Saturday, September 29, 2012

Making disciples around the world

We take Jesus' Great Commission seriously at Love In Action. We believe in reaching the lost and hurting with the Gospel of Jesus Christ through acts of compassion in our hometown of Dothan, Ala., and in other parts of the world. That's what Jesus says to do in Matthew 28:19-20. He says to "make disciples of all nations."

In Acts 1: 8, the last thing Jesus told His disciples before ascending to Heaven was, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

We consider Dothan our "Jerusalem," the Southeast U.S. as our "Judea" and the rest of the U.S. as our "Samaria." The "ends of the earth" is places like the Philippines, Myanmar and Ecuador.

 Wednesdays are a big discipleship night for us as we hold Bible study. I recently taught a nine-part series on the "Full Armor of God" to make sure everyone understands we are in a spiritual battle and God equips us to not only fight, but win the battle against Satan.

Currently, we are in the midst of teaching Discipleship Phase 1, a study written by my and Martha's pastor, Ralph Sigler of Harvest Church. Shaun Cast is helping me teach this 10-week class.

Wednesday nights at Love In Action are great as 20-30 people gather each week to learn and discuss God's Word.

For the past 1.5 years, we have been supporting indigenous pastors and missionaries in the Philippines, and part of that support is shipping King James Version Bibles to them and Discipleship Phase 1-5 books to them. We have shipped thousands of Bibles and Discipleship books, and we need to continue to do so as more than 4.6 million people there have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The newest door God has opened for us is in Myanmar. We just shipped Bibles and Discipleship guides to our new friends at Grace Theological College in Yangon. They do not have resources readily available, so the students were very excited to receive the Bibles and Discipleship books. The goal is to use the Bibles and Discipleship books for the students and also to use them to do outreaches to reach the lost and provide discipleship for new believers. There are more than 40 million people in Myanmar who have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Praise God! We are excited about all of these opportunities. Please continue to pray for us and the work God leads us to do in Dothan and in other parts of the world. Please pray for our brothers and sisters in the Philippines and Myanmar as together we reach people previously unreached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ in both countries.

Please continue to support Love In Action with finances. Your donations help us reach the lost and hurting with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Together, we are accomplishing the Great Commission and doing what Jesus says in Acts. 1:8.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Maiking disciples in Myanmar

First year students at Grace Theological College in Yangon, Myanmar
with their new NIV Bibles and Discipleship books.

 Jesus is very clear about what He expects from His followers, "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)

Jesus says to make disciples of all nations, which translated means all "people groups." We have to remember, the U.S. wasn't a nation at the time Jesus said this, nor were most other nations we have today.

Love In Action does an excellent job of reaching the lost and making disciples here in the U.S., especially in Dothan, Ala. The past two years we have watched God open doors on the other side of the world to reach previously unreached people groups. The majority of those doors have been opened in the Philippines, but God has opened another door in Asia - the country of Myanmar.

For eight months this year I have communicated with a pastor who helps run a small Christian college in the capital city of Myanmar. I have also researched to validate this contact. What I found was a wonderful man of God with a passion to reach his country, but without the means to do so. 

Grace Theological College teaches and trains its Christian students how to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others.It is not a college like we think of here in the U.S. They rent a building, and some times they have to move and rent a different building. But they keep teaching with the hopes of making a difference for Jesus in their part of the world.

Myanmar is a country that has been closed for years due to a heavy-handed military rule. But the doors have been opening up more, especially this year. So the time to reach Myanmar, also called Burma, is now.

My pastor, Ralph Sigler, has written a very powerful guide to discipleship. It is called the Five Phases of Discipleship. These books have been used here in Dothan to make disciples for years, and we have used them at Love In Action. Now, we can use them overseas. Pastor Ralph is as excited as I am about the opportunity to make disciples in Asia.

We first sent his Discipleship books to the Philippines, and this month we sent the first shipment to Myanmar. Harvest Church donated Bibles and all five phases of the Discipleship books to Love In Action to send to Myanmar.

Late last week, Pastor Siang emailed to let me know the two boxes made it safely to him. Here is an excerpt from his email:

"I have a great pleasure to let you know that yesterday (September 21, 2012) we received the Bibles and Discipleship books in two boxes it arrived safely to us. God answers our prayers. Praise the Lord! Thank you very much for your love and concern for our ministry.

"Today I distributed the Bibles and some of the discipleship books to our first year students, and some discipleship books to our senior students. When the students received them they are very much happy and very thankful to you and Love in Action International Ministries, especially the first year students over joy with the Bibles because they received very good Bibles."

Praise God! You can hear the excitement in his voice through his email. How often we take Bibles and Christian materials for granted here in the U.S. In Myanmar, just like in the Philippines, they have nothing, nor do they have access to Bibles and materials. This was a huge blessing to them, and will help them not only with the students, but also in reaching their country. Read the following from Pastor Siang's email:

"We believe that the books will be very helpful for us when we organize some seminar for the people of Myanmar, even much more will be useful for witnessing Christ to non-believers and giving them discipleship training."

Praise God! If you can't get excited about this, you can't get excited about anything. Jesus says to reach people groups throughout the world. In Myanmar, 83.4 percent of the country is unreached, meaning they have not heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That's more than 40 million people.

Wow! Talk about a huge opportunity. God has opened an awesome door of opportunity. He has certainly opened Asia up for Love In Action to spread the Gospel. From the Philippines to Myanmar, we are now spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ to previously unreached people. We serve an awesome God!

Please pray for all of our brothers and sisters in the Philippines and Myanmar. Please pray for us to know how to best help them. And please pray and ask God how you should be involved. Maybe God is leading you to donate financially to help us spread the Gospel on the other side of the world. Maybe God is leading you to donate King James Version and New King James Version Bibles for the Philippines and NIV Bibles for Myanmar.

We are very excited about everything God is doing here in Dothan and all the way on the other side of the world in Myanmar and the Philippines.

Senior students at Grace Theological College in Yangon, Myanmar with Discipleship books.

Monday, September 3, 2012

'These people have a heart for God'

The Apostle Paul teaches us about Christian humility in Philippians chapter 2. He starts off by saying we should think highly of others.

"Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." - Philippians 2:3-4

That's the heart and mindset of everyone who serves at Love In Action. We are there to serve and uplift others. To take the homeless, needy, hurting and lost by the hand and lead them to Jesus. We do that by showing the love of Jesus Christ to others.

Over the years we have seen thousands surrender their lives to Jesus. We have seen the hopeless find hope in Jesus.

One person who regularly attends our Celebrate Recovery Inside recently wrote the following on Facebook. I asked for and received permission to copy and republish it.

"I want to invite you to Love in Action on Tuesday evenings at 6 p.m. Whatever your hang up or habit might be, God can help you. I have met some great people. These people are my family; there is real love here. You can be yourself; no one judges you. We lift up each other. I am learning so much. These people have a heart for God.

"To have a better life we must change who we hang out with, our music and the kind of movies we watch. This has really helped me grow stronger in the Lord."

Those are heartfelt words from a precious soul who has been touched by Jesus at the Love In Action Ministry Center. This person also comes out and serves others and helps any way she can.

Lives changed by the power of Jesus Christ. That's what Love In Action is all about. We spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ through acts of compassion. In reaching people, we also make disciples who make disciples. That multiplies the kingdom of God and does exactly what Jesus tells all of His followers to do in His Great Commission, Matthew 28:19-20: "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.”

Your prayers help sustain us as we work hard to serve the "least of these." Your financial donations make the ministry possible. We couldn't do what we do without you.

Thank you and God bless you.