The Good Newsletter - Growth
Good afternoon neighbors,
Recently, I was fortunate enough to conduct an interview with the newest member of our Good News at Noon team, Mr. Steve Nissley. Steve has spent most of his life in Tallahassee, Florida working in ministry as well as in the HVAC industry. Steve served 7 years as an associate pastor and 10 as lead pastor in Tallahassee. Meanwhile, in the secular world, he worked his way up in the HVAC field from technician to his former position as Director of Operations. While he enjoyed his career in the HVAC community, his true passion is ministry. Steve began to pray about his calling and these prayers were soon answered in a very unexpected manner. His position as Director of Operations was eliminated, leaving him in search of new employment. Steve stated that “his faith stretched and grew. It was a challenging four months, but it was good.”
So how did Steve hear about Good News at Noon while living in Tallahassee, Florida? Well, as most of us know from personal experience, the Lord works in mysterious ways.
Steve has a daughter that lives here in Gainesville, Georgia. She attends Free Chapel College, which as you may or may not know, very generously contributed to our new building project. Since their contribution, Free Chapel has been sharing word of our ministry, which prompted Steve’s daughter to mention Good News at Noon to her father. Later that week, he called Mr Ken Gossage, our Executive Director, and set up an interview with the board. Soon after, he was offered a position with our ministry.
Around the time Steve was offered a position at Good News at Noon, he was also offered a position as the director of a church in Tallahassee. While it might have been easier to just take the job in Tallahassee, Steve and his wife prayed earnestly about the choices in front of them. In the end, they decided God was calling them to Gainesville and the rest is history. Steve would refer to this as the beginning of this “adventure with God”. He also took time during our interview to give thanks to the kindness of Jake and Carla Turner. The Turners allowed Steve to stay with them in Georgia while starting his career with Good News at Noon and searching for a more permanent residency in the Gainesville area.
Before you dive in to the insights and lessons below, we would like to highlight a few needs for our shelter. If you are considering donating to Good News at Noon we would greatly appreciate any items included on the list below as well as any other contributions you might make through our website linked at the bottom of the page.
- Large storage bins
Sugar, solo cups
Pam cooking spray
Skin thermometers (2)
Day & Night cold medicine
Cold medicine for high blood pressure
Cough medicine containing dextromethoraphan
Good News at Noon
"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1
He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.” Luke 13:18-19
There are a lot of parables about growth in Jesus' teachings. Enough to expect that growth should be normal in the Christian walk. But what does growth in the lives of Jesus followers (or human beings for that matter) look like? I must admit before I came to GN@N, my concept of growth was largely wrapped up in externals, I guess because it is easier to measure. But if true growth has to do with stuff on the inside - how do we measure THAT?
Not easily. In fact, it is impossible if we do not have a relationship with the person in whom we are measuring growth. And true relationship requires trust & vulnerability both ways. Which brings us back to growth in our Christian walk. Are we growing relationships full of trust & vulnerability with each other & Jesus?
Good News at Noon
"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen." 2 Peter 3:18
Stories From the Shelter: How Does Your Garden Grow
A few afternoons ago, three of us visited several of the homeless camps in town. A couple of the camps had 10-12 campsites and others one or two. None are easily visible from most roads and two have no actual entrance for vehicles. Two are very clean and orderly; others are not unlike living on a dumpsite. None would remind you of a campsite on the lake. One camp had a tent set up as a communal kitchen. Another had sawn logs marking the pathway through the camp. One was strewn with trash for acre upon acre. We didn’t have any expectations prior to visiting. We certainly didn’t know what we would see or who we would meet. Our intention was to simply introduce ourselves and inform people of the resources Good News at Noon offers. Some of the people we visited are regular guests at Good News. A few we had never met, and others had no knowledge of Good News. No one there expected guests on a random Tuesday afternoon - certainly not guests without a uniform - and no refreshments were offered.
We certainly met the aim of our visit, but I wonder when I will remember that my plans are not always God’s plans. Reflecting on our afternoon in neighborhoods never meant to be, I realized that God had a more impactful plan than we devised. I was prompted to change my thinking about what the primary need of a homeless person is. Meeting the physical needs of the homeless is certainly necessary; broken relationships are the cause for homelessness, but now what? What is needed next? How do we show dignity and respect to each individual in a manner that will rebuild relationships, restore trust and redeem the time? Could it be that we have to let God dig in the dirt of our own minds and hearts? Do we need to be challenged to think differently and act differently? Is it possible that we have to commit to be more involved in each individual life and learn the stories behind the tent flaps? Let’s begin by looking in each person’s eyes and give the gift of time.
Good News at Noon