Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Nelson Newsletter February 2014

Clemson Conference Danelle and I taught a conference February 14-15 near Clemson, SC. Thank you very much for asking God to change lives! He did - including ours! What an inspiration for us to see college students give up a Friday night (Valentine’s Day!) and Saturday to hear what God says in His word about relationships and marriage. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.” Matthew 5:6 Our theme, “Finding the Love of Your Life,” was based on material from Secure In An Insecure World. The truth resonated in their hearts, and then we had small group discussions to consider how to apply it to their lives. Brian and Miriam Bridgeman and Jean Wan did an excellent job organizing, recruiting, and preparing for the event. Thank you guys for your hard work! It was a team effort. Praise God! Here is a photo of most of the students.


A Personal Testimony As we stated last month, we are including a personal testimony tract in each of our newsletters for the next few months to inspire you to share yours, and possibly to even write yours. Let us know if we can help with a simple outline and ideas to get you started. It can be so much fun too! Just last week I gave my testimony in Russian to 80 year old Boris at the pool. I keep a copy of my testimony (Russian and English) in my backpack. I also keep copies of them in my wallet and in my car. I would have made a good Boy Scout. Smile“But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully.” 1 Peter 3:15 (The Amplified Bible)

Enjoy reading this abbreviated version of how Danelle came to know Jesus Christ as her Savior and Lord!

A Little Angel?                 


I grew up going to Catholic school and so I believed in God from a young age.  In school and at home I was taught to be good and to have good morals.  In my early teen years my family went through some difficult financial times and when my mother went to the priest for help, he was unkind to her.  That was the beginning of years of questioning my faith.  It culminated in a history class in college where I learned about man's inhumanity to man in a way that profoundly disturbed me. I began to doubt the goodness and power of God since there were so many evil people.  I decided I didn't know what to believe but that I was going to live a good life and help others.  And that is what I did.  I went to college and studied Psychology.  I worked with at risk children as well as needy elderly people.  I volunteered at our college hot-line, spending sleepless nights talking with fellow students going through a crisis. I thought I was good little angel.  

Interestingly enough, after a while my conscience began to bother me, because I realized that I wasn't doing all these good deeds from a pure heart - I wanted everyone to notice what a good person I was and I knew in my heart that that was wrong.

About that time some people began to talk with me about God and how He is not interested in people being religious.  He is a personal God who wanted a personal relationship with ME!  I had never heard of such a concept before and it was intriguing!  I began to understand Jesus' death on the cross in a whole new light - eternal life isn't dependent upon me believing in God and doing my best. If that were true then there would be no reason for Jesus to die.  Everyone can have eternal life and a relationship with God when they recognize that they have sinned against HIM.  Amazingly, that same God loved each of us so much that He sent His Son to die for everything that we have ever done wrong.  And if we simply confess that we are sinners and yield our life to Him we can have a personal relationship with Him. 

This is so amazing that it sounds too good to be true! It’s also amazing that God knew I would cross paths with you today so that you could hear this. Maybe this is the first time or maybe this reminds you of something you already know.  If you act on these truths you can have eternal life and a personal relationship with the God who created you, actually, who created the whole universe!

Please contact me if you have any questions.


Prayer Requests                                                                                                                             

1. Ukraine. As you know, the protests in Kiev, Ukraine recently turned deadly, with the soldiers killing over 80 people. At this point, the president has left Kiev, and the people have new hope. All of our friends are safe too! Pray for the fighting to truly be over, and for Russia to stay out of it. Pray for godly leaders to fill the void. But more than anything, pray that the people of Ukraine would recognize the corruption in their own hearts, and turn to God. Pray for the Christians to share the gospel with courage.                                       

2. Summer Plans. We are going to Pamplona, Spain the last two weeks of May to train college students at LINC. Please pray for our travel expenses, many to be saved, and the local church to be encouraged.

Yours in Christ’s unfailing love,

Steve and Danelle

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Don’t Fret Part 2

“Cease from anger and forsake wrath; do not fret, it leads only to evildoing.” Psalm 37:8

We read yesterday that God does not want us to envy evildoers because they will wither like the grass, they have no real future. What they have obtained through their sinful actions is not worth having. Do you believe that? Sometimes I find myself getting angry at people who try to get ahead illegally or at other’s expense. I want them to stop. I want them to pay for their selfishness –now! When these anxious thoughts come into my mind I am tempted to do evil myself, to say or do something Jesus would not be proud of.

I faced such a temptation recently. We were waiting in line to board our flight from Kiev, Ukraine to New York along with 300 other people. The line was moving so slowly it seemed like I was going backwards and may end up back in the seat I had left thirty minutes ago! Then a man came from behind us and subtly slipped in front of us. Nobody noticed, except me. I was tempted to be angry! But, I did not say anything to him. I did mention it to my wife and we discussed his selfish actions. Later, as the line crawled along at the speed of a glacier, he impatiently slipped out of his place and attempted to go through another check point to board. My wife and I both laughed to ourselves when he returned to his place in front of us because it was a plane bound to another destination! He could have ended up in Egypt!

We finally arrived at the gate to board and our daughter noticed that her teacher, who was on our flight, had been assigned the same seat as me. The 10 hour flight is hard enough with only one person in the cramped seat. How would this work? We asked the flight attendant and she said the three of us had been moved up to business class. We were pleasantly surprised and thanked God. My faith was reinforced as I sat in the spacious leather seat and our selfish “friend” walked by. Justice was served for this man and grace was extended to us.

No, we may not see the results while living here on earth of not fretting because of evildoers. I have flown over 40 times across the Atlantic to the former Soviet Union and only twice have I been bumped to business class. I think this time God was trying to teach me to rest in Him and not envy the evildoers. He wanted me to learn a lesson - He is here, He loves me and everything is okay. “Thank you Marie.” “Thank you Jesus!” I will remember your words and try not to fret.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Don’t Fret Because of Evil People

“Do not fret because of evildoers, be not envious toward wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass.” Psalm 37:1-2

Don’t fret! You won’t hear these words used very often today. I remember my dear grandmother, Marie Turnage, saying those words to me as a child. Maybe my mother was leaving me to go to the store, or I had fallen down and cut my knee on the street. She was communicating, “Don’t worry my child because I am here. I love you and everything will be okay.” I was upset about something and she was trying to calm my anxious little heart. Her words and her peaceful disposition had a profound impact on me, even to this day. Isn’t it amazing how that works?

What was King David so worried about that God had to tell him, “Don’t fret?” We read that evil people were profiting from their wicked schemes and David was tempted to be envious. He was tempted to want what they had obtained (illegally, immorally and at other’s expense). We call it envy. The dictionary defines envy as, “a feeling of discontent and resentment aroused by and in conjunction with desire for the possessions or qualities of another.” God went on to say in verse seven, “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him, do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries our wicked schemes.” God tells us to rest in Him, to be still in our hearts. How do we do that? Prayer! Only by giving our anxiety, envy and jealousy to God in prayer and receiving His love and strength through His word and by His Spirit, can we resist the temptation to fret. We will rest and not fret when we learn to trust God more and recognize that He is in control and He only has the best for us.

God shows us in His word that the wicked will get what is coming to them. Justice will be served. God tells the wicked, “be sure your sins will found you out,” Numbers 32:23. They will reap what they have sown. It is just a matter of time. It may appear like they will get away with the evil they have done. But God says they won’t. The score will be settled, either here on earth or in heaven. He promises. Do you believe Him? “For evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.” Psalm 37:8 “Thank you Jesus, and thank you Marie, for teaching me not to fret!”

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Remembering with the Heart

"And do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up?" They said to Him, "Twelve." Mark 8:18-19

Remembering something intellectually is a far cry from remembering with the heart. The disciples had witnessed Jesus’ miraculous feeding of the 4,000 and the 5,000. They remembered these events in detail, but their hearts were hardened with unbelief. They recalled intellectually, but that is as far as it went.

How often do we all fall into the trap of remembering what God did in the past, while thinking it makes no difference in our current situation? Have you seen someone come to Christ for salvation, or a marriage on the rocks restored, or a drug addict freed by the power of God? We saw God do specific miracles in the past, but we fail to believe He can do similar deeds in the present.

We must have fresh faith for every situation. "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). Yesterday's miracles and victories don't automatically translate into today's divine intervention. Yesterday's faith is like the manna the Jews collected in the wilderness. What they gathered would last for one day, and the leftovers spoiled; it was worthless the next day. They had to gather fresh manna each day. We too must gather fresh faith each day. Therefore we must read God's Word daily because "Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ" (Romans 10:17). Then we must unite it with faith from our heart!