Vasquez Violence to gentleness via grace
Life’s meaningful connections
Ebeltoft God’s agent for good
A fresh food ministry
Peter Vasquez is the founder of Second Chance Grace
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Contents May / June 2018 Features Mama Bear:
The good and bad
God & Country Festival:
Annual event turns 52
Meme Christianity: It’s ‘scripture lite’
Cover Story —
“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart...” — Luke 6:45
Real Man’s Toolbox: The Judgment Seat Outdoors with Dougherty: A trip to Korea
This: 11 Consider Faithful fathers pray
Dots: 12 God Personal testimonies
Health: 18 Maximum Hidden symptoms Faith: 24 Challenging Black Crab Part 2 Brighter Side: 32 The God’s agent
When He asks:
Second Chance Grace Are you willing?
Notes from Home: Humor & forgiveness
10 Understanding Relationships:
Daily Bread: 27 Your Christians & insurance
30 In Each Edition
They affect change Six different styles
New Choices Farms: A fresh food ministry
Easy to complain
They need us
The paradox of intimacy
Publisher Sandy Jones Editor Gaye Bunderson firstname.lastname@example.org Sales & Marketing Kimberly McMullen email@example.com 208-713-6357 • Scott McMurtrey firstname.lastname@example.org 208-841-4583 • Sandy Jones email@example.com 208-703-7860 Cover Photo DAB Studios Graphic Design Denice King Contributors Daniel Bobinski, Hilary Cobb, Jim Day, Dan Dougherty, Roxanne Drury, Terry Frisk, Dani Grigg, Naomi Hardenbrook, Leo Hellyer, Evelyn Horan, Ron Kern, Vincent Kituku, Janet Lund, Joel Lund, Rosie Main, Gary Moore, Bethany Riehl, and Dan Woodworth Website Design SEO Idaho
Paul Sheppard: Coming to Boise
Volume 6, Number 3
Publisher’s Corner: Grumpy? Me? 30 TREES WILL BE REPLANTED AS A RESULT OF THIS ISSUE Christian Living Magazine is proud to be part of the printreleaf program that calculates the trees consumed to produce this issue and “releafs” by planting trees in certified forests around the world.
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 2018 by Christian Living Ministries Inc. Christian Living is published every other month and is available in over 600 locations throughout the Treasure Valley, including most grocery stores, convenience stores, medical waiting areas, and churches. If your church would like additional copies please email us today at firstname.lastname@example.org Annual subscriptions available for $10/year. To start your subscription or give one as a gift send your check or money order, along with complete address information, and a phone number to call in case there’s questions about your subscription to Christian Living Magazine, PO Box 867, Meridian, ID 83680.
Christian Living | May / June 2018 3
Grumpy? Me? Well, yes, sometimes…
I am often not qualified for some of the needs By Sandy Jones that cross our paths, and have learned to lean On Good Friday I awoke in an unusually bad on the quote, “God doesn’t always call the mood. A genuine funk. I wish I could say that equipped; rather He equips the called.“ When I I had a cup of coffee and it passed. Nope. I find that I’m in over my head, I quickly stop and fought that malaise off and on all day long. pray for discernment, wisdom, the right words I’m generally a pretty happy person. We all and the right connections to help these individuhave our ups and downs, but come on now! als. We are humbled by the trust many have Really?! Good Friday is not the day I would placed in us. choose to be crabby. Our online stats (from our website, Facebook I repeatedly reminded myself what Good Fripage and free e-subscription) show that we are day is all about. Chided myself for succumbing reaching the U.S., Canada and 41 countries to my own shallow self-pity. After all the pain around the world. We’ve been asked to consider and suffering Jesus endured, what do I have to opening in other markets, as well as extending complain about? our current distribution area here into the Sun I prayed repeatedly to bind the enemy out of Sandy Jones Valley and Magic Valley areas. my day, but clearly somehow I was inviting him Our stories have helped many local ministries and organizaright back in. As painful as it is to admit, that’s a part of being tions by sharing their information with our readers, as well as human that I believe most of us struggle with. helping our readers themselves. Many of these groups have I didn’t give up on God, or myself. I plugged through the reported back to us that they have received substantial assistance day and admit I was relieved to fall into bed that night, where upon reviewing my day I realized that most of the world never by being featured in Christian Living Magazine. Please understand that our becoming a nonprofit doesn’t give knew of my struggles. I managed to smile at many, hold my tongue, and contain my us a free ride. Most of the ads in each issue will still be taxed at the corporate business rate. frustrations while trying desperately to maintain my focus on What becoming a nonprofit does is it allows us to write for the crucifixion and keep in mind that “Sunday’s coming.” grants that support ministries such as ours, and it makes donaRegardless of the fact that I kept caving in to the spiritual tions to our ministry tax-deductible. All of this will help us to rewarfare meant to distract me, our God had heard my pleas tire the debt we’ve incurred, and to grow our geographical area, and had carried me safely through the day! This makes me recall the story of the woman accused of while continuing to help a multitude of ministries and organizaadultery who was brought to Jesus in the temple. Her accustions by highlighting them in our pages. ers were sure that Jesus would condemn her of her sin, when We thank each one of you for your prayers and the many instead He met her with grace and mercy. Not ignoring her words of encouragement you’ve shared with us. Along the way sin, He told her to “go and sin no more” (John 8:11 NKJV). there have been many times when it would have been easier to I realize that sometimes we need that check to remember quit, to simply give up. Each time God made it abundantly clear we’re told that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory that this is exactly where we are supposed to be. Perhaps it was of God” (Romans 3:23 NKJV), but like that woman in the an unexpected phone call starting with “I was sitting here praytemple, Christ will meet us with grace and mercy. ing for you and decided I should call,” when we had no idea that person might be thinking of us, let alone praying for us. And the long-awaited announcement Perhaps it was the pastor telling us that our magazines are all (insert trumpet sound): over his church, and emphatically stating, “We love your magaWe are pleased to share with you that we are officially zine!” Perhaps it was one of the many readers who have reached Christian Living Ministries Inc. dba Christian Living Magaout to us, telling us how we’ve helped them in one way or anothzine, a full-fledged 501(c)3 nonprofit. er. It could have been any number of things; there are too many Why a nonprofit, you might be asking. The short answer to to mention here. Just know they have all made a difference in our that is that our readership has simply grown faster than our lives, while we are trying emphatically to make a difference in so revenue stream, leaving us with a growing distribution debt. many others’ lives. Again we say “THANK YOU!” From a business standpoint, it’s obvious that you can’t keep As we head into May and June we tip our hats to all the Moms, going backwards and stay open. Dads and Grads who will be celebrated in the coming days and After months of prayer, God showed us that while Chrisweeks. We pray that God blesses you with what you need the tian Living Magazine is the primary focus of our organizamost. Give each other an extra hug, and love with the love that tion, we’ve grown into an actual ministry. We have readers Jesus demonstrated and calls us to share. who call, email or message us through Facebook for prayer, Until next time – God Bless! n advice, counsel, and help connecting them with others who Please frequent our advertisers and thank them for their support of Christian can assist them with the more serious issues. We also bring other ministries together — in short, we often find ourselves Living Magazine. We couldn’t do what we do without them — we are connecting people. extremely grateful for each and every one!
4 May / June 2018 | Christian Living
REAL Man’s Toolbox
Men, how will we be judged?
Earth. This is where we will find out how well By Leo Hellyer we did in responding to the Divine appointments Men, we are all on a journey, an adventure, that God set up for us. a quest. We have been on this path as it says in As we live in the society that we currently Psalm 139:13 since we were “knitted together in live in, we still need to keep our sights on God, our mother’s womb.” For most of us this trek has Heaven, and Eternity. At times this is not an easy had many facets, many directions, many goals, task to complete. There are many distractions, and events that we perceived as good, bad, michallenges and trials that can lead us away from raculous and devastating. There is one constant getting closer to God. God gives us many tools in everything that we experience, and that is that to use while we respond to those Divine appointGod has been with us through every moment in ments; He provides opportunities for us to serve time, every breath that we have taken. others, and in turn serve Him. As men, most of us do a lot of evaluating He has provided us with His Basic Instructhroughout our lives. Am I successful, a good tions Before Leaving Earth (BIBLE). We have father, a good husband, a good boss, a good the examples of Christian men and women who worker, a good man of God? Unfortunately, preceded us, or who we have spent time with many times our evaluations are more influenced Leo Hellyer personally or at a distance. He has provided us by the society that we live in on a daily basis with His words in the form of songs, and lives lived well. He than the truth of the Bible. It seems like we forget that God provides us with current-day miracles to witness and experience Almighty created each of us for the same purpose: to have a His unconditional love, power, and compassion. relationship with Him. He loves us so much that He created No one knows how long we have here on Earth to “get it us to have a relationship with Him for eternity. He loves us so right.” Men, we need to live every day as if it is our last. We have much that He doesn’t force that relationship upon us. He has a huge responsibility to share the “Good News” that we know, allowed us to make our own choice of whether we want to be and to share our “God experiences” with everyone God brings in relationship with Him or not. But He never gives up on us; along our path. This might be with audible words in person, He is always there waiting for us, waiting for us to come back text, email, prayer, compassionate acts, witnessing how we live to Him, waiting for us to accept His unending, unfathomable, life, etc. God is all around us on a daily basis. He gives us opunconditional love. portunities to serve others and Him, every day. He may want you As we search for success in life, we have a huge tendency to to touch the life of the waiter or waitress, cashier, police officer, look for success here in our temporary home of Earth, while nurse, doctor, letter carrier, homeless person, or the guy flying we seem to forget to some degree about being successful in the sign for a business closure outside of your business. We never our eternal home of Heaven. When someone is successful in know when, or where, God’s Divine appointments will appear. business, politics, or sports, that doesn’t mean that they should Until we breathe our last breath, we need to be seeking how automatically be the goal of who we want to be like. Our goal in life should be to be more and more Christ-like every day. Billy God wants to use us to touch His children. We can be the instrument that God will use to put one of his sheep back on the right Graham, during his 99 years of serving God on this Earth, was path. We can be the catalyst that will help tear down the wall quick to point out that all of us, including himself, are sinners; that someone has built between themselves and their Loving we have all fallen short of the glory of God. Even though we Father. All of us need to keep our eyes open for how God wants have fallen short, we still should seek to be as successful as we to use us, and we need to be ready and eager to respond. n can in living a life that is acceptable to God. Throughout our lives we are evaluated by ourselves, bosses, Leo Hellyer is a non-staff pastor with a local church and has been marfriends, spouses, relatives, co-workers, subordinates, and others. ried to his wife Norma for 45 years. The couple volunteered with the Boise We spend a good portion of our lives trying to please others. FamilyLife Ministry Team for 20 years. They are both employed by Boise Trying to meet or exceed the expectations of others. There is Rescue Mission Ministries, Norma at City Light Home for Women & Chiltruly only one evaluation that matters. This is the Bema Judgdren and Leo at River of Life Rescue Mission. Leo is also the President and ment Seat of Christ. This is where we will receive the rewards Chief Firearms Instructor with Helping Hands Firearms Training LLC. If that count, the rewards that we will have for eternity. This is you have questions about Real Man’s Toolbox, or need other assistance, Leo where we will find out how well we did while we were here on may be reached at email@example.com or 208-340-5544.
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6 May / June 2018 | Christian Living
OUTDOORS with Dougherty
Travel to Korea enlightening for teacher By Dan Dougherty God is good! Sometimes He provides an opportunity that takes us to a new level of understanding His awesomeness. In the fall of 2016, Don Armstrong, the Director for Asia and Pacific Region of the Church of God Ministries, was searching for an educator to teach at an English Spiritual Camp in Korea in January 2017. He contacted his old friend, my brother, Pastor Tom. Don and Tom first met in eighth grade in PE when they both sat out of a square dance class. They were both sons of pastors in Caldwell. Don’s father was pastor of the Friends Church and Tom’s pastored the First Church of God. Don’s father would later serve for a time as Tom’s associate in Boise. Don and his wife Caroline would spend 16 years as missionaries in Tanzania, helping build a successful school. After moving back to Boise, Don became Tom’s associate for four and a half years. Following God’s call he became the Regional Director of Ministry for 23 countries. Tom talked to me about possibly doing the camp. God definitely opened my heart for His service, so when Don asked, I accepted. The camp would run for two weeks. I would have to prepare a curriculum and would be teaching about 20 students, ages 12 to 19. Throughout the next couple of months I prepared a curriculum. My wife made arrangements with her work to be able to take vacation and comp time so she could join me. Our church raised funds to pay for our travel. Peggy and I arrived at Incheon International Airport in South Korea on Friday, January 6, 2017. The camp would start the following Monday. Heerak Moon, a youth pastor in Seoul, picked us up. It took awhile for him to find us — the airport was huge. I think you could fit all of Boise’s malls inside it. We were taken to a nice hotel while Heerak went to pick up two missionaries who were coming to help at the camp. Soon we met Vic Viray from the Philippines and Steven Beverly from Sri Lanka. We were provided a good meal at the hotel and settled in for a sound night’s sleep. Next day we were on a fast train from Seoul to the city of Mokpo, a trip of about 200 miles to the southwest tip of the Korean peninsula. Mokpo is a port city of about 600,000 people. It is the site where missionaries first entered Korea and has over 600 churches of various denominations. Looking down on it at night from a hillside area, there are lighted crosses everywhere, most of them green. I enjoyed the train ride. It was fast and smooth. Most people in South Korea live in high-rise apartments in the cities and towns. The countryside had houses and buildings of various sizes surrounded by many kinds of cultivated fields, most of which had been harvested. Rice was the main crop. Other crops produced in South Korea are corn, soybeans, buckwheat, and all kinds of vegetables. Fruit trees and grapevines could be seen growing all across the countryside near the homes, buildings and field boundaries. Small hills covered with pines, conifers, and many varieties of deciduous trees dotted the landscape. Occasionally, between the edge of the forested hills and cropland were cemeteries and shrines. I was impressed that through Seoul and the heavily populated areas to the cultivated farmland, everything was clean and well-maintained.
8 May / June 2018 | Christian Living
The camp was located several miles outside of Mokpo. It had a large three-story building with many classrooms and a cafeteria. It had no central heating. Large portable propane units were wheeled into the rooms being used. Nearby was the dormitory where we and the students stayed. When class started that Monday, Don arrived to work with us. Peggy and Don were a great help in working with the students. We all helped each other. I taught a “Walk through the Bible” course covering creation through the early church. Vic was in charge of the afternoon recreation and games and taught a discipleship course. Steven taught various classes on aspects of Christian living. In the evenings we had a couple of hours to present to the students topics for discussion to help them practice speaking English. They loved the pictures of Idaho landscape, Idaho outdoor recreation (winter and summer), and hunting in Idaho. They especially liked the hunting pictures; there is nothing to hunt in Korea. The picture of Peggy with her gun and whitetail deer was a big hit. They also found the pictures of wolves fascinating. One boy asked what a wolf tasted like. That became a joke. Sometimes in line in the cafeteria you could hear the students speaking in Korean, then the word “wolf ” and laughing. I was very impressed with the students’ diligence in their classwork. They all had a Korean to English translator on their phones. We usually spent 10-13 hours a day with them, and they did everything you asked of them — they were a teacher’s dream. The students went home on Friday for the weekend, and we were taken to spend the weekend in a nice hotel on the bay near a bridge. It had an American food buffet. As I was walking back to our table with my breakfast Saturday morning, an
elderly, gray-haired Korean man wearing a baseball cap came up to me. He asked, “You American?” I answered, “Yes.” He said, “Where from?” I said, “Idaho.” With a puzzled look he repeated, “Idaho?” I said, “West, near California, Oregon.” He nodded. I thought, “What’s going on?” as I saw tears running down his cheeks. He said, “I want to thank you for all the American boys who died to save Korea.” He bowed and walked off. The next morning we waited for our ride to take us to church. The lobby was crowded because of an upcoming wedding. Through the crowd on a bench near the window I saw the elderly man waving his hat at me. He proceeded through the people with a grin. As he neared he loudly asked, “Where do you find Jesus?” Seeing our confused faces, he repeated it. Tapping our chests we said, “Heart!” With a huge, beaming smile he said, “Yes, yes! I Christian. I follow Jesus!” He bowed, turned, and walked away. On our way back to camp Sunday evening, we heard from the pastors on how excited the students were to be going back to camp and how much they shared and learned. We were pleasantly surprised; they had been somewhat reserved the first week. The second week was much different. They were quite animated. Many times during each day one of the girls would shout out, “Peggy, Peggy, I love you!” or “Teacher, teacher, I love you!” On Friday as camp concluded, parents came to lunch and picked up their kids. We had a rewarding time meeting the parents. Pastor Moon, Heerak’s father, was pastor of one of
the churches in Mokpo. He introduced us to an elderly lady with a cane and big smile. He told us she was one of the key financial backers of the camp. He went on to say that she had been saving money for years to have knee replacement, but hearing about a need to build a church in the Philippines, she donated her money to build the church. He concluded by telling us she told him that she could get around with her crutch, but the people in the Philippines needed a church to know and love Jesus and not go to hell. I came home with with a great appreciation for the church in Korea. They give more money for the missions of lands in their region than our own U.S. churches. Almost 60 percent of Koreans claim Christianity as their religion. We took part in several different church services, and all the services were very charismatic. Everyone was active and involved. They all sang, and sang loud, even if some were not good at it. In commenting to an old retired Korean pastor on their enthusiasm, he said, “Everybody can do something. Listen to little voice in head. God tell you!” I thank God for the experience. I pray that we will listen and not be spectators but participants, truly understanding what worship is. n Dan Dougherty is a retired school teacher.
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Christian Living | May / June 2018 9
Paradox of intimacy: separate yet connected other. Interestingly, in working through our Gary Moore We all have a deep desire and longing for hurts, we deepen our love. intimacy. And at the same time, we all have a Marriage is that strange and puzzling reladeep fear of intimacy. Intimacy is basically a tionship in which, paradoxically, we need to paradox. It builds both separateness and conseek comfort from the very person who has nectedness. been party to our hurting. If we cannot share The only way I can be intimate with my our hurt feelings and allow the one who has spouse is if I’m truly being myself and she is hurt us to comfort us, we are endangering the truly being herself. Our intimacy increases as whole relationship. When we have hurt each I’m able to become more fully who I am and other, we must also be the agents of healing. she is able to become more fully who she is. Going outside the relationship for healing is a We’ve all heard it said that in marriage, the temporary process at best. two become one. The follow-up joke has always The feelings of fear, pain, hurt, anger and the been, “Which one?” It usually only takes a few anxiety about further hurt all need to be shared months for it to become obvious which one. if the relationship is to grow. The natural tempLaura Perls, one of the founders of Gestalt Gary Moore tation is to ventilate these feelings in complaints psychotherapy, said, “In a traditional confluent about the past or in predictions and expectamarriage, the spouse is not a significant other but an insignifitions about the future. Doing so only intensifies the hurt and cant same.” This is a description of many marriages where drives the two people farther apart, positionally, while enmeshpersonal identity is lost in the merger. “Two people can either ‘marry’ or they can ‘join’. When people ‘join’, the separateness ing them emotionally. Intimacy is the sharing of hurt feelings, the acceptance of between them is ever present.” the one who is hurting and the working through of the hurt True intimacy is found by linking not forging. Intimacy, paradoxical as it seems, is increased by our recognition of separate- that lies between us. Deeper intimacy cannot be achieved only by sharing the positive and bonding experiences. If there is no ness, not by our denial of it. resolution of negative and alienating elements in a relationHere are at least three paradoxical aspects of intimacy: ship, there is no growth. All admiration and adulation does not create intimacy, it nourishes fantasy. n 1. A person needs to be separate in order to be close. 2. The ones we love have the greatest power to hurt us. Gary Moore is currently a part-time staff member at Cloverdale Church 3. We must seek comfort and healing from those we hurt and of God in charge of Adult Education. He’s served as associate pastor who hurt us. Strange as it may sound, these three paradoxes are central to there for the past 11 years. He’s principal of .003 Coaching, providing intimate marriage. They are the puzzles of closeness, crisis and life coaching, couples’ coaching and business coaching locally and around the country. He also does a weekly radio program on KBXL 94.1FM on reconciliation. Only separate selves are intimate together. In order for one to be close to one’s partner, one must become his Fridays at 8:45 a.m. called Life Point Plus. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. or her own separate self. Separation and togetherness are usually thought of as an either/or situation, but that is false; they are best understood as a both/and situation. We are both becoming more separate selves with a clear sense of identity and we are both able to come together without fear or reservation. So distinctness and connectedness, union and separation, twoness and oneness, both self-identity and marital unity are central to intimacy. Family therapist Carl Whitaker has written, “As two people live together…then they grow closer together and farther apart Tuesdays at 7:00 am at the same rate. This is a weird kind of business, but the closer they get, the more separate they are. If they don’t grow more Wild West Bakery and Espresso separate, they can’t grow closer. If they can’t increase their 83 E. State Street, Eagle individuality, they can’t increase their oneness…” As I become more and more at peace with myself, my fears Questions call: (208) 841-7899 of being absorbed, exposed, attacked, or abandoned go down. My confidence that I can safely and freely be my whole self in your presence rises and grows. It’s then that I can risk being Thursdays at Noon spontaneous — not knowing what will come out but trusting it all the same. Original Pancake House Intimacy is the courage to be vulnerable, the necessary strength to be weak together. Being vulnerable, as one fallible 5900 W Fairview Ave, Boise human with another, means that hurts are inevitable but not Questions call: (208) 859-6038 irreparable. We will be hurt by each other if we live with each
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10 May / June 2018 | Christian Living
Faithful fathers pray, provide and protect Shame can only be healed by grace. A father By Dan Woodworth who experiences grace feels: “I’m enough. I have Sunday, June 17, 2018 is Father’s Day this year. what it takes. I will make it. That means that I America typically places much more emphasis on have enough love, acceptance and value of myMother’s Day than Father’s Day. I want to focus self and then others.” on Father’s Day because we are losing fathers in My father was a faithful father. He loved my our secular communities and our church commother and he loved me and my two younger munities. sisters. His father was an unfaithful father. He Statistics prove that fatherless homes create was an alcoholic because of his shame. If shame many more youth suicides, runaways, anger disis not healed by grace, an unfaithful father will orders and dropouts from schools. I believe the medicate his pain with money, sex, alcohol or main cause of fatherless homes is shame. drugs to relieve the torment. I define shame as “character assassination.” My father saw the behavior of his unfaithful A father who experiences shame feels: “I’m not father as a young boy and made a determined enough. I don’t have what it takes. I won’t make decision that he would be a faithful father. I was it.” What does this mean? It means, “I don’t have his best friend. He took me everywhere he could. Dan Woodworth enough love, acceptance and value of myself, or He took me out hunting for doves in Hawaii of others.” when I was 4 years old. The .410 shotgun knocked me down Why does he feel that way? Because he experienced an emoand I started crying. He gently picked me up and showed me tionally absent, abusive, neglectful or physically absent father. Our Loving Lord created us to look to our fathers as role models how to do it again. He always let me have the first shot when we were out hunting or fishing. I remember one trip when we went until we are mature enough emotionally to look to our Father in out mountain goat hunting on the Pahsimeroi River in eastern heaven. Idaho. He let me use his more powerful rifle and wanted me to These fathers are unfaithful because they cannot possibly be faithful without grace. They need faithful fathers or other faithful take the first shot. It was a long 600-yard shot. The goat was so far away that I had to use the scope on the rifle to see it. It was a men to show them how to be a faithful father. Or they must be miracle shot that dropped the goat. My dad could not believe it. so determined that they will not be like their unfaithful father. Continued on page 13
Christian Living | May / June 2018 11
How links in life turn into testimonies By Jim Day
Editor’s note: In this article, the author shares his personal God Dots story and invites others to share theirs with him. This will be an ongoing column in which we will share the best of the best God Dot stories submitted. At the end of the article is an email address where you may send your personal story. I love to talk to people about their “God dots.” In case you are not sure what a God dot is, I’ll explain. A God dot can be a person or an event, but it changes you and brings you closer to God. God dots are those intersections in our lives where God brings just the right person or causes the right things to occur that could impact our walk with Jesus in a Jim Day profound way. I’ll give you an example. Paul is a person that is a serious God dot for me. Years ago, my wife and I lived across the street from Paul and his family. Paul was kind of annoying. He was always so happy. Humming or whistling or even singing, and every time he saw me, he would wave and shout, “Hi neighbor!” Kind of like Ned Flanders from “The Simpsons.” If you’ve never watched “The Simpsons,” well, never mind. Let’s just say that after a while, Paul grated on my nerves. One day my wife, Cindy, asked if I would be okay with her going to church with Paul and his wife, whose name is also Cindy. I told her that I was fine with that, but I wasn’t going to join them, ever. I thought of myself as a believer but had been burned by a church. The story goes like this... I started with this church when I was 19. It was a church plant, and I was one of the first 20 people to commit to it as a member. At the time, I drank and smoked and loved to party. But when I heard the preacher at this particular church, I knew I had to change. I poured myself into the church, and when the time and finances came, I worked like a mad man to build its first building, taking extended time off from my job to do whatever was needed and giving money to the point of neglecting my own family. I would have followed that preacher in an attack on hellfire with an empty water bucket. When our building was completed, this preacher announced that he was leaving, that God had called him to plant churches and this one was firmly planted. His work was done and he needed to move on. Although he was a God dot in my life, he was leaving. I had quit drinking and partying but could not shake my nicotine habit. The new pastor came, and after about three weeks, he called to me as I was leaving one Sunday. He said, “Brother Day, I understand that the demon nicotine has a hold on you!” I replied that I didn’t know it was a demon, but I had an addiction. He insisted on “praying the demon off of me” and I left, a little embarrassed but determined to quit. I made it through Wednesday evening, but had a tough day Thursday and by Sunday, well, let’s just say that I couldn’t do it. I went to church that day and tried to sneak out by the side door; but before I had gone more than a few steps towards the parking lot, I heard the pastor’s voice behind me. “Brother Day, how are you holding up against that demon nicotine?” he asked. I confessed that I had relapsed.
12 May / June 2018 | Christian Living
He said, “What you lack is motivation and trust in the Lord. If you can’t quit by next Sunday, don’t come back!” I was stunned. Didn’t he know how much I loved that church? How could he be so mean? Had no one told him how hard I had worked, how dedicated I was? He told me that I was a hypocrite and that there was no room in his church for hypocrisy. To say the least, I was crushed. I swore off of organized religion. I still loved Jesus but refused to set foot in another church. Now, here was Paul, inviting my wife to his church. Well, I wasn’t going to hold her back. But for some strange reason, Paul got the idea that he should ask me every Saturday if I wanted to go to church. (It probably wasn’t every Saturday, but it sure felt like it.) At first, I was polite. But, after awhile, I got a little rude. One Saturday, I was working on my truck in the driveway. A bolt broke and I was cursing a blue streak, my knuckles bleeding, when I heard Paul’s voice. “Hi neighbor, saw you out here working on your truck and thought I would take the opportunity to ask if you might want to come to church with us tomorrow.” Slowly, I turned around, blood dripping from my knuckles, and for whatever reason said, “Sure Paul, I’ll come to your blankity blank church tomorrow, but then you leave me the blankity blank alone!” As he retreated to his side of the road, it dawned on me what I had just done. Now, I would have to go to his church, once. The next day, Cindy and I went to church. The preacher spoke as if he had intimate knowledge about my life. I was so mad by the end of the sermon that I raced out the door to our car. I could just picture Cindy and Paul and Cindy sitting with the pastor and telling him all about me. How could she do that to me? How could my own wife tell that preacher all about my shortcomings and struggles? Who else knew? Had she told everyone? When she got to the car, I let her have it! After I finished, she tearfully looked me in the eye and told me that I had it wrong. That preacher didn’t know anything about me. Nobody had told him anything. It still took me a few days to cool off, but we went back the next Sunday. Again, his sermon spoke to my heart, but this time I was ready to receive it. I realized that pride had prevented me from fellowship. Within a year, Cindy and I were serving as leaders in the youth group and God blessed it tremendously. Paul and Cindy became dear friends of ours, and years later Paul said that God would press him to invite me. He told me that he would argue with God over it. He was having an argument with God the day I busted my knuckles on that old truck. He told God that he would ask me “one more time” and that was it. Folks, that’s a God dot! And He has blessed me with many, many more. I would love to hear your God dot story. Please email your story to email@example.com. Be blessed! n Jim Day graduated from Meridian High School. He spent 25 years working as a pipefitter. He has been married to his wife Cindy for 31 years, and the couple has two children and seven grandchildren.
Faithful fathers Continued from page 11 When I was about to enter my freshman year up at the University of Idaho in September of 1969, he went and talked to the fraternity brothers at the Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) fraternity. He was an ATO at Oregon State University. He convinced them to pledge me because I was too shy to do it myself. He loved my wife, Irene, just as if he were her biological father. Our Lord lived through him to heal her of her “father wound.” She was able to forgive her biological father. He came to live with us for nine months during the last year and a half of his life. They were perfectly restored with each other. I have hundreds of other stories I remember. The last story I will never forget happened four days before he went to heaven. It was Irene’s birthday, July 8, 2001. I was talking to him on the phone. He told me, “Dan, I love you. I’m proud of who you are!” Those were the last words I heard from my father. He made a perfect trip to heaven with no pain on July 12, 14 days before his 79th birthday. My faithful father prayed, provided and protected me until I was strong enough to do the same as a father. He knew how to pray. He knew how to provide spiritual, emotional and physical provision and protection. He taught me how to be loving, gracious, merciful and compassionate. At his funeral he received many letters from people all over the world who shared stories of him helping them. He found ways to give scholarships to young people and help their dreams come true. A couple of years before he went to heaven, he told me that he had no regrets and that all of his dreams had come true. He left a living legacy for me and many others that will last forever. Because of his modeling to me of how to be a faithful father, I have become a faithful father. I know how to be a spiritual, emotional and physical provider and protector to our spectacular son,
Chris. Friends, the key to success of being a faithful father is consistency, not perfection. If you are a father, pray and obey. Learn to trust our Father in heaven. He is perfect and He cannot make a mistake. As we allow our Father in heaven to provide and protect us, He will always do it. When you make a mistake, ask our Father to help you so that you will learn your lesson. The only time we really fail is when we quit and give up. Keep going! Don’t quit! Listen to His Living Words in Deuteronomy 31:6 in The Message: Be strong! Take courage! Don’t be intimidated! Don’t give them a second thought! I am your Living Lord! I’m striding ahead of you! I’m right here with you! I won’t let you down! I won’t leave you! Also, listen to Him in Psalm 91:14 in The Message: If you’ll hold onto me for dear life, I’ll get you out of any trouble! If you have or had an abusive, neglectful, emotionally absent or physically absent father, ask and thank our Father in heaven to lead you to a man who knows how to pray, provide and protect to heal your “father wound.” Our Father in heaven is the Perfect, Faithful Father. We must look to Him to learn how to be a faithful father or how to relate to Him if we ourselves need a faithful father. Faithful fathers pray, provide and protect! n Dr. Dan Woodworth earned his Doctor of Ministry (DMin) degree from the King’s University in Los Angeles in 2009. His passion is to encourage and empower people with the transforming power of hope and healing to become all they are created to be. He and his beautiful bride, Irene, have planted three churches. They are in the process of creating a cross/cultural, cross/generational healing community solving pressing problems in Boise and beyond. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Christian Living | May / June 2018 13
SHE comes with claws
The good and bad of inner ‘mama bear’
By Janet Lund Hello, there! “Joyful” and “difficult” are words that best describe my daughter’s birth. We were so excited for the arrival of our miracle baby. But, “Whoa, Nelly!” Her 9 lb. 7¼ ounces was a bit much for my small frame. There were some scary moments. Her heart rate started going up after multiple attempts to assist her arrival. Once I heard the words “neo-natal” whispered from the OB-GYN to a nurse, I found a whole new gear. This baby was going to arrive NOW! We weren’t going to the urgent-care delivery ward if I could help it. My inner mama bear had emerged. This strong, protective creature inside awoke and was ready to protect my cub. “Roar!” The awakening of your mama bear is part of the process of becoming a mom. She arrives with claws at the ready! A mama bear’s job is to keep her cub safe. But this job is one that evolves as her cub matures. She can’t forever guard the entrance of her cave. Mama must let her cub go outside and explore. Just like you, mom. As your child grows and matures, your mama skills must grow and evolve too.
Mama Bear Insight #1
When your child enters the pre-teen and teenage years, she wants to explore like never before. This may cause your fur to stand up, but you must pause and be mindful. If you aren’t aware of your thoughts, your anxiety will churn up your mama bear. Being afraid makes you reactive. Which in turn makes your teen pull away. Your overprotective mama bear can cause your cub to react, get angry, and take risks.
14 May / June 2018 | Christian Living
That’s why it is so important to grow your relational skills for parenting your teen. If you don’t, you will find your mama bear running wild…and your cub running away. Learning the tools necessary to become confident and calm will help tame your mama bear. Here are some basics to get you started. Use your: 1) ears to listen quietly 2) eyes to observe body language 3) mouth to ask open-ended and neutral questions 4) teeth to daintily bite your tongue, allowing your cub to speak freely 5) arms for hugs when they are desired 6) paws for high-fives to cheer them on It takes time, effort, and support to build up your skills, but it is so worth the work.
Mama Bear Insight #2
When you are anxious, your mama bear complicates your relationships with those who want to support you (spouse, teachers, coaches, pastors, community leaders, etc.). 1) Your anxiety keeps you from listening well. 2) You jump to conclusions and make assumptions. 3) Your fear handicaps your ability to think clearly. 4) You growl instead of asking neutral clarifying questions. 5) You swipe at your allies instead of giving them a high-five. When I did youth ministry, anxious moms would angrily unload on me. They lost sight of the fact that I was on their side. It became clear that these moms were swiping at their kids at home, too. Doing this made their situations more complicated. A mama bear must be tamed, otherwise her insecurity causes her to growl at everyone.
Mama Bear Insight #3
How to tame your mama bear: 1) Get equipped with parenting tools to nurture your maturing cub. 2) Get support from friends. 3) Get connected with teachers, pastors, counselors, a relational coach. 4) Get on your knees. Invite God into your life and your relationship with your child every day. 5) Get bathed in God’s Word Janet Lund daily, read devotional materials, and listen to Christian music. Being a mom can be difficult, but you don’t have to do it alone. In fact, you can’t do it alone very well. Tame your mama bear. Invite God on your journey. Get the support you need. Equip. Empower. Enjoy. Mom Keep Calm. n Janet Lund is a relationship coach who specializes in nurturing the bond between moms and their teen/pre-teen daughters. She leads moms through coaching, speaking, and songwriting. Janet has spoken and performed in Canada, the United States, and Norway. Follow her on facebook.com/ momkeepcalm and visit her website momkeepcalm.com for parenting tools and words of support to be a calm mom.
Christian Living | May / June 2018 15
FIREWORKS, music and messages
52nd Annual God and Country Festival 2018 By Naomi Hardenbrook and Sandy Jones For the past 51 years, the God and Country Festival has brought entertainment, fireworks and, most importantly, the gospel message to the Treasure Valley. Speakers and acts in the past have ranged from local church gospel groups, including Idaho State Supreme Court Justice Daniel Eismann, and recording artists such as Phillips, Craig and Dean, Mark Schultz, Point of Grace, Needtobreathe, The Afters, and Idaho’s own Ryan Stevenson. A non-denominational event, this year’s 52nd Annual God and Country Festival will again be held at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa.
16 May / June 2018 | Christian Living
Normally held the Wednesday before the Fourth of July, this year’s festival is breaking with tradition and will be held on Tuesday, June 26. Admission is free; however, the Ford Idaho Center does charge $5 to park (these funds go for lot improvement and help to cover the cost of traffic guidance at the close of the event). Gates open at 4 p.m. and everyone is encouraged to come early for best seat selection. A night of family-friendly fun — including the Treasure Valley’s largest fireworks show, military appreciation, civic awards, food and fellowship — it’s a great time to invite friends and neighbors to come along. This year’s featured speaker is Nick Vujicic, an evangelist who has shared his message of hope to over 6 million people in 63 countries. He shares how his faith, which is rooted in the Lord Jesus Christ, changed his life forever, and connects well with all ages but especially well with kids and teens. Emphatic about the war on bullying, Nick is the Founder, President and CEO of Life Without Limbs, a nonprofit organization whose mission is “to cross boundaries and break down barriers, to build bridges that bring people to the love and hope found in Jesus Christ” (from lifewithoutlimbs.org). Christian musical group Unspoken joins Nick on this year’s stage. The group’s hits include “Higher” and “Start a Fire.” According to the website at unspokenmusic.com: “When you ask the guys in Unspoken what it is that their audiences most connect with, they’ll bring it down to a single word. It’s a word that doesn’t have much to do with the unapologetically soulful pop sound they’ve built of skilled musicianship, adventurous production and complex vocal harmonies. It’s transparency. ‘People just relate better to somebody who has been broken and redeemed,’ Mike Gomez notes, ‘than to someone who pretends to have it all together. What we say from the stage and what we say in our songs, they’re not stories from somebody we heard about. Our songs are written out of places we’ve been and places we are.”’ Plan to stay to the end of the festival so as to not miss this year’s fireworks display, which is produced by Fireworks America with musical accompaniment played over the radio so all of the Treasure Valley can enjoy the grand finale of the evening. On its website at godandcountryfestival.com, there is this bit of history: “The God and Country Festival began during a movement organized by western actor Chuck Connors during the sixties to promote our country’s founding ideals and faith in God. Nampa held its first rally back in 1967. When the event moved to the Idaho Center in 2000, the name was changed from ‘God and Country Rally’ to ‘God and Country Festival.’” Be sure to save the date — you won’t want to miss this fantastic event! n
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Christian Living | May / June 2018 17
Poor health isn’t always obvious first time with a health problem or concern that By Rosie Main is, unfortunately, usually minimally chronic. Thousands of Americans die of heart attacks This means their health has been deteriorating each year and the heart attack itself is their first for a while before consulting us. Well, here are sign of disease. Statistically, in cases of fatal the attributes of the different levels of health heart attacks, the fatal heart attack was the very priority: first symptom in over 40 percent of the male 1. Addicted: continuously looks for and adds population. self-destructive choices. Think about it… Have you ever had a friend 2. Binges: makes occasional destructive lifestyle who was feeling great, had a PAP smear, a decisions, is in denial. mammogram or a chest x-ray and was given 3. Unconscious: doesn’t know a healthy choice bad news several days later? Cancer doesn’t from an unhealthy one. develop in just a few days and yet they were 4. Tolerates poor health, thinks “maybe it will feeling well. go away.” Do you know someone who has diabetes? You 5. Seeks treatment only when there’s a problem. know that as long as they are taking a proper 6. Open to prevention of future health probquantity of insulin, they have no symptoms and Rosie Main lems. feel great. Meanwhile the disease continues to 7. Makes effort to maintain a healthy lifestyle. ravage their body over time, producing circulatory problems, 8. Consciously works at being healthy, makes healthy choices. nerve system disorders, kidney damage, and eventually blind9. Occasionally looking for and adding constructive, healthy ness. lifestyle changes. You can’t wait until symptoms develop before you decide to 10. Continuously looking for and adding constructive, healthy maintain or regain health… It might be too late. lifestyle changes. God made our body a self-healing organism, and our nerThere is a distinct chiropractic view of health, that health vous system is what is responsible for the healing in our body. is much more than just how you feel; it’s how you function In fact, our nervous system controls the function of every cell, tissue and organ in our body and coordinates them together so and express yourself. Health is a state in which your body can express 100 percent of your human potential, 100 percent of that our body works in perfect harmony. your human spirit, and where your cells, tissues, organs, and True health is not how we feel. A person could have cancer systems are functioning 100 percent, 100 percent of the time. or heart disease and feel great, yet obviously be in very poor God put an inborn intelligence in all living things health. We know that true health is our body functhat naturally gives us our instincts and infortioning at 100 percent, 100 percent of the mation to survive, thrive, and adapt in this time. It is important to make the connecever-changing world. It’s the expression tion that health is “optimal function,” of this inborn intelligence through and it’s our nervous system that our nerve system that allows our controls that function. Therefore, in body to perform at 100 percent. order for you to have true health, Your God-given life is an your nervous system must be expression of this intelligence able to control and coordinate through your body. The quality the function of every cell, tissue of your life is indeed directly and organ without interference. proportional to the ability of The brain and spinal cord are your nervous system to express connected to every cell, tissue this intelligence through your and organ via our spinal nerve body without interference to system. this process. The central nerve system How well is your nervous is composed of three types of system performing? I have always nerves. been and always will be about • Sensory nerves: These nerves restoring health and wellness to the tell our brain what is happening in body, in creating well-being, improving our internal and external environment. quality of life, and improving your perfor• Motor nerves: These nerves control mance at every level. Have your family checked and coordinate muscles. for interference to their nervous system today. • Autonomic nerves: These nerves control and The Power that made the body, heals the body. n coordinate organs, blood vessels and glands. When asked, most people respond that their health is very Rosie Main, DC, owns Main Health Solutions at 2300 W. Everest important to them. When pressed for a number, the answer Lane, Suite 175, in Meridian. She is also the host of Maximized Living is almost always a 7 or higher. How about you? How would Radio on 94.1 The Voice and KIDO 580 AM. For more information, you rate the importance you’ve placed on your health up until visit MaximizedLivingDrMain.com. now? Now remember, most people come to our office for the
18 May / June 2018 | Christian Living
‘Scripture lite’ can’t replace God’s Word By Bethany Riehl I love me a good meme. I mean, who doesn’t, right? Well, my husband, for one. But he’s not on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter so, I mean, does he even exist? That’s a debate for another day. Today we’re talking about memes. Or more accurately, what I like to call Meme Christianity. There is a meme for everything these days. Exercise, weight loss, politics, parenting. (Oh, so many parenting memes.) As a Christian woman, a homeschooling mother, and a Christian fiction author, the memes that come across my social feeds most often are of the inspirational variety. Verses artfully scripted over tangerine sunsets and magnificent crashing waves, sound bites of Bethany wisdom in bold font on azure backdrops. Shareable, likeable, loveable memes. But is it enough? Sure, scripture is coming across my path in this way on a daily basis, and some nice thoughts are flying by even more frequently than the verses. But can this form of Christianity truly aid me, you, us in our walk with the Lord? Recently I saw a meme on an Instagram feed that was pretty and it sounded good, but before I could like it, I stopped and read the words. Really read them. It said that any feelings of inadequacy and doubt we may have are never from God.
I’m not entirely sure I agree with that. I sent it to a trusted friend and asked her what she thought. She answered me with something so profound that I have mulled it over ever since. “You know what? Christianity is more meme-based than Bible-based these days,” she said. It scares me how right she is. And I wonder if this kind of thinking is the root of the problem. Our feeds are full of happy little things like this, filling us all up on a goopy train of self-love in the name of Christianity. Why isn’t what He did enough without adding accolades for ourselves to it? I was privileged to be raised in a godly home with parents who were in the Word daily. When Riehl I asked my dad for advice, he usually answered me with a Bible verse. As a teen that drove me crazy, but those are the seeds that sunk down into the soft parts of my heart and grew into the fruit that nourishes me now. Now that I am an adult, it’s my pleasure to be in the Word every day and to study it inductively. Through study I’ve seen plenty of times that people rightfully doubted themselves and faced their inadequacies. God didn’t correct them. Rather, He assured them of His adequacy. Continued on page 23
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Christian Living | May / June 2018 19
Peter Making the best Vasquez
Peter Vasquez built a replica of the high security, solitary confinement prison cell he once spent 4½ years in. Today, as founder of Second Chance Grace, he takes the cell around to show others what life in prison is like. (Courtesy photo) Right: Peter was a violent gang member in his youth. (Courtesy photo) Bottom right: Peter Vasquez (Steve Jones)
By Gaye Bunderson “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly...” — 1 Timothy 1:12-14 Peter Vasquez has undergone a full-scale life remodel, with help from the ultimate Carpenter. A hard-core gang member in his youth, Vasquez spent time in California’s San Quentin State Prison and 4½ years in solitary confinement in the California State Prison-Corcoran SHU or Security Housing Units. The units are “the most high security, restricted cells in California’s prison system.”* To make it into the SHU, an inmate has to be part of a dangerous prison gang and a high threat to other prisoners. Peter Vasquez fit the profile. Look at some of the photos taken of him during those years and you see a tough guy, a violent guy. But ask Vasquez to describe himself now, years later at age 47, and he says, “I’m the little ladybug from California.” He’s been rebuilt from the ground up by his Savior, and he lives every minute of his life now to tell his story to others. “I got saved in a prison cell,” he said, “in the same place where they’d send Charles Manson.”
20 May / June 2018 | Christian Living
Sirhan-Sirhan, Robert F. Kennedy assassin, also spent time at Corcoran. Vasquez said no one was allowed to visit residents of the SHU; it was a cold existence. His feelings toward God were very negative. His earthly father had been a prisoner — Vasquez only saw him once in his life. A stepfather had been an abuser. Vasquez grew angrier and angrier over what he calls “the heartache” of his life. “My dad was the founder of a notorious gang. I had love for the father I never knew, but I hated God. I flipped off the sky in anger toward God,” Vasquez said. But the Holy Spirit is able to penetrate prison walls and prisoner hearts. A friend of his father’s managed to get a prison Bible to Vasquez, a special edition written specifically for inmates and titled, “Free on the Inside.” The friend, named Julio, wrote in the Bible, “I hope you find the peace I have found in Christ Jesus.” Vasquez didn’t read the Bible right off. “I hated myself,” he said. “I thought, ‘Who am I? What am I here for?’ My nickname was Sniper. Here I was in a wicked, evil place. You could feel the evil.” But one day, out of the blue a fellow inmate at the SHU yelled, “John 14:6!” Just like that. No other words. “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”
of his second chance Vasquez picked up his Bible and found the verse, and after reading it, he said he fell to his knees, verbally spewed out his sins and asked God for forgiveness. It was a deeply spiritual moment of grace and salvation, as well as the beginning of the softening of a very hardened man. “When I met God, He became the most beautiful thing in my life,” said Vasquez. “I’m still on fire now, just as I was then.” Vasquez came to Idaho in 2004 to attend a school operated by the Idaho Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired. He suffers from retinitis pigmentosa and is legally blind. He cannot drive, and yet he travels frequently. At one point in his life, he prayed to God for a wife, even giving Him specifications for the kind of wife he needed. That included someone to join him in his work — not just to drive him around but to be a full-time partner in his ministry. Amazingly, God chose for him a woman who, at the time of the couple’s first meeting, was not even saved. But Christine is everything Vasquez prayed for. In a story full of incredible twists and turns, Mrs. Vasquez became a strong believer — in both God and the work of the man she married. “I’m not with him just as a wife but as a supporter,” she said. Looking proudly at his co-partner in life and ministry, Vasquez said, “That’s my prayer warrior.” At present, it’s a powerful but small ministry, which they named Second Chance Grace. “The ministry is just me and my wife,” Vasquez said. But the strength of their mutual commitment to each other and to the Lord cannot be understated. Vasquez frequently speaks for free whenever he’s asked because the work is so important to him. “It hurts; I’ve got to support my family. But I still do it. I do it because it’s my heart,” he said. “We don’t have any money, but
when I speak for free, I speak like I’m getting paid. It’s a hard way to live, but we trust the Lord.” He has some donors who support him and an occasional job speaking in schools. He isn’t allowed to say “Jesus” in secular schools, but he instructs the students on “what to say ‘yes’ to and what to say ‘no’ to.” He said it’s challenging because “what works for me is Christ — but I can’t say ‘Christ’.” So he stands as an example of what can be overcome in life and how a person can be transformed to contribute to the betterment of society. He speaks once a month at church services at Idaho Juvenile Corrections, the Idaho State Correctional Institution, and the Idaho State Correctional Center. He also holds a church service for women on work release. “I want them to parole with a Bible in their hands, to parole with faith,” he said. “Helping people parole that way is better for the community and better for the ex-prisoner.” When he speaks one-on-one with prisoners or parolees, he gives them his full attention. He’ll stay as long as they need him. An example of Christine’s commitment is that she frequently waits for him outside in their vehicle, for as long as it takes, so she can drive him home. And she usually waits with the couple’s daughter, a toddler named Danisia Agape. Vasquez has been asked by professors at both Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario and the College of Idaho in Caldwell to speak to students whose career paths will lead them to places where they will encounter people turned bitter by their experiences. He speaks about the difficulty of growing up with an absent parent who’s incarcerated, and living in a household with an abuser. “It gives them an understanding of dysfunction and how it affects you,” Vasquez said. He built an exact replica of the cell he lived in at Corcoran, and he takes it around for young people to look at as an object lesson of what to avoid. “Kids are very visual,” he said, explaining his motivation for building the cell — it’s a warning of what a miscreant life can lead to. The ministry also includes tattoo removal. The Vasquezes work with board-certified family nurse practitioner Gia Swope, or Dr. Ink-Off, and ERMA (Eagle River Medical Aesthetics). Vasquez still wears the tattoos of his past life because, he said, board members of his nonprofit, Second Chance Grace Inc., told him to leave them on for credibility with convicts. “They all open up to him,” Christine said. The couple feels the Lord has even bigger plans for the ministry, possibly taking it national and allowing Vasquez to speak throughout the country. He likes to use colorful phrases in his presentations, such as: “Try Jesus for a week or a month, and if it doesn’t work, Satan will give you back your misery.” He seeks to comfort, strengthen, encourage, and leave people with a sense of hope, he said. He’s done the work for 12 years and has spoken to thousands already. One of his favorite scriptures is 1 Timothy 1:12-14 about a violent man saved by God’s love. He’s not only read it. He’s lived it. n For more information, go to www.2ndchancegrace.org. *https://www.scpr.org/news/2013/10/08/39613/inside-corcoranstate-prisons-security-housing-uni/
Christian Living | May / June 2018 21
WHEN He asks
Jesus is willing … but are you? Now let’s turn the tables. How often does By RM Drury Once again, I reflect on a dearly loved, very, Jesus ask us to do simple things like smile at a very short story found in the book of Mark, stranger, give a little money to a cause, volChapter 1 about a life changed forever. unteer in church, feed a homeless person, or Jesus had a very busy life. In his short minmake a phone call? Are you willing? Someistry He spent the majority of His time, with times, He asks hard things, like become a people, teaching, healing, and listening, always missionary, give up your home and go live on with compassion and love. (Well, except that the streets to minister there, walk away from one time with the Pharisees, oh and the time your job and trust Him with your future. Are in the Temple. He was not too happy that day.) Anyway, this one little story says so much you willing? Share the gospel. Are you willing? about who Jesus was. One day, a man with Pray. Are you willing? Be kind. Are you willleprosy tracked Jesus down and begged Jesus ing? Love your neighbor. Are you willing? on bended knee to heal him. The man said, Have faith. Believe. Trust. Surrender. Are RM Drury “If You are willing, you can make me clean.” you willing? (Mark 1:40) Are you? “If You are willing?” “If You are willing?” This was Jesus I am so very glad that Jesus was willing to go to the cross for he was talking to. Jesus the teacher, Jesus the healer, Jesus the me and for all mankind. I am so very glad He willingly loved lover of all men, women and children, Jesus friend to sinners. I wonder... did this man doubt that Jesus would help me though I was unlovable. him? No, I don’t think so. I think the man with leprosy was He asks so little of us in comparison. I am willing to serve speaking from a place of faith. I think he was saying, “I know Him all the days of my life! Are you? You can make me clean. If You just speak the words or will What is Jesus asking of you today? Are you willing? n it to be so, it will be.” I think the man’s words meant, “If You want to, I believe You can heal me.” Roxanne Drury is a wife, mother, grandmother and retired Christian And so, “Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out His preschool teacher with a Certificate of Achievement in Early Childhood hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ He said. ‘Be Education from Moorpark College. She is a former insurance executive clean!’ Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.” (Mark 1: 41, 42) The man’s life was changed forever because and trainer. She has served the Lord for over 40 years in a church setting Jesus was willing. in many capacities, with most of her time spent in children’s ministry. Notice here, Jesus says, “I am willing.” Jesus was saying, “I Her heart is sharing God’s Word and its life application through her blog want to heal you.” The man with leprosy didn’t need to do at thatslifemissroxanne.blogspot.com. anything but ask and Jesus did it.
22 May / June 2018 | Christian Living
Meme Christianity Continued from page 19 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” He told Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9. These days we have no shortage of encouraging memes to remind us of how wonderful we are. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be helping. People still don’t understand the love God has for them, for all humanity. People still hurt — much more, it appears, than ever before. Am I alone in this or is the world bleeding broken people? The more we talk ourselves up, the more we seem to need the pep talks. As backwards as this sounds, perhaps what we need is to realize that we are inadequate. We are weak. Without Christ, we are nothing. It’s vitally important to know this of ourselves. Because the hope we have — the only hope — is in Jesus Christ. He is more than capable. He is stronger than anything we can imagine. He is everything. He is more than enough. Instead of self-promoting sound bites, perhaps we would do better to share in His glory, His power, His sufficiency, which supersedes anything we can offer. Let’s do the hard-to-share-in-a-passing-moment work of digging deep into the Word so that He can plant that Word deep in the soil of our hearts. It’s not quickly shareable on social media, but it’s entirely contagious. Memes will fade. I mean that metaphorically because I’m not a techy gal, but I’m pretty sure digital pictures float around forever. So scratch that... Memes and their moments in our hearts and minds will fade, but the Word of the Lord stands forever. Let’s emulate that. Over and over. Share encouragement with your friends, sure. Embrace that part of the era we’re living in, but not in place of true study of His Word. Meme Christianity can be sweet, but only effective in addition to knowing the very Word of God. n Bethany Riehl loves to write stories and articles that explore the complexities of relationships and encourage readers in their relationship with Jesus. She joyfully serves in the children’s ministry at her church, teaches at a homeschool co-op, and drinks more coffee than necessary to keep up with her only-slightly-crazy life. She is the author of four Christian fiction novels and lives in Kuna with her spunky kids and very handsome hubby.
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Christian Living | May / June 2018 23
More thoughts on ‘Black Crab Syndrome’
By Joel Lund It’s going to be a bumpy ride. In our last column (Jan/Feb 2018), we looked If you’d like to read the full story, you can at how much people can behave like “black find it here: bit.ly/Crampires. For the purposes crabs.” (NOTE: the color of the crab isn’t the of our discussion today, I want to focus on the point, but the behavior is.) Crabs, once they manner in which the people around you — are tossed into a bucket, will routinely drag an READ: the family members and friends you escaping crab back into the bucket with the rest choose to spend most of your time with — may of the captives. be holding you back from fulfilling the purpose Apparently for crabs, it really is preferable to God has called you to. be miserable in the company of others. And so it is, too often, true for people. Therefore it is The 5 Ways that Black Crabs, important to be mindful of who we surround Vampires and Bullies Try to Kill ourselves with. Are they eager to lift us up — Your Purpose like an escaping crab — or happy to have us 1. They presume to know what they are talkshare in their misery? ing about and to possess godlike knowledge...of Joel Lund The bad news is that this behavior is very what’s best for you. common. The great news, however, is that we 2. They feel entitled to tell you whatever is on their mind. can choose to leave. 3. They tear you down with words only intended to inflict the Today, let’s look at what making the choice to leave the most damage, not to enlighten you. bucket can mean. 4. They pretend to care about you so much that…they “couldn’t not tell you.” There Be Trolls 5. They sanctify their hostility by bringing God onto their My paternal grandmother grew up in rural Norway. It was side. common for people of that era to believe that trolls lay hiding Not a fun list, I admit. And the chances are as you read the under the bridges that connected nearby farms. Grandma not list, someone’s face came to your mind’s eye. For that, I apoloonly believed this was true, she claimed to have seen one. Even gize. though she was only 5 feet tall, she was a force of nature, so I chose to remain silent on the matter. As I wrote in “Black Crab Syndrome, Part 1,” What Grandma didn’t live to see is the form trolls have taken …we all have “black crabs” in our lives. Because all of us have people on in our era. Social media has empowered unhappy people to who negatively influence our performance, intentionally inhibit our atbehave like trolls, ruthlessly tearing at others just as captured tempts at success or actively impede our enthusiasm. These people can be crabs do. That’s why they’re called online “trolls.” Often, their intent is clear enough. But sometimes it is veiled. family, friends, or coworkers. For many of us, we have all three types pulling at us, with pinchers snapping disagreeably. If not worse. In a way, just as one crab might latch onto the crab actually restraining an escapee, some people will deliver their hostility But if we don’t recognize these behaviors for what they are, and harm in a way designed to seem helpful. then we can’t identify those folks in our world who are not Especially when their objective is to put others in their place. helping us. This is especially true with family members and And, most regrettably, this is just as true for believers as for close friends. Because of our shared experiences with friends, non-believers. likely over many years or decades, our tendency is to give them a pass. In the case of family, we will almost certainly feel Please Fasten Your Seatbelts… conflicted when we realize that some of them may actually be Smart businesses routinely use surveys to obtain feedback a force against our living out our purpose. and learn what’s working with their audience and what’s not. What then? Can we break away from family? Should we? Is Otherwise, all of the company’s efforts could be misfiring, rest- that even right? ing on a foundation of “hopium.” So, trying to be smart about growing our business, a few Maintenance To Aisle 7! There’s Been A Spill. years ago we sent out a survey to friends and clients of our Yes, we can break away from family. And yes, it is right to do business. We waited for a notification that people were taking so. We are called to do so, in fact, if for no other reason than the survey. No alert came. We finally realized that because we to create a new, independent person or family unit (Gen. 2:24). used the free version of an online survey tool, we wouldn’t reBut there are other reasons. Each of us is gifted by God. ceive alerts when people used it. So I logged onto our account Each of us is unique. One of a kind. Treasured. Bearing the to see if anyone had. fingerprints of our Maker (Romans 11:29, 12:6; 1 Cor. 12:4). Sure enough, people had. Yay! Really good feedback and How are we to live out our purpose, using our gifts, following engagement greeted me. Skimming through the graphical where God leads us, if we allow our family or friends to inhibit analysis, my eye was drawn to the bottom of the page, to the us? To pull us back into their crab pot? comment section. One person had opted to leave a comment This ultimately leads us to an increasingly imperative quesand titled it, “May God continue to bless your efforts!” tion, living in the age of social media trolls: Whose voice Except that’s not what they meant. At. All. will we follow?
24 May / June 2018 | Christian Living
All people are naturally fearful. Our fears repeatedly create messes of our lives, because when we’re in a state of fear, our decision tree is reduced to two choices: fight or flight. We feel vulnerable. Insecure. Ill-equipped. We hold back. We turn away. So to pursue our purpose, we must surround ourselves with like-minded people, living out their purpose, and daring greatly. One of my favorite authors addresses why this is so essential: …there’s nothing that makes us feel more threatened and more incited to attack and shame people than to see someone daring greatly. Someone else’s daring provides an uncomfortable mirror that reflects back our own fears about showing up, creating, and letting ourselves be seen. That’s why we come out swinging. When we see cruelty [from others], vulnerability is likely to be the driver. When I say criticism, I don’t mean productive feedback, debate, and disagreement over the value or importance of a contribution. I’m talking about put-downs, personal attacks, and unsubstantiated claims about our motivations and intentions. — Brené Brown, “Daring Greatly”
All people are capable of feeling threatened, incited to attack and shame others, intent on dragging them back into our bucket of fears. Because we want company, even if it’s miserable company. So when we’re not intentionally seeking out purpose-driven people to spend our time with, it is a forgone conclusion that we’re in the company of trolls.
Be Set Free
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. — Isaiah 41:10 Dare greatly. Live your purpose. Be the person you are called to be. n Joel Lund is a certified master coach and business marketing expert. Are you a business owner? Check out his newest enterprise, PurposeDrivenAcademy.com, an online business accelerator. Owners and entrepreneurs using the academy quickly break through to higher revenues, with less work and more fun. Download his (free) simple 10-step guide for living with more purpose and joy: www.prepareforrain.com/ebook.
Christian Living | May / June 2018 25
Renowned radio personality coming to Boise
Submitted by Destined for Victory Ministries On May 24, Pastor Paul Sheppard will be coming to Boise for a listener appreciation service. Pastor Paul is the speaker for the Destined for Victory radio and online broadcast. For many years, he has been a dynamic and powerful voice on local Inspirational Family Radio stations KBXL 94.1 FM, KSPD 790 AM, and KRTK 1490 AM. On May 24, his radio audience will have a special opportunity to worship with him live. This free event is open to all and will include praise and worship, a ministry update, and a timely sermon from Pastor Paul. Attendees will also get the chance to greet and meet with him before and after service. The special program will take place at 7 p.m. at Cloverdale Church of God in Boise, where Tom
Dougherty serves as senior pastor. Doors will open at 6 p.m. The church is located at 3755 S. Cloverdale Rd. Listeners from around the world know Pastor Paul for his practical, down-to-earth, yet uncompromising Bible teaching, mixed with his signature humorous style. His broadcast Destined for Victory is nationally syndicated on over 400 radio stations across the country and globally through his online podcast and mobile app. Pastor Paul is a native of Philadelphia. He studied at the University of Pennsylvania, the Center for Urban Theological Studies, and the Southern California School of Ministry, from which he earned a Master in Ministry degree and was later honored with a Doctorate of Divinity. He has been preaching since his teens and has been in pastoral ministry since 1982. He is the senior pastor of Destiny Christian Fellowship in Fremont, Calif., and the lead pastor of Detroit World Outreach in Michigan. He is also an author whose latest book, titled “Rebuilding What the Enemy Almost Destroyed,” shares powerful lessons from the book of Nehemiah. He and his wife Meredith have been married since 1982 and have two adult children who work alongside them in ministry. A sermon quote from Pastor Paul includes: “The Bible is the only book in the universe that was written by over 40 authors, on three different continents, in three different languages, over a period of 1,500 years. They didn’t consult with one another, but when it comes together it reads like God’s story of love for us, His redemptive plan and His plan for you to walk in victory. … It tells you about a God who wrapped Himself up in flesh, came down through 42 generations and came into this world to save you and to save me. No other book like it on the planet. I’m standing on this Word because heaven and earth will pass away, but this Word shall stand forever.”* For more information about Pastor Paul and the Boise event, go to www.pastorpaul.net/events. n *This quote taken from https://growingingracetoday.wordpress. com/2015/03/04/quick-quote-pastor-paul-sheppard-on-gods-word/.
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26 May / June 2018 | Christian Living
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Should Christians purchase insurance?
Similarly, carrying homeowner’s insurance By Terry Frisk Entering the phrase “Should Christians buy not only provides for protecting my family’s insurance?” into an Internet search engine will shelter, but also aiding others whose home is return a huge list of articles on the subject. Some destroyed as a result of a catastrophic event. argue that buying insurance demonstrates a lack Life insurance began as benevolent societof faith that the Lord will provide in times of ies that used membership payments to care need (Matthew 6:25-34), while others state that having insurance is an act of stewardship to care for the families of deceased members. In this for our family’s well-being (1 Timothy 5:8). But, context, paying into an insurance pool to there could be another reason for Christians to support others experiencing a loss is certainly purchase insurance: helping others who are vicloving your neighbor as yourself as Jesus tims of adversity. proclaimed. There are many forms of insurance, including While the Bible does not specifically address life, medical, homeowners, automobile, disability and several other risks that could result in finaninsurance, it is clear that Christians must cial hardship. All of these insurance types rely on Terry Frisk provide for their families and help others in many people contributing to a pool of funds that need. We can accomplish both through buycan be used to pay for losses incurred by some of those particiing appropriate levels of insurance. Having insurance is an pating. important part of living by the principles Christ taught. n I have paid thousands of dollars in auto insurance premiums for 40 years without experiencing a claim (except for a few windshield repairs). Even though auto insurance is required by law, I Terry Frisk is a partner in the firm B2B CFO, providing financial advitake some solace in knowing that my contribution to the insursory services to small businesses. He also counsels individuals on personal ance pool has helped someone recover from an accident somewhere else in the world. And, if I am ever in an accident, I would financial matters through the Cathedral of the Rockies Budget Counseling ministry. He may be contacted through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. certainly want to make sure anyone involved is made whole.
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Christian Living | May / June 2018 27
Don’t just be a ‘thermometer’; here’s why
was endangering his life. He could have been By Vincent Kituku attacked by the same thugs who robbed and Unfortunately, 80 prcent of us are like a therroughed up the man in the road. mometer — the device that can detect whether You don’t have to be a person of means to a place or an object is hot or cold. However, be a “Human Thermostat.” In 2 Kings 5, we a thermometer does nothing to change the read of a young girl, a nameless Israelite slave temperature in any way. Thus, if the hot or cold who served the wife of a Syrian army captain, temperature is negatively affecting the place or Naaman. She knew Naaman suffered from objects, the condition continues to get worse leprosy, a contagious and repulsive condition with zero possibility of the thermometer having often necessitating quarantine. any effect. The only reason we read about her is beThe Levite and the priest described in Luke cause of a simple sentence. She said to Naa10:25-37 were “Human Thermometers.” They man’s wife, “If only my master would see the saw a fellow human being in a condition what prophet who is in Samaria. He would cure warranted attention, and if unattended, there him of his leprosy.” Her words, given that she was a possibility that he would die. But they was a slave, could have easily been ignored. did absolutely nothing. They went on with their Vincent Kituku But when people are suffering, they are willing plans just as if they’d never witnessed a man in to try whatever resources are available. pain. Naaman was eventually healed of his leprosy because a slave Then a stranger, a Samaritan, who I want to refer as a “Hugirl saw a fellow human being — not the man whose army man Thermostat,” saw the same man the priest and Levite had seen. And he acted to change that man’s condition. That’s caused her to leave her homeland and be separated from her family — suffering and she did something about it. what thermostats do. Detect a condition and, if action is People do nothing to improve the situation of others because needed to rectify it, then it acts! they consider their own safety, or being on time, or their limAt times we notice a human condition that needs to be addressed, but for a myriad of reasons, we do nothing. There are ited resources. It is only when we consider and do something many speculations why the priest and Levite did nothing. They about the suffering of our fellow human beings that we grow spiritually and experience fulfillment that cannot be provided could have been on a tight schedule. They could have been by a paycheck, job position or living an affluent lifestyle. n afraid that they would endanger their own lives if they tried to help that man. Or maybe they were riding smaller donkeys Dr. Vincent Muli Kituku, award-winning international speaker and with no room for extra passengers. author, is the founder of Caring Hearts and Hands of Hope and Caring But the people who act to improve human conditions also Hearts High School in Kenya. He may be reached at (208) 376-8724 or have personal lives to attend to and limited resources at their email@example.com. disposal. The Good Samaritan had his own plans and also
28 May / June 2018 | Christian Living
ECLECTIC to Classical
Six different ways to homeschool
spelling, we created our own curriculum. We By Daniel Bobinski simply researched spelling words online for the With Idaho’s annual homeschooling convenvarious grade levels and created a custom spelltion coming up (June 1-2 in Nampa), I want to ing list with 25 new words each week. To aid take this opportunity to encourage parents to in learning those, we created crossword puzzles consider homeschooling. and word searches using free online tools. Why? Because I’m a firm believer that each Time devoted to traditional school subjects child is unique, created by God with distincwas scheduled around activities like gymnastics tive skills and abilities. Learning occurs best for and robotics classes, and we regularly schedeach child in different ways, and the one-sizeuled field trips either by ourselves or with other fits-all approach used by institutional (public/ homeschoolers. private/charter) schools or state-regulated Another approach to curriculum choice is “school at home” may not work best for your called Classical Homeschooling. It’s the timechildren. tested method that produced such famous As an example, consider my 15-year old thinkers as Galileo, Martin Luther, Thomas daughter. She abhors repetitive math workJefferson, and Albert Einstein. It works well for sheets, so if she had attended an institutional Daniel Bobinski children who have a natural verbal intellect, school I have no doubt she would have been especially those who like to read and talk about what they’ve labeled “math deficient.” She thrives with hands-on learning, read, and also for kids who can memorize things easily. Grades so we selected a hands-on curriculum for her, and today math is her favorite subject. She loves algebra and can’t wait to learn K-6 emphasize grammar, junior high emphasizes logic, and high school emphasizes rhetoric (application and communicacalculus. In standardized testing she has scored at the college tion). level in math for the past three years. That never would have This method also works well if you have multiple students happened in an institutional school or even state-regulated because there’s a lot of interaction. There’s plenty of read“school at home,” where she would have been forced to use ing, writing, and studying great works, but also activities and worksheets. games. Kids will learn Latin along the way, too. You can learn different ways to do homeschool at the conUnit Studies are another way to do homeschooling, and they vention, but even if you plan on attending, I thought an overview of the different ways to choose curriculum might spark an are available in all the major subject areas. Large families with children of varying ages often choose Unit Studies because “I can do this” mindset. At least six different approaches exist. units are easily modified to meet each child’s level and capabilA common method is called Eclectic homeschooling, and ity, but they can be used for just one child, too. it’s the style my wife and I use. Eclectic instruction is when One benefit of Unit Studies is you don’t have to come up parents choose different curriculum and styles for teaching difwith ideas — they provide HUNDREDS of options for you. ferent subjects. For us, as I mentioned, math was taught using And, they are usually very hands-on. For example, when studymanipulatives and math games, but we taught history using a Classical method (see below) and humanities were taught using ing the five senses, our daughter built an ear using cardboard and tunnels so she could crawl in to see the different parts. She Unit Studies (see below). For reading, we chose books from also read about Helen Keller and studied how to accommovarious genres, and a book report was due each month. For
30 May / June 2018 | Christian Living
date people with disabilities. Essentially, Unit Studies uses a big picture approach and emphasizes real life experience. Yet another approach to homeschooling is often referred to as Charlotte Mason. The originator of this method (Mason) believed that children absorb much from their home life (their “Atmosphere”), that good habits of character should be developed (their “Discipline”), and that children should be taught using a practical approach (“Life”). The Charlotte Mason approach is much like Unit Studies but based more in literature. That is, activities usually complement the content of a book. For example, if an assigned reading is “Little House on the Prairie,” projects might include churning butter and making clothes. The idea is to allow children to be creative and be involved in real-life situations. Lessons tend to be shorter and varied so learners don’t get burned out doing repetitive tasks. Moving away from all formal curriculum is a method called Unschooling. This method requires much initiative from parents, because they must cue in on what interests their child and find materials and activities that direct learning in that area. The upside is that you have maximum freedom to explore learning on your terms. Because there’s no formal curriculum, learning often occurs in spurts, but the advantage is that students have time to become experts in their areas of interest. With Unschooling, parents may need to nudge students so they still get essential learning. One “unschooler” I know whose passion was programming didn’t see a value in learning language arts. It wasn’t until his parents told him programmers
needed to be able to present their proposals in written form that he got motivated to study language. Lastly, let’s talk about “Box School,” the method that most resembles traditional school. Parents who want to homeschool but want a straightforward approach can get pre-packaged (boxed) coursework. Little creative thinking is required by the parent — the textbooks, study schedules, and record-keeping paperwork for all subjects come in one box. Think “plug and play.” This can provide a comfort for the parent, but may not be as much fun for the students. That said, you can also buy box curriculum for just one subject, and you don’t have to get all your curriculum from one supplier. We used a box curriculum for language while our daughter was in first through third grades. Finally, know that homeschooling does not have to be expensive. We spent less than $200 each year on curriculum until our daughter reached junior high. If you have any interest in homeschooling, I recommend attending the June conference in Nampa (see CHOIS.org). Not only will you get your questions answered, you’ll learn that you’re not alone in the effort, and that much support abounds. n Daniel Bobinski, M.Ed. runs two businesses. One helps teams and individuals learn how to use Emotional Intelligence. The other helps companies improve their training programs. He’s also a homeschooling dad, a best-selling author, and a popular speaker at conferences and retreats. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 208-375-7606.
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Christian Living | May / June 2018 31
THE Brighter Side
Rachael Ebeltoft: God’s agent for good By Ronald Kern In 2014, my family, coupled with several volunteers, would meet in downtown Boise by the skate park every month. We brought food, clothing and toiletries for the homeless population, which was (and still is) growing in numbers. We were fortunate and blessed to do this for eight months. One of the volunteers was Rachael Ebeltoft. I could sense an obvious caring spirit about her, and it was clear she was a giving person, but to what depth wasn’t clearly evident then. Now, however, the level of her caring, compassion, empathy, giving and non-judgmental service to others is blatantly clear and needs to be known, read about, and supported. In 2018 Rachael created a non-profit organization called S.E.E.C., which stands for Sharing Empathy and Encouragement in the Community. Her organization serves as a liaison between people who need help and those who want to give or provide help. “I did a lot of volunteering and was in contact with other programs and organizations that provided help to those that need help,” she said. “I found that people started realizing this and were contacting me asking where they could donate food, items, or money. I found out my purpose is to be that hub between those who can help and those who need it. This is why I started a Facebook page and, now, my non-profit.” S.E.E.C. has already made connections in what could be considered life or death situations. When I interviewed Rachael for my podcast, she had just arrived back from delivering food to a man who desperately needed it. Many of us take food for granted, but she understands how dire food insecurity is for many people. In addition to her “...connecting the dots so that people can serve and people can get the help…,” it even goes beyond food, blankets and the “normal” items people donate. People have reached out to her offering specialized services, such as counseling and other licensed-type skills.
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32 May / June 2018 | Christian Living
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is amazing enough, but now add this to the mix: Rachael has a full-time job, is a single mother, and also volunteers at the Boise Rescue Mission, City Lights, and oversees the community giving program at her place of employment. With that said, do you have time to visit her Facebook page and get involved and share your gifts and talents? Do you have food, blankets, toiletries or items that can help someone? But wait, there is more. She is creating a documentary about being homeless in Boise. Rachael, never wanting her efforts to be contained in a box, is doing something very much outside of the box. To find out what being homeless is truly like, she is doing just that, becoming homeless. She will spend a week living on the streets, in a tent, with no items of value and no food or water. She will conduct interviews with others on the street, gaining reallife insights that can’t be found, authentically, in any other way. “I believe God continues to put the people that are needed in my path. I’m here to connect those in need, and God provides those connections,” she said. Rachael is one of the most honest, authentic, giving, unselfish, and caring people I’ve met, and I consider it a blessing to know her. n You can learn more about her incredible organization by visiting the below links: S.E.E.C Facebook: http://bit.do/seecinc Podcast with Rachael: https://youtu.be/LNTNqHPjknU FREE Bibles • Pray for U.S. Armed Forces • FREE Bibles • Pray y fo for U.S. Armed Forces
Although S.E.E.C is currently serving Boise and the surrounding counties, Rachael’s goal is to have this in every city where homelessness is present. Her true heart and intent showed through when I asked how she might expand and organize satellite offices for her organizations. She quickly answered, “It doesn’t have to be me or S.E.E.C. Anyone can copy what I’m doing and make it their own; the bottom line is connecting and helping people.” I was surprised a little because having nonprofits myself, the competition for donations oftentimes gets in the way of goals. Not for her. Rachael, and anything she is involved with, is the real deal. When asked if she’s always had this giving Ron Kern spirit, she said, “This is a true passion that burns inside of me. I think some is nurture and some is nature. My mom would help others, and it’s something that I saw growing up. I didn’t even know I was paying attention, but serving others became part of me.” She said that God is crucial in her personal walk and life, and if you speak with her, it will only take a few minutes to see Him shining through her. I understand many of us have full schedules and find it difficult to do anything outside what benefits ourselves or our family. Many of us will say, “I’m just way too busy” or “I don’t have time to help others,” or perhaps we truly don’t want to get involved. What she has done and is now doing formally with her non-profit
Christian Living | May / June 2018 33
HELP stop violence
Embrace the lost and disconnected child It is the children terrified to connect to adults By Hilary Cobb because their parents have a revolving door As a country still trying to wrap its head of other spouses, or boyfriends or girlfriends. I around the tragic loss of life in Florida, I’ve seen had a young (and very angry) boy tell me that many people debating the whys. Why have there he hated his mom because every time he got been so many school shootings? Why are so close to her boyfriends, she would break up with many young people willing to kill others? Why them and he was stuck grieving that loss. After did the shooter have access to a gun? We are a several rounds of this, he was so bitter towards country of confusion. Is this a gun control issue? his mother that he would bite, hit and kick her Is it a school safety issue? Is it a community issue when angry. His anger overrode his feelings to or a national issue? the point where he didn’t care if he hurt her. He As a social worker, I have been working with felt it was a fair payback for the times her actions teenagers for 12 years, and over that time, I’ve hurt him. seen a disturbing increase in rageful teens. Ones This is not a condemnation of divorced whose anger has caused them to completely disparents. There are many divorced parents who, connect from those around them. These are not even if they can’t stand their ex, try very hard to simply frustrated or angry kids who don’t know Hilary Cobb remain civil. Who cautiously wait to introduce a how to express themselves. These are children with a chilling combination: they are furious at the adults around new boyfriend or girlfriend and manage to work out the kinks in their second marriage to stay together. I’ve seen incredible them and they are completely disconnected emotionally from stepmoms and dads work together and support and love these their families. children. There is no perceived emotional boundary between them and However, I also see too many families where the children learn those around them. As a child, I couldn’t imagine assaulting over time that anger is the only protective tool they have. Where my parents. I remember being angry at them, but there was an they fall through the cracks at school because overworked teachunspoken rule that they were still my parents. That even when ers with huge classes don’t have the time to focus on every single I didn’t like them, I still loved them. That the school principal and teachers and adults may have angered me, but they were still child. Where harried school counselors are juggling the needs of 200 of the most “high-needs” children, but can’t help all valuable human beings (and that they cared about me at some 1,000 children in the school. Where school psychologists spend level). their time doing testing and lack the time to work with every lost However, I’m starting to see an increase in kids who no longer and broken child. Where they fall through the cracks at home view adults that way. Ones who are so incredibly angry at the because their parents are so distracted by their own brokenness world that their fury overrides their ability to see others as huand problems that no one is nurturing and loving the children. man beings. I’ve worked with 9-, 10- and 11-year-old boys (and The result is heartbreaking. These children push others away, sometimes girls) who have assaulted teachers, headbutted school and as their parents retreat because of untreated mental health counselors, beat up school nurses, and attacked their parents. issues, drug addiction, anger and hurt at their exes, or simply I’ve had young children who have bitten, kicked and left bruises too much time on their phone, these children become more lost and scratches all over their siblings and parents and have no and more angry. They lack mentors, connection with adults remorse about it. Their anger at the world consumes them. who love them, and the meaningful relationships that remind I don’t believe these are sociopathic children who can’t feel rethem of the beauty of human connection. morse. These are normal children who, in better circumstances When you have angry and disconnected children, are we — with a more involved, stable set of caregivers — would probsurprised they can walk into a school and shoot their peers (who ably do well. Many are intelligent and have the capacity to love, they view as against them), adults (who they view as untrustbut their disappointment and resentment has suppressed their worthy and against them) and themselves (who they view as remorse to the point that they no longer care about others. I’ve started calling these the “disconnected children.” The ones worthless and abandoned)? So how do we fix this? It is a complicated situation. There is who are caught in the middle of highly contentious divorces, with parents who call child protection and the cops on each oth- no easy answer. However, as a community, there are things we er constantly. The 9-year-old children who make statements like, can do. We need to connect with the disconnected children around us. “My stupid mother owes my dad $841 a month in child support, We cannot expect the schools alone to “fix” these children. We and she doesn’t pay him so she doesn’t love me”; or, “My mom as adults, neighbors, church leaders, and parents need to reach says my dad doesn’t even want me, because if he did, he’d show out. A program in Portugal found that building community was up for things.” The children, who, starting at a young age, have the best way to “cure” drug addiction. What if the best way to learned to lie about the opposite parent to teachers, police and cure rageful, disconnected children and adolescents is the same? social workers to assist their parents in custody cases. We need to teach our own children to love others. We need to The heartbreaking teenagers who are let down repeatedly by constantly be having conversations with our children. How can the adults in their life — the dad who doesn’t show up for the scheduled weekend over and over, the mom who is more interest- they love that angry kid who sits alone in the cafeteria? How do ed in fighting with dad at the exchange of children than actually they connect when they sense someone is hurting? It is often our seeing her children, the parents who refuse to show up at football children who see the lost children first, and teaching them how to connect and intervene and tell us, teachers or principals when or basketball games because the other spouse might be there.
34 May / June 2018 | Christian Living
they see the warning signs — the angry rants on social media, the whispered words of rage or threats, the rumors of violence. We need to teach our children empathy. Many of the children I see, both through work and in my personal life, lack empathy. They spend their free time in their rooms, lost in YouTube and hiding from the world, and never have a chance to build empathy and connection with others. Developmentally, teenagers tend to be fairly egocentric, but they do have the capacity to be empathetic. We as adults have a responsibility to teach them those skills, to help them be aware of suffering in others. (We also have to role-model it ourselves!) We need to support struggling parents. We all have friends going through messy divorces and breakups, whose marriages are on the rocks. Are we supporting them? Or do we distance ourselves because we don’t want to interfere or get involved in the messiness? I’m so blessed to have mentors and people in my life who can step in when I am frustrated with my children or my spouse, who remind me to stay calm and not say nasty things about my children or other adults when I am angry. We need to wrap our struggling friends and neighbors in love. To let them vent, to gently remind them not to involve their children in the messiness, to offer tools and mentorship so they can build sustainable, stable relationships with their partners and children. So many of us watch helplessly at the news footage and feel unsure of where to start. Start by reaching out to the disconnected children in your and your children’s lives. Commit to inviting a kid to church, to go lift weights with you. Commit to spending a few extra minutes asking that awkward kid who lives
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a few doors down how he is doing. Help support programs like Girls on the Run, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, coaches and youth pastors who mentor those who are struggling. Volunteer at a school so the overworked teachers have more time to focus on the children and not just grading and testing. Help with your local youth group or ask if there are ways you can mentor teens in your church. We have an obligation to connect with the lost youth in our communities, to support them and the programs who are helping them. Also, support the foster families in your area, so they can try to love the lost children. Tell your own children (as well as you!) to get off YouTube and serve and connect with those around you. With repeated school shootings, we can no longer boil this down to an occasional “weird” kid. This is a culture of lost and broken children, and I believe the problem will get worse, not better...meaning these shootings won’t stop. And they need to. Today, don’t just hug your own children. Hug other people’s children. Connect. Jesus uses the parable of the shepherd searching for and rejoicing over the one found sheep, and we have a culture with many, many lost sheep. Let us search out and love on the broken ones. Love is the answer, but not just for your own little circle. For all the children in our communities. n Hilary Cobb is the owner of Still Waters Behavioral Health in Middleton, Idaho and blogs about God, marriage and parenting at Blessed By His Love. You can find her at www.blessedbyhislove.com.
Christian Living | May / June 2018 35
Doreys lead thriving food, church ministries
April Dorey checks some of the plants her and her husband Rick grow in their greenhouse at New Choices Farms in Emmett. The couple also leads a church in Boise known as New Choices Fellowship. The Doreys give away a percentage of the food they grow to help reduce food needs in southwest Idaho. (Photo by Gaye Bunderson)
By Gaye Bunderson Rick and April Dorey managed to become ministers and farmers without any training in either vocation. What opened so many doors for them was dutiful submission. “We just learned over the years to obey God,” Rick Dorey said. Their original occupations included computers for Rick and cleaning homes for April. Rick grew up in a Catholic home with parents who mainly went to church only when they needed something. Then, after he was grown up and met and married April, the couple’s infant daughter died of spinal meningitis. “I was so angry at God,” Rick said, “I used to shake my fist at Him.” His anger led him toward alcohol and substance abuse. April said that she was sad after the loss of their baby but not mad — they tend to process things differently, she explained. God worked on their hearts over the intervening years until, one day, they met church leaders Ray and Katherine Smith at Eagle Christian Center. “We started going back to church when we met Ray and Katherine and saw what real Christianity looked like,” said Rick who, at 63, now realizes God used his past experiences to give him compassion for people in similar circumstances. Along with active involvement in the Smiths’ church, Rick and April also worked with Kimbra Shaw, executive director at LOVE Inc., as well as Denie Tackett, founder of a food ministry for the homeless called Mosaic Street Ministry. While attending church services, Rick said he’d listen to the sermon and think how he’d have done it differently — “not being critical,” he’s quick to say, just starting to be comfortable with the idea that maybe he could stand in front of a congregation and give a lesson. The notion was confirmed when the Smiths told him they felt they had started the church for him to take it over. The Doreys were associate pastors with the Smiths until that church door closed — the Lord had other plans.
36 May / June 2018 | Christian Living
“God told me, ‘I’m going to send you people who’ve been hurt by church, and you’re going to love on them and they’re going to make new choices,’” Rick said. In October of 2009, New Choices Fellowship was born. Over the years, the fellowship met in Chapel of the Chimes and then in a warehouse. For the past four years, services have been held at Cloverdale Funeral Home’s reception center. “It’s just like a conference room,” April said. About 25 people regularly attend. “We have an intimate group; we have an open format,” Rick said. “I may speak, but people share their own gifts, talents, and what they’re hearing from the Holy Spirit.” Rick’s day job for many years was working at Boise State Public Radio. “I took care of their overall network for all their stations,” he said. After he began serving on weekends with his own and others’ ministries, he would go to work on Monday mornings and — typical for workplaces — people began talking about what they did on Saturday and Sunday. They would talk about getting drunk, for instance; and while Rick remained non-judgmental, when they asked him how he passed his weekend, he would reply that he had seen people healed and saved. He was ultimately approached by management. “They told me, ‘We don’t want you to preach or try to convert others,’” Rick said, explaining he had only talked about his weekends when asked and never tried to push any points of view on anyone. “If I had been drunk over the weekend, I wouldn’t have been in so much trouble,” he said. Rick and April lived in Boise’s North End at the time, and in order to help ministries helping people with food needs, they began growing a garden. Rick studied up on aquaponics, the full definition of which is, “Any system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment (from https://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Aquaponics).” In its simplest form, it’s using fish waste to nutrify plants, and then recirculating the water.
They harvested as many plants as they could grow in their backyard, and they started to ask themselves, “How do we maximize what we raise?” They prayed about it and felt God was saying, “Do it bigger.” They initially took that to mean “do it bigger” in the backyard, until they figured out it was time for them to move to a place with more space. They searched the Treasure Valley for the right piece of property; they knew they wanted ample room for crops. They looked at a number of properties until, finally, they found a plot of land outside of Boise, 30 miles away, in Emmett. “I stepped out of the car and put my foot on this property and said, ‘This is it!,’” said April. Just over 9 acres at 5445 W. Highway 52 is the site of New Choices Farms, where the Doreys moved in 2015. Rick left BSU and took his retirement savings with him, and the Emmett property became not only their new home but an expansion of their food ministry as well. With help from others — including Kimbra Shaw and her son, as well as a homeless man the Doreys befriended named Forrest Tucker — they constructed a 3,000-square-foot greenhouse on the acreage. When they raised the rafters on the greenhouse — which was paid for by Rick’s retirement money — it felt like an old-fashioned barn raising. Afterwards, they talked, shared and prayed, Rick said. There is a 972-square-foot home on the property and a smaller greenhouse where they hope to grow plants to sell. They also have an open garden separate from the greenhouse and a chicken coop, with chickens roaming freely — 85 chickens in all, providing farm-fresh eggs. Rick admits that if he had known more about agriculture at the time he looked at the Emmett property, he likely would have seen some of its worst flaws. “If I had looked at it from a farmer’s standpoint, I would have walked away,” he said. The pasture had been over-grazed, and the soil was depleted. The Doreys are working to steward the property better than its original owners and will enrich the soil and farm the land sustainably. Everything raised there will be natural and organic.
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Rick took a master gardener course and continues to study online. Their products currently, or will soon, include carrotts, beans, peas, and radishes; they’ll have root crops out on the open-air property, and in the greenhouse, they’ll have kale, salad mix, herbs and tomatoes. (As of March, much of it had already begun coming up.) They also intend to plant lots of flowers near the house. The greenhouse produces 1,000 plants a week when it’s in full bloom and holds 4,000 plants in all. Still working with aquaponics, the greenhouse holds large fish tanks and state-of-theart rafts that float on water and house and nourish the growing plants. The only thing less-than-efficient in the greenhouse is a double-barreled wood stove that Rick has to throw logs into every two hours throughout the colder months, including during the night. The couple is seeking a gas heater that would be more effective and less time-consuming in winter. The couple sells goods at the Eagle Farmers Market for income each year. They give away roughly 10 percent of everything they grow to LOVE Inc., Mosaic Street Ministry, WICAP (Western Idaho Community Action Partnership), and the Friendship Pantry of the Emmett Valley Friendship Coalition. “This year will be a banner year for us,” Rick said. “We will see a profit for the first time since we moved out here.” They’ll be selling some of their produce to a chef at Redfish Lake; are getting involved in a Community Supported Agriculture project; will work the Eagle Farmers Market, as well as have people come to the farm to buy produce; and, down the line, will convert an old building on their property into a roadside vegetable and plant stand. Rick and April talk about the peace they experience on the farm. An employee, Micheal Trigg, also mentions it, stating, “It’s the best job I ever had — it’s peaceful and rewarding.” “When you’re called to do something and you know it,” Rick said, “you have peace about it. You know that no matter what happens, God will take care of it. He’s got your back.” n For more information, go to www.newchoicesfarms.com or www.newchoicesfellowship.com, or visit them on Facebook.
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Christian Living | May / June 2018 37
NOTES from Home
Forgiveness in the time of family chat bans A few minutes later I tried to open the chat By Dani Grigg This is a story about forgiveness. again, but it was gone. I looked at the group chat My family — parents, siblings and in-laws — keeps on my husband’s phone and was shocked to read in contact throughout most days in a Facebook mesthe words “David has removed Dani from the senger group. My parents are the most frequent congroup.” tributors with their photos of vegan meals and selfies I laughed for a minute, but later began broodfrom morning walks, but we all get involved. ing. How dare he? Who did he think he was? The One day my younger brother David was bragging boss? It felt like an act of violence. I felt powerless about how many volleyball games his high school and ANGRY. team had won back in the glory days, so I changed A couple days later he lifted my ban, reinstating the subject by letting everyone know I’d just cut my me in the family chat. I was determined to make thumb twice while trying to slice a mango. Then I him regret his move, so I ignored the notifications decided to spice up my message with a sarcastic gif that rolled in over the next few days. I wanted (you know, a moving picture with no sound). everyone to crawl back, begging me to return and The problem is, I’m not good at gifs. I opened the be hilarious some more. little gif menu on my keyboard and typed in “cool.” I In the meantime, I stayed mad. I wanted to Dani Grigg & Sons found a gif of Justin Bieber doing this little shrug then cancel my impending trip to visit David and other looking to his left and saying “cool.” family members in California. He deserved that cancellation, I I touched it. Nothing happened. I touched it again. Still nothing. I thought, but soon I moved on to thinking: What do I deserve? tried a double tap. I tried a long press. I tried a quadruple tap. NothI deserved a trip to the ocean. I deserved a walk through the reding. woods. I deserved a nostalgic tour of the Jelly Belly Factory with Then I noticed some messages from David were coming in, so I scrolled down in the message and discovered I’d sent 21 Justin Bieber my kids. I deserved time with my grandma, my sister, my sister-in“cool” gifs. law and my nephews. Cool. I deserved a heart full of love for my family, even for my brother David was not impressed. Neither was anyone else in the chat. Apwho had made me mad. parently there is a limit to the number of Justin Biebers you can enjoy So that brought me to forgiveness. Yes, his life would be better if in one sitting. I forgave him, but — equally important — mine would be better I thought it was funny. Maybe a couple other family members did, too. too. And I realized that’s how it always is, even if there’s not a trip A few days later in the chat I shared my kids’ OUTRAGEOUS to California on the line. Our lives are better when we forgive. A reaction to the taco pop tarts (taco pop tarts!) I’d made them for dinner heart full of love and a heart full of joy aren’t too different, if at (they cried because I’d included beans). I decided to give gifs another all. So let’s choose love and joy over anger and resentment. try and searched for “beans.” I found an illustration of a kid eating a Even if someone kicks us out of our family chats for being too can of beans. The gif zooms in on his eyes and they’re creepily full of hilarious. n beans. Perfect, right? I used my newfound gif know-how to send it. Then my spot-on comedic instinct kicked in and I sent it six more Dani Grigg is a Boise freelance writer, wife and happy mother of two young times. David was like, “STOP,” and I was like, “I’ll do what I do.” sons, Jonah and Andy.
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38 May / June 2018 | Christian Living
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It’s just too easy to complain By Evelyn Horan Sometimes I fall into feelings of self-pity. It’s easy to compare myself with friends and people I admire. There’s always someone more talented and more organized, like Amy, who has a beautiful flower garden. She’s very talented with flowers, and she makes lovely floral arrangements for her home. It’s a skill I haven’t learned very well, especially when I try to keep my own houseplants thriving. I seem to always over-water them, and they don’t survive long. Often, I should remember to be grateful when many of my unwise prayers weren’t answered. Earlier this week, I saw a special cooking pot advertized, and I asked God to help me buy it before it was sold out. When I told my neighbor, Alma, what I was doing, she smiled and said, “Don’t bother. I bought that pot and it’s very hard to clean. Everything sticks to it.” Now, I’m glad my prayer wasn’t answered and I didn’t buy the pot. I can recall when I’ve spoken a cross word to a friend or a loved one, or a time when my children have tried my patience. And I remember when I had been enjoying my own good health, I failed to visit my friend, Sarah, when she wasn’t well. I’m sure she would have been happy to see me. When I enter into self-pity, I try to remember, God has given me good physical and mental health and a loving family. When I think of the good things in my life, I can easily forget my complaints. I know I am fortunate God has allowed me to live in a wonderful country when I compare myself to many people in the world who are living in poverty, and some are daily afraid for their safety. I should stop negative thinking and complaining when things seem to go badly. I should be thankful to God for all the good things I enjoy in my life. I think I’ll begin to have a happier and more grateful attitude right now, and I’ll prayerfully thank God for all my blessings. n Evelyn Horan is a former teacher from California who has published articles in a number of faith-based publications. She may be reached at email@example.com.
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Christian Living | May / June 2018 39
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