April 2018, Faith Life

Lost at Sea with Deborah Quan

Lost at sea

Deborah stood silently looking over the water, tears slowly gliding down her face. Her hands trembled as she read the letter one last time. Taking a deep breath, she tore the paper into pieces. And then let it go. The words, now scattered, descended into the sea.

The decision had been made. Deborah had chosen to forgive him — for all the hurt feelings she experienced as a child of divorce, for the disappointment of promises not kept, for the ache of missing his presence, for the resentment of responsibilities taken on too young. For all of it. Her head knew about forgiveness, but the pastor’s message that Sunday seemed to be speaking directly to her heart. It was time to absolve her father of mistakes from the past.

Part of Deborah wondered how the wound was still there. It had been, seemingly, a lifetime ago. She was a child of only nine years the day he left. Standing at the ironing board, she heard him tell her mother, “You’re not going to be able to raise these girls without them getting into trouble.” Whatever context that statement may have meant between her parents did not matter. She made up her mind immediately to prove him wrong. She would not get into trouble.

True to her word, Deborah took on the indoor responsibilities at home while her sister took care of the outdoors. They pitched in, allowing their mother to go to work, for the first time since they could remember. Occasional conversations with Dad, now living in a different state with a different wife, felt awkward and strained. Deborah leaned heavily on her faith. She and her sister continued going to church, more frequently than she likes to recall, without their heartbroken mother.

Still underlined in her childhood Bible is Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

It is a popular verse, often taken out of context, but not for Deborah. While her young heart may not have realized the significance, she found herself in a type of exile, separated from the home she loved. In fact, over time, she followed the Lord’s instructions to the Israelites. She married, had children, and built a home and a life for herself hundreds of miles away. And just as God promised the Israelites, His word rang true for Deborah. His good plans were fulfilled and she was brought home. The restoration that Deborah longed for with her father was yet to come.

She had tried to maneuver it herself, but after making a phone call, all that would remain was an empty feeling. The surface contact was there, but the depth of love that every daughter longs for with her father always felt forced. Her father had met her children and remained a part of her life throughout the 17 years she was married. He  encouraged her the best he could when her husband died of emphysema, even letting  his granddaughter live with him during part of that difficult season. But her heart still had an empty segment carved out for the relationship she longed to have with her father.

Years later, after Deborah’s children were grown and she had moved to Florida, her father came to her college graduation. It was during this time in her life, as an adult, that she heard the pastor speak and wrote the heartfelt letter that never got mailed. Despite her effort, not much changed after that day. Seven years passed. Deborah earned her master’s degree and married a wonderful man named Denny. Life went on.

Four years into her marriage, Deborah received a call from her sister. She needed help with their aging mother. Deborah and Denny left Florida the next day, headed for Dallas.  Deborah knew her father and his wife were also living in the area, but she did not expect the visit to be so emotional. When they walked into the room, her father wept.  It was the first time he met Denny, and he liked him right away. Her father had changed. He was happy. He had re-committed his life to Christ.

The next day, while mom remained in the hospital post-surgery, the rest of the family gathered around the kitchen table. There was something different about this conversation. It was honest and heartfelt. They all seemed to know they were not together on this day by accident – this was a divine time orchestrated for their good. Deborah had not felt like an actual part of the family for so long. She did not want her heart to go another minute without forgiveness. She asked for it and gave it freely. Hugs and tears filled the room as the restoration was for them all – not just Deborah and her father. As a family — a newly bonded family — they grabbed hands and prayed.

Things changed that night. “The Holy Spirit was so thick in the room,” Deborah recalls, tears forming in the corner of eyes. Her heart admittedly came to another understanding too, one she had struggled with for years. “I realized that it didn’t matter who initiates the contact, it is about the relationship.” And this one, that she had longed for since childhood, was finally fulfilled. She had been brought home and restored. The unforgiveness – she had let it go – like unspoken words lost at sea.

Deborah Quan
Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine
Deborah’s Childhood bible and mother’s handkerchief
Baton Rouge April 2018 Denny
Deborah’s father

Sharon Holeman for Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine

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. 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.

BRCL Kirk Cameron
Cover Story, March 2018

Life in the Living Room

Life in the

Living Room

by Sharon Holeman

photos by Taylor Frey

BRCLM Image Kirk Cameron

Cushioned armchairs, bookcases filled with memories, and a coffee table you can put your feet on. The living room is the heart of the home. It is where families do puzzles, watch movies, laugh, and share stories. It is the place friends gather to pray. Or cry. It is an area created specifically for family. These are some of the reasons Kirk Cameron named his latest marriage and parenting event Living Room Reset.

Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine was privileged to sit down in January with Cameron prior to his first stop on the event tour, which was held at the Church International on Quail Drive.

What was it like talking to the actor best known for his role on the television sitcom Growing Pains? It was like chatting with a lifelong friend even though you’ve just met. Familiar and engaging, personable and well-spoken, Cameron joked with us, yet spoke with a purposed passion regarding his great love for God and family.

Cameron’s event takes place on a set designed to resemble a living room, the heart of the home.

It might surprise you to learn this outspoken man of faith did not grow up in a Christian home. In fact, he was an atheist who didn’t intend to be on television. Reflecting on his life, Cameron recalls wanting to become a surgeon, but at the age of nine he was given an opportunity to act. His life changed.  “Growing Pains was really an interruption to the plans that I had made for myself,” he said.  Familiar dimples framed his smile as he began to explain his salvation story.

“I love this acronym for the Bible – Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.” –Kirk Cameron

While working on the set of the popular show that made him a household name, he met a girl who invited him to church. He was intrigued by the pastor’s message, but had questions. The girl’s father answered some of them, but challenged Cameron to go to God with the right attitude for answers. He did. He also continued to go to church. Now 17, he spoke to God one day while sitting in his car. “I asked God to reveal Himself to me and to forgive me for the wrong choices I had made and show me the way.” Cameron’s life changed again.

Looking back, he can see how the Lord was working in his life. Today he simply uses the platform he has been given through his work in television, film, and live entertainment to share the gospel. His love for the Word of God guides his life, including his belief in the sanctity of marriage. It is this view, Cameron stated, that determines how he lives in his family. It undoubtedly also shapes the choices he makes. The film Fireproof, about a man attempting to save his failing marriage, is an example.

“Making a movie like Fireproof was not only a way for me to express my view of the sacredness of marriage, but it also challenges and inspires me when I play roles like that, to be the kind of husband God wants me to be.”

The major stumbling block married people face today is what Cameron call the “me monster” couples who are filled with pride and selfishness. He offers the solution by illustration of the cross, as Jesus did not come to serve but to be served. Christ sacrificed his life for his bride and we are instructed to love our wives as Christ loved the church. That’s a tall order. “Jesus has helped me become more fit for the Kingdom,” he said, his green eyes twinkling. It is that passion for God and family that seems to motivate him. It’s what has driven him to spend the last eight years traveling around the country teaching conferences on marriage.

Cameron said he doesn’t worry if he is fulfilling the will of God for his life. He knows what it is, and it is the same for him as it is for each of us. We find it in the New Testament, where we see Paul writing in one of his letters. “He says that God’s will for us is that we will be saved, that we would be Spirit-filled, that we would be saying thanks for all things, and making music and melody in our hearts. That’s God’s will for our life,” Cameron said.

He added that choices like jobs, schools, or marriage partners are opportunities for God to direct us individually. Cameron likes to pray for God to open doors He wants opened, and to close doors that He wants closed. It is choices like these where he trusts in the leading of the Father, knowing that God sees his desire to honor Christ, bless his family, and work together with the church to bring Heaven to earth. In the end, Cameron says, “All of history is His Story, including our little chapter in it.”

Laughter breaks out when Cameron is asked about his favorite Scripture and he recalls a funny story told by Christian comedian Tim Hawkins — a lighthearted joke followed by a sincere expression of love. “I would like to say that the Word of God is the most precious and important book on the planet. There is no better gift that God has given to the world other than the presence of Christ and the form of His Spirit, than His Word because it frames all of life. I love the acronym that someone came up with for the Bible – Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. And it’s true.”

It seems abundantly apparent that Cameron uses The Word as his guidebook – for life, for his career, for his marriage, and for parenting. It is what he is passionate about sharing. It is the same for many of us too, but sometimes we need a reset. We need to sit down in the living room with a friend and talk about the goodness of the Lord. Read Scriptures for guidance. Pray for wisdom. Cry. Laugh. Put our feet on the coffee table, get comfortable, and do life together.

For more information on Cameron’s Living Room Reset tour, visit kirkcameron.com. Additionally, an exclusive showing of Kirk Cameron Connect: Real Help for Parenting in a Social Media World is scheduled to play in select theaters nationwide on March 1. Tickets are available at Cinemark Perkins Rowe or Movie Tavern.


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. 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.

Church Finds Creative Ways to Reach Out

Pastor Mark Stermer with guest speaker Kirk Cameron.

For Sr. Pastor Mark Stermer, actor Kirk Cameron’s visit to The Church in Baton Rouge was just another creative way to impact our city while bringing together people from all walks of life on a Friday night.

Innovative events are just part of the culture of this multi-campus church. It’s an intentional way to add value to what is already there. “When you carve out time for God, people’s lives are touched,” Stermer said. Special events and retreats can be like reset buttons, unique opportunities to have a complete experience with God.

That is also the goal each Sunday morning — to expose the congregation to various forms of worship. Communion, fellowship, prayer, music, and the sacrifice of giving are part of the weekly effort to make Jesus famous.

Overseeing several churches on a daily basis requires intentional leadership, but Stermer has a vision for our city to come together outside of the walls of our church buildings. He believes now is a good season to step outside of denominational walls by loving one another.

“It’s good that we are all different!” he said. “My wife and I are different … that’s a good thing! We are all the children of God, Christians. Unity starts with understanding that we are not enemies. Anyone who loves Jesus and tries to follow him in their life, that is my brother and sister. This is not a competition — this is a family.”

Stermer hopes not just for unity, but for the salvation of many. “Our hope is that all people be saved and come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ,” he said. “We are called to go, not just stay in our four walls. We are called to make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe God’s teachings … that we would be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ — His mind, life, mission, and yes, even his promises.”

He says there is much work to get done in reaching the lost for Jesus. But by being inclusive and working together, he sees great things ahead for our city. For more information about The Church International, several upcoming events, log onto http://thechurch.fm. Information about The Church Academy can be found at http://tca.fm.

His Conversion was a Different Kind of ‘Growing Pain’

Night and day. That’s how Kirk Cameron’s childhood compares to his life today.

Those who watch his Christian-themed films or attend his evangelical seminars are sometimes surprised to learn that in the 1980s and 1990s, Cameron was a teen heartthrob starring in one of ABC’s highest rated sitcoms, Growing Pains.

Anchored by actors Alan Thicke and Joanna Kerns as his parents, the show was an entertaining sitcom with a catchy theme song (As Long as We’ve Got Each Other) and an upbeat family who always solved their problems by the end of each episode. With his good lucks and bright smile, Cameron was perfectly cast as girl-crazy Mike Seaver. In fact, the role earned him two Golden Globe nominations.

Kirk Cameron launched his career as a child actor on the show ‘Growing Pains.’

Cameron’s real life younger sister is Candace Cameron, who starred as D.J. Tanner in ‘Full House’ from 1987 to 1995.
Kirk Cameron (back row, right) starred as Mike seaver in the TV sitcom ‘Growing Pains’ from 1985 to 1992. He’s pictured here with his TV family, led by actors Joanna Kerns and Alan Thicke.
Cameron and wife, Chelsea, on ‘The Heart of Family’ series.

A child actor who had been in the entertainment business since age nine, Cameron’s family wasn’t spiritual. But at age 17, during the height of his career, he became a Christian. Newly committed to Christ, Cameron voiced his objections to storylines that he felt were inappropriate or unwholesome, and admittedly shifted his focus from the show to his spiritual life. When he got married at age 21, just months before the show ended, he did not invite his TV family to the wedding. His new faith caused a rift between him and his castmates that continued for years.

The cast did reunite, however, for The Growing Pains Movie in 2000. At the time, Cameron said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times that he was very young at the time of his conversion and would handle things differently (now) to avoid being hurtful toward his TV family.

Today, Cameron is married to Chelsea Noble, a fellow star on Growing Pains, and they are the parents of six children.

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE

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Image Created for Intimacy
Faith Life, February 2018

Created for Intimacy




by Sharon Holeman

I stood there in silence, taking a photograph in my mind. I wanted to take out my phone and snap a quick still, but it probably would not have been well received by the others in the room.

I wondered if they could see the beauty that was before them, for to most eyes it was nonexistent. But for me, a photographer by trade, it was almost framed up too perfectly inside my lens eye to ignore.  I resisted.  Hospital rooms are not pretty places.  The walls are bland, the smells are bad, and the temperatures borderline frigid.  However, that September day, down that particular hallway, with those four walls, intimacy was present.My father-in-law was a super likable guy. He was friendly – the life of the party, smart and successful. He was a happy person, and when he spoke with excitement about something, his voice would do a charming

Image Created for Intimacy
Love Tree by Sharon Holeman

Even though we as people do not know for sure where the Garden is located, we can find intimacy with God. He has gifted us with this simply for the asking. Our pursuit of Him will not fall short.

and unique soft squeak-crackle thing, a sound typically reserved for 16-year-old boys. I miss that crackle. He was also a handsome man to whom my husband bears an undeniable resemblance.

Pops, as he was lovingly called, lived a full life before the sickness took over. Like many of us, he had seasons of walking with God. Some of his seasons were full of involvement and some near seeming abandonment. I certainly can’t speak of his personal relationship with the Lord for that is forever between the two of them, but only what can be observed from afar… and across a room.

It is a strange thing to say, but the sickness, for all its horrors, was used by God for the good of Pops. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28) The perspective of Pops transformed. He began to long for intimacy with a newfound intensity.

He read books on miracles and spoke of them with his crackle voice. He came to church with us and talked of visions of angels rejoicing in the aisles. He told my husband and me that he now realized marriage, or rather love, was so much more than physical. He gave his testimony to a tent full of strangers. He humbly reached out to past wounds with the hope of forgiveness. He found joy despite the circumstances as he pursued intimacy.

Pops got it right. After all, isn’t that what we are created for? Intimacy – created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26) for a relationship with others – animals, other humans, and God Himself. Adam and Eve were granted dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:28), and Adam was allowed to name the animals (Genesis 2:19). God shared His creation with His creation. How amazing is He! Such a good Father, initiating fellowship from the start. It is quite a thought – to freely walk in the Garden in the cool of the day; conversation among conception, surrounded by peaceful beauty, ultimate intimacy with God.

Even though we as people do not know for sure where the Garden is located, we can find intimacy with God. He has gifted us with this simply for the asking. Our pursuit of Him will not fall short. Jesus told us to “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened for you.” (Matthew 7:7)

Ask. Jesus did.  “If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit who leads into all truth …”  (John 14:15-17) His abiding presence.

Ask. It is what Pops did that day in the hospital. After our visit was complete, he asked for pure, simple intimacy. It was time for us to leave so he could just be held. And as I watched his wife stretch her long, blue jean-covered legs atop the crisp white sheet, and lay her head next to his, beauty unfolded. The simplicity of intimacy was before me: extended time with someone who loves you unconditionally – where there is no agenda, no rush, just a peaceful, priceless moment together.

The fall from grace that happened after the apple was eaten had dire consequences, but God did not take away the wonderful gift of relationship. It is still our choice to pursue. It is available to us all. May we slow down enough to embrace intimacy – smell roses, walk in gardens, ask for hugs, carve out time for relationships, pray, sing, create, and see the beauty that is right in front of us.


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


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