Thursday, September 28, 2006

Kansas Trip Highlights

Welcome to Kansas. Actually, we never saw this sign because we flew. Here are the top 10 highlights of our family reunion trip we took last week. Enjoy...but not too much.

1. Seeing a woman get into a pick-up...her T-shirt simply read "Mess with me, you mess with the whole trailer park."

2. Shooting off fireworks with two of my brothers-in-law while my mother-in-law looked on with a frown.

3. Burning my back, scorching my hair, and putting a hole in my shirt from my brother-in-law's I have the frown.

4. Seeing lots of family relatives I haven't seen for over 10 years, especially my only surviving grandmother and my brother and his wife from Siberia.

5. Playing in the hotel pool with our 21 month old son, Joshua...he was sure he could swim himself.

6. Seeing a tractor pulling a pick-up trailer...apparently the guy doesn't have a vehicle of any sort, so he drives the tractor from Denison, KS to Holton, KS (17 miles round trip). Here's a pic for you so you believe me.

7. Eating at 3 steak buffets in less than 48 hours (Sirloin Stockade and Coyote Canyon).

8. Ordering Papa-John's pizza to the hotel lobby and having the delivery man tell me with a straight face that there's no fat in their pizza crust...riiiiiiight. (I looked it up here ... he was half right.)

9. Watching Joshua fall down 12 steps, rolling and hitting each step on the way down, all under my watch.

10. Having my mother-in-law purposefully close the elevator doors on me while trying to board with two suitcases...sure - it was an "accident."

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Cheating on My Family

"But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark--you and your sons and your wife, and your sons' wives with you.” Genisis 6:18

Family must be pretty important to God. Why else would He establish an agreement with not just Noah, but his entire immediately family (and their wives). Noah’s family must have been important to himself as well - I wonder what Noah’s reponse would be if God had said, “I’m going to save you from the flood, but not your family.”

How important is family to me? Is it more important than my career? School? Friends? Ministry? Material things? While I’d like to say family is more important than these other things, where do I spend most of my time, energy, and resources? Do I feel more comfortable dumping $300 into guitar effects processors than I do $300 toward a family vacation? In the end, I should end up cheating something - question is…will it be my family or something else?

God, Noah’s family was important enough to You that you saved them because of how Noah lived his life. Like Noah, I’m asking that You would cause me to be the spiritual leader and take responsibiliy for my family. Help me to make family something I’ll never cheat. Show me what to cheat in order to make family my main ministry.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Unpaid Staff Retires After 27 Years

"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win." 1 Corinthians 9:24

There is an audio tech at Grace that is "retiring" after 27 years of unpaid service. 27 YEARS! Wow. I'm 33 years old…that means he started volunteering at Grace when I was just 6 years old. Steve, if you are reading this...that's a compliment...sort of.

To show you how long it's been, Tim Reedy (our media producer on staff at Grace) recounts what it was like when he started.

Here's what Tim had to say...
"To show you how long Steve has been on the job, I recount this story that he told me. The sound ministry began in the chapel when the services were held there. Steve would operate the sound board from a room that wasn't even in the chapel itself (Jodi Miller's office is this room). When a soloist or Pastor Young would require a microphone, cassette tape, etc., Steve would have to run back and forth from the chapel to the "sound room" in order to set the levels. My, how times have changed. Steve will continue attending Grace so please, when you see him, thank him for his years of service." - Tim Reedy

Steve has demonstrated a life of 1 Corinthians 9:24 when it comes to the audio ministry at Grace. Life is a marathon…not a sprint. Steve wasn't a rollercoaster…gaining momentum for a quick fun ride. Steve was a steady train that was committed. While Steve is still in the race of "life" - he demonstrated as a volunteer a commitment levelt that is difficult to find today.

What kind of race am I in….a marathon or sprint? I have to keep in mind my purpose, position, and pace. Like any great runner - I should know why I'm running - my purpose (for fun, for a prize, for a world record, for a personal best). I should know where I'm at in the race - my position (the beginning, the middle, the last lap). I should also know what my pace should be at any given time (rest time, time to push).

God, thank you for even allowing me to run this life race. I don't qualify to begin with, but you put me in anyway. Thank you for showing me how to have a great start to the race, and thank you for showing me what's ahead (what I need to know anyway). Help me to listen to Your voice. You are my only coach. At the end of my life, I want people to talk about what You accomplished through me - not what Bryan Nelson did on his own. Help me to continue to listen to Your voice and follow the guidelines you've already set so that I can win.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Chewing God Out

They call him "Honest Abe." That's Abraham Lincoln. In the Bible, Job was the one who was pretty honest with God about his "bad luck." In fact, Job kinda chewed God out. Job told God exactly how he felt about his situation. And what was God's response? God took two chapters to remind Job that he was a human and that He was God. Really, God told him that Job had no business to question Him. Stinks to be Job.

However, God honored Job's truthfulness in how he spoke about Him in spite of his human honesty. God concluded with "...because you [Job's misleading friends] have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has." His friends didn't speak truth about God. In Job's trials, they tried to convince him to deny that God still cared for him. They were wrong. Even though Job was honest, and it bit him in the end - God liked the fact that Job spoke truth about Him.

When I'm in trials, do I speak the truth about God? Am I always convinced that God has my best interest in mind? The truth is that He does have my best interest.

God, thank you for understanding my situations clearly. I'm sorry for the times that I question what Your intentions are. I have no position to ask. You are far above me to question what you are doing. My human nature it to ask. Forgive my questioning. I want to speak truth about You - which is that You know best when it comes to what happens to me. Help me live that out.