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Tag Archives: Addiction

Meet John Burke.


This past Friday was a pretty incredible day in ministry for me and The Knead. As many of you probably already know, we have the joy and privilege of serving in recovery and reentry ministry through a collaborative effort called the Hope Road Project. I just wanted to take a few minutes to share more about The Knead and this effort by introducing you to my friend, John Burke.

We officially launched The Knead last December and it’s with a great sense of excitement and anticipation that we give this update. John was one of our very first clients that began with us nearly 10 months ago. Under the direction of Charles Hickman, this journey started. John knew nothing of baking and cooking other than that which involved the chemistry of ‘cooking’ illegal substances. Let’s just say that since December, we’ve seen John changed by the power of the Gospel and he has discovered many transferable skills.

I’m grateful for the many people who have poured into John… too many to name… that have played a role in his second chance. HE IS OUR FIRST SUCCESS STORY! 

This past Friday, John was officially promoted to Kitchen Manager at The Knead and presented with his Baker’s Jacket. He now leads out in the daily operations of lunch and baking. He has also begun the process of mentoring our newest clients and has settled into a crucial leadership role. His responsibilities continue to grow daily. His passion for seeing others experience the same life-change motivates him. Continue to pray for him on this journey! Thanks to the MANY who have made the vision for The Knead become a reality!

Here is a video of that presentation…

Also here is the text of the letter I read from John’s mother during the presentation…

I write this through tears of thanksgiving in the awareness that God is BIG…IN A GOD SIZED WAY! I share your prayer often and use it again now, ‘God, you know the deal!’ and add ‘please hear my heart, not my words’.

I remember when you asked me to find out what it takes for you to go to Mission Missouri. “It’s the best place to go Mom.” I questioned your motives as to what best as viewed through your glasses looked like. It wasn’t quite what you expected when you got there.

You know I believe God has a plan in which we each get to make choices. You know I support your good choices.

You told me you thought church with this ‘pretty cool’ pastor that comes by The Mission would be good. YAY! So you won’t have ‘forced worship’ with a ‘bunch of DUDES’. I just shook my head, OKAY! I laugh in hind-sight. Have I mentioned God is BIG!!

Even from as far away as I am I start to see changes. Church Saturday night so you can sleep in on Sunday turned into church on Saturday night AND Sunday morning! Then I hear about this thing called ‘Fight Club’. I implode thinking ALL the wrong stuff. I finally ask you about it. You giggle and tell me it’s a ‘secret’. I experienced the ‘PEACE THAT PASSES UNDERSTANDING’ scripture talks about. Later I hear it’s your men’s group. Then you tell me about what I now know to be GO GROUP! OMG! WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO MY SON!! (Conviction in a completely different way! 🙂

In the mean-time you were working in a job you were frustrated with. You no longer found a negative environment something you wanted to engage in. Pastor Chad offered you an opportunity to ‘help out’ at THE KNEAD and you took it. I noticed you rarely curse anymore! WEIRD!

Something really strange started to happen. You were edgy, fidgety like a caged wild animal. You shared that THE KNEAD needed you and you loved it. The paying job kept you angry and frustrated. How could you leave a job for money to work full time at THE KNEAD? “Mom, does that sound like me?! NO! Well, that’s what I’m doing! Who would EVER believe that?”

I have felt for many years that God was using your poor choices to mentor you for some great work in His name. I have also felt that a GOOD male role model in your life would have made such a huge difference. What does God do? He gives you an entire Bible centered fraternity of members as strong-willed and opinionated as you are! WOW! I am just overwhelmed. Add their families to the bunch and the relationships you have built with amazing people who love you right where you are!

I have heard humility as you shared through your tears the impact THE KNEAD has on yourself, the community of Sikeston and the clients it serves on both sides of the counter. Through your tears I hear your fear of disappointing Pastor Chad, Pastor Chas, Jodi, or Tim. Claim your God-given power son. You are an amazing man! God has carried you from convict to community leader! BIG? YES!

Everyone knows how you love word plays! You had a need. The Knead filled it. Now you knead every day. What you knead fills a need. What was fed to you was far more than bread. It was the Bread of Eternal Life. Your testimony serves the Bread to others.

You truly are living your purpose: ‘John Burke is a proud, successful man helping others by listening to what they have to say.’

I am so proud of you! I love you!!



Holy Spirit

For the past two weeks I’ve been leading our church through a series about the person of the Holy Spirit… I truly believe that we will not see the Biblical mission of the church carried out and the world changed apart from the POWER of the Holy Spirit.

We have accessible to us the same Holy Spirit POWER that enabled the virgin Mary to conceive the Son of God and the same Holy Spirit POWER that raised Christ Jesus from the dead.

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. — Luke 1:34-35

The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord. — Romans 1:3-4

When we yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit within us… We give Him freedom to do what we are POWERLESS to do on our own. Here is a REAL testimony and example from our weekend worship service… this could not have happened apart from the Holy Spirit.

As I was standing at the door following our worship service a man shared with me that he did something that he could not explain other than it was the prompting of the Holy Spirit. He said, “Throughout the service I felt the Holy Spirit telling me to say something to the young lady in front of me, but I didn’t know who she was.” He battled with it through the service, but his faith in the Holy Spirit gave him assurance that he was to share a message with her.

So, after church he politely asked her if she had a minute and spoke these words to her… “You ARE a beautiful woman and you are going to be the best mother and give your children the childhood you always wished you had.” Pretty simple, right? To him it was nothing earth shattering.

However, when he asked me who she was and told me what the Holy Spirit prompted him to share… IT WAS A SIGNIFICANT WORD FOR HER. You see, this young lady was here for the first time in months and has been battling an addiction to heroine. She hasn’t felt beautiful in years. Also, this young lady had been adopted. He didn’t know these things… he just trusted the Holy Spirit.

As if that wasn’t awesome enough… I received a text message after church from this young lady’s mother. This is what it said… “God is so amazing! Someone had a word for my daughter that was right on target! I don’t really remember, but I don’t even think you knew about this. My daughter had been pregnant and she aborted the baby for health concerns for her and the baby (the addiction had much to do with this)… the baby was due this month. It blew her away… she told me that she had to get away from him before she started sobbing. We serve an awesome God!”

Let me remind you of the simple yet POWERFUL word that God had for this young lady… that she would have missed if this gentleman had not been listening to the Holy Spirit. “You ARE a beautiful woman and you are going to be the best mother and give your children the childhood you always wished you had.”

Will you listen to the Holy Spirit today?



I’m super excited about this ministry…

Please join us in praying as we continue to hear from God and obediently launch The Knead.

It is the MISSION of THE KNEAD to be a catalyst for AUTHENTIC LIFE-CHANGE for those in our community that find it virtually impossible to secure mainstream employment and struggle with traditional support services.

Because ALL people MATTER we thoroughly assess needs and respond by ministering to the WHOLE person. We do this with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and through LOVING relationships ALL for GOD’S GLORY.

SPECIFIC PRAYER: Pray for us as we close on the facility that will house The Knead on May 1st… Then we will be in full swing transforming it to open in August.


On Sunday afternoon I drove on to the church parking lot for what I thought would be our regular leadership meeting… However, I would soon discover that it would NOT be a regular meeting… it would be a LIFE-CHANGING meeting! You see, when I arrived there was a lady standing in the lobby having a conversation with one of our church leaders and I thought very little about it… I spoke and continued on to prepare for our meeting. When it was time to start our meeting this lady was seated at the table with a Bible as if she were ready for something other than a leadership meeting about a church that she knew NOTHING about. I took my seat and just trusted that God was up to something.

Once we all sat down, Tim introduced us to our “guest” who had joined us… they had met earlier in the day following our morning worship… she pulled in the parking lot to inquire about evening services. Tim explained that we did not have evening worship, but that she was welcome to come back at 4pm to meet the pastor and our the leadership of the church. To his surprise… SHE CAME BACK!

Over the next few minutes we shared the Terra Nova vision and answered questions about our church. Then something happened… she began to cry… and this was her story…

She had gotten up to go to church… a friend had told her about Terra Nova Church, but she could not remember the name of the church… She went to another local church Sunday morning, but left with the same burden and lack of desire to even live… she left with the same hurt and same pain that she went in with.

I’m gonna stop here for a second to remind ALL OF US… be on guard… look for hurting people… don’t be so consumed with doing church that we forget to be the church… this lady showed obvious outward signs of struggle… she needed the body of Christ to minister LIFE to her… she was looking for healing and hope! The kind that ONLY comes from Jesus!

Realizing that she probably didn’t attend the church her friend recommended, she called her immediately following her Sunday morning worship experience. Her friend gave her the name, Terra Nova Church. It just so happened that she was driving through town on Malone heading to the store when she saw the Terra Nova Church sign. She pulled in just to see if she could find out about worship… it was then that she met Tim and he invited her to our meeting.

Through the tears she told us that she was a believer and that she had faithfully attended church many years back. She actually worked in the church office and her husband was in leadership. There use to be joy. Then something happened at church (you know… when people take their eyes off Jesus) that created hurt, mistrust, and resentment. In the years that followed she not only stopped going to church, but sought to use alcohol to mask and hide pain. She said, “Today I’m an alcoholic, a raging alcoholic!”

This past weekend she hit rock bottom! She made it very clear that if she didn’t find help and hope she had every intention of taking her life. When she pulled in the parking lot at Terra Nova Church… that was her last-ditch effort. We explained that our church existed for people just like her… all the while she politely tried to let us get on with our meeting. Praise God for men on our team that are more concerned about people than business! For over an hour we encouraged her with the HOPE OF JESUS and just loved her and prayed over her.

Finally, I asked what she was doing on Tuesday evening and asked if she was seriously ready for LIFE-CHANGE… and invited her to attend Celebrate Recovery… I even committed to pick her up and go with her… Again, with tears in her eyes… she said, “YES! I’M READY… Pick me up!”

So, tonight I’m headed to Celebrate Recovery… pray for God to break the stronghold of addiction and to set my new friend FREE tonight! Also, keep your eyes open today… someone’s life may very well be counting on YOU!

BE WATCHING FOR A FUTURE POST — Celebrate Recovery is coming to Terra Nova Church!