Encouraging Word

7 P’s for Problem Solving

Problems; those situations or circumstances that are unpleasant, undesirable, inconvenient, uncomfortable and unwelcome. Nobody likes them yet everybody has them. Problems are inevitable, yet we seem surprised and become disappointed when they cross our path. Jesus said in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” I would like to suggest 7 P’s for problem solving.

  1. Pray. I Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.” Pray as a first response and not a last resort. Prayer causes us to focus on God’s presence and power.
  2. Praise. Revelation 19:5 says, “. . . Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear, the small and the great.” Praise is a form of worship.
  3. Don’t Panic. Try not to feel overwhelmed and become fearful and anxious. We don’t have to deal with the problem alone.
  4. Be Patient. A part of patience is to wait without complaint. Isaiah 40:31, “Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”
  5. Don’t take it Personal. Problems are usually not a personal attack or a conspiracy to destroy you. And you’re not the only one experiencing difficulty.
  6. Be Positive. Problems have solutions. Maintain a positive attitude. Keep your options open and believe that you will get through it.
  7. Be Pleasant. Don’t allow negative emotions to take over and contribute to you being angry, aggravated, frustrated or irritable. Attempt to respond appropriately rather than react.

And remember, God can and does use problems for our benefit. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Tony CooperTony Cooper

In his 26th Year of Service as Exec. Dir.,

Jimmie Hale Mission


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Two by 2

Keep Your Pet Healthy & Happy this Spring

dogs in flowersWith spring weather, everyone is excited to get outside with their pets for playtime but the warmer weather increases your pet’s risk of fleas, ticks, parasites and heartworms as well as getting lost.

Besides being an annoyance to you and your pet, fleas cause dermatitis, skin infections and anemia. Ticks can carry fatal diseases such as Lyme, so always check your pet before you bring them inside. Heartworm disease is prevalent in Alabama and passed around from mosquitos. Foot-long heartworms live in the heart, blood vessels and lungs of an infected pet and can be life-threatening. While treatment for fleas, ticks and heartworms is available, prevention is safer and more effective. Based on your lifestyle and budget, your veterinarian can help you decide which preventative is best for you. Options include oral or topical medication for fleas and ticks and oral, topical and injectable options for heartworms and parasites. Even indoor cats and dogs need to be protected.

Being outdoors and having doors and windows open can increase the chances of your pet escaping. Keep ID tags on pets with their name and your current phone number. Veterinarians can also administer a microchip that uses radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to store a number that is registered with pet information and owner contact details in national databases. Veterinarians or shelters that find a lost animal will use a scanner to read the microchip to identify the pet and owner.

Enjoy the springtime but take these few precautions to keep your family pet protected.

-Valleydale Animal Clinic & Nexgard


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The Great Outdoors

The Success of a Call


Spring turkey season kicks off March 15. Whether this is your first season or your fifteenth, one thing all turkey hunters agree upon is that turkey hunting takes work- especially perfecting your call. No matter what type of call you use, we are all trying to achieve one common goal, letting the feathers fly.

If you are having a hard time trying to decide what call to use, then you are probably over thinking it. turkey hunter callAll turkey calls are designed to do the same thing and that is to replicate the sound of those tasty, tasty birds. The success of a call lies solely on the person using it, not the person that endorses it. It is important to try each type of call and see which one, or ones, feel good to you. If you still don’t have a preference then think about what you are doing- trying to sound like a turkey. Which call allows you to achieve that sound you are looking for the best and the easiest? The most important thing to remember is that there is no right or wrong decision. And if you are still having a hard time deciding, let one of the Mark’s Outdoors staff members help you pick out your new favorite call.

Next month we will be gearing up for fishing, so make sure that you go ahead and bring your rods and reels in for service now so you will be ready to hit the water.


Matt LovettScreen Shot 2016-02-04 at 3.20.19 PM

Mark’s Outdoor Sports

1400-B Montgomery Highway, Vestavia 35216

205-822-2010, www.marksoutdoors.com



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Best Books

Prepare for Easter with Gospel of John

Best Books John-The Gospel of Light and Life_Hamilton March 16 COVER ARTFor most people, the book of Revelation is the most difficult section of the New Testament. Not for me. I say this not because I’ve mastered the bizarre symbolism of John’s apocalyptic literature, but because its mysteriousness is superseded by John‘s gospel. The fourth gospel is beautiful and brilliant; but it’s also bewildering. Whenever I read the Gospel of John, I always walk away with questions. Perhaps that was the writer’s intention, whoever he was. Even the author is a mysterious figure, a beloved disciple whose identity has long been a catalyst for speculation and alternative theories.

In his new book, John – The Gospel of Light and Life (Abingdon Press,$18.99),  Rev. Adam Hamilton takes us on a journey through the strange landscape of the fourth gospel. Opening up with the exalted language of John’s prologue, he explores the implications of God’s Word being made flesh. Then we enter John’s seven signs and the seven high Christology “I Am” sayings of Jesus. In the middle of John’s gospel we encounter the Farewell Discourse. John commits five chapters to the Last Supper, yet shockingly never mentions the bread and the wine. Then we enter the arrest and death of Jesus, followed by the glory of his resurrection. In each section, Hamilton encourages us to look beyond the self-evident and look for the writer’s deeper meaning, which is always lurking just below the surface, waiting to be thoughtfully discovered.

Best Books John-The Gospel of Light and Life_Hamilton HEAD SHOT March 16I believe the fourth evangelist used ambiguous language because the author perceived the gospel itself as being deeply mysterious and elusive in nature. Unlike Matthew, Mark and Luke, there are no parables in John. Perhaps he didn’t include them because the entire book feels like a parable, filled with  language which leaves the reader with an uneasy sense that there is more to the literature than what meets the eye.

As Easter approaches, John – The Gospel of Light and Life is an excellent resource for devotional use. John’s gospel is the story of the Word who loved and overcame the world. In its pages we are invited to believe the story of Jesus, with all its mystery and wonder, and allow the Word to love and overcome us as well.

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 12.23.28 PM-Darrel Holcombe, Owner

Sanctuary Christian Books and Gifts

                                                                 Colonial Promenade, Alabaster

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Money Matters

Why You Should Stay In Stocks in 2016: One Bad Trading Day Is Not the Year

Business graphThe stock market has wavered recently. A lackluster year just ended, and this year has started inauspiciously. You may be wondering…should you really be invested in stocks right now? Yes, you should be.

In moments like these, investors should not panic and overreact to the headlines. Instead, they should take the long view of stock market investing. Impulsive selling now can lead an investor to try and time the market later, and market timing usually leads investors to make mistakes. On a bad day, it may seem like the whole market is falling apart—but stock market performance is not measured only in days.

Consider the following statistics, which highlight some underpublicized truths:

*Just recently, the Dow gained 7% in a quarter. The NASDAQ rose 8.38% and the S&P 6.45% in the same interval. When did this happen? The 4th quarter of 2015. Yes, the same quarter that just ended with everyone talking about how sluggish the market was.

*The S&P 500 did lose 0.73% in 2015 in terms of price return, but its 2015 total return (including dividends) was positive- a yearly gain of 1.38%.

And now, some long-term historical perspective:

*The S&P has recovered well from many of its major one-day descents. Its January 4 plunge was comparable to its August 24 drop, when it was down more than 4% during the trading session and lost 3.2% on the day to close at 1,893.21. It took the S&P just three days to recover the entirety of that big loss.

*In the 88 market years from 1928-2015, the S&P had 63 profitable years with its average yearly gain being 21.5%. So across the rough equivalent of a human lifetime, the S&P 500 has advanced on an annual basis 72% of the time.

Yes, there have been down years for stocks- severe ones among them. There have also been great years, and far more positive years than negative ones. A particular headline or economic indicator may jolt the market on a particular day, but you are not invested for one day- you are investing for a lifetime. So be patient; better days may be ahead for the market.


money matters vision financial Larry Anderson headshot– Larry Anderson, Vision Financial Group 

4505 Pine Tree Circle, Birmingham, AL 35243

205-970-4909, www.visionfinancialgroup.com

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc. Investment Advisory services offered through Investment Advisors, a division of ProEquities, Inc., a Registered Investment Adviser. Securities offered through ProEquities, Inc., a Registered Broker-Dealer, Member FINRA & SIPC. Vision Financial Group, Inc. is not affiliated with ProEquities, Inc.


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Legal Matters

Auto Insurance Advice from a Personal Injury Attorney

You probably have automobile insurance, but do you understand the basics of your policy? The first step in reviewing your automobile insurance policy is to request a copy of the Declaration’s Page which contains details unique to your specific policy. It will list all members, drivers and automobiles on your policy as well as the policy number and the duration of your policy. It also contains the type of coverage purchased, policy limits and deductibles. It is important to review this material for accuracy and become familiar with your policy.

There are multiple coverage options under your automobile insurance policy. We will briefly discuss the major options:

Liability Coverage applies if you are at fault in an automobile accident. It will cover the other person’s injuries and property damage up to the amount of your policy limit. Given the rising costs of medical treatment and automobile repairs, it is recommended that you carry liability limits well above the minimum required limits in Alabama which are 25/50/25.

woman hand on isolated background holding a car key

Medical Payment Coverage is an optional coverage which is highly recommended. It helps cover health care costs related to an automobile accident regardless of who is at fault. Many people do not realize they are entitled to collect medical payment coverage from their own insurance company when they are involved in an accident. The smart approach is to have as much medical payment as you can afford on your policy. It is relatively inexpensive to increase this amount of coverage.

Collision Coverage is the coverage that repairs your vehicle when you are involved in an accident. This coverage is the most expensive part of your overall premium. The deductible that you choose in regard to this coverage directly affects the premium cost. The higher the deductible, the lower the premium cost.

Comprehensive Coverage covers damage to your vehicle not caused by collision. Examples include damage from contact with animals or falling objects, broken glass or the theft of your vehicle. This is generally the second most expensive part of your premium after collision coverage. It is subject to a deductible and again, the higher the deductible, the lower your premium costs.

Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage is available on your personal automobile and can also be applicable if you reside in a household with someone who has that coverage on their automobile. This insurance is applicable when the at fault party who caused the accident either has no insurance or does not have enough insurance to fully compensate the injured party. In Alabama, uninsured motorist coverage is mandatory on your policy unless you specifically reject it in writing when you take out your policy. It is one of the cheapest coverages on your policy and is highly recommended to protect yourself from uninsured or underinsured drivers.


Frank S. Buck, P.C., Attorney at Law

Offering professional legal services and serving Alabama citizens for over 40 years. Experienced trial attorneys who have over 90 years of combined trial experience. Available 24 hours a day at (205) 933-7533. Call for a free consultation.


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Parenting Points

4 Tips to Leading Your Child toward Good Decision Making

Good decision making is not a skill with which we are born. We can look back at examples from our past when we made very poor decisions that were not properly thought out and the unfortunate consequences that accompanied those decisions. There are two very real reasons for the lack of prudence children and teens show in their decision making. One reason is biological and the other is spiritual.

Biologically, the part of our brain used to reason and weigh outcomes, the prefrontal cortex, does not fully develop until we reach our mid 20’s. Research indicates it is one of the last regions of our brain to fully develop. On the other hand, the part of our brain that controls our response to pleasure is fully developed by age 13.


So when we see our children and teens making decisions that seem totally void of thought or reason, there are actual biological reasons this may occur. The main reason prudence is a struggle for all of us is our sin nature. Sin infects all that we do. We don’t automatically choose to define what is right and wrong based on God’s definitions of right and wrong, but based on what is best for “me.” Sin takes our focus and attention away from God, the source of all things good, and turns it on ourselves.

As parents, we need the love of Christ to combat both the biological and the spiritual roadblocks to prudence. We need to show Christ’s love and grace as our children learn prudence and we need His love in our own hearts to lead them into the realm of good decision making. Here are four keys to help develop godly prudence in your children.

  1. Demonstrate prudence for your children.
  2. Affirm your children when they make good decisions.
  3. When they make poor decisions, help your children think through other options they had and see how the consequences could have been different.
  4. Above all, train your children to seek what is right in the character and nature of Christ as He is revealed in Scripture.

Parenting Points Head Shot Drew Phillips_Byline pic

-Drew Phillips, Chaplain 

Covenant Classical Schools & Daycare

To learn more about Covenant Classical Schools visit www.ccslion.com

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Encouraging Word

The Ultimate Planner

The word PLAN is defined as design; procedure; or purpose. We know God is very organized and orderly. We see from creation He is detailed. He has a master plan. Genesis 1 tells us that God created the heavens and the earth and everything on the earth. God also has individual plans for His people. In Jeremiah 29:11, God says, “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare (to bless you) and not for calamity (harm) to give you a future and a hope.”

God’s plan began by giving us life. Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.” Following our physical birth, God desires that we experience spiritual birth. John 3:3 says, “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’“ II Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” A part of the new spiritual life is both a fullness (to be complete) of life (John 10:10); and eternal life (John 3:16, Romans 6:23). To experience the spiritual life we need to respond to God’s call to salvation; call to sanctification (process of spiritual growth); and call to Christian service.

Be encouraged, God has a plan for you. However, you must receive and follow His plan. His plans are to bless you and give you hope, a future and a fullness of life.

Tony Cooper

Tony Cooper 

In his 26th Year of Service as Exe. Dir.,

Jimmie Hale Mission


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Mission Makers

GriefShare Offers Hopegrief-share-logo

If you’ve lost a spouse, parent, child, or family member, you’ve probably found there are not many people who understand the deep hurt you feel. This can be a confusing time when you feel isolated and have many questions about things you’ve never before faced.

For almost 25 years, GriefShare has been providing a friendly, caring group of people to walk alongside those who are grieving. GriefShare is a Christ centered ministry and a product of The Church Initiative, Inc. in Wake Forest, N.C. It is one of the most widely acclaimed and highly successful grief recovery programs of its kind and has support groups in our area, including Hoover and Trussville. Trained facilitators, who have experienced this kind of grief themselves, guide participants and provide tools and resources necessary to move forward. Pete Jackson is a local GriefShare leader and facilitator who lost his wife of 34 years due to a sudden and massive hemorrhagic stroke and went through the program himself. “Although all of us at some time or another will face this difficult situation, we are never fully prepared. Losing my wife was similar to a 9/11 experience. Something you never get over completely, changing your life from that point forward, but you learn to live with,” says Jackson adding, “You simply adjust to what we call ‘the new normal’. That’s what GriefShare can do for those suffering from such a loss and it will be done in a safe, secure, loving and confidential environment with a group of others that have experienced similar loses.” Jackson is the group facilitator for GriefShare meetings at Faith Presbyterian Church on Valleydale Road. See Support Groups on page 28 for more details about this GriefShare group and others in the Birmingham area.

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