Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Another good night

Tuesday nights are always good at Love In Action as we host Celebrate Recovery Inside. Due to work, I missed three consecutive weeks, so to be back the last two weeks has been great.

Tonight was another good Tuesday night. Gia cooked another delicious dinner. I don't know how her husband William stays so skinny. Just always working hard I guess. Man, she can cook!

Then the worship was great. One of our work release men wanted to sing, so we handed the microphone to Cecil, and let me tell you, that brother can sing. Then one of our favorites, Alan, led worship. I always enjoy worshiping with Alan. God has given him such great talents.

Pastor Dwight was back with us after a long absence due to two back surgeries. He preached a strong message about King David and forgiveness. The message really hit home with a lot of people. The first man I prayed with during the altar call immediately pointed to Dwight's message and it helped him understand the situation he was in even better. The prayer time was good as always.

Then the small groups all had a good night. A lot of great ministry and growth take place during those small group meetings.

Another great thing about Tuesday nights is all of the one-on-one ministry I get to do. Tonight there were times of praying individually for some people, then times of listening to them. There was also a time to speak into the lives of a couple of individuals .. mentoring.

As always, Tuesday nights give us an opportunity to meet a lot of physical needs as well, such as clothing, food and hygiene items.

There are just so many opportunities to minister on Tuesday nights. I praise God for all of the opportunities. I praise God for giving us so many amazing volunteers who pour themselves into CRI every week. I praise God for the people He brings through those doors every Tuesday night.

Those who are struggling with hurts, habits or hangups, all find a safe place to let Jesus deal with them on Tuesday nights.

Yep, it was a another good night.

They were blind, but now they see

God never ceases to amaze me. Once I think I've seen something great, God does something greater. This morning was one of those experiences.

In my last blog, I wrote about the flames of revival in the Philippines and the doors God keeps opening. We are now running through those open doors and are seeing a great harvest reaped.

We have officially planted four new churches in Muslim communities of the Philippines. These churches are in houses, and the rent has been paid on all four ($75/month). The first fruits have already been reaped as 117 people in those new churches have given their lives to the Lord. These are results of what our brothers call "Soul Winning Saturation." That's where they go door-to-door in the communities and tell people about Jesus. These new churches will grow quickly. We now have an opportunity to add three more house churches in three more communities.

And as if that wasn't enough, hold on. It gets even more exciting.

One of our pastors (for safety reasons I am not naming him right now), traveled to the island of Basilan, which is a 45 minute fast-boat ride from Zamboanga City on the island of Mindanao. This trip was to survey the island for a hunger for Christ. He found it. In fact, 92 people accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior on Basilan.Wow! Praise God! Expanding there is a must to disciple these precious people.

The amazing news is a first-time listener of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Basilan who accepted Jesus, contacted our pastor and said they have already found a house to rent for a meeting place. That happened within hours of making a decision for Christ. That's the hunger the people have for Jesus. They have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and when they do, they want to know more and want more people to hear about Jesus.

One new Christian told our pastor that the people needed a meeting place. Our pastor told him to pray with him about the finances to make the travel, materials such as Bibles, and house rental possible. The new Christian told our pastor, "We've been blinded with religious and cultural hatred for a long time. Please don't deny us the spiritual freedom our people need."

That touches my heart at levels previously unknown to me. A people so hungry and desperate for Jesus. It reminds me of Romans 10:14-15, "But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the gospel of good things!"

All of this happened because one couple responded financially to this need. Imagine what will happen if more join and help us reach those who have never heard of Jesus Christ.

"Open your eyes and look at the fields, for they are ready for harvest." - John 4:35 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

God is awesome!

What God is doing in the Philippines continues to blow my mind. Back in January when we were in the Philippines, I told our brothers and sisters there that I pray revival would begin on the island of Mindanao and sweep throughout the country and spread to other Asian nations. God heard our prayers.

In the past three weeks, more than 1,300 people have made decisions for Jesus Christ. Praise God! Dalaygon ang Diyos!

More than 20 Philippine Army camps have been open for us to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and now we are helping to plant churches in six Muslim communities. Again, praise God! These will be home churches, and those leading the churches and attending need to be covered in prayer. Please pray for them as it is not safe to worship Jesus in these communities. Our prayer is a revival will sweep through those communities and they will be called Christian communities.

God has also opened doors to two more islands- Jolo Island and Basilan, which are part of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Hopefully next week one of our pastors will be going to both islands  to survey the area and find prospective houses for church plants.

Please keep this pastor and those going with him in your prayers. I will not mention his name at this time for safety reasons.

All of this is simply amazing. The doors God is opening up is even blowing local pastors' minds in the Philippines. The reason why we are able to plant these churches and reach so many with the Gospel of Jesus Christ is through the donations of people with hearts for reaching the lost in areas that have never even heard of the name of Jesus Christ.

When you give to LIA Philippines, your money goes directly to the pastors and missionaries who are putting their lives on the line every day. Your support provides much needed items for them and their families, such as food, rent for church planting, purchase of land and construction of churches. And, a little goes a long ways in the Philippines. Each U.S. dollar is worth almost 42 Philippine Pesos.

Please join us and become a regular supporter of LIA Philippines and store up treasure in Heaven.

Please send your tax-deductible donation to: Love In Action, P.O. Box 85, Dothan, AL 36302. Note on the check that it's for LIA Philippines.

Thank you and God bless you.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Miracles in ministry

Seeing miracles happen each week is a huge benefit of being in ministry with Love In Action.

Miracles take different forms. Some are seeing the homeless, incarcerated and the down-and-out give their lives to Jesus and watching their lives totally transformed by the power of God.

Other miracles are answered prayers. Like one woman who received very bad news from a doctor this week. On Tuesday night we prayed. Today, she received a good report from the doctor. Praise God!

When there's a need, God puts it on people's hearts to respond and fill the need. For example, we needed a new large capacity dryer a couple of weeks ago. Immediately that need was filled. We needed finances to help with a need in the Philippines, the next day someone donated and it was taken care of.

God uses people to make miracles happen some times, and being a part of a miracle changes your life. We have seen so many people who God worked through turn out to receive an even greater blessing. The Bible says that it is better to give than receive (Acts 20:35). And that is so true. You find such joy through giving of yourself and resources to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and help others.

I'm looking forward to seeing what miracle will happen tomorrow.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

We can't miss this opportunity

"Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” - Matthew 28:19-20 (HCSB)

Jesus gave His Great Commission to His disciples before ascending to Heaven. But we must all understand,this wasn't just for His disciples or who we refer to as a select few who are "called" to be "missionaries" to foreign countries. His Great Commission is for all of us. Do you want to know God's plan and will for your life? There it is in Matthew 28:19-20.

We are commissioned to reach the world for Jesus, to spread God's glory to the ends of the globe. You may ask, how? Is everyone suppose to travel to other countries? That would be nice, but the reality is, not everyone can.

Then what? We can all disciple others.Who knows, you may disciple the next Billy Graham. Teach one person at a time about Jesus and how to live for Him. We can all do that.

Another way is what I'm going to write about in this blog, and that's using our finances to reach the world for Jesus. You noticed I used the pronoun "our," because I believe in giving of my finances to reach the lost in other parts of the world.

As most of you know, God has expanded Love In Action to the Philippines. Since our trip there in January, God has opened so many doors for us to share Jesus with those previously unreached. One way is through the Philippine military. More than 22 camps have been opened, and our pastor friend Jun Begafria has been spending nearly every waking hour telling the soldiers about Jesus. Last week 600 soldiers and officers made decisions for Jesus. Praise God!

Love In Action supports Pastor Jun and other indigenous pastors and missionaries with finances, prayers, Bibles and other Christian materials.

We need your help. Right now we fully support six pastors each month ($100 per month), but there are 31 pastors/missionaries in all, and the number is growing as more doors are being opened.

The newest opportunities are in four Muslim communities. We have the opportunity to plant four churches in four communities that have no Christian churches. Most of the people have never heard of the name of Jesus Christ.

All we need is $400 per month and God will use these churches to change the course of eternity for hundreds of precious souls. Being in America, it's hard to imagine operating a church for $100 a month, but we can plant these four churches with that amount. There are four houses where we can start operating out of.

These are dangerous outreaches, and these are the Christians who literally put their lives on the line every day for the sake of the Gospel. We need to pray for them daily, and support them financially. Soon I will blog about a pastor who was a Muslim, but gave his life to Jesus and is now risking his life every day to reach his community for Jesus.

Will you join us? If you can't give $100 a month, can you give $10, $20, $30, $40 or $50?

Read the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 10:14-15, " But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the gospel of good things!" (HCSB)

These unreached people in the Philippines need to be reached for Jesus. As American Christians, we have the means to support our Filipino brothers to be able to reach them. Please help us. The opportunity is too great and too much is at stake ... souls going to Heaven or Hell.

Please send financial support to: Love In Action International Ministries, P.O.Box 85, Dothan, AL 36302, or you can donate electronically through PayPal by clicking here.

Your donations are tax deductible.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

600 make decisions for Jesus

Have you ever opened an email and just started shouting for victory and crying tears of joy at the same time? That happened to me this morning.

No, for those who know me well, it wasn't the news that my Washington Redskins are going to draft RG3. It was something a jillion times better, even more than that.

My good friend and brother in the Lord, Pastor Jun from the Philippines emailed me about the amazing things God is doing there. For reference's sake, let me remind you about Pastor Jun.

He is the senior pastor of the Shiloh Bible Baptist Church family on the Philippine island of Mindanao. He is also the one who took us to four military camps while we were there back in January. In those Bible studies, 93 soldiers accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

Since that day, God has opened even more doors for Pastor Jun to minister the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the military. This past week, Pastor Jun traveled and ministered in two training camps and 18 camps and 600 soldiers and officers made decisions for Jesus Christ. Praise God! Or, as they say it in their dialect of Cebuano, "Dalaygon ang Diyos!"

Listen to some of the praise reports about soldiers being saved over the past two months:
- One soldier attended a Bible study, accepted Jesus and continues to attend. His wife testified that since her husband attended the Bible studies, she doesn't have black eyes any more. Praise God! He got saved and the violence at home ended.
- Three Muslim soldiers who accepted Jesus testified that there has been a transformation in their lives since they opened their hearts to Jesus.
- A senior officer who is being witnessed to testified that he observed and is convinced that there is a great difference in Christ. This man has great influence, so pray he will accept Jesus.

Now, five more military camps have been open. Praise God! It is simply incredible the doors God is opening. And, it gets even better.

Pastor Jun said God has opened doors in four Muslim communities to start four churches. Praise God! He said there are already four houses available to be used for Bible studies.

Is God doing an incredible work in the Philippines or what? And, as Pastor Jun says, pray that in a "few days, weeks or months from now, God willing, a group of believers in these Muslim communities would start serving the true and living God." And then he wrote, "Every soul saved would be your part and portion in glory." And he ended the email by writing that he prays "this partnership would continue to cause wonder."

Love In Action's partnership with our brothers and sisters in the Philippines is amazing. We are now able to sponsor six pastors/missionaries, and we just shipped 900 Bibles to the Philippines. After reading about what all is going on there, you can see we need thousands of more Bibles and more financial commitments to supporting these pastors and missionaries.

We are also helping with traveling expenses and helping to purchase land and plant churches. This can only be done through prayer and people giving financially. Please pray what God would have you to do to help us continue spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those in the Philippines, many of whom have never heard of the name of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Very humbling

Love In Action is totally supported by individuals donating money so we can accomplish what God has called us to do. Without people giving, we could not do everything  we do.

It always humbles me when someone gives money to Love In Action. It shows they believe in the work and vision of this ministry. In Matthew 7:16 and verse 20, Jesus says we are known by the fruit we produce. People see the good fruit being produced through Love In Action and they want to be involved. That excites me.

It is also very humbling, because it is a great show of trust. When you tithe to your church, you trust your pastor and leaders to do the right thing with the money. You may write your check out to your church or to Love In Action, but you are really giving it to God.

That is a huge responsibility for those of us who are pastors and leaders of ministries. God holds us accountable. I do not take that lightly. I have a great and healthy fear, respect of God.

Something else that is very humbling is seeing the homeless, work release inmates, and the poor giving to Love In Action. It reminds me of the widow`s gift in Mark 12: 43-44. People were giving at the temple. Many rich people gave large sums, then a poor widow gave two tiny coins, that, in the eyes of the world would mean very little. But Jesus saw it very differently as He told His disciples, "I assure you: This poor widow has put in more than all of these giving to the temple treasury. For they all gave out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she possessed - all she had to live on."(HCSB)

When a homeless man donated money last week, I told him that his gift will help us send Bibles to the Philippines. You should have seen the smile on his face. Here was a man who lives in a tent in the woods, who had earned some money from a few days of honest , hard work, giving out of his poverty.

There are widows who are regular supporters of Love In Action. They have been faithful to give each month for many years. Many other people do as well. Others will give a large one-time gift each year. We praise God for every gift. It takes everyone giving to accomplish what God wants us to accomplish. It truly takes the Body of Christ working together.

Each day Martha and I thank God for everyone who supports Love In Action, and we ask God to bless them and meet their needs. For whether you are rich or poor, when you give to the Lord, He is going to bless you.

Thank you for giving to Love In Action. Your gifts advance the kingdom of God, and every victory we receive for Jesus is also credited to you. You are truly building up treasures in Heaven. (Matthew 6:20)