Who’s at Your Table?
It’s a New Day at
First Baptist Shreveport
Saint Patrick, the Enlightener of Ireland
Faith and Family
contents columns on the cover 4 15
Who’s at your Table?
It’s a New Day at First Baptist Shreveport
Shepherd’s Staff What is Easter Really About?
Health & Wellness An Invitation
Marriage Matters Expectations
in every issue 21
Modern Motherhood Flower Petal Discipline
Quips & Quotes
Faith under Fire Eau de Wet Dog
Teen Talk 20-Something Ideas for Youth Ministry Field Trips
Single Parenting Parenting Teens
City Scene The Perrys Greek Easter Bread
Little Bits Helping Children when they have Trouble with God
Thoughts in Christ Seven Last Words
Wise Words Why go to Church?
– it’s a time where people think of Easter bunnies, Easter egg hunts, and baskets ﬁlled with treats. It’s time when women young and old would where their new dress to church. It’s a time where some believers still gather for a sunrise service conducted outside at a lakeside, in a prayer garden on the church grounds, or an amphitheater. It’s a time where families gather to worship together. But what is Easter really all about? Is it those things or something more? One verse of Scripture kept coming to mind as I thought about these questions – Galatians 2:20, in which the apostle Paul a personal statement about God’s love for him and how his life was changed. Paul says, “I have been cruciﬁed with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the ﬂesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (NKJV). Paul emphatically states that having been cruciﬁed with Christ, Christ Himself is living in him. As a result of Christ living in him, Paul lives in the present by faith in the Son of the one true God, and it is that Son (Jesus) who loved him and handed Himself over in Paul’s behalf. Paul had trusted in Jesus for his salvation. He no longer trusted in his own works. He realized how much the Lord really loved him, a man who thought he was doing God’s work but found himself at odds with that same God. That same Jesus acted in his behalf, handing Himself over to sinful men to pay for Paul’s (and ultimately our) sins. This wasn’t just for Paul. It is for you and me, too. The truths that changed Paul’s life are still true today. God in His totality loves you and me. Jesus acted in our behalf, suﬀering on the cross
to pay for our sin and rebellion against Him. He acted in our behalf, being raised from the dead to give us the hope of new and transformed life (1 Cor. 15). So, Easter is about God’s active love for us and His extension of grace and mercy to change our lives. And the best evidence today of Jesus’ resurrection is our transformed lives. John Stott in Basic Christianity says, “Perhaps the transformation of the disciples of Jesus is the greatest evidence of all for the resurrection. It was the resurrection which transformed Peter’s fear into courage and James’ doubt into faith. It was the resurrection which changed the Sabbath into Sunday and the Jewish remnant into the Christian Church. It was the resurrection which changed Saul the Pharisee into Paul the apostle and turned his persecuting into preaching.” Have you trusted the resurrected Savior, Jesus Christ, and been transformed? This is what Easter is about.
Christ has risen, He has risen indeed! Calvin Hubbard
Pastor, Barksdale Baptist Church
Who’s at Your Table?
I don’t know what it is about being in someone’s home, eating food that they’ve prepared, and lingering at the table over dirty dishes and good conversation. I don’t know what it is, but it is deﬁnitely something. The discipline of getting over ourselves, our tiredness, our less than perfect house, our rowdy kids and having people over for dinner is a discipline that reaps rewards that are often more than what we had bargained for. You don’t have to use grandma’s crystal (although for goodness sake, if you have it, use it every once in a while), you don’t have to go gourmet, and you don’t even have to have enough matching chairs. You just do it. Our small groups have recently added a supper club dimension to our fellowship. Saturday night’s supper was a good reminder to me that when we make time and space for what can be all levels of fun and profound, it just pays oﬀ. It’s another way to love one another. Just do it.
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“...They broke bread together in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people...” Acts 2: 46-47
Health and Wellness
I know that some of you may know what I’m talking about when I tell you that looking at this picture is kind of a paradoxical experience for me. It’s kinda like looking at one of those black and white pictures where you can see a beautiful young woman if you look at it in one way and an old ugly witch if you look at it in another way. In this picture, I see new wrinkles and unkempt hair and all manner of imperfections- both outwardly and inwardly. But in light of what the Lord is doing in me, in light of how He has begun a good work in me and is faithful to complete it, I see beauty. Last July, I was going to be walking down a really long isle as matron of honor in my (very beautiful) sister-in-law’s wedding. At 8 weeks postpartum, I knew I wouldn’t be at my outward best. What I’ve told Kate is that it bothers me that that even bothers me. It’s so ridiculous. The event itself is not even remotely about me anyway. It was about Kate and Patrick and the holy union that is being witnessed, pointing to God’s amazing and redeeming love for those who love Him. What I’m thankful for, however, is how the Lord is speaking to me about the true Source of beauty. As I lay it all down and surrender my pride and my insecurities and my self-centeredness to Him- being an instrument of His love in this world, beauty is imparted. Real beauty. Beauty that will not fade with time. I’m starting to understand, just as clearly, that how I take care of the body God has given me is of great importance. Choosing broccoli over french fries and choosing a work out over more time in front of the TV can be just as much an act of worship as spending time in prayer (Romans
6:13, I Corinthians 6:19-20). I am a holy vessel- a temple of the Holy Spirit. Bought with a price. For real. Because I love God, I honor Him by taking care of my body and by placing premium on the condition of my heart. Years from now, no matter how well I’ve done taking care of myself, this body will give out. Whether traumatically and quickly or a slow process of disease, if the Lord doesn’t come back ﬁrst, this body will die. But what is for sure is that at the resurrection of the dead, because I trust in Jesus for my salvation, I will get a new, gloriﬁed body. And He will impart that true beauty that we so long for in the meantime. And in the meantime, a heart that is not afraid is what I am after. A heart that loves fully at all cost is what I need. A heart empowered by the grace of God is what I seek. As I seek Him and make Him my focus, I’m certain my pride, my insecurities, and my self-centeredness will fall away. I am not even close to arriving. I am at the very beginning of this journey. But I hope and pray that in sharing this struggle of my own heart, I can encourage you to join me in envisioning ourselves on the other side of God’s amazing grace, walking in conﬁdent beauty toward the beckoning arms of our beautiful Bridegroom who has clothed us in his righteousness and adorned us with his redeeming love- giving us beauty for our ashes. Because the beauty He imparts won’t just last as a digital image on a computer chip in my computer for this life. It will last forever as we embark on eternity. He will make all things new and all things beautiful. Including me. Including you. It’s a hard, uphill journey. Especially considering the culture of lies about beauty in which we live.
But will you join me?
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Faith and Family
EXPECTATIONS When was the last time you had an expectation and found you disappointed? Most of us have expectations about every situation we encounter on a daily basis and do not even realize it. Expectations can be a hindrance in how we deal with life and relationships. Let me explain: When I married Steve 33 years ago, I did not realize that I had major expectations of what I thought he would be like as a husband and how our life would be as a married couple. I never told Steve that I had expectations, I just assumed that what I thought would happen, would happen. You know what I mean? Therefore, I set myself up to be constantly disappointed or left feeling like nothing measured up to what I had expected. This sent me on a long course of frustration and some anger that everything I expected was not quite happening. Let me give you three phrases about expectations that may help you in your marriage and relationships.
UNMET EXPECTATIONS WILL LEAD TO DISAPPOINTMENT
Do you have a measure of expectation that is constantly unreachable to those around you? Early in our marriage, one day Steve decided to make our bed. Now, he never has understood why we have to have 20 pillows on the bed. That day, he made the bed and just threw the pillows on the bed in no particular fashion. I walked in and said, “If you’re not going to make the bed right, don’t make it at all!”and he said,”OK”. Later I realized that if I would lower my expectations (because I thought my way was the right way), he would help more often and I could ﬁx the little things that I wanted done differently. How do the people in your home feel? Do they feel like they can never measure up to your expectations? So many people walk around today feeling as though UNSPOKEN EXPECTATIONS WILL they are a disappointment to the most signiﬁcant LEAD TO DISCOURAGMENT people in their life. Make sure that those you love know that they measure up in your eyes. We If we never voice our expectations, how will our all need some “wins” ....hand some of those out spouse know what you want them to do? When today!!! Steve and I married, I thought he would be romantic. In my mind, I dreamed and expected that he would walk in the door every once in awhile with roses for no reason at all or call me in the middle of the day and tell me to get ready, that he was taking me on a mystery date that night. Unfortunately, that never happened and I was always discouraged. I would never tell him what I was hoping for because I thought he should just know what I wanted if he really loved me. Long story short, he couldn’t read my mind. I eventually had to put down my pride and tell him the things I would like for him to do. In our marriages, we need to open our mouths and For booking a conference information, go to: www.marriagemattersnow.com communicate with each other so we don’t allow discouragement to creep in.
Matters UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS LEAD TO DEFEAT The world has polluted our minds into thinking unrealistically about real life. We watch movies and think that is real, we read books and think that is real and we constantly deceive ourselves into thinking unrealistically. We need to measure our thoughts to God’s word and allow His words to dictate our thoughts. In 2 Corinthians 10:5, it says: we are to take every thought captive to Christ”. That means that we cannot allow our thoughts to run rampant in our minds but take them out and weigh them according to God’s truth. We can choose to live unrealistic lives or we can look at what God says and walk in the truth. Do not be defeated today in trying to make people ﬁt into the unrealistic world that we have thought up in our heads. Give those in your life the freedom to be what God has made them to be and accept that! Here is an expectation you can have today. Jeremiah 33:3 says “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (NIV) Expectations are not all bad, we just have to ask ourselves if our expectations are sabotaging our relationships and making those around us feel like they can never win with us. Have realistic expectations like the one God gives us today. If we call on him, he WILL answer us and tell us great and unsearchable things we do not know!!! Love unconditionally those around you today!!!
Steve and Debbie Wilson
iscipling your children is a never-ending battle.
With three daughters born within four years of one another there are days when I feel like the only word I say is, “no!” I am the parent and I must win, which means if they disobey me 499 times in one day, I must correct them 500 times. Although I don’t have the time, energy or mental capacity to keep score, I’d say that’s a pretty accurate daily estimate. Discipline is just so time-consuming. My children are pretty highspirited, emotional and stubborn, for which I am very thankful. I was the same way as a child and while I almost drove my mother straight into an asylum, my stubborn attitude served me well later in life. I don’t do “no” very well, but unfortunately neither do my children. I look forward to the success their “never say never” attitudes will bring them later in life. But for now, I must teach them how to obey and they must learn that I have their best interests at heart. No matter how they feel about my decisions, I am trying to prepare them for life outside of my home. Dinner is just one example of the daily battles I must wage and win with my oldest daughter, Aubrey. As I was cooking a few weeks ago, she wandered in and asked, “What’s for dinner?” “Does it matter?” I asked her. “You are going to cry unless I say Oreos. We are having tacos.” Cue screaming, wailing and gnashing of teeth.”I hate tacos! I only like burritos! You make them too spizzzy!” Aubrey wailed. I didn’t even
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have the energy to discuss her behavior be God. He has children he made the with her; I scooped her up, placed her on ultimate sacriﬁce for, and yet we still her bed and said, “Time out.” push Him. We beg, we plead and (I hope For the next half hour, the timer would I’m not just speaking for myself here) we go oﬀ signaling her release and I would stomp our feet like impatient toddlers walk into her room to see if she was If you were a flower and I picked you ready to come out out of the dirt, I would never pull off and act like a human your petals. I would put you in my instead of a feral cat; she wasn’t. The fanciest vase on the kitchen table so everyone could see you. crying would start again, I would say, “Time out,” walk out of the room and when He doesn’t give us the answer we want when we want it. start the timer again. After thirty fun-ﬁlled minutes, it seemed she was ready to communicate Psalm 25:5-9 reads, “Guide me in your again. “Honey, are you ready to stop truth and teach me, for you are God my crying and act like a big girl now?” I Savior, and my hope is in you all day asked. “Momma, do you know what I long. Remember, Lord your great mercy feel like?” Aubrey asked me. “What?” and love, for they are from of old. Do not “I feel like a ﬂower you picked out remember the sins of my youth and my of the dirt and pulled all my petals oﬀ.” rebellious ways; according to your love Oh the drama, the descriptiveness, the remember me, for you, Lord, are good.” sheer imagination! “If you were a ﬂower and I picked you How fortunate we are to serve a God out of the dirt, I would never pull oﬀ your who remembers us according to His Love petals. I would put you in my fanciest instead of our sin and even when we vase on the kitchen table so everyone look like a wilted ﬂower, He considers us could see you,” I replied. worthy of the Glory that is Christ. Now if “You would?” She sniﬄed. I nodded He would just help me to forget my kids’ and ﬁnally pulled her out of the bed and rebellious ways. held her hand as we walked to the kitchen to her now cold taco. I sat beside her at the bar in our kitchen as she took a small bite and looked at me with a smile, tears still clinging to her eyelashes. “Momma, Robin O’Bryant this is good. I like it.” is a wife, stay-at-home mother My head dropped to the counter in of three daughers, author, exhaustion as I took a brief glance at humor columnist and speaker. my mental scoreboard. Mommy-1 Kids-0, and wondered what it must feel like to
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Louis, the spoiled Schnauzer who formerly dawdled around the backyard at his leisure and refused to come when called, is learning to be an apartment dog. That means walking on a leash, and on my schedule. He soon realized that in spite of the leash thing, there were new vistas to explore, new smells to smell, new people and pets to meet! Ah, but with the new life came new rules. The retractable leash extends approximately 23 feet, so Louis thought he was free until it ran out and he was snapped to attention. All the while, I’m yelling, “Louis, stop! Louis! Louis!” No response, of course. Over time, though, there has been a tremendous improvement in his walking skills. He now responds to “No; Not That Way; This Way; Back Up (particularly useful in preventing wrap-around-the-tree syndrome), and Let’s Go Home” – unless we encounter “the enemy.” My apartment home is surrounded by tall oak trees that are ﬁlled with SQUIRRELS! Louis, having once gotten his jaws around one, longs to relive that sensation. So, he’s ever on the hunt, chasing, getting jerked back, yet still trying to pursue them into the trees.
Even when we refuse to walk along the paths He has prepared, and our belligerent natures ignore His controls, the Good Shepherd comes after us time after time. He climbs down into ravines and pulls us out. He bandages our wounds. He corrects while trying to hold onto him with the other. us and leads us back to the sheepfold where All the while said cat is arching its back and He Himself is The Door, ready to ﬁght lions spitting at us. We were both drenched and tigers and bears on our behalf – even when we returned to the apartment, which, unto death. Psalm 23; John 10:7-18. in spite of my best eﬀorts, smelled like Eau de Wet Dog for the rest of the week. That’s It is no accident that our Lord likened us to when I discovered www.Baxterboo.com sheep. They are stupid, willful animals that and ordered Louis a handsome, electric blue constantly wander oﬀ, get lost and stumble rain slicker. Unfortunately, he is in between over cliﬀs. Nor can they keep themselves sizes. The Small is about 3 inches too short clean, and often fall down from the weight in length, and the Medium is way too big of the grime in their wool. Lying helplessly around the middle. So, I had to jerry-rig the on the ground, they are easy prey for predators. Make larger size to ﬁt. no mistake. The dirt that weighs us Seeing to Louis’ daily down is abhorrent needs has become to a Holy God. He my second job. If I cannot look on sin. don’t ﬁll his food and But in His extreme water dishes, he is love for us, He made hungry and thirsty. If Louis sports his new rain slicker. a special provision, a I don’t remember to covering tailored exactly to our needs: The open the blinds, he’s stuck for hours in a dark apartment. If I don’t get there to Spotless Lamb of God, the Father’s precious walk him at lunch, he has to “hold it.” If I Son, became sin for us so that we might be fail to carry a Dispoz-A-Scoop® poopy bag saved. Gen. 3:21; Is. 61:10; 2 Corin. 5:17-21. (a fabulous product), we get in trouble. If I forget his medicine, his ailments worsen. God’s watch care over us never ceases If I don’t check the weather and put on (Psalm 121), and He’s always cleaning up his Thundershirt® when there’s a storm our messes (Romans 8:28-32), but he does approaching, he is terriﬁed and shaking expect us to toe the line and follow His lead. when I return. He depends on my constant When will we learn that the leash, even for care. I give it because he’s my baby and I humans, is a good thing? love him.
He is also learning about living cooperatively with other dogs and the freelance felines that lounge about the property. One cold, rainy morning in February, he followed one under a bush, tangling the leash in the branches so badly that I had no choice but to unhook it. We are God’s babies and He loves us, too -So I get down on my hands and knees in the in spite of our failures and sins that send the mud, disengage the leash with one hand, stench of Eau de Humanity heavenward.
Dianne B. Howell Shreveport, LA
Saint Patrick, the Enlightener Q
uite often we think of St. Patrick’s results in spreading the Gospel, he was not Day we think leprechons, clovers, the ﬁrst or only missionary in Ireland. He green drinks, wearing green, etc., However, arrived around 432 AD (though this date is there is more to St. Patrick’s Day than these disputed), about a year after St Palladius things. He was an actual person that God began his mission to the same land. There used in a mighty way to carry the messsage were also other missionaries who were of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to a land active on the southeast coast, but it was St that had not been successfully evangelized. Patrick who had the greatest inﬂuence and Saint Patrick, the Enlightener of Ireland, success in preaching the Gospel of Christ. was born around 385 AD, the son of Therefore, he is known as “The Enlightener Calpurnius, a Roman decurion (an oﬃcial of Ireland.” responsible for collecting taxes). He lived in His autobiographical Confession tells of the village of Bannavem Taberniae, which the many trials and disappointments he may have been located at the endured. Patrick had once mouth of the Severn River in conﬁded to a friend that he Wales. Pirates raided the district was troubled by a certain sin he when Patrick was sixteen, and had committed before he was he was one of those taken ﬁfteen years old. The friend captive. He was brought to assured him of God’s mercy, Ireland and sold as a slave, and and even supported Patrick’s was put to work as a herder of nomination as bishop. Later, swine on a mountain identiﬁed he turned against him and with Slemish in County Antrim. revealed what Patrick had told During his period of slavery, him in an attempt to prevent Patrick acquired a proﬁciency his consecration. Many years St. Patrick’s grave in the Irish language, which, later, Patrick still grieved and providentially, was very useful to him in his prayed for his dear friend who had publicly later mission. shamed him. St Patrick founded many churches During his solitude on the mountain, St. Patrick spent a lot of his time in prayer. It and monasteries across Ireland, but the was at this time he had two visions. In the conversion of the Irish people was no easy ﬁrst, he was told he would return to his task. There was much hostility, and he was home and in the second he learned his ship assaulted several times. He faced danger, was ready for the journey. Setting oﬀ on and insults, and he was reproached for foot, Patrick walked two hundred miles to being a foreigner and a former slave. There the coast. There he succeeded in boarding a was also a very real possibility that the ship, and returned to his parents in Britain. pagans would try to kill him. Despite many Some time later, he went to Gaul and obstacles, he remained faithful to his calling, studied for the priesthood at Auxerre and he baptized many people into Christ. under St Germanus. Eventually, he was St. Patrick wrote letters and songs telling consecrated as a bishop, and was entrusted of his endeavors. The Epistle to Coroticus with the mission to Ireland. Before his is considered by many to be an authentic journey, Patrick had a dream in which an work. In it he denounces the attack of angel came to him bearing many letters. Coroticus’ men on one of his congregations. Selecting one inscribed “The Voice of the ‘The Breastplate’ (Lorica) is also attributed Irish,” he heard the Irish entreating him to to St Patrick and is sung by many diﬀerent come back to them. With this song burning traditions during the year. In his writings, in his heart, he prepared for his missionary we can see St Patrick’s awareness that he task. was called by God and his determination and Although St Patrick achieved remarkable humility in undertaking his missionary work.
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Quite often he refers to himself as “a sinner,” “the most ignorant and of least account,” and as someone who was “despised by many.” Humbly, he ascribes his success to God, rather than to his own talents: “I owe it to God’s grace that through me so many people should be born again to Him.” By the time he established his episcopal See in Armargh in 444 AD, St Patrick had other bishops to assist him, many native priests and deacons, and he encouraged the growth of monasticism. St Patrick is often depicted holding a shamrock, or with snakes ﬂeeing from him (many attribute St. Patrick for the) He used the shamrock to illustrate the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. Its three leaves growing out of a single stem helped him to explain the concept of one God in three Persons to native islanders. And there is also the wellknown tradition that St. Patrick drove all the snakes of our Ireland! After laboring faithfully in the Lord’s vineyard in Ireland, St Patrick died on March 17, 461 (some say 492). There are various accounts of his last days, but they are mostly legendary. Muirchu says that no one knows the place where St Patrick is buried. St Columba of Iona says that the Holy Spirit revealed to him that Patrick was buried at Saul, the site of his ﬁrst church. A granite slab was placed at his traditional gravesite in Downpatrick in 1899. As we approach the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, let us remember how God used him in Ireland. Reﬂecting on his work should also remind us that there is still work to be done. May we see the vineyards around as being green and ripe for the harvest.
of Ireland St. Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer
St. Patrick used the clover to explain the Trinity.
I bind unto myself today The strong name of the Trinity, By invocation of the same, The Three in One and One in Three. I bind this day to me for ever, By power of faith, Christ’s Incarnation; His baptism in the Jordan River; His death on cross for my salvation; His bursting from the spicèd tomb; His riding up the heavenly way; His coming at the day of doom; I bind unto myself today.
Against the demon snares of sin, The vice that gives temptation force, The natural lusts that war within, The hostile men that mar my course; Or few or many, far or nigh, In every place and in all hours Against their fierce hostility, I bind to me these holy powers.
I bind unto myself the power Of the great love of the Cherubim; The sweet ‘Well done’ in judgment hour; The service of the Seraphim, Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word, The Patriarchs’ prayers, the Prophets’ scrolls, All good deeds done unto the Lord, And purity of virgin souls.
Against all Satan’s spells and wiles, Against false words of heresy, Against the knowledge that defiles, Against the heart’s idolatry, Against the wizard’s evil craft, Against the death-wound and the burning The choking wave and the poisoned shaft, Protect me, Christ, till thy returning.
I bind unto myself today The virtues of the starlit heaven, The glorious sun’s life-giving ray, The whiteness of the moon at even, The flashing of the lightning free, The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks, The stable earth, the deep salt sea, Around the old eternal rocks. I bind unto myself today The power of God to hold and lead, His eye to watch, His might to stay, His ear to hearken to my need. The wisdom of my God to teach, His hand to guide, his shield to ward, The word of God to give me speech, His heavenly host to be my guard.
Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger. I bind unto myself the name, The strong name of the Trinity; By invocation of the same. The Three in One, and One in Three, Of whom all nature hath creation, Eternal Father, Spirit, Word: Praise to the Lord of my salvation, Salvation is of Christ the Lord.
Teen Talk 20-Something Ideas
For Youth Ministry Field Trips 1. Monastery Pilgrimage: One of the most valuable experiences a youth can have is to spend a day or two in the monastic environment to see how deeply Christianity can be lived. 2. Service Project: Help at a homeless shelter, food co-op, or building project. 3. Nursing Home or Hospital: Visiting the sick and inﬁrm needs to be taught early. 4. Youth Choir Trip to Other Parishes: Some youth organizations are already recording and publishing their choir’s performances.
5. Camp-Out: Spend an overnight or weekend stay in the woods and under the stars.
6. Retreat at Camp / Retreat Center: This is like a camp-out but with more of the comforts of home such as beds and bathrooms!
7. Cemetery: Remember the departed and learn about ancestors by tending graves at cemeteries where parishioners are buried.
Prayer, Quantum Physics and Hotel Mattresses God’s creation is intimately intertwined that we cannot separate the visible from the invisible. The unseen— thoughts, emotions, and matters of the Spirit—has dramatic impact on the seen—the stuff we deal with every day. Prayer, Quantum Physics, and Hotel Mattresses strives to integrate the visible and invisible aspects of life: prayer, representing the spiritual and relational side of life; quantum physics, representing the fundamental and scientiﬁc aspects of ultimate reality and the physical world in which we live; and hotel mattresses, representing the everyday stuff and situations to which we apply our faith. Jim Berge is a local self-professed armchair physicist, a lover of God, student of the ultimate origins of the universe, and by trade a robotics engineer and consultant. He is a frequent speaker and author on the topic of robotics, technology, and manufacturing. Jim has been a follower of Jesus virtually his entire life, never remembering a time when he did not know and trust Jesus as his Savior and Master. He is constantly pursuing a deeper relationship with the Ultimate Scientist: the God who created the cosmos yet loves His children intimately. He lives in Shreveport, Louisiana with his amazing wife Kayla and his son Bax.
8. Amusement Park: This is a classic youth outing. There is often a park within two to three hours of most communities.
9. Museum: Large exhibits of Orthodox art, Russian, Byzantine, and others, have become more popular and widespread. 10. Sporting Event: Go to watch or to play! 11. Science or Nature Center: With interactive exhibits, these are particularly
good for younger groups. Exhibits ranging from high-tech to complete wilderness can entertain all ages.
12. Youth March: Youth have something to say about issues of justice, so “let your light shine.”
13. Movie: You can choose either a current feature that is of interest to your youth ministry or arrange for a special showing of another ﬁlm. Be sure to preview the movie before showing it to a group.
14. Concert: Whether secular or religious music, there are many free and open-air concerts in cities during the summer months.
15. Fair or Festival: The local town fair, a block party, or an ethnic festival,
can be great opportunities for teens to go, have fun, volunteer, or run their own booth.
16. Zoo, Aquarium, or Botanical Garden: These trips are great for days with good weather by offering a variety of shows as well as wandering time to keep youth interested. 17. Waterfront: Beaches, lakes, and even pools and water parks are always great places for fun and fellowship. Be prepared for sunburn! 18. Dinner / Banquet: It can be a dinner cruise, barbecue at family fun parks,
or a formal affair.
19. Education / Career Planning at a University: This type of outing is very good for high school teens looking to make decisions about the future.
20. Workshop with Local Artist, Educator, Activity Instructor: This is a great way to gain new experiences, insights, and skills.
21. Ice Cream Social or Picnic: This is very simple, traditional idea. It is something that doesn’t require too much organization and a good place to start for any youth group.
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It’s a New Day at First Baptist Shreveport! After a 2-1⁄2 year search, First Baptist Church Shreveport will welcome a new Senior Pastor to its pulpit. Dr. Jeffrey A. Raines, formerly Associate Pastor of First Baptist Church, Amarillo, will be installed as the 21st pastor of the historic Shreveport church on Sunday, March 4, 2012 during the 10:30 a.m. Worship Service. Dr. Brian Harbour, FBC Shreveport Interim Pastor and Dr. Howard Batson, FBC Amarillo Senior Pastor will take part in the installation service. Dr. Raines was overwhelmingly accepted in a called Church Conference Meeting on January 8, following the morning Worship Service, during which he preached before the congregation for the �irst time. In presenting the Senior Pastor Search Committee’s formal recommendation to the church, Chairman John Odom Jr., said, “We are unanimous in our conviction that God has led us to this man and that He has placed it on this man’s heart to come and lead our congregation.... We believe strongly that your patience and faithfulness is about to be rewarded.” Jeff and his wife Darcie are both graduates of Baylor University. Jeff also has a Master’s of Divinity degree from Truett Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from Princeton Theological Seminary. The Raines are parents to two precious sons, Mark, 9, and Bereket, 3. The boys will be attending First Baptist Church School. Dr. Raines told the congregation, “We are excited about the future of First Baptist Shreveport and are honored to be part of such a great congregation. We look forward to God’s work in this church in the days to come.” Jeff has a heart-felt passion for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and he states that his “calling and passion is to pursue God’s mission by engaging and equipping the church to proclaim Christ in word and deed.”
We invite you to join us in welcoming the Raines Family to FBC and our community.
Staying Connected I will start out by saying that parenting a teenager is complex. Their maturity levels are in between childhood and adulthood, and they are wrestling with both sets of emotions. One minute they want to roll their friends’ trees with toilet paper and have shaving cream ﬁghts and the next, they are demanding to be treated like an adult and want the keys to your car. I can remember as a teenager thinking my parents knew nothing about what I was going through, or that anyone in the world knew for that matter. As adults/parents, we do seem to forget what being a teenager feels like and stop relating to the teenagers in our homes. I was in Youth Ministry for almost thirteen years and one thing I know for sure is that teens just want to have fun! That is one reason we lose touch with our teens. We, as adults think that life has to be serious all of the time. Or, maybe we have forgotten how to enjoy the simple things in life. Whatever the reason, as a majority, we are not staying connected to our teens. We are busy people, trying to juggle a lot of diﬀerent responsibilities. This issue has been weighing on my heart lately because I too, have a teenager. He will be ﬁfteen in a few weeks and he is changing so fast. His focus is friends, girls and video games most of the time and not necessarily in that order! He is a good boy, but man does he give me attitude sometimes. (If I could insert a face rolling his eyes, here is where I would do it.) Everything I say is met with ATTITUDE! I ﬁnd it strange that a group of 30-40 teens that I am in charge of, think I am “cool”, and my own child thinks I am an embarrassment. Just listening to him, you would think I am holding him hostage and he is an indentured servant! I do not always respond to him in the thick of it, the way that I should. I too can give him attitude and sarcasm in return. The truth is I don’t always know what to do with him. When we are always battling, it honestly hurts my heart. I just want him to cooperate and do what I tell him to do. He has been through a whole lot with his parents divorcing, etc. I know too that as a mother, I don’t always understand what is going through that head of his, because I have never been a teenage boy. I feel that he is just trying to ﬁnd his way of dealing with life and its pressures in a healthy way. Teens have heightened emotions. When they are happy, they are very happy. When they are sad, their world is coming to an end. They tend to hang with their friends because these are the people they feel can relate to them most. I have learned through working with teens that seeking them out to talk about the little happenings in their life means a whole lot to them. When there is more time spent on small things, they run to you with the big things. Our teens need us. They need our life experience to teach them how to work through tough situations. They need us to love on them. They want us to trust and listen to them. But, we tend to pull away because they give us a little attitude and we get our feelings hurt. They just need to learn that bad attitudes will not get them what they want out of life. God tells us to love one another. He tells us to continually forgive one another. This is easier said than done. I encourage you to never stop trying to connect to your teen....it is well worth the eﬀort.
Single Mom, Shreveport, LA
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Public Service Announcement Join Central Assembly of God for
In Concert Sunday, March 4, 2012 at 6:00 PM Central Assembly of God 700 Highway 80 “The Church of The Cross” (next to LA Downs Racetrack) Haughton, Louisiana 71037 Rev. Andy Harris, Pastor
Admission is free. A love offering will be received. For more information contact: (318) 949-0010.
GREEK EASTER BREAD SALE The Ladies Philoptochos Society of St. George Greek Orthodox Church will hold its Greek Easter Bread sale on
Thursday, April 5, 2012.
Advance orders are highly recommended and the only way to guarantee your selection. Two styles of tsourekia, Greek Easter sweet bread, are offered: a braided loaf and a braided round loaf with a red Easter egg in the middle. Greek pastry favorites pistachio baklava and koulourakia, butter tea cookies, are also for sale.
Preorders are to be picked up the day of the sale,
April 5, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
at the St. George Activities Center, 542 Wichita St. in Shreveport. To phone in your order, request a form or for more information, call
ph (318) 747-4478, fax (318) 861-3255, or visit the St. George website at
(order form is available on the site). Proceeds from the sale fund the Philoptochos’ many charitable activities such as the Providence House, Salvation Army, Philadelphia House, Children’s Cardiac Program, Caddo Council on Aging, Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission and others.
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Helping Children A
girl of seven lingered after the rest of the Church school students had left the classroom. Something was clearly bothering her, and she wanted to tell her teacher about it. The teacher put down the papers she had gathered up in preparation for leaving, and gave the child her full attention. “I’m having trouble with God,” the girl said. “Why did He let my dad lose his job and make my family so sad?” How can we help children who are having “trouble with God?” Finding out what’s on their minds. Activities like the following can help discover what children are thinking about, particularly if you suspect that one or more are worried about something.
• Hands Up. Ask children to raise their hands if they agree with a statement like, “People get sick because they have done something bad.” • Finish the Sentence. Have children complete a sentence, such as, “I get scared when...” or “I wonder why....” • Draw a Feeling. Have children draw faces to match emotions you suggest. These activities should generate discussion, and may offer valuable insights to help guide children. For example, a child who writes, “I wonder why my big sister gets to go to bed later than I do” is expressing normal sibling complaints. But if a child writes, “I wonder why people die from thirst like the kids I saw on television,” there is a deeper issue, a deeper disturbance, to be addressed. A teacher who had asked his students to draw a face showing “surprise” noted that one child had drawn what looked like terror. He was able to talk with her about a nighttime break-in at her home a few years earlier. It was still bothering the child, though
the family had assumed she was “over it.” Another way of �nding out what children are feeling and thinking is to give them means of identifying with and expressing emotions. Have children look at the icon of Christ on the cross, and ask what the other people in the icon are feeling. Establish that the people (and even the angels) are sad because Jesus is suffering, and He is their beloved friend. Children can then talk about their own experiences of loss and, perhaps, of seeing people they love suffer. Stories can help, too. Ask children to talk about how the
to do so. Realize ,too, that a cild may need to revisit and retell the sad event. Talking about it a single time might not be enough. Share some of your own experiences of having “trouble with God.” Knowing that you pray and have faith when you have doubted or felt unsure of God’s presence will help children to do likewise.
• Prayer. Encourage troubled children to
pray during the day.Basic to our Tradition is “Lord, have mercy.” Assure them that you are praying for them. If possible, get in touch with them during the week to remind them that you are praying, and that you hope they are praying, too
• Be approachable. Let children know that you won’t be shocked or turned off by anything they want to tell you. The teacher of the sevenyear-old who was having trouble with God father felt when his prodigal son returned. was like this. As a result, the teacher was Remind them that, like that father, God is able to give comfort and to say that we can always ready to forgive us and welcome us trust God even when we don’t understand back when we are sorry for the bad things things. The adult’s willingness to listen was we do that take us away from Him. a model of God’s care and trust for that Being of real help. Here are some ideas student. that will prove helpful in such situations. • “Listen and repeat!” Tell children over • Choose your words carefully. Don’t and over again that God loves them, no say, “God needed a good singer in heaven, so matter what. We will never “get” everything He took your grandmother because she had that happens in life – as children or as adults such a beautiful voice.” Rather, assure the – but He knows everything and is always child that he or she will see grandmother working for our good. That is His promise, again in God’s Kingdom, so that he or she will and it is our sure hope. not be led to believe that God is an enemy who takes away the people and things we love most. In the same vein, don’t tell a child that seeing grandma again will only happen chairs the OCA’s “if you are good.” Offer reassurance. Department of Christian Education
• Let grieving happen naturally. After
major loss, children need time to grieve, and it’s better to be sympathetic than to try to “jolly them” out of sadness, or to encourage them to smile when they may not be ready
Preaching from the last words of our Lord, God and Savior on Good Friday is quite common in western churches. In the medieval period preachers emphasized the darkness and desolation. Later they stressed the overwhelming love poured out from Christ’s glorious sacriﬁce. In any case the emotions of all Christians are brought to a climax by the Son of God’s sublime act of mercy and forgiveness. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” [Luke 23:34]. How could our Lord Jesus utter those words from His Cross at that moment? He taught us to turn the other cheek, but His forgiveness transcends that deed. This is beyond human nature. Only a God can do that. He was enduring suﬀering and agony, but they showed Him no pity. He instead pleads to His Father not to hold it against them. Indeed, they had no concept of the horror they were bringing on themselves, and yet Jesus was praying for them as He had for Judas. If He could do that, what of us? “Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise” [Luke 23:43]. From facing forward, He looks to His right and wins the soul of a common criminal. Not both. One must want what He oﬀers, but despite the past with its sins, conversion is possible from One who is more eager to grant it than the one who receives it with appreciation. “Woman, behold your son.....Behold your mother!” [John 19:26-27]. Then, looking down on the few who had the courage and compassion to share His grief and anguish, He provides for the welfare of His suﬀering mother. A little trinity of love binds her with Him and the disciple whom He loved. They would not be alone, and they would come to know that He would be closer to them than when He lived in the same home and ate at the same table. This adoption no state charter could match. From that time on the apostle John took the Mother of God into his own home. “Eli [Eloi] Lama sabachthani. My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” [Matthew 27:46]. This time He looks upward and reaches inward where the Father and Holy Spirit are as alive there
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as they had been eternally in the Kingdom. Why this seemingly confusing prayer? Because it is the start of the Psalm 22 that opens onto the identiﬁcation with all Adam and Eve’s children who have known the feeling of forsakenness. From that moment, none could ever say and mean, “You cannot know, Lord, what I feel.” He did and He does. The ultimate abandonment. And the psalm includes a note of faith, joy and triumph: “For He has not despised or disdained the suﬀering of the aﬄicted one; He has not hidden His face from him but has listened to his cry of help” [v.24]. “I thirst” [John 19-28]. Finally He acknowledges His own excruciating suﬀering. Who of us can imagine the sensation of one cruciﬁed who had shed an enormous amount of blood from the beatings and abuse, adding the great perspiration from the baking sun. Many metaphors are lifted: “Thirst for righteousness,” “Living water,” “they gave me gall to drink...” but the reality is one of intense thirst, as real and horrible as that. “It is ﬁnished” [Tetelesthai] (completed, consummated, accomplished, achieved) [John 19:30]. The goal of the Holy Trinity for the salvation of humankind is fulﬁlled. Now for the glorious ascension and the return to the right hand of the Father, as we celebrate the Ascension feast. “Father, unto Your hands I commend My spirit” [Luke 23:46]. Who would dare attempt to explain the awesome mystery of salvation? What can we mortals add that would dare to interrupt the sublime time for meditation? We can only allude to the awesome entrance with the precious Gifts of the Presanctiﬁed Liturgy, since we have no human words to describe this poignant mystery of the Son of God’s return to where He had been before the awesome kenosis, choosing to enter time and space, to live as a human from birth to death on the cross. “Let all mortal ﬂesh be silent, for the King of Glory now enters, the mystical sacriﬁce all accomplished.”
Rev. Vladimir Berzonsky
CHONDA PIERCE & NATALIE GRANT
An Evening with MICHAEL W. SMITH
Word of God Ministries 6645 Bert Kouns Industrial Loop, Shreveport A Night of Laughter & Song - 7:00 p.m. With Special Guest Warren Bar�eld Tickets available at www.iTickets.com $20 Group Tickets NO FEES! Charge by Phone 724.744.3524 For More Information: www.genexconcerts.com
First Baptist Bossier 2810 E. Texas St. Bossier City WONDER WORSHIP & GLORY - 7:00 p.m. Tickets available at www.iTickets.com, www. genexconcerts.com or call 724-744-3524 $20 Super Group Tickets
11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Barnes & Noble Bayou Walk 6646 Youree Dr. Shreveport, LA 71105 (318) 798-6066
BRIAN FREE AND ASSURANCE
BOOK SIGNING and Q & A
Prayer, Quantum Physics, and Hotel Mattresses
First Baptist Church 1710 McArthur Drive Mans�eld, La 71052 WOMEN OF FAITH This is a FREE Shreveport Municipal Auditorium concert! Come The event is free and open to the public. Suitable for all ages. 10:00 a.m. Join us for this one day event out to hear the March 26 featuring popular speaker and Bible teacher, most recognized WHAT’S COOKING? Sheila Walsh Southern gospel tenor of our generation! Tickets: VIP Section $79 General Admission For more information, contact Rhonda Cox at Eat Out for Heart of Hope, $59 a Sanctuary for Women 318-990-1495 www.womenoﬀaith.com/events on the last Monday of the month JOHN BEVERE For more information, call 1.888.493.2484 Bistro Byronz 6:30pm 6104 Line Avenue Shreveport at Word of Life Center Monday 5:00-9:00 www.WordofLifeCenter.org Make a reservation and dine out. A percentage of your meal will go directly to the ministry
FREE 10 AND UNDER TENNIS FESTIVAL
WINTER JAM 2012
CenturyLink Center, Bossier City Only $10 at the Door! No Tickets Required! Featuring SKILLET, SANCTUS REAL, PETER FURLER, KARI JOBE, NEWSONG, BUILDING 429, GROUP1CREW, Speaker NICK HALL, Illusionist BROCK GILL PRE-JAM PARTY SARA MACLEAN, WE AS HUMAN, FOR KING & COUNTRY, plus Special Guests VeggieTales BOB & LARRY
1-4 pm Bossier Tennis Center Benton Rd. north of I-220 just past Brownlee Rd behind Brownlee Park Fun for all with tennis games, speed and coordination drills, door prizes, face painting, snacks and more. Stop by for an hour or stay the whole time. If you sign up in advance you will receive a gift upon arrival and registration. Call the Bossier Tennis Center for more information: 318-213-2108
To submit calendar listings, send information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the name of the event, date and time, venue address, short description, appropriate age range, fee, phone number and website address. Submissions are listed on a space-available basis. Weʼd love to include high-resolutions photos, as well. Deadline for the April Calendar is March15.
A Church goer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday.”I’ve gone for 30 years now,” he wrote, “and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can’t remember a single one of them. So, I think I’m wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all.”
This started a real controversy in the “Letters to the Editor” column, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher:
“I’ve been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this. They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!”
Quips and Quotes
“Hate stirs up strife but love covereth all offenses.”
“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction.” 2 Timothy 4:1-2 “Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart.” Philippians 4:6
“Love every man in spite of his falling into sin. Never mind the sins, but remember that the foundation of the man is the same - the image of God.” St. John of Kronstadt
“He who has the Son has life.”
1 John 5:12
“But I say to you,” the Lord says, “love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, pray for those who persecute you.” Why did he command t h e s e things? So that he might free you from hatred, sadness, anger and grudges, and might grant you the greatest possession of all, perfect love, which is impossible to possess except by the one who loves all equally in imitation of God. St. Maximus the Confessor
Faith and Family
“He has shown you, O mortal what is good; and what does the LORD require of you? but to do justice, to live kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”
Ark-la-tex Crisis Pregnancy Center 14 Ashley Ridge Imaging 2 Abbott 20 24 Barksdale Federal Credit Union Barksdale Baptist Church 6 Broadmoor Baptist 6 23 Carl Cochran Cosse 18 9 First Bapist Shreveport Gospel Clown Ministry 9 Learning Rx 15 5 LifeWay Litton Mortgage 23 5, 16 Miracle 89.1 OCA Bossier Mission 10 5 Ratcliff Animal Hospital 6 Rooster’s Hot Sauce Sessibeau 9 Sci-port 7 Time It Lube 20
St. Patrick’s Day Parade Saturday, March 17, 2012 Noon Broadmoor Neighborhood
(Beginning and ending at the corner of Albany and Anniston) Visit www.4Shreveport.org for more information
Proverbs 21:20 Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaks with deceit. With his mouth each speaks cordially to his neighbor, but in his heart he sets a trap for him. Keywords