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September 2011 January 2012 October 2011



19 W

IN THE RGVords p. 23 worth defining

Our Father Handling Family in Heaven, Hallowed... p. 35




What’s your Are you purpose inalife? p. 18

stressed Should I Stay out


Married? p. 24

p. 36

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!-I[\.MZO][WVÂ&#x152;8PIZZ<@ Â&#x152;!

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Have A Special Night Out. You and your daughter are invited to attend our Chick-Fil-A Daddy Daughter Date Night. Come and enjoy dinner and special conversation with your daughter. Date: Saturday, March 3 Seating Times: 5:00, 6:00, 7:00, 8:00 Locations: ALL Rio Grande Valley Locations (Jackson Ave and N 10th St - McAllen, Sharyland, Harlingen, Brownsville, and including Sunrise Mall, Valle Vista Mall and La Plaza Mall)

Online Reservations available January 15


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x e ind

Volume 1 / Issue 10

Christian Torres

11 Pastor


Henry Miller

Adam L




Irma d’Santiago “morett” Designer

James Alexander


What’s Your Life’s Pu


PHOTOGRAPHERS Lee Jinks James King The Studio




event s


Leigh Na

9 6 4 4


11 – At Home With: Pastor Adam Landrum 18 – What’s Your Life’s Purpose? 23 – Special Schools Section 34 – Your Example Lasts a Lifetime 36 – Should I Get a Divorce? 40 – Look Back to Move Forward 44 – The Latest Books 48 – New Music Releases 49 – Events

National Columnists 16 - Greg Laurie 33 – James MacDonald 34 – Luis Palau 36 – Joe Beam 50 – Dave Ramsey

Valley On The Cover Contributors Valley Christian Magazine is excited to present our 1st Annual Christian Schools Advertising Section.

Special Thanks to Covenant Christian, OLS- Our Lady of Sorrows, and St. John’s Episcopal School for providing students for our cover photo. Photo by Lee Jinks

8 – Christian Torres 14 – Henry Miller 17 – Jorge Vela 18 – Mike Masso 38 – Abram Gomez 40 – Jerrell Jobe 42 – Milton Gonzalez 44 – Miguel Paredes

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CONTRIBUTORS Jerrell Jobe Abram Gomez Milton Gonzalez Mike Masso Miguel Paredes Jorge Vela For Advertising contact:

956.314.0161 phone 956.688.6336 fax To submit story ideas, events, or comments, go to: ZZZYDOOH\FKULVWLDQPDJD]LQHFRP Texas Christian Publications c/o Valley Christian Magazine

3827 North 10th Street, 301 McAllen, TX 78501 Valley Christian Magazine is a free monthly magazine published by

Valley Christian Magazine is a publication of Texas Christian Publications (a 501c3 organization). Texas Christian Publications reserves the right to edit, modify, revise, rewrite and reject editorial materials and assumes no responsibility for accuracy, errors, omissions or consequences arising from it. All correspondence to this publication becomes the property of Texas Christian Publications. Texas Christian Publications shall be held harmless LQGHPQLÀHGDJDLQVWDQ\WKLUGSDUW\FODLPV7H[DV&KULVtian Publications accepts no claims made by photographers, agents or contributors. Writers’ and columnists’ opinions are not necessarily those of Texas Christian Publications or its publishers. Advertisements appearing in Texas Christian Publications present only the viewpoint of the advertisers. We assume no responsibility for advertising claims made in this publication. Valley Christian Magazine is printed in the United States. Reproduction without the expressed written permission of the publisher is prohibited. Copyright 2011. Printed in the USA.

As 2012 begins, I can hardly believe we have published 10 editions already!!!

I met Joe Beam (see p. 36)at a marriage conference in the Valley. I will never forget his approach. Funny, yet right to the heart of relationshipsâ&#x20AC;Śespecially marriages. Joe has worked both at local and national levels. He is an internationally known inspirational speaker and best-selling author. He founded Family Dynamics Institute in 1994 and LovePath International in 2008, currently serving as chairman. He has spoken to millions of people worldwide in person as well as appearances on television and radio, including ABCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Good Morning America, Focus on the Family, the Montel Williams Show, NBCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Today Show, The Dave Ramsey Show, The Morning Show with Mike Joe Beam and Juliet and magazines such as People and Better Homes and Gardens. After serving as a minister for 15 years, large training contracts for thousands of employees and lucrative speaking engagements propelled Joe into the corporate training world. Only one thing lacked - his sense of mission. In his heart, he felt compelled to do for families what he was doing for corporate employees.1

Thankfully, after going back to FKHFN,ZDVJLYHQWKHWKXPEVXS and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Keep on going. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Stop!â&#x20AC;? Phew!

We met Pastor Abram Gomez (see p. 38) at the South Texas Youth Leadership Network (S.T.Y.L.N.) where he was speaking to Youth Leaders throughout the Valley. It was there that the idea of creating a leadership section within VCM was planted. Rev Gomez is the Executive Pastor at Valley International Christian Center, also known as VICC, in San Benito. Pastor Gomez started with VICC in the Youth Department helping to expand it Abram Gomez to the now known Fuel7 Student Center. He works with the Valley International Community Development CorSRUDWLRQ 9,&'&  D QRQSURĂ&#x20AC;W RUJDQL]DWLRQ ZKRVH YLVLRQ LV FRPmunity transformation. The organization was awarded a grant to setup the MCP program, which is the Mentoring of Children of Prisoners. Not only has Abram helped in launching this program, of which is the only one of its kind in the Rio Grande Valley, he is also a mentor as well.2 This is where Pastor Gomez understands his calling to be Executive Pastor along with mentoring those in the community.


We look forward to sharing these two exciting and relevant topics with you. Thank you for your continued reading and support!


,DPYHU\H[FLWHGWRLQWURGXFH two additions to Valley Christian Magazine: -RH%HDPDQG 3DVWRU$EUDP*RPH]

To God be the Glory! ~Christian Torres Christian is a Baylor University graduate. He is married to Stephanie and has 3 kids. They are members of Palm Valley Church in Mission, TX. 1 Joe Beam, LovePath International Š Joe Beam.; 2 Rev Abram Gomez,

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8 7 3 3 FOLLOW US

/ / 10 1400 E. R D., S TE 10 M/ ALLEN, TX 78503 WWW. PENAEYE.COM

Landrum Pastor Adam Velma (wife)

x, 5 Isabel, 8 / Ma y, 1 Lucas, 3 / Lil

of Pharr h c r u h C t s i t p First Ba ge Road

400 West Rid Pharr, Texas 284 (956) 787-3 .org www.fbcpharr

Service Times 0 & 11 Sundays: 8:3 : Meal – 5:30 Wednesdays 6:30 yer meeting – ra P / y d tu S Bible – 6:45 Youth Group e Studio -

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Th Photos by

Mission, TX


We met here in the Valley 11 years ago. I was working as a construction guy and had come down here to work on the power plant in Edinburg with the company ZachDU\,SODQQHGWRĂ&#x20AC;QLVKWKDWSURMHFW and take off for the next one. Then I met Velma at Baptist Temple in the college group there and we started dating pretty quickly.


We did mission trips to Mexico and we were dating and there was one moment at a juvenile prison in Reynosa with these rough, troubled kids. I was praying in English for this boy and Velma was translating it into Spanish. We were holding hands and at that moment I just knew this was going to be my partner in life and that we were going to be in ministry forever. We dated for 2½ months, got engaged and the next spring we got married. So we met, dated, engaged, and married in 11 months.


We went to San Antonio and I went back to Zachary Construction â&#x20AC;&#x201C; I had wanted to go full time ministry but didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know how to get started or anything. I started part time at Dallas Theological Seminary in San Antonio. They have weekend classes there. Did that for a couple years, got a house and we had our Ă&#x20AC;UVWEDE\,QHHGHGWRJRWR'DOODV HYHQWXDOO\WRĂ&#x20AC;QLVKVFKRROEXW,GLGQ¡W want to leave the comfort of the job and the house and the baby. Then one day the boss came and said â&#x20AC;&#x153;hey we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have any more work for you after this job is over.â&#x20AC;? It was actually kind of cool and I was holding back a smile. I knew that God was booting me out. The very same day I got a call that the housing at Dallas Theological Seminary had an opening for us and there was a year waiting list so God closed one door and opened another. We moved to Dallas, I went to school full time, my wife started working again teaching school.


I grew up in church but I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t really believe it. I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t believe in God, didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t believe in Jesus. Thought it was all a fairy tale - just a myth. Went to school to make a name for myself, get a job, make money, and get a wife â&#x20AC;&#x201C; all those kinds of things. After four years of just living your typical college life and doing all this stuff, I hit rock bottom. My grades were terrible, I was barely passLQJ,FRXOGQ¡WĂ&#x20AC;QGDMRE²QRERG\ wanted to hire me because I had a terrible GPA. My latest girlfriend had dumped me so in my eyes life was over.


I went on a retreat called Walk to Emmaus and on the last night there ZDVWLPHWRUHĂ HFWRQ\RXUOLIHDQG pray. I had been through that a million times where I did something wrong or just kept telling God that Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m gonna do better â&#x20AC;&#x201C; then go and do the same stuff as before. But this time it was different.

jobs and I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t so I said â&#x20AC;&#x153;I guess Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m gonna go by myself.â&#x20AC;? I went over there worked at a coffee shop and had a blast.


While I was there my youth pastor from Round Rock â&#x20AC;&#x201C; where I went to high school â&#x20AC;&#x201C; came over for a week with a team to do Vacation Bible School and a revival. I joined them and had a great time. It was the Ă&#x20AC;UVWWLPHLQP\OLIHZKHUH,VDLGWKLVLV what I want to do with my life â&#x20AC;&#x201C; to serve God full time.

YOU GOT BACK AND LEFT AGAIN? There was an opportunity to go to Russia, to Moscow, to build an embassy over there. It was built in the 80s with Russian labor and the Russians bugged the whole thing. The whole building was compromised and it just sat there for 10 years or so. When they brought it down for rubble, Zachary won the bid and I went over. We built that embassy back from scratch.


I got involved with the Moscow Bible Church, started by Campus Crusade for Christ. They had a pastor who was blind but he would read the bible in Braille and preach. They had a Friday night group for American missionary kids â&#x20AC;&#x201C; all denominations. I became their youth pastor for the year.

Finally I went to this pastor and said â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not getting that feeling,â&#x20AC;? and he said â&#x20AC;&#x153;what do you mean?â&#x20AC;? I said â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not getting all fuzzy and emotional.â&#x20AC;? He said â&#x20AC;&#x153;what are you talking about? Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not about feelings or emotions. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s about the truth that Jesus Christ died for your sins to give you eternal life.â&#x20AC;?


I just sat in the dark in this chapel. It seemed like forever â&#x20AC;&#x201C; it was probably 15 minutes. I told God that I wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t gonna promise Him anything but I was gonna sit there because I needed to hear from Him

Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m sure I heard that before but for WKHĂ&#x20AC;UVWWLPHLWZDVUHDOWRPH:KDW I felt was what Ephesians 2 describes â&#x20AC;&#x201C; I felt near to Him, I really underVWRRGIRUWKHĂ&#x20AC;UVWWLPH²WKDWZDV in 1997. I began going to different churches every Sunday to learn the word better and just trying to grow.


I went to London after college. I had some friends and we were all going to spend 3 to 6 months over there just hanging out. They all got

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I got back from Moscow and Zachary said â&#x20AC;&#x153;Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to Edinburgâ&#x20AC;? And I said where â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Scotland? So I pulled a map out and kept following LWDQGIROORZLQJLWDQGĂ&#x20AC;QDOO\VDZ it and said no wayâ&#x20AC;Śyou gotta be kidding me â&#x20AC;&#x201C; I felt more at home in 5XVVLDWKHQ,GLGKHUHDWĂ&#x20AC;UVW Was debt free at the time and I was just gonna get out, go to seminary, JREDFNWR0RVFRZUDLVHĂ&#x20AC;QDQFLDO support of something, then Velma and I met and things changed.



Honestly, I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know. Looking back I really donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know. When we had Isabel â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Velma was a teacher, and her plan was to take a year off and be with the kids. But then we went to Dallas and she worked full time. That Ă&#x20AC;UVWVHPHVWHUZDVURXJK6KHFULHG every day â&#x20AC;&#x201C; not being with Isabel every day. Then we had Max the next year or so and Velma started working part time. I was able to get two part time jobs at a Presbyterian Korean church. And I worked security at Urban Bible Church. I sat there, studied and got paid â&#x20AC;&#x201C; thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s how we got by, on three part-time jobs.


I think my wife was wondering when is this going to end â&#x20AC;&#x201C; we were taking Medicaid to survive. It was hard to see light at the end of the tunnel. Hard to see it when youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re there â&#x20AC;&#x201C; all the late nights and the papers, but it was all worth it. We grew a lot during that time.

SO HOWâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;D YOU GET BACK TO THE VALLEY? In 2008 I sent an email to see if

anyone was looking for a pastor in the Valley since my wifeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s family was down here. I had never been to Pharr. Never drove into Pharr when I was working here before, didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know this church existed but I said letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s give it a shot. I sent a resume and talked an hour or two on the phone and was asked to just visit. A lot of churches want you to audition but this was great, I was told to just come check it out, see if you OLNHWKLVSODFHLILW¡VDJRRGĂ&#x20AC;W²VR we came incognito as visitors. Ingo Tophoven was preaching at the time. I visited with the committee and asked how long it would be before I heard anything back. They said a month or so â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a week later they called me and I started here June 1, 2008.


I pretty much had always gone to mega churches in Dallas and San Antonio. It was an adjustment for me to learn small church life and old church. We have a lot of diversity here. We have Winter Texans, we have the year-rounder and probably half are young Hispanic couples.

Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a challenge to make everyonecomfortable.

to church. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not that way anymore.

Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve learned a whole lot in the past IHZ\HDUV7KHĂ&#x20AC;UVWFRXSOH\HDUV were pretty rough â&#x20AC;&#x201C; never in my life had I been to a business meeting DQGWKHĂ&#x20AC;UVWRQH,JRWR,¡POHDGLQJ it. I made a lot of mistakes â&#x20AC;&#x201C; people left, got mad over things, it was tough.



Right now itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just spending time with the family and the kids. I love for the kids to be in sports â&#x20AC;&#x201C; I think itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s good for them. I love to play golf and basketball but donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get a chance much. Velma wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t read for a long time, then sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll grab a book from my mom and when she reads a book she wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t put it down til itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s over â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 28 hours straight, from cover to cover.

WHEN DO YOU GET YOUR PRIVATE PRAYER TIME? The key is getting out of bed in the morning. We have little kids in the house. This morning Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m shaving with a 1-year-old on my leg and a 3-year-old running crazy in the house. So you gotta get up early. You have to make time. SomeWLPHVDWWKHRIĂ&#x20AC;FHLWFDQEH crazy with no secretary here. Sometimes I have to get away, turn the phone off, go hide in a corner at a coffee shop and spend some time in the Word.


My vision is to make disciples and not church-goers. A lot of churches â&#x20AC;&#x201C; ours LQFOXGHG²DUHĂ&#x20AC;OOHG with churchgoers â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just a Sunday morning thing but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not really life changing. You dont see much difference through the week in their lives. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re trying to re-think church. Used to be just turn the lights on and open the doors and people would come

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You have to go out there and get them. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been reading and working on some things â&#x20AC;&#x201C; missional communities. Instead of using the model of big services and trying to get them into small groups, focus on VPDOOJURXSVĂ&#x20AC;UVW3HRSOHZLOOFRPH to small groups in homes to talk, to get together, and to share. How do we make disciples, not just church goers. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m heavily involved in missions â&#x20AC;&#x201C; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a mandate, an order from God â&#x20AC;&#x201C; we are on a mission from God, locally, regionally and around the world. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like to get more opportunities for the people here to serve and grow.


I waved to someone the other day and the person didn’t wave back. The person looked right at me and did…. nothing. How rude of that person, I thought. There I was trying to be cordial, friendly…just positive. Some people just don’t get it, do they? More recently, however, I thought – how rude of me. I wanted something back in return for my kind gesture. I expected a return of equal or greater value. I wanted to be acknowledged – right there on the spot. Seems like that kind gesture was nothing more than a step to gain myself VRPHLQVWDQWJUDWLÀFDWLRQ Isn’t that how the world has become? We want immediate responses (Hey, u ok? I just txtd u 10 mins ago but no rply?), immediate information (it used to take 15 seconds to load up a page and get info from the European stock market – now it takes 5-6 seconds, but it’s not considered real time yet) and immediate patience (Lord, please give me patience – and give it to me now). %XWLWUHDOO\LVLQWKHGHOD\HGVDWLVIDFWLRQ²DQGQRWWKHLQVWDQWJUDWLÀFDtion – that some of our biggest and most cherished blessings come from. In the early 90s I was a sports writer in the Ohio Valley and one of the high school teams I covered was the Weirton (W.Va.) Madonna girls basketball team. This was a tiny Class A school in that northern tip of West Virginia. They were surrounded by Class 3A and larger schools and a 2030 mile trip just to play someone in the same class was normal (think of it as a mini-version of the new Big East conference with San Diego State and Boise, among others in it) But this girls basketball team – led by a girl named Joanna and a pair of IRRWWZLQV$P\DQG%HWK²ZHUHGRPLQDQW7KHÀUVWWLPH,VDZWKHP play I knew there were great things in store for them. By the time I moved to South Carolina for a sports editor job, they had been to a state championship, Joanna had become the school’s all-time leading scorer and all-time leader for assists in the state.

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PSALM 27:13-14 By Henry Miller

After their junior year I left for my new job. I had developed a great relationship with this team, its coach, the parents and that schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s community. I had written dozens of stories â&#x20AC;&#x201C; not to mention all the game stories I covered the previous two seasons. This groupâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s senior year was sure to be sensational and I was going to miss it. They made me promise, however, that I would come back to cover their state championship tournament if they made it back. They made it back with ease and I sure enough showed up in Charleston, W.Va. to cover and watch this team roll through the state tournament and win the state championship. As I celebrated with the team, one of the parents came up to me ZLWKDWKLFNVFUDSERRNĂ&#x20AC;OOHGZLWKSKRWRVDQGDUWLFOHV,KDGGRQH RQWKHWHDPDQGPRUHVSHFLĂ&#x20AC;FDOO\RQKHUGDXJKWHU â&#x20AC;&#x153;We just wanted to say thank you,â&#x20AC;? the mom said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We made several scrapbooks like this and sent them off to colleges for our daughter (yes, before DVDs). These are all your articles and photos. This is a big reason she got a scholarship to play basketball. Thank you so much.â&#x20AC;? I still remember the joy of that day â&#x20AC;&#x201C; of not expecting any kind of thanks and receiving something greater, that something I did mattered, that it made a difference in someoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s life. Had I done it expecting an immediate return, I probably wouldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve stopped FRYHULQJWKHPLQWKHĂ&#x20AC;UVWSODFH%XWVLQFH,GLGLWEHFDXVHLWZDV not only my job but something I was passionate about and loved, I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t worry about thanks. I just did what was right â&#x20AC;&#x201C; because it was right. Because of that, I was blessed a thousand times over and I realized that it was the delayed satisfaction that was truly the blessing. Now I look back at that wave that went unanswered. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m the one who didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get it. Henry Miller has been in the publishing business for 25 years. His work has been in more than 150 newspapers and dozens of magazines, and he has been a syndicated radio personality on more than 60 stations nationwide. He and his daughter attend Palm Valley Church in Mission. E-mail him at

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Effective Prayer By greg laurie

Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1 Jesus gave us the model for all prayer in what we call “The Lord’s Prayer.” And although there is nothing wrong with praying it verbatim, The Lord’s Prayer is more of a model, or a template, for prayer. Jesus began with, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name” (Luke 11:2). Now if we had written this prayer, it would go along the lines of, “Our Father in heaven, give us day by day our daily bread.” In other words, Let’s just get to this. But Jesus said, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven . . .” (verse 2). Right off the bat, “our Father” speaks of intimacy. It speaks of relationship. It speaks of closeness.

All rights reserved. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996.

“Our Father in heaven” (emphasis added) speaks of the majesty and the greatness and the power of God. “Hallowed be Your name” is effectively saying, “Lord, I glorify You. I worship You. I praise You. I acknowledge Your greatness. “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Before we offer a word of personal petition, we acknowledge that we want God’s will more than our own. The objective of prayer is to get our will in alignment with God’s will. Prayer is not trying to align God’s will with ours; prayer is aligning our will with His. So the thing we need to ask ourselves is, “Is this prayer according to the will of God?” And how would we know that? Through careful study of Scripture. If you take more time to contemplate the greatness of God, I think it will affect your prayer. On some occasions your prayer might be shorter, and at other times, it might be longer. But certainly it is going to be effective, because you will recognize that you are speaking to God Almighty.

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 15,000plus, one of the largest churches in America. For more, visit: Used by permission from Harvest Ministries with Greg Laurie, P.O. Box 4000, Riverside, Calif., 92514.

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Honor God with your body and soul I hear it very often from very successful executives and business people I have trained throughout the years. “I made it through medical, dental or law school… I have several successful businesses, made millions in my life… Why can’t I get a handle on my health and weight?” Why does it bother these people so much? Well like everyone else, they too feel uncomfortable about how their health and appearance. If we are not at our best in health or physically, can we be challenged in being a testimony and witness to others about God’s plan for us? In his book Every Body Matters, Gary Thomas writes about a pastor who was struggling with his weight. Pastor Mark was moved, however, by a verse that spoke to him one day. It was Daniel 1:8 “But Daniel GHWHUPLQHGWKDWKHZRXOGQRWGHÀOH himself by eating the king’s food or drinking his wine, so he asked the head of the palace staff to exempt him from the royal diet.”

“Well you carry it well,” would often be response.

all my heart for giving me my wife back,” he said.

Mark made some changes from that day forward and he went on to lose SRXQGV+HKDVPRUHFRQÀGHQFH and his relationship with God has grown. It is hard to see or understand this if you have never experienced it yourself.

“You’re welcome, but what do you mean?”

Taking care of your body is a Blessing to more than just the person exercising and eating right. Years back I had a female client who came in for personal training sessions. She was a great client always attending her sessions and working at cleaning up her eating as we discussed. I knew she was a mom, a wife and active in her church. I started seeing some fantastic changes in her physically and her motivation and drive grew even higher as our training continued.

His church members would always say “Hey Mark you look great.”

It wasn’t until her husband came into the gym one day to meet me that I realized what a great impact getting ÀWKDGRQKHUOLIH,RIFRXUVHZDV pretty nervous because I thought maybe he might have a complaint that his wife’s increased drive to continue training didn’t go well with him.

“I’m almost 300 pounds!” he’d reply.

“Jorge, I want to thank you with

Pastor Mark started to wonder how much he was missing out on by not honoring God with his body.

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“Before she came to train with you she was a mom, a wife and we were both active in our church but the lady I love and married had faded away in there somewhere with all life has for us,” he said. “You have brought her back. She lives life with purpose and not only for her but for everyone she knows.” I believe God wants us to do more than just exist in our little worlds of home, work and sometimes church. We should honor God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind and all of our body. God’s true image of you is then seen and felt by all the people we live with and meet on a daily basis. Jorge Vela is a personal trainer in McAllen, Texas. He has over 20 years of experiHQFH LQ WKH KHDOWK  ÀWQHVV industry and owns Explosive Fitness Human Performance Center. Visit www.explosivHÀWQHVVQHW WR OHDUQ PRUH DERXW KLV ÀWQHVV SURJUDPV and how you can get a boot camp started for your church. Contact Jorge at 956-451-8962 or Jorge@ H[SORVLYHÀWQHVVQHWRUFRQQHFWZLWKKLPRQIDFHERRNDWZZZIDFHERRNFRPH[SORVLYHÀWQHVV

Your Spiritual Cosmos:

Understanding Your Life There are endless examples of Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

design in nature that illustrate His glorious wonder, but what does that mean for us and how does it help us understand our purpose and life mission. I will address this on two levels: Spiritual Cosmosâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; comprehensive purpose (Part 1 & 2) and Spiritual DNAâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;individual life mission (Part 3 & 4). Both have to be in sync to function properly according to their design LQRUGHUWRDYRLGDVXSHUĂ&#x20AC;FLDOOLIHORDGHG with good intentions. This journey was ignited for me in the late 80s. I was listening to a graduation speech by Dr. Myles Monroe. The principle shared is that everything in life has a purposeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;from eyebrows to nose hairs, ants and roaches, and even green vegetables. The problem is that not every purpose is known to us (especially roaches!). When purpose is misunderstood, we are led into another problemâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;abuse. When we do not know the purpose of something, that â&#x20AC;&#x153;somethingâ&#x20AC;? will inevitably end up being abused. The word abuse is made up of two words, abnormal + use. If you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know the true purpose of a wife, husband, child, job, money, etc., you will ultimately abuse them. Another truth of the word abuse is that it also impliesthere is a normal use IRUWKLQJV:HPXVWĂ&#x20AC;QGRXWVRPHWKLQJ¡V purpose before doing anything with it. Sounds simple, but the dilemma is that we often go to the wrong source to Ă&#x20AC;QGWKHSXUSRVH:HOOZKDWLVWKHULJKW source and how do you know? Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s look at an iPhone app. How do we know what the

true purpose of the app is? It would make the most sense if the developer of the app would give us an illustration, demo or manual for the app. They know why they programmed the buttons and functions the way they did. 7KHFRUUHFWZD\WRĂ&#x20AC;QGWKHSXUSRVHRI something is to go to the one who creates that thing.

was a divine romance in the Garden, a true intimate relationship between God and mankind. By no means am I advocating that we should not go to church, but we must understand what Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s original design and purpose was, and isâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;intimacy with Him. This is what makes church relevant today (weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll save that topic for another day).

So, what is the purpose of man? I think you get the ideaâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t ask man; ask the Manufacturer.

According to Genesis, â&#x20AC;&#x153;In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.â&#x20AC;? The Hebrew word used here is â&#x20AC;&#x153;baraâ&#x20AC;?, which means to create from

Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s original purpose for man is found in the beginning of the Manufacturerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s manual. Once He created man, He VWDWHGLQ*HQHVLVWKDW´LWLVĂ&#x20AC;QLVKHGLWLV JRRGÂľ:KDWZDV´Ă&#x20AC;QLVKHGÂľ":KDWZDV â&#x20AC;&#x153;itâ&#x20AC;?? God made a lot of good things those six days, but it wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t complete until he made man and woman. The creation of mankind made â&#x20AC;&#x153;itâ&#x20AC;? complete. What we see here is the beautiful harmony of creation, and the sinless, holy-intimacy between God and His beloved creation man. Adam did not have to go to a prayer meeting, church service, or play some soft worship music to get â&#x20AC;&#x153;in the Spiritâ&#x20AC;? to connect with God. He just walked in the cool of the day with God. Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s presence was with him. It

/ 18 / /


By Mike Masso

Part I

own image.â&#x20AC;? According to Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s design, mankind is created out of Himself, to abide in Him, as well as to return to God after our physical body dies. This is what makes us human. nothing. After the heavens and earth were created (â&#x20AC;&#x153;baraâ&#x20AC;?), different words were used for rest of creation. The other Hebrew words for creation were â&#x20AC;&#x153;asah,â&#x20AC;? which means to make from something or to fashion it and â&#x20AC;&#x153;sharatsâ&#x20AC;? which means to bring forth abundantly. As God continued to create, He spoke to the element in which he was forming it from. God spoke to the water to bring IRUWKWKHĂ&#x20AC;VK+HVSRNHWRWKHHDUWKWR bring forth every creature that crawls upon the earth. God spoke to the element in which He purposed for it to abide in, as well as for its natural body to return to upon death. What â&#x20AC;&#x153;elementâ&#x20AC;? did God speak to when KHFUHDWHGPDQNLQG"7KHĂ&#x20AC;UVWDQVZHU that comes to mind is that He spoke to the dust. Yes, our bodies were formed from the dust, but when creating mankind, He said â&#x20AC;&#x153;Let Us make man in Our

The word human is made up of two wordsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Humase, meaning spirit, and man, which means dirt--a spirit in the Ă HVK(YHU\RQHLVPDQUHJDUGOHVVRI shape. Man wears dresses and man ZHDUVWLHV6RPHRIPDQ¡V´à HVKVXLWVÂľ are female and some are male. We are all humase-man. So the next time you feel like you are really something extraordinary, just remember we are all just â&#x20AC;&#x153;spiritual dirt bags.â&#x20AC;? The next thing God did was extremely profound. He established the general life mission of mankind. He spoke to man and said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;let THEM have dominion.â&#x20AC;? God gave authority on earth to humans, not animals, other beings or spirits, but to Humase-spirits! This dominion on earth that God spoke, even excluded Himself! Dr. Monroe, gave this explanation about WKHVLJQLĂ&#x20AC;FDQFHRIHDUWKO\GRPLQLRQKH said, there is one thing more powerful than Godâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;His Word! In essence, God will submit Himself to His Word. He will never violate His own Word! When God speaks it becomes even a law unto Himself. So much so that it is all in the same. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.â&#x20AC;? John 1:1(NKJV) Unfortunately, man was enticed by Satan to abuse his dominion authority, therefore losing his sense of purpose

/ 19 / /

and contaminating his position of holy intimacy with God. Thank God the story does not end there, in Genesis 3:15 God spoke His Word again with a promise that through a woman God would provide a means to cure the law of separation. He told Satan that He would legally restore what was contaminated by sin. The devil knew God was Holy and wondered how it would be made possible for Him to enter again into intimate fellowship with the unclean human race. God continued to speak throughout the ages. God spoke to Abraham that He would provide a race of people as a catalyst to establish His Promise for mankind, so He provided Isaac, Jacob, then the 12 tribes and God kept right on speaking. God spoke through Isaiah something very powerfully noted in Isaiah 7:14 â&#x20AC;&#x153;..behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel,â&#x20AC;? which means â&#x20AC;&#x153;God with usâ&#x20AC;?! He was letting Satan and the world know that unity will be restored once again. God also proclaimed through Isaiah in chapter 9 verse 6 it says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;For unto us a child is born, Unto us a Son is given.â&#x20AC;? Take a close look at this. Only a child was born, not the Son. Mary did not give â&#x20AC;&#x153;birthâ&#x20AC;? to the Son, simply the child. God had to give the Son. Mary gave birth to Jesus, but God gave Christ! Jesus was brought forth to make Christâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mission of restoration legal! Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll explain in simple biological terms as it was explained to me. When a woman carries a child, the blood of the child

and blood of the mother do not mix. The mother and the baby are separate. The mother simply feeds the baby necessary nutrients through the placenta as the baby rests in the womb. In summary, God spoke the Word (Seed) to Mary and she received it. The embryo began to form from the spoken Word that she received. The baby grew inside Mary, but the blood of the baby remained pure! Mary only fed the growing baby. Mary gave birth to Jesus and God gave Christ, and then came forth Jesus-Christ! The remedy for the sin that had torn apart our purpose of holy intimacy and dominion is here! This is good news! It’s the good news of the Gospel, although it’s critical to focus on the real content of the Gospel. The next issue we will take a closer look at the principle theme that Jesus preached to fully implement the power of purpose and personal destiny for our lives. [Next Issue – “Your Spiritual Cosmos: Understanding Your Purpose” Part II]

Mike Masso is married to Robyn Masso and they have four children. Mike and his family have been involved in the Rio Grande Valley community most of their lives in ministry and business ventures. Mike is the Director for Leadership Development Alliance, LLC, President of Viva Life Christian Book Shop and Owner-Broker of Prime Ventures Commercial Real Estate.

/ 20 / /

Bible Terms:

A Powerful Combination Working for You Morgan Stanley Smith Barney combines two of the most powerful names in wealth management to bring you global investment research and smart financial strategies that deliver thorough advice and a plan to help you preserve and grow your wealth. Please call us at our new office. Let us introduce you to the powerful combination you have working for you. Mark Southwell, CFPÂŽ Senior Vice President Financial Advisor 7000 N. 10th St. Ste C-2 McAllen, TX 78504 956-683-1700

A Morgan Stanley Company

Š 2010 Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Member SIPC. NY CS 6248582 BC003 04/10 GP10-00387P-N02/10 / / 21 /

/RRNLQJIRUDQH[FLWLQJ WDVW\fundraising event? Youth Groups




What will you be selling?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------R I O G R A N D E V A L L E Y C H A P T E R ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Call today! 888-417-1314

email: FRRNLHVFKDULW\#\DKRRFRP Objective: 1. To provide funds to support the Make-A-Wish foundation of the Rio Grande Valley.


2. To provide an avenue to DOORZIRUORFDOQRQSURĂ&#x20AC;WRUJDnization to raise money for their needs. 3. To produce a high quality product that customers will be please with. Costs and distribution of funds 3.00-Cost of cookies and packing. 0.25-Cost for box &RVWRIRIĂ&#x20AC;FHFOHULFDO and delivery epenses 3.00-To the Make-A-Wish foundation of the RGV 7RWKHQRQSURĂ&#x20AC;W organization selling the cookies

/ 22 / /

Happy New Year! As the New Year gets under way for many it is already WLPHWRIRUSDUHQWVWRVWDUWSODQQLQJWKHQH[WVFKRRO\HDUuVHGXFDtion for their children. We all know how cruial education is for our FKLOGUHQuVIXWXUH This is why Valley Christian Magazine is excited to share this special advertising section of Rio Grande Valley Christian Schools. $VSHFLDOtWKDQN\RXuJRHVRXWWRDOOWKHVFKRROVDORQJZLWKWKHLU principals and team who worked so hard to make this possible! -VCM / 23 / /

$JDSH&KULVWLDQ6FKRRO â&#x20AC;&#x153;Fostering Godly Principles Every dayâ&#x20AC;?


International) activities. Spanish, art, music, computer and physical education are also offered to the students.

1401 E. 24th St. Mission, TX (956) 585-9773 Principal: Jane Eason

Daily Bible lessons and weekly Chapel services emphasize salvation, prayer, and Christian character. All classrooms share their discipleship with various service projects and programs. Parental involvement is encouraged.

Open Enrollment begins Jan 3, 2012 Agape Christian School has been making an eternal investment in the lives of Rio Grande Valley children since 1976. The caring, competent faculty sets high academic standards and uses a biblically based curriculum. Toddlers through sixthgrade students are challenged to grow in Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s love and word.

For a tour or more information call the school at 585-9773. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Train up a child in the way he should go and, when he is old, he will not depart from it.â&#x20AC;? Proverbs 22:6

Located on 5 acres, the campus includes 20 classrooms, ofĂ&#x20AC;FHVDSUD\HUJDUGHQDQGWKUHHSOD\JURXQGV6HFXULW\JDWHV and cameras keep the student body safe throughout the school day. In addition to basic core subjects, students in the elementary grades participate in ACSI (Association of Christian School

/ 24 / /


Central Christian School;

the light of Christ with the love of families to work together for the good of our children.

956-687-2340 1320 W. Nolana McAllen, Texas 78504

Our goals are to work with families in providing a quality HGXFDWLRQSXWWLQJ-HVXVĂ&#x20AC;UVWLQHYHU\VLWXDWLRQ:HDUH in our 32nd year of serving families and we are centrally located in the heart of McAllen. Our standards in order RISULRULW\ZLWK-HVXVĂ&#x20AC;UVWDUH6$)(7<&855,&8/80 $ BEKA, Bob Jones University, & Association of Christian Schools International), and FUN.

a ministry of Central Christian Church

,Q+RXVH5HJLVWUDWLRQEHJLQV)HE 2SHQ5HJLVWUDWLRQEHJLQV0DUFK Pamela Voss - Director Tiffany Miller - Admissions Coordinator At Central Christian School we recognize that parents DUHWKHĂ&#x20AC;UVWDQGSULPDU\HGXFDWRUVRIWKHLUFKLOGUHQ This could be expressed as the color red, which stands for the unconditional love we pour into our children as parents. The ministry of the church school is expressed as the color yellow, where we show the light of the world, Jesus, to all who come to our school. Combining the two colors gives us the vibrant color of orange.

We feature Chapel services two times each week, physical education and recess daily, Music, Computers, Library, Accelerated Reading Program, tutoring, and Extended Day Care. With our membership in Association of Christian Schools International, we are able to participate in spelling bees, speech meets and science fairs. Our classroom teachers are all bilingual, committed to providing quality education and individualized attention. Please call for a tour of our facility and see how Central Christian School could be the environment you are wanting for your family.

We want to partner with our families to give our children

/ 25 / /

xxxxxx Covenant Christian $FDGHP\


ence lab, computer lab, and classrooms equipped with technologies granting all students enhanced learning experiences. Each student is instructed daily in Bible and attends weekly Chapel.

Covenant Christian Academy 956-686-7886 4201 North Ware Road McAllen, TX 78504 Principal: Milton Gonzalez Admissions: Stephanie Torres

$SSOLFDWLRQVDFFHSWHGEHJLQQLQJ-DQ Covenant Christian Academy (CCA), an independent school established in 1995, is dedicated to integrating %LEOLFDO3ULQFLSOHVLQWRDOOVXEMHFWV:HDUHQRWDIĂ&#x20AC;OLDWHG ZLWKRUĂ&#x20AC;QDQFLDOO\XQGHUZULWWHQE\DQ\VLQJOHFKXUFK denomination. The Holy Bible is our standard and we daily instill our motto into the hearts of our students. We provide a Christian worldview with the highest academics in a rigorous traditional background while encouraging young minds to think creatively and analytically. Every child in our 400+ student body is lovingly nurtured and our campus emanates an atmosphere of family.

The Pre-school Program (K3-K4) includes Abeka Curriculum, Perceptual Motor Skills Program, Computer, Spanish, Music, and Art. Our Elementary Program (K5 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 5th grade) features Abeka/Bob Jones/Saxon Curriculum, Core Knowledge, Accelerated Reading, Accelerated Math, Computer, Spanish, Art, Music, and Physical Education. The Middle School Program (6th â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 8th grade) contains specialized subjects in Geography, History, Science, Language Arts, Accelerated Reading, Literature, Saxon and Accelerated Math, Spanish, Computer, Health, Music, Art, and Electives. Your student would be a welcome addition to our CCA Family. Call us at (956) 686-7886 to schedule your camSXVWRXUDQGGLVFRYHUWKH&&$$GYDQWDJHĂ&#x20AC;UVWKDQG We look forward to partnering with you!

CCA facilities encompass a gymnasium, library, sci-

/ 26 / /



Promote Community: To foster a partnership based on mutual respect and understanding among the civic community, church, school and home.

956-686-3651 1100 Gumwood Ave - McAllen Rolando J. Garza, Principal Joseph O’Brien, Asst. Prin.

To develop life skills that will encourage each community member to become a mature, responsible, and caring citizen of the world.

Open house for prospective students grades Pre-K3 to 7th grade on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012 from 2 – 4 P.M.

To increase each person’s level of awareness, sense of responsibility and respect for global ecology.

We catechize the community of Our Lady of Sorrows to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ through a Catholic education to ultimately share in God’s everlasting happiness in heaven.

3URYLGH$4XDOLW\(GXFDWLRQ To challenge each person to develop an open, inquiring mind that allows an appreciation and acceptance of each person’s uniqueness as a precious child of God.

Mission Statement: Our Lady of Sorrows School’s mission is to embrace Catholic faith, respect diversity, promote community, provide a quality education for all, and prepare us for a lifetime of service centered on Jesus Christ. (PEUDFH&DWKROLF)DLWK To empower each community member to become a living example of Jesus Christ through prayer and worship, scripture, and the authentic teachings of the Catholic Church. 5HVSHFW'LYHUVLW\ To provide a caring, loving environment built on trust, justice and peace where each individual is valued.

To provide a balanced teaching environment that ensures educational excellence while nurturing each person’s creativity, spontaneity, emotional stability and self-worth To create a safe and pleasant learning environment. To provide opportunities for each person’s total physical development and good health Our hope is that each member of our school community will be sent forth to love and serve God and neighbor in imitation of Jesus Christ.

/ 27 / /

South Texas Christian $FDGHP\ â&#x20AC;&#x153;Mental Â&#x2021; Spiritual Â&#x2021; Physicalâ&#x20AC;?

South Texas Christian Academy 956-682-1117 7001 N. Ware Road McAllen,Texas Principal: Charles Castle Enrollment: Accepting applications for the new school year beginning Feb. 15, 2012 The South Texas Christian Academy family exists to show children Jesus, nurture their love for Him and others, teach them to think, and empower them to serve. The Pre-K to 12th Grade Campus offers, among other things, AP and Honor classes, Jr. High and High School Athletics, SAT and ACT test preparation and after-school care. The school currently enrolls 330 students.

We respect His divine authority and recognize His intervention in human affairs. We believe that true education develops the spiritual, mental, and physical powers of each student; preparing them for the joy of service in this life and for the higher joy of service in the life to come. To achieve this goal, we encourage each student to: Â&#x2021;GHYHORSDSHUVRQDOUHODWLRQVKLSZLWK*RGDQGKLVIHOORZ men as stated in Matthew 2:37-39 Â&#x2021;PDVWHUWKHEDVLFDFDGHPLFVNLOOV Â&#x2021;YDOXHODERUSK\VLFDODQGPHQWDODVWKHEOHVVLQJ*RG intended. Â&#x2021;FXOWLYDWHSK\VLFDOĂ&#x20AC;WQHVVPHQWDODELOLW\DQGPRUDOSXULW\DV the blessing God intended.

South Texas Christian Academy is operated by the Seventhday Adventist Church to provide a spiritually oriented education for children. A belief in the existence of the Creator God is fundamental in the philosophy of Seventh-day Adventist schools.

/ 28 / /


In addition to strong academic preparation, members of the St. John’s faculty bring a life-long love of learning, extensive knowledge and solid commitment to each and every child.

St. John’s Episcopal School A GOoD Place to Grow 956-686-0231 2500 N. 10th Street McAllen, TX 78501 Principal: Meredith Stanley

([SHULHQFLQJ6W-RKQ·VÀUVWKDQGLVWKHEHVWZD\WRIXOO\ appreciate our wonderful school.

Enrollment: Accepting Applications Feb. 1, 2012

Contact us at 956- 686-0231 and schedule your visit today.

St. John’s Episcopal School honors the trust that parents place in us and we embrace that responsibility as we prepare children for the future.

Open enrollment for the 2012-2013 school year begins on February 1, 2012.

We dedicate ourselves to challenging children in the classroom (2K-5th grade) and celebrating their accomplishments every step of the way.

/ 29 / /

7D\ORU&KULVWLDQ6FKRRO â&#x20AC;&#x153;Taylor Christian School â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Building for Eternityâ&#x20AC;?

Taylor Christian School provides:

Taylor Christian School Phone: 956-686-7574 Fax: 956-682-4945 2021 W. Jackson Ave McAllen, Texas 78501 Principal: Bill Tarr

Â&#x2021; Â&#x2021; Â&#x2021; Â&#x2021; Â&#x2021; Â&#x2021;

The primary goal of Taylor Christian School is to train children and youth to know and to serve the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, while in pursuit of academic excellence. To help achieve that goal, K-3 through 2nd grade use A Beka curriculum. A Beka lays a solid foundation for reading, handwriting, spelling, parts of speech, and arithmetic.

4XDOLĂ&#x20AC;HG7HDFKHUV Customized Curriculum Individualized Instruction Christ-Centered Education K3 through 12th Grades Music and Sports Programs

Taylor Christian School is a Ministry of World Gospel Mission Taylor Christian School makes every effort to keep tuition reasonable, making a Christian education possible for families on a budget. Quality Christian Education since 1948

Grades 3-12 use Switched-On Online, a web-based curriculum accessed through the Internet. Switched-On Onlineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cutting-edge curriculum was created to offer &KULVWLDQVFKRROVĂ H[LELOLW\FRQYHQLHQFHDQGTXDOLW\ academics, allowing teachers to customize lessons to Ă&#x20AC;WLQGLYLGXDOOHDUQLQJQHHGVDQGKDYHPRUHWLPHZLWK each student.

/ 30 / /

)DLWK&KULVWLDQ$FDGHP\ The leaders of omorrow are here today

6W3DXO¡V/XWKHUDQ6FKRRO Securing Every Childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Future

Over 20 years of excellence Luke 2:52 â&#x20AC;&#x153;and Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and manâ&#x20AC;? Website: / Phone: (956) 581-7777 email: mail: 4301 N. Shary Road, Palmhurst, TX 78573-8346 Pre-register today Faith Christian Academy offers a college preparatory curriculum. With that goal in mind, we have set our academic standards high. Academic excellence is emphasized at FCA. Instruction is directed to the average student, yet it will challenge the exceptional student. Each student is expected to do his best regardless of his ability to perform. Faith Christian Academy has purposed to provide students with a college preparatory education. The curriculum is designed to be challenging to meet the academic, spiritual, social, and physical needs of the students. Our students are expected to meet the requirements of each course. The Elementary School program is taught in traditional, VHOIFRQWDLQHGFODVVURRPVE\ZHOOTXDOLĂ&#x20AC;HGWHDFKHUVZKR demonstrate love and concern for their pupils. The academic program is based upon teaching the students to be good readers, as without the ability to read, the ability to communicate is greatly hindered. Secondary students are taught in a traditional setting with a teacher for each subject. Class work is intended to prepare the students for college by teaching them how to think and how to study, in addition to teaching academic content. In order to reach our academic goals, we use materials that provide our teachers with the facts and information necessary to be effective communicators. Most of our curriculum is from A Beka Book Publications and Bob Jones University Press. Faith Christian Academy is a ministry of Faith Baptist Church.

St. Paul Lutheran School (956) 682-2345 300 W. Pecan Blvd., McAllen, Texas, 78501 Principal Name: Jeff Pool Erollment begins Feb. 1 Our Chrisitian Elementary School and Junior High are top quality and a part of the second largest private U.S. school system. It is the mission of St. Paul Lutheran School to provide a safe place where children can grow physically, emotionally, & intellectually, so that they can succeed in the next stage of life, while also developing as disciples of Jesus Christ in order to serve the community of McAllen and the upper Rio Grande Valley. The school is led by a Principal and 14 Full-time and Part-time Faculty, who are excellent educators and who teach from a Lutheran, Christ-centered perspective, up through 8th grade. The average student/faculty ratio is 12:1. In addition to computer skills, science, art, music and daily Bible study, St. Paul Lutheran School has a variety of extracurricular sports. Students are encouraged to participate in local, state, and national academic and athletic competitions, as well as weekend Christian worship services. The educational process is a creative and collaborative partnership between the students, parents, teachers, and church. Therefore parents participate in the development of their student through homework VXSHUYLVLRQVSHFLDOSURMHFWVĂ&#x20AC;HOGWULSVDQGIXQGUDLVLQJ which is coordinated by the School Board and the parent support group. St. Paul will be enrolling students for childcare, preschool, kindergarten and grades 1-8 beginning Feb. 1. For more information and opportunities to meet with the principal and staff, call (956) 682-2345.

/ 31 / /

Join our team! /RRNLQJWRMRLQDQH[FLWLQJQHZ&KULVWLDQ0LQLVWU\7HDP" Full & part Time Sales Reps are needed throughout the Rio Grande Valley.


Call us at 956-314-0161 or email Maybe you’ve been thinking about advertising your business? Don’t wait any longer! Help support this ministry today! Help make a difference in our community.

/ 32 / /

Friends Who P r a y F o r Yo u By Dr. James MacDonald

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 ,UHPHPEHU\RXUWHDUV,ORQJWRVHH\RXWKDW,PD\EHĂ&#x20AC;OOHGZLWKMR\, DPUHPLQGHGRI\RXUVLQFHUHIDLWKDIDLWKWKDWGZHOWĂ&#x20AC;UVWLQ\RXUJUDQGmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in \RXDVZHOO)RUWKLVUHDVRQ,UHPLQG\RXWRIDQLQWRĂ DPHWKHJLIW 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 selfcontrol.â&#x20AC;&#x201D;2 Timothy 3:3-7 Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m more persuaded than ever that Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work in my life is a direct answer to the prayers of people. When I was in high school, our pastor assigned a senior to every student in the student ministry. I was assigned to a woman named Evelyn White. All through high school I would go over to her house about once every other month, and she would say, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Oh James, let me pray for you.â&#x20AC;? And she would place her hand on me and pray. I had never heard anyone pray like that. She would ask Him to use my life. She would pray against sin in my life. And she prayed for purity, a good attitude, and perseverance. She called out to God for me! Evelyn went to be with the Lord early in the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;90s but the mark that her prayers made on my life was indelible. I thank God for her ministry in my life. The lifetime lesson I learned from Evelyn is that we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to go through the Christian life alone. The Lord places friends around us, sometimes unexpected friends, who pray for us â&#x20AC;&#x201D; who lift up our name before â&#x20AC;&#x153;the throne of grace, that we may UHFHLYHPHUF\DQGĂ&#x20AC;QGJUDFHWRKHOSLQWLPHRIQHHGÂľ +HEUHZV 4:16). Timothy had such a friend in Paul. Paul says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.â&#x20AC;? Do you realize that people who might not even know you are praying for you? Before Harvest Bible Chapel ever began, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d be on our knees calling out to God. Do you know who we were praying for? You! We were praying that God would allow us to reach you and impact your life. In a major way, Walk in the Word is a ministry outgrowth of Harvest Bible Chapel. Even then, we were asking God to cultivate in our hearts an understanding of what it would really mean to minister to you and to care for you and to build into your lives hope and truth and faith in Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Word. Now, every week, we at Walk in the Word continue to pray for marriages, for lost loved ones, for rebellious childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;whatever needs are made known to us. You have friends who love you and pray for you. We are your friends and we love you and we pray for you. Persevere in doing what is rightâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; someone is praying for you.

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. Jamesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; teacing canbe 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. To subscribe to the Weekly Walk, a weekly e-devotional, visit: 8VHGE\SHUPLVVLRQRI:DONLQWKH:RUG(OJLQ,OO

/ 33 / /

Your Example Lasts â&#x20AC;&#x153;Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from itâ&#x20AC;? (Proverbs 22:6). People always say children learn by example. I know that was true in my own life. My dad was a consistent man; the same person at home as he was at church. He rose early on cold winter mornings in Argentina to start DZRRGĂ&#x20AC;UHLQWKHVWRYH,VKRXOGKDYHEHHQVOHHSLQJEXWRIWHQ, sneaked out of bed just to watch him putter around the house. ,I,ZDWFKHGORQJHQRXJK,PLJKWVHHKLPJRLQWRKLVRIĂ&#x20AC;FHÂłDOLWWOH study he built on one side of the houseâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and kneel alone. Wrapped in a blanket or poncho, he would read the Bible and pray before going out to work. Though I was not even eight years old yet, I would steal back to my bed, feeling warm and grateful that I had a good dad.

'DLO\%LEOH5HDGLQJ One day Dad told me he read a chapter from Proverbs every day, since it has 31 chapters and most months have 31 days. That has stuck with me all my life, and I still practice it. In spite of all the other Bible studying and reading I do, I try to start the day with my chapter from Proverbs. And I have learned to do it on my knees. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to be legalistic about it, but thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nothing like studying the Word of God and praying on your knees. I have never shaken the habit of spreading my Bible and study materials out on the bed and kneeling to read and pray. It sure keeps your heart and mind in the right attitude.

$Q([DPSOH(YHQLQ'HDWK My dad died when I was only 10 years old. The way he died impacted me as much as the way he had lived. Though I wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t there during my dadâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s illness or last moments on earth, my mom later told me what had happened.


Luis Palau

/ 34 / /

“Papito began to sing,” she said, “‘Bright crowns up there, bright crowns for you and me. Then the palm of victory, the palm of victory.’ He sang it three times, all the while clapping in time, as you children did when you sang it in Sunday school. Then, when Papito could no longer hold up his head, he fell back on the pillow and said, “I’m going to be with Jesus, which is far better.” Two hours later he had died. As I grew and my evangelistic fervor grew, I knew God was calling me to tell entire cities about His love and forgiveness for them. I don’t want anyone to die without the joy my father had found in the Lord!

What about you? Moms and dads, don’t underestimate the impact you have upon your children! I could give you example after example of how my IDWKHULQÁXHQFHGPHLQWKH\HDUV,KDGZLWKKLP,FRXOGWHOO\RX of the spankings I rightly deserved, of the bills Dad always paid on time, of the chapel he helped pay for, supervise, and build, of the times I sat in that chapel with my parents and sisters, receiving the Lord’s Supper. My father’s legacy to me came not only through his discipline, but also through his example. And that legacy’s impact is multiplied every time I get to tell another person about Jesus Christ. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and walk there once in awhile yourself.” Joseph Aldrich, Secrets to Inner Beauty

Luis Palau and his ministry have shared the Gospel with more than 1 billion people through evangelistic events and media. He has spoken in person to 25 million people in 72 countries with more than 1 million registered decisions for Jesus Christ. He has authored close to 50 books and countless articles on issues of faith, and has counseled with business and political leaders and heads of state around the world. Used by permission from the Luis Palau Association and All rights reserved

/ 35 / /


I Stay Married or *HW'LYRUFHG?

By Joe Beam

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pregnant by her lover. But she

says she has come to her senses, loves me, and wants to save our marriage. My family practically hates her and wants me to divorce her and have nothing else to do with her ever. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know what to do.â&#x20AC;? Call him Jim. Call her May. Every year situations such as theirs are repeated more times that one might imagine. One person does wrong, consequences arise, penitence hits, and the straying spouse begs for forgiveness and reconciliation. Jimâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s case illustrates a pinnacle of marriage problems; May is carrying her paramourâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s baby. If Jim takes her back, what happens to the baby? Do they keep him? Do they put him up for adoption? In a stressful time like this they might even ask if May aborts? Do they give him to his biological father? Tough questions, but essential if they consider reconciliation because May is pregnant. Weeping, worrying, or wanting things to be the way they used to be does not change that. Most times the cases are not quite as severe in consequence as that of Jim and May, but they are almost universally bad. An affair but no disease transmits, no babies germinate, and no physical evidence remains. Or some kind of addiction rather than involvement with another person; gambling, porn, alcohol, or drugs. It might be that one verbally, mentally, or emotionally abused the other. The similarity is that the actions of one cause the other to want out of the relationship. Whether that person actually leaves depends on many factors including religious beliefs, cultural expectations, WKHGHSWKRIKXUWLQĂ XHQFHIURPIDPLO\ or friends, how close they were before the occurrence, alternatives for the future, repetitiveness of hurtful behavior, and more. For example, a woman may stay with her physically abusive husband because her religious beliefs are that she can divorce him only if he commits adultery. On the other hand, a woman may discover her husbandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s one-night-stand more than 20 years ago and decide the pain is so strong that she cannot live with him again.

Deciding whether to forgive and reconcile, or to end a relationship and move on, often is not an easy decision to make. However, there are certain things to consider that may help in making the best decision.

Be Careful Who You Listen To When one is hurt, taking advice from friends and family may be the least wise thing to do. Typically, people who care deeply feel personal hurt by what someone has done to the person they love. They tend not to think in terms of forgiveness and reconciliation but in terms of punishment and alienation. In short, rather than being objective, they may be anything but. Wiser counsel typically comes from those who are not directly involved. Even better, listen to third parties who are skilled and experienced in working with people and know something about relationships (like us). 'HFLGH:KHWKHU,WLV6DIH Reconciliation leads to more hurt if proper boundaries are not put into place. When deciding whether to take back a person asking for forgiveness and requesting a second chance, consider all factors of safety. Emotional. Physical. Mental. Spiritual. Think not only in terms of self but also in terms of others involved such as children. If safety is in doubt, do not reconcile until all doubts have been dealt with properly. Count the Cost In life, those who think about the future tend to do better than those who think only in the present. (Yet those who think only in the present still do much better than those who think only in the past.) %HIRUHUHFRQFLOLQJGRDFRVWEHQHĂ&#x20AC;W analysis. On paper, write the costs of UHFRQFLOLDWLRQDQGWKHEHQHĂ&#x20AC;WVRIUHFRQciliation. Be honest with yourself. ConVLGHUĂ&#x20AC;QDQFLDODVSHFWVSRWHQWLDOOLIHVW\OH changes, likelihood of the future truly being better or worse based on whether you reconcile or not, possible aloneness, and more. Do not make this list while struggling with any confusing emotion, whether anger, love, or despair. If wise and unprejudiced counsel is available, have someone work through the list with you.

/ 36 / /

In the case of Jim and May, Jim determined that the costs of taking May back were not as high as the costs of losing her. While some in his life ridiculed his decision, he had taken time to deliberate and consider many aspects of their relationship and the future they could have. Years later, he is happy with his decision DQGIHHOVWKDWWKHEHQHĂ&#x20AC;WVLQGHHGZHUH much better than the emotional costs. Set the Rules If one is to forgive and reconcile, there must be solid understandings of behavior that is acceptable and behavior that is not. There should be consequences tied to negative behaviors. For example, if a man reconciles with his alcoholic wife, they would do better to have a written agreement as to consequences that would come into being if she were to get drunk. When those type contracts are made and agreed to, there must be NO mercy or grace offered. Make the consequences more intense with succeeding infractions, culminating with DĂ&#x20AC;QDOGRRPVGD\VFHQDULR7KDWPHDQV an end to the relationship. Struggling or straying spouses need to know they canQRWFRQWLQXHEDGEHKDYLRULQGHĂ&#x20AC;QLWHO\ 'HYHORSWKH5HODWLRQVKLS Forgiving and reconciling are not enough. Even boundaries are not enough. To keep the relationship from falling into old routines, there must be a plan to make it grow and develop into a better one that it was. There are many ways to do that, including many marriage books, courses, workshops, and the like. Being involved with a good marriage group can help. We would be happy to help. To learn more about saving your marriage, get more information on our intensive weekend workshop for marriages in crisis. (By the way, Jim and May kept the baby. He is about 10 now. He, his siblings and parents are doing great.) Joe Beam President LovePath International Permission to Republish Š Joe Beam. All rights reserved.

Joe Beam is an internationally-known inspirational speaker and bestselling author. He founded Family Dynamics Institute in 1994 and in 2008 he founded LovePath International, and serves as its chairman. He has spoken to millions of people worldwide in personal appearances as well as appearances on television and radio, including ABCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Good Morning America, Focus on the Family, the Montel Williams Show, NBCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Today Show, The Dave Ramsey Show, The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet and magazines such as People and Better Homes and Gardens. / 37 / /

Breaking New Ground In 2012 By Abram Gomez

Get Ready. You are about to break new ground. 2011 is over. What could have, should have and would have been is no longer the topic of discussion. We saw many things happen in different areas of Leadership in 2011 that taught us lessons we will never forget. We learned: The Power of Creativity and Innovation. We witnessed one of the greatest inventors of our time, Steve Jobs, live and pass away. But before his time ended, he deposited and left behind his brilliant ideas and devices that have saturated our culture and every day life. Behind Appleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s aggressive leader, ZHKDYHOHDUQHGKRZQRWWREHFRPSODFHQWDQGVDWLVĂ&#x20AC;HG but to keep progressing The Power of Networking, Partnership, and Movement. From the changing of the guard in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia to people from all over the world coming together to help the victims in the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, we have once again learned the old adages that â&#x20AC;&#x153;two heads are better than oneâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;together everyone achieves more.â&#x20AC;? The Power of Conviction and Courage. Tim Tebow, quarterback for the Denver Broncos, took the NFL, media, and fans by storm. Despite his unorthodox passing style and harsh criticisms from skeptics and other players, Tebow stared at his â&#x20AC;&#x153;Goliathsâ&#x20AC;? in the face, and led the Broncos to the top of their division. We learned, through his godly example, to stand Ă&#x20AC;UPIRU\RXUIDLWKDQGDOZD\VJLYH*RGWKHJORU\ Now, the page has turned. You are at the right place at the right time. God has placed you right where you need to be to bring about destiny. Here are four things every leader needs in 2012 to break new ground: Anointing. We need Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s anointing to accomplish our assignment. Jesus was anointed. David was anointed. You have been anointed. Protect the anointing over your life. Ability. Your abilities will grant you access to certain arenas. Daniel was selected by the king because of his ability. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t bury your talent. Attitude. Your attitude determines your altitude. It will determine whether you rise or stay where you are. Joshua and Caleb had an attitude of victory. The other 10 spies were negative. Guess who made it to the Promise Land? Atmosphere. First, create an atmosphere of excellence and accomplishment in your own life. Second, step into atmospheres that encourage and inspire you. Joseph, after many trials, never lost the atmosphere of integrity and favor. Abram Gomez 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

I pray that you will do things you have never done before for the advancement of the Kingdom. I pray that you will grow and learn in different areas of your life. I pray that you will overcome every adversity the enemy may have in store. I pray that in 2012, you will become â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the Leader Who Breaks New Ground. God bless!

/ 38 / /

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Mary Lou Henry %URNHU2ZQHU$%5*5,



Hope Torres, LUTCF Independent Agent



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Why do people make New Yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

always active in our lives.


We often live, however, at such a velocity, that we are unaware of Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s SUHVHQWDFWLYLW\:HĂ&#x20AC;QGRXUVHOYHVPXFK like the Old Testament Patriarch Jacob after he experienced a powerful encounter with God. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Jacob awoke from his sleep,â&#x20AC;? Genesis 28:16 reads, and â&#x20AC;&#x153;he thought, surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.â&#x20AC;? Imagine that, God was there, and Jacob didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t realize it until after the fact. I wish it werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t so, but more than once have I found myself muttering these same words. The VSLULWXDOSUDFWLFHRIUHĂ HFWLRQFDQEHD powerful tool to grow in sensitivity, discernment and recognition of how God has been working in our lives, teaching us, molding us and guiding us.

What fuels such â&#x20AC;&#x153;solutionsâ&#x20AC;? that are often infused with very little lasting resolve? About 8 percent of Americans achieve their New Yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s resolutions, according to most studies and surveys. An overwhelming (or rather â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;underwhelmingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;) 45 percent fail by the end of January! Regardless of all the sub-lining reasons to this, part of the dilemma is that we are prone to start looking at the New Year from the wrong vantage point. Often, the best way to move forward is not by looking forward, but by looking backwards. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Life is best understood backwards,â&#x20AC;? wrote Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, â&#x20AC;&#x153;but it can only be lived forward.â&#x20AC;? In other words, before we make resolutions going forward, perhaps we should spend a little more time RQUHĂ HFWLQJEDFNZDUGV Of all the things Americans make time IRUUHĂ HFWLRQLVUDUHO\RQHRIWKHP5HĂ HFWFRPHVIURPWKH/DWLQZRUGVUHDQG Ă HFWHUHZKLFKPHDQV´WREHQGEDFNÂľ 7RUHĂ HFWWKHQLVWREHQGEDFNVRPHthing, much like the way a mirror bends back an image, providing an opportuQLW\IRUDFORVHUORRN&KULVWLDQUHĂ HFWLRQ is based on the premise that God is

7KHSUDFWLFHRIUHĂ HFWLRQKDVEHHQ VLJQLĂ&#x20AC;FDQWLQP\UHODWLRQVKLSZLWK*RG 5HĂ HFWLRQRQWKHUHFHQWSDVWFDQRIWHQ serve as a point of orientation and direction for the near future. Several times a year, in the past 10-15 years, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve made it a practice to get away for a day or two on a personal retreat. Simply time away - free from television, cell phones and everything in between to carve out some time and space to be alone with God. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve gone / 40 / /

to a cabin in the woods, a tent by the beach, even a solitary room at a monastery. If time and money didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t permit going somewhere overnight, I would Ă&#x20AC;QGDSDUNZLWKPLOHVRIWUDLOVRUVLPSO\D back corner of a coffee shop to burrow away in. One of the things integrated into these times is extended periods of prayerfulOLVWHQLQJUHĂ HFWLRQ,ORRNDWZKDWP\OLIH rhythms have been like the past several months. The things Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been learning. The places Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been exerting effort, HQHUJ\DQGFUHDWLYLW\,UHĂ HFWRQUHFHQW thoughts and emotions and perspective on life, family, ministry, etc... The following are a few prayerfully enJDJHGUHĂ HFWLYHSRLQWV -God, what are the main things Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been trying to teach and form within me? -God, what are you saying to me now? About my life? My family? My relationships? My vocation? -Is there an area of my life that I need to be refocused or directed in? -Is there a particular place I should invest my time, energy and resources in during this next season?

%DFNLQJ into the

Future Jerrell Jobe

The majority of this time is spent listening, waiting, sensing and capturing what God is saying to me in retrospect of the past, the present and the emerging future. I jot down the things I sense Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading me into, bringing before me, desiring to teach and form within me. I also begin to sketch out what patterns and practices will be vital cultivating a growing relationship with God and others, as well as fostering a healthy soul. As simple and potentially insightful as this is, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve found that very few people ever take moments to spend time ZLWK*RGUHĂ HFWLQJRQWKHLUOLIHZKDWKDVWUDQVSLUHGDQG how God has been present and active in the midst of everyday life. Before any grand resolution of what we will do in the future, we must understand what God has been endeavoring to produce within us in the recent-present. As we sense the areas God is at work within us and make â&#x20AC;&#x153;resolutionsâ&#x20AC;? accordingly, we will experience the very grace and power of God to see these resolutions come to pass. ´%HLQJFRQĂ&#x20AC;GHQWRIWKLVWKDWKHZKREHJDQDJRRGZRUN in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.â&#x20AC;? (Philippians 1:6) â&#x20AC;&#x153;Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in RUGHUWRIXOĂ&#x20AC;OOKLVJRRGSXUSRVHÂľ (Philippians 2:12-13) Jerrell Jobe is a teaching pastor at Palm Valley Church in Mission. He is married to Charissa and has three children. / 41 / /


The Great White Throne Judgment The Book By Danny J Johnson SR

There is an old cliché, “There is nothing as

sure as death and taxes.” But there is one other thing as for sure as dying and even one thing more for sure than taxes, Gods Judgment.

Hebrews 9: 27; Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face Judgment. 8LMW 2SZIP XLVSYKL ½ZI QEMR GLEVEGXIVW traces their lives from birth until death and after death their eternal Judgments. Their lives intertwine with many others who become a part of the story of their life experience. Throughout the course of each of their lives decisions with eternal consequences are revealed. As with the people within this story every man and woman throughout the course of their lives must face the ultimate question, the question that we cannot escape or ignore. The question of where we will spend our eternal destiny. How will we choose, life eternal with God or eternal Judgment in what the Bible calls the “Lake of Fire.” 3YVERW[IV[MPPHIXIVQMRIXLI½REPSYXGSQI

of our eternity. But either way we will face a Holy and Righteous God as Judge of our sin or Lord of our lives. How will the people in this story choose and even more importantly, how will you choose? There is no decision you will make in your life more important than what you choose to do with Jesus. Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence IEVXL ERH LIEZIR ¾IH E[E] ERH RS TPEGI was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death, the Lake of Fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the Lake of Fire. ( Revelation 20:11–15)

400 N. Val Verde RD. #217 / Donna, Texas 78537 / 956-457-4308 Available Now at (Type Book Title in Search Box)

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/ 42 / /

Running the Race By Milton Gonzalez

'on’t you realize that everyone who runs in a race runs to win, but only

one runner gets the prize? Run like them, so that you can win. (1 Cor. 9:24) Growing up as a teenager I could have easily been pegged as “hyperactive” given my relentless need to move around and converse. The inability to “sit still” and “be quiet” for prolonged periods of time earned me the privilege of visiting the school counselor more frequently than most any other student on campus. The term bodily - kinesthetic intelligence had not been coined back in the late 80s therefore I had no excuse for my behavior. So at 13 I embarked on a journey. The goal was to discover ways to channel this “energy” and use it in a more suitable way. So I did what Forest Gump would have done...I ran. Running became my outlet, my therapy and my way to channel all the energy within me. As life progressed and I grew older life’s challenges seemed never-ending, overwhelming and perplexing and in my daily running I would encounter an indescribable feeling of peace that inundated my soul. When life’s vicissitudes seemed to hit me in the face it was my running partner who never ceased to encourage me in my weakness. As I was about to give up and give in it was He who lifted me up. One of my life goals was to run a marathon by age 40; perhaps New York, Boston or London. It was on my bucket list and the more I thought about it the more unattainable it seemed. Nevertheless, God reminded me that “nothing would be impossible with Him” (Luke 1:37) and that there was one thing I needed to do…and that was to “delight myself in Him and that He would give me the desires of my heart.” (Ps 37:4) My desire was granted in January of 2011 when a dear friend of mine signed me up for the Nov. 6, 2011 NYC Marathon. For 10 months my focus would be to train and prepare for such a rigorous physical challenge that would force me beyond my comfort zone. In my mind there was only one goal… 26.2 miles. Running became my quiet time with the Lord - my time to worship Him, converse with Him and to hear His voice in my heart. I would forget my surroundings, the pain and sweat and focus on Him… my only audience. As I trained the Lord showed me that just as my running gear was essential for me to run this race so was my spiritual gear important to run the race set before me in Christ Jesus… the helmet of salvation, breastplate of righteousness, shield of faith, belt of truth, shoes of peace and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Without these it is impossible to run the race and succeed. So there I was - NYC Marathon on the 22nd mile and I encountered “runner’s block” - a state of mind that deceives you and tries to keep you from completing the journey. Wanting to give up I asked the Lord to strengthen and encourage me as He always had in the past. At that moment a young girl crossed right in front of me wearing a bright pink jersey with bold letters on the back that read “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13) For the next 4.2 miles I would “block” my surroundings, the pain and sweat and focus on my audience of One. As one million New Yorkers cheered us on the only uplifting voice that mattered to me was His. Together we crossed the 26.2 mark!!! Let us not be deceived by the outside voices, by our circumstances or by the pain of the past rather let us focus on the Author and Finisher of our faith and “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:14) Shalom

/ 43 /

In Photo is Milton running in the New York City Marathon. Milton is the Principal of Covenant Christian Academy and is a member of The Family Church in McAllen. /

A Simple Blessing By Michael W. Smith with Thomas Williams Every day at work I hear the grunting, moaning and yelps of teenagers who lack their full human capacities. Across the hallway is one of our â&#x20AC;&#x153;Special Educationâ&#x20AC;? classrooms. Students who are autistic and otherwise disabled spend their day among those of us who forget how good we have it. I take so much for granted. Things like the breath of life each morning and WKH XVH RI P\ Ă&#x20AC;YH VHQVHV DUH HDVLO\ overlooked. Not to speak of the material blessings. Many of us have far more than we need. For those in Christ, we have abundant spiritual blessing, especially the promise of eternal life. We are so blessed! God wants to bless us. He wants us to be complete. Yet the demands of this world and the fallen state of humanity can cause us to miss many blessings. More so, we can fail to be a blessing to others. Michael W. Smith is a talented Christian musician who has written a book based on a prayer of blessing used at the end of his concerts. His Prayer of Blessing includes prayers for:

Spiritual health A pure mind Personal holiness Backyard blessings (for the home), and Spiritual victory. Michael shares that this blessing has had a surprising impact on people. God has used the words spoken to convict and encourage in following Christ. He repeatedly states that there is nothing â&#x20AC;&#x153;magicalâ&#x20AC;? about the prayer of blessing. It is composed on the basis of Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s truth. Michaelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s deep conviction is that God desires to bless us in every area of our lives, but because we are only seeking to be blessed we miss the mark of knowing the Blesser and of blessing others. Children of God have the privilege of being blessed and being a blessing. Michaelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s book has encouraged me to continue praying the following morning prayer with my kids: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Lord, you bless us richly, let us be a blessing to others. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!â&#x20AC;? Being able to do that is a blessing in itself.

Books and Music featured available at:

Review of A Simple Blessing by

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 (9), Karla and Andrea (6) and Charis (2).

6601 N. 10th St., McAllen / (956) 631-5452 ZZZYLYDOLIHRQOLQHFRP

7+(/8&$'2,163,5$7,21$/ 5($'(5 into one volume. These are the words that youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll want to turn to time and again for hope and encouragement.

Hope and Encouragement for Your Everyday Life By Max Lucado For more than 25 years, Max Lucado has walked with us through lifeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s journey. With wisdom, grace, and compassion, heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s covered topics like salvation and victory. Comfort and the cross. Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s love and ultimate grace. The Lucado Inspirational Reader gathers the most memorable one-liners, paragraphs, stories, and teachings from a lifetime of inspiring bestsellers

,W¡VĂ&#x20AC;OOHGZLWKLOOXVWUDWLRQVDQHFGRWHV and quotes for those times when youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re looking for just the right words and indexed for easy reference. Spend a few minutes or a few hours being refreshed and encouraged by messages straight from Maxâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s heart to yours.

/ 44 / /

Nearing Home Life, Faith, and Finishing Well

By Billy Graham “I never thought I would live to be this old.” In this moving narrative, Billy Graham once again takes up the pen not only to share his personal experience of growing older but also teach us some important lessons on how to view our time here on Earth. He says that the Bible makes it clear that God has a speFLÀFUHDVRQIRUNHHSLQJXVKHUH6RZKDWLV+LVSXUSRVH for these years, and how can we align our lives with it? How can we not only learn to cope with the fears and struggles and growing limitations ZHIDFHEXWDFWXDOO\JURZVWURQJHULQZDUGO\LQWKHPLGVWRIWKHVHGLIÀFXOties? In what may be his most powerful message of the last decade, Billy Graham speaks to all on this side of Heaven as he covers the importance of four key areas: ‡ Building strong foundations and understanding the gift of years ‡ Facing life’s transitions, including the passing of years, retirement, and when loved ones die ‡ Making wise decisions ‡ Understanding our glorious hope “In this book I invite you to explore with me not only the realities of life as ZHJURZROGHUEXWWKHKRSHDQGIXOÀOOPHQWDQGHYHQMR\WKDWFDQEHRXUV once we learn to look at these years from God’s point of view and discover His strength to sustain us every day. I pray that you and I may learn what it means not only to grow older, but, with God’s help, to grow older with grace.”

Why Men Hate Going to Church Trade Paper By David Murrow

Reveals why men are the world’s largest unreached people group and what to do about it. It’s Sunday morning. Where are all the PHQ"*ROÀQJ"3OD\LQJVRIWEDOO":DWFKing the tube? Mowing the lawn? SleepLQJ"2QHSODFH\RXZRQ·WÀQGWKHPLVLQ church. Less than 40 percent of adults in most churches are men, and 20 to 25 percent of married churchgoing women attend without their husbands. And why are the men who do go to church so bored? Why won’t they let God change their hearts? David Murrow’s groundbreaking book has been completely revised and updated, with eye-opening research and a persuasive grasp on the facts, to explain the problem and offer hope and encouragement to women, pastors, and men. Why Men Hate Going to Church does not call men back to the church— it calls the church back to men.

/ 45 / /




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Hymn s & Sacre d Son gs

1. Matt Maher Turn Around CD: The Love In Between

2. Josh Wilson Fall Apart CD: See You

3. Tenth Avenue North Strong Enough To Save CD: The Light Meets The Dark

4. Aaron Shust

My Hope Is In You CD: This Is What We Believe

5. Matthew West

Strong Enough CD: The Story Of Your Life

6. Newsboys

Save Your Life CD: Born Again

7. Casting Crowns Courageous CD: Come To The Well

8. Francesca Battistelli Motion Of Mercy CD: Hundred More Years

9. Steven Curtis Chapman Do Everything CD: re-creation

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NEW releases

Kari Jobe Whe re I F ind Y Jan. ou 24

lture s Cu Live u s e J g kenin ut! Awa Now O

Micha el W Deca des o . Smith f Wor ship Now Out!

quez Jaci Velas d n o Diam Feb. 7

Dav id C Give rowde r Us R e Jan st . 10

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The L Bethel Liv oft S e essio ns Jan. 24

Rock &

with Mercy Worship Roads Hawk Nels Me, Tenth Avenue how Spring 201 on, Sidewa N 2 lk Prophetsorth, Lecrae, Disciple and , American Bank Cente Rend Collective r C February 9 orpus Christi, TX -7:00 pm / www.iticke

Bill Co


Presen Grand ted by the R Series e Valley Bro io adwa State F y a Hidalg rm Arena April 1 o, TX www.t3, 2012 8:00 P icketm aster.cM om

Winter Jam 2012 Skillet, Sanctus Real, Peter Furler, Kari Jobe , NewSong, Building 429, Group 1,Crew, Brock Gill & More… Cedar Park Center Cedar Park (Austin), TX / February 23 -7:00 pm /

RQQoDvie '  W M FOHrD iere miere D m U L e 0 ld P Pre na Wor

re rm A 5 pm a F Statery 2 – ua ste Febr icketma .t www

s t n e v e

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No help for the unreasonable 'HDU'DYH My stepdaughter is 17 and will be starting college this IDOO+HUGDGDQG,ZDQWWRKHOSKHUZLWKH[SHQVHVEXWVKHuV chosen a private university (with the help of her other parHQWV WKDWFRVWVIRUDQXQGHUJUDGXDWHGHJUHH:H GRQuWZDQWKHUJRLQJLQWRVWXGHQWORDQGHEWEXWZHFDQuW DIIRUGWKDWNLQGRIPRQH\DQGVKHuVUHDOO\SUHVVLQJWKH issue. What do you suggest?...Christina Dear Christina, The biggest problem I see is that youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got a 17-year-old girl wagging the dog. I can tell you right now this wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t happen at my house. When it comes to the parent-child relationship at that age, the adults tell the children what to do. It doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t happen the other way around. If this child is going to take your money, then she needs to take your advice too. If sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not willing to be reasonable and take your advice, then she gets none of the money. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no undergraduate degree on the planet worth $250,000. The whole idea is absurd, and somebody needs to say that out loud. This girl can work, and she can go to a state school and get a great education for about a fourth of that price. Since youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re in Texas, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s absolutely nothing wrong with the University of Texas or Texas A&M. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re great schools. And at that price range, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m sure it would allow you guys to pitch in and help out some. But seriously, a quarter of a million dollars for an undergrad degree? I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think so! ...Dave

'HDU'DYH ,uPDERXWWREX\P\ILUVWKRPH0\SODQLVWREX\D duplex and rent out the other side to help pay down the mortgage quickly. A friend of mine wants to be my UHQWHUEXW,uPZRUULHGWKDWWKLVFRXOGMHRSDUGL]H our friendship. What do you think?...Jerry Dear Jerry, This can work, but the odds arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t in your favor. When you do business with friends you always face the risk of running into a situation that can damage the relationship. Does this mean you can never do business with friends? Of course not. I do a lot RIEXVLQHVVZLWKIULHQGV%XW,PDNHVXUHWKDWWKHVSHFLĂ&#x20AC;FUHTXLUHPHQWVRIRXUUHODtionship are laid out very clearly, in writing. It would be a good idea to make sure he understands that he absolutely must come talk to you ahead of time if thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s even a chance that he might not make the rent one month. Most problems can be worked out, but youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not running a FKDULW\7KLVQHHGVWREHHPSKDVL]HGLQDNLQGEXWĂ&#x20AC;UPPDQQHU Sometimes friends have unrealistic expectations on both sides. The friend who is renting may think heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll get some slack on the payments, or the friend whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the landlord may assume the renter will be a model tenant. These dangerous myths need to be addressed and ironed out before anything is signed. You can make it work, Jerry. Just be straightforward, and make sure the rules are understood by everyone involved. Then, when you have to enforce the rules, do it gently EXWĂ&#x20AC;UPO\'DYH

For more financial help please visit: Dave Ramsey is a personal money-management expert and extremely popular national radio personality. His three 1HZ<RUN7LPHVEHVWVHOOLQJERRNVy)LQDQFLDO3HDFH0RUH 7KDQ(QRXJKDQG7KH7RWDO0RQH\0DNHRYHUyKDYHVROGPRUH than 6 million copies combined. +LVODWHVWERRN(QWUH/HDGHUVKLS<HDUVRI3UDFWLFDO %XVLQHVV:LVGRPIURPWKH7UHQFKHVUHOHDVHV in September 2011.

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Raul “Rudy” Rodriguez 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:/ / 52 /

Valley Christian Magazine January 2012 Edition  

Valley Christian Magazine is an exciting publication sharing both local and national writers. RGV Christian Schools are spotlighted.