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CONNECTING CHRIST’S COMMUNITY #GoDoBe

JANUARY–FEBRUARY 2020

2020: CHOOSE LIFE Overcoming Food Addiction With Kristen Marie PG. 16

Minno: New Kids Streaming Service  PG. 10 YouVersion Names Verse of the Year PG. 25


Asbury Seminary Tulsa Now Enrolling for Spring 2020

Learn more at Experience Asbury Days: March 12th, April 25th, and May 2nd 2020. Sign up at asbury.to/visit Questions? Contact Celeste Rupp, Tulsa Site Coordinator at celeste.rupp@asburyseminary.edu or 859-858-2135. Visit asbury.to/tulsa for more information.

HaPe Chic by Jenny Faye A boutique for all ages of BEAUTIFUL.

I’m a mom of four active teenagers and two crazy, yet sweet, boxer pups. Most of my working outside-the-home years included trying to climb the corporate ladder of the pharmaceutical world, which was really just plain exhausting (Let’s be honest . . . a mother’s job never ends). After marrying Jason three years ago, making the decision to stay home with our kiddos, and moving across town, I decided I needed to create something that was “mine.” My style has never been ordinary, and I don’t really love the word “trendy.” I do believe whatever you wear, you have to just own it! Whether its sneakers with Find us on Facebook a dress or a bright red blazer over a graphic tee, it’s all about CONFIDENCE. Just or www.hapechic.com BE YOU! I love empowering women to feel confident and beautiful in the skin/ body God has given them. I believe creating a unique look that a women can feel confident and comfortable in allows her to take on many roles throughout the day with more passion and enthusiasm, while being the best she can be. HaPe (happy) is representative of my two children, Peter and Harry, who truly are my heart. “Ha” for Harry, and “Pe” for Peter. Chic (sheik) means “elegantly and stylishly fashionable.” I carry all the brands the big boutiques do, but because there is no brick and mortar, we can offer the same quality and fashion at a better price. I hope you browse my boutique and feel free to share with me your own personal style. Remember, online shopping has benefits: 1 – You are too pretty to drive around looking for a parking spot. And of course, 2 – If you haven’t shopped sans makeup in your sweatpants with a glass of wine—you might just be doing it wrong.


L E T T E R F R O M THE EDITOR Happy 2020! Can you believe it’s been a full year since we took over Community Spirit Magazine? I know. You probably haven’t thought as much about it as we have. It was a bit of a rough transition as we set out to create a magazine with content our readers could grow from rather than being an advertising driven periodical. We wanted to give something useful to our community to drive us all as Christians towards Christ. Our hearts in 2019 were for pushing the Christian community (and ourselves!) out of the pews and into the streets with Christ. #GoDoBe was our mantra. We hope you experienced a little of that with us (or a lot!). We certainly have challenged ourselves to step into our role as active Christians. We were never meant to be entertained by the Church or to be an eternal sponge, simply soaking up our weekly sermons and whatever else the Church provided for us each week. For those of us who know Christ, we are meant to BE the Church. We are meant to take everything we soak up and share it with our family, our neighbors, our community and our world. The world grows to know our Father and His love for them when His children live it out generously in front of them. This publication is meant to be a voice of and for the Christian community. We welcome pastors and leaders in Bible-centric churches to continue to partner with us as we move into the new year. We use feedback from the readers to drive content direction. We try to tackle topics, which aren’t being addressed in local churches sometimes. We sincerely hope you join on this journey with us. We humbly hope to be a shining light on a hill. We pray you gain a little encouragement, a little challenge, and a lot of inspiration from God’s word to become an active part of Christ’s community with us. We’re not where we want to be yet . . . but one year later, I can say we’re further along than we were at this point last year! We pray you can say the same. The 2020 year immediately puts our thoughts on our vision. We decided to partner with entrepreneur and forward-thinking Kristen Marie with her theme of “Choose Life.” We want to plant the seed that the year 2020 whatever our desired goals and changes, that the overarching theme is really to “Choose Life”—that is, an abundant life with, in and through Christ Jesus. In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way, the 4    COMMUNITY SPIRIT — Connecting Christ’s Community #GoDoBe

Hebrew 12:1-2 (NLT) “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” truth and the LIFE!” In the end, it’s really about choosing Him. He is THE Life. As you set your goals, know that putting God in the front of everything you want to accomplish brings Him into your everyday life. He is a resource for power. Philippians 4:13 (NLT) “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Everything. You’ll have to stop and read Kristen’s story on how she brought God into her eating plan and learned to “Choose Life” in an area that most of us never think about giving to God. It’s become a life mantra for her as she empowers women to transform from the inside out. “Choose Life” choices can become how we make decisions every day. We hope you will use “Choose Life” to keep your eyes laser-focused on Jesus. Satan wants to distract us with ANYTHING and EVERYTHING he can think of to pull our eyes off God’s plan. He wants us wandering. Focused on things that will burn up in the end. It is easy to lose sight of what matters. He knows that and uses that on us all every day. So, let’s throw off everything Satan would use to entangle us let’s “Choose Life” together in 2020—and surrender to Him. Be determined. Chuck anything that slows you down. Run the race. Get the prize, And, not just the ones you have planned for your own goals in life (those are definitely important!). but the prizes attached to the things God has prepared in advance for you to do. Prizes that won’t burn up. That’s the abundant Life He offers. The one He prepared in advance for you to do if you “Choose Life” daily. Now’s the time. You CAN do this. Let’s do it together! #GoDoBe #ChooseLife Teresa Goodnight Editor, CSM

PUBLISHER & EDITOR Omega League Media Staff CONTRIBUTING MONTHLY WRITERS Ryan Goodnight, Teresa Goodnight, Mike Henry Sr., and Andrea Stephens DESIGNER Laura Carter COVER PHOTO Jenn Jantzen Photography DISTRIBUTION Community Spirit Magazine is distributed to churches, schools, restaurants, businesses, and direct to home subscriptions. Email to deliver to your church or subscribe online for a copy sent directly to your home. Claims by advertisers, guest authors, authors, and the opinions of writers within this publication do not necessarily represent the views of Community Spirit Magazine or its publisher. Omega League Media is not responsible for the reliability, suitability, timeliness of content submitted although best effort is always made to accommodate all requests appropriately. Scriptures marked NLT are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW LIVING TRANSLATION (NLT): Scriptures taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW LIVING TRANSLATION, Copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

BIBLE VERSE Romans 15:5-6 “May the God of ENDURANCE and ENCOURAGEMENT grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that TOGETHER you may with ONE VOICE glorify the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” #onevoice #together #ChurchwithaCapitalC OUR MISSION Go into the world. Jesus said Go. To all of us. Do Something. Get in the game. Be like Christ. Show His love.

#GoDoBe

Submission Deadline is the 1st of the month, prior to the issue. THOUGHTS/IDEAS/SUBMISSIONS Feel free to submit your feedback or ideas via the website communityspiritmagazine.com. If you want to have your work considered for publication, at the website click on “Submit Content.” COMMUNITY EXPERTS/SPECIALISTS If you are a field expert and would like to learn more about being a contributing author, contact us at 918.956.0700 or info@communityspiritmagazine.com. STUDENTS We would love to entertain your submissions, ideas and suggestions. Please hop on our website in the student stuff and submit! ADVERTISING Contact: Call 918-956-0700, or email ads@communityspiritmagazine.com


COMMUNIT Y SPIRIT MAGAZINE | JANUARY–FEBRUARY 2020

CONTENTS 16 25

10

28

15

4 6

Letter from the Editor  ore: Choose Life—Pick it. Plant it. Present it to C God. Partner up.

  8 Man2Man: Why We MUST Choose Life 10 Family Fun: Minno: New Kids Streaming Service 12 Heart2Heart: What’s Your Word? 14 Rise & Shine: How to Experience God’s Joy... At Work!

15 Winners’ Wisdom: Failing Forward to Success

16 Cover Story: Overcoming Food Addiction With Kristen Marie

20

22 25

28 30

Senior Moments: Giving Honor Where Honor is Due Student Impact: “Choose Life” for Your Children YouVersion Names Most Popular Bible Verse of 2019 City Elders: 2020—Time to Catch the Vision Learn to Defend Your Faith

COMMUNITY SPIRIT — Connecting Christ’s Community #GoDoBe   5


Choose Life:

CORE

Pick it. Plant it. Present it to God. Partner up. Written by Teresa Goodnight

New Year. New You? Oh, Never Mind.

I

t’s such an invigorating time of year. It’s crisp outside. Things feel new as the year breaks through. We start on our new path. We buy a new journal. Maybe set new goals. Then life rolls around. It doesn’t hit all at once. However, very slowly we ease back into our old ways. They’re comfortable. They feel less stressful. Truthfully, they feel just easier than these new goals. Most of us simply slide into failure. It just feels like home. Mmmm. Cozy. Not really though. Familiar? It’s just easier to stay in patterns of thought and behavior than to turn over any kind of a new leaf. Is it any wonder, when we try to walk with God why we slip back into old sins? Find ourselves becoming less and less offended at our offenses? We dull and lull ourselves back into what feels the easiest. Same old same old.

Can we Change our Core? As a reigning queen of the #EPICfail New Year, I know the pattern all too well. However, last year—I decided to do something about it. I made one big change. Just one. Funny enough, it wasn’t even at the New Year. It was at the end of November. I’m sure it’s not a big deal to most of you. I hesitate to write it. But, my fellow Sodaholics will know my plight. I went from a few sodas per day to zero. Anyone who knows me knew that was just not ever going to be possible. Dr. Pepper was my end all be all crutch for a stressful day for over 30 years. I knew which states didn’t serve it and consistently offered a root beer when I asked (as if it were even close to the same!). I knew where to get it overseas in France, Italy, China—you name it. I could find it. I could easily 6    COMMUNITY SPIRIT — Connecting Christ’s Community #GoDoBe

distinguish between a Mr. Pibb and a Dr. Pepper for those who tried to pass it off as the same. I’m not proud. I’m just saying— it wasn’t an easy break-up. I called it “When my Daddy took away my last Dr. Pepper.” (not intentionally but it became an extra funny part of my goal!) He literally held it for me at the hospital one day and I could not figure out where he put it. I kept asking everyone if they knew. It was funny. He didn’t intentionally hide it but it popped into my head as a fun way to stop drinking it. Why? Because I liked saying it. It makes me laugh. I also love to see him crack a smile in the corner of his mouth when I say he took my last one. I actually partnered him with me on the journey not really realizing what I was doing. It worked! So, I’m sitting here a year later quite proud of myself. It’s certainly not a game changer, but it did prove to me I could do it. I can make changes. I can break difficult habits. My keys to success? 1. Pick it. Pick one thing or just very few (2!). 2020 is about focus and we can’t focus with 15 goals in 15 directions. It just doesn’t work. Get laser-focused on a goal and stay on it. 2. Plant it. Be really specific and plant that seed in your heart and mind. Don’t just decide “I’m going to be a better person in 2020.” Decide “I’m going to be a more financially generous person.” Or, maybe, “I’m going to read my Bible daily even if it’s just a verse.” General goals are nice, but they don’t give you specific plans for success. Plant the specific seed you want to grow. 3. Present it to God. Get yourself what you need to grow the seed. Bring it before God. Pray. Ask for His help. Read what His word has to say about your issue.

4. Partner Up. Ask Him for accountability partners (or a fun unintentional partner like my dad!). God uses others following Christ to help us get where we want to go. The “following Christ” part isn’t really optional. You need people who are lined up with God’s word to speak truth to you straight from the Bible. They pray with us and for us. They keep us challenged. They make sure we are staying focused. They nudge (or jerk) us back onto our path as needed. They are on board with keeping the seed growing with you. Whatever you do, be realistic. Many make a list of resolutions as likely to happen as trying to get the Democratic and Republican parties to agree on their political agendas. Instead of making a list even the mightiest of willpower giants couldn’t accomplish, think a bit smaller. Few people can handle massive amounts of change. (Woohoo for those who can!) But if you find yourself reigning in my “#EPICfail” kingdom with your very own crown—why don’t you try a different approach? Narrow down your list to a few things that simply must change. To reference Kristen Marie’s mantra “Choose Life.” Select YOUR one thing you want to change. Then, decide THIS thing will become a thing of your past (or these 3 THINGS for our overachievers who just can’t live within a limit (but please don’t overdo it if you want to have success). Maybe this is the year that you want to “Choose Life” by becoming a giver. Write it down. Be specific as to what that would look like for you. Pray about it. Pray for a gardener, an accountability partner, to help you keep the seed growing. I told people I gave up soda. I made sure people around me knew my plan so they could watch me. I even brought my dad in on


it, because I enjoyed the proud smirky smile on his face that he had been part of my little journey. Partners to keep you growing strong are absolutely a big factor in your success. Then, start immediately. Set out to answer all situations you enter as the giver you want to become. Maybe you defined that as when you see a charity making a difference, you will pick an amount of money or time and just give it. Write it down. When the next one comes along—do it again. Write it down. Maybe challenge yourself with the number of times you want to accomplish your giving goal for the year. Then, take the opportunities in front of you (or seek some out!). When you look back at your list at the end of the year, you will find a sense of accomplishment along with the joy you received each time you succeeded. Somewhere along the way, your seed becomes your heart. It brings forth a beautiful change transforming you more into who God made you to be. It just becomes who you are. Then, you have a journal to remind you of the journey. I know Dr. Pepper isn’t a big problem. Maybe for you it’s something a little more life impacting. Maybe you have a sin that has been kicking you and possibly

your family, that you need to kick back. Maybe you have lost your patience with your family and need to find some grace again. Maybe your relationship with your spouse has been strained and it might be your fault. Maybe it’s a substance abuse situation. Maybe you have found yourself wrapped up in a porn addiction. The list could go on and on. Whatever it is—the solution isn’t THAT much different for a serious problem. You have to “Choose Life.”

Do you want to make a change? Do you want to choose life? Some bigger problems have very specific accountability groups that can offer the exact kind of support you need—groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, for example. You can march yourself into an AA meeting and find a system proven to work. If it’s something like porn addiction, download a software system like covenanteyes. com and then find some accountability partners. Whatever you do “Choose Life” and get God involved in your decision.

These bigger items are better tackled with a team, but rest assured, you CAN beat them. You do need a team in your corner. God’s got the foundation. Build on it with Godly men and women who can help hold you accountable. Get real with them. (Check out Accountability Partners in this issue!). Trust me, you are not alone. You are NOT the only one facing that kind of problem. You just aren’t. What you can’t do this year is try it the same ways you’ve tried before and fail. Once you know how to be successful, the question really comes down to DO YOU WANT TO MAKE A CHANGE? DO YOU WANT TO CHOOSE LIFE? If you do, pick it, plant it, present it to God and get on down that road with some partners in your corner. We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow to get it right. We are guaranteed that God will never leave us and never forsake us in Hebrews 13:5. He’s right there to take this journey with you—to kick the soda or to kick the habit before you kick the proverbial can. Just kidding. (Kinda). Seriously, not kidding at all. Some of these problems are very big deals and if you have one afflicting you, it’s absolutely time to make a change. #GoDoBe

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COMMUNITY SPIRIT — Connecting Christ’s Community #GoDoBe   7


MAN 2 MAN Written by R.A. Goodnight

M

Why We MUST Choose Life

AN—LIFE IS OVER­ WHELM­ING! Really. With the pace of life these days, is it any wonder that we find it more and more difficult to keep up with our careers, our family, and oh yeah, our relationship with God? As we feel more and more like a failure, our decisions can become easier and easier to make in the wrong direction. Thoughts like “I didn’t make dinner last week and it was ok. I’m sure it’s fine if I work through it this week.” or “I’m travelling to support my family. What’s this break to watch this show? I’m married. I’ve seen it all anyway.” We’ve all heard about the slippery slopes. We know we’re supposed to keep our guard up. We also know we’re charged with being the leaders of our family. We know. We know. We know. It gets a little old hearing it quite frankly. When it comes to a thought like “Choose Life,” that abundantly fruitful life that Jesus offers, as appealing as it sounds, it’s actually pretty easy to choose differently. Truth is, Satan knows it. Satan is a slithering monster waiting in the darkness to spring just the right trap on us to take us down. He watches our weaknesses. He knows where he’s hooked us before. It’s no different than going to your favorite hunting spot, where you’ve sprinkled out the zestiest corn for the longest time. Your prey comes in cautious. Then, they get used to coming into the haven of their favorite food. Their walls go down. They move slowly and comfortably into the space. Then, when they least ex8    COMMUNITY SPIRIT — Connecting Christ’s Community #GoDoBe

pect it? You show up and take them down. Hard. Game over. If you think saying yes to the little things won’t lower your guard, you’re just wrong. I’ve been wrong. I have heard story after story of men who absolutely love their wives ending up in an affair at work. They never intended it to go that way. They grew comfortable. The friendship blossomed. If you think Satan wasn’t working right in the middle of that mess—you are just kidding yourself. If Satan can take down the leader—He’s got open game day on the rest of the family. The wife becomes emotionally off her game. The children wonder what was real in their family. Everyone is left hanging in the balance. Satan had a playbook. He knew. He wasn’t surprised at all. You played right into His hands. Maybe you’re in the middle of one of His nasty traps. Get out. Maybe you are standing on the edge just about to tiptoe lightly into the ring. Run. FAST. Do not look back. God can restore us. He can rescue our wives. He can teach your children great lessons through your mistakes as you show them how to walk back to God. Don’t let past or current failures be an excuse. They are an opportunity for everyone to grow. Lead them through that growth with God. Choosing Christ and leading our family requires discipline. There is actually quite a hefty load placed upon our plate by our

Heavenly Father. It’s one He’s willing to carry with us and for us if we let Him. He says His load is easy and His burden is light. However, when we aren’t really making “Choose Life” choices to choose Him, we are blocking the power God has for us. That power enables us to have that abundant life He has created for us. As the spiritual leaders of our households, we are also blocking that power from our family. We have quite a burden of responsibility. When we stray from God’s path, we take a lot of victims with us. One area plaguing Christian men like the black plague is pornography. It’s attacking men everywhere honestly and it’s winning. It’s just so easy to access. Our tv’s brought It into our home. Our VCR’s/ DVD’s and then computers brought it further and further into our daily lives. Then our pone gave us a private access point with the internet. It has become as easy as typo to land on a site full of pictures we can’t get out of our minds. It can start that easily if we entertain the temptation. The thing about porn? It has so many victims. Porn is really a gateway drug. Once people are fully addicted, they might never have imagined themselves facing child pornography charges. However, it happens. It just went across the screen during the impeachment proceedings. There was a man, George Nader, accused of transporting a 14-year old Russian boy for sex along with his own child pornography. These are men who have respected roles and positions in our society. This isn’t just in the dive bar scene.


One topic we are going to address next in 2020 will be sex trafficking. It’s big and it’s everywhere. This threat is real. We see people like Jeffrey Epstein in the headlines. We hear of the complete travesty that was his life and his choices. We hear all sorts of very high-level, affluent male names being associated to this man and his island of debauchery. These are men of power and influence. Leaders in our nation and in other nations. Financial men we expect more of. Granted, there’s not a court case on the news, since the head of this ring was found dead in his jail cell, but there’s still a question plaguing everyone as to who was involved. Those stories feel a bit far off. However, the stories in Oklahoma are right here. They are very real. Recently the number of cases being closed in the Tulsa area alone has our eyes wide open. There are customers driving the industry. People wouldn’t be selling children for sex slaves unless we had buyers—bug buyers. You can bet that pornography had a part in creating that sickening addiction. It’s not just for fun. It carries potential consequences of life and death for all involved—but especially the

innocent victims. Don’t be fooled. If you partake, you are supporting the evil. It’s gotta stop. Let it stop with you. Get help. You don’t have to fight it alone. In fact, maybe you can’t. In the 90’s, I heard Stephen Curtis Chapman share an accountability partner story. He was travelling quite a bit on tour. Back then, one of the most tempting places to pursue pornography secretly was in hotel rooms while away on business. It was such a known threat to men that Stephen had set up an accountability partner he could call if he felt tempted. One night . . . he made that call. He felt himself tempted. He picked up the phone and called his person. He told the person about his temptation. He and the person agreed that when Stephen returned home, he would ask Stephen if he had watched anything inappropriate. It worked. Crisis averted. Temptation didn’t win out. Can you imagine the road where it did win? We don’t think of the big guys leading people in worship or leading churches as having the same kinds of temptations the rest of us have, but they do. We all

do. Temptation is not saved for the weak. In fact, I would argue that it attacks the strong even more strongly sometimes. We are all in its path. Satan has his eye on each of us. He just needs us to crack the door to get his foot in it. Once in? He makes Himself at home. Men. We are the leaders. We’re it. We have got to change our thinking and our priorities. We’ve got to do better. God won’t give us more than we can bear, but it is more than we can bear alone. He wants to be in the trenches with us. He is right there waiting on you to invite him in. Do it. Start now for 2020 and “Choose Life.” Ask yourself every time a temptation pops up trying to steer you away from Christ, as the head of your household, is this a “Choose Life” choice? If that answer is no, and let’s be honest, you know when it’s no—then choose differently. Run away. Run towards that abundant life in Christ. You will be taking your family along for the ride with you. It will likely be the greatest choice you have ever made. #GoDoBe #ChooseLife

When Choosing Life, Getting Organized Helps! Kicking off the New Year organized sets you on a path to accomplish your goals. The more chaos you have around the house (even if it’s hidden in the closets), the more of a chaotic life you have. Maybe you are ready to dig in. Or, maybe you need some help making this organization wish come true! Karla Partridge has the gift of organization. Have you ever had one of those roomies in college? Their space was an example of what sorority life could look like. Some people just have it. Luckily, for those of us who JUST DON’T, Karla Partridge offers her services to bring our chaos under control. Karla did such an amazing job on our pantry that it has stayed that way for 3 months and counting. I don’t get it. I wonder how her mind works that she can think of the EXACT right place to put things. I did think about it before I put it in there. I really did. Whether it’s your pantry, your closet, or even your holiday décor needing put away in a more orderly fashion—if it’s on your list, but preventing you from getting to the things you want to do, bring Karla in and let her do what she does so amazingly well—organize! Karla Partridge, Personal Organizer 918.638.8110 | peartree2@cox.net Instagram: totallyorganized.co | Facebook: Totally Organized

COMMUNITY SPIRIT — Connecting Christ’s Community #GoDoBe   9


FAMILY FUN

Minno: New Kids Streaming Service Written by Teresa Goodnight

W

hen we find out about programs to help parents help our kiddos, we get really excited. We’ve interviewed experts like Dr. Everett Piper, as they discussed colleges being purposefully after the minds of our children. We’ve listened to City Elders, as they explain the assault on our children in the public-school systems across the country trying to shape their minds as early as possible. This is real and it’s happening now. It’s been happening but it is escalating. Rapidly. Disney programming moved out of the morally sound realm, originally part of its DNA. Recent rumors around Elsa’s sexual orientation in Frozen 2 got our attention—and dropped our already dashed expectations for the media giant. We’ve heard countless stories of parents trusting PBS with programs like Arthur, only to find their children asking if they should marry a boy or a girl after seeing it on the formerly safe show. Just today at a birthday party, a parent shared that her parental control software program failed. She walked in on her kids watching an adult language show about a teddy bear (Ted), which included inappropriate language and content around body parts just not suitable for young minds. If you aren’t scrambling for a safety net already, you might need to wake up. It’s

Featuring One of the Largest Collections of Classic VeggieTales, 3-2-1 Penguins, and Owlegories + a Collection of Kids Books such as the Amazon Bestseller— The Laugh and Learn Bible for Kids—Minno Provides Affirming, Faith-Based Content Curated for the 100 Million Americans who Attend Church Every Sunday. a real threat. This isn’t news to parents trying to raise their children in Christ. It’s troubling dialogue without a great solution. UNTIL NOW! Enter Minno. It’s a new, Nashville-based children’s digital media company offering Christian parents an alternative that is both entertaining and affirming. Minno features an ad-free, subscription digital platform with curated entertainment and educational choices the whole family will love—including one of the largest collections of Classic VeggieTales. Minno has a publishing arm in partnership with Hachette Nashville, with offerings such as the Amazon bestseller Laugh and Learn Bible for Kids, as well as Minno Life, a parenting blog with expert resources and voices for Christian parents. Minno aims to be a one-stop solution for parents and kids. After receiving a press release on the new company, Community Spirit reached out to CEO and Co-founder of Minno, Erick Goss. He explained Minno’s focus. Goss

10    COMMUNITY SPIRIT — Connecting Christ’s Community #GoDoBe

said, “Parents are desperate to have spiritual conversations with their kids. If we give them some basic tools, we can help parents feel confident and have a sense of control. Parents are asking, ‘How can I connect with my children?’ So, we try to provide the catalysts for conversation.” Goss went on, “Minno really wants to create teachable, winnable moments. So many parents really feel like the world is pushing against them. Parents feel they are in survival mode. We want to help them move from that mode into what does it mean to thrive and know the Holy Spirit is partnering with us. We want parents confident with discipling.” Goss added, “One thing we know, screen time is important, but off-screen time is also important according to children. We want to be a resource to families trying to raise their children in Christ. In addition to safe programming, we share books and things we recommend.” Goss shared, “In addition to the programming, we created the Laugh and


Learn Bible for Kids as part of the experience. Laughter Is the native language of children. The text is fairly narrative. Phil Vischer, Veggie Tales creator, is hilarious. We thought if we could take the best of what’s in the Bible with the fun tone of the Veggie Tales—put it in 52 selected Bible stories—Genesis to Revelation, we’d have a tool parents could really use.” Goss said, “The feedback has already been so positive.” He went on, “Parents have been commenting ‘I didn’t know this about the Bible. I’m learning this about the Bible.’” He added, “If it’s done in a really fun way, we can help families. We’ve even built parent connect sections at the end for more parental support.” With a recent launch, Minno already has over 20,000 subscribers in over 40 countries according to Goss. He shared, “The reaction from parents reinforces and affirms the idea there are a lot of parents out there left behind by the media establishment that their stories and their kids are not on screen. It’s important kids can see kids like them. At worst God is a fairy tale. At best, He is irrelevant.”

The thing is—parents need partners, specifically those enabling protective barriers and discipleship of their children. Our mall recently replaced an amazing play area that was blocked in with a new completely open area. Before, parents could come relax while their children played. It went from a relaxing break while you are shopping to a completely difficult situation to make sure your children are safe. It’s a very similar parallel to what has happened with children’s programming. Parents trying to guard the hearts and minds of their children are no longer able to sit them for a few idle minutes in front of a screen and just walk away. You have to be completely present. Completely on guard. It’s a lot.

have more content choices than they’ve ever had, but fewer options that reflect their values.” Goss shared, “When you see media companies churning out more shows than ever but none of them reflect your family’s values you want to instill in your family, you are left with an impossible choice—not participating in culture or compromising what you care most about,” Goss said, “Minno resolves that problem, serving as a one-stop, trusted source and a partner in raising kids in today’s pluralistic, social, mobile and media-drenched world. Kids will see Minno as something fun to experience, while parents can feel good about the fact that our content is encouraging kids to deepen their faith and walk with God every day, at home or on-the-go.”

Goss stressed, “Parents who care about their children’s faith are in a tough situation. While we attend church and have friends and neighbors who share our faith, the leading technology and media companies are fueling a content culture that is devoid of God and the importance of faith. Christian parents

In the coming months, Minno will also offer parent’s guides on top-of-mind topics, family devotionals, and podcasts. In an increasingly secular world where faith and family values are often marginalized, there are few entertainment and education options available that parents can trust.

MINNO DISTINCTIVES Minno—ad free, subscription digital video platform. Featuring the largest collection of Classic VeggieTales in the world and the best curated collection of Christian kids content anywhere that can be streamed or downloaded and watched on the go. Parents can try Minno for free by going here: www.gominno.com Minno Life—a lifestyle blog full of helpful articles, family devotions, and printables developed intentionally to meet the needs of today’s families. Minno Life features curated content from expert thought leaders and parents in the trenches to offer the best in practical hope and help on top-ofmind issues such as spiritual development, education, social media, and culture. Recognized voices such as the team at Daystar Counseling Center—David Thomas, Sissy Goff, and Melissa Trevathan—are all featured contributors. Minno Kids publishing—because Minno believes the Bible should be at the center of every aspect of living—including parenting— Minno Kids publishing efforts are anchored by the new Laugh and Learn Bible for Kids and also features a wonderful new collection of children’s board books, picture books as well as middle grade novels. Minno Store—which includes books, Bibles, and other resources from our children’s publishing program, aims to help families experience God together. From board books to middle-grade novels, Minno books help kids better understand what the Bible teaches and offers insights for living out their faith in everyday life.

COMMUNITY SPIRIT — Connecting Christ’s Community #GoDoBe   11


HEART2HEART

What’s Your Word?

Written by Andrea Stephens

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he idea of having a word for the year was first presented to me by my associate pastor’s wife several years ago when I was living in Florida. She was a very intentional and purposeful type of woman, so it made sense that having a special word, and a scripture to go with it, was something she grabbed hold of. But it wasn’t enough that she had a word, she insisted that everyone had a word.

quiring her attention. And then there was the investment she and her husband made in a beach house that needed updating and some basic TLC before it could be offered as a vacation getaway for families. Of course, none of these things were wrong, she just felt the stirring to focus on being more outward than inward; to support a cause by volunteering her time and abilities.

I passed her enthusiasm (and persistence) onto those in my immediate circle. Each of my family members now select a word for the year. I record their word next to their name on my prayer list so that I’m sure to include it when I am lifting them up to the Lord. As the months go by, I’m sure to check-in to see how they are applying and experiencing the use of their word. We talk about whether or not it is making a difference in the way they are living, whether they are remembering to consider their word as they make decisions about the use of their time and how they choose to conduct themselves.

So that is exactly what she did. She chose the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI). Mental health was near and dear to her heart since one of her kids struggles with anxiety. They welcomed her energy and her host of new ideas for fundraising. Over the course of the year, she served on the Board, participated in the annual NAMI Walks for awareness, helped deliver Christmas bags to area group homes for NAMI families, and through her community connections was able to raise a significant amount for the organization. In return, she was blessed with new friendships and the satisfaction of knowing she was helping others.

After all, that is the purpose of having a word. It serves as a guide. It serves as a motivator. It serves as a goal. It serves as a reminder of one thing a person wants to change or become or do as they live their life throughout the year. This is why much thought and prayer are put into the selection of a word. In fact, it can become a partnership—something you and the Lord are working on together.

In September she came to Tulsa to celebrate my birthday. Knowing her word was outreach, I made arrangements for us to volunteer at Turning Point Thrift Store located next to Loaves and Fishes. We sorted clothes, tagged and priced items, and welcomed shoppers. We even found of few treasures to take home. I loved spending part of my birthday guided by her word outreach.

Last year my sister’s word was outreach. As she analyzed her jam-packed schedule, she realized this was missing from her to-do list. Her job, as regional director for a popular cruise line, kept her traveling, planning presentations, and tracking sales numbers. And usually one of her three kids were in mini-meltdown mode, re-

With the arrival of 2020, now is the time to select a word for the year. Are you ready to join in? I have chosen the word kindness. I’m challenging myself to stop and ask: What is the kindness thing to do in this situation? What kindness can I offer a hurting person?

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How can I become a kinder person? Where can I speak a word, provide a meal, or offer a hug? Who needs me to watch their kids, run an errand or simply sit and listen to their story? What scripture can I focus on that relates to kindness? To help develop myself in this area, I picked up The Kindness Effect by Jill Donovan. Jill is the mastermind behind the Rustic Cuff craze. This attorney and law professor at the University of Tulsa has become a wildly successful entrepreneur. Jill uses her profits to bless others. As the book subtitle claims, Jill has discovered the power of irrational giving, encouraging her readers to do the same. In other words, spread kindness whenever and wherever possible—and give credit to God. Now, what about you? What will your word be? What are you missing? What do you want to add? Is there an activity or even an attitude you want to incorporate into your life? Give it some thought and prayer, then commit it to the Lord. Get ready for Him to open opportunities for you to put your word into action. What a great 2020 ahead! If you would like to know more about Jill and her adventures with kindness, you are invited to the Asbury Women’s Gathering on Friday, February 21 at 7:00 pm. Asbury Church is located at 6767 S. Mingo Road, Tulsa. No charge, refreshments provided. Register online at asburytulsa.org or call 918-492-1771.


ASBURY WOMEN’S 2020 SPRING GATHERING

BE OUR GUEST

#Youneverknowwhatwewillgetnext Turning Point Thrift Store located at 11403c E 19th St. (by E. 19th and S. Garnett) in Tulsa is open every Wednesday–Saturday from 10 am until 3 pm! Steve at 918-234-8574 ext. 5.

Friday, February 21, 2020 | 7-9 pm

We accept most gently used household items, such as; clothes, kitchen items, home decor, jewelry, electronics, framed art, seasonal items/decor, and so much more. NOTE: Items we do not take are Christmas trees, box TV’s, box TV entertainment centers, pianos, mattress’s/box springs, bed pillows, and worn/junk furniture.

MUSIC • GIVEAWAYS • REFRESHMENTS • BOOK SIGNING

All proceeds from the sale goes to support the ministry goal of the Loaves & Fishes Ministries; to help Feed the Spirit, Soul and Body of those in need. (www.loavesandfishes.net)

and share an evening with

Rustic Cuff’s Jill Donovan

Register at asburytulsa.org/women2020

6767 S. Mingo Road, Tulsa, OK 74133 918.492.1771 | asburytulsa.org asburytulsa

— SAVE THE DATE —

32nd Mend Medical Clinic Annual Celebration Thursday, March 12th, 2020

We empower women in an unplanned pregnancy with life affirming choices through the love of Christ

COMMUNITY SPIRIT — Connecting Christ’s Community #GoDoBe   13


RISE&SHINE

How to Experience God’s Joy... at Work!

Written by Mike Henry Sr. - Follower of One

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“But Jesus answered them, My Father is working until now, and I am working.” John 5:17

s I write this article, I just read a devotional on Psalms 16:11 which says, “in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalms 16:11b I hope you agree. I hope you experience God’s joy when you’re in his presence. For many of us, we experience his joy when we worship, or when we’re around his people. We may see God’s glory in our family, or in nature, and experience his joy. We may find his joy in reading his word and prayer when we’re by ourselves or when we’re alone. Do you often experience God’s joy at work? I think many of this magazine’s readers would say they do. But how often? More than once or twice a day? More than a few times a week? Once a month? Less? I used to think my faith was a part of my life: the others being work, family, health and hobbies. But the more I chased after God, the more I learned my faith was the place where my life, work, family and hobbies existed. When I’m with God, being directed by God, I experience his joy. At work, my desires and fears called the shots. I avoided getting chewed out, or I worked to earn money or appreciation for my job. I wanted my career to matter, but I left God out of the equation. But fullness of joy exists in God’s presence. How can we manage ourselves into the presence of God full-time, even while we’re at work doing things we don’t like or working with people we don’t like?

“And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:” John 16:8 “But when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth,” John 16:13a

The entire Trinity works right now. When you can’t be at church, or in a quiet time, you can join God in His work. Years ago, Henry Blackaby and Claude King wrote a popular workbook (and a series of other books based on it) called Experiencing God. Their workbook prompted me to see God is active in every life. We just look for God working in others and join Him. In every circumstance and any project, we can be present with God. In Psalm 139 we learn we can’t get away from God. “If I ascend to Heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!” Psalm 139:8. God is actively working in the lives of everyone you know and see every day. That includes the person who serves you coffee and the people who clean your workplace; the people you call on today and the person at the tire shop or the irate customer. God is actively working in your boss and your direct reports, peers, and vendors, too. In the book Rare Leadership by Marcus Warner and James Wilder, they suggest that our brains only run on 2 fuels. Either our brains run on fear, or joy. When you can’t wait to leave work or get to the weekend, you’re operating on fear. When you look for God in everything you do,

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you experience His joy in every work. The work isn’t joyful but God gives us His joy in His presence. Some work is ugly. He knows. His mercies are new every morning. He has the joy we desperately need to live and work in a fallen world, in a fallen body, among other fallen people. At Follower of One, we suggest 5 categories of activities we can do to be present with God at work. We call these the 5 daily activities: 1. Pray—Ask God to put you to work in the lives of others. 2. Appreciate others—Make God’s treasure our treasure. He died for everyone we meet. 3. Know what you believe—Prepare to answer the question, “Why are you doing this?” or “Why do you follow Jesus?” 4. Serve others—Go beyond what others expect of you. 5. Speak for yourself—When someone asks, answer in the 1st person. We have found that when people practice these 5 activities daily, they experience God’s joy moment-by-moment at work. Even in miserable jobs or difficult situations, we hear how God brings joy. His presence brings joy, and he’s at work. God’s joy is available to us when we can pray, worship, study and share time with other believers. But that’s not all. God is a worker. If you want more of God’s joy, join him at work, and watch what happens! Mike Henry Sr. is the CEO of Follower of One, an online community to equip marketplace Christfollowers in any line of work. Check out their website, podcast and videos at https://follower ofone.org.


WINNERS’ WISDOM Written by Jim Stovall

Failing Forward to Success

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he only time failure is final is when we quit trying to succeed. What would you call a basketball player who missed 9,000 shots, lost almost 300 games, and on two dozen occasions when he was called upon to shoot the winning basket, he missed?  You might call him a failure or a loser, but the world knows him as Michael Jordan— arguably the best basketball player of all time. Temporary failure is a part of all success.  Winston Churchill was fond of repeating that, “Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”  Great basketball players, including Michael Jordan, know that they are going to miss approximately half of their shots.  This never keeps them from doing their best and anticipating the next shot.  For most people the most dramatic part of any basketball game is known as the “buzzer beater.”  This is when a player launches a last-second shot when the game is hanging in the balance.  If the ball goes into the basket, his team wins; and if it doesn’t, they lose.  I remember talking to my friend and mentor, the late, great legendary Coach John Wooden, and discussing the kind of players he wanted to recruit to play on his championship teams.  Obviously, he wanted great

athletes with the size, speed, and skill to compete at the highest level; but Coach Wooden was much more interested in the mental qualifications of a prospect. He pointed out that the best athletes don’t always win.  When I inquired about how he would determine whether a prospect was mentally suited to be a champion, Coach Wooden told me he was looking to recruit players who wanted to take that last-second shot.

sional lives, we will avoid many deadlines and high-pressure situations; but when we’re called upon to take the final shot, we will step up and do what needs to be done knowing that sometimes we’ll win and sometimes we’ll lose, but there will always be another game tomorrow.

A lot of great athletes compete aggressively throughout the game but shy away from taking the last shot. They simply don’t want to deal with the pressure.  Players like Michael Jordan realize that pressure is a part of the game and a part of life.  It’s simply a matter of who is best qualified to take the shot and being willing to live with the results.  In reality, any shot during a ballgame could be considered the winning or losing basket.  It’s just that the last shot holds a place in the spotlight.  Any single basket during the entire game could have made the final shot irrelevant, so it’s important for us to learn that everything we do matters—not just the last-second things we do before the deadline.  If we perform at the highest level in our personal and profes-

I heard a great baseball coach explain that the most important characteristic of a great pitcher is to have a short memory. If a pitcher can give up a homerun, put it behind him, and bear down in order to get out the next batter, he will eventually succeed.  Success always looks like a series of victories with the inevitable defeats sprinkled among them.  As you go through your day today, remember that failure isn’t final unless you give up. Today’s the day!  Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift.  He is also a columnist and motivational speaker.  He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK  74145-9082; by email at Jim@ JimStovall.com; on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ stovallauthor; or on Facebook at www.facebook. com/jimstovallauthor.

COMMUNITY SPIRIT — Connecting Christ’s Community #GoDoBe   15


Overcoming Food Addiction With Kristen Marie “Today, I call Heaven and Earth as witnesses against you, And I set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”

Written by Teresa Goodnight

Deuteronomy 30:19

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risten Marie came from a broken upbringing surrounded by drugs, alcohol, and abuse. As a child and young adult, she struggled to find stability navigating the chaos around her.  She desperately sought ways to stop the generational addiction.  The problem: her family had a spiritual void.  Kristen didn’t fill that spiritual hole with her family’s style of addictions.  Instead, she found solace in her relationship with food. 

As the third child to her 25-year old parents on the brink of divorce, Kristen was an unplanned pregnancy. Her parents tried to make the marriage work, but ultimately divorced before she was two years old. Throughout her foundational years, Kristen was told by family members she was a mistake; they said her parents didn’t even want her and that she caused the divorce.  In addition to that trauma, throughout her preschool and elementary years, her parents continued to not work well with one another. Kristen, along with her older sister and brother, were shuffled back and forth from one parent’s house to the other. By the time she was ten years old, both of her parents had each married two more times.

JENN JANTZEN PHOTOGRAPHY

Kristen shared, “Growing up, I saw the fierce grip that addiction had on them, and wanted the Hern generational cycles broKevinI and Tammy ken in my life. I was determined to never get drunk, do drugs, or be promiscuous. However, I didn’t know how to deal with my pain and brokenness in a healthy manner.  It wasn’t until I was born-again that my eyes were opened to the addiction that I had. I was addicted to food.”  

Kristen went on, “Before my seventhgrade year, I chose to live with my dad since my older brother and sister were already living with him full-time. The house was always busy and swirling with something new. At times there were nine kids all under one roof, between the full, half, and step siblings.  Although I was

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surrounded by many people in the same house, the message planted deep in my soul was—‘I am alone, and nobody gets me.’ For years I struggled with rejection. It was just an unhealthy environment.”  Kristen continued, “I can’t recall when my struggle with overeating began.  It may


have originated at an early age when our pantry would often be empty, and I would be hungry. During those times, I may have developed a poverty-mindset, feeling like I didn’t have enough, and when food was available, I would overeat out of fear.  Because of that, when the shelves were full of groceries, I would overeat.  I became incredibly, emotionally tied to food.”  Like many of us have felt at times, Kristen was using food to soothe the heartaches of life.  Kristen said, “At times, I would eat out of boredom, loneliness, rejection or insecurity. The food caused me to feel something different than the pain.  Other times, it gave me some sense of control—a momentary satisfaction.” Kristen communicated, “I said, ‘Yes’ to Jesus as Savior during my freshman year of college.  He began to open my eyes to many unhealthy, toxic decisions and habits in my life.  I longed for His healing in every part of me. I was ready to take personal responsibility for my choices and learn the changes/choices that I needed to make to connect to the abundant, full life that Jesus offers (John 10:10).” Kristen admitted, “In reality, I lacked the understanding, skills and maturity to stop using food to ‘scratch the itch’ of the ache in my heart.” Although Kristen’s family couldn’t see it due to her high level of activity as a college soccer player, her relationship with food was less about fuel and more about emotional upkeep.  Kristen said, “During my junior year in college, I suffered a hip fracture playing soccer and was on crutches for six weeks. The inactivity coupled with my overeating caused me to gain a lot of weight quickly — about forty pounds. Finally, my family recognized my struggle with food addiction, but they had no solution.”   Kristen revealed, “There was never any peace, I lived in a daily cycle of dread regarding food.  I struggled with self-defeating monologues and unhealthy emotions based on how much I overate or what I chose to eat, or worse—not being able to stop grabbing more to eat.  I felt like if I had one cookie, I would end up eating a dozen. Any sort of diet or food plan didn’t help me. It exacerbated the addiction by asking me to focus more on food,

instead of turning my focus and attention elsewhere.” Kristen was able to find power over her addiction by staying connected to God’s Spirit within her.  She had to learn how to stay in communion with Jesus throughout her day. It was this choice to stay in constant communion (and communication) with Him that empowered her to change her thoughts, emotions, desires, behaviors, and habits. With each decision, she learned how to partner with Him and begin to experience freedom, self-control, and a new way to navigate through life — with a “Choose Life lens.”  The more Kristen chose to invite Jesus into her struggles and mundane activities (like eating), the greater her intimacy grew with Him; her attachment to food began to dissipate.   

“Always before me is the choice to usher in God’s Spirit fully to penetrate my thoughts and emotions.  Receiving and agreeing with the way God feels about things is a ‘Choose Life’ choice.” It was then that Kristen felt she began making more and more “Choose Life” choices in her eating.  Kristen said, “I moved from living a food-focused, quick-fix high, to a Jesus-lasting solution. Deuteronomy 30:19 became more and more alive to me. With each choice I had in front of me, I learned to “Choose Life” by saturating myself with God’s Spirit by slowing my pace and choosing to stay connected to His Spirit inside of me.  I enjoyed recognizing His promptings and nudges. I loved yielding to Him. I was slowly learning how to overcome—to reveal “the Overcomer” that lives inside of me. To be the overcomer He desires for me to be.” Kristen said, “If you find yourself in any kind of struggle of addiction—you have

to decide to surrender your life to Jesus. I know we say that a lot, and it can sound trite or even churchy.  But when you get truly connected to the Overcomer-Spirit (God’s Spirit) that lives inside you, choosing to live aligned to His Words, bondages begin to lose their power over you. You can stop seeking quick fixes and replace them with His presence through worship and prayer.”  Kristen went on, “When we are in God’s manifested presence, we are changed into His likeness. Chains fall off. Strongholds are broken. Diseases are healed.  Churchy sounding or not—it’s just what happens with His amazing power.”    Kristen explained her key to conquering her addiction, as simple as it sounds, was built with consistent, quality time with God and His Word.  She said, “In this time of stillness, I press into His Spirit with an active lingering, until I feel a release inside of me.  This has become my habit instead of reaching for food, or any other substance. I can literally feel God’s Spirit advancing within me, leaving His emotional climate of peace, ease, humility, contentment and thanksgiving. Always before me is the choice to usher in God’s Spirit fully to penetrate my thoughts and emotions.  Receiving and agreeing with the way God feels about things is a ‘Choose Life’ choice.”  As a personal trainer, Kristen has always desired to help people discover and usher in their best selves.  She helps others see a common tactic of the Enemy who uses food addiction to kill, steal, and destroy God’s people (John 10:10). The enemy kills by causing many to die premature deaths, because of obesity and diseases. He steals our joy and vision for our future, because we are focused on ourselves and our mistakes, instead of being thankful for what the present has to offer. He destroys our confidence and moments of intimacy (with others), by flooding our minds and emotions with regret, shame, and judgement of ourselves.  Thus, we don’t have the strength and self-worth to show up and be all in, offering our authentic self to our family and friends. Year after year, Kristen has seen many remain stuck and defeated, causing an even greater enslavement to food.  Out of her personal victories on overcoming, Kristen created “Choose Life Eating” to teach others COMMUNITY SPIRIT — Connecting Christ’s Community #GoDoBe   17


how to overcome the enemy and to make successful steps forward. Kristen’s programs, “Choose Life Eating” and “Choose Life Workouts,” as well as her other “Choose Life Choices,” are offered underneath the “Choose Life People” community umbrella.

“At times, I would eat out of boredom, loneliness, rejection or insecurity. The food caused me to feel something different than the pain. Other times, it gave me some sense of control—a momentary satisfaction.”

The “Choose Life People” is an authentic, vulnerable community of people, who are committed to live with a “Choose Life lens” and look for opportunities to connect to the abundant life Jesus offers them. It is people who recognize the power of “we.” As such, they commit to journey together; they intentionally choose to partner with Heaven in their decisions. They believe God’s words in Deuteronomy 30:19, understanding their choices matter for their lives and the generations that follow. Kristen has both a website and a Facebook page which encompass the “Choose Life People.” Kristen shared, “I would love to see a generation of ‘Choose Life People’ navigating through their days with a ‘Choose Life lens.’  They would reap the blessings connected to their specific choices, but also create a domino effect of power and momentum for the generations after them.”  Kristen ended, “Can you imagine a people, who with every choice, thought, emotion, and desire “Choose Life” by staying continually connected to Jesus instead of compartmentalizing Him to Sunday mornings? After all, He told us He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.’ (John 14:6).”  18    COMMUNITY SPIRIT — Connecting Christ’s Community #GoDoBe

ARE YOU PURPOSEFULLY CHOOSING YOUR MASTER? Whether it’s a conscious decision—it’s still a choice. I wanted to share Kristen’s story, because I think she’s got it.  God wasn’t meant to be kept in a box. He’s not just a Sunday friend.  He absolutely wants to be part of our daily lives. He is Life. He just is.  He is our power to choose better. He is the one who came to provide an abundant life for us.  That abundance is absolutely impeded with sinful choices.   Paul writes in Romans 6:14 (NLT) “Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.”   When we find ourselves addicted to any kind of external props to satisfy or fulfill needs, we are choosing to be addicted to sin, consciously or not.  It is a choice. It’s not a “Choose Life” choice. It’s actually quite the opposite. Addictive personalities can transfer those kinds of behaviors to many other things in life.  It’s not just drugs or alcohol. It’s not just sex or porn. It’s not just food. It’s a surrendering of our power and control to anything or anyone that can give us something we’re lacking.   In the end, that void is the God-shaped vacuum referenced by C.S. Lewis.  We all have it. How are you choosing to fill yours? It is a choice. That’s where God comes in.  That’s why a relationship with a savior who loves you, wants the best for you and has a plan for your life outside of what you may see before you brings a whole new level of abundant living.  His promises for more are written all over history. They are manifested in His word. In fact, He gives us His WORD that He came so that we might have Life and have it MUCH more abundantly. In John 10:10  NLT Jesus says very directly, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” So, why wouldn’t we “Choose Life?”     It’s important to understand what Paul shared in Romans above on this very situation when addressing sin.  Freedom in Christ empowers us to make better choices for our lives freeing us from the mode of “I can’t do this. I can’t do that.”  When you are free, you can technically do whatever you want. However, it’s BECAUSE you are free that you don’t choose to enslave yourself to those sins anymore.  When you realize everything you do, say, consume is a choice—then you suddenly realize the power Jesus Christ has in you if you will “Choose Life” and give it to Him.  When you choose Him, you are not a slave to any other master than the one you have chosen and you call Him Abba, Father.   Becoming His child doesn’t just save you from a devastating eternal destination.  That may be where it starts, but it is NOT where it ends. It actually saves you for a satisfying, full life He created in advance for you to have.  When you “Choose Life,” as Kristen suggests, you connect your spirit to the power source to do life differently. I am confident that manifests itself when we have Him IN our daily lives.   I can’t wait to see how God impacts your life in 2020 with the “Choose Life” mantra (or with this program if you decide to join in!).  SERIOUSLY ADDICTED?  If you are experiencing a more serious addiction needing professional help, we would like to recommend these Christians counselors as a start.  They can really provide guidance toward living your new “Choose Life” journey. Cornerstone Christian Counseling 918.392.4008.


“CHOOSE LIFE PEOPLE” PACKAGE: $220 package for “Choose Life Eating” and “Choose Life Workouts.” 7 Both packages included. 7 Signs you up for “Choose Life People” (one free month!)

“Choose Life People” is an accountability group of others looking to change their course in 2020. The group stays the course together with additional videos, life coaching, and encouragement to make your “Choose Life” plan work better for you. Kristen Marie also provides other options such as “Zoom” coaching for $50/month which includes group sessions to further fuel your decision to “Choose Life.” 2020 Special Membership continues for just $20 a month through 2020 if not interrupted.

TESTIMONIAL — CHOOSE LIFE EATING PROGRAM. I have been totally transformed by the Choose Life Eating program. I sought out this program as I have failed to find the perfect and reasonable way to lose weight. This program is a scripture-based program which intrigued me.  I am a Christian and have been for 40 years, but I had become stagnant and dry in my relationship with Him. I lost my zeal and fellowship with Jesus Christ. I became very depressed and discouraged with myself. I had gained an enormous amount of weight over time. The most I weighed in my life was 365 lbs. (That was 3 years ago.) I lost down to 313 lbs by August 8,2018. I had cut back fried foods and snacks. But I still ate sweets, dairy and breads and added salt to my diet. My health was deteriorating as I had become diabetic with high blood pressure problems. I was sluggish and had no hope. I could not foresee any future of enjoyment of life to the fullest. I was confined to a wheelchair, as I had osteoarthritis in both knees which made it difficult to walk.  I was extremely morbidly obese.  Once I began the “Choose Life Eating” program, which involved intermittent fasting coupled with prayer, my life began to change radically. My Spiritual walk with Christ became restored and refreshed. I began to read scripture again, as this program involved scripture reading to help with the weight loss. My blood sugar has now become within normal range and the Dr. reduced my diabetic medication tremendously. Furthermore, my blood pressure is now within normal range and my blood pressure medication has been drastically reduced as well. I am now using a walker. Praise God.  This Choose Life program is freeing as there’s no calorie counting or strict rules to follow which was perfect for me since I was obviously undisciplined.  As the months progressed, I began seeing and experiencing the tremendous weight loss. I found that my desires for certain unhealthy foods began to change and decrease. I was inspired to try healthy foods. When I changed my eating habits more consistently I saw my weight dramatically Reduce to a 103 lbs  loss in 9 months. I have kept it off and choose to continue to lose as well as increase my spiritual growth with Jesus Christ.  Kristen Marie has been a Godsend to me and has been a long term mentor and encourager to me on this remarkable journey. I am at the smallest I’ve been (210 lbs) in 30 years. It certainly has been life changing for me and for that I am extremely grateful to God and Kristen Marie.  I hope my experience with this program encourages others to evaluate themselves, spirit, soul, mind, and body to reflect on the past and see the present and have a desire for the future. It truly has restored my hope and faith to live a life worthy to the high calling of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Godspeed on all your endeavors to choose life today.  Sincerely,  Kae Jefferson


SENIOR MOMENTS Written by Kim Thomas

Giving Honor Where Honor is Due

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hen you think about the older person who really made a difference in your life, who is it that comes to mind? For me, it was the little old lady who lived next door to my family who let me call her “Grandma Lilly.” I was seven years old and lonely because I had just moved more than 1000 miles away from my extended family in Canada. Grandma Lilly let me come to her house each day after school where she lovingly served me cookies and together, we sat on the rickety front porch swing as she smiled tenderly and gently patted my hand with hers. The way she intently listened to my stories and hung on every word I said made me feel like I hung the moon! Now, 46 years later, as I reflect back on these memories, I see how the relationship forged between us had just as much impact on Grandma Lilly as it did me. My taking time to sit and talk with her when others seemed too busy made her feel just as special as I did and let her know that she was special too! Unfortunately, in today’s culture, it is not uncommon for the senior population to fall into the stigma of being “less than,” feel dismissed, swept aside or simply forgotten. Instead of being valued for their treasured experience and wisdom, seniors commonly get treated like a nuisance or obligation. Over time, the death of a spouse, family moving farther away, or the loss of mobility or productivity can lead to loneliness and isolation with more and more time spent alone. Weeks can go by without them getting out or having even the opportunity to speak to others. It is too easy for us to get caught up in our own lives, our own schedules, and our own pressures of life that we forget to give honor where honor is due. Job 12:12 tells us that “wisdom is found among the aged and long life brings understanding.” In

other words, there are a lot of things we can learn from our elders if we will just slow down and take the time to listen. In this busy world, challenge yourself to reach out and tell a senior who has had a positive impact on your life just how much they mean to you. Rather than leave them behind, love them unconditionally. This season of their life is when they need it the most. Above all else, keep in mind that one day, you and I will be seniors too!

Ways to Honor our Elders: 7 Recognize the contributions they have made to our families as well as the community. We wouldn’t be where we are today without some of the unconditional sacrifices they have made. 7 Call and check in on them. Take time out of your day to ask if there is anything they need that you can bring them. One 5-minute phone call can communicate the message you care about their wellbeing. Establish a routine for yourself such as when you are driving home and commit to checking in to see how they are doing. 7 Stop by and pay them a visit. It doesn’t have to be long. Stop by and share a cup of coffee. Ask questions about family history, heritage, and traditions while allowing them to reminisce. Surprise them and take them for breakfast or a special lunch. 7 Ask for advice. Be open to their words of wisdom, years of experience, and views on life. 7 Mail a card to them and specifically list things you appreciate about them. Offer sincere words of encouragement. 7 Be aware of seniors around you who may not have any family close by. Aging parents are lonely for family. Consider “adopting” someone who is alone and inviting them to join in your

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family activities. If there is a senior living community nearby, ask if there is a resident who does not got visited often and shower that person with kindness. 7 Involve your children and teach them to respect and honor elders as well. As parents, we role model behaviors we want our children to follow. Younger generations need to learn the importance of making time to listen and spending unselfish time with others. Lead by example. 7 Recognize that the Holidays can be a lonely time for some. Pay special attention during this season and look for ways to bless a senior who lives alone. 7 Pray and ask God to help you see others the way He does. Expect Him to bring those people across your path that He would have you show special honor to. ABOUT: Kim Thomas

is a licensed professional counselor and licensed marriage and family therapist and I have a private practice, There’s Hope! Counseling. I am a monthly co-host on KNYD Oasis Network Radio.  I am married with a blended family.  I’m a mom of 4, mother-in-love to 2, and stepmom to 3 kiddos, and a dog mom to Rae.  Contact info is (918)277-0777 or www.thereshopehere.com

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STUDENT IMPACT

“Choose Life” for Your Children Written by Teresa Goodnight

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hat’s your discipleship plan for your tiny tots? Teens? It’s surprising just how many parents want a plan, but simply have been so busy they haven’t taken time to implement it. I get it. Life is busy. Basketball season leads into baseball season, which leads into summer baseball, then into football right before it kicks into basketball again. Girls go from dance to cheer to their own sporting events— sometimes all at once. With multiple children and multiple activities, I’m surprised parents can even remember where to be and when. But busy is a distraction used by our enemy. Don’t be fooled. I have one four-year old. I’m not sure how it happened, but going into the fall, she was enrolled in two dance classes, gymnastics, swim lessons and t-ball, where I ended up being the coach for the Y. I just kept saying yes to opportunities before us. We were involved with two churches, attending services on the weekends and Monday nights as well. All of a sudden, I thought “Wait, Wha???” How did I let my little tiny preschool muffin become so busy we barely had a night at home without somewhere we needed to be. SHAME ON ME. No. Really. I had good intentions, wanting her to get experiences in things while she was younger to figure out which ones she liked best. Hmmm. Where’s that proverbial road paved with good intentions supposed to lead? Yeah. I know. We were barely energetic enough for our evening prayers. We neglected our night time Bible reading before she went to bed. All of our good “Choose Life” kinds of choices we established became secondary to trying to keep up with our overwhelming commitments. She was stressed out and FLAT OUT worn out. So were my husband and I. We were just one completely exhausted family.

It’s easy to see how ridiculous these decisions were when I write them down. I hate to even share them. They were even ridiculous in the middle of living them. Halfway through T-ball, I let her miss the remaining practices while I went to coach. It was just too much.

No wonder we’re turning out kids who head off to college and walk away from their relationship with God. What did we teach them to prioritize? Anything and everything over Christ. It’s easy to get your family wrapped up in things that burn up in the end. There is a healthy way to be active in fun things, but also to carve out that very important time for the family to grow together in Christ. That time with Christ does not need to be the victim of a busy schedule. It is the most important thing Christians can do for our children—discipling them. It has to be THE priority. Everything else has to be somewhere down the list. If I had asked my daughter what our priorities for her were as a family, I’m sorely afraid Jesus would have been left off the list. He was just shoved in between things that didn’t matter as much. She didn’t know the aching in my heart to get refocused from the mess I created. She just knew what she was experiencing and what she saw. She felt herself wanting to say no to a church service for some down time at home to play. Can you honestly blame her? SHE’S FOUR. (Insert face palm here.)

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Imagine how much more chaos there would be with two or three or FOUR children? No wonder we’re turning out kids who head off to college and walk away from their relationship with God. What did we teach them to prioritize? Anything and everything over Christ. If you don’t think they are being shaped by these decisions we make in our life, think again. No. Really. Stop and think again. Now. This is serious. We have to course correct. It’s not a life or death situation. Or is it? It’s actually even more than that. It’s an eternal destiny situation. It’s a path leading them to NOT “Choose Life.” In fact, it is teaching them to value anything and everything over that beautifully abundant life that Christ came to offer us. They will become and do what we teach them to become and do. Our primary responsibility as Christian parents, aside from food/shelter, which I would argue is still secondary, is to teach them how to walk with our God. It is to teach them who He is; it’s to show them how to live a life WITH Him. How in the world can anything else be more important? How as children of the King could we not prioritize their inheritance from their Heavenly Father? There are some of you who are getting it right. I commend you. However, I know statistically from the seven out of ten walking away from Christ at college that we are NOT all getting it right. In fact, we’re getting it very, VERY wrong. The numbers don’t lie. My own ridiculous choices cannot be excused. (Just one of us should have heard my husband protesting in the background). I played right into it even as I am painfully aware of the warning signs.


The liberally focused temperature of our nation doesn’t lie. Many current Millennials actually believe that what they feel about love, fairness, and the way the world should operate is of greater importance than what God actually says in His word. Many aren’t even referencing the Bible in their belief systems. Where do you think they learned that behavior? If we keep doing what we’ve been doing, we’re going to get the same results. Thinking that outcome will change if we don’t change is actually Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity. If you don’t make a change today—we will watch 70% of our children walk away from our King of Kings and Lord of Lords into a life without God. That’s not ok for me. I doubt you are ok with it either. Do YOUR choices for YOUR student reflect that it’s not OK? Are you stumbling busily down that same pathway paved with good intentions? It’s 2020. Let’s make this the year we “Choose Life” for our children. Jesus is the way, the truth and He is THE LIFE. Reprioritize whatever needs kicked to the curb and kick it. Ask yourself “Is this choice making a “Choose Life” choice for my child?” If not? Why in the world are you choosing it? What does “Choose Life” look like for your family? Here are a few guidelines if you need a pattern to follow. Pray together as a family. Meal-time prayer is fine, but it shouldn’t be the only time. Teach your children to present their requests to God. Help them to understand what that looks like. My four-year old has led our family in prayer many times since she was three. She asks for our prayer requests and if there’s anything troubling us. My heart leaps to hear her do it. I have to believe God’s heart experiences greater joy than mine at her little prayers. Study the Bible together as a family (and engage your village!). It’s God’s word. Write it on their hearts. It holds the keys to life. Teach it to your kiddos. My daughter attends a Bible-teaching Christian school,

which is a integral part of our discipleship plan for her. The school had her memorize a long chapter for her Christmas show. We worked on it several nights. Then, while in church, our minister was reading it in a different translation than she learned. She began to challenge his words. She knew God’s word. She was able to use it as plumb line to assess whether her minister was in alignment with God’s word. Imagine how she will be able to put everything through the filter of God’s word if we keep writing it on her heart and sealing it in her mind when she’s heading to college? Study His word together. That brings me to the next one!

Ask yourself “Is this choice making a “Choose Life” choice for my child?” If not? Why in the world are you choosing it?

These are just a few ways but they affect our core. There are so many more options out there if you just look for them. Make your plan. Write it down. Put the plan into your schedule. Make the plan a top priority. Then, make it happen. Everything else on the schedule that is optional should clear the way to make time for you to “Choose Life” with and for your family. There is no greater legacy. There is no greater gift you can leave them. This is actually THE ONE that matters.

Bring in the village you need to help you wherever you can. There are people who will invest in your kiddos at church. Make sure you check out the programs. Make sure they are actually teaching your kids with a discipleship purpose. Church is not just a social connection (although Christian social connection is critical OF COURSE!). It needs to be a “Choose Life” connection, connecting them to Christ. For us, a Christian school is part of our village. It’s not everyone’s. My husband and I wanted her to not learn to separate God from everything else in her world. We wanted God wrapped up all in it everywhere. I honestly feel we need the help. Again, not everyone does. If you need them, we are blessed in Tulsa to have a wide variety of prices and high quality educational programs. Live out your faith in service as a family. Where that is for your family can only be determined by you. How has God gifted you and your family? Volunteer and live it out. Millennials today complain of words with no actions. Hypocrisy speaks louder

than faith without works. Paul says faith without works is actually dead. There are so many ways to live out your faith just inside your local church. But, also live it out with your daily choices so that your children can see how it looks in everyday life. For example, when a friend asks you to pray for them, stop and do that with your children if they are around. Let them see God is just a part of it all. He’s always just in your day.

#GoDoBe #ChooseLife

Email info@communityspiritmagazine. com to be entered to win a free Laugh and Learn Bible courtesy of Minno!

COMMUNITY SPIRIT — Connecting Christ’s Community #GoDoBe   23


From their first morning in the halls, to the day they don cap and gown, Metro Christian Academy students learn and live out the school’s four pillars. Academics, Spiritual Life, Activities, and Community each make up a vital part of the student experience. Academics are taken seriously at every level. Our educational standards are clearly articulated and aligned, ensuring every student receives receivesa a quality quality education. education. Metro Metro maintains maintains smallsmall class sizes sizes class for students. for students. They They stay challenged stay challenged and remain and remain on-track onbecause track because teachers teachers are in tune are with in them tune and with can them offerand differentiated can offer instruction. differentiated instruction. Biblical principles and truths are woven throughout every part of the school. Students study the Bible, strengthen their faith and serve the community through outreach and mission opportunities. Students are encouraged to discover and display their talents in activities ranging from Athletics to Fine Arts to Leadership. Participation in activities builds character, strengthens skills, and fosters relationships.

METRO CHRISTIAN ACADEMY

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From the moment new families enroll at the school, the goal is to help them acclimate and connect with others. If you have not yet visited Metro, we invite you to schedule a tour or shadow. We would love to share more about our vibrant educational community.


YouVersion Names Most Popular Bible Verse of 2019

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he global YouVersion community engaged more in the Bible this year than in any previous year. In fact, people read and listened to the Bible 30% more this year compared to last year. In total, YouVersion saw 5.6 billion chapters listened to and 35.6 billion chapters read in 2019. Around the world, the Bible verse most engaged with throughout the year is Philippians 4:6: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” “Our desire is to help people grow in their relationship with God by encouraging them to read the Bible and seek Him every day,” said YouVersion Founder Bobby Gruenewald. “We’re encouraged to see so many people turning to the Bible in response to their worries, remember-

ing what God has done in their lives, and choosing to trust in His faithfulness.”

About YouVersion

One of the most popular offerings of the Bible App is daily Plans that combine portions of Scripture with devotional content. This year alone, the community completed a record-breaking 1.1 billion days in their daily Bible Plans. People also made 2 billion highlights, bookmarks, and notes to mark meaningful verses and record what God revealed to them in their studies. Many even took the extra step to tell others how the Bible was impacting them, resulting in more than 478 million verses shared. “What we are seeing in global engagement is exciting to us because with every verse highlighted, Plan day completed, or audio chapter listened to, that’s a person who is being transformed by knowing God more intimately through spending time in the

Created by Life.Church, YouVersion is on a mission to help people grow in their relationship with God by engaging with the Bible. The team designs and builds experiences that make it easy for people to integrate the Bible into their everyday lives. Since 2008, the Bible App has offered a free Bible experience that can be accessed on smartphones, browsers, voice platforms, and more. The Bible App for Kids launched in 2013 and engages children with Bible stories on an age-appropriate level. The newest app, Bible Lens, analyzes objects in photos, finds the most relevant Bible verse to match, and automatically creates beautiful, shareable artwork. For more information about YouVersion, visit youversion.com.

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Bible,” said Gruenewald. “We’re humbled by the opportunity to see lives changed in every country around the world.” The Bible App saw a significant global increase in both installs and engagement this year. In 2019, YouVersion grew by nearly 50 million unique installs to reach a total of 400 million installs worldwide, and the majority of those new installs came from outside the U.S. Based on the YouVersion Community’s engagement with Scripture throughout the year, Poland was one of the fastest growing countries with a 75% increase. India saw 51% more engagement in 2019 compared to last year. Bible engagement also grew across Southeast Asia in countries like Cambodia and Vietnam seeing increases by 36% and 37%, respectively. “Every year, when we dig into these numbers, we’re overwhelmed by how God is using this app to deliver His message

of hope and love to a hurting world,” said Gruenewald. “We also can’t help but recognize how much more work there is to be done together as the global Church to reach every nation.” Right now, the Bible App offers more than 2,000 Bible versions in more than 1,350 languages. However, over a billion people globally don’t have access to a complete Bible in their native language. Together with illumiNations, a movement of ten Bible translation agencies, YouVersion is working to give more people the Bible in their native language. The group’s goal is that by 2033, 95% of the world’s population will have a complete Bible, 99.9% will have a complete New Testament, and 100% will have at least some portion of Scripture. Through the generosity of the YouVersion community, translation projects in Republic of Congo, Malawi, Benin,

Indonesia, Croatia, Madagascar, and Serbia received $1 million this year to advance their efforts. Combined, these projects will give more than 4.7 million people the first portion of Scripture ever available in their language. To date, the YouVersion community has donated a total of $3 million to fund Bible translation. “When you take in Scripture in your native language, the words take on new meaning and suddenly, He isn’t a God who came for someone else. He is your God who knows you personally,” said Gruenewald. “Experiencing the Bible in your own language is a powerful gift, and we’re eternally grateful to our partners who share our dream of making the Bible for everyone.” For more information about the YouVersion community’s Bible engagement in 2019, visit youversion.com/ share2019.

How Do YOU YouVersion? I was blown away when Life.Church first announced bringing the Bible to our mobile devices as an app. My fascination continued, as more and more downloads happened. With over 400 million downloads and counting, it’s literally revolutionized how you can engage with God’s word. Anyone remember toting your Bible on business trips in your bag? (If you haven’t downloaded it—I’d stop right now and grab it. Did I mention it is absolutely free? Plus, the studies are also free? Amazing, right?) So, I wanted to talk through a few ways I do YouVersion because they are kind of out of the box for Bible reading. That’s my favorite part of this whole thing. It is a great way to engage with God’s word more often than just the time you sit in your quiet place. It makes God’s word a part of your day in really active ways. It’s easy. It’s educational. It’s certainly motivational. Plus, it never ever hurts to write more of God’s word on our hearts. 1. YouVersion actually reads the Bible to me in my car. Yep. I can get through an entire chapter if the traffic is just right going from place to place. 2. Walking—both in the neighborhood and at the gym when I find time to go—I just select it and it starts reading. 3. On the plane—sitting on a runway and too tired to actually read? Keep on talking to me YouVersion. 4. Witnessing in the mall—Yep. I was talking with the Chinese massage therapists and I needed to give them a Bible reference. We had a language barrier. I whipped out YouVersion and they read the verse in Chinese. Witnessing crisis averted. 5. Multiple versions—Honestly, I love reading the same verse in 4-5 different versions—from New Living Translation to the Message. It brings life back into words I’ve read so many times that I sometimes gloss over them a bit. If you’ve been a Christian for a while, many verses that you’ve heard since your childhood become a bit easy to zip through as your brain believes you already know everything there is to know about the verse. Reading it in a different version with a bit different wording (translation) can give you a fresh perspective on the verse you know so well. 6. Little Bible studies with reminders from some of my favorite authors. Share them with your Bible study group. Dr. Tony Evans has been a favorite of mine since college. If you don’t know him, you should give him a try. There are hundreds of others. It’s pretty easy to “Choose Life” through investing in Bible study for 2020. Set your reminders and don’t choose to invest in God’s word and let it grow in your heart and your mind. It is truly powerful!

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CITY ELDERS

2020: Time to Catch the Vision Written by Jesse Leon Rodgers

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he interest level in the mission and vision of City Elders has reached a fevered pitch, now, even on a national level. Therefore, I suppose it is time for a clear, unambiguous and public explanation of what City Elders is all about. We wanted to organize the group, the warriors really, in the spiritual sense of the word before we marched too far into battle with the wickedness which has engulfed our nation. If the history books haven’t been rewritten yet, last I checked, our nation was founded on the freedom of religion. It is the core of who we are as a country. When you consider the incredible persecution allowed around the world, it is easy to see the importance of such a freedom. In China churches are being bulldozed, burned—literally destroyed. Church members are imprisoned for their faith. Many are put into re-education centers to teach their youth a new way. In our nation, we just sat back and allowed the re-education centers to happen right under our noses without much of a debate.

and played possum. We just didn’t engage in the spiritual, cultural and political battles we should have been in. Rest assured, we are at war against the powers of darkness which are on a mission to destroy the family, the church, the culture and ultimately the nation. City Elders is here to raise up God’s people to take our place in these battles. Many have not engaged in the battle because they have not understood the nature of the spiritual war, where the attacks are coming from or how to engage.  Many are disengaged because they are holding out for the imminent return of the Lord or thinking that the demise of the nation is simply a “sign of the times” and there is nothing that we can do but bemoan our losses and “hold-on” till the end.  This theology and eschatology shackles these

Like it or not, we are being drawn into a fight; God’s word is being disregarded as if it is merely a possible suggestion. Our spiritual and governmental foundations are still in place and we can rebuild again.  But it is going to take patriots and preachers of righteousness, business leaders and civil servants, who have had their fill of surrendering territory to the enemy and are ready to go into a spiritual war to preserve a nation.  There has been an assault in America for the soul of our nation for the last two generations.  Unfortunately, those of us reading this somehow virtually laid down

Oklahoma City City Elders Recruitment Meeting

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folks to a sinking ship mentality without sail or rudder rather than a victorious vessel sailing to shore with the spoils of war aboard. Others have hunkered down in their homes and houses of worship while the enemy has ravaged our youth. He has destroyed morals, undermined biblical marriage, murdered the unborn, pillaged the political system and been allowed to roam freely through our nation. In fact, he roams about with quite a bit of support. He marches on a full-frontal attack to destroy the next generation of children through the indoctrination and reorientation camps we call schools. Public schools weren’t ever meant to be a political playground. The very innocence, purity and eternal destination of our children is at


stake, having been made the target of the Wicked One. He wants to sexually assault the minds of primary school children, sully their morality and confuse their identity through the lie of gender fluidity and sexual reorientation. It’s not ok to redefine our children against what our Bible teaches. It’s not. The Wicked One does not stop “until He is stopped!” And this is precisely where City Elders comes in.  The mission of City Elders is to stop evil from being forced upon others, especially through civil government policy and institutions.  We hold that people should be free to practice what the Bible would address as sin (although within the law).  However, governmental institutions cannot and should not be used to promote that form of anti-Biblical action.  Neither should the government control or subsidize institutions be used to promote or propagate these actions. There is one, and only one, reason why wickedness has pervaded the culture and dominated the governmental arena . . . and that reason is Christians have allowed it to happen. And we, in the “City

Elders Movement” intend to change that narrative. City Elders exists to govern the gates of our cities spiritually, politically and economically, so that: life is protected, liberty is defended, Christ is exalted, suffering is alleviated and families can flourish.  That is our mission, plain and simple.  We have identified spiritual leaders, elders, in the county seats of forty of Oklahoma’s seventy-seven counties.  These spiritual leaders are found in the church, in civil government and in the business sectors.  These are men and women of God whose spiritual influence reaches far beyond the walls of their own home and the church house.  These are leaders who realize the Lordship of Jesus Christ was intended to be recognized in every sphere of our lives, public and private. Our goal is to have “Spiritual Governing Councils” established in all seventy-seven counties of Oklahoma by November of 2020.  We are well on our way to reaching that goal.  These spiritual governing

councils are praying men and women who function in the same capacity as the City Elders of the ancient cities of Israel. They were the influencers, the decision makers, the leaders of the city.  These leaders sat in the gates of the fortified cities of Israel and made judgement calls upon what was allowed in the city and what was disallowed.  They protected the city from invasions and intrusions.  And they were the first line of defense against attacks from enemies or anyone who would do the citizens harm.  The concept of City Elders is not new; it is an ancient and Biblical form of city governance which recognizes the significance of dominating the spiritual atmosphere through prayer and proclamation.  Thereafter believers must wield their spiritual authority by influencing the sectors of civil government and business through participation and engagement.  This is governing and protecting the city and its inhabitants within the framework of a Biblical worldview with an understanding that we were and are made in the image of God and for the glory of God.


LEARN TO DEFEND YOUR FAITH 75% of Christian young adults will leave Christianity if not trained to think logically through a Christian worldview based on the facts of Christian apologetics. What is Christian Apologetics? 1. Presenting the reasons why Christianity is a factual faith. 2. Defending the Christian faith. 3. Making the intellectual case for Christianity.

HOW CAN I BE TRAINED IN APOLOGETICS? Apologetics Study Chapters are available in the Tulsa area:

Dr. Jim Burkett

7 Reasonable Faith Chapter—Mark Goodnight

Meets on the 3rd Tuesday of each each month mark.goodnight@reasonablefaith.org); 7 Reasons to Believe—Dr. Dominic Halsmer

Meets on the 3rd Thursday of the month at Believers Church dhalsmer@oru.edu) 7 Oklahoma School of Apologetics & Practical Theology—Dr. Jim Burkett ccccpastor@aol.com

Courses have weekly schedule in area churches as well as APOLOGETICS-on-Fire Sunday Conferences at local churches Next course: The Case for the Bible—The Scientific and Historical Evidence The Liberty Center (9410 E. 51st Street, Suite A, Tulsa, OK 74145 on Tuesday evenings 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM; January 14,21,28; February 4,11,18, & 25. Register and Contact: Liberty Center, Tulsa (www.libertycentertulsa.com) text 918-691-8756 or www.apologeticsonfire.com. APOLOGETICS WEBSITES: www.oneminuteapologist.com Leading Apologists answer probing questions in 60 to 180 seconds. www.thepoachedegg.net One of the world’s leading apologetics websites. www.oklahomaapologetics.com

Reasonable Faith in an Uncertain World (Regional Apologetics Conference) February 28–29 Dr. Scott Palmer  |  Host: Olivet Baptist Church 155 N. 65th W. Avenue  |  Tulsa, OK 74217 Special Speakers:

Dr. J.P. Moreland

Dr. Craig Hazen

Dr. Clay Jones

Alisa Childers

For more information and registration: www.biola.edu/on-the-road/tulsa-2019

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Profile for Community Spirit

Community Spirit Magazine, January-February 2020