Blog Posts by Dr. Gary Nelson

  • Boldly

    "...boldly and without hindrance..."

    IMG_6175 by you.

    "He preached about the Kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ, speaking with all boldness and freedom." (Acts 28:31)

    "Just a little more and this ball will be ours!!!!" AMEN!! They've been through at least ten of those balls over the course of a couple of years. Somehow Tinker Bell and Peter Pan do throw themselves into the chase with such boldness and abandon that they manage to get their teeth into it, and.... POP!!!!

    Paul was a man who responded to God's call on his life by offering the good news of God's love in Christ to the world. Although several books in the bible are attributed to him, the book of Acts contains narratives about him. The writer of Acts ends his account of Paul's life with the scripture quoted above. The last words written about Paul say that he went about his work for Read More »from Boldly
  • Maggots


    IMG_8299 by you.

    "So they saved it until morning, as Moses commanded, and it did not stink or get maggots in it." (Exodus 16:24)

    Not yet, but soon... maggots, that is. The flies were busily laying their eggs in the carcass of the bird I found in the church parking lot. In not too long a time the eggs will hatch into maggots, the maggots will eat and help decompose the bird carcass, then the maggots will become flies and so on and so on and so on... (or at least that's the way it's supposed to work).

    As the Israelites followed Moses out of Egypt and began their trek through the desert their anxiety was sky high. How would they eat, how would they live, where would they find water, where would they go? The questions poured endlessly from their lips as they struggled with their vulnerability and Read More »from Maggots
  • Upside Down

    "...upside down."

    IMG_6840 by you.

    "They turn everything upside down." (Isaiah 26:19)

    Were it not for the ripple in the water's surface you might look at the picture and assume my camera was pointed up at the sky instead of down at the water. My camera might have turned your world upside down and fooled you into believing that you were looking at the sky instead of the sky reflecting on the water. (I purposely had my wife, Patti, make the ripple so you wouldn't be fooled.)

    I don't mind being fooled as part of a joke but I really, really dislike being fooled in a serious situation. I remember more than once when I was a young, inexperienced pastor being told stories by individuals only later to find I had been fooled. Being fooled makes me feel angry, hurt, disappointed, weak, and much more wary about trusting the next time.

    Unfortunately it's not that difficultRead More »from Upside Down
  • Satisfied

    "... satisfied..."

    IMG_7911 by you.

    "My soul will feast and be satisfied, and I will sing glad songs of praise to you."

    Lately I've been learning a lot from butterflies. Last year as I began to take more photographs I found myself chasing a lot of butterflies. I must have looked pretty crazy trying to keep up with the magnificent creatures as they flitted erratically from blossom to blossom. Finally, after observing them long enough and being frustrated with a lot of blurred shots of butterflies on the move, I got the lesson they were trying to convey (sort of like a "duh" moment as the teens would say). I learned that if I wanted a good butterfly photo I had to wait for one of the critters to find just the right flower. When they found it they would cling to the blossom, unfurl their tongue, and drink deeply of the nectar - posing for several moments and Read More »from Satisfied
  • Choosing the Right Road

    " where you are going..."

    IMG_7630 by you.

    "Those who are good travel a road that avoids evil; so watch where you are going - it may save your life." (Proverbs 16:17)

    Patti spotted the young groundhog as he made his way along the riverbank, surprisingly far away from any burrow in sight. He seemed like he was intently focused on some sort of mission as he scurried along. Maybe that's why he failed to take into account that his chosen path would take him past a pair of geese sunning their twelve goslings by the water's edge. However, I don't think that's a mistake this groundhog will make a second time. His choice of paths gave him quite a scare and might have cost him more had he not skedaddled on his way.

    Sometimes we find ourselves in one of life's "ditch's" moaning, groaning and wondering how we wound up in such a predicament. Yet often, life is not asRead More »from Choosing the Right Road
  • Anxiety

    "Anxiety weighs down the human heart..."

    IMG_6919 by you.

    "Anxiety weighs down the human heart, but a good word cheers it up." (Proverbs 12:25)

    Ever felt out of place? Take a close look at that bird on the church roof in front of the tree. It's not a rooster, a pregnant pigeon, or some other sort of fowl that one might expect to see on a rooftop. It's a Canadian goose. Talk about out of place. Lately birds have been doing some pretty strange things around the church, but that's another story.

    IMG_6918 by you.

    Anxiety is what we're experiencing when we say we feel, "out of place." A little bit of anxiety is normal. Sometimes a little anxiety helps to wake us up or get us ready for some particular task we might be facing. However, just like Read More »from Anxiety
  • Denial

    "...we cannot deny it."

    IMG_6314 by you.

    IMG_6315 by you.

    "Everyone in Jerusalem knows that this extraordinary miracle has been performed by them, and we cannot deny it." (Acts 4:16)

    I saw the family standing on the bridge over the small stream and heard one of them exclaim, "Look, there's a snake in the water." Joining them on the bridge I discovered, sure enough, there was a snake periodically poking its head above the water and changing positions in between. Then someone pointed out the frog a few feet away from the snake and noted that the snake was trying to sneak up on the unsuspecting frog. I readied my camera to catch "the catch." Just then, the family decided to move on. One little girl lagged behind long enough to throw a stick in Read More »from Denial
  • Water Flows

    "...the water flows..."

    IMG_5376 by you.

    "Then he gives a command, and the ice melts; he sends the wind, and the water flows. He gives his message to his people..." (Psalm 147:18-19)

    A clergy retreat with our bishop has taken me to Blackwater Falls State Park in West Virginia, where the melted snow and ice fuel the falls and help the mountain flora and fauna begin to awaken from their winter slumber. God's command sparks life.

    What voice do you hear when you listen? Sometimes when I build a project I can almost hear my father telling me, "It needs one more nail." (We both subscribe to the principle that if one nail will hold it three will be even better -- a principle I've come to later regret when I've had to dismantle some of my own projects.) What voice informs you? Whose instructions do you follow in your day to day life?

    There are many "voices" waiting to Read More »from Water Flows
  • Love One Another

    " one another."

    IMG_0420 by you.

    "And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." (John 13:34)

    No, your eyes are not deceiving you. It's a dead rat. I found it not long ago during a walk through a cemetery. I wanted to start this week's "wonderings" with a really good picture of death. Not very pretty is it...

    This week the news reports that the state of New Jersey and its teacher's union are in conflict over the upcoming state budget. With a large budget deficit looming, the governor is proposing cutting state aid to schools. (I'm not taking sides in this conflict, just lifting up the following detail). Early this week one of the regional offices of the teachers' union circulated a memo with the suggestion that folks pray for the governor's death since he was proposing the cut in funds.

    Is it Read More »from Love One Another
  • Built on Rock

    " was built on rock."

    IMG_4567 by you.

    "So then, anyone who hears these words of mine and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on rock." (Matthew 7:24)

    On Monday morning, the day after Easter, I stopped briefly at the church and was told by a parishoner that a bird was trapped in the downspout and was unsuccessfully struggling to fly back up the pipe to freedom. I began to wonder about how to mount a rescue operation. No sooner had I hung up the phone from a rescue consultation with a church trustee when I noticed a similar sound coming from a downspout at the opposite end of the church building.

    The downspouts were securely riveted together, so I drilled out the rivets, disconnected the pieces, and looked inside hoping to find the birds healthy enough to fly away. In both cases I got a momentary glance at the bird before it zoomed away to Read More »from Built on Rock


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