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Life After Death?

FLATLINERS P.8

A Brother’s Run

MARATHON MAN P.28

Inside Edition Sportscaster

STAYING TRUE P.12

Faith&Friends I N S P I R AT I O N F O R L I V I N G

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AUGUST 2017

“I

Was in Satan’s Choice” A BIBLE STARTED EX-BIKER MARK “THE HAMMER” CARLOS ON A NEW ROAD P.16


August 2017

Majesty in the Air

barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”—Matthew 6:26 In this age of rampant consumerism, Jesus’ admonition in the quotation above is apt: Do not value possessions enough to worry about them. But when we think about this verse, we need to consider the one that directly follows: “Can any one of you by

The answer is quite simply: “No.” If we walk in the opportunities God’s given us (despite our circumstances) if we truly open up our eyes, without obsessing or stressing on matters we can’t control, we may just see His majesty in ways we least expect. To find out more about God’s plan, mail the coupon on page 25, email us at faithandfriends@can.salvationarmy.org or visit your local Salvation Army church.

DEPARTMENTS GOD IN MY LIFE

5 A Furry Gift From God

Mildred Jarvis was not a cat person— until Squibby purred her way into her life. FAITH BUILDERS

8 The Other Side

In Flatliners, medical students flirt with death and pay the price.

FEATURES

12

COVER STORY

16

22

12

ANALYZE THIS

11 Just the Ticket

There is more than one way to respond to mistreatment.

Road Map to Happiness

TV personality Megan Alexander stays true to herself.

Hammer’s Time

A Bible started ex-Satan’s Choice member Mark Carlos on a new road.

Talking Points

When it comes to religion, most people need to see a sermon, not hear one.

22

DEPARTMENTS LITE STUFF

26 Eating Healthy With Erin

Crossword Challenge, Sudoku, Quick Quiz. Cover photo: Timothy Cheng

not sow or reap or store away in

worrying add a single hour to your life?”

Photo: Used with permission. © Ray Majoran, compassiongallery.com

“Look at the birds of the air; they do

VOLUME 20 NUMBER 8

COMMON GROUND

28 Marathon Man

More than fitness was involved in Wayne Bungay’s running. EVERYDAY ETHICS

31 Expecting Better

Having a baby might be the riskiest thing many women ever do. faithandfriends.ca  I  AUGUST 2017

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Faith&Friends

FROM THE EDITOR

Mountain of a Man

I

knew I was interviewing a former member of the Satan’s Choice motorcycle club, but nothing could have prepared me for my encounter with Mark “the Hammer” Carlos. Right on time, Mark showed up at our editorial offices. I am by no means small in stature, but Mark is one daunting physical presence. He loomed over me like some vast man-mountain as his hand enveloped mine in an introductory greeting. But the warm hug and the “Bless you, brother” dispelled any physical intimidation and, over the next hour, Mark proceeded to speak eloquently of his past and how God’s overwhelming love and forgiveness has changed his life forever. Where once his life revolved around violence, Mark now has an inner peace that comes from a strong faith. Where once he collected drug debts and enforced biker “justice,” this happily married father is now busy spreading the good news. “My job is to push the earth and plough the field for the gospel,” he smiles. “I throw down what seeds I can and hope they take root.” Read Mark’s incredible story on page 16. Elsewhere in this issue of Faith & Friends, Major Wayne Bungay tells us what it’s like to run in the prestigious London Marathon, sports broadcaster Megan Alexander recounts how she stayed true to herself despite the pressures of work, and Mildred Jarvis relates how “a little furry gift from God” helped her make peace with her sister’s passing. Ken Ramstead 4 • AUGUST 2017  I faithandfriends.ca

GOD IN MY LIFE

Mission Statement To show Christ at work in the lives of real people, and to provide spiritual resources for those who are new to the Christian faith.

A Furry Gift From God I was not a cat person—until Squibby purred her way into my life.

Faith & Friends is published monthly by: The Salvation Army 2 Overlea Blvd, Toronto Ontario, M4H 1P4 International Headquarters 101 Queen Victoria Street, London, EC4P 4EP, England

by Mildred Jarvis

William and Catherine Booth FOUNDERS

André Cox, GENERAL Commissioner Susan McMillan TERRITORIAL COMMANDER

Lt-Colonel Jim Champ SECRETARY FOR COMMUNICATIONS Geoff Moulton, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Ken Ramstead, EDITOR

Brandon Laird DESIGN AND MEDIA SPECIALIST

Timothy Cheng SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Pamela Richardson, COPY EDITOR, PRODUCTION CO-ORDINATOR

Ada Leung CIRCULATION CO-ORDINATOR

Kristin Ostensen

(left) A special bond exists between Mildred Jarvis and Squibby

STAFF WRITER, PROOFREADER

Giselle Randall STAFF WRITER Scripture Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture references are taken from New International Version Contact Us P. (416) 467-3188, F. (416) 422-6120 Websites faithandfriends.ca, salvationist.ca, salvationarmy.ca Email faithandfriends@can.salvationarmy.org Subscription for one year: Canada $17 (includes GST/HST); U.S. $22; foreign $24 P. (416) 422-6119 circulation@can.salvationarmy.org All articles are copyright The Salvation Army Canada & Bermuda and cannot be reproduced without permission. Publications Mail Agreement No. 40064794 ISSN 1702-0131

A

ll my life, I have been an animal lover, but my knowledge of cats was minimal. While attending university in Vancouver, my son, Ian, became the owner of a black and white stray. Named “Squibby,” this little soul was there for my son all through his student days, and they became

very close. When Ian graduated and returned to Toronto, Squibby came, too. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to keep the cat due to his new living arrangements. My son knew I was reluctant to have a cat: I was recently retired and dealing with the grief of my sister, Betty, being palliative.

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GOD IN MY LIFE

“God, help me make it through the service,” I prayed. At this rate, how will I be able to give my tribute in front of an audience?  MILDRED JARVIS

(right) Squibby’s gentle presence helped Mildred through a difficult time in her life

Still, he suggested I take Squibby. “She’s so sweet, Mom,” he told me. “Squibby won’t leap on counters and scratch your furniture. She’ll even hang out with you.” I doubted that would be so, but nevertheless I relented and suggested a trial run. A New Friend So one Saturday morning, Ian brought Squibby to my home in a carrying case and deposited her in my front hall. I couldn’t see her, crouched at the back of the case, but I found myself saying to this little frightened being, “Don’t be afraid, Squibby.” The truth of the matter was that I was probably more frightened than she was. My son advised I set Squibby up in one room for a couple of days to give

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her time to adjust to her new surroundings. When let out of the case, she immediately ran behind the couch in the TV room and stayed put. “Do you like classical music?” I inquired as I turned on the radio. “How about a little lunch?” I put bowls of food and water on a placemat, close to the couch. “Perhaps you’d like to see out the window?” I asked, as I drew the curtains back for her to see outside. All to no avail. Squibby was having nothing to do with me. After a couple of days, I opened the door of the TV room in order that Squibby might venture out and explore her new surroundings. She managed that well, but continued to ignore me completely. Three days later, my son stopped

by to pick up some mail. As soon as he arrived, Squibby came out, and I heard her purr and meow for the first time. But when I ventured near, she quickly ran and hid from sight. After my son’s visit, I went to see my sister. The visit confirmed to me that her life was coming to an end, and I was grief-stricken at the reality of losing my best friend in the world. Heading upstairs when I returned home, I suddenly became aware of Squibby behind me. “Oh, are you wanting to be friends? I really need one today,” I told her. Having said that, I sat down on the steps leading up from the landing, to find a purring Squibby circling around behind me to come and snuggle. That moment was the beginning of a strong bond between this precious intuitive soul and myself. Feline Blessings My brother-in-law requested I pay tribute to Betty at the funeral service. I wanted it to be special, and I spent a considerable amount of time in front of my computer, putting

together the words I needed to say. But try as I might, I couldn’t read it out loud without breaking into tears. “God, help me make it through the service,” I prayed. At this rate, how will I be able to give my tribute in front of an audience? The day of the service, I sat down at my dining room table to again try to read my tribute aloud to myself. To my amazement, I realized Squibby had joined me, sitting on a chair at the table like a real person, making no attempt to jump on the table and scatter my pages. “Do you want to hear Betty’s tribute?” With a little meow of response, I read the tribute through out loud for the first time without tears, as I did at the funeral service in front of a room filled with friends and relatives. Whether it’s snuggles in times of concern, a morning meow of welcome, hanging out with me, or even swatting the newspaper with her paw when she senses my attention is divided, these are just a few of the blessings I’ve been given thanks to my little furry gift from God.

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FAITH BUILDERS

Photos: Courtesy Columbia Pictures

(left) In Flatliners, five medical students literally take their lives in their hands

The Other Side In Flatliners, medical students flirt with death and pay the price. by Geoff Moulton

W

hat happens to us after we die? The only way to find out is to see for ourselves.” This is the ill-advised resolution of five medical students in the rebooted sci-fi horror movie Flatliners, which hits theatres next month. Obsessed by the mystery of what lies beyond this world, they embark on a secret and dangerous experiment: by stopping their hearts for short periods of time, each triggers a near-death experience designed to

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give them a first-hand glimpse of the afterlife. As each student takes their turn, led by Courtney Holmes (Ellen Page), they get more and more competitive, seeing who can stay dead the longest before being revived. They vow to document their experiences in the name of science, but as their experiments become increasingly dangerous, their true motivations become clear and they learn the consequences of trespassing to the other side.

At first, the resurrected students experience positive side effects— their brains are “rewired” with talents and gifts that they never possessed before, such as the ability to play piano and healing power. But things quickly turn ugly. The plot descends into a more conventional teen horror flick as the students realize they’ve “opened a door” to something much darker and more powerful than they anticipated. Their past sins literally come back to haunt them in scenes that will undoubtedly be disturbing for some viewers. Flatliners is a remake of the original 1990 movie starring Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon and Kiefer Sutherland (who makes a cameo in the new movie). Many will remember the shock of these up-and-coming movie stars resuscitating each other with defibrillator paddles. Whether or not the remake will live up to the original remains to be seen. These films deal with our obsession with the unknown. What lies beyond the grave? Humans are the only creatures who are aware of our own mortality, yet despite our

advancement, science is able to tell us very little about what happens to us after death. Near-death experiences make for great movies, but are unreliable when it comes to the quest for truth. Where can we turn for a better understanding? Christians look to their faith for answers. In fact, the Bible reveals few concrete details about the afterlife, but there are some general truths that are worth exploring.

The students realize they’ve “opened a door” to something much darker and more powerful than they anticipated. 1. How we live now matters.

The Bible tells us that our actions have consequences: “Your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). The “flatliners” find this true in literal ways, but for most of us it’s a matter of connecting the dots between our behaviour and the logical outcomes. If we choose a path of sin, we reap our own destruction. If we choose to follow God, our lives will make a positive impact. Ultimately, what we do now reverberates into eternity.

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2. One of two destinies await every person who dies: heaven or hell.

A literal reading of the Bible suggests that the streets of heaven are paved with gold (see Revelation 21:21) and that hell includes a “lake of fire” (Revelation 21:8). But these passages are likely allegorical—a way for our finite minds to grasp what is ultimately beyond us. What is really being conveyed is the concept that eternity will be spent with God or without Him. Since God is everything that is good, being continually in His presence must be incredible beyond our wildest dreams (see 2 Corinthians 5:8). And the absence of God must, of necessity, be a horrible state. God leaves the choice up to us. 3. There is one sure way of salvation.

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection

and the life. The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die” (John 11:25). He alone possesses the authority and knowledge to tell everyone the truth about the afterlife. Jesus’ death and Resurrection are the signs that those who believe in Him will also be resurrected to eternal life with God in heaven. We may not have all of the answers, but Jesus assured His disciples that God had a plan. Speaking of heaven, He said: “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2-3). As believers, we can face death without fear, knowing that Christ Himself has paved the way. There is hope on the other side. (left) Ellen Page plays Courtney Holmes, one of five medical students obsessed by the mystery of what lies beyond

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ANALYZE THIS

Just the Ticket

S

As a woman on a bus showed, there is more than one way to respond to mistreatment. by Cliff Kent

he was sitting in an aisle seat on the bus, with some luggage by her feet. The seat next to her, by the window, was empty. A fellow passenger sharply piped up: “Is it necessary for you to have both seats?” The woman stood to one side, adjusted her luggage and allowed the man to sit by the window. I was impressed. There was no sarcastic response or flying off the handle. Instead, the woman remained silent and politely moved. Had the woman chosen to match the man’s rude tone, the outcome of the situation could have been very different and uncomfortable. From my seat, I watched as the story unfolded and eventually the man began to speak more pleasantly to the woman. They ended up chatting away as if nothing had happened. It made me realize just how important it is to show kindness to others.

On Board? Though she may not have known it, the woman had mirrored, in some way, the example of Jesus who, when He was treated badly by those who wanted to kill Him, did not respond with hate. The Bible tells us: “When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats” (1 Peter 2:23). Rather than use energy to settle a score with His opponents, Jesus’ approach was to bring peace to a situation. By staying calm, He defused tensions. He chose carefully when to speak and when to stay quiet. He forgave when it would have been easy not to. Ultimately, Jesus showed us that no matter what situations we face, there is more than one way to respond to mistreatment. When we react to antagonizing behaviour with patience, love and kindness, we are honouring Him. Are we on board with His idea?

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Reprinted from The War Cry (England), April 1, 2017

FAITH BUILDERS

Photo: © ampak/iStock.com

Faith&Friends


Faith&Friends

FEATURE

Road Map to Happiness IN AN INDUSTRY OFTEN NOTED FOR SLICK AND SHALLOW, TV PERSONALITY MEGAN ALEXANDER STAYS TRUE TO HERSELF. by Diane Stark

F

Photos: Courtesy of Megan Alexander

ive-year-old Megan Alexander was on a field trip to the local radio station. When the station manager asked if any of the children wanted to speak on the live microphone, Megan’s hand shot up. To a live radio audience, she introduced herself and said, “I want to have this job someday!” She was in kindergarten, but she knew even then that God had placed a dream in her heart. Public Statement Megan was born in Seattle, Washington, where she was raised in a Christian home and attended Christian schools. “I remember asking Jesus into my heart in kindergarten and then making my own declaration of faith in Grade 7,” she says. “At that point, I was ready to claim my faith for myself.”

After high school, Megan studied political science at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. Upon graduation, she got her first job in radio—as the overnight DJ at a classical music station. Soon, she moved into television broadcasting, working as the morning traffic reporter for stations in Nashville, Tennessee, and San Antonio, Texas. Megan knew that starting her career was a critical time in her life—and in her faith. “When you’re raised in a Christian home like I was, it’s easy to let religion become a routine or a habit,” she says. “When we get busy, church is often the first thing to be pushed aside.” But Megan’s faith was too important to her. “I decided to get baptized at my church in Nashville,” she says. “I needed to make that statement of faith publicly. faithandfriends.ca  I  AUGUST 2017

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FEATURE

In October 2016, Megan Alexander took on another role: author. Her book, Faith in the Spotlight: Thriving in Your Career While Staying True to Your Beliefs, is a guide for young people who have both big ambitions and strong faith. “A pastor came to me and told me he had a church full of young women who wanted to pursue careers in the entertainment field, but they wanted to stay true to their faith at the same time,” Megan says. “I wrote the book for them, to help them accomplish their dreams without sacrificing their values.”

“In television,” she explains, “decisions are made quickly, and you’ve got to decide ahead of time what your standards are and what is most important to you.” 14 • AUGUST 2017  I faithandfriends.ca

Two Tests Shortly after starting her television career, Megan was tested in an unusual way. “I was working on a morning show called Great Day San Antonio. On air, we were supposed to wish the founder of Playboy, Hugh Hefner, a happy birthday,” she says. Megan’s co-host said she admired Hefner, but Megan just couldn’t. Instead, she said she didn’t admire his magazine or what he stood for, and even wished women would value themselves more highly and refuse to appear in his magazine. “It was risky,” Megan admits. “I was the new girl on set, and my boss could have gotten mad at me, but there comes a moment as a Christian when you just have to say something.” It was the first time Megan had allowed her true self to come out on air and express an opinion that went against pop culture. But she wasn’t alone in her stand. “After I said that, our small studio audience burst into applause,” she says. “From then on, I wasn’t afraid to express myself.” In the fall of 2007, Megan joined Inside Edition, the toprated, national news magazine show located in New York City. As an Inside Edition correspondent, Megan has covered the last six Super Bowls, awards shows and red carpet events, and many breaking political stories. “In the beginning, I didn’t talk much about my faith,”

“There comes a moment as a Christian when you just have to say something.”  MEGAN ALEXANDER Megan says. “I wanted to be known for doing good work before anything else. I wanted my colleagues to know I would do my job well and deliver for the show.” But an unusual circumstance forced Megan’s hand. In 2014, a Christian women’s magazine wanted to do a cover story on a celebrity who supported sexual purity. They asked Megan to be that celebrity. “My husband, Brian, and I waited until after we were married to be intimate,” she says. “We dated for five years, and I was 28 on our wedding day. If you want to silence a room in New York City, share that piece of information with people.” Megan and Brian decided to share their story with the magazine. “If our story encourages even one person, it’s worth it to share it,” they said in the article. “We also used the article to tell people that we serve a God of second chances, and He forgives us when we make mistakes,” Megan explains. Life Without a Road Map After the story was printed, Megan put a copy of the magazine on her

boss’ desk. “I was concerned about his reaction, but as it turns out, I didn’t need to be.” Her boss knew an interesting story when he saw one, and he asked Deborah Norville, another Inside Edition reporter, to interview Megan and her husband for the show. “We just told our story,” Megan says, “and I’m glad we did it.” Around that same time, Megan was presented with another wonderful opportunity. She was offered a job covering Thursday Night Football for CBS. “Before each game, I had to study like I was taking my college final exams all over again,” she says, “but it was great.” Megan covered the NFL for the 2014 and 2015 seasons before the contract moved from CBS to another network. Today, Megan splits her time between New York City and her home in Nashville. She and her husband have two young boys. “Life is busy and it’s always an adventure,” Megan says. “But when there’s no road map, when you don’t see the plan, that’s when you have to trust God the most. Every life is a story, and God never gives up on any of us.” faithandfriends.ca  I  AUGUST 2017

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Faith&Friends

COVER STORY

Hammer’s Time

A BIBLE STARTED EX-SATAN’S CHOICE MEMBER MARK CARLOS ON A NEW ROAD.

Photos: Timothy Cheng

by Ken Ramstead

Mark Carlos uses the Salvation Army indexfinger salute to indicate his respect for the organization, and he is holding the book that the Salvation Army pastor tossed into his cell on Christmas Day 2012

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COVER STORY

When Mark conducts a Bible study with prison inmates, he never minces words. “I apologize if I have offended you,” he’ll say, “and if I haven’t, give me a couple of minutes”

MARK CARLOS WASN’T nicknamed “the Hammer” by his biker associates for nothing. “When I’d make my rounds to collect drug debts for the gang, I would show up with a hammer in one hand and a pair of Vise-Grips in the other,” Mark says. “I wasn’t a very nice person,” he continues. “I was a liar, I was a thief. I made money in the darkest of places, and I would do whatever it took to get what was due me.” 18 • AUGUST 2017  I faithandfriends.ca

Man in the Mirror Mark was born into an organized crime family. Abused at a young age, he was beaten when he told his father “to make me into a man,” remembers Mark. “At the age of 13, he battered me so badly that I had broken ribs and a punctured lung. I hid underneath a wood pile so he wouldn’t kill me.” The young teen ran away from home and lived on the streets. “I met some old neighbours of

mine who were part of a motorcycle club. They took me in,” Mark says. “I learned how to be a good criminal. I used to run dope back and forth for a few fellows, and by the time I was 17, I was a prospect for the Satan’s Choice motorcycle club. “As a biker,” Mark goes on to say, “I became ruthless and hardhearted. I drove around collecting debts and selling dope. In that time, I was shot four times and did eight years in prison. I was stabbed multiple times and left for dead, but I never gave up. When I was 13, taking a beating, I asked God—if there was a God—to take me away. He never did. I thought God hated me so I hated Him back, and I did a pretty good job of it, too.” There were occasional flashes of doubt, however. “I was in the middle of a bar fight one night and we were giving it to them good. I happened to glance in a mirror at myself—and I didn’t like who I saw.” From Bikes to Bibles The police finally caught up with Mark in Toronto on November 1, 2012. While in jail, he was involved in an altercation and stabbed multiple times. Released from hospital, he was in jail on Christmas Day waiting judgment for his part in the affair when the institution was visited by a

Salvation Army brass band. “One of the Salvation Army ministers threw a New Testament Answer Book into my cell that landed with a thud on the floor,” he says. Also included in this book were the Psalms and Proverbs. “I’d never really read the Bible and I picked it up where it had opened at Psalm 51, and I started reading: ‘Have mercy

(above) Mark traded in his Satan’s Choice patch for one more godly faithandfriends.ca  I  AUGUST 2017

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COVER STORY

(left) “I realized that my worst enemy is the one I see every morning and every night in the mirror,” says Mark. “If I can’t love that person, how can I love anyone else?”

“I thought God hated me so I hated Him back, and I did a pretty good job of it, too.”  MARK CARLOS

on me, O God, because of Your unfailing love. Because of Your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against You, and You alone, have I sinned. I have done what is evil in Your sight’ ” (New Living Translation). In a lightning flash, Mark realized that whatever had happened to him as a child—the abuse, the beatings— was not his fault, and he felt an overwhelming calm come over him. Two hours later, a guard came up to Mark and told him that all charges against him were dropped. “That doesn’t happen—ever!” Mark explains. “You usually have to go in front of a judge for sentencing.” Living Proof Still under confinement for his previous charge, Mark was in the prison’s common area two weeks later reading his Bible when he received a telephone call from Teen Challenge, a faith-based drug and 20 • AUGUST 2017  I faithandfriends.ca

alcohol treatment and recovery centre located north of the city. When he eventually made bail, Mark eagerly jumped at the centre’s offer. “There was nobody telling me that I could never be saved because I’d gone too far and done too much. These people showed me true love, and I was taught that God loves us all.” There, he started soaking in theology and faith like a sponge. “I didn’t want to waste my time,” he smiles. “I wanted to get right with God. I learned Greek and Hebrew so that I could read the early Bibles, and I did that before I read it in English! I learned that God’s greatness is incredible and that the Bible is the truth, because I sat there at Teen Challenge for six and a half months tearing it apart looking for a loophole—because there had to be one, right? But I couldn’t find any. “I know for a fact in my heart that Jesus lives, that God is real and that miracles happen. And I am living proof of that.”

Duty Bound After graduating from the Teen Challenge program, Mark needed a place to live and a job. The staff at Teen Challenge found him a room and a job, installing fire and security systems in banks. “Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humour?” laughs Mark. Now sober and happily married, the father of one’s self-appointed job is spreading the good news of God. Besides being part of the Teen

Challenge program, Mark rides with Bikers for Christ, a Christian ministry for motorcyclists, and helps The Salvation Army with their prison outreach. “When you see the miracles performed at Teen Challenge and through the Army in prison, you know miracles happen every day,” Mark says. “I have a duty to do what I can. The good Lord let me live this life so I can tell my story—so no one else has to live my life.” faithandfriends.ca  I  AUGUST 2017

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Faith&Friends

FEATURE

Talking Points WHEN IT COMES TO RELIGION, MOST PEOPLE NEED TO SEE A SERMON, NOT HEAR ONE.

Photo: © canyi1980/stock.Adobe.com

by Phil Callaway

I

’m told that more people fear public speaking than snakes. Which is a little bit odd. I mean, when was the last time you saw someone walking through the jungle just stop and yell, “Look out! A microphone!”? I have some fears of my own. I have a fear of speed bumps. But I’m getting over it. (Forgive me. That was pretty bad.)

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Talking Points One thing that scares many Christians is talking about faith. I can get rather uptight during discussions with people who don’t share my view of the world. But I’ve discovered an unusual tool that has helped. It’s called humour. If a soft answer can turn away wrath, often a humorous answer can turn a skeptic into a listener. Evangelist Chuck Colson once told of a man who asked a Christian friend what the Bible said about talking to the dead. His friend’s answer caught him off guard: “It says you should speak very loudly because the first thing that goes when you’re dead is your hearing.” His non-Christian friend loved the answer. Humour was the last thing he expected. And once he stopped laughing, he listened to the reasons why the Bible condemns this practice. The popular writer Eric Metaxas believes humour is a dynamite way to reach the modern mind. In an increasingly polarized culture where some consider Christians to be unpleasant people, humour puts them at ease and makes them more willing to listen. Metaxas says that in the same way that the Apostle Paul looked for a familiar starting point in talking to the ancient Athenians, people who have faith can find ways—including humour— to reach their neighbours who don’t.

Caring and Listening He’s right. Many of us know too many people who have been turned off by long-faced Christians who take themselves far too seriously. But can you name someone who refused to listen to someone who made him or her laugh? While flying from city to city on a book tour in the United States, I found myself seated beside a psychologist. Within five minutes, he’d diagnosed me as a Christian. “I’ve had bad experiences with Christians,” he confided. “Really?” I said, shaking his hand. “Me, too!” The result was a four-hour conversation about Jesus. I came to understand that day that what people so often need is to see a sermon, not hear one. They need a fellow pilgrim who cares about them. One who listens. To Love and Be Loved A simple story had a profound impact on me. Two neighbours were as different as day and night. One was a conservative, the other a liberal. One was a solid Christian, the other wouldn’t darken a church door even for bingo. But for some reason they got along. They knew that discussing politics or religion was a sure-fire formula for disaster, so they talked about their marriages, their kids—and they laughed together. When the non-Christian’s faithandfriends.ca  I  AUGUST 2017

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FEATURE

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came up to me and said, ‘Let’s get some breakfast.’ “I go to church now, my neighbour’s church. I don’t really like the pastor’s politics sometimes. But a religion that can produce the kind of caring and love my neighbour showed me is something I want to be involved in. I want to be like that. I want to love and be loved like that the rest of my life.” We may not have all the answers, but each of us has ears that can listen, hands that can help and a face that can break into a smile. So, as St. Francis of Assisi reportedly once said, let’s “preach the gospel all the time; if necessary, use words.”

(left)

Phil Callaway’s Laugh Again radio program airs 700 times a week in Canada. Visit him at laughagain.org.

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© www.kevinfrank.net

wife was diagnosed with cancer and died in three short months, it was his Christian neighbour who stepped up. The husband wrote about the night of his wife’s death: “I was in total despair. I went through the funeral preparations and the service like I was in a trance. And that night after the service, I just wanted to be alone. I left and went to a path along the river and walked all night. But I did not walk alone. My neighbour, afraid for me, I suppose, stayed with me all night. He did not speak; he did not try and get me to go home. He just followed me. When the sun finally came up over the river, he

Photo: © Ingimage.com

Many of us know too many people who have been turned off by longfaced Christians who take themselves far too seriously.  PHIL CALLAWAY

• inspiring true stories of hope and salvation • practical resources that will rejuvenate your spirit • uplifting articles that you can share with friends

HEAVEN’S LOVE THRIFT SHOP by Kevin Frank

Faith&Friends

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LITE STUFF

Eating Healthy With Erin

Crossword Challenge

SPICY BEEF TACOS

1

TIME 20 min  MAKES 4 servings  SERVE WITH sour cream

3. Garnish tacos with lettuce first, then beef and top with diced tomato, cheddar cheese and avocado.

12

15

16

17

18

19

20

9 4 3 5 2 8

8

2

8

6

7

2

5

1

1

3

9

6

7

4

5 6 4 1

7 3 4 2 5 9

6 1 9 8 7 3

4 3 9 6 7 8 5

3 4 2 7 9 1 6

9 7 1 5 8 4 3 2

Solution: Across: 7. rho; 8. hue; 9. oho; 10. everything; 12. box; 13. own; 14. wee; 15. trajectory; 18. ire; 19. ego; 20. rue. Down: 1. orb; 2. convex; 3. thermometer; 4. destination; 5. Loki; 6. roughen; 11. abstain; 14. war cry; 16. ages; 17. see.

Quick Quiz Answers: 1. Adele; 2. Demeter; 3. Jupiter.

5

5

9

1

1

9

3

4

2

4

5

8

1

DOWN 1. Globe 2. Curved outward 3. Temperature measuring instrument 4. Journey’s end

6

2

4

6

7

5

8

9

8

1

1

8

5. Thor’s evil adoptivebrother 6. To make less smooth 11. Refrain voluntarily 14. Phrase used to rally troops (two words) 16. Matures 17. _ _ _ no evil

2

6

18. Anger 19. Self-esteem 20. Street in French

2

4

ACROSS 7.  17th letter of the Greek alphabet 8. Tint 9.  Exclamation of surprise 10. The lot 12. Container 13. Possess 14. Very small 15. Path of a projectile

4

7

6

2

3 8

6

8

7

6

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14

11

3

7

1

9

13

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1

Answers on next page.

9

6 9

7

8

6

4

2

5

5

4

QUICK QUIZ 1. Whose debut album was entitled 19? 2. Who was the Greek god of fertile land, fruit and crops? 3. Which planet in our solar system turns fastest on its axis, in nine hours 55 minutes?

2. Stir in beef and continue to cook until beef is browned, about 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in salsa and allow to cook 1 more minute.

4

9

Fill in the grid so that every row, every column and every 3 × 3 box contains the digits 1 through 9.

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook onion, garlic and green pepper in vegetable oil until soft. Stir in chili powder, cumin and red pepper flakes.

3

1

Sudoku Puzzle

7

Recipe photo: Erin Stanley/veganvirgin.ca

250 ml (1 cup) diced onion 1 garlic clove 1 green pepper, diced 5 ml (1 tsp) vegetable oil 5 ml (1 tsp) chili powder 2.5 ml (½ tsp) cumin 2.5 ml (½ tsp) red pepper flakes 454 g (1 lb) ground beef 45 ml (3 tbsp) salsa 250 ml (1 cup) leafy green lettuce 1 roma tomato, diced 60 ml (¼ cup) shredded cheddar cheese 1 avocado 8 small hard taco shells

2

7

Faith&Friends

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Faith&Friends

COMMON GROUND

Marathon Man More than fitness was involved in my running of the London Marathon. by Wayne Bungay

(left) “I completed my first marathon in four hours 41 minutes,” says Wayne Bungay. “It was 11 minutes over the time I had registered for but I hear it’s not bad for a beginner. My goal is to do one marathon a year”

W

hen my brother passed away in 2007, it was as if the bottom fell out of

my world. Like me, Roy was a Salvation Army pastor. Though he was 16

28 • AUGUST 2017  I faithandfriends.ca

years older, we’d always been close. And even when his duties took him to far-off places such as Singapore, South Africa and Papua New Guinea, we stayed in touch. Roy was diagnosed with bone can-

“By mile 20, I had hit the wall, as runners call it, and I had to dig deep.” WAYNE BUNGAY cer in 2001 and fought a brave, hard battle for six years. He was convinced he’d make a recovery, but when he was beyond the point of no return, he focused on the fact that there was life beyond death. His courage and faith inspired everyone around him. Especially after his passing, whenever I came across a problem or wanted to share some small theological riddle, I’d reach for the phone for his wisdom. I really felt his absence then. But when I’d think about it, I’d be able to dial back to a conversation we’d had maybe 10 or 12 years before and recall something he’d said that would have some bearing on the matter at hand. And I’d feel better. Ready to Run I’d wanted to run a marathon in Roy’s memory. But I only got serious about it last June while attending a leadership course, and I came out of that with the marathon as one of my priorities. That month, I started training. I’d never run before and I am by no means a natural runner, so I had to develop a technique and rhythm. I consulted written and online

resources to help me run faster, farther and smarter. Even so, that first mile was excruciatingly painful! It took almost two weeks but soon I was able to run a full mile without stopping. Then two, three and four. After a couple of months, I was up to six miles and before I knew it, I had reached 20 miles. I was as ready as I was ever going to be. Marathon Shape My sights were set on the London Marathon on April 23 of this year. While I was too late to register, I was fortunate that Team Sally Army still had some open spots. I committed to raising £2,000 for The Salvation Army’s Gloucester House, a drug-and-alcohol rehabilitation centre in Swindon, England. I used social media, emails and telephone calls. Friends and family from Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom generously sponsored over and above my goal. In the meantime, my training proceeded apace. I pounded the pavement for 10 months, eventually logging 400 miles in preparation. I ran on cold, wet mornings and on long, lonely nights. These were the

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Faith&Friends

Faith&Friends

COMMON GROUND

times when inspiration had to kick in and I kept going because I knew I was running for something. And someone. Running provided great benefits. It made me stronger mentally and emotionally, and gave me time to pray and reflect. It was also beneficial for me physically. I weighed 250 pounds when I started running in June and I shed 57 pounds in the process. I was in better shape than I’d ever been in my life. Crossing the Line By the day of the race, I couldn’t wait to get started. My wife and I were staying with friends in the centre of London, so we took a train to the starting area. We were alone when we departed but by the time we got to the station, dozens of people had joined us in our journey. More than 100,000 people were at the three official starting lines. Everybody had similar stories or goals. It was almost as if we were one huge family. Bang! The starting pistol went off. It took a couple of miles before I hit a good running pace, but then I

was off. The 40,000 runners all kept up a good pace, and we helped and encouraged each other throughout the run. Not only that, but it was estimated that 750,000 people lined the route, cheering us on. As well, I counted about 20 different bands, from Scottish bagpipers to rock groups and Salvation Army brass bands. The noise was unbelievable! However, by mile 20, I had hit the wall, as runners call it, and I had to dig deep. My legs were cramping and I stopped a couple of times to stretch them. It was then that my thoughts of Roy were clearest. In a way, he was running with me and cheering me on as much as anyone on the route. Even so, I ran the last six miles on sheer determination and perseverance. It’s hard to describe how I felt when I crossed the finish line. Exhilaration, yes, and accomplishment. But satisfaction most of all. I did what I set out to do. I ran for Gloucester House, for a great cause, and I ran in memory of the brother I love, and still miss today.

EVERYDAY ETHICS

Expecting Better Having a baby might be the riskiest thing this woman ever does. Every day, about 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, almost all of them in the developing world. A high number of maternal deaths reflects lack of access to health care, and the gap between rich and poor. In 2016, only half of women in sub-Saharan Africa had a skilled attendant—a doctor, nurse or midwife—while giving birth. All women need skilled care before, during and after childbirth. You can support maternal and child health through The Salvation Army’s Gifts of Hope program. Visit salvationarmy.ca/giftsofhope.

(left)

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Photo: © brozova/iStock.com

Major Wayne Bungay is a Canadian Salvation Army pastor serving as a divisional leader in the United Kingdom. He has been appointed as the territorial leader of the Tanzania Territory as of October, with the rank of colonel.

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Faith & Friends August 2017  

To show Christ at work in the lives of real people, and to provide spiritual resources for those who are new to the Christian faith. http://...