Friday, September 23, 2016

Nelson Newsletter - September 2016

Greetings in Jesus’ name!

Like many of you, summer is a special time for family. Here are some of our family highlights and prayer requests, as well as news from our spiritual family. Enjoy!

PA and NY Trip Danelle and I traveled almost 3,000 miles to be with our family in August. We had a fantastic trip. One highlight in Pittsburgh was a special dinner and outdoor showing of their childhood movie, “Bold World!” The kids in their neighborhood used a Super 8 Camera to film a movie they stared in. It was the 50th anniversary, and many cast members showed up for the celebration. Danelle’s brother Danny, and his wife Kerry, went all out collecting old movie props and providing movie snacks from that time period. We enjoyed many laughs and a few tears during the evening. The entire weekend was encouraging, including several spiritual conversations. God answered your prayers (again) for Danelle’s family.

Then we drove to NYC and picked up our granddaughters, Jasper and Dewey. My brother graciously allowed us to use his cabin in Northfield, Mass for the week. Dewey learned to ride a bike! We read & discussed the book of Esther with Jasper (she’s 9 going on 19!), and had fun hiking, eating ice cream, and swimming. Thank you Kurt! Thank you Lord!!! He answered your prayers again!

“Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.”      1 Peter 2:17

Tampa Conference Timmy Powers and I attended a conference in August on discipleship in Tampa sponsored by Big Life Ministries. Our good friend Forrest Head invited us to this week of intense training. We also enjoyed fellowship with the Pavel Vopaleck√Ĺ family and their team from the Czech Republic. Timmy and others have worked with them over there. It was cool to meet those that our house church had fervently prayed for! Lord willing, we may see them next year in their country to spread the gospel!

Atlanta House Church Our church in Atlanta has been asking God to reveal Himself to our families and friends. We’ve been praying for all of them, including our grandchildren, to come to know their need for the Lord Jesus and come to know Him personally. Would you please join us?

Prayer Requests

1. Timmy Serving in Europe. Timmy will be in Europe the next 5 weeks, & his wife Kenyon will join him for 2 of those weeks. Pray for hearts to be open as they teach & train nationals. Pray for God to make more disciples who will start more spiritual families (churches).

2. Pittsburgh & NYC Family Pray for God’s mighty work in our family in Pittsburgh & New York to bless and to transform their lives!

3. Clemson Outreach & Regional (October 20-22) I will join Brian Bridgeman for a few days of outreach to Clemson students. Then Friday & Saturday is our regional leadership meeting. Pray for students to be open to the Lord. Pray for God to lead our leaders meeting as well.

4. Regional House Church Conference (October 28-30) Please pray for the churches from Raleigh, Atlanta, and Gainesville as we gather in Charleston, SC to hear from God and apply truth to our lives. Pray too for Todd Watkins, our conference speaker, to be filled with the Spirit and wisdom. We want to grow in our love for the Lord Jesus which will overflow in our love for each other and those who aren’t in the family of God.

Thank you so much for being part of our family!                                
Steve and Danelle 

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

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A Difficult Issue

Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; and the called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them.” Genesis 19:4, 5

Homosexuality, or sodomy - named after the city where Lot lived, is a controversial subject. Christians are often unprepared and fearful of addressing this issue. This devotional is not intended to be an exhaustive writing on the subject. It is a simple appeal to your compassion and reason. Christians are often falsely accused of hatred, or “homophobia,” for their stand. Most Christians that I know only feel compassion for homosexuals. Why? Because they are acutely aware of their own sordid past and the mercy that God extended to them.

We chose our son’s middle name after our friend Cameron. He was a former homosexual who had become a follower of Christ. Cam, as we called him, was known as a kind and generous person, always eager to help others. After years of living for Jesus Christ, he returned to his former lifestyle. He contracted AIDS and died within a few years. His Christian friends were shocked and heartbroken when they heard the news. But, before Cam died and went to heaven, he turned from his sin. He visited churches and spoke openly about the dangers of homosexuality. People listened!

The arguments for homosexuality often follow these lines. It is genetic, and therefore the individual has no control over their desires. They say homosexuality is no different than someone having red hair or green eyes. Then there is the argument that it is a private matter. “If they choose to be a homosexual, who do you think you are imposing your morals on others? Why can’t you just accept others for being different?”

While there are scientific attempts to prove that homosexuality is inherited, there is no irrefutable evidence. I believe there is no solid genetic evidence because homosexuality is a choice. There may be common circumstances that foster this lifestyle, but nothing to indicate it is beyond one’s control. The “I just can’t help myself!” attitude is an excuse that does not hold up. It is no different than the person who rationalizes when they get angry, steal, lie, commit adultery, or become addicted to drugs or alcohol. God says that all these actions are sin - wrong choices we make with harmful consequences we have to face. Sadly, AIDS is one consequence of homosexuality that is life threatening.

Homosexuality is a sin, but it’s not any worse than adultery, lying, pride or greed. We should dislike all sins equally, especially our own. Jesus died to offer forgiveness to everyone, for every sin. Jesus loves homosexuals and died for them. How can you love them? 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Another View Of Jesus

“For I know the plans that I have for you says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will come to Me and pray to Me and I will listen to you declares the Lord.  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13

I went deer hunting a few weeks ago and climbed up a pine tree about 15 feet. I wear camouflage and even cover my face so the only part of my body showing is my eyes. It was early in the morning before full light and this little brown bird landed in a tree only five feet from me. He was trying to figure out what this huge thing was up in one of his trees. How did he do it? He would quickly turn 180 degrees on the same limb and look at me from a different angle. He would then fly to another limb and repeat the process. Finally, he flew to another nearby tree and continued to flit and turn, constantly looking at me in an effort to see if I was dangerous animal or a large harmless limb. He kept getting another view.

You can experience God and know His plan for your life if you will seek the truth with a sincere heart. You must make the effort. The little brown bird was seeking the truth. “You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” God is never found by the apathetic. How does God reveal Himself to us?

“He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and disclose Myself to him.” John 14:21

If you look at someone from a certain angle they will look different if you move to another position. like the little bird who tried to understand me that morning. You will get a different view and see something you did not see before. Then, if you speak with them, you will learn more about them. If you talk to others who have been with them you will learn even more. With each "new view" of the person we gain a better understanding of who the person really is.

Do not expect to understand Jesus Christ only through your eyes. Why do you think there are four gospels? There were four men who all wrote about the same person, Jesus Christ, and they each noticed different things. The Bible is one means to see different views of Jesus to give us a more complete picture of Him.

We also need other Christians and their views of Jesus to understand Him accurately. Observe the lives of those that act like the Jesus of the Bible and imitate their faith and love.

A third way to view Jesus is to notice, study and meditate on His creation; the little brown bird, the stars, the sunset or your children all reveal different facets of His power, wisdom, and beauty. 

A final way is through your conscience. Obey God and His commandments and He will reveal Himself to you. You will not find God if you continue to willfully sin and violate your conscience. Sin is the roadblock on the highway to knowing God. Live a holy life of obedience and you will experience many views of your precious Savior resulting in a growing faith.