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REFRESHED | September 2014

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September 2014 | REFRESHED


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A healing, two dreams and paddling upstream Have you ever wondered what it would be like to experience God working in your life in an unmistakable and powerful way? Most of us can point to events and times during our lives when we felt God move in some significant way. However, for some of us, we’ve never experienced that one undeniable event where God seemingly broke into our world and announced His presence. The Sindt family experienced one such episode. After getting cross-checked during a hockey game, high school freshman Darien Sindt became a little foggy, a little dazed. He didn’t think much of it at the time, but the hit would signal several months of darkness and uncertainty until … well, you’ll have to read about it yourself. Another example of God breaking into our world happened to Jeremy and Krista Carroll. The couple was living in New York several years ago when the sense of emptiness in their souls reached a new level. They decided to give up their old life of chasing the American dream and follow after God with more intensity. But it wasn’t until Jeremy experienced two dreams that the Minnesota natives received the confidence and guidance they needed in order to create Latitude, a unique and cutting-edge company that gives away 50 percent of its profits to those struggling against poverty and injustice. Finally, have you ever wanted to do something against the grain—blaze your own trail in life where no one has yet to go? For Bill Arnold, while his peers were heading to law school, medical school and business school, he felt the desire to do something “anti.” And he did. Read about his journey through his early years in magic and comedy and how the talented performer connected with Bob Stromberg and Michael Pearce Donley to create “Triple Espresso,” a highly successful and long-running comedy show. But don’t stop with these stories. As you page through this month’s issue, we hope you will be encouraged, informed and excited to see God working in numerous ways throughout our community.

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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 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

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contents FEATURES

6 Funny guy

Comedian Bill Arnold takes the road less traveled

10 A trip and two dreams

Holes in their souls lead couple to help finance ministry to the world’s poorest


15 Colliding with God


16 Darien’s miracle

Family finds healing after son’s injury








Events calendar


Community news


COLUMNS 26 Doug Trouten | unplugged 28 Yia Vang | at the table 29 Wendie Pett | here’s to good health 30 Sam Helgerson | leadership sense

26 31

31 Jim Jackson | purposeful parenting 32 Jason Sharp | sharp focus 34 Joanne Brokaw | that’s life!


September 2014 | REFRESHED


Comedian Bill Arnold takes the road less traveled by SCOTT NOBLE


ife is filled with ups and downs, joy and pain. Bill Arnold sees the contrasting experiences as dance partners. Usually, says the comedian, magician and writer, he has “felt the pain and then looked for the lighter [side].” The pain in Arnold’s life was evident almost from the beginning. His father died when he was young; he lost his best friend when he was 13; the uncle he was named after and who played a significant role in helping to raise him died when Arnold was just 12. But through that pain—and the normal pain associated with life—Arnold has developed a career of entertaining people and giving them a glimpse into the unfettered joy all of us desire.

Early laughter

The realization that Arnold had a gift for making people laugh was evident early. “The comedy gift began when you grow up with four sisters and realize that comedians are just trained observ-


REFRESHED | September 2014

ers,” he said. “So you learn a lot about comedy just by observing and listening. You grow up with four sisters and may not get a word in edgewise, but you gain perspectives. Then I found I could make my sisters laugh. That’s always a good starting point—when you take people who are close to you and your humor or your style amuses them. And you go, ‘OK, that’s good.’” Yet that gift for making people laugh didn’t immediately lead to a career in comedy. After high school, Arnold attended the University of Minnesota. “My aspiration [was] to finish,” he said. “I just thought that’s something I guess I want to have done. I don’t want to do it, but I want to have done it. “I majored in not going to class,” he continued. “When that major ended up going nowhere, I ended up in Family Social Science because I thought it would be interesting to be a marriage and family counselor. But that involved a lot more school, which I didn’t like in the first place and a lot of sitting on my butt,

Bill Arnold wanted to do something ‘anti’ with his life. So as his peers went off to law school, business school or medical school, he went into magic and comedy, eventually creating a long-running and successful career as a performer.

which I didn’t like doing either.” During college, however, Arnold got a taste for performing in front of people. A friend owned a Green Mill restaurant in the 1970s, and Arnold, who immediately took to magic when he first learned illusions at the age of 19, asked his friend if he could do close-up magic for patrons as they waited for their food. Arnold said: “You have such a fan base, and they wait 40 minutes for pizza when the pizza ovens are all loaded up. Why don’t you give them 10 minutes of me while they’re waiting to get their food?” The friend agreed. “I remember when I first started I was trying to introduce myself at the table,” Arnold said. “‘I’m here compliments of the management and for the next 10 minutes, I can put a little show on for

you.’ They would always say ‘Yes’ and after about three or four months, all I did were request tables. The waitress would say, ‘Table 6 is here to see you. Table 4 is here to see you.’” The money he earned during those years helped pay for college. But when he finally earned that elusive degree, Arnold said he treated it like a “bowling trophy” and took a run at the entertainment industry, where his skills and interests made for a better fit.

Doing something ‘anti’

Growing up in Edina—something Arnold jokes about as something his parents achieved and that he just “lived with them”—he said he felt a desire to pursue a career that was what he called “anti.” “Growing up in Edina, all my friends were going to law school or medical school or business school,” he said. “They were going to do this or that, and everybody is going to be conquering the world. I was feeling ‘anti.’ This was anti— anti-food, anti-clothing, anti-money,

anti-friends ….” A real opportunity to be “anti” took flight when Arnold drove out to Lake Tahoe, Nevada, and got a chance to train under a card connoisseur. He spent the next nine years there. “Lake Tahoe is a difficult place to live because it’s a place where people go to party like crazy for the weekend,” he said. “You kind of leave your manners at home and go to Tahoe. That’s the people I’m around all the time. A lot of people are there trying to find themselves. I was not trying to find myself. I’d been found.” After nine years in the tourist and casino town, Arnold was feeling burned out. On a Monday, he prayed, “I need to get out of here.” On Thursday night, he was working and decided to go to the bar to get his coffee, instead of the restaurant where he normally went. Arnold was holding a deck of cards and a guy at the bar said to him, “Show me your pass.”

This meant the guy wanted to see Arnold’s skill level with the cards. Arnold said to man, “Oh, you must know magic.” The guy said he did and that he owned Magic Island. Ten minutes after Arnold got him a table, he was booked for a month in Newport Beach, California. “From there, I got down to the last weekend and I didn’t know what I was going to do, because I really had this gig and then nothing,” Arnold said. “I remember that weekend Penn and Teller came and saw my show. Then the other owner of the Magic Island came that next day—my last day—after I had said again, ‘Lord, what next?’” Arnold was offered the head close-up magician position at a new club in Houston, Texas. The idea of being “anti” was seemingly taking off.

Coming back home

After his last tour with Magic Island, however, Arnold came back home and

Getting personal with Bill Arnold … Who are your three favorite comedians?

Bob Newhart. Dana Carvey. Billy Crystal. Newhart would be the guy that I’ve modeled myself most after. A little bit of that ultra-dry deadpan, slightly stammering. Not stuttering but stammering. There’s a big difference. A little bit of that “we just don’t know what’s coming out of that head next.”

How do you put together something that’s funny?

My first thought … follows magical principles: What’s the surprise, and how do you break patterns? Because whenever you break patterns, you throw people off track. Then they start listening differently. I think those are things that people who do set-up punch line comedy …, which is kind of what I do …. I’m a set-up punch line guy. I want to walk a person to the edge of the cliff … and then push him. They don’t know when they are getting pushed.

What’s on your iPod?

Tim Keller sermons.

What’s your favorite vacation spot?

Switzerland. It was probably the 10 days of absolute pristine weather, which contributed to this, “Oh my gosh. This is the most beautiful place in the world.”

Favorite TV show? Andy Griffith.

If you weren’t a comedian, what would you be?

That’s a great question … because it’s not fair. Because certain jobs require training and certain intelligence levels, which I don’t have. Maybe a night watchman at a bran muffin factory. September 2014 | REFRESHED


‘It’s like a little pharmacy of chemicals that you have in your head that gets accessed when you laugh about something and you feel good about it.’ again asked, “OK, what now, Lord?” “What now” appeared to be getting into the comedy scene. He got connected with The Rib Tickler, a comedy club in Minneapolis during the 1990s. “I ended up emceeing for pretty much five years down there, which is like going to graduate school in comedy,” he said. “Because every night on stage there is a headliner back then during the surge of comedy who are basically pretty big stars today. My first week down there where I was the middle act—I wasn’t the emcee, I was the middle opening act—the headliner that week was Dana Carvey.”

But during this time, something else was brewing in Arnold’s career, something that would leave a strong mark on Twin Cities’ audiences and audiences around the country. In 1991, Arnold met comedian Bob Stromberg at a National Youth Workers Convention event in Chicago. On the last night of the event, Stromberg and Arnold each did 15-minute comedy sets. “Bob loved what I did, and I loved what he did,” Arnold said. “And he said he was moving to Minnesota.” Michael Pearce Donley was the musical director at the time for a Sunday night nationally syndicated Christian

The original creators and cast of Triple Espresso (l-r), Michael Pearce Donley, Bill Arnold and Bob Stromberg, perform the hit comedy.


REFRESHED | September 2014

radio show out of Northwestern. Donley got to hear Stromberg’s comedy on the show and liked it, and Stromberg enjoyed Donley’s musical abilities. “So we had this mutual society of admiration going on,” Arnold said. The three eventually got together in 1995 at the Good Earth in Roseville and basically said, “Wouldn’t it be fun to try to do something together?”

Triple Espresso born

That meeting and that idea eventually became “Triple Espresso,” which has been seen by nearly two million people since it launched in 1996. The show ran

continuously in Minneapolis and San Diego for more than 10 years and has been performed in six countries and in three languages: English, German and Flemish. “The storyline was we need it to happen in a location,” Arnold said. “‘We don’t want it to be a nightclub,’ or ‘We don’t want it to be something too corny,’ and coffee shops were emerging and getting more popular. We liked the idea of caffeine. We liked the idea of projecting into the future where coffee shops would have live entertainment in them.” The trio also wanted to use the best 10 minutes from each of their solo acts and put them in a show and “weave a storyline through them,” Arnold said. “We wanted the show to be a twohour vacation from their life,” Arnold said. “Because we always thought when you go to the theater, it’s most fun when you have fun. Because there is a lot of heavy baggage in theater today. There are a lot of very serious, dark subjects. Theater is basically kind of a dark place in American culture, and we wanted to bring light to it.” That idea of giving people a two-hour vacation from their lives also has a healing element to it. When they were sitting around a table at Good Earth sipping coffee nearly two decades ago, the trio had no idea how successful the show would become. After each show, the three performers meet the audience in the theater lobby as they are exiting. “We’d always have people coming up and saying, ‘Oh my goodness. You just gave me two hours of a cancer-free life,’” Arnold said. One marriage counselor, Arnold said, used to send couples who had forgotten how to laugh together to the show. A few even cited Triple Espresso as a turning point in their relationship.

After six years of ‘Triple Espresso’ running in San Diego, the mayor of the city, Dick Murphy, awarded the show’s creators—Bob Stromberg, Bill Arnold and Michael Pearce Donley—with an award for the longest running show in the history of San Diego. ‘Triple Espresso’ continued to run in the city for another four years after the award was presented.

Something new

After doing more than 3,200 performances with Triple Espresso, Arnold rarely takes the stage anymore. If and when he has to, however, he doesn’t need to take out the script. “The less you think about [the lines], the better off you are,” he said. Today, Arnold helps charitable organizations raise funds by putting on events, and he works corporate events, where his comedy and magic skills take center stage. He also co-hosts a weekly radio show, along with George Fraser, on Faith Radio—heard locally on Sundays at 5 p.m. on AM 900—called “Real Recovery.” “It’s recovery from addictions, which is ironic because I’ve never done drugs or alcohol in my life,” Arnold said. “But our premise is basically everyone who is a Christian is in recovery because we were once sinners. We all have … we manufacture idols, and they occupy space in our

heart and we have to make sure that we deal with those.” Even from an early age, Arnold wanted to use laughter to give people a chance—including him—to look at the brighter side of life. For him the deaths of so many loved ones early on almost made laughing a necessity in his life. That same commitment to making people laugh still propels Arnold many years later. “I always want people to feel good about what they laughed at,” he said. “Because that’s the kind of stuff that kind of gets in people’s bones. It sticks with them. It’s like a little pharmacy of chemicals that you have in your head that gets accessed when you laugh about something and you feel good about it. And then all of a sudden these endorphins get released.” ■ Learn more at www.billarnoldcomedian. com. September 2014 | REFRESHED



trip and two dreams

Holes in their souls lead couple to help finance ministry to the world’s poorest by SCOTT NOBLE


eremy and Krista Carroll were living in New York. The Minnesota natives were chasing the American dream. Jeremy had grown up in the printing world and was now a top seller in the industry. But the closer the couple seemed to achieving the American dream—or some significant aspect of it—the larger the hole grew in their souls. “We were struggling because … we were both feeling very discontent that ‘We’re not living out our values,’” Krista recalled about those years. “Our faith was very much in a box. We’d take it out on Sunday, or we’d take it out every night and pray with the kids. It was very much like … it was just kept in a very nice little box.” Krista recalls the day Jeremy sold the biggest job of his career. “Oh, I feel sick about this,” Krista remembers him saying. The hole in their souls—particularly Jeremy’s at the time—was making him feel emptier than ever.

A trip to Haiti

A few months later, Jeremy was on his way to Haiti with Jeff Gacek, co-founder of Healing Haiti. Jeremy and Krista continued to struggle with what they felt was an emptiness in their lives and thought maybe the trip would give Jeremy some


REFRESHED | September 2014

direction or answers. “I was so excited for him to be open to God meeting him there,” Krista said. Krista remembers asking Jeremy if he was scared to make this trip, unsure about what God might reveal to him. “I’m scared to come back,” Krista recalled Jeremy saying. “I know life is not going to be the same when I get back.” The first day in Cité Soleil, one of the poorest cities in the world, Jeremy saw small children who had no food, clothing, education or water. When he saw one particular child, he remembered Jesus’ admonition about how our treatment of “the least of these” is the same thing as our treatment of Jesus himself. That incident made him think: “I’ve been wasting all of my God-given gifts on me and my family. I haven’t been sharing them with humanity.” The entire trip was overwhelming for Jeremy, and he began to develop some ideas for what he was going to do with his life upon his return to the States. He wanted to use the talents God had entrusted with him in order to serve humanity.

A return home

“He came home, and I was like, ‘Thank God,’” Krista said. “‘This is awesome. God is going to be at the center of

our life.’” The couple believed that God was calling them to something different but not necessarily to be missionaries. They believed God wanted them to use their skill and abilities to serve Him, and those skills and abilities were in business. Jeremy wanted to start a commercial printing company. He didn’t want to purchases equipment but instead leverage his existing relationships to serve their clients and also give 50 percent of the profits to people living in poverty. They had one major problem, however. In 2008, about one month before the market crashed and pulled the U.S. economy into a several-year slump, the Carrolls had purchased a small apartment in New York. As with everything in New York, it was expensive, and they knew that selling it wasn’t an option in the current economic landscape. “How about we pray about it for a little bit?” Krista suggested.

Two dreams

That night, Jeremy had a dream. “This man was walking by with this wheelbarrow of pieces of leather and came up to Jeremy in Cité Soleil and he said, ‘Do you want this leather?’” Krista recalled. “Jeremy was like, ‘Yeah.’ He

Jeremy and Krista Carroll donate half their company profits to multiple ministries working among the poverty-stricken around the world.


September 2014 | REFRESHED


Jeremy Carroll teaches the kids in Ethiopia how to play Duck, Duck Grey Duck. said, ‘What are you going to do with it?’ Jeremy couldn’t think of what to do with it. ‘I guess you’ll have to find someone else to give it to.’ The guy took off down the maze of shacks and shanties. Right as he left, Jeremy was like, ‘I could have made shoes for all the kids in Cité Soleil.’ So he’s running, trying to find this man in this maze.” But he can’t find him. In fact, Jeremy woke up from the dream soaked in sweat. He ran to the bathroom and became sick. The dream had literally made him physically ill “knowing that he’s missing an opportunity to serve every day that he’s not doing this,” Krista said. The next night, Jeremy had another dream.


He was standing in an auditorium telling those gathered about his business plan to give away 50 percent of the profits. A man who was in the back row and who looked a lot like Jeremy said, “How are you going to do that? How are you going to feed your kids and give away 50 percent of your profits? It’s irresponsible.” Jeremy woke up and audibly said, “God will provide for the day.” The couple was now convinced about God’s new direction for their life. “We decided … that Jeremy would quit his job right away,” Krista said. “The wave of peace came over us. We just got this amazing peacefulness.” However, that same obstacle still blocked their path: the apartment. But right when the couple decided Jeremy would quit his job, “Jeremy’s email dinged,” Krista recalled. It was the neighbor downstairs asking if they would be interested in selling their apartment to him. The neighbor was planning to expand his apartment and needed the Carroll’s to complete his plan. “We were like, ‘God, you are so good,’” Krista said. It was November 2009.

New business, new goals

Things moved quickly after that.

Krista Carroll comforts a sick child in Titanyen, Haiti.


REFRESHED | September 2014

The couple—along with two others—ran with the initiative they believed God had instilled in them and founded Latitude, which is a print, design and advertising agency with numerous highprofile clients. “Our roots are in printing,” Krista said. “We started Latitude as a print production company. Our focus is on retail. We partner with retailers to heighten and elevate their in-store experience.” Account executives and project managers occupy the New York offices, while production and creative teams are based in Minneapolis. But what makes Latitude unique among its competitors is its commitment to give 50 percent of its profits to nonprofit groups working to reduce poverty around the world. “In the first year, we sold $2.2 million,” Krista said. “We gave $50,000 away. The next year was $9.4 million; we gave $250,000 away. Then it was $12.1 million; I believe we gave $574,000. Last year we sold $17 million, and we gave $674,000 away.” The company is approaching its fifth year this November and has given away a total of $1.7 million. Initially, Krista said, they would have been thrilled to give away $1 million in five years. “[God’s] surpassing the earthly goals we’ve set—that we thought were big goals,” she said.

Latitude partners with three main nonprofits, including Healing Haiti, Opportunity International and International Justice Mission, along with a handful of other groups. “At the end of the year, every client gets an annual report that sums up what their business has been with us and what the impact has been from their profits,” Krista said. Latitude employees also get to witness the result of their efforts with Latitude’s nonprofit partners. Once a year each employee has the opportunity to go on a trip to meet the people the company serves.

Trusting God

Considering the crossroads in life the Carrolls experienced some five years ago, Krista says she reminds herself daily that God’s version for her life is the best version, even if it flies in the face of what she expects. “I think we all have this idea of what our life is supposed to look like and if we hold on to that, we’re missing out on what He wants our life to look like,” she said. “His version is the best version. Even when things are super hard and super stressful, it brings joy.” Even though Latitude has grown to become a successful company with significant clients in a highly competitive field, Jeremy and Krista know that it is still God’s company. “As long as we’re showing up every day, working our hardest, praying about the decisions that we’re making and keeping Him at the center of those, it’s His,” she said. ■ Learn more at Jeremy Carroll helps deliver clean water in Cite Soleil, Haiti, with Healing Haiti. Cité Soleil is the poorest slum in the western hemisphere. September 2014 | REFRESHED


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g n i d i Coll GOD with



’m not the most coordinated rd diina nate ed p pe person ers rso on n iin n tth the he wo world. orl rld d.. I n ttwo wo w o ffeet eet just ee jju ust st a ea asi s ly ya an can trip over my own ass e easily ass I ca can nm yp pa ath h. Th T her ere’ e’s a go ood d rreason ea e asso on trip over an object in my path. There’s good y cchallenged hall ha lle en nge ged sy ssyndrome.” yn nd dro ome e.”” IIt’s ts t’ for it. I have “athletically ay a ybe be n ot y ot et B et Bu ut iiff w e ca an get ge g et a real disease. (Okay, maybe not yet. But we can enough people to petition without injuring themselves with pencils, paper cuts, etc., we’ll get organized.) So, needless to say, I know a thing or two about collision. I’m the guy who stood in right field, praying the ball wouldn’t collide with my head. I’m the guy who jumped off the bus at a band competition, thinking I could reenact the 1980s “Oh What a Feeling” Toyota commercial jump only to come crashing on the pavement, bloodying my knee and tearing my pants. I’m the guy who had a head-on collision with my brother on a motorcycle trail. We both swerved. I just swerved the wrong direction. It’s a gift, I know. And while I’m not so great at moving around (my wife has a strict “please don’t do that” regarding my dancing), I am very grateful for some of the collisions I’ve had in my life. Like the person who hit the bumper of my car when I was a newly licensed driver. Someone at a traffic light thought the light had changed and hit the gas, giving my car a bump. That moment taught me to allow space at the stoplight and to make sure I knew what was going on around me. But I’ve also had some collisions in my life that have had a great impact on me personally as well. Like my Sunday school teacher in middle school, Kathy Crowell. In a routine lesson, with an activity that involved making a poster and writing a skit, she saw a gift in me. A gift for words. A gift to create. And she told me. She told my mom. She spoke life into that gift by being someone outside my own family to recognize it. And because of that, I began to dream of using that gift. Or my Sunday School teacher in high school, Phil Harley. He impacted my life in a huge way. He made a misfit, uncoordinated kid feel like he was a wanted part of the world. It’s why I looked forward to church and

llo ov ove ve ed b be ein ein ng ar a rou ound nd P nd hil an hi a nd his his fa hi ffamily. am loved being around Phil and Or tthe he ttime he im ime me w wh hen en I b egan eg an tto o sse ee the themes in my Lit Or when began see cclass cl las a sp pl lay ay o ut iin ut n tth he Bi B ib blle e,, a nd w nd he I began to see that he play out the Bible, and when a al ll o off llife iiffe w wa as as a me m erre e rrefl efl e fle ctio ct on off tthe h story that unfolds all was mere ection iin n tthe he B he iib ble le Bible. Or the time when I was driving on the Interstate, pouring my broken heart out to God and He brought both comfort and joy. Or the time I met someone from another denomination who really loved God, and I realized that my particular church didn’t have a monopoly on Him. There are many other collision stories, moments when God’s truth collided with me, God’s people crashed into me, God Himself showed up in my life in ways that I never saw coming—much like a baseball soaring in the air or the tree that suddenly jumped into my path. What about you? What are the moments when God crashed into you? What about the moments when His truth showed up somewhere you didn’t expect and He showed you something about who He is? Was it in the face of one of your children, your spouse, a total stranger? Was it in a sunset or in a book or a movie? Take some time today to think about the ways God has collided with you, and you with Him. And how not only you collided, but how you were changed. Then do one more thing for me . . . Tell someone. Let other people hear from your own lips about the collision. Let them into your story. And when they hear your stories about a God who collides with us, changes us, maybe they’ll be intentional about colliding with God as well. Tim Walker is a husband/father/writer who is navigating faith, marriage, parenthood and mid-life. Follow his blog at www.timswords. com.

September 2014 | REFRESHED


Chris, Andrea and Darien Sindt experienced many months of uncertainty, darkness and testing of their faith after Darien suffered a concussion that would severely change his world and the world of the entire family.

Darien’s miracle Family finds healing after son’s injury by SCOTT NOBLE


hris Sindt remembers the night well. He came downstairs and saw his son, Darien, crying, laughing and shaking at the same time. Chris didn’t know what to think, especially in light of Darien’s ordeal over the previous many months. “It finally came to the point where I just picked him up out of the chair,” Chris said. “I grabbed him by the shirt and I looked at him and said, ‘Darien, if Jesus is here and He is going to take this, then let Him take it; let Him do His thing. That’s what we’ve been asking for, so let Him do His thing.’”

The accident

Darien Sindt had always been an ac-


REFRESHED | September 2014

tive kid. He played hockey, baseball and golf. His parents described their house as having a rotating door: kids from the neighborhood would be in and out all day playing with Darien. He was also a good student at his northeast metro area school. But one day everything in Darien’s life—and the lives of his parents, Chris and Andrea—would dramatically change. And they wouldn’t know exactly what it was for months. Darien was playing his second year of A Bantam hockey as a ninth-grader. It was October 25, 2009. The next day Darien would turn 15. During the scrimmage, Darien got cross-checked from behind.

“I don’t really remember what happened after that,” he said. “My dad was there, down at the end where I was hit. I actually got up and skated the wrong direction away from the puck. That can’t be good.” Darien eventually skated to the bench and since it was the end of the first period, he began to walk back toward the locker rooms. “I just remember going in to the hallway back to the locker rooms, and my dad came around the corner and was like, ‘Are you OK?’” Darien recalled. Darien told his father he was fine and truly believed it. “He took a couple of other hits during the game that were like … he usually

doesn’t get blindsided,” Andrea recalled. “It was like, ‘That’s not him. That’s unusual. But he says he’s fine.’” Darien even went on to score a goal after the big hit. The next day was good. It was Darien’s 15th birthday, and his parents didn’t notice anything wrong with him. He left the house for a late practice that evening. “When I came home from that, that’s when everything kind of took the turn for the worse,” Darien said. “I didn’t feel right. Just felt hazy, kind of foggy, really hungry. That was really when everything kind of took off, symptom-wise. Loaded up on more food, took a shower and went to bed.” The next morning, however, would begin a long journey of uncertainty, missed school, misdiagnoses and a host of other difficulties.

Can’t wake him up

When Andrea went in the next morning to wake up Darien for school, she immediately noticed a problem. “I couldn’t get him to wake up,” Andrea recalled. “I thought maybe he just didn’t want to get up. It was a late night. It went from irritation to ‘Come on, you got to wake up.’ Then his eyes would roll open. He’d kind of look at me. It was like he didn’t recognize me. He’d go right back to sleep. Pretty soon I started realizing it wasn’t a matter of ‘We’re going to be late.’ It was a matter of ‘What’s going on?’ Because his whole body was twitching.” The next couple of weeks were filled with doctors’ visits to determine what was wrong with Darien. While his parents informed the doctors about the hit he received during the hockey game, he was never diagnosed with a concussion. Andrea said the doctors’ diagnoses included everything from dehydration to a peanut allergy. But things were definitely wrong and not getting better. “I was kind of confused,” Darien said. “I didn’t know what was going on. It almost felt like … it was like my body and my mind couldn’t keep up with what I felt should be normal. I just felt like I was

kind of standing behind myself trying to keep up with what I was supposed to be doing.” Andrea said Darien would zone out a lot. One minute he would be working on his homework, and the next minute he would be tracing the same thing over and over. Then he would break out of it and start working on his homework again. School increasingly became a challenge for Darien. He tried to attend when he felt well, but often he would only be able to complete half days or not at all; if he was able to attend a full day of school, he would come home and crash for several days, thus missing school again. “Finally, we went back to a doctor that we had seen before for a different sports injury and gave all the symptoms to him,” Andrea said. “He was like, ‘Oh, you have a concussion.’ He kind of gave us a timeline of [several weeks before things would turn around]. I’m not comprehending how serious this is, at all.” Even with the correct diagnosis in hand, things did not improve for Darien. He had constant headaches, felt hazy or foggy and like he couldn’t catch up to things going on around him. “The school worked really well with us to finish him through that first semester,” Andrea said. “Because he had done well enough up to that point. Then we modified his schedule. Because we couldn’t wake him up … his headache would [get much worse]. He had to wake up himself.” During this time, Darien’s parents were struggling. “The most difficult thing as a parent was not having answers for the child…,” Chris said. “As a dad, I had no answer when he said, ‘Dad, when is this going to go away? When am I going to feel better?’ That was the hardest thing because I couldn’t provide, as a parent.” The rest of ninth grade followed the same course—no improvements. Darien’s world was shrinking. “He can’t have people over,” Andrea said. “Here’s this kid who is incredibly active. And now he can’t stand to have more than, like, one person [around], because it’s just way too overwhelm-

ing. He can’t follow a conversation. Physically, his head hurts so bad he can’t do anything. It shrinks your world immediately.” During tenth grade, Darien moved to an Individual Education Plan since he couldn’t attend school on a regular basis. He also visited other doctors and institutions, including the Mayo Clinic, in order to find answers and help—but nothing was working.

A unique visit

In May of his tenth grade year, Darien was asked to play golf for his school in the sections tournament. “The night before I was supposed to go, I had a really, really bad night,” Darien said. “It was strange. Worse than usual. The headache was worse. Everything was kind of worse. Shaking, anxiety, all that. I ended up calling the captain. I was like, ‘Hey man, I’m not going to make it. I just can’t do it.’” That night he felt really low. Golf was the one thing he was able to hold on to from his life before the concussion. “My computer was downstairs at the time,” he said. “I was just sitting there. I was listening to some songs that I had on my iTunes from KTIS that I had heard over time. Throughout that whole thing, that was a huge help for me … the music from KTIS.” One particular song had been a healing balm for Darien throughout his struggle: “What Faith Can Do” by Kutless. “I was sitting in my basement, and the song just came on,” he said. “Before I even touched anything, I was just sitting down there. The song just kind of popped on the computer. I know that sounds crazy and everything. I was taken back by it. It just played and played. Combined with the emotion and where I was with everything, it just hit me like a ton of bricks. I just started melting down. I was crying, I was shaking, everything.” But that wasn’t all. “That’s kind of when the Big Man Upstairs decided to come and pay me a visit and just kind of give me a pat on the shoulder and say, ‘Hey, you did what I September 2014 14 4 | REFRESHED R EF RES RE S HED H HE

17 7

wanted you to do,’� Darien said. “‘I think you’re where I wanted you to be. You’ve learned patience. You’ve learned these things. You finally hit the bottom. You’ve been through the storm and now I want you to see the silver lining.’�

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The experience shocked Darien, and he couldn’t move from his chair. So he called the house phone. It was 11:22 p.m. on May 28. “I grabbed the phone and I’m like, ‘It’s Darien’s phone,’� Andrea said. “At this point, we’re both so wired to whenever he needed something, it was like he needed it immediately. I threw the phone down on the bed and started to try and find him. I come downstairs, and the lights are on, the music is just so loud. I’m thinking, ‘Oh my goodness. This is not going to help his headache at all.’� What happened next changed their lives. Darien was sitting in his chair looking hysterical. He was crying and laughing at the same time and also shaking. Andrea immediately thought that Darien had hit rock bottom and was now cracking. “I said, ‘What’s going on?’� Andrea

recalled. “He looked at me, and he said, ‘He’s here.’ I’m like, ‘Now he’s hallucinating.’ I said, ‘Who is here, honey?’ He said, ‘Jesus. He’s here and He is taking it away, and I don’t hurt. Go get Dad! Go get Dad!’� Chris arrived and saw his son shaking and crying, so he picked him up out of his chair and gave him a big bear hug. When Chris told Darien to let Jesus take it, Darien went completely calm in his father’s arms.

Is this for real?

Before bed, Andrea looked at Darien’s eyes to see if they were dilated. That was a constant ailment throughout this entire ordeal: dilated pupils. “When I looked at him, his eyes—his pupils—were exactly where they needed Continued on page 33

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Insight into faith and its relationship to suffering by SCOTT NOBLE “Suffering and the Search for Meaning: Contemporary Responses to the Problem of Pain,” By Richard Rice, IVP Academic, © 2014, 166 pages, $18 Suffering is universal. We all experience some level of suffering in this life. Some people will experience only mild suffering in their lives while others will feel as if the ground they are standing on has been angrily pulled out from under them. Suffering is also not new. From the biblical Job to the 21st century, we still can’t escape famine, disease, catastrophe, illness, emotional distress and a thousand other calamities that stalk our existence. But what makes suffering so pivotal to the human condition is how it reflects on our belief in God or whether or not we even believe in a deity. Richard Rice does an incredible service to those who struggle with the idea of suffering in his latest book, “Suffering and the Search for Meaning: Contemporary Responses to the Problem of Pain.” The professor of religion at Loma Linda University in California takes a compelling and honest look at suffering, and writes in such a way that both the intellectual and the personal aspects of suffering are addressed. Rice wrote the book “to explore the connection between ideas about suffering and the personal experience of suffering. Since suffering comes to everyone, philosophers included, over the long run we need an approach to suffering that is more than just a philosophical treatise on the subject or a how-to book for sufferers or caregivers.” Since suffering is such a common part of human existence, it also forms the basis for theological convictions. In fact,

many who do not accept the existence of God hold that position because of their belief that a good God would not allow suffering. Additionally, there is scarcely a believer who hasn’t at one time struggled profoundly with faith after a loved one died or after a personal illness or some other misfortune that they encountered. Rice takes on the topic of suffering and its relation to theology by branching off into seven distinct perspectives. He writes honestly and objectively about each one, not indicating which he finds most appealing. Two of the most popular views when it comes to explaining suffering and God are what Rice calls “Perfect Plan Theodicy” and the “Free Will Defense.” “Perfect Plan Theodicy” embraces the view that God never makes mistakes. Everything is part of His plan. When someone gets sick or thousands of people die because of famine or a terrible storm takes out several communities, it occurs as part of God’s plan, according to this view. Rice writes that those who support this idea “take comfort in the thought that everything that happens to them, in particular their sufferings and setbacks, are part of God’s plan for their lives. In fact, some of the most ardent advocates of this view are people who have faced some tremendous losses.” The Free Will Defense, another popu-

lar theory, argues that suffering occurs because God has given humans free will and “some of God’s creatures misused their freedom.” One of the refreshing aspects of “Suffering and the Search for Meaning” is that it doesn’t appeal directly to either academics or those searching for pastoral answers in the struggles of life. It appeals to both audiences, as Rice lays out arguments—biblical and philosophical—for each view. He does it with a pastor’s approach: calm, even and committed to helping people with their questions and their pain. The seminary student will find just as much comfort and stimulation with the book as will the back-pew Christian who is struggling to understand why, if “God is love,” suffering even exists. The only improvement Rice and the publishers could have made would have been to add review questions at the end of each chapter. The information is thought-provoking and important, so a group study with questions would be a helpful way to approach the book. Rice includes numerous stories of people who have suffered—some immensely—and how their views about God and suffering impacted their faith (or faithlessness, as it may be). Rice concludes the book by saying that suffering will remain a mystery, but we can equip ourselves with tools to deal with its effects and the aftermath. “We can find hope and courage in the face of life’s losses by bringing together fragments from the reflections and examples of others, from the assurances of religious faith and from our own experience,” he writes. “Suffering itself may not have meaning, but nothing can take away the meaning of our lives.” Learn more at or visit a local LifeWay Christian store. September 2014 | REFRESHED


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Selah is one of many groups to release an album this past month.

Artists release lots of new albums in August

American Idol finalist (Season 11) Colton Dixon’s sophomore album, Anchor, was released Aug. 19. Dixon kicked off his national press tour with a performance of his hit radio single, “More of You,” live on Fox & Friends. The 5-time Dove Award-winning vocal trio, Selah, has released You Amaze Us. Half of the songs are newly written material while the other half are older hymns and modern worship songs done in Selah’s signature style. Selah is well known for transforming old Christian hymns into a more modern style and with their powerful voices and

beautiful harmonies. The group continues a fan-favorite tradition of featuring an African-themed song on each recording, this time a bilingual rendition of the Andraé Crouch classic, “Soon And Very Soon.” The song is performed in both English and Kituba, the language of Smith’s childhood in The Congo, where his family served as missionaries. Amy Grant puts a new spin on old hits with her August release of In Motion: The Remixes. The 11song recording features a collection of Amy’s biggest hits remixed by well-known remix engineers and DJs. Songs include “That’s What Love Is For,” Every Heartbeat,” Find A Way,” and Stay For A While.”

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REFRESHED | September 2014

Family Force 5 released Time Stands Still, their first studio album in three years. The debut radio single, “Let It Be Love,” emphasizes the incredible, lifegiving power of grace. Lincoln Brewster’s latest album, “Oxygen,” was released Aug. 19. The project features eleven new songs, 10 of them co-written by Brewster. The album’s first single, “Made New,” is currently garnering airplay at Christian radio stations across the country.

Sing the Bible with Slugs & Bugs

Sing The Bible, the fourth installment in the popular Slugs & Bugs series for families, was released August 12. Written and performed by acclaimed singer/ songwriter Randall Goodgame and produced by Ben Shive, Sing The Bible is the first Slugs & Bugs release to feature exclusively word-for-word Scripture songs. Slugs & Bugs has applied its unique blend of sincerity and silliness to 18 brandnew songs filled with lyrics straight from Scripture. Highlights of the project include “Freedom,” showcasing The African Children’s Choir and “Alien,” featuring spoken dialogue from Sally Lloyd-Jones, best-selling author of The Jesus Storybook Bible. “These songs were written to help families learn Scripture together,” Goodgame says. “My grand hope is that these Slugs & Bugs songs will help fasten God’s Word to the heart of all who listen. The musicians on Sing The Bible are some of the world’s best, and they did a masterful job of keeping the focus first and foremost on lifting up Scripture.” A singer/songwriter, Goodgame has penned selections for Caedmon’s Call, VeggieTales, Jason Gray and Ginny Owens, among others. Along with awardwinning singer/songwriter Andrew Peterson, Goodgame created Slugs & Bugs & Lullabies in 2007.


The Identical: Elvis-esque, secret past, conflicting dreams

Ray Liotta and Ashley Judd star in ‘The Identical.’

by RUSTY WRIGHT Ever have trouble getting people you love to embrace your life dreams? You’ll likely identify with Ryan Wade in The Identical. Music is in his soul. He has the looks, voice and moves of Elvis, and drives audiences wild. But his preacher father has different dreams for him, setting up a monumental collision. What unfolds is a fun Rock ‘n’ Roll parable with an upbeat, inspiring, message about finding purpose, revealing secrets, and experiencing redemption. Tunes get you swaying and romantic odes touch your heart as they depict young love, discovering identity, and learning what really matters.

Conflicting dreams

This fictional story spans four decades from the 1930s Great Depression to the 1970s. We see early Rock evolve as Ryan (Blake Rayne) seeks to find his way. He loves to sing, but his father (Ray Liotta; Goodfellas, Field of Dreams) wants him in the ministry. His mother (Ashley Judd; Divergent, High Crimes) quietly observes their interaction without choosing sides. Ryan memorizes Bible verses as a child and attends Bible college as a young man. But African-American R&B captivates his heart. When Drexel Hemsley—the film’s Elvis-esque figure—tops the music charts, the mesmerized Ryan feels he knows what Drexel “The Dream” is thinking. The two are dead ringers (Rayne plays both parts); Ryan insists to inquirers they’re not related.

Secret past

But we know they are, identical twins separated at birth. Their impoverished parents, amid mutual anguish, invited the Wades—childless after multiple miscarriages—to adopt one boy. Pledged to se-

crecy, the Wades raised Ryan as their own. Ryan pursues a music career—eventually as “The Identical,” a Drexel Hemsley impersonator—triggering painful family explosions. His mom accepts reality first, advising Ryan, “The love of God seeks us in every situation and desires our good. If He is in your dreams, nothing can stand against them.” Ryan explains to his disappointed father: “I’m just trying to be what He made me to be, and not something else.” Biblical statements his dad had him memorize as a kid foreshadow his journey: “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.’” Ryan is ever the consummate gentleman in dating, marriage, and with adoring fans. In the end, all this confusion and conflict comes to… well, I won’t spoil it for you. But I’ll wrap with some fun facts, plus a personal reflection.

Fun facts; personal reflection

It’s not surprising that an Elvis-esque story includes twins and spiritual themes. The real Elvis Presley’s twin brother, Jessie,

was stillborn. Elvis often experienced survivor guilt and a desire to know him. Elvis’ only Grammy Award for a single came for his 1974 recording of “How Great Thou Art,” a famous hymn. The lyrics, which likely reflected his own spiritual roots, point to hope beyond human accomplishment. I can identify with a son whose dreams conflict with those of his parents—which is probably the reason this film resonates with me. After finding faith during university, I sought a career with a Christian nonprofit, much to my parents’ dismay. My mother enlisted an attorney friend to try to convince me to attend law school. But my heart was set on helping spread worldwide the faith that had transformed me. Eventually, my folks accepted the inevitable. Fifteen years later, my father told me he thought what I was doing was extremely worthwhile, a deeply validating affirmation. “If He is in your dreams, nothing can stand against them,” counseled Ashley Judd’s character in the movie. She was right. The Identical opens in theaters September 5. Learn more at www. Rusty Wright is an award-winning author, lecturer and syndicated columnist. Learn more at September 2014 | REFRESHED


events calendar THRU OCT 28

(612) 869-2500


“Out of the Shadows” series for women dealing with issues of abuse or relationship problems (past or present). Light the Way Church, 7000 Jamaica Ave. S, Cottage Grove. $10 material, free childcare • (763) 242-9181, hidinghurtinghealing. com


Lincoln Brewster in concert, 7:30pm. Autumn Ridge Church, 3611 Salem Rd. SW, Rochester • (612) 253-5151,

Girls of Grace Conference that teaches teen girls & their moms “how to live freely, love fiercely & lead fearlessly as a girl of grace” with Point of Grace, Annie Downs, Amanda Noel & more speaking. Grace Church, 9301 Eden Prairie Rd., Eden Prairie. $69-129 • 1-888483-0018, eden-prairie-mn-0

SEP 5 • FRIDAY Christian Recording Studio & Band presents Artists, Rising Stars & Sing Along at Minnesota Country Gospel Opry, 7pm. Crowne Pointe Church, Richfield • (612) 961-8812,

SEP 6 • SATURDAY Midwest Hebrew Ministries’ 36th Annual Bible Prophecy Conference with Rob Lindsted & Tom McMahon speaking, 8:30am-4pm. North Heights Lutheran Church, 1700 Highway 96 W, Arden Hills • (763) 427-7162,

SEP 7 • SUNDAY Rev. Jeff Nordin in concert, organist. 10am. Crown Point Church, 7121 Bloomington Ave. S, Richfield •

The Orange Tour. Emmanuel Christian Center, 7777 University Ave. NE, Spring Lake Park • 1-866343-4874

SEP 13 • SATURDAY Be Inspired 2014 Fall Conference with Coach Faith Johnson Patterson speaking, 10am. Restore, Exhort, Build-up & Strengthen the body of Christ. North Regional Library, Meeting Room, 1315 Lowry Ave. N, Mpls. Free “Psalms,” a Christian Art Exhibit & Creative Arts Celebration, 10am3pm, Hopkins Center for the Arts. By Great Commission Artists • Greater Vision, 7pm. Cedar Valley Community Church, 8600 Bloomington Ave., Bloomington • (952) 854-1100 Lincoln Brewster in concert, 7:30pm. North Heights Lutheran Church, 1700 West Hwy 96, Arden Hills • (651) 797-7800

SEP 15 • MONDAY Financial Mentor Training Classes, 7pm. North Heights Lutheran Church, Arden Hills. Free, registration required • (651) 4262240,

SEP 16 • TUESDAY Twin Cities Creation Science Assoc. Seminar “Lise Meitner: The Woman Who Unleashed the Power of the Atom” with Russ McGlenn speaking, University of Northwestern, 3003 North Snelling, Roseville, MN Totino Fine Arts Center, Room F2128 •

SEP 18 • THURSDAY “Living with God” 10-week class, study through the Bible with Rev. Dr. Tom Trapp. Thursdays, 1-3pm or 6:30-8:30pm. Emmaus Lutheran Church, 1074 Idaho Ave. W, St. Paul • (651) 489-9426,

SEP 19 • FRIDAY Organist Daryl Robinson in concert, 7:30pm. Benson Great Hall, Bethel University. Free • (651) 638-6333,





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REFRESHED | September 2014

SEP 23 • TUESDAY Focus Groups. Topics include: parenting prodigals, support for those with mental illness & for those who love them, support for widows, recovery support, women’s self worth, anger, grief, emotional & spiritual maturity & encouragement for single moms. New Hope Church, 4225 Gettysburg Ave. N, New Hope • (763) 971-5118, connect/tnf.php

SEP 24-NOV 2

Love & Respect Conference. River Valley Church, Apple Valley • (952) 255-8800


SEP 26-27 • FRI-SAT

MN Hope & Hearts 5K Run , proceeds benefit Missing GRACE Foundation, which provides resources & support to bereaved, infertile and adoptive families, 7am. Bunker Hills Regional Park. $8 kids, $25 adults •


MissionShift Institute, 20th Anniversary class. Educates Christian on how to reach urban centers with the gospel. St. Paul Lutheran Church, Mpls •

40 Days for Life Twin Cities, an int’l grass roots movement to end abortion by prayer and fasting, peaceful vigil and community outreach. 6pm. Robbinsdale Clinic, 3819 Vandalia St., St. Paul. By ProLife Action Ministries • (651) 7976363,

SEP 19-20 • FRI-SAT



Twin Cities Walk to Defeat ALS, 10am (check in starts at 8am). Raising funds that allow our local chapters to sustain care services & support research for much of the next year. Free, fundraising is encouraged! Lake Phalen. By ALS Association • (612) 672-0484, Saga Hill Jamboree featuring Singleton Street, The Froemming Family, The Jorgensen Family & More, 11am-4pm. In the park across from Fairview Church (1175 Co Rd 19 North), corner of Tonkaview Lane & Co Rd 19, Orono. Pine cars for kids to build & race, food & drinks for purchase. Bring chair and/or blanket • (952) 594-2376,

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

SEP 27 • SATURDAY Rend Collective, Urban Rescue & Moriah Peters in concert, 7pm. University of Northwestern, 3003 Snelling Ave., N, St. Paul • (612) 253-5151, concert/353 Sara Groves, benefit concert for Rwanda. First Baptist Church, 304 Main Street S, Cambridge •

SEP 28 • SUNDAY Remember Rwanda, benefit concert to honor the people of Rwanda and celebrate the hope and healing of their nation 20 years after the genocide, 4pm.

Discover the full potential of your marriage! by attending a St. Joan of Arc, Mpls. $30 adults, $10 students. By White Dove Foundation • (651) 492-8009,

Oct 4-5 | Dec 6-7 Mount Olivet Conference Center in Farmington


Call 651.454.3238 to register

Neon Steeple Tour with Crowder, All Sons & Daughters & Capital Kings in concert, 7pm. University of Northwestern - St. Paul • (651) 6315151

Visit or call for a list of retreats Mention this ad and get $25 OFF your registration fee

OCT 3 • FRIDAY Christian Recording Studio & Band presents Artists, Rising Stars & Sing Along at Minnesota Country Gospel Opry, 7pm. Crowne Pointe Church, Richfield • (612) 961-8812, New Life Family Services, “Celebrate the Vision,â€? banquet and silent auction. Featuring former abortion clinic owner Carol Everett, 6pm, Crowne Plaza, St. Paul • RSVP

OCT 4 • SATURDAY Understanding the Times 2014 Conference with Dr. Ed Hindson, Pastor Jack Hibbs, Pastor Steven Khoury & Jan Markell speaking, 9am-5pm. Grace Church, 9301 Eden Prairie Rd., Eden Prairie. $8 lunch ticket. Presented by Jan Markell & Olive Tree Ministries • (763) 559-4444,

Free Concert featuring:

Jeff Deyo


from Sonicood

Marriage Encounter. Mount Olivet Conference Center, Farmington • (651) 454-3238,

with Jasper Nephew guitarist from Owl City

OCT 5-NOV 9 The Oakridge Gallery of Gospel Art, “Pray, then, in this wayâ€? The Lord’s Prayer exhibit, Oakridge Community Church, 610 County Road 5, Stillwater •

OCT 13 • SUNDAY Hope Sunday Evening Concert Series presents Monroe Crossing in concert, 5:15pm. Hope Christian Church, 4911 Hodgson Rd., Shoreview. $5-7 • (651) 486-6202,

Saturday, Oct. 25, 7pm

OCT 17-18 • FRI-SAT

Crossroads Church

Prophetic School of Graham Cooke, 9am. Learning to hear His voice more intimately. Arising House, 1700 Hwy 96 W., St. Paul. $85 • (763) 323-3414,

17445 Notre Dame St. NE Forest Lake, MN 55025 Love offering will be accepted

Women of Faith, Fri. 7-10pm & Sat. 9am-5pm. Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul •

OCT 21 • TUESDAY Twin Cities Creation Science Assoc. Seminar “Genetic Entropyâ€? with James K. Walker speaking, University of Northwestern, 3003 North Snelling, Roseville, MN Totino Fine Arts Center, Room F2128 •

OCT 25 • SATURDAY Jeff Deyo, from Sonicflood, in concert, with Owl City guitarist Jasper Nephew, 7pm, Crossroads Church, 17445 Notre Dame St. NE, Forest Lake. Free •, (651) 464-2195

Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Service

WITHPastor Mohan Peters

Worship and witness the miraculous healing power of God

Sept 7, 14, 21, 28



For more events and community news, please visit

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community news Thrivent sponsors NASCAR racer

MINNEAPOLIS — Thrivent Financial recently announced it will partner with Leavine Family Racing for five races this year. The No. 95 racecar, which will sport a new paint scheme this year, is driven by 29-year-old Michael McDowell. The partnership began at Bristol Motor Speedway Aug. 23 and will continue with four other associate sponsorships this season. “Our collaboration [with] Leavine Family Racing gives us the unique opportunity to align with a growing race team while reaching a broader Christian community through a faith- and familyfirst driver,” said Craig Stacey, director of content marketing for Thrivent Financial, via a news release. “We are particularly drawn to McDowell’s genuine and

routine interactions with his Christian fan base during which he talks about a balance of family and faith.” Leavine Family Racing is also encouraged with the sponsorship. “We’re proud to bring another Fortune 500 company into NASCAR and provide Thrivent Financial with a unique marketing opportunity through our race team,” said Jeremy Lange, vice president of marketing and partnerships for Leavine Family Racing, via the release. “I’m excited about the growth we’ve seen throughout our entire organization this season and believe the addition of Thrivent is another key element to continued success.”

Markell and Olive Tree Ministries. This year’s speakers include Dr. Ed Hindson, author, TV host and professor at Liberty University; the Rev. Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills in California; the Rev. Steven Khoury of Calvary Baptist Church in Jerusalem; and Jan Markell, founder and director of Olive Tree Ministries, Inc. The conference will begin at 9:00 a.m. and run until 5:00 p.m. For more information and to register, visit or call (763) 559-4444.

Conference to address ‘understanding the times’

Group announces art exhibit, competition

EDEN PRAIRIE — The Understanding the Times 2014 Conference will be held Saturday, Oct. 4 at Grace Church in Eden Prairie. The event is hosted by Jan

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


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 | September 2014

Now on heard

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


HOPKINS — Great Commission Artists announces “Psalms: A Christian Art Exhibit and Creative Arts Celebration” on Saturday, Sept. 13 from 10:00 a.m. to

THE WHOLE TRUTH? Too many Christians are not understanding where this world is headed because they are not hearing the inconvenient truth of the Bible.

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community news 3:00 p.m. The event will take place at the Hopkins Center for the Arts. All media and levels of experience are invited to participate, including painting, drawing, photography/digital, ceramics/sculpture, printmaking, glass and mixed media. Competition levels range from novice to professional. Seven cash awards will be given, including Best in Show, technical excellence, spiritual significance and application of Scripture. General registration of $10 per entry is open until September 6. The event is free and open to the public. For additional information and to register, visit

Worth area. After 35,000 abortions, the death of one woman and surgery on 19 other patients, she said God brought her to a crossroads and her life was changed. The event, which will be emceed by Bob Stromberg, the co-creator of Triple Espresso, will be held at

Crowne Plaza St. Paul on Friday, Oct. 3, beginning at 6:00 p.m. with a silent auction, followed by dinner and the program. An identical event will be held on Thursday, Oct. 2 at the Rochester International Event Center. Reservations can be made at www. or by calling (612) 866-7643.

Workshop to address mental illness

NEW HOPE — The Elim Faith Community Nurse Network will sponsor “Living Well With Mental Illness: Equipping the Church” on Saturday, Oct. 25 at New Hope Church in New Hope. The workshop will begin at 8:30 a.m. and run until 12:30 p.m. Designed for nurses, pastors and other ministry leaders, the event will provide tools to help support those experiencing mental illness. The cost of the workshop is $25 and includes lunch. For more information and to register, visit or call (952) 259-4461.

New Life Family Services announces fundraising event

SAINT PAUL — Former abortion clinic owner Carol Everett is the featured speaker for the New Life Family Services fundraising banquet and silent auction. The event will celebrate the thousands of lives impacted by the ministry of New Life, with stories of courage, sacrifice, love, and forgiveness. Everett, after having an abortion herself, spent six years selling abortions at four abortion clinics she owned in the Dallas/Fort September 2014 | REFRESHED


plugged in DOUG TROUTEN

‘Reality show’ versus the ‘reality of life’ As a kid, I always looked forward to this time of year. The beginning of September brings the waning days of the Minnesota State Fair—one last chance to wolf down a corndog before going on a ride that will try to reclaim it. By September, the worst heat of summer is past but the cold of winter hasn’t yet arrived. And while few young people would admit it, even the return of school can be a welcome change from unstructured days that have begun to teeter on the brink of tedium. September also meant the debut of the new television season—a bigger deal in an age of three television networks and no DVRs. Would scheduling strategies force us to abandon one program in favor of another? How would we choose between similar programs? Should we watch the creepy antics of “The Munsters” or “The Addams Family?” Would we follow the brave space explorers of “Lost in Space” or “Star Trek?” Today, there’s still technically a new fall season for television but programs debut year-round, so our taste for something new can be constantly satisfied. With DVRs and streaming video, television has become an all-you-can-eat buffet of choices, limited only by your free time. Some things haven’t changed. Batman is back, but in the form of the angstridden “Gotham” rather than the campy Adam West. “Hawaii Five-O” is back in a new incarnation. “Dark Shadows” is still gone, but there are vampires in prime time, sharing the schedule with doctors and lawyers, cops and detectives. Even “Candid Camera” is back. I recently watched a bit where people thought they were interviewing for a


REFRESHED | September 2014

part on a new reality show. It was both amusing and horrifying to see how far people would go in their quest for our society’s ultimate validation: being on television. Would they fight with a family member? Sure. Throw things? Why not. Disrobe on camera? No problem. If there was a line would-be contestants were unwilling to cross, host Peter Funt seemed unable to find it. Reality television will consume more than a dozen hours of weekly network programming this fall. Hopeful contestants are eagerly awaiting an opportunity to be told on national television that they can’t dance, sing or cook. Others will be sent to Nicaragua to see if they can be a “Survivor” (something that must be amusing to the Nicaraguans who have survived there for millennia). Large Americans will work to become slightly smaller Americans as they compete for the honor of being called “The Biggest Loser” (really, just agreeing to be on the show makes somebody a strong candidate for that title). On “Utopia,” 15 contestants will try to create an ideal society (a task made more difficult by casting directors who realize that conflict draws more viewers than harmony).

Why is there so much reality TV? Economics plays a major role. Reality TV shows don’t need so many costly writers, with their carefully crafted words and families to feed. They also don’t need casts of stars—just regular folks who dream of being on television. Reality TV is made possible by the unending supply of people who are willing to publicly humiliate themselves to get their 15 minutes of fame. Why are people so eager to be on television? Maybe it’s a bid for immortality. Faith offers the promise of eternal life, and in our hearts we know that we were made for more than the 70 or so years we’re allotted here on earth. Life’s brevity inspires us to find ways to leave our mark on the world. That viral video or reality show appearance may be the thing that outlasts us. But raising children, writing books, planting trees, founding companies, filling the lives of those around us with love and grace—these are all better ways to say “I was here!” How will you be remembered? It’s not too late to audition for a reality show, but better still, you could make the most of the actual reality that surrounds you each day. So wolf down that corndog and hang on for the ride that is your life. It’s time to walk away from tedium and make the most of each beautiful day you have left. Doug Trouten, Ph.D., is a professor of communications at the University of Northwestern – St. Paul.

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at the table YIA VANG

A few grains of salt As a cook, you quickly learn the importance of salt if you want to make a great meal. It’s the difference-maker when it comes to taking your meal to the next level. Getting to know the science behind salt’s purpose helps to understand the importance of this mainstay seasoning in cooking, but also in the greater context of life. When it comes to cooking a good meal or a great meal, I believe that over 80% of the time it’s about seasoning. When I say seasoning, I don’t mean all the fancy seasonings like lavender seeds, fennel pollen or eucalyptus oil. What I mean by seasoning is plain and simple salt. Most chefs can determine if a young cook will be a great chef one day by the way he uses salt in his dishes. It’s simple, right? From a culinary perspective, salt plays two large roles: preserving and seasoning. Years ago, there weren’t large walk-in coolers and freezers, so other means of preserving food were used. A large piece of meat was heavily salted so that it wouldn’t rot. The science behind this was that salt, which is NaCl (sodium chloride), would kill off most bacteria that would grow on meats. Bacteria would not survive because of the hypertonic nature of salt, which means any cell (bacteria) in that environment will become dehydrated through osmosis and die—leaving the meat itself to be clean and edible. This is how prosciutto (fancy Italian ham) and salted cod are made. Seasoning works in a similar way. Because of the hypertonic nature of salt, when you put it on a 16-ounce New York strip, it draws the blood and natural juices out of the steak. When you grill the steak, the natural juice helps form a seal around it but keeps the rest of the natural juice inside. Some steakhouses actually sprinkle


REFRESHED | September 2014

flake sea salt and a little good olive live oil on before it comes to your table.. So as you eat the steak, the flakes of the he salt can help open the pores on yourr tongue so the flavors of the steak k are enhanced. Knowing the science of salt and how to use it to boost the flavors of the protein and preserve it is very important to a chef. “You are the salt of the earth,, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? Itt is no longer good for anything except ept to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet” (Matthew 5:13). Picture this … Jesus goes to the he side of this mountain, and the disisciples and a large crowd gathers to listen to Him. From Matthew 5:2-12, Jesus restores the identity ty of the listeners. This is the famous ous Beatitudes discourse. He states, “Blessed are the poor, meek, ones es who mourn, pure in heart ….” He finishes by saying that they ey will receive all of their rewards in n heaven just like the prophets that at have come before them. Then the he very next verse (vs. 13) He talks about earth. Why was there a switch from rom heaven (the end) to earth (the presresent)? I believe what Jesus is saying ng is our current state on earth will come ome full circle when we are in heaven, but ut while we are here on earth, “Be like salt.” lt ” But why salt? Jesus, the creator of this universe, knows that there are many other things He could use to make His point. But I believe He used salt because of its underlying fundamental molecular structure. Remember, salt’s main job in preserving and seasoning is to draw out moisture from living cells. In the preservation of meats, the hypertonic nature of salt causes all bacteria to die off and

keeps meats from rotting. From the seasoning aspect, salt draws moisture out. This is important because the flavor of meats is in the moisture. Our purpose on this earth is not to create a name for our own sake but to enhance the glory of God. We can live in a way that can draw out flavors” the “natural flavors” that God has already established. God has made himself known to us so that we can be the salt that draws out His words (Gospel) to the people. We don’t need to be fancy flavors or elaborate sauces; all we need to be is salt to the earth. 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.

here’s to good health WENDIE PETT

5 steps to overcoming depression I grew up watching Mork and Mindy on the couch while “sitting” on my head to imitate Robin William’s character from the planet Ork. I even owned and wore my very own pair of rainbow-colored suspenders with Mork’s photo on them, and greeted people with the Nanu Nanu Ork-style handshake. There was something so innocent, silly and lovable about that character. The shock of his suicide, at the age of 63, hits emotional triggers in us all, even for those who have never met him. His death is a reminder that depression is not only a struggle for the famous and wealthy people; depression is real and it’s common. It’s often masked by smiles, laughs and addictions (drugs, alcohol, pornography, sex, gambling, shopping, food, etc). Depression is defined as “a mental state characterized by a pessimistic sense of inadequacy and a despondent lack of activity.” I have spoken on depression quite often and can relate to the depths of darkness associated with it. Depression is a place where no one wants to be, but often people don’t know how to get out of it. It’s a place where shame, guilt, anger, resentment, bitterness, fear and lack of hope thrive. The darkness of depression snuffs out the light. It can last a moment, hours, days, weeks, months or even a lifetime. It all depends on the power you give it and the help you choose or choose not to receive. While it is indeed an illness, it can be overcome. Depression can linger until the root cause is exposed. There can be a number of different causes for depression, such as suppressed anger, guilt and shame, biochemical imbalance, and/or continuing a lifestyle that is contrary to God’s purpose for you. Here are five ways that can assist in overcoming depression.

1. Acknowledge it. Get out of denial. When we acknowledge depression and understand the root cause, then the depression has a better chance of being lifted. If you discover that the root cause is due to something within your sinful nature that hasn’t been dealt with, then change your mindset, change your ways (repent). 2. Help others. When you get out of the “woe is me” mindset—stepping outside of your feelings and situation by helping others—then the depression is lifted. You start to feel better about yourself. 3. Exercise. When you move your body, positive endorphins (happy hormones) flow throughout the body. Depression then dissipates. It’s proven, and it’s the best allnatural “Prozac” around. 4. Eat clean and healthy. You are what you eat. Want to feel like crap, eat crap. Want to feel healthy and alive, eat live foods such as vegetables and fruits. God knows what He is doing … eat what He provided and not what man has made. The more greens you can eat, the better. 5. Get medical treatment. I am not a big fan of medication, but if you need to take something for a short while to get you over a hump, then I would much rather you do that than take your life. Seek counsel as your treatment as well. A pastor, coach or counselor can assist you to see things in a new light and help direct your steps into a more hopeful, positive direction. But remember … God is the Ultimate Counselor so always seek His wisdom and strength first. I believe Robin Williams has left us

with the legacy of laughter, but more importantly, the awareness and severity of depression and addiction. People struggle with this illness all the time, so I’m not putting Robin’s death and situation above anyone else’s. All I’m saying is that you can get help, and you can be healed. Here are a few of my favorite Scriptures that helped me overcome my depression … and continue to do so: Deuteronomy 31:8 “… It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake

When you get out of the ‘woe is me’ mindset—stepping outside of your feelings and situation by helping others—then the depression is lifted. You start to feel better about yourself. you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” John 16:33: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  Psalm 34:17: “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.” 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 September 2014 | REFRESHED


leadership sense SAM HELGERSON

Dress for respect If you look at photographs from a half-century ago or more, it quickly becomes apparent that America was a different place then. Major league baseball games were attended by men wearing shirts, ties and felt hats—and women wearing dresses. My grandfather, a railroad man through and through, never left the house without a necktie—and yes, that included when he was mowing the lawn or working in the garden. Just for reference, I do not own any gardening ties, and I’m not planning on wearing a suit to a Twins game. Admittedly, this may be a function of my age, but there is one cultural artifact that annoys me. Call it a pet peeve. I marvel at the number of well-dressed women accompanied by sloppily dressed men. I’m sure that the converse also happens, so my comments apply evenly. Somewhere in our past, we came to prefer casualness over more formal, constrictive styles. That has caused an attire gap, where people rarely know how to dress appropriate to the occasion. I find this problematic. There has been a lot of talk in our culture about dressing for success—tips and practices to help people learn to

wear clothes that align with their goals and career and raise the standard of professional attire. In some industries, this is essential for the person who wants to thrive in his or her career. What I’m suggesting is a subtle change in our attitudes toward what we wear. It is time for us to learn to dress for respect. That does not mean that we dress so that others will respect us. It means that we dress in a way that shows respect to others. When I go out the door, I represent my family, my work and my church to the rest of the world. This is always true of leaders, by the way. We are never off duty; we are always representing someone or something else to those who are watching. What we wear reveals our deeper attitude toward the people we are with. Whenever we meet with a client, a colleague or a friend, we ought to dress to show that we hold them in high regard. We dress to demonstrate our respect. This simple change of attitude can have a profound impact, and it does not have to cost a lot of money. This is not about living beyond our means or dressing to impress. It’s about carrying ourselves so that others feel good about

The idea of living lives that face outward is both countercultural and compelling.

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themselves when they are seen with us. This is a good practice for all of life. When the Apostle Paul was advising the church in Philippi, he urged them to be humble with one another: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but


also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4). Our culture has a dominant view that we should be inwardly focused, and that we need to take care of ourselves. The idea of living lives that face outward is both countercultural and compelling. It is an attitude of service and high regard that recognizes the imago Dei—the image of God—in others. The New Testament writers consistently remind their readers that faith is more often caught than taught. This is why phrases such as “follow my example” or “be an example to others” are so important. Leaders must intentionally live as though someone is watching, and use their actions to lift others up. We can dress for respect, not to get it for ourselves, but to give it to those around us. 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.

purposeful parenting JIM JACKSON

Start a grace revolution My wife, Lynne, and I blew it a lot. We lost it with our kids. We reacted impulsively instead of responding thoughtfully. We exerted our power in order to control. We disciplined for our comfort rather than in our kids’ best interest. We o sound basis, made demands that had no simply because “we’re the parents!” e said ugly On many occasions, we d treated our words, made ugly faces and ustified these kids downright ugly. We justifi ids needed actions because “our kids to learn their lessons!” We were quite effective at disguising our selfish, sinful motives behind masks of authority, logic and even firm, firm, ound “spiritual” guidance. We found oly of that in spite of the most holy es “easily intentions, our sin still does 2:1). entangle” (see Hebrews 12:1). us occasions As a result, on numerous e first part of we simply did not obey the ative to parthe boldest biblical imperative ents: “Parents, don’t exasperate your children …” (see Ephesians 6:4). We condescended. We micro-managed. In the name of “being the parent,” our discipline tended to exasperate and embitter our children. We have yet to meet a self-aware parent who doesn’t make a similar confession. Lynne and I thank God that even when our parenting was out of alignment with His purposes, God was still present and active. We’re grateful that the Lord established in our hearts and minds a vision for the kind of parents we wanted to be. We captured our ideas in writing and told our kids. We worked diligently to talk about these guiding ideas—with each other and our kids. It turns out these ideas have helped thousands of other parents as we share our journey with them.

The result of this hard work to write down and verbalize our vision? When we blew it with our kids, we were more likely to recognize our indiscretion for what it was. And because we’d told our kids our vision—if we were a little slow

to see our own misbehavior—our kids helped us out. At that point, we knew we needed to eat some humble pie and confess to our kids and make things right with them. At first, this was not comfortable or at all pleasant. It still isn’t, but we learned that when we exasperated our kids, it was best to rebuild in a way that “unexasperated” them and also honored the second part of Ephesians 6:4: to “bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” We told our kids that reconciliation, true heartfelt apology, forgiveness and restored relationship are what make relationships strong. This is hard because when parents really blow it with a child and hurt the relationship, they often feel a mixture of guilt for their own actions and resent-

ment of their kid’s behavior. It’s much easier and expedient to offer a quick “drive-by apology” than to go after heartfelt restoration. So parents utter something like, “Sorry I was kind of harsh” and call it solved. It s like li slapping a little plaster on a It’s crack—a temporary fix of a problem that will reem reemerge under stress. It may ease guil a bit, but it does little to truly the guilt restore the relationship or prevent the problem from happening again. In fact, usu it usually leads to resentment growin toward an even bigger blowout ing d down the line. True rebuilding digs into the crack and replaces it with fresh bricks and mortar. Confession, hearing the other perspective and together planning a “what I want to do next time” course of action are the bricks of reconciliation. It’s in the messes of life—the cri crises—where our theology becomes real. So the next time you blow it with your kids, be courageous and tell them. Ask for their forgiveness. Tell them how you’d like to do it next time. Then, and only then, address their part of the problem. Tell them you forgive. Ask them what they’d like to do differently next time. Finish with a high five or a hug and a plan to have some fun together. If every Christian parent learned to do this with their kids, we’d have a grace revolution on our hands. Jim Jackson is the cofounder of Connected Families, author, speaker and parent mentor. Learn more at www. September 2014 | REFRESHED


sharp focus JASON SHARP

My dirty little secret The news broke on Monday, August 11, 2014, and the world was stunned that beloved actor and comedian Robin Williams took his own life. Social media accelerated the news, and details about his passing started trending a few hours later. You couldn’t open a news site, newspaper, Twitter, Facebook or whatever without seeing his face on the screen or the pages in front of you. Sad story. Very sad. By all indications, Robin Williams had everything the world had to offer—fame, fortune, admiration—but, in the end, it didn’t matter. I would never attempt to speculate on his spiritual journey, what kind of guy he really was or anything of the like, but I do know that he fought some demons along the way; it’s been well documented.

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After his death, it seemed every Facebook user became an expert on depression, posting links to articles that read, “If you’re dealing with depression, click here!” or “Depression is real!” or “Don’t fall victim to mental illness!” and the like. I get it that people wanted to help, but the news feed goes by pretty quickly and, before you know it, that life-saving link is yesterday’s news. None of us see ourselves as others see us. If Robin Williams only knew that the entire world loved and adored him, would that have made a difference? Probably not. He still wouldn’t have seen himself as others did. Awards and accolades mean nothing if we view ourselves through the lens of depression. When we feel hopelessness, no matter what good comes our way in life, we hear: “You’re a failure!” “Boy, you’ve pulled the wool over their eyes!” “Just p think if they really knew who you are!” th ““Go ahead and quit before you get fired!” Depression tells you that you’re pathetic, no matter what. th So, if we don’t perceive ourselves as others do, how could we ever see ouro selves as God does? se Being a parent has allowed me to have a little bit of understanding of how God truly feels about me. My wife, Julie, and I have two children and when I think about Haley and Carson, my heart explodes. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for them, not a thing I wouldn’t forgive them for and not a time where I wouldn’t give them my life! If they’re sad, I cheer them up. When they’re discouraged, I encourage them. When their heart is broken, I take them for ice cream. Even though they may not fully realize it until they have kids of their own, I love them with all that

I have within me. And even though we may not fully realize the extent to which He does, God is similarly, yet infinitely more, crazy about us! It’s hard to wrap your mind around, I know. I’m no expert on depression, but I do know that I started my anti-depressant medicine four years ago. The doctor called it a “chemical imbalance.” I believed her; I had no reason not to. My small daily dose of Sertraline sends serotonin, which is thought to be a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness, to my brain. It helps level me out and keeps me balanced. Sure, someone could look at me (or anyone like me) and wonder why I (or they) would ever be depressed about anything. I am a Christ-follower with a beautiful family and a good job. “What is wrong with him?” they might ask. Nothing, really—I’m not a bad person who’s keeping a dirty little secret; I’m simply a work-in-progress who needs a little help. I am thankful for God’s redemptive power in my life. The older I get, the more I realize that approval from others is sporadic at best, but God is constant and from Him I have the love and acceptance of an unchanging God, no matter what. I hope Robin Williams knew that. If you suffer with depression, please know that you are not alone. And don’t be embarrassed to reach out to a friend or a loved one to ask for help. It will be worth it. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Jason Sharp is station manager of 98.5 KTIS in the Twin Cities. Follow him on Twitter @ KTISjason.

Continued from page 18 to be,” Andrea said. “When we got up the next morning, I had to go to work early, so I said to Andrea, ‘Honey, I’ve got to know,’” Chris said. “‘I have to know what happened. I have to know what I saw was something that was real in front of our eyes.’ Because none of it was clicking in our heads as far as it was the real thing happening. God was in my house.” When they woke Darien, “his eyes opened up, and they were crystal clear,” Chris said. “There was no dilation. He smiled as big as he’s ever smiled. His shoulders were back. His head went straight up. He sat up, and he said, ‘I told you, Dad. It’s gone. He came, and He took it.’ We just [fell] on the ground and [said], ‘Thank you.’ You don’t know how to react.” Yet the family still wondered why God would visit them and grant them this

huge relief. “We had been told from the beginning that he may wake up one day and be fine,” Andrea said. “That’s not necessarily an uncommon thing. Thinking about what happened here, he had not gone to sleep. There was no question that God came and did this. If he had gone to sleep and woke up in the morning, we would have said, ‘God healed him.’”

Valuable lessons

When Darien woke up that morning, he wasn’t going to sit around and wonder if he had been healed. He was going to test it. “I felt like a million bucks,” he said. “I was ready to run. I want to go run around. I want to go get moving, something. I woke up. I was completely fine. Felt great.” He spent the entire day outside. In fact, he went back to his old life.

He got back into school and eventually graduated in the top 10 percent of his class. He had to work his way back, but Darien and his parents credit District 622 and his case manager with being extremely helpful and patient with him during his trial. Today, Darien is preparing for his second year of college. Throughout this ordeal, Darien said he has learned one important lesson. “You’ve got to face the storm before you see the silver lining,” he said. “You’ve got to go through it. You’ve got to really give yourself to it. You’ve got to be fully into believing and your faith and everything for that kind of thing to happen. You’ve got to get into the valley of the shadow of death, as they say. He’s always with you, no matter where you are, no matter how bad it gets, no matter how low you get on yourself or anybody, He’s always with you.” ■

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that’s life! JOANNE BROKAW

Insomnia: Questions that keep me awake at night It’s after midnight and I can’t sleep. I have a column due in the morning and I have no idea what I’m going to write about, so I keep turning thoughts over in my head. The problem is that the column ideas are being pushed aside by weightier items demanding my attention. Take the fortune cookie I ate today. When I cracked it open, I was stunned to see that my fortune said, “Ganaras mucho dinero.” The translation on the other side: “You will earn a lot of money.” Earn a lot of money? Do you know what humor columnists are paid? And why was my Chinese fortune in Spanish? (And where were my lucky numbers?) Were these cookies destined for a Chinese restaurant in Mexico and intercepted on the black market before they landed on my grocery store shelf? Are they irregular cookies (which would explain why they were on sale)? And if so, I hope they were safe to eat, since I ate the whole box. (And yes, all of the fortunes were in Spanish.) These are the things that keep me up at night. Here’s another one: Before I go to bed, I jot down in my journal some notes about the day — what I did, where I went, who irritated me, what my dog Bandit ate and then barfed up. I noticed tonight that my handwriting today looks nothing like my handwriting in yesterday’s entry or the entry from the day before, which got me thinking. What if my Spanish fortune cookie comes true and I make a lot of money as a famous writer and a hundred years from now my great-great-grandchildren take my journals to the “Antiques Roadshow” and the experts deem them fake because they think the entries were written by more than one person?


REFRESHED | September 2014

Even I can’t read my own writing sometimes, so how can I expect a complete stranger to decipher my chicken scratch? My poor great-great-grandchildren. Robbed of their inheritance, all because I have bad handwriting. Does anyone use a key to open their car door anymore? Don’t we all have those little beepy things? So why do they still make lock de-icer?

And while I’m on that subject, what happens if Bandit manages to eat my car keys, something he attempts several times a day? When I want to unlock my car, will I have to squeeze the dog until he beeps? Who determines the sizes on women’s clothing? How come I can fit into a size 8 from one store but have to wear a size 12 from another store? Making the clothing bigger and labeling it with a smaller size does not satisfy my ego; it just means that when I try on clothes I have to try on three sizes of the same item, which takes three times as long and leaves me three times as frustrated. How does the mailman get his own mail? Is it delivered to “Jimmy at the Post Office” or does it get delivered to

his house? Does he deliver his own mail, and if not, does he know his mailman’s name? Does his mail ever get delivered to the wrong house or get rolled into a ball and shoved into the mail slot, the way it gets delivered to my house whenever Jimmy the Mailman is on vacation? If I have to get a real job, I wonder if they’d let me train sea lions. I think I would like that job. I’d teach them to clap their flippers every time I walked into the room. I bet that would do a lot for my self-esteem, even if deep down I knew they were only doing it for the fish. Why does Facebook think it knows so much about me? I took a personality quiz the other day called “Which character on Gilligan’s Island are you?” Turns out I am not sultry Ginger or the brilliant Professor, like I had hoped. I’m Gilligan. And when Facebook posted the results — that I’m a loveable, adorable goofball — everyone agreed that pretty much described me. Adorable goofball? Is that how I’ll be remembered when I die? Maybe I need to go find someone to yawn in front of me so I can go to sleep. It worked in “Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book.” Maybe it will work for me. After all, I have a column due in the morning and I really need to come up with something to write about. 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





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