October 2018, Publisher's Letter

Back to the Basics – Publisher’s Letter

Publisher’s letter, Back to the Basics

Did you know our Publisher is also a professional speaker? www.bethtownsend.com, beth@bethtownsend.com

Do you ever feel frozen in time? As if somehow paralyzed from making a decision just so you don’t make a wrong one? This would describe the recent season in my life. Day after day it’s like I’m wrestling with the same things. With many decisions needing to be made, I’ve found myself thinking and re-thinking just about everything. Many things have changed as a whole at work and at home. As a result, I’ve been trying to decide how that affects my daily routines as well as my long term goals.

 

Then I recall one of my pastors from years back saying some familiar phrases that could always cut to the chase. “Let’s remember to keep the main thing the main thing.” That meant get back to Jesus instead of what committee should do what. “Let’s major in the majors.” That meant let go of little things that in the scheme of things really didn’t matter.

 

That was his way of bringing into focus what needed to be our focus. While this concept is easier said than done, there are times when getting back to the basics is the easiest way to energize our faith and remember the Foundation on which we are called to stand.

 

My “Back to the Basics” list:

 

Facts Over Feelings: Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV) “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” This is perhaps the hardest of all. To remember that my heart can lead me astray seems contradictory to everything. My feelings can seem so worthy in the moment. Yet it is in those moments that I must remember “facts over feelings.” In other words, instead of worrying (feelings), I can recall Philippians 4 (facts) which says not to worry about anything, but to pray about everything. It’s my job as a Believer to make that shift to Trust God instead of my own frustrated feelings.

 

Go to my go-to’s: There are several Scriptures that have truly become life for me. We should all have our list of promises on which we stand, no matter what is happening around us. These are the ones that bring comfort, clarity and calm to the chaos. A few of mine are Psalm 91, Psalm 23, Psalm 121, Psalm 90:17, Luke 10:19, Romans 12, Philippians 4, Ephesians 1 & 2. There are many others. What are yours?

 

One with the One:  Often I think Satan, our adversary, uses the things we use most to distract us, our phones and calendars. Do you hear that subtle message daily? “Do this, too. Go there, today. Don’t forget that. You don’t have time for quiet time.”  Are you too busy? I’d assume we are all too busy. But Jesus was intentional about everything. And when chaos surrounded him, that is when he found solitude with His Father. He knew he needed to be One with the One. Nothing or no one ever tempted him away from that part of His earthly life.

 

We all need a personalized list of how to get back to the basics. My list won’t work for you, as it’s based on my tendencies and temptations. How about making your own? As we close in on the holiday season, let’s be intentional by protecting our path on purpose.

 

Join me? Let’s get back to the Basics and Trust the Lord to meet us with a new agenda.

 

July 2018, Publisher's Letter

Are you a Door or a Door Mat? Publisher’s Letter

Serving Others…. Are you a door or a doormat?

The truth is, it made me mad. Here I was in church, looking to be encouraged by the sermon. As the worship ended, our pastor stood up and made a statement I’ll never forget. You could have heard a pin drop in the huge auditorium. “Do you want to know how to improve the most difficult relationships in your life?” The crowd was on the edge of their seats. We were all leaning in to take detailed notes. Yes! Yes! We want to know how to improve the most difficult relationships in our lives! “Serve ‘em.”

Really? Is that it? Is that all? Please tell me there is more! That is not what I wanted to hear, likely the sentiment of the thousands of other people who filled the room. He went on to explain that Jesus washed the disciples’ feet at one of his darkest hours. There was a plot to kill him, and he knew his earthly time was coming to an end. Regardless of Jesus’ state-of-reality, this radical act of service demonstrated the full extent of his love for them. Jesus even said in John 13:14-15, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you should also wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”

Wow! Jesus didn’t say wash the feet of those worthy of foot washing. He didn’t say wash the feet of those who were in right standing with you. Nor did he say, “Wait until they deserve it.” There is little argument that serving someone quickly softens a situation where tension could otherwise erode relationships.

There were times in my life where, even though I was angry with someone, one kind act of service changed my attitude and quickly shifted me to a more compassionate position. Not because of the other party, but because in that moment I chose to obey Jesus. There is no better invitation for the hand of Jesus to intervene than when we choose to obey His Word.

There were also times when I ignored this life lesson and just let my anger have its say. Bitter words and ugly attitudes can quickly fester and bring about doubt and fear. Cold silence can be just as hurtful. It’s a tool of our enemy and can allow disobedience to wreak havoc and usher in often unnecessary suffering. Perfectly good relationships have ended over poor communication and misinterpreted feelings.

One of my most personal struggles is this very battle: serve or say. I’m a proponent of clear communication and dealing with what needs to be dealt with. There are frequently times when productive conversations are needed. To clarify and reach agreement with a kind approach is an effective way to strengthen a relationship. What I’m trying to articulate here is that we don’t become door mats, we become doors. Better relationships, based in truth and wisdom, are often born out of someone who humbled themselves in an effort to serve that relationship into health and often happiness.

Jesus sets the example. It’s up to us to choose. Will you serve others?

Beth with Founding Advertiser Karl Weber of PBC Industrial Pipe
Beth with this month’s Feature story, BRPD Chief Murphy Paul
Beth with Witness at Work feature and advertisers Andy Bishop
Beth with Sharon F. Bailey delivering June magazines
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June 2018, Publisher's Letter

Publishers Letter, Trinity is Truth! Enjoy…

Publisher’s Letter, Trinity is Truth


The Trinity is Truth.

It was a refreshing revelation. Suddenly, during an otherwise normal day, I looked back over my life and realized an amazing truth. I really am a new Creation in Christ!

In my head I knew I’d been “born again” at the point of salvation. Yet over time as I yielded to the process of change, I began to see evidence of real spiritual growth. A recent devotional helped to put this into words. Writing of the multi-million-dollar market of self-help books sold each year, Dr. Charles Stanley reminded us to understand that our identity in Christ is not about self-help or self-improvement, but about self-replacement.

In my life, self-replacement has been a gradual process. I’m guessing for many it’s more of an instant transformation, but for me it’s been about learning to trust the Lord one day at a time, growing each day.

My early life had some major hurdles. I had no choice but to learn a fierce sense of independence in order to survive. In those environments I learned to take care of myself at a young age. That worked well for a long time, which is part of the problem. With little education and experience, I was able to work my way into a career and be somewhat successful.

I rededicated my life to Jesus when I became a new wife and mom years later. Though I’d been “saved,” I’d never truly committed my life to Christ. My family would need God, and I wasn’t going to attempt life without doing my part to invite Him into our family.

I’d like to say since then life has been easy. Quite the contrary! Yet over the years, week after week, month after month and year after year, I’ve leaned on God and He has been faithful to help me stand when I could not on my own. Because of the experience of God working in my life, my understanding of the importance of the Trinity went from head knowledge to heart knowledge over time.

God the Father. My earthly father was not a man who took care of his family and honored his marital covenant with his wife, my mother. His early decisions wreaked havoc in our family. So, to believe in God the Father as a loving and perfect father meant letting go of who my dad was not, in order to receive God the Father, for He is the perfect father to the fatherless.

Jesus the Son. Receiving Jesus into my heart meant salvation and an eternal home with God. This finally settled that, “If I died tonight would I go to heaven?” question. It also meant forgiveness of sins, which were countless and created so much shame in my life. By reading the Bible consistently, I met a loving Jesus and finally understood the power of the Cross. He is my Savior who cleansed my life from my sins.

The Holy Spirit. We have the spirit of God living within us! Conversely, we also have a spirit of self-living within us. My “spirit of self” was very strong and stubborn. Still is at times. But I now understand the choice that I must make every day. A wise man once told me, “You can’t lead and be led.” Trusting God to lead my life through the Holy Spirit means to let Him be my counselor and guide, giving me the wisdom to take my life in the specific direction of His will and not my own.

The reason I know I’m a new creation in Christ is because I can look back and see where I once was and where I am now. While I’m a work in progress, I thank God for His provision.

In the Trinity is the Truth we can Trust.

April 2018, Publisher's Letter

Publisher’s Letter, April 2018

Pub letter April 2018 – Happy Anniversary to Us!

Happy anniversary to us!

Seems like just yesterday I was looking for people who believed strongly enough in the concept of a local Christian magazine to buy an ad for their church or business. And guess what? God went ahead of me and softened the hearts of just enough “Founding Advertisers” to launch our first magazine in April 2015.

Prior to that, I had to design a business plan. After seeking several rounds of approval through those I consider to be “wise counsel,” I moved forward with the idea that Good News and personal testimonies of God’s faithfulness would help change our city one story at a time.

After being the jack-of-all-trades those first few months, a team of wonderful people with great talent began to join my efforts. Suddenly, I had people coming along side me, using their gifts and talents, joining the vision of bringing Unity to the Body of Christ in our Capitol City. Many volunteered countless hours to help us learn and grow each month.

Since that time, we have published 36 editions! I can hardly believe it. I’m not going to pretend it’s been easy. Quite the contrary. When you go into ministry, you go into battle. Yet God has been faithful to provide just what we needed right when we needed it. While there have been obstacles and roadblocks, He has seen us through each barrier.

You will notice changes this month: some new looks, a couple of new teammates and our favorite of all, a new printer! One of my goals from the beginning was to use all local people. But for printing we had to look out of state for the type of press required. However, since the flood, Baton Rouge Press has installed new equipment, and starting this month we are keeping our business right here at home. We are excited to partner with them.

You are in for a treat this month! With Easter and a theme of forgiveness, you’ll be encouraged when you read our feature story about Troy and Tracy Duhon. Did you know the “God’s Not Dead” series was birthed here in Louisiana? There are good things happening in our city and state, and we are thankful to have the fabulous job of sharing the positive side of our city. Many other inspiring stories will encourage you to go deeper in your faith, think about the freedom of forgiveness and help us learn to Trust God more with our lives.

Happy Easter, He is Risen! Matthew 28:6 says, “He is not here, He has risen, just as He said.” His miraculous resurrection is for each of us. Not only to forgive us for our sins, but to be renewed with His life in us. John 14:20 says that He will live in us! What a transformational truth.

If you haven’t yet, invite Jesus into your life. Let him lead you into a life of purpose, wisdom and eternal salvation. No matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done, He will meet you where you are. Don’t wait until you “have it all together.” None of us will ever be worthy of His presence. But God sent his only Son so that we may experience the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ and live in the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

Join us in changing the world, one story at a time. Happy Easter!

Beth with team interviewing March feature Kirk Cameron
Beth with members of Radio Bible Courses, Ltd.
Beth with Founding Advertiser Karl Weber of PBC Industrial Supplies, Inc.
Beth with BREC Superintendent Carolyn McKnight
Beth with Alonzo Young, February Feature story
Beth with Founding Advertiser Bill Peters of Peters Wealth Advisors, LLC
Beth with East Baton Rouge Library team Mary Stein and Kayla Perkins
Publisher Beth Townsend
March 2018, Publisher's Letter

March 2018 Publisher’s LETTER

March Publisher’s LETTER

Wow! This month’s Word theme of Reflection stirs a great deal of emotion! As we look forward to our three-year anniversary in April, it’s with great thanksgiving to the Lord and several others for our journey thus far.

Looking back. It’s hard to believe we published our first edition in April 2015. So many didn’t believe we could do this. Yet God is faithful and went before us. He provided generous advertisers to come along beside us. He helped us 

to assemble a team of wonderful people with great talent. The stories of God at work in the lives of His people are never-ending. We are honored and thrilled to get to hear these amazing stories every month. God is at work in our city.
Looking over. Much has been learned over these years. I could say a lot about the trials along the way. The criticism, the challenges, and those who seek to discourage our efforts have been difficult. Yet so many of you offer words of encouragement! There are even those who have supported our ministry with monetary gifts at just the right moment of need. Many who purchase ads often do so because they not only want to bring attention to their businesses, but they believe in our efforts to bring Unity to our Body of Believers in our city. God is at work in our city.
Looking up. Our goal is to bring glory to God and unity to the Christians in our city.  1 Corinthians 12:14 (KJV) is our mission statement. “For the body is not one member, but many.” We are called to be One and we are called to One Another. Together we can do great things to expand the Kingdom of God and help others come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. It is by working together that we see the Power of God move mightily in our midst.

Looking forward. Change is coming! In April, you will see change. Our team is collaborating to see how we can improve, grow and learn from our experience and also learn from others. If you’d like to offer suggestions, please do. Do you know of great stories that need to be told? Let us know! beth@bethtownsend.com Share on our free Calendar of Events news@brclm.com. Follow us on social media!

Join us on Face book https://www.facebook.com/BatonRougeChristianLifeMagazine, Instagram https://www.instagram.com/brclifemagazine/, and Twitter https://twitter.com/brclife. Our goal is to provide “Good News” to our city and encourage one another.

We thank you for reading, for encouraging, for advertising and for sharing your stories. We are humbled to get to do what we do. We ask you to pray for our team and the work before us – that we bring the glory due His name.

We are changing the world, one story at a time.
As I reflect, I praise the Lord for what He has done.

signbeth

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE

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February 2018, Publisher's Letter

February 2018 Publisher’s LETTER

february Publisher’s LETTER

Introducing…’Words of the Word’

One of the most powerful tools in the world is perhaps the most underutilized. Words.

The first chapter of Genesis is the story of Creation. One of the key phrases is “And God said…” He created this most amazing world by speaking. “Let there be…” Also in Genesis, we read how God created man in his own image. If God spoke the world into existence with His words and created us in his image, what does that say about our words? Our words have tremendous power.

Because of this transformational Truth, we will spend this year focusing on ‘Words of the Word’ This month’s word is Intimacy. Since “love is in the air” in February, we felt it would be fitting to go deeper and talk about the depth of God’s love for us and our love for one another. “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” (1 (John 4:12 ESV).

Each month, our theme word will reflect one of our team member’s favorites. While planning the year, each has carefully picked one special word that had deep meaning to them. That person will write about what they have chosen and why it is important in their life. We know you will enjoy hearing from our various team members each month!

As publisher, my goal for our monthly magazine has been to bring unity to our Body of Christ. Can you imagine how we could affect our city if we were all working together, somehow on the same page for the same reason at the same time? While we attend different churches of various denominations, we can come together and support one another. One way we can do that is to commit to using our words as tools to bring change and help others to grow in their faith.

Some words to consider:

Encourage: It takes very little to encourage another. Speaking kind words is always good, but speaking life means reminding others to reflect and see God at work in their life. “Let’s pray about this. Ask the Lord to lead you about that. Let’s find a Scripture for guidance before you make that decision. What if you wait until you hear from the Lord before you make that life change? May I pray with you now?” Those simple statements or questions can usher God’s power immediately into any situation.

Equip: Remind others that God has a purpose for them. Even in the hard places, He is at work bringing about His will. Our world rushes people into quick decisions, yet our faith is most often deepened when we choose to wait on God. Equip others by reminding them to listen for God’s voice above the noise of the world and the voices of others. Waiting on God can often help others avoid making catastrophic decisions.

Engage: Great conversations don’t just happen. It takes intentionality. Good eye contact and body language help initiate depth and authenticity. Listen more and speak less. Converse with one another, listen for the Holy Spirit to move as you seek to hear Him more. He promises to be our Helper! Let him truly help by inviting Him in to every conversation and trusting Him to guide and nudge our hearts into alignment with His will.

Words? How we use them can change everything! Join us this year as we commit to using them to encourage, equip and engage one another more intimately.

signbeth

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE

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