Blog Posts by Dr. Gary Nelson

  • When I Consider...

    "When I consider your heavens..."

    "When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor." (Psalm 8:3-5)

    "When I consider..." That's a vital statement! Believe it or not I think it all begins with taking the time to "consider," or "wonder." (Why else do you think "Wednesday Wonderings" is so important for me?) It's when we stop to "consider" that our spiritual journey and our life receive a blessing beyond belief.

    Today we live in a world where we are almost constantly "entertained" with information and amusement. The next time you're in a public place with others waiting for something, notice the number of folks who are using electronic devices to catch up on messages, play games, etc. Our electronic connections are great at times, but also run the risk of

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  • Dreams

    "Your sons and daughters will proclaim my message; your young men will see visions, and your old men will have dreams." (Acts 2:17)

    One day there was life in this home. Folks went through the day-to-day necessities of life and even celebrated special moments. The house was cleaned and repaired. Seasons changed, and years passed until finally there was no life left in the home. The door closed for the final time and the house began to succumb to the elements.

    As we passed this old house on our scenic train ride I couldn't help but wonder about the folks who called it home. They came -- they left... What next? That's the kicker often times, isn't it? What's next? If only we could know all the details before we walk away from our comfort and follow the dream! Stay by the comforting hearth - or walk out the door and follow the dream... Tough, isn't it, even scary. But what would life be like without the dream?

    As Peter and the other disciples of Jesus muddled through the

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  • Purpose

    "...used for special purposes...
    photo"Those who make themselves clean from all those evil things, will be used for special purposes, because they are dedicated and useful to their Master, ready to be used for every good deed." (II Timothy 2:21)
    Sitting side by side the empty buckets almost look like the dentures of a huge "transformer-like" monster. Detached from the machine that uses them, they languish in the weeds, gathering rust and dust - useless for all intents and purposes. However, when connected to the proper equipment they become capable of some pretty amazing things. These buckets can build anything from roads to hospitals. They can help in disaster cleanup. They can even help build swimming pools and parks.

    Paul wanted his student, Timothy, to realize that we are capable of some pretty amazing things when we allow ourselves to become the tools of the Master. I've marveled at the ways I've witnessed God using children, youth, and adults in building and maintaining

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  • Gifts

    "...different gifts..."
    "We have different gifts, according to the grace given us."
    (Romans 12:6)

    The wood chips were flying yesterday as my neighbor and the resident chain saw carver launched into another one of his creations. I am always amazed how artists can see something hidden in their medium and help it come to life. I saw a block of wood. My neighbor saw the OSU mascot and helped him escape from the block.

    When I was a young teen still living at home and contemplating my future my mother would sometimes ask me two annoying questions. (Well, at least at the time they seemed annoying. Now I realize they were and are critical questions for all of us to ask our selves.) The first question was, "What gifts has God given you?" The second question was, "How is God calling you to use those gifts?" See what I mean? They were "annoying" to a teen because they made me have to really think and wrestle. It felt like my teen brain already hurt from too much thinking.

    Now I know how

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  • Think

    "...minds ready for action..."

    "So then, have your minds ready for action. Keep alert... Be obedient to God, and do not allow your lives to be shaped by those desires you had when you were still ignorant. Instead, be holy in all that you do... (I Peter 1: 13-15)

    Parent: "So why did you do this?"
    Child: "Everyone else was doing it!"
    Parent: "If everyone else was jumping off a cliff would you jump too?"

    I'm not an expert on ants, but apparently there are situations where the little boy and girl ants would answer that parental question with, "Yes." One day near the end of summer I looked at my hummingbird feeder only to discover that suddenly hundreds and hundreds of ants had unwittingly followed one another "right over the cliff." In this case the "cliff" was the edge of my feeder, with a sugar-watery death awaiting them inside.

    photo Our parents tried to warn us about "following" - or more likely, "following without thinking." They wanted us to beware the tendency of taking the easy

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  • Strangers

    "I was a stranger..."
    "I was a stranger and you received me in your homes..."
    (Matthew 25:35)

    I'm growing rather fond of these fellows. On a hot sunny day they pause for several moments, almost posing for my camera. This damselfly looks strange and quite intimidating. Although they're not harmful to humans, that "whatchamacallit" thing on the end at least looks like it could deliver quite a sting --- but it doesn't. As a matter of fact, not only are damselflies not harmful to humans, these beautiful strangers eat many of the critters like flies and mosquitoes that irritate us. I've gotten to know these damselflies so I'm no longer concerned that one might sting me. We're no longer "strangers" to one another.

    There are strangers among us. They may not necessarily be from a different neighborhood, state, or country. The strangers are more often somehow "different" from us in other ways so we call them "strange" and treat them like strangers. All sorts of rumors and myths grow around

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  • Love Constantly

    ... disappears...

    photo"...what am I going to do with you? Your love for me disappears as quickly as morning mist; it is like dew, that vanishes early in the day. What I want from you is plain and clear: I want your constant love..." (Hosea 6:4-6)

    I was already running almost late for a morning meeting when I passed the low-lying mist over the blooming pasture. "Wow, what a great a picture," I thought. "I'll get it on my way back." I barely finished the thought before reminding myself, "Wait a minute, the picture you want won't be there when you return. The mist will be gone." I turned around, stopped the car, and got the picture. Like morning mist, some things don't last. Love shouldn't be one of them.

    "Do you still love me?" Ever been asked that question? If you have, then you know it can be rather startling. "What do you mean, do I still love you? Of course I still love you. Can't you tell?" Obviously, the answer is, "no," or the question would not have been asked. Unfortunately we

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  • Peace

    "...swords into plowshares..."

    photo"...they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." (Micah 4:3)
    Last weekend our community celebrated an annual festival, with the festivities on Saturday evening punctuated by a fantastic fireworks display. In fact, it was so phenomenal I heard folks invoking the "D" word as they disappeared into the night saying, "Those fireworks were even better than Disney!"

    I found myself wondering about all that gunpowder rolled tightly together with other chemicals to explode in fantastic arrays of colored lights and sound. Then I thought about the verse from Micah, "they shall beat their swords into plowshares." When gunpowder is being exploded in fireworks it means it's not being exploded in bombs -- swords into plowshares. Resources must be used for peace, not war.

    In personal relationships (and international affairs for that matter) the

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  • Humility

    "He leads the humble..."

    photo "He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way." (Psalm 25:9)
    I remember driving through the country in a rural area and coming upon a house with a fence encircling the property. Next to the gate in the fence was a sign that read, "Guard dog can reach this gate in 4 seconds. Can You?" The sign was meant to conjure up a moment of humility for the would-be thief, reminding the thief that even with all their cunning and experience, their plans might fail simply because the guard dog most likely could beat them in a sprint. Fearing the business end of the dog, the thief (hopefully) would be humbled and deterred. I couldn't help wondering if a similar sign was posted on my hummingbird feeder warning the impatient bird about the business end of the bee gathering sugar water from the feeder.

    Humility is important because it makes us teachable. Without humility, without an awareness of our limits, we simply are not very teachable and are

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  • Bridges

    "...between me and you...

    photo"Go in peace, since both of us have sworn in the name of the Lord, saying, 'The Lord shall be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants, forever.'" (I Samuel 20:42)"Bridge Closed." That's a sign that can bring tragedy and heart ache to any community. Long-standing relationships can become strained and compromised when the bridge is out. I grew up until I was eight years old on the Kentucky side of the Tug River. If all the bridges had closed we would have been deprived of many of our needs from "town" on the West Virginia side.

    A "bridge closing" is one of the most dangerous things for any relationship. When communication breaks down and two parties cease talking to one another the result is often catastrophic. When two parties refuse to talk with each other they begin to objectify the other, seeing them less of a human and more of an "it." Once a person becomes an "it" there's not too long a time before "it" becomes a "target." Then

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