Skip navigation

Tag Archives: Celebrate Recovery

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!!




Are you in conversation with the Holy Spirit?


For the past few weeks I’ve been preaching about the Holy Spirit. It has been a great journey and I’ve truly enjoyed watching our church grow in our understanding. The video below is a great and even humorous look into a conversation that we ALL need to have with the Holy Spirit based on Psalm 139.



How would this conversation go for you? Are you growing in your relationship with the Holy Spirit? Take some time to read Psalm 139. Better yet, let Psalm 139 read you!


This weekend at Terra Nova Church I will be sharing about some incredible opportunities for us to BE ALL IN for the sake of the Gospel in our community. We’ve been commanded to do WAY MORE than simply fill seats during a weekend worship experience… We’ve been asked to truly BE ALL IN

We love because he first loved us. — 1 John 4:19

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” — Matthew 28:19-20

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. — Matthew 16:24

Jesus was certainly ALL IN for us…

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. — Romans 5:8

So, as you prepare your heart for this weekend at Terra Nova Church… or just preparing to celebrate the resurrection in a couple weeks… watch this video to discover what ALL IN really looks like.

Are you really ALL in?

Without a doubt, we serve an AWESOME God. I’ve discovered over the past two years that nothing is impossible with Him. He can move mountains, make the sun standstill, heal the sick, reconcile relationships, deliver addicts, and give hope to the hopeless.

Take some time to read Joshua 4:1-24 this week.

In Joshua chapter 4, we can see how God completed the mighty task of bringing the Israelites into the Promised Land. God led the Israelites out of slavery under Pharaoh’s rule and into freedom just as He had promised. Because of the magnitude of what He did, God did not want the Israelites to ever forget what He had done for them. God wanted the Israelites to forever remember the miracle He performed for them and what a mighty and powerful God He is.

Think back for a moment… God has done some pretty amazing things in your life. If you are part of Terra Nova Church, you’ve seen some remarkable things that can only be explain because of the GREATNESS of God. He may have performed a miracle of healing or delivered you from the bondage of an addiction and into your own Promised Land.

Take time today to remember the mighty things God has done for you, your family, and our church family. Praise Him and commit to Him that you will never forget the amazing things He has done for you.

Use the comments section of this blog to GIVE THANKS for the many things that God has done!

This past weekend at Terra Nova Church the message was about walking in a God Size Dream. Too often we as believers sell God short and live way below what He truly desires and intends for us… thus, making less impact and not bearing much real fruit. Let me assure you that God wants to use YOU to change YOUR world… the only thing that will make that happen is ACTION and the only thing that will stop it is YOU… So, go ahead and dream a dream so big that if God doesn’t show up… it’s sure to fail.

During the invitation at the close of each worship service people were encouraged to simply write their GOD DREAM on an index card and drop it in a basket… to submit their dream to God. It was overwhelming to see the dreams of Terra Nova Church… it’s exciting to look ahead and watch God develop both people and their God dream! Be encouraged and join me in praying for the following dreams as we continually strive to point people to Jesus!

The following are actual dreams from the people of Terra Nova Church… My God dream is…

  • to start homeless shelters all over the world
  • to develop a local ministry for law enforcement
  • to raise thousands upon thousands of dollars for 3rd World Countries
  • to develop a home for troubled teens
  • to help girls who have been abandoned by their fathers
  • to adopt or find homes for kids who have no chance
  • to be a Christian artist
  • to start a group at school to help lead kids my age to Christ
  • to write Christian Fiction that reaches people with the message of Jesus
  • to help people in this city with drug addiction
  • to start a school for young people to become pastors
  • to own and operate a Christian Sports Camp
  • to proclaim God’s name to the nations through our coffee business
  • to open a hunting camp for kids with disabilities
  • to partner with overseas orphanages by providing workers
  • to sit with and comfort those who are terminally ill and have no family
  • to spend my life leading people in worship
  • to have worship available 24/7 at Terra Nova Church
  • to help hurt or abused women develop self-worth and self-confidence
  • to open a bakery that creates an environment for ministry
  • to create a free multi-media resource online that helps people grow in Jesus
  • to help people with jobs, housing, counseling, and long-term transition
  • to have a realistic ministry where I help people $20 at a time
  • to reach people in jail, prison, and rehabs
  • to make a difference in the lives of the students I teach
  • to develop “Cards for Kids” with proceeds going to ministry
  • to help married people who are having problems
  • to reach those that are overlooked because of their past or appearance
  • to start an after-school ministry for children


These are just a handful of examples… I’m excited to see how God uses these people and their dreams! At Terra Nova Church we do not do permission based ministry… Another words, you don’t need the church’s permission to make a difference or to change a life with the Gospel… In fact, we are ALL commanded to do so in Scripture! However, at the church level we would love to help and equip people to live out the Great Commission. Basically, it comes down to this… and this is a reminder to my Terra Nova Church family… You can NEVER use the excuse that the church just wouldn’t do anything in this area of ministry because YOU are the church and YOU have the command to ACTION… Go live the GOD DREAM!

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!