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JUNE 2014

New Heart Living Ken and Yolanda Stith

IOM America IFEL Members Recently, Ken and Yolanda joined the membership of IOM’s International Fellowship of Exchanged Life. We are excited about their partnership and would like to tell you a bit about them and the ministry God has called them to serve. While at Grace Ministries in Manassas, Virginia, both Ken and Yolanda Stith received their training and certification under Network 220, in the mid-to-late '90s. Yolanda served as the Director of Training, as well as a staff counselor for 15 years. She trained men and women; supervised, mentored, and developed staff counselors; created training; and taught curriculum used by the ministry and the Network. These topics included addictions, marriage, codependency, depression, anxiety, and a live counseling DVD series. Ken was a staff counselor and teacher for 14 years, meeting with men on a part-time basis. Network 220 (founded in 1969 as Grace Fellowship International and later as the Association of Exchanged Life Ministries) affiliate offices provide counseling, teaching (conferences, seminars, and classes), and training focused on the identity of the believer in Christ. Yolanda received her commissioning through the Network and Ken served as a lay counselor. In addition to their ministry experience and training, they have personally walked through (and continue to walk through) a crisis in their family with their adult son. They offer those who come to New Heart Living an understanding, compassionate response, and tools needed for those walking in similar situations. Their method of counseling and teaching to live from the "new heart" is the "abundant life" talked about in the Gospel of John. It is a life that is full and complete; it is neither dependent upon circumstances, nor often found wrapped in a neat and tidy package. Sometimes life is messy and feels out-of-control. However, the life that belongs to God (and belongs to us, if we are in Christ), is more than adequate for the storms we will face. The "abundant life" (Jesus' Life) is the new life we have entered into, and we've entered it with new hearts. It is a life that God Himself will live in and through us...even in the midst of a crisis! Continued page 2


The Heart Of The Matter Ken & Yolanda Stith Today, we live in a world filled with many uncertainties (scary events of random shootings in schools, shopping malls, movie theatres, and even military installations, as well as, terrorist attacks, such as the 2013 Boston Marathon). It seems like the whole world is out of control. That thought in itself can produce a tremendous amount of anxiety. Along with anxiety comes its twin sister called "worry." These two go everywhere together. They awake in the morning together and retire at night together. The English word for “worry” means to “choke or strangle.” It is the suffocating feeling of insecurity so intense that one believes there is no way out. Living in a world like we do today, it seems logical and likely that most people would be anxious and worry; but for the Christian, God's Word tells us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NASB). Worry is the result of a person not believing God is in control, nor that God will work all things out for a particular good—God’s good and ours. Worry is the product of the misbeliefs that God is not fundamentally good, that one is alone in his or her circumstances, and that any wisdom to be found must be found in self. Anxiety is the inner turmoil produced by constant and prolonged worry. While fear and worry have an object, anxiety does not. It is simply the reaction to the tension and stress brought about by fear and worry. A state of anxiety is produced by a fear of the future and is accompanied by thoughts of “What if…” and “I can’t…” thinking. Much of what we fear never materializes, but the core belief keeps us stuck there. Fear and worry over the future create concerns about something one can do nothing about, nor even be sure about. The person who worries does not live in the moment, but lives in a state that is not and that may never be. The worrier feels out of control. Though he is in the present, his mind is not. His mind imagines how things will be in the future, and his imagination paints a picture that is never reality. Reality is now--in the moment--and God's grace is available and sufficient, but only in the present moment. When we get in our car, we can control how we drive and where we go. An airline pilot controls the plane. An artist controls the brush. God, however, has given us the ability to choose—the choice to yield to Him and go where He leads, or the choice to go our own way. We must first believe He loves us, to freely respond to God in faith. He loves us no matter what we've done or what we do. His love for us is "other-worldly," and unlike any love we will ever know. He guides, directs, and sometimes restrains; but always by His unconditional love. Unless we believe - really believe - He loves us, then we will never feel safe and secure; consequently, we will continue to struggle with anxiety and her twin sister, worry! Whenever we seek to be in control of our lives (live independently of God), we inevitably create fear and anxiety for ourselves. Believing the Lie that we can be our own god, leaves us with the illusion and constant pressure to make life work. This means we must have control over all that happens--our circumstances, our relationships, our present, and our future. Talk about pressure! In addition to all the typical people in our lives we try to control, now we have God to add to the list - at least until our minds are renewed in relation to His character. The evil one tries to get us to believe we can control God by our behavior, which is utter nonsense. For example: if we obey Him and do the right things, He will bless and reward us in 2


some way. If this were true, then we could say that God can be manipulated and controlled! We are not responsible, nor able, to maintain control in any area of our lives, except pertaining to self. Because we live in a world with so many variables over which we have no control (i.e. people and circumstances), we begin to worry about those things. In Adam, we not only learned ways to try to maintain control, but we actually believed we needed control. This mindset and patterns for living don’t simply fade away when we become Christians. We, like Adam, soon realize we don’t have all the answers, nor do we possess the ability to be god. This produces anxiety, if we don't believe God is ultimately in control. We will become immobilized, paralyzed, and begin to think all sorts of irrational thoughts: “What if this happens?” - “What if I can’t?” - “What will I do?” The more we try to maintain control in our lives, the more we will feel out-of-control. We seek to control in an effort to minimize or reduce our level of anxiety. However, the more we try to maintain the control the more our anxiety will increase, because of the inter-relational problems that will erupt in the process. LEARN MORE: NEW HEART LIVING | ABOUT US | HOME PAGE | CONTACT US

WHY KENYA & IOM’S PARTNERSHIP WITH PAMOJA FOUNDATION Pamoja Foundation is making it possible for you and me to help people who are in need, help themselves.

A Canadian-based organization, the Pamoja Foundation was created by a group of like-minded people who envisioned a sustainable way to support people in finding their way from poverty to financial selfsufficiency. This is made possible by microfinancing loans. Our approach is innovative. We make loans to established and proven microfinancing agencies in Kenya, who in turn administer and loan to entrepreneurs at the grassroots level. Upon repayment, the principle is reinvested in microbanks and ultimately donated to Canadian charities with accrued interest. Why has the Pamoja Foundation selected Kenya as the first country in which to direct their microfinancing efforts? Two reasons. First, people in Kenya display an abundance of entrepreneurial energy; but with a 60% unemployment rate, they face a chronic shortage of capital with which to respond to economic opportunity. This situation creates a frustrating cycle of poverty and stagnation. Second, while it is true there exists many countries with extremely high unemployment in spite of a hard-working, energetic population, Kenya is unique in its approach to working toward self-sufficiency. Kenyans have repeatedly demonstrated their ability to embrace the notion of a concept initiated by their late leader, President Jomo Kenyatta, known as the HARAMBEE movement. HARAMBEE has become a national symbol around which individuals and communities rally to help raise money for the construction of schools and hospitals, or to help individuals acquire essential education or medical treatment. This makes Kenyans very receptive to the communally supportive methods used in microfinancing. LEARN MORE: HOME PAGE | ABOUT US | OUR MANDATE | CONTACT US Editorial Comments: Kathy Hill, CO editor@iomamerica.org Entire content of this publication is under © supervision of IOM America 2014 Reproduction permitted when entire publication remains intact. Digital view or copies can be obtained online at: click here All Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible, © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963,1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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IOM AMERICA | INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP OF EXCHANGED LIFE | P.O. Box 71, Sterling, KS 67579 | ChristAsLife@IOMAmerica.org |www.IOMAmerica.org


Exchanged News June 2014