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July 25, 2017

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The Christian life is one which lives unreservedly for Jesus—it is the Decided Life. For many, the Christian faith means no more than just a traditional ritual which connects us to our families, our pasts and even to other people. It can certainly be that, but the life which is historically, biblically and truly Christian is one which impacts the entirety of one's being...[click for more]

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A Biography on Billy Graham

I am pleased to announce that I have been offered a contract on my book, Igniting the Fire-The Movements and Mentors Who Shaped Billy Graham. It is due for release in January 2015 through Shiloh Run Press, an imprint of Barbour Books.

It is a very personal book for me. When I first stepped onto the campus of Wheato . . .

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In my last message, I made the mistake of singing a song. Here it is. I promised the men that it was the last time I would ever do that.

One of the men said, "It wasn't half bad." You can hear my response in the audio.

Just a bit of fun in a serious me . . .

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The Story of One Mission Convert

One of the neat things about working in a mission environment is being able to watch men's lives transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. One of these delightful stories is of a man I will pseudonymously call T.J.

I first encountered T.J. in a negative, somewhat frustrating light. The service I preach in is from 6:30-7:00. And while I try to keep my messages within that time, . . .

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A New Sermon Series on the Gospel of Matthew

Last week I began a preaching series on the book of Matthew which I am calling, "Fulfilled."

The Gospel of Matthew was written for Jews to show that Jesus is the long-promised Messiah in Whom they should put their trust. A recurrent phrase used throughout the Gospel is, "Now all this took place to fulfill..." an Old Testament text or promise.

The . . .

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Ok, it's official. I have committed myself fully into the preaching task. Recently I was reminded of one of my first speaking engagements: I spoke before my youth group at a fairly large church to the largest group I have ever spoken to, even to this day. I was not in the “in” crowd in the youth group, or really in with the movers and shakers.

So how did I get the gig? I . . .

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I am pleased to announce a new phase within The Decided Life. For the first time, we are including submissions for articles to be posted. While remuneration is not currently possible, my hope and prayer is that this site will be enriched by the input of other authors. Of course, not all submissions will be accepted, and are subject to editorial revisions.

The commencement of this . . .

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The Quiet Confidence

In an otherwise true-to-reality piece posted on CNN.com, author and Birmingham native Kyle Whitmire threw this line into his article: 

"It's pointless to assign meaning to a disaster such as this, but lots of people try anyway. On television, you'll hear lots of talk about prayer and the Lord's protection -- not so much of the quiet, but real, doubts that follow such a loss." (http . . .

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I know pride is a really, really, really dangerous thing, but let me just take a moment to gloat. I had always dreamed this site to be interactive, but the code and technology had always been way beyond me. Now, thanks to Dreamweaver CS4 and David Power's book, The Essential Guide to Dreamweaver CS4, and hours of pouring over them, the dream has become a reality. 

I a . . .

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Followers of this site have seen major changes over the past few weeks. My wife helped me redesign the site, and I have worked, and reworked to find the right codes to implement the designs she has made.

I am excited about the new design of the site. I think it looks cleaner, more readable, and more professional. There are a few catches of course.

This is still a shoestring oper . . .

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It is a sad week for me, for Brother Bryan Mission and for all the homeless of the world. Bob Blake’s body is riddled with cancer—a diagnosis which was new to him within the last few weeks. When I heard the news for the first time this past Wednesday night, I learned that he was in the hospital where they gave him an option: you can die with a feeding tube or with a breathing . . .

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It has been a long time since I made any additions to my work at the Mission, and someone recently told me that my stories were interesting. The Lord has continued to work at the Mission, through me and through others. But really, the Mission is often a place where men make one step forward, and two steps back.

We are all victims of falling back into the sins from which we have be . . .

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This Good Friday, I have been meditating on Zechariah 12:10, "They will look unto Me, whom they pierced." In the next phrase, the person changes from me, to "they will grieve for Him." I wanted to find out why the subject change (it's just Hebrew...strange language). But while I was looking, I came across this powerful passage from Merrill F. Unger's Zechariah: Prophet of Messiah’s Gl . . .

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Choice Missionary Quotes

**UPDATE**

This blog post gets hit by more than almost any other part of my site. I am convinced that Ruth Stull had an impact on a generation of missionaries. Were you one of them? Did you know her or have a story about her? Please share it with me, either by filling the comments below, or by going to the contact page and sending me a personal note. Thank you.

**ORIGINAL POST** . . .

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Last night I got together with a couple friends who get together to pray and talk once a week. We are all from Beeson and have visions for ministry. As we talked last night, it became evident that God had been choreographing something in each of our lives. He is truly superintending things on big and small levels, and it is exciting to see.

Let me begin (selfishly) with me. I just began . . .

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Tonight I went to the Mission, but did not preach. That is always a bit difficult for me, since I don’t feel as prepared to come down there as when I have been pouring over a Scripture text to preach to them when I do preach. But tonight was fairly eventful.

My faithful blog readers will remember Tim who was kicked out of Brother Bryan M . . .

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In a previous blog, I noted that two men from Brother Bryan Mission were recently baptized. I spoke to both men about their baptisms a few days later and asked them if anything was different. Both emphatically said, “Yes.”

Both of the men suggested that they felt different and I think both said that they were a little more humble. I remember my experience of baptism in s . . .

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Last Wednesday night I preached a sermon at the mission on the Parable of the Sower, or sometimes called (perhaps more appropriately) the Parable of the Soils. I spent the week pondering it, but wrote the sermon in a single day on Tuesday. It would be nice to write the sermon, and then let it simmer for a couple days, make corrections, additions or subtractions to make it better. But al . . .

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Last Wednesday night, I was told that after our service there would be a comedy crew to come and bring the men some laughter and entertainment. They apparently also share their testimonies and the Gospel.

After the crowd of men left the dinner tables, I went to go talk with the comedy crew. They were apparently going to be at the service and begin their entertainment sometime af . . .

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I met Stephen one evening at dinner as I sat down at his table. The table had been moderately filled, but almost as soon as I sat down with my other intern friend, everyone got up to go. So, we tried to strike up some conversation with Stephen. But the conversation was going nowhere quickly. Open questions were answered with one-word answers and it was clear he was not very intereste . . .

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Tim is a white man in his fifties. He is a man I do not know very well, but he would eagerly come to the services. One night, during prayer request time, he requested prayer for his daughter who was soon to have a baby. There were possibilities of complications and so we prayed for the whole family. I kept note of the prayer request and prayed throughout the week. When I came back th . . .

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Michael is a big man—not fat—big. He fits the description of a laborer, and I want him on my team in tug of war. He is a white man in his fifties and is an encourager. I first took notice of Michael when, after I preached on Isaiah 50 on the Humiliated Servant, he came up to me and asked, “When are you going to be coming back?” He seemed to like my message, so n . . .

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Coach is the mission cook. He wakes up every morning at 4:30 to get ready for breakfast, and prepares all three meals every day except for Sunday. Coach is a man who ruined his life drinking. He was employed at The Club (with the emphasis on ‘The’) for many years, but lost his job on account of his drinking problem.

His experience at The Club makes him a natural fit . . .

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I did not really notice Willy at first. He is a non-assuming fifty to sixty year old African American man who speaks little but exudes contentment. He seems to me to be the image of a throwback to a distant time of a man who has weathered much, but strives with little.

Willy is a man who sits in the front row of the mission services, wearing his old fishing hat. But again, it too . . .

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Robby is an African-American man who has lived in Birmingham all his life. I could only guess that he is in his fifties. I first noticed Robby as I asked the men at the meeting for prayer requests. Robby spoke up, and I struggled to make out what he was saying. Whether it is by drug use or mental and physical issues, Robby does not strike you as a well-educated man. Robby’s pra . . .

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I think it is fair to say that I am a bit unique in my preaching. I love listening to many different styles of preaching and surely have been shaped in some ways by what I have heard. But above all, I have become more and more convinced of the authority of the Word of God, and as a result have found expository preaching the primary method of preaching. Not just walking through the text . . .

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Long before I knew of Birmingham, Alabama or Beeson Divinity School where I attended seminary, I knew of Brother Bryan of Birmingham. I was introduced to a biography of him called, Religion in Shoes. B. B. was a Presbyterian pastor in the first half of the 20th century who had a heart for the city of Birmingham. He prayed for it, and pastured the pastorless and needy throug . . .

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I am currently working on a sermon on Isaiah 28, with a focus on verse 16: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed.  He who believes in it will not be disturbed.” You will be able to read that sermon here with more discussion on this stone—Jesus Christ in whom we will not be disappointed.

. . .

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Followers of this site have seen major changes over the past few weeks. My wife helped me redesign the site, and I have worked, and reworked to find the right codes to implement the designs she has made.

I am excited about the new design of the site. I think it looks cleaner, more readable, and more professional. There are a few catches of course.

This is still a shoestring oper . . .

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