Monday, April 23, 2012

A miraculous healing

I have heard of people being healed and walking away from wheelchairs, but I've never witnessed it firsthand. I've read about it and watched it on TV through skeptical lenses over the years. Not that I didn't believe God could heal people, but I didn't trust the preachers on TV.

What I saw this past Saturday will stay with me for the rest of my life. It was a life-changing experience. One that elevated my faith to heights its never been before.

Many of you either know or have heard about Rick Denney. He's one of my favorite people in the world. He's a dear brother in the Lord and friend. I love this man. He's been a very faithful volunteer at Love In Action for several years, even the past two years as he was bound to a wheelchair.

When I first met Rick he was homeless and an alcoholic. Little did I know he had been watching us at Love In Action. He observed to see how we treated people. He wanted to see if we were real as he had been hurt by "church people" in the past. I guess he liked what he saw, because he walked up to me one day when our ministry center was located on the Montgomery Highway in Dothan, Ala. He was a very humble man, and just a good guy.

He came around often, but every time he came drunk his head was down. He was ashamed. We loved him anyway, and eventually our broken down bus became his home.

Late one Friday night the unthinkable happened. He was run over by a freight train. Yes, a locomotive. The engineer wouldn't get out of the train, because he had seen what happened to people when they were in cars and got hit by a train.

With both hips totally separated, many ribs broken and his left foot nearly ripped off, he laid motionless in the hospital bed. He had large gashes on his face and head. He looked horrible. I remember what he told me that Saturday morning at the hospital. "Bro. Ken, the old Rick died under that train. The new Rick came out from under it." He gave his life totally to Jesus, and he hasn't touched a drop of alcohol since. He tells everyone he meets about Jesus.

I've called Rick our evangelist on wheels. Praise be to God, I can't call him that any more.

Rick called Saturday morning. Martha answered the phone and he said, "I believe God touched me last night. Y'all need to come pick me up." We had all been believing with Rick that God would let him walk again. In fact, he had told us a while back we didn't have to pray for his healing any more, because he believed God had healed him. He was just waiting for God's timing for when he would walk again.

Driving to Rick's Saturday morning, Martha and I both said, "He may be walking when we get there." Nothing prepared us for the miracle we saw.

When we pulled up in the parking lot I called Rick and told him we were there. We got out of the truck and waited. I heard his hotel door open and close quickly, which was different. Then, we saw him walking around the corner. Words can't appropriately describe what Martha and I felt at that moment.

Rick said Martha screamed and ran to him and hugged him. I immediately fell to my knees crying and sobbing out loud worshiping and praising our Heavenly Father who had just miraculously healed my friend.

When Rick walked around that corner, all I could see and feel was the awesome power of God. That has to be why I instantly hit the ground on my knees. I made it back up to my feet and hugged Rick. We cried tears of joy and thanked Jesus for this answer to prayer.

For nearly two years Rick was in a wheelchair. For nearly two years Martha and I and some other LIA volunteers picked him up for Bible study, church, Celebrate Recovery Inside, LIA coffee house, and to pray with people at the LIA health clinic. Many nights I prayed, "God, please let Rick walk again."

Rick went to a tent revival last Thursday and Friday nights with Bro. David Terrell. Rick has told me many stories about Bro. Terrell's tent meetings back in Florida from years ago. When I saw he was in town I told Rick. I knew he'd want to go.

Rick said as he sat there Friday night, he heard Bro. Terrell talk about miracles that he'd seen happen. Rick said he was present for a number of them. Then there was a time for prayer, but Rick didn't go up. He said no man was going to get the glory for his healing.

That night back in his room he prayed to God and asked God when was his miracle going to happen. Early Saturday, Rick woke up and he said God spoke to him and said, "Do you believe I've healed you? Rick said yes. Then God said, "Then get up and walk." So, Rick stood up and walked for the first time in nearly two years. And, he hasn't stopped walking.

No doctor has touched Rick since he was released from the hospital nearly two years ago. No physical therapist ever worked with him. Nobody touched him, but God. And God healed him. Rick even bent over and touched his toes and put his hands flat on the ground while standing up. I can't do that.

Yes, God still performs miracles, and this is one I'll never forget. You can believe it or not, but I believe it, because I know my God. And, I know Rick very well. I know he had no strength in his legs. He couldn't stand, much less take a step until Saturday morning.

God is awesome, and there is no other God but Him. Jesus says that He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is, and He healed back in the days when He walked the earth with His disciples. He still heals today, and He will continue to heal as long as people believe and receive what He has already done.

I thank God for healing my friend and my brother. To God be all of the praise, honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

'Nobody has ever done what you do'

Adopt-A-Block is a radical weekly outreach that is changing lives in Dothan, Ala. I say it's radical, because it takes a commitment to live life with others. We know that in today's society, especially in the U.S., finding people committed to doing God's work is hard to find. Unfortunately, commitment isn't everyone's favorite word.

The idea came from the L.A. Dream Center in Los Angeles , Calif. There, Pastor Matthew Barnett and the staff and volunteers at the Dream Center are transforming thousands of lives through the Gospel of Jesus Christ by serving the people. They serve the homeless, poor, prostitutes, and all of the people our society counts as losers and those they don't want to associate with.

Jesus showed us a totally different way throughout the four Gospels in the New Testament. Those are the types of people Jesus hung out with as He said in Mark 2:17, "Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but the sick do need one. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Then we read in 1 Timothy 1:15, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”

Every Saturday at Love In Action, we go into the neighborhood where the LIA Ministry Center is located to serve the people. We pray with them and help them in various ways. Yesterday (Saturday, April 15, 2012) was another amazing day of outreach with Adopt-A-Block.

The morning began with one of our teams leading an elderly man to Jesus. He questioned if he would go to Heaven when he died. Now, he has no doubts. Praise God!

Across the street from him we sat on a porch with two more elderly men. They are both Christians, but not in good health. However, that doesn't stop them from praising Jesus, especially Mr. John. What a blessing he is. Though he has to stay hooked up to an oxygen tank, he still finds the breath to sing praises to Jesus. Yesterday, he sang one song after another. It was beautiful.

The other elderly gentleman thanks us over and over again each week. Yesterday, he told us twice that, "Nobody's ever done what you do in our neighborhood. Thank you." What an incredibly humbling statement. That man has lived in that neighborhood for years and years, but he said nobody has ever served the people like Love In Action.

That's not bragging on LIA, that's thanking God for working through us to touch lives. It's also a sad statement for the churches throughout that neighborhood. Churches will never have the impact on their communities that God intends for them to have if they don't get outside of the walls and serve the people.

Later in the morning we made our way to Mrs. Smiley's house, a sweet 80-year-old widow. She waits for us each week. Her daughter told us Mrs. Smiley won't go anywhere on Saturday until our visit. She is such a blessing.

Our wonderful volunteers did some work around Mrs. Smiley's house. We cleaned out and fixed the gutter on her front porch, repaired a leaking water pipe, and planted some beautiful flowers in some empty flower pots around her front porch.

All-in-all, I'd say it was an awesome day. An elderly man gets saved, we sang God's praises with another elderly man, and we blessed a precious elderly widow. That's not to mention all of the others we prayed with, and the 30-plus we served lunch to.

God is so awesome and we give Him all of the praise, honor and glory. Thanks to each of you for your prayers and financial support, and thanks to those who come to the LIA Ministry Center to volunteer your time. Together, we are all making a difference for the Kingdom of God.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

An incredible night

To say last night's Celebrate Recovery Inside at Love In Action was electrifying is about as close as I can come to describing it. What an incredible night!

From the moment I walked through the doors of the LIA Ministry Center I felt the Holy Spirit. The smiles on the faces of our volunteers serving dinner radiated throughout the place. Those being served smiled and expressed their thankfulness and happiness to be there.

When worship started, I knew it was going to be an awesome service. Alan Watson is so anointed and talented. I love it when he leads worship. With arms raised and people singing loud, our praise and worship rose toward Heaven and God responded by flooding the sanctuary with His Holy Spirit. It was one of the most incredible times of worship I've experienced, and I've been in some wonderful worship services. There's just something about it, though, when a room of nearly 100 people who are hurting at every level come together and worship God with all of their hearts.

Then Radica Quakenbos shared her testimony. You won't hear many like hers. Not that there aren't others who have experienced what she went through, but because not everyone makes it out alive. And, in many cases, people are ashamed. Never be ashamed to share what God has delivered you from.

I won't try to share everything she did, but in a nutshell, Radica was born in Yugoslavia (now known as Serbia), and her parents abandoned her. She lived on the streets as a child. She was raped, and then sold to a family in the U.S. by her own father. She was beaten and treated like a slave when she arrived in the U.S.

She didn't know God; they didn't teach about God in Yugoslavia. But, God showered His love upon her and when she gave her live to Jesus, she's never been the same. Through His forgiveness and her giving forgiveness to all of the people who hurt her, Jesus set her free.

I encourage you to purchase her book, "In My Father's Hands." It's available at bookstores and online at Amazon.com and Crossbooks. Her website is www.inmyfathershands.com

Tears flowed throughout the sanctuary as her testimony hit home with many people. Some who have experienced similar situations, and others whose family members have. The hurt, the pain, the unforgiveness ... it's all very real.

The response to the altar call revealed the hurt that was in that room. People hit their knees and literally cried out to God. At least five accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, there may have been more. Others prayed for healing for their life that's been filled with hurts, and people forgave those who did the hurting.

Praise God for all of the lives He touched last night. Our job now is to continue teaching the people, in the church it's called discipleship. Jesus tells us to "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." (Matthew 28:19-20)


So teach them we will through CRI, Wednesday night Bible studies, and mentoring.


God is so awesome. Last night made me think of Lamentations 3:22-23, "Because of the LORD’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!"

Indeed, great is Your faithfulness my God, my redeemer.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Beautiful day of ministry

Saturday was an absolutely beautiful day. The sun shined brightly in the backdrop of a deep blue sky and the temperature was a near perfect 75. But what was even more beautiful than the picturesque scene of sunshine, blue sky and blooming spring flowers was the ministry that took place during Love In Action's Adopt-A-Block.

The entire morning we prayed with people and handed out bread that is donated every week to us by the Atlanta Bread Company. We were also able to help a couple of elderly women.

One of the women needed some heavy bags of clothes taken to the road. The bags were in her back yard and were soaked after the most recent rains. She never could have moved them, so we were thankful to do it for her.

Then later in the morning we visited one of our favorite people in the neighborhood - Mrs. Smiley. She is a sweet 80-year-old widow who lives at the end of a street. Each week we pray with her and just talk. She enjoys our visits and always greets us with her infectious smile. She has the perfect name.

During our visit, she mentioned how much she loves the old hymn "Old Rugged Cross." George, one of our volunteers, started singing it, then Ms. Smiley joined in. I couldn't help but raise my hands in praise of Jesus as I could feel God's Holy Spirit moving on Ms. Smiley's front porch. It was a beautiful moment.

As we were leaving we noticed grass was overtaking her flower bed, so we told her we would return to clean it out for her. She was so happy. When we came back one of her daughters was there, and we all had a great time talking and singing. Yes, another song of praise was sung as her daughter sang an old hymn, then George sang "I can only imagine."

Before going to see Ms. Smiley, we stopped at a house across the street from her where three people were sitting outside in chairs, and two of them were drinking beer. They weren't drunk, but were kicking back a cold one. The woman lives at the house and the other one with a beer was a former work release inmate who attended our Celebrate Recovery when we were located on Montgomery Highway.

When he saw me, he put his beer down. He apologized and said he wished I hadn't seen him drinking that beer. I told him I wasn't there to condemn him, but to remind him that God loves him. We had a good talk, and then we all prayed. At the end of that prayer, tears flowed down his face. Another seed planted, and I pray it takes root and grows. He knows where we are located at now, so hopefully on nights he isn't working he will come to the ministry center.

The other young man there, who wasn't drinking, is a soldier in the U.S. Army. He has served in Afghanistan and is going back in August. What an honor it was to pray for one of our brave men who fights for our freedom. We thanked him for his service and he thanked us for the support.

Many other great moments took place on Saturday as God poured His spirit out on that community. What an honor and privilege to serve such a great and loving God.

Adopt-A-Block takes place every Saturday, beginning at 9:45 a.m. with prayer at the Love In Action Ministry Center.  The outreach lasts from 10 a.m. until noon. For those who can stay longer, we go back into the neighborhood and do projects like we did for Ms. Smiley.

It's all for the glory of God, and we praise Him for all of the opportunities He gives us to serve Him.

I invite you to join us. It is a life-changing outreach, and the more volunteers we have the more people we can reach.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Two souls saved

In my last blog I wrote about how much I love seeing God show His power through miracles of healing. Not long after posting that blog, I saw Jesus do something I love to see the most ... save souls.

Thursday night is when we have our free Love In Action Healthcare Clinic. It was a great night as Dr. Steve Stokes and Steve Mashburn saw 22 patients for heath care reasons and Dr. Ron Sealock saw eight patients for eye care needs. Those 30 patients and more were served a delicious dinner as well by volunteers from Greystone UMC.

Afterward, six of us were sitting in the foyer when a homeless woman and man walked up to the ministry center. She said a man named Butch told her we could probably help them. They needed food. Another organization had paid for a hotel room for them, but they didn't have any food. Butch was right, we had food and shared it with them.

The great thing about Butch, is he didn't believe in God and didn't want anything to do with Jesus when we first met him more than a year ago. Now, he loves Jesus and Love In Action. He always tells us he loves us, and now he is sending people to LIA to get help. Praise God!

After giving this couple food, hygiene items, a New Testament and Christian tract, we prayed with them. After the prayer, I asked them if they had a personal relationship with Jesus. He said he did, but had strayed away and she said she had been to church. We talked some more about how God wanted a relationship with us and Jesus made the way through His dying on the cross, then rising from the grave to give us eternal life.

We talked some more, then they said they were ready to ask Jesus into their hearts. Glory to God! To see God bring in the harvest is awesome! I never get tired of seeing people get saved.

Now, it's time for discipleship. We told them about Celebrate Recovery Inside and Wednesday night Bible study. We invited them to church this Sunday, and offered them rides.

Please keep Paula and Vincent in your prayers. We give God all the glory for what He did in their lives tonight.

"... there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10) We are rejoicing as well over these two who repented of their sins tonight and asked Jesus into their hearts.

The lump is gone!

I love it when God reveals His power through the miracle of healing.

Two weeks ago at our Celebrate Recovery Inside service, a woman was crying and filled with fear. She had been experiencing a painful health problem and a doctor at the emergency room told her she probably had cancer.

We anointed her with oil and prayed for her as the Bible instructs in James 5:14. We hugged and comforted her, and after the prayer she said she felt better about it. Tears still flowed, but not as hard and she had a look of a person with hope ... hope that the God she has learned to put her faith in had heard the prayers and would answer.

One of our volunteer doctors agreed to see her and examined her. He said he didn't think she had cancer but there was definitely a lump that needed further testing and then removed. A week later she went back for the tests, and the results were the lump was gone. Nothing there. No more bleeding and no lump.

Praise God! Talk about a faith builder for her, us and everyone who hears her testimony. Yes, God still heals. It's not something that stopped when Jesus ascended to Heaven. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." - Hebrews 13:8 (HCSB)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Scholarships for children

In the Philippines, school is not guaranteed for every child, because not all families can afford to pay the government for their children to attend school.

As we have discovered, the children in the Philippines are very smart, and given the opportunity to go to school and learn helps them to excel in life, just like children here in the U.S. The problem is not every child will attend the next school year, which begins in June in the Philippines. Love In Action wants to help in this area.

Many of the churches Love In Action supports in the Philippines have schools. The pastors call their churches "multi-purpose" buildings because they are used for church, Sunday school, houses for pastors and their families, and schools. Not to mention lunchrooms, fellowship halls, and a general gathering place. And these buildings are not like churches in the U.S. Many are made out of bamboo or simple wood framed structures, and are one room with maybe a small roof off to the side for housing and kitchen.

The schools obviously benefit the children from an educational point of view, but it's also a great ministry tool for the church. The children learn Bible verses. In fact, at the Recognition Service for the kindergarten students at Shiloh Bible Baptist Church in Sindangan, as part of the service, the kindergartners quoted their Bible memory verses, and it wasn't just a few verses. They memorized the entire chapters of Psalms 1 and Proverbs 1.

Parents, friends and family members attend the Recognition services, and that's how many come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. For many, it's the first time they've ever heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Entire families get saved. Praise God!

The next school year begins in June, and Love In Action is conducting a scholarship drive for the children. We are asking if you can give $50, that will help support one child for the school year. And, a couple has committed to a $500 match. Which means, if you give $50, they will match it, so your gift doubles to $100. Praise God!

If you can't give $50, whatever amount you give will help, and it will be matched until we hit $500. Please help us help the children, and in turn, we are helping our pastor friends not only educate the children in their cities and villages, but we're helping them reach the children and their families with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Please send your tax-deductible donation to: Love In Action International Ministries, P.O. Box 85, Dothan, AL 36302.

Thank you and God bless you.