Daniel Zopoula

The Digital Musings of a Bushman, Speaker, Author & Trusted Advisor.

Tag: Spiritual Life

About the human drive for meaning and connection with God.



The following information compares the nutritional value of sweet potato as contrasted with (refined) white rice, and the value of eating food in it’s most natural source, especially for children.

Sweet Potato vs White Rice

Sweet potato is an extraordinary source of vitamin A, white rice has none. Sweet potato is a good source of vitamin C, white rice has none.

A serving of sweet potato contains 2 to 3 times the calcium, iron and magnesium; 9 times the potassium; 12 times the fibre; and 2 times the B6 as a serving of white rice.

White rice has been completely stripped of its bran and germ layer, reducing its fiber and nutrient content drastically. The essential oils in the germ layer of brown rice are also absent in white rice.

White rice is a low fiber “simple” carbohydrate, therefore it metabolizes (digests) quickly and spikes blood sugar levels. Long term consumption of simple carbohydrates drastically increases the development of hypo-glycemia and type 2 diabetes.

Note – fiber also makes us feel full longer

White rice does have some protein left after refining. As a carbohydrate it is also very high in starch and provides a quick and short term energy boost. Unfortunately it is an “empty carb” having little nutritional value and energy levels crash shortly after spiking.

Sweet potato by contrast is considered the most nutrient dense vegetable.

“Sweet potato ranks number one in nutrition of all vegetables” according to The Center For Science In the Public Interest (CSPI), Washington D.C.

The green leaves of sweet potatoes also contain amazing nutritional content. Weight per weight, 100 g of fresh leaves carry more iron, vitamin C, folates, vitamin K, and potassium than the actual sweet potato (tuber).

Quick Fix Or Strategic Planning

Children are most vulnerable to the results of poor nutrition.

Long term, a diet high in white rice and low in “whole” unrefined foods will make them more vulnerable to many types of illness.

Short term, the glycemic (blood sugar) spike that happens after eating starchy carbohydrates can initially make them hyper (over energized) but the ensuing crash soon after will leave them tired and less able to concentrate on school work or learning.

High fiber whole foods (unrefined) and “complex” carbohydrates, like sweet potato, are absorbed slowly by the body so energy levels remain stable, last longer and have no major drop off.

Good nutrition is an integral part of the long term physical and mental development and well being of children in helping them fulfill their maximum potential.


White  rice can be a fairly inexpensive food with moderate amounts of protein and high levels of simple carbohydrates, but the health of a child can not be sustained on white rice without the introduction of high quality, nutritional, unrefined foods.

These foods will provide a complete protein, the spectrum of vitamins and minerals, and micro-nutrients, all in necessary levels and combinations to sustain life.

Current research is finding natural (unrefined) foods often contain 80 or more active ingredients. There are likely more and researchers don’t even know what many of these agents do yet or how they interact with each other. But the human body is able to identify, understand, absorb and make perfect use of all of them!

The extravagant vitality of natural food and the complex engineering of the human body to fully process it,
perfectly illustrates the genius of God.

“I will praise You, for I am mysteriously and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, my soul knows this very well.”  Psalm 139:14

Contributor: Rex Chequer

Four characteristics – inwardly strong–yet, outwardly focused Church

Four Characteristic of Externally Focused Churches


Question: When was the last time you were really proud of what your church was doing?

The Church an Emerging Minority

  • The world no longer regards faith as central, the world does not share Judeo-Christian values and ethics anymore. The church may once have been the center of the community,which has changed its focus and left the church behind.
  • The religious equivalent of ethnic cleansing currently carried out against Christians throughout the Middle East and Africa
  • Church is fighting for a voice of relevance, struggling to maintain strong links with the outside world, yet simultaneously remaining faithfully steadfast to the rule of faith.
  • As  minority communities, Christians face 3 choices as to their response.
    • For one, we could “accommodate” the increasing secularization by submitting to religious liberalism.
    • Or, we may “resist it,” thereby violently radicalizing into the pattern of religious extremist groups in many parts of the world today.
    • In another choice, we  “withdraw into protected enclaves,” religious communes, such as present-day successors to early Anabaptists, or similar radical groups within Orthodox Judaism.
  • Christian—can function as creative minorities– This demanding yet risk-laden choice, the Lord demanded of the Jewish people while in Exile in Babylon:

“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” Jeremiah 29:5-7

The Church is “withdrawing into protected enclaves,”

  • We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill
  • Why have so many churches emotionally or physically withdrawn from their communities?
  • Maybe this separation has something to do with the New Testament word for church. It is the word ecclesia, meaning “the called out ones.” Many have mistaken this to mean a physical separation from the world. The church is called to be separate in lifestyle but never to be isolated from the people it seeks to influence.
  • In our evangelistic zeal, we often think people just need more or better information in order to believe. But what do they really long for?Fewer are asking, “What must I do to be saved?” Instead their question is “What can I do to make my life work?” When the people who talk about a loving God demonstrate love, the gap between doubt and faith is narrowed, and the people around them often find themselves wanting to believe.

The Church will thrive as creative minority – inwardly strong–yet, outwardly focused Ministry

  • Definition of ministry: Ministry is simply “meeting another’s need with the resources God has given you.”

Four characteristics – inwardly strong–yet, outwardly focused Church 

  • Operate as if good deeds and good news can’t and shouldn’t be separated.
      • Just as it takes two wings to lift an airplane off the ground, so externally focused churches couple good news with good deeds to make an impact on their communities.
      • The good deeds, validate the good news. The good news explains the purpose of the good deeds.
      • God proclaimed the “good news…through Jesus Christ…and…he went around doing good…because God was with him” (Acts 10:36-38).
      • Motto:  it’s really not “church” if it’s not engaged in the life of the community through ministry and service to others.
    1. Assume presence is vital to the health and well-being of community.
      • They believe that their communities cannot be truly healthy without the church’s involvement.
      • They recognize that God has placed them in their communities (whether they feel wanted or not) to be salt, light, and leaven.
  • It is only when the church is mixed into the very life and conversation of the city that it can be an effective force for change.
    • In joining in the life and rhythm of the city, they seek to serve and bless the city, not to control it
    • After all, salt, light, and leaven are agents of influence, not of control.
    • Thus we seek to build bridges instead of walls–assets of our communities, not one of the liabilities.
  1. They value impact and influence in the community more than attendance.
    • Discipleship is not what happens inside the four walls of this church— We begin to grow when we take healthy responsibility for the growth of another person.
    • Christians grow best when they are serving and giving themselves away to others.
    • Because service and ministry are part of growth model for the church and the spiritual formation of its people, it is not unusual for huge percentages of their congregations to serve and minister outside the walls of the church.
  2. Fourth, The way to inwardly build a church is through outward service.
    • Congregations with a strong commitment to social justice and with direct participation in community outreach ministries are growing.
    • Externally focused churches have the advantage of deploying people into the community where they can be church to people through their love and service. Their light is not hidden under a bushel– No, their light shine..
    • Although these churches serve their communities expecting nothing in return, many people are drawn into the kingdom through their presence, service, and love.

The Bible tells us that Peter encountered a “paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years. ‘Aeneas,’ Peter said to him, ‘Jesus Christ heals you. Get up…’ Immediately Aeneas got up. All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord” (Acts 9:33-35). The healed man was simply the evidence of the existence, love, and power of the healer, Jesus. After observing Jesus’ compassion and love, people responded, “God has come to help his people” (Luke 7:16b).

      • Church must intersect the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the people in Lethbridge.
      • “The only way the gospel can be biblically shared is to focus on the whole person, with all [his or her] hurts and needs, and to involve the church in ministering to those persons and leading them to Christ. This is the essence of our ministry evangelism.”
  • If you go after the people nobody wants, you’ll end up with the people everybody wants.


Two strategies

  1. First, identify needs of your community and start ministries or programs to meet those needs.
  2. Second, partner with existing ministries of human-service agencies that are already accomplishing a shared mission in the community.


  • The way to inwardly build a church is through outward service. A good church demands attendance–a great church values impact and influence in the community. More than attendance; a great church manifests the soul of community; it is salt and light, agent of influence–not of control.
  • Discipleship is not what happens inside the four walls of the local church. We never really begin to grow till we take healthy responsibility for the growth of another person.
  • The test of your spiritual growth is simple – How has your heart grown in the past twelve months? Are your arms open wider toward others, or are they wrapped around yourself? Do you have room for anyone else in your life?

Ubuntu: We are all connected

Happy New Year!

May this year be for each a season of “Goodwill” to ALL people at ALL places(Luke 2:14). I champion to deliberately find every excuse to extend the generosity, profoundly over-extending goodwill to ALL

As the African Philosophy of Ubuntu teaches us, “I am what I am because of who we all are.” or “I am a person through other persons”. “A single straw of a broom can be broken easily, but the straws together are not easily broken.”

This truly is the essence of being and becoming; you can’t exist as a human being in isolation; you can’t be human all by yourself, you belong.  We are all connected! What you do affects the whole world. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity. You diminish when others are  diminished, when others are humiliated; you famish when others are famished, when others are tortured and oppressed. This is the year, this is the moment.

The government of fear is over! I am resolved, aggressively, provocatively and deliberately living to enable the community around to improve and become it’s uttermost. When we struggle to feed only ourselves, everyone goes hungry. But when we focus on our neighbour’s hunger, we discover there are ways to feed everyone. The world is my Parish.

No one walks  alone into higher realms. As expressed in the title of the acclaimed, and Number one hit song released in January, 1970, with gospel overtones, and recorded by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, unity is our only “Bridge over Trouble Water.” Without a bridge that leads to unity with others, who will support us through our perilous times, we will fall and sink, hopelessly, into the troubled water.

With unfeigned love, always, still becoming,
++ Daniel Zopoula