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Volume 19, Issue 1

Feature Articles

MAY 20 1 7 Columns page 2

Publisher’s Note

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Faith @ Work

Meet Judah and Samantha Helms and learn how they strive to be lights in the world and in their workplaces. Also discover what resources help them stay closely connected to God in their busy lives.

Jason Watson

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Pastor's Perspective Pastor Chris Erwin, Church of the Highlands

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Pondering the Journey Sam Whatley

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Connecting with Your Children

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Women Arising Pastor Kemi Searcy

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The Intersection

by Kent Hughes, Ph.D.

Deep connection with others is what we all need, including our kids. Find out how bonding with your kids through time, touch and validation will create the connection you all desire.

Bob Crittenden

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Counselor’s Corner Kim Hamblin, Ph.D.

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Vacation Bible School Guide

It’s time to register your kids for one or more of the great VBS opportunities happening throughout the River Region this summer. Our guide has all the info you need! page 34

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Dave $ays Dave Ramsey

In Every Issue page 6

Books to Read page 8

Around Our Community

Ministry Spotlight:

S.K.I.P. (Save Kids of Incarcerated Parents) by Ashley Sherlock

Learn about this local ministry empowering children on hard times, and get involved in their Bocce Tournament Fundraiser this month!

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Faith @ Work page 30

Support Groups May 2017

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Our Mission... We believe the Good News concerning the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is worth sharing with our friends and neighbors in the River Region. Each month we deliver this life-changing message to the centers of activity across our community in a user-friendly and relevant way to empower and equip all those seeking to grow closer to God. Join us in this mission by sharing a copy with your neighbor or by becoming an advertising partner starting next month.

Editor DeAnne Watson deanne@readjourneymagazine.com

Publisher

Jason Watson jason@readjourneymagazine.com

Associate Publisher Gena Hill

Research Editor Wendy McCollum

Contributing Writers Tim Challies Bob Crittenden Chris Erwin Kim Hamblin, Ph.D. Kent Hughes Dave Ramsey Kemi Searcy Ashley Sherlock Sam Whatley

Advertising Opportunities Jason Watson ads@readjourneymagazine.com (334) 213-7940 ext 703

Digital Manager Scott Davis

Ad Design

Tim Welch, Welch Designs

Distribution Manager Chris Mitchell

From the Publisher I was fortunate enough to spend 11 years on church staff working with families. I changed my career calling to publishing full time 15 years ago, but I still get to spend time with some of the kids I worked with in the past who are now adults with children of their own. On many occasions they’ve shared with me how God used me to make a difference in their lives. I was just a person they saw a few hours a week for a season in their lives, but my words and actions towards them are remembered. It may have been something as small as a high-five in the church hallway or when I showed up after their parents announced their divorce. Both big and small moments, but mere dots across the time line of their lives. That’s so humbling to think that God used me in that way. Children are so impressionable. They’re said to be little sponges. The time and attention we give children produces an exponential return, so we must seek to bless them by revealing God’s love and purposes to them. Jesus boasted in the faith of children and said we should receive them as if receiving Christ Himself. Conversely, Jesus said if anyone leads a child astray “it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” Children matter to the Lord and they should also matter to us. In this month’s issue, we want to encourage you to consider how you’re revealing God’s love and purposes to your children or other children God has placed in your life. This month’s local ministry spotlight is S.K.I.P. (Saving Kids of Incarcerated Parents). My heart melts over the loving work they’re doing and the long-term blessings they’re sowing. If you’re a parent (or grandparent) read, “Connecting with Your Children” to enliven your desire to make an investment in your own child. Our oldest son has been out of the home for a few years now. Time flies, and I miss him, but I now cherish the time with our two younger children because I know they’ll be gone from home soon enough. Make the deepest connection you can while they’re still close by. Finally, it’s summer time, which means Vacation Bible School! I never attended VBS as a child, but I have seen my own children come home so excited about the fun they’ve had at VBS. There’s singing, dancing, playing, art projects, snacks and, most of all, Bible stories that come to life through the hard work of church volunteers and staff. You don’t want your child to miss out on a Vacation Bible School this summer. Throughout this issue you’ll see colorful advertisements promoting VBS offerings around the area. Plus, on page 18, we have the complete River Region’s VBS Guide. Vacation Bible School is also a great way to get connected with a church for the long-term so your family can receive the blessing of a church family year round. Hold up the light of Christ to all the little ones in your life!

River Region’s Journey is published monthly by Keep Sharing, P.O. Box 230367, Montgomery, AL 36123. For information, call 334-213-7940. River Region’s Journey is copyrighted 2017 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.

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Founded Upon God’s Word At Christchurch, Holy Scripture serves as the final authority for our teaching and preaching. Indeed, over the course of three years, almost the entire Bible is read aloud and preached upon.

Liturgically Joyful At Christchurch worship we offer God praise, thanksgiving and adoration using worship traditions that can be traced back to the earliest days of the Church. Our worship is not designed to entertain us, but to honor the true “audience” of worship, the Lord!

Warm and Loving

By God’s grace and through His Spirit, the people of Christchurch enjoy the richness and joy of being a true family. We’d love for you to become a part of us! Regardless of who you are, you will always find a home at Christchurch.

Committed to Mission The people of Christchurch respond to God’s Word by going out into the world, to places like Uganda, Guatemala and Montgomery, proclaiming the good news of Jesus and joyfully serving as His hands and feet!

Come Worship With Us!

Sundays: 9:30 a.m. Worship 11:00 a.m. Christian Education for All Ages Weekly: Discipleship and fellowship opportunities abound

Find us on Facebook and visit us at www.christchurchxp.net 3

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Pastor’s Perspective

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Chris Erwin, Church of the Highlands, Montgomery

The Busyness Myth... I may be in a small group of people who love Mondays, but I love Mondays! I’m so energized from the weekend and I’m ready to start another week of conquering whatever is in front of me. It’s probably because I like being busy! Busyness makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something. I feel fulfilled when I’m busy. I probably feel that way for a few different reasons. I’ve told myself things like, “The more I do, the more I succeed” or “busyness produces results”. I’ve quickly found out that those things aren’t necessarily true, nor healthy. If I were to be honest, there’s a couple other reasons I like busyness. I don’t want to be idle. The world keeps moving and I don’t want to be left behind, or left out. This is obviously not a healthy philosophy, nor does it help with being effective. The older we get we gain a different perspective. Ask any person who’s

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at the end of their life, and ask them what they would have done differently and they will more than likely say, “I wish I would have spent more time with those I love”, or “I would have enjoyed life more”. It’s getting harder and harder to avoid busyness. We’re living in a time when there’s more to do, more places to be, more tasks to accomplish, and more that we want to gain…and it’s killing us! If you want to know if you’re too busy just take a look at your inbox. If you drive better while eating, answering calls, or posting on Instagram, you’re too busy. If you have slowly increased the amount of expresso shots in your drink, you’re probably too busy. I’ve actually just listed three things that apply to me. If you’ve struggled with busyness, the Bible has some great wisdom for us. I love the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10. We get a glimpse inside the home and life of Martha, and maybe even a glimpse inside our own life. Verses 40-42 show us that “…Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.’ But the Lord said to her, ‘My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.’” Here are some things we learn from Martha about busyness. First, busyness 4

is a distraction. We’ve all probably tried to stay busy to avoid something that we need to address, like maybe a phone call to a friend or family to apologize. Or maybe distract us from dealing with some issues that we know are unhealthy. Secondly, busyness will make you a critic of everyone else. Martha was critical of Mary’s actions. Sometimes the root of our busyness is pride. We want to fix others while looking over our own issues. Someone once said, “we judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their actions”. Thirdly, busyness actually creates more worry and stress. The more we do, the more we’re not happy. Ultimately, busyness disconnects us from what really matters the most—our relationship with the One who knows us best, who can make us the best, and who knows how to give us the best! Jesus said, “Mary has discovered it…” What did she discover? Maybe she knew what Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 4:6, “Better to have one handful with quietness than two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind.” So how do we slow down? Let’s learn from Mary. Ask yourself this question, “What’s most important?” Here are a few suggestions—Family, marriage, friends, church, relationship with God, parenting, finding your purpose, making an eternal difference in someones life! None of these can happen if both hands are full. So be brave today and decide to put something down so you can “discover” what’s most important. That’s when we find real peace, real rest. Chris Erwin is the Campus Pastor for the Church of the Highlands, Montgomery Campus, and has been in full time ministry since he was 18 years old. Chris’ passion is developing leaders and helping others find their true potential with the Lord. Chris is married to his best friend, Rachel Erwin, and has two boys—Leyton and Liam. Being born and raised in Montgomery, he and his family are passionate about helping grow the Kingdom while making their city a better place.

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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. *All editorial content published needs to be in agreement with our Statement of Faith

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Like the Shepherd by Robert Wolgemuth

The great challenge in marriage is not to love our wives more but to love ourselves less, for it is self-love that generates so much of the strife we experience. To be successful husbands we must continually put to death within us whatever causes us to prioritize ourselves, our own interests, our own comfort, our own good. To do this successfully we need counsel, we need men who can make us aware of our self-love and who can provide examples of selflessness. Robert Wolgemuth is just such a counselor. He has lots of experience of marriage—45 years to Bobbie and, following her death, just over a year to Nancy. He also has a deep sense of the character God calls husbands to pursue and the love he calls them to display. He has written Like the Shepherd to serve as a husband’s guide to “Leading Your Marriage with Love and Grace.” You can’t miss the word “leading” right there in the subtitle, and Wolgemuth addresses it right away: “You may not see yourself as a man with leadership skills,” he says, “but River Region’s Journey

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you are still the head of your marriage and your home. That’s the message of this book,” for to love is to lead and to lead is to love. Yet God calls men to a particular kind of leadership—the kind that is displayed in that great biblical metaphor of the shepherd and his sheep. What could be seen as a demeaning word picture—after all, if the husband is the shepherd his wife must be the sheep—is transformed to a thing of beauty when we acknowledge that God is the great Shepherd of each of us and we are all the sheep of his flock. The husband is a shepherd who is himself a sheep; he is called to shepherd even as he himself is shepherded. “The model for us in our marriages is Jesus’ relationship to us. He is our Shepherd. He is our Leader.” This Shepherd led as a servant and so, too, must we. The heart of the book is an extended unpacking of the shepherd motif as it pertains to husbands. Just as a shepherd knows his sheep, so, too, a husband must have a deep, intimate knowledge of his wife. “As husbands—shepherds—our job is to win the chance to gently lead, to fight for the chance to woo our sheep with humility and kindness.” Just as a shepherd learns to effectively communicate with his sheep, so a husband must learn to speak with love and patience and grace. “We are not wranglers. We are shepherds. Good shepherds.” Just as a shepherd leads his sheep, a husband must lead his wife, 6

for “not every man is a natural-born leader, but every husband is called to ‘headship’.” A shepherd also satisfies his sheep, he comforts it, feeds it, encourages it, and ensures its needs are met. “You are your wife’s shepherd. You lovingly know, speak to, satisfy, lead, protect, comfort, feed, encourage, meet the needs of, and pastor your lamb. And together, you and your wife prepare yourselves to be the Good Shepherd’s precious bride, looking forward to the wedding of all weddings, when our Bridegroom will come to claim us as His own.” Like many husbands, I lament the ways I’ve too often loved myself and failed to love my wife. I lament how I’ve loved and led for my own good instead of hers. I long to grow in this, to love her in just the way God calls me to. I have had godly counselors in the past, men who have exemplified just such a love. But I am eager for more and for that reason I thoroughly enjoyed this book and its exploration of the notion of the husband as shepherd. It is a rich image that provides great fodder for meditation and great scope for imagination. And I think Wolgemuth was just the man to write it, for the circumstances in his life prepared him for the task. There is something about having loved and lost that adds a poignancy and urgency to his words, and something about having loved again that adds a freshness and excitement. In the introduction he says, “My hope— my prayer—is that this book will help you on your way to a goal that you and I grasp in unison: that you’d grow to be more like Christ and that your marriage will be strengthened.” I’d like to think that has been the case with me.


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7th Annual Agape Run for a Mom 5k & Fun Run

Agape of Central Alabama is excited to announce that the 7th Annual Run for a Mom 5k & Fun Run will be held on Mother’s Day weekend, Saturday, May 13. The race will take place at the Vaughn Park Church and will continue through the Vaughn Meadows community. Registration for the 5k is now open, and ranges from $5 to $30. After April 17, the registration prices will increase $5, and you will not be guaranteed a t-shirt. All proceeds from the Run for a Mom 5k & Fun Run will directly benefit Agape of Central Alabama and its mission to support women, children and families through foster care, adoption, and crisis pregnancy counseling. For more information about the event, registration, and sponsorships, visit www.runforamom.org, or call Agape of Central Alabama at (334) 272-9466.

Family Faith Night with the Montgomery Biscuits

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Presented by Faith Radio and designed to acknowledge churches in the surrounding area and bring them together for a night of faith, fellowship, and baseball! On May 12th Faith Radio will feature a pre-game concert with American Idol Contestant Jasmine Murray, with gates opening at 5:30pm and concert starting at 5:45pm. Stick around after the game as we light up the sky with a MAX Fireworks Spectacular! Family Faith Night also includes the opportunity to recognize your pastor during a pre-game line-up and your entire church will be recognized during a group announcement on the scoreboard with faith-themed music, Christian trivia and a wholesome environment. A second Family Faith Night will be held June 24.

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Summer Patriot Camp The all new Summer Patriot Camp for children is planned for TuesdayFriday, June 13-16, at His Vessel Ministries in the Union Station, downtown Montgomery. The Patriot Camp is designed to teach young children ages 6 through 12 about the founding history of our nation. This is the sixth year His Vessel Ministries has hosted Patriot Camp! The teaching curriculum includes not only learning the history about each topic but also fun-filled activities, crafts, and snacks. Also incorporated into each teaching topic will be how God was actively involved in the founding of this great nation. For information or to register children, contact His Vessel Ministries at 334-356-4478 or info@hisvessel.org.

Montgomery Prayer B’fast & Bible Reading Marathon

The 2017 Montgomery Prayer Breakfast for the City and County of Montgomery is scheduled for May 4, at 7 am, in downtown Montgomery.  Mayor Todd Strange and Commissioner Elton Dean invite local citizens to join them on this day in a spirit of humility and prayer. Held at the Alabama Activity Center, located at 201 Dexter Avenue, downtown Montgomery, from 7 am to 8:30 am.  A full buffet breakfast will be served.  Tickets for the breakfast are $20.00 per person.  Individuals may purchase tickets at His Vessel Ministries located at Union Station, 300 Water Street, Suite 100, or the You Name It shop at 5350-A Atlanta Highway in Montgomery. To conclude the breakfast, guests will make their way up Dexter Avenue to the steps of the Capitol to kick off the 3rd annual Bible Reading Marathon. Local churches, businessmen, and interested individuals of all ages are encouraged to participate by reading publicly and continuously in 15-minute segments. 9

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Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club Donates 500 Books to Transformation Montgomery

The Pi Beta Phi Montgomery Alumnae Club recently joined with its national corporate partnership, First Book, to provide children’s books to children from low income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books. In June 2007, Pi Beta Phi and Pi Beta Phi Foundation announced its corporate partnership with First Book, an international nonprofit organization founded in 1992 with a single mission: to give children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books. After receiving a grant to provide 500 books to local children, the Montgomery Alumnae Club chose Transformation Montgomery, a local mission for Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church, as the recipient. Several members of the Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club dropped by to see first-hand the types of books selected and the children’s reaction to this large gift! Debbie Peavy, Coordinator of Youth and Children’s Activities at Transformation Montgomery, was overwhelmed to have the opportunity to share this incredible gift with the children of Garden Square, not only for them to read at the Center, but also giving them a brand new book to take home. “Many of us take it for granted just to have books in our home, but these children often are not blessed with the funds to purchase new books and they are thrilled to have their very own book to read which belongs to them! We are very grateful!” Transformation Montgomery, Inc., is a faith-based community development organization. Their focus is in the Garden Square neighborhood located in the Chisholm area of north Montgomery. They are currently adding a pre-school program at the Transformation Center. For 100 years, Pi Beta Phi has been a pioneer in service and philanthropy particularly in the field of education and literacy. Read. Lead. Achieve., is the Fraternity’s literacy platform, which encompasses our literacy initiatives and literacy vision for the next 100 years: Pi Beta Phi leads the way to a more literate society.

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Fish Fry and “Work and Witness” Yard Sale

May 5, 7:00 p.m. Benefitting Friendship Mission, a ministry to the poor and homeless in Montgomery Bring your lawn chairs or blankets and join us for an evening of great music from two of Nashville’s talented Christian singers. If it rains, the event will be held inside. Refreshments will be available for purchase. *A donation will be accepted during the event. Grace Presbyterian Church at 5 Bell Road (corner of Bell Road and Atlanta Highway) in Montgomery, Alabama.

Email your community or ministry news to deanne@ readjourneymagazine.com!

Sports Camp for Community Kids

Young Meadows Presbyterian Church, at 5780 Vaughn Road, will host a Sports Camp Monday-Friday, June 5-9 from 9:00am-12:00 noon. Children who have completed grades K-5 are welcome to attend and can choose from several activities such as basketball, baseball, soccer, volleyball, dance, and art. Other activities include Bible lessons, music, snacks, and fun! Children will need to wear play clothes and closed-toe shoes, such as athletic shoes. For more information or to register your child, please contact the church office at (334) 244-1385, or visit the website www.youngmeadows.org.

On Sunday, June 11, Capital City Church of the Nazarene is hosting a Community Fish Fry at 5:00 evening. Cost is $6.00 per person. The community is invited! On Saturday, June 17, the church is hosting a Community “Work and Witness” yard sale from 6 am until noon. There will be something for everyone! Capital City Church of the Nazarene is located at 4450 Vaughn Road in Montgomery. For more information please call 272-6184.

PHYSICIANS TO CHILDREN

welcomes

DR. KAREN DOLES Now accepting new patients ages newborn to 18 years

PH YS IC IAN S TO C H ILDR E N Taylor Medical Complex 470 Taylor Rd, Suite 210 Montgomery, AL 36117 (334) 293-5033

PHYSICIANS TO CHILDREN ChildrensAL.org/physicianstochildren

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RRJ: You both had exposure to Jesus and His church as children, but you were still left wanting more. What would you two say were the ingredients for your powerless (ho-hum) Christianity? Judah: Growing up in the South, I identified with Christianity as a part of my culture. Going to church was expected of you, just like it was expected that you be an obedient child and make good grades. For me, falling in line with those cultural expectations was my lone incentive to be a Christian. I didn’t want to be an outcast or generate any controversy around myself. So I became the “good Christian boy” that my family could be proud of. But in the end, that is a very disingenuous lifestyle that isn’t sustainable. Samantha: For me growing up, faith wasn’t a large part of my life. Unlike Judah, church attendance wasn’t an obligation. We went on the occasional Sunday and for Easter and Christmas services. It wasn’t until I was in middle school that I really began going to church and pursuing a relationship with the Lord. Even then, I River Region’s Journey

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lacked an understanding of what it meant to follow Christ and had some preconceived notion of what my relationship with the Lord was supposed to look like. Very little of my time or energy went into actually developing this relationship. I became so consumed with the actions and behaviors that I thought were associated with being an “ideal Christian” that I feel like I just totally missed the point. It wasn’t until I began to shed the façade and open myself up to a more genuine relationship, with both the Lord and other believers, that I really began to grow in my faith. RRJ: Your faith began to change when you got deeply connected in Christian discipleship. Why did that make a difference? Judah & Sam: Early in our marriage, we were asked to teach a Sunday school class for middle-school kids. We agreed, more out of an inability to say “no” than a desire to teach Sunday school. But during that time as Sunday school teachers, we began developing relationships with others who were serving in the church. These people had made a sincere decision to follow Jesus and it was apparent that they saw their life’s purpose in serving others. We also couldn’t help but notice how genuine and transparent these people were. The idea of living like this was liberating and it made a big impression on us. We began to see Christianity as less of a cultural expectation and more of a life-giving source. 12

RRJ: Christ’s grace and mercy comes to us and then through us to minister to others in His name. As both of you began to grow closer to the Lord, did you find Him leading you to bless others? Judah & Sam: We were very selfish people before our faith matured. Specifically, we were very selfish with our time. As our faith matured over the years, we found ourselves being more and more drawn to serving others. Through our church, we have led multiple community service projects in Elmore County and have participated in international mission trips. Outside of church affiliation, we have made a long-term commitment to mentor a young boy through the Big Brother Big Sister program. Over the past four years, we have been able to pour love and hope into his and his family’s life. All of these things have caused us to lose personal time that we highly value. But each of those commitments to serving others has been very gratifying. We wouldn’t change anything and we can’t imagine living any other way. RRJ: We are lights in a dark world, so we must carry that light beyond the walls of the church if we are to fulfill our calling to bless the world.  Samantha, as an RN at Baptist East, and Judah, as a Business Analyst for an IT Firm, how is your faith being expressed? Judah: I work in a small office with eight other men. We all have vastly different personalities and backgrounds. But we all respect each other and value one another’s opinions. Because our office environment is very laid back, we are very comfortable discussing the two workplace no-no’s, “politics and religion”. When I find the proper time to chime in, I try my best to speak as an ambassador for Christ, sharing a message of grace and love. Of course, this message is empty unless living it out is a way of life for me. Over time, through our many discussions, I believe that I have made an impression on some of the men.

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Samantha: I have the privilege of working for a faith-based organization that encourages meeting not only the physical needs of our patients, but also helping to meet their spiritual needs as well. As nurses, we frequently share in the most joyous and difficult moments in our patient’s lives. When I pray with my patients, when I’m able to provide support for them during a difficult situation, and when I share the love of Jesus with them, I know I’m living out the purpose the Lord has for my life. RRJ: What is challenging about living out your faith in the workplace and how are you seeking to overcome in those areas? Judah: My biggest challenge at work is maintaining a positive attitude. Work can be very stressful at times. Clients can be demanding. Servers can go down. Deadlines may be approaching. And sometimes I just have a bad day. It happens. It is so important that I remember to keep my cool during these times. Much of my expression of faith is judged by how I respond to the world. I try to overcome this by placing reminders of my faith in my surroundings. I have a simple cross at my desk. I listen to praise and worship music through my headphones. And I

try to keep some positive reading material around. Samantha: Sometimes it’s challenging to muster up the courage to share your faith and beliefs with people you don’t really know very well. I can feel the Lord guiding me in that direction at work, but I don’t always possess the boldness and confidence in that moment to let him work through me. Remembering his purpose for our lives and what he’s called us to do redirects the focus away from myself and allows his will to be done. RRJ: Finally, the Christian faith is a daily battle with the ways of this world, evil forces and our sin nature inside. Thankfully, Scripture attests that Christ is greater than all of these and He provides His grace and means that allow us to live victoriously. Would you share specific resources that keep you close to the Lord’s side and connected to His power? Judah: Most importantly, I stay plugged in with my church. And not just on Sunday mornings. Joining a small group and finding an opportunity to serve is key to developing strong relationships with others

who share your beliefs. Outside of the church walls, I love listening to praise and worship music. I’ve always connected to that on a higher level than I have other sources. I have several free apps on my phone with praise and worship playlists I can dive into. Podcasts are another easy, free way to stay connected. I subscribe to podcasts by Andy Stanley, Francis Chan, The Village Church, and Ridge Church. Each of those podcasts provides thoughtful, challenging, and relevant sermons. Samantha: I feel like our church family is an essential resource that helps to keep us focused and connected. Living in community with other believers, doing life together, building relationships that extend beyond the church walls; these relationships have encouraged us so much in our walk with the Lord. We’ve been a part of a small group at our church for the last couple of years. It’s so comforting to talk to other couples and see that we all struggle with the same things. To be able to reach a level of transparency in these relationships has been instrumental in allowing us to grow and mature in our own faith. Judah and Samantha Helms have an 18-month-old daughter, Emma, live in Wetumpka and attend The Ridge Church.

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The Refuge I watched a movie recently called The 33. It is the gripping dramatization of the 68 days that 33 miners spent trapped in a collapsing mine in Chile in 2010. One thing that enabled these men to survive was their ability to reach “the refuge” through the falling debris. The refuge was a large room with a table, benches, and some semblance of food, water, and medical supplies. By severely rationing their little water and a few cans of fish, they held out there for the seventeen days it took someone to drill a hole through 2,300 feet of very hard rock. The tunnels around them continued to crumble. The mountain, itself, kept moving.

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The refuge had been part of that century-old copper and gold mine for years. It had been used as a place to rest, eat, and take a break. Miners didn’t think much of it as a life-saving shelter. But when giant rocks started to fall, crushing vehicles and closing every tunnel, everyone knew to race to the refuge. They all made it there alive on day one. For more than two weeks the men heard nothing from the surface. They had no idea when, or if, anyone would rescue them. The refuge became a shelter of emotional protection as they dealt with their stress, fear, and hopelessness. They prayed together. As the eternal night went on and on, an alcoholic without a drink went into delirium tremors. His fellow miners helped him survive the hallucinations and the spasms in his body and soul. The quakes continued in the massive rock all around them. But by trusting God and each other, they were able to withstand the tension and mental anguish of their situation. The Bible has a lot to say about our need for a refuge, not just for our physical safety, but for all the trials life brings. David says: God is our refuge and strength, an everpresent help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea … (Psalm 46:1-2 NIV). 14

But David also knew God as a friend, someone you could trust with your hopes and fears, someone who would never betray you. As he says in Psalm 62: Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge (Psalm 62:8 NIV). He knows our secrets, our sins, and our weaknesses. Yet, He still loves us and cares about us. We are on His mind and in His plans. He is our refuge when we think there is no danger, and when the very walls of our world tumble into the pit. He doesn’t just know the future; He creates the future. In the book of Ruth, Boaz uses the term refuge in a different way. He meets Ruth gleaning in his field and praises her for her love and care for her mother-in-law. Ruth has left her country and kindred and is willing to work in the fields to support her late husband’s mother in a foreign land. Boaz blesses her by saying: May the LORD repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge (Ruth 2:12 NIV). We all need the Person who is our refuge. God knows our every need and He will shelter us from whatever comes against us, if we will seek Him and treat Him as our Lord. Then we will know Him as our creator, provider, and the One who loves us eternally. How can we not trust Him? How can we not seek the shelter of His presence? When the miners finally left the refuge, one by one, through the tube that took them to the surface, they left a message painted on the wall. Translated into English it reads, “33 miners were here for 68 days. God was with us.” Do you feel trapped in a situation that sometimes appears hopeless? Go to the real refuge. His grace is sufficient for us. His love never fails. His name is Jesus. He is with us.


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Do you feel the pressure and obligation to raise Godly children in a godless society? We place our children in private schools. We home school them. We involve them in church youth groups. We parent them with Christian values and do our best to train, protect, and guide them through the maze of childhood and adolescence. All these decisions are an attempt to give them what they need to face this culture and take a stand for what is right. I would like to suggest one other priority that will empower your children into a healthy adulthood. In Ephesians, Paul tells us not to exasperate our children. In Colossians, he admonishes us not to embitter them or they will become discouraged. We are warned against making our children “very angry” or creating a “bitter spirit.” Many good and faithful parents master the discipline and miss the connection. And that child will go into a self-protection mode that keeps people at a safe distance. No amount of discipline will bring him back. HE NEEDS CONNECTION!

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What is Connection?

So what is connection? Simply stated, connection with a parent is the certain knowledge of a parent’s unfailing accessibility and acceptance. Psychology refers to this as attachment. Your child needs to know beyond a shadow-of-a-doubt that they are valued, protected, and worthy of your love. Then you have established an emotional and relational connection to withstand the tests of life. Connection is the bond that communicates to the child what Phillip Yancey described about God in his book, What’s So Amazing About Grace: “There is nothing I can do to make God love me any more or any less.” That is what we want for our children. Though we will allow them to experience the consequences of their decisions, we want them to lay down at night knowing there is nothing they can do to make us love them any more or any less. What can you do with your children to establish and maintain an emotional connection that will empower your child for their future?

Time

Time is the first strategy. To connect with your child you must spend time with them. Let me suggest that quality time cannot occur without quantity. You and I have one shot with each of our children. There are no “do-overs.” One childhood experience is all we have with that young heart and mind. Spending time with your children communicates volumes about your values. Follow anyone around for six months and you can accurately state what is most important to that person based on the amount of time invested in certain activities. Your children live with you. They know how valuable they are to you by the amount of time you spend with them.

How do you spend your discretionary time? I am not talking about the time you must give to career and household responsibilities. There are some things that have to be done. I am referring to that time in your schedule when you can choose to be with your children. We spend hours playing ping pong now that we have a table. Three years ago it was foosball. I lift weights with all three of my boys. If they are in the front yard playing soccer, guess what, dad crashes the party. This is it! This moment is all I have with them. We eat as a family. We go to movies as a family. We have created a climate in our home that being together is a good thing. And when your 18 year old still likes to do things with you, connection exists. Whatever your lifestyle is like, make the time to be with your children beginning at an early age.

Touch

Touch is the second valuable tool. Nonsexual, physical touch is so important. It’s said that kids need, on average, 11 touches per day. Noted Christian psychiatrist Grace Ketterman believes kids need at least 100 touches per day! Non-sexual touching is linked to the release of oxytocin, a chemical also released during those tender moments of breast feeding. Hugs, high fives, holding hands, rocking in the chair, etc. are all examples of non-sexual touch. Without touch, connection cannot happen. In our home, everyone is touched every day. Even if you are having a bad day, you are touched. I am amazed at the number of families I work with that don’t hug each other. These are stable, Christian homes void of physical affection. If you truly want to connect with your child, practice non-sexual touch on a daily basis. The connection is real and tangible.

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Validation

The third tool for creating connection with your children is validation. Every child is asking the question, “Am I worthy of your affection and time?” Parents have the power to stamp “valid” on their child. And this stamp will carry that child into adulthood. Even God the Father validated Jesus. After Jesus’ baptism, God descended from heaven and spoke these words, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17) Jesus experienced the same validation again at the Mount of Transfiguration. These are powerful words of acceptance and affirmation. Imagine the heart of a child when they hear words like these coming from their parents. That child will begin to open his heart to his parents and connect. Praising your child when they accomplish a goal is good. Communicating praise to your child for just being there goes deep into the heart. I often tell my boys I am so proud to be their father just because of them, not for what they have done. Of course we reward performance. But they need to know that my love and acceptance of them is not dependent on how well they do in life. Spending time with your children is invaluable. Touching them on a consistent basis will soften their hearts. And validating them will empower their spirits. When all three are combined with discipline and structure, you will connect with your child and create the emotional attachment necessary to propel them into a healthy adulthood. Take the risk and connect with your children. Kent Hughes has a private practice focusing on marital and family issues in Clarksville, Tennessee.

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Aldersgate United Methodist Church 6610 Vaughn Road Theme: Team Aldersgate: Race to Victory When: June 10-13: 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Ages: 3 yrs – 6th grade; Special Needs session - July 15, 9:30 a.m. until 11:30 Register at www.aldersgateumc.org or call 272.6152. Autauga Heights Baptist Church 1393 Highway 31 N, Prattville Theme: TBA When: June 19-23 from 6:30-8 p.m. Ages: 4 years – 6th grade Call: (334) 322.3222.   Blue Ridge Baptist Church    4471 Jasmine Hill Road, Wetumpka Theme: Galactic Starveyors When: July 9-13, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Call 567.4325. Calvary Baptist Church 431 W. Fourth Street, Prattville Theme: The Golden Rule . When: June 3 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Ages: Preschool – K; Grades 1-6 Registration Information: 334-365-5213 (church) or 334-546-5755 (Patsy).   Camellia Baptist Church 201 Woodvale Road, Prattville Theme: Galactic Starveyors When: June 4-8, 6 to 8:30 p.m. Ages: 3 year preschool through 6th grade, plus adult classes. Register at www.camelliabaptist.com. Call 365.0231.   Capitol Heights Baptist Church 2514 Madison Avenue, Montgomery Theme: Galactic Starveyors When: June 5-9, 9 a.m. to noon Ages: 4 years old by Sept. 1 to 6th grade. Call 264.6461. Cornerstone Christian Church 301 Dalraida Road, Montgomery When: June 10-14, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Theme: Cave Quest For more information, call 334-430-7568. Dalraida Baptist Church 3838 Wares Ferry Rd. Theme: Galactic Starveyors When: June 5-9; 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Age: Kindergarten through 6th grade Call 272.2412. River Region’s Journey

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Eastern Hills Baptist Church 3604 Pleasant Ridge Road Theme: Galactic Starveyors When: June 19-23; Time: 8:30 – 12 p.m. Ages: 4 (by August 1st) through 6th grade Call 272.0604 or register online@ www.ehbconline.com.  

East Memorial Baptist Church ad on page 7 1320 Old Ridge Road, Prattville Theme: Operation Arctic When: June 19-23, 9 a.m.–12 p.m. Family Night, Thursday, June 22 at 6 p.m. Ages: 4 years through 8th Grade Call 365.7500. Eastmont Baptist Church 4505 Atlanta Highway, Montgomery Theme: Operation Arctic When: June 12-16; 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Ages: 4 yr. - grade 6 Register online @ www.eastmont.org or call 277.6300. Elizabeth Baptist Church 15627 Troy Highway, Mathews Theme: The Faith Run When: June 26-28; Time: 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. For all ages – adults included. Dinner provided. Please call 281.4506   Evangel Church 3974 Vaughn Road, Montgomery Theme: Gadgets and Gizmos When: June 24-26, 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. Ages: 3 to upcoming 6th graders Call 272.4882 ext. 107.

First Baptist, Montgomery

ad on Back Cover 305 South Perry Street Theme: Galactic Starveyors When: June 19-23; 9 a.m. to Noon You can register on our website at www. MontgomeryFBC.org. Call 834.6310. 18

First Baptist, Prattville

ad on page 13 138 S. Washington Street, Prattville Theme: Galactic Starveyors June 26-30, 8:3012:00 noon Ages 3 years- 6th Grade. Children must be 3 years old by September 1 to attend. For information and/or to register visit fbcprattville.org or call 365-0606. First Baptist Church, Wetumpka 205 W. Bridge Street Theme: Maker Fun Factory When: June 25-29, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Ages: K-6th grade. Call 567.5191.   First Christian Church 1705 Taylor Road, Montgomery Theme: Rome When: July 25-28; Time: TBA Light dinner and snack provided Ages 4 years old – 6 grade Please call 270.1320 or visit www.fccmontgomery.org. First Presbyterian Church 211 S. Chestnut Street, Prattville Theme: Operation Arctic When: June 5-9 VBS starts at 8:30 a.m. to Noon Ages: 4 years old through entering 6th grade. Call 365.6387.   First UMC, Montgomery 2416 W. Cloverdale Park, Montgomery When: June 12-16; 9a.m. until noon Ages: Age 3 (by Sept 1 of 2015) through 5th grade. Call 834.8990.  

First UMC, Prattville

ad on page 27 100 E. Fourth Street Theme: Maker Fun Factory When: June 12-16, 9 a.m. to Noon Ages: Open to children who have just completed Kindergarten through 6th grade Call 365.5977.

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Fountain City Baptist 492 East Main Street, Prattville Theme: Operation Arctic When: June 18-22; 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Ages: 3 to 12. Call 365.2034.

Frazer Memorial UMC

ad on page 8 6000 Atlanta Highway, Montgomery Theme: Galactic Starveyors When: July 10-14; 9 a.m. to 12 noon, Atlanta Hwy Campus and July 17-21 at our Pike Road Campus. Ages: Rising K4 year olds-Finishing 5th grade. Call 272.8622.

Gateway Baptist Church

ad on page 9 3300 Bell Road, Montgomery Theme: Galactic Starveyors When: June 1923; 9am-12pm Ages: Completed 1st thru completed 5th Call 272.9494 to register. Glynwood Baptist Church 376 N. McQueen Smith Road, Prattville Theme: Galactic Starveyors When: June 4-9, Times: TBA Ages: 4 through grade 6  For more info and to preregister, go to www.glynwoodbc.com or call 361.9180.

Grace @ Bell Road 5 Bell Road, Montgomery Theme: “Turn the World Upside Down” Creative Arts Camp When: June 5-9, 8:45 a.m. until 1 p.m. Ages: 6 years to rising 6th graders. Please call or visit www.discovergrace.org

His Vessels Ministry, Montgomery Union Station, Downtown Montgomery Theme: Patriot Camp (Teaching children about the founding of our nation) Dates: June 13-16; Times: 9 a.m. until noon Ages: 6 – 12. Call 334-356-4478 or email info@hisvessel.org.

GracePointe Church 1565 Ray Thorington Road, Montgomery Theme: Mega Sports Camp When: July 16-19 from 6-8 pm Ages: 4-12 years Visit www.grace-pointe.com to register or call 271.2525. Hayneville Baptist Church 1180 State Hwy 21 N, Hayneville Theme: Galactic Starveyors When: July 16-20, 5:45 until 8:30 p.m. Ages: K4 - 6th Grade (grade completed) Email: hbc@connecthbc.com or (334) 548.2620.

Holy Spirit Catholic Church 8570 Vaughn Road, East Montgomery Theme: Jesus the Good Shepard When: June 24-28; 8 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. Age: Entering Preschool – entering 6th grade Call 277.1989 or register online @ www.holy-spirit-church.com. Lakeview Baptist Church 9225 Atlanta Highway, Montgomery Theme: Galactic Starveyors When: June 19-23; 8 a.m. until 12 p.m. Ages: 4 years old thru entering 6th grade. Free meal for kids at 5 pm. Call 213.3080.   Landmark Church 1800 Halcyon Boulevard, Montgomery Theme: God’s Mighty Warrior When: June 25-28, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Ages: Nursery through adults Call 277.5800.

Heritage

Baptist Church

ad on page 10 1849 Perry Hill Rd, Montgomery Theme: Galactic Starveyors When: June 1216, 8:30 a.m. to 12:05 p.m. Ages: Complete 4K - 5th grade. Call 279.9976. Heritage Baptist Church 1357 S. Memorial Drive, Prattville Theme: Operation Arctic Dates: June 4-8, Time: 6 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Ages: K3 through completion of 6th grade Call 365-2372.

Love Center Church 2401 Plum Street, Montgomery When: June 1-2 from 5:30 until 8 p.m. And June 3 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Call (334) 215.0056. Millbrook Presbyterian (PCA) 3480 Main Street, Millbrook Theme: Operation Arctic When: July 10-14; 6-8:45 pm Ages:  Entering K-4 thru 5th grade For registration, call 285-4031.

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Montgomery Area Episcopal Churches Saint John’s Episcopal, 113 Madison Ave. Theme: Life Star Dates: June 5-8, 8:30 a.m. – Noon Ages: Rising K4 through rising 6th grade For registration or more info, call 263.5529.   Morningview Baptist Church 125 Calhoun Road, Montgomery When: June 5-9, 9 a.m. to Noon Ages: Completed Kindergarten-5th grade Call 272.2304. Mountain View Baptist 1025 Rifle Range Rd., Wetumpka Theme: Galactic Starveyors When: June 12-16, Times: 8 - 11:30 a.m.  Ages: Completed K5 through 6th grade Call (334) 567.4458.   Mulder UMC 3454 Firetower Road ~ Wetumpka Theme: Hero Central When: June 25-28; 6 – 8 p.m. For more info please call 567.4225.   Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist 1550 East Washington Street, Montgomery Theme: TBA When: June 21-23; Time: 5 to 8 p.m. Please call 265-1807 for more information.   Redland Baptist Church 1266 Dozier Rd, Wetumpka Theme: TBA; Dates: TBA Ages: 5 (by Sept. 1) through graduated 5th grade. Please call 567.8649. Ridgecrest Baptist Church 5260 Vaughn Road, Montgomery Theme: Galactic Starveyors When: June 5-9, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Ages: 4 to completed the 6th grade. Please visit rbcmontgomery.com for more information. Call 277.0011.

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Saint James UMC 9045 Vaughn Road, Montgomery Theme: Maker Fun Factory When: June 12-14, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Ages: K4-5th grade Call 277.3037. Taylor Road Baptist Church 1685 Taylor Road, Montgomery Theme: Galactic Starveyors When: July 187-21, 8:30 a.m. to Noon Ages: Completion of Kindergarten through 6th grade.  Call 271.3363.

University Church of Christ 5315 Atlanta Highway Theme: TBA When: June 25-28, Time: TBD Ages: newborn thru 6th grade, and adults Please call 386.7320 or www.ucoc.org. Vaughn Forest Church 8660 Vaughn Road, Prattville Theme: Galactic Starveyors When: June 5-9; 9 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Ages: Entering Kindergarten - entering 6th grade. Registration online at www.vaughnforest.com. Call 279.5433.

Thelma Baptist VBS/VBX 810 Weoka Road, Wetumpka Theme: Galactic Starveyors When: June 5-9; 9 a.m.-noon VBS is for kids entering K5 through completed 5th grade. VBX is for kids who have completed 6th & 7th grade. Register online @ www.tlifeonline.com. Spanish language offered as well. Thorington Road Baptist 450 Ray Thorington Road, Montgomery Theme: Galactic Starveyors When: June 4-8; 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Ages: 5 yrs. to 5th grade. Call 396.9376.

Vaughn Park Church of Christ

Trinity Presbyterian Church 1728 S. Hull Street, Montgomery Theme: The Kind is Coming When: June 5-9, 9 a.m. to noon. Ages: Pre-K 4 thru completed 6th grade Call 262.3892 to pre-register.   Trinity UMC, Prattville 610 Fairview Avenue, Prattville Theme: Hero Central When: June 11-15, 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. Dinner provided for children every night. Call 365.7339.

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ad on page 17 3800 Vaughn Road Theme: Gadgets & Gizmos When: June 2630, 9 a.m. until noon For more info contact Carrie Stark at 272.2665. Whitfield UMC 2673 Fisk Road, Montgomery Theme: TBA When: June 12-15, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Ages: 3 years to 6th grade. Call 281.2467.   Woodland UMC 4428 Wallahatchee Rd, Pike Road Theme: TBA; When: TBA Ages: 4 years old -6th grade Call 272.7230.   Young Meadows Presbyterian Church 5780 Vaughn Road Theme: Sports Camp 2017 When: June 5-9, 9 a.m. until noon Ages: Kindergarten -6th grade. Call 244.1385.


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Recapturing the Joy of Motherhood

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:12).

1. Focus on the joy. Once the New York Times was asked to help a group of club women decide on the twelve greatest women in the United States. After due consideration, the editors replied, “The twelve greatest women in the United States are women who have never been heard of outside of their own homes.” Mothering is one of the most selfless and most important services one can render to society. While mothering has its endless challenges, it also offers some of the most fulfilling emotions a human being can experience. Being a mother is not an easy task to say the least. Expectant “radiant” mothers go through the roughest times imaginable. The body changes with a growing sensitivity to countless things including smells, textures, and temperature. Eating becomes difficult. They can experience problems keeping their eyes open one moment and being unable to sleep well the next. Then, the weight gain kicks in. Conflicting emotions perpetrate the minds of expectant mothers. They can feel ill-equipped to be a parent, yet anxiously count down to the day of delivery. Oh, the delivery! What mother will dare to forget the pain and agony of pushing a baby out into this world? The difficult sleepless nights associated with brand new babies begins, along with the endless feedings, diaper changes, etc. Yet, if that was all motherhood entailed, it could be bearable. The responsibility for the wellbeing of this tender individual you helped bring River Region’s Journey

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into the world falls greatly on your shoulders, from the cradle to the grave. Have you ever heard the saying “once a mother always a mother”? This adage is so true. While we know that mothers will not spoon-feed their children the rest of their lives, the emotional cares for a mother’s children continues forever. The art of mothering is not an easy task. Kudos to all mothers past, present, and future. As laborious as mothering tends to be, if we focus all of our attention on the difficult aspects of it, we will miss the blessed experience. The Creator affords us an awesome opportunity to co-partner with Him in the work of creation. This aspect of motherhood is pure joy. According to His design, mothers actually work in partnership with God in the incubating and the nurturing of life. Parent educator Elaine Heffner said, “The art of mothering is to teach the art of living to children.” It was within the perfect plan of God that you became His model to His little people to show them who the Father is, and what He expects of them. This helps them learn how to live full and productive lives here on Earth and the world to come. This is the greatest assignment, and the greatest honor bestowed upon us and we ought to discharge our duties with pleasure, making it count. Here are a few principles to help you focus in the right direction. 22

You may be pregnant right now, struggling to keep food down. Instead of kicking, screaming and cursing your husband, meditate on the beautiful life forming inside of you, connected with you in every way. Feeling his heartbeat is so awesome! Think about the day you will get to hold her, your very own. There are no words in the dictionary worthy enough to describe these feelings. You will have a special child to love and cherish for all of eternity. How priceless! Zeroing in on the joy has the power to minimize the stress we experience.

2. Focus on the opportunity to affect destiny.

Take the focus off the current problem for a minute and consider your child’s future. Realize that you alone, with all of your imperfections, have been chosen to shape and mold this child. You have been selected to train them for the destiny God has specifically for them. You have the amazing privilege of helping mold them into who they will become.

3. Focus on the blessing your child is. My mother didn’t have much material worth. I remember the difficulty she had to provide for my sibling and me, but I also remember the joy we brought her. As adults, we were blessed to supply her material needs in many ways. The joy and the pride in her eyes spoke volumes when we visited her. Your child may not be acting right this minute, but be encouraged. Focus on the joy that they are. God’s got their number! He’s working it all out. Mom, you are doing an awesome job!


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Experiencing God’s Reality While we can attempt, in our humanity, to choose our own reality, the only reality that actually counts is the one determined for us by God. Unfortunately, we can be prone to construct “fake news,” you might say. God wants us to experience the reality He has in store for us, applying His principles to our human condition. Historian Yuval Harari wrote a book several years ago called, Sapiens, and his latest is entitled, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, which is, according to the founder of the Vox website, Ezra Klein, “about what comes next for humanity — and the threat our own intelligence and creative capacity poses to our future.” Klein interviewed Harari recently, and the piece begins with a happy thought: In 300 years, Homo sapiens will not be the dominate [sic] life form on Earth, if we exist at all. Given the current pace of technological development, it is possible we destroy ourselves in some ecological or nuclear calamity. The more likely possibility is that we will use bioengineering and machine learning and artificial intelligence either to upgrade ourselves into a totally different kind of being or to create a totally different kind of being that will take over. T. Becket Adams at the Washington Examiner reviewed the article, and said, “They talked about the sort of stuff thinkfluencers like to talk about, including robots, ‘the most cerebral humans,’ falling in love with robots, Artificial Intelligence and robot emotions.”  As Adams writes, “Then came the part where Harari attempted to describe Christian theology. It was not enlightening…” River Region’s Journey

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He quoted from Harari: …We have been finding meaning in virtual reality games for thousands of years. We’ve just called it religion until now. You can think about religion simply as a virtual reality game. You invent rules that don’t really exist, but you believe these rules, and for your entire life you try to follow the rules. If you’re Christian, then if you do this, you get points. If you sin, you lose points. If by the time you finish the game when you’re dead, you gained enough points, you get up to the next level. You go to heaven. Adams goes on: You know, for a historian and academic, one would think Harari would have cracked at least one book explaining the basic theology of a 2017-year-old religion practiced by an estimated 2.2 billion people. There are literally thousands of easy-toread explainers, many of which date back to the earliest days of Christianity. The source material, which says nothing of a supposed points system, is also readily available in libraries, online and in multiple languages. Commentator Erick Erickson was rightly critical, writing in an Instagram post, “At Vox, Yuval Harari ‘explains’ Christianity and gets every detail wrong. That’s not how Christianity works at all.”  He attached an excerpt, including the part about the “points system.”   Let’s consider some takeaways centered around this interview story and the responses I mentioned.  First, we have to be grounded in reality, that is, Biblical truth. The Bible is, as this Washington Examiner writer says, the 24

“source material.” If we want to truly experience the reality of a relationship with Christ, the Word teaches us the principles. Certainly, the Scriptures do not teach that there is a “point system” - earn enough points, go to the next level in heaven.  That’s works-based salvation, and it doesn’t square with Biblical teaching. We can also think about our own human capability.  Harari indicates that ultimately humans could destroy themselves, but will be replaced by something having to do with artificial intelligence. AI – developed and programmed by humans! Humans are the pinnacle of God’s creation - we were deemed “very good” on the sixth day of creation; we are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” as we read in the Psalms.  We do have incredible capability in our humanity, and with God’s supernatural ability flowing through us, we can experience His doing beyond all we ask or think, as Ephesians says. But, humanity has a problem – each of us was born in sin into a fallen world.  In our humanity, we can become conditioned to try to determine our own reality.  Satan did this when he deceived himself into thinking he could be like God.  He now tries to mislead us by planting lies into our minds and causing us to buy in to incorrect thinking.  If we are not careful, we can make decisions based on his falsehoods, rather than the truth of the Scriptures.  That is why we are instructed to take every thought captive - those strongholds present a danger to us; we can be caught up in the destructive patterns in which Satan would want to entrap us.  God enables us to break free from desperate non-reality into the glorious reality of His presence. 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.

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As a young mom, I thought Mother’s Day should be all about me. Surely I deserved recognition for my never-ending sacrifices as a mom and stepmom to five children, right? However, after driving away from my parents’ home recently with tears spilling down my cheeks, I sensed God asking me to honor my mom with the time we have left. Unable to deny that Alzheimer’s is consuming Mom’s every fiber, Mother’s Day carries an overwhelming sadness, as she no longer knows me as her daughter.

I’d never considered how to truly honor my mom. What does that look like? Why is it important? River Region’s Journey

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Honoring our moms starts with a thankful heart for the role they’ve played in our lives. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the influence of my mother. She’ll be the first to tell you she’s not a perfect mom but she’s shaped my life like no one else. Perhaps you struggle with a thankful heart toward your mother. Many adults have leftover anger and disappointment from a childhood wracked by hurt that makes it almost impossible to consider honoring their moms. If this is the case for you, I challenge you to examine your heart and consider making amends, if possible. Honoring your mom doesn’t mean you agree with past behavior, it simply acknowledges her place in your life. It might require professional help to deal with your feelings and set appropriate boundaries for your current relationship, but I encourage you to put the past in the past and move forward in broken relationships. I’m not saying it will be easy, but holding onto unforgiveness keeps us in bondage and poisons other relationships. We experience many other blessings, in addition to enjoying a long life, when we choose to honor our parents. We allow family legacies to be passed down as we make

time for our children to get to know their grandparents. We bask in knowing we’ve done the right thing, preventing regrets later of what can’t be changed. We reap the rewards of deeper relationships and meaningful memories we can savor long after they’re gone. And we more likely receive the same respect and honor in return as our children watch our actions. Honoring our moms on Mother’s Day doesn’t have to be extravagant or complicated. A simple gesture is often more meaningful than a formal undertaking. Here are three suggestions to consider.

Express gratitude

As someone who’d rather write words than speak them, I don’t naturally express appreciation. I’m making an effort to show gratitude toward my mom for the investment she’s made in my life. I’ll never forget the day when I asked Mom’s opinion on a career decision I needed to make. As she relayed her thoughts, with tears in her eyes, she said, “I wish I’d done more with my life.” I was surprised at her words as I heard her regrets of only small advances in the career world, not recognizing the invaluable occupation she’d chosen as a devoted mom. Realizing

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her need for affirmation of sacrifices the world considers insignificant, I began to give examples of how her work at home as a mom, wife and homemaker had influenced my life. Gratitude can also be expressed through a written tribute, detailing childhood memories and expressing appreciation for the positive qualities and values your mom has passed down. A tribute depicts specific ways she’s influenced you and the value of her role in your life. It doesn’t have to be long and complicated to be meaningful. My youngest daughter gave me a simple handpainted message on a canvas board many years ago on Mother’s Day. It says, “For everything I am and hope to become I owe it to you, Mom. Love, Jodi.” Her heart-felt message means far more to me than material gifts I’ve received.

Give time sacrificially My youngest sister lives several states away from our mom, stays busy with a family and a demanding career, but makes time to call, send notes, and plan extended visits to my parents’ house whenever possible. Her priorities show honor and allow special time with Mom to reminisce about years past,

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make memories with grandchildren, and help Mom adjust to her new stage of life, while conveying the significant position Mom holds in her life. If you live a distance away your mom, it’s hard to commit to frequent visits, but extended stays provide valuable time together. Giving of our time sacrificially isn’t easy and takes intentional effort.

Walk in humility with her Parenting roles reverse as our moms age, forcing us to assume responsibilities outside the norm. Helping with laundry, going to the store, taking over bill-paying and financial responsibilities, driving her to the doctor, or even becoming a regular caregiver demonstrate ways to walk in humility through the aging process. We also walk in humility when we consider our mom’s opinions on life issues, acknowledging the wisdom they’ve acquired with their gray hair. I Peter 5:5 tells us, “…Be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’” Decades of life often bring nuggets of wisdom.

How you choose to honor your mom will look different than how I honor mine. I have a friend who is losing her mom to cancer and, as an only child, would like to dictate aggressive treatment to prolong her mom’s life. Instead, she’s giving her mom the dignity to deny chemotherapy if she chooses, recognizing her mom’s choice means she will have little time left with her on this earth. I recently watched another friend show honor by extending kindness toward her mom’s new husband, although she doesn’t particularly like him. My friend lost her father a few years prior and never expected her mom would marry again so quickly. Accepting someone new into the family has been harder than she expected, but she wants to respect her mom’s decision and has committed to make every effort possible to keep peace in the family.

If you live a distance away your mom, it’s hard to commit to frequent visits, but extended stays provide valuable time together. Giving of our time sacrificially isn’t easy and takes intentional effort. Mother’s Day is the perfect time to show honor and love to your mom, without attaching expectations to her response. If you’re a mom yourself, it’s natural to savor the appreciation you receive and deserve on this special day. As I watch my mom’s last season quickly drawing to a close, I want to show honor and gratitude as often as possible, creating special moments in the process, without regrets in the end. Gayla Grace writes, speaks, and coaches on family and stepfamily issues. She is a wife, mom to three and stepmom to two, ages 16-31. She holds a master’s degree in Psychology and Counseling and founded stepparentingwithgrace.com to offer coaching, resources and other support to stepfamilies. She co-authored Quiet Moments for the Stepmom Soul and resides in Shreveport, LA.

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Why Should We Forgive? Forgiveness has long been addressed by religious faith and beliefs. It is only in the last couple of decades that psychotherapists have begun to see the importance of forgiveness. We all know of Peter’s question to Jesus about forgiving. Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew, Ch. 18, vs. 21, 22, NIV) Jesus gives a numerical answer that is more symbolic than literally numerical. Jesus taught us that we should forgive unconditionally. There seems to be a considerable difference between the Old Testament writings about forgiveness (often Jewish law) and Jesus’ instruction. The Old Testament suggests that forgiveness is given only when it is asked for. The rabbis often taught that people should forgive those who offend them, but only three times, citing the book of Amos. This is what the Lord says: “For three sins of Damascus, even for four, I will not relent. Because she thrashed Gilead with sledges having iron teeth…” (Amos, Ch 1, vs.3 NIV) An article written by Louis Smedes in a Christian magazine begins with the statement, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”

Forgiveness is psychological, social, biological, and spiritual. Multiple studies by psychologists conducted over the last 10 years have shown positive mental health effects of forgiveness. Studies have shown that unwillingness to forgive and holding on to anger affects us both psychologically and physically. Forgiveness has been linked to reduced anxiety and depression, fewer physical health symptoms, and a lower risk of heart disease. Forgiveness can also help rebuild self-esteem by helping people change their view of themselves; some people who have suffered injustice end up not liking themselves. Sometimes in discussing forgiveness with my patients, I have to explain what forgiveness is not. Forgiveness is not excusing. Forgiveness is not weakness. Forgiveness does not require forgetting. Forgiveness does not mean reconciliation; sometimes those who have treated us abusively or unjustly remain dangerous. Forgiveness is not an event; it is a process that takes time. Sometimes old resentments resurface and need to be forgiven again. This is most likely to occur in a continuing relationship with someone we have forgiven wounds us again. Forgiveness is not easy; it goes far beyond just stating that you have forgiven someone. Robert Enright, a Clinical Psychologist, has written extensively on forgiveness including a book on forgiveness therapy for mental health professionals. Enright lists what he believes to be 4 phases 29

of forgiveness. The first is recognizing that you are angry and that the anger has harmed you. It means that you have not been able to get the injury or the offender out of your mind and believing that the injury has caused a permanent change in your life. The second is making a commitment to forgive. It includes realizing that your anger has had an effect not only on you but on others. It is surrendering the perceived right to get even. The third phase is truly working on forgiveness. It means accepting the pain and working towards compassion. Developing empathy is an important component of forgiveness. Empathy means the ability to “put yourself in someone else’s shoes”. It means trying to gain perspective on the offender and understanding the force that may have driven someone to harm you. The last phase is letting go and releasing yourself from an emotional prison. Forgiveness should not necessarily be made public; the offender may not see himself as having harmed you in some way. Forgiveness is in a sense a gift to the offender, but it may be rejected and the reason for your anger denied. Ultimately you forgive for yourself. You forgive in order to let go of the past and began to move forward.

Dr. D. Kim Hamblin is a licensed clinical psychologist in the state of Alabama. He received a B.A. in Psychology from Mississippi State University and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. He maintains a fulltime private practice which specializes in adult individual therapy. Special interests include depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorders and ADD/ADHD.

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Adoption

Location: Frazer Memorial UMC, 6000 Atlanta Hwy and First UMC, Millbrook APAC- Alabama Pre/Post Adoption Connection Support Group This group provides education and social interaction for adoptive families. Montgomery Group meets 3rd Tuesdays, 6-7:30 p.m., Room 8114 at Frazer. For more information call Sonia Martin at 409-9477 or she can be reached by email at smartin@childrensaid.org. For information on the Birth Parent and Adult Adoptee Support group please contact Kathy King 205-943-5331 or email kking@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 network.

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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: Dalraida UMC, 3817 Atlanta Highway Alcoholics Anonymous meets at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays. 272.2190. Alanon meets at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. Location: First Baptist Church (Huff Community Ministries Bldg., 200 S. Perry Street) Celebrate Recovery, a Bible-based Christ centered approach to recovery from hurts, habits and hang-ups, meets Friday nights, from 5:30 p.m.- 8 p.m. For more information, contact Jane Ferguson at 241.5141. Location: Grace Presbyterian Church, 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.

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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! gracepoint.info. Location: Journey Church, 2960 East Cobbs Ford Road across from The Catfish House in Millbrook Celebrate Recovery - Christ-centered 12-step for anyone struggling with addiction or life-challenging issues. Mondays at 5:30pm (meal-CrossTalk Cafe), 6-6:55 pm (large group), 6:55-7:45 (small group). Childcare available. Call Larry at 334-832-5714 or visit myjourneychurch.com. 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.

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Location: Prattville Church of Christ, 344 East Main St. RSVP - 12 step (Christians Against Substance Abuse-CASA) spiritual recovery program, for overcoming addictions. Class begins each Wednesday evening @6:30 PM. Please call 334365-4201 for addition information. 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. Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA) is open to all struggling with addictive sexual behavior. If you believe you have a problem with sex addiction (or are wondering if you might) and you want to change your behavior, we recommend you visit our group. For locations, please visithttps://saa-recovery.org/ or please contact – MontgomerySAA@outlook.com. Meetings are held: every Sunday night - 7:45 p.m, men only. Every Monday night - 7:30 p.m, men and women. 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 lifechallenging 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. Location: First United Methodist Church, Wetumpka 306 W. Tuskeena Street ‘Fresh Start’ Recovery meets every Thursday, 6-8pm (meal included). In 2011, Fresh Start Motorcycle Ministry (FSMM) began when God laid it on the heart of a lifetime biker to

minister to those with his background. All are welcome, not a requirement to own/ride a motorcycle. Format used is the Holy Bible. For any info contact ministry leader, Paul Henderson, 334-201-5428.

Alzheimer’s / Dementia

Location: First UMC, 2416 W. Cloverdale Park, Wesley Hall Bldg. An Adult Parkinson/Alzheimer’s respite ministry meets from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Lunch is served. Contact Daphne at 834-8990. 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. Call the LifeCare office at 272-8622. Location: Memorial Presbyterian, 2130 Bell Road A Dementia Morning Out for caregivers is offered each Tuesday from 8:45-noon. There is no charge. Each participant may bring a sack lunch (juice provided). Registration is required by calling 274-1018.

Location: Dalraida Baptist, 3838 Wares Ferry Road. Just for Men -- Faith based cancer support group for men. Meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. in the conference center. Please call 272-2412 email stan.hurst@knology.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 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, and friends, meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in Rm 8253. Call 220-4599 or womenofhope@charter.net. Location: Frazer Memorial UMC, 6000 Atlanta Hwy. The Central Alabama Multiple Myeloma Support Group meets from 10 a.m. to noon the second Saturday of every month in Room 3105. We have guest speakers, video presentations, printed information and a group that welcomes sharing their journey with myeloma in an informal setting. Refreshments are provided.. Contact Lorenzo and Elaine Duncan at 334-281-8158, or at duncan6563@gmail.com.

Divorce

Location: First Baptist Church, 305 S. Perry Street Divorce Care is held Wednesdays, 6:30-8 pm. Childcare available. $15 for workbook. Dinner at 4:45 ($5 adults, $3 kids). Call Kathy Cooper at 241-5125.

Cancer

Location: Aldersgate UMC, 6610 Vaughn Rd, Montgomery Cancer Survivors Support Group is sponsored by Samaritan Counseling Center. We would love to have anyone (patient or family member ) join us. Thursdays at 1 pm. Please call before attending just to make sure we are meeting that week. Please call Debbie D at 467-4578 or Ben W at 202-1912.

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Location: Frazer Memorial UMC, 6000 Atlanta Hwy Divorce Care meets each Tuesday from 6-7:30pm. in the

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Fellowship Hall Lobby. This group will provide support & guidance to assist you in working through the issues, pain & pressures surrounding divorce. Also, are you stuck in a pattern of going back to the same relationships or situations hoping for or expecting different results? In this new study “Never Go Back”, you will recognize and truly change those life patterns that hold you back and keep you from your goals. Call 495-6368 or e-mail singles@frazerumc.org.

Location: First UMC, 100 E. Fourth St, Prattville Grief Share, Tuesday evenings at 6:30 pm in the church parlor. Call 365-5977.

Location: Vaughn Forest Church, 8660 Vaughn Road DivorceCare fosters a weekly supportive and caring environment to heal the hurt of separation and divorce. Call 279-5433.

Location: Grace Baptist Church, 304 Old Montgomery Highway, Wetumpka Mourning to Morning is a Christian growth group for mothers who have lost a child, from before birth through adulthood. Meets the last Thursday night of each month. For info, contact Alice Scarborough (334) 462-4775 or Gwen Ellis (334) 567-8754 or e-mail mourningtomorning@gmail.com. Join us on Facebook--Mourning to Morning Group.

Gambling

Location: Cedarwood Community Church, 10286 US HWY 231 in the Wallsboro/Wetumpka community Gamblers Anonymous, Saturdays at 6 pm. 567-0476 Location: Mental Health of America Bldg, 1116 South Hull Street, Montgomery. Sundays @ 5 pm. Location: St Paul’s Lutheran Church, 4475 Atlanta Hwy, Mondays @ 6pm. Gamblers Anonymous Hotline: 334-541-5420 or you can call 2-1-1 and ask for meeting information. Alabama Council on Compulsive Gambling: 277-5100

Grief Location: Eastmont Baptist,

4505 Atlanta Hwy. Compassionate Friends is a national self-help support organization for families grieving the death of a child meeting first Tuesdays at 7 pm. Call (334) 284-2721 for info.

Location: Frazer UMC, 6000 Atlanta Hwy Grief Recovery Support Group meets Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m., Rm 3105, in Fellowship Hall Lobby. 272.8622.

Location: Millbrook FUMC, 3350 Edgewood Rd Grief Share meets Sundays from 5-7 p.m. For more information or to sign up, please call the church office at 285-4114 or email churchoffice@mfumc.org. 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 information contact Glover at 334-281-2754. Location: Vaughn Forest Church, 8660 Vaughn Road GriefShare is a support group that meets Wednesdays from 6-8 pm. This program is non-denominational and features biblical concepts for healing your grief. GriefShare will be led by Howard and Carol Payne and Jim Williams. Call 279-5433 for more information.

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. Call April Scott at 828-446-6666. Location: First Baptist Church, 305 S. Perry Street MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) is a place you can share a good meal, make new friends, and find encouragement as you face the everyday challenges of raising your little ones. We have educational speakers, great conversation, and fun activities. Free childcare is provided. Meetings are every 2nd and 4th Tuesdays, 9:30-11:30 a.m., September through May. Contact Tiffany Alewine at 241-5165. Location: Frazer Memorial UMC, 6000 Atlanta Hwy Frazer mom2mom is a playgroup to connect mothers of ages birth to 5 at Frazer United Methodist Church to share fun and inspiration in our journey together, with our children, and with Christ. Email Mom2mom@frazerumc. org for more information. Location: Landmark Church, 1800 Halcyon Blvd. Single Moms Support Group, Wednesday nights at 6:30 p.m. in classroom 118. For information call 277-5800. Location: Perry Hill UMC, 910 Perry Hill Road Single Moms’ Care and Support Group meets 2nd and 4th Thursdays from 6:15 - 8:00 PM. December meeting will be on the 11th. Free snack supper provided to moms and children. Child care for infants -16 years. Call 272-3174.

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Location: Redland Baptist, 1266 Dozier Rd, Wetumpka A MOPS group will be held 1st and 3rd Tuesday’s of every month during the school year, and has scheduled play dates and moms nights out through the summer and beyond. While moms are in a MOPS meeting, their children are lovingly cared for in the MOPPETS program. Email Denise Braswell at deniseorscott@yahoo.com . 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 info e-mail VFCMOPS@gmail.com.

Physical Challenges

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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 272-6152.

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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 affected by a neuromuscular disease or family members of those affected. To receive info, call 396-4534.

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Location: Vaughn Park Church, 3800 Vaughn Rd. Montgomery Area Down Syndrome Outreach Group meets 2nd Friday of each month from 6:30- 8 PM. We have activities, speakers and special events throughout the year for the parents, siblings and children with Down Syndrome. Childcare is provided. Please visit www. montgomeryareadownsyndrome.com or our Facebook page (MADSOG) for information. Please contact MADSOG at montgomeryareadownsyndrome@gmail.com.

Same Sex Attraction

Location: Huff Community Ministry Building of First Baptist Church at 200 S. Perry Street Upstream Support Group for those dealing with unwanted same sex attraction and family members or loved ones of those who are gay identified. The group meets at 6:30 pm every first, third and fifth Tuesday evenings. For more information call 334.452.0620.

Singlehood

Location: Frazer Memorial UMC, 6000 Atlanta Hwy Boundaries study for singles meets each Tuesday from 6-7:30pm in the Fellowship Hall Lobby. This study will help singles learn to set boundaries with emotions and help avoid the harmful behavior of others. For information, call 495-6386 or email singles@frazerumc.org. Location: Frazer Memorial UMC, 6000 Atlanta Hwy Single and Parenting! A New Group for Single Mom’s. This group meets every Tuesday from 6-7:30pm for hope & encouragement & guidance & parenting ideas. For information, call 495-6386 or email singles@frazerumc.org. 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.

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For more than 30 years, S.K.I.P. (Save Children of Incarcerated Parents) Incorporated has been advocating for children of incarcerated parents and their families. S.K.I.P.’s research and experience have indicated that the highest achieving students are those who are supported by their families, schools and communities. S.K.I.P. Incorporated’s vision is that children across the United States have the opportunity

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“S.K.I.P has a heart for children in our community, who by circumstances beyond their control do not have the kind of positive support in their lives to guide them to make good life choices.” S.K.I.P. Incorporated was founded by Mrs. Gloria Jean Canty-Williams. When Gloria was assisting a research study with the Hillsborough County Study Commission for Children of Tampa, Florida, she committed to speaking on behalf of these children to ensure that noticed that there were no services for children of incarcerated the state policies for children of incarcerated parents are child parents anywhere in the nation. Thus began S.K.I.P., and today, friendly. S.K.I.P. Inc. has chapters in Georgia and Michigan, with Alabama serving as its headquarters. It is Gloria’s dream that she and “We must protect these valuable assets and create an environthe organization will ment in which they may develop their charmake a remarkable acter, minds and spirits to become self-reliant difference in the lives and sustainable adults.” of children everywhere. S.K.I.P. uses programs that are comS.K.I.P. Inc. prehensive, modular and customizable, such On Saturday, May 20 at 8 a.m., S.K.I.P. Inc. will focuses on public as family fun nights, S.K.I.P. Saturdays, and be hosting a bocce tournament fundraiser in awareness, advocaa photography program. In each of these cy, collaboration and partnership with Aldersgate United Methodist programs and others that S.K.I.P. offers, there research. S.K.I.P. are integrated values and principles like counChurch. Registration and team pairings will uses research seling, coaching, career development and take place until 8:30 a.m. The tournament will to communicate social education and enrichment. have a raffle for the bocce sets, other contests relevant facts for proOne example of how S.K.I.P. Inc. is preand refreshments available for purchase. For gram improvements, paring children for a better future is ten-yearteams of two, the cost is $20, and individual as well as proposed old Kandyce. When she was ten, Kandyce’s public policy and participants will be paired. The competition mother was incarcerated, so Kandyce lived legislation affecting with her father and stepmother. Unfortunately, will be divided into children, youth, adult and children of incarcerKandyce didn’t want to live with her stepmothsenior categories. ated parents using er and began fighting with peers at school and The proceeds from the bocce tournament will its public awareness receiving failing grades in class. go toward Camp KARATer, a character educacampaigns. Enter the S.K.I.P. program, and Kandyce

BOCCE TOURNAMENT FUNDRAISER, MAY 20

“Helping people to know and understand what is at stake and what we can do about it is essential to creating change and moving this effort forward.”

tion camp that helps to prepare middle and high school students to be more successful by giving them tools for improving grades and social skills. For more information, to register or become a sponsor, visit www.skipinc.org or contact Dennis Charlesworth at 334.272.3420 or bama76mba@charter.net.

S.K.I.P. Inc. is future-orirented. Its representatives realize that the children they are helping will be the nation’s workforce, consumers and community leaders. S.K.I.P. representatives are

was given a peer mentor who helped her be able to improve her grades and her attitude. When Kandyce was 13 years old, her mother was released from prison and Kandyce could live with her again. She has even expressed an interest in becoming a S.K.I.P. peer mentor herself. To learn more about S.K.I.P. Incorporated and how you can get involved or make a donation, visit skipping.org.

A Florida native, Ashley Sherlock made the transition to Alabama to pursue a degree in English. She has a passion for the written word, an affinity for the outdoors, a love for people, and a desire for the Lord.

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Teens and Checkbooks Q: My daughter is 15, and she’s had jobs around the house and been on commission and the envelope system for years. She’s very good about saving and not spending on silly things. We recently opened a checking account for her, and I was wondering what bills you think we should assign for her to pay on her own? A: This sounds a lot like what we did with our kids. She’s obviously bright and motivated, so the first thing you do is explain to her the seriousness and responsibility associated with a checking account. The next step is for her to

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balance the checkbook with you looking over her shoulder. Do this with her for several months, while you keep one eye on the account, too. After that, I want her to do it alone and show you her work. Her balance should match yours and the one at the bank. As soon as she demonstrates competency, and you feel comfortable that she can handle things, I want you to start putting her clothing budget in the account. You know, the weirdest thing happened with our girls at this stage. They suddenly started shopping at less expensive stores. It’s amazing when they see that the dollars associated with these purchases can run out. My bet is you’ll see some changes in her value choices. Just take it step-by-step, a little at a time. The more they exhibit competence, wisdom, and confidence, the more you can release them.

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Why the Smallest Debt First? Q: I’m new to you and your plan. Why do you want people to pay off the debt with the smallest balance first, instead of the one with the highest interest rate?

A: Simply put, because personal finance

isn’t all about math. Personal finance is only about 20 percent math. The other 80 percent is behavior. We list debts in the debt snowball in order of the smallest to the largest balance, putting as much as possible toward the smallest while paying the minimum payments on the others. The reason, as I mentioned earlier, is behavior modification. It helps you see yourself making a dent in your debts. It’s easier to change bad habits when you see quick results from your efforts to eliminate negative behaviors. Paying off the smallest debts first, instead of the debts with the highest interest rates, will give you quick wins that will help keep you motivated. It provides proof that you can succeed and become debt-free!


FREE mammograms & pap smears

holding your hand every step of the way from free screening to free treatment

If you are age 40 to 64, have no insurance and a low income, you may qualify for a FREE Mammogram and Pap smear.

Early detection of breast and cervical cancer saves lives For more information, call toll-free 1-877-252-3324 adph.org/earlydetection


First Baptist Church Montgomery

June 19-23 Vacation Bible School

9:00 AM to Noon :: FREE! ages 4* through 6th grade

DISCOVERING THE GOD OF THE UNIVERSE As kids search the visible to discover the invisible, they will discover that the God who created everything there is wants a relationship with them! Kids will learn that God had a plan to restore the relationship He knew we would break from the beginning.

For more information or to register visit

www.montgomeryfbc.org/vbs *Child must have turned 4 by August 31, 2016 to attend VBS.

FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH montgomery

305 South Perry Street Montgomery, AL 36104

River Region's Journey May 2017  

May has the 2017 River Region's VBS Directory! Plus, S.K.I.P., Connecting with Your Children, and much more!

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