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Toxic to Transformation <from

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with author & Christian Community Developer

Robert Lupton W

author of toxic Charity & Theirs is the Kingdom

hen Bob Lupton set out to work with the poor in Atlanta, he discovered an unsettling reality: often the good intentions of churches and agencies were actually making things worse in the communities they sought to serve by contributing to a culture of entitlement and dependency. Bob is now an outspoken advocate against “toxic charity”—and FOR sustainable ministry that brings about true life-transformation. If you work or volunteer in any ministry, non-profit, or government agency that seeks to provide lasting change for people in poverty, this one-day seminar is your place to start to discover a whole new way to think about community building that truly makes a difference.

Saturday MArch 2, 2013

9am-2pm • frazer United Methodist Church • $10 Includes chick-fil-a box lunch Reserve your spot by February 27


Volume 14, Issue 9

Feature Articles

FEBRUARY 20 1 3 Columns page 2

Publisher’s Note

page 16

Jason Watson

Seizing Every Opportunity

page 4

by Candy Arrington

Evangelism seems to be one of the biggest challenges for believers. Find advice for overcoming the reasons we don’t share our faith, and learn the best times and places for opportunities.

Pastor's Perspective John Schmidt, Centerpoint Fellowship

page 14

Dave $ays Dave Ramsey

page 26

page 18

Shine

Broadcasting by Faith

Kim Hendrix

by Rachel Fisher

Learn how 89.1 WLBF (Faith Radio) began and the reaches of its ministry today, in our community and beyond.

page 22

The Intersection Bob Crittenden

page 24

Family Teams for Christ

page 34

On Your Own

How to Be a Successful Single Parent by LeAnne Benfield Martin

Find practical advice for the challenging job of single parenting.

Lisa and Mike Conn

page 30

Grace to You John MacArthur

page 32

Counselor’s Corner Lou Priolo

page 42

Get the Point? Elaine Britt

On Our Cover . . .

In Every Issue

Pictured are four members of the WLBF Faith Radio team: Russell Dean, General Mananger; Bob Crittenden, host of “The Meeting House”; Jeremy Smith, host of “Morning Praise”; and Billy Irvin, Director of Ministry Relations.

page 6

On the Bookshelf page 8

Around Our Community page 36

Event Calendar page 44

Movie Reviews 1

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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

Research Editor Wendy McCollum

Contributing Writers Elaine Britt Lisa and Mike Conn Bob Crittenden Rachel Fisher Kim Hendrix John MacArthur LeAnne Benfield Martin Lou Priolo Dave Ramsey John Schmidt Gail Welborn

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

Cover Photography Lori Mercer Photography

Ad Design

Tim Welch, Welch Designs

Distribution Team Kristy Brennan Wendy McCollum Chris Mitchell Manzie Moore Richard Ward Lesa Youngblood

From the Publisher How dark is our world? When I was a child I never had questions like that. Did you? All I knew of the world around me was that I had a mom and dad who loved me very much, I had a great bike for day-long explorations and baseball season was coming soon. Childhood naïveté can be a nice thing sometimes, but as days grow into years you come to learn more and more that this world is a broken place. Death and sickness are a way of life here. No matter how hard one tries not to deal with those kinds of things, they’re the facts and our lives are corrupted by them. Should this cause us to fall into despair? Yes and no. Knowing the truth about ourselves and our world is upsetting, and if that’s all we’re left with, then yes, we live in a very hopeless place. But, what if there was a remedy for us and our world? Thankfully, there is... Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 Through Jesus’ perfect life, His sacrificial death and resurrection victory, whoever follows Him by faith will have the light of life He shines into our world. I placed my trust and faith in Christ more than 25 years ago and each day as I walk with Him the difference between His light and the world’s darkness becomes more clear. Now, as God’s child and Christ’s brother, I am to use my life to reflect His light so others can know of His remedy for a new life now and for eternity. That’s the calling for each one of us who has received Christ as our Savior. That’s why this month we’re honored to be sharing the story of one of Central and South Alabama’s greatest beacons of God’s light - Faith Radio. So many of us have their station programmed in our cars and offices, and countless of you have been touched by their ministry, but do you know their story? Throughout this ministry’s growth God has always been at the center guiding and blessing their efforts. It’s a special story you don’t want to miss. When we first began publishing Journey 14 years ago, we naturally looked to Faith Radio as an example and asked how we could share the light of Christ through print in a similar fashion. They have continued to be an example for us and I think they’re an example for everyone. What are you broadcasting? In every nook and cranny of our lives we need to be sharing the light of Christ. Besides sharing Christ with those who have yet come to faith, both Faith Radio and Journey magazine also equip and strengthen you with the Word of God for daily living out your faith. This month, like each month, soak up the Good News we share through our excellent columns and stories. But don’t stop there. Fill up your lamps with this Good News so you’ll shine brightly to the dark world around you.

River Region’s Journey is published monthly by Keep Sharing, P.O. Box 230367, Montgomery, AL 36123. For information, call 213-7940 or FAX to 213-7990. River Region’s Journey is copyrighted 2013 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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Pastor’s Perspective

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John Schmidt, Centerpoint Fellowship Church

Avoiding “Someday” Syndrome “Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives.” Alan Sachs The “Someday” Syndrome is a spiritual malady that causes us to settle for comfort and safety rather than God’s purpose for our lives. People of all ages and backgrounds suffer from this syndrome and it can be contagious. It is fairly easy to spot “Someday” Syndrome in others, but we often fail to diagnose this problem in ourselves. A quick way to tell if you have it is to evaluate your responses to the following statements: • “After I get the promotion I’m going to start spending more time with my family.”

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• “When my schedule slows down I’m going to get involved at church.” • “Someday I’m going to get serious about getting in shape.” • “When I retire I’m going to enjoy life.” • “Someday I’m going to start reading my Bible.” • “Someday I’m going to get my finances in order.” If you can identify with two or more of these statements, you are susceptible to “Someday” Syndrome. If you have used any of these statements in place of making New Year’s resolutions you already have “Someday” Syndrome, and if you have repeatedly verbalized any of these statements to family or friends you are probably contagious. People who have “Someday” Syndrome are prone to mediocrity and apathy. They often complain about boredom but are unwilling to take risks or do hard things. They frequently blame others, even God for their bland existence and general unhappiness. “Someday” Syndrome causes frustration, emptiness, disappointment and results in endless comparisons with others. If you and I want to prevent “Someday” Syndrome from taking hold in our lives this year we need 4

to make some important decisions right now. We need to come to terms with the fact that life is short and we only have a limited number of tomorrows. Why should we wait until someday to get in shape, get involved, or finish a degree? Why not begin today? Why do we allow ourselves to become paralyzed by fear, doubt, and indecision? Today is the best day to begin turning things around. We also need to ask the One who created us for wisdom in how to make the most of our time. In Psalm 90:12 Moses prayed, “Lord…teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” We would do well to follow Moses’ example. God knows our fears and failings and He also knows our strengths and capabilities. God knows what opportunities are ahead of us and He wants what’s best for us more than we do. He loves us and will gladly show us how to make the most of 2013 if we will only seek His direction for our lives. The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.” (Psalm 32:8-9) A great resource for overcoming the Someday Syndrome is One Month to Live: Thirty Days to a No-Regrets Life, by Kerry and Chris Shook. This New York Times Bestseller is practical, thought provoking, well-written and inspiring. God wants us to experience abundant life today instead of waiting for someday. John Schmidt ● Senior Pastor ● Centerpoint Fellowship Church ● john@centeringlives.com

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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 Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;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 must be in agreement with our Statement of Faith

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On The Bookshelf Wild Grace

by Gail Welborn

(Adapted for Teens)

by Max Lucado, Thomas Nelson, 2012, 176 Pages, ISBN-13: 978-1400320844, $14.99

James Lund’s adaptation of Max Lucado’s Wild Grace is about teens and the moving power of God’s grace. This much needed book offers hope and inspiration to youth, many of whom are stressed from what were once uncommon situations they now cope with daily, such as suicide, hunger and homelessness. Our nation’s children, many of them un-churched, are being shaped by these extreme pressures, as well as normal worries over good grades, peer pressure and other life-changing choices. They know little about God or His grace. Instead their selections include decisions about sex, drugs, pornography, pregnancy, abortion, and for one teen illustration, the charge of manslaughter. Lund’s engaging book, written in a conversation style, uses ten chapters that teach how to identify and personalize God’s grace. I especially liked chapter ten, “Saved for Sure”, on the certainty of salvation for those who continue to ask, “Am I really saved?” Insets of quips, silly jokes and one-liners are sprinkled throughout, as well as personal stories, Scripture and other illustrations of God’s extravagant grace. Areas of text highlighted in grey indicate Lund’s additions to the original text for teen readers.

Glorious Ruin

by Tullian Tchividjian, David C Cook, 2012, 208 Pages, ISBN-13: 978-1434704023, 17.99

Tullian, Billy Graham’s grandson writes, “Pain is unavoidable…” in Glorious Ruin. The recent Connecticut heartbreak is a good example. Since everyone suffers “…it’s not a question of if, but when” suffering occurs. Instead of questioning suffering Tchividjian’s focus is on “Who.” He preached a sermon series from Job subsequent to his parent’s separation after 41 years of marriage. To his surprise, the taped sermons “…became the most- listened-to sermons…” he’d ever preached. People worldwide contacted him with personal testimonies of “…how God used the sermons to set them free from bitterness, anger and despair.” This gospel centered book features different facets of suffering from the Reality of Suffering, to Confronting Suffering and Saved by Suffering. The book contains rich spiritual nuggets that teach “… the gospel is for the defeated, not the dominant.” It’s when we suffer and feel defeated that everyday barriers to surrender are torn down where Christ and God’s grace are found. Tchividjian’s writings point to Christ, just as Billy Graham’s words pointed to salvation. While the book is not a quick read, it’s a book to savor, close and return to time and time again.

Do You Believe in Miracles?

Compiled by John Van Diest, Harvest House Publishers, 2012, 224 Pages, 978-0736938020, $12.99

John Diest, former Christian book publisher, compiled narratives from well-known inspirational authors for Do You Believe in Miracles? These true stories, from the pens of Max Lucado, Billy Graham, Joni Eareckson Tada and others, inspire and offer hope in the midst of troubled times. John, like many, believed in the miracles of the Bible, but felt “…that was then, and this is now.” It wasn’t that God couldn’t intervene today, He just didn’t any longer. However, in compiling this collection of stories, his reasoning was challenged and then changed. He read hundreds of dramatic, life-changing stories and selected 64 stories using the following criteria: • Were they from “highly” credible sources? • Was there a “natural” explanation? • Were they examples of supernatural intervention? Narratives include miraculous healings, prayer induced rain and an account of angels, with most stories a page or two long. Stories, divided into topical segments, begin with a commentary from John. This collection of true stories encourage and provide hope even when things we don’t understand happen or senseless circumstances occur. River Region’s Journey book reviewer Gail Welborn lives in Sedro-Woolley, Washington. River Region’s Journey

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Sportsmen’s Ministry Annual Wild Game Dinner Frazer UMC’s Sportsmen’s Ministry will host their annual Wild Game Dinner Thursday, Feb. 7, at 6 p.m. in Frazer’s Fellowship Hall. Enjoy a delicious wild game dinner, an evening of fellowship and an inspirint talk from John Croyle, legendary Alabama football player, avid outdoorsman and founder of the Big Oak Ranch, a Christian home for children who need a chance. Cost for dinner is $5 and guests are encouraged to bring a wild game dish to feed 8-10 people. John Croyle found out early in life what he was born to do. As a member of the 1973 University of Alabama Championship team, he had a dream to build the best children’s home in America. On Bear Bryant’s advice, John turned down offers for the NFL to make that dream a reality and create a place for hurting kids who needed a chance. Learn more about Big Oak Ranch by visiting bigoak.org. For more information about the Wild Game Dinner contact Chris Bell at 451-2967 or cbell@jttconnect. com. Frazer United Methodist Church is located at 6000 Atlanta Highway, Montgomery.

Spiritual Formation Weekend at Grace Pointe Church Grace Pointe will be hosting a Spiritual Formation Weekend Feb. 23rd – Feb. 24th and the community is invited. Theme: “Talking Back to God’ speaking your heart to God through the Psalms. Special guest speaker will be Lynn Anderson, president of Hope Network Ministries, San Antonio, TX. Saturday, February 23rd 6:00 - 8:30 p.m. Session 1 with complimentary dinner Sunday, February 24th 8:30 a.m. coffee mingle 9:15 a.m. Session 2 10:15 a.m. Worship and Session 3. Please RSVP to the church office for the complimentary dinner 271-2525 or office @grace-pointe.com.

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A Christ centered peer based support group for those struggling with unwanted same sex attractions and family members or loved support and encouragement are available. Meets 1st, 3rd, & 5th Tuesdays @ 6:30 PM - Landmark Church More information: call (334) 277.5800 OR email barnabas@landmarkchurch.net Landmark Church is a member of the Exodus International network of churches that welcomes those who struggle with unwanted same sex attractions. a ministry of Church River Region’s Journey

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Siran Stacy at Ridgecrest Baptist

Visit Ridgecrest Baptist, 5260 Vaughn Road, February 24th at 10:45 a.m. as they host Siran Stacy. Siran is a former University of Alabama football player, having trained under coach Gene Stallings. In 2007, Stacy’s life changed when his family’s van was struck by a drunk driver one mile from their home. Tragically, Stacy’s wife and four of their five children were killed in this accident. Stacy’s message is centered upon the resurrection power and redeeming blood of Jesus Christ and aimed towards making an impact on the broken hearted, the suffering teenager, and he has a passion for men and their role as leaders and mentors in the family. Everyone in the community is invited to come. The cost is free. Call 277-0011 for more information.

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Among Friends Women’s Conference

with Kathy Troccoli, plus Patsy Clairmont & Donna VanLiere First Baptist Church, Montgomery February 15-16, 2013. When the struggles and pain of life visit us we can feel so alone. We can easily shrink back and hide in the midst of our busy lives. Whether it has been sin, shame, or just plain distance from the Lord it is there. We feel disconnected. Discouragement, weariness, even bitterness can creep into our souls and we find ourselves going through the days without the strength, faith and promise of God’s hope in our hearts.We need fresh wind in our sails--new perspective. During our time together there will be rich Bible teaching, powerful stories, comedic relief and comforting music. There will also be a time of worship and prayer. Come be Among Friends—and bring yours with you, too. For more info call: 334-834-6310. Conference sponsored by FBC Montgomery and FBC Prattville. 9

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Seminar with ‘Toxic Charity’ author Aims to Reveal a New Way of Looking at Charity, Community Building

When Bob Lupton set out to work with the poor in Atlanta, he discovered an unsettling reality: often the good intentions of churches and agencies were actually making things worse in the communities they sought to serve by contributing to a culture of entitlement and dependency. Bob is now an outspoken advocate against “toxic charity”— and FOR sustainable ministry that brings about true life-transformation. Bob will be sharing his heart for helping others Saturday, March 2 at Frazer, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall at Frazer Memorial UMC. If you work or volunteer in any ministry, non-profit, or government agency that seeks to provide lasting change for people in poverty, this one-day seminar is your place to start to discover a whole new way to think about community building that truly makes a difference. The cost for the one-day training is $10 per person and includes a Chick-fil-a boxed lunch. Reserve your spot by Wednesday, Feb. 27 by calling Kris Johnson in Frazer’s Missions Office, 334-4956362 or emailing kris@frazerumc.org. If you want to learn more about how to make a real, lifetransforming impact on the needy in our community, don’t miss this eye-opening and inspirational seminar. Learn more about Bob Lupton at FCS Urban Ministries, fcsministries.org.

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Annual Missions Conference February 24-27 Trinity Presbyterian Church, 1728 South Hull Street, invites all to 37th Annual Missions Conference featuring local and foreign missions ministries. Lord’s Day morning worship services at 8:30 and 11:00 AM with missionaries visiting Sunday School classes at 9:45. Evening worship at 6:00 PM. Luncheons with panel discussions on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 11:30. Suppers Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday evenings at 5:00 PM followed by conference sessions in Trinity Hall at 6:00 PM. Call 262-3892 for meal or child care reservations.

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News from Inner City Evangelism

One of the residents from Paterson Court shows off her prize after winning Bible bingo. The first part of I.C.E.’s Saturday outreach includes Bible bingo for adults where they hear Scripture between each game, have the opportunity to win Christian gifts and prizes and then hear a message from one of I.C.E.’s leaders or volunteers. This is always a great way to get residents to be a part of the outreaches and allows them to hear the word of God! PLUS:

Volunteers at I.C.E.’s Paterson Court outreach helped kids of all ages with drawing and coloring as the kids took part in a citywide artwork contest. Working with the kids on their drawing and coloring allows volunteers to get to know the kids, build up their self-esteem and also provide a time to talk about Jesus. At the end of the beautiful day, kids and adults enjoyed pizza, lemonade and birthday cake to celebrate the birth of Jesus. It was a wonderful day in Paterson Court!

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Centerpoint’s Half Marathon & 5K Begins at Prattville YMCA, March 16, 2013 Half Marathon starts at 7 am, 5K starts at 7:30 am, Fun Run at 10 am. The registration fee for the Half Marathon is $50 by February 1st, $60 by March 1st, $75 by March 8th and at packet pick up on Friday, March 15th. There is NO race day registration. The registration fee for the 5K is $15 by February 1st, $20 after February 1st. There WILL be race day registration available for the 5K. The registration fee for the Kids Mile is $15 at all times. There WILL be race day registration available for the Kids Mile. Registration is available online at Active.com or you can print out a form here. We HIGHLY encourage (and prefer) online registration! Additionally, for inquires about Centerpoint Fellowship Church or any other inquires not addressed above, please contact the Centerpoint Office at (334) 356-3070.

“Men of Promise” Men’s Conference

On Saturday March 16th, Men of Promise will be having a Men’s Conference at Church at the Brook, Millbrook, Al. The theme for the conference is “Destined to Win”. The keynote speaker in the morning is former UA Football star & former NFL star Siran Stacey. The afternoon speaker is DR. Raymond Cullpepper. The conference is open to ALL Denominations pre-registration is $10.00 per person which includes lunch. Deadline for pre-registration is Sunday Feb 24, 2013. After that, you can still register or pay at the door, but lunch will not be provided. So hurry & pre-register your group now. Make checks payable to Church at the Brook. Put [Men’s Conference] on the memo line. Mail them to [Men’s Conference, 510 Mossy Oak Ridge, Prattville, Al 36066]. Call Allen Clark 334-313-2969. Doors open at 9:30am.

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Guy Penrod in Concert March 14 Gospel recording artist Guy Penrod will be in concert at Eastern Hills Baptist Church on March 14 at 7 pm. Ticket prices are $25 for artist circle seating, $18 for advance general admission and $20 for the night of the show. Call 272.0604 ext. 210 for tickets or purchase tickets at Lifeway, Family Christian Stores or online at itickets.com.

Shop with Purpose at The Landmark Missions Consignment Sale

This sale is for everyone! Items sold include kids clothing and toys, home decor, sports equipment, electronics, furniture of all kinds and more! Proceeds from this sale contribute to the Landmark Church short term mission teams fundraising. Items may be consigned with 1/3 of sales going to the mission teams and 2/3 of sales goes back to the seller. There is a $6 consignor fee. Consignors may register at www.landmarkchurch.net/missions-consignment-sale. Registration is open until Friday, February 22. Receiving begins on Sunday, February 24 at 4pm. More dates and times can be found on our website. The sale begins on Thursday, February 28 at 4pm for consignors and guests with passes. The public is welcome to begin shopping at 6pm. The sale continues on Friday and Saturday all items are half off unless marked no discount. The sale ends at noon on Saturday, March 2. The Landmark teams from the Montgomery area travel to Turkey, Guatemala, Mexico, China, Malawi and Tanzania, Africa. Last year we raised about $4,500 to help cover the trip costs for team members. Clothes that consignors donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t sell and donate are shipped to Malawi, Africa to help the Mtendere Village orphanage. Other items donated help bless the Compassion 21 ministry in downtown Montgomery. For more information visit www.landmarkchurch.net.

Coming This Month!

A New Indoor Facility Offering 2 Private Party rooms!

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Q. My husband doesn’t like dealing with money. For years, I’ve handled everything from paying the bills to making the decisions, and he just does whatever I tell him. This makes things really hard on me, but he says financial issues cause him stress. Do you have any suggestions? A. The plain truth is you need your husband to step up and be a man. I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but it’s unfair for you alone to carry the weight of all financial and household decisions. It would be unfair, too, if he were the one carrying it all. This isn’t a gender issue. My wife and I are involved in all the decisions in our home, and that’s especially true when it comes to money. We do a budget,

and we decide together where the money’s going. It’s not a situation where she’s a little girl, and her daddy named Dave takes care of her and everything else. That’s the kind of thing you’ve got going on now. You feel like his mom rather than his wife, and that’s not what a healthy marriage is about. You need to sit down with him and explain why this is so important to you and how it makes you feel. You’re not asking him to be a number cruncher, but he has to grow up and become part of the team. You can play the role of CFO and write all the checks. But you and he together are the board of directors. You just need 15 to 20 minutes of his time each week, so you guys can discuss what’s going on and how to handle things—together!

Q. My husband and I are on Baby Step 2 of your plan. We move every two or three years due to our jobs, so would it ever make sense in our situation to buy a house? A. In most cases like this it doesn’t make sense to buy a house, especially if the real estate market in your area is lethargic. Some markets have bounced back and are doing very well, while some are worse than slow. It all depends on where you’re moving. Here’s the big question: Can you get the place sold quickly the next time you have to move? Another thing to consider is whether or not you can sell it for more than it cost when the time comes. If not, you’ll be writing a check for home ownership, and that’s not a good plan. As a general rule, a two- to three-year window is not enough time to own a home. There are rare exceptions to this rule, places where you have a hot, escalating price market. But if you’re not careful you’ll end up leaving behind a rental property and playing landlord, whether you want to or not!

Q. I have one bill left from an emergency room visit earlier this year, and I’m trying to settle with a collections agency. They’re willing to accept half of the $930 owed, but they want me to pay online or by phone, and I don’t feel safe doing that. What should I do? A. If they’re willing to lower the bill by half, then you need to get that in writing. If you don’t have it in writing, you don’t have a deal. And whatever you do, don’t give them any form of electronic access to your money. I’ve seen too many collectors lie to people about “agreements,” then go in and raid their accounts. Just tell them to send you, by email or regular letter, a statement saying that $465 will be accepted as payment in full for the debt. Also, tell them you’ll turn around the day you receive this letter and send them a cashier’s check for that amount. Until then, they can go jump in the lake! River Region’s Journey

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Love Your Heart Day

$20 HeArT SCreeNiNg

February 23

Baptist Medical Center South

By registered appointment only. Your heart is complex. You may eat healthy and exercise regularly, but unless you show recognizable signs and symptoms of an abnormal heart condition, you may never know if you have a problem until it’s too late.

To celebrate National Heart Month, Baptist Medical Center South is offering a $20 heart screening to give you peace of mind and to allow you and your physician to fully know the state of your heart. Your heart screening tests will include: • Heart risk assessment • Cholesterol

• Blood pressure • Resting EKG

The cost of the screening is $20, $15 for Senior Advantage members, cash or check, paid the day of the event. Your registration fee includes a light breakfast following your heart screening.

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Please call (334) 273-4304 to register.

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Seizing EVERY Opportunity

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Overcoming the Reasons Why We Don’t Share Our Faith by Candy Arrington For several years, as I walked in my neighborhood, I saw a man who ran the same route I walked. Eventually, his pace slowed to a stumbling walk. Later, his steps were so labored I wondered if I should offer to get my car and drive him back to his house. After several weeks of not seeing the man, I passed his house and saw he’d transitioned to moderate weight-lifting in his garage. We waved each day, a salute to his continued fitness effort. But during those days, every time I passed his house and waved, the Holy Spirit nudged me. Stop. Talk to him about spiritual things. Tell him about me. I manufactured excuses: I need to get back home and on with the activities of the day, I’ll invade his privacy, I don’t even know him. Sometimes, I even walked a different route so I didn’t pass his house and feel guilty about not stopping. Then, one day, cars jammed the driveway of his house and crowded the curb. As I got closer, I saw a black wreath on the door and a stand with a guest book on the porch. The man was dead. My heart hammered in my chest. “I’m so sorry,” I whispered. River Region’s Journey

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But God wasn’t finished with me. In the weeks that followed, he repeatedly told me to visit the man’s widow. I’ll do it tomorrow. She’s grieving and doesn’t want to talk to a stranger became my mental reply. And then, a “for sale” sign appeared in the yard. A moving truck came and she was already gone. Although I confessed my disobedience to God, I knew I’d missed many opportunities to share Jesus with this couple. I also knew I would probably ignore the prompting of the Holy Spirit again unless I discovered the underlying reasons for my hesitancy.

Reasons We Don’t Share Our Faith

Fear. Although fear often serves to protect us from danger, it also becomes a crutch that prevents us from acting on God’s direction. What frightens you about sharing your faith? Maybe you’re afraid you don’t have a firm enough grasp on Scripture to support a convincing argument if challenged. Or maybe you fear being asked a theological question you can’t answer. Perhaps you fear being made to feel foolish. There are plenty of ways fear factors into the picture, but when God asks us to do something for him, he’s also faithful to provide the necessary resources. Courage is one of those resources. When Joshua was about to enter the Promised Land, a place spies reported was filled with giants, God said, “Be strong and very courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). God promises us the same support when he provides opportunities to share our faith. Feelings of inadequacy. Satan loves to tell us we’re not smart enough, engaging enough, good-looking enough, wise enough, whatever enough to respond when God gives us an assignment. Moses is a prime example of someone who was given a directive by God and immediately reminded God he was inadequate, (I stutter so send my brother instead). Even after God told Moses he would help him speak and teach him what to say, Moses still

Often, when someone’s life falls apart because of a health issue or that of a family member, a rejection, or a change in family status, they end up devastated and searching for answers. You can step in and provide encouragement, support, and eventually share your faith in Christ.

asked him to send someone else. The Bible says God burned with anger toward Moses. While God may not burn with anger toward us when we miss opportunities, he is at least disappointed that we don’t trust him enough to step out in faith or that we are not listening to his voice closely enough to hear him when he instructs us. Invasion of privacy. Our world bombards us with the message that people have the right to diverse spiritual beliefs and that we are forcing our message on them or offending them by implying their beliefs aren’t correct. But sharing about God at work in your life isn’t forcing someone to accept him. Your personal experience is your story and isn’t intended to try to change someone. I have a childhood friend who is an unbeliever, but when I tell her about something God has done in my life, she is always interested and curious. I don’t tell her she should believe. I don’t accuse her of being on the wrong spiritual path. I simply tell her how I see God at work in my life. That is something she can’t refute because it is my experience.

Depending on another messenger. Often, we hesitate to share

our faith because we assume someone else will do it. But it’s important to remember that not everyone hears the gospel message as frequently as we do. Because I was somewhat shy and easily embarrassed when I was younger, I used the excuse that witnessing just wasn’t part of my personality. Surely, if something made me that uncomfortable, I shouldn’t have to do it. But as I grew spiritually, God showed me that sharing my faith was a natural overflow from my love for him. Talking about Jesus should be a want to instead of a have to. When we’re excited about something, we usually don’t wait for someone else to spread our good news. 17

We do it ourselves. Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).

Recognizing and Acting on Opportunities Sometimes, we miss opportunities because we just aren’t tuned in to those around us. We get caught up in our own schedules—places to be or things to have done by a deadline—that we don’t pay attention to others. Here are some things to watch for:

Those who criticizes your faith

– Our instinct is to avoid critics, but sometimes critics are really seekers. Do your homework now, before opportunities arise—memorize scripture, pray, know why you believe what you believe, listen to God—so you’ll be ready to share your faith in Christ.

Those with a life crisis – Often, when someone’s life falls apart because of a health issue or that of a family member, a rejection, or a change in family status, they end up devastated and searching for answers. You can step in and provide encouragement, support, and eventually share your faith in Christ.

Those who don’t fit in – It’s hard to reach out to this type of person, but Jesus interacted with the outcasts of society, offering them the opportunity to have a relationship with him. Everyone deserves that opportunity and you can be the one to lead them. Candy Arrington is a contributing writer. February 2013

River Region’s Journey


SHINE!

by Kim Hendrix

WhenYour Best Isn’t Good Enough Numbers 18:29: “Be sure to give the Lord the best portions of the gifts given to you.” It’s a hard lesson to learn for young and old alike—life isn’t fair. You can bring your absolute best to a situation, whether it’s in the sporting arena, a talent competition, or in presenting a project at work…and still, in this life, you may not win. Have you experienced a situation like the one I just described or have you watched your child go through it recently? We encourage our children to work hard and do their best with hopes that will lead to accomplishment and rewards, but as we all know, it doesn’t always happen. In this life we are judged by other people who may have an opinion shaped by policy, politics or peer pressure, so your “per-

formance” even when it’s considered the best, doesn’t always get rewarded. Here’s the good news—your best is more than good enough in living for our Lord and Savior—it’s perfect, glorifying and always rewarded in ways often unseen by the human eye. He fills you with peace, confidence and a quiet knowing that you’re living within His will. Psalm 32:8: The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” Read through the Scriptures and take note of how many times people are told to bring their best or how many times God is promising His best for us. “The best land, the best soldiers… bring me your best sheep, your best crops…anything less will not do.”

And so as we work and play, we continue to bring our best—not searching for worldly awards or recognition but because our God tells us to, because our God gave us His best through his son Jesus Christ, and continues to do so through the best of promises. The scripture in Numbers 18:29: “Be sure to give to the Lord the best portions of the gifts given to you,” is specifically talking about tithing---bringing a tenth of the money given to you back to the store-

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house (the church), plus a portion more as a blessing. In reading this scripture, I also hear it as any gifts given to you—whether it be through singing, dancing, speaking, painting, writing, encouraging, and the list goes on and on---whatever gifts He’s given you, bring the best back to Him! Perform for your audience of one; perform in a way that will leave God giving you a standing ovation. Are we doing this to win our salvation? Absolutely not—that’s a gift received when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Are we doing this to make God love us more? Absolutely not, His love never changes. We’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do, because we’re blessed beyond measure and when we are living for Him, we can’t help but bring our best in everything we do. I don’t often quote popular music in this column, but there is one little line in a Taylor Swift song that stands out to me, in fact I’ve used it as a “teachable moment” with my 12-year-old daughter. It goes like this, “People throw rocks at things that shine.” In this life, your best may attract jealousy, hard feelings and opposition— rocks. That’s okay—keep shining! Trust your true reward isn’t a trophy, certificate or crown, it’s the peace that transcends all understanding, the joy that according to your circumstances shouldn’t be there, it’s the sure confidence you’re right where God wants you to be. Even with God, our best isn’t “good enough”—it’s better than that, it’s perfect. Proverbs 3:9: “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce.” Dear Lord, Thank you for showering us with your best. Give us courage and determination to continue bringing our best, even when in this life, it isn’t good enough. Help us stand strong against opposition and to see the internal and eternal awards our audience of one pours over us every single day. We love you and thank you for seeing our best as absolutely perfect. In the precious name of your son Jesus Christ we pray, Amen. Kim Hendrix is the Director of Development at Saint James School in Montgomery. She leads the Shine Your Light ministry at Frazer Memorial U.M.C. and recently ended a 26 year career in television news. Kim and her husband Scott, have a 12 year old daughter, Annie, who brings them great joy. 19

February 2013

River Region’s Journey


River Region Support Groups Adoption

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Location: Frazer Memorial UMC, 6000 Atlanta Hwy APAC- Alabama Pre/Post Adoption Connection Support Group meets the 3rd Thursday from 6:007:30pm in room 8253 at Frazer Memorial UMC. Provides education and social interaction for adoptive families. For information, call A. Kai Mumpfield, 409-9477 or call the church office at 272-8622.

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Location: Landmark Church, 1800 Halcyon Blvd. Leaders: Chad & Betsy Emerson (334) 201-5241 Wednesday, 6:30pm in Rm. 116. The Orphan Care Group will focus on God’s call to help orphans through adoption, foster care, and missions work. The group will share experiences, study and Biblical themes regarding orphan care, and provide a support and interest network for individuals who want to support orphans.

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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.

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Location: Centerpoint Fellowship, 2050 Commerce St., Millbrook. We are located one block east of I-65 just off Cobbs Ford Road. Celebrate Recovery meeting every Tuesday night at 6 pm. Call (334) 356-3076. Location: Cloverdale Baptist, 608 E. Fairview Celebrate Recovery, a Bible-based Christ centered approach to recovery from hurts, habits and hangups, meets Friday nights, beginning with dinner at 5:30 p.m., Praise and worship, 6:30, Open Share Small Groups, 7:30, and Solid Rock Cafe, at 8:30. Call 265-9223. Location: Dalraida UMC, 3817 Atlanta Highway Alcoholics Anonymous meets at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays. 272.2190. Alanon meets at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays. Location: Grace @ Bell Road, Corner of Bell Road and Atlanta Hwy. Alcoholics Anonymous and Alanon meetings are held Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, at 6 p.m. An Open AA Speaker meeting is held on Saturday at 6 p.m. An Alanon & AA held on Sundays at 2 p.m.

Ga 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 hangups. Call 567-2364. Location: Landmark Church, 1800 Halcyon Blvd. RSVP- This is a 12 step spiritual recovery program for overcoming addictions. Using the steps and Bible we help build self-esteem, responsible behavior, the making of amends for our destructive actions, and to fill the void in our hearts in a loving relationship with God. Wednesday @ 6:30pm in Rm. 121 of the Life Center. Location: St. James UMC, 9045 Vaughn Road Celebrate Recovery meets every Thursday night from 6-8 pm in the Youth Room. This is a Christ-centered 12-step group for anyone struggling with an “addiction or life-challenging issues.” For information, call Chris Henderson at 334-215-0427.

Location: 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: Trinity Episcopal, Wetumpka (Across from Winn Dixie on HWY 231) Gamblers Anonymous-Saturdays at 7 p.m.

Location: Journey Church, group meets in Fellowship Hall at Coosada Baptist Church, Millbrook Celebrate Recovery - Christ-centered 12-step for anyone struggling with addiction or life-challenging issues. Mondays at 6pm (meal), 7pm (large group), 8pm (small group). Childcare available. Call Chuck at 850-723-9705.

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

River Region’s Journey

February 2013

Alzheimer’s / Dementia

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bring a sack lunch. There is no charge. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. For info, call the LifeCare office at 272-8622.

Cancer

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

Depression Location: Landmark Church, 1800 Halcyon Blvd. Leaders: Mike & Suzanne Greene (334-271-3331) Every other Tuesday, 6:30pm in Rm. 117. Goal is to create an atmosphere of acceptance and trust, where people can feel free and safe to discuss their feelings and thoughts without shame or embarrassment.

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Location: Frazer Memorial UMC, 6000 Atlanta Hwy A Depression/Bipolar Support Group meets on the 1st Thursday of each month from 7:00-8:30pm in Room 3101. This group also meets on the 3rd Saturday afternoon, 12-2 pm, Dalraida UMC, 3817 Atlanta Highway in Church Annex. For more info, call 334.652.1431 or email dbsamontgomery@yahoo.com.

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

Gambling

Location: Trinity Episcopal Church, 5375 US HWY 231 (Across from the Winn-Dixie shopping center) Wetumpka. Saturdays @ 7pm. 334-567-7534 Location: Mental Health Association, 1116 South Hull Street, Montgomery. Sundays @ 5 pm. Location: St Paul’s Lutheran Church, 4475 Atlanta Hwy, Mondays @ 6pm. Gamblers Anonymous Hotline number: 334-541-5420

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. We have an annual special event on Tuesday, Dec. 4. We will hold a Candlelight Ceremony in memory of our children at 7 p.m. at Eastmont Baptist Church. Registration is encouraged and may be made by calling (334) 284-2721. We will also collect Toys for Tots.

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Location: First UMC, 100 E. Fourth St, Prattville Grief Recovery, Thursday nights at 7 p.m., in Wesley Hall Room 104. Call 365.5977.

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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.

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Location: Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church 1550 E. Washington Street Grief Ministry is a grief recovery support group that meets every Monday at 6:00 P.M. The ministry is designed to help anyone through the hurt of losing a loved one by successfully traveling the journey from mourning to joy. Alicia Glover is the coordinator. For more information contact Glover at 334-281-2754.

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

Mental Illness Location: Dalraida UMC, 3817 Atlanta Highway 1. Beginning January 28, 2013, NAMI Montgomery will host General Membership meetings on the 4th Monday of the month at the Dalraida UMC annex building. Meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. This meeting is open to anyone who is interested in issues concerning mental health. 2. The NAMI Montgomery Family Member Support Group continues to meet on the 2nd Monday of the month, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Dalraida UMC annex building. Call Mary Jo Logan (271-2280) for directions/ details. 3. Beginning in February, 2013 NAMI Montgomery will offer the 12 week NAMI FAMILY TO FAMILY education program (free) on Thursdays from 6-8 p.m. at the Bell Road Lowder Regional Library. Call Mary Jo Logan (271-2280) to register for the course.

Parenting Location: First Baptist Prattville, 138 S. Washington Moms LIFE (living in faith everyday) Meets twice monthly from 8:30 - 11:45 am in the chapel at the Church from Aug - May. We offer a time of fellowship, Bible study, musical guest, special guest speakers and a lot of fun!! Cost is $5 per meeting. For moms of all stages and ages of life. Childcare provided by reservation. For more info and to reserve your spot, call Kelley Manning at 361-7919. Location: Vaughn Forest Church, 8660 Vaughn Road Are you in need of a time-out? MOPS joins mothers together by a common bond, to be better wives, moms, and friends along this journey in the trenches of motherhood. We meet the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month from 9:30—11:30 a.m. Childcare is provided. For information e-mail VFCMOPS@ gmail.com. Location: First Baptist Church, Montgomery 305 S. Perry Street MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) If you are a woman who is pregnant or has a child birth through kindergarten, desires to make new friends, wants to share the challenges and joys of motherhood, is looking for opportunities for personal growth through trusted resources,then MOPS is for you. Call Kristi Gay at (334) 233-8989 for more information.

Physical Challenges

Location: Aldersgate UMC, 6610 Vaughn Road Visually Impaired Support Group – Meets monthly on second Thursday 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. The group is called Outward Sight - Inward Vision and is for those with vision loss and their caregivers. Our mission is to assist those experiencing vision loss to maintain their independence by providing access to valuable information and spiritual support. Call Aldersgate UMC 272-6152. Location: Cloverdale School Bldg. (First UMC) Parkinson’s Support Group of Montgomery meets the fourth Sunday of the month in Room 103 at 2:00pm. More information, contact Nathan Attwood at First United Methodist Church (334-8348990). 21

Location: First UMC, 2416 W. Cloverdale Park Montgomery Hearing Loss Support Group meets every second Thursday in Wesley Hall at 4 pm. The entrance is on Park Avenue. Informative speakers are present, refreshments are served and no reservations are required. The public is welcome. Location: Frazer Memorial UMC, 6000 Atlanta Hwy A Fibromyaligia Support Group meets the 3rd Tuesday of each month from 6-8pm in room 8114. Call 272-8622. Location: Frazer Memorial UMC, 6000 Atlanta Hwy An MDA/ALS Support Group will meet Tuesday August 10 6:00p.m. – 8:00 p.m. in room 3101. Anyone who is affected by a neuromuscular disease or family members of those affected are encouraged to attend. To receive further information, please call 396-4534. Location: Frazer Memorial UMC, 6000 Atlanta Hwy A Parkinson’s Support Group will meet the 4th Thursday at 6 p.m., in room 8114 at Frazer UMC. This group is for those who have Parkinson’s disease and the family members. 272-8622. (No Meeting in December) Location: Landmark Church, 1800 Halcyon Blvd. Leaders: Junior Bagwell (334) 669-9334 Meets every 2nd Tuesday of each month at 345 Melanie Drive, in Carol Villa. Our goal is to share and use the struggles that we as a group are facing, biblical principals, prayer, medical experts or any other resources available to help us deal with the life-long challenges that are caused by the various diseases that we have encountered. Location: Taylor Road Baptist Church, 1785 Taylor Rd., Montgomery Gluten Intolerance Group of Montgomery meets on 2nd Thursdays from 6-7 p.m. Check the blog for special “alternate site” meetings and other info at www.glutenfreemontgomery.blogspot.com.

Pregnancy Loss / Infertility Location: First UMC, 100 E. Fourth Street, Prattville Hannah’s Prayer--for women dealing with pregnancy loss/infertility issues. Meeting 2nd Thursday and 3rd Sunday of each month. Call 365.5977.

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

Veterans Location: Frazer Memorial UMC, 6000 Atlanta Hwy Veterans OEF/OIF Caregivers Support Group meets on the 3rd Wednesday from 11am-1pm in Room 3108. Contact LaQuana Edwards, Caregiver Support Coordinator at CAVHCS (334) 727-0550 ext. 5350. February 2013

River Region’s Journey


The Intersection:

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Christian Cultural Commentary by Bob Crittenden

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Top 10 Topics of 2012 In keeping with my tradition on The Meeting House on Faith Radio and in this column, I present to you my “Top 10 Topics of 2012”, incorporating some of the principal issues impacting the Christian community during 2012.

10 – New York City school system faces off against churches For years, the school system in New York City has attempted to cease renting space for churches to meet in its buildings, and a lawsuit that had been filed by one of the churches has been in litigation for almost 18 years. In 2011, a Federal appeals court ruled in favor of the school system. Churches, faced with eviction, went back to court and received a positive ruling, allowing them to continue to rent space. At year’s end, that ruling was on appeal.

9 – Survey data shows rise in the “nones”

Polling data is showing a significant number of people who classify themselves as religiously unaffiliated - referred to as the “nones”. A Pew study shows in the last five years, the unaffiliated have increased from just over 15% to just under 20% of all adults in the U.S. Results of an extensive Gallup poll were consistent with the Pew numbers, showing a rise in “unbranded” religious people, including those who attend churches that are not part of a traditional denomination. Almost 70% of Americans describe themselves as either very or moderately religious.

8 – Southern Baptist Convention names first African-American President At its annual gathering, the South-

ern Baptist Convention elected its first African-American President. New Orleans pastor Dr. Fred Luter, who led the rebuilding effort for his church after it had been devastated by Hurricane Katrina, was named to lead the 16-million-member denomination.

7 – Death of Chuck Colson brings remembrance, reflection

Chuck Colson died this past year at the age of 80. He was inspired to start Prison Fellowship after being convicted during

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River Region’s Journey

February 2013

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the Watergate era. Through his work with inmates, he began to develop a vision for cultural transformation and became a leading voice for impacting the culture with Biblical truth.

6 – Health care law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court Christians had opposed the national health care law for a number of reasons, including its provision for taxpayer-funded abortion, the potential for rationing, and the growth in the size of government. Many had high hopes the U.S. Supreme Court would rule the law unconstitutional, primarily because of the individual mandate that requires citizens to buy health insurance. The high court ruled 5-4 that the mandate was constitutional.

5 – Islamic fundamentalism continues in influence, Christians fearful The “Arab Spring” in the Middle East resulted in a new President for Egypt, who, because of his ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, wants to implement Sharia, or Islamic, Law there. Syria is in civil war, Libya is forming a new government, and Christians in the entire region are concerned about more persecution.

4 – Evangelicals turn out strong for Romney in Presidential contest Polling data shows that almost 8-in-10 evangelicals voted for Mitt Romney in the 2012 Presidential election - a higher percentage than for John McCain in 2008. Christian leaders were quite active in the election cycle, including Dr. Billy Graham, who urged Christians to vote according to Biblical values.

3 – Ministry opportunities occur in aftermath of tragedy In times of crisis, people look for answers and hope. God’s Word and His presence can provide people with comfort in times of tragedy and disaster. In the wake of the destruction of Superstorm Sandy on the East Coast to the mass shooting in Connecticut, we were reminded that God is a present help in time of fear and trauma.

2 – Mandate to provide free contraception and abortion-inducing drugs results in opposition, lawsuits The Department of Health and Human Services mandate that employers, including religious organizations, provide free contraception and abortion-inducing drugs in their health care plans drew significant opposition amid claims that it violates religious liberties and conscience rights. A number of non-

profit organizations and for-profit companies filed suit against the mandate, and by year’s end, there were over 40 lawsuits on behalf of over 100 organizations.

1 – Scope of same-sex marriage increases The issue of same-sex marriage dominated headlines in 2012, from President Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage to the support shown to Chick-Fil-A and President Dan Cathy after his comments embracing traditional marriage. Also, three states voted to legalize gay marriage, one affirmed one-man, one-woman marriage, and another rejected an amendment that would approve the traditional definition of marriage. The Supreme Court agreed to hear challenges to California’s marriage amendment and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act. Conclusions to most of these stories have yet to be written. That’s why we as Christians must be aware of these trends in the culture and engaged in speaking God’s truth as He gives us opportunity. 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.

B ASKETBALL • S OCCER • A RTS

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February 2013

River Region’s Journey


Family Teams for Christ

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by Lisa and Mike Conn

Teach Us to Number Our Days Here is a compelling thought: have you ever considered what you would do if you learned your time on earth was limited to just a few more days? How would you spend the time you had left? With whom would you spend it? What message or truth would you wish to leave for your loved ones and for generations to come? These questions came up recently when Mike attended an Officer’s Christian Fellowship meeting featuring motivational speaker, Dan Clark. Named one of the world’s top ten speakers, Clark teaches a master’s level course on public speaking where he requires students to write and present their own “last lecture”. The exercise forces one to consider what is most important to them--what do they value most?

The concept of “The Last Lecture” is described in Randy Pausch’s book by the same title, chronicling the author’s true-life experience as he grapples with a diagnosis of terminal cancer, his limited time left with his wife and three children, and his subsequent “last lecture”. The Bible addresses the brevity of life on earth and the understanding that as humans, we are limited by time, but not God, to whom a thousand years can seem the same as a day. We learn that in keeping our eyes upon God and not upon the cares of the world in which we live, our perspective changes and becomes more like our Heavenly Father’s. The Bible encourages us to live eternally, to use our time wisely, and to love and serve God and man.

de ati Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12 (NIV) In this oldest of the Psalms, Moses reminds us to remember our humble position before Almighty God and to use the time He gives us wisely. What do you want to happen before you die? What legacy do you want to leave your children and grandchildren; what words of wisdom given them? What would be written about you in eulogy or carved upon your gravestone?

“Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

EVANGEL CHRISTIAN ACADEMY

Proverbs 22:6

C hallenging a CademiC a tmosphere in a C hristian e nvironment Accredited AISA Blue Ribbon School

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

February 2013

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Evangel Christian Academy is a ministry of Evangel Church in Montgomery, Alabama.

ecalions.org

River Region’s Journey

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Motivational speaker (from Coffee County, Alabama, the 10th of 12 children!) Zig Ziglar said, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” That brings to mind the image of an archer wielding his bow with skill and strength, only to waste his efforts by releasing the arrow into nothingness. What are we aiming at during the minutes and hours of our everyday life? What are we aiming at in our goals and desires for our marriage and for our children? Do our words and actions and the way we spend our time adequately reflect what we hold most dear in life? Would we change the way we spend our time if we knew we had little time left? These are tough questions, not easily answered, but definitely worth our thoughtful and prayerful consideration. Here is an important exercise to help you identify your core family values. Take time with your spouse this month to ponder and pray about what you hold most dear, writing down every idea and suggestion in the beginning, then later culling those down to your top ten, five, or even three. Ask yourselves, “What do I value most?” Some answers may be, “my family, my relationship with the Lord Jesus, making a certain amount of money by a specified age, living in a larger house, God’s word, good health, respectful children, successful children, or seeing our faith embraced by our children. Those are just ideas to help you get started. It’s important to record every idea, then return later to your list to judge, cull, and prioritize. Finally, you should end up with a list that accurately reflects your values. After you’ve identified your top family values, it’s time to pray some more! Do the values we’ve chosen accurately reflect our beliefs about God and the truth of His word? Am I conforming to “worldly values” or to what God says is most important to Him?

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

grass withers

The flower fades but the

and the

word of our God

will stand forever. Isaiah 40:8

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

Worship Service at Cloverdale School Sunday at 6 p.m.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 (NIV) Do our daily decisions, choices, and actions truly reflect what we value? If they don’t, are we convicted enough to change our ways? This may mean getting rid of cable TV or changing what we allow to enter our mind through the computer, books and magazines, and other media. It may mean letting go of some old friendships that are not God-honoring. It may mean making some radical changes in our lives! Let me encourage you--any step of obedience to God, whether small or great, will result in pleasing Him, bringing His blessing upon you and your household!

Dr. R. Lawson Bryan Senior Minister

Lt. Col Mike Conn and wife, Lisa, founded Covenant Family Ministries when Mike retired from the Air Force in 1997. CFM is an independent marriage and family education ministry committed to partnering with churches, organizations, and individuals in Montgomery and across Alabama to build Family Teams for Christ. Married for over 30 years, Mike and Lisa have three wonderful daughters, two great sons-in-law, and two precious grandchildren. 25

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Broadcasting by Faith by Rachel Fisher In 1984, inside a trailer behind Frazer United Methodist Church, Faith Radio signed on the air. It had been nearly four years since a group of people realized a need to bring Christian radio broadcasting to Montgomery. After much prayer and persevering through numerous obstacles, the Federal Communications Commission finally granted their approval for a non-commercial radio license. Still early in their journey, they decided on the call letters WLBF, which stand for “We live by faith.” That same faith carried the radio station through the next several years as they acquired office space that was fully paid for before the ribbon cutting ceremony, boosted their coverage area and raised financial support. Today, more than 30 years into their journey, Faith Radio has grown their reach and touched thousands of people through their unique mix of praise music, quality Bible teaching and local programming. And there is something for everyone. “When you look at our line up we have stayed true to 50% music and 50% teaching,” says Billy Irvin, the Director of Ministry Relations. “One of the most unique aspects is that we have live local programming as well as national programming.” “We are selective in what we broadcast and take it seriously so we can give our listeners the very best,” explains Bob Crittenden, Director of Special Projects. When you tune into 89.1 you can expect to hear the teaching of acclaimed Bible teachers like Charles Stanley, Chuck Colson, David Jeremiah, Tony Evans, Kay River Region’s Journey

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Arthur and John McArthur. Bob explains that other shows like Family Life Today, Intentional Living and Parenting Teens provide another means to reach people who are simply seeking answers to life’s tough questions. Faith Radio desires to have both to provide its listeners with a wide variety of teaching that stays true to the gospel of Jesus, grows people’s faith and reaches people at the same time.

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Radio as a Way to Reach the World

Faith Radio’s coverage area falls on the ears of Andalusia, Dothan, Eufaula, Southeast Alabama and even into Southwest Georgia and parts of Northern Florida. Sylacauga, Alexander City and the surrounding areas in North Alabama are catching the airwaves of WLBF as well. But that’s not all. It seems the airwaves have also reached the hearts of those who listen as well.

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“While we are a Christian broadcast station, statistics would say somewhere between 10-20 percent of people who listen at any one time would say they aren’t a Jesus follower, but are seeking answers to life so they want to see and hear what Christians say about these things,” explains Billy. “We are always amazed at how God uses programs, especially our specialty programs that have to do with finances, parenting and relationships to reach people seeking answers.” So why would people who don’t claim faith seek answers in Christian radio? “We are broadcasting the Truth,” says Billy, “and the Internet and our world is filled with untruth. If we broadcast God’s truth it carries with it the power to change hearts, lives and Bob Crittenden and Billy Irvin at the microphones. families.” Faith Radio is also partnered with about how Faith Radio has been a consolastation here in Montgomery in a trailer peacewithgod.net, an outreach of the Billy to now having a building of our own and tion to her in the night when it’s the hardGraham Ministries, as well as 1-800-NEE- the ability to send our signal to other est to be alone. Words of encouragement and gratitude from places like Panama and facilities, not just on the air, but Haiti show the global reach of the ministry now online, is simply amazing because there are people around as well. “We are a prison ministry, a ministhe world who can access our ministry,” says Bob. “One of the try to the sick, a shut in ministry, grief ministry and more,” says Bob. “There are slogans we use is global reach a lot of ways we minister to people and with a personal touch, and this it’s amazing to see God use what we put is how we seek to use radio and on the air to meet people in their time of internet to go into all the world need. We never know who is listening or and make disciples.” how what they are hearing is comforting And the fruit of their comor encouraging them.” mitment to reach out through “What we see through these letters radio is showing up! is that regardless of their circumstances people retreat a bit and will turn to things “Who is on the Other End of the Microphone?” like radio, and in turn, hear truth being spoken over their difficult situation,” Billy Letters and emails from explains. “It’s in really thinking about who prisoners, widows, cancer is on the other end of this microphone that patients and others who have allows us to realize we are more than a been touched by the ministry radio station.” of Faith Radio fill a binder the

Jeremy Smith, Host of “Morning Praise”

DHIM. Both partnerships provide a way for people listening to talk with someone or seek deeper answers to their heart’s questions about what they hear. “To see our ministry go from one

staff keeps on hand. Billy and Bob say that these letters remind them of who is on the other end of the microphone as they broadcast God’s truth to those listening. A letter from a prisoner in Florida reads, “Faith Radio has been instrumental in my growth since I’ve been in prison. I know that even here God is with me and wants a relationship with me.” Another letter from a woman who recently lost her husband tells the story 27

Complimenting the Local Church and Beyond

Though Faith Radio is about being “more than a radio station” they also know they are no replacement for the Church as a whole, but rather a complement to it. “When we talk about equipping churches through our ministry, something that is very important to us is our relationship with the churches,” says Bob. “We never want to be a competition to the local church. We want to complement the local church, but not replace it.” February 2013

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Faith Radio does this by encouraging people to be involved with their local church and always encourages their listeners to give to their local church before they support Faith Radio. The station is involved with the local churches throughout its coverage area and always seeks to help spread the word about events that are extending beyond the congregation itself. One way they do this is through their community calendar on their website. Pastor Appreciation is an annual event that allows the station to serve the ministers in their coverage area, especially during some of the busiest times for pastors like Christmas and Easter. “Last year we visited all over our Alabama area and in Florida as well,” says Billy. We met a pastor there that told us, “I am so busy feeding my flock and you all feed me.” Not only does the station come alongside local churches, but with local parachurch organizations as well. “We want to stand with other ministries and partner with them in any way and get involved. FCA, Hope Inspired Ministries and the Footprints Ministry are just a few of the local ministries Faith Radio has worked with over the years. “We see ourselves as a sort of clearing house, connecting listeners to what God is doing around them in their own community and inviting them to be a part of it,” says Bob. Since their humble beginnings in a trailer to becoming the most recognized local Christian broadcasting radio station in our area, Faith Radio has become a source of comfort, encouragement, wisdom and a vehicle for the gospel in an unique way. Both Billy Irvin and Bob Crittenden believe the key to continuing to serve the community through radio is by faith in their simple commitment to make Jesus the center of everything they do, say and promote. Through supporting others and walking by faith, they have been supported. A unique aspect of Faith Radio has always been that they rely solely on the financial gifts of others. If you are interested in supporting Faith Radio, visit their website at http://www.faithradio.org/Support to learn more. Rachel Fisher loves learning about what God is doing in the world and writing about it! She and her husband Chase live in Montgomery and attend church at Strong Tower at Washington Park, a church plant of Common Ground Montgomery. **Photos by Lori Mercer Photography. River Region’s Journey

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Be a part of a ministry touching thousands of lives each day with God’s Word! Help support the broadcast that grows our community in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Contact us: 1-800-239-8900 or visit: www.faithradio.org.

334.271.8900 | mail@faithradio.org | P.O. Box 210789, Montgomery, AL 36121 Listen LIVE Now at www.faithradio.org | Montgomery WLBF 89.1FM | Andalusia WSTF 91.5FM February 2013 River Region’s Journey 29 Dothan WDYF 90.3FM | Eufaula 91.9FM | Alexander City 94.1FM | Sylacauga 94.1FM | Thorsby/Jemison 96.9FM


Grace to You

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by John MacArthur

Sew Sparingly, Reap Sparingly “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:6–7) The point of those verses is clear: The more one gives, the more God gives back in return. In this passage Paul expressed that principle using familiar agricultural imagery: Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Every farmer recognizes

that the size of the harvest is directly proportionate to the amount of seed sown. The farmer who sowsseed sparingly will reap a meager harvest; the one who sows bountifully will … reap a great harvest. In the spiritual realm, the principle is that giving to God results in blessing from God; bountifully translates eulogia, which literally means “blessing.” Generous givers will reap generous blessings from God, while those who hold back selfishly fearing loss will forfeit gain. In chapters 8 and 9, Paul sought to motivate the Corinthians to complete their giving for the needy members of the Jerusalem church. First, he

reminded them of the example set by the Macedonians (8:1–9), then he gave them a direct exhortation (8:10–9:5), and in this section he pointed out the potential benefits. God graciously promises a harvest in accord with what believers sow. The appeal is not, of course, to self-interest. The promise is not that God will reward generous givers so they can consume it on their own desires. The real purpose of God’s gracious rewarding of believers will become evident as the passage unfolds.

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To motivate the Corinthians to give, Paul gave a description of the harvest that would result: love from God. It is hard to imagine a more precious promise than to be the personal object of God’s love. All the world’s acclaim, honor, and rewards given to all philanthropists put together does not come close to this privilege of being loved by God. Yet that is what He promises the cheerful giver. God loves the world in a general sense (John 3:16), but He has a deeper, more wonderful love for His own (John 13:1; 1 John 4:16), and a special love for each one of His who gives cheerfully. Cheerful giving comes from inside, from the heart, rather than from external coercion. It begins by giving just as one has purposed in his heart. Once again, Paul stressed the truth that Christian giving is strictly voluntary. But though it is not forced, neither is it casual, careless, or a mere afterthought. Proaireo (purposed), used only here in the New Testament, has the idea of predetermination. Though there is spontaneous joy in giving, it is still to be planned and systematic (1 Cor. 16:2), not impulsive and sporadic. Nor is giving to be done grudgingly. Lupe (grudgingly) literally means, “sorrow,” “grief,” or “pain.” Giving is not to be done with an attitude of remorse, regret, or reluctance, of mourning over parting with what is given. And, as noted above, it is not to be under compulsion from any legalistic external pressure. The giving that God approves of comes from a cheerful giver. Cheerful translates hilaros, from which the English word hilarious derives. Happy, joyous givers, who are joyous in view of the privilege of giving, are the special objects of God’s love.

Widely known for his thorough, candid approach to teaching God’s Word, John MacArthur is a fifthgeneration pastor, a popular author and conference speaker, and has served as pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California since 1969. John and his wife, Patricia, have four grown children and fifteen grandchildren. John’s pulpit ministry has been extended around the globe through his media ministry, Grace to You. 31

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Counselor’s Corner by Lou Priolo, Eastwood Counseling Center

The Contentious “Man” The book of Proverbs identifies several types of individuals who are especially prone to mishandling conflict. (The common denominator in the life of these individuals is several Hebrew words generally rendered as strife or contention.) When an individual continually gives himself over to a particular sin, he eventually becomes bound by that sin. At some point the individual may rightly be categorized according to the name of the sin that he allowed to master him. Most Christian men are aware of the distress associated with being married to a contentious woman. It is better to live in a corner of the roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman. (Proverbs 21:9, 25:24) A constant dripping on a day of steady rain and a contentious woman are alike; He who would restrain her restrains the wind, and grasps oil with his right hand. (Proverbs 27:15-16)

Few, however, have considered that there is such a thing as a contentious male (a man of contention or quarrels). But whether man or woman, it is vexing to encounter this person—especially in the midst of conflict. To restrain him is as impossible as it “is to restrain the wind, or to grasp oil with one’s right hand.” A preacher friend of mine describes the book of Proverbs as “portable truth.” Pregnant with meaning these pithy passages paint pictures in your mind that you can easily take with you wherever you go. Have you ever tried to picture the following passage? Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife.” (Proverbs 26:21)

If you put a piece of charcoal next to a couple of embers, it will only be a matter of time before a fire ignites. If you place a piece of dry wood in close vicinity to a blazing fire the wood will ultimately burst into flames. If you stay too long in the presence of a contentious person, it is just a matter of time before your conversation will detonate into a quarrel. I think the point Solomon is making here is that you shouldn’t stay in this person’s presence longer than is absolutely necessary unless, of course, you are married to her. (In case you’ve River Region’s Journey

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ever wondered about this: the aforementioned verses about the misery associated with marring such a “contentious woman” is not intended to justify divorce, but rather must be seen as “premarital counseling.”) How should one respond to a man of contention? Basically, we must be circumspect with our words when around such a person. As a general rule, it would be wise to 1) let our words be few when he is around, 2) not linger too long in his presence, if possible, and 3) be prepared to communicate to him that his behavior displeases us (and God, if he is a professing Christian). It may even be necessary to warn him of the consequences of being contentious, not the least of which is the potential negative impact on (if not the loss of) our relationship (or friendship). If you are married to such an individual it may be very helpful to seek biblical counseling (if for no other reason than to learn how to respond to your spouse.) What if I suspect that I am a man of contention? To begin with, here are a few things to consider that might help you determine if you populate that category. 1. When others do not do things exactly as I would or in a way that I think is best, I am critical of them. 2. When talking to someone who holds a differing opinion than I do, I immediately try to persuade that person that he/she is wrong, rather than demonstrating respect for that person by trying to understand more completely his/her point of view. 3. When other Christians disagree with me on minor doctrinal issues, I find it difficult to fellowship with them. 4. When I am discussing political issues with someone who holds radically different views than my own, I become sinfully angry or end up saying something that I later regret. 5. When I am in conflict with someone, I find it very difficult to let him have the last word. 6. People “shut down” or change the subject of their conversation when I arrive on the scene. 7. I’m known for giving people lots of “pushback.” (Some people might even say that I’m argumentative). 8. I tend to be a bit of a gossip (a tale bearer). 32

9. I find it entertaining to annoy certain individuals. 10. People have told me I am uncompassionate, insensitive or rude. 11. I can be rather spiteful and vindictive. 12. I am way too proud. (“Through insolence comes nothing but strife, but wisdom is with those who receive counsel.” Proverbs 13:10) If you do believe you have a few too many “contentious man or woman” traits, you should seek by God’s grace to replace your contentious spirit with its biblical alternative. I don’t have time in this brief article to unpack every biblical alternative to (everything that must be put on in order to put off) being contentious, but I think the term “peacemaker” is a good place to begin. Having a calm spirit that tranquilizes rather than agitates (stirs up) others is the big idea. A peacemaker knows how and when to contend without being contentious. Christians are exhorted to be cool-spirited, cheek-turning, quarrel abandoning, peace makers who make every effort to maintain unity. And, of course, on the other side of the same coin, we are exhorted to avoid being contentious, to keep away from strife, to not quarrel, or fight or battle and a dozen other things that are usually thought of as conflict. If you still have any doubts as to whether you may be a contentious person, ask the people closest to you. If your friends and loved ones confirm your suspicions, you might want to find someone who can offer you hope and help from God’s Word. **If you would like to get in touch with this counselor, call the Eastwood Counseling Center at 334-386-2384. A graduate of Calvary Bible College and Liberty University, Lou is the author of several books, including The Heart of Anger, The Complete Husband, Teach Them Diligently, Getting a Grip, and Pleasing People. A noted lecturer, and full time biblical counselor for over 20 years, he is the director of The Center for Biblical Counseling at Eastwood Presbyterian Church where he is also an elder. He is an instructor at Birmingham Theological Seminary in Birmingham Alabama. Lou has an extensive CD ministry oriented toward helping Christians apply the Bible to specific problems in living. He is a Fellow in the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors, and a section editor for the Journal of Modern Ministry. Lou and his wife, Kim, are the parents of two girls, Sophia and Gabriella.


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On Your Own

If you’re a single parent, you likely did not plan on becoming one. Even though your life looks different than you imagined, you can make the most of it—and of your kids’ lives, as well. You can be a successful single parent.

Relinquishing Control

Gary Richmond, author of Successful Single Parenting (Harvest House, 1998) and a pastor to single parents, says, “There is a time for ‘The Serenity Prayer’ for River Region’s Journey

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every single parent.” The Serenity Prayer asks, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Unfortunately, you cannot control what happens when your kids are at your ex-spouse’s house, so choose your battles wisely. If your kids are being abused or neglected, then fight your hardest to protect them. But if your ex-spouse is letting them have too much candy, it’s probably better not to make that a “do or die” issue. 34

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Believing that God is in control helps. He created your children and loves them even more than you do. He watches over them day and night. Giving up control to Him—trusting Him with your kids—can give you peace.

Asking the Right Question

When it comes to priorities, a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself, “What is the best thing for my kids in this situation?” It’ll help you gain perspective, especially when your emotions are involved.

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For example, it’s best to let your kids talk about their lives both with you and the other parent. Gary Richmond says parents should allow their kids to complain about things. “If they’re complaining, it helps relieve tension,” he says. You don’t have to agree with them. Just listening validates their feelings and keeps communication open.” It’s also best for your kids if you do not criticize your ex-spouse in front of them. Gary says your kids will make their own conclusions about the other parent, which will be better for them in the long run than if they hear negative comments from you. “We need to give kids more credit. They figure [these things] out on their own.” Encourage your kids to have a good relationship with their other parent. Regardless of how you feel about your ex-spouse, your kids need the other parent in their lives—desperately. Allowing them to connect with their stepparent, if there is one, can also be good for them. The stepparent can play a positive role in your kids’ lives. Gary Sprague, president and founder of the Center for Single-Parent Family Ministry, says you don’t have to feel threatened by the stepparent because, as the birth parent, you will never be replaced by anyone else. In your kids’ eyes, you are irreplaceable.

Teaching Your Kids About God Teach your kids about God as you go through the day, whether you’re listening to Christian music, praying for them before school, or talking during dinner. According to author and speaker Cheri Fuller, when you pray with your kids— talking to God as you talk to a friend— you’re making Him more accessible to them. If they see you praying regularly, they’ll understand the importance of doing it too. Reading the Bible is also important. Lisa Prillaman, a single mother, reads Scripture with her son during breakfast. For single dad Mark Lazinski and his daughter, reading from a family devotional book every night before bedtime has become a habit. Incorporating the Bible into your daily routine helps your kids learn more about who God is and what’s important to Him as well as what’s important to you.

Getting a Grip on the Green

If your finances are out of control, the stress is probably affecting your relationship with your kids. Take time to develop

a budget and use it. Find ways to cut expenses like cable service, pizza delivery, and your morning latté. Start saving, even if it’s only a small amount, because over time a little bit can add up to a lot. Make room in your budget for your tithe. If you struggle with tithing, pray for the desire and the courage to do so. Brenda Armstrong, author of The Single Mom’s Workplace Survival Guide (Servant Publications, 2002), says that giving to God shows we trust Him. She says that if you can’t start with 10 percent, give what you can. As you grow spiritually, your giving will catch up. Other ways to reign in your finances are taking a money management course and reading financial books from a Christian perspective by authors like Larry Burkett and Ron Blue.

year for every four years you were married. Some people even choose to wait until their children are grown before they start dating again. According to Laura Petherbridge, speaker and author of When Your Marriage Dies (Cook Communications, 2005), some ways to know when you’re ready to date include: being satisfied with singleness; not feeling an urgency to find a mate; looking to the future rather than living in the past; not dwelling on thoughts of your ex-spouse; and not trying to fill the gap of loneliness. When you start dating, do not introduce your kids to that person until both of you are certain you will get married soon. Your kids will probably form an attachment to him or her and, if you break up, their hearts might get broken again.

Building a Support Network

Learning to Forgive

One of the smartest things I did during my divorce was joining a divorce recovery group at my church. There, I became friends with people grappling with the same issues and pain I was. The program helped me understand what was happening to me, realize I wasn’t alone, and start healing. Look for programs like DivorceCare (www. divorcecare.org) or Fresh Start (www. freshstartseminars.org). Another good idea is to find a good Christian counselor who can help you process your feelings. Doug Mead, single dad and singleparent ministry leader, urges single parents to develop friendships with people of the same sex. Doug says you need a friend to vent with so you don’t do it in front of your kids. Surround yourself with people who can help you, whether it’s picking up your kids after practice, inviting you over for dinner, or fixing leaky faucets. Don’t associate with toxic people who make you feel guilty about the divorce, criticize your parenting, or give unwanted advice.

Dating: When and How Because single parents miss the companionship, physical intimacy, and other aspects of marriage, they often rush back into dating before they’re ready. They risk further pain to themselves and their kids because their own scars from the divorce haven’t fully healed. Divorce recovery programs urge you to wait a minimum of two years after the divorce—not the separation—or up to one 35

You may be thinking, “Forgive my ex-spouse? Yeah, right.” God commands us to forgive, and He will give us the strength and desire to do so. As hard as it is, forgiving your ex-mate will free you to move on. It will help you heal. Letting go of anger and bitterness will improve your relationship with God and your kids, too. And if you’d like to marry again someday, it will help free up your heart to love again.

Taking Time for You

Trying to juggle the pressures and responsibilities of single parenting can be exhausting. Have some “me” time so the “us” time with your kids can be more relaxed and enjoyable. Ask a friend to keep the kids for a few hours. Use your lunch break as a “me” break: visit a museum, go to the park, take a brisk walk. When your kids are with your ex-spouse, plan in advance to meet a friend for dinner or do something fun. Tackle that hobby you’ve always wanted to try. Spending time with God regularly can give you the strength, wisdom, and courage to keep going. He can help you with these and other aspects of single parenting so you can raise healthy kids who love Him. That’s successful parenting. • Freelance writer LeAnne Benfield Martin enjoys writing about many topics, especially the arts. Check out her blog at http://christiansinthearts.blogspot. com. This article first appeared in The Lookout, February 22, 2004. February 2013

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Community Calendar Christian Community Calendar Christian Ongoing Happenings AGLOW International meets every third Thursday, 9:30 at the Montgomery House of Prayer. All women welcome to join together for praise, prayer and an anointed message. Contact mboudousquie@yahoo.com. Beacon Light Ministries, Food Ministry is open on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday, 5:30-6:45 p.m. Please bring I. D. and Proof of Government Assistance. Bridge of Life Assembly of God, 9000 Vaughn Road, Montgomery, holds Sunday morning worship at 10:30 a.m. each week. Sunday school classes meet at 9:30 a.m. We offer classes for all age groups and childcare is provided. Our goal is to build bridges...not walls. We invite you to come join us if you need to learn how to build those bridges. For directions or information call 334-396-0208. Email jon@bridgeoflife.tv or visit www.bridgeoflife.tv. Capitol Heights UMC, 2000 Winona Ave., Montgomery offers Parenting Classes beginning at 7:00 p.m. on Thursdays. 264-2464. Christchurch, 8800 Vaughn Road, Montgomery, offers a Women’s Enrichment Bible Study led by Jeanne Dean on Thursdays, 9:30-11:30 a.m., in Canterbury Hall. All women are welcome. Childcare for ages birth-4 years is provided. Call 387-0566 x 201 for more info. Christchurch offers a men’s Bible study led by Fr. John-Michael van Dyke, on Thursday mornings on the 11th floor of Goode Medical Bldg, Jackson Hospital. Breakfast is served beginning at 6:45 a.m. and teaching begins at 7:15 a.m. Call 387-0566 x 201. Church of the Highlands meets each Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. downtown Montgomery in the MPAC theater located in the Renaissance Hotel, 201 Tallapoosa Street. Visit churchofthehighlands.com or call 1-205-9805577. Chisholm Baptist Church, 2938 Lower Wetumpka Road, Montgomery, holds Sunday morning Bible study (9:30), Morning worship (10:45), Tuesday prayer breakfast (8:30) Wednesday evening prayer service (6 pm) and Senior Body and Soul Group (every 1st Tuesday at 1 pm). Email jbass9784@charter.net or call 262-6437. Dexter Avenue UMC, 301 Dexter Avenue, offers a Friday Christian Night Club with Ballroom Dancing every Friday at 6:30 P.M. Cost is $5 for a one hour lesson, devotional, and 3 hours of DJ music. People of all denominations are welcome. First Presbyterian Church, 9299 Vaughn Road, hosts Family Night every Wednesday beginning at 5:20 p.m. with supper, followed by a study on prayer. Everyone is welcome. For more information call (279-1372). First Presbyterian Church, 9299 Vaughn Road, hosts a Men’s Prayer Breakfast every Friday morning, 6 a.m. The Youth of First United Methodist Church, Montgomery every Wednesday night at 7:00 River Region’s Journey

February 2013

p.m. for Wednesday Night Live, a time of praise and worship in “the attic”. Also, every Sunday night at 6:00 p.m. is MYF which includes a snack supper $3.00 followed by activities, small groups and lots of fun! Visit www. fumcmontgomery.org or call 334-834-8990. First United Methodist Church will host Terrific Tuesdays. Please come and join us for fellowship, a program and lunch. Terrific Tuesdays will meet each Tuesday in room 204 of Wesley Hall. Fellowship time will begin at 10:00 a.m. followed by a program at 10:30 a.m. and lunch at 11:30 a.m. The cost of lunch is $2.00. Every fourth Tuesday the time will extend until 3:00 p.m. for bridge, games, and other activities in room 203 in Wesley Hall. For additional information please contact NeeNee Webb at 834-8990. Good News @ Noon is an interdenominational Bible study, held at the First Baptist Community Ministries Building on Adams Street, Thursdays, at noon. Small cost for hot lunch. Call 272.1133. Hall Memorial CME Church, 541 Seibles Road, Montgomery, offers Bible Study Tuesdays at 5:30 P.M. and Wednesdays at 6: 30 P.M. For directions or information call 334-288-0577. Email HallMemorialCME1@aol.com or visit www.HallMemorialCME.blogspot.com. Hall Memorial CME Church says: VOLUNTEERS NEEDED! Tutors, prayer-warriors, and office/clerical volunteers needed for the Montgomery City Jail Ministry & G.E.D program. Opportunities are ongoing. No experience or certification necessary. Contact Pastor Anderson T. Graves II, at hallmemorialcme1@aol.com. Call 334-288-0577. The City Jail ministry is an in-reach ministry of Hall Memorial CME Church, 541 Seibles Road, Montgomery. www.hallmemorialcme.blogspot.com. iConnect.coffeehouse provides a place for women to experience meaningful fellowship with women seeking genuine connection. Meetings will be held in the Atrium at Frazer UMC 3rd Tuesdays from 9-11 a.m. For more info, call Frazer’s Women’s Ministry at 495-6391. Messiah Lutheran Church, 6670 Vaughn Road, invites all to Wonderful Wednesdays starting with a $3.00 meal at 5:30 pm (RSVP 277-4213 by Monday noon), worship with eucharist 6:15-7:00 pm, and adult choir rehearsal and Catechism class for 7th-9th graders at 7:00 pm. Please call for Wednesday schedule due to seasonal breaks. For information, call 277-4213. Mt. Gillard Missionary Baptist Church, 3323 Day Street, holds Wednesday Bible Study in the church Fellowship Hall and lasts for one hour. Please come and participate in roaming the Bible learning God’s word through teaching. The Rev. Henry M. Carnegie, Jr. is the teacher and pastor. Mid-day Bible Study begins each Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. Evening Bible Study begins each Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. Call 2338750. New Freedom Worship Center, 6004 –A East Shirley Lane, Apostle T. Briggs~ Pastor; Sunday Worship Service 10:30 a.m. and 36

Wednesday Night Bible Study 7:30 p.m. Open Door Christian Faith Church, 1601 Dewey St. Montgomery, offers Women’s Prayer Mondays at 5:00, Men’s prayer Wednesday at 5:00, followed by bible study at 6:00. Couples ministry held every 1st Wednesday of the month at 7:00. Pastor William Cromblin, and the Open Door Church family invites you to “come experience the move of God. For more info, call the church at 334-269-6498. Perry Hill UMC, 910 Perry Hill Rd, sponsors a Bluegrass Jam in the Church Fellowship Hall on the third Saturday of each month from 9AM 12AM. All Bluegrass Artist plus Fans are invited to attend. Attendance is FREE. For information call Kathy@ 272-3174. Perry Hill UMC, 910 Perry Hill Rd, hosts a Wednesday Night Supper and Revive! program each week from 5:30pm til 7:00pm. Reservations are required by noon on the Monday prior to the supper. Cost is $4 per person or $12 per family. Call 334-272-3174 for more information. The River of Life Church, located at 116 County Road 40 E (in the Pine Level Community Center) Prattville. Pastor Nick Edwards invites you to a “Place of New Beginnings”, where families come and grow together. Church Service Schedule: Sunday 10:30 a.m. Sunday School; 11:00 a.m. Morning Worship; 5:00 p.m. Evening Worship. Wednesday 6:00 p.m. Adult Bible Study, Teens (Genesis Project), Jr. High (Limitless), Royal Rangers, MPact Girls, Rainbow’s/Noah’s Zoo Club. Thursday 9:00 a.m.Women of Grace Bible Study. Nursery provided. We invite you to”come experience God in a personal way, feel loved by all and know that you belong”. Office 334-657-0392 or visit www.theriveroflifechurch.net. Saint James UMC, 9045 Vaughn Road, offers S.N.A.G. (Sunday Nights About God!) This program starts at 5:00p.m. and ends at 6:30p.m. Childcare is provided for small groups until 7:00p.m. Don’t forget this program is available for all children! Saint James UMC, 9045 Vaughn Road, offers Wild & Wacky Wednesdays! Wednesday night supper starts at 5:15p.m. We will start checking children in at 6:00p.m. This program ends at 7:30p.m. and childcare is provided until 8:00p.m. for small group participants. Call 277.3037 for more info. Saint Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church, 706 E. Patton Avenue, “Clothes Closet” is open to the public each Thursday morning from 10 a.m. – Noon. The Men of Saint Paul host a free Men’s Prayer Breakfast the Third Saturday of each month at 8 a.m. in the Church Fellowship Hall. The Men’s Prayer Breakfast is open to all men of all ages. Come and share your concerns and needs of our Men of today. For more information, please contact (334) 354-1897. Bible Study is held each Wednesday, 6-7 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. Pastor Farrell J. Duncombe is the teacher and Senior Pastor of the church. Come and join us for Sunday School

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Community Calendar Christian Community Calendar Christian each Sunday at 9 a.m. and Morning Worship at 10 a.m. Need transportation, call (334) 2647618. For info call 286.8577 or www.saintpaulamemontgomery.com. S-STOP, a commUNITY Bible study for Singles. Souls Strengthened Together for One Purpose. Psalm 46:10 “BE STILL and know that I am God.” Meets at Prattville Christian Academy on Sunday nights at 6 p.m. For info email sstop04@gmail.com. Vision Full Gospel Ministries, 163 Rifle Range Road, Montgomery, holds Bible Study Tues. Night 7:00 p.m., Pray & Praise 2nd & 4th Thurs. Night 7:00 p.m., Sunday School 9:30 am, Sunday Worship Service 10:45 a.m., Internet radio-homecominggospel.com Sunday 3:00p.m. Central & 4:00 p.m. Eastern. and Satellite Radio -wlsg 1340am Sunday 3:00p.m. Women at The Well Ministry meet at Remnant Worship Center on Endover Street off of Court Street behind the Feed and Seed Store at 1:00pm every 1st and 3rd Saturday. We are women who desire and have a heart to see broken, crushed, hurting women be transformed through the one man who can fulfill their every need...JESUS... THE POTTER. All women of all denominations are welcome to come and share the Word of God together....to encourage, and build one another up through the words of our testimonies. Evangelist Linda McCall, 334-220-1924.

Young Meadows Presbyterian Church, 5780 Vaughn Road, invites you to attend its Sunday Respite Care Program on 1st Sundays from 4-6 pm. Children with physical and cognitive disabilities (and their siblings) ages 6-18 are invited for a time of activities and a light dinner so parents can have a night out. Call Susan Clements at 301-0355 for information and to make a reservation, or rooftopfriends@gmail.com.

This Month January 29-February 26

You are invited to a Community-Wide Women’s Bible Study at St. James UMC, Tuesdays, 9:30-11am or 6:30-8pm. No cost for Bible study, childcare available for $5 per week by reservation. To register: call Sarah Olsen at 277-3037 or solsen@sjlife. com. Do you feel like things are shaking all around you? Come join us as we encounter the Rock of Ages and establish a sure Foundation through the Word of God.

Sunday, February 3 BelieveNow Ministries is starting a discussion group based on the book by Stormie Omartian “The Power of a Prayer

Wife.” Sundays, 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm beginning February 3rd. Best contact edisciplines@yahoo.com or leave message @ 334.462.4370.

February 3-10 First UMC Montgomery presents its 2nd Annual Festival of Religious Arts Week, at 2416 W. Cloverdale Park. Art exhibitions and special music will be featured throughout the week. All events are free and open to the public. Call 834-8990 for more information.

Thursday, February 7 Frazer UMC’s Sportsmen’s Ministry will host their annual Wild Game Dinner at 6 p.m. in Frazer’s Fellowship Hall. Enjoy a delicious wild game dinner, an evening of fellowship and an inspirint talk from John Croyle, legendary Alabama football player, avid outdoorsman and founder of the Big Oak Ranch, a Christian home for children who need a chance. Cost for dinner is $5 and guests are encouraged to bring a wild game dish to feed 8-10 people. For more

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MORNINGVIEW BAPTIST CHURCH 125 Calhoun Road • (334) 356.7788 • www.ccamontgomery.org 37

February 2013

River Region’s Journey


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Our treatment approach is effective and affordable. Our mission is to bring hope to our patients and their families and lead them on the path to recovery.

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Community Calendar Christian Community Calendar Christian information contact Chris Bell at 451-2967 or cbell@jttconnect.com. Frazer United Methodist Church is located at 6000 Atlanta Highway, Montgomery.

Tuesday, February 12

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper Join us for the annual Pancake Supper at 6:00 PM. The choir will be serving up pancakes, sausage, bacon and all the trimmings for a delicious time together! Tickets will be $5 for adults, $2 for children ages 5-12 and free for children under 5. Maximum $10 per family. Guests and families who bring this River Region’s Journey ad eat FREE. Church of the Holy Comforter, 2911 Woodley Road, under the water tower off the Southern Bypass. For more information, call 281-1337.

February 15-16 Among Friends Women’s Conference with Kathy Troccoli, Patsy Clairmont & Donna VanLiere. First Baptist Church, 305 S. Perry Street, in Montgomery. During

time together there will be rich Bible teaching, powerful stories, comedic relief and comforting music. There will also be a time of worship and prayer. Come be Among Friends—and bring yours with you, too. For more info call: 334-834-6310.

February 23-24 Grace Pointe will be hosting a Spiritual Formation Weekend and the community is invited. Theme: “Talking Back to God’ speaking your heart to God through the Psalms. Special guest speaker will be Lynn Anderson, president of Hope Network Ministries, San Antonio, TX. Please RSVP to the church for the complimentary dinner 271-2525 or office @grace-pointe.com.

Sunday, February 24

Ridgecrest Baptist Church, 5260 Vaughn Road, is inviting the community to join them at 10:45 a.m. as they host Siran Stacy. Siran is a former University of Alabama football player, having trained under coach Gene Stallings. In 2007, Stacy’s life

changed when his family’s van was struck by a drunk driver one mile from their home. Tragically, Stacy’s wife and four of their five children were killed in this accident. The cost is free. Call 277.0011.

February 24-27 Trinity Presbyterian Church, 1728 South Hull Street, invites all to 37th Annual Missions Conference featuring local and foreign missions ministries. Lord’s Day morning worship services at 8:30 and 11:00 AM with missionaries visiting Sunday School classes at 9:45. Evening worship at 6:00 PM. Luncheons with panel discussions on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 11:30. Suppers Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday evenings at 5:00 PM followed by conference sessions in Trinity Hall at 6:00 PM. Call 262-3892 for meal or child care reservations.

February 28-March 2 The Landmark Missions Consignment Sale is for everyone! Items sold include

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February 2013

River Region’s Journey


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kids clothing and toys, home decor, sports equipment, electronics, furniture of all kinds and more! Proceeds from this sale contribute to the Landmark Church short term mission teams fundraising. The sale begins on Thursday, February 28 at 4pm for consignors and guests with passes. The public is welcome to begin shopping at 6pm. The sale continues on Friday and Saturday all items are half off unless marked no discount. The sale ends at noon on Saturday, March 2. Visit landmarkchurch. net for info.

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There are businesses who carry the torch for good. We ask you to bring them to light.

LEAD SpONSORS

Auburn University Montgomery B&M Management Balch and Bingham Business Council of Alabama Copperwing Merrill Lynch Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce The Samaritan Counseling Center

Nominations Open from December 01, 2012 through February 10, 2013 The annual River Region Ethics in Business Awards recognize finalists and recipients in five different categories for their commitment to the highest ethical principles in the workplace.

The awards are presented by The Samaritan Counseling Center, Inc. in collaboration with Auburn University Montgomery’s Schools of Business and Sciences. To nominate a deserving business or individual visit www.riverregionethics.com. 2012 recipients included Seay, Seay and Litchfield, Up and Running, GKN Aerospace, Family Sunshine Center, and Sieu Tang Wood. For more information, contact Alice Williams at 262-7787, ext. 200.

a proud media partner

www.riverregionethics.com

Saturday, March 2

A Toxic Charity Seminar will be held from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall at Frazer Memorial UMC. If you work or volunteer in any ministry, non-profit, or government agency that seeks to provide lasting change for people in poverty, this one-day seminar is your place to start to discover a whole new way to think about community building that truly makes a difference. Call 272-8622 for info.

Thursday, March 14

Guy Penrod will be in concert at Eastern Hills Baptist Church, 3604 Pleasant Ridge Road in Montgomery. Call 272-0604.

Saturday, March 16 Centerpoint Fellowship Church’s Half Marathon and 5K begins at Prattville YMCA. Half Marathon starts at 7 am, 5K starts at 7:30 am, Fun Run at 10 am. Registration is available online at Active.com or you can print out a form here. We HIGHLY encourage (and prefer) online registration! Additionally, for inquires about Centerpoint Fellowship Church or any other inquires not addressed above, contact the Centerpoint Office at (334) 356-3070. Men of Promise will be having a Men’s Conference at Church at the Brook, Millbrook, Al. The theme for the conference is “Destined to Win”. The keynote speaker in the morning is former UA Football star & former NFL star Siran Stacey. The afternoon speaker is DR. Raymond Cullpepper. The conference is open to ALL Denominations pre-registration is $10.00 per person which includes lunch. Deadline for pre-registration is Sunday Feb 24, 2013. Call Allen Clark 334-313-2969. Doors open at 9:30am.

Please send your calendar events to deanne@ readjourneymagazine.com by the 12th of the month for FREE print. River Region’s Journey

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February 2013

River Region’s Journey


Get the Point?

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by Elaine Britt

The Point of the Passage:

All In a Day’s Work (Mark 4-5) Leaving the crowd behind, they took him…in the boat…A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat… it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him… “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!”…and it was completely calm…They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” They went…to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him… lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore…he had been chained, hand and foot…tore the chains apart and broke

River Region’s Journey

February 2013

the irons on his feet… Night and day… cry out and cut himself…saw Jesus from a distance…fell on his knees…shouted… ”What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?...Jesus… said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!”Jesus asked, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion…for we are many.”…begged Jesus not to send them out of the area…demons begged,”…the pigs; allow us to go into them”…gave them permission…evil spirits…went into the pigs…about two thousand…rushed… into the lake and were drowned. Seeing this formerly dangerously insane man quiet, nonthreatening and in his right mind, the people:

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A. Ran to the man for congratulations, explanations, and re-aquaintance B. Thanked Jesus for this miracle and invited him for a meal C. Became afraid and pleaded with Jesus to leave the area You guessed it - ‘C!’ This man, whose family and friends had watched this drama unfold, who were all aware that the region had been unsafe due to this man’s insanity…rushed Jesus and his followers away. Imagine the disciples’ dismay and confusion regarding the peoples’ reaction! At

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least the ‘healed’ man was grateful – in fact, he begged to go with them. Jesus declined, leaving him there as a witness and advising, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” Back in the boat, cross over the lake …thick crowds waiting - they must part for the boat to come ashore. Everyone desires exposure to Jesus, be it physical exposure – merely touching his robe – or mental exposure through his words. Circulating stories of miracles, healings, and inspired teaching draw hordes. Making his way through the throng, Jesus notices the crowd parting as an ‘important’ man approaches. A synagogue ruler, his young daughter at the point of death, he implores Jesus to accompany him to his home and heal her. Jesus agrees. The crowd understands – this man holds a position of authority and ‘deserves’ Jesus’ attention. Everyone presses as the mass moves, headed for Jairus’s home. Suddenly Jesus stops. He begins scanning the many faces and asks, “Who touched my clothes?” Now… imagine being one of Jesus’ disciples, a self-appointed ‘bodyguard’ of sorts to this man who is your Lord and teacher. You are surrounded by hundreds if not

thousands of teeming masses, and Jesus wants to know who touched him? Surely you jest! His ‘bodyguards,’ incredulous, state the obvious, “You see the people crowding against you…and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’” Jesus, unfazed, continues scanning. Remember Jairus’s daughter, at death’s door, every minute crucial… and no one is moving. A crouched figure emerges from the crowd. Humbly she falls at Jesus’ feet, already healed, confessing her 12 year bleeding illness and the inability of the doctors to help her. Believing that if she touched even the hem of his garment… Jesus’ reaction is that of a loving Father… “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” In the meantime, while Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus… “Your daughter is dead,” they said, “Why bother the teacher any more?” A miraculous healing, a little daughter’s death, masses, murmurs, and Jesus’ calm words to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Dismissing the crowd and proceeding to Jairus’s home with only three disciples, Jesus restores the little girl’s life, giving strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and he told them to give

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her something to eat. After all that, he tells them to ‘give her something to eat!’ This thumbnail sketch of ‘A day in the life of Jesus’ gives us pause. What does ‘A day in my life’ look like? Recall the last 24 hours of your life. Are our thoughts Godly? Would we alter our actions and interactions if Jesus were present? We cannot expect to emulate Jesus in our daily ‘offering’ to the kingdom, but every word and action can be directed toward that end. Choose a 24-hour period of time. ‘Pray ahead’ for that time, asking God to guide every thought, every move at home, school, the office, the grocery store… record the day’s occurrences. Recall the experience, noting the difference in that day and a ‘normal’ day. As Oswald Chambers advises, “The most important rule for us is to concentrate on keeping our lives open to God… Never let a hurried lifestyle disturb the relationship of abiding in Him.” Elaine Britt and her husband, Tim, reside in Montgomery, with son Bryan at UAH in Huntsville and son Kevin at the University of Montevallo. She counts her family as a great blessing. By profession, Elaine is a 33 year veteran Interior Decorator and owner of Carriage House Interiors, now freelancing from home. By God’s calling and to her great joy, she is a writer, whose published works include stories in A Cup of Comfort Devotionals; Lord, I Was Happy Shallow; and Heavenly Patchwork; one book, Messages, as well as various e-zine and magazine articles.

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

The Sound of the Spirit

Married to Jonas (TV) Prom Night with the In-Laws

Quality: **** Moral Acceptability: +4 (Exemplary) Starring: Kevin Jonas, Danielle Deleasa Jonas, Dina Deleasa Genre: Documentary Audience: All ages Rating: TV-G Runtime: 30 minutes Content: Very strong Christian, moral worldview explicitly talks about Jesus, explicit prayer, explicit church scene; three light OMG profanities that are more like exclamations; no violence; no sex; light kissing between married couple; some drinking at a prom; no smoking; and, trying to advise younger sister to watch out regarding her prom night. MARRIED TO JONAS: PROM NIGHT WITH THE IN-LAWS is a faith oriented, moral, Christian television program. While Kevin Jonas waits for his wife, Dani, to go to church, the program has each talk about how much church and faith in Jesus Christ means to them. At church, they meet Dani’s parents and siblings. Kevin and Dani’s father go to the bakery before lunch. The father is an evangelical Italian and buys too much. Kevin gets blamed for not controlling his father-in-law. At lunch, they talk about how much church means to them. Then, they start talking to the youngest daughter, Katie, about her prom night date. Eventually, the family throws a prom party for Katie, and Dani surprises Kevin. MARRIED TO JONAS: PROM NIGHT WITH THE IN-LAWS is a slice of life reality program. It’s interesting, well produced and full of faith. These are real people who have real problems, but their faith sustains them. Kevin Jonas is very likeable guy. Fame hasn’t gone to his head. He takes loving care of his wife. MARRIED TO JONAS is wonderful to watch.

Quality: *** Moral Acceptability: +4 (Exemplary) Starring: Anna Lasbury, Rob Weidenfeld, Faith Yesner, Matt Hodges Genre: Drama Audience: All ages Rating: Not Rated Content: Very strong Christian, biblical and moral worldview; no language; no violence; no sexual content; no nudity; no alcohol use; no smoking/drug use; and, there are a few instances of anger towards Messianic Jews from members of a Jewish Synagogue and someone dies of a heart attack, but it’s filmed very tastefully with the character sitting on a sidewalk bench and holding his heart. THE SOUND OF THE SPIRIT tells the story of a young girl, Rivka, pulled between two synagogues, Jewish and Messianic. She loves both congregations and seeks to reconcile them. Her father raised Rivka as a Messianic Jew after her mother’s death and his conversion. When Rivka is 12 and preparing for her Bat-Mitzvah, her father suddenly dies. She begins to live with her aunt and uncle, both traditional Jews. Rivka makes new friends as she’s immersed into their Jewish synagogue. However, she struggles with misunderstanding and bitterness because of her Messianic Christian faith. She seeks the voice of the Holy Spirit to lead her. A strong Christian and Biblical worldview is prevalent throughout SOUND OF THE SPIRIT. The movie also encourages viewers to love and forgive their neighbor. SOUND OF THE SPIRIT is a clean, wholesome movie. The Jewish synagogue invites an “anti-missionary” to speak about the danger of Messianic Jews. However, Rivka maintains her Christian faith as she seeks advice from the Holy Spirit. THE SOUND OF THE SPIRIT is an inspiring movie for all ages.

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

February 2013

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River Region's Journey magazine Feb13  

Learn the story behind Faith Radio, Central and South Alabama's leading Christian radio station. Also, find other articles by Dave Ramsey,...