Dr. Jackie Greene on Love, Family & Ministry

You pretty much have been under a rock the last year if you haven’t heard the chart topping single Intentional by award winning singer Travis Greene. If you haven’t purchased the complete album yet, let me just suggest that you should.. In 2015 the album, The Hill, was released as his sophomore album and Travis Greene shared an amazing testimony where he and his wife experienced a miracle of God when it came to the birth of their first-born son, David Jace. Well, I had the amazing opportunity to speak with the woman behind the faith, Dr. Jackie Greene.

Greene Family

Two become One

Jackie and Travis met in 2007 at Georgia Southern University while she was in her first year of undergraduate studies and he a member of Kappa Alpha Psi and recent graduate of the university was continuously visiting to support the campus ministry that he was a part of while enrolled. Jackie recalls first seeing Travis at a service held by the campus ministry (Spirit of Truth) where Travis was supposed to minister in song but the lord led him in a different direction that day. Jackie had not known too many young men who expressed a passion for God the way she witnessed Travis do on that day. After the service was over Travis was being social and speaking with everyone. Jackie described their official introduction with Travis approaching her group of friends and asking for everyone’s name to become acquainted. When he asked for Jackie’s name she shared it with him and in a flirting way Travis said the incorrect name which only allowed for a bit more dialogue between he and Jackie so she could correct him.

It was about a month after that introduction at another campus ministry event that Travis shared with the congregation that he was going to marry a woman from Spirit of Truth ministries while making eye contact with Jackie. Jackie was taken back a bit by the comment knowing that Travis was a bold individual to proclaim such a thing. Once again, there was interaction between the two after the service. This time Travis made the first move by taking Jackie’s phone and calling his phone so they would have each other’s number. Jackie describes the early years of their relationship as an on and off cycle until her senior year when Travis seemed to step up the game a bit and get serious about their future. In December of 2011 the two became one in holy matrimony.

Life with Family & Ministry

Jackie went on to attend the Medical College of Georgia for dentistry. The testimony of David Jace’s birth occurred during the time that Jackie was attending medical school. Jackie graduated in the hospital chapel due to early delivery. Jackie postponed practicing dentistry right away so she could stay home and care for their son until age 2 and be a support to her husband. Jackie doesn’t see it as separated or isolated ministry, but rather everything is done together as a family .

2016 has brought a couple of changes to the Greene family. In spring of this year Forward City Church was launched hosting Monday night services and on August 21st the ministry launched full fledge with Sunday services as well. Jackie doesn’t find it surprising to be in the new role of pastoring alongside her husband. As a young woman, she believed God had shown her that she and her husband would lead a ministry, she was just waiting for God to show Travis, and God did just that.

Jackie shared that Travis is free spirited and likes to have freedom instead of being in one place all the time. Pastoring wasn’t really something that Travis saw himself doing, but “God showed him that he could still be Travis and just do it,” said Jackie.

Jackie and Travis have always had a passion for helping young men and women, but now they have a new role as pastors. Jackie shared that the transition was not hard but there is a high demand on the family to understand that they do need to serve the people of the church. The birth of their second son, Travis Joshua, put a halt on going into dentistry practice for Jackie as well as the amount of time she can offer to the ministry. “Having a newborn can cause a toll on the amount of sleep and free time,” mentioned Jackie. Nothing comes before the household. Home is the first ministry, but there is an understanding of why things are being done for ministry.

Jackie Greene

Their ministry is for people of all ages but they are extremely passionate about the college demographic because they believe that is the stage in life when Satan really tries to attack the mind, body

and spirit of a person. They want young people to understand that the choices they make during that stage effect their lives then and later. They try to be as transparent as possible when ministering so the people understand that no one is perfect and God’s grace and love extend to all people.

The church is nontraditional. Jackie believes that God initiates and it’s their responsibility to follow God while being careful not to become overwhelmed by religious practices defeating themselves. Jackie shared that God uses Travis to speak a word that is relevant for the times and Travis is able to break it down for anyone to understand. . They desire for people to come in and be healed as their prayer is for people to be open and honest with themselves and God. They teach that people are people and God is God.

Even in their own walk Jackie states that she and Travis don’t try to be someone else, they are not performing for anyone. The same people they are at home, they are at church and everywhere else they go.
When asked if there has been a change in the roles played at home and church for Jackie due to Travis’ music career Jackie stated that Travis says that he dates music, but he loves worship. Music is a tool that he uses in his worship. While that is what he does, what pulls him strongest is the church, even if he is on the road, Travis makes a strong effort to be home at Forward City Church for Sundays.

Jackie does whatever it takes to help with the ministry, anywhere from prayer calls to heart to heart sessions with the women. She is aware that eventually she will be pulled on to speak from time to time but for now she is there to assist wherever needed and care for the men in her home.

Holiday Fun

When asked about their celebration plans Jackie informed that the Greene family shares their holidays between both Jackie and Travis’ family. Travis’ family is from South Carolina and for thanksgiving they have a huge gathering. Other times they travel to Georgia to celebrate with Jackie’s family. However, there have been times for Christmas where they make time for immediate family and stay home with each other to make it special for their sons to have their own traditions.

 

To Learn more about their new ministry check out Forward City Church on Sunday’s – 11am

1515 Main St
Columbia, South Carolina

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Let there be Peace on Earth

by: Darlyshia Menzie

 

Holidays are here! You know, family gatherings, food, and so much laughter. For some, this time of the year brings drama, bad memories, and outward displays in differences of opinions. Each family has its own functions and dysfunctions, however, as believers in Christ, we are commanded to love through it all.

Think with me on the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). He decided that his life in his father’s house was not what he wanted, so he went off to “live his own life.” He partied, drank, slept around, and squandered all of his inheritance on temporary things. Once he ran out of money, all of the temporary pleasantries ran out with it and he realized he was alone, hungry, and lost in his sin. In the midst of working a part-time job feeding pigs, the thought came to him that the pigs he was feeding had more to eat than he had, so he decided to return to his father’s house. Upon seeing his son approach the house, his father was overwhelmed with joy at his return. He forgave him immediately and prepared a celebration. On the other hand, his big brother was jealous and bitter about his return. He was frustrated that he had never gotten a celebration and he served his father faithfully and hadn’t messed up like his little brother. The father explained that the welcome celebration was necessary because the family was once again complete and the prodigal son was no longer lost and on his own. All was forgiven just like that! During this holiday season, consider the principles shared through the parable of the prodigal son.

1. Forgiveness is a must! Forgive your family members for any offense they may have caused you or the family. Colossians 3:13 (ERV) states “Don’t be angry with each other, but forgive each other. If you feel someone has wronged you, forgive them. Forgive others because the Lord forgave you. Together with these things, the most important part of your new life is to love each other. Love is what holds everything together in perfect unity.”

2. Be available for your family. For some, you are the only bible that they will ever read. Make sure your witness is not tainted and that you are loving with the love of Christ, being careful to not be standoffish and/or overbearing. “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8).”

3. Rely on the Holy Spirit to move through you. Proverbs 3:5-6 (ERV) says it best in saying “Trust in the Lord completely, and don’t depend on your own knowledge. With every step you take, think about what he wants, and he will help you along the way.” When your family is experiencing dysfunction and you aren’t sure what to say or do in response, call on the Spirit of God to guide you. You never know who, in your family, you might lead to Him or help, by depending on Him for instruction.

4. Love is always the answer. When you respond in love, you get love back. I know you’ve read 1 Corinthians 13 and it is convicting once you realize you might not have been loving your loved ones the right way. Endure with them. Don’t constantly bring up past mistakes. Be gentle in responses and patient in waiting. Don’t be arrogant in thinking that you are better, rather, be meek and enjoy the company. Don’t get yourself in a spiritual debate trying to tell a family member how to live his or her life, just love on them and let that be that. Overall, Christ is love, unconditional.

5. It’s perfectly okay to have your convictions about your faith and what you will allow in your spirit, but above all, love is the greatest focus and goal. Pray for your family members who are unsaved, but don’t beat them over the head with it. God is a gentleman and never forces Himself on us. To love God, is to love His people. Let Joshua 24:15 be your prayer for your family. “But maybe you don’t want to serve the Lord. You must choose for yourselves today. But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” Declare and decree it, in Jesus’ name, and let God do the rest. Your responsibility is to live an upright lifestyle before them and love them like Jesus would if He were walking this earth.

Family is a gift; never take them for granted.

Healthy Holiday

It’s that time of year again. Time to celebrate with our family and loved ones. Time reminiscing about the past, talking about the present and discussing our plans about the future. This is the season of giving and sharing, laughter and tears; joy and love, and seeing those you haven’t seen in a long time. It is also the season of weight gain.

Here, we will give tips on how to stay fit and healthy through the holiday season. Let’s start with food.

Holiday Eating Tips

• Bring food with you. If you are concerned about eating all the wrong things, you can take your food with you.

• Eat before you go. Before leaving the house or hotel, fill up on vegetables. Take vegetables, fruit and nuts to eat before the big meal. Filling up on healthy foods before the big meal, leaves less room for the unhealthy food you want to eat.

• Eat a little bit of everything. A lot of times we eat with our eyes or we think (unconsciously due to our upbringing) we must eat everything on our plate. To avoid over eating, place small amounts of food on a saucer to control your portion sizes.

• Eat more vegetables than anything else. Our plates should be filled with lots of vegetables and smaller portions of everything else. Eat all the vegetables first, again this leaves less room for other food we want to indulge in.

 

• Drink a lot of water. When we are full, there is less room for the foods we would indulge in.

• Eat slow. Eating fast allows us to take in too many calories. From the time we start eating, it takes 20 minutes for our brain to tell our body we are full. Slow down and you will become fuller sooner.

• Leftovers are a no, no. After eating, don’t go back for more food later. If you do, only eat veggies and protein (nothing fried). Don’t take leftovers home. If there are no leftovers to eat, it is easier to get back on track and keep the weight down. If you are the host, ask everyone to take as much food with them when they leave. If there is a lot of food left over, think about giving the food to a shelter.

These tips are not to prevent anyone from enjoying the foods they love, but eating them in moderation is key. We can eat our favorite food; we just have to eat them in smaller portions. The last option is to enjoy yourself and eat what you would like. Choosing this option means, one, we are not allowed to beat ourselves up the next day by telling ourselves, “I shouldn’t have eaten all that food”. One day isn’t going to get us off track as long as we don’t continue to eat the food (see #5). Second, don’t step on the scale the next day. The extra calories, sodium and sugar will cause weight gain

Holiday Fitness Tips

• Workout in the morning. There will be a lot of extra calories eaten during the holiday season. One way to help with weight gain (on Thanksgiving and Christmas days) is to workout in the morning or before leaving for the day. You want to burn more calories than you take in to control weight gain. According to WebMD.com, “…the average American consumes approximately 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat from eating a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. And that doesn’t include breakfast, lunch, or late-night snacking on leftovers. Studies show that the average American gains 1 to 2 pounds during the holiday season (Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, n.d.).” We may not burn 4,500 extra calories, but burning some calories is better than none at all.

• Walk after you get done eating. This is a great time for family and friends to go outside after eating, and go for a walk.

• We can take a workout with us. If we are visiting family and friends, go to YouTube and do a quick workout.

Staying fit and health during the holiday season is possible, if we are willing to make small changes.

Dreaming of a Debt Free Christmas

The holiday season can really become a burden for some families. Magnifymoney.com states, “between gifts, hosting parties, family emergencies, and for some, fewer work hours, it’s easy for debt to add up if you don’t have savings on hand. While the $986 of those surveyed added to their debt on average is a manageable amount, it can easily snowball (1).” In a time where building wealth and living a comfortable life is top priority in many households, the want to shower loved ones with expensive Christmas gifts does not fade. The Christian doctrine preaches that the “reason for the season” is to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior through charitable works and goodwill toward mankind, but it’s just words, if no real action is practiced. Christians can make an impact on the war against debt by simply leading with our faith. Family leaders can create new traditions that will promote healthy financial decisions and deter common debt occurred during the holiday season.

model: Alyssa Banister photographer: Emajhn Johnson
model: Alyssa Banister
photographer: Emajhn Johnson

 

Start shopping early. Striving for a debt-free Christmas does not have to mean a ban on gifts. One of the common fails of creating debt is families struggling to come up with large sums of cash to get gifts. Millions of people prepare for the Christmas sales, when some of the same discounts are offered all year. Catch the Valentine’s specials or the special coupons for Mother’s Day and purchase a few Christmas gifts during that time. Spreading the costs over time will lighten the load on your finances and decrease the need to borrow or charge large amounts to credit cards. Slow and steady shopping will relieve the stress of impulse spending and may even create a more pleasurable and economical giving experience.

Give repurposed gifts. Repurposing has become a hidden treat amongst the craftier people of the world. With the help of Pinterest, Instagram and other social media, recycling has become cool again! The key to this new trend, is to take old items and change them to be used in a way other than its intended use. Here are a few examples to try.

Turn an old picture frame into an earring holder. A person that loves jewelry would appreciate a thoughtful gift such as this. You’ll need some sort of wire (picture wire works really well) to hang your earrings on. Just run the wire across the frame and then hang up your earrings. This is a great gift idea for girls of all ages and you can run as much wire, making as many levels, as you want. If you have longer earrings that dangle, make longer levels.

 

Instead of hauling that old entertainment center off to the dump, take a couple of hours and turn it into an adorable play kitchen for your little girl. The center doesn’t have to be in perfect condition as you can reinforce anything that needs it and it won’t really be expected to hold much weight, anyway. Just a little paint and imagination are really all you need to turn that old eyesore into something that any little girl will get hours of pleasure from. Plus, it’s a great place to store all those play cooking toys.

Pay it forward. Charitable acts usually peak during the holiday season, but there is always room for more community service. Start a tradition of some special charitable act that your family can enjoy together. Proverbs 19:17 states that “One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, And He will repay him for his good deed.” Following the example of this scripture emanates the very essence of the reason for the season. The name Christian or “Of Christ” compels us to be the Good Samaritan. Find a local soup kitchen or church that is serving the less fortunate for Christmas. Utilize this time to create fun memories and instill a desire to help those in need along with the family celebration.

The burden of debt eats at our destined happiness and creates the type of stress that is not easily shaken. Refuse or release the shackles of debt, by adjusting habits and traditions and relax into financial freedom. Once debt is eliminated from the picture, a white Christmas can once again invade our dreams!

The Carter Link

Meet the Carters. Joel and Summer Carter met each other at the age of 16 and have been inseparable since. Joel has worked in the field of education for several years at William Frantz Elementary School and he was recently made head of the athletics department. For the historians, the name of the school may sound familiar to you. It’s the school that Ruby Bridges attended to desegregate. Summer, Joel’s wife, has a knack for creativity. Her background is in art and fashion. She creates oil paintings and fashion designs. Summer is also a stay at home mom caring for their two beautiful children.

The Carters are known on their social media accounts as The Carter Link. They have become a social media sensation in recent months, but they aren’t new to the scene.

Joel is the original entertainer in the family with a passion for rapping. He posted the first video showing the proposal he made to his then fiancé, now wife, over a year ago. Summer Carter was surprised with a proposal upon her arrival home after a long day of work. She came to the door only to find a trail of notes from the front door to her tablet telling her to check her Facebook. Once she finally sat down to check her account she saw the video that Joel created. At the end of video was an address for her to meet Joel. Summer recalls thinking she needed to be presentable and while getting herself together to be glammed for the occasion there was a knock at the door. Someone came by telling her they couldn’t let her go to her destination alone. When she turned around to head back to the room to get ready she saw a room filled with family, friends and most importantly, Joel. That video was the beginning of something amazing, and I’m not just talking about their marriage.

You can find several videos on their Facebook and YouTube accounts after the proposal. Those videos include scenes from their wedding ceremony and the most popular video, their anniversary celebration. The anniversary video was the premier of the entire family coming into the act and having lyrics to perform as well. Even their daughter choreographs her own dance moves.

Joel and Summer don’t take for granted the platform that God is blessing them with through their social media account for The Carter Link. They have received feedback from so many who can relate to their story and find encouragement from their social media posts. They see it as a ministry and they want all the glory to go to God.

Grace for the Journey

Statistics show that single mother pregnancies have been on the rise for decades. While it is a belief that long gone are the days where this population of women is kept in secret or held to shame, don’t be deceived.

If you take a moment to think about the people in your circle you probably know at least one woman who has been or currently is pregnant and single. Did they announce the pregnancy right away or hide it? Were they welcomed with open arms of love and concern or shunned with disappointment and judgement? The Christian church teaches from a biblical stance against fornication (sex before marriage), in turn a pregnancy that is a result of fornication is deemed something to be ashamed. Many times the creation of life is not celebrated by anyone.

Typically, the church is extremely vocal when it comes to saying that a single woman should have the baby instead of an abortion, but they [Church] are nowhere to be found afterwards for support and guidance. Well, one church did something to change that for the women they could impact. Gateway Church, located in Texas, started a ministry for single, pregnant women. The name of this organization is Embrace Grace. They have a mission “To inspire and equip the church to love on single and pregnant young women and their families.” Their vision is “For every girl with an unplanned pregnancy to have a church to go to for spiritual, emotional and physical support.”

The founders are Amy Ford and Salina Duffy. Upon speaking with Christy I learned that Amy was inspired to start Embrace Grace over eight years ago as God began to remind her of her own experience as a young mother finding out she was pregnant at the age of 19. Amy felt ashamed and scared. Although she never thought that she would decide to have an abortion, once she found herself pregnant and fearing the unknown she and her boyfriend made the choice that she would get one. Amy went for her appointment and passed out at the clinic and the nurse had her go home for the day. After the failed attempt, she and her boyfriend prayed and decided they would tell their parents. Amy remembered the feelings she had and how she could have used someone to show her the love of Christ. That memory, along with how giving Amy was to friends and family as they celebrated the births of their children sparked a desire in her to want to do something for single, pregnant women. Salina, at the same time, had a vision and kept hearing help the mommies and the babies.

When the founders first came together with the burning desire to help single, pregnant women they started a class at their church and over time the class was refined by creating teaching materials and guidelines. Other churches began to reach out and inquire on the course so they could model the same thing for women in their community.

 

I had the recent opportunity to speak with a staff member of Embrace Grace, Christy Bolling, about this amazing ministry and learn more about what it is that they do and how they do it. Christy is on staff as the group developer for Embrace Grace. She has only been a staff member since January of 2016, but has offered of herself by volunteering and donating for groups over the years. Who better to have as a staff member than someone who was willing to assist as much as possible without being compensated?! She truly has a passion for the work that she does and the overall mission of this organization as well as knowledge of the history and programs.

Through churches reaching out for information to offer the program, Embrace Grace slowly but surely became a nationwide organization. The groups are not designed to be parenting classes or to meet needs of the women such as a place to stay or funds for bills. There are already other groups and resources available for those things. The Embrace Grace groups are simply to connect the participants with churches that can help the women to understand that even though they did fall that Jesus still loves them and there is still purpose in them and even more important for the child inside.

Embrace Grace has been in operation at Gateway campuses for eight and a half years, offering 17 semesters of groups to women at the Gateway campuses alone. They obtained their non-profit status in October 2012. The groups run for 10-12 week sessions (per semester) and meet once a week for an hour to an hour and a half. Embrace Grace is a prolife organization, but they do not advise on whether the babies should be kept by the mothers or for the parents to go through an adoption agency to bless another family who would love to raise the child for them. The organization does however try to ensure that they are connecting the participants with church groups that will check in on them during the week along with the weekly meetings. The semester ends with a baby shower for the participants, held by the hosting church. Ultimately, the hope is that the women become connected to the church and plug in even after the course is complete.
There have been past participants known as “Blooms” who have become leaders through Embrace Grace. Many of the past participants choose to volunteer here and there to assist with events and groups or donate towards the baby showers. There is also another section of the organization known as Embrace Life. Embrace Life is designed for single mothers. It “equips single new moms on how to flourish in their relationship with God and not only survive in life but THRIVE.”

Embrace Grace, Inc. has launched nearly 300 groups in 42 United States and 4 countries. If you would like to learn more about Embrace Grace or Embrace Life and how to either find a group, start a group or donate to the organization you can find them online at www.embracegrace.com.