Nolen Elam… that’s my name! Thanks for visiting!
I updated this page Friday, 27 November 2015.
This website is just a place for me to share a little of who I am and who and what are most important to me.
I was once told that relationship begins with a name and so I begin my story with Nolen, my dad (photo link 1), who gave me his name. I’m also called “Ned,” which is a childhood nickname still used by some of my family, friends and coworkers. Adele, my mom (photo link), gave me my nickname as a practical means of distinguishing me from my dad. Although I prefer using my name “Nolen,” I understand change is difficult for everyone, including myself, so I accept that some still call me “Ned.”
Other than my dad, I only know of one other Nolen Elam—Nolen, my son. We’re both named for my dad (photo link 2). Here’s one of my favorite photos of me and Nolen ‣
For those who don’t already know me, I’m from Houston, Texas and now reside in Costa Mesa, California with Karen, my wife. Nolen, my son from a previous marriage, lives in Arizona, where he’s attending college and studying to become a nurse. Maddy, Karen’s daughter and my stepdaughter, recently moved to Northern California, where she’s also attending college and studying business communications. I’m very happy and blessed to have Karen and Nolen and Maddy in my life! Here’s one of my favorite photos of me, Karen and Maddy ‣
I grew up in the City of Spring Valley, Texas (a suburb of Houston) with Adele (my mom), Carl (my step-dad), Bob (my brother) and Susan and Debbie (my two sisters). Don (my other brother) and Susan are still in Texas, Debbie’s in Colorado and Bob’s here in California. Adele, our precious mother, passed on a couple years ago.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve enjoyed drawing. As a boy, my subjects were usually mechanical objects, like tanks, airplanes and motorcycles. Sometimes I drew living creatures or scenes from nature. We lived in an area with plenty of tall oak trees and pine trees, so trees were often a favorite drawing subject.
Today, with over 36 years of professional experience, I design packaging and labeling for medical devices manufactured by my employer, Baxter Healthcare Corporation. Baxter hired me in 1990 after I worked five years as an independent contractor for Infusion Systems Corporation, a 1980s startup company purchased by Baxter in 1988. Today, 30 years later, we still manufacture the INTERMATE and INFUSOR systems, which are globally-marketed portable, disposable, elastomeric, intravenous infusion devices. My work is personally satisfying, knowing that I directly contribute to products that improve the quality of life for people all over the world. Visit my design page to read more about my career.
As a young boy, I knew I wanted to be a dad someday. My dad passed on when I was young, so naturally being a dad was what I wanted most in life. I remember wondering, “What will my wife be like?” and “What’s it like being a dad?” Thankfully, my dream of becoming a father came true when Nolen was born. Although his mother chose to end our marriage when Nolen was young, he and I only missed one regular visitation in 12 years after the divorce (and that single instance was his mother’s decision). Nolen eventually lived with me for a short time before finishing high school and he has since grown to become a fine young man. I’m very proud of all that Nolen has accomplished and who he is today and what he’s doing with the life he now lives. Blessings to you, Nolen! You’re a good son!
And another vision for my life also developed when I was a young boy: the first time I saw someone standing on a surfboard riding a wave in the Gulf of Mexico at Galveston, Texas, I knew I wanted to ride waves! Ever since that first vision captured my heart, surfing continues to be one of my great passions. Although I don’t surf as often as I did when I was younger, I still enjoy catching a few waves down at “The Point” at San Onofre State Beach, my favorite place to surf locally. Here are a few photos of me at San O’ ‣
In this first photo, I’m luggin’ my 10'6" x 25" Mike Minchonton Custom Surfboard out for a surf at The Point (it weighs 35 pounds!) ‣
In this next photo, I’m riding the Minchonton on a very typical wave at The Point ‣
And here I am crankin’ a big ol’ bottom turn (yes, everything about the Minchonton is big!) ‣
And last, the end of the day ‣
I first learned to surf in the murky, brown waters of the Gulf of Mexico off the beaches of Galveston and Surfside, Texas back in 1969. Years later, after graduating from high school, my love for surfing drew me away from Texas and I moved to California. My mom and I loaded up my powder blue ‘73 Chevy Vega hatchback with all my surfboards, a skateboard, a bicycle and a big box of vinyl records and together we drove to California! My plan was to move in with my brother Bob (who had moved to California a year earlier), attend Orange Coast College, surf as often as I could and find the woman of my dreams! After all these years, I’m still here in California, still surfing (albeit only occasionally) and very happily married to Karen, my beautiful, sweet, precious wife… cheers to you, Karen!
The following image is my favorite photograph of me riding a wave ‣
The photo shown above was taken by professional surf photographer Matt Thomas in November 1992 at a break called “Killers”—a big wave break on one of the tiny “Islas de Todos Santos” (a group of small islands eight miles offshore from Ensenada, Mexico). In this photo, I’m riding a wave that is actually small by Todos standards; it was one of the few waves I rode that day—an easy, makable wave I could see coming early enough to set up and paddle into without having to make a late take-off (successfully riding big waves requires experience that I never attained). The bigger set waves that day were some of the largest I’d ever paddled through—16-18-foot faces with solid 8-to-10-foot backs. While the wave in this photo is small for Killers (maybe 6-8 feet), photographs of Killers breaking 60-70+ feet have been featured in the surfing media. Only a few other rideable surfbreaks on the North American West Coast rival the size of Killers’ waves: Cortes Bank (waves up to 100 feet break over a seamount 100 miles offshore from San Diego), Ghost Tree (a little-known, mysterious break near Monterey that also boasts wave heights of 100 feet) and Mavericks (a hugely popular break near San Francisco that can also break up to 100 feet). Oregon also has a few lesser-known rideable big-wave, offshore reefbreaks that rival its neighbors to the south.
This next photo was also taken the same day as the previous image shown above. The photographer used a telephoto lens to get both shots from about 200 yards away on the island bluffs overlooking the break at Killers ‣
And now, for something completely different, above all I’ve shared so far, I saved the best and the most important for last…
Yes, I am a new creation in Jesus Christ. I was spiritually born-again by God the Holy Spirit July 7, 1996 and I now possess eternal, everlasting life because I believe God is true and I believe God said is true. By believing Him, who sent Christ, God the Father, I was saved by His grace through my faith in the finished work of His only-begotten Son, Yeshua HaMassiach, Jesus the Messiah, Jesus the Christ, the Lord Jesus of Nazareth, who is the Son of God, the Son of man, the Lord of all and the great God and Savior. He is the one representative for all who believe Him. My personal identification is in Christ and my personal position is now with Him―and forevermore. I was crucified with Him. I died with Him. I was buried with Him. I was raised from death with Him. I ascended with Him. And I am now seated together with the Lord Jesus Christ in heavenly places! Because He accomplished all for me (and for all who believe), I am now entitled to say (by faith) with all who are His, I am in Christ and there is, therefore, no condemnation in me. And not only am I in Christ, but Christ is in me. It is no longer I who lives, but Christ lives in me, just as He once died for me (and for all who believe) on the Cross at Calvary. I am now an heir of God among my fellow joint-heirs with Christ, who is the Heir of all things!
My theological views are centered in the identification and position truths (the “no longer I, but Christ” life) taught by Paul, the Apostle, in his church epistles and expounded much later by John Nelson Darby, James Butler Stoney, William Kelly, Lewis Sperry Chafer, William R. Newell and more recently Miles J. Stanford.
Here are a few of my favorite websites ‣
The following collection of quotes open up and speak to the all-important Pauline truths of the believer’s identification with and position in the Lord Jesus Christ:
“When the Lord Jesus has once died and risen, He is through with sin forever. He is now living in the eternal light of His Father’s face. He is our Adam, our life. We died in Him. We were raised in Him. Through our death with Him at Calvary, we have escaped forever from the old Adam life. Our feelings have nothing to do with it. It was all accomplished at the Cross.
“We dare not deny God’s Word. He says we died with Christ. We can cry triumphantly, when we know: ‘I died unto sin with the Lord Jesus on the Cross two thousand years ago! I reckon myself what the Father says I am in His Son―dead unto sin and alive unto God. Sin has no claim on me in the Lord Jesus and it cannot have dominion over me, as I yield myself to my Father in this wonderful new revelation of yielding myself to God, as one who is alive from the dead’ (Romans 6:13). Thus will we begin to find how true and how tremendous is the deliverance that is in the Lord Jesus for us. And thus alone will we really honor the grace of God.”―W.R.N.
“It is futile for us to attempt to curb our sins while we ignore their source, the indwelling principle of sin. In trimming the branches (sins), we strengthen the root (self). Rather, as we count upon (‘reckon’) the finished work of Calvary, the Holy Spirit will apply the Cross to the old life and as that death cuts deeper and deeper into the root, the branches will wither and fall away.”―M.J.S.
“The believer who sees that self is incurably evil (‘know’) and that it has been taken into death (‘reckon’); who gives self utterly to that death, as he sinks before God in dependence and surrender to His working (‘yield’); who consents to death with Christ on the Cross as his position and in faith accepts it as his only deliverance; he alone is prepared to be led by the Holy Spirit into the full enjoyment of the Christ-life. He will learn to understand how completely death makes an end of all self-effort and now, as he lives in Christ to God, everything henceforth is to be the work of God Himself.”―A.M.
“The Old Testament believer had joy for God’s gifts to him. God’s power made things here contribute to him. But the Christian’s joy is in heaven and springs from what the Father is to him there. He demands nothing from this world, but in the life of the Lord Jesus he contributes to it, of the grace that nourishes and comforts him outside it.”―J.B.S.
“Just as a sinner is taught to rest in the Lord Jesus’ shed Blood for his forgiveness, so must the saint rest in the Lord Jesus for his deliverance from the power of sin and the grip of the Law―yes and from himself, also. Therefore, we should not be in bondage to sin, ‘for he who has died [and that is everyone who is in the Lord Jesus] is freed [released] from [the power of] sin’ (Romans 6:7); and we are now under grace, which does not demand righteousness of us, for ‘you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God and righteousness and sanctification and redemption’ (1 Corinthians 1:30).
“The believer who is truly walking in the liberty wherewith Christ has set him free (Galatians 5:1), has Him ever before his eye of faith; delighting that, because of Him, he is in the Father’s favor. He evermore learns to abhor himself, as he sees the sinfulness of the old man within, only to delight himself the more in the Lord Jesus, who is his life.”―W.R.N.
“All true believers in Christ are gratefully aware that they are not going to hell, but few realize that they are already in heaven.”―M.J.S.
“There is no question about there being a beautiful new position for the believer, but people limit it to its being theirs when they die. Scripture shows that it is ours now! People say, ‘You get to heaven when you die.’ No such thing! You have it now. It is not your death that entitles you to it, but the Lord Jesus’ death. There is not a single shade that was between us and the Father, but that the Lord Jesus has removed in His death.”―J.B.S.
“The Lord Jesus stood where I was and now I stand where He is and that is the only place I have before my Father. We may fail and grieve the Holy Spirit, but that is where we are set.”―J.N.D.
“The great failure of the Church was in giving up Paul. ‘All who are in Asia’ (2 Timothy 1:5) did not give up evangelical truth, but they gave up Paul. Anything popular, you may have, but not Paul. Why? Because Paul is heavenly.”―J.B.S.
“It is absolutely essential that a believer have a clear understanding of his position before the Father―his place in the risen Lord Jesus Christ. This alone will give true peace of mind, joy and comfort of heart, strength for conflict and power for service. We will never be able to properly understand or fill our place for God on earth, if we do not realize our God-given standing before Him in heaven.”
“And never forget that our place before the Father is His gift and a gift worthy of the Giver; not a gift according to the measure of our worth, but a gift intended to display the exceeding riches of the grace of the Giver. The greatness of the Giver then is the measure of the blessings that are mine in the Lord Jesus Christ, not what I am or what I deserve.”
“When you see and stand on your heavenly ground, you come to rest, just as the Father rests. You need not worry―only keep on that ground by your attitude of heart. If you are going to worry―if you must worry―worry lest you get down on earthly ground, for that is the ground of worry. Abide above! Heavenly things are in safe keeping―in the keeping of the One, who is ‘far above all’ (Ephesians 1:21)”―T.A-S.
“Most growing believers rightly maintain that all must come from the Lord; but instead of taking their actual position of being dwellers in heaven and coming from there to earth, they only look up to heaven for help, as to their walk on earth; and their thoughts and labors are always influenced and dictated by the state and order of things on earth and instead of seeking the mind of the Lord as learned in heaven, they are occupied with the blessings of man on earth.”―J.B.S.
“After the early joys of the new birth, the spiritual recession that occurs is not necessarily backsliding at all. The discovery of our sinful “old man” (Colossians 3:9) is the first and foremost step in the discovery of the righteous Christ-life.”―M.J.S.
“The Lord Jesus ‘has passed through the heavens’ (Hebrews 4:14) to appear for us, ‘in the presence of our God and Father’ (1 Thessalonians 1:3). It is the Lord Jesus who gives abiding rest to our souls and not what our thoughts about ourselves may be. Faith never thinks about that, which is in ourselves, as its ground of rest; it receives, loves and apprehends what the Father has revealed and what are His thoughts about the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is His rest.”―J.N.D.
“Since I am risen with the Lord Jesus, I must occupy myself with Him where He is or I shall fall back to the things, out of which, He has risen; and the very fact that I am in the scene where He is not, makes it all the more necessary that I should be in fellowship with Him where He is.”
“We are conversant with man in death and sin and distance from the Father, for that is our state, by nature; but to know the Man in glory, One in acceptance with the Father according to all His moral greatness, is new to us and magnificent. And according as we know Him there, we become not only superior to, but distanced from, our own state here, with which, we are associated.”―J.B.S.
“There is an entirely baseless sentiment abroad, which assumes that every teaching of the Lord Jesus must be binding upon the believer during this age, simply because He said it. The fact is forgotten that He,  while living under, keeping and applying the Law of Moses, also taught  the principles of His future earthly kingdom and,  at the end of His ministry and in relation to His Cross, He also anticipated the teachings of grace. If this threefold division of His teachings is not recognized and maintained, there can be nothing but confusion of mind and consequent contradiction of truth.”―L.S.C.
“Because the thing is in the Bible does not warrant the conclusion that it is God’s will for the Christian. We must seek to rightly divide the Word of truth. What was formerly right for the Jews is now for us nothing, but the elements of the world. These forms pointed to a reality that is now come―the Body is of Christ. The blessed position of a Christian is, that he has died even to the best things of the world, religious and otherwise and he is alive to the highest things in the presence of the Father, for the Lord Jesus Christ is his life, in whom he is now hidden (Colossians 3:3).”―W.K.
“The Gospels are complex almost beyond any other portion of Scripture, since they are a composite of the teachings of the Law, of grace and of the coming kingdom.”―L.S.C.
“We receive life by reliance upon the Savior―we grow in that life by reliance upon the Spirit.”―M.J.S.
“Many think that because of faith they are cleared of everything before God through the Cross and, therefore, by faith, they are clear of everything in themselves. But that is the error of ‘holiness by faith.’ The objective (position) is that we are clear before the Father; the subjective (condition) is that we are cleared from ourselves by the growth ministry of the Holy Spirit.”
“As you, by faith in the positional facts, realize that you are in the Father’s presence, you will not try to depend upon any sense of His presence. You know His presence because you know that your position in the Christian life is a life of faith in the facts―nothing else. The Father forces you to live by faith, so as to draw you into His presence―not you, by sense, trying to draw Him into yours.”―M.J.S.
“We are naturally suspicious of any offer to make us happy in God. Because our moral sense, our natural conscience, tells us of our having lost all right, even to His ordinary blessings. But in the Word of our Father, faith reads our abundant title to be near to Him and happy with Him, though natural conscience and our sense of the fitness of things would have it otherwise. Faith feeds where the moral sensibilities of the natural mind would count it presuming even to tread.”―J.G.B.
“The moment we walk by sight we are outside of faith. The Father would never have us outside of faith; hence, even in answering our faith, He answers it so that we need faith again, in the very next moment, even while we are presently enjoying the results of His answer.”―J.B.S.
“If God has declared that we “died” (Colossians 3:3), then we did die. If God has declared us “released from the Law” (Romans 7:6), then we have been “released from the Law” and we are, hereby, God’s free children, for we are ‘a new creature’ (2 Corinthians 5:17), ‘which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth’ (Ephesians 4:24).
“Our longing for conformity to the image of God’s Son shall be confirmed and fulfilled by the Holy Spirit, who has been given unto us. No man can believe he has a right to walk freely and fully in the Spirit, until he believes himself to be free from the Law.”―W.R.N.
“Law cannot give eternal life, nor can it, therefore, have any control over it.”―L.S.C.
“The Ten Commandments require no life of prayer, no Christian service, no evangelism, no missionary outreach, no Gospel preaching, no life and walk in the Spirit, no union with the Lord Jesus, no fellowship of saints, no hope of salvation and no hope of heaven.”―L.S.C.
“There would be little harm in trying to imitate Christ, if such an endeavor did not hide from us what our Lord really desires and, therefore, keep us back from ‘life more abundant.’ Christ has Himself come into our hearts to dwell there and what He wants is to live His life in us, as the Apostle Paul says, ‘For to me, to live is Christ’ (Philippians 1:21). Christ was the very source and mainspring of all that Paul was and did. What a wonderful thing this is! We would be driven to despair, if Christ had simply left us an example to follow or imitate, for we have no power within ourselves to do it. We must have a new source, a new spring of action and Christ Himself wants to be just that for us.”―E.C.H.
Thanks again for visiting!