Saturday, July 30, 2016

Great Team LIA meeting today

Martha and I want to thank everyone for coming to this morning's LIA volunteers meeting. We had a great crowd with 22 people there.

For those who were unable to attend, here are the highlights:
- We are moving forward with renovation projects. We are turning Suite 4 into a warehouse for storage. The front of Suite 4 will be an extension of our clothing section, to include clothes for children.
- We must repair the roof on our two-story building before renovating Suites 5 & 7. We are looking at turning Suite 5 into office and meeting spaces for other ministries. Our plan for Suite 7 is turn it into an educational suite to provide job training and educational opportunities for the people we serve, as well as discipleship training classes.
- We must replace HVAC units on top of both buildings - one each for suites 2, 3, 5 & 7, and we need one for suite 4.
- We need to make roof repairs on our one-story building.
- We are going to reopen the coffee shop where Dakota was located. LIA owns that building. We are at the planning stage for it. It will be a place for people to connect ... connect with God, with each other, with LIA and with LIA's missionaries and indigenous pastors and schools around the world. We will train the homeless and the needy in the hospitality industry. It will be a job to help them improve their lives, but it will also be a place for them to learn and grow to move on to bigger and better jobs in the hospitality industry.
- Team LIA spent the rest of the morning cleaning the coffee shop. It was the first cleaning. That shop hasn't been used in a couple of years.
- Help us expand by continuing to serve, by sharing from information on our Facebook page, Twitter feed and other social media on your social media pages, feeds, statuses, etc. The more we share, the more people learn what God is doing through LIA.
- If you know people in businesses such as HVAC, plumbing, electric, roofing, etc., please tell them about our needs and connect us.
- Please give and ask people to give toward our building fund, so we can accomplish everything.
- If you do not receive our electronic newsletter called "LIA Update," please send me your email address. Please share the newsletters with others through Facebook, email, etc.
- We will hold a big yard sale Sept. 23-24 at LIA to raise money for our building fund. We are asking for good items for the yard sale. We will also sell Boston butts that day. We will pre-sell them.
Martha and I thank all of you for serving at LIA. Hundreds of lives are being touched by the love of Jesus, because of each of you. People are being saved, encouraged, and they are having their physical needs met. Each of you are also growing in the Lord. We are growing together. Thank you.
May God continue to bless all of you and your families.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Time to Expand at LIA

When we moved into our current location on West Main Street in downtown Dothan we said we would be able to expand certain ministries, and start new ones, as we were able to renovate the building. And, glory to God, we have done that with our buildings, which are made up of seven suites.

When we renovated suite 3, it became the Samaritan Clinic at LIA. The volunteer medical staff has a real medical clinic to work out of. We have numerous medical exam rooms, a dental exam room with equipment, and a pharmacy.

Once extensive renovations were completed in suite 6, it became our main ministry area with  a shower and laundry services for the homeless, clothing rooms for men and women, food pantry, hygiene pantry, and a warming kitchen.The number of people we are blessed to help in that suite numbers in the hundreds. The front room is also used for our Wednesday night Bible studies.

We have started a new outreach to low-rent hotels, which has turned out to be an excellent outreach. There are a lot of hurting people out there who need the encouragement of knowing someone cares about them.

Now we are ready to expand again at our current facility, but we need your help. We are going to turn suite 4 into a warehouse. We have been in desperate need for storage for clothes, furniture and appliances to help people in need. We will also expand our clothing options to include a children's section.

The two upstairs suites will be turned into more of a classroom setting for teaching and distance learning opportunities, as well as offices for other ministries.

However, before we begin on that expansion, and to protect our one-story building, we need to have extensive roof work done and HVAC units replaced. This is not cheap, so we have started a building fund.

To replace five HVAC units, which will include the use of a crane, it will cost $24,000. Re-roofing the single story building will cost $48,365, and the roof on the two-story building will cost $20,380. The total for the roofs and HVAC units comes to $92,745.

That amount is large, but it's not too big for our God. We pray He touches hearts who can help us financially and/or through donations of supplies and labor.

Please pray how you can help us. To donate financially for our building fund, please mail your tax-deductible donation to: Love In Action International Ministries, P.O. Box 85, Dothan, AL 36302 and write "Building Fund" on the memo of your check Or, you can donate online by clicking here and then click on the "Make A Donation" button. Please make note that it is for our "Building Fund."

Thank you and God bless you. Please keep us in your prayers.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

There is still Good News in this world

Team LIA volunteer Gia Hughes gives a child
a big hug during a recent outreach to local low-rent
hotels in Dothan, Ala.
Every day the headlines and news channels are filled with news about violence, hatred, and corruption. A person can easily become depressed and discouraged keeping up with the news. It can leave one wondering, is there any good news anywhere in the world?

The answer is yes. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is still the Good News, and it's still being spread throughout communities in the U.S. and the world through Love In Action.

Those who serve with LIA do so beautifully. In a world that's seemingly growing more and more violent and filled with hate, Team LIA allows the love of Jesus to flow through them. Does it make a difference? You betcha.

I have seen some of the hardest, meanest people come to Jesus because of showing His love to them. We've been cussed and talked down about, but instead of hating and rejecting them, we decided to keep loving them. Sometimes it's not easy, but it's a choice. Our choice. Do we reject people or do we reject the real enemy, which is Satan.

God tells us in Ephesians 6:12, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."

In other words, it's not the person we are at odds with. It's Satan. If we all remember that, it's easier to show love to people, even those who hate us. That's the way Jesus tells us to act. (Matthew 5:43-45)

LIA has been a ministry for more than 16 years, and I can look back to the first days and see where showing people God's love has made a difference in their lives.

Martha and I were in Barnes & Noble in Dothan, Ala., one night and this young black man yelled my name and ran toward me. I couldn't tell who he was, but there was joy in his voice. He ran up and gave me a huge hug, and then hugged Martha. Then I recognized him. When we first met him, he lived in a rough and impoverished neighborhood in Enterprise, Ala.

We did an Adopt-A-Block outreach in his neighborhood every Saturday, and LIA volunteer Justin Swasey and I would pick him up as well as many other children and adults in an old church van every Sunday.

He told Martha and me that night how much what we did meant to him back then and helped shape his life. He had since graduated high school and was joining the military. The love of Jesus changed his life and given him hope for a better tomorrow despite his surroundings as a child.

The photo above with this blog entry shows one of our wonderful Team LIA members, Gia Hughes, hugging a child during a recent LIA outreach to local low-rent hotels. This photo reflects the epitome of God's love and the ministry of LIA ... always showing forth the love of Jesus. Just look at the photo. Can't you see and feel the love of Jesus emanating through Gia as she embraces this child?

In today's world where racial tensions are ever increasing, this is the kind of news we need to see and read. Color doesn't matter in the family of God for He has created us all equal and loves us all the same, no matter our skin color, economic bracket or what neighborhood or country we live in. We are all His children, therefore, we must all love one another just as our Heavenly Father loves us.

We thank and praise God for all of our awesome volunteers like Gia. We thank everyone for serving so beautifully, allowing the love of Jesus to flow through them into the lives of others in this hurting world. All glory and honor to Jesus.

We encourage Team LIA to continue serving Jesus like this. We encourage those who serve through their churches and other organizations to keep serving. We encourage Christians who are not serving to begin. We encourage all Christians to make serving a lifestyle, not just an event or planned outreach with a group. There's nothing like it.

This world needs the love of Jesus more than ever, and if we don't show them, nobody will.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Let us not waste our freedoms

Happy Fourth of July, everyone. I was originally going to just write a short post on Facebook, but this day deserves much more as I thought more about my post. What awesome opportunities we have as Americans, and what an incredible privilege it is to be an American. Do we actually realize that? I think we usually take it for granted, but let's think about it today.

I thank God for our country and for allowing me to have been born an American. He could have placed me anywhere in the world, but chose to let me be born in the USA. I pray I never take that for granted, and will always use it for His glory.

As Americans, we have riches and freedoms the vast majority of the world can only dream about. We must not waste it. As Christians in America we have been given much, therefore much is required. (Luke 12:48). We need to help those in need, and that includes our fellow Americans and those who are hurting, hungry, sick and lost around the world. God has blessed us with innumerable ways to spread His Gospel throughout the world. Let's don't just look inward, but look outward as well.

That's what Jesus tells us to do in His Great Commission. He says in Matthew 28:19, "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." As Americans we have the means to do this more than any other nation in history. We need not waste this opportunity. As American Christians, it's our responsibility.

As we celebrate this day of independence and freedom, let's be sure to thank God for allowing us to be Americans and for every freedom we enjoy. Let's renew our commitment to living for Him and using these freedoms to bring glory to Him. Let's renew our commitment to helping our fellow Americans who are in need. Let's renew our commitment to carrying out the Great Commission here in the US and around the world.

Let's remember those who serve in our Armed Forces who protect our precious freedoms. Let's remember those who served over the course of American history and who gave their lives to give us and protect our freedoms. We must never take for granted those who put their lives on the line for our sakes and the sake of this great nation.

On this Fourth of July, let's be thankful Americans. It truly is a remarkable day. Our founding fathers knew it. I like what John Adams wrote to his wife about the signing of the Declaration of Independence. He was two days off on his prediction, but his letter reveals the significance and the foresight of those who wrote and signed the Declaration of Independence.

John Adams wrote:"The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."

Those are very profound words. Let's don't take this day for granted. Freedom is a precious thing. Let us not waste it.

Jesus gave us the ultimate freedom of forgiveness from all of our sins and the promise of everlasting life. Let's not take His freedom for granted. Let's thank Him every day and not waste it.

Happy Fourth of July. May God truly bless America again.