Sometimes life brings the unexpected and we find ourselves off script. In other moments, opportunities arise that require us to deliberately choose to go off script. In today’s very special episode, I want to celebrate and honor my sister Marilyn. A year ago, Marilyn was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Last Monday, Marilyn’s earthly journey ended as her heavenly homecoming began. She was prepared for her ultimate off script moment because of her relationship with Jesus. This past week, I have been reflecting on the beautiful grace of Marilyn. In her most challenging days, she remained courageous, positive, and kept on putting others first before herself. In 2015, Marilyn and I spent a week serving together in Haiti. Even as I was grieving, I recalled one single, defining moment of Marilyn in Haiti that brought a huge smile to my heart. I pray it challenges and encourages you as well.
Firmly planted in midair. That’s an adequate description of what the world is going through right now. And it is also a realistic expectation of what following Jesus really looks like. This week’s simple podcast explores that theme. We hope it is an encouragement to you in this difficult season. We have an album recommendation (Andrew Peterson’s “Light For the Lost Boy”), an upside down quote to reset your perspective, a mesmerizing adventure movie to check out (Amazon Prime’s “The Aeronauts”), and an encounter with Jesus in the gospel of Luke. “Redemption’s Table” has been set for you. Thanks for joining us.
Open up any Bible and you’ll find an incredible book of wisdom fairly close to the center called Proverbs. Proverbs has 31 chapters, hundreds of proverbs, but only one prayer. One of the most incredible, counterintuitive prayers you’ll ever read. And that one prayer is the subject of a brand new book, “The Prayer of Agur,” by today’s table guest, Jay Payleitner. At the heart of Agur’s prayer is this unusual request – “Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.” Wow! That’s a little different than a lot of the prayers you hear nowadays. And that’s just the beginning of surprises Jay introduces on the way towards discovering where the sweet spot of life can be found. I hope you’ll check out this little gem of a book for yourself.
A Conversation With Special Guests: Hunter Harris and Chase Myers
One in four pregnancies end in miscarriage. To lose a baby is a heartbreak many have suffered. In ways I can never understand, it must be especially poignant for a young mother. The topic is hardly ever talked about. In the last two years, I know two young couples who have walked this valley. I asked the fathers from each couple if they would be willing to share at “the Table” and both have graciously agreed. I welcome two men I admire – Hunter Harris and Chase Myers. And if you know of anyone who has recently gone through miscarriage, this may be one episode you might want to pass along.
I was sitting at my prayer table two weeks ago when God planted an idea in my spirit: “Go redeem the ground. Pray on sites where racial sin has taken place.” Last Tuesday morning, the prompting became a little more specific. God nudged, “Go to Court Square Fountain today and pray.” I committed to go after lunch. This beautiful fountain flows in the heart of downtown Montgomery, Alabama on the very site where, over 160 years ago, thousands upon thousands of lives were sold into slavery.
Three hours AFTER God nudged, I received an email announcing a last minute Pastor’s Press Conference to be held in less than two hours at – where else? Court Square Fountain. It was there that I met Today’s Special Table Guest, Bishop Kyle Searcy. Kyle serves as Pastor of Fresh Anointing House of Worship. As soon as we met, I felt impressed to invite Kyle to the podcast. He graciously accepted and here we are.Montgomery has been a pivotal city in our nation’s history, from Civil War to Civil Rights. Kyle believes it has been given a justice and righteousness mantle to lead in our nation’s future. I embrace that belief with him. Join in the listening and lamenting, then go to those around you to listen and lament and pray. We are on the verge of a long awaited revival.
Today’s experimental podcast is told in random bits and pieces. I have never felt led to craft a mosaic story until now. I’m not even sure there is a category for this. Except, this is the manner in which my mind works and in which I find myself attempting to communicate these days. Mosaics are made from broken pieces to form pictures and patterns that communicate. To call this episode verbal art is probably too much of a stretch, but the world is on pause right now and we all have a lot of stuff swirling around us. At the same time, we all have been granted a unique gift to slow down and perceive life at the speed of God. This is my story of a few of the fragments of my 2020 spring. You’ll hear parts of my journey I’ve never shared before, as well as my favorite coffee mug, a sonnet that struck me deep, my dysfunctional personality, some dialogue from a favorite movie, and a song. All of this pointing to a single truth – God is always speaking to us. Only those who listen hear. And it could be His next word for you will be heard in the kaleidoscopic sound of mosaic.
“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope.” – Psalm 130:1,5 Can anybody relate? Anybody else out there feel like waiting on God has become your permanent vocation and you’re already tenured? (We see those hands!)It is great to have my good friend Logan Creasy at the table this week. Logan and his wife Melody know firsthand the long and sometimes arduous journey of adoption. Be encouraged as we explore waiting on God, worship, and the coming together of a family, just like the one God is putting together right this very minute. Toward the end, Logan breaks out his guitar for the world premiere of his song “Death Is a Liar.” So grab a Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale, pour it over 4 scoops of Blue Bell Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, and get ready to thank us later. We saved you a seat.
If you have followed sports at all in the last 25 years, you have witnessed the magic of today’s special podcast guest. In less than 10 years in the business, Michael Crane became the most sought after quick-cut, highlight package editor in the wide, wide world of sports. From ESPN to CBS to the NCAA tournament to the French Open to the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece where he helped NBC win an Emmy for the coverage – Michael had just about done it all.
Cut to the 2007 Masters in Augusta, Georgia. Michael was in town to work the biggest golf event of his life – and on the Monday morning of Masters week before reporting for duty, Michael decided to rob a bank. Yep, you read that right. And that’s where his redemption story takes off. Grab a club sandwich and some chips and listen to a comeback story where God is driving a life back above par. We saved you a seat in the golf cart. https://www.facebook.com/officialmichaelcrane/
Our souls need to worship God the same way our bodies need food and rest. This is always so, but perhaps now we are more acutely aware of this need. Worship in a time of crisis can heal our thoughts and restore our spirits.
I always marvel at those who are gifted in helping us find connection with God through music and praise, who take themselves so completely out of the frame. all we see is God. Today’s podcast guest Stephen Peter Rowe (S.P. for short) has that gift. Stephen serves Vineyard 61 Church in Balham and Battersea, England, a little south of London. So cut yourself a slice of banoffee pie and join us. Not only will you get a firsthand account from the other side of the world; you get to hear Stephen’s new song, “Cast Your Cares.” Your soul will thank you when we’re through.
We’ve all heard the proverb, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Today’s Special Guest Jimmy Amisial takes that saying to a whole ‘nother level. Jimmy is from Haiti and his story brims with danger and inspiration. He faced adversity growing up in a country labeled third world and then came to the United States for college, only to encounter a malignancy that attacks the very heart of God – American racism. Yet, all along the way, Jimmy keeps finding amazing, astounding treasures in a place most regard as worthless – the trash.
At the moment, Jimmy is in Texas riding out the pandemic pause with the rest of us. He needs to return to Haiti and he also needs to resume his education here in the states. This is a story God is right in the middle of and I can’t wait to see how God writes the next chapter. I suggest you get a scoop of Blue Bell Creole Cream Cheese Ice Cream, and join us. You’ll be glad you did!