Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Battle Is Fierce…

Scripture is clear that every believer wages a daily war against sin and the schemes of Satan. For many of the men and women we work with that battle is waged out in the open and it’s “in-your-face.” For a lot of believers, the battle is a lot more hidden and behind the scenes.  Regardless of whether your struggle is with pride, selfishness, laziness, drugs, alcohol, or lust, Scripture gives clear direction about how to prepare to battle sin (Ephesians 6:10-18).

The thing we have to remember is that the battle is fierce and it’s consistent. When things seem to be going well it’s so easy to get lazy in preparing for that daily battle. We begin to think we have things under control or we convince ourselves that the sins we struggle with really aren’t that big of deal. That’s when we’re most vulnerable and open to the attacks and schemes of Satan.

On Wednesday we posted a video of Tim Dial sharing a little bit about what’s been going on in his life recently. Just the other day Tim mentioned that he can see another battle coming. The anniversary of his mother’s death is coming up and he’s dealing with some uncertainty about his future housing and employment plans. Tim knows that he has made bad decisions in the past when he’s gotten down, frustrated, and anxious. It’s wise of him to see the battle coming and begin making preparations for how he’s going to face this struggle. The most important thing we can do is rest in the fact that Christ has won the battle for us, we’re his children, and he’s given us His Spirit, His Word, and His church to help us stand firm in the faith.

Why is it so easy for us to disengage from the battle? Pride? Laziness? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Tim Dial: Thank You…

We’ve known Tim for over two years and during that time God has done some amazing things in his life. Here he takes a minute to talk about some recent struggles and to say “thank you” to everyone who has stuck with him and prayed for him in recent months.

 

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Glenn Donald: I’m Learning Patience

Glenn takes just a second to say thanks for everyone’s prayers and talk a little bit about what God has been teaching him lately. Glenn is graduating from The Foundry this coming Sunday and we’re all pumped about what God is doing in his life and what He has in store for him.

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Spring Break Trip Wrap-Up

We had a great time being a part of SMBC’s student spring break mission trip this week. It was a blessing to get to hang out with 30 high school students that truly believe the gospel of Jesus Christ can change our city.

This morning we spent the last few hours of the trip hanging out downtown with the men and women on the streets. It never got old watching the students engage in conversations and prayer with people from totally different backgrounds.

Garrison Pugh, a junior at Hoover, was a part of the trip and is also one of our weekly volunteers. Here’s a quick thought from him about what ministering downtown for the past year has taught him…

“I’m Garrison Pugh and I’m 16.  I have been coming to Urban Purpose for a little over year starting last year at DNOW.  I remember one week I told a friend of mine that I didn’t feel like going.  He responded saying, “It’s not really about you” and that really struck me because I realized that it wasn’t just about serving a meal it was about loving people like Jesus has loved me.  Ever since then I have made Urban Purpose a priority, and I continue to come almost every week because of the friendships I have made with many of the people. God teaches me something every week.  Seeing a homeless man brought to tears because of all of the blessings God has given him really moved me to appreciate every little thing God has given me.”

We love being able to provide young people like Garrison the opportunity to serve on a consistent basis and learn what it means to love like Christ at an early age. Our hope is that this week helped spur these 30 students on to continue getting their hands dirty in our city for the sake of the gospel.

Here’s a quick video where several of the students take just a second to tell you about their favorite part of the trip. It was cool to hear a lot of different answers, but know that it all focused on sharing and showing the love of Jesus to the people of Birmingham.

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Day 3 Spring Break Blog…

9:00am – Our first stop this morning was downtown Birmingham to make hygiene kits, pass out sausage biscuits and water, and to continue ministering to the men and women on the streets. We split into four groups and covered even more ground than we had the last few days. One group went to the Five Point South neighborhood and hung out with some folks in the park. We don’t spend a ton of time on the southside, so it was a good opportunity to meet some new people and share with them a little bit about what we do. Throughout the morning Jim took small groups in his truck to see some areas that aren’t as accessible by foot. This allowed the students to get an even clearer picture of how some of the folks downtown really live.

Jamie borrowed a guitar and we had some worship time with guys in the park.

Here’s a quick clip of Austin and Jordan talking about what God showed them riding around downtown with Jim…

12:15pm – After a full morning of hitting the streets of downtown we finally stopped for lunch. Sack lunches never taste as good as they do after a full morning of walking around. Next stop is The Lovelady Center.

1:30pm – We made it to The Lovelady Center and the first thing the students are doing is playing with the children that live here. It’s awesome to see our students really engaging with the kids and spending time with them. With no father in the picture, these kids don’t get a lot of attention, so they’re especially excited to get to hang out with the high school guys. So far it’s been another great day. After we get done here we’re heading to Changed Lives Christian Center to serve dinner and spend some time with the men there.

5:30pm – After our time at The Lovelady Center we went to have dinner with the guys at Changed Lives Christian Center. The men that live there have jobs and are making significant efforts to put their lives back together. It was great to just sit and talk with them and listen to their stories. Some of the students played basketball with the guys after dinner and others spent some more time hanging out and getting to know each other.

 

8:30pm – We wrapped up the evening with some more worship and share time. It was neat hearing hearing the students talk about all that God had taught them through the week. Tomorrow we’ll wrap up the trip around noon. So, tonight we asked the students what the wanted to do in the morning for the last few hours of the trip. Almost all of them wanted to head back downtown and hit the streets. It’s awesome to see God at work in the hearts of these students as they develop a passion for reaching the poor and broken with the gospel. We’re really looking forward to closing out the trip with a great morning tomorrow.

 

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Live Blog Day 2 Spring Break…

8:00am – This morning we had the opportunity to worship with our brothers and sisters at Greater Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church. It’s definitely a different style and feel than what the students are used to, but it was a great opportunity for them to see worship happen in a different context. Celena Novick, a senior at Spain Park, took a minute to write a little bit about her experience worshipping here at Greater Shiloh this morning…

“Worship. As the Body of Christ we define worship as any action of praise that glorifies our LORD. Greater Shiloh definitely understands what it means to be blessed by the message of God. As a student, it was amazing to see how much dependence each of these men and women has on Christ during worship. In musical worship, and opening the scripture they openly and outwardly give God the praise for everything He has blessed us with. While it’s a bit different than my average Sunday worship, it’s certainly a blessing to see that God moves in all of His creation—white and black alike. I was blessed today by the wisdom of these people and by the fact that they are not ashamed of the gospel, or the Jesus who saved their souls.”

9:45am – Greater Shiloh has breakfast in their gym between their two services, so we got to spend some time eating and hanging out with members of their church. We’ll be heading over to Shades in a few hours to eat lunch and begin making the meal for Urban Purpose this afternoon.

12:00pm – We’re back at Shades getting the grills are fired up. The guys grilled burgers for our group to eat for lunch and for the Urban Purpose meal later this afternoon. The rest of the group put the burgers together and made sack lunches for the men and women downtown. We’ll be heading out at 2:30 to hang out with the folks downtown. We’re looking forward to seeing some of the folks we invited yesterday and getting the opportunity to keep building relationships with them.

3:00pm – We headed downtown for the normal Urban Purpose meal and had a great crowd. There were a little over 100 people that went through the line and the students did a great job engaging in conversations throughout the afternoon. Here’s a little bit about what God taught Brannon DeFore this afternoon…


6:15pm – After we had dinner we had the opportunity to have a time of worship and prayer over the city. We went to a spot near Vulcan Park that has a great view of Birmingham and spent about an hour there. After a few worship songs we talked with the students to get their perspective on how they thought we needed to pray for Birmingham. We prayed in groups and then came together for a group prayer and wrapped up with some more worship. It was an awesome night and we’re fired up for all God has in store for us tomorrow!

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Live Spring Break Day 1 Blog…

We’re going to be live blogging throughout the mission trip, so check back here to see what God is doing through the SMBC students here in Birmingham.

7:25am – We’re staying at Greater Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church this week. Right now we’re eating breakfast and gearing up to head to The Foundry. The students will be working in the thrift store alongside the residents for a few hours. We’re packing up and heading out in about 30 minutes. It’s going to be an awesome day!

9:30am – Everything is off to a great start at The Foundry. A few students from Greater Shiloh were able to come with us. Every one is paired up with a resident and is helping them with their respective job for the day. This gives the students an opportunity learn the stories of men and women working to beat their addictions and regain control of their lives. Once we’re done here we’ll get a couple of the studnets to share their thoughts about the experience.

11:15am – We wrapped up working at The Foundry and stopped to eat lunch for a few minutes before we headed downtown. Jamie and Shelby wanted to take a second and let you know about their experience this morning. Take a minute and listen to how God used them this morning.

1:00pm – We just got downtown and started passing out waters, snacks, and pamphlets that tell people about Urban Purpose and give directions to our Sunday meal. We’re going to get another video up here in a little bit with some of the students talking about their experience in the parks.

2:45pm – We spent time in Linn, Kelly Ingram, and Railroad Parks and had a great time getting to know some of the folks downtown. A lot of people told us they were coming to our meal tomorrow afternoon. It’s cool for the students to be able to see the same people over the course of multiple days. It reinforces the fact that these are people they can get to know over time and build real relationships with. Some groups split off from the parks and walked several blocks of downtown passing out water and extending more invitations to tomorrow’s meal.

5:15pm – Will and Andrew had a great time ministering in the parks and wanted to take a moment and share about their time downtown.

6:00pm – We had some great parents pick up our dinner at Salsaritas and bring it out to Greater Shiloh for us. After a pretty long day the food was knocked out quick and we had some time to hang out, relax, and take showers.

7:30pm – We wrapped up the night with some worship, share time, and prayer. A number of the students shared about different experiences they had throughout the day and what God taught them. It was exciting to hear about so many different experiences and perspectives and we are really excited about everything God has in store for us tomorrow. We’re getting going bright and early at 8:00am with worship at Greater Shiloh. It’s going to be awesome!

Here’s a really quick clip of our worship time together as we but a bow on Day 1.

 

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