Category Archives: God so loved the world

Life After Tsunami

Amid the rubbish stands one of the most beautiful sites anyone will ever see: Springtime Sakura, better known as “cherry blossom” trees.  While preparing for my trip to Japan, I look at the hard work our friends in Otsuchi are doing by helping the people that have been devastated by the tsunami that swept through their town, taking lives and tearing down many of the structures that once stood strong.  But with all of the pain and suffering, there is something more powerful than death and destruction: Life!

Jesus says in the ancient scriptures “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come, that you might have Life and Life more abundantly” John 10:10.  You may say, “Where is this Life? How can Life be present when there is so much sorrow? ” When God raised Jesus from the dead he sent His Spirit to live inside every person who chooses to believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. This Spirit demonstrates the love of the Father (God) when we love those around us.  As the people of God his Love empowers us to help a neighbor living just down the street or thousands of miles away bringing comfort to the hurting.  This kind of Love is expressed with more than words, it is accompanied with action,  “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we must also give up our lives for our brothers and our sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but show no compassion–how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth.” 1John 3:16-18

Just like the Sakura trees showing off their display of life and beauty…the people of God are active all over the world  showing this  “Life”  through acts of love toward mankind.  “Let your lite  so shine that mankind will see your good deeds (acts of Love) and Glorify your Father which is in Heaven” Jesus words found in Mathew 5:16

Thank you for your prayers as I continue preparations for my upcoming trip to Japan. Below is Pastor Guna and Jey and members of their congregation returning from their first trip into Otsuchi.  They have recently returned with another team and are working to help clear anything damaged by the tsunami and cleaning the homes so the families (who are in shelters) can return to their homes. God bless them as they show the people of Otsuchi God’s love through their acts of kindness.

For more information regarding our call to Japan, read my blog titled, “Japan: Mission of Love” or go to our website at PonceChurch.com

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He’s Alive and Well

For thousands of years the story of Jesus death and resurrection have been told in churches, meeting places and homes all over the world.  Jesus himself began to speak of his death even before they laid a hand on him. “Listen” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die and hand him over to the Romans. They will mock him, spit on him, flog him with a whip, and kill him, but after three days he will rise again” the gospel of Mark chapter 10, verses 33 & 34.

Celebrating Easter is more than the traditional  chocolate bunnies and colored Easter eggs, it’s remembering Jesus laying down his life for all mankind and God raising him from the dead. Why? Jesus Christ the Risen One was sent to us because of God’s amazing love.  Jesus endured the beatings for you and me. He allowed them to hang him on the cross to pay for our sins.

In the old testament Adam and Eve chose to not follow God’s instructions and when they disobeyed what the Father told them sin came into the earth.  Prophets in the old testament spoke of the coming Messiah who would take away the sin of the world.  “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” 2Corinthians 5:21  Because of the wonderful mercy and love of God, he sent his one and only Son to die for you and me, and when God raised Jesus Christ to life again, he made it possible for us to be put back in good standing with God our heavenly Father again.  All God asks of us is to believe. Believe that he sent Jesus to us, that he went to the cross for us, died and believe that God raised him from the dead.

Jesus Christ is alive and well today. He sits at God’s right hand in Heaven and because of the power of the resurrection, he lives in his people, his followers, Christians today. How? “The Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.” Romans 8:11

As you celebrate Easter this year remember God’s amazing love for you and all of mankind. Realize and accept the truth that we need our sins forgiven. Understand that with our own strength or works we cannot make that happen, forgiveness only comes through believing in Jesus Christ and that he died for us.  Open your heart to Jesus and follow Him. Once you make this decision, your life will have meaning.  “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced…Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” Romans 10:8-13

Happy Easter!

Pastor Nina Tidwell
Ponce Church, Ponce Inlet, Florida

Everyone Welcome! We’re Surfside and we’re Casual!
Sundays 10AM
4670 S. Peninsula in Ponce Inlet


“Red & Yellow, Black & White…”

I’m sure many of us are familiar with the song sung  in Sunday Schools all across American and abroad: “Jesus Loves the Little Children” and it goes something like this: “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world”. It does not matter what age we are nor the color of our skin, the Living God sent His Son Jesus for us ALL because of His amazing Love (John 3:16).
As I look at the young child from Japan in my previous blog, “Japan: Mission of Love” I think of how the Lord loves all children from every nation. I also think of His commission for His people: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature…” This kind of person see’s all mankind as equal. There are no walls, there is no prejudice.  All we see is God’s creation and His desire to share with them the greatest gift of all: Jesus.

I remember growing up and how my father was kind to everyone.  It did not matter what color they were, nor their ethnicity.  I remember in the early 1970’s my father took me aside one day and said, “We are NOT prejudice”  I’ll never forget that! Day’s later my brother of whom was returning from Vietnam brought a friend of his from the war that was African-American along with his family.  You must understand, we lived in an all white neighborhood and the only time you would see a black person was when you crossed the  “8 mile” line. So for our neighborhood this was a big deal! As I think back I am so thankful that my Dad taught me to love all people, not matter the color of their skin.

As a minister of Jesus Christ,  I will go wherever He sends me, and I will preach the Good News of God’s Love to whomever He leads me.

“…red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight…Jesus Loves the little children of the world”

Ponce Church

Japan: Mission of Love


Japan Mission of Love

During church service a couple of weeks ago a member asked if they could read a facebook post regarding the recent earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan from a family member who lives in Tokyo.  At the time of her reading their story, I had no clue what the Lord was about to put on my heart.  I remember talking with two other women at church later that morning, and I remember  sharing (in passing) that if the Lord wanted me to go to Japan I would go.  As I made the comment I had a little what I call “ping” go off inside of me, but I shrugged it off.  It wasn’t until later that day as I rehearsed the morning and what I said to the ladies did I begin to sense a “Hey God, are you calling me to go to Japan?”  I also began to think back how years ago while listening to a missionary talk about going to Mexico to help build a Christian school and how I had  no desire or intention of going until he began to pray. Oh my goodness! During his prayer Jesus began to speak to me, I remember thinking “Wow Lord, you want me to go don’t you?” I went from dis-interested to overjoyed! As I shared what the Lord said to me with my husband he agreed and sensed the same thing and then brought up the idea to bring our son Rich, who at the time was around 14 years old (there were other families with youth planning to go on this trip as well). It turned out amazing! As we began to make plans for Reynosa, Mexico, the Lord began to show me my place and what He was calling me to do, and that was to minister to the women in this community. Pastor Juanita of whom held church services in her yard was in favor of my ministering to the women of her church. As a group we also raised funds to purchase groceries for these families (mainly women and children) and following each morning meeting we passed out bags of groceries to each family. The Lord moved mightily during these meetings touching the lives of nearly every woman there including healing an infant of  an infection.  Years later Ponce Church raised funds to help build a church  sanctuary on Pastor Juanita’s property.

Japan Religion:  During my research I have found that approximately 84% of the people of Japan practice Shintoism and Buddhism leaving less than 2% who are Christian.  Another study reveals that most of the Christian churches are made up of women believers with very few men. It is also said that there are only 20-30 Christian conversions in a 20 year span.  This my friend must change.

Go Into All the World and Preach the Gospel to Every Creature: Since I became a Christian I have always told the Lord that I would go wherever He wanted me to go to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ. In my Christian lifetime he has had me share his love with strangers as a group of believers and myself hit the streets of Detroit, Michigan. He has led me to attend Bible School in Oklahoma. During my time at school he has inspired me to preach the gospel on the streets of Tulsa, Oklahoma with my Christian friends while ministering to the poor as well. He also taught me the importance of ministering to children, youth and later showed me the importance of reaching the community of children with special needs.  Later the Lord led my husband Pastor Rick and our family to Florida to start the first church ever in the history of Ponce Inlet, Florida: Ponce Church.  As a church we have raised funds to help the poor and donated cars to single mothers. Our church has also helped single mothers and their children get back on their feet to start fresh after fleeing abusive relationships.  Since 2003 we have been faithful in preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a town of which many have not heard the Good News, and now the Lord has put it on our heart to reach the people of Japan.

The Plan: Thank you friends for your prayers  as I take the necessary steps in seeing this vision come to pass. Currently there are 24 major cities in Japan that do not have a church presence of any kind.  I have currently made contact with pastors outside of Tokyo. They have graciously offered a home-stay along with airport transportation.  My plans are to go into Otsuchi (Ogaguchi) with their teams and personally bring aid to the affected families.  I will also help them as they continue to work by restoring the homes that are left standing so that the families can return to them (they are currently living in shelters).  Our long-term vision is to start a church(s) with those that will receive salvation through Jesus Christ and continue our work by training those converts to fulfill their calling to pastor their people.  As founders and Pastors of Ponce Church we will oversee these new churches in Japan. Thank you all for your prayers of faith and support as we go and reach the people of Japan with the Love and Grace of God through Jesus Christ.

Thank you for your support~ Japan: Mission of Love


Girl Meets God

Growing up as a young girl I remember getting up early every Sunday morning with my Dad and going to church.  Although I have fond memories of singing in the choir and  hearing about Jesus in my Sunday school class, I did not know that we had such a loving God until years later.

Much of my life as a young school girl I witnessed a bitter-sweet marriage with my mother and father. Rarely did I encounter love.  The only time I remember a little peace in the home was usually during the holidays.

In Michigan at the age of 10 I remember my father standing on the landing with suitcases in hand say to my mother that he was leaving.  When I heard this it felt as though my heart dropped into my stomach.  As I look back that was probably one of the most heart-wrenching times in my life.

As the days and years went on I watched my mother take prescription drugs to help numb the pain. As I look back, I can’t help but remember that what was once supposed to be a temporary fix, turned into years of addiction for my mother.   This was a time when doctors would  write prescriptions without getting to the heart of the matter. To me many drugs then and now function as a band-aid to cover  a wound that is much worse and needs more care than just an abrasion.

Over the next five years I witnessed first hand the heart-ache and pain that my mother so desperately tried to endure. But her battle was lost at the young age of 45 when she decided to end her life. Before her death I remember one particular incidence:  It was the middle of the night and for some reason I awoke and found my mother so stoned standing in the kitchen with a knife in hand cutting an empty plate.  I know now that the Lord was with me as I gently took the knife out of her hand and put her to bed.

Aside from all of this I remember that I began to gravitate toward people my age and older that were big on alcohol and drug use. I remember (and I do NOT encourage) there were times when I would sneak out of the house in the middle of the night to get drunk with my friends while sitting on the corner of our street.

This behavior went on for a few years until one day, because I could no longer deal with my mothers illness,  I decided just days before her death to go and live with my father along with his new wife and family.   Two days after moving in with my new family my father received a phone call from a concerned neighbor asking him to come and see if my mother was alright since there had not been any activity at the house.  When my father, who was a firefighter and captain of the paramedic squad arrived, the door was locked which led him to climbed through the back living-room window. It was there he found my mother overdosed with a note at her side.

Now I had a new hurdle to overcome and that was my struggle with the enormous guilt that I carried for the next five years of my life:  The only thing I knew to do at that time was to drown my sorrows with drugs and alcohol. It was during this time that I had also become anorexic until one day I was literally scared into eating again after my body began to act abnormally. I remember saying to myself, “I have got to start eating again” and so I immediately got up, went into the kitchen and began to make myself something to eat.

In my senior year of high school I decided to get married (mainly to get out of the house) but it lasted only a year and a half and it was not long after that I began “partying” again. Then one day after my divorce (and while living again with my parents)  I remember  my brother Bob came to visit and shared with me about this amazing person named Jesus. While he was talking to me I knew that there was something different about him which that in itself captured my attention. As I look back I see how God’s perfect timing was spot on because I was getting real tired of my life fast!

It wasn’t long after this that I had been given a cassette tape with the personal story of a woman by the name of Sandy Brown.  She was a former cocktail waitress in Vegas.  She spoke about how Jesus showed himself to her and she didn’t even know who he was until He said his name and then she thought to herself: “I know that Name, I use it all the time!” From that day on Jesus  began to transform this young womans life by helping her to overcome her drug addiction and ultimately opened the doors of churches all over the country allowing her  to share her amazing story with others about God and His amazing love through Jesus Christ.

Because of all that I had been through I knew that  I was ready for a change.  So I said a prayer that I meant from my heart, and it went something like this, “Jesus I believe in you..I believe that you died for me and rose from the dead…forgive me of all I’ve done wrong.  Help me to follow you, be my Lord and my Savior” After talking to the Lord I remember lying on the floor in my sisters bedroom and it felt as though I had a blanket on top of me, it was very comforting, I was also crying, not because of sadness, but because it felt like this huge weight was lifted off of me and I knew that something inside of me was different.  Although the outside did not change much right away I knew that on the inside my heart was filled with God’s love, joy and a peace that I had never felt before in my entire life!

Has my life up to this point been perfect? No. But one thing remains true: I have by the mercy of God experienced the Lord’s goodness and feel a great passion to share His unconditional love with anyone who is willing to listen.

The Lord has led my husband Rick and I along with our two boys to start the first church ever in the history of our home town.  Pastor Rick teaches the Bible in ways that can help us on a day-to-day basis.

If you are looking for something more meaningful in your life, just know this: God loves you! There is nothing that you have done, or are currently involved in now that will keep God from showing His love to you.  He is ready and waiting for you to call out to him. “They that call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask. You can also access Pastor Rick’s messages for free at http://www.poncechurch.com


His Love is Never Limited

Jesus Love is not limited. When he walked this earth as a man he shunned no one. He loved everyone especially those who were despised and ridiculed by others.  As I was thinking the other morning, I remembered a true story in the Bible where Jesus and his disciples were invited by Mathew (a despised tax collector) for dinner at his home, “Later Mathew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. BUT..when the Pharisees (people who claim they love God but show NO mercy to others) saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?” When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor-sick people do.” Then he added, “Now GO AND LEARN THE MEANING OF THIS SCRIPTURE; I want YOU  to show MERCY not offer sacrifices (sacrifices today are doing all the ‘right’ things outwardly yet inside there is no mercy or love toward others). “For I have  come to call not those who THINK they are righteous, but those who KNOW they are sinners.” Mathew 9:10-13 nlt

As I remembered this passage of scripture he began to show me a very important point: The fact that Jesus sat and dined with sinners (we’ve all sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God) was proof that he was not condemning them, but in fact demonstrating God’s Love and Mercy in action. The religious people could not stand even the thought of being around them which was a sure sign, proving their lack of mercy with hearts full of judgment and condemnation (Mathew 23:23-26)

As a Christian, a follower of Jesus, I have chosen to live a life of mercy as He has commanded me to. Just as the scriptures say, “those that have been forgiven much, show others much love.”  In my 30 years as a follower of Jesus I have been forgiven of much and have lived and continue to learn that Loving others in the way He has loved me is the only way of life for me.

Something my wise husband who has been a teacher of the Bible for over 30 years said this in regards to the religious phrase “hate the sin love the sinner”: “We don’t need to hate the spec in our brothers eye-The log in our own eye is a full-time job.” Well said. Meaning, don’t get caught up in others mistakes, but rather take that energy and work on improving our own lives. Love God, Love Others, Love Life.


A-Stones-Throw-Away

And there she was, a beautiful woman crouched  down covering her head in fear knowing her death was just a stones-throw-away! Then, all of a sudden, a kind and gentle man approached her and said to the crowd surrounding her, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down and began to write in the sand…when the accusers heard what he had said, they slipped away one by one, then the man stood up and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No Lord,” she said, and Jesus said to her  “Neither do I go and sin no more.” John 8:1-11 (New Living Translation)

After the 2011 Super Bowl began I sat down to check my facebook newsfeed and as I scrolled down I could not believe one of the posts I read regarding Christina Aguilera and her National Anthem performance. It was not so much what was said, but it was “who” said it (a fellow Christian): Filled with judgement and condemnation.  I thought to myself, “Aren’t we Christians?! What kind of example are we setting to those surrounding us? Especially the ones we’re called to win to Christ.”  Then I began to think about Jesus and how gentle and merciful he was (and is) during his life here on this earth before his death and resurrection. He set so many examples for the Christian to follow and yet sometimes, because of our words and our actions, I feel many of us have forgotten who we represent! It seems as though we have allowed ourselves to be tricked into following religion instead of Jesus.  When we as Christians read this story of the woman caught in adultery we say, “Yes, that’s right, we are to show love and be merciful” But then when REAL life presents itself  it seems that many times  we’re left standing with rocks in one hand and a pitch fork in the other.

To the Christian: If you are a true follower of Jesus, check your heart and your motives. Ask yourself this very simple and world renown question: “What would Jesus Do?” Take a close look again at our Saviors life…how did He live and treat others? And then make the necessary adjustments and act accordingly.

To the person who is on the fence regarding Christianity:  I know it may sound strange, but don’t make your decision based on the people around you.  As Christians we are flawed! Jesus said that there is “Treasure in Earthen Vessels” meaning, as people, we are going to make lot’s of mistakes and that your BEST example is Jesus Himself.  He came to forgive and show God’s mercy in action. He was a man with no sin, but yet he became sin for us…he paid a penalty that none of us deserve and why? Because, “God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son, that whoever chooses to believe in Him (Jesus) would not perish, but have life everlasting” John 3:16  He loves and forgives you, and all He asks of you is to believe and love others in return.