BRCLM Lagniappe, November 2018

Center Helps Pregnant Women in Crisis

Center Helps Women in Crisis

Ultrasound skills lead to loving ministry

Volunteer ultrasound technicians at the Pregnancy Problem Center demonstrate how to use the center’s donated ultrasound machine. Pictured from left are Shana Copeland, Bri Shilling, and Jean Phillips. Photo provided by Frances Broussard.

By Rachele Smith

For Jean Phillips, it was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.

That’s why the ultrasound technician decided to help a group committed to life, even if it meant making some sacrifices of her own.

In 2016, Phillips was asked to lend her expertise in medical sonography to Baton Rouge’s Pregnancy Problem Center, a nonprofit organization that encourages life choices in unplanned crisis pregnancies. The center had just received an ultrasound machine as a gift from the Knights of Columbus and needed an experienced technician to run it.

“Dr. Wayne Gravois was on the board of the center and contacted me. He knew I had experience (in sonography),” said Phillips.

But what Gravois didn’t know was that Phillips would have such a strong belief in the use of ultrasound that she would not only volunteer, but also willingly reduce her work hours and pay in order to help. “I’ve always been pro-life and believed that God formed us within the womb,” she said. “When I began doing ultrasound, it just confirmed everything I knew about the beginning of life.”

With 30 years of experience in the field, Phillips has seen first-hand the difference an ultrasound makes in the way some women view their unborn child. “It’s the heartbeat,” she said. “Once they see the heartbeat, they know it’s a real baby. Some women have changed their minds about having an abortion after that.”

Eventually, more technicians were needed at the center, but they weren’t easy to find. So Phillips, who attends Bethany Prayer Center South, began to pray. Today, those prayers are answered with four volunteer ultrasound technicians at the center.

Bri Schilling is one of them.

“I was raised Catholic and have always been pro-life,” she said. “I thought if I could make a difference and change someone’s mind against abortion, I would want to do that.”

Schilling, who will finish her maternity leave in late October, said she enjoys volunteering at the clinic. She has found that by helping other people, she receives more in return.

Thuyloan Pham, another ultrasound technician at the clinic feels the same. “Helping the women brings me joy,” she said, adding that she is pro-life and supports adoption.

“Our technicians have been a true blessing to us,” said Frances Broussard, executive director of the Family Life Federation/Pregnancy Problem Center. “Having this ultrasound and being able to offer it free to the women who need us is important.”

The center’s ultrasound services are not diagnostic and are used only as a way to show the baby’s growth and heartbeat to the mom-to-be. Established in 1975 following the Roe vs. Wade decision, the center offers alternatives to abortion, including referrals to medical and community resources.

“Sometimes the women who come to us don’t know where to start, but we can help them,” Broussard said.

One unique aspect of the center is “baby bucks” which new moms and dads can earn while attending educational classes on topics ranging from pregnancy to parenting. These “dollars” are then spent at the center’s “Mom and Me” store for new or gently-used items such as diapers or clothes.

Broussard said the center has to rely on donations for its store, but God always provides.

“There have been times when we are really low on one item, like diapers, then all of a sudden, we will have these individuals or a church group walk in here with lots of diapers. It’s amazing, but I really believe the Blessed Mother is watching out for us and for the babies,” she said.

If you would like to make a donation, call the Pregnancy Problem Center at (225) 924-1400.

BRCLM Lagniappe, October 2018

Life Imitates Art, with Greg Gudorf, CEO of

Greg Gudorf, CEO of

Life Imitates Art

by fred townsend

Publisher’s Note: The September edition approached the faith-based genre of entertainment from Aristotle’s proposition that Art Imitates Life, in other words, the movies accurately reflect the daily struggles of today’s Christians. This month, the focus shifts to how in the last fifty years the secular, pop-culture-driven media pushed an agenda so that indeed Life Imitates Art; and, how technology actually gives the Christian community a chance to counter the secularist  agenda by providing value-based, traditional entertainment.

Greg Gudorf, chief executive officer of, is a former tech-guru turned entertainment executive. In an interview (with publisher Beth Townsend that you can watch in its entirety on the Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine YouTube Channel), Mr. Gudorf recalled nostalgically, “there was a time when you could watch a movie whether you were five years old or 95 years old. A lot of people don’t know that the church was actually involved with Hollywood in the early years helping to guide and shape the message of those movies. In the late 50s and early 60s the church began to pull out. In the mid-sixties you can begin to chart very dramatically the rise in language, sex and violence.”

Oscar Wilde, a leading 19th Century British intellectual, proposed the anti-mimesis. For 2400 years it was accepted that art imitates life. Wilde challenged that the opposite was true, e.g., life imitates art. Seventy-five years after his death, 20th Century technology advanced the influence of art definitively enough to support Wilde’s point. Television allowed “media art” to be distributed universally into living rooms. People became addicted to television to the point it was derisively referred to as the “boob tube”. Pop culture was born.

The media arts didn’t go from G to R-rated overnight. Dr. Charles Stanley (First Baptist Church, Atlanta) teaches that America’s culture was once moored in a safe harbor. Then it got loosed and set adrift. Gradually, our culture drifted further and further and further still from the core values that anchored it. If the drift began in the mid-1960s, when the church lost influence in Hollywood, by the 1980s advancing technology created a tidal wave of change.

The shift was first facilitated by videotape recording technology. The idea was simple. Record what you wanted to watch at your leisure and fast forward through commercials. There wasn’t much to record. Cable television was just starting to spread across the country. It was strictly regulated and programming choices were limited. Then Congress deregulated cable television in 1984. At the same time, film distribution changed dramatically when a Texas oil man started a videotape rental store, which became Blockbuster Video. At its peak, there were 4500 Blockbuster locations and thousands of competitive outlets. Anyone could rent pre-recorded movies. Video rental enabled people to view anything they wanted at home. (Arguably some they would not have seen at a theatre lest they be embarrassed by someone seeing them going in.)

Simultaneously, cable deregulation opened a Pandora’s box of new programs to both watch and record. In the guise of artistic freedom, television and movie moguls had license to weaponize programming to attack cultural norms. Cable television programs with explicit nudity, implicit sex, and realistic approximations of blood and gore, pushed commercial television executives on the network programs. Commercial television redefined family entertainment.

Gudorf shared some eye-opening data. “Parents’ TV Counsel did a survey recently and found that most of what passes for family content on normal TV — 81% is content of a sexual context and 94% of it has language issues,” he said. “Very different than what others might call family. At the same time the growth of media in our life can’t be ignored. There was a time when mom would just say, ‘Turn that off.’ Right? And that was the end of it. But now media is a part of our life. A child growing up today will spend six times more time with media than in school. Worse yet, 32 times more time with media than the time they spend with their parents. The stats are just scary. In 1970 the average age for a child to watch TV, interacting with media, was four years old. Today, they begin interacting with digital media at four months old.”

In pop-culture, life indeed imitates art. After 50 years of drifting, the results surround us. Profanity-laced conversation mirrors TV and movie talk. Dehumanizing gratuitous and graphic violence diminishes the value of life. Blatantly sexualized messaging robs youngsters of their innocence and leads to downright disrespect between sexes. Glorifying anti-heroes impacts any viewer, but especially the young people who are the most impressionable.

Ironically, however, if technology created the media age and helped fuel negative trends, streaming technology promises a potential solution through more and better choices. Fortune Magazine (Cord Cutting Isn’t Going Away, by Aaron Pressman July 24, 2018) reported that “an estimated 33 million consumers will have cut the cord by the end of this year, rising to 55 million in 2022.” The reasons are many, but simply put, streaming services allow consumers to make choices on programming they prefer.

Despite the perception that Christianity is dying in America, the potential audience for both faith-based and real family-friendly television is enormous. Gudorf shared surprising marketing numbers. “There are 125 or 130 million households in the U.S. Ninety million of them self report as Christians,” he said. “There are 20 million households that will tell you they make their choices, whether it’s their businesses, the restaurants they go to, the videos they watch — they make their choices based on how it aligns with their faith. Today’s word of mouth is social media. It’s digital. So has been working hard in the social media to bring our message and encourage people on the positive trend and to try the special offer of one month free. The question comes back to whether you cut the cord or not, the issue is to recognize that what we put into our minds and hearts is what comes out. We have to seek the good, the positive, the uplifting message. At we don’t always get it perfect. But we always strive to give positive, uplifting messages on the platform.”

Therefore the success of streaming services with family-friendly and faith-based programs depends on the number of Christian households purchasing the services. There are a handful of streaming services that offer faith-based programs. As one of these, thinks growth and success requires thousands of consumer choices on the platform. Pureflix subscribers can choose from thousands of programs. There is a wide variety from classic televisions series, such as old westerns like Roy Rogers and the Lone Ranger, classic sitcoms like the Lucy Show, dozens of children’s series and movies, faith-based education, and popular theatrical movies like Fireproof.

Gudorf explains the growth of the service. “We’re continuing to grow the number of devices that we support,” he said. “You can now get on Microsoft Xbox gaming platform. We’re always adding more content. We’re licensing programs as well as offering content we produce. For example, recently we added content from the Answers in Genesis organization. They intend to offer all their content on We have content that we’re working on in the way of originals. We have a Hope Opera — we were calling it a soap opera, but a friend said call it a Hope Opera. The first one was Hilton Head Island which had a successful first season. It features soap opera stars. The other is a situational comedy, Malibu Dan the Family Man. A second season is coming soon.”

The original program Faith Talk is a conversation-based program that came out of a dinner party where Gudorf and others discussed the difficulty of just good conversation in a sound-bite world. The show airs on Pureflix social media channels and it is archived in its entirety on the site. It includes many well-known Christians, including Roma Downey of Touched By an Angel, Dr. Ben Carson, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and Sadie Robinson from Duck Dynasty.

It seems evident that the Scottsdale, Arizona-based company has been blessed. Gudorf acknowledged this and summarizes its strength is outlined in their mission statement. “Pureflix as a company put forth their vision to be one who influences culture for Christ through media. That vision is very clear about what Pureflix should be doing. We’re focused on influencing culture for Christ. That’s a big advantage if a company has that sort of clarity for direction,” he said.

* You can see the interview in its entirety on the Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine YouTube Channel.

Fred Townsend is the husband of Beth Townsend, publisher of Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine. His 45-year career in marketing is an eclectic collection of work from political campaign consulting to television production and creative advertising and executive positions at two fortune 500 companies. 

BRCLM Lagniappe, October 2018

Greater Baton Rouge Crime Stoppers

greater baton rouge crime stoppers


Sid Newman , Director

When a young Ascension parish girl threatened suicide late one night, a concerned acquaintance reached out to Crime Stoppers, where connections were quickly made with law enforcement and medical personnel. Help arrived in time to save her life and provide links to ongoing support.

Tragedy can be averted, crime can be thwarted, fugitives can be caught – because somewhere, somebody knows something. The philosophy of the Greater Baton Rouge Crime Stoppers program is simple: Provide an anonymous way to report information about felonies and an incentive to do so.

The remarkable success of the Crime Stoppers program is both a reflection of the decades-long growth in crime and the willingness of the community to step up with information. With 13,447 crimes solved and more than $34 million in stolen property and illegal narcotics recovered since its inception in 1982, Greater Baton Rouge Crime Stoppers attributes much of its success to visibility through the media and outreach in places where people come together.

Crime Stoppers Executive Director Sid Newman is hoping more schools and churches will open their doors to inform and train the community to report tips: “If you see something, say something.”

For example, when a $60,000 statue went missing from the Mississippi River levee, Crime Stoppers plastered images on Facebook, setting off a ripple effect in the local media. Someone saw the statue and called Crime Stoppers. By the next morning, the statue – part of a collection on loan from an Icelandic sculptor – was recovered from a parking lot on River Road, and an anonymous caller picked up a $1,000 check.

People want to do the right thing, but they don’t want to get personally involved, often because of fear or just plain apathy. Crime Stoppers was designed to address both issues.

“The first incentive would be total anonymity,” Newman said. “They’re scared to death that they’ll have to go to court and testify, then have the fear of being sued or other forms of retaliation.”

“So, when they call, we don’t track and trace the telephone lines. We don’t want to know who they are when they give us information,” Newman said. Texts also go through a computer program that blocks the number. “They’re automatically assigned a code number and we never come in contact with that person.”

Then, there’s apathy. “We offer cash rewards, anywhere from $50 dollars up to $5,000,” Newman said. “And we pay that anonymously as well, which is a unique feature of Crime Stoppers.” Crimes can be reported – and rewards arranged – among the 2,500 Crime Stoppers programs worldwide.

“They call us to confirm that their tip was, in fact, good and led to an arrest,” Crime Stoppers Coordinator Lt. Don Stone explained. “We tell them to write on a piece of paper the words ‘Crime Stoppers,’ write their code number and we make up a code word.” Cash is picked up at a local bank drive-through window. “They send it through the tube – cash money. We’ve been doing that since 1982, and we’ve never identified one person who’s been paid.”

“Nationally, we’re the only organization that is allowed to pay anonymous cash rewards without having to report that information to the IRS,” Newman said. “I get audited every year. We get called into court all the time: ‘Who did you give the money to; did you pay a reward – how much?’ We don’t know. We know we paid a reward, we don’t know who we paid it to. And we don’t want to know.”

Crime Stoppers is funded through private donations or grants, plus a small fee from crime convictions. “If you get convicted of a crime – and that could be running a stop sign – the court can assess you an additional $2, and that $2 can only go to a certified Crime Stoppers program and only used for catching bad guys,” Newman said.

Crime Stoppers is hoping to increase awareness of its Campus Crime Stoppers program for middle and high schools. Student texts or calls have been key to thwarting potentially dangerous situations. “Say someone’s going to bring a gun on campus tomorrow. A parent gets the information at 5 or 6:00 at night. Who are they going to call?” Newman asked. Crime Stoppers can bring together law enforcement and school contacts to intervene before the student gets to school. “Maybe it’s the bus exchange or somewhere else. People will be there to make sure nobody gets hurt and check them out.” Crime Stoppers only responds to felony crimes or threats.

Once students find out about Crime Stoppers, they tend to apply the connection to their neighborhoods. After a student safety fair, Crime Stoppers received a tip that led to the location of Baton Rouge rapper Samuel “Mista Cain” Nicholas, a fugitive who was later arrested by U.S. Marshalls in connection with a homicide case. He was subsequently acquitted.

“We’re in the process of working with LSU on hazing,” Newman said. The anti-hazing campaign deals with potential or committed felonies and is expected in high school and college campuses by Christmas.

Pastors who have explored the program like what they see, according to Crime Stoppers Coordinator Don Stone. He has reached out to inner city pastors to build public participation. “If you go to church on a regular basis, you trust what your pastor’s going to tell you,” he explained. “If he tells them this is a good program – that they can acknowledge criminal activity and contact people – I guarantee you they’re going to do right.”

“Anybody could have information on an unsolved crime, or a crime that’s getting ready to take place,” Newman said. It’s not unusual for callers to report criminal activity by friends or family members – but Crime Stoppers is careful to remove anything that might connect the caller to the person in question. Through its partnership with WAFB television, The Advocate and Talk 107.3 radio, Crime Stoppers has received tips that led to fugitives, many of whom turn themselves in after their names or pictures appear in the media.

New electronic kiosks, the first in the state, are being placed in highly visible locations, including the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles. The kiosks feature fugitives, unsolved crimes and events such as the upcoming emphasis on domestic violence prevention.  

It comes down to the Golden Rule, Newman said: “Do to others as you would have them do to you” [Luke 6:31]. Most people know someone who has been a victim of crime, he said. “What if that was you? Would you want everything done that could be done? That’s the principle.”

“We’re saving a lot of manhours which is a lot of tax dollars – that part is very refreshing,” Newman said. “Living in the community, you get a sense of satisfaction that crimes are being solved.”

344-STOP, call in crime tips, no traced calls.
Brandy Alford takes anonomys tips by phone.
Crime Stoppers guarantees that callers will remain anonymous.
Lt. Dan Stone, Crime Stoppers Coordinator

Susan Brown began her career in radio news. She was news director for WJBO/WFMF radio and a journalism instructor at LSU. She holds masters degrees from LSU and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and served as a chaplain at Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women.

BRCLM Lagniappe, October 2018

Christian Media Gains Momentum Part 2, Behind the Scenes

Christian Media Gains Momentum, Part 2: Behind the scenes

Christian Media Gains Momentum: Part 2

Actress Amber Nelon Thompson is a Dove Award recipient and the third generation of the famed gospel singing family The Nelons, (founded by her grandfather Rex Nelon). In Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine’s September issue, Amber talked about her transition to acting and important observations about her generation.

On her role in A Question of Faith…
Being in the movie A Question of Faith was a dream come true for me. I had always wanted to act. I never really thought much about it because I knew my gift from God was singing and that is the path I’ve chosen. But this opportunity came about and I didn’t know if I could do it. I didn’t know if I’d be good at it. I was a nervous wreck.

At the time I was dealing with some vocal issues. I had nodules on both my vocal chords. That means a long rest! So when I read the role for Michelle, it talked about how she lost her voice, and she went through a really hard struggle of finding her identity. I know what that felt like, that you are supposed to be using your gift that God gave you. When you cannot use it at the moment and there is nothing you can do about it, you feel helpless. And you feel the depression setting in. I feel like I can’t do anything for God anymore because my gift is gone. By going through that situation, I learned that there were other gifts I could use for God. And I figured out that God does not need me to have his glory shown. I’m just a vessel. But if I’m open and willing to be used as a vessel, he can make his glory known to anybody.


A Question of Faith has been a blessing … an honor. The cast has become a family and we all keep in touch. It’s been an amazing journey and maybe someday down the road God allows me to do it again.

On her dream role…
I would love to be a Disney princess in a movie … I want to do the voice. I know every Disney song, I have every DVD … We go there (Disney World) every year. We have season passes. I just love the family environment … I think it’s because it’s a happy place, it’s always positive. It was always an escape when I was younger. If I had a bad day, I could watch a Disney movie and escape for a little while and go to this magical place.

On reaching millennials…

I’ve talked to so many kids about this. Often times the church can seem so judgmental — there is just no better way to put it. Not all of them, but they can look at these millennials and this generation is so different. They are very opinionated. They study everything. There is information fed at them all the time, 24 hours a day. It never stops. There is the internet, TV, Facebook, Twitter, any social media. But no one is listening to them. And what I think we need more of is just sitting down with young people and hearing what they have to say. We don’t always have to agree, but at least if we are willing to just sit down and listen to them, they just might be willing to listen as well. I went to school and got a degree in counseling and I hope to get a master’s degree because I want to help kids who feel misunderstood … like nobody cares and nobody is listening. That is what God does for us. He listens. And that is why we pray to him because He does listen when nobody else does. And we are supposed to be that to other people.

Dr. Cameron Lewis grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and practices oral surgery in New York. He felt called to use his talent in other areas and became the executive producer of A Question of Faith, which starred Heather Nelon Thompson. As a man of God, Dr. Lewis spends a great deal of time supporting charitable organizations, including the Mississippi Center for Autism, where Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine caught up with him for an interview.

On his faith…

My faith is unwavering. Sometimes we question our faith, but God is always there for me. When we go through trials and tribulations, setbacks and disappointments, I know who I can call on and who is always there for me. At the end of the road, He is the one who will give me that push so that I know I can make it through. You know that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen.  A lot of times we increase our faith and get stronger and stronger as life takes us through different situations.


On his upbringing…

We were born and raised in church, but one thing I thank God every day for is that my parents did not throw it in our face. They did not push us in our faith. They wanted us to know God for ourselves. You need to know God for yourself. A lot of times people think that they want to throw faith at their kids when they are like five years old … I had heard about Jesus when I was little but I didn’t know it for myself until I was fourteen. Then I knew for sure that God is real; there is a God out there. I thank God for my parents who let me understand so that I could make a decision for myself. It’s one thing to give children the information that they need, but it’s another to let them decide for themselves.


On his career…

My vision does not stop with oral surgery. God has so much in store for me to do to serve his people. Where did you want to take my career? As I was reading about starting a business, it was right there in Deuteronomy 8:18 — “Remember the Lord thy God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth … which he may establish his covenant which he shares with his Father as it is this day.” Once I realized he gave me that Word …. He gave me the power so I need to go out and reach what I need to do. And don’t just be a talker; go and do the work. If you say you are going to do something, do it. Don’t stop when it gets hard. You have to persevere, dedicate yourself. You’ve got to be very strong-minded in what you want to do. Faith without work is completely dead. We are not here to be served; we are here to serve. So if everyone would realize that we are here to help one another … we are here to bless others as we are also being blessed.


Michelle Duffie is the CEO of the D3 Entertainment Group in Nashville, along with her twin brothers. She is considered the premier liaison, deal-maker, marketing strategist and quarterback between the African American faith and family consumer and the corporate, entertainment and sports world. She has structured marketing strategies generating $1.3 billion in revenue for various companies. Born in extreme poverty just outside Chicago, Michelle credits the strength and faith of her mother, the support of her five siblings and the lessons from her mentors as the fuel for propelling her forward. In the midst of promoting her new venture as executive producer of the movie Beautifully Broken, she found time to talk with Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine.

On her background…

My brothers and I grew up singing in church. My mom actually birthed that music and entertainment in our system by always pushing us in that direction. After many years of working in the music industry, I was running a record label for CeCe Winans (probably 2003). I envisioned getting into the television and film industry. Wrote it on my vision board. Started doing research on how to get involved. I took a Hollywood 101 class, which sounds so simple, but it helped prepare me for what I didn’t know was right around the corner. Because we’d been doing independent marketing for music for so long, the industry as a whole recognized what we did. A movie marketing company came to me and said, “You guys know everyone in this African-American faith and family space. Do you think you can lend your expertise?” Without even thinking about I said yes. That movie was very successful for us and from there the floodgates opened. So God really was the wind behind our backs.

On living in God’s will…

Where God has you in life, especially if you are participating in His plan, it’s for a reason … and He needs you to be in certain positions, certain stopping points so He can show Himself strong. It’s the children of Israel at the Red Sea. If they had taken a left turn or a right turn, you miss the whole opportunity for God to do something incredible — to part the Red Sea. A lot of us try to run from our story and from our situation. But if you just stay the course, that story will turn into one of the great stories of all time. And that story turns into one of the movies we’ve seen today. It’s important to own your truth, to own your story, to be comfortable in it, to not compare yourself to anyone else’s journey. Then you get to where God needs you to be so that He can absolutely flourish what He’s planted in you.

August 2018, BRCLM Lagniappe

Faith Life

In the Name of Jesus, Turn It into A Church

By Leslie Paul Wilbert

Leslie Paul Wilbert

Thirty-eight years ago, in Addis, Louisiana, I was talking to Ted Berthelot, Chief of Police, about the increasing crime in that once peaceful town. Chief Berthelot was sharing with me that he knew it was because of two bar rooms. Looking and pointing at one of the bar rooms, he told me, “In the name of Jesus, I’m going to turn this bar room into my police station.” I thought to myself, if he could pray and ask Jesus to change that bar room into a police station then I could pray and ask Jesus to change the other bar room into a church.

While driving to church in Baker one Sunday morning with a friend and fellow believer, Yancy Guerin, I shared with him my conversation with Chief Berthelot. Being new believers and having been taught that prayer changes things, Yancy and I started praying that God, in the name of Jesus, would turn that building into a church. On one occasion, we drove into the parking lot of that building, got out of our vehicle, laid hands on the building and prayed for God to turn it into a church. For the next 18 years, several times a week, as we would pass the building, we would point to it and pray aloud, “In the name of Jesus, turn it into a church!” As we grew in the Lord and started understanding more about the authority we had in Christ, we would boldly pray, “Jesus, don’t let anything succeed in that building except a church.”

During these years, a friend of ours was being saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. This man of God felt a call on his life and spent several years in Bible School and serving other ministries preparing himself to fulfill his call to pastor a church. One Sunday afternoon in 1997 as he and his wife were traveling through Addis, they were asking the question, “When we pastor a church, where do you think it will be located?” Immediately, their attention was drawn to the Addis water tower by a large, brilliant flash of light that went off directly above the tower. On the tower they saw the giant, bold words “ADDIS.” Knowing it was a sign from God, they looked at each other, laughed, and said “No way, not Addis!?”

Two years later, in 1999, under the direction and timing of the Holy Spirit, the church was started in that very building in Addis where the two believers had prayed for it to become a church! It just so happened to be directly across Louisiana Highway 1 from the Addis Water Tower where the brilliant light had flashed two years earlier!
The name of the church is River Ministries International and it is pastored by Butch LaBauve and his wife Susan. For the past 19 years, River Ministries International has been a thriving, life-giving, Holy Spirit-filled church spreading the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to West Baton Rouge, its surrounding communities and the nations of the world. It was really no surprise to the praying believers what God did, because for years God had shown Himself faithful through many other answered prayers.

Leslie Paul Wilbert was born in Plaquemine, LA into a family in the funeral service business, which was established in 1850. He has worked in the funeral home, cemetery, burial vault manufacturing, monuments and life insurance companies. Most of Leslie’s working life has been in the financial services business selling property and casualty, life insurance and investments. Currently, the Senior Wealth Strategist with Ozark Insurance in Baker, LA.


BRCLM Lagniappe, July 2018

Lagniappe, Called to Serve

called to serve

Rev. Jessee Bernard bilberry, jr

Rev. Bilberry and his wife pose with the Youth Girls Division at a recent gathering to celebrate his accomplishments

Friends, family, and fellow pastors gathered recently to honor a very special man, the Rev. Jesse Bernard Bilberry, Jr. With his wife Verta beside him, Rev. Bilberry was honored for his many years of service and ministry in a career brimming with achievements, including a term as president of the 4th District Missionary Baptist Association.

One of 10 children, Rev. Bilberry was born in Marion, La. In 1929. He earned degrees in social studies and English from Southern University, a master’s of education from LSU, and a doctorate of theology from Christian Bible College. He spent 13 years as principal of Tensas Rosenwald High School in St. Joseph, La., and 15 years in various roles at Southern University.

In 1981, he accepted the call to ministry, and since 1984, has served as pastor at Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church in Baton Rouge. Over the years, he has collected numerous honors and awards related to his role as an educator and spiritual leader.

From left: Mayor Elvadus Fields. his wife Mamie, anniversary committee and chairpersons Donald and Nona Haynes, and Rev. Bilberry
Anniversary speaker Rev. Geoffrey Sykes and wife Tracy
From left: Cedrick Robinson, Anston Broadway, Caleb Butler, Kamden Jackson, Marquell Coates. Seated (from left): Rev. Jesse Bilberry and his wife Verta
Rev. Bilberry presented roses to his wife, Verta.
BRCLM Lagniappe, June 2018

A Little Laginappe, Melinda Stallings on the Infinite Power of Positive

The infinite power of positive

a god powered life

By Melinda Stallings

“Behold the fowls of the air: they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” (Matthew 6:26)

“I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)

“For God did not give us a spirit of fear; but of power and of love and of self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord; plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

It’s a pleasant morning, temperatures in the high 60’s; my back door is open to catch the slight breeze, and I can hear the beautiful sounds of the bounty of birds who come daily to my feeders. As I sit down to breakfast, I look out into the backyard. There are sparrows and blue-jays, cardinals and mourning doves, bluebirds and brown thrushes, chickadees and hummingbirds, and a lone red-headed woodpecker who commands the feeder each time he descends. And as I set my breakfast down and settle in to say my blessing, I am completely overcome with the fullness of the love of Jesus Christ. In that moment, I look all around me – at my beautiful little home, at the bounty of nature in my backyard, at my full plate of healthy and delicious food, at my two pups (who were already stationed at either side of my chair), at the pictures of my daughters and friends, at the fullness of my life; and I keep saying thank you, thank you, thank you God.

Two years ago, it was a different utterance. It was why God, why God, why God?

I moved to Baton Rouge from the Houston area four years ago to be close to my brother. Two years after my arrival, my brother suffered a massive heart attack. The day I discovered him was the eve of Epiphany, literally and figuratively. He was coming to get my Christmas lights down from my house before twelfth night. When he didn’t show up his customary 30 minutes before an appointed time, and when he didn’t answer his phone, I knew something was wrong. The evening before, I told him I would have the coffee ready, and I thank God the last words we said to each other that evening before we hung up was our customary “I Love You.”

God has a way of using all events for our good though, and to bring us closer to Him – if we are willing. Although I was always a Christian and had stayed close to my church and God, this grief settled into my soul like a soaked woolen blanket. During that time, I felt so alone. There was so much to contend with, and I had always relied on my brother’s guidance. It is the steadfast love of God, who loved me even when I railed at Him, that got me through that trying time – where time stood still yet progressed at breakneck speed. And it was in that time, that I realized that God would never leave me.

For months on end, I tried to control everything. I was seeking my own counsel since I felt like that was all I had. And my counsel was not that great in that state of mind. Nothing seemed to be working – issues became more convoluted. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t act; my world was closing in on me. About a year in, I became so despondent that, in a cry of desperation, I hit my knees and sobbed into the side of my bed. My railing and my beseeching were as of a young child – and indeed that’s what I felt like. A lonely, scared, tired, confused, beat up child. I cried until I had no more strength. As I lay on the floor, exhausted, I asked God to take it all. Remove the fear, instill the faith that had wavered, draw me close and provide people in my life to help me. I promised to seek the counsel of God first moving forward – such a simple concept, yet I had lost it in my bewildered, grieving state. That night, I feel sure that God held me ever more closely in His loving embrace.

And as time and I progressed, I saw that God indeed had a plan for me; plans to prosper me and not to harm me and that with Him, I had hope for the future that HE had planned for me – even though it wasn’t the future I had planned.

Through small actions and release, I realized that God wanted me to have an abundant life. Even in the midst of losing my best friend, I learned how to live more fully though the Grace of God. The journey was trying but the more I opened to allowing God to lead me through, the less treacherous the path became. I began to make better decisions, I felt more powerful knowing that I had God with me in all my decisions, and indeed, God provided the right people at the right time in my life. I would pray for a blessing on every decision I made, conversation I had, business endeavor I undertook. Ask and ye shall receive.

Jesus came that we might have life – that we may walk in peace, that we may have the ability to overcome evil, to love, to be able to enrich the lives of others, yes; even in our own times of trouble. Love lifted me. But I had to remember to put love first, the love of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. When I sought His will and followed the guidance of my soul through asking in prayer, He provided everything that I needed. And He still does.

Life is fleeting. We know neither the time nor the hour. I’ve decided to make every day count – positively, powerfully, for God. And to remind me, I keep this little LIFE acronym handy. I hope it will bless you when you feel the world closing in around you – just remember GOD is always there, just invite Him in – oh, and let Him have control. He’s got the whole world in His hands!

L – Love: “…and the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13) – God’s love is unfailing.

I – Integrity: What would Jesus do? Act in integrity and all else will fall into place.

F – Faith: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for.” (Hebrews 11:1); “Faith without works is dead.” (James 2:17)

E – Eternal: God’s love for us is eternal. He will never leave us (Hebrews 13:5).

Melinda Stallings is a keynote speaker, author, consultant, coach, and mother of two daughters. She guides people in discovering the power of positive within themselves to uncover their God-given purpose and passion in life and share it with others. She moves organizations from conflict and essential business skills “breakdown to breakthrough” through the POSITIVE Approach. She can be reached at, and (713) 817 8199. For inspirational quotes, follow her on Facebook at Melinda Stallings International.

BRCLM Lagniappe, May 2018

The Walk of a Lifetime

The Walk of a Lifetime

Helping Students Stay on the Path of Righteousness

For young adults, the college years are full of excitement. It’s a time for emotional growth, independence and new experiences. But it also presents a maze of challenges and temptations that is hard to navigate. One great irony in this unique time of life is that many non-religious students find themselves searching for spiritual fulfillment while many Christian students find themselves falling away from their faith.

At Louisiana State University, LSU Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) appeals to both mindsets. With a goal of connecting people to Christ, the organization empowers students to embrace their faith and share it with others. Joining LSU Cru ensures that every student will become part of a strong and welcoming faith community and will always know others who follow Christ.

Staff member Ali Enos says Campus Crusade changed her life when she was a student at LSU. She is grateful, she says, that in her 18 years working with students, she has been given so many opportunities to influence the decisions that will impact their lives forever. “My vision is to be used by God to win students to Christ, build them up to be disciples, and send them out to win and train others,” she said.

A unique approach
Cru focuses on three groups:

  • A catch-all group that is open to anyone who seeks to explore their faith, study the Bible or ask questions in a safe environment.
  • A Greek-wide group that brings together sorority and fraternity members to discuss how faith and Greek life intersect.
  • Impact, a group for African-American students and their unique needs and experiences.

Students in all three groups study the Bible together. (Cru hosts 12 Bible studies each week.) They also enjoy “swaps” or “socials with a purpose” such as game nights and parties held at university dorms. It’s here that current members have the chance to meet new students who might be interested in Cru.

Struggles old and new
Enos says students struggle with the usual temptations such as alcohol and premarital sex, but in recent years, she has noticed more anxiety and depression related to social media.

“In my generation, if a bunch of friends got together and didn’t invite you, you might never know about it. But today, everything in on social media, so if you’re left out, you know about it. It’s hurtful. And young people can’t seem to get a break from it. They’re always scrolling, looking to see how many ‘likes’ or views they got. It really affects their self-confidence.”

Brianne Gilbert is a recent graduate of LSU, and leads Impact, along with Joseph Holmes. “We want African American students to embrace who they are,” she said, “while they practice their faith.”

She works especially hard to help upper classmen who are gearing up to go out into the real world.” They are trying to make good decisions, and it’s a good time to get back to the basics of their faith,” she said. “So we help them with that. We talk about the things that worry them. We study the book A Purpose-Driven Life. We study the Scriptures for guidance on living a good life.”

Gilbert was also involved with Cru during her college years, and is happy for the chance to give back in her own college community. She says she enjoys seeing students grow in their faith. But fun is just as important.

“The men recently organized a cookout so they could fellowship with each other,” she said. “The women had a sleepover, which was a great way to strengthen our relationships with each other. We also do old-school game nights just for fun.”

Service is important, too. Impact members are partnering with a local middle school to help tutor students in math and reading next year. And they will also host a weekly Bible study for high school athletes.

Faith and identity
“Connecting young people with Christ is so important,” said Enos. “Now more than ever, they need to understand that their identity comes from their relationship with Christ, not from other people. And there are so many things they can do to keep their faith strong — spend time with God on a daily basis, read the Bible, pray and really listen to what God is saying, and seek out friends who encourage you in your faith and hold you accountable for your actions.”

“It is going to be a struggle sometimes. But if you know the truth and keep the faith, you will be steady and secure as a Christian. We all need to surround ourselves with those who help lead us in the right direction. It makes the journey so much easier.”

For more information, visit the website at

In our next issue, we will feature a student ministry group at Southern University. If you are involved with a college ministry, let us know at

On the Move
LSU CRU offers many travel and opportunities for students:

  • Winter conference: a week-long event that offers fellowship and learning during the winter break.
  • Summer mission: a 6- to 8-week mission trip with stateside and international destinations.
  • Summer trip to Italy: a special partnership that takes place in Bologna, Italy for 5 to 6 weeks.

Ali Enos has worked with LSU Cru for 18 years.

Bri Gilbert works with African American students through the impact program of LSU Cru.

Impact students hold completed ‘vision boards.’
Bri Gilbert works with African American students through the Impact program of LSU Cru.
Enos leads a study designed for Greek students. Here, her sorority group is pictured.
Enos, second from left, with a group of young women on a recent mission trip to Italy.
April 2018, BRCLM Lagniappe

Gene Mills: An ‘Advocate of Hope’

Gene Mills: An ‘Advocate of Hope’

Gene Mills is a husband, father, ordained minister, and president of Louisiana Family Forum, here he receives the Advocate of Hope Award from Craig DeRoche
Governor John Bel Edwards signed the 10-bill justice reform package into law on June 15, 2017.

His modesty prevents him from taking credit, but Gene Mills was recently awarded the 2017 Advocate of Hope Award for his part in Louisiana’s recent criminal justice reform package. As president of Louisiana Family Forum, Mills was instrumental in bringing together several groups to help change the system, including victims of crime, correctional officers, lawmakers and faith leaders.

“All I did was call attention to the good work that was already taking place,” Mills said.

In fact, the state Legislature created a task force in 2015 to come up with recommendations to reduce the prison population which is well over 40,000. For years, Louisiana has held the unfortunate reputation as the state with the highest incarceration rate in the country. Many of the issues that created the problem have been addressed in the 10-bill package that Governor John Bel Edward signed last June.

The new law aims to offer alternatives to prison time for non-violent offenders, expand parole eligibility, reduce prison terms, and provide support for inmates transitioning into society, among other initiatives. The reforms are expected to cut the state’s prison population by 10 percent over the next 10 years.

Mills’ award was presented by Prison Fellowship in January at the Charles Colson Hope Awards ceremony. In a press release, Prison Fellowship noted that the reforms would not have been possible without Mills’ leadership, integrity and passion, or without the Christian worldview expressed by the Louisiana Family Forum team.

“We are proud to have the partnership and friendship of Gene Mills,” said Craig DeRoche, Senior VP of Advocacy and Public Policy at Prison Fellowship. “He exhibits a passion for biblical principles of justice that is rare and valuable.”

Majority Whip Steve Scalise agrees. “Gene has committed his life to ministering and helping improve the lives of others,” Scalise said after the award was announced. “His deep faith and selfless dedication are inspiring, and I am proud to call him a friend.”

Mills said the reason for his involvement is simple. “Scripture tells us to tend to the needs of the less fortunate,” he said. “Grace has been extended to each of us. Now, within the criminal justice system, we must intentionally extend that same grace to prisoners … it is extraordinary how many inmates are able to turn their lives around.”

About the Advocate of Hope Award
The Charles Colson Hope Awards recognize people who have faithfully and courageously worked to restore those affected by crime and incarceration. Colson, who founded Prison Fellowship 40 years ago, was a passionate advocate for incarcerated men and women, and their families, sharing his faith in the Gospel and honoring the God-given value and potential of each person. His impact on prison ministry, prison culture, and prison reform has been broad and lasting.

April 2018, BRCLM Lagniappe

Confession … Good for the Soul

Confession … Good for the Soul

by Rachele Smith

If you’ve ever hurt a loved one or caused a friendship to fail, then you know the emotions that can surface when you ask for forgiveness.

Feelings like pain, sorrow and even the inner conflict between humility and pride are all too common. But the act of forgiveness can wash away those feelings, and when expressed with a contrite heart, it can ultimately help a relationship become whole again. Forgiveness also works the same way in a relationship with God.

As humans, we are imperfect, and when failings occur and our actions, or sometimes, our inability to act, pulls us away from God, asking for forgiveness can make the relationship whole again.

“We never lose our relationship with God. That’s important to understand. But what reconciliation (confession) does is bring you back to that peace (with God),” said Father Charlie Landry, pastor of St. Gabriel Catholic Church in St. Gabriel.

In the Catholic Church, confession or asking for forgiveness is one of the church’s seven sacraments, or outward signs of the faith. It involves privately admitting one’s sins to a priest and then receiving absolution (forgiveness) for those sins.

For non-Catholics, however, the Sacrament of Reconciliation can be confusing. Traditionally, it was received in a confessional or behind a screen, but today, Catholics have the option to meet face-to-face with a priest.

Father Landry explained that while confession involves a personal examination of self, the priest’s presence is important because it reflects the ecclesiastical community of the church. “As Christians and as Catholic Christians, the sense of what Jesus left us is that we are a community,” he said, pointing to the Apostle Paul, who said in 1 Corinthians that even though we are different parts, we represent one body of Christ.

And as one body, when one member of the community offends or hurts another, the entire community is affected, Father Landry said. “It’s like a sore on your arm. You know the sore is there, but your whole body feels the pain and is affected by it,” he said, adding that through reconciliation, everyone, or all parts of the body of Christ, can come back to peace and wholeness in the church.

Confessing to a priest also allows spiritual directing and can help bring understanding to what is causing a sin, said Father Landry.

“Have you ever tried to dig up a dandelion? If you don’t get the root, it will come back again and again. But to get that root, you have to dig deep. That’s where spiritual directing can help, so you can find out the cause (of certain behaviors) and how you can make a change,” he said.

Spiritual directing can also guide those penitents who struggle to forgive themselves.

But what if a person isn’t really sorry for hurting someone else? Is a contrite heart needed for confession and ultimately forgiveness? Father Landry said it is necessary, especially in any loving relationship. With true contrition, the bond strengthens, and even though humans may worry about being hurt again, with God’s forgiveness, there is no worry.

“I kind of look at confession as God cleaning the slate,” he said, adding that our free will may at times take us out of our relationship with God, but God is always waiting for us to reconcile. “The beauty of reconciliation is when you sin, you know you can come back and receive the grace of reconciliation and continue living the salvation of Jesus.”

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BRCLM Lagniappe, March 2018

March Chick-fil-a Ad – Join Our Team

Alyssa Davis, Team Member

“I’ve worked at Chick-fil-A on College Drive for almost six months. I was interested in finding a job that provided good management, a flexible schedule, and the chance to work with others. Chick-fil-A has been a great fit! In my free time, I enjoy do-it-yourself projects such as hand lettering, embroidery and fiber art. I also enjoy spending time with my family and friends, and I’m active in my local church. I moved to Baton Rouge a year ago and I’ve felt that I fit right in working at Chick-fil-A!”

BRCLM Image Alyssa Davis, Chick-fil-a

Chauncey Hopkins, Team Captain

“I started my journey with Chick-fil-A in October of 2016. When I started I was a student and had a second job. Chick-fil-A worked with me to ensure I got the best possible schedule that didn’t wear me out. This was not only tough on me, but my grandmother as well. Having to transport me to each job and school was hard on her, but with the help of Chick-fil-A I was able to make it work and was even promoted in my first year. My growth as a leader and a young man are things I will never take for granted, and I hope I can help others have the same experiences that I have had.

BRCLM Image Alyssa Davis and Chauncey Hopkins, Chick-fil-a

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE


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BRCLM Lagniappe, March 2018

Tips for Tax Time

Tips for Tax Time

BRCLM Image Will Mercer, CPA

Most of the changes related to the country’s new tax bill, which was passed in December 2017, will not be noticeable until you file your taxes next April (2019). But it would be wise to educate yourself on those changes (see below).

In the meantime, you’re probably focused on your tax return which is due in a few weeks — April 17. This year’s deadline is two days later because the 15th falls on a weekend and April 16 is a federal holiday in some states. In other words, you’ll have a couple of extra days to cross your T’s and dot your I’s. Be sure to take advantage of the extension.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Will Mercer finds himself extremely busy this time of year. Not just clients, but friends and neighbors often ask him for tax advice. Here, he offers some tried and true tips to help you prepare your return appropriately:

Get organized: Gather in advance all the documents and information you need — W2 forms, social security numbers, 1099s, etc. This is especially important if you are having someone else do your taxes. Missing documents will only slow down the process.

Contribute the maximum to your 401K: Company-sponsored 401K plans are a great deal because employers often match contributions. Try to contribute the maximum. (If you are age 50 or over, you can contribute a higher amount. Check with your employer.)

Make the most of work-related expenses: This includes safety equipment, uniforms, vehicles — items you had to purchase out-of-pocket in order to do your job. Make sure you can   support your claims with receipts. (And keep in mind that this deduction will go away next year as a result of the new tax bill.)

Consider medical expenses: This issue typically applies to those in low income brackets, but you might be able to claim a deduction if you spent more than 7.5% of your income on medical expenses, including prescriptions, surgical procedures, doctor’s visits, hospitalizations, therapy and other health-related costs. Again, double-check with your tax preparer.

Get divorce agreements in writing: After a divorce, and especially if you have children, tax returns can be really tricky. Many couples establish an agreement about which parent will claim which child(ren) with the understanding that if one parent benefits this year, the arrangement will be switched the following year so the other parent will benefit.

Revisit your flood losses: “The flood issue isn’t gone,” Mercer said. “The Tax Reform Act changed the way people can deduct their flood losses from 2016. This is something you should discuss with your tax preparer. It might be to your benefit to amend your 2016 return to reflect your losses.”

A word about state taxes: Many people are receiving communications from online retailers about purchases made during 2017. Since most of these retailers don’t collect sales tax, they are now having to tell their customers to report the purchases on their state returns and pay the sales tax directly to the Department of Revenue. The deadline to file state returns is May 15.

Down the Road
It will take time for all of the tax bill’s ramifications to become clear, but here are a few results, according to J.P. Morgan Chase.*

  • Although you might see a slight increase in your paycheck this year, thanks to the new tax bill, remember that this “bump” is not permanent. The middle class tax cuts will be reversed in 2025, while the tax rate for corporations will remain at 21%.
  • Many deductions you’ve been using will disappear next year. That includes work-related expenses, investment expenses, tax return preparation and union dues, to name a few.
  • Part of the tax bill repealed the insurance mandate component of the Affordable Care Act. In other words, people who don’t buy health insurance will not have to pay a fine to the IRS. But according to the Congressional Budget Office, this also means premiums could increase and 13 million Americans may lose coverage.

Mercer says if you plan to prepare your own tax return, educate yourself — and it’s always a good idea to call a professional if you have questions or concerns. Mercer can be reached at, or at (888) 224-0358.

*These are estimates only. Talk to your tax preparer if you have questions or concerns.


Will Mercer’s firm is located at 3535 S. Sherwood Forest Blvd. Call his office to set up an appointment: (225) 291-1411.

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE


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BRCL Image Dale Brown
BRCLM Lagniappe, March 2018

Encourage Others with Acts of Kindness

Encourage Others with Acts of Kindness

by Dale Brown

Most people will not reach their full potential without somebody else believing in them. We should be encouraging people, building them up, challenging them to reach for new heights. People should feel challenged and inspired after spending time with you.

Take time to make a difference in people’s lives. Don’t just obsess about how you can make your own life better. our attitude should be: Who can i encourage today? Who can i build up? How can i improve somebody else’s life?

Somebody needs your encouragement. Somebody needs to know that you believe in them. If you look back over your life—who believed in you and helped you get to where you are today?

Now, it’s your turn to do something similar for somebody else. Who are you believing in? Who are you helping to become successful?

There’s no greater investment in life than in being a people builder. am i improving somebody’s life, giving that person confidence, or am i just coasting along, doing my own thing? Take a look at your life and you be the judge of what you are doing to help someone else succeed.

True giving is done with no other motive than to try to make someone else’s life better. it does not have to be with financial assistance but with a word of encouragement and interest in helping another human being improve their life. real happiness begins where selfishness ends.

Jackie robinson said, “The only real measure of the stature of a life is its positive impact upon other lives.”

BRCL Image Dale Brown

Legendary Coach Dale Brown spent 25 years leading the LsU Tiger Basketball Team. Under his coaching, the team earned Final Four appearances in 1981 and 1986.

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BRCLM Lagniappe, March 2018

We Can Become ‘New Creations’

We Can Become ‘New Creations’

by Pastor James Gill

Who does my “personal mirror” reflect that I am?

James writes in the Bible: “For if anyone is a hearer of the word, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror, for he observes himself, goes away and immediately forgets what kind of man he was” (James 1:23).

Paul’s writings remind the believer of the eternal facts associated with the glorious change of every living person who has believed in the Christ of the Scriptures of the True God and is being changed by God into the “new creation” through the Holy Spirit’s birth/ indwelling, and Christ within.

The re-birth by God of each believing person changes that natural person solely by God’s grace into a new creation with new Godly relationships, purposes and as a new Godly creation into a new eternal life. God uses Paul to reveal to us how a believer in Christ Jesus is changed by the “riches of God’s divine Grace;” and again, how the new creations (which God calls His saints) are to grow and be reflected in life today — not like the negative reflection in James’ “natural man mirror,” but instead reflecting the new man of Paul’s instruction.

This new man, in Christ eternally, is equipped and instructed to grow in grace and knowledge of Christ Jesus, to be zealous for all good (heavenly sent) work so that we, as new creations, may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. God promises that as we concentrate upon the “view” (complete revelation) of God, “as if in a glass” (KJV) or “mirror” (NKJV), His indwelling Holy Spirit is charged with transforming the image of our reflection. His gracious gift of our justification in Christ, our sanctification and our guaranteed redemption into the eternal presence of God is all accomplished by our God. He has placed the saints into eternal union in Christ through His finished work.

He commanded the light to shine out of the darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. God transforms each believer from glory to glory … all by the Spirit of the Lord. Look in our spiritual mirror. Do you see God’s “masterpiece” emerging as He promised? Is there the reflection of Jesus’ love for all in that face? Do you see God’s grace teaching that face in the mirror as promised in Titus? Is the face in the mirror looking for our blessed hope, that glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ– “ who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous for good works? Do others see the riches of His Divine Grace gifted to each saint as stated in His Scriptures growing in the face in the mirror? Does the reflection in the mirror show the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world ” (John 1:9) and brings “ grace and truth…by Jesus Christ ” (John 1:17)?

May His Spirit enlighten all who seek to see the face of Christ in our “personal mirror” daily and may each of us yearn to see His return in all His glory for all His Saints.

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE


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BRCLM Lagniappe, February 2018

Chick-fil-a Ad – Join Our Team

Kristian Stringer, Assistant Manager

“I started working at Chick-fil-A on College Drive in July 2013. I had just moved to Baton Rouge from Shreveport to start college at LSU. I started working part-time to cover some of my new living expenses. On my first day, I would never have imagined the growth I would experience working at a fast food restaurant. One of my assistant managers at the time saw great potential in me and challenged me relentlessly, which is the reason I am in a leadership “I started working at Chick-fil-A on College Drive in July 2013. I had just moved to Baton Rouge from Shreveport to start college at LSU. I started working part-time to cover some of my new living expenses. On my first day, I would never have imagined the growth I would experience working at a fast food restaurant. One of my assistant managers at the time saw great

 potential in me and challenged me relentlessly, which is the reason I am in a leadership position today. In addition to working, I have had the opportunity to graduate from college with a degree in Kinesiology and spend some of my spare time volunteering at a physical rehabilitation clinic. Chick-fil-A has given me the opportunity to grow as an individual and provided me with communication and leadership skills that will last a lifetime.”

Tyler Murphy, Team Captain

“My Chick-fil-A journey started six years ago in Covington, Louisiana. Since then, I have had the opportunity to work with three incredible operators at three very different stores. When I started at Chick-fil-A, I was very active in high school clubs and sports, mainly soccer. Chick-fil-A offered the flexibility that would eventually allow me to grow into leadership

roles. Considering I started working at 15, I have literally grown up with Chick-fil-A. The life skills that I have learned in the course of working here are skills that I have carried through college, and have helped me get to the position of graduating with a business degree in May. After college, I plan to stay with Chick-fil-A and pursue a career as an operator at a store of my own.”

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE


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