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CBA Christian MARKET August 2012 : Page 22

Inspire the Culture // TWO AUTHORS SEEK TO BRING HOPE TO THOSE WHO ARE SUFFERING IN VERY DIFFERENT WAYS. MESSAGES OF HOPE Last month, we introduced a new column to CBA Retailers+Resources , “Inspire the Culture.” Within this column, those in our industry (suppli-ers, retailers, authors, artists, artisans) share how what they’re doing is inspiring our world today to be a better place, one that exemplifies our lives as Christians. This month, we offer you two stories of compassion, love, and forgiveness. If you’d like to contribute a story to this column for possible publication, contact CBA Publica-tions Director Kathleen Samuelson at ksamu-elson@cbaonline.org. All submitted stories are to be written by the person speaking or by his or her industry representative. money for orphans in Zambia. On World AIDS Day in 2004, he shot 2,057 free throws to represent the 2,057 kids who would be orphaned during his day at school. Through sponsorship from parents and friends, Gut-wein raised over $3,000 that day to give hope to eight orphans in Zambia. Over the past eight years, Gutwein’s ef-forts have created Hoops of Hope, the larg-est free-throw marathon in the world. With an estimated 40,000 people in more than 25 countries participating, Hoops of Hope has raised more than $2.5 million to build schools, medical clinics, dormitories for orphanages, and the only computer lab in Zambia. Though written for ages 12 and up, Live to Give reminds readers of all ages that one per-son really can make a difference. Gutwein be-gins the book by citing a familiar story found in John 6: the little boy who gave Jesus the tools to miraculously feed 5,000 hungry peo-ple. The boy gave what he had, and God used what was in his lunch to fashion a miracle. Gutwein explains that young people today can do the same thing—let God take the char-acteristics that make them dif-ferent, so often viewed as a nega-tive during the teenage years, and turn that unique-ness into a miracle. “For me, it was shooting hoops to raise money. [God] wanted me to give my time and my favorite hobby. For the boy in the multitude of 5,000, it was his lunch. For you…well, this book is meant to help you discover what that is,” Gutwein writes. “But there is one common theme throughout all of our stories: We all need to live to give be-cause we were made for it. Nothing beats living this way! Nothing we could eat, drink, buy, play, watch, or win in life can compare to the feeling of giving ourselves away, using ‘whatever gift we have received to serve oth-ers as faithful stewards of God’s grace.’” Throughout the pages of Live to Give, Gut-wein offers advice on dealing with peer pres-sure, accepting rejection, and other obstacles that might stand in the way of impacting others. He also offers assurance that making a difference does not happen overnight. Gutwein’s message is one of hope—that anyone, no matter what their age or skills, has a purpose and can make a difference that lasts forever. Learn more about Austin Gutwein and Hoops of Hope at www.AustinGutwein.com and www.HoopsOfHope.org. TURNING TALENTS INTO MIRACLES by Austin Gutwein Austin Gutwein has a message to share with his fellow teens: God made each of you unique so that He can use you for a special purpose. In his Au-gust release, Live to Give: Letting God Turn Your Talents into Miracles (Thomas Nelson, p, $14.99, ISBN: 9781400319930), Gutwein challenges that regardless of age and tal-ent, God can use you to make a difference. Though He could do it all Himself, God cre-ated humankind with a mission: to take care of His creation. At 18 years old, Gutwein speaks with wis-dom and has the experience to reinforce his message. When he was just 9 years old, he watched a video that showed children in Af-rica who had lost their parents to AIDS. Gut-wein realized these kids weren’t any different from him—except they were suffering. Feel-ing called to help, he took his love of basket-ball and decided to shoot free throws to raise LISTENING TO ABORTION by Kim Ketola I wasn’t trying to probe into anyone’s past or coax out a confession. In fact, I was so new to this church that I was reluctant to share something so personal. Yet, when I disclosed an abortion in my past, I heard from several other women in our 30-member Bible study group who had also lost a child to abortion. Perhaps these women were relieved to hear someone, any-one, bring up the subject at church. Maybe I just seem like a safe person since I men-tioned having written a book about spiritual recovery after abortion. But each one eagerly shared her secret with me that day. 22 CBA Retailers+Resources | 08.12 The Official Magazine of CBA

Inspire the Culture

TWO AUTHORS SEEK TO BRING HOPE TO THOSE WHO ARE SUFFERING IN VERY DIFFERENT WAYS.

MESSAGES OF HOPE

Last month, we introduced a new column to CBA Retailers+Resources, “Inspire the Culture.” Within this column, those in our industry (suppliers, retailers, authors, artists, artisans) share how what they’re doing is inspiring our world today to be a better place, one that exemplifies our lives as Christians. This month, we offer you two stories of compassion, love, and forgiveness. If you’d like to contribute a story to this column for possible publication, contact CBA Publications Director Kathleen Samuelson at ksamuelson@cbaonline.org. All submitted stories are to be written by the person speaking or by his or her industry representative.

TURNING TALENTS INTO MIRACLES

by Austin Gutwein

Austin Gutwein has a message to share with his fellow teens: God made each of you unique so that He can use you for a special purpose. In his August release, Live to Give: Letting God Turn Your Talents into Miracles (Thomas Nelson, p, $14.99, ISBN: 9781400319930), Gutwein challenges that regardless of age and talent, God can use you to make a difference. Though He could do it all Himself, God created humankind with a mission: to take care of His creation.

At 18 years old, Gutwein speaks with wisdom and has the experience to reinforce his message. When he was just 9 years old, he watched a video that showed children in Africa who had lost their parents to AIDS. Gutwein realized these kids weren’t any different from him—except they were suffering. Feeling called to help, he took his love of basketball and decided to shoot free throws to raise money for orphans in Zambia. On World AIDS Day in 2004, he shot 2,057 free throws to represent the 2,057 kids who would be orphaned during his day at school. Through sponsorship from parents and friends, Gutwein raised over $3,000 that day to give hope to eight orphans in Zambia.

Over the past eight years, Gutwein’s efforts have created Hoops of Hope, the largest free-throw marathon in the world. With an estimated 40,000 people in more than 25 countries participating, Hoops of Hope has raised more than $2.5 million to build schools, medical clinics, dormitories for orphanages, and the only computer lab in Zambia.

Though written for ages 12 and up, Live to Give reminds readers of all ages that one person really can make a difference. Gutwein begins the book by citing a familiar story found in John 6: the little boy who gave Jesus the tools to miraculously feed 5,000 hungry people. The boy gave what he had, and God used what was in his lunch to fashion a miracle. Gutwein explains that young people today can do the same thing—let God take the characteristics that make them different, so often viewed as a negative during the teenage years, and turn that uniqueness into a miracle.

“For me, it was shooting hoops to raise money. [God] wanted me to give my time and my favorite hobby. For the boy in the multitude of 5,000, it was his lunch. For you…well, this book is meant to help you discover what that is,” Gutwein writes. “But there is one common theme throughout all of our stories: We all need to live to give because we were made for it. Nothing beats living this way! Nothing we could eat, drink, buy, play, watch, or win in life can compare to the feeling of giving ourselves away, using ‘whatever gift we have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God’s grace.’”

Throughout the pages of Live to Give, Gutwein offers advice on dealing with peer pressure, accepting rejection, and other obstacles that might stand in the way of impacting others. He also offers assurance that making a difference does not happen overnight.

Gutwein’s message is one of hope—that anyone, no matter what their age or skills, has a purpose and can make a difference that lasts forever.

Learn more about Austin Gutwein and Hoops of Hope at www.AustinGutwein.com and www.HoopsOfHope.org.

LISTENING TO ABORTION

by Kim Ketola

I wasn’t trying to probe into anyone’s past or coax out a confession.

In fact, I was so new to this church that I was reluctant to share something so personal. Yet, when I disclosed an abortion in my past, I heard from several other women in our 30-member Bible study group who had also lost a child to abortion. Perhaps these women were relieved to hear someone, anyone, bring up the subject at church. Maybe I just seem like a safe person since I mentioned having written a book about spiritual recovery after abortion. But each one eagerly shared her secret with me that day.

And each story was as different as the
woman who told it.

During prayer time, one sought me out to whisper through tears. She had no memory of the father—after a drunken one-night stand she couldn’t even recall his name. But she vividly recalled feeling hustled in the aftershock of a positive pregnancy test by the high-pressure sales tactics at the abortion clinic.

Another woman approached me during the break to report she was relieved to be rid of the boyfriend who bailed when he found out she was pregnant. Still, she wonders all these years later if she hadn’t missed out on the daughter she had always wanted.

A third woman waited for me after the meeting to say she was a strong believer when she went off to college, but she was determined to sow her wild oats, and then equally determined to escape the one-way ticket to poverty this pregnancy represented in her mind. Now she was terrified her own daughter was following in the same destructive path.

I also listened to the silence of a staff member of the church that day. She simply took my hand after most of the others had gone, very slowly and deliberately looked me in the eye and said, “I did, too.” She then placed her hand near her lips as if to say, “Shhh,” and gave my hand a squeeze before she turned and walked away.

As the weeks unfolded I heard from others.

I was surprised but not shocked—Christian women choose abortion in almost equal ratios to women of other faiths or no faith at all. The surprising thing to me was how closely this group matched the statistical average: One out of every five churchgoing women has had an abortion. Including women with a Christian affiliation pushes the average to one in three.

There is a hidden mission field right here within our churches; millions of men and women are hurting and confused. It seems our faith does not protect us from abortion, but it is the answer, and our only hope, in the aftermath.

How can you help?

After abortion, women and men wonder if they have committed an unforgivable sin. They may feel confused but they don’t know where to go to look for answers. They need to know that the distressing sense of having lost a child—an actual member of their families—is real, and can be mourned and grieved as we would any beloved family member. Even one we are learning to love too late. They need to hear God’s love and mercy. They need the grace of Jesus Christ in his power to forgive, redeem, and renew.

And they need you.

Open your heart to those who have been hurt by abortion:

Include post-abortion books and Bible studies in your stores, class offerings, and study groups.
Encourage your pastor to preach with sensitivity to those who need the message of forgiveness and hope after abortion.
Season your words with grace as you defend the pro-life position.
Speak God’s Word when you don’t know what to say—it will be effective (Isaiah 55:11).

Listening to abortion is a difficult ministry, but a priceless gift to one processing the complex emotions that follow such a deep and intense experience. If you hear heartbreak and contrition, be kind and model mercy. If you sense a numb or hardened heart, be sure you share the truth in love to break through those defenses. Be patient in hope. And love them well.

Kim Ketola is the author of Cradle My Heart: Finding God’s Love After Abortion (Kregel Publications, p, $12.99, ISBN: 9780825439285), reviewed on page 52 of this issue. The book candidly shares the author’s post-abortion journey, speaking to women who have had abortions or are considering them. Ketola has spent the last several years developing a ministry to these women and helping churches reach them before it’s too late.

Read the full article at http://digital.ipcprintservices.com/article/Inspire+the+Culture/1118428/118839/article.html.

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