Thursday, November 14, 2013

Still Hanging On!

The Chemo Treatment Center in Chattanooga, TN
It's a bumpy detour - but we continue traveling because we know the end of the road is closer than it was.  Since my last post was in May - there has been many changes in scenery.  I came home and dealt with the "shock" of knowing that it could well be that my time on this earth would soon come to an end.  The "guess-timate" (based on many cases similar to my condition) was that I had four to six months before that fateful event.  It has now been a few days past six months and today I was able to .... well, first ...

In June of this year Frances and I celebrated our 56th Wedding Anniversary.  We attended the Tennessee Camp Meeting and had guests in our home that week.  In July I reached my 75th birthday.  On the last Sunday of August I gave up my much loved Sunday School class (an activity which I dearly loved) because I did not/do not want to continue teaching when the ravages of disease have begun to affect my ability to focus and deliver the message with clarity.  Tho that was a sad thing and I dreaded to do that - Life continues to be full and sweet as I continue singing at church; at the Senior Citizen's Center; at Gaddy's Gospel Sing; and at our local church - the Victory Drive Church of God here in Cleveland, Tennessee.  If you want to see and hear that happening you can get a small taste of it by going to YouTube and searching for Chris Chastain.    Once there, scroll down his list of songs for my name: "Fred Alton Brannen".  No - it's NOT great - unless you like old time southern gospel/bluegrass gospel.  You will find some of many other good singers there also.  The BRANHAM FAMILY are not related to us.  We are the BRANNEN BOYS.  :d

"If You're Talking About That Old Time Religion"
So... we continue our lives.  Also I have been placed on Hospice Care.  I am still able to do most things but am grateful for the adjustable bed so that I sleep sitting up when my food doesn't want to go down.  I believe that I am most blessed to have such a supportive family and group of nurses that come to my home once a week to support and assure me that they are here for me when I need medical assistance.  Hmm.  This paragraph doesn't sound like I want it to. 

What else?  Well - today we celebrated our middle daughter's 48th birthday by taking her to Logan's for lunch.  Filet Mignon, baked potato and a salad, Coca-Cola and a lot of love shared with her Mother and me.  She has been so helpful.  Our older daughter (#1) who also lives nearby is a wonderful and strong daughter who lends her strength to Mom and me with visits and prayers.  My two brothers and two sisters living near us is also a great thing for we get to see each other frequently.  Our baby daughter and her husband with two young girls - live in Watertown, NY where they pastor a church.  I'm strengthened by prayers and frequent calls from "the Pet".  My heart is warmed that they are in the work of ministry and are giving themselves lovingly to souls.
Two Beautiful Women I took To Lunch Today!

Oh my - now I will have to get busy and do some writing as my Mom has been after me some time now to give her one sermon for her book of sermons.  She is putting together her own book of sermons and will add one from each of her three preacher sons.  I think the other two are ahead of me but I found one today which I hope she finds acceptable. 

Keep looking up!  Jesus may come - or call for you - today!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Bumps In The Road Ahead

Oh My!  Another bump in the road.  But we've crossed some in the past, haven't we?  Yes.  But not exactly like this one.

Frances and I went to my Oncologist last Monday the 6th and were surprised to hear him say that the latest CT Scan did not look good.  They saw multiple tumors/nodules in the area of my abdomen which look to be "not operable" - and - he was not recommending chemo-therapy as he did in January 2012.  It was a shock.  We go back again on Monday, the 13th, to discuss which direction we take from here.

Now we have an opportunity to TRUST in the Lord.  My brother Lowell reminded me this morning of words written in Hebrews, Chapter 11 - the well-known "faith" passage in our Christian Bible.  If I remember correctly after the writer had listed the great heroes of faith, like Noah, Abraham, Daniel, The Hebrew Children, and others who overcame major obstacles to faith and received great deliverances in their lives he then says that "others" had cruel punishment, were cast into dens and caves, suffered greatly and some were sawn in two.  Then he concludes the thought with:

Hebrews 11:36-39 (KJV) 36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:

This is the kind of trust that the three Hebrew children had when they were faced with the fiery furnace in the book of Daniel.  Listen to exactly what they said to the king.

Daniel 3:17-18 (KJV) 17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
If you are not familiar with it, I recommend you go to Daniel 3 and read this story.  I like their attitude.  They said, "Our God is ABLE to deliver us."  They knew that God was still in charge.  Then they added the thought that if God chose NOT to deliver them from the furnace the He would certainly deliver them from the King's hands.

This is where I am with my faith today.  God IS ABLE to completely heal this attack.  But if He chooses not to deliver me and givc me a few more years, it's o.k.!  I'll be in His presence sooner.

I'm Aware that some may find this very strange.  However, the Bible says that "With his (Jesus') stripes we are healed."  That means I can pray with faith that Jesus will heal me.  However - we also know that we humans do not live forever in our present state.  The Bible also says, "It is appointed unto man once to die; and after death the judgment."  We must rightly divide the Scripture. We cannot take only the parts that please us.  We must accept the whole Bible.  I choose to put myself into God's hands and not worry over the future. 

Oh yes - I have  my moments - but I choose to believe we will make it through these road hazards and arrive safely at the end of our journey.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Pentecostals are Saved By Grace, Through Faith (Ephesians 2:8)

Grandma Jones with Mother and Dad at the General Assembly
Indianapolis, Indiana

Mom and Dad
As I write these words it occurs to me that many may take it that we are saying we are more deserving of God’s blessings than others.  Not so.  Let me state two things here.  Number one, You do not receive salvation (nor any other gift of God) by doing good works.  It is by grace, through faith that we receive from His bountiful hand.  Number two, speaking in tongues is not as important as being sanctified.  God demands a lifestyle of holiness.  That does not mean we are perfect but that we strive for perfection.
But then, why would God give one person such blessings and not give the same to others?  Is it because one is perfect and the other is flawed?  Is it because one is doing a myriad of good things?  Why would one individual’s life be so full of good and another’s be filled with nothing but turmoil and strife?  I know from personal experience that it is not because of one’s goodness.  And I’m reminded that the Psalmist said, “3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”  (Psalm 14:3)   A man came to Jesus in Matthew 19 and – calling him “good master” – asked what he could do to inherit eternal life.  I believe Psalms 14 was in Jesus’ mind when he asked the man, “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.”   (Matthew 19:17 )  Now all believers know that Jesus was good.  So what did these words of Jesus mean?  I believe that Jesus was saying to him, “If you recognize that I am God, then you have your answer.”
          I learned some years after my spiritual crisis from some well-meaning folks that a person could not even be saved until they were at least 12 years of age.  They just came too late to tell me that because I knew beyond any shadow of doubt that God had saved, sanctified and filled me with the Holy Spirit. I have thanked God for that experience many times in my life as I went through times of doubt. Thinking back to that time even as I write these words gives me strong assurance that God is real. As wonderful as my experience was = there were many other things which I was told later that would have negated all of my experience had my faith not been based in the Bible. Of course I have had questions. I have doubted. I have failed the Lord and had to repent again (more than once) – but I KNOW that God changed my life that night in 1946 and that I’ve never been the same since.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Just A Quick Note

Good Morning!  I have a busy day today but will take time to give you the most inspirational blog I have read in the last few days.  Go to  and be encouraged.

The Brannen Boys and Brother Wil's 1930 Model A Ford

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Pentecostals Speak with “other tongues” (2)

Pastor Lula Lee Pearce Jones ca1938-40
Lacoochee, Florida

Here's the Beauty which Daddy saw through the Church Window
(She was 15 years old)

Louis Alton Brannen
(Recently Converted Saw-Mill Worker ca1938/39)
1 Corinthians 14:21 says, 21In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.”

          In 1946 - At the age of eight years, while Dad was pastor of the Church of God at Morristown, Tennessee, I received the “baptism in the Holy Ghost” or Holy Spirit in the "old time way" with the initial evidence of speaking in other (un-known) tongues. The old time way was that after a person was saved from sin, he/she was encouraged to seek to be sanctified and to “pray through” to the experience of speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gave the utterance.  John Calvin had preached the experience of “salvation by grace” through faith.  John Wesley had preached the doctrine of a “second definite work of grace” in a person’s heart which was called “sanctification”.  Since the late 1800's and the renewed out-pouring of the Holy Spirit, we were encouraged to have the “fullness” of the Spirit in our hearts and lives by seeking for the same experience that fell on the 120 believers in the upper room in Acts 2:4.   I’ll never forget the time and the great feelings of exuberant joy which came over me that night in the altar. I remember praying and hearing others praying for me as I knelt at the bench in front of the pulpit which was called the altar.  Those praying for me were saying things like, “Hold on, son. Hold on.” “Turn loose, son.  Turn loose.” “Don’t turn loose.” “Give up.”  “Don’t give up!”  “Keep on praying.”  I  understood their intent.  They were suggesting that I surrender everything to Jesus, and that I should allow God to have His way in my heart and life. 
Maybe you have heard someone else testify to an experience like this before and think that I'm being a Magpie or a parrot – but this is actually how it happened with me. In those days most everyone seeking an experience with the Lord was prayed for (out loud and fervently) by the faithful. This was all done by the most devoted believers, all speaking their words of encouragement at the same time. The encouragers were also patting the seekers on the back enthusiastically.  Some called it "slapping them on the back".  Plus, the musical instruments were playing and the people were singing in the background, something like, “Oh Lord, Send The Power Just Now” or "Send Down The Rain, Lord" or "Jesus, On the Main Line (Tell Him What You Want)". Confusing? No! Not to me. I knew exactly what they meant. So I did exactly what they were suggesting: I held on in prayer until I could not hold on any longer and then I turned loose. I "let go" and gave everything I had (or would ever have) to God until tears of joy mingled with my tears of repentance. I kept on praying and giving everything to God until total deliverance from sin came! I was overcome then with the joy of salvation.
          "Ah...just an emotional experience," someone said. "He'll be the same tomorrow that he was yesterday," said another. God was so good to me that he gave me an “out of the body” experience similar to the passage of scripture from the hand of the Apostle Paul that says, “Whether in the body or out of the body I cannot tell.” (2 Corinthians 12:2)  No - I'm not claiming any of Paul's excellence - but I am claiming that the same Lord that transformed him also transformed me. Anyway, as I prayed that night at the altar, the last thing I remembered before being filled with the Spirit was praying and leaning forward and slightly to the right while earnestly asking God to fill me with His Spirit. The next thing I remembered I was standing at the back door of the church with both hands raised while tears of joy were flowing down my cheeks and I heard myself speaking in a language I had not learned! I do not know how I moved from the front of the church to the back of the church. My soul was singing praises to the Lord Jesus Christ who had forgiven me of my sins. I was elated.  After only a few moments I closed my eyes again and next thing I knew was when I opened my eyes and stepped over someone who was lying prostrate in the floor. I was speaking in tongues. I know that I walked (or ran) to the front of the church while under the Spirit’s influence…but I was not aware of what was happening until I was already back down front. I cannot explain why, or how, this happened – except that I knew I had been filled with the Holy Ghost.

William Edward Jones, ca1945
(My Maternal Grand-father)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

My Story: Pentecostal (1)

L to R:  Dad, Mom, Sister 1, Sister 2,
Back Row L to R:  Brothers Lowell, Wil and Me

Acts 2:1-4

“ 1And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  2And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  3And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.  4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

Yes, I was born in and grew up in a Pentecostal Family.  My maternal grandmother was the pastor of the local Pentecostal Church in the little saw-mill town of Lacoochee, Florida.  Hearing people speak in tongues and seeing them dance ecstatically in the spirit was as common for me as drinking water from a glass.  Praying for the sick that resulted in Divine Healing and miracles was not at all strange or different.  I grew up thinking that this was the way “church” was supposed to be.  I have seen people “slain in the Spirit” in the church as far back as I can remember.  Let me give you some background to my faith.

Dad had left home at 15 and had become a “hobo” on the freight trains which traveled up and down the eastern seaboard.  There he learned to smoke and drink and swear with his buddies.  It was 1934-1937.  When he and his friends would come back home after a long trip they would play music to entertain the patrons in the dance hall.  He worked awhile in the Cummers Saw Mill, where orange crates were made, making the fantastic sum of $9.00 per week for a full week’s work.  It wasn’t long until he cut off the first joint of his index finger on the saw.  He refused to go to a doctor but just stuck the joint of his finger on, wrapped it in a wrag, poured on the rubbing alchohol and let it heal back naturally.  “Natural” in this case turned out to be a crooked “pointing finger”.  While playing his guitar in the dance hall in the evenings, slipping a sip of whiskey from the bottle and getting himself generally drunk - the little Pentecostal church across the railroad tracks could be heard with characteristic singing, praying and shouting (in the old time way) for, you see, it was summer and the windows were left open for ventilation in the small wood-framed structure so typical of country churches of that day.  As Daddy explained it to us, “While playing at the dancehall, when we heard a shout break out at the church, we would run over and peep in the windows to watch the show!”  While peeping in the window, Dad saw the “most beautiful girl in the world” and was captivated by her beauty.  He made up his mind that he wanted to get better acquainted and soon learned that this 16 year old young lady was the Pastor’s daughter.

“Sister” Jones was a very charismatic leader.  If you have had exposure to almost any Christian church here in the Southeastern United States, you soon learn that all Christians are called “Brother” or “Sister”.  To me, Sister Jones was Grandma Jones.  She was charismatic before most of us ever knew what that word meant.  She found out that Louis could play the guitar and invited him to play with the church band.  I do not believe that was normal for Pentecostal churches in those days for they were also “Holiness” churches but this may give some insight into the wisdom of Pastor Jones.  [“Holiness”: That will be a subject for a later blog] She eventually won the young man to a deep experience with Christ.  During a Revival, while the house was full of fervent worshippers, Dad had “slipped a sip or two” before the meeting started.  At one high point of leading the service, Sister Jones, removed the fiddle from under her chin and called out to the crowd, “Saints!  I feel the SPIRIT in this place tonight!”  Dad, by now feeling the effects of his “slippin’ and sippin’” shouted back, “MEEEE TOOOOOO!”  Grandma then called to the congregation, “Praise God, Church!  The Spirit’s move is so powerful here that even these old sinners are feeling it!”  I’m not positive that it was the same night – but during that or a similar service, the house was so crowded that there was no room to sit in the back of the church.  After playing his guitar for the preliminaries he looked back for a place to sit down somewhere near the back of the building.  There might have been a place he could have squeezed into but since he was a shy young man he wanted to get into a seat and “out of sight” as quickly as possible.  So – young Louis Brannen sat on the only available seat – the front row!  After the sermon was finished a woman directly behind him leaned forward and half whispered into his ear, asking, “Louis, don’t you want to go to the altar and get saved?”  When that happened, He says, “The Devil said to me, ‘Just back-hand Sister Rosier in the face and tell her NO!’”  “I thought…now that wouldn’t be right.  I’m in the church house.”  So instead of obeying the Devil, he obeyed the Lord and, “took two steps and fell into the altar” where he was gloriously converted. 

Events moved swiftly.  Louis was “Sanctified and Filled with the Holy Ghost” with the evidence of speaking in other tongues as mentioned in Acts 2:4.  This Glossalalia Phenomenon was for the common man.  Louis became a changed man.  He immediately stopped drinking.  No more cursing.  No more smoking.  Just like that.  It was permanent.  I was 60 years of age when he died and I can honestly tell you that I never ever observed my Dad say or do anything that would make me doubt his experience with the Lord.  Soon he became the clerk of the church and asked for the hand of Bonnie Jones in marriage.  He was just 20 years old.  Bonnie was 16 when they married.  True to her oft repeated words, “I’ll NEVER marry a preacher, she married this saw-mill worker.  However, it was only a few short weeks after they were married that Daddy announced to the congregation that he now felt “called” to preach.  This was the beginning of 62 years together in full-time ministry before Dad passed from this life into the presence of his Savior.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Time Flys When?

Where Did the time go?  Could it have anything to do with the old adage: "Time flies when you're having fun"?  We sure have been having fun this month with the Brannen Boys!  My two brothers and I have been meeting every Saturday morning this month to have breakfast together, and then off to practice singing together.  Our good friend and helper is Eddie.  He is a skilled musician, song-writer, who says he doesn't sing.  He plays the keyboard and has been helping us towards more skillful harmony.  If you would like to hear us sing, go to .  We did this on a Friday night in a local singing at "Gaddy's Gospel Barn".  Then on Saturday we drove to Chattanooga and did this number in our denomination's state-wide Senior Talent competition, and then sung again on Sunday night at our local church.  We did have great fun.

Oh - I must tell you that our 91 year old Mom is as good as new!  She has been back to church and singing publicly again after her fall last month.  Then, Frances' sister, Beth, fell in her home and broke her hip.  Beth had to have surgery and have a pin inserted into the bone.  Altho she had to go to re-hab she also seems to have made a full recovery.  Beth is 84.  We went to visit her in Lenoir City and took her out to the Cracker Barrell (a local restaurant) for dinner.

About Me

My photo
Cleveland, TN, United States
I am Fred Alton Brannen, the son of Louis A. Brannen (deceased) and Bonnie Jones Brannen, Louis was an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God. Bonnie is an Ordained Licensed Minister and at 89 years of age is still actively engaged in speaking and singing engagements. I am married to the former Frances Hildreth. We celebrated 53 years of marriage this past June and we are the parents of 3, grand-parents of 10, and great-grandparents of 10. I pastored in Tennessee for 24 years and served the Church in some capacity in missions for over 23 years. I retired from full-time ministry in August of 2008 but remain active, speaking and singing and teaching whenever opportunity affords itself. In January of 2010 I received a letter of commendation for having been credentialed as a minister in the Church of God for 50 years! My family is very important to me. Our get togethers are always noisy affairs and most times will include family sing-alongs. The children love their Mom's cooking so we have the privilege of seeing them regularly! WE LOVE having them over.

TheCabin on Day One

TheCabin on Day One
Fred Alton