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REFRESHED | May 2014

May 2014 | REFRESHED


from the editor… SCOTT NOBLE

Download a digital version of Refreshed magazine for convenient viewing on your favorite digital device.

Tomorrow will be better … How many of us have gone to bed hoping that tomorrow would be better than today? I would venture a guess that virtually everyone has experienced that sentiment. Our lives—and the lives of those we love—can often be filled with the burdens of sickness, job loss, broken relationships and heartache. All of these conditions make us lament the day in which in live and hope for a better tomorrow. In some way, each article in this second issue of Refreshed magazine touches on that anticipation for a better tomorrow. Four-year-old Nomin was born with a heart defect, one that would have been easily detected and surgically repaired in more developed countries. However, living in a poor village in Mongolia, Nomin didn’t have access to the life-saving procedure. The heart defect prevented Nomin from walking on her own and participating in the same activities other kids in her village enjoyed. When she had to go somewhere, often her mother had to carry Nomin on her back. One can only imagine the thoughts that went through her brain at night, thoughts of running with her friends, playing games at family gatherings and walking to preschool. In essence, little Nomin wondered if tomorrow would be better than today. Through representatives of a Christian humanitarian organization, Nomin was flown to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, where she underwent successful surgery in early March. For Nomin, tomorrow is much better. As you read Nomin’s story and the others in this issue, I hope you will see how this universal hope for a better tomorrow takes on many different forms. It can take on an intensely personal tone like we see in Nomin’s story. It can also have more far-reaching components like in the story of Maria Keller, who works to make sure kids around the world have access to books. Regardless of the particulars, we all hope to some degree that tomorrow will be better than today. It’s a universal theme with eternal possibilities.

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REFRESHED | May 2014


PUBLISHERS Lamar & Theresa Keener GENERAL MANAGER Lana Branham EXECUTIVE EDITOR Scott Noble PROOFREADER Lis Trouten CONTRIBUTORS Joanne Brokaw, Sam Helgerson, Jim Jackson, Wendie Pett, Jason Sharp, Colette and Jonathan Stuart, Doug Trouten Copyright © 2014 Selah Media Group Refreshed is an independent, faith-based magazine published monthly by Selah Media Group. It is distributed in bulk, free of charge, to hundreds of locations throughout the Twin Cities metro region. For a 1-year mail subscription, send $24.95 to the address below or visit Refreshed welcomes story ideas. All unsolicited material is subject to approval of the publishers and is not returned. Viewpoints expressed in Refreshed are those of their respective writers, and are not necessarily held by the publishers. Reasonable effort is made to screen advertisers, but no endorsement of the publishers is implied or should be inferred. The publishers can accept no responsibility for the products or services offered through advertisements. The publisher reserves the right to refuse any advertising. ADDRESS ALL CORRESPONDENCE TO: P. O. Box 131030 St. Paul, MN 55113 E - MAIL PHONE/FAX (763) 746-2468 ADVERTISING (651) 964-2750 FOUNDING CORPORATE SPONSOR

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contents FEATURES

6 Heart repairs

Young girl becomes 1000th patient to receive life-saving heart surgery

10 Finding hope and solace within dementia Sensory worship service gives meaning to those with memory loss

12 From hurt to help

A teen’s long journey with fetal alcohol syndrome

18 Making a joyful noise



MercyMe, Steven Curtis Chapman to headline 98.5 KTIS’ summer festival

20 Rappin’ the truth Tru Serva: His mother was a rapper, his grandmother was a pray’er


Book review




Movie review




Events calendar


Community news


COLUMNS 30 Doug Trouten | unplugged 32 Jason Sharp | sharp focus 30

34 Wendie Pett | here’s to good health


35 Jim Jackson | purposeful parenting 36 Colette & Jonathan Stuart | marriage matters 38 Joanne Brokaw | that’s life! 36

May 2014 | REFRESHED


Four-year-old Nomin is all smiles as her mother carries her into surgery that will repair her defective heart.


Heart repairs Young girl becomes 1,000th patient to receive life-saving heart surgery by SCOTT NOBLE


REFRESHED | May 2014


our-year-old Nomin had a congenital heart defect—Tetralogy of Fallot, to be precise. The defect is rare and is caused “by a combination of four heart defects that are present at birth. These defects, which affect the structure of the heart, cause oxygen-poor blood to flow out of the heart and into the rest of the body,” according to the Mayo Clinic website. In Nomin’s case, Tetralogy of Fallot (pronounced ful-LOE) prevented her from walking on her own. Her skin had a blue tinge. Her hands were extremely cold. While other children in her village in Mongolia were running around and playing—typical behavior for kids her age— Nomin had to sit on the sidelines, unable

to participate. Her chances of living to adulthood were slim. Nomin and her family come from a poor area in Mongolia. They have no running water, and they live on the side of a mountain in a yurt, or ger, a rounded tent made of wool. The family faced daily struggles to obtain necessities that most people take for granted. Add to that the heart defect that threatened to take Nomin’s life.

A bleak future

With Nomin’s future and the future of her family looking bleak, she received the breath of hope that would eventually save her life and strengthen the faith of those around her: she was selected by

the Children’s Heart Project (CHP) to travel to the U.S. for treatment. She arrived at Mayo Clinic in Rochester earlier this year and underwent successful heart surgery on March 5. Nomin was the 1000th patient who has undergone this type of surgery in the U.S. since the Children’s Heart Project began. Otgonjargal Jijgee, Nomin’s mother, said through an interpreter that there are many changes in Nomin since the surgery. “First of all, she was really blue before just because of the amount of oxygen,” she said. “Now she is not blue anymore. Her hands were really cold, but now her hands are not; they are really warm. Before the surgery, she couldn’t even walk. Now she is walking and running and just [so much like a youngster]. She is completely healed, I would say.”

Nomin and her family traveled to Mayo Clinic in Rochester from the country of Mongolia. They live in a poor area with no running water on the side of a mountain in a tent made of wool. For the first four years of Nomin’s life, her mother often had to carry her on her back, Nomin being too weak to walk on her own.

Now that the surgery is completed, the family is eager to get back to Mongolia and also eager for Nomin to get back to life as a 4-year-old.

The children’s heart fixer In 1997, the Christian humanitarian organization Samaritan’s Purse was working in Bosnia at a bombedout hospital, a relic of the war that had recently ended in the region. A staff member met a young boy who needed heart surgery; in fact, medical experts believed the child would die without it. Because of the war and the damage to the hospital, it no longer had the capacity to perform the surgery. Samaritan’s Purse worked to get the boy to the U.S. so he could receive the life-saving surgery. Out of that experience in Bosnia in the late 1990s, the Children’s Heart Project (CHP), which is part of Samaritan’s Purse, was born. Now, nearly two decades later, the CHP works in Mongolia, Uganda, Honduras and Bolivia to “bring children with congenital heart defects and their moms, and we partner with children’s hospitals around the United States and Canada to provide the surgeries free of charge,” said Cindy Bonsall, director of the CHP. The project works with in-country

physicians to identify children who need life-saving heart surgery but can’t get the appropriate treatment in their own countries. The CHP screens “the children, and we provide a local host family from a local host church to host the children and their moms for about five to eight weeks while they are having surgery,” Bonsall continued. “We cover all the airfare expenses and get the visas and all of the documents that are necessary for them to come to North America.” To date, more than 60 hospitals in North America have participated in the Children’s Heart Project, including the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.— where Nomin was eventually treated. The CHP follows each heart patient closely for the first year after the surgery. However, CHP staff in-country develop close ties with the families of those who have undergone surgery and those relationships endure far beyond the first 12 months. In 2011, the CHP began heart camps as a way to connect those who have un-

dergone the surgery. “The kids over 5 years of age are invited to camp for four to five days,” Bonsall said. “They are discipled, they have games and lots of activities together. They pray together, they talk about their experience together because they share such a special bond with one another.” Some of the kids who underwent surgery in the early days of the program are now parents themselves. The work of the CHP is rewarding on any number of levels, not the least being playing a role in the Great Commission. “We are all called as believers to the Great Commission,” Bonsall said. “Children are very close to the Lord. Just being able to work with these special needs kids and know at the same time that you are doing kingdom work. And that you are doing your part to help fulfill the Great Commission, that is so rewarding.” Learn more at May 2014 | REFRESHED


Top: Nancy Monsen served as the host during Nomin and her family’s stay in the U.S. In 2011 she hosted the family of a small boy, also from Mongolia. Left: Pediatric cardiologist Allison Cabalka prays with Nomin and her mother. Dr. Cabalka has overseen care for more than sixty children at Mayo Clinic Children’s Center through Children’s Heart Project.

“Before she couldn’t walk, but now she is walking and running by herself,” Nomin’s mother said. “So she will get back to her preschool and then be with other kids, just as normal kids. Every time I take her to church, I want her to know God’s will because God loves us. What God has done for her life ….” In addition to the physical aspect that takes place through the Children’s Heart Project, the program also nurtures the spiritual component. “It’s not only about the physical hearts but spiritual hearts as well,” said Cindy Bonsall, director of the Children’s Heart Project. “The children are screened in-country, and we have staff in-country who share the gospel while they are in-country. They stay with a local host church and a local host family. A lot of times these kids and these families have never been exposed to Christianity. Just from the love that they experience, a lot of times they ask, ‘Why would you do this?’ and the door is just opened to share faith with them.” For Nomin’s mother, even though her time in the U.S. was short, God used it to strengthen her faith and teach her about loving others.


REFRESHED | May 2014

“God strengthened my faith more and more and even deeply through this Christian community; Christian people have been working all together and [make me] feel like a family member,” she said. “Also, we are just learning from the Bible study, too. [God] is teaching us that I have to love others, so God is really strengthening my faith deeply. Now I know that I have to love God by loving others.”

Host mom

Nancy Monsen served as host mom to Nomin and her mother while they were in Rochester. This is her second time in this role, the first being in 2011 when she hosted a 14-month-old boy and his family from the same village in Mongolia. Monsen’s church—Calvary Evangelical Free Church—has been involved with the Children’s Heart Project for several years. “The Lord has given me plenty of bedrooms and space to invite others to come here,” Monsen said of her involvement with the project. “I have a heart for Samaritan’s Purse, and what they do with the children’s heart patients is just extremely heartwarming for me.”

Each child who is part of the Children’s Heart Project may stay with two host families during their approximately six weeks in the U.S. Even though the time spent with the host families is relatively short, a strong bond develops between them. “The bond is very, very strong,” Monsen said of the relationship she has with Nomin and her mother. “[Nomin is] a delightful little child. I really can’t explain because she’s just a sweetheart. She refers to me as her grandmother. That is pure joy for me. It will be difficult to see them go home. But I am very aware that they are anxious to see their families as well. I want them to have that joy too.” The two times Monsen has served in the host role have been rewarding; and she encourages others to consider serving as a host family in one of the cities where the CHP operates. “I really believe it’s a great opportunity,” she said. “I don’t think people know how blessed you are. You feel like you are getting more than you have given. I just feel like people should have that opportunity to do this, especially to know another culture.” ■

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May 2014 | REFRESHED



HOPE and SOLACE within dementia

Sensory worship service gives meaning to those with memory loss by SCOTT NOBLE



s the worshippers begin to gather for the weekly service, the Rev. Alex Treitler prepares the Communion table and arranges the handheld chimes. Those gathered sit quietly in anticipation as Treitler walks around the room and greets each person individually. Once the greetings are complete, the worship service begins with the song “Amazing Grace.” The small group sings confidently. The words are ensconced in their memories, and there is no need for hymnals or for words on a screen—even as the song moves into a second verse. Some worshippers even sing harmony,

giving the popular hymn a full and abundant sound. The song over, the group sits calmly, relaxed, waiting for the next element in the service. While this scene is similar to other worship services held each week around the globe, the nine people who attended this specially designed sensory worship service have something else in common with each other. Each of them has dementia. They are residents of Emerald Crest by Augustana Care in Burnsville.

Understanding dementia

Theresa Klein was hired by Emerald Crest in 2000. As the cognitive clinical specialist, she was tasked with creating programs for residents with middle- to late-stage dementia. “Dementia is kind of an umbrella term,” she said. “It’s a condition that encompasses a lot of symptoms. People mostly think of memory loss as the one. Usually that is the first sign for some of the diseases that cause dementia. That’s the first thing people notice. But by the time they actually notice that, it’s possible that dementia has been going on maybe a year or two before that.” When people—or their families—decide it’s time to enter a facility like Emerald Crest, the dementia has already affected their ability to perform basic functions. They may not remember to shower, eat, take their medicine or any of a host of other daily tasks that run the gamut from minor to critical. The typical resident at Emerald Crest by Augustana, according to Klein, is a woman in her mid 80s who is still able to walk, talk and participate in her own care. She just needs reminders.

Playing the hand chimes is a significant aspect of Emerald Crest’s sensory worship service.


REFRESHED | May 2014

A day rich in activity

An important part of the program at Emerald Crest is developing activities that encompass an entire day. “From the moment they wake up to going to meals and breakfast, there are activities throughout the day from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.,” Klein said. “Those activities include rest times, they include meal times and care, but they also include activities for them to engage in. We try to gear the activities not only to their interests but to what they can do. We want to set them up to succeed.” People who are entering the middle stage of dementia can often sit in a traditional Bible study. “But they need to have attention, and they need to be able to understand words,” she said. “That changes as someone goes through the different stages of dementia. Words start to lose their meaning, both in spoken word and in written word. But feelings and emotions are still there, and memories are still there. We find things that pull the memories out, things that they’ve done for many, many years.” As an alternative to a 20-minute sermon or even a 10-minute lesson, staff at Emerald Care began to experiment with various sensory experiences: smell, taste, visual images and even sound effects. Klein uses the example of Jesus’ birth. For those with dementia, simply hearing the story told verbally or reading it in Scripture no longer has a significant impact. But “telling” the story in a different way can provide a powerful moment of connecting with the truth of God’s story. “We might bring in a Nativity scene, so we bring in props,” she said. “As we’re reading the story, we may kind of use the props to create the scene.” That “scene” will include more than the sight of the Nativity scene. Stable sounds are mimicked. A handful of hay

The Rev. Alex Treitler believes the sensory worship service can help calm dementia patients. suggests the aroma of Jesus’ birthplace; touching is a reminder of the roughness of Jesus’ crib, if not softened by the cloth wrapped around Him.

Music and interaction

After the small worship group finishes singing “Amazing Grace,” Treitler tells a story, one that is familiar to his congregants. He doesn’t read from Scripture about how David defeated Goliath, however. Treitler asks people if they know the story, calling upon their memories and experiences. While he begins to tell the story, he takes out a smooth stone, much like the one David could have used in his slingshot. He hands the rock to each person, allowing the feel of the stone to help tell the story: They get a sense of how much it weighs and how easy it might be to toss. All these efforts help pull out the memories, experiences and emotions from their past, giving them a richer and more fruitful worship experience. “I always choose Bible stories that are familiar,” Treitler said. “It’s not a teaching moment; it’s a reminiscing moment. I will also choose a Bible story that connects with what I assume to be their life experience in some way. Having a sensory element is really important ….” The worship element of the service includes more than just singing too. Treitler brings out several hand chimes. He shows how to play them and then hands out several, all tuned to a different note. Then the group sings again, the chimes

making the experience richer, more complete. More singing follows, and again the small congregation needs no hymnal or projected words; the memories begin to flood back. Communion is served, and those gathered become silent, calm. And that calm is a positive effect of the sensory services. Klein said they see less agitated behaviors before and after the services, agitation being a common occurrence with many dementia patients. The time spent communing together somehow bringing a sense of calm to their lives. “Sometimes people who have been very agitated will be more peaceful after a service,” Treitler said. “I think that’s because of a connection with the religious practice but again spiritually, I think it’s a connection with something that is life for them and for people collectively.”

Lot of life left

People often believe a diagnosis of dementia is a death sentence. They think life will quickly diminish and decades left to live will become years—or less. Klein said that’s not necessarily the case, and they believe they can make those remaining years full. “When someone’s diagnosed with dementia, they might be 10, 15, 20 years until that end stage,” Klein said. “There’s a whole lot of living that can happen. We try to help people live.” ■ Learn more at May 2014 | REFRESHED


From HURT to


A teen’s long journey with fetal alcohol syndrome by SCOTT NOBLE


he year had been a difficult one for Jordan and his parents. The teenager had endured four in-patient hospitalizations, two out-patient hospitalizations, and more than three weeks in a residential facility during 2011. Nothing the doctors and therapists tried seemed to work. Jordan’s future did not look bright. But his mother was not ready to give up just yet. “We’re going to do whatever we can,” Angie Lipscomb told her adopted 14-year-old son a week before Thanksgiving in 2011. “We just need to get you out of here right now. It’s going to be OK.” As a young boy, Jordan had been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), but doctors and other medical staff struggled to find effective and appropriate treatment options.

Challenging family conditions

Jordan was born in September of 1997 and stayed with his biological mother until he was 17 or 18 months old. In his already brief life, Jordan had experienced an often chaotic household and lifestyle. His biological mother worked during the day, and her boyfriend


REFRESHED | May 2014

worked at night. During the day, when the boyfriend was asleep, Jordan had no interaction or stimulation: no TV, no radio, little human contact. On the weekends, his mother would take Jordan with her when she attended parties and other late-night activities. Jordan’s mother eventually ran into trouble with the law and ended up in jail. Upon her release, she made the decision to give Jordan up for adoption. “[Bob and I] knew some people that actually had adopted Jordan’s sister, two years older than him, and also adopted his cousin,” Angie said. “[The couple] knew that we wanted to adopt. [Jordan’s biological mother] had contacted them when he was about 17, 18 months old. At that point, she said that she was going to give him up and wondered if they wanted to take him.” The couple knew that the Lipscombs had an interest in adoption, although they were still early in their decisionmaking process. “We had just really started talking about adoption and everything, and then this kind of came right up in our lap, in a way,” Angie said. “You become attached before you really know anything.”

The implications of not knowing everything would become evident in the first several months after the adoption.

Reactive Attachment Disorder

The Mayo Clinic describes Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) as “a rare but serious condition in which infants and young children don’t establish healthy bonds with parents or caregivers.” It’s a potentially lifelong condition where those who suffer from it constantly struggle with the inability to develop long-term relationships. In Jordan’s case, the Lipscombs noticed the symptoms nearly immediately after they adopted him. “I remember when we first came up [to Minnesota] to meet him, he fell down and he hit himself up against the wall,” Angie remembered. “He didn’t cry; he didn’t whimper; he didn’t make a noise.” Because of his lack of bonding as an infant—no one to comfort him, no one to interact with—crying wasn’t an effective outlet for Jordan. So he didn’t cry. “The early years were really rough because he wouldn’t want to sit on your lap for more than, like, two or three seconds, and then he’d push you away and then

he’d get down,” Angie said. “It was probably a good eight years before he realized we weren’t going away.”

False diagnoses

The Lipscombs spent the first several years of Jordan’s life in Kansas City. Before he was 4 years old, Jordan was selfhurting. He would also swing between emotional extremes. “He would run around and he would either be laughing and giggling and running through the house and you couldn’t settle him down, or he’d be literally on the floor sobbing, saying, ‘I hate myself; I want to die,’” Angie recalled. The couple had no idea how a child so young could even think in that manner. One doctor, trying to diagnose Jordan’s behavior and outbursts, believed he had Early Onset Bipolar Disorder. On May 1, 2002, before he was 5 years old, Jordan got his first dose of anti-psychotic medicine. “It was the first night he went to sleep without a three-hour crying fit,” Angie remembered. “Literally from the time we got him, he would not go to sleep without three hours of something.” After the couple moved to the Twin Cities shortly thereafter, a new doctor believed Jordan had ADHD and didn’t believe someone could be diagnosed with Early Onset Bipolar Disorder at such an early age. The new drugs they prescribed him didn’t work well, and Angie and Bob describe that year as one of the worst they have ever been through.

A measure of hope

In kindergarten, the Lipscombs regularly received calls from the principal telling the couple that several teachers had to chase Jordan all over the school or that he had locked himself in the bathroom or that he had disappeared for 45 minutes and no one could find him. He was even self-hurting, scratching his face and arms. Jordan’s behaviors were so out of the norm that no one had an accurate picture of what was causing them.

Bob and Angie Lipscomb and their 16-year-old adopted son Jordan have endured the tremendous challenges of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome that have plagued Jordan since birth. “It was very disheartening for many years,” Angie said. The couple continued searching for the right doctor and the right diagnosis that would reveal what was plaguing their son. After their initial visit with the doctor who diagnosed Jordan with ADHD, the Lipscombs went out of their insurance network and saw another doctor who said, “I really think he’s affected by alcohol,” Angie recalled. “Is there any way you have contact with the family to know if the mom drank?” They may not have known it at the time, but this revelation would start to put everything in place. Fortunately, the couple was able to contact the birth mother who admitted that she drank during the first three months of her pregnancy, not knowing she was expecting a baby. Several years later, the mother also revealed that she had used cocaine during her pregnancy and that she also suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome. The problems caused by Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) vary. It can include physical deformities, learning disorders and behavioral problems, as well as other

difficulties, according to the Mayo Clinic. While the extent of the problems varies, the Mayo Clinic is among leaders in medicine who observe that the “defects caused by fetal alcohol syndrome are irreversible.” While the correct diagnosis was a step in the right direction for Jordan and his parents, many difficulties remained, such as how to treat the disorder with medicine and how to understand and deal with the learning and behavioral challenges. “[Those with FAS] don’t learn by their mistakes, either,” Bob said. “You have to repeat things not only 100 times but maybe 200 times, and then they might get it after that. With Jordan, in kindergarten he would learn his ABCs and with his brain damage, with the fetal alcohol, he would know it on Monday, but Tuesday he wouldn’t know the ABCs. We couldn’t understand why that was.”

Medication and faith

The next several years were filled with more challenges for the Lipscombs. Different doctors and different treatment options often collided. One doctor took Jordan off all his medications and placed May 2014 | REFRESHED


him on lithium, which helped noticeably in the short run. Unfortunately, after a few years, the lithium had begun to negatively impact his kidneys. “That kind of started a downward spiral,” Angie said. “They tried to remedicate him with something different to take the place of the lithium. He would sit and rock and scream and yell and kick things and throw things and tear things up …. It was like an elephant-in-the-room kind of thing where we would be on the outside of the perimeter of the room trying to keep him from tearing things up. There were times where we would both be wrapped around him to keep him from hurting himself.” Through all this treatments, the Lipscombs learned that medication often has an opposite effect on those with FAS. What is supposed to calm often has the opposite effect. The Lipscombs would also learn that 2011—when Jordan would turn 14— would be a pivotal year for them. His numerous hospitalizations that year had finally brought everything to a showdown moment, one where Angie declared that Jordan’s best chance for success lay outside of an institution. Their decision was one not shared by all medical professionals. When the couple brought Jordan home on Nov. 18, 2011, they knew he was not going back to a hospital or any other institution. “We knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” Angie said. “We knew we were going to have outbursts and everything. We just had lots of people praying for us, lots of people praying for him and a determination that it was going to get better.” The church they attended had known Jordan since he was young, “and they went through a lot of these things with us—the pastor and different people,” Angie said. “The prayer that happened through that church and through our faith in God and just feeling like God was in control, and it felt like He nudged us that we needed to get Jordan out of the hospital.”


REFRESHED | May 2014

On the right path

Jordan was now 14 years old and on a new journey, this one away from institutions and toward more understanding and success. The Lipscombs contacted the Courage Center, an organization that helps those with disabilities. The Center assisted Jordan with occupational and speech therapy. When he had successfully worked through their programs, the Courage Center staff recommended LearningRx, an organization that works specifically with training the brain. “He wanted to quit,” Angie said about Jordan as the intensive program got underway. “He wasn’t used to people sticking with him. He was used to people giving up on him and moving on or letting him get out of doing things.” However, the LearningRx staff gave Jordan three rules: You can’t put your head down; you can’t quit; and you don’t say “I can’t.” “As time went on, he started realizing that he could learn,” Angie said. “His self-esteem started to go up. He started looking forward ….” Within three days of the new program, Jordan was able to recite all 44 U.S. presidents from memory. A few days later, he could still recite the list—forward and backward. By the end of his first semester as a freshman, he had received all As on his report card. At the end of his second se-

mester, he again received all As. “He’s talking about college, and he’s talking about things he wants to do in life,” Angie said. “Where before it was ‘I’m a bad kid; I don’t deserve anything.’”

Encouraging others

Through their journey with Jordan, the Lipscombs have learned to seek out help when in need. They encourage others in similar situations to do the same. “[I would] encourage them to talk to their pastor,” Bob said. “Open up to their pastor, to their church or to their neighbors or to their families. If nothing else, if they are in a need, ask for help.” Angie believes that kids “act out” for a variety of reasons, and it’s important to understand those reasons before trying to treat them. “A lot of times our kids act out [with] behaviors because of something they can’t understand or process,” she said. “We need to find the root of it.” Most importantly, however, the Lipscombs learned that God was with them during their difficult journey—and will continue to walk with them in the years ahead. “Prayer and that still, small voice that you hear is telling you not to give up and keep going,” Angie said. “That’s God’s way of telling you He is with you, and He is going to help walk you through whatever it is that you’re facing in life. We all have trials and tribulations. We’re in good company.” ■

book review

Prescription for dealing with stress and anxiety by SCOTT NOBLE “Overwhelmed: Winning the War Against Worry” By Perry Noble, © 2014, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 237 pages, $15.99 Stress and anxiety. We all experience it to some degree or another. Stress comes in many shapes and sizes, including short-term stress over a public speaking event or an important meeting at work. These episodes cause stress and anxiety up until the actual episode is over—then we experience relief. Other times stress can shadow us for long periods of time, making us believe that no matter what we do, we cannot escape its grip. This type of stress and anxiety is there when we wake up and when we go to bed. It’s lingering in the backs of our minds nearly all the time, temporarily masked by short periods of distraction. When we feel as if we are unable to break free from the tightening grip of stress and anxiety, we back into a position of feeling overwhelmed—feeling nearly incapable of functioning on a daily basis. Hopefully we don’t all get to this point but for those who do, New York Times bestselling author Perry Noble hopes to give readers a prescription for relief. In his new book “Overwhelmed: Winning the War Against Worry,” Noble shares his own experience of walking into the abyss of anxiety and stress and how he was able to conquer it. Noble is also the author of “Unleash!: Breaking Free from Normalcy” and the founding and senior pastor of NewSpring Church in South Carolina. Early in the book, he recounts his own experience of feeling overwhelmed. It came at the height of his success. After founding NewSpring Church and seeing it grow over the course of several years, Noble began to experience the stress and anxiety of someone who was trying to do too much. He recalls working more than 70 hours a week and feeling like Superman, if only in the sense that “I had to rescue the world.” But his lofty feelings were about to be destroyed. One night while having dinner with his wife, Lucretia, Noble broke down. He writes: “I told her, ‘We have a great house, we have nice cars, we’re living comfortably, and the

church is growing at a rate I never thought it would. I’m getting asked to travel and speak at conferences all over the world. And I hate my life!’” (emphasis in the original). That feeling of being overwhelmed didn’t last only one night or just one week or even one month. “Over the next three years, I experienced days that were so dark, so difficult, and so overwhelming that I considered taking my own life,” Noble wrote. Fortunately, he didn’t. And Noble uses his personal walk through the valley of the shadow of death to encourage and equip readers to find hope amidst their despair. Noble’s story is refreshing in that a popular pastor and speaker is willing to talk about his feelings of anxiety, depression and even suicidal thoughts. He doesn’t shy away from some of the more sensitive issues involved with anxiety, issues some like to push under the rug for fear of embarrassment. Noble also is comfortable revealing what he perceives as some of his personal faults, including at times a quick temper, a rush to judgment and an inability to place others’ needs ahead of his own—struggles we all face to some degree. “Overwhelmed” uses several biblical stories—mainly the stories of Daniel, Job and John—to walk readers through how God interacts with those facing anxiety and stress. His writing style is conversational; at times the book feels as if you are sitting right across the table and listening to him reveal his latest struggle. The basic narrative of “Overwhelmed” is to allow our view of God to expand and thus give us the faith to see our circumstances in a new light. Noble writes, “As our view of God increases, our worry and stress decrease, because it’s only then that we begin to believe that all the things that are over our heads are under His feet.” While this is an accurate assessment, some of Noble’s prescriptions are common sense, things those struggling with anxiety and stress

have probably heard before. However, it’s probably not a bad idea for those messages to be repeated. Some readers may not find too much new in “Overwhelmed” besides Noble’s compelling story of his own struggles. Those who wrestle with depression and anxiety often report feeling lonely or unloved. Noble includes a nice section on reminding readers of the love God has for them, regardless of their current circumstances. “I’ve learned during these times that instead of asking God to give me a sign or prove himself, all I have to do is take a look around at the reminders He has placed in my path that scream that I matter, that I’m important to Him, and that He is way closer than I can imagine.” Noble also tackles the touchy subject of the relationship between sin and stress and anxiety, writing, “We will never overcome our feelings of anxiety and experience times of refreshment until we deal head-on with the sin that is holding us captive.” He focuses on three specific sin struggles: sex, greed and unforgiveness. Again, one of the more appealing aspects of “Overwhelmed” is Noble’s willingness to place himself within the narrative, revealing his own personal struggles in these areas. These sections are some of the book’s most teachable moments. Noble is quick to remind readers that stress and anxiety will always be part of our lives. We can learn better how to deal with these challenging times, but we will never completely remove them from our lives. In the book’s penultimate chapter, Noble recounts an episode where he wanted to quit, just throw in the towel. However, a friend reminded him that “One day we’re going to stand in front of the One whose assignment was much tougher than ours. He was betrayed, attacked and beaten, and He suffered beyond anything we can imagine. And He is the One we follow. If He didn’t quit, then neither should you.” Learn more at www.overwhelmedbook. com or visit a local LifeWay Store. May 2014 | REFRESHED



Dual film projects chronicle spiritual journey of the late Rich Mullins

A new documentary film chronicling the life of the late Rich Mullins, the Christian musician who wrote the wildly popular song “Awesome God,” has been released even as a movie on his life will be released in limited theaters across the country. “Rich Mullins: A Ragamuffin’s Legacy,” features behind-the-scenes footage as well as exclusive interviews with friends and family garnered during the research phase for the feature film, “Ragamuffin: The True Story of Rich Mullins.” Mullins released eight albums and a musical before being killed in a 1997 automobile crash on his way to a benefit concert. His final album, The Jesus Record, featuring cuts he made on a mini-recorder, was released posthumously. In his later years, Mullins shunned what he believed to be an ineffective church, preferring instead to spend his time with the poor. He lived for a time on a Navajo Indian reservation and his musical, “Canticle of the Plains,” was a modern tribute to St. Francis of Assisi, one of his spiritual influences. He was posthumously honored by his peers with three Gospel Music Association Awards for Artist of the Year, Song of the Year and Songwriter of the Year. The full-length movie, produced by Color Green Films, is scheduled for a May 2 release in 30 U.S. cities, including Irvine. A testimony on overcoming brokenness, the


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film chronicles Mullin’s journey, beginning as a young child. “This is a story of redemption,” Mullins’ longtime friend Kathy Sprinkle told Assist News Service. “Hard things can happen to us in our lives, but if we’re willing to face them down, understand, or to seek help from other people, God can redeem those things.” Sprinkle acknowledged Mullins was not the type of person who would be comfortable with the focus so squarely on him. But she said, “I think if Rich saw the truth and redemption in the movie, and if he thought it would help even one person, relationship-wise, he would say, ‘Have at it.’ I think he would appreciate the healing part of this movie.”

approximately onethird of U.S. children live without their fathers; 85 percent of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes and 80 percent of youth gang members come out of fatherless homes “The film lifts up God’s design for the family and brings to the culture an aspirational view of why God’s design for the family is still the best design, and how people of faith can preserve family values,” the film’s publicists said.

For more information on the feature film, visit


The role of the family takes center stage in “Irreplaceable,” a new documentary by Fathom Events, Focus on the Family and Pine Creek Entertainment. The film was set to debut May 6. “Irreplaceable” follows Tim Sisarich, executive director of Focus on the Family New Zealand, as he explores the answers to two critical questions: “What is family?” and “Does family still matter in today’s society?” Transversing the globe, “Irreplaceable” attempts to answer these central questions by spotlighting cultural, historical and religious experiences. According to the documentary’s producers, half of all American children will witness the breakup of a parent’s marriage;

Tim Sisarich, executive director of Focus on the Family New Zealand, narrates the documentary ‘Irreplaceable’ which explores the role of family against the backdrop of cultural, historical and religious experiences.

‘The Nut Job’

The animated, action-packed comedy “The Nut Job,” starring Will Arnett (“Despicable Me,” “Ratatouille”), has released on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD. The inspiring adventure is also available on demand from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. Arnett plays Surly, a mischievous and selfish squirrel, who is on a mission: to find—and then hoard—the tastiest nuts for winter. When he discovers a whole store filled with his favorite food, he plans a heist of nutrageous proportions. But the place turns out to be owned by ruthless bank robbers so it’s up to Surly and his furry friends to stop the nearby bank heist and save the town. Along the way Surly learns about commitment, sacrifice and what it means to be a true friend. The film, which drew stellar reviews from Focus on the Family, the Dove Foundation, Movieguide and Catholic News Service, also stars Brendan Fraser (“The Mummy,” “Gimme Shelter”), Liam Neeson (“Non-Stop,” “The Grey”) and Katherine Heigl (“The Love Series,” “27 Dresses”).

movie review

‘Moms’ Night Out:’ A hilarious celebration of motherhood by MICHAEL FOUST This month there will be lots of moms walking out of theaters from coast to coast proclaiming, “That’s the best movie I’ve ever seen.” Seconds later they may add, “And the funniest.” The film, which opens May 9, is called “Moms’ Night Out,” and it’s the latest movie from the brother/director duo who brought us the successful 2012 faithbased film “October Baby.” While that one would be best described as “good,” their latest endeavor easily deserves the label of “great.” It’s faith-based, mainstream, inspirational and hilarious—so much so that I watched it twice. It does for moms what “Courageous” did for dads—that is, affirm, inspire and encourage them, making them want to become better at their God-given role. If they begin the movie feeling beaten down, they’ll end it lifted up. And laughing. And likely crying. “Moms’ Night Out” spotlights a stressed-out young mom, Allyson (Sarah Drew), who wants a night away from the house with two of her friends at a nice restaurant. With the dads watching the kids, nothing can go wrong, right? The mommy trio soon discovers that an evening of fun can turn into an evening of disaster in a snap, and before you know it, they’re at a bowling alley, then a tattoo parlor and then … well, I’ll let you find out. It’s one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. It’s also one of the most moving. I cried … several times. It stars such mainstream actors as Drew (“Grey’s Anatomy”), Sean Astin (“The Lord of The Rings”,” Rudy”) and Patricia Heaton (“Everybody Loves Raymond”) but also such faith-based staples as Robert Amaya (“Courageous”) and Alex Kendrick (“Courageous,” “Facing the Giants”). Singer Trace Adkins also

Izzy (Andrea Logan White), Allyson (Sarah Drew), Sondra (Patricia Heaton) and Zoe (Sammi Hanratty) share good news with the search-and-rescue party in MOMS’ NIGHT OUT, the new family comedy from Sony Affirm and Provident Films, in theaters May 9. has a major role. Faith-based films have taken gigantic leaps in recent years, and “Moms’ Night Out” easily continues that trend. It also breaks new ground. No faith-based comedy has ever had such a large budget or theatrical release. Thankfully, because of “Moms’ Night Out,” there probably will be more like it. It’s a hilarious movie, and oh yeah, it’s clean. Andrew Erwin, co-director along with his brother Jon, told Refreshed that they were able to do something few directors

achieve: get their first choices in actors and actresses. “That rarely happens,” he said. The talent level is evident on screen. Heaton, Drew, Astin and the others are, as Erwin put it, “naturally funny people.” Erwin called “Moms’ Night Out” a “celebration of motherhood.” “People will be able to relate to it. It’s about parenting and about kids and about all those things we love,” he said. Learn more at May 2014 | REFRESHED


l u f joy

Making a


MercyMe, Steven Curtis Chapman to headline 98.5 KTIS’ summer festival by SCOTT NOBLE


or years, listeners to 98.5 KTIS and station staff members had wondered why the radio station didn’t hold a local family-oriented music festival. Families comprise a large portion of the popular radio station’s audience, so the idea of holding a festival for all ages seemed like a natural fit. After years of considering the idea,


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“We finally decided to do it, because if we don’t do it now, we probably never will,” said Jason Sharp, station manager for KTIS. “We just decided to move forward with Joyful Noise.” The first event was held in 2008. Six years later, the summer music festival has become a huge draw for Christian music fans across the metro area

and beyond. Last year, 16,000 people attended the two-day event. Top performers in contemporary Christian music perform each year, with Third Day and TobyMac included in the list of past performers. However, music is not the sole—or most important—reason behind the Joyful Noise Family Fest. “At the end of every Joyful Noise, families were able to come together and have a great experience under the presence of the KTIS brand, be ministered to, be encouraged; we even have worked in evangelism, because we encourage people to bring friends who may not know Jesus Christ,” Sharp said. “We hope it makes them a better Christian and pumped up to go do something in our community to show God’s love to somebody else.” Last year, Joyful Noise welcomed Matt Brown, an evangelist who presented the gospel during breaks in the music. “When we can, we want to give an evangelistic message at our events; and maybe that’s at some events a 30-second video and maybe at Joyful Noise it’s a three- or four-minute piece at 11:20 a.m. on Saturday, and then another two- to three-minute piece at 2:50 p.m.,” Sharp said. Even though a lot of people at Joyful Noise will be Christians, Sharp hopes every person in the community will experience God’s love. “We really take the idea of taking our mission seriously, and then our vision here at the station is for every person in our community to experience God’s love through a KTIS listener,” he said. “So we’re really all about working to mobilize the 500,000 plus that God has given


Joyful Noise Family Fest Friday, June 6 | Saturday, June 7 National Sports Center, Blaine Tenth Avenue North, Audio Adrenaline, MercyMe, Steve Curtis Chapman, Mandisa, Lincoln Brewster and more TICKETS: us who listen each week to take God’s love and don’t keep it a secret … put that light on a hill and shine it bright and go out and tell somebody about Jesus.” This summer’s Joyful Noise will take place at the National Sports Center in Blaine on Friday, June 6 and Saturday,

June 7. Performers include Tenth Avenue North, Audio Adrenaline, MercyMe, Steven Curtis Chapman, Mandisa, Lincoln Brewster, Jason Gray and several others. The outdoor concert will also feature activities to engage people of all ages. As the festival has grown each year, Sharp said their biggest challenge—outside of the weather—is making the event better than the year before. Before the event each year, Sharp said organizers pray about people coming to know Christ. “If one person accepts Christ, [then it’s a] success,” he said. “After that, if 16,000 people are encouraged to live out their faith every day, we can change this community for Jesus Christ. We can reach the entire community.” ■

May 2014 | REFRESHED


Rappin’ the truth Tru Serva: His mother was a rapper, his grandmother was a pray’er by SCOTT NOBLE


arcus Montana didn’t want to become another statistic. Growing up in Lacombe, La., a suburb of New Orleans, Montana recalled that only about 15 percent of the people from his hometown graduated from high school. When he was 16, Montana found himself perilously close to becoming one of the 85 percent who wouldn’t graduate from high school—and thus possibly place himself in a difficult position to succeed in life. “I was expelled from school … for actually something I didn’t even have anything to do with,” he recalled. “I looked at it as I had done so much stuff that I never got caught for. It happens.” While he sat at home from school grounded by his mother, Montana had some time on his hands. His grounding meant he couldn’t do certain things, but he was allowed to work. One day he was talking with the mom of one of his friends. She told him: “We have a youth rally at the church this Friday. Do you want to come?” Since he was bored of sitting at home and guessed his mother would allow him to go, he said yes. It was a decision that would forever change the course of his life.

Spiritual legacy

Montana grew up in a semi-religious home. His parents separated when he was three, although he never actually lived with them both at the same time. Up until that point, he had lived with his grandmother. His mother was 19 years old when Montana was born, and she worked two jobs for as long as he can remember—just to provide for the family. “Because of that, we never had the greatest relationship,” he said. Montana is quick to point out that there was nothing bad about their relationship; they


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just weren’t close. His immediate family didn’t hav gious background or faith but as the by, Montana has learned of the deep that was planted early in his life. “More and more I’m learning th foundation from my grandmother wh with,” Montana recalled. “These things I knew until after I was a comm Christian and people knew I was a c mitted Christian. I probably was 20 ye old before I knew the faith my gran mother had.” She had watched Montana for the first three years of his life and helped impart upon him what he believes was the Spirit of the Lord. He later learned that his grandmother had an altar built in her home where she would go and pray, helping to lay the foundation for Montana’s faith years later.

Years of prayer

When Montana was 12 years old, a friend he had known for most of his life talked to him about Jesus. Montana was at a Mardi Gras parade, and the girl was part of a church group that was doing outreach. “I went and talked to them, and they prayed with me and stuff like that,” he recalled. “It didn’t reall mean much at the time.” Life went back to normal for Mont

ve a strong reliyears have gone spiritual legacy

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tana. May 2014 | REFRESHED May 2014 | REFRESHED

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But behind the scenes, things were moving. This same girl who talked with him about Jesus spent the next four years praying for Montana, lifting him up in prayer each day. So when Montana decided—because he was basically bored and looking for something to do—to attend the church service that night when he was 16, he had no idea what had been going on behind the scene for years. His grandmother had been laying a foundation of prayer for him since his birth and this young girl who knew him since grade school had devoted years to praying for him. Those prayers were about to come to fruition. “I went to church that night,” Montana said. “I can’t even remember what was being preached. [But] he offered something that I needed. When they had an invitation or altar call to receive Christ, I went down and gave my life to the Lord.”

Getting back on track

Montana’s life was slow to evolve after his commitment to Christ, but the wheels were definitely in motion for the work God was preparing. But first Montana needed to figure out how to deal with his expulsion. “The majority of my friends were still nonbelievers,” he said. “Because I was kicked out of school, the only thing I could do then was go to church.”


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Introduction to music

He was still hanging out with his old friends and trying to figure out what faith in Christ looked like. “When they found out I was born again, it kind of shocked a lot of them,” Montana said. “They weren’t even against it. They were just like ‘that’s something we will do when we’re older.’” But Montana’s immediate concern was about to be addressed in his favor. When he was expelled, it was supposed to be for the entire year. However, since he had high test scores, school officials decided to readmit him, seeing that he had done the work and had potential. “I always tell people I was a troublemaker; I wasn’t stupid,” he said.

Music has always been a fun aspect of Montana’s life. He wrote his first rap song when he was in third grade. It was about the Super Mario Bros. But his gifting for rap and music came from his mother. “My mom actually was a rapper,” he said. “She never tried to pursue it as a career or anything, but my uncle was a DJ who would DJ all over the place, and my mom would kind of go along with him and help him out and kind of host events and things like that. She would rap and stuff.” His first rap performances were in front of his classmates at junior high dances. “When I gave my life to the Lord, it was probably six months before I did my first Christian song,” Montana said. “I wasn’t pursuing a music career at the time. It was just to bring something more exciting to youth group.” When he arrived at Trinity Bible College in North Dakota, Montana’s outlook on music began to change. “I started to share some spoken words and maybe a song here and there,” he recalled. “[I] started to see how the Lord can use the music to minister to people.” During his last year of college, Montana moved off campus and used the security deposit from his old place to record his first album. While other students enjoyed their Spring Breaks, Montana spent the entire week in a studio in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, recording his first album.

It didn’t stop after his graduation. “I graduated from college on Friday,” he said. “On Monday, I was on the road for three months. Fresh I. E. [is] from Canada. He’s a two-time Grammy-nominated artist. He pretty much took me under his wing for the first couple of years out of college.” And since those first couple of years out of college, Montana’s music career has blossomed.

Tru Serva

The name Tru Serva originally appeared during youth group back in high school. Montana said that every rapper wants to have his own crew, so he tried to make a crew out of the kids from youth group. It didn’t work well, but the group became known as the Tru Servas. It wasn’t until later in high school that Marcus Montana took on the name Tru Serva as his own rap name. Since he’s been out on his own, Tru Serva has released several CDs, including his latest “The Surrender Sound.” He has toured around the country and devel-

WHAT IT MEANS Tru Serva While the name can easily be thought of as a shortened version of “true servant,” Tru Serva actually represents an acronym: T = total praise R = relationships U = unashamed S = servant of the call E = eyes focused R = rise above expectation V = vision for others A = accepting God’s grace oped a loyal following among Christian hip hop fans. When it comes to working on lyrics for songs, Montana said he develops them in different ways. “Sometimes it’s … ‘spontaneous,’ where I’m just driving, and I sense something,” he said. “Otherwise, when it’s your job, you kind of work on it. It moves both ways. When you are called to do

something, the Lord is going to always be working; especially if you’re connected with Him, you don’t have to wait for Him to give you something; you can ask.” Montana also considers his audience when he writes lyrics. “I think of both the nonbeliever and the Christian when writing an album,” he said. “I want nonbelievers to understand or sense the grace that God has for them. And that it doesn’t matter what they’ve been doing, the choices they’ve made, where they are at in life, that there’s still freedom in Christ. At the same time, for a believer … if you are convicted, that’s what should happen. For believers, part of Montana’s biggest challenge is “if I can encourage you and challenge you to live an authentic Christian life, one that represents Christ … then I fulfilled my job.” Many years later, Montana can look back at his life and feel thankful for the spiritual legacy that helped him rise above being just another statistic. ■ Learn more at

May 2014 | REFRESHED


Sponsored by

tunes Music benefits the ‘storks’

singles “Don’t Have Love” and “Through My Father’s Eyes” have collectively exceeded 1 million YouTube views to date.

Artist Garden Entertainment singersongwriter Holly Starr has wrapped up a 23-city tour with national youth speaker Bob Lenz, where she performed her latest single “God Is.” Starr said the song offers a clear view of God’s characteristics. “It is a deep desire of mine to simply share with others the character of God, to be a voice of encouragement to the church, and a voice to share about who God is with those who might not know Him,” she said. “He is our promise. Our refuge. Our strength.” Her recently completed “Save the Storks” tour raised money for and awareness of local pregnancy resource centers. Starr is known for her loyal online fan base. The music videos for Starr’s previous

Making the rounds

Husband and wife team Seth & Nirva have taken to national media appearances on such shows as TBN’s “Praise the Lord,” CBN News, and Fox News’ “Spirited Debate” to promote their debut project I Need You. The album showcases seven pop, R&B and worship-oriented selections. Seth Ready, who got his start as a background singer for Kirk Franklin, has shared the stage with Chris Tomlin, Donnie McClurkin and CeCe Winans. Seth co-produced I Need You with Matthew Edwards and Marlon Smith. Nirva Ready has worked as a background vocalist for Mandisa, Natalie Grant and Nicole C. Mullen, and is featured as a singer and dancer in TobyMac’s Diverse City band.

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Writing her own story

Francesca Battistelli, whose single “Write Your Story” peaked at No. 4 on Billboard’s Hot Christian Songs list after her live performance earlier this year on “Good Morning America,” is hoping for a similar outcome for her studio album, If We’re Honest, which was scheduled for release April 22. Advance publicity for the project, produced by her longtime collaborator Ian Eskelin, a Grammynominated and Dove Award-winning producer, says the album “reveals her most intimate and accomplished musical statement yet and showcases her trademark pop and soul-infused sound.” Battistelli’s two previous albums, debut release My Paper Heart and sophomore project Hundred More Years, hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Christian Album chart. With her most recent release in 2011, she garnered Artist of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year and Pop/Recorded Song of the Year at the Dove Awards.

Taking down burdens

Nashville-based recording artist Erica Lane, whose music has been featured in nearly a dozen film and television soundtracks, including the recent Gospel for Asia’s movie, “Veil of Tears,” has released a new EP. Produced by Grammy and Dove awardwinner Bryan Lenox (Michael W. Smith, The Katinas, Enrique Iglesias), Take Your Burden Down, features five songs, including the new radio single, “Burden.” A former Miss Houston and Top 10 U.S. Miss World, Lane is a prolific vocalist and songwriter, known for her blend of inspirational lyrics and sweeping ballads and energetic performances. She has performed at events with such notables as Jon Voight, George Lopez and Chonda Pierce. An aspiring actress, Lane starred in the family-friendly reality TV series, “Inspired Ambition” and appeared on the 2005 TBS series “Daisy Does America,” produced by Courtney Cox and David Arquette.

May 2014 | REFRESHED


events calendar THRU MAY 24 Art Exhibit: The Elements of a Picture featuring Dr. George C. Poundstone. Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9am-8pm, Sat. & Sun. 11am-6pm. Olson Gallery, CLC Building, Bethel University • (651) 635-8000

THRU MAY 25 Open Window Theatre presents “Lilies of the Field” heartwarming classic story • (651) 336-3302,

MAY 1-4 • THU-SUN Bethel University Theatre presents “Measure for Measure,” Thu.-Sat. 7:30-9:30pm & Sun. 2:30-4:30pm. Bethel University • (651) 635-8000

MAY 2 • FRIDAY Sounds of Praise Concert 2014 with Mary Beth Carlson, The Benson Family, The Kingery Family, Maureen Pranghofe, Mark David Williams, 7pm. St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, 9201 Normandale Blvd., Bloomington. Free. Benefit for Joni & Friends • (952) 933-7777,

MAY 3 • SATURDAY Christian Singles Event, Summer Bike Riding Group, 1pm • www.

MAY 4 • SUNDAY National Lutheran Choir 28th Annual Concert Series. Spring Concert – “Exalt” featuring world premier & commission by Zachary Wadsworth & organist Aaron David Miller, 4pm. St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, 900 Stillwater Rd., Mahtomedi. $20-25 • Global Worship 7, 4pm, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 1901 Portland Ave S., Minneapolis • (612) 874-0133


Lutheran Church & School, 5421 France Ave. S, Edina. $93 • (952) 927-8400 x109

MAY 8 • THURSDAY Twin Cities Area Mission Professionals (TCAMP) meeting, 12noon, North Heights Lutheran Church, Arden Hills •

MAY 9 • FRIDAY Leadercast Northland Leadership Development Conference with Andy Stanley, Dr. Henry Cloud & Mike Max WCCO Tv/Radio, 7:30am. Grace Church, 9301 Eden Prairie Rd., Eden Prairie. $49+ (group rates) • (612) 816-1541, Classics in the Great Hall, 6pm. Benson Great Hall, Bethel University • (651) 635-8000 New Life Family Services presents Annual Birth Mother Dinner “Clothed with Strength,” 6-8:30pm. Calvary Roseville • RSVP (612) 6238378,

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MAY 16 • FRIDAY Bethel University’s Humanities Program hosts discussion series “Fully Engaged: Pursuing Integrity in Work & Leisure” Session 3 Leisure, 4-5:30pm. Teelwood Asset Management, Mpls. $30 (3 sessions) • (651) 638-6133, fully-engaged/ Single Christian Fellowship, Volleyball, 6:30-10:30pm. Faith Presbyterian Church, Minnetonka • (612) 866-8970, (651) 649-4525

MAY 16-18 • FRI-SUN

The Refine Conference, for women, 8am. Hilton Airport/Mall of America. $199-224. By Do Good Events • Reign Dance Theater presents Weekend at Wickershams, 7pm. Eden Prairie High School Performing Arts Center, 17185 Valley View Rd., Eden Prairie. $20 • (952) 356-4481,

MAY 10 • SATURDAY Christian Songwriters Workshop, 2pm. Frontier Fellowship, 1139 Payne Ave., St. Paul. By MN Association of Christian Songwriters •



Meet the Program Director: MBA & MA in Strategic Leadership, 5:306:30pm. Bethel University • (651) 635-8000, admissions/events/rsvp

MAY 9-10 • FRI-SAT


Financial Peace University, adults who want to get rid of debt, manage their money wisely and build & give wealth, 5:30-7:30pm. St. Peter’s

Twin Cities Creation Science Assoc. “Strange Peru” with Joe Taylor speaking, University of Northwestern, 3003 North Snelling, Roseville, Totino Fine Arts Center, Room F2128 •

Mary Beth Carlson’s 20th Anniversary Concert, 7pm. St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, 9201 Normandale Blvd., Bloomington. $16 • (952) 934-2319,

Legacy Five in concert , hosted by Jerry & Ginger “The Songmasters,” 6pm. Cedar Valley Church, 8600 Bloomington Ave. S, Bloomington. $22-27 • (651) 638-6333, events/arts



54th Annual MN Prayer Breakfast with Governor Dayton, 7am. Mpls Downtown Hilton • (612) 288-2233,

Single Christian Fellowship potluck, volleyball & games, 6:30pm. Bring a dish to share. Faith Presbyterian, 12007 Excelsior Blvd., Minnetonka • (612) 866-8970, (651) 649-4525

Physician Assistant Program Information Session, 5:30-7pm. 2 Pine Tree, Arden Hills. By Bethel University • (651) 635-8000, https://gs.bethel. edu/admissions/events/rsvp The Impact of Pornography on Children, Youth & Culture with Cordelia Anderson, 7pm. 2055 Bohland Ave., St. Paul. Free. By Anti Human Trafficking Working Group, Sisters of St. Joseph • (612) 408-4213


Handbell Ensemble Spring Concert, 3pm. Benson Great Hall, Bethel University • (651) 635-8000

MAY 12 • MONDAY The MN Christian Writers Guild meeting with Jonathan Friesen speaking, 6:30-9:30pm. Bethlehem Baptist Church, 720 – 13th Ave. S, Mpls. $20-40 membership dues (1st timers free) • info@

Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat (Interdenominational), 5:30pm. Oak Forest Center, 2824 130th St., Frederic, WI. $150. By Project Healing • (715) 781-4430,

MAY 17 • SATURDAY Spring Thaw Event with the Hosanna Quartet in concert, 10am. Emmaus Lutheran Church, 8443 2nd Ave. South, Bloomington • (952) 432-7490, graceseventhdaybaptist. org MN Association of Christian Songwriters celebrates 25 Years with a Spring Concert, 3pm. Frontier Fellowship, 1139 Payne Ave., St. Paul. By MN Association of Christian Songwriters • Hope Lutheran Church Festival of Arts presents a Christian Songwriters Showcase with comedy, storytelling & feature original music by 3 musicians, 5pm (catered dinner 5:30pm). Hope Lutheran Church. $12-18 (childcare fees not included) • (612) 827-2655, admin@

MAY 18 • SUNDAY Gospel Choirs United presents 40th Anniversary Concert, 5:30pm. Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, 3355 N 4th Street, Mpls • (651) 291-7623, www.

MAY 22 • THURSDAY Twin Cities Word Alone Ministries meeting with Pastor Rolf Nestingen, 7pm. Emmaus Lutheran Church, 1074 Idaho Ave. W, St. Paul • (651) 455-1324,

MAY 23 • FRIDAY Christian Singles Event, Revive Twin Cities – Walking by the Spirit Training, 6:30pm • www. Single Christian Fellowship, Volleyball, 6:30-10:30pm. Courage Center, Golden Valley • (612) 8668970, (651) 649-4525

MAY 27-JUN 1 • TUE-SUN “Sister Act” a divine musical comedy. Orpheum Theatre • 1-800982-2787,

MAY 30 • FRIDAY Single Christian Fellowship, Volleyball, 6:30-10:30pm. Courage Center, Golden Valley • (612) 8668970, (651) 649-4525

JUN 6-7 • FRI-SAT Joyful Noise Family Fest, National Sports Center, Blaine. Featuring Tenth Avenue North, Audio Adrenaline, Hawk Nelson, MercyMe, Steven Curtis Chapman, Mandisa, Lincoln Brewster. Presented by 98.5 KTIS •

JUN 15-JUL 13 The Oakridge Gallery of Gospel Art, “It Was Good” – Seven Days of Creation exhibit, Oakridge Community Church, 610 County Road 5, Stillwater •

JUN 21 • SATURDAY Walk & Run for Life to support New Life Family Services, 8:30am. Lake Nokomis • (612) 866-7643,

JUN 21-22 • SAT-SUN Marriage Encounter. Mount Olivet Conference Center, Farmington • (651) 454-3238,

EVENTS ONLINE For more events and community news, please visit www.

community news Minnesota Prayer Breakfast set for May 13

MINNEAPOLIS — The 54th annual Minnesota Prayer Breakfast is slated for Tuesday, May 13 at the Minneapolis Hilton Hotel. This year’s theme is “Unity in Action,” and the event will begin at 7:00 a.m. The breakfast is similar to the National Prayer Breakfast and typically attracts leaders from the business, civic, nonprofit and faith sectors. For more information, including ticket and table sponsorship prices, visit

Women’s conference scheduled

MINNEAPOLIS — The Refine Conference is coming to the Hilton Airport at the Mall of America May 9-10. The women’s event is designed to help attendees “walk away from these two days feeling

renewed and encouraged,” according to organizers. Speakers include Liz Uram, Cathy Paper, Megan Tamte and numerous others. Ticket prices range from $199 to $224. For additional information, visit

Healing retreat planned for those affected by abortion

HUDSON, Wisc. — Rachel’s Vineyard will host a weekend retreat for those affected by a past abortion decision. The retreat, scheduled for May 16-18 in Hudson, Wisc., is sponsored by Project Healing Ministries. According to organizers, the retreat “provides a supportive, confidential and non-judgmental environment for women and men to express, release and reconcile painful emotions to begin the process of restoration, renewal and healing available through the love of Jesus Christ.”

The cost for the retreat is $150. For more information, visit www. or www.

Accordion concert to highlight single parent group

MINNETONKA — The Single Parent Christian Fellowship will hold its monthly social on Friday, May 9 at 6:30 p.m. at Faith Presbyterian Church in Minnetonka. This month’s event will feature accordion player Pat Mahon. The monthly event will also include a potluck meal as well as volleyball and other games. Those who attend are encouraged to bring a dish to share. The group also hosts a weekly volleyball time from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Locations vary, so for more information on the group, the monthly potluck or its volleyball locations, call (612) 866-8970 or its hotline at (651) 649-4525.

May 2014 | REFRESHED


community news Car dealership receives temporary relief from ‘contraceptive mandate’

HASTINGS — The Liberty Institute and volunteer attorneys from Minnesota announced last month that the federal government gave temporary relief to Hastings Automotive, Inc. and Hastings Chrysler Center over what some have termed the “contraceptive mandate,� where employers are required to offer health insurance to employees that includes contraceptive coverage. Attorneys for the dealerships and their owner, Doug Erickson, said the mandate would not be enforced. Erickson had said the mandate violated his religious beliefs. “We are grateful that the United States Department of Justice agreed to temporarily refrain from enforcing a portion of the law that we believe would force Mr. Erickson to give up his freedom when doing

business,� said Jeremy Dys, senior counsel for Liberty Institute, via a media release. “We hope the Supreme Court of the United States will agree that every American should be free to live and work according to their beliefs and without fear of punishment by their government.� For more information about the Liberty Institute, visit

Pianist to hold 20th anniversary concert

BLOOMINGTON — Mary Beth Carlson will hold a 20th anniversary concert on Friday, May 16 at 7:00 p.m. at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Bloomington. The concert will be a reflection on the 20 years of Carlson’s music, including music and stories that have shaped her career. Over the past two decades, Carlson has recorded 24 piano/orchestral CDs, including her most recent: “Music of the Night ‌ Best of Broadway.â€?

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20th Anniversary Concert Music of the Night Friday, May 16th, 7 PM St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, Bloomington

FREE book that Mary Beth co-authored with ticket purchase (1 per family)

Joining her will be vocalists Mark David Williams, John Trones and Debi Kilde, woodwind artist Kenni Holmen, guitarist Cory Wong and more!

Tickets: | 952-934-2319 28

REFRESHED | May 2014

Vocalists Mark David Williams, John Trones and Debi Kilde will join Carlson in concert, as well as woodwind artist Kenni Holmen and guitarist Cory Wong. Tickets are $16 for adults and $8 for those 16 and under. Group tickets of 10 or more are available for $12. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call (952) 934-2319.

Songwriting group to celebrate 25 years

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Association of Christian Songwriters (MACS) will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a “Concert in the Cities,â€? hosted by Love Power Church in Minneapolis. The concert will begin at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 17 and will feature local Christian songwriters who have been part of the group through its history. Through the past 25 years, according to organizers, “MACS has helped countless songwriters, listened to and evaluated over 2,000 songs written by Minnesota Christians, hosted numerous songwriter concerts, brought many people together in recording studios to record their music, released four compilation albums and has begun a thriving Christian networking community ‌.â€? MACS also holds monthly songwriter workshops at Frontier Fellowship in St. Paul. For more information about the group and its anniversary concert, visit

Pizza Ranch executive to speak at golf tournament

STILLWATER — Perry Krosschell, corporate director of vision and mission of Pizza Ranch, will be the keynote speaker

community news at this year’s Christian Community Golf Association (CCGA) on Friday, June 6 at Oak Glen Golf Course in Stillwater. The 17th annual golf tournament raises money for churches, missions, para-church organizations and the International Ministerial Fellowship, this year’s charity partner. The tournament is a 27-hole Shootout Scramble and is divided into three divisions according to level of play. The event cost is $200 per player or $800 per team. For more information, visit www.

Writers group to celebrate 60 years

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Christian Writers Guild will celebrate its 60th anniversary on Monday, May 12 at 6:30 p.m. at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. The Guild honors Christ by bringing together writers from numer-

ous genres to present unchanging truths in relevant ways to each new generation. Jonathan Friesen will be the keynote speaker at the event. He is an awardwinning author, international speaker and gifted storyteller. Membership dues for the Guild are $40 per year ($20 for full-time students), but first-time visitors can attend for free. For more information about the 60th anniversary with Jonathan Friesen, email

Rick Santorum to visit Twin Cities

BLOOMINGTON — Salem Communications Twin Cities and AM 1280 The Patriot are hosting former presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Tuesday, June 3 at the Embassy Suites Minneapolis – Airport. Nic Anderson, general manager of Salem Communications Twin Cities, said via a media release that the event will be

“a great opportunity for all conservatives and like-minded people to come together and learn about the future direction of the Republican Party.” VIP and general admission tickets are available. For more information, visit

Ben Carson to keynote MFC annual dinner

BLOOMINGTON — Dr. Ben Carson, neurosurgeon and author of several books, will be the keynote speaker at the Minnesota Family Council and Institute annual dinner on Tuesday, May 6 at the DoubleTree by Hilton – Bloomington. Carson will speak on “restoring the foundational values that shaped America’s past and must guide her future,” according to an announcement from the Minnesota Family Council. For more information, visit www.mfc. org.


A LITTLE BIT OF BRANSON right here in Minnesota!

Saturday, May 10, 6 pm Cedar Valley Church 8600 Bloomington Ave. S., Bloomington TICKETS: Artist Circle: $27 General Admission: $22 Groups of 10 or more: $17 At the Door: $27

Jerry and Ginger, celebrating 54 years in Gospel Music ministry, invite you to an evening of lifting up the Lord. LEGACY FIVE has been recognized as one of the top Southern Gospel groups in the nation as well as top recording artists of the year. The group has two Dove Awards. They are featured in the Gaither Homecoming Video Series.

FOR MORE INFO: CALL Jerry & Ginger Dallin: 763.544.6159

TICKETS: Visit or call: 651-638-6333 May 2014 | REFRESHED


plugged in DOUG TROUTEN

I can’t keep up I can’t keep up with YouTube videos—over 100 hours of new video is uploaded every minute. I can’t keep up with Twitter—there are 58 million new tweets per day (at 140 characters each, it would take the average reader 12 years to get through a single day’s tweets). I can’t keep up with Facebook—every hour three million links are shared, and nine million messages are sent. Those three sites are just the tip of the iceberg. Wikipedia’s list of social networking websites lists more than 2,000, and new ones are created each day. Nobody can keep up, but that doesn’t keep us from thinking we should. We feel guilty if we haven’t found time to “like” our friend’s photo on Instagram, or read a sibling’s latest post on Facebook. We long for a simpler time, when it was possible to keep up. But that time never existed. Even before the Internet tossed information production into high gear, there was more media available than one person could consume. When I was a boy in St. Paul, our TV got three network affiliates, one independent channel and the educational station. (That’s quite a change from today, when the average home receives more than 100 channels. There’s still often nothing good on, but it takes a lot longer to find that out.) Information overload isn’t unique to the electronic age. Even prior to the invention of the printing press, the legendary Library at Alexandria contained over 500,000 volumes. And before that


REFRESHED | May 2014

there were clay tablets—22,000 of which were found in ancient Nineveh. (No word on how many of those clay tablets contained drawings by Mesopotamians of what they had for lunch or of something cute their cat did.) We can’t keep up. And we never could. So how do we deal with the torrent of information that floods past us each day? Here are some ideas: • Tame the monster with a social network aggregation service. One popular tool is “NutShell Mail.” This free tool

sends you an email digest of your social media world at intervals you specify, from daily to hourly, and can put Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more all in one convenient place for you. • You can “unfollow” without “unfriending.” If you don’t want to lose touch with an old friend but also don’t want to hear about it every time they think about making a sandwich, tell Facebook you want to “unfollow” them. You’ll still be able to visit their profile and see what they’ve been posting, but you’ll have to go to them—their news

will stop automatically coming to you. • Then again, you can “unfriend.” I used to think that a person couldn’t have too many friends, but Facebook has changed all that. Now and then, you need to pare down your contacts. My basic test is to look at the person’s name and see if I can picture their face or remember my last meaningful interaction with them. If it’s a “no” on both counts, they’re off the list. I also drop people who are constantly inviting me to tend an imaginary farm, or telling me that a simple online quiz told them which root vegetable they are (“I got ‘rutabaga.’ How about you?”) Anthropologist Robin Dunbar says we can only maintain 150 stable social relationships, and yet I have more than 500 Facebook “friends.” Time to prune! (And if somebody you dropped later asks to reconnect, you can always bring them back.) The battle against media overload is neverending, and eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. But even as you fight the good fight, be sure to find a bit of time now and then to step away from the clamor completely. Some of the most important things you need to hear tend to be spoken only in a still, small voice. Doug Trouten is chair of the Communication Department at the University of Northwestern – St. Paul.


Download our Mobile Apps today to listen on the go! May 2014 | REFRESHED


sharp focus JASON SHARP

Changing the script Some time ago, my pastor asked, “If you were given the script of your child’s life and you had five minutes, what, if anything, would you edit out?” My wife, Julie, and I have two children. Our daughter is 14 and our son is 12, so I put great thought to my pastor’s question since my children have their whole lives ahead of them. Surely they’ll encounter some things that I can cut out of their scripts, right? My initial thoughts were to quickly edit out any sort of pain or sickness. If I could help it, I would not allow either of them to ever have a broken heart or extremely challenging life experiences.


REFRESHED | May 2014

Perhaps I would remove one of their friends from their story who has the potential to be a bad influence on them, and I would definitely remove any marriage difficulties they may encounter in the years ahead. No car accidents, broken bones or migraine headaches. You see, if I had their scripts, I wouldn’t make their lives perfect, but I would definitely make them easier. (And they could thank me for it later.) Or maybe, just maybe, I would let the script play out, realizing that God is in control and uses the difficult circumstances in our lives to bring us into a closer relationship with Him. God not only wrote the script for Jesus and did so while thinking of you and me, but God left that story untouched. No cutting. No pasting. No editing. We all know the script and even celebrated it recently during the Easter season. Jesus died the most brutal and humiliating death possible. He was crucified on a cross—for our sins—so that we could one day be in the presence of God. Then, He was buried yet rose again on the third day! As Jesus lived His life and God’s plan was being fulfilled, God did zero editing for His one and only Son. Wow, if God didn’t, why would I? Matthew records Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” The Message version of the Bible puts it this way: “My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this. But please, not what I want.” God heard Jesus’ prayer that day,

and His heart was probably crushed, but nothing changed. Dad watched His Son hurt … a lot. And Jesus went through with it and paid the price for you and me. And because of that, we can be made right with a holy God. I’m thankful for that, aren’t you? John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus never promised us that life as a Christian would be easy. He did promise, though, that it would be possible and rewarding. So, “let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:1-3). So, if you were given the script of your child’s life and you had five minutes, what, if anything, would you edit out? Jason Sharp is station manager of 98.5 KTIS in the Twin Cities. Follow him on Twitter @ jasonrsharp.

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here’s to good health WENDIE PETT

A sweet struggle Most of us have tried them—the diet fads that offer much but deliver little. Frustrated and confused, many give up and resort to eating whatever they crave while telling themselves they’re overweight because, apparently, that is how they’re supposed to be. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. We should constantly remind ourselves that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and that He guides us for His good purposes. His Word is a lamp for our feet, a light for our path (Psalm 119:105). It is safe to say, then, that the Lord is not the one luring us to the sugar bowl. Cravings have a way of torturing our minds. Sometimes it’s all we can do to stop from licking the life out of a handful of Tootsie Pops. Try as we may, our minds are fixated on sweets, much to the chagrin of the poor souls who stand in the way of our fix! Although, stand in our way they should. A segment on the television program 60 Minutes reported that sugar is toxic and could be a driving force behind some of this country’s leading killers. Sugar is able to take a serious toll on our health, worsening conditions ranging from heart disease to cancer.

For some, sugar holds the key to their comfort in moments of weakness or boredom. Indeed, research indicates that chocolate triggers the production of opioids (mimicking medications that relieve pain and produce a feeling of euphoria). It’s no wonder der then that sweets are addicting, and nd that a lack thereof may lead to o irritability and, quite possibly, the need to pull out hair (ours or another’s). nother’s). Besides the obvious villains (sweets and soft drinks), sugar hides in almost everything, including condiments, often deceiving unsuspecting shoppers with incomprehensible chemical terminology. Apprise yourself of such terms and read labels carefully. Soft drinks rank among the worst fat-inducing offenders. Ridding oneself of soft drinks, for example, greatly reduces unwanted weight. For a delicious alternative, drink water flavored naturally with lemon, lime, orange or mint. To return to a sweet disposition and

get to the root of your cravings, allow yourself time to experiment and learn about which foods make you feel your best and why. Observe your body’s signals after eating. Which healthy foods most satisfy hunger and offer a more stable mood? Treat yourself as though you are in detox (which isn’t a stretch!), be kind to yourself by refraining from daunting projects or overtime work and enjoy a spa treat-

ment (a natural form of detoxification). Sleep well, eat wisely and grocery shop mostly in stores’ outer perimeters (where healthy items thrive). Above all, spend time in prayer. When temptation comes—and it will— you’ll want to seek God even more as you start afresh the next day. Giving up sugar can be difficult. After all, it is ingrained in our society, in our meals and in our holidays. It’s been said to be as addictive as cocaine. So, be kind to yourself. Talk to yourself as the most loving friend would talk to you as you slowly gain the will to win the struggle with the silent white killer. Wendie Pett is a nationally-renowned fitness expert and coach, mother, TV host, speaker, author and creator of the Visibly Fit™ exercise program. Learn more at


REFRESHED | May 2014

purposeful parenting JIM JACKSON

Finding God in the chaos It can be a great challenge to remember that the struggles we face with our children do not define us or the children. In the daily grind of menus and schedules and homework and messes and fights and more messes, we tend to forget that in Christ, we are defined by a greater Reality than our circumstances. I vividly remember an epiphany of forgetting. It was when we took our first “family vacation.” With eagerness and optimism, we had hit the road for the first time as a family of five (yes, the Jackson five!). I remember feeling deeply blessed as we pulled away. The kids were tucked safely and happily into car seats, ready for a dreamy ride through the night. My

beautiful bride was at my side. We got a great reduced price on a rented conversion van to soften the stress of our 12hour drive, and we were headed to what the photos depicted as a spacious condo in the Ozarks. God was surely lighting our path with the favor of His presence. Thick, late-night fog turned 12 hours of driving into 16. The kids whined and cried through the night, and the car ride was miserable. Upon arrival, we were all fit to be tied. The cramped condo belied the photos and increased the stress. On the first day, the kids got sick, the weather turned cold and rainy, and the pool was closed. Some vacation. By the third day, I was a mess. Too crabby for anyone’s good, I took a walk to protect myself and my family from the monster that was me. The walk turned quickly into an all-out run to get me far away from the mayhem. At the end of my sprint on a rocky dirt road was a metal real estate sign swinging back and forth in the cold misty wind. I heaved to catch my breath in rhythm with the sign. As my breathing slowed, the sign did not, reminding me that back at the condo the mayhem carried on. I picked up a rock at the roadside and hurled it at the sign. The release felt good. The clash of rock on metal strangely satisfied. I did it again. And again and again. I hurled rocks until my

arm hurt, and the sign was pummeled with dents. Then the floodgates opened. I cried out, “God, where are you?” At the side of the road, the battered sign kept swinging. I have since understood that like the sign, circumstances beyond my control will never stop swinging. But swinging signs do not define me, because God is right there with me in the middle of them. This is the Reality that defines. God’s presence really never does leave or forsake us. Even that day on the road God was speaking. I didn’t hear Him just then but even in my desire to run away, God was showing me my desire for Him. In the longings for peace, for joy, for reconciled relationships and circumstances unencumbered by the sludge of life’s messes, I long for union with the Maker of my soul. The evidence of this is that I can look back on it now and smile. Say it out loud, “I really do long for God.” Continue—as a prayer. “You never leave me or forsake me.” This is what defines us. It is permanent and unchanging. It may be awhile but if you keep bringing these thoughts and words to your struggle, you too will smile. And one other thing. Don’t call trips with kids “vacations.” Vacations evoke images of peace and rest. We’re bound to be let down by such expectations when youngsters are in tow. Call them adventures. Then, if you happen to get a little peace and rest, you can smile some more. Jim Jackson is the cofounder of Connected Families, author, speaker and parent mentor. Learn more at www. May 2014 | REFRESHED


marriage matters COLETTE & JONATHAN STUART

Changing seasons: Marriage in the meantime Living in Minnesota, weren’t you thrilled to feel the temperatures crawl past freezing? With record prolonged lows brought on by what some meteorologists termed “Arctic Amplification,” the winter of 2013-2014 will go down in history. Like this long winter, there are some seasons in marriage that seem to last forever—and not in a good way. Every relationship weathers storm and drought. Time seems to stand still. We wonder to ourselves and God: When is this season ever going to end? Maybe you and your spouse just seem to be missing one another in the busyness of life. The routine of each day often feels like sediment that has slowly settled over the jewel of your first love. Sometimes things naturally improve when hard circumstances change or a season like potty-training comes to an uplifting end. However, other times it takes direct relational investment to start the improvement. Marriage, like life, happens “in the meantime.” The longer we have been together, the more amazing it is to look back at the many seasons we have experienced. Though in retrospect we can say we grew through them all, some were simply a period of prolonged struggle. For us, having three children under age six, both doing graduate school and working was more juggling than we had bargained for. When the balls started falling, so did we. We had little energy to properly take care of ourselves, let alone those at home or in our community.


REFRESHED | May 2014

We took even less time for each other as a couple. On one level, that is understandable, but it was also a huge mistake. Our marriage had been overwhelmed by the logistics of each day and though the circumstances weren’t about to change, we had to. We came to realize that instead of waiting for the kids to get bigger or school to be done, we needed to make investments in our relationship even during that hard season. We went on a marriage retreat, and then found a group of other couples that met together and swapped childcare so we could take date nights. We learned that regardless of circumstances, marriage is not easy for most people. It takes persistent effort, courage and energy. Though it sometimes feels like there are more difficult seasons than nurturing ones, we hold on to Isaiah 43:18-19 during the winter seasons: “Forget the former things; do not dwell in the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up, do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Using the metaphor of seasons again, marriage has it all: spring (new growth

and revival), summer (planting and watering), fall (harvest) and winter (cold and trials). In some seasons, it is easier to carve out time and enjoy each other’s company without getting caught up in the details of life. Do whatever you can, because this is where good seeds are sown. Those investments and the patterns they generate end up paying dividends during the hard times. With fits and starts, spring has arrived. Think about your marriage in terms of what you can do to encourage new growth. The questions and ideas below might get you started. Now is a good time to look for what that new thing springing up in your marriage might be. 1. Identify various seasons you have been through together. What did you learn through them? What season is your marriage currently in? 2. Think about what you can do right now to invest in your relationship. Some ideas are taking a marriage inventory of your strengths and growths areas (such as offered at or working through a Bible study with another couple. Jonathan Stuart, Ph.D., is a faculty member in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system. He specializes in training and mediation services. Colette Campbell, M.A., is an adjunct faculty member, speaker/consultant and coach. She offers workshops on connecting to your calling, working with differences, and workingbetter2gether.

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that’s life! JOANNE BROKAW

The insanity of motherhood I was talking with a friend recently about parenting or, more specifically, how mothers throughout history have managed to maintain their sanity while raising children to become, if not the president, at least adults who don’t call their co-workers “Poopy Head.” We were at a picnic and my friend’s 2-year-old had just warned me with a smile that he was going to bite me, while her 3-year-old was determined to shake the table until everyone’s plates were either in their laps or on the ground. She desperately tried to maintain her composure while reprimanding them, but I could see it in her eyes: she wanted to throw them both in the trunk of the car until the party was over. Someone sitting at another table leaned over and suggested that if she ignored her kids they’d stop acting up. While that might be true in theory, any mother knows that it’s impossible to ignore a child banging a spoon on a glass table, and not just because you’re worried that someone will get hurt. It’s the judgmental “tsk-tsking” and unsolicited advice from onlookers that motivates a mother to yank little Jimmy by the arm and hiss through clenched teeth, “If I have to tell you one more time...” You know,” I said, catching my glass of lemonade as it was about to tip over, “I was shopping yesterday and this woman came up the greeting card aisle with three kids who were clearly driving her crazy. I know because she told them that if they didn’t cut it out she was going to take off her flip-flop and beat them with it.” The kids, I explained, had found the section with cards that, when opened,


REFRESHED | May 2014

played music. While they were opening card after card and dancing to snippets of disco songs, their mother was calling down threats upon their heads that involved everything from banishment to their rooms to getting “it” (which, I assumed, was something worse than a beating with a flip-flop). As a shopper, I wasn’t really disturbed by the kids. Just minutes before, I had been opening those same cards and giggling. If they were that amusing to an adult, imagine how tempting they were to a trio of 8- and 9-year-olds. I was more bothered by their mother’s threats of bodily harm—until I remembered that when my own daughter was young it seemed as if her goal in life was to slowly drive me insane, mostly by asking the question “What is that?” 200 times an hour. There were moments when I wondered if either one of us would make it through her childhood alive. I told my friend that I understood how a steady stream of innocent irritations could build up until a mother is forced to the brink of insanity, where

whacking her children with a rubber sandal actually begins to sound like a good idea. That’s when I saw something in her eyes, a glimmer of hope that she wasn’t the only mother who had considered boxing up her children and shipping them to Siberia. Almost every mother alive would tell you that it’s a gift to be able to raise children who go on to become productive members of society, people who can change the world. But it’s not easy to spend every waking moment in the company of humans who eat their own boogers and who can pluck a cat bald in less than three minutes. Most mothers won’t even admit that it’s a blow to the ego to know they can control an entire boardroom of executives but can’t make a 4-year-old put on clean underwear. They need to know they’re not alone. And so, on this Mother’s Day, here’s a message to my friend and all the other mothers of small children: If all you did today was read “Goodnight Moon” 42 times and keep your kids from flushing the goldfish down the toilet, you did a great job. Even if your kids still call each other “Poopy Head.” Award-winning freelance writer Joanne Brokaw spends her days dreaming of things she’d like to do but probably never will— like swimming with dolphins, cleaning the attic and someday overcoming the trauma of elementary school picture day. She lives with two dogs, a cat, six chickens and one very patient husband. Learn more at



1. Pick up a free copy at one of 700 locations in Twin Cities metro. Look for it at your church RUˉQGDOLVWRIUHWDLO locations on our website.  5HDGDGLJLWDOFRS\ 'RZQORDGD3')WR\RXU GHVNWRSFRPSXWHUODSWRS or notebook — or simply YLHZLWRQOLQHWKURXJK RXUGLJLWDOˊLSERRN  2UGHUDPDLO subscription for FRQYHQLHQWGHOLYHU\ to your mailbox each month. One sure way to never miss an issue.  'ULQNDJODVVRILFHFROG RUDQJHMXLFH

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May 2014 | REFRESHED


You have the passion


We’ll prepare you to lead the way.

At Bethel Seminary, we’re committed to equipping ministry leaders. But here, leadership means something more. It’s about living our beliefs and bringing theology to life. It’s about becoming thoughtful scholars and faithful servants. It’s about developing our God-given talents while gaining the biblical foundation we need to think critically, discern faithfully, and act wisely. It’s about using everything we’ve learned and everything we believe to make a real difference in our communities and our world. St. Paul | San Diego | Online 40

REFRESHED | May 2014

Refreshed Twin Cities • May 2014  

Refreshed is a monthly, faith-based lifestyle magazine that features informative and thought-provoking columns, inspirational articles, huma...

Refreshed Twin Cities • May 2014  

Refreshed is a monthly, faith-based lifestyle magazine that features informative and thought-provoking columns, inspirational articles, huma...