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Volume 14, Issue 4

Feature Articles

SEPTEMBE R 20 1 2 Columns page 2

page 18

Publisher’s Note

The Mission of MISSION LIFE

page 4

by Hamilton Richardson

Find out how two Prattville and Millbrook churches hit the mission field right in their own backyard and made a real difference in the community.

Pastor's Perspective

Wade Rials, Thorington Road Baptist Church

page 14

Dave $ays Dave Ramsey

page 16

page 26

Inside:

Jason Watson

Montgomery Christian School

by Rachel Fisher

Shine

Kim Hendrix

page 22

This exciting ministry is making private, Christian education accessible and affordable to lower income families in the River Region.

The Intersection Bob Crittenden

page 24

Counselor’s Corner

page 34

Brenda Payne

Why Does It Hurt So Much? by Steven Clark Goad

page 30

Grace to You John MacArthur

God didn’t promise us an easy and comfortable life, much to our dismay. And He asks us to do more than just tolerate our suffering.

page 36

Family Teams for Christ Lisa and Mike Conn

page 42

Got Life?

On Our Cover . . .

Elaine Britt

Montgomery Christian School’s 3rd Grade Class:

In Every Issue

Teacher: Mrs. La’Tosha McBryde; 3rd grade students from left to right: Josiah King, Danny Laurent, Shemeria Little, Farren Spear, Parker Johnson, Nathan McKinney, and Ethan Kelly Call 334.213.7940 today!

page 6

On the Bookshelf page 8

Around Our Community page 38

Event Calendar page 44

Movie Reviews 1

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September 2012 • River Region’s Journey


Publisher’s Note by Jason Watson

Our Mission River Region’s Journey is committed to connecting all those who profess Jesus Christ as their Savior, regardless of denomination. Our aim is to share information and resources that promote a fulfilled, Christ-centered life. Further, we seek to reach unbelievers with the life-changing truth of God’s Word.

Editor

DeAnne Watson deanne@readjourneymagazine.com

Publisher

Jason Watson jason@readjourneymagazine.com

Research Editor Wendy McCollum

Contributing Writers Elaine Britt Lisa and Mike Conn Bob Crittenden Rachel Fisher Steven Clark Goad Kim Hendrix John MacArthur Brenda Payne Dave Ramsey Hamilton Richardson Pastor Wade Rials Gail Welborn

Advertising Opportunities ads@readjourneymagazine.com 334.213.7940

Come Back to Reality Last week God provided me with an opportunity to tell a good friend about who Jesus is and the role His actions have in God’s plan for rescuing His children and the world. I was humbled and honored to talk with my friend and to help him see what has and will actually happen in his life and in the world. Please pray for my friend as he continues to think about the truth. Sharing the Good News of the Gospel is so important. Like the good Father that He is, God involves us in His supernatural work of making people new and alive in Christ. Obviously, those God calls through His regenerative work are blessed beyond measure, but likewise, we are blessed beyond measure when we share the Good News. As I spoke to my friend that afternoon on my front porch I was reminded about my reality, too. I talk to enough people to know that we Christians all have a common problem. As we wait for the Lord’s return we can slip into seasons of forgetfulness regarding what is actually going on around us. We stop seeing what God has revealed to us (the fall of man, our sinful rebellion, Christ’s triumph over sin and death, and the coming day when Christ will return and renew the whole earth), and we live in our own make-believe existence. Have you ever been told, “Come back to reality,” when your thinking wasn’t right about something? Well, as we share the Good News with others, we are brought back to reality. On our front cover each month we write, “River Region’s Journey: Sharing Hope, Building Community.” This World is a dark place apart from the light of God’s revelation and His children’s words and deeds. So each month we aim to shine His light into our community by sharing the Good News and spotlighting the ministries of His people. This is how we help others “Come back to reality” - God’s reality! This month’s issue is full of great articles, news and community events, but as we approach the national election let me point out one column in particular that I think you should read. On page 22, Faith Radio’s Bob Crittenden shares an important article, Are We a Christian Nation? Bob helps us all understand our nation’s history and its impact on our future. It’s information we all need to know as we analyze the character and principals of the candidates we’ll be voting for in November. Have a blessed September and remember to live in the reality of God’s truth!

Cover Photography

Savannah Bowden Photography

Ad Design

Tim Welch, Welch Designs

Distribution Team Wendy McCollum Richard Ward Lesa Youngblood

River Region’s Journey is published monthly by Keep Sharing, P.O. Box 230367, Montgomery, AL 36123. For information, call 213-7940 or FAX to 213-7990. River Region’s Journey is copyrighted 2012 by KeepSharing. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited. The opinions expressed in River Region’s Journey are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the owners, nor do they constitute an endorsement of products or services herein. River Region’s Journey has the right to refuse any content that is not consistent with its statement of faith.

River Region’s Journey • September 2012

Jason is available to speak at your church or conference. If you would like to contact him about a preaching engagement or to share about his testimony and Journey magazine, please call 334-213-7940 ext 701. 2

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September 2012 • River Region’s Journey


Pastor’s Perspective

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Pastor Wade Rials, Thorington Road Baptist Church

Living as Exiles At Thorington Road Baptist Church our current series has us on a journey through the letter of 1 Peter. This is proving to be a time of self-discovery as we encounter the incredible similarity between the 21st century American Church and the churches that Peter addressed this letter towards. If you have turned on the television over the last few weeks, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to discover that we have entered the political season/Twilight Zone. No matter what your political kaleidoscope might be, honesty demands our acknowledgement that this is a greatly divided country. Not only are we divided on tertiary issues, but we are divided down to the very paradigmatic philosophies that this nation is built upon. With this purview, Bible believing followers of Jesus must learn/ relearn the Biblical precedent of living as exiles. For much of America’s history, Christianity has been the dominant influence within the nation. It was from the pulpits of this nation that truth was proclaimed. Morality was defined within Judeo-Christian parameters as outlined within the Bible. One might argue that with power corruption follows, and the very pulpits that once proclaimed morality now avoid controversy rather than be faithful to Biblical mandates. It’s important to recognize that America has not always been in the moral right; America has always been an experiment in freedom and as history unfolds we must admit our mistakes. Slavery will forever blight the historical landscape of America’s past. It is worth noting that the bravest voices for civil rights came from within Christianity itself admonishing memRiver Region’s Journey • September 2012

bers of its own rank to follow Biblical precepts often with great personal cost. These brave voices serve as a reminder of all that is right within the Church that Jesus Christ established. Currently, followers of Jesus Christ find themselves at a locale laced with unfamiliarity. America seemingly has always been a “Christian” nation. Since her birth, Christian churches have been the most powerful influence on American culture and values. As Election 2012 approaches, it has become quite clear that the tables have proverbially turned. In the midst of cultural chaos, Christianity has divided. Unfortunately Christianity in America has succumbed to many of the dangers of success. The result is a cultural and propositional form of Christianity, which is accepted intellectually, but devoid of the power of a resurrected savior. Apathetic, mediocre, disingenuous, lifeless, “Christians” are the norm. Ours is an era where truly radical, Bible centric, surrendered followers of Christ is rare. In the midst of this internal decline, the Christian Church in this great nation has lost its saltiness. The loss of salt equates into a loss of influence. Anthropologists, sociologists, missiologists and theologians will write papers, compare statistics, and debate causes for the decline for years to come. Over the next few weeks, many pulpits will hear angry messages by well-intentioned, but Biblically ignorant, men who will complain the loss of political dominance. Some long for days gone by when pulpiteers drove politics and preachers advised presidents. Every epoch has cultural influences that Christians are called to interact with for the purpose of the Gospel. 4

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I am thankful for the legacy of the men that made this nation great. I long for the day where the pulpits of America spring forth as bastions of truth. God can revive this nation, but the call to God’s Church is the same whether he chooses to revive this nation or not. Today, we are called to be faithful exiles marching forward towards Zion! As I bring this article to its conclusion allow me to give some suggestions based upon God’s Word: 1. No matter what the results of the election… OUR GOD REIGNS! 2. Every individual in a place of power is placed there at the sole discretion of God himself. 3. The Church doesn’t need to sit at the King’s table to fulfill her role. Our power is not found is temporal crowns, but in the One who wears the eternal crown. 4. Now more than ever, we desperately need a revival of Bible centered, missional, Gospel saturated Churches. God’s will for his people has never been to change culture through coercive power, but through soul transformation as one encounters the resurrected Jesus. 5. Christians are exiles in this world. We are journeying towards our eternal abode in the presence of God himself! We will comprehend fully that OUR GOD REIGNS!

Wade Rials is senior pastor of Thorington Road Baptist Church located at 450 Ray Thorington Road, in Montgomery. For Advertising Information:

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Our Statement of Faith In keeping with Protestant theology, we believe that the Bible, as contained in the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, is fully inspired by God and therefore inerrant in the original manuscripts. The Bible is the only essential and infallible record of God’s self-disclosure to mankind. The Scriptures are the authoritative and normative rule and guide of all Christian life, practice, and doctrine. They are totally sufficient and must not be added to, superseded, or changed by later tradition, extra-biblical revelation, or worldly wisdom. The Bible is perfect in every way and shows us how to become and live as Christians. The way of becoming a Christian is by faith alone in Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, who came to us, born of a virgin, in full human form while remaining fully God. Jesus was, and is, perfect, and was crucified so that others could live. Three days later He rose from the dead, never to die again. He ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God the Father, where He, the only mediator between God and man, continually makes intercession for His own. Those who have faith in Jesus as their Lord in this life, and Savior from damnation in the next life, now live by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, becoming more like Jesus everyday. We believe that God is one God. The one God has three persons: the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Just as God is one, so also, all believers are to be one. We believe in the unity and fellowship of all those that have faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. We are one in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, His Body, which is composed of all men, living and dead, who have been joined to Him through saving faith.

Vaughn Park Church of Christ 334-272-2665 Registration begins September 10th

*All editorial content published must be in agreement with our Statement of Faith

Call 334.213.7940 today!

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September 2012 • River Region’s Journey


On The Bookshelf

by Gail Welborn

Cast of Characters, Lost & Found Encounters with the Living God

by Max Lucado, Thomas Nelson, 2012, 240 Pages, ISBN-13: 978-0849947377, $19.99

Max Lucado treats readers to another group of favorite Bible characters, as he did in 2008. This time his focus is hope, faith and trust with narratives about Jarius, Jacob and Jesus’ brothers, among 20 other narratives. He begins with the story of Jarius, “Seeing the Unseen” who pleads with Jesus to bring his daughter back to life, which required Jarius to make a choice of faith and trust in the unknown. Where he could choose to see through the eyes of fear or, in faith, “…see the Healer.” The author uses a “seeing-with-your-eyes-closed” experiment to illustrate how we, too, can choose to trust and have faith in Jesus, because Jesus wants us to “…live by faith, not by sight,” and to look beyond the hurt and “…see the Healer.” Chapters end with questions for reflection and discussion, which makes the book an excellent choice for personal devotions, church, or small discussion groups. This well-known, widely-read inspirational author and pastor has over 100 million books in print because of his talent to connect spiritual truth with common people, issues and situations.

I Am Second

by Dave Sterrett and Doug Bender, Thomas Nelson, 2012, 240 Pages, ISBN-13: 978-1400203734, $19.99

I Am Second, a collection of 20 narratives about radical change from the www.Iamsecond.com website, adds context to stories previously seen as video-clip testimonials. Some from famous people, others not so much... the focus—their life-changing encounters with Jesus Christ. These encounters prompted people to understand why God should come first, how the experience changed them and what happened when they realized God had a plan and a purpose just for them. Stories are from prominent personalities, such as lead guitarist Brian “Head” Welch of the rock band Korn, to famous Texas Rangers baseball player Josh Hamilton, plus some from people like you and me. Everyone’s story is different, yet each share common struggles of battles with addiction, divorce, physical pain and heartache. Their message of hope rings true—God is real and He delights in restoring people who were once flawed, unrepentant sinners. Accounts cover the gamut of human experience and deal with some very dark moments of depression, abortion, cancer, pornography, jealousy and more. Many include bad choices that were made, sometimes more than once, but they are encouraging stories of faith and hope.

Kingdom Man

by Tony Evans, Tyndale House Publishers-Focus on the Family, Hardcover, 2012, 240 Pages, ISBN-13: 978-1589976856, $22.99

Mega-church pastor, bestselling author and chaplain Dr. Tony Evans writes about men’s standards in “Kingdom Man” where he defines “…manhood as God intended it to be.” He describes a “Kingdom Man” as the “…kind of man that prompts the devil to say, ‘Oh crap, he’s up’ when his feet hit the floor…” each morning. He illustrates how standards are unintentionally lowered with the story of an athletic director and his short son Jonathan. The director lowered the basket hoop so Jonathan could “dunk the basketball.” Meant to encourage, Evans writes the action lowered the overall standard for the game, which he believes has happened with men’s principles, values and ethics. He believes this is the cause of today’s “…lowered standards for… families, homes, churches and communities…” Evans connects “biblical spirituality with social responsibility,” then questions if Christian leadership is so busy building churches and church programs they have “…failed to disciple men in what it means to be about the Kingdom.” Everyone should read this book! River Region’s Journey book reviewer Gail Welborn lives in Sedro-Woolley, Washington.

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September 2012 • River Region’s Journey


Take the 12-Day Wellness Challenge at Aldersgate

Too many times we fail to see the connections between the different aspects of our lives, spiritual, emotional, physical and social. This disconnectedness leaves us feeling disjointed or off balance. Because we know God created our bodies, minds, and souls to be a cohesive whole, we as Christians should always seek to live with our whole selves in tune with God. This means taking care of ourselves in all those different ways. The 12-day Wellness Challenge is an opportunity to jumpstart your physical health while tuning your soul to God, all in a 30 minute workout! Come and join in this fun and challenging way to work out and eat right! It will be all about small and achievable goals that lead to long-term success, and learning new exercise ideas for all levels of exercisers. This will be a team effort with emphasis on strengthening our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. We will have two workout sessions: early morning and evening/weekend. Workouts will be at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 6610 Vaughn Road, Montgomery. Cost is $60 per person per session. An information session will be held September 9 from 3 to 4 p.m. To reserve your spot, contact Leslie Knox, CPT, at (334) 451-1624, www.knoxfit4u. com, or knoxfital@gmail.com.

Vertical Church Tour with

James MacDonald & Meredith Andrews

Thursday, September 27, 7 pm to 9 pm; Doors open at 6:15 pm. at Taylor Road Baptist Church 1685 Taylor Road, in Montgomery. This is a free event, but please be sure to reserve your seat. Childcare not available. If you have questions, please email info@ verticalchurchtour.com. For more info call: 334-271-3363.

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Frazer’s Celebrates Hispanic Ministry’s New Worship Center

After years of praying and striving to meet the needs of its growing congregation, Frazer’s Hispanic Ministry has found its permanent home at 3711 East Boulevard. The sign over the entrance translates as “Montgomery Christian Community,” and it is here that they hope to continue serving the local Hispanic population. The Hispanic Ministry, under the leadership of Rev. Mario Aman, traces its roots back to 2003. The services were held in Frazer’s East Sanctuary at 11 a.m., and worship often went beyond noon. For the first five years, the Hispanic congregation numbered in the 140s but due to economic reasons, many of the members moved out of state. Mario commented that the size of the Frazer campus also seemed overwhelming to some in his congregation. “When we were still at our Frazer location a member of the congregation approached me and told me that she didn’t have the clothes she needed to feel comfortable on the Frazer campus. The Frazer campus is a huge place. Many members of our congregation are from small villages, and even the distance from the East Sanctuary to the Nursery seems like they are far away from their children,” he said. “Our new location gives them a church home of their own, with pride of ownership.” The Hispanic Ministry relocated to Woodley Road in January 2010 but continued to pray for the right location to meet the needs of the community. “We prayed that we could find a location which would give us not only the exposure we needed, but would also provide the space we needed to expand to meet the needs of Montgomery’s Hispanic population,” Mario said. Several months later, their prayers were answered when the Montgomery Board of Adjustment granted a special exception for the ministry to relocate to 3711 East Boulevard, in September 2011. The building is the former location of Marshall’s, near the intersection of Calmar Drive and East Boulevard. The new location provides the ministry with 30,000 square feet of space, which volunteers from Frazer are in the process of transforming into a house of worship. During this year’s Great Day of Service, volunteers constructed a metal dividing wall on the interior of the building. Montgomery Christian Community holds Sunday worship at 10 a.m. and a weekly prayer service on Fridays at 8 p.m. For additional information, please call Rev. Mario Aman at 495-6460. River Region’s Journey • September 2012

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Faulkner Hosts Former First Lady Laura Bush

Ballet Magnificat at Frazer

Faulkner University is proud to host former First Lady Laura Bush for Turning Points, a dinner event to benefit the college, on October 4 at 7 p.m. Turning Points will take place at the Montgomery Renaissance Convention Center, and all money raised will help fund scholarships. For more info or to purchase tickets, visit www.faulkner. edu/bush.

Making It Easy to Know the Bible

His Vessel Ministries invites you to the teaching event “Making It Easy to Know the Bible” on Tuesday, October 23 from 6pm-9pm. Please join us as Jo Hancock shows you how the Bible is God’s story of His Kingdom on earth and how YOU fit into His plan. Jo highlights why you need to study the Bible and gives a simple overview of the Bible. This teaching is open to men and women. For more information or to register call 334-356-4478 or info@hisvessel.org. His Vessel Ministries provides Christ-centered teachings that point people to the Truth that will stir and challenge individuals to love God with all their heart, soul, and strength. The ministry also organizes prayer warriors that are called Watchmen to pray daily for the city and its leaders. His Vessel Ministries is located in the downtown Historic Union Station, 300 Water Street, Suite 100, Montgomery, AL, 36104.

September 23 * 6 p.m. Wesley Hall at Frazer UMC Ballet Magnificat brings world-class dancing into the church as a beautiful intermingling of worship and art. Long-time fans of ballet and newcomers to the art form alike will be inspired and uplifted. The performance at Frazer will feature “The Arrival,” a contemporary piece celebrating how we anticipate and experience the coming of the presence of God in our midst, and “Deliver Us,” the telling of the story of Moses and the Exodus of God’s people from slavery into freedom through dance and music. Tickets are available now at iTickets.com, and in the Frazer Bookstore. Advance Prices: adults $12.50, children 12 and under $8 (plus ticket handling fees). Day of Price: $15. Nursery available for 4 and under (no ticket required). Visit balletmagnificat.com.

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VeggieTales Live! God Made You Special

First Baptist Church, Prattville, is proud to announce that “Veggie Tales Live!” will be coming on Sunday, November 11th, at 6pm. Tickets will go on sale to the community September 17th. Tickets purchased in advance are $15, Day of the Show $20 and VIP (Meet ‘n Greet Larry and Bob) tickets are $25. Make plans to get your tickets promptly, as this is the ONLY Alabama show scheduled this year and they will go fast! Call 334.365.0606 or visit www. fbcprattvill.org.

Marietta’s Mexican Dominoes/Bridge Tournament a Success

The Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter held a fundraiser August 11 to benefit Renascence, Inc. People gathered in the parish hall for an afternoon of playing Mexican Dominoes and a group of bridge players gathered in the library. The event concluded with a homecooked meal of cajun jambalaya prepared by the interim priest, Father David Perkins. The event netted $503 for outreach and was a lot of fun! The winners were a group from St. John’s Episcopal Church in Montgomery. They each received a certificate. The event was named for a local parishioner, Marietta Sexton, who taught several church members how to play the game while attending a parish retreat years ago. The game became so popular that a group formed and now meets every week to play. Renascence, Inc., is a re-entry community for men that have been in prison or jail. Renascence helps them make a positive change in their lives. (Visit www.halfway-home.net to learn more about the program.)

Dont Miss It!

Holiday Market begins October 17th, 2012 at an EXCITING NEW VENUE!

Holiday Market

at Cramton Bowl!

Montgomery’s Multiplex

The 24th Annual

Wed., October 17 ~ 6-9pm Mistletoe and Martinis: Preview Party & Silent Auction - $35 Beverage tickets, hors d'oeuvres and entertainment

October 17-20th, 2012

Thurs., October 18 Shopping Hours ~ 9am-9pm

Presented by The Junior League of Montgomery

Fri., October 19 Shopping Hours ~ 9am-9pm Girls Night Out 6-9pm No Stroller Night!

Grand Investor:

Sat., October 20 Shopping Hours ~ 9am-5pm Kids! Help the Elves in Santa’s Workshop for Holiday Fun! $10 ~ 10-11:30am Santa is in Town! Stop by and have your picture taken with Santa ~ 12-5pm

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TICKETS: Advance - $5 • Daily - $10 Military/Seniors - $5 Children 10 & under - FREE

For Info and Advance Tickets: Call 334-288-8816 or visit JLMontgomery.org River Region’s Journey • September 2012

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Learn to Defend Your Faith at

Apologetics Event Coming to Prattville

For the second time, Fountain of Grace Church in Prattville will host the Family Apologetics Conference and Training (FACT) on Friday, Oct. 12, Saturday, Oct. 13 and Sunday, Oct. 14. The event is free and is open to families and individuals. Craig Branch, Director of the Apologetics Resource Center in Birmingham, which is putting on the event, describes the FACT conference like this, “Churches in America are shrinking both in numbers and in cultural influence-- even in evangelical, conservative churches. As Dr. Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary states, ‘The most basic contours of American culture have been radically altered. The so called JudeoChristian consensus of the last millennium has given way to a post-modern, postChristian cultural crisis.’” Branch says Evangelism and worldview knowledge are the two weakest disciplines in the Christian’s life. “We are losing 70-percent of our youth when they leave home,” he said. “The Apologetics conference is designed to awaken, educate, and equip Christians to redemptively engage nonbelievers, learning how to answer skeptic’s objections, and to intelligently become salt and light in our world. This is one of our chief callings as Christians but we must get out of our holy huddles.” The conference will address three areas: (1) How to answer common objections to the truth claims of Christianity; (2) demonstrating the errors of cults and comparative religion and how to share the truth of Christianity; (3) and how to address the errors of cultural ideas and institutions with a Biblical worldview and life. Cults and other religions will be studied as well as cultural issues like homosexuality and same-sex marriage, a Biblical view of economics versus secular ones, environmentalism and global warming, and the positions and negatives of social networking and technology. Rick McLain of Fountain of Grace says the conference is family-oriented and is designed for parents and their junior and high-school-aged children. Registration is free. Those interested should e-mail anna@fountainofgrace.us and notify the church how many will be attending. To learn more, go online to http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=jD749UWt5 lw&feature=plcp and watch a short video regarding the event. Call 334.213.7940 today!

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Bebo Norman in Concert

Thursday, October 11 @ 6:30 pm, First Baptist Church in Montgomery. Tickets are $12 in advance, or $15 at the door. This event is a benefit for TheTransMission and is sponsored by Beasley Allen Law Firm, Phillip Pouncey Builder, & OB-GYN of Montgomery. Bebo and TheTransMission founder, Tommy McGregor, have been friends for over 15 years. Bebo has become a vocal supporter of TheTransMission, saying in a 2011 podcast, “The first great transition in our lives is the one that TheTransMission is trying to address, and that is going from high school to college. Life is (made of) consistent seasons with transitional periods in between, and the season of time from high school to college can really be a cornerstone in how you handle those transitions for the rest of your life.” Ticket Locations (on sale Sept 1): Montgomery - Family Christian Stores (Atlanta Hwy) & First Baptist Church office (305 S Perry St); Prattville Blessings, A Christian Store (inside Laser Copy- 103 N Memorial Dr) More info at www.thetransmission.org/bebo.

1st Annual River Region Prayer Walk

Saturday, October 13, Union Station Train Shed Registration Time: 8:00 a.m. Prayer Time: 8:45 a.m. 5k Prayer Walk Begins: 9:00 a.m. Registration Fee: $10.00 per person (includes T-shirt, prayer guide, concert) Children under 12 free Vaughn Forest G2 Women’s Ministry is hosting a prayer walk to bring together the citizens of the River Region to pray over our cities, our government leaders, schools and teachers, uniformed heroes and servants, pastors and ministry leaders, and all of the people that make up the River Region. All men, women and children of the River Region are invited. If you are unable to participate in the walk, we invite all River Region prayer warriors to bring a chair and join us under the train shed for prayer. Online Registration: http://riverregionprayerwalk2012.eventbrite.com. For information, contact Brooke Freeman at: riverregionprayerwalk@gmail.com or 334-284-0755.

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STRENGTHENING OUR COMMUNITY THROUGH EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION

A MINISTRY OF EVANGEL CHURCH

Certified Teachers Full media Center library & Computer lab science lab sports Program Clubs,Drama and more!

Pre-school through 12th Grade - Fully Accredited with sACs, AisA & ACts, AisA blue ribbon school

Visit our Website At

www.ecalions.org

EVANGEL

Christian Academy

For more inFormAtion CAll

334-272-3882

River Region’s Journey • September 2012

evangel Christian Academy admits students of any race, color, gender and national or ethnic origin

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Frazer UMC Purchases Second Home as Part of Transform Montgomery Project

Frazer’s work continues on its God-sized project to Transform Montgomery. They have recently purchased their second home in the Garden Square community. Peggy Spaeth, along with Frazer’s director of Community Ministries, Charlie Kendall, have consulted organizations in Georgia who have worked to restore similar communities. Drawing from their experience, they hope to create a process to seek candidates for the homes we restore, and be able to begin mentoring classes for the whole neighborhood. For more information and updates about Transform Montgomery, go to transform.frazerumc.org/transform-montgomery

Mercy Me Coming to MPAC Montgomery Performing Arts Centre 201 Tallapoosa Street, Montgomery, AL Thursday, November 29, at 7 pm Call (334) 481-5136

Aldersgate Holds Annual Barbecue

The 28th Annual Aldersgate Church BBQ sale to benefit local and international missions and ministries will be held October 13. Boxes are $8 and include both pulled pork and a chicken quarter, plus beans, slaw and bread. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the church, or boxes can be bought the day of sale. Drive-thru service is provided at the front of the church on Vaughn Road. Proceeds will benefit the Aldersgate Methodist Men’s mission and service projects which include Boy Scouts, United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), Montgomery Area Food Bank and other hunger relief projects, short-term mission trips, and assistance for the elderly. Aldersgate is located at 6610 Vaughn Road and you may contact them at (334) 272.6152.

Call 334.213.7940 today!

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September 2012 • River Region’s Journey


Dave Says...

by Dave Ramsey

Fix It or Sell It? My old car has been having lots of problems lately. Do you have any advice on how to decide when it’s best to just fix an old car or get a newer one instead?

Q.

This is a good question! Mathematically, the first thing to look at is the car’s worth if you don’t make repairs. Should you spend $1,000 to increase the value of the vehicle $500? Dumb question, right? At that point, you sell the car as-is and put the $1,000 it would take to fix it toward something newer. On the other hand, let’s say you’ve got a little hooptie worth $1,000 but by putting $500 into it, you can have it up and running again. Suddenly it’s worth $2,500. That’s money well-spent, because what you’ve done has significantly increased the value. The other side is that at some point, the hassle factor of an old car can turn it into a money pit. If you can’t get anywhere because the car’s always busted, then you need to find something else for the sake of safety and reliability. If this happens, though, you should still pay cash for a better car. Even if you’re not taking a step up in price or fanciness, it’s still better than taking on a car payment. I’d walk or ride a bike everywhere before I did that!

A.

Q. I’ve been working the Baby Steps and doing a budget most months. But how does someone who is single stay motivated and focused with something like this? It feels sometimes like it River Region’s Journey • September 2012

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would be easier if I had someone holding me accountable. The first thing is to make sure you do a written budget each month. Not once in a while, not most months—every single month. If you don’t draw the out-of-bounds markers, there’s no way to know when you’ve stepped over the line, right? A monthly, written budget becomes your self-accountability tool, especially when you’re single. Still, there’s nothing wrong with introducing a little accountability into your life. You don’t have to be married to be accountable to someone other than yourself. Ask a good friend or maybe even your pastor to have a look at your plan and see what they think. Just make sure this person is someone who knows a little something about money and finances. Honestly though, I think doing the Baby Steps and following my plan can be easier for single people. Think about it this way: You don’t have to talk someone else into coming along for the ride. You also don’t have to come to an agreement with someone else on everything financial. All you have to do is get serious, look in the mirror, and say, “Quit being stupid with money!” In other words, you just have to do it. Admittedly, you don’t have the built-in accountability in a singles situation. But on the other hand, you don’t have someone calling you a doofus when you mess up!

A.

Dave is the author of The New York Times best-selling book Financial Peace. He is also the host of the nationally syndicated The Dave Ramsey Show, and is a regular guest on television. All of his financial counseling is based on biblical truths. You can hear Dave from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., weekdays, on WLWI 1440 AM or online at www.daveramsey.com. Send your questions to askdave@daveramsey.com. He resides with his wife Sharon and their three children, Denise, Rachel, and Daniel, in Nashville, Tennessee. For Advertising Information:

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September 2012 • River Region’s Journey


SHINE!

by Kim Hendrix

The Hand and Hope of Jesus Isaiah 42:6-7: “I, the Lord have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and light for the Gentiles, to open the eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” Whose hand are you holding? August was a big “hand-holding” month as little ones went to school for the first time, as high school graduates left for college, as college graduates set out on their own, and as some parents struggle to find the money for school…all of this added to the everyday ups and downs of life—sick loved ones, difficult jobs, new babies and an unsure economy. So whose hand are you holding?

River Region’s Journey • September 2012

Over the past few weeks I’ve stood in church as the mom of a teenager told me how disrespectful her son has been to her lately and with tears in her eyes said, “It just hurts and I don’t know what to do about it.” Only a few minutes later another mom said, “Pray for me!” as she explained how sad and depressed she feels now that her youngest child just left for college. Two days later a co-worker’s baby arrives two months early. She seems to be doing well in the NICU, but as the dad wrote in the email, “Thankful for the superior care, now I’m stuck with the worrying.” Life gets heavy, our emotions get tried and stretched, but through it all His hand is there, holding us up, providing strength and hope. It can often take a fellow believer to remind us of that—to

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reach out with their hand and allow you to feel God through them when you’re at the end of your rope. That’s why God made us to be in relationships, why He wants us in fellowship. He knows us well. We get tired, we get weak even when we believe, so He brings people along side us to show us the way. A friend shared a story recently that illustrates this well and it’s also a tremendous example of great parenting! This friend and her husband took in a

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foster child at age 12 and raised her as their own, along with two young sons. When this young lady turned 18 she set out on her own and has done pretty well, managing to overcome a divorce and is now a single mom in her 20s trying to make ends meet. My friend said something told her to check in with her daughter recently and when she did, she learned her daughter had been in a car wreck and didn’t have the insurance needed to help her get a new car. My friend said her daughter was down and seemed hopeless, so my friend asked, “Where’s your faith?” Her daughter said, “I don’t know, I’m not sure.” My friend is in a place where she could fix this situation immediately. She could buy her a car and get her daughter out of any financial trouble. But instead, she said this, “I want you to spend the next 24 hours thinking about all God has brought you through in your life, and then the next 24 hours thanking and praising Him and making a list of what you need to do to come out of where you are. I don’t want to talk to you for 48 hours.” The next day her daughter called and her mother said, “I told you 48

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hours.” When they spoke the following day her daughter had more bad news, she had been told her hours would be cut at work—income she badly needed. Her mother told her to continue spending time alone in His word and to find a way to get a car, and then look for a new job. The next time they talked, only a few days later, things had taken a turn. A car repair shop bought the parts salvaged from the wrecked car, which allowed this young mom to put a down payment on a new car. In that new car she drove for an interview at the post office and got the job. Here’s the text my friend received from her daughter: “Of all the blessings I received this week, the relationship I have with Him now is by far the best I’ve received. I love my car, job, peace, etc…But I love Him the most. I love you, too, Ma.” My friend’s daughter forgot whose hand she was holding. The words in Isaiah 42, verses 6 & 7, are about the Messiah—how God has called Him as a light… “to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in

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darkness.” Through Christ we have the opportunity to share in His mission—to be the light—to free others from what holds them captive. All the while, He’s holding our hand. Whose hand are you holding? Dear Heavenly Father, May we never forget you take hold of our hand. May we reach back and hold on tight allowing you to shine and work through us in a mighty way. For those who are hurting right now, whether it be over loneliness or worry or a feeling of helplessness, please hold them gently and allow them to feel your very presence. May they see that every day is a new beginning, and even when the road is rough, it’s one you’ve already walked down for us. We love you and praise you—in the name of your son Jesus Christ we pray, Amen. Kim Hendrix is the Director of Development at Saint James School in Montgomery. She leads the Shine Your Light ministry at Frazer Memorial U.M.C. and recently ended a 26 year career in television news. Kim and her husband Scott, have a 11 year old daughter, Annie, who brings them great joy.

September 2012 • River Region’s Journey


The

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Mission

sai Co Cr We an fel mi thr

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MISSION LIFE

by Hamilton G. Richardson

Talking about ministering to the needy and supporting mission trips to far-off places is easy--most Christians do it—but it’s actually following through that’s the tough part. Most churches do the same thing; talk a lot about reaching out to the community. But do they actually do it? Do feet ever really touch the ground for the needy, let alone actually leave the pew? For two churches in Prattville and Millbrook, AL, talking about missions wasn’t good enough—they had to act. And act they did as over 40 believers from His Way Community Church and Fountain of Grace Church (C&MA) got together to make an impact on the TriCounty area, which included the state’s capital, Montgomery. Rick McLain is highly involved in his church, Fountain of Grace, in Prattville, and it could be said that Rick was God’s Man in this missions endeavor and he put his experience into the project. River Region’s Journey • September 2012

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“Having previously been a part-time youth pastor and taking teens to mission camps for several years,” explained Rick, “I envisioned a family-friendly mission camp where parents and their children would serve and worship together in a way that would be more than a once-ayear experience to a place too far away to follow up throughout the year. My hope was that through serving Jesus together, families would be strengthened.” Rick envisioned a mission project that would impact the neighborhoods where the participants actually lived. “I hoped participants would be more aware of the urgent needs within a few blocks of their homes and see how God has uniquely prepared them to meet those needs, and then stay on-mission meeting those needs after the week of camp ended,” Rick said. “I also hoped that God would impact our community through the ministries performed by the ‘Mission- Lifers’ by saving many and creating opportunities for continued discipleship and ministry.” 18

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Rick almost went on a mission trip, but because of a change in plans, was able to pitch the Mission Life concept to his church leadership. “When I originally went to my pastors Tony Butler and Phil Leistner with the concept of Mission Life, I hoped for 30 participants from Fountain of Grace Church and thought 40 would be amazing,” he said. “I didn’t know what it would cost us to host a camp like this, but I told my pastors that I thought we should charge $30 per person with a maximum of $90 for a family of four or more. We would trust God to make that work for the food, supplies for ministry sites, and what no camp could be complete without – the camp t-shirt.” Rick not only saw many from his church sign up, but most of the membership of His Way Community Church, who Rick was partnering with, signed up as well. Six others from area churches showed up also. “What happened was absolutely all of God and for His glory,” said Rick about the outcome of Mission Life. For Advertising Information:

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Rick got the assistance of all three His Way Community Church Elder/Pastors as well as a large number of volunteers and leaders from both churches to get the program off the ground. “We ended up with the three teams,” said Rick. “We named them PCY (Paint/ Construction/Yardwork), SC1 (Social Creative), and SC2 (Social Creative). We came together on Sunday, July 8, and formed our teams, got to know our fellow team mates, then prepared for ministry that would be done Monday through Friday.“ Matt Turner, an Elder/Pastor from His Way Community Church, was chosen to preach the Word every evening after the Mission Life teams had returned from ministering to the community. “I expected the gospel to go forth in our community and for our people to catch the vision that God’s plan to reach the world is through the local church,” Matt said. “I personally believe that lives were touched by the gospel, believers were challenged to step up and follow Christ locally and continually, and both churches were blessed. As a result, the exposure to the local needs worked

as a catalyst to inspire God’s people to step up.” And Rick agreed: “There was a great impact on the churches involved as they did not recognize denominational walls or man-made names that week. We truly operated and served our community together as the Body of Christ, not as His Way or as Fountain of Grace,” he said. “Both churches are talking about partnering in on-going ministry efforts and doing Mission Life Camp together again next year. Both churches also want to serve each other.” Fountain of Grace Pastor Tony Butler saw the clear impact Mission Life had on everyone involved. “For years our church has done short term mission trips to Peru. However, this year that door closed. With that closed door God opened another to reach out right here at home this summer,” Pastor Tony said. “Mission Life was six days devoted to our own personal growth through devotions and challenging messages on missions and Christian discipleship. It was five days of various ministry outreaches from evangelism, construction projects, and showing love

to needy people in the name of Christ. Some Mission Lifers gave up their vacation time to be part of it. Entire families worked together in ministry alongside others they didn’t know very well. However, by the end of the week deep relationships were formed.” Matt Turner summed up the missions event with a quote by John Piper: “’Missions exist because worship doesn’t,’” said Matt. “In other words, the reason why we are to be on mission is to make His name known.” One of the attendees to Mission Life, Susie Gardner, shared her thoughts about the event, which she initially didn’t even want to attend. “Going into it, Mission Life was just something else I had to do, didn’t want to do, but needed to be obedient to what the Father desired of me,” said Gardner. “Honestly, I didn’t have great expectations. I went into it clueless really, but I was asking the Lord to do a work in me, to change my heart about not wanting to attend, and being open to whatever happened.” But Susie quickly changed her mind as she experienced what serving can do.

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September 2012 • River Region’s Journey


be my life. It is such a joy to love on those He loves so greatly.” Mission Life changed people— people in churches, people in communities and people in neighborhoods. It also fired up a group of believers who needed to be fired up—wanted to be fired up--for Jesus and to obey his command to spread the Gospel. Rick, Matt and many others who were touched by their experience with Mission Life plan on doing the missions week again next year and trying to boost as much awareness in the surrounding communities as possible in order to be, as Susie Gardner so eloquently said, Jesus with skin on.

“Mission life has become a way of life,” she said. “I pray it will continue in my life. It is being ‘Jesus with skin on,’ living out his passion to meet the needs of those around us, sharing His truth, and allowing Him to love on people through you. It is emptying yourself,

River Region’s Journey • September 2012

being filled, and following where He leads. I changed. For that solid week, I was filled, used, humbled, and really became a vessel He was able to use. My eyes were opened and my heart broken by the great needs at my own backdoor. In His strength, His life is continuing to

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Hamilton G. Richardson is a freelance writer living in the Prattville area with his wife and kids. He has worked as a professional and freelance writer for several years, as well as working in television, radio, print media and for the web. Hamilton was born in Sydney, Australia but spent most of his life in San Diego, CA before moving to Alabama. Pictured: Matt Richardson and Analisa Carr painting playground equipment in Millbrook. *Headline photo (page 18): Max Morbidelli helping build a gazebo at the Grandview YMCA.

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September 2012 • River Region’s Journey


The Intersection:

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Christian Cultural Commentary by Bob Crittenden

A Christian Nation? A recent survey provides some material for consideration about our nation’s history and our current condition. A select group participated in the June 2012 Evangelical Leaders Survey, commissioned by the National Association of Evangelicals. Some 68 percent of those surveyed agreed that America is not a Christian nation, while 32 said it is. Of the 32 percent who said the United States is a Christian nation, most indicated that they did so because the U.S. was founded with Christian principles or because there are more Christians in the nation than followers of any other religion. The head of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, Representative Randy

Forbes, attempted to address the question on whether or not the United States is a Christian nation when he posed two questions on the House floor. The first question dealt with whether or not we ever considered ourselves a Judeo-Christian nation. And, the second question referred to identifying the moment in time where we ceased to be a Christian nation, if indeed we were. Eloquently laying out a brief history of our nation’s faith foundation, Forbes made mention of the 1892 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Holy Trinity Church vs. United States, in which the court “indicated, after recounting the long history of faith in this country, that we were a Christian

be ch aw tow ne nation.” The Representative contended that we have indeed not ceased to be a nation founded on Judeo-Christian principles: “…they can rip that word (reference to God) off of all of our buildings and still those Judeo-Christian principles are so interwoven in a tapestry of freedom and liberty, that to begin to unravel one is to unravel the other.” There is misunderstanding today about what it means to be a Christian nation. There are those who would expect

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such a nation to look like a theocracy, where the priests or pastors are in charge and everyone is forced to practice one particular brand of religion. That is not, and never has been, the America we know – those involved in the founding of our nation had a diverse religious background and were dedicated to religious freedom. They were averse to establishing a state church. But, it is very apparent that the principles of faith were built into the precepts of freedom. I believe that America has been blessed and sustained because of our deep religious faith and an emphasis on moral character. Many recognize that our nation is on a course away from the principles of God. I sense a growing hostility toward people of faith, and a lack of knowledge, or forgetfulness, about the role of faith in our nation’s history. That’s unfortunate. Our nation is facing challenges today that can only be solved by the hand of God. However, when so many influential people, including corporate and governmental leaders, and people in media who communicate a worldview contrary to our Christian principles, are not recognizing the potential of Godly wisdom, we find ourselves in a precarious position. Such a lack of understanding caused some to take issue with the head of Chick-Fil-A, Dan Cathy, when he defended the Biblical definition of marriage on a radio program: “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’” To me, this brought to mind the words spoken by a famous American almost 150 years ago: “But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.” That was part of President Lincoln’s proclamation on a national day of prayer and fasting in 1863. We have indeed collectively, as a nation, forgotten God. Many do not revere or embrace the Christian principles upon which we were formed. And, I believe that our nation in general is paying the price. I believe that Scripture shows us how God does deal in the lives of nations – witness the supplications made by Solomon on behalf of his people, or Daniel, who stood in the gap and confessed national sins. Lincoln also said, “…it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the LORD’S side.” That is our challenge today, and it should motivate us as Christians to intercede like never before for our nation, its leaders, and its future, that we might return to a new reverence of God and His ways - cornerstones for this nation, a Christian nation; not to the exclusion of anyone, but that all may enjoy liberty because we have aligned ourselves with Almighty God.

2416 W. Cloverdale Park Montgomery, AL 36106 334.834.8990 www.fumcmontgomery.org

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Join us for worship, fellowship, and service. Sunday Morning Worship 8:45 & 11 a.m.

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Dr. R. Lawson Bryan Senior Minister

Bob Crittenden is host of “The Meeting House”, heard weekday afternoons from 4-6pm on Faith Radio, 89.1FM in Montgomery. Described as “the intersection of faith and culture”, the program features Christian music and conversation about a variety of topics. Learn more by visiting www.meetinghouseonline.info. Call 334.213.7940 today!

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September 2012 • River Region’s Journey


Counselor’s Corner by Brenda Payne

The Role Deception Plays in Promoting Sin Sin is the ultimate cause of all the misery in our lives. Charles Spurgeon preached, “All manner of evils draw their bitterness from this fountain of wormwood and gall. If a man had every possession a mortal could desire, sin could turn every blessing into a curse. And, on the other hand, if a man had nothing for his inheritance but suffering and stood clear from all sin, his afflictions, his losses, his deprivations might each one be a gain to him. We ought not to pray so much against sickness, or trial, or temptation, or even against death itself, as against sin!” If sin is so bad then why do we so easily give into it? The answer starts with deception. Satan has used deception since the Garden of Eden to lure men into disobedience and rebellion toward God. After creating the newlywed couple and putting them in the Garden to work and take of care it, the Lord commanded, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17). One chapter later, we learn Satan is implementing a plan of deception leading to destruction. “He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’”…..“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:1-5). Can you pick out the four deceptions? First of all, Satan is an expert at planting seeds of doubt and confusion by twisting God’s very own words! Do you see the subtlety in how he approaches Eve, “Did God really say you must not eat from any tree in the garden?” God had indeed given one prohibition, but He was more than generous in the provision He had made for River Region’s Journey • September 2012

Adam and Eve to enjoy the Garden. Oftentimes, Satan will entice us to focus on our “have not’s” instead of looking at all the “have’s” God has graciously gifted to us. What “have not’s” do you find yourself focusing on? Secondly, Satan gets Eve to doubt the consequences of her sin. He says, “You’re not gonna die!” Sin is always dangerous, but Satan wants us to believe otherwise. He wants us to forget, ignore or doubt the promises of God’s temporal and eternal. Our misery may not be the result of our own sin, but in one way or the other, every misery in the universe started with the Fall. In the areas where you are most tempted, how have the consequences of sin been minimized in your mind? How should you change your thinking about those consequences? Third, Satan gets Eve to doubt in the goodness of God. He tricks her into thinking that God is withholding some good thing from her. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). She no longer looks at all the wonderful provisions of God in her life, but she focuses on the one thing she cannot have. In fact, the one thing she cannot have has captured her heart and now it becomes the one thing she needs to be truly fulfilled. In the areas where you are most tempted to sin, do you think you have been duped to doubt God’s goodness in your own life? Finally, Satan convinces Eve she can be like God. Isn’t that the folly of humanity? We want to be God. We want to make up our own rules based on our desires and live without consequences or accountability. Do you believe unrepentant sin in your own life will be equally catastrophic? In what ways do you want to be like God? Finally, deception is not only a major player in the enticement to sin but further 24

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keeps us from the cross in tempting us to doubt God’s goodness and forgiveness in the cross. Here are some questions to prayerfully ask yourself. In what ways are you currently disobeying God? Work backwards from your actions to Satan’s deception to see why you are being unfaithful. Where do you think Satan is most deceiving you and leading you into unbelief? In what ways have you stopped fearing God and the consequences of disobedience? Has your sin produced shame or some measure of misery in your relationship to God or others? If not yet, what is the potential? What “good thing” do you think the Lord is withholding from you? In what ways have you tried to deal with your sin by hiding, covering up or blame-shifting? How do we escape the deceitfulness of sin? “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:12-13 ESV). We run to God by studying His Word, praying, and surrounding ourselves with other committed followers of Christ. We need friendship with God and we need friends of God who we can be real with about our sin and who will love us enough to hate our sin and help expose the deceitfulness of our hearts.

Brenda is a certified counselor through the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors. She counsels part time at Eastwood Presbyterian Church where she is a member. She and her husband Paul have three children--Kadie Allen, Rome, and John Clark. Brenda is active in teaching women’s Bible studies and discipleship. She has taught a number of seminars on issues related to women. For Advertising Information:

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At Trinity, we believe every student should have access to quality Apple laptops. That’s why Trinity is the first school in the River Region to implement a grade-wide laptop initiative. Combined with SmartBoards in every classroom and wireless internet school wide, our students are taking a bite out of the future every day.

Apples aren’t just for teachers anymore.

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Nondiscriminatory statement as to students: Trinity admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origins to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. Trinity does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, national or ethnic 25 Call 334.213.7940 today! policies, scholarship programs and athletics, and other school-administered September 2012 • origins in any of the educational programs.

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Montgomery Christian School

Making Private Education Affordable

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Accessible Fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Susan Babington, with her students: back row – Zion Golson, Tommy Small, Zijuan Armstrong, Lena Ivey, Theadora Haynes; front row – Seanise Maldon, Braxton Burdette, Arnika Waters, Naderia Tyson

by Rachel Fisher

Today, we live in a region and a nation where the conversation of education is a hot topic with many voices. While the solutions for improving education are vast and complex, there are a handful of schools, committed teachers, and administrators across the country making a difference in the lives of children. Montgomery Christian School is one of those schools standing in the gap. In 2005, Tom Danielson, along with his wife and others discovered the tutoring they were doing with children at Patterson Court wasn’t enough. “We realized we were only scratching the surface with these kids,” said Danielson, who tutored at Patterson Court for six years. “We saw lots of bright kids, but they were struggling in school. In some cases it was the school itself, or it was issues going on in River Region’s Journey • September 2012

their families, and sometimes a combination of the two” he explained. “We knew we could come together to help in a more meaningful way, so we started to explore our options.” Danielson and a handful of others began asking questions and meeting together. “What would be a better approach?” and “How can we, as believers in Christ, meet this need?” were some of the questions they began to ask. Soon, they had an answer. “We started to consider what it would look like for us to start a school that would provide a better option for families who otherwise did not have one,” said Danielson. Schools like Restoration Academy and Cornerstone in Birmingham, Ala. provided a blueprint for what they believed could happen in Montgomery. The goal would be to create a learning environment 26

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with a foundation built on the truth of Scripture in every aspect, and catered to lower-income children. It was then the vision for what has become Montgomery Christian School began to take shape. Since Danielson and the others involved were members at Trinity Presbyterian Church, they made Montgomery Christian School a part of their Missions program. This partnership allowed the school to be housed in the church, which Danielson says is a great location. In 2007, after months of planning, meetings and gathering the diverse group of people who make up their Board of Directors, Montgomery Christian School, under the leadership of Danielson, opened its doors to the school’s first K-5 kindergarten class. In 2009, the school added a first grade. Since then, they have added an For Advertising Information:

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additional grade each year. This year, the school year began with an added fourth grade and a total of 47 students. The board plans to add a grade every year until 8th grade. At that time, Danielson says they will consider moving forward with more grades or stopping altogether after junior high. The mission of Montgomery Christian School is, first: “To provide an academically challenging Christian education to children in inner city Montgomery.” Though the demographic is roughly 80 percent African-American, Danielson notes there are children who come from across the city of Montgomery as well. The school has formed a strong partnership with Common Ground Montgomery, a local ministry which works toward transforming communities through investing in urban youth. According to Danielson, last year one-third of the children attending Montgomery Christian School came from the Washington Park neighborhood where Common Ground is based, while the remainder of the students came from neighborhoods throughout Montgomery. “In order to provide a private school choice for families who otherwise have

none we had to make it affordable,” Danielson says. He explains this is done through offering a flexible tuition based on family income. This type of flexibility is what separates Montgomery Christian School from other private schools in the First grade teacher, Mrs. Mandy Dubina, shows her students how to answer a question online. Students shown are Karmen Howard, area and has Koree Arms, Bra’Niyzha Wilson, Adrienne Dorsey, Ethan Blake, allowed them Camille Campbell, and Brittny Allen. to reach kids across the city. The remainder and emotional maturity where they can of the funds are provided through donaeffectively pursue God’s purposes in their tions and their partnership with Trinity personal life, family, church and city.” Presbyterian Church. Danielson says they accomplish this by The second part of their mission offering a well-grounded curriculum, with is focused on their goal, which is, “To a heavy focus in reading and mathematics, bring every student to spiritual maturity the subjects where students struggle most, in Christ along with academic, social,

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September 2012 • River Region’s Journey


Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Tiffany Button, instructs her students in writing the letter “I”. Students are Skye Doss, Keith Perkins, Halley Chambers, and Za’Riyah Dudley.

River Region’s Journey • September 2012

centered on God’s truth. They also provide a Christian-based character curriculum. Zion Golson, a fourth grader, came to Montgomery Christian from another public school. “I love it because it’s a mixed group,” he says. “I get to learn more about reading, which is good for me.” Towana Chapman, whose daughter Stephanie attends the school, says her experience has been, “better than I ever expected.” Towana says that Stephanie’s interest in art and reading has increased in dramatic ways and that she knows her daughter is not just learning about each subject, but about God, too. Danielson, along with their four full-time teachers and two part-time teachers, believes strongly in not only introducing the children to subjects like art, science, language arts and math, but to Christ…the True Storyteller, True Artist, True Scientist and True Mathematician, Who has laid the foundation in these

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subjects in an effort to allow children to expand their horizons and see beyond. “For instance, Math makes sense because God is a God of order,” says Danielson. “These are the lines of deeper thinking we want the kids to understand.” The poet William Butler Yeats once wrote, “Education is not filling a pail but the lighting of a fire.” The like-minded group of committed individuals behind Montgomery Christian School believes the fire they light in the hearts and minds of the children who come through their doors, no matter who they are, has the potential to be a spark in changing the world, for the advancement of God’s kingdom and their lives. If you are interested in learning more about how you can help Montgomery Christian School continue making a difference in the lives of children in the Montgomery area, contact them at montgomerychristianschool@gmail.com or (334) 262-3892. Rachel Fisher loves learning what God is doing in the world and writing about it. Rachel and her husband, Chase, are members of Strong Tower at Washington Park, a church plant of Common Ground Ministries. **Photography by Savannah Bowden Photography.

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September 2012 • River Region’s Journey


Grace to You

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by John MacArthur

A Sanctified Spouse For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. (1 Corinthians 7:14) Christians married to unbelievers were not to worry that they themselves, their marriage, or their children would be defiled by the unbelieving spouse. On the contrary, the very opposite was the case. Both the children and the unbelieving spouse would be sanctified through the believing wife or husband. Being unequally yoked, one flesh with an unbeliever, can be frustrating, discouraging, and even costly. But it need

not be defiling because one believer can sanctify a home. In this sense sanctify does not refer to salvation; otherwise the spouse would not be spoken of as unbelieving. It refers to being set apart, the basic meaning of sanctify and holy, terms that are from the same Greek root. The sanctification is matrimonial and familial, not personal or spiritual. In God’s eyes a home is set apart for Himself when the husband, wife, or, by implication, any other family member, is a Christian. Such a home is not Christian in the full sense, but it is immeasurably superior to one that is totally unbelieving. Even if the Christian is ridiculed and persecuted, unbelievers in the family are blessed because of that believer. One Christian

in a home graces the entire home. God’s indwelling that believer and all the blessings and graces that flow into the believer’s life from heaven will spill over to enrich all who are near. In addition, although the believer’s faith cannot suffice for the salvation of anyone but himself, he is often the means of other family members coming to the Lord by the power of his testimony. A young woman came up to me after the service one Sunday morning and told me that when she was growing up her

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Centerpoint Fellowship Church at Pike Road Join us for a celebration of God’s goodness through praise and worship, followed by a life-applicable Bible-based teaching by senior pastor John Schmidt via video. Come casual and enjoy our service that starts at 9:30 a.m. every Sunday at the Jim Wilson YMCA at New Park. Nursery and children’s program provided.

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For more information contact our office at (334) 356-3076 or visit our website at centeringlives.com

River Region’s Journey • September 2012

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grandmother was the only Christian in the family. The grandmother used to speak of her love for Christ and witnessed to the family in what she said and by what she did. Eventually, three of the four grandchildren came to know the Lord, and each one declared that their grandmother had the greatest influence on their decision for Christ. When God was about to destroy Sodom, Abraham pleaded with Him to spare the city if fifty righteous people lived there. “So the Lord said, ‘If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare the whole place on their account’ ” (Gen. 18:26). When that many could not be found, the patriarch reduced the number to forty–five, then to forty, thirty, twenty, and finally ten. In each case the Lord agreed to spare the city, but not even ten righteous could be found. But God was willing to bless many wicked people for the sake even of a few of His own people in their midst. Furthermore, God looks on the family as a unit. Even if it is divided spiritually, and most of its members are unbelieving and immoral, the entire family is graced by a believer among them. Therefore, if an unbelieving spouse is willing to stay, the believer is not to seek a divorce. The Christian need not fear that the children will be unclean, defiled by the unbelieving father or mother. God promises that the opposite is true. They would otherwise be unclean if both parents were unbelievers. But the Lord guarantees that the presence of just one Christian parent will protect the children. It is not that their salvation is assured, but that they are protected from undue spiritual harm and that they will receive spiritual blessing. Because they share in the spiritual benefits of their believing parent, they are holy. Often the testimony of the believing parent in this situation is especially effective, because the children see a clear contrast to the unbelieving parent’s life, and that leads them to salvation. Widely known for his thorough, candid approach to teaching God’s Word, John MacArthur is a fifthgeneration pastor, a popular author and conference speaker, and has served as pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California since 1969. John and his wife, Patricia, have four grown children and fifteen grandchildren. John’s pulpit ministry has been extended around the globe through his media ministry, Grace to You. Call 334.213.7940 today!

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September 2012 • River Region’s Journey


River Region Support Groups Adoption

Location: Frazer Memorial UMC, 6000 Atlanta Hwy APAC- Alabama Pre/Post Adoption Connection Support Group meets the 3rd Thursday from 6:007:30pm in room 8253 at Frazer Memorial UMC. Provides education and social interaction for adoptive families. For more info, call 409-9477 or email apac2@childrensaid.org. Location: Landmark Church, 1800 Halcyon Blvd. Leaders: Chad & Betsy Emerson (334) 201-5241 Wednesday, 6:30pm in Rm. 116. The Orphan Care Group will focus on God’s call to help orphans through adoption, foster care, and missions work. The group will share experiences, study and Biblical themes regarding orphan care, and provide a support and interest network for individuals who want to support orphans.

Alcoholic / Addict

Location: Caring Center of FBC, 52 Adams Avenue CrossRoads Support Group is for addicts/alcoholics and family members. Meets at 6 p.m. Tuesdays and follows a Christ-centered 12-step program. Call 264-4949. Location: Centerpoint Fellowship, 2050 Commerce St., Millbrook. We are located one block east of I-65 just off Cobbs Ford Road. Celebrate Recovery meeting every Tuesday night at 6 pm. Call (334) 356-3076. Location: Cloverdale Baptist Church, 608 E. Fairview Celebrate Recovery, a Bible-based Christ centered approach to recovery from hurts, habits and hangups, meets Friday nights, beginning with dinner at 5:30 p.m., Praise and worship, 6:30, Open Share Small Groups, 7:30, and Solid Rock Cafe, at 8:30. Call 265-9223. Location: Dalraida UMC, 3817 Atlanta Highway Alcoholics Anonymous meets at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays. 272.2190. Alanon meets at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays. Location: Grace @ Bell Road, Corner of Bell Road and Atlanta Hwy. Alcoholics Anonymous and Alanon meetings are held Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, at 6 p.m. An Open AA Speaker meeting is held on Saturday at 6 p.m. An Alanon & AA held on Sundays at 2 p.m. Location: Grace Point Community Church, 78223 Tallassee Hwy (Hwy 14), Wetumpka Celebrate Recovery- every Tuesday night- 6:15pm. All are welcome! These meetings are a safe and loving environment for individuals seeking to conquer their hurts, habits and hang-ups! E-mail www. gracepoint.info. Location: Journey Church, group meets in Fellowship Hall at Coosada Baptist Church, Millbrook Celebrate Recovery - Christ-centered 12-step for anyone struggling with addiction or life-challenging issues. Mondays at 6pm (meal), 7pm (large group),

River Region’s Journey • September 2012

8pm (small group). Childcare available. Call Chuck at 850-7239705. Location: Santuck Baptist Church, 7250 Central Plank Rd. (Hwy 9), Wetumpka. Celebrate Recovery meets each Thursday evening at 6:15 in the Fellowship Hall. This is a Chrsit centered 12 step-program for anyone struggling with hurts, habits, and hang-ups. Call 567-2364.

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Location: Landmark Church, 1800 Halcyon Blvd. RSVP- This is a 12 step spiritual recovery program for overcoming addictions. Using the steps and Bible we help build self-esteem, responsible behavior, the making of amends for our destructive actions, and to fill the void in our hearts in a loving relationship with God. Wednesday @ 6:30pm in Rm. 121 of the Life Center. Location: St. James UMC, 9045 Vaughn Road Celebrate Recovery meets every Thursday night from 6-8 pm in the Youth Room. This is a Christ-centered 12-step group for anyone struggling with an “addiction or life-challenging issues.” For information, call Chris Henderson at 334-215-0427. Location: Trinity Episcopal, Wetumpka (Across from Winn Dixie on HWY 231) Gamblers Anonymous-Saturdays at 7 p.m.

Alzheimer’s / Dementia

Location: Frazer Memorial UMC, 6000 Atlanta Hwy An Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregivers’ Support Group meets on the first Thursday of each month at 11 a.m. in Room 3103. Call 272.8622. Location: Frazer Memorial UMC, 6000 Atlanta Hwy A Dementia Daycare is held each Thursday in Rm. 3101 from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Each participant may bring a sack lunch. There is no charge. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. For info, call the LifeCare office at 272-8622. Location: Aldersgate UMC, 6610 Vaughn Alzheimer’s Support Group – Meets monthly on second Tuesday 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. This support group is for those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer or other forms of dementia. Each session provides information about the disease and community services available to help you. The group is open to the community. Call 272-6152. 32

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Cancer

Location: Dalraida Baptist, 3838 Wares Ferry Road. Just for Men -- Montgomery’s first and only faith based cancer support group for men is intent on providing information, Christian fellowship, and helping turn adversity into prosperity. Meetings are held the third Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. in the fellowship hall. Please call 272-2412 email cancerpatient@ bellsouth.net. Location: ChristChurch, 8800 Vaughn Road Cancer Support Group for general cancer. Tuesday afternoons at 1 pm. For more info, please call Christy Holding at 531-1390 or Debbie Diemayer at 467-4578. Location: Frazer Memorial UMC, 6000 Atlanta Hwy Women of Hope Breast Cancer Support Group, providing education, awareness, and mentoring for breast cancer patients/survivors, family, friends or anyone interested in becoming a part of this compassionate journey, meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in Rm 8253. Call 272-8622 or womenofhope@charter.net.

Caregiver

Location: Aldersgate UMC, 6610 Vaughn Road Caregiver’s Support Group – Meets monthly on third Wednesday 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. Caring for an elderly or terminally ill patient can be challenging and, at times, overwhelming. A support group provides a safe place to express your concerns and fears and find help and strength to care for your loved one. The group is open to the community. Call Aldersgate UMC 272-6152.

Depression

Location: Landmark Church, 1800 Halcyon Blvd. Leaders: Mike & Suzanne Greene (334-271-3331) For Advertising Information:

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Every other Tuesday, 6:30pm in Rm. 117. Goal is to create an atmosphere of acceptance and trust, where people can feel free and safe to discuss their feelings and thoughts without shame or embarrassment. Location: Frazer Memorial UMC, 6000 Atlanta Hwy A Depression/Bipolar Support Group meets on the 1st Thursday of each month from 7:00-8:30pm in Room 3101. This group also meets on the 3rd Saturday afternoon, 12-2 pm, Dalraida UMC, 3817 Atlanta Highway in Church Annex. For more info, call 334.652.1431 or email dbsamontgomery@ yahoo.com.

Divorce

Location: First Baptist Church, 305 S. Perry Street Divorce Care and Divorce Care 4 Kids, Wednesdays starting August 22, 6:30 pm. Cost $15.00 (scholarships available) Contact Kathy Cooper at kcooper@ montgomeryfbc.org or 334-241-5125. Location: First UMC, 100 E. Fourth Street, Prattville Divorce Recovery meets Wednesdays at 6:15 p.m., Bldg. 101. Call 365.5977. Location: Frazer Memorial UMC, 6000 Atlanta Hwy A Divorce Recovery Support Group meets each Tuesday, at 5:30 p.m., in Fellowship Hall Lobby. 272-8622. Location: Heritage Baptist Church, 1849 Perry Hill Divorce Care Support Group meetings are held Sundays at 6:15 p.m. Divorce Care for Children also at this time. Call 279.9976. Grief Share groups are held each Sunday at 5 p.m. Call 279.9976. Location: Vaughn Park Church, 3800 Vaughn Road A Divorce Recovery group meets on Wednesday nights, from 7 to 8 p.m. Children’s classes available. Call 386-7295.

Grief

Location: Aldersgate UMC, 6610 Vaughn Road Bereavement Support Group – Meets quarterly – six week classes that meet on Thursdays 11:30 – 1:00 p.m. Free meal is provided by our church women. Group is led by a professional grief counselor and is open to the community. For dates, call Aldersgate UMC 272-6152. Location: First UMC, 100 E. Fourth Street, Prattville Grief Recovery, Thursday nights at 7 p.m., in Wesley Hall Room 104. Call 365.5977. Location: Frazer Memorial UMC, 6000 Atlanta Hwy Grief Recovery Support Group meets Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m., Rm 3105, in Fellowship Hall Lobby. 272.8622. Location: Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church 1550 E. Washington Street Grief Ministry is a grief recovery support group that meets every Monday at 6:00 P.M. The ministry is designed to help anyone through the hurt of losing a loved one by successfully traveling the journey from mourning to joy. Alicia Glover is the coordinator. For more information contact Glover at 334-281-2754.

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Homosexuality

Location: Landmark Church, 1800 Halcyon Blvd. The Barnabas Group, created to address the needs of those in conflict with homosexual thoughts and feelings meets first, third and fifth Tuesday evenings at 6:30 p.m., in the library at the Life Center. 277.5800.

Mental Illness

Location: Dalraida UMC, 3817 Atlanta Highway AMI (Alliance for the Mentally Ill Support Group) meets on first and third Mondays at 6:30 p.m. Montgomery Share Group for the recovering mentally ill meets at the Dalraida UMC annex (3775 Atlanta Highway), 1st and 3rd Mondays, at 6:30 p.m. Call 265.2804.

Parenting

Location: First Baptist Prattville, 138 S. Washington Moms LIFE (living in faith everyday) Meets twice monthly from 8:30 - 11:45 am in the chapel at the Church from Aug - May. We offer a time of fellowship, Bible study, musical guest, special guest speakers and a lot of fun!! Cost is $5 per meeting. For moms of all stages and ages of life. Childcare provided by reservation. For more info and to reserve your spot, call Kelley Manning at 361-7919. Location: Vaughn Forest Church, 8660 Vaughn Road Are you in need of a time-out? MOPS joins mothers together by a common bond, to be better wives, moms, and friends along this journey in the trenches of motherhood. We meet the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month from 9:30—11:30 a.m. Childcare is provided. For more information please e-mail VFCMOPS@gmail.com.

Physical Challenges

Location: Aldersgate UMC, 6610 Vaughn Road Visually Impaired Support Group – Meets monthly on second Thursday 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. The group is called Outward Sight - Inward Vision and is for those with vision loss and their caregivers. Our mission is to assist those experiencing vision loss to maintain their independence by providing access to valuable information and spiritual support. Call Aldersgate UMC 272-6152. Location: Cloverdale School Bldg. (First UMC) Parkinson’s Support Group of Montgomery meets the fourth Sunday of the month in Room 103 at 2:00pm. More information, contact Nathan Attwood at First United Methodist Church (334-834-8990). Location: First UMC Montgomery, 2416 W. Cloverdale Montgomery Hearing Loss Support Group meets every second Thursday in Wesley Hall at 4 pm. The entrance is on Park Avenue. Informative speakers are present, refreshments are served and no reservations are required. The public is welcome. Location: Frazer Memorial UMC, 6000 Atlanta Hwy A Fibromyaligia Support Group meets the 3rd Tuesday of each month from 6-8pm in room 8114. Call 272-8622. Location: Frazer Memorial UMC, 6000 Atlanta Hwy An MDA/ALS Support Group will meet Tuesday August 10 6:00p.m. – 8:00 p.m. in room 3101. Anyone who is affected by a neuromuscular disease 33

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or family members of those affected are encouraged to attend. To receive further information, please call 396-4534. Location: Frazer Memorial UMC, 6000 Atlanta Hwy A Parkinson’s Support Group will meet the 3rd Thursday at 6:30 p.m., in room 8114 at Frazer UMC. This group is for those who have Parkinson’s disease and the family members. 272-8622. Location: Landmark Church, 1800 Halcyon Blvd. Leaders: Junior Bagwell (334)669-9334, John Stewart Meets every 2nd Tuesday of each month at 345 Melanie Drive, in Carol Villa. Our goal is to share and use the struggles that we as a group are facing, biblical principals, prayer, medical experts or any other resources available to help us deal with the life-long challenges that are caused by the various diseases that we have encountered. Location: Taylor Road Baptist Church, 1785 Taylor Rd. Gluten Intolerance Group of Montgomery meets most months on the 4th Thursday from 6-7 p.m. at Taylor Road Baptist Church. Visit http://gfmontgomery.blogspot.com or you can request information by sending an email to dr.hetrick@charter.net.

Pregnancy Loss / Infertility

Location: First UMC, 100 E. Fourth Street, Prattville Hannah’s Prayer--for women dealing with pregnancy loss/infertility issues. Meeting 2nd Thursday and 3rd Sunday of each month. Call 365.5977. Location: St. James UMC, 9045 Vaughn Road Renewed Hope - Infertility/Pregnancy Loss Support Group for Women. Meets quarterly on the third Thursday of the month, 6pm at Panera Bread in EastChase. Next meeting Oct 18th, 2012. Please email Tina Holmes at tkholmes@hotmail.com or call 277-5771.

Singlehood

Location: Frazer Memorial UMC, 6000 Atlanta Hwy Singles’ Small Groups meet each Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall Lobby. For info, call 272-8622. Location: Frazer Memorial UMC, 6000 Atlanta Hwy T.N.T. (Tuesday Night Together) for Singles meets Tuesdays from 7-8 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall, bldg. 7000. A meal ($5.00) and program are provided. For reservations, call the Singles office at 272-8622. Location: Cornerstone Christian, 301 Dalraida Rd. Unavoidably Single Again (USA) Fellowship, a support group for widows and widowers. Informal meetings for fellowship and fun are held on the third Saturday of each month starting at 10 AM. Contact Lynda at farauthor@aol.com or 354-8869.

Veterans

Location: Frazer Memorial UMC, 6000 Atlanta Hwy Veterans OEF/OIF Caregivers Support Group meets on the 3rd Wednesday from 11am-1pm in Room 3108. This group provides support and understanding to those caring for OEF/OIF Veterans. Cntact Joy at (334) 725-2542.

September 2012 • River Region’s Journey


Why Does It Hurt So Much? by Steven Clark Goad

How can we rejoice in the Lord when we’re in constant pain? Is it possible to stay cheerful and positive in the middle of unremitting suffering and maladies beyond our control? How can we maintain a vibrant faith when we’re hurting? Jesus was candid about the suffering his followers would face. But he also told them they would be blessed abundantly and their joy would be made full. It sounds almost oxymoronic to say we can have joy while suffering. Who can believe it?

If the U.S. Government was a family, they would be making $58,000 a year, they would be spending $75,000 a year, and are $327,000 in credit card debt. They are currently proposing BIG spending cuts to reduce their spending to $72,000 per year. These are the actual proportions of the federal budget and debt, reduced to a level that we can understand. River Region’s Journey • September 2012

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The answer can be found in the life of Christ himself. He said, “I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things” (John 8:28, New King James Version). He faced the same hardships we face today. He got splinters. He was hungry when his disciples reminded him it was past lunchtime. He replied, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me, and to finish His work” (John 4:34). One reason we struggle with pain is that we often forget why we are here. Our purpose is not to live a life among roses with no thorns. We have been pampering ourselves so lavishly for decades that now when the bills must be paid we find ourselves insolvent, not only as a nation, but often as individuals. Many of us have lived sheltered lives. We live in a society of entitlements. We are provided with the best food, clothes, and medical care whether we work or not. Dave Ramsey, CEO of Financial Peace University and radio and TV personality, said,

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More Than Tolerating Suffering What Is Suffering?

We have lost the concept of what suffering entails. Some might think it is going without bottled water for a day. Or going without getting our nails done this week. Or being unable to buy season tickets to our favorite sporting event. Or having a toothache. Or not being able to buy three times the house we can afford with our present income. There is little joy to be found in having unrealistic expectations of what we are to possess in this transient life. It appears everybody wants to eat at the government’s table, but few are willing to do the dishes. Many of us have grown weak and feeble. We find air-conditioning comfort and full bellies the norm rather than the exception. Our standard of living over the past decades has been phenomenal. Rarely do we 34

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understand the hunger and poverty that is within a shadow of our doorsteps.

Nick Vujicic

I was born to be the butt of short jokes. At 5’ 7” I recall not being able to play power forward on my Indianapolis high school basketball team with the Van Arsdale twins. It’s enough to make one weep. Missing those necessary tall genes and now follicly challenged to boot, I should be wringing my hands as I type. Some of us have to create pity parties in order to solicit sympathy. Nick Vujicic was born without arms or legs. The only thing on his body that remotely resembles a limb is something like a toe or flipper extending from his hip. He’s been stared at all his life. Mocked more than the elephant man, he lived a life of doubt and For Advertising Information:

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wonder. Though raised in a Christian home with all the love and care his parents could provide, he had horrible doubts about God and life. Nick founded a ministry called Life Without Limbs. He is an inspiration to anyone who is having a bad hair day or actually struggling with physical maladies. If Nick can be that positive with what life and circumstances dealt him, then I must rethink some of the miniscule matters that cause me personal grief.

The Faith Healer

Faith is not only a beginning point in our walk with God; it renews us as we allow it to grow. Paul describes it as a “faith expressing itself through love” (Galatians 5:6). Every trial calls for faith. Obedience in the face of suffering strengthens us and prepares us for even greater trials. It was Jesus’ formula for obedience under stress. It can be ours as well. The more we live to please the Father and serve others, the more we are at odds with the world. And whenever a new hardship or new form of suffering presents itself, the more precious will be the faith that grows and sustains us.

Discipline in Suffering

Those who bend under the pressure of suffering are robbing themselves of the maturity that comes with it. When we follow Christ, we must accept the growing pains of change and obedience. The discipline he demands of us may be severe, but with it comes his love and aid, and in the end, eternal life. Jesus never hinted that we would have a recliner of ease throughout life. He offers the same struggles he encountered. “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame” (Hebrews 12:2, New International Version). Even the apostles who were imprisoned for proclaiming the gospel were “rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name” (Acts 5:41).

Our Pain Threshold

How much pain would you have to endure before you lost your faith? Would you be defeated by cancer, the loss of your job, the loss of your home, or the death of a beloved mate? Life offers no guarantee for the faithful except eternity with God. Jesus told Martha, “One thing is needful.” That “one thing” is still our pursuit and our hope for living. It is ours whether we endure much or little pain. Steven Clark Goad is a freelance writer in Blythe, California. Call 334.213.7940 today!

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September 2012 • River Region’s Journey


Family Teams for Christ

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by Lisa and Mike Conn

How to Hold Onto Your Marriage When You’re Falling Off the Wedding Cake Remember the cute little plastic couple who graced the top of your wedding cake? After our wedding, 31 years ago, I saved our cake topper and despite being transported around the world during many military moves, the happy couple now lives in our china cabinet, broken, patched up, yet still together after all these years. On the day of our wedding, this little bride and groom stood together as one on top of the cake, infallible and undefeatable. After the wedding, however, we found that the challenges of life were eroding our marriage foundation. We started sliding down that slippery slope of isolation, feeling powerless to stop our descent. What could we do to get back on the wedding cake? Here are some tried and true tips:

1. Pray. Set aside time for your Creator—to read His Word, be still and listen for His quiet voice. Ask God to change you (not your spouse). “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13) Take your concerns, fears, and disappointments to God. He promises to hear our prayers and answer them. 2. Pray with your spouse. Just take their hand and ask how you can pray for

them. And then do it—out loud—and with a humble spirit—not to preach or teach, but to simply lift up your loved one to the Lord. Remember that change in the home begins with you. 3. Read your Bible. Hide God’s word in your heart. Your brain is like a computer without a delete button. Whatever goes in is what spills out. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or

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New friends are now best friends. New experiences are now the best times ever. No wonder it’s so easy to tell others about it and include them in the fun.

Welcome to Riverview Camp for Girls!

We’ve do put Itogether everything you’re looking for in a perfect“I saw camp onemy of Why choose Riverview each summer? mysetting! first river Recognized on a mountain,as I rode Golf,times Dance, Dance, Outdoor Sports, Soccer,use Beach Volleyball, Basketball, “As go,Stomp it was one of the BEST.”Skills AndClass, what child couldn’t some of that these days?

Riverview Refinement, Program, Campfires night,Recognized optional trips and more! We’ve put together everythingCIT you’re looking for in a perfect every camp setting! as one of the Southeast’s best all-around summer camps for girls, Riverview is an oasis of fun, friends and happiness. Spring and Fall &available 2 week Sessions ages to 16... Mother-Daughter Weekends1are also! Registeredfor Nurses and6 Physician on Staff. Entire full-summer staff is First Aid andand CPRFall Certified. Camper/Counselor Ratio 5:1 Spring Mother-Daughter Weekends...

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Call for FREE DVD and catalog 1-800-882-0722 Accredited by American Camping Association • Members of Christian Camping International

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Only 1 /Mountain 2 hours from Huntsville Located on top of Lookout in Mentone, AL. Only a 3 hr drive.

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1 & 2Week Sessions for Ages 6-16

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first I had campfires every night. Icamps felt close to God. giggled a lot is with friends and counselors. time flew by! thehorse. Southeast’s best all-around for girls,IRiverview annew oasis of fun, friends andThe happiness... I Exciting felt safe and secure. Iinclude: gained confidence in myselfPool,Tennis, through the world around me.” activities Riding, Heated Canoeing, Ropes Course, Climbing Tower,

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FLAG TWIRLING • CHEERLEADING • RIFLERY • ARCHERY • TRIP DAY • GOLF

We don’t wonder anymore how it happened, that one summer could bring such happy memories.

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• H ORSEBACK R IDING • S WIMMING • T ENNIS • C ANOEING • D ANCE • A EROBICS • G YMNASTICS • B EACH V OLLEYBALL •

• R OPES C OURSE • C LIMBING T OWER • O UTDOOR L IVING S KILLS • C AMPFIRE F UN • C OUNSELOR -I N -T RAINING •

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praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8, 9) 4. Guard your heart. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of you mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2) The world we live in is so contradictory to the ways of God. Much of today’s entertainment is focused on violence, selfishness, and immorality. Be careful what you allow in your home. 5. Be content. “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Timothy 6:6) Paul shares, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13) When we count other people’s blessings instead of our own, we risk becoming discontent and envious. Remember the parable about the rich man who

wanted to join Jesus, but couldn’t because he would not part with his possessions (Matthew 19)? We will never find contentment in our stuff, only in our savior. 6. Love one another deeply. The Great Commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself—and our closest neighbor is our spouse. God emphasizes the importance of loving one another throughout the Bible. 1 Corinthians 13 describes what love looks like, saying, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy…it is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” Think of how wonderful our marriages will be if we take God at His word and obey his commands to love one another! 7. Make your marriage a priority. It’s easy to get our priorities mixed

up in the midst of our busy and demanding schedules. When we put God first, spouse next, then children, and followed by everything else—then we truly live the abundant life. Set aside a day each week to meet your spouse for lunch or have a date, even if it’s just to take a walk together. Read the Bible and pray together every day possible. Make your marriage a top priority and leave the results up to God. Share these tips with your spouse and commit to hold on tightly to each other when you feel like you are sliding off the wedding cake. It’s not an easy climb, but the view from the top makes the journey worthwhile! Lt. Col Mike Conn and wife, Lisa, founded Covenant Family Ministries when Mike retired from the Air Force in 1997. CFM is an independent marriage and family education ministry committed to partnering with churches, organizations, and individuals in Montgomery and across Alabama to build Family Teams for Christ. Married for over 30 years, Mike and Lisa have three wonderful daughters, two great sons-in-law, and two precious grandchildren.

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Community Calendar Christian Community Calendar Christian Ongoing Happenings

AGLOW International meets every third Thursday, 9:30 at the Montgomery House of Prayer. All women welcome to join together for praise, prayer and an anointed message. Contact mboudousquie@yahoo.com. Beacon Light Ministries, Food Ministry is open on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday, 5:30-6:45 p.m. Please bring I. D. and Proof of Government Assistance. Capitol Heights UMC, 2000 Winona Ave., Montgomery offers Parenting Classes beginning at 7:00 p.m. on Thursdays. 264-2464. Christchurch, 8800 Vaughn Road, Montgomery, offers a Women’s Enrichment Bible Study led by Jeanne Dean on Thursdays, 9:30-11:30 a.m., in Canterbury Hall. All women are welcome. Childcare for ages birth-4 years is provided. Call 387-0566 x 201 for more info. Christchurch offers a men’s Bible study led by Fr. John-Michael van Dyke, on Thursday mornings on the 11th floor of Goode Medical Bldg, Jackson Hospital. Breakfast is served beginning at 6:45 a.m. and teaching begins at 7:15 a.m. Call 387-0566 x 201. Church of the Highlands meets each Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. downtown Montgomery in the MPAC theater located in the Renaissance Hotel, 201 Tallapoosa Street. Visit churchofthehighlands.com or call 1-205-9805577. Chisholm Baptist Church, 2938 Lower Wetumpka Road, Montgomery, holds Sunday morning Bible study (9:30), Morning worship (10:45), Tuesday prayer breakfast (8:30) Wednesday evening prayer service (6 pm) and Senior Body and Soul Group (every 1st Tuesday at 1 pm). Email jbass9784@charter.net or call 262-6437. Dexter Avenue UMC, 301 Dexter Avenue, offers a Friday Christian Night Club with Ballroom Dancing every Friday at 6:30 P.M. Cost is $5 for a one hour lesson, devotional, and 3 hours of DJ music. People of all denominations are welcome. First Presbyterian Church, 9299 Vaughn Road, hosts Family Night every Wednesday beginning at 5:20 p.m. with supper, followed by a study on prayer. Everyone is welcome. For more information call (279-1372). First Presbyterian Church, 9299 Vaughn Road, hosts a Men’s Prayer Breakfast every Friday morning, 6 a.m. The Youth of First United Methodist Church, Montgomery every Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. for Wednesday Night Live, a time of praise and worship in “the attic”. Also, every Sunday night at 6:00 p.m. is MYF which includes a snack supper $3.00 followed by activities, small groups and lots of fun! Visit www. fumcmontgomery.org or call 334-834-8990. First United Methodist Church will host Terrific Tuesdays. Please come and join us for fellowship, a program and lunch. Terrific Tuesdays will meet each Tuesday in room 204 River Region’s Journey • September 2012

of Wesley Hall. Fellowship time will begin at 10:00 a.m. followed by a program at 10:30 a.m. and lunch at 11:30 a.m. The cost of lunch is $2.00. Every fourth Tuesday the time will extend until 3:00 p.m. for bridge, games, and other activities in room 203 in Wesley Hall. For additional information please contact NeeNee Webb at 834-8990. Good News @ Noon is an interdenominational Bible study, held at the First Baptist Community Ministries Building on Adams Street, Thursdays, at noon. Small cost for hot lunch. Call 272.1133. Hall Memorial CME Church, 541 Seibles Road, Montgomery, offers Bible Study Tuesdays at 5:30 P.M. and Wednesdays at 6: 30 P.M. For directions or information call 334-288-0577. Email HallMemorialCME1@aol.com or visit www.HallMemorialCME.blogspot.com. iConnect.coffeehouse provides a place for women to experience meaningful fellowship with women seeking genuine connection. Meetings will be held in the Atrium at Frazer UMC 3rd Tuesdays from 9-11 a.m. For more info, call Frazer’s Women’s Ministry at 495-6391. Messiah Lutheran Church, 6670 Vaughn Road, invites all to Wonderful Wednesdays starting with a $3.00 meal at 5:30 pm (RSVP 277-4213 by Monday noon), worship with eucharist 6:15-7:00 pm, and adult choir rehearsal and Catechism class for 7th-9th graders at 7:00 pm. Please call for Wednesday schedule due to seasonal breaks. For information, call 277-4213. Mt. Gillard Missionary Baptist Church, 3323 Day Street, holds Wednesday Bible Study in the church Fellowship Hall and lasts for one hour. Please come and participate in roaming the Bible learning God’s word through teaching. The Rev. Henry M. Carnegie, Jr. is the teacher and pastor. Mid-day Bible Study begins each Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. Evening Bible Study begins each Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. Call 233-8750. New Freedom Worship Center, 6004 –A East Shirley Lane, Apostle T. Briggs~ Pastor; Sunday Worship Service 10:30 a.m. and Wednesday Night Bible Study 7:30 p.m. Open Door Christian Faith Church, 1601 Dewey St. Montgomery, offers Women’s Prayer Mondays at 5:00, Men’s prayer Wednesday at 5:00, followed by bible study at 6:00. Couples ministry held every 1st Wednesday of the month at 7:00. Pastor William Cromblin, and the Open Door Church family invites you to “come experience the move of God. For more info, call the church at 334-269-6498. Perry Hill UMC, 910 Perry Hill Rd, sponsors a Bluegrass Jam in the Church Fellowship Hall on the third Saturday of each month from 9AM 12AM. All Bluegrass Artist plus Fans are invited to attend. Attendance is FREE. For information call Kathy@ 272-3174. Perry Hill UMC, 910 Perry Hill Rd, hosts a Wednesday Night Supper and Revive! program each week from 5:30pm til 7:00pm. Reservations are required by noon on the Monday prior to the supper. Cost is $4 per person or $12 per family. Call 334-272-3174 for 38

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more information or to make reservations. The River of Life Church, 116 County Road 40 East (Pine Level Community Center) Prattville. You are invited to “A Place of New Beginnings. Services are held each Sunday: Early Worship 9:15 a.m.; Sunday School 10:30 a.m.; Worship Service 11:00 a.m.; Evening Worship 5:00 p.m.; Wednesday: Adult Bible Study 6:00 p.m.; Teens, “The Genesis Project” 6:00 p.m.: Royal Rangers, Stars & Prims 6:00 p.m. Nursery provided. Pastor Nick Edwards invites you to “come experience God in a personal way, feel loved by all and know that you belong”. Call 334657-0392 or visit www.theriveroflifechurch.net. Saint James UMC, 9045 Vaughn Road, offers S.N.A.G. (Sunday Nights About God!) This program starts at 5:00p.m. and ends at 6:30p.m. Childcare is provided for small groups until 7:00p.m. Don’t forget this program is available for all children! Saint James UMC, 9045 Vaughn Road, offers Wild & Wacky Wednesdays! Wednesday night supper starts at 5:15p.m. We will start checking children in at 6:00p.m. This program ends at 7:30p.m. and childcare is provided until 8:00p.m. for small group participants. Call 277.3037 for more info. St. Mark UMC, holds a Men’s Bible Study every Friday morning at 6:30 a.m., at the Arby’s at EastChase. Call 272.0009. Saint Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church, 706 E. Patton Avenue, “Clothes Closet” is open to the public each Thursday morning from 10 a.m. – Noon. The Men of Saint Paul host a free Men’s Prayer Breakfast the Third Saturday of each month at 8 a.m. in the Church Fellowship Hall. The Men’s Prayer Breakfast is open to all men of all ages. Come and share your concerns and needs of our Men of today. For more information, please contact (334) 354-1897. Bible Study is held each Wednesday, 6-7 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. Pastor Farrell J. Duncombe is the teacher and Senior Pastor of the church. Come and join us for Sunday School each Sunday at 9 a.m. and Morning Worship at 10 a.m. Need transportation, call (334) 2647618. For info call 286.8577 or www.saintpaulamemontgomery.com. S-STOP, a commUNITY Bible study for Singles. Souls Strengthened Together for One Purpose. Psalm 46:10 “BE STILL and know that I am God.” Meets at Prattville Christian Academy on Sunday nights at 6 p.m. For info email sstop04@gmail.com. Women at The Well Ministry meet at Remnant Worship Center on Endover Street off of Court Street behind the Feed and Seed Store at 1:00pm every 1st and 3rd Saturday. We are women who desire and have a heart to see broken, crushed, hurting women be transformed through the one man who can fulfill their every need...JESUS... THE POTTER. All women of all denominations are welcome to come and share the Word of God together....to encourage, and build one another up through the words of our testimonies. Evangelist Linda McCall, 334-220-1924. For Advertising Information:

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This Month You are invited to join the free, community-wide Rhema Bible Study taught by Lana Hayden and Ann Pemberton at Saint James UMC. Sponsored by Renew Women’s Ministry, the study, Champions for Christ, will be held each Tuesday through October 9th in the traditional Sanctuary at St. James United Methodist Church at 9045 Vaughn Road, Montgomery. The morning sessions will be held from 9:30 – 11 a.m. and the evening sessions will be from 6 – 7:30 p.m. To register, email Sarah at solsen@sjlife.com or 334-277-3037. Crayon Donation Drive Benefitting St. Jude Children’s Hospital -- Through September 26 Eight-count boxes of crayons are needed at Ex Voto Jewelry Showroom, 1037 Woodley Road in Old Cloverdale. Each day, patients at St. Jude draw while waiting for their doctors’ appointments. In memory of Madeline Adams and in honor of Pediatric Cancer Awareness month, help us as we make each day brighter for the children at St. Jude. For more info, visit www.exvovintage.com.

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Thursday, September 6 Evangelist Del Smith of Beth-’EL-The House of God will be conducting Bible Study every Thursday beginning at 7:00 PM from 1225 Bassett Drive, Mtgy. 36116. For info call 334-425-9371.

Friday, September 7

New Life COGIC would like to invite you to their 3rd Annual Women’s Conference. Dr. Terry and Lady Jevonnah Ellison will host this dynamic conference. Ladies from Montgomery and the surrounding areas are welcome to attend. The conference begins Friday (September 7) at 7 p.m. There will be a Red Carpet Luncheon on Saturday (September 8) starting at 11 a.m. and the conference will conclude on Sunday (September 9) with an 11 a.m. morning service and a 5 p.m. evening service. All services will be held at New Life COGIC Annex 2 (5000 Patterson Rd., Montgomery, AL). The luncheon will be held at Annex 5 (5600 Carriage Hills Drive). To register visit www.nlcogicwomensconference.com . For more information call (334) 558-0259.

Sunday, September 16 Historic First Congregational Christian Church made history again when it chose Rev. Dr. Wendy R. Coleman to serve as its Pastor on July 1st. The church will hold official installation services for Rev. Dr. Coleman at 4:00 P.M. at the sanctuary. For info call (334) 467-1678. Steve Green will appear in Birmingham. For more info call: 205-871-7324.

Tuesday, September 18

Hillsong Live is coming to Birmingham for a live event at the Boutwell Auditorium. For ticket info: www.premierproductions.com.

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Call 334.213.7940 today!

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September 2012 • River Region’s Journey


5:15 for dinner and 6:00 for classes. For class info, contact the church office at 244-1385.

Sunday, September 23

Ballet Magnificat will perform at Frazer UMC at 6 p.m. in Wesley Hall. Ballet Magnificat brings world-class dancing into the church as a beautiful intermingling of worship and art. Tickets are available now at iTickets.com, and in the Frazer Bookstore. Advance Prices: adults $12.50, children 12 and under $8 (plus ticket handling fees). Day of Price: $15. Nursery available for 4 and under (no ticket required). Visit balletmagnificat.com.

Thursday, September 27 Vertical Church Tour with James McDonald from 7 pm to 9 pm; Doors open at 6:15 pm. at Taylor Road Baptist Church, 1685 Taylor Road, in Montgomery. This is a free event, but please be sure to reserve your seat. Childcare not available. If you have questions, please email info@ verticalchurchtour.com. For info call: 334-271-3363.

Thursday, October 4

Faulkner University is proud to host former First Lady Laura Bush for Turning Points, a dinner event to benefit the college, at 7 p.m. Turning Points will take place at the Montgomery Renaissance Convention Center, and all money raised will help fund scholarships. For info or tickets, visit www.faulkner.edu/bush.

River Region’s Journey • September 2012

Thursday, October11

Bebo Norman in concert at @ 6:30 pm, at First Baptist Church in Montgomery. Tickets are $12 in advance, or $15 at the door. This event is a benefit for TheTransMission and is sponsored by Beasley Allen Law Firm, Phillip Pouncey Builder, & OB-GYN of Montgomery. More info at www. thetransmission.org/bebo.

Friday, October 12

For the second time, Fountain of Grace Church in Prattville will host the Family Apologetics Conference and Training (FACT) on Friday, Oct. 12, Saturday, Oct. 13 and Sunday, Oct. 14. The event is free and is open to families and individuals. Registration is free. Those interested should e-mail anna@fountainofgrace.us and notify the church how many will be attending. To learn more, go online to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jD74 9UWt5lw&feature=plcp and watch a short video regarding the event.

Saturday, October 13

1st Annual River Region Prayer Walk at Union Station Train Shed. Registration Time: 8:00 a.m. Prayer Time: 8:45 a.m.; 5k Prayer Walk Begins: 9:00 a.m. Registration Fee: $10.00 per person (includes T-shirt, prayer guide, concert) Children under 12 free. Vaughn Forest G2 Women’s Ministry is hosting a prayer walk to bring together the citizens of the River Region to pray over our cities, our government leaders, schools and teachers, uniformed heroes and servants, pastors and

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ministry leaders, and all of the people that make up the River Region. Online Registration: http://riverregionprayerwalk2012.eventbrite.com. For info, contact Brooke at: riverregionprayerwalk@gmail. com or 334-284-0755. The 28th Annual Aldersgate Church BBQ sale will be held to benefit local and international missions and ministries. Boxes are $8 and include both pulled pork and a chicken quarter, plus beans, slaw and bread. Aldersgate is located at 6610 Vaughn Road and you may contact them at (334) 272.6152.

Tuesday, October 23

His Vessel Ministries invites you to the teaching event “Making It Easy to Know the Bible” from 6pm-9pm. Please join us as Jo Hancock shows you how the Bible is God’s story of His Kingdom on earth and how YOU fit into His plan. This teaching is open to men and women. For more information or to register call 334-356-4478 or info@hisvessel.org.

Sunday, November 11

First Baptist Church, Prattville, is proud to announce that “Veggie Tales Live!” at 6pm. Tickets will go on sale to the community September 17th. Tickets purchased in advance are $15, Day of the Show $20 and VIP (Meet ‘n Greet Larry and Bob) tickets are $25. Call 334.365.0606 or visit www. fbcprattville.org. Please send your calendar events to deanne@ readjourneymagazine.com by the 12th of the month for FREE print.

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Got Life?

“T ha Ho hin Pe

by Elaine Britt

Got Solutions? Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus… Ephesians 3:20-21 I am an unlucky and impatient driver. Ask my family for any needed confirmation. If the speed limit is 30, someone in front of me will drive 22. If it is 40, I will be stuck behind someone going 33, etc. From interstate to neighborhood, it is uncanny. At times, having made little progress toward our destination due to my ‘slow vibes,’ my husband, marveling at being stopped by every traffic light and travelling at a snail’s pace, will comment half jokingly, “Oh yeah, you’re in the car!” I have often thought of this as a ‘test,’ one that

I fail consistently, and that if and when it ceases to disturb me, its frequency will also decline. Pondering Bible personalities, Peter strikes me as one who was ready to “get on with it!” Matthew 14 reveals that Jesus, having sent the disciples ahead by boat and having dismissed the crowds, …went up on a mountainside by himself to pray…(v. 23). The boat was being pounded by the wind and the disciples were concerned. Jesus went to them walking on the water, where, upon seeing him, …they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” (v. 26-27) Enter Peter, who basically called Jesus’ bluff saying, “Yeah, right! If it is really you, Jesus, prove it and let

me walk on the water, too!” (paraphrase mine). Again Peter holds nothing back at the Last Supper. Jesus, in an attempt to teach the importance of servanthood, began to wash the disciples’ feet. When it was Peter’s turn, the dialogue that followed shows Peter’s ‘hop to it’ attitude: “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” Unable to leave well enough alone, Peter once again calls Jesus’ bluff with,

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Friendly Fridays Just starting or starting over Join us for Friendly Fridays beginning October 21 and we’ll help you start an exercise program just for you! Our trained staff will work with you and guide you through a workout. Y’s Up at Hampstead 239.8096 Y’s Up at Somerset 356.1351 Y’s Up at Westminster 832.1013

For more information ymcamontgomery.org

River Region’s Journey • September 2012

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“Then, Lord…not just my feet but my hands and head as well!” (John 13:8-9) How easy with Bible in hand and 20-20 hindsight for us to say, ‘Oh Peter, Peter, Peter…’ Of particular interest is Jesus’ reactions to Peter’s outbursts. Here, as well as several other places in Scripture, Peter asked the hard questions – Just how many times do I have to forgive these people? (paraphrase mine, Matt. 18:21) “Peter answered him, (Jesus), ‘We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?’” (Matt. 19:27) He was the first to voice a basic truth, “‘Who do you say I am?’ Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ.’” (Mark 8:29) He lashed out and cut off the servant’s ear in the Garden of Gethsemane during Jesus’ arrest, (John 18:10)… and the list goes on. Dealing with Peter, Jesus displayed patience as a parent with a child. While he could have ignored the rash comments or chastised Peter for his impetuousness, Jesus instead chose responses that were instructive. Further wisdom regarding God’s instructions for us come to light as Oswald Chambers comments, “…If I am

in the habit of continually holding God’s standard in front of me, my conscience will always direct me to God’s perfect law and indicate what I should do… God always instructs us down to the last detail…the only thing that keeps our conscience sensitive to Him is the habit of being open to God on the inside…” Truly desiring a life open to God like choosing to overlook all the poor drivers on the road – is commendable. On that score, however, God had different ideas. Shortly after starting this article, I received an email devotional from a friend written by Rev. Rod Richardson that included an unexpected solution. It offered, “Sometimes God has to clear earthly things away from our mind and from our frantic pace, so we can take the time to quietly meditate upon Him and come to grips with His plan for our lives. He will make a quiet spot for you in the middle of a storm. It may be you having to wait around due to someone who is late for an appointment, being stuck in a waiting room at a doctor’s office or even being stuck in traffic with nothing that you can do but wait. Take advantage of those moments.

Within the hectic pace of life on this earth, these moments are precious; and divinely intentional.” Ouch! I humbly, if grudgingly, admit that prayer during those frustrating moments – for the other drivers or whatever else God lays on my heart – is far superior to the alternative. We each have our quirks and deal with challenges on a daily basis. Our Lord, through his Holy Spirit, is … able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine… if we keep our eyes focused on him rather than trying to handle everything from a human perspective. Are our ‘eyes of faith’ open and receptive, or do we often miss God’s answers? Just as God gently instructed Peter despite his foibles, so does he ‘instruct’ each of us continually as we allow the Holy Spirit to guide our words and actions. Elaine Britt, husband Tim, and teenage son Kevin reside in Montgomery, with son Bryan at UAH in Huntsville. She counts her family as a great blessing. By profession, Elaine is a 30-year-veteran Interior Decorator and owner of Carriage House Interiors. By God’s calling and to her great joy, she is a writer, whose published works include stories in A Cup of Comfort Devotionals; Lord, I Was Happy Shallow; and Heavenly Patchwork; one book, Messages, as well as various articles in several magazines and e-zines.

Building the lives of young people on Jesus Christ, the chief cornerstone.

NOW REGISTERING K5 THRU 12TH GRADES At Cornerstone Classical Christian Academy, our goal is to equip students with the knowledge, skill and vision necessary to be effective leaders and servants for our Lord Jesus Christ. Morningview Baptist Church • 125 Calhoun Road • (334) 356-7788 • www.ccamontgomery.org Call 334.213.7940 today!

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September 2012 • River Region’s Journey


Movie Reviews Reviews provided by MovieGuide: A Family Guide to Movies and Entertainment Ratings are based on production quality and moral acceptability. See details below. ***Reviews do not necessarily reflect views of the publishers of River Region’s Journey.

Jerusalem Countdown

Last Ounce of Courage

Quality: *** Moral Acceptability: +1 (Wholesome) Starring: David A.R. White, Lee Majors, Jaci Velasquez, Stacy Keach, Randy Travis Genre: Action/Adventure Audience: Older children and adults Rating: PG-13 Content: Christian world view but through the eyes of an unbeliever; no foul language; much gun violence between police/federal agents and terrorists but no blood is ever seen, group of men are shot and killed, man shot in chest and gasps for air while dying, man knocked out by exploding oil drums, man shot in chair, two policeman shot by a machine gun, two men fight, head is thrown against table, man slapped and pushed up against wall and thrown on table during interrogation, truck crashes into car, man stabbed with needle twice with “truth serum”; no sexual immorality; no nudity; no smoking. Based on the novel by Pastor John Hagee, JERUSALEM COUNTDOWN tells the story of war events leading up to the rapture. FBI agent Shane Daughtry is thrust into a chase to find nuclear bombs smuggled into the United States. When he teams with CIA agent Eve Rearden, they discover that this ploy is just a diversion for a bigger agenda set in motion, events leading to Armageddon. Pulling inspiration from the likes of 24 and THE BOURNE IDENTITY, the action is constant and entertaining. This may be one of the better apocalyptic movies that has a strong Christian message. Plenty of adventure, yet the gospel is not lost within the story. In fact, where the gospel message can often be so heavy handed that it becomes “cheesy,” this movie manages to keep it realistic and important to the plot. David A.R. White has done a great job with this latest role teaming up again with Stacy Keach. Jaci Velasquez did a wonderful job as the young woman concerned for her husband. There is enough violence to warrant caution to younger viewers, but older children and adults alike will enjoy this movie.

Quality: *** Moral Acceptability: +4 (Exemplary) Starring: Jennifer O’Neill, Fred Williamson, Marshall Teague, Jenna Boyd, Nikki Novak, Hunter Gomez, Rusty Joiner Genre: Drama Audience: All ages Rating: PG Content: Very strong Christian, biblical worldview about a mayor and his family who are standing up for Christmas against the forces of the ACLU; no foul language; bloody wound on motorcyclist, war footage with soldier dying, perilous situations; no sexual immorality; no nudity; some alcohol use; no smoking or drugs; and, politically correct ACLU and anti-Christian friends intimidate, lie and bully. LAST OUNCE OF COURAGE tells the story of Bob, a decorated war veteran and mayor of a small mountain town. Bob reconnects with his grandson, Chris, when Chris moves back into town. Chris tries to connect with memories of his father, who died in the war. Meanwhile, first Bob and then the whole town become involved in trying to restore Christmas, which has been forbidden. However, they must face the wrath of the ACLU. Bob is thrown in jail and stripped of his office. Only a miracle can bring Christmas back to this small town. LAST OUNCE OF COURAGE dramatically tells an important story. It ends on a spiritual, heart-rending, patriotic, life-changing note. Some of the acting is superb. The movie elicits real tears and real conviction. It has a clear evangelistic, patriotic, Christian storyline. The beginning tells an important back-story, so the drama doesn’t start until about a third of the way into the story. Once the jeopardy and battle over Christmas kick in, however, LAST OUNCE OF COURAGE is completely captivating.

The previous reviews are a selected sample of informative reviews from MOVIEGUIDE: A FAMILY GUIDE TO MOVIES AND ENTERTAINMENT, a syndicated feature of Good News Communications, Inc. To subscribe to MOVIEGUIDE which includes a complete set of at least 10 reviews of the latest movies as well as many informative articles, please visit our web site at www.movieguide.org or write or call:”MOVIEGUIDE,” P.O. Box 190010, Atlanta, GA 31119 (800) 899-6684. What the ratings mean: Production Quality: (1 to 4 stars) Moral Acceptability: -4 (Abhorrent), -3 (Excessive), -2 (Extreme Caution), -1 (Caution), +1 (Wholesome), +2 (Good), +3 (Moral), +4 (Exemplary)

River Region’s Journey • September 2012

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1. Make a plan and take action 2. Take a multivitamin with 400 micrograms of Folic Acid daily

3. Eat more fruit, veggies, and whole grains. 4. Get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate physical activity weekly

5. Choose wisely: Be tobacco, alcohol, and drug free. 6. See your doctor for checkups and yearly screenings.

7. Reach and maintain a healthy weight. 8. Control medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, etc.

9. Learn your family health history 10. Get mentally healthy

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a healthy


River Region's Journey Magzine September 2012