Friday, May 28, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
We arrived around lunchtime to Mark's Village, filled out 15+ pages of information and then she had an interview with the housing authority. Afterwards, we were able to see one of the apartments. It was very small and this giant (i mean very very big) heater was in the middle of the floor in the family room and the other rooms were tiny. I could tell by the look on her face, that she didn't like it. I didn't like it either! I knew she wasn't sure how she was going to tell me this, especially since I have now driven over 5 hours, with 5 more to go. Mark's Village was in much worse condition than where she is currently (Eastern Gardens - Meridian MS).
We headed back to Meridian around 1:45 pm and storms were brewing. Both children decided they didn't want to be in their car seats any longer (i don't blame, them neither). The baby fell asleep quickly, the 3 yr old, not so much. He began by asking nicely to be unlocked, that turned to yelling, then crying, then screaming and crying at the same time, then vomiting. For 1 1/2 hours, he did not STOP! Throughout the day, when BBolden wanted to get the 3yr olds attention or make him stop doing something, she would tell him a bug was going to get him. She finally admitted to me that he didn't like bugs and this was only way to get him to obey her.
We arrive in Meridian around 4pm and the car was met with 4 happy boys with lots of energy. I found out that it was JJ's birthday. I took him to the dollar tree and let him pick out three items. He chose a neon necklace, a brush, and a jump rope. I took him to Taco Bell for a Mango Freeze. While he and I were sitting at the table - He responded " This is the rightest place ever to come" This precious child was all smiles.
Thank you Lord for allowing me to love on Ms. B and her children. They are precious in Your sight.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
By Grace Thornton - The Alabama Baptist
May 20, 2010
Your church only thought it squirmed when your pastor preached on tithing.
It’s Sunday morning, and your pastor opens the Word and begins preaching from Numbers 13–14, encouraging the congregation to faithfulness, not fearfulness, when it comes to following God’s leadership to take the land.
Then he gets specific.
He mentions a community roughly 15 miles away, a part of town you don’t really want your wife or daughter driving through in the daytime, much less at night.
And then he asks you to pray about taking your family and moving there.
What would you do?
When David Platt, pastor of The Church at Brook Hills, Birmingham, posed that question to his congregation March 7, you could’ve heard a pin drop in the room.
But that just made it all the better for Chuck and Margaret Clarke — and roughly 40 other families and singles — to hear the call just that much more clearly.
Forty households. All looking toward putting “For Sale” signs in the yard and surfing real estate ads in neighborhoods nothing like their own.
“People might be surprised at that response to a sermon, but it wasn’t an isolated message,” Chuck Clarke said. “For three years, David has been preaching what it means to be a follower of Christ, so now when the opportunities come, people are ready to take them.”
And God makes it happen once you do, he explained. The Clarkes got a cash offer on their condo nearly immediately after surrendering to the idea of uprooting. They quickly found themselves prepping with their three children for a move to inner-city Birmingham.
And it wasn’t long after moving that they found themselves already a mainstay in the neighborhood.
In the afternoons, Anna Katherine Clarke, 13, invites groups of neighborhood kids up onto the sprawling porch of the Clarkes’ new home, and her mother offers them a spread of drinks.
“You want to just go in and get yourself a snack while you wait on your parents to get home?” Margaret Clarke asks two little girls.
Another crawls into her lap and starts munching on a pretzel stick — she’s already made herself at home.
“We just wanted to be a place of refuge in the neighborhood, and [the house] is already fulfilling what we wanted,” Margaret Clarke said. “We want people to come and feel loved and welcome and safe.”
Do the Clarkes themselves feel safe?
“We heard gunshots yesterday morning, two houses down. That’s all around us,” she said. “But God has woven such a beautiful tapestry of His grace in leading us here that we know if anything happens to us, it’s going to be OK.”
They are the first to move there from Brook Hills, but others will be joining them soon, including Ben DeLoach, the church’s associate local disciple-making minister, and his family.
Though the influx is significant, it’s not going in loud and proud under the Brook Hills banner — it’s just a few families moving in to live life and show Christ to the neighbors. They will be joining some people from other churches who are already doing the same thing.
“People ask, ‘What are you going to do there?’” DeLoach said. “I tell them we are going to love God and love people.”
The inner-city move is one more outgrowth of a challenge to take Christ’s commands literally that Platt has been preaching since at least fall of 2008. He preached the Radical series in November of that year, messages aimed at taking a long, honest look at what Christ really said about being His disciple.
Referencing the story of the rich young ruler, as well as the call of the 12 disciples, Platt notes that Jesus called His followers to abandon everything for the sake of His glory in the world.
“What if I were the potential disciple being told to drop my nets? What if you were the man whom Jesus told to not even say goodbye to his family? What if we were told to hate our families and give up everything we had in order to follow Jesus?” Platt asked. “This is where we come face to face with a dangerous reality. We do have to give up everything we have to follow Jesus. We do have to love Him in a way that makes our closest relationships look like hate. And it is entirely possible that He will tell us to sell everything we have and sell it to the poor.”
In fall of 2009, the church began work on a drastically different budget for 2010 — hundreds of thousands less spent on the church itself, and hundreds of thousands more sent to help further the gospel and fight poverty locally and around the world.
And at the end of 2009, Brook Hills voted to send more than $500,000 in tucked-away surplus money to fund 21 of Compassion International’s Child Survival Programs in India.
Continuing to fund them became one component of this year’s Radical Experiment that the congregation committed to in January — an emphasis Platt calls “one year to a life turned upside down”:
1. To pray for the entire world (using resources such as “Operation World,” a book and website that lists a different people group to pray for each day of the year)
2. To read through the entire Word (together as a church)
3. To commit our lives to multiplying community (through small groups)
4. To sacrifice our money for a specific purpose (to meet needs locally and globally, specifically in India)
5. To give our time in another context (by going on missions trips)
“Ultimately Jesus is a reward worth risking everything to know, experience and enjoy. But claims such as these remain theories until they are tested. That is the reason for the experiment,” Platt wrote in his new book, “Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream,” which came out earlier this month.
Brook Hills members would be quick to tell you — it’s an experiment that’s changing their lives.
One went home after the sermon on the rich young ruler, emptied all his clothes on the bed, collected bags of food and other items and drove into the projects and gave it all away.
Nearly 100 families completed training and are being certified to take care of foster children after a sermon based on James 1:27 last fall that challenged the congregation to not let a single child in Shelby County go without a home for the night.
Still more families are signed up to go through the training soon.
And dozens like the Clarkes are selling their homes and possessions and moving overseas or into other ministry contexts, such as inner-city Birmingham.
“How do you deal with the hard sayings of Christ?” Chuck Clarke asked. “We decided it was time to act, and our joy in Christ has only been maximized through it. So it’s to our benefit, too.”
Thursday, May 20, 2010
MAX LUCADO-When God Whispers Your Name
It's quiet. It's early. My coffee is hot. The day is coming.
In a few moments the day will arrive. It will roar down the track with the rising of the sun. The stillness of the dawn will be exchanged for the noise of the day. The calm of solitude will be replaced by the pounding pace of the human race. The refuge of the early morning will be invaded by decisions to be made and deadlines to be met.
For the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the day's demands. It is now that I must make a choice.
Because of Calvary, I'm free to choose. And so I choose.
I CHOOSE .LOVE,. . .
No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves.
I CHOOSE JOY. . .
I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical. . . the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.
I CHOOSE PEACE. . .
I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live.
I CHOOSE PATIENCE. . .
I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I'll invite him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clinching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.
I CHOOSE KINDNESS. . .
I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.
I CHOOSE GOODNESS. . .
I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I will accuse. I choose goodness.
I CHOOSE FAITHFULNESS. . .
Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my word. My wife will not question my love. And my children will never fear that their father will not come home.
I CHOOSE GENTLENESS. . .
Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a. demand, may it be only of myself
I CHOOSE SELF-CONTROL. . .
I am a spiritual being. . . . After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal. I choose self-comrol. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ. I choose self-control.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. In fail, I will seek his grace. And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest.
Monday, May 17, 2010
A woman's heart should be so hidden in Christ that a man should have to seek Him first to find her.
When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not shouting 'I'm clean livin,' I'm whispering 'I was lost, Now I'm found and forgiven.'
When I say... 'I am a Christian' I don't speak of this with pride. I'm confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.
When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not trying to be strong. I'm professing that I'm weak and need His strength to carry on.
When I say.. 'I am a Christian' I'm not bragging of success. I'm admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.
When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not claiming to be perfect, My flaws are far too visible, but God believes I am worth it.
When I say... 'I am a Christian' I still feel the sting of pain... I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.
When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not holier than Thou, I'm just a simple sinner who received God's good grace, somehow!
by Maya Angelou
Sunday, May 16, 2010
The Sermon I think this Mom will never forget.... this particular Sunday sermon...
"Dear Lord," the minister began, with arms extended toward heaven and a rapturous look on his upturned face. "Without you, we are but dust." He would have continued but at that moment the very obedient daughter (who was listening!) leaned over and asked very audibly in her shrill little girl voice, "Mommy, what is butt dust?"
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
There was once a man who didn't believe in God, and he didn't hesitate to let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays.
His wife, however, did believe, and she raised their children to also have faith in God and Jesus, despite his disparaging comments.
One snowy Eve, his wife was taking their children to service in the farm community in which they lived.
They were to talk about Jesus' birth. She asked him to come, but he refused.
"That story is nonsense!" he said. "Why would God lower Himself to come to Earth as a man?
So she and the children left, and he stayed home.
A while later, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he saw was a blinding snowstorm. He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening. Then he heard a loud thump.
Something had hit the window. He looked out, but couldn't see more than a few feet.
When the snow let up a little, he ventured outside to see what could have been beating on his window.
In the field near his house he saw a flock of wild geese. Apparently they had been flying south for the winter when they got caught in the snowstorm and couldn't go on. They were lost and stranded on his farm, with no food or shelter. They just flapped their wings and flew around the field in low circles, blindly and aimlessly. A couple of them had flown into his window, it seemed.
The man felt sorry for the geese and wanted to help them. The barn would be a great place for them to stay, he thought. It's warm and safe; surely they could spend the night and wait out the storm.
So he walked over to the barn and opened the doors wide, then watched and waited, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside. But the geese just fluttered around aimlessly and didn't seem to notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them.
The man tried to get their attention, but that just seemed to scare them and they moved further away.
He went into the house and came with some bread, broke it up, and made a bread crumb trail leading to the barn. They still didn't catch on.
Now he was getting frustrated. He got behind them and tried to shoo them toward the barn, but they only got more scared and scattered in every direction except toward the barn.
Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where they would be warm and safe.
"Why don't they follow me?!" he exclaimed.
"Can't they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm?"
He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn't follow a human. "If only I were a goose, then I could save them," he said out loud.
Then he had an idea. He went into barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it in his arms as he circled around behind the flock of wild geese.
He then released it. His goose flew through the flock and straight into the barn -- and one-by-one, the other geese followed it to safety.
He stood silently for a moment as the words he had spoken a few minutes earlier replayed in his mind: "If only I were a goose, then I could save them!" Then he thought about what he had said to his wife earlier. "Why would God want to be like us? That's ridiculous!"
Suddenly it all made sense. That is what God had done. We were like the geese--blind, lost, perishing.
God had His Son become like us so He could show us the way and save us.
As the winds and blinding snow died down, his soul became quiet and pondered this wonderful thought.
Suddenly he understood why Christ had come.
Years of doubt and disbelief vanished with the passing storm. He fell to his knees in the snow, and prayed his first prayer: "Thank You, God, for coming in human form to get me out of the storm!"
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
When you have sinned.......................................Psalms 51
If you want to be fruitful..........................................John 15
For understanding of Christianity.......II Corinthians 5:15-19
Pass it on and on!
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
Louis Giglio talks about Laminin. God designed us in His infinite knowledge of all things. How awesome that our protein cell is in the shape of a Cross. But even if we had never discovered this cell - God's Word still tells us He made each and every one of us for His Glory.
Romans 1:20 makes it clear that we can know God through what He has made. God certainly designed the laminin protein and gave it a structure that allows it to perform the function He designated for it. In fact, early research on the structure and function of laminin said this: “Globular and rodlike domains are arranged in an extended four-armed, cruciform shape..."
The supremacy of Christ that is talked about in Colossians 1:15–20 is probably one of my favorite passages in all of Scripture. Paul begins talking about Christ as Creator and moves to Christ as Redeemer. These are truths not because they appeal to our unaided reasoning, but because they are revealed in God’s Word.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
I purchased one of these and I love IT!
Lisa Bunting Howard is a Birmingham native and self-taught artist. A social worker by training, Lisa recently took a break from the field to explore her need for artistic expression.
She fell in love with the uniqueness and imperfections of hand built pottery.
"Each piece is a joy to create and I love seeing my fingerprints in the clay-- occasionally my dog's paw print, a leaf-- anything that might land on the piece while drying outside my garage studio. The entire hand built process helped me become less of a perfectionist and a more spontaneous person."
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the beginning...to the end.
He noted that first came her date of birth and spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.
And now only those who loved her know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own; The cars...the house...the cash,
What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.
For you never know how much time is left, that can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough to consider what's true and real,
And always try to understand the way other people feel.
And love the people in our lives like we've never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect, and more often wear a smile..
Remembering that this special dash may last only a little while.
So, when your eulogy's being read with your life's actions to rehash...
Would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your dash?
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Turn your house upside down and READ "Radical" by David Platt. We attended secret church tonight at The Church at Brook Hills and studied what God's Word says about possessions and passions. It was a very intense fast study for 7 hours that will take some time to process. This is a MUST read!