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!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Nelson Newsletter - June 2019

Dear Praying Friends,

Atlanta House Church We are thankful that both Ana Groff and Cathlyn Yong found great jobs, in Tucson and Chicago respectively, but are sad to see them leave. We like to think that we are “sending them out” instead. Actually, that is a more accurate description, since both of them have the heart of an evangelist and long for others to know Jesus. They will be on mission!

Speaking of being on mission, Danelle and I have had several opportunities to engage our neighbors in gospel conversations. Last week we had our new neighbors over for dinner and we had 3.5 hours of deep conversation! God also allowed me to share the gospel with an entire Hispanic family a few weeks ago when I was rescuing a swarm of honey bees from their yard. We talked for a while and I gave them a copy of my book, Secure In An Insecure World, hoping to continue our conversation. When I returned that evening to collect the bees, ten of them came out to talk about God, marriage, and the family! They said they loved my book and asked me to sign it for them. Lesson: Be ready! “Conduct yourself with wisdom in your interactions with outsiders (non-believers), make the most of each opportunity [treating it as something precious].” (Amplified Bible)

Prayer & Praise

1. Atlanta House Church Ask God to provide Cathlyn (wearing white shoes) and Ana Groff (with no shoes J) with great church families and to adjust to their new jobs. Pray too for our new neighbors & the Hispanic family to come to know Christ! Pray for more open hearts this summer.
2. St. Petersburg Church Ask our Lord to give grace to Jon and Pam Trunk to follow His Spirit and His word as they lead and care for the church. Danelle and I may return in August to assist them.
3. David & Stephanie Moving David got a job at Old Dominion University in Virginia, Beach. They leave this Friday. Ask God to give them the grace to adjust to a new community and a new job - all with a new baby and 3 young boys in tow! They also want to start a house church.
4. Pastors Conference Pray for the Great Commission Church pastors as we meet this week in Minneapolis. May we hear from God, be refreshed in our faith and encourage one another.

We are grateful for your prayers,        

Steve & Danelle   

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

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Nelson Newsletter - May 2019

Dear Friends,

Danelle’s Health At the last minute, we were unable to attend the Pastors and Wives Retreat this year due to Danelle’s health. This past month has been one of countless doctor visits and tests for Danelle which all came up very suddenly.  One issue was that her heart rate was stuck at 150-170 bpm. The doctor put her on medication, which has given her a lot of nausea and headaches, but lowered the bpm. Thank God! They also did a PET scan for cancer, since she has had a persistent pain in her side for 10+ years. The results showed no cancer, but instead discovered some issues with her liver that she is still being tested for. All of this has been unnerving, but we are at peace knowing that God is in control. In the meantime, she is just left for South Georgia to help our daughter, Stephanie, who just gave birth to their fourth child. Your prayers are greatly appreciated for Danelle, Stephanie, David, and baby Esther Alice Shirley.

St. Petersburg Church Danelle and I plan to return to St. Petersburg May 17th – 21st to encourage the church and strengthen their faith. They are planning an Outreach while we are there to help an elderly neighbor and we are looking forward to working alongside with them in that as well as touch base with different ones while we are there. We stay in touch with Jon and Pam Trunk between visits through Skype calls.

Prayer & Praise
1. Atlanta House Church Continue to pray for Cathlyn to find an actuary job, maybe even here in Atlanta, so that she can stay with our church. Pray for Anna Groff, pictured here with her brother Michael. She graduated from Georgia Tech and took a new job making prosthesis in Tucson starting next month. Ask God to provide a great church family for her and to continue to use her to bring people to know Jesus and grow in Him. We will miss her greatly!

2. St. Petersburg Church Ask God to give Danelle and I discernment and wisdom by His Spirit to minister to the church next weekend, May 17-21. Pray for their hearts to grow in love for Jesus and others.
3. Stephanie’s Baby Praise God for Ester Alice Shirley, born on May 10th! She came on her mother’s birthday & our 44th anniversary. J She is our 16th grandchild. We are deeply grateful!
4. Danelle Praise God for answered prayers for her health! Pray for continued insight to help her heal & recover.

We are thankful for you and your prayers,        

Steve & Danelle   

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

Monday, April 1, 2019

Nelson Newsletter - March 2019

 Dear Friends,
Spring is here and it’s March – the month of abundant birthdays for the Nelson family! Danelle shares a birthday with our daughter in law, Amanda, and grandson, Seth. (Photo of Seth learning to catch salamanders)

My mother turned 93 on the 13th! We are fortunate to see her often as she lives only minutes away. My brother and our daughter in law, Maria, also share a birthday on the 21st. We have much to celebrate and be grateful for! We are also grateful for your generous financial support, prayers, and friendship. Isn’t it awesome to be loved by God and born again into His family?

“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 (NLT)
St. Petersburg Church We continue to encourage Pastor Jon Trunk, and his wife Pam, through Skype and with phone calls. The church is making progress in their faith as they chart a new course. We plan to return in May to build into their lives and help in any way we can.

Prayer & Praise
1. Atlanta House Church Pray for Cathlyn to find a job. She is a young Malaysian woman who has been attending our gatherings recently. Pray for Anna Groff (in photo far right) as she decides where God would have her continue her career in prosthesis. We would love for both of them to stay in Atlanta, but we know God’s plans are the best!

2. Pastor’s & Wives Conference Danelle and I will attend our annual pastors and wives conference April 5-6 at St. Simons Island. John and Sandy Hopler will be speaking. Please pray for God to refresh our marriages and strengthen our love for fellow pastors and leaders.
3. Brandon & Lindsay’s Wedding Please pray for our nephew and his bride as they get married April 13th. Danelle and I, along with many of our children, plan to attend. Pray that their marriage will begin well, knowing the love of Jesus so deeply that they will lay down their lives for one another and others.
4. St. Petersburg Church Ask God to strengthen their marriages. Pray for the entire church to learn to abide in Christ and His love more and more. Finally, Danelle and I need God’s wisdom to understand their needs and offer godly counsel.
5. Timmy Powers Pray for his trip to Europe, including teaching the missionary conference.
6. Stephanie’s Baby Pray for our daughter to have a safe delivery and healthy baby in May.

Praising God for you and your prayers,        

Steve & Danelle   

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Do You Want To Quit Praying For Others?

With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints. - Ephesians 6:18
With sadness in her voice she opened up about her 23-year-old son and his girlfriend problems. He had been in a rotten relationship with a young lady for years. There was no doubt, after listening to his mother, that they were toxic for each other. Despite the pain, her son could not let her go—even though they hurt each other often. Everyone saw the relationship was doomed to failure. He would call his mother and pour out his broken heart to her and ask for her advice. Sadly, nothing ever changed. His girlfriend was like having a bad cold that would never go away. She even followed him out to California from Atlanta. My friend was at the end of her rope. She wanted to give up on her son.
I encouraged her with the truth above from Ephesians and this truth from Hebrews: “And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end” (6:11). I admonished her not to quit with this promise, “And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
Who do you know who hasn’t changed and shows no signs of repentance, much less understands that he or she has a problem? Who are you tempted to quit praying for? What you are feeling is normal, but don’t quit trusting God to change them, ever! It seems like a paradox. They may never change, but we must never stop believing they can. Instead, “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (Galatians 6:9).


Saturday, March 2, 2019

Nelson Newsletter - February 2019

Dear Friends,

Spring is coming soon to Georgia! With spring’s arrival, there is a reminder of new life and the resurrection power of God. He gives new life to anyone who calls on His Son! “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Regional House Church Conference (January 25-27) Churches from Georgia, Florida, Maryland, and North Carolina enjoyed sharing this new life in Jesus at our annual retreat. Wayne Jacobsen (second row center), author of He Loves Me, and  Finding Church,  helped all of us evaluate the health of our relationship with God. He encouraged us to abide in Christ and His love and not succumb to the pressure to perform for God or live under fear. Thank you for praying for us! God answered our requests.                                                                                        


Clemson Conference (February 1-2) Brian & Miriam Bridgeman (in the photo with their children) invited Danelle & I to lead a weekend retreat for Clemson students. Marketa, pictured here with Danelle, is one of those who attended. She is a grad student from the Czech Republic. She made a profession of faith this summer during our outreach. Danelle and I are continuing to Skype with her each week to help her grow in her new relationship with Christ.

St. Petersburg Church This month Danelle and I enjoyed another visit to help the church in St. Petersburg transition to open, participatory meetings and a more organic life together under Christ’s headship (leadership). We spent time with individuals, as well as with the entire church, praying, reading the word of God, worshipping the Lord, and becoming better friends. Robbie McAlister and Matt Gordon were also there one evening for a time of encouragement, as they were visiting some of the Florida churches.

Prayer & Praise

1. Atlanta House Church Pray for us to apply the truth we heard at our conference about God’s love for us, so that we would be more satisfied and secure in Christ, resulting in our love others increasing. Praise God for the new jobs, homes, and friendships that He has provided recently!

2. Clemson Ministry Thank God for the students who attended the retreat and were serious about growing in faith! Please continue to ask God to use Brian, and the students he is working with, to get the Good News of Jesus to students, so they would come to know Him as their Lord.

3. St. Petersburg Church Pray for these saints to continue hearing from the Lord through His word and to be led by His Spirit with courage and confidence. Pray for Danelle & I to have insight into how to help the church grow. We will plan to return in April.

Praising God for you and your support,        

Steve & Danelle