Monday, September 25, 2006

A Tribute to Alan Nelson, 1936 - 2006

The Measure of a Man
By 4Him

I say the measure of a man
Is not how tall you stand
How wealthy or intelligent you are
Cause I found out the measure of a man
God knows and understands
For He looks inside to the bottom of your heart
And what's in the heart defines
The measure of a man

Dad was not wealthy with worldly riches, though he worked hard and steady his whole life. He was rich, however, in relationships with family and friends. His heart was huge and full of love for others and gratitude to God for His grace. In physical stature, Dad declined over the years from 6'1" to about 5'7" due to osteoperosis. But he remained tall in the eyes of those who knew and loved him. He always had a smile and a handshake, hug, or humorous word. He persevered through his own obstacles, pains, and disappointments without complaint. He served others and encouraged them. He left a great legacy for his four children and eight grandchildren -- a legacy of love, service, faith, and a positive attitude.

He will be sorely missed by many: his wife, Liz, of 25 years; his children and their families; fellow church and choir members, golfing and fishing buddies, and many more good friends.

Now he has joined his beloved parents, brother, and other relatives in "our Father's house."

So long, Dad. Thanks so much for the example you set. We love you, and we'll miss you 'til we see you on the other side!

Dad’s Homegoing

While in the hospital recently recovering from congestive heart failure, Dad developed a serious infection which his weak or non-existent immune system could not overcome (a result of the bone marrow cancer). His pulse declined and various organs began to shut down. Rather quickly, God answered prayers that He would either take Dad soon or give him back his strength and independence. The Lord chose to do the former at 1:20 am on the 19th of September with my step-mom, Liz, and sisters, Susan and Pam, by his side. And we, the whole family, are grateful that Dad didn’t linger and suffer.

I began flying home the same day and arrived on the afternoon of the 20th. We had the funeral on Friday, Sept. 22. I had the privilege of leading the service and sharing it with his pastor, choir director, and my nephew, Grant, 10 years old.

Thanks to all who prayed, expressed concern, and offered condolences -- especially to the Bridge Church family. As Jeni said on behalf of the extended Nelson family, we have loved and been loved by a great man. And he is being missed by many, many friends as well.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Question for Discussion: SBC and Charismatics

Here's the multiple choice question I posed over at Wade Burleson's blog, with very slight editing. Anyone care to speculate or offer an opinion?

"Why is the Southern Baptist Convention the only large historic denomination that has not made room for a fellowship of "charismatic" churches under its tent (like the Methodists, Lutherans, even Presbyterians and Catholics have, for example)?"

Would you say it's mainly because of:
  1. the excesses of the charismatic movement and the off-putting attitudes of the "haves" vs. the "have not's"
  2. the firm theological convictions of most Baptist pastors/leaders (i.e., their certainty of the rightness of their own interpretations of Scripture and their low tolerance of others' interpretations)
  3. fear of change or of rejection or of emotionalism
  4. local church autonomy and the denominational structure (assoc, state, nat'l levels) which makes it impractical, improbable, or even unnecessary to make room for such a fellowship of churches
  5. all of the above, or a combination of the above
  6. other (please explain)
Ok, have at it, please. I'm real curious to know what others think and have experienced.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Latest Family and Church News

Dad's Cancer

My dad, Alan Nelson, was diagnosed a month ago with bone marrow cancer, a real surprise. He's 69 years old. I flew to be with him in hospital in Tampa and to be with family as things developed. I'm very glad I did. I stayed until 29 Aug, and I was able to bring him home to his house on the 28th. A week later however, he went back in hospital with an irregular heart beat and fluid build up -- congestive heart failure. While that was being treated in hospital, he contracted a bladder infection which has become serious enough to transfer him to ICU. He's very weak, barely communicating, has bouts of confusion, and the family is very concerned. We would appreciate the prayers of our friends from around the world. Please pray for the infection to be overcome so that Dad will get back some strength to fight the cancer and go on the thalidomide treatment. May the Lord intervene and grant him more time and more strength for the time he has left. Please also pray for my step-mom, Liz, who is working full-time, and sister, Susan, who is full-time mom to two elementary school kids and visiting Dad every day in hospital. Sister Pam lives and works in Tampa. Sister Sally lives in south Georgia. Thanks for your prayers for them as well.

Church Camp

I got back from Tampa and, with Jeni and girls, went straight from the airport to our first church camp at Port Dickson, Malaysia. Seventy people had signed up. Our friend Hakan Gabrielsson came from Singapore to be the main speaker. It was a wonderful time of worship, Word, fellowship, prayer, play, and a missions emphasis. Three missions agencies were represented by local staff in our missions fair: Overseas Missionary Fellowship, Asian Outreach, and Wycliffe Bible Translators. Our own Michael Wong represented Operation Mobilization. Hakan shared about some wonderful things happening in places he visits regularly, like Myanmar, India, and Iran. His missionary ministry is called Touching Asia.

Vanessa Schaefer, our Sunday School co-director, was healed of chronic neck pain during a prayer time at church camp! She had been suffering for a long time from a spinal condition and recently had to quit driving her car because of it. Now she's driving again and free from the pain. Praise God!


We expect to have three weddings coming in the next several months: Chris and Winnie (Malaysian Chinese), Victor and Grace (Malaysian Indian), and Julian and Sally (Malaysian Chinese, living in Jakarta). I've got lots of pre-marital counseling to do! I've had the privilege of doing several weddings over the years here in Kuala Lumpur, but not this many in such a short span of time. Funny, we've also had more babies born recently (to other couples) than ever before in our eight years here. Looks like we're experiencing some biological church growth to go with our conversion growth! :-)

Answers to Prayer

Our consulting company is up and running! And Lisa and I have our work permits through GuideStone Consultancy Pvt Ltd! I'm the Managing Director, and she is the Senior Counselor. We each have two-year visas in our passports allowing us to work as counselors which we're doing, of course. The visas came through in June and July.
Praise the Lord!

Next Post

Maybe in the next post I'll pose a question that I left on Wade Burleson's blog. We could have a little discussion about a theological subject. Check back in a day or two if you're interested.