Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Kevin’s Testimony

(Kevin is a new member of our church who gave his life to Christ this past spring.)

Kevin Ware

Angry, Lost, and Lonely

My parents were Christians who instilled many wholesome values in me as a child, but I didn’t have a real relationship with God.  I questioned my faith and God early in life, but instead of embracing the Bible, or calling out for help, I ended up wandering aimlessly.

I was in middle school when I began a confirmation class at our church. I sat in class with my peers but still didn’t absorb the spiritual truth that I would soon need. Shortly after our class ended, my grandmother passed away. Heartbroken and lost, I began to spiral out of control.  Not too long after my grandfather followed her. My anger and bitterness drove me away from the idea of a loving God. I believed that everything that went wrong or caused suffering in the world was the result of a God who didn't care.

I met people with different beliefs, others with no belief at all. I tried to understand the reasoning behind their beliefs in attempt to validate my own. I was too wrapped up in giving my own reasons and explanations for how things were to even realize what was happening to me. I was becoming increasingly sad, lonely, and empty. At times I would find myself washed by waves of depression. I could smile and laugh around friends and family, but when I was alone I felt empty.

I found a new job as a lifeguard. God had His hand on me, even though I was unaware at the time! Shortly after starting my new position, I became friends with a number of the participants. One couple in particular reached out to me and helped me seriously think about my faith. One day Steve asked, "If you died today, where would you go, heaven or hell?" At first I was defensive and not receptive to what these two were trying to do for me. I found myself repeating the same old platitudes when I saw pain and suffering in the world. The difference was that I was beginning to experience guilt for the way I thought.

A year later they asked: "Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?" I still hadn't, but not because I didn't want to, but because I believed I couldn't. I was ashamed of everything I had said and done to belittle the works of God. "I'm just a tiny man" I thought. What place did I have to question or even try to explain all that He had done with mankind? I spent a year thinking about it, but I still didn't know how to go about saving my soul. I truly thank God for my mentor and his wife who never gave up on me! I was asked again if I had accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior and I said "I really want to." Three days later I asked God to forgive me and surrendered my live to Christ. From that day on my life was changed. I finally stopped running and made the choice to be born again (the spiritual birth). “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”           (2 Corinthians 5:17) Like a breath of fresh air I feel as though my life has been renewed! I'm able to appreciate God's love and guiding hand that brought me this far and that will continue to guide me as I grow and move forward on my new spiritual journey.

If you would like to know more, please contact me. Thank you!

Kevin Ware

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Nelson Newsletter–November 2014

“Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.” Ephesians 3:20

clip_image002The Rock Miami God did abundantly beyond what we expected with almost 200 attending our “Finding the Love of Your Life” seminar in Miami. Danelle and I were encouraged by their sincere desire to know God’s plan for relationships and marriage. We used Secure In An Insecure World as the basis for our two days of teaching. The church members, like Fernando and Lily pictured here, were most hospitable. We felt the love of Jesus through Alfred, Jerry, Freddy and all the saints! God is alive in Miami! They just celebrated 40 years of ministry this week. Pray for God to make many more followers of Jesus Christ and strong marriages throughout that city.


Pittsburgh Danelle visited her family the following weekend. God gave all of them some rich times of fellowship, lots of laughs (not a surprise if you know anything about the O’Tooles!), and much love. Thank you all for praying. Your prayers make a difference in eternity!

House Church Conference On Nov 21-23rd (this weekend!!!), our house church will join Larry and Corey Messer and their house church from Gainesville, Florida for a retreat near Savannah, GA. Matt and Jan Gordon from Gainesville, as well as Andrew Hendricks from South Carolina, will also attend. Please ask God to lead us together as we seek to know Him better and make Him known more effectively in our communities. We will spend time alone with God, enjoy our families, make new friends, and study His word together.


Grandson Isaac I finally got to meet our 9 week old grandson Isaac (his name means “he laughs”). He is beautiful! Here’s  a recent photo of the growing Shirley family.

Prayer Requests House Church Conference. (Nov. 21-23) Ask God to lead our time by His Spirit, to meet pressing needs, to transform lives and marriages, and for more laborers for the harvest in Atlanta and Gainesville. Please pray we would be encouraged and envisioned.

Thanksgiving with the Newtons. Danelle, Merry, and I will be in NYC with the Julie, Matthew, Jasper, & Dewey over Thanksgiving. Please pray that we would have a rich time, make some good memories, and all give sincere thanks to our great God and King for all His gifts!

Yours on His mission,

Steve and Danelle

Monday, November 17, 2014

Are You Ready For Jesus?

For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will. Matthew 24:44

Several times today I realized that I had not been paying attention and missed my opportunity. If we are not ready, we can miss out on what we want, what we worked hard for, and dreamed about. In my case, I missed catching a few trout because I was either daydreaming or preoccupied with the calm beauty of the river this early April morning. I told myself, "Pay attention! Be ready next time!" I did not know which cast would produce a strike where I would have to instantly set the hook.

IMG_2950  IMG_2952

In the same way, Jesus is telling us to be ready for His return, because we don't know when it will occur. But we know He is coming! Therefore, remind your fellow Christians to be ready for Christ's imminent return. If we help one another stay vigilant, we will live soberly, make wise choices with our time and resources, and live for the eternal welfare of others. We won't let the opportunities to share Christ with the lost, or to serve the saints, catch us off guard.

Secondly, pray every day for the Lord Jesus to come back. "He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus." Revelation 22:20 Be ready for your Lord to return every moment of every day! "The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer." 1 Peter 4:7 If we constantly remind others to expect Jesus's return and we pray for it, this will profoundly impact our lives, and make us ready - whenever He should appear.