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Focus on the Family Magazine - June/July 2022

It can be a struggle to raise a family while balancing your work life, social life and relationships. Focus on the Family magazine is here to help! Each complimentary issue delivers fresh, practical Biblical guidance on family and life topics. Every issue comes packed with relevant advice to build up your kids, strengthen your marriage, navigate entertainment and culture, and handle common challenges you may face in your marriage and parenting journeys. Plus you'll find seasonal advice ranging from back-to-school activities to date night tips for you and your spouse.

It can be a struggle to raise a family while balancing your work life, social life and relationships. Focus on the Family magazine is here to help! Each complimentary issue delivers fresh, practical Biblical guidance on family and life topics.

Every issue comes packed with relevant advice to build up your kids, strengthen your marriage, navigate entertainment and culture, and handle common challenges you may face in your marriage and parenting journeys. Plus you'll find seasonal advice ranging from back-to-school activities to date night tips for you and your spouse.

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Flirt Your Way

to a Better

Marriage

Helping Families Thrive in Christ

JUNE / JULY 2022

The Value of

Hiding From

Alligators

master

seeing the

design

PAGE 38

behind

the


explore

the bible

like never

before

familiar bible passages have richer

meaning than you ever imagined!

Join historian Ray Vander Laan on a tour of

biblical sites in the Middle East and be astounded

by what you learn at each location.

SEIZE YOUR

PRO-LIFE MOMENT.

Through the DVD-based study series That the

World May Know, you’ll visit the landscapes

Jesus and the apostles walked, and hear

fascinating details from history, archaeology and

ancient cultures that bring new depth to your

understanding of Scripture.

In an opposition culture, we’re with your family as you stand for life and

From an ancient land, you’ll learn startling new

#LoveEveryHeartbeat. Join us June lessons 14 for our for next your rallying life today! moment.

ong>Focusong>OnTheFamily.com/SeeLife

Discover

the whole

16-DVD

series!

Order online at Shop.ong>Focusong>OnTheFamily.ca/ThatTheWorld

or call 1.800.661.9800


JUNE / JULY

Contents

Couples

13 OUR WEEKLY CONNECTION

A marriage insight

from Bethany McIlrath

14 FLIRT YOUR WAY

TO A BETTER MARRIAGE

Refresh and reignite

your relationship

by Lisa Jacobson

18 AT AN IMPASSE

Navigating difficult

decisions as a couple

by Aimee Joseph

In Every

Issue

4 LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT

5 HACKS & FACTS

12 MEDIA

46 MY THRIVING FAMILY

20 A MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE

Could a marriage that started as

an agreement between two

strangers survive?

by Thomas Jeffries

24 A FAVORITE ANNIVERSARY

How my husband and I celebrated

and made a family memory

by Jesse Neve

Faith & Inspiration

25 THE GIFT OF HOSPITALITY

How our retreat center hosts

minister to those who need rest

and renewal

by Wendy Kittlitz

29 A FINE-TUNED COSMOS AND THE

HAND OF THE CREATOR

How modern astronomy and

physics declare the glory of God

by Subby Szterszky

Kids & Teens

33 WOODLAND EXPLORERS

A parenting insight from Kris Sayler

34 LITTLE SCIENTISTS IN A BIG WORLD

Let your children experience the

wonder of nature to learn more

about their Creator

by Valerie Ellis

37 THE VALUE OF HIDING

FROM ALLIGATORS

How my daughter and I find

refuge from distractions and

other monsters

by Corey Stumne

38 SEEING THE MASTER

BEHIND THE DESIGN

Fun science experiments to do

as a family that point to divine

workmanship

by Brock Eastman

44 HOW SCIENCE CAN

STRENGTHEN YOUR TEEN’S FAITH

The surprising and timeless evidence

that supports your child’s belief in God

by Andrew McDiarmid

©ERIN BRANT / STOCKSY UNITED

JUNE / JULY 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 3


LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT

Jean-Paul Beran is

president of ong>Focusong> on

the Family Canada.

ONE OF THE BEST PARTS of being

a parent is seeing things through our children’s

eyes. The world is theirs to discover and

the simplest questions can quickly bring us, as

parents, back into that same childlike state of

wonder.

When my daughters were young and they’d

ask me questions like why the sky was blue,

I didn’t immediately have a scientific response.

Instead of shutting them down for asking silly

questions, though, we looked up the answer

together. We researched, learned, explored and expanded our

knowledge by simply showing curiosity.

When we grow older, we often forget how to do this. We think

we know the answer to most questions. But what would our world

look like if more of us paused, like our children, and asked why?

In this issue of the magazine, we explore that very question. As

parents, we have ample opportunity to discover the world around

us with our children (page 33), see what nature can teach us

about God (page 34) and learn how science can enrich our faith

(page 38).

For adults, we also dive deeper into this question of science

and faith by taking a cue from King David himself and looking at

how the sky proclaims God’s handiwork (Psalm 19:1). Flip to page

29 for an in-depth look at what the mystery of the cosmos can

teach us about our Creator.

Whatever stage of life you find yourself in, I hope you enjoy

a childlike state of wonder and curiosity as you go through the

pages of this issue.

As a reminder, if you need any support to help your family

thrive, we’re just a click, email or phone call away. I invite you

to explore the full breadth of services we offer on our website at

ong>Focusong>OnTheFamily.ca, email us at info@fotf.ca with your questions

or concerns, or call our team at 1.800.661.9800 to learn

more about how we can help.

Blessings,

Jean-Paul Beran

the joy of

curiosity

CLINT BARGEN PHOTOGRAPHY

president Jim Daly

chief operating officer Ken Windebank

publisher Steve Johnson

focus canada president Jean-Paul Beran

editorial director Sheila Seifert

managing editor Andrea Gutierrez

copy chief Scott DeNicola

contributing editors Karen Scalf Bouchard,

Vance Fry, Marianne Hering, Jennifer

Lonas, Jeff Masching, Sarah Brickens

and Faith Wismer

art director Brian Mellema

designer Anneka Jack

cover James Stukenberg

media publishing director Kevin Shirin

editorial assistant Kat Bittner

print production Gail Wise

circulation Erika Lynch

Thank you!

ong>Focusong> on the Family provides this magazine and

other resources through the generosity of friends

like you. ong>Focusong>OnTheFamily.ca/Donate

For a subscription, go to ong>Focusong>OnTheFamily.ca/

Magazine.

ong>Focusong> on the Family magazine June/July 2022, Vol. 7,

No. 3 ISSN 2471-5921, © 2022 ong>Focusong> on the Family. All

rights reserved. Published by ong>Focusong> on the Family, a

nonprofit organization recognized for tax-deductible

giving by the federal government. ong>Focusong> on the Family is

a federally registered trademark of ong>Focusong> on the Family.

To notify us of an address change or to contact ong>Focusong>

on the Family Canada: 1-800-661-9800; 19946 80A

Ave, Langley, BC, V2Y 0J8; info@fotf.ca

Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are

from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version ® (ESV ® ).

Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry

of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved. ESV Text

Edition: 2016.

IMPORTANT NOTICE! By submitting letters and other

materials, you agree 1) they become the property of

ong>Focusong> on the Family and will not be returned; 2) ong>Focusong>

on the Family, its assigns and licensees, have been

granted the nonexclusive right to use and/or

reproduce the materials in any manner for any

purpose. Our agreement is made in Colorado and

controlled by Colorado law.

Send author submissions to

ong>Focusong>MagSubmissions@family.org.

REPRINT PERMISSION:

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Website references do not constitute blanket

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the Family with information or resources offered at

or through those sites.

Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to:

ong>Focusong> on the Family, 19946 80A Avenue, Langley, BC

V2Y 0J8; 800-661-9800; info@fotf.ca;

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Printed in the U.S.A. Paper manufactured by a mill that

practices sustainable forestry.

4

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

JUNE / JULY 2022


Hacks & Facts

CLEVER IDEAS FOR SMARTER PARENTING

Tools for growing godly character

Help kids cope with change

A sample lesson from Kids of Integrity

Adjusting to change can be hard for kids, especially if it’s a big change like moving away,

changing schools or losing a friend. Our Kids of Integrity lesson on Adaptability can help!

Here are some of the ideas you’ll find in the Adaptability lesson plan—activities designed

to encourage kids to trust God as they face new circumstances. It’s just one of 32 lessons

that help kids grow in Christlike character, all available for free at KidsOfIntegrity.com.

Bible story: Jesus cries with His friends

Read John 11:1-7, 14-15, 17-44.

Questions for discussion

1. If you have a big problem, who do you usually talk to?

2. Who did Mary and Martha want to talk to when Lazarus became ill?

3. Why do you think Jesus cried when He saw Mary and her friends weeping?

Key concepts

Jesus understood the sorrow His friends felt over losing a beloved friend and family

member. He wept to see everyone feeling so sad. This story of Lazarus lets us know that

when we are in pain, Jesus cares about our sadness and will comfort us too.

Kick-off craft: Feelings flags

Attach white pieces of paper to straws to make small flags.

Then draw a face on either side of each flag to represent

opposite emotions. One flag might show “sad” and “joyful.”

Another might show worry/peace or anger/patience. When

your kids are struggling, ask them which flag reminds them

to give their difficult emotions to God. Help them pray very

honestly to God about their feelings, reminding them to thank

God for His blessings too. >>>

JUNE / JULY 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 5


HACKS & FACTS / KIDS OF INTEGRITY

Hands-on option: The art of enjoying change

HAVE FUN MAKING SOME “CHANGEABLE ARTWORK” USING MILK. THE RESULTS ARE SPECTACULAR!

You will need a flat-bottomed pie dish or something similar for each of your

children plus milk, food coloring in at least three different colors, dish soap,

and toothpicks or cotton swabs. (Don’t use low-fat or skim milk.)

1. First, do a demo for your kids. Prepare two flat dishes

by pouring milk into each one to a depth of about 5

mm or 1/8 of an inch.

2. Next, squeeze a drop of food coloring on the surface

of the milk. Take other colors and continue spacing

drops of food coloring across the milk until there are

eight to ten different drops of color.

3. Do the same with the second bowl of milk. Now set

this bowl aside and leave it untouched. This will be

your comparison bowl.

4. Returning your attention to the first bowl, coat the

end of a toothpick with dish soap, then dip it in the

center of one of the drops of food coloring. Continue

to dip the toothpick into each drop of food coloring

and watch as the colors “explode” into various shapes

and mix together to form new colors. (The dish

soap pushes around the fat in the milk, facilitating

movement within the milk.)

5. Now it’s your children’s turn to make milky art!

Questions for discussion

1. Which bowl of milk has been more

interesting to watch?

2. Is life ever like this second bowl

of milk, with not much change

happening?

Key concepts

Life change can feel threatening, but

it can also be exciting. Just as the

seasons of nature change and make

life interesting, the changes in our lives

keep us from getting bored. Some

people prefer lots of change while

others prefer less change. We know

the “art of enjoying change” when we

view changes as part of God’s plan for

our lives and trust that He loves us and

will always be with us. •

To download the full Adaptability lesson for

free, visit KidsOfIntegrity.com today!

CREDIT ©GABRIEL TK (GABI) BUCATARU / STOCKSY UNITED

6

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

JUNE / JULY 2022


CLIMBERS / HACKS & FACTS

staircase safety

When our first son was little, he tried to descend

the stairs on his forearms, face first. We taught

him to come down backward, feet first and on

his belly. We helped him to move his hands down

a step and then to move his knees down a step.

We’d say “hand, hand, knee, knee” and touch or

move his hands and knees as we spoke to show

him how it worked.

—Carol Bradfield

climbing corner

My husband and I created a climbing corner. We got a plastic

climbing gym with a slide, and then surrounded it with a soft

mat and lots of pillows. We encouraged our son to climb the

gym and pointed out what kept him safe while climbing. For

example, “You’re holding on with two hands while climbing!”

Anytime he wanted to climb other areas of the house, we

redirected him to this climbing space so his need for activity

could be met but in a safe and controlled area.

—Autumn Shaffer

soft stairs

Children 9 months to 3 years

of age fracture their tibia (large

bone in lower leg) so often the

injury received a medical name

in 1964: toddler’s fracture.

source: Journal of the American Medical Association

I taught my kids to safely climb stairs on our carpeted staircase.

I also set up couch cushions in a stair-step structure so that they

could experiment with going up and down on a safe, soft surface.

—Elizabeth James

DALIA AWAD

Some babies find the lure

of heights irresistible,

and they will startle you with their ability to scale lowlevel

furniture, stairs or even combinations of pillows and

stuffed animals to explore the upper atmosphere of a

room. A few climbers will carry out remarkable acts of

problem-solving in their efforts to gain increased elevation.

Unfortunately, their interest in heights will not be matched

by an appreciation of the discomfort caused by a fall.

source: ong>Focusong> on the Family Complete Guide to Baby & Child Care, 2001

JUNE / JULY 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 7


HACKS & FACTS / FAMILY FUN

CANDY CONTEST

We asked each of our children this question: “If you could

pick one candy to eat for the rest of your life, which one

would you pick?”

We told them they had to be able to give three reasons

why theirs was the best choice. Then we went to the store,

and everyone picked a candy. We took individual pictures

showcasing our candy selections and posted them with our

rationale on Facebook.

We asked our friends to vote on which member of our

family had the best taste in candy. Our kids got excited each

time a friend voted for their selection. It kept them laughing

and smiling for an entire day. We might repeat this activity

with our favorite beverage, restaurant or movie.

—Anthony Ceder

zoo cam creations

Watching live zoo cameras online has been

entertaining for our kids and provides a great

basis for many different hands-on projects.

Choosing an animal to draw, paint, build a clay

model of or write a story about a “Day in the Life”

of the observed animal are ways to extend the

learning while still having fun.

—Sadie Greever

puppet performances

We created a puppet theater by stretching

a colorful curtain on a tension rod across a

doorframe. My daughter either authored her

own script or chose from favorite books or Bible

stories. Then she selected stuffed animals or

created puppets to serve as characters.

When we heard “Showtime! Please take your

seats,” the rest of the family displayed our best

audience manners and enjoyed the show. Before

performances began, we popped popcorn and

blinked the lights as theater protocol demands.

Our little actor beamed and curtsied even

through moments when yarn hair or a puppet

nose fell off. We recorded the performances and

sent them to grandparents, who also enjoyed the

great entertainment.

—Jeannie Waters

DRAWING

FROM THE PAST

Kids can call an elderly friend or family member and

ask him or her to share the most trying times he or she

experienced, both personally and nationally. If possible,

record the call.

Then, kids draw a picture of the event or write a short

essay or poem based on their conversations. Listening

to firsthand accounts from others who have survived

many crises—from wars and epidemics to economic

hardships—teaches our kids to keep hope alive even in

trying times.

As a special gift, frame the picture and give it to the

elder as a keepsake.

—Tom and Lisa Frye

(TOP TO BOTTOM) ©KRISTEN CURETTE & DAEMAINE HINES, ©OLGA MOREIRA / STOCKSY UNITED

8

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

JUNE / JULY 2022


FAMILY FUN / HACKS & FACTS

BUBBLE BATH BREAK

To smooth a rough afternoon, I fill up the bathtub.

This creates a novelty that can stop a tantrum dead in

its tracks.

Here are two ways we turn baths into a fun activity:

Beach Day. We don swimsuits, spread out beach

towels, wear floaties, put on goggles and add pool

toys.

Ice Cube Bath. My kids are fascinated with chasing

ice cubes in the bath and watching them melt away.

—Anna Daugherty

(TOP TO BOTTOM) ©JESSICA BYRUM, ©AMY DRUCKERAMY DRUCKER / STOCKSY UNITED

fun with science

Our family does fun and easy science experiments.*

Some of our favorites include a walking water

rainbow, magic milk, relighting candle tricks and a

super cool ash “snake” made from sugar, sand and

soda. Our kids love trying to figure out what will

happen and often repeat the experiment several

times. Sure, I sneak in a little learning time, quickly

explaining the scientific reaction, but mostly these

times are pure fun!

—Julia Springman

* Search for kid-friendly ideas on the internet

or go to page 38 for fun, family science experiments.

baby

exercises

INDOOR GARDEN

For indoor fun, I lay my

baby over the top of

an exercise ball, on her

tummy or on her back.

I hold her legs and place a

bracing hand on her back

or tummy for support

and gently rock her side

to side or back and forth.

It’s a calming exercise

and offers developmental

benefits.

—Cori Salchert

We scavenged around for containers that could be used as

planters and decorated them. Then we filled the containers

with soil using plastic bags as tarps to mitigate the mess.

Next, we gathered tomatoes, green onions and peppers

from our refrigerator. We cut the tomatoes and peppers in

half and partially buried them in the soil. We cut the roots

and bulbs off the green onions (saving the tops for eating)

and planted these in different pots. We now have a little

indoor garden. The kids are responsible for watering, and

when the sprouts grow into plants, they’ll do the pruning

and harvesting as well.

—Paige Upton

JUNE / JULY 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 9


HACKS & FACTS / NEW BABY

being a

big sister

To help my 3-year-old daughter

develop some autonomy,

we began a routine where she

got to pick one activity a day

to do with her little brother.

When her brother was a baby,

this was simply a song she

wanted to sing or a silly face

she wanted to make. As he got

older, it involved games they

could play (such as peekaboo)

or picture books to share. Now

she is 5 and he is almost 2, and

we still use this routine since

he loves the time with his sissy.

—Autumn Shaffer

NEW BOOK

There’s an exciting new book

to share in the “Otter B” series

called Otter B Hopeful.

Shop.ong>Focusong>OnTheFamily.ca

hand-holding practice

With our first two children, I would walk into stores

holding hands with 4-year-old Sarah on one side and

2-year-old Jonathan on the other. When we were

expecting our third child, we started practicing how

we would walk when their new brother arrived.

I would pretend to hold the baby or the car seat in my

right hand, and I would hold Jonathan’s right hand

and Sarah would hold his left. The kids enjoyed practicing,

and it made the changeover easy when little

Daniel came along.

BOOK TIME

A book was never far from

reach whenever I nursed our

infant daughter, Beka. Those

simple, intimate moments

morphed into reading times

with Joel, our 3-year-old son.

He’d lean into my arm and

study each page as I read a

variety of books. As a mom, I

found comfort knowing both

children reaped the rewards of

being read to.

—Kristi Woods

—Jesse Neve

VNMOCKUP / STOCK.ADOBE.COM

10

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

JUNE / JULY 2022


NEW BABY / HACKS & FACTS

DAUGHTER

DATES WITH

MOM AND DAD

My daughter appreciated that dates

were an important part of grownup

relationships, so she was thrilled

to be invited on “dates” with Mom

or Dad after being told that baby

brother was too little to join in.

The date didn’t have to be elaborate;

it was all about time together.

Sometimes I took her out for a hot

chocolate, while my husband preferred

to take her on an adventure

bike ride. Even a home date with

a tasty snack and a board game

was lots of fun. Putting the date on

the calendar helped us to follow

through, but at times a spontaneous

date worked just as well.

These one-on-one dates gave us

bonding time that reminded her she

was no less special to us now that

there was another child. One day I

saw her cuddling her new brother

and quietly telling him, “Maybe one

day when you are bigger, you can

go on dates with Mom and Dad, too.”

—Julia Springman

PREPARE YOUR TODDLER

FOR THE NEW BABY!

Bringing home a new baby can make some

toddlers feel unsure about their place in the

family. Create a special scrapbook to remind

your child that he or she is valued and loved.

ong>Focusong>OnTheFamily.ca/NewBaby

toddler photographer

When our new baby came home, our 3-yearold

didn’t just become the big sister. She also

became our family photographer. To help her

adjust to all the attention the new baby was

getting, we kept her involved by having her snap

photos throughout the day using my wife’s

phone. When I got home from work, my toddler

proudly showed me all of the pictures she’d

taken. To make sure the new baby wasn’t always

the star in the pictures, my wife snapped some

pictures of big sister and baby brother together.

One caveat: Naptime doesn’t always work out,

especially when big sister stars in a video of

herself singing a lullaby at the top of her lungs.

—Jared Hottenstein

©SWEENSHOTS & SHAYMONE / STOCKSY UNITED

JUNE / JULY 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 11


MEDIA / PLUGGED IN

UPCOMING

REVIEWS

For reviews of these and other

titles, visit PluggedIn.com, ong>Focusong>

on the Family’s media review and

discernment website.

My teen has gotten into

dystopian novels lately. Can

you help me understand the

appeal of fiction that involves

oppressive societies?

We don’t have to look far to see that

dystopian novels are hugely popular

among teens. Trilogies such as “The

Hunger Games” and “Divergent” are

still widely read, and newer book series such as

“Skyward” and “The Cure Chronicles” are on bestseller

lists. So, what’s the draw, especially since this

genre can be pretty bleak?

First, these stories often serve as a psychological

outlet for teens processing the real world’s

chaos. In times of social unrest and strife, dystopian

tales—which generally are set in a

post-apocalyptic future—actually become more

popular. (The same is true for things like horror

and zombie movies.) My thought is that readers

and viewers can project fears about our world

onto a fictional one, creating an emotional

release valve for their anxiety.

Second, these stories typically involve young

heroes moving from helplessness to empowerment

as they take on broken world systems.

(Consider Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger

Games” and Beatrice Prior in “Divergent.”) The

underlying implication: Only the young have the

moral clarity and determination to fix a world

that adults have broken.

Finally, these young protagonists, often teens,

explore important identity questions. Admittedly,

there’s usually plenty of darkness in dystopian

stories. But there’s almost always a spark of hope,

too, one that’s kindled and fanned into flame by

these admirable young characters confronting

the evil systems of power arrayed against them.

—Adam Holz, director of Plugged In

THOR:

LOVE AND

THUNDER

Will Marvel’s string

of sequels refrain

from delving into

grittier material?

Scheduled release:

July 8

BULLET

TRAIN

Can the movie

version of this

bestselling

assassin story stay

on the rails?

Scheduled release:

July 29

LIGHTYEAR

Does Buzz’s origin

story capture the

innocence of the

original toy flick?

Scheduled release:

June 17

(TOP TO BOTTOM) MARVEL; DISNEY; COLUMBIA PICTURES

12

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

JUNE / JULY 2022


Couples

OUR WEEKLY

CONNECTION

A marriage insight from

Bethany McIlrath

PHOTO BY CARISSA ROGERS

EVERY SUNDAY NIGHT,

my husband and I ask each other two

questions during our bedtime routine:

“What is God calling you to be faithful

in this week?” and “How can I help you

with that?” Then we pray for each other,

according to how we’ve answered. This

helps us remember that our time and

tasks belong to the Lord and shows

us how we can encourage each other

even amid a busy week. •

Bethany McIlrath and her husband, Matt, have

been married nine years and love witnessing

God’s faithfulness together.

Matt and Bethany

McIlrath

JUNE / JULY 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 13


COUPLES / CONNECTION

©MATTIA / STOCKSY UNITED

14

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

JUNE / JULY 2022


CONNECTION / COUPLES

Refresh and reignite your relationship

BY LISA JACOBSON

I BELIEVE THERE ARE

TWO TYPES of people in this

world: those who like plenty of pillows

and those who don’t. I fall into the

first category. My husband, Matt, falls

into the second one. This matter of

pillow-collecting has been a source of

disagreement for our entire 29 years

of marriage.

Almost every night, as I cross the bedroom

to crawl into my cozy bed, Matt

will start pitching pillows at me, as if we

were at the state fair and this was one

of those carnival games where he could

win a giant stuffed panda. I’ve tried

to tell him this is extremely immature

behavior, but he refuses to listen—especially

as I can’t stop giggling, no matter

how many thousands of times we’ve

played this silly game. It’s ridiculous.

But it’s also rather sweet. Because

no matter what we’ve been through,

we usually end the day on a happy

note of laughter.

Our older kids, who are now grown

and moved away, tell us that this is

one of their favorite memories growing

up—the sound of Dad and Mom laughing

at bedtime. No matter what was

going on in their lives, all seemed right

with the world when they heard our

laughter at night—the happy sound of

two people who love each other.

But there was more than just pillow

tosses that bonded us. Later, I recognized

my part in exploring ways to

kindle the spark between us. With a little

creativity and effort from me, flirting

became a natural part of our marriage.

Be intentional

Pillow fights and other forms of playfulness

might feel far from your marriage

right now. If you’re too busy, too

stressed or simply too serious, laughter,

delight and even desire may feel elusive.

I understand those challenges. I’m

inclined to rate my own marriage’s

success by the number of tasks I cross

off my list rather than the things that

bring joy into our relationship. I focus

on what needs to be done more than

what makes my husband and me feel

like lovers.

After all, he, too, was once weighed

down and distracted with his own

worries. While keeping up with the

demands of the day, we didn’t have

much energy left for the night.

I longed for more sweetness and a

brighter spark between us. Yet I didn’t

know how to communicate what I

wanted—even needed—from him and

our relationship. Until I experienced

the power of pursuit.

Ignite the fire

My little experiment started informally

about seven years into our

marriage after finding myself feeling

drab and lonely, struggling with the

noisy demands of having four young

children. One evening, Matt came

home late from work and warmly

wrapped his arms around me while

I stood at the stove preparing dinner.

However, feeling worn out and

annoyed, I carelessly shrugged him

off. I couldn’t help noticing how his

shoulders drooped as he backed

away. >>>

JUNE / JULY 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 15


COUPLES / CONNECTION

LISTEN NOW!

Hear from Mark and Susan Merrill

as they talk about connecting as

a couple amid the demands of a

busy schedule.

ong>Focusong>OnTheFamily.ca/Radio

What if I didn’t brush him off? I

thought. What if I turned around and

leaned into him instead? I learned the

answer when I whipped around and

pressed my body against his . . . and

the kitchen nearly caught fire with our

spontaneous passion.

At the time, I’d been quietly blaming

my husband for the dull rut we’d

found ourselves in. But that evening it

dawned on me that maybe I needed to

do things differently—and that I could

do things differently.

I thought back to how my husband

and I interacted when we were first dating:

the way I talked to him, touched

him and even looked at him. Nothing

that cost too much or took a lot of time.

Just simple things that communicated

I like you and You’re the one I want.

Beginning to flirt again

What are those little things that used

to bring warmth and closeness to

your relationship? And this is not only

about date night or even sex, but also

loving gestures, such as sweet smiles,

soft touches, kind words and laughing

together. These mini flirtations can be

powerful points of connection in your

relationship.

As I thought about the small ways to

add more warmth to my marriage,

I listed 30 or more ideas I could use to

intentionally pursue my husband with

my heart, mind, body and words. Then

I wrote out a specific plan for each one

and put the plan in motion. I called it

“The Flirtation Experiment.”

As I began implementing my ideas,

I found that this new, more flirtatious

dynamic in our relationship improved

our overall communication and made

it easier to work through even the

harder stuff. It somehow brought us

closer, leading us to an even deeper

connection—and turning everyday situations

into true romance.

If you’re looking for ways to refresh

and reignite your marriage, try a flirtation

experiment of your own.

©ROB AND JULIA CAMPBELL / STOCKSY UNITED

16

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

JUNE / JULY 2022


CONNECTION / COUPLES

If pillow fights aren’t your thing, initiate

a water fight or play a harmless prank.

Try out a new pun or determine to

laugh at his latest dad joke. Play a game

together, playfully tease or even just

wink at him from across the room.

Make it a practice to stroke his arm or touch the

back of his neck whenever you walk past him.

Rather than the usual quick kiss, linger on his

lips for a few seconds . . . or more. Reach for a

warm hug or offer an affectionate squeeze.

THE FLIRTATION

EXPERIMENT

Restore the spark

to your marriage!

Writing for newlyweds

or longtime loving

spouses, authors Lisa

Jacobson and Phylicia

Masonheimer believe

flirtation in marriage

forges closeness and

intimacy between

husband and wife.

Shop.ong>Focusong>OnThe

Family.ca

Consider giving him a compliment every day

for a week. Tell him how handsome, strong or

smart he is. Notice the good things he does or

what you appreciate about him. Add a loving

smile whenever possible.

You can never go wrong with bringing in more

kissing or building him up with your words. But

don’t stop there. Let your imagination create

experiments that expressly fit your relationship.

©MAKINGULTIMATE XIAO / STOCKSY UNITED

My hope is that if you do your own flirtation

experiment, you’ll find the power of

pursuing love. The fun of flirting with your

spouse is only the beginning of something

truly beautiful for both of you. •

Lisa Jacobson is the co-author of The Flirtation

Experiment and founder of Club31Women.

JUNE / JULY 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 17


COUPLES / CONFLICT

at an impasse

Navigating difficult

decisions as a couple

BY AIMEE JOSEPH

ILLUSTRATION BY DOROTHY LEUNG

AGAINST THE BACKDROP

of the COVID-19 pandemic, my husband,

G’Joe, and I debated whether to

visit his father, who lived in another

state. Was it wiser to forgo our trip to

protect his father, who was at a greater

risk of getting COVID? Or was it more

important to spend time with him,

given his deteriorating condition from a

decade of battling Parkinson’s disease?

We spent countless hours praying,

processing, studying Scripture and seeking

wise counsel. Yet every time we tried

to untie the knotty decision, the more

tangled and complicated it became.

Every couple eventually comes to an

impasse over a difficult decision. The

obvious goal of decision-making as

a couple is to reach a conclusion that

both spouses feel good about. A less

obvious but equally important goal is to

better understand and appreciate each

other’s thought processes and insights.

The tool G’Joe and I used to overcome

our decision-making impasse

came from a counseling friend, Dave

Friese, and it’s called the AVEnue of

communication, that is, establishing a

pathway toward deeper understanding.

AVE (an acronym for acknowledge,

validate and explore) invites each person

to slow down reactions and seek

to understand before seeking to be

understood. Here’s how the AVEnue of

communication works:

18

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

JUNE / JULY 2022


Acknowledge

The first step for overcoming an

impasse about a difficult decision is to

identify the complexities of the decision,

including the underlying emotions that

may be keeping you from reaching a

solution. Then verbalize that you’re on

the same team.

Simply acknowledging that neither

of us had previously lived through a

pandemic helped G’Joe and me extend

grace to each other as we waded

through our emotions of fear, grief,

confusion and anxiety. That enabled

us to inch our way toward deeper

understanding and a resolution to

our impasse.

Validate

The second step in overcoming an

impasse is to validate your partner’s

experience. For example, choosing

to postpone our trip seemed like

a reasonable solution to me, but it

wasn’t a simple decision for G’Joe.

Affirming the other person’s point of

view helped. G’Joe needed me to recognize

his sense of urgency about

seeing his father while he still could.

I needed him to understand my fear

of giving his father a dangerous illness

and experiencing guilt and regret as

a result.

As limited, fallible people, we can’t

see the future or control circumstances

and the unforeseen consequences

of our decisions. We can only wrestle,

pray, fast and move forward in our

decision-making. Validating each

other’s feelings and perspectives

allows us to move forward together.

Explore

The final step for overcoming a decisionmaking

impasse is to explore solutions

together. Taking the time to more fully

understand each other’s concerns,

perspectives and emotions will better

enable you to come up with a creative

solution that could be a win-win. G’Joe

and I asked questions to help us better

understand each other’s concerns so

we could explore creative solutions.

In the end, we decided to shorten

our trip and fly early in the morning so

the plane and airport likely would be

less crowded. We also agreed to wear

masks whenever we were within 6 feet

of my father-in-law.

The decision-making impasse my

husband and I experienced could

have driven a deep wedge between us;

instead, it brought us closer together.

While the AVEnue of communication

didn’t make our decision for us, it

gave us the tools we needed to find a

win-win solution. •

Aimee Joseph is the author of Demystifying

Decision-Making. Her desire is to see women

grow in their love for God.

The

Hope

Restored

marriage counselling

retreat

A biblically based program

to restore and rebuild

your marriage

Call us today

to find out more

1.833.999.HOPE (4673)

HopeRestoredCanada.ca


COUPLES / COMMITMENT

a marriage of

convenience

Could a marriage

that started as an

agreement between

two strangers survive?

BY THOMAS JEFFRIES

Denis and Joyce

IT WAS COLD, clear and hopeless the night Denis

left. The moon was bright and his heart bereft. The temperature

hovered around 30 below when he finally stepped

outside and shut the door to the past. Denis didn’t want

to leave, not really, but that’s what they had decided, he

and the woman he’d married out of convenience. They’d

agreed that it just wasn’t working, that they were both tired

of the harsh words and the horrible fights.

To be fair, it was mutual—the arguing and namecalling—but

Joyce was the one who kept bringing it up:

the idea that she didn’t need Denis, never had, and that

things would be better if he walked out the door and

didn’t come back. Denis eventually agreed—or at least

accepted—that it was time to go, so he packed his bags.

He filled up the water for Joyce and their two little girls.

He stocked up on propane for the stove, gas for the lanterns

and coal for the heaters.

Their cabin in the Alaskan wilderness had no phone,

no running water and no electricity, but at least his

young family wouldn’t freeze to death in the dark. At

least not right away.

So Denis trudged through the snow to his pickup

truck—the family’s only vehicle. The nearest road was 3

miles away, the nearest town several miles farther. Even

if he had looked back, there were no windows on that

wall of the cabin; no way to see if Joyce was watching

him one last time.

“I stood out there in the driveway looking up at the

moon,” Denis says, “incredulous that I was leaving my

wife and children. I sensed the wasted years and briefly

thought, What will I do now?

“I felt like a portion of my body was being torn away. I

said something to God; I’m not sure what. I wasn’t angry,

just sad and defeated.”

JANA BUTMAN

20

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

JUNE / JULY 2022


COMMITMENT / COUPLES

A business arrangement

It was never supposed to go this far, to

last this long. From the day they met,

Denis says, the relationship was little

more than a business arrangement.

He joined the Air Force in 1976,

Joyce a year or so later, and in 1978

they ended up in the same squadron

at Elmendorf Air Force Base in

Anchorage, Alaska. The military itself

wasn’t bad, but they both despised

the accommodations.

“I hated living in the barracks,” Joyce

says. “We had to eat in the chow hall,

and it was like high school all over again.

I didn’t belong to a group and had no

one to sit with. It was so awkward.”

Denis wanted out, too, and he had

a plan. Not only did married couples

get to live off base, they also received

extra pay for the added living expenses.

No more barracks, no more communal

bathroom, and—bonus!—no more

chow hall. Marriage, Denis figured, was

his ticket to some semblance of freedom.

It took two to work the system, however,

so Denis began making his way

through the squadron housing in

search of a co-conspirator. He racked

up quite a few rejections before arriving

at one of the last rooms on the

women’s floor.

“There was a knock at my door,” Joyce

says, “and there stood a man who asked

if I’d be interested in marrying him for

the purpose of moving off base and collecting

more pay. He said all the right

words to pique my interest. My only

real thought was to get out of the barracks.

I did think he was nice-looking,

but I honestly didn’t put too much

thought into what I was doing.”

They went on precisely one date—

Leroy’s Pancake House—where they

hashed out the particulars. Their biggest

decision was to wait until their

next payday. And so it was, on Jan. 16,

1979, that Joyce paused in mopping the

latrines, changed into her creamcolored

dress with the floral pattern

and headed to the courthouse with

Denis and the required two witnesses.

The ceremony was brief, and Denis

perspired profusely—but that’s about

it. They said their vows without intending

to keep them. There were no rings,

no photographers, no name changes

and no congratulations.

They emerged from the courthouse

to find their car stuck in the snow.

“Denis pushed while I tried to drive,”

Joyce says. “After some sweating and

swearing, we headed back to the base

where I resumed my cleaning duties.

And that was my wedding day.”

Decision time

The relationship was designed to

fail. As soon as one of them (it didn’t

matter which) received a new duty

assignment, the marriage would

dissolve, no questions asked. >>>

PHOTOS COURTESY OF JOYCE AND DENIS

Joyce and their daughter Lillian

hunting grouse by their cabin in 1982 Denis hunting in the winter of 1982

JUNE / JULY 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 21


COUPLES / COMMITMENT

Joyce and Denis renewing their marriage

vows for their 10 year anniversary

The whole family together in 2019

Joyce and their daughter

Jenny Rose in 1983

Their two daughters, Lillian and

Jenny, at their cabin in 1984

22

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

JUNE / JULY 2022


COMMITMENT / COUPLES

Divorce wasn’t part of the plan; it was

the entire plan.

The whole separate bedrooms thing

lasted maybe a few weeks. Maybe.

After all, they were young, living

together and legally married. What

could possibly be wrong with sharing a

bed? The good times were so good that

when it came time for Denis to transfer,

he chose a discharge rather than

leave Joyce behind.

“All was fun and games until I got

pregnant,” Joyce says. “Denis and I

decided we needed to be married for

real for the sake of the baby. That decision

ruined everything.”

Expectations shifted. Priorities

changed. Denis had very distinct ideas

about what a spouse should do, and

Joyce had a few of her own. And when

Denis didn’t meet those expectations,

she made sure to let him know.

They fought without ceasing, Joyce

says. The baby came, and they argued.

Joyce got out of the military, and they

argued. They built a cabin near Healy,

Alaska, and they argued. They had

a second daughter, and they argued

some more.

“We argued about everything,” Joyce

says. “About parenting the kids. About

money, which we didn’t have any of.

And all the time we would say—especially

me—‘I don’t need you. I’m

going to get that divorce we said we

were going to get.’ ”

They can’t even recall what they disagreed

about in December 1983, but

it must have been a doozy, because

just before Christmas Joyce took the

girls and went to see Denis’ parents in

Montana. By the time she returned to

Alaska in January, the couple were no

longer speaking.

“We had already agreed prior to her

coming back that I was going to leave,”

Denis says. “We had been married five

years, and I couldn’t believe that I was

throwing this away.”

Joyce’s bravado evaporated the

moment the cabin door shut behind

Denis. The harsh reality of her situation

presented itself, and hopelessness

took over. Denis was still out there in

his truck, but Joyce didn’t move. She

could have asked him to come back

inside, but she didn’t. Pride wouldn’t

let her. Fear of rejection wouldn’t allow

it. Instead, she crumpled to the floor

and wept.

How long was Denis out there, sitting

in his truck? Maybe 10 minutes. Maybe

30. Neither one remembers for sure.

The couple had become Christians a

few years prior, mostly out of desperation,

but Denis says the Lord’s presence

that night was undeniable. All he can

say for sure is that God impressed upon

him the need to go back.

“So I did. I walked back in the house,

and I know the tenor of our conversation

completely changed that night.”

Another chance

Joyce remembers Denis opening the

door. He asked if they could talk. The

old Joyce wanted to say she didn’t need

him. The new Joyce felt only relief.

“I felt like we were given another

chance,” she says. “God met us at that

moment.”

For once they didn’t argue. Not only

did they talk that evening, but they

kept on talking.

“In those days,” Denis says, “we

made two decisions: We were going to

take this Christian life seriously, and

we were never going to use the word

divorce again.”

Change came slowly at first, but they

were committed to making it work.

They had a son in 1984 and another

in 1987. They moved to Fairbanks and

found a good church and good friends,

some of whom introduced them to

ong>Focusong> on the Family.

“We subscribed to ong>Focusong> on the

Family magazine, and I started learning

about what it means to be a Christian

home,” Joyce says. “Things that were

important to the family—eating meals

and sharing that time together . . .

spending a lot of time with your children

and doing family devotions.”

Denis can still recall tuning in to the

ong>Focusong> radio broadcast every day at

4 p.m. “Believe it or not,” he adds, “I

also loved Adventures in Odyssey, and

I still listen to it.”

Joyce and Denis now have 19 grandchildren

and counting. In 2013, several

of them were living in Colorado, which

gave Joyce the perfect excuse to stop by

ong>Focusong> on the Family’s headquarters in

Colorado Springs. That visit, she says,

brought her to tears.

“It was special for me because ong>Focusong>

is so much about preserving families

and helping them prosper. And my

family was one of those.” •

HOPE RESTORED

No matter what you’re going through,

there’s still hope for your marriage!

HopeRestoredCanada.ca

JUNE / JULY 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 23


COUPLES / CELEBRATION

a favorite anniversary

How my husband and I celebrated

and made a family memory

BY JESSE NEVE

“WHAT DID YOU DO on your

anniversary?” a friend asked.

“The six of us went out to dinner at

the restaurant where Dave and I had

our first date.”

This statement produced a quizzical

look.

“You brought your kids on your anniversary

date?”

Yes, we did. And it was fantastic.

Celebrating together

All of our children, who were in high

school and college at the time, happened

to be home and available on our

anniversary. My husband, Dave, and

I thought it would be a great opportunity

for the six of us to celebrate

together at the restaurant where he

and I had our first date. We’d gone to

that restaurant many times as a couple,

but this time, as we reminisced about

our early days of getting to know each

other, we invited our four favorite people

to join us.

We spent the entire evening sharing

story after story about our first date

and the early days of our relationship.

Of course, our kids had a basic idea of

how things had played out that special

night, but they were eager to learn the

details, including why we had decided

on this restaurant (Dave had a coupon),

what we ordered and where we sat.

A new family memory

During our celebratory meal, Dave

and I shared with our children how

we could see, in retrospect, that God

had been instrumental not only in our

first encounter but also throughout

our relationship. With only a threemonth

window where our paths could

have crossed, everything fell into place

for us, even down to where we were

both living temporarily when we met.

Sharing this early part of our lives with

our kids helped them see us not just as

their parents but as two young adults

beginning life together. It was fun for

them to see us in a different light and

create a new family memory.

Our favorite celebration

This unusual date was worth the curious

looks friends gave me when I

described our “intimate” six-person

anniversary meal. Dave and I felt privileged

to share a night of stories with

our children. Of all the romantic anniversary

dinners we’ve enjoyed over the

years, our 22nd anniversary stands out

as our favorite because we invited our

kids to celebrate with us. •

Jesse Neve is a freelance writer in Minnesota.

©ROB AND JULIA CAMPBELL / STOCKSY UNITED

24

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

JUNE / JULY 2022


Faith & Inspiration

MONKEY CREDIT EMILY TK BUSINESS BRUMLEY / STOCK.ADOBE.COM

the gift of

hospitality

How our retreat

center hosts minister

to those who need

rest and renewal

BY WENDY KITTLITZ

SERVING IN THE BACKGROUND OF OUR

RETREAT MINISTRIES is an amazing group of men and

women without whom we could not do what we do to serve ministry

leaders and married couples.

When ong>Focusong> on the Family Canada began exploring the idea of

adding Hope Restored marriage intensives in addition to our Kerith

Retreats for ministry leaders, we met with one of the leaders from the

ong>Focusong> Marriage Institute in the U.S. who had spent years working in

the hospitality industry.

His words resonated with me as I reflected on my own experiences

of staying in various hotels, resorts and other accommodations:

“When people come to us and see that things have been taken care of

for them, they are able to let go, relax and become able to take in what

they have come there for.” It’s a bit like being able to exhale all the

stored-up tension they have come with.

When ministry leaders come to stay at Kerith Retreats or couples

in very stressed marriages come for our Hope Restored marriage

JUNE / JULY 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 25


FAITH & INSPIRATION / MINISTRY HIGHLIGHT

intensives, they are inevitably feeling

weary, in need of care, to varying

degrees hopeful but not sure what to

expect. Our hosts notice the change

that occurs from the time they walk

through the doors to when they leave.

One told me, “Often guests seem

apprehensive when they arrive, don’t

know what to expect, and leave rested

and encouraged and joyful.”

Upon arrival, they are greeted by

hosts, most often volunteers, who

serve our ministry with the express

purpose of making people’s stays

comfortable and relaxing. They are

shown to beautifully appointed rooms,

advised where to find whatever they

need, and informed of where and

when they will enjoy regular, wonderful

meals and snacks ready and

waiting for them. Can you feel the

exhale?

Biblical hospitality

Hospitality has been defined as “the

friendly and generous reception and

entertainment of guests, visitors or

strangers.” The Bible is filled with

examples of hospitality (see Matthew

25:40; Romans 16:23; 1 Timothy 5:10;

Luke 10:38-42). Hospitality is one of

the qualifications to be an elder in

the church. God’s people are even

commanded to be hospitable:

• “Share with the Lord’s people

who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

(Romans 12:13)

• “Do not forget to show hospitality

to strangers, for by so doing some

people have shown hospitality to

angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews

13:2)

• “Offer hospitality to one another

without grumbling.” (1 Peter 4:9)

Our teams of hosts are outstanding

examples of taking these commands to

heart and putting them into practice.

We truly believe that the practice of

welcoming and serving our guests is

as transformative as the programs

and/or counseling that we offer.

Anxious, stressed people are able to

profoundly relax, rest, let go of their

pain, and gain the mental space to be

refilled with hope, grace and energy

to move forward again, whether back

into ministry life or into healthier

marriages.

I asked several of our hosts what

motivates them to serve in this way.

Here are a few of their responses:

• “Use our gifts to bring joy/nurturing/delight

to those we have been

given the privilege to welcome at

Kerith Retreats.”

• “Our love for enjoyable mealtimes,

for listening well, for bringing some

humor (when appropriate) and joy to

their time here. Our privilege as hosts

is to be praying for the guests as they

are here.”

• “The good feeling I get inside

having guests express genuine appreciation

for the efforts we put into

preparing the meals and going out of

our way to make them feel welcome

and well cared for.”

• “When we retired, we agreed that

Kerith Retreats

When pastors, missionaries and parachurch ministry leaders

are worn out, they often forget crucial truths that keep their

life balanced. Kerith Retreats is designed to reinforce those

truths in a setting where ministry leaders can immediately

put them into practice.

Over the course of seven days, ministry leaders will learn

to recognize their unique stressors and energizers, find

healthy rhythms in life amidst the busyness, explore how

God can be present even in depression, grief and loss, and

understand the value of soul care.

Learn more at KerithRetreats.ca

26

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

JUNE / JULY 2022


MINISTRY HIGHLIGHT / FAITH & INSPIRATION

Hope Restored

Couples in crisis often feel that they have nowhere to turn

for help or that things have deteriorated so much that their

only option is divorce. But what if God did a miracle? The

Hope Restored marriage intensive program is specifically

designed to help couples in crisis.

Over the course of three to five days, couples spend 20

to 32 hours with our marriage therapists who are trained to

deal with a variety of challenges, including communication

issues, infidelity, blended families, career conflicts and more.

Learn more at HopeRestoredCanada.ca

Manitoba retreat center

just outside of Winnipeg

HALFPOINT / STOCK.ADOBE.COM

we wanted to remain useful and think

of others not just ourselves.”

• “I find great satisfaction when I

have the opportunity to exercise my

God-given gift of helping and serving.”

• “We know how important it is for

leaders to be served, have down time,

and be encouraged.”

• “We simply get to show God’s love

in a way that makes our guests feel safe

and valued and we’re rewarded by the

sheer joy of being part of something

so life-changing and God-honoring.”

Having an impact

Hosts report that guests have been

touched by the extra special touches

they provide. One host recalls a man

who loved coffee being especially

appreciative that she made him a

special coffee. Another remembers

putting together a special little gift

basket for a couple who were spending

time alone together in the great

room at the lodge. Ministry leaders

retreats include a dinner where each

couple is served privately in an

intimate setting and one guest said,

“We felt like you washed our feet.”

Other hosts feel warmed by the

appreciation expressed by guests

with food allergies whose needs were

graciously accommodated by the

hosts’ food preparation. Most of our

hosts are couples, while others are

friends and we even have one team of

brothers! In each case, the warm and

loving interaction of the hosts with

one another has often been a source

of inspiration and encouragement for

guests as well.

From the first greeting at the door, to

serving up delicious, nutritious meals,

to addressing unique needs attentively,

to being a warm, welcoming presence

as well as a listening ear and praying

intently for each guest, our hosts create

an atmosphere that allows guests to

be in a space to receive what God has

prepared for them during their time

with us.

One host shared, “There is something

transformative that takes place

when we come to the table to enjoy

great food together—even in the company

of strangers.” The first meal

together are groups of guests as strangers.

But by their last meal together, so

much has changed. Friendships have

formed, warmth has been exchanged,

healing is happening, and mutual support

has been experienced. Hospitality

is the foundation upon which all of this

happens.

As the leader of this program, I am

profoundly thankful for the people

who graciously serve our ministry in

this way. This is an invaluable and

indispensable component of our programs.

While people with leadership

gifts are often more visible in our ministry

programs, it is these servants with

gifts of hospitality and service that

truly touch people.

In every area of your life, from your

marriage to your parenting to your

interactions with neighbors, co-workers

and friends, I encourage you to practice

this gift of hospitality. It can make a

bigger difference than you may

realize. •

Wendy Kittlitz is a registered counselor and

vice-president of counseling and care

ministries for ong>Focusong> on the Family Canada.

Wendy also oversees both Kerith Retreats and

Hope Restored.

Edited for length and clarity. © 2021 ong>Focusong> on the

Family (Canada) Association. All rights reserved.

JUNE / JULY 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 27


Bringing Biblical Truth

to a Broken Culture

video series

We live in a society that’s often at odds with biblical truth, and it’s not always

clear how to share the gospel in a way that’s meaningful to others around us.

Like many people, you may be wondering How can I make a difference?

Join renowned Bible teacher and historian Ray Vander Laan for

a free, five-part video series that helps answer that question! Ray

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Let Ray show you how!

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ong>Focusong>OnTheFamily.ca/BrokenCulture


SCIENCE / FAITH & INSPIRATION

a fine-tuned

cosmos and the

hand of the Creator

BY SUBBY SZTERSZKY

GUILLERMO FERLA / UNSPLASH; (PATTERN) YOUANDIGRAPHICS / ENVATO ELEMENTS

THREE MILLENNIA AGO, an Ancient

Near Eastern monarch gazed up at the night sky in

wonder, and it stirred his poetic soul.

“The heavens declare the glory of God,” he wrote,

“and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day

to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals

knowledge” (Psalm 19:1-2).

For believers, it’s easy to resonate with King

David’s awe in the face of cosmic beauty, and to

recognize that it points to something beyond itself.

The heavens do, indeed, declare the glory of God.

But David goes farther, claiming the skies show

God’s handiwork and display His knowledge.

These statements reflect the direct experience of

the senses but also speak to the mind. They almost

sound like they might fit under the banner of scientific

inquiry, if we may use that modern term in

such an archaic context.

And so they have proven to do, with increasing

clarity. The cosmos, as it turns out, is not only

beautiful but also exquisitely fine-tuned. Its

physical properties are so carefully—and improbably—arranged

that they point without mistake to

the hand of a cosmic Designer.

Cosmic fine-tuning, in brief

Modern physicists and astronomers have discovered

that the odds against the universe existing

in its present form by pure chance are, well,

astronomical. In fact, they’re far, far beyond

astronomical.

The cosmos is built on a complex set of physical

laws and constants, and on relationships between

fundamental forces, all of which possess infinitesimally

specific values. Even the slightest deviation in

any of these values, and the universe as we know it

could not exist, much less support life.

The strength and ratios of the four basic universal

forces—strong nuclear force, weak nuclear force,

electromagnetic force and gravitational force

JUNE / JULY 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 29


FAITH & INSPIRATION / SCIENCE

—must be exactly as they are for elements,

stars, planets and galaxies to

exist. The same goes for the cosmological

constant, the mass density of the

universe and the expansion rate of the

universe, among others.

It’s common to use the phrase “one

in a million” to describe something

so unlikely as to be virtually impossible.

But the level of specificity—of

fine-tuning—for these various laws

and constants ranges from 1 in 10^37

(that’s 10 followed by 37 zeroes) to

1 in 10^120 (or 10 followed by 120

zeroes).

The numbers become practically

meaningless without an analogy.

Taking the “best bet” of the lot (1 in

10^37, the required degree of precision

for both the strong nuclear force and

the expansion rate of the universe),

astrophysicist Hugh Ross compares it

to covering North America with dimes,

piling the dimes up to the moon,

repeating the process with a billion

North Americas, and then finding one

specific marked dime, blindfolded.

Pick any other dime, and the universe

we know and live in ceases to exist.

Or according to physicist-philosopher

Robin Collins, imagine a measuring

tape stretched across the entire

known universe, with a single mark

representing the acceptable value of

the force of gravity. Move that mark

by one inch—on a tape spanning the

whole universe—and said universe

could never be formed.

As theoretical physicist Michio Kaku

sums it up, “it’s shocking to find how

many of the familiar constants of the

universe lie within a very narrow band

that makes life possible. If a single one

of these accidents were altered, stars

would never form, the universe would

fly apart, DNA would not exist, life as

we know it would be impossible, Earth

would flip over or freeze, and so on.”

Such precise fine-tuning in the

foundational properties of the cosmos

offers compelling evidence that it was

designed for a purpose. And the evidence

for design would indicate the

presence of a Designer.

In the words of Nobel Prize-winning

physicist Charles Townes, “Intelligent

design, as one sees it from a scientific

point of view, seems to be quite real.

This is a very special universe: it’s

remarkable that it came out just this

way. If the laws of physics weren’t just

the way they are, we couldn’t be here

at all. The sun couldn’t be there, the

laws of gravity and nuclear laws and

magnetic theory, quantum mechanics,

and so on have to be just the way they

are for us to be here.”

A problem

for materialist

cosmologies

As far as the evidence from astronomy and physics goes, there’s nothing

controversial about these observations of cosmic fine-tuning. As physicist

Paul Davies notes, “Everyone agrees that the universe looks as if it was

designed for life.”

Disputes arise, however, not over the science but because of metaphysical

assumptions. Materialist cosmologies insist the universe has no

design, and certainly no Designer, but came about through sheer chance

via random natural processes. But for such cosmologies, the evident

fine-tuning in the cosmos poses a serious problem.

One way to deal with the problem is simply to ignore it. Materialists

will double down on their belief in chance because for them, it’s the only

acceptable explanation. They’ll claim the appearance of design in the

cosmos is merely that—an appearance, an illusion that in no way necessitates

a Designer.

But such assertions fly in the face of reason and experience, to say

nothing of the evidence. The extreme remote probabilities inherent in

cosmic fine-tuning rule out pure chance as an organizing principle for the

universe. Moreover, no one would look at a car or smartphone or building

and say, “Sure, it may look like it was designed, but that’s an illusion. It

must’ve assembled itself by random chance. It’s just a coincidence that it

serves a useful purpose.”

ELDAMAR STUDIO / ENVATO ELEMENTS

30

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

JUNE / JULY 2022


SCIENCE / FAITH & INSPIRATION

Another way around the fine-tuning problem for materialists is by appealing

to necessity. The universe with all of its variables, they’ll argue, had to take

shape exactly the way it did because of physical laws. It was still due to chance,

they’d add, only chance constrained by physical necessity, somehow.

This line of argument, however, makes a fatal error regarding the nature of the

cosmos. In metaphysical terms, it fails to recognize that the universe isn’t necessary,

but contingent. The cosmos has a beginning, which means something—or

someone—caused it. As such, the universe doesn’t need to exist in any specific

form. In fact, it doesn’t need to exist at all. There’s no reason why its physical

constants couldn’t have assumed any of a near-infinite number of values, or

none at all.

Besides, where did the physical laws governing the cosmos come from? They

didn’t exist before or outside the universe, and thus couldn’t have constrained

its formation. The only feasible explanation is that they, along with the cosmos

they define, come from the mind and purpose of a Designer.

What about the multiverse?

THEMEFIRE / ENVATO ELEMENTS

By far the most popular option currently

in vogue with materialists to

explain away cosmic fine-tuning is

the multiverse hypothesis. The basic

concept is that our universe is merely

one of an infinite number of universes,

some of which are nearly indistinguishable

from our own, others so alien that

the laws of physics as we experience

them don’t apply.

The implications for a fine-tuned

cosmos are clear, at least in the mind

of multiverse proponents: Given an

infinite number of universes, everything

becomes not only possible but

inevitable. In other words, our universe

not only lucked out against unimaginable

odds but in fact couldn’t avoid

doing so.

However, this is nothing more than

an exercise in stacking the odds. It’s

like a child playing a game, growing

frustrated at his inability to win and

changing the rules so he can’t lose.

Are the odds insurmountable against

our universe arising by chance? No

problem. Just assume the existence of

a multiverse, in which literally every

possibility can and does occur.

It must be kept in mind that there’s

not one iota of evidence for the existence

of other universes, nor indeed

can there be, since by definition we’re

limited to our own universe. And a

growing number of scientists, both

theist and atheist, have come to criticize

the hypothesis for its lack of

scientific rigor.

As cosmologist George F.R. Ellis

points out, “The trouble is that no

possible astronomical observations

can ever see those other universes.

The arguments are indirect at best.

And even if the multiverse exists, it

leaves the deep mysteries of nature

unexplained.”

Theoretical physicist Sabine

Hossenfelder is a tad more blunt in her

assessment: “Universes besides our

own are logically equivalent to gods.

They are unobservable by assumption,

hence they can exist only in a religious

sense. You can believe in them

if you want to, but they are not part of

science.”

Even on its own terms, the concept

fails to account for why a multiverse

would exist. For argument’s sake,

suppose there are infinite multitudes

of universes, each one governed by a

divergent set of physical laws. But once

again, where did those laws and those

universes come from? The multiverse

hypothesis doesn’t know or care. Its

only concern is to deny the necessity

for a Creator. >>>

JUNE / JULY 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 31


FAITH & INSPIRATION / SCIENCE

“The heavens

declare the glory

of God and the sky

above proclaims

his handiwork.”

– Psalm 19:1

download sale

JUNE 25 - JULY 4, 2022

It’s not called the cosmos for nothing

The word “cosmos” comes from the ancient Greeks,

originally meaning good order and arrangement, with

an added sense of harmony and beauty. The English

word “cosmetics” derives from it. And as early as

Pythagoras in the 6th century BC, Greek philosophers,

astronomers and mathematicians began using it to

describe the universe as the created order, a meaning

that has come down to the present.

Clearly, even ancient pagan thinkers shared in the

universal human intuition that the universe is ordered

and arranged by a cosmic Designer. It’s doubly ironic,

then, that many of their modern counterparts invoke

the word that denotes the created order while denying

that it’s either ordered or created.

“By faith we understand that the universe was created

by the word of God,” wrote the author to the

Hebrews, “so that what is seen was not made out of

things that are visible” (Hebrews 11:3).

The discoveries of modern astronomy and physics

only serve to underscore that timeless scriptural truth,

echoed in the hearts and intuitions of all humanity.

Deep-space imagery reveals new vistas of beauty and

grandeur that continue to declare the glory of God.

And beneath the surface, exquisitely fine-tuned cosmic

properties keep pouring out knowledge of God

and displaying His handiwork.

It’s a joy and privilege to live at a time when we can

watch, listen and learn of such things. •

Subby Szterszky is the managing editor of ong>Focusong> on Faith and

Culture, an e-newsletter produced by ong>Focusong> on the Family Canada.

Save on:

numbered audio albums

special audio collections

eBooks from Odyssey

Watch for details at

Shop.ong>Focusong>OnTheFamily.ca

© 2019 ong>Focusong> on the Family (Canada) Association. All rights

reserved.

32

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

JUNE / JULY 2022


Kids & Teens

woodland

explorers

A parenting insight

from Kris Sayler

©RONNIE COMEAU / STOCKSY UNITED

MY FAMILY AND I MOVED from

the Midwest to the East Coast, and our new

home had a densely wooded area behind

our backyard. Our kids had never seen so

many trees in one place. They loved it, and

soon, one of our favorite pastimes became

walking the trails.

Before taking a walk, we’d look up an

animal or plant that was indigenous to our

area. Sometimes we even listened online

to the sounds of specific birds or animals.

Then my children would print pictures of

what they’d picked to look for that day.

On one outing, each child had picked

one or two birds. The goal was to try to see

or hear them. The discussions that we had

about the beauty and variety in God’s creation

are memories that I’ll always treasure.

ong>Focusong>ing on how God loves us in many different

ways—through the world He made for

us—helped us get to know our new area. •

Kris Sayler has four great loves: her Savior, family,

church and God's beautiful nature where she sees

and feels His presence.

JUNE / JULY 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 33


KIDS & TEENS / FAITH AND SCIENCE

little

scientists

in a big

world

Let your children

experience the wonder

of nature to learn more

about their Creator

BY VALERIE ELLIS

ILLUSTRATIONS BY BRIAN MELLEMA

“RILEY, THIRD REMINDER, sweetie,” Ms.

Kim, his preschool teacher, said. “It’s time to line up

with the class.”

“I know, but have you seen the legs on this thing?”

Riley said. He was lying on his belly, eyes glued to a

grasshopper.

Ever since my friend’s 4-year-old son had gotten

glasses, his thirst for discovery could not be

quenched. Leaves, insects and even tiny strawberry

seeds now had his full attention.

Most children are natural explorers. As parents,

we can bring God’s amazing world into clearer focus

for our kids by helping them understand how faith

and science work together.

ENGAGE

THE SENSES

GATHERING safe-to-touch leaves, stones and flowers

can help kids sharpen observation skills and

appreciate God’s creativity. Discuss how each item

looks, feels, sounds and smells. (No tasting, please!)

Preschoolers and school-age kids can sort objects

by color, size, texture or shape. Toddlers can have fun

dropping items through an empty paper-towel tube.

Scripture reading:

John 1:3

Say:

“Let’s thank God for creating

so many different things for

us to enjoy! Even though

we can’t see or touch God,

we can see and touch the

beautiful world He made.”

34

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

JUNE / JULY 2022


FAITH AND SCIENCE / KIDS & TEENS

TRACK PATTERNS

OUR wildly creative God is also orderly and attentive

to intricate details. He created the patterns in the

curves of a seashell and the veins of a leaf. He has

blessed us with the steady rhythms of the sun, moon,

stars and seasons. And there are clues to the day’s

weather in the sky above our heads.

Recording the weather or phases of the moon can

help kids see patterns in God’s creation. Recording

these patterns can be as simple as drawing symbols

on a calendar you already own.

Scripture reading:

Jeremiah 31:35

Say:

“The patterns in God’s world

show us His wisdom and the

loving way He takes care of

every detail.”

EXPLORE CAUSE

AND EFFECT

PLAYING with motion and light can engage even the

most active kids in scientific discovery.

Find a hill or use a stiff piece of cardboard to set up

a ramp. Roll a ball or toy car down the slope. Then set

up obstacles and observe what happens. Does the toy

car change course when it encounters an obstacle?

Does the ball bounce, slow down or stop? If kids are

short on words to describe their observations, they

can draw them or act them out.

Get a flashlight and a few objects. Turn off the

room’s lights and shine the flashlight on each object.

You can even make shadow puppets. Next, move each

object closer to and farther from the flashlight and

observe what happens to its shadow.

Scripture reading:

Romans 1:20

Say:

“God gave us curious minds.

We can notice and wonder

about what is happening in

God’s amazing world. God

wants us to be curious about

Him, too.” >>>

JUNE / JULY 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 35


HELP YOUR

KIDS BECOME

SCREENWISE

PLANT SEEDS

WATCHING new life spring forth is a great opportunity to talk

about God as the giver of life. Let kids observe seeds sprout into

seedlings with this method:

• Fold a damp paper towel and slide it into a zip-close plastic bag.

• Add a few dried beans within the paper towel.

• Seal the bag and tape it to a sunny window so the seeds are visible

to everyone.

Check on the beans daily, adding water to the paper towel as needed.

Scripture reading:

1 Corinthians 3:7

Say:

“We are watering these seeds, but God

is making them grow. God is the giver

of life.”

Prioritizing connection

over correction, youth

expert Jonathan McKee

equips you to confidently

talk with your tweens

and teens about social

media, entertainment

and screen time so they

can learn to be wise in a

digital world.

CELEBRATE

GOD’S CARE

YOU can help little scientists sense God’s care as they explore His

creation. As you slice an apple or shop the produce section in the

grocery store, talk about how God provides for us from the earth.

As you walk around the neighborhood, point to ways God cares for

plants, bugs and birds. Then let your kids help care for God’s creation

by planting flowers for the bees or making a bird feeder.

Scripture reading:

Genesis 2:15

Say:

“God takes care of us by giving us what

we need from the earth. He wants us

to care for His creation, too.”

As you explore God’s amazing world together, you will lay a foundation

of faith, wonder and discovery in your children’s lives. Plus,

all along the way, you will be making fun memories and growing

closer as a family. •

Valerie Ellis is the co-founder of Our Everyday Parables, which encourages and

supports parents in using everyday moments and children’s literature to spark

authentic conversations with their kids about faith and compassion. A former

teacher, Valerie now serves nonprofits in the Houston area.

Order online at

Shop.ong>Focusong>OnTheFamily.ca

or call 1.800.661.9800


QUALITY TIME / KIDS & TEENS

the value of hiding

from alligators

How my daughter and I find refuge

from distractions and other monsters

BY COREY STUMNE

ILLUSTRATION BY NICK RADFORD

“DADDY, BIG ALLIGATOR

COMING!” Eden, my 2-year-old

daughter, warned in her high-pitched

toddler voice.

“What’s coming?” I asked.

She grabbed my hand and led me

into her room. “Under covers! Hurry!”

She climbed into her bed and pulled

me to follow, covering us with her sheet.

“Eden, what are we—”

“Shhh. Alligator coming.”

Then I heard footsteps. Excited,

circling footsteps.

Eden giggled. Skye, our golden

retriever, searched to get under the

sheets. Eden shrieked as the burrowing

dog found her way in to lick Eden’s

face. These two had clearly played this

game before.

Since then, I can’t tell you how

many times Eden has burst into the

living room and declared, “Big alligator

coming!”

It’s never good timing for a big alligator.

They always seem to arrive when

I’m busy. Of course, I play along as

often as I can. But sometimes I just

don’t have time.

One day there was a peculiar

amount of alligator sightings, and I

had to tell Eden at least three times

that I was too busy to play.

Finally, I said, “Eden, Skye is

sleeping.”

Her countenance fell. Her

shoulders slumped.

“Please,” she said with toddler

sorrow.

I closed my computer.

Her eyes lit up.

We ran and hid under her covers

from an alligator that wasn’t coming.

I’d like to report we did something

spiritually significant during this time.

Perhaps I should’ve told her a Bible

story. But I didn’t. I just hid under

the covers with my toddler, waiting

for—nothing.

In that nothingness, I found the

value of hiding from alligators.

In the dark under the sheet, I felt my

daughter’s head rest against my bicep

as she held my hand. She didn’t care if

the alligator ever came. She wanted to

be next to an undistracted dad, even if

it took a big alligator emergency.

Since then, we’ve expanded the

time we spend together.

Sometimes she shouts, “Big dinosaur

coming!” and Mommy takes the

role of the scary creature. But the

result’s the same—uninterrupted time

full of shrieks and laughter with a child

who feels safe and secure with me.

Eden hides from monsters, and I

hide from distractions.

Thank goodness for big alligators! •

Corey Stumne is a husband, father, novelist

and minister of the Gospel to teens.

JUNE / JULY 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 37


EEING

HE

ASTER

EHIND

HE

ESIGN

Fun science experiments to do as a

family that point to divine workmanship

BY BROCK EASTMAN | PHOTOS BY JAMES STUKENBERG

Fizzle-tastic

Experiments

I, Dr. Fizzlebop, hope you’ll

encourage your children to

see the world around them

and the science within it

through the wondrous lens

of the Creator who made it.

You can start that journey

this summer by doing the

following experiments and

Bible lessons with your

children.

AS A DAD OF FOUR CHIL-

DREN, ages 12, 10, 8 and 6, I’m in a

constant state of awe watching them

learn about the world around them. As

my wife and I teach them about what

they see, feel, smell and experience,

we do so through a lens of what the

Creator made.

We tell our kids, “Look at what He

gave us. Isn’t it marvelous?”

One day when my family and I

reached the summit of a scenic hike,

my daughter Elsie raised her arms to

the heavens and shouted, “This is what

God made!”

I smiled, my eyes teared up and my

heart felt amazingly full.

Wind and rain had eroded the rocks.

Birds had scattered seeds across the

cliffside, resulting in trees sprouting in

odd places. Bees buzzed around brilliant

purple flowers—all explainable

with scientific reason.

Yet Elsie saw the Master behind the

design. He is a creative God who made

the intricacies of this world and sets

plans in place for the birds and bees

to act as they do, for thunderstorms to

bring wind and rain, for the landscape

to form and change over time as nature

and humans interact with it.

The history of science reveals

many key individuals motivated by

their Christian faith. Their scientific

examination of God’s visible creation

helped them learn more about Him—

Galileo, Blaise Pascal, Isaac Newton,

George Washington Carver.

Robert Boyle, the founder of modern

chemistry, even said, “Remember

to give glory to the One who authored

nature.”

God designed and made our world.

How it works is where the intricacies

begin—from a seemingly infinite universe

to a single blood cell coursing

through our veins. Science and a biblical

worldview aren’t meant to be separate

or at odds with each other. Instead, science

can be experienced because a

brilliant Designer created our world.

38

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

JUNE / JULY 2022


FAITH AND SCIENCE / KIDS & TEENS

Newton’s

Fizztastic Rocket

Discover the gravity-defying

power of pressure and

observe Isaac Newton’s

third law of motion

Consider where the rocket

might land. Anyone watching

the launch should stand clear.

Fizzlebop Supply List

• Packing tape

• 3 straws

• Empty 16.9-ounce (500-milliliter) plastic bottle

• ½ cup vinegar

• 1 tablespoon baking soda

• Small square of paper towel

• Eyewear, such as safety goggles

• Cork to seal the bottle so the gas won’t escape

The Experiment

1. Tape one end of each straw to the lower side of

the plastic bottle so they go above the opening and

look like three vertical pillars. They should be placed

evenly around the bottle so they become a stand for

the bottle when it’s suspended upside down.

2. Flip the bottle right-side up and pour the vinegar

into it.

3. Scoop the baking soda onto a paper towel and

fold the paper towel around the soda to form a small

package. The paper-towel covering will slow down

the chemical reaction between the vinegar and baking

soda and give you time to set up the rocket.

4. Carry the rocket and the baking-soda package

outside to a solid launchpad, like a driveway or sidewalk.

(Check your surroundings to make sure you are

clear of anything that might get hit when the rocket

launches.)

5. While wearing safety goggles, place the baking

soda and paper towel into the bottle and seal the

opening tightly with the cork. Stand the bottle upside

down on the straws and move away quickly.

6. Observe as the cork bursts out of the bottle and

your rocket soars fizztastically into the sky.

Dr. Fizzlebop, what’s happening?

Baking soda and vinegar create a gas called carbon dioxide. The gas

can’t escape the bottle because of the cork, so the pressure builds

inside the bottle. Eventually, the pressure pushes the cork out of the

bottle’s opening. Then the bottle launches into the air. You just saw

Newton’s third law of motion in action: Every action produces an

equal and opposite reaction.

Sometimes we humans have a different sort of pressure that

mounts up inside our hearts. We get stressed over deadlines or irritated

by people.

Proverbs 27:19 teaches us that the contents of our hearts will

show up in our lives. And Jesus said in Matthew 15:18-19 that our

words are a result of the thoughts in our hearts. If we don’t let out

the emotional pressure in our hearts safely, it can build until we figuratively

blow up.

The next time you feel pressures rising inside your heart, pray.

Then take a walk, play basketball, talk to someone or journal. >>>

JUNE / JULY 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 39


KIDS & TEENS / FAITH AND SCIENCE

Magnificently

Cool Comet Model

Explore God’s magnificent creation

by making a model of a comet

Fizzlebop Supply List

• 5 pounds (about 2.25 kilograms) of dry

ice (either in a block or in granules)

• Insulated container (for holding

the dry ice)

• Thick, nonporous gloves for handling

the dry ice (found in hardware stores

or online chemistry stores)

• Eyewear, such as safety goggles

• Towel or pillowcase to wrap the dry

ice (one you don’t mind getting dirty)

• Mallet for crushing the dry ice

• Large plastic bowl

• Flat tray

• Heavy-strength, plastic garbage bag

at least 12 gallons in size

• 34 ounces (1 liter) of water

• About 2 cups of dirt (remove debris

such as twigs and rocks)

• 1 tablespoon of cornstarch

• 1 tablespoon of dark corn syrup

• 1 tablespoon of vinegar

• ½ tablespoon of rubbing alcohol

• Large plastic or wooden spoon

• Hair dryer

• Flashlight

2.

The Experiment

1. Find a well-ventilated area to conduct

the experiment.

2. Have an adult, wearing thick gloves

and safety goggles, wrap the dry ice in

a towel or pillowcase and crush it with

the mallet.

3. Set the large plastic bowl on the flat

tray.

4. Use the plastic garbage bag to

securely line the bowl.

5. Pour the water, dirt, cornstarch,

corn syrup, vinegar and rubbing alcohol

into the lined bowl.

6. Mix everything together using the

spoon.

7. Have everyone put on their protective

eyewear or safety goggles.

8. Have an adult add all the crushed

dry ice to the bowl and stir.

9. Grasp the edges of the plastic bag

and bring them up to enclose the

mixture.

10. With gloved hands, press down

on the plastic bag to shape the mixture

into a solid mass as the water freezes.

11. Unwrap the solid comet from the

bag and hold it in gloved hands in

front of the hair dryer and flashlight.

Then turn on the hair dryer and flashlight,

which represent the sun’s heat

and light.

12. Observe the streams of gas from

the comet that flow away from the sun.

13. Leave the comet to melt someplace

safe where no one will touch it

and the extremely cold liquids won’t

damage anything.

7.

10.

12.

Crushing half or more of the ice

into powder will help the water

freeze so the comet will stay

together better. Crushing the dry

ice may be completed in advance.

Just be sure to store it in an insulated

container.

Stand back and watch out for flying

shards of ice, especially during

this next step.

More water may be needed to

get the mixture to stick together.

It may take a few tries to get the

right amount of water.

It’s common for comets to break

down near the sun, so don’t worry

if yours begins to fall apart.

40

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

JUNE / JULY 2022


FAITH AND SCIENCE / KIDS & TEENS

This experiment requires dangerously cold, subfreezing

dry ice. Children must do this experiment

with an adult and always wear thick gloves. Never

touch the ice or the comet with bare skin. Shards of

ice will fly out, so always wear protective eyewear

or safety goggles. Safety first!

Dr. Fizzlebop, what’s happening?

Many of the ingredients you used mimic the elements

that make up real comets. Your frozen chunk of ice

and dirt is what scientists call the nucleus of a comet.

The nucleus is formed out of frozen gases and dust.

Dry ice is the solid state of a gas called carbon dioxide.

The rubbing alcohol stands in for methanol, another

gas comets contain. Comets also contain amino acids,

depicted here by the vinegar. The dark corn syrup

helped give your model the dark color that real comets

have. You added the cornstarch to help your comet

model stick together. So comets are similar to dirty

snowballs in space.

When a comet’s orbit takes it close to the sun, its

frozen gases return to being gases. The frozen water

returns to liquid first. The melting gas vapors create a

shining tail, sometimes millions of miles long.

What an amazing creator is our God! Take a

moment to read Deuteronomy 10:14 and Psalm 8:1-4

and worship our great God. Thank Him that, as mighty

as He is, He loves and cares for us humans. >>>

JUNE / JULY 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 41


KIDS & TEENS / FAITH AND SCIENCE

Layered

Rainbow

Bubbles

Create a visible

demonstration

of one of God’s

marvelous promises

Fizzlebop Supply List

• 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

• 1 cup warm water

• Spoon or whisk

• 2 tablespoons liquid dish soap

• Plastic wrap

• Straw

2,3.

3.

For steps 2 and 3, go slow

and be gentle so bubbles

won’t begin to form.

If you leave the solution

under loose plastic wrap

for 24 hours, you will get

better results.

The Experiment

1. Pour the sugar into the warm water

and stir until the sugar is completely

dissolved.

2. Slowly pour the dish soap into the

sugar water.

3. Gently stir the solution, mixing the

sugar, soap and water completely.

4. Rub a thin, circular coating of bubble

solution on a clean, smooth and

hard countertop or table. The circle

should have a 10-inch (25-centimeter)

circumference.

5. Submerge the tip of the straw in the

bubble solution and get a tiny drop on

the tip end.

6. Place your finger over the dry end of

the straw and vertically place the tip of

the straw with the drop of solution on

your prepared countertop.

7. Now blow through the dry end of

the straw to form a bubble dome.

8. Remove the straw from the countertop,

get more bubble solution on

the tip, and then carefully insert the

tip vertically into your original bubble

dome and gently blow.

9. Repeat the previous step and see

how many bubbles-within-bubbles

you can create.

42

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

JUNE / JULY 2022


FAITH AND SCIENCE / KIDS & TEENS

Dr. Fizzlebop,

what’s happening?

Adding soap to water loosens the bonds between the water molecules. It

also makes them more elastic, allowing you to blow bubbles within bubbles.

The soap and the sugar help keep the bubbles from popping by

keeping the water from evaporating.

The first bubble swelled when you blew more bubbles inside it

because you inserted more air inside the bubble. The rainbow colors on

the bubbles’ surfaces are created by light waves bouncing and reflecting

off the surface.

Does the rainbow coloring of the bubbles remind you of a promise

God made in the Bible? Read the story of Noah in Genesis 9:8-17.

When you get scared, think about these rainbow bubbles. God always

keeps His promises. •

Brock Eastman is an author, marketer, podcaster and columnist. His most recent book

is Faith and Science With Dr. Fizzlebop. Find it at Shop.ong>Focusong>OnTheFamily.ca

WHO IS DR.

FIZZLEBOP?

Dr. Fizzlebop is a character in ong>Focusong>

on the Family’s Clubhouse and

Clubhouse Jr. magazines. He explores

the wonder of science from a biblical

worldview. A new book called Faith

and Science With Dr. Fizzlebop is

filled with experiments for parents

and kids to do together, as well as

connecting kids to their faith.

Shop.ong>Focusong>OnTheFamily.ca

ong>Focusong>OnTheFamily.ca/Clubhouse

ong>Focusong>OnTheFamily.ca/ClubhouseJr

JUNE / JULY 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 43


KIDS & TEENS / FAITH AND SCIENCE

how science can

strengthen your

teen’s faith

The surprising and

timeless evidence

that supports your

child’s belief in God

BY ANDREW MCDIARMID

MANY TEENS are beginning to

think about life’s big questions: Does

God exist? Does life have purpose? Is

the Bible at odds with science? They’re

at the stage where they need answers

to their questions, especially as peers,

teachers and employers challenge

their childhood beliefs.

To help your teens better understand

and defend their faith, tell them

about three mind-blowing scientific

discoveries of the 20th century that

strongly point to an intelligent designer.

These discoveries will affirm and support

their belief in God.

The good news? Your teens don’t

have to ditch science to follow God! By

pursuing the evidence for God, they

will be “prepared to make a defense to

anyone who asks [them] for a reason for

the hope that is in [them]” (1 Peter 3:15).

The universe

In Return of the God Hypothesis, geophysicist

Stephen C. Meyer tells the

story of a group of astronomers and

physicists who discovered the universe

had a beginning. By studying

the light from distant galaxies, they

established that the universe was

expanding, like a gradually inflating

balloon. This also suggested a finite

universe with a beginning.

Some people had difficulty accepting

this revolutionary idea. The famous

MIKOLAJ NIEMCZEWSKI / STOCK.ADOBE.COM

44

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

JUNE / JULY 2022


FAITH AND SCIENCE / KIDS & TEENS

GO DEEPER

To further explore the scientific evidence,

check out Dr. Stephen C. Meyer’s book Return

of the God Hypothesis or ong>Focusong> on the

Family’s TrueU digital series.

Shop.ong>Focusong>OnTheFamily.ca

German physicist Albert Einstein was

one of them. Einstein was committed

to an eternal, self-existent universe

model, so he chose an arbitrary value

for his cosmological constant (one that

had no physical justification). However,

evidence and analysis by other mathematicians

and physicists (Willem de

Sitter, Aleksandr Friedmann, Georges

Lemaître) would force his hand and

cause him to acknowledge the necessity

of a “beginning.” He later said that

his arbitrary value for the cosmological

constant was the greatest blunder of

his professional life.

That is, Einstein eventually owned

up to his error and accepted the reality

of an expanding universe that began

with a sudden explosion of energy. The

idea came to be known as the Big Bang

theory. Today this theory of our universe’s

origin is still the most widely

accepted explanation of the evidence.

Many Christians also say it lines up

well with the account in Genesis 1:1:

“In the beginning, God created the

heavens and the earth.”

A carbon problem

After scientists realized the universe

had a beginning, they soon discovered

that it was also finely tuned for life.

Many properties of the universe are

set within extremely narrow parameters

that have proven essential for life

to exist. Scientists also noticed that

the initial distribution of matter and

energy at the birth of the universe was

just right to make life possible.

Astrophysicist Sir Fred Hoyle discovered

many of these finely tuned factors

as he tried to figure out how carbon,

the life-essential element, became so

abundant. Hoyle realized how unlikely

it was that carbon would arise naturally

in a growing universe, given the

limitations of chemistry.

His work eventually forced him to

reject his atheistic belief. As he put it,

“A common-sense interpretation of the

facts suggest that a super-intellect has

monkeyed with physics.” Countless

creative ideas have been offered to

explain away this remarkable finetuning.

But none of them explains the

evidence pointing to an intelligently

designed planet.

The digital code

The universe had a beginning, and it’s

fine-tuned for human life. But there’s

more! In 1953, scientists made a third

breakthrough discovery that supports

belief in God. Two molecular biologists—James

Watson and Francis

Crick—discovered that DNA stores

information in digital code, and this

code transmits precise instructions to

cells for building important cellular

stuff (aka proteins).

The information in DNA isn’t simply

mathematical. Scientists call it specifi

e d because it has a precise message

sequence that cells can decode. The

million-dollar question: Where does

this information come from?

Many scientists believe an evolutionary

mechanism is responsible, but the

simple “sorting” process of natural selection

has its limits. DNA sequences that

create functional proteins are very rare,

so the chance of mutation and selection

producing one randomly is slim.

Let’s apply a little reasoning to this

evidence. In our everyday experience,

we know of just one cause that can

produce digital code or specified information:

intelligence. So we have good

scientific reasons to believe that an

intelligence added large amounts of

information into our biosphere at key

points in the history of the universe,

including at the beginning and as new

biological life began.

This only scratches the surface of

faith-science discussions you can have

with your teens. Knowing that belief

in God is sustained by compelling scientific

evidence may strengthen your

children’s faith and give your teens the

confidence they need to defend it. •

Andrew McDiarmid is a senior fellow at the

Discovery Institute, where he writes about

science, technology and education.

JUNE / JULY 2022 FOCUS ON THE FAMILY 45


KIDS & TEENS / MY THRIVING FAMILY

ice cream treats

Henry, 2

Our son wondering

where it all went so fast.

—Carmen from Indiana

Claire, 2

Our sweet girl enjoys ice cream

at her brother’s graduation party.

—Nicole from Wisconsin

Isla, 2

Our granddaughter’s

ice cream cone is

almost as big as she is.

—Alice from Illinois

Bryce, 4

A big smile for ice cream. It’s a great

way to beat the heat!

—Lisa from Ontario

Your kids could be in

ong>Focusong> on the Family magazine!

Email photos* of your child on summer vacation or enjoying

or making a favorite food. (Put “Summer Vacation” or “Favorite

Food” in the subject line.)

Send to: info@fotf.ca

* Largest photo possible.

Professional photos are not accepted.

46

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

JUNE / JULY 2022


Inves in your child’s faith

From

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Make learning about the

Lord the highlight of your

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after page of stories, crafts,

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your child grow in their

understanding of biblical

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For school-age children,

Clubhouse magazine brings new

faith-building articles and

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and boys love the Bible-based

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