Conversation and Dinner With Special Guests:  David and Kelly Cochran

Welcome to our 50th Episode!  Hopefully by now, you feel at home around this weekly table of hope and good news. Since we launched on Resurrection Monday 2019, it has been one entrée of encouragement after another.  That’s a recipe we all could use a little more of as we face this momentary crisis. 

It is Holy Week.  The last week of Jesus’ earthly life was a rollercoaster of highs and lows that shattered on a Friday we now call “Good.”  When Jesus died on a cross that Friday afternoon, no one could see how any “good” could ever rise from that.  Sometimes our journeys follow similar courses.Today’s table is set with grace.  Before the quarantine, I was honored to share a meal with Special Guests David and Kelly Cochran and share in one of the most sacred conversations I have ever had.  Almost two years ago, David and Kelly’s son Max took his own life after struggling off and on with mental health issues for 19 years. At a time when the world is hurting, we need to especially look after those who’s everyday lives feel as anxious as ours do now.  This is the first of a two-part story that will resume next week on Resurrection Monday. Thank you for joining us.  www.maximizingmentalhealthinc.com


A Conversation With Special Guests:  John Lankford and Madison Kerns of Five Loaves

There are so many layers to this special midweek episode.  Our nation’s medical community is on the frontlines of what very well may be the fight of our lifetime. One creative organization in Birmingham, Alabama has come up with a tangible way for the Magic City to say “thank you” to area healthcare staff.   The CareHealth Initiative coordinates meals for those working tirelessly to turn the tide on this pandemic.  (Fast forward 24 minutes to learn more.)It was an honor to catch a few moments with Five Loaves Founder John Lankford and Five Loaves Director Madison Kerns and discover this incredible organization that, under less stressful times, combines food, art, and conversation to connect an entire community.  May this podcast inspire you to meet tremendous need wherever you are – and if that happens to be Birmingham, go to http://www.urbanavenues.com/carehealth to learn more.  The life you feed today may be the one God uses tomorrow to save someone you love. 


A Conversation With Special Guest:  Ross King

In 2019, singer-songwriter Ross King released a song with a knockout lyric that dropped fear to its knees – “The Things That I’m Afraid Of.”  Now last year’s fears seem rather tame in light of a worldwide pandemic that threatens us all.It is a joy to welcome Ross once again to the table and to revisit his powerful song. Get ready to be encouraged as we talk about fear, faith, hope, and the future.  Yes, the challenge we face is great, but the Truth behind our momentary circumstances is greater!  Grab yourself a fresh cup of coffee from your kitchen.  We saved you a seat at “Redemption’s Table.”  


Dinner and Conversation at Village Tavern in Birmingham Alabama

                    Featuring Special Guests:  Jennifer and Todd Gerelds

She has written 20 books to his 2.  One of his was turned into a Major Motion Picture – “Woodlawn.” It is a delight to welcome authors Jennifer Gerelds and Todd Gerelds to the table this week.  They are the parents of four daughters and the biggest fans of one another.  And both have had their life-calling fine-tuned in recent days.I first heard Jennifer speak as a participant during a Pro-Life Summit last year.  I had no knowledge at the time that she was a prolific author.  Instead, I heard a Christ-following mom tell how her fresh commitment to pro-life issues originally created a stir in her own home.  I felt there was a story here that needed to be shared.  When I later discovered I would be sharing a conversation with not one, but two well-known authors … well, that was icing on the cake.  Get ready to hear how two distinct callings from two authentic spouses have come together to make a loving difference in the lives of women and men impacted by abortion.  And get ready to be reminded how good a crowded restaurant sounds as well. 


Lunch and Conversation at Home Plate Diner in Hueytown, Alabama

                    Featuring Special Guest:  Larry McNeal

Do you know peace right now?

Today’s podcast guest Larry McNeal was standing on the corner of Broadway and 149thStreet in New York City when he thought to himself, “I’ve had just about everything a person can have, but there’s something missing in my life. I do not have peace.” We live in disconcerting times.  There appears to be more bad news than good, but the best news is – appearances are deceiving.  God is still God.  He is still showing up in amazing ways in people’s lives.  Larry’s journey is this week’s Exhibit A.  (My pulse quickens every time I hear his story.)   So go grab a tray and order up some good meat and three.  Then join us at the table.  We saved you a seat.   And if you’re looking for peace, look up.  Peace is about to find you. 


Lunch and Conversation at Sinclair’s East in Montgomery, Alabama

                    Featuring Special Guest:  Katie Blair

Of the four original seasons, almost everyone I know has a favorite.  But I don’t know a single solitary soul who likes the fifth season – the season of brokenness.  This season overstays a welcome it was never extended in the first place.  While the others are three months and done, death, loss, grief, and pain leave a trace of their lingering presence the rest of our lives.Today’s podcast guest Katie Blair and her entire family has been in grief’s shadow of late.  From a son battling a chronic illness to a fire that destroyed their home to the death of both of Katie’s parents, these past few years have been a chapter right out of the book of Job.  Yet even in the midst of all this, there is hope.  We welcome Katie to the table and look forward to the launch of her own podcast coming later this spring – “She Said Death.”  A chair awaits you at the table.  We recommend the quesadillas.


A Conversation With Special Guest:  BOB GOFF

If today’s podcast guest were to paraphrase Jesus’ words in John 10:10 – “I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full,”he probably would translate Jesus saying it something like this: “I have come that you may live life to the extremes, living it all the way to the edge of yikes!”That’s how Bob Goff lives his life.  As a lawyer, he took Ugandan witch doctors to court to stop child sacrifices.  His “Love Does” organization has been fighting for human rights and providing education to children in conflict zones for over 15 years.  He authored a couple of New York Times’ bestsellers to support this work.  He teaches classes at San Quentin.  He shares his “Dream Big” Framework in conferences and encourages hundreds to pursue their God-given dreams.  So grab a pen and paper and join us for a treat! We saved you a seat.



King Cake from Deaux Boys and Conversation Around the Home Table in Millbrook, Alabama

Featuring Special Guest:  Hunter Harris

If Jesus was Cajun, one of His most famous invites might o’ sounded like this:  “Who dat who is tired, worn slap out, and frazzled?  Come unto Me and I’ll show you how to take a real, good rest, for my yoke is the big easy and my burden, it be light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30)  Well, Cajun or not, Jesus is the namesake to king cake.   

The journey of Lent begins this week.  I define it as a wonderful journey of intentionality.  When I thought of that trait, today’s guest, Hunter Harris, came to mind.  When I asked Hunter how I could pray for him this year, he said, “I feel like I have a lot to learn and I want my ‘rest’ to be my ‘abiding’ in Christ…”   That’s a good ask.  That’s intentionality.  So join us at this table planted betwixt where Mardi Gras ends and Lent begins.  Set a spell and rest your weary bones while we rustle up a slice of king cake; we saved you a seat.


Conversation at Insights Counseling Center in Birmingham, Alabama

                    Featuring Special Guest:  Tal Prince

Psalm 139 declares us “fearfully and wonderfully made.”  Yet a lot of us are walking around convinced we are “fearfully messed up” and almost to the end of our hope. It is a delight to welcome Tal Prince to the podcast.  Tal is owner, director, and therapist at Insights Counseling Center. This fresh Prince episode brings porn to the table, – and the death penalty, and The Innocence Project, and addictions, and isolated pastors, and a whole mess of other stuff that needs to be brought out into the open.  This conversation is gonna stick with you for a while and needs to be shared with every one you know, ministers included.  For every shade of grey in your life, a million shades of mercy await at the Father’s table.  He saved you a seat. 


Lunch and Conversation at Klingler’s Café, Bakery, & Catering in Vestavia Hills, Alabama

                    Featuring Special Guest:  Ethan Milner

Imagine the next 24 hours of your life were scripted and filmed for a movie to be premiered at the end of 2020.  What would the account of a single day reveal about you?  Would it a comedy, a drama, or an adventure?  Would it be a cautionary tale or one of incredible inspiration?  Everybody’s got a story!  What is yours telling?Today’s podcast guest Ethan Milner is the Visual Arts Director at Shades Mountain Baptist Church.  He leads an incredible group of creatives who specialize in Gospel-centered storytelling that flavors and shines.  Ethan and I met at a wonderful German bakery specializing in tasty Reubens, Black Forest Cheesecake, and some of the best oom-pah ambience we’ve ever had on this podcast.  The table is waiting; we saved you a seat.