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May 2014

PHILLIPS CRAIG & DEAN Live in Concert June 5th p 20

Learn to Love Your Story p8

with special guest

Jonny Diaz In Search of Ordinary People


Becoming a Healthier Family...God’s Way p.16


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What’s Inside? May 2014 Features

Vol. 4 / Issue 2 To submit story ideas, events, or comments:

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16. Family Fitness Challenge

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The State of the Bible 2014

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Learn To Love Your Story

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In Search of Ordinary People

Valley Writers

6. Louis Canchola Family Tree

10. Milton Gonzales

The Silent Worshiper

28. Nick Dombrowski

The Moonwalk,Genesis, Work and Rest

32. Miguel Paredes Book Review

38. Dave Ramsey Dave Says

Loui Canchola is the founding and Lead Pastor of Cornerstone Church in McAllen. Pastor Loui and his wife Michelle have been married for 17 years and are the parents of four amazing children: Clarissa, Elizabeth, Alexa, and Trey. They reside in McAllen, Texas. Pastor Loui is a graduate from The University of Texas-Pan American with a BA in History. You can also connect with and follow Pastor Loui and hear his thoughts about God, life, family, leadership, and yes, a little about football on twitter at


he Apostle Paul invested his life in discipling and training for the ministry a “son in the faith” named Timothy. In discipling Timothy, Paul left an example for all believers of what it looks like to live out the Great Commission in our lives personally. It has often been said that as we follow Christ, each of us should have a “Paul” in our lives (a spiritual mentor who is helping to disciple us) and a “Timothy” also (someone who we are investing our lives in and discipling). As Paul sought to build Timothy up into Christ-likeness; he reminded Timothy of the rich, spiritual legacy that existed in his family. That rich legacy was one of faith in Christ that began with his grandmother and mother. Paul writes to Timothy: “I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” -2 Timothy 1:3-7 ESV Thank God for faithful mothers! As a pastor, how often I’ve heard someone share their testimony with me of how even when they were unfaithful and rejected God, that their mother never stopped praying for them and being an example to them and that ultimately it was that faithfulness to God that they saw in their mom that helped them to see the faithfulness and mercy of Christ and to trust in Him! As any good spiritual mentor does, Paul found command ground with Timothy and reminded

Family Trees

By Loui Canchola

him of the spiritual heritage that they were both blessed with. Paul reminded Timothy that he was in essence, a third-generation follower of Christ. It was a sincere (legitimate, authentic) faith that began in his family with his grandmother Lois, who in turn passed her faith down to her daughter Eunice, who in turn passed her faith down to her son. That is how Jesus changes family trees, by one generation passing The Gospel to the next generation in a real way. Timothy was blessed with a mother and grandmother who didn’t just pay lip service to their faith but who lived it out sincerely with their lives! That made all the difference in Timothy’s life.

thank you for your faithfulness and be assured that He is there and He is faithful. Please continue to “fan the flame” of your children’s faith. Please continue to model for your sons what type of woman they should look to marry and for your daughters what type of wife and mother they should aspire to be.

This month we celebrate the moms and grandmas that we have been blessed with. Without a doubt, family trees have been forever changed because of the faithfulness, devotion, hard work, and prayers of so many amazing moms. To all of you moms out there who are faithfully loving and supporting your husbands, raising your families, battling in prayer, and fighting the good fight, THANK YOU for all that you do for the Kingdom of God and your families. To all of you single moms doing everything you can for your families, working hard, wondering if anyone notices and sometimes even wondering if “God is there” and knows what you are going through,

“Her children rise up and call her blessed;    her husband also, and he praises her:  “Many women have done excellently,     but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,     but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” -Proverbs 31:28-30 ESV

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I am blessed because of an amazing mother who is the glue that has held our family together for decades and never ceases to pray for me and show me her unconditional love and support. I am blessed because I have been married for 19 years to an amazing wife and mother of my children who is the glue that holds our family together. To my mom Yoli, and my wife Michelle, “thank you” for being living expressions of the love of Jesus Christ and for allowing your lives to bring Him glory. Thank you for passing down a legacy of faith in Christ in our family and making sure that the foundation of our family tree is rooted in Jesus. To all of you moms doing the same, keep doing it. It’s absolutely worth the blood, sweat, and tears. To those of you who might not be able to share the same story, remember, you can be the cycle-breaker in your family and allow Jesus to change your family tree forever.

Thank God for mothers who fear Him. Today and everyday, your children, your husbands, and your families, praise you and call you blessed as you live your lives for the glory of

Jesus Christ. Happy Mother’s Day!


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2014   7


To Love

Your Story #BEaNOTICER By Lysa TerKeurst

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.

I stood in my kitchen laughing with one of my kids picking hard macaroni out of the melted cheese in the Crockpot. Apparently, noodles like to be boiled beforehand. About the time I posted an Instagram picture of the dinner fiasco, I heard another daughter upstairs yelling for towels. It took a minute for it to register why she was panicked. Then I saw the water leaking through my kitchen ceiling. Toilet water.

life… a story. Not so much like the stories of books and big screens.

“But even if we choose to be noticers with thankful hearts just once today, we’ll start to look at our stories in a different way. A more beautiful way.”

I ran. No, I flew upstairs yelling, “Turn that silver knob thing behind the toilet. Quick! Turn it so the water will shut off!”

Later that night, our couch-turned-dancingspringboard decided it would no longer tolerate overly energetic snow bound teens. RIP dear couch.

Those stories are a little more shiny and sexy and seemingly perfect.

Those moms don’t have cellulite probably because they don’t eat mac and cheese. The kitchen ceilings don’t have stains because… well because their kids don’t use too much two-ply toilet paper. And the couches don’t sag beyond repair. But I love my story. I love my story most of all. Why? How? Because I pre-decided today that I would.

ful hearts just once today, we’ll start to look at our stories in a different way. A more beautiful way. While carrying the wet towels downstairs, I saw this and smiled…

I whispered, “Notice. Be a noticer. See all the fun represented here and thank God for these moments.” Noticers see the lovely before them and learn to love their story. This week, I’m writing several #BEaNOTICER posts. Today’s focus is to be a noticer in the midst of the messy and mundane. What might happen if you pre-determine to look through the lens of lovely today? Leave me a comment below sharing something you notice.

I’d laughed about the noodles. I’d dealt with the toilet water. I’d gotten quite miffed with the couch situation.

I decided I would look at it all through the lens of noticing the rich evidence of life through each mess and mishap.

Another day.

Did I do it all perfectly? Nope, not at all.

And if you’re on Instagram or Twitter, post a picture and tag me @LysaTerKeurst using the hashtag…#BEaNOTICER.

Another page in what makes this life… my

But even if we choose to be noticers with thank-

Love your story most of all.

8   May 2014

The Silent Worshiper By Milton Gonzalez

“Absolute silence might well become our greatest act of worship” - A.W. Tozer


raise and worship time is by far what I most enjoy about church. It is during this time that I am escorted in the Holy of Holies, a time when God descends and inhabits the praises of His people. I have experienced and seen God move mightily in the midst of adoration touching lives and healing wounded souls. This devote form of reverence has become a part of my life and not solely an event of repetitive occurrence on Sunday mornings as the band plays majestic anthems unto the Lord.

the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way” and I desired to be that worshipper.

not by talent nor beauty but by real authentic worship that emerges from a meek and gentle spirit. I frequently find myself running with a still heart and a silent tongue in reverence of a Holy God - completely and silently engulfed by His wondrous presence delighting in Him. Andrew Murray once penned these words “the very thought of God and His majesty and holiness should silence us” As we quiet our souls and bask in his presence we become more perceptive to His glory. It is during those quiet times that we are able to hear God gently whispering into our ears… “My son/my daughter I love you with an everlasting love”.

I am fascinated by the life of King David, not necessarily David the giant slayer or the great King of Israel but the young man who shepherded sheep on a hillside while praising, worshipping and dancing before the Lord. Completely isolated from any form of external motivators that would cause him to praise and worship. David offered everything unto the King.

For many years I have practiced the discipline of long distance running and my faithful In 2 Samuel 6:14 the Bible says companion had always been music. The lively that “David danced before the Lord beat of a specific tune had the potential of with all his might” Worship was catapulting me into the next mile all the way not only part of how David lived to the finish line. Worship music evokes a his life, it was the core of his very feeling of intimacy with my Heavenly Father being…it was his as I steadily pace heartbeat. To along the running “John 4:23, “But the time is coming— meditate on who trails in the indeed it’s here now—when true dark of the early worshipers will worship the Father in spirit God is, what He has done, what and in truth. The Father is looking for morning hours. No His Word says, those who will worship him that way” and distractions…just is a deep form of I desired to be that worshiper.” He and I. Running worship that can has become a time carry us through the darkest times. It seems of worship and prayer. that David worshiped God in this way, and A year ago I found myself struggling to go God did carry him through some very dark out on my regular early morning run due to valleys. It seems likely that God saw this an iPod malfunction that left me in complete when he looked at David’s heart. In the Book silence. No worship music to listen to made of Acts the Bible says that God called David a me feel incomplete and lacking the energy man after His own heart. God was saying of required to get started. That day I discovered David - he’s a man whose heart beats to my something about myself…I needed the heart, a man who will do what I tell him - . external motivation to jump start my praise My desire is that my heart beats in unison and worship. I made an important decision with God’s. right there and then that I would no longer listen to music if my desire was to spend God is not some sort of American Idol judge meaningful time with Him. I was reminded like Simon Cowell who is in search of the of what Jesus said to the women at the well in perfect voice, face and physique to go with John 4:23, “But the time is coming—indeed it’s it. God is looking deeper than the skin…He here now—when true worshipers will worship looks at the heart of man and He is moved

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Is there so much noise in your life today that you have become spiritually deaf to God’s voice? There are so many variations of noise that could potentially drown us out and stiffen our souls. Josef Pieper, in his book Only the Lover Sings, puts it like this “man’s ability to see is in decline. searching for the reasons we could point to several things: modern man’s restlessness and stress…or his total enslavement to practical goals and purposes. Yet one reason must not be overlooked either: the average person of our time loses the ability to see because there is too much to see” Perhaps its time to turn off the music and take off your headphones. Is the external noise level in your life low enough for you to hear the whispers of God? Carpe Aeternitatem, 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.


“Now some will consider this choice to serve but do nothing. They’ll feel the tug of possibility, the longing that could lead to great things, but think, Not for me, that sounds too much like work. What a tragic waste of opportunity. Don’t be like that” Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in (Isaiah 40:21–22, ESV)?

Do you not know?

Imagine a summer night, sitting on the deck with family and friends. Low in the background is the familiar hum of grasshoppers. How much do grasshoppers in the lawn affect your evening? Not much—they hardly even register. Isaiah likens grasshoppers to the entire human race before God and His awesome purposes (40:22). While God sits, stretches, and spreads—the powerful verbs Isaiah uses to describe His effortless, universe-shaping work—we squeak, like a pack of tiny grasshoppers hidden in the grass. That’s a healthy dose of perspective. We might envision ourselves as critical to the Lord’s plan, but we aren’t. He doesn’t need us. He doesn’t need anyone. When you face that sobering truth, your natural response might be, “Don’t I matter at all to God?” That’s not the point. The point is that God loves you because He chooses to. Get rid of the twisted thinking that God loves you because He saw something in you that attracted Him. While that may be how human relationships work, don’t project those motives onto the Lord. God loves you because

He chooses to. At first that feels hard to swallow. We might think, I want God to care for me because He really likes me. But if He only loves us because of who we are, then we have to lie to ourselves about who we are in order to earn His love. We have to see ourselves as good and worthy, full of redeeming and admirable qualities. The Bible assures us we aren’t good (Psalm 14:3), and our “good deeds” don’t impress God (Isaiah 64:6). He doesn’t love us any more—or any less—because of who we are or what we do. He loves us simply because in His mercy He chooses to. How freeing! There’s no risk of losing God’s love. You can’t forfeit His love because of who you are, no matter how corrupt your heart. You’re not removed from His love because of what you’ve done, no matter how vile your sins. You can never step outside the circle of God’s love, no matter who you are or what you do— because it’s not about you; it’s about Him. Let’s humbly change our perspectives. This may need to be a daily exercise so you don’t default to your natural way of thinking. Remind yourself of these truths: I am loved because God loves me. What’s good in me is Christ in me. Stop worrying about your performance, constantly trying to prove to God, to yourself, or to others how good and worthy you are. Only then will you discover the freedom to love God more fully, because you understand how little any of us deserve His love. And only then will you find the freedom to love others more freely, because you are simply passing on what you’ve freely received.

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Journal Many of us subconsciously try to perform for God and others. How do you see that in yourself? God loves you unconditionally, simply because He chooses to. How does that truth change the way you treat God? And others?

Pray    God of all grace, thank You for choosing to love me and for reminding me I can stop trying to earn Your love. I can never be good enough or do enough good things to impress You. When I’m honest I see that I’m small, sinful, and weak. And when I realize how much You’ve forgiven me, my love for You grows. Help me to live in the freedom of grace, accepting that You love me no matter what. Just as I have freely received Your grace, help me freely give grace to others—all because of Jesus, in whose name I pray, amen.

Listen to Walk in the Word locally

weekdays at 5:30a.m.

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. by permission of Walk in the Word,Elgin, Ill., 61023.

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2014   13

In Search of Ordinary People By Greg Laurie

Greg Laurie 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 Used by permission from Harvest Ministries with Greg Laurie, PO Box 4000 Riverside, CA 92514

People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. — 1 Samuel 16:7

Copyright © 2013 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.


od uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Many times when we’re looking for some great superstar to come on the scene, God is developing someone in obscurity whom we haven’t ever heard of. We will say, “What if so-andso became a Christian? Wouldn’t that be wonderful?” And while we’re wondering if so-and-so ever will come around, God is grooming someone unknown to us.

listine was taunting the armies of Israel. Everyone was paralyzed with fear. So whom did God select? He chose a shepherd boy who had been sent by his father to take food to his brothers on the front lines. He went out to face the giant with a few stones and a sling, and more importantly, faith in God. That was the person God used.

God is not looking for ability but availability. He can give you ability At another time in Israel’s history, when they were immoin time. bilized by fear because of their

Think of the time when a giant Phi-

enemies, God found a man threshing wheat. His name was Gideon, and

14   May 2014

he was convinced that God had called up the wrong guy. But God selected him because he didn’t trust in his own ability. Gideon had to trust in God. If you have faith in God, if you believe that God can use you, if you are willing to take a step of faith here and there, then God can do incredible things through you. One thing I have said many times over the years is that God is not looking for ability but availability. He can give you ability in time. But God is looking for someone to say, “I would like to make a difference where I am. Lord, I am available.” You just watch what God will do.


2014   15


e as parents all want what is best for our children. One of the gifts we all desire for our children should be that of better health. The Bible tells us that God is our Father. In 1 John 3:1a, it says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” Some times when we ask for something from God through our prayer life, we may pray consistently but not get what we pray for – Similar to when our children ask us for something and we respond “no.” Ultimately, just like in parenting, what we are praying for is not what was in our best interest based on God’s higher plan. In Luke 11:11, Jesus says to the crowd, “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a scorpion? If you then, thou you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” When I look around my kids’ schools, sporting events, and church, processed, sugary foods seem to be all I see American children consuming. I tell my children that cheese crackers are not what I consider “real food.” Real food is food that existed a hundred years ago, not food that was man-made and packaged. This is why I like to encourage my kids to choose a snack that grows. If they get into this habit, they will be eating

16   May 2014

a food that is a plant, not a food from a packaging plant. If your desire is for your children to have a healthy life and a decrease in some of the chronic diseases associated with poor nutrition, you have to take your role of offering nutritious foods to them seriously. They may ask for a Pop-Tart at breakfast, but you may give them an apple and yogurt instead. They may want chicken nuggets for dinner, but without the kiwi and the carrots included with the nuggets, they may leave the table full, but not nutritionally fulfilled. Your job as a parent is to do what is best for your children, even when they ask for something different. The gift of good health will ultimately be one of the greatest gifts your children will ever receive from you, even if when you offer them broccoli instead of potato chips, it may not feel that way to them at that moment. An easy way I have found to increase the produce in my kids’ diets is by making them smoothies regularly. Almost daily I put several fruits, such as kiwi, berries, bananas, pineapple, grapes, or mangos, in a blender and combine a green leafy vegetable such as fresh spinach or kale. I tend to add carrot juice or soymilk as the liquid, and a few ice cubes to make it cold. Not only are smoothies a great way to get nutritious foods into my children; I also find that the smoothies cut down on produce waste in my house. Sometimes grapes have lost their crispness, or kiwi has gone a bit soft. Typically these foods would end up in the garbage, but with the smoothies, my kids know that these taste just fine in the blender and



By J’nelle Ruscetti, MS, PA-C J’nelle Ruscetti has her masters in science and is a physician assistant in family medicine. She has been practicing medicine since 1997 and did her training in Colorado at the Child Health Associate/Physician Assistant Program. She lives near the beach in Wilmington, North Carolina, where she spends her time outside the office participating in an active lifestyle with her husband, Howard, a family medicine physician in Carolina Beach, and their four children. Since January 2012, she has devoted a couple hours a week as a volunteer instructing the child-obesity intervention and prevention program she developed in her community, the Family Fitness Challenge.

“Your job as a parent is to do what is best for your children, even when they ask for something different” will hand me a banana with a bruise to put in the freezer to make a smoothie later. Verse to Meditate upon: “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will you Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” ~Luke 11:11 Family Challenge: Introduce your family to fruit and vegetable smoothies. Try our Family Favorite Smoothie: 1 cup carrot juice

2 cups strawberries

½ cup soy milk

1 banana, peeled

2 cups spinach

2 kiwis

2 cups blueberries

5 ice cubes



Excerpt used by permission from Family Fitness Challenge by J’Nelle Ruscetti, MS, PA-C. She has earned her masters in science and has been a physician assistant in family medicine since 1997. Her book is a 25-step guide for parents to help their children achieve or maintain a healthy weight by focusing on habits that contribute to obesity.


2014   17

The State of the Bible: T

6 Trends for 2014

he Bible has been making its way onto box office screens and home TV screens over the past year: from “Noah” to “Son of God”, people have been watching the Bible. But are they still reading the Bible? And do they still believe in the Bible?

Each year, Barna Group partners with the American Bible Society on State of the Bible, a comprehensive study of Americans’ attitudes and behaviors toward the Bible. Asking a national representative sample of adults the same questions year after year allows us to track the country’s shifting perceptions of Scriptures. 

This year’s research reveals six trends in Bible engagement: from the Bible’s continued role as a cultural icon, to increased digital Bible reading, to a rise in skepticism toward Scripture, particularly among Millennials.

1. Bible skepticism is now “tied” with Bi-

ble engagement. 
 This year’s research reveals that skepticism toward the Bible continues to rise. For the first time since tracking began, Bible skepticism is tied with Bible engagement. The number of those who are skeptical or agnostic toward the Bible—who believe that the Bible is “just another book of teachings written by men that contains stories and advice”—has nearly doubled from 10% to 19% in just three years. This is now equal to the number of people who are Bible engaged—who read the Bible at least four times a week and believe it is the actual or inspired Word of God. 

Digging into the population segmentation of Bible skeptics, we find that two-thirds are 48 or younger (28% Millennials, 36% Gen-Xers), and they are twice as likely to be male (68%) than female (32%). They are more likely to identify as Catholic than any other single denomination or affiliation (30%) and are the most-likely segment not to have attended church (87%) or prayed (63%) during the previous week. They are also most likely not to have made a commitment to Jesus that is important in their life today (76%). 

Not only are Millennials

more likely to be skeptical toward Scripture, they are also less likely to read the Bible (39% say they never read the Bible, compared to 26% of all adults), less likely to own a Bible (80% compared to 88%) and less likely to believe the Bible contains everything a person needs to know to live a meaningful life (35% compared to 50%). Given the increase in Millennials who don’t believe the Bible is sacred and the decrease in Bible awareness among Millennials, Bible skepticism will likely continue to rise in the next five years.

2. Despite the declines, most Americans con-

tinue to be “pro-Bible.” 
While the percentage of Americans who believe the Bible is sacred has fallen in recent years, from 86% in 2011 to 79% in 2014, it’s still a sizable majority of all adults. In general, Americans continue to view the Bible very positively. More than half of Americans (56%) are “pro-Bible”—meaning they believe the Bible is the actual or inspired word of God with no errors. Most adults say the Bible encourages forgiveness (91%), generosity (88%) and patience (89%) while discouraging war (62%), slavery (60%) and prostitution (82%). Nearly nine in 10 households own at least one Bible (88%) and the average number of Bibles per household is 4.7. 

Being pro-Bible doesn’t necessarily mean Americans use the Bible regularly, however. Only 37% of Americans report reading the Bible once a week or more. Among those who have read Scripture in the previous week, not quite six in 10 (57%) say they gave a lot of thought to how it might apply to their life. While the Bible’s place in America as a cultural icon endures, it’s not always perceived as a transformational text. Even as Bible ownership remains strong, readership and engagement are weak.

18   May 2014

3. Distraction

and busyness continue to squeeze out the Bible. 
So what keeps people from reading the Bible they own? Like all other forms of analog media, the Bible is pushed to the side in part because people are just too busy. Among those who say their Bible reading decreased in the last year, the number-one reason was busyness: 40% report being too busy with life’s responsibilities (job, family, etc.), an increase of seven points from just one year ago. 

Other factors Americans cite as reasons for less time reading Scripture include a significant change in their life (17%), becoming atheist or agnostic (15%), going through a difficult experience that caused them to doubt God (13%) and seeing that reading the Bible made very little difference in someone else’s life (8%). 

These relatively smaller percentages reveal that Americans don’t often turn away from the Bible over ideological or emotional conflicts. Indeed, on the whole Americans say they want to read the Bible—62% wish they read Scripture more—they just don’t know how to make time.

4. The age of screens has come to stay in the

Bible market. 
One antidote to the distraction of the screen age is to put the Bible onscreen. And this past year certainly saw the Bible come to more screens than ever—from smartphone apps to primetime TV—and Americans responded. Of adults who increased their Bible readership last year, one-quarter (26%) say it was due to having downloaded the Bible onto their smartphone or tablet. More than one in 10 (12%) credit their increased Bible reading to podcasts or streaming church services. And an additional one in 10 (11%) say watching The Bible miniseries on TV inspired them to read Scripture more. 

In just a handful of years, use of tablets and smartphones for Bible searches has skyrocketed, from 18% in 2011 to 35% in 2014. That said, a strong majority still prefer to read the Bible in print (84%); the same holds true even among Millennials (81%), who are most likely to use the Internet to read Bible content (62% compared to 44% of all adults).


People are less likely to link moral decline with a lack of Bible reading. 
Eight in 10 adults believe the values and morals of America are declining—but perceptions about the reasons for the decline have

shifted over time. Compared to 2013, people are more likely to blame declining morals on movies, music, and TV rather than on a lack of Bible reading. Additionally, while half of all adults would say the Bible has too little influence on society, only 30% of Millennials believe this. 

Bible skeptics are less likely than other segments to say the values and morals of America are declining. It’s not clear whether this belief informs their skepticism or their skepticism informs this belief—or a complex dynamic of both. Millennials, as well, are less likely than the national average to say morals are on the decline (74%). Among young adults who agree there is a moral decline, just 17% blame a lack of Bible reading, compared to 26% of all adults.


Increasingly, people come to the Bible for answers or comfort. 
While the majority of people still come to the Scriptures to connect with God, their number is shrinking, from 64% in 2011 to 56% in 2014. Today, people are increasingly likely to come to the Bible for more pragmatic needs: nearly one-third (up from 26% in 2011) say they read the Bible for comfort or to help them address life’s questions. This increase is consistent with last year’s study, which showed that Millennials in particular want to know how the Bible connects to everyday matters like parenting, finances, the workplace, and so on. They are the generation most likely to read the Bible for direction or answers to a problem (25%, compared to 19% of Gen-X, 16% Boomers and 11% Elders).

About the Research
Two methods of data collection, telephone interviews and online surveys, were used for this study. 

The telephone survey included 1,012 interviews conducted among a representative sample of adults 18 years of age and older from within the 48 continental states. The survey was conducted from January 8, 2014, through January 20, 2014. The sampling error for this study is plus or minus 3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. The research included 300 interviews by contacting respondents on their cell phone. 

The online portion of the study covered a subset of core questions used in the telephone questionnaire. This study included 1,024 surveys conducted among a representative random sample of adults 18 and older within all 50 states and was conducted January 28, 2014, through February 5, 2014. The sampling error for a sample of this size is plus or minus 3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. 

Generations: Millennials (or Mosaics) are the generation born between 1984 through 2002; Busters (or Gen-Xers), between 1965 and 1983; Boomers, between 1946 and 1964; and Elders, in 1945 or earlier. 

For more about American Bible Society’s annual State of the Bible survey, click here. About Barna Group
Barna Group (which includes its research division, 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 ( Additional research-based resources are also available through this website. © Barna Group, 2014


2014   19

Valley Christian Magazine is excited to present one of Christian Music’s greatest bands – Phillips, Craig & Dean to the Rio Grande Valley! Phillips, Craig & Dean will be performing live at Palm Valley Church on June 5 at 7pm. For Ticket info, go to and click the banner for tickets. Tickets may be purchased in person at Viva Life Christian Book Shop at 6601 North 10th Street in McAllen. just starts beating again. So he thought he was prepared.”



ven more extraordinary than their long list of musical landmarks is the fact that this band just keeps getting better. And now, 21 years into their storied career, Phillips Craig & Dean offer a ground-breaking collection of songs poised to minister to the hurting, lead believers in powerful praise, and point the broken to Christ.

Since Phillips Craig & Dean are senior pastors at churches in Texas and Missouri, it’s no surprise that these songs minster so effectively. As Dan Dean notes, “I think all the songs we write are part of the experiences that we go through day to day with our church people. I can look back over the course of a number of albums and see particular songs that were inspired by something at church or a message I heard at a church service. Other songs are just stuff

you live every day. I would say 90 percent of the things we write are born out of experiences going through life as pastors.”

One such song is the inspiring anthem “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again,” the source of the album’s title. The song was inspired by a stirring moment witnessed by a minister friend of Phillips who was observing an open-heart surgery. “However medicine has progressed, that’s still such a barbaric procedure,” Phillips notes. “So the surgeon explained to the pastor what he would see -- saw open the chest, put the life support in place, extract the heart, repair the heart -- and then the most unbelievable part of that surgery is when the heart is put back in place, to get the heart started again is just a very gentle touch, a small massage. Not anything radical. We’re so fearfully and wonderfully made, the heart

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7 Your Name 8 Your Grace Still Amazes Me 9 When God Ran 10 Friend of God

Let the Worshippers Arise Breathe In Breathe In Top of My Lungs Phillips Craig & Dean Ultimate Collection Phillips Craig & Dean Ultimate Collection Let the Worshipers Arise

20   May 2014

This surgery didn’t quite go as planned, and after repeated attempts, the heart failed to start beating. That’s when the surgeon went around to the head of the table and knelt by the lady’s ear, and took off his mask and said, “Mrs. Johnson, the surgery was successful. Everything was done correctly, and we’ve placed your heart back in your chest cavity. Now tell your heart to beat again.” And just like that, although she was unconscious, her heart started beating. Phillips sees this story as a symbol of our spiritual condition. “Christ, the great surgeon, did his part. He died on the cross, He rose to set the world right, he bridged the gap between fallen man and God. He puts it back together if we believe in Him and on Him, but there’s a part we have to play in it. We have to tell our heart to beat again. This is the message that all three of us preach: move forward, there is hope, get up, live. Breathe it in. That’s what Christ came to give us the power to do. For Phillips, Craig & Dean, that’s

really what it’s all about. Even as they minister to God’s people in word and in song, they get swept away themselves in moments of praise for a God who causes us to breathe in His goodness and live again. Phillips concurs: “‘Great I Am’ is a good example. It just keeps getting bigger. It’s this small trickle of praise coming down this mountain, and by the time it reaches that big, huge chorus at the end, that big payoff, it’s just this avalanche of sound and harmonies. It’s just hard not to lift it up in praise and worship!” And that’s why their message is so relevant, even after two decades. “Sometimes I get very sentimental,” says Randy Phillips. “When I hear a song from an earlier CD, it takes me back to a place early in our career that’s so precious to us. It’s just been a great journey. I don’t think any of us thought that 21 years later we’d still be together, still be making songs that people seem to embrace. It’s been a wonderful journey and we thank God for His goodness.”

Ticket Pricing Info: $15 per ticket “Group Ticket” discounts are available for a limited time for those purchasing a minimum of 10 tickets at a time through the online portal. General Admission Ticket pricing is $20 per ticket. Palm Valley Church has open seating for each ticket sold. Seating is first come first served basis. Doors open at 7pm for general ticket holders. Reserved Ticket pricing is $35 per ticket and includes seating in the front reserved seating section. No assigned seats, but front center reserved section. A pre-concert Meet and Greet with question and answers will be available for Reserved Ticket holders. Doors open earlier at 6:15pm with the Meet and Greet taking place at 6:30pm.

Live Performance: Phillips, Craig and Dean along with special guest Jonny Diaz will be performing live in concert! Expect an incredible night of worship, Phillips, Craig & Dean will be performing live their hit songs that have spanned over 2 decades!

Raul “Rudy” Rodriguez attorney at law




June 5th 7:00PM

Palm Valley Church-Mission TICKETS AVAILABLE AT:

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For VIP Seating or More Info Call:

Christian Torres 956.314.0161 Eli Lara 956.451.0174

When I was hungry… You did it for me. Valley Christian Magazine had the blessed opportunity to sit with Bill Reagan, Executive Director of Loaves & Fishes to talk about their ministry and impact in the Harlingen area.

VCM: Tell Us About the Purpose of Loaves & Fishes Bill: It started back in 1991 when three Pastors got together with their churches and saw a need in our area. They knew that individually they weren’t adequately meeting the needs and thought that if they joined together and formed a mission

The New Hope Job Shop - GED classes and training in Microsoft Office software is provided for anyone who wants to study. Coaching in interview skills and job leads are provided to clients. We also help in writing resumes. Getting people jobs are tough…it’s tough out there. Jobs are scarce and pay is tight. The Open Arms Homeless Shelter - Separate facilities exist for men and women at Loaves & Fishes shelters.

alliance then together they could better serve our community.

In 2013 6,181 bed nights were provided. We have 42 plus 24 beds in different sections. The shelter, there are some requirements…they have to be sober, drug free, wear scrubs to avoid bed bugs, light out at 10, lights on at 6 and out by 7am. We’ve been able to help over 2,600 people since I’ve been here…and thousands before that.

VCM: How did they form Loaves & Fishes? Bill: The Pastors created a 501c3 faith based community non-profit organization to establish and prepare food for the hungry. Now churches and organizations from every kind and denomination cooperate in our work to help serve those in need in our community. VCM: Great Facility… what are some of the things you offer? Bill: We offer 6 different Ministries. The Bread of Life Dining Hall - We serves breakfast and dinner seven days a week to anyone who asks for a meal. No Questions Asked. In 2013 we served 138,814 meals. That’s actually down from last year…149,000 meals. Averaging 380 meals a day. Family Emergency Assistance - Established in 1939, Vera Naumann FEA provides assistance for rent, utilities and/or food bags for needy families.

Weatherization Program – Funded by AEP, Solar screens, insulation, energy efficient light bulbs and refrigerators, and new air conditioners for qualified clients. We can help up to $6,500 per homeowner. We look to help over 40 households this year. Legislation makes it difficult but we look to help more people this year. Great Physician Healthy Living – We are excited about this new program. We have just received a large grant that will help us with prescriptions. We have a physician come here once a week to see patients. In addition, a

22   May 2014

Dentist and an Optometrist provide dental and eye exams. We assist with eyeglasses and DME products like diabetic shoes. For families with babies, we offer diaper bags…as any family with little ones knows, diapers can get to be quite expensive. VCM: What amazing services you all provide! God Bless you all! How can people get involved? Bill: We’re always happy to have people volunteer! Most volunteers like to serve breakfast or dinner. That’s always an important part. We are fortunate to have had our building remodeled 6 years ago but we still need volunteers for landscaping and other small work items. We also need help making food bags…may not be glamorous but needed. And we can always use financial donations. Businesses, Churches or Youth group volunteers are always welcome. I would love to speak with them and schedule

here in Harlingen. I’m an ordained Pastor and I accepted the call of working here not with the view of being a social services director but to expand my Ministry. We really see this as an extension of Jesus feeding the 5,000. This is Jesus Ministry.

the shelters and you’ll find people who picked up free books we offer or maybe reading their Bible. Just because their lives are broken, it doesn’t mean they don’t know the Lord. Some don’t but a lot do. They’re just suffering.

I really emphasize to folks that when they look at the folks coming into the lines to eat or receive another service to remember Matthew 25. I was hungry and you fed me: I was thirsty and you gave me a drink; a time for them to serve. Call Estella Ruiz, our volunteer coordinator, at 956-423-1014.

I was homeless and you gave me a room: I was shivering and you gave me clothes:

VCM: Any specific needs right now?

I was sick and you stopped to visit;

Bill: A major need we have right now is getting the word our about our Great Physicians Healthy Living. When people hear of Loaves & Fishes they mostly think of the shelter and perhaps the dining hall. We have received a lot of money to help people with their health issues. Our main interest is trying to help people with Diabetes. Let’s get the word out to

I was in prison and you came to me.

people who maybe suffering with Diabetes or obesity. VCM: Anything you would like to emphasis? Bill: We’re really a ministry of the churches

In the scripture, the sheep and goat asked the same question…when did we see you? Jesus answered, whatever you have done for the least of my brothers you have done for me. I encourage people to see in the faces of the people in line, to see Jesus. Recognize Jesus in them. To really understand what Jesus means by that. We try to let people know that God loves them. We don’t force anything on them. You go into

To Contact or volunteer: Loaves & Fishes Bill Reagan, Executive Director 514 South E Street Harlingen, TX 78550 956-423-1014 “Help & Hope for the Hungry, the Homeless & the Hurting”


2014   23

24   May 2014

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


Wedding &


VCM is excited to share with you our newest feature! Our new Wedding & Engagements will feature local couples not only sharing this exciting time in their lives but most importantly, sharing how God is at the center of their relationship. VCM believes in the example of a marriage pyramid. If you put God at the top, then as you get closer to God you get closer to your spouse (or spouse -to-be!).

Try our delectable truffles. We have 17 flavors to choose from and they can be packaged in individual boxes for the perfect wedding favor. Or try our strawberries dipped in 3 kinds of chocolate. We also offer bride and groom tuxedo decorating. We can deliver to your wedding site.

Winter Feature: Toffee Krunch Buy 3 Chocolates and get one free of equal or lesser value!

10% discount on any orders of $200 or more Palms Crossing Shopping Center * 3300 Expressway 83, Bldg. 100, Suite 170* McAllen, Texas 78501*


* Visit our website at: or at May

2014   25

Why Did John The Baptist Say He Was A Voice Crying In The Wilderness? By Carey Kinsolving & Friends

“John the Baptist said he was a crying voice because he was a Baptist,” says Kaylin, 11. I wonder if Kaylin’s assertion should be considered for a vote at the national convention of the Southern Baptists. “John did not want them to think he was Jesus,” said Morgan, 9. “Jesus was his cousin.” When the religious leaders asked John, “Who are you?” he could have said, “I’m not the Messiah, but he’s my cousin.” John and Jesus were probably cousins. The Bible says John’s mother and Mary were relatives (Luke 1:36). John resisted the temptation to call attention to himself. 

gives all honor to the Lord Jesus. He knew the buzz from Jerusalem was that he might be the Messiah. “I am not the Christ,” he said. Next, they wanted to know if John was Elijah. In the last two verses of the last book in the Old Testament, God promises to send Elijah “before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Malachi 4:5). About John the Baptist, Jesus said, “And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come” (Matthew 11:14). In other words, John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elijah. Through his prophetic message and miracles, God sent Elijah to turn the nation of Israel and its leaders back to the Lord. Similarly, God sent John the Baptist to announce the Messiah’s coming to Israel and the impending judgment if they failed to receive him.

“He was related to the Lord, he was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, and he had a band of disciples who followed his teaching. Yet, the cry of his heart and voice was ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’ In other words, it’s not about me, the King is coming, prepare your hearts to receive Him.

“John was trying to say to the Jews, I am just a person coming to tell about Jesus,” says Jessica, 8. “I am no one important. I cannot save you from your evil ways. Only Jesus can. I have been chosen by God to come and speak to you.”

Humility is what we can learn from John the Baptist. In a sermon, Pastor Jerry Hoffman made several interesting observations about the questioning of John the Baptist as it relates to us. Hardly a day goes by when we aren’t asked in one way or another, “Who are you?” We often identify ourselves in terms of our job, profession or family relations. Not John. He

By 70 A.D., Jerusalem lay in ruins. Although Jewish Apostles and converts started the early church in Jerusalem, they soon found themselves persecuted by their countrymen. Like John the Baptist, Jesus warned of coming judgment. As Jesus accurately predicted, the temple and Jerusalem were destroyed within a generation (Matthew 24). To summarize John’s ministry, Hoffman

26   May 2014

writes: “Christ is the Word of God. We are simply the instruments (voices) through which the Word flows to the world. John the Baptist, more than any other individual who walked this earth since his time, had the right to heap accolades upon himself. “He was related to the Lord, he was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, and he had a band of disciples who followed his teaching. Yet, the cry of his heart and voice was ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’ In other words, it’s not about me, the King is coming, prepare your hearts to receive Him. Remove all of the obstacles in your life that would prevent him from coming to you.” Think about this: True ministry points others to Jesus Christ, not to us. Memorize this truth: “I am ‘the voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Make straight the way of the Lord”’” (John 1:23). Ask this question: Is your voice pointing people to Jesus Christ?

Carey Kinsolving’s Kids Talk About God syndicated column is distributed by Creators Syndicate. 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

St. Matthew’s Episcopal School

St. Matthew’s Episcopal School

“A Christian community committed to academic excellence and spiritual growth for our children today”  What Makes Us Different?

Why St. Matthew’s Episcopal School?

• Daily Chapel • SAES Accredited • Service Learning and Stewardship Projects • Cub Scouts • Girl Scouts • Community Affiliations: UTPA, South Texas Literacy Coalition, Dustin Michael Sekula Memorial Library, Oxford School of Reynosa

• Family Oriented Environment • Safe Environment • Highly Qualified and Dedicated Staff • Enriching Curriculum • Technology • Extended Day Service • Soccer • Track and field • UIL

Now Enrolling students in Pre K3 - 6th Grade Call 956-383-4202 for more information Mayani Ballesteros - Head of School 2620 Crestview Edinburg, TX 78539 Website:


love dancing. You know how I got started? Michael Jackson. I saw my first concert on TV and I was mesmerized. I had my parents record it on VHS (small ancient black mystery rectangles) and I watched it over and over and over again. Now, I know all of you are secret fans of Michael Jackson’s moves. Don’t you dare try to tell me you haven’t tried to moon walk. I love swing, salsa, merengue, bachata, cumbia; you name it. Why? It’s the rhythm. I love watching all the moves the body can make done to the beat of the music.

Jack a dull boy” is far more than just good advice. Get this, after God created everything in Genesis, what did he do? He “rested”. Now that doesn’t mean that God got tired the way we do, but rather that he intentionally ceased from creating to give us a picture of the way our life was to look. It’s both work AND rest.

But here’s an interesting thing. Notice the order of work and rest in Genesis. What did Adam and Eve do on their very first day of existence? God created them on the 6th day, but their entire first day being was on the 7th day, the day of rest. Their first whole day of living was just hanging out, resting, being with one another, eating fruit, and being with God. But what does “rest” really mean? Another What does this mean for us? We were meant word might be recreation. What re-creates to work from a place of rest not crash into rest you? What makes you “new” again? Resting from a place of over-exhaustive work. Let me say that differently, our weekend is supposed to be the beginning of the week and we work out of a place of “What makes you “new” again? Resting is Did you know God gave us a natrest and wholeness, rather than almore than just not working. It’s doing the ural rhythm in life? It goes all ways desperately looking forward to the way back to the beginning… things that bring us joy—the things that make Friday because we’re so tired we can’t to Genesis. It’s the rhythm of rest wait to get a break. It’s a subtle but and work. God created us for both. us whole again. Food. Family. Friends. Fun” important difference. Do you work Work is not a curse. No, far from it! from a place of rest? Or are you alIn Genesis we see that part of the ways crashing into a place of rest from way that God has created us is to accomplish is more than just not working. It’s doing the so much work? God created us to be human meaningful work (Gen. 1:28 & 2:15). When things that bring us joy—the things that make “beings” not human “doings”. was the last time you finished a task that you us whole again. Food. Family. Friends. Fun. were really proud of? A project at work? A Reflection Questions: piece of art? A home improvement? A paper What did I just say? You were created to rest? • What’s sticking out to you right now you wrote? Heck, even cleaning the house?!? For fun? Enjoyment? Laughter? Play? YES!!! in this article? How did it make you feel? Satisfied, right? The Believe it or not God did not create you to be sensation of a job well done is originally divine. a slave to work 24/7. He created you also to • What is Jesus telling you about your It was that whole disobedience to God thing enjoy his creation. I love watching babies and life right now?” back in Genesis 3 that turned work into a toil. toddlers because all they can do other than eat, But don’t get it wrong; work is godly. To work sleep, and poop is play. They laugh and gig• Share your response with at least one gle and scoot themselves around from one play is to be who we were created to be. person today. thing to the next. It’s a great reminder for me But the old adage “all work and no play makes that God also created me to play.

THE MOONWALK, GENESIS, WORK, AND REST (Part 1) Nick Dombrowski Nick graduated from Western Michigan University and leads campus staff for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship here in the Rio Grande Valley. Chapters are located at both UTPA and STC. He is married to Chelsea and live in Edinburg.

28   May 2014


2014   29

You are invited to the

FCA Victory Gala With Special Guest To see the world impacted for Jesus Former A&M Christ through the influence Texas of athletes Head Baseball Coach and coaches. FCA Vision

Mark Johnson

Lord and has been the Fellowship of decades.

FCA Mission


Tuesday, May 6, 2014 6:30pm and adventure of receiving Jesus Christ McAllen Convention Center To present to athletes and coaches and

S Athlete from New

all whom they influence the challenge

l and received his

duate degrees from

as Savior and Lord, serving Him in their


exico. He then went

relationships and in the fellowship of

baseball in the New

the church.

n for three years.

FCA Core Values To Reserve Your Our relationships will demonstrate h at several major call Robin Table steadfast commitment to Jesus Christ 84 he became the at (956)994-1121

  

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Service, Teamwork and Excellence.

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Fellowship of A Note From Nathan... Christian Athletes

He finished his

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I am sooooo This Rd year’s 31st300 Annual FCA Victory Gala on May 6th at the McAllen Convention Center is 1801excited… S. McColl Suite going to be great!!! Sponsor a table, have fun bidding on our Gala Auction Items, and come prepared to have McAllen,our TX 78503 a ton of fun supporting kids. Former Texas A&M Head Baseball Coach Mark Johnson will be with us, and  every dollar raised goes towards the FCA Ministry here in our Area. Everyone’s participation in our FCA Victory Phone: Gala will go a long way956-994-1121 in helping raise money to help send kids to many of the other Summer Camp opportunities FCA has to offer. May the Lord’s grace & peace be your portion this month.all.


s a highly honored

or has allowed him

d thousands of lives.

Nathan Jones


Hey Everyone,

eball Coach for the Bearkats.

 

Mulit-Area Director Fellowship of Christian Athletes

Fax: 956-994-1131 E-mail:

The Best Is Yet To Come...

Nathan Jones

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.

30   May 2014


Coaches Enrichment Conference

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May 2014   31

Chasing Superwoman


aster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall high chairs in a single bound! It’s Superwoman!

People often talk about the many hats they wear. Susan Dimickele talks about the two capes she wears as a working mother. She is Devoted Mommy and Lady Lawyer. As Devoted Mommy she wants to give herself as much as possible to the needs of her children. As Lady Lawyer she is committed to be the best that she can at work. Can she be both, effectively and efficiently, and still be the person God wants her to be? She confesses that wearing two capes can wear on her attitude. “I have to admit that most days I fit right in with the MECH and the other rude folks who leave notes on my car and honk at the light. Maybe I don’t write anonymous notes, give obscene gestures, or thrown tantrums in coffee shops, but I’m always mad at someone.” Though I am not striving to be a superwoman, I can identify with much of DiMickele’s strug-

By Susan M. DiMickele Published by David Cook

gle’s to balance the many capes we wear and be a decent Christian.

growing may struggle with the guilt of choosing to work instead.

Sometimes parents feel like they have to choose between being a good parent or being good at work. Sometimes we are better at one at the expense of the other. One of DiMickele’s friends reminded her that “Devoted Mommy doesn’t have to choose between [her] family and [her] job, but that sometimes it just feels that way. God is big enough to handle both.”

Dimickele does not tell the reader how to do it right, she just shares her story and struggles. I found the book to be refreshing, humorous and insightful. It is a relaxing read for those who are always attempting to be super as parents as they strive to be super at work.

Dimickele confronts “the basic fears and insecurities of most working mothers . . . will my children turn out okay? How can I make sure I tend to their spiritual development? And can I really trust God to take care of them, even when I’m not there?” Book The truth is all parents struggle eview R with these issues. But the working by mother who may have the option of staying home as the children are

32   May 2014

Without the God with us, it is impossible to be super at anything. But His grace is sufficient to get us through each day.

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).


Four Cups

Author: Mike Erre Publisher: David C Cook

In Astonished, Pastor Mike Erre calls Christians away from simplistic formulas to honest and rugged faith in the mysterious and unpredictable God. God is more about deepening the mystery of faith, not removing it. Jesus should get bigger the longer we walk with him. Life and faith should grow to be more profound and wondrous, not less.  In Astonished, you will see how we are far more comfortable with tips, steps and techniques for living, than we are with ruthlessly trusting the mysterious God of the Bible. God asks us to follow him into tension, frustration, and difficulty because he wants our trust, not just our intellectual agreement. He calls us to seek Him even as we live in awe of all that is yet to be known about Him.  Astonished is an invitation to question in a culture that wants answers, to wonder in a world with little mystery left, and to believe in what is unseen and find it beautiful.

Author: Chris Hodges Publisher: Tyndale Publishing

What if God has had a plan for your life since the very beginning? Not just the beginning of your life, but from the foundations of faith itself? In Four Cups, pastor and New York Times best-selling author Chris Hodges shares an astonishing truth: The key to your spiritual fulfillment is found in four promises that God first spoke to His people in the Old Testament, and that are still at the core of his heart and his plans for you today.  -God wants to rescue you -To deliver you from whatever holds you back -For you to live out His plan for your life -For you to be part of a family that is making a difference Steeped in Jewish history and tradition, yet breathing the transforming hope of Christ on every page, Four Cups will help you move forward on your spiritual journey. You’ll understand the four stages of faith, believe the promises of God for your life . . . and discover what it means to be truly fulfilled.



2014   33


Jonny Diaz - Let It Fly

‘Use Me Too’ and ‘Like Your Love’ are two strong songs that set the album in full swing.

inger/Songwriter Jonny Diaz is releasing his new 11-song EP titled ‘Let It Fly’. Produced by Jeff Pardo (Mandisa, Salvador) and Brent Milligan (Steven Curtis Chapman, David Crowder Band) the release features original new music that was written or co-written by Diaz.

The messages on this album flow from the moment you hear the songs. The track Thank God I Got Her isn’t your normal message for a christian music album. It’s all about finding the perfect wife, your soul mate. It’s a nice story and message, but one I wasn’t expecting.

This album opens with some great uplifting summer pop sounding songs.

The gentle acoustic flowing ‘Whole World’ moves the album on with it’s lovely smooth guitars tones that are picked up nicely with the stunning


1. Sidewalk Prophets Keep Making Me CD: Live Like That

2. Francesca Battistelli Write Your Story

3. Matthew West – Do Something

CD: If We’re Honest

34   May 2014

CD: Into the Light

4. Building 429 feat. Blanca Callahan – Press On

CD: We Won’t Be Shaken

5. Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) - United CD: Zion

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PHILLIPS CRAIG DEAN melody. This song is one of the highlights of the album. ‘Look Like He Is Alive’ is another great uptempo number that has a great chorus. ‘Starts With Love’ again has a great chorus with a simple yet powerful message about Grace. ‘Gotta Believe’ keeps the summer breeze going and is another track with a powerful and catchy chorus. ‘Scars’ has some great lines and a great theme running through the song, as Diaz sings “Praise God we don’t have to hide scars”. This song is all about our hurts making us stronger. The album ends with the song that is the most different to anything else on the album. It kind of doesn’t fit. ‘Asleep In The Hay’ is a sort of Christmas song about Jesus coming to earth as a baby. There is a great message within this sweet lullaby of a track, but maybe it’s just been released at the wrong time.


What I found a bit strange was that all of the songs on this album fall into the 3 minute pop song bracket. Not many albums do that. I’m not sure if this intentional, but it’s bizarre to say the least. This does help the album flow between the songs nicely I suppose, and it keeps the listener interested. What grabbed me about this album was the fact that the style of the songs are all very similar in style, but don’t sound the same. What pulls this album out from other albums in the same genre is the fact that Jonny really knows how to sing a great line with a great melody. This album is in the grower category for me, and it is well worth listening to a few times, because it’s a very good album. There are some lovely moments, real tender, soft, beautiful moments. This is the kind of album to have on during a sunny drive this summer. It’s a relaxing album with enough interesting moments to stop it just becoming background music, this is music to make you smile. Review by Jono Davies

Standout Tracks

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Whole World LTTM Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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CD: Restart 2014   35

May 2nd

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8 PM @ 12th & Austin Ave, McAllen, TX Free Music + Free Food + 36   May 2014

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2014   37

Extravagant Giving, Foolish Spending? Dear Dave, My husband and I are debt-free, and we have several hundred thousand dollars in savings. We pay for our children and grandchildren to visit during Christmas each year, but my mother thinks this is foolish spending. What do you think? Linda Dear Linda, I’m sure your mom loves you guys a lot, but she’s wrong twice on this one. First, she should mind her own business. Second, you guys have obviously worked hard and been extremely smart and disciplined with your finances. For someone in your situation, bringing your family together for one of the most important days of the year isn’t foolish on any level. I think it’s awful that you’re even having this conversation with her. One of my great dreams years ago was to have the ability to do things like that for my family. When I was 22, I worked for a real estate guy who would bring his entire family in from all over the country once a year to go skiing for a week. He and his wife would pay for everything. They would rent a nice chalet, and spend that time having fun as a family and growing closer together. I sort of borrowed that idea a while back. Once a year we’ll take all our kids and their spouses on a nice vacation. We pay for everything, and it’s just one of our gifts to them because we love them. So, I think your mom is completely wrong. There are three things you can do with money: spend, save and give. Trust me, giving is the most fun of all! —Dave

Financial Russian Roulette Dear Dave,

Daveys Sa

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My wife and I are debt-free except for our home. She travels one week per month and charges her expenses to a personal credit card for reimbursement later. I’d rather we open a checking account with debit card privileges just for these expenses. What do you think? Dustin Dear Dustin, I’ve got to say I like your idea better. The problem you’re both facing now is this: if her company ever shuts down, there’s a good chance you guys are stuck with credit card debt. Years ago I had a client who was working for a company, and he’d run up travel and business expenses on his American Express card. Like your wife’s situation, his company would then reimburse him for expenses. Then, he made a business trip to Europe, and, while he was there, his company asked him to pick up some computer equipment. The cost of the trip and equipment was about $22,000. When he returned to the office with all the computer stuff in tow, the front door was padlocked. The IRS had shut them down, and they went into bankruptcy. And guess what else? He never got the $22,000 from the company! Credit card companies don’t care about the circumstances. They want their money, period. You guys have done pretty well if you’re debt-free except for your home. But your wife is playing a game called Financial Russian Roulette, and it could backfire on you both at any time. Never take personal responsibility for company expenses. —Dave

38   May 2014

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Valley Christian Magazine May 2014  
Valley Christian Magazine May 2014  

Loving God. Loving Others. Building Community. Valley Christian Magazine is excited to present Phillips, Craig & Dean with special guest Jo...