Monday, October 14, 2013

It's time to give up our 'rights' for the sake of the Gospel

Why is it we Americans are so obsessed with comfort? I'm guessing the main reason is that's all most of us have ever known. We were born in the most prosperous nation in history.

Most of us have electricity, running water and a roof  over our heads. We have air conditioning in our houses, cars, work places and churches, and heat when the weather turns cold.

We can drive up to a fast-food restaurant and purchase food, but don't make us wait more than a couple of minutes or we'll get upset. We have stores like Walmart and Sam's Club where we can purchase bags, jars and boxes of food so large we could feed everyone living on our street, but we store it in our pantry and keep it for ourselves.

We can watch every sporting event and movie with the push of a button on a remote control that operates our 42-inch or 80-inch TV. If we want to feel spiritual, we can turn the TV or radio to a Christian station and then move on from there.

We drive our cars, trucks and motorcycles everywhere, because our roads are very smooth. OK, there are pot holes, but have you ever driven on roads in Third World nations? You would appreciate our pot holes after that experience. We drive around and around parking lots wasting precious fuel until someone finally backs out of a parking spot close to the store's front doors. Don't make us park in the back where we have to actually walk 100 yards to the store or we'll pout.

Good grief. We are one spoiled nation. Granted, not everyone in the U.S. have all of these luxuries, but the majority of Americans do. Why did God bless us with so much? Was it because He was worried that we would be like most of the world and not have timers on our coffee makers so we would have fresh coffee as we wake up in the mornings, or because we deserve to have plenty of water to thoroughly soak our manicured lawns? For some reason I don't think that's it.

I think God had something else in mind. Do you think it could be to carry out the Great Commission Jesus gives us in Matthew 28:18-20. Most Christians are very familiar with those verses, and most can quote them verbatim. That's nice, but does it really matter if we accurately quote scripture, but rarely, if ever, do what God says? It's about as effective as having water in the desert, but never drinking it.

How can people who say they are followers of Jesus with resources to help others not do anything to help their neighbor who is a single mother, works two jobs, and still struggles to make ends meet? Or, has an elderly neighbor who needs a ride to the grocery store, but we're too busy watching a football game to sacrifice 30 minutes of our day to help?

How can true followers of Christ see needs in countries like Haiti, Nigeria or Pakistan and not donate $100 to bring life-giving water when they have thousands in a savings account?

How can true followers of Christ not give to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to unreached people groups? Are we content to say, "Well, they were born in the wrong country, so going to Hell is just part of it?" The overwhelming actions, or non-actions, of Christians in our nation would lead one to surmise that.

There are many Christians in the U.S. who help their families, neighbors and homeless, and many give to help those in other nations and to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to unreached people groups. And, many U.S. Christians do travel to Third World nations for mission trips. Unfortunately, they are the minority.

What would happen if the majority of Christians in our nation stopped putting our comforts first and started putting others first? What if the majority of American Christians started fulfilling the Great Commission by going and making disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit?  

Pastor Jeff Burnett preached a very powerful and convicting message this past Sunday at Harvest Church about this issue. His key point came from the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9 where Paul gave up some of his rights to win the lost. Read that chapter for yourself and meditate on it.

What rights could you give up for the sake of the Gospel? We are all about our rights here in the U.S. What if we laid some of those rights down for the sake of the Gospel ... for the sake of lost souls? Does it bother you that nearly 3 billion people are on their way to Hell because they have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ? It should.

Does it bother you that 80% of the world's population lives off of less than $10 a day? Does it bother you that 22,000 children die every day because of starvation, lack of fresh drinking water and curable diseases? Or, that 2.2 million children die annually because they are not immunized? Are you concerned about the 1.9 billion children in the world without safe water, adequate shelter or health services? Did you know that 1.6 billion people live without electricity?

Those are just a handful of stats that show we have a lot of work to do. The numbers can be overwhelming, but they're not numbers, they are real people. If every Christian did something, we could reach those billions of people with the love and compassion of Jesus Christ.

If the love of Christ is truly in us, then His love compels us to respond, to act, to proclaim His Gospel to the lost.

We think we have the right to be comfortable. What if we laid that right down and traveled to a Third World country and lived in an uncomfortable environment, even if it's for a week? What if we stopped spending so much money on things for our "rights" to be comfortable and entertained, and instead used that money to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to unreached people groups around the world?

What if we gave up our "rights" to be lazy and self-absorbed and spent time on the weekends helping the homeless, our elderly neighbors or single mothers, doing something for those who can't do for themselves? What if everyone who claimed to be a Christian truly followed Jesus and carried out the Great Commission? Our city, state, nation and world would be much better places. 

People will say, "But I worked hard to make the money I have." Yes you have, and that's great. But God didn't allow us to be born in the U.S. and gave us our talents and abilities to make money to be selfish with it. He could have caused you, me, and everyone else in the U.S. to be born in northern India, northern Africa, Haiti, or to a tribe in the Amazon Rain Forest. But no, He allowed us to be born in the richest nation in the history of mankind.

Let's don't sit on these blessings. Let's start using them to spread the glory of God throughout the world. The Great Commission is not just for pastors or ministry leaders. It's for every person who is a follower of Jesus. I believe we cannot be true followers of Jesus if we are not fulfilling the Great Commission. I don't see how we can be saved if we say we love Jesus, but our actions show otherwise.

If we are followers of Jesus, then He lives inside of us through the Holy Spirit, and His love will compel us to love others, to feed the poor, to preach the Gospel to the unreached, and to give money to advance His kingdom.

Think about it. Pray about it. Do it.

I also encourage you to click here and listen to the podcast of Pastor Jeff Burnett's messaged titled "Heart for Missions." It's dated 10-13-2013.

Friday, October 11, 2013

LIA fleet gets new look

Our LIA fleet is sporting a new look. After years of not having decals, we decided to go for it.

Sherwood Signs here in Dothan, Ala., does great work at very affordable prices, and they did a terrific job putting our new LIA logo on our 15-passenger van, 14-foot box truck and cargo trailer. 

Here are photos:

 So, when you see us driving around Dothan or other areas in the Wiregrass, or as we travel for a mission trip in the U.S., say a prayer that God will use us for His glory wherever He is leading us.

Thanks and God bless.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Homeless man saved

Bro. Rick with Michael, a homeless man who decided yesterday to follow Jesus.

Michael enjoying a delicious meal that Sis. Martha bought for him.

His trek started in Sarasota, Fla. ... by foot. It took about three weeks, but he finally made it to Lake City, Fla. His goal? To make it to Texas to take care of his sick uncle. A man picked him up and brought him to Dothan so he could purchase Michael a bus ticket. However, the bus station was closed and the man couldn't stay. Michael thanked him and started looking for work. He couldn't find anything, so he started asking for help. He couldn't find any, and then someone said, "Go to Love In Action and ask for Ken Tuck."

Michael did. As he walked up to LIA's office, he met a kind man with long hair. He asked, "Are you Ken?" Bro. Rick said, "No, but you're at the right place." Rick had just got home the previous morning from a two-week mission trip to Africa, but Rick is a true evangelist; he shares Jesus with everyone he meets.

Michael explained to Rick all of his problems and how nothing had worked out. He said he prayed to God, but things only got worse. Rick then asked him, "Do you know who God is?" Michael's replied, "Well, God is God." Rick then explained to him about Jesus and how he needed a personal relationship with God's only Son. Michael said he would like that, so Rick prayed with him and Michael made the decision to follow Jesus.

Rick gathered up some clothes for Michael at LIA, and packaged him up some food and hygiene items. We had two bagged lunches leftover from the Tuesday night bus outreach, so he gave Michael those as well. Then another wonderful LIA volunteer, Sis. Martha, came and they took Michael to a restaurant for lunch. Then, Rick took him to the bus station where he purchased Michael a ticket home.

Michael cried tears of joy and understood that he had a real encounter with Jesus. Rick called Ken and told him what was going on and then handed the phone to our new homeless friend. Michael said he was ready to crawl in a hole and forget about everything until he met Rick. Ken assured him that Jesus didn't want him to be in a hole and that Jesus had good plans for him. Michael said, "I can see that."

Praise God for bringing Michael to us, and praise God for willing and faithful servants like Rick and Martha. Spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ through acts of compassion is what we do at LIA, and our awesome team shows the love of Christ to everyone. It's His love that changes people's eternal destiny.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Opportunities to spread the Gospel

Jesus is very clear in what He expects us to do as 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)

And, in Matthew 24:14, Jesus says, "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."

It's easy to see Jesus wants us to proclaim His good news to every nation ... tribe ... people group. At Love In Action, we are responding to His call.

Locally we are reaching the homeless, the needy, those incarcerated, and bringing awareness to the horrible injustice of human trafficking. Nationally, we are working with churches and ministries to reach the homeless in cities like Atlanta, Baton Rouge, New Orleans and New York.

Internationally, we are reaching unreached people groups. This is the greatest opportunity to fulfill the Great Commission.

In the Philippines, unreached Muslim people groups are coming to Jesus by the hundreds. In the past two years, thousands have converted and are now following Jesus. Three Imams have given their lives to Jesus and converted mosques into churches. New believers are surrendering their lives to be full-time pastors and missionaries to reach more who have never heard the Gospel. One Filipino believer recently made the decision to serve Jesus in Malaysia.

We need sponsors for our indigenous pastors and money to build churches. We can sponsor indigenous pastors for $100 a month, and we can build four churches today for a total of $5,000. That's it. That's all it costs to continue fanning the flames of revival and advancing the God's kingdom.

In Myanmar, we are reaching a population of 40 million people who have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We partner with a small Christian college called Grace Theological College. We need five sponsors beginning in January 2014 to sponsor those graduating, so they can go out into the mission field of Myanmar.

Unreached Buddhists are already responding to the Gospel in Myanmar and attending church, because they want to know more about Jesus.

In Haiti, we are halfway to our goal of $8,000 to build a church in the middle of a Voodoo village. It will be the first church in that area, and we will reach thousands of people deceived by the devil.

In Pakistan, indigenous pastors and missionaries are making great strides proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but they need our help. Life is very tough there, but we can make a difference.

How can you help? By praying and giving financially. For just $100 a month, you, your family, small group, Sunday school class or church can sponsor pastors in the Philippines, Myanmar and Pakistan. You can give toward building churches in the Philippines and Haiti. You can give to provide Bibles, fresh water hand pumps and food for orphans and widows in Pakistan.

Please let Jesus touch your heart now and give to help us spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the nations. Mail your tax deductible donation to: Love In Action International Ministries, P.O. Box 85, Dothan, AL 36302. In the memo of the check write what you want it to go toward. For example, "Monthly Philippine or Myanmar Pastor Support," "Philippine or Haiti Church," and "Pakistan."

You can also give online by clicking here and then clicking on "Make A Donation."It's through PayPal, so please add 3 percent to your gift if you can to help cover the fees.

Together we can make an even greater difference for the kingdom of God. Please give today and please become a monthly contributor. Thank you and may God greatly bless you and your family.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Word of God totally transforming lives of the unreached

What happens when you reach unreached people groups with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, plant churches and make disciples? Potential military conflicts end before they begin, and men in religions that believe in multiple wives realize that is wrong and that they should be married to just one woman.

This is what's happening in the Philippines. I will keep the area anonymous for safety reasons, but there are some amazing things happening in the Muslim region of the Philippines.

A couple of months ago, we were able to send some LIA Philippines indigenous pastors to an island in a Muslim region to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a previously unreached people group called Bajau (also spelled Badjaw or Bajao).  They are also called "Sea Gypsies." Fifty-two Badjaws made decisions for Jesus and then immediately started telling others in their tribe about their new Lord and Savior.

Thanks to great response from LIA supporters, we were able to build a center for them. In their region, Christians are persecuted, so they meet silently, but they share their new-found faith with great joy and compassion.

When a Muslim rebel group attacked Zamboanga City on the island of Mindanao, the group also planned to carry out a similar attack on the island where this tribe of the Badjaws  live. However, the rebels' plan failed because the Badjaws would not support them, because the Gospel transformed their hearts and minds. They want the life that Jesus gives, not the death and destructive ways of the Muslim rebels.

Another unique situation has now developed among the Badjaws. The husbands are now leaving their second and third wives because they know it is not right to have more than one wife.

Their lives are being totally transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Please pray for our pastors there for wisdom on how to properly guide and help the Badjaws with this situation. We want to help them with their decisions, and at the same time keep the women safe and living for Jesus.

We are now in need of another center in a second area for the Badjaws as the revival continues to spread among this previously unreached people group. Also, three different municipalities have donated land for us to build churches. That's four new churches that we can build right now if we had $5,000. That's it. That's all it costs to construct four church buildings.

Can you help? Can your church, Sunday school class, small group or family help? When we plant these churches, it gives these new Christians places to meet to learn the Gospel of Jesus Christ together and reach even more in those areas.

We have missionaries in training who are willing and ready to move to these areas to pastor and disciple these new Christians.

Please help us for the sake of souls to build these four churches.

You can mail your tax-deductible checks to: Love In Action International Ministries, P.O. Box 85, Dothan, AL 36302. Please write "Philippines church plants" in the memo of your checks.
Or, you can give online by clicking here and then clicking on the "Make A Donation" button. This will allow you to donate via our PayPal account. Please note "Philippines church plants" on your donation.

Your gift will help to totally transform lives for the glory of God. You will definitely be storing up treasure in Heaven. (Matthew 6:20)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Previously unreached people in Myanmar attending church service for first time

15 people in this photo were previously unreached, and they were attending their first church service. Praise God! This is fruit of Bro. Solomon's labor. Solomon is LIA's first sponsored indigenous missionary in the country of Myanmar where 40 million people have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Previously unreached people in Myanmar are pictured here with church leaders at Inland Gospel Outreach Mission Church in Yangon after their first church service.
Click here for a slide show from Inland Gospel Outreach Mission Church in Yangon, Myanmar. We praise God for the work our indigenous brothers and sisters are doing there. What a great privilege it is to serve Jesus with them.

Myanmar is a Third World country with more than 40 million people who have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it's a country where Love In Action is working to tell those unreached people groups about the wonderful love of Jesus Christ.

We are working with our wonderful indigenous friends and partners, Grace Theological  College in Yangon, Myanmar. GTC trains students to become missionaries and pastors to reach their country. We have partnered with them to help teach and train the students, and support them as they enter the mission field.

LIA President and Vice President Ken and Martha Tuck are excited about visiting our friends in Myanmar in January 2014. Ken will teach the students and preach at Inland Gospel Outreach Mission Church  in Yangon, and Ken and Martha will work hand-in-hand with our Myanmar brothers and sisters to reach the lost and unreached in their area.

Earlier this year, LIA started sponsoring our first indigenous Myanmar missionary who was a recent graduate of GTC. Bro. Solomon has been doing a great job of reaching out to the unreached in and around Yangon, the capital city of Myanmar. His job isn't easy, but he keeps going forward in Jesus.

He started reaching out to the children, as they are very receptive to hear about Jesus. Through reaching the children, he is now reaching adults. This past Sunday, 15 people from a village Bro. Solomon has been ministering in came to Inland Gospel Outreach Mission Church for their morning service. The church rented a truck to pick them up. Praise God! Previously unreached people in church hearing more about Jesus after Bro. Solomon planted the seeds.

This coming January, two more students will graduate GTC. Ken is honored to be the guest feature speaker at the graduation. It would be great if Ken could present to those five indigenous students with sponsorship letters stating they will receive $100 a month each as they work in the mission field.

Will you help us? Beginning in January, we need commitments to sponsor these five graduates. It's just $100 a month to sponsor a new missionary. Can you imagine the encouragement these students will enter the mission field with knowing that Christians in America are praying and financially supporting them?

Please help us. Our brothers and sisters need our help to reach the unreached people in Myanmar. If people don't know about Jesus, they can't respond to His love and salvation. The unreached need to be reach to save them from an eternal  Hell.