Making a New Friend Overseas

I recently had the privilege of being introduced to a pastor named Gabriel Nsofwa in Kabwe, Zambia. Bobby Culpepper at Westwood Baptist Church told me I should get in touch with him and lend some encouragement and prayer. It’s been a blessing to communicate with Pastor Nsofwa over the last several weeks as he has shared what God is doing in Kabwe.  Pastor Nsofwa comes highly recommended by missionaries who spent many years in Zambia and served with him there.

I’m struck by the wonder of making a friend halfway around the world and the instant bond we shared because of our faith in Jesus.  Pastor Nsofwa is the pastor of Kabwe Central Baptist Church and is working hard to share the Gospel in Kabwe.  I hope you’ll join me in praying for Pastor Nsofwa, his wife Tricia, and their children.  You can also help to support Pastor Nsofwa and his church by contributing to their ministry with money and resources.  Here are a list of items that they need:

  • Evangecubes
  • Musical instruments
  • Clothes and shoes (second hand items in good shape are welcomed) for the poor and orphans in Kabwe
  • Bibles
  • Worship materials
  • Christian books
  • Laptop computer
  • Tracts
  • Copies of the Baptist Faith and Message
  • Video projector

Send me a message if you can help with any of these items.  I’ll gather the items and send them to Kabwe.  You can contribute to Kabwe Central Baptist Church securely through this widget:

http://widget.chipin.com/widget/id/316a94871afe2c25

Kabwe Central Baptist Church
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Taking My Son to the SEC Championship Game

I got an incredible early Christmas present last Friday – two tickets to the SEC Championship game in Atlanta. It was a whirlwind trying to make plans at the last minute. April was scheduled to work the day of the game and we couldn’t find anyone to keep the kids. After making some frantic calls, April was able to get off work but we had nowhere to leave the kids. I really wanted April to go. We talked it through and decided it would be a great chance for me and my son Bradley to spend some time together.

I have to admit that I didn’t anticipate what a challenge it would be to get a five year old to one of the biggest football games in the Southeast! I talked to a friend familiar with Atlanta who suggested I park north of town and take MARTA (Atlanta subway) to the Georgia Dome. Bradley couldn’t be more excited about that plan – he LOVES trains!! The idea was to avoid the congestion that would most like occur from everyone else boarding MARTA on the west side of town closer to Alabama.

We left the house at 8 am and stopped by Chik-Fil-A for a biscuit. That really got the day started off right!! It was a good trip to Atlanta. We got to see a nice snow dusting in Birmingham and along I-20. We rolled in to Atlanta about 3 hours later and made our way to the MARTA station.

It was frigid outside while we waited for the train! Bradley could hardly contain himself as we watched for the train to arrive. The train pulled up and we got on. After riding for a few minutes, Bradley turned to me and said, “Dad, this is the best day ever!” I nearly lost it!! I was so glad I decided to take him.

There were a lot of fans taking the train with lots of goodhearted cheering for both teams. The biggest challenge was holding on to a five year old in the middle of a crowd of thousands of people. Most folks were considerate, but it was hard to avoid Bradley when he only comes up to your waist! Most folks didn’t even know he was there!!

We got off at the Dome station and followed the crowd to the convention center where we grabbed a bite to eat for lunch and went to the SEC Fanfare event.

Bradley loved SEC Fanfare. There were games to play, prizes given away, football players to see, pep rallies to watch and popcorn to eat! The highlight was watching Bradley run an obstacle course for kids. He was probably the smallest kid there, but it didn’t slow him down a bit!



We headed to the Dome about an hour before kickoff and made our way to our seats. Bradley wanted to get a giant Bama hand and I picked up a program.

Our seats were great! We were only 15-20 rows away from the field and right behind the Alabama band. We had fun watching the game and experiencing the band so close!

Bradley stood on his seat for the entire first half and really got in to the game. The folks around us were great – they doted over Bradley the whole game! I looked over at one point and the lady next to Bradley had given him her bag of peanuts. He wolfed down the whole bagl!!

Bradley stayed focused on the game until halftime. We each got a hot dog for supper and watched the bands play. Bradley lost interest and want to play his DS. He kept one eye on the game while he played and I told him when something exciting was going on.

It was the most exciting game I’ve ever attended! The atmosphere was electric and the fans stayed in the game. The band played after every down and the Bama fans got more excited as the game ran its course.

After making sure that the game was secured for Alabama, we left with about 3 minutes to go. I wanted to hit the subway before the crowd. That’s when the real adventure began!

We didn’t have any trouble getting to the MARTA station near the Dome. We were outnumbered by Florida fans who left early. They all looked depressed and much quieter than before the game!! We transferred at the Five Points hub and I knew that we had to get on the north bound train. We got on the train, got a seat, and off we went.

I knew we had several stops to make, so I settled in and waited for them to call our station. I started getting nervous after the crowd thinned to just a few people on our train. A lady in front of us turned to talk to Bradley and we struck up a conversation. She and her husband lived in Atlanta and had been to the game.

After telling her where we got on MARTA, she frowned and said we were on the wrong train! There was one north bound train that left Five Points, but the line branched at Lindbergh station. One train went northeast and the other went northwest. We should have gotten off at Lindbergh station to get to our stop. Instead, we stayed on the wrong train until it reached the end of the line!

Another lady on the train told me that the only way back to Lindbergh station was to catch the south bound train, but it only ran every 20 minutes on Saturdays. We had just passed the south bound train, so it would be a while before we could catch it again.

We had to get off at Doraville whether we liked it or not. We got out on an the platform and were immediately hit with a blast of cold air. It was freezing out there and Bradley started to shiver. I knew we couldn’t stay out in the cold, so we went down to the lower level.

I saw a MARTA bus in front of the station that said “Lindbergh” on the front and I figured that was my best shot. We boarded the bus and started our long journey back to the station. We got an interesting tour of Atlanta at night!

We finally made it back to Lindbergh station and I went to the turnstile to use my pass. It was rejected! I finally figured out how to buy another one and we caught the correct train this time! We rode the train to Dunwoody station and I couldn’t be happier to be in the right place!

Then I lost my truck!1 There were two parking decks at the station and it took us a while to find where I had parked. Cold and tired, we finally got in the truck and headed back to Birmingham – an hour behind schedule.

A couple of bathroom breaks later, we were on I-20 and cruising toward home. Bradley was a trooper through the whole experience. I never let on that I was uptight and he though it was fun to get to ride a train AND a bus!

I had a chance to mull over the whole experience as Bradley nodded off to sleep. I was so grateful for the opportunity to go to the game. It was a once in a lifetime experience. But more importantly, I’m so grateful for my incredible wife and kids. It was such a privilege to spend time with my son.

I was also reminded what an awesome responsibility I have as a father. Bradley depended on me to guide him and protect him. I thought about how important it is that I guide my children through life while I have them.

As parents, we must take seriously our responsibility to teach our children the truths of God’s Word. We must take them by the hand and teach them how to live a godly life. We have to be an example for them as we face good experiences and bad. We must protect our children from danger until they are old enough to take care of themselves.

I thank God for the many blessings in my life! This game was insignificant compared to the spiritual events in my life, but it was more than just a game. It was a chance to teach my son and experience life together.

YouVersion Live

I continue to be amazed by the work being done by LifeChurch.tv that is building the kingdom of God!  They already supply wonderful resources to churches for free at Open, provide a free and easy to use online Bible, and now they’ve come up with an incredible communication tool for churches.  YouVersion Live lets churches publish an interactive page for mobile devices that you can use for worship services, bible studies, or any other event where you’d like to share information.  Here’s the description from the website:

YouVersion Live gives you a way to interact with church services and other live events using your mobile device. You can follow along with message outlines and take notes, read related Bible verses and click through to the expanded passage, vote on a poll and see the results live, ask questions anonymously, give, request prayer, and take it all home with you on your phone. It works with any web-enabled phone, as well as any computer with an internet connection.

With the widespread use of cell phones that can access the internet, I can easily see this as a viable tool for communication and interactivity.  I generated an event for our worship service this Sunday:

http://m.youversion.com/events/347
I can’t wait to find ways to use this incredible tool in our ministry!!

Request for Help

We patched the roof of a woman in our community a few months ago with the help of Westwood Baptist (our parent church).  She is on dialysis and has her daughter and 2 month old grandson living with her. We were able to fix a part of the roof, but the rest of the roof has started to leak. She called today to tell me that the heavy rain caused the roof to leak heavily and the ceiling fell in and nearly hit her grand baby.

The roof needs to be replaced.  We are still too small to tackle a project of this size on our own, but I’m confident that we can work together to make this happen.  Here are the things we need:

  • Prayer.  Ask God to work in this situation to draw this family toward Christ.  Pray that God’s people will be moved to compassion for the hurting and take action.
  • Money for building materials.  You can donate directly to the church’s Compassion Fund for this project here.
  • Roofing materials for a mobile home
  • Volunteers with carpentry and/or roofing skills that can help us repair the roof

Here’s an opportunity to fulfill the Great Commission right here in Montevallo.  Please let me know if you’re in the area and can help.  Pass this on to someone else you know who might be able to help.  Let’s make this happen as soon as possible so this woman can get her home dry and comfortable for herself and her family.  Contact me at pastor@mountainvalleychurch.net or (205) 304-5445.

Donate Money for a Widow in Need

We’re raising money to help a widow who is a member in our church. She has a very old car that is on it’s last leg. The air conditioning is broken and the windows don’t work. She desperately needs a reliable used car for transportation.

This woman has been a faithful member of our church and other churches during her life and has served God in many ways over the years.

I hope you’ll prayerfully consider how you might contribue to her cause. Even the smallest donation will be helpful. Thanks!

http://widget.chipin.com/widget/id/6c9664f30b359e56

Thanks ChurchCrunch!!

Many thanks to John Saddington at ChurchCrunch and Moo for the business cards I won last month.  I just placed my order and I can’t wait to get the cards!  I chose a ready made design pack for the cards that features some truly awesome photos from Paul Cooklin Photography.  I really think these cards will stand out from the rest.  I’m going to use them as I meet people in the community.  I included information about myself and the church (location, meeting time, website, etc.).  Check out these unique cards if you’re interested in making a great first impression!

Paul Cooklin Photography MiniCards

MiniCards $19.99
Buy this on MOO.com

Social Networking Creating New Adultery Risk, Author Says

FBinfoJust read this summary from Church Leaders Intelligence Report:

Dave Carder, a California pastor and psychologist who has studied adultery prevention and recovery for more than 30 years, spoke last week at a Smart Marriage conference in Orlando, FL. In his latest book, Close Calls: What Adulterers Want You to Know About Protecting Your Marriage, he details a new adultery risk created by social networking, such as Classmates.com and Facebook. “There’s a new phenomenon—the idea that you can locate and recapture old romances, old flames, old boyfriends and girlfriends from adolescence…in (this) case, the infatuation is already stored in your brain. So if you get back in touch with a person like that—a person you dated, that you kissed, maybe a first-love experience—some 10, 15 years later … Well, the saying in my field is, ‘Thirty days of regular contact with an old girlfriend/old boyfriend and you create an infatuation explosion. And in 30 more days, you will find a way to be with each other.’ So it’s 60 days from the start, because infatuation is a mood-altering experience. It’s a huge drug of choice and will sweep you off your feet.” Carder warns that, especially in times of unusual or sustained stress, a “surprise adultery” can occur where the affair is really an attempt to heal, distract or support yourself from the stressful situations. He encourages couples to watch for the danger signs and “risk factors—certain seasons of life, certain ages, certain life experiences, certain marital stages, personal histories you bring to the marriage—that can set you up for an affair. That doesn’t mean you are going to do it, but like in the disease model, there are risk factors.”

The Washington Times 7/8/09

Social networking sites are a wonderful way to connect with friends and even share the Gospel.  However, we shouldn’t be naive.  Satan can use these connections to tempt us to be unfaithful to our spouse.  We have easy access to relationships that can be unhealthy to our marriage.

April and I made a commitment when joining Facebook that we would never “friend” someone with whom we had been in a relationship before.  It’s been awkward having to explain to high school classmates why I won’t accept their friend requests, but I believe that my marriage is just to important to risk the temptation of rekindling any kind of feelings that were in the past.  What do you think?  Please leave your comments!