My name is Michael Nielsen, a sinner saved by grace. I live in Henderson, NV just outside Las Vegas, where I presently serve as an active duty Air Force officer. The Lord has blessed me with my beautiful wife of 17 years Nicole and our wonderful kids, Jackson and Evelyn. I have been further blessed to serve as an elder in a small church called The Stream.
I grew up in and around the church and believe I was saved at a young age. My story, however is one about God’s patience and persistence with a stiff-necked and rebellious person, praise the Lord (Ps 117:2). Lacking sound biblical doctrine and without a functional understanding of grace and the gospel, much of my youth was spent bouncing between the errors of license and legalism. By God’s grace he did not abandon me when--by all outward appearances--I had abandoned him. By his mercy he delivered me from repeated patterns of sin. By his kindness he showed me I was unable to do anything that could please him on my own. God kept calling me back to him when I was prone to wander (Jam 5:19-20), usually by the hands of mature Christians who sought me out. By the third or fourth time I experienced what I felt was a “prodigal conversion,” God showed me that I hadn’t been saved over and over again, but that he had been patiently and deliberately working in my life to sanctify me, however painfully slow. The knowledge that God had never forsaken me, but instead had drawn me to him for decades, gives me great comfort in his promises and my security in Christ (Isa 62:12). The best witness I believe is a changed life. Mine is no exception.
Over the last ten to twelve years, God has worked tremendous growth in me through several men and women whom he has placed in my path. Especially men who set out to disciple me, teaching me the meaning of the gospel, the depth and beauty of scripture, and the value of sound, biblical doctrine. Through these teachers, pastors, friends and churches God grew in me a deep love for Christ, appreciation of my need for his grace, and passion for theology and teaching.
God has continually drawn Nicole and I into greater and greater roles within the church. He led me to seminary by placing a conviction on my heart to take the teaching of his word seriously – “an overseer must be… able to teach” (1 Tim 3:2). I personally benefitted from shepherds who were equipped for ministry (Eph 4:12), and God placed it on my heart to multiply his kingdom in the same way, making disciples (Mat 28:19-20). We will be moving to Colorado in the summer with hopes of planting a church in the near future. God has placed a great burden to multiply what he has done in my life and build his church.
Reformed Baptist Seminary (RBS) has been the latest and one of the most impactful instruments which God has used in my life and ministry. I praise God regularly for his servants at RBS and the service they perform for people like me seeking to serve God and become equipped for the ministry. There aren’t enough words nor enough space to describe the fruit already produced in my life because of the training I have received through RBS. I believe RBS has been key to great growth in the areas of preaching and teaching the Bible, as well as developing a humble appreciation for and love of both. I want to personally thank and lift-up Dr. Gonzales and the many staff at RBS for their faithfulness to God’s word and his church.
I greatly appreciate RBS’s desire to partner with local churches allowing students to remain in their church home to continue serving while working on a degree. A small church like ours is not equipped to fully prepare men for ministry on their own, but by partnering with my pastor, RBS has allowed us to truly become multiplication minded. The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few, praise God for RBS and their heart to train workers (Luk 10:2). I look forward to continuing on to a MDiv (after a season of much needed rest J).
May I never cease to pray for God’s continued work in and through the Reformed Baptist Seminary--my life has been immensely blessed by my time there. May I never cease to thank God for the family he has given me who have suffered with me through many long nights and weekends of study and labor. May I never cease to thank God for his word through which we may come to know and be saved by his son, my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ. May I never forget the grace I have received nor cease to tell of the good news it brings.