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ave you ever confessed that?” Wow. I never would have imagined that coming to my friend’s home for a “healing service” would have resulted in my being asked about something that occurred 17 years earlier, but God does have a way of pursuing us. He designed us for freedom, but sadly, somewhere along the way, most of us stop receiving it fully and settle for daily living separated from the magnitude of His outrageous love. This truth was revealed to me after my bizarre healing experience in my North Shore Chicago suburb. My journey to God’s freedom began with a phone call from a girlfriend asking me to come to her home for a healing service. Years earlier, she had told me about her own experience with this pastor who had the gift of healing, though she and I had lost touch over the years, her timing (or should I say God’s) was perfect. I was entering my third trimester with placenta previa, and, was soon to be put on bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy with two toddlers in tow. Years earlier, Pastor Glenn felt led to meet with my girlfriend, and without her sharing any details, he knew her physical need exactly. It was an amazing story, and now that I had the opportunity, I wanted my own great story. I told her that I would be there for the healing service, and I asked her not to tell him what my condition was. I wanted him to guess. As we walked into my girlfriend’s home, I was shocked to see the multitudes of people. This was a North Shore Chicago neighborhood, not exactly prime ground for a healing service, so in my desire to beat the crowd, I excitedly asked her to introduce me. As she did, Pastor Glenn asked, “Whom am I praying over first?” Impulsive as always, I quickly raised my hand like a schoolgirl and exclaimed, “Me!” I was seated between my two friends, fully unprepared for what I was about to encounter. He began simply by asking why I wanted prayer. Still determined to have him guess my condition, I deceitfully stated that I just wanted him to pray for the healthy delivery of my baby. He peered at me and asked if I was sure that was all. “Yep, that’s it,” I replied and asked him to assure me that all of this was going to be in the name of Jesus and nothing more. It was important to me that I not be entering any other spiritual realm. His answer was beautiful. “Honey, Jesus is the only one that has the power to heal. Whatever He chooses to do today is of His power alone and your story to share.” With that, we began. As he started to pray, he quickly stopped and said he felt something was blocking our prayers. He asked if there was something with another baby—an area for which I hadn’t fully forgiven myself. Perhaps I was still angry with God. He asked if I had miscarried. I looked at him blankly, disappointed, because at this point I was afraid I wasn’t going to get my great story, as I had never miscarried. He started to pray again but again abruptly stopped, saying he sensed the Lord was telling us there was something blocking our prayers that indeed had to do with another baby. Disconcerted, I just stared at him, confused, as I truly had nothing to offer. Gratefully, God had spared my husband and me from that road. Then his prayer partner chimed in with, “Father, I am sensing it is more of a sin.” With that declaration, I was stopped cold in my overly self-confident tracks as 17

STEPS FOR CONFESSION What about you? Have you ever confessed that? The Bible is clear in telling us in James 5:16, “Confess your sins one to another, and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” Step into freedom. Make confession a regular part of your life. Here are some steps you can follow: 1. Ask God to reveal to you areas in your life that need to be confessed. 2. Share with a trusted prayer partner or mentor the areas that God has made clear to you. This could be a Christian friend, youth pastor or even a parent.

years of repressed memories came flooding back to me. Clearly, God had needed to get me to a more humbled place to recall what was 3. Share your story. Ask God to bring blocking our prayers. I the pain or regret back before you retentatively shared that I had lease it. We need to feel the magnitude had an abortion when I was of our sin and realize how far it sepa17 and asked if that could rates us from God. Repentance at the be what was blocking us. He kindly looked at me and heart level is needed. asked those five powerful words that changed my life. 4. Have the person pray with you, “Have you ever confessed asking God to forgive you and keep you that?” Sadly, I replied that I had from re-entering that sin area again. Ask not—not officially anyway. God to reveal if you need your own healIn the most loving voice, he ing experience, as I did, to really walk said, “Well, are you ready to through and grieve and mourn the loss be done with it today—let and the cost. Jesus make you as pure as the driven snow and remove it from your life as far as 5. Accept the forgiveness—this is the east is from the west? huge—and receive it. Cling tightly to Do you believe Jesus can your new identity as being cleansed forgive you and completely cleanse you of this?” completely. Don’t allow the enemy to In a completely awestruck accuse you anymore. You are forgiven. voice I replied, “Yes, I do.” Celebrate all God has for you (2 CorinthiWith that, he began to pray again and told me that I was completely forgiven and that Christ wanted to give me more. He led me down a road to complete healing. He asked me to serve in a pro-life center until my baby was born, to share my story with girls and help them to not make the same choice I had made. He also prayed for many other areas that I had never confessed and ultimately for my baby, as Christ revealed to him there was something going on with my placenta. I did receive a complete physical healing, but to this day I believe the emotional and spiritual healings were greater. What happened that night changed my life. It left me bare and humbled before our amazing God. The process and the time that I served following the healing service completely restored and healed me back to the place of truly being able to receive all of Christ’s love. He so longed for me to get back to that restored place with Him, and that is His goal for each one of us. How amazing is our Father’s love! Elizabeth Fisher is a freelance writer living in Sarasota, Florida. She works with teens and 20-somethings and also leads post-abortive healing groups.

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We Need Some T Heroes

he first in a new series by author Richard Paul Evans, “Michael Vey, the Prisoner of Cell 25” is a fast-paced sci-fi novel with the feel of an old-school classic gone mod.

Michael is a seemingly average boy with an anything-but-average secret that he’s only shared with his best friend Ostin, a science brainiac with a passion for junk food and video games. Michael was born not only with Tourette’s syndrome but also with the ability to gather and emit electricity—a cool but dangerous talent that he has to keep under wraps.


Michael deals with bullying and feeling invisible and misunderstood until Taylor, the most popular high school cheerleader with a mysterious secret of her own, discovers his ability and becomes his friend. When Michael’s mother is kidnapped and Taylor disappears, Michael and Ostin bravely begin a dangerous journey to save them and perhaps unearth the secret of Michael’s mysterious power. I had a chance to ask the author about this exciting new series, and he shared some insight on what it’s like to grow up “different,” and why he decided to share Michael with the world. It has been said that all writers really write about themselves, and Mr. Evans is no exception. “I was that shy, small kid with Tourette’s syndrome. The book is personally cathartic since I gave that kid, Michael, everything I wished I had when I was that age. Including the girl.” When asked if he suffered bullying as a child because of Tourette’s, he said, “I believe that youth today are, in general, much more aware and accepting of disabilities. As a kid, no one, including myself, knew what was wrong with me. Two weeks after moving to a new city, I was surrounded by a busload of kids when someone shouted, ‘He’s a freak. Let’s see what he does next.’ As far as bullying, I don’t know anyone who hasn’t faced that. It’s hard to teach kids not to be bullies when we live in a world that epitomizes it. Principals bully teachers, parents bully parents, corporations bully corporations, and countries bully countries. We tell youth not to bully, as we should, but they’re not blind to the reality of the world.”


Influenced in childhood by the epic possibilities introduced by “The Hobbit” and the fantastic character development of Andy Buckram’s “Tin Men,” Richard Paul Evans was concerned that “…the YA genre had become too dark, dystopian, and dysfunctional.” While not wanting to portray life as being perfect and problem free, he took what some would consider an old-school approach to Michael Vey – placing an ordinary boy with extraordinary powers in extraordinary circumstances where courage and good choices brighten hopes and build friendships. “Our youth get enough violence and hopelessness from real life...[as for Michael], I guess I just like the kid. I like his goodness and loyalty as well as his vulnerability. There is a line in a future book that reads, ‘Michael, your greatest power is not your electricity. It’s your love.’” Regarding his vision for the book series, Mr. Evans said, “I’ve always been fascinated by people who, for better or worse, have changed the world. Michael’s nemesis, Dr. Hatch, is a man with a vision, dark as it may be, to change the world. Hatch’s ambition and the growing Elgen menace is only matched by Michael’s and his friends’ personal growth. In the end, like Bilbo Baggins leaving the Shire, Michael may someday return to Meridian, but it will never be the same. Not so much because the city changed but because his world has.” MARILYN LUCE ROBERTSON is a freelance writer and book reviewer who lives in Springfield, Missouri with husband Malcolm and son Cub. She is an English and History graduate of Evangel University has an affinity for contemporary literature as well as the classics.



hen I was a young girl, my family lived in Miami and vacationed at a Miami Beach hotel. When I was swimming at the Miami Beach Hotel, an older girl approached me to give me some “sisterly advice.” What seemed to be an innocent encounter would soon take a very wrong turn. I was solicited for sale at the age of 13. However, the sale went bad. I was kidnapped, drugged and left for dead on an abandoned road in North Miami Beach. This started my encounter with the dark world of human trafficking right here in the United States—right here within our own borders of South Florida. The term used now is Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking, but back then it was just plain old child abuse. As a young teen, I was groomed over the course of a month by a human trafficking prostitution ring that networked throughout the hotel my family and I often visited. Coming from a single-parent home with abuse in my background, it was only a matter of time before I would become the target of human traffickers. They knew who to send in that would be the right lure to snatch their bait: an older female, probably lured in herself at some point by a trafficker, turned into one of their recruiters. A 65-year-old man in the hotel was my first ‘buyer.’ He was willing to pay a high premium for me, a young virgin. At this time, I remembered the words that another older gentleman once told me at a Billy Graham Crusade when I was nine. He said, “God loves you and will never leave you or forsake you!” It was there in the hotel room that I prayed for divine intervention as my trafficker negotiated my sales price. I didn’t even know that I was for sale. The going rate for an American virgin girl in the United States back then was $550. Girls who I work with now balk at the price because rates have gone down considerably in the last 20 years. I guess we, as a society, have lost the value of innocence. The fact that there is even a price tag on it, or a market for it at all, is just wrong. I was taken far away from my hotel and my mom, but she eventually found me and we were reunited. However, knowing I was bought and sold confused me as to my own value and self worth. It was only a matter of time before I found myself in a similar predicament. I was lured into the human trafficking arena this time by a totally different organized trafficking ring, again by a fake friend at my middle school. There, young girls were trafficked into a brothel

BY: KATARIINA ROSENBLATT apartment. The escape this time was not so easy. I got caught up in the life they drugged me and fostered an addiction, but eventually I found freedom, but this time, something inside of me changed. I was different. I was angry. Why had this happened to me twice? Why hadn’t anyone rescued me from this danger? Where were the people who were supposed to protect me? Unfortunately, I would go on to be exploited more as I had not received any type of counseling or help to prevent further abuse. Freedom was not cheap, and the addiction to drugs that this group left me with gave me yet another vulnerability to traffickers. It took a long time to finally be free of drugs and traffickers for good. At the end of a very long road of drugs, exploitation and an abusive relationship, I not only have a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Management, but an advanced law degree in Intercultural Human Rights and am now completing my final year at NSU for my Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis & Resolution. In finding my freedom, I was also encouraged to help others find their freedom. Today, I speak at universities, schools, jails, and group homes in foster care and let children and adults know about the dangers of human trafficking in South Florida. I founded a non-profit organization called There Is Hope for Me, Inc., where I meet with groups of survivors as they use the organization to find healing, opportunity, purpose and empowerment. I have also gone to strip clubs on street outreach looking for victims of human trafficking and sharing my story, just helping girls know that there is hope for me and there is hope for them. I started my own program because I saw the need for mentoring girls once they said, “Yes, I want to come out of that.” My experiences have also led me to develop tools that are being used throughout the country to aid law enforcement in properly identifying victims of human trafficking in the United States. I am also part of the South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force and part of a National Speaker’s Bureau for Human Trafficking Survivors called the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation, which hopes to share school and university curriculum to those who want to engage in the fight against modern-day slavery. My hope is to continue to inform people about human trafficking and write a book about my life story to help as many young people as I possibly can. I know if there is hope for me, then there is hope for anybody. By telling my story, I also hope to encourage youth to be aware and speak out against human trafficking.

In order to help, students need to be safe themselves, understanding what to look for in unsafe and unhealthy relationships. Whether it’s an abusive relationship or somebody wanting to recruit them into a life of human trafficking, students should know the warning signs and indicators. I hope to combat pimps and spotters’ getting into schools by providing peer support through other kids who are healthy in their relationships and want to support other kids. Take a stand and be informed. My program is raising up leaders who are survivors to talk to other kids. However, you as teenagers can be healthy role models and examples to kids. Just put the word out to start an initiative that tells those exploited that they don’t have to live as they do, that they deserve better and can come out of this. In order to do this, you must educate yourself. You need to know what to look for in trafficking situations, how to be safe yourselves and how to help kids who have been trafficked. Be on the lookout, and be an available, safe friend. Then, of course, pray for victims of trafficking. Once you are educated on the issue, you can start awareness campaigns on your middle, high school and college campuses. Engage your community because the voices of the youth are very strong and powerful. You can really make a difference to influence and shape our society by choosing to look at victims of trafficking as victims and not as perpetrators or prostitutes. You can make a difference by also promoting healthy relationships and boundaries in your relationships. I encourage parents to also get involved and learn what those warning signs are for human trafficking. I think it is very important to create indicator tools for domestic minors and domestic college-age students so that they can know what to look for and not be trafficked themselves. It’s important for parents to know if they suspect their child might be groomed into it and what victims can do if they do find themselves in the beginning process of an exploitative situation.

To educate yourself, visit my web site, Under the link to additional resources, you will find information from the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation, free material from Health and Human Services, notforsale. org and The Polaris Project, the National Human TraffickingSUMMER site. 2012 19



BY: TORRY MARTIN used to dream of becoming a lifeguard because my favorite TV show, “Baywatch,” made it look like the easiest, most glamorous job in the world. All it entailed was working on a tan while looking good and blowing a whistle. Plus, you got to ride Jet Skis and hang out with beautiful female lifeguards all day. Yep, lifeguarding clearly had all of the qualities I was looking for in a future career. For those of you living under some barnaclecovered rock and who are unfamiliar with the show that the whole world was watching, allow me to explain the premise for “Baywatch.” The show revolved around the work of a team of Los Angeles County lifeguards and their interpersonal relationships with plots usually centering on dangers related to an ocean-side lifestyle and beach-bound activities. You know, things like earthquakes, tropical storms, shark attacks, jewel thieves, serial killers and nuclear bombs. Of course, saving someone from drowning was frequent too, but that was usually just a plot device used to show exceptionally attractive lifeguards running down a beach in slow motion. As an overweight kid, I was already pre-qualified at running in slow motion, so it seemed like a lifeguard career was the perfect match. Besides, everyone looked up to lifeguards—and not just because they sat in

those really high chairs. No, people admired them because they were heroes who saved lives and because they looked really cool running in slow-motion. And my own slow-motion running reflection in the mirror confirmed that I looked pretty cool doing it too. You can only imagine my complete dismay when I applied for a lifeguard position at a local swimming pool when I turned 16. That’s where I learned the shocking truth that being a lifeguard actually entailed work. First I learned that I would have to take a three-week course that would teach me how to spot potential victims and accidents. Then after I finished the course and passed some tests, I’d have to enroll in CPR/First Aid classes where I’d have to learn how much SPF to use during peak sun hours, how to enter the pool when someone has a spinal injury, how to clean out the pool with the vacuum, how to use the Resuscitator when a victim has no pulse, how to care for deep abrasions and how to deal with an unruly public. Reading the requirement list alone was exhausting. “Couldn’t I skip all that and just wear the shirt?” I asked the pool manager while gesturing to the red “Lifeguard” shirt he was wearing. “Pardon?” he replied while raising his eye

my dream of being a lifeguard and led to my pursuing my new career as an actor and screenwriter. Being naturally part turnip-actor and ape-writer, I was pre-qualified for both. Which brings me to where I am today, writing to you about lifeguards and using them as a metaphor for what I really want to say. I’ve come to the realization that there are a lot of professing Christians out there posing as lifeguards by wearing cross-shaped jewelry and placing Ichthus emblems—Jesus fish—on their cars. Unfortunately, while the whole world watches, they speed off in the opposite direction any time they need to defend their faith or are faced with responding to a cry for help. Unlike the lifeguards on “Baywatch,” however, they don’t disappear in slow motion, and they don’t look cool doing it. As Christians, we need to take off our sunglasses and open our eyes to the drowning world around us. God has called us to start training to become sanctified scuba divers of great spiritual depths, not to remain surface dwellers who wade in the shallow end of a faith filled life based only on appearances. If we’re going to wear the uniform and identify ourselves as eternal-life-guards, we’ve got to be willing to do the work. That means studying the Holy Handbook, meeting regularly with


brow questioningly. “Wanna see me run in slow-motion?” I continued, intent on impressing him and securing the position. “Don’t you think I look just like ‘Baywatch’ star David Hasselhoff when I do this? I’m an especially convincing Hoff-Man doppelganger during the spring and summer months when I give myself a bad home hair perm and glue my cat’s freshly shed fur to my chest.” The manager escorted me out the door while informing me that the only lesson “Baywatch” could ever teach a person is that they could have the acting ability of a turnip and the screenwriting ability of an ape and still get rich and famous, which caused me to give up

the Lord of Living Water and venturing out into the sea of humanity to start saving lives from the cultural waves of destruction. TORRY MARTIN

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ho knows what spark will lead a student to a passion and a career? For one Evangel University biology grad, it was a guest lecturer who presented the opportunity to do real-world research on a project with his lab in Kansas City. Derek Logsdon now manages the lab for that speaker — Dr. Robert White, professor of molecular biology/medical genetics at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. Derek first met Dr. White during his junior year when White’s lab at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City collaborated with Evangel on a muscular dystrophy project. That project led to an internship for Derek, following graduation in 2008, and a full time job as a research assistant three months later. “This is the way a collaborative project should work,” says Dr. Michael Tenneson, professor of biology at Evangel. “That project led to several of our students deciding to pursue careers in research.” “Derek actually discovered his passion for research during that time. He’s very fortunate to have been mentored by Dr. White for the past four years,” Tenneson adds. A 2008 graduate of Evangel, Derek holds the title of research assistant at KCUMB. There, he has also gained teaching experience. He trains medical students to work independently on his laboratory’s research projects, and he assists with teaching hematology (the study of blood) labs in the College of Medicine and research methodologies labs in the College of Biosciences. 22 ONCOURSE MAGAZINE |


“While the exposure to the field of genetics in my undergraduate courses first caught my interest, I have since become immersed in a field that allows my love of life and learning to flourish,” says Derek. “The highlight of my day is the moment I learn something new that has never been known before. Nothing besides research offers the academic thrill I seek.” A strong writer, Derek honed his skills during his senior year at Evangel by editing his fellow students’ projects at The Write Place. Since graduating, he has collaborated on four published works and has four more currently in preparation for scientific journals. In December 2011, he was co-presenter on his lab’s research at the American Society of Hematology 53rd Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Diego. After four years of real-world experience, Derek now feels ready for the next step. “An analogy I often use is that I feel I have become a good cook, and so I would like to learn the ways of the chef.” Derek has been awarded a full-ride scholarship for a Ph.D. program at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. He starts in August (2012). “I have truly been blessed,” Derek summarizes. “My life, my career, my family and friends, my promising future — all have come my way by His hand. To God be the glory.”




oriah Peters says that the theme of her debut album, I Choose Jesus, is always choosing Jesus over all else, but she clearly has a life-theme, too. I didn’t even ask her about it, and she never mentioned it to me, but she clearly lives by 1 Peter 3:15, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” One of the places she had to give an answer was on American Idol. You probably didn’t even see her, but the person that was supposed to see her did. “I had auditioned and made it through the five cuts before you make it to the celebrity panel. During those five cuts they do extensive interviews, and I was always very open about my faith, open about purity, open about the Bible Study I was leading on my public high school campus. When it came down to it, after I sang, they loved my voice, loved my work. The only thing they criticized was my lifestyle.” They wanted her to be a little worldlier, more secular. “One of their comments was that I needed to

go out and kiss a guy, and that would make me more confident as a woman. They said I would need to go out into the world and make mistakes, and that would give me life experience.” While she was telling Ryan Seacrest and his cameraman about her commitment to God and that she accepted that He had both opened and closed doors for her on American Idol, a man with a friend in Nashville was listening, and he was impressed by both her voice and her lifestyle. While there is no denying her talent, her willingness to stand up for her faith caused her to be noticed by the right person. This was not the first time Moriah took advantage of the opportunity to defend her faith; she had been practicing. Her first single, “I Choose Jesus,” is a song she wrote about her challenges as a witness for Christ in high school. “My senior year of high school, I was faced with a lot of opposition for standing up for my faith. I had a professor who basically told me that what I believed was a fairy tale, and my classmates were asking me the hardest


questions. I was challenged by those questions, but looking back, I’m thankful for that time because it brought me to a place where I said, ‘Okay God, what is my faith really made of?’” After eighteen years of life, this was the challenge that would make her faith her own. “Up until this point, it had been me going after fluttery feelings, my parents telling me about God and my church and my pastor telling what I should do. I remember very specifically one evening going outside and looking up into the sky and asking ‘God, are you even real?’ I came to the point where I was questioning the basic foundations of faith.” Every church-raised teenager will – and should – eventually ask those questions. Moriah’s conclusion? “I realized that if God isn’t real then nothing matters, but if God is real then nothing else matters.” Now she is ready to give an answer to anyone who asks the reason for her hope. ERIC BRASWELL is ready to give an answer before he even knows the question. Check out his man blog at





I usually don’t get angry. In fact, I would consider myself a pretty level-headed person. However, one day in December, a rage erupted like none other I’ve ever known. I just bought a gorgeous new computer. However, every time I tried to turn it on, nothing happened. I decided to call the customer service hotline. I dialed the 800 number. A recording gave me a series of numbers. I pressed 5 for technical support and remained on hold for 33 minutes. I watched part of a TV special on Guava, clipped my nails, and straightened up my room until a real person answered only to tell me that the department I should have chosen was troubleshooting. I had plenty of time to think about my horrific choice in judgment because I was on hold again. In total, 82.5 minutes were literally sucked from my life. After two weeks and numerous phone calls, they finally came to a conclusion: my computer was indeed broken. The company shipped me a new computer, and my life continued as normal. However, during that period, I had off-the-chart blood pressure, a constant eye twitch, and a pimple the size of Kentucky on my chin. We’re all familiar with anger. For instance, what do you do when your little brother adds super glue to your favorite nail polish and you don’t realize it until after you’ve given yourself a rather permanent Mani-Pedi? You could respond inappropriately (tell him he’s adopted,

Sometimes anger is an extreme reaction to tiredness, improper nutrition, lack of exercise and crazy hormones. This can blow perceived stressful situations totally out of proportion. kick him in the neck or hide his clothes), but this isn’t how God tells us to react to anger. Anger is a natural reaction, part of our chemical makeup, but it can be good or bad.

RIGHTEOUS ANGER Sometimes anger is a fitting response. If someone in your school is being bullied, anger is an appropriate reaction, a catalyst for change helping you champion for what’s right. However, never exchange violence for violence. Get a third party involved and determine WWJD? In Matthew 21:12, Jesus went into the temple area and drove out everyone who was buying and selling there. Unfortunately you can’t use that verse to justify turning over furniture. Psalm 4:4 clearly tells us, “In your anger do not sin…” What can you do to control your anger so you don’t mess up?

RELAX If you have a problem with anger, you probably already know it (so does everyone around you). Try some of these simple relaxation tools: • Pray. • Breathe deeply from your diaphragm. • Slowly repeat a calm word or phrase such as “relax.” • Count to ten. Let your feelings subside. • Use imagery; visualize a relaxing experience. • Do some non-strenuous stretching exercises that can relax your muscles and make you feel much calmer

TALK IT OUT When in a heated argument, ticked-off people tend to jump to conclusions. That’s not the best thing to do because these conclusions can often be way off base. The next time someone pushes your buttons, slow down and think through your reply. Don’t rattle off the first thing that comes into your head. Take a few minutes before responding. You’ll be glad you did.

ANGRY BAGGAGE Don’t carry your anger home with you and kick the cat, slam doors and call your sibs every name in the book. You have to take charge of your emotions or they’ll get the victory over you. Learn to find out its source. Sometimes anger is an extreme reaction to tiredness, improper nutrition, lack of exercise and crazy hormones. This can blow perceived stressful situations totally out of proportion. Your body is a temple, and if you let bad things fester, they will pop out when the pressure hits. Pray about it. Keep it in check. Remember, Christ tells us to love our enemies (read Luke 6:27-30). It’s hard to show love to someone when you’ve trying to give them a black eye. MARY WINSLOW is a licensed clinical counsoler and former Campus Club coordinator for Youth Alive.

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hurches, Sunday Schools, youth groups, and Christian schools are all places we pretend are immune to the distractions and evils of the real world. We imagine every group of Christians to be Eden revisited. Unfortunately, even the so-called safest of environments can be tainted by the shadow of evil. Sins hidden deep within us bubble to the surface, and even Christians can end up playing the role of the bully. Being aware of some of the reasons why even those who have a relationship with Christ turn to fear and intimidation in social situations might help us see why behavior doesn’t always match belief. Elevate ME
- Sometimes when we want to feel better, we push another down to use as a step. Misery loves company. If I have to feel bad, it’s nice if someone else feels worse than me, even if I have to put her there. Fear ME
- Sometimes bullies are following the only example another bully has ever had. At a high school basketball game, I watched as a dad

looking for protection and comfort. Obey ME
- Sometimes bullies come from broken homes or have never been able to settle in one spot. When you can’t control where you live or with whom you live, you find control elsewhere, even in the form of making your peers do your bidding. Despite what our society professes, it’s not all about ME. It’s easy to look around and point to others who are bullies. A little internal examination, however, might reveal that you are or have been a bully to another. You might be a bully if: 
• You ignore, avoid or are rude to certain people. 
 • You are an expert flaw finder and readily point them out.
 • You more often laugh “at” than “with.”
 • You sometimes use your size to scare off others or get what you want.

CURING THE HABIT A bullying habit is much like any other addictive behavior. You have to stop the cycle

IT’S EASY TO LOOK AROUND AND POINT TO OTHERS WHO ARE BULLIES. A LITTLE INTERNAL EXAMINATION, HOWEVER, MIGHT REVEAL THAT YOU ARE OR HAVE BEEN A BULLY TO ANOTHER. who attended my church berated his player son from the stands. Not every Christian comes from a perfect home, and not every Christian home is free of intimidation tactics. Like ME
- Friends are people with whom we relate, people who like and dislike the same things. Style, sports teams, food, school subjects and other people are all devices we use to try and fit a little more snugly with a peer group. Inclusion, however, should never be about excluding others. Just because someone doesn’t fit your criteria of a perfect friend, you do not have a license to be rude. Revere ME
- Fear is not a cool emotion. It’s socially acceptable to be angry, show contempt or cry, but the moment you’re afraid, you invite ridicule. Instead of expressing fear, sometimes we lash out to keep that which we fear away. Feigning confidence draws an entourage of people who are fearful themselves and are

of negativity, anger and aggression and fill the void with something positive. Admit you have a problem. Confess to God, yourself and others that you’ve been a bully. Apologize to those you’ve hurt. Specifically explain what you did wrong, apologize for it and offer to make amends. Seek help. Anger management counseling or working with a youth pastor on how to be a good friend instead of a bad one are good places to start. Pray. God loves nothing more than a repentant heart. Ask for eyes to see the gold within each person you’ve bullied, and become an encourager. You can’t change the past, but you can move on to a productive, positive future free of intimidation, fear and aggression.

BECKY TIDBERG is a freelance writer from Rockford, Illinois.

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t’s an unlikely mission field that few Christians have access to: bars, clubs, or backstage at a Seether, Papa Roach or Disturbed concert. But that’s where bands P.O.D. and RED spread the influence of Christ. “We have the opportunity to talk to pretty much anybody that’s not hanging out in their bus,” said Randy Armstrong, bassist for RED. Sonny Sandoval lead vocalist for P.O.D. said, “Our heart was to go out and play where everybody plays [talking about the bars and clubs they play] because that’s where the sinner is and that’s where the person is that doesn’t know the Lord.” Both P.O.D. and RED are popular in the Christian music scene and in the secular scene. Both bands have been nominated for Grammy awards, and Satellite hit triple platinum. “When I got saved, I didn’t know there was Christian music or a Christian scene,” said Sandoval. Playing in bars and at parties was all he knew. “It was just, this is what I am, this is what I stand for, and this is what I sing about,” he said. Interestingly enough, the first show P.O.D. ever played in a church was cut short. It was a youth rally in San Diego, and Sandoval recalled he was excited because a lot of his unsaved friends were coming to support him. “It was like, ‘Cool they can be ministered to 28 ONCOURSE MAGAZINE |

because this is the first time they ever stepped into a church.’ Halfway through our first song, one of the youth pastors stopped us dead cold because he thought it wasn’t of God,” Sandoval said. At that point they realized they weren’t meant to play churches, but that didn’t mean they were going to compromise what they stood for. P.O.D. continued playing bars with lyrics that spoke of their faith. They remained straightforward about what they believed in. A close Christian friend of theirs reminded them to act in love and not be too militant. He noticed they were playing places where some bands can’t just because they are known to be Christian and were well liked, but sometimes no. “We can’t just go in these places and just burn them down with the gospel of being right. We needed to go in there with grace and love, but at the same time no compromise,” said Sandoval. Armstrong said the same thing when talking about RED’s touring with non-Christian bands. “We don’t go in there guns blazing. We hang out in situations that a lot of people probably wouldn’t hang in and we do that because we want them to realize we care about them no matter what. To introduce Christ into their lives by loving them,” he said. Like P.O.D., the majority of RED’s touring is with mainstream bands. Also like P.O.D., they see this as an opportunity to plant seeds in the lives of men and

women that probably would never step foot in a church. “We’ve seen several of those guys come up to us and say, ‘Tell me about this God thing,’” said Armstrong. P.O.D. and RED don’t see a difference between a secular tour and a Christian tour. Sandoval and Armstrong both said their lyrics don’t change because of the venue, and neither do they. Whether, they are playing a church or a club, their message is the same and so is their desire to see lives changed. “We want to win them over with the music, but at the same time, we want the lyrics and the content and the sprit of God to do something in their lives,” said Sandoval. “All we can do is go in play our music, say our piece and leave. We trust that the Holy Spirit is the one that’s moving amongst these people.” Armstrong said, “We don’t care what anyone thinks; we’re not trying to impress anybody. It’s not my friend down the street that’s going to get me to heaven, but God. We are here to be a medium, period.” Because they tour with so many non-Christian bands, P.O.D. and RED’s ideals and faith are always being questioned. Nevertheless, both Sandoval and Armstrong agree that it doesn’t matter what other people think of them. What matters is that they are living for God, sharing His grace and mercy and loving on everyone they meet. STEPHANY ARAUJO, OC contributor, studied journalism at Regent University

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Spring 2012 ONCOURSE Student Discipleship Issue  
Spring 2012 ONCOURSE Student Discipleship Issue  

The Spring 2012 issue is packed full of barefaced truth about what it means to embrace God fully and abandon your will to the transformed li...