We Have to Keep Moving (one of four articles)

Recently, I was playing a round of golf with one of our founding members when he said something about aging that really struck me: “When you get as old as I am, you are tempted to just become a couch potato. But we can’t do that. We have to keep moving, even when we don’t feel like it.” 

I realized that it takes as much commitment – maybe even more – for an older person to get up and get out of the house as it does for a younger person to do one more rep in the gym. 

Human beings aren’t the only ones who struggle with aging issues. So do churches. One of the common traits among new churches is an extremely high level of commitment from its members. New churches tend to hold high expectations for members and the members tend to rise to those expectations. That’s one of the reasons they often grow quickly. 

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Introducing Journey Groups (two of four articles)

Earlier this year, Twickenham members took a survey designed to gauge our growth as disciples of Jesus. The feedback from the survey looks a lot like Paul’s assessment of his own spiritual performance in Romans 7:18 -- For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 

Like Paul, we experience a gap between our convictions and our actions -- the “Romans 7 Dilemma.” We know what to do. We want to do it. But we do not always follow through. For us, that gap shows up in three areas – sharing Christ, building relationships, and using our spiritual gifts to serve. 

One of the ways we are working to overcome the “Romans 7 Dilemma,” is by renewing our commitment to adult Sunday school. We are revitalizing its mission. We are refreshing its format. We are even going to change its name – from Adult Bible Fellowships to Journey Groups

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Getting Involved Through Journey Groups (three of four articles)

Twickenham is blessed with a remarkably gifted membership, gifts given to each of us through God’s Spirit. One of the goals of Journey Groups is to put those gifts to work reaching the community and serving the body. There are three main areas where Journey Group members may serve. 

Outreach – We don’t usually think of Sunday school as an outreach opportunity. A quote from Allan Taylor, of Lifeway publishing, however, offers a different perspective: “If the single largest ministry in your church is not a Great Commission ministry, your church will not be a Great Commission Church.”

If you have a passion for reaching the lost or walking with those who are searching, serving in outreach is for you. How can you be involved?

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When the Journey Gets Tough (four of four articles)

(The following is a true story. The names have been changed to regard the privacy of those involved.)

When a phone rings at 2:00 in the morning, it’s never good news. This time was no exception. 

“I’m sorry to wake you, but I got a call from Carol Smith a few minutes ago. There’s been an accident. Lee is gone.” 

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Help for Louisiana Flood Victims

As members of our Disaster Response Team and PAR prepare to head to Louisiana this week, we are also collecting supplies for families in Louisiana that have been hit hard by the recent flooding.   The victims of the flooding are in desperate need of cleaning supplies, push brooms, mops, bleach, drinks, canned goods, toilet paper, diapers, building supplies, school supplies, etc.  If you would like to help in this effort, you may bring your donated items to the fellowship hall at Twickenham (500 Whitesburg Drive, Huntsville) where they will be picked up by supply organizers.  The first load of supplies has been sent, but we will be collecting supplies through the end of September.  If you prefer to make a contribution to help with the effort, makes checks payable to Twickenham and denote "LA Flood" support in the memo line.  We plan to buy supplies and help families impacted by the floods with the donated money.  

Outreach Focus

God’s word reminds us of the importance of taking care of widows, the fatherless, the weak, and those outside our normal circle. Jesus talks about the importance of taking care of children and humbling ourselves like a little child to enter the kingdom of God. This summer we highlight three wonderful opportunities show God’s love to widows and children in need within our local community.

Widow Lawn Care: Tracy Pollard leads the Widow Lawn Care ministry based on contacts he receives through CASA. Tracy says, “The main goal of the Widow Lawn Care ministry is to glorify God through service and honor to widows. We develop relationships with our widows and minister to them through prayer and support for their needs. We need some more good men. CASA has received calls from many more widows that are not yet being served.” Tracy and his team have huge hearts for serving others and giving glory to God. Lawn mowers and supplies are furnished, and you have the flexibility to mow either after work one afternoon or on the weekend at your convenience. 

This ministry helps these widows maintain their independence and dignity and reminds them of God’s commitment to care for them through His people. These ladies are so grateful for the service they receive, but especially for the prayers and the smiles. Contact Tracy Pollard at 256-698-8078 or email her if you can help serve with the Widow Lawn Care even one time this summer. 

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Hacienda of Hope – Restoring Families

The Hacienda of Hope is a place that not only offers behavioral therapy and other services to the children we care for, but we also work together with families in order to be able to reunite them with their children. This is not a simple task. There is so much work that must be done by both sides. But. All of the hard work, sweat, and tears is so worth it when we are able to reunite families once again.

Baby Maía Noemí was brought to the Hacienda in February, two days after she was born, having been abandoned by her mother in the local hospital. Her beauty and calmness enamored us all within hours. At just two days old she had suffered an unimaginable loss, through no fault of her own. However, about a week after she came to us, her mother appeared. The question we had all been pondering – how could a mother do this to her child? – was suddenly answered. She was young, beautiful, scared and lonely. It was a bad decision, she told us. A mistake. Because of the risk of placing Maía back with the very woman who had abandoned her, we began to work with her grandparents on the possibility of giving them custody of Maía. In a short period of time we determined that Maía’s grandparents have the resources and the desire to raise their granddaughter, while her mother will continue visiting her and being a part of her life. Although we will miss Maía, we are so grateful that she will be able to grow up with her family.

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Coach Cohu & Israel Football

In just a few short days, I’ll be leaving to spend the summer in Israel, and I can’t help but think about the first time I went to the Holy Land 12 years ago. Excited and nervous, and certainly not knowing what to expect, I had the experience of a lifetime. I vowed that, God permitting, I would go again. Little did I know that I would indeed go back many times, and that I would one day be working full-time with the Israeli Football League! It’s amazing what God has in store for our lives.

This summer I’ll be coaching football in Israel, training their National Team for competition in Italy in early September. Though we have much preparation on the gridiron over the next several weeks, the most exciting part will be spending time with my family in Israel and continuing to develop relationships with Israelis. 

Most people who know me certainly know that I’m a Zionist. What might not be as well understood is that my reasons for this are not political in nature. It is not politics, but my faith in God, His Son, and His Word, that has led me to Israel. Just as I believe that the prophecies of Jesus’ birth, ministry, and resurrection had to be fulfilled, I also believe that those passages concerning His return must and will be realized. My work is an effort to honor the host of passages that deal with God’s re-gathering of the Jewish people to their homeland in the Last Days for His redemptive purposes. Paul references those prophesies and promises in Romans 10-11, teaching us that God is not done and His Word has NOT failed. His plan WILL BE accomplished. 

Many people ask me questions regarding my actual job. We will be conducting the training camps in Modi’in twice weekly. Most of the players have full-time jobs so we schedule practices around work schedules. Also, I’ll be teaching at the Wingate Institute (Israel’s “sports college”), preparing coaches for the upcoming season. It’s a great opportunity to build relationships with many Israelis and work with their organizations and institutions. In addition, and most importantly, I’ll be able to interact with growing congregations throughout the country as I continue to allow God to open doors. 

Elder’s Note: Strategic Resources for Aging Well

Life is a journey. For most of us there are plenty of peaks and valleys, many moments of joy, satisfaction, enlightenment and exhilaration, but also seasons of difficulties and challenges. All of us need preparation for our journey. As an example, most of us at some point in our lives will find ourselves in the role of caregiver to a family member. Some of us will be primary caregivers, others will be part of a caregiver team.

Caring for loved ones is often a blessing and an opportunity to grow in many aspects of our lives, but at times, overwhelming demands may affect a caregiver's physical, spiritual or emotional well-being. It is not uncommon for caregivers to occasionally feel anger, frustration, and then grow anxious or guilty for those feelings.

The Shepherds at Twickenham are planning a series of classes for this fall that provide information, strategies and connections to resources that provide assistance to present-day and future caregivers. The classes will address transition to a role of caregiver as a call to ministry, the role of the church, how to get the family on the same page, or what to do if that is not possible. We will talk about coping skills for being effective as a caregiver and taking care of yourself as a priority.

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Why Our Members Chose Twickenham

Although we were coming from a more conservative background, we quickly noticed that there was an openness and sense of welcoming that made us feel very at ease. We embrace fully what seems to be an environment of healing for the broken. We believe in moving from maintenance to mission. We have been impressed by the engaged nature of the shepherds, staff and membership.

I want to learn more about God’s Word and hold Him close in my heart. Twickenham seems to be able to guide me by offering similar perspectives to which I can relate as well as unique views that open my mind.

I was very impressed with the love, compassion and how sincere the worship is.

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