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Deacon's Pantry in need
The Deacon's Pantry is in need. This time of year, the request for pantry items are very high. If you have non-perishable items that you would like to donate for this ministry, please bring them to the kitchen and they will be added to the pantry.
Upcoming Events 
Christmas Caroling - 12/12/2018 - 5:00 pm

Tonight we will go Christmas Caroling for people on the Talladega side of the river.  Please come join us for this festive fun time as we visit and sing for those who cannot normally get out to church.  

Special Called Business Meeting - 12/16/2018 - 11:55 am

Please plan to attend this important meeting immediately following the morning worship.

Christmas Churchwide Dinner - 12/16/2018 - 5:00 pm
Please come out and enjoy this special time as we have Christmas Dinner with the church. Please bring a meal to share with others.
Christmas Caroling - 12/19/2018 - 5:00 pm

Please come join us as we go over to the Pell City side of the river to visit and sing for those who can't get out.  This is a special time of joy and fellowship. Don't miss out on this!

Stemley Senior Sensations Fellowship - 12/21/2018 - 11:00 am

Come join this time of fun and fellowship with our seniors of the church.  There will be activites and food for all.  See you there!

Youth Christmas Party - 12/23/2018 - 5:30 pm

We will be having a youth Christmas Party.  Please see Bro Wayne or Bro Andy for further details.

Christmas Candlelight Service - 12/24/2018 - 5:00 pm
Join us for this special time as we celebrate the birth of our Savior. This will be a wonderful time for all. It will be a shortened service so that you may get home for the family time.
Bible Study - 01/2/2019 - 7:00 pm
Monthly Business Meeting - 01/6/2019 - 7:00 pm

We will hold our monthly business meeting immediately following the evening worship.  Please attend to review the church business.

Brotherhood Breakfast - 01/12/2019 - 9:00 am

Come join us for a wonderful Country Breakfast for the family.  The cost is $5 each or $12 for a family of 3 or more.  There will be a short devotion following the meal.  Don't miss this great time of fellowship and fun together with our Church family and friends.

Stemley Senior Sensations Fellowship - 01/18/2019 - 11:00 am

Come join this time of fun and fellowship with our seniors of the church.  There will be activites and food for all.  See you there!

Birthday and Anniversary Fellowship - 01/20/2019 - 5:30 pm

On this evening, we celebrate with anyone who has a birthday or a couple that has an anniversary.  We share finger type foods and then sing some favorite hymns selected by the congregation.  Please come and join this fun evening.

Churchwide Dinner - 01/23/2019 - 6:00 pm

The WMU will be serving dinner for the church.  Please bring your family and friends for some good food and fellowship.

Monthly Business Meeting - 02/3/2019 - 7:00 pm

We will hold our monthly business meeting immediately following the evening worship.  Please attend to review the church business.

Bible Study - 02/6/2019 - 7:00 pm
Brotherhood Breakfast - 02/9/2019 - 9:00 am

Come join us for a wonderful Country Breakfast for the family.  The cost is $5 each or $12 for a family of 3 or more.  There will be a short devotion following the meal.  Don't miss this great time of fellowship and fun together with our Church family and friends.

Stemley Senior Sensations Fellowship - 02/15/2019 - 11:00 am

Come join this time of fun and fellowship with our seniors of the church.  There will be activites and food for all.  See you there!

Birthday and Anniversary Fellowship - 02/17/2019 - 5:30 pm

On this evening, we celebrate with anyone who has a birthday or a couple that has an anniversary.  We share finger type foods and then sing some favorite hymns selected by the congregation.  Please come and join this fun evening.

Churchwide Dinner - 02/27/2019 - 6:00 pm

The WMU will be serving dinner for the church.  Please bring your family and friends for some good food and fellowship.

Monthly Business Meeting - 03/3/2019 - 7:00 pm

We will hold our monthly business meeting immediately following the evening worship.  Please attend to review the church business.

Bible Study - 03/6/2019 - 7:00 pm
Brotherhood Breakfast - 03/9/2019 - 9:00 am

Come join us for a wonderful Country Breakfast for the family.  The cost is $5 each or $12 for a family of 3 or more.  There will be a short devotion following the meal.  Don't miss this great time of fellowship and fun together with our Church family and friends.

News RSS Feeds 

Why history's wisest figures have seen a connection between reading well and living well.

When I was a young girl, I gathered up all my books from my bedroom, carried them downstairs into our finished basement, arranged them on a bookcase, and opened my own little library. I’d like to say I did this in order to let my friends check out the books to read, but I think it’s more accurate to say that I made them do it. Now as an English professor, I make my students read books, and it has been both my passion and my job to encourage people to read widely.

When I began teaching, I found I had to become a kind of apologist for literary reading. Some of my Christian students (along with their nervous parents) were wary of reading “worldly” literature by authors who, perhaps, were hostile to the Christian worldview. As a young professor at an evangelical university, I developed an approach to teaching my classes that began with a biblical basis for reading literature, including literature that is not necessarily “Christian.” I came to relish every opportunity to teach my students (and sometimes their parents) how such reading ultimately can strengthen one’s Christian faith and worldview. I became an evangelist for reading widely.

Then, over the past several years, something began to shift. Now nearly everyone seems to be reading more—and more widely. I seldom encounter students who have been sheltered from diverse points of view, transgressive ideas, or atheistic arguments. Or even Harry Potter. Between blog posts, Twitter feeds, listicles, and long-winded Facebook rants, everyone seems to be reading something most of the time—right from the palm of their hand. Yet we don’t seem to be better readers. In fact, we seem to be worse. (Just spend two minutes following ...

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We are going to hear the voice of survivors, trauma counselors, and Christian leaders who will call evangelicals to a better way.

Maya Angelou once said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

The reality of that agony is more real than ever as this powerful imagery speaks volumes to an important issue we face as a nation, and inside our church walls, today. The issue of sexual abuse and scandal has rocked and ravaged our front pages, our computer screens, and our congregations within the past year.

Women across the country—and around the world—have put up with too much for too long. The tidal wave of reports bringing their stories to the surface in a tidal wave of reports called us all to reckon with the #metoo movement.

Last year, Time Magazine’s person of the year was actually more than one person. That annual high-profile cover showed us “The Silence Breakers,” those behind the movement that gave voices to so many women.

But well over a year after this all began, we still have so far to go—especially in the church.

What followed #metoo was #churchtoo—the telling of stories of abuse specifically within the context of church life. The posts, tweets, and hashtags once again flooded our social media pages and dominated conversations everywhere. And still, the stories haven’t stopped.

Most are aware of the fire being felt by the Catholic Church for the behaviors of priests and bishops towards children. Some of the headlines this past year alone have read, “American Priest is Accused of Molesting Boys in the Philippines” and “U.S. Catholic Church Hit with Two National Lawsuits by sex-abuse victims” and “Catholic Priests Abused 1,000 Children in Pennsylvania, Report Says.” The pope, in response to what happened in Pennsylvania, wrote ...

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Investigation by Fort Worth Star-Telegram finds 400 allegations against 168 leaders spanning almost 200 churches and institutions.

Hundreds of women and men have accused leaders of independent fundamental Baptist churches of sexual misconduct in a major investigative report published last weekend by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The series uncovered 412 allegations of abuse across nearly 200 churches and institutions, which by definition exist apart from denominational affiliations and in contrast to more mainstream Baptist or evangelical bodies like the Southern Baptist Convention.

“From Connecticut to California, the stories are tragically similar: A music minister molested a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina and moved to another church in Florida,” the Star-Telegram wrote. “Another girl’s parents stood in front of their Connecticut congregation to acknowledge their daughter’s ‘sin’ after she was abused by her youth pastor, beginning at 16. This year, four women accused a pastor in California of covering up sexual misconduct and shielding the abusers over almost 25 years.”

In all, 168 leaders—including some of the most prominent pastors among the group’s thousands of US congregations—faced abuse accusations over incidents spanning from the 1970s to present-day.

More than 130 of them have been found guilty of rape, kidnapping, sexual assault, and a litany of other crimes, with most victims being children and teens, according to a database compiled by the Star-Telegram. Dozens of abusive pastors had multiple victims—one raped 11 girls in his congregation—and several had abused children as young as 7 years old.

Victims repeatedly cited deference to pastoral authority as a factor for why they initially trusted their abusers and why it became so difficult to bring their wrongdoing ...

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Two Indian missions experts weigh in on how the young American’s failed attempt will impact local efforts to reach Andaman tribes.

John Chau first heard of North Sentinel Island about 10 years ago, when the Washington state native made it his calling to evangelize the residents of the remote island on the other side of the world. But evangelicals in mainland India have known about the indigenous tribes in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands—territories under their country’s federal rule—for decades.

Two Indian missiologists shared their perspectives with CT on the young American’s failed attempt to evangelize the Sentinelese and how the story of his death may impact future efforts to reach tribal groups in the islands.

Even in India, Chau Raised Awareness of the Sentinelese

Atul Y. Aghamkar

India is a complex land with the most sophisticated, well-educated, urban, globalized, wealthy elites on the one hand, and—as recent news has reminded us—some of the most isolated people living in primitive conditions on the other.

The Anthropological Survey of India has identified at least 4,635 distinct people groups, including a large tribal population of about 10 million people (7–8% of the country), often referred to as adivasis, meaning “original inhabitants,” or “scheduled tribes” in government records.

The Andaman Islands are home to four “Negrito” tribes—the Great Andamanese, Onge, Jarawa, and Sentinelese—believed to have arrived from Africa some 60,000 years ago. The neighboring Nicobar Islands are home to two “Mongoloid” tribes—the Shompen and Nicobarese—believed to have come from the Malay-Burma coast 1,000 years ago. The number of original inhabitants of these islands is slowly diminishing, and some are even on the verge of extinction.

The Sentinelese—the ...

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It matters how the church enters a mission field.

“Three of our children were folded in the arms of the Good Shepherd during the past year. Tuberculosis, the tendency to which was inherited, took each of them. As none of the teachers … or other white people at Unalaska, are so far as we know ever touched by the great white plague, we have come to the conclusion that it is not the climate but the conditions of living that make the disease so prevalent among the natives. Few children in Alaska are well born. Then, the ignorance of the parents, who seem to make it their chief avocation during the long winters to watch lest a whiff of fresh air get into their cabins, and the lack of good food add their contributions to the inherited tendency.”

Annual Report of the Woman’s Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1909

Since the news of John Chau’s death reached the wider world, both pundits and people on social media have offered commentary on the merits or folly of Mr. Chau’s actions. One of the strongest criticisms has been the possibility of disease transmission. Recently, Ed Stetzer interviewed experts who helpfully contributed information on epidemiology and missions. While essential to research on colonialism and missions, disease transmission is not the only factor in understanding how disease affects mission fields.

As a historian, I research American missions movements, focusing on how American missionaries were influenced by race theories and how these race theories affected missionary education, proclamation, and public health efforts. As an Alaskan, I was drawn to this history in my home state. My research led me to the troubling story of missions and tuberculosis among Alaska Natives.

The quote that opens ...

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Improving our prevention and response to sexual violence will take sustained, significant efforts.

We believe that the vast majority of people of faith, if asked, would state a sincere desire to respond to sexual violence with wisdom, justice and support for victims. Numerous narratives from survivors, however, caution us to consider that we vastly overestimate our readiness to respond well, and underestimate the challenges involved in doing so.

Therefore, we do not place all our hopes in sharing a “to-do list” of strategies for churches. Clergy and leaders can have access to best practices, along with the resources to implement them, and still be stymied by powerful spiritual, psychological, and cultural influences.

These forces complicate and countervail against wise application of knowledge and effective implementation of safeguarding and response measures. In the third of our reflections, we identify and urge consideration of a few of these complicating forces.

1 – Human nature recoils from engagement with sexual violence.

The first may seem an obvious truth, but it is essential to this conversation. Human nature seeks comfort and stability, and resists distress and disequilibrium. Anguish and disruption, however, are unavoidable when sexual violation touches the lives of individuals and those called to act in response.

By their very nature, sexual violations, and their disclosures, throw individuals and systems into disarray. We are inclined to resist this level of disruption and recoil from coming into close contact with the physical, psychological, social and spiritual realities of sexual violence.

However, there is no way to respond to these experiences with justice and accountability without encountering profound disruptions and palpable distress. Avoidance and minimization may temporarily reestablish ...

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In the midst of Nazi resistance, this Christian martyr offered three models for the season of waiting.

On November 21, 1943, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote a letter from Tegel Prison. “A prison cell like this is a good analogy for Advent,” he said. “One waits, hopes, does this or that—ultimately negligible things—the door is locked and can only be opened from the outside.”

The comparison between Advent and a prison cell may seem strange. It evokes powerlessness, perhaps even hopelessness. However, it is this particular type of waiting that Bonhoeffer believes best prepares us for Christ’s coming.

Although a Nazi prison gave him this metaphor, the sermons he wrote during his time of active ministry also present a similar vision of Advent waiting. In these sermons, Bonhoeffer sees the season before Christmas as a sharpened liturgical expression of the tension that informs our entire lives as Christians. Celebrating it prepares us to live as people who have made a radical break with the present world of sin and death and are also preparing for the redeemed future that God has already, in one sense, accomplished. Through Advent, we learn how to live in these two concurrent realities: We have already been delivered, and yet our deliverance is still to come.

Bonhoeffer’s Christmas and Advent sermons highlight three figures who exemplify life amid this tension and, by their example, might guide us through this season. Learning how to wait from these figures will not be warm and cozy but deep, dangerous, and shot through with sorrow and pain.

The first figure is Moses. This is not the triumphant Moses leading the people of Israel through a miraculously parted Red Sea or the lawgiver Moses carrying the stone tablets down the mountainside. Rather, the Advent Moses is the one found in Deuteronomy ...

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He came to divide sons from their fathers and daughters from their mothers—not to promote “family values.”

An excerpt from CT’s Beautiful Orthodoxy Book of the Year. Here’s the full list of CT 2019 Book Award winners.

When many people think of North American Christianity, one of the first words that come to mind would be family. Part of that is good, necessary, and unavoidable for a church on mission. If we are going to disciple people, we must teach them to keep themselves from idols (1 John 5:21), and many of the idols of our age come under the rubric of allegedly freeing people from the “constraints” of family responsibility and even family definition. When the outside culture valorizes sexual promiscuity, gender confusion, a divorce culture, and the upending of marriage, then the church must work hard to articulate a different vision. There is a danger, though, that comes with any mission, and this one is no exception.

The outside world is interested in order and stability. In that sense, the world can see the value, in most cases, of “The Family” in a way that it would not see the value of, say, the doctrine of justification by faith. Churches can talk about the family, then, in ways that seem immediately relevant even to their most metaphysically disinterested neighbors. With the secularizing of Western culture, many churches find that their neighbors simply aren’t asking questions like “What will I say when God asks me, ‘Why should I let you into heaven?’ ” They find people are asking, “How can I find sexual fulfillment if I’m not married?” or “How can I stop arguing so much with my husband?” or “How can I relate to my kids during the teenage years?” For many churches, the family then becomes the point of contact with ...

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The Chicago musician begins his first sabbatical with a famous 80-year-old devotional.

After years of referencing his Christian faith on social media and in his Grammy-winning hip hop albums, Chance the Rapper has set out on a sabbatical to study and meditate on God’s Word.

He shared a glimpse of his morning devotions—a page from Scottish theologian John Baillie’s A Diary of Private Prayer—with 9.2 million followers on Instagram on Monday.

The 25-year-old rapper posted a picture of the second day of the devotional, a prayer entitled “Continued Dependence Upon You” [full text below].

A Diary of Private Prayer reflects the personal religious practices developed by Baillie—a longtime seminary professor and church leader in Edinburgh in the mid-20th century. He and his brother Donald were considered among the greatest mediating theologians of their day. The book has sold more than a million copies in 20 languages since it was released in 1937.

Chance’s venture into Baillie’s best-known work comes a few days after the musician told fans he’d be traveling out of the country on his “first sabbatical” and would be dedicating the time away to studying Scripture.

“I’m going away to learn the Word of God which I am admittedly very unfamiliar with. I’ve been brought up by my family to know Christ but I haven’t taken it upon myself to really just take a couple days and read my Bible,” he stated.

“We all quote scripture and tell each other what God likes and doesn’t like but how much time do we spend as followers of Jesus to really just read and KNOW his Word. I’m definitely guilty of not devoting time to it.”

Over the weekend, he also posted on his Instagram stories a picture of the cover of Tim Keller’s ...

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Our picks for the books most likely to shape evangelical life, thought, and culture.

There’s a funny graphic making the social media rounds that confirms a truth universally acknowledged, at least by bibliophiles. Under the heading “Do I need more books?” sits a pie chart partitioned into a big slice (in teal) and a much smaller slice (in yellow), representing the dueling impulses in play. Predictably enough, the teal portion depicts the overwhelming urge to answer with an emphatic “YES.” But then we confront the nagging, still small voice of conscience, whispering ever so delicately, “also YES, but in yellow.”

As someone who owns a perfectly appropriate, not even slightly excessive, but still fairly large number of books, I know the feeling. Several years ago, I was part of a book club at church. We were discussing a book about books (Tony Reinke’s Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading). At some point, I asked whether anyone else ever felt guilty about devoting too much time to reading, given all the other callings God places on our lives. One young woman in the group thought the question revealed more about the bookworm bubble I inhabited than any spiritual dilemma Christians commonly face. And of course she was right! (Thank goodness that levelheaded young woman later saw fit to become my wife.)

If only through gritted teeth, you can usually get me to concede the sinful temptations that bookaholism encourages. Like any good gift, reading can be overindulged. But each year, as I set the table for another book awards banquet, I try to ease up on the introspection, adopting the literary equivalent of the “calories don’t count” mindset that fuels so many satisfying Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner binges.

During book awards season, at least, the ...

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    Stemley Baptist Church
    399 Rock Church Road, Talladega, Al 35160