Friday, October 11, 2019

From The Inside Out

“The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” Luke 6:45

My friend asked, “How does the evangelist equip the saints to do the work of service as described in Ephesians 4?”

First, evangelists equip the saints by being examples. Paul wrote to the elders in Ephesus, “prove yourselves to be examples to the flock.”.  Evangelists model a heart for the lost. People are inspired by examples, stories from your life, and your experience. They want to see how it can be done. They need to know they can do it too.

Second, evangelists equip the saints when they enjoy developing of relationships with unbelievers and celebrate when others do the same. They will share how they showed love, served, and built a friendship with their non-Christian friends. This “pre-gospel” work is essential in preparing the hearts of unbelievers to receive the truth of the gospel. As Zig Ziglar said, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care, about them.” Being a good witness begins with a sincere love for those God brings into your life. If you sincerely care about them, are honest and humble, they will listen.

Finally, evangelists pray. They ask God to draw people to Himself, convict of sin, and to change hearts. They will usually pray for them by name and encourage others to do likewise.

We can attempt to equip the saints from the outside in by being overly reliant on programs, or we can ask God to speak to their hearts, working from the inside out. We can guilt believers into sharing the gospel, “If you are a good Christian, you will share the gospel.” We can work from the outside, hoping that God will change their heart. Or, we can connect people with Christ, and allow Him to reveal to them His love for a lost world. Once someone connects with the Lord Jesus, they will never be the same.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Are You A Watchman?

“Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me.”
Ezekiel 33:7

Did you know that it is God’s will for your life to be a watchman and warn unbelievers? God has commissioned all His children to go and preach to gospel to the entire world. He loves every person He created and longs to restore their relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul stated his life’s purpose “We proclaim Him (Christ), admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose I labor, striving according to His power which mightily works within me.” Colossians 1:28. The word “admonish” means to warn.

We should warn the unbeliever about the judgment of God that is coming if they refuse to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. Are you warning your friends, classmates, neighbors and coworkers of the judgment to come, or are you spiritually asleep? Jesus warned people. “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”  Jesus proclaimed God’s love and His judgment. We all know John 3:16 about His love for mankind and offer of eternal life. But, do we finish the message with all of Christ’s words? “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:17 I think many may not coming to Christ today because we are afraid to warn them of His judgment. They think, “All is well!” and do not see their serious problem of offending a holy God.

Do not let the PC crowd make you afraid of doing what is right and loving. Let us be faithful watchmen and warn our friends of God’s impending judgment and call them to repentance. Ask God to move you by His love to “preach Christ crucified” with boldness and prepare their hearts to receive the truth.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Nelson Newsletter - September 2019

“Who does great things, [beyond understanding,] unfathomable, yes, marvelous and wondrous things without number.” Job 9:10 Amplified

Dear Saints, we pray you are giving God a chance to show you the marvelous things that Job spoke about. He wants to do wondrous things in your heart and through you for others. Here are some of the marvelous things He has been doing with us recently…
Atlanta House Church Our church is seeing God do wondrous things! Growing in faith comes from trusting God with the tests, trails, and responsibilities. Grace & Ward have been tested by fostering twin boys, who are now 3 months old. 😊 Danelle has been at their house several days a week helping Grace get some rest. The boys are beginning to sleep longer. Yeah! Recently, Grace & Ward’s AC died, adding to their challenges. It has been in the 90’s for weeks with no end in sight! They are thankful the new unit being installed this week. Praise God! Our church is also reading The Meaning of Marriage, by Timothy Keller. We highly recommend it!!!

St. Petersburg Church Danelle and I returned to St. Petersburg August 16 -18 for a workshop on living as the New Testament Church. (photo below) It was an excellent time together reading in Corinthians and discussing how to apply it. A group of them have decided to meet as a house church, love one another, and reach out to their community with the gospel. They are excited, united, learning, growing, and enjoying the journey! Danelle and I stay in touch with Jon and Pam Trunk with phone calls and Skype. Please pray with us for them to keep trusting God.

Virginia Church Plant Our daughter, Stephanie, and her husband, David, moved to Virginia Beach a month ago with their 4 children. They have already met several people interested in fellowship. One couple has come the past 3 weeks! They want to start a house church there.

Prayer & Praise
1. Atlanta House Church Pray for our marriages to grow in Christ and be an aroma of Him to our communities. Pray for God’s strength for Grace and Ward. Ask God to bring people to Christ.
2. St. Petersburg Church Danelle and I need discernment and wisdom to build into this church. Pray for them to expect God to do “marvelous and wondrous things” in & through them.
3. Virginia Church Plant Pray for David and Stephanie to love people to Jesus. Pray for this new couple to unite with them to reach people and to grow in Christ together as His church.
4. Young Couples Danelle and I have been counseling 3 young couples who are all getting married this fall. Please pray we would help prepare them for marriage. Pray for them to all find close fellowship in the new places they will be living and to have Christ-centered marriages.

Thank you for your support and prayers,         

Steve & Danelle   

                            11002 Lake Hart Dr, Suite 100, Orlando, FL 32832

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Nelson Newsletter - August 2019

Dear Partners,

Secure In China! A Chinese friend of ours, who was in grad school at Clemson University for a few years, moved back home last year. Recently, she contacted me requesting a copy of Secure In An Insecure World in Russian. Yes, Russian! (It’s also in Spanish!) She met Andrey and wants him to hear the good news of life in Christ in his own language. She thought my book would help him understand that life is in Jesus, not in a woman/wife. We prayed for a way to get the book to him and God provided. She got it a week ago and plans to give it to Andrey soon, if she hasn’t already. Pray for his salvation and for our friend and her fellow Christians to continue spreading the good news!

St. Pete Conference Danelle and I will be leading a conference August 16-18 in St. Petersburg for the church as they seek the Lord and His plan for them. We will look at what the Word of God says about change, Christ’s headship of church, what the church is, discipleship, leadership, and being on mission together. Your prayers will make all the difference in our time!

Atlanta House Church The summer has been busy for our church members with vacations, Grace & Ward fostering twins, and­­­ speaking engagements. Danelle and I visited her family in Pittsburgh where we enjoyed meaningful times of sweet fellowship and ate too much. Then we drove to see our daughter, Stephanie, and her family in Virginia. Julie, Jasper, and Emilia Dewey came down from NYC to join us. We all worked hard for several days getting them settled in their new place. We installed ceiling fans, hung window treatments, repaired items broken from the move, and even built a chicken coop for David’s aunt! Yes, we did relax and have fun together at the beach with the 6 grandchildren the last day. 😊 Our church is still adjusting to several precious single ladies leaving. The good news is that they all seem to be doing well in the Lord and connecting with Christians in their new cities. Pray for ATC members to be moved by Christ’s love to build quality friendships and share the gospel with unbelievers. Thank you!

                                     Prayer & Praise
1. Virginia Ask God to give David & Stephanie people with hearts for God who ­­­are humble and gather as a house church in Portsmouth. Pray for opportunities to share the gospel with unbelievers and for the Spirit of God to touch hearts and change lives!
Image may contain: 7 people, including Stephanie Nelson Shirley and David Garfield Shirley, people smiling, people standing, sky, ocean, stripes and outdoor

2. St. Petersburg Church. Danelle and I are returning August 16-18 to teach the church and discuss God’s purpose, the church, and how they can follow Christ together. Pray for teachable hearts and a willingness to change & make disciples in simple, organic ways.
3. Grace & Ward Pray for them as they foster the twin boys! They need strength & sleep!

We appreciate your prayers,        
    Steve & Danelle   

 GCM Home (Please visit this website if you wish to support our work. Thank you!)

11002 Lake Hart Dr, Suite 100, Orlando, FL 32832   

Love & Discipline

For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears; not so that you would be made sorrowful, but that you might know the love which I have especially for you. - 2 Corinthians 2:4
My friend seemed resigned to the students constantly using their cell phones in the high school classroom as the new normal. I was shocked to hear about the pandemonium and lack of discipline. He was doing his best to teach. He said he had given up on many of his pupils and was simply trying to help those who wanted to learn amidst the chaos. It was truly sad and heartbreaking. Discipline had left the building . . . and it didn’t seem like it was ever coming back!
Some of us equate discipline with inhibiting someone’s freedom of expression or infringing on their rights. But as in the situation in this classroom, some may have felt free to text, while the rights of the other students to learn were ignored! Funny how it works that way, isn’t it? Those who complain the loudest about discipline are usually the most inconsiderate of other’s rights.
My mother, brother, and myself
The apostle Paul had a similar situation where discipline was difficult, but necessary. You see, he loved the Corinthians enough to correct them. Discipline done properly is just that—love! It is not meant to be hateful or disrespectful of anyone’s rights. It is for the good of all! Discipline done God’s way is always a win—win for all. It worked in Corinth, and it can work with you.
Follow God’s loving way of discipline next time you face a trial: receive it with joy and thankfulness because His purpose is always for your good. Ask Him for gentleness and kindness when you need to correct your children for misbehaving, or a friend who has sinned, and for an open and teachable heart when you are corrected as well.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Nelson Newsletter - July 2019

Dear Partners,
Atlanta House Church Have you noticed how God often uses our past to strengthen us in the present and give us hope for our future? We want to “look back” for your edification by sharing these words from our former church members, Ana Groff and Cathlyn Yong. Ana wrote, “Being a part of the ATL house church was home for me and moving away has made me miss it. I knew that I was meeting with an awesome group of godly people. We knew one another’s struggles and joys and were encouraged by praying for each other. I loved the intimate experience of reading God's word together and seeing how He showed each of us how to apply it. I felt so supported in my journey with God and reaching others and hope to find something similar in AZ.” Cathlyn said, “Praying is a struggle for me because it requires me to acknowledge that I am weak and I need the Lord's help. I became a part of the AHC in March of this year. During the past four months with the AHC, I have been encouraged to pray more and to pray all the time every day. It is humbling to see how grateful the church is, with persistent thanksgiving and petition of request to the Lord, even though some church member had faced the same challenge for months or years. Not only the church gives thanks for God's provision, but most importantly for our salvation through the blood of Jesus. Because of that, I have learned to admire the character of God, to have joy in my salvation, and to pray more.” We will miss them greatly!

National Pastors Conference The pastors had an excellent time of fellowship and teaching last month in Minneapolis. Peter Scazzero spoke to us about the Emotionally Healthy Leader. Very practical & helpful! A highlight for me is catching up with dear friends who have been faithfully serving Christ for decades. Here is a photo with pastors Dennis Clark and Seth Rosenzweig.

            Prayer & Praise
1. Pittsburgh & Virginia Ask God to give Danelle and I grace for our trip July 18-28. We will visit Danelle’s family in Pittsburgh and then travel to Virginia to see the Shirleys. Pray for Spirit-led conversations with her family. Then we plan to discuss and pray with David & Stephanie about starting a house church in Portsmouth. Julie and her two girls will drive down from NYC to meet us in Virginia. Pray for fun and meaningful times with the 6 grandchildren as well. Pray too for safe travels & quality time with Danelle.  

2. St. Petersburg Church. Danelle and I are returning August 9-11 for a weekend with the church teaching and discussing God’s purpose, the church, and how they can follow Christ together. Pray for teachable hearts willing to change & make disciples in simple, organic ways.

3. Grace & Ward Pray for them as they foster infant twin boys! They need God's supernatural strength & sleep!

We are deeply grateful for your prayers,      
    Steve & Danelle   

                        11002 Lake Hart Dr, Suite 100, Orlando, FL 32832

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Mocking Miracles

 They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born?.. we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.” And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.” Acts 2:7-8, 12-13
There will always be those who mock the miracles of God as these Jews mocked these Spirit-filled Christians in Jerusalem. As we all know, drunkards don’t speak clear, intelligible language, nor do they typically praise God. It was 9 a.m. and any drunkards most likely were hung over from the night before, or still sleeping. In addition, there were over a dozen different languages from outside Israel being spoken intelligibly by these new Christians who were all Galileans. Therefore, they would not know these languages. It was miraculous!
Some will try to explain away the works of God in your life instead of acknowledging the acts of the Almighty. If you prayed to God, and a friend was healed, a marriage was restored, or someone’s life was supernaturally changed, some will mock. They may blow off your credit to God by rationalizing or using science. After all, what is more powerful than the human mind and science? But don’t give in. Instead, “Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts” (2 Peter 3:3).
Expect to be mocked as these Christians were. Don’t fall for the false narrative when a true miracle has occurred. Remember, God can and will use the professionals, the doctors, and the scientists to perform His miracles. He will also do mighty deeds that are beyond science or logic. Expect Him to do miracles in your life today!