Monthly Archives: February 2015

Sunday Rewind: Expect the Unexpected

Every Sunday at our meal we see a variety of different faces: men, women, children, black, white, and every race in-between. It’s hard to categorize the people that we meet downtown, because all of them have different backgrounds and a different story to tell. There are times when a person will approach you and you will be fairly positive that they are stretching the truth a little too far. Other times, you get to talk with someone who shares something refreshing and very unexpected. This past Sunday was one of those days for me.

After the line died down, one of our regulars and his “crew”(we’ll call them) were sitting on the curb eating their lunch. First, we went through the typical questions of, “How’s your week been?” and “You staying warm?” But immediately after the small talk, one of the men pulled a book out of his backpack and handed it to me. As he handed over the Jesus Calling Devotional he said, “Turn to today’s page and read it out loud.” So I began to read:

 Come to Me with all your weaknesses: physical, emotional, and spiritual.  Rest in the comfort of My Presence, remembering that nothing is impossible with Me. Pry your mind away from your problems so you can focus your attention on Me. Recall that I am able to do immeasurably more than all you can ask or imagine.  Instead of trying to direct Me to do this and that, seek to attune yourself to what I am already doing.  

When anxiety attempts to wedge its way into your thoughts, remind yourself that I am your Shepherd.  The bottom line is that I am taking care of you; therefore, you needn’t be afraid of anything.  Rather than trying to maintain control over your life, abandon yourself to My will.  Though this may feel frightening-even dangerous- the safest place to be is in My will.

When I finished the reading, it dawned on me what had just happened- God had used a man without a roof over his head to remind me not to worry about my physical, emotional and spiritual problems. He reminded me that instead of trying to get God to follow my will, I should be asking Him for His. And most importantly, he reminded me to keep my eyes on the Shepherd that cares for me and knows me, his sheep.

I am so thankful for the variety of people that we meet downtown every week and the many different stories we hear on a daily basis. It reminds us that not only is God a God of ALL people, but He also works through ALL people. I pray that my eyes and ears can be opened daily so that I can continue to learn from some unexpected people in unexpected places

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The Facts

Although Birmingham is labeled the Most Bible-Minded City in America (http://cities.barna.org/2015-bible-minded-cities/) the fact is that drug use is still something we face on a daily basis. Surprisingly enough, many times it’s going on in our own neighborhoods. This past weekend an article was written in the Vestavia Voice about the rising of heroin death rates in 2014.

“The heroin-related death rate for Jefferson  County more than doubled in 2014. According to Deputy Coroner Bill Yates of the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office, there were 129 confirmed heroin deaths last year, compared to 58 in 2013. Across the county, the number of deaths from heroin overdose has been rising each year since 2010, when there were 12 deaths. The growth between 2013 and 2014 was the largest single increase since that time. Yates said Vestavia Hills had seven confirmed heroin deaths this year, and the city neighbors other highly impacted areas. Within the city limits of Birmingham, 55 heroin related deaths occurred in 2014. Homewood and Hoover had between six and 10 fatalities.” (vestaviavoice.com)

This is an ongoing issue that boils down to one thing: sin. Please be in prayer for the people in our city that are struggling with this sort of addiction. We also ask that you pray for us; that the Lord gives us wisdom as we deal with addiction issues such as this on a daily basis.

The good news is that people are beginning to recognize that this is something that is right underneath our noses. Now the goal is to learn how to walk beside someone as they deal with an addiction issue while loving them and ultimately pointing them to Jesus.

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