Gateway Women’s Magazine | studiogmag.com
8 Reasons Why Strength Training is Good for You
A WOMAN’S WORST ENEMY SURPRISE GUESTS?
WE ASKED. YOU ANSWERED.
15 Minute Chicken Salad
Readers share their favorite summer traditions.
Stop Worrying. Start Trusting.
JESUS TAKE THE WEEDS
Getting to Know
Riding an Emotional Roller Coaster?
STRAIGHT TALK FROM JOYCE MEYER
The New Heart Behind Studio G
How would you rate your marriage? Is it paradise? Is it in the depths of despair? Or is it ho-hum and just existing day to day? However you rate your marriage, you’ll find some much-needed answers and direction at Thrive!, a conference designed to bring your marriage to a higher level.
Gateway Church Marriage Conference July 19–21, 2007 Join us and be encouraged by some of America’s most dynamic and renowned speakers on marriage—Jimmy Evans of MarriageToday and Dr. Gary and Barb Rosberg of Your Marriage Coaches—as they present practical and fun ways to take your marriage to a level you’ve only dreamed of. A thriving marriage is one that is flourishing, prospering, maturing and succeeding; and God’s desire is for you to have a marriage that thrives! If you’re looking to reawaken lost passion, refresh a stale relationship or encourage a healthy one, then don’t miss Thrive! Register today at thrive.gatewaypeople.com.
Because your marriage deserves to thrive!
The Aaronic Blessing
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24–26 (NIV)
Indicates articles featured on the cover.
CONTENTSSUMMER‘07 FEATURES Joyce Meyer talks candidly about why it’s important to make decisions based on what you know rather than on what you feel.
23 The Home Experience An insightful look at the home and the role it plays in our lives.
25 Sticky Situations Identify the “stickers” in your life.
26 Caelin’s Story What my daughter taught me about inner wounds.
27 More Normal Than You Think Wonder if you’re normal? We’ve got the answer.
28 Do You Trust Me? How trusting God is like tasting chocolate for the first time!
30 Just Put on Your Jammies! Learning to hear what God’s really saying to you.
Brenda Laurence: Knowing Her Father’s Heart
Brenda says, “When I was sixteen, I was so convinced of God’s goodness and His care for me that I knew He’d show me the man He wanted me to marry.”
IN EVERY ISSUE 6
7 FYI Keeping You In The Know 8 EXPERIENCES Traditional Summer Fun 9
HEALTH The Dr. Is In
11 FITNESS Why Women Need Weight Training 13 SOLUTIONS FOR THE SOUL Dear Debbie 15 SPICE FOR LIFE From Our Kitchen to Yours
31 SMILE lol :) 33 PULSE Book & Music Recommendations
BRENDA LAURENCE: Cover and Table of Contents photos courtesy Steve Riley • steverileypictures.com
16 Who’s the Boss—You or Your Emotions?
a note from the editor
So long! (but not goodbye) When did it happen? When did our cute playful little puppy turn into an overstuffed, grumpy blowfish of a dog? When did our precious strawberry blonde angel in my arms become more woman than child? When did my metabolism betray me? I used to be able to eat anything and not gain weight; but now, just thinking about food packs on unwanted pounds. Everywhere I look, change is occurring. It really doesn’t matter if I like it or not, change is constantly happening all around me. There’s only one explanation for these changes. God designed for things to change. I’m still unsure about the oversized dog and the metabolism thing, but change is a part of our lives. Back in December 2006, God breathed a change of focus into my life. One morning, I realized He had a new mandate for me to better nurture my family, and that included releasing my role as Editor-in-Chief of Studio G to someone new. After talking it over with my family, Pastor Robert and I knew this was the right course for me to take and that God would provide the right person to lead the magazine. Because God is the maestro of change, He orchestrated events so that the perfect woman could become the new Editor-in-Chief. I would like to introduce you to Brenda Laurence—the new heart behind Studio G. Brenda, a wife and the mother of two grown children, has been an active member of Gateway Church for five years who has volunteered in many areas and is currently the Pastor of Women’s Ministries at Gateway. She has a vibrant walk with the Lord and a deep passion for women. Although Studio G is something that I’m extremely passionate about, releasing my oversight of it to Brenda was easy because I know that she’ll continue to carefully nurture the values of this magazine while also boldly moving it to new heights. It’s my prayer that you’ll join me in welcoming Brenda as Studio G’s new Editor-in-Chief! Blessings,
Summer 2007 5
TRACEY BENNETT Tracey and her husband, Dan, have four daughters: Allison, Jessica, Elizabeth and Caelin. They have attended Gateway Church since May 2003. Tracey currently serves as an Administrative Assistant to Bob Hamp, Gateway’s Executive Pastor of Freedom Ministries.
Gateway Women’s Magazine
SUMMER 2007 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Debbie Morris
Lexa has been married to Pastor Marcus Brecheen for fourteen years and home educates their five children. She volunteers with Gateway’s Women’s Ministries and is passionate about teaching, equipping and mentoring women in their walk with the Lord.
Sarah Wronko EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Stacy Burnett EDITOR S. George Thomas
NANCY DOTTI Nancy and her husband, Mike, have been Gateway members for over five years and have two daughters, Carolyn and Janice. She’s a certified scuba diver, loves to sail, enjoys discipling young people and leads a Gateway Group. In her free time, she works in her garden and spends time with her husband.
EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Joyce Freeman CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Amy Heddington Steve Riley
JOYCE FREEMAN Joyce is a Staff Writer at Gateway. She and her husband, David, have three sons and seven grandchildren. In their four years at Gateway, they’ve led many Gateway Groups and volunteered at the Gateway Welcome Center. She enjoys being with her family, playing games and doing crafts, but the most important things to her are prayer and worship.
CREATIVE DIRECTION Gateway Media Ministries GRAPHIC DESIGNER Katrina Sirmon
RYANE NICHOLS-MOATES Ryane and her husband, John, have been members of Gateway for one year. She is thrilled about her spiritual growth in that time. They live with their two daughters, Olivia and Willow, in Euless, Texas. GATEWAY CHURCH
6 Studio G
2121 E Southlake Blvd | Southlake, TX 76092 817.328.1000 | gatewaypeople.com Saturday | 4:00 pm, 5:45 pm & 7:30 pm Sunday | 9:00 am, 10:45 am & 12:30 pm
GREAT GIRLFRIEND GIFTS Brighten your friend’s day with one of these creative gift ideas. CHEERS FOR CHOCOLATE
Order custom printed M&M’s with your favorite funny sayings or a special message.
YOU GO GIRL
BF 4 LIFE
Keeping You In The Know
get it: mymms.com PICTURE PERFECT Take pictures of you and your girlfriends and
put them together on a scrapbook page. Add little quotes and captions that will make your friend laugh or have happy thoughts. Frame it, and give it to her on a rainy day. OH BABY Instead of buying a gift for your friend’s new baby, make
a pillow that matches the baby’s room décor. It’s easy to do and is much more personal than a store-bought gift. PRETTY PICK-ME-UP Give your girlfriend a butterfly chrysalis
(cocoon). She’ll have the thrill of a lifetime as she watches a stunning butterfly emerge from the chrysalis. get it: butterflyeducation.com educationalscience.com
BLESS YOUR BETTER HALF Greet him with a smile and a passionate kiss. BUY A NIGHTIE IN HIS FAVORITE COLOR.
Allow him to spend time doing his favorite hobby.
TAG $ALE TIPS Whether you go to garage sales or are a flea market fiend, these tips will help you find those unique treasures you just can’t live without.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Know what you’re looking for, but be open to the unexpected treasures you might find. Don’t buy something just because it’s a great deal. It’s not a great deal if you won’t use it. Look beyond its current appearance. Can a chair be recovered or painted to complete your look? Take a truck or ride with someone who drives a truck. You never know when you’re going to find a $5 Christmas tree. Don’t hesitate to barter with the seller. You could wind up with an even better deal.
LEARN HIS LOVE LANGUAGE AND SPEAK IT OFTEN. Cook his favorite dinner or dessert. ASK HIM OUT FOR A DATE NIGHT WITH HIS “FAVORITE ACTIVITY” IN MIND. Tell him often how important he is to you and how much you appreciate him.
Summer 2007 7
Traditional Summer Fun In our last issue, we asked our readers about their family’s favorite summer traditions. We hope these give you some great ideas, because it’s never too late to start a tradition of your own! Every summer, my husband and I have a tradition where we pack up a picnic dinner, drive to Dallas or Fort Worth and enjoy Shakespeare in the Park. For the sake of “Mr. Budget,” we pick nights when there’s only a suggested donation and you don’t have to buy a ticket. ~Meagan Watson One of our traditions is to go on youth ministry trips with our church. In the past, we’ve gone to Colorado, Ruidosa, New Orleans, Arkansas, Tulsa and Mexico. We also get together on the Fourth of July with eight other families from the small group we’ve been a part of for 15 years for a picnic and to watch fireworks. ~Pam Horton
Back when my husband, JD, and I were dating and in college, my fatherin-law started a tradition of having an annual fajita party every summer. Everyone would get together at his house, eat fajitas, go swimming and have a blast. My father-in-law had a special marinade recipe that’s absolutely mouthwatering, and all of us would eat way too much. Over the past 17 years, the parties have definitely changed: JD is now in charge of the fajitas and makes the mouthwatering marinade, that bunch of rowdy college kids grew up, and we spend our time watching our kids swim and play together. In the years to come, we plan on continuing our fajita party tradition with our sons, Ryan and Luke, and their friends! ~Angelina Bowen
Our family takes a trip to Destin, Florida, every summer where we build sandcastles and relax in the sun! ~Tracey Bennett
Every Fourth of July, I love having a loud cookout around the pool with as many friends and kids as possible. Then, just as the exhausting, sun-drenched day winds down and gets dark, the fireworks start all over again, literally! ~ Jennifer Hagemann At least once a month in the summer, we have game night and a cookout and we invite different people we want to get to know—although we make sure they like to play games, laugh and have a blast before we extend the offer! ~Sandy Jobe
How do you like to welcome the fall? What is your favorite Christmas memory? We want to know! Email your answers to email@example.com and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a $25 gift card to Passages, Gateway’s Bookstore.
8 Studio G
WHAT DISEASE IS MOST LIFETHREATENING TO WOMEN?
The Dr. Is In Michael W. Dotti, M.D. F.A.A.F.P.
Mike, a board-certified family practitioner, is the founder and owner of the North Country Family Practice in Grapevine. He has been a Gateway member for over five years. Mike and his wife, Nancy, have two daughters, Carolyn and Janice.
When I ask my female patients this question, they almost always give me the same answer—breast cancer. Unfortunately, they’re wrong; the number one killer of women in the US is actually heart disease. Surprised? Most women are. The fact is heart disease is responsible for more deaths in women than all forms of cancer combined. Heart disease is responsible for nearly 489,000 deaths each year. All cancers combined claim 275,000 women’s lives per year with the largest number of deaths from lung cancer (74,250), followed by breast cancer (41,250) and colon cancer (27,500). The math tells us that a woman in the US is almost 12 times more likely to die from heart disease than breast cancer. The common belief that heart disease affects mostly men is a dangerous myth. In reality, more women than men die of heart disease in the US each year. But according to the American Heart Association, only 13% of women know that heart disease is a major threat to their health. Of even more concern is the fact that, even in 2007, the prevailing symptom of heart disease for half of all men and two-thirds of all women is sudden death. The good news is that heart disease is one of the most preventable health conditions. You have the power to reduce some of your risks. While some risks such as increasing age and heredity can’t be altered, most can be. Risk factors that can be changed and controlled by changing your lifestyle and/or taking medication include exposure to tobacco smoke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, physical inactivity, obesity, Diabetes Type II and the metabolic syndrome. If you smoke, it’s imperative to stop. The adverse health impacts of smoking are far reaching. It’s not easy to quit, but we “can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens” us (Philippians 4:13). Fortunately, there are two very effective medications to help with smoking cessation. Wellbutrin, also
Summer 2007 9
A CROWN FINANCIAL MINISTRIES SEMINAR
6:00–9:00 pm | Friday, July 13 8:00 –11:00 am | Saturday, July 14 Gateway Church Auditorium LEARN HOW TO: Make financial decisions according to God’s principles —
Discern wrong attitudes that may be a hindrance to your spiritual life —
Detect the “hazards” that lead to financial problems
Seminar Teacher: Gunnar Johnson, Pastor of Financial Stewardship $25 per person or $50 per couple Refreshments and materials will be provided. To register, visit gatewaypeople.com. For more information, contact Bonnie-Ruth Rolf at 817.552.3710 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
marketed as Zyban, decreases the craving and prevents the weight gain that sometimes accompanies quitting. The other medication, Chantix, is probably a bit more effective in cutting the craving, but doesn’t prevent weight gain. Both medications are less expensive than the cost of cigarettes. High blood pressure (hypertension) is a common diagnosis in America. Normal blood pressure is defined as 120/80. Beginning at 115/75 mm Hg, cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk doubles for each increment of 20/10 mm Hg. Sodium restriction and weight reduction can help to decrease blood pressure. When this is not sufficient to get your blood pressure to your desired goal, there are multiple side-effectAbove all else, free medications guard your heart, to effectively treat for it is the wellspring of life. hypertension and thus reduce the risk of heart Proverbs 4:23 (NIV) attack and stroke. High cholesterol is a very important risk factor for heart disease. We are born with a “bad cholesterol” (LDL) of 30–40. In my practice, it is not uncommon to see people with an LDL of 200. A low fat diet and aerobic exercise program can help to reduce LDL and to raise good cholesterol (HDL). I’ve seen motivated patients achieve a 5–10% reduction; for many however, a 40–60% reduction is often needed to get to goal. For these patients, medication is appropriate. The most common medications used for high cholesterol are the statins. These medications inhibit the production of cholesterol by our bodies and obtain 60%+ reductions. I’m often questioned about the safety of these medications and whether they’ll damage the liver. Statins have been documented to be safe and will even prevent fatty liver, a common cause of cirrhosis. Statins have also been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 45%. They also reduce the risk of breast, pancreatic and prostate cancers as well as lymphoma and Alzheimer’s disease, not to mention their large reduction in the risk of heart attack and stroke. Space doesn’t allow me to go on to discuss our American epidemic of obesity, pre-diabetes (the metabolic syndrome) and diabetes. Suffice it to say that since a diabetic is as likely to have a heart attack as someone that has already had one, a diagnosis of diabetes is the same as having heart disease. I leave you with this. Know your cholesterol and blood pressure. Have a regular check-up with your doctor including lab work and an electrocardiogram. Aggressively reduce your risk factors through a healthy lifestyle and, where appropriate, medications. Heart disease is common in women, but heart disease is also preventable. ✚
Do you have a health question for Dr. Mike? Simply email your question to email@example.com. Everything that is 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.
Why Women Need Weight Training Emily Gilstrap Time and time again, research has shown that women who maintain a regular and moderate strength training program enjoy many health advantages. Some women fear that weight training might bulk them up in unfeminine ways; however, as women of all ages realize the benefits of resistance training, negative attitudes about women in the weight room are rapidly fading. Here are eight important reasons why women need to take strength training seriously:
NEW MUSCLE HELPS FIGHT OBESITY As muscle is added from strength training, your resting metabolism increases. As a result, you burn more calories all day long. For each pound of muscle you gain, you burn an additional 35 to 50 calories daily. Over time, several pounds of added lean muscle can lead to significant weight loss. Because muscle weighs more per square inch than fat, you could conceivably lose inches and gain weight at the same time; so never let the scales be your only source for charting progress.
STRENGTHENS YOUR MENTAL HEALTH A Harvard study found that 10 weeks of strength training reduced clinical depression symptoms as successfully as, if not more so than, standard counseling. Research shows
that the dopamine receptors in the brain are increased as a result of exercise. This in turn allows more of the “feel good” neurotransmitters to be released and readily available to the brain. Women who strength train commonly report feeling more confident and capable as a result of their program.
MAKES YOU A STRONGER WOMAN Studies indicate that moderate weight training increases a woman’s strength by 30 to 50 percent. Extra strength makes it easier for you to accomplish daily activities such as lifting children or groceries. Most strength differences between men and women can be explained by differences in body size and fat mass. Pound for pound, women can develop their strength at the same rate as men. Don’t worry
Summer 2007 11
She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. Proverbs 31:17 (NIV)
though; because women have lower testosterone levels than men, they won’t bulk up as much.
BENEFITS YOUR BONES By the age of 25, you’ve established most of the bone mineral density you’ll ever have, and this is maintained until approximately the age of 35. At this point, your bone density decreases every year thereafter. Research shows that weight training can increase spinal bone mineral density by 13 percent in six months. So strength training is also a powerful tool against osteoporosis.
REDUCES YOUR RISK OF DIABETES Adult-onset diabetes is a growing problem for women and men. Research indicates that weight training can increase insulin sensitivity in your cells which in turn enhances glucose utilization in your body by 23 percent in four months.
FIGHTS HEART DISEASE Heart attacks and strokes are the leading cause of death among women surpassing every form of cancer including breast cancer. Strength training can modify several risk factors for heart disease by improving your cholesterol profile, blood pressure, body fat levels and glucose metabolism.
12 Studio G
BEATS BACK PAIN AND FIGHTS ARTHRITIS A recent 12-year study showed that strengthening your lower back muscles had an 80 percent success rate in eliminating or alleviating low-back pain. Other studies have indicated that weight training can ease arthritis pain and strengthen joints.
NO MATTER HOW OLD YOU ARE, IT WORKS Studies have shown that women in their 70s and 80s are perfectly capable of making noticeable improvements in their strength. Weight training is highly effective in improving strength, balance, functional capacity and bone density in those who are geriatric. The greater lean body mass and bone density may reduce complications associated with accidental falls in older adults.
Strength training doesn’t need to be complex or overly time‑consuming. Since it requires minimal time and equipment, it can easily fit into any woman’s lifestyle. Free weights, weight training machines, rubber tubing, stability balls or your own body weight will all enhance muscular strength and endurance with as little as 20 to 40 minutes every other day. Be sure to work all of your major muscle groups to avoid muscular imbalances. Choose a resistance that produces muscle fatigue somewhere between 8–15 repetitions. Once you get used to doing strength training, you’ll find yourself enjoying it and looking forward to it because your body will feel better, look better, function better and age better. ❤ Emily, a former All-American gymnast, has a Masters degree in Adult Fitness Management and over 24 years experience in the Health & Fitness industry. She is a Wellness Consultant and is married to Matthew, Gateway’s Associate Director of Ministry Administration.
studio solutions for the soul
y husband and I have a little girl who just turned two and another child on the way. I’m a stay-at-home mom, and I spend my days running around the house after our two-year-old and cleaning up her little messes. In the midst of running around, I also try to keep the house tidy because I know this is important to my husband. By the time my husband comes home, I’m wiped out. So when he gives me that look that only a husband can, I just want to snap, “Don’t touch me!” Although I know this hurts him, I don’t know what to do. How do I take care of my child, my home and my husband without wanting to pull my hair out and cry because I’m exhausted? ~Tired in Keller Even though it’s been years since my kids were young, I remember how exhausting little ones are and having the same feelings as you. If I were able to relive those years and take one piece of wisdom back with me, I’d like to take my understanding of how important a vibrant and healthy sex life is to a marriage and a family. Because ultimately, the strength of your family is rooted in the strength of your marriage. God created the gift of sex for marriage, and the benefits are enormous. According to For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn, men feel more emotionally confident with a healthy sex life. This could be the key to him getting a promotion or for him to openly communicate his deepest feelings. Sex unites individuals in a way that sharing a mortgage and checkbook doesn’t provide. Obviously, there isn’t enough space for me to list all of the numerous other benefits marriages with a healthy sex life have such as a far less chance to fall into immorality. When reading the book Intimate Issues, I was to learn that the desire for sex is a decision of the mind for us girls. This means we have the ability to choose to want to have sex or not, and that may be why it hurts men so much when we coldly turn them down. The devil hates marriages and distorts the truths to
abolish happy homes. To battle the enemy’s ploy of exaggerating our fatigue, a predetermined response of “yes” may be our best decision. Another solution is to look at everything you do during the day and prioritize your time. You may find that you’re stressing about the wrong things. A clean, neat house may not be the most important thing to your husband, so buy something sexy to keep your marriage healthy. Also, try to find time to squeeze in a nap by establishing a play area for your children to contain their messes. It also helps to limit the length of your phone conversations and internet surfing. ü
am a stay-at-home mother, and I regularly attend church; however, I find it hard to meet new friends during weekend services. I’m a very quiet person, so when I do meet new people, I have a hard time communicating with them. I feel lonely and disconnected. How do I overcome my shyness and build meaningful relationships? ~Shy Girl
Thank you for being so open. We all long for meaningful relationships. I believe God created us to live in communities, and by that, I don’t mean that our address is in a neighborhood. I believe God designed for us to live in genuine relationship with one another. Relationships form character, provide comfort, challenge us to improve and supply plenty of laughs. Gateway Church offers many wonderful opportunities for you to meet new people, but it will require stepping out of your comfort zone and just trying it. We have a variety of
Summer 2007 13
Gateway Groups with multiple focuses, and I’m sure that you’ll be able to find several groups that interest you if you visit our website at groups.gatewaypeople.com. Find a group and go this week. Don’t delay because new friends are waiting to meet you. ü
omeone recently told me that you aren’t the Women’s Pastor anymore. Why did you quit something that you seemed to enjoy? Will you continue being involved with the Women’s Ministry? I also heard that you’re a biker woman. Is there any truth to these rumors? ~Rumor Runner
CAN MARRIAGE REALLY BE HEAVEN ON EARTH? In their new book, The Blessed Marriage, Pastor Robert and Debbie Morris give you the insights you need to build a fulfilling and lasting marriage. Through personal stories and biblical principles, this book will help you create a foundation of intimacy and communication between you and your spouse. Whether you’re in a great marriage or a struggling marriage, The Blessed Marriage will help you achieve the marriage God designed for you. Get your copy of The Blessed Marriage today at Passages, Gateway’s bookstore, or online at gatewaypeople.com.
You’ve heard correctly. Even though I’ve greatly enjoyed my involvement in the Gateway Women’s Ministry, I struggled for some time because I felt like I should be home when I was at work and felt like I should be working when I was at home. I felt conflicted. But in December 2006, I had a moment when I realized that the best way I could serve God and Gateway Church was to go home and care for my family, so I made the decision to return home so that I could better nurture my family. Pastor Robert’s schedule is always busy, and by not working, I now have the energy to stay up with him and care for him. Also, our daughter is a junior in high school, and I want to enjoy this last season with her. And you’re right—I am a biker chick. I’ve taken up riding my bicycle on pretty days. In January 2007, Brenda Laurence replaced me as the Women’s Pastor at Gateway. Brenda is highly qualified and very motivated. She has been devoted to the things of the kingdom throughout all of her married life and has great experience in the corporate world as well. One of her strongest assets is her love for women. Along with one of the finest teams anywhere, I firmly believe that Brenda will do an excellent job leading the women of Gateway. She has my full support. And yes, I will still continue to be involved for a season by doing things such as speaking at Pink Impact and answering questions for “Dear Debbie.” To all the women of Gateway Church, I love you all, and I’m convinced that there’s so much potential in you to rock the world for Christ. We may have different goals and not be alike, but if we let the light that God deposited in us shine, we can make a statement for all to notice. ü Blessings,
“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 that is 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.
studio spice for life
TRISH’S CHICKEN SALAD 1 large can white chunk chicken* (Kirkland brand from Costco is the best), drain and flake with a fork 1 red onion; chop, sauté and cool slightly before mixing 1 stalk crisp celery; chopped ½ cup either dried cranberries or dried apricots cut into small chunks
From Our Kitchen to Yours
¼ cup toasted almond slices ½ cup mayonnaise 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard ½ teaspoon lemon zest ½ teaspoon basil Salt and pepper to taste.
Soup and a Smile Jennifer Cislaghi My potato soup recipe is a new addition to my soup repertoire. Although it hasn’t been in my family for long or passed down from generation to generation, it has quickly become a favorite. During our church’s threeweek Daniel fast, my husband and I invited a couple to join us for dinner and a game night. With fruits and veggies being our main fare, I wanted to make something that was delicious. This soup is a healthy, affordable way to please a crowd!
POTATO SOUP 4 cups water (vary for desired thickness)
¾ cup chopped celery
2 cups chicken broth or bouillon cube
¾ cup chopped mushrooms (or 1 can cream of mushroom soup)
6 potatoes, cubed
1 cup milk
1 clove garlic
cheddar cheese (to garnish)
salt and pepper to taste
1 can corn
¾ cup chopped carrots 1. Place mixture of water and chicken broth in pot on medium heat. 2. Chop onion, celery, carrots, mushrooms and potatoes and place in pot. Add corn, garlic and spices. 3. Let simmer for 1½ to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. 4. Add milk 10 minutes before serving and let simmer. 5. Ladle into a bowl and top with cheddar cheese. Enjoy!
Stir together, chill and serve. *Store the canned chicken in the refrigerator, and it’s already chilled after mixing.
Mealtime Memories Trish Bantham Do you have a favorite food you’ve always liked? Can you remember the first time you tasted it? We have a tendency to like or dislike certain foods based upon our environment and emotions at the time. It doesn’t matter if you’re serving a simple cup of soup or a decadent dessert, the relationships nurtured around meals together last a lifetime. Our life seems to move at a rapid pace and often doesn’t allow us to cook homemade meals. For years, it seems that we’ve struggled to have a regular family dinner hour. My solution is found in returning to simple basics and certain ingredients that I keep continually stocked in my refrigerator and pantry. Many meals can be prepared in less than 20 minutes if you take a little time to plan. I still remember the delicious chicken salad on toasted Kaiser rolls my Mom made on my sixteenth birthday. She used her colorful stoneware and linens to make the table especially beautiful. Mom has a special talent for showing love through her culinary talents; and now, thanks to her, I have many wonderful memories of meals with friends and family. Over the years, I’ve tweaked Mom’s recipe and discovered some shortcuts that result in maximum flavor with minimal effort. Anytime I’m in the mood for chicken salad, I know it’s only 15 minutes away!
Spring 2007 15
WHO’S THE BOSS
You or Your Emotions? Joyce Meyer The daily ups and downs of our emotions are one of the major struggles we have with our relationships. Instead of riding the emotional roller coaster, we need to learn to become stable, solid, steadfast, persevering and determined people. If we continue to let our emotions rule over us, there’s no way we’ll ever be the person we were meant to be. Of course, we won’t ever be totally rid of emotions, but we must learn to manage and control them—not let them control us. Life is no fun when it’s controlled by feelings. Feelings change from day to day, hour to hour, even moment to moment. Not only do they change, they lie. For example, you may be in a crowd of people and feel that everybody is talking about you, but that doesn’t mean they are. You may feel that nobody understands you, but that doesn’t mean they don’t. You may feel you are misunderstood, unappreciated or even mistreated, but that doesn’t mean it’s true. If we want to be mature, disciplined people, we must be determined not to walk according to what we feel. People often ask me, “How can I know for sure whether I’m walking in truth or walking according to my feelings and emotions?” I believe the
16 Studio G
answer is found in patience. Emotions urge us toward haste, telling us we must do something and do it now! But godly wisdom tells us to wait until we have a clear picture of what it is we are to do and when we are to do it. We need to be able to back off and view our situation from God’s perspective. We need to make decisions based on what we know rather than on what we feel. Let me give you an example from my own life. One time I had saved up some money to buy a good watch. I wanted to buy a nice watch so the band wouldn’t change colors and turn my wrist green! One day, my husband, Dave, and I were in the mall and happened to stop at a jewelry store where I saw a watch that was really very pretty. As we looked at the watch, we discovered that it was
gold-plated and knew that it would probably eventually discolor, but it seemed to be just what I was looking for and it fit my arm perfectly. Not only that, but the clerk offered to mark it down. So my emotions said, “YES! That’s exactly what I want!” But Dave said, “Well, you know, it’s gold-plated, and it will eventually discolor.” I said, “I know, but I really like this watch. What should I do?” “It’s your money,” he answered. “I’ll tell you what I’m going to do,” I told the clerk. “I’d like for you to hold the watch for me while I walk around the mall for a bit. If I want the watch, I’ll come back for it within the hour.” So Dave and I walked around the mall for a while. As we did, we passed a dress shop. Because I needed a couple of new outfits, I went in and found a really nice suit. I tried it on, and it fit perfectly. I loved it. “That’s a nice suit,” Dave said. “You ought to get it.” I looked at the price tag and thought, It costs so much … no wonder it looks so good on me! But I really wanted that suit! Actually there are three things I wanted right then. I wanted the watch, I wanted the suit, and I wanted not to be broke. What did I decide to do? I applied wisdom and decided to wait. The watch—which really wasn’t the quality I wanted— would have taken all of my savings. The suit was beautiful, but it also would have taken most of my savings. So I decided that the best thing was to keep my money and wait until I was sure of what I wanted most. Usually the wisest course is when in doubt, don’t! When faced with any difficult decision, wait until you have a clear answer before taking a step that you may regret. Emotions are wonderful, but they must not be allowed to take precedence over wisdom and knowledge. Remember—control your emotions instead of letting them control you. ✱ Copyright © 1998–2004. All rights reserved. Printed with permission of Joyce Meyer Ministries. www.joycemeyer.org | 1.800.727.9673
What do the hands of Jesus look like?
They look like YOURS! Habitat for the Spirit Catch the heart of service! The Women’s Ministry has several opportunities for you to serve our Gateway family through our monthly outreaches. Come join us and be blessed by blessing the lives of others. To get involved or for more information, contact Sarah Wronko at 817.552.3758 or email womenn2Action@gatewaypeople.com
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows …. James 1:27 (NLT)
Summer 2007 17
solutions studio spotlight for the soul
was five—a little girl with straight blond hair that fell just below my shoulders and clear blue eyes that my Daddy said reminded him of God’s beautiful Texas skies. It was fall in Texas, and just like any little girl, I longed to go to the State Fair. I wanted it more than anything! Well, maybe not more than a pony, but close. Brenda remembers hearing her father, Jimmy, discussing the State Fair with her mom: “Jean, it would mean a lot to our girls if we took them. They really want to go, and I want to see their excited faces as we walk around the fair and see all the sights.” Before the girls knew it, they were on their way to the Texas State Fair. For Brenda and her sisters, life didn’t get any better than this! With huge smiles on their young faces, they arrived at the Fair; however, before they could jump out of the car, the girls were stopped by their daddy. “Girls,” Jimmy began with a bright smile and a mischievous twinkle in his eyes, “I have something I want to give you. Here is five dollars for each of you that you can spend on anything you want here at the Fair!” With this declaration, the girls burst out with giggles of excitement and hugged their daddy’s neck. As overwhelmed with joy as they were, it was their father who was the most excited. Watching his girls giddy with excitement and knowing that he fulfilled the desires of their little hearts, brought him even more joy.
THE EARLY YEARS For Brenda Laurence, this memory of her father and his constant efforts to fulfill the desires of his daughters’ hearts is something that has forever changed her. It birthed in her a faith and a belief in God and His goodness. “I remember that my father took tremendous joy in giving me the things I desired just because I was his little girl and he loved me. I always knew that if it was in my father’s ability to give me what I wanted, he’d do everything in his power to give it to my sisters and me.” Because she experienced such love and devotion from her earthly father, Brenda never questioned the love of her heavenly Father. She explains it by saying, “In my heart, I always knew that everything and anything was possible. I knew that if my daddy here on earth could provide and care for me, then surely my heavenly
All of life is relationship; begin with God and all others will be affected.”
BRENDA LAURENCE Bottom (from left): Brenda and her two sisters, Janice and Judy Top: Her father and mother, Jimmy and Jean
Father could care for my needs and the desires of my heart to an even greater degree because His love and resources are unlimited.” That’s why it was never difficult for Brenda to believe that God wanted to bless her. Brenda was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and raised in North Richland Hills where her father worked for the construction company that first developed the area. The youngest of three daughters, Brenda grew up in a loving Baptist family with parents that loved God and their girls. “I remember going to church every Sunday at our neighborhood Baptist Church where my parents were founding members,” Brenda explains. “I walked down the aisle to receive Jesus as my Savior at the age of nine, but in junior high I became involved with the wrong friends. Through these friendships, I was exposed to things that I knew were wrong in my spirit. I felt so conflicted. Then at the age of 14, my sister and I went to a James Robison crusade, and I went down to the front to be born again. That is when God really changed my heart. I’ve always felt that God not only saved me but that He also kept me.” 20 Studio G
Rick and Brenda in front of the Alamo on the first day they met
As the years went by, God was definitely teaching Brenda that she could dream, trust and believe in His love for her. However, little did Brenda know that God was instilling within her a trust in Himself that she’d need for the trials and joys that she would yet face in her life.
A beautiful, young teenage Brenda
THE DESIRES OF HER HEART “When I was 17, I wanted a blue Chevelle car so badly. It was all I could think about! To me, that was the ultimate dream. At the time, I wondered if I was wanting too much; but to my surprise, my father and mother gave me my very own Chevelle on the day of my high school graduation! I still remember it clearly. It was blue, and the engine was so powerful! This was a huge moment for me. My parents were so excited to give me this gift; and to this day, I can still see the smiles on their faces.”
GODLY WOMAN SEEKS GODLY MAN “When I was 16, I was so convinced of God’s goodness and His care for me that I knew He’d show me the man He wanted me to marry when the time was right. I also knew that I wanted to marry someone who was tall, dark and handsome and who wanted to be a preacher. That summer, I went on a mission’s trip to Mexico with my church as a counselor for the Jr. High youth and to help with a VBS program. I remember that, as usual, I was running late in getting to the church for our departure. By the time I arrived, the bus was already loaded with the team and ready to leave. The youth leader told me that I’d have to ride in the second bus that was carrying all the equipment. I was disappointed and still feeling stressed after having arrived so late; however, as I walked up to the red and
Brenda and Rick on their wedding day
white Volkswagen bus, all my feelings and frustrations quickly faded as I laid eyes on the driver, Rick Laurence. Not only was he tall, dark and handsome, but his arms were bronzed and strong. I immediately knew in my heart that he was going to be my husband. I spent most of the drive feeding him peppermints and candy.” “On the way to Mexico, we stopped at the Alamo in San Antonio. While we were there, I asked a friend to take a picture of Rick and me in front of the Alamo. When my friend wanted to know why I wanted this picture, I told him with
Brenda with daughter, Elizabeth, and son, John
conviction, ‘Because someday I’m going to show this picture to our kids.’ To this day, Rick and I still have that picture.” “Once we arrived in Mexico, Rick taught VBS and I helped. While we were there, he also preached several times, which of course further convinced me of my ‘love at first sight.’ 36 years later, our marriage has never been stronger. God has blessed us so much.” Brenda says with tears in her eyes, “I knew that I could trust God and believe for a godly husband, and the Lord fulfilled the desires of my heart. He knew my needs far better than I did.” DESPERATE FOR A BABY “When Rick and I were married, I desperately wanted a baby. We loved each other so much, and we wanted to share our love with children. During the first few months of our marriage, I was diagnosed with endometriosis. We knew that getting pregnant wouldn’t only be one of life’s biggest blessings but that it would also help me in my battle with this painful disease. After four long and painfully disappointing years, we still had no baby. I was even on infertility pills prescribed to me by my doctor in hopes that the medicine would help me to conceive. However, during one month when I
wasn’t taking the medicine, I attended a Sunday evening service. The sermon was about Hannah, and how she, too, was desperate for a child. I listened while the pastor explained that Hannah cried out to God for Him to give her a baby, and I rejoiced in my heart as the pastor spoke of Hannah eventually giving birth to Samuel. I was so moved by this sermon
GETTING TO KNOW BRENDA
Brenda Laurence began attending Gateway Church in 2001 and joined the staff in 2006. After graduating from Bible school in 1983, she and her husband founded and co-pastored a church in Richland Hills, Texas, where Brenda served as the Women’s Pastor. She also led the Women’s Ministry in two other churches by teaching weekly Bible studies for women, leading women’s intercessory prayer groups and hosting multiple women’s events. Brenda managed her husband’s thriving Surgical Assistance business for seven years and has many years of experience working in women’s health care with several obstetric and gynecology practices. As a businesswoman and minister of the gospel, Brenda enjoys leading large teams of women in physically and spiritually caring for other women. She has a passion to help women discover their personal uniqueness in God and develop their God-given gifts through teaching and training. Brenda desires to encourage and help the women of Gateway Church, the community and the nation to grow spiritually. Her life theme is: “All of life is relationship; begin with God and all others will be affected.”
Summer 2007 21
A FEW OF BRENDA’S FAVORITE THINGS TV SHOW: “Everybody Loves Raymond” BOOK: The DNA of Relationships by Gary Smalley, Greg Smalley, Michael Smalley and Robert S. Paul DESSERT: My Momma’s Pecan Pie WAY TO RELAX: Sitting in the hot tub outside with my husband under the stars with something cold to drink TEA: Ashby’s Apricot FAMILY TIME: Time around the table at Thanksgiving followed by watching a football game ADVICE: “Choose your battles” CHILDHOOD MEMORY: Having tea with my mother using my “little girl” tea set PLACE IN YOUR HOME: Our hall. We call it the Laurence Gallery, because it tells our family story. I have family pictures hanging of our children when they were little and as they got older. I just love to walk down the hall and look at when my babies were so little and as they grew up. At the end of the hall are pictures of the whole family now. SONG: “Fields of Grace” by Darrell Evans about Hannah and how God answered her cry that I searched the Scriptures and discovered that in every situation where a woman cried out to God for a child, God heard her cry and gave her the desire of her heart—a baby. That night, I cried out to God believing that He would hear me and that His Word was true. The Lord answered my prayers, and later that month, I conceived! I wasn’t on the infertility medicine either, so I knew without a doubt that this was God’s
A 2002 family portrait (from left), Elizabeth, Rick, Brenda, daughter-in-law, Jolie and John
miracle for me. When I gave birth to our son, John, I couldn’t help but picture the smiling face of my earthly father and know that my heavenly Father was smiling, too! Twenty-two months later, the Lord gave us a double portion through the birth of our daughter, Elizabeth.” STEP OF FAITH “Being a stay-at-home mother is such an honorable position that all the riches in the world can’t compare to it. Rick and I have always felt this way. There was a time though when we’d just purchased a new house and, in the natural, it seemed like there was no way we could financially
for them to do what was already a deep desire of their hearts. BELIEVING GOD Brenda’s life is filled with story after story of God caring for her needs and lavishing His love upon her by providing for the desires of her heart. Looking back over her life from when she was a child to where she is today as the Pastor of Women’s Ministries at Gateway Church, she says, “All of my life experiences have brought me to the place of faith where I am today. I realize that if I had not trusted God in those times of my life as a little girl, a wife, a young mother and a businesswoman, I
… All things are possible for one who believes.
Mark 9:23 (ESV)
survive without me working. At the time I was working at a doctor’s office; however, Rick felt strongly that I should quit my job and stay home to raise our son John. I remember that we were both nervous about this choice, but we knew God was directing us and that He would provide for us. One week after I had quit, Rick miraculously received a significant raise!” Rick and Brenda were both so delighted because not only had God directed them, but He had also provided
would not be able to fulfill what God has called me to do today, which is pastor and lead the women’s ministry at one of the fastest growing churches in America. The experiences in my life that I’ve mentioned and many more have shaped me into the woman I am, and new ones continue to change me into the woman God wants me to become. Our God is an awesome God, and we can trust Him and believe that He will provide and care for us in every stage of our lives.” ñ
T HE HOME EX PERI ENCE Devi Titus It is popular in today’s culture to refer to the church as “the house.” Keep in mind that although it is the house of the Lord, the church is not your house! The home is where the human heart is formed. Time spent at home is subtly replaced with church programs and other busy activities. Family members easily disconnect when they spend less time together at home. In order to stabilize our families, the dignity and sanctity of the home must be restored. ø DIGNITY The dignity of the home is seeing and experiencing its worth by those who are touched by it. Webster says dignity means “worthy of recognition due to a change in character and appearance.” Combining worth with character and appearance defines dignity. A home that has dignity sets standards of order and creativity with the godly characteristics of love, honesty and loyalty. ø SANCTITY Home is the sanctuary for the human soul to be recharged, renewed, refreshed and restored. Home should be our most treasured asset. However, more and more women are devoting much of their energy to pursuits outside of the home. Unfortunately, the ambitions of “earning a higher education” and “pursuing a career” have undermined home values, priorities and interests. Professional achievements do not change the fact that God designates women as the primary influencers in the home.
Spring 2007 23
IS THE BASIS FOR HUMAN SOCIETY One of the most widely read books of all time is The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. In his book Edward Gibbon gives “Five Basic Reasons Why Great Civilizations Withered and Died.” These are clearly as true today as when Gibbon wrote them in 1788.
OR SINGLE, PASTOR’S WIFE OR PARISHIONER—YOU ARE THE “KEEPER” Titus 2:3– 5
them to love their husbands and to love their children, to be sensible, pure (in motive), keepers of the home, kind and to be submitted to their husbands so the Word of God will not be dishonored. I especially want you to notice the words keepers at home (KJV). What does this phrase mean? Some translations are limited to the idea of working at home. The Greek word is oikouros. This word comes from two words: oikos which means “a dwelling” and ouros meaning “to guard.” So the woman is to guard her dwelling. In practical terms, it means that a woman is to be fully aware of all the activities that go on in her home. She is to guard the atmosphere so that nothing will cause her to lose peace and love from the environment that she creates. Whether married or single, you have dominion over your environment. Keep peace with soft, gentle tones and keep love by always controlling your responses to consider others more important than yourself. ø REFOCUS ON REBUILDING Society’s popular trends should never dictate what you do or don’t do in your home. Within the law of the land and under God’s law, we have a higher mandate. The reason our lives have become so confused and anxiety-filled is that we have lost our focus on the worth and value God places on the home. When women’s hearts return to the home, society will improve. Families will be strengthened and neighborhoods will come to life. Porches will be swept and wreaths hung on doors. Perhaps, children will once again play together in the yard and neighbors will know one another by name. What will it take for your home to become a haven of peace and a sanctuary of love? What are you willing to do to restore the dignity and sanctity of your home so that the love of God and the peace of the Lord dwell in your home? ø
clearly defines the responsibility that women have to relationally preserve feminine responsibilities and values. Each generation is to pass these teachings to the younger women. We are to teach
Excerpted from Chapter 1, The Dignity and Sanctity of the Home, of Devi Titus’ latest book, The Home Experience.
1. The undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home, which is the basis for human society. [Italics added for emphasis] 2. Higher and higher taxes; the spending of public money for free bread and circuses for the populace. 3. The mad craze for pleasure; sports becoming every year more brutal, more immoral. 4. The building of great armaments when the real enemy was within—the decay of individual responsibility. 5. The decay of religion; faith fading into mere form, losing touch with life, losing power to guide the people. ø HOME—THE
BASIS FOR HUMAN DEVELOPMENT
Home has ceased to be the center of family activity. Daycare centers, baseball diamonds, football fields, basketball courts and fast food restaurants have replaced it. Even excessive church activities can usurp the time that a family needs at home. Who one becomes is a direct reflection of where one spends most of his time. You may say, “Family is important,” because you already know that family values bring health to a family. However, it is not enough to just say it. You must also create family time on your calendar and be willing to spend money on family activities. ø MARRIED
By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge the rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. Proverbs 24:3–4 (NIV)
24 Studio G
STICKY SITUATIONS Joyce Freeman
found myself once again out in my yard with a garbage bag, a trowel and my work gloves thinking to myself, “I pulled up every sticker last year. How can there be more this year?” As I worked each section trying to eradicate this evil plant that pierces the tender, little feet of my grandchildren (and their grandmother when she isn’t thinking and walks around her yard barefoot), I began to see a correlation between stickers and things in our lives that cause us pain, become strongholds or cause us to sin. Have you ever noticed that you can spend hours watering, nurturing, feeding and pruning flowers, trees, shrubs and grass, but if you skip one week or even a few days, they can wilt, fade and even die? And yet, without any water, food or time, stickers somehow thrive and become prolific. Sin often works that way in our lives. We continually work on becoming like Christ, but when we become complacent or lazy, even for a week, we begin to wilt, our joy fades and our strength begins to weaken. As I dug my trowel down into the sand around the “lethal” plant in order to remove all of the roots, I realized that we have to let God take His “trowel” and dig deep and wide into the areas of our hearts and minds in order to remove all of the roots that have taken hold in our lives. These roots of sin can be things we never
intended to allow or imagined would grow within us. We may have even worked to protect ourselves from these very things. And yet there they are—those awful stickers—hurting others and ourselves. Our greatest defense is to continue nurturing our minds and souls with the Word of God that teaches, exhorts and prunes us to become more like Christ. Because of their distinctive look and color, stickers can be easily identified if you know what to look for. Even before they begin to put their little porcupine-spiked weapons out, you can see what they are and pull them up before they get a chance to sprout, spread and hurt you. In the same way, God has given us the ability to identify the unhealthy areas and influences in our lives that can be deadly to us. The closer you draw to Him and let Him teach you how to recognize the things that are traps, strongholds and destructive patterns, the easier it is to get them out of your life. When you mow stickers down without pulling them up, they start to sprout very low to the ground as if they don’t want to be noticed. Here they can continue to grow and spread. Likewise, if we just mow over the weeds of sin in our lives, they’ll sneak up and try to go unnoticed until they can take root again within us. Isn’t it amazing that just one sticker plant, left to itself, can multiply, take over the yard and become an incredible and almost insurmountable task to get out?
How much easier it would have been to pull up the root of that one plant from the moment we noticed it. God has given us strategies to keep us protected, strong and healthy. Hebrews 12:1 (NIV) tells us to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” When we allow small things to stay in our lives that the Bible says are unhealthy, ungodly or just plain sin, they grow, multiply, take deep root and thrive. They take over the areas of our lives that we’ve actually taken the time to water, nurture and feed. In Psalm 19:14 (KJV), David told the Lord, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord.” What we think about, what we say, what we do and how we act all come from what is within our hearts. For this reason, God encourages us to think on things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy. If you listen, God will teach you how to recognize these things and give you victory over the “stickers” that hinder you and keep you from being strong, healthy and free. Allow Him to use His heavenly trowel in your heart. The stickers come up much easier that way. ✽
Spring 2007 25
CAELIN’S STORY Tracey Bennett
“Mom, I don’t like it that you work.” This wasn’t the first time that Caelin, my most sensitive child, had approached me sad and crying with this complaint. After being a stayat-home mom for 17 years, I had returned to working outside of the home at the end of Caelin’s kindergarten year. However, as the end of her second grade year drew near, she began to more adamantly express her dislike of me having a full-time job. In the past, I had handled her previous complaints with a “buck up, don’t whine and dry 26 Studio G
your eyes” talk or by trying to calm her with reason. We had often talked about how my job with Freedom Ministries at Gateway helped people walk through their fears and into the loving arms of their Savior. She even knew about my testimony of how I was once in bondage to fear and how freedom ministry had brought me out of darkness and into God’s redemptive light. This time, however, I felt the Lord was telling me to be aware of what might be going on in Caelin’s heart beyond the words she
was speaking. I desperately wanted to understand my daughter and her feelings, so I tried to think through what she was saying so that I could better comprehend where she was coming from. I drew her onto my lap and asked, “Are you wanting Mommy to not work away from home again?” “No, I don’t want you to stop working,” Caelin explained, “I just don’t like that you miss my school parties.” I sat rubbing my chin against her soft blonde hair and thought about the validity of her words. “Honey, I’ve made it to every party you’ve had this year, and I even went on a field trip with you.” “I’m talking about first grade!” she cried, looking up at me with her sad blue eyes. First grade? Where did this come from? I began to think back over the previous school year. No, I hadn’t made any of her first grade parties; however, I had been faithful in sending goodies and other support items needed for her class parties. That’s when I realized that what Caelin was
expressing was coming from an inner hurt that was still open. Then and there, I knew what she needed and what I had to do. “Oh honey, I’m so sorry. Can you forgive me for not being there when you needed me in first grade?” She looked up at me through her precious tears and gave me her forgiveness. I then hugged her close, and we sat together and cuddled a little longer. When I came home the next day and began gathering the mail, I discovered a precious gift. There was a letter addressed to me in the unique handwriting of an early writer with a selfdrawn stamp in the top right corner. My heart warmed as I opened the letter inside and read, “Mommy, thank you so much for helping me forgive you. I feel so much better. Your loving dauter[sic], Caelin.” Right there, I thanked the Lord for giving me the grace to stop and to listen to my daughter’s heart issue and to be His vessel of healing in her life. Caelin was feeling much better and so was Mommy! ◗
Ministering to an open inner hurt in your child: 1. Recognize the hurt from their perspective. (Remember when you were their age and how you processed events.)
2. Ask them to forgive you for the specific event that caused the hurt. (“I am so sorry for that you felt
and that it hurt you and .”)
3. Help them hear God for themselves regarding the hurt. (“Honey, ask Jesus what He wants to say to you about that.”)
More Normal Than You Think I was driving down the road the other day talking to myself (admit it, you do it, too!) about how my biggest influence comes down to a single piece of advice that someday I want written on my tombstone. This statement doesn’t seem very deep or even very spiritual at first; however, it can bring tremendous relief to those who need to hear it. The thing we long to hear about ourselves in regards to our troubles and thoughts is simply: “You’re normal.” Why do we all need this affirmation? Because somehow we’ve gotten the idea in our heads that our particular situation or way of thinking is something no one else on the face of the earth has ever experienced or felt. Believing that we’re alone in our responses to life, we assume our thoughts are unacceptable and different from everyone else’s. We believe they’re all much better at life than us. Singled out and standing alone, we feel like we’re sinners that no one could hope to help. For example, a young mom with three small children arrives at the end of her day and feels tired, stretched and even a little grouchy. In fact, this busy mother even has a desire to bolt from the house the moment her husband walks in the door, hop in her car alone and drive to Starbucks for a triple latte. That’s normal! Or, perhaps she stays up four nights in a row with sick children and right now her most immediate desire is to sleep. That’s normal! Maybe she gets frustrated when her husband comes home late from work again. That’s normal! Now I’m not giving you an excuse for bad behavior; what I am doing, however, is helping you realize that your reactions to life are probably more common than you may think. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV) says, “No temptation has overtaken
you except such as is common to man.” We should find comfort in the fact that our thoughts and situations are familiar to all. It’s not uncommon to have thoughts about running away from trouble when it comes. It’s normal. The places and thoughts we find ourselves in may not necessarily be bad, but what we decide to do with them sets us apart from the rest of the world. God is interested in how we respond to these normal thoughts and situations. Our responses should be super-normal! Back to the mom who wants to run. Yes, she’s tired of dealing with little children, cleaning up messes, never being alone, and she’s desperate for some “me time.” That desire is both normal and common, but what sets her apart from her haggard worldly counterparts is her response. She takes those thoughts captive, subdues her selfishness and doesn’t run out of the house. She knows that by being obedient to the Lord and the allotment He’s given her, she’ll see great things in the lives of her family. She doesn’t just react to her circumstances; she responds faithfully. Does this mother still have all the same feelings as her reactive counterparts? Yes, but she knows that if she doesn’t conform to the world by reacting to her circumstances, she will “be transformed by the renewing of [her] mind” (Romans 12:2, NKJV). Great blessings follow those that are obedient to the Lord. So what’s with this simple sentiment of saying “you’re normal”? Yes, it feels good to know that we’re not alone in our feelings, but more importantly, we know that our normal reactions can be an opportunity to see supernatural things in our life as we submit to doing things God’s ways and not our own. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide and help you respond in the right way so that in spite of having normal feelings, you can have supernatural outcomes! With all of this said, I think my epitaph will read: “She was normal, with a supernormal lifestyle!” ■
Summer 2007 27
DO YOU TRUST ME? Lexa Brecheen 28 Studio G
A couple of summers ago, my husband, Marcus, and I took a trip to the mountains of Colorado with our four children (and one secretly on the way). The locals told us about a dazzling little waterfall far off the beaten path and accessible from a narrow mountain trail, and we realized this was a wonderful opportunity to show our children how creative and amazing our God is. Plus, a breathtaking hike in the Rockies with a ten, six, five and almost two-year-old would be so exciting because when you have small children with you, almost everything has the potential of becoming an adventure. So with backpacks on, walking sticks in hand and great anticipation, the Brecheen family embarked upon a great expedition into the wilderness. As we began our fun family adventure, all was glorious. Not only was I pregnant, but that very day also seemed to be pregnant
with limitless possibilities. With the warm July sun shining brightly overhead, wildflowers in full bloom and surrounded by aspen trees, the Rocky Mountains invited us into God’s classroom of wisdom, goodness and abundance. What I didn’t realize as we started out was that God was inviting us to learn about so much more than just His creation that day. At first, our journey was full of wonder and awe and we pointed out many sights to our children along the way. Because climbing uphill can be quite a challenge for little people (and big people, too, I might add), Marcus and I kept encouraging each child to conquer the mountain. As is often the case with young children, it wasn’t long before somebody had a blister on her foot; another was all wet from falling into the cold stream (though he wasn’t complaining about that!); another got her new tennis shoes muddy and was crying; another was hot and thirsty. After about 15 to 20 minutes of whining, we finally had to stop and have a little conversation. Actually, it was more of a pep talk, and we asked our children a single question: “Do you trust us?” As adults, Marcus and I knew that what we would encounter at the end of our hike would be beautiful to behold and the rewards of climbing the whole afternoon would be well worth it. We knew that the pain and disappointments of the journey would be swallowed up by squeals of excitement when we finally reached the waterfall at the end of the trail.
Our children, on the other hand, just had to follow our lead and trust that where we were leading them would make them forget about their blisters and muddy tennis shoes. And that’s exactly the same way that God wants you to trust Him and follow His lead. He’s asking you, “Do you trust Me?” He knows that what’s at
God, this particular subject can only be truly understood by firsthand experience. It’s like learning about the taste of chocolate; you can study about it all you want, but you really won’t know what chocolate tastes like until you’ve eaten it. In the same way, you can look up trust in a dictionary. You can read books about it
think is best. Job learned that firsthand. His entire business was wiped out, his kids were killed and his body became ravaged by painful boils. Yet in spite of all that, this is what Job had to say about trusting God: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” ( Job 13:15, NKJV). Is there something going on in your life right now that’s
At the end of Job’s misery, God came to him and restored back twice the amount of everything he had previously lost—new health, new business and new family. God didn’t owe Job anything; He wasn’t obligated to do anything for him. God even told Job, “I owe no one anything, everything under the
EVEN WHEN YOU CAN’T TRACE HIS HAND, YOU CAN ALWAYS TRUST HIS HEART. the end of the trail makes your entire journey worth the climb. What’s more, He wants you to stop worrying and start taking in the beauty of the flowers around you and the warmth of the sun along the way in order to bring added joy to your journey. Over the years I’ve learned that although the Bible has much to say about trusting
and study the lives of great people in the Scriptures who trusted God. But until you’ve lived through an experience where you had to trust Him, everything the Bible says about trust boils down to just good words and great principles. Sometimes it’s easy to trust God when He’s doing what you want. But God doesn’t always do what you may
causing you to wrestle with the question: “Will I trust God?” Understand this simple truth: God is God, and you are not. He knows what He’s doing in every situation and circumstance of your life. Even when you can’t trace His hand, you can always trust His heart. The things that you may view as accidents or random chance, God sees as opportunities.
heaven is Mine” ( Job 41:11, LB). In spite of that however, He restored everything (and then some) back to Job. In the same way, God owes us nothing; and yet He sacrificed His own Son to give us everything. Knowing that He loves you so much, are you willing to trust Him? ❖
Spring 2007 mag.com Magazine | studiog Gateway Women’s
Start Feeling W! t no Your BeS ards Healthy Habits 7 tips tow
From HeartaCHe to Healing
Confronting a Pain
T is a Lack of res affecTing Your sex Life? WHen a
I’M lOSInG My MArrIAGe
Se HelPrs! Plea Ask, Debbie Answe
the rewar of a radical response
There’s someThing abouT
tHe FaCtS aBou
A One-On-One IntervIeW
Do you have a friend that would love to receive Studio G? Contact us at 817.552.3756 or email your friend’s name and mailing address to email@example.com.
Studio G is published by the Women’s Ministries of Gateway Church, a nonprofit corporation, Southlake, Texas USA © 2007 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 817.552.3756. Internet address: studiogmag.com
Summer 2007 29
Just Put On Your Jammies! Ryane Nichols-Moates
30 Studio G
fter a long, dry spell of not hearing from God and feeling His presence or direction in our downward spiraling financial situation, we decided to do something about it. My husband, John, and I noticed an upcoming class at Gateway entitled “Hearing From God.” Knowing that was exactly what we needed, we signed up. The Sunday before we were to start attending that class, Pastor Robert Morris taught that if we had unconfessed sin in our lives, even if we were unaware of it, it could cause spiritual deafness. Well that got our attention! We began to allow the Holy Spirit to inspect us, and we became open to the fact that we may have possibly been the ones responsible for the perceived lack of communication from God. The first time we went to our class, Pastor Bob Hamp was teaching, and it was clearly inspired by God. All the information was truly a new revelation for me! I realized that when I ask God questions and He doesn’t give me answers, I’m asking the wrong questions. I used to frequently ask God about our debt, cars and additional income. Meanwhile, He wanted to talk to me about my character, my sin and His love for me. As John and I began to apply this new knowledge, we had instant results. God began to speak to us that very night! Let me rephrase that, we began to hear God speaking to us. We had been so obsessed with our questions and issues that we had really blocked out anything else that God was trying to say to us. It was like we were trying to back God into a corner while dictating what we wanted to hear and how we wanted to hear it. We discovered that God doesn’t respond to that kind of manipulation very well. Thankfully, He waited until we came to our senses and learned to ask, “God, what do You want to talk to us about?” As I began walking in this new revelation and reaping the benefits, God drove the point home to me even more by using my daughter as an example, as He so often does. It was bedtime, and I told my four-year-old daughter, Olivia, to put on her jammies. As she fiddled with her toes and twirled her hair, she asked, “What are we going to do tomorrow?” I just shook my head and said, “Put on your jammies.” A few minutes later, before she had even remotely begun the task I assigned her, Olivia asked, “What are we going to eat for breakfast?” I thought to myself, “Those are all good questions, but you’re not doing what I told you to do, and until you get your jammies on, we’re not talking about tomorrow’s schedule or menu.” That’s when God spoke to me about how I ask Him all these questions about life and finances and then don’t truly listen to or obey what He has to say about other, more important issues. After Olivia finally put on her jammies and completed her bedtime routine, we cuddled up in bed together. I wrapped my arms around her, we talked about whatever she wanted to, and I answered all her questions. I still struggle with some of the unanswered questions of life, and I believe that God will answer each one in His timing, but for right now I’m trying to “just put on my jammies!” ✿
he children had all been photographed, and the teacher was trying to persuade them each to buy a copy of the group picture. “Just think how nice it will be to look at it when you’re all grown up and say, ‘There’s Jennifer, she’s a lawyer,’ or ‘That’s Michael, he’s a doctor.’” A small voice at the back of the room rang out, “And there’s the teacher, she’s dead.”
A man in Topeka, Kansas, decided to write a book about churches around the country. He started by flying to San Francisco, and started working east from there. Going to a very large church, he began taking photographs and making notes. He spotted a golden telephone on the vestibule wall and was intrigued with a sign which read, “$10,000 per minute.” Seeking out the pastor, he asked about the phone and the sign. The pastor answered that the golden phone was, in fact, a direct line to heaven, and if he paid the price, he could talk directly to God. The man thanked the pastor and continued on his way. As he continued to visit churches in Seattle, Salt Lake City, Denver,
It was 1988, and I was at youth camp. When the camp director asked me to sing in one of the services, I was thrilled! I had the perfect song picked. The day of the service came, and I was ready! The first verse came out great. I was getting past my nervousness and really beginning to relax and worship God. During the second verse, I noticed that the crowd wasn’t getting into the song the way
I had hoped. I remembered that before the next verse there was a short interlude of music where I would have my chance to ask the kids to stand and worship God during the last verse. So when the time came, I encouraged the kids: “Please stand and worship me as I sing this last verse!” I had done it; it was said and they were standing! But what were they doing exactly? They weren’t worshipping. Were
Chicago, Milwaukee, and around the United States, he found more such phones with the same sign and the same explanation from each pastor. Finally, the man arrived in the state of Texas. Upon entering a church, behold, he saw the usual golden telephone. But this time, the sign read: “Calls: 25 cents”! Fascinated, the man asked to speak with the pastor. “Reverend, I’ve been in cities all across the country and in each church I’ve found this golden telephone and have been told that it’s a direct line to heaven that I could use to talk to God. But in 20 other churches the cost was $10,000 per minute. Your sign says 25 cents per call. Why is that? The pastor, smiling benignly, replied: “Son, you’re in Texas now, and it’s a local call.”
some of them laughing?!? By that time, the song was over and I had left the stage. Later, a friend explained to me that in my attempt to be brief, I had left out a very important word—with! Instead of telling them to worship with me, I had told them to worship me! To this day, I still have friends who bow when they enter my presence. I’ve never lived it down! Contributed by Kisha Thomson
Summer 2007 31
I always prefer to believe the best of everybody, it saves so much trouble. Rudyard Kipling
Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. Mark Twain
FRIENDSHIP A friend is one of the nicest things you can have and one of the best things you can be.
A friend is the one who knows you and loves you just the same.
A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails.
Friendship isn’t a big thing— it’s a million little things.
good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-menots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble. Charles H. Spurgeon
TODAY, GIVE A STRANGER ONE OF YOUR SMILES. IT MIGHT BE THE ONLY SUNSHINE HE SEES ALL DAY. H. Jackson Brown, Jr. 32 Studio G
boss wondered at his employee’s why one home, the boss asked, of his most “May I speak with the valued employees policeman?” hadn’t called in sick “No, he’s busy,” one day. Having whispered the child. an urgent problem “Busy doing what?” with one of the main “Talking to daddy computers, he dialed and mommy and the the employee’s home fireman,” came the phone number and whispered answer. was greeted with a Growing more child’s whisper. worried as he heard “Hello?” a loud noise in the “Is your daddy background through home?” he asked. the earpiece on the “Yes,” whispered the phone, the boss small voice. asked, “What is that “May I talk with him?” noise?” The child whispered, “A helicopter,” “No.” answered the Surprised and whispering voice. wanting to talk with an “What is going on adult, the boss asked, there?” demanded “Is your mommy there?” the boss, now truly “Yes.” apprehensive. “May I talk with her?” Again, whispering, Again the small the child answered, voice whispered, “No.” “The search team just Hoping there was landed a helicopter.” somebody with whom Alarmed, he could leave a concerned and a little message, the boss frustrated the boss asked, “Is anybody asked, “What are they else there?” searching for?” “Yes,” whispered the Still whispering, child, “a policeman.” the young voice Wondering what a replied with a muffled cop would be doing giggle …“Me.”
You could have your own funny story featured in Studio G! Simply email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a $25 gift card to Passages, Gateway’s Bookstore.
THE ZION CHRONICLES Bodie & Brock Thoene
Recommended Reading S. George Thomas SEX GOD: EXPLORING THE ENDLESS CONNECTIONS BETWEEN SEXUALITY AND SPIRITUALITY Rob Bell When I first started reading Sex God by Rob Bell, I spent every free moment that I had over the course of a weekend reading it. I literally couldn’t put it down. It was eye-opening and straightforward—unflinchingly so at times. I was at the same time challenged and convicted as well as motivated and inspired. Rob Bell, the founding pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church (one of the fastest growing churches in America) and popular speaker of the NOOMA films, has a very engrossing and gripping writing style which is both intellectual and approachable. Whereas his previous book, Velvet Elvis, was more of a collection of random thoughts on various subjects, Sex God has a much more cohesive flow throughout all nine chapters. From the premise set forth in the introduction to the last sentence of the book, Bell builds a convincing platform for his hypothesis that hits home with the reader. He skillfully uses real-life stories and Scripture to convince his readers that all of our physical relationships are really about spiritual relationships. In other words, that sex points to something vastly bigger, larger and spiritual about reality and about us as humans. Word of caution though: Because of the very nature of the book’s subject matter, discretion should be employed before reading it. It’s definitely not for all ages. Apart from that, I highly recommend picking up this book at your first available opportunity.
The Zion Chronicles series covers the events surrounding and leading up to Israel’s declaration of statehood on May 14, 1948. Each of the five books vividly portray the intense struggle of the Jewish people in the aftermath of the Holocaust and the forces in the Middle East that oppose them and engage them in conflict even to this day. As the Jewish people stream into the British Mandate of Palestine after the devastation of World War II, they desperately hope to see the fulfillment of God’s promises to their nation and wonder, “Will there ever be peace in Zion?” This series captures accurate historical facts, dynamic and realistic characters, romance, action, suspense, drama and faith. From the prologue of the first book to the epilogue of the last book, you’ll be captivated as you follow the lives of memorable characters including Ellie, an American photographer; David, an ace WWII pilot; Moshe, a Jewish archeologist; Rachel, a young Holocaust survivor; her brother Yacov and their grandfather Rabbi Shlomo Lebowitz. Although they were published several years ago, these books are still highly relevant and timely in light of current events surrounding the nation of Israel. In addition, these books provide an important historical context for believers about the relationships between the Muslims, Jews and Christians. They’ve recently been republished with new covers and bonus study questions ideal for individual use or group discussion. If you love historical fiction and you’ve never had the opportunity to read The Zion Chronicles, you are seriously missing out! • Book One: The Gates of Zion • Book Two: A Daughter of Zion
• Hardcover: 201 pages
• Book Three: The Return to Zion
• Publisher: Zondervan Publishing Company (March 2007)
• Book Four: A Light in Zion
ALSO RECOMMENDED Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell
• Book Five: The Key to Zion
ALSO RECOMMENDED The Zion Covenant series by Bodie & Brock Thoene; The Zion Legacy series by Bodie & Brock Thoene
Summer 2007 33
Must-Have Music ALL OF THE ABOVE Hillsong United Hillsong Church in Australia usually releases two albums every year—their main all-church album recorded live in front of a massive audience and a live album recorded by their youth worship team, Hillsong United. But this year, with their most recent album All of the Above, United has done something a little different. They opted to record this album in the studio. For those used to their previous live albums, this may seem a little odd at first; however, the more I listened to the album the more I realized that it doesn’t suffer because of it. Although All of the Above didn’t initially have the same impact on me as their previous album, United We Stand, it is undeniably another excellent album from an exceptionally talented band. Hillsong United’s Creative Director, Joel Houston, who is also one of their worship leaders and songwriters, had this to say about the album: “With the new record, our hope is to stir up a generation both locally and globally to live lives that are sold out for God and His cause—lives that are committed to being His hands and feet on the planet, and to bringing justice to the hurting and the broken.” With 14 fresh and passionate worship songs that really reflect the heartbeat of God, All of the Above seems poised to do exactly that.
MY SAVIOR LIVES Ross Parsley & the Desperation Band From the team that has brought us such incredible worship songs as “Rescue,” “Amazed,” “Hear Us From Heaven” and “I Am Free,” comes a powerful new album featuring 14 amazing praise and worship songs. Recorded live at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, My Savior Lives is a solidly great album from the opening title track “My Savior Lives” to the closing anthem “This Is Our God.” There’s not really a single throwaway song on the entire album, which is all too rare nowadays. It’s an excellent album to listen to in just about any environment—work, home, in the car—or for your personal devotional and worship time (especially tracks 4–9). If you enjoy the music of Hillsong and Gateway Worship, you’ll love My Savior Lives. 34 Studio G
What’s Playing in Anthony Evans’ Ear Anthony Evans was born and raised in Dallas as the third of four children. Growing up singing, Anthony’s musical journey took a more serious turn during his college years as part of Liberty University’s Sounds of Liberty, followed by a two-year stint as a vocalist with TRUTH. Anthony has also traveled with his father, Dr. Tony Evans, renowned pastor, author and speaker, and performed at some of the nation’s largest churches and conferences, including a performance in front of President Bush. Anthony received his break into professional music singing background vocals for Kirk Franklin, who is also his friend and mentor. In 2004, Evans launched his solo career on the heels of several dates with acclaimed industry superstars Kirk Franklin, Yolanda Adams and Donnie McClurkin. With his recent sophomore release, Letting Go, produced by Nathan Nockels and Matt Bronleewee, Evans finds his voice soaring through an album of new songs grounded in a deeper understanding of God’s relentless grace. For more information about Anthony, visit www.anthony-evans.com.
Here are some of the albums Anthony enjoys listening to in his free time:
TURN AROUND (JONNY LANG)
PEACE AND LOVE (TOMMY SIMS)
IT’S TIME (MICHAEL BUBLÉ)
HERO (KIRK FRANKLIN)
Do you like to write? Do you have a story, recipe or some tips to share? This is your opportunity! Studio G wants to hear from you. If you have an article you’d like to submit, please email it to email@example.com.
Wherever you are in your journey of life, there’s a place for you in Gateway Groups.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
Things to know: »» Short articles should be 500–700 words. »» Long articles should be 1200–1500 words. »» Please include a 30-word bio for yourself. »» Have someone proof your article before submitting it.
August 11–12 Gateway Groups Leaders Interest Meetings August 16 Gateway Groups Rally
Gateway Messianic Service 7:30 pm | First Friday of Every Month Gateway Church Auditorium
Join us for our next Messianic Service. We will have an anointed time of worship led by Pastor Zach Neese and teaching by Pastor Geoffrey Cohen. All are welcome to attend. There will be a dessert fellowship immediately following the service.
GATEWAY EQUIP equipping people for life Classes meet Monday through Wednesday evenings from June 4–July 19. To view a complete list of all new classes or to register online, visit
start your adventure ... register today!
UPCOMING CLASS: Saturday, August 18
UPCOMING CLASS: Saturday, July 14
UPCOMING CLASS: Saturday, August 4
For more information about the Gateway Adventure, visit gatewaypeople.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Þ ortrait ny of D es∑i You guide me ... leading me to a glorious destiny. Psalm 73:24
September 6–8, 2007 | Gateway Church
God is calling you to impact your world in a way that only you can. This is your time to make a difference, create history and carve your legacy in the spiritual hall of fame. Pink Impact is a time just for you and your girlfriends to discover God’s portrait of destiny for your lives. For more information, contact Melissa Terry at 817.552.3756 or email email@example.com.
Take advantage of the special $45 online registration rate. Register today at pinkimpact.com.
Debbie ris Mor
Brenda e Laurenc
Kari e Job
Studio G is a bi-annual, nonprofit magazine published by Gateway Church as a ministry of Pink, Gateway Women. The purpose of Studio G magazi...