Wednesday, June 17, 2009

32 tonight at Bible study

Wow! What an awesome God we serve! Tonight we had 32 at the Love In Action Bible Study, our largest attendance ever! It was a great night as Pastor Mike Shroades, co-founder and board member of Love In Action and pastor of Christ-Life Church in Enterprise, Ala., taught the Bible study. He shared a very powerful message from 1 Peter 5:6: "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time."

It was so cool to watch God work tonight. The men and women really soaked up Mike's message and they responded to it. Martha and I love to hear Mike teach God's Word. He has such a unique style that connects with everyone. A number of them told me afterward how much they enjoyed Mike's message and how much it spoke to them. Thanks Mike!

As he wrapped up his message, Mike asked Martha to lead us all in a chorus of "I Exalt You." My wife has an absolutely beautiful voice and it was great having all of us singing together to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and exalting His name.

I couldn't help but cry tears of joy as I dismissed the Bible study tonight. To see how God continually adds to the group, and to see God moving in all of their lives is wonderful. I can't really find the words to describe it. All I can do is say "Thank you God for what You are doing."

There is so much more I want to share, and I will. I just need to meditate a while on the awesomeness of God and what He is doing in the lives of the homeless and those in community corrections work release.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Wow! What a great donation!

I know this sounds like a broken record, but I'm so thankful to say it again ... God just blessed Love In Action with another great donation! He has been doing that a lot lately and we praise Him for it all!

Today we rented a 24-foot box truck, and a man from our home church, Rick Coddington, came in his 20-foot box truck, and we hauled six loads of supplies from the Kauffman Army Surplus warehouse today. Thankfully they have a forklift with a very good forklift driver who loaded up the trucks. And thankfully, the Piggly Wiggly let us borrow their forklift, and Charles did an incredible job of unloading the trucks at the Love In Action warehouse.

We now have a tremendous amount of supplies to help the homeless throughout the nation. We have thousands of pairs of new and used army boots, hundreds of pairs of new boxer underwear, and pallets of shirts, pants, coveralls, gloves, inflatable mattresses, rubber boots, winter coats, and more. And, there is more to get.

All of these items will be tremendous blessings to the homeless. Many of the homeless work, and boots to work in will mean a lot to them. We have heard of some people getting turned down by employers because they don't have work boots. That's about to change.

The winter supplies such as coats, long johns, wool socks and gloves will be greatly needed this winter. It was the furthermost thing from our minds with today's temps in the mid 90s, but winter will be here in five to six months and all of these supplies will be badly needed.

We had a great crew working with us today. The great thing about our crew is five of them are people LIA has helped this year. Richard, Charles, David, Theresa and James worked very hard all day and enjoyed it. They enjoyed giving back to the ministry and knowing that the work they did today will help a lot of people.

Rick worked with us all day, and his 20-foot truck was a great help. We also rented a 24-foot box truck, and let me tell you, lift gates are a great thing. We're believing that God will bless us with a box truck one day so we won't have to rent any more. Plus, with the kind of inventory we have now, we need a box truck.

The Piggly Wiggly letting us borrow its forklift was a great blessing. That made the work a lot easier. Charles is a great forklift operator. We are also believing God for a forklift too. We certainly need one now.

My mom was once again a great help today. My beautiful wife worked mighty hard today too.

Oh yeah, while we were unloading the trucks, two people from Harvest, our home church, came by with donations of clothes. It was a great day!

We praise God for everything He is doing! We do serve an awesome God!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

It's our choice

When we first starting having Bible studies on Wednesday nights at the Love In Action warehouse we planned for it to be for the homeless and whoever wanted to attend. We have had the homeless attend and have seen them really ministered to by God's word.

The largest group of people who attend our Bible studies are men from the Houston County Community Corrections Work Release. I never thought about those guys joining our Bible study, but then God brought Doug and Janet Sommers into our lives. They go to Harvest and they work with and mentor some of the men in work release. They do a great job. One day Doug asked me if he could bring the men to our Bible study. I told him of course he could.

It has been great having the work release men at our Bible study every week. God is doing a great work in many of their lives. They are eating up God's Word and really getting a lot out of the Bible studies. Most of them also go to church at Harvest every Sunday.

It is amazing watching God work in their lives. Many of them are finding hope that can only be found in trusting Jesus as your Lord and Savior. They are receiving instruction from God's Word that will benefit them now and when they get released.

They are a very appreciative group of men. They are thankful for the opportunity to study and discuss God's Word every week.

Will all of them walk the straight and narrow when they get released? Well, that's up to each individual. For now, they are hearing the Word of God, and I know that God's Word never returns void. We're going to keep teaching them and keep loving them.

They know they have a choice to make, and it is their choice. We all have that choice. Do we walk with God or do we turn from Him? We all know the consequences for both of those decisions. I choose to accept and trust Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. I choose to walk with God. I hope you do too. I hope the men from work release do as well.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Filling up the warehouse

It was an extremely busy, but very good day today. As they say here in south Alabama, Martha and I are "worn slap out."

We started this morning and didn't finish until about 9:30 tonight. We started the day by loading up our Tundra and cargo trailer with appliances that were donated to Love In Action. We loaded four stoves, a washer and dyer, and a refrigerator. We were also given a coffee table and two end tables. Some of that will be used at the warehouse and the rest of it will be used to blessed those in need.

Then we went to an army surplus warehouse where we loaded up our truck and trailer with brand new army boots, 612 pairs to be exact. Wow! A lot of homeless people will soon have new boots. Many of the men we come across do construction work and other work that requires boots. They will have them now.

We have a lot more to pick up at the army surplus warehouse - more boots, coats, underwear, long johns, and more. We were totally blown away when shown everything that is going to be donated to LIA.

We will rent a 24-foot truck next Saturday to load the items and take them to our warehouse. For those of you in the Dothan, Ala.-area, if you can, please come out and help us next Saturday. We could really use the help.

One of our prayers when we first moved into our warehouse was that we would be able to fill it up and give it all out to the homeless and those in need. That is beginning to happen and we're excited.

We did a lot of work at the warehouse to get it more organized and ready for everything we'll bring to it from the army surplus warehouse next Saturday.

It was a great day. Thank you Jesus!

'With God all things are possible'

It is great watching God moving in people's lives. We have been seeing God do amazing things recently. Of course, God always is doing amazing things, and yesterday was another example.

David and Theresa is a married couple who were once homeless. Back in February David obtained full-time employment and they moved out of the homeless population and into their own home. Those were the first two steps that God worked out.

Theresa has been sick since we have known her and David (since December). She's been in a tremendous amount of pain. Every where she has gone for help, they have pushed her away for one reason or another. It's been very frustrating and heartbreaking. This past Tuesday when the health department turned her away because she wasn't 45 years old she cried and said, "I give up. I'll just go home and die." David told her, "No. We've just got to keep praying." I told Theresa that I wasn't giving up, and that actually we were right where God wanted us. It was totally up to God to work this one out. Nobody but God could do anything now.

Then on Wednesday, God put a certain doctor's name on my heart and on my mom's heart. He is a good Christian man and an excellent physician. I called his office, but he was out of town. I left a message for him to call me, and he did first thing Friday morning.

I briefly shared with him Theresa's situation, including that they didn't have insurance or Medicare/Medicaid. He said that doesn't matter and that he wanted to see her right away. He asked if she could come see him yesterday afternoon. I told him to give me a time and I will have her there. Then I called Theresa and told her I had some awesome news; that she had a doctor's appointment at 1 p.m. She was so excited.

The doctor did a thorough examination and made her three appointments with other doctors next week to start the process of getting Theresa well. He even helped her start the process of getting disability and Medicare. Praise God!

David and Theresa were so excited when they left the doctor's office. They have never been people to complain, but the stress had been mounting up with her serious health situation. To hear the joy and relief in their voices was awesome. It all just brought tears to my eyes.

Martha picked them up and she said they were so excited. Praise God! That was nothing but God opening a huge door in their lives and giving them favor. We do indeed serve an awesome God!

Praise God for good Christian doctors who are willing to give of their talents and knowledge to help those who can't help themselves. The doctor isn't one who seeks recognition, so I won't mention his name. I called him back yesterday and thanked him. God has used that man to give a wonderful, hard-working couple hope. Hope that there is a God in Heaven who loves them. Hope that she will live and not die. Hope that no matter what happens in life, God is there with them and will make a way.

Please keep praying for Theresa's health and healing. Please keep praying for David. The business he was working at laid off most of their people because work dried up. David has been trying to make a go of it by cutting yards. However, he needs something that pays more and is more consistent. Like I told Theresa yesterday, if God could work out her situation, providing a good job for David is nothing.

"... with God all things are possible." - Matthew 19:26.

Praise God's wonderful name! I love you God!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Bible study growing

Our Love In Action Wednesday night Bible study continues to grow. Tonight there were 23 at the Bible study. Praise God! There were about 6 or 7 new people in attendance, including three ladies. One of them attended our cookout last Saturday and brought two other people with her tonight.

Our study tonight was on hindrances to prayer. It was a great study with great participation. We also had a good time of prayer at the end of the Bible study.

Several of the guys from the Houston County Community Corrections Work Release expressed their gratitude to Martha and me for the time we put into the Bible study. It's great seeing them grow in the Lord.

I believe we will soon have 30 people in the Bible study. I praise God for what He is doing on Wednesday nights.

An awesome donation

Martha and I will never forget May 30, 2009. That's the day we received the largest financial donation in the nine-year history of Love In Action.

Late 2008, we applied for a Wal-Mart Foundation grant on the Internet. A few months later we received an e-mail that our application had been accepted, but an amount wasn't given. Then a few weeks ago I received a phone call from Carolyn Broadwater, Market Assistant for the Wal-Mart Dothan, Ala., region. She asked if her and other top managers from the Wal-Mart Dothan region could come to our cookout and present a check to us. Of course I said yes. Still, we had no idea what the amount of the check would be.

On May 30, we arrived at the LIA warehouse early to start preparing the food for the cookout for the homeless we were hosting. Later in the morning while I was grilling chicken, the Wal-Mart representatives arrived. We went inside the warehouse and talked for a while. They were genuinely interested in what we were doing and what our plans were for the warehouse.

Then, Wal-Mart Market 74 Manager Greg Livingston said he was happy to present us with a check for $10,000. Tears filled mine and Martha's eyes, and my mother's eyes as well. When they saw our reaction, their eyes teared up as well. I don't think they realized the magnitude their financial donation would be for us. For a ministry where every penny goes into the ministry, their gift of $10,000 will do a tremendous amount for the homeless.

Greg, Carolyn, Terry Wallace, Monica Salinas, Jesse Deal and Ricky Ernest were all wonderful. They were very interested in what we are doing for the homeless. In addition to the awesome donation, they talked about other things they may be able to do to help us. Wow! It was simply an incredible moment for us.

It's amazing what God has been doing. We have been able to accomplish a lot recently at the warehouse. The water meter has been set and plumbing ran into the warehouse. The first restroom is nearly complete, and a wall to separate the ministry area from storage has been completed. Everything is being built according to city code.

Now we can move forward with our plans of having two restrooms and two showers, so the homeless can come in and get clean. We will also have a washer and dryer to clean their clothes. Once all of that is completed we will start on the kitchen so we can cook and serve food to the homeless. One of our goals is having a Saturday night service and dinner at the warehouse. Currently, our Wednesday night Bible study has been a great success. We average between 14-20 people each week. It continues to grow. The more it grows the more people we can lead to the Jesus.

I want to thank Wal-Mart for their amazing donation. I also want to thank our home church, Harvest Church in Dothan. They provide excellent financial support, and members volunteer to help us minister to the homeless and prisoners. Pastor Ralph Sigler has been very supportive of LIA. Three members - Franklin Moore, Jim Kaye and Kelly Hudson - have done a great amount of work at the warehouse. Franklin is in charge of the construction at the warehouse. Church member Bill Dorminy, who owns Goldfinger restaurant in Dothan, has donated cases of chicken for an outreach in Atlanta and the cookout in Dothan on May 30. Doug and Janet Sommers do a great job of mentoring the men at Houston County Community Corrections Work Release. They bring the men to our Wednesday night Bible study as well. Many other church members have donated financially and items such as clothes, food and hygiene items. And, many have volunteered in a variety of ways.

I thank my precious wife for everything she does, and all of our board members - Susie Tuck, Mike Shroades, Brian Turner and Justin Swasey. We have a wonderful team.

I thank everyone for your prayers, financial support and your time. We couldn't do what we do without each of you.

Most of all, I thank God for His wonderful Son, Jesus Christ.