Faith Work & Calling
A Love Scandal
Three Questions to ask
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Acts 1:8 “but you shAll receive power when the holy spirit hAs come upon you; And you shAll be witnesses to me in JerusAlem, And in All JudeA And sAmAriA, And to the ends of the eArth.”
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What’s Inside? March 2014 Features
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3 Trends on Faith, Work and Calling p.28
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How to Make a Happening Marriage
38. Dave Ramsey
Valley Contributors 12. Abram Gomez
The Forgiveness Factor
14. Jerrell Jobe
Talking to God Without Words
16. Theresa Valladares Let’s Talk about Sex
18. Milton Gonzalez
Sitting on the Outside but Standing on the Inside
20. Chelsea Dombrowski Marriage on a Mission
Questions You Must Ask Before Reacting
Lysa TerKeurst is a New York Times best selling author and speaker who helps everyday women live an adventure of faith through following Jesus Christ. As president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, Lysa has lead thousands over the past 15 years to help make their walk with God an invigorating journey. In the midst of her ministry, though, Lysa is a real, everyday woman who simply seeks to glorify God through her life and family.
By Lysa Terkeurst
heart raced as I saw the number pop up on my phone. Nothing in me wanted to have this conversation. I was beyond aggravated. Hurt. Angry. And tired of being misunderstood.
I answered the call with two goals in mind – to prove how right I was and how wrong they were. How do you think that conversation went? Not well. This conflict happened over 5 years ago so the rush of emotion has dissipated and I can see more clearly how wrong my approach was. I learned from that conflict. Hopefully, I learn something from every conflict – especially how to have better reactions. I’m so far from being in a place where I can shine my halo. But I’m getting better. While my initial thoughts when a conflict arises are usually those same old “I’ll show you” thoughts, I’ve progressed by not letting those leak into my reactions. How? By asking myself three questions: 1. What part of this issue can I own and apologize for? There are always two sides to every issue. And no side is perfectly right or all the way wrong. If I make peace with the part I need to own and apologize for ‘before’ the conversation, there’s a greater chance I’ll stay calm ‘in’ the conversation. Proverbs 15:1 is a verse I’ve memorized and recalled often, “A gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger.” 2. How can I soften my heart toward this person so I honor them
8 valleychristianmagazine.com March 2014
despite how they react? Gosh, this one is hard. Really hard. But I know hurt people hurt people. Usually the person with whom I’m having a conflict has some kind of past or current hurt in their life feeding this issue. Chances are that hurt doesn’t have anything to do with me but is adding to their emotional response in this conflict. It’s easier to soften my heart if I can sympathize with their hurt I can’t see. If I can duck below my pride, honor will be my reward. Proverbs 29:23 reminds us, “Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.” 3. If I knew this conversation was being video taped and then shown to people I greatly respect, how would this change my reaction? What if I showed up to church this week and my pastor directed everyone to watch the screen for an example of a bad reaction? And then my face appeared. Have. Mercy. I. Would. Surely. Faint. #Call911. While it is highly unlikely that our conversation would be recorded and viewed, it is very likely others are watching our reaction. Our kids. Our co-workers. Our friends. But here’s the one that really grabs my heart – my Jesus is very much present. Philippians 4:5 reminds us, “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” I know every conflict has variables that must be considered. Some conflicts have escalated to the point where professionals must be called in to help. Be mindful and prayerful about this. But for the everyday conflicts we all have, these questions are good to consider. If we control our reactions in the short-term, we don’t have to live with ‘reaction regret’ in the long-term.
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An Invitation to Rest By Greg Laurie
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.
is Senior Pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif. He began his pastoral ministry at 19 by leading a Bible study of 30 people. Since then, God has transformed the small group into a church of 15,000 plus, one of the largest churches in America. For more, visit www.greglaurie.com. Used by permission from Harvest Ministries with Greg Laurie, PO Box 4000 Riverside, CA 92514
— Revelation 22:17
December I was on my way to New York and had a connection through Chicago. It was very cold outside, and as I was walking through the airport terminal, I noticed a large advertisement. It featured a sunny, tropical beach with beautiful turquoise-blue water, white sand, and an empty beach chair. That picture was so alluring and so appealing because of where I was at that particular moment.
Copyright © 2013 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
relaxation, and time off. Jesus has
“Come something to say to the person is exhausted and worn to me, all of you who are who out. He has something to weary and carry heavy burdens, and say to people who have been chewed up and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. spit out by life — peoLet me teach you, because I am humble and ple who are frustrated, who are hurting. Here gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For is His personal offer of rest to those who will my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give respond: “Come to you is light” me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy (Matthew 11:28-30, NLT). burdens, and I will give you
I think that photograph represented something all of us really want: rest,
rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy
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to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, NLT). This passage gives us the Christian life in a nutshell. Here we see what it is to come to, to know, and to walk with Jesus Christ. This invitation stands today, but it won’t stay that way forever. What is the invitation? Jesus says, “Come to Me.” That’s it? Yes, that’s it. It’s so simple, yet so profound. And we see this same invitation echoed throughout Scripture. It all begins with coming to God . . . approaching Him . . . seeking Him . . . opening our hearts to Him. Never doubt it. He will respond.
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Karl Johnson 956.638.1424 email@example.com
idden within the Old Testament is one of the greatest love stories of the Bible. It is a story that depicts the love of the Father towards His children. It shows us how God loves us without reservation. It displays a love so powerful that it draws us from where we are to where He is. This story is not covered in the narratives of the historical books such as Genesis or Exodus. Neither is it seen in the poetic literature of Psalms or Song of Solomon. Even the Major Prophets, such as Isaiah or Jeremiah, we’re not privy to this story nor were they given exclusive coverage on the account. We find this unique and tender narrative in the book of Hosea.
it is the same as prostitution or immoral. Hosea complies and marries a harlot by the name of Gomer. Together, they have three children. Regardless of a seemingly good life, Gomer eventually goes back to her old ways -- leaving and abandoning God. Yet, Hosea is sent back to get his bride, and restore the relationship.
tainly aware of our past and present. Yet, He still chooses to hold our hand in a relationship that He initiates. Hosea knew that Gomer had a reputation for an immoral lifestyle, but he was still willing to show her off as his wife in public.
God is also willing to be seen with us in public and bestow upon us His name and Several lessons can be learned and ap- affection. He is neither naïve about our plied to our own personal lives. We must past nor embarrassed by it. Because of His understand that God loves us uncondi- great love towards us, He covers our shame tionally. His love for us is wider and deeper with His grace and goodness. Gomer disthan we could have ever imagined. Paul plays weakness and make a poor decision breaks forth in a theological tirade in his in leaving Hosea and her children for her letter to the believers in Rome by stating former lifestyle. To be quite honest, the in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am persuaded story should have ended there. But, God’s To gain a full view of this love, we must that neither death nor life…nor height nor love runs deep. Hosea is commanded by first understand the backGod to love her again and get ground. Hosea was a prophher back. In spite of her sins and et sent of God to the people “God is all-knowing, and He is certainly aware falling away, God is showing us of Israel. During his tenure, the of our past and present. Yet, He still chooses through Hosea what He did for us land was experiencing abunthrough His Son Jesus. He came dance, and the people were to hold our hand in a relationship that He after us and brought us back into prospering. Luxuries were fellowship and relationship with initiates.” common. Yet, the people Him! Our sins may exhaust us, were declining spiritually, and but it does not exhaust the love had set their affections on other gods and depth…shall be able to separate us from of God. Like Gomer, we must receive this other things. In spite of their unfaithfulness, the love of God which is in Christ Jesus love freely and embrace it. God still loved His people. Wanting to our Lord.” In the story, God is showing us demonstrate His love towards them using through Gomer that in spite of our current Let’s remember that no matter how many a real life visual aid, He instructs the proph- condition, He is still willing to come into re- times we have forgotten God or chosen et Hosea to marry a woman of harlotry. lationship with us. Think about that for a others before Him, His love is relentless toHarlotry may seem like a biblical word, but minute. God is all-knowing, and He is cer- wards us. Jesus is our Hosea!
A Love Scandal
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is the Executive Pastor at Valley International Christian Center in San Benito, Texas. He serves under the Leadership of Bishop Jaime Loya, and is a graduate of Southwestern Assemblies of God University. Abram has helped to develop leadership in various ministries and programs at VICC. He and his wife, Rebecca, currently reside in Harlingen, TX and are parents to Isabella Claire.
March 2014 valleychristianmagazine.com 13
Talking to God without Words
by Jerrell Jobe
The God of the Bible is a relational God. He is a communicative Being. From the Garden of Eden in Genesis to the very last words of the Book of Revelation, God interacts and communicates to His people. God walked with Adam in the cool of the day. He spoke to Abraham in a vision. Jacob encountered God in a late night wrestling match and God spoke to Joseph through dreams. For Moses, a burning bush, lightening, earthquakes, clouds, fire, tablets and snakes all became God’s instruments of communication. God spoke to Balaam through a donkey and to Peter through a rooster. Elijah found God as a gentle whisper in sheer silence and David as he lifted his voice in song. Jeremiah understood God through an almond tree. Isaiah saw a vision of heaven and a coal touching his mouth, while Daniel simply received a message from God as a mental picture. At other times, God got creative and imaginative. For over a year, the prophet Ezekiel laid on his side as a message from God to the people of Israel. On another occasion, Ezekiel took a clay tablet, drew on it and then destroyed it in front of the people and simply said, “Yup, that’s what God says…” Another prophet, Hosea’s, very life circumstances became a prophetic parable, a dramatic representation of the heart of God for His people. Scripture says that God also had some prophets say nothing verbally, rather they acted out God’s message like a mime. (You may have to dig a little to find that one). Jesus Himself used seeds, birds, flowers, children, kings, fish, nets, coins, hillsides and stories to communicate to the people of God. Jesus very life was a 4D display of God in the flesh (see John 1:1, 14, 18).
and love that is radical with expression. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to our relationship with God. It is true that there is only one way to God, yet throughout Scripture, God chooses to communicate to people uniquely and individually. So here’s my question. If in Scripture, God is so creative, diverse and expressive in His dealings with humanity, why are our interactions that are directed back to Him often so predictable, limited and monotone? We say our prayers, perhaps go to church and sing some songs. And, if we go to “one of those” churches, we’ll clap our hands and maybe even raise them up in the air. But, is that it? Are these simple expressions the apex of our endless worship and gratitude to an Infinite God. Scripture says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). Love is something that is communicated. It is expressed. It’s done with the heart... the soul... the mind... and our actual physical bodies and strength...
Scripture is “How did God loaded with communicacommunicate to tion that has humanity throughout nothing to do with words or Scripture? He utilized speaking. At people every possible means.” times, simply com-
How did God communicate to humanity throughout Scripture? He utilized every possible means. Think about it. God could have just used the two-tablets. He could have communicated with an instant download or automatic update like some Microsoft product. He could have inserted a chip of some sort in our brains. But, God’s not interested in obligatory worship, or even monotone expressions of love. He’s into worship that is wild with abandonment
municate to God with movements, expressions and their physical posture. It’s important to remember that communication is greater than merely the sounds that come out of our mouths. This may come as a surprise, but God’s native language is not English. Nor is it Spanish, or even Hebrew or Greek. God knows all these languages and uses them to communicate to us at times. However, the Gospel of John says that, “God is Spirit and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). Communication can take place without words. In fact, Communication specialist tell us that “what I say,” the spoken words, make up as little as 7% of human communication. How I say the words, make up 38%. And, how I look make up about 55%.
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In other words, about 93% of all communication transpires in my facial expressions, body language and vocal inflection. I have three kids. At times their silent body language and facial expressions speak louder than the words coming out of their mouths. Perhaps this is truer than we realize with the songs we sing or the prayers we offer to God. There have been times when I say, “I surrender,” yet my fists are clinched, as if to say, “but not everything.” Here’s a personal confession. Sometimes, I say my prayers, but the words don’t seem to be enough. Perhaps my vocabulary isn’t vast enough, or I just can’t find the right word, or maybe what I’m trying to say can’t be said with mere words alone. My undergraduate studies were in American Sign Language and often I don’t say any words out loud when I pray. I simply sign. And, it’s as my arms are moving, body contorting and face expressing that something deep within me connects to God in ways my words can’t match. (I don’t typically recommend doing this while driving alone). At other times, rather than saying “God, I give You control of my life,” I simply keep my mouth shut and kneel down on my knees and hold my hands open before Him. The ancients called this the “giving of
the hand.” Peasants did this when they came into the presence of a king. Without words, this kneeling act declared their allegiance and surrender to the will and way of the king before them. God told Moses to “take off his shoes.” The text says the ground was holy, but I think there was another message that God was trying to convey to Moses. In Hebrew culture the feet represent one’s authority and rights. Shoes (or sandals) represented the protection of those rights. When someone wanted to communicate the surrendering of their rights, they’d take off their shoes. Interesting in business transactions, rather than signing a final contract, one person would give the other person their shoe. As crazy as this sounds, there’s actually an example of this in the Book of Ruth. Back to Moses. God said, “Take off your shoes.” It was holy ground. But, what else? God was about to send Moses to the most powerful man on earth and declare that he release his entire slave-labor force. The stakes were high. This was a life and death matter. Namely, Moses’ death, if things didn’t go well. Moses would need more than his own pedigree and experience. Further, he would need to trust God completely and relinquish his own inhibitions and fears. “Take off your shoes,” God said. I think God’s point was this: “Moses, where I’m sending you and “Moses, where I’m what I’m calling you to do sending you and what will require everything you I’m calling you to do will have, your complete trust, total abandonment. require everything you and So, take off your shoes and have, your complete in doing so, lay aside all trust, ...” that you’ve been, all that you are, and all that you’ve ever hoped to be. Lay down your rights, what you deserve, what you desire, and all that you fear. And, as you stand before Me barefoot, without your own devices of self-preservation, I will lead you, guide you and protect you…” Sometimes, when I’m praying about a situation or a circumstance where things are not going my way, I simply take off my shoes and stand there before God. It’s a way of saying, “God, I don’t like this. I don’t understand. But, I’m going to let it go. I’m going to stop trying to influence or control the outcome. I lay down my rights and what I think I deserve, etc…” After Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King, jr., in Selma, Alabama, in 1963, he said, “When I marched in Selma, my feet were praying.” Perhaps at times, we need to learn to say less, so we can communicate more. The whole transaction of religious conversion has been made mechanical and spiritless. We have forgotten that God is a person and, as such, can be cultivated as any person can. -A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God
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If you are weary of some sleepy form of devotion, probably God is as weary of it as you are. -Frank Laubach *If you’d like learn more about different ways to engage God, the online version of this article includes a variety of suggestions, along with a list of resources for further exploration and study. Go to www.ValleyChristianMagazine.com/Talking_To_God_Without_Words
Jerrell is a teaching pastor at Palm Valley Church in Mission. He is married to Charissa and has three children : Micah (11), Naylah (8),and Avi (6).
Joe Cuellar, Manager for Castle & Cooke Mortgage, LLC 5412 N 10th Street McAllen, TX 78504 Office 956.687.6688 Mobile 956.789.2121
March 2014 valleychristianmagazine.com 15
recently had the pleasure of talking to the 8th grade girls at Covenant Christian Academy during their “U”week. The school dedicates the entire week to ministering and teaching JR. High teens about their bodies and informing them about sexual intercourse and its consequences. My topic this year was about STDs, birth control and consequences of sex. I have to admit that I was a little nervous talking about this subject because it’s important to me that young ladies know their selfworth and how wrong choices can lead to misery when considering sexual intercourse. I wanted to get it right and I prayed for open minds and guidance.
Teens need biblical scriptures concerning Gods plan for sex in the confines of marriage. I gave them just that. I can’t say “don’t have sex because it’s bad and wrong.” They need, like in any other subject of school, examples and research and truth. God invented sex for pleasure and reproduction. Genesis 1:27-28 is the creation mandate. Genesis 2:21-25 discusses the union of Adam and Eve.
and without shame. That only happens in the marriage institution. 1Corinthians 6:16-20 (MSG)
There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical act. As written in Scripture, “the two become one.” Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever-the kind of sex that can never “become one.” There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these By: Theresa Valladares bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. Or didn’t you realize that Absolutely God approves of sex and it’s your body is a sacred place, the place meant to be enjoyed. Lying to our teens is of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you to suggest anything else. Our bodies are can’t live however you please; squandermeant to respond to stimulation. If you ha- ing what God paid such a high price for? ven’t read the book of Song of Solomon I The physical part of you is not some piece highly suggest you do. It’s an explicit love of property belonging to the spiritual part story concerning the passion between of you. God owns the whole works. So let husband and wife. I felt it was important people see God in and through your body. for these young ladies to see that sex is meant to be beautiful and passionate This by far, to me, is the most important scripture. It is discussing spiritual death-sin
K L A T ’S T LE X E S T U O AB
The title of my presentation was “If you have sex before marriage, you will die!” It got their attention. I explained physical death and spiritual death. These young ladies were very mature and inquisitive during my talk. They listened, asked great questions and we had some fun while discussing the appropriate material. I showed STD pictures, child birth videos and when all the facts were given I switched to God’s plan for sex.
16 valleychristianmagazine.com March 2014
and how it separated us from God. It reminds us that our bodies are not ours but Gods. We were bought at a price. I asked girls to memorize this scripture. Why? It hits all the main points and will provoke questions about choices and consequences. It allowed me to create an open dialogue. 1. Is my having sex outside of marriage going to be justifiable when I face God? 2. Is it worth the risk of harming my body? 3. Am I surrounding myself with people who share my values? (bad company corrupts good morals) 4. Will I regret having sex or abstaining? 5. Do I feel pressured? 6. Do I know my self-worth? I firmly believe that if a young lady has a healthy self esteem and knows their value that the pressure of having sex is lessened. How a young lady is treated at home by parents, how the father treats his wife, how self respect is demonstrated in the home
influences what is acceptable outside the house. I am blessed to have my children at CCA where they have a “u” week. In a public school environment they can’t be taught about God’s plan and sex. They are merely given the facts. If you don’t teach your children biblical principles regarding sex than how will they know? Give them tools to avoid the traps of sex. Encourage them to set their own dating limits. Partner with your teen. Review proper etiquette concerning social media. Our kids are inundated daily with sexual images, advertisements and numerous opportunities via texting, skyping, face book entries, internet and even in their music. If nobody is saying to them “guard your mind” or review age appropriate dressing and behavior than what they see and hear daily will determine their values. I stressed importance to these young ladies concerning age appropriate dressing. How we dress speaks volumes about your values before we even say a word. Men are visual and getting their attention by provocative dressing does not mean they are assured love and respect. Worldly views tell them otherwise.
You can’t make sex a taboo subject in your home. You can’t assume that your child will not be tempted. Educate them and foster an open dialogue and to do so you can’t be judgmental. I realize that there may be some reading this article who may disagree with my suggestions. Perhaps it was a topic that never got discussed in your home. I would like to review some scary statistics which may help change your mind. There was a CDC survey of high school students-ages 14-19 in 2011 and 47.4% had already become sexually active. Most of them unprotected. There were 8300 young people aged 13-24 who had HIV reported to the CDC in the U.S. in 2009. Nearly half of the 19 million new STDS each year are among 15-24 year olds. Greater than 400,000 15-19 year old girls gave birth in 2009. So when I say “If you have sex outside marriage you can die”…it’s true. Theresa Valladares She is married to Enrique Lopez and has two wonderful sons, Cord and Diego. They are members of The Family Church and she practices family medicine in Pharr.
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Sitting on the Outside but Standing on the Inside By Milton Gonzalez
t 42 years of age I have been through my share of afflictions, trials, circumstances and heart aches. At twenty it almost seemed as though all hell had broken loose against me and that Satan had a personal vendetta on my life. The “Life is Good” concept to me was nothing more than a fallacy - a mirage that was unrealistic and highly unattainable. However at 29 I surrendered my life to Christ and I stopped fighting on my own and allowed Him to take over. It was at that point when I began to understand the purifying power found within the trials and afflictions that we face in life. I began to see them as an opportunity rather than a curse on my life. An opportunity to draw closer to my Heavenly Father and see Him show Himself powerful in my life. I learned a very important principle... that God is not interested in our circumstances...He’s only interested in using our circumstances for our own benefit. He desires to see us grow, mature and bear fruit as we go through life’s dark valleys. We oftentimes delight in reciting encouraging and uplifting Bible verses that excite us and put a smile on our face and a spring in our step. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Phil 4:13), “He shall supply for all of my needs” (Phil 4:9), “we are the apple of His eye” (Ps 17:8), “we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:37) and “no weapon formed against me shall prosper” (Is 54:17). BUT what happens when we come to a roadblock in our lives and we have to face an illness, depression, the death of a loved one or abandonment? Is your outlook on life the same as before or does it become skewed? If we are not careful we might assume that God has turned His back on us during
these trying times. However I believe that God is even more present in the lives of those who suffer. I love what the psalmist David wrote in the 23rd chapter, verse 4 “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me”. In the Bible we read about Job, a faithful servant of the Lord, who after being
God is not interested in our circumstances...He’s only interested in using our circumstances for our own benefit tried by Satan lost his family, possessions and was physically afflicted yet never lost his faith, hope and trust in the Lord. In the middle of a desolate place he sat scratching the boils on his body with a piece a clay pot and he makes this statement “when he has tested me, I shall come out like GOLD” (Job 23:10). How does gold relate to our lives? A man once asked a goldsmith what it took to process gold from its most natural state to its purest form. He explained that the gold ore is taken from the rock, crushed, pulverized and then placed in a furnace. The furnace must reach temperatures in excess of 1064 degrees Celsius, in order to elevate the gold above its melting point. Once the gold has melted all impurities rise to the top and are more easily removed. He then asked “when do you know that the gold is pure”? The goldsmith replied “when I am able to see my face reflected on it”. In the same way God allows us to go through a similar process in life. It almost seems like life’s circumstances and trials
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crush us and put us through a fiery furnace. However, God doesn’t just allow us to go through the process...no, He goes before us and empowers us to complete it. And for how long must we endure these trials you may ask... Easy, until people are able to see Jesus reflected on us. And once we have overcome the obstacles and completed the task we will be able to say like Job... “when he has tested me, I shall come out like GOLD”. Start envisioning the trials in your life as opportunities and count them all joy. I read a story about a little boy whose mother sat an the front pew as she listened to the pastor preach. Meanwhile her son ran up and down the aisle causing quite the disturbance. Tired, the mother grabbed him by the arm and forcefully sat him down next to her. She looked at him square in the eyes and said “don’t you dare move!”. The little boy looked back at her and with a great big smile replied “although I am sitting on the outside, I am still running and having fun on the inside!!!” Certain circumstances in life have the potential to paralyze on the outside, however, on the inside we ought to be like the little boy - we continue to run, dance, praise the Lord and believe at all times expecting the victory, while envisioning breakthrough. Are you willing to go through the fire, endure and come out like GOLD ? Shalom, Milton
Milton Gonzalez Milton is the Principal of Covenant Christian Academy in McAllen and has a son David. He is married to Elena and they have a son Daniel.
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March 2014 valleychristianmagazine.com 19
Marriage ON Mission
Chelsea Dombrowski is on staff with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at UTPA and STC. She’s married to her staff partner Nick, is a lover of pugs, and can’t pass up a game of racquetball.
By: Chelsea Dombrowski
calls us not only to be his disciples but he also charges us with a kingdom mission- that is to make disciples. But when we think about making disciples, a question arises, “How do we make disciples as married folks?” Maybe you have found that you had far more time for mission when you were single- without a spouse or kids to focus on. Other than making disciples by having babies and doing our best to introduce them to Jesus, I want to paint a picture of a marriage ON mission, which I believe is God’s design for us. A marriage on mission couple understands that marriage is a gift to be stewarded for the advancing of the Gospel. It isn’t a gift to be hoarded and enjoyed only by the two. It is meant to be an example and a blessing to others. This married couple understands that as followers of Jesus, mission isn’t just going out. A big part of mission is also inviting people IN, giving folks access to your life. A marriage on mission is characterized by the fact that non-Christians and newer Christians are regularly invited in to see and experience your marriage, your life—and ultimately Jesus and the gospel.
opportunities to invite people into what we’re already doing. My husband and I have learned that it is important to have regular rhythms that we can invite people into that don’t require a lot of prep or money. So in response to what God was teaching us, my husband and I created a weekly Sunday potluck that newer Christians and non-Christians can attend. If they are non-Christian, they get to see the way we live and can sniff us out to see if there is integrity in what we preach and our everyday lives. They can see the way Nick treats me and vice versa.
“My husband and I have learned that it is important to have regular rhythms that we can invite people into that don’t require a lot of prep or money.”
The Lord has been challenging my husband and I to give others more access into our lives. We’re learning that we don’t clock out of mission once we step into our home sweet home at 5pm. He’s been showing us the incredible opportunity for mission and discipleship that exists within the four walls of our homes- in the organic spaces of our life.
Thankfully, giving people access into our married lives doesn’t mean scheduling a bunch of extra meetings. Rather, it’s a shift in perspective. It means looking for
Maybe you’re thinking- my home life is messy and full of distractions! What would it look like to humble yourself,to invite others into the messier areas of life and trust that God can work in these places? If your aim is to make disciples, then you’re freed from the mentality of entertaining guests and you can invite them into discipleship moments like helping clean up or holding your baby. Lastly, maybe you’re concerned about maintaining
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boundaries to protect your marriage. While boundaries are a good thing to a degree, such as a weekly date night, learning to live a more open life has helped me to depend on Jesus and makes me more aware of the way I’m living, given that others are watching. It leads me to ask questions like: Does our marriage reflect the Gospel? Is it worth imitating? Ultimately, I think husband and wives will feel the most satisfied in their marriage when they are striving together to have a marriage on mission and to make disciples together. While raising godly children definitely is a part of the mission, God’s call on your life to make disciples extends much further than your immediate family! So, now for a challenge! Married couples: What is one weekly rhythm that you and your spouse can establish and invite nonChristians, or newer Christians into so they can see what it looks like to follow Jesus? Think: invite them into something you already do. Given that people have to eat, I think a weekly meal is always a good way to go. I pray that you and your spouse will get even more joy and satisfaction from a marriage on mission as you obey Jesus together by pursuing the call of making disciples.
March 2014 valleychristianmagazine.com 21
Border Missions VCM went and visited Border Missions in Hidalgo, Texas. If you’ve been to Hidalgo for the lights during the holidays, you’ve driven right past it. If you’ve taken the trolley…they announce it overhead. But have you ever KNOWN about Border Missions? VCM spoke with their director Jerry along with Rolando Gonzalez and his wife Megan who is a board member for Border Missions. How long has Border Missions been in operation? For 58 years now. Our first service was back in 1956 Tell us about Border Missions: We are here to serve people in need who live near the border. We serve people and Pastors from BOTH sides of the border by providing food, clothing, goods, and a weekly service that usually has around 400+ people each week What happens during your service? We offer a free hot lunch and then a church service. We share the gospel and offer hope to those struggling. Different local Pastors share. We also give them food to take along with anything that might be available. Most people just walk to our facility. If they are from the border, you can see them walk across the border with an empty cart. How much do you typically give away? We give away over 6,000 pounds of rice and beans a month! We can also give away over 5 tons of produce. That is AMAZING! How about the Pastors… how do you serve them?
Right now we serve anywhere from 3050 pastors from both here and across the border. We donate to them so that they can provide food and clothing to their church members. Most of these churches are in very poor colonias. Where do you get all the food? We partner with feed the children and many local businesses and restaurants. We also receive 18-wheeler truckloads regularly from all over Texas. Daily, we get food from local people/business/ restaurants. It’s amazing to see them support us in helping serve so many needy people here along the border. How der get
did BorMissions started?
My [Megan] great grandparents Katherine & Harold Morgan were evangelists and came down the Valley back in the early 50’s. They saw the need. There were no churches on this side of the border so they traveled for about 6 months raising support. They moved down in their 50’s! Where most people are getting ready to retire…they were moving to a new area completely on faith.
How can people get involved? We need volunteers. We need volunteers on Thursdays for the service and giveaways. This would be a great day to see our service in action. We are open throughout the week if Thursday’s don’t work. Someone can help get the bags ready. Where do you see for the future for Border Missions? We’d like to expand deeper into Mexico. Right now only those that can walk here, and some walk a long way, are able to receive. We’d like to serve more churches further south. There’s such a great need to be met. What else would you like to share with our readers? It’s amazing how many people don’t know about Border Missions. God is doing such a great work here. The experience you would get from a Mission Trip leaving the Valley you can get right here! Being able to change lives right here…in close proximity is amazing. We’d love to see more community involvement. More church involvement. More groups serving right here in our community to those in need right here in our community. This ministry was founded from the message shared from Isaiah 58:7 “Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them…”
Rolando and Megan Gonzalez
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Special Healthcare Edition Coming in April
Coming up in the April Edition of VCM, we take a look at some of the wonderful stories of Valley Doctors and Healthcare Professionals taking part in Medical Missions both locally and abroad. We will also have the privilege of spotlighting a variety of healthcare practices: Physicians, Family Medicine, Pediatrics, Specialists, Pharmacy’s, Home Healths, DME, Dentists and many other Health Professionals in our Special Healthcare Spotlight. If you would like to have your practice included in this one-time special edition*, call 956-314-0161.
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2) What is the important lesson that you learned?
Valley Christian Magazine had a chance to talk with Larry from VeggieTales and talk about their new video coming out: Veggies in Space – The Fennel Frontier. Boldly going where no Veggies have gone before, Captain Cuke (Larry the Cucumber) and first officer, Mr. Spork (Bob the Tomato) blast off for an out-of-this-world adventure in Veggies in Space: The Fennel Frontier! Dodging popcorn asteroids in their super “spacion” wagon, these two space explorers learn a powerful lesson about sharing: If you have enough to spare, you have enough to share. A Lesson in the Power of Sharing is the main takeaway for kids (and parents!). 1) Larry, you play Captain Cuke in the latest VeggieTales episode, “Veggies in Space.” What was it like traveling to space, where no veggie has gone yet? Travelling on the USS Applepies was awesome! I got to eat popcorn asteroids, ride in a hover car, dodge Luntar’s super-grabber and explore the vacation planet Tootanny! Along the way, the Applepies crew and I also help to save the planet from an exploding super nova, make new friends and learn a very important lesson about sharing.
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Our latest adventure is all about the importance of sharing. When we see that someone needs help, and we have the ability to help them, we should! We should look beyond our own wants and share our extras with others who may not have any. If we have enough to spare, we have enough to share! It works for a lot of things—toys, snacks, playtime. We can all share with others and make a real difference. 3) You were assigned to investigate Luntar the Looter, a space pirate from the planet Tootanny. Tell us about him, and what important lesson he learned in this episode. When the episode starts, Luntar is doing some really sneaky things—or so we think! As we secretly travel down to investigate his planet and learn more about him, we find out things are not quite as they seem. The real adventure is in finding out what is really going on, and how we can help Luntar and the people on Tootanny. 4) Grammy nominated and Christian Billboard top 10 artist Jamie Grace performs the movie’s original theme song, “Enough to Share.” What was it like working with Jamie Grace on this? Jamie was a real peach and she is even from Georgia! And what a professional. We were like two peas in a pod during the recording and filming of “Enough to Share.” I can’t say enough about how cool Jamie was, and how fortunate I am to have been asked to be a part of the song.
If you are interested in placing your Engagement announcement or getting your wedding spotlighted in the Valley Christian Wedding & Engagement Section, please contact Stella Gallegos. Email: stella@ valleychristianmagazine.com or call her at 956.854-1601
Ilse & David Gonzalez January 11, 2014 The Family Church
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HOW TO MAKE A HAPPENING MARRIAGE
He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” —Matthew 19:4-6
by James MacDonald
If there was
one key to making any marriage a happening marriage, would you want to know what it is? Live your life in such a way that no other human relationship compares in importance to what you have with your spouse. The person you crawl into bed with every night—make that person number one. Matthew 19:4-6 isn’t teaching that you should move to California to get away from your parents—or your kids. It is teaching that your parents, your kids, the buddies you had before you got married, the friends you’ve known since college—all of those people put together—don’t add up to the importance of the one person you married. If you fail in that relationship, you are a relational failure, regardless of any other success. God can forgive and heal, but next to your relationship with Him, your marriage is your first priority. And the goal is oneness. Jesus shed some light on oneness by saying a man should “hold fast to his wife.” This joining is a strong bonding together, like Krazy-Glu’ing two people. It’s an emotional oneness in which a husband and wife share each other’s feelings, joys, and pains. And His reference to one flesh includes sexual intimacy, the culmination of emotional oneness. A healthy marriage aims for unity in every way. Then notice what Jesus says in verse 6, “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” God puts a man and a woman together—and He doesn’t want anyone to separate them. Sadly, though we start our marriages as one, we often slip into different kinds of separation. Separate ways. It’s so easy to embrace separate schedules, cars, and events—of-
ten for good reasons. But dividing doesn’t always conquer. Watch out! Too much time apart, even doing good things, is an enemy of marital oneness. Ask yourself regularly: How many things can we do together in the next week? Separate interests. Divergent hobbies and pastimes can lead to separation. Find at least one thing you both really enjoy and pursue it with each other. Expressing the desire to learn, explore, and spend time together will make your spouse feel like number one. Separate vacations. It’s not wrong for a guy to go on a fishing trip or for a wife to get away with some of her friends. But it shouldn’t be the substitute to vacationing and spending extended time together. Relaxing and sharing experiences as a couple promotes the marital oneness God designed. Separate bank accounts. Too many couples have separate bank accounts. It’s not wrong for a husband and wife to grant each other an allowance, but an effective family budget needs a single operating account. Coordinating your finances and transparent spending will help oneness grow. Separate beds and separate bedtimes. This is not just about sexual intimacy. Something powerful happens when a couple ends their days, as much as they are able, by going to bed at the same time. Bonding is reinforced when they lay their heads on the pillows together. They can talk about the day, have a time of prayer, and open up to one another. Every example that can separate marriage is also a place where you can treat each other as number one. Start making a “together” list of activities, practices, in-
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terests you will pursue with each other this year. Renew your promise to guard your oneness. By next Valentine’s Day, if you make it your consistent priority, your marriage can be a happening one. Share this plan with your spouse—then commit to carrying it out. It may be the most romantic Valentine’s gift you’ve ever given!
Journal How hve leaving father and mother, holding fast to each other, and becoming one flesh worked out in your marriage? Where is there improvement to pursue? What “together” activities are you most anticipating doing with your spouse? Why?
Lord, You have designed us for this unique relationship called marriage and I thank You for bringing my spouse to me. Help me to be a marriage partner who spends less time thinking about ways my mate can improve and more time considering how I can improve. Be the glue that holds us together. Remind us that oneness involves countless little decisions each day, mixed in with significant choices to pursue it. Help us to grow together as Your children—one flesh created by You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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James MacDonald is founding and Senior Pastor at Harvest Bible Chapel in northwest Chicago. James’ teachings can be heard on Walk in the Word, a daily radio program reaching more than 3 million people across North America. Used by permission of Walk in the Word, Elgin, Ill., 61023. www.walkintheword.com by permission of Walk in the Word,Elgin, Ill., 61023.
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THREE TRENDS ON FAITH, WORK & CALLING
o, what do you do?” America’s quintessential get-to-know-you question is a lot harder to answer these days, between the realities of the new freelance economy, the ever-shifting lines between work and home life, and a revived quest for meaning that often manifests itself in unconventional ways. Barna Group’s new research shows that three-quarters of U.S. adults (75%) say they are looking for ways to live a more meaningful life. Whether such meaning is found in family, career, church, side projects or elsewhere, these are all questions of vocation—that is, the way in which people feel “called” to certain types of work and life choices. And in 2014, these questions remain as strong as ever for millions of Americans Among Christians, there is an additional question: “What does God want me to do with my life?” According to Barna Group’s study, only 40% of practicing Christians say they have a clear sense of God’s calling on their lives. Christian Millennials are especially sensitive to this divine prompting— nearly half (48%) say they believe God is
calling them to different work, yet they haven’t yet made such a change. Sermons are commonly preached on evangelism, discipleship, and spiritual disciplines—but what about vocation? It turns out that most churchgoers are craving more direction and discipleship when it comes to the theology of calling, especially as it relates to work. Barna research shows nearly twothirds of churched adults say it has been at least three years or more since they heard church teachings on work and career, and yet, the workplace is where most Americans spend a the biggest share of their waking hours. However, connecting faith and work is of significant importance to the Christian community. And the following three work and faith trends for 2014 reveal opportunities for the Church to engage vocational discipleship in new ways: 1) Millions of adults are choosing a multi-career path. A changing economy, a burgeoning entrepreneurial movement, and the digitally afforded ability of working from anywhere, at any time, have all contributed to a distinct turn in the traditional career path. Where yesteryear’s career paths took the shape of a slow, upward climb, today’s professional journeys look more like a kaleidoscope of shifting opportunities. For example, the typical young adult today does not expect to have a single job for more than three years. Moreover, the nine-to-five workplace has morphed for millions of people into side jobs, passion projects, moonlighting, freelancing, entrepreneurial start-ups and more. A new kind of economy is taking shape—in part, because it would seem today’s workforce has decided for itself that making a living is not enough if that living lacks purpose, meaning, and im-
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pact. New Barna research shows adults today are deeply concerned with getting work “right”—nearly six out of 10 say they want to make a difference in the world. They’re equally concerned about getting it “wrong”—nearly five out of 10 are afraid of making the wrong career choice. The survey shows that getting that balance right is tough for most adults. In fact, less than one in five adults (19%) say they’re extremely satisfied with their current work, prompting many to get creative in finding work that truly matters. 2) Many women are realizing they really can’t have it all—and wondering, so now what? Whether to “lean in” or opt out, go to work or work from home, win the bread or care for the kids—even whether to have kids or not—are the vocational choices women in the U.S. today must make. The question that has captured the cultural imagination today—can women have it all?—is still widely debated. But on an experiential level, new Barna research shows most women are feeling indicators that they can’t. Nearly six out of 10 all women (59%) say they are dissatisfied with their work and home balance. Women also describe themselves as stressed out (72%), tired (58%) and overcommitted (48%). Each of these self-descriptions only increases among moms with children under 18 at home. And among moms juggling multiple responsibilities, such as work and parenting, a startling 42% say faith communities do not offer them any emotional or social support “at all.” The numbers are slightly better among practicing Christian women, but only barely. Nearly half (46%) say the church offers them only “some” support and just over one-third (34%) admits to not receiving much or any support from their church. However, they’re not giving up on church despite this. To the contrary, nearly one quarter of women (22% of all women and 24% of moms) say church is the area of life in which they’d most like to improve. All of this points to a strong desire for faith-informed vocational support among many women, in whatever vocation a woman might fulfill.
3) Evidence shows many Christians are responding to the vocational call of adoption. Adoption isn’t typically grouped in to discussions on vocation, and yet, many parents who adopt do so precisely because they feel called to such choices. New Barna research reveals a striking 77% of practicing Christians believe that Christians have a personal responsibility to adopt. In fact, Barna Group’s research shows that Christians have engaged in adoption, foster care and oth-
er ways of aiding vulnerable children more than the norm. Practicing Christians (5%) are more than twice as likely to adopt than the general population (2%). Catholics are three times as likely. And evangelicals are five times as likely to adopt as the average adult. What’s more, where churches don’t always offer support when it comes to integrating faith and work, adoption is one notable area where many churches are doing so. Of practicing Christians, 30% agree with the statement: “My church makes a special effort to encourage adoption or foster care.” This support is spiritual and social, such as through the offering of support groups—43% of practicing Christians say their church helps with adoption in this way. And church sup-
port of adoption is also highly practical, including financial help (18%), travel costs (25%) and household tasks (41%). Though these percentages reflect a Christian community mobilizing around adoption, fostering and orphan care—still, there is much growth to be achieved.
On Our Cover...
Cissy & Anthony Reyna Jacob 4 years & Dylan (now born!) Have you always thought about adopting? We got married in 2004 and discussed early on about adopting. Our plan was to adopt after we had a few kids on our own. Turns out we had a little trouble conceiving at first and since we had already thought about adopting, we thought why not adopt now?! How long was the adoption process? From the time we signed up for adopting to the time we brought Jacob home…it took about 8 months. It was an open adoption and we had an incredible time meeting the birth family. Tell us about your journey? I believe that it was God’s plan for our family to adopt. I know that we had trouble conceiving which lead us to adopt Jacob. We knew God was all over this. Even though I was sad at first going through this but we knew we were going to be mom and dad one day. We knew that we were going to be great parents. I’m thankful to have gone through what we did for Jacob and to now have gotten pregnant naturally and have Dylan. I wouldn’t change a thing! I forget all the time that Jacob is adopted…I love him so much.
About the Research The research included in this report is part of Barna Group’s FRAMES project. This project included four separate nationwide studies, conducted between May and August 2013. These nationwide public opinion studies were conducted using a mix of telephone (including cell phones) and online interviewing among 4,495 adults. The maximum sampling error for any of the four studies is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. Additional details about the research effort are available here: www.barna.org/frames/ methodology About Barna Group Barna Group (which includes its research division, the Barna Research Group) is a private, non-partisan, for-profit organization under the umbrella of the Issachar Companies. Located in Ventura, California, Barna Group has been conducting and analyzing primary research to understand cultural trends related to values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors since 1984. If you would like to receive free e-mail notification of the release of each update on the latest research findings from Barna Group, you may subscribe to this free service at the Barna website (www.barna.org). Additional research-based resources are also available through this website. © Barna Group, 2014
March 2014 valleychristianmagazine.com 29
How Does Jesus Give Light to Everyone? By Carey Kinsolving & Friends
“Jesus gives light to everyone by letting you buy it from the grocery store,” says Omar, 5. The Apostle John had a different kind of light in mind when he referred to Jesus as “the true light which gives light to every man coming into the world” (John 1:9).
God for not providing sunlight while choosing to live in caves below ground. That’s what happens when people say, “What about the people who have never heard of Jesus Christ?” They may have never heard the name of Jesus, but they have seen his work in
“When you accept Jesus into your heart, he gives you light,” says Morgan, 10. “He tries to make it so evil can’t get to you.”
“Jesus came into the world to tell people the truth,” says Shelby, 10. “He was the light that took away those dark beliefs.”
Dark beliefs? Yes, lies about God will keep you from knowing the truth that will set you free. The Bible presents a picture where most people live in bondage to lies and deception. They saunter through life totally unaware of the angelic battles being fought in spiritual realms over their very souls. “Jesus gives light to the world because he is the light,” says Shoshanna, 6. “He is the way, the truth and the light.” Jesus is light personified. Just as the sun gives light freely to everyone in the world, Jesus gives spiritual light to anyone who looks to him. The Apostle Matthew calls Jesus a great light that shines upon a people sitting in darkness (Matthew 4:16). “Jesus gives light to everyone by giving them the choice to accept him and not forcing them to receive him,” says Jonathan, 8. “If they do receive him, they will be rewarded with light in their souls, and they will have hope.”
creation. Also, they have a conscience or a sense of right and wrong. As I write this column, I’ve recently returned from several of America’s national parks: Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Arches and Canyonlands. Beauty on such an immense scale should leave everyone who sees it in a state of awe and wonder.
In the heart of every Christian, Jesus wants to start a bonfire that will burn brightly for all to see. John the Baptist served as the forerunner of Jesus to announce his coming. He faithfully pointed to Jesus Christ. False ministers always point to someone or something other than Jesus Christ. “Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins. That is how he gives light to the world,” says Wilson, age unknown. Think about this: I like to think of creation and our conscience as God’s spotlight that points to Jesus. His sacrifice for our sins is like a laser light that penetrates searching hearts. Memorize this truth: “In him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). Ask this question: Do you know Jesus as the light of your life?
“Jesus gives his light to everyone by sending witnesses out into the world to spread his light,” says Clarissa, 12. The history of personal evangelism and the work of missionaries demonstrate that God sends people the good news about Jesus Christ when they respond to the spiritual light they already possess through creation and their own conscience (Romans 1:1832). Jesus told his disciples, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). Every Christian should be alert constantly for opportunities to speak the gospel message into the lives of those God has prepared “When you accept Jesus into your heart, he gives you light,” says Morgan, 10. “He tries to make it so evil can’t get to you.”
Imagine the absurdity of people blaming
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Carey Kinsolving’s Kids Talk About God syndicated column is distributed by Creators Syndicate. KidsTalkAboutGod.org features a Bible-lesson archive of all columns. Kinsolving is the co-founder of the RGV Children’s Arts Festival. One Valley child will win a vacation for up to five, immediate family members to the Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch in Parshall, Colorado plus a check for $1000 to help pay for travel expenses. For details go to KidsTalkAboutGod.org/rgv.
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For more information please visit www.IncomeWithEnergy.com 1Cor. 10:31; Col. 3:17,23
March 2014 valleychristianmagazine.com 31
A Note From Nathan... Hey everyone, with our spring Banquets right around the corner, I’m developing a bad case of Summer Camp Fever :-) For those of you attending one of our three banquets in South Texas, your donations will go a long ways in helping us to reach this year’s goal of taking over 2,000 coaches & athletes to FCA Camp where countless lives are being touched with the love of Jesus. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of our financial donors for being a part of our ministry. I love you all.
Mulit-Area Director Fellowship of Christian Athletes firstname.lastname@example.org
The Best Is Yet To Come...
FCA Vision To see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of athletes and coaches. FCA Mission To present to athletes and coaches and all whom they influence the challenge and ad-
venture of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, serving Him in their relation-ships and in the fellowship of the church.
FCA Core Values Our relationships will demonstrate steadfast commitment to Jesus Christ and His Word through Integrity, Service, Teamwork and Excellence.
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SPORTS/ LEADERSHIP CAMP
Coaches Enrichment Conference
DFW Sports Leadership Camp at Dallas Baptist University 'DOODV7;Â‡$260
LaTorretta Lake Resort & Spa on Lake Conroe, Montgomery, TX
July 10 - June 13
June 24 - June 27
FCA Golf Camp HSU $ELOHQH7;Â‡$410
June 9 - June 13 Texas Tech University /XEERFN7;Â‡$395
June 27 - June 30
$350 single, $700 couple, $150 per child
June 9 - June 13
River Bend Camp â€“ Glen Rose, TX Â‡$110
January 24 - January 26
Texas A&M University &ROOHJH6WDWLRQ7;Â‡$395
July 3 - July 6
Payment plans available and contact ORFDO)&$RIÂżFHIRUVFKRODUVKLSDYDLODELOLW\
For more information about these camps, go to:
March 2014â€ƒâ€ƒ valleychristianmagazine.comâ€ƒâ€ƒ 33
No Greater Love Levi Benkert and Candy Chand Tyndale
Who does God call into the great unknown of serving humanity with the Gospel of Jesus Christ? God calls anyone who is willing to take a big step of faith. Levi Benkert was a successful businessman in California before recession and the sovereignty of God led him to respond God’s call. A surprise phone call with a desperate need in Ethiopia was the beginning of an unexpected call to run an orphanage for children who were considered “cursed” by some tribal people and sentenced to death by their own parents. Levi took his wife and three kids to Ethiopia with him. They stepped out of the American dream and into a new world of discomfort where faith is necessary. “Between the sale of personal items and our car, we’d raised enough to fly our family to Ethiopia and had set aside enough for return flights in case of an emergency.” This was no minor life transition; it was a radical step of faith.
UNCOMMON MARRIAGE Tony Dungy, Lauren Dungy, Nathan Whitaker
Although Levi was certain of the choice to relocate his entire family, it did not take long to doubt his decision. “After everyone else was asleep, I sprawled out on the mattress, stared at the cracked ceiling, and wondered if I’d made the worst decision of my life. Maybe our well-meaning friends and relatives had been right. Maybe this was a huge mistake. But right or wrong, the decision had been made. We were in Ethiopia. And desperate needs were all around us. Though I feared I might be wrong, I hoped that somehow, someway, we’d be able to find our purpose in this foreign land.” Levi’s story depicts the honest struggles of adjusting to a different culture and doing something risky for a good God who calls His people to trust Him. Though his story is in a foreign country, his adventure is a reminder that God also calls us to radical faith in a culture that is no longer so friendly to God’s truth and God’s ways. Levi did find his purpose in Ethiopia, but he was disappointed and broken along the way. God used his experiences to allow him to stay in Ethiopia and continue serving Jesus to fill a desperate need in a nation that needs to God’s great love among the orphans who are privileged to be a part of Levi’s and his wife’s ministry. Be encouraged by Levi’s story to take a step of faith wherever and however God may call you.
Book Review by
Tyndale House Publishers
What does it take to build a marriage that will last? Tony and Lauren Dungy have together known the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. They fell in love, built a family, and made sports history when Tony became the first African American head coach to win the Super Bowl. Yet they’ve also gone through difficult, relationship-testing setbacks, including job loss and devastating personal tragedy. In a culture where it seems harder and harder to make marriage last, what has kept the Dungys strong through
1. Jamie Grace Beautiful Day CD: Ready to Fly
2. Casting Crowns All You’ve Ever Wanted CD: Thrive
3. Big Daddy Weave
– The Only Name
(Yours Will Be) CD: Love Come To Life
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Miguel Paredes Is a teacher at Edinburg North and earned his Masters in Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He is married to Brenda and has four children: Diego (12), Karla and Andrea (9), and Charis (5).
THE ART OF CELEBRATION
By Rend Collective
We made a recent theological breakthrough as a band and it has changed everything about our approach: seriousness is not a fruit of the spirit …but joy is. – Rend Collective We at Rend Collective have a shocking confession. We are not actually an indie-folk band: we are a celebration band. Don’t be fooled by our vintage-inspired, slightly homeless, vaguely nautical attire, our tendency to dabble with rusty, antique instruments, or our abundant and seldom-tamed facial hair. Do not be led astray by the fact that we do, indeed, play our fair share of folk music. (It is, after all, in our Celtic blood). You see, we would far rather have our worship defined by joy, fun, freedom and laughter than any genre title or pop-culture label. Rend Collective is a celebration band, practicing the spiritual discipline of joy and discovering The Art of Celebration. It’s just a happy coincidence that celebration and folk music make a great pairing. A Serious Business Rend Collective currently find ourselves in a season during which we have a lot to celebrate. We have
it all? In Uncommon Marriage, Tony and Lauren share the secrets that hold them together, revealing what they’ve learned so far about being a good husband or wife; getting through times of loss, grief, or change; staying connected despite busy schedules; supporting each other’s dreams and goals; and helping each other grow spiritually. They offer encouragement and practical advice to equip your marriage to survive tough issues and flourish with joy, purpose, and partnership—in other words, to be a marriage that is truly uncommon.
4. Phil Wickham This Amazing Grace CD: The Ascension
5. Steven Curtis Chapman
Love Take Me Over CD: The Glorious Unfolding
6.Toby Mac Speak Life CD: Eye On It
welcomed a brand new (and impossibly cute!) member into the Rend family by the name of Arthur Guinness Gilkeson, and Chris has just returned from honeymoon with the beautiful Gabriella. It makes sense that our latest project focuses on joy. The Art of Celebration is a fun-loving concept album which, to echo the words of Belfast’s own C.S Lewis, explores the “serious business” of joy. We made a recent theological breakthrough as a band and it has changed everything about our approach: seriousness is not a fruit of the spirit …but joy is. There is an irrepressible laughter in the heart of God and this record is an attempt to reflect this as a worshipping community. We think joy is an underemphasized aspect of God’s character. He is the One who invented and even commanded holidays and feasting; who celebrated the first wedding with Adam and Eve; who sings over us and rejoices over us. Jesus’ first miracle was to provide wine to keep a party alive. In His telling of the parable of the Prodigal Son, He uses an extravagant party as a picture of grace. Hebrews even tells us that Jesus suffered the cross “for the joy set before Him.” The culmination of all history is described in terms of celebration - the marriage of Christ and His church. He is the ultimate artist of celebration. We come with a gospel worth celebrating, before a celebrating King: we think our response as worshippers should be obvious. Choosing Celebration The journey of writing this record and trying to live out its ethos has made us realize that joy isn’t always easy. We have been profoundly blessed this year in so many ways - and we focus on that intentionally - but we have also struggled through the dark spaces of loneliness, insecurity, doubt
and failure. Paradoxically, this joy project was crafted in the refining fire of hurting and brokenness. Happiness is not the same thing as joy. Happiness is an emotion; a superficial response to pleasant circumstances. But Joy is deeper, it’s a spiritual discipline. It is not our default mode of operation but rather it is a fruit that must be cultivated. This is why God actually had to build commands requiring us to celebrate into the Law - our sinful souls are more inclined towards negativity, bitterness and cynicism.
We must wrestle for our blessing, as Jacob wrestled, and fight for joy. It’s no accident that the opening line of the whole record (from the appropriately titled song, “Joy”) is “We’re choosing celebration.” Celebration, the practice of joy, is a choice. That doesn’t mean it’s always an easy choice to make. We know that we inevitably must navigate storms of sorrow and shadows, disappointment and doubt in this life.
7. Mandisa Overcome CD: Overcome
I Am CD: Neon Steeple
9. Francesca Battistelli Write Your Story CD: If We’re Honest
Our lead single from the album, “My Lighthouse,” is about celebrating God’s brightness in the midst of “troubled seas.” Though we are thrown and tossed by the difficulties of this life, we can still celebrate our Father’s faithfulness and constancy within the chaos. We can choose celebration. How do we remind ourselves as a wounded church family that we still have a reason to sing? How do we move from the edges and fringes into the center of the party? How do we, the life-scarred and hardened, rejoice again? Worship isn’t just a sparkly pop soundtrack for the carefree - it’s a desperate and costly offering of disciplined joy. We are a church full of real people and this is real life. We are not shiny, happy people, immune to troubles and trials. But we are choosing celebration. A Joyful Noise It is impossible to imagine pure joy and celebration without music. It is the sonic companion to life’s most euphoric moments. We think the biggest clue as to what The Art of Celebration sounds like is in the title. We tried to make it sound like fun. It’s what the Psalmist calls, “a joyful noise.” Our process was to just choose the instruments that seemed like fun to us and let the genre definition work itself out. We use a bewildering array of the weird, wonderful, whimsical music toys that we’re still not too old to love: our native Irish folk instruments, some good old-fashioned rock’ n’ roll guitars, and even some synth-pop inspired elements. (And it goes without saying that Gareth once again wields that awesome, homemade weapon of mass celebration we know only as “the Jingling Johnny.”) We haven’t abandoned folk music, of course. It’s a huge part of who we are (it would be like abandoning a limb!). But we haven’t stayed there either - where’s the fun in that? We could have simply made “Campfire 2: Revenge of the Banjo” (which actually sounds kind of awesome!), but the ethos of Rend Collective has always been about pushing creative boundaries and trying something new and colorful. So what can you expect from our latest project? Come expecting all the raucous, foot-stomping energy and freedom you’ve heard from us before but reimagined and evolved. Come expecting playful, worshipful sounds that raise a smile. This is not the science of modern worship or the formula of industry: this is The Art of Celebration.
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Mar. 7th & April 4th Courtyard of Praise
June 5 Phillips Craig & Dean in Concert
12th & Austin Downtown McAllen First Presbyterian Church McAllen
Palm Valley Church Pre-Sale Discounted Tickets go on sale March 15th www.valleychristianmagazine.com or call 956-314-0161
March 6 @ 7am Harlingen Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast Harlingen Community Center
FCA Spring Banquet
McAllen Convention Center Ballroom To Reserve a Table call 994-1121
Courty @ 12th &ard Praise Austin Ave
March 21 Matthew West McAllen Convention Center
SEC Movement South
4/25 & 4/26
Ed Newton, Andy Mineo w/The Digital Age McAllen Convention Center Planetstudents.org/sec 877-953-7782 $15 Early Bird Registration by March 28th
Courtyard Praise presents
D . E . S .T. I . N .Y
8PM Friday, March 7, 2014 Free Music + Free Food 12th & Austin Ave McAllen, TX www.fpcmcallen.com www.courtyardpraise.com March 2014 valleychristianmagazine.com 37
Balance Transfers Don’t Do Much Dear Dave, I’m trying to pay off my credit card and get out of debt. Do you think I should transfer the balance to one with a lower interest rate while I do this? Kelsey Dear Kelsey, I’m not against this idea, as long as you understand that you’re not really accomplishing much. All you’re doing is moving money around, and maybe saving a tiny bit on interest. If you were planning on keeping the debt around for 30 years it would become a big deal. But if you’re talking about a few months, just until you get it paid off, it’s not that much money. The problem with balance transfers is that you feel like you took a big step forward when you really didn’t. Lots of times this causes people to lose focus on other things they can do to get out of debt, like picking up an extra job or selling a bunch a crap they don’t want or need. That kind of stuff, along with living on rice and beans and a strict written budget, is 98 percent of the battle when it comes to getting out of debt! —Dave
Do Fewer Dumb Things Dear Dave, My parents co-signed on government loans so I could go to college. Would my forbearance or non-payment affect their credit if I don’t pay? Tiffany Dear Tiffany,
Ramsey For more financial help please visit: www.daveramsey.com Dave Ramsey is a personal money-management expert and extremely popular national radio personality. His three New York Times best-selling books—Financial Peace, More Than Enough and The Total Money Makeover—have sold more than 6 million copies combined. His latest book,
Yes, it would. I’m not trying to lay a guilt trip on you, kiddo, but you’ll be trashing your mom and dad’s credit if you don’t pay the bills on time. If they co-signed for you, they’ll start getting phone calls, too, if you don’t do the right thing and pay back these loans. The truth is, your mom and dad shouldn’t have co-signed for you in the first place. There’s only one reason lenders want a co-signer, and that’s because they’re afraid the person taking out the loan won’t be able to pay back what’s owed. My goal here isn’t to beat you up, Tiffany. It’s to give you information that you—and your parents—need in order to make different, smarter decisions in the future. We all do dumb things sometimes. In the past, I did some really dumb things with very large numbers attached. The goal is to grow, learn, and try to use what we learn in order to do fewer dumb things in the future. —Dave
EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches, released in September 2011.
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Border Missions Ministry Events: Thursdays, 11:30am (Meal &Service) Sundays, 10:30am (Worship Service)
203 Texano Drive Hidalgo, TX 78557 956.843.2125 www.bordermissions.org Sponsored by:
Raul â€œRudyâ€? Rodriguez attorney at law
For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required--Luke 12:48
Phone: 956.380.1421 / Toll Free:
877.480.1421 Fax: 956.380.2920 / Mobile: 956.655.5455
511 W. University / Edinburg, TX 78539 e-mail: email@example.com
Published on Mar 3, 2014
Loving God. Loving Others. Building Community…Valley Christian Magazine On the Cover: 3 Trends on Faith, Work & Calling by Barna Group and...