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“And He (Jesus) said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” — Matthew 4:19 (NAS)

Click here to enlarge

 These young men are slaves to the fishing industry on Lake Volta in Ghana, West Africa. Some children are as young as 3 years old. They work 14-hour days paddling fishing canoes and casting nets. Many of the children have ringworm and parasites. They do not know their last name or age. Rescuing and providing for abandoned, enslaved children in that country is the goal of Johnbull and Stacy Omorefe of Sioux Falls, S.D., through their City of Refuge Ministries.


[ Gemstones ]

·Gemstones - (April, 2008)
·Gemstones - (February, 2008)
·Gemstones - (December, 2007)

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Welcome to LivingStonesNews.com - Midwest Edition

Living Stones News, LLC is a free, monthly, nondenominational Christian publication founded on Dec. 17, 2003 by Corinne Scott. The first issue of “Good News for the Northland” edition was published in February 2004; the first issue of “Good News for the Siouxland” edition was published June 2006. The newspapers’ purpose is to glorify God by bringing hope, encouragement, peace and unconditional love to our readers throughout northern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and South Dakota.

Featured Articles: Updated Web site...
Featured Articles

This Web site is an archival site for Living Stones News – Good News for the Northland/Midwest edition.

The Web site has been upgraded and can be accessed by going to www.livingstonesnews.com. The current Web site primarily features articles from the greater Sioux Falls area and the greater Twin Ports area in Duluth, Minn./Superior,Wis. Living Stones News-Midwest edition is also published as a 20-page, monthly newspaper and distributed at selected sites throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa. (See pickup locations on the Web site.) Anyone wishing to comment is encouraged to e-mail the publisher at Corinne@livingstonesnews.com or call (605) 336-6870 in the Sioux Falls area or (218) 728-4945 in the Duluth area.

Posted by admin on Tuesday, May 13 @ 00:00:00 CDT (1493 reads)
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Featured Articles: From turning tires to turning lives
Featured Articles

God healed Kirk Flaa instantly from an alcohol addiction and called him to the pastorate. Flaa now serves as senior pastor at Abiding Savior Free Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls, S.D.
By Kent Wigg, Living Stones News Writers

It’s not that Kirk Flaa was tired of his regional sales position with a wholesale tire distributor in Sioux Falls, S.D. God just had a new direction for Flaa to go.

“I enjoyed being out and about, traveling all over the Dakotas and Minnesota. Those long drives home provided great time to ponder and pray,” said Flaa, 45. He never dreamed on those long drives, though, that the winding road to the future would lead to serving as senior pastor for more than 1,000 souls at Abiding Savior Free Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls.

God healed Kirk Flaa instantly from an alcohol addiction and called him to the pastorate. Flaa now serves as senior pastor at Abiding Savior Free Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls, S.D.
But, prior to an October 1993 encounter with Jesus Christ, Flaa’s drive-time thoughts had little to do with praying.

“Life basically consisted of drinking and of work,” he said. “Each of my days (I) looked forward to drinking that night and that thought motivated me throughout my day. I was oblivious to my problem.”

In fact, Flaa thought the problem belonged more to his wife, Gloria, as she suggested counseling. After all, he was a good provider for his family, didn’t cheat on her, “and thus my drinking habit should not be of any concern to her.”

Then Jesus stepped in and spoiled the “party.”

“It was the first time I called out to Jesus to save me – to save me from myself,” Flaa recalled of his heart-opening experience, as he finally opened the door to Christ. “I had tried almost everything to quit (drinking) except seeking Him. In literally an instant, all desire to drink was absolutely removed.”

From that moment, Flaa realized his need for release and just how dependent he had been on the surrogate savior of alcohol.

“It is in this time I began to fully realize my own depravity and how greatly sin had gripped me,” said Flaa, who dramatically changed how he spent his nights alone while on sales trips. A Bible and other Bible study resources now kept him company.

A deeper call to action

As Flaa grew in his knowledge of a God who had delivered him in a moment from his personal bondage to sin and guilt, he began attending Abiding Savior Free Lutheran Church, eventually serving as a youth group adviser and as deacon for five years. While his church family and friends remarked on the continuing growth of a new and reborn man, Flaa felt a new and unfamiliar longing – his calling to ministry.

“I was very content in my role as a tire salesman,” he said. “Yet many within our church family observed that perhaps God could use me as a pastor.”

While the Holy Spirit laid a foundation for his calling, the convincing came through a follow-up conversation in October 2002 with Pastor Michael Brandt, who was senior pastor for Abiding Savior at that time.

“I fully expected Pastor Brandt to immediately clasp my hand, slap me on the back and say, ‘Way to go, Kirk – I have seen it in you all along. You’ll be a great pastor,’” Flaa said.

However, that was not Brandt’s reaction. As Flaa related the feelings in his heart to his pastor, he received no immediate feedback. No backslaps, no handshakes, only silence. Then, breaking the silence, Brandt simply looked at the aspiring pastor and asked one simple question: “Are you called?”

Flaa didn’t immediately sense the importance of that single question but later understood its significance.

“When God calls a man into ministry, no obstacle is too great,” Flaa said. “When we were assured of His call, all doubt and fear were removed, and in its place we found the very peace of God.”

His family’s acceptance, though, was not immediate.

“My wife’s initial reaction was...

Posted by admin on Tuesday, April 15 @ 00:40:00 CDT (1559 reads)
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Featured Articles: Amid severe trials, God sustained Newman family
Featured Articles

Doctor Doug Newman was diagnosed in 2000 with a brain tumor.
His wife, Julie, shares how their faith in God sustained their family through his death two years later and how God continues to give wisdom and strength today in honoring his memory.
By Mary Beth Frost, Living Stones News Writer

It was a Friday night in late April 2000 and Julie Newman was frustrated.

Doug, her dependable, intelligent husband, known to many adoring patients in the Twin Ports area as Dr. Newman, had missed every ride share connection that week for their three school-age children.

Julie Newman and her daughters, Madison, 9, and Mackenzie, 15, experienced God’s sustaining strength through a cancer diagnosis and the death of their husband and father, Doug. Their faith in God helped lead them through those trials.
Julie, an intense type-A organizer, couldn’t understand his carelessness. As a couple, the Newmans had always poured their time and efforts into their children and efficiently managed their hectic schedules of after-school activities that ranged from piano lessons to sports events.

Julie also had noticed that Doug, normally a loving, attentive father, didn’t laugh as often at the cute antics of their 18-month- old daughter, Madison, and he didn’t have his usual joyful, playful spirit with the children. Something about his behavior just didn’t seem right.

The next day, Doug went for a run nearby. This was a normal activity for the healthy, active outdoorsman who enjoyed running, biking, hiking and camping with his family. But when Doug finally came home, he admitted that he had parked the car, headed off for his run and then couldn’t remember where the car was.

Julie, a former intensive care nurse, now was more concerned than ever, and began firing medical questions at him. Then she probed further.

“Is this something about our marriage?” she asked. But that seemed unlikely. During their 16 years of marriage, Julie and Doug had remained extremely close. They were best friends who shared common values and interests and loved to spend time together.

“No, no, no. Everything’s fine,” Doug assured her.

Life-changing diagnosis

That Saturday night, the whole family went out for dinner. At the restaurant, when Dr. Newman headed into the bathroom to change Madison’s diaper, it took him 20 minutes to complete the routine task.

Then Julie noticed that his balance was off. “OK, that’s it,” she

said. “We’re going to the ER.” Although Doug tried to put her off

for the next hour, she persisted until he gave in. She drove him to the hospital’s crowded emergency room, where Dr. Newman casually told the triage nurse he wasn’t feeling well.

Several hours later, a doctor finally examined Doug, and then things moved quickly. Following a CAT scan, the Newmans received the news that turned their world upside down. Doug had a rapidly growing brain tumor that had sent “fingers” into his brain. He was given 4–6 months to live.

From the early years of their marriage, Doug and Julie had possessed a deep faith in God through a close, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Every morning, without exception, Julie could find Doug at the kitchen counter with his Bible open. She also scheduled a daily quiet time to read her Bible and pray. They had family devotions at dinner to pass along their faith to their children and they were actively involved in their church. They openly professed their love and trust in their Savior. Now, with their ideal world crumbling around them, their faith was being put to the test.

The following days were a blur of tears, prayers and sleepless nights. They broke the news to their children and called family members, who were soon pouring into their home from the East to the West Coast. A prayer vigil was held at their church on Sunday, followed by Doug’s brain surgery Monday morning. Only a few days after surgery, the Newman family celebrated their son Spencer’s 11th birthday in the hospital. Doug’s eyes were still black and blue, but he was determined to be part of the event.

An outpouring of love

Although the Newmans had relocated to Superior, Wis., from the lower peninsula Michigan just 10 years earlier, they were well-known in the community. As word spread about Dr. Newman’s condition, the response was overwhelming.

“I have never felt so much love and support,” Julie said.

Normally an independent, self-sufficient person, Julie learned to...

Posted by admin on Tuesday, April 15 @ 00:35:00 CDT (2449 reads)
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Featured Articles: Buffeted by tragedy, Minnesota family keeps on loving God
Featured Articles

God called out Jim and Jan Stelman to care for His special children. Through God’s faithfulness, the Stelmans have loved and cared for child after child, even through personal illnesses and tragedies.
By Sue DeLoach, Living Stones News Writer

The welcome mat is always out at the house of Jim and Jan Stelman in Saginaw, Minn., and if you open the door a crack, you’ll see ski-jumping coat racks lining the wall, with multiple dressers in the large entryway that spill out an assortment of hats, mittens, sweaters and outdoor clothing. You might hear the cadence of a rarely vacant swing perched near the kitchen or see a group of bright children laboring over their works of art at their pint-sized table.

God has blessed Jim and Jan Stelman of Saginaw, Minn., with a large family. They are (front row from left): Adam, Serenity and Ryan. Center row: Jim and Jan. Back row: Robbie, Morgan and Tina. (There was a "the" in front of Jim and Jan Stelman.

For Jim and Jan, the law of multiples is a given – multiple reasons to love, multiple pain in the loving, multiple tragedies along the way and multiple opportunities to grow in strength and character.

Having a great love for children, the Stelmans always longed to have a family of their own. Yet, over time, they were unable to conceive and in 1982 proceeded to tackle the paperwork for adoption.

“At that time,” Jim said, “we made a commitment to God that we would build a home that many would pass through; we were committed to keeping our doors open.”

“It took five more years before our Dusty came,” Jan said, “and then another five years before his brother Rob arrived.”

It was a long, arduous process overall.

“Then we learned about the St. Louis County Fos-adopt program, and within months our Tina and Daryl arrived,” Jan said.

From that point, the children just kept coming: about 10 foster children who were eventually placed in permanent homes, three more they have welcomed into their family in the last several months, along with the eight children they have adopted during the last 20 years.

The Stelmans’ biography reads like the book of Job, yet they remain faithful to God’s calling in their lives. Jan shared a timeline of the family’s life events from the past four years. In the summer of 2004, foster care asked the Stelmans to take two boys: Ryan, who lived at Northwood’s Children’s Home and was out of control, and baby Adam, born with cytomegalovirus and severe disabilities. Doctors had a poor prognosis for Adam. Of this large order, Jan said, “God spoke to me during worship. It was like the spirits of these little boys were crying out to me, and like a bolt of lightening God told us to take them.”

“In the fall of ’04,” Jan continued, “I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and in December had a double mastectomy with reconstruction. Through it all, I knew that I was going to be OK because God had told me to be the mother of these boys. It was in January of 2005 that 8-month-old baby Adam came to live with us. Although Adam had trouble eating and breathing and was not interactive or moving, Jim brought him before the church and they prayed, anointing him with oil. We rejoiced the day that Adam began tracking with his eyes when Jim came in the room, and slowly we saw remarkable gains in all areas. Adam today has delays but is a pretty normal, happy little boy. Because he cannot speak, he is learning to sign. We call him our miracle baby.”

Incidentally, a neurologist thought he had misdiagnosed Adam’s condition because of his recovery and reordered tests that ultimately proved Adam’s problems were still the result of CMV. This gave the Stelmans a powerful opportunity to testify about the healing power of God.

Also in 2005, the Stelmans grieved the deaths of Jan’s father and Jim’s mother, but they also welcomed two more children into their lives: Morgan, 4, and Serenity, 18 months.

Tragedy struck the Stelmans on April 6, 2006. “Our son, Daryl, died unexpectedly,” Jan said. “He was riding his bike and lost control. The handlebars hit under his ribs, tearing his liver.”

A neighbor saw Daryl wipe out, and called the Stelmans, who came immediately. Jan held her gasping son, who took his last breath as help arrived. Despite intense resuscitation efforts, Daryl didn’t make it.

“We thought our lives had ended,” Jan said. “It has been hard to see...

Posted by admin on Tuesday, April 15 @ 00:30:00 CDT (1853 reads)
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Featured Articles: Singing, playing and traveling for God is way of life for Hear By Faith
Featured Articles

Working full-time jobs and performing over 20 Gospel concerts a year keeps members of Hear By Faith focused on praising God.
By Corinne Scott, Living Stones News Publisher

Hear By Faith is a family affair – if not by blood, certainly by love.

Hear By Faith has been singing the Lord’s praises for 11 years. They are (from left): Angela Larson, Deanna Greene, and Chad Larson.
Sitting around a table, the Hear By Faith trio, their accompanist and manager/promoter shared the group’s history, memories, successes and individual testimonies, all blessed with lots of laughter and love from the heart for each other and the God they serve.

Hear By Faith has been singing Gospel music for the past 11 years, not only in the Greater Twin Ports area, but also throughout surrounding states. Chad Larson, his wife, Angela, and Deanna Greene make up the trio. Chad’s mother, Nancy Larson, is the accompanist, and Chad’s father, Dave Larson, is the manager/promoter for Hear By Faith. (See boxed information for their next concert.)

According to Chad, the group’s formation “just happened.” He said that in 1997 he and some others had been singing a cappella (without instruments) for the musical “The Gospel According to Scrooge” at Hermantown Community Church. He then asked if the quartet wanted to get together and work on some special music for church. The group included Deanna Greene and Chad’s sister, Tina. Nancy Larson offered to accompany them. It wasn’t long until people were asking them to sing, and Dave Larson was finding them other places to sing.

Dave said that two major breaks came in 1998.

“We were able to get in with the annual Gospelfest at the United Methodist Church in Spooner, Wis.,” he said. “We’ve been there every year since. The other break came when KDNW (a Christian radio station in Duluth) held a Gospelfest at the DECC (Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center) in 1999. Hear By Faith opened for the event, which included the Talley’s, Florida Boys, Palmetto State, Greater Vision and Poet Voices.”

At the DECC Gospelfest, Louie Brown, a songwriter and promoter, invited Hear By Faith to sing a 24-minute set at an event in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Dave said the people loved Hear By Faith and things have snowballed since then. Hear By Faith has traveled to Nebraska, South Dakota and opened for the well-known Signature Sound Gospel quartet in North Dakota. They are scheduled to sing at another Gospelfest in Walkerville, Mich., in June.

Each member of Hear By Faith has a full-time job, but still manages to schedule in practice times and 20-25 concerts a year on Wednesday nights or weekends. They don’t charge admission, but they do take an offering, which has paid for expenses and purchased equipment as needed.

Chad’s sister, Tina, had been a part of the trio until 2006, when she left the group to give time to raising her two daughters. She and her husband, Steve Jankowski, live in Twig, Minn. Angela, Chad’s wife, took Tina’s place in the group just six months after she and Chad were married.

The members of Hear By Faith are young couples, working at jobs and raising families. Their lives are full, but still they commit to traveling often to sing praises to the Lord. They each have a testimony to share.

Original member Deanna Greene, 35, said the reason she sings with Hear By Faith is to be allowed to use the gift of music.

“God gave us voices, which we do use to sing praises to Him every day,” Deanna said. “But for Him to allow us to be in a ministry and then watch Him use us to bring glory to His name, I’m blessed.” The other members echoed Deanna’s sentiment.

Deanna said her father survived being electrocuted when she was 10 or 11, and he had said, “God still had...

Posted by admin on Tuesday, April 15 @ 00:25:00 CDT (2123 reads)
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Missions: City of Refuge Ministries aids victims of slave trafficking

Rescuing and providing for abandoned, enslaved children of Ghana, West Africa, is the goal of Johnbull and Stacy Omorefe of Sioux Falls, S.D., through their City of Refuge Ministries.
By Tim Schaeffer, For Living Stones News

According to Kevin Bales, author of “Disposable People,” there are an estimated 27 million slaves worldwide.

There are more slaves alive today than all of the people stolen from Africa during the time of the Transatlantic slave trade.

Johnbull Omorefe embraces the three children he and his wife, Stacy, helped rescue from slavery in Ghana, West Africa in December. They are (from left): Audua, Mauwle and Sara.
There is a vast difference between the slaves of the past and the modern-day slaves. In the past, color of skin, nationality and religion played a big part in an individual’s slavery. Today, the common denominators in slavery are poverty and weakness.

Trafficking in persons is a heinous crime and human rights violation. The most vulnerable members of the global community, those who have limited access to social services and protections, are targeted by traffickers for exploitation. No country is immune from human trafficking. Victims are forced into prostitution or to work in quarries and sweatshops, on farms, as domestics, as child soldiers

and in many forms of involuntary servitude. Traffickers often

target children and young women. They routinely trick victims with promises of employment, educational opportunities, marriage and a better life.

Human trafficking is the third most profitable criminal activity, following only drug and arms trafficking. An estimated $9.5 billion is generated in annual revenue from all trafficking activities, with at least $4 billion attributed to the worldwide brothel industry.

(U.S. Department of State. 2004. Trafficking in Persons Report.

Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of State.)

Thankfully, there are people in the world who want these numbers to

change and are working to make that change happen. Johnbull and

Stacy Omorefe of Sioux Falls, S.D., have a calling from God to help alleviate the worldwide tragedy of human trafficking. To that end, they established the City of Refuge Ministries in 2006.

The goal of the City of Refuge is to bring Jesus Christ’s love to the disadvantaged children, youth and single mothers of Ghana, West Africa, and to provide a safe place for rescued individuals to live.

The liberated people would be given medical attention, food, clean water, clothing, (many of the things we take for granted) education and spiritual guidance.

A lofty goal? Perhaps, but the Omorefes believe in a God of the impossible.

Johnbull Omorefe grew up in a small village in Nigeria. He was abandoned by his parents and then raised by his very elderly grandmother. He wasn’t able to go to school because he had to work.

As he grew older, he spent nights on the street wondering where to turn next.

Then God sent some people into his life to love and care for him. A couple from England sponsored him to go to Youth With a Mission’s Discipleship Training School in Ghana. He met his wife, Stacy, in Ghana.

“God took me from hopelessness and gave me...

Posted by admin on Tuesday, April 15 @ 00:20:00 CDT (4493 reads)
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Christian Commerce: Quality custom furniture and cabinet business is a family affair
Christian Commerce

Superior craftsmanship is goal of Christian woodworking family.
By Allison Taylor, Living Stones News Writer

During the late ’70s Bruce Herstad started designing and constructing custom-made cabinets and furniture in a shop outside his home. Now, almost 30 years later, Herstad has turned his shop into a full-time family business.

Bruce Herstad (left), and his son, Ben, pause for a moment as they work on installing cabinets in a home in Duluth, Minn.
When he was young, Herstad worked in construction and as a pattern maker. He became interested in woodworking when one of his college professors from the University of Wisconsin taught him about building furniture. So he decided to break out on his own and start a woodworking and cabinetry business. He said he quickly discovered his niche in providing a quality of custom-made furniture and cabinets that can be very difficult to find elsewhere.

In all their years of business, the Herstads have never chosen to advertise.

“It’s all done by word of mouth,” Herstad said. “We want our customers to come knowing who we are, what we do and what prices to expect. For that to happen, word of mouth is ideal.”

Remarkably, Herstad said he has never had a bad customer. This he attributes to God.

Something else Herstad attributes to God is he has never missed a day of work due to a lack of business. During one slow winter, Herstad said he was tempted to go out and “drum up some work.” Instead, he kept plugging away and relied on God to meet his family’s needs. Sure enough, by spring customers were coming in.

“God has always blessed us,” Herstad said.

As a Christian, Herstad said he believes in complete honesty. His business has no hidden charges or service fees.

“Any good, honest, reputable business would be doing the same things,” he said.

Herstad said he became a Christian around Christmas in 1977, the same time his first son, Seth, was born. He was working in construction and a colleague invited him to attend a small-group meeting at Darrow Road Wesleyan Church, which is located south of Superior, Wis. He accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior that winter. Now, Herstad and his wife, Mary, are members of the Darrow Road Church and help lead youth meetings on Wednesday nights and on Sunday mornings.

Herstad said what separates his business from others is the quality of service. He goes to his customers’ homes, learns their design schemes, listens to their needs and discusses their options.

“I make a point of going on site to make sure that our customers’ designs will work in their space,” Herstad said. “That’s not really something other companies can do for their customers.”

Herstad has received letters from his customers thanking him for his work. One customer wrote, “Your craftsmanship is outstanding, and we are happy with the suggestions you made.” Another customer wrote, “We recommend you to our friends.”

As for his prices, Herstad said his business cannot compete with cheap cabinetry. “If I work cheap in order to compete, I am robbing my family, and that’s not right.”

Herstad’s family plays a large role in his business. Mary, who is a full-time teacher at Maranatha Christian Academy in Superior, helps by staining, finishing and painting. The Herstads have four children: Seth (31), Ben (29), Leah (23) and Hannah (21). Each of the children has put time in helping around the shop. Ben, Herstad’s second son, now works full time as a partner in the business.

Ben says he “grew up around the shop.” He began by sweeping the floors for his dad, and by the time he was 12 he started learning to use the tools. When he was 19, Ben left college to work full time in the family business. Now, he and his father are partners.

When asked about his role in the business, Ben smiled at his dad and said, “I do all the real work.” In fact, the two complement each other. While Bruce Herstad prefers meeting customers, completing paperwork, and finishing, varnishing and staining the cabinets, Ben prefers to work in the shop building the cabinets and furniture.

“It works very naturally,” Bruce said.

If Herstad does decide to retire, Ben said not to worry.

“As long as everything keeps working the way it has, I will probably just keep the business going,” Ben said.

The Herstads can be contacted at (715) 399-8866 in Superior.

Posted by admin on Tuesday, April 15 @ 00:15:00 CDT (1853 reads)
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Book Review: New book helps children better understand “The Chronicles of Narnia”
Book Review
The release of “Believing In Narnia: A Kids Guide to Unlocking Secret Symbols of Faith in C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia” by Natalie Gillespie (Thomas Nelson), has been set to coincide with the opening of the second movie installment, “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” (hitting theaters May 16). The new paperback is designed to help children ages 7 through 11 decipher the secret symbols of Christianity within C.S. Lewis’ “The Chronicles of Narnia.”

Author Natalie Nichols Gillespie is the mom and stepmom of seven “Narnia” fans and a student of the book series herself since childhood. The author of several books and hundreds of articles on the subject of Christian symbolism within the writings of the C.S. Lewis children’s classic has written her latest book with the curiosity of small children in mind, but also manages to capture the attention of older readers as well.

The book is a resource meant to stimulate thought and answer questions concerning the allegories and Christian symbols hidden within the “Narnia” novels. It offers clear, kid-friendly explanations of the symbolism in the characters and the story elements. The thoughtful book also stimulates interest in Bible study and learning more about Biblical principles and principals.

Gillespie’s book is filled with such fascinating facts as:

• Turkish Delight, Edmund’s favorite sweet treat, symbolizes two ideas: temptation and the notion that evil knows our weakest spots and uses that to attack us.
• Father Christmas represents the story of Jesus coming to earth to save people from their sins. His gifts to three of the Pevensie siblings represent spiritual gifts.
• With Jesus in your heart, you can bring the light of God’s love into dark places, as the lamppost did in the woods of Narnia.
• The lion Aslan, king of Narnia, represents Jesus.
• The door in “The Last Battle” represents death, and death does not have to be scary for followers of Jesus.

“After reading the book, I concur with those selling points,” said Phil Boatwright, of Preview On Line. “I know that reading ‘Believing In Narnia’ will aid me in my appreciation of the new film release. I found it a pleasure to read and helpful in deciphering the messages placed in the ‘Narnia’ series by Christian theologian C.S. Lewis. I highly recommend it for ‘Chronicles’ enthusiasts of all ages.”

“Believing in Narnia” by Natalie Gillespie is available at most bookstores.

Ten Secret Symbols from “Believing in Narnia”

1. Prince Caspian symbolizes what faith is. He believes in Aslan even though he has never seen him and has only heard stories about Him.
2. The blood of Jesus was shed to give everyone eternal life who believes in Him. Aslan’s blood gave King Caspian eternal life.
3. Digory’s dragon skin would not come off until he allowed Aslan to take it off; our sins don’t leave us until we allow Jesus to take them away.
4. When Edmund talks to Aslan, he is changed forever. When we talk to Jesus, He changes us forever!
5. Lucy’s relationship with Aslan shows us the kind of relationship we should have with Jesus. He should be our BFF (best friend forever).
6. The Stone Table breaks in half when Aslan dies, just like the veil was torn in two in the temple when Jesus died.
7. Aslan tells Jill that she needs to come and drink the water that is near him or she will die of thirst. Jesus told his followers that He is “living water.”
8. After Shasta meets Aslan, he discovers he is actually the long-lost son of a great king. Jesus is the King above all kings, and when we believe in Him, we become his sons and daughters.
9. Rilian is at first fooled by a fake Aslan but is then forgiven. When we turn away from Jesus and put our faith in anything else, we can be forgiven if we turn back to Him.
10. Aslan put Peter Pevensie in charge of leading Narnia, just like Jesus put the disciple Peter in charge of leading the first Christians.

Five Fun Facts from “Believing in Narnia”

1. “Aslan” is Turkish for “lion.”
2. The mighty mouse Reepicheep comes from the family of mice that gnawed through the ropes that bound Aslan to the Stone Table as the White Witch killed Him.
3. In “Prince Caspian,” the trees eat different kinds of dirt at the Feast of Aslan.
4. Digory Kirke grew up to be a professor, and “Chronicles” author C.S. Lewis was a famous professor.
5. Turkish Delight, the candy Edmund loves, is a jellied candy that can be made with powdered sugar, cornstarch, orange juice, chopped toasted almonds or pistachios, and rosewater.

Living Stones News asked Sunday School kids from the Evangelical Free Church in Ainsworth, Neb., to tell us why they love “The Chronicles of Narnia.”

“I think it is a great movie! It has a good lesson about Jesus dying for our sins so that we can be saved because the penalty for sin is death. I am happy they are making another movie.” Seth (10)

“I love it! I watch or listen to it almost every day. I like Aslan the best because he kills the Queen.” Allison (5) “I like to listen to the CD stories. My favorite story is “Voyage of the Dawn Treader.” My favorite character is Lucy because she sees and talks to Aslan the most.” Rebecca (8)

“The first movie is awesome. It teaches a great story about what Jesus had to go through for us and our sins. The second movie looks really fun, and I hope it teaches an equally important story for those who listen.” Leah (12)

“It had intense battle scenes. It has good special effects and good actors. I like the action in it. Good acting, good story.” The Barrows Children (second- to seventh-graders)
Posted by admin on Tuesday, April 15 @ 00:10:00 CDT (1781 reads)
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Soul Scout: Soul Scout - (Chapter 2)
Soul Scout

“Fear is sharp-sighted, and can see things underground, and much more in the skies.” — Miguel De Cervantes,

“Don Quixote de la Mancha”

Church bulletins make excellent buffers, Wakeman Pells thought as he browsed the tan-colored pamphlet moments before the start of the 9 a.m. Sunday worship service at New Hope Bible Church.

Wakeman felt uneasy inside the church, even though New Hope held its services inside a local community center only a four-block walk from his apartment and it lacked many of the Christian symbols that adorned other sanctuaries he had visited.

In fact, had it not been for temperatures hovering in the teens coupled with a nasty wind chill, all courtesy of Lake Superior, Wakeman might still be standing outside in the cold. But he allowed the strong winds to push him inside the building, past the makeshift welcome center, around a few groups of chatting people, into the building’s all-purpose room and finally onto an empty seat located in one of the back rows.

However, despite keeping a low profile, Wakeman feared that everyone in the building was staring at him, judging him, perhaps even surmising his true reason for attending. But he did have two secret weapons — his sunglasses and the church bulletin. Since it wasn’t socially acceptable to wear sunglasses inside, a church newsletter often was the only security blanket he had. He could read it — or pretend to read it — when he wanted to be disengaged from the service. When things got interesting, he could put the bulletin down and plug back in. A bulletin also kept his eyes from straying where he often did not want them to go — to the parishioners and their hands.

Yes, church bulletins make excellent buffers … and good fences make good neighbors, Wakeman laughed to himself.

“Excuse me, but is that seat next to you taken?”

Wakeman nearly jumped out of his skin when a man roughly his same age tapped him on the shoulder and politely asked about the vacant chair. “Uh, no. I’m by myself.”

The stranger smiled as he scooted past Wakeman and sat down, “Thanks, it’s getting pretty packed in here. Does it usually get this full?”

Next Sunday, I need a better buffer.

Wakeman was pulled back into a conversation he didn’t want to have.

“I have no idea. This is my first time attending this church.”

“This is my first time visiting, too. I just moved into this neighborhood on Monday. I’m Chad Beck.”

The man offered his right hand. Wakeman hadn’t been seated for more than a minute and already a worst-case scenario had presented itself:

He faced a talkative stranger who wanted to shake hands.

Keep tight eye contact. Don’t look at his hands. I’m not ready to do that today.

“Uh, Wakeman … Wakeman Pells,” he replied while keeping strict eye contact and quickly shaking Beck’s hand.

“Nice to meet you, Wakeman,” Chad said, giving him a firm businessman’s greeting. “I guess we’ll both find out what this church is like.”

Wakeman and Chad were both in their early 20s, but couldn’t have...

Posted by admin on Tuesday, April 15 @ 00:05:00 CDT (1542 reads)
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Featured Articles: National Day of Prayer events
Featured Articles

Duluth, Minn.
Thursday, May 1 at 5 p.m.
Priley Square, outdoor area in front of the St. Louis County Courthouse.
• Rev. Vernon Green from Christ Temple Church and his worship team will perform.
• June B. will sing the national anthem.
• Mayor Don Ness will proclaim it a day of prayer for Duluth.
• Children from Lakeview Christian School will pray for Mayor Ness.
• A drama team will perform.
• Many people will pray for other areas of concern for our city and nation.
• For more information, call Sandy Halvorsen at (218) 626-4085.

Two Harbors, Minn.
Thursday, May 1
• Noon: Prayer service at the Two Harbors Courthouse steps.
• 7 p.m.: Prayer service at Grace Baptist Church (508 Seventh St., Two Harbors).
• Events are sponsored by the Northshore Evangelical Fellowship.
• For more information,call Pastor Joe Whiting at (218) 834-3255.

Posted by admin on Tuesday, April 15 @ 00:00:00 CDT (1928 reads)
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