Lunch and Conversation at La’Taste Vietnamese Cuisine in Prattville, Alabama

                    Featuring Special Guest:  Jason McHenry

Vietnamese pho soup is phenomenal.  According to the chef at LaTaste, the process to make pho takes 7 days.  Yet the soup is not complete until it literally finishes cooking in your bowl shortly after it is served and the final garnishes are added.  It is an aromatic, culinary delight.  Life is a process and every person’s journey is a unique combination of experiences, choices, and outcomes.  Today’s special guest, Jason McHenry, is a husband, a father, a worship leader, and a Wildlife Conservation Enforcement Officer for the state of Alabama. Jason’s story unfolds with his slow fade, an unraveling season of his life, that led to repentance and forgiveness. Just like pho, God’s grace is a process that explodes with the aroma of redemption.  So order up a bowl and grab some chopsticks.  We saved you a seat.


Lunch and Conversation over Chick-fil-A at Samford University Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama

                    Featuring Special Guest:  Dr. Robert Smith, Jr.

When this podcast was just a God-nudge, I began to daydream about individuals to invite to “The Table.”  The first name on the list is today’s special guest.  Dr. Robert Smith, Jr. is the professor of Christian Preaching at Beeson Divinity School, Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.  Dr. Smith became the vocal cords of Jesus on two separate occasions in my life in 2013 – once from the pulpit while he was preaching a sermon and once in a one-on-one conversation we had at Beeson.This conversation is rich.  If you need encouragement, if you have ever suffered loss or tragedy, if you struggle with forgiveness, if you have ever pondered heaven, if you are often caught up in political issues, listen deep and be refreshed and challenged.  I encourage you not to dismiss this conversation early lest you think it is all about preaching.  Come and join us.  


Lunch and Conversation at Crestline Bagel Company in Birmingham, Alabama

                    Featuring Special Guest:  Kathryn Doornbos

“Our mission is to redeem the streets.”   And once you’ve come in contact with the staff and volunteers at Redemptive Cycles, you will know for yourself – that’s just how they roll. These folks are the spokes God uses sometimes to get lives rolling again.  

I was blessed to sit down recently with Kathryn Doornbos, Executive Director of Redemptive, at Crestline Bagel Co. to learn a little more about this very special bicycle shop in downtown Birmingham.  Get ready for some delightful surprises along the way, like how a PhD came to ride point for a group of purpose driven pedal pushers. So flip down your kickstand, grab a bagel, and join us.  We saved you a seat.


Lunch and Conversation at Lek’s Railroad Thai in Montgomery, Alabama

                    Featuring Special Guest:  Chuck Conner

Today marks a first for the podcast.  We have brought back one of our former guests, Chuck Conner, for a second conversation round “the Table.”  In “A Drummer in the Distance” from May 27, we talked about Chuck’s days as drummer in my favorite Christian rock band of the 80’s and 90’s, Geoff Moore & the Distance.  This time around we catch up with what Chuck is doing now.  He is the Executive Director of Christian Missions Unlimited – an organization “giving ordinary people an extraordinary opportunity to serve others” in Brazil.

This is such a fun conversation and some of Chuck’s answers to my questions caught me completely off guard.  I love how Chuck zeroed in on “the big picture.”  Why do we do what we do and what is really going on with it? Chuck and I sat down once again to some phenomenal Thai food in downtown Montgomery.  Get you a glass of Thai tea and a bowl of Tom Kha and join us.  We saved you a seat.


Lunch and Conversation at Uncle Mick’s Cajun Market and Cafe in Prattville, Alabama

                        Featuring Special Guest:  Robyn Blessing

“Absolutely ingenious!”  That’s the first thing I thought when I heard about “Life On Wheels Alabama.”  This “tricked –out” RV unit is a traveling medical clinic, offering women free $150 sonograms.  In 32 months, God has done great things through this rolling message of hope including 180 women who changed their minds from abortion to birth and 93 women receiving the greatest gift of all – a relationship with Jesus Christ.Life On Wheels Alabama Executive Director Robyn Blessing and I sat down to some incredible Cajun cuisine at Uncle Mick’s Cajun Market and Café in Prattville, Alabama.  The shrimp scampi might make you want to go “Coo-wee!!!”  But Robyn’s story will make your heart want to sing. Grab you some scampi and join us.


Dinner and Conversation at Top O’ the River Restaurant in Gadsden, Alabama                        

Featuring Special Guest:  Tammy DeBoer Rowe

I wish I had more friends like Sue Ann DeBoer.  She imitated God.  She impacted a lot of lives.  She surprised me with grace in an unguarded moment of my life when I needed it. I am delighted to bring her life to “The Table” today.  Now Sue Ann was unable to sit down and visit with me over dinner because I suspect God might just have her busy hanging some new stars in the sky.  So I enlisted one of Sue Ann’s biggest fans to join us – her sister Tammy DeBoer Rowe.  Tammy, her husband Clay, and I sat down to a delicious meal of catfish, shrimp, and hush puppies at Top O’ the River in Gadsden recently to talk about her little sister.  Sue Ann was born with Down syndrome, which is a little ironic when you stop to consider how beautifully she stepped “Up” to life.  A pan of hot cornbread was just set on the table.  Pull up a chair and join us. 


Conversation at 23rd Street Baptist Church and Lunch at Sweet Tea Restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama

 Featuring Special Guest:  Dr. P. Banneker Hatcherson

Something about the word redemption catches my attention. So when today’s podcast guest talked about redemption at a Good Friday service a few months ago, I extended an invitation to share a meal.  And Dr. P. Banneker Hatcherson graciously said, “Yes.”   Now, he and I sort of turned the table on this week’s podcast because we talked first in the church sanctuary where he pastors and afterwards walked right around the corner for lunch at Sweet Tea Restaurant.  This is such a rich conversation.  If you didn’t know different, you would think Banneker and I are lifelong friends.  In reality, our friendship has just begun.  Yet, this is the potential for every dinner invitation we initiate and accept that bears the heartbeat of the One who says, “Come and dine.”  (John 21:12)  So, come and dine.  We saved you a seat.


Breakfast Burritos and Conversation at Jett’s Grill in Marfa, Texas

                        Featuring Special Guest:  Mike Murphy

Today’s podcast guest made some of the best calzones I have ever tasted.  When Mike Murphy opened Murphy’s Pizzeria in Fort Davis, Texas in 2001, I became an instant fan.  And Mike and I became friends.  On a recent trip to West Texas, Mike and I met for breakfast burritos at Jett’s Grill located in the charming, historic Hotel Paisano in Marfa, Texas.  What followed was true table talk as we conversed about some of the ways God has showed up in Mike’s journey and Mike’s ever-increasing appetite for God’s Holy Word – the Bible.  Grab a burrito and join us – I recommend the ones with long green chiles and Asadero cheese.  We saved you a seat.


Dessert and Conversation at Patio Dolcetto in San Marcos, Texas

                        Featuring Special Guest:  Steph Cherry

I greatly admire Steph Cherry’s walk with Jesus.  She and her husband Denbigh are raising three daughters while restoring a 100 year old home into a respite for weary souls in need of still before God.  She’s an artist and an author.  She’s the founder of  The Gospel Mom – an organization of ragamuffin women who take food and hope to the homeless, to Haiti, and bring it back home.  It is a joy and delight to welcome Steph to “The Table.”  After our dinner with former guest Christy Guenther, Steph and I headed over to Patio Dolcetto for some Molten Chocolate Bundt Cake, coffee, and sobremesa.  We saved you a seat. 


Lunch and Conversation at Newk’s Eatery, Montgomery, Alabama
                    Featuring Special Guest:  Dewayne Rembert                     

I first heard today’s podcast guest speak at a special event earlier this year.  It wasn’t so much what he said that caught my attention as much as who he is and who God called him to be.  God called Dewayne Rembert to flatline; then he called Dewayne to Ngauge everyone he encounters to flatine.   As God spoke to Dewayne right out of Romans 6:11, “You have to die before you die, so you could live.  I want you to start Flat Line.”  The Flatline Movement is making an impact in Montgomery, Alabama and across the nation. Dewayne’s specific mission is to reach fatherless boys.  His broader mission is to remind us all of God’s grand invitation – “Count yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”Dewayne and I sat down to some mighty fine salads at Newk’s Eatery to talk about flatlining.  You’re invited to plant yourself on the (operating) table and join us for a conversation that could jolt you back to life.