Guide to Birmingham for the 2019 SBC Annual Meeting


Welcome to Birmingham, Southern Baptists! One of the best things about going to a new city is trying the local food, and experiencing the uniqueness of that place. Below is a helpful guide to Birmingham, Places to eat, things to do, and where to get that much needed coffee.

The Magic City is one of the greatest places for food in the South and the list could be a much larger. Birmingham is a great place to get away for a few days with much to see and do. I have tried to provide some brief descriptions and helpful links. A quick google search should give you a plethora of  more information on the below attractions and locations. I hope this guide will help you as you plan to come the annual meeting and experience Birmingham.

Make sure to check out  to stay up to date with traffic for the Convention. The main interstate that goes through the heart of Birmingham is being replaced, and that is right near the convention hall. Birmingham traffic is pretty rough as it is, this hasn’t’ helped. You can also see this post for information about parking (it won’t be easy if you get there late).

Best Places to Eat in Birmingham:

(1) Highlands Bar and Grill (2011 11th Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35205)

Menu (changes daily)

Highlands was named the Most Outstanding Restaurant in America in 2018. This is a great place to eat if you are taking your spouse to the annual meeting and have some coin to spend. You’ll need to make your reservation about a month out via their website.

(2) Saw’s Soul Kitchen (215 41st St S Birmingham, AL 35222)


If you are looking for some down-home cooking, Saw’s is the place. The have wings, pork, greens, fried green tomatoes, and so much more. Saw’s is an absolute must on a trip to Birmingham. Please note there are multiple locations around Birmingham, but the address above is my recommendation.

(3) Melt (4105 4th Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35222)


Melt offers tons of different sandwiches in a cool atmosphere in Avondale. Pro tip: order the mac and cheese egg rolls. There is usually a wait for good reason, the sandwiches are rich with flavor.

(4) Full Moon BBQ (525 25th St S, Birmingham, AL 35233)


I would argue that Full Moon is the best BBQ in Birmingham. My favorite is the “Big Baker.” A jumbo baked potato stuffed with pork, cheese, sour cream, scallions, butter, and bbq sauce. The sweet tea and chocolate pie are a must too.

(5) Jim ‘N Nicks (1908 11th Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35205)


This is a more sit down bbq restaurant with waiters. They are known for their cheddar biscuits which they serve complimentary. They have a large menu with all kinds of “fixins’” for you to enjoy.

(6) Slice Pizza (725 29th St S, Birmingham, AL 35233)


Slice is one of the best pizza joints, if not the best, in all of Birmingham. It was started by three brothers who love to put an interesting twist on pizza.

(7) Niki’s West (233 Finley Ave W, Birmingham, AL 35204)


This is a very famous meat and three in Birmingham. Niki’s has been around since 1957, and there is always a line. Can’t go wrong here.

(8) Chez Fonfon (2007 11th Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35205)


Another nice sit-down restaurant, reservation would be wise. Consistently voted as one of the top restaurants in Birmingham.

(9) Mugshots (2311 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd N #100, Birmingham, AL 35203)


This is a burger joint that is right outside the BJCC in Uptown. Lots of great options here and priced well for a sit-down restaurant. The peanut butter burger is delicious, justtry it!

(10) Babalu Tapas and Tacos (2808 7th Ave S #117, Birmingham, AL 35233)


Tacos, does it get any better? Babalu is one of the best atmospheres and restaurants in Birmingham. Of course they have so much more than Tacos. Make sure to get the homemade guac, you won’t be disappointed.

(11) El Barrio (2211 2nd Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203)


Great location near the Alabama theater. Modern Mexican cuisine in an urban setting. Been here a couple of times and have yet to leave unsatisfied or hungry.

(12) Dreamland (14th Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35205)


This is an iconic BBQ restaurant known for their sweet tea and ribs. Honestly, not my favorite BBQ but the ribs are good. Every table gets a complimentary loaf of bread and BBQ sauce as an appetizer.

(13) Big Bad Breakfast (5361 US-280, Birmingham, AL 35242)


Hands down the best breakfast in Birmingham. This is a must while you are here. The cheese grits are the best you will ever have, and the everything on the menu is worth ordering. I usually get a biscuit, crispy hash cakes, grits, and coffee. But seriously, everything is delicious.

(14) Gianmarco’s Restaurant (721 Broadway St, Birmingham, AL 35209)


If you are craving authentic Italian then this is the place. Great menu options, and other great place to relax after the meeting or take your spouse for a nice meal.

(15) Hot and Hot Fish Club (2180 11th Ct S, Birmingham, AL 35205)


The chef won the award for the most outstanding chef in the South in 2012 and also appeared “Iron Chef America.” This is a Birmingham must if you have the cash and time to go.

Best Dessert in Birmingham:

(1) Big Spoon (4000 3rd Ave S #104, Birmingham, AL 35222)

This is a really cool creamery in Birmingham that is always changing up their menu. From Fruity Pebble Ice Cream Sandwiches to a wide variety of flavors. You will love it.

(2) Insomnia Cookies ( 1919 11th Ave S #200, Birmingham, AL 35205)

Hot cookies, delicious cookies. What could be better?

(3) Cookie Dough Magic ( 400 41st St S Suite 102, Birmingham, AL 35222)

This place serves cookie dough (don’t worry, it’s safe) is a variety of flavors. It’s very sweet, and very good.

(4) Steel City Pops (various locations)

Gourmet popsicles are a great thing on a home summer day in Birmingham.

(5) Edgewood Creamery ( 936 Oxmoor Rd, Birmingham, AL 35209)

Another great local creamery.

Best Coffee in Birmingham:

(1) Seeds (2808 7th Ave S #105, Birmingham, AL 35233)

(2) The Red Cat Coffeehouse  (2901 2nd Ave S #120, Birmingham, AL 35233)

(3) Octane (2221 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd N, Birmingham, AL 35203)

(4) Revelator (1826 3rd Ave N Unit 101, Birmingham, AL 35203)

(5) Church Street Coffee (81 Church St, Mountain Brook, AL 35213)

(6) O’Henry’s (1901 6th Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203)

(7) Bullet Coffee Company ( 5299 US-280, Birmingham, AL 35242)

For the Kids:

(1) McWane Center


The McWane Science Center is a science museum and research archive located in downtown Birmingham, Alabama. The state-of-the-art science center, aquarium, and 280-seat IMAX Dome Theater is housed in the historic and refurbished Loveman’s department store building

(2) Birmingham Zoo


122-acre zoo is home to almost 800 animals representing over 200 species, including many endangered species from six continents.

(3) Birmingham Art Museum


(4) Birmingham Barons (Minor League Baseball)


The Barons will be in town Wednesday night versus the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Yep, that’s a thing).

(5) Alabama Splash Adventure


Water park just outside Birmingham in Bessemer. This is a great option, and priced well, if you have kids and want to cool off one day.

Outdoor Fun:

(1) Vulcan Park (1701 Valley View Dr, Birmingham, AL 35209)

Great spot to get a scenic view of Birmingham. Park is free, but if you want to go into Vulcan (the largest cast iron stature in the world) there is a small fee.

(2) Railroad park (1600 1st Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233)

19 acre park in the heart of Birmingham, right next to Regions Field (home of the Barons). The trains that run through Birmingham come right by the park. Great spot to hangout and enjoy the day.

(3) Birmingham Botanical Gardens (2612 Lane Park Rd, Birmingham, AL 35223)

67-acre botanical garden at the foot of Red Mountain.

(4) Ruffner Mountain Nature Center (1214 81st St S, Birmingham, AL 35206)

1,000+ acre nature preserve where you can meet some of the animals that call Alabama home.

(5) Red Mountain Park (2011 Frankfurt Dr, Birmingham, AL 35211)

1,500+ acre park with over 4.5 miles of trails over Red Mountain. Much to see here including some closed mines.

(6) Top Golf (1111 24th St N, Birmingham, AL 35234)

Right by the Convention Hall and a whole lot of fun.

Other Attractions:

(1) Civil Rights Institute (520 16th St N, Birmingham, AL 35203)

(2) Southern Museum of Flight ( 4343 73rd St N, Birmingham, AL 35206)

(3) Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum ( 6030 Barber Motorsports Pkwy, Leeds, AL 35094)

(4) Rickwood Field (1137 2nd Ave W, Birmingham, AL 35204)

Oldest professional ballpark in the United States.

It's Nice to have you in Birmingham


Don’t Be Afraid to Cry

“The poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him from all his troubles.”

Psalm 34:6 [CSB]

A cry is not the most common way that prayer is thought to be described. Often we think of eloquence, power, boldness, and many other descriptors in the matters of prayer. We try to think of the right things to say, maybe even rehearsed lines, when ask for the ear of our Creator. The Bible though gives numerous examples of people crying out in prayer.

One example of this is the account of Peter walking on water recorded in Matthew 14:22-33. When Peter realizes that it is Jesus walking on water he asks to join him. Peter steps out of the boat and walks on the water. Incredible! However, Peter gets quickly becomes distracted. He felt the wind, he saw the waves, and he took his eyes off Jesus. Once he did that he began to sink and overcome with fear.

I think a lot of times we get super focused on Jesus, and we walk in our faith with confidence. We are laser focused on Jesus. Often this is after an inner spiritual revival, or when lift is easy. Then we get distracted, sin gets in the way, pain hits us, we takes our eyes off Christ, and we too begin to sink. We get so overwhelmed by what is around us, we forget who has gone before us. And here is the reality, Peter had Jesus physically before him, the Son of God and Creator of all things, as he was performing an impossible task. If he can fail, so will we. There is good news though.

The great part of this story is that while Peter is sinking, he cries out to Jesus for help. In Matthew 14:31 it says that after this cry that Jesus is immediately  there to help Peter. That word is used deliberately. Friends, when you are sinking, hurting, down, and distracted there is something we should do: cry out to Jesus. He will be there immediately for He is always with us.

Crying out carries the idea of a short and painful plea. It’s something you do when you have nowhere else to go. It’s an act of desperation. We feel alone and helpless. The reality is we are not. The Sovereign King bows his ear, he hears our cry, and he is with us immediately.

We can rest confident that God hears our prayers, and our God acts. Therefore, cry out to Him in prayer. As Charles Spurgeon once said, “God gives us prayer as a basket, and then he pours the blessings of his grace into it.”


Red Black Quote Instagram Post

Happy Birthday to Our Son

It's a boy

Kandace and I are excited to share with our friends that we have matched with a little boy; a huge step in our adoption journey! One year ago today in a small town in India our son was born. A few days later he would be dropped off at a police station, and taken to the orphanage where he now lives. Today he celebrates his birthday with his care takers and friends in that orphanage. He has no idea who we are, that we are coming, where his life will be taking him, or that these strangers he will one day meet will be his family.

It was such a surreal and joyous moment when Kandace and I found out about our son. Everything we had been doing was leading up to this moment of finding out who would be our child. I received the phone call on the beach while I was visiting my parents and siblings. It was the first day of school for Kandace at her new school in Alabama so were not together. I believe I called here five times, and texted her to call me immediately. She called me right back, thankfully! I ran through Andrew’s medical needs and all the information I had, and we both said “yes” to our son.

Later that week we received a current picture of Andrew. We cannot share that with you yet, but we can confidently tell you that he is the cutest little boy. I often find myself staring at his picture. I think to myself, that is my son and I already love him so much. It does not feel quite real most of the time. I wish I could hop on a plane to India right now, but that’s not how the adoption process works. I wish I could just put him in my arms, but there is still paperwork to be one. I wish we could just bring him home and introduce him to family and friends, but we still need court approval. I hate waiting, especially now that I know who I am waiting for, but I trust God’s timing. I trust it even when it does not make sense to me or Kandace.

When Kandace and I were picking out names for either gender we could not settle on a girls name. We thought for sure that our baby would be a girl, so I was not looking forward to the back and forth of picking a name. We simply could not find one we liked or agreed on. However, I think we had really just one discussion on a name if it were a boy. It’s funny how God sometimes surprises us.

Our son’s name is Andrew Fuller Cornutt. Andrew Fuller was a Baptist missionary who lived in a place called Kettering (England). Charles Spurgeon once called him the greatest theologian of his generation. Fuller was friends with a man named William Carey and together they helped form the Baptist Missionary Society. William Carey was the first missionary to India and is celebrated (rightfully) for his work among unreached people in India. However, if it were not for Andrew Fuller then William Carey may have never been able to achieve all he did. From Fuller’s diary:

Our undertaking to India really appeared to me, on its commencement, to be somewhat like a few men, who were deliberating about the importance of penetrating into a deep mine, which had never before been explored. We had no one to guide us, and while we were thus deliberating, [William] Carey, as it were, said, ‘Well, I will go down if you will hold the rope.’ But before he went down, he, as it seemed to me, took an oath from each of us, at the mouth of the pit, to this effect, that [we] ‘while welived, should never let go of the rope.’ You understand me. There was great responsibility attached to us who began the business.

Fuller kept his promise to hold the rope. He traveled all over to raise money to support William Carey’s work in India, and other missionaries as well. He helped train missionaries in the Baptist Missionary Society and he devoted his life to the unreached people. There are Christians in India today because William Carey was faithful to go, and because Andrew Fuller was faithful to his promise to keep him there.

Our sons name may not be a traditional Indian name, but it certainly has Indian roots. It also has gospel roots and points to a man who feared God and devoted his life to him. I look forward to the day I get to share with Andrew the reason of his name.

I want to thank everyone who has prayed for us and supported us thus far. Your support has helped us on this journey and we are eternally grateful. You are a part of the story of our son, and we will make sure he knows that. However, our journey is not complete yet and we will need your help. Here are some ways you can pray for us and Andrew:

(1) While we have reserved Andrew in the India system, and are finalizing paperwork nothing is official. India could come back and say no through the judges when we have court. Please pray for our paperwork to go through smoothly and for favorable judges. We believe this is our son and cannot wait for you to meet him.

(2) Pray for Andrew. He has some medical needs we will share at a later date. Pray for wisdom for his doctors and care takers when it comes to his medical situation and his needs. Pray that he continues to grow and enjoy life until we are able to bring him home.

(3) Pray for Kandace and I. To remain at peace with the timing of God. We know God’s timing is best, but some days are harder than others. We know he is our son, we know his needs, we know what he looks like, and we know where he is. Still, we have to wait. I pray that this is the only birthday we have to miss, but we could potentially miss another depending on the process. We hope it is not but again we trust God. Prayers regarding that are much appreciated.

(4) We have paid and raised about half of all of our financial needs regarding the adoption. Pray that we will be able to continue to save and raise money to bring Andrew home. If you would like to contribute please contact me or you can make a tax deductible gift at this link:

Thank you all, and happy birthday to Andrew. We will see you soon, son.

Adoption Cost How Much?!

Over the time since Kandace and I have started the adoption process I think the number one thing that has jumped out to people is the cost of adoption. Typically a response like this is given, “With so many children in need of homes in the world why don’t they make it more affordable?” There are a lot of answers for that question. One reason is that they so want to make sure people are serious. Unfortunately we live in a world where people harm and exploit children. These costs then help weed out people who may want to do that. Other factors include government fees (i.e. red tape), travel costs, paying for the home study, and other agency fees.

More than that, you’re also paying for your child’s life up until that point. Their care  their meals, their clothes, their doctors visits, their surgeries, and everything else. When you think about all the costs that go into raising a child it adds up fast. However, when we think about these costs compared to the cost Christ paid to adopt us, well it is not that big. In order for Christ to adopt us the God-man became like us. He lived a life that was perfect though he was tempted in every way that we are tempted, but never failed. He was wrongly accused and was beaten and eventually killed on our behalf. He took our sins to the cross so that the we can be sons and daughters of the living God. In love He adopted us, and it was through the sacrifice of His son.

Adoption is a picture of the gospel and a picture of redemption. We are excited that this will be a part of our child’s story, and that we will get to tell the story of God when we tell the story of their adoption. Yes, adoption is expensive and costly, but it is worth it.

So how much will it cost Kandace and I to adopt our child from India? It is estimated to roughly be $37,000-$40,000. So far we are in for $7975. That seems like a lot of money, but when compared to the total figure it’s really just a drop in the bucket. So how will we pay for it? We will continue to save money and make payments when they come, and we will be applying for some grants as well to help offset the costs. Another way we hope to fund the adoption is by the support of our family and friends.

We have partnered with an organization called “Adopt Together” They are a 501(c) company that helps adoptive families raise money. When you give to our adoption through this website it is considered charitable giving and can be used as a tax write off. We know that giving, especially sacrificial giving, is hard to do and wanted to make it beneficial for those who give.

The first $20,000 we are trying to raise will cover our agency fees and our third party legal fees. You can see on the attached picture where you can “buy a number” for our fundraising. If we are able to get friends, family, and strangers to buy every number on the sheet we will raise $20,000! You can buy multiple number if you like (for example, you may want to buy numbers 1-15) or just one. If you would like to write a check please message Jared privately for instructions. Of course, if you would like to give beyond the $200 you can do that by simply contributing whatever amount you would like to on the website. We are thankful for you even considering to give, and hope you know that every dollar given will help bring our son or daughter home. We pray you will consider helping us bring home our child. Even more, we pray that you will know the story of God’s adoption personally in your life.  That you are His child and have been redeemed. If you have any questions about that please, please reach out. Thank you and to God be the glory!

Here is a link to the website:

Here is our adoption fundraising sheet:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 2021 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 4041 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 6061 62 63 64 65 66


Should Christians Boycott Disney?


Disney is one of the most powerful, influential, and progressive companies in the world. Most of my childhood favorite films are Disney/Pixar and the company regularly puts out great films with encouraging messages. Along with those films are the five trips I have taken to Disney World, four with my family, and those wonderful memories. Needless to say, Disney has been a big part of my life.

Yesterday I saw a post on my social media feed that implicated that the charter LeFou, in the new live action Beauty in the Beast, will be a homosexual character and it will be Disney’s first “exclusively gay moment.” I would like to note that rumors like this circulated before the release of Finding Dory and unless I completely missed something in the film they were untrue.

So, how should Christians respond to this? My wife and I have been eagerly awaiting the release of this film for two years. Should we not go? Should we boycott Disney altogether? Should we just go and see it? I have seen Christians suggest all these things, and some ask what they should do. I have three very quick thoughts when it comes to boycotting Disney.

Realize What All That Entails

Boycotting Disney has some major implications. For example, Disney owns ESPN and ESPN regularly plays Alabama football games. So a call to boycott all things Disney means giving up 5-6 Alabama games a year for me. Also, boycott on all things Disney would mean not watching many other sporting events and TV shows. They also own ABC, the Marvel films, and now Star Wars. Disney is much larger than their movies and theme parks. They are big  company and own a lot. I do not think we should commit a boycott without considering all that it implies.

Could This be a Teaching Moment?

An important thing that Christians have to decide is how they will approach this with their kids. Will they shelter them from this or use it as a teaching moment? If your children are going to public school they are already around this most likely and need their parents speaking into this subject. While we do not want to normalize any sin (and I really want emphasize that point), we can use it as a teaching moment. To explain there are people with same-sex attraction and there are people who act on it. That may be too much for younger children but parents needed to be prepared to have that conversation.

It is a parents duty to protect their children, and to teach them. While this film may not be the best means to do so it could lead to a conversation. A conversation where you as the parent can point your children to the Scriptures. Explain how and why God ordained marriage. Teach what denying ourselves really means. Teach the danger of following fleshly desires.

Additionally, we should not not be surprised when non-christian companies do non-christian things. 1 Corinthians 1:18 makes it clear, that to those who are lost the message of the cross is foolishness. There is much happening in our culture right now that we can use to point our children towards godliness. Be open with your children and prepared to explain.

You Have the Liberty to Decide

Ultimately, I think you have the liberty to decide what you want to do. I do not think Christians should look on those who go to the film (or disney altogether) with shame, and I do not think Christians should see those who do not as legalists. This should not be something that Christians fight with each other over. While we do not want to normalize sin, or even gloss over it, we must be careful to not to let this create division amongst us. Also, we need to speak to this issue with grace and humility as we have lost friends who are listening. Every family has to decide themselves what is best for their kids and where they want to spend their money. Let your conscience be your guide.

We Got Here As Soon As We Could

The adoption process is long, filled with paperwork, and often slow; painfully slow. We were talking through everything last night with Kandace’s mother who is in town to visit. As we were discussing everything she made an interesting statement, “I often lay awake at night and wonder about my grandchild.” Truthfully, this is something I do, and I know Kandace does too.

I lay awake wondering where my child is right now. I lay awake wondering if my child is being loved and cared for daily. I lay awake wondering if my son or daughter has enough to eat each day. I lay awake wondering if he or she feels hopeless. I lay awake often wondering, asking, and filled with anxiousness. How long has my  child been there? Is my child scared? Is my child hurting? Is he or she kind, are people kind to him or her?

These are the thoughts, and many more, that fill my head daily. I just want to hop on a plane and go get my child. To tell them I have loved them before I knew they were my child, and always will. To hold, care, and provide for my child. But that’s not how the adoption process works, so we wait. We wait helplessly wanting to get to our child to end the life they now know for the one that we will share together.

I eagerly wait for the day when I can hold my child with teary eyes and say, “We got here as soon as we could.”

What About Those Who Never Hear?

This past Friday I was honored to preach at a local christian school’s chapel. The text was from Philippians 1 highlighting verse twenty-one “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” My aim in the message was to show the studenta how to live a life worth living, and death worth dying. In my charge I exhorted the students to go those who have never heard the gospel. To go to the places with no Bible, to those who have never heard Jesus. My prayer is that this charge would stick with the students.

After my message I was talking with many students when one young man, Matthew, asked a very important question, “What about those who have never heard the gospel? What happens to them?” Matthew asked this with genuine curiosity and sincerity. This is an important question and one we must answer.

Unreached People Groups and Unreached/Unengaged People Groups

So how many people have actually never heard? Recent data estimates that there are 11,500 people groups in the world today. People groups are not “nations” but people of a similar area, culture, and language; they are mostly ethnic groups. Of the 11,500 people groups today 3,700 groups (4 billion people) are considered unreached. What makes a people group unreached is if less than 2% of the people group is evangelical Christian.

What about unreached and unengaged? The International Mission Board estimates that this is around 3,100 people groups comprised of 200 million people. These are people who have never heard the gospel, and have no Bible in their language. They will live their life, whether short or long, and die without ever hearing of Jesus unless someone gets to them.

So what happens to these people? Surely God will give grace since they have not heard, right? What about the innocent man on an island who lives a “good” life but never hears?  I believe the Bible speaks clear on the issue.

John 14:6

Jesus declares, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This makes it clear, no one is saved apart from Jesus Christ. Faith in Jesus is a requirement for salvation and is the only means in which salvation can be had. This is troubling news considering that at least 200 million have never even heard his name.

Romans 1

Romans 1 teaches that all men have knowledge of God, but they suppress that knowledge. Some people will argue because they can look at the world and see there is a God, then they can be saved by that knowledge. However, Romans 1 is arguing the opposite. Paul is saying that this revelation is enough to condemn a man, but not save a man. Romans 1:18 makes it clear that all men are guilty. Whether we have heard and rejected Jesus, or have not heard, we are all guilty.

I like how Matt Smethurst said it, “Humans aren’t guilty because they haven’t heard the gospel; they’re guilty because they haven’t honored their Creator. In other words, not because of the absence of something (faith), but because of the presence of something (rebellion).” Thus Romans 1 shows us that all men stand before God guilty and in need of a Savior.

Romans 10

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? . . . So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:13-15, 17)

This passage makes it clear that people are saved by the preaching of God’s Word. Paul is working through the method of salvation. We are saved by faith in Christ. We do that when we believe the gospel. We can believe the gospel only after we hear the gospel. We can only hear the gospel when people are sent with the gospel and share the it.The only way to be saved then is for someone to preach the gospel, and for people to hear, and respond to the gospel in faith through Jesus.

Thus, people who have not heard the gospel preached cannot be saved according to Romans 10.


So, what we can we conclude about the innocent man on the island who lives a “good” life? Well, obviously, the innocent man who never heard the gospel would go to Heaven. However, no man is innocent as we have learned. We are born with sin and separated from God (Psalm 51:5). Since the man then is not innocent, he will spend eternity apart from the Father.

To many of us that does not seem fair. How can he be judged for something he has not heard? However, if people go to Heaven because of their ignorance then what is the worst thing we could ever do? Tell them the gospel! Because we went to them now there is a chance they will go to Hell. This is not the case. Our Lord commands us to go because they are living and dying and never hearing the good news we possess. Therefore, it’s not fair that we know and have this truth and we are not going to them. How selfish of us if we never go, and beyond that it is defiance and disobedience to the command of Jesus.

You don’t even have to get on a plane to accomplish this (though I recommend everyone go on a mission trip). In the United State the great commission has come to us! You can use this website to see what people groups live near you:

The sad truth is 86% of all Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists do not know a Christian. Many who come to the US to study and work never become friends with a Christian, or come to their home. If we truly believe they are living and dying without hearing of Jesus then we must go to them, and we must share with them. Not out of obligation, but because we truly love people of all cultures and want to see them saved. Jesus came to us, He commanded us to go to them.

Because He came, then we must go.

Why Adoption? Why India?


A few weeks ago my wife Kandace and I announced that we would be beginning the adoption process. We are thrilled with the response we have received thus far from our friends and family. We want to take this introductory blog to explain why we are doing this, how we are going to do this, and how you can help partner with us.

Why adopt?

Do you not want to have children of your own? Can you not have children? These are a couple of questions we have received. I do not believe these were intended as rude, but general curiosity. Let’s walk through each of these questions.

Do we not want children of our on? Of course we do! And that is why we are adopting. The child we adopt will be our own child. Admittedly, he or she will not look like me or Kandace. However, I do believe, in time, you will see them in us.

Are we adopting because we are not able to conceive a biological child of our own? While this is an extremely personal, and for many families, hard question I do think it should be addressed to explain our process.Simply, we do not know. One day we will try I am sure to have children biologically. However, this is not our aim for our first child. It may be that we are never able to get pregnant, but for now we simply do not know.

Why India?

-There are over 20 million orphans in India, most in the world.

-India is the third largest HIV positive nation in the world.

-By 8 years old chidren are being taken into sex trafficking.

-20% of female children are forced into prostitution.

-82 girls go into sexual trafficking everyday.

-Over 15 million children are forced into labor.

-India only makes up 7% of US related international adoptions .

As you can see by just a few stats, there is a great need in adoption from India. Whether it be for children to get the medical care they need, prevent them from being trafficked, or any other reason; the need is great. When Kandace I looked at these facts and more our hearts were burdened for India. We spent time praying about where the Lord would call us to adopt from and it was clear, India.

Sometimes people ask the question, “why adopt internationally when there is such a need here in the US?” This is another personal question but one we will answer. I agree, there is a need in the US. This is why we are licensed foster care parents in North Carolina. Still, one child’s need is not greater than another’s. At the end of the day it is a child in need. Our system is not perfect, but we felt called to international adoption.

The Gospel

One reason we feel so compelled to adoption is because of the Gospel. We believe that adoption reflects the heart of God. The book of James tells us that pure religion is one that involves care for the orphans. The gospel is that Jesus came to us when we were orphans, when we didn’t even know we needed help. He came to us and God adopted us as His children into His family. He chose to bring us into His family.

Likewise, we will go and get our child who does not even know we exist. In their need we will bring them into our family and offer love and compassion. We will guide, protect, and sacrifice for that child; our child. We will have the opportunity one day to tell that story to our child. That they were not plan B, they were not a backup plan. No, instead we chose them, we came and got them, and we called them our child.

We pray that the gospel will remain the centerpiece of our adoption journey.

How You Can Partner With Us?

There are many ways you can partner with us. The number one way is to pray. As Christians we believe that prayer is important, and that prayer in community is powerful. Please consider praying with us and for us in the days, weeks, and months ahead. Here are a few ways you can pray for us:

-Pray that the home study with be a smooth and quick process.

-Pray as we decide upon which special needs our family is open to.

-Pray that we will match quickly, enabling us to bring our child home quicker.

-Pray for strength for us as we go through the process, fundraise, and have to wait.

-Pray for our child.

-Pray that God is glorified through every step of this, He receives all honor, and much is made of His name.

In the days and weeks to come we will also do some fundraising to help with the costs of our adopt. If you are familiar with adoption then you know this is a very expensive process. Please pray if that is something you might consider.

You can stay up to date by checking our Facebook, this blog, or signing up to receive our newsletter ( We are waiting with anticipating for the day to bring our child home, and are excited to share this journey with you.

For His Glory Alone.

Jared and Kandace


Is 2 Chronicles 7:14 for America?

Today marks the 13th Anniversary of the September 11th attack on the United States. I was in 6th grade world history with Ms. Hart when we got the news, and all we did in Ms. McKee’s math class was watch the news. At the age of 11 I think this was the first time that I realized and processed what evil looked like. It was a tragic day, and a day we should not forget.

Around this time of year you will be seeing 2 Chronicles 7:14 posted a lot. It reads:

“If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Today, many Christians with good intentions will share this verse about the United States of America. If Americans will turn from their wickedness, and repent then God will hear our land. There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting God to heal our land or for our people to repent. However, we do need to ask if we are applying the verses appropriately. Let’s examine.

The best way to read the Bible is context. The Bible is a metanarrative telling the story of God’s redemptive plan for the world, and saving the lost. It can best be told through 4 key components. Creation, fall, rescue, and restoration. The Bible is not about me or you, but about God and it’s purpose is to glorify Him and it reveals what we has allowed us to know about Him. This book is certainly not about the United States of America or any of us. It tells a story, a story all of us need to know, live, and surrender to so that we might know and enjoy God forever.

The context here in 2 Chronicles is that God is speaking to an individual, Solomon. Solomon was the son of David who would build the temple. Solomon was the 3rd king of Israel, God’s chosen people as we see in the Old Testament. “My people” in this verse is speaking specifically about the people of Israel as God refers to them as His throughout the Old Testament. Today Christians are the children of God, but in this context there is no doubt that God is speaking about the Jews.

The phrase “their land” is speaking to an actual piece of land, the promised land, that was set aside for Israel. It is literally their land secured to them by God in covenant He made with the people. We can see that in the Old Testament too can’t we? The book of Judges and the two books of Kings. When evil was present in the leadership and people bad things happened. When the people turned to God he healed them and their land. It was an ever ongoing cycle of the people of God. “Their land” was not the land that we as Americans inhabit so it would not be correct, I believe, to hold onto this verse as a promise to America from God.

I am not an Israelite, nor am I Jewish for I am a Christian. I am indeed a child of God and cling to the promises He has given me. However, as a Christian we belong to the Church. The Church has no land because the Church is all over the world. We may look at the United States as a Christian nation, which I would argue that not to be the case, and misapply this verse to our beloved nation. I love the United States. Being an American has allowed me opportunities I may not have had other places. Still, 2 Chronicles 7:14 is not saying that if we the United States do this then God will heal our country. There is no covenant between the United States and God. The covenant now is with those who believe and God; the covenant is with the Church.

Therefore, 2 Chronicles 7:14 cannot be applied to the United States. However, it can be applied to the Church. Not a physical land, but a physical people and God can heal us. He has already justified those who believe and we are experiencing sanctification. Even more so as we turn from wickedness, repent, and experience forgiveness. I will never forget 9/11 and my prayer today is to those who lost loved ones 13 years ago. It was a horrific tragedy brought forth by evil. I also pray for the Church today. That we be an ever present beacon of hope to our lost country, and world. That we make much of Jesus, and we see the Church grow and grow. My prayer is also for a revival in America, and the world. It starts with every believer. What are we doing today?

How Do I Have a Quiet Time?

If you spend anytime around me you know I am advocate for christian men and women spending daily time with the Lord. The question I usually get after a statement like that is this, how do I have a quiet time? This is not the perfect plan or a must-do guide to having a perfect quiet time. I am going to lay out what I do and you can modify how you do it, the key is to just have one.

Set aside at least an hour each day.

This can seem quite daunting at first. Most christians have enough trouble figuring out what to say for a blessing, how am I supposed to spend an hour with the Lord everyday? Maybe start small. 15 minutes at first and let it grow. The more you do it the more natural it will become. Soon you may see it go beyond an hour.

I recommend the mornings because it just really starts my day off right. However, that is feasible for everyone. One man in the church I serve leaves his house at 4:30 AM everyday to head to work. Just be consistent. If you are going to do it at 7AM then do it that time everyday. Also, be consistent where you do it as well. I don’t like say getting in a routine because it’s not just something to check-off, but if you have a set play of when and where you are more likely to do it.

Spend 10 minutes in worship through music.

Whatever music you like spend 10 minutes in worship before you start. Right now I am on Rend Collective kick in my quiet time, but I often listen to a variety of music including guys like Shai Linne. Songs a lot of times express what we want to say when we don’t know what to say. When you sing think about the words you are singing.

Spend 10-15 minutes in intentional prayer for others.

I once had a seminary professor ask me this, “Jared, if God answered all your prayers the past year how many people would be saved due to God answering those prayers?” Wow! Shot to the heart. How true though that our prayers can become so selfish. So I set aside a different things to pray for each day.

Sunday: All the Bible-beliving churches around the world who will proclaim the gospel this day, and for those who will hear it. Also, a UPG or UUPG.

Monday: My seminary (Students, profs, and its mission)

Tuesday: Churches I have previously served and attended. (Their leadership,   congregation, and so on.)

Wednesday: Former kids I had at FUGE Camps over my 3 summers.

Thursday: Friends and people I know who are lost, by name.

Friday: Missionaries I know, and the countries I have been able to travel to on mission trips.

Saturday: SBC agencies (Other seminaries, IMB, NAMB, ERLC)

I also pray for certain things everyday. My wife, family and in-laws, my church and pastor, the students in my ministry, other pastors at our church, best friends and mentors in my life. If you don’t know what to pray go to the Scriptures and let that be your guide.

Spend 30-40 minutes for worship through the Word.

This is a time you will hear God speak. The Bible is the very Word of God and when read we are hearing His words. If I read an Epistle I try to read the whole thing. The Epistles were letters and they are best read in one sitting, because when you get a letter you read the whole thing not parts at a time.

Take notes, write down questions, underline, and study. Saturate yourself with the word of God. If you read a chapter a day then read it two or three times. Get to the meaning of the text. This will be a time you will learn to look forward to and treasure. Some people will try a chronological Bible reading plan to read it in one year. That’s awesome, just don’t get discouraged. When you get in Leviticus you might be ready to hang it up. Remember the Bible is God-breathed and all of it is useful. I recommend a good study Bible to help understand what you are reading. I use the “ESV Study Bible” and I think it is one of the best.

Be prepared. I do not recommend opening up your Bible and wherever you finger lands is what God wants you to read. Read through books start to finish. If you have never done this I recommend three books to starts with. John, Acts, or Proverbs.

Spend 10 minutes of meditation and prayer

This is a time to just focus on God. Listen to God, maybe go back to the Word as you feel led. Then pray. I pray that God will use me as His vessel, He will use me to further His gospel for His glory and not mine, and many other things that I may need pray for. Write down your request in a journal and flip through it every few months and see things that God has delivered on.

The most important thing: Just do it.

The first day may be the hardest but if you stick to it I really believe this will be one the things you look most forward to everyday. Find someone to hold you accountable that you are doing yours, and likewise do the same for them. Where we spend the most of our time is where our heart is. I hope this has been helpful and if you have any questions please feel free to contact me!