Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Jack Tells The Story

FINALLY~! It loaded and you can now see it here. Jack Darnell, a master storyteller in action! It was my first time using the Casio Camera to try and capture all - then rendered it with the Sony Vegas program. Hope you like it.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Story Tellers And A Video

The video refused to load. These pictures were made the same evening!

This is a case for storytelling. I've heard some folk try to tell a story and somehow, it just wouldn't come out right. I've tried to tell stories in my preaching - but only stories that relate to the subject and make a valid point. At times my story fell apart - or I would forget something significant in setting the basis for the story. Sometimes the Lord helped me in spite of myself! Storytelling is a major form of passing down history in many tribes of Africa where I've worked for the last 20 years. By telling stories th

I've heard some say that storytelling is becoming a lost art in America - but I beg to differ. Storytelling abounds in our modern video world. TV and the Internet are taking over. The attention span of our children seems shorter and shorter. On one of our TV channels, (AMC, I think) they state frequently, "Story Matters Here". I've heard a few folks criticize "storytellers" versus what they call "Bible Preachers"... and on the surface their reasoning sounds good. It goes something like this: "The Bible is meant to be preached. I don't want to hear a bunch of stories. I just want to hear the Bible. If it's not in the Bible I don't want to hear it in the pulpit. Just stick to the Word of God and don't try to tell me one of your stories." Do they forget that the Bible is a collection of stories? Do they forget that Jesus often used parables (stories) with which He explained the Word of God to common people?

One of the best preacher's I have ever known personally was F. J. (Joe) May. He could get the attention of an audience and drive home a Biblical point using stories of everyday life. He was my teacher at the Seminary when I studied Expository Preaching and we students loved hearing his personal stories. Sometimes we thought we were "getting him off the lesson" but his stories inevitably proved beneficial to our goal of learning how to preach from the Bible. I've also heard him minister in state Camp Meetings and in local church Bible Studies. There are others, too numerous to list. Billy Sunday Myers, Jake Roberts, C.B. Donahue, John D. Nichols, Gene D. Rice, are just a few. Other great preachers I've been fortunate to know and hear are men like Ray H. Hughes, Paul Henson, George Alford, Wade H. Horton, F.W. Goff, R. Leonard Carroll, and of course, My Dad, Louis A. Brannen and my Mother, Bonnie Jones Brannen and her Mother, Lula Lee Jones. I'm sure I'm leaving out somebody very special to me - but that is not because of a lack of love nor for a lack of respect. It is because of a lack of a good memory.

A few weeks ago, a man I've known for fifty years came through and visited us at our regular family Bible Study time. I had no idea how well he could tell a story, although I knew he was an author who has written several books. We also knew he had done "chalk talk" sermons and "kids crusades" back in the day. We had confidence in Jack Darnell - so we asked him to share a Bible story with our family. Our grand-daughter, Chloe, was engrossed as he told the story of the angel's visit to Manoah And His Wife (the parents of Samson). As you watch the video you will see that even the older ones present (including my Mom) were also very focused on every word from this master storyteller. I'm so glad I captured this brief video of his storytelling.

Oh well - - - I've just received an error message saying that my video would not upload. I'll try again. If you don't see it, you know I couldn't get it to load.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


It has been proposed by some that people of any nation should be allowed to freely cross the borders of the U.S.A. without presenting proper identification, i.e., passport and visa. After all - who set these boundaries? Who really owns the land? Do people not have the right to pursue peace and happiness backed by good paying jobs? It was reported to me that the Maasai (a tribe in Kenya, East Africa) believed for years that all the land belongs to God. Cattle belongs to man. Cows, sheep, and women and children were their property. As long as there was water and sustenance they stayed in one place. When the grazing lands grew thin - it was time to move on. No one stopped them as long as they could find grazing land with water. Nowadays, however, the Maasai are laying legal claims to land in the courts of Kenya. Governments have found laws necessary to civil society.

Now it is being claimed by some that people who work for the government are "harassing" those who do not meet the conditions prescribed by law. They are accused of being unjust and oppressive. It's like a soccer coach being told that he is oppressive because he applies the rules of the game and penalizes a player who committed foul play. Rules/laws are a must if we are to live alongside each other. Romans 13 gives some basic rules for maintaining peaceful and orderly lives. So what is the responsibility of the Church to illegal aliens? Must we support them and help them? Or are we duty bound to protect them?
While I do love every immigrant (even those who are illegal) I do not feel that we are obligated by the Holy Bible to protect them and allow them to break the immigration laws. Yes, the Bible teaches that every individual is loved by God and is a person of worth. There is no one worth more - and there is no one worth less. As the song we learned in Sunday School says, "Red and Yellow, Black and White, all are precious in His sight!" This issue is not about race. This issue is about rules. Should we, or should we not obey or be subject to the civil law of the country in which we live and work?
One of the issues here is civil obedience to the law of a country. As many of you are aware, I have been a missionary, working in a foreign field. When I went to any of the many countries I have been to as a missionary I always did my best to obey all of their laws, including immigration laws. I made my presence known. I presented my passport and visa as required. I paid all taxes required by the host government. I felt that this was a Biblical obligation according to Romans 13. While some seem to believe that they have the right to dis-obey the law in order to be missionaries, I have not (in the past) nor can I now, advocate sending a missionary into a country illegally. I'm aware that there are some of my good respectable brethren who feel it is o.k. to go "undercover" as missionaries. I have no axe to grind with them; no quarrel with them. They do not have to give an account to me. However, I prefer to obey the laws of the countries involved.
One more point - on immigration laws here in America - I have some Christian brothers who are illegal aliens here in America. I'm convinced that they have accepted Jesus Christ as their only Savior and they trust him to go to heaven when they die. There are also some Christian brothers, saved by the same Lord Jesus Christ who work for the United States border patrol. They have a job to do. Just as in the case of the coach who calls the rules of the ball game, I cannot call them oppressive when they act on the orders of their government.

About Me

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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