Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cleaning Day

I'm packing boxes here in the office at General Headquarters today. It's hard for me to comprehend that ten years ago at the General Assembly of 1998 I was appointed to the post of Field Director. I need a rest, so here I am on the blog page.

It's also incomprehensible and wild that a young thing like me just recently celebrated my 70th Birthday. Say, "It Ain't True" please - someone - anyone ? My daughters cooked and baked and served the food in grand fashion. They are wonderful girls. The said we had to have two cakes because one cake did not have enough room for all the candles. Observing the smoke when I blew out the candles someone (probably one of the grand-children) wanted to call the firetruck. It was a wonderful time during which they made me feel special and much loved. I'm so proud of all of my children and their families too. I want to upload a couple of pictures and then must get back to work - so this is short. Plus -- it is almost time to go to lunch!!!

Oh well...something is not working right here. Pictures don't want to upload. Maybe later.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Missionary Orientation

Guess what? I sung for the Missionary Orientation meeting on Tuesday morning, July 15, and they loved it! I had several sincere compliments throughout the remainder of the orientation sessions which ended at noon yesterday. The Assistant Director said, "Fred, I had no idea what a good singer you are." My reply was, "Well sure. I'm a professional. I once sung at a little Baptist Church and they gave me $200. Do you know the difference between an amateur and a professional? A professional gets paid. An amateur does it just because he loves it." Also I had several compliments on the 15 minute devotional I shared. Would you like to hear a synopsis? LoL. O.K. Glad you asked me to share it. Here goes.

Three "C's" For Successful Missionaries"
1. C - Call
My thoughts about call are probably different than what you've heard. I've heard it said a number of times, "You know Fred, I admire you for what you do...but you know people have to have a "call" before they can do anything like that. I often say, "No! I don't believe you have to have a "call" to go to Africa...or Asia...or anywhere else in the world. All you need is a "want to". I've seen young people go to Africa - and stay - just because they wanted to. Some went for Anheiser (or is that Anhauser?)-Busch; others went for the spirit of adventure; some went for the United States Government. So why not us?"
I told them of Quinton Griggs, an older man who had been raised in the Church of God but who had never been saved. I think he was about 60 - 65 at the time this incident took place. He came to the altar to pray for salvation. He prayed. He cried. He begged God, "Oh Lord, Please Save Me!" He prayed for a long time. But when he had finished praying he said, "No, I'm not saved. The Spirit has to draw me. I can't get saved until that happens." When I began to quiz him as to what it meant to him to be saved, he quoted John 6:44 where Jesus says, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." Also he quoted John 6:65 which says, "And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father." I asked, "Do you wnnt to be saved?" "YES!" He answered with emphasis. "More than anything in the world!" "Well, what do you think it is that makes you want to get saved if not the Spirit of God! It's the Holy Spirit's job to make you want to get saved. That's what made you come to this altar tonight."
So if we have a directive from our commander-in-chief (and we do in Matthew 28:19) then why can't we go if we have the "want to". Besides - who do you think it is that puts the "want to" in you? God is the one who causes us to will and to do of His good pleasure. (Cf Phillipians 2:13) Yes, it helps to understand that God is who made us want to; especially when we get into sticky situations and frustrations and tough times come; AND THEY WILL COME.

2. Culture
Two things about culture. Your culture and Their culture. Of course you know what culture is: The definition which I really like is: "Culture is Learned ways of doing and being."
Let me be right up front with you. You are who you are and you will never be one of them. Accept the fact that you are different from the people where you are going and respect those differences. Besides, Jesus taught that we are to be like "a city on a hill" or like "a candle on the mantle." (O.K., Candle on the candlestick.)
Don't allow "culture" to become an excuse for sin. If it violates the teachings of the Bible but it's culturally acceptable, culture does not make it o.k. to be polygamous, or to lie, etc., and etc. We are not exporting American Culture, although it is found in the Bible! Don't believe me? Read Romans 1. It is the kind of culture Jesus came to change. Got the picture?

3. Creator
God created you. You are unique. He knew all about you - your warts and freckles - the good parts and the bad parts of you when He called you. Or should I say when He put the desire to go to the place of service you are going. He knew you -yet he loved you. Awesome.
So when the frustrations begin of going through customs and immigration, and they will; when the frustrations with headquarters come, and they will; when the disagreements with fellow missionaries come, and they will; when it dawns on you and you realize that you are imperfect, and you will ... Just remember your CREATOR is who designed you and know that He is still on His Throne in Heaven. And I concluded with these verses:
Romans 8:26-31 "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. [27] And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. [28] And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. [29] For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. [30] Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. [31] What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?"
Then I sung the song for them titled "I Need Not Leave With The Burden". and concluded by asking them to sing with me the chorus of, "I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go" Many had tears in their eyes as we concluded with prayer. Can you say from your heart, "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go, Dear Lord; O'er Mountain or Plain or Sea; I'll say what you want me to say, Dear Lord; I'll be what you want me to be!" ???

Monday, July 7, 2008

July 4th @ Pumzika Acres

Early in the morning I awoke with excitement and anticipation inside for I knew this was the day for the family cook-out. I loaded up the pick-up with chopped sirloin, Beef Franks and Turkey Franks (otherwise known as hot-dogs) -- plus a couple of rifles to fight off the bears that might be tempted to taste test the cooking before it was done, then headed for my favorite relaxing spot. It was great having Frances' family together with our children and grand-children...28 of us in all. All seemed to have a great time. Joe waded the creek bare-footed and then started to walk the log which is across the creek, but, oops! The bark was slipping off the log, causing him to fall astraddle the log. Like a rider on a bucking bronc, his legs automatically grabbed hold and locked around that mighty steed while he steadied himself, regained his composure and inched himself along back to the starting point. With no bones broken and no serious injuries he proceeded to enjoy the rest of the day. Chloe Crockett, one of our three year olds, walked out on one of the trees growing out of the bank and leaning out over the creek, then jumped off into the arms of her Dad. She is fearless. Hailey, our two year old wanted so bad to be in the creek with the other little ones but she had recently had tubes inserted into her ears and was under doctor's orders not to be in a pool. It was very difficult, but her mother (Kimberly) held her and restrained her and tried to quiet her tears. Hannah and Gracie played alongside the other little ones in the creek but Rebecca and Jessica were on the porch with the young adults. We had four watermelons in the creek but only cut one. Everyone must have filled up on the hamburgers and hot-dogs.

To my son-in-law, Curtis Crockett, special THANKS for helping with the cooking of the meat. To my girls, special THANKS for helping in the kitchen. To EVERYONE -- A HEARTY THANKS for all you did to make this day a memorable one. I hope you all had as grand and joyful a time as I did.

After everyone had left the site and I had cleaned up and straightened up the out-side I decided to go inside and clean up the pots and pans where we had cooked the baked beans, chili, and coffee. Much to my pleasant joy it turned out that my wonderful daughters (TABITHA and Frankie and Ruthie) had already wasked up everything! They deserve a blue ribbon prize. If I knew how to add one of those smiley emoticons I would put it right there. You know...the one with the biggest grin on it.

Then, surprise, surprise...Frances and I spent the night at the cabin. One of our camping neighbors had come over needing two pickles earlier in the day(which we found after some searching through our stuff). Later he returned with a sack full of blue lake beans and fresh squash and some okra out of his garden. After we had rested an hour or so and as quiet settled over the mountains we sat on the porch and broke beans.

God is Good. Life is good.

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