Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Work day

We are about to have our first transitional housing, and this Friday we will have a work day to begin cleaning and getting it ready for the first occupants. The house is located at 106 E. Lafayette St. in Dothan. Go down Main Street, then turn on South Oates Street going toward Mike Schmitz Automotive. You will turn left onto E. Lafayette and the house will be on the right. If you get lost, call me at 494-4995.

We will also be working with the Southeast Alabama Coalition for the Homeless on Saturday. We will have a cookout for the homeless at Kinney Park from 10 until 2 p.m. The park is located across the street from Mama Tina's Mission House on North Alice Street. For those of you familiar with Dothan, it's in the area behind Church's Fried Chicken on Oates Street. If you would like to help us serve the homeless and minister one-on-one to them, please join us.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

God is at work

It's awesome watching God work in the lives of the homeless. This past week we saw a homeless couple move into their new home, so they are no longer homeless (check out earlier blog). We saw a homeless man we have been working with hired for a new job, which he will start this Tuesday. We saw a homeless woman we have been working with connect with our home church. She heard our youth pastor last Sunday talk about a mission trip to Honduras the youth are going on this summer. As a fund raiser, the youth sold chili today following all three services. He said if you can't donate, but would like to cook chili for them to sell that would be great too. That's what she did.

It's exciting what God is doing. I've started meeting with the Southeast Alabama Coalition for the Homeless, and I'm helping to lead an outreach committee of that organization. We're forming a team of agencies to address the needs of the homeless in Dothan, Ala., and to bring awareness to the public. Check out the upcoming schedule of events on the front page of our Web site.

You can find more information about that and more about LIA on our Web site at http://www.loveinactionministries.com. I've just updated it. Our latest newsletter has been posted on our Web site, as has a new feature story on a man who became homeless in Dothan because he left everything to return to Christ.

We're continuing to work on obtaining transitional housing. Please keep praying for us as we're very close to getting the use of a house for that purpose. Please also continue to pray for us as we work on the warehouse. We need $500 for the city to set a water meter, so we can have water in the warehouse. Once that happens, we will need to hire a plumber to run pipes according to city code so we can have a bathroom. Then we will add showers so the homeless can have a place to come and get clean. We will also add a washer and drier so we can wash their clothes and give them fresh, clean clothes.

Thanks for everyone who prays and supports us financially. Together, we are making a difference, and people are getting saved and coming off the streets.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Homeless no longer

Something very awesome happened today. You have read my blogs about David and Theresa. They were homeless when we met them six weeks ago, and Theresa had cancer. As of today, Thursday, Feb. 19, they are no longer homeless as they moved into their new home. Praise God!

I picked them up at the hotel this morning and we loaded all of their stuff onto the truck and drove to Ashford where we moved them into their new home. Then tonight, Martha and I hooked up our cargo trailer and delivered a bed, couch, chair, coffee table, dishes, pots and pans and food to David and Theresa.

They are so thankful and excited to have a home. We are so thankful and excited to see them in their home. David and Theresa are living proof of how God can turn people's lives around.

The goals of Love In Action are to lead people into a relationship with Jesus Christ and to help them successfully transition out of a life of homelessness into a productive life. David and Theresa love Jesus and now they are no longer homeless.

I want to thank those who gave to help us get them into their new home. David works in Ashford as a welder and his boss says David is a very good worker. He will be able to pay their rent, utilities, etc.

Please keep them in your prayers, and especially Theresa as she fights cancer.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Connect by showing the love of Jesus

Want to know how to really connect with someone and watch God change their lives? Do these two simple things. Introduce them to Jesus Christ and invite them to your church. Go a step further and bring them to church.

Two months ago Martha and I met Randy and Brenda. They were homeless and living in their 1990 Chevrolet pickup truck. We started ministering to them through acts of compassion. By providing them with shelter (a hotel room), food, clothes and hygiene products, they were open to what we had to say. We prayed with them and talked with them about Jesus. We invited them to church. The first question Randy asked was will the people look down their noses at them. I told him, no that wouldn't happen at Harvest. So, they came to church and loved it. Some Sundays we would pick them up and on others they would drive.

Randy is currently serving a 30-day sentence in jail for a misdemeanor. He understands what he did before we met him was wrong and he knows that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. He knows that because at one of our Wednesday night Bible studies at the LIA warehouse he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior.

Brenda has continued going to church and Wednesday night Bible studies. She tells us over and over again how much she loves going to church at Harvest. She says the people are so nice.

I know she feels at home at Harvest now after a wonderful phone call from her yesterday (Monday). She called and said she wanted to talk to me about something she heard at church. I immediately started thinking about Pastor Ralph's message on marriage and thought she wanted to talk about that. But I guessed wrong.

During the service, our youth pastor Jeff Burnett, shared about a mission trip to Honduras the youth are going on this summer. As a fund raiser, the youth will be selling chili next Sunday following all three services. He said if you can't donate, but would like to cook chili for them to sell that would be great too. That's what Brenda wants to do.

She told me that she makes a very good chili, but she doesn't have the ingredients. I almost cried on the phone that touched me so much. Here's a woman who doesn't have hardly anything ... she's homeless ... yet she wants to give her talents to further the kingdom of God. There is a stove top in her hotel room, so I told her that Martha and I would get her the ingredients and Martha told her that we have a crock pot at the warehouse that she can have and she can cook the chili in it. She's very excited about being involved.

Now that's connecting! Building relationships is a big part of Harvest Church, which is our home church here in Dothan, Ala. The people have showed nothing but love and kindness to Brenda and it has made a big difference.

Please keep her in your prayers. She has been in a lot of pain recently and has an appointment with a surgeon today.

I want to thank all of you at Harvest. You don't know how many homeless people we have brought to church, but each one of them instantly feels right at home. It's because of you showing the love and compassion of Jesus Christ a difference is being made in the lives of people who, for the most part, have never experienced such love and compassion. And, for those who have, it's been a long time since they have experienced it.

I praise God for what He is doing in Brenda's and Randy's lives, and in the lives of so many homeless we're blessed to work with. And, I praise God for my pastor, all of the pastors and staff at Harvest, the praise team and all of our church family. Don't ever change. Keep preaching and teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Keep singing his praises. And, keep loving people with the love of Jesus Christ. For great is your reward.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Former homeless man shares testimony

While we were in Atlanta last weekend ministering to the homeless, a former homeless man shared his testimony. Joe's testimony is a great example of how God can totally transform lives.

Check it out:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

3 make decisions for Jesus Christ

We had a great Bible study tonight. There were 22 people at the Bible study and three of them accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Praise God!

There are so many things I enjoy about our Bible studies. In attendance we have the homeless and men from community corrections. It's a chance for us to pour Jesus into their lives. The guys join in and share what the Bible verses we study mean to them. Some ask questions. We share praise reports, and it's exciting when they talk about what God is doing in their lives. The most exciting thing that happens though is when people give their lives to Jesus.

It's always a great time of fellowship, and everyone enjoys it. We're also able to give out clothes, food and hygiene items to help with their physical needs.

Praise God for everything He is doing!

Thanks Dwight for being there tonight too and sharing with everyone. I could tell the guys were really listening when you were talking. I really appreciated your analogy about mountains and valleys. That was great.

It's going to be good tonight

I can't wait for our Bible study tonight at the warehouse. I just got a phone call from Doug Sommers, who brings the community corrections work release guys to our weekly Wednesday night Bible study. He said 16 guys have signed up to attend tonight. That's the most ever to sign up. The only problem is that's more than the van can hold. No problem thanks to LIA board member Dwight Deal. He's going to pick up the ones who can't ride in the van. Thanks Dwight. You the man!

Tonight's topic will be the "Holy Spirit's Indwelling." The teaching will be about how the Holy Spirit helps us. When Jesus ascended to Heaven, He didn't leave us alone. He sent the Holy Spirit, so He indwells us by His Spirit. I pray that if anyone there tonight doesn't have a relationship with Jesus, that they will want that and will accept Jesus tonight. I also pray that the teaching will help strengthen the walk of those who are already walking with Jesus.

With the homeless and others who will be there, this will be our largest group ever for Bible study. Praise God! That's exciting. Please be praying for us.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

2 new videos posted

I posted two new videos to our YouTube account. I haven't had a chance to link them to our Love In Action Web site yet, but go to http://www.youtube.com/user/LoveInAction15 and watch Love In Action co-founder and board member Mike Shroades preach to the homeless in Atlanta during our LIA outreach this past Saturday. He got long-winded :-) so it's in two parts. It was an awesome message, so be sure to watch both videos.

The response at the end was awesome. A homeless man came forward to receive Jesus before Mike gave the invitation. All total, 10 people accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Praise God!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Photos from Atlanta outreach

Go to http://loveinactionministries.com for a photo gallery of Saturday's Love In Action outreach to the homeless.

For those who know what's going on with David and Theresa, they are doing fine. We hope to have them in a house by this weekend, or at the latest, by the end of this month. Please keep them in your prayers.

Please pray for another homeless man named Dave. He really needs a job to come through this week. He has put in a lot of applications.

Richard's new job begins tomorrow. Praise God!

Also, please be praying about the opportunity we have for transitional housing.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Atlanta outreach

The Love In Action homeless outreach in Atlanta went great yesterday. It's always a joy to be with Pastor Larry and Bro. Harold at Eagle's Nest.

We had a wonderful group of about 25 volunteers who came from Dothan, Ala., Enterprise, Ala., Ozark, Ala., Eufaula, Ala., and Rome, Ga. That's one of the things I love about our outreaches. The Body of Christ comes together and works together for the glory of God. No church banner raised. It's just about Jesus and showing His love to the homeless. That's what Jesus tells us to do in Matthew 25 ... help the "least of these."

LIA Co-founder and board member Mike Shroades, who is pastor of Christ-Life Church in Enterprise, Ala. and New Symrna Beach, Fla., preached during the service. He shared a great message from John 3:16. It's probably the most familiar verse in the Bible, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, and whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." Mike had four points - God loves, God gives, we receive, then we are to give. Mike told the homeless that he had one thing to give and that's Jesus Christ. Before he gave the invitation, one homeless man stood up and walked forward. That was awesome. Rarely does that happen, but the Spirit of God was so strong during the service that you could just feel God's love falling on us all. 10 people came forward to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

If you have never done so, just call out to Jesus. There's no magic formula or anything. If you want help on how to pray, just go to this page on the LIA Web site, http://loveinactionministries.com/salvation.htm

It's as easy as ABC. If you need someone to talk to, call me at 334-494-4995.

Following the service, we served the homeless homemade beef-vegetable soup and homemade Mexican cornbread. They loved it. Martha and my mom did a great job making the soup, and the women from the First Baptist Church of Eufaula made the delicious cornbread and pound cakes. Thank you ladies. Also, thanks to everyone at Southside Baptist Church in Ozark, Ala., for making all of those delicious brownies.

After they ate, they were able to pick out clothes and receive a blanket and socks. We were honored to serve more than 75 homeless yesterday. It was an awesome day.

I want to thank all of the volunteers who took a beautiful Saturday off and traveled to inner city Atlanta to show the love of Jesus to people who are usually ignored and put down by society. I also thank all of you who prayed for us and who gave financially to make this outreach possible. The eternal destination of 10 precious souls was changed yesterday, and all of you had a part in it.

Thank you and God bless you all.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Wow! What a great week

This has been great week. It started with Love In Action receiving an amazing donation of food. So much that we had to purchase two large shelves to store it all. My mom did a great job of sorting and stocking all of the food. Thanks Mama.

On Wednesday we had another great Bible study. There were 16 of us at the warehouse. I was really thankful to see three of the people who made it to the warehouse on their own for the Bible study.

This week we also were told that we were probably getting the use of a house, and possibly a duplex, that we can use for transitional housing. That is a huge answer to prayer. I will blog more as it becomes official. Please be praying for us that it will happen and wisdom on how to properly do it.

What an awesome week! We serve an awesome God! Love In Action has awesome friends who are willing to help the "least of these." That's what Jesus told us to do in Matthew 25. Great is your reward. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Our Atlanta outreach to the homeless is tomorrow. I'm very excited about it. It sounds like we're going to have a very strong group of volunteers from Dothan, Ala., Enterprise, Ala., Ozark, Ala., Eufaula, Ala., and Rome, Ga. Praise God! I'm looking forward to hearing LIA Co-founder Mike Shroades preach. This will be the first time he has preached in Eagle's Nest Community Church's new sanctuary. It's going to be great. Please be in prayer for the homeless we will reach out to and for all of us ministering, especially Mike.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Great news

I have some great news to share with you. In the newspaper business we would shout “Extra, Extra, Read All About It!”

Love In Action’s top goals are to lead people to Jesus Christ and help the homeless come off the streets to live productive lives. When God allows us to see that happen, we shout it from the highest mountaintops.

You may remember I recently wrote about a homeless couple where the wife has cancer. When we first met David and Teresa they had the look of most homeless people we come across. They looked tired, worried and desperate. I remember first talking with David and asking him about his job skills. He told me what they were, and then he said he would sweep floors if it meant earning a paycheck to take care of his wife.
They started going to Bethlehem Baptist Church in Dothan, Ala., and they enjoyed it on their very first visit. That church has really done a great job of helping David and Teresa. Between Bethlehem Baptist and Love In Action, we have been able to take David and Teresa off the streets and pay their weekly hotel rent and provide them with food, hygiene items and clothing.

David now has a full-time job in Ashford. He loves his job and the people he works for. They are good Christian people, and they have been a great blessing to them. David and Teresa now have an opportunity to leave the hotel room and rent a home in Ashford – just a couple of blocks from his job – for about the same price of their hotel room. But, instead of one room, they could spread out in a fully furnished 2-bedroom, 1.5 bath home. And, it would be a home. They would no longer be homeless. They do not have a vehicle, so being able to walk to work instead of relying on people to give him a ride to and from work would also be a great blessing.

We could use some help getting them into the home. The $300 down payment has already been taken care of. Now they need $600 for the first month’s rent and nearly $200 more to turn on the electricity, water, etc. They could move in this Thursday if they have the money. I told David to ask the landlord if she would hold the house for one more week to give us a chance to help them come up with the money.

If you have the ability to help, please consider giving a gift to help this precious couple come off the streets and move into a home. You should see them. Now their faces glow with joy and their eyes sparkle. They are in church every time the doors open, and they are also doing outreach with their church. They are also tithing. It is such a joy to see. They made mine and Martha’s night tonight when we went to their hotel room to see them.

If you can help, please send your donation to:
Love In Action International Ministries
P.O. Box 85
Dothan, AL 36302

Please note on your check that it is for David and Teresa. If we receive more than the $800 they need, we will put the rest toward their next month’s rent to help them get ahead.

Please continue to pray for them and especially for Teresa’s health.

Thank you and God bless.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Great day of ministry

Saturday was a great day of ministry. It started with the Dothan Homeless Connect event where we joined the Southeast Alabama Coalition for the Homeless to give necessary items to the homeless and to show them where they can receive help for a variety of needs. A special thanks goes out to Love In Action board member Dwight Deal and LIA volunteers Danny and Lisa Lewis for helping us. I would also like to thank the good folks at Dothan United Christian Fellowship for allowing this even to take place in their gymnasium.

About 40-45 homeless and needy attended the event. Love In Action provided Bibles (thanks Dwight) and hygiene kits, and they were very thankful for the Bibles and hygiene kits. We got to pray with people and let them know that Jesus loves them.

Check out this story in today's Dothan Eagle (You may recognize the beautiful woman in the photo. No, I had nothing to do with my wife's photo being in the Eagle today.). http://www.dothaneagle.com/dea/news/local/article/advocacy_group_conducting_homeless_census/57316/

Then we received a huge donation of food yesterday afternoon. Our Tundra pickup truck's bed was filled to overflowing with food. There is more to pick up tomorrow. Praise God! We really needed that. After unloading all of that food at the warehouse, we then delivered it to some people. It was a great blessing to be able to give them so much food. They were all extremely thankful. And, we still have a lot of food left to bless the homeless with. It will go pretty fast, but God always gives us His provision.

God also worked it out so that as we were pulling the truck into the warehouse loaded with all of that food, that a woman was walking past the warehouse. She was in need and she could really use the food, so we took her in the warehouse and asked her what she wanted. She left with a lot of food. Again, she was very thankful.

It's just awesome how God is working. It's very humbling too. We can only accomplish this because of those of you who pray for us, give financially to Love In Action, donate items that we need to minister with, and give of your time.

This blog and our Web site are to show you what God is doing through your support of the ministry. Together, we are making a difference in the lives of many homeless people. Thank you so much for everything you do to help us help those who can't help themselves. Martha and I appreciate and love all of you.