Grace Thornton/Alabama Baptist

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15-foot giraffe shows church goes ‘extra mile’ in VBS

WARRIOR, Ala. (BP) -- It's hard for Robert McAvoy to fathom that there was once a time when he didn't know what Vacation Bible School was, but if he looks far enough back he can remember it. "My wife told me she was volunteering for VBS one year and I said, 'What is VBS?' I'd grown up around church but had never been around VBS," McAvoy said. As his wife Angela got more involved so did he -- and the more he helped out the more he was hooked.

Love for Mixtec people leads to surprise encounter

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (BP) -- Lisa Rose said she wishes she had snapped a photo of Terry Long's face when he realized what had happened that day. "The look on his face was just incredible," she said. The day had seemed pretty typical, she remembered. She and John Halbrook -- both of whom serve in ministry to the Mixtec people of Montgomery, Ala. -- had traveled more than two hours west to Butler to lead a workshop for Choctaw Baptist Association to educate them about the Mixtec people group.

Rash begins 2019 as Alabama Baptist’s new editor

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) -- When Jennifer Davis Rash was getting ready to graduate from the University of Alabama (UA) in 1993, Jim Oakley had a plan for her life. "She was an ideal student for me to recommend because I knew she would do well and make me and our program both look good," said Oakley, then a career counselor and internship placement director for the College of Communication and Information Sciences at UA. He had several publications ready to offer her jobs, including one prominent paper who wanted to hire her "very badly," Oakley said.

‘Good Ol’ Boy’ drinking truck thrives on new path

GORDO, Ala. (BP) -- A couple of years ago, Terry Billings saw his old truck sitting in the field, weeds growing up through it. Then he heard God whisper that He could take that old truck and make something new out of it. "At that point, it was worthless," Billings said. He had spent a lot of years in that truck going mudding and drinking out on the farm. He'd lived a lot of his life far from the shadows of any church, except maybe to ...

Pastor’s special needs family buoys church ministry

SARALAND, Ala. (BP) -- Robert Lutz is quick to say that the road his family has walked is one of miracles -- and not the kind you would expect. For starters, it was a miracle that he and his wife Belinda were able to adopt their first two children back in 2005, he said. "God had been working in our hearts toward adopting, specifically from Russia," said Lutz, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church, Saraland, Ala. But as they walked ...

Discipleship: When one man walks alongside another

BUTLER, Ala. (BP) -- It was late one Saturday night when Terry Long plunged into his darkest hour. He stood alone in a small church in south Alabama, plunging his paintbrush over and over into a can of paint, hoping to change the color of his surroundings. In the metaphorical sense, it wasn't working. Things still looked bad.

SEC football ref draws from faith

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) -- It was a simple "yes" in 1987 that changed the next 30 years of Marc Curles' life -- yes, he did want that extra ticket to a University of Georgia football game. "When I was in college, my sister was a year behind me, and her roommate's father was an official in the SEC," Curles said. "He sent tickets to his daughter, and they had a spare ticket to the game he was calling that weekend." Curles took it -- he loved football. And he watched the Bulldogs, sure -- but for the first time, he was watching the guys in the black and white stripes just as much. "I watched her dad all during the game, and it looked like it was a lot of fun," Curles said.