad!” Or “You remind me so much of your Advent is the unity of believers in Christ. father.” I always took it as a compliment that But this is not the greatest evidence of the claim people saw the reflection of my father in me. There were the to being a child of God. superficial things like mannerisms and cadence and phrasing that Anybody can love someone who serves a common cause and I unconsciously picked up just by growing up with Dad. Then works towards a common goal. It might be challenging at times, there were the matters of common interest. I love history, books, but it is expected for people to be team players and subvert their museums, and historical sites because of my dad. Many of my interests for the shared goals of the team. Putting the team first childhood vacations were spent on Civil War battlefields, and I shows that you are committed to the team, and that you are remember him reading excerpts from books to the family about focused on the vision of the organization. But this doesn’t mean enthralling stories of adventure and gallantry. My love and apthat anyone would mistake you for being the son or daughter of preciation for the past comes from my father. So much of what I the owner or CEO. am today can be directly attributed to the influence of my dad. God doesn’t wear Florsheim shoes and use Consort hairspray. A catalyst happens during the ministry of Jesus when He How in the world can we begin to resemble our Father to the instructs His disciples to pray to God as “Our Father.” This was society around us? powerful in so many ways because it revealed how God related Jesus answers this question in Matthew chapter five in the to His children and how we were to relate to Him, our Lord and Sermon on the Mount. “You have heard that it was said,‘You Creator. God did not call Himself Father as an illustration of shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to earthly fatherhood. He was the archetype. In other words, God is you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to the original. Earthly fathers are a picture of our Heavenly Father. those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you Fathers that abuse, abandon, and neglect their families show and persecute you…” This statement is revolutionary by itself, themselves as everything that our Heavenly Father is not. Fathers but then Jesus follows up with this declaration: “...that you may that love, nurture, and cherish their families reflect everything be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise that our Father in heaven is to us, His children. on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on Unfortunately, it can be easy to get caught up in the trappings the unjust.” and the superficial. If you ask the average Christian to define Forget about how you treat your fellow teammates and siblings what it is that makes them a “Christian,” they are likely to tell for a moment. Love your enemies. Bless those who curse you. Do you that they go to church and try to help others and just be good to those who hate you. Pray for those who despitefully take good person in general. Or maybe they will tell you that they placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ to describe their initia- advantage of you and persecute you. And do all of this so that you may be the sons and daughters of your Father in heaven. Betion into the new birth. This would definitely be more accurate cause He does this every single day. He gives rain to the righteous since no one can become a part of family unless it is by birth, adoption, or marriage. How fascinating that our salvation is com- saint and the rebellious sinner. He causes the sun to shine on the cynic and the agnostic as well as the atheist. He gives life and pared to these three things in John 3, Romans 8, and Ephesians health and prosperity even to those who curse and hate Him. 5! Mercy is the chief characteristic of God. Even on Mount Sinai I am forever the son of Dean Herring because I was born into it was the first attribute that was declared to Moses when he was his family at the Old Chandler Telfair Hospital in Savannah, allowed to glimpse the Deity who framed the galaxies. Nowhere Georgia, on September 30, 1976. I am forever the child of God because I was birthed into His family in our little house off High- then do we more reflect and resemble our Heavenly Father than when we bless those who curse us, do good to those who hate us, way 341 in Jesup, Georgia, on January 21, 1981. I am related to and pray for those who despise and defraud us. Show me somemy father by birth. I resemble my father because I have an interbody who truly loves their enemy, and I will show you a doppelest in the things he has an interest in, I love the things that he ganger for the Divine. Show me someone who is a benefactor to loves, and my personality mimics some of the traits of his own. their adversary, and of them it may be said, “You remind me so We are related to our Heavenly Father by the new birth. Nothing can take that away from a child of God. But how do we best much of your Father!” The resemblance is uncanny. n
10 November / December 2021 | Christian Living
RandyB Funk Christian Rapper Christian Hip-Hop Artist, RandyB Funk is just 18, but he is working hard for teens and families in his community. He is a talented artist, who writes, raps, produces, and performs his own songs. With new song releases, a busy schedule of service drives and hip-hop benefit concerts, he juggles a schedule that would challenge most adults. RandyB has performed with some of the biggest artists in the hip-hop music industry, and lets nothing hold him back. RandyB was selected to be the 2020 Effect Radio’s ‘Artist of the Month,’ and Project 88.7’s ‘Do Good Champion.’ His music recently caught the attention of industry leader BlessedBeatz, where he was featured for a radio interview. He’s been busy performing and releasing four singles. His music is currently playing on around 150 stations nationwide. He has another song to be released this month, and has already produced six benefit concerts this year! With two more upcoming concerts, RandyB has created more Christian hip-hop benefit concerts this year than anyone else in Idaho! Meanwhile he juggles a full schedule of performances every month, and still accepts tour and performance dates in other states. Not to mention, he’s a senior in high school online and a sophomore at Liberty University! RandyB has headlined or opened for national headliners around the country, including 1KPhew, Steven Malcolm, R-Swift, Wande, Zauntee, Peabod, and KB. His next two performances are on Oct 31st and November 12 with Christafari in the Boise area. He is also working on his second collaborative song with the legendary Christian hip-hop artist, R-Swift. RandyB founded, and still manages SOS Service Drives, an organization he created when he was just 11 years old, which benefits the Boise Rescue Mission and the Idaho Humane Society. These drives generate an
average of more than 7,000 donated items annually, and this doesn’t include the cash donations generated from his hip-hop benefit concerts. He loves to make a difference! RandyB gained extensive experience with the community through his service drives. He has also volunteered as a camp counselor for six years working with kids and teens; served as the elected class president for several years; and was the elected Youth Arts Commissioner for three years, all while attending weekly Chamber of Commerce meetings as a representative, since the age of 12, with his Mom. Additionally, he has been the recipient of multiple community awards. In multiple media interviews, when questioned about his motivation and work ethic, he credits family, community, and especially, his relationship with Christ. RandyB Funk has a strong message of hope and victory in Christ for the youth, and his tone for both is on point. He currently has multiple songs playing on Christian radio nationwide and speaks at city venues and church youth groups. In short, this Christian rapper, philanthropist, promoter, entrepreneur, and community servant, has new music, and new ideas that are catching fire in his community. See the flyers for his next two concerts below. Notably, RandyB Funk is already the co-owner of his own promotions company and begins his annual SOS SERVICE DRIVE this month, which helps homeless pets, and the homeless community. As a talented public speaker and advocate for the homeless, he works hard to create music that will lift people up. His concerts are family-friendly, fun, energetic, and encouraging. HIS MUSIC IS AVAILABLE NOW on all major platforms. For bookings contact: email@example.com; you can follow him for updates and performances@randybfunkmusic
From bitterness to a chaplain’s boot camp
Army Reserve Chaplain Nate Wheeler – in his military dress blues – stands near a monument displaying the words “Pro Deo et Patria,” meaning “For God and Country.” It is the motto of the U.S. Army chaplaincy, signifying that chaplains serve both God and the United States. The photo was taken at Fort Jackson’s chaplain school in April of this year. (Photo by David Montes, Jr.)
By Gaye Bunderson Army Reserve Chaplain Nate Wheeler could be shipped out along with the soldiers of the 814th Transportation Battalion in Boise at any time to any place. As it is, he serves the soldiers on a 24/7 basis, along with working a full-time job, serving as a Planning and Zoning commissioner, and growing grapes in his backyard. Nate's journey from where he once was to where he is today was neither easy nor pleasant. But he contends he wouldn't be the person he has become if he hadn't taken a troublesome ride down a rough track as a younger man ministering in churches. He is an Idaho boy born and raised. Now 47, he fellowshiped at Emmett Christian Church as a youth, was schooled at Nampa Christian High School, attended Boise Bible College, married an Oregon girl named Tami, and studied the Old Testament and archaeology at Cincinnati Bible Seminary, receiving a Master of Divinity degree. “I've done a lot of observation, and I find patterns,” he said, in reference to his decisions about what to study at seminary. At BBC, he noted that many students were interested in such things as children's ministry or church administration, but no one seemed interested in subjects like archaeology or Hebrew. “I wanted to fill the gap so I could help churches,” he said. He also wanted to study the Old Testament in greater depth because it sometimes presents a hole in people's understanding of the entire Word of God. “Most people are scared of the Old Testament, because they don't completely understand it,” said Nate. He explained his research brought him to the conclusion that God is the same in both
12 November / December 2021 | Christian Living
the Old and New Testaments and that people are also equally alike in both. In each of the two sections, people were flawed and sometimes failed and sinned, but God extended them grace in both. Conversely, while God may have seemed a harsher judge in the Old Testament, He still meted out punishment in parts of the New Testament as well. For instance, when Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11) tried to deceive God by holding back money from the sale of their land, and then lying about it, they were immediately struck dead. Nate graduated from Cincinnati Bible Seminary in 2000 with the goal of being a preacher like his father, Bruce Wheeler. He came back to Boise and got a job as an associate pastor at a local church; in 2003, he took his family to Sacramento, Calif. for a church planting, then on to Klamath Falls for two years of another church plant. He helped with four church plantings in three different states to good results, especially in the areas of youth ministry and small groups. But the church culture in some of those places – especially in the area of leadership – left Nate feeling beaten up by ministry and struggling with bitterness. “I was blackmailed, lied to, and cheated by leaders in the church – and more than one church,” he said. Then in his late 20s, his wife and parents were supportive of him throughout his trials, but he nonetheless refers to those years as his “Alice in Wonderland Tour.” Some of the good to come out of that time were the three kids he and Tami had in the three different states where they lived. But also, God was preparing to make something good out of the mistreatment he endured. Someone who helped Nate a lot was a man named Greg, a former pastor he'd known in California who ended up on the streets following years of drug abuse. At one time in his life, Greg went through an unpleasantly severe time and was offered relief from an acquaintance, who told him, “Here's something that will make you feel good.” It was cocaine, and while it took away some of Greg's pain, it also robbed him of his family, his vocation, and around $100,000. Nate met Greg as he was coming out of addiction and re-entering society and the church. God used Greg to help Nate put the shards of his broken plans back into a meaningful pattern. By then, Nate and his family had returned to Boise. “I had walked in faith with Greg, and we stayed in communication. He helped me understand perspectives that kept my faith strong – and, even today, my faith is unshakeable,” Nate said, then stating that people can do anything to him now and he won't break, because he's learned “God is my only source, strength, and purpose.” “Greg gave me mind-shaping words. He told me I was at a dark place in my life and said, 'There's no doubt there have been some injustices done to you, but can you see that in an attempt to protect yourself, you're hurting others?' I could feel the rudder of my life just shift. It was impactful, helpful.” Nate explained he'd been withdrawing and disengaging as a way to insulate himself from any more harm. But at the same time, he was separating himself from his wife and children, the people he loved the most. Greg also told him: “If you stay on this train [God has deliberately placed you on], you will have deeper insights into Him, and then you'll have something worth saying. You're going to see things differently.” Nate said he realized that, through his experiences, he would not be simply parroting Scripture or taking the easy, listenerfriendly approach when speaking in church or ministering. His words would have the growth and wisdom of personal trials behind them.
Studies in school were “the toolbox that gets you started,” he said, but God used difficulties to make a shift in his life that deepened his message. “God is so passionate about connecting with us that He will remove every barrier that is between us and Him.” This year marks milestones in the lives of each member of Nate's family. His kids are now 21, 18, and 16 – all ages with significance in a young person's life – and Nate and Tami marked 25 years of marriage in 2021. Over the years, Nate worked in real estate like his mother, Darlene, and now works as a business development manager for Wright Brothers Building Co. in Eagle. He attends church regularly and hosts a home-based Bible study group of 12 people, some of whom are agnostics and some of whom are believers who may have lost their love for church. His work as chaplain with Army Reserve Unit 814th Transportation Battalion in Boise is near and dear to his heart; he was commissioned two years ago. “My pain in ministry helps me minister to these soldiers, and to people who left the church,” said Nate. “It fills a spot in me for ministry, and for helping people. I really wanted to care for people. My life hasn't turned out the way I wanted it to, but I can see how God was shaping me for His work.” Of the soldiers, Nate said: “They're really good people.” Some have seen combat and are struggling with the effects of war. Among other things, Nate is trained in suicide prevention through the military's ACE-SI [suicide intervention] program. His M.Div. helps him in his chaplaincy, and he is also a prodigious reader of psychology books. To become a Christian chaplain, a man or woman must be affiliated with a church and must qualify with the Army, including
being medically fit and going through military training. Nate explained that chaplains go through a kind of boot camp, though a lighter version than boot camp for soldiers. Chaplains learn such things as how to salute, how to carry a heavy backpack, to say Sir or Ma'am, write a military-style memo, and other training. “Here's the best thing about the chaplaincy: it can be a later-inlife career. The young soldiers need an older person to be a father figure to them. If you're in your 30s and 40s and think you're too old to be a military chaplain, it's actually a good time to try. The young people are away from home for the first time, and they need help to make good choices,” said Nate. It's especially good for anyone who wants “to do a little more” in a ministry way, or who had a father in the military or a friend who went to combat. In his capacity as chaplain, Nate does a lot of crisis counseling, as well as marital, financial, and other guidance as needed. He met all educational requirements for the position through his Master of Divinity degree. Despite the challenges with church leadership he faced in his 20s, the hurt he dealt with, and the bitterness that almost consumed him, Nate is now a man with much more joy. His ministry as a home church host and as a chaplain, along with his family, and his involvement in the community – serving on a P&Z commission and on the board of an educational non-profit – are all a good fit for him. Asked if he is a happier man now, he replied: “Yes. I'm very happy.” Greg's wise advice to “stay on that train” was a trip that took him closer to God. n
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Christian Living | November / December 2021 13
“I GET TO!”®
Always know it’s never too late
By Joan Endicott There was once a young man—I’ll call him Nasaa*—who dishonored his father’s name and disgraced his family in his village. He decided to leave home because he wanted to escape the dullness of his ordinary family and village life. Once he left, he did indeed find more excitement. For a while he even prospered in his self-indulgent lifestyle. Nasaa visited a hotel where girls were kept in every room. Some were older—some were as young as ten. He became involved in prostitution and luring men into the hotel, and also started selling drugs. Eventually he got involved in kidnapping and selling girls. That’s how low he had sunk. Those in this community viewed Nasaa as one of the most powerful, successful, and wealthy businessmen they knew. Then one day the bottom dropped out. Nasaa was robbed, arrested, and finally ended up living in a very dangerous part of town near the city dump. As he sat there day after day in his misery, he thought about his father and the simple, quiet, peaceful life he had when he lived at home in his village. He remembered his father’s parting words when he left 15 years ago: “Son, I’ll be waiting for you!” Nasaa began to doubt that his father would still be waiting. Knowing that his lifestyle and choices had made it back to the village he couldn’t help but wonder how his father would feel about him now, considering all the things he’d done. Surely, he wouldn’t want him back now. But he decided to take a chance and write a letter to his father. “Father, please forgive me. I want to come home, but I don’t know if you’ll want me back because I’ve sinned greatly. I’m going to come on the 6 p.m. train on Saturday night and if you’ll still want me to come home, would you tie a white handkerchief on a branch of the tree out in front of the house? If I see that, I’ll know you want me back. If it’s not there, I will understand. I will just stay on the train and keep going.” On the trip home he began to think about his life and think about what his father might say. He got so nervous, so anxious and so afraid that he was going to be rejected that it became obvious to some of the people sitting around him that he was having a problem. One man asked him, “Son, what’s wrong?” Nasaa began to share with him the dilemma he was in and how frightened he was that his father wouldn’t want him back. Then as they got closer and closer to his father’s house, Nasaa was so scared that he didn’t even want to look. “I can’t look,” he said. “I’m so afraid he won’t want me back; I can’t even look. Will you watch for me and if you see a white handkerchief in the tree, would you tell me that it’s there?” Nasaa’s heart was racing as he buried his face in his hands and
leaned over and began rocking back and forth. Still too afraid to look yet so anxious, he asked, “Sir, do you see it? Do you see a handkerchief ? Is there a handkerchief in the tree? Is there just one white handkerchief on any branch of the tree?” And the man said, “Son, there’s not one white handkerchief on one branch. There’s a white handkerchief on every branch of the tree. That tree is filled with handkerchiefs!” Everyone around him clapped and cheered and many eyes were filled with tears. Nasaa jumped up to look out the window and could hardly believe his eyes. Not only was the tree filled with beautiful white welcoming flags representing unwavering, unconditional love, but running toward the slowing train was his elderly father with tear-filled eyes waving his white handkerchief, shouting, “Son, I’ve been waiting for you!” There are various real-life examples of similar stories—but they started with Jesus sharing his parable of the prodigal son. I wonder how much time Nasaa spent worrying about his father’s response? He speculated about what he would think, say, or do—mostly assuming the worst. Once he finally chose to push through the pain of the past and move forward in faith, he could then move toward experiencing the blessing of an authentic relationship with his father. What Nasaa had built up in his mind about his father determined his behavior. Although the father had done nothing to make Nasaa believe he would no longer want him, his shame, self-doubt, and fear told him otherwise. Once he could see for himself that it wasn’t too late and that his father wasn’t mad, he was able to let go of the pain of the past and run into his father’s arms. As John 10:10 says, the devil comes to “kill, steal and destroy”, so if he can feed our fears and keep us from believing God, then he needn’t do anything else. God’s Word and His promises are the doubt-dousing Truth we all need—Every. Single. Day! Maybe, like me, while reflecting on this story a few things come to mind. I encourage you to write them out, pause, ponder and pray about them. The first and most important for me is that it makes me wonder how much time I’ve spent in fear and worry because I hadn’t made it a priority to really learn and know the heart of my Heavenly Father. When you think about it, every thought, attitude, and action (behavior) is tied to a belief of some kind. Just the act of sitting in a chair proves you believe it’s going to hold you. Our behaviors put our beliefs on display. If someone says they believe God’s promises, yet live in constant fear, worry, and doubt, some part of that cannot be true because they are incongruent with one another.
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These are three simple, yet profoundly reflecSavior, I begin renewing my mind and replactive questions to ask yourself: ing the superficial with the supernatural! “Who and what am I believing right now?” If you want to find out what you’re yoked to, “What does my behavior indicate I believe simply pull back the curtain and examine your about God’s love, character and promises?” thoughts, words, attitudes, and behaviors. Since “What is at the core of my belief—what is it your behaviors are tied to your core beliefs, connected, tied, yoked or tethered to?” start pulling in that line and see where it leads The answers reveal why we live the way we you. For example: If I want to go shopping but do. If I make decisions based on fear, I am not don’t need anything, I might ask myself, “Joan, believing God; I am believing the enemy of are you believing you’ll fill a void by buying my soul. “Fear is putting faith in what the devil something?” (Notice I said I might ask myself that!) says instead of faith in what God says.” – Joyce Joan Endicott Feeling far from God? Meyer It’s the state of our humanity to feel far from God at various Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke times for various reasons. I love how the pictures that portray upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly of Jesus standing at the door, knocking, have no handles on the outside of the door. He knocks and patiently waits for us to heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is answer and open it to Him. easy, and my burden is light.” When I am yoked to believing things of this world, I am Just as Nasaa could not redo his past or wipe that slate clean, stressed, worried, anxious, and act hesitantly, even cowardly. I neither can we. Had Nasaa truly known his father’s heart, he can start spiraling down that dark, deceptive, and dangerous would have wasted no time in coming home. No matter what, black hole of fear: fear of not being good enough, fear of what no matter when, our Lord and Savior is ready for you to come others will think, fear of failing. Notice, all these things are op- running into His arms—either for the first time or the 101st posite of what God so graciously gives us. time. It’s never too late. You haven’t blown it so bad that God is mad. In fact, it’s opposite: He’s mad about you! In recognizing that, when I start feeling spiritually incongruMy friend, it’s never about what you’ve done or haven’t done; ent, ill-at-ease, or restless, I ask myself, “Joan, what are you it’s all about what HE did on the cross to show how much He yoked to?” It can be as simple as feeling like I don’t measure loves you. His arms were stretched out then and they still are, up because I’ve been on social media too much and see evalways waiting for you to come running into them. eryone else’s highlight reel (which of course looks pretty darn perfect from where I sit). So, if I yoke myself to things of this world that are broken, superficial, and hopeless, guess what? I (*This story of Nasaa, my fictitious name, is my compilation start feeling broken, superficial, and hopeless. of several such stories I’ve heard over the years.) n When I am firmly connected and yoked to Jesus, burdens are Grab your FREE copy of Joan Endicott’s “I Get To!”® lifted because I can immediately hand them over to the only one who is equipped for such heavy lifting. Staying connected book at JoanEndicott.com. Joan is an Award-Winning to THE ONE who is THE WAY, THE TRUTH and THE Keynote Speaker, Author and Coach who’s coaching has LIFE is the only way we can live the peaceful, abundant life reached over 30 countries. Meet her and enjoy her He offers. Once I recommit and reconnect to my Lord and encouraging messages on Facebook and Instagram!
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CHAPTER & verse
The Bible: modern editorial changes
The ONLY THING recorded originally, having a divine origin, were the WORDS of the Word of God. Let that sink in a moment. EVEditor’s note: In this article, the author ERYTHING ELSE added, everything beyond has compiled information he culled from a the words, is added by humans AFTER THE number of sources over many years of studyFACT and is therefore fallible and subject to ing the Word of God. The sources represent reasonable doubt, if it helps convey the original Bible scholars and historians, as well as message from God or not. Therefore, in this others. article we will share some of these editorial changes that have become part of our modern PERFECT ORIGINAL WRITINGS: Bible format. About 40 different inspired writers over the THREE OF THE CHANGES ADDED centuries, each using their own vocabularies, BY MAN: (After each change are good and recorded specific things down, verbatim, as dibad applications, plus suggested use when rected by God Almighty. The full collection of reading your Bible.) these words have been wonderfully preserved, 1. Chapters and verses: 1,189 chapters, so that people across any time since then can Steve Nelson as we have them now today, were organized access them. Although the numerous writers by Stephen Langton (1150-1228 AD). John did the physical recording of these messages at different times and places, God is the one Author of all these words that were Wycliffe produced the first English Bible (1382 AD) even before the printing press and it was the first Bible to use this originally recorded perfectly, thus they are collectively called chapter format. Later, 31,102 verses, as we now have them the “Word of God.” Also known as “Scripture,” these unique today, were organized by Robert Estienne (1503-1559 AD). writings are the will of God in written form, utilizing words to William Tyndale was the biggest contributor to the first Engconvey thought concepts. The Old Testament was recorded from the first writer Moses lish Bible in print (1526 AD and following), but the Geneva (around 1491-1452 BC) to the last writer Malachi (around 374 Bible (1560 AD) was the first English Bible to have chapters and verses directly integrated in the text. Since then, nearly BC), thus spanning about 1,100 years. The New Testament all Bibles, including the King James Version (1611 AD), have was written in the years after Jesus was on earth (from about 28-68 AD), thus spanning about 40 years. Some suggest longer chapters and verses. Good = We can reference passages quickly. Bad = At in the first century. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God.” – 2 Timo- times, chapter and verse breaks may interfere with continued context at inopportune places and thus disrupt accurate thy 3:16 interpretations. Over time, the sacred writings were meticulously copied to 2. Capitalization: The Word of God was originally writpreserve them from one generation to the next (to miracuten using all capital letters, every letter in every word. In fact, lously 99.5% or better accuracy). Through textual analysis, of there are no lower case letters in Hebrew or Aramaic alphabet. the very few errors that did creep in, most have been identified. Thus, we can have superb confidence in what words have For the New Testament, the type of script using all capital letsurvived to this day. Indeed, God has made it so. He protected ters continued especially in Greek and Latin writing since the second century AD, and in those instances is called an “unHis Word for us. cial.” Later, a writing style introduced with lower case letters is “The words of the LORD... thou shalt preserve them called a “minuscule.” Eventually, perhaps as late as the ninth from this generation for ever.” – Psalms 12:6-7 This “Word of God,” in each instance, was originally written century AD, writing styles using both capital and lowercase letters were finally introduced. down in a certain language, such as Aramaic, and primarily Good = We can identify new sentence beginnings easily, preserved over the years in this way: Hebrew (Old Testament) plus make distinctions between common nouns and proper and Greek (New Testament). The words were recorded on varnouns of specific people, places and things. Bad = Bible ious materials, including stone, parchment and papyrus, then versions vary greatly, based on the numerous opinions of eventually preserved as individual “scrolls” (basically a writtranslators, in deciding what words should be capitalized or ing surface that wraps around a stick). Many writings, many scrolls! At that time, the writings did NOT include distinctions not, thus at times guiding Bible readers into some misleading assumptions and interpretations. between upper and lower case letters, nor punctuation. There 3. Punctuation: By the time of the modern printing press, were no numbered chapters, no numbered verses, no marginal invented about 1440 AD, punctuation was in most writings in notes, no headings, no red words. some capacity. The first book printed was the Gutenberg Bible, “Every word of God is pure.” – Proverbs 30:5 which was in Latin. In English, punctuation eventually became NOW IN ONE BOOK: Today we have the convenient privilege to have access to the entire Word of God, assembling a standard part of the written language. Good = We can read within the natural syncopation of all the writings into one single book and in our own English the language and recognize places to pause briefly between language. The defining term used of the Word of God today compiled in this format is “Bible,” from the Greek word biblos thoughts. Bad = Translators disagree on some passages about how to include punctuation or not, thus subtle nufor “book.” Note: other writings may claim to be sacred and ances in meaning are conveyed to readers. authentic, as if from God also, but they are not. By Steve Nelson
16 November / December 2021 | Christian Living
CONCLUSION AND PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Now, in our modern world, countless Bibles are available for purchase or free in both physical and digital formats. No person on earth today, if desiring to know God, will be unable to find the Word of God. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” – Matthew 5:6 Make a decision to put time and effort into the Word of God. If you do, you will be blessed mightily. Let’s be like the people in the city of Berea, as recorded in the Bible. Here’s what they did: “...searched the scriptures daily...” – Acts 17:11 When reading your Bible, read what comes before and after a certain passage to understand the full context, no matter where the chapter and verse breaks are. Do not emphasize capitalization as the primary basis for your interpretation of a Scripture. Be aware that no punctuation is of divine authority and thus has no power to distort the original meaning of the words God inspired.
How remarkable a journey the Bible has had. Although the original revelation only included words, how marvelous indeed are the many additional tools we get to enjoy as we study the Scripture. With a bit of insight and a joyful anticipation to learn, we can approach our Bible reading with more maturity and clarification, utilizing any aspect of the new pieces as we see fit. In the end, we can be aware of the additions by man, and in that light have even more respect for God’s Word, giving the words the utmost respect and care as we each decide what we allow into our hearts. Let’s enjoy our Bibles. God bless you! n Steve Nelson has been a Bible teacher for over 25 years. This article comes from “The Bible: Pure Excellence”, Segments 1115 of “CORE”, a course for families on how to read and understand the Bible. See T4FAMILYCENTER.COM or reach Steve at T4FamilyCenter@gmail.com.
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Christian Living | November / December 2021 17
Did Mom really turn down that part? By Roxanne Drury In the mid to late ‘70s, an amazing female superheroine came to television. She had been in comic books since the ‘40s, but when she made it to television, she became truly famous. Her name: Diana – an Amazon warrior princess sent to America as Wonder Woman to fight for peace, justice, and truth. (Not the Amazon that Jeff Bezos owns!) As famous and dearly loved as Wonder Woman was on television, she was even more famous and dearly loved in our household. My children loved Wonder Woman and they never missed an episode. Even my husband was pretty much enamored with Diana: Princess of the Amazons. One day as the children and my Roxanne husband sat glued to the TV watching Lynda Carter spin her sleek body around to turn herself into Wonder Woman, I very casually said, “I was supposed to be Wonder Woman, you know.” Instantly, three heads spun around on their necks like owls, and three pairs of eyes turned their focus to me. “What?” they said in unison. With all the seriousness I could muster, I repeated my announcement, “I was supposed to be Wonder Woman.” The look of astonishment on their faces was priceless. Seriously, it could have been on a Master Card commercial. The children wanted clarification. They fired questions like shots out of a shotgun: “What do you mean? How? Really? Are you kidding us?” So I explained that I had auditioned for the part of Wonder Woman and it was offered to me. Meanwhile, my husband is doing all he can to keep a straight face and look as if he is supporting and confirming everything I am saying. “Yes,” I told them. “I was offered the part of Wonder Woman, but I turned it down because I wanted to be your mom more.” Once again the shotgun goes off – “Wow, you could have been famous.” “You could’ve been on TV.” “We could’ve been rich.” “I could have gotten the Luke Skywalker Landspeeder.” Of course, this news could not be kept a secret. They told all their friends and all the kids in the neighborhood believed I could have been Wonder Woman on TV but turned it down to be the boys’ mom. Sidenote: Yes, it was a little white lie – a story, if you will – but how special do you think my boys felt, thinking I turned down fame and fortune to be their mom? And that was the method to my madness. People wondered what I was thinking, telling the boys that. I was thinking I wanted them to know how much I loved
them and how special they were in a tangible way they could relate to. This farce went on for years. After they got older, they figured out I was just letting them know how much I loved them. Even after that though, when I was settling a sibling argument or issuing a punishment, I would still remind them that I was supposed to be Wonder Woman and that fighting for peace, justice, and truth was her/my job. Or I might strike the Wonder Woman pose and say, “Don’t make me get my lasso,” when trying to determine who did or said what and the truth was not easily forthcoming. We had loads of fun with it. Almost 50+ years later we still laugh about it all. As I think about that little lie, I can’t help but Drury think that all moms are Wonder Woman. They do so much, and it is hard to keep up with it all sometimes. Moms get tired of saying the same thing over and over. They get tired from doing all they do. They get tired from everything that is so much a part of being a mom. It is a hard job. Here’s my message. It’s worth it! Hang in there! Count on your kids having disagreeable years. Count on them rebelling once in a while. Count on them doing things you may not necessarily agree with or approve of. But also count on them coming of age and appreciating all you have done for them and realizing how much you love them. Following is a text I got recently from one of my Wonder Woman story sons. He said, “I love you guys so much. I or anyone for that matter couldn’t ask for any better parents than the ones I have. I appreciate everything you guys have done for me. I don’t think I could love you guys more, both of you. I’m proud to be your child, and I thank you both for who I am!” I share this with you to give you hope if you are going through a rough time with your child(ren). They come around and they grow out of things. And I also share it to encourage you to find a way to make sure your kids know they are loved by you and made to feel special. Thank you, Lynda Carter, for taking over the Wonder Woman job. I hate to think of all I would have missed had I taken it (smile). n
18 November / December 2021 | Christian Living
Roxanne Drury is a wife, mother, grandmother, and retired Christian preschool teacher with a teaching certificate in Early Childhood Education. She has served the Lord in children’s ministry for over 40 years and is currently on staff at Rockharbor Church.
Image by Vinson Tan from Pixabay
BIBLICALLY Responsible Investing
The many benefits of biblical investments
ments, that truth can influence our children By Doug Hanson for life as they make financial decisions. Christians today can invest in companies Benefit #4 – BRI increases our contentthat reflect biblical values in their products, ment with money. If we take steps to screen practices, and philanthropy. However, a our investments, we are, in a sense, turnbenefit that is often overlooked in Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI) is the impact on ing our investments over to Christ. We are Christians when they seek to honor the Lord saying, “Lord, I want to glorify you in every with their investments. I believe there are aspect of my life, including my investments. five benefits for believers when they morally Take them. They are yours!” Philippians 4:6 screen their investments. should become a reality to us in our investBenefit #1 – BRI increases our commitments: “Do not be anxious about anything, ment to Christ. There are areas of our daily but in every situation, by prayer and petition, lives that we allow Christ in, but often there with thanksgiving, present your requests to are areas where we do not. Our investing is God.” Then, despite market performance, we one of those areas that we often overlook. I Doug Hanson have financial contentment, knowing that we like to think of it in terms of painting rooms have a heavenly Father who cares for us as we in a house. We may have several attractively seek to live for Him (Matthew 6:33). painted ‘rooms’ (Bible study, attend church, pray), but there Benefit #5 – BRI increases our conviction to not sin. are rooms we haven’t bothered to paint (including investIf we have taken the steps to not invest in companies that ments). I believe that Proverbs 3:9 (“Honor the Lord with our wealth”) encourages us to paint that room. By consider- profit from pornography, then it should cause us pause if we consider looking at pornography. Since we have made ing the moral merits of where we invest, we are allowing a commitment in one part of our life about pornography, Christ to influence yet another part of our lives. The more then we should have more fortitude to not fall prey to it rooms we paint, the more our lives are focused on Christ. Benefit #2 – BRI increases our wisdom in finances. I elsewhere. Likewise, if we know the devastating effect that am a Christian financial advisor who uses moral screens to alcohol abuse can have on a family, and we’ve intentionally help Christians invest. I believe that 1 Corinthians 10:31 avoided investing in companies that derive most of their (“Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to profits from the manufacture of alcohol, then we should be the glory of God”) encourages us to glorify God even in our more diligent in avoiding vices in our lives. investments. From my experience, when we seriously evaluHowever, we must be careful lest we conclude that Bibliate where we are invested, we take other financial principles cally Responsible Investing is the holy grail of godly living. in the Bible more seriously: be wary of debt (Proverbs 22:7), Rather, we should think of it as another arrow in our quiver spend wisely (Proverbs 21:20), be generous (Proverbs 22:9), that encourages us to live for Christ. In the end, each of us and many others. When we increase biblical scrutiny of our must decide how we feel God is leading us to steward His finances, we become wiser in our financial decisions. Benefit #3 – BRI increases our impact on others. Invest- blessings in our lives. n ing to reflect our faith can open doors to sharing our faith. All information provided by Christian Wealth ManageThink of the proverbial water cooler. When the discussion ment, LLC is for educational purposes only and should not turns to the economy or the stock market, it opens a door be considered investment advice. Investment advisory serfor us to share where we are invested and why we are invices are provided by CWM Advisors, LLC and Creative vested (1 Peter 3:15). Likewise, within our families, sharing Financial Designs, Inc. Securities are provided by CFD our where and why can be a profound teaching moment to our children (Proverbs 22:6). When our children realize that Investments, Inc. Member FINRA & SIPC. CWM Adwe, as parents, are making God a priority even in our invest- visors, LLC is not an affiliate of CFD Investments Inc.
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20 November / December 2021 | Christian Living
Carter, age 12, loves Disney’s ‘Descendants’ The following information is provided by Wednesday’s Child, an organization that helps Idaho foster children find permanent homes. Meet Carter, age 12. Those who know Carter are quick to share how sweet and empathetic he is and how much he loves hugs from people that he knows. Carter values quality time and being near to others. This young boy has a vivid imagination and enjoys activities that involve dressing up and fighting off the bad guys. Carter wishes that he could fly and shoot laser beams out of his eyes to help in this task, but his brave personality carries him through. Spring and summer bring Carter some of Carter’s favorite outdoor activities, like playing in splash pads, participating in 4-H, and getting out on the sandlot for baseball. Carter also enjoys nature walks and watching sports. He will watch just about any sport if someone is watching with him. When hanging out inside, Carter likes to play games on the tablet and listen to Christian rock. He doesn’t watch a lot of television, but when he does his go-to show is called Descendants. Some would say Carter is a very big fan of the show by his knowledge of the whole soundtrack and hopes of one day meeting the Descendants cast at Disneyland. Carter has never been to Disneyland but hopes one day he will go with his adoptive family. Sometimes a change of environment or a calm redirection helps Carter get the most out of his day, so this young man has a wide variety of interests. Other indoor activities that keep Carter engaged are puzzles, coloring, watching YouTube videos, and helping in the kitchen. He needs a home that can provide him with the close supervision and care that he needs. His permanency team is hoping to find a family in the Treasure Valley area but is open to out-of-state inquiries. A family that has a lot of extra time to give to Carter and attend to his emotional and medical needs will be great for this young boy. If you think Carter is the missing piece to your family, inquire today at www.idahowednesdayschild.org. n For more information on the Idaho Wednesday’s Child Program, visit www.idahowednesdayschild.org, or contact Recruitment Coordinator Shawn White at email@example.com or cell 208-488-8989 if you have specific questions.
Christian Living | November / December 2021 21
Conflict can be a catalyst for closeness By Gary Moore How do you look at conflict in your marriage? As something that promotes negative feelings toward your partner,and eventually leads to more conflict and more disconnection? Or as a catalyst for closeness and understanding? During times of conflict, one of the worst feelings is to be misunderstood. There’s no way around it: being misunderstood sucks. It can make you feel frustrated, upset, and hopeless. And in times of conflict those feelings are magnified. Let’s be real. Conflict isn’t easy. There’s hurt. There’s misunderstanding. And, at the same time, there are parts of us that are screaming to feel validated and understood. The problem for many of us is that we have learned to communicate in a way that actually pushes our partners away from truly understanding us or meeting our needs. It’s common to see criticism or contempt in a relationship where partners feel disconnected and misunderstood. According to Dr. John Gottman, conflict is created by a lack of attunement. He defines attunement as “mutually understanding each other on a core level.” There’s my mantra – mutual understanding. One of our deepest needs is for others – particularly our spouse – to understand us. In order for conflict to become a catalyst for closeness and understanding, we have to change how we look at and approach conflict. Let’s assume an issue in your relationship has escalated to the level of conflict. By definition, then, you are on opposite sides of the issue. You each have your own perspective and you are not only
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convinced that your perspective is the right one, but the way to solve this issue is to convince the other of the validity of your perspective and thus the deficiency of their perspective. In this situation, instead of both of you being on the same team, you see each other as opponents. This is common. In the heat of the conflict, we often highlight our positive qualities and label our partner with negative ones. This is pretty much like saying, “I’m okay; you’re defective.” This competitive view stands in the way of resolving relationship conflicts. You’ve lost sight of the fact that in relationships, you win as a team, or you lose as a team. There are no individual winners and losers. Remember, you are on the same team, and you have the same opponent – misunderstanding. Instead stand back and accept the premise that every situation can yield two different yet valid perspectives that deserve equal weight. Allow yourself to believe there is always something worth learning from your partner’s viewpoint. By gaining a new perspective on what is going on, conflict stops functioning as a barrier to connection and becomes a bridge to mutual understanding. Shift your viewpoint from viewing the problem as the other person’s fault to viewing the problem as inhabiting the space between the two of you. Think of you and your partner as separate islands with murky water separating you. Instead of trying to fix each other, focus on cleaning that murky water. After the water is cleaned up, you can each dive below the surface of what appears to be going on to discover what is actually going on. This visual figuratively illustrates that you
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22 November / December 2021 | Christian Living
need to travel to your partner’s island to see their perspective of the world. Typically, when we are in conflict, we become stuck on our island and start throwing verbal rocks at our partner’s island. But if we swim over, walk around, and see the problem from their vantage point, we increase the chances of shifting our perspective to “Oh, I can totally underGary Moore stand how you see it this way. That makes perfect sense to me.” Once you accept the idea that in every disagreement there are always two valid points of view, it’s no longer necessary to argue for your own position. Instead, you can empathize with your partner’s feelings and really understand their “island.” This doesn’t mean you have to agree, but it’s vital that you understand where they are coming from and why. When you do this and your partner does this for you, it becomes much easier to find a solution that works for both of you. During his research, Dr. Gottman discovered that problem solving or giving your partner advice before understanding their feelings or perspective is counterproductive and actually interferes with reaching a resolution. Learning how to use conflict as an opportunity to understand and get to know each other better is vital. Remember, the goal isn’t to win. The goal is to mutually understand. When you give up trying to change your partner into handling situations or problems like you do, you can understand them as they are and that’s when real intimacy blooms. n For more in-depth teaching on this, go to my website, www. mutualunderstanding.net, click on the MUM Live tab and scroll down near the bottom to the teachings on the A.T.T.U.N.E. Conversation Model.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Christian Living | November / December 2021 23
‘The Rev’ COVER STORY Bill Roscoe: a man wit By Steve Bertel Since April, 2002, Rev. Bill Roscoe has been the President/ CEO of the Boise Rescue Mission. He’s the public face of the Mission, really – his appointment calendar filled with radio and TV interviews, civic club speeches, community meetings, and the like. His warm demeanor and easy laugh exude his love for the Lord. He’s a minister, a leader, a servant, a man of peace. But it wasn’t always that way. At age ten, Bill’s parents and their children – he’s the eighth of nine kids – moved from his birthplace, North Hampton, Massachusetts, to Marin County, California, just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. “I couldn’t have asked for better parents than what God gave me in terms of how much they loved us and how they took care of us,” Bill recalls. But, as for a God-centered upbringing, it was practically nonexistent. “There was no Christian training in our home at all.” His much-older siblings had already left the nest, “So my next-older brother, my little sister, and myself grew up going to Sunday school every once in a while, because my mother insisted on it. She and my father would drop us off at a local church, and then they’d go shopping or something while we went to Sunday school.” The reason? “Almost his entire life, my father had a very, very bitter taste in his mouth about religion. As for churches, he felt ‘All they want is your money.’” In the late ’60s, Bill was a typical teenager. “We’d hitchhike down to San Francisco and hang out with the hippies; after all, it was the age of sex and drugs and rock and roll,” he remembers. In that era, America was a nation divided. By politics, by the so-called “free love sexual revolution” … And by the Vietnam War. “I had two older brothers already serving in Vietnam by the time I was in high school. So I was rather unique: while a lot of my friends were protesting the war, I was on the other side of the fence, defending our military involvement there. My parents had instilled in us a healthy respect for law and order. Mom, apple pie, and the American flag were very important to all of us … so I always had that sense of patriotism and loyalty to my country.” That’s why, rather than graduating, Bill and two friends went to the local Army recruiting office and enlisted. But instead of being sent to the southeast Asian jungles to fight the Viet Cong, as Bill had hoped for, the military sent him in the opposite direction – to Germany. Of course, drinking beer has long been customary in that country. So, coupled with his deep frustration, Bill began drinking, throwing back many a mug. “It got me into a lot of trouble. I wasn’t a good soldier,” he readily admits. “I was really angry because my two buddies I had enlisted with had been sent directly to Vietnam. I knew they were in combat. And I was mad because they were both seeing action, while I was stuck in Germany.” He eventually got his wish, though, and was sent to South Vietnam, assigned to first build roads in the country’s remote central highlands as a combat engineer and later, working as a radio operator on dangerous reconnaissance missions. “It was exciting, challenging. And awfully scary. After all, it was war,” he says.
24 November / December 2021 | Christian Living
His tour eventually ended and, on the day he was scheduled to ship out, Bill received an urgent message. With devastating news. His father, back in the States, had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer – and was given only months to live. “It rocked my world. After all, Dad was my hero. I had no idea he was even sick,” Bill remembers. “In his younger days, Dad was a bantamweight boxer; he was built like a rock, with not an ounce of fat on him. Plus, he had worked as a carpenter his whole life, so he had really stayed in shape.” That is, until years of smoking began taking their toll. Bill was assigned to San Francisco’s Presidio. That way, he could still serve in the military and live at home, and be available to drive his father to chemotherapy treatments. “All I knew was: I was mad. My dad was dying, literally melting away right before my eyes. I didn’t know what was going to happen to my mom; I didn’t have much money; my little sister was still in high school; and I was in charge of the family. It was an awful time. Here I was, just a long-haired, scruffy guy with no career goals – whose only experience had been in the military. And I didn’t handle it very well. At all. I drank and drank and drank. I got arrested for drunk driving, but got off the hook by paying a fine and having my license suspended for thirty days.” A short while later, another arrest. “It was a bad scene. I was at a party – under the influence again, and the police came to arrest a buddy of mine who was AWOL. I thought, ‘This is my Army bro. I can’t let this happen.’ So I took a swing at the officers and, of course, they handcuffed me, threw me in their patrol car, and booked me into the Marin County Jail.” After spending weekdays at the Presidio serving his military time and weekends behind bars serving his jail time, Bill decided to try to get his life in order. So, following his father’s footsteps, he joined a union and became a professional carpenter. When his father passed, the Roscoe household dynamics changed. His youngest sister – the last of the nine siblings – graduated high school and left home; his mother eventually remarried; and Bill himself wed his sweetheart, Sandy, the two moving farther north, to the growing city of Rohnert Park, near California’s wine country. On the outside, life was good. Bill was living the American dream. “I was swinging a hammer and pounding nails and making a good wage,” he fondly remembers. “I had a beautiful wife, two beautiful kids (a daughter and a son), a new truck, a house that we bought with the GI bill, good benefits, health insurance, the whole nine yards …” But on the inside, Bill’s life was in turmoil. He continued to drink – heavily. As a result, “My wife and I fought tooth-andnail all the time. She’d take the kids and leave me at least once a month. I’d come home from work and she’d be gone. No note. Nothing. She’d just be gone.” He’d routinely make a few phone calls, network with friends, and would eventually find where his wife was staying. And he’d go to her. “I swore to her, ‘If you come home, I’ll never drink again.’” Continued on page 26
th a Mission
Rev. Bill Roscoe stands in front of several flags, including two American flags. He was brought up with a deep sense of patriotism and loyalty to country. (Photo provided by the Boise Rescue Mission)
Christian Living | November / December 2021 25
Bill Roscoe Continued from page 24
Rev. Bill Roscoe, President/CEO of the Boise Rescue Mission, holds the 2021 Icon Award he received from the Idaho Business Review for his community involvement, professional achievement, mentorship, and vision. The award is for those 50 and older. (Photo provided by the Boise Rescue Mission)
Of course, being the loving, devoted wife who trusted her husband, Sandy would return home with their children. But several weeks later, Bill would be back drinking again. And the cycle continued. “I wanted to be a good husband, a great dad, and a normal, ordinary, responsible person. But, man, I just could not stop drinking,” he says, sadly shaking his head. He sought help through support groups, to no avail. “Granted, I wasn’t going out to bars or getting in fights or anything like that, but I just could not stop drinking. I was miserable.” And increasingly desperate, to the point where “I even considered ending my life.” But then, Bill’s life took a turn for the better through, of all things, a bestselling horror novel. “I read The Exorcist,” he says. “And quite frankly, it scared the hell out of me! So I called my mother – at that time, she and my stepdad attended a church in the city of Petaluma, a few miles south of where we lived – and I told her I wanted to get my kids baptized. I definitely didn’t want the devil getting them! Of course, my mother was delighted, saying, ‘I’m sure our pastor will be happy to do it for you.’” When the pastor came to their house, he invited Bill and his family to attend church for a few Sunday mornings to see for themselves what it was like, and to see if they’d be comfortable with the church, before having their children dedicated. “So we did. And, sitting there in the congregation, I’m thinking about what he’s telling us … about what the Bible says … and I’m ready to explode; I didn’t know what to do,” Bill remembers. “I knew what the pastor was saying was true; he pointed out where the Bible says I can be saved and that God loves me. But I was having a really hard time believing it.” One evening, Bill came home – sweaty from a hard day at yet another construction site – and stepped into the shower. He wanted to clean up before dinner. But unbeknownst to him, those steps into the shower would become his first steps in his walk with the Lord. Still plagued by his personal demons, “I had tried everything to get sober and be a decent human, a normal guy, a good husband and father. But nothing worked. Finally, in sheer desperation, I looked up at the shower ceiling and said, ‘God,
26 November / December 2021 | Christian Living
if you’re real, come into my life. Make me a different man.’ And just like that – in my mind, my heart – I heard the words, ‘I will never leave you, nor forsake you.’ In just a fraction of a second. It was that quick! At that time, I didn’t even know it was a Bible verse. “And boy, woo-hoo, I was so excited! I believed, I received, and I accepted Jesus right there! Right there in the shower. So I wrapped a towel around myself, ran down the hallway to the kitchen, to where my wife was cooking dinner, and I told her I had accepted the Lord – that I was a Christian now, and that she should be one, too!” Of course, his wife initially reacted the way some non-believing spouses typically do, telling her husband, in no uncertain terms, to go “pound sand,” as he puts it. But Bill remained undaunted. Later that night, he opened a Bible someone had given him years before, and read in John what it means to be saved. “I knew I was a sinner. I knew I was guilty of terrible things. And I knew those sins would send me to hell. But the kicker to my salvation was John 3:17: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” And that did it for me! I knew that I knew that I knew I was saved!” Then, when the family attended church the following Sunday, “Everyone saw how happy and joyful and excited I was that I had accepted the Lord and, of course, my mother was glowing!” Bill recalls. And his wife noticed it, too. “Because she accepted Christ into her heart that night as well!” Their fresh, newly-found faith prompted the Roscoes to not only go ahead with their children’s baptisms, but to also become integrally involved in the church. One of Bill’s first duties was to arrange speakers for the men’s group meetings – and one of the first speakers he set up was the executive director of the Redwood Gospel Mission (the Rescue Mission) in nearby Santa Rosa. The two men soon became close friends, with Bill often strapping on his tool belt and helping the Mission with its many carpentry needs, which included a major remodeling of the women’s and children’s shelter. By the early ’90s, Bill had become an ordained minister and, as now the Director of Youth Ministries, he helped develop the Mission’s outreach program for homeless and at-risk youths through a teen drop-in center – to counter the troubling gang activity flourishing in the Santa Rosa area at that time. “God was very, very gracious and opened a lot of doors for us!” Bill exclaims. “The drop-in center was originally a building that had been donated to us, and was conveniently right near the local high school … law enforcement authorities gave me a ‘free pass’ into three juvenile detention centers, so I could hold Bible studies and mentor kids when they got in trouble … and someone even donated a brand-new van so I could take kids to Giants’ games at Candlestick Park!” Their work with the Lord eventually took Bill and Sandy even farther north – where Bill became Executive Director at Redding’s Good News Rescue Mission. Its executive director had retired and the Mission was on the brink of bankruptcy. So Bill took the helm, his wife at his side. Four years later, he received a phone call from a friend, the executive director of the Boise Rescue Mission. “He told me: I’m taking a job in Omaha and I’d like to recommend you to my board of directors as a candidate for the director’s job
here.” But Bill respectfully turned him down. After all, Redding was his home now. He and Sandy had settled in. They had a large circle of friends. The Mission was doing well. Life was good. Six months later, another call. This time, from the Mission’s chairman of the board, again asking Bill if he would be interested in the top job in Boise. “When I told my wife, she replied, ‘Well, we haven’t had a vacation in quite a while and we’ve never been to Idaho so, sure, let’s go check it out.’ When we made that first visit, we were both completely amazed at how good, how comfortable we felt here,” he recalls. “So we prayed about it … and God ended up opening the door.” The rest, as they say, is history. Today, Bill oversees a paid staff of 150, countless volunteers, and six separate outreach ministries under the Boise Rescue Mission “umbrella.” (See sidebar, page 27) This year, he and Sandy – the woman who stayed with him through it all – celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary. Next year, Bill is set to celebrate his 20th year as the Mission’s executive director. His goal in life? “To be a man of God; a man of integrity, courage and honor,” he says. “I want to be the best husband, father, grandfather, and friend to all the folks God has brought into my life. I want to love and help people as much as possible. And I want to never forget that ‘but for the grace of God, go I.’” n Steve Bertel is a multi-award-winning radio, television, print media, and social media journalist, who recently retired after a 30-year broadcasting career. Now a busy freelance writer, he recently released his debut suspense novel “Dolphins of an Unjust Sea”, available on both Amazon and Kindle. Steve and his wife of 39 years live in Meridian, Idaho. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Boise Rescue Mission Ministry Center and Warehouse 308 S. 24th St.; Boise, ID Admin. Office: (208) 343-2389 Warehouse: (208) 368-0824 Hours for donations: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. River of Life Rescue Mission 575 S. 13th St.; Boise, ID (208) 389-9840 City Light Home for Women and Children 1404 W. Jefferson St.; Boise, ID (208) 368-9901
Valley Women and Children’s Shelter 869 W. Corporate Ln.; Nampa, ID (208) 475-0725 The Lighthouse 304 16th Ave. North; Nampa, ID (208) 461-5030 Rescue Mission Recovery Lodge 921 W. Corporate Ln.; Nampa, ID (208) 461-4263
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Christian Living | November / December 2021 27
REAL Man’s Toolbox
We need to be courageous, faithful men
faith. Real men are not passive, they take action. By Leo Hellyer Real men of God, who go to church on SunIn our society right now, there are many issues day, know in their heart that church isn’t about a that many of us feel need to be fixed. As we look building. Real “church” is about what the people around us, we see many courageous people: firewho come into the building on Sunday “do” with fighters, law enforcement, paramedics, military, their lives the rest of the week. In the Bible, Peter medical professionals, etc. All of these people are gives much guidance on shepherding God’s flock. great people, and we need them in our midst. In 1 Peter 3:15-16a we read: “...but in your There is another group of people who we need as hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, ready at well, and maybe ever more so, and that is couraany time to give a defense to anyone who asks geous fathers. for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do Many of the issues or problems in society can be this with gentleness and respect keeping a clear traced back to a lack of courageous, God-fearing, conscience...” present, loving fathers in children’s lives. The key to being a man of courage, a hero to I recently had the privilege of watching the our community, our church, our wife, and our 10-year legacy version of the movie Courageous children is that we must be present. We must be in an actual movie theater – what a blessing. The present physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We Leo Hellyer original movie and this follow-up are not need men who are eager to seek out godly your average movies. Expect to be moved, guidance and direction. We also need challenged, and motivated if you block men who are willing to mentor the young out all of the external distractions that are people who are following up behind us. in your life for a couple of hours. All of us need to continually be growing There is one Bible verse that is central in our walk with the Lord. throughout the movie and that is Joshua There are many men’s growth groups 24:15: “As for me and my house, we available, as well as dynamic men’s groups will serve the Lord.” This movie adin individual churches. We cannot live dresses many of the types of challenges completely independent of other men in that men face every day as we strive to be our lives. There are men of all ages, wishhonorable men of God. Men, we need ing and praying for a man to come into to be aware that as we take a stand for their lives who will pour into them how God, His adversary, Satan himself, will to become a hero of the faith. Our wives, do everything he can to get us off course. children, community and nation need As we live life, we must keep our eyes and men of God to step up and be the men our hearts upon God and His will for us. that God intended us to be. This movie was put together by a group There are many Bible studies available of mainly volunteers from a small town that are very good for men at any posiin Georgia named Albany. A group of tion they are at on their journey with the churches in the area got together and Lord. I personally recommend Conquer bathed the entire project in prayer daily. Series by Dr. Ted Roberts, Stepping Up Many of those involved went through by Dennis Rainey, Men’s Fraternity by personal challenges of all sorts, but they Dr. Robert Lewis and Honor Begins at kept the faith and pressed on. This movie Home: The Courageous Bible Study reflects real life. by Alex Kendrick, Michael Catt, and Our society as a whole lifts up many Stephen Kendrick. sports figures, politicians, and business Get with other men who are diligently leaders as heroes. But real heroes are searching for the answers to the questions men who crawl through the trenches of that they have about living life as men who life serving others, leading others, and honor God in all things. If your church doesn’t have a solid men’s protecting others, because it is the right thing to do, not because group, talk with your pastor. You can be the catalyst of a movement they will get something out of it themselves. There are many of ‘Tier One Men’ within your church, men who have each other’s memorable quotes from the heroic men in this movie. Here are backs, and who enter into battle to save the lives of the people they just a couple: care the most about. God will richly bless your efforts! n Nathan Hayes: “You know, if fathers just did what they’re supposed to do, half of the junk that we face on the streets wouldn’t Leo Hellyer is a non-staff pastor with a local church and has exist.” been married to his wife Norma for more than 45 years. The Adam Mitchell: “So where are you men of courage? Where are couple volunteered with the Boise FamilyLife Ministry Team you fathers who fear the Lord? It’s time to rise up and answer the for 20 years. Leo has also been serving with Boise Rescue call that God has given you and say I will.” Mission Ministries for 20 years and is currently serving at Many times when men go to a movie, we want to detach from the River of Life Rescue Mission. He is president and chief the world around us. Courageous and Courageous Legacy grab firearms instructor with Helping Hands Firearms Training us, shake us up, and show us how to lead, protect and serve in the LLC. If you have questions about Real Man’s Toolbox, world we live in. Real men don’t run from the tough things of or need other assistance, Leo may be reached at life, they face them head on with strength, power, dedication, and email@example.com or 208-340-5544.
28 November / December 2021 | Christian Living
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Get help serving Jesus in the marketplace By Matthew Tucker There is no question that the Treasure Valley is growing. Record growth and rapid expansion have been recorded and discussed significantly in our area over the past few years. However, what many may have missed is that with great growth comes great opportunity for evangelism and ministry. It is not just homebuyers that have flooded into our community, but also new businesses and, with that, new marketplace ministers. Marketplace ministry is a term that is commonly used to describe those who work in the marketplace, but who also view their presence there as a context to impact others with the gospel. The notion of living out our faith at work is certainly not new, but the recent focus on Matthew redeeming our work by increasing our intentionality within the context of work has been gaining steam, especially here in the Treasure Valley. Before his death in 2018, the great American evangelist and pastor, Billy Graham, said, “I believe one of the next great moves of God will happen through the believers in the workplace.” George Barna, the well-known Christian researcher, has predicted that the future of the church’s creativity and focus will be centered around marketplace ministry: “Workplace ministry will be one of the core future innovations in church ministry.” The exciting reality is that there seems to be a resurgence of intentionality to take seriously Jesus’ commands to spread the gospel message everywhere we go…especially our places of work. This is important because a careful study of Jesus’ life and ministry finds that He cared deeply about the marketplace. Os Hillman, in his study on “Work in the Gospels”, points out that “…of Jesus’ 132 public appearances in the New Testament, 122 were in the workplace. Of the 52 parables Jesus told, 45 had a workplace context.” Consider also that when Jesus went to seek the 12 disciples, He went, you guessed it, to the marketplace. Hillman also notes, “Work, in its different forms, is mentioned more than 800 times in the Bible, more than all the words used to express worship, music, praise, and singing combined.” Clearly, work matters to God, and Jesus spent most of his time in the marketplace. It is hard to miss the fact that God sees no distinction between our work and our faith. We are all called to marketplace ministry, but I have a special place in my heart for those who are called to lead companies within the marketplace. I’ve had the opportunity through my role as a C12 Forum Chair to meet with and talk to dozens of Christian CEO’s and business owners throughout our state. C12 Forums are roundtables for business owners and chief ex-
ecutives. The conversations with these Christian business leaders should leave all of us encouraged and hopeful for what God is doing in the marketplace within the Treasure Valley. There are men and women called to lead countless businesses who view their role seriously as both a Christian and a business leader. This calling is incredibly challenging. I have heard of the many legal and social challenges to living boldly for Jesus in the marketplace, as well as the practical burden of implementing one’s faith into solid business practices. The reality is that business leadership can be lonely by nature, and even more so if we also embrace the calling of marketplace ministry. This is where the mission of C12 Forums was born. Tucker Business leaders who participate in a C12 Forum meet monthly to receive training, support and encouragement from peers, and built-in structure to ensure what is most important in their business and personal growth gets done. They gain tools to steward both the resources, and the people, God has entrusted to them, to make an eternal impact in the community that we call home. They do this by building great businesses, for a greater purpose. If you are business owner or CEO who wants to grow your impact, consider learning more about the power of a Christian business forum like C12 Boise. For the rest of us, we must ask ourselves often how God can use us in the context in which we find ourselves. Don’t ever underestimate the power of your workplace witness, your influence on your neighbors, or Christ’s love shown to those around you. I would encourage each of us to view every context we find ourselves in as a context for God to use us, especially our work. And lastly, I would ask that you pray for those in marketplace ministry leadership. God is at work in the marketplace in Idaho, and Jesus loves the marketplace. Press on! If you are a Christian business owner or CEO and would like to learn more about joining C12 Boise, email Matthew at matthew.tucker@C12forums.com or visit joinc12.com. n Matthew Tucker has spent 10 years in pastoral ministry and 11 years in business leadership, including in sales management and as a general manager and CEO. His personal mission and passion is to “leave hearts in better shape than he found them.” He is currently serving as a C12 Forum Chair in Boise. He and his wife Candice are blessed with 3 incredible sons: Timothy, Trace and Agezu.
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30 November / December 2021 | Christian Living
NEW religious landscape
Absolute truth in a sea of relativist views what He said is true, and that the claims He By John Greenlee made about Himself are both unique and exThe religious landscape in America has clusive. As the Apostle Peter put it, “Salvation changed dramatically since the turn of the new is found in no one else, for there is no other millennium. According to Gallup, membership name under heaven given to mankind by in houses of worship has dropped below 50% which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). From for the first time in the 80 years since its surveys my experience, this has been the source of the have first been conducted. most serious objections that non-Christians Another study showed that the number of make to the claims of Jesus. Let’s take a look people in the United States who identify as as to why it so often is such a stumbling block. Christian has declined nearly 10% in the previI had opportunities to engage in religious ous decade. During those same ten years, the discussions of every sort once I moved out of a group that has grown the most has been “None comfortable Bible college environment in which of the Above”: those who do not identify thempractically all of my students already agreed selves as followers of any particular faith. with me, and into a secular university classroom Religiously speaking, you can take nothing in which very few of them did. That move I for granted anymore. Your next-door-neighbor John Greenlee made was a direct answer to prayer, by the might be a Muslim, you might work side-byway. I had been asking God to put me in a place where I would side with a Hindu, your best friend might be practicing Budbe able to share my faith in Christ with others, through fair dhist meditation or reading up on Wicca. Not too long ago, and honest comparisons between Christianity and the major that might have been unusual, but today, not so much. Our religions of the world. Before I came to know Jesus during my challenge now is to seek to understand what matters to our freshman year, others had been kind enough to share the gospel neighbors spiritually. with me, while relying on God, logical reasoning, and a great Once we do get acquainted with the religions our neighbors deal of patience. Now I wanted to pay it forward. believe and practice, Christians are then faced with yet another challenge. To be a follower of Jesus means believing that Continued on page 33
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Christian Living | November / December 2021 31
Don’t let digestive issues ruin things
species that are common to our intestines. With By Rosie Main the proper conditions, these yeast organisms can My obsession with digestive health all started take control of the gut membrane and other when I went through my own challenges with mucous membranes of the body and wreak irritable bowel syndrome. For years after my havoc. major struggles, I continued to battle with per3. Parasites: There are many different parasistent bowel issues that have at times sapped my sites that can make their way into the body and, energy and made life unpleasant. given the proper conditions, can take over conBy following the program below and living out trol inside the gut. Once they take over control a probiotic lifestyle, I have been able to overthey steal valuable nutrients and release toxic come these health issues and improve my digeschemicals that irritate our immune system and tion, energy, brain function, immune system and cause system-wide inflammation. overall quality of life. Healing the Gut: It is vital to remember that How We Develop Leaky Gut: When you when one has this sort of health condition, the damage the intestinal wall, little “micro-lesions” intestines are inflamed. Think about this like a form which can cause undigested food particles sprained ankle. If you are trying to walk on your to pass into the bloodstream. This leads to Rosie Main sprained ankle, it will swell up even more and inflammatory responses and causes nutritional will never heal as it was designed to. The same malabsorption and deficiencies. pattern works with your gut. If we are constantly challenging When the gut is damaged, it leads to food allergens and sensitivities that initiate a widespread inflammatory process through- our gut with foods that are tougher on the digestive processes, out the body. This inflammatory process further irritates the gut than we are only irritating the injured intestines even more and we can forget about truly healing. lining and causes even larger holes in it. The only way to heal a sprained ankle is to stay off of the Additionally, it stimulates the adrenal glands to pump out ankle. You need to rest it, ice it (reduce inflammation), maintain more stress hormone. In time, the adrenals wear out and the compression and keep it elevated. The best way to heal a damhormonal systems are dramatically affected. The adrenals aged and inflamed gut is to reduce food stuffs that are going produce cortisol which helps to calm inflammation. When the through it and use nutrients that help to soothe and de-inflame adrenals are overworked, they are unable to produce enough the gut lining. cortisol, and inflammation can grow out of control. The 3 Phase System to Heal the Gut: 1. ReSet Phase: The bottom line is that your heath revolves around the health This is a liquid fast that focuses on herbal teas, bone broth, esof your gut. If your gut is damaged or you have an abundance sential oils, apple cider vinegar and coconut oil. of pathogenic microorganisms, it is impossible to be healthy. Goal: Starve out bad microbes and reduce intestinal inflamThe gut must be addressed in order for one to live a lifestyle mation that builds health and vitality. Duration: 3-5 days The Digestive Breakdown Process: 1. Poor Digestive 2. ReBuilding Phase: This uses easily digestible foods that Processes due to poor diet, chronic stress, eating too fast or on provide key nutrients to rebuild the the go, taking antibiotics, antacids or NSAID (nonsteroidal antiintestinal lining. inflammatory drug) medications. Goal: Rebuild the intestinal wall while keeping inflammation 2. Intestinal Inflammation: The inflammation of the intestidown nal region creates swelling and fluid Duration: 10-14 days (like a sprained ankle) and often increases the mucous content. 3. ReInnoculation Phase: We begin the process of using This reduces nutrient absorption further. fermented foods and fermentable carbohydrates to repopulate 3. Overgrowth of Bacteria: The bad bacteria, yeast and the gut with healthy microbial species. sometimes parasites come in and feed on the undigested food Goal: Help support the development of healthy microbial particles. 4. Bacteria, Yeast and Parasites Produce Toxins: The over- species in the gut Duration: 10-14 days growth of these microorganisms leads to high levels of waste This is the basic 30-day program to heal the gut. After these material release that causes more inflammation and gas. This 30 days, the goal is for you to be able to move into the probiotic accounts for the stomach pain, distension, gas, change in bowel lifestyle. movement patterns (diarrhea and constipation), etc. that many The Probiotic Lifestyle: This is a lifelong process where you people experience. focus on eating real foods that support the development of a Conditions Underlying Leaky Gut Syndrome: Some healthy microbiome. You want to find the foods that are most of the major factors that need to be addressed are the dysbiotic conditions of poor bacterial balance around the gut lining. This agreeable to you and eliminate the foods that are not agreeable. Remember to get professional help and know that I am here to could be due to any of the following: help you on your journey to a healthy life and a healthy gut. n 1. Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO): A condition which involves an overgrowth of bacteria in the small If you have any questions or want to see how we can help intestine. These bacteria break down food particles and create you, please don’t hesitate to call me at 208-859-6170, toxic debris, gas and inflammation. email email@example.com, or visit me at DoctorMain.com. 2. Candida Overgrowth: Candida refers to a group of yeast
32 November / December 2021 | Christian Living
Continued from page 31 Many of my students in this new setting I found myself in were indifferent to the teachings of Christianity; some were even outand-out hostile to it. More often than not, it was Jesus’ insistence on His being “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” that seemed most difficult for them to grasp. My students often assumed that tolerance – defined as an uncritical acceptance of every viewpoint – was now the prime virtue above all other virtues. From their point of view, there was no room for Jesus’ exclusive claims in our all-inclusive culture. Attempts to engage with such a mindset were often frustrating, even exasperating. Occasionally, a student would let me know that they were absolutely sure that there was no such thing as absolute truth! Francis Schaeffer once said, “Modern man has both feet firmly planted in mid-air.” That describes this relativist viewpoint perfectly. And yet, at the same time, those teaching opportunities were a wonderful blessing, because they allowed me to maintain the perspective of an outsider looking in on Christianity. I was better able to put myself in their shoes, and to see the claims of Jesus through their eyes. I was glad to discover that using logical arguments to make a case for Christ didn’t require me to be argumentative. Believers are able to remain loyal to the One who said He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, while at the same time genuinely loving their neighbors who do not share those convictions. The class discussions I had with my students often reminded me that before I had become a Christian, I had been constantly asking the same questions about the gospel, and making the same objections to it myself. I always try to keep these students in mind as I continue to write and teach on the subject of religion, for this one simple reason: there was a time not so long ago when I was just like them. n Dr. John Greenlee is on the ministry staff at Ten Mile Christian Church in Meridian, and one of the elders there. He has been both a minister and a professor of religion for many years. A new book on the subject, A Christian Approach to World Religions, is soon to be published. You may contact John at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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A BOTTLE nearby
Caregiving, grief may lead to addiction
Barbara Hinther enjoys horseback riding, especially following the death of her spouse and her subsequent struggles with alcohol. (Courtesy photo)
By Barbara Hinther “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” – 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 NIV Talk about a caregiver! My late husband Paul went to all and any lengths to bring the Good News to the suffering everywhere. Even though the Holy Spirit was with him, challenges, pain, loss and even the enemy were tormenting him. Our Savior was Paul’s example. I have tears as I’m writing this. That’s okay. They’re healing. Tears sparkle. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to remember someone we deeply loved. Feel the feelings. The anniversary of my husband’s death was in April. We were deeply in love. We planned, in our 40’s, to move to rural Idaho because our kids were grown and doing well and we wanted to retire with high-desert, mountains, and blue rivers as our playground. My husband was an amateur photographer, though quite good. Brian started a rock band in high school, studied and received a degree in music. He could play woodwind, brass, and piano and had a beautiful baritone voice. Brian taught music at our little rural school. At football games and basketball games, he and the kids rocked. We moved to a humble home in the country and gained two horses, two dogs, three cats and even more joy with our kids and grandkids. One Valentine’s Day at work, I watched my colleagues receive beautiful sweet-smelling bouquets of roses and flowers.
34 November / December 2021 | Christian Living
Me? Nothing. Then towards the end of the day, here comes my hubby with a smile on his face and a five-gallon rosebush. I was devastated! Seriously? A rosebush in a bucket? Where’s my bouquet? My husband saw the disappointed look on my face and said, “I want you to have roses every day, not just for a few days.” I still have that clove-scented rosebush which flowers almost every day, spring through autumn. Bittersweet. Then the diagnosis… “Parkinson’s,” they said, because Brian’s walking was a tumbling forward as if he couldn’t catch up with himself. Stiff. Sometimes painful. No tremors. We were relieved because it wasn’t terminal. It was manageable with medication. Our plans for retirement were still to be realized. I could help with the driving, camera equipment and be the main breadwinner. We had hope. We had love. I didn’t drink. Maybe some wine with friends or family on occasion. Then Brian displayed anxiety, depression, saying inappropriate things at work (and getting fired), walking getting worse with paralyzing freezes at the grocery store, falls, pain from contracted muscles. Trips to the emergency room for panic attacks and falls. One zero-degree night, he stumbled out into the yard ripping off his clothes because he could not breathe. He could, but panic attacks feel like that. I could not sleep. On alert. I drank. Then he fell… heart-thumping crash in the kitchen. Head wound bleeding profusely. “I need help,” he was sobbing. “Please don’t call the ambulance! Please. I want to stay home, our home.” I cleaned his wound, put steri-strips on it, got him to sleep and then I drank. Would others think he was abused by me? He looked so weak and beaten. Then I drank. Lots.
Then I called Idaho Home Health and Hospice, the next day, with a mother of a hangover. A healthcare worker arrived who took one look at Brian’s wound and foggy confusion. An ambulance was called. I was tired. I was empty. Frazzled. PTSDlike. Frightened. Brian started having delusions right then. Started taking off his clothes. His speech unintelligible. The dog was licking his head furiously, trying to fix the unfixable as the ambulance was en route. After the ambulance left, I guzzled more booze. Lots. His daughter witnessed all of this with amazing acceptance. She was covering the night shift so I could get some sleep. We cried. Embraced. Choked down more whiskey, believing the whiskey would soften, if not eliminate, the nightmare. Brian would never walk through our front door again. Then another diagnosis: Lewy Body Dementia. Neurologist and family doctor agreed. Some mental tests. “He can’t be home.” “Life-threatening tragedy” will happen to Brian or me. “You can’t provide 24/7 care. No one can.” “Make long-term financial plans.” Stopped at the liquor store on the way home and stocked up. Lots, because it would be at least $7,000 to $8,000 a month for care. That’s not counting medications, physical therapy, wheelchairs, specialists, and such. Then I visited the care home, almost every day. Brian lived there until hospice. Brian would yell my name and was not comforted by my presence. Other visions? No recognition. He became paralyzed and could not swallow much. I hand-fed him, gently wiping food and drool with crushing heartache. Where is dignity? Where is God? Where are my friends? The care workers had to lift him with a special lift to bathe him. Bedsores. Splints and casts for contractures. There was more. But …then I drank when I got home. Lots. Whiskey and water. Saltwater. Tears that sparkle? Then hospice. And I drank from a “hidden” bottle while comforting my husband. His head rolled back and forth from who knows what. Agitation? Thirst? Angels waiting? His breathing was absent for a minute – deep, raggedy sighs and absent again. Gurgling. Is he still with us? I lay in bed with my husband a day before he died, listening to his sporadic breathing and gently holding him, horrified by the mottled appearance of his legs, hands and ears. Active dying. I’ve seen it before. It was hard then, but this was my soul mate, the love of my life – these were our golden years. I was exhausted, in pain with anticipatory grief. Afraid as I watched the Healthcare Money Truck take most of our savings and retirement. Funeral plans. His clothes don’t fit him anymore. New ones? I’m still here. How do I go on? With what? For what? God, I’m ready to go too because I can’t do this anymore. Please, God, provide someone to care for the horses, dogs and cats. And then I drank. Lots and lots. Blackouts and pass outs would not come. Vomiting did. I’m still here. Then he died. He was 66 years. Eighteen months after the real diagnosis. And I drank. Lots. At the funeral, at the community bar, at home, in the front yard watching the hummingbirds, in the shed with the horses. You could’ve set me on fire with one quick match. I drank during the holidays, wine with my bath, whiskey in my morning coffee. Never spilled a drop. Merry widow? Then I isolated. No phone conversations. No community bar. No family. No holidays. Tons of chick flicks on TV. My new love. Whiskey. Then I quit drinking. For four months or so. Then I resumed drinking for a couple of years. Slept in my husband’s shirt night after night sniffing the collar, trying to catch a tiny scent of my him. Dog cuddled. Ate my tears. The visions of the suffering my husband endured always woke me. A shot to go back to sleep.
Tried dating. Gave my horses to the local kids because I couldn’t quite afford them or take care of them anymore. And I drank, bottle behind my back as the kids gleefully walked the horses to their new home. Every time the kids rode, they’d stop at my house, showing me what they learned. One wrote me the most adorable thank you note with a picture of one of the horses on it. I still cherish it. Then I quit drinking again. I sought spiritual ‘quit lit’ like a starving person. I recommend Breathing Underwater, Richard Rohr; The Pastor and the Prayer, Tom Peers; Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning. All of these authors are Christian and struggled with addiction. Brennan Manning has passed, but his words and grace soothe and give hope. I visited grief counselors, BOOMrethinkthedrink.com, Celebrate Recovery, prayed with begging or take-me-now prayers. But it’s very important to contact a professional, whether a pastor, counselor, or a trustworthy person who has been a caregiver. And I lost. Addiction with grief needs extra special care. I pray my story encourages and comforts. Then transcendence… During my reading one night, a word jumped out at me: Transcend: a: to rise above or go beyond the limits of, b: to triumph over the negative or restrictive aspects of: overcome. – Definition from Merriam-Webster Dictionary I can do this with the help of God and others. I am doing this even though my heart and mind haven’t got the memo. I can transcend. I have been transcending since September 13, 2020, one day at a time. Grieved the past while using it to help others by writing a devotional for dementia caregivers, blogging with dementia caregivers, writing articles about dementia caregiving (one came out in May). And I’ve had my butt handed to me on many occasions. Brene Brown, in her book the Gifts of Imperfection, says sharing vulnerability is quite the risk. Even a grieving widow has her butt handed to her with a bow on top. Some won’t understand. Some won’t like you. Some will ignore you. Some will gossip. Some will try to use you. Some will abandon you. Met a fellow who was widowed too, and we help each other, care for each other, love each other and our kids. Listen, really listen to each other’s stories. Vulnerability. Grieve the past but live in the present. Grace helps tremendously. Our motto. That was then. This is now. Another motto of ours. Now is very different than my past life, but it is just as fulfilling. Promise. Hope. Peace. Joy. And sobriety. Transcend. I give myself permission to cry when anniversaries of loss come – after all, tears sparkle. I forgave myself for my survival-mode drinking. “Who wouldn’t be in survival mode?” A veteran with PTSD gave me that gift. When I allow myself to cry and feel my feelings, a new insight, treasure, gift comes into my life, sometimes quickly and sometimes agonizingly slow. A rich, full life has pain, challenges and lessons. It also has joy, growth and love. Transcendence. It’s a journey. It’s a process. I have a place at Life’s table. Booze does not. And I cried today. That’s okay. Something new will come. Tears sparkle. Tears clean the conscience. A gift. Am I sober? I am today. A gift. I share my story to warn caregivers and their friends and loved ones. Please seek help now with all humility, prayer and love. n Barbara Hinther is author of “Meditations and Encouragement for the Caregiver of a Loved One with Dementia.”
Christian Living | November / December 2021 35
A post-grief love story orchestrated by God By Jim Day Our world is changing. Covid and its variants are killing thousands. But, people are still passing from this world by other means. Covid isn’t the only killer. Dealing with the loss of a loved one is difficult when you know Jesus. It is incredibly more difficult if you don’t. Losses like this are not something that you can get over. It leaves a hole in your life that is unique to the person that you have lost. But you can get through it. One step at a time. Even though there is great comfort in knowing that your loved one knows Jesus and is in heaven, they are no longer here and we miss them so much. This God Dot story is about Ryan and Rhonda Snow, two people that God brought together after Rhonda lost her first husband Jim. Jim and Rhonda had a good marriage. Both believers, they raised their sons in the church and participated in church activities. They met through Rhonda’s mutual friend from California, Tina, who was visiting her in Filer, a small Idaho community just west of Twin Falls. Jim, Rhonda and Tina were all young people at the time, and Tina suggested that she and Rhonda go out on the town together. Rhonda’s mom was kind of old-fashioned and insisted that Rhonda be home by 10 p.m., and she also insisted that Rhonda, under no circumstances, should call boys. Boys were supposed to call the girls, she said. Anyway, Tina and Rhonda went to an early movie and then “cruised” Blue Lakes Boulevard, the main drag in Twin Falls. During the evening, they met Jim, and Tina and Jim teased Rhonda because she had to be home by 10. The next school day, Rhonda was telling her best friend, Jamie, about her “dreamy date.” Rhonda struggled to remember Jim’s last name; but when she did, Jamie exclaimed, “That’s my cousin!” Rhonda and Jamie plotted and planned, and Jamie invited Jim to Rhonda’s graduation party. After the party/barbecue, Jim asked Rhonda if she’d like to go with him to Western Days, a local celebration. With her parents’ blessing, they left the party/barbecue; but because Jim didn’t like eating in front of a crowd of people, he hadn’t eaten anything at the party and was starving. So they went to McDonald’s for a Big Mac for Jim. That is where the romance between Jim and Rhonda started. Jim even sent Rhonda peach-colored roses the next week in honor of her graduation. They dated all through the summer. Rhonda went to Boise State that fall to study to become an X-ray technician and Jim gave her a promise ring before she left. Later, he proposed to her in her dorm room and they were married on October 29, 1988. They were happy and soon had three boys: Cody, Cole and Keaton. Jim worked at Magic Valley Paramedics and taught emergency care at the College of Southern Idaho. Life was good! In the winter of 2010, Jim slipped on the ice and injured his hip. The next year, he got a hip replacement. Then in 2012, Rhonda’s mom passed away from cancer. Jim had to have a hip revision surgery. Rhonda looked at her life and wondered where God’s good plans were.
She got a job in the same department as Jim at CSI and when he had to take time off, she carried the full load of provider and caregiver. When Jim could finally go back to work, CSI hired him as program manager of the department, and because it was pretty much all he was able to do and CSI had an anti-nepotism clause, Rhonda was laid off. She found several jobs, but nothing was full-time. She had gotten her nursing license and knew that God wanted her to be in an occupation that helped people, but full-time employment wasn’t available at that time. So, she drove a school bus. Then Jim had to have another hip revision surgery. A postop infection required another surgery and, ultimately, he had to have his hip removed. Jim was back in the hospital for the rest of that summer, and when he was sent home, he was confined to a wheelchair and required extra care. Rhonda was angry with God. During this time, Rhonda was participating in a journaling devotion with other women in her church on Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Rhonda was trying, but she couldn’t see any of the good plans that God had for her and her husband. While Jim was in the hospital, God seemed to be throwing Jeremiah 29:11 at her. Radio broadcasts, billboards, and sermons all seemed to include Jeremiah 29:11. Then Jim got out of the hospital during the first part of August of that year. Rhonda made a conscious decision to believe that God had good plans for her and her family and that things were going to get better. Jim actually went back to work at the end of August. Things were looking up! Then on September 12, when Rhonda got home from her bus route, Jim was still in bed. He said that his leg hurt and he wanted to call in sick. Rhonda was fixing him some breakfast and Jim was calling in sick when he went into a seizure. He was rushed to the hospital and passed away 3 days later. Rhonda was devastated and thought that she would never be able to love anyone like that, or get married again. Soon after, she got a call from the plasma center and was offered full-time employment but had to go to Laredo, Texas for six weeks of training. All through this time period, Jeremiah 29:11 continued to appear, seemingly everywhere. So she spent all of her free time with Jesus. Praying, studying, reading. Even though she felt like Jesus was constantly with her, she still felt alone. She had a good marriage and didn’t want to be with anyone unless it was the one that God chose for her. Her pastor joked and said, “So this guy is supposed to just walk into church with a neon green T-shirt that has a big number 1 on it and then we’ll know that he is ‘the one.’” Here is where the story gets really interesting … Jim had volunteered at the church camp in the summers as the camp medic. Ryan Snow volunteered at the same church camp as a camp counselor. Ryan would also end up working at CSI. Although he wasn’t good friends with Jim and Rhonda, they knew each other and were friendly acquaintances. Their lives had been woven together for years.
G O D d o t s
36 November / December 2021 | Christian Living
Ryan had gone to Jim’s funeral but left right after because he couldn’t think of anything to say that might comfort Rhonda. About a year and a half after Jim’s funeral, Ryan saw a post from Rhonda on Facebook. Even though he hadn’t spoken to her since the funeral, he messaged her and said, “How are you doing? If you ever need anything, give me a call.” She messaged him back saying that she didn’t have his number. They started texting one another and after a couple of months of texting, Rhonda Jim Day texted, “Let’s go to lunch.” That following Sunday was Mother’s Day, so they planned their lunch for Monday. Rhonda asked Ryan what time they should meet and his response was 12:36. She asked why 12:36 and not 12:00 or 12:30? Ryan jokingly said that setting an odd time would help her remember. Rhonda’s kids started to joke about her having a “date” so she took her 2-month-old grandson, Rory, to ‘chaperone’. Ryan and Rhonda talked for three hours and arranged their next get-together. The following Wednesday, praise team practice was cancelled and Rhonda (who played the violin on the praise team) didn’t want to be alone. She called Ryan and asked if he had any plans. He said that he was going to cook a pizza
and watch a baseball game and asked if she wanted to join him. When she showed up, he gave her a tour of his house and they kissed in every room! The next day, he came to her house – Friday at hers and Saturday at his. That Saturday he proposed and she said yes. They were married on September 1 by the camp pastor, Rudy, in the camp chapel. Rhonda and Ryan are incredibly happy and now Rhonda knows that Jeremiah 29:11 is for her, and Ryan. Rhonda told me that she still loves Jim and probably always will, but she loves Ryan with all her heart. Ryan said that he understands Rhonda’s love for Jim and loves her with all his heart. Now that’s a story filled with God Dots! I can only pray that somehow this story can be an encouragement and maybe bring a little hope into the lives of those who have lost a loved one. Our God is a good God and loves us so very much. He does have good plans for us. Remember Jeremiah 29:11! n Jim Day is the pastor of Evangelical Valley Presbyterian Church (EPC) in Hazelton, Idaho. He may be reached at email@example.com.
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Christian Living | November / December 2021 37
HISTORY, Culture & Faith
The Christian beliefs of Benjamin Franklin
By Dr. Rick Chromey Benjamin Franklin is one of America’s most influential scientists, patriots, politicians, diplomats... and deists. So said Franklin himself, who wrote as an adolescent how his skepticism of Christianity made him “a thorough Deist.” Since deists reject the divinity of Jesus, miracles and biblical revelation, many historians conclude Franklin was agnostic. Still others argue Franklin’s religion was eclectic, self-styled and personal...his deism mostly a youthful fancy. What’s the truth? First, Benjamin Franklin was more religious than most Americans today. Raised Presbyterian, he struggled with denominationalism and his church’s rigid traditions. He found sermons boring and lacking moral principles. Consequently, he avoided church services and reserved Sundays for personal Bible study. Franklin later connected with Freemasonry – a fraternal organization that blends good works and God. Nevertheless, Franklin remained marked by Christianity. He gleaned much of his pithy wisdom from the Bible. His popular series Poor Richard’s Almanac (1732-1757) was packed with proverbs. In 1747, as governor, Franklin proposed a fast and prayer day. He reminded Pennsylvanians of their “duty...to acknowledge their dependence on...Almighty God.” Franklin preached “...there is just reason to fear that unless we humble ourselves before the Lord [and] amend our Ways, we may be chastised with yet heavier Judgments.” He penned a mid-1750s recruitment pamphlet for Europeans intending to send their kids to America. Franklin boasted that our Christian colonial culture had no adolescent misbehavior. He noted America was so Christianized that it was possible to grow old and never personally meet “either an Atheist or an Infidel.” Franklin extolled how America’s Christian culture produced “mutual forbearance and kindness” and a “remarkable prosperity” that brought “favor” to the nation. In 1778, Franklin wrote to the French that there’s “a Bible and a newspaper in every house, a good school in every district...the principal support of [America’s] virtue, morality and civil liberty.” Another time Ben remarked, “Whosoever shall introduce into public affairs the principles of primitive Christianity will change the face of the world.” Essentially, Franklin saw America as a place where religion was prevalent, thoughtful, respected, and productive. Whatever his youthful deist views regarding Jesus’ divinity, Franklin eventually concluded, “As to Jesus of Nazareth...I think the system of morals and His religion, as He left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see.”. In his 1789 autobiography, the elder Franklin cited 13 virtues that guided his life – including frugality, silence, temperance
38 November / December 2021 | Christian Living
and cleanliness. His top virtue? Humility... which he noted needed to “imitate Jesus...” Franklin pursued various Christian disciplines like prayer, charity, and service. He prayed daily, petitioning for Divine strength, wisdom and blessing upon his work. He declared he “was never without religious principles... never doubted...the existence of the Deity; that [God] made the world, and governed it by his Providence.” Franklin noted the importance of “doing good to man” and belief in both a final judgment and eternal life. He even gravitated back to church attendance. Historian Carl Van Doren detailed Franklin’s latter church experiences and recorded how Franklin’s family owned a pew at the famed Christ Church (Episcopal) in Philadelphia, Penn. It’s where Ben Franklin attended Sunday services with his family and watched his two youngest children get baptized. Both his parents, his wife and Franklin himself are buried at Christ Church. He financed clergy salaries, supported building programs, and helped with church accounting. Franklin described in his own Autobiography a friendship with famed revivalist George Whitefield. Franklin faithfully attended Whitefield’s crusades and printed his sermons and journals. In fact, Franklin was so impressed by Whitefield he financed an auditorium solely for his revivals...then donated the space to launch the University of Pennsylvania. Benjamin Franklin’s religion found flight during a fiery debate at the 1787 Constitutional Convention. Initially, he implored how prayer was critical to the Convention’s success, then moved for Congress to hire chaplains to lead prayer and Bible study. Later, Franklin observed how “the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?” None of this sounds like the rhetoric of an irreligious deist or agnostic secularist. Benjamin Franklin was never a faithless man. He believed in God and, despite any deist and Masonic dispositions, maintained deep appreciation for Christianity. Yes, he struggled with religious divisiveness, pomposity, and hypocrisy, but Franklin still valued how Christianity framed American culture. In elderhood Ben Franklin attended, to what degree we cannot say, a Christian church in Philadelphia and was eventually buried in that same church’s graveyard. Maybe that’s why Benjamin Franklin’s faith is hard to define – particularly 231 years after his passing. Perhaps spiritual ambiguity is exactly what Franklin preferred. Regardless, like a lightning strike on a kite string, Franklin’s faith proved just as unpredictable, unique and, to a degree,
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Dr. Rick Chromey shocking. For this Founding Father, Christianity was a faithful friend to guide and guard his life, summarized in his famous proverb: “God helps those who help themselves.” n Dr. Rick Chromey is an author, historian and theologian who speaks and writes on matters of religion, culture, history, technology and leadership. He’s the founder and president of MANNA! Educational Services International. Rick and his wife Linda live in Star, ID. www.mannasolutions.org. Sources:
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” — Thessalonians 5:11NIV
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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin by Carl Van Doren Minutes of the Provincial Council of Pennsylvania (accessed on Google Books) The Works of Dr. Benjamin Franklin (accessed on Google Books) History of the United States from the Discovery of the American Continent by George Bancroft Works of Benjamin Franklin [John Bigelow, editor] The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 by Max Farrand
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Christian Living | November / December 2021 39
DESTINED For Victory
It really is all small stuff...with Jesus pel. As a result, it has become clear throughout By Pastor Paul Sheppard the whole palace guard and to everyone else Life comes with many challenges, and at that I am in chains for Christ. And because times, it can feel overwhelming. But God is so of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters gracious. Through Jesus Christ, He offers eterhave become confident in the Lord and dare all nal life to all who call upon His name. Morethe more to proclaim the gospel without fear. over, while you are here on earth, He promises It is true that some preach Christ out of to lighten your burdens. envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who are The latter do so out of love, knowing that I weary and burdened, and I will give you am put here for the defense of the gospel. The rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke trouble for me while I am in chains. But what is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew does it matter? The important thing is that 11:28-30 in every way, whether from false motives or Know that your burdens are not heavy when you are walking close to Jesus. In the next arPastor Paul Sheppard true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I ticles, we will see how even our worst troubles know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the become “light and momentary” when we put God’s kingdom Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn first. Moreover, God’s blessings are “exceedingly abundantly out for my deliverance. – Philippians 1:12-19 above all that we ask or think.” The main Scripture for our study is the apostle Paul’s letter *** to the church in Philippi. Like many of us, Paul was experiencing a heavy burden when he wrote this letter. He was imprisThis has been the first excerpt in a series from “Keeping oned in Rome, in chains for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That the Main Thing the Main Thing” by Pastor Paul Shepseems like a huge problem, but not for Paul. Why? Because he pard. You can hear Pastor Paul’s radio show, “Destined knew how to keep the main thing the main thing. For Victory,” weekday mornings at 9 a.m. MST on 94.1 Paul writes: FM or online at www.941thevoice.com. For more informaNow I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what tion, please consult www.PastorPaul.net. n has happened to me has actually served to advance the gos-
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40 November / December 2021 | Christian Living
‘COACH Em Up’
Skip Hall releases new book about his life By Heather Goetter Coach ‘Em Up is the story of Merle “Skip” Hall, a boy who grew up without a father in a time when most boys had fathers. Though he didn’t have the advantage of a father, he was a leader from a young age, especially as a quarterback in junior high, senior high, and college football. Thankfully, God brought father-type mentors into Skip’s life starting when he was a teenager. He was able to watch and emulate these godly men who encouraged him in his sports, character, and academics. After having amazing opportunities as a young high school and college coach, Skip went on to become a renowned NCAA Division I coach, first at the University of Washington under legendary coach Don James, then as head coach here at Boise State, and finally at the University of Missouri. A turning point came in Coach Skip Hall’s life when the University of Washington Huskies won the Rose Bowl for the first time in 17 years. Coach Hall realized (with the help of his amazing wife, Virginia) that winning was not worth anything without an eternal perspective. Skip knew that at the end of his life, God would not care how many Bowl rings he had. God would only care about the relationships he had fostered with his friends, family, and God. That revelation changed Coach Hall’s entire life. With that perspective, he started treating people differently, making lifelong connections and deep friendships with not only his fellow
coaches, but also his players. He learned how to mentor from the coaches in his life and eventually mentored college football players, assistant coaches, and business and community leaders. By the grace of God, Skip Hall has had a dramatic impact on countless men and women from all walks of life. Attaining excellence through encouragement has been the focus of Skip’s life, not only as a coach, but as a friend, associate, and business leader. He encourages others with his words and Skip Hall actions, inspiring them to do and be their best selves. This true story of Coach Skip Hall shows the impact that one man can have on a nation when he chooses to break the pattern of parental abandonment and step out in the calling that God has placed on his life. Coach ‘Em Up ends with resources for coaches and business leaders, including material to be used for pre-game speeches, coach meetings, and professional leadership development and recruitment. n
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Christian Living | November / December 2021 41
Biblically sculpted in both grace and truth By Ed Rybarczyk Did you ever hear a pastor or priest pleading with his congregation to regularly read their Bibles? Me, too. I’ve attended several churches across my lifetime and I can’t think of a sole minister who didn’t promote Bible reading and study to the local congregation. It goes without saying that the Bible is the book of Christianity. Pastors rightly want their church members to be sculpted by the stories, lessons, and wiring of the good book. Indeed, it’s nearly impossible to confess faith in Christ apart from a biblical tether. So then just how should one read and learn the Scriptures? Actually, there are many ways to read-well the Bible: devotionally, historically, thematically, and exegetically, to name a few. Here’s another way that has been jumping out at me: to read observing the character of God. Different Old Testament stories teach us about God’s holiness. Various Psalms acclaim God’s tenderness to us. Most of Jesus’ parables teach us about the glory, the beauty, and the unprecedented nature of life under God’s reign, the Kingdom of God. The Epistles regularly explain that we little-Christs (a.k.a. Christians) ought to live in light of our identity in the risen Lord. We learn about the character of God in every single type of biblical literature. And that makes sense since God is the primary character of every biblical book. Recently scholars have been pointing out that the Bible is more than a historical record. True, it does preserve a JudeoChristian memory, but its aim is more than cataloguing history one event at a time. The Bible is also more than a compendium of moral stories, even if we frequently learn about the justice and moral wiring that God desires for all of humanity. And just as importantly, the Bible is more than a collection of exciting stories about God’s miraculous intervention; praise God for each intervention in everyone’s life, then and now! The Bible, scholars note, was written to shape us. The fancy term is performative: it is enacted in our hearts as it is read aloud. But we don’t need to get bogged down in technical
vocabulary to land on the gist of this: God gave the Bible in order to sculpt us. God cares about the design of our souls. He wants our identities to be shaped in such a way that we naturally respond in Christ-like ways without having to spend big bunches of time intellectually processing the ins and outs of every possible outcome. He wants us attuned to the frequency of His character. He wants us, like sheep who follow their shepherd, to immediately recognize our Master’s voice. Me? I like that notion: attunement. Those who know the Lord are tuned to the frequency of His own character. Those who walk in the light share the ethos – the disposition, the likes and dislikes, the desires – of the One who is light Himself. Again, the Bible was written and preserved to tune us, to mold us, to sculpt us after the very character of God Himself. In his Gospel’s intro, John writes about how historically unprecedented Jesus was: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn. 1:14). John wanted his readers to understand, from the get-go, right at the beginning of the Gospel, that Jesus’ character was one of both grace and truth. Not only grace, lest He be a cuddly pushover. And not only truth, lest He be terrifyingly unapproachable in His holiness. Both grace and truth. Always ready to extend grace and unhesitatingly ready to speak the truth. (What must it have been like to look into His brown eyes?!) For us? We who know now that Scripture was inspired by God to shape us, we realize that that is what the Father wants for us, too. He wants us to be souls who are, like our Savior, full of grace and truth. And here in 2021, where we watch a constant public spewing of ugliness and lies, what a revolutionary idea grace really is! A couple decades ago the rock band U2 wrote of grace, “she takes the blame, she covers the shame, removes the stain, it could be her name. Grace, it’s a name for a girl. It’s also a thought, that changed the world.” Jesus? For all his holiness, He was tender and approachable. The man from
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Galilee? For all His ability to peer directly into the infected core of people’s souls, He longed to extend mercy and grace. Lamb of God! But, wow, such fulness of truth, too! Jesus never excused the sins of those whom He encountered. Across His many earthy parables, Jesus never qualified the holiness of God the Father. For all of His ability to welcome the outcasts and the religiously unclean, not one time did Jesus suggest that disobeying God’s law was acceptable practice. Realizing the fulness of truth about Jesus? I apprehend Him with awe. What a strong personality He must Ed Rybarczyk have been! The singularity of His character either attracted or repelled those who encountered Him. A man overspilling in grace and truth? Jaw-dropping. But that’s what we’re called to be, too. Persons full of grace and truth. Ever looking for simple ways to extend grace, to offer kindness in situations fraught with tension, to speak a gentle phrase when the room is electric with friction. But because we know His voice, we Christ-followers are also souls committed to the truth. In a historic era that openly loathes truth, we relish its clarity and celebrate its life-giving power. After all, we are sculpted from the pattern of Him who is Himself grace and truth. n Ed Rybarczyk, Ph.D., is both an ordained minister and a retired History of Theology professor. He now produces and hosts the Uncensored Unprofessor podcast @ uncensoredunprofessor.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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Second annual nativity exhibit scheduled
The 2nd annual Boise South Five Mile Nativity Exhibit will be held November 19-20 from noon to 8 p.m. both days at 2650 South Five Mile Rd. “We are planning to display more than 100 nativities from around the world, depicting the birth of Jesus Christ,” Debra Bourne, co-organizer, said. “This will be a free family-friendly event and will be a great way to begin the holiday season.” For more information, contact Bourne at firstname.lastname@example.org.. n
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AN outcast’s reach
Touching the fringe of His cloak in faith
the lame, gave hearing to the deaf, could cast out sickness and demons with authority. Was it even possible? Or just wild rumors among A note from the author: This is a work of hope-filled people? fiction based on biblical truth. Every effort The only freedom I felt in my affliction was at has been made to stay within the confines of night. I would slip from my room, and wander Scripture while exercising creative liberty to beyond the city walls, eyes on the stars, free to bring an important historical figure in the move without fear of afflicting anyone else with Bible to life. Her story can be found in Matmy tainted touch. I turned the stories over in thew 9:20-22, Luke 8:43-48, and Mark my mind. Within them, I heard the words of 5:25-34. the prophets echo through my heart. Words I’d According to Levitical Law, the woman known and heard all of my life before my sickwas unclean and would have been an outness took hold and cast me from the synagogue. cast from society and from her family for as The deaf will hear…the blind will see… long as she was afflicted. Even more, she had the dead will be raised… no access to corporate worship or sacrifices. Had the Savior indeed come? A Jewish woman would have certainly felt Bethany Riehl If so, He could offer me what no one could. that divide just as deeply as the one from her family. In faith she reached out to Jesus to heal her. And He Healing from my sickness. Freedom from my wandering. Restoration with my family. did. Even more, He brought her out from the shadows into I listened with hope. And dread. As they circulated through a personal relationship with Him. As we enter the holiday season, may we all remember who the city, like a bit of juicy morsel passed from mouth to mouth, we were before Jesus saved us. Unclean. Separated from our the claims were wild and varied; it was said He had denied the Creator by our sin. But God, in His infinite wisdom, sover- audience of His own mother and brothers. If that were true, eignty, and grace, sent Jesus to be our Emmanuel. He could how could someone such as myself expect to be admitted into have healed us and sent us on our way; instead, He calls us His presence? Still, I began to venture out during the day. I lurked in alinto a personal relationship with Him. May we always be in awe of this gift! The Godhead – our Father, Jesus the leyways, on the outskirts of crowds, listening, waiting. Hoping. Savior, and the Holy Spirit – dwells with us. God rest ye How did I dare approach the Messiah for His touch? Merry, dear ones. God is with us and He is Lord of all! Or…the thought crept over me slowly…I could simply take it. No, I can’t describe Him. The crowds were thick enough around Him, people always It’s funny, isn’t it? The most important moment of my life pressing. Who would notice me? I was certain: if I could only and all I can picture is the way the dust coated His sandals, the touch the fringe of His cloak, I would be saved. Anticipation way His garment settled on the sand. But, no, I can’t rememshimmered through my heart like a shaft of light dancing on ber His face. That’s the first question everyone asks, of course. a dark, swirling sea. It shined brighter than the affliction, than The thing is, I didn’t go to see His face. the danger of His wrath. He was my hope. My only hope. Where to begin? Worth all risk. When you’re an outcast to society as I was, you listen to the When next He came to the city, He arrived with a crowd folchatter of people around you with hungry ears. I would sit in lowing Him, and building as He went. Wild with anticipation, my room near the window, and just listen to the talk on the I slipped among them, unnoticed, as more people followed. We streets. I didn’t care if they spoke of their crops or complained moved like a tide, cramped and demanding. He was the moon, about their husbands; I just wanted to hear the musical capulling us in one direction with one purpose: get close. Beads dence of conversation. of sweat broke out under my robes as the sun beat down on I heard talk of a great Man that no one could make sense me. I clutched and pulled myself forward, searching with my of. I longed to go to synagogue to hear Him for myself, but of eyes. His profile would flash between faces before disappearing course I couldn’t. Oh, how that shattered me—much more again, but I was getting close. than the physical agony was the spiritual; while I remained unA man to my left turned back suddenly, his elbow nearly clean, I was completely separated from God. No right to offer catching me in the nose and I fell to my knees. Stayed there sacrifices or worship Him with the congregation. No right to and crawled. Someone stepped on my hand and I bit back a pray to Him or ask the priests to pray for me. No right to take cry, but still crept forward, twelve years of agony and loneliness part in the feasts. driving me. Doctors had sapped me of my strength and money with their Then, suddenly, a small part in the sea of legs and robes treatments—all guesses, all failures. Nothing could be done for around me; His garment hovered above the dirt, just inches me. I held back just enough coin to pay for the two turtledoves away. The din of the crowd muted as a loud voice struck that would be required as an offering when…if…I was healed. out above my head. I glanced up to see Jairus, one of the They were my only link to hope. synagogue officials, on his knees. I ducked my face so that he Talk of the rabbi spread like a fever. The Pharisees hated wouldn’t recognize me, but his eyes were fixed upward, implorHim, regarded Him with contempt. But the people whispered ing the Healer and I could hear the depth of my own agony that He could heal. He opened the eyes of blind men, healed tangled there in his words: By Bethany Riehl
44 November / December 2021 | Christian Living
“My little daughter is at the point of death; please come and lay Your hands on her, so that she will get well and live.” Stunned, I sat back on my heels, eyes blinking with fresh tears, thrown off course. Jairus was someone worthy to talk to the Man. I had no right— The sandaled feet shifted and began to move away, my hope scattering like the clouds of dust beneath them. In desperation, I lunged forward and brushed my fingertips against His cloak. Immediately I could feel in my body that I was healed. Joy and strength, light and life rushed through me and twelve years of loneliness, rejection, and questioning dried up. Again, I sat back on my heels, hands over my face, and wept with relief. Above the crowd, I heard, “Who touched my garments?” My veins ran cold. An answer came, incredulous. “You see the crowd pressing in on You and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’” My hands remained on my face, clutching frantically at my flushed cheeks, trying to hide. What had I been thinking? The Messiah couldn’t be stolen from. My belly quaked with fear. The crowd around Him shifted and His eyes met mine as I knelt there in the dirt. A murmur rolled through the crowd as my name floated from person to person like a fly flitting, unwelcome, around a feast-laden table. The crowd that had pressed forward, greedy for His touch now scattered back, afraid of mine. My tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth, and I worked to straighten trembling legs beneath me and rose to go forward, certain my affliction would flow again, worse than before. I babbled, desperate to explain myself. His eyes—you asked what they were like. That, I can’t tell you. Nor can I share with you what His voice sounded like as He said—I’m sorry. I never can get this part out without tears choking the telling of it. Give me a moment. He said, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.” O, the wonder of those words: Daughter. Well. Go in Peace. Be healed.
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I heard later that Jairus’ daughter had died, but that Jesus— the Healer—brought her back to life. He did the same for me, although I alone know the full truth of it. I also heard of His death, then His resurrection. Of everything that has been done in His Name since. And so, dear physician—Luke, was it? What would you truly like to know—what He looked like or what He did? I thought I was reaching for Him to heal me of my affliction. And I was. It was simply that I didn’t know until He made me reveal myself what I needed to be saved from. What had ailed me long before my affliction and would have continued regardless of my physical state. My sin. Until my Messiah called to me, I didn’t know how truly lost I was. But when He called me “Daughter” I knew. He saved me. From my sin and my wandering. Into His forgiveness and His kingdom. Tell them that in your writings, dear Luke. The Healer drank the cup meant for me. Because of Him, I am Redeemed. n
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Christian Living | November / December 2021 45
OUR older Brother
Why can’t we be more like Jesus?
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By Scott Riggan I have an older brother, and when we were kids, Rob possessed the very useful talent of always appearing to be completely innocent. No matter what mischief we had gotten into together, when we were caught, I would get in trouble and he would somehow get out of it. I guess he just had an innocent face – or maybe he was just smarter, since I would always be the one caught holding the evidence of our misbehavior. At least, that’s how I remember Scott Riggan it … Can you imagine having a brother like Jesus? Of course, certain schools of thought insist that, when the Bible says “brother” or “sister” it means something more like “cousin”, but it’s actually pretty clear that Jesus’ mother Mary and her husband Joseph had other children. Jesus had siblings. So think about this: how rotten would it have been to have JESUS for a brother – someone who was actually perfect? The Bible doesn’t give us much detail about His childhood, so this would fall into the category of speculation, but I imagine the others got really tired of hearing “Why can’t you be more like your brother Jesus?” That must have been really, really irritating. But that is what we are all called to do: to be like Jesus – or as Paul puts it in Romans 8:29, “to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.” What does it mean to “be like Jesus?” Being nicer to everyone? Or somehow achieving moral perfection? In Luke 9:2224, Jesus clarifies what this would look like: And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it (NIV 1984). If I think that “being like Jesus” just means making a few small adjustments to my way of life, I’m deceiving myself. “Being like Jesus” means denying myself and taking up my cross. It means choosing to serve, not to be served (Mark 10:45). It means facing rejection and opposition because of my association with Christ. Why can’t we all just be a little more like Jesus? Easier said than done. n Scott Riggan is best known for his recording of “I Love You Lord.” He serves as Worship Arts Pastor for Eagle Christian Church and lives with his family on a small ranch in Emmett. After a long break from songwriting, he’s recorded a new album titled “Beautiful and Terrible.”
46 November / December 2021 | Christian Living
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