Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Celebration 2009

Our first Christmas Celebration at the Love In Action Ministry Center was a huge success. More than 180 people attended the event on Dec. 23, and there were smiles all around as the love of Jesus Christ was poured out on everyone.

We had so many wonderful volunteers who came from Dothan, Ozark, Enterprise and Illinois. Yes, a couple traveled all the way from the Midwest. They were moving to Dothan earlier this year and they contacted us about serving with LIA. But, something came up and they had to stay in Illinois. But, they were visiting Dothan for Christmas, so they came to serve. Thanks Ky and Nick.

What thrilled me the most was seeing those we have helped throughout this year serving others. Some of the people we transitioned from homelessness to having their own homes were there serving. It was awesome. They understand God delivered them, and now they want to give back to God by serving others through LIA. Praise God!

Alan Watson did another great job of leading worship. God has blessed Alan with a wonderful gift of music and he uses it for the Lord. Thanks Alan for leading us all in praise and worship of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Emily Hinderliter delivered a great message about serving the "least of these brothers of mine" from Matthew 25:35-40. Emily is a wonderful woman of God. When God showed her earlier this year what His call on her life is, she accepted it and has been sharing the love of Jesus Christ with the homeless and needy ever since. Emily and her husband Ricky are such tremendous blessings to LIA and those we serve. They have made a huge difference in our ministry. Thank you both so much.

Tabernacle United Methodist is just an incredible church. They sponsor Celebrate Recovery at the Ministry Center, and thanks to their generosity and servant hearts, we were able to host the Christmas Celebrate. I can't say enough great things about the people at Tabernacle. More than 150 lives have been touched through Celebrate Recovery since we started in October. Thank you so much!

We couldn't have nearly 200 people in the Ministry Center without chairs, and churches have donated for that need too. Our home church of Harvest and Covenant United Methodist have given us more than enough chairs. It is so nice not to have to borrow chairs any more. Thanks so much.

Emmanuel Christian School in Dothan, Ala., once again donated the use of their bus so we could pick up the inmates in the Houston County Community Corrections work release program. With 51 from work release attending, it would have taken multiple trips for us to pick them up and take them back. That was a great blessing.

You see, it takes the body of Christ working together to do effective ministry. That's what took place Wednesday night. There were no church banners raised; only the banner of Jesus Christ was raised. Jesus was indeed celebrated Wednesday night. The Ministry Center was overflowing with the love of Jesus. Everyone had a great time.

Hearing those who don't have family say this is their family is awesome. Seeing family members of those who are serving time in the Houston County Community Corrections work release program come to the Ministry Center and celebrate Christmas together was awesome. We are seeing families restored at the Ministry Center. Want to see fewer people in jail and prison? Then help build strong families and it will happen.

Martha and I are just so excited about what God is doing through Love In Action. It's been a great year of ministry. Let's keep doing our part and keep watching God radically transform people's lives.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's much more than a warehouse

While we were driving back from Memphis, TN, a couple of weeks ago, we were talking about the awesome things God has done this year at the Love In Action warehouse in Dothan, Ala. That's when LIA board member Justin Swasey said it was much more than a warehouse and suggested that we call it the Love In Action Ministry Center.

Justin is absolutely right, it is much more than a warehouse. Yes, we do store a large amount of supplies there to help the homeless and needy in Dothan and throughout the nation. It has made that phase of our ministry extremely effective and efficient.

But God has transformed it into so much more than a warehouse. A year ago we started having Bible study on Wednesday nights. At first there were three of us - Martha, me and a homeless man. It has grown to where we average 30-40 people every Wednesday night.

On Oct. 3, we started having Celebrate Recovery at the warehouse every Tuesday night thanks to Tabernacle United Methodist Church. There were 63 at the first meeting. Now we average around 80, in just over two months.

Through Celebrate Recovery and Bible studies, we have seen souls saved and lives transformed. We have become a ministry that has embraced the entire Great Commission Jesus gave all of us in Matthew 28:19-20, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

For the first eight years of LIA we did a great job of "going" and reaching the lost and hurting and leading them to Jesus. Since we didn't have a true headquarters or home base like we do now with the warehouse, we always referred the homeless to churches who will help them and teach them the word of God (discipleship). Now that we have the warehouse, we are providing discipleship. However, we are not a church, so we make sure to encourage everyone to be in church on Sundays. Many of them go to our home church at Harvest.

For the past two months. we have taught Discipleship Phase 1 on Wednesday nights. Last week, 15 people completed all the requirements to move on to Phase 2. It's an awesome course written by our pastor Ralph Sigler of Harvest Church. It's life-changing, and we witnessed some of the men from the Houston County Community Corrections work release program putting what they learned into practice last Tuesday night during Celebrate Recovery.

As the band led worship, a homeless man walked through the front door. I greeted him and he said his name was Jessie and he had just gotten off a train. He had been "riding the rail" from Austin, TX. There are train tracks directly behind our warehouse and the trains are often stopping and hooking up and unhooking box cars.

Jessie said he heard the music and came in. He stayed for the entire Celebrate Recovery service. After Russell Ham preached God's word I gave an altar call. I saw three of the men who never miss a Wednesday night walk over to Jessie and start ministering to him. They listened, talked to him and prayed for him. It was awesome to see. They learned how to share their faith and were putting it into action.

We were able to help Jessie with supplies that we have at the warehouse, like new boots, duffel bags, clothes, food, hygiene items, and an inflatable mattress that rolls up to make it easy to travel with. But Jessie left with so much more. He left with the love of Jesus. After we all prayed for him, he had tears rolling down his face when he gave each of us a hug. You have to understand, the homeless, especially those who have been homeless for years, don't trust people. So, a homeless person hugging others is unusual. We hugged him back, and he left with great encouragement.

That's just one example of what God has done in the lives of people at the LIA warehouse. That's why we will start referring to it as the LIA Ministry Center from now on. It is still a warehouse, but it is really a ministry center.

Thank you for praying for Love In Action and thank you to those who give financially and donate supplies like food, clothes and furniture. We couldn't do it without you.

Thank you and have a very blessed Christmas.

Monday, December 14, 2009

300 boots delivered

Have you ever met someone and just knew God brought you together? That's how Martha and I felt when we traveled to Memphis on Dec. 11-12, for a homeless outreach with Joe and Kelli Carson. They are outreach ministers for the Life Church of Memphis and they minister to the homeless in the inner city of Memphis.

We met Joe and Kelli during a homeless outreach in Baton Rouge, La., back in October. Martha and I told them we would bring a trailer load of new boots to Memphis, and that's what we did last weekend. LIA board member Justin Swasey traveled with us.

It was a great weekend. On Friday night, we joined Joe, Kelli and other volunteers to serve chili to the homeless. It was the perfect dinner on a cold Memphis night.

It rained Saturday afternoon, but that didn't stop us from helping the homeless. With the use of a tent and our cargo trailer, we handed out about 300 pairs of boots, 120 pairs of socks, 120 cold weather hoods, 120 cold weather overalls, and more than 150 pairs of wool mittens.

We had eight chairs set up under the tent and the homeless tried on the boots to make sure they fit. They were very appreciative of the boots and other items they waited in the rain to receive.

We not only handed out a lot of boots, but we also planted a lot of seeds of God's love. Being out there in the rain on a Saturday showed the homeless that we care about them. This outreach will go a long ways in the homeless being even more receptive to Joe and Kelli. The more they trust Joe and Kelli, the more the homeless will be receptive to the Gospel of Jesus Christ that Joe and Kelli presents to them.

It was an honor and a privilege to serve with the Carsons. They have a wonderful family, and they all have hearts for the homeless. The Life Church of Memphis is a dynamic place to worship. We attended their Saturday night service and it was fantastic. The praise and worship was very energetic. Great job Johnny and the praise team.

Joe and Kelli's work with the homeless is in its beginning stages, and they are off to a great start. We look forward to continuing to work with them to reach the homeless in Memphis. This is only the beginning.

Please keep Joe and Kelli, the Life Church of Memphis, and the homeless in Memphis in your prayers.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

15 accept Jesus; 30 rededicate their lives

Just when we think Celebrate Recovery couldn't get any better, God does the miraculous.

Tuesday night, Dec. 8, 2009, will go down as one of the most incredible nights at the Love In Action warehouse. On that night, 68 people attended CR and 45 of them made decisions for Jesus Christ - 15 first-time commitments and 30 rededications. Praise God! There was also a lot of prayer time for other needs.

CR is for anyone with hurts, habits or hangups. That pretty much covers all of us. You don't have to be homeless or in jail to have one or all three of those issues in your life. And, the first step to recovery is turning your life completely over to Jesus Christ. A lot of people took that first step on Dec. 8.

Diane prepared another delicious meal. This time it was red beans and rice with spicy crackers (one of my favorite nights). Then Emily and Diane surprised me with a birthday cake (red velvet, yum!). Dinner is always a fun time with plenty of fellowship. It's great hearing all of the laughter.

Sean Morgan led worship. Our CR band, Root of Jesse, couldn't make it, so Sean filled in. The worship was great, and the Spirit of God filled that warehouse. It was great hearing Sean lead worship. He was the praise and worship leader at the church Martha and I attended when we lived in Enterprise, Ala.

It was my night to share God's word. For the past two or three weeks one message had been on my heart to share with CR. It was titled, "I'm tired." Not physically tired, but tired of seeing people not living the victorious life God plans for all of us to live. Tired of seeing people play with God and not take Him seriously. Tired of seeing people return to the sin God delivered them from.

The scripture I preached from was Exodus 20:1-17, Matthew 22:36-40, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, and Isaiah 9:2, 6-7. The Ten Commandments (Exodus) are still very relevant today. Jesus summed up the Ten Commandments in Matthew. The first four Commandments are wrapped up when Jesus said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." Jesus wrapped up the last six Commandments when He said, "Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul tells use who will not inherit the Kingdom of God, and in Isaiah 9, the prophet Isaiah prophesies about Jesus.

Following the message, people responded in droves. It was awesome! God is awesome! I can't wait to see what God does next.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Follow You

This is a great video and song. The words of this song really sum up what we do at Love In Action.

www.tangle.com
NEW! Leeland - Follow You [Official Video] - Brand new music video "Follow You" by Leeland featuring Brandon Heath. NEW ALBUM LOVE IS ON THE MOVE IN STORES NOW!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thankful for Thanksgiving outreach

The view inside the Love In Action warehouse Wednesday night made tears well up in mine and Martha's eyes. It was a beautiful sight as 200 people filled the warehouse for Love In Action's Thanksgiving service/dinner.

They came from tents in the woods, from a homeless shelter for veterans, from impoverished neighborhoods, and from the Houston County Community Corrections work release program. People who otherwise wouldn't be enjoying a traditional Thanksgiving dinner that most of us take for granted.

The volunteers came from at least five different churches in three cities - Tabernacle United Methodist, Harvest Church, Covenant United Methodist Church (all three churches are in Dothan), Christ-Life Church in Enterprise, and Southside Baptist Church in Ozark. If I left any out, please forgive me. There was an army of volunteers there. It was the Body of Christ doing what we are supposed to be doing ... lifting up the name of Jesus Christ and not individual church buildings. The church is not a building, it is those of us who believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

Wednesday night, the Body of Christ was reaching out to the hurting. Providing food and clothing to the poor. Visiting those in jail by bringing them to the service. That's what Jesus did when He walked on this earth. That's what Jesus is talking about in Matthew 25: 35-40 when He said, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." (v40). Jesus promises in Matthew 25: 34 that when we live a life like that, we will hear these awesome words: "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world."

The team of volunteers was awesome. We had so many, at first it looked like we would have more volunteers than people to serve. But then people started pouring into the warehouse. It blessed me to see homeless veterans come from the House of Benjamin. Another Vietnam veteran we recently helped come off the streets was there and he was a great help during the clean up phase of the night. He wanted to help. He asked to help. I love it when he tells me and Martha, "You never get too tired to serve the Lord, do you."

We got the word out through word of mouth and through fliers in a popular soup kitchen and the library. Many homeless people enjoy going to the library. Many of them enjoy reading, plus it provides a warm place on cold days. It worked as there were people there Martha and I had never met before.

Then we cleared out the work release facility. Thanks to Emanuel Christian School giving us the use of their bus and bus driver, we were able to bring 37 men to the warehouse in one trip. And, thanks to Harvest Church for the use of their van, we were able to bring nine women in one trip. There were only three men left at work release on Wednesday night. They chose not to come. All the rest of the men and all of the women were either at the warehouse or working.

We have never had 200 people in the warehouse before. To accommodate them, we had to borrow a lot of tables and chairs. Thanks to Tabernacle and Harvest, everyone had a seat at the table. We also thank Calvary Baptist in New Brockton for donating chairs to LIA. Chairs and tables are a huge need now at the warehouse since our ministry has seen tremendous growth this year.

The night started off with Alan Watson and his brother Phillip leading praise and worship. Alan is on the praise and worship team at Harvest and is a very talented and anointed worship leader. Everyone stood up and worshiped God together. It was awesome! I loved it when Alan and Phillip stopped playing at one point and just let the people sing. I know all of those voices reached Heaven. It was beautiful.

Then Brian Turner preached an awesome message about sharing life together, sharing a spot at the dinner table with others. Brian is on the LIA board of directors and assistant to the senior pastor at Harvest. He is an incredible speaker. He digs deep in the Word of God and explains it in a way everyone can understand. He has a great gift of teaching God's Word. He is very anointed. He is one of the best I've heard teaching and preaching God's word.

When he finished, we invited people up for prayer. Our prayer team members prayed with a lot of people as they responded to God's word. There were many needs and many tears shed. One need that really touched my heart came from a child. He walked up front with his cousin, who is in work release, and simply said, "Pray for my family." Wow! There he was, a child, holding his cousin's hand and wanting prayer for his family. So many children are hurting because they either don't have a family or the one they have is dysfunctional. Do you think God heard that little guy's prayer? I have no doubt God did. We see throughout the ministry of Jesus how He loved children, and in Matthew 18, He tells us that we need to have childlike faith.

After the great time of prayer, it was time to eat. Our army of volunteers served our guests. They remained seated at the tables while our volunteers brought their plates stacked high with food and drinks to them. Jesus calls us to serve, so this was another way to serve others.

Everyone enjoyed their dinner and walked out stuffed and talking about how great everything was, from the music to the preaching to the food to the fellowship. It was simply an incredibly awesome night. Thank you God for Wednesday night and for everything you are doing.

Martha and I want to say a very special thank you to all of the wonderful people at Tabernacle. They sponsored the entire event. They bought the food. They cooked it all. And, many of their members were there serving the people. The event wouldn't have happened without them. We are totally blown away by how they have come alongside LIA. They are investing a good amount of money and time to reach the lost and hurting. Celebrate Recovery happens every Tuesday night because of Tabernacle. Lives are being changed by the power of God, and He is using Tabernacle in a great way.

We also want to thank our home church, Harvest. Some of the best people in the world attend Harvest. They support us in so many great ways too. Their financial support has helped us get close to 40 homeless people off the streets this year. They give us the use of a bunch of chairs. They have donated many different items that have made our ministry at the warehouse much more efficient and effective. People come out an invest their time through volunteer work.

There are other churches like Christ-Life in Enterprise, Southside in Ozark, and Crossroads in Enterpise that have come alongside us and are helping us reach the lost and hurting.

There are so many individuals from our hometown of Dothan, Ala., and throughout the nation who financially support LIA. We couldn't do everything we do without each of you. It takes money to do ministry. We have rent each month on our warehouse, which God uses to reach the homeless throughout the nation. We have utilities to pay each month at the warehouse. We have insurance each month on the warehouse and van. Soon we'll have insurance and a monthly payment for the bus. We purchase and ship hygiene items. We transport items like boots, blankets, hygiene items, coats and other clothing to places like Atlanta, Baton Rouge, and in a couple of weeks, Memphis.

Every dollar, quarter, penny given to LIA goes into the ministry. God has blessed Martha and me with good jobs, so our needs are taken care of through our jobs. Nobody receives any money or perks. Everything is done entirely on a volunteer basis. We like it that way. It means more people can be helped, and for those involved it means more when you do something for others not expecting anything in return except for the wonderful blessings of God.

Martha and I have so much to be thankful for. We thank God for His son Jesus, His Holy Spirit, our marriage, our family, LIA and everyone who supports LIA, and for all of the homeless, lost and hurting God has allowed us to meet and minister to.

Thank you and we pray everyone enjoys a beautiful Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Digging through a dumpster; pray for mercy

After church this morning, Martha and I went to the LIA warehouse to get a homeless man some camping gear (cot, air mattresses, blankets, food, etc.). As we pulled up to the warehouse we noticed two men digging through our dumpster. We knew this was a good opportunity help them.

They had found some old worn out clothes we had thrown away (our philosophy is if we wouldn't wear them, we won't give them away. You would be surprised at some of the clothes that are donated.) I asked them if they would like to come inside and get some good clothes. They were delighted at the offer.

We showed them the clothes and told them whatever they needed they could have. People are usually surprised when we tell them the clothes are free. Many ministries sell clothes to help support their ministries. That's fine, but we have always believed that God wants us to give everything away as a hand up to people who are struggling.

They picked out some pants and shirts and we gave them each a pair of boots, blankets, pillows and pillow cases, hygiene kits, socks, and food. Then I told them about our Tuesday nights Celebrate Recovery and Wednesday nights Bible study. They were very thankful and hopefully we will see them on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. What was cool was seeing them leave behind the junk they found in the dumpster and leaving with good items that will really be of help to them.

Because people donate items such as good clothing, we can help the homeless and the poor. Because people donate food, we can provide them food. Because people donate financially, we can purchase items that they need, such as hygiene items.

It takes all of us working together to help the homeless and poor and show them the love of Jesus Christ. Thanks to everyone who helps.

The opportunity to help those two men came immediately after an awesome sermon that guest speaker Bill Dorminey delivered at Harvest. It was a powerful one. He talked about how only 4 percent of Americans are actively involved in church. More say they are Christians, but only 4 percent are actively engaged in church. That's a sobering and unsettling statistic.

We, as Christians, must pray and ask God for forgiveness and for his mercy for us and our nation. We must be engaged with our churches. We must reach out to the lost and hurting. Jesus tells us,"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19). We, as the Body of Christ must heed what Jesus tells us.

Let's be sure to pray for this nation and ask God for mercy and to send a real revival. With your help, we are reaching the homeless, the poor ... those who are on the fringe of society. God is doing a great work. Please continue to support Love In Action with your prayers, volunteering your time, donating needed items and finances.

God is dealing with us on what we need to accomplish in 2010. We are continuing to pray and seek God's direction. I will be sharing that with you before this year is over.

Thank you for your support. Martha and I love and appreciate each of you.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Powerful prayer tonight

It was great being back at the warehouse tonight. Martha and I were on vacation last week, and it felt weird not being at the warehouse last Wednesday. We did our Bible study together in the mountains as Brian Turner led the meeting at the warehouse. Thanks Brian for teaching. You are a great teacher of God's word.

I picked up where Brian left off in lesson 6 of Discipleship Phase 1 - Prayer. I thought I would quickly finish lesson 6 and move on to Lesson 7. However, God had other plans. For the first 30 minutes I thought we could still finish lesson 6, but I felt God leading us to stay with prayer. So, that's what we did, and it was powerful.

A lot of people shared and asked questions. It was great. Just like God's word in Proverbs 27:17, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." We were all learning from each other.

Then I asked for prayer requests. Many were given. Most of them were requests for other people. Family members and co-workers who have cancer, a father who needs delivering from alcohol, people needing jobs, prayer for salvation of family members, prayer for veterans and active military, and the list went on. It was humbling hearing people ask for prayer for Love In Action and Martha and me.

Then all 26 of us formed a circle, held hands, and prayed -- one at a time out loud. Wow! It was a very powerful time. The presence of God in the warehouse was so strong. I know God heard our prayers, and in His own time and according to His will those prayers will be answered.

It definitely won't be the last time we end Wednesday nights that way. It is so awesome seeing God at work in everyone's lives. All 26 people there tonight are truly seeking God. Everyone is so hungry and thirsty for more of God.

I thank God for everyone there tonight. I thank God for moving on all of our hearts like He did tonight. I thank God most of all for His son Jesus Christ. And, I thank God for everyone who prays, volunteers and financially supports Love In Action. Lives are being changed for the glory of God. It's so cool to see Him at work.

All praise, honor and glory to God.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

God is transforming more lives

There are many steps to take to bring a person out of homelessness. The most important step is showing them the love of God and introducing them to Jesus Christ. Then discipleship must take place. When we are in other cities we always point the homeless to the church we are working with. In our hometown of Dothan, Ala., we invite them to the Love In Action warehouse for Tuesday nights Celebrate Recovery, Wednesday nights Bible study, and to our home church of Harvest or another church we know they would be welcomed and taught the word of God.

Then the needs of shelter, food and jobs must be taken care of, as well as helping them get IDs and other things most of us take for granted.

Jobs are the main thing because without a job you can't have shelter or food on a permanent basis. This year we are seeing God do amazing things in the lives of the homeless, and He is taking them off the streets and into lives He had planned for them from the beginning.

For example, two homeless guys we met back in April in the woods in Dothan are now out of the woods and well on their way to experiencing the lives God planned for them. Charles is almost there. He recently started a permanent full-time job. He has his own apartment, and beginning this month, he is able to pay for his utilities and rent on his own for the first time. He has his own car now, and he put gas in it on his own for the first time last week. As he says it, he's so excited he doesn't know what to say. God has really blown his mind.

His friend Patrick is on his way now too. Charles took him in as a roommate because Patrick had nowhere else to go. Charles said the reason why he took Patrick in is because of what God has done for him, and that those of us with Love In Action have shown him how to help others. Praise God! That's a great blessing. He has experienced God's love in action, and now he wants to help spread God's love to others.

Patrick begins a permanent full-time job tomorrow. Praise God! It won't be long before he can have his own place and car, etc.

Another homeless man we met earlier this year in Dothan also has a permanent full-time job, a car, and soon he will have his own apartment.

All three of these men attend church with us and attend Celebrate Recovery and Bible study when they aren't working.

Finding these men permanent full-time jobs instead of them working through temp services was our prayer. With a permanent job they can truly get back on their feet financially. And, we offer them financial advice if they want it. Most are excited to receive the help.

We have four more men and two women we are working with who need full-time work. Right now they are doing side jobs and working through temp services and it's a real struggle. If anyone in Dothan, Ala., reading this owns a business or knows of any labor or restaurant jobs available in Dothan, please contact me at 334-494-4995 or loveinactionministries@hotmail.com

It's exciting watching God transform lives. It's exciting being part of that transformation. Those of you who pray for this ministry, volunteer and give financially are part of that transformation. We wouldn't be seeing all of this take place if not for your faithfulness and obedience to God.

Thank you and may God continue to bless you, your families, churches and businesses.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

God's goodness

Martha and I are constantly amazed at God's goodness. We see it in our lives as we approach our fifth wedding anniversary on Nov. 6. God has blessed us so much in every area of our lives. Living and serving God together is incredible. We have never been happier and we both thank and praise God for everything.

I love my precious wife. I know I am a very blessed man. I thank God for blessing me with such a godly, beautiful, sweet, compassionate wife. She has such a great quiet strength and loves God with all her heart, and I have no doubt of her love for me. The homeless and poor we minister to know that she is sincere in her love for them. Happy anniversary beautiful.

We continue to be amazed at how God is working in the lives of the homeless and those who live on the fringe ... the marginalized. God is showing His love in so many magnificent ways. This past week another awesome thing happened. For those who have followed Love In Action and this blog remember Charles. When we first met him back in April he was homeless and living in the woods in Dothan, Ala. He didn't trust anyone and didn't know much about God's love.

Since then, he has experienced what God's love is all about. He decided to give his life to Jesus, and six months later he has his own apartment, a full-time job, and now a car. A Ford Taurus was donated to Love In Action last week and on Tuesday night, Oct. 27, the title and keys were presented to Charles. He couldn't believe it. He was in total shock. He was so happy he cried. So did everyone at the warehouse that night.

Charles told me, "That's another step to freedom." When you are homeless, you are bound by so many obstacles. You have no roof over your head. No idea where your next meal is coming from. No job and no transportation. Charles is experiencing the freedom that Jesus promises in John 8:36, "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." And, Charles is also learning about what Jesus said in John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

He is one happy man. You couldn't take the smile off his face if you wanted to. He drove himself and a friend to church for the first time today. He said, "I'm not ever going back (to the way he used to live). I've been experiencing this for six months now. I'm not going back." Praise God! Keep Charles in your prayers.

We praise God for what He is doing in Charles' life and in many others lives.

Then there is Russell. He is a former inmate of the Houston County Community Corrections Work Release. While in jail, he decided to turn his live completely over to Jesus Christ. During his time in work release he led many chapel services and never missed a Wednesday night Bible study at the Love In Action warehouse or a Sunday at Harvest. Now that he is free, he still doesn't miss a Wednesday or Sunday. Now that we have started Celebrate Recovery, he doesn't miss a Tuesday night. He also helps bring the men from work release to the LIA warehouse on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

On Oct. 20, Russell preached at our Celebrate Recovery. Martha and I watched and listened to Russell with tears in our eyes. It is so awesome seeing a life transformed by the power of God. Russell is anointed to preach. He did a wonderful job.

Check out a photo of Charles standing next to his car and watch the video of Russell preaching on our Web site at http://loveinactionministries.com/

Each of you who pray for us and give financially to Love In Action are a very big part to what God is doing. We couldn't do what we do without all of you. Thank you and may God richly bless each and every one of you. This is a great adventure God has us on. Let's keep going and see what God does next.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Baton Rouge homeless outreach

This past weekend was a great time of ministry and meeting new friends. We traveled to Baton Rouge, La., to minister to the homeless with the Healing Place Church and Baton Rouge Dream Center. It was our first trip to Baton Rouge, and we plan on making many more trips there.

We loaded our cargo trailer Friday morning with about 400 pairs of new boots, then drove nearly seven hours to Baton Rouge. Our new friends, two brothers -Vincent and Franko - allowed us to stay in their beautiful home and treated us with great southern hospitality. Everyone we met there was great. They all have wonderful hearts for the homeless, and they have the love and respect of the homeless.

We handed out about 150-175 pairs of boots as we drove throughout the city - under bridges, the levee of the Mississippi River, and parking lots. It was great watching the homeless put on their new boots and smile. Some even threw away their old shoes. We made sure everyone's boots fit. New socks were also given out, and chili was served for lunch.

One homeless man told me he had just landed a job working in a warehouse and he needed new boots for his new job. "These are exactly what I need," he said with a big smile. He saw God's provision, and he was very thankful.

We prayed with a lot of the homeless about a number of needs. It's always a great blessing when they pray for us too.

I want to say a special "thank you" to Justin Swasey for organizing this outreach. Justin in on our Love In Action board of directors, and he does a lot for us. He is a great man of God with a tremendous heart for the homeless.

Also, a big "thank you" to Craig at the Baton Rouge Dream Center for giving us large pallets of water and Gatorade. The Dream Center loaded our cargo trailer after we unloaded all of the boots. Wow! What a great blessing. Thanks!

I also want to thank Emily and Charolette from Tabernacle United Methodist Church in Taylor, Ala., for driving to Baton Rouge to take part in this great outreach.

And, a big "thank you" to my precious wife. She is an amazing woman of God. To see her ministering the love of Jesus to the homeless is awesome.

And, thanks to all of you who pray for us and give financially. We couldn't do what we do without you. Thanks and God bless.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

60 attend Celebrate Recovery

Brian Turner preaches during Celebrate Recovery at the Love In Action warehouse on Oct. 13.


God continues to amaze me by the way He touches lives. Last night was another great example. We now have Celebrate Recovery every Tuesday night.

Last night 60 men and women attended Celebrate Recovery. Diane, our wonderful cook, prepared delicious chicken fajitas and cupcakes for dessert. The food got cleaned out quickly.

Brian Turner was our special guest speaker. Brian is on the Love In Action board of directors and assistant to the pastors at Harvest Church in Dothan, Ala. Brian has a great heart for the lost and hurting, and he preached an awesome message. I wish I had videotaped it, because Brian presented the Gospel of Jesus Christ in such a powerful way. Brian is a wonderful teacher of the word. He had the attention of everyone in the room. I could feel the Holy Spirit moving, and I know every heart was touched.

After Brian's message our band, Root of Jesse, sang Amazing Grace. It was great as everyone stood up to sing.

Our small groups were real good. The more we have small group sessions the more people are opening up. There were 12 new people in attendance last night. God continues to bring the people in, and time after time we hear the same comment, "I really feel loved here." That brings tears to my eyes. It's all God, and He has certainly filled that warehouse with His presence. We do indeed serve an awesome God!

I can't wait until tonight as we gather at the Love In Action warehouse again for Bible study and continue our Discipleship Phase One class. Those attending are understanding that they have work to do for the Lord as well. We all need to share Jesus with others and help each other grow in God's word. It's been a great study.

Thanks again to Tabernacle United Methodist Church for Celebrate Recover, and to Harvest Church for the Discipleship Phase One material. And, thanks to all of you who pray for us and support us financially. Together, we are all making a huge difference for the kingdom of God. Lives are being radically transformed right in front of our eyes. We all have a part to play. Thank you for doing your part.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

'I need a hand to hold'

If we stopped after the first night of Celebrate Recovery we could say it was successful. Of course we're not stopping, but listen to what happened because of Celebrate Recovery Saturday night at the Love In Action warehouse.

One of the men we took off the streets back in February called me Saturday afternoon and told me about a woman who had been abandoned at a local hotel. He asked if he could bring her to the Celebrate Recovery BBQ Kickoff, because she needed help. I said of course, and he did.

When she walked through the door I knew she was pretty messed up on drugs, but I was glad she came. No better place for a drug addict to be than in a place where the love of God is being poured out big time.

She responded to the altar call. She wanted prayer for her addiction. Afterward, she picked out some clothes and went back to the hotel. When Richard came to church this morning he told me that when he checked on her she was going through some bad withdrawals. After church we took her to the hospital to get her in detox. I told her if she wanted help we would help her. I also told her she needed a one-year rehab, not a 30 days rehab. She agreed and said she wanted to do it.

So, we spent the day at the hospital with her. She got admitted and will go through detox. She was scared, but also excited to be starting on the road to recovery.

She's only 30 years old. She's been addicted to crack cocaine for four years. She's also an alcoholic. Just two months ago she threatened to attempt suicide. She stood on the edge of a bridge 125 feet above a bay in Florida. Thankfully, the police was able to pull her back over the railing to safety.

I looked it up online and her story was true. It was heartbreaking watching that video and looking at the photos. How many of us would have drove past her on that bridge thinking, "what a nut case!" God didn't see that. He saw a hurting young woman in need of His love. He kept her alive and brought her to Dothan, Ala., where she met a good Christian man who invited her to Celebrate Recovery. There's no doubt that God wanted us to start Celebrate Recovery on Oct. 4. He knew where Colleen would be on that date. He had it all planned. It was no coincidence. It was God's divine plan.

We talked with her all day and she shared one story after another. She shared how she prayed to God so many times. A recent prayer of hers was, "God, I need a hand to hold. Please give me a hand to hold."

She was alone. Despite being addicted to crack, she knew she had God's hand to hold onto, but she wanted someone to physically hold her hand and help her. Martha and my mom held her hand all day. We assured her she wasn't alone any longer. She knows she now has a mom and a brother and sister. My good friend Doug was with us all afternoon too and was a huge help in getting everything going today. She knows she has another brother in Doug. She knows she has a great brother in Richard, and a brother and sister in the teenagers we recently took off the streets. In other words, she knows she now has a family who will support her and help her all the way.

The plan is following detox to get her into a month-long rehab locally. That will give us time to find a good Christian year-long program. I told her that in one year from now she will be a totally different person. She said, "Yes I will be."

Please keep Colleen in your prayers. Detox is extremely tough and painful. She knows that, but she knows what's on the other side. She wants this, and that's a huge step in the right direction.

Thanks again to everyone who volunteered Saturday night at Celebrate Recovery. Because you gave of your time, all of you have changed a life. There's no doubt she was not long for this world on the path she was on. But now, she has a bright future, and an eternity to look forward to.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Wow! What a night!

If the kickoff for Celebrate Recovery is any indication, this is going to be awesome!

Tonight, we held a BBQ Kickoff for Celebrate Recovery at the Love In Action warehouse in Dothan, Ala. We had no idea how many people would come, but we prepared for a good crowd. We weren't disappointed. There were 67 people at the warehouse tonight. Praise God! Most importantly, at least two people accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior! That's what it's all about.

The altar call was awesome. A number of people came forward for prayer for a number of different issues. It was just an amazing night, and I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for it all.

Celebrate Recovery is a wonderful program written by Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California. It's for people who have habits, hurts and hangups. That pretty much covers everyone. For those with addictions, it's like a 12-step program, but with Jesus in it. It's an awesome program, and we're so thankful to have it as part of Love In Action.

We have Tabernacle United Methodist Church to thank for Celebrate Recovery. God placed this on the heart of one of their members, Emily Hinderliter. Then God brought our paths together. Tabernacle got behind Emily's vision for Celebrate Recovery and they are funding it, including the food. Now that's a great commitment to reaching the lost and hurting. Thank you Tabernacle! They have been friends of Love In Action for two years now. They are a wonderful church with a huge heart for reaching the lost.

One of the things I love about Love In Action is we always see the Body of Christ working together, and the results are always people getting saved and lives changed. People from at least five different churches, from Dothan, Taylor, Enterprise and Ozark, volunteered tonight. No church banner was raised, only the banner of Jesus Christ was raised and that's how it should be.

God's presence in the warehouse tonight was incredible. Our musical group tonight was the "Chosen Heirs." They were fantastic. They have servant hearts, and they really ushered in the Holy Spirit with their praise and worship. One of their members, Jerry Mills, gave his testimony. Wow, he is a walking example of how God can radically change people's lives.

Then Robert Risner preached God's Word. That brother is anointed and he preached from his heart. Everyone was glued to what he was saying. I have only known Robert for seven weeks, but I have quickly grown to love him. He has a great heart for reaching the lost and he likes to have fun. He fits in perfectly with Love In Action.

The food was excellent. Ms. Diane is one great cook. Her red beans and rice were "swinging!" The hamburgers and smoked sausage were delicious as well. About a half dozen of us men enjoyed grilling the burgers and sausage. Thanks Mom for the new grill!

It all added up to one awesome night. It was an answer to a prayer. I had prayed and talked about how cool it would be to have a Saturday night service. Well, we had one tonight. God put it all together. I know this won't be the last Saturday night service at the warehouse.

Our first regular Celebrate Recovery meeting will be next Thursday. Then we will change it to every Tuesday night. We had to change it so the men from Houston County work release can be there. Next week our regular Celebrate Recovery band, Root of Jesse, will be playing and I will preach. And, for the food .... Ms. Diane said it's Italian night! It's all going to be great.

Thank you to everyone who came out and volunteered tonight. And thank you to everyone who prayed for the event. Together, we all were God's hands and feet tonight, and we saw God bring a harvest. Wow! What a night!

Thank you Jesus!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

'Go and make disciples'

I know I've said this before in this blog, but I have to say it again. Martha and I love Wednesday nights. The Bible studies at the Love In Action warehouse are awesome, and they keep getting better and better.

Tonight was Lesson 2 in Discipleship Phase 1, a 10-week course written by our pastor Ralph Sigler of Harvest Church in Dothan, Ala. There are five phases in all, and they are great. Thanks Pastor Ralph for writing it and for being so committed to discipleship. Jesus tells us in Matthew 28:19-20, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

That's what we're doing. We are going and reaching the homeless and poor for Jesus, then making disciples. And, I've never seen a more effective tool to make disciples than the course Pastor Ralph has written.

There were 31 people at Bible study tonight; the work release men, people we have taken off the streets this year, and the homeless. One new homeless man was there tonight. I talked to him on the phone last week. He's a really neat guy, and I'm looking forward to getting to know him better.

The participation and discussion was great. I could tell most of the people did their "homework" last week. We have a group who I really believe has a great desire to know God better. It's unusual to have more than 30 people who all are there for the right reason. This group has become a family, and when new people arrive they are welcomed by everyone.

It's so cool. I hear people talking with the new folks and they tell them, "Welcome. Glad to meet you. Glad you are here. Keeping coming." It's a very warm and welcoming feeling people get as soon as they step into the warehouse.

For the past two weeks people have told me they feel so loved and so welcome at the warehouse. One of the men tonight said, "This is my favorite place to come."

I praise God for all of those statements. Most of the people there have never experienced what a loving family is like. When they come, they are treated like family. They are loved and they love it!

Please keep praying for us and please keep supporting Love In Action. It takes money to rent the warehouse, to pay for utilities, and the snacks and drinks. Your giving makes it all possible. People are being saved and being discipled. You are making an eternal impact in the lives of many people. And, when they start reaching others -- and some already are -- the impact will be even greater.

Praise God!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Calvin's new life

Calvin leading worship from Ken Tuck on Vimeo.



Saturday's Love In Action outreach to the homeless in Atlanta was special on so many fronts.

First, 30 people accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. That right there would have been enough, but God did even more. We were blessed to cook and serve lunch to more than 200 homeless men and women. We delivered 250 pairs of new boots and shoes, so the homeless will have good working boots and good boots to keep their feet warm this winter. Jesus says in Matthew 25:40, "... whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." (NIV)

Then there was Calvin Smith, the praise and worship leader for Eagle's Nest Community Church. When I first met Calvin, he was a homeless man living on the streets and in crack houses in inner city Atlanta. He had been in and out of prison. He was a fast talker on the road to destruction. Pastor Larry Arnold and Bro. Harold Smith of Eagle's Nest kept loving on Calvin and trying to show him the right way. Every time we visited Atlanta we would find Calvin and let him know that Jesus loves him and so do we. We kept encouraging him.

There was something about Calvin. The world saw someone who was no good and a nuisance to society. God always sees something else, and thankfully He allowed Larry and Harold and those of us with Love In Action to see Calvin through His eyes. We saw a man who had a wealth of potential inside of him. We saw a man who was hurting and needed to experience the love of Jesus Christ.

Calvin knew the Word of God. The key was getting his head knowledge about God into his heart. After several years of reaching out to him and a lot of mentoring by Larry and Harold, Calvin finally got serious with God and accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He stopped running and gave his life completely to God.

His life started changing. He started serving Jesus with all of his heart. He was in church every time the door was open and he started using his wonderful singing voice for the Lord. Then he fell in love with Annie. She had the same back ground. Drugs, crack houses, and everything that goes with that kind of lifestyle. But she too gave her life to Jesus and He turned her life completely around.

Their wedding day several years ago was the last time Martha and I had seen Calvin and Annie. Every time we have been to Atlanta since then they were working. They have their own business and they recently bought their own house. They have been clean from drugs ever since giving their lives to Jesus four or five years ago. They are both very faithful at serving Jesus together at Eagle's Nest.

Saturday as we were preparing for the outreach, a man walked up behind me. I turned around and didn't recognize him at first, but as soon as he spoke I knew it was Calvin. Married life has been good to him. He has put on a lot of weight, but that's good. When he was on drugs he was skin and bones. We gave each other a big bear hug, then I asked him if he would sing to kick off the service. He said he would and we were all excited.

He left to get his keyboard player, and praise God, they rocked the house for Jesus. Martha shot video and I just posted it. Please excuse the movement of the camera. Our tripod broke. After the service, a homeless man asked me if we had a tripod. I told him it had broken, and he said "wait here a second." He came back with a tripod for us. He had it in his backpack. That was so humbling. Martha and I will never forget that.

Please watch the video. You will be blessed listening to Calvin sing praises to Jesus. As you watch and listen remember that there is tremendous potential inside of every homeless person, no matter what their situation looks like now or how they are living. Don't ignore them. Show them the love of Jesus Christ and watch how God works in their lives. There are a lot of Calvins out there. Please help us to continue reaching them.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

30 saved in Atlanta

For nearly 10 years we have been going to Atlanta to minister to the homeless with Eagle's Nest Community Church. Every outreach up there is special. Yesterday was no exception as we experienced another amazing day showing the love of Jesus Christ to the homeless.

Over the summer we were given 3,300 pairs of boots and shoes from Kaufman's Army Surplus in Dothan, Ala. Since then we have given away boots to the homeless in Dothan, and shipped and delivered boots to Brooklyn, NY, northern Virginia, Paducah, KY, and now Atlanta. We loaded our cargo trailer with more than 250 pairs of boots and hauled them to Atlanta.

When Martha, my mom and I arrived at Eagle's Nest on Saturday morning, Bro. Harold Smith was there to meet us. Justin and Jeremy Swasey drove from Enterprise, Ala., to help. Along with some volunteers from Eagle's Nest, we unloaded the trailer and organized the boots. Then we started grilling hamburgers and hotdogs to serve for lunch.

The homeless started lining up more than two hours before the outreach began. In 10 years of ministering in Atlanta, there has never been a line so long. When Bro. Harold opened the doors to the church, a steady stream of people filed into the sanctuary. As they did, Eagle's Nest's praise and worship leader Calvin Smith was singing.

Calvin is a special friend to Love In Action. He has an awesome testimony. He was once homeless, strung out on drugs, in and out of prison and living a life of destruction. Every time we went to Atlanta we would find him and love on him. Pastor Larry Arnold and Harold never gave up on Calvin. They kept loving on him and working with him. Today, he is married to a woman who had the same kind of background, they have their own business and they have bought their own house. He's the praise and worship leader, and they are both very faithful to the church. It's amazing what God has done in their lives the past five years. So seeing and hearing him lead worship was wonderful.

I then shared a message titled "Our God is amazing." It was a message God placed in my heart as we drove to Atlanta Friday night. The sanctuary was packed with more than 200 homeless people. It's the largest crowd we had ever seen at Eagle's Nest. God's presence was so awesome during the service. When the time came for the invitation to give their lives to Jesus, about 30 people came forward. I never get tired of praying with people to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, so that altar call was awesome! I just praise Jesus and thank Him for allowing me to see something that amazing happen.

I talked with Bro. Harold today and he said a lot of the homeless men who attended Saturday's outreach were in church today. That's awesome. They need to be in church to learn God's Word, and they will receive physical help as well.

Following the service on Saturday, we served more than 200 lunches and then gave out the boots. After the outreach at Eagle's Nest, we delivered about 100 pairs of boots to Common Ground, a Christian ministry that reaches out to the homeless. Justin found them and set it up for us to deliver boots to them. We look forward to working with them more in the future.

Thanks to everyone who prayed for us. Prayer is so important and powerful. A lot of people told us they were praying. We could tell they were. We also thank those who give financially to Love In Action. It takes money to do what we do, and we couldn't do it without your generous giving.

Most of all, I thank Jesus for His love and for working through Love In Action like He does. It's very humbling to be part of what God is doing.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Homeless teenagers

Imagine being a teenager, being rejected by your parents and faced with life on the streets. We were introduced to two teenagers this past week who are homeless here in our hometown of Dothan, Ala. They were scared and not sure what they would do.

It's not unusual for 18 year olds to be living on their own. However, it is very sad when they are forced to do so by a parent. They both work and are determined to make it, but being kicked out on the streets wasn't what they were expecting.

They showed up at Harvest, which is our home church. Brian Turner, who is on the Love In Action board of directors and assistant to the pastors at Harvest, met them and called me. We were able to put them in a hotel. Brian is doing an excellent job working with them, and one of the men we have been working with this year is also helping to mentor them. They are now surrounded by people who love Jesus, and they are experiencing the love of Jesus.

They were in church this morning and enjoyed the service. They will be in Bible study on Wednesday nights as well.

They are good kids and very encouraged how God is working in their lives during a very tough time. One of the teens wants to go to college and the other wants to finish his GED. They are "surviving" right now, but they want to do more than "survive."

Thanks to those who pray for us and support us financially, we are able to help these homeless teenagers and other homeless people. Thank you for your support.

Please keep these teenagers in your prayers.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A soul saved

Martha's dad, Billy Mills, shares the Word of God during Wednesday night's Bible study at the Love In Action warehouse.


Last night's Bible study was great. Martha's dad, Billy Mills, taught on Three of the Keys to the Kingdom of God - Love, Faith and Obedience. Dad knows how to bring God's word. When watching him speak, it's easy to see where Martha gets her compassion and tender heart from.

I was a little upset before the Bible study began. We had been averaging 30 people a night, but the work release guys haven't been allowed to do anything other than work for the past couple of weeks. Some guys (not any in our group) got caught smoking in the facility, so the director put them all on lock down. I certainly understand why, but it was disappointing because a number of the guys were really coming around. Please pray for them and that they will be allowed to return to church and Bible study soon.

Last week we had 13 people in attendance, which was still a good crowd. Last night I didn't have anyone to pick up for the first time in months. Four of our guys were working, which is a good thing, one was sick, one just got out of the hospital and her husband is taking care of her, and two others were in Georgia visiting family. I was wanting everyone to hear dad speak. But, as dad and I talked, we said Jesus tells us in Matthew 18:20, "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."

As it turned out, the right people were there to hear dad's message. When he finished speaking, there was such a sweet spirit in that room. The Holy Spirit was working. I couldn't dismiss without giving people the opportunity to accept Jesus. One lady who has been coming to Bible study and church for the past couple of months did just that. She accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior.

Tears filled my eyes when she raised her hand. I never get tired of leading people in prayer to receive Jesus. Dad brought the word of God and talked about the love of Jesus Christ. God had given him the right message for the right time for her. It was awesome. She's really been faithful about going to church and Bible study. She's really excited that we're starting Discipleship Phase 1 next Wednesday night.

God is so good and continues to do wonders in people's lives.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

You are amazing God

Today as Martha and I drove home after taking people back home from church we were listening to a Chris Tomlin CD. As the song "Indescribable" was playing tears filled my eyes.

"From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea
Creation's revealing Your majesty
From the colors of fall to the fragrance of spring
Every creature unique in the song that it sings
All exclaiming"

Our God is indeed amazing and indescribable. I think about everything God has done in my life. Most importantly, He saved me through His son Jesus Christ. He gave me an awesome Christian family to grow up with and wonderful church families over the years. He has forgiven me when I have really messed things up. He has picked me up during my most depressing and darkest times, dusted me off, placed me back on my feet and said "You're forgiven. Let's start over and try again."

He has blessed me with an awesome woman of God as my wife, and has given us an incredible ministry, in which He has totally transformed our lives through. He has blessed me with a job that I truly enjoy (no matter how aggravated I get with my company at times), and friends I know I can depend on to be there when I need them.

"Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God"

God has allowed us to see Him do amazing things in other people's lives. We have seen Him save the homeless and take them off the streets to live productive lives for Him. He has given me boldness to tell people who are at the lowest, darkest points of their lives that they are right where they need to be, because if they trust in Jesus and give everything to God their lives will be transformed. I tell them that I guarantee that God will do wonders if they just trust in Him.

Then for those who have trusted in Him they have seen that if they are faithful to God, He will be faithful to them and move mountains. We will see that this week as a woman will have a huge tumor removed through a surgery that was way beyond her reach, but not beyond God. When she gave up, God stepped up and made the way. Her husband just got laid off from work on Saturday, the day after they moved into a new apartment. He was devastated, but this morning at church I told him He was right where he needed to be and to trust totally in God and He will provide a new and better job. They understand the power of prayer now after seeing God move mightily in their lives. They even asked Pastor Ralph to pray for them this morning.

We've seen our amazing God take two homeless men out of the woods in our hometown of Dothan, Ala., and is transitioning them to being able to live on their own again. They are faithfully in church every Sunday worshiping God and at Wednesday night Bible study. We have seen God take a homeless man off the streets and now he is being offered the top manager's position at the place he started working only a month ago. He has been faithful to God and God's faithfulness is being poured out upon him.

"Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go
Or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow
Who imagined the sun and gives source to its light
Yet conceals it to bring us the coolness of night
None can fathom"

I looked around church this morning and saw 20-plus people who Love In Action has been able to provide nice clothing and shoes/boots for. It's exactly what God wants to do through LIA. Lead people to Jesus and help them see that God has so much more for them. He does indeed have a good plan for each of us. He has hope and a future for everyone - Jeremiah 29:11.

So, yes, God, you are indescribable and amazing. I love you so much. I submit all my ways to you. Have your way at all times, and continue to do miracles in the lives of the homeless and poor. Let Love In Action continue to be one of the vehicles you use to show the homeless and poor that you love them. We want to be your hands and feet.

"Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God
Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
Incomparable, unchangeable
You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same
You are amazing God
You are amazing God"

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A lot going on

It's been several weeks since I've blogged. It's been so busy at work and with LIA that I haven't had time, and when I did I just melted into my recliner and drifted off to sleep.

But, I'm awake right now, so I thought I would write a quick update about how things have been going. We continue to see God move mightily in the lives of the homeless and poor.

We met a new guy last week. Someone gave him my phone number and he called last Wednesday. He was released from prison back in April and has had a hard time finding work because of his record. He is living with a friend, but he needs work. I told him I was helping six others find work, so I would help him too. He wanted to come to our Bible study, so we had a new person on the van.

Emily Hinderliter from Tabernacle United Methodist Church in Taylor taught the Bible study. She did a fantastic job and really connected with the other 28 in attendance. Jason really enjoyed it and wants to go to church with us Sunday. Praise God!

We had 25 people come out a week ago to volunteer at our work day at the LIA warehouse. We got a lot accomplished. All of the boots that are in boxes - nearly 3,000 pairs - are now organized. Two big walls got painted. They looked horrible, so the new paint really looks good. Insulation was put over our meeting room and soon to be classrooms. That's the only area that has air conditioning. The insulation will keep the hot air out and the cool air in. We also got the sheet rock ceiling up in the bathroom, and clothes got sorted and organized. Walmart gave us some clothing racks, which will be a huge help.

All of the organizing and sorting will make our ministry more efficient.

We're getting ready to start Celebrate Recovery at the warehouse. CR is a program for people with hurts, hangups and habits. That pretty much covers everyone. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church (author of Purpose Driven Life) designed the program, and it's wonderful. Tabernacle United Methodist is making this all possible, and Emily is spread heading it. She knows this is her calling, and God is really moving to bring it all together. We are doing leadership training for CR and there are 12 wonderful people from Tabernacle who are going to help lead the program. We will have the CR kickoff at the warehouse on Oct. 3. We can't wait! It's taking our local ministry to the homeless, poor and community corrections work release men and their families to a higher level. It's so cool seeing family members join their son, husband, dad for Wednesday night Bible study at the warehouse and church on Sundays at Harvest. We are seeing God heal and strengthen families. We serve an awesome and amazing God!

Well, that's it for now. I'll try to do a better job with more blogs updating you on what God is doing through LIA.

Thanks for all of your prayers and support.

Monday, August 10, 2009

LIA blessed with great leadership

I am blessed to do ministry with great people. Love In Action has a great leadership team, and every time we get together with our board of directors, like we did tonight, I'm reminded of that.

It starts with my wife, Martha, who is also my best friend. This ministry is a big part of our lives now. We love serving Jesus together, and believe me, there is nothing better than being partners in ministry with your spouse. My wife is a very special woman, and the light of Jesus always shines through her. We couldn't do this ministry without each other.

My mom is on the LIA board of directors and she is invaluable to this ministry. Her love for people comes through all the time. So many people now call her their mama. Her smile and hugs always lets the homeless know they are loved.

Mike Shroades is co-founder of LIA. When Mike and I founded this ministry we knew God had big plans, and it is so cool seeing God do things we talked about years ago. We have been coast to coast ministering the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the "least of these." Mike has a heart for people unlike anyone I've ever seen. He's a great leader and I'm honored to call him not only a partner in ministry, but a best friend.

Justin Swasey may be quiet, but he is filled with God's love and wisdom. He is a strong leader and is anointed to minister to the lost and hurting. Justin is a good listener, which is very effective when ministering to the homeless. The homeless want to be heard, and Justin listens and knows the scripture to share with them. He is also anointed to reach children and teens. It doesn't matter if he is in Enterprise, Ala., Atlanta, Ga., or Los Angeles. As soon as kids see Justin they are drawn to him. It's amazing to see.

Brian is the newest member to LIA. In the past year he has shown his compassion for the homeless. He is a big reason we are in our warehouse. Martha and I knew after the first time we talked with him that he needed to be on the board of directors. Brian has a great concern about reaching people that society ignores and have given up on . His passion for leading people to Jesus is awesome.

It's a blessing, honor and privilege serving Jesus with all of these great people. I thank God for each of them and for all of the volunteers who have helped and are helping us share the Gospel of Jesus Christ through acts of compassion.

Thank you.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

God is so good

A lot has been going on the past 10 days, and it's all been great. We see every day how awesome our God is.

Recently we made a need known about a former homeless person who needed to have major surgery. Theresa has been in severe pain since we first met her and her husband last December. Since then they have moved into their own home and have been going to church with us every Sunday. They have seen God move mountains, then they saw Him move two more huge mountains this past month.

First, after trying all of the ways the "system" wants people to try to receive health care when they don't have insurance, a doctor stepped in to see Theresa. God used him to set the health care she needs in motion. Then she needed $2,200 to have her surgery. God put it on some people's hearts to give who heard about the need, and now those bills have been paid. Next month Theresa will have the surgery she has long needed and the pain will be gone. Praise God!

Back in April, we met two homeless men who lived in the woods in Dothan, Ala. One is now living in his own apartment, and the other is no longer living in the woods either. We are working with him to transition him into his own housing. We will help provide housing for him first by putting him in a hotel. Once he finds work - and he's been applying at a lot of places - we will help him get his own place to live. He is now going to church with us every Sunday and will be in Bible study every Wednesday. Last Friday, on his own, he went to Celebrate Recovery at Harvest Church. Praise God!

We are looking for full-time employment for three men. If you live in Dothan, Ala., and know of any work these guys can apply for, please contact me at 334-494-4995 or e-mail at loveinactionministries@hotmail.com. Here are the following jobs they can do: restaurant work, construction, warehouse/forklift, landscape/yard work. They are hard workers and are ready to move from the uncertainty work of temporary jobs to full-time permanent jobs.

It is so awesome watching God working in the lives of people who society has given up on. Even in the midst of a recession, God is doing a great work. God is so much bigger than our nation's economy and everything else.

I want to thank all of you who pray for us and support us through financial support and donation of supplies. Together, we are making a difference for the glory of God.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Helping the "least of these brothers of mine"

The man sat on the hard concrete of a New York City sidewalk, resting his back against the brick exterior of a business. He wore old faded blue jeans, a white T-shirt, a faded blue jean jacket and a baseball cap.

Martha and I walked up to him on a comfortable July night near the New York City Port Authority. We had a delicious Italian sandwich we had purchased from a deli. I asked him if he was hungry and wanted a sandwich. His eyes lit up and he smiled as he said yes.

I told him that God loves him and this was one way God was showing him.
He thanked us as he unwrapped the sandwich. As we walked away, Martha heard him say, “Thank you Jesus.”

A beat up Ford car was parked outside the Love In Action warehouse in Dothan, Ala., as Martha and I drove up. As I got out I noticed a woman in the front seat and a child in the back seat. A man walked down the sidewalk to the car. I said hello and proceeded to unlock the warehouse. The man looked rough. Not because he was a rough man, but it looked like he hadn’t slept much or had a shower in couple of days.

As I unlocked the warehouse I heard the man say, “I can’t believe it.” Then he asked if I was part of this ministry (our sign is on the wall of the warehouse.) I told him I was, and he told me his story. He, his wife and daughter live in Jackson, Tenn. He’s a carpenter and had come to Dothan, Ala., for a job that was promised to him. The job fell through, so they started to return home.

The alternator on his Ford died, and he spent the last of his reserve money on the alternator and a little food for his family. He showed me his receipt. He asked if we could put gas in their car to help them get back home. I told him to follow us to a gas station and we would fill up his car’s tank. He cried as he thanked and hugged me.

They had slept in their car the past two nights and were tired and in need of a bath. Martha and I invited them into the warehouse and told them to get some clothes and food. The man started crying again. He said they had been praying and God had answered their prayers. We gave them some hygiene kits, socks and underwear as they picked out some clothes and shoes.

It was around 6 p.m., so I asked him if they would like a good night’s rest before heading back to Tennessee. He said that would be great, so we got them a hotel room for the night. After checking them into the hotel, we all hugged and we encouraged them that Jesus was showing them that no matter the circumstances, He was in control and He would take care of them as long as they trusted in and lived for Him. As we left, the man said, “If we don’t see you again here on earth, we will see you in Heaven.”

A man just got out of jail and couldn't go back to his home in Georgia until he met with his probation officer, who would be out of the office until Monday. That meant the man had four nights of living on the streets. A friend directed him to Love In Action and we were able to help.

He had been locked up for 4.5 months for a theft charge. It was his first time in trouble and in jail. He fears the thoughts of ever going back, and has vowed to never touch alcohol again. He was very polite, saying "sir" after nearly every sentence.

I was blessed to take him to get his first meal since being out of jail, where the food is barely digestible. He wanted two double cheeseburgers, fries and a Coke. You would have thought he was eating steak and lobster with a glass of Dom Perignon.

The only clothes he had was what he was wearing, so I took him to the LIA warehouse and told him to pick out all the clothes he needed and a pair of boots. I gave him an army duffel bag to put his clothes in, and topped his bag off with socks, underwear and hygiene items. Then I gave him some food and took him to a hotel where he will spend four nights and get the first good night's rest in nearly five months.

He's going to church with us tomorrow, then with a bus ticket supplied by his family, going home after meeting with his probation officer on Monday.

That’s what Love In Action does. We reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ through acts of compassion. Thanks to those who pray and support us, we can show the “least of these brothers of mine” that Jesus loves them. We have seen thousands of souls saved the past nine years, and we couldn’t have done it without those of you who pray for and donate to us. Thank you so much, and may God continue to bless you and your families.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The blessings of God's discipline

Last night's Bible study at the Love In Action warehouse was another good one with 30 in attendance. After being gone for one week, it was nice being back at Bible study and seeing everyone. They told Martha and me they missed us and were glad we were back.

The theme of the lesson was "Chastening." We looked at how God will chasten or discipline us. He does so because like a good father will discipline his child, God will do the same to us because He loves us. God doesn't want us doing the wrong things.

I shared an example from my childhood. I set the woods on fire one time as a child, and my dad administered some discipline. In addition to being grounded for what seemed like eternity, I received a memorable spanking. Why? Because my dad loved me and what I did was bad. I could have put a lot of people's lives and homes in danger. Thankfully the fire was put out before it go out of control. My dad didn't want me putting myself or others in danger like that. Believe me, after I was disciplined, I didn't even want to strike a match. Lesson learned.

God will discipline His children. He loves us. He wants us to stay out of harm's way. Some times you hear how Christianity is a religion of "cannots." You cannot do this. You cannot do that. The Ten Commandments won't let you do anything.

Nothing could be further from the truth. First of all, Christianity is a relationship with Jesus Christ. Secondly, we can do a lot. We can live for God and allow Him to work through us to change other people's lives. We can be in the presence of the King of kings and Lord of lords. We can have everlasting life in Heaven with God. We can live with peace and joy in a world filled with fear and sadness. Those are just some of the things we "can" do as Christians.

The Ten Commandments are awesome! One reason God gave them to us is He wants to keep us safe. Let's look at just a few of them. "You shall not kill. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal." What happens when people murder and/or steal? They go to prison. For murder in some states, they could be sentenced to death. How about adultery? In addition to it being a sin, it will cause tremendous emotional suffering to loved ones and to the ones who commit the adulterous act. It can also get the adulterers killed. As an editor, I can't tell you how many murders we have covered because a man got caught sleeping with another man's wife, or a woman got caught sleeping with another woman's husband.

See how not doing those things will keep us safe?

Some of the people at the Bible study last night shared how through being disciplined for the things they have done wrong they gained wisdom. Yet another benefit of discipline. They also shared that if they hadn't been caught doing a crime and put in jail, they would not have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and would probably be dead today and spending eternity in Hell.

God tells us not to reject His discipline. "My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in." - Proverbs 3:11-12 (NIV)

As I was teaching, the Holy Spirit led me to share an illustration I had not thought of or planned prior to the Bible study. When Jesus was on the cross, there were two criminals on either side of him. One of the criminals insulted Jesus and said, "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!" - Luke 23:39 (NIV) He didn't receive the discipline that was given him and he rejected Jesus. He was wanting to be taken off the cross and not have to pay for his crime.

However, the other criminal received his discipline. He knew he deserved what he was getting. Therefore, he gained wisdom through that and saw Jesus for who He is - the one and only true Son of God. The Savior of mankind.

Here's what he said in Luke 23:40-43 (NIV): "But the other criminal rebuked him. 'Don't you fear God,' he said, 'since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.' Then he said, 'Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.' Jesus answered him, 'I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.'"

Wow! Those words are as powerful today as they were more than 2,000 years ago.

Discipline isn't fun. Nobody likes to go through it, but if we receive it and learn from it we are always better once it's over. The Bible uses words like "happy" and "blessed" are those who God disciplines. We should be happy and know that we're blessed when God disciplines us, because that means our Heavenly Father loves us and only wants the best for us. Thank you Father.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Diversity of people shows God's creativity

Every time Martha and I travel to NYC it’s always great to see the diversity of people in the city. Nearly every nationality is represented. As you walk down the streets you will see and hear, Chinese, Italians, Pakistanis, British, Scottish, Germans, many of the African nations, Japanese, Koreans, and the list goes on.

It reminds me of how awesome our God is and how He loves all of us, no matter where on this planet we live. He loves someone from Kenya just as much as he loves those of us in America.

The diversity also reminds me of the creativity of our God. He made us with many different colors and characteristics that make each one of us unique. None of us are the same, we are all different and God knows every single thing about each of us, even the number of hairs on each head. That will blow your mind if you think about it for a few minutes.

Every time we fly to NYC , as we get close you can see that mass of humanity and concrete jungle known as New York City. Martha usually starts tearing up as she looks out the plane’s window. She thinks about how many people we’re flying over and how God knows and loves each one. She also knows that there are a lot of hurting people in NYC, and it’s her heart’s desire to let them know that God loves them.

Traveling to other cities is great. It gets you away from the everyday hustle of work and everything else in life. For us, it gives us a chance to minister the love of Jesus Christ to the homeless and poor outside of our hometown of Dothan, Ala. That’s part of Love In Action’s mission. We minister a great deal in Dothan, but God has also called us to go to other places as well. Some of those places include NYC, Atlanta and Los Angeles.

Wherever God opens a door we go. It’s a great honor and very humbling to be used by God to show His love to those who are really hurting. To see God work in their lives brings tears of joy to our eyes every time.

It was great being in NYC, but it’s great being back home now. We’re looking forward to tomorrow’s Wednesday night Bible study at the LIA warehouse.

Ministering to the homeless in NYC

Martha and I always enjoy traveling to New York City. We have many great memories from trips there. We have experienced some wonderful ministry times in NYC, especially in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Spanish Harlem.

Being back in NYC this week was a blessing. We went to Brooklyn to see our friends at Sunset Park Community Church. Pastor Larry Pitta and his wife Margie have great hearts for the homeless. They do a lot in their community. Every Tuesday and Thursday they provide lunch for the homeless and they have a shower ministry, which Love In Action helped begin.

Over the past six years we have helped Sunset Park Community Church by shipping them hygiene items, socks, boots and other items to help the homeless. Last Thursday we started planning a 2010 outreach at Sunset Park. We hope to take a team with us to Brooklyn to help Pastor Larry minister to his community.

We will help him host a block party that will be part of a back to school outreach to help families living in poverty get their children ready to return to school. We will also minister to the homeless that week, which will probably be the third week of August 2010. If you are interested in going with us next year, please keep an eye on this blog and our Web site for more information. All of the plans should be completed by November-December.

In addition to going to Brooklyn last week, we also went back to a place where I had helped serve the homeless food. A few years ago, I was in NYC for an Associated Press Managing Editors board meeting and we ate at a place called Carmine’s. It’s an Italian restaurant that serves family style food, and it’s always way more than anyone could ever eat. Instead of packing up the food and taking back to the hotel, four of us took all of our leftovers to the Port Authority. You would have thought we had given the homeless gold. They loved it.

Martha and I had sandwiches we bought in Greenwich Village and set out to give them to the homeless. We were going to hand them out at Battery Park, but a Methodist church was already serving food, which was great to see. The homeless swarmed around their vans and really enjoyed the meal.

I told Martha I knew where we would find more homeless people, and that was at the Port Authority. We walked to the Port Authority and found the homeless where they were several years ago. One of the men was extremely thankful for the sandwiches. We told him that we had Italian subs and just wanted him to know that God loves him. A big smile arose and he graciously accepted the sandwich. As we were leaving, he started unwrapping the sandwich and said, “Thank you Jesus.”

We’re looking forward to working with Pastor Larry this next year planning the big outreach. We hope you go. If you start saving now, you will have plenty of money to go next year. We will make it as inexpensive as possible. We will have a list of suggested hotels and you will also have the option of staying at the church. Once we have the dates finalized you can start looking for a flight at the right price. You can find some good deals if you diligently look. That just leaves food and whatever sightseeing you want to do. We always make time for sightseeing on our trips.

Keep Pastor Larry and Margie in your prayers. Thanks for your prayers for us while we were in NYC. It’s nice knowing we have people praying for us.

Friday, July 24, 2009

A great day in Brooklyn

Martha, Pastor Larry and Ken.

Martha, Benjamin and Ken



It was such a blessing to be back at Sunset Park Community Church in Brooklyn, NY, yesterday (Thursday, July 23, 2009). It was great seeing Pastor Larry Pitta and his wonderful wife Margie. It was great seeing Benjamin again. It's been four years since we last saw him. It was great seeing the ministry to the homeless still going strong. It was a great day all the way around.

We started working with Sunset Park six years ago to help them reach out to the homeless and poor in their community. That's where we met Benjamin for the first time. He was a homeless man, completely broken and contemplating suicide. That's when God sent a team from Love In Action all the way to Brooklyn from Alabama to minister His love to Benjamin. Since then, he's been to Alabama twice - once to sing at mine and Martha's wedding.

He's had some trouble since then, but he's back on the right path and is doing really good. He still has a ways to go, but he's determined this time. He wants to live for God and minister Jesus to those who are in the situation he was in. But first, he knows he needs to let God restore and renew him.

Pastor Larry is a great man of God. He has been ministering to the homeless and poor in Brooklyn for 28 years. That's amazing! His wife is a great woman of God with a tremendous heart for the hurting.

Every Tuesday and Thursday the homeless come to Sunset Park Community Church to pick up a sack lunch. Whether it's sandwiches and sides like yesterday or hot soup and coffee during the winter months, they know they are welcome at Sunset Park and they know they will have a good meal on those days.

They can also come to take showers. Love In Action helped Sunset Park start their shower ministry, and it's been a great blessing to the homeless. That part of the ministry has been going on for four years now.

Yesterday we sat down with Pastor Larry and started planning an outreach for August 2010. We would like to bring a big team up here to help them reach their community through a block party. I will have more information about that later. But, if you are interested in coming to NYC with us next August, go ahead and start planning and saving money. We will make it as affordable as possible. If you don't mind sleeping in a sleeping bag, members of the team can sleep at the church. That will save you a lot of money on hotel rooms.

Thanks Pastor Larry and Margie for having us with you yesterday. You two are a great blessing to the homeless and poor in Brooklyn, and to Martha and me as well. Your friendship means a lot to us.

We will post videos to our Web site later of interviews with Pastor Larry and Benjamin. You will also get to hear my great New York accent. :-)

Keep Pastor Larry, Margie and Sunset Park Community Church in your prayers. And, keep praying for Benjamin.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Greetings from New York City

How you doing? Well, my thick New York accent is tough to translate through a keyboard, but that's a traditional New York City greeting. Martha and I arrived in NYC this afternoon on a vacation/ministry/business trip. Nothing like multitasking a trip.

I try to convince people up here I'm from the south Bronx, but for some reason they think I have more of a south Alabama accent. What's up with that? :-)

We always enjoy coming to the Big Apple. It's definitely a city everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. For five of the last six years we have been coming to NYC twice a year, because I have been fortunate enough to serve two consecutive 3-year terms on the national board of directors of the Associated Press Managing Editors. We meet twice a year at the Associated Press headquarters in NYC.

Love In Action is something Martha and I do totally on a volunteer basis. We love it. We spend at least 40 hours a week doing the ministry. We don't receive a penny for anything we do with LIA. My "real" job is being the managing editor of the Dothan Eagle in Dothan, Ala. I'm also the regional editor of the Media General Alabama newspaper group. I enjoy my job and being on the APME board of directors has been a terrific experience.

Today as we got off the airplane, I noticed that I had a totally different mindset. Six years ago when I first arrived for an APME board meeting all I could think about was APME and what I could do to help the organization. I also focused on how it could help my career. Thankfully, I have accomplished some good things with APME, and it has helped my career.

But today, all I could think about was the ministry Martha and I are going to do in Brooklyn tomorrow (Thursday) with our friends at Sunset Park Community Church. I also was thinking about seeing Benny for the first time in nearly five years. When we first met Benny he was a homeless man living on roof tops and the streets in Brooklyn. We kept working with him until we got him the help he needed. We brought him to Alabama twice. One time was to sing at mine and Martha's wedding.

When he came back to NYC he got in trouble and went to prison. He's out now and he's doing good. He is doing something this time that he didn't the last time, and that's use his support system, which we are part of, as is a pastor here in New York. It's going to be great to see him.

Growing closer to God and doing His work is constantly on my mind now. I like that change in me. Yes, I'm thankful to still be on the APME board of directors and look forward to our meetings this weekend. This will be my last meeting though as I can't run for re-election. But, I have to admit that I'm much more excited about serving the homeless in Brooklyn tomorrow.

You can keep up with us on our Twitter page, which is http://twitter.com/liaministries. There is also a widget or Twitter thread on our Web site that you can check out to keep up with us - http://loveinactionministries.com

Please keep us in your prayers. Thanks and God bless.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Experience forgiveness

Love In Action Vice President Martha Tuck shares an illustration during Wednesday night's Bible study.

My wife is awesome! She is an awesome woman of God and does a lot of ministry work behind the scenes that goes unnoticed. Tonight, her ministry work was very visible. For the first time, she led the Love In Action Wednesday night Bible study. She was awesome!

Martha taught on "Forgiving Others." Forgiveness is a powerful thing to experience. To receive forgiveness is incredible. If you have ever accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you know what I'm talking about. There is no greater experience.

Forgiving others can be tough. Forgiving yourself can be even tougher. Jesus tells us in Luke 6:37, "Forgive, and you will be forgiven." (NIV)

Martha told the 29 of us in attendance tonight that Jesus gives us the greatest example of forgiveness. He was beaten, spat upon, flesh ripped off His back, crown of thorns hammered onto His head, laughed at, punched, denied, and nailed to the cross. However, even after all of that, Jesus forgave. Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." - Luke 23:34 (NIV)

It was a powerful Bible study with a lot of participation. Martha ended it with an illustration. She had a bag filled with stuff and threw it over her back. She told everyone that it represented the heavy load we carry when we don't forgive. We become filled with bitterness, unforgiveness, anger and more. It weighs us down and makes us feel down. Then she let go of the bag and said that's what happens when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and when we forgive others. He takes all of that junk away and we are free.

Who do you need to forgive? Who has done you wrong and hurt you? Do you need to forgive yourself? Pray and ask God to help you and forgive others and yourself. If you have never experienced the forgiveness of Jesus Christ, call out to Him right now. Ask Jesus to forgive you. He will. Ask Him into your heart and He will enter. If you need help don't hesitate to call me at 334-494-4995 or e-mail at loveinactionministries@hotmail.com or go to this page on our Web site and pray this simple prayer: http://loveinactionministries.com/salvation.htm

Martha is a great teacher. She will be doing a lot more teaching on Wednesday nights. Thank you beautiful for serving God like you do.