Category Archives: Jesus

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

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Soul Surfer~Snap!

Bethany Hamilton

During the courageous true story of Bethany Hamilton who miraculously recovered from a 14 ft., Tiger Shark attack, leaving her with only one arm,  left me in awe as I watched her “Snap” a wave just as if nothing had ever happened. For those of you who are unfamiliar with surfing terms, “Snap” means a “sharp turn” executed at the top of a wave.

What also astounded me as I watched  “Soul Surfer” which was released on Friday, April 8th 2011 was her courage to get back-on-the-board only one month following the shark incident.

Even though Bethany was the victim of a shark attack, she did not play the “victim role” in real life.  AnnaSophia-Robb who played Bethany Hamilton in the film did an amazing job at portraying her as a  fighter!  Bethany did not want to be looked at or treated differently.  In the movie, when offered a 5 minute “head start” by surf competition officials, Bethany turned it down.  As I watched Bethany’s life unfold I saw her inner-strength and courage  powerful enough to inspire us all!

So how did she do it?! How did Bethany go from being a shark attack victim to taking 1st place in the 2005 National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) circuit?  “I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength”  Bethany gained her courage from her faith in God and in His Son Jesus Christ.  Jesus, the FIRST to ever walk on water, literally.  He is the same One who spoke to a storm while  he and his disciples (followers) were on a boat.  And as the disciples came to wake him saying “Lord, don’t you care that we’re going to die?!” Jesus responded and said “Oh, you of little faith” and immediately calmed the storm. This “faith” that Jesus speaks of in the Bible, “faith” to “move mountains” FAITH to conquer any “storm” in life, is the same faith that Bethany and her family believed in and together they grabbed hold of. It was this amazing faith and hope that ONLY the Lord God can give that turned what could have destroyed Bethany and her family  around for good: Bringing hope and courage to all who are willing to open their hearts and minds,  “All things are possible to those that believe”


Free From Addictions

Have you ever been engaged in a conversation with someone and have them say something so “off-the-wall” that it leaves you speechless? Well that happened to me during my walk just the other day. While enjoying the beautiful ocean and river view from the jetty a friend was passing on their bike. We both stopped to say hello and chat a bit. During our conversation we got on the subject of family and friends that have struggled with addictions such as drugs and alcohol.  This person began to share how for some reason people who are struggling in these areas are drawn to them.  As they elaborated more about this subject they began to express how they believe God puts the addiction on these people, and basically said that is their lot in life. When I heard this I just about FELL OVER!! Friends, this ridiculous man-made philosophy could not be farther from the TRUTH! (This is a good example of folks not knowing nor understanding the Love, Grace and Power of God)  Please allow me to share why. Firstly the word of God  is truth and HIS TRUTH says that Jesus came to set the “captives” free, Luke 4:18. Do you know what that means? ANYONE and I mean anyone who is imprisoned (in a life-long struggle) by drugs, alcohol, and anything else that keeps one from enjoying life, has been given an opportunity to walk free.  Jesus who holds the key to their freedom came to unlock their prison door and let them out! 1Corinthians 10:13 says that God, has provided a “WAY OUT” of temptation, trials or troubles (including addictions) period!  It’s as if the One who has the key to your freedom (Jesus) comes and opens your cell door and says, “Come on out, you’re FREE!”  The word of God also says that Jesus has “rescued” us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son” Colossians 1:13 nlt
My friend this is GOOD NEWS! Your ticket to freedom comes from a very LOVING God, and He demonstrated His amazing love by sending His Son Jesus to set you free! This is no joke. This is not just a nice story, this is the power of God, and He is ready, willing and able to take you on a new journey to freedom. One, He is asking you to allow Him to help you. If you’re not a Christian yet and you want to be, all you have to do is ask Jesus to be a part of your life. Say this prayer from your heart: “Jesus, I believe in you. I believe God sent you for me, that it is your will for me to be free! Be my Lord and my Savior, show me YOUR way. Show me the way of your peace. Help me to be free from the things that can harm me. I want you now. You are my strength. Because of you I am no longer bound by this addiction. It no longer has power over me. Forgive me Father for my sins and I thank you that you love me and no longer remember my mistakes. Thank you God, and thank you Jesus! Amen.”
YOUR NEW JOURNEY, A FRESH START: Now one of the next steps to take on your journey of recovery is to give your mind NEW thoughts. The Bible says to “renew your mind” with the word of God. Why would He say that? Because God’s word is spirit and Life. When we become a Christian, a follower of Jesus, the Bible says we are a NEW creature in Christ Jesus. We’re forgiven, we now have God’s very Spirit living inside of us, but our minds always need renewing. Our mind continually needs to be nourished with God’s truth. God’s word washes away all of the negative thoughts that have kept us bound.  “And now dear brothers and sisters, one final thing, FIX YOUR THOUGHTS on what is True (God’s word), and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. THINK ABOUT things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me–everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the GOD OF PEACE  will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9 nlt.
The Lord has put “pastors and teachers” into the body of Christ (Christians) and has given them gifts to teach God’s word. I would encourage you to find a church that teach Jesus Christ as the Son of God and that teaches Faith and Love.  I cannot tell you how when I first became a Christian, how powerful it was for me to “hear” God’s word and be in a church that teaches the truth. You especially want a church that teaches Gods love and that God does NOT put evil on you to teach you a lesson. You want a church that teaches about God’s Grace, Love and Mercy. If you do not know where to start, send me a message and I will be more than happy to help you find a church that offers what I have shared with you today.
Know this: God is NOT mad or angry with you. He is so loving and merciful. The word of God says that it is His love and goodness that leads us to Him. He is with you every hour and every second of the day. You can literally call out to Him and He WILL help you. He is that awesome and so faithful, ready to pour out His Love on you. I know, I met Him over 30 years ago and He has never let me down, ever!

I also encourage you to listen to Pastor Rick’s messages. His newest series “The Great Escape”  is now available to listen for free or download and listen to at any time.  Go to  poncechurch.com


Mending Families

Lately I have been thinking about families and how so many relationships within each family unit are hurting.  Although it is included, I am not just singling out couples such as husbands and wives I am also referring to our relationships with our mothers, fathers, in-laws, our brothers and sisters and in some cases even our own children. I recently shared with a friend how God helped me to forgive my own parents.  Because I was tired of carrying my own personal baggage overflowing with hurt emotions the Lord was able to help me finally rid myself of the pain through the amazing power of “mercy” and “forgiveness.”  I know that those two words seem almost impossible to consider, but I guarantee that if you continue reading, the Lord will help you to enter a new phase in your life free from your own baggage and replace it with real happiness, joy and peace.

Because it seemed so difficult to conceive the idea of forgiveness I asked the Lord to show me how.  One of the main scriptures that he used to help me understand why people do what they do was the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior.  Imagine for a moment  Jesus,  hanging on the cross inflicted with such immense pain  brought on by beatings and nails driven into his hands. Not to mention those closest to him who chose to run and hide from and even deny him and how through it all  Jesus  was able to pray this prayer, while hanging on the cross: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”  I know, our first immediate response is “of course they know what they’re doing, how dare they” but surprisingly enough he helped me to see that they really did not know how much pain they were inflicting.  In my case, once I realized and accepted this amazing truth, He was able to help bring me to a place where I no longer suffered pain by the words and actions of others.  Later through study and research I have found that “Hurt people hurt others.”

Before my mother died, she was trying to deal with her own pain: The devastation of my father leaving. (read my post “Girl Meets God”) I remember one day because she was hurting so much inside that she tried to get me to hurt my father during a phone conversation. I was between the ages of 10 and 11 years old. I remember she handed me the phone and tried to force me to say “I don’t love you anymore” to my father. I remember crying, I could not do it. As I look back I see and understand now that my mother was suffering. She was living in her own torment of pain, brought on by anger, bitterness and unforgiveness toward my father.

Every family is different. We may all have different issues that we are dealing with but one thing we all have in common is we all have been given the opportunity to be free from the pain caused by others.

Another truth that the Lord was able to show me as a young Christian is found in Mark chapter 11:25, “And when you stand praying forgive, for if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in Heaven forgive you your sins.” This scripture helped me to see that I needed the Lords mercy for things I had done in my past and for the last 30+ years as a follower of Jesus,  this  truth has helped to keep me in check when it comes to loving and forgiving others. God is a gentleman. He will NEVER force his will on us. He has given us the freedom to choose. One scripture says, “I have set before you LIFE and DEATH: CHOOSE LIFE”.

This kind of Love toward others has helped me to be free! Free from the hurt and pain brought on my others, all because of two very powerful words put into motion: Forgiveness and Mercy. This freedom is only available to the one who is willing to forgive and let go.  Our key to becoming free is Love:  Jesus said “Love one another as I have loved you.”

ATTENTION: If you or someone you know is in real physical danger contact the Violence Hotline: 1-800-799- SAFE (7233) for help.  You can also contact your local police department and authorities to help get you and your children to safety. Note: Although my story is not about physical abuse, there are many families who are facing dangerous situations and so I felt is was important to share this information to help individuals and families that are in need of such services.


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


What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Loving others is not easy especially those who irritate or rub us the wrong way. Many times in my walk with the Lord I have had to endure people that are difficult to be around. No matter where you are in life, you will have such experiences and there is no avoiding it. Sometimes even now when loving others does not come easy I remember what my husband Pastor Rick  shared with me not so long ago: “Given their situation or circumstances they are doing the best they can.”
I remember while living and raising our children in Arizona I had a hard time with forgiving some members of my family.  I knew as a Christian how important it was to love and forgive others, but in REAL life I found it to be extremely difficult at times. As  a young Christian I remember Jesus teaching me the importance of love and forgiveness.  In  Mark chapter 11 Jesus says, “…and when you stand praying forgive. If you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive you your sins.”  I must admit, even today this scripture ALWAYS keeps me in check. Why? Because I have been forgiven of so many things in my life and God expects me to show that same love and mercy to others.In my own life I have found that when I love others I am happier and at peace. I am able to really enjoy life.  You could say that LOVE has a “freeing” affect on the one who chooses to give it out.  So go ahead, begin to look at others as God looks at you, with love and compassion.  I guarantee you will find that your life will be full of real happiness and joy!


Don’t Get Scrooged

Scrooge

I LOVE Christmas! I enjoy the shopping and giving to others, I especially love that it is one of THE most celebrated times of year where everyone from all walks of life witness Christians celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ the Savior of the World! What I do not love however is the “bah humbug” mentality that goes along with this merry holiday.  In years past I would find myself looking at the faces of those pushing their carts down the crowded isles and I did not like what I saw: Many with unhappy faces filled with frowns and even anger. Because of this I found myself beginning to dread the thought of participating in one of my personal favorite times of the Christmas season: shopping! As I pondered ways to keep this from happening I had this inspired thought: Don’t look at their faces! This year as we began our Christmas shopping I chose to put it into practice. Now I do my best to focus on those that have a jolly spirit. I have made it a point to turn my attention toward the giggly, joyful child as they look at the abundance of toys on display, or the one singing along to the Christmas jingles as they make their way through the store.  I have also decided this Christmas to not get Scrooged! And most of all to keep my focus on the most meaningful reason for the season, and that Is Jesus, “Unto us is born this day in the City of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord”
Merry Christmas Everybody and have a Happy and Safe New Year!
God Bless Us Everyone!