St. Elias Cedar Run 5K & Cedar Shake Fun Run Benefiting ‘Just Keep Smiling’

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On April 30, 2022, in conjunction with St. Elias Lebanese Food Festival, the ‘9th Annual Cedar Run 5K & Cedar Shake Fun Run’ will take place. All proceeds from the run for three years will go to Just Keep Smiling. Consider signing up to participate, whether it is running or walking in the 5K or Fun Run, creating a team or securing a sponsorship with a wide range available. Invite your company to support the JKS mission. Details can be found at

Regardless whether running is for you, make plans to enjoy and support the St. Elias Lebanese Food and Cultural Festival on April 29-30. There are other opportunities for supporting Just Keep Smiling as well. Just Keep Smiling ‘Auction & Appetizers’ on Thursday, September 29 at Regions Field is a great night for a great cause. Visit for more on the 501(c)3 and these events.


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Easter is April 17! Here is a list of Easter Week Services and Activities happening in and around Birmingham. Click on the links for more details.

April 10:

Palm Sunday Service at Vestavia Hills United Methodist

Easter Egg Hunt at Vestavia Hills United Methodist

April 11-13

Holy Week Lunches at Vestavia Hills United Methodist

April 14

Maundy Thursday Communion at Clearbranch UMC

Maundy Thursday at CrossPoint Church

Maundy Thursday at Vestavia Hills United Methodist

Maundy Thursday at Double Oak Community Church Mt. Laurel

April 15

Good Friday at Shades Mountain Community Church

Good Friday Worship at Clearbranch UMC

Good Friday at Vestavia Hills United Methodist

Good Friday at Double Oak Community Church Mt. Laurel

April 16

THE BIG HUNT at Clearbranch UMC

April 17

Easter Services at Clearbranch UMC

Easter at Vestavia Hills United Methodist

Easter Sunday at CrossPoint Church

Easter at Shades Mountain Baptist Church

Easter Sunday at Indian Springs First Baptist Church

Easter at Shades Mountain Community Church

Easter at Double Oak Community Church Mt. Laurel

Charles Martin

Samford University’s Orlean Beeson School of Education will host New York Times best-selling author Charles Martin for the 11th annual Tom and Marla Corts Distinguished Author Series. Martin will share his exploration of biblical truths in his book What If It’s True?: A Storyteller’s Journey With Jesus. In his book, Martin addresses fundamental questions of faith to challenge readers to not just think differently, but live differently. Martin will be joined by friend and fellow New York Times best-selling author Patti Callahan Henry. Henry was the 10th anniversary Corts Distinguished Author and will return to introduce Martin and share insights from her new book Once Upon a Wardrobe released in October 2021.

VIP Tickets include special seating, a 5:30 reception in the foyer of Brock Recital Hall, and a VIP Book Signing with both authors, which includes a copy of Charles Martin’s book, What If It’s True?: A Storytellers Journey with Jesus and Patti Callahan’s book, Once Upon a Wardrobe. Read more about Charles Martin here.

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Special Feature

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-7, ESV).

The best time to start anything was yesterday and the next best time is right now, so the saying goes. The daily commute, baseball practice, and homework can all become so overwhelming that for most of us, we are just trying to make it to the weekend! But we are called as parents to a holy vocation, indeed a vocation that many would-be parents envy as they struggle with infertility. This holy vocation is to raise our children in the covenant of God’s grace. I don’t expect this will come across very well but everything else is a distraction when it comes to our relationship with the Lord. But even tithing a couple hours of our day to the Lord sounds taxing when you have work, commitments, and then your children’s school and their extracurricular activities – what is a Christian to do?

Re-read the verse I started this article with. The modern hustle and bustle creates anxiety – but the solution is to seek the Lord who calms the seas through prayer and giving thanks. The promise God gives us is His peace – a deep and abiding, peace from the anxieties and distractions of this world. As parents, we are called to lead our children. This means starting at home by setting a time for family prayer and devotion. If you have never done this before, I know it can be awkward at first. But again, do not be anxious but be faithful. As a trivocational pastor with three little ones I can sympathize that the days can get away from you – so be encouraged by starting slow and growing from there.

We can pray or have devotion anywhere- even in the carpool line! While driving our kids to school I pray over them for the new day and during the evening they pray for tomorrow and give thanks for the day that has passed. If everyone gathers over a meal then end the meal with a short portion of the Gospel and reflect upon it. You will be amazed by what your kids take away from our Lord’s parables and teachings. Older children are fed a lot at school – so fill them with spiritual knowledge to benefit their soul. Use a catechism as a tool and work through a question a night and dig into the Scripture references to get your pre-teen or teen deeper in the Word and in their faith. Your grandchildren will thank you one day when they too are being raised in the faith. 

-Rev. Andrew Brashier 

Senior Pastor of the Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd

Author of A Faith for Generations: A Family Prayer Guide in the Anglican Tradition

Christmas 2021

The Christmas season in America is filled with holiday traditions and symbols, both secular and spiritual. Universal among them is the famed Star of Christmas – a symbol of the birth of Christ since the Wise Men first saw it in the ancient sky. In popular culture, several entertaining characters have sought to become the face of the Christmas season, but have failed to capture it. Only One can truly be the REAL Star of Christmas. Join Kingwood Church on Sundays as we discover the One who outshines them all!

Candlelight Service: December 19 at 10:30am online or in-person

Breakfast in Bethlehem (1st-5th grade): December 19 at 10:30am in-person


Pleasant Hill Farms presents A Nativity Christmas, an open house to benefit Perfect Pathways Adult Day Center. Come enjoy refreshments, live music, children’s activities, and see over 100 Nativities from all around the world. December 18: 6-9pm; December 19: 7-9pm. Tickets can be purchased at or at the door. To enable social distancing, tickets are limited. Groups are welcome.

Prayer Walk Love Life

Come join Love Life as we unite many evangelical churches and businesses in Birmingham together in front of Planned Parenthood to worship the Lord and pray for the end of abortion. This is not a protest or political rally (no signs or engaging with people outside the prayer group). It is strictly a time of peaceful intercessory prayer and celebration over the hundreds of lives we’ve seen saved this year through sidewalk outreach and prayer. At the conclusion of the walk, Love Life offers many ways to connect on a deeper level with helping moms and dads who are considering abortion. Read more here.

Transformation Ministries Class Picture

Mission Makers

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Are you struggling to figure out your purpose in life? Do you feel that something from your past is blocking you from that purpose? Have you always wanted to help others but don’t feel qualified or even know where to start? Would you like to go deeper with God? Feeling overworked, but wondering how to rest and serve God at the same time? Well, you’re not the only one with those questions! Transformation Ministries (TM) was founded and developed to help people receive healing, restore hope and then train and equip you to pursue God’s purpose for your life. 

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Transformation Ministries classes for the fall semester begin August 17. To register, visit

Transformation Ministries does three things: 

1. We provide biblical counseling to hurting families and individuals.

2. We train and equip the layperson to help others. 

3. We do inner healing and deliverance ministry using the Restoring the Foundations (RTF) prayer model.

The TM School of Ministry offers a four-semester program with each semester lasting about 13 weeks. The fall semester starts August 17 and registration is open now. Visit to register now. These inner healing classes will change your life. For the Fall of 2021, we’re excited to announce our new Hebraic Institute partnering with “Be One Ministries” with Jeff and Sherri Friedlander. Be One Ministries is a ministry in the local Birmingham area seeking to help Jewish and Christian/Gentiles believers become one family under Messiah, Jesus. The first class taught by Rabbi Jeff Friedlander will be an exciting and interesting way of reading and understanding the Bible from a Hebraic point of view and understanding. Some key topics are The Living Word, The Living Spirit, The Living Communion, The Living Law, Living His Rest, and History of Biblical Israel and Judah to the New Testament. 

Transformation Ministries LogoTransformation Ministries offers free high-quality biblical counseling to hurting individuals and families and we are a resource offered to all churches. If you need healing physically, mentally, or emotionally, our prayer teams are praying every day and our prayer rooms are busy. Anyone is welcomed to make an appointment and come receive from the Lord. This summer we are hosting a marriage conference with Dan and Lydia White on August 27-28 at Liberty Church in Birmingham. If your marriage needs help or you just want to make it even better, you won’t want to miss this time with a dynamic and musical family leading worship, teaching, and breakout sessions. For more information about this conference or to register for any of our upcoming events, visit our website, or call 205 991-4988 for more information.

-Warren “Rock” Hobbs

Founder, Transformation Ministries


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Encouraging Word

The word call is defined as “to ask or to invite.” I Corinthians 1:26 says, “For consider you calling…” And II Peter 1:10 tells us, “Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling…” It is amazing that Almighty God would call us to Himself and that He would invite us to receive His salvation and to share in His blessing. To me, God’s call is threefold: there is a call to salvation, a call to sanctification and a call to service.

1. Call to Salvation. God established and initiated His plan to rescue us from our bondage to sin. The first step to salvation is a conviction of sin. John 16:8 explains, “And He (Holy Spirit) … will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” We must admit that we have sinned. I John 1:9 tells us to confess our sin. Next, there is a call to repentance. There should be a genuine remorse. II Corinthians 7:10 says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation…”

2. Call to Sanctification. Sanctification refers to being “called out” from the world and “set apart” for Godly service. As Christ-followers, we are in the world but not of the world. Sanctification involves the process of spiritual growth which begins after we are born again and experience spiritual birth; as we mature in our Christian walk and journey with God.

3. Call to Spiritual Service. We can only be effective in service if we have been prepared for service. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.” The Bible teaches that as Christians, we have been assigned a spiritual gift(s) to be used in Christian service. I Corinthians 12:7 explains, “Now to each one the manifestation (gift) of the Spirit is given for the common good.”

Let me encourage you to be attentive and responsive to God’s calling!

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Former Exec. Director, Jimmie Hale Mission. Recently honored for his 29 plus years of service at the Mission. Pastor of Pineywood Baptist Church, Gardendale, Ala.

Mission Makers Lovelady Women Worshipping

Mission Makers

Mission Makers Lovelady Women Worshipping
Every woman hears the Good News of Jesus Christ while staying at The Lovelady Center. Pictured above is a snapshot of a worship moment at TLC.

The Lovelady Center (TLC), founded in 2005, is a drug addiction treatment and prison reentry center located in Birmingham. What makes TLC different than other treatment centers? John McNeil, Chairman of the Board and Chief Operating Officer at TLC, explains it’s the fact that every woman and child who comes through the doors at TLC hear the hope of Christ and the forgiveness available to them. “The Lovelady Center is faith-based. From our perspective, faith in God is the only thing not going to fail them after a woman leaves TLC,” McNeil says, adding that the center is a long-term, residential, faith-based program. 

McNeil shares that roughly 400 women and 75-80 children are at TLC at any time. Women seeking recovery at TLC typically stay for an average of one year. TLC implements a five-phase program that includes Christian counseling, Bible Study and Parenting Skills, Job Readiness, and more. The courses are designed to equip the women with tools to successfully reenter society. “We believe recovery works best in community,” McNeil says adding, “I go in every day and watch God do miracles.” 

Mission Makers John McNeil
John McNeil has served as the Lovelady’s Chairman of the Board for eight years. When asked what he does for his job, he responds with, “I go in every day and watch God do miracles.”

How do the two Lovelady Center Thrift Stores- located in Clay and Irondale- help the mission of TLC? “The thrift stores are a great source of job readiness for the women at TLC,” McNeil explains, adding that the thrift stores provide close to 50 percent of the operating budget for TLC. “God continues to bless these stores tremendously.”

How can you help? The two thrift stores are accepting donations of slightly used furniture, clothing, and more. If you are looking for volunteer opportunities, TLC has several! McNeil explains that the program’s classes are often taught by volunteers. In addition, TLC welcomes volunteers to help at the daycare center, lead Bible studies, help in the kitchen, and more. “There are talents that so many people have that can be of value to nonprofits like TLC.” If you wonder what kind of help you could be at TLC, McNeil responds with, “You would be surprised.” To learn more about TLC, visit

-Melissa Armstrong

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