July / August 2020
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Food, faith, & friendliness
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All-sufficient Is He or isn’t He?
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Contents July / August 2020 “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
— 2 Chronicles 20:12b
Thoughts about Jesus
Homeskool: Friendly letter
Cover Story — Just Being Neighborly
Care House Partnerships:
MK Hope Academy:
Seeds of Faith:
Love of the game:
Good News Church: Faith and friendliness
Education and optimism Church involvement
Real Man’s Toolbox: Walk with God
to Love: 12 Choosing Our best example
Ministering around them We plant, but God grows The ever-present God
Pray for rain:
Bring an umbrella
Get To!”®: 10 “I Declare independence Keep Calm: 14 Mom Where are you looking?
Dots: 22 God From atheist to believer
Understanding Relationships: Don’t stop caring Health: 26 Maximum Celery juice
IN EACH EDITION 4
Publisher’s Corner: Others’ counsel
Volume 9, Number 4 Publisher Sandy Jones firstname.lastname@example.org 208-703-7860 Editor Gaye Bunderson Submit story ideas, article submissions & press releases email@example.com Sales & Marketing Kimberly McMullen firstname.lastname@example.org 208-703-7509 • Katy Nelson email@example.com 503-816-3042 • Scott McMurtrey firstname.lastname@example.org 208-841-4583 Cover Photo Steve Jones Graphic Design Denice King www.greentreedkdesign.com Contributors Daniel Bobinski, Jim Day, Della Deighton, Roxanne Drury, Joan Endicott, Dale Erickson, Terry Frisk, Leo Hellyer, Vincent Kituku, Janet Lund, Rosie Main, Gary Moore, Bethany Riehl and Samantha Tovelin Website Design SEO Idaho Distribution D&S Distribution 208-985-6904
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Christian Living is committed to encouraging and instructing individuals in their daily lives by presenting stories of people in the Treasure Valley who are living on a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ and who serve as uplifting examples to others. Views expressed in Christian Living do not necessarily represent those of the publisher. Every effort has been made by Christian Living to insure accuracy of the publication contents. However, we do not guarantee the accuracy of all information nor the absence of errors and omissions; hence, no responsibility can be or is assumed. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2020 by Christian Living Ministries Inc. Christian Living is published every other month and is available in over 600 locations throughout the Treasure Valley and Twin Falls, including grocery stores, convenience stores, medical waiting areas, and churches. If your church would like additional copies please email us today at email@example.com Annual subscriptions available for $12/year. To start your subscription or give one as a gift send your check or money order, along with complete address information, and a phone number to call in case there’s questions about your subscription to Christian Living Magazine, PO Box 867, Meridian, ID 83680.
Christian Living | July / August 2020 3
Whose counsel do you listen to?
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” (Proverbs 12:15 ESV)
By Sandy Jones Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy. Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” (1 Kings 5:1-3)
You’re probably thinking this is the oddest Scripture to start an article with, but it’s also the very message I so desperately needed to hear recently. Naaman was a mighty warrior. Tough and strong. Well respected, and highly thought of, but… he had leprosy. Answers in Genesis (AnswersinGenesis.org) describes leprosy in this way: “Patients with leprosy experience disfigurement of the skin and bones, twisting of the limbs, and curling of the fingers to form the characteristic claw hand. Facial changes include thickening of the outer ear and collapsing of the nose. “Tumor-like growths called lepromas may form on the skin and in the respiratory tract, and the optic nerve may deteriorate.” In short, leprosy wasn’t anything Naaman could hide or cover up, and it came with huge social stigmas. In the next paragraph we see a young Israelite girl, someone captured perhaps by Naaman’s own military unit and now enslaved to serve his wife, suggest that he, her master (a term of respect), go to see the prophet in Samaria for a cure. The prophet Elisha. So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” But Naaman went away angry… In this section we see that the interaction between Naaman and Elisha did not go as Naaman anticipated. He left in a rage, feeling slighted. Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy. (1 Kings 5:13, 14) Fortunately his servants were able to reason with him, and the story ends well. The tale of this interaction got me to thinking and asking myself, who do I turn to for counsel? But perhaps even more important, whose counsel do I listen to? The advice of a slave girl got Naaman healed. While it may have been the counsel received from the great prophet Elisha that ulti-
4 July / August 2020 | Christian Living
mately cured Naaman, he allowed himself to be offended; and, if he’d had his way, he would have stormed off, gone back home…and continued to suffer. Alas it was his servants who were able to reason with him, to talk him off the ledge so to speak, and get him to obey. As I pondered this lesson, I had to take a hard look at my circle of influence. My WHOLE circle of influence. I had to ask myself if there are any whose counsel I discount? Blow off even? Are there any so meek and mild that I don’t consider their messages credible? Speaking of their messages, have I considered some of the things asked of me too small, not grand enough? Not important or special enough? This poem, quoted by some who influence me personally, says it so well:
“Father, where shall I work today?” And my love flowed warm and free. Then He pointed out a tiny spot And said, “Tend that for me.” I answered quickly, “Oh no, not that! Why, no one would ever see, No matter how well my work was done Not that little place for me.” And the word He spoke, it was not stern;… “Art thou working for thee or for me? Nazareth was a little place, And so was Galilee” No one can deny that our nation has been through a time of terrible turmoil, and it’s true I’ve been oddly quiet. It’s not that I’m not heartbroken, trust me I am. It’s not that I don’t care, believe me I do. I simply have not felt that I can find the right words – my words feel hollow and shallow – short of substance. I don’t want to be contrite. I don’t want to overstate. I definitely don’t want to add to the division that I see tearing our land apart. I find myself repeatedly asking why are Christ’s two greatest commandments so hard to follow? Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39 NIV) I am committed to being the Hands and Feet of Christ – won’t you please join me? Until next time… God Bless!
We’re celebrating 7 years of bringing you hope, inspiration, and perhaps even a new perspective. We couldn’t have done it without the encouragement of you, our readers, nor the support of our advertisers. I ask that you please return the favor and support the very advertisers who make Christian Living Magazine possible. We couldn’t do what we do without them! n
Avoid saying, ‘I just stopped caring’
it quickly rise. Why? Because without care, marriage is By Gary Moore impossible. Three little words – “I don’t care” – are like I recently took my radio audience through a deadly stab in the heart of a marriage. Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott’s book, “Trading When was the last time you took time to consider Places.” Much of this column comes from them. what “taking care” really means? The word “care” Famed anthropologist Margaret Mead was once comes from the Germanic “kar”, which originally asked about the earliest sign of civilization in meant “sad”. It alludes to the idea that a caring person a given culture. Her answer surprised many. It feels sad when you feel sad. In other words, care is a was a healed femur. She went on to explain that kind of compassion that allows someone to enter your a healed femur showed that someone cared. world and feel your pain. Care is directly linked to Someone had to do that injured person’s hunting mutual understanding. It says that whatever happens to and gathering until the leg healed. “The evidence you happens to me. When sadness hits you, it hits me of compassion,” said Mead, “is the first sign of too. It also says that when something terrific happens to civilization.” you, I rejoice. Your life makes a genuine difference to Caring about something or for someone commy own life. pels you to take action. Just think about it for a When we truly care for our spouse – at a deep and minute. What good is it if your spouse knows meaningful level – we involve both our heart and our what is going on with you and feels it deeply but Gary Moore head. We think our spouse’s thoughts and feel our doesn’t do anything about it? And what good spouse’s emotions. When we care for our partner, we would it be for your spouse if you did the same? listen and watch for ways to be helpful. We take notice and attend to What happens in and to a relationship when one party says, “I her world as if it were our own. guess I just stopped caring”? Once a person moves to the point of All of us practice caring instinctively on occasion. We’re careful not caring, the relationship is hanging by a thread and the prospect with things we value – like handling a costly crystal vase. If your of survival is grave. spouse has had to cope with a serious accident or life-threatening When you remove care from any relationship, it’s basically over. illness, you don’t need a book to show you how to care. But the norThere’s nothing left to discuss. Marriage, in any meaningful form, mal humdrum of life, when we tend to take each other for granted, cannot survive without care. Care is so essential to a marriage that it often goes unnoticed. Ask people what matters most in marriage and doesn’t do much to jump start our care quotient – unless you’re consciously practicing empathy and mutual understanding. care won’t make the list. But when you put this quality on a list of Continued on page 7 traits and ask people to rate its importance to a marriage, you’ll see
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Christian Living | July / August 2020 5
REAL Man’s Toolbox
We are blessed when we walk with God
Think about this... God Almighty, the God of By Leo Hellyer the Universe who created all that is, created you Being a Christian man in the United States in to have an intimate, eternal relationship with 2020 can be very overwhelming, confusing, and Him. daunting. We may find it hard to put into words Whatever is going on in your life right now the feelings we have inside of us. One of my is just a speck of time in God’s reality, the true personal mentors, Dr. Vincent Kituku, always reality. We are living here on Planet Earth only is able to respond to people immediately when for a moment. While you are here, make the asked, “How are you?” Vincent very clearly and most of it by walking with God through whatquickly responds, “I am blessed.” As Christian ever experiences He allows you to go through. men, and particularly Christian men living in Sometimes we go through some difficult situathe United States of America, we are blessed! tions, but we can grow through each of those There is a great book that was first published events or seasons of our lives. If we will get our in 2008 which I recommend as a great read for strength and direction by walking with God, Christian men: “Walking with God” written by then we will be able to say, at any time, “I am John Eldredge. On the flyleaf of the book, Elblessed!” dredge says, “Intimacy with God is the purpose Leo Hellyer If you are looking for some good news in your of our lives. It’s why God created us… God crelife journey, then pick up “The Good News” – pick up the ated us for intimate fellowship with himself, and in doing so he Holy Bible and start or improve on your walking with God. As established the goal of our existence – to know him, love him, we devour more and more of God’s Word (the Bible), and as and live our lives in an intimate relationship with him.” we do better and better in walking with God, we will see, expeThose of us who are more experienced in our Christian lives rience, and believe in all of the good news that is all around us, have had multiple situations where when we have talked to because it is also IN US. God, we also heard from God. As we face life’s struggles, chalMy prayer and my hope is that each of us Christian men lenges, mountaintops, or valleys, God is with us whether we feel (myself included) will be responsible and will share the good it or not. All we have to do is communicate with Him and He news that we have, and that we will take every opportunity will communicate back to us. If we feel distant from God, as we go through some of our journey in life, then we need to tear we are given to help others get started on their own personal down the barriers that we have placed between us and God. He journey of walking with God. There are many people around us who are eagerly seeking for answers. They are searching for is there waiting for us to invite Him into our lives. the truth. They are seeking happiness, worth, meaning, and As we live our lives, there are times that many of us have significance. The only place you can find the complete and difficulty finding any good news – all we hear, or all we pay pure existence of these traits is in walking with God. attention to, is what is wrong in our lives, or what is wrong in We are blessed! We are blessed to live in the United States of the world. We need to walk with God and not the world, or the America; we are blessed to live in Idaho; we are blessed to live world’s news. In John 10: 9-10 Jesus tells us, “Whoever enters in the community where we live. We are blessed to be a Christhrough me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and tian and to be able to walk with God Almighty. find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and If you have not done so yet, please talk to God, listen for His destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to response, walk with Him. He loves you. n the full.” If you are seeking a better life than what you are experiencLeo Hellyer is a non-staff pastor with a local church and has been married ing, or what you are seeing around you, then you have come to his wife Norma for more than 45 years. The couple volunteered with the to the right place. God has set up a “divine appointment” for Boise FamilyLife Ministry Team for 20 years. They are both employed by you to hear the real, true, and accurate “GOOD NEWS.” God has been walking with you all of your life. He would love Boise Rescue Mission Ministries, Norma at City Light Home for Women & Children and Leo at River of Life Rescue Mission. Leo is also the President for you to get to the point where you will walk with Him. I and Chief Firearms Instructor with Helping Hands Firearms Training honestly believe that if you will pick up John Eldredge’s book and read it, absorb it, and follow what is written in it, your life LLC. If you have questions about Real Man’s Toolbox, or need other assistance, Leo may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 208-340-5544. will change dramatically.
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ChristianLivingmag.com 6 July / August 2020 | Christian Living
‘I just stopped caring’ Continued from page 5
When couples sidestep empathy and mutual understanding, they become clueless. Quite literally, they become ignorant of each other. These couples who lack empathy and mutual understanding don’t necessarily lack love. They still want a better way of living and loving together. They’re simply baffled by their spouse’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. They’re clueless. They have no mutual understanding. The more mutual understanding you have, the more you care. Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott say that with a little effort, even the most clueless couples on the planet can become unimaginably smarter when they do three things: (1) set aside their own needs (temporarily); (2) turn on their emotional radar; (3) demonstrate concern and care. Many of us are sympathetic to our spouse’s needs, but not empathetic. Sympathy is standing on the shore and throwing a life ring out to a person who is struggling in the water. Every decent human being would do this. Empathy (truly caring) is much riskier. Empathy is diving into the water and thrashing around in the cold waves with that person to bring them to safety. Not everyone does that. In fact, it is so rare that we call the people who do it “heroes”. I challenge you to become the hero in your own marriage. Empathy, true caring, and mutual understanding are risky. They will change you. Once you immerse yourself in your partner’s predicament or situation (with your head and your heart), you won’t look at him or her the same way. You’ll have a new perspective that makes you more patient, more grace-giving and more caring. Dare to really care. Protect your marriage from “marital drift”. Demonstrate your care. n Gary Moore served as associate pastor at Cloverdale Church of God for 15 years. He does couples’ coaching and leads couples’ workshops and retreats called MUM’s the Word. He does a weekly radio program called Life Point Plus on KBXL 94.1FM at 8:45 a.m. on Fridays. Monday mornings at 10 a.m. he does live relationship teaching called MUM Live on his Facebook page Mutual Understanding Method. He may be contacted at email@example.com.
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Christian Living | July / August 2020 7
What do you believe about Jesus? By Bethany Riehl
The all-sufficient work of Jesus. Either we believe in it completely or not at all. “And behold, a man came up to him, saying, ‘Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?’ And he said to him, ‘Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter eternal life, keep the commandments.’ He said to him, ‘Which ones?’ And Jesus said, ‘You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mothBethany er, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ The young man said to him, ‘All these I have kept. What do I still lack?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” (Matthew 19:16-22) What is actually going on here? A lot, really. And I am ill-equipped to do it justice, but let’s zoom out for a moment and take a look. When Jesus lists the commandments that the man can follow to earn eternal life, did you notice that He doesn’t list them all? In fact, He doesn’t mention the first four (the commandments that speak of how we are to view/treat God). He doesn’t even tell him the actual gospel, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.” (Acts 15:11; Acts 16:31; Romans 4:24; Romans 10:9) The man claims to have kept the Law as Jesus lays it out, but knows he’s lacking something. Let’s zoom in again on Jesus’ response. “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Surely this is the easy part. It’s a tangible checklist. Something easily, physically done. This isn’t as hard as fighting off envy that can sneak in unnoticed, nor is it as vexing as honoring your parents, even when they’re difficult to honor. If this man has kept each commandment mentioned by Jesus, I can only imagine that he was never a toddler that yanked a toy from another’s grip, he never looked at a woman with lust in his heart, he never told a little white lie (even to spare someone’s feelings), and never lost his temper and cursed another human or wished ill on them. And yet, he knows something is missing. I used to think he was justifying himself, but lately I wonder…is that desperation I hear in his voice? “Jesus, I’ve done all of the right things and been a super nice guy. I am kind. But something is missing. What is it? What can I do?” Jesus’ answer, however, isn’t what he wants to hear. His answer? Empty of yourself for the betterment of your neighbor and follow Me. In other words? Lay down your cross, die to yourself, and follow Me. But it’s too much for him. He walks away, dejected and hopeless. Why? It would be easy to think this is a lesson about greed, and how we need to be careful of our love of money. Many have said this proves that wealth is a sin.
8 July / August 2020 | Christian Living
However, I believe the problem here when you drill down to the core of it is an unwillingness to surrender to the idea that Jesus is sufficient. For all we can tell from this small glimpse of him, the man has everything. Worldly comfort and security. He’s probably as kind as he’s able to be. He would have to be to believe that he’s kept every commandment listed under the category of “Love Thy Neighbor” without fail. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have any interest in “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind.” (Deuteronomy 6:5) His wealth is keeping him comfortable enough to dull the sharpness of his need of the Living God. He doesn’t believe in the all-sufficiency of Jesus. He may be keeping these laws in a way that Riehl satisfies his own desire to be seen as good, but it’s not enough. It’s not love for neighbor he’s after. Not really. He’s looking for more security for himself. He says he’s after eternal life but I have to wonder what that means to him. The very thing that makes eternal life so wonderful is the presence of Jesus. This man doesn’t want to follow Him, so I have to wonder, what exactly is he looking for? I see this over and over in our world today. We’re inundated on a daily basis with bright, loopy messages of “Kindness Matters,” in all shapes and forms. And of course there is truth in that. But friends, do you see that this message is simply masking a worksbased gospel? One that is always shifting with the opinions of the culture? God made it clear that we can’t live up to His standard – and His Law stays fixed and constant. How could we possibly keep up with the ever-changing demands of fallible man? Yet, I’ve seen people point to Christ as the answer to a barrage of problems only to be quickly and thoroughly reprimanded by fellow believers. I hear more and more these days, “Yes, we need Jesus but we also need…” Dear readers, let me say this, either Jesus is all-sufficient or He isn’t. There is no middle ground. We can offer kindness, but if it’s Christ-less kindness, it is worthless. We. Need. Jesus. Full stop. We learn much from Scripture when we read it over and over and just sit in it without the influence of the world around us. He is worthy. He is sovereign and good. If we are immersed in Him – completely surrendered – kindness that matters follows. Goodness follows. Selflessness follows. Salvation follows. Oh, Father, let us allow the sharpness of sin to press into us enough to recognize our need for Jesus. I pray for the Lord to love us enough to show us where we are failing to surrender to Him. And by His grace, I know He will. One more thing: Jesus the Messiah, King of kings and Lord of lords, lived a life in full surrender to the purpose for which He came. He lived a sinless life, perfectly keeping all ten commandments, died a brutal death to pay the penalty for our sin, then was buried and rose the third day. His surrender made everything better. He is ALL-sufficient. “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!” (Psalm 150:6) 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-slightlycrazy life. She is the author of four Christian fiction novels and now lives in Meridian with her spunky kids and very handsome hubby.
YOUR Daily Bread
Unemployed? With God, hope abounds provide an income for their employees to support By Terry Frisk their families. I started providing advisory services One of the greatest joys of adolescence was the to small businesses to help them become financially summer break from school. Days were filled with stable. At first, it was difficult, but I maintained faith summer recreation programs, neighborhood adventhat it was God’s plan for me. I drew comfort from tures and serious goofing off. One of my greatest Jeremiah 29:11: joys was staying up late and watching “The Tonight “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares Show” with Johnny Carson. His wit and humor the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to were loved by all generations. Sometimes, he would harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” get so involved with his interviews that he would I have been very blessed by the opportunities that forget to break for a commercial. The piano player have been revealed to me. would gently remind him by playing the three-tone Many people have recently found themselves NBC chime. If he did not break the conversation, unemployed rather abruptly. Four months ago, there the entire band would blast the NBC chime to gain were not enough workers to fill the available jobs. his full attention. How many times have we heard Today, we are facing double digit unemployment God speak to us through the piano player and not levels. It initially appeared that people would be out really heard the message until the entire band gets of work for a short period of time and then return our attention? Terry Frisk to their previous jobs. However, it is now apparent Fast forward more years than I care to admit. I that many previous jobs will be lost forever as some was at a comfortable point in my career, with ten businesses will not be able to survive the shutdown they experienced. years to go before retirement. I had experienced some thoughts My prayers go out to those who are out of work. These are not about making a career change and even had some opportunities prayers of sympathy, but prayers of hope. While it may seem that the (cue the piano). Then, the ownership of the company I was working situation is hopeless, God indeed has a plan. for changed and my job was being eliminated. Strike up the band! If you are one of the 40 million Americans who are currently Through prayer, I felt God calling me to finish my career by applying my skills and experience to help other businesses succeed so that they unemployed, do not despair. Steps you can take now to get yourself back on track include: can provide valuable goods and services to their customers, support Continued on page 13 their vendors, contribute to their communities and, most importantly,
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Christian Living | July / August 2020 9
“I GET TO!”®
Declare independence for personal freedom By Joan Endicott “I could never have imagined this level of freedom and independence two years ago, Joan! I am so grateful, happy and at peace with my life right now.” My heart swelled while my eyes welled with tears listening to my client share his emotional summary of his biggest wins and blessings from our coaching over the two years prior. When I first started coaching him in 2018, although very “successful,” he felt trapped and tethered; traveling three out of four weeks per month to at least five countries, connecting to thousands of people in his organization—too many of which had his direct cell number so he felt like he was on-call 24/7. He was highly stressed mentally and emotionally, he didn’t sleep/rest near enough, he was overworked and overwhelmed. He so desperately wanted to change his life that he would put the tools and ideas into practice that I’d share with him immediately. Guess where I learned most of those valuable tools? Yep, HKU! Hard Knocks University. Quite sure I graduated with honors—possibly Magna Cum Laude. You see he was struggling with some of the exact challenges I experienced years prior in letting go of 1) what others think of me—and—of 2) what I am hoping to control for others. Here’s the deal, we may not call it control, because that doesn’t sound good. In fact, it sounds downright, well…controlling. LOL! J Personal freedom and independence lie in letting go of both!
Freedom – ability to act freely
A state in which a person is able to act and live as he or she chooses, without being subject to any undue restraints or restrictions.
Independence – freedom from control
Freedom from dependence on or control by another person, organization, or state. Remember me sharing that I’m a recovering approval addict? I confessed to having wasted too much time worried about what other people thought, being more concerned about another broken humans’ opinion rather than being completely connected to my Creator’s. Well, in addition to letting go of what other people think of you, if you want to experience personal freedom and independence, I’ve learned through HKU that you also need to let go of your expectations and desires for others—no matter how just, noble and hope-filled they are.
One of the most challenging areas in my life to do this was as a mama. If you’re a parent, you know, it’s the toughest job you’ll ever love. As our kids get older, letting go is harder. Why? Because we love them so deeply and desperately. But no matter who it is, if it’s someone you love, you want God’s best for them so if they’re accepting less than that, it can be excruciatingly difficult to let go. In the midst of some of my most agonizing letting go times in life, God gave me the gift of a perfectly timed and poignant dream that has served me and many others since. I dreamt I was running alongside a rushing river, shouting to my precious loved one, “I’m throwing the rope out. Grab the life preserver so I can help you!” My legs and arms were cut and bleeding from flailing through the brush and branches. Any other day I would have stopped long ago from the exhaustion but my loved one was in danger and she needed me, so I pushed myself to keep going and running and yelling: “Hurry! Grab the rope so I can rescue you! You’re in danger!” Finally, she grabbed it. I was so relieved and kept running to keep her in sight. But wait, what was she doing? She grabbed the ring and then…she looks like she’s throwing it back to me?! “No, no—you don’t understand. There’s danger ahead. Real danger. I’m here to help you. Please! Please grab it and hold on while I help pull you to safety.” I threw it again. She grabbed it! Great…but then she did the same thing. Now painfully pleading, “What are you doing? Please grab it and let me help you. There’s a waterfall ahead; I want to save you—I love you! I’m throwing it again…please…” As she was disappearing down the rushing river, I heard her say, “I don’t want you to save me. I don’t want to be rescued.” Friend, you cannot rescue someone who doesn’t want to be rescued. If you keep trying, that not only does not help them, you end up compromising your own health, wellness, and life purpose. I know this all too well! Rewind a few years. I’d been feeling extremely run down, exhausted and lethargic for long enough that I knew I needed to go to a doctor. The week prior, I had gone in for the blood work and tests he recommended so today was the day we’d find out the results. I was anxious to get answers for obvious personal reasons but also, on a professional level, it takes a lot of energy to do what I do and frankly, it’s not good advertising to even appear depressed, distressed, or dragging as a “motivational speaker.” He came in wearing his crisp white lab coat, name embroidered over the heart, stethoscope around his neck, holding a manila patient folder which I knew held my test results. I was so ready to hear some good news! After the initial greetings, I said, “Bring it on, Doc! What
Homeskool By Samantha Tovalin
10 July / August 2020 | Christian Living
I was SHOCKED! The things that caused my can I do? Can you give me a jam-packed multi-vitagreatest heartache (stress) were the things I had absomin A-Z shot that will make me walk out of here a lutely zero control over. That’s when my journey of refreshed, revived, renewed woman who’s rarin’ to finding freedom by declaring my personal indepengo?” Although laughing while saying it, I was comdence began. pletely serious in hoping that was a viable option. That July 4th I actually wrote out my own DecHe began going over the results with me and most laration of Independence, which I shared with the of those numbers meant nothing since I had no loved one I’d been trying to help rescue but didn’t clue what to compare them to. Able to tell I was not want rescued. I first apologized to her for anything I getting the seriousness of my situation, he grew solhad done that seemed controlling. Next, I shared my emn. I can’t tell you anything else he said up to this painful path in seeking personal freedom and what point—but sitting directly across from me he leaned God had been teaching me. in even closer, put his hand on my crossed knee and Then I shared what I wrote. “Today I’m declaring looking me square in the eyes he said, “Joan, I need Joan Endicott my independence. I will no longer carry any burden you to know you can die from this…” or heartache from decisions you make for your life. I NOW he had my attention! He went on, “I know you truly believe will no longer feel responsible because I, in fact, am not. God’s given what you write and speak about because frankly, I’m not sure how each of us a free will. I am responsible to God for mine and you are you’re even physically functioning at the level you are with these numbers.” He pointed to a specific category on the page and said, “A responsible to God for yours. I make this declaration by faith, not feeling. I know I will be fully and completely reliant on His superhealthy range for this is in the 70s, but people can get by in the 50s. natural power to accomplish this and finally be free.” Your number is 17.” Is it time for you to create your own Declaration of Independence “Are you stressed?” he asked. that will give you the peace, rest, ease, and personal freedom God “No, I’m really not…at least I don’t think so,” I responded. His desires for you? following questions were all directed around any life challenges, Life lessons we get to learn: hurts, heartaches—aka, things that feel stressful. “The most impor1. Get qualified help! God did not intend you to do it alone. tant thing you need to do, Joan, is to keep your focus on reducing all 2. You can’t rescue those who don’t want to be rescued. Stop stress.” throwing the rope! Are you like me—when a doctor says you’re too stressed and 3. You are 100% responsible to God for you. you need to lower it, you actually feel a power surge of stress shoot 4. They are 100% responsible to God for them. straight up through you?! 5. Control your controllable. Thankfully, that day opened new doors of understanding and deYou cannot control what’s happening in the world. Focus on consires to learn more about stress, what it is, what it does, how to really trolling what’s happening in your world. reduce it. The great news is, the more completely dependent on God I am So the first thing I did was to put my coaching hat on to coach for what I can and should control in my own life, the more I am myself. I started with writing a list of those challenges, hurts and aware of and able to let go of what I should not try to control in the heartaches. Another way to ask it is, when you think about it, what life of another. n causes worry, unrest, or anxiousness? After writing that list out, I drew a line down the middle of a second sheet and on the top left Grab your FREE copy of Joan’s “I Get To!”® book at JoanEndicott.com and wrote Things I Can’t Fix, Change or Control and on the top sign up for her FREE blog videos. Joan Endicott is an Award-Winning Keynote right, wrote Things I Can Fix, Change or Control. I took my Speaker, Author of “I Get To!”® founder of GIANT-Slayer Coaching and first list and put each of those things in the appropriate category on “WOW!” Women Owning Their Worth©. Her coaching reaches over 30 counthe second page. tries. Follow her on FB and IG–she posts encouraging words daily!
Christian Living | July / August 2020 11
CHOOSING to Love
God is always our best example
That’s just a hint of how God feels when we are patient towards Him. It’s part of a godly relationship. And here’s a golden nugget: The more you recogTo live out the greatest command, we must first nize God’s patience toward you and “own” how that receive God’s love and let it grow within our hearts. feels deep in your heart, the easier it is to exercise And yes, it’s a lifelong process. patience back toward God and build that relationAt the beginning of the year I decided to use ship. this space to focus on God’s greatest command. If But wait – there’s more. The second greatest comyou’re connecting with this series for the first time mand says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” In and would like to read the foundational material of terms of patience, this means “be patient with your this discussion, I encourage you to visit Christian neighbor in the same way that you’re patient with Living’s website to read my last two columns. Visit yourself.” https://www.christianlivingmag.com/columns/ This part of the teaching occasionally causes hicLast month I started talking about the definicups. I’ve had people tell me, “You’re not supposed tion of agape love, which is found in 1 Corinthians to love yourself. You’re supposed to deny yourself !” 13:4-7. Specifically, I selected the first phrase, love is My response is simple: Yes, deny your flesh, but culpatient. Using simple logic, I said that if God is love, tivate the Spirit’s love that God placed in your heart and love is patient, that means God is patient. Daniel Bobinski and commanded you to use. And so, one way we can acknowledge God’s love Second, some people will say, “But I can’t be for us is by recognizing His patience toward us. patient with myself ! I can be patient with God and with others, but I But recognizing God’s patience is deeper than saying, “Thank you, can’t be patient with myself !” God, for being patient with me.” It’s more like, “Thank you, God, To that I say, “God knows it’s okay to be patient with you. Do you for being patient with me when I went about my day not acknowlknow more than God?” After all, if God’s love is dwelling within edging You nor seeking Your wisdom.” Or, “Thank you, God, for being patient with me when I snapped at you, you have the capability to do it. To those who don’t believe they can be patient with themselves, my child for breaking a dish.” I say if you acknowledged God’s patience toward you and realized The more situations you can identify, and the more specific they that it enhanced your relationship with Him, receiving from yourself are, the deeper your appreciation will be for the patience God gives. the gift of God’s patience will also enhance your relationship with Chances are that the more you acknowledge and value God’s paGod. It’s counterintuitive, but it’s true. tience, the more you will sense gratefulness for His love. Besides, loving your neighbor as yourself is a command, so As we explore the greatest command, it’s important to remember really, it’s not an option. that God is always our example. And we must also remember that if When I first started studying this aspect of love, I thought about we’ve invited His Spirit into our hearts, then His love is there, waiting my woodworking hobby. I would make mistakes in the wood shop for us to do something with it. and get all impatient with myself. But when I set out to be more paBy way of reminder, the greatest command is: tient with myself, I’d stop after a mistake, take a few relaxing breaths, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your and mentally acknowledge the patience I chose to give myself. soul and with all your mind. I must tell you, it felt good. So, again, I say try it. As a bonus, when And the second greatest command is like it: you’re exercising godly patience with yourself, others find it Love your neighbor as yourself. easier to be around you! It’s one thing to tell God you love Him, but how do Finally, think about how you’ve exercised we specifically love Him? patience with others in the past. Be sure to First up is patience. identify specific examples. Then think A few paragraphs ago I asked you to about how you might be more patient identify several situations in which God with others in the future. One example showed patience toward you. Well, might be when people are late. Or, now I ask you to identify several situwhen someone forgets to do someations in which you’ve been patient thing you asked. Instead of getting with God. frustrated, you can relax and Perhaps there was a time you exercise patience. believed God was leading you Bottom line, the more you can into a new line of work or a new recognize and receive God’s paministry, but it took much longer tience, and the more patience you than you expected. If you were can extend yourself, the easier it impatient and antsy during the is – and the more fulfilling it is – waiting, it wouldn’t have been a to extend patience to others. loving stance. But if you exercised Through it all, you will be patience, trusting that the Lord strengthening your relationship would work things out in His time, with God – because God is love that would have been a demonstraand love is patient. n tion of patience. Think of several times you’ve exDaniel Bobinski, M.Ed. is an award-winning ercised patience with God. Be specific. and best-selling author and a popular speaker Think about all the details. at conferences and retreats. Reach him at Now I’d like you to think about something. firstname.lastname@example.org or (208) 375-7606. Remember how you felt when you received God’s patience from the earlier exercise – how Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay grateful you were for the patience He was giving you? By Daniel Bobinski
12 July / August 2020 | Christian Living
With God, hope abounds Continued from page 9
1. Pray for comfort and guidance. Turn to the Lord and unload your concerns and fears. Seek His comfort and guidance. Listen carefully as He conveys His plan for you. 2. Utilize the resources that are available to you. Eligibility rules for unemployment benefits have been expanded and the weekly payments currently include an additional $600 to assist those out of work. Seek out other stimulus programs that are being offered at this time to assist you. 3. Prepare for a career change. God may be calling you to follow a new career path. Follow your heart and take steps to prepare for this change. Seek career counseling to help determine a path forward in changing your career. 4. Educate yourself. There is a myriad of online educational programs to help you improve your skills or develop new skills. Many of these programs are offered free of charge. Enroll in programs that you do not even have a current interest in. You may find an interest in an area you never previously considered. 5. Seek advice. Talk to people who are in careers that you are interested in pursuing. Seek their input on the pros and cons of their career. Contact career counselors offered by your local employment agency, schools, church or individual professional job counselors. Keep the faith. As author Frederick Buechner stated: “The worst thing isn’t the last thing about the world. It’s the next to the last thing. The last thing is the best.” If you are hearing the band blasting the NBC chime, understand that God has a plan for you that will be the best thing. There is always hope. n Terry Frisk is a partner in the firm B2B CFO, providing financial advisory services to small businesses. He also counsels individuals on personal financial matters through the Cathedral of the Rockies Budget Counseling ministry. He may be contacted through e-mail at email@example.com.
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Christian Living | July / August 2020 13
MOM Keep Calm
Parents, watch where you’re looking By Janet Lund
Kids are watching. Always watching! That is how they learn to do life. From the moment their little eyes can focus, they focus on us. Infants mimic our facial expressions. As they grow, they continue to learn how to do things physically and emotionally by observing us. We are constantly teaching them, even when we don’t realize it. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to what we are watching. What we focus on we respond and react to. If we aren’t careful, we bring our reactions into our interactions with others. It also impacts our outlook on life in general. We must watch ourselves.
Several years ago, my family and I took what is known as the Idaho STAR class (Skills Training Advantage for Riders) for motorcycle riders. Our class was 2½ days of learning motorcycle skills. At the end of the weekend, our skills were put to the test, literally. If we passed, we became licensed riders. Even though it was here in town, I felt like we went away on vacation. It was a hoot! It’s funny – since I’ve learned to ride, whenever I am driving around town, I still have a hankering to put my hand out and give them the sign. This, of How do we do this? course, would make no sense coming from someone Be mindful of where you’re looking. When you in an automobile, but there it is. are going through difficult times, remember they Anyway, on to my point. Janet Lund aren’t the only realities in your life. This does not One of the most important lessons – and there mean you ignore the negative – quite the contrary. were many – we learned was this: Wherever you are It’s important to acknowledge the tough stuff and be mindful of your looking, you will go there. feelings – they do matter; but also choose to focus on the good stuff No matter how much you want to avoid running into the tree in your world. ahead of you, if you keep looking at it, you will crash into it. Can this be difficult? Good golly, yes! Especially when you have a Wherever your eyes are looking, your front tire will go there. So, lot on your plate. you can’t go out riding around staring at all the things you are afraid So how in the world do you get through the tough stuff ? you are going to run into. Your “evil eye” will not move obstacles out of your way. You must steer yourself clear by looking where you want to go instead. 10 helpful hints for you and your kids: 1. Daily devotions. Do devotions on your own and find a daily devotional for your kids. This is a great habit for your kids to start How is this helpful to me? developing. It’s easy as parents, and as people in general, to find yourself look2. Bible challenge. Have you and your kids read the whole Bible. ing at the things you are afraid of. Maybe even do it together! Of course, it’s important to become informed and aware of your 3. Listen to Christian music. It will lift your spirits and put surroundings. However, continuing to stare at what you are afraid of will impact your world. The longer you stare, the more fear will enter great earworms in your kids’ heads. 4. Pray as a family. Give thanks for all God has given. your world. We fear feeling afraid, and in so doing, we become even 5. Pray quietly alone. Invite Jesus into your heart and mind more afraid. daily. Ask that He fill you with wisdom and strength for what the day If you don’t want your children to become afraid of their world, brings. Invite Him to lead you every step of the way. you need to make sure that you are a parent who doesn’t live in fear.
14 July / August 2020 | Christian Living
6. Journal your feelings. This is a great way to care for yourself – by listening. 7. Go for a walk. Celebrate all God has blessed you with, just outside your door. 8. Explore new places. Visit places you have never gone before: parks, trails, fishing holes, etc. 9. Remember God is bigger. Remind your kids that God is bigger than any troubles. 10. Talk to your pastor. Your pastor wants to know how to specifically pray for you. It’s too easy to allow your head and heart to become overwhelmed by the dark. Satan loves it when we do this. When we feel hopeless, helpless, and alone, he jumps for joy. It’s a daily choice we must make to look towards the light. We must remember that life here on earth is not as good as it gets. Our time here is temporary. Jesus’ death and resurrection is eternal. He is the great light: ahead of us, behind us, beside us, all around us. Always.
Where rubber meets the road
One of the great things about motorcycles is that when you turn the key, the headlight automatically turns on. Wouldn’t that be a great habit to have yourself ? Welcome God each day to turn on your headlight so you can see all that is good. Your kids will see it too! Keep Calm. Ride On. Follow the Light. Want to learn more about the STAR program? Go here: https://idahostar.org/ 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 at momkeepcalm.com for parenting tools and words of support to be a calm mom.
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Christian Living | July / August 2020 15
Just Being Neighborly Good News Church Fully living out loving thy neighbor
Monica Mangeac holds a bag of produce that will be given to a needy family at the Good News Pantry, located at 1203 7th St. S. in Nampa. (Photo by Gaye Bunderson)
16 July / August 2020 | Christian Living
By Gaye Bunderson Leaders and members of Nampa’s Good News Community Church wanted to establish a ministry in the poorest part of town. Their efforts to help the burg’s most needy citizens started off with the acquisition of a building on the verge of being condemned. Their sights were set on the former St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store and Food Pantry in Nampa’s northside, and six years ago, they purchased the property. “The building was in pretty bad shape,” Dan Mangeac, pastor of GNCC, concedes. “We were crazy enough back then not to realize what we were getting into.” They saw the area from a socio-economic viewpoint and realized that’s where their ministry goals were leading them. “The area has ‘big city problems’ and is the closest thing to an urban ministry in the valley,” Mangeac said, citing poverty and drug addiction as the two main problems. The departure of St. Vincent de Paul wasn’t the only exiting enterprise to leave a gaping hole in the well-being of Nampa’s northside citizenry. The closing of Paul’s Market more than a decade ago left many without a place to shop for food and supplies; a large percentage of residents do not own a vehicle and cannot drive to other parts of town. “It led to what the USDA calls ‘a food desert,” Mangeac said. So, the self-described ‘crazy’ congregation of 120 people at Good News Community Church dived right in. It took them $100,000 and one entire year to re-do the former St. Vincent de Paul building to the point they could re-locate their church there. But first, they had to put 20 percent down and have a reserve at the credit union, leaving them only $500 in the bank. It took them a year to complete the remodel and the move, but through the generosity of many donors, they pulled it off. This coming November, the church will mark its sixth year in its location at 1203 7th St. N. GNCC decided to partner with Care House, a ministry of Nampa’s First Church of the Nazarene located at 1524 S. 6th St., to help feed its new neighbors. Care House had a mobile food pantry ministry and the two churches teamed up to help feed northside Nampa residents. Then, three years later, Good News teamed with the Idaho Food Bank and started its own food ministry apart from Care House. The church had a small open lot off to the side of its refurbished building and decided to construct another building there and become a 501(c)(3) non-profit called the Good News Food Pantry. Continued on page 19
Care House Partnerships A powerful blessing in the neighborhood
By Gaye Bunderson Being a good neighbor is a big deal to Nampa First Church of the Nazarene. The neighborhood surrounding the church building at 601 16th Ave. S. has benefited greatly from an outreach program of First Church called Care House Partnerships. According to Care House history, in 1981 then-pastor Charles Higgins established a committee to study the needs of lower-income residents in the area surrounding the church, with an eye toward serving their needs. In December of that year, a Care Room opened at the church, offering free clothing, food, and other items to those in the vicinity. Over the intervening 39 years, the original offerings broadened out to include a Celebrate Recovery group, medical services, mental health counseling, after-school tutoring for kids, and a foster/adoption support program. The partnership part of Care House came through the development of alliances with other organizations in the valley, including Love INC, St. Alphonsus Hospital, Terry Reilly Health Clinics, and others. “We are striving to create wrap-around services in the same area so people don’t have to travel all over for what they need,” Tony Johnson, pastor/director of Care House Partnerships, said. The average annual wage in the area is $22,000 a year, according to Johnson, and one of the most utilized outreaches of CHP is its food bank, located at 1524 S. 6th St. “The people who come to the food bank are generally struggling between paying rent and utilities and buying food, and rent wins out over food,” Johnson said. “Prior to the pandemic, we saw a growing number of seniors on Social Security; the food bank was the place they’d come to get food when their benefits didn’t keep pace with the cost of living. We also saw a growing number of grandparents raising grandkids.” But the Covid-19 pandemic and its subsequent shakeup of the economy started driving younger families to the Care House Food Bank. “The breadwinners lost work,” Johnson said. The food bank is open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. During one late April/early May opening, Johnson said the bank’s fridge and freezer were “packed to the gills”, but by closing, they were completely empty and volunteers were struggling to refill them. The food bank gets a good portion of its provisions from the Idaho Food Bank and from a program called Food Rescue, where Care House Partnerships’ volunteers go to area stores to pick up food that would otherwise be discarded, even though it is still good. People in the community also bring in donations of goods. “There is a lady who lives near the church and she has plum trees; she picks what she can reach and brings them in, and then says, ‘Anybody who can climb the ladder can get the rest,’” Johnson said. Also, a pastor once gave a sermon on the topic, “What’s the Holy Spirit nudging you to do?” A farmer who heard the lesson felt he was being nudged to give a portion of the corn from his cornfield to the food bank. Continued on page 18
Top: Nampa First Church of the Nazarene is the driving force behind Care House Partnerships. One of its many outreaches is its food bank, located at 1524 S. 6th St. Bottom: Volunteers unload food for the food bank. (Courtesy photos)
Christian Living | July / August 2020 17
Care House Partnerships Continued from page 17 There are other sources as well, both individuals and corporations. The Simplot Co. and area meat packers have given food, and the church also holds Dollar Sundays, where parishioners put a dollar bill in the offering and it goes toward items for the food bank. Even other churches of other denominations have contributed; and occasionally someone will call the food bank and just say, “We have food — come get it.” The general consensus at the food bank is that “God always gives us enough food and enough volunteers to meet the need — it’s His food, not our food,” explained Johnson. Neal Moore, facilities director at First Church of the Nazarene, is also director of the food bank, with Johnson serving as overall director and pastor of Care House Partnerships. While Johnson has held his position for just two years, Moore has spent 39 years as facilities director and roughly 30 as food bank director. Even prior to that, he said, he worked behind the scenes hauling food for the ladies who ran the food pantry years back. The pantry struggled with leadership for a time, he said, until he was named director. “When I took it over, we changed it from the bottom up,” said Moore, explaining that at the time it was more of a clothing thrift store, filled with about 70 percent clothes and 30 percent non-perisable food items. But the clothing was seldom purchased and largely just collected dust, so, he said, “We got out of the clothes business and got into the food business. It was God’s doing, not mine — and He’s been really patient with me over the years, with teaching and training.” The motto of the food bank became, and still is, “‘Food, prayer and friendship.’ … We don’t talk a lot about religion; we start with getting to know each other,” said Moore. It was a change of focus that Moore once again gives God credit for. “God had been working on the people in the church and the ministry for a season,” he said. Essentially what it boiled down to is, a lot of the people who came to the food bank were not going to come to church first. There had to be an acceptance of the food bank people in the hearts of church members. “The church is huge, the walls are threatening,” Moore said. “The food bank is non-threatening.” The Care House Partnerships’ food bank now hosts a free community dinner on Wednesdays — literally inviting people to dinner as a way to get acquainted, to break bread together and have a conversation over a meal. “We listen to their stories and become a friend,” Moore said. According to the director, the heart of the church had to be prepared for the people who would come through, not just to the food bank but to the many programs of CHP. It’s frequently about withholding judgment of people who wear tattoos and look like someone the police might be after. It was a complete softening of the collective heart of the church for people who might look a lot different from most of the regularly attending church congregation. “We were reaching church people, but our community outreach was not strong — we were in a bubble,” Moore said. They were aware of their fellow parishioners and their needs; they worshiped and prayed together. But on the other hand, the needs in the nearby neighborhood outside the church walls could have
18 July / August 2020 | Christian Living
been a world away. Now, the food bank and other services of Care House Partnerships are there for ministry not judgment, and that includes not judging people because of their needs. Tony Johnson said there’s a general notion that people who come to food banks, for instance, are abusing the system and taking advantage. “I take offense at that,” he said. “We’ve found that 75 percent of the people come three times a year or less. People don’t realize how much shame a person deals with about coming to the food bank. It takes a lot of humility in a person’s life. People are coming because that’s what they need to get through this season of their life.” The pandemic affected how many things operate, and some programs of Care House Partnerships were completely on hold as of mid-May, while others were moved online. “Things certainly are different due to the Covid-19 crisis. Our food bank has seen a 70 percent increase in new families that we serve weekly,” Johnson said. “Our Celebrate Recovery ministry has cancelled our weekly large group gathering and has moved our open-share small groups to ‘Zoom’ small groups so people are able to continue to get the encouragement and support they need in this new situation. “We had to cancel our after-school tutoring program because of the school closings, yet our director and assistants are keeping in touch with the students to make sure they are doing well. So yeah, ministry is a little different during these times.” Some of the temporarily cancelled programs of Care House Partnerships may come back under Gov. Brad Little’s Rebound Idaho phased re-opening, so interested people should contact CHP for updated information (see contacts below). Also, a new program is on the horizon for late summer: a medical and mental health clinic at 1511 7th St. S. “It will be a faith-based medical and counseling clinic,” Johnson said. CHP will utilize the Northwest Nazarene nursing program to serve the clinic and the NNU master’s in counseling program to serve in mental health counseling. There will be two rooms for medical exams and two rooms for counseling. Funding for the clinic is being provided by a matching funds program through the Morrison Foundation and a grant from Blue Cross. Regarding his longtime commitment to the church and the food bank, Neal Moore said: “It’s amazing how God uses me as a tool to help people rebuild their lives.” Over the years, he’s helped people acquire food, clothing, appliances — almost anything they needed. He said someone will give him a mattress and within days someone else will come in needing a mattress, and he’s got one — or a fridge or whatever else they’re lacking. Moore applauds all the aspects of Care House Partnerships, from food distribution to health care to tutoring kids. “It’s a very tight network; the people love each other and have a heart to serve the community,” he said. Nampa First Church of the Nazarene has redefined neighborliness and made it into a ministry to the unchurched. n For more information, go to carehousepartnerships.org, on Facebook at Care House Partnerships, or on Instagram at www.instagram.com/carehousepartners/. Tony Johnson’s full title is pastor of community engagement and recovery, and he describes himself as a “prisoner of hope”; he may be reached at tjohnson@ nampafirst.org. Neal Moore is available at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good News Church Continued from page 16
Good News worked with local construction companies that felt called to help with the need in the neighborhood and got the building costs down to a manageable sum — though still high. The church had been fundraising when it was approached by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They have a church in the same area and wanted to give Good News a $100,000 donation to complete its pantry project. The local LDS membership had to seek permission from the highest-ranking LDS leadership in Utah to proceed with the donation; but after much prayer by the LDS leaders, permission was granted and a check was cut. “We had been praying for how to finish the building and felt the Lord would provide. The Lord came up with sources that we would not have expected,” Mangeac said. “We finished the food pantry last November and got it stocked, and the LDS church sent a full semi of food.” With the addition of the new building, the church can now store more food and feed more families, which frequently comes to around 100 to 150 families a month. Working in partnership with Healthy Impact Nampa Coalition’s food access team and a group of Treasure Valley Leadership Academy students, Good News Community Church is also hands-on involved in a mobile food pantry called The Traveling Table. It’s an old FedEx truck re-designed to look like a food-mobile. It delivers needed sustenance to two sites — the
Lighthouse Rescue Mission and Vida Nueva Church of the Nazarene, both in Nampa — on the first and third Wednesdays of the month. The Good News Food Pantry is open on the second and third Wednesdays of the month, helping guarantee there is food available for those who need it, when they need it. Food aid is not the only ministry of Good News Community Church. It has also “adopted” a school in the area in order to help its students and their families, and GNCC is busy working on building a special house across from the church that would be available to Nampa northside residents for prayer and ministry. Regarding the church’s outreach to its neighbors, Mangeac stated: “The Lord said, ‘This is not going to be easy or shortterm.’ It is done out of love and is a long-term commitment to reach the neighborhood. We’re there preaching the gospel — we even had an outdoor service last summer. In 10 years there have been a dozen churches in this area that have closed or moved; we feel a need to be part of the community.” Mangeac, who was born in Romania, said the church is multi-cultural and he is blessed to be its pastor. “Our church is a church that loves the Lord, loves people, and loves the community. We love being here. It’s been a challenge, but people can see there’s a church in the neighborhood that cares for them.” n For more information, go to goodnewsidaho.org or on Facebook at Good News Community Church.
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Christian Living | July / August 2020 19
MK Hope Academy
Providing education, planting optimism
Above is a group of schoolgirls who attend Cosmo and Sarah Zimik’s MK Hope Academy in India. (Courtesy photo)
By Gaye Bunderson Hope is a four-letter word that is changing lives in India. On February 5, 2020, Cosmo and Sarah Zimik opened a school in the village of Marao, India and named it MK Hope Academy. “We are the first, private, English-speaking school in that area to talk about Jesus and the Bible,” Cosmo Zimik said during an interview on March 10 at his martial arts studio in downtown Nampa. Marao is Cosmo’s birthplace and the school was named in honor of his parents. The M stands for his father, Mayarbing, and the K stands for his mother, Khathingla. If it weren’t for them, Cosmo wouldn’t be the well-respected Christian businessman and philanthropist he is today. “The whole story is a miracle,” he said. “As a family, we barely had enough to eat, but three of us kids went to college.”
It was his sister who first started a school in Marao 20 years ago. She saw many orphans on the streets and decided she would educate them. Amazingly, she did it in her front yard. For many years, Cosmo and Sarah helped support his sister’s work by sending her money. Twelve years ago, they started to fund the entire project and it was only a matter of time before they decided to start a school themselves. In 2003, the Zimiks established the International Missionary Network, a non-profit that oversees the work they do for Cosmo’s own native people, northeast India’s Naga tribe. IMN is supported by donations but the Zimiks have provided a lot of the funding themselves. “We empty our pockets every month,” Cosmo said. “I am happy to serve God; it’s not so much about money.”
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In 2011, IMN built the Chi Ching MK Academy in the village of Senakeithei, India. The school is open to all the children in that area, including Nepali refugees and others, especially those unable to pay for uniforms or books. MK Hope Academy followed nine years later and is a K-12 shool that teaches life skills such as mechanics, wood craftsmanship, other crafts, arts, and Bible classes. Information at Cosmo’s MorungProject.com reads: “The end goal of this school (in combination with our other schools), boarding house, and outreach program is to train 10,000 disciples from Naga tribes to be sent out as missionaries and evangelists through their own workplaces in order to reach their own people and the peoples around them with the salvation message of Jesus.” “I am always accountable to people,” Cosmo said, explaining the government of India closely watches him and he is careful to do everything in accordance with the law as well as the Bible. “The devil does not like what we are doing. I’ve been trying to pray more and hear more from God.” He is adhering to the biblical mandate to help widows and orphans and fights against a poverty that has led many in the region to grow opium poppies for use in the manufacture of heroin. Marijuana fields are also a frequent sight there. Desperately impoverished people grow the crops because they are highly sought by illicit drug traders in many countries around the world and provide a source of income for the poor. But Cosmo is working hard to lead people in the area out of poverty, both in the school and in the communities in the Marao region. “At the academy there are quite a bit of orphans,” Cosmo said. “We work to house the orphans and underprivileged children.” The housing includes clothing and food, and it is widows who make meals and look after the children and are paid for their work. “The widows are ‘caretaking’ the kids,” he said. To help defray the costs, by 2021 the hope is to have 50 orphans, 100 underprivileged children (poor but not orphans), and 150 children who come from homes with parents who can pay for their schooling, which would help with the cost of educating the less fortunate youngsters. An essential component in the success of the academy is to make it self-financing, and the idea encompasses how people in the region
make a living. Cosmo is bringing sustainable projects to the area that include cash crops like ginger, yams, turmeric, cucumbers, bananas, and other plants that will eliminate the growing of marijuana and opium poppies for people’s economic survival. He himself will buy the seeds, and when the crops are ready, he will purchase them and transport them to be sold at market. He also wants to bring livestock to the area, such as chickens and pigs, to demonstrate that the raising of animals can be more profitable than raising products for drugs. “We’re also doing this as a way to support the school,” he said. “We’re now getting more bold to stop the poppies and marijuana. We have been fighting this forever, but now is a very good time. We have been slowly fighting the culture in India, but now many people are fighting the culture and wanting it to change. It’s better now than it was 20 years ago. “Our culture is very hard to fight. We fight with Christ, but slowly. We’re trying to touch everybody, to bring Christ through education, and bring a self-sustaining society.” Cosmo explained there are Christians in that area but they are not yet strong in faith. “All they do is go to church; they do not have a personal relationship with God. We want to bring a revival and bring God.” He wants to make MK Hope Academy an example in India and especially in the 10 villages or so that surround the school. “Rather than having a missionary come to them, it’s time for them to send missionaries around the world,” he said. Cosmo, though born and raised in India, is an American citizen and entrepreneur. He has owned and operated Empty Hand Combat in Nampa for many years, teaching martial arts to people of all ages. He met his wife – who is currently chief development officer at the Boise Rescue Mission – when she was involved in sports ministry in China and he performed stunts at events. Sarah wanted to start a martial arts ministry and the end result was the Hong Kong Gospel Martial Arts Ministry she and Cosmo formed together. “We used martial arts to teach about faith and Christianity,” he said. He’s still doing that from his dojo, with the impact felt both locally and abroad. For more information, go to MorungProject.com or EmptyHandCombat.com. n
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Christian Living | July / August 2020 21
Atheists who became big believers
By Jim Day You know, I get a lot of people who say they can’t believe in God because they believe in science. When I tell them that God created science, they generally scoff. But the harder one looks at science, the more plausible the idea of a Creator. It seems the hardest people to reach are people who feel they’re too smart to believe. They find excuses to intellectually reject God. People like Stephen Hawking or Carl Sagan. As a matter of fact, of the top 50 atheists in the world (according to TheBestSchools.com), 25 of them are distinguished professors and the other 25 make their living by being atheists. Well, technically, 18 are authors, who write about atheism. Then there’s the literary agent who represents atheist authors, a rapper who has atheistic songs, a professional blogger who blogs about atheism, an actor, an attorney who files lawsuits to remove God from our money, a humanist (whatever that is), and one professional atheist (seriously, he doesn’t have a regular job). But 25 of them are distinguished professors! Now, you might be thinking, “What’s this got to do with God Dots?” Good question and we are going to get there. … You see, in my humble opinion, these folks aren’t very smart at all. Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. – Romans 1:21 (NKJV) And there are thousands of God Dot stories from people like this who had no faith structure at all, or who walked away from their faith, who were futile in their thoughts and had dark hearts, but then had a “divine appointment.” People like Don Winget, University Distinguished Teaching Professor, University of Texas at Austin. Don is the author of 334 research works with 7,625 citations and 3,742 reads. He grew up in the church, but in his teens he decided that God did not exist. He says, “I started out arguing and then debating. I studied the Bible quite a bit as a child. I knew Scripture and that made me dangerous in debates. I had a list of 50 examples where I thought the Bible was contradictory that I would use. I would often bring these up and considered myself a ‘fire-breathing atheist.’” Here’s more of his story in his words: My wife and I had 5 kids. She was a cultural Christian and when I challenged her faith, she became an atheist.
But sometime later, it became obvious to us that our two oldest boys didn’t have any real spiritual or moral compass. My wife and I spent a great deal of time talking and worrying about this. Neither of us gained a spiritual or moral compass at school – that happened by going to church in our childhood. Because of this, we decided that we needed to find some religion of the world and use that to guide our kids and get involved. We didn’t want to just dump them and drive off. We realized, though, that we would have to find someplace to get connected. In our minds, this religion had to at least be plausible. So once again, my wife and I both started investigating different world religions. With my background in anthropology, what we were looking for was a religion that wasn’t archeologically falsifiable. In the midst of this search, we began looking for places for our youngest son to go to daycare. The only one we found that would take him was a Christian church. When we ran into the pastor, we realized that this is someone we could talk to about Christianity. That pastor was one of Don’s God Dots. He recommended some books to read: “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis and Lee Strobel’s “The Case for Christ.” Lee Strobel’s book cites archeological and other non-biblical evidence for Christ. One could argue that C.S. Lewis and Lee Strobel were two more God Dots. Over time, Don returned to the Lord. This reminds me of a little piece of Scripture. Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV) Another person who comes to mind is William J. Murray III, son of infamous atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair, who filed a lawsuit that ended compulsory Bible reading in schools. The family business was atheism. This son of America’s high-profile atheist, evolutionist and religionhater read Taylor Caldwell’s book “Dear and Glorious Physician,” about Luke, one of the Bible’s Gospel writers. William rushed out at 3 o’clock one morning in a desperate search for a Bible. He found one in an all-night store. He said that as he read about why Jesus Christ had lived and died, it finally put meaning into his life. “I got down on my knees and repented of my sins and asked Jesus Christ into my life as Lord and Savior,” he said.
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One of his God Dots was Taylor Caldwell. Although the rest of his family disowned him, William became a Baptist minister and continues to live out his faith. Then there is Dr. Paul Lim. His family came to America from Korea when he was 15 years old. Raised in the church, he walked away from his faith when he went to college. His sister got engaged to a seminary student and asked Paul to go to a retreat, where her soon-to-be husband would be speaking. Reluctantly, Paul went. “Everything about the retreat was terrible. The food was bad. The kind of people that were there, I don’t Jim Day want hang out with them,” he remembers. “The whole thing sucked.” As a finishing touch to the retreat, a group of seminary students played Keith Green’s song, “To Obey Is Better than Sacrifice” and Paul got hit by the line, “I don’t need your money, I want your life.” He had patronizingly told his sister that he didn’t agree with her marrying a pastor, but that he would make a ton of money and he would contribute to them. But God had read his mail and orchestrated the perfect song to speak to him. Paul hadn’t cried since he was 9, but he started bawling. His future brother-in-law came over and asked if he was okay. “I’m really, really sorry because I hated you,” Paul responded between sobs. “I think it’s God speaking to me.” A week later he was back in the dorms at Yale, and everybody was sharing their winter break exploits. Finally, it was Paul’s turn. “I became a Christian,” he said timidly. The room went quiet. College students stared. Here is the most interesting part of all these stories. All of the authors / singer / God Dots were at some point in their lives selfproclaimed atheists: C.S. Lewis, Lee Strobel, Keith Green and even Taylor Caldwell, who in an interview in 1978 called herself a Catholic atheist. They ran smack-dab into their own God Dots and came away with faith that cannot be suppressed. Just as the apostle Paul had his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, Jesus has designed divine encounters for us. People seem to put a lot of effort into denying God, but He never gives up on them. Most people who take the position of atheism are angry with God over something. A death or handicap or illness or unanswered prayer,
or even the loss of possessions, can cause some to deny God. Or they are just bored because of the lack of authenticity in the church. Denying God does not change the fact that He is, was, and forever will be. It’s kinda like stubbing your toe on a chair and then saying you don’t believe the chair exists. God is real, whether you believe or not. Jesus is Lord, whether you believe or not. Heaven and hell are real, whether you believe or not. We should never allow the circumstances of this life to prevent us from seeing and admitting and living the truth. This life is too short and eternity is too long for us to allow that. If there is someone in your life who has given up on God, ask them why, then listen. Open up a dialogue with them. Ask them questions and don’t argue. If they give you the opportunity, share your faith with them. Let your life be an example for them. Pray for them. You might just be their God Dot. n Sources: Top Atheists in the World, www.TheBestSchools.org; D.E. Winget testimony, www.Cru.org; William J. Murray, www.Creation.com; Dr. Paul Lim, www.GodReports. com; and interview with Taylor Caldwell, georgefsmith.blogspot.com
Jim Day is the pastor of Valley Presbyterian Church (EPC) in Hazelton, Idaho. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Christian Living | July / August 2020 23
SEEDS of faith
We plant and water, but God grows By Roxanne Drury
I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. – 1 Corinthians 3:6-8 These words are rich with meaning for the Christian, a follower of Christ. They remind us of the privilege and responsibility we have to plant seeds of faith in the lives of the people we meet as well as the people in our own homes and families. However, what happens with those seeds is not in our control. God controls that. Paul says here, “God makes the seeds grow.” That takes some of the load off our shoulders, but we still have the responsibility of planting and watering those seeds. I recently planted some zinnia seeds around the base of a crabapple tree in the backyard. I broke up the soil, pulled the weeds, drew lines in the soil with my finger, dropped the seeds carefully into those ruts in the soil, and then gently covered the seeds with the fine soil I had just tilled. Was my work done? No, of course not. As you may have guessed, after preparing the way for the seeds and planting them, I watered the ground where the seeds were planted. And every day I have watered and watched, waiting to see some sprouts. Today, after about 10 days, I am finally seeing those little seedlings popping out of the ground. It takes time and patience. It takes effort. Here’s another scenario. Last summer, I planted snapdragons, lots of them, in the pots on my patio. At the end of the season, as they died off, instead of just plucking the dried plants out of the soil and tossing them, I first sprinkled the seeds from inside the blossoms onto the soil in each pot. Fall came and then winter, which brought along with it some snow, and then the spring sunshine and the rains followed. Guess what I see popping up in all of my pots? Loads and loads of little seedling snapdragons. Are you getting the point here? Without planting, there is no harvest. Think about that in terms of the kids in your home or your church or family members or even your neighbors.
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When kids see us reading our Bible or hear us praying, that’s planting seeds. When you invite your child to grab his or her Bible and read with you, that’s watering what you have already planted. When your family members or neighbors hear you give God credit for His provision, that’s planting seeds. When you, in turn, provide for your neighbors or family members’ needs, that’s watering what you have already planted. We don’t know what God has planned for any of these people, but we do know that He promises that He will grow the seeds that we plant. That’s why it is so important to keep planting and keep watering seeds of faith in the people we know and love. It matters! It matters in the lives of those people and it matters to God’s kingdom. To demonstrate the magnitude of planting seeds, Roxanne here’s what I’d like you to do. (You can do this yourself if you have an apple handy.) Imagine that I am cutting an apple in half. Inside, I see the yellowish apple flesh, and in the center, I see several apple seeds. Now, imagine that I am removing one seed – just one – carefully and gently. I hold the dark tiny apple seed in the palm of my hand and notice the stark color contrast against my skin. Can you see it? Look closely. I can plant this one seed. And I can water it regularly and we know that God will make a tree grow from that lone seed. What we don’t know is how many apples will grow on that tree. We don’t know how many more seeds will be planted and watered from those apples. We don’t know how many more trees God will grow from those seeds. And it goes on and on and on.
Planting seeds of faith perpetuates the growth of God’s kingdom, as people become followers of Jesus. It perpetuates lifestyles that honor and obey God. It perpetuates goodness, kindness, and love in our homes, our neighborhoods, and the world. My father-in-law painted a picture of an overturned wire milk crate that was tossed aside in his garden. Straining to grow through the small wire openings on the top of the crate were four tulips in full bloom, reaching for the sun’s warm rays. I believe people are reaching – more now than ever before – for God’s warm, loving embrace. We can be planting and watering seeds of faith that God will grow into beautiful blossoms or maybe even tall towering oaks of righteousness for His glory (referencing Isaiah 61:3b). So, each time you see a flower bloom, let it be a Drury sweet reminder of the tremendous privilege and responsibility we have to plant seeds of faith in the lives of people we know. Why? Because it matters! Eternally. n Roxanne Drury is a wife, mother, grandmother, and retired Christian preschool teacher with a teaching certificate in Early Childhood Education. She has served the Lord in children’s ministry for over 40 years and is currently on staff at Rockharbor Church. Her heart is sharing the life application found in God’s Word. She recently published her first children’s book titled, “Beyond the Blue.” The book is a descriptive biblical look at heaven that answers questions kids have and offers parents a tool to talk to their kids about Jesus. She also writes a Christian blog. For more information, visit thatslifemissroxanne.blogspot.com or www.roxannedrury.com.
Christian Living | July / August 2020 25
The healing power of celery juice
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4. Detoxifies – Celery juice detoxes and pulls By Rosie Main out all of the junk in your system and is a natural Celery juice is hot right now! It’s trending, but diuretic due to the high amounts of potassium and juicing has been around for hundreds of years. This sodium. The potassium/sodium balance inside your juice is a powerhouse for 5 big conditions you may body is what may cause swelling and fluid retention be dealing with, and it’s cheap! within the body and cause joint stiffness. We are not 1. Repairs the gut – Celery juice is capable getting enough potassium in food, so getting a simple of detoxing and flushing the digestive system and vegetable (like celery) and juicing it will level it out liver. It’s also a form of laxative so it’ll help get your and balance it for you. Additionally, we all need some system going. How does it repair the gut? Hydroalkaline fluids going into our body to remove the chloric acid gets destroyed with the amount of sugar acidity that builds up (stiffness in the joints). Keeping we consume and protein we need to process. All that in mind, you shouldn’t ONLY drink alkaline fluids junk ends up sitting in your gut, causing issues like because you’ll mess up your stomach; celery juice is acid reflux, heartburn, constipation and diarrhea. very alkaline and can help with that acidity. Celery juice levels out the hydrochloric acid inside 5. Fights inflammation – Inflammation is the your stomach. cause of 98 percent of all diseases, as stated by an 2. Supports bones and joints – Celery juice is Rosie Main article in Time Magazine. It’s the cause of symptoms related to heart diseases, cancers, Alzheimer’s and full of mineral salts. These salts are really good for more. Celery juice has two major bioflavonoids that are very powerful the bones and the joints because they break down the salts and the at reducing inflammation: luteolin and polyacetylene. They shut down minerals that build up and make you stiff and tight (especially in the cytokines in your body that produce inflammation. These two bioflamorning). It’s very high in calcium, which is definitely going to help vonoids have been shown to reduce one of the cytokine productions, those bones, and also full of silicon, which is a necessity to sustain and the enzymes that make it, by up to 90 percent. That will put a fire strong bones. out! So celery juice is a powerful anti-inflammatory. 3. Cleans your blood – Celery juice contains high amounts of So there you have it…5 organ systems that are affected, just by juicmagnesium and iron and things your blood needs to function on a ing a $2 stalk of celery. n normal basis. It also clears the blood so it doesn’t clot up and get sticky. Celery juice also supports the nervous system. The amount of Rosie Main, D.C., owns Main Health Solutions at 2300 W. Everest Lane, stress you’re under and how much you sit (damage to the spine) in Suite 175, in Meridian. She is also the host of Maximized Living Radio on turn damages the nervous system. These minerals help the nervous 94.1 The Voice and KIDO 580 AM. For more information, system conduct at a higher level. MaximizedLivingDrMain.com.
26 July / August 2020 | Christian Living
FOR love of the game
Find a church, get out on the field
3. Some people believe they are never meant to By Dale Erickson be “players.” They believe that they lack the talent Most of us enjoy some kind of hobby, sporting or some other missing element to “play.” The truth event or pastime. For some it’s football, soccer, is that God has given each of us a special ability so running, skiing or some other athletic challenge. that we can be an active and vital part of the team. For others it could be music, playing card games, be4. Many Christians really want to be a player. coming a master gardener, scrapbooking, or any of They desperately wish they could participate more, a great variety of other enjoyable pursuits. Whatever but the pressures of life present a great challenge. your personal preference, we all find gratification in If you’re ready to step onto the playing field, pursuing our passions. One of my passions has been one of the very first steps will be connecting with participating in and watching many different kinds a coach. They will likely place you into some kind of sports. of training regimen. They may ask you to come to There may have been times when you have some practice sessions. You will have to trust them. cheered for or against the Broncos in the Fiesta You will have to believe that their input (and your Bowl or the Vandals in the Idaho Potato Bowl. The effort) will actually bring out the best in you. truth is, there is something in our hearts that is I encourage you this Sunday to find a church that drawn towards identifying ourselves with a team or will let you get on to the field of play, or at least help a local hero. We gain some satisfaction in celebratDale Erickson you with the spiritual conditioning, training and ing “our” victories or mourning “our” losses. It’s practice time needed to prepare you to get in the easy enough to “join the team” by buying a T-shirt, game. watching on the television, or buying a season ticket; but there is a A vital element of not being a “spectator Christian” would be huge difference between cheering from the stands and playing on the field. In my lifetime I have cheered from the stands, sat on the bench, connecting with God through prayer. The disciples understood that when they asked Jesus to teach them to pray. He was more than and been in the game. Without a doubt, being in the game was far willing and it started with a template prayer that we now call “The more fulfilling. Lord’s Prayer.” Wouldn’t it be great if our next generation could The Christian life can be a little like “Bronco Nation.” Coach discover some contemporary answers to the disciple’s request in Luke Bryan Harsin is quick to tell us that “Bronco Nation” (i.e., the fan base) is critical to the team’s success, but we all know that the game is 11:1-2? My hope is that every young person and everyone who is ultimately won or lost on the field. Gallup polls reveal that only 1 out young at heart says: “Lord, teach us to pray.” It was a great thing for them to ask back then and it still is today. I encourage you to do it of 3 Christians attends church every week and that only 1 out of 10 because it will enrich your life. Do it for the love of the game! n attends more than one church-related activity in a week. This means that only a small percentage of Christians make active participation Pastor Dale Roy Erickson understands and lives out the importance of prayer in their church a priority. I believe there are several possible reasons in his individual life and in the corporate life of the church. He is established for this. 1. There are only a few Christians who have known the intense joys as a gifted and creative teacher who carefully studies and presents the truth of God’s Word. He is the president of Prayerful Publishing, Inc., publishers of the and sorrows of being a “player” on the team. 2. Church leadership has accepted a culture that creates fans rather Teach Us To Pray curriculum, Heaven Help Us books, and the Prayer Prompts Calendar, which has been downloaded for free in over 80 countries. He may be than players. Preparing players involves conditioning, training, and practice time. Being in the game involves more than just sitting in the reached at email@example.com, or visit www.prayerfulpublishing.com for more information. stands and cheering.
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28 July / August 2020 | Christian Living
THE ever-present God
Singing ‘Never alone, no never alone!’ By Della Deighton The first time I heard the song, “Never Alone, No Never Alone,” I cried — not because I felt alone, but because I knew that God had been there for me all my life. My mother died when I was 4 years old, but God took care of me by placing me in the care of my wonderful Aunt Emma. She was a widow who had raised her own children and was now caring for a nephew, whose mother had also died. She could have said, “No way, I can’t take care of any more children!” But she didn’t — she took me in and loved me. My father and my uncle were killed in a car accident when I was 13, but God was there then too. He gave me comfort, and I knew that He was my loving Heavenly Father. When I was 15 years old, my Heavenly Father spared me from physical death. For a long time, I had been going to a doctor in Minnesota, where we lived at the time, but he could not find out what was wrong. We moved to Idaho at that time because my cousin, Carl, was going into the army and didn’t want Emma and me to stay on the farm alone. Another cousin took me to a doctor in Boise, who suspected what was wrong after my first appointment. He ordered further tests, and it was discovered that I had tuberculosis of the lungs and the kidneys. The doctor told us that one kidney was totally destroyed and would need to be removed, and that the TB had started in my other kidney as well. By this time, I was coughing up blood because of the TB in my lungs, and I was in almost constant pain because of the TB in my kidneys. The doctor said if it had not been discovered when it was, I would not have lived much longer.
My mom died from TB and my dad spent several years in the hospital with TB, so this was a frightening experience for me. As a young teenager, spending six months in a TB hospital in Gooding, Idaho, away from family and friends, I often sang these words from the song “Abide with Me”:
“Abide with me; fast falls the eventide; The darkness deepens, Lord with me abide. When other helpers fail and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, Oh, abide with me.” I felt His presence, and He calmed my fears and eased the loneliness. When I was 17, God spared me from eternal, spiritual death. As I mentioned earlier, I was raised by my Aunt Emma, who was a strong believer in God and taught me to believe in and love Him too. My best friend in high school was the daughter of a minister. She invited me to come to church with her, and later her father, Kenneth Beckman, came to our home and taught me more about God’s Word. It was then that I made a personal decision to repent and give my life to Jesus. I was immersed for the forgiveness of my sin and was born again as a new creature in Christ. When I was 20, God spared me from making a very poor choice! Sometimes, even though we are Christians, we do not take seriously the warnings that God gives us, and because of our choices, we can end up reaping very serious consequences. Continued on page 31
Christian Living | July / August 2020 29
PRAY for rain…
And don’t forget your umbrella
Here are key thoughts to ponder as you put Vincent Kituku your faith into action. A story is told of a pastor who informed his • If you are waiting for the perfect conditions congregation that their Sunday evening serbefore you act, you are a waiter but not a doer. vice would be devoted to praying for rain. He • No one knows of your faith unless they see asked everyone to invite family members and the fruits of your actions. neighbors who didn’t belong to their group. • The impact of faith, when put into action, Their region had suffered from drought, and can last longer and reach beyond expectations. their farmers lost their crops and food for their • No one is known to have had everything livestock. Industries that depended on water they needed before acting on their faith. had financial losses that resulted in the closure • When you don’t act on your faith, you hurt of some businesses. your future and that of your loved ones. Word of the prayer service spread fast in the • When you act on your faith, you permit and rural community. People were ready for any empower others to act on their own faiths. action that would halt the devastating effects • You will never know what could happen in of the drought. The pastor stood at the door your life until you act on your faith. and watched members of his congregation and Vincent Kituku • Most of what you need to make your dream strangers enter the sanctuary. After the initial a reality will become available once you take singing and announcements of that week’s church activities, the initial step of acting on your faith. the pastor said that he had changed his mind on the evening • If what you are doing is not challenging and there are no service because people were not ready for rain. obstacles to overcome, then you will probably never know the When the prolonged murmuring and disbelieving gestures thrill of achievement. that followed his statement settled, he said there was no way In August 1995, I attended Toastmasters’ annual convention God would send rain until people showed Him that they in San Diego. It was the first time a writer ever autographed believed their prayers would be heard and have immediate a book for me. As I watched Jim Cathcart sign that book, I results. No one had brought an umbrella. couldn’t stand still. He had told us that success comes from the In “Top 45 Must-Know Lessons for Top Achievers,” lesson moment we start using what comes naturally to us. I had been number 7 states, “Learn to behave as if you know what you a scientist and in that moment I realized how much I enjoyed are doing. Then know what you are doing.” It is one thing to communication. Soon after arriving home in Idaho, I applied have faith and totally another ball game to put it into action. for a sales permit without a single item on my hands to sell. I In 1996, I heard author Tom Peters challenge a group of just wrote on the application that I would sell books, CDs and professionals to send out invitations before working on the African carvings. Within months, I was not only selling a book content of their presentations if they plan to have a seminar. There is no way I can fully describe the impact his words made I wrote (still on the market) but also signing autographs. n on my business. Get up and act on your dreams© by Dr. Vincent Muli Wa Kituku
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30 July / August 2020 | Christian Living
Continued from page 29 A young man who worked at the same place as I did began asking me for dates. I turned him down many times, but he wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. So, even though I knew the danger of dating someone with very different values and beliefs, I finally gave in, thinking if I went out with him once, he would quit asking me. But that didn’t happen. Instead we dated more and more, and I found myself compromising and skipping church activities to go out with him. Eventually, it came to the point where he was asking me to marry him, and I wanted to say “yes,” but I still had doubts that it would work. Many of my Christian friends were very concerned about my relationship with this young man, and they pleaded with me to break it off. I remember thinking many times, “Why don’t you mind your own business?” But they finally got through to me. After asking some of my closest friends to pray with me, I got the courage to tell him it just wouldn’t work because he was an alcoholic and because our faith was so different. He told me, “I could quit drinking if you were with me as my wife.” But God was there, keeping me strong in my decision, and I said, “Good-bye.” I believe that when we make the right choices, God blesses us in special ways. Soon He sent a godly young man from Colorado to Boise Bible College and to the church where I was attending. To make a long story a little shorter, Rick and I were married about a year and a half later, and we have served our Lord together ever since. We all go through times of trials and heartaches throughout our lives, and I can testify to you that God has ALWAYS been there for me. I am so grateful that He has never left me alone to struggle through these hard times. He’s been there to comfort, to give guidance and protection, to heal the hurts and the illnesses, and to show me that He cares about everything that concerns me.
“I’ve seen the lightning flashing, I’ve heard the thunder roll, I’ve felt sin’s breakers dashing, which almost conquered my soul; I’ve heard the voice of my Savior, bidding me still to fight on; He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone! No, never alone, No never alone, He promised never to leave me, He’ll claim me for His own. No, never alone, No never alone, He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone.” God has promised the same for you. If you haven’t already done so, why not accept His love and His precious promises today. He’s waiting with open arms, and He will never leave you alone. n
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Christian Living | July / August 2020 31