Friday, June 29, 2018

Nelson Newsletter

Dear Partners, 
Isn’t it an honor to be Christ’s ambassadors? Wow! Our sins are forgiven, we are children of God, and we are a light to those still in darkness. Here are some recent opportunities we had to be the light of Christ…

Clemson Outreach Danelle and I always enjoy engaging students in discussions about the purpose of life and explaining the good news of Jesus Christ to them. We did just that recently at our alma mater in Clemson along-side our good friends Berk and Barbara Wilson and the LINC team. We also went to support Brian Bridgeman and the student ministry of Clemson Community Church, as well as to help train the students with the LINC program. Hundreds heard God’s plan of salvation and many came to faith the Lord! It was beautiful! Thank you for praying!                      

                       Steve’s teaching on marriage and relationships.

Good News Going Out In Atlanta We are thankful for our church family and their steadfast faith. We have new babies, new homes, and new locations (the Powers in Clarkston) for outreach in Atlanta. We continue to have opportunities to share Christ with folks at the pool where Danelle and I swim. Last week I engaged two ladies in a serious conversation about death to find out they are both believers. One of their husbands probably doesn’t know the Lord yet. Please pray for him! We also shared Christ with a young lady from Kazakhstan a few days ago. She came by our house selling books. Yes, we shared about how to know God personally in both English & Russian. J Pray for Dianna to believe in Christ. She is reading Secure In An Insecure World in Russian. Finally, my son Scott and I recently met Mustafa and his wife, Apear, and their niece, Nour, who are refugees from Syria. We plan to continue to build friendships and to show them The Way. (Update since I wrote this a few days ago: Today they enthusiastically agreed to come over and read stories about Jesus!) Please pray for our church to understand Christ’s love for us which will result in a growing love for one another and for unbelievers.                                                    

                                                                      Alex & Oksana with their new baby Amy                                                                                                                     
                                     Prayer Requests

1. Clemson Outreach Pray for the students who found the light of Christ to grow in their new relationship with Him. Pray for their love for God’s word to result in fruitful lives. Ask God to save even more of those who heard but have not believed yet to see the light.

2. Atlanta Pray for the unbelievers that we are befriending to come to Christ. Pray for us to love Jesus!

3. Family Pray for the upcoming opportunities this summer to build our children and grandchildren’s faith in God.

You are God’s light to us. Thank you!         

Steve & Danelle   

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Has Your Christianity Become Religious?

“Say to all your people and your priests, ‘During these seventy years of exile, when you fasted and mourned in the summer and in early autumn, was it really for me that you were fasting? And even now in your holy festivals, aren’t you eating and drinking just to please yourselves?” Zachariah 7:5-6

We read above how the Jews were very religious – observing the holy festivals, devoutly fasting and mourning. Our first thoughts after reading this might be, “That was impressive. They were devoted to the Lord their God!” On the contrary, the prophet reprimanded them for fasting for selfish reasons!

We too can become religious. Our Christianity has gone sour. Our relationship with God is dead or on life support. Our religious activities have become self-serving and self-centered. We need to get heart right and return to Christ – to the relationship.

The apostle Paul understood the natural human tendency to be distracted from our devotion to Christ when he wrote the Christians in Corinth, “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3. We all default to being self-centered, and sometimes it is disguised with/by religious activity – fasting, prayer, Bible study, mission work, and Christian service.

Ask the Lord to show you your heart. Have you fallen into doing spiritual activities with selfish motives? Have your activities for the Lord become merely routine or self-serving? If so, do not despair or get down on yourself; instead ask Him for the grace to return to your simple and pure devotion to Christ.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Remember...You Were One Of Them!

Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.  – 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Have you ever heard Christians speaking about unbelievers in a way that made you think they were their enemies? Their attitude was one of condescension and condemnation. Compassion was obviously absent from the room. Maybe you have spoken in this way. At times I have been in that camp, where my heart was hardened (in an adversarial mode) towards the lost. What happened to make us so callous?
If we forget our past, we will fail to empathize with those who don’t know the Lord. Not remembering our past creates the “us versus them” mentality. This mentality leads to hostility toward our fellow travelers and condemnation rather than compassion.
Instead you must remember your past life when you were equally selfish, rebellious, sinful, and under God’s wrath. As Paul reminded the Christians in Corinth, “Such were some of you; but you were washed.” Remembering your rebellious and sinful past can help you relate to unbelievers, instead of criticizing them. You will have more compassion for those who are still in darkness, who are held captive by Satan as you once were: “...and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:26).
Remembering where you came from will keep you humble too. All of this will result in more of the lost coming to Jesus for eternal life. That is what God wants!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Nelson Newsletter - May 2018

“Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
Dear Partners,    
We are commanded by our Savior to follow His example and bear one another’s burdens. What does that look like? The love of Christ is manifest in countless ways when we bear the burdens of others. We all have the burdens - stress from work, anxiety about paying bills, worrying about our children, or concern for our lost friends. Praying for one another’s needs, serving one another, listening to one another, as well as encouraging one another to trust the Lord and His word, are a few of the practical ways to bear the burdens of others. As I said, there are innumerable ways to bear on another’s burdens. Here are a few ways the Lord has used us recently to bear the burdens of others. Your prayers and financial support are also ways that the Lord uses to bear our burdens and the burdens of others we serve.

Florida Church Danelle and I visited our friends in Gainesville to help them understand what God desires for them and their house church. God used us to bear their burdens by doing a lot of listening, asking questions, and seeking to understand their needs as couples and families who are on mission together. Danelle and I met with numerous couples for hours to hear their hearts and needs. They are all faithful followers of Jesus who want to please Him and be effective in their communities. Thank you for praying!

Good News Going Out In Atlanta
Here are some people who have heard the gospel in the past few weeks through our church. Kevin - a landscaper. Fallon – a haircutter. Ken - a barista. Finally, some of our family members have heard how to know Christ recently. Pray for the seed (God’s truth) to bear fruit (change lives)! One of these folks recently asked Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior! Praise Him! You bear their burden by praying!
Prayer Requests
1. Gainesville Pray for the Spirit of God to use His word to guide the church & give them confidence to bear one another’s burdens.  Pray for openness to taking steps of faith in God and trying new things.
2. Clemson Outreach Danelle & I will be helping students at the LINC summer training June 3-6. Pray we would bear other’s burdens by teaching and modeling compassion for unbelievers & a heart for Christ.
3. Unbelievers Pray for the unbelievers we mentioned above to come to Christ.

Thank you!                

Steve & Danelle 11002 Lake Hart Dr, Suite 100, Orlando, FL 32832     

Monday, May 14, 2018

How You Start Determines How You Finish

“So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.” Hebrews 3:19

Before I even began my search, I doubted myself. My unbelief totally influenced my search. If it weren’t for God’s grace, the end would have been just as discouraging.

Early one morning I shot a deer with my bow, or at least I thought I did. Immediately after taking the shot, I thought I had missed. When I got down from my tree stand to search for the deer, my doubt totally influenced my search. I was half-hearted. I did a perfunctory walk through the woods with little hope and a ton of self-abasement. What did I do wrong? After beating myself up, I had to cross a ditch on my return route. Guess what was in the ditch? I would never have found him if God had not directed my steps. He wanted me to find the deer, but even more importantly, He wanted to teach me about faith! His lesson was, “If you begin anything with doubt, you only set yourself up for failure.”

Start each journey with trusting God. A new job, a new friendship, a new marriage, or even looking for your lost keys will be done with faith in God or doubt. It’s your choice. Ask Him to help you. Expect Him to come through. Even if you don’t get what you hope for, you will have pleased God with your faith. “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) 

Ask God to give you the grace to trust Him, no matter how bleak things look. He will!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Nelson Newsletter - April 2018

“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.” John 11:25
Dear Friends,    
Spring is a beautiful reminder of God’s redemption. It is when new life appears: daffodils bloom, new leaves appear, and animals give birth to their young. It is also a time to celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection! In the same way, God is using us to bring new life, eternal life, to the precious lives around us. Recently, Danelle and I witnessed a young man ask Jesus for forgiveness and a new life. It was thrilling! Pray for his growth and desire to reach his family and friends for Christ. Here is more news…        

 Pastors & Wives Conference Danelle and I had a delightful time with our friends last weekend. Pastor Tom Short spoke about 5 valuable things he and his wife, Roz, have learned about marriage. I thought they were worth sharing with you. 1. Have fun & enjoy one another. 2. Bring out the best in one another. Don’t look for faults. Praise their strengths. 3. Communicate daily. 4. Be hospitable. Make your home a place of peace and rest, as well as a place to serve others. 5. Be on mission, but keep your family first.    
Danelle and I enjoying Hot Chocolate with David and Mindy
David Henson Our very dear friend and fellow missionary passed away last month due to pneumonia. David was an amazing brother and a kind, compassionate servant to all! He was a close friend of ours for many years, especially when Danelle, Grace, Merry, and I lived in Ukraine. We served the Lord together side by side. Please remember his sweet wife, Mindy, in your prayers. Adjusting to life without him will be a challenge. Danelle and I will attend his memorial service this weekend in Columbia, Missouri to celebrate his life.      

David and I serving in Eastern Ukraine

Florida Church Matt Gordon, Larry Messer, and the church leadership in Gainesville invited Danelle and I to come help them seek God’s plans for their house church. From April 27 - 30 we will meet with the saints to seek the Lord in His word, have group and private discussions, and pray for His guidance. Please pray for this time. They are good people with hearts to please God!
Prayer Requests
1. Mindy Henson Please pray for God’s love and grace to comfort and sustain her.
2. Gainesville Pray for God’s wisdom for Danelle, and I and for the saints to hear from God.
3. Mother Thank you for praying for Mom. She is doing remarkably well after her knee surgery!  

Thank you,                
Steve & Danelle 11002 Lake Hart Dr, Suite 100, Orlando, FL 32832

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Nelson Newsletter

“‘All you people of the land take courage,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ declares the Lord of hosts. ‘As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear!’” Haggai 2:4-5
Dear Ministry Partners,                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                                                       Atlanta House Church: Alan & Suzanne. Alan is a gentleman I met while working out in the weight room. I have prayed for all the people there to come to know Christ personally. Sadly, most of them aren’t believers yet, and their time is running out - it is a senior center. It has been challenging to share Christ with a room full of people. But, recently Alan got extremely sick and wanted some of my honey to help him recover. I took some to his house. I met his wife Suzanne and the three of us had a delightful conversation about our families. They told me how happy they are their daughter started attending a Messianic church. Then I was then able to share my testimony, which led to an in-depth conversation about the gospel. They were receptive. Towards the end Alan said, “Well, I’m not a Christian. But I think it is good to have something to believe in like that.” Please pray for both of them to come to Christ!

This experience made me reconsider the impact we could have if we all cared more about those who are lost. This care would enable us to build friendships with unbelievers, to show them Christ’s love, and to share the Good News of His love and forgiveness with everyone who would listen. Imagine for a moment the impact this would have on our communities and our country! Ask God to help you see unbelievers with His eyes and have His compassion for them. Pray for God to open their hearts and convict them of their need for Jesus. Then, ask Him to help you take practical steps to show them you care. Finally, ask Him to give you boldness to speak of Him. He will surprise you! Remember His promise, “My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear!’

Prayer Requests

1. Atlanta Church Pray for Alan and Suzanne, and others we have been sharing the gospel with.
2. Mother Please pray for my mother, Alice, who will have knee replacement surgery on March 28th.
3. Pastors & Wives (April 13-14) Pray for the SE pastors & wives retreat to be building & encouraging.

Thankful for you,                

Steve & Danelle 11002 Lake Hart Dr, Suite 100, Orlando, FL 32832