Pastor's Perspective, Septermber 2017

The Patience to Lead


The Patience

to Lead

by Sandra Pate

In 2017, it is challenging to find examples of great leadership. Yet despite all the political turmoil, racial division and intolerance towards the message of the Gospel, we just witnessed amazing Christians pulling together to rescue others and patiently taking time to stop and inspire the people around them with the love of God in the aftermath of devastating hurricanes.

Because of the scope of the storm and torrential rains that came with Hurricane Harvey, the scale of the rescue and recovery efforts is overwhelming. Fortunately, thousands of people demonstrated personal leadership and both the courage and compassion to fill in the gaps. Neighbors, volunteers, first responders, law enforcement, the National Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard led the charge. What great examples of putting into action the Christian values upon which the United States of America is based. The stories of need and the responses to them should remind all of us of what unites rather than divides us. What better time for everyone who calls on the name of Jesus to rise and lead?

Sincere and authentic leadership in action requires patience. The Bible shows us that Jesus took time to recruit disciples and to prepare them for the turmoil and tribulations to come. Then he patiently went about the work he was sent to do. Devoting quality time to develop others is an important task. It is impossible to do everything yourself, but when you hand off responsibilities, you need to make sure they are handed to a capable, talented and motivated disciple. You want to work with others who are generous with their ideas, time and talent. Taking time to teach, encourage and inspire your team will reap benefits that go far beyond the tasks at hand.

With patience, Jesus worked through disbelief, betrayal, neglect, rejection, spiritual blindness, persecution and death. He demonstrated gratitude by always acknowledging his Father in prayer. He also focused his time and attention to teach the truth and to stay the course for his assignment. Imagine what it took to face the ultimate sacrifice of his life on the cross so He could save all who confess him as Christ and believe in their heart that he was raised from the dead. Jesus encourages our hearts by telling us that “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do.” – John 14:12.

We all desire miracles in our lives. As we lead others to Christ, the patience to demonstrate his love is part of every decision we face. History proves that great leaders literally love the people they lead. Make peace with that. Decisions are not necessarily made by the best person, the smartest person, or the right person. Salvation decisions are made because of the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit, and not because of our own human intellect and abilities. To think like a fisher of the souls of men, do not look for logic, rationality, or sanity. My prayer is that you will have the patience to trust GOD to provide more than you have and when you think you have given all to serve others, you will be amazed to find you have even more!

Remember that patience is just faith in slow motion. Patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. It requires much prayer to develop and grows in the presence of God. We must act with patience to not only love others, but to trust God and His promises to change the world in the name of Jesus “for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12

So, let’s stop wasting the time of our lives worrying about decisions that will not make a difference in the life of someone else. We cannot afford to get so lost in proving how smart and how right we are that we forget what we are here to do. We are here to demonstrate the patience it takes to love those who may seem unlovable so that they, too, can be saved. Let’s focus our time and energy on bringing more souls into the Kingdom of God and go beyond what we now see, think, and feel because nothing is too hard for GOD!

resSandra Pate

Sandra Pate, Creative Pastor at Church Point Ministries, is known for her straightforward approach to teaching the word of God and her passion to encourage creativity in others to win souls. She is a Christian media consultant and executive producer of “Pate Update,” a weekday television show that airs at 7 a.m. in Baton Rouge on the CW Network. Pate serves with her husband, Bishop Dwight Pate, founder and senior Pastor of Church Point Ministries. Together, they also travel the nation to lead revivals in inner city America. They have one son, two daughters and three grandchildren.

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Publisher's Letter, Septermber 2017

September Publisher’s LETTER



As Ambassadors of Christ,                     We Must Extend Kindness to Others

Each month I get the same phone call. It’s always the day after we have mailed out our sub-scriptions. “Thank you for making my day. I received my magazine today and I’m going to read cover to cover.” Mrs. Lee thinks we’ve done a kind act for her. But her phone call each month brightens my day. Not because of any lengthy in-depth discussion, but because I appreciate her kindness each month to call and say thanks.

A few months ago I was deeply concerned about a very personal issue. Such was my concern that I could not get it off my mind. It would keep me awake and it seemed there was little I could do to rest. Of course I prayed, read Scripture, and asked the Lord for help. It seemed it had such a grip on me that I felt as though I was failing in my faith. Then out of the blue, God did something seemingly random that I knew in a moment was Him. He was showing me that though I had to wait a bit longer, I could depend on his presence in the situation which calmed my restless soul.

Earlier today, a group of friends gathered to help a couple move back into their home. Much of the same group had assembled one year earlier in a panic to quickly gather and save what we could as flood waters had wreaked havoc on their belongings and destroyed much of what they had accumulated over the years. After our work was done, we stood in a circle and prayed together, thanking the Lord for friendships and the ability to help others.

Kindness. It is an underrated powerful act that whether from God or man, is indeed life changing. While it is a “fruit of the spirit,” it is also a daily choice. Much like patience, if we have Jesus, we have the fruit He promised. Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV) says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Daily we face the battle of free will. Often, the choice to live outside of God’s will and His purposes is the biggest choice we make each day. We must choose to believe He is who He says He is and that we are who He says we are.

You never know what someone else is facing. So many in our community lost so much in the last few months. Many are still rebuilding homes and lives. People are busy. Yet people value themselves when others treat them with value. As ambassadors of Christ, it’s our job to extend kindness daily. We are the hands and feet of Christ in our city and beyond.

Kindness. It takes so little and accomplishes so much.

Changing the world one story at a time.

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Cover Story, Septermber 2017

I’ve Been Very Blessed – Donna Britt

“I’ve been very blessed”

Donna Britt says challenges remind us what is important in life.

by Susan Brown

Standing at the edge of a Georgia peanut field, Donna Britt watched her father preach to hardworking harvesters. They couldn’t spare a day off for church, so he brought the gospel to the field. It was a legacy of compassion and perseverance – an understanding that stepping into someone else’s story makes a difference

That foundation has endeared her to the Baton Rouge viewing community as she serves her 36th year as anchor for WAFB Channel 9 News. “I feel like God led me to be in television,” she explains. Her own story of resilience demonstrates a commitment to make the most of God-given gifts in the face of both personal success and loss.

Her current challenge is a continuing battle with a progressive disease recently diagnosed as ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The condition causes her immune system to attack her nerves, resulting in partial paralysis that affects her ability to walk, use her hands and breathe. But her incisive mind and the twinkle in her eye testify to her ability to face a tough truth head-on with a deep sense of peace built on faith.

“I think that your struggles are a bridge,” she said. “There are so many people that already have their own struggles, and because I know how aggressive this illness is, I cannot hide it. And rather than say that a thousand times, I just go on Facebook and explain to everyone what’s happening. And I find that it’s so rich, the support and the love that I get that way.”

Kindness, she said, is not something you do, it is something that comes from who you are – from your character. “What you do in kindness celebrates your power to use the abilities that God has given you, and you want to feel worthy of them.”

The legacy continues in countless news stories and acts of kindness, including volunteer work with the Salvation Army, Girl Scouts, and Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre, and hundreds of hours spent restoring a library at Progress Elementary. “Reading comprehension scores on standardized tests after three years of really revving the library made a difference,” she said. “When you help others, you can feel like you have been able to affect something bad in the world and make it good.”

“That was just our family’s tradition – to always take care of everything,” she recalls. “We all kind of try to follow Jesus’ example, but my dad was a big disciple. When I was young, about 5, he would let me climb up on a toolbox on the front seat of the pickup truck when he was going to work on

somebody’s house. His idea was that you build arelationship with someone when you’re helping them.”

“I was born again at age 6 and was in the church every time the door was open,” she said. She played the piano and organ for hundreds of funerals and weddings.

While serving at a Southern Baptist church in Florida, Donna’s mother gave birth to her fifth child. The baby survived, but Donna’s mother died in childbirth. At the age of 9, Donna and her siblings were sent to live with their grandmother. When her father remarried, they moved to Biloxi where he became a teacher. The family spent weekends helping breathe life back into dwindling churches in small Mississippi towns. Her father preached, her stepmother led the music and Donna played the piano. “We had seven kids so sometimes we were double the congregation,” Britt said.

Two of her brothers followed her father into the ministry, while Donna pursued her love of music at the University of Southern Mississippi. She later transferred to LSU to complete her degree in music education, and she became flag choreographer for the Tiger Band. She worked at WLBI in Denham Springs to make ends meet, and later at WYNK, where she met her future husband, Mark Ballard, Capitol News Bureau Editor for The Advocate. They celebrated their 36th wedding anniversary in August.

“The summer we got married, two of my three sisters also got married. Our dad exclaimed, ‘A thousand dollars to anyone who will elope!’ Mark and I never got the money, but we had a casual wedding under a tree behind the Greek amphitheater on LSU’s campus.” They sliced a watermelon instead of a wedding cake.

Donna Britt’s father, Dan, performed the wedding ceremony for Donna and Mark Bllard in 1981 beneath a massive oak tree in a clearing behind LSU’s Greek amphitheater.

“…When I was young, about 5, he [my father] would let me climb up on a toolbox on the front seat of the pickup truck when he was going to work on somebody’s house. His idea was that you build a relationship with someone when you’re helping them.” -Donna Britt

With help from Donna, the salvation Army holds its red Kettle Kickoff in North boulevard town square.
Donna poses for selfies with shoppers at the College Drive Walmart on Mondays and Fridays during the Christmas season. Here, she greets Kendrick slan.

In May, their daughter Annie – a DNA researcher in Rhode Island – married Alec Yonika under the same tree. They celebrated with a crawfish boil, a new experience for their in-laws. “Mark literally picks me up and he’s sort of my cheerleader, too,” she said. “When you have to struggle every move you make, and you run into trouble, you go, ‘Oh God, are you going to help me with this one?’ It’s kind of like the prayer doesn’t stop. It’s a continual thing.”

“I ask that you don’t pray for me to be totally healed,” she said. “I think my paralysis is permanent. What I would like is for you to pray that I am comforted and that my family is comforted and that we greet this thing as a blessing, which we try to do. Because there’s nothing like this to help you prioritize your life, and I think that’s healthy.”

Donna says First United Methodist Church has really surrounded her in love. “Food delivered to your door and cards in the mail, all of that,” she said. “It’s just wonderful.” Her own spiritual struggle led her to the church she now calls home. “I basically went to college in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in the late ‘70s, and I ran into churches that didn’t want blacks. People in the music department that were my dearest friends couldn’t go to those churches, and so I just sort of withdrew from church. And it wasn’t until we had our first child that I realized what a moral community I had grown up in. So, I went spiritually shopping.”

“I just wish that churches would teach children not to see color, because children grow up in homes where their parents are racists, and they turn into racists, too. I keep thinking that racism will die out, but I see young children today that have grown up in that kind of family and feel afraid of someone who’s not like them,” she said. “Jesus would go in the middle of it.” Donna and her family found both inclusiveness and in-depth preaching at First Methodist. “Our doors are always open, and they do mean that,” she said.

Her door remains open, as well. She would like to pass along the volume of information she has gained through her experience with ALS, including the discovery of an LSU voice bank that allows her to record a thousand phrases in her own voice for future use.

“I’ve had an excellent life and been very blessed,” she said. “I couldn’t want for more.”

For information, contact

Donna with hair stylists for 2016’s “big Wig” fundraiser for susan G. Komen.

“This past May, our daughter Annie and her beau Alec Yonika stood under the very same tree to get married. it was a very beautiful simple ceremony just like the one 36 years ago. My heart sang because of the setting and the love i know they share. instead of my father officiating, Judge Curtis Calloway kindly did the honors. We had a crawfish boil at our home afterwards and showed the new in-laws how to peel a crawfish!” –Donna Britt


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.

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Faith Life, Septermber 2017

Connections for Life – Women Find New Path to Follow

Connections of Life

Women Find

New Path to Follow

Cortney Bradley had served her time and was about to be released from the Madison Parish Correctional Center, but home was the last place she wanted to go. “I knew that I would fall back into the same problems that got me into trouble in the first place,” she said. “Drugs, crime, the wrong people. I didn’t want to go back to that lifestyle.”

Fortunately, she didn’t have to.

A new beginning

Instead, she applied to Connections for Life, an organization that helps women, especially those trying to build a new life after prison, with treatment facilities and battered women’s shelters. Connections for Life helps women transition to a healthy independence based on a 12-step program that provides housing, clothing, food, job placement assistance, finance classes and more.

“When I was interviewed for the program, I was told that the program was very strict … that there were a lot of rules. But that’s exactly what I needed,” Bradley said. “I was 24, yet I had no idea how to be responsible. Within a year, I got a job and a driver’s license. I bought a car. I got much-needed dental care. I started college. They helped me take  little

little steps one at a time that ended up changing my life.” Bradley is living proof that the program works. For three years, she has served as Program Manager at Connections for Life, uniquely positioning her to help new clients.

Determined to succeed

Executive Director Karen Stagg says the program is limited to 13 women. “We’re small on purpose,” she said. “We want to be able to provide oneon-one care and counseling so our clients can succeed. It’s very hard what these women are doing. They are really committed to making their lives better.” Stagg had a career in healthcare before she took the helm at Connections for Life. “The woman who founded the organization was retiring and she offered me this opportunity. I took it even though I had no training or background in this kind of work. But I had decided I wanted to live my life more intentionally, and this was a chance to do that.”

Each woman accepted into the program is provided a rent-free fully furnished apartment of her own, as well as food, clothing, and transportation until she can afford her own. “Giving them the key to their apartment on the first day of the program is a very big deal,” Stagg said. “Some of them have never had their own place before. It’s empowering.”

In return, participants are expected to hold a job and attend regular “recovery” meetings during their yearlong transition. They are also assigned a “sponsor” who encourages them and helps them form healthy relationships.

Fear and uncertainty

Judy Maechling is another success story. In her 50s now, Judy was sent to prison six times, usually on drug charges. More than once, she was offered an opportunity to apply to Connections for Life, but she was never ready, she said. “And then one day, I realized that I was tired of everything about my life … living on the street … struggling all the time. So I applied and they took me,” she said.

Judy says she was afraid to fail and lacked confidence. “I didn’t know if I could go through with it,” she said. “I got released and got on a bus

for Baton Rouge. The whole way, I wasn’t sure if I would get off at my stop or just stay on that bus and keep going … somehow, I made the right decision and I’ve had nothing but unconditional love and support. It’s been phenomenal. I’ve grown as a person and accomplished so much. I have a grown daughter and two grandchildren, and I know in my heart that I will see them soon and be able to have a relationship with them.” Judy now works in the Connections Thrift Store. It’s a simple life she leads these days, but in her words, “more than I ever dreamed possible.”

Community Support

One way to support Connections for Life is to shop at the Thrift Store, which carries furniture, books, clothing, household goods and more. Volunteers are needed in the store to help sort donations, tag merchandise, hang clothing, stock shelves, arrange merchandise displays, and greet customers. The store is located at 2286 Highland Road.

Another way to support the organization is to volunteer in the office by providing administrative assistance. If you have working knowledge of Microsoft Word and Excel, good communication skills, and can multi-task, your help would be appreciated.

“I am honored to be affiliated with these women and with this program,” Stagg said. “They work so hard to improve their lives. Watching them achieve independence and emotional healing is a beautiful thing to see.”

For more information about Connections for Life or about volunteer opportunities, call (225) 379-3640.

Karen stagg, second from left, poses with supporters of Connections for Life.
Women in Media volunteers participated in a clothing drive to provide clients with professional attire.

“The woman who founded the organization was retiring and she offered me this opportunity. I took it even though I had no training or background in this kind of work. But I had decided I wanted to live my life more intentionally, and this was a chance to do that.” – Karen Stagg

Cortney bradley, far left, and Judy Maechling are graduates and now employees of the Connections for Life program. Cortney credits the program with saving her life by giving her opportunities she never would have found if she had returned home. Judy says she received unconditional love and support that motivated her to be a better person and gave her confidence to make better choices.

Starting a New Life Has its Challenges

Every year, millions of men and women leave the country’s state and federal prisons and local jails hoping for a successful return to society. Most are returning to their families, many with children. because of this, their challenges moving back into the mainstream affect their families in many ways.

Family life

Housing is an immediate concern, and most prisoners end up living with a family member and depending on them for financial support. in most cases, family support is a positive experience. For women who return to children, however, the experience is difficult. Children whose parents are incarcerated go through more than disruption of their daily lives. they go through real trauma–separation from a loved one, feelings of shame and anger, and fear for their future. When a mother is released from prison, re-establishing the parent-child relationship is hard.


Imagine if a former inmate came to you for a job. Your first thought would be to wonder if you could trust this person. even if a boss or supervisor is willing to take a chance, co-workers may not be comfortable with the arrangement. released prisoners who are able to find employment often have to settle for low-skill and low-paying jobs such as food service, housekeeping, or maintenance and repair. And while finding a job is a step in the right direction, keeping it is a daily struggle.

Staying focused

Most women who leave prison are determined to never go back, but real life has its temptations, especially for those who were convicted of drug crimes. even those who manage to avoid repeating their offenses often are arrested for parole violations such as changing residence, possessing a weapon, leaving the state without permission, or failing to show up for a court appearance.

Community help

Karen stagg, executive Director of Connections for Life, has devoted her life to helping women achieve independence after being released from prisons, rehab facilities and women’s shelters. “i’ve seen how hard they work to change their lives,” she said. “Anything our community can do for them is appreciated.”

Connections for Life provides many ways to be involved in helping women at risk reach their goals, including donations and volunteer projects. Call (225) 379-3640 for information.

Family Life, Septermber 2017

Cultivating Seeds of Kindness at Home


Cultivating Seeds

of Kindness at

by Roger Butner, PHD, LMFT

We hat to admit it, but we know it’s the ugly truth:  it is often easier to show kindness to strangers and acquaintances than to our own beloved family members at home.

It’s as though we have an expectation of our spouses, kids, or other family members to get everything right all the time, yet we extend grace to those outside the home. And being exposed so often to so many of our family members’ faults can simply wear down our patience with them, to the point that we lose our spirit of kindness, gentleness and grace. How much stronger and more peaceful is our home life when we share these virtues in abundance with our loved ones!

God’s Word teaches us in Galatians 5:22 that His Holy Spirit produces in us the fruit of kindness, along with patience and gentleness for good measure. What wonderful news! This means God’s natural work is to produce in us the very virtues our family members long for us to share with them.

My favorite passage for guidance on how to live with spouses and children is Philippians 2:1-18.

A few years ago, I was reading this passage in an unfamiliar translation … The New Century Version. Suddenly, verses 12 and 13 took on clear meaning for me as they never had before: “ …Keep on working to complete your salvation with fear and trembling, because God is working in you to help you want to do and be able to do what pleases him. ” Wow! Seriously, read that again, and consider the incredible meaning. If we are seeking Him and His will, He will give us the additional motivation and tools we need to walk in His will – even to want to walk in His will. We just need to be willing to seek Him daily. My goal today is to offer you a few simple ideas to help you move closer in step with His Spirit as you share the life-giving fruit of kindness in greater abundance in your own home.


Offer an encouraging word every day. This may not be your current habit, but it surely is a good one to cultivate. Use an app on your phone or a simple note on your bathroom mirror to remind you to seize an opportunity at least once a day to verbalize to your spouse and each child something you like, appreciate or admire in them. If you miss a day, don’t sweat it – just keep looking for those moments to lift their spirits with your genuine words of kindness. This is such a simple practice that can make a world of difference at home or anywhere else you choose to practice this act of kindness.


Watch your tone. You’ve heard it before. It’s not just what you say, but how you say it. This is such a powerful truth. One simple way to change our tone from harshness to kindness is to regularly ask ourselves before opening our mouths, “Am I going to invite my spouse or child to hear me and consider my words, or fight with me and reject my words?” If we really want to be heard and considered, why do we so often speak in a way that invites pushback, fighting and rejection? If this is a deeply engrained pattern in your relationships at home, try this exercise: Whenever you know you need to say or discuss something that may be emotionally charged, invite your spouse or child to come stand in front of a large mirror with you. You will find it easier to keep your words, tone and body language in a spirit of kindness when you have the immediate feedback of seeing your own “energy” while you speak. Seriously. Try it.


Take time to listen. Practice the wisdom of this classic prayer: “ O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love… ” Kindness in relationships is often demonstrated through taking the time to genuinely listen to and consider one another’s words. In fact, one of the most effective ways to “get” someone to listen to you with an open mind is to offer that very gift to them first. Spouses and kids who feel heard by your kind ear and heart are so much more likely to enjoy a peaceful and mutually respectful relationship with you.

May these simple suggestions bless you and your loved ones with a bumper crop of kindness! If I can assist you in any way, please reach out to me at


Roger Butner is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice specializing in teens and their parents, family dynamics, and addiction issues. His wife, Chemaine, is a baton rouge native. He has lived in br since 2002, and he and Chemaine have a 13 year old son. Contact Dr. butner and find out more at his website:

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Creative LIFE, Septermber 2017

Painting with a Purpose Maria Boudreaux is an Angel to Many

Painting with a Purpose

Maria Boudreaux is an Angel to Many

by Sharon Furrate Bailey

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. -Proverbs 31:25

Q: When did you discover you were an artist?

A: I don’t think I ever “discovered” that I was an artist. As a young child, I noticed colors, shapes and textures. I remember noticing all the different greens that made up the grass when I was playing in my back yard. However, I did not realize that seeing the details in the grass that day would lead me to where I am today—a full-time artist. In fact, the only art class I ever had was as a freshman at Saint Joseph’s Academy. My love for drawing and painting has been with me my entire life. Through the years, people would ask me if I could draw or paint something for them and I would. It was a challenge for me. These challenges helped me paint anything, on anything, and in various styles, techniques and mediums.

Q: What would you say is your artist statement … why you create?

A: Art of any kind should make you think, feel and fall in love. I create art to express what I love, what influences me, and what makes me smile. Many of my paintings are influenced by the Gulf Coast way of life which is abundant in colors, nature, sounds, spirituality, and the attitude of the area which is about being outside and soaking in its beauty.

Q: Do you feel painting is a spiritual gift?

Prayer and Meditation
Angel on gold leaf

A: Absolutely! You paint your life with the colors God gave you. I discovered this idea during a period of personal struggles and trials and found it was hard to create and deal with everything going on. But then I heard God speak to my spirit … He encouraged me to express what I feel and think through art. Art influences others and my artistic journey has opened up so many friendships and lines of encouragement. My clients say that my art makes them happy and that makes me happy. I pray that the Spirit God (Holy Spirit) who influences my work shines through my paintings and in turn encourages and enlightens the owners to paint their lives with whatever colors God gives them.

Q: You have been a live painter for many organizations — what are some of the causes that are near to your heart and some of the events that you shared your talent as a live painter?

A: I am grateful to work personally with Dreams Come True and JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). My main event with JDRF is their “Derby After Dark.” I have painted at this event for four years. I do a number of events for Dreams Come True in Baton Rouge and Lafayette. I have worked with DCT for at least 10 years. Our biggest event is “Wine Tasting at Ruffino’s on the River.” This year’s event is September 21, and yes, I plan to be there.

Children are my soft spot. Working with these organizations and others always helps me realize the blessings in my own life. The money raised helps many young people and my art hopefully brings joy to the owners. Jesus also embraces children. Luke 18:16 is a scripture that shows his love towards children.

But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” So if I can help children with the gift God gave me, then by all means, I will continue and be of service for these organizations. If my gift can help others, then I feel that “tug” to help and so I paint.

Q: Tell us about the team building and classes you offer at your business.

A: My company, Fleur de ME Designs, offers customized team building packages for business owners, department heads and more. We have worked with Blue Cross Blue Shield, BASF, Cox Communications, Eatel, Our Lady of the Lake, Lewis Physical Therapy and many others.

We offer on-site or off-site classes. We have open paint classes, several kinds of parties and special events, as well as classes for kids of all ages and art camps. Check us out on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin. I also do commissioned art, murals, unique creative projects and live painting events.

Two Wings on gold leaf
Lady Justice

Q: Do you have a favorite book of the bible or scripture?

A: Proverbs 31 is my favorite proverb in the Bible. It reminds me to be the best woman, wife, mother and person God wants me to be. It speaks of a strong creative woman. It touches upon how a woman can be creative in love, her home, in parenting, and other endeavors. Hopefully I can portray these characteristics along with my faith in God daily.

Q: Share anything you would like our readers to know about your personal life and journey as a creative person.

A: As stated before, I am a self-taught artist. I have always drawn and painted. I started as a calligrapher. When my daughter Shelby was born, I painted a mural in her room. When people would see it, many asked me to paint one for them. This evolved into a faux finishing/decorative painting business. I realized that what I could paint on walls, I could paint on canvases, so I started Fleur de ME Designs in 2004. For a while, I did residential projects, sold my art and calligraphy both wholesale and retail, developed Creative Kids Art Camps, and volunteered frequently at my church and school.

Things had to change in 2009 due to my daughter’s lengthy illness. I had to give some things up to care for her, so I stopped painting in homes and selling both wholesale and retail. I thought of ways to keep my schedule flexible which would allow me to care for Shelby and spend time with Trent, my husband, so I began offering wine and sip classes and continued summer art camps. With prayers and much support, Shelby is much better. My work can be seen locally at The Foyer, Babin Dental, and by appointment at my studio at 11666 Cedar Park, Suite C. Also, my art can be viewed on and on Facebook-Maria Prochaska Boudreaux. Take time to paint the colors of your life.  It has helped me and it could help you.

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

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Faces of CHRISTIAN LIFE, Septermber 2017

Christian Perspectives From Across the World

CHristiAN PersPeCtives FroM ACross tHe WorLD

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Samantha Boutte

Medically, I wasn’t supposed to be born. My parents lost three kids before me. God fulfilled a promise to my parents when he let them keep me. My life began as a miracle and has been that ever since. I grew up “normal” until I started gaining excessive weight due to a thyroid problem. My first surgery was at the age of 12, then 16, 28, and 32. I also had a seizure disorder that paralyzed my life for five years. As I look back over my life, I see how God has walked with me through every second of my life. I have seen his grace. My faith has kept me going through all of this … I am glad I was the one chosen for this hard road, because this has helped me be like Jesus and represent God’s grace.

Trevor Morris

When I was 16, I tried to take my own life. My dad had chronic pain from a car accident and always had heavy pain medication prescribed to him. I tried to use his medication to end my life. ironically, I ended up living and he ended up dying a few weeks later. I did not want to be alive even after my life had been spared and went through several miserable years. one day I was searching for drugs and went up to a man I thought for sure could either sell them to me or give me a connection. His face was covered in tattoos, his clothes were rough, his hair was a mess. He told me he no longer involved himself in that kind of life and invited me to AA (Alcoholics Anonymous). Within three meetings, I had a desire chip and this man became my sponsor. He told me that Jesus was the only higher power. He began to disciple me and pray with me … he took me to church. today I am clean and sober and depend on Jesus every day. I know it is Jesus who kept me alive because he has a purpose for me.

Kaitlyn Vied

Eight years ago, I remember sitting on my parents’ floor frantically looking for my dad’s pistol that he kept under his bed. My parents left for a day trip and I was determined to put an end to my life. For a second I had to pause and wonder how I had gotten there. Was it the rejection I dealt with from being adopted? Was it the boy who took advantage of me when I was 6? Was it the individual who verbally and physically abused me? All I knew was that 14 years of life had been enough and I didn’t see any option or promise of hope. If God was real or good, he wasn’t concerned with me. but my story didn’t end there. God was watching out for me and through a series of events, my parents ended up sending me to a program called teen Challenge — it was there that I came to terms with God, it was there that i realized he was fighting for me. this journey has been hard, but God has been faithful. He has given me a joyful and adventurous life that was beyond anything I had ever imagined. I am so grateful.

Kevin Cummings

I believe the most important thing we can do for a person is pray for them. Words can move people, kind acts can touch people, example can inspire people. Prayer can change people. Prayer can heal people. Prayer can touch people. And prayer can bless people. I believe the prayers of others have saved me, and I believe my prayers are eternal investments in the lives of others. 

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Reading For Life, Septermber 2017

A Review of Denying My Mother’s Eyes True Life Louisiana


A Review of

Denying My Mother’s Eyes

True Life Louisiana

Written by Marius Domingue                      Reviewed by Kelli M. Knight

If you don’t know Marius Domingue, it would definitely be worth your while to become familiar with him. Marius grew up in Erwinville, La. living in poverty with his parents and brother. His Spanish/Dominican Republic heritage gave him a dark skin tone which in turn gave license for his family and him be discriminated against, and to be treated just as horrifically as African Americans were. His father was a sharecropper and barely made ends meet. More often than not, they went hungry. Though they had a roof over their heads, there was no running water. Rain was captured in tanks that were usually contaminated with bugs and rodent feces. This was the setting for Marius’ early life.

Through trials, triumph, and heartache, we get a vivid picture of a boy who grew into adulthood to be an impartial witness to life and to love his hometown, despite the prejudice he experienced. Domingue became a successful contractor and then went on to serve as a Sheriff’s Deputy and protect the area that gave him such a hard time. You will not be disappointed to take a glimpse into the life of Marius Domingue. I encourage youth, especially, to read about a man who accurately recounts history without bias.

Marius still enjoys being involved in law enforcement but looks forward to retiring and spending more time with his family. He will continue to research, read, and spread awareness of unwritten histories. In his spare time, he writes music and hopes to continue improving his skills on the guitar. His book can be purchased at


Kelli is the owner of illuminated Designs Studio, specializing in graphic design services. She received her Liberal arts degree from LSU and has lived in Baton Rouge for the majority of her life. Kelli loves great stories, so reading and writing have always been passions of hers. over the course of her career she has written for several publications throughout Southeast Lousiana. Find her on facebook:

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Man Up for LIFE, Septermber 2017

Every Man Needs a Band of Brothers

Every Man Needs a Band of Brothers

by Ken Paxton

Proverbs 27:17 says it clearly: “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”

Men’s Ministry is pretty straightforward. With a strong men’s group in a church, i believe the church will be a stronger place where a man can bring his family to receive the Word of Christ.

Go back to the time of Moses when Moses needed two strong men by his side, Aaron and Hur. They picked Moses up when he was weak. Moses had a great family but he had two guys who believed in him, who would battle for him, and did not want to see him lost. And David – he had 30 mighty men he could call on at any time. He also had a friend in Jonathan, someone who stood closer to him than any other brother. Jonathan believed in David and wanted him to succeed.

I have a great family. My wife Brandi supports me and she walks hand in hand with me. I also have three close friends and one best friend who will battle anything that comes against me in my life. My best friend, Scott Pace, has been my support for almost 23 years. We have prayed together, stood together in battle, laughed and cried together, then stood by each other’s side when we both got married. Jeff Gaudet is a friend who put me in a headlock when I got off my spiritual journey and gave me a turnaround. He has been there to help me in my struggles of living the worldly life and the Godly life. Another friend is Jeff Lee, who saw

my ministry and was one of the first to give something towards it. He believed that God was going to do great things with my ministry and he even calls himself “my roadie.” Bax Kegans is another friend who always encourages me to be all I can be. He has introduced me to others in Men’s Ministry, which has opened so many doors to reaching others. He helps hold me up when the enemy is raging and always calls to check on me and pray with me.

We can’t be who God has called us to be without accountability. To live this life, we need friends and Men’s Ministry lets you connect with other men who can walk with you through the good times and the bad. As a man, I want to be

Paxton spends time with his friends Jeff Lee and scott Pace.

the best husband I can be to my wife, the best dad to Kyland and the best stepdad to Nick and Logan. I also want to be the best I can be as a servant to others in my church. Without having Godly mentors and friends that you can trust in life, it’s hard to do this alone.

The devil always tries to get the lonely lamb away from the pack of other lambs. The enemy doesn’t want to see you in fellowship with other men and warriors. He will have to fight three instead of one. With the power of God in three men, the enemy doesn’t

stand a chance. He can’t get to the weak servant. The Bible also says in Ecclesiastes 4:12: “A triple braided cord is uneasily broken.”

Men, we can’t fight this life alone. We need our wives and our kids, but we also need other guys to help us in battle. If you do not have a strong group of Christian brothers at your

Men at the isi Conference.
Ken with his family.

church, find one. Plug into a Men’s Ministry — start one at your church or find out how you can serve and connect with others to have that fellowship. It will bring you to a new level in Christ to pray for and believe with another brother. It strengthens the both of you.

I am part of Real Men at the Church in St. Amant. I am also a part of Gulf South Men, a member of NCMM (National Coalition of Men’s Ministry), Iron Sharpens Iron, and Christians Under Construction. As a man, husband and dad, I need others in battle with me – and so do you. I’m encouraging you and inviting you to be a part of a Men’s Ministry at your church or find one in your area. If you need assistance getting connected, contact me at

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BRCLM Lagniappe, Septermber 2017

Today, My Pray for you is, Kindness

my prayer for you is Kindness

by Joan Rougon

Kindness is also called compassion, favor and service in extending this to others, it will return to you in bliss.

Kindness is a virtue seated deep within the heart it rises to the surface as your emotions begin to start.

Kindness is not a virtue that’s possessed by everyone it is a special gift from God’s only begotten son.

When you put this gift to work, one thing you must learn in giving, it is not wasted; it is sure to return.

And with it comes blessings that you never thought could be, blessings overtaking you…blessings abundantly!

So strive toward kindness and let your heart reach out Move in compassion and don’t let your mind doubt, that God will return to you the kindness you will need And you will reap the harvest of your little “kindness” seed.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” Colossians 3:12

“For this reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love….” 2 Peter 1:7

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Millennial Life, Septermber 2017

A Body in Christ Millennials and Self Acceptance

A Body in Christ

Millennials and Self Acceptance

Story and photos by:  Trapper S. Kinchen

For most of Keli Hayden’s life, she was emotionally disconnected from her body. When she stared at her reflection in the mirror it was like studying an abstract painting because the image looking back felt totally separate from the person she felt she was. But now, at 27, Hayden is breaking through the surface of emotional dissociation and discovering the healing power of Christ’s unconditional love. After exploring a lifetime of buried emotions, Hayden has learned to love herself just as she is.

We learn to judge our bodies at an early age by studying how our parents evaluate their physical worth. So Hayden spent much of her early childhood watching how the people around her dealt with food, exercise, and personal appearance. “For example, my parents viewed their bodies in really negative ways and constantly verbalized that negativity,” she said.

As she entered adolescence, the gap between Hayden’s emotional and physical selves began to grow. “I started Weight Watchers for the first time when I was 11-years-old,” she said. “I look back now, and I can’t believe that happened.” The unhealthy connection she had with her body ultimately reinforced a great deal of deeply hidden shame. When she flips through family photo albums, Hayden always notices a dramatic shift in her appearance around age 4. When she started preschool, she began gaining weight quickly, and it didn’t take long for people to notice her changing body. At 5, her family took her to a nutritionist, but no one bothered dealing with the root of her troubled relationship with food.

As Hayden grew into womanhood, eating became a substitute for self-love. “My behavior was instinctual, and, once I got older, my eating became more emotional,” she said. She did not value her physical wellbeing and that caused her to psychologically detach from her body.

Her relationship with her appearance reached a low point when she transitioned from her small town high school to Southeastern Louisiana University where her character was constantly tested by circumstances. “I didn’t have a real identity and had never been faced with any real challenges up until that point,” she said.

Hayden had always considered herself morally immovable and emotionally tough. But the more time she spent away from home, the more she realized she wasn’t as strong as she thought. “I saw myself as resolved and stubborn,” she said. “But I now know that I was very easily influenced, and I conformed to my environment.”

At 21, she developed a friendship with an older classmate. Despite Hayden’s initial misgivings, they began spending most of their free time together. “After a while, I found myself falling in with her behaviors,” she said. “I was totally unaware of the pitfalls that were awaiting me.”

About three months after meeting, Hayden and her friend became roommates. The time they spent living together wound up being one of the darkest and most formative phases of Hayden’s life. “My roommate was struggling with her own body image issues, and she started projecting them onto me,” Hayden said. “I can remember her saying things like, ‘I’ve gained 15 pounds since I moved in with you. This is all your fault.’”

What initially seemed like a genuine friendship quickly morphed into something toxic and co-dependent. “Anytime she would get mad, she would go back through pictures of me on her phone. She would highlight parts of my body that she thought I should be self-conscious about and would say, ‘You really need to work on this.’ And I just took it.”

After sharing a house for three years, Hayden broke away from her roommate. It was a long, drawn-out process that took a heavy psychological toll on her self-esteem, but in the end, Hayden learned a great deal about spiritual discernment and emotional fortitude.

When her personal struggles were at their peak, Hayden was working part-time at a local politician’s office. Around the same time, she was also considering enrolling in law school. “One day, I got called into my boss’s office, and he said, ‘I would like to offer you a full-time job with health benefits, so you can get weight loss surgery.’”

Hayden was shocked. She had never considered medically altering her body, and she didn’t think she was overweight enough to be a good candidate for gastric surgery. But Hayden trusted her employer, and she took what he was saying to heart. “The more he talked, the more I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I must need weight loss surgery,’” she said. “He said stuff like, ‘I’m concerned for your future health,’ and ‘if you’ll get this surgery, you won’t be worried about trying to go to law school.’ He made it seem like the only reason I wanted to get an education was because I had no physical worth.”

That conversation changed the way Hayden considered how other people viewed her. In an instant, all her remaining confidence evaporated. She thought, “People look at me and think I’m fat. They look at me and think I need weight loss surgery.” Humiliated and

Hayden was first taken to a nutritionist at 5 years old. photo courtesy Keli Hayden
One of Hayden’s favorite activities is tire flipping. photo by trapper s. Kinchen

convinced she needed to change her appearance, she scheduled a consultation with her boss’s doctor … but she never went to the appointment. Instead, she found a different job.

Four years ago, hoping to deal with some general anxiety, Hayden started seeing a Christian counselor. That decision led to an unexpected journey of healing and revelation. Through therapy, she has been able to systematically work through a lifetime of unacknowledged feelings. Over the last couple of months, Hayden has experienced a major shift in her relationship with her body. In July, while taking a walk, God spoke to her, saying, “It is my will that you be healthy and well, but if you never change one thing, you’ll still be my beloved.” Those words took the pressure off of Hayden.

Through a combination of counseling and spiritual warfare, Hayden has begun developing an authentic relationship with her body, and, through it all, has learned to rely on Jesus. Alhough she grew up in church and experienced salvation at an early age, until recently, something was missing. “I’m 27 years old, and until now, I didn’t have a real relationship with God,” she said. “It came with having to fall down and accept Jesus and his truth. Today, I can’t get by without Him.”

Hayden now values herself, because she understands she is worthy of love. The old disconnect between her mind, body and spirit is quickly disappearing because she knows her Heavenly Father treasures her. “You have to be able to accept where you are,” she said. “If you’re happy with where you are, then stay there. If you aren’t happy, then start walking in another direction.”

“The process of learning to love myself has been very slow, but it’s been totally worth it,” she added. The first step to self-love is accepting your body in its current condition. You can’t change overnight, and, if you think about it, you might not need to change at all.

After a lifetime of self-loathing, Hayden has finally decided to move in a different direction. “I have fought my body since I was a kid,” she said. “I tried to count calories, I tried to jazzercize, and I even did some stuff that wasn’t healthy.” Now, she treats her physical being like the temple of God, and her old insecurities aren’t as overwhelming as they used to be.

We are all marvelously beautiful in the eyes of God, and He loves us no matter what. The Lord wants us to be happy, healthy and whole, and He designed each of us to be uniquely perfect in His image. It’s important that we realize we are bodies in Christ, because His splendor and goodness are etched in our DNA. For most of us, the path to self-acceptance and love is long and difficult, but liberty is waiting at the end of the road.

“For a long time, I gave fear the ability to rob me of experiences and self-worth,” Hayden said. “But not anymore! I’ve been set free.”


Trapper was born on the lip of Lake Pontchartrain. He was raised there, reading in the salt-flecked breeze on a splintered wharf that jutted into South Pass. Never bored, he divides his time between trying to raise organic chickens in the Livingston Parish piney woods, traveling to different time zones, and exercising his mind by steadily learning as much as he can. He graduated from LSU in 2013 and Wayne State University in 2015. He is a busy fiction writer and contemplative naturalist. He has a great time living life.

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Geaux Life, Septermber 2017

River Adventure – Teens do their part to change the world


River Adventure

Teens do their part to change the world

by susan brown

Matt rens and Jesse richard spent the summer kayaking the Mississippi river – all 2,320 miles – while raising money for a water/sanitation system in a third World country. it was a dream that took hold as Matt kayaked with his father from the Minnesota river to the Mississippi.

Rens, 19, and Richard, 18, launched their adventure at the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Itasca, Minnesota on June 11 and passed through Baton Rouge July 29-30 on their way to the Gulf of Mexico. The two-month journey took them through 10 states of winding water that includes some six miles of rapids. “There are really specific, strange, dangerous places on the river, but they’re pretty random,” Rens said.

“My dad did some research on the trip. He was really excited about it. He was the only one who actually thought I was going to do it,” Rens said. When his father passed away last April, Rens recounted their dream to friends and family. “They started a GoFundMe ( and without them we wouldn’t have the kayaks or any of the gear.”

Wenonah Canoe is Minnesota provided a substantial discount as part of its commitment to support worthy causes.

Lifewater International is a Christian non-profit that builds wells and teaches sanitation in Third World countries such as Ethiopia, Uganda and Cambodia. “For $6,000 they set up a full well, and $12,000 sets up the well and sanitation for the village for generations,” Rens said. “They really work on education, not just supplying the water. So we thought it was really important.” Through the Activewater branch of the Lifewater organization, athletes can attempt to run, walk, kayak or otherwise raise funds by asking donors to pledge a certain amount per mile.

“Each Tuesday we’ll try to do as many miles as we can, and then on Wednesday we remind

The teenagers started their journey in itaska, Minnesota in early June.
The two-month journey took rens and richard through 10 states.

people that we’re doing this for a cause and, if you can, give a dollar, 50 cents, a nickel for every mile we did yesterday. It forces us to go farther, it pushes us,” Rens said. “At the end of the whole river, we’re asking people, ‘Would you give me a penny for every mile?’ That’s 23 dollars. If enough people do it, we can reach our goal. The number that we fundraised will go to those places that don’t have water and need it.” (

Weeks of kayaking and camping on the banks of the Mississippi have taught them the value and challenge of obtaining clean water. “We’re filtering the river water – and it doesn’t taste great,” Rens said.

“It’s taught me more than enough about patience and about just not quitting,” Richard said. “It’s a cliché – you put your mind to something and it can be done – but you never really know it until you do it. It’s just been a really cool trip.”

“The more and more I’ve seen of the river, I cannot deny the existence of God,” Rens said. “It is more and more easy to see exactly where it works and how small I am. It’s so vast, so big and so beautiful, there’s no way that God’s not there.” Both Rens and Richard are members of Hillside Church in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Rens is a sophomore at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, SD. Richard graduated this year from Jefferson High School in Bloomington, MN where he was captain of the swim team. He is headed for the U.S Air Force.

Read more about their remarkable trip on Facebook at fromsourcetosea.


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.

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Learning For Life, Septermber 2017

In the Beginning


In the Beginning

by Lisa Tramontana

In the beginning …

The words that follow that phrase have stirred incredible controversy over the years, prompting intense debate among scientists, scholars, theologians and politicians. It is a polarizing topic, but there is plenty of middle ground to explore and to ponder.

Creationism, evolution or intelligent design? Just how was the world created? And when? Christian fundamentalists hold fast to the Biblical account that in seven days, God created the universe and its first inhabitants, Adam and Eve. Evolutionists embrace the scientific theory that living things have evolved over millions of years. Intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe are too complex to be the result of natural processes, and must be the result of an intelligent cause.

This article is not a scholarly essay on the creationism vs. evolution debate. This is the story of Dr. Charles Henry Voss Jr. and how his personal beliefs on this subject created a calling that has guided him most of his adult life. You won’t meet many people more determined to share their message, in spite of the fact that he has, as he admits, attracted many critics over the years.

But even now, at 91, Voss is still at it. He has just authored a creationism booklet that he is encouraging Louisiana educators to consider including in their curricula. (Public schools may teach biologic evolution in the science classroom, but creationism, considered a religious theory, is off-limits.*) “Of course, I understand why the subject is so controversial,” he said. “And we will probably never agree on it. But I think if we’re going to present one side, we should be able to present the other. I think it’s a fair and balanced idea. I think it’s in the students’ best interest to be exposed to both ideas.”

And when Voss says “the students’ best interest,” he is talking about not just their science education, but their spiritual well-being. Voss is a devout Christian who takes the Bible literally and takes seriously his obligation to promote his faith. Considering his background, how could it be any other way?

Voss was born to American missionary parents in China, but at a very young age, his parents moved to Baton Rouge, where Voss grew up. After earning a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from LSU, he earned a Ph.D. from North Carolina State University. In 1962, he came to LSU as a full professor in the engineering department where his research focused on biomedical areas, including the development of pacemakers, artificial hearts, hearing aids and protective devices for patients with Hansen’s Disease (leprosy).

In the late 1960s, he invited a guest speaker named Jon Buell to one of his lecture classes. Buell’s topic was creationism vs. evolution, and Voss was mesmerized. “I had always accepted the Biblical version, but this was the first time I had heard so many facts to support it. I remember coming home at lunch that day and telling my wife to stop whatever she was doing because she needed to come back to LSU with me right away and hear this speaker. That’s when it started for me. I wanted to learn and know as much as I could.”

Voss helped form a group of like-minded Christian professionals, and for more than 20 years, the group spoke with local churches and organizations about their cause. He was also involved in Louisiana’s education politics for nearly 15 years, as governors, legislators and educators battled it out.

As a professor, it made sense to share his beliefs with his adult students in Bible studies and Sunday school, which he also did for many years. And at one point, he combed through a number of high school biology textbooks, providing information he felt was missing, calling it “text add-ons” and making it available to educators. He got mixed reviews, but wasn’t surprised. “Not long ago, several friends and I sent a DVD to every science teacher in the state of Louisiana,” he said, “and only two responded. Even so, I have had many people come up to me through the years to thank me for the ideas I’ve taught and for making them really think about what they believe and why.” If he never wins another convert, it doesn’t worry him. “I’ve lived a rich, full life … a Christian life,” he said. “I’ve been married for 63 years to my wife Betty Ann. I don’t feel as though I’ve missed out on anything. I always knew there would be bumps in the road, but I’ve always had my faith. I know what’s required of me.”

And he’s never once doubted what he believes. As he talks about the 50year “ministry” he’s practiced, it’s clear that Voss is respectful of all opinions, whether or not they conform to his own. But it doesn’t look like that will slow down his mission.

To order a copy of Voss’ booklet, email him at

In very general terms …

Creationism: The literal reading in the book of Genesis that God created the universe, as well as man, in 7 days, and that this occurred thousands of years ago.

Evolution: The world developed over a much longer period of time than the Biblical account, and that the life forms we see today arose from prior, extinct life forms … that through natural selection, complex creatures evolved from more simplistic ancestors.

Intelligent Design: Some structures found in nature are too complex to be explained by natural selection, and are best explained by some intelligent cause or being.

“I understand why the subject is so controversial … and we will probably never agree on it. but I think if we’re going to present one side, we should be able to present the other.”

– Dr. Charles Henry Voss, Jr.

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Pastor's Perspective, Septermber 2017

Christ Calls Us to be Kind


Christ Calls

Us to be Kind

by Paul Downing

“Be kind and tenderhearted to one another.” (Ephesians 4:32a BSB)

A few years ago, my younger daughter, Heather, hurt her back and needed someone to cover her lunch shift on a Saturday at the restaurant where she worked as a waitress. After striking out with her co-workers, she asked her brother, Paul Jr., who had previously worked at the same establishment, to cover her shift

Paul worked the three-hour shift in place of his sister and then went to his own job. This in itself is kind, but that’s not all of it. When Heather’s boss started to pay Paul for his three hours of work plus tips, Paul asked him to give it to Heather. That’s both kind and tenderhearted.

I would have to say that those two words best describe my youngest child and only son. He is kind and tenderhearted. He once spent his school lunch hour weeping and praying for one of his friends after his friend’s parents divorced.

Paul has worked since the summer before his sophomore year in high school. In his senior year he saved his money and bought a cool looking, but very expensive, full-length leather jacket. His best friend really liked it so Paul would let him wear it often. But Paul took on a second job on weekends, saved that money, and bought his friend a leather jacket just like his for Christmas. One year he saved his tip money and bought a trampoline for our back yard so his young cousins wouldn’t be bored when they came to the big Downing clan get-togethers at our house. So, I guess I’d have to add a third word to describe my son – generous.

But the distinguishing characteristic of true generosity is humility. Jesus said that the left hand shouldn’t know what the right hand is giving (Mt. 6:3). The only reason I know about the above incidents is that someone other than Paul, usually the beneficiaries, told me about them. Heather wouldn’t have known why her paycheck showed Saturday hours if her boss hadn’t told her of Paul’s request to give her the money. He never talks about his acts of kindness; he just does them. He does them with generosity and humility because he has a tender heart.

Paul was a little slow to develop physically, somewhat socially awkward early on, and teased unmercifully in middle school and early high school. He didn’t start coming into his own, so to speak, until just before his junior year in high school. He grew to be big, strong and good-looking. But instead of becoming a bully and treating others as he had been treated, he became an example and treated others as he would want to be treated – with kindness, tenderheartedness and generosity.

Notice Ephesians 4:32 says “Be kind and tenderhearted.” There is a world of difference in doing random acts of kindness and having a kind heart. One can do kind acts without necessarily being a kind person. Christ calls us to develop kindness of character. Then, instead of our acts of kindness being random, they’ll be the consistent and natural overflow of our hearts. That consistency is what I’ve observed in my son. He is now serving in the U.S. Navy. I am very proud of him. And when it comes to being kind and tenderhearted, he is the man I want to become.

photo.paul downing

Paul and his wife, Danni, grew up in baton rouge. they married in 1979 and have three grown children. Paul began his ministry as a Christian Counselor/Life Coach in 1985 in opelika, AL. He also served as a pastor there for 10 years before moving back to Louisiana in 2005 and becoming an associate pastor at Fellowship Church in Zachary. Paul is committed to helping people know God, understand His Word, and improve the quality of their lives. Check out his daily devotional Facebook page: Daybreak Devotions with Paul Downing .

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Cooking for LIFE, Septermber 2017

Quick & Easy Kid Kabobs

Do you have a favorite or “tried and true” recipe that you’d like to share? We would love to feature it right here! send your recipe to Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine and it may be chosen for publication in a coming issue. Send it to

Quick & Easy kid kabobs

Now that the kids are back in school, you need to have something quick and easy for those after-school snacks. Here’s a recipe they can follow themselves, and just about anything in your pantry will work as ingredients. Here’s one for veggie, fruit and cheese kabobs, but you can be creative and add chicken, turkey, pita slices, etc.


  • 12 strawberry halves
  • 12 cucumber slices
  • 18 cubes cheese (cheddar, pepper jack, etc.)
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small can pineapple chunks
  • 6 wooden skewers


It’s simple!  Take the skewers and alternate your ingredients – for example, 2 slices of cucumber, 2 strawberry halves, 3 cheese cubes, 2 tomatoes, and 2 pineapples chunks.  

Let your kids get creative1

Makes 6 skewers

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