A Love Worth Celebrating

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Special Feature

Reservations are made. Childcare arrangements are secured. A romantic evening filled with excitement and celebration awaits! For many, expressions of love culminate on February 14, Valentine’s Day. Balloons, stuffed animals, and hearts- red, pink, large and small- cover shelves and store displays. While symbols of affection are used to express attraction, there is a love that cannot be measured with sweets, gifts and floral arrangements. This love is perfect, never-ending, and is worth celebrating every day of the year. What is true love?

Pricey Sentiments. Society of American Florists says, “Valentine’s Day is the number one holiday for florists and for floral purchases, and second to Christmas/Chanukah in dollars spent.” The National Retail Federation reports that consumers spent an estimated 23.9 billion dollars for Valentine’s Day in 2022. Husbands and boyfriends rush to grab bouquets—sometimes minutes before being with their valentine—hoping to create blushing smiles and lingering hugs. Consumers will spend (on average) more than $175 on flowers, greeting cards, dinners, jewelry, fragrances, and chocolates to commemorate this special day. Gifts are not limited to that special sweetheart. They are given to anyone to show friendship and affection. The recipients include children, parents, neighbors, and friends. Material expressions of love can be expensive and have limits. There is another expression of love that is costly and has no limits.

Priceless Sacrifice. True love values the person and sacrifices for them. Jesus is our perfect model of true love. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son [Jesus], that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus’s death on the cross displayed God’s sacrificial love for all mankind! You are loved and valued. When you turn from sin, place your faith in Jesus, and live for Him, He gives you what you cannot lose-Himself! You will receive what you did not earn and cannot purchase- eternal life! 

Having received the priceless unconditional gift of true love, every month, every day, every hour, and every second can be a love celebration. Why? Because you are valued and loved by the inventor of love—God the Father. He “shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8, ESV) Bask in His everlasting love!

-Vanessa Jones

Vice President & Co-founder of Biblical Marriage Institute



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Parenting Points

Being offended is the fuel for many in our culture. Neighborhood Facebook groups thrive over the latest offense, whether it was the family who will not cut the grass quickly enough or the unresponsible dog owner who didn’t clean up on the neighborhood walk. Many people live in a state of constant offense, waiting on the next triggering incident.

Not falling into the trap of constant offense is a way that your family can stand out for Jesus in the triggered culture all around you. Proverbs 10:12 ESV says, “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.” What would it look like if we began to teach our children to view the world through the lens of love rather than the target of offense? How would our own lives be different if we lived this way?

The Lens of Love Remembers What Actually Matters. Most of the things people are offended about are not really major issues. The present from the neighbor’s dog in the front yard, the grass that is a little too long, or the extra waiting time at the restaurant. Though in the moment, the significance of these things seems large, these are not major issues. We need to teach our kids and learn ourselves to weigh issues on the greater scale of what truly matters – eternity, relationships, health, etc. Everyday offenses then fall into their proper place.

The Lens of Love Considers Someone Else’s Situation. It is easy for us to respond to people before we take the time to recognize that the person who offended us is a person. They have been made in the image of God. They have their own struggles, hardships, and challenges. They are dealing with things on the inside that we may never know. Sometimes if we take a second to pause and remember that we would want to be given grace and the benefit of the doubt that we can extend that same grace to others. The lens of love makes the decision to let the first response to a triggering situation not be hatred or judgment but love. Love enough to pause and consider what really matters. Love to recognize the fingerprints of God on the life and story of the offending person. Love enough to let the light of Jesus shine through you and your family’s lives rather than the ammunition of being triggered at yet another offense.

Ben Birdsong-Dr. Ben Birdsong 

Missions Minister at Christ Church Birmingham 

Writer and Speaker


Brittany Whiles as teenager

Miracle Moments

Brought to you by: Molly Maid of Birmingham, www.mollymaid.com/birmingham

“So is My word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11

Raising children from difficult circumstances and equipping them for generational change is not an endeavor that often provides instant gratification. Perseverance is key. Faith is vital.

Brittany Whiles Davis with son Zaiden
Brittany Davis is seen here with her son Zaiden who recently gave his life to Christ.

Brittany joined the Big Oak Ranch family in 2006 and day in, day out her houseparents emptied themselves so that she would know the fullness of Christ. Every opportunity given to her, ministered to her in ways she didn’t even realize then. Every relationship formed would weave the tapestry of forever family. Brittany’s time with us was shorter than most, and as heavy as our hearts were to see her leave Big Oak, we remained connected. What we plant together, God will bring forth in due time. Brittany’s story testifies to that truth.

Brittany Whiles as teenager
Brittany Davis’ time at Big Oak was short, but the impact continues today.

“As a former resident of Big Oak Girls’ Ranch my stay was not a very long one, but the values and direction that were given to me are lifelong. I carry on in my children the same Christ-centered teaching that I received at the Ranch. In our home, we have never skirted around the truth nor jumped around the tough questions. We have always allowed our children to speak freely in love and question often to help lead them to the truth. Recently, my oldest child, 7-year-old Zaiden, imaginatively described an asteroid falling from the sky and ending the world. Zaiden has the tendency to take me up on my openness to explore challenging questions. I responded to him with, ‘Well, at least I know where I’m going, because Jesus is in my heart.’ This led to a quick change of tone and deeper conversation when Zaiden asked me, ‘How do I get Jesus in my heart?’ Sound the trumpets and jump for joy! This was such a meaningful moment I had waited for.

I called my sister Melissa, who is also a former resident of the Girls’ Ranch who remained there until she graduated college. Melissa came alongside me to lead Zaiden in the most important decision he will ever make – complete acceptance of the Gospel. That is breaking the cycle. That is a life changed. That is love. Thank you for planting seeds and pouring into children, trusting that God would bring forth fruit. You are making an eternal difference.”  – Brittany

To learn more about Big Oak Ranch, visit www.bigoak.org.

-Big Oak Ranch

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Legal Matters

Brought to you by: Community Partner Holliman & Holliman, www.hollimanlegal.com

Community Partner Logo 22 FINAL 1Thinking of your loved ones? Do more than send them valentines and flowers. Use your estate plan to put your love into action.

If your spouse’s eyes glaze over when you want to talk about finances or estate plans, you can still make life easier for your spouse by organizing this info all in one place. Include an updated list of all your key contacts such as your accountant, financial planner or advisor, and estate planning attorney, and keep it in a place that your spouse would know to find it. Update your net worth statement with all accounts and assets the two of you own and make sure you include whose name(s) is on each account or asset. Be sure to include life insurance policy details, pre-paid burial plans, funeral preferences, and digital identity info such as online bill payments and passwords. Do not keep these files in a bank box.

Next, think about your adult children and their strengths and weaknesses. Talk to your estate planning attorney if one of them can’t manage money or has a stormy marriage that could end in divorce. If your adult children are your beneficiaries in your estate plan, you can build in protections from your child’s creditors or divorcing spouse by using the correctly structured trust. Consider if your children’s strengths make them good candidates to serve as your durable power of attorney, executor, healthcare power of attorney, or other roles that will become more important as you and your spouse age. Remember that your estate plan should address your late life as well as after you’re gone.

Next, think about your grandchildren and their future needs such as college, support if they are permanently disabled, and their interests in your hobbies or collections. Keep in mind that divorce decrees will impact their lives if they are part of blended families. Also, make sure that your estate plan addresses future grandchildren.  

You can’t control the future, but you can make sure that your estate plan expresses your deep love for your loved ones much better than a valentine covered with hearts. Changes in your financial affairs, your family members through deaths and divorces, and your designated agents occur more often than you think. Consult with your attorney especially if your estate plan needs to be updated, and then let your loved ones know just how much you love them.

Melanie B. Holliman-Melanie B. Holliman, JD

Partner at Holliman & Holliman, PLLC



No representation is made that the quality of the legal service to be performed is greater than the quality of service performed by other lawyers.

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Business Today

Brought to you by: Community Partner Convene, www.convenenow.com 

Community Partner Logo 22 FINAL 1While many people talk about doing business-as-ministry (BAM), the reality is that business IS ministry (BIM). Ministry is simply serving and caring for others. The best Christian-led companies do both implicit and explicit ministry: 

• Businesses implicitly serve and care for others through excellence of products and services, the way customers, vendors, and team members are led and served, and by building high performing companies that create opportunity and financial provision for many. 

• Businesses can also do explicitly ministry by being strategic and intentional about pointing people to Jesus, helping believers grow in their relationship with God, giving financially to support God’s work, and serving their community and the less fortunate in distant lands. 

Work is where most people spend the majority of their waking hours. It’s where you’re watched, followed, emulated, or possibly even discounted or resented by others. That’s where you’re a city set on a hill, and where you can have a tremendous impact on others. Like it or not, we’re held to higher standards than non-believers, and we’re always influencing people – either toward God or away from Him. Matthew 5:14-16 NLT reminds us, “You are the light of the world—like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. Don’t hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” 

Think about the opportunity we have to be used by God in such a strategic way! Your church gets people for about an hour a week. Your business interacts with people for many hours each week, some for 40 hours or more. And many of those your business touches may never go to church. Just as it’s important and necessary that we pray, strategize and plan for business growth and success (implicit ministry), as followers of Christ we need to do the same for the explicit ministry aspects of our business. 

There’s no “one-program-fits-all” for explicit ministry through business – that would be legalistic and would dishonor your God-given passions, abilities, uniqueness, and the special circumstances of your business. Be encouraged, though, to seek God’s will for the explicit ministry aspects of the business He’s entrusted to you. Get ideas from others and create an explicit ministry action plan. Doing the explicit ministry part of our business well will bring great joy and satisfaction to our lives and to the people God touches. It can be an awesome part of the exciting adventure of walking with God in business! 



To learn more about using your business as ministry, contact:

Alan B Hale
Alan B. Hale
Convene Chair
Harris Wheeler
Harris Wheeler
Convene Chair








Cupcakes at George Washingtons Birthday

Are We There Yet?

In a day of family fun, patriotic music and birthday cake, the American Village in Montevallo will celebrate the 291st birthday of the Father of our Country, George Washington, on Monday, February 20.

Washington’s birthday holds special meaning for the American Village. The land on Highway 119 in Montevallo where the American Village campus is now located was purchased on Washington’s birthday, and their first school program began on Washington’s birthday. 

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Join the American Village in celebrating George Washington’s 291st birthday on February 20. The American Village is located at 3727 Hwy. 119, Montevallo, 35115.

Originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington’s birthday of February 22, the holiday became popularly known as Presidents’ Day after it was moved as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers. Presidents’ Day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents, past and present.

Cupcakes at George Washingtons BirthdayVisitors to the American Village on President’s Day will enjoy family-friendly activities with their staff of costumed historical interpreters from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and can share birthday cake with George Washington at noon. This year’s celebration includes a very special patriotic music concert at 2 p.m., featuring the 18-member Cahaba Chamber Chorale and 89 students in the Ramsay High School Choral Department. The combined choirs will present Randall Thompson’s Testament of Freedom, based on the writings of Thomas Jefferson. Other selections will include Shenandoah, Zion’s Walls, and Lift Every Voice and Sing. The concert, entitled Made in the USA, is designed to highlight the ideals of what it means to be an American, engaging the spirit of our Founders and their aspirations for our Nation – Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. The classical, jazz, and spiritual choral selections are all by American composers – from Colonial times to the present day. Admission to the American Village on President’s Day will be $11 for adults and youth, $9 for seniors, and free to veterans, active military and children ages 4 and under. Learn more at www.americanvillage.org. †


Best Books 0223 FORTUNE

Best Books

In 1687, a baby was born in colonial Maryland. She was the child of a mixed-race couple, but she was born free. Her name was Fortune Game/McGee. When she was eighteen, an unholy alliance of commerce, power, and ungodly theology changed Fortune’s life. The rules governing the positions of slavery and freedom were amended and hardened. At eighteen, she was forcibly placed in indentured servitude by a court. Her enslavement was sanctioned by law. Her enslavement was sanctioned by the church. Her enslavement was an abomination in the sight of God.

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Fortune is available for purchase at Sanctuary Christian Books and Gifts in Alabaster.

Author and Christian activist Lisa Sharon Harper is a direct descendant of Fortune. In her book, Fortune – How Race Broke My Family and the World and How to Repair It All (Brazos Press), Harper shares her family’s history. It is a captivating story of how Fortune’s descendants survived in a nation held in spiritual bondage by the chains of injustice. Each new birth marks a new generation living in the crosshairs of America’s national sin. Some thrived, and some did not. Some struggled more than others. There are some with a known history and some are shrouded in mystery. At the end of this line of men and women whose dark bodies enshrined the image of God comes Lisa Sharon Harper, calling us toward a beloved community, showing a path forward with a new vision of a just and more Christlike society.

Eight generations have passed since Fortune was born, and the echoes of racism, injustice, and exploitation are still with us today. The hypocrisy and hostility that fueled the abuse of Fortune’s dark body centuries ago are still insidiously lurking in the soul of this country. There is an ungodly lie that has seeped into the ethos of white America, including white Christianity. The lie maintains that racism is behind us, and that nothing needs to be said or done about the sins of the past and the conditions of the present. I am persuaded that the story of Harper’s family is a story that cries out to God. Perhaps God, in His abundant mercy, ordained that this nation established Black History Month in February, for the season of Lent begins soon after and God is still waiting for the church and this nation to fully repent. May God forgive us as we bring forth, by our words and deeds, the fruits of repentance.

-Darrel Holcombe, Owner

Sanctuary Christian Books and Gifts

Colonial Promenade, Alabaster 




Best Books 0223 Meet Me

Best Books

Nothing is more important than our relationship with the Father. But we are a weak, frail, and floundering people.

At times our wandering seems endless, and our prayers repetitive and empty. The void within our hearts burns for fulfillment and the desire to feel worthy for a deeper relationship with God cries out. This is when we call to Him. “Meet me where I am, Lord. I must start but the mountain seems too high, the cliffs too steep. I am at the foot, scraping my nails into the rock and reaching.” To know Him better, we understand we need Him to take a willing heart in hand and begin at the bottom. Meet Me Where I Am, Lord by Cindy K. Sproles will lead you in ninety-days of reflection where you will meet God where you are.

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Meet Me Where I Am, Lord releases on February 28 and is available for pre-order now.

Meet Me Where I Am, Lord is a refreshing way to enter the throne room and feel the touch of an ever-present God. Sproles is proud of her mountain heritage. Born, raised, and still living in the Appalachian Mountains, her desire is for the “old ways” of the mountain people and life to never be forgotten. She is an author, storyteller, speaker, and conference teacher. Sproles is the cofounder of Christian Devotions Ministries and served as a project lead manager for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas and Iron Stream Media. She is the director of the Asheville Christian Writers Conference, the executive editor for ChristianDevotions.us and InspireaFire.com. She also is a mentor and editor with Write Right, a private editing service.

Sproles is a best-selling and award-winning author. Her first novel, Mercy’s Rain was named IndieFab Book of the Year and her second, Liar’s Winter, was named Golden Scroll Book of the Year and was also a Carol Award finalist. Her latest book, What Momma Left Behind, was the 2021 Christian Market Novel of the Year. Her devotions have been published across the eastern seaboard and she writes monthly eldercare articles for The Voice Magazine.

Meet Me Where I Am, Lord publishes on February 28, 2023, and is available for pre-order today wherever books are sold. †

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Banks Academy's New Location

Education Extra

Bringing with him a vast number of years of full and part time educational experience and 43 years of music ministry, Cas McWaters recently joined Banks Academy as its new Executive Director. He comes to Banks Academy after retiring as Principal from Vestavia Hills High School in 2013 and serving 8 ½ years in multiple administrative roles at Cornerstone Schools of Alabama.  

Cas McWaters
Banks Academy’s new Executive Director Cas McWaters has many years of experience in full and part time education.

Banks Academy is an ACSI accredited non-denominational private Christian High School located in northeast Birmingham serving grades 9-12. The school opened in August of 2015 and recently moved to a new location in partnership with Huffman Baptist Church located at 700 Huffman Road.

McWaters will be concentrating on starting a Middle School at Banks Academy while continuing to pursue academic excellence for the students. McWaters explained he prayed for several months whether the Lord wanted him to make this change, and the Lord was clear in His guidance.  “Banks Academy is blessed to have an experienced Godly Principal with Dr. Cathy Trimble,” McWaters said adding, “With a goal of excellent Christian education, serving like Jesus in the community, and building character through a competitive athletic program, the best days are ahead for Banks Academy. “

All Banks Academy students receive scholarship help through the Alabama Accountability Act and local donations. If you would like to be a part of the Banks Academy Spring Banquet on April 11, former SEC Head Coach David Cutcliff will be speaking. Tickets may be purchased by visiting www.banksacademy.org

Banks Academy is now enrolling students for the 2023-2024 school year. You may complete an application on the website at www.banksacademy.org or feel free to come by and visit the school. If you have any questions about the school, please don’t hesitate to call McWaters at 205-578-2541. †

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February Reader GIVEAWAYS

TO SAY THANK YOU for reading and supporting the businesses and organizations that advertise with Birmingham Christian Family(BCF) and make spreading Good News possible we have TWO Great Giveaways this month!  

Win 2 Tickets to the Birmingham Home Show February 17-19, 2023 at the BJCC, www.birminghamshomeshow.com. 3 Winners, 2 Tickets Each!

To enter simply LIKE and COMMENT on the Giveaway Post on Birmingham Christian Family’s Facebook @birminghamchristianfamily. 


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Offer ends Thursday, 2/9/23. Winners announced 2/10/23 on the Facebook Giveaway Post. So be sure to FOLLOW our Facebook page @birminghamchristianfamily.

Win 2 Tickets to Cottontails Village March 3-5, 2023 at the BJCC. 3 Winners, 2 Tickets Each!

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Offer ends Monday 2/20/23. Winners announced 2/21/23 on Instagram so be sure to FOLLOW our page @cfpbirmingham.

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