As the pandemic lockdown of 2020 began, pastor William (Buddy) Nelson wanted to communicate a message of love, hope and reassurance to his separated congregation. He says the imperative at that time was “to guide the church to maintain spiritual health, assist my family and seek God’s direction for all of us.”
Nelson began to write to his congregation, Lakeview Baptist Church in Oxford, during the three-month lockdown and was encouraged by how many responded positively.
A few emails with words of connection for believers separated by circumstances became an ongoing ministry that spread to others battling similar hurdles. Out of 400 devotionals written during this time, Nelson has selected 90 to include in “Getting Off the Fence Post: Choosing How to Face Difficult Times.”
Nelson’s focus passage is from Romans 12:12, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” With that direction in mind, his devotions give insight and direction in times that steal our joy and test our hope, patience and faithfulness.
Life of ministry
Drawing on a full life of ministry — from his youth as the son of a pastor through 48 years of ministry in Kentucky and Alabama, including serving during a global pandemic — Nelson tells relatable stories with timely advice. Each devotion ends with a prayer the reader can borrow when at a loss for words.
Open this book to any page and readers will find a word of encouragement for a tough day or season, a Bible verse that fits the topic and a relevant story. They can be read one at a time or several in one sitting. Nelson writes in his introduction, “It is my prayer readers will find the love of Christ, along with his hope, comfort, peace, love and joy, along with a determination to stay focused on him no matter what might be happening in our lives.”