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IN THIS ISSUE

ENTERTAINMENT

DEPARTMENTS

19

4

An Evening of Hope

20 Battle Cry

5

Good Stewards

21

6

Vacation Destination

22 Cornerstone: Michael W. Smith

7

Senior Spotlight

23 Corner Stone: Stephen Curtis Chapman

8

Green Scene

9

Precious in the Sight of the Lord

24 Footprints & Spotlight Raphael and Aly

10 11

Reach out & Touch Someone Fireproof DVD Review

12 Lindisfarner (Holy Island) 13

Technology: The I-House

14

Gideons Well

15

What is Your Purpose? Your Hearts Desire

Family Force Five

Joysongs Conference

25 Shooting Stars: VOTA 26 All the World is His Audience

FEATURES 28

My Life

29

Addictive Behavior

30

Urban Impact

32

Created Reality TV

33

Epidemic of Grand Proportions

34

Addiction to Redemption

16

A Christians Responsibility in SL Part 2

18

Holy Ghost Headaches

35

Getting Past the Past

38 Devotion: Marisa Gary

36

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

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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?


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 6 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 7 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


Summer 2009 preview