November 2017, Publisher's Letter

November Publisher’s LETTER

November Publisher’s LETTER

“It’s easy when it’s easy. The test comes when it’s hard.”

That was a common phrase when my children were young. I’d often remind them of that when dropping them off at school. Doing the right thing is easy when it’s easy, but for those moments in the battle, real strength comes in the heat of decision and in the face of temptation.

Such is the case with gratitude. When things are going well, we are happy campers. Yet when we
face difficulty, it can seem so unrealistic to “give thanks” in all circumstances. Yet God’s Word is specific. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus for you.”

Really? Seems there should be some exceptions. Aren’t we allowed some modification in
certain circumstances? Yet again the Bible is clear. Philippians 2:14 says, “Do all things without
grumbling or disputing.”

These two commands can convict my heart like no other! How would my life be different if
I just did what the Word said? If I “gave thanks” more and “quit complaining,” then I would be
stepping in the middle of God’s plan for my life. It’s an easy way to fall short of God’s plan or
align myself with His plan by being obedient, especially when it’s hard.

What good is the Bible if we don’t read it and do what it says? It’s for our own protection that God
sent His Word. It’s not so we live in chains bound to rules and regulations. It’s so we can do what
He says and live His perfect plan for our lives. It shapes our attitudes and conforms our heart and
words to align with His will for us as His precious and beloved children.

For what are you thankful? I’m thankful for Good News in a world filled with scary headlines!
Did you know Baton Rouge is a great city? Are you aware of the many good things going on
around our city? Did you know God is moving mightily throughout our state? Have you heard of
the many people stepping out into ministry? Can you envision all of Heaven rejoicing when one
soul receives Jesus as their Lord and Savior? Can you sense a change of heart when one story
encourages another believer?

Perhaps you’ve read some of our amazing stories. If so, make it a point to thank our advertisers
or anyone on our team! Our magazines are free to the public through generous people who buy
advertising because they believe in sharing “Good News” in our city. 

Gratitude is not only a mindset; it comes with a promise. Peace! Our world is lacking in peace
because our world is lacking in thankfulness. We are called to an attitude of thanksgiving
because we have been promised that God is working out His plan in our lives. He is Good. 

Join our team! Be a part of what we are doing. Pray for us. Advertise with us. Help us grow in
our work as we look forward to 2018. Join our efforts in bringing together the Body of Christ so
we can be One Body.

Changing the world – one story at a time,


Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE


Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!
Cover Story, November 2017

Come to the Table

Come to the Table

“They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:46-47)

by Lisa Tramontana

In Angela Roberson’s life, “coming to the table” has deep meaning. More than simply breaking bread, it means sharing some of the most sustaining and satisfying gifts in life – prayer, friendship, fellowship, love. The Table is also the name of an outreach program Roberson is leading to create a new church with people from all backgrounds. And that doesn’t mean denominations. It means the unchurched, the disengaged, the burned out, even the nonreligious.

Angela Roberson preaches at morning worship at Blackwater United Methodist Church.

In Angela Roberson’s life, “coming to the table” has deep meaning. More than simply breaking bread, it means sharing some of the most sustaining and satisfying gifts in life – prayer, friendship, fellowship, love. In the small community of Central, Louisiana, there are probably 30 churches representing many different faiths. But a close examination reveals a noticeable decline in church attendance over the past few years. The leadership of Blackwater United Methodist Church noticed this gap and took the lead in addressing the issue. Rev. Jonathan King tapped Roberson, who had the experience, personality, and skills, to launch The Table.

“Most people think that it’s the young people who are creating this ‘generation gap’ in church attendance,’” Roberson said. “But it’s actually people of all ages and experiences. Some people have truly been hurt by their churches, especially those that emphasize policy and doctrine over people.”

Differing viewpoints, boredom, new leadership, a feeling of not being appreciated – these are all reasons that people leave their churches, Roberson says. Some continue to attend church regularly, but are spiritually unhappy and dissatisfied. Others would love to find a church home, but don’t know where or how to begin. These are the people Roberson wants to find.

Thanks to a fundraiser sponsored by The Table, the family of Aaliyah Harvey, center, is closer to being able to purchase a special van for their daughter.

To that end, she has organized several community events that bring people of varying interests together. In April, she coordinated a 5K Apron Run, which was held in conjunction with the annual Cooking in Central. The event raised money to support local schools. A family movie night featured the film Brave and raised funds to help purchase a special van for the family of 6th grader Aaliyah Harvey, who is in a wheelchair. In September, a “girls night out” party featured grunge ‘90s music and a yoga class.

Participants fill out a comment card afterward that asks for information, including their church affiliation. Roberson follows up with those who indicate their openness to learning more about The Table.

Roberson is deeply committed to her ministry, but interestingly, she grew up in a nonreligious home. Originally from Oregon, she came to Baton Rouge at 19 and after getting married, joined Jefferson UMC, where she served as a youth minister for 10 years. A new career opportunity took her to Blackwater UMC less than a year ago.

“Angela has a real passion for this ministry and a true gift for connecting with others. She not only lives God’s love, but she knows how to share it with others.” – Rev. Jonathan King, Blackwater UMC

“I can’t say enough wonderful things about Jefferson UMC,” she said. “They baptized me, discipled me, nurtured me. They basically prepared me for this new role I’ve taken on. One of the reasons I’m so committed to The Table is because I know firsthand what it’s like to have people leading and teaching me in my faith. Because of the way I grew up, I really feel for those who are struggling spiritually, who are searching for something, or don’t have a connection to people who can guide them.”

Jada Bruce is one of Roberson’s biggest cheerleaders. “I’m so proud of Angela,” said Bruce, who is also a member of The Table’s launch team. “Our lives intersected about a year ago, and I’m so glad they did. Her ministry is drawing people from so many directions – those who feel like they don’t fit the narrative of “church person,” those who feel like they’re ‘too much’ or ‘not enough,’ those who feel like they’re too smart or not smart enough, those with differing political opinions, those who want to have really hard conversations about life and justice … and the list goes on. If you’ve lived your life on the outskirts of belief, or been turned off by the church, maybe The Table is a good place to start a new journey.”

The name of the program arose from the idea that everyone is welcome, Roberson said. “Nothing gets people together more than a table where they can share food, ideas, friendship. When you’re at the table, you don’t see skin color or education level or gender. It doesn’t matter if you’re conservative or liberal. Most people are willing to come to the table because of the warmth, the laughter, the connection that occurs.”

Roberson’s work with The Table fits well with her plans for the future. Her involvement is providing her with meaningful experience as she works to become an ordained minister. Already, she is a candidate and hopes to become certified in January. Eventually, she will choose a school (online), and complete her program in eight years. It coincides perfectly with her children reaching college age.

In the meantime, Roberson invites anyone interested in The Table to contact her at (225) 505-0342. You can also visit the website at The group also has a Facebook page.

Angela Roberson, son Koen, daughter Kori and husband Zac.

“I can’t begin to describe how grateful I am for this path that God has placed me on and all the people that have nudged me along the way,” said Roberson. “I’m really excited about the possibilities. Our prayer and vision is to invite all of God’s people to join us. In all things, we want to be humble servants, loving neighbors, and to know and share the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

The Table sponsored an ‘Apron run’ 5K in conjunction with the annual Cooking in Central event.

Charity Trivia Night

November 30 • 6-8 p.m.

JULY 2015

When you become a Cornerstone Partner with Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine you get more for your advertising dollar!

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE

Cornerstone Partners

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!
Faith Life, November 2017

A Question of Faith


A Question

of Faith

by Sharon Holeman

Underneath the marquee lights, among the movie posters, and surrounded by the enticing aroma of buttered popcorn, I met an intelligent and kindhearted man. He wore a cream colored blazer and spoke with a refined excitement as he shared his thoughts on the new motion picture, “A Question of Faith,” and how he sees the future of Christian media.

Dr. Cameron Lewis, a believer who is making his debut as a film producer with this project, has witnessed firsthand how God can open doors and give us more than we can hope for or imagine. An oral surgeon originally from Gulfport, Miss., Dr. Lewis makes it a habit to uplift and encourage his patients. But he wanted to do more – to reach more people with the love of God. He prayed and asked the Lord how he could take it to another level … and the answer was TV. He reached out to a producer, chose a script and the process began. After four solid months of revisions, production got underway on what the team thought would be a made-for-TV movie, but the Lord had other plans, and when given the opportunity to release the film in theatres, Dr. Lewis and crew agreed.

This is a movie that just about everyone can relate to and it covers timely topics that can be thought provoking and life changing. At its core, it’s a film about faith and unity. It’s touching and relatable. Dr. Lewis said he prays the film will give something back to the audience. He believes moviegoers want to see a film that is positive, that they can share with their family, and that will make them think about life in a deeper way. These are all reasons that he chose this project.

When asked about his life verse, Dr. Lewis quotes Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” His desire, he says, is to be a God conscious believer, to focus on blessing others, empowering them to succeed, and reminding them to be grateful for what they have been given.

What he seems to have been given with this film is an overwhelmingly positive reception and open doors. In fact, “A Question of Faith “made history by being the first faith-based film to be shown on Capitol Hill. While the showing was a huge success on both sides of the aisle, Dr. Lewis reminds us it’s important to leave politics out of the topic of unity, and remember that
regardless of our policy preferences, we all worship the same God.

In “A Question of Faith,” we watch three families face some of the toughest challenges in life. We see them question their faith and ultimately unite as the multicultural, multigenerational family of God we were designed to be. Starring Kim Fields, C. Thomas Howell, Richard T. Jones, T.C. Stallings, and Jaci Velasquez, the movie is well-acted, thought-provoking and captivating.

Gather your friends or take a small group on an outing to support this feature film that unites us as the body of Christ. For more information, visit


Sharon Holeman is a writer and photographer living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She was the project creator, coordinator and co-author of the book Backyard Miracles – 12 American Women, 12 True stories, 1 Miraculous God. Previously published in Her
Glory and inspire Louisiana , she is now penning her first screenplay. Ministry Today
showcased one of her photographs on the cover and several others as article imagery. Sharon is a graduate of the University of Texas at san Antonio and The Art institute of Houston. she is currently attending Bethany College to further her pursuit of the Lord and His Word.

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE


Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!
Family Life, November 2017

Our Perfectly Imperfect Family


Our Perfectly Imperfect


by Natalie Gaspard photo  –  courtesy the Gaspards

“Wait, for real? You have how many siblings? You
are the oldest? That’s like one kid every year!”
Twelve little humans in one house consists of lots of
chalk, bubbles, and rainbow hunts. We indulge in
lots of laughter, popsicles, and Chick-fil-a. But we
have our downside as well. We are not always
“best buddies.” We fight, argue, scrape knees, bust
chins, cry, and fail to ever keep a clean house.

What’s it like? I’d say that it’s PERFECTLY IMPERFECT and here are several things I’m thankful to have learned along the way:

Serving equals greatness.

(Mark 10:43) “Whoever wants to be great must become a servant.”  Matthew 20:26 says, “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.” God’s work is never below his servant and everything from preaching the gospel to late night laundry can be used for His glory. In this era, we seem to focus too much on leadership and too little on servanthood. Being raised in a Christian home has taught me that to be like Jesus is to have the heart of a servant.

Serving equals greatness.

(Mark 10:43) “Whoever wants to be great must become a servant.”  Matthew 20:26 says, “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.” God’s work is never below his servant and everything from preaching the gospel to late night laundry can be used for His glory. In this era, we seem to focus too much on leadership and too little on servanthood. Being raised in a Christian home has taught me that to be like Jesus is to have the heart of a servant.

When given a choice to be right or kind, choose to
be kind.

Be the one God uses to build others up. Choosing to be kind goes a long way and will always be worth the outcome. To be kind is to have compassion. My parents repeat daily, “Be a problem solver and not a problem maker!” instead of refereeing useless arguments. Choose to be kind!

The grass isn’t greener on the other side.

In Philippians 4:11, Paul wrote, “I’ve learned that in whatever situation I am to be content.” Contentment brings blessings and builds our capacity to appreciate and to be thankful for ordinary pleasures. I have learned that in order to increase my contentment, I must focus on the bigger picture in life: eternity.

Life’s not fair.

My siblings and I have learned to steer away from the “that’s not fair” card with our parents. News flash: Life’s not fair! It’s not fair that Jesus had to be killed to save me. It’s not fair that despite my countless sins, I can be God’s child. It’s not fair that God gives me grace upon grace every single day. Life is not fair!

Do hard things.

“Mom, Dad, please, I can’t do this. I don’t have enough time. What’s the point anyway? It’s just too hard …” What response can I expect to receive? Certainly not a pity party. “Natalie,” they will say. “Do hard things!” As Christians, we are called to a higher standard. Scripture tells us: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) Hard things make us more like Jesus, deepen our relationship with the Living God, show the world how strong our God is, and remind us that He is God and we are not.

Hold on to materialistic things loosely.

Being raised in a Christian home, my parents have taught me the power in
giving. During a ballet performance a couple of years ago, my friend said, “Mrs. Jessica! I love your bracelet so much!” My mom then casually tells the history of the bracelet, which was made by Haitian women to support their families, unclasps it from her wrist and gives the bracelet to her. Rather shocked, my friend stutters, “Oh my gosh, no! I can’t take your bracelet.” My mom then insists that it would be her pleasure to give it to my friend because the same thing once happened to my mom when she complimented a girl on her belt. This inspired me and ever since then, I try to freely give away my material things. The outcome is always worth it.

Your joy is hidden in your gratitude.

My joy easily can fade when I become unthankful. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) I have learned that in order to have beautiful joy, I must first become grateful. There is power in gratitude. I choose to find joy in the journey that God has set before me.

So what’s the point of all this anyway, right? To know God and to make Him known! To discover Him daily and to relish in His goodness. To glorify Him in all we do. To perform for an audience of one. That’s the point!

Our family is messy and very loud. We try to leave restaurants before we are asked to leave. But there is beauty in brokenness. Despite all our dysfunctions, our perfectly imperfect family will continue to prioritize what is prime: “This is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent.” (John 17:3)

“But nothing, not even my life, is more important than my completing my mission. This is nothing other than the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus: to testify about the good news of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:24).


Natalie Gaspard, 16, is the daughter
of BRCLM founding advertiser Scott
Gaspard of the Gaspard Team and his
wife Jessica. She is the oldest of their
12 children. She is a junior at Sequitur
Classical Academy and is a company
member of Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre.

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE


Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!
Creative LIFE, November 2017

Trish Dry: Drama Teacher Step UP and Step OUT


John and Trish Dry

Trish Dry:  Drama Teacher

Step UP


Step OUT

by Sharon Furrate Bailey

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell when his influence stops. -Henry Adam

What drew you to earn your degree at LSU after working in the marketing/advertising profession for so many years?

A: I attended LSU twice. I was a student in the ‘80s and returned in 2011 to pursue a liberal arts degree because I realized there was a need for volunteers in the arts. But my desire was to become a teacher. Luckily, upon graduation, I was blessed to join the talented theatre arts team at the number one school district in the state, Zachary Community schools. During my first year, I traveled to four campuses teaching theatre to students in the talented program, grades K-8. After just one year, the program doubled so we brought in another part-time teacher and I taught students in 5th-8th grades. The program continued to grow each year. Today, I am full-time at one campus teaching 6th through 8th grade students. This schedule allows me to focus even more on productions and communication skills for my students.

What do you like about teaching drama/
performance arts?

A: Acting allows one to become someone else. Growing up an only child in a rural community, my imagination was my best friend! My cousins and I would put on variety shows at every family gathering. I could easily entertain myself for hours. My first chance to perform came to me at University Louisiana in Monroe, and later, in my mid twenties, I made many lasting friendships by being cast in several Theatre Baton Rouge productions. As a teacher, I let my students know, that when one takes on a role, it is time to leave all personal issues at the door. During the 50 minutes they are in my class, they are free to be someone else. I encourage them to focus and become the character he or she is playing. I hope that their time in class allows them to escape as it does mine. Directing is very fulfilling. It allows me to have a vision of a production and see it come to fruition. Sometimes (at the end of a production), I weep when I witness the growth in my students. It never gets old.

For many of my students, their role in this on production may be the only time that he or she ever perform in front of a live audience … and that’s okay!

Not everyone is destined for Broadway, but those I teach at least had a taste of the artistic world. Theatre incorporates every aspect of learning. Science, foreign language, math, history, PE, business technology and economics are all wrapped up in theatre. It builds self- confidence and improves reading and articulation skills. Have you ever thought of theatre in this way? My students also learn to hear the word “no” and accept it. This genre is one that has a lot of no’s. I like to think they leave my class with skills for the real world.

Trish Dry, Madison Russell, and Anna Johnson, musical director of The Music Man.

Do you feel acting and singing are spiritual gifts?

A: I absolutely believe some are blessed with the gift of music and acting and these natural abilities are God-given. I like to encourage my performance art students to pursue their dreams. I know from my own experience with my daughters that had they not been exposed to the arts, they may have gone down an entirely different career path. My oldest, Shelbi, graduated from Samford in Birmingham, Alabama and teaches theatre at a Montessori school. Emma, my middle daughter is a music education major with a minor in praise and worship and vocal performance. They were both exposed to the arts at an early age. I believe this helped shape their career paths. My youngest, Grace, will be an amazing patron to the arts! She tried acting and tech theatre and although she was gifted, she will pursue a degree in medicine. We are excited that someone will keep us all healthy!

The cast and crew of Steel Magnolias
Emma Dry and Jamarcus Smith in Hairspray.

You have directed many productions in Zachary. Which Q:are you most proud of and why?

A: Ha! It is hard to pick a favorite since each production has been so good. I have been blessed to direct for many years our community’s Black History Celebration, a “variety show” style showcase of all my students’ favorites, be it song, dance or skits. I prepared my high school students for competitions for years and they have won numerous awards. In addition, I have had the honor of working with the 8th grade Northwestern Middle School musical for years with the amazing Paula Swilley who is now a close friend. There are many other productions I have worked on with the students and other professional teachers, but too many to mention. These productions I have worked on were all meaningful, but one that will never escape me was a musical I was asked to direct. We had all the major players in place and were ready to move forward in our rehearsals, but we lost our musical director. I have never seen a group of students come together and make it happen. Our production was Broadway quality. We had directors and students from schools all over the state come to see our performances. The set was designed by Jeremy Reynolds who is now a professor at Louisiana Tech. Tony Rollins, an amazing choreographer,
worked with us as well. I had an amazing tech and house management student team led by Curtis Hooper And did I mention the lead in the musical? Well, Emma Dry, my daughter, played Tracey. It is a wonder we even speak today! We all faced the challenge together and my mom’s gumbo helped provide sustenance as we rehearsed.

What are you working on this academic year in terms
of productions?

A: At Northwestern Middle School, I am teaching an Intro to Drama 7th grade class which has new students every nine weeks. Those students get a crash course in basic theatre and will perform a one-act play. My 8th grade advanced musical theatre class will be performing Alice in Wonderland, Jr. The Musical.” I will also co-direct an 8th grade advanced “straight” play class which will perform “Once Upon a Crime, The Trial of Goldilocks by Flip Kobler and Ciny Marcus.

Describe your personal journey as a wife, mom and drama teacher.

A: God truly enlightened me to pursue this journey and I am blessed. In 2008, my husband John and I opened our family pharmacy, Dry’s Pharmacy in Zachary and once it was up
and rolling, I returned to LSU. John has been so supportive! Yes, we have had trials, but I know that God is sovereign. Professionally, teaching theatre is my ministry. Each day I have the opportunity to share God’s love to my students. I have met families I never would have encountered were it not for teaching in a public-school system. God has sent me students with literally nothing—holes in the floors of their homes, no food except what they eat at school, and no Christmas presents! They help me put my selfish, minor trials into perspective.

Do you have a favorite book of the Bible or scripture
that is most meaningful to you?

A. I actually have two favorite scriptures that are my “cling to” verses: “God didn’t give me a spirit of fear, but of love, power and sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Is there anything else you would like our readers to know?

A: Yes. I am on a 20/20/20 plan. I like to tease my husband. I told him that I plan on changing careers every 20 years. My final career will be as a travel agent. Free vacations, right? By the way, this makes my husband a tad nervous. However, I expect him to come with me.

William Shakespeare’s famous monologue As You Like It begins with, “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.”

My friend and drama teacher, Trish Dry, would probably tell Shakespeare, “Yes, all the world is a stage, but I think the students should give mine a try.”

Sharon Bailey

Sharon Furrate Bailey grew up in Alexandria, La., and moved to Baton Rouge to attend LSU. She earned a B.A. in English Literature in 1990. She attends Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church. Sharon has been in the field of marketing, sales and public relations since 1996. She is a gifted artist and has been a columnist since 2005. She can be reached at

JULY 2015

When you become a Cornerstone Partner with Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine you get more for your advertising dollar!

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE


Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!
Faces of CHRISTIAN LIFE, November 2017

November’s Faces of CHRISTIAN LIFE



Short stories from around the world. Share your brief story and picture with


I don’t have much of a story. I am 40(ish) and just gave my heart to Jesus last week. This Sunday I am getting baptized and am excited to tell the world! I believe my son and husband are next. I’m thankful he found me after all these years!


Fellowship is one of my favorite parts of the Christian community. Throughout my life and all of the ups and downs i have faced, my church family has always been there. There are many times of my life where without the encouragement and strength of other believers, I wouldn’t have made it. As Christians, it’s so important we help deepen one another’s roots and support each other through life’s crazy journey. It is only together that we can defeat the enemy.


I have always known I would do ministry at some point in my life, but I always pictured it being later on. Thankfully, God’s plans are not our plans. I was presented an opportunity to help women out of sex slavery by a friend in bible study. I prayed about it and determined it was what God wanted for me. Most people thought I was crazy, but i quit nursing school (I had a full scholarship) and began to spend my time helping broken women and pointing them to Jesus. I know helping women out of trafficking is my calling now, and I will spend the rest of my life following him as he allows me to touch the hearts of hurting people by his grace. God’s will is so fulfilling!


When I found the Lord, he gave my life back to me. After being in the military for over four years, my brain seemed to have been changed and rewired based on the things I experienced. I suffered severe mental and emotional problems, and turned to drugs. This led to me losing my marriage, child, and ultimately, hope. In a moment of desperation I cried out to God. He freed me from my trauma, substance dependence, and restored my wife and child to me. I will spend the rest of my life giving back and remembering where he brought me from.

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE


Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!
Man Up for LIFE, November 2017

MEN, We’ve Got to Get Off the Fence!



We’ve Got to Get off the Fence!

by Bax Kegans

Here’s my experience … Hands Across America, May 15, 1986 was the event. I climbed on a school bus from Leonard High School in Leonard, Texas bound for Greenville, 20 miles away. There we’d gather with millions of others to make our connection to the human chain, to raise money for starving kids in Africa and to fight homelessness. In a seat alone on that bus, I made my confession of faith to God that day.

“If you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

Fast forward to January 1994. I made the big move to Baton Rouge and landed my first job as an inside salesperson at J.M. Tull Metals Co. I married my college sweetheart, Kimen Stewart, and joined her at Florida Boulevard Baptist Church for worship. As a Christian, I had everything – a beautiful wife, decent job and a church where I could worship.

As a Christian, I tried to maintain certain qualities – good manners, sharp appearance, faithful church attendance, and a grasp of the church language so I could relate to anyone who was outwardly sold out for Christ. The downside of being a Christian in sales and still sitting on the fence was that I hadn’t truly made Jesus Lord of my life.

If a customer liked to drink and stay out late, I would hang with them, keeping my language clean, but sometimes ending up in places I knew I shouldn’t be, all for the sake of the networking opportunities. Because of this, my witness for Christ suffered. My walk with the Lord was compartmentalized. I was a Sunday, (sometimes Wednesday) only Christian checking my boxes and keeping a good outward appearance. That would all begin to change in August of 2000.

Dr. Jim Shaddix was our interim pastor, and I can’t remember the scripture or the title of his sermon, but I do know that he challenged us to lay all of the sin we were still slaves to at the altar that day. By this time my wife and I had been blessed with our daughter Kaylyn Grace, now 2, and I was moved by the Holy Spirit to go down to the altar to kneel and pray. It was on that day that I asked God to free me from my desire to be all things to all people and to serve Him alone. It was also on that day that I began seeking to become a Christian salesman instead of a salesman

who was a Christian. I took the leap off the fence. I committed to “daily deny myself and follow” Jesus (Luke 9:23) in everything I did. It is still a daily exercise 17 years later.

As I began to walk closer with the Lord, a retired chemical industry executive, John Wayne Hudson, engaged me at church and invited me to join him at his home for breakfast. He had invited several young married men from our church to join him and it was in this setting that I was introduced to men’s ministry. I witnessed and experienced Proverbs 27:17 and James 5:16 being lived out for God’s glory.

Through John’s encouragement and the bond we developed in Christ, our group and others in the church became more intentional in daily reading and the studying of God’s Word. I began connecting with other believers during the week. Through this group, I began to overcome the sins that had been in my life for years. This intentional living for Christ and studying His Word with other men made certain scriptures come alive:

“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11 ESV)

“Iron sharpens iron, as one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17 ESV)

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5:16 ESV)

“But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28 ESV)

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” (Ephesians 5:25-33 ESV)

Kegans currently serves with Gulf South Men.
Kegans, right, with Trent Sumrall, who connected him with Christians Under Construction.

That is my story. So how can you apply this to your life? Once you are off the fence and begin to deny yourself daily and follow Jesus, you are ready to live out Matthew 28:18-20.

1) In your home … Begin each day with prayer. My friend Todd Nevils says he rolls right out of bed and on to his knees before doing anything else each morning. Read a chapter of Proverbs or have a daily devotional.* If you are married or have kids, make it a point to spend time with them daily in prayer, read the Bible, or lead them through a daily devotional. It is tough to get it started, but they will love you for it.

My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, Daily Audio Bible or other online devotionals can be sent daily to your inbox or your phone.

2) In your church … Pray for your pastor, who is the God-appointed shepherd of your church. He needs to know that there are men who love and support him as he seeks to lead his own family … that you are praying for him as he seeks a message in God’s Word … that you are ready to follow him as he follows Christ.

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for all people.” (1 Timothy 2:1 ESV)

Join or lead a men’s Bible study or small group. You will not only learn more about God and His Word, but God will connect you with other men who will encourage you as you begin to share life together. If you don’t have a men’s group, start one. Like Jesus and His disciples, every local church needs a network of strong men’s small groups to “make disciples.”

A great resource to use for men’s ministry is If you have questions about starting a men’s ministry in your church, contact me or Gulf South Men at You can also contact Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Conferences, a network of regional men’s ministries ( that can help you mobilize men age 13 and up to attend together and be equipped to serve the Lord and strengthen your local church.

3) In Your work … I’d never thought about ministering to men in the marketplace until I was invited to a breakfast by my friend, Trent Sumrall of Blum Enterprises. Trent’s friends were from contracting firms that managed projects for the local petrochemical industry and other suppliers like myself. As we met for breakfast the first Friday of the month, we encouraged one another in our walk with the Lord – as husbands, fathers, church leaders, and fellow laborers in industry. We felt the need

to call our group Christians under Construction. We still meet monthly at Frank’s in Prairieville. (Acts 2:42)

As you assemble a network of Christian men, stay in touch with them periodically to encourage them and be available for them to contact you if they need someone to pray with. God’s Word is clear for us to “be sober-minded: be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour ..” (1 Peter 5:6-11)

The Kegans family at daughter Kaylyn’s graduation. From left: wife Kimen, Kaylyn, Bax, and son Brandt.

Making Connections

Christian Business Men’s Connection, CbMC, > Local groups throughout the U.S. and 95 other countries, plus online resources.

Oilfield Christian Fellowship, OCF, > This is a great place to invite customers and connect them to Christ.

Industry of Faith Louisiana, > Led by Dan Vallot, this group meets once a month.

Bethany Businessmen’s Luncheon, > This group meets the first Wednesday of the month at noon near Siegen Lane and I-10.

The Gathering of Men > Led by Dr. Rodney Wood, this group meets every Thursday at First Baptist Church downtown.

Men’s Unity Breakfast, > Led by brother Elmo Winters, this group meets at different churches each fourth Saturday of the month.


Bax Kegans is a sales representative with Intsel Steel Distributors, LLC, and for the last 10 years, has been focused on Christian men’s discipleship, serving churches and men’s groups through Gulf South Men. He is married to his college sweetheart, Kimen Stewart Kegans, and they have a teenage daughter and son.

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE


Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!
November 2017, Pastor's Perspective

What is Gratitude?



is Gratitude?

by Whitney Alexander

On May 31, my life changed forever . . . in an instant. Driving to New Orleans to prepare three couples for marriage, I dozed off for a moment and an angel of the Lord woke me to see the back of an 18-wheeler within inches of my car. I pulled the steering wheel to the right and prayed instantly, “Dear God, please help me,” and He immediately did. God spared my life and I would begin to receive His gracious blessings.

I crashed into the right side of the truck, peeling the left side of my car, while breaking several bones in my shoulder, hip, pelvis and knee. After the car came to rest in the grass on the side of the interstate, within minutes, a Good Samaritan pulled me gently from the wrecked vehicle and an ambulance took me to a hospital in Baton Rouge.

The first person I saw in the emergency room was a young man whose wedding I had performed a few years earlier. He held my hand and promised me it was going to be okay. The next moment I saw another friend and then a doctor who reassured me, telling me to go back to sleep.

For the next 20 weeks, my family was reminded of the goodness of gratitude. We have been prayed for by thousands of people, many of whom we have never met. My recovery has been because of the prayers of the saints from all over the world. We have recognized that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves. We acknowledge that other people gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives. The Good Samaritan, people who stopped to help move my body from the wrecked vehicle, doctors, nurses, radiologists, numerous physical and occupational therapists, hundreds of friends who stopped by the hospital, a band of brothers who stayed with me for 40 nights in the hospital (you know who you are), and hundreds of meals, cards, and texts kept us from sinking into despair. We are deeply thankful for the acts of love given to our family.

Our family sees this time as an emotional relationship-strengthening opportunity because it requires us to see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by other people. Many of our family and friends came to assist my wife Phyllis immediately after the accident. This emotional support was key to our stability and welfare during the trauma of the first few hours.

As the outpouring of love and gifts overwhelmed us, I wondered why we received such an outpouring. I read His word often and realized the Lord’s people are generous and keep giving because of their deep abiding relationship with Jesus. One of our closest friends whispered to me, “Everyone loves your family and wants to support you in this difficult moment.”

As we enter into the Thanksgiving season, may we practice being gracious to our friends and especially our families. Gratitude brings us happiness, reduces anxiety and depression, and is good for our bodies. Grateful people sleep better – and if you want to sleep more soundly, count blessings, not sheep. Gratitude strengthens relationships, and I believe it promotes forgiveness. The past five months have taught me so much about being gracious and thankful for every person in my life.

My favorite Scripture is Ephesians 3:20: “ Now to Him who is able to do abundantly more than we can ever begin to ask or imagine through the power at work in us.” God has worked through so many. My family is thankful for the aweinspiring love and support we’ve received in the past few months.

whitney alexander600

Whitney Alexander has been an associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church since 1999. He began working with missions in 2012. born and raised in new orleans, he was involved with youth ministry and Young Life for 35 years. He received his Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA in December of 2014. He and his wife, Phyllis, have two sons, Andrew and Patrick.

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE


Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!
Feature Story, November 2017

Grateful Giving – Brown Bag Meals Address Child Hunger

Grateful Giving

Brown Bag Meals Address Child Hunger

by Susan Brown

A middle school girl clutches brown bags of sandwiches and fruit as she gathers her young siblings and heads for home. She is bringing supper to her family – no small matter for many who struggle with food insecurity in Gardere, one of many communities in which holidays can mean hungry days.

Local mothers have spearheaded efforts to meet the basic need for food when it is most acute – those weeks and weekends when school breakfasts and lunches are not available. Several grassroots projects are connecting those who have means to spare with families that are hard-pressed to make ends meet. Although the brown bags were originally intended for lunches, they discovered the greater need was for take-home meals so children can have something for dinner.

With a keep-it-simple strategy, individuals have stepped into the gap to provide brown bag meals, some through the Gardere Initiative and others through Gardere Community Christian School. “God put it on a friend’s heart to find something where mothers can begin to teach their children to serve in a really tangible way,” said coordinator Robin Gaspard, a member of The Chapel on the Campus and coordinator of the Brown Bag Offering. “The first summer we served 10,000 lunches.” That was five years ago.

Planning is now underway for summer 2018 brown bag meals, served through the Gardere Initiative. There is also a need for take home dinners during the two-week Christmas break. That’s 200 bags per day. Each bag contains a meat and cheese sandwich with no condiments, a salty item such as chips or Goldfish, a fresh fruit, a sweet item and a small water bottle or juice box. Gaspard tries to get people to take a day, a week or several weeks and coordinate it with their friends. Networking is key.

“The first summer was really just moms. We sent the word out to everybody we could think of.” Then, a student working on his Eagle Scout project discovered the venture and coordinated a full week. Gaspard’s mother-in-law convinced her co-workers to provide meals for a week. Friends partnered with neighbors to stuff brown bags with food. BASF in Geismar joined the project, contributing meals for two summers as part of their community outreach.

“Last summer, I was beginning to sweat because people were not volunteering,” said Gaspard. Simple Shepherds, another group of moms led by Tammy Moran, stepped up to fill six weeks’ worth of brown bags. An Ascension Parish resident, Leila Banner, rallied people in Prairieville who had no real contact with Gardere but knew there was a need.

“It refreshed me to see God show up and literally orchestrate the summer,” said Gaspard. “That was an absolute blessing.”

“Simple Shepherds’ motto is ‘By his love’ – working with anyone in need,” said Caroline Lemann. “’By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’ (John 13:35). All the gifts we have are on loan from God, not just for ourselves but to bless others and to be thankful.” The group includes families from different churches and schools including St. Aloysius, University Laboratory School and Our Lady of Mercy.

A young girl arrives home with meals for herself and a sibling.

Lori Demand, left, and children of river Community Church in Prairieville collect food for children so they will have enough to eat on the weekends.

“We wanted to expose our kids to service – one thing per month,” Lemann said. “We hope and pray that this will instill those values of service. The kids love it when they can interact. They ask, ‘When is our next project?’”

“We’re not just celebrating the blessings we have – which we do – but we’re also grateful for the opportunity to give,” said Marie Johnson of St. Jude Catholic Church Family Life Ministry. She refers to Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 25:35: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in…”

“You have to start your kids young, teaching them that it’s the right thing to do, to help others,” Johnson said. Through the Gardere Initiative, St. Jude families typically provide 1-2 weeks of brown bag meals and also prepare lunches on a Sunday. “It means putting my worldly things aside and not worrying about them. If I feel we’re not getting enough responses, I just pray and God provides,” Johnson said.

“As we distribute the bags, it gives us good dialogue. I see a change in my children. In their prayer life, they are very specific. They are more aware of what’s going on around them. They are more accepting of people’s differences and not afraid of speaking about God to people.”

Holidays are not the only time that kids face hunger issues. It’s also a challenge for many families to provide adequate meals on weekends. River Community Church in Prairieville stepped in to pack take-home meals for each student at Gardere Community Christian School.

“The principal said some of the children have nothing to eat on the weekends – nothing to eat. From that day forward, it’s been a true commitment,” said church finance manager Lori Demand.”

“God put it on the heart of a church member, Beth Williams, to do a food pantry. It’s now open every Tuesday noon to 2 p.m. When the youth went to the Gardere School for a service opportunity,

Lori Demand, left, and children of river Community Church in Prairieville collect food for children so they will have enough to eat on the weekends.

they talked about how the food pantry could help the school,” Demand said. “At first, the vision was ‘how can we help the neediest families?’ But the school said they all have a need; it’s just at a different level. We do family bags now.”

River Community broke ground for a fruit orchard in March to help fill the bags over the long term and add to the food pantry. “We’re making such a small dent in such a big need, but it’s important because we need to understand that it’s not us making the dent, it’s God. And eventually God will take care of the big picture,” Demand said. “It’s not up to us to do it all.”

“I always go back to how blessed I am and that God blesses us to share,” Demand said. “We feel abundantly blessed and He doesn’t just give us that to wallow in our own goodness, but to see a need and act on it.”

“There are kids who need food. There’s nothing romantic about it,” Gaspard said. “People want to help. But when you don’t know where to go, who to ask or what to do, it’s too overwhelming. I’m a spoke in that whole wheel, one little piece that helps minister to those kids, to reach out to them.”

“We’re not just celebrating the blessings we have – which we do – but we’re also grateful for the opportunity to give.” – Marie Johnson of St. Jude Catholic Church Family Life Ministry.

One in four children regularly faces periods of hunger in Louisiana, a state with the second highest food insecurity rate in the nation, according to Gov. John Bel Edwards. In September, he and First Lady Donna Edwards announced the No Kid Hungry Louisiana and School Breakfast Challenge effort. They are hoping to involve many different individuals and groups in creative solutions to child hunger.

To learn more or volunteer, contact Robin Gaspard, Brown Bag Offering, at or Lori Demand at

Susan Brown600

Susan Brown began her career in radio news. she was news director for WJBO/WFMF radio and a journalism instructor at LSU. She holds Master’s Degrees from LSU and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminary, and served as a chaplain at Louisiana Correctional institute for Women.

JULY 2015

When you become a Cornerstone Partner with Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine you get more for your advertising dollar!

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE

Cornerstone Partners

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!
BRCLM Lagniappe, November 2017

Spreading the Good News through Social Media

Spreading the Good News through Social Media

by Ellen McDowell

Are you thankful for social media? It’s a question we may struggle with as Christians. I rely on social media for my livelihood, so I have several reasons to be grateful. The important thing is to use social media for good, not evil, and to use it to spread the good news.

Romans 12:2 (NIV) tells us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world” and the patterns on social media are of the world. When we are on social media, we need to remember John’s prayer… “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” (John 17:15 NIV) So we need to be “in the world” and demonstrating our faith in God for others to see. We should not be spreading bad news or judging others. We should not be craving everything we see. We should use it to show God’s love for us and how we follow Jesus’ commandment to love one another.

So what should you do if you find someone is so distracting that they make it hard to demonstrate God’s love? Facebook has a wonderful tool – Unfollow. Go to the person’s profile page and click on “Following,” then select “Unfollow.” This way you can preserve the “friendship” but you don’t have to see their posts. They will not get a notification that you have unfollowed their posts. Luckily, I have many friends sharing good things going on in the world (and many whom I have clicked on the “See First” button so they are at the top of my news feed each morning.) Social media gives us a way to connect with old friends who are no longer living near us. I had lost touch with someone after she moved to Australia, and now, through Facebook I am able to watch her kids grow. My best friend growing up now lives in south Texas. We don’t call as often as we should and probably would have lost touch if not for seeing social media posts from each other. I can give thanks each time I see those posts.

Think about these verses from Matthew: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. in the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
(Matthew 5:14-16 NIV)

Social media gives us a place to be the light of the world and we should take advantage of this gift. The Bible App, for instance, has a share button for a daily Bible verse. One of my friends goes live on Facebook with a morning prayer every school day between 7 and 7:30 a.m. She encourages us to share them so more of the world can be praying together (and I do.)  Many churches broadcast their services each Sunday morning. If your church does that, share it when you get home. Give everyone a chance to watch the video, hear God’s word and the message that your pastor is sharing. Let’s fill our Facebook feeds with prayer and the gospel. We can be thankful that God gives us a way to easily share his message with so many. 

Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine distributes its print edition around the city each month, but social media allows us to share it online so that its reach is beyond south Louisiana. i encourage you to share the articles with your friends online.

We need to share more of what is good in the world on our social media. I believe that as Christians, we can be part of a movement to share more stories about how God is working in our lives and how we see him in the actions of others. We can be the light of the world that God asks us to be. I look forward to seeing your positive posts in my newsfeeds.


Ellen McDowell is a Baton Rouge native who earned her Bachelor of Interior Design from LSU and her Master of Historic Preservation degree from the University of Georgia. She is a contributing author with Journey to the Stage (volume 2), a certified professional speaker, certified SCORE mentor, a sustainer for the Junior League of Baton Rouge, and proud chapter leader for the Baton Rouge Women’s Prosperity Network. She is also an active Lay Eucharistic Minister at Trinity Episcopal Church.

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE


Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!
BRCLM Lagniappe, November 2017

Cartoonist Draws Other to God


Cartoonist Draws Others to God

As a child, Brent Manning spent his Saturday mornings watching cartoons, especially those produced by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. It’s not surprising, then, that he eventually started sketching his favorite characters. His teachers noticed his talent, and by the time he entered high school, “I could draw just about anything,” he says. His mother, Betty Jean, suggested that he create his own cartoons.

Brent Manning is married to Felva Dionne Manning, and they have one son, Israel JeDel. They live in Marion, Louisiana.

But it wasn’t until 1986 when he was serving in the Air Force in Riverside, California, that his talent and his destiny coincided. A sergeant saw him doodling with some of his sketches and told Manning that God would someday use his talent to spread the Gospel and bless other people. “Yeah, right,” Manning thought.

Fast forward about 30 years. Manning has been producing a comic strip series since 1986, and is the founder of Eye of a Child, which produces Christian cartoons. “I like to think of my drawings as a sermon in 60 seconds,” Manning says. “You can teach God’s word in a way that people will enjoy it, and you don’t have to beat them over the head with your message.”

JULY 2015

When you become a Cornerstone Partner with Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine you get more for your advertising dollar!

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE


Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!
November 2017, Witness at Work

Positively Powerful Earl Heard’s “meaningful media” inspires and uplifts


Earl and Bodi Heard celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this year.

Positively Powerful

Earl Heard’s ‘meaningful media’ inspires and uplifts

by Lisa Tramontana

Earl Heard vividly recalls the moment his priorities changed. It was August of 1997 and he was on one of his many business visits to Houston when he was carjacked at gunpoint and beaten into unconsciousness. He remembers believing that every breath he took would be his last. “My first thoughts were of God and my family,” he said. “I feared I would die before I got help, and as I went in and out of consciousness and eventually made it to the hospital, I kept promising God that if he would spare me, I’d devote the rest of my life to being a better Christian and to sharing his message of love and forgiveness with others.”

Heard made good on his promise immediately and in 2005, founded BIC Media Solutions, a company that produces “meaningful media,” including books, films and speaking events that help people find peace, happiness and success. If anyone knows about the search for those elusive virtues, it’s Heard, whose 50-year entrepreneurial career has been filled with more ups and downs than most people can imagine.

He began his career with Ethyl Corp. as an operator in 1965, and left in 1980 to launch a training video production company. Unfortunately, the company folded in just two years, and nearing the age of 40, Earl found himself starting all over again. He founded Business & Industry Communications (BIC) Alliance in 1984, but it was a struggle to make the company a success. He admits that the 1980s were a time of great hardship for himself, his wife Bodi and their daughter Dane. In his book It’s What We Do Together That Counts , Heard describes the difficulties he has faced – crushing debt, family problems, career setbacks, the death of loved ones, physical stress, a business partner issue, tax problems, and insults from others who belittled his ideas and doubted his ability to overcome adversity. “But in the end,” he says, “all of those things made me more determined and brought me closer to God and my family.”

BIC Media Solutions has produced 3 feature films.

Indeed, Heard can rest easy these days. At 75, he and Bodi now have three grandchildren and celebrated their 50th anniversary on Valentine’s Day this year. Their son-in-law Thomas Brinsko is at the helm of Heard’s multi-faceted business BIC Alliance (which includes BIC Magazine), IVS Investment Banking, and BIC Media Solutions. The Heards are grateful that they now have more time to dedicate to family and worthy causes in the community.

Best of all, Heard can focus on the “meaningful media” branch of his company, which continues to grow. BMS has published 10 books and three films, all with messages of hope and inspiration. In the last few years, Heard has especially enjoyed the filmmaking aspect of the company.

Rock Bottom and Back – From celebrities to ordinary people, this film chronicles the personal stories of people who have overcome remarkable adversity – abuse, drugs, alcoholism, etc. – and are now giving back to society and living Christian lives.

A Gift Horse – Torn apart by the loss of her mother, Amanda spends time at a ranch where she develops a special bond with an unloved and rejected horse named Misty. Amanda turns Misty into a true champion and restores her own happiness in the process.

Urban Country – A troubled young girl decides to move to her family-owned horse ranch in a small town and care for her dying mother. The trailer is complete and the film will be released in coming months.

BMS projects not only spread a positive message, but they are partly produced with local talent, including scriptwriters, authors, filmmakers and production assistants. Heard says he is also proud of the partnership between BMS and New Orleans Mission, which provides food, shelter and spiritual guidance to the homeless in New Orleans, and in a new program, is giving them opportunities to train for film production work.

In everything he does, Heard looks for ways to help others, focus on the positive, and be a better person. In fact, that’s the topic of his most recent video, Becoming a Better Person , which can be viewed online at

“I really believe happiness is a choice,” Heard said. “And I think most people want to be happy and make others happy as well. This begins by becoming a better person. How? First, you have to make that decision and commit to it. Second, you have to list all the things you need to change in your life. Third, you have to clean house. Get rid of temptations. Sometimes, it even means letting friends go. If they are pulling you down, they shouldn’t be in your life.”

Being a better person also means looking for ways to be of service and help to others. “If you have hit ‘rock bottom’ and you’ve been able to lift yourself up, that’s a great joy,” Heard said. “But if you can help another person do the same, it’s an even greater joy!”

The time to make changes in your life is sooner, rather than later. After all, no one knows how much time he has …

“Train yourself to always think about God and family first and foremost,” Heard said. “We are all going to leave a legacy … after we are gone, we will be measured by what we did to make the world a better place.”

For more information about the BIC Alliance companies, including BIC Media Solutions, check out,, or call (800) 460-4242.

BIC Media Solutions has published 10 books and 3 films since it was founded in 2005.

JULY 2015

When you become a Cornerstone Partner with Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine you get more for your advertising dollar!

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE


Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!
Healthy Life, November 2017



Food Insecurity


For many of us, November brings thoughts of turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberries and all the trimmings of Thanksgiving. For others, a large meal isn’t a possibility.

Some in our community who deal with food insecurity consistently throughout the year rely on food pantries to put meals on the table. It means they may not have much choice about the types of food they eat, which can ultimately have a significant impact on health, according to Dr. Candice Myers. She recently created the Social Determinants and Health Disparities Laboratory at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

“We know that food insecurity changes the way you eat and what you eat,” said Myers. It might mean a diet lower in fruits, vegetables and lean proteins, and higher in fats and carbohydrates, which are often less expensive and more readily available in certain neighborhoods.

As a sociologist, Myers became interested in food insecurity when she was attending graduate school at LSU.

“We looked at participation rates in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or what is commonly referred to as food stamps, across counties in the U.S. SNAP is a food assistance program aimed at alleviating food insecurity by providing assistance to low-income families. We found that communities that were more socially vulnerable were home to higher food stamp usage. They were more poverty-prone and experienced economic distress. These pre-existing, poorer community conditions really exacerbated the situation of food insecurity and food stamp usage,” Myers said.

Now, Myers is working to better understand all the elements that play a role in food insecurity, health choices and psychological mechanisms that both cause and result from food insecurity.

“One of Pennington Biomedical’s main research topics is obesity, weight loss and weight management, but if we want to develop interventions to change body weight, it may be more difficult to obtain that goal if people don’t have access to healthy food,” Myers said. “So much of what we know about weight loss comes from upper and middle class people who can afford to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into a healthier diet when they begin a weight loss program or weight loss research study and who have transportation available to join a study at a research center that may not be close to their home.”

That’s one reason that Myers is working with The Shepherd’s Market, a food pantry that is a member agency of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. There, people are able to go into the pantry and choose their own food. Having the option to tailor the food they receive to their dietary needs is integral to maintaining health, Myers said.

“One day I hope my research is able to contribute to the development of targeted programs that make it easier for people who struggle with food insecurity to access healthy options so that people from a variety of socioeconomic statuses are able to live healthier lives.”

Meyers, Candice 04600
Dr. Candice Myers

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE


Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!
Healthy Life, November 2017

Healthy Holiday Eating


Healthy Holiday Eating

by Janene Grodesky, Ph.D.

Roast turkey with cornbread dressing. Mom’s marshmallow smothered candied sweet potatoes. Creamy green bean casserole with fried onion topping. Decadent pecan pie. it’s here – the holiday season. but how does one navigate through the season and make healthy choices? Try “mindful” eating instead of “mindless” eating. Have you ever wondered why – or how – you ate that third serving of garlic-mashed potatoes? it’s because you weren’t paying attention!

“It starts with awareness,” said Hilary Shaw, a registered dietitian and licensed professional counselor in Baton Rouge. “When you pay attention to what you’re eating, you can make small changes that make a big difference. Not paying attention to the ‘what, where, why and how’ we eat can be an issue with some of my clients. You cannot eat compulsively and mindfully at the same time.”

Mindless eating is eating just because it’s there, eating for emotional comfort, or eating while you’re busy doing something else (driving, watching TV, or working on the computer). These tips can help guide you toward a more mindful approach to eating:

Plan. Prepare healthy snacks on Sunday for the week ahead. If you know you are going to a big holiday party one evening, plan that day around healthy snacks and have a strategy for mindful eating while at the party. You don’t have to plan your food down to each bite, and it’s important to be flexible especially at special occasions, but be aware you might be changing your eating habits during the holiday season. When you plan ahead, you are also more likely to eat the amount your body needs.

Eat when you are hungry. Don’t eat just because it’s your usual lunchtime. “Listen to your body’s cues,” said Shaw. “If you’re not hungry, wait until you are, but don’t wait until you’re famished because you might overeat.”

Portion control. During the holidays, you know you will have more opportunities to eat festive snacks and desserts. You don’t have to deprive yourself, but eat smaller portions and less often. One trick is to use a smaller plate when you get in the buffet line.

Pay attention. Do nothing else but eat. Not while watching TV, checking Facebook or shopping online. When you’re distracted, you’re more likely to lose track of how much you’ve eaten.

Slooooowwww down. Savor and enjoy each bite and put your fork down while chewing. Take this time for prayerful reflection of each and every nourishing bite. Try taking a drink of water after each bite. This gives your body enough time to trigger your brain that you are satisfied. Again, listen to your body’s cues.

Use technology. As we continue to become increasingly distracted by modern technology, our focus on health can fall to the back burner. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The American Red Cross suggests using our smart phones and other devices to help us. There are now apps that manage food records, count calories, help track what you’ve eaten, and even provide guidance on healthy food choices at the grocery store and restaurants.

Keep a food diary. Whether electronic or old-fashioned paper and pen, note everything you eat, look at it, then identify why you ate it – was it hunger, stress or boredom? Then look for areas where you can make adjustments and incorporate healthy changes. “Keeping a food diary is a fantastic tool for awareness,” Shaw said. “People can be surprised at the amount they’ve consumed when they review their diaries, as well as what they’ve eaten – and why.”

Know the origins of your food versus thinking of food as an end product. Take time to thank and consider all the people involved in the holiday meal you are about to eat – from those who took the time to prepare it, to those who packaged it, stocked the shelves at the grocery store, to those who harvested it, to those who supported them. When you do, you will feel connected and truly grateful. Reflect and send thanks for the traditions that brought you your food, recipes shared with friends and family, or handed down through generations.

The holidays do not have to be overwhelming or difficult to manage when it comes to food. With just a little more mindfulness this season, you may begin to make wiser choices about the food you eat, why you eat it, and where it comes from.


Dr. Grodesky has a Ph.D. in Kinesiology from LSU. She is currently the program director at the AC Lewis YMCA and Healthy Lifestyles/Hospital Partnership director for the YMCA of the Capital Area. She can be reached at

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE


Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!
November 2017, What Does It MEAN?

November’s Trivia for FUN



In what year was Louisiana’s first convent established?

A ) 1699      B ) 1789      C ) 1803      D ) 1727

The New Orleans Ursuline Academy is the oldest Catholic school in the U.S. and America’s oldest continuously operating school for girls.

The current structure of the new orleans Ursuline Convent, which now serves as a museum, was completed in 1752, and is the oldest building in the Mississippi river valley.

Lead by  Sister Marie Tranchepain, 14 Ursuline nuns from France became the first religious sisters to step foot in Louisiana.

Answer: D ) 1727  The New Orleans Ursuline Convent is Louisiana’s oldest. It was founded in 1727 by the Order of St. Ursula, and it initially housed 14 religious sisters from Rouen, France. Led by Sister Marie Tranchepain, the nuns established Louisiana’s first school for girls, and 290 years later, Ursuline Academy remains operational and is still run by New Orleans’ Ursuline Nuns.

BIBLICAL Biography

Deborah                                                                             It’s easy to get hung up on our limitations. We often focus on what we lack, wishing we were more important or more capable than we feel. But when we least expect it, God reaches beyond our insecurity and reveals unseen potential. Chapters four and five of the Book of Judges give us an example of how God can use someone seemingly insignificant to do great and mighty things in His name.                                     Deborah was a godly woman, a prophet, and the only female judge named in the Old Testament. She led Israel during a time when the Promised Land was controlled by Canaanites. God told Deborah to send the Hebrew army into battle against the powerful military of the King of Canaan. She obeyed His command, and the Israelites, against all odds, defeated their oppressors.                                             Deborah’s story reminds us that the Lord can find purpose in our weakness, and He has called each of us to execute his perfect will here on Earth. He chose her to lead Israel during a time when women had little social influence, and He used her to reclaim the Promised Land for His people. If we listen carefully and obey His calling, God wants each of us, like Deborah, to help shape world history for the better.

What Does it Mean?

Sacrament                                                                A thing of mysterious and sacred significance; a religious symbol                                        Whether you call it communion, the Lord’s Supper, or the sacrament — when you symbolically take of Christ’s body and blood, you keep in mind the great sacrifice He made in order to set you free. Jesus’ death is sacred and is the foundation of our Christian faith. Each time we take the sacrament, we remember why we worship the Almighty. Because He gave His only begotten Son, we could have life everlasting.

Peace                                                            Freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility Peace is something we all long for, and luckily, it’s also something God promises He’ll give us. Though life is often chaotic and circumstances wear you down, peace always awaits you in the arms of Jesus. So next time you feel overwhelmed, take a moment to call on the Holy Spirit and He will give you peace. All you have to do is ask for it.

Messiah                                                                 The promised deliverer of the Jewish nation; a leader or savior                                              Messiah is the ancient Hebrew word for “deliverer,” and the Greeks called the Messiah “Christ.” Scripture refers to Jesus as both Messiah and Christ, because God sent Him to fulfill His long-awaited promise to deliver mankind from sin and shame. Today, we are free from the burden of our mistakes because the Messiah (Jesus Christ) gave His life to make us holy.

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE


Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!