Merry Christmas!

Our ministry family wishes you and your family a warm, love-filled, Merry Christmas! From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for all the prayers, encouragement, and generous support you have given this year to help us reach and train thousands around the world with the Gospel!

Currently, I am in the Philippines proclaiming the Gospel of the One born on Christmas day so long ago—God’s Son, our Lord Jesus Christ! Please lift a prayer as you read this for the ministry work going on there.

Life changing…that is one way to describe what God did this year through our ministry! The projects we conducted in Haiti, India, and the Philippines saw thousands of lives touched by Jesus Christ! Such as Ednar in Haiti, who had “married” satan in a voodoo ceremony; after one of our events, Ednar repented of his sin and devil worship and gave his life to Jesus! He has since shared his testimony in the church he now attends.

Then there is our dear friend “Jackie” in India, who accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior at one of our school outreaches. A mere half-hour after turning her life over to Christ, she was attacked by local religious extremists for becoming a Christian and suffered a head injury requiring immediate surgery. Praise the Lord Jackie has made a full recovery and has shared her powerful testimony in her church and is involved in outreach!

Plus, we had the privilege this year of equipping hundreds of pastors and church leaders through our Leadership Development Conferences. In India, our ministry began a partnership with 74 churches, including many rural village churches. We developed our “Global Missionary Program” and will provide training, resources, and, as God provides, support to help these missionaries in their ministries throughout India.

Thanks to you, our ministry partners, we were able to distribute over 200 Bibles and 90,000 Christian salvation tracts throughout schools, churches, conferences, and communities we reached in our projects. In addition, we gave training materials to churches and pastors, and in India we gave a battery-powered sound system that will be used to assist pastors in their teaching and preaching ministries in Indian villages.

We are already making plans for next year in countries such as Venezuela, India, South Sudan, Brazil, the Philippines, and other potential places. With your help, we will continue reaching and training more lives with the Gospel, and your special end-of-year gift will greatly help us accomplish this. As the Lord moves your heart, your special Christmas donation sent today will help us plan for the future! Our website now accepts online donations. Also, stocks or securities, planned estate giving, and direct financial gifts can be made through our fund with the National Christian Foundation of Houston. Our website has details at www.scottnute.org, or just call us for more information: 713-277-8638.

Thank you, our friends and partners, for all your care, support, and prayers! I also want to give special gratitude to our board of directors, advisors, ministry volunteers, and our part-time staff, for all their hard work this year! May you and your family have a wonderful holiday season!

Merry Christmas,

Scott Nute

SNGM Admin December 15, 2011 Filed in Newsletter No Responses

The Power of a Daisy

She sat on my right during a return flight from San Antonio years ago. As we introduced ourselves and said a greeting, the conversation developed in a normal manner. I asked, “So, what were you doing in Maryland?” She answered directly, seriously, and matter-of-factly, “My son just died. I went to get his body and bring him back to Albuquerque.” I was stunned. We sat in silence for a few moments. I then asked, “Ma’am, what happened?” She said, “He was 21 years old and sleeping overnight on a friend’s couch. He never woke up.” We sat in more silence. We began talking again and she said they were now waiting for the autopsy report, as there was no explanation for his death. I asked her what her son was like, what he liked to do. She said he liked skateboarding and drawing. She began to quietly cry tears of the deepest grief you can imagine. My heart broke for this woman. She was still in literal “shock.” She is a Christian and said she needs to get back in church after this. Her “son also was a Christian,” she said with tears. We sat in more silence. Across the row on my left was a young woman with a bouquet of flowers. I felt compelled to do something strange and impromptu. I asked her if I could buy one of her flowers. She said, “I’ll give you one.” I chose a yellow daisy. Then I gave it to the woman and said, “Jesus told me to give this to you. He is so sorry for your son.”  She had a mixed expression of smiling and sadness as more tears rolled down her face. I said, “Whenever you see a yellow daisy, please picture it in your son’s hands as he awaits you at the front gate of heaven.” “Thank you,” she said. We sat in silence.

Life Invading Life

One of the greatest mysteries about life is “life.” Why did God take that young man? Why do so many terrible and painful things happen every day throughout the world? That grieving mother did not need or want answers because there will never be an answer good enough to “fix” her crucified heart! I continue to learn that I don’t have many answers to my own questions, let alone others. It seems that when life invades our life with unexpected tragedy and penetrating emotional trauma, giving a prayer with a Bible verse like an “aspirin” may do more damage than good. I believe there are many instances in life where answers are not necessary or wanted. Instead, simply expressing and venting our legitimate, raw, and realistic pain from the basement of our heart is all that is needed. Then, perhaps later, logical and theological truths can be made. But, being presented with truth and logic too soon is like forcing thorns into the open cuts in our hearts…like reinforcing the thorns in the wounds on Christ’s forehead. If that woman, like many of us tend to do with real-life issues, had been quoting the Bible, saying Christian cliches and praising God, I wouldn’t have believed her. It would have been a fake, overspiritualized attempt to escape the grief and utter pain her heart was gripped in from the death of her beloved son. I believe Jesus Christ did not inspire me to whip out my Bible and plug up her emotional openness with “spiritual” statements and a dozen Scriptures. If Jesus were in my seat, I think He would have given her that yellow daisy with tears and said, “I am so sorry for your son.” That would have been the most appropriate “theology” given the fragile state that woman was in.

The next time your life and mine are invaded with “life,” will we need full answers or a daisy? The next time you and I have a chance to be there for someone who is hurting, will we give just truth, or a daisy, or, perhaps a delicate, sensitive balance of both? Let’s not just read the following verse, but apply and live the lesson found in it, “Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart” (Proverbs 25:20).

SNGM Admin December 13, 2011 Filed in Monthly Devotion No Responses

Spaghetti Life

She was so happy! A romantic dinner with her boyfriend…candlelight, great food, dim lights, serenaded by violins. It was a romantic overdose. The evening was going perfect when suddenly during their conversation the boyfriend said something insensitive. Instead of apologizing he coldly gave a typical male response, “Just get over it.” She lost it! Grabbing the plate of spaghetti in front of her she hurled it at him, he ducked and the spaghetti went over his head and splattered against the wall behind him. You could hear a fly whisper as the restaurant crowd became dead quiet. Everyone sat there dazed, not knowing what to do as they watched the spaghetti sauce ooze down the wall. There was finally movement when a man scooted out of his chair, picked up a bag next to him and slowly walked to the wall with the spaghetti splashed on it. To everyone’s amazement this man took a paintbrush and paint from his bag. He began to paint around the spaghetti that was now hardening on the wall. The crowd was spellbound watching this man paint, wondering what he was doing. After an hour he put down his paintbrush. The restaurant crowd was deeply touched as this man had painted a gorgeous orange and purple ocean sunset on the wall with the spaghetti blended in as the sun in the centerpiece. What started as a horrible, ugly mess was turned into a masterpiece by the artist.

There have been many times when my life felt like a plate of spaghetti splattered chaotically against the wall. As a boy several things brought not only pain but long-term consequences, things that happened to me that were not my fault or within my control, such as my parents divorce, my dad’s alcoholism and rage, and by far the worst was sexual abuse I experienced at the hands of two men outside my family (to read more on these things go to the “Wounded Heart” section). I suffered from post-traumatic stress, depression, suicidal thoughts and plans, thirteen years of recovery, tremendous losses, etc. Then, there are things that happened in my life that were my fault, bad choices and sinful mistakes and such, things that had negative consequences. I am at a point in life now where many parts of what happened to me as an innocent boy and the mistakes I made as an adult have become platforms for me to connect with and communicate to people who, to some level or another, have gone through similar things. I bet you have had your own “spaghetti episodes”, things that were not your fault as well as things that were, things that brought apparent negative results into your life. Think of the most painful thing you have ever encountered in your life. Think of the deepest disappointment. Think of the biggest mistake. Think of the worst decision. Think of the most humiliating moment. All of those things may have brought hurt, doubt, confusion, depression, misunderstanding, hate, fear and disappointment into your life. Maybe you felt things were and are so messed up in your life that God cannot straighten it out, whether it is one area of life or life in general. It is in these circumstantial moments where important decisions are made that swing life into proper or improper directions. We can either sit and watch the spaghetti run down the wall or we can ask “The Artist” to come and make something beautiful out of something ugly. In other words, if we will let Him, Jesus Christ will blend in and turn the most painful things in our life and the biggest mistakes in our life into something good! I am now able to speak and minister to people about the depression, abuse, etc, that I went through, and every time I speak on such things someone talks to me afterwards and tells me they experienced the same thing and that they were touched, inspired and encouraged by me having the courage to talk about it. God can be the great artist with the skills and power to turn every bad situation around for good! Whether the bad situation is our fault or not, if we know Jesus Christ and are fully committed to knowing and obeying Him God will weave every bit of our life into His ultimate good. Whatever has happened in our lives we can know Jesus cares and that He is able to turn anything and everything around into something beneficial and meaningful to us. Plus, it will bring glory to Him and impact others through our life and testimony. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them” (Romans 8:28). Let’s give our lives…our plates of spaghetti on the wall…to Jesus Christ, the Great Artist!

Because He loves us‚

Scott Nute

SNGM Admin December 13, 2011 Filed in Monthly Devotion No Responses