Thursday, May 28, 2009

Celebration! 100 Posts And Counting...

Well, I finally made it to my 100th post on this blog spot! I've been racking my brain over the last several days trying to decide what I would write on this post (Really, what do people typically do to celebrate a milestone like this?). Actually, I had been thinking about waiting until my birthday to post it, but I decided that would simply take too much time between posts. Instead, I decided to write about some of my favorite people in the world, my family.

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to take Steph and Gabby to Texas for the first time to meet my parents. While we were there we were able to have a little reception at the University Church building (where I was a member for eleven years before moving to Nashville) in honor of Stephanie's and my marriage, my dad's 90th birthday and my graduation (finally) from WTAMU!

I would have, and should have, written about this right after it happened if I had had better pictures, but I haven't gotten them yet. I hope to get them soon. Until then, I'll have to use what I have, which isn't very good at all (I'll exchange them once I get the good ones in).

B.C. Brannon - one of the greatest men I've ever had the priviledge of knowing. It's a trip to think that anyone would still have the desire to do work at the age of 90. My dad has told me on more than one occaision that he wants to preach until he can't preach anymore. By then, it'll be time for him to be with Jesus. He hasn't preached as a 90-year-old yet, thanks to pneumonia, but if the Lord so wills him to see October 5, and to preach again, he will have been preaching for 68 years! Most of my friends' parents aren't even 67 years old and my dad has been preaching that long. That's dedication! That's passion! That's honor! That's God inhabiting every fiber of his being! That's why he's my hero!

JoNell Brannon - After my mother died in 1989, I thought I would never have a mother again. Five years later, I was proven wrong. Dad showed up at WT one fall day of my freshman year and told me he was headed to see my "new mom." JoNell has been nothing short of a blessing to me since she married Dad. So much so that I call her Mom. I must mention, though, that I was encouraged by a very wise man to call her Mom instead of JoNell because in certain African cultures (from which I come) there is no step-mother, aunt, grandmother. There is only mother. Therefore, JoNell is my mother and I'm proud of that!

Stephanie Brannon - If you had asked me early last year if I thought I would be married with a child by this time, I most likely would have laughed until I couldn't stand up straight anymore! God seems to change people's plans from time to time before they even know their plans have been changed. Steph has been an answer to a prayer I'd been praying for quite a long time. I'm grateful to be married to such a beautiful, wonderful woman of God!

Gabrielle Nelson - It seems like just yesterday that we had a 10-year-old little girl who was excited about starting 6th grade in a few months. That's because it was just yesterday. Gabby turned 11 today and we treated her to a nice homemade breakfast, balloons, and presents. Isn't she adorable at 7:15 in the morning?

So, as you might have guessed by now, I am madly in love with my family and I'm so glad God put them in my life and me in theirs. What can I say? I'm blessed!

Peace, Love, and Chocolate

Monday, May 25, 2009

For Our Heroes

Today is the day our great country has set aside to honor those who have given their lives to help ensure our freedom. It's sometimes difficult, in today's culture, to look past the immediate and remember history, but that's something I try to do on Memorial Day. There are so many young men and women who have paid the ultimate price in the wars in which we are currently involved. To their families I offer my heart-felt condolances.

My brother, Earnest, fought in Operation Desert Storm in the late eighties and early nineties. I may never forget the day when I was told he had to go to fight. That's not something a freshman in high school who lost his mother the year before really wants to hear. I got in trouble in my algebra class for being so distracted worrying about him. Fortunately, he came home. Unfortunately, he came home with a severe drinking problem as a result of his having to kill. He developed this habit of drinking a few shots of vodka, falling asleep (or passing out) for a few hours, waking up in the middle of the night, taking a few more shots, and passing out again. He would go through a fifth of vodka in just a matter of a couple days. We lost him eight years ago from an enlarged heart caused by a mixture of alcohol and diet pills.

That being said, Ernie was, and still is, a hero of mine because he was willing to give his very life so that you and I could enjoy our freedom. Valor and bravery like that is hard to come by these days. I pray that we raise our children to be courageous and honorable like the men and women of our armed forces. I also pray that our children will be raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord and that they display all the characteristics of Christ-followers. Big blessings from our Big God!

Peace, Love, and Freedom

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Meanwhile, back at the Acappella concert...

Since I haven't blogged about Acappella concerts in quite a while, I figured it would be appropriate to share this nugget that happened recently in Aca-world.

We were doing an intimate concert for about 150 people in a small meeting room of a nice lodge / hotel. The concert was going great. Everyone was really into the music and the message. We were all having a wonderful time. We got toward the end of the concert and I asked the audience to "stand up and join us while we sing about our new home" (which, if you have been to an Acappella concert recently, you know that means we're about to sing "Holy City." And if you haven't been to an Acappella concert recently, maybe it's time you came to one!).

As I was hyping the crowd for the song, a couple of older gentlemen in the back of the room became overwhelmed with the Spirit and started to jump and shout! It was amazing to see God moving through these sixty-somethings. I had not seen anything quite like it at an Acappella concert before.

Well, just as we started to sing, one of the older men tripped and fell on top of the man next to him. We stopped to see if they were okay. They weren't. All I could hear was groaning and a woman screaming. The man who was fallen upon found the strength to speak up and say that his hip was broken. The man who did the falling had a broken collar bone and femur. Everyone was in shock and no one was moving, so I yelled into my microphone to call 911. I then ran out of the room toward the front desk to get help since I didn't have my phone with me on stage. The hallway seemed like it went on forever. I ended up sliding down the railing of a long flight of stairs. It looked like I wasn't going to make the landing.

Then I woke up.

Can you imagine that really happening?

Peace, Love, and Chocolate

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Only The World

Sometimes the music overshadows the words. Thanks to whomever made this slideshow. May this post encourage you today!

song: Only The World
artist: Mandisa
writers: Clint Lagerberg, Matthew West, Cindy Mizelle
album: True Beauty
label: Sparrow Records
released: May 2007

Peace, Love, and Chocolate

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Motions

This might hurt, it's not safe
But I know that I've gotta make a change
I don't care if I break,
At least I'll be feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
Instead of going through the motions?"

No regrets, not this time
I'm gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love make me whole
I think I'm finally feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of this life

Take me all the way (take me all the way)
Take me all the way ('cause I don't wanna go through the motions)
Take me all the way (I know I'm finally feeling something real)
Take me all the way

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

I don't wanna go through the motions

The Motions
Written by Jason Houser, Sam Mizell, and Matthew West

Peace, Love, and Chocolate

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Feeding Jesus

"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink... I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." ~ Jesus

Today, we have an opportunity to help feed the hungry. My blogging friend, Trey Morgan, is involved with a ministry in Santa Ana, Honduras called "Feed the Dump People." There are so many people in Santa Ana, and all over the world, whose only source of possible nourishment is the garbage that is left over from others' meals. These people are filthy, smelly, barely clothed, and beautiful because they, like the rest of us, are image-bearers of God. Check out Trey's blog when you get a chance and do what you can to pitch in. This is a perfect opportunity to feed Jesus!

Peace, Love, and Food for the Hungry