IN THIS ISSUE
An Evening of Hope
20 Battle Cry
22 Cornerstone: Michael W. Smith
23 Corner Stone: Stephen Curtis Chapman
Precious in the Sight of the Lord
24 Footprints & Spotlight Raphael and Aly
Reach out & Touch Someone Fireproof DVD Review
12 Lindisfarner (Holy Island) 13
Technology: The I-House
What is Your Purpose? Your Hearts Desire
Family Force Five
25 Shooting Stars: VOTA 26 All the World is His Audience
Created Reality TV
Epidemic of Grand Proportions
Addiction to Redemption
A Christians Responsibility in SL Part 2
Holy Ghost Headaches
Getting Past the Past
38 Devotion: Marisa Gary
Our of the Darkness into the Light
Margie Baxley (CEO) l Deb Anderson (Editor in Chief) l R. M. Colon (Advertising Exec.) l Robert New (Diretor) l Denise Baxley (Writer) l Brian Raison (Writer) l Debbie Button (Writer) l Lorrain Wall-Jones (Writer) l Marisa Gary(Writer) l David Howard Wall-Jones (Writer) l Denise Roberts McKinney (Writer) l Sheryn Buckingham (Entertainment Coordinator) l Brenda Sanchez (Writer) l Doug Townsend (Writer) l Linda Shulte (Writer) l Marty Shuff (Writer) l Renee Raison Storey (Writer) l Morgan Baxley (Teen Scene Writer) l Katherine Ferrante (Teen Scene Writer) Aaron Buckingham (Teen Scene Writer) l Charlie12string Lax ( Second Life Writer) l Jeff Baxley (Writer) l Margareta (Contributing Writer) l CL (Contributing Writer) l Tanya Wessel (Contributing Writer) l G. Avery Wilson (Contributing Writer)
Cover Photo courtesty of: Sheryn Buckingham
AN EVENING OF HOPE Written by: R.M. Colon Brooklyn, New York. There’s a small church filled to capacity. The language spoken was predominantly Spanish. The majority in the audience were women. What did some of these women have in common? They found refuge in a shelter where they would be protected from physical and emotional harm. Tonight they were seeking Spiritual healing. The organizer for this evening’s event was Evelyn Cardona, who herself was once a victim of domestic violence. Evelyn is now running a Women’s Shelter and is founder of the organization The North Brooklyn Coalition Against Violence. She has also developed the ministry Alternatives for Families in Christ which educates and equips pastors and other leaders within the Christian communities to identify and address domestic violence. The guest singer was Yadira Coradin who has been in the music ministry for the past twelve years and has recorded seven CD’s. She was born and raised in New York and currently resides in Puerto Rico with her husband, Rafael. But today she is ministering at a church where she began to sing as a child. As she stepped to the pulpit she greeted many and recollected the encouragement she and others received from that same pulpit. After a brief introduction she began to sing songs that touched the heart and soul. Her expressive way of singing was moving. When she spoke to the audience she touched hearts. Truly she has a gift. Her first selection was entitled “Tu Vales Mas” (You are worth more) and reached out to the women with words that gave them hope and spoke of how Christ‘s redeeming love makes the difference. It was such a moving rendition. As the night continued she performed songs that were joyful, uplifting and inspiring. She has a beautiful voice but most importantly she is anointed. It was an evening filled with a message of hope for a better future to those in despair. For more information on Yadira’s schedule and products go to her web page yadira.com and she can also be found on FaceBook and MySpace. You can contact Evelyn Cardona through MySpace. Photos Courtesy of: R.M. Colon
Audience Member Weeping
Yadira Coradin Singing
Waiting for the doors to open 4 Wings of Hope
Summer Issue 2009
We all get them, right? Mixed in with all the other junk mail: credit card offers. All you have to do is get your name on one mailing list and your mailbox will be full of them. Most of the time they go right into the recycle bin, but wait. What if you want to get a credit card, for which ones are good for you and which ones belong in the bin? The first thing you should do when considering whether or not you want to apply for a particular offer is look for the fee schedule. It’s always in the package but sometimes they make it more difficult to locate. This will outline the cost of the credit card. It is imperative that you understand how fees are assessed. Many people get into trouble when they don’t consider these costs. The first thing many of us have learned to look for is the interest rate, the APR. While this is important, there are other things that can be even more costly. Years ago I read one of these fee schedules and was absolutely appalled. On the surface it seemed like an excellent credit card with an APR less than 10 percent. That information was posted prominently on the first page in large print. The rest of the information, however, was in much smaller print and hard to spot. There was a $29 account set-up fee, a $95 program fee, a $48 annual fee, a $6 monthly fee, and all that from an account with only a $250 limit. In fact, after 5 Wings of Hope
they charge you all the initial fees including the first $6 monthly fee, you’ll find that your available credit is less than $100. Unfortunately, because most people don’t take the time to read the fine print, they get their shiny new card in the mail, see that the limit is $250, go out and start spending. By the time they get the first bill, they’ve already gone over their limit, which not only adds a $39 over the limit fee but also sends the cardholder into default. That means that teaser interest rate jumps from under 10 percent to over 30. The worst part about all this is that the banks know exactly what they’re doing. So, now that you know what the worst offers look like, let’s consider the best offers for your situation. If you’re looking to establish credit your best bet will be to get a secured card. The first place you should look is your own bank. You’ll need to have a savings account that will be collateral for your credit. But remember, you still need to check the fee schedule. It should not cost you anything to have one of these credit cards and you should definitely have at least a 20 day grace period. Amazingly, some banks will still stick you with high fees even when they have the security of your money backing you up.
However, in some cases your credit may not be good enough to start a bank account. If you’ve searched the no fee secured cards with no success, you may have to go for a card with fees. But if you do go that route, don’t kid yourself. Use it as a credit building tool ONLY! No shopping sprees, no lavish dinners, and whatever you do, don’t pay even one day late and don’t go over the limit. Just fill up your gas tank with it once every three months to keep the card listed as active and pay it off when the bill comes. For those with fair to good credit, look for cards with low interest rates and for reward cards that fit your lifestyle. If you like to travel, get a card that gives frequent flyer miles, and cards that give cash back are good for anyone. But my best advice for anyone getting any credit is to remember that this is real money that will need to be paid back. The Bible tells us that the borrower is servant to the lender. So, how can a Christian serve God alone and still use credit effectively? We’ll discuss this and much more in the next issue.
If you have bad credit and you want to reestablish some good credit your first choice would be a secured card as I mentioned above. Summer Issue 2009
Vacation Destination: The Poconos Written by: Sheryn Buckingham The Poconos is a four season vacation destination located in the eastern section of Pennsylvania. Also known as the Pocono Mountain Region, this area is popular year round for anyone seeking adventure or relaxation inside or out. Everyone in the family will be entertained, considering all the activity choices for all ages. When the summer weather begins,
an abundant number of outdoor activities are available for those who enjoy the warmth of the sun. Water fun, like water parks, tubing, canoeing, and fishing are just the beginning of warm weather activities. Play parks, animal parks, horseback riding, paint ball, and railroad excursions add additional bonding opportunities for the whole family. Camping is also a summer adventure available. However, for those who would rather not camp, resorts, hotels, and time shares are plentiful too. With numerous other events and activities, a summer visit to The 6 Wings of Hope
Poconos is sure to be enjoyed by the whole family. A fall or spring visit will eliminate most of the outside water activities as the temperature is cooler, but the beauty of the mountains is easier to enjoy for a hiking or sightseeing trip. In the fall the leaves begin to change colors, blanketing the ground in natural beauty. The spring season calls all nature to begin to function outside again after a cold winter of hibernation. The weather is perfect
that offer winter fun for the family. Museums and various historic sites are also great to visit during the winter season. An area of The Poconos not to miss is the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation area. Visiting this area during the winter may not be as enjoyable as the rest of the year, so plan appropriately. Swimming, boating, fishing, sightseeing, and even hiking on the Appalachian Trail are activities sure to please. With a rich history
for mountain climbing or biking, visiting museums or historic sites, or enjoying the local culture.
and unspoiled nature, the beautiful surroundings are a great reminder of the Universe Creator.
The coldest season of the year, tends to bring thousands to visit The Poconos. As the snow of wintertime settles on the east coast, individuals who enjoy this time of year rush to visit the mountains. Especially if an abundant amount of snow has fallen! The mountain areas are a playground for any snow sports enthusiast. Camelback, Shawnee, Alpine, and Jack Frost Mountain are just a few of the major ski areas
Whether you visit for a day, overnight or a week, a trip to the Pocono Mountains any time of year can be an exciting, relaxing, all around great trip. Having stayed during different seasons and in different sections of the area, I would recommend The Poconos. However, every individual has their own opinion. So why not check it out for yourself!
Summer Issue 2009
Written by: Joseph Kelsey
(Matthew 26:74-75 KJV) “Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the words of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.”
Betty has experienced changes over the last several years. Betty changed when she came to the Lemonaide House. The Lemonaide House is a residential care facility or an assisted living center. One thing that she is involved in is a day program, called a clubhouse. These places teach you life skills and help you become a stronger person.
Betty Thibodeau is 64 years young and lives at a residential care facility called the Lemonaide House. Betty has been living there for 6 years. She is a born again devout Christian and was baptized and saved at the same time 2 years ago at Charity Baptist Church in Hopkins, SC. She believes that it is never too late to get saved or baptized. Her favorite parts of the Bible are in the Gospel. She likes the stories of Easter and Christmas. She however, doesn’t like man’s traditions on Christmas and Easter. She believes that the traditions of the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus should never be taught to children, one reason being, that poor children don’t get anything. Another reason is: (Matthew 18:6 KJV) “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” She also likes certain people in the Bible. Her favorite persons in the Bible are Peter and Daniel.
One thing Betty would like to know is what exactly happens when we die? It is something that none of us on this side have experienced. (Revelation 21:4 KJV) “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Betty has other interests. She likes sports. Her favorite is tennis. She also likes to shop. She likes getting bargains at the local Wal-Mart. Some of her greatest accomplishments are: getting over phobias, such as touching dirty things; also becoming more friendly and striving to get an apartment. Her greatest accomplishment is being able to work with small children.
When asked if she has a favorite type of music or musician, she says no. God does say “make a joyful noise unto the Lord.” However, she has realized that most of the mainstream music is evil. As she was growing up, her family went on trips and she feels she had a fair childhood. Her parents even put her and her 6 siblings through college. Betty is looking for a job. She is also a big fan of our new president of the USA. She is grateful that he is pulling the USA’s soldiers out of Iraq. She hopes that he will improve social security as well. She thinks that he is the greatest president this country has ever had. When asked if she would like to meet anybody, the answer was: Michelle and Barak Obama. She likes Michelle because she takes time with 7 Wings of Hope
Summer Issue 2009
Written by:Denise Baxley If a friend let you use their apartment for a while, would you trash it? What do you think Jesus would do? Well, the Bible tells us that God has given the earth to us (Psalm 115:16). Doesn’t it make sense that we should take care of what God has given us? I currently live in South Florida. One thing you don’t see here is mountains or even hills. It’s a very flat landscape. Well, that’s not completely true, we do have some small mountains. Unfortunately, the mountains we do have are mountains of garbage we call landfills. Driving to work on the Florida Turnpike one day, I passed one of these landfills and had an epiphany. It dawned on me that we don’t have to throw away so much stuff. We have turned into a throw away society. It didn’t used to be this way. Just a few decades ago potatoes still came in sacks that could be used again for something else, and cookies and crackers came in tins that little girls would use for hair bows and little boys would use for plastic soldiers and baseball cards. Milk was sold in reusable bottles, soft drinks were sold in reusable bottles, and water wasn’t sold in bottles at all. Things have definitely 8 Wings of Hope
changed since then. Take a look around your home or office and consider all the things you’ll be contributing to your area’s mountain of garbage this week. There’s a lot of stuff, isn’t there? Now multiply that by 52 to consider how much your portion will be for the year. And last but definitely not least, think about what that mountain is going to look like in a few decades when your children and grandchildren come of age. Does that clarify the issue for you? It certainly did for me. Reduce. The best way to minimize the amount of refuse we send to the landfill is to reduce the amount of disposable material we use. Get a reusable cup for when you go to get coffee. Many coffeehouses will even give you a discount. Buy a water bottle that you can refill using filtered water. When purchasing be aware of the amount of packaging that comes with the item. If it’s too much, just leave it on the shelf. Reuse. If we reuse our resources as much as possible, like our forefathers did, we will find all those mountains begin to dwindle. Buy secondhand furniture and clothing. It may not be brand new but it will still be new to you. You’d be amazed at the quality you can find at thrift stores and consignment shops.
Rather than throwing out your old stuff, give it away to a local charity or on craigslist.com or freecyle.org. Old tee shirts and clothing with stains that aren’t in good enough shape to give away, cut up and use for rags that you can use and wash and use again. Recycle. Here in South Florida we have it easy with curbside recycling yet I’m amazed that the majority of my neighbors still don’t recycle or don’t recycle everything they could. One week my elevenyear-old son saw some large cardboard boxes in the top of our neighbor’s garbage can. Though they had a small bin with some cans and bottles to recycle, it seems they weren’t aware that cardboard is also on the recycle list. If you don’t have curbside recycling, there are likely some local drop-off locations where you can take recyclables. We’ll be moving to South Carolina and I’ve already found out where we’ll need to take things that can be recycled. It’s really not about saving the planet as some may think. The planet doesn’t need to be saved, its inhabitants do. What it is about is taking care of the planet our Lord has blessed us with. And in doing so maybe we’ll see those mountains start getting turned into molehills!
Summer Issue 2009
“Precious in the Sight of the Lord...” Written by: Renee Raison Storey
In the book of Psalms, it tells us that “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116.15, KJV). Many people think about statues and icons when they think of saints. But the New Testament uses the word to designate believers, those set apart by their faith. One of the saints has been on my mind often since he died shortly before Thanksgiving last year. Storm Bratchett was killed in a freak accident. He was 17 years old, one of those kids that everyone liked. He was a normal, busy teenager who played ball, went to dances, had a girlfriend he loved. He also had a Savior he loved, and he was more passionate about Jesus than he was about anything else in his life. He wanted his friends to know Jesus. He was a natural leader, and his goal in life was to lead others to God. He’d have been a great public relations agent for Jesus because you couldn’t know Storm without knowing about Jesus. One Sunday evening in November, I stood and watched as Storm led the youth praise band. As he leaned into the microphone singing “Sweetly Broken”, he was alive with joy in the Lord. Two days later, he was gone. All his talent, all his promise, all his love gone from the world, taken in an instant. What could God have been thinking? Storm was planning a life of ministry. His strong 9 Wings of Hope
faith would have led many people to Jesus. Why would God take him? Why couldn’t the doctors save him? Why is he gone? But God has a plan. His plan is not our plan. We often don’t understand what God is doing. Sometimes we’re sure the plan must have gone very wrong along the way. Still, God knows what He is doing all the time. God uses every life in ways that are sometimes surprising, sometimes painful, sometimes joyous, to bring His message of salvation from the world to the world. Storm’s goal in life was to bring others to know Jesus as Storm knew Him, so that they would know the joy he knew. In his life, he touched an uncommonly wide range of people, and he sowed the seeds of faith everywhere he went. In his death, it is left to others to nurture those seeds and bring to God a rich harvest. The ministry Storm envisioned will be carried on, and we may never know its extent. But Storm’s ministry will serve God’s ultimate plan. Storm was a child of rare faith. He carried light within him. The world dimmed when he left it. But we know that as one of the saints, he is precious to God. He now sees Jesus face to face. He is with the Savior he praised, sang about and longed for. Storm has led the way to Heaven. Pray that everyone he touched will follow. Summer Issue 2009
Reach Out and Touch Someone Written by: Debbie Button Cancer Survivor Josh Lilliston: Guest Speaker for Opening Ceremony
developed a better understanding of the Relay for Life and my daughter and I decided to become involved last November. I was a little nervous about the extent of the workload involved with being the team captain so I did the smart thing and encouraged my daughter to be our team captain and I would help in whatever way I was able. Our team remained at two
situation but I can help to make the moment a little easier to bear. Last August, I became aware of a young man who was injured in a car crash in many of the same ways my son had been injured in 1997. Many times when there is a medical crisis, well-meaning people flock to your side in the early days but then the numbers wane as the days go by. Life
Photo Courtesy of Matt Button Last June, my sister called and invited me to an event being held locally to recognize and celebrate cancer survivors and their caregivers. It was called the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. Until that day, I really had no idea what this was all about. I tried my best to be helpful to my sister when she was diagnosed
with cancer and she now credits me as her caregiver. Seven years ago we lost our mom to cancer and almost two years ago, we lost our grandmother to cancer. Our father is a cancer survivor of two different types of cancer and he is doing very well. To our knowledge, he is cancer free at this time. Since that day, I have
Photo Courtesy of Matt Button 10 Wings of Hope
members for a while and then slowly more people joined with us and now we have ten team members. I am now the co-team captain and loving it. I have been trying to decide why I want to be involved with this event. I want to walk alongside others who are hurting so that they won’t feel so alone. I can’t change their
takes over and people get busy. They don’t mean to forget but it’s just what happens. I wanted to contact this family but we were strangers. I decided to write them a letter telling them about my experience with my son and offering a shoulder to lean on if that ever became necessary. Within days, I received a phone call accepting Summer Issue 2009
that offer and that mom and I have become friends. In fact, last night she called and thanked me again for taking the time to write the letter and coming into her life. I didn’t do anything special. I just didn’t want her to hurt alone. I am rushing as I write this because our South Harford Relay for Life event is tonight and I still have things to do. We have prepared seven bountiful and beautiful gift baskets to be raffled off. In fact, Wings of Hope has been so generous to include subscriptions for the winners of these baskets. We have games to set up and chips and soda to sell. There are approximately 450 people participating in this event, as well as the hundreds who are expected to show up from the community. We have been praying for nice weather. They say that it always rains at the South Harford Relay. Well, we have been praying and the sun is shining and the expected temperature is 80 degrees today. The power of prayer! Don’t just be a spectator and watch others become involved. There are many worthy causes that need your time, money and energy. I prefer to become involved personally whereas others prefer to donate monies. Either way, you are a blessing to someone. Fireproof DVD REVIEW Written by: Linda Schulte This 2008 release, now out on DVD, is
one of the most watched inspirational movies out there. Share a romantic, eye-opening evening with your someone special and spark some reality into your relationship. Whether you are in a solid relationship or going through some bumpy spots, this movie makes sense and validates commitment and the sanctity of marriage. Starring Kirk Cameron as Caleb Holt and Erin Bethea as Catherine Holt, this movie teaches valuable lessons for married couples to live by with biblical truths to back it up. It is enhanced by some amazing music from such big name contemporary Christian artists as Casting Crowns, Third Day, Grey Holiday, John Waller, Leeland and Warren Barfield. The couple lives in beautiful upscale Albany, Georgia, and are both very accomplished in their careers ~ Caleb Holt is the Fire Captain and a local hero while his wife, Catherine, is a young successful Public Relations Director of a nearby hospital; but despite all the success, they have problems. They are constantly arguing about everything from household chores and grocery shopping to dry cleaning and cooking. Communication between them is nearly non-existent. After too many months of bashing banter amongst them, anger, hurt, resentment and broken hearts are all that remain. Their issues dominate and overwhelm them and eventually break down their relationship. Caleb is saddened and turns to his dad for support and advice. Thus comes the 40-day challenge that is referred to as the “Love Dare,” to save his marriage, but in truth it is also saving himself. Caleb goes through the motions of this guidebook that his dear father mailed to him. He does daily activities which urge him to pray and do kind actions for his wife. His deeds are not well received by his wife day by day and week by week and Caleb becomes very frustrated. It is not until he truly learns how to love that the guidebook actually makes sense to him and his heart is fully focused on the true purpose. The challenge takes him on a journey of self discovery and the Lord takes over in his heart, attitude and marriage. Caleb’s change is noticeable. Fireproof helps to rekindle the warm marital relationships by using sound biblical principals and positive influences in our lives. In a kind and truly Christian way, this movie is moving and will make you laugh and cry, and you will be restored, revived and ready for God’s plan for your marriage. 11 Wings of Hope
Summer Issue 2009
Lindisfarne (Holy Island) and the Lindisfarne Gospels Written by: Lorraine Wall-Jones
Lindisfarne is a small island off the Northumbrian coast. At high tide it gets cut off from the mainland, but at low tide you can cross by a causeway – inevitably some do need rescuing. It is dominated by the 16th-century castle but is probably more known for the other site of inheritance, the Priory. [www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/wlindisfarnecastle] Isolation attracted monks and hermits to the place, gaining it the title ‘Holy Island’ as they could find solitude; and still today it is a place of pilgrimage and retreat. St Aiden founded an order there in AD 635, as the Anglo Saxon King Oswald wanted Northumbria Christianised. Aiden came from the Ireland and the Isle of Iona, which is situated off the coast of Scotland just off Mull. It was an austere and Spartan existence, though rich in spiritual inheritance, giving Celtic Christians their unique perspective of life, connecting with creation. Many a fantastic piece of artwork inspired the elaborate labyrinths and Celtic knots. [www. joellessacredgrove.com/Celtic/art.html] St Cuthbert then succeeded as Abbot and under his instructions the place became well known as a seat for learning and artwork, as well as for making mead, the alcoholic drink made from honey. [www.lindisfarne-mead. co.uk; www.ukheritage.net/religiou/ lindisf.htm] Back in AD 690 the monks dedicated their lives to producing works that would please God. Understandably they turned their attentions to the Word of God and produced the Lindisfarne Gospels. One monk, Bishop Eadfrith, has been credited with the copying of these Gospels, which became his opus Dei (God’s work] His life was dedicated to the task of scribing the Gospels for Cuthbert and God, in the Vulgate Latin 12 Wings of Hope
used then. This took possibly seven years to produce and was used on ceremonial occasions. Ethelwald, Bishop of the Lindisfarne islanders, impressed it on the outside and covered it – as he well knew how to do. Billfrith, the hermit, forged the ornaments which are on the outside covers and adorned it with gold and jewels along with gilded-over silver – pure metal. Aldred, unworthy and most miserable priest, translated it into English between the lines with the help of God and Saint Cuthbert. [www.bbc.co.uk/tyne/ features/gospels/gospels_tense_past. shtml] Using vellum, or calfskin, each formed two pages. One hundred and thirty skins formed the book. Imagine the monks going about their daily tasks of gardening, cooking, praying and worship, whilst curing, treating and making useful the vellum – material that has lasted down centuries as a testament to them and beautiful artwork. Facing the beginning of each chapter would be a ‘carpet page’ and then the elaborate texts of each Gospel. Pictures of the four apostles sitting at their desks and writing the originals are depicted. [images.google. co.uk/images?q=Lindisfarne+Gos pels&ie=UTF-8&oe=utf-8&rls=org. mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefoxa&um=1&sa=X&oi=image_result_ group&resnum=4&ct=title] The manuscript has been under threat, though. Escaping from Viking invaders, the monks took their precious objects to the mainland, and St Cuthberts remains now rest at Durham. The manuscript though was elite and inaccessible to the general population who could not read or write plain English let alone Vulgate Latin. The printing press seven hundred years later caused the Bible to become a regular in family homes. [www.greatsite.com/timeline-englishbible-history] King Henry VIII then undermined the Catholic authorities in his bid for a wife to produce an heir for the throne of England. The dissolution of these
power seats caused many of the abbeys in England to become ruins, and the wealth transferred to the royal treasury. Many artworks were destroyed in the process. [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Dissolution_of_the_Monasteries] The precious jewels and metals that covered the Lindisfarne Gospels were stripped and the manuscript itself was laid in the Tower of London. One of the founders of the British Museum, Sir Robert Cotton, then procured them and presented them to the nation. In 1852 a new binding replicated the former. The Gospels themselves can now be found in the British Library. Modern technology has made them accessible for all to view. On Lindisfarne itself there is an electronic viewing of them, where you can turn the pages, when in the past only the monks were able to handle them. Many would love to see the return to their isle of origin. [www.bbc.co.uk/tyne/features/gospels/ gospels_look_dont_touch.shtml] Through the internet you can view the manuscripts and other important historical material from the comfort of your own computer. [www.bl.uk/ onlinegallery/sacredtexts/lindisfarne. html] I have imported some of the images to Second Life (virtual reality programme) and created a display for many to view and see. I hope you appreciate the beauty and majesty of them. [www. scriptedscriptures.com] I am left with questions though. What is our work for God? Do we have the patience to dedicate ourselves to producing beautiful works to glorify God? In our instant, transitory, throwaway lifestyle, will what we produce today still be setting people at awe with wonder centuries later? Summer Issue 2009
Written by: Robert New We’ve heard of the iPod, the MP3 player that has really set the standard all others are judged to. And then came the iPhone that took the smart phone and tech world by storm (no slam at Blackberry intended). Now the latest in “i” products is the I-House, although this one is brought to us not by Apple, but by Clayton Homes.
Popular Mechanics described it as looking like a house you’d order from Ikea but sounding like a house designed by Apple. In the i-house Clayton says the “I” stands for intelligent, intuitive, inspired, innovative and integrated. This house is not exactly a house for those who like traditional, twostory colonial homes. The lines are sleek, the roof line is modern and functional, and the hose is very compact. The beauty of the i-house is that it was
designed to be energy efficient and the basic house-about 1000 sq feet can be operated on energy costs around $68 per month, $26 with the optional solar panels installed. The house’s roof line resembles more of an inverted traditional roof line, as the valley is in the center and is designed to catch rain water for use in gardening or car washing. The house also has Andersen Low-Ewindows, R-21 exterior wall insulation and R30 roof and floor insulation,
water saving dual flush toilets, digital programmable thermostat, Shaw laminate flooring, and many more. Options include the energy saving solar panels, Shaw bamboo flooring, Rheem tankless water heater, and various counter top, backsplash and appliance upgrades. The basic version is a one bedroom, one bath model. There is also a model with two bedrooms and one bath in the main unit. An optional “flex” building is available in a number of other configurations with a bonus room, a bonus room with a bedroom and a bath, or a two bedroom one bath model. The flex room also can be equipped with a roof-top deck. The two buildings are joined by a deck
13 Wings of Hope
structure built of recycled decking materials. While the i-house isn’t for everyone it does offer a great start for super energy efficient homes. One estimate has Clayton homes hoping to sell about 2,000 i-houses per year. With energy costs rising and many people looking to downsize from their existing homes, I see the i-house as a great alternative for young people wanting a first home or retiring baby boomers looking to reduce their carbon foot print. You can read more about the i-house at www.claytonihouse. com or if you are in the Knoxville area go by and check them out in person. I’m sure we will be hearing more about the i-house.
Summer Issue 2009
Gideon’s Well Written By: Doug Townsend Gen 1:26-27, And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (KJV) About Me I was born in a small town in upstate New York. I have been a born again Christian for 21 years. Gideon Tomsen is a pseudonym that I use in the virtual world known as Second Life. In Second Life and in Real Life I write for Wings of Hope Magazine.
What Jesus Wants Have you ever wondered what Jesus expects from us as Christians? The Bible is quite clear on that subject. Mark 16:15 says we’re to preach the Gospel to the entire world. He doesn’t just want us to preach though. Mark 16:17 and 18 says we will have signs follow us. These signs are the ability to cast out demons, speak in new tongues, pick up snakes with our hands, (unknowingly) drink poison and it won’t hurt us and place our hands on sick people and they will get well. We will also cause the blind to see, the lame to walk and the deaf to hear. I believe that we could also see diseases healed that didn’t exist during the time of the first church, such as AIDS and certain tropical diseases like Dengue fever which currently has no cure. Jesus said those signs will follow us. Those signs are the proof that we are walking with Jesus and that He is who He says He is. We will also have to feed the hungry and poor; according to Matthew 14:15-21 we may do that with very little food through God’s grace. Jesus fed about 5,000 men in that passage and that doesn’t count women and children. Some scholars estimate that there may have been as many as 20,000 to 25,000 people that were fed by Jesus that day from five loaves of bread and two small fish…and there were leftovers. What a miracle! John 14:9-12 says that Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in Him. This means Jesus is God. It also says those who believe will do the same things Jesus did. That means we can raise the dead (Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead in John 11:43 and in Luke 7:11-15 He raised a woman’s son from the dead) in addition to the signs already stated and verse 12 says we will do even greater things than Jesus did. What does that mean? Well, it could mean a greater number of these types of things or it could mean doing things that Jesus didn’t do, such as creative miracles. I guess we will just have to wait and find out. I believe we haven’t even come close to seeing all that Jesus wants us to do when we reach the fulfillment He meant for us. Going out with the Gospel and performing signs like that through the Holy Spirit will cause a great revival. Sick people will seek out Christians instead of doctors. Hospitals will be emptied. Can you imagine emptying out a nursing home of all the elderly who are healed? How about curing all of the people in a mental institution? Can you imagine them going home to their loved ones totally healed? Jesus wants us to do many things in His name but probably the two most important things are to have faith and show love to all. Nothing is possible without both. With faith, love and the signs Jesus spoke of we will change the world.
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Summer Issue 2009
What is your purpose?
Ask God what your purpose is and He will show you. Most likely, it will involve your greatest passion. God Written by: Marty Shuff is a very personal God and wants Do you have one? In this crazy world to touch your life in a very personal we live in I watch those around way. He wants you to be happy. me live a seemingly meaningless Are you happy? What would it take existence. My co-workers talk about to make you happy? Do you have a their evening and how they can’t dream that has slipped away? What wait to get home and drink a few was that dream? beers or go to the local hangout. I really struggle with this mentality. When you have a dream you have We waste so much time in front of to stay focused on that dream. For the TV or computer. What better me, I have to decide which is more ways could we find to spend our important, being effective for God or getting my worldly desires met? time? If I focus on my desires I cannot be For me, my life has to consist of effective for God and my dreams fall something more then fulfilling my by the wayside. I fall into Satan’s trap. worldly desires. I am not saying If I focus on my dream I am allowing I am perfect. I fall prey to Satan’s God to work and also helping others schemes also and I struggle with along the way. unhealthy desires, but I am trying to gain control of them by filling my God can make that dream a reality if life with things that are meaningful. you just step out in faith and let Him, but you have to take the first step; I try to see the bigger picture. There then God will meet you where you is more to life than having a good are. Do not succumb to fear. That is time all the time. Giving brings great Satan’s greatest tool. Allow God to joy and satisfaction when we choose lead you along the way of finding to do it. I would like to leave a legacy your purpose and you can’t help but behind. I would like to know that I find happiness in the process. have made a difference in someone’s life.
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Your Heart’s Desire Children see things through the eyes of God. Their innocence is their greatest gift. For a child, nothing is impossible, nothing is out of reach. They see hope and love everywhere they turn. I wish there was a way to keep that hope alive. But society has a way of pushing that aside. I see the effects of an apathetic world and the bitterness that there resides. I see that life has robbed so many people of their hearts desire. As a young adult, we all had hopes and dreams. We were on fire. But somewhere along the way, those hopes and dreams began to fade. With the busyness of life, we tuck those things away. But the soul still yearns to have those dreams revived. Passion and desire are what keep that hope alive. Without passion our soul begins to die. Have you sacrificed your soul to just “get by.” We must find a way to reignite that fire! What IS your heart’s desire?
Summer Issue 2009
A Christian’s Responsibilities in Second Life, Part 2 Written by: Charlie12string Lax and Margarita In Part 1 (Dec 08 issue) we established that a Christian’s thought life should be Godcentred, whether we are in “Real life” or “Second Life.” In Part 2 (Spring 09) we looked at relationships in general. In this issue we are looking at what happens when Christians “fall in love” in SL, whether we should allow ourselves to, and how we should act and respond if we do. Charlie says - Last November I met Margarit Sideshow at the Anglican Cathedral of Second Life. We became friends and a short time later “fell in love.” It was her spirituality that first attracted me, and even now, many months later, we still believe that God brought us together. Margarita: - When I first met Charlie in SL, I was impressed with the time he devoted to me, helping me to find my way around this new environment and inviting me to his place. Charlie - After that first church service I showed Margarit the “River of Prayer,” which dries up in drought and can be started again when people pray. She told me she was new to SL and was still finding her way around. I was concerned, as many people have been hurt in SL, so I took her to a little church on the same island. We knelt down together, and I prayed, “Dear Jesus, Bless Margarit and may she find many good friends in Second Life and keep her safe.” Margarit - I liked the fact that Charlie seemed more interested in talking about God than in 16 Wings of Hope
trying to hit on me, as other “avis” had done in the past. In “Real Life,” I was dealing with my marriage rupture, so I was very lonely and in desperate need of friendship. Charlie - In the following weeks we went dancing in lovely locations, shared deeply and found we had many things in common. When Margarit told one of my friends she loved me and wanted to show me where she lived in RL I was so happy! I felt like a king with a wonderful princess by his side! Margarit - I do believe that people can get in love in SL, just as it happens in RL. Love is a powerful emotion and is not confined to any kind of boundaries. You can love someone in both the Virtual and the Real world; you can love someone who is physically present, or even someone who has passed away. However, every time we experience love, we place ourselves in a vulnerable situation. Charlie - Margarit shared her email address with me on our second meeting which was a dangerous thing to do and I warned her not to reveal such personal information. Margarit - I realize now that we must be very careful of the amount of personal information we reveal. In real life relationships, we learn a lot from other people’s physical appearance. The way the person dresses, their gestures and manners, will tells us a great deal of information about who are we getting in love with. In the virtual world, this information is not available, so I believe it is important to be extra careful when first getting to know someone and avoid giving out information that can place us in a risky situation, like house addresses, and telephone numbers. We do need to be aware that there are very sick and dangerous people taking advantage of the internet and using it for evil purposes. Margarit continues - Spending time as friends is an excellent way to get to know someone and is better than rushing into a relationship too fast. As a relationship develops you can feel more secure about revealing greater details about yourself. Charlie - I shared more and more about the real me with Margarit and each time I did I felt the risk of losing her! I am not handsome in real life like the Summer Issue 2009
avatar I had at that time, and in fact have a minor deformity. Also I am 65 where as she is 34, and I live half a world away in RL. But I felt the need to be totally honest with her. Margarit - I really believe that as a deep relationship develops you need to get to know the real person, to bring that person into real life. Spending time only in the virtual world may not be enough to get to know the person who is behind the avatar. Try as much as you can to get connected to that person with the help of IM, email, web cam, and even by telephone. Remember, we are not falling in love with an “avi,” we are falling in love with the person behind the “avi.” As time went by and Charlie and I spent more time together, not only in SL but in RL too, I started to really get to know the real Charlie, (and I still liked him LOL). Charlie - We spent a wonderful December and Christmas Eve together and as Margarit’s confidence continued to grow she no longer felt the need to “escape” the hurts of her real life into SL. Because of our age difference and our remoteness from each other we have not been able to sustain a romantic relationship in RL and have never met, but we continue to have a really close and loving friendship and we believe that because we put God first, Jesus was able to do a healing work in both our lives. So always pray and ask God for guidance. God is love, and He wants every one of us to experience it. He will guide us and give us wisdom in every relationship that we develop if we look to Him. Comments or responses to email@example.com
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Summer Issue 2009
Holy Ghost Headaches, Growing the Kingdom and the Least of These… written by: Denise Roberts McKinney
I can’t believe I’m going to confess to a national magazine that I get Holy Ghost headaches, but I do. You won’t find this ailment listed on a medical chart and I’m inclined, as was C.S. Lewis, not to see Satan behind every doorpost … so I’ve finally settled on this diagnosis. You see, every time I am presented with something I cannot possibly do on my own but that is part of growing the Kingdom, I get a headache. The headaches are my “green light” and I proceed knowing that somehow God has got my back. I’ve learned to take a deep breath, pray, pop a few pain relievers, and jump in. It was this Lent that my heart was impressed with the desire to design a program of spiritual help and support for women who have been abused.
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You must understand two things: I know very little about the dynamics of abuse and I feel totally overwhelmed by the numbers of abused women, insidious both in act and its secrecy. I have no expertise and no experience. Totally on my own, I knew nothing. However, this impression burned within me so I mentioned it to my friend who is an advocate for abuse victims and had survived horrific abuse. Her eyes grew wide as she explained that she was helping to coordinate a public awareness event that would give women tools to convey to the public-at-large the dynamics of abuse through role-play and dramatic monologues. Her ultimate goal was spiritual support and expression for the women. Serendipity, indeed! As excited as I was, the twinges around my temples began. As she and I exchanged emails and I reviewed her forwarded articles, blogs, and firsthand accounts from survivors, the tension in my head grew to the point of blurred vision and difficulty concentrating. (This
is not a good state for a mother of three who home schools!) As I researched and prayed, I felt led to prepare a grant application to a state women’s organization to help meet her goal. The deadline was looming and I was not doing well at all. Just as I was ready to stop working, the Holy Ghost headache diagnosis came to me. Second Corinthians 12:710 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (NIV)
grinned slightly and prayed, “Lord, if this is our little secret way of getting me to do Your work, then I thank You for it and will consider it a sign that I’m on the right path.” No, the headaches didn’t let up, rainbows didn’t come out, and a deep voice didn’t boom down from the heavens, but I had inner peace…and I had a diagnosis that I can live with. Denise Roberts McKinney resides in Berea, Kentucky. She will know shortly if the grant is to be funded. So far today, she has no headache, but is in kind of a silly mood. (Never forget that God loves silly, too. But that’s another article…). She has an agenda -- that the church should wildly love “the least of these” and that more people should have Holy Ghost aches and pains.
It is plain that this “thorn” was given by the Lord. Paul’s answer: accept it, thank God for it, and go on. I decided this must be my answer, too. So I
Summer Issue 2009
Family Force 5 is an Atlanta-based crunk-rock group. That means they play hard rock, with an additional rap flavor mixed in. Their latest release, Dance or Die, seems to take them in a different direction. More on that later – let’s get some background on the band. The band’s roots can be traced back to the father of the Olds brother, Jerome Olds. Jerome Olds played the New York club scene in the early 1980s before moving to Atlanta, GA, in the mid-’80s, where he played with The Tom Grose band, a local musical group. He also ran a recording studio with bassist and producer Ricky Keller before surrendering his life to Christ around 1987. He went on to sign with the Starsong label and produced CDs entitled No Disguise and Heart of a Common Man. He went on to be a large influence in the lives of his kids, producing their first CDs. Family Force 5 began as The Brothers with the Olds boys Solomon, Jacob, and Joshua. They released their first two CDs, produced by daddy Jerome (also on the Starsong label) entitled RPM (1995) and Fact and Reality (1996). In 2004 they changed up a bit by adding Nathan Currin as the DJ and Brad Allen on lead guitars, and released The Phamily EP. In 2005 they renamed themselves Family Force 5 and re-released their debut CD under their new name, also adding two more tracks to it. In 2008, they replaced Brad Allen with Derek Mount and released their sophomore effort Dance or Die, a slightly different production from their debut release The latter CD has, in my opinion, more of what I would call a techno-rock flavor, which differs from their earlier release which has more of a crunk-rock type sound. FF5 has played at the Warped Tour, Creation Festival, Icthus Music Festival, Alive Festival, and performed on the underground stage of the Cornerstone Festival in July of 2006. In January 2009 they played at played at Parachute 09, a Christian music festival held in New 19 Wings of Hope
Z-9 “16 The LORD their God will save them on that day as the flock of his
people. They will sparkle in his land, like jewels in a crown. 17 How attractive and beautiful they will be! Grain will make the young men thrive and new wine the young women.” Zechariah 9: 16-17
Family Force Five Written by: Jeff Baxley Zealand at the beginning of every year. Family Force 5 will be playing on the Alternative Press Tour in early 2009. Also, in mid-2009 the band will once again be performing at the Creation Festival, The Bamboozle, and Ignite Chicago. The band will debut the remix album Dance or Die With A Vengeance, which features remixes by The Secret Handshake (“Dance or Die”), 3OH!3, Danger Radio, and others to be announced. They’ve even been on network TV, appearing on CBS’s The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson on July 14 of 2006. Though some seem to criticize them for some of the seemingly secular themes in their music, they continue to draw raves from fans all across the US. I will say that no matter what you think of them and their music, they do tend to get the message across to the listeners that not only can Christians have a great time too, but that God loves you!…and that’s the most important part, don’t you think?
Summer Issue 2009 19 Wings of Hope
Battlecry 2009 written by: Kathryn Ferrante (Teen Scene Writer) Photo Courtesty of: Jemmie Bailey What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus Christ? Is it just a name that we call ourselves- Christian? Or a journey to pick up our cross and nail our sufferings with that of Jesus everyday? BattleCry 2009 aims at the issues teens face today. Ron Luce, one of the keynote speakers, titled his sermon the “Spirit of the Python.” A python is a large snake that wraps itself around its victim, slowly cutting off air supply until the victim is lifeless. The Bible has passages that connect the deceitful patience of a python to that of the devil. More than ever the devil is on a rampage for all humans, but most specifically teens, but he’ll wait. He’s extremely patient for his victim. But remember: the end is always worse than the beginning. Nirvana, a extremely popular rock band in the 1980s, had multi-platinum CDs. While everything was going very well for the band career wise, their lead singer, Kurt Cobain, was already in the python’s grasp. His addiction to drugs was his hook. It slowly, but surely, demoralized him. Hopeless, joyless, and worst of all Godless, the young superstar committed suicide. In a suicidal letter he wrote, “I just don’t have the passion anymore.” Why would anyone who has accomplished all the world declares “good” decide to take their own life? I’m sure the python would know the answer. 2-Pac and Biggie Smalls are both the victims of the other’s gang. Multi-platinum recording stars, the two raps were rivals and constantly battled it out for more fans, more money, drugs and girls. The python knew exactly how to hook them. He knows exactly how to hook everyone; he knows all of our weaknesses. But we never are tempted with something too burdensome for us to handle. And besides we have God, the creator of all; no one and nothing can defeat Him. Unfortunately 2-Pac didn’t see it this way. A couple of hours before he was murdered one of his good friends was discussing with him about the saving grace of Jesus. 2-Pac responded, “I know Jesus exists, but I don’t want to live for Him yet.” If only he had accepted Christ there, how his life may have been saved. The gay movement has never had so much momentum as it does now. The media is shoving it in our face and sweeping it across our country. Heath Ledger got into the mix of it and played a lead role in Brokeback Mountain. The film demonstrated the love of two male cowboys. Later in life, Heath played a role in the Dark Night as the Joker. He had been forewarned by Jack Nicholson, who stared as the Joker in an older version of the Dark Night, that playing such a part puts you “in a dark place.” However this is not when the python got hold of Heath. It occurred earlier in life when he played in Brokeback Mountain. God created man and women for each other. The gay movement is just a way for the python to grip hold of humans; nothing more than a perversion of what God created as good. The same year Brokeback Mountain came out, The Passion of the Christ did as well. Brokeback Mountain was nominated and won several awards, The Passion won nothing. It just shows that the media is aiding the grip for the python, 20 Wings of Hope
it’s just making humans be constricted that much easier. BattleCry also featured bands such as Jeremy Camp, who had a very uplifting message to share with the fans. Sometimes we, as humans, become so distracted with our lives that we forget the creator and giver of all good. It is by our daily cross that we are reminded of what Jesus did for us, and His infinite merciful love for us. Just take a moment, ten seconds out of your life, to say thank You; thank You to the creator of all good, our best friend. Every day you wake up, thank Him for life and for a brand new day to live for Him. Every time you’re in the car, pause, and thank Him for the transportation you have. Before you go to bed, praise Him for a house to be sheltered in, a bed to sleep in and food to keep you healthy. Notice the good around you wherever you go; for God is the creator of all positive thoughts. Once you start off praying for ten seconds, soon you’ll be praying for a minute which turns into twenty which leads to an hour and soon your whole day is filled with His praises. First do what is necessary, then what is possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible. Every time you are tempted and call upon God’s assistance, you become stronger and the grip of the python is lessened and lessened until you are home free.
Summer Issue 2009
Joysongs Conference written by: Kathryn Ferrante (Teen Scene Writer) Big music fan? Love to hear God’s word? Whatever your passion is don’t just sing along with the songs or listen to a moving sermon. Go out and tell it to others, and most importantly, live to it accordingly. The Joysongs Conference is a two-day event that was packed with speakers and musicians. The first night was a crowd rouser that expressed how incredible it is to be God’s child. The second day took the attendees into a further aspect of living their lives for Christ. How do we follow God’s calling and live our lives for Him? Keep a close connection with Him. The Bible calls us to pray constantly; but how can we do that in a world constantly on the go? Whatever you do, ask God to guide your steps. Desire nothing more than to do His will. See good in the world and express your love for others by doing unselfish deeds and raising your mind and heart to God. “Look beyond the fame and glory,” as Hannah Reimann would say, and only build His praises which is of above.
Professional musician and recording artist Neville L’Green and WOH Teen Scene Writer Kathryn Ferrante
With a focused mind on God, before you go to sleep offer every good deed that you have done that day to Him and ask Him to show you what is your vocation in life. While desiring to live out His will for you, pray this simple prayer that Darrell Evans shared, “Lord, let your spirit work something good in me to make me more like Christ today. You’ll find there’s joy and hope in that
Minister, recording artist, and worship leader Aimee Reid-Sych
David Moyse, music producer and former guitarist for Air Supply as well as for Hillsongs Australia Christian Music
journey”-a joy and hope that nothing else and no one else can fill. With Christ in our life we can be joyful in the good times and in the bad. He is our creator and He knows and gives us exactly what we need even though we may think we “need” something different. “God’s ways are not our ways” (Isaiah 55:8), but be mindful that His ways are greater than ours. Keep humility and purity in check and while you are on this journey remember that “[He] sees you as you’re going to be not as you are” (Darrell Evans). So keep on the journey and never give up. You’ll find that fusing your will to His and following “what we’re here to do” (Hannah Reimann), gives a whole new meaning and joy that you could ever experience. For the full interview with Hannah Reimann and Darrell Evans please check out the Wings of Hope official website: wohmag.com and our official tangle account: tangle.com/ WingsofHopeMag
Cornerstone: Michael W. Smith Written by: Sheryn Buckingham
As a composer, songwriter, musician, singer, recording artist, and actor, Michael W. Smith is a very busy man who continues to depend on God to guide his life. At the early age of ten God laid claim to his heart, then began to unfold the grand design planned for Michael’s life. With dreams bigger than the small town he grew up in, this West Virginia boy with a passion for God and music packed up and headed to Nashville, TN. Over 30 years later, he has changed Nashville and Christian music forever! Even now, Michael continues to glorify God and excite fans by joining with Stephen Curtis Chapman for their first tour together; The United Tour. Containing just the right mix of old and new music, the tour playlist illuminates the Majesty of our glorious Creator. As the song “Above All” concluded at the performance I attended, Michael stood in silent awe of God. Regaining his ability to speak, he shared his amazement of being called “son of The High King” and how God “just wants to be my Papa.” In addition he spoke about God’s unconditional love: a love that Michael has accepted, giving in return his life as an offering of his love for his Abba Father. In addition to the tour which began in 2008, Michael also released a new album, A New Hallelujah. With a focus on worship, this album includes songs like “Mighty to Save,” “Majesty,” “When I Think of You,” and the title track “A New Hallelujah.” Honored at the 2009 Dove Awards, this album has been named the Praise and Worship album of the year while the song “A New Hallelujah” was named Inspirational Song of the year. These Dove awards are in addition to over 30 others he has received, not to mention his Grammy
awards. Michael has been blessed to write and record many songs over the years that continue to reach deep into hearts, drawing individuals toward Christ. Having a wide span of topics, these songs can speak directly to an individual’s life. A song that continues to stand the test of time and speak volumes is “Friends,” originally released on Michael’s first album The Michael W. Smith Project. Not always included on a concert playlist, I am happy to report that it made the “United Tour.” Shall I explain? In case you don’t know the chorus of “Friends,” it’s “Friends are friends forever, if the Lord’s the Lord of them, And a friend will not say, ‘Never,’ ‘Cause the welcome will not end, Though it’s hard to let you go, In the Father’s hands we know, That a lifetime’s not too long, to live as friends.” These are important words, especially for anyone who has “let go” of someone special. At the age of eight, my son had to “let go” of a friend his age who died suddenly. The loss was extremely traumatic, especially as my son wondered if he would see his friend in Heaven one day. He began to pray, asking God to confirm that his friend had
accepted Christ before his death. Shortly after finding out about his friend, we attended a Smitty concert. Having seen Michael perform about six weeks earlier without playing “Friends,” we did not expect it to be played. However, in the middle of the performance Michael changed his playlist and performed a medley of songs that included “Friends.” As the tears rolled down my son’s face, I reached to comfort him. He let me know that the tears were not just sadness but happiness too. In a child’s special way, he expressed that the burden on his heart was lifted because he now knew his friend is with Jesus. To this day, whenever my son witnesses Michael perform “Friends,” the healing tears begin to roll. Thank God for answered prayer! I am sure that many have stories of how Michael W. Smith’s love of God The Father has affected their lives. He is a husband, father, and grandfather in the entertainment industry spotlight. His life of faith is a positive role model that anyone can look to. Michael is a man who understands and lives by Jesus’ words in Luke 12:48b (KJV), “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required; and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” Jesus is Michael’s Friend; is He yours?
Cornerstone: Stephen Curtis Chapman Written by: Sheryn Buckingham Setting out on the great adventure of life, Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife left Kentucky for Nashville in the early 1980s. With his guitar and guidance from heaven, Steven wrote songs that caught the attention of Sparrow Records. Since releasing his first album in 1987, Steven has released almost twenty others and has been awarded over fifty Dove Awards including two in 2009. The most recent album, This Moment – Cinderella Edition was released in 2008. In addition to music, he has acted, written children’s books with his wife, and began Shaohannah’s Hope with his family. Shaohannah’s Hope begun in 2003, named after the Chapman’s first daughter adopted from China. Unveiling a new name in 2009 of Show Hope, this not-for-profit ministry continues to make a positive impact in children’s lives by maintaining a focus on providing adoption aid and orphan care for children in need, while also working to engage others to care for those unable to care for themselves. Another event happening over the past year was the “United Tour” with Michael W. Smith. Touring together for the first time, Steven and Michael made history. For anyone who attended the tour, the memory of these Christian music legends sharing the stage will not soon be forgotten. With the ease of an experienced musician, Steven performed beautifully but appeared more reserved than in previous performances. This is understandable, as the tour is the first since Maria’s accident. She is one of three girls the family adopted from China. In May 2008, the Chapman family experienced a devastating loss when an accident caused the death of the youngest daughter, Maria. What should have been a very private time of mourning became a very public time of loss as media reported quickly on the accident.
However, an outpouring of prayers and support for the family erupted immediately! In shock and disbelief, this family held tight to their Abba God and His promises. Romans 8:15-18 (KJV) says, “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” The God of the universe has created each of us to fulfill a purpose that He will always accomplish, even if painful. We don’t have to understand why things happen, but need to trust that God knows best! While on stage during the United Tour, Steven shared his heart and Godly wisdom acquired over the past year. He spoke about where to find hope on earth. In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 (NIV) Paul wrote, “Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God
will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.” Steven added different statements too that have been encouraging him like, “our God is on the throne in control” and that God “will make all things new.” Steven also shared special moments in Maria’s life with the audience. One in particular was so overwhelming that tears could almost be heard! Steven spoke about how in February 2008 Maria accepted Jesus as her Savior. At the age of five, Maria was so well loved that she already understood God’s love! In Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) the Lord said, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Believing in God and trusting Him by faith means trusting Him with every part of our lives at all times. Together, trusting in their Creator, the Chapman family spoke publically about their pain knowing that Maria is safe at home with God. The faith shared by this family is a testimony to the unconditional love and mercy of God. Steven’s song “Yours” makes the point that “It’s all Yours, God, Yours; God, everything is Yours.” Whatever hand you’re dealt in the game of life, pray over it, then play it! Remember that truly trusting God means believing every word of the Bible. Steven and his family are an inspiring example of true Faith in God! Before the concert ended, Steven told the audience with strong conviction that, “I will dance with Maria again,” then invited us to attend. I will be, will you?
Raphael & Aly
Footprints & Spotlight: Written by: Sheryn Buckingham For this edition, our Spotlight and Footprints articles are combined to best introduce you to Raphael & Aly Giglio, a husband and wife team. Together they have a music ministry in and beyond the walls of church, actively work in Christian ministry, minister to those of Jewish heritage about Christ, and teach Christians about Jewish history. The talent that God has gifted this couple with is used daily to minister the love of Jesus Christ to many. Raphael, the husband of this anointed team, grew up the youngest of twelve children in a Catholic/Jewish family in New Jersey. Raphael’s journey to Jesus began at a young age when his Jewish grandfather accepted Jesus as his Messiah. Raphael believed that Jesus was the promised Messiah too, so he accepted Jesus as Savior. His Jewish heritage has opened doors, allowing him to minister the truth of the Messiah to Jews while also teaching Christians Jewish customs that Jesus kept. These customs are important parts of Christian history since Jesus is a descendent of King David, a Jew. Even though Raphael excelled academically at Rutgers University, he chose a life of ministry through music when in 1988 he accepted a recording contract with Myrrh Records. While living in Nashville, he had the privilege of writing music with singer/songwriter Phil Keaggy until returning home to New Jersey for an extended visit. Accepting a position to work for Capitol Records, Raphael went back to Nashville. This eventually led to another great opportunity for Raphael, after he became an ordained minister. He helped establish the New River Fellowship Church in Franklin, TN, with Michael W. Smith. As part of this church he ministered, taught, and led worship as a pastor. Aly, the blessed wife of this team, also grew up in New Jersey. In the late 1990s she began a career as a singer/ songwriter, forming a Christian rock band called The Rockflowers. After touring for a few years, the band won first place in a competition in Nashville, TN. Aly decided to move to Nashville where she attended the New River Fellowship Church. Raphael and Aly became the Giglios while part of the New River Fellowship Church in Franklin, TN. God created this husband and wife team, bringing them together to use their musical talent for ministry. They have toured nationally and internationally, written and recorded many songs, and continue to minister through music in and outside of church. Currently Raphael is the Pastor of Worship at Zarephath Christian Church (also known as ZCC), a Pillar of Fire Ministry. As a member 24 Wings of Hope
of the worship team, Aly joins with Raphael leading the worship time at three weekly services. Raphael is also committed to other Pillar of Fire Ministries. Besides being on the ZCC staff, Raphael and Aly have an independent music ministry reaching beyond the church walls. The Giglios perform at cafés, churches and other venues where both Christians and non-Christians attend. Their music is a variety of rhythms and genres mixed to create a relaxed, fun environment for all. Perfect Love is the Giglios most recent album, containing only songs written by Raphael and Aly. These beautiful songs focus on a topic described well by 1 John 4:18, located within the CD case. This and other recordings can be found at www.raphaelmusic.com. A listing of their scheduled performances is also available. Besides the blessing of ministry, Raphael and Aly have been given a personal blessing, more like a miracle. Informed they wouldn’t be able to have children, they focused on the ministry opportunities God provided. Being the amazing Father our God is, He decided to bless them with twin daughters. Now toddlers, these little girls are a living testimony to God’s glory! The ministry of the Giglios is not just music, but a real life example of what daily living in obedience to God looks like. It is being willing to go where He leads, having faith that God knows best! Raphael and Aly took a step of faith a couple of years ago when they returned to New Jersey from Tennessee. Today, with two beautiful daughters, part of an abundantly growing church ministry, and having their own expanding music ministry, Raphael and Aly continue to allow the presence of Jesus Christ to shine through their lives for God’s glory.
Summer Issue 2009
Shooting Star: VOTA Written by: Sheryn Buckingham and Aaron Buckingham (Teen Scene Writer)
Sheryn: Magnificently remade! This is how my son and I describe VOTA, the band formally known as Casting Pearls. With a new name, a new member, a new style, and recently signed on with INO Records, VOTA released their self-titled debut album VOTA in early 2009. Around the same time, the band was also on tour with the Newsboys. Letting God be in control isn’t easy, but when this band from Lincoln, Nebraska, said okay the road to VOTA began. For a few years Bryan Olesen (lead vocals and guitars) moonlighted with the Newsboys, filling in for Jody Davis. With understanding and hope for future opportunity, Case Maranville (bass and vocals) and Scott Rutz (drums) supported Bryan. Riley Friesen (guitar, keys and vocals) is the newest member of the group. Bryan shared the most important lesson learned from performing with the Newsboys, that our joy and happiness must be found in God instead of what we do, otherwise much of life will fall short. Aaron: While touring with the Newsboys, my mom and I met Bryan at a concert. He was so happy that we remembered him from a Casting Pearls performance that he gave me a brand new signed CD. I was so excited, but even better was sitting and talking with Bryan before he went to perform. This gift from God helped me believe that God-fearing, God loving men still existed at a time when I really didn’t like them too much. Sheryn: Deciding to change their name for various reasons, the brainstorming began. As a result of an e-mail typo, VOTA was the name chosen. Bryan explained that the name is “like a blank plate” which will allow the band to define VOTA together. It also creates a type of mystery, “making people curious to know what the music and band are all about.” With a pop rock style containing dance beats, ballads, and rock with lyrics that challenge “everyone to think about their existence,” VOTA’s songs are independently unique! Bryan said, we like to “throw out the rule book,” doing what is required to make each song stand out. Through music, VOTA paints beautiful pictures of purpose, encouraging individuals to embrace the plans of God. Many songs are written to provoke deeper thinking by the church body, but Bryan did mention they “prefer to write songs for everyone to enjoy.” They want to “challenge someone to really think about faith and what they believe,” engaging individuals to question “where their life is going.” The song “Honestly” does just that by challenging the church to be real with each other and the world. Bryan talked about how Christians always seem to put their best foot forward,
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show happiness all the time, and act like they have life all together. The truth according to the Gospel is that we are all “sinners saved by grace.” Christians shouldn’t be afraid to be real; showing weakness and struggles. The world needs to know that through God’s mercy and love comes healing. Aaron: When my mom and I purchased tickets for the Join the Tribe Tour, we checked out the line-up. I found VOTA on the web, than began listening to the songs posted. Immediately “Honestly” began to speak to me. In school it feels like we need to wear a mask, not being real. I had been doing that for a while, but this song helped me understand that God wants me to be who He made me to be. I am not perfect, but that’s okay! I am perfectly forgiven by God because of Jesus Christ. Sheryn: In addition to music, VOTA has worked with the Food for the Hungry Ministry. The band also founded the 180 Tour which ministers God’s mercy and love to students in public middle and high schools to encourage them to make better choices, maintain good character, and help them determine what matters most. Currently in the process of becoming a not-for-profit, the organization provides a free assembly during the school day that includes a speaker such as Crystal Miller, Columbine survivor, and a concert with VOTA. In the evening, a public concert is usually held to help pay for tour expenses. This process allows the assembly to be offered free to the schools. VOTA’s schedule is filling up fast,for the 2009-2010 school year. For more information on how to get your school included, see www.180tour.com. Aaron: If you still haven’t checked out VOTA, my mother and I encourage you to do so. Their current CD is great! I expect the next one will be just as good. I’ve heard the songwriting process has begun. Why not give them a try; the Newsboys did!
Summer Issue 2009
ALL THE WORLD IS HIS AUDIENCE Written by: R.M. Colon His first performance was while in high school. It was one summer and a band that was scheduled to play for a junior high school event failed to appear, so his band was asked to step in. They only knew one song so they played it twice and luckily the scheduled band appeared late. Brave and bold to take the stage for the first time with one song, today his boldness continues where there are online musicians who perform in virtual worlds, websites, and web radios. Andrew Deal (Andreus Gustafson in the virtual world) is a singer/songwriter/musician for whom this modern technology has opened the world. Andrew developed an interest in music at a very young age, “According to my mother, I would crawl over to the stereo and bang on it trying to get it to play.” His formal training began with piano lessons at the age of seven, which he continued through his teen years when he took an interest in electronic instruments. Today he plays keyboards (synthesizers, etc.), guitar, bass guitar, drums, and assorted flutes, and has dabbled with the saxophone and other reed wind instruments. Andrew has two older brothers who have influenced him musically – they are also musicians (keyboard and guitar respectively) and have been performing in a country music band. He himself had been a member of a cover band for several years which opened opportunities for him to perform in several venues in Japan, South Korea, and Southern USA. But nowadays he is performing in USA, Canada, Europe, Australia and around the world through modern technology. 26 Wings of Hope
How did he begin in the virtual world Second Life? “Interestingly enough, my boss at work came in and asked me if I’d ever heard of it. I hadn’t but I was so intrigued that as soon as he left my office, I got on the Internet and downloaded it and installed it. That was in June of 2007.” When he first entered the virtual world he was exploring ways to create an income through their economic system. But then he heard someone performing live: “I happened across Funky Rang
playing a live gig and it struck me that I could be doing that. Well, after pestering Funky and several other musicians to tell me exactly how they were doing it, I learned the ropes and it was Freestar Tammas who gave me my first shot at an SL stage.” And so he began. Andreus has concerts daily, often several times a day. Audiences in the Second Life can reach seventy-five and more. Andrew has a wonderful sound and his musical ability is a gift from God as he sings and plays his
instruments with such grace. I asked him about his stand on his faith. “My faith is very personal to me and very important. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I hate “religion.” To him it’s about a personal relationship with God. He performed with the “Faith Promise Church” worship band for five years, which he recently had to relinquish due to conflicting schedules with his job. “The church’s website is www. faithpromise.org – on which, by the way, there is an internet service every Sunday morning at 10.00 a.m. Eastern time.” Does Andrew have any CDs? “Last year I released my very first solo CD, Distant Suns. Andrew gives credit to his Second Life audience, who encouraged him to complete his recording project. “To them, I am eternally grateful… AND I have begun the second one which, I hope, will be ready before this year is done. It is available on my website, www.a3d3.net as well as on iTunes and Napster.” Andrew’s music and more information is also available on his webpage at www.myspace.com/ anjgustafson. The world is his audience.
Summer Issue 2009
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Summer Issue 2009
Addiction Almost Ruined My Life Written by: CL “I’m drunk, high, messed up, and feeling good, even though it’s only 6:30am. I have the whole day to be messed up!” At least that was how I felt during my many days of dealing with addiction to drugs and alcohol. For thirteen years, I dealt with addiction. It started with drinking and smoking at age thirteen. As each year passed, a new drug was introduced. At the time I thought, “I’m having the time of my life; getting messed up and feeling good.” However, I didn’t have any idea about the consequences that would follow later in life. As I lived in this “fantasy” world, I made my way through high school. In the morning I would drop tabs of acid and “trip” the whole day. This was my favorite thing to do while in school. I some how managed to get into college, where it continued to grow worse. My normal routine became drinking a fifth of liquor and two to three forty ounce doses of malt liquor; once I even drank a half gallon of Hennessey in just one day. I also smoked about a half an ounce of weed daily. In my mind, I thought I was living the “dream.” The addictions led to hustling drugs, financial hardships, and within a year I had trouble with the law twice. I ended up moving home, but still continued with my addictions until one day in 2006 when the Lord broke the addition chains binding me. I was full of praise and passion for Christ! Shortly after, I had a new car, house, and two great 28 Wings of Hope
jobs. I began to feel successful. This all went to my head then I found myself pushing God away. Slowly the alcohol and drugs began creeping back into my life. Before I knew it, I was arrested again. Right back into the same process I went through before. As the drinking and drug abuse became worse, eventually I lost my jobs, money, friends, and my house. Filing for bankruptcy in 2007, I lost everything except my car. Even my health and memory began to fail. What was worse was my treatment of those I loved. I hit rock bottom! Everything I worked for was completely gone as a result of my addictions. In total I lost about 6 jobs. My addiction to drugs and alcohol caused me to be unaware of what I was doing to myself and others because of the temporary high I was feeling. At times when I was drunk, I would go to parking lots with the intention to kick off side mirrors on cars just for fun. I would also carry a knife that once I used to threaten a friend’s friends. At one point, I secluded myself from almost everyone because I was content with the alcohol and drugs. It felt like that’s all I needed! I remember a day when my mom called because I was supposed to meet the family for her birthday dinner. I completely forgot because I was so high. I began to argue that once years before she didn’t make a birthday dinner for me. I proceeded to tell her I wasn’t going to attend the dinner, than hung up. I can picture how crushed her heart was, all because I was too self absorbed to go. I did continue to go to church, but often smelled like alcohol from being in the bars and clubs. I had no cares in the world! As long as I had my alcohol and drugs, I was happy.
No one else mattered but me! After losing everything again, I finally gave up and came to God saying, “God, I have nothing left. You’re the only one who can make something of me. I give all that I am to You. I trust You, knowing that You will take care of me. Please just use me as You desire.” After all I did, I came to God and asked Him to forgive me. How selfish does that sound! I haven’t even shared the other things I did which were not associated with addiction. I was able to go to God because of His mercy. Jesus says in Matthew 23:12, “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, but whoever humbles himself before me will be exalted” (NIV) I finally put all my trust in God, letting go of control of my life. Then He was able to work within me. What an amazing experience! As God broke the temptations in my life, the chains of addition were broken. To this day God is molding me daily into a man after His own heart. I have been addiction free for a year. I now serve God as CL Ministries – Awaking & Reviving Teens. I thank God with all my heart for bringing me out of my darkness and into His light (Eph. 5:8).
Summer Issue 2009
Addictive Behavior Written by: Marty Shuff
Addictive behavior affects everyone around you. You may not see it but it does. For parents it is difficult to watch your child go down the wrong path and even more difficult to allow them to suffer the consequences of their actions. Parents always want to bail their kids out of trouble but by doing that they never have to except responsibility for their actions. A close friend of my daughters is married to a guy who is an alcoholic and a drug addict. She now has three children by this man but she seems as addicted to him as he is to his drugs. She will kick him out for brief periods of time and then he manages to wiggle his way back in. He has stolen money from his family, from her, and even from his 7-year-old son , Kole who received $90.00 for his birthday. One day the boy went to look for his money and it was gone. His father had stolen it to get yet,another fix. This poor child is learning about life the hard way. How do you explain to your seven year old that his father took his money to buy drugs? He not only stole the child’s money but he is stealing his ability to trust. If you can’t trust your father who can you trust? Drugs and alcohol make people do things they would not normally do. They take control of your life and inflict pain and suffering on those who are closest to you. I have seen Kole try to appease his father, but he never seems to measure up. Eventually, his father will get annoyed with him and go off in a fit of rage over the smallest thing. Kole had a project for school and needed his father’s help. His dad promised him he would be there in 30 minutes and he never showed up. The next day he came home from school crying and when his mother asked what was wrong, he said “why doesn’t my dad keep his promises? What did I do wrong?” He has seen way too much in his short life. He is an awesome little boy and doesn’t deserve to be treated like that. I realize that not everyone’s addiction is to this degree but even functioning alcoholics create problems in the family. Small kids are smart enough to know when things aren’t right and when the addict gets short tempered because he needs a drink the child blames themselves. They think they have done something wrong. Do you remember how you felt when your parent got angry at you because they had had a bad day? Or maybe, just maybe, you were the child of an alcoholic parent also. Think back, do you remember how it made you feel? The times your parent struck out in anger, you just couldn’t understand what you had done wrong. Throw alcohol into the mix and you have a no-win situation. If you are one of these people I urge you to get help, not just for yourself but for your family also. Go to Alcoholics Anonymous or call a church in your community and ask to speak to the pastor. Please just get help somewhere.
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Summer Issue 2009
Urban Impact ~ Offering Hope for Hurting Teens By Linda Schulte
The hope of Jesus is the perfect gift to give anyone. It is a gift that continually grows and has everlasting benefits. Urban Impact is an amazing ministry that shares the gospel and the love of the Lord Jesus with troubled youths living in inner cities facing gangs, guns, drugs and despair. But with Jesus all things are possible because Jesus walks down all streets all over for those who trust in His word. He knows no barriers and breaks through all stereotypes. Troubled hearts can be mended and lives can be healed from the pains of the past, and Urban Impact is changing lives and making dreams happen where there were no dreams in the past, thanks to the faithful team God has put together so thoughtfully for this mission. With a heartfelt spirit of love, Rob Cruver, Pastor of Zarephath Christian Church in Zarephath, NJ, began Urban Impact Ministries five years ago. Healing hurting inner city teenagers is what Rob Cruver most wanted to do because as soon as he became involved with inner city boys working as a volunteer juvenile prison chaplain, his heart ached to do more to help. While on a long bike ride in Kentucky, Pastor Rob faithfully prayed to God asking Him how he could make a difference in their lives. He knew he wanted to do something for them, but he wasn’t sure what or even how. He stated, “God rarely speaks to me this clearly–but He gave me an immediate picture of what Urban Impact could and should look like. I actually started crying…and had to stop and find a pen and some paper and write it all down. I immediately started meeting with some leaders I respected who were working effectively with youth in inner cities.” Equipped with a powerful mission, and a passion, Pastor Rob Cruver grew Urban Impact into the picture God set before him that one day bike riding. He is the Executive Director of Urban Impact and his team includes: Pastor Willie Alfonso, Program Director and Chaplin for the NJ Nets and Hispanic members of the NY Yankees; and the program’s most recent addition includes Kent Bryant, Pastor, Program Coordinator and Mentoring Director. As Bryant put it, “January 20 - Obama and Bryant both took office on the same day!” Pastor Willie Alfonso is a wonderful role model to the boys. He is a product of the rough streets of New York, growing up with an alcoholic father so he can identify with all the fears and struggles the boys face. He was also a former drug addict for 18 years and God delivered him and has given him a new life – being born again and forgiven of his sins. Kent Bryant happily exclaims of Pastor Willis Alfonso’s life, “Look what the Lord has done!” Pastor Rob Cruver said he was drawn to the program because, “...we can touch and love and help to bring healing and hope and joy back into a young man’s life who has gone through so much pain. And that’s what is happening. We now have about 100 boys in the program and many have been with us since the beginning. Their lives have been changed and they are my dear young friends and brothers in Christ.” Kent Bryant is thrilled to be part of this program and said, “The connection utilizing sports as a platform to minister the gospel is wonderful. I’m a former Division I basketball player with an athletic background and love to train young men up in the ways of the Lord. It is the perfect combination - I thought peanut butter and jelly was the best combination, but basketball and Jesus is best.” 30 Wings of Hope
Summer Issue 2009
The program has taught Pastor Rob, as he stated, “…much more about the pain that so many of these young men from the inner cities experience–it’s heart breaking and overwhelming, but I have seen the compassion and loving power of Jesus Christ to heal and to restore and to help wounded hearts to laugh, dream and dance again.” Bryant states that, “There’s a tremendous need for outreach to our inner city youths. Submit and surrender to God and God will use your gifts and talents for His glory. Accepting God’s will for our life is powerful. I’ve found that sports and recreation open up doors and is a wonderful platform to reach young people. The greatest gift is to give them Jesus.” One Bible verse they use during the program is John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy but I have come so that you may have life –life to the fullest.” Long-term-committed-safe-loving-caring-real-intense-funChristian-life changing-exciting-strenuous-fast-paced-innovative-athletic-compassionate-victorious-merciful-gentle ~ these are just some of the adjectives that Rob Cruver and Kent Bryant used to describe the Urban Impact program. Kent Bryant said, “I’ve seen dramatic life-changing impact. Seeing the transformation of these boys from being out of control in school and at home to opening up their hearts to the Lord is amazing and that’s where God does miracles. I see kids getting grounded and rooted in the peace of God as it flows through them. I truly want the boys in this situation to know that Jesus Christ loves them and we (Urban Impact) love them with the love of Christ.” Pastor Rob most wants the boys in this situation to know, as his states, “They are not forgotten – by God, or by us. Their lives count; there is hope and life if they are willing to choose it.” With such a pureness and sense of joy, Pastor Rob Cruver said, “My greatest sense of satisfaction is seeing expressionless faces over time transformed into laughter and free flowing tears of joy as well as seeing broken hearts healed and young men begin to dream again about a good fortune – one which includes walking with Jesus.” Pastor Rob describes his greatest success with the Urban Impact program as, “We have seen some young men walk away from gangs, lay down their hate, share their deep pain and brokenness, receive Jesus as their Savior and healer and live brand new lives. That’s the stuff that gets me out of bed in the morning!!” Urban Impact offers so much hope to the boys. Over the summer the boys come to Zarephath Christian Church in Zarephath, NJ, for a one week program. There are two sessions. During their stay, they participate in Bible studies, academics and tutoring, life skills, music, dance, drama and basketball. The boys can begin the program as early as age 11 up to their teens. They can only stay in the program if they continue in school and behave appropriately. For more information on Urban Impact please go to the website: www. urban-impact.org Urban Impact, a Pillar of Fire Ministry 10 Chapel Drive Zarephath, NJ 08890 (732) 356-0101 Pastor Rob Cruver, Executive Director Pastor Willie Alfonso, Program Director Pastor Kent Bryant, Program Coordinator and Mentoring Director
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Summer Issue 2009
Created Reality Television: MTV’s New College Life Series Written by: Brian Raison
Well, I turned on MTV last week. Before you jump to conclusions, let me assure you that it was not because I desired to watch any programming on that channel. In fact, I really did not want to dial over there. (Does anyone remember dialing the TV knob? Apologies. I guess I’m dating myself.) Anyway, I tuned in specifically to watch College Life, a new reality program set in Madison, Wisconsin, in which four first-year collegians are supplied with video cameras and instructed to film everything. Yes, everything. The previews claim no editing and no script. The producers also provide a disclaimer: “The University of Wisconsin is NOT affiliated with this program.” Okay. A sane person may ask, “Why would anyone want to watch a show with no editing and no script and no endorsement?” Well, that’s a valid question. The short answer is that we ALL need to keep up with what’s happening in youth culture today. We need to differentiate between concerning signs of trouble or distress and simple old-fashioned fun. Please note, these definitions have changed a lot in the last 5 years. Please also note that regardless of their claim, the producers have VERY carefully hand-selected each of these four students. And every single second of video footage that gets aired has been chosen, edited, and woven into a story-line that the adult producers of the show wish to convey. Like 32 Wings of Hope
all reality-TV, there’s not much “real” about it. If there is any redeeming value, it might be found in the explicit, frank, and often sobering failures and disappointments that the “actors” encounter as they navigate this supposed college life. In one scene, Kevin points the camera at himself and, in a moment of honesty, recounts what terrible trouble he’s in because he failed to prepare for a huge test and now he’s failing the class. If he drops the class,
he won’t have enough credits to be a full time student. If he doesn’t drop the class, he’ll get an “F” that will be in his GPA for the rest of his college career. Please note, Kevin gives this touching soliloquy couched in a flurry of expletives…so much so that you must listen intently to understand his rant beneath the nearly continuous “bleeping” that the editors are obliged to insert. It’s quite effective. You probably need tune in only once or twice to keep up with the story. If you do watch, there are a
few key points to keep in mind. First, not all students drink this much, or have this many random sexual hook-ups, or are so close to failing out. But some are. Second, not all high school students are even watching this junk. And for those who do, not all will believe that this is how college life really works. But some will. A lot of middle-school students will be watching it too. So don’t forget about them. They’ll be more likely to believe what they see is generalized to the majority. Third, I’ve used indicators like “some” and “many” in the two paragraphs above. The fact is, 25% of the collegeaged population in the U.S. is infected with a sexually transmitted disease (CDC, 2006). Over half of all college students binge drink at least once a week. Where there’s heat there’s sure to be fire. When doing research or watching youth culture (even on MTV), I always like to ask, “So what?” The bottom line is that we should go talk with the young people in our lives. Please don’t lecture; but ask some questions about how they’re doing. Ask what they’re hearing about college life from the older kids. Ask if they feel ready to make decisions about those things or if they think they’ll be ready when they go away to school. Let them know you’re open and available to talk, anytime. Start today. Here’s the perfect opening line: “I saw this new show on MTV last night, and wondered what you thought about it…” Brian Raison is the founder of College101.me and CollegeFaith. org. He may be reached at brian@ collegefaith.org Summer Issue 2009
Epidemic of Grand Proportions Written by: Sheryn Buckingham Laws, values, and choices are important aspects of life! Where do people learn the laws and values they use to determine what choices to make? At a time in history where knowledge is abundant, why is the world struggling to survive? An epidemic of grand proportions has risen up, but it doesn’t cause flu-like symptoms. In fact, the biggest symptom appears to be a lack of consideration for others. I don’t yet believe there is a name for this epidemic. How about something like the “Self” illness? Every culture has laws that have been established to create an environment where individuals can live together in harmony. These laws are a standard by which a person’s values are established and choices are made. According to Biblical Law, found in Mark 12:29-31 (KJV) Jesus said, “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt
love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” Being created by the One True God, it’s extremely important to keep these commandments that are considered the greatest law by Jesus Christ, who is God in flesh. The problem: human tendency is to serve ourselves before God and our neighbors. Instead of living life as Jesus taught, humans have found it easier to live for self. This self-serving attitude spreads from older to younger because we all learn by example–even a bad one! People argue to change laws that have been in place for decades because the world is different now. However, Hebrews 13:7-8 (NIV) reads “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their
way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Who are humans to make changes to laws established in the Word of God? Aren’t humans His creation? Jesus is the only one who lived a perfect life–so pure, He took upon Himself the sin of the world, giving all who believe and accept Him eternal life. Philippians 2:911 (NIV) states that because Jesus was obedient, “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Last time I checked, Jesus is still the only perfect one to ever walk the earth. Since we all will see Him face to face one day, maybe we should be living by the standards He followed, not our preferences!
Addiction to Redemption Written by: Tanya Wessel
The story of Anton Greer is a great testimony and inspiration to young African American males inspiring to be more then just another statistic in the African American community. Anton Greer was a gang member who dropped out of school, was in and out of jail, sold and did drugs of all kinds, but then overcame all these adversities when he came to Christ. Anton Robert Greer was born in York, Pennsylvania, on May 7 1974. The son of Joey Jones, he was raised by his stepfather Jerry Banks and mother Zenobia Banks. He was the oldest of three siblings, with Tiffany and Trey. Anton grew up in a family with a strong Christian background and a deep devotion to God. Anton was always inspired by music, playing drums at the church his family attended. Around the age of six Anton began getting in trouble at school by clowning around in class, causing him to be sent to the principal’s office. Anton always felt as though he needed to be the center of attention, doing anything to get it. In his early days he took inspiration from some young men in York, PA, and quickly learned to cheat, steal, and lie to get what many young boys wanted: property, reputation, and females. He began to steal, starting with little things like candy bars from the convenience stores. Then Anton soon moved on to bigger things, like a neighbor’s car at nine years old. Anton was on the road to a criminal life as a teenager. In 1990, fifteen year old Anton and a few neighborhood boys organized a gang called 380–named after the 34 Wings of Hope
guns they carried and used. Their territory was York, Pennsylvania. At this time he also began his drug addiction. Anton was in and out of juvenile facilities, children’s homes, and wilderness programs. Even after being arrested, criminal behavior did not stop for Anton. He continued selling drugs, robbing people, and abusing drugs. He used all types of drugs, including weed, crystal meth, coke, acid, dippers, and heroin. At the age of seventeen, Anton met his older brother and biological father for the first time in Lancaster, PA. While living in Lancaster he involved himself in gang fights which caused him to be jumped and shot at. Anton had several close encounters with death by having bullets fly past his head. There was a time when he was playing with his gun that it went off, shooting him in the pelvis area. The bullet hit only inches away from a main artery. The doctors thought he would have to learn how to walk again, but God miraculously healed him in three days. After shooting himself, Anton went to jail again. While in prison he began to really examine his life, finding that something was missing. He realized that the way he was raised was not the way he was living. After long consideration, Anton realized that God was missing from his life. When released from jail, he moved to Frederick, Maryland, to take his father up on an offer: to help out in a church that his father was a pastor of. While there, Anton gave his life to Christ but had not fully surrendered his old ways. It was almost like he was living a double life. He would not give up influential friends or addictions
such as heroin or coke. Anton wanted his life to change so badly. He knew God had changed his heart, but his “follow through” with changing his choices still wasn’t working. He prayed, telling God “that whatever it takes for me to change; do it!” The very next day Anton was locked up for child support. In jail again, he determined to be sold out for Christ. God changed his life completely, causing every addiction he had to disappear. Now he’s an inspiration to youth; a witness to the truth of how God can radically change lives, including his. He ministers to all types of people through music (gospel rap). Anton says that “ever since December 8, 2000, I have been a devoted Christian serving Christ. I now have joy and peace–a peace I have never experienced before in my life.” No matter where you have been, what you have done or what you have been through, Christ is waiting with open arms to embrace you!
Summer Issue 2009
Getting Past the Past Written by: G. Avery Wilson All too often we walk around functioning in the world without having fully dealt with the painful, often tragic experiences that still affect us today. Yes we move on to the point where we are able to achieve a sense of normalcy in our lives and are able to go about our daily routines; yet because we have not truly been healed from the experience itself and the adverse affects it had on us, we become somewhat dysfunctional, particularly if the event(s) happened to us as children. You don’t have to look very far to appreciate the reality of the effects of people who ignore the pain they have experienced. Read a newspaper or turn on a TV and you will understand what can happen if we are not careful to take the necessary steps to overcome anything and everything that has the potential to set us on a path of self-destruction. A great majority of crimes are perpetrated by people who have endured physical, emotional or mental abuse; or who have been the victim of some type of tragic circumstance. Millions of people have been through horrible ordeals, or have been presented with potentially life altering situations. What determines the difference between people who allow negative events and situations to cause them to lead miserable, self-destructive lifestyles, making excuses for every negative choice made and as an excuse for failure and those who choose to do everything possible to live abundantly? The answer is quite simple! Choice! As individuals, we have to decide whether to let tragic circumstances weigh us down, using them as
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a crutch to fail or as a stepping stone to greatness. In my recent autobiography, I have captured the first 23 years of my life during which I endured many adverse things, particularly as a child. Sadly enough the experiences I share are all too familiar to many of us. Even more sobering is the fact that millions of the people who will identify with part or all of my personal testimony have chosen to repress their experiences rather than facing them head on. This is why many, even if they do not turn to a life of crime, still become dysfunctional in many areas of their lives. Think about all the people you know who suffer from emotional issues; have trouble establishing and maintaining lasting, thriving relationships; have trust issues; or who unexplainably never experience the full abundant life and joy God desires for each of us. I noticed after becoming a Christian that a great majority of people who are faced with the challenge of completely overcoming their past are those who are in the church. It boggled my mind completely to see for myself that in the very place where healing and deliverance were supposed to take place there are dysfunctional people with a myriad of social and emotional issues. I began to pray about it and God gave me the answer very clearly when I read Revelation the 12th Chapter, particularly verse 11 which declares, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony...” That’s the problem! Christians do not tell their true testimony and what God delivered them from. Usually it is because our true testimony is one that is embarrassing to the point where we feel it will cause others to look at us differently. We don’t want anyone to know just how jacked up our lives really were before
Christ changed us! Because we don’t share our story, we holster one of the most powerful weapons that we have against the enemy. God instructed me to be transparent: to tell the abuse, misery and pain that I experienced in great detail to illustrate how my choice for Him to come into my life along with the determination to overcome every negative situation has made the difference between me walking down the path to self-destruction and becoming the man I am today. My prayer is that every reader will come away with the determination to surrender completely every emotional and mental anguish to Christ and live life to the fullest, and that it will cause a chain reaction of healing and deliverance for all those who have been affected by any adverse circumstances. www.createspace.com/3354797 Cost: $12.95 Contact Us: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (240)-350-5707 P.O. Box 2024 Rockville, MD 20847
Summer Issue 2009
Wrtten by: Jeff Baxley I’m 43 years old and I’ve been married for 22+ years to this awesome lady who bore 3 gorgeous children (girl 18,boy 10,girl 7) to me and life right now couldn’t be more blessed for me at this point, but it wasn’t always like that...... You see, I’ve always considered myself a child of God since I was 6 years old. I was saved at 6 and baptized soon thereafter. Even back then, I considered myself an athlete and I just KNEW that I would be playing in the NFL or MLB someday and I was playing as much sports that I could as a kid. I was blessed with good athletic ability and my dad always supported me in my quest. As I was growing up and got into high school, I gradually gave up on football and focused on baseball where I was a pitcher. In my sr. year we were state champs at Miami Carol City and everything seemed to be going as I had planned. Unfortunately, only 2 of my teammates received scholarships or were drafted into the MLB. Undaunted, I enrolled in Broward Comm. college in Davie Fla. and tried out for baseball there. After going to fall tryouts and pitching in 3 practice games I felt comfortable about my progress, but apparently the manager felt otherwise I was cut from the team for reasons unknown to me. Even before then, I had stopped going to church because I thought that”hey I don’t need anyone’s help, I can do this on my own”, so I basically turned my back on God. Well, I was heartbroken for being cut and I didn’t know what I would do. My dad saw in the newspaper an advertisement for semi-pro league tryouts, so I decided that I would work hard to prove to the 36 Wings of Hope
BCC coach that he was missing out on a great player!!! Itried out for this league and I was drafted 1st round by the best team in the league! I was ecstatic! I worked hard at becoming the best pitcher I could be and for 4 games that I pitched in(9 inning appearances apiece), I was the best! Then came game 5 and even though it was a win, I could feel that something wasn’t right. After that game, my arm became lame and I wasn’t able to pitch for a while. The good thing was that we went on a month long break. Plenty of time to heal, I thought so I sat back and waited to get healthy. Trouble is, I didn’t continue to train because I thought that my natural talent would shine through. It was about this time that I discovered drugs,specifically marijuana. I would go across the street and smoke with the neighbor and not care about the world. S, we got back to playing with me on the bench to start which was OK with me, because I knew that my chance would come so I waited for my shot.We were playing a game in which we got a 10 run lead so the coach told me to get ready to go in. Well I did so bad, I gave up 10 runs without getting an out. Well, I didn’t care ! I could try again soon and there’d be nooooooooo problem, right? After that game, my dad approached me and informed me that there
were multiple scouts from college and pro teams that were there to see me pitch. Needless to say they never came back and my arm was never the same as it was earlier that season. The opinion was that it was a rotator cuff injury (devastating for a pitcher) and my baseball career was over. Well soon after that I began to smoke weed more frequently and also dabbled in other drugs like cocaine and speed. While I still smoked, I met and married my wife and brought my addiction into that relationship. I continued to do drugs and it escalated to crack cocaine (highly addictive) until finally my wife had had enough and she quit, but I did not stop. Eventually, we moved away from south Fla. to Greenville, South Carolina to escape the influence of drugs. While we were there, we began to attend church after a few months and though I still occasionally would smoke crack with a friend of mind who would get it for us. Finally the inspiration was to return to S. Fla. and we did where I began to work for my step-father-in-law. I now had a company truck and lots of freedom to move around. My wife and I enrolled at a local Baptist church where we were asked to become youth directors Summer Issue 2009
and we accepted. I was now in charge of youth while still on my crack addiction. I would also drive the church bus, pick up people before service on sunday morning, drop them off afterwards and then take the church van to get my drugs. I was also using our tithe money (a BIG no-no) to buy my drugs and I was also draining my family’s bank account. My wife (God bless her) really had no idea that this was happening because I was a “functional” drug addict and I could hide it well. My drug use began to escalate to a point where I would wake up in the morning and take off in the company truck I was entrusted with to buy my drugs. I could now even go on my own to places that I could have been robbed or killed (very bad parts of the city) . It got to a point where I was running out of drugs and money and wondering where I could get more crack. One night I sat in my truck and felt so guilty and ashamed
that I thought that my family would be better off without me. I dismissed that thought because I wouldn’t be able to get any more money without the truck or my family’s money. My mind was so totally consumed by the drugs that I wouldn’t even do my family the justice that I thought they deserved, so I went home to a somewhat upset spouse who still didn’t really know the full extent of my addiction. One night, not too long after, I was sitting in my truck once again smoking my life away and I ran out of crack. As I was sitting there wondering where I was goingto get my next crack rock, I heard a voice tell me,”Jeff, what are you doing? If you don’t stop,you’ll lose your family, and you’re going to die!” It was the voice of God speaking to me! Useless,worthless, me! It was right then that I knew that God was still with me and really cared for me even though I had turned my back on him! Needless to say it shook me up so much
that I started up the truck, put it in gear and headed home to my family and the one person that had withstood so much crap from me over the years-my wonderful loving wife.Since then I have been totally clean and my blessings have been increasing exponentially. We moved from my parents house to a nice trailer, then to a 4 bedroom 2 bath in a nice neighborhood,then to a 2 story house on a lake with a pool. I had thought that I had done something(s) so bad that God wouldn’t forgive me but fortunately for me and my family I was wrong! I hope this loooooooonnnnnnggggg message of hope will touch someone in a special way that may be struggling with addiction(s) and give them a reason to live for God! May God bless you all!
Encourage One Another Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV)
Parental stimulation is vital in a teen’s life. If a teen has withdrawn, it is possible that they were pushed away one too many time and no longer seek interaction.
You’ve seen them: teens who’ve been told they’re nothing. They walk around with their head down. Some of them look like they’re mad at the world, living their lives with a scowl on their face.
Go to your children today and hug them, encourage them. Love them. If we pass nothing on to our children but our love for them and for the Lord, we have done our children well.
They aren’t children, they aren’t adults. They can no longer be irresponsible, but they do not always possess the skills (physical or emotional) to be responsible. So, instead, they fall into some deep chasm in between child and adult that we call teen. All too often, they are put down, degraded and embarrassed by the ones charged with nurturing and building them up. The worst blows to a child’s ego come from their parents. Even if parents don’t use the words worthless, nothing, stupid, or lazy, this is the meaning the teen will walk away with. We need to lift our children up. I’m not saying we need to give them a false sense of security, praising them when they err; rather, we should encourage our children, show them the right way so they can make good choices later. We need to be in their lives for them to learn from us.
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God, I need you. I need you to encourage me when the world kicks me. I need You to build me up when the world says I am worthless. I need You in my life, always. How do you encourage your children? This Isn’t Supposed to Be Easy “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any doubleedged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 NIV) This isn’t supposed to be easy. No one said that living our lives for Christ was going to be a simple task. It takes blood sweat and tears to win a war; and we are at war. Satan is on to us and he lies in wait, ready to strike when he senses us starting to fall. When it hurts, we need to take a deep breath, call on Christ to get us
through and persevere to the next moment. God will use whatever we have available for His glory. If what we have is sickness and pain; He’ll use it to shine through us. He may shine mercy and compassion; He may shine endurance and strength. We need to stand strong so that God can shine through us, through our pain and through our suffering. We are to be beacons of light, a light that shines back to Jesus. Sometimes He’ll call on us to make tough calls, difficult choices in a world known for taking the easy way out. God can and will use us to show the world what He can do. We just have to be strong enough to let Him. He may put people in our path that need to see how we act and react to the hand we’ve been dealt. God may choose to use us as He did Job, as an example of faith. We should always speak and act as though we are on trial. God, use me. I am here and I am Yours. Take whatever I have and use it to show the world who You are. I pray that I am strong enough to show the world who yYou are through my pain. Does God use you to show the world what He can do?
Summer Issue 2009
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