studiogmag.com | Fall 2011
Gateway Women’s Magazine
Greenwood Intimacy God’s Way
Confidently Trusting and Obeying
Our Choices Have
“Snowmaggedon” Helped Me Find Freedom!
My Life Felt Like a
t c e n Con ith Pink
PASSIONATE about knowing God.
POSITIONED to love extravagantly.
PURPOSEFUL about our destiny.
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IN EVERY ISSUE 6 CONTRIBUTORS 7 FYI “10 Things” and DIY 10 OUTREACH Pink Voice 11 SPICE Fall Favorites 28 FITNESS Mind Your Workout 34 PULSE 10 Titles to Pick Up Now
Spotlight 15 Jan Greenwood: Confidently Trusting and Obeying by Stacy Burnett
FEATURES 8 The Power of Choice
“I knew everything had changed. I knew God was moving on my behalf.” by Lynda Grove
12 Marriage Will
“I will” make healthy changes in my marriage! by Rebecca Wilson
14 A Piece of Home
Part June Cleaver, part Kool-Aid mom and part frazzled friend. by Barbara Coots
21 Getting Spiritually Fit
Learn how to have a deeper and healthier spiritual walk. by Rebecca Pfortmiller
22 The Ride of Your Life
“Everything was changing, but I had to choose to trust the One who never changes.” by Linda Godsey
24 Extending His Care
The universal call to care for others. by Marie Brown
26 Jocelyn’s Warrior
See yourself through God’s eyes. by Kassie Dulin
30 Sexually Healthy
How is your sexual health? by Nancy Houston
32 Freedom In The Most Unlikely Place
“The Enemy had been whispering in my ear for nearly my entire life.” by Allison Roberts
33 Read Your Male
Ways to relate to your husband. by Blynda Lane
29 Confidence In Conflict
How you can be confident in your ability to resolve disagreements. by Mallory Bassham
Fall 2011 3
Gateway Women’s Magazine
Fall 2011 Editor-in-Chief
Debbie Morris Managing Editor
Stacy Burnett Senior Editor
s. George Thomas Editor
allison Roberts Associate Editor
Joyce Freeman Content Manager
Jan Greenwood Senior Creative Director
Paul Sirmon Art Director/Designer
Micah Joiner Junior Designer
Find new and exclusive articles, fun and exciting videos and, best of all, easier ways for you to stay up-to-date on the latest Studio G news. What’s more, you can check out all of our past issues of Studio G.
It’s a whole new way to enjoy Studio G … visit studiogmag.com today!
a note from the editor
When I was six years old, Billy Graham invaded my space. It was the mid-sixties. I was visiting my grandparents home in East Texas for some much-needed r&r from my stressful life as a six-year-old kid. My cousins lived across the state highway, and I was so excited about playing with them. We spent the day working hard and helping with the garden and other projects. After dinner had been served and the dishes cleaned, I expected to have some free time to play. But that’s when it happened. Although my grandparents lived in a rural area, they still enjoyed the latest technology—a party line telephone and a black and white television that offered three viewing stations. On this particular night, Billy Graham had the audacity to air his crusade on tv. My grandmother was a God-fearing, church-planting, piano-playing Jesus freak, and her philosophy was that if God’s Word was being preached, we needed to revere the moment with our full attention. (Looking back at that night, I breathe a sigh of relief that this was a long time before 24/7 Christian television existed.) My grandmother insisted that we sit down on their red sofa and watch the crusade like we were in church— no playing, no talking and (in my opinion) no fun. Although my grandfather was not a particularly religious man, he was well able to enforce Granny’s wishes when it came to children (having raised six boys together who had given them 18 grandkids). He sat to the side of us with his flyswatter in hand ready to swat the occasional pesky fly or the rowdy hooligan sitting on the red sofa. After we watched Billy Graham, I thought: Surely we’ll have time now to play before bedtime. Wrong! The Billy Graham crew had purchased airtime on another station, which started 30 minutes later. This was evil! True to her convictions, we had to watch the same message all over again. Now! Finally! I thought, hoping we would be released from church to go play before bed. Wrong again! The geniuses in Billy Graham’s organization had figured out a way to make it impossible to watch television that night without seeing the crusade, because thirty minutes later, Billy Graham was airing on the third channel! I really don’t remember what he said. I just wanted to play. As it ended, I thought: Finally! We’re out of stations, so maybe now we’ll have a few minutes to play. Wrong again! My grandmother then restated the gospel message and asked us if we wanted to get saved. With no positive responses, she then proceeded to pray with us individually. The entire evening of fun I had been looking forward to was spent “playing” church, which I didn’t consider fun at all. A few years later, after my grandmother died of cancer, I became hungry to know more about the God of my grandmother. When an evangelist came to our church with the same familiar gospel message spoken by Billy Graham and my grandmother, I made a choice to believe. I believed that I was a sinner worthy of death for my sins. I believed that Jesus paid the price for my sins. I believed that if I asked God to, He would save me. That was not only the best decision of my life, it was also my birthplace of believing. But that one choice to believe didn’t immediately put me on a conveyor belt that automatically moved me from one point of belief to another. No, I have to have daily pinch points in which I ask myself: Will I choose to believe or not believe? I’ve also learned that before I really believe I have to decide to believe. King David knew this truth and that’s why the Psalms are loaded with heart declarations—he constantly had to tell his heart what to believe. As you read through this issue of Studio G, I pray you will be inspired to make godly heart declarations of your own. Blessings,
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Lynda Grove, the Associate Pastor of Pink, is also known
Kassie Dulin is an outgoing twentysomething who loves zebra
as “Mamma Mia,” because of her love for Italian cooking. A mother of four and wife of Kevin, she’s passionate about seeing women valued and encouraged. She plays a mean game of Farkle, loves to travel and was born to shop.
print, Starbucks and Jesus. She is passionate about teaching women to fall in love with Jesus and live for Him. Kassie is the Creative Director of MasterPlan Ministries and will fulfill a lifelong dream by traveling to Africa this fall.
Nancy Houston is an Associate Pastor of Unity (Gateway
Linda Godsey is one of the Freedom Pastors at Gateway. She’s
Married Life) and an lpc and Certified Christian Sex Therapist. She is married to Ron, her high school sweetheart, and is the mother of four married sons and grandmother of two grandbabies, Titus and Lola. Nancy loves to hang out with her family, have tricycle races with Titus and hold Lola for as long as possible.
Blynda Lane is a thrill-seeker who loves sky diving, bungee
jumping, scuba diving and snow skiing. She appears on The Blessed Life, is seen weekly on Gateway tv and is a women’s conference speaker. She is married to the love of her life, Todd, and they have three wonderful children.
Rebecca Wilson is the Pastor of Unity (Gateway Married
Life) and was in practice as a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist for 15 years. She and her husband, Dick, have been married for 37 years. They have two married sons and four grandchildren.
Mallory Bassham worked in the mortgage business for
years. She now oversees Pink Groups at Gateway where she and her husband have been members for more than seven years. Mallory has a heart to see women connect with God and each other as they fulfill their destiny and walk out their passion.
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also known as “The Velvet Hammer,” a name given to her because of her ability to communicate hard truth in a loving, compassionate way. Her passion is the message of freedom whether it’s writing, speaking, training or ministry to individuals.
Rebecca Pfortmiller is a Worship Pastor at Gateway who
oversees all vocal training for weekend worship teams. She also mentors Gateway Worship’s amazing female members. Don’t be fooled by her highheels; she loves boxing and weightlifting and is passionate about health.
Barbara Coots works at The Seed Company, worships at Gateway nrh, and leads a Pink Group in Arlington. Marie Brown is the Pastor of Relational Care at Gateway,
ministering to people who have experienced difficult life events or families celebrating the birth or adoption of a child. She is married to her high school sweetheart, Bill, and loves playing the piano, reading the classics and playing with her daughter, Frances.
Photography by Scott Cornelius | scottcornelius.net
DIY: Flower Pin studio fyi
By Laura Burciaga
Gather your supplies: polyester silk, green felt, pins, stick-on rhinestones, scissors, a glue gun and a candle.
Cut 3-4 concentric circles out of the silk. I did 4 circles and didn’t even measure them.
Carefully singe the edges of the silk until it starts curling up. It’s ok if you burn them too much; this can be trimmed off.
Using your glue gun, affix the layers together. Attach the rhinestones to the center of the flower. You could also use beads, buttons or any other doo-dads.
1. It’s time for you to get a pedicure. 2. You look a little pale today. Are you sick or did you just not put on makeup this morning? 3. You’re not going to wear that, are you? 4. Your feet stink. 5. You really need to wax your lip. 6. You’re acting like your mother. 7. That outfit is so last year! 8. You need a mint.
Cut leaves out of the felt. Also, cut out a circle that will go on the back of the flower. Glue them to the back of the flower.
9. Your hair is a mess today! 10. You’re a grouch! Is it that time of the month? Information gathered in an unscientific poll of Studio G readers.
This flower pin is so easy to make!
Laura Burciaga is on staff at Gateway Church in Membership Services. She has been married to Ismael Burciaga, Creative Director at Church Media, for four years. Laura is a house enthusiast and you can follow her decorating adventures at lauraburciaga.com.
Fall 2011 7
solutions for the soul
By Lynda Grove
Have you ever awakened from a blissful sleep only to find your feet landing on the wrong side of the bed? You open your eyes, your feet barely brush against the carpet, and it begins. Nothing seems to fall into place. What usually takes only a moment to accomplish explodes into a rippling multitude of turmoil and bad attitudes. You find yourself scolding the dryer for not fully drying the blouse you planned to wear, tripping over the dog, running late and hopelessly searching for your missing keys. And it always seems like those are the days when you’re bombarded with a defeating onslaught of unwelcomed events all day long.
It’s choice, not chance, that determines your destiny. Jean Nidetch (founder of Weight Watchers)
In the Psalms, we see David express his frustrations, fears and failures in the midst of similar days and seasons in his life. But, he seems to have discovered a rhythm—a hidden secret—to walking through the difficult moments. Chapter after chapter, we watch him exercise the hidden discipline of … choice. As David records the inner turmoil of his private moments, we get the privilege of peering into his innermost choices. One moment he’s crying out with every fiber of his being; the next he’s exulting in the marvelous acts God will do on his behalf. David chooses to believe God’s faithfulness; therefore he declares his confidence in Him. David sets his anchor in the bedrock of God’s faithfulness, and that choice steers him through whatever circumstances he finds himself in.
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When everything within him is dry, he basks in the refreshing stream of God’s unfailing mercy. Encircled by his enemies, David declares that God is his strong fortress. Rejoicing in God’s love, he determines to seek Him with all his heart. In the midst of battle, he declares victory long before his triumph comes. Throughout the Psalms, we see David disciplining himself and choosing to seek, believe, wait, hope, trust, forgive, stand and praise. Why? Because David had discovered the hidden power of choice. In Psalms, we see the power of choice up close as David records his daily—almost momentby-moment—choices to set his bearing by the faithfulness of God. Whatever obstacle was thrown in his path, he resolutely chose to believe and his determination became his declaration.
solutions for the soul
Your choices set your course and determine your path. The choices you make ultimately lead and guide you. That’s why the Scriptures tell us, “As a man thinks in his heart so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). When you make a conscious, deliberate choice, it becomes the foundation of your ability to stand and to be still in the face of overwhelming circumstances. Your choices also establish your belief system. It’s easy to be driven by whims and emotions, but when you begin to understand the power of your choices, you become empowered to consistently rise above any unbelief or doubt that comes your way. Instead of wavering on God’s perfect love and complete protection, you’re strengthened by your confidence in His faithfulness. Just a few years ago, I was walking through one of the most difficult trials I had ever faced. When all hope was gone, I remember standing in a worship service unable to sing. I had no words. Caught off-guard by circumstances that left me feeling abandoned by God, I was completely void of emotion, no crying rose from my heart. I didn’t have anything to give. But in that moment, I made a choice and declared: “I will stand.” I’ll never forget that moment. I knew everything had changed. I knew God was moving on my behalf. Every day, I face choices. Some are subtle, some are complex, some are complicated by emotions and confused by obscurity. There are days when it’s simple—I wake to His presence and enjoy His goodness or look up from the chaos and remember: “Today is the day the Lord has made, and I will rejoice!” Other days, it takes every ounce of my courage to declare: “I will trust You.” Because I know that whether it’s now or later, He always comes through. Regardless of what kind of day it is or how I’m feeling, I have determined that when my feet hit the ground, I am going to declare my confident trust in His faithfulness.
Here are some declarations to help you stand. • I will choose You. • I will wait on You. • I will praise You. • I will see the salvation of the Lord. • I will seek You. • I will trust You. • I will believe You. • Because I have set my love on You, You will deliver me. • I will cry out to You. • I will stand on Your Word.
• I will humble myself. • I will forgive. • You will accomplish all that concerns me. • Your goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. • I will not fear. • You will never leave me or forsake me. • I will not be moved.
• As for me and my house, we will serve You.
Fall 2011 9
by Jan Greenwood
Give the greatest gift.
Have you ever wondered if you have what it takes to make a difference? Well, let me settle it for you … you do! From the moment of your birth, you’ve been making a difference in all kinds of ways. From the moment of your second birth—salvation—you’ve been equipped with a supernatural compassion and power that can see and meet needs of all kinds— big or small. You possess the great capacity to contribute to the good of others and live a life that matters. Here are few helpful hints to get started!
Just begin. No money? No time? No direction? No worries! Just step out and do something out of simple kindness. Open the door for a mom with kids. Smile at a stranger in the grocery line. Let someone merge into traffic ahead of you. Small contributions add up and make big impacts. Ordinary people make extraordinary differences. Just think about it … it doesn’t cost us a thing to praise another, pray for another or prefer another.
Why do you want to make a difference? Obligation or guilt will only take you a short distance and will leave the taste of bitterness in the mouth of those you are trying to help. So instead, serve others out of love—there is no gift more powerful! Love gives you a supernatural strength and an enduring impact. Out of it flows all the fruits of the Spirit. If you can simply respond to people and needs with an attitude of love, whatever you put your hands to will prosper. And remember to always do it all as unto the Lord.
Empower others. If you want to make a bigger impact or a more lasting change, then empower others. Jesus was the master of this. He invited His disciples and followers to “follow Me.” He taught them and gave them opportunities to practice serving others while walking with Him. Don’t just do for others; try to do with others! The old adage applies: “Give a man a fish, and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll feed himself for a lifetime.” If you can help it, don’t do anything by yourself! Invite a friend, your daughter, the girls from the gym—whomever might share in your interest. And just as a reminder, there is nothing more empowering than knowing Jesus Christ as your Savior!
Be ready. Will you be ready? In 1 Peter 3:15, we’re encouraged to always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks about the reason for our hope. And 2 Timothy 2:4 instructs us to be ready—in and out of season. Commit to setting aside some time, money or other resources for a particular person or cause that matters to you. Invest in them through prayer. Be informed. Observe. Listen. Prepare yourself in every way. Be poised for action.
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Never be afraid to do something new. Remember, amateurs built the Ark; Professionals built the Titanic. Anonymous
J obe By S andy
It’s fall y’all! While I really love every season, fall is always one of my favorites. It’s football season in Texas, and there’s always a game to enjoy. Having three kids who are all just four years apart, we had 12 years of Friday night ball games. From volleyball, basketball, football, cheerleading, choir, band and even a stint as the school mascot one year, we never lacked for activities around our house. I want to share a couple of my family’s favorite fall recipes with you that are perfect for the season. So throw on a long-sleeved shirt and cheer on your favorite team, or cuddle up on the couch with some comfort food and be a self-declared referee. (Doesn’t every family have one?) Double the recipe, and invite some friends over to share. Red Beans and Rice
1 lb ground sirloin
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 pkg smoked sausage (I use the beef, skinless)
1 cup yellow cornmeal
3 cans red kidney beans
1/2 cup sugar
1 finely chopped bell pepper
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 chopped white onion (I use the frozen blend of onions, celery and bell pepper)
1 tsp baking soda
2 stalks chopped celery
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp melted butter
1 Tbsp mustard
Preheat oven to 350°. Mix flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and baking soda together. Add eggs and sour cream. Stir until well-blended. Add melted butter. Stir this with a wooden spoon; no need to dirty the mixer. (Cornbread is usually a bit lumpy prior to baking).
1½ Tbsp Worcestershire sauce 1 Tbsp vegetable oil 2 cans (10 oz.) Ro-tel® original tomatoes with green chilies (Use 1 can if you’re worried about the heat. I always purée the Ro-tel® in the food processor; this releases the heat in the peppers, so beware.) In a soup pan, heat the oil and sauté onion, celery and bell pepper. Add ground sirloin and cook until well-browned. Add soy sauce, ground black pepper, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Slice and quarter sausage, add to pan. Add beans and ro-tel®. Simmer on low until heated through. Serve with steamed rice and cornbread. (note: I don’t use additional salt in this recipe because soy sauce contains sodium.) SANDY JOBE has a passion to empower women to live life with no regrets. She enjoys spending time with her family, loves to laugh and uses baking as a form of stress release. Sandy is married to Mark and is the mother of three grown children: Kari, Kris and Caleb.
Pour batter into greased 9x9x2-inch baking dish. Bake for 25–30 minutes. Insert a wooden toothpick to test. Cornbread is done when toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into squares and serve. Leftover cornbread? Cornbread croutons are delicious in canned tomato soup! Cut cornbread into slices, then cubes. Bake at 350° for about 30 minutes or until well-toasted. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Store in airtight container or in freezer bag.
Fall 2011 11
MarriageWill by Rebecca Wilson
Susie was very sincere when she solemnly declared her wedding vows before God and her groom. She intended to love, honor and cherish with all of her heart. But somewhere along the way—too quickly, really—unkind words were said, frustrations arose, hopes were dashed and expectations turned into selfish demands. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the Enemy brought accusations to accompany these things. He hurled hurtful words like: “You should have never married him. It was a big mistake. He doesn’t love you anymore. You won’t ever get your needs met.” Satanic words that pierced like sniper gunfire into Susie’s heart. And before she knew it, her will in asserting the faith that her marriage would thrive became weak. Like Susie, I’ve been at this place more often than I would like to admit, especially early in our marriage. I had such high expectations. And those expectations set us up for many arguments. I would say things to Dick, my husband, like, “Why should I have sex with you? You aren’t meeting my emotional needs! You should lead more spiritually. You should be more romantic!” (Those nasty shoulds!) This road led me to being vindictive, revengeful and stubborn. The result was that I really didn’t like my husband and certainly didn’t like myself.
“I will love. I will have joy and peace. I will be patient and kind.” Through many sincere prayers, I realized this isn’t who I wanted to be and it sure wasn’t who God wanted me to be! As a result, my marriage wasn’t what God wanted either. God showed me that I am accountable for my own actions—regardless of what Dick does or does not do! From that point on, I made the decision to live by the fruit of the Spirit, to daily make choices for my marriage: “I will love. I will have joy and peace. I will be patient and kind.” Not surprisingly, I came up against two major roadblocks on that journey to changing and growing my marriage into a healthy one. The first roadblock was that while I could choose to do the right thing, I often really, really did not want to do it! When my son was about six years old, he would usually say at chore time, “Mama, I can’t want to do it!” He could not make himself want to pick up all those toys! Honestly, I related to this statement in so many ways. For example, “Honey, I just can’t want to have sex tonight.” “God, I can’t want to keep my mouth shut right now.” “I know I’m right and he’s wrong. I can’t want to not correct him in front of our friends.” Back then, my selfish desires usually led me to acting on them like I was six years old too. 12 Studio G
So what do you do when you just “can’t want to”? Dying to selfish desires is a necessary, albeit painful, process of a mature marriage. I wish it weren’t! Oh, to live in a Disney princess movie where all my whims and wishes are granted. But the truth is, my marriage is the primary part of my life where God chooses to mold me into His image … and He uses my husband as the chisel.
I frequently marvel that God has allowed me such a powerful will.
Rebecca and Dick Wilson
The second major roadblock had to do with my will. Our wills are amazing things. I frequently marvel that God has allowed me such a powerful will. You see, we can make choices that are actually self-determinations and not God-determinations. This is where you attempt to summon up all your own willpower, with very good intentions, to force yourself to “be good” or “do better.” A great example of this can be seen in Isaiah 14:13–14 when Satan attempted to use his will to overthrow Almighty God from His throne. Can you imagine? The audacity of Lucifer to “will” himself to be above God, to exalt himself, to ascend to a higher place than God or to believe he could will himself to be like the Most High God. What chutzpah! What stupidity! And yet, I catch myself in very similar ways, taking things into my own impatient hands—making negative, independent decisions and inner vows that become written on my heart like a branding iron. Decisions like: “He won’t change, so I won’t either.” “I’ll make him pay for that!” “I’m not going to talk to him at all today and see how he likes it!” There are even declarations I make that seem to be positive: “I will have patience and gentleness every time he messes up.” “I will never say a negative, critical word again. I promise, Lord!” Then sadly, ten minutes later, my self-determination falls apart, and I start the whole “beat myself up” cycle of failure. The removal of this roadblock has come from learning to yield my will to God’s will. I get in agreement with Him and His Word, and out of that, I make determinations, vows and declarations of my heart. Jesus, of course, is our example. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He said to His Father, “Not my will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42). This is exactly the opposite of Lucifer’s willful ways! Removing these two roadblocks has allowed my 37-year marriage (and counting) to sincerely and genuinely be a beautiful, loving and passionate trip down the highway of life. When I submitted and allowed myself to be led by the Holy Spirit, I was filled with His Spirit, empowered by His love and, with my husband, able to accomplish God’s will on earth as it is in heaven. And I definitely want heaven in my marriage!
Fall 2011 13
By Barbara Coots I love having kids around. While my own two kids were growing up, a number of kids found refuge within the walls of our home. Our family of four has a unique combination of personal characteristics that somehow causes people to immediately feel at home and comfortable around us. Maybe this is why so many kids were always in and out of our home. My daughter is a social butterfly who has never met a stranger and treats people as equals. My son is a wonderful listener who always infuses conversations with compassion. My wise and loving pk (preacher’s kid) husband always has a broad smile and open arms. As for me, I’m part June Cleaver, part Kool-Aid mom and part frazzled friend. One of the kids who found a home with us was 16-year-old Thomas. He showed up at our doorstep one evening to take our daughter out. She had warned us beforehand to not be alarmed by his appearance. He had on heavy makeup (the purple eye shadow was especially memorable) and was dressed in clothing that was over-the-top, even for the 80s. But Thomas came into our home, behaved like a gentleman and immediately began to play with our litter of Dalmatian puppies. Thomas continued to spend time in our home, and as we grew to know him over time, the makeup came off to reveal a bright young man who had recently lost his mom to cancer and was learning to cope without her. Sadly, Thomas only lived a couple of years after we met him. He died in a tragic accident while driving a delivery truck. But we’re grateful that we had that brief window of opportunity to get to know him and to give him a place where he could feel at home. Next came Tiffany—a bright, friendly 15-year-old. I’ll never forget when I first saw her. We had arrived at her house to take her to church with us. Her look was edgy, but she couldn’t have had a sweeter heart. She came bouncing down the steps of her parents’ condo, full of
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cheer. “Yay, church!” she exclaimed, and she rarely missed a Sunday after that. One day, her mother approached us and asked if Tiffany could live with us. They were moving out of state and didn’t want to uproot her from her school and friends. We were thrilled to have her live with us, and we made it work. Our daughter shared her room with Tiffany, and the girls didn’t even fight … at least not very often. We taught both of them to drive (yikes!). Tiffany was a beautiful dancer, and some of our fondest memories are of her practicing pirouettes across our large kitchen floor. After a year and a half, she joined her parents in their new home. Now she’s a mom of her own. There has been a procession of other kids over the years: a pregnant girl whose mother had kicked her out; a boy whose dad wouldn’t let him grow up; the girl whose single mother was a flight attendant and was away for long periods of time. And now, as age and maturity have brought perspective, I’m beginning to grasp the significance of each relationship … when I wasn’t helping them, they were changing me! Through each of my experiences in extending God’s love to these kids, I learned greater depths of God’s love for me. David wrote in Psalm 40:10: “I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness.” Because Christ lives within us, we cannot hide His righteousness when individuals approach us for acceptance. I encourage you to always be sensitive for opportunities where you can let His love come forth and enable you to meet whatever need He places before you.
Confidently Trusting and Obeying
by Stacy Burnett
Fall 2011 15
Not too long ago, I met Jan Greenwood for breakfast at Corner Bakery, and we enjoyed some quality girl time together. After a delicious breakfast and lots of laughs, we got into the interview. Getting the chance to sit down and talk with her was such an awesome experience. Proverbs 16:9 says that “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” That is definitely true for Jan. After hearing her incredible life story, I was amazed at all the intricate ways God has worked in her life to get her to where she is today.
What was your childhood like?
I’m an only child and was born in Wichita Falls, Texas, but I really grew up in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Both of my parents were Christians, and I grew up going to church. About the age of nine, I walked the aisle at Second Baptist Church, professed Christ as my Savior and soon after was baptized. I remember my daddy taking me to my very first Communion. I attended youth group all through high school and loved it ... it was a blast! I was a cheerleader and on drill team. I had a pretty traditional upbringing.
Did you ever go through a rebellious phase?
I’ve always been strong-willed and independent, but overall I was a good kid.
What did you do after high school?
Mark (my husband) and I met our senior year in high school. We were voted cutest couple of our senior class. We dated our entire senior year, but broke up the summer after we graduated and went to separate universities. We never really stopped being attracted to one another, so by the end of my freshman year, we were back together. Then Mark transferred to my university, the University of Central Arkansas. I graduated with a business degree with a marketing emphasis in just three years, because I really wanted to get married. We got married in June of 1983 and immediately moved to Abilene, Texas. Mark finished college at Abilene Christian University the following year.
You had a degree in business and marketing … you probably wanted to go take on the world after college.
Yes I did! That is so funny, because I came out of college thinking I was going to have this fantastic job, but then we moved to Abilene, and my first job was as a receptionist at the Pastoral Care and Counseling Center. At the time, I didn’t even know what “pastoral care” meant; I just knew they did counseling. I didn’t really want to work there, but I took the job. Of course, I laugh about it now, because I feel like a lot of my life is pastoral care and counseling! When I look back on it, I can see it was God’s plan for me to be at that counseling center. I still use what I learned there every single day.
He was preparing you, yet you didn’t even know it.
Who knew? Nothing is wasted. Everything becomes preparation. I spent three years there while Mark was entering the management program with Wal-Mart. In 1986, he was promoted, and we began making yearly moves. We moved from Abilene to Brady, Texas, where Mark was a co-manager of a store. I took a job in a dentist’s office filing insurance claims … which is also very funny because later we owned an insurance agency.
Had you had any kids yet?
So, we won’t find any dirt on you?
No, we didn’t have kids for seven years … we waited a long time. Actually, we waited five years, and then we had trouble, so it delayed us a couple of more years.
Did you have a good relationship with your parents?
Then we moved to the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Mark worked at a Wal-Mart in McKinney, and we lived in Allen. I was hired by a nonprofit consulting firm. I traveled a lot and consulted with Christian nonprofit organizations … I was able to put my marketing degree to use! I worked there three years.
Not much … I never did drugs or any of that. My parents put the fear of God in me, and I didn’t want to disappoint them.
I did. My dad worked hard to provide for all my extracurricular activities, often working two jobs. In high school, I took dance lessons and was in an all girls dance troupe. I loved to dance! And I can’t remember them ever saying, “We can’t afford for you to do cheerleading or dance.” As I look back on it now and think about the cost of providing athletic shoes for my boys, I realize, “Wow, my daddy really worked hard to provide for me!” And of course, my mom has always told me that I can do anything I put my mind to.
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Next, we moved to Houston, and I was hired by Clinique Cosmetics. I was a trainer and traveled around the Houston area training at the counter. While we were in Houston, we had our first baby. When Ashley was born, it totally transformed our hearts and changed our priorities. We decided we wanted to be able to spend more time with her, so we both resigned our jobs and returned to Abilene where we opened an insurance agency that Mark built from the ground-up.
Did you work at the agency with Mark?
Not at first. When we moved to Abilene, I became the Executive Director of Junior Achievement, a non-profit organization that teaches business entrepreneurship skills to students. I raised money to fund the program and recruited volunteers who would teach kids about business and how to make a living. I did that for about three and a half years, and then I had another baby. After I had John, I left Junior Achievement and joined Mark at the agency. In 2001, Mark got his catastrophe adjuster’s license and began to travel during storm season.
Did you enjoy working at the agency?
I did, but it wasn’t always easy. We had another baby and eventually another baby, all while I was working full-time. When I had our fourth child, I went home and became a full-time mom. It was definitely a learning season. During that time, so many things were difficult, but my character was being formed … a lot of selfishness and immaturity was broken off. I’m grateful we were so invested in our family and committed to our marriage.
What was your spiritual life like?
When we returned to Abilene, we began to focus more on our spiritual life. We found a local church and got involved in small group ministry. We made great friends and began to experience the joy of a church family. As we began to really seek God, we wanted to know more about the Holy Spirit. Mark began reading books about the Holy Spirit and sharing them with me, and, ultimately, we both received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Once that happened—once we began a pursuit of the Holy Spirit together—it completely transformed our lives. We started attending a tiny Spirit-filled church. And then a year later, we began attending a church planted by Trinity Fellowship of Amarillo. My education in Spirit-filled living happened in that little church in West Texas. Because I was there and willing to serve, somehow I became known as “pastor.” It’s amazing to me that no matter where you go, God will plant you if you let Him. Then in 2004, things started shifting for us. Mark went on a mission trip to a tribal island in the South Pacific to help establish a local Bible college. While on the trip, he saw some land that was being evaluated for the development of a resort that, if built, would help fund a Bible college. On the flight home, the Lord spoke to him and told him it was his resort to build. We spent a lot of time in prayer and conversation and thinking about all the reasons why it wasn’t a good idea, but we both knew it was God’s plan, so we began to prepare. Over the next year and a half, we liquidated our personal possessions. We sold our businesses and rental properties, gave away furniture, had a huge garage sale and resigned our leadership positions at the church. We planned to work through the hurricane season and then head overseas. We bought an rv and moved from a 3,000-square-foot, 5-bedroom home into a 37-square-foot rv. We left Abilene in August of 2005.
Nothing is wasted. Everything becomes preparation. That was just six years ago!
Yes! We travelled around the United States for about a month just sightseeing and waiting for the hurricane season to pass. We were in South Carolina the night Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. The next day, we headed to Mobile, Alabama, and eventually settled in Biloxi, Mississippi, right in the heart of the devastation. We lived and worked in the area for several months. Mark was working catastrophe claims every day. During this six-month period, something changed in our hearts. We realized pretty quickly that we weren’t going to the South Pacific … that God had released us from that assignment.
But by now, you’d given away or sold everything you owned. All you had was in that rv. How did you decide what to do next? Pretty much everything we owned was in that rv, and it was a confusing time for us. But we had some very good friends who pastored a church in Denton, so we decided to drive to the Metroplex and visit our friends and wait until we heard what God was saying to do next.
We left Biloxi three or four days before Christmas 2005 and celebrated Christmas in the rv in Denton. In early January, we rented a house in Lantana and enrolled our kids in school. We’d been in the house about two months when Mark got called out to Minneapolis, Minnesota, for an adjusting trip … and he ended up being gone for a year!
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So here I was in a new city. We had just put our kids in public school for the first time ever. My mom was dealing with significant health issues, and I had to help her relocate from Arkansas to the Metroplex, which took several months. We bought a new house. We moved the family from Lantana to Flower Mound. It was one of the most stressful years of my life!
How did you and your family end up at Gateway?
We walked in the doors of Gateway Church at the end of January 2006. We never thought we’d attend Gateway because we had come from a small church. We wanted to be involved and serve, and I didn’t think there would be a place for us at Gateway. But we knew about Gateway from our Trinity Fellowship connections, and we’d heard they had great worship and teaching, so we decided to visit. Like so many people, the very first time we walked in the door was a memorable experience. That Saturday was the weekend they were announcing Project 114 (the capital campaign). We saw videos of what the new church and the children’s ministry was going to look like. And as I was watching the videos, I began to weep, and I was thinking, “Why am I crying? What is my problem?” But while I was weeping, the Lord spoke a word to me about our future at Gateway. Just a moment later, Mark leaned over to me and whispered in my ear, “This is where we’re supposed to be.” God had spoken to both of us at the same time!
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So, what led to you coming on staff here at Gateway?
I met Pastor Mary Jo Pierce and started volunteering with the Prayer & Intercession Ministry. Several months later, she called to tell me there was an opening in the women’s ministry and asked if I’d be interested. I applied for the job … and didn’t get it! I was very disappointed, but it helped me realize that the passion I had to lead women was still there. A couple of weeks later, the Women’s Ministry called and said, “We have an intern position available. We know it’s not the position you were applying for, but we think you’d be really good at it. Would you consider taking it?” It wasn’t a hard decision. I just wanted to be in a place where they were encouraging and ministering to women, so I said, “Yes.” Over the next four years, I went from a Prayer & Intercession Ministry volunteer to a Women’s Ministry intern, then to a part-time administrative assistant, a parttime events coordinator, a full-time events coordinator, until I was promoted to ministry coordinator. And now I’m an Associate Pastor. I have served in almost every position in our department. Along the way, all I did was listen to God and obey. I’m acutely aware that He brought me here, and He positioned me. I’m also acutely aware that He can send me home, because I’m not here of my own strength. So that’s my journey—my crazy journey!
A week later, the mri results were in. The doctor opened his computer and showed us the mri, and when he got to the portion of my hip where there was a problem, he showed us that the tissue was soft and expanding and indicative of a tumor. We just looked at him. Then he said we could do some additional tests. Mark and I were both very calm. On the following Monday, I went to the hospital for a bone scan. While I was having the bone scan done, the nurse casually said to me, “So have they found your source tumor?” And I just paused … not only did I just find out that it was for sure cancer, but it was in two places! She said, “Oh yeah, it’s hardly ever bone cancer,” she continued. “It’s almost always a metastasization. When was the last time you had a mammogram?” They picked me up off the bone scan machine and took me down the hall to breast radiology and did a mammogram. Then they took me to another room and did an ultrasound. Five minutes later, the radiologist came in and told me very directly, “Mrs. Greenwood, you have breast cancer, and it’s metastasized to your hip. We need to get you to an oncologist.” That’s how I found out. It was all within a few days. The tumor in my breast was very small, and I hadn’t detected it at all. It was aggressive and fast-growing. Within a week, I had an mri, a bone marrow biopsy, a biopsy of my hip, a needle biopsy in my breast, a pet scan and a port put in. Within a few weeks of my diagnosis, I began chemo. I have now completed 19 rounds of chemotherapy, had a lumpectomy and had a full round of radiation therapy.
ou were diagnosed with Stage 4 breast Y cancer in 2009. Do you want to talk about that a little bit?
I’ve never been one to practice very good self-care. The 18 months prior to my diagnosis were some of the most stressful months of my life. I didn’t have a local doctor. I wasn’t getting my mammograms. During that time, I scheduled my mammogram three separate times, and all three times, I cancelled my appointment. I was taking care of everyone else, but I wasn’t taking good care of myself. One day in 2008—I can clearly remember the day—I was in my office, and I sat down in a chair at the conference table. I had this shooting pain in my hip that was so intense; and for a couple of weeks, every time I’d get up and down, it would hurt. I thought I just had a soft tissue injury. It would get better and then worse again. It got to the point where I couldn’t wear high heels, and I was kind of dragging my leg a little bit.
It was also during this time that I was planning to go on a mission trip with Pink (Gateway Women) to Egypt. One evening, I limped into the kitchen, and my husband said, “Jan, if you do not go get that taken care of, you’re not going to be able to go to Egypt.” That was enough to get me to the doctor, because I was going to Egypt. I got into the orthopedist, and two days later went in for an mri of my hip.
During this time, did you ask God to heal you?
It was after my very first round of chemo that Mark and I went to a Habitation service. We were sitting off to the side. Everyone was worshipping, and I was tired. I remember just sitting down, and then Mark sat down beside me. I closed my eyes and had a visitation with God like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. When I closed my eyes, it was as if I entered a room where Jesus was. I saw Him and had a conversation with Him. I was really kind of disrespectful. I remember saying to Him things like “Are you like the story in the Bible? Are you hard? Do you harvest where you don’t plant seed? Are you fickle? Is this punishment?” I was being very confrontational. He didn’t respond to that, but He did let me vent. And when I ran out of steam, I grew silent. Then I said, “Are you going to heal me?” And He responded, “I Am.” And when He said, “I Am,” I knew He wasn’t saying He was going to make it easy. I realized I was about to face some real battles, but He told me His name and His character. I’ll never forget it. He was reminding me about who He is, and it gave me a place to anchor. He spoke to me His name … “I Am” … and I knew that He was saying, “No matter what, Jan, I am sufficient.” I believed He was going to heal me, and He did … I have been cancer-free since October of 2009. Now, whenever I say, “I Am” … in whatever form … it has power on it, and it gives me so much strength. And because of that, I have a confidence in my relationship with Him that I’ve never had before.
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This isn’t the end of Jan’s story … there’s so much more! To find out about Jan’s family, her biggest challenge in ministry, what inspires her and what kind of legacy she wants to leave, visit studiogmag. com. You will also find information about Jan’s involvement with Beyond the Shock—a project of the National Breast Cancer Foundation— and watch a video featuring Jan sharing her story about surviving cancer … all that and more at studiogmag.com.
nationalbreastcancer.org | beyondtheshock.com
Studio Spotlight photography by Scott Cornelius | scottcornelius.net
Fall 2011 20
g n i t t i t F e y Gpirituall
Fat Blasting Tip No.1 Don’t confuse spiritual hunger with physical hunger. There have been many times when I’ve found myself on a “don’t know what I want to eat, so I’m trying everything” binge. Later, when I took the time to get quiet with the Lord, I’ve realized that deep down I was trying to satisfy my hunger for Him and not food. Fat Blasting Tip No.2
Search your heart. If I’m having a hard time connecting with God, I start to search my heart. Many times I’ve allowed pride to come in somewhere. And so I repent and start running after God. He is always faithful to meet me when I humble myself and turn to Him. Fat Blasting Tip No.3
Fast. This physical discipline is a powerful way to surrender to God and get your heart focused on Him.
I have a goal … a big one! But I’m determined to conquer it! Initially, I set my goal in response to some physical pain I was experiencing, which is a great motivator but not one I would recommend. However, it was the pain that caught my attention. When it comes to your walk with the Lord, it can be the same. You might experience pain as you walk through a difficult time which leads to a gnawing sense of hunger in your heart for more. Regardless of where you find yourself, here are practical ways you can continue to move into a deeper and healthier place in your spiritual walk.
1. Set a goal. Get specific. Ask God to help you shape and mold your goal; then write it down. There is always a new place to go to with God, so aim high! For example, you can set a goal to memorize a scripture daily for one month to target an area of weakness. Is fear a problem for you? Look up scriptures about fear and start memorizing! A good one to memorize is 2 Timothy 1:7, which says, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” As God reveals things to you, keep a journal and write down what He shows you along the way.
2. Develop a routine. A routine can help keep you focused. Here’s what a typical day might look like for me: WAKE UP: I spend the first minutes of the day thanking the Lord and telling Him how much I love Him. QUIET TIME: : I try not to be too rigid in how I approach this time. I love coffee, so I make myself a cup and then sit down to spend time with Him. I may journal, study scripture or simply ask the Lord what’s on His heart, and then listen quietly. LISTEN: Whether I’m getting ready for work or cleaning the house, I use the time to feed my spirit with something healthy like listening to worship music or a Bible teaching. PRAYER: Talking with God is a key part of my relationship with Him. As my walk has grown, I’ve discovered that prayer is as easy as breathing. Meditating on the Word of God nourishes me, reveals God to me and, if I allow it to, corrects me. Declaring who God is and what He has done for me gives me a spiritual power boost. And because many worship songs are songs of declaration, I sing!
3. Partner up. Embrace accountability! It’s a lot harder to give up on a goal once you’ve revealed it to someone else. Find someone you trust to encourage and challenge you to reach your goal.Find the balance between growth and rest.
4. Find the balance between growth and rest. In order for muscles to grow, they have to be challenged in a healthy way. With rest and proper nutrition, they become healthier and stronger. Your spiritual growth is similar. So spend time challenging yourself to grow, but also spend time resting in God’s care in order to grow stronger and healthier.
5. Maintain. Once you see results, it can be easy to back off your routine and get a little lazy. Remember that consistency is the key to maintenance.
Have you ever been faced with making an important decision and your emotions are all over the place? How in the world do you keep your body out of stress mode and live an emotionally healthy life in a world laced with negativity … not to mention life’s unpredictable twists and turns?
by Linda Godsey
A number of years ago when we lived in California, my husband arrived home from work one evening, placed his briefcase on the table, looked me in the eye and said very matter-offactly: “I think it’s time for us to move back to Texas.” His remark sent me off on an emotional roller coaster ride. I wanted to trust that he was hearing the Lord and the timing of our move would be precise in God’s order of things, but what if he was wrong? How could I be sure when so much was at stake for our family?
… one word from God can calm your emotions, settle your heart, give peace to your soul and send fear and doubt packing … Our two daughters had just completed high school, and one was in her first year of college. What if they didn’t come with us, and we had to leave them behind? Southern California was all they knew. We also loved our church. Where would we find a new one? The mere thought of starting over and making new friends after all those years was overwhelming. Even though I tend to make friends easily, I wasn’t looking forward to being the new girl on the block. As I pondered our decision, I remembered the comforting words of the psalmist: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with my eye” (Psalm 32:8). Both of our extended families resided in Texas, and it was where the two of us were born and raised. But we moved to Los Angeles when our daughters were only two and four years old. We had lived there for almost 20 years, and this was home to us. Although we had always known that one day we would return to Texas and we looked forward to having family close again, we loved California. Let’s face it, you can’t beat the climate and there are a myriad of things to do. In addition, California was the place where God led us in our early Christian walk to be discipled and trained at The Church on the Way,
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pastored by Dr. Jack Hayford. Learning at his feet for all those years was a blessing beyond measure. Leaving Los Angeles would definitely be bittersweet. The next morning when I sat down at my desk to begin my morning routine, I found myself saying to the Lord, “I trust that You have spoken to my husband, but I ask that You speak to me too.” I reached into the top right-hand drawer of my desk, pulled out my Bible, opened it and my eyes fell on Genesis 31:3: “Return to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.” I could feel my heart pounding inside my chest. Wow, we really are supposed to move! I thought. After that confirming word to my heart, I trusted in God’s direction for us. Isn’t it amazing how one word from God can calm your emotions, settle your heart, give peace to your soul and send fear and doubt packing? The move itself was fairly uneventful. However, within weeks of settling in our new home in Texas, we were contacted by the irs claiming that we owed them thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes. Seriously, have you ever tried to convince the irs that you don’t owe them money? Or, have you ever gotten an actual person on the phone to speak with? If you have, you’re a more skilled woman than I am! We prayed, fasted, wrote letters and made phone calls for several months trying to get this error cleared up. My husband felt concern while my emotions ran wild. I envisioned everything that could possibly happen—from the irs showing up at our front door to take our home to a worst-case scenario … living in our car!
We were intensely aware of God’s intervention on our behalf to help us make the right connections at the right time. Once again, we prayed and sought wisdom from everywhere imaginable. One morning during my quiet time I read: “The Lord is on my side, I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:6). Shortly thereafter, a good friend from California called to see how we were settling in after the move. During our conversation, I mentioned the irs situation we were facing. She got excited as she told me about a Christian man she had recently heard on a local radio station in Los
Angeles who formerly worked with the irs and was now devoting his retirement years to helping Christians who were facing issues with them. She insisted upon contacting the radio station for us to secure his contact information. I called the man, and he personally answered the phone! He then spent half an hour with me instructing me on what we needed to do to get this settled. He also mailed us his recently published book. We followed his instructions, and all was taken care of within a few weeks. We were intensely aware of God’s intervention on our behalf to help us make the right connections at the right time. Afterwards, I even managed to forgive the irs for the emotional ups and downs they had put us through.
The bottom line is that trusting and living in peace is a choice.
More info? call: 817.552.7446
According to those who’ve done extensive studies on the brain, we have both positive faith-based emotions and negative fear-based emotions. If we choose to live with the latter, they produce toxic attitudes which produce toxic responses in the body. That’s right … many of the illnesses that we struggle with are emotionally-induced. I’m convinced that living in peace and having a positive outlook must be intentional on our part— empowered with the Holy Spirit. I wish I could say that I always respond with positive faith-based emotions, but unfortunately, I haven’t mastered it just yet. I can get frustrated with the best of them. My grandson teases me that I become “another person” anytime I get behind the wheel of an automobile. When I’m in one of my states (and I am improving), he lovingly pats me on the shoulder and says, “Now, now, Pastor Linda, calm down … it’s all good.” The bottom line is that trusting and living in peace is a choice. I can choose whether or not to be tossed to and fro by every event that’s not going according to plan … and believe me, there will be plenty! Or, I can get ready for the ride of my life by choosing to agree with God’s Word and declaring that God has my back and He will work these things for my good. I’ve proved Him over and over, and I know that He is trustworthy.
email: firstname.lastname@example.org visit: pinkinc.gatewaypeople.com
Get in a Group Today! More info about Southlake and NRH Pink Groups? call: 817.552.3705 email: email@example.com visit: groups.gatewaypeople.com
More info about Frisco Pink Groups? call: 469.238.1000 email: pinkFRS@gatewaypeople.com visit: pink.gatewaypeople.com
Fall 2011 23
by Marie Brown
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IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU Many times when we wonder how we can care for someone who’s hurting, our focus naturally turns towards the person whose situation has touched our heart and spurred us into action. However, in reality, being an effective caregiver is really all about you. I realize that may sound bizarre, but please don’t stop reading. There is a foundational principle of caregiving which cannot be broken—you must nourish and replenish the caregiver! Think about the speech you hear every time you’re on an airplane: “If the oxygen masks fall, put on your mask before assisting the person near you.” I recently had a conversation with someone who had been on a flight where the masks fell. He said it was a very scary experience. He was sitting near an elderly lady, and his first instinct was to help her because she was frightened and confused. But within seconds—much more quickly than he expected—he started feeling lightheaded. He actually began to panic. Then he heard the words, “Get oxygen for yourself first!” When a need is great or a crisis deep, it’s easy to get so caught up in reaching out that you forget you’ll have nothing to give if you don’t carefully replenish yourself. Caregiving can be spiritually, emotionally and physically draining. So we must regularly connect to the eternal, unchanging, everlasting Replenisher—the very Breath of Life—to stay on target. Many times after ministering to a person or family in crisis, I come home, sit down at my piano and just soak up the life-giving presence of the Master Caregiver. Being with Him not only replenishes me, it also gives me the guidance I desperately need—a special word of encouragement I can share, insight into complex relationships among those to whom I’m ministering or strategy for spiritual warfare. We are called to minister God’s life and care, so we better stay intimately connected to the Giver of all life and care. IT’S NEVER ABOUT YOU As caregivers we have to continually remind ourselves, “It’s not about me.” I know … I’m contradicting myself! But it’s not all about the way you think you would walk through a similar situation. It’s not about sharing your own experiences (unless that’s what God instructs you to do). It’s not about your call to care. It’s not about
your skill or lack of skill. It’s not about your caregiving role or any visibility it brings. It’s not about your pain, your sacrifice, your challenges or your anything! Being called to care for others—which is a universal call to all within the body of Christ—is about listening intently to God’s direction, then walking out His instructions with love and compassion. When God puts someone in your path who needs encouragement, perspective, prayer or emotional support, I encourage you to stay away from stereotypical responses. I encourage you not to ask, “What would I want in this situation?” Instead, become an astute observer—prayerfully asking the Lord for the Holy Spirit’s anointing. He is faithful to give you creative ways of ministering with exactly the right touch which will uniquely bring His hope. It’s also important to remember—particularly in situations involving illness and grief—people are not always themselves due to emotional stress, medications or other factors. When relational discord comes—and it often will in family situations—don’t take things personally. Encourage everyone around the situation not to take offense. Lay any hurts which do come up at Jesus’ feet, staying on track with the mission. KEEP IT SIMPLE AND PRACTICAL I am always amazed at how seemingly small expressions of love and care mean so much during difficult days. Our tendency can be to become so moved by someone’s crisis that we promise things we cannot deliver. Instead, start small and let your relationship and friendship build the response naturally. It doesn’t have to be complicated—keep it simple and practical. Ask if there are any errands you can run or groceries you can get. Mail small expressions of love like cards, scriptures on index cards, bookmarks, handmade cards from children, paperback books and magazines or restaurant gift cards. If you’re reaching out to someone as a group—especially someone battling illness— assign one or two point people so the person you’re reaching out to doesn’t become overwhelmed with too many calls or visits. Carefully observe the person’s level of engagement with you, and let your response match their level. God is faithful to guide us when we stop, observe and listen.
Caregiving can be easy and extremely rewarding when you realize it’s simply extending God’s heart with willing hands.
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by Kassie Dulin
nce upon a time, there was a girl named Jocelyn. She lived in a beautiful kingdom ruled by a Great Prince. Jocelyn had a wonderful family and many friends, and she was very happy.
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One day, the Great Prince came riding through the city. Then, Jocelyn felt a hand on her shoulder. She looked up. It Jocelyn was excited to see the Great Prince. As he passed by, was the Great Prince! she waved and cheered. She couldn’t hold back her questions any longer. The baker’s wife saw Jocelyn and smiled. She said, “The Great “Why?” she cried out. “Why didn’t you send my warrior? They Prince is faithful and good. He is a rewarder of those who said if I served you, you would bring me my reward, but he honor Him. If you will serve Him, He will bring you a mighty never came. I trusted you, but now I’m all alone. Why?” warrior to marry.” Jocelyn said, “Really? A warrior? Just for me?” The baker’s wife replied, “Indeed!” Jocelyn was thrilled! Of course she would serve the Great Prince! The reward would be well worth it. Days went by, and Jocelyn blossomed into a graceful young woman with a beautiful heart. She served the kingdom well and waited expectantly for the day when her warrior would come. But, as the days went by, she was surprised to find her warrior had not come. Jocelyn wondered why he hadn’t. Was she doing something wrong? So, she decided to ask the experts what she should do. The first expert said, “Silly girl, you don’t need a warrior. Why would you even want one?”
She longed for an explanation. But the Great Prince didn’t say anything. He just wrapped His arms around her. And in the safety of his arms, Jocelyn began to cry. Finally the Great Prince spoke. “Oh, Jocelyn, my beautiful Jocelyn. I wish you could see yourself the way I see you now. Even with your tears, you are breathtaking.” She gave him a small smile and said, “No love could be that blind.” The Great Prince grinned playfully and said, “Maybe you’ve just never seen love like mine.” Then he became serious. “Jocelyn, don’t you understand? I didn’t create you for a warrior. I created you for me.”
Jocelyn was stunned. “What?” she asked. The second expert said, “Oh, you definitely need a warrior, but you are too independent. You should be more gentle and “This isn’t about you and a warrior,” he said. “This is about you and me. You’ve asked why no one is pursuing you. But submissive. That will attract a warrior.” I’m pursuing you. I’ve been pursuing you since the day The third expert said, “You are too reserved. You need to be you were born.” more friendly and available. That will attract a warrior.” Jocelyn stammered, “B-b-b-but what about my warrior? The fourth expert said, “You are too available. You need to The reward?” lock yourself in the castle and make the warrior beat the door down to rescue you. That will attract a warrior.” The Great Prince said, “This may surprise you, but your reward With great sagacity, the fifth expert said, “You won’t get a is not a warrior.” He winked and said, “If you don’t believe me, just ask some of your friends who did get their warriors.” warrior until you don’t want a warrior.” Now Jocelyn was even more confused. She had worked hard to be a good servant of the Great Prince. She began to wonder: Why hasn’t he sent me my reward? Could he have forgotten? Then came the day of Jocelyn’s best friend’s wedding. Jocelyn was thrilled for her friend, and even managed to act excited about the purple bridesmaid dress, which was shaped like a cupcake. But as she watched the happy couple ride away that afternoon, her heart began to ache. She left the wedding on her faithful stallion, Darcy. But instead of going home, Jocelyn rode out of the city gates. She rode hard, over valleys and through woods, until they reached a hilltop far from the city. The sun was beginning to set as Jocelyn dismounted. She closed her eyes, fighting back tears. She had never felt so alone.
Jocelyn laughed. She knew it was true. He continued, “Jocelyn, don’t you see? I am your reward. When it’s time, I may partner you with a warrior so you can be a representation of our love and do great things for me. But that’s only temporary. It’s our love that is eternal. A warrior can be a wonderful thing, but you don’t need one to be all I desire. Just as you are, you can help lead my people to victory and freedom. You can be a voice to share my message of truth and hope. And through our romance, you can be the greatest heroine of love this kingdom has ever seen. Jocelyn, you are my desire. I gave everything to make you mine. I just want you.” Jocelyn turned to the Great Prince. She had tears in her eyes once more, but this time, they were tears of joy as she looked at Him and said, “Yes.”
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Mind Your Workout:
Tips to Improve Your Mind-Body Connection and Enhance Your Fitness by Emily Gilstrap
It’s often said that change happens when the pain of where you are becomes greater than the pain you anticipate from moving forward. This is especially true when it comes to fitness. The pain that leads you to change can be any number of things—a struggle to walk up a flight of stairs, fatigued arms from trying to carry all the groceries at once, wincing when you glance in the mirror or receiving an unsettling diagnosis from the doctor. Whatever your personal situation is, making the decision to change is the first step to improving your health. Make up your mind that this is important enough to devote your time, efforts and energies. The creator of a very popular fitness/diet plan once said transforming your body begins with transforming your mind. A popular buzz phrase in the field of health and fitness today is the mind-body connection. There are plenty of studies done on the power of the mind. But how can we personally apply the lessons from the current neuroscience research? Here are some quick tips that can take your fitness to the next level.
Connect your mind to the workout. Research done at Hull University in the uk shows that the more you concentrate on the muscle you’re trying to activate, the greater the contraction of those specific muscle fibers. Study subjects had electrodes attached to their biceps and were asked to simply visualize themselves doing a bicep curl. Electrical activity was measured even when they were just thinking about the specific action. In other words, become aware of how you are contracting your muscles and the exact motion you want to take your body through. Too often, it’s easy to become distracted, engaged in conversation or just simply not focused on what you’re doing. Use the power of your mind to make your workout more effective by visualizing the specific muscle actions you’d like to make. 28 Studio G
Quit multitasking. Current research done at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, shows that multitasking deters efforts at losing weight. Apparently, the constant task-switching breaks down self-control and weakens one’s ability to make healthy rational choices when it comes to food and exercise. So make an effort to do tasks one at a time, and you might be surprised at how much easier it is to make healthy choices.
Prepare for change and focus on your goals. Keep sticky notes in visible places, leave your workout attire and shoes in plain sight, weigh yourself often, and surround yourself with positive role models. Think about your goals … especially during the tough times. Keeping your eyes focused on the end result will help you stick to your exercise regimen during the hard times.
Check your attitude. Attitude is the key to success or failure. Maintain a good attitude about your exercise program by dwelling on all the positive benefits you will reap. Observe your thought life regarding exercise and be careful to avoid the negative selftalk that inevitably takes you on a downward spiral that ends up in the land of despair and depression. That uncomfortable feeling you experience in the beginning won’t always be there, and over time you may even find exercise quite enjoyable. Always try to remember that it is for your own good. Emily Gilstrap, a former All-American gymnast, has a Masters degree in Adult Fitness Management and over 25 years experience in the Health and Fitness industry. She is a Wellness Consultant and is married to Matthew.
By Mallory Bassham
How can you be confident in your ability to resolve disagreements? Let’s consider some practical down-to-earth realities of how to effectively manage conflict without over-spiritualizing or denying your feelings.
How good and pleasant when brothers live together in unity. Psalm 133:1 We all have to deal with conflicts from time to time. But we often try to avoid them by pretending and putting on a good face … until we eventually blow up. After we’ve blown it, we get so preoccupied with dealing with our bad behavior that the real issue remains unresolved. This is a big deal, because once you get caught up in focusing on your bad behavior, you hinder your ability to effectively address the core issue.
Practical verbiage to use: • I’m not communicating in a way that’s clear. Would it be possible to take a little break and regroup, because I don’t want to say anything I don’t mean, and we’re heading down a hurtful path. • Help me understand why it’s difficult to tell me the truth. • What else should I know? • What would you like to see happen? (Just because you want resolution doesn’t mean the other person does.) • I need to get something off my chest that I may have misunderstood.
Ideally, the best way to deal with conflict is to establish clear expectations, create accountability and be very open and candid. Here are three ground rules for you to start confidently dealing with conflict.
• Let’s work through this. We may or may not reach the answer, but I would like to try.
Ground Rule One—Prepare your heart.
• I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you. Please forgive me. You are valuable to me, and I didn’t show it very well.
Be transparent and authentic. Let your desire to be a light and behave as a daughter of the King guide you as you listen for your Father’s voice. You cannot fake this. You must sincerely desire the best for the situation and be willing to be wrong. Both the foolish and the wise start at the same point … zero. The difference in the end is your attitude, not your aptitude. Ground Rule Two—Prepare what to say. Draw close to the Shepherd and trust Him, and you’ll be amazed at what He will do. Be confident in Him. You must be really willing to listen—first to God and then to the person. Intentionally listening is crucial to resolution. Then, with all your heart, sincerely submit to God and His directing and prompting. The standard of counsel is always the Word of God. Ask yourself if the counsel you’re getting lines up with the Word of God. Ground Rule Three—Prepare the time and place. Timing is everything, and approach is key. Esther took time to fast and pray before she went to see her husband, the king. So prepare your heart, and rid yourself of heated emotion. When are good times to bring it up? Purposefully choose a safe, nontoxic moment in your day so you avoid acting out of stress and escalating the situation.
• Do you see the benefit in attempting to resolve this?
• How did you come to that conclusion? • I want to work with you, but when you yell or use that kind of language, I find it difficult. Can we work through this together? When confronting, always identify your motive. Are you proving your point? Do you have to be right? Are you trying to prove that you’re clever? Ask God to help you be a humble, gracious, wise and submitted woman of God, and He will direct your path.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Your sight. Psalm 19:14
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by Nancy Houston
How can we, as the body of Christ, become sexually healthy? I know that’s a big question (and perhaps one that hasn’t been given enough thought or attention), so let me personalize it: how can you become sexually healthy? God declared that everything He created was good, and the goodness of His creation includes you as a sexual creature. You are the poiema of God. Poiema means “that which has been made; a work or a masterpiece created by God.” It’s the root for the word “poem.” In other words, you are God’s workmanship—a design produced by a master artisan, a beautiful poem crafted by a skillful writer. 30 Studio G
As a woman, you represent the crowning act of creation, with exceptionally high and distinct value and destiny. And knowing that is who you are in Christ is the foundation to becoming a sexually healthy person. Embracing the truth that you have been perfectly designed, chosen and adopted and that you are wanted frees you from any insecurities and fantasies of longing for a man to save you. You are already saved! When you see yourself through God’s eyes of love and acceptance, a secure bond is created in your soul that keeps you from requiring a man to fulfill your deepest insecurities or from establishing unhealthy, dependent relationships.
As you fully embrace yourself as God’s creation, you begin to understand the sexual power He has entrusted to you as a woman. This power is so deeply innate in your creation—so essentially female—and the best thing you can do with it is to be aware of it and steward it wisely. The glorious thing about your sexual power is it makes you different from a man. True sexual power is not about winners and losers, it is about the innate attractiveness God has given you as a woman, an allure that is incredibly desirable to a man. This attractiveness goes far beyond physical beauty; it’s so much more than a lovely face or body. The kind of beauty a secure woman possesses is a unique mix of mystery and warm
allure that invites you a little deeper into the essence of really knowing her. What usually captivates a man about a woman goes two steps beyond her physical appearance. While he may not have the words to verbalize this, instinctively he knows he has stumbled upon someone who can glimpse his heart, who seems to know him in ways he has always longed to be known. A man has a longing that can only be touched by the innate type of beauty you possess.
… it is about the innate attractiveness God has given you as a woman, an allure that is incredibly desirable to a man. This deep longing within each man is also a longing within each woman. The longing to be known is a telling clue as to why the sexual relationship between a husband and a wife is described in the Bible by the verb yada, which means “to know” or “to be known.” Genesis 4:1 says, “And the man knew [yada] Eve his wife,” communicating there are endless possibilities
sex will never fulfill its full intention if her heart is closed. To become a responsive mate, you must thaw out your feelings and understand there are male forms of connection and female forms of connection. Men often feel emotionally connected through sex, and females often feel emotionally connected through talking. One is not wrong and the other right; both are needed. Sexual intimacy is only as good as the emotional intimacy achieved between the couple. When my husband, Ron, and I got married, I realized that our sexual relationship had the potential to either bring great fulfillment or heartache into our marriage. I began to ask myself how I could bring a sexually-healthy self into our marriage. To become healthy, I had to deal with my past sexual hurts and reeducate myself. I remember reading a Christian book on marital sex and realizing God intends for it to be a sealing of our covenant to one another. That body-oneness is a God invention and it actually delights Him when a husband and wife are one flesh.
mine, even as mine depends on his. For both of us, sexuality originates in the one flesh of humanity. Sexuality is a good gift, which is meant to draw individuals to deeper levels of knowing themselves, others and God. Sexual desire and fulfillment between a husband and wife have divine meaning and purpose.
Sexuality is a good gift, which is meant to draw individuals to deeper levels of knowing themselves, others and God. As I grew in understanding, I learned that a woman’s sex drive is very different from her husband’s. New research shows that, after a woman has been married for several years, sex becomes more of a choice instead of a drive. While a man may have a strong sex drive because of testosterone, a woman may not feel a strong sex drive until she has chosen to engage in pillow talk, nuzzling, cuddling and pleasurable touch. Then, as her busy mind begins to settle, her body begins to respond, and she is aroused.
These “I will” declarations have consistently given me strength as I continue on this journey to be sexually healthy. • I will embrace my sexuality as a gift from God.
• I will steward the power of my sexuality wisely.
• I will be free in Christ from shame, hiding and secrets.
• I will know my husband and invite him to know me. • I will ask for help if I need help to be sexually healthy.
of discovering the essence and mystery of her beauty. The ability to know and be known sexually deepens emotional bonding. Conversely, to “lie with” a woman was simply to have sex outside the constraints of marriage—strictly a physical act based on lust, which loses the deeper and more significant meaning of being known and loved in the security of a covenant marriage.
I fervently asked God to teach me His plan for sexuality. I knew that my family history had hindered me from understanding God’s perspective on this topic. My childhood was filled with silence, shame and secrets; sexuality just wasn’t discussed. But I knew if I didn’t honestly talk with Ron about sexual issues, then we could potentially continue my family’s cycle of unhealthiness.
God has instilled enormous power into the heart of a woman. The most vulnerable aspect of a man’s being requires your permission and your reception of him. To fully receive a husband requires a wife to look at the condition of her heart, knowing that marital
Faithfully, God began to unveil His truth and teach me that intimacy is by His design. The true meaning of intimacy is shared love for another. Ron and I are both created in God’s image to reflect Him, and we were made for intimacy. His sexual identity depends upon
• I will invite the Lord to continue to give me His heart on this very important topic. • I will make sex a priority in my marriage.
The Song of Songs affirms a response and celebration of being naked and unashamed in mutual vulnerability and harmony. Responding to one another with respect and tenderness, neither escaping nor exploiting sex, the husband and wife embrace and enjoy shared intimacy. Understanding and accepting yourself as a sexual person designed for unity with another is the beginning of becoming sexually healthy.
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Freedom in the Most Unlikely Place By Allison Roberts
Has God ever changed your heart in an instant? For me, it all started with what the media dubbed “Snowmageddon 2011.” As ice and white powder fell from the sky for a week in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex this past February, most of us battened down the hatches and hunkered in for a late-winter mini-hibernation. Schools closed. Offices closed. The Metroplex came to a standstill.
I have battled health issues for years, and for that reason, I’ve always known I needed to change these bad habits. But for as long as I can remember, I’ve been secretly terrified of the gym, which is why I always made jokes about it. I wanted to divert attention away from me when the subject came up. I had all these thoughts about myself when it came to exercising:
Day One of Snowmageddon 2011 was a blast. I didn’t have to go to work, and I had recently started watching the tv show 24 on Netflix. Talk about perfect timing … I embarked on a 24 marathon (and developed a slight obsession with Jack Bauer!). But that night, a pipe burst in the attic of my apartment building, and my bedroom flooded. All of my bedroom furniture had to be crammed into my small (yet dry) living room. I backed my mattress up to my couch and created a megapallet for myself. It was the ultimate in comfort for my 24 marathon. I loved it. This was my dream! Hang out … watch tv … eat junk food … not do anything.
You can’t go there or do that. Everyone else there is in such great shape; you won’t fit in. You aren’t capable of exercising like those healthy people. You’re too weak, and it won’t do any good anyway, because you won’t stick with it.
However, as the week wore on and work continued to be cancelled, something very strange (at least for me) happened. My attitude about my “dream” situation began to dramatically change. I was shocked when I began to feel cooped up and claustrophobic. This wasn’t like me! I loved having hours of downtime to read and watch tv. I’m a bookworm, and I enjoy watching entire seasons of tv shows at one time. But suddenly, there wasn’t enough space inside my tiny apartment. I wanted to move around … I even had the urge to exercise (gasp!). At that moment, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was up to something in my heart. Let me be very frank. I’ve never been one to exercise. I had never even been to a gym! Whenever people talked about going to the gym, I made jokes about how I’d rather be at home reading or cooking something delicious and full of sugar—I never paid the least bit of attention to what I ate. Yet
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As I was battling a near-panic attack due to the claustrophobia, God revealed to me that these thoughts weren’t my thoughts. They weren’t His thoughts either. The Enemy had been whispering in my ear for nearly my entire life. And I believed him. God merely revealing the origin of those thoughts was absolute revelation to me! The truth about what I believe about myself changed. I began to look at myself and judge myself based on what God says about me. Psalm 139:14 says, “I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” And Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me strength.” The week after Snowmageddon, I joined a gym. I was so shocked by my own actions that I didn’t even tell any of my friends or family. Now I work out three or four days per week, and I’m totally hooked! I’ve also become obsessed with diet and nutrition (just ask any of my co-workers … I’m always talking about it). And for the first time in nearly half of my life, I feel amazing! I love it when God changes my heart in an instant and heals parts of me that I didn’t even know were hurt. I found freedom at the gym. Who on earth would have seen that one coming?!
Read Your Male by Blynda Lane
Something amusing happened the other day. I happened to look out my window just in time to see the postal worker delivering our mail. As soon as the mail had been delivered, I called out
to my children, “Who wants to get the mail?” And as if some lucky child was about to win the golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, all my children ran to me screaming, “I do, I do!” As my three children raced to the mailbox, it struck me as humorous, because when I was a child, checking the mail was always the highlight of my day. I have no idea why. There was never a letter for me … unless it was Christmas, my birthday or the occasional note from a nearby church thanking me for attending their vbs. But there was always such joy in retrieving the latest bills, junk mail and coupons from the mailbox. I remember asking my mom to separate the envelopes that she’d allow me to open. Now
I’m the mom, and I open and read plenty of mail every day. I guarantee you the thrill is no longer there for me. A similar comparison can be drawn to how many women relate to their husbands. What if it’s no longer exciting or fun for a woman to read her male? If you’re like me, in the beginning of my relationship with my husband, I spent all my energy getting to know him and his likes and dislikes. I quickly knew his favorite sports teams, desserts, movies, restaurants and bands. I wanted to know all the things he liked, so I could use this information at the perfect time to “wow” him with a great date and assure him I was a great catch! I think sometimes we can get caught living day by day in a rut, familiar with the life we live together as a couple, but forgetting that your husband is still an individual with needs and desires that only you can meet.
His greatest need is honor. Ask your husband what you can do that would honor him the most.
Understand his desire for sex isn’t just for the act itself, but for intimacy with you—the only one God designed for him to connect with unashamedly and uninhibitedly. He needs to feel that you want to … not that you have to.
Give him time to catch his breath when he comes home from work. Let home feel like a place of refuge.
He likes romance too. Show him that you’re excited about your date night. Look pretty, wear an outfit he loves, and have something fun planned.
Happily send him on a guy’s night. He needs a testosterone-infused, guilt-free night with his friends.
Generally, men like shoulder-toshoulder interaction as opposed to women who like face-to-face interaction. Enter his world, make no demands, pop the popcorn, and simply enjoy the moment with him.
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10 Titles to Pick Up Now 1
The God I Never Knew: How Real Friendship with the Holy Spirit Can Change Your Life by Robert Morriss
The Holy Spirit’s chief desire is for a relationship with you. This insightful and biblically-based book moves beyond theological jargon, religious traditions and cultural misconceptions to thoroughly explain and clarify what the Holy Spirit promises to do in your life.
by John C. Maxwell
The Power of Humility: Living Like Jesus by R.T. Kendall
One of the world’s most respected leadership experts gives five principles and five practices for breaking the invisible barrier to leadership and personal success.
by Jon Acuff
Have you ever felt caught between the tension of your day job and your dream job? This book shows you how to close the gap between what you do and what you love.
Life Interrupted: Navigating the Unexpected by Priscilla Shirer Intrusions from outside invade our lives every day. Is it possible that they might be opportunities from God? Through reflections on the life of Jonah, Priscilla Shirer shows you how to experience the freedom to go with God when the world seems to be against you.
How to Stop the Pain
by Dr. James B. Richards
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Discover the emotional freedom that everyone wants but few experience. Learn the only biblical way to prevent pain and free yourself from the need to judge others.
Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently
Free Yourself, Be Yourself: Find the Power to Escape Your Past by Alan D. Wright
Shame can motivate you to try harder, but it never sets you free. Learn how to wash off the tyrant of shame that hides your true self and let the grace and power of Jesus Christ transform you as you unlock the key to an entirely new way of living and loving. (Previously published under the title Shame Off You: Overthrowing the Tyrant Within)
This book tackles the problem of pride and teaches you how God uses the pride in your life to reveal your need for Christlikeness. You’ll see why it’s impossible to be self-righteous and Spirit-filled at the same time. You’ll also learn biblical principles for overcoming pride and self-righteousness.
Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young This classic devotional, taken directly from the author’s journal, will lead you closer to Christ and into His presence and peace.
by Lee Strobel
Bestselling nonfiction writer Lee Strobel makes his fiction debut with a legal thriller that weaves a gripping tale of power, politics and payoffs set against the backdrop of a suburban megachurch.
Weird: Because Normal Isn’t Working by Craig Groeschel
Tired of trying to fit into today’s culture? The good news is you don’t have to. Rather than live an ordinary life you can be extraordinary by embracing the wisdom and grace of the gospel.
You can purchase these books at Passages or online at passages.gatewaypeople.com. 34 Studio G
Purchase great teachings from Pastor Debbie Morris at passages.gatewaypeople.com. And visit her blog at debbiemorris.gatewaypeople.com
Pastor Robert Morrisâ€™
Newest Release Available Now at Passages passages.gatewaypeople.com
500 S Nolen, Suite 300 Southlake, Texas 76092
Published on Feb 27, 2012
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