Luverne happens to be 'home of the largest peanut boil' and home of the Smart Alabama LLC, a supplier to the Hyundai plant in Montgomery. However, the article became too lengthy, so I'm posting it here.
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This is the article I didn't submit to the newspaper.............
My Challenge to Luverne, Alabama
Why would anyone drive 30 miles every Sunday morning, passing up six churches in route to attend one particular church just outside the city of Luverne, located on Rutledge Loop Road? Below is why I choose to commute to this special, particular church on Sunday mornings
From a very young age, I was brought up in church with my Mother or grandmothers. Only during my military and college years was I not regularly in church. Whenever I moved I sought a church to go to by asking around or visited the church my family, friends, or neighbors attended. Starting the beginning of a new week in reverence to God, my creator, is natural to me knowing the true source of my blessings, I can't hear enough of the Word or tire being in the company of other believers. I also offer my tithes to further the work of the church. The decision to become a church member is sought with much thought and prayer. I am proud to be a member of Crenshaw Community Baptist Church. Below are.....
10 reasons why I drive over 30 miles to attend a very special church in Luverne.
1. The pastor has a big heart & and commitment to the people of Luverne, AL. How do I know this? Well, a few clues are food drives, visits to those in jail, visits to those in nursing homes, help given in many ways, (help with rent, transportation, finding a job, repairs, baby sitting,counseling, and more) to those under his spiritual leadership. And building a day care is in the works. I have been a grateful recipient of counseling, guidance, and help with home repairs when I was in need.
2. The pastor is a giver. He does not ask to receive a salary from the church, nor does he ask for any special recognition or gifts. Matter of fact, there isn't any collection plate passed during services because any giving you want do is done by dropping your offering privately in a collection box positioned in the back of the sanctuary.
3. The pastor teaches and practices debt-free living. The pastor helped physically build the church building along with members of the 'sister' church. The church building and land are debt-free, and the pastor and his wife live within their means and are essentially debt-free. The new private Christian school, now in it's second year, was built to allow children of low income families (or any family) to receive a sound education along with solid Christian values, character building, and instilling Christian morals along side an a solid education so our future leaders of families, businesses and all walks of life will carry on strong Christian values in the community, state and our country. The school is also debt-free. The pastor offers counseling consisting of Biblical principles that work to help turn around your finances for getting out-of-debt and change your life to be free from creditors. He lives what he teaches. His grown children take and practice those principles in their own families. Anyone wanting to know these principles need only call the pastor.
Learn to keep more money in your pocket
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4. Special services are free for church members. The pastor will conduct the marriage ceremony (after marriage counseling) without charge, and conduct funeral services also without charge, all part of special services to church members and their families.
5. You're treated like family because we are. Birthdays, anniversaries, or just to have a bar-b-que cookout, or play basketball or even a concert on the grounds with a well known Christian singer, Deborah Snipes. to enjoy.
6. The pastor teaches from the Word. Scripture references are given during sermons so anyone can follow and see what the Word reads. There is no question what he teaches is the truth straight from the Bible. He does not sugar-coat the truth, either. His messages are always timely, and relevant for teaching, reproving and edification and supported by scripture references. I am spiritually fulfilled and not just entertained which is not the reason I attend church. I desire 'spiritual fuel' and that's why I drive to Rutledge Loop Road to get my weekly 'spiritual fill-up' and be 'sharpened'. (Proverbs 27:17)
7. The pastor takes his pastoral responsibilities and position seriously. He is tough when he needs to be and neither does he shirk from sermons on 'tough' subject matters which could be uneasy for some to digest, but it's not to make anyone feel ashamed or uneasy. The messages if for learning, protecting, avoiding pitfalls and reproof to sharpen Christians to be more like our Lord. He is serious about that, and my pastor speaks with wisdom, diplomacy, tact, fairness and most of all with love. I take notes during the sermons to review and study later. It's all there in the Bible and my pastor cares enough to not stay neutral or quiet. I guess that's some of his Marine Corp training coming out. Every pastor has the responsibility to lead those under his leadership in the right direction because one day he will have to give an account for their souls. (Hebrews 13:17). My pastor has an interest in what I'm doing and cares enough to speak up if he knows I or those under his spiritual leadership are doing something which hinders their spiritual growth. And the Bible states that the habits of one person in the church can invite problems upon the whole church. No pastor should want that for his congregation. (Romans 16:17). Do you know where your pastor stands on sex before marriage, non-married couples living together?
Young military soldiers
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Here is a little on the Marine Corps motto, values and way of life.
8. My pastor has a vision for the community. I want to be a part of a big vision. Already there's a playground with basketball court free to anyone to utilize. A top-notch Christian school with low tuition. A day care center is in the works for single mothers who want to work and not have to pay exuberant childcare fees. A Christian radio station and Christian day camp are in the plans . My pastor's passion and sole intent is serving the people's physical and spiritual needs, touching lives for the better, and leading people to Jesus and glorifying God, A church without a vision is dead. (Proverbs 29:18)
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9. My pastor is hard-working and an all around decent man. The past 6 or so years, I've seen and witnessed that my pastor is a pretty decent all around man. I'd even call him a man's man. I see he's a pretty decent husband to his wife, father to his children and decent grandfather. He's leaving a lasting and decent legacy any man would be proud to leave his family. He's not perfect, but I have not one time seen in him any habit or trait unbecoming of a pastor. But, I have heard rumors about him. A few years ago he managed a local, fast food establishment; worked as a policemen in the community; and managed a retail store in Luverne. He worked to provide for his family and help pay for supplies to build the church and live debt-free. I heard he sometimes worked two or three jobs. And, before that he retired from the U.S. Marine Corps as a Gunnery Sergeant. Is there anything wrong with a pastor employed in a position of public service as a policeman that entailed protecting and upholding the law? I think not. We should all be grateful to have good police officers placing their lives on the line for our protection. Only those breaking the law might not appreciate that. And the last time I shopped at the store he used to manage, the floors noticeably lacked that 'detailed spit-shine' I remember seeing when he was store manager. It's true, once a Marine, always a Marine. Rumors and gossip spread like wildfire in a small town. People spreading rumors without substantial evidence are very likely preventing and hindering the very people that need help the most from getting benefits of the services and ministry my pastor provides- from help keeping your marriage from falling apart, help getting finances on the right track, help locating employment, are just a few services I've known him to provide, and of course, help leading lost souls to Jesus.
Nice, clean and shiny retail store floor
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10. My pastor has nothing to hide. After the treasurer counts and posts all collections, the church financial records, consisting of income and expenses, is posted for anyone to see. I like that it's visible to see what and where funds are being applied to and spent.
HERE ARE MY TWO CHALLENGES TO THE PEOPLE OF LUVERNE, ALABAMA.
To the people of Luverne, I say.......
#1. Grasp a hold of all the benefits available and waiting for you and your family. I don't live in Luverne or Rutledge, but I make a weekly 60 mile round trip drive to attend church and shop in your friendly town. I hope you see some of the 'great value' I've found in the ten points I've listed above. What a goldmine you have within your community, and many are not utilizing what is available to you at CCBC. Yes, for your benefit. Happier and wealthier and more at peace with God are so possible if more would seek the services awaiting you at CCBC. I am not saying there aren't other good preachers, ministers, or pastors providing a wonderful job for their church members and community. If your pastor is meeting your needs, that's great. If you can honestly answer that your life, and your family are not in any sort of need, then that's great. But, if you wish you could be doing better in spite of all your efforts, then it behooves you to seek out the help of Pastor Ira Walton, Sr. of Crenshaw Community Baptist Church. I'm there absorbing 'jewels of knowledge and wisdom' he shares within from the Bible on Sunday mornings so I can receive and apply these little gems to my daily living. His vision is positive for you, your family and community. I challenge you to take what's within your local grasp for all the good awaiting you and your family .
#2. I also challenge the people of Luverne to rise above gossip and rumors. Be better than that. This pastor is trying to help you and not hurt a single soul. I challenge you to let rumors and gossip die and instead speak only of things that are lovely, positive and uplifting, and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:18) But if not, knowing my Pastor, he will not let anything sway him from forward progress of his vision because of his earnest commitment to all the precious and dear lives and souls of your community. Yours included.
Dr. Smith is a retired chiropractor and Marine Corp Veteran. She makes her home in South Montgomery County. Visit her faith-based blog - www.faceforwardfaith.blogspot.com
CRENSHAW COMMUNITY BAPTIST CHURCH
1607 Rutledge Loop Road, Luverne, Alabama 36049
Phone- 334-335-2633 website-www.crenshawcbc.org
Sunday school-10am Worship service-11am
Wednesday night-7pm Nursery available