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Summer Sounds. Great.


REFRESHED | July 2014

July 2014 | REFRESHED


from the editor… SCOTT NOBLE

Download a digital version of Refreshed magazine for convenient viewing on your favorite digital device.

What happens next? What happens next when you literally face a life-threatening situation and tomorrow is not promised? Not all of us have faced this precise set of circumstances firsthand, but many of us have faced situations where tomorrow would be drastically different than today. For Jeff Nielsen, he seemingly had it all. He had a highly successful corporate job, a six-figure salary, large house, company car and a loving family. Nielsen also had one other thing: a nearly insatiable fear of failure, which was the result of an abusive childhood home. He felt compelled to perform, believing his worth was determined by what he accomplished. That mindset served him well climbing the corporate ladder, but things dramatically changed for Nielsen when he was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. The result? You’ll have to read about it in this issue. Jonathan Friesen, popular author of middle grade and young adult fiction, faced his own struggles early in life. He began to show symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome when he was just six years old. The neurological disorder often results in “unusual repetitive movements or unwanted sounds that can’t be controlled (tics),” according to the Mayo Clinic. He experienced a fairly severe seizure in junior high and spent the rest of his school years feeling alone and somewhat stigmatized from the rest of his classmates. He became a good storyteller in order to help deflect attention from his Tourette’s. But telling stories on paper was difficult for Friesen, as holding a pen or using a typewriter were too difficult for him because of Tourette’s. Nevertheless, he persevered and somewhere along the journey, Friesen put words to paper. Find out when and how by reading his story. Finally, parents can attest that having answers to every one of your kids’ questions can feel like it’s part of the job description. But is it? Read the review of the book “Answering Your Kids’ Toughest Questions: Helping Them Understand Loss, Sin, Tragedies, and Other Hard Topics” and discover the best ways to deal with these important questions.


PUBLISHERS Lamar & Theresa Keener GENERAL MANAGER Lana Branham EXECUTIVE EDITOR Scott Noble PROOFREADER Lis Trouten CONTRIBUTORS Joanne Brokaw, Sam Helgerson, Jim Jackson, Wendie Pett, Jason Sharp, Colette and Jonathan Stuart, Doug Trouten, Yia Vang, G.J. Wiese Copyright © 2014 Selah Media Group Refreshed is an independent, faith-based magazine published monthly by Selah Media Group. It is distributed in bulk, free of charge, to hundreds of locations throughout the Twin Cities metro region. For a 1-year mail subscription, send $24.95 to the address below or visit Refreshed welcomes story ideas. All unsolicited material is subject to approval of the publishers and is not returned. Viewpoints expressed in Refreshed are those of their respective writers, and are not necessarily held by the publishers. Reasonable effort is made to screen advertisers, but no endorsement of the publishers is implied or should be inferred. The publishers can accept no responsibility for the products or services offered through advertisements. The publisher reserves the right to refuse any advertising. ADDRESS ALL CORRESPONDENCE TO: P. O. Box 131030 St. Paul, MN 55113 E - MAIL PHONE/FAX (763) 746-2468 ADVERTISING (651) 964-2750 FOUNDING CORPORATE SPONSOR

For information on the benefits of being a corporate sponsor, please call Lana Branham at (651) 964-2750.


REFRESHED | July 2014

contents FEATURES

6 Does television rot your brain? 8 No longer invisible A storyteller’s journey with Tourette syndrome

12 The wisdom of… Wisdom Do our ideas about wisdom change with age?

14 Music mania

4 stages, 100 bands to stir it up at the Sonshine Festival

18 ‘Please don’t abandon me’


Man pleads with doctor to save his life


Book review








Events calendar


Community news

14 COLUMNS 6 Doug Trouten | unplugged 30 Yia Vang | at the table 31 Sam Helgerson | leadership sense 32 Jason Sharp | sharp focus 33 Wendie Pett | here’s to good health

6 30

34 Colette & Jonathan Stuart | marriage matters 35 Jim Jackson | purposeful parenting 36 G.J. Wiese | inspired living 38 Joanne Brokaw | that’s life!

36 July 2014 | REFRESHED


plugged in DOUG TROUTEN

Does television rot your brain? In the early days of TV, optimism timism surrounded this new communicanication tool. It was going to be a University of the Air, bringing g culture—the symphony, opera a and theatre—to elevate the masses. TV executives quickly learned that the masses have no interest in being elevated and would rather watch car chases, adultery and professional wrestling. High hopes for television were pretty much gone by 1961, 61, when FCC chairman Newton Minnow called it a “vast wasteland.” d.” He described TV programming g as “a procession of game shows, violence, olence, audience participation shows,, formula comedies about totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, western badmen, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence and cartoons. And endlessly, commercials—many screaming, cajoling and offending. And most of all boredom. True, you will see a few things you will enjoy. But they will be very, very few.” That’s certainly not true today, right? Clearly we have fewer westerns on TV. Plus, with about 80 percent of U.S. households receiving cable or satellite television, the vast wasteland has become much vaster. There’s still nothing good on, but with 200 channels it takes a lot longer to find that out. Ever since the “idiot box” became our culture’s dominant media voice, frustrated parents have warned that television will rot their children’s brains. There’s no scientific evidence that points to a mechanism for this—it’s not like “TV rays” penetrate the skull and directly kill brain cells. But the developing science of neuroplasticity suggests that our brain chang-


REFRESHED | July 2014

es throughout our lives, based on what we’re asking it to do. If you ask your brain to do crossword puzzles or memorize Scripture, your brain will adapt to the challenge. And if you ask your brain to watch “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” it will adapt to that as well. Most of television’s negative effects probably come in the form of “opportunity cost,” an idea from microeconomics that boils down to “an hour spent doing one thing is an hour that’s not available for something else.” Groucho Marx illustrated this concept when he said, “I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the library and read a good book.” But another way television affects us is by subtly changing our worldview. It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not like you watch an episode of “Real Housewives” and decide “I should become a shallow person with anger issues.” But TV offers a window to the world, and over time we can come to believe that what we see through that window is an accurate picture.

Communication scholar George Gerbner called this “cultivation theory,” the idea that television portrayals can “culide tivate” certain attitudes in viewers. For tiv instance, the more you watch TV, the in more likely you are to fear becoming a m victim of crime—since the TV world is packed with criminals. Heavy consumers e of television also tend to overestimate—by about 500 percent—the numm ber of people involved in law enforcement (there are lots of cops on TV to chase all of (the those criminals). tho What other false realities might we be aabsorbing from television? Many TV characters live in homes much nicer than cha their jobs can justify. They spend a lot of the time eating out without ever gaining a tim pound. And God just isn’t a part of the lives of TV characters. A study by the Parents Television Council found that faith is nearly absent from prime-time entertainment, with only one mention for every 1.6 hours of programming. Lest you think that I’m some kind of media-phobe whose secret dream is to join an Amish community (where many people don’t even have basic cable), let me admit that I watch more than my fair share of television (just ask my wife). But I try to balance that with reading, socializing and experiencing the real world around me. (It’s in 3D, and the resolution is amazing!) I’d share more ideas for keeping TV in check but I have to go—there’s a rerun of “Last Man Standing” calling my name. Doug Trouten is chair of the Communication Department at the University of Northwestern – St. Paul.

July 2014 | REFRESHED


No longer

invisible A storyteller’s journey with Tourette syndrome by SCOTT NOBLE


REFRESHED | July 2014


lementary school had gone fairly well for author Jonathan Friesen. He attended a school near his house and since most of his fellow students lived in the same neighborhood, he knew almost everyone, and everyone knew him. With that familiarity—conditioned over several years in a web of relationships that exist outside the classroom—comes a certain willingness to accept things about people, even things you don’t necessarily understand. Junior high was different, however. In fact, it changed everything for Friesen. He was forced to move from the smaller, neighborhood elementary school to a new and larger school, one where the kids didn’t know him as well. Why would that prove to be so important? Because Friesen has Tourette syndrome. He started to show symptoms when he was just 6 years old. With a family history of Tourette’s, he was born with a disposition toward what the Mayo Clinic describes as “a nervous system (neurological) disorder that … involves unusual repetitive movements or unwanted sounds that can’t be controlled (tics).” These may include repeated blinking of the eyes, shrugging of the shoulders or jerking of the head. In elementary school, “People noticed it, but I was just kind of the odd kid,” Friesen recalled. “When I moved to junior high, that’s when things kind of changed.” Friesen had what he calls “a big seizure” in seventh grade—in front of kids who didn’t know him as well as those in elementary school—and he soon felt somewhat stigmatized. That feeling of being the “other” not only played a significant role in how he developed as a young man, but it also played a major role in how he would relate those emotions to his readers many years later.

“I was always a storyteller, Friesen said. “But what happened was that as Tourette’s got worse, my handwriting, which was close to perfect, just fell off the map. It was just horrible. Because of that, writing just as an act became a challenge. Even though I had stories to tell and writing maybe would have been a very natural outlet for those stories, I lost the ability to do it.” Friesen even went so far as to avoid pens and pencils, believing he would not be able to control them adequately enough to write. Typewriters were a possibility at the time but without correction tape, they too became a hassle not worth his time. Being a good storyteller—or “joker” or Friesen describes it—served him well when trying to deflect attention from his Tourette’s. “I was good at making people laugh,” he said. “I usually did that to kind of redirect them … from ybe I had a big Tourette-remaybe d movement or tic and lated y’d be looking at they’d me, and so somehow if you could make meone laugh and someone d of redirect kind ir attention, their wouldn’t theyy ask me about it. I wouldn’t have to give an answer ut this thing about thatt I didn’t even derstand myself. I understand rned how to tell a learned d story, tell a good good jokee to redirect people’ss attention away m me.” from

An early storyteller

From a young age, Friesen loved to tell stories—and even write them, at least for a time. Despite dealing with Tourette syndrome all his life, Jonathan Friesen has become a successful author. July 2014 | REFRESHED


While the idea of being a natural storyteller was a strong influence in his life during high school, Friesen never was able to put those ideas on paper. Becoming a published author was possibly the farthest thing from his mind as he entered college.

An inkling of a career

“I went to college just because that was what I was supposed to do,” he said. “Whether I got that from my parents— and I think I did—that was your next life path. You get the diploma and then you choose which one of the colleges in your drawer who have been sending you stuff and who you are going to go to.” In Friesen’s case, that meant Bethel University in St. Paul.

DID YOU KNOW? Tourette syndrome (also called Tourette’s syndrome, Tourette’s disorder, Gilles de la Tourette syndrome, GTS or, more commonly, simply Tourette’s or TS) is an inherited neurological disorder with onset in childhood, characterized by the presence of multiple physical (motor) tics and at least one vocal (phonic) tic; these tics characteristically wax and wane. The exact cause of Tourette’s is unknown, but it is well established that both genetic and environmental factors are involved. Genetic studies have shown that the overwhelming majority of cases of Tourette’s are inherited, although the exact mode of inheritance is not yet known, and no gene has been identified. Tourette’s was once considered a rare and bizarre syndrome, most often associated with the exclamation of obscene words or socially inappropriate and derogatory remarks (coprolalia). However, this symptom is present in only a small minority of people with Tourette’s. A person with Tourette’s has about a 50% chance of passing the gene(s) to one of his or her children. Source:


REFRESHED | July 2014

during his teaching caAdmittedly, Friesen reer. “That was a mistake, didn’t do well in colI think, because it got publege. lished. [I] wrote an article, “I was a social novsent it out, a $500 check ice,” he recalled. “I kind came back and I thought, of just flew under the ra‘Well, this is easy.’ Then I dar at Bethel, not knowquit teaching because it’s ing what I was doing. Just easy.” kind of floating around ost recent m s Maybe that was the wondering why I was even n’ se ie Fr Jonathan released in as w ’ y, catalyst into life as an in college. I didn’t beda ay ‘M , book author. long there. At the time, I April. Friesen does recall, however, a was just wasting my folks’ point during his teaching career when he money.” decided that he wanted to write a book. Eventually, he gathered enough courIt was late in his teaching tenure, and age to approach his adviser and ask what this random thought emerged. degree fit him best. “It wasn’t based on any skill or any“Ironically, it was an elementary eduthing,” he said. “I wanted to try to write cation degree,” Friesen said. “My folks a book.” were educators. That was kind of the one After the idea formed in his mind, he thing I didn’t want to be but if I could get asked his wife what she thought about out of college [with it], I’d do it. So I behim becoming a writer. came a teacher.” “Are we going to eat?” she replied. Even though the career, in a sense, “I don’t know,” he said. kind of chose him, Friesen excelled in it That was all he needed. and enjoyed teaching. Armed with a newly published article He went into special education after and an agreed-upon vocation as a writer, college and believed it was a good fit. Friesen quit teaching the next year, and “They are people who are kind of … the family struggled through several their life had gone a different direction lean years. than they probably would have wanted His wife was homeschooling their it, just kind of like mine did,” he said. “I kids, so Friesen was the only income. kind of felt like I was at home there.” “In retrospect, that’s not the way At home he was. More than a dozen to do it,” he said. “But I think God was years later, Friesen was still teaching. faithful.” Success wasn’t easy or quick. Trying his hand at writing Years went by, and publication eluded Nearly 15 years into a teaching career, him. Their savings account was slowly Friesen still had not considered writing a shrinking. book. For successful authors, no matter the genre, the typical career path follows years of struggle and desire and heartThe story finally comes ache. Friesen had yet to put his thoughts Despite those being lean years finandown, yet to feel the nearly insatiable cially, Friesen received some vital mendesire to tell a story. toring during this time from two ChrisThat would soon change. tian authors—Lauraine Snelling and “I wrote one article,” Friesen recalled Cecil Murphey—and that helped turn the

Friesen’s experience as a young boy with Tourette’s gave him a particular insight into what he calls a “universal human need.” The desire to be noticed and affirmed. friends when they were little. That’s how tide. I see things. That colors everything. So Friesen’s first book—“Jerk California,” it’s really an unlearning. When I write a a book written for teens—was developed character, I have to unlearn what I know while mowing the lawn. about the world and say, ‘OK, had I been Nothing he had been working on had a socialite, had everybody in the school worked up to this point, and he thought, loved me, had none of the situations What do I know about that nobody that I’ve had happened, knows about the way I know then what would I have about it? thought now?’ That’s a “I was thinking that as I harder thing for me.” was trying to start the lawn But that challenge mower,” he said. “I was hasn’t been too diffitwitching like crazy and cult to overcome. Since jerking and then, ‘What “Jerk California,” Frido I know about?’ I kind of esen has written several paused for a minute and others, including his latwent, ‘Well, Tourette’s.’ est, “Both of Me,” which I was living in Maple comes out this DecemGrove at the time and by ber. All of his books, to a the time I got done with certain degree, touch on our little, tiny 45-minsimilar themes. ute mow, I had the whole Jonathan Freisen’s ne “The books that I feel story—start to finish. I xt release, ‘Both of Me,’ is schedule the most comfortable had the title. I came in, d to be released in Decembe r. writing and have felt the I wrote the story. Two most comfortable writing weeks later, it sold.” are books that are coming of age types of The award-winning book tells the novels with characters who have signifistory of a young boy with Tourette’s who cant points of pain that separate them embarks on a journey to discover more from the world around them,” he said. about himself and his father. “Jerk California” was a deeply personal book for Friesen. Being visible “The first [book where] I knew every Friesen’s experience as a young boy feeling, I knew every emotion that that with Tourette’s gave him a particular incharacter would have in all his situations sight into what he calls a “universal huhe went through and everything after man need.” The desire to be noticed and that,” he said. affirmed. Since that first book, Friesen has had “I sometimes got the ‘I see you’ but I to learn—or unlearn as he calls it—how didn’t get the ‘I like what I see,’” he said. to get inside the head of each character, “As I was writing, I always thought that something that was particularly easy was my little need. But the more characwith “Jerk California.” ters I wrote, the more people I met and “I keep assuming that everybody sees the more people I speak to, I kind of realthe world like I do,” he said. “I think evized that was not my little need; that’s erybody must see it through the lens our collective universal human need. of a boy who was sick and spent all his I kind of stumbled onto something, I time in his room and didn’t have many thought, which was very simple actu-

Tourette’s: Who else has it?

Tim Howard, who plays for the English club Everton, is the goalkeeper for the United States national team playing in the 2014 World Cup. For him Tourette’s has been an everyday battle that he has managed to keep under control, especially when he is catching and blocking 65 mph curve soccer balls from the best players in the world. Tim says it’s just a battle of the will; by constantly fighting what his mind tells his body to do, he has been capable of shutting out Tourette’s.


Other famous people with Tourette syndrome

• Jim Eisenreich - Major League Baseball Player • James Durbin - American Idol Star • Jamie Grace - Christian recording artist • Eric Bernotas - US Olympic Bobsledder

ally but kind of profound in that every character I ever write is going to be asking those two questions: ‘Does anyone see me’ and ‘Does anyone like what they see?’” ■ Learn more at and find him on Facebook, where he will be giving away copies of “Both of Me.” July 2014 | REFRESHED


The wisdom of... Do our ideas about wisdom change with age? by SCOTT NOBLE

“Listen to good music to try to focus on God, not girls and stuff like that.” Nathaniel, 11

“…you should read the Bible a lot and obey your parents, even if it’s hard. “ Hannah, 10


REFRESHED | July 2014


isdom. It’s a word we hear a lot in our constantly changing technological age. “It would be wise of you to ….” Or, “As you grow older, you will become wiser.” The pursuit of wisdom has been discussed, debated and rebuffed for thousands of years. Ancient philosophers like Socrates told us, “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing,” while Aristotle took a slightly different take and said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” The Bible, the ideal reservoir for those interested in attaining wisdom, encourages people to ask God for it and to pursue it, giving the impression that wisdom is a gift but also something gained thro through effort and experiences. P Pop culture stars, famous athletes, succ successful writers and societal leaders are also in the business of dispensing wisd wisdom. W Writer Ralph Waldo Emerson directed us no not to go “where the path may lead, go inste instead where there is no path and leave a tra trail.” Basketball star Michael Jordan proB vide vided a key piece of wisdom for those facin facing obstacles. “If you’re trying to achi achieve, there will be roadblocks,” he said said. “I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have tto stop you. If you run into a wall, d don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it or work around it.” The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a man who could have easily let hate overcome him but

instead rose above it, said, “Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.”

Age and wisdom

Wisdom comes in a variety of forms. It might be something as simple as learning not to touch a hot stove or understanding the consequences of telling a lie. It can also be something that is difficult to define or relate in a few words. As we grow older, we have a general perception that we become wiser—our life experiences giving us a different perspective on how we think, live with one another and pursue life goals. Many times our mistakes and utter failures provide us with the most decisive fodder for developing wisdom. We assume that we are wiser at 72 years of age than we were at 41 or 27—or certainly 9. For those in their retirement years, they have lived through countless experiences people younger than them have yet to encounter. It’s from that perspective they can look to younger generations and offer a bit of wise counsel. Not so much the idea of This is how you do it, but rather a general sense of Here is what I have learned from my life, and it may help you in some way. C.R. is a Twin Cities’ resident and retired. He has always kept the words a pastor spoke about wisdom close to his heart. The pastor had said, “Wisdom is God’s Word wrapped around our experiences.” It’s a compelling concept, and one C.R. believes helps inform our life from the perspective of God. With this point of view in mind, C.R. believes we can turn our experiences

into good, especially those that are less than positive. Those bad decisions, those discouraging outcomes, those utter failures … wisdom is taking those life episodes and using them to better inform our present and direct our future. For Joan, another retiree, the challenge to understanding wisdom is rooted in knowing and reading God’s Word. Our ability to make wise decisions—or to pursue common sense—is developed by how informed we are by the Bible. Second, Joan believes another key piece of wisdom useful for younger generations is being willing and ready to admit fault and ask for forgiveness. “Whenever I am challenged—either by the Holy Spirit or by another person— of having said or done something that offended another person, that I quickly admit it and apologize,” she said. “Letting things fester is never good. Whether or not the apology is accepted is not my responsibility, but to express the sincere apology is my responsibility.” Developing a humble and pliable heart is a key step in a life informed by biblical wisdom.

Wisdom from a kid’s perspective

While those in their retirement years have sound advice and pieces of wisdom to pass on to those in their younger years, kids have also learned lessons in their relatively brief lives. They most likely have not experienced the types of loss and failure as those several decades older; however, in their few short years, they have developed their own sense of wisdom. When asked what piece of advice or

wisdom he would pass on to other kids, Nathaniel, age 11, said to “listen to good music to try to focus on God, not girls and stuff like that.” Nathaniel wasn’t done. He had more wise counsel: “Have someone pray for you in tough times; it helps me,” and “When you feel like you don’t have anything to do, read the Bible because you can’t remember it all.” While Nathaniel’s counsel is not necessarily based upon decades of life experience, it’s sound, biblical and helpful. What person—age 10 or 40 or 80—couldn’t benefit from his prescriptions on wisdom? Hannah, 10, had similar advice for other kids: “To be fruitful you should read the Bible a lot and obey your parents, even if it’s hard. Don’t listen to your friends if they suggest that you do something bad. Going outside in nature can connect you with God, because it’s quiet and it gives you time to think about God.” Several other pieces of sound advice for those of any age. Jordan, 9, took the same lead about obeying parents, saying, “Obey your mom and dad so you won’t get in trouble, and you will have a better life.”

Wisdom … young and old

All of these pieces of wisdom and advice—whether they are based on decades of life experiences or developed through a relatively short period of time—serve as critical pieces in our life journeys. Perhaps the key challenge, however, is not so much knowing pieces of wisdom that guide us in our life, but being able to adopt those key pieces of wisdom during critical times. ■

“Wisdom is God’s Word wrapped around our experiences.” C.R, retired, quoting his pastor

“Letting things fester is never good.” Joan, retired

July 2014 | REFRESHED


Nikita Odnoralov, lead singer of Everfound, a band comprised of four Russianborn brothers, at Sonshine Festival in 2013.

Music mania 4 stages, 100 bands to stir it up at the Sonshine Festival by SCOTT NOBLE PHOTO BY LEHMAN_11 (HTTP://TINYURL.COM/L5Z6QLH), FLICKER.


n the early 1980s, Bob Poe was a youth pastor in Willmar. As it goes for many youth pastors, Poe wondered about organizing a midsummer event for area kids—kind of a way to give kids something to look forward to and something to entertain them. Poe wanted to pull in some area youth pastors and some churches and gather around the theme of music. So he did. The first organized event saw 1,800 people in attendance. “In 1982, that was a huge crowd,” said Poe, who is now festival director for the annual Sonshine Festival. “We were pretty excited about that. Everybody showed up that we wanted. We had good local involvement. Year two, it doubled in size. Then it kind of turned into something more than just a local event. Within a few years, we were at 12,000, 13,000 people.” More than 30 years later, Poe said he had no inkling the event would grow to become what it is today.


REFRESHED | July 2014

…more music in four days than (you) can get in four years at regular concerts. “My focus and the focus of the folks who were doing it was a local focus,” he said. “But sometimes God surprises you, and you kind of keep your hand to the plow and you look back and say, ‘Look what grew back there.’”

A true ‘music festival’

During the four-day event, July 16 – 19, Sonshine Festival will utilize four music stages: Main, Fringe, Debut and Indoor. “We have a main stage that runs daytime and evening,” Poe said. “We have a fringe stage that runs daytime. We have our debut stage that runs daytime. We have an indoor stage that runs daytime and evening. The indoor stage houses some different things during the daytime—hip hop being one of the big items. Then at nighttime, starting at about 5:30 p.m., it converts to the HM stage, the Harder Music, and runs to about midnight or 12:30 p.m.” This year’s lineup runs the gamut of Christian music: from Britt Nicole to Jeff Deyo, Colton Dixon, Newsboys, Manic Drive, Switchfoot, Kari Jobe, Lil Prophet, Tru Serva and many others. The debut stage gives new and emerging artists exposure and a chance to grow a following. “We started [the debut stage] years and years ago to allow some local and regional bands a chance to play at Sonshine,” Poe said. “The plan is if your band is going to be at Sonshine and you want to play, meet us at 9:00 at the debut stage. We’ll throw band names in a hat, and we’ll pick the order of the stage for the day. It’s fun.” Sonshine Festival is nearly a 12-months-a-year endeavor. Planning for the next year starts almost immediately after the current one finishes. “We talk about who we’d like to bring back, first of all, and then we’ll look at any


Sonshine Festival July 16-19 Willmar, MN More than 100 bands on four stages, including Newsboys, Family Force 5, Colton Dixon, NeedToBreathe, Jamie Grace, Switchfoot, Kari Jobe SPEAKERS: Bob Poe, Harry Thomas, Preston Centuolo, Nick Hall, Christine Caine and more KIDS: Kids area features clowns, juggling, bubble time, games, balloon sculptures, music, crafts, painting and more CAMPING: More than 50 acres of grass for free camping at the Willmar Civic Center TICKETS: new bands out there,” Poe said. “Some of the things we look at are their touring schedule. Are they out there where the people are? Are they selling tickets? What size are their concerts? Then we’ll look at radio play. [We] try and find the bands that folks are listening to and going to see. That kind of becomes our festival start.” Many bands have received big breaks or gotten a boost in their young careers by performing at Sonshine. Poe says powerhouse groups like Newsboys, Skillet and Switchfoot found a home at Sonshine before they became popular nationally. “A lot of these bands develop their career with us in the mix,” he said. Poe particularly remembers the story of Family Force 5, a group that has become very popular recently. Poe said the group was playing at Sonshine more than a decade ago when they were known as The Brothers. “They were little guys getting start-

ed,” he said. “Their dad … was [touring] them around the country.”

Sonshine experience

Over the three decades of music, the festival has moved a couple of times in order to accommodate the growing crowds and the camping experience that now is a major part of Sonshine. For the first several years, the event was held at Willmar Community College, now named Ridgewater College. Then Sonshine moved near the Willmar Civic Center and was able to use the facility and grounds there. Shortly after, Willmar High School built a new facility, which was better able to accommodate the growing needs of the festival. Several years after the first Sonshine, people began to ask about extending the event to two, three or four days, believing the one-day schedule was not enough. After the decision was made to extend the festival beyond one day, camping facilities became a necessity. With the addition of camping, Sonshine now offers a full-rounded experience at one of the region’s best music festivals. “We’ve got a number of things on site they can do,” Poe said. “Of course we’ve got music starting at 10:00 in the morning until midnight every day. We stuck to being a music festival. We have a speaker or two each day, but we haven’t done the seminars or the conferences. We’re a music festival. So most of the people who come here, that’s what they want to do.” They also have inflatables and games for kids and also a children’s stage and craft area for younger kids. Poe said many people spend time swimming or fishing or wake surfing at area lakes during the festival as well.

It’s about the stories

As with any event that has lasted for July 2014 | REFRESHED


more than 30 years, Poe is encouraged by the stories he hears from people who have attended Sonshine over the years. Poe recently received a call from a woman who said her daughter attended Sonshine several years ago. She had met her future husband at the music festival and now the couple has three kids. Another guy called Poe and said, “You know, Bob, I grew up a little more conservative in the Christian world. When I attended Sonshine, I raised my hands in worship for the very first time.” The gentleman told Poe that attending Sonshine was “one of the top three experiences of my lifetime.”


REFRESHED | July 2014

Thousands of Sonshine Festival music fans camp out during the four-day festival. In the end, Sonshine is about music and offering praise to the Son and a chance for people to be introduced to Christ. “Every night [at the] main stage we make sure that … we have an evening speaker, and the challenge for that person is not to just encourage believers but to call people to become believers,” Poe said. What would he tell people who are considering attending Sonshine for the

first time? “Well, if they are music lovers, they’ll get more music in four days than they can get in four years at regular concerts,” he said. “The other side of it is meeting some new people, making some new friends, great worship experiences, probably walk away with something similar from when most of us were at youth camps, and we had a great week at youth camp and came home and it was about all we could talk about for a while.” ■



1. Pick up a free copy at one of 700 locations in Twin Cities metro, including all LifeWay Christian 6WRUHV/RRNIRULWDW\RXUFKXUFKRUˉQGDOLVWRI retail locations on our website. 2. Read a digital copy. Download a PDF to your desktop computer, laptop or notebook — or VLPSO\YLHZLWRQOLQHWKURXJKRXUGLJLWDOˊLSERRN 3. Order a mail subscription for convenient delivery to your mailbox each month. One sure way to never miss an issue. 4. Drink a glass of ice cold orange juice.

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July 2014 | REFRESHED


Jeff Nielsen spent a lot of time in the pre-Op unit at U of M hospital getting tested and treated for his illness leading up to the eventual surgery that took place in September, 2012.

‘Please don’t abandon me’ Man pleads with doctor to save his life by SCOTT NOBLE


eff Nielsen had it all. He was a highly paid executive who enjoyed large monetary bonuses, drove a company car, had a six-figure salary and lived in a large house. His marriage to his wife, Tami, was solid, and their family life was rounded out by kids. But something had always gnawed at his core. It might not have been visible to those who passed him on the street or knew him only as an acquaintance; however, that “something” would literally control the way Nielsen approached his work—and possibly even threaten his life. That something was a deeply rooted


REFRESHED | July 2014

and nearly inescapable fear of failure.

Trying to perform

Nielsen spent his early years in St. Paul, moving to Forest Lake in the seventh grade. “Growing up, I was in a very abusive environment,” he recalled. “My dad was an alcoholic. My mom was very abusive toward me. I was the black sheep. I was called out. That’s just the way life was. I didn’t know any better.” Those years were difficult. Nielsen often slept at wayside rests in order to avoid the potentially volatile situation at home.

“It just really was a difficult time,” he said. “I knew that if I didn’t get out of here, I probably wouldn’t live. I kept on saying when I was growing up, ‘I hope I make it to 12, I hope I live to 8, I hope I make it to 16.’” Fortunately, he did make it to those ages, but those early family experiences left him with a burden that would shadow him for the rest of his life. “Love at home was performance,” he recalled. “If I did really good chores or housework—whatever I had to do to earn acceptance—that was what I did. That’s why I was really good in Track [and Field]. That carried me into the business

world because by performance, I got acceptance: promotions, raises, stock options. That was a fuel that kept me going. It was also a liability. I really didn’t understand that until I got sick.” Nielsen left home after high school and joined the Air Force, where he eventually met Tami. The couple was ready to make a life for themselves, but the liability that took the form of a fear of failure was still present, ready to make its appearance throughout the next many years.

New faith, new life

While the couple settled in Baltimore, they attended Rock Church, where they were baptized together. “We accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior,” he said. “That just launched my whole commitment to Christ.” Growing up, Nielsen and his family attended church infrequently—maybe on Easter and Christmas. He had a deep belief that God existed but at the time, his faith didn’t extend any further. Now Nielsen had a new and deep relationship with Christ and was ready to enter the corporate world. Early in his career, Nielsen became known as a turnaround specialist. He would go in, work hard and get the job done. “Here I am in corporate America, and I’m just tearing it up,” he remembered. “I’m getting all kinds of letters of recommendation, I’m getting great reviews, people are just building me up, and people are demanding my time. It’s just really rewarding. All that hard work is paying off.” But the demands of the job were beginning to take their toll. Working 70-80 hours a week, traveling more than half the year and striving in a stressful environment—those were the markers of Nielsen’s successful corporate life. “Something isn’t right,” Nielsen re-

Jeff and Tami Nielsen snap a selfie at the Joyful Noise festival last month. members feeling during this time. He prayed that God would show him what he was supposed to be doing. One image came to mind during this time: an image of him dying as a lonely man—with all the toys but alone. “[In spite of all the success], it has taken its toll, because I know I’m not having healthy balance,” Nielsen recalled. “I’m a workaholic.” In retrospect, Nielsen believes that workaholic approach to life was “my way to gain acceptance because I never had that growing up. Performance constituted acceptance.”

Change of attitude, same temptations

Coming to that realization, Jeff told Tami that he was going to resign from his corporate job. He believed he was going down the wrong path and needed to break the chains of this addiction to performance. When he told Tami of his decision, she said, “Wow, you finally see it.” He replied, “I was doing it for you.” “No, you weren’t doing it for me,” Tami responded. “I don’t need all this. You need it.”

So with that conversation, the couple decided to give it all up: the large house, company car, six figure salary … everything that was a result of his corporate standard of living. “We radically changed our lifestyle,” Nielsen said. Even with the change of lifestyle, Nielsen still couldn’t help but feel like he had failed somehow; the feelings of guilt would not go away. Nevertheless, the couple’s lifestyle did change—for a while. It wasn’t long, however, before Nielsen had an opportunity to move back into corporate America. He received a job offer from a company in Illinois. Nielsen still wanted that balance in his life and was unsure about moving back into the corporate world, a place where he was tempted to fall back into the familiar patterns of a workaholic. After much prayer and discussion, the couple made the move to Illinois, where Nielsen began work as a contract administrator for a large company. “Two promotions within a couple of years, and I’m back on top again,” he said. July 2014 | REFRESHED


…it’s easy to say God is in control when you live in a big house and enjoy a corporate salary.

The same patterns were beginning to emerge. The vice president of the company pulled Nielsen aside one day and said, “Jeff, I love what you’re doing. You’re the right guy … but you’ve got to get balance.” That elusive balance was again threatening to unravel his life. During times like this, Tami said she had to rely on prayer to get her through. “I had to rely a lot on prayer because my first reaction was to be angry,” she said. “Because I felt like he didn’t care about what he was doing to himself or to his family. I really found myself in prayer quite often and asking for God to give me guidance. And then He gave me the words to approach Jeff in a nonangry manner and just let him know how I felt—how it made the family feel and how it appeared to us.”

Health concerns

Over the July 4th weekend in 2011, Nielsen was walking to a restaurant in St. Louis when he began to feel ill. After a visit to the doctor, Nielsen was told he had problems with his pancreas. Further tests revealed gallbladder issues as well. Unfortunately, this began a yearslong succession of visits to doctors and emergency rooms—with a condition that would ultimately threaten his life. During this time, he was admitted to the hospital where he was supposed to have surgery to remove his gallbladder, but those temptations to work and perform still didn’t subside in spite of his worsening health condition. “While I’m in [the hospital], I call my admin and I tell her to bring the computer, bring the printer, and these disks because I’ve got some [work to do],” he recalled. “She said, ‘I’m not going to do that.’ I say, ‘You don’t bring them, I am going to fire you.’”


REFRESHED | July 2014

At the time, the doctor told Nielsen just how sick he was and that he needed a healthy balance in his life—words that Nielsen would hear many times over the next several months and years. Despite that warning, Nielsen’s condition slowly worsened, and he suffered numerous attacks related to his pancreas. At one point, he had to be airlifted from Illinois to St. Louis. Eventually, the doctor in St. Louis told him, “There is nothing I can do for you. I can’t help you. We’re going to put a pick line in you, but I’m going to send you to the best doctor I know in the country [for pancreas care].” That doctor was at the University of Minnesota. “At that time I’m thinking, ‘Is this my journey where I come home to die?’” Fortunately, it was not.

Surgery and new life

Doctors treated Nielsen while he was back in Minnesota and determined he needed to have his pancreas partially removed. It was a risky surgery but one that would hopefully give Nielsen the best chance for long-term health and recovery. Two days before the surgery, however, the doctor called Nielsen and told him that the procedure was too risky; they needed to cancel the surgery. “Please don’t abandon me,” Nielsen pleaded with the doctor on the phone. “Don’t forget me.” The doctor didn’t—and wouldn’t. Eventually, Nielsen was healthy enough for surgery and underwent the 12-hour procedure in September 2012 to remove his pancreas, spleen, a large section of his small intestines and stomach. After the surgery, Nielsen briefly returned to work. He took on a big project and struggled with the strains of the job. He ultimately decided to leave and un-

fortunately about this time, Tami was laid off from her job. Nielsen believes it’s easy to say God is in control when you live in a big house and enjoy a corporate salary. “Are you willing to let go of everything, every earthly possession and leave yourself wide open?” Nielsen said. “And then say, ‘God, you are in control.’ Because that’s the only time He is in control.” Nielsen says he will never be able to go back to the executive-type jobs he once held. While his health has remained steady, he tires easily and doesn’t have the stamina to hold a high-stress position any longer. “From that part, it’s coming to peace with realizing that what God has for me is totally different than what I had planned,” he said. “Your idea of what you’re supposed to be doing is different from … [God’s] idea, obviously. I know I can’t go back. I know I need to serve others and honor Him through this journey.” From their personal journey through near death and recovery, Tami offers encouragement to those facing similar challenges. “God is always there,” she said. “I felt like when I couldn’t take anything else, I would go out in the car and I’d scream, ‘Why are you doing this to us?’ Then I would get this peace, and a voice would tell me He was going to carry me.” Even though the couple will not be going back to the executive lifestyle they previously enjoyed, they are excited for what the future holds, especially in light of Jeff’s near-death health issues. “I am so excited about the future,” Tami said. “At this point, I never expected Jeff to be doing as well as he is doing. Every day is truly a miracle for us. I have to remind myself of that every day. It’s just been an amazing journey, and I can’t wait for the future.” ■

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July 2014 | REFRESHED


book review

How to answer tough questions from your children by SCOTT NOBLE “Answering Your Kids’ Toughest Questions: Helping Them Understand Loss, Sin, Tragedies, and Other Hard Topics” By Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson, Bethany House Publishers, © 2014, 176 pages, $13.99 It’s part of the job description for parents: being able to answer your kids’ questions—all of them. Even the most challenging ones, such as, “Why did grandma get sick for six months and die?” or “Why did that tsunami kill 50,000 people?” or even “Why did those people have to die in the Old Testament?” The questions can be deeply philosophical—even coming from a kid—or they can be more mundane questions about behavior, friends and what they saw on television. Regardless, as parents, we feel a certain responsibility to be able to provide adequate answers. In “Answering Your Kids’ Toughest Questions: Helping Them Understand Loss, Sin, Tragedies, and Other Hard Topics,” mother and daughter authors Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson provide a helpful framework for parents to consider when faced with difficult questions from their kids. The book is written with kids of all ages in mind— from preschool to teenagers. Chapters cover such significant topics as sin, death, divorce, difficult stories in the Bible, natural disasters, sexual sin, why people fight and the importance of the gospel. In the midst of providing a foundation for understanding and responding to these questions, the authors also discuss how parents should be open about not having all the answers. “One of the primary things we want to say in this book is that parents need


REFRESHED | July 2014

Elyse Fitzpatrick

Jessica Thompson

to be very upfront, really honest about what they know, what we can know and the fact that all of us struggle with doubt; all of us have questions,” said Fitzpatrick. “I think it’s perfectly fine for us—and actually I think it’s important for us as adults—to tell children that having questions and having doubt and not having all the answers is just part of what it means to be finite human beings.” The authors write about the fear some parents—including them—have when they do not have an answer to every question kids propose, especially when it comes to faith. As a mother, Fitzpatrick said she struggled with the idea of not always having the answer to every question. She falsely assumed that if she expressed doubt or didn’t have an adequate response that her kids would ultimately question God. “There are reasonable, logical answers that we can infer from Scripture, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we know why everything is happening,” she said. “I think it’s a really good idea for parents to be able to say to their children, ‘I don’t know the answer to that, honey, and there’s some things that we never will know the answer to until we’re in heaven. But I do know the one who has the answers.’” Thompson said perhaps the most difficult subject to address with kids is sexual sins or pornography, and that was a

complex chapter to write. “I think the question that maybe we try to avoid [as parents] or we try to hide from was the sexual sins chapter,” she said. “How do we talk to our children about pornography or abuse? I think parents try to ignore that, maybe don’t talk about it to their kids. But in my mind, when we finished writing that chapter, I had some very serious conversations with my children that I don’t think I would have previously even thought about.” Thompson also believes that if parents don’t address these difficult issues—like sexual sins, pornography and abuse—kids will find answers elsewhere, such as classmates, at school or online. Ultimately, Fitzpatrick and Thompson hope readers will not only learn practical advice on answering difficult questions but will see the broad narrative of Scripture behind all of life. “The big story is creation, fall, redemption,” Fitzpatrick said. “If we can get parents to understand and really get a hold of the fact that the Bible isn’t just a bunch of stories that have been sort of slung together but is actually a narrative …. In every one of those paradigms in the narrative—in creation, in fall, in redemption, in consummation—when you see that story being played out throughout the entire Scripture, then really most of the questions that we have fall into those categories.” Thompson hopes parents will grow in their confidence in God after reading the book and that they would see that “Christianity is really important and speaks to every part of my life” and would be compelled “to their knees in prayer for their children.” Learn more at www.bakerpublishing or visit a local LifeWay Christian store.

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Job Readiness Coordinator Professional individual needed to teach and facilitate job readiness courses for program clients. Responsibilities include: researching educational resources, preparing materials for classes, and oversight of client participation & professional assistants. Requirement include: superior written and verbal communication skills, along with computer programs proficiency. Experience with public teaching/classroom setting is a plus. Part time position; hourly pay

CD Counselor MN Teen Challenge seeks a licensed counselor to work in a 60-Day Life Renewal program. Individual must be comfortable practicing within a faith based structure, LADC Licensure is required. On-call positions currently available.

Maintenance Manage (Duluth) Experienced professional to manage multiple projects and work teams. In addition to strong administrative, supervision and organizational skills, experience in most of the following areas is required: Boilers, HVAC, plumbing, electrical, construction, and remodeling. A good driving record is required.

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July 2014 | REFRESHED



Brazilian soccer star belongs to Jesus By ANDREW BRANCH that uses colors to tell the gospel story. Kaká has often proclaimed his faith at the height of his accomplishments, even donating the Ballon d’Or to his church. When he won the UEFA Champions League with AC Milan in 2007, he ripped off his shirt. But instead of the traditional shirtless roar, he revealed an undershirt that read, “I Belong to Jesus.” Kaká allowed I Am Second to use his story in the World Cup campaign, accompanied by Luke 5:1-11, which tells the story of Peter, James, and John leaving the occupation that defined their lives—fishing on the sea of Galilee—to follow Jesus. The soccer star dedicated his life to becoming a professional player at age 15 in a sports-crazed Brazilian culture that rivals high school and college sports in the United States. Soccer is king, if not god. In a moment of “meditation on God’s word,” though, he said he realized that Jesus is the true first place. “Even though

I am playing against others, and it is important to get there and win, I believe Jesus is much more important than all of that,” he said. Kaká and his wife, Caroline Celico,


As his native Brazil hosts the monthlong World Cup tournament, soccer star Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite wants you to know that he is a Christian. Ricardo, better known only as Kaká, is a 32-year-old Brazilian who plays for AC Milan in Italy. Though left off this year’s World Cup team, Kaká has played in the last three World Cups for Brazil, winning it in 2002. He grew in popularity and won FIFA’s highest honor, the Ballon d’Or, in 2007. “I never imagined reaching the place that I reached, conquering the things that I conquered,” he told I Am Second, an evangelism ministry that tells celebrity faith stories. “As a soccer player, I won everything I could.” A video of his interview was posted on YouTube as part of the ministry’s World Cup initiative. I Am Second is just one of many international organizations using soccer balls featuring the colors of the wordless book, a witnessing tool

Above: Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, better known as Kaká, with the former president of Brazil, Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, in Brasília. Facing page: Kaka of AC Milan in action during the Series A match between Milan and Torino at the Stadio Meazza on April 19, 2009 in Milan, Italy.


Left: Kaká, in the yellow shirt, playing for Brazil at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.


REFRESHED | July 2014

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Leadership & Healing Conference July 10-12, 2014



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began dating as “childhood sweetheartsâ€? in 2002 and married in 2005. KakĂĄ, a kind of international Tim Tebow figure, and Celico both say they were virgins. But the couple has had some rocky moments. Celico, 26, was ordained by Brazil’s Reborn in Christ Church as a pastor. The couple left the megachurch in 2010, reportedly because of the way it treated and regarded money. Celico told a Brazilian television station in 2012 that she was somewhat dissatisfied with organized churches, saying that “our church is our house.â€? On the field, KakĂĄ has struggled to return to form after knee surgery. He is “learning many things,â€? he said, especially about the love of God in raising his two young children. “I’m not afraid of anything,â€? he said. “I learned to live each day waiting for God’s daily bread and by having faith that things could change in any given moment.â€? Andrew Branch is a reporter with World News Service. July 2014 | REFRESHED



Rock band drives home anti-slavery message

Christian rock band Remedy Drive has shifted gears in preparation for the September release of Commodity, a new release dedicated to highlighting the travesty of slavery and trafficking. Its title single from the album released in May, debuting at No. 12 and by mid-June climbing to No. 7. Penned by founder and frontman David Zach and his brother, Philip, the song is a powerful declaration of war against slavery and trafficking. Philip is producing the album. The four-brother band’s new mission was inspired by David Zach’s recent trip to Southeast Asia with The Exodus Road, a nonprofit coalition fighting sex slavery through covert investigation and rescue, prompting the band to commit their music and ministry focus to help combat human trafficking. “Commodity,” the debut single and title cut from Remedy Drive’s forthcoming studio recording and most important release to date, debuted at No.12 and Most Added on the BDS Christian Rock chart last week. “During this next chapter of Remedy Drive, we are going to do everything in our power to raise awareness and to fund rescue,” David Zach said. “I went undercover with The Exodus Road in the red light districts of several cities and am going to continue to go back because I believe freedom can only be achieved when we ‘develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness,’ as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said. A Kickstarter campaign to complete the Commodity project, the band’s 10th,


REFRESHED | July 2014

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ended with $27,710 in pledges, which outpaced its goal of $20,000. “We want to make a concept album on liberty, to shine a light on slavery, to protest oppression and to empower rescue,” the band founder said. “We want to add to the soundtrack of the resistance. My hope is that this album will sound like a captive’s dream of liberty—a defiant reminder, against all odds, that in the King’s Kingdom the oppressed can find refuge, the marginalized can find hope, the child soldier can find safety, and the trafficked daughter in the red light district can return to her innocence again as a princess of the Realm.”

Spanish album of popular worship songs released

Phil Sillas, the Dove Award-winning producer who has worked with Natalie Grant, David Foster, Aaron Neville, Jaci Velasquez and Plus One, has released Mi Corazón Canta, Cantos de Alabanza Vol.2 (My Heart Sings, Songs of Praise, Volume 2). The album debuted at No. 1 on the SoundScan - Spanish Christian Music chart and No. 5 on the Billboard - Latin Pop Album chart. The album contains 12 songs originally written by Hillsong, Chris Tomlin and Israel Houghton, among others. The songs have been translated as “the official and authorized Spanish versions” and are performed by Nic Gonzalez (Salvador), Jessica Cabral, Omar Galarza, Lily Cruz, Aaron, Barbosa, Aaron Encinas, Mark Gutierrez (GB5), Josh Lopez, Harry Samuel and Alfonso Hernandez. “Once again it is an honor to offer these wonderful songs that have impacted so many congregations around the world, and now in Spanish. Our desire and goal remains the same ... to highlight the ever-growing influence of the Hispanic church in today’s worship.”

Hide the Word in song

Grammy and Dove Award-winning CCM recording artist Steve Green has released his ninth project for children. “Hide the Word: Bible Songs for Kids,” is designed to make memorizing God’s Word a part of everyday life. Green wrote the music and adapted the Bible verses for all 15 tracks on “Hide the Word,” using some of the Bible’s most familiar promises, including John 3:16-17, John 14:6 and Psalm 23:1-3 (“The Lord is my shepherd....”). In addition to featuring Green on lead vocals, the CD also features a children’s choir with individual kids quoting the verses. Green’s granddaughter, Addy, made her recording debut on the project as well. “In the Scriptures, God has told us all we need to know for life and godliness,” he said, adding, “What’s more, the songs are just plain fun!”

Earth care topic of new DVD

Maranatha! Music and the global organization, The Eden Reforestation Projects, have teamed up to release A Convenient Answer, an educational DVD that promotes the protection, restoration and care of the environment. The interactive Bible-based study offers a solution and care strategy that heals the environment while encouraging others to overcome poverty and oppression. “Eden Projects employs thousands of impoverished nationals in Ethiopia, Madagascar and Haiti to plant million of trees each month at only 10 cents per tree,” said Steve Fitch, president and founder of The Eden Projects. “This simple cost-effective plan is transforming the workers’ lives even as they restore healthy forest systems,” he said adding that the DVD provides an honest look “at the negative consequences when we neglect creation, and how the people of God are uniquely positioned to make the world a much better place.”


‘Planes: Fire & Rescue’

“Planes: Fire & Rescue,” a new Disney comedy-adventure about second chances, featuring a dynamic crew of elite firefighting aircraft devoted to protecting historic Piston Peak National Park from raging wildfire, releases in 3D July 18 in theaters nationwide. When world-famous air racer Dusty (voice of Dane Cook) learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he must shift gears and is launched into the world of aerial firefighting. Dusty joins forces with veteran fire-and-rescue helicopter Blade Ranger (voice of Ed Harris) and his courageous team, including spirited air tanker Dipper (voice of Julie Bowen), heavy-lift helicopter Windlifter (voice of Wes Studi), ex-military transport Cabbie (voice of Captain Dale Dye) and a lively bunch of brave all-terrain vehicles known as The Smokejumpers. Together, the fearless team battles a massive wildfire and Dusty learns what it takes to become a true hero. Directed by Bobs Gannaway (“Secret of the Wings”) and produced by Ferrell Barron (“The Fox and the Hound 2”), “Planes: Fire & Rescue” hits theaters in 3D on July 18, 2014. Other voice stars include Curtis Armstrong, John Michael Higgins, Hal Holbrook, Brad Garrett, Teri Hatcher, Stacy Keach, Cedric the Entertainer, Danny Mann, Barry Corbin, Regina King, Anne Meara, Jerry Stiller, Fred Willard, Kevin Michael Richardson and Patrick Warburton.

Political thriller could be ‘ripped from the headlines’

Politics and religious liberties are on a crash course in the Millennium Entertainment film “Persecuted,” which releases July 18. The film stars actor James Remar (“XMen: First Class,” “Dexter,” “Django: Unchained,” “What Lies Beneath,” “Red”) as John Luther, a modern-day evangelist. Luther is the last hold-out for a na-

tional endorsement to make sweeping reform in freedom of speech that would compel religious leaders to provide equal time to those of other faiths as a U.S. Senator, portrayed by Oscar-nominated actor Bruce Davison (“X-Men,” “Lost”, “Castle”), and his political allies create a sinister plan of denial and scandal to frame Luther for murder. Suddenly his once-normal life is turned upside down as he becomes a fugitive vowing to expose those responsible. It is a mission that brings him face-to-face with the coming storm of persecution that will threaten the moral ethics and freedoms of America. “‘Persecuted’ is a wonderful House of Cards-type political thriller that imagines what would happen if the country’s most famous religious leader refused to go along with the politicians in Washington and the mayhem that ensues,” said Fred Thompson, a former U.S. Senator, presidential candidate and actor who costars in the film. His former credits include “Law & Order,” “Die Hard 2,” and “Hunt for Red October.” The film, written and produced by Daniel Lusko, also stars Dean Stockwell (“Air Force One,” “The Manchurian Candidate,” “Star Trek”), Brad Stine (recognized as “God’s Comic” by The New Yorker, social commentator on Fox & Friends, “Marriage Retreat”) Raoul Trujillo (“Apocolypto,” “Cowboys and Aliens,” “The New World”), Natalie Grant (fivetime Dove Award-winning singer and songwriter) and Gretchen Carlson (Fox News Channel).

Nashville. The evening featured appearances from several “Rocket Pack Jack” cast members, including 14-year-old Steven Dady, who stars as the story’s unlikely hero, Truett. He is recruited to help Rocket Pack Jack prevent Karnivor, a group of high-tech villains and their evil robots, from releasing a virus designed to corrupt all the world’s documents. The teen actor is quickly gaining notoriety as a leading young actor in Hollywood. He has already appeared in an episode of CBS’ “Criminal Minds” and will be seen in two upcoming feature films: “11 Seconds,” starring Casper Van Dien and Catherine Oxenberg; and “The Secret Handshake,” with Kevin Sorbo and Amy Grant. The film will be available at LifeWay retail stores beginning in August.

‘Rocket Pack Jack’

“Rocket Pack Jack and the Babylon Virus,’ a new faithbased adventure film from Seventh Story Productions and LifeWay Films, drew a star-studded audience to its recent world premier at the historic Belcourt Theatre in July 2014 | REFRESHED


events calendar JUL 1-AUG 26


“Fiber Friends” knitting group, opportunity to create knit blankets, booties & hats for ‘Operation: Top Knot’ through Soldier’s Angels Organization. (Jr. High+), 6-7:30pm. St. Peter’s Lutheran Church & School, 5421 France Ave. S, Edina •

Information Session for Bethel University Adult Undergraduate & Graduate Programs, 6pm. Alumni Lounge, Bethel University, Brushaber Commons, 3900 Bethel Drive • (651) 635-8000, events/camps-gs-info/

JUL 10-12 • THU-SAT

Wilderness Escape VBS (ages 3 years-5th grade), 9am. Our Savior Lutheran Church & School, 23290 Hwy 7, Excelsior. Free • (952) 4745181,

“Come to the Fountain” Leadership & Healing Conference. North Heights Lutheran Church, 1700 West Highway 96, Arden Hills. Various rates. By Int’l Healing & Restoration Ministries • (763) 5447700,

JUL 11 • FRIDAY Minnesota Country Gospel Opry, 7pm. Crowne Pointe Church, Richfield • (612) 961-8812

JUL 13-17 • SUN-THU Vacation Bible School “Shine” by Go Fish, 6:30pm. Hassan Elementary School, 14055 Orchid Ave., Rogers. $20. By Samaritans Hill Church • (612) 964-3867,

JUL 14-18 • MON-FRI

SonTreasure Island, Vacation Bible School (3yrs-5th, ½ day & 6yrs5th full day), 9am. Grace, 18360 Minnetonka Blvd., Deephaven. $20/person, $50/family (1/2 day) or $100/person, $200/family. Bible stories, music, crafts, skits & games. Full day includes all morning activities, lunch & afternoon outings • (952) 540-7747,

JUL 15 • TUESDAY Twin Cities Creation Science Assoc., Illustra Media DVD “Flight: The

Genius of Birds,” University of Northwestern, 3003 North Snelling, Roseville, Totino Fine Arts Center, Room F2128 •

JUL 15-17 • TUE-THU Gregorian Chant for High School, intensive course in Gregorian chant focuses on the Medieval repertory of Western Plainsong, in the traditional square notation of the Middle Ages. Holy Family Academy, 5900 West Lake St., St. Louis Park. $60, lunch provided • (952) 9290113,

JUL 16-19 • WED-SAT Sonshine Festival, Willmar. Featuring Switchfoot, TFK, Disciple, Britt Nicole, Family Force 5, Newsboys, Kari Jobe, Jamie Grace, Colton Dixon, and many more. 5 stages, music tournament, inflatables, camping, kids activities, and much more • sonshinefestival. com

JUL 17 • THURSDAY Gordon Mote in concert, 7pm. Brooklyn Park EV Free Church, 7849 West Broadway, Brooklyn Park. $1727 •

JUL 17-20 • THU-SUN

With culture growing darker, it’s time to ask:


JUL 18-19 • FRI-SAT

WHAT IF believers reclaimed their voice in business, education, media and government?

WHAT IF we elected godly men and women to lead us? We think the results would be as if the Light was turned back on in Minnesota! (John 1:5) #LightsOnMN


REFRESHED | July 2014

Bethel Theatre Performance “The Spitfire Grill,” Thu.-Sat. 7:30pm & Sun. 2:30pm. Bethel University Theatre, 3900 Bethel Drive, St. Paul. $10-14 • (651) 638-6333, events/arts/theatre/performances/ spitfire NeUventure. Mpls Marriott West, 9960 Wayzata Blvd., Mpls • (952) 544-4400,

JUL 19 • SATURDAY Financial Workshop on budgeting. Learn the budget method or refresh yourself on budgeting, 9am-12noon. Jesus is Lord Church, 2829 W. 102nd St., Bloomington. Free, child care provided • (952) 888-2402 Stained Glass Tour 2014 Praise Band Service, 10am. Grace 7th Day Baptist Church, meets at Emmaus Lutheran Church, Youth Room, 8443 2nd Ave. S, Bloomington • (952) 432-7490,

JUL 21 • MONDAY Information Session for Bethel University Adult Undergraduate & Graduate Programs, 6pm. Bethel’s Normandale Place Site, 8201 Norman Center Drive, Bloomington • (651) 635-8000, camps-gs-info/

JUL 21-27 • MON-SUN Revive Twin Cities, evangelism and discipleship campaign •

JUL 22-24 • TUE-THU Kids Summer Adventure – The Sonlight Express (ages 4-4th grade), 6-8pm. Fairview Covenanet Church, 1175 County 19 N, Minnetrista • (952) 472-3128,

JUL 24-27 • THU-SUN Bethel Theatre Performance “The Spitfire Grill,” Thu.-Sat. 7:30pm & Sun. 2:30pm. Bethel University Theatre, 3900 Bethel Drive, St. Paul. $10-14 • (651) 638-6333, events/arts/theatre/performances/ spitfire

JUL 25-26 • FRI-SAT Mission Possible, Friday 7-9pm, Worship Time/Preaching & Saturday 12noon-3pm, Teaching/ Service/Community Outreach). Amazing Grace Assembly of God, 1237 Earl St., St. Paul • (651) 4085124, (704) 493-4171

JUL 25-28 • FRI-MON Single Life Workshop, 9am. Living Waters Church, Elk River. $150 •

JUL 26 • SATURDAY Release the Fire, Worship Night with Tru Serva, More than Conquerors & Jamie Schwartz, 6pm. 1600 Gervais Ave. Ste. 3 • (763) 222-3984,

JUL 28-AUG 1 • MON-FRI GoFish Gotta Move Vacation Bible School (4 years – 8th grade), 9am. Berea Lutheran Church, 9308 Rich Valley Blvd., Inver Grove Heights. Free • (651) 454-1915,

JUL 29 • TUESDAY Eric Samuel Timm in concert. Eagle Brook Church, White Bear Lake • (651) 429-9227, eaglebrookchurch. com

AUG 1 • FRIDAY Minnesota Country Gospel Opry, 7pm. Crowne Pointe Church, Richfield • (612) 961-8812

EVENTS ONLINE For more events and community news, please visit www.

community news Group to start Christian youth leadership camp

SAINT PAUL — The Minnesota Family Institute announced last month that it’s organizing the Student Statesmanship Institute (SSI) Minnesota. The camp will be a “summer leadership youth camp, which seeks to provide spiritual challenge, biblical worldview training and practical hands-on experience in legislature, media, law, business and campaigns,” according to a media release from the group. The program will begin July 20 at Concordia University in St. Paul. “We’re very excited to announce the establishment of SSI Minnesota this summer,” said Tom Prichard, director of Cultural Initiatives for the Minnesota Family Institute, via the release. “It’s a highly successful youth leadership program, which has trained up 4,000 youth leaders in Michigan Tom Prichard over the past 20 years. We’re excited to bring it to Minnesota.” The first year of the camp will include a legislative track, where students will learn the intricacies of legislative work. Future years will include journalist, lawyer, business owner and campaign manager tracks. For additional information, visit or call (612) 7898811 ext. 207.

Potluck to highlight single parent group gathering

RICHFIELD — The Single Parent Christian Fellowship will hold its monthly social on Friday, July 11 at 6:30 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park in Richfield. The event will include a potluck meal as well as volleyball and other games. Those who attend are encouraged to bring a dish to share, paper products for the meal and a beverage. The group also hosts a weekly volleyball time from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Locations vary, so for more information on the group, the monthly potluck or its volleyball locations, call (612) 866-8970 or its hotline at (651) 649-4525.

Southern gospel group to perform in Richfield

RICHFIELD — Jerry and Ginger Dallin, who have performed for more than 50 years, will give a concert on Friday, July 11 at Crowne Point Church in Richfield. The concert is presented by Krystal Clear Music and hosted by the Rev. Chet Priewe. Their music career was launched in the late 1950s, and the couple has performed at churches, crusades, rallies, county fairs and appeared many times on television. They have recorded 33 albums. Admission is free to the concert, but a free-will offering will be taken. For additional information, visit or call (612) 961-8812.

Paul Wilbur team For His Name’s Sake will lead the worship event “Restore” Aug. 2-3 at Grace Church in Eden Prairie. According to an announcement from organizers, the concert will “express God’s heart for Israel and the nations through worship and the word.” Tickets for the two-day event are $25 in advance or $35 at the door. Family ticket packages are also available. For additional information, call (612) 564-9893.

Christian writers conference coming to Woodbury

WOODBURY — American Christian Writers will hold its mentoring retreat in Woodbury Aug. 1-2 at the Country Inn East. The two-day event will include manuscript consultation, professional editing and other evaluation opportunities for manuscripts. Faculty include Lin Johnson, editor of “The Christian Communicator”; Dennis E. Hensley, author of numerous books and chair of the professional writing program at Taylor University; James Watkins, editor at the Wesleyan Publishing House; and Reg Forder, director of American Christian Writers. Tuition is $499. For more information or to register, visit registration.htm.

‘Restore’ concert coming to Grace Church

EDEN PRAIRIE — Author Jonathan Cahn, singer/songwriter Paul Wilbur, Vision for Israel Founders Barry and Batya Segal, along with the music and dance July 2014 | REFRESHED


at the table YIA VANG

What it means to be ‘at the table?’ No matter where we were or what we were doing, we could hear the voice of my mom, a little Hmong woman, yelling for us to come to eat. My parents believed in eating at the table together for dinner. It was a time to take a pause in our lives and connect with each other. Sometimes there wasn’t much to talk about, and sometimes that was the moment my father took to “address” behavioral issues. Regardless, the table was a big part of our family life. We brought our concerns and questions to the table. At the table we connected with each other and shared a meal. In Luke 13:29 Jesus says, “And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God.” Jesus is speaking of the table in the kingdom of God that His people will gather at one day. This table will consist of God’s children from all over the world—people who have different skin colors, people who speak different languages, and people who come from dif-

ferent family backgrounds. They will all sit together and feast with the King! A few years ago, I was on staff with a college ministry and lived in a house with a bunch of men who loved to eat. My favorite memories were of those nights (or afternoons) that we would gather around a table full of meat and potatoes. Each of our roommates would invite other guys from their classes or sports teams and although many of us would begin the evening as strangers, we would end as friends after sitting at the table together. On the table would be a cornucopia of different cuts of grilled meats, some kind of starch dish, more than enough grilled veggies and cups full of the cheapest lemonade you can buy (this was college after all). We would eat and talk late into the night as we became full on the bountiful food before us. Amidst much laughter, the food on the table would grow cold. As the night wore on, we would begin to nibble on the leftovers, which became known as “second dinner” to us.

During those meals, it didn’t matter where we stood ethnically; it wasn’t about our politics, our theological beliefs or even which football team we called our own. That night, we were a group of men, at first strangers and as the night wore on, friends. Barriers were broken down, and we shared a night of good food and great conversations. No matter what type of stresses we carried, on those nights, we ate like kings at the table together. Ultimately, food brings people together. Everyone is a “foodie” to some degree or another. Some people like to dine in lavish eateries and some like to dine at hole-in-the-wall joints. Regardless, everyone has an opinion on food. Everyone has a story that revolves around food. That is the point of this column. I want to share my experiences in the food world to gather people together. I want to use food as a vehicle to examine theological questions and issues. I want to be able to draw from that common interest of food and use it as the launching point to steer us toward the Gospel. Because, although each of us are incredibly different—socio-economically, ethnically and spiritually—at the end of the day we are all hungry for the life and hope that can only be found in our Savior, and we can’t get away from the one fact that we are all sinners in need of grace (Romans 3:23). Yia Vang graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a BS in Communication Studies. Shortly after, he went on staff with Cru. He is currently the Lead Kitchen Ministry Coordinator for Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis.


REFRESHED | July 2014

leadership sense SAM HELGERSON

Doing life well: Working in the middle years Last month, I started a three-part series on leading, learning and serving across a lifetime. This is the second installment on working in the middle years.

God, not stuff

One of the great challenges of the middle years is the tendency to be more grateful for the gifts of God than the “surpassing worth of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord” (Philippians 3:8, ESV). It is far too easy to become complacent and comfortable during the middle years, when your skills, hard work and training have paid off. Be sure that your relationship with God is really focused on Him and not on the good things He provides. Incidentally, this is a challenge whether we have those comforts or not. If life is not quite like we would like it to be, it is easy for us to blame God and see Him as stingy, rather than recklessly abundant. Keeping our focus on God gives us perspective and keeps us from living lives that are bitter and meager.

Volunteer and give back

In the middle years of life, cultivate habits that will give you an outward focus. We can easily become self-absorbed and self-centered, and the best cure for this

is intentionality. Several years ago, Peter Drucker wrote that people who do not start volunteering and serving during their middle years will never do so: Putting it off until retirement, when there is more time, is just an excuse for doing nothing. Take some time and get involved in your community. Serve locally: Help out on park clean-up days, local events, committees and organizations. If your day-today life is in a leadership role, then step in as a follower and help do what needs to be done. You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish, how many great people you will meet and what it means to live in community with other people. Best of all, it’s a great way to be salt and light and let others see what a real Christian looks like: Serving is an excellent way to express the love of Christ to others.

to stay learned; college students can cram for tests and then forget it all a few days later, but adults tend to learn best when they can connect what they have learned to their own interests and experiences. Rather than settling in and being contented with where you are, take on a new opportunity to learn. For some, this might be a return to school for an advanced degree; for others, it might be mastering a skill such as sewing, plumbing, woodworking and so on. I have a friend whose hobby is learning a language and then traveling to the part of the world where that language is spoken to see if she has really mastered it. God has equipped us to continue growing, learning and serving throughout life. The middle years can be vibrant and dynamic if we take hold of those opportunities and seek to live life to glorify God and show love to others.

Learn something new

There is a myth in our culture that needs to go away: It’s been said that children learn better than adults. That’s simply not true. Children do have some advantages when it comes to language acquisition and memorization, but adults still have the advantage. When adults learn something, it tends

Sam Helgerson, PhD, is the program director for the Master’s program in Organizational Leadership and the assistant dean of Business and Leadership Programs at Bethel University.

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sharp focus JASON SHARP

Becoming extraordinary Good news! It doesn’t matter who you are, what you look like, what gifts and abilities you think you do or do not have or how much money you have in your purse or bank account. God made you, He loves you and has a radical plan for your life! I’ve been reading through the Old Testament lately and have noticed that God takes special interest in ordinary people. People like Sarah, who was barren but gave birth to Isaac in her old age. Joseph was a regular teenager with jealous brothers who sold him into slavery. Moses was a normal Hebrew boy God used to deliver the people from the crushing hand of Pharaoh.  Joshua was an ordinary man with faith in God, so he led the people of God to defeat Jericho. Rahab was a common prostitute, yet she believed God and saved Joshua’s spies. There are many more examples throughout the Bible and God used them all. And then there was David. First Samuel 16:7 says, “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the

Lord looks at the heart.’� Israel wanted a king and scripture tells us that God rejected Saul, who was the reigning King of Israel, for his disobedience. You see, Samuel had given him specific instructions from God that Saul failed to keep, and “because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as King� (1 Samuel 15:23). So God sent Samuel to Jesse of Bethlehem to find the next king of Israel, and it’s a great story. Jesse brought each of his first seven sons before Samuel to see which son would be anointed. He started with the oldest son, who was tall and fair, and thought for sure Samuel would select him as king. But Samuel was reminded: “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.� Jesse then paraded his next two sons in front of Samuel, but each time God said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.� Jesse brought four more sons forward, but none of them were chosen either. There was one more son, but he was the youngest and of such little

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significance that Jesse had left him out in the field tending the sheep. Quite ordinary, you might say. When David was summoned, the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.� Can you believe it? Seven of Jesse’s sons had passed before Samuel and all were rejected. They were more than qualified—extraordinary young men if you will, but the Lord chose a shepherd to lead Israel. From then on, God was with David. God often exalts those whom men despise and can accomplish extraordinary things through ordinary people. That makes me happy because I’m quite ordinary. My wife, Julie, and I have two children. Our daughter is 14 and our son is 12. We were visiting some friends recently and all of our children were playing an outside game together when I overheard my son say, “Short guys win!� You see, my son is the shortest kid in his class and sometimes people remind him of that so when he won the game, he wanted everyone to know that God can do extraordinary things with what someone else might consider ordinary. Our sight often proves untrustworthy, so don’t look in the mirror and tell God what you are capable of. Instead, let God tell you what He wants to accomplish through you. People look at the outward appearance, but good news: the Lord looks at the heart! Jason Sharp is station manager of 98.5 KTIS in the Twin Cities. Follow him on Twitter @ jasonrsharp.

here’s to good health WENDIE PETT

Cutting to the core: 5 steps to relieve stress Words, actions, thoughts, stress and belief systems can cut right to the core. Literally! Unfortunately, it probably isn’t the kind of “cut” you’re seeking. A person’s internal core rests in their heart; externally, however, the core tends to settle in our midsection. What many people don’t realize is that belly fat is an emotional comfort of sorts for holding onto hurtful situations. The stress brought on by negativity causes the body to release cortisol from the adrenal glands. Cortisol is an essential hormone for releasing insulin in order to maintain blood sugar levels, regulate blood pressure, increase immune functionality and enhance glucose metabolism and inflammatory response. When cortisol is released in abundance into the bloodstream, it can also trigger unhealthy eating habits and carbohydrate cravings. If you are looking for chiseled abs, your first course of action should be to cut the stress! Studies indicate that three out of four people report experiencing major stress at least twice a month. Although not all stress is created equal, minimizing extreme negative and long-term stress can add years to your life. The Bible tells us in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Also, our negative stress would be minimized if we truly believed and rested in Philippians 4:19: “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Positive stress, however, can actually be healthy and contribute to the cut in the core you’re seeking. In fact, positive stress can be a motivator for great abs. Some people are so accustomed to living in stress that they find it difficult to dif-

ferentiate “good” stresss from “bad.” For instance, a job promotion that requires learnearning new skills actually is associated with good d stress, as is planning for a big event (such as a wedding). Bad stress is associated more with financial, ancial, health and relational situituations. Long-term negative ative stress not only affects the body but the mind and spiritt as well. Following these steps ps will help relieve stress and equip you to conquer your mission: n: 1. Breathe better. No need to hold it in any longer. Stand with feet side by side, hands at sides or placed on your stomach. Press abdominal muscles down with great tension while exhaling out the mouth. While flexing the stomach muscles, pull in with all your strength as you forcefully inhale through your nose. Create a strong vacuum and hold for one second. Perform 10-12 reps, breathing with great force on both inhale and exhale. 2. Rewrite your story and pray: Script your new life story. Ditch and release your past and current belief systems of possible negative labels, such as “I’m too fat, I’m too ugly, I’ll never be good enough.” Remind yourself that you were created in God’s image, and you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13-14). 3. Sleep on it! Without proper sleep, one literally breaks down by the sheer weight of physical weariness on the mind, body and spirit. As a result, excess fat lingers around the midsections of those who get less than the proper

of sleep. Studies amount o that people who found tha sleep six h hours per night percent more are 23 pe likely to gain weight than those who sleep between sl sseven and nine hours. h 4. Eat clean: Fueling your body Fue with natural, Godgiven ffoods equates to less sstress. Organic are the way foods a to go, if at all possible, so your body sible doesn’t have to d fight toxins, such as pesticides. When you eat clean, your body receives the proper vitamins and minerals that it is seeking. 5. Walk or run it off: A 20 to 30-minute brisk walk or jog releases positive endorphins, which are the brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, which relieve stress naturally. Even if you only have five to 10 minutes to walk, it will do wonders for your attitude and mood. Getting cut to the core takes work, but it’s worth every crunch, breath, stride, vegetable, thought and shut-eye that you take in! It’s (Ab)solutely never too late to make healthy life choices! Wendie Pett is a nationally-renowned fitness expert and coach, mother, TV host, speaker, author and creator of the Visibly Fit™ exercise program. Learn more at July 2014 | REFRESHED


marriage matters COLETTE & JONATHAN STUART

Dealing with what surfaces Summertime in our family means going to a lake or pool. Our kids are bigger now, but we used to always have a bag of inflatable or plastic toys that we’d bring along. Have you ever been swimming and there is that object that always floats to the top? Even when you try to push it down, it will pop up somewhere in the water. A marriage relationship is an incredible crucible that brings things to the surface. We might want to ignore a pattern that comes up for us personally or an issue between us, but it has a way of emerging until we deal with it. Although we might not see this as a positive thing at first, being in a relationship where we naturally get to see what’s below the surface is a wonderful blessing. Often these are things we weren’t meant to deal with alone. When issues come up, don’t try to push them down below the surface again. Be honest and look for help. Over the years, we’ve found there is a whole host of ways we can reach out for support to deal with various issues. Before we started having kids, there was a group of three other young couples we met with regularly. We hung out together, did Bible studies and went on a wilderness retreat. It was valuable to see

that marriage wasn’t hard only for us and no one had a perfect relationship, but we were all committed to investing in the process of working things out. The season after our second child was born was an especially hard time for us, between job transitions and increased parental expectations. We called around and found a certified marriage therapist. For the next six months, we saw him. Though we knew others who had benefited from this format, it wasn’t as helpful as we’d hoped it would be for us. A year later, we heard about an intensive Christian marriage program called Sanctus that included a weekend away and then six weeks of follow-up sessions. It was like a boot camp where we really dug into some hard topics and then learned practical skills in asking for and granting forgiveness. A couple of years ago, we found a tool called Prepare/Enrich, which includes a marriage check-up assessment. Taking it identified strengths and growth areas that we could discuss with a small group of other couples at church. Over five weeks, we went through exercises that had been pinpointed through our assessment results. We’ve also benefited from the encouragement of various “third” parties. This has included everything from going to

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marriage seminars put on by well-known speakers to taking the suggestion to buy a certain book and read it together. Nothing is meant to be a panacea, but we think of these as mechanical tune-ups or doctor prescriptions for our marriage. Another individual form of support system has been groups of same-gender friends we meet with. Jonathan has two buddies who he’s met with for nearly 10 years to talk about their lives and pray together. Colette has a group of women who started meeting together on Saturday mornings doing book discussions that often deal with marriage issues. These circles have become wonderful places to be authentic and honest about our lives. These examples are certainly not meant to be an exhaustive list but a recap of some experiences we’ve found useful. Whatever type of support you’re receiving, be honest in evaluating if it is working. We’ve found there are finite periods for many of the things that have been helpful to us, and often what was useful at one point may not stay that way. In addition to spending summer at the lake, it is also garage sale season. It’s a good time to sift through items that have been in the closet, a drawer or box for too long and deal with the clutter. If there are issues you haven’t addressed or things that keep rising to the surface in your marriage, make a plan today to get real and reach out for support. Jonathan Stuart, Ph.D., is a faculty member in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system. He specializes in training and mediation services. Colette Campbell, M.A., is an adjunct faculty member, speaker/consultant and coach. She offers workshops on connecting to your calling, working with differences, and workingbetter2gether.

purposeful parenting JIM JACKSON

Would your teen run away? When people steal, disobey, defy, cheat, lash out or otherwise sin, in their hearts they leave. They leave the safety of trustworthy relationships. They leave the purposes for which God created them. The way people are treated when they sin determines whether or not they’ll feel safe to return. At the teen outreach where I served for 12 years, the teens’ participation was voluntary. If these kids didn’t like how they were treated, they would literally leave, never to be heard from again. Our own kids may not physically leave, but they leave relationally when they don’t feel safe. ence with Steve The following experience at the outreach center taught me much about being safe. One day I caught Steve stealing. It was a n. If he make-or-break situation. didn’t feel safe with my response, ely leave. Steve would almost surely I had every right to be angry with Steve. But that anger ing wouldn’t keep him feeling safe. So I prayed, “Lord,, give me your grace for Steve.” This short prayer helped me calm down and think more clearly. Grace always flows better through a calm, clear head. I asked Steve to come into my office. Before addressing the m, stealing, I affirmed him, e saying: “Steve, you love coming here, don’t you? And we love having you.” I paused and y then gently and calmly got to the point: “Steve,, I’m going to have you

empty your pockets. How much money is there?” Steve could have fought. He could have denied. He could have stayed silent or run. But I believe that grace made Steve feel safe. He knew I was for him, not against him. He cast his gaze on the floor and told me the amount. He emptied his pockets and handed me the exact amount he’d said. More opportunity for grace. “Wow,” I said curiously. “You are right on.” Steve seemed stunned, as if the absence of the normal response to his deviance somehow left him off balance. I paused, wondering how to continue in grace without cheapening it. In that moment, I considered spoke an entirely new and spo thought. “Steve, it occurs thoug me that in the middle to m the bad thing you did, of th you demonstrated some pretty good skills.” Steve prett looked confused but interested. “You had a plan est in mind and knew how to get it done. Then, you knew to the nickel how much money you’d taken. You seem to have quite a gift for planning and for handling money. So I want to make you an offer. I’m wondering if you’re willing to try a consequence that puts those skills to better use.” Steve was all ears. Grace opens ears. I continued: “The normal consequence is no to be suspended from programs for a month. pr

But if you’re willing, how about if for the next month I teach you to run the snack shop? I’ll teach you inventory control, bookkeeping and banking.” Steve was all in. Grace enlists participation. This approach kept Steve from leaving. In spite of his sin, it wooed Steve back into the safety of my care, and ultimately Steve made a decision in this context to turn to Christ for life. Grace opens hearts. In a day and age when kids’ hearts are more readily wooed toward trouble than ever before, it’s time to quit taking for granted that our kids won’t run away. They will. If the running away is literal, it is more dangerous than ever. But most kids don’t pack suitcases. They turn on their devices and are bombarded with a myriad of sophisticated, predatory influences seeking to capture their hearts and minds. If we want to keep our position of influence in their lives, we must learn to be receivers and givers of God’s grace. And we must do the hard work of dispensing that grace early and often, so that our kids will run, through our persistent but imperfect efforts, right into the arms of God’s forever grace. Do what you can to give kids reasons to stay, not leave. Fight to embody grace. Postscript: Twenty years later, Steve co-owns a cafe and has largely overcome the deep dysfunction he grew up in. Grace lasts! Jim Jackson is the cofounder of Connected Families, author, speaker and parent mentor. Learn more at www. July 2014 | REFRESHED


inspired living G. J. WIESE

Are you in need of a cyber-Sabbath? If “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (John 3:16), why did John say, “Do not love the world” (1 John 2:15)? Many have used the “do not love the world or the things in the world” command to censure everything from beer to rummy to salsa dancing. Unfortunately, honest attempts to create “don’t lists” may miss John’s intent. What dangerous “world” is he talking about? John gives us a big clue: anything that is driven by “the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life” (1 John 2:16). By deliberately choosing the Greek word “desire” (epithumia), John alerts us to the threat of “cravings that become a controlling obsession.” So the force of the passage is not to identify specific “worldly” behaviors, but to warn about anything that would control us. Is there anything controlling us nowadays? Is Satan offering a new “apple” of sorts? Although I never neglect it, my iPhone’s been acting funny lately, like it’s bored with the black cover and duckquacking ringtone. I may forget to do dishes and feed my cat, but I seem incapable of forgetting my phone at home. I can go to sleep without a blanket, pillow or a cup of cold water, but I refuse to let my husband go to sleep without knowing where my phone is. Technology is not evil in and of itself—and yet most people openly confess their infatuation with digital devices. Perhaps Charlene deGuzman’s short film, “I Forgot My Phone” exposes the cyber-mania that’s distracting us to death. The clip features deGuzman trying to survive a phone-free day. Friends ignore her at lunch because of their phones; people are so engrossed with recording a concert on their smart-


REFRESHED | July 2014

phones that listening to the music is irrelevant; and a friend snaps a selfie with a champagne glass in her hand rather than sharing in a toast. Are we missing out on life because we’re tapping on devices? Are texting, taking selfies, posting, pinning, tweeting, scrolling and checking emails more tantalizing than living in the moment? Do we become more “of the world” by disconnecting from life “in the (real) world” (and thereby totally mess up John 17:14-18)? Tim Challies asks similar questions: “Am I giving up control of my life? Is it possible that these technologies are changing me? Am I becoming a tool of the very tools that are supposed to serve me?” (“The Next Story: Life and Faith After the Digital Explosion”). “More and more of us are finding that we just can’t stop long enough to read,” he continues. “We can’t sustain our attention long enough to study. Where prayer used to be the first activity of every day, we now begin our daily routine by checking e-mail. Where the Bible used to be a special book we read and studied, now it’s an ebook that competes with our voicemail, text messages, e-mails and the everpresent lure of the Internet.” Thankfully, John revealed the bottom line: “The world is passing away along with its desires (controlling obsessions), but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17). It’s clear. All worldly obsessions will “pass away.” Therefore, we must not allow any device to distract us from doing God’s will.

Want to break free? Repent and schedule regular cyber-Sabbaths (use real Bibles with real pages). We can ask God to help us focus so we can learn to hear His Spirit exegetically, as the Spirit has spoken in Scripture. By reorienting our eyes and ears to the Spirit’s voice in Scripture, our heart will be filled and our mind will be transformed. Over time, cyber-Sabbaths will increase our sensitivity to God’s presence in the moment, so we can be free to be more keenly aware of the people around us. No longer will technology

Where the Bible used to be a special book we read and studied, now it’s an e-book that competes with our voicemail, text messages, e-mails and the ever-present lure of the Internet. control and isolate us from those who love and need us most. Why? “The love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). Controlled by the love of Christ! (Isn’t that the point of John’s epistle?) What a magnificent obsession. G. J. Wiese is an adjunct assistant professor of Biblical Studies at Bethel University. She blogs at

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that’s life! JOANNE BROKAW

Bats in the belfry It’s midnight and I’m lying in bed reading a book, when all of a sudden I hear the pitter-patter of little feet scurrying in the ceiling above my head. Uh-oh. Something’s in the attic. My dog Bandit cocks his head to listen, then jumps down from the bed to follow the sound around the room, eyes fixed on the ceiling. Great. It sounds like maybe two somethings. I call to my husband, “David! Something’s in the attic!” He’s just gotten home from a long day at work, just taken a shower, and he isn’t interested in whatever phantom noise I’m shouting about. Spring usually brings a procession of bugs and spiders and weirdo beetles I’m always calling for him to kill. But this is no spider. I wait. The scurrying continues. “There’s something in the attic!” I call again, my voice rising with just a hint of panic. When David comes into the room, he’s wearing an impatient frown. And then he hears it, too. There’s a critter line dancing right above our heads. We mull over the options. What can we even do at midnight? I make a few suggestions. I could sleep downstairs. I could take another Benadryl and knock myself out. As we talk, the scurrying picks up intensity. When I ask David what he thinks might be up there, he tells me it’s probably a squirrel. I’ve never seen a squirrel awake at midnight, but I have seen a possum. In our backyard. Now I’m freaked out. “Is it actually in the attic rooms?” I ask him. “Is it in my boxes of books and old clothes and books?” Panic. “Is it in my books?” He shrugs and replies, “I don’t know.” We stand quietly, neither of us sure what to do next. “How about a bat?”


REFRESHED | July 2014

I ask. “Could it be a bat?” “A bat is a definite posossibility,” he says. That’s a relief. We’re old hats at dealing with bats. In fact, for a few years our house was the meeting place for the neighborhood bats. They’d swoop through the living room and bedrooms and around the yard. Bats, I know. I can live with a bat in the attic. Maybe. I go into the bathroom and the critter follows overhead, scurrying and scuttling. “Seriously? It’s following me!” I call out through the closed door. When I head back to the bedroom, the critter follows. I stop on the way to stuff towels under the attic door, sealing off any openings to the rest of the house. Whatever is up there, I’d like it to stay up there. David heads downstairs and when he returns he’s suited up with long pants tucked into boots, a long-sleeved shirt, gloves, a hat and goggles. He’s carrying a tennis racket. Darling husband is going bat hunting. Bandit and I crawl back into bed and cower together under the covers. I hear David go up the attic stairs, hear him open the crawlspace doors and check the areas right under the eaves, and then hear him slowly advance through the rooms. I hear some slight thumps as he moves boxes. The scurrying gets louder directly over my head. And then it’s silent. David isn’t moving and neither is the invader. Bandit and I are snuggled together, eyes still locked on the ceiling. Several minutes tick by. Then I hear loud footsteps, some-

thing being slammed against the wall, th ll more commotion. ti Then more silence. Soon David comes downstairs. As he opens the attic door and emerges from the dark he says, “There’s good news and bad news.” Several scenarios run through my head. It’s a possum and it got away into the bedroom walls. It’s a squirrel and it had babies and now I have more material for my column. There’s nothing there and it’s all in my head. “The bad news is that it’s a bat,” says David. “The good news is that it’s dead.” And like a trophy, he holds up a grocery bag that holds the body. Fortunately, he explains, there was probably only one bat up there (as opposed to a whole nest of squirrels). But if there’s another bat, we can deal with it. Squirrels would have been a major problem. I settle back into bed while David takes the bat corpse out to the trash. When I look up at the ceiling again, I see a giant spider, right over my head. I get up and whack it with a book. Darling husband’s done enough tonight. Award-winning freelance writer Joanne Brokaw spends her days dreaming of things she’d like to do but probably never will— like swimming with dolphins, cleaning the attic and someday overcoming the trauma of elementary school picture day. She lives with two dogs, a cat, six chickens and one very patient husband. Learn more at

July 2014 | REFRESHED



REFRESHED | July 2014

Refreshed Twin Cities • July 2014  

Refreshed magazine—is a monthly life-style magazine that is about faith, inspiration, culture and intentional living. Subscribe to the print...

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