Monthly Archives: September 2014

Love Covers a Multitude of Sins

10004020_899571930058803_5183044145903885902_n In a world full of comparisons, we tend to look at someone else’s struggle with sin and think we are doing pretty well. No matter what we are struggling with, we notice that it isn’t bad compared to theirs. What many people forget to take into account is that it is ONLY by the grace of God that you are standing, instead of entangled in a multitude of sins. As we learn day in and day out how to better love the people we work with, it is important for us to remember who we are with Christ, and who we were without.

Jared C. Wilson, a blog contributor for The Gospel Coalition, wrote a powerful blog about how we should respond to and approach another person’s sin.

“It is possible Peter has this image in mind in 1 Peter 4:8 when he writes, ‘“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”’ This is what Christians do when confronted with the sins of others; they do what they would want done for them — not shaming, not ridiculing, not lording over — a demonstration of grace. This doesn’t mean not mentioning someone’s sin or never confronting or rebuking or preaching against sin — it just means doing so with reverence for God and with grace, not to demean or squash or humiliate, but to provide the shelter of God’s love.”

Jared C. Wilson, The Gospel Coalition 

As Wilson states, we are never to ignore the sins of others or pretend that it did not happen. We do not treat their sin casually- but we should always treat it with mercy. Mercy is defined as not getting what we deserve. As believers we must take a step back, put down the stones and take up the cross. God gave us his one and only Son when we deserved death; He purchased us as his children rather than leave us on our own.

We are eternally thankful that Gods love washes away all of our sins; now we must show that love to others.

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A Day in the Life of Urban Purpose, 9/18

Today we wanted to show you what the average day in the life of Urban Purpose could look like. I say could because each day usually looks dramatically different. We hope that by reading this you can get a glimpse into how we are working with people on a day to day basis as the different events in their lives unfold. We will be updating this blog throughout the day, so be sure to check back in and see how the days progressing!

8:15 a.m.- This morning we are headed to the Bessemer Courthouse to stand beside and speak on behalf of one of our guys as he is planning to move forward in an attempt to turn his life around.

9:00 a.m.- Waiting for the judge to begin the hearing this morning. When we come to court with some of our people, it is more about being there for them and supporting them during this time than it is about how we can help.

Courtroom

9:30 a.m.- It was a short and sweet time in the courtroom today where the verdict was good for our friend! We are very thankful for the good grace and hopeful for the future of this great man.

Now we’re heading to visit one of our guys at a recovery program to check in and see how he is doing. It’s important to us that we keep good relationships with these people as they take steps to recovery in a program. This way they know that when it is time for them to leave, we will be there waiting to help them continue on in the process of bettering themselves.

10:25 a.m.- On our way to pick up a young lady that we’ve been getting to know recently. She’s in a really tough situation and has a couple of doctors appointments that she has to get today, so we’re helping her go to these. This will be one of the first chances that we will get to spend alone time with her away from some of the people she normally hangs out with. Be praying that this time goes well and she really opens up to us!

11:20 a.m.- As we attempted to go to the first of the two doctors appointments, it turned out that times were mixed up and we were not able to see the doctor today. Many times, things never go as planned!

Because of the time mix up, we were able to take her out to lunch and get spend some quality time getting to go over her needs. We were able to talk about some of her next steps and think through some things she hadn’t considered yet, but are definitely necessary. It’s easy to forget in the midst of difficult circumstances that one of the biggest needs people tend to have is for to just have someone to talk to.

12:50 p.m.- Right now we’re in the waiting process at the second doctor’s office. These appointments can be very unpredictable as far as the timing goes. Praying for all good news!

 

image-1

 

1:45 p.m.- Thankful for a good, quick doctors appointment. We have found that in many cases just by being able to meet peoples basic needs, this can be a great way to build trust and begin to develop deeper relationships. By having that trust we are able to go deeper with people and help them figure out the root their problems.

3:15 p.m.- We’re finally back in  the office and will be able to get some much needed work done. Sometimes we actually function like a regular business, with administrative work and all.

 

4:20 p.m.-We got to end today by meeting with a young mother that we’ve worked with for several years now. One of our amazing volunteers donated furniture for her new apartment, and we got to hand it off to her! She is doing an incredible job as a single mother and working hard at her new career. It’s always encouraging to visit with her and be reminded of God’s faithfulness through the storms in life.

That’s a wrap for today! We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to take a glimpse into our lives here at Urban Purpose. Every day of the week is going to look dramatically different; we will see the good, the bad and the ugly. Thankfully we know that our strength does not depend on anything in us, but comes directly from Christ. He alone gives us the hope, encouragement and the passion to walk beside His children one step at a time.

Thanks for taking the journey with us through a day in the life of Urban Purpose! God Bless.

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Run with Purpose

Check out the video below featuring long time supporters Rick Burgess and Ryan Brown preparing for the 5K!

Have you been looking for different ways to support Urban Purpose in their efforts to reach people with the gospel in the city of Birmingham? Well here it is- Shades Mountain Baptist Church is now providing you with the perfect opportunity. On September 27th at 8 a.m. come join Shades in their efforts to raise money and awareness at their 2nd Annual Urban Purpose 5K and Kids Mess Fest! This is an event that is fun for the whole family to come out and participate in. So what are you waiting for? Register today!
http://tinyurl.com/qx9apu6

We would like to thank the whole Shades Mountain family for their continued support and encouragement as the Lord uses Urban Purpose in the lives of those in Birmingham to bring them into the Kingdom.

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Different Problems. One Solution.

Yesterday we spent time in the suburbs, the hood, and rural Alabama.

We went to the probation office, a professional counselor’s office, and the projects.

We spent time with people who come from completely different backgrounds. They look different, talk different, and think different.

But they all have the same root problem- and so do we. And we know there’s only one solution to that problem. And that’s why we do what we do.

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When Evil Seems to Win

In the ministry that we are in, it can often seem that the devil is winning souls left and right. Whether it may be a failed drug test, quitting a brand new job or running from help, the choices that people make on a daily basis can become discouraging and disheartening. As we work with people we are hoping that they will make the right choices; that they will choose counseling, rehab, work and a clean lifestyle. At times we can get caught up in the tangible elements of this life we live here on earth.
While it is easy to get lost in these daily decisions that people make, what we must continue to be aware of is that our fight is not against people, and definitely not against one another. For in Ephesians 6:12 Paul reminds us who we must wage war against:

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

To wage war against the dark forces we must be constantly coming to God in prayer, believing and knowing that the power of the cross can, will and has defeated all that comes in its’ path.
Even when we feel that evil seems to win, we must continue to press on knowing that one day Jesus will return to claim all things in heaven, on earth and under earth as his own. This will be done in our Father’s perfect timing, in which we anxiously await.

Joining us in praying this prayer during times when all else seems to fail.

A Prayer for Waiting on the Lord When Evil Seems to Win
Dear heavenly Father… Whenever we’re vexed or fretful, you anticipate it. Whenever we’re confused or anxious, you’ve already spoken wisdom about the matter, in multiple places in the Scriptures… How we praise you for the counsel and consolation of your Word; the grace and power of the Scriptures; the truth and authority of the Bible.
Though you won’t give us a date, you do give us yourself. You’re calling us to stillness and fretless waiting. Every day, in multiple contexts, we need to hear you say, “Be still and know that I am God.” No good comes from our obsessing about darkness and evil-making. Nothing profitable results from our spending extra time fertilizing our anger, fueling our disgust, fuming about how much evildoers get away with. For a Day is coming when the knowledge of your glory will cover the entire earth as the waters cover the sea.
Until that Day, we will work hard to push back the effects of the Fall, and offer our communities a foretaste of the world to come.
Fill our hearts with your grace and our hands with your mercy. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ reigning and returning name.

{Scotty Smith}
http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/scottysmith/2014/09/03/a-prayer-for-waiting-on-the-lord-when-evil-seems-to-win/

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Rejoicing in Weakness

While riding in the truck on the way to pick up one of our homeless friends for lunch, all I could do was pray. I was asking the Lord for the right words to say and for his light to shine through us, but mostly for peace. Peace that knowing however this lunch went, that he was sovereign over it all and that His will would be done. To be completely honest, I was nervous…extremely nervous.
You see, earlier that day we had received a phone call from one of our friends (we’ll call him Smith) asking if we could meet for lunch. Smith is someone that has come to our Sunday meals for about four years now, and he tends to make an impression on everyone he meets. Jim and Mark, along with many others that have been involved with Urban Purpose over the years, have always had a big heart for Smith and have attempted to reach out to him multiple times but the conversations never went very far- until last Thursday.
As we drove towards Chick-fil-A I could not stop thinking that this was going to be my first real experience in this ministry, and I was far from confident in my “abilities” to be a part of this situation. Regardless of how prepared I was, we were here and the time was now. As soon as Jim pointed Smith out to me, I could already feel my heart growing for this man. It was not because he looked a certain way, was wearing anything specific or that he was extremely excited to see us; in that moment I realized that it was because I could feel Jesus’ love for him.
And then it happened- this quite and peaceful feeling of surrender just engulfed me. I was fully aware of all that he was saying while we were talking, but was experiencing such joy being in the presence of the Lord with Smith that it all seemed like a dream.
What God was showing me during this first lunch was that it is not about “my abilities”; it’s not about what I have been taught about the homeless in this city and how to relate best to them; it’s not even about why I recently became a member of this team and how I can be most useful in this ministry. While all of these things play a role in our work and can be beneficial, that is not what this lunch was about.
This lunch was about showing Smith that we are here for him and want to help him succeed. We want to care for him and walk alongside him as he struggles with addiction. Most importantly, that we love him where he is now, at his worst, because Christ loved us at our worst. We are only able to love like this, through thick and thin, because Christ first loved us.
By the time lunch had ended I was overjoyed. Not because the lunch went incredibly well (which by the way, it did) but because I was once again aware of the Lord’s promises. When I am weak, He is strong. It is His love, His strength, His promises that I must rely on day in and day out because I am far from perfect and will never be fully prepared!
I am extremely humbled to see how God works through regular people like myself, Mark and Jim to make His glory known among all people.

What a God we serve!

Rachel

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