Monthly Archives: October 2017

Post Simply Free

Post Simply Free

Post Simply Free

Gena is beautiful. She is articulate. She is poised and has a natural stage presence. She also finished a ten-year prison sentence for vehicular homicide about a year ago. While she will always live with the guilt and regret of that drunken night, God has removed the shame and has given her life purpose and meaning, not, in spite of her past, but because of it. She is Simply Free.

Jacob and Allison are fun and funny. They had a fairytale wedding and a fairytale honeymoon. They are living the dream. She is a bright, compassionate MICU nurse at Vanderbilt, on her way to becoming a Nurse Practitioner. He is a musician and pilot, on his way to flying for a major airline. But their story is not all roses and happy ever after. They have already, in their young lives, known deep, deep lose, and great grief. But God has taught them how to hold grief and joy together. And God has taught them that He is ALWAYS good. They are Simply Free.

Pastor Eddie is dynamic. He is as good a preacher and communicator as I have ever known. He is a successful pastor with the ability to grow great, mega-churches and then to pastor them well. He also battled depression and anxiety to the point that he could not leave his house, was fearful all of the time, and thought he would end up institutionalized. God delivered him, not in an instant but over a period of time, in a process. Today Pastor Eddie is an incredible voice for the ability of God to heal our minds. He is Simply Free.

I could tell you about Mike who shot a man in a drug deal gone bad and is now the kindest heart and most consistent witness I know. Or about Vicki who saw her whole world crumble around her when her husband walked out but has found the joy of the Lord in a way that exudes from her very being. Both of these people are Simply Free.

I could tell you about the dozens, maybe hundreds of others that came through Simply Free this weekend and found a special touch from God, a healing for a hurt, new hope for a hopeless situation. I could tell you about songs that set us on fire and filled us with delight, about sessions that were as full of information as they were inspiration. I could tell you about conversations over lunch when people who had never met found a common spirit and went away fast friends. I could tell you about lives changed, hearts mended, minds made right. All of that was Simply Free.

What I will tell you is that God was and is ALWAYS faithful. Doris and I dropped in bed on Saturday night, exhausted but exuberant over the way God came through and showed Himself loving and powerful for so many. Simply Free 2017 is in the books. We are already looking forward to the next one, and to the Simply Free’s that God is going to raise up in many other churches and communities.

Thank you Pastor Eddie and Family Worship Center. Thank you Branches and every counselor and staff member. Thank you every break-out leader, usher, musician, prayer warrior, every person who made this happen. And thank you God for setting us free, and for saying to us that when You set us free, “we are free indeed.”

17-0

17-0

Jakson played his last baseball game of the year last night. They are in an elite league of hand-picked eight year olds. Jakson’s team is not. They are not eight, most of them are six, and they are not elite. They are cute, they are special, they are loved by their mommy’s and daddy’s; but… Continue Reading

Fairy Tale

Fairy Tale

It is 3:50am. I have been sitting here for 50 minutes and I got nuthin.’ Jakson hasn’t done anything really funny lately. Doris has kept me in matching shoes for a few weeks. Jon-Mical is just being smart. And Josh and Jacob are progressing toward stardom with no real glitches. Not much to work with… Continue Reading

But God

But God

Yesterday was a superb day at Branches on so many levels. Yesterday Branches Wellness Center opened, a faith based treatment program focusing on weight loss and nutritional counseling. For a long time, we have looked at the connection between emotional/behavioral health and physical well-being. Many of the people we see deal with depression and similar… Continue Reading