Thursday, April 28, 2016

Nelson Newsletter - April 2016

“Sing to the LORD, all the earth; proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day. Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.” 1 Chronicles 16:23-24
Atlanta House Church                                                                                                                       Our Vision What is our vision? It is to “proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.” We want to tell of, “His wonderful deeds among all the peoples,” – how to know God personally through saving faith in Jesus Christ. Then we help new Christians grow in this relationship by gathering with other believers to build friendships, to read the Bible and apply it to our lives, and to learn how to reach others with the good news. We meet regularly to pray, worship, and share our lives together- usually in homes. We are involved in incarnational evangelism. That is a fancy way of saying we reach out to people where they live and work. We go to them, instead of inviting them to come to a meeting or program since many unbelievers have an aversion to organized religion.

Care Enough To Share Our daughter, Grace, and her husband, Ward, are good examples of incarnational evangelism. They have befriended many people in their apartment complex which has led to numerous opportunities to share the gospel. Our vision for Atlanta and beyond is to find men and women who are responsive to us and the gospel, and who are open to studying the Bible. These are the people we pray for, and where new churches will be birthed – in the harvest. Please pray for more workers who will go into the harvest, who sincerely care about those who are lost enough to share Christ with them.

Growing Grandchildren!                                                                                                                    Our two sons and two of our sons-in-laws took 6 of our grandchildren camping for 2 nights in the Georgia Mountains - and we all survived to tell the story! J  We had a fantastic experience and many sweet memories that will last a lifetime. The thunderstorm on Friday night did not dampen our spirits, as most of us stayed dry. A hot breakfast the next morning warmed our bodies and fueled our spirits for a busy day of fishing and hiking. As I was holding my granddaughter’s hand as we walked along a trail navigating over the endless roots, it hit me how priceless it was to be a grandfather.

Having the 14 grandchildren in our lives is an awesome opportunity to impact their lives for Christ!  When we were packing up to return, our oldest grandson, James, asked enthusiastically, “When will I see you again Grandad?” It doesn’t get any better than that!      

                                                                         Briscoe & I Hiking & Fishing  
Ivan – A Ukrainian Friend & Faithful Disciple Discipleship is all about building friendships with Jesus Christ in the middle. When we lived in Kiev, God used me to help a young lawyer, Ivan, come to Christ.  We started running together several days a week. During our run we would talk and pray before he went to his law office. Recently I received an update on his running, his family, and his ministry. He has “passed the baton” to other Ukrainians - leading others to Christ and making disciples in the office and beyond.

 Here he is running with his wife Maggie and their family. Together they are inspiring others to total health. Ivan posted this on Facebook, “I have participated in various smaller races to maintain a passion for running and to promote a healthy lifestyle for Ukrainians. This Sunday, the whole family took part in a 2km charity race. Klitschko (World Boxing Champion) also ran with us.” I’m encouraged by Ivan’s passion to run, but even more by his passion to “proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day. Tell of…His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.” (You can read Ivan’s entire post on my FB page).              

                                                               Ivan’s 1st Marathon -  Cologne, Germany                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
Prayer Requests                                                    

1. Ivan & Maggie. Pray for them to have a godly family, and to make more disciples in Ukraine. Pray for the new school Maggie started - to spread the gospel and educate Ukrainian children. 

2. Atlanta House Church Pray for more folks like Grace and Ward with hearts for the lost.  

3. Andrew Hendricks’s Wedding Pray for our good friends, Andrew and Linda, to have a Christ-centered marriage. Danelle and I plan to attend their May 14th wedding in South Carolina.

Yours in Christ’s love!                                             

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

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Worship - Services or People? (Part 2)

When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Acts 16:24-25

Paul and Silas worshipped God in prison. When we assume that worship needs to have the aforementioned parameters in part one (such as a special place), we severely limit our own growth and our witness to the world.

Last week I encountered a young man named Johnny who worked at the Home Depot. We initially “connected” when we briskly walked past each other in silence outside the store. God orchestrated my second encounter with Johnny as he helped me load some mulch in my truck. After a few minutes of getting acquainted, I asked him if he had eternal life. That is when he smiled and said, “I thought you were probably a Christian when I saw the first time.” I said, “What made you think that?”  He replied, “Because you were smiling.” Why was I smiling at 7pm on a Monday night? You guessed it, I was worshipping God! I was walking in the Spirit, thanking God, and that motivated me to look for opportunities to share Christ. 

You are a worshipper -always, everywhere you go. It is primarily who God created us to be, not what we do.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that your relationship with God must be limited to a few hours a week at a certain place, led by a special group of people.  It is who you are!

Worship - Services or People? (Part 1)

“Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” John 4:20

My daughter, Grace, and I were running early one Saturday morning along the river. That’s when I often inspired as we pray and worship God together.  We discussed the concept of worship, and how sometimes we equate worship to a limited period of time, a specific place, and an event that must be led by a specific person or group of people. Have you ever wondered why these are conspicuously absent in the New Testament?

The Samaritan woman embraced this paradigm of worship, “Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” But Jesus gently corrected her, “Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.””  John 4:20-21. Worship is not limited to a place, time, or special people who lead us, at least it wasn’t in the early church. We were born again to be worshippers! Jesus went on to instruct this woman, “the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.” The key to worship is praising God from the heart…wherever you are. Every believer has the Holy Spirit who enables them to worship God “in the Spirit,” sincerely, and from the heart. God isn’t impressed with ritualistic and memorized prayers if our heart is far from Him. 

You are a worshipper -always, everywhere you go.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that your relationship with God must be limited to a few hours a week at a certain place, or led by a special group of people.  It is who you are!