Gateway Women’s Magazine | studiogmag.com
Transform Your Marriage
the PATH to staying together
TIPS & to tak TRICKS ey
o graph ur from F y skills
Taking control of your thoughts
oni J Lamb
A FANTA IR to STIC!
Author and TV Show Host
“God had something in store for me that I could have never imagined!”
simple habits to shape up your spending
FEEL THE PULSE
reviews of the latest albums from
Klaus Kuehn, Ryan Edgar & The Rocket Summer
PLUS: The inside scoop on the book
EVERYONE is buzzing about!
Thank you for giving to Equip & Empowerâ€™s A21 Campaign at Pink Impact 2008!
Because of your willingness to follow Godâ€™s leading, we were able to give over $40,000.00 to help put an end to human trafficking!
ON THE COVER 7 Tips & Tricks to Take Your Photography Skills from Fair to Fantastic! 12 Mind Over Matters: Taking Control of Your Thoughts 14 Transform Your Marriage: The Path to Staying Together 16 Author and TV Show Host, Joni Lamb "God had something in store for me that I could have never imagined." 27 3 Financial Fixes: Simple Habits to Shape Up Your Spending 33 Feel the Pulse: Reviews of the latest albums from Klaus Kuehn, Ryan Edgar & The Rocket Summer. PLUS: The inside scoop on the book EVERYONE is buzzing about
IN EVERY ISSUE 6 CONTRIBUTORS 7 FYI Making Memories: Practical Photography 101
You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand. Psalm 16:10-11
9 SOLUTIONS FOR THE SOUL Dear Debbie 11 SPICE FOR LIFE Easy Eats and Simple Sweets 31 BEAUTY Post–Summer Beauty Solutions 32 SMILE 33 PULSE Music & Book Recommendations
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Why Studio G? The title, Studio G, was inspired by Psalm 144:12 which is a prayer asking God “ that our daughters may be as pillars, sculptured in palace style.” The name reminds us that we, as Christian women, are in God’s studio as unfinished works of art. Studio G is committed to reminding us of the ways of the Master Sculptor as He continues to fashion us into “women of palace style.” In His studio, we discover who we are created to be and we come to realize our true worth.
Gateway Women’s Magazine
FALL 2008 Editor-in-Chief
DEBBIE MORRIS Managing Editor
DEBORAH MASH Senior Editor
STACY BURNETT Assistant Senior Editor
12 You Are What You Think Your life is affected by the way you think. It’s time to think new! by Dawn Stahl
S. GEORGE THOMAS Editorial Assistant
14 The Power of Vision Find out why vision is crucial to a successful marriage. by Jimmy Evans
16 STUDIO SPOTLIGHT: Joni Lamb—A Life Surrendered Joni Lamb explains how her life has been a "journey of surrender." by Stacy Burnett
KATRINA SIRMON Graphic Design
LAURA DUBROC Creative Direction
GATEWAY MEDIA MINISTRIES
23 Me, God and Mickey D’s How going to McDonald’s completely changed my quiet time with God. by Tom Lane
25 That Girl
ERIC RYAN ANDERSON NATASHA BROWN
Why I “wasted” so much time with that girl. by Kathy Jimerson
26 Financial Health Habits Discover three habits for achieving financial health. by Amie Streater
29 STUDIO PROFILE: Unni Hubert—The Life of a Mentor Get to know the woman who started Gateway’s Mentoring Ministry. by Monica Hopkins
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105
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SOUTHLAKE CAMPUS 2121 E Southlake Blvd Southlake, Texas 76092
NRH CAMPUS 7501 Davis Blvd North Richland Hills, Texas 76180
a note from the editor
Growing up, I thought (and still think) that I lived in Utopia. This was only enhanced by the fact that my dad, an avid horse enthusiast, always had several chestnut-colored, registered quarter horses. I adored my dad, and because he really enjoyed horses, I loved them, too. I loved the days when my dad got home from work early and I got to go for a ride. After saddling my horse, Salty, Dad would let us go on our usual route. We followed the old fence line until we got to the downed fifty-foot pine tree that marked where we would make our descent into the ravine with the small creek running through it. Salty was always cautious, probably because she knew how slick wet, red clay could be. After crossing the creek, we meandered through what seemed like a forest of pine trees that carpeted the ground with a heavy layer of pine needles. Once out of the “forest,” the terrain flattened and there was wide open space. This was our favorite place because we could gallop freely. I loved the feel of the wind blowing through my ponytail. I felt so adventurous! We would ride until we got to the fork in the trail. I always wanted to go left so we could explore, but Salty always wanted to go right because it was the shortcut back to oats, hay and a nice rubdown. Being extremely scrawny, I wasn’t always able to ensure Salty’s obedience. Although my dad had worked with Salty for endless hours to get her to obey my slightest nudge, we were on the back side of the pasture and out of my dad’s watchful eye. So, more times than I care to admit, my adventures into the big pasture were cut short by the predictable right turn at the fork. Whenever I tried to venture off the beaten path, Salty always found a way back to the familiar path. Her passion for the familiar always conflicted with my desire for exploration. Now that I’ve grown up, I’m a lot like Salty. I have the same morning routine, drive the same route to work and maintain a usual itinerary. I am so predictable! I even think along the same course all the time. I haven’t changed my mind about vegetables yet! I still don’t like them and don’t expect to start liking them any time soon. I constantly find myself at the intersection of two paths: Will I follow the gentle nudges of the Holy Spirit and head out an adventure, or will I settle for the familiar? I love Proverbs 8:1–2: “Does not wisdom cry out, and understanding lift up her voice? She takes her stand on the top of the high hill, beside the way, where the paths meet.” Just recently, I realized that at every major crossroads, wisdom is there beckoning me. Wisdom is love’s smart side; it’s like the brains of love. Wisdom signals a path towards love. It’s wisdom’s job to draw us to the things we really want long term, because wisdom’s desire is to protect. In this issue of Studio G, wisdom is calling us to paths of righteousness. As you accept the adventure, I hope you will feel the exhilaration of the wind in your ponytail.
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is the Senior Pastor of Trinity Fellowship Church in Amarillo, Texas. During his 25 years of leadership, the church has grown from 900 to more than 8,000 members. Jimmy and his wife, Karen, co-host the TV program, MarriageToday, and he has authored four books. In his free time, he enjoys lifting weights, playing golf, watching 24 and keeping up with the Dallas Cowboys. Jimmy and Karen have been married for over 35 years and have two married children and three grandchildren.
Monica Hopkins is a beautiful, single Christian woman who’s excited about her generation and their potential to change the world. She is a gifted writer who communicates creatively about truths and experiences in her life, a graduate of Dallas Baptist University and is currently working as a writer and editor at Artistry Marketing. Monica’s favorite things include, but are not limited to: laughing, eating, music and Bahama Bucks snow cones.
Tom Lane was saved at a Youth for Christ rally in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1969. He currently serves as the Executive Senior Pastor of Gateway Church. Prior to joining Gateway, he served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Fellowship Church in Amarillo, Texas. Tom is also the author of the book The Influence of a Father. He and his wife, Jan, have been married for 36 years. They have four children and five grandchildren. His favorite restaurant is (no kidding) … McDonald’s.
Dawn Stahl was born on Prince Edward Island, grew up in Long Island, New York, and was raised in an unsaved family with an alcoholic father. Her conversion was dramatic, and with her new life in Christ came a compassion for hurting and lost souls. With over 24 years of ministry, she has developed a passion for prayer, for seeing people won to Christ and for ministry towards women of all ages. Dawn loves Starbucks and sports (especially the New York Yankees and ice hockey), and she watches the Weather Channel religiously. Dawn’s husband, Brad, is the Pastor of Volunteer Ministries at Gateway Church, and they have one son, Eric. Amie Streater
is the Associate Pastor of Financial Stewardship at New Life Church in Colorado Springs. She and her husband, Scott, have three boys: Cole (8) and identical twins Kendall and Addison (4), and because Amie was choking on all the testosterone, they got a girl dog named Jill. Her hobbies include cleaning crayon marks off the furniture, scrubbing spilled drinks and paint out of the carpet, playing the Wii with Cole, gardening, cooking, watching The Office and putting bows in Jill’s hair (to maintain some sense of femininity in the home!). Amie does not enjoy scrapbooking or crafts of any kind. She does, however, play a mean game of gin and has a small collection of handguns … she’s an excellent shot.
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Kathy Henigan Jimerson is the author and creator of an abstinence-based program, Children No More, used in classrooms throughout the country. This awardwinning program was featured on Good Morning America and The Oprah Winfrey Show, and Kathy was honored with a Resolution by the Texas Legislature for her work against teenage pregnancy. She always says God has a real sense of humor, because even though she has an incredible East Texas southern drawl, she taught public speaking! When people ask Kathy if she speaks a second language, she answers, “Yes … East Texan!”
MAKING MEMORIES Practical Photography 101
by NATASHA BROWN
We all treasure pictures that speak to us and remind us of great moments in our lives. But very few people know how to actually take those kinds of fantastic pictures. Here are some practical tips and techniques to take your photography skills to the next level. And the best part? You don’t have to buy a new camera!
DON’T BE AFRAID OF ANGLES Most people think all pictures should either be shot vertically or horizontally. Unless your subject matter is superinteresting, you usually end up with boring pictures. Simply tilting your camera by 45 degrees can make a huge difference!
DON’T BE AFRAID TO ZOOM Beauty is in the details, right? So practice zooming! The most ordinary, mundane object can become so much more interesting when the details are magnified. Instead of taking a picture of a whole field of beautiful flowers, focus on one and zoom in as close as you can.
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THE RULE OF THIRDS Most photography books will tell you that, as a general rule, your subject matter should only take up about one-third of the picture. This seems to contradict the previous tip, but that’s why it’s a general rule. And your subject matter doesn’t even have to be in the center of your picture! Play around and experiment with this.
FOCUS ON ONE THING Many people try to cram too much in a single image, which scatters the focus. Instead, select one thing or person to be the main focus. If you have three children, try taking three separate pictures with a different child as the focus. They can all be in the shot, but center your attention on one at a time.
KEEP A CAMERA WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES This may sound obvious, but it’s an extremely helpful tip. It’s great for capturing those random moments you don’t anticipate—and those unscripted pictures usually turn out to be the best!
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studio solutions for the soul
I just graduated from high school and am heading off to college in a few weeks. Everyone asks me what I want to study, but I honestly don’t know. How can I know what I’m supposed to do? ~THE GRADUATE
Congratulations! You’ve just hurdled a huge milestone of life, but I know that the endless possibilities and wide-open fields to explore can be more than just a little overwhelming. Your decisions today will matter tomorrow. The future is yours to define! This is a great time in your life to investigate who you are and honestly consider your strengths and passions.
Don’t be afraid to believe in yourself to go beyond what you think is possible. The enemy
would love to whisper to you that your dream is unattainable, but with God all things are possible. He has deposited great gifts in you, and only you can fulfill your destiny. Start preparing for your dream by strengthening your relationship with God, refining your character traits and studying to gain the knowledge that will help you succeed.
Before my husband and I married eight years ago, we agreed that once we had children I would stay home to raise them. Now that I have a three-year-old son with a baby on the way, I often wish I could return to work. While working, I had a great sense of accomplishment. I often heard, “Good job!” or “Great work!” Being a stay-at-home mom is really hard work, and I seldom hear much praise or feel appreciated. While I do get the always precious hugs and kisses from my son, I would really appreciate my husband’s praise and acknowledgement that my part isn’t easy, but he seems completely clueless! ~FRAZZLED WIFE
You are making the greatest investment of your life. There may come a time for you to return to work and have a significant impact there, but right now you’re shaping a young man. As a mom of older kids, I can tell you that it goes by really fast, so enjoy the hugs and kisses. It seems to me that you wish your husband would appreciate the part you’re playing in your family. You’re right … he probably is clueless to just how demanding your world is and your very real need for appreciation. Try to find a time when you can share your feelings with him, preferably when you’re not frazzled emotionally. Tell him about your need for praise and appreciation. Don’t expect your husband
to read your mind or sense your needs.
Graciously explain how you love your children and enjoy them but need him to reinforce your momentous investment in your children. And you might need to remind him several times, because guys seem to think if they say it once it should last a lifetime.
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I’m 29 years old. I have a well-paying job with potential advancement. While in college, I would have considered this my dream job, but now that I’m here, I find it only mildly satisfying. I’m searching to know that my life matters more than just making a company profitable. Do you have an atlas for a searching soul?
for Women Take advantage of FREE childcare at both the Southlake and the NRH Campuses. This is the perfect opportunity for you to spend time with friends at your Gateway Group, get lunch and even run errands! More info? call: 817.552.3705 email: email@example.com
Wherever you are in your journey of life, there’s a place for you in Gateway Groups!
You are wiser than your years. God created us with a craving to matter, to feel significant. The toil of our labors is important to provide for us, but your worth isn’t bound to what you produce for a company. It’s determined by having the kind of love so pure that you’re willing to lay down your life to advance others. The answer to the God-placed craving in your heart is only found by investing in others.
People matter to God, and as believers made in His image, we share His desire. The atlas you’re looking for is God’s love demonstrated to others. I think if you begin by looking for someone to invest in, you’ll find a renewed sense of direction and purpose. Ask God to show you someone to invest in at work. Consider becoming a youth volunteer, taking a mission trip, offering to take care of a single mom’s kids for a couple of hours once a month or volunteering in the women’s ministry.
“Dear Debbie” letters are answered by Debbie Morris. If you have a question that you would like to submit to “Dear Debbie,” please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Everything submitted is anonymous and won’t be shared with third parties. By submitting your questions, you give us permission to edit and publish. Only questions published will be answered.
Easy Eats and Simple Sweets (just like Mom used to make )
by BROOKE BRYANT
CRESCENT ROLLS 2 packages regular yeast 1 cup butter 1 cup milk 3 eggs
4¼ cups flour ½ cup sugar ½ teaspoon salt
Melt butter and milk on low heat. Set aside and cool. Dissolve 2 packages of yeast in ¼ cup of warm water in a mixing bowl. Beat eggs and add to yeast mixture. Add cooled milk/butter mixture. Stir in sugar, salt and flour. Dough will be sticky. Place dough in greased bowl and cover tightly. Keep in fridge for 9–12 hours. Punch down dough, knead 20 times on floured board. Roll into a circle, 1/3 of an inch thick. Spread softened butter over the dough. Cut into 12–16 pie-shape pieces. Roll from the wide end down to the point. Fold ends to make a crescent. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake until light brown, approximately 15–20 minutes at 350 degrees. (You can divide the dough and use the rest at another meal.) *This recipe is also great for cinnamon rolls. Follow the same preparation directions, but roll the dough into an elongated shape, spread with butter, sprinkle granulated sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon to taste. Roll into a log shape, cut into ¾ inch slices, bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or golden brown. Add icing.
ICING 2 tablespoons butter 4 tablespoons milk 1½–2 cups powdered sugar ½ teaspoon vanilla
Growing up, my brother, sister and I were treated royally at the dinner table. These were some of my favorite times because we shared our meals together as a family. We definitely never went without! Mom loved to cook and always had homemade meals for us. And because she was always cooking, we also learned how to cook at an early age, and it’s still something I love doing to this very day! Whether cooking for my family, a small group of friends or entertaining at parties, I enjoy making a variety of things. I love making homemade crescent rolls and my friends are constantly asking me to bake my chocolate sour cream cake. Both are easy to make and well worth the time spent putting them together. With a couple of simple substitutions, you can also enjoy cinnamon rolls and coconut cake. Enjoy!
CHOCOLATE SOUR CREAM CAKE 1 milk chocolate cake mix 1 cup sour cream Prepare the cake mix following the instructions on the box. Add sour cream. Beat well. Grease and flour two (9-inch) cake pans. Bake following the directions on the box. Cool on a wire rack.
ICING 8 oz cream cheese 1 stick real butter 1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder 1 pint heavy whipping cream
Combine room temperature cream cheese with room temperature butter and whip until creamy. Add powdered sugar and cocoa. In a separate bowl, whip the cream. Fold the cream into cream cheese mixture. Ice the first layer of cake. Add the second layer and ice top and sides. Place in fridge. Best if served slightly chilled. *This recipe can be altered to make a coconut cake as well. Simply use a white cake mix. For the icing, add 1 cup of coconut instead of the cocoa.
Melt on low heat. Spread over hot cinnamon rolls.
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You Are What You Think by DAWN STAHL
Have you ever heard something over and over your entire life, and then one day it just suddenly makes sense? This recently happened to me. I was sitting in a service at Gateway Church, and the statement, “Your mind takes you to your destiny,” finally clicked. It hit me right between the eyes, and I felt transformed within. My thinking plays an important role in my future? Wow! I had heard this statement before, but this time it was totally different. The experience was a serious wake-up call from God telling me, “Now is the time for you to change your thinking.” The apostle Paul tells us that if we want to see God’s good and perfect will in our lives, we can, but only if we have our minds renewed: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think” (Romans 12:2; emphasis added). For a believer, right thinking is a vital necessity; a necessity so important you simply cannot live without it—like a heartbeat or blood pressure (or maybe even chocolate for some of us ladies!). I realized I had to change the way I was thinking and make right thinking a priority in my life. In Proverbs 23:7, Solomon says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so does he become.” That word, “thinks,” can also refer to our “thoughts.” So in other words, the thoughts you and I have are being transformed into what we will do and are becoming. What are your thoughts lately? Whether they’re positive or negative, you are becoming what you think about. It’s impossible to have a negative mind and a positive life. Research shows that only 13% of our illnesses can be attributed to diet, genetics and environment; 87% is a byproduct of our thought life. I think it’s safe to say that our life is greatly affected by how we think. So, how can we think differently? The first step is realizing you need new thinking. I recently asked a psychologist, “When a person wishes to change their thinking, what’s the first step they must take?” She replied, “They must
realize that their way of thinking has not been working.” It’s as simple as that. Change the way you think, and many of life’s stresses, worries and problems can be silenced. Secondly, get rid of negative thinking. As long as unhealthy thoughts dominate your mind, you won’t be able to construct new thoughts. The mind is a busy place, so become aware of what you allow in and around your mind. If it’s good for you, accept the thought; if it’s bad for you, reject the thought. 2 Corinthians 10:5 instructs us to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. We have to make controlling our thoughts a priority. Next, we must also get in agreement with God’s way of thinking. Amos 3:3 says, “Do two walk together except they make an appointment and have agreed?” God wants you to walk with Him in your mind, agreeing with Him. This principle can be seen in family life as well. For instance, my family and I love each other; however, if there isn’t mutual agreement, then we’re not going anywhere together. God is on our side, and He wants our thoughts to mutually agree with His. Finally, we must embrace our new way of thinking. Don’t be afraid of what God wants to do in and through you. Think on this: Philippians 4:8 says, “For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].” God’s way of thinking will help your life in every aspect, whether it be in your marriage, family conflicts or the everyday battles we all deal with. No matter how bad the condition of your life and your mind is, don’t give up! Mastering your thought life is a lifelong process. Once you make the change, the results will last forever. You are not in this alone; you can depend and lean on God’s grace to help you through. So live life to the fullest, and think new!
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OF VISION AMOS 3:3 CONTAINS a vital question for couples: “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” Often a couple will marry without first discussing important topics such as money, sex, children, employment, etc. When these issues surface later in the relationship, couples may find their views differ greatly. The resulting tension and arguments place unnecessary strain on a marriage relationship. Can these disagreements be avoided? How can couples resolve their differences on such important issues? The answer lies in one simple word: Vision. Couples who define a clear vision for their marriages find that the arguing and fighting over key issues is greatly minimized.
THE NEED FOR VISION Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” That word, “vision,” means “mental 14 Studio G
sight—the ability to see a goal or a destination.” When you don’t have a clear vision of where you’re going, it’s impossible to stay together. If you have no idea about your destination, how do you know when you’ve arrived? How do you know when you’re on the wrong path? The point is, you don’t know. Without a clear vision for your marriage, you go in two different directions and there’s a constant battle. You need to have a vision that brings you together in agreement, so you can yoke together and pull together towards the same purpose. Vision also motivates positive behavior; it naturally motivates you to do the right thing. You behave in such a way that causes whatever your vision is to happen. For instance, when you have a vision for your finances, you live according to your budget or your goals; when you have a vision for your children,
by JIMMY EVANS
you develop in them the character and disciplines that help them become who you want them to be as adults. When you have a vision for what your marriage stands for and what it’s going to produce in 30 years, you automatically think and act in such a way that produces the fruit you desire. Every couple goes through difficult times at some point in their relationship. Having a vision encourages you in those difficult times. It’s like a lighthouse on a troubled sea—standing before you, lighting the way and forming a base of stability when nothing else is stable. Vision is constant when nothing else is constant. When God gives you a vision, He never changes His mind. The great thing about going to the Lord and getting His vision for your marriage is
COME, AND LET US GO UP TO THE MOUNTAIN OF THE LORD … HE WILL TEACH US HIS WAYS AND WE SHALL WALK IN HIS PATHS. MICAH 4:2 that it is absolutely stable. When you go through a discouraging or difficult time, that vision stays before you as a motivator and as a testimony that God has a purpose for your life and you’re going to get through this troubled time.
FINDING THE SOURCE OF VISION FOR YOUR MARRIAGE When you and your spouse desire to define the vision for your marriage, it’s important to know where to draw your vision from. There are three sources of vision for your marriage, and the first is the Word of God. God’s Word is the universal place of vision that God has given to all of us. No matter what the
subject, God has something to say about the matter, and by drawing wisdom and direction from His Word, you build a foundation that’s unshakable. The second source for vision is the Holy Spirit. When we pray and seek the Holy Spirit for direction, He gives us personalized, specific vision. According to Scripture, God knows and loves us individually. He is a personal God. He wants us to see His will and His direction for our lives, and nothing pleases Him more than caring for His children in very real and intimate ways. The third way we get God’s vision is through godly examples. People don’t succeed by accident. When someone’s successful, it’s because they’re doing something right. Look around you. Who do you admire by how they raise godly children? Emulate them. What godly couple do you most admire for their relationship? Do what they do to build a strong marriage. We learn from example, and having a mentor who has stood the test of time can be a valuable asset in determining our own vision for our marriage, children, finances, etc.
HOW TO HAVE A VISION RETREAT When I first began in ministry, I knew I had to have a vision for the church if we were ever going to go anywhere. It’s amazing, though, that as a pastor and leader of a large church, I didn’t apply that principle to my home. It never occurred to me that my wife, Karen, and I needed a vision for ourselves and our family. One day, a dear friend of mine began telling me that every year he and his wife go on a vision retreat—a time to get away and receive God’s vision for their marriage and family. After all, when two people are together in any endeavor in life, it’s only possible for them to remain unified and productive if they both share the same vision and purpose. Therefore, it’s of paramount importance that every couple hoping to succeed takes time and energy to get God’s vision for their marriage. So approximately
ten years ago, Karen and I took our first vision retreat. In a three-day period of time, our marriage was absolutely transformed! Whenever Karen talks about that time, she always says that it felt like a weight had been lifted off of her shoulders: “There’s just this oneness that’s light; it’s not heavy. There’s a peace in knowing that we agree.” We’ve discovered the best way to do a vision retreat is by going out of town for a minimum of three days. This isn’t a typical vacation. Rather than focusing on activities, our focus is on establishing our vision together. We start by praying and asking God about His goals for us. We pray about each of our children individually, about desires for our family and about ourselves as a couple. We go through the calendar together and schedule the entire year; because if we don’t, we won’t have family nights, we won’t have date nights, we won’t have our retreat times, we won’t have vacation. If we let the calendar crowd out all that stuff, we’ll never end up doing our vision … instead, it would be nothing more than a mental wish list. Without setting aside time for a vision retreat, we let other areas that really aren’t priorities take over what’s most important to us. You have to grow your family and marriage on purpose, not by mistake. To do that, you have to have a vision for it; you plan toward it, you carry it out, you accomplish it. If you don’t set aside time and determine your vision, you’re going to end up just letting everything else crowd out what’s really important to you, and you won’t accomplish what you really want to accomplish. The saddest person is one who looks back with regret. Vision is the key to changing that. It’s the stable foundation, the lighthouse in the night and the map that gets us to our destination. I encourage you to step out and purpose to take a vision retreat with your spouse. If you do, you and your family will enjoy the rewards for a lifetime.
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“a s u r r e n de r e d l i f e is th e on ly place i n et e r n ı t y w h e r e t he r e i s pe ace. ”
oni J Lamb A L if e S u r r e n de r e d by STACY BURNETT
recently met Joni Lamb on the set of her show at the Daystar studios in Euless, Texas. You may know her from her show, Joni, or from Celebration, which she co-hosts with her husband, Marcus, but what you may not know is that there is so much more to this amazing woman than what you just see on TV. I began our discussion by asking her a little bit about her shows and what it’s like to be in millions of homes each day.
People from all over the world watch Celebration and Joni. Some people may feel like they really know you. They probably have certain perceptions about you, whether they’re right or wrong. How do you feel about the way people perceive you? Most people who know me would tell you that the way I am on TV is pretty much the way that I am when I walk off
the set. I don’t have one persona for TV and one when I’m off the air. Early on, the Lord told me, “I just want you to be yourself.” And I think that reality is what resonates with people. There are going to be people who like me, and there are going to be people who don’t like me. I can’t really worry about that. Early on, it really bothered me if I thought someone didn’t like me. But over time, I’ve put it in perspective. Yes, I love people, I want the message that I share to resonate with them, and I want people to like me, but it’s more important what God thinks about me. At the end of the day, it’s my desire to do what is pleasing in His sight. Has it taken some time to get used to people feeling like they know you when they see you in public? I’ve been in television now for over 20 years, so I’m used to that. It’s wonderful because people have always been very gracious and kind. I’ve actually never
Fall 2008 17
met anyone who was rude to me. But at the same time, are there days when I go out and wish that no one recognized me? Yes. There’s a price that comes with being on television. I realize I live in a glass house, and that’s not an easy thing. So it’s kind of a trade-off: I have a great opportunity to minister the gospel to many people, but I don’t have as much privacy. Is there a person who you really enjoyed interviewing? Someone who really stands out? Freda Lindsay. God has used her in such an incredible way. When she lost her husband, she thought her ministry was over, but in fact, Christ For the Nations Institute became bigger under her leadership than it ever was when her husband was alive. To sit and listen to people like her who have done great exploits for the kingdom is a privilege. I love to interview people like that!
Is there anyone you want to interview that you haven’t interviewed yet? I would like to interview any of what I call the “generals” in the kingdom—people like Billy Graham and Oral Roberts. One of the people I wanted to interview was Mother Teresa, but now she’s gone on to be with the Lord. However, when I was in India, I got to go to the Mission of Mercy Hospital and see the work she did. Tell me about your new book coming out this fall. How did you come up with the title? One morning, I was praying, “Lord, You’re going to have help me like You help me do everything else. I want the book to have the title that You want.” He said to me very clearly, “What one word represents your life?” And immediately, the word “surrender” came to mind. He said, “That’s your title.” And that’s how we came up with Surrender All. What’s your story of surrender? My initial surrender took place when I was six and had my first realization that there was a God, but it wasn’t until 1980 when I was 20 years old that I wrote a letter of surrender to the Lord. At the time, I was coming out of a relationship with a young man who I knew I shouldn’t have been in relationship with. Basically, I was saying to the Lord, “Take my life and use me. I want to be in Your perfect will.” It was my heart’s cry. I didn’t realize it at the time, but those words were so powerful when I wrote them. I tucked the letter under my mattress, and God just began to open doors supernaturally. A few months later, I met my husband, Marcus. My whole life has been a journey of surrender. When I gave up my plan and moved from the driver’s seat to the passenger’s side and said, “Okay, God … I want what You want for me. I surrender to you, the One who created me and designed me,” then He had something in store for me that I could have never imagined. It’s what I’m doing today. I would have never chosen to do what I’m doing. I would have never had enough confidence to think I could’ve done it. It’s amazing.
in Real Life
How do you want people to remember you?
What’s something that no one knows about you?
I want people to remember Jesus in me. I’m really not concerned as much anymore about how they remember me as much as I’m concerned that they remember that I loved the Lord and that I was a good representation of Him to the world. And if I can accomplish that and finish the course He set before me and finish strong, then that would be my goal.
I’m an avid Scrabble player.
My life would be simpler if …
What CDs are you listening to right now?
I had more hours in the day. I feel like I run out of time.
I’m listening to Hillsong, Brandon Heath and the Refreshing Times … I know those singers really well [laugh].
18 Studio G
I WANT PEOPLE TO LIKE ME, BUT IT ’S MORE IMPORTANT WHAT GOD THINKS ABOUT ME.
Is the book only about your story? I share many stories of surrender from people I’ve interviewed over the last 20 years. There are all kinds of stories that I think will resonate with people and give them hope. And not all the stories have a perfect ending. But it just shows that when you surrender your life to the Lord, not only do you find peace and purpose, but you know that during the good times and the bad times—and you’ll have both—that He is faithful, and He’ll see you through. A surrendered life is the only place in eternity where there’s peace. It sounds like throughout your life the Lord has always challenged you. And you’ve had to step up to allow Him to stretch you, like with the shows and the book. Do you feel like the Lord is challenging you to trust Him? Writing the book was very difficult. I’m writing about surrender, and I’m having to surrender throughout the book. As I was writing the book, there were things happening in my life that God was saying to me, “Okay, you’re writing about it, now will you surrender it?” [laughs] And I’m like, “Okay, I’m not writing any more books about surrender!” I’m already so busy, so to add writing a book on top of everything else was scary and a big challenge, but the Lord helped me. Your book sounds so inspiring. Would you want to write another one? I don’t even want to think about that. It’s kind of like when a woman has a baby and you ask, “Oh, when are you going to have another one?” And she says, “Never!” So right now, I cannot even imagine writing another book because this one took so much of my heart and soul that I don’t even want to think about it. Definitely not any time soon. But don’t let any of the publishers hear that. I told Marcus it’s his turn! [laughs] Was there anything special or unique about the way you and Marcus met? You touched on it a little bit earlier. Well, like I said, I wrote this letter of surrender to the Lord, and immediately the Lord began to show me things about this young man that I was
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
When do you feel the most beautiful?
Where do you go just to get some peace and quiet and relax?
A perfect day would be to sleep in late. I’m a night person, so I usually stay up late, and so to be able to sleep in and then have family and friends come over and grill hamburgers and play out by the pool and play some badminton and laugh and cut up and just kind of have some private time. I think that’s probably my perfect day.
When I’m well-rested, and when I have a good hair day. Today’s a good hair day [laughs]. Some days, it’s not, though. You can’t have great hair every day, I don’t care who you are!
My bathtub. I love my bathtub. Everyone in my family will tell you, “Mom loves her tub!” I may take two baths a day. There’s something about the water I love. It’s very relaxing.
What makes you laugh out loud? Marcus makes me laugh all the time— he’s totally hilarious. It’s like living with a comedian.
If you could sit down and have coffee with anyone, living or dead, who would it be? Oprah. Not because she’s famous, but because she has such influence with so many people. If I could have a few moments to speak into her life or to share a story that could somehow point her back to her roots that her grandmother instilled in her, then that would probably be who I’d pick.
dating. It was like He just peeled back whatever veil was over my eyes at the time. That October, we had a revival at my home church, and I thought, “I’ll bring this young man, and I’m sure that he’ll commit his life to the Lord and become totally sold out because there’s a young evangelist speaking.” I was telling the Lord exactly what He should do. The young man was supposed to go with me to church on Sunday night, but on Sunday afternoon, he called me and said, “I can’t go.” And it’s just like I came to the end of the road and the Lord was saying, “Okay, now is the time for a decision. You’ve seen what he’s like; I’ve shown you. Now you decide, either go to the right or left. You can’t go straight anymore.” So I broke up with him. I was so upset that I didn’t go to the service Sunday night, Monday night or Tuesday night. Finally, my mother said, “Honey, you’ve got to go; it’s just really great. The Lord’s really touching the young people.” And so, I went on Wednesday night—now mind you, not having any idea of what God had planned for me. And see, I think that’s a real important key. God wants to see if He can trust you. If we could peer through a telescope of time and see what God has for us, it would be easy for us to make the right decision. But when we make the right decision without knowing what God has for us, that’s when God really sees if He can trust us. So I went on that Wednesday night, and that’s when Marcus noticed me. So then, the rest of the story is that the evangelist would become my husband. He tells this story all the time: he looked over on his left side and saw me sitting there. He turned to Mike, the minister of music, and said, “Mike, who is that girl?” And Mike said, “That’s Joni Trammell.” And Marcus said, “I want to meet Joni Trammell!” Anyway, that’s how we met and started dating. We tell all of that in the book; it’s funny.
Was it difficult to have a dating relationship with him being an out-of-town evangelist? Well, it was pretty easy at first because he was having a revival at my church, so he asked me out every night of the revival. But when he left, I would go two to three weeks and not get to see him. So it was difficult. At the same time, you can really get to know someone through talking to them on the phone and writing. I remember there was one month he wrote me a letter every day. It was a neat dating experience.
Clockwise from top left: Joni, Marcus, Rachel, Jonathan and Rebecca
So how long did you date before you got engaged? We met in October of 1980, and we were engaged in February of 1982. We got married in August of 1982. Can you tell me a little bit about your proposal? One of the most memorable moments of my life was the day Marcus asked me to marry him. We went to a Chinese restaurant, and he had gone earlier that day and gotten the fortune cookies and put a piece of paper in one of them that said, “Joni Lynn, will you marry me? Love, Marcus.” He knows how curious I am, so I opened up the cookie and pulled it out, and I looked up at him and looked down, and I looked up at him again, and I was like, “Are you serious?!” And he said, “Yes!” And I said, “Okay, yes, I will!” [laughs] And then I opened my candy, and he had the ring in the foil-wrapped piece of candy that was in there. I was really excited, but I’m not as demonstrative as most women. You know how girls scream, “Ahhh!” And to this day, if I could go back, I would just do it, you know? He was so disappointed that I didn’t scream out loud, but I told him I was just screaming inside. On the outside, I was like “Yes! Thank you! I’m so excited!” He kids me about it still. It was a great day. He totally shocked me; I had no idea. You’ve now been married for 26 years and have three children. Tell me about your kids. Our son, Jonathan (22), just graduated from Oral Roberts University in May. Hallelujah, hallelujah! We’re so excited about that. He’s a wonderful young man who loves God. He got a degree in business so he could come back and help his Dad run Daystar. He really feels called to walk alongside his father. It’s interesting because we didn’t tell him growing up, “Now, you’ve got to grow up and help us.” But it’s something that has been in his heart for many years and something he felt like he wanted to do.
In your opinion, what will the greatest challenge for young Christians be in the next 10 years? The greatest challenge is presenting the gospel in a relevant way. I know for us, it’s having great sets and quality production and content. It’s not how the message is presented that’s sacred; it’s the message itself that’s sacred. So I think that the biggest challenge is how to present the message of Christ through the Internet, television, radio, local church and community in a relevant way that attracts people who don’t know the Lord and lets them know that God loves them and cares for them. How do we do that in a tangible way that can really make a difference? It’s not over … to find out more about Joni’s book and what advice she has for other women who might want to write, visit our website at studiogmag.com and watch the video.
JONI ’S FAVORITE … Chill out activity Being out by the pool, reading a book on a warm sunny day.
Book Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
Dessert I like tiramisu, crème brulée, coconut cream pie … that’s my weakness, I love desserts. My mother’s homemade pound cake.
Drink Rachel (18) is our middle child. She’s amazing as well. She’ll be going off to Lee University in the fall, and we’re excited for her. She is just my little free spirit who loves to travel the world. She’s already been to the Philippines, China, India and South Africa on mission trips. She has a real heart for orphans and wants to have an orphanage someday. She loves to go and minister to those who are hurting and may not have had the opportunity to hear the message of Christ. It’s going to be exciting to see what the Lord does with her. Rebecca (16) is our youngest daughter, and she is the creative one. She’ll get onto me for saying this, but she has a wonderful voice and loves to sing. She wants to play guitar, the piano and the drums. She loves all kinds of music. She loves to dance and is on the dance team at her school. She’s very passionate about the Lord. She wants the real and authentic; she doesn’t want to play around with God. Rachel thinks we all should just worship and dance before Him. She was a surprise. After we moved to Texas, I got pregnant with her, so we call her our “Texas Surprise.” She’s a real blessing to us. It’s so exciting that our kids are serving the Lord, loving the Lord and wanting to be a part of ministry … there’s nothing greater than that!
TV show 24 Movie Ben-Hur Place in the world One of my favorite places is Israel, because that’s where the Lord spoke to us about getting involved in Christian television 24 years ago. But practically, my favorite place in the world is at home, snuggled next to my sweetheart on the big, overstuffed chair we have in the den. We love to snuggle and watch our favorite programs at night and just catch up. So that's probably my favorite place in the world.
Fall 2008 21
Incredible things happen when you give up control! As a young wife and mom-to-be, Joni Lamb never imagined a dream and Duct tape could launch a growing television network and career as host of two programs that reach millions of viewers worldwide every day with help, hope and wisdom. Then a simple act of surrender to God helped her use ordinary things to achieve her extraordinary dreams. Joni shares her own story of surrender along with inspiring stories from celebrities and everyday folk who found fresh hope in difficult circumstances by surrendering all.
“Surrender All is a book to be savored and saved. During a trying time in my life, Joni’s words and the stories blessed me and reminded me that I can trust the Lord with everything. I can continue to cling to Proverbs 3:5–6. I know this book will greatly encourage everyone who reads it, and I hope thousands will!” ~ Francine Rivers (author of Redeeming Love)
M A R K YO U R CA L E N DA R
Women’s Christmas Party Thursday, Dec 4 | Gateway Church Southlake Campus
Me, God & Mickey D’s by TOM LANE
MOST MORNINGS, I BEGIN MY DAY BY MEETING GOD AT MCDONALD’S. When I first committed my life to Christ and began to develop my relationship with Him, I heard a lot about the importance of having a “quiet time” to read God’s Word, meditate on it and talk to Him in prayer. As my mentors and other believers I respected talked about their own quiet time, I realized that it could be as distinctive as the people doing it; some had their quiet time in the morning, while others did it during the day or before they went to bed. The length of time varied along with the format. Over the years, I’ve come to of my growing relationship with God. It didn’t seem very productive to let my understand that the nature of a “quiet time” reflects Bible flop open randomly as a method for determining where I should read each person’s unique friendship with God. And in that day. Nor did I feel that my prayers accomplished much when they lacked a friendships, method and form always take a back guided focus but were, instead, the result of a manufactured list of items to be seat to individual connections of the heart. At its covered. In short, my quiet time was boring and lacked both focus and purpose. core, a quiet time is a time set apart to connect with Over the years, my friend Jimmy Evans has often talked about how he God as our Father, Savior and Friend. journals as a part of his quiet time, and he encouraged me to do the same. Out So I worked to establish my own quiet time, but of the frustration and dissatisfaction I felt, I asked him to tell me about what struggled with the quality and consistency of my he did with journaling. He explained that journaling gave structure to his time connection with God. I found with God; it enabled him to if I didn’t start my day with a talk with God and record what On days when my quiet time designated time to connect with God was saying to him. I was actually took place, it was more so desperate for something God, it didn’t happen. Unless I put it first in my day, I was of a dutiful obligation than an different I could do consistently inconsistent in making it happen and joyfully that would help me exciting aspect of my growing find quality time with God, I at all. If I stayed up late, I would ignore my alarm and choose relationship with God. decided to give it a try. to sleep until the last minute, When I first attempted to bypassing my quiet time that morning. When journal as part of my quiet time, it amounted to nothing more than a diary with I forced myself to get up and go into the other God’s name on it. I made myself sit down and tell God, by writing in my “God room, I was asleep in the chair I sat in before I Diary,” all that had happened the previous day and how I felt. If I missed a day, finished the first verse or sentence of my prayer. The I felt I had to remember everything that had taken place so I could record it in connection with God I was seeking was replaced by my journal. It was laborious, lifeless and even worse than the non-system I used additional sleep. previously. This method of journaling did not resolve my quiet time issues with I also needed structure in my quiet time. On inconsistency, lack of systematic Bible reading and non-focused prayer. I remained days when my quiet time actually took place, it was frustrated but still pushed forward determined to find an answer. I eventually more of a dutiful obligation than an exciting aspect came to realize I first needed to go away from my house and work responsibilities
Fall 2008 23
to a place where I could focus on God. Secondly, I needed a format that really helped deepen my relationship with God. That’s where McDonald’s came into the picture. As I sought to find and connect the pieces of an effective quiet time, I started looking for a place to go that was open early in the morning—preferably a place I could go even when I was out of town. McDonald’s became that place. When I first began, breakfast wasn’t my favorite meal of the day, but that changed as I deepened my friendship with God through a consistent quality time with Him. The second missing piece I needed for my quiet time was a format to follow. I found the Victory Bible Reading Plan—a small pamphlet that enables the reader to completely read through the Bible in a year—and incorporated it into my quiet time routine. I liked this particular plan because it gave me a chapter in Psalms or Proverbs, two chapters in the Old Testament and one chapter in the New Testament to read each day of the year. I also changed my approach to journaling from simply documenting the events of my life in my “God Diary” to writing my prayers to God and recording the things I felt He was saying to me about my family and situations I was dealing with. What had once been difficult and lifeless was now powerful and engaging! I started developing this process over twenty years ago. When I first began having a quiet time, I thought I had to legalistically enforce it to be effective; however, as with all things, legalism killed my time with God. My time is now a reflection of my friendship with Him. If I miss a day, the world doesn’t end; I just miss spending time with my God and my Best Friend, and I come back to it as quickly as I can. The basic outline I follow is simple: I start my time with God by reading the Bible. Usually, I take a verse from my reading and use it to begin my journal entry for the day. My prayer follows a simple format. I express my love and worship to God. I affirm my commitment to Him and surrender to Him. I pray for my needs and concerns as I listen and record the comments He impresses on my heart as we speak (communicating with God is two-way communication). I acknowledge my sin and forgive people who have hurt me. I have journals that go back 20 years, but in the last few years, I’ve started using my laptop so I can save my journals in a file organized by month and year. It’s fun to go back and read journal entries from years or months past, because it gives a chronology of my growing relationship with God and records specific things He has said to me about events in my life. I encourage you to set aside a time every day in the midst of your busy life to pause and spend time with God talking to Him and listening to His voice.
1 to meet with God. a Bible 2 Select reading plan that
Find a private place
helps you read through the entire Bible.
on God’s 3 Meditate Word in addition to
reading it. It’s the only book that reads you as you read it.
a journal to write 4 Use your prayers and
record God’s words to you.
the time as a 5 Enjoy part of developing
your relationship with God.
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Studio G is published by the Women’s Ministries of Gateway Church, a nonprofit corporation, Southlake, Texas USA © 2008 Gateway Church. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Studio G has no subscription price and is supported through ministry contributions worldwide. All gifts to this ministry are tax deductible (in countries where this applies). For more information or to order, call 817.552.3655
solutions for the soul
We never know whose life we’re going to impact, and we never know whose life is going to impact ours. We never know the time or the place that one life may be transformed by another. But God knows.
THAT GIRL by KATHY HENIGAN JIMERSON
WE WERE NEW TO GRAND PRAIRIE, TEXAS, and I was just beginning my job with the Grand Prairie Independent School District. I was a counselor to pregnant and parenting teens—a job funded by taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars. To say I was welcome by faculty and staff wasn’t always the case. “We’re tired of those kinds of programs,” was a recurring comment. Another was, “They played with fire and got burned. Now the government is making me pay for their mistakes. It’s just not right!” I understood their complaints, but I knew God had called me to help these young girls and boys. The day I met LaToya almost caused me to reconsider my job. She was a 14-year-old, sullen and skeptical ninth grader with two children, and she didn’t want any part of me. We were alone in an empty classroom, and we just sat staring. I stared at her. She stared at the floor. Whenever I’d venture a question, she’d either give single-syllable answers or else ignore me with a bored sigh.
Fall 2008 25
Several teachers said she wouldn’t make it. One teacher asked, “Why are you wasting so much time with that girl?” At the time, I didn’t have an answer, but something drew me to this girl. The odds were against her: messy home life, a bad attitude and not just one kid, but two! I had other students who were more than willing to accept my help, but that day I kept sitting and staring. She crossed her arms and fixed her gaze permanently on the floor. Just as I was almost ready to give up, I had another thought. With much care, and in almost a whisper, I finally asked, “How old were you the first time you were molested?” Her eyes darted up and her entire body tensed. My heart was racing. I carefully reached across the table and placed my hand over hers. I whispered the question again, “How old were you the first time you were molested?” Teardrops began falling onto the table as her words cut through the silence, “No one’s ever asked me that.” Why did I? Because God had a plan for “that girl,” and He had ordered my steps and given me the words. Today, 17 years later, I listened to her speak to a group of girls who are about the age she was when I met her. I could have told her story for her, because I was there as she walked out the realities of her life and the consequences of her choices. High school was hard for LaToya; she continued to make poor choices. By the time she was a senior, she was pregnant with her third baby. I was disappointed. I had put so much effort and love into her, and I didn’t want to walk away and give up on her. I couldn’t … I wouldn’t. I knew God had His hand on her; I knew she would one day be a voice for others with similar backgrounds.
Because of LaToya and the story I heard that day in that isolated classroom, I sought permission to form a support group for pregnant and parenting teens. That created more opposition: “As if they didn’t skip enough class already, now they’re getting permission to miss?” was a complaint often voiced by my peers. But I persisted because I was overwhelmed and couldn’t physically meet with each individual student. The support group provided teens with a safe place to share, grow and connect to others with like needs. In that group, these students formed friendships and held each other accountable for being in school. As those hidden within the ranks of “normal” students broke their silence and secrecy and came with apprehension, the numbers grew. From that support group, a speaking group formed to take their message into middle schools so that teens could tell their stories to younger students. The impact was life-changing for all of us. LaToya always spoke last. Her presence, her courage and her gift of speaking always moved us and touched our hearts. Because of her third pregnancy and continuing track record of making poor choices, I debated whether I should remove her from the group. But whenever she would tell younger kids to take a long, close look at her life and her choices, she would also then ask them to find someone to talk to like she did that day in the homemaking room. “I’ve got some work to do,” she’d say, “but I now have hope that eventually I’ll do better.” LaToya graduated. A year passed and I received a phone call from her. “I understand your Jesus now,” she laughed. “I asked Him into my heart! I’m saved!”
Her life was really beginning now! Eventually she enrolled at the University of Texas at Arlington, graduated with a bachelor’s degree and went on to earn a master’s degree. Next year, she’ll finish her doctorate, and she recently completed writing a book about her life and salvation. Together, we formed a support group for teen mothers who graduated from high school. I still did the job the school district hired me for: helping students graduate with the skills to get a job. But in a smaller group setting in my home and with LaToya’s newfound faith, we gave them what they really needed: hope, love and an introduction to Jesus. LaToya is now a Social Worker at the same school where I first met her. She’s taking her story—her message of hope—to the next generation because she speaks the language of the heart they need to hear. She connects through the pain and hurt, and directs them to hope. I saw it. She is giving back. Years ago I was asked, “Why are you wasting so much time with that girl?” At the time, I didn’t know why. But the big picture wasn’t mine to see and know. That day, I only saw the girl in front of me, and God knew the woman she would become. While LaToya gives me credit for her life today, I can’t take any credit. We actually taught each other! Because of her I learned, I grew and I stretched my own abilities and beliefs. Today, LaToya is taking the message of hope and healing to the next generation. And as I pray for her and listen like a proud mentor, I remember that day long ago and “that girl” who is now “God’s girl!”
rosper you p to s n la p “ , clares the Lord e d ,” u o y r fo :11 plans I have a future.” e d th n a w e o p n k o Jeremiah 29 I h r u o o y “F e iv g you, plans to rm a h to t o n and
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HEALTHY HABITS FOR FINANCIAL FITNESS by AMIE STREATER
Getting our finances in order is often one of those things we plan to do later. We think, “Oh, I’ll do that when that next raise comes in,” or “when the baby is out of diapers” or “when the car is paid off.” Regardless of what you’re avoiding—debt, lack of savings, out-of-control spending—the problem won’t go away if you ignore it. In fact, you can only count on it getting worse. That’s the bad news. The good news is that even if your financial ship is headed for an iceberg, you can turn it around pretty quickly and relatively painlessly by developing a few simple habits.
SAVE MONEY. You’ve heard this one all your life. But do you do it? Probably not. Statistics show that the savings rate in America is currently -2%. How can we have a negative savings rate? By spending more than we earn! You simply must have money set aside to handle unexpected emergencies. In Matthew 5:45, Jesus warns us that “He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Hard times are inevitable. Kids get sick right before payday. Transmissions go out. Jobs get eliminated. Home cooling systems die in the middle of August. There really isn’t any such thing as an “unexpected” emergency because we should always be expecting them and saving for them. Which begs the obvious question: how much should I save? You should have at least $1,000 in easily accessible cash for emergencies. If you can put away $5,000, even better. That amount will, for most families, handle any sucker punch life throws your way. If you’re having a hard time getting started, try finding $10 here and $5 there and see how quickly it adds up. If you struggle with leaving the account alone, use the trick I use to keep my own hands out of my cookie jar: find a credit union you can join that is out of your way and has really crummy hours. Then, set up a payroll deduction and have a set amount from every paycheck deposited into that account. Since the credit union isn’t linked to your regular checking and savings accounts, you can’t use online banking to make an impulsive transfer. And since it’s out of the way and has those awful “banker’s hours,” you’ll have to plan ahead to make a withdrawal. The money is there for a real emergency, but it’s out of reach from your impulses.
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USE CREDIT WISELY.
Credit cards have a real benefit to consumers who use them to pay for expensive, problem-prone purchases such as electronics, home repairs, services and travel. If you buy a $3,000 plasma TV that suddenly goes black after only a month of service, good luck getting the matter resolved to your satisfaction if you paid cash. But if you used a credit card, you can file a dispute with your credit card company who will almost always help you get the matter resolved. Likewise, if you’re traveling and the airline bumps your reservation or your hotel room has six-legged guests scurrying about, your credit card company can pressure the hotel or airline to make things right if you dispute the charges. And having the credit card makes it easier to handle the immediate expense of a new flight or hotel room while you dispute the other charges. However, because every credit card company has different rules and levels of protection, you must take the time to find out what benefits your credit card offers before you make the purchase. Also, never use credit cards to finance a major purchase. In other words, don’t plunk down the plastic until you have the cash to pay the bill—in full—when it comes.
MORE INFO? call: 817.552.7428
email: firstname.lastname@example.org visit: stewardship.gatewaypeople.com
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FALL IN LOVE WITH GREEN.
It’s so easy to swipe a debit card at the gas pump, the grocery store, Target, the shoe store, McDonald’s and everywhere else. But unless you have an incredible amount of discipline and a printout of the family budget in your purse at all times, it’s impossible to spend only what you intended to spend unless you use good ol‘ greenbacks. As we use cash less and less, we spend more and more. How many times have you driven home from the grocery store or Target wondering, “How did I spend so much?” Here’s a highly sophisticated trick for spending only what you want to spend: bring only that much money. Want to limit your grocery budget to $150 this week? Bring that much and only that much to the store. It’s amazing how good we get at mental math when faced with the prospect of overspending at the checkout counter. I use a system of cash envelopes to store my money allotted for groceries, gas, haircuts, clothing, dining out and other daily expenses. My husband gets his own cash for his own day-to-day expenses. When the money is gone, we stop spending. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.” If your ship is sinking, it’s likely that you have lots of tiny leaks in the form of lattes, magazines from the checkout counter and other impulse purchases that never factor into your mental accounting. Commit to using cash, at least for a while, and you’ll have smooth sailing in no time. s
God has promised to provide for all of our needs, and He admonishes us not to worry about the future. However, most of us were never taught sound biblical financial principles on which to base our financial decisions. Our ministry exists to help you strengthen your walk with the Lord by discovering true financial freedom. Through classes, seminars, one-on-one financial coaching, compassionate care and estate planning, we’re here to help you live the life of peace and blessings that God intends for all of His children.
THE LIFE OF A MENTOR by MONICA HOPKINS
I recently had a chance to sit down for coffee with Unni Hubert, the Director of Mentoring for Gateway Church’s Women’s Ministry. I work with Unni on a regular basis, but this was my first chance to spend quality time getting to know her on a deeper level. Unni, your name is so unique. Where are you from? I was born in Oslo, Norway, during World War II. How did you end up moving to the United States? When I was attending medical school in Germany, my sister met and married an American officer whose best friend happened to be Jack Hubert. We dated for over three years, and I traveled to the U.S. in 1963 to meet his family. Almost one year later, we were married. So tell me a little bit about how you became a Christian. When I was 15, I was confirmed in the Lutheran church where we usually attended on Christmas and special holidays. About that time, I started searching for God. I thought about it quite a bit but didn’t know how to find God on a personal level, so I gave up. Many years passed. I married, had three children and became very happy with my life. I didn’t give God much thought. Then my older sister accepted Christ and began to minister to me. Also, a new neighbor named Linda moved into the house across the street from us. She was a believer, and we became close friends. One day, I read a news story about a mother who murdered her two children, and it really affected me. After discussing this incident with Linda for many hours, I began to have a clearer picture of sin versus God’s great love for us. That night, I knelt by my bed and gave my heart to the Lord. How did the mentoring ministry at Gateway begin? When I first came to the area, the Lord quickly brought me to Gateway. One of the first things I did was talk to Pastor Debbie Morris about mentoring. She told me they primarily did mentoring through Gateway Groups, and we went on to talk about other things. Several months went by, and I didn’t think much about it. One day, after a service, Pastor Debbie
came up to me and said “Unni, the Lord hasn’t let me forget about mentoring since you and I talked about it. We ought to have mentoring at Gateway, and I want you to get it started.” So God had a plan all along! That was the confirmation I needed that the timing was right to start a mentoring ministry at Gateway.
Do you desire to discover more about yourself, your potential and your capability? There’s someone out there who wants to spend time with you every week, to inquire about your life, walk with you through a battle, encourage you and pray with you.
women MENTORING women MORE INFO? call: 817.552.3705 email: email@example.com
What are some of the benefits of the mentoring ministry? I feel that any woman can benefit from mentoring at any point in her life. One of the main benefits is having a woman who’s a little older than you and has more spiritual maturity come alongside you and give godly advice. Also, you can often find a good friend through mentoring— someone who tells you the truth based on God’s Word and who will share personal experiences with you that benefit you. Mentoring helps people develop a closer walk with the Lord, but it’s also really about meeting people where they are spiritually and helping them take the next step. What’s your heart for the women in the mentoring ministry? I would love to see everyone who establishes a mentoring relationship at Gateway really fall in love with Jesus. To know who they are in Christ, but even more so, to know who Christ is in them. To learn with their heart that Jesus truly loves them. It’s amazing how many people say, “Well I know it in my head, but I have a hard time knowing it in my heart.” Who has been the most significant mentor in your life? I’d say there have been two influential people in my life over the years. My first mentor was my sister. She came to know the Lord seven years before I did, and she was the one I’d call who would always pray with me and guide me. If I read something in the Bible I didn’t understand, I would go to her; and if she didn’t have the answer, she would find it for me. I am so thankful for that. My second influential mentor was a lady by the name of Sandy who was a Bible study teacher
at one of the churches I attended. I sat under her teaching for six years. She was younger than I was, but she had grown up knowing the Lord and was very anointed. I learned so much from her, and she became a good friend. How many women have you mentored? I can’t give you an answer, because I never kept track! There are women I mentored 20 years ago who are still in touch with me. In fact, one of them who I hadn’t talked to in months called last night and said, “Unni, I just needed to hear your voice.” It’s been such a blessing to me, because I can never give more than the Lord pours into me. As I give out, the Lord just pours more into me. We can’t outgive God! What do you desire for the women of Gateway? My greatest desire is for the women of Gateway to know Christ on a deeper level and to connect with the body by getting involved in a Gateway Group. Of course, I would also love to have many of them become mentors! I know Gateway is full of women who would make wonderful mentors, but some of them are a little afraid to take that first step. I would love to talk to those women and tell them we have many mentors who were in their shoes just a couple of years ago. But it’s important to take that first step, to not separate from the body, but become part of the body. Towards the end of my interview with Unni, I began to wrap things up. But before I could say goodbye, Unni stopped me and said, “Monica, I don’t know very much about you. Is now a good time for me to get to know you?” We spent the next thirty minutes talking about me and what was going on in my life. Unni asked me about my life, encouraged me and spent a few minutes praying for me. I felt so special! As I was leaving, it hit me … Unni is so in love with Jesus that it rubs off onto everyone she meets. She can’t help but be a mentor!
Love your summer tan? Want to keep your luxurious glow going all year long? SOLUTION:
Start Self Tanning
EXFOLIATE Make an at-home body scrub using the following natural ingredients: •½ cup fine ground sea salt •½ cup sugar •1 fresh squeezed lemon
Mix everything together in bowl, and you’re ready to step into the shower, work onto your dry skin and rinse.
BODY LOTION Apply a lightweight lotion or cream. (Remember your elbows, feet and knees!) This enables the tanner to go on smoothly and helps prevent streaks.
by ALICHA THORNTON-RAY
WHY EXFOLIATE? All skin needs exfoliation. After the age of 20,
the skin’s natural process begins to slow dramatically. But with lots of options out on the market, how do you know which one you need?
A scrub polishes the surface and removes any superficial dryness. The polishing action
wakes up dull skin and helps it to feel really clean. Try using your scrub in the shower. The steam softens the top layer of skin and you get better results. Scrubs are not recommended for anyone with thin skin or chronic redness.
Look for a cleanser, serum or night cream that has AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) or enzymes. Products that contain
AHAs or enzymes are the most effective forms of exfoliation, especially for skin that is dry or has discoloration, wrinkles, acne or large pores. You can usually find AHAs or enzymes in mask-like products which you can apply onto clean skin and remove.
SELF TANNER Wear a pair of vinyl or rubber medical gloves to apply the tanner. This really helps to prevent staining on your palms and cuticles. As you apply the product, take time to make it even. In order to prevent the overdone look, it’s best to only apply one layer. Remember, you want a natural sun-kissed look, not a fake tan. TIP: When buying a self tanner, look for a color that’s similar to your natural skin color. Also, look for levels of darkness (light, medium, dark). This will help you choose a natural color.
MAINTENANCE Keep the color fresh by adding a little self tanner to your body lotion and applying it every other day. Also, add a little to your daily moisturizer to blend in the color of your neck and face with the rest of your body.
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your Gsmet on ! ile
My two daughters love to read through their devotional book. They’ll both snuggle up in their big, comfortable “thinking” chair, and my four-year-old will coerce my nine-year-old to read one of the Bible stories aloud to her. One particular morning, I overheard my older daughter reading (with great dramatic flair) the story of Jesus walking on the water during a bad storm. Putting her own spin on it, she explained how the disciples were terrified and “freaking out” because of the storm and how they “really started freaking out” when they saw Jesus (the fact that the disciples were so afraid after seeing Jesus seemed to disgust her quite a bit). She then said that Jesus prayed for the wind and waves to calm down and they did. At this point, my four-year-old with an extremely disturbed look said, “Wait just a minute. Jesus didn’t pray!” My oldest immediately shot back, “Yes, He did.” This went back and forth for a little while, until my youngest responded, “Well, if we pray to Jesus, who does HE pray to?” To which my pragmatic nine-year-old replied, “To God, of course!” Still perturbed about this whole thing but willing to accept it, my four-year-old said, “OK, but how come NO ONE ever told me that!”
I’m a nanny for a very bright three-year-old named Colette. One day, I took her and my one-year-old granddaughter, Ashlynn, to the park. We played all morning, and by noon I was exhausted from being in the hot sun. As I walked into the house and headed towards a chair, I said, “I’m pooped!” Colette quickly asked, “Where did you poop?” Ever try explaining something like that to a three-year-old?!?!
I often find my children getting into some pretty “interesting” theological discussions. One day, my four-year-old son, Cole (who’s surrounded by siblings and cousins who are all girls), was talking to his three-year-old cousin, Alainna. As they sat there pondering their future, Cole said, “Alainna, when I grow up I’m going to go ALL the way, WAY up to heaven, and God’s going to ask me whether I want to be a boy, a girl or a baby. And you know what? I’m going to ask Him to make me a girl—so I can be just like you.” After thinking hard about it for a long moment, Alainna wisely nodded her head and replied, “Yeah, Cole, that’s what they call being ‘born again’!”
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Having trouble taming your frizzy tresses? SOLUTION:
Apply Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a great natural ingredient that helps to fight frizz and give your hair a natural shine. Using a pin, poke a hole in the top of a Vitamin E capsule. Squeeze the Vitamin E into your palm, and warm it up by lightly rubbing your hands together. Then, distribute it through dry hair. Stay away from roots; rather, focus on ends.
Embarrassed by melting makeup? SOLUTION:
Use a Primer
A makeup primer absorbs excess oil from your skin and creates an even surface to prevent makeup from settling into fine lines or pores. Apply the primer to a clean moisturized face, or dilute your regular foundation with a couple drops of primer before applying. If you don’t wear foundation, try adding a drop to your tinted moisturizer.
Bonus Beauty Tip! Keep Eye Makeup on Your Eyes
During warmer weather, opt for a cream eye shadow over powder. If you set powder on moisture, it will crease. Also, remember to keep eye cream off your eyelids during the day.
Waterproof eyeliner and mascara will help you avoid runs, smudges and raccoon eyes.
by MARY BETH MILLER
I love good food. I’m not the kind of person who predominantly eats one type of food. I enjoy a plethora of flavors and styles and crave variety. And like food, I love good music—a variety of music.
Due to the begging of my 14-year-old niece, I recently found myself at an alternative rock concert in Dallas. After sitting through four pre-show bands whose music was somewhat lacking in lyrics and melody, I was pleasantly surprised at the talent of a young man named Bryce Avary, the lead singer and driving force behind the headlining band for the evening—The Rocket Summer. Their most recent release, Do You Feel, substantiates everything I heard that night: incredible rhythms, thought-provoking lyrics and driving melodies. Even more impressive than what I heard was what I saw. When The Rocket Summer took the stage, there was a dramatic shift in the atmosphere. What made the difference? Life. I recently learned that Bryce Avary is a Christian and that he attends Gateway Church. Bryce is using his talents and the Light within him to make a difference in dark concert halls across the world! For a taste of one of my favorite songs from the band, download the song, “Save,” from iTunes.
Like Bryce, this next artist delivers great music about life and relationships from a Christian’s perspective. The Ryan Edgar Project, the self-titled first album from Ryan Edgar, is more mainstream fare. Nothing about this album says “indie” (independently produced) thanks to its incredible arrangements, heartfelt lyrics and tight production. Ryan’s pure, yet beautifully textured vocals, run strong throughout the album. Each song is noteworthy from the magical instrumental intro to the final song, “A Different Beautiful.” True to the song’s title, the swaying strings, rich harmonies and meaningful lyrics give breath to this love song which may be my favorite of the album; although, “Delayed” puts up a good fight for number one with its cool rhythms and fresh gritty sound. All the other songs run a close second, with none being a throwaway. This CD has been playing in my car for weeks, and it’s not leaving any time soon. Job well done on the first round. Seconds please! To purchase this album, visit RyanEdgarMusic.com.
O taste and see that the Lord is good!
Of all the types of music I enjoy, worship is my absolute favorite. Glory, by Klaus Kuehn (pronounced Koon), is a new live worship recording with lyrically strong songs and moments that will lead you into worship wherever you are. Leading from the piano, Klaus allows room to worship freely between songs, and this is where he truly shines. When you get the CD, I recommend that you begin with track three, “You Are The Joy.” The first two tracks are good, but I prefer beginning with the third track because it immediately ushers you into the presence of God. The simplicity of the “la, la, las” at the end of the song and the intricately moving piano work beautifully enhance this powerful moment. Moving on through the album, you’ll hear an amazing version of “Stay Amazed” (previously recorded on FiRST: Songs from Gateway Devotions); and through the words and music of “Glory,” you can’t help but visualize the whole earth being filled with God’s glory. Near the end of the album, Klaus goes into one of my all-time favorites songs, “When I’m With You,” and I’m reminded once more that I, along with the rest of the world, was truly created to worship God. I have listened to this CD over and over again, yet I’m still taken aback every time. Without reservation, I wholeheartedly recommend picking up Glory as soon as you can! To purchase a copy, visit KlausMusic.com.
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Recommended Reading The Shack
Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity by William P. Young reviewed by JOYCE FREEMAN
A few months ago, I walked into my office and found a copy of The Shack lying on my desk. I knew absolutely nothing about it and had no idea who placed it there, but I decided to read it (just in case the person who gave it to me asked me about it). Surprisingly, I was amazed! It was such an incredible book. You hear the expression, “I couldn’t put it down” all the time, but I truly could not put it down. Most of us have unanswered questions about the pain and disappointments we’ve seen or experienced, the tragedies we’ve known and the things in life that seem so unfair. William Young, the author of The Shack, found God’s answers during a time in his life that was humiliating, painful and hard. He came to understand that we can all have misconceptions about who God really is—as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, because we develop our beliefs based what we’ve been taught, what we think we understand and how we feel. The Shack is an amazing work of fiction that unfolds in the most creative and vibrant way and illustrates how God can meet us where we are—even in our doubt, anger, bitterness and unforgiveness—if we’ll only let Him. The central character, Mackenzie Phillips, goes through his whole life experiencing great abuse and many disappointments, and then, he experiences the most horrific tragedy imaginable. But through it all, God has a plan to help Mackenzie overcome all of the deep emotions and thoughts that are placing stress on him, his marriage, his family and his belief in God. William Young originally wrote The Shack as a legacy for his children of God’s amazing work in his life; however, through favorable word-ofmouth recommendations, this book has taken on the characteristics of a sleeper hit and become a national bestseller. Although his approach is unconventional at times, don’t let it deter you from reading the story to the end. The Shack is full of suspense, surprises and eye-opening revelations that challenge you to consider the person and plan of God in a completely different way than you ever have before! NOTE: This book has some very intense subject matter and may not be suitable for all ages. 34 Studio G
The Journey of Desire Searching for the Life We’ve Only Dreamed Of by John Eldredge reviewed by BOB HAMP
“To deny our own impulses is to deny the very thing that makes us human ....” Those are the words of the character Mouse in the 1999 sci-fi blockbuster, The Matrix. Whether this is deep philosophy or merely rationalizing drivel, Mouse accurately hits on a theme common to the human race: What are we to do with these desires that are woven so deeply into our soul? This is a frustrating question, particularly if we claim the name of Christ and want to live according to His ways. In one of his earliest and lesser-known works, The Journey of Desire, John Eldredge hits this question headon with his trademark raw transparency, honesty and passion. Written for the frustrated believer, the book poses and answers the question, “Where does my desire come from, and what am I to do with it?” The author’s focus isn’t on a specific object of desire; rather, it’s the mechanism of desire itself, imbedded in the human soul. Eldredge proposes that God planted desire in the human race for a specific reason. He then goes on to point out two opposite but equally dangerous traps we fall into as believers trying to live righteously in relation to our desires. Either we take our God-given desire and suffocate it within our soul, or we point it towards a target it was never designed for. The result is that we end up living a stifled, passionless life, or we indulge our passions in all kinds of self-destructive pursuits. The Journey of Desire is designed to both inform and arouse. From his opening parable which weaves throughout the book to his use of stories and classic literature references, John Eldredge provides both solid biblical reasoning and compassionate human understanding regarding the state of “being you.” If you find yourself wishing you lived life with more passion and heart or if your passions are occasionally your downfall, this book can bring balance and restore a healthy mindset in your own personal “journey of desire."
2121 E Southlake Blvd Southlake, TX 76092