Monthly Archives: August 2013

God’s Love Wins Every Time

As I sit in the Sav-a-Life waiting room a couple came in and it was very obvious that they were meth users. My first thought was how pitiful they looked. And as I sat there the Holy Spirit touched my heart that He died for them just like He did for me. I immediately asked for forgiveness and prayed over them.

It’s so easy for me/us to pass judgement on others that are different from us. If we stop and look at ourselves as Christ sees us, well that’s very humbling. I need to be quicker to love than “size someone up”. I get it, I must have a balance of the two, but it seems to me love should be my first response.



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Eagle Scout Project for Birmingham’s Needy

Drake Greer (left) drops off hygiene packs to Urban Purpose.

Drake Greer (left) drops off hygiene packs to Urban Purpose.

Earlier in the summer Drake Greer provided the ministry with 50 impressive hygiene packs as a part of his Eagle Scout Project. They were put in a nice backpack and also include a warm blanket. We’ve been saving the packs for the winter and are excited about putting them to use. It’s so cool to see people of all ages step up in various ways to serve the broken and needy of our city. We’re thankful for Drake and all the volunteers that help us do what we do. Here’s a quick word from Drake about why he chose to involve Urban Purpose in his project…

“I was trying to think of projects for my Eagle Project when one Sunday at church, there was an announcement to do with Urban Purpose.  I learned that they help the homeless of Birmingham and thought what better way to help and give back to the community than to do my project helping the homeless.  The idea to make 50 hygiene packs to distribute to the homeless was approved, so I set out getting the supplies and volunteers to help make the packs.  I was fortunate enough to raise enough funds to assemble all 50 packs and was able to deliver the finished packs to Mr. McFarland on July 1, 2013.”

– Drake Greer

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What Do Y’all Do During the Week?: Live Blog 8-20-13

“What do y’all do during the week?”

We get that question quite a bit. People normally get plugged into the ministry by volunteering at our Sunday meals and are curious what else goes on with Urban Purpose. Today we’re going to update the blog throughout the day and give you some insight into what a normal day for us looks like.

Some of the things we have to do today are pretty sensitive for the person we’re helping, so we’ll have to be careful how much detail we give. We hope you enjoy keeping up with us throughout the day and know that we’re thankful for you and your interest in the ministry. Whatever you’ve got going on today, remember that there are broken and hurting people everywhere that need to know they’re loved. We hope everyone has a great day.

5:30am-8:45am – Jim got in an early morning workout this morning and then was able to make it home and spend some time in the Word and prayer before we really get cranking for the day. Unfortunately I (Mark) didn’t get up ahead of the kids this morning, so there hasn’t been much quiet time here this morning. I’ll be heading out in a little bit to meet up with Jim and the day going.

9:15amWe’re heading to pick someone up to head to a follow-up appointment from a psychological evaluation they had done last week. I’ll give a little more detail on the importance of this when I have a chance to sit at the computer. This is a huge deal though, so please be praying for us.

10:45am – We just wrapped up the appointment. It was extremely helpful, but comes with hard decisions. It can be so easy for us to look at people that are struggling and assume they can just get over it and move forward. Getting a professional’s take on how abuse and trauma impact people’s decision making and coping skills was eye opening. Please continue to pray for this situation.

11:15am – Quick run to the laundromat to get someone’s clothes washed. Part of what we do through the day is help people take care of their basic needs.

11:35am – Lunch stop with one of the folks we work with. Nothing beats a little Chipotle to keep the day going smooth.

11:50am – Pit stop at the bank to deposit some checks from our corporate sponsors for our upcoming 5k and Boston Butt sale. It’s always a balance of taking care of the ministry side of things as well as the admin side.

12:15pm – Back to the laundromat to switch clothes to the dryer.

12:45pm – We’re at Sav-A-Life (a crisis pregnancy center) right now. An individual we work with needed to come by and get some testing done. I’m not going to go into details of what happened because it’s pretty sensitive stuff. A lot of what we do is standing beside people through all the crap that goes on in their lives.

1:30pm – Finally picked up the laundry, so that’s done for the day.

2:30pm – Spent the last hour getting someone’s stuff out of a previous living situation. We moved the majority of it into our storage unit while we make decisions about what’s next in the coming days.

3:15pm – We just got done dropping off medicine to someone we work with. Over the past few years there’s been a dramatic increase in heroin addictions in our city. As you use heroin your body becomes physically dependent on the drug, so when you don’t use you experience serious withdrawal symptoms. Suboxone is a medicine that heroin addicts can take to help deal with the withdrawals. One of the things we do is deliver the medicine to the people we are working with. After taking them to their doctor appointments, we go pick up their prescription and hold onto it for them. This reduces temptations for them on a number of levels. If they had all the medicine for a two week period, there would be the temptation to take more than prescribed or to sell or trade the meds. We’ve been making Suboxone runs to various people we work with consistently for the past year and a half.

5:15pm – For the last hour and a half or so we’ve been wrapping up the day. This includes Jim and I talking through the day, what’s gone on, and our plans to address a number of the issues that came up. We also spent time on the phone with a number of people involved in the ministry. We brought them up to speed on a number of issues and asked them to help us out in ministering to some folks this week. It’s not just about what Jim and I do through the week. There are a lot of people that take their time and invest into the lives of those we work with. Last night someone was taken to a baseball game and given the chance to just hang out and be normal. Tonight a volunteer will pick someone up and take them to dinner, hang out with them, and be a listening ear. Stuff like this happens all the time and makes what we do possible. It’s all about God’s people stepping up together and loving on people that everyone else doesn’t want to love.

Thank you so much for taking the time to keep up with a typical day for Urban Purpose. Hopefully it gave you some insight into what goes on with us through the week. We appreciate your support and prayers as we work together for the gospel and for Birmingham.

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