Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentine's for the homeless

As the heavy set homeless man read his Valentine's card tears streamed down his face. His emotions were of sadness and joy. After wiping away the tears, a smile shined forth from his face, and he said "thank you."

That happened Tuesday night at Love In Action's free health clinic for the homeless in Dothan, Ala. The man has a small child, but through some circumstances he hasn't seen her in a while and he misses her. Every time we see him, he asks us to pray for her.

The Valentine card that brought tears to his eyes was written and designed by an elementary school student at Providence Christian School in Dothan.

I was invited to the school on Monday for their Valentine's assembly to receive a donation of hygiene products, socks and underwear. The children collected a large amount of items for Love In Action. It filled up my truck. Then they presented me with something I wasn't expecting ... Valentine's cards designed and written by the students. Every class wrote Valentine's for us to give to those in need.

Martha and I looked over some of them that night, and they were precious. We decided to hand them out Tuesday night at the health clinic and at Celebrate Recovery Inside. Like the man who cried when he opened his Valentine, these cards touched and melted the hearts of each person who received one.

Many times we are asked, "can children help your ministry?" The answer is an obvious yes. These children from Providence touched the hearts of the men and women like none of us adults could. For many of the homeless and the inmates in work release, they have not seen their children in a long time. They miss their children and it hurts their hearts not to be able to see them.

Those Valentines weren't from their children, but it was the closest thing to receiving one from them. They appreciated it more than words could say. But that one man's tears said it all.

Thank you children from Providence. You did a wonderful thing. You did God's work and touched the lives of the needy, which is exactly what our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ instructs us to do.

The children have given Martha and me an idea. Next Valentine's Day we are going to ask the children at Providence and some other Christian schools and Sunday School classes to make Valentine cards. Then we will give them out here in Dothan and send them to our contacts throughout the nation so the homeless in cities like Baton Rouge, Atlanta and Memphis will receive a sweet card on Valentine's Day.

God is so good, and we thank God for children. They can touch our hearts like nobody else.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Body of Christ working together

One very important aspect of Love In Action is we provide an atmosphere where the Body of Christ can come together and do nothing but focus on serving Jesus.

Too often when we mention "church," we are talking about a building. That's not what "church" really means. The church is the Body of Christ. We are to represent Jesus and serve Him together in unity. At Love In Action we see that happen every week, and it's a beautiful thing to see.

This past Tuesday was a great example. We had three different things going on at the same time, and none of it could have been done without all of our wonderful volunteers who come from different towns and cities around the Wiregrass and from different denominations.

We had an army of volunteers at the free health clinic for the homeless, which we have every Tuesday. We had so many we had to send some to help with Celebrate Recovery Inside. These were new volunteers and they jumped in with both feet at both outreaches. They brought food for the clinic and served it, and when I took someone over to CRI, they were serving dinner there.

All of our other volunteers were busy serving those who come to the clinic and to CRI. There were also volunteers at the new Love In Action Ministry Center cleaning. Some of them were inmates from work release who volunteered to be there because they wanted to give back to a ministry that has given so much to them. There were also a couple of guys who have been through the CRI program and a couple of former homeless men helping.

I put one of the former homeless men in charge of the work crew a the LIA Ministry Center, and he did a great job.

It was an incredible night of ministry. Many lives were touched with the love of Jesus Christ, and a lot of work was accomplished. Martha and I could not help but smile and thank God. He has assembled a great group of people to serve "the least of these" here in Dothan, and He keeps bringing more to serve. It's awesome to see the Body of Christ working together.

We serve an awesome God!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday nights are back

Tonight was a historic night as we held our first service at the new Love In Action Ministry Center. Praise God! It was great being together again for Wednesday night Bible study.

The last time we had Bible study was Dec. 22, because we had to move out of our previous building. We didn't have a place to meet until we purchased our new facility. Then we had to get a room cleaned and ready.

One of the guys said, "It's been a long two months." We were all excited to be together again.

Mama Tuck cooked a great meal. There wasn't much talking during dinner as everyone was concentrating on the great food.

We are beginning an eight-week course called Discipleship Phase II, which was written by Harvest Lead Pastor Ralph Sigler. Tonight was the introduction and I also shared from of the gospels of Mark and John about when Jesus called His disciples to follow Him. Jesus is also calling all of us. If we believe in Jesus, we will follow Him.

We ended the night with a great time of prayer.

It was just great to be back hanging out together, eating together, laughing together, studying God's Word together, and praying together.

Wednesday nights are back. Praise God!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A soul saved

Love In Action's mission statement is "To proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ through acts of compassion."

What does that mean? Where there's a need, take care of it. For example, the homeless have little to no health care, so thanks to two wonderful Christian doctors, we started a free health care clinic for the homeless. We also see some of the work release inmates. Work release is not part of the Houston County Jail, so they have no health coverage.

Remember, Jesus said in Matthew 25:36, "I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." He then said in Matthew 25:40, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."

That's what we do every Tuesday night at the health clinic. People come to us sick and our volunteer physicians take care of them. Then we offer people food, hygiene items, blankets, gloves and scarves. Then we ask them if there is anything we can pray with them about. Nobody has ever turned down prayer.

Tonight was the most powerful time of prayer at the clinic since we started back in December 2010. We prayed for a number of issues. Not just physical healing, but for peace, deliverance, and prayer for their families and friends. There was some real spiritual warfare going on tonight, and God showed up big time.

The greatest thing was seeing a young lady give her live to Jesus. For the first time in her life she accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Praise God!

That's what we mean when we say we "proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ through acts of compassion." The need tonight was health care. Also, some were hungry, and others needed hygiene items. All of them needed someone to pray with them, and just listen to them.

Jesus says in Luke 15:10, "There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Heaven is celebrating tonight because of that one precious soul who gave her life to Jesus. And we join with the angels singing praises to God for all He has done. Thank you Jesus my king, for your salvation that you offer to everyone. Jesus makes that perfectly clear in John 3:16 when He says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."

"Whoever" means anyone and everyone. We serve a truly amazing and awesome God!