Thursday, 27 September 2018 13:16

Practice Neighboring

Written by Wes Gunn, Redland Hills Church, Wetumpka

Occasionally I have the blessing of hosting international visitors in my home, especially from the small African nation of Malawi.  At the end of the trip I always ask several debriefing questions, one of which is, “What disappointed you most about what you saw in America?”  Without hesitation, it is almost always the same answer: “That you could go the whole day and not speak to your neighbors.”  I’m privately thinking, “A day? I can go a month without even trying!”  Such is the nature of our isolated North American culture.  But it is a convicting statement that I need to be reminded of by my African friends.  

Christians embarking upon their faith journey in an ever-changing, fast paced technological society that is filled with the perils of times and stressors of life often find themselves putting the reading of God’s word on the back burner.  As we venture throughout our daily faith walk, we will experience some good days, but at other times we can feel overwhelmed, perplexed, discouraged and just simply want to give up.  That’s where the word of God comes in, for the Bible reminds us in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that “my grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”

My family recently received the exciting news that beginning in July we would have the opportunity to experience a “new beginning” and return to the River Region to serve Prattville’s First United Methodist Church.  What a true joy to return to a place that has been so formational in our spiritual and family journeys, but a transition that has caused us to lean even deeper into the love and provision of God in our lives.

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy, without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Hebrews 12:14-15

God wants His children avoiding cave-ins. I’m not so much referring to a physical cave, but there may be something that has caused you to retreat into a cave of depression or discouragement. The good news is that you can come up and out of that cave of defeat and begin to walk in the freedom of the victory that is yours in Christ.

The human brain fascinates me. Its computing power is truly remarkable. Just one brain generates more energy (electrical impulses) in one day than all the cell phones on the planet. An unbelievable amount of activity occurs 24/7 in our brain; most of it is not at the conscious level. In fact about 90 – 99% of all brain activity happens in the non-conscious area of our brain at the speed of four hundred billion actions per second.The conscious level only accounts for about 10% of brain activity at two thousand actions per second.

I wonder if I’ve treated God’s love as paramount to my relationships with God and others, but failed to fully enjoy it?  A brief glance at a piece of beautiful art, a rushed taste of world-class cuisine, or a muffled hearing of a great piece of music may point to the value of those things, but not necessarily the enjoyment of them.   But, when fully taken in, appreciated, and allowed to affect our imaginations, affections, and attitudes we participate in the creator’s intentions.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018 09:39

Making a Marriage Work

Written by Gene Ziesel, Lighthouse Baptist Church

Ah, the sounds of wedding bells are in the air with this month’s Wedding & Marriage Issue of River Region’s Journey! I’ve been married to my wife going on 35 years. To this day I know that, other than trusting Jesus as my Savior, it was the best decision I ever made.

Monday, 08 January 2018 09:14

The Value of a Brother

Written by Michael Cobb, Dalraida UMC

 Imagine the scene. Down one point with only a few seconds left, the basketball player stands at the free throw line ready to shoot. Players are on either side of the foul lines, waiting, crouching, ready to take the rebound if there is one. The crowd quiets. Cheerleaders wait in anticipation. The game has come down to this one point. Years of practice and conditioning have converged into a moment and for one player, and everything rests on his shoulders.

Of all the music heard on the radio around Christmas, I have always thought John Lennon’s “So This is Christmas” to be one of the more unusual songs of the season.  Written as a protest song to the Vietnam War, Lennon sought to elaborate upon the themes of social unity and peaceful change enacted through personal accountability and empowerment, trying to convey optimism while avoiding the sentimentality that he felt often characterized music of the holiday season.

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