Tag Archives: gospel

GIC Recap

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Over the last week of February we were invited to spend time with the church body of Shades Mountain Baptist Church during their Global Impact Celebration. Each year around this time, Shades brings in the different missionaries from all around the world that they support and partner with for a time of encouragement, care, and fellowship. There were missionaries from India, the Middle East, New York City Africa, Eastern Europe, Miami, and Birmingham, Alabama.

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Throughout this conference, there are multiple services that encourage church members to get involved in missions anywhere and any way you can. One of the most impactful nights is called “Stories and Songs.” On this night, each missionary is given 60 seconds to share a quick glimpse of what the Lord is doing in their part of the world.

Check out our video below of Urban Purpose’s 60-second story on what the Lord is doing through our ministry.

Urban Purpose has been blessed to work alongside the staff and members of Shades Mountain Baptist Church as we go out to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth. While our ends of the earth look extremely different than some, we know that God has created these people in His image and they are crying out for love and affection from someone. We, as believers, are called to be those people.

 

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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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Urban Purpose is based on developing genuine, long-term relationships centered on the gospel. God has blessed us financially and as Urban Purpose grows, so do our expenses. We need you to join us in ministering to Birmingham’s broken and needy by being a monthly donor.  Will you support our ministry?

 

Your monthly support helps us provide people in our city with:

  • temporary and long-term housing
  • counseling
  • medical care
  • mental healthcare
  • drug and alcohol recovery
  • employment opportunities

Current monthly donors give from $10-$325 a month. Any amount you commit to give helps us to meet our goal of 40 donors in 40 days, averaging $40 each.

 

We ask you to consider joining us in ministering to the homeless and needy in Birmingham by supporting us on a monthly basis.

 

Here’s how you can give: 

  • Set up monthly recurring payments through your bank
  • Click here to set up monthly online payments through our secure PayPal account
  • Mail us a monthly check at: Urban Purpose, PO Box 660373, Vestavia, AL 35266

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Heroin on the Rise: Wrapping It Up

We hope that our “Heroin On The Rise” series has given you some insight into this epidemic that is growing here in our city, as well as around the country. Our desire in writing this series was twofold. First, we wanted it to be educational. That was the purpose behind us telling our story in the first post and then giving some stats in the second. There are people all over our city, and sometimes right down the street, that are living in a world that is completely unimaginable to most of us. It is important for us to know what’s going on for the sake of our children and families. It’s also necessary for us to know the struggle people are facing if we are to follow God’s call on our lives to be good neighbors. That is where our second goal in this series comes into play. That was the purpose behind us digging into the “why” behind the epidemic in the third post and then giving insight into a mother’s journey in part one and part two of “A Mother’s Perspective.”

The truth is, we are all flawed and deeply broken, it just looks different for different people. Apart from Christ we are all seeking to fill the void in our life with something. For some people it’s money. For some it’s sex or relationships. For some it’s reputation and status. And for some, they turn to drugs to mask the pain and fill that void. Their struggle plays out differently and in most cases, it plays out in a much more destructive manner. But at the core, we’re still all the same. We’re broken and flawed people looking for something that can only be found in Jesus. We believe that looking at this issue through this lens allows us to be good, loving neighbors that care for the whole person God has created and loves. That is what drives our tagline: “For the Gospel. For Birmingham.”

If you have any questions about this issue or if you feel like Urban Purpose can help you or a family member that is struggling in this regard, feel free to email Mark Jenkins at mark@urbanpurpose.org.

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Heroin on the Rise: A Mother’s Perspective (Part 2)

As we move to wrap up the series Heroin on the Rise, we want to offer a different, more personal perspective on the effects of heroin. Today’s post is the second part of an article written by the mother of one of our clients who battles a heroin addiction. We hope that her insight will be eye opening and challenging as together we learn more about heroin and the great toll that it takes.

Miss part 1 of this article?

Click here to read A Mother’s Perspective (Part 1)

“We tried to deal with this alone for many years because of the shame and embarrassment. What would people think about our family? What kind of parents are we? What kind of Mother am I? I pray, but I wanted God to swoop in and do what I needed him to do. I had it all worked out, I just needed a little help from Him. You see, I am a fixer, a control freak so to speak. There isn’t much I can’t do if I put my mind to it. But this, this was way out of my league.

Once I realized that I couldn’t fix “this,” and I had to surrender total control to my Lord, things began to change. We opened up to our Lifegroup at church. What a relief that we didn’t have to carry this burden by ourselves. I shared with some of my closet friends. They didn’t think we were freaks or had two heads. They prayed and they cried with us. I felt God’s loving arms so totally around us and knew He was there.

Once I finally understood that this was a battle that our son was going to have to fight, and that I couldn’t “fix” it for him, I felt peace. My heart has been broken into a million pieces for him. I am his Mother, after all. I pray for him constantly that he will have the strength to fight Satan and will surrender this demon to his Heavenly Father.

He is in a long-term Christian drug rehabilitation center. He has had some ups and downs, but that is the life of an addict. I don’t think about tomorrow for him or the next week because it’s just too overwhelming. I just pray each day that he will get through it.

Our family has suffered greatly. My marriage and our other child definitely felt the fallout these past few years of the hell we have been through. But, we are stronger and closer than we have ever been because we have strengthened our relationship with Christ our Savior and our Redeemer. I don’t know how our journey is going to end. I pray it will be with our son’s sobriety, and him giving his testimony about his past days of drug use, and how Christ saved him from Satan’s grip. Whatever his fate, our family gives glory and honor to our God for all the wonderful things He has done, and for the people He has put in our path along the way. Without them, our family would not have made it

Our family looks much different now than it did 20 years ago, 10 years, and most importantly, one year ago. When our children were small,  I never would have imagined we would have been in this situation. I do know there is hope, and I am grateful everyday. Our lives have been transcended because of our relationship with Jesus Christ.”

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Spring Break in The City!

Starting tonight we have the opportunity to help lead 30 students from Shades Mountain Baptist Church on a mission project here in Birmingham. These students have chosen to spend Friday-Tuesday of their spring break investing in the lives of the poor and broken in our city for the sake of the gospel. They’ll spend time showing and sharing Christ’s love with men, women, and children all over Birmingham.

Many of these students serve with us on a consistent basis. At a young age they’re developing a passion for taking the gospel to the poor and marginalized. For some of these students, much of what goes on this week will be a new experience. It’s exciting to get to be a part of such a formative time for these young people.

Here’s a quick list of how you can be in prayer for us over the next few days:

–       pray that the students’ come to realize how desperate our city is for Christ

–       pray they have the boldness to do what God calls them to do and say

–       pray that a deep passion for caring for the poor and broken is developed

–       pray that we would model Jesus throughout the entire trip

–       pray for the relationships that are formed with those we serve

–       pray that hearts are receptive to the gospel

Thanks so much for your support and prayers. We look forward to telling you all about what God did throughout the trip!

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