God has blessed us with another great month. Luckily he gave us an extra day this month to get our February E-Newsletter out to everyone!
This month’s focus is on giving you some specific prayer requests for individuals involved in the ministry. Our hope is that you’ll commit to consistently lifting these requests up before our Father.
Click the following link to check out the newsletter: February 2012 E-Newsletter
We can’t thank you enough for everything you do and how much you support us!
Hope to see you all this coming Sunday at 2:30pm to head downtown.
Jim & Mark
We apologize for being out of pocket on the blog for the past week. On Wednesday-Sunday of this past week we had the opportunity to be a part of Shades Mountain Baptist Church’s Global Impact Celebration. It was a great week as the church celebrated the work of missionaries here in Birmingham, across the United States, and around the world. We were incredibly blessed to be a part of the conference and God taught us a lot through the week.
Afshin Ziafat spoke at the Wednesday night event and talked about how a deep understanding of our own sin and depravity leads us to appreciate God’s grace even more and drives us to share with others. On Thursday morning Pastor Danny Wood lead a Bible study for the missionaries and taught from Exodus 17. The question he posed was, “How are you going to respond to ‘no water situations’?” When we encounter those situations in life, we can either trust God or test Him. Finally, on Sunday night Pastor Michael Wesley, Sr. from Greater Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church preached. This was an incredible service as Greater Shiloh and SMBC’s choirs joined together and members of both churches worshipped together as one body of believers. Dr. Wesley preached from 2 Timothy 1:6-7 and talked about how God has given us a spirit of courage, not one of fear.
Each of these teaching times spoke to us and gave us encouragement for the work God has called us to. It can get frustrating working with the men and women we minster to, but we are constantly reminded of God’s grace to us when we didn’t deserve it. There are times when we aren’t really sure how things are going to work out, but God continues to prove faithful and provides us with everything we need. There are times when it would be easier to have a spirit of fear and timidity and back down from the tough things God has called us to, but he’s always faithful to give us the courage to keep moving forward.
We are so thankful for the opportunity to have been a part of Shades’ 2012 GIC. It was a great time of refreshment and encouragement as we hit the streets and get back to our normal routine. We’ll have the blog in full swing for the rest of the week, so be sure to check back in. Thanks for your prayers and support!
Jim & Mark
It was another cold day yesterday, but it didn’t keep our team of volunteers away. We had a great group and several new
Getting Ready To Go Downtown
faces joined us to head down and serve our Sunday meal. The Chamberlain Sunday school class from SMBC provided a great lunch for the men and women downtown and despite the cold, we had a great time of fellowship.
After we leave downtown each week it’s always encouraging to hear people share a little bit about their experience on Facebook or Twitter. Yesterday one of our weekly volunteers, Shelby Segrest had this to say on Twitter:
“Love sharing Christ’s love with those who need Him the most…even in the freezing cold @urbanpurpose #forHisglory”
We absolutely love giving people a framework and structure to be a part of that allows them to share Christ’s love with the poor and needy here in our city.
Several of us got to spend time hanging out with and talking to Rodney yesterday. Rodney has been coming to our Sunday meal almost every week for the last two years and he’s one of our favorite guys to spend time with. For two years we’ve built a good relationship with him, helped him with basic physical needs, and shared the gospel with him on numerous occasions. Rodney has always been intrigued by our consistency downtown. He regularly makes comments like, “I didn’t think y’all would still be coming down here” or “You’re a man of your word.” Rodney is a severe alcoholic. He’s one of the most stubborn men we’ve ever met. We have talked to him many times about helping him get into a drug and alcohol recovery program. He’s lived such a life of independence for so long that he can’t bring himself to go anywhere where he’ll have to submit to authority. It’s easy to look at a guy like Rodney and think there’s no hope for him. It’s easy to look at him and think that he’ll never change. On his own, Rodney never will change. It’s going to take a mighty work of God in his heart. Will you join us in praying for Rodney? Pray that God will soften his heart. Pray that he’ll recognize his desperate need for a savior. Finally, pray that he’ll realize how much he needs to enter a program that can help him get his alcohol addiction under control.
The Serving Line
We’re excited about the upcoming week as we’ll be taking part in SMBC’s Global Impact Celebration. We hope everyone that’s able will come to the services on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. For more information you can check out SMBC’s website at www.shades.org. We look forward to seeing you at GIC and at our Sunday meal!
Have a great week!
Jim & Mark
When most of us think of a homeless person, we normally think of a man begging on the side of the road or sleeping on a bench in a park. What many of us don’t realize is that the fastest growing demographic of homeless people in our country are women, children, and families. According to a survey by The National Coalition For The Homeless, this demographic makes up 40% of our country’s homeless population. The survey found that one of the main reasons for women and children being forced out of their home is abuse, both physical and sexual. It started with the home. Check out Ciarra Karnes’ article “The Face of Homelessness is Misconstrued in Society.”
A large percentage of the people we work with fit the mold of the traditional face of homelessness. We work with a lot of men that are sleeping on the streets and dealing with significant addiction issues. As we’ve talked about numerous times here on the blog, many of their issues stem from how they were raised as children. Most of them have no relationship with their father and were introduced to drugs, alcohol, and unstable living environments at an early age. Again, it started with the home.
What seems to be clear in all of this is that the problem of homelessness in our society starts with the home. The rapidly growing population of children experiencing homelessness will in many cases continue to perpetuate the problem with their children. The cycle has to be broken. So, how do we address the issue? There are a lot of great recovery programs and shelters throughout our city. These places do incredible jobs of reaching out and caring for people in terrible situations. While we take care of the people that are suffering the consequences of these circumstances, what do we do to get at the root of the problem? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue. It’s one we have to address. We have to keep caring for the symptoms, but the problem will only grow if we don’t attack the cause.
What do you think?
The last few days have been some of the most mentally and emotionally exhausting days I’ve had in a long time. By 5:30pm yesterday I was spent. All I wanted to do was to go home, sit in my recliner, turn on the Tennessee vs Arkansas basketball game, and fall asleep.
We (Urban Purpose) are a part of our church’s upcoming Global Impact Celebration and last night there was a prayer service from 6-7pm. Even though all I wanted was for my butt to hit that recliner, God was telling me that we needed to go.
If it was up to me, I would have missed a sweet, sweet time of worship, prayer, encouragement, and stillness. Yes, if I had gone home I would have definitely been still, but I wouldn’t have been at rest. I would have had the “still” part down, but not the “know” part (Psalm 46:10). I would have still been laboring over all the things that are going on. At the prayer service, however, I was able to be still and focus on the greatness of our God. God and His people truly ministered to us during that time. He knew exactly what we needed and directed us to it.
Did the issues we’re dealing with magically disappear because we went to the prayer service? Of course not. But our minds were refreshed and refocused on the one who is in total control. I still came home and sat in my recliner and caught the end of the game, but my mind and heart were still and refocused knowing that our God is greater.
Holly is the book-keeper for Urban Purpose, so she has a unique perspective into how we use the resources that God blesses us with. Take a minute and listen to her share why her family financially supports Urban Purpose.
Right now we are looking for 150 individuals/families to make a monthly donation to Urban Purpose. Currently we have 31 monthly supporters. Will you prayerfully consider being 1 of the 150? Signing up is quick and easy. Click here to sign up online or to get more information about setting up a recurring payment through your online banking.
Thanks so much for your prayers and support.
Jim & Mark
Curt Martin is one of our key volunteers and a member of our Core Group (a group of 12 men that help make day-to-day ministry decisions). Take a second and listen to him talk about what God has taught him through his involvement in Urban Purpose.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9