Saturday, July 28, 2012

Make disciples who make disciples

Jesus makes it very clear in Matthew 28:19-20 what He wants us to do, "make disciples of all nations."

In the Greek, the word "nations" as used in this context is "ethne," which means ethnic people groups. There are more than 11,000 people groups throughout the world, and more than 6,000 of those groups - more than 2 billion - have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In His "Great Commission" in Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus doesn't want us to just go and reach people, but to make disciples. Why? So they can make disciples who can make disciples and so on. This is the only way we will reach the remaining 6,000-plus unreached people groups.

Making disciples starts at home. If we aren't reaching those around us, how can we expect to make an impact throughout the world? But, you ask, how can making a disciple in my hometown impact the world? Allow me to use a personal example.

Over the years, God has used a number of people to disciple and mentor me. My parents have been the biggest influences in my life. They were the first to disciple me. Then there were others like my brother and sister, Mike Alsop, Mike Wondree, Pastor Bob Melvin, Pastor Mike Shroades, Franklin Moore and Pastor Ralph Sigler.

Because these people spoke into my life and have shown me, and some still are, how to live for Christ, I started applying those principles to my life and teaching them to others. They didn't know, and neither did I, that God would use me to reach the world for Him. But, all praise be to God, He is working through Love In Action to touch the nations for His glory- here in the U.S., Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, India, Philippines, Malaysia, and now Myanmar.

Here's another example. There's a young man who volunteers at Love In Action named Shaun Cast. He loves Jesus with all of his heart. I asked God for the opportunity to speak into his life, and God granted that prayer request. Others have provided discipleship/mentorship to Shaun as well.

Today, he spends every Friday night helping to lead a Bible study at Houston County Community Correction Work Release. He preached his first sermon last Tuesday night at Celebrate Recovery Inside at Love In Action. He is also making an impact for the kingdom of God in the Philippines with his giving. One day, he will travel to the Philippines with us.

See, once we take the time to do what Jesus has commissioned every single believer to do, God will use each person to impact their city and the world for His glory. If you are a follower of Jesus, then you should be making disciples.

Teach people the Word of God. Teach people how to live a Christian life. You don't have a choice. Jesus demands this of His followers. So let's all get busy making disciples who make disciples. And, if you need more inspiration, read Matthew 24:14, "This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come." (HCSB)

I want to see Jesus come back, do you? If so, let's get busy. He said He will return when His good news is proclaimed to all nations (people groups). Yes, He could come back today, but until He does that means we have work to do.

Start today by making disciples who make disciples.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Love In Action Compassion Center

Work on the Love In Action Compassion Center is underway. This is the new LIA campus located at 277 & 279 W. Main St. in downtown Dothan. It's just past the Main and Lena streets intersection as you travel east toward downtown on Main Street.

Dakota Coffee's Sweet Shoppe Cafe is a tenant at the front of the complex. They are not going anywhere and we encourage everyone to support them. They have great coffee and food. One of our favorites is the frozen mocha. Delicious on these hot summer days.

The rest of the complex is behind Dakota Coffee. The following will be located at the LIA Compassion Center: headquarter offices for LIA International Ministries, the Samaritan Medical Clinic, and The Harbor House, which will provide transitional housing for the homeless and an in-house drug/alcohol rehab program.

We have already accomplished some work, especially outside where the weeds and vines had taken over parts of the building. Thanks to volunteers from Covenant UMC, LIA VP Martha Tuck, her dad Billy Mills, and LIA volunteer Rick Denney, the overgrowth was cut back and cleaned up.

Rick and William and Gia Hughes have started work on a downstairs' apartment where Rick will live. He is our building superintendent at the LIA Compassion Center.

The top two needs for getting the buildings ready are HVAC and roofing. Our good friends at Bob Woodall Air Care Systems have already begun work to help with the HVAC needs. Thanks Bob! He also took care of our HVAC needs at the LIA Ministry Center on North Foster Street.

Starting the first of August we will go full speed ahead on getting the Samaritan Medical Clinic ready for patients. We are planning a grand opening in September. The clinic will meet health, vision and dental needs for the homeless and those without insurance, Medicare and Medicaid coverage. What started out as a simple triage clinic has blossomed into a full-fledged clinic. Praise God! Only God could have done that. The many doctors and nurses who are volunteering their time and talents are awesome blessings. Thanks to everyone involved.

The suite that will house our offices is in good shape. A little work on the carpet and decorating and it will be ready. Praise God!

The Harbor House will be our greatest challenge, but it's nothing like the work we had to do at the LIA Ministry Center. We know God will provide for our every need.

Financial donations for the work to be done is greatly needed, and we will be ready for more volunteers to come in and help with the labor in August.

Please keep us in your prayers. Thanks and God bless.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

'Fruit that remains'

I had a great time preaching this morning at Christ-Life Church in Enterprise, Ala. It was a wonderful service and most importantly, four people accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Praise God!

It was a homecoming for Martha and me. The pastor of the church is Mike Shroades. Mike and I are the ones who founded Love In Action. Martha and I have many friends at the church as we served there as leaders for many years. Martha served on the praise team and was praise and worship leader for several years. I was an elder and minister of outreach.

The most exciting thing about today was seeing those four people come forward to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and especially seeing one young man make that decision. Van was a small child when I served as minister of outreach there. We had a wonderful Adopt-A-Block outreach every Saturday and his mother and grandmother were two people we reached early on. We would pick them up every Sunday morning for church, and Van was in children's church each week.

Van is now in middle school, and he, his mother and grandmother still come on the church van to worship every Sunday. They were there this morning, and it was so good seeing them. I couldn't believe how much "little" van had grown.

There were others still attending who we reached many years ago through Adopt-A-Block. Bro. Justin Swasey always helped  me pick up the people in the van back then and he still drives the van and picks the people up. You will not find a more faithful servant of God than Bro. Justin. I knew every Saturday he would be there for Adopt-A-Block and every Sunday to help with the van ministry. He has touched countless lives for the glory of God, and all it took was obedience and faithfulness to God.

Pastor Mike has taught and preached the importance of outreach and discipleship for more than a decade. He has a huge heart for the lost and a great desire to see real changes in people's lives through the power of God.

Seeing those we reached years ago still coming to church really blessed me today. Jesus tells us in John 15:16, " I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain ..." (HCSB). Seeing fruit that we produced years ago remaining today was awesome. I praise God for those precious souls and for my great brothers Mike and Justin. They are faithful and a great blessing. If all Christians had their hearts and desire to win the lost, we would have already reached all of the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ by now. 

Thank you Christ-Life Church for a great day, and praise God for the souls that were saved today and for the fruit that remains.