Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sunday's Child

26 years ago today, Rick and I were blessed with a precious son. Thank you Father for letting me be a mama and opening my womb for Your Glory. Jonathan Wesley Mitchell was created by God and I am so humbled to have been the one selected to be his mother. God gave me the desires of my heart for a child and Wesley has been a great joy. Happy Birthday, Wesley! We are so proud of the man you have become!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lost Ball in High Weeds

For weeks now, one of our students has been walking around like a lost ball in high weeds. He is so sad about the circumstances that have come to pass in the 360 house. He is learning life is about choices, good and bad ones. He is learning life has boundaries and rules. Rules are in place for a reason and cannot be broken without consequences. One student is no longer part of the program, one is without a roommate, one-half of a closet is empty, mom and dad have the household chores of the missing link, now three do the job of four, rotation comes every three weeks instead of once a month, one is very lonely, and all of this due to ONE, yes one, wrong choice. How could ONE person, make ONE choice that could effect so many people?

SIN is not a friend; it is not merely a bump in the road of spirituality!

Sin will take you further than you ever wanted to go..,

Sin will keep you longer than you ever wanted to stay...,

and Sin will cost you more than you can ever pay..,

It can cost you, even your eternal soul!

Thank you Father, that you teach us lessons everyday. Help us all to walk in righteousness and turn from our flesh and this world. Thank you for Your creation in JJBG. Thank you Jesus for Your love and Your truth. We long to by like You and Gloify Your Name.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

28 and Counting

Twenty eight years ago today, I married the greatest man in the whole world. Although life is full of ups and downs, it has been a blessing to be the wife of a godly man. He has provided for his family and loved each of us with his whole heart. Rick and I are so blessed to have four wonderful children and 7 grandchildren. Thank you God for giving me this man with whom I can share my life. I love you ......

Monday, April 19, 2010

THE Word Does the Work!

Visit this website (www. to see the interview below with Dr. David Platt from The Church at Brook Hills. This interview was done over 8 months ago. Dr. Platt has taught me so much about understanding the Bible and "The Word Does the Work". Thank you Jesus for allowing me to be at Brook Hills during this era!

'The Word Does the Work'
David Platt discusses how he raises the bar for biblical understanding and practice.

David Platt has preached for seven hours straight. He can recite Romans 1-8 on the spot. He delivered the most powerful sermon in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors' Conference. People brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that his shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by.

Okay, so the last item was Peter, not Platt. But enthused congregations are raving about the pastor of the Church at Brooks Hills in Birmingham, Alabama. Three years into his pastorate, David Platt is still only 30 years old. He earned his M.Div. and Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he served as assistant professor of expository preaching and apologetics. Christianity Todayeditor at large Collin Hansen spoke with Platt to learn about the man behind the mythology and ask about how to build biblical understanding in the local church.

How did you develop such a deep understanding and passion for Scripture?

God by his grace provided men in my life who poured the Word into me and taught me the supremacy of his Word, that any power in walking with Christ, even more so leading a church, is dependent on understanding God in his Word.

Coming into this role, I have nothing to bring to the table apart from his Word. This is the first church I've pastored. I don't have a lot of wisdom that life experience would bring. We're going to trust that his Word is sufficient and that any authority I have to lead in the church is dependent on the authority of God's Word and my attachment to it. There's no question that anything good is completely attributed to, dependent on, and accredited to the power of his Word. The Word does the work.

All good evangelicals affirm the centrality of the Word. Still, we have a severe problem of biblical illiteracy. How do we go from knowing the Word is important to knowing what the Word actually says?

We have severely dumbed down the Word, and shown a lack of trust in the sufficiency of the Word in the way we preach. We find it necessary to supplement it with entertaining stories and quips or good practical advice for living the Christian life that are not based in the Word. This deficiency transfers into people content with a little "Word for the Day," in a devotional book at best, as opposed to deep knowledge of Scripture.

We're trying to hit at the problem from a variety of angles at Brook Hills. First of all, in worship we're quoting the Word, singing the Word, and engaging in intensive study. We'll study 55 minutes to an hour. We try to really saturate the community of faith with the Word when we gather together.

I go to other places, such as house churches in Asia, and they study for 11 or 12 hours, knowing they risk their lives. They'll dive in deep. We came back and tried to do something similar here. We call it secret church and do it a couple times a year. We gather together for intensive study with no frills, nothing flashy, no entertainment value. The first time, about 1,000 showed up. We studied Old Testament overview from 6 p.m. to midnight, but usually it goes longer, supplemented by times in prayer for the persecuted church. It's all ages, but the predominant demographic is college students and young singles. It's grown to the point where we need to offer tickets at $5 for reservations and the cost of a study guide. We'll do it again in October with 2,500 folks. It's theological in nature. We've done a night on the Atonement, another on the doctrine of God. This time we're doing spiritual warfare. It's one of my favorite sights as a pastor to look out at 12:30 a.m. and see a room full of 2,500 people, their Bibles open, soaking it in.

We have so lowered the bar for biblical/theological literacy in the church, that if you really want solid training, you go to seminary. As a result, the bar is really low even for those going into seminary. I want to raise the bar on both levels. Much of what we get in seminary should be prevalent in the local church. We're starting a training center here. The goal is to provide seminary education in the context of this local church, accessible to the entire church, equipping them to make disciples of all the nations.

How does this program differ from adult education and Sunday school?

It's more academic in nature. It involves reading, buying books, assignments. There's no grading. It's pass/fail. We encourage small-group leaders to get training, along with elders and those who lead in musical worship. This spring, we're starting a church-planting component on two different tracks, vocational or bivocational. We're doing the "best of seminary" over one year, and at the end of the year we'll send church planters out with support. We're not presuming to do in a year what seminaries can do in three or four years. But we want to make biblical/theological training accessible to as many people as possible. Then we're taking all the teaching and translating it into multiple languages.

I imagine some churches would see these plans as unrealistic, or the overly ambitious plans of a 30-year-old pastor with a Ph.D.

There's no question that our size and resources make the breadth of what Brook Hills can do greater than what an average 50- or 100-member church can do. But while the breadth certainly changes, the foundational truths here are reproducible. The New Testament pattern is churches raising up leaders and missionaries. Maybe the small-church pastor brings one or two guys alongside as he preaches the Word. As he platforms the Word in the community of faith, then people's hunger grows. We have people begging for this here. The more they taste the Word, the more they want it, the more they want to minister. We've had about 1,000 each year go overseas doing disciple-making. The more they go, they more they realize they need to be equipped to be a part of what God's doing around the world.

While it's encouraging to see so many people hungry for God's Word, how do they deal with the implications of what they're reading?

A year ago this time, I hit a crisis of belief. I started looking at what the gospel teaches and the Word teaches about the poor. All throughout Scripture, God measures the integrity of his people's faith by their concern for the poor. And he has strong words on this subject. I asked myself, Do I really believe the Word? I preach it, I love it, I memorize it, and I study it, but am I really willing to submit my life to it in such a way that I reorient how I live my life in Birmingham to have deep compassion for the poor? This process overflowed into my preaching. As we studied the Rich Young Ruler or Luke 16 and saw concern for the poor all over Scripture, I said, "We are ignoring the poor with the way we're living in Birmingham. If we believe the gospel, then our opulent living compared to the rest of the world does not make sense. We need to make major changes, individually, in our families, with our houses, cars, and stuff." People would not say they wanted to resist the Word, but that message created all sorts of stirring. That's where the Word is attacking a core issue in our culture. I'm not advocating legalistic standards, but what we've seen in the Word is that if Christ is in us, then our lives do not make a lot of sense in this area. There are 16,000 children who will die today due to starvation or preventable disease. We need to answer for why we're spending so much on our homes and stuff. My wife and I put our house on the market and began making adjustments. Others have been doing the same. One wealthy member in our faith family, while we were studying the Rich Young Ruler, told me I'm nuts. But then he said, "I think you're right. This is exactly what the Word teaches." With tears in his eyes, he said, "I have reached the conclusion that I'm never going to stand before God and hear him tell me, 'I wish you had kept more for yourself.'" Now he's selling his house to invest in needs around the world.

When you talk about increasing biblical and theological knowledge, you're not just talking about making people smarter. You're helping them to conform to the image of Christ.

The purpose of God's Word is to transform us into the image of Christ. The Word radically changes the way we live. This is why it's more important for me to preach Leviticus than to give them tips on parenting. The reality is that Scripture is not a guidebook for a lot of the things folks are going through. It's given to us for one purpose: to make us look more like Christ. When we look more like Christ, then when we're walking through grief or a parenting challenge, we find ourselves in touch with Holy Spirit of God, who is able to walk us through those things we're battling day in and day out. No other book in the Christian bookstore can get them in touch with the Holy Spirit of God.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Who is Listening?

You never know who is listening to you talk in public. Today we were shocked as we got up from our table to leave Niki's West after having vegetables for lupper (lunch and supper combined). An older gentlemen, with his wide brim straw hat still on his bald head, sitting alone at the table behind ours began to call out "wait a minute, I have something". Bullen politely stooped to hear his small voice, "I'm sorry?". "I have something" the sweet little man repeated. Bullen responded to him "No, this is my leftovers that I am taking with me". The little man repeated again as he was reaching into his pocket, "I have something for you that might help just a little." He pulled out a $20 bill and held it out for Bullen. This little "baba" had heard our conversation and the Sudanese accent as we talked during our meal.

Bullen, Andrew and myself had been talking about Sudan. We talked about a truck business, school books, supplies, crops, vegetables, rain, buses, roads, water wells, tukuls, raising money, bank accounts and so many other necessities they will need when they return to their home country. Our conversation led him to want to give to these young men (Bullen and Andrew) from Sudan. Thank you Jesus for everything You do for us and help us to Glorify YOU every minute, everyday!

Monday, April 12, 2010

COPS are here!

What a crazy day. I went to pick up some fabric for J. Edwards Interiors today in Trussville, Alabama. The fabric was a controversy from the beginning, but knowing our company was correct and we owned the fabric, I went to pick it up. Upon arriving at the store, I politely asked the clerk for the fabric from our company. She called the owner on the phone to ask where it was located, but the owner asked to speak to me. Clerk handed me the phone and on the other end was a very unhappy man using profanity and asking for his check. I told him that I had mailed his check the previous Wednesday and that I would not tolerate his language. This whole conversation led to a two hour wait in his lobby for our fabric. I overheard the employees calling the police department. OK - this is going to be insane if I go to jail over some piece of material! The police arrived, asked me to leave the premises and not return. They were very kind, but stated that if I wanted my fabric that would have to be taken up in civil court. You have got to be kidding me. I return to the office only to have a phone call from our bank that someone is trying to cash the check which we had reported stolen. It was the crazy man who called the police - he wanted cash, but yet he would not give me my fabric. It day continued to get even worse. I arrived home to a husband who hates his job and is so frustrated with the mega company he works for. Bullen was desperately wanting to go and wire money for John would was sick in Sudan. Today, everyone needed a piece of me.

I love my job. I love to be needed as a mother and a wife. I love the life that God has given me. I am so thankful that I have children and a sweet spouse to love. Even in the hustle and bustle of it all, I am so THANKFUL to GOD for all He has done for me.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Calling on Believers!

Samaritan's Purse and church leaders in Sudan are calling on believers across the nation and around the world to participate in prayer as the nation of Sudan prepares for historic presidential and parliamentary elections. After two decades of brutal civil war during which more than 2 million people died, the CPA (Comprehensive Peace Agreement) was signed five years ago. The 2005 agreement was an uneasy truce, tied to a promise that the people of Southern Sudan would be allowed to participate in the national elections in 2010 and vote for independence in 2011. If successful, this balloting process could help lay the foundation for lasting peace across the nation. However, if violence erupts, it could start a chain reaction that draws the nations back into civil war.

Monday, April 5, 2010


This morning I called "BBolden" to say hello. She had gallbladder surgery last Friday and has been in a good bit of pain. Four of her seven children were in Birmingham for the weekend and were out of school today for a teacher's workday. As she answered the phone, I knew something was wrong. She was bathing the baby and picking up the house last night and ripped open her incision from surgery. It took her hours to stop the bleeding and her pain has intensified. I recommended she return to the hospital or at the very least call them for some advise.

As I sat down for supper tonight, my phone rang with the MS area code. Oh know, what in the world. I called "BB" back and she could barely talk. She asked for a favor. I agreed. She wanted to know if I would please take care of her children if something happened to her. I became mute. I didn't really know how to respond. She was sobbing so hard that I could not understand a single word coming from her mouth after the first sentence. She calmed a little and began to thank me for loving her and her children. She told me that no one ever loved her and Ranolpho would wait until the middle of the night and then begin to degrade and mistreat her.

I reminded "BB" that God knew her before she was born and loved her unconditionally. We prayed for strength and peace. I asked Josh to get her a cold wet cloth for her face. I asked Jacob to please feed the baby. During this conversation, I realized that she has not eaten in days, she is in so much pain, seven children needed a bath and to be put to bed, and that she was tired, weary, bleeding and scared. OK, Josh (12) has to take control. I talked to Josh again and told him to please (1) make mom a peanut butter sandwich (2) put the little guys to bed for school and (3) love on your mom and tell her it's going to be OK.

Heavenly Father,
Thank You for my sons and husband! Thank You for my family and friends. Thank You for loving me. Be with "BB" and her children and draw them close to You. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, Oh Lord my strength and my Redeemer.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

More Please!

Rick and I picked up the oldest four "J's" about 4pm on Thursday, April 1st. Yes, It was April fools days and they played many pranks. Josh (12), Jacob (Jake) (10), JaShawn (Shawn)(7) and Jaylon (JayJay)(5) were so excited to be coming to Birmingham for the weekend. Muscacholi was being prepared at the house by Josh and Staci and almost ready when we arrived. The children ate and ate and ate until their little bellies were extended. The children are all very polite and very sweet to each other. Josh the oldest just turned twelve in March and he is a great big brother and takes care of all 6 of his little brothers. Josh carries so much responsibility for such a young age. After everyone had finished eating on Thursday night, he politely came and ask if he could have "More please". He ate four bowls of food, but not until everyone else had eaten. As bedtime rolled around, Jake and Shawn both wanted to sleep with Josh. JayJay went to spend the night with Josh and Staci and he slept between them. Friday morning I went into their room to check on them and the 7 year old was ironing his clothes. Wow! Friday and Saturday were filled with three boys going to work with me, to Etheridge Barber Shop for haircuts which revealed ringworm and dandruff, fishing at Spain Park, one lost fishing pole that sailed into the lake upon casting, playing with crickets and earthworms, walking across a concrete bridge with great fear, a snake on the rocks, warm showers and coconut lotion, clipped fingernails and toenails, Target and Walmart shopping, Easter egg hunt, swinging and sliding at the park, back yard wiffle ball, roasting marshmallows by the fire, riding in the big black truck, signing songs and talking about Jesus and praying together. It was a great way to celebrate our risen Savior! It was so much fun showing, sharing and serving these children from the black belt of Alabama.