The Cost of Discipleship

The Cost of Discipleship

Encouraging Word

In Matthew 16:24, Jesus speaks of the cost (requirements) of Christian discipleship. It says, “. . . If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Salvation is free to us. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” However, to be a Christ follower will cost you. Cost is defined as a price paid to acquire, accomplish or maintain anything. Jesus said to be His disciple (student, follower), there are three requirements: deny self; take up your cross; and follow Christ.

  • To deny self means to “say no” to selfishness and stop worshipping self. It also means to exercise discipline; to re-evaluate desires. It is okay to deprive yourself of self- gratification that can be harmful.
  • Next, Jesus says “to take up your cross.” The cross signified sacrifice, suffering and death. This is a dying to sin’s control, spiritual bondage and influence. Because of Christ’s payment, we have been delivered from the penalty and power of sin. Sin is no longer our master. Romans 6:6-7 says, “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.”
  • Then Jesus says “follow me.” This means to submit; to surrender to God’s will; to yield to God’s direction; to follow Christ’s example. We need to stay focused and be faithful as a “Christ follower.”

In Luke 14:28 Jesus says to calculate (consider) the cost of discipleship. Are you willing to pay the price to follow Christ?

-Tony Cooper 

Celebrating 27 Years of Service as Exec. Director, Jimmie Hale Mission

www.jimmiehalemission.com

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The Gift of a Savior

The Gift of a Savior

Encouraging Word

Salvation means to be rescued from certain doom, destruction or death. Salvation implies that you cannot save yourself.

If you were sentenced to death row and awaiting execution and a pardon was offered; would you accept it? If you had a terminal disease with less than 6 months to live and a cure was found; would you try it? If you found yourself in the middle of the ocean, miles from land with no hope of survival and help came by; would you say yes to the rescuers? I’m positive you would say an emphatic, “Yes,” in every situation.

Spiritually, that is where we all find ourselves- facing impending doom and unable to save ourselves. We are separated from God due to our sin and desperately need a Savior! Delve into these eight verses to see.

  1. Romans 3:23 says that all have sinned.
  2. Romans 6:23 says the wages (results) of sin is death (separation for God).
  3. Romans 5:8 says that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
  4. Ephesians 2:1 says and you were dead in your trespasses and sins.
  5. II Corinthians 5:19 says that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ.
  6. Mark 10:45 says that Christ came to give His life a ransom for many.
  7. Luke 19:10 says that Jesus came to seek and save the lost.
  8. Acts 4:12 says there is salvation in no one else and there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.

Because of sin, we have a problem we cannot fix and a debt we cannot pay. We couldn’t reach God so He came down to earth in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ and provided us salvation.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Have you said, “Yes,” and received the salvation God has provided? If not, I encourage you to accept His invitation today.

-Tony Cooper 

Celebrating 26 Years of Service as Exec. Director, Jimmie Hale Mission

www.jimmiehalemission.com

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Small Business Owners Recognized for Community Impact

Small Business Owners Recognized for Community Impact

Special Feature

Candyce and Jeff McDowell (center) with McDowell Security are seen here with Shelby Chamber Chair Keith Brown (L) and presenting sponsor, Jay Dennis (R), Regions Bank, as they receive 2017 Small Business of the Year Award.

The Greater Shelby County Chamber recently recognized the positive impact small businesses are having on our community.  “Small businesses play a vital role in building our Shelby County communities and overall economy. We want to celebrate their successes and support them in their endeavors,” explained Chamber President and CEO Kirk Mancer. The Chamber recognized fifty nominated businesses and featured a keynote presentation by Ricky Brooks, CEO of Express Oil and Tire Engineers.  A panel of judges evaluated the companies based on staying power, growth in number of employees, increase in sales and/or unit volume, response to adversity, and evidence of contributions to aid community-oriented projects. The nominated businesses were divided into categories based on size. “The panel had a difficult time in choosing the five recipients, which is a strong indication of the outstanding businesses we have here in Shelby County,” said Payton Thomas, Chamber Mgr. of Business Development and Support. 2017 Small Business of the Year Award Recipients included Party Art (1-5 employees open 1 year or more), Rux Carter Insurance Agency & UPS Store Caldwell Mill Road (tie in 6-10 employee/open one year or more), 280 Animal Medical Center (11-20 employees open one year or more), McDowell Security (21 plus employees open one year or more) and Brittani Morris/State Farm (less than 25 employees and open for less than 1 year).  “Because of my faith I’ve been able work through so many challenges personally and professionally to get to this point,” shared honoree Jeff McDowell, President of McDowell Security in Pelham. “I am blessed and I truly believe that God has given me the strength to work so hard and continue to strive to be the best that I can be for my family, and for my employees. I see my business as giving people an opportunity to have a career and knowing that I’ve done that, is part of a personal purpose driven life.” †

Keith Sides, owner of the UPS at Caldwell Mill (center), receiving 2017 Small Business Award shared, “It was a real honor for our store to be recognized by the Greater Shelby Chamber as a Small Business of the Year recipient.  The award is really a testimony to the skills, hard work, and dedication of our associates who serve our customers each day.”

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Celebrating Life & Providing Cancer Survivor Resources: St. Vincent’s Birmingham

Celebrating Life & Providing Cancer Survivor Resources: St. Vincent’s Birmingham

Healthy Living

St. Vincent’s Birmingham Oncology Counselor Louis Josof with Hand in Paw Volunteer Phillipa Bainbridge, Breast Cancer Survivor Jewel Redman and Hand in Paw dog “Pippa” at the St. Vincent’s National Cancer Survivors Day event. Pippa often comes to St. Vincent’s to visit with cancer patients and staff.

St. Vincent’s Health System hosted a National Cancer Survivors Day event on Sunday, June 4 to commemorate National Cancer Survivors Day. Cancer survivors and their families were invited to attend the event held at St. Vincent’s Birmingham Bruno Conference Center. The celebration marked the 30th annual National Cancer Survivors Day®. Thousands of people in hundreds of communities across the globe held celebrations on this day to honor cancer survivors and to show the world that life after a cancer diagnosis can be fruitful, rewarding, and even inspiring. Cancer survivors at the event were honored and provided resources to help address cancer survivorship issues including:  I am a Survivor: What Do I Do Now, I am a Survivor: How Can I Heal Physically, Emotionally and Spiritually, and I am a Survivor: How can I Help? A local cancer advocacy group, Forge Breast Cancer Survivor Center, which offers support, knowledge, strength and direction for both survivors and co-survivors was also there. Attendees also picked up a special shirt created just for the event, which celebrated the lives of survivors, caregivers and healthcare providers. Visit www.stvhs.com. †

Cancer survivor Carla Youngblood with her St. Vincent’s Birmingham physician, Dr. Susan Salter, at the St. Vincent’s Cancer Survivors Day event.

Breast cancer survivors, Kiva Moore Bodley and Diane Brown, enjoying the recent Survivors Day event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Encouraging Word: Jimmie Hale Mission

Encouraging Word: Jimmie Hale Mission

Encouraging Word

Prayer Is…

The month of May marked a local and national emphasis on prayer. One week I attended five different prayer gatherings. It prompted me to focus on prayer.

What is prayer?

Prayer is conversation, talking with God. Remember the church song that said, “just a little talk with Jesus makes it right?”

Prayer is communication, where the emphasis is on dialogue, a two-way conversation of both speaking and listening.

Prayer is communion.  Communion is defined as being together; in agreement; to have unity. Prayer is contact with God, being aware of His presence and maintaining proper focus.

Prayer is privilege. We have access to God’s presence. He gives us a private audience.

Prayer is personal. God knows us completely. We have an intimate relationship with Him.

Prayer is powerful. It gets God’s attention and plugs us into His resources.

Prayer needs to be a priority. It should be our first response not a last resort. Prayer should be at the top or our list.

Prayer is profitable. The Bible says the fervent effectual prayer of a righteous man/woman accomplishes much. It changes things.

Prayer changes things. It is like breathing; it is a necessity for our spiritual lives. I Thessalonians 5:17 says, “pray continually.”

I encourage you to make prayer an important part of your life. Experience God’s presence and peace.

-Tony Cooper 

Celebrating 26 Years of Service as Exec. Director, Jimmie Hale Mission

www.jimmiehalemission.com

 

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Are You Ready to Meet God?

Are You Ready to Meet God?

Encouraging Word 

Driving into work I pass a billboard on I-65 that says, “when you die – you will meet God.” I agree with the message because it is biblically correct.

According to the Bible, we all have several things in common. First, we all have sinned. Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Second, we all will physically die. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages (result) of sin is death . . .” And third, we will all be judged. Hebrews 9:27 says, “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.”

Since death is inevitable and judgment is sure; what do we do?

  1. Receive the Gift of Salvation. The Bible also teaches that salvation is needed and provided. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrated His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 6:23 also says, “. . . but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” And of course, John 3:16, “Whosoever believeth in Him, will not perish but have eternal life.”
  2. Confess & Have Faith. Romans 10:9 says, “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
  3. Ask. We need to ask and call on the name of the Lord. Romans 10:13 says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Taking these steps will lead to confidence and assurance. I John 5:13 says, “I write these things to you, who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” With these steps taken, we will be ready to meet God!

-Tony Cooper 

Celebrating 26 Years of Service as Exec. Director, Jimmie Hale Mission

www.jimmiehalemission.com

 

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Workout for Water with Forrest Walden

Workout for Water with Forrest Walden

Workout for Water: Iron Tribe’s Forrest Walden

More than 3.4 million people die each year from water, sanitation, and hygiene-related causes. Nearly all these deaths occur in the developing world. Birmingham’s Forrest Walden, the founder of Iron Tribe Fitness, is best known for putting a creative spin on the competitiveness of group exercise—but his clients and franchisees also have a heart for global change, gathering once a year for a public workout that pays tribute to the hardships of villages in poverty-ridden nations. Their hope is that this month’s Workout for Water event in Avondale will raise $450,000 to provide access to clean water in struggling communities worldwide.

Forrest Walden and his wife, Mendy, met as cheerleaders at Auburn University in 1997.

Raised in Hoover, Walden realized as a freshman at Berry High School in 1990 that if he wanted any playing time on the football field he was going to need to get acquainted with the weight room. That’s where his passion for fitness took root. In college, he joined the cheerleading squad at Auburn University and needed to put on 30 pounds of muscle to have the strength to press his partner above his head. He set a goal, bought a journal, and wrote down every workout, meal and supplement. The confidence he gained changed his life, and he decided his future would be dedicated to helping others achieve their health goals as well

As a fitness coach and businessman, Walden eventually owned the franchise rights to a one-on-one personal training program and oversaw the development of 55 franchises in three states. However, by late 2007, he was losing his focus and passion. He was spending more time traveling than working with clients side by side. While working out with friends at home, he realized that the competitive enthusiasm among peers trying to outdo each other put an excitement and work ethic into fitness he had never seen in private personal training sessions. “I was witnessing the future of the industry in my garage. Because of peer pressure, people were pushing themselves harder than they ever would have with a personal trainer—they didn’t want to be beaten by a friend or quit in front of the group,” Walden writes in his book Iron Tribe: From Garage Hobby to Fitness Franchise. “I also realized that competition was something that appealed to everyone. If I could find a way to get others to experience it, they would be hooked in the same way my little garage band was.”

In business and in faith, Forrest Walden says his stepfather, Ricky Brooks, CEO of Express Oil Change & Tire Engineers, has been a positive influence on his life. “He’s a great model of someone who’s been very successful in the for-profit marketplace but also makes his life matter for things that matter eternally.”


As he took steps toward opening his first Iron Tribe location in Homewood in 2010, Walden was also becoming involved in global missions. David Platt, who pastored The Church at Brook Hills from 2006 to 2014, had challenged his congregation, including Walden, to spend two percent of their time overseas, the equivalent of one week each year. “[It] kind of wrecked my world and made me question a lot of things,” Walden remembers of the poverty he witnessed. “A couple of guys started traveling with me—good friends of mine in my small group—and we went to Sudan, India, Mexico. We just really felt like God was calling us to do something tangible with what we were seeing. We didn’t know what that would look like or what that would mean, and the more we pressed into it and sought Him the more it became clear that we were to start an organization that was focused on clean water, supporting the church in some of the most marginalized and least reached and poorest places on Earth.”

Walden joined Mark Whitehead and Spencer Stutton in assembling a board of directors and naming their organization—Neverthirst. They began partnering with existing non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and for-profit organizations already drilling wells in North Africa and Southern Asia, then connecting them with the local church in the community in need. Church representatives drive the strategy for where the water source should go. Neverthirst solutions to clean water shortages include shallow rope pump wells, drilled deep wells, household rainwater collection, biosand filters, and piped water systems.

The Waldens adopted their youngest son Benjamin from Ethiopia in 2011. “There is no clearer picture of the Gospel than adoption,” says Forrest Walden. “He was given a new name and a new country and a new citizenship and new rights and new inheritance. To see where he came from and the desperate nothingness of his situation to now having everything through adoption, that’s just a picture of what we have in Christ.” Photo Credit: Amy Henry Photography

Walden has remained on the Neverthirst Board of Directors since its inception in 2008 and helps Iron Tribe locations in Birmingham, Ala.; Nashville, Tenn.; St. Louis, Mo.; Greenville, S.C.; Naples, Fla.; Raleigh, N.C.; and other franchise cities organize their own annual Workout for Water events. Participants include gym members and members of the community who enjoy a physical challenge and want to raise money for the cause. Iron Tribe clients have traveled with Walden to remote villages to see the impact their contributions for clean water solutions have made. Walden’s goal is to raise $800,000 for Neverthirst nationwide this year. Last year’s event raised $412,000 in Birmingham and another $295,000 from franchise locations for a total of $707,000 in projects implemented in Cambodia.

Walden says his most touching memory of his travels abroad is of his first trip to Witto, a village in South Sudan. The natives had been displaced by war and were returning home after living in the bush for 15 years. “The village pastor basically said for 15 years we’ve been praying that God would restore us to our land and send us help, and because you are here, we know that He has heard our prayers,” Walden remembers. “I was fighting back tears just thinking that we were tangible evidence of his prayers.” Witto became the location of Neverthirst’s first project in 2008.

Neverthirst staff Jason Berry, Mark Whitehead, Brandon Gossett and John Sides join Walden (center) in raising money for clean water sources in developing nations. Join them May 13, www.workoutforwater.com.

Since 2010, Workout for Water has raised more than $2 million for clean water solutions in India, Cambodia, Nepal, Chad, South Sudan and Sudan. Pledges are currently being collected for this year’s event, which will be hosted outside Avondale Brewery from 8:00 a.m. to noon on May 13. The fitness challenge will include Iron Tribe-style stations for teams of four, reminding participants of the importance of Neverthirst’s cause. Station Three, for example, will include a bucket (representing a well) and 100 blue poker chips on the ground (representing drops of water). Team members can place one chip in the bucket for every burpee completed. For details on how you can participate, call Neverthirst at 205-991-7757 or visit workoutforwater.com.

-Camille Platt 

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Photo Fun

Photo Fun

Lenten Fish Fry 

Mike Eltz and Matt Montegut serving at a recent Knights of Columbus Council 4304 fish fry at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in Homewood. Seen here are the Kutny family taking part in the popular Friday fish fry Lenten tradition that is followed by prayer.

 


Scouts Help with Cure for Clara 

Two and one-half year old Clara Bragg visits with the Girl Scout Cadette troop at Prince of Peace(POP) Catholic Parish. The Cadettes donated proceeds from their cookie sales to help fund GM1 Gangliosidosis disease research. Clara is battling the disease and she and her family attend POP, www.acureforclara.com.

 

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Encouraging Word: Jimmie Hale Mission

Encouraging Word: Jimmie Hale Mission

Firm Up Your Foundation

This year at The Jimmie Hale Mission our emphasis is to “firm up the foundation.”  Before we explore additional programs, ministries or expansion projects, we want to make sure our foundation is solid to support growth.

Foundation is defined as that on which something is founded; the basis of anything; the prepared base on which some structure rests. A solid, firm, strong foundation is required for any structure. You can have both quality materials and competent craftsmanship but if the foundation is faulty, you will have problems with the structure. The same can be said regarding life. We need to have a firm foundation to build our lives upon. It needs to be a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 3:11 says, “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” This life foundation of faith needs to be comprised of Judeo-Christian values along with a biblical belief system. These will assist in one’s ability to make better life choices.

In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus talks about the two life foundations. The wise man built his house (life) on the rock. Wisdom comes from hearing, believing and adhering to the Word of God. When the storms of life come, the foundation will hold and the house will stand firm. The foolish man built his house on the sand. This foundation was faulty because he didn’t hear the words of Jesus and act upon them. When the storms of life came, the house fell and great was its fall. Many lives are being beaten down and shattered because their life foundation is not built on the rock, the Word of God.

Make sure your life foundation is built on THE Rock. Like the hymn says, “This rock is Jesus, yes He’s the one. This rock is Jesus the only One. Be very sure, be very sure. Your anchor holds and grips the solid rock.”


-Tony Cooper 

Celebrating 26 Years of Service as Exec. Director, Jimmie Hale Mission

www.jimmiehalemission.com

 

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