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What Christian Happenings Would You Like to See More of in the River Region?









 
Monday, 08 May 2017 13:09

Judah and Samantha Helms

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RRJ:  You both had exposure to Jesus and His church as children, but you were still left wanting more.  What would you two say were the ingredients for your powerless (ho-hum) Christianity?

 

Judah: Growing up in the South, I identified with Christianity as a part of my culture. Going to church was expected of you, just like it was expected that you be an obedient child and make good grades. For me, falling in line with those cultural expectations was my lone incentive to be a Christian. I didn’t want to be an outcast or generate any controversy around myself. So I became the “good Christian boy” that my family could be proud of. But in the end, that is a very disingenuous lifestyle that isn’t sustainable. 

 

 

Samantha:For me growing up, faith wasn’t a large part of my life. Unlike Judah, church attendance wasn’t an obligation. We went on the occasional Sunday and for Easter and Christmas services. It wasn’t until I was in middle school that I really began going to church and pursuing a relationship with the Lord. Even then, I lacked an understanding of what it meant to follow Christ and had some preconceived notion of what my relationship with the Lord was supposed to look like. Very little of my time or energy went into actually developing this relationship. I became so consumed with the actions and behaviors that I thought were associated with being an “ideal Christian” that I feel like I just totally missed the point. It wasn’t until I began to shed the façade and open myself up to a more genuine relationship, with both the Lord and other believers, that I really began to grow in my faith.

 

 

RRJ:  Your faith began to change when you got deeply connected in Christian discipleship.  Why did that make a difference?

 

Judah & Sam: Early in our marriage, we were asked to teach a Sunday school class for middle-school kids. We agreed, more out of an inability to say “no” than a desire to teach Sunday school. But during that time as Sunday school teachers, we began developing relationships with others who were serving in the church. These people had made a sincere decision to follow Jesus and it was apparent that they saw their life’s purpose in serving others. We also couldn’t help but notice how genuine and transparent these people were. The idea of living like this was liberating and it made a big impression on us. We began to see Christianity as less of a cultural expectation and more of a life-giving source.

 

RRJ:  Christ’s grace and mercy comes to us and then through us to minister to others in His name.  As both of you began to grow closer to the Lord, did you find Him leading you to bless others?

 

Judah & Sam: We were very selfish people before our faith matured. Specifically, we were very selfish with our time. As our faith matured over the years, we found ourselves being more and more drawn to serving others. Through our church, we have led multiple community service projects in Elmore County and have participated in international mission trips. Outside of church affiliation, we have made a long-term commitment to mentor a young boy through the Big Brother Big Sister program. Over the past four years, we have been able to pour love and hope into his and his family’s life. All of these things have caused us to lose personal time that we highly value. But each of those commitments to serving others has been very gratifying. We wouldn’t change anything and we can’t imagine living any other way.

 

 

RRJ:  We are lights in a dark world, so we must carry that light beyond the walls of the church if we are to fulfill our calling to bless the world.  Samantha, as an RN at Baptist East, and Judah, as a Business Analyst for an IT Firm, how is your faith being expressed?

 

Judah:  I work in a small office with eight other men. We all have vastly different personalities and backgrounds. But we all respect each other and value one another’s opinions. Because our office environment is very laid back, we are very comfortable discussing the two workplace no-no’s, “politics and religion”. When I find the proper time to chime in, I try my best to speak as an ambassador for Christ, sharing a message of grace and love. Of course, this message is empty unless living it out is a way of life for me. Over time, through our many discussions, I believe that I have made an impression on some of the men.

Samantha: I have the privilege of working for a faith-based organization that encourages meeting not only the physical needs of our patients, but also helping to meet their spiritual needs as well. As nurses, we frequently share in the most joyous and difficult moments in our patient’s lives. When I pray with my patients, when I’m able to provide support for them during a difficult situation, and when I share the love of Jesus with them, I know I’m living out the purpose the Lord has for my life.

 

 

RRJ:  What is challenging about living out your faith in the workplace and how are you seeking to overcome in those areas?

 

Judah:  My biggest challenge at work is maintaining a positive attitude. Work can be very stressful at times. Clients can be demanding. Servers can go down. Deadlines may be approaching. And sometimes I just have a bad day. It happens. It is so important that I remember to keep my cool during these times. Much of my expression of faith is judged by how I respond to the world. I try to overcome this by placing reminders of my faith in my surroundings. I have a simple cross at my desk. I listen to praise and worship music through my headphones. And I try to keep some positive reading material around.

 

Samantha:  Sometimes it’s challenging to muster up the courage to share your faith and beliefs with people you don’t really know very well. I can feel the Lord guiding me in that direction at work, but I don’t always possess the boldness and confidence in that moment to let him work through me. Remembering his purpose for our lives and what he’s called us to do redirects the focus away from myself and allows his will to be done.

 

 

RRJ:  Finally, the Christian faith is a daily battle with the ways of this world, evil forces and our sin nature inside. Thankfully, Scripture attests that Christ is greater than all of these and He provides His grace and means that allow us to live victoriously.  Would you share specific resources that keep you close to the Lord’s side and connected to His power?

 

Judah: Most importantly, I stay plugged in with my church. And not just on Sunday mornings. Joining a small group and finding an opportunity to serve is key to developing strong relationships with others who share your beliefs. Outside of the church walls, I love listening to praise and worship music. I’ve always connected to that on a higher level than I have other sources. I have several free apps on my phone with praise and worship playlists I can dive into. Podcasts are another easy, free way to stay connected. I subscribe to podcasts by Andy Stanley, Francis Chan, The Village Church, and Ridge Church. Each of those podcasts provides thoughtful, challenging, and relevant sermons.

 

Samantha: I feel like our church family is an essential resource that helps to keep us focused and connected. Living in community with other believers, doing life together, building relationships that extend beyond the church walls; these relationships have encouraged us so much in our walk with the Lord. We’ve been a part of a small group at our church for the last couple of years. It’s so comforting to talk to other couples and see that we all struggle with the same things. To be able to reach a level of transparency in these relationships has been instrumental in allowing us to grow and mature in our own faith.

 

Judah and Samantha Helms have an 18-month-old daughter, Emma, live in Wetumpka and attend The Ridge Church.

 

 

Last modified on Monday, 08 May 2017 13:23
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