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But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.

Always be pre-
pared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the
reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness
and respect . . . (1 Peter 3:15).

Dear Reader, judges that elevate man’s approval


over the approval and pleasure of
How many times have we been in a God? I hope we are doing some of this,
terrible mess because we spoke too in moderation, because we have to un-
soon, too late, or not at all? Or may- derstand our culture. The reality is, as
be our words were truthful but spoken we participate in our culture, we will be
without gentleness and respect. I have inundated with words. It becomes like
experienced all of the above. I cannot the “Waah, waah, waah. . .” spoken by
take my words back no matter how Lucy to Charlie Brown. The only words
I long for that to be possible. It’s like we truly need are the words we find
squeezing too much toothpaste onto in the Bible—every chapter and every
the brush—try as we may, it will never verse inspired by the Spirit of God. As
go back into the tube. we dig into the Word, we can’t help but
be in awe of God.
The verse quoted above must be
viewed in the rich context of 1 Peter The Journey team is feasting on the
3:8-18. It was written by a man who Word of God in 2011. And God is pre-
spoke words that caused him to weep paring us for future ministry. In April we
with deep, passionate regret; words experienced the power of God when
that were spoken before the rooster invited to travel to Aledo, Illinois to
crowed three times. His writings reflect present a ‘Journey on the Road.’ Later
renewed passion and restoration, all this year, the team speaks at a retreat
for the cause of Christ. for Troy UMC at Lake Williamson in
October and at Calvary UMC in Bloom-
According to the Hebrew-Greek Key ington in November. Exciting plans are
Word Study Bible, when we set apart already in the works for Journey gath-
Christ as Lord, our reverence for him erings here at Christ Church in April
gives us proper perspective for defend- and October of 2012.
ing the faith. We must give a reasoned
defense of the faith out of awe for God, We are in awe of God. We are commit-
not the desire to win an argument. ted to being prepared to give answers
for the reason for the hope that we
Are we in awe of God? Are we pre- have in Christ. It’s a journey for a life-
pared to give a reasoned defense of time, and we’re glad you have joined
our faith? us!

How do we prepare? By reading end- With respect and love,


less blog chatter, Facebook, or watch-
Mary Ann
ing television shows with a panel of

Between the Lines is a magazine of the Journey, a ministry of Christ Church


Fairview Heights, IL. © 2011, Christ Church. mychristchurch.com
Designed by Justin Aymer
Between the Lines • Summer 2011 • Volume 1, Issue 2

Table of Contents
Off the Map? Let God’s Word Light the Way   4
Loving a ‘Friend’                              6
Collage: Words                                                            8
Your Very Own Word 10
Make a Long Story Short                                    11
This Year of Delight                                12
I’m Not Afraid Anymore                                  15
This Issue’s Theme: Words and the Word
Verse of the Season:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was
God” (John 1:1).

Meet the Contributors


Mary Ann Turner is the leader of the Journey Team at Christ Church.
A former elementary school teacher, she is the wife of Mark, mother
of two grown children, and grandmother to one precious little boy. She
enjoys great conversations, hiking with her family, and encouraging
others to grow in their Christian faith.

Lindsay Tallman is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in


Nature, Biotech, and Commerce magazines.  A wife and mother of
three, Lindsay enjoys reading, traveling, and playing with her quirky
children. She and her family live in O’Fallon, Illinois and worship at
Christ Church.

Roshaunda Cade, Ph.D., lives in the St. Louis area with her hus-
band and their two children. She loves to praise dance at her church,
West Side Missionary Baptist Church, and she is the Writing Center
Coordinator at Webster University.

Angela Moore grew up near Fairview Heights, Illinois, and her


parents, Keith and Kathie Rule, are members of Christ Church. After
graduating from college in 1998, God led Angela to Houston. The
wife of Brian and mother of Karsten, she enjoys cooking, writing,
blogging at www.angelamoore.typepad.com, feathering her nest,
and serving at Gateway Community Church in Houston.

Emily Climaco, Ph.D., is a Journey Team member and the volunteer


editor of Between the Lines. The wife of Phil and mom of Caroline,
she spends time riding her bike, drinking green tea, and chasing her
two-year-old around the house.
Off the Map?
Let God’s Word Light the Way
by Lindsay Tallman

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light stubbornness and pride, I can end up
unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). lost, confused, and alone. Likewise,
when we attempt to navigate this world
My husband and I have two very dif- without God’s Word in our hearts to
ferent approaches to navigating while show us the way, we often find our-
driving. I’m a spontaneous driver who selves way off the map.
likes to trust my instincts and assume
that, if we miss one turn or exit, we can Even though I grew up in church, I
simply take the next one. I love to take failed to realize the necessity of study-
a road just to see where it leads. My ing God’s Word and applying it to my
husband, on the other hand, is a pilot daily living. My own arrogance and
who believes strongly in precise direc- lack of understanding fueled me to rely
tions and following a map. After all, more on myself and those around me
these tools were invented for a reason. than on God. I thought that being a
As you can imagine, these differences good person would somehow be good
have led to some very “interesting” road enough. It didn’t take long for me to
trips, and I can say without a doubt that find myself at the end of myself. Lost,
purchasing a GPS has helped us put confused, and alone, I was a college
the fun back in family vacations. student hundreds of miles from the
friends and family who had kept me
While my way of navigating the road in my cozy bubble, and that bubble
has led to a lot of adventures and burst wide open. And that’s exactly
pleasant surprises over the years, I’ve where God found me crying out for
also found myself in some places that help. I was overwhelmed by my past
aren’t so desirable. Blinded by my own mistakes and anxious about my future.
Through tears, I opened my Bible to
4 the first passage I could find and read
these words, “Don’t worry about any- his Word, the more he began to work in
thing; instead, pray about everything; my life and give me new eyes to see.
tell God your needs and don’t forget to The changes didn’t come overnight,
thank him for his answers” (Phil. 4:6, but looking back now I see how that
The Living Bible). As I poured my heart one small step opened the door to the
out to him and let go of everything I’d life-transforming power of Christ. He
been trying to do on my own, a peace changed me and kept my feet mov-
came over me like a warm blanket. “If ing in the right direction even when I
you do this you will experience God’s wasn’t sure of the final destination. And
peace, which is far more wonderful the more I learn, the more I realize I’ve
than the human mind can understand. got a long way to go!
His peace will keep your thoughts and
your hearts quiet and at rest as you How often do we call everyone we
trust in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7, TLB). know and ask for advice or “Google”
a random question instead of seeking
I’m not recommending that we study God’s heart through prayer and the
God’s Word so haphazardly, but I did Bible? I’m pretty sure the creator of the

{ }
learn something about our Lord that universe can handle our problems if we
day that I’ll never forget. All those have the patience and perseverance to
years I had done things my own way, wait for his answer in his time. When
he was wait- we feel lost
ing for me to
How often do we call everyone and discour-
turn to him we know and ask for advice or aged, we can
and ask him “Google” a random question rest assured
for help. He instead of seeking God’s heart that he will
was pursuing through prayer and the Bible? help guide
me even in us back on
the midst of my ugly rebellion, sin, and the right path. “And I am sure that God
pride. His Word was not a set of re- who began the good work within you
stricting rules to crush my adventurous will keep right on helping you grow in
spirit, but rather his law was there to his grace until his task within you is fi-
free me to be everything he created me nally finished on that day when Jesus
to be and to keep me from wandering Christ returns” (Phil. 1:6, TLB).
off into places that aren’t good for me.
Psalm 119:18-19 says, “Open my eyes These days if we’re traveling and we
to see wonderful things in your Word. miss a turn, we simply listen as the
I am but a pilgrim here on earth: how I GPS states, “Recalculating,” in her
need a map—and your commands are very calm voice. If you know you’ve
my chart and guide” (TLB). been going in the wrong direction or
you missed that last turn, it’s never too
In my last year of college, a friend in- late to chart a new course. If you’re
vited me to join her Bible study. I kept feeling lost and are in need of a good
coming up with reasons not to go, but recalculating, jump into a Bible study
she was insistent and I reluctantly and let God’s Word light the way. “For
went. It felt awkward and uneasy at first the word of God is living and active.
and, frankly, I didn’t think a bunch of Sharper than any double-edged sword”
“church ladies” would be much fun. But (Heb. 4:12, NIV).
the more I learned about God through 5
Loving of this girl, whose birthday is only
one day after my daughter’s, turned
my girl into someone who couldn’t

a ‘Friend’
by Roshaunda D. Cade
even verbalize her anger and frus-
tration.

When she finally told me about


what was going on, we turned to
the Bible and prayed. My 6-year-
old prayed that her friend—she re-
fused to believe that this girl was
not her friend—would find some
goodness in her life so that she
wouldn’t have to look for bad in oth-
er people’s lives. She also prayed
that her friend would accept Jesus
as Lord and Savior. The next day,
“A friend loves at all times” she invited her to church.
(Prov. 17:17).
The playground torture finally end-
I can’t stand the first grade and ed but was replaced by extortion.
can’t wait for it to be over. “Only a The same girl swindled my daugh-
little while longer” was my mantra a ter out of all of her pencils. But the
few weeks ago. My daughter’s first nadir came at the campus store.
grade journey has been one of my The kids can earn “bucks” to use in
most difficult times in life, in large a campus store that sells all man-
part because she has coped with a ner of tchotchkes enticing to the
bully all year. elementary set. Well, one day my
girl had her eye on something with
My daughter is an affectionate girl, a mermaid but ended up buying
so early in the fall term she kissed pencils for the girl she called her
one of her friends on the cheek. This friend. My girl came home fuming
friend just happened to be a boy, but didn’t let me know about the
and one of her classmates taunted situation until weeks later.
my girl and threatened to tell on her.
It got so bad that my daughter didn’t When I asked her why she didn’t
want to get to school early, just so tell me what was going on, she said
she could avoid a playground con- she didn’t want her friend to get in
frontation with her tormenter. Plus, trouble. Again, we took solace in
my daughter is a stutterer, and the God’s Word and prayer. This time
more stressed she got, the worse my 6-year-old asked God to let her
her stuttering became. The words friend start to love herself so she
6
wouldn’t have to be mean to other my daughter faithfully insisted she
people. And again, she also prayed was all along. Now the two play and
that her friend would accept Christ. squabble and make up, just like
Then, of course, the next day she most first graders.
invited her to church.
Then, the other day my daughter
The extortion eventually stopped, told me in passing that her friend
but slander took its place. One day confided to her that she wanted
in the throes of our recent icy win- to become a Christian. I asked my
ter, my daughter and I saw some daughter how she responded. She
snow that had turned blue because said she asked her all the questions
of the rock salt used as a de-icer. about Jesus that can get a person
Excited about seeing blue snow, saved, and when her friend didn’t
she told her tablemates at school. know the answers, she said she
Well, her friend decided my girl was explained them to her. Then my girl
a liar. Furthermore, she convinced told her friend she needed a Bible.
the entire table of first graders of I guess this weekend we’ll buy my
this and coerced the children into daughter’s friend her own personal
alternately snubbing and mocking copy of God’s Word.
my daughter. As usual, my girl wait-
ed for weeks to tell me what was Although we have yet to bring a
going on. first grade guest with us to church,
I think my 6-year-old just might lead
When she finally told me, and I her friend to Christ. I guess I’ll keep
asked why she’d waited to tell me, my mantra from a few weeks back:
she said her friend needed some- “Only a little while longer, Lord; only
one to love her. Our ritual having a little while longer.”
been established, we turned to
God through his Word and through
prayer. This time my 6-year-old
asked God to let her friend feel his
love and to surround her with peo-
ple who love her. Of course, she
also asked Jesus to come into her Jesus, thank you for loving me,
friend’s life, and she invited her to and I love you too. Thank you
church again. for dying on the cross for my
sins. Forgive me of my sins, and
From August through March, my come into my life. Make me into
daughter suffered this pint-sized the person you created me to
bully, but in April God did some- be. Thank you for making me a
thing very interesting. The girl ac- Christian. Amen.
tually started becoming the friend
7
by Emily Climaco
YOUR VERY OWN WORD

I’m a scholar of American have kids when I grew up, but I’d pre-
literature, which means pared a list of baby names just in case.
I’m both desirable to em- The impulse behind giving a name is
ployers and popular at thrilling and profound. While there may
parties. Okay, neither of be no logical relationship between the
those is true. word “baby” and a tiny human being, in
our culture, the name you give a baby
But I do love language. I suggests many influences. Trends.
love Ferdinand de Sau- Status. Tradition. Dreams. Creativity.
ssure’s theory that the basic unit of Compromise.
language is a sign, composed of a sig- Genesis 2:19-20. “Now the Lord God
nifier (a word, sort of) and a signified had formed out of the ground all the
(a concept). The relationship between wild animals and all the birds in the
the signifier and the signified—and be- sky. He brought them to the man to
tween a sign and its referent—is arbi- see what he would name them; and
trary. People like Saussure and I like whatever the man called each living
to crawl inside a word to check out its creature, that was its name. So the
moving parts. man gave names to all the livestock,
the birds in the sky and all the wild ani-
While language at the molecular level mals . . .”
may be arbitrary, naming is not. When I
was in grade school, I wasn’t sure if I’d To name all the animals! I wonder if

10
Adam was thrilled at the prospect. I
wonder if he suffered namer’s regret
after the fact. When Caroline was 4
months old, I experienced serious
namer’s regret. Suddenly, I feared
Make a
we’d made a terrible mistake because
she seemed nothing like a ‘Caroline.’
Long Story
Around the same time, I also suspect-
ed my breast-pump was talking to me.
Short
So there’s that.
In three words, what
does God mean to you?
Now well-rested, I can’t imagine call-
ing her anything else. Sweet ‘Caroline’
just fits. We chose the name not be- “Supplier.
cause of its meaning—we just thought
it sounded pretty. God, on the other Creator.
hand, gives names loaded with the
essence of transformation: remember Confidante.”
-Heather Asunskis, mom of two in need of a
Abraham, Sarah, Peter, and Paul? 25-hour day

Revelation 2:17. “Whoever has ears,


let them hear what the Spirit says to the
churches. To the one who is victorious,
“Faithful.
I will give some of the hidden manna. I All-powerful.
will also give that person a white stone
with a new name written on it, known Amazing.”
only to the one who receives it.” -Christine Phillips, decorator, flower lover,
wife, and grandmother
God let Adam name the animals,
and he let our families name us. But
can you imagine God’s secret name “Confidante.
for you? This I know: it isn’t arbitrary.
I imagine that its infinitely complex
Comforter.
meaning might be summed up like this:
How much you’ve changed! I love you.
Listener.”
-Betty Nelson, mom, wife, and seamstress

In the next issue: “Faithful,


Wisdom - loving Abba.”
-Pati Church, wife, mother, “mimi,” teacher,
search for it like hidden friend
treasure.

REDUCE – get the digital version via e-mail at mychristchurch.com/thejourney


REUSE – pass along this issue to a friend when you’re finished
11
RECYCLE – toss in a Paper Retriever bin at Christ Church
This Year of Delight
by Angela Moore

The power of words is an amazing In January 2007 I made a decision


thing. One word can lift you up or tear to choose a word for that year. Not
you down, encourage you or devastate just any word, but a word that I felt
you. Our lives are filled and sometimes would encourage, focus, and remind
bombarded with words and messages me of God’s promises. Going into
from every angle. We are thrilled when 2007 I faced an incredibly tough jour-
our child says his or her first word and ney ahead. I was in heart failure and
frustrated when they discover the pow- needed a heart transplant—a second
er of the word ‘No!’ In home décor these heart transplant at that. I knew the
days you will frequently find words and pain, uncertainty, and hardship that
quotes applied to walls, or a carved awaited me, but I also knew that God
out word may sit on your bookshelf or had proven his faithfulness to me and
mantle. I have a plaque in my kitchen would see me through the dark valleys
that says ‘Simplify’ as a reminder to do ahead. After much prayer and search-
just that. ing the scriptures, the word ‘steadfast’
seemed to encompass my life spiritual-
How interesting that in scripture Jesus ly, mentally, physically, and emotional-
is referred to as ‘the Word.’ “In the be- ly. Psalm 112:7 states, “They will have
ginning the Word already existed. The no fear of bad news; their hearts are
Word was with God, and the Word was steadfast, trusting in the LORD. Isaiah
God. He existed in the beginning with 26:3 states, “You will keep in perfect
God” (John 1:1, NLT). God created the peace those whose minds are stead-
world with his words and God has giv- fast, because they trust in you.”
en us his Word, the Bible, as a guide
for our lives. Words hold power and in- Whenever I began to worry about what
fluence, but God’s Word holds the ulti- loomed in my future, I would bring to
mate, divine power and influence. mind these scriptures, these promises,
this Word to lift my spirit. I reminded

12
myself daily that I needed to remain use my God-given talents.
steadfast and trust that God would
work out the details. He did! On Octo- I knew that 2010 was going to be
ber 23, 2007 I received a perfect new a year of seeking five things in my
heart, and more than three years later life: God, Vitality, Discipline, Bal-
I’m thriving and healthier than I’ve ever ance, and Adoption. The word ‘seek’
been. Nothing I did during that time bookmarked that year, as did Mat-
allowed me to get a heart faster, but thew 7:7-8: “Ask and it will be given
remaining steadfast on what his Word to you; seek and you will find; knock
promised gave me peace and joy dur- and the door will be opened to you.
ing a stormy time in my life. For everyone who asks receives;
the one who seeks finds; and to the
At the beginning of 2007 I liked the one who knocks, the door will be
idea of choosing a word, but I had no opened.”
idea how powerful this yearly exercise
would become for my spiritual life. Ev- As 2011 approached I began search-
ery year since, I have spent time pre- ing for a new word. I had prioritized
paring my heart and mind to choose seeking God, vitality, discipline, bal-
a word that would set the tone for that ance, and adoption, but felt that
year. I typically choose a scripture to there was a component missing. In
reinforce my word—this way I have a quiet time one day I came across
God’s Word backing up my chosen a familiar verse. Psalm 37:4-5 says,
word. “Delight yourself in the LORD and
He will give you the desires of your
heart. Commit your way to the Lord,
The year 2008 would be a year of res- trust also in Him, and He shall bring
toration physically, emotionally, spiri- it to pass.” Delight—that’s what I
tually, and mentally. I chose the word desired. I had grown accustomed to
restore to mark that year. Psalm 30:2 seeking God, exercising and eating
states, “O Lord my God, I cried to you right, practicing discipline, finding
for help, and you restored my health.” balance, and working through adop-
God had faithfully restored my health, tion paperwork, but it had all become
my life. Just nine months after my mundane, part of my routine, some-
transplant, my husband and I climbed thing to check off my mental and
to the top of a 14,000 foot mountain in physical checklist every day.
Colorado; my health was restored.
I mentioned earlier that one thing I,
In 2009 I was recovered and needed along with my husband, were seek-
to find a new purpose for my life. “And ing in 2010 was adoption. I am
we know that God causes everything thrilled to report that on April 10,
to work together for the good of those 2011 we adopted a perfect, newborn
who love God and are called accord- baby boy. I believed that if I delighted
ing to his purpose for them” (Romans in the Lord, committed my plan and
8:28). I was blessed to return to teach- desires to him, and trusted him to
ing elementary school full time, serving orchestrate the behind-the-scenes
in our church, and finding new ways to story that he would bless us with a

13
child. I had always imagined adopting
a girl, but the moment I laid eyes on
our son there was no doubt that God’s
fingerprints were all over him. He is our
dream come true and a great delight
ONE
WORD
to us.

Choosing a word for the year has


taught me a great deal. There are times
when we have to surrender our plans,
Choosing one word to focus on
our hopes, our desires to make room
each year is a spiritually creative
for God’s plans, hopes, and desires
exercise. Sometimes the word and
for our life. It’s not an easy process; it
accompanying verse will come to
requires spiritual maturity, prayer, and
you quickly, and other times it may
confidence that his plans are always
take weeks of reflection to find the
better. I can attest that there is nothing
word that best fits a particular
better than delighting in him, commit-
season of life. I encourage you to
ting our ways to him, and trusting him
prayerfully choose a word for the
to intervene on our behalf.
remainder of this year. What area
Consider the power of words in your of your life seems chaotic or lack-
own life. What words resonate with you ing? What word would help you
in a meaningful way? Is there a spe- focus on God’s promises and plan
cific scripture that is a guiding light in for you?
your life? Are the desires in your heart
God’s desires for you? Singing prais- In your next quiet time, purpose-
es, journaling, reading his Word, serv- fully read some favorite scriptures
ing others, keeping a gratitude journal, to see if a word sticks out. Often-
and surrendering your plans are some times I will search biblegateway.
of the ways you can take delight in the com to look up specific words to
Creator and Provider. How do you take find a scripture that reinforces the
time to delight in the Lord? meaning of the word I have select-
ed.

You could also make this a fam-


ily exercise. Take time around the
To read more about Angela’s year of dinner table to discuss what words
delight, visit her blog at: build us up and tear us down, then
www.angelamoore.typepad.com select a word that will remind you
of what God’s Word says. Once a
word is chosen, create a remind-
er—anything from an index card to
a canvas with the word and verse
will keep you focused on your
word, but most importantly on
his Word. You might even choose
a different word for each month,
season, or school year.
14
at how they spoke to my situation,” she
explains.

Having unexpectedly lost her beloved


husband Bobby, Pat was terrified that
she wouldn’t be able to lead her fam-
ily. When God began to heal her, the
changes were dramatic. “Reading the
scripture made me want to read more,
and the more I read, the more it sunk in
and changed my heart. Sometimes I’ll
say something to my daughter or even
a stranger and wonder, ‘Where did that
come from?’ But the words aren’t mine.

‘I’m Not Afraid


God leads me through his Word, and
I’m following.” Pat has been surprised

Anymore’
again and again—by speaking wise
words to others in need, feeling peace
in troubling times, trusting God com-
One Woman’s Encounter pletely—and she wants others to know
with the Word the immense riches found in the Bible.

by Emily Climaco “I could say that this book [31 Days]


made all the difference, but that’s not
As Christians, we enjoy immediate ac- the whole story. This book helped me
cess to God through Jesus, the Word dig into the Bible—and that’s what
made flesh (John 1:14), and the Bible, made a difference in my outlook and my
God’s Word (2 Tim. 3:16-17). But even interactions with family.” The biggest
after many years, sometimes God illu- difference so far may be a changed
minates his Word for us in a brand new perspective about her future and the

[ ]
way. Pat Beckner experienced this world around her: “I’m not afraid any-
kind of revelation earlier this year, and more. I can say that in all honesty: I’m
her life is transforming. not afraid.”

It all started with 31 Days of Prayer by


Ruth and Warren Myers, a book with Pat’s favorite verse in this season of
31 brief chapters designed to be read life is Ephesians 3:20: “Now to him
over the course of a month. Pat dove who is able to do immeasurably more
into the book, and “It taught me how than all we ask or imagine, according
to pray,” she says. It became not just a to his power that is at work within us,
to him be glory in the church and in
casual daily reading but a full-fledged
Christ Jesus throughout all genera-
pursuit of truth. Every prayer in the tions, forever and ever! Amen.” May
book is inspired by scripture, and this is God grant you, dear reader, the de-
where Pat began digging into the Bible: sires of your heart, immeasurably
“I copied each scripture down—right more than you can ask or imagine!
on the page—because I was amazed

15
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