Visible Faith

Visible Faith

Encouraging Word

Faith is defined in Hebrews 11:1 as the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction (evidence) of things not seen. And Hebrews 11:6, goes on to say that without faith it is impossible to please God. Romans 10:9 adds, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” From these verses we see that faith is the foundation and a necessity to become a Christian!

Can faith become visible? I believe the answer is “yes!”

In Luke 5, we have the account of the healing of the paralytic. Jesus was teaching and the friends of the paralytic, who were carrying him, could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd. So they went up on the roof, removed the roof tiles and lowered the paralytic down to where Jesus was. In Luke 5:20 it says, “And seeing their faith, . . . .”  Jesus saw their faith through their actions.

James 2 tells us that genuine faith produces works (activity).  James 2:17-18 says that faith without works is dead. Faith is made visible through works. Also, Matthew 5:16 shares, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Ephesians 2:10 also adds, “for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Genuine faith produces Christian activity. Faith and works go together. Christian works make our “faith visible.”

-Tony Cooper 

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

www.jimmiehalemission.com

 

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Heard from God Lately? 5 STEPS to “Tune In”

Heard from God Lately? 5 STEPS to “Tune In”

Encouraging Word

Does God continue to communicate to His people? Probably the better question is, “Are we listening?” God communicates in a variety of ways, but the primary ways that He speaks to us are through the Bible, the word of God, and through His Holy Spirit. What are some steps that we can take to enhance our hearing from God? There are several.

  1. Be SENSITIVE to God’s voice. We should have a desire to hear and be listening. Revelation 3:20 says, “. . . if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in . . .” We need to have an interest in hearing and be paying attention.
  2. Be SUBMISSIVE to God’s will. James 4:17 says to submit to God and Matthew 16:24 says to deny self, take up your cross and follow Christ. We are to follow Jesus’ example- praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Not my will but Thy will be done.” There is no better place to be than in the center of God’s will!
  3. SEEK God’s leading. Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek first the kingdom of God . . .” Psalm 27:8 reminds us to seek His face and Jeremiah 29:13 promises, “And you will seek me and find me, when you search for me with all your heart.”
  4. Choose to SERVE We need to have a servant’s heart. Psalm 100:2 says serve the Lord with gladness. Matthew 20:28 explains Jesus didn’t come to be served but to serve.
  5. Take seriously our relationship with God. SERIOUS means to be devoted, determined and disciplined. Psalm 37:5 says, “Commit your way to the Lord.”

As we take these steps, we will become more “tuned in” to hearing from God!

-Tony Cooper 

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

www.jimmiehalemission.com

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Accept the Life Line with John Croyle

Accept the Life Line with John Croyle

Bringing Out the Winner

I recently read a story about a family vacationing near Panama City Beach that was trapped on a sandbar out in the ocean. A potentially deadly riptide was apparently keeping them from getting to shore. A group of approximately 70 people saved the day by forming a human chain to help the family return to safety.

Stop and think for a minute – what if no one had seen them? Worse still, what if they saw them and ignored the situation? It could have been catastrophic! Fortunately, they saw the family was trapped, and they went into action immediately to help save them.

What else had to happen for there to be a happy ending to this story? Once these people went to all the trouble of trying to help this family, what if the family had not reached out to the lifeline and accepted it?

Perhaps you or a member of your family feels trapped. Reach out for help. Trust me – there are people who want to help you. There are organizations and professionals that would be very happy to help you and your family reach safety. It’s not a sign of weakness to admit that your family might need help. As a matter fact, it is our duty as the leaders of our family to reach out when we know that there’s trouble and we’re in over our head.

It takes a wise person to admit they need help. Let’s be wise because our families are counting on us!

John Croyle, Founder, Big Oak Ranch 

Author, Who You Are/Defying the Circumstances that Define Us, Bringing Out the Winner in Your Child, The Two Minute Drill to Manhood and Raising a Princess, www.bigoak.org

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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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