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

Tuesday, 02 September 2014 18:11

How to Be a Better Friend

Written by Victor M. Parachin


Just before the Christmas holidays, Lesley Dormen’s phone rang. The voice at the other end was so frail and frightened she had a hard time recognizing that it was Toni, her former college roommate. Though they had been close in school, they didn’t speak often nor did they see each other much as both lived in different cities. “What’s wrong?” asked Lesley. “I have cancer,” Toni replied. She was anxious because it was a recurrence of the breast cancer she’d been treated for 10 years earlier and had now spread to her stomach and ribs. Unmarried and living alone, Toni had recently experienced her first three rounds of chemotherapy. Extremely weary and discouraged, she phoned her college friend who listened compassionately. When the conversation was over, Lesley immediately called an airline and made a reservation. Next she phoned her husband at work to let him know that they would have to cancel all their weekend plans. Finally, she called Toni back saying “I am coming over this very weekend.”


Years ago, the word “hospitality” put an instant knot in my stomach. To me, hospitality was serving a gourmet meal to a houseful of guests I welcomed to my clean and uncluttered home. With two small children, a smaller budget and a lack of talent in the art of small talk, I felt like a perpetual failure. Then I met Lester Hostetler.



Jenny Garnett’s aging mother was once a vibrant and outgoing woman, but began falling deeper and deeper into what Jenny called a dark hole of depression. She quit talking and memory loss soon followed. “I felt like I had lost my mother,” said Jenny. “We didn’t know what to do.” But then something happened. Something miraculous. It didn’t happen in a moment or even noticeably, at least not at first. But slowly and surely, Jenny Garnett’s mother began to show glimmers of her “old self.” She smiled. She laughed. She sang and she danced.


Tuesday, 01 July 2014 08:29

Church Relevance in a Changing World

Written by Rachel Fisher



What makes the Church relevant to the everyday lives of Christians?


This is the question we set out to answer this month and the answers may surprise you. We had the unique opportunity to interview four leaders shepherding churches in four different places in the River Region. Each is seeking to serve the people in their community in ways that will reach them where they are, and while each leader carries a different vision for the different places God has called them to lead, they all work with the same goal in mind - to make Jesus known and to promote His Kingdom on earth.


Tuesday, 01 July 2014 08:18

Pride vs. Humility

Written by Candy Arrington


On the night Steven proposed to Hannah, she immediately took several pictures of the two of them, her left hand prominently displayed on his shoulder. Within moments, she posted the pictures on several social networking sites. When Hannah got home, her parents knew she was engaged, not because she had called them, but because one of their friends had seen her post and called with congratulations.


Monday, 02 June 2014 16:55

Practicing the Art of Good Fathering

Written by Victor Parachin


Although Kris Kristofferson is a well known singer-songwriter and actor who enjoys the company of many important individuals, it is his father who had the greatest impact on his life. Among the many important life lessons Kristofferson learned from his dad, the one which stands out was his father’s hidden acts of kindness.




It’s not a secret that we all struggle. We can hide it, push our thoughts away, and tell ourselves “it’s not a big deal” or “this is just how I am,” but at our core we want to believe God has more for us than being controlled or held captive by wounds from the past or struggles of the present. Jesus came to set captives free. Which means all of us. He didn’t just come to set us free so we could go to heaven when we die, but he came for more than that. He came so that his good news could bleed over into our struggles, whether with things we hide or things we’ve done that have hurt others.



Linnie Dickson grew up with parents who were World War II veterans determined to give their kids a better life. Working long hours eventually allowed them to move from public housing to an upscale neighborhood, but financial success did not bring the happiness they thought it would.  Instead, the pursuit of the American Dream, and the mounting pressure for more, eventually led to a broken family.





Recently, my son (age 2) looked up at his big sister (age 5) sitting on the bathroom counter next to the sink, raised his little arms and said confidently, “Jump my arms! My catch wu!” [Let the reader be aware that my son says “wu” instead of “you.”] When my daughter laughed and told her little brother that she was too big, he insisted confidently, “Wu not too big. My can catch wu!”



When you think about serving the working poor and homeless of our city does it feel overwhelming? The problem of family homelessness is often a hidden problem and the solutions can feel like something reserved for “other people.” But what if there was a way for any church to play a significant role in helping homeless families return to stability?


Choosing a college is one of the most important decisions young people face. Over 4,000 universities are scattered around the United States and the decision can be daunting, to say the least. This decision is not one to be taken lightly either. Choosing a college has lasting significance on the trajectory of the lives of the kids we love in more ways than one. College presents young people with new ideas and experiences that will shape them, mold them and, if they choose, allow them to be the best they can be for a waiting world.


Although I can’t recall the circumstances, I remember deciding to run away from home. I was mad because I didn’t get my way. While I jammed things into my bulging suitcase, my mind churned. How far could I walk before dark? Where would I sleep? What would I eat? Tears stung my eyes. I felt sorry for myself.


My mother appeared. “What are you doing?”


“Running away!” I announced, hoping to upset her.


Anyone who works with teenagers, or has one of their own, knows teenagers are vastly different and have significant needs. According to the Barna Research Group, “Most teens are desperately striving to determine a valid and compelling purpose for life. Most of them want to have influence and impact.” And in Montgomery, just like in any other city in our state, there are thousands of teenagers who walk through the doors of their schools every day wondering if someone will notice them. We all know how this goes. We’ve all been teenagers. That’s where the questions begin racing through their minds: Do they like me?  Am I attractive enough?
Cool enough?  Smart enough?  Talented enough?  Athletic enough? And while the ways teenagers arrive at the answers to these questions is constantly changing with the times, the questions are the same.

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