“Miracles are not extraordinary; they are ordinary.” This is what Father Ted Nelson taught me in our time together. Father Ted exited this earth’s journey on October 31, 2014, at the age of 88. I am so blessed that I had the chance to know him personally. He was one of the happiest and most joyful people you would ever meet. His was the name I wrote down in Bible study books when they asked who is the most spirit-filled Christian you have known? I never knew Father Ted to sin around me; but if he sensed he was being the least bit prideful during our conversation, he was quick to point out his blunder then quickly move on to teach me about his great love for God.
Most people loved and admired Father Ted. He always conceded the fact that others thought highly of him until they met his wife Lee Ann. They are a team. She has always been the wind beneath his wings. He became well-known in the Dallas area in the seventies-eighties when he was the rector of The Church of the Resurrection. He and Lee Ann were not searching to be part of the charismatic movement that was associated with that era; yet their church was the center of many miraculous healings. He told me bus loads of people from other states would arrive on Friday nights for their healing services.
I was meeting with Fr Ted to learn more about the Holy Spirit because I was preparing to teach a one-year study on Acts and the Epistles. He taught me that nobody is given the gifts of the Holy Spirit for themselves and that it is God who parcels them out. His humility about the miracles he witnessed in his lifetime was genuine and heartfelt. He saw himself as blessed to be used in that capacity quite a few times, but he never assumed what and when the Holy Spirit would do through him. He felt his reputation created a weighty mantle because when people are sick with a terminal diagnosis they will do anything. He was constantly fighting the pressure from desperate people to do something that was not for him to do. He could not deny that God used him to carry out this work, but the Spirit led him to never try to direct God’s work through him. He constantly distrusted himself because he knew himself, and he knew how far short he fell.
Fr Ted’s Spirit anointing was a complete surprise to him. He and Lee Ann had similar experiences at the same time though in different places doing different things. Fr Ted was in his office at the church, and Lee Ann was at home caring for her children. They called this experience baptized in the Holy Spirit, but all Fr Ted knew was that the Lord wanted him to do something and he answered yes. He was grateful that the bishop who discipled him on his journey from advertising executive to parish priest had died. Most people resist God for fear of man. Fr Ted was willing to do God’s will not his own. He considered himself fortunate to be moved by God. He spent his life encouraging others to open their hearts to the movement of God within them.
The only time I witnessed Fr Ted’s pride about himself was telling me about his the then three-year-old great-granddaughter pointing to him across the table and proclaiming: “He’s cute and He’s funny.” Well, that just about sums up Fr Ted for me. He is cute and he is funny and now He has completed his journey here. So much more will be revealed about this cute, funny man who said yes to God every day. Psalm 77:14 says; You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.
Fr Ted knew this quite well.