He is 97; she is a young 93. They have been husband and wife for 73 years. He is a WWII veteran who saw combat. She became a published author with her first book at age 85. Their lives together have been marked by adversity, faith, resilience, joy, family, and love. I caught up with Tom and Betty at their home in Hope Hull, Alabama. Before I arrived, Tom drove himself to pick up fresh pizza for our lunch. (Who needs delivery?) I brought some homemade Bon Bons and Fat Cake from Liger’s Bakery out of Montgomery, Alabama for dessert. The meal was scrumptious. The conversation? Absolutely delightful. We ate all the bon bons, but we did save you a seat.
Lunch and Conversation at Lek’s Railroad Thai in Montgomery, Alabama
Featuring Special Guest: Chuck Conner
My favorite Christian rock band is Geoff Moore & the Distance. They were at the top of the charts from the late 80’s ‘til the late 90’s. Their music was pure rock and roll with soul challenging lyrics. Chuck Conner was drummer for The Distance through most of the 90’s. Through circumstances that only a humorously sly Sovereign could orchestrate, Chuck and I are now friends. We sat down recently to some delicious Pud Thai, Tom Kha, and Thai Tea in the old Union Station depot in Montgomery for an enlightening conversation about riding the rails to the rhythm of redemption. We saved you a seat.
Coffee and Conversation at 16thStreet Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama
Featuring Special Guest: Rev. Arthur L. Price, Jr.
I love this church. I love its heartbeat. This is hallowed ground where evil once struck; yet the love of Jesus Christ continues to resound triumphantly in the lives and ministry of this precious congregation.I was privileged to sit down with Rev. Price over a cup of coffee and listen as he shared his redemption story, as well as his unique perspective as Pastor of this historic church that was challenged 56 years ago “for such a time as then.” I think you will agree that his testimony of grace and wisdom is relevant “for such a time as now.” But my greatest takeaway from this marvelous conversation is this: the main attraction of 16th Street Baptist Church is Jesus Christ. And just like Jesus, they have answered nails with gospel truth, love, reconciliation, and forgiveness. That uncommon witness is “for such a time as always.”
Dinner and Conversation at Outlanders Southern Chicken in Nolansville, Tennessee
Featuring Special Guest: Ross King
I am blessed to call singer-songwriter Ross King my friend. I sat down to dinner with Ross and his family at a kickin’ little chicken place specializing in tenders and Nashville hot bird. Awesome place; awesome face time catching up with his fam. But what really set the table of this podcast was the fact that Ross’ brand new single, “Things That I’m Afraid Of,” had premiered that very day. There is a vulnerability and an honesty in Ross’ music that is rare nowadays. I hope you will give the new song a listen and then sit down for a spell to hear the story behind the lyrics where Psalm 23 and depression, medication, and counseling come together. Someone you know needs to hear this song and this podcast. It may be you. We saved you a seat.
Link to “THINGS THAT I’M AFRAID OF” – https://youtu.be/SEbOwPxUNSA
Lunch and Conversation at Hickory Chip Barbecue Restaurant in Clanton, Alabama Featuring Special Guest: Ken Lenoir.
My good friend Ken Lenoir and I sat down to some hickory smoked barbecue with all the trimmings to savor some of his favorite redemption characters from film, music, and literature. In addition, Ken shared some of his own redemption story. (Ken works for Barnes & Noble and serves as Pastor at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church in Clanton, Alabama.) Eclecticity abounds with such table guests as Boo Radley circus sweepers, rodeo clowns, and a couple of recovering hypocrites. We saved you a seat.
In 2018, “Grace’s Kitchen” shared the gospel of hope through 13000 meals to those in need. This includes the hungry, the needy, and those who help those in times of need. This all began when God spoke individually to two ladies at the same time. We had the awesome privilege to go into the kitchen with GK’s co-founder Paula Hughes. Join in on the conversation and be encouraged by this appetizing story of everything that is possible when are hearts are listening to The Voice above all voices.
Lunch and Conversation at Little Donkey Mexican Restaurant in Homewood, Alabama
Featuring Special Guest: Johnny Mount.
For over 50 years, Johnny has been a mount of encouragement and a fount of God’s wisdom and surprise. He sees our world with authentic perspective worth emulating. He currently serves as Pastor for Congregational Care at The Church at Ross Bridge in Hoover, Alabama. Come join us as we sit down to tacos, fried chicken, and an enticing conversation that will leave you hungry for more.
Every now and then, I say something that surprises even me. It springs forth from my spirit as if it has waited there since Almighty God first knit a thread of His image at my conception. It is a gem of a thought mined from deep within my miry clay. And when my mind mines it (say that three times real fast), I’m like, “Where did that come from?” Or more like “Who?”‘cos I know it wasn’t me.
Several years ago, I was sitting at a table on the ocean with a precious friend. Gulf waves were rhythmically kneading the shore. Seagulls and pelicans were patrolling the surf. We were fresh from worship, ready to dive into some fried shrimp and smoked tuna dip. Table banter was flopping back and forth like fresh catch of the day. And somewhere in the course of those treasured moments, I spoke about a “table of redemption, party of three.”
The idea must have flung a craving on me, for I have been marinating in the lagniappe of redemption’s table ever since.
There’s something about sharing a common table. Every opportunity to do so becomes a celebration of life. From appetizer to entrée, from dessert to sobremesa, there are few experiences that equal the joy of having a place setting in the presence of someone “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Redemption’s recipe is best savored at communion tables such as these where it seems the Host of heaven Himself comes down and nourishes our hearts with what we need the most. Relationship. Truth. Mercy. Grace. Love. And sometimes, even a little bit of salsa.
Welcome to Redemption’s Table – a fresh ingredient podcast launching Resurrection Monday – April 22, 2019. Every week I will sit down to this table with a Special Guest, share a restaurant meal or cup of coffee or an ice cream cone, and engage in a recorded podcast conversation, on site, with redemption as the main course. These interviews will be edited for a weekly podcast that will broadcast every Monday morning.
You’re invited to join in on this flavorful adventure that will accentuate the reality of redemption in the lives of everyday people like you and me. A reality that, I believe, finds its ultimate expression in Jesus of Nazareth, Who is the “not-so-secret ingredient” to the redemption we all seek.
So, come hungry and slide on into the booth ‘cos, “Party of redemption! Your table is now ready!”