FeelMyFaith.com

Creative Biblical content at the intersection of life and faith.

Brian is the author of #TheWalk, a contributor to the Faith, Hope, and Love Daily Devotional, a pastor, and teacher.  Brian speaks regularly for various groups and events.  FeelMyFaith.com began as a writing project in 2007 and has expanded into the media outlet of Brian's ministry.

Back Porch Psalms - Psalm 9 (Replay)

When we spend so much time in a verbally negative culture, how can we be affected but not infected?

Originally shared via Periscope.


Continue reading
237 Hits
0 Comments

Back Porch Psalms - Psalm 6

Psalm 6 is our prayer after a sleepless, tear filled night.  It is the petition from our pain that seeks an answer from God of why life is so unfair and how long He will allow it to go on.  

Join me each morning for Back Porch Psalms live on Periscope.  

 




Continue reading
228 Hits
0 Comments

Back Porch Psalms - Psalm 5

Prayer is to be honest, but not careless; spontaneous but not thoughtless.  A day well prepared in prayer helps one to remain in the presence of God even in times of deep distress. 

Join me each morning on Periscope for Back Porch Psalms. 




Continue reading
247 Hits
0 Comments

Back Porch Psalms - Psalm 4

How do we pray in times of distress?  Our prayers in distress are important, but so are our actions.  How do we respond in times of distress?  Learn how as we take some time to meditate and pray through Psalm 4.


If you want to be notified when Back Porch Psalms go live, follow me on Periscope.
Continue reading
248 Hits
0 Comments

God's Ungrateful Guest

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.  (1 John 3:1 ESV)
How often do I respond to God’s grace as if I am an ungrateful guest rather than His son?
The language of the gospel offers the invitation for me to abide in Him, enjoy communion with Him, to be guided and guarded by Him, to be loved.  God says I am His child.
Yet I only want to leave.  I do not want a place to dwell, I only want a place to stay.  In His grace He opens to me His home, yet I use it like a cheap hotel room.  I have no intent to connect with Him, I just need the password to the wifi.  I have no intent to commune.  I am staying here because I can get a free breakfast.  And then I’ll be on my way.
The gospel calls me to be a citizen of Heaven.  I go through the day more like someone staying at Hampton Inn.
Hey God, when I need you, I’ll call you.  I’ll make a reservation along the way - what’s the rate?  It’s all on my terms, in my time - can you help me with my luggage?  Whoops, I sinned.  Will you forgive me.  Thanks.  I’ll be on my way.  I have no intent to stay.
I’ll be back.  And when I return, I expect the same kind of service.  I’ll let you know.  See you soon.
I act like an honors member entitled to points.  I act nothing like a son.
This is not the language of a child to a father.  Our language to Him in prayer sounds more like the things we say to a clerk at a hotel.  We are His children, not His guests.  
His language to us is that of a Father who opens to us His home.  He does not intend for us to stop by.  He intends for us to stay.  The gospel is not an invitation to use a nice room, it is an invitation to dwell in the presence of God.  
Christ did not suffer the crucifixion so we could check-in and check-out.  He died so we could stay.  If I am as close to God as I am a hotel counter clerk, I have cheapened grace.  
Good morning.  Thanks for the newspaper.  I switched my door hanger from “do not disturb” to “housekeeping” so they can now clean up my mess.  I’ll be gone all day.
God bless me today.  I read my devotion, thanks for the encouragement.  Forgive me of my sins - because that’s what you do.  And now I will walk away from this prayer, AMEN, as if it doesn’t matter what I do all day. 
Never a word to the Almighty the rest of the way.  Tomorrow morning - same routine, same lack of intimacy.  It is more like the interactions we see in the breakfast nook at a hotel lobby than it is like children in communion with God.  
Each day should be lived like I know I am home.  I have been with God.  I have heard His voice.  He is impacting my life.  I am accountable to Him.  He defends me.  He provides for me.  He is my father - He is not room service.

His intent is to connect with me as a father to a child.  He does not consider me His guest.
Tags:
Continue reading
241 Hits
0 Comments

How To Make Millions

From God’s Word I am going to show you not only how to plug the drain, but to turn on the faucet.  We need to stop the drain, but we also need to make some gain.
If you could, would you not only be willing to stop the drain, but would you be willing to make millions?  What I am about to say may shock you, but if you follow Jesus you should not want less, but more - millions!



">How to Make Millions from Brian Branam on Vimeo.
Are you making an investment with God's resources or simply holding on and just trying to plug the drain. Learn how to not only stop the drain in your finances, but how to turn on the faucet to true wealth.

Brian Branam is the Lead Pastor of 
Liberty Baptist Church in Dalton, GA 
and the author of #TheWalk, now on Kindle for just $3.49.
Continue reading
282 Hits
0 Comments

Jesus Just Stops (An Excerpt from #TheWalk)

God is the prime mover, but He is not a fast mover.  As prime mover, God set all things in motion.  As a general mover, God is frustratingly slow.  Two stories serve to demonstrate.
The pace of Luke 8 seems fast and furious.  Jesus is healing.  He is teaching.  His family is looking for Him.  He is caught in a turbulent storm that He calms while crossing the sea.  He casts demons out of a maniac man who lives in a graveyard.  There is a lot happening.  The more He does, the more attention He draws and the crowd grows.
When it seems like the stories have reached fever pitch, Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue falls at Jesus‘ feet and asks Jesus to accompany him to his house.  His twelve-year-old daughter is sick and dying.  Jairus is desperate for Jesus to heal her.  Jairus thinks he needs Jesus to move fast.  Jesus is more interested in helping Jairus go far. 
As much as Jesus has going on, He complies and begins the walk toward Jairus‘ home.  The next part of the verse sets the scene, “As Jesus went, the people pressed around him” (Luke 8:42).  Imagine a throng of people, each of whom has needs, vying for Jesus‘ attention as He walks.  The scene is loud and chaotic.
All of the sudden, Jesus stops.  Unknown to the crowd, a woman with a blood issue has touched the hem of Jesus‘ garment and is healed.  She has dealt with this problem for twelve years and had spent all of her money on physicians who all failed to help her.  Like Jairus, she is also desperate.  
Her problem probably caused her to have a constant menstrual flow.  An issue of blood in Jewish culture was not merely a physical problem, but a spiritually crippling one.  Because of the flow of blood, she was constantly unclean and would not have been allowed to enter into the Temple for worship.  
Jesus stops.  Though the crowd has no idea of what happened, Jesus knows.  With all that is going on, Jesus is able somehow to focus on one thing.  The Master is not a multi-tasker.
In the midst of a throng of people that is described by Luke as a “press”, Jesus addresses the crowd and asks a question:  “Who was it that touched me?”  
The Bible says that everyone in the crowd denied it, yet Jesus must have persisted to know.  Peter, wanting to bring some logic to the situation, tells Jesus that it is impossible to know who touched Him.  It is a press of people.  A press is a group so large you have to keep moving, but you are stopping.  Who touched You?  Everyone is touching You!
Yet someone touched Jesus in a way that power came out of Him and He knew it.  Eventually, the woman reveals herself, and Jesus simply says to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” - Luke 8:48 (ESV)
Luke records nothing of Jairus’ reaction in this moment.  As the father of two daughters, I cannot ignore the man.  Luke says little of him in the scene at this point, but I can see him.  Time is running out.  In his mind the solution is in hand, but far from where it really needs to be.  We must keep moving.
For a man who needs Jesus to move fast, walking would be difficult enough; stopping and taking the time to poll the crowd for a mystery toucher would have been excruciating.  In Jairus’ mind his total focus must have been on the fact that it appeared by stopping for the woman, Jesus was going nowhere.  
It is inexplicable, but there are times in walking with God, that when it seems we need Him to move the most, He stops.
The progression to the next part of the scene is heartbreaking.  The Bible says while Jesus was still speaking, as if He is putting the final touches on His statements about the triumph of the woman’s faith, Jairus receives the most devastating news.  A nameless woman in the crowd may have been healed, but “Jairus, your daughter is dead.”  The bearer of the bad news follows up his statement: “do not trouble the Teacher anymore.”
Too late.
Too slow.


For the nameless woman, the stop was the beginning of new life.  For Jairus, the stop appeared to be the end of life.  Don’t trouble the Teacher anymore.  He’s too busy dealing with other things. 

Read the rest - #THEWALK, now on Kindle for just $3.49.  Get your copy today.


Continue reading
238 Hits
0 Comments

How to Help When Mother's Day Hurts (Part 2)

I have a great mother who is involved in my life.  I have been married to the same wonderful woman since Feb. 1, 1997 and she is the mother of both of my daughters.  Mother’s Day is a joyous, easy fit holiday for our family. 
Sometimes life is not made for holidays.  Hallmark has yet to create a card that explains every situation.  Under certain circumstances, the perceptions of Mother’s Day may range from an annual reminder of loss to an empty celebration of a relationship someone never had. 
Yet, in our perfection and dysfunction, we all sit together in church.  In comes Mother’s Day, once a year, with a glossary of stereotypes, categorical assumptions, and ignorance of the caveats of life that may make celebrating motherhood at bit uneasy.
What do we do when Mother’s Day hurts?
How do we avoid, amongst the people of God, emotional separation in a day of celebration? How can we do Mother’s Day in a way that is not insensitive but at the same time remains sincere?  
In my previous post I stated the first two of four ways I believe we may help when Mother's Day hurts.

Everyday needs grace.
Celebrate the story of the gospel.

Below are the final two ways I believe we may be able to help hurting people on Mother's Day.

Speak to the opportunity all women have on Mother’s Day.   
On the Saturday before Mother’s Day I attended a birthday party.  Joan Hamrick was there.  There is nothing genetically that connects me to her, yet when I introduced her to someone at the party I put my arm around her and said, “This is Ms. Joan.  She is a mother to me.  I have lots of moms.”  
There was nothing in my statement that diminished the role of my own mother in my life.  There was nothing in my statement that took away from Ms. Joan’s role in raising her own son, who was also at the party.  Instead, the statement echoes something incredibly Biblical that rings true for all of us.  In Christ there are familial bonds that are birthed of which no hospital on the planet has record.  There is no birth certificate sufficient to explain the birth of the church.
If there is anything unfortunate in Mother’s Day, it is the way we ignore these otherwise unnatural bonds that are critical to the story of our faith.  Pat Bishop, Ellen Eaker, Wanda Altman, Carol Lea, Jessie Foster, Bernice Mueller, Janice Swanson, Kathy Johnson - there is a massive roll call of women in my story, many of them having their own children, some who had no birth children - yet all of them playing a critical, mothering role in my life.  
Birth is the most common way in which we think a woman becomes a mother, but it is not the exclusive way.
Mother’s Day should celebrate the role women play in mothering our faith, but it should also raise the awareness of a myriad of children in our culture who are in desperate need of a godly woman to step into their story.  This need also raises the ugly reality that birth doesn’t qualify a woman to be a mother.  Some women possess the biology but lack the character and love it takes to finish the job of mom.  If this is the case, the lack of birth doesn’t disqualify a woman from being a mom.  God has gifted far more women than we celebrate with a holiday to be moms. 
Be thankful for your spiritual moms.  Hug them.  Celebrate them.  Share with them the impact they have made on your life.  We don't have to wait until a holiday to give honor to whom honor is due. 
Use the day to advocate.
I did a better job of it last year, but on Mother’s Day we should be advocates for adoption and champions for the sanctity of life.  Mother’s Day should be the ultimate celebration of life.  As stated above, there are so many ways that women step into our stories and give us life, but how incredibly intentional does that life giving capacity of women become when they give life to a child who otherwise has none? 
In 2014 I set aside my sermon and asked three mothers to tell their stories to our congregation.  Two of them were adoptive moms.  One of them a single mom.  The third mother was adopted when she was a child.  We set their stories up in a panel discussion type format, but it was greater than any sermon on the subject I could have offered.  The experience not only enriched my life, but it touched many people in the audience and expanded our view of exactly what it means to be a mother.  
Mother’s Day give us an opportunity to advocate for something that is incredibly gospel centered; to protect the lives of the unborn and to give familial connection to those who have been abandoned.  We cannot ignore the fact that every person who believes in Christ has been adopted (Gal. 4:5-7).

Mother’s Day is not a perfect day.  Life on planet Earth, post-sin, provides us with many painful caveats.  Yet the hope of the gospel gives us reason not to allow loss and trial to overcome us, or any of our days.  May God bless us with more life giving moms and let’s look forward to celebrating what Christ has done again, next year on Mother’s Day.

Brian Branam is the Lead Pastor of 
Liberty Baptist Church in Dalton, GA 
and the author of #TheWalk.

Pic credit to: just4u, http://www.freeimages.com/photo/587236

Continue reading
191 Hits
0 Comments

How to Help When Mother's Day Hurts (Part 1)

I have a great mother who is involved in my life.  I have been married to the same wonderful woman since Feb. 1, 1997 and she is the mother of both of my daughters.  Mother’s Day is a joyous, easy fit holiday for our family. 
Sometimes life is not made for holidays.  Hallmark has yet to create a card that explains every situation.  Under certain circumstances, the perceptions of Mother’s Day may range from an annual reminder of loss to an empty celebration of a relationship someone never had. 
Yet, in our perfection and dysfunction, we all sit together in church.  In comes Mother’s Day, once a year, with a glossary of stereotypes, categorical assumptions, and ignorance of the caveats of life that may make celebrating motherhood at bit uneasy.
What do we do when Mother’s Day hurts?
How do we avoid, amongst the people of God, emotional separation in a day of celebration? How can we do Mother’s Day in a way that is not insensitive but at the same time remains sincere?  
Every day needs grace.
We live in a highly sensitive culture that makes an impossible demand - get it right for everybody.  Fortunately the church is a community of grace that embraces us when we don’t get it right at all.  Romans 14 teaches the church how to handle our days with grace.
Some people will find a holiday hard to live without.  Some will find a holiday hard to live with.  It is required of both parties to use a measure of grace to realize what a holiday is and what it isn’t.  Paul warns us not to esteem any day as so important that we lose sight of Christ.
Mother’s Day doesn’t make a mother, but mothers make the day.  A mom with children should not be made to feel guilty for her family on Mother’s Day.  At the same time the day should not be used to deflate or devalue those who are not.  Yet grace gives us a loving way to handle our days that creates a bond between us despite the variables in our community of circumstances.  
Mother’s Day is an opportune time to share incredible stories of how God’s love has created familial relationships, helped in times of loss, or provided sustaining strength in a world not ready made for Hallmark.  In a culture that questions the value of birth and by its innuendoes communicates that parenting is a hassle; grace creates a place where the stories of women who want, love, lose, adopt, have big families or struggle to have any family are shared.  In grace each find a place.  
Some of my favorite moments of Mother’s Day, through the lens of a pastor, are not in the conversations we avoid, but they come while listening to the conversations grace demands.  Grace creates a place where the mother who lost an unborn child receives strength, love, and counsel from the matriarch of many.  At the table of grace sits an adoptive mother who shows a new mom how to handle her colicky baby.  Grace makes Mother’s Day beautiful. 
Grace liberates us from an environment of legalism in which sensitivity is the law and celebrates the story of motherhood in an imperfect world.  Every day needs grace.
Celebrate the story of the gospel.
Following the curse, Adam inaugurated the first celebration of moms.  In Genesis 3:15 God informed the serpent that a child would be born of the woman who would crush the tyranny of Satan and liberate us from the curse of sin.  
Adam understood well the prophecy and responded by changing the name of his wife, a woman who at the time had no children, to Eve which means “mother of all living (Gen. 3:20).”
While we do live in a world that struggles with infertility and infant death, we cannot deny that every person that exists can celebrate God’s goodness in preserving the blessing of God to be fruitful and multiply.  We have been born.
In Mother’s Day we should also be reminded that the Son of God has been born of woman (Galatians 4:4).  It is through His virgin birth, atoning death, and victorious resurrection that we find new birth.  
What we will deal with in this life, until the return of Christ, will always be an imperfect version Mother’s Day.  There will always be loss and caveats to our sin cursed stories that will bring pain into the holiday.  We are all vulnerable.  Therefore, Mother’s Day should not simply be a recognition of mother’s but a proclamation of the hope we have in Christ.
Mother’s Day should remind us of the gospel story.  It is a story that tells us, yes, you have been born, but we must be born again.  It is also a story that reminds us that in whatever situation we find ourselves on Mother’s Day, there is a meta-narrative that comforts us all, reminding us that in Christ all things will be made new.  His grace is sufficient.  He has not left us hopeless. 
Mother’s Day should carry with it the proclamation that for every broken hearted woman, no matter the circumstance, that we have a Savior who has stepped into our story.  The gospel gives us hope in the loss of every unborn child.  The gospel speaks into the grief of every mother who has ever said goodbye to a child of any age.  The power of Jesus being the firstborn from the dead brings the potential of fertility where there is none.  
When Adam heard the gospel it compelled him to look at his wife in a whole new way.  She was not yet a mother in one sense - in another sense, she already was and would always be a mother.  However, one chapter later she would lose a child.  Even after Cain killed his brother Abel, the gospel preserved the meaning of Eve.  Because of the birth of Christ, she would always retain the title Mother of all Living.  Through Christ, there is a dignity every woman shares with Eve.  The gospel is that powerful.  
I am sure in the centuries of life God gave them on the planet, that Adam and Eve experienced every conceivable heartbreaking story that threatens to crash a Happy Mother’s Day.  Yet Adam and Eve heard the gospel in the promise of the Savior’s birth and it gave them hope as they walked away from the garden as exiles into a less than perfect world.
Because of the gospel none of us are exiles on Mother’s Day.

Brian Branam is the Lead Pastor of 
Liberty Baptist Church in Dalton, GA 
and the author of #TheWalk.

Pic credit to: just4u, http://www.freeimages.com/photo/587236


Continue reading
208 Hits
0 Comments

Your Biggest Money Mistake



Spending is a character choice, not a dollar amount.



">Your Biggest Money Mistake from Brian Branam on Vimeo.
Spending is a character choice, not a dollar amount.
Continue reading
247 Hits
0 Comments

Just the Quotes from Exponential East 2015











Jim Tomberlin
  • “If they can do this in Mississippi, it will work at your church.”
  • “Growing churches have collaborative leadership teams.”
  • “God breathed into us the desire to be fruitful and productive.  God mastered multiplication (Gen. 1:28).”
Ying Kai
  • “We’ve been asking people to come when we should be telling people to go.”
  • “People don’t share the gospel because they don’t know where to start and they don’t know what to say.”
  • “Don’t ask for permission to share the gospel.  We don’t need permission to share Jesus’ love.”
Steve Murrell
  • “Jesus’ job, build the church.  Our job, make disciples.”
  • “In the western church ‘discipleship’ is a class to help members become better members.”
Joby Martin
    • On Matthew 16:19, “Are you building key rings, or handing out keys?”
  • Steve Stroope
    • “Acts 1:8 is not sequential, it is simultaneous.”
    • “Leadership is anticipation.”
Dave Ferguson
  • “The words we use reinforce the values of our culture.”
J.D. Greear
  • “Get beyond the idea that the call is for very few and the rest of us are just here to pay for them.”
  • “The future of the Great Commission is not in the hands of pastors, but in the hands of ordinary people who are disciples who make disciples.”
  • On John 16:7 “We are better off with the Holy Spirit in us than we are with Jesus beside us.”
  • On James 4:1-4 “How much of what we ask for, do we ask for as an adulterer?”
  • “What we do in church will not reach a majority of people because a majority of the unchurched people have no plans to be there.”
Mario Vega
  • Rough translation, “I had one of our men call me this week and ask, ‘How can I plant a church in Chattanooga?’  I don’t even know where Chattanooga is, but I told him, ‘Here is how you plant a church.’”
Michael Frost
  • “It is the stories we tell that give us the courage to believe and the strategy to reach the goal.”
Randy Frazee
  • “Is your church a starfish or a spider?”
Mark Jobe
  • On restarting dying and declining churches. “What you do with the first one will either open new doors for you, or close them forever.  Other people will hear how you do this.”
Derwin Gray
  • “Is who we are worth multiplying?”
  • “What we need in America is multiplied weakness; tear filled pastors.”
Danielle Strickland
  • “Let them see you bleed.”
Bob Roberts
  • “We don’t know how to do ministry in the open square because we don’t know how to love well.”
Ajai Lall
  • “We live in a world full of extremists.  It is time for Christian extremism.  Extreme love.  Extreme compassion.  Extreme forgiveness.  Extreme concern for the lost.”
Max Lucado
  • “Your actions have no thermostatic impact on God’s love.  God has determined to love you.”
  • On John 2, “‘They have no wine.’ You will never find a more naked, honest prayer than this one.”
  • “If prayer depends on us, we have no hope.  If prayer depends on the one who hears, then we have incredible hope.”
  • “Give your problems to Christ before they get to you.”
Oscar Muriu
  • “Do not let the smallness of your vision limit the greatness of our God.”
  • “Most of us know only sustaining faith (as opposed to mountain moving faith).  We under-challenge God.”
  • “An over abundance of caution is killing the church today.”
  • “Brave means God does not have to explain Himself to you.”
  • On Galatians 2:20, “Dead men are not afraid.”
Tags:
Continue reading
182 Hits
0 Comments

Best and Worst from Exponential East 2015











Last week I spent four days at Exponential East hosted by Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, FL.  Exponential is a movement of reproducing churches envisioned by Dave Ferguson, lead pastor of Community in Chicago.  This was my first time participating in the conference and I plan to return in 2016.  I left the place with a notebook full of takeaways.  Here is my list of the BEST and WORST from Exponential East 2015. 
  • WORST - Realizing how un-cool I really am.  Maybe it is the shape of my head or the shape of my face, but there is nothing about me that can pull off the whole “I’m wearing a toboggan in Florida in late April” thing and make it look awesome.  Scanning the crowd I realized that I was one of only a handful of people who did not have facial hair or a forearm full of tattoos.  As a matter of fact, I think I saw the other ten clean shaven, tat-less preachers at the Jacksonville pastor’s conference in January.  Hey fellas, next year let’s sit together and exchange Ike Reinhard tapes.  I am so 41, suburban, white guy pastor.
  • BEST - Not coming home from Tampa with tattoos, a toboggan, or facial hair.  Tattoos look like they hurt.  I’m too old to get that sort of thing started.  I sweat a lot, so a toboggan would only be torture.  My wife loves me clean shaven - AND THAT is all that really matters (if you know what I mean)!
  • WORST - The technical glitches during Eric Bramlett’s segments.  
  • BEST - Realizing that my church is not the only one Satan hates.  Technology remains very much in the realm of Hell and the Devil messes with all of us equally well.  
  • BEST - Eric Bramlett’s introduction of Max Lucado to a parody of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.  Even if somehow it remains possible that you are a Christian, have never been to Lifeway to pick up communion wafers, and know nothing about Max Lucado, you can still appreciate this.  If you know anything about the great Max Lucado - you will love this!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16Gg537_WrY
  • WORST - Looking on Google maps and thinking Port Richey is not far from Lutz; only to realize once you’re there that Florida is nothing but long stretches of toll roads.  Flight from Birmingham to Tampa - $250.  Daily commute on toll roads - flying is cheaper.
  • BEST - The 2 hour nap I took on Monday afternoon at the Hampton Inn in Port Richey. Great staff, great room, great price, very clean.  Pastor crash - much needed.
  • BEST - The Brazilian thing I ate for lunch on Wednesday.  I’m sorry that I can’t remember the vendor, nor do I have any idea what you called it - but HEY that big wrap of meat and stuff, it was really good. 
  • WORST - Thank you Exponential for the strategically placed snack baskets in hidden corners.  Your volunteer staff gave me the warm-fuzzies,,, BUT,,,, have you ever eaten a Nature Valley Oats and Honey bar?  Fiber - GOOD, resulting dental bill from eating honey coated concrete - BAD.
  • BEST - The Exponential red t-shirt volunteer staff.
  • WORST - The Exponential red t-shirt volunteer greeter guy that kept trying to touch me - on the way in - on the way out - OF EVERY SESSION.  Dude - I’m not a hugger.  Slow your roll.
  • BEST - The worship band with the mysterious violin girl - very Mumford of you all.
  • WORST - The worship band sitting behind you on the flight home and feeling the pressure of failing to share Jesus with the obnoxious Alabama fans beside you, while also having to exercise the Fruit of the Spirit - Don’t Punch People, the worship leader is watching you and so is God.
  • BEST - Propaganda.  Because most of my readers are probably more familiar with Bill Gaither than with hip-hop artists, allow me to explain.  Propaganda is a collision of Scripture and urban plight in spoken word.  In his lyrics he is harshly honest about what the church believes itself to be, what if fails to do, and what it categorically ignores about itself and the world it is called to engage.  I am not cool enough to have ever downloaded any Propaganda tracks.  My daughter loves him.  Yet at Exponential I was glued to every word.  Incredibly convicting. 
  • WORST - The moments when I imagined myself before my church, on stage beneath a single smoky spotlight, without notes, wearing a torn T-shirt, bringing rhythmic, poignant, edgy spoken word to the good Baptists of Northwest Georgia.  Not good.
  • Even worse - The guy who actually tried to do that last weekend at his church.  Please send YouTube link!
  • BEST - If @prophiphop would give me a follow back on Twitter!  I would get a ton of awesome pastor/dad points.  (That’s @BrianBranam just in case).
  • BEST - Multi-site workshops.  This is not to say that the other workshops were not stellar, but I actually signed up for Exponential because of the multi-site workshop, so I attended nothing else workshop wise.  I saw a lot of room 214 in the children’s wing.  The entire conference was more than I expected, but the multi-site sessions were everything I needed.  The speakers brought a great balance of content for the guys way down the path of multi-site while remaining relevant for those of us who are just entering the on-ramp.  
  • WORST - When I showed up a few minutes late to Randy Frazee’s session, he stopped what he was saying and asked, “Guy in the red shirt, who just joined us - why are you here?”  Oh crap, the guy who re-wrote the Bible just called me down like a sixth grader.  Me and Frazee, we’re good.  He emailed me his notes.  Great session.  Sorry I was late.  Please don’t tell on me to Max Lucado.  Yay Church of Christ.  He Chose the Nails, The Story, I’m a big fan.  Won’t happen again.    
  • BEST Quotes -
    • Jim Tomberlin
      • “If they can do this in Mississippi, it will work at your church.”
      • “Growing churches have collaborative leadership teams.”
      • “God breathed into us the desire to be fruitful and productive.  God mastered multiplication (Gen. 1:28).”
    • Ying Kai
      • “We’ve been asking people to come when we should be telling people to go.”
      • “People don’t share the gospel because they don’t know where to start and they don’t know what to say.”
      • “Don’t ask for permission to share the gospel.  We don’t need permission to share Jesus’ love.”
    • Steve Murrell
      • “Jesus’ job, build the church.  Our job, make disciples.”
      • “In the western church ‘discipleship’ is a class to help members become better members.”
    • Joby Martin
      • On Matthew 16:19, “Are you building key rings, or handing out keys?”
    • Steve Stroope
      • “Acts 1:8 is not sequential, it is simultaneous.”
      • “Leadership is anticipation.”
    • Dave Ferguson
      • “The words we use reinforce the values of our culture.”
    • J.D. Greear
      • “Get beyond the idea that the call is for very few and the rest of us are just here to pay for them.”
      • “The future of the Great Commission is not in the hands of pastors, but in the hands of ordinary people who are disciples who make disciples.”
      • On John 16:7 “We are better off with the Holy Spirit in us than we are with Jesus beside us.”
      • On James 4:1-4 “How much of what we ask for, do we ask for as an adulterer?”
      • “What we do in church will not reach a majority of people because a majority of people have no plans to be there.”
    • Mario Vega
      • Rough translation, “I had one of our men call me this week and ask, ‘How can I plant a church in Chattanooga?’  I don’t even know where Chattanooga is, but I told him, ‘Here is how you plant a church.’”
    • Michael Frost
      • “It is the stories we tell that give us the courage to believe and the strategy to reach the goal.”
    • Randy Frazee
      • “Is your church a starfish or a spider?”
    • Mark Jobe
      • On restarting dying and declining churches. “What you do with the first one will either open new doors for you, or close them forever.  Other people will hear how you do this.”
    • Derwin Gray
      • “Is who we are worth multiplying?”
      • “What we need in America is multiplied weakness; tear filled pastors.”
    • Danielle Strickland
      • “Let them see you bleed.”
    • Bob Roberts
      • “We don’t know how to do ministry in the open square because we don’t know how to love well.”
    • Ajai Lall
      • “We live in a world full of extremists.  It is time for Christian extremism.  Extreme love.  Extreme compassion.  Extreme forgiveness.  Extreme concern for the lost.”
    • Max Lucado
      • “Your actions have no thermostatic impact on God’s love.  God has determined to love you.”
      • On John 2, “‘They have no wine.’ You will never find a more naked, honest prayer than this one.”
      • “If prayer depends on us, we have no hope.  If prayer depends on the one who hears, then we have incredible hope.”
      • “Give your problems to Christ before they get to you.”
    • Oscar Muriu
      • “Do not let the smallness of your vision limit the greatness of our God.”
      • “Most of us know only sustaining faith (as opposed to mountain moving faith).  We under-challenge God.”
      • “An over abundance of caution is killing the church today.”
      • “Brave means God does not have to explain Himself to you.”
      • On Galatians 2:20, “Dead men are not afraid.”
  • WORST - That convicting feeling you get realizing all of the things you could have done and should have done.  The sense of loss in the years you did less than that for which the gospel calls.
  • BEST - Knowing that we have a redemptive God who is sovereign in all things.  He never fails.
Tags:
Continue reading
178 Hits
0 Comments

Why You? Why Easter?

Even though I am posting this on my blog I want to make a local, personal appeal to those of you who are within driving distance of North Murray High School in Chatsworth, GA.  If you can get there by 10:00 a.m. Easter Sunday morning - get there.  Why?
You may be thinking, yep, another big, over-hyped Easter church service.  I will go and hear the same sermon about the same thing that I have heard at every Easter service I have ever attended.
Not this Easter.
The resurrection is important and we will talk about it, but unless it answers your most serious questions, what’s the point?  
Have you ever cried out to God over and over again and it seems all you get is silence?  Me too.  On Easter Sunday morning - THIS is the sort of stuff we will begin to talk about.
Why do children who are being abused cry out to God for help, but the monster just keeps coming in?  Why do the people we need most in our lives get sick and die while it seems that evil people live long and continuously get their way?  Why do we struggle sexually to figure out who we are?  If the Bible teaches that we are not supposed to be homosexual, why is it that those desires can be so incredibly strong?  You may be a young wife who seems healthy in every way, you so desperately want to be a mom, but can’t.  Why not?  There are people on this planet who don’t deserve children, you’ve asked God for help - why not you?
This Easter Sunday I want to begin a conversation with you about the question you want answered the most - WHY ME?  
There are a million versions of the question.  Somewhere in your story it has been left unanswered.  Why me?  
It is time for answers.  Let’s talk!  
Please join me, Easter Sunday, in the North Murray High School auditorium for this critical conversation.
Why Me?
Easter Sunday, 10:00 a.m.
Chatsworth, GA 30705    
Tags:
Continue reading
149 Hits
0 Comments

...

Continue reading
124 Hits
0 Comments

Manipulation, See the Strings, Cut the Strings (Video)

Is someone manipulating you?  Manipulators emotionally turn people into puppets.  How do you see the strings and cut the strings of manipulation?









">Manipulation Man from Brian Branam on Vimeo.
If manipulation were a super power, could you identify the man behind its mask? Probably not. Manipulation is subtle, deceptive, and cunning. It turns people into puppets. The ultimate danger is when the people of God don't know the difference between being manipulated by man or being led by the Spirit of God.
Continue reading
222 Hits
0 Comments

Suicide - Thinking, Coping, Healing (Video)

In November I was privileged to lead an insightful discussion of suicide at my home church, Liberty Baptist Church in Dalton, GA.  The touch of suicide goes deeper into our lives and church congregations than we think.  I am thankful to have been a part of this conversation and count it as one of the most helpful and redemptive gatherings of the church of which I have ever been part.

">Dealing with Suicide from Brian Branam on Vimeo.
It has always been God's plan to give you life, but it has always been Satan's plan to take it away. Who are you going to believe?

This sermon also includes an interview with a trained counselor and a pastor/father who lost his son to suicide.




Continue reading
172 Hits
0 Comments

Great, But Not Good


">Great, But No Good from Brian Branam on Vimeo.
What if you, or even your church, did a lot of great things, but in the end, they did no good? Compromise and cowardice will not take you far. Yes, there may be a few shining moments of success, but they will eventually dull like old trophies in a case. The story of Gideon should challenge us to make our impact last. We must be responsive, courageous, and dedicated to the challenge God sets before us or else we may just be forgotten. What good is that?
Continue reading
212 Hits
0 Comments

New Year, New Walk

In the new year we often commit ourselves to reading.  If reading is part of your resolution, please consider my book #TheWalk that was released last October.  #TheWalk is a great choice as your first book for the new year.

Why #TheWalk?  January is a month of regret and resolve.  Our regrets often give birth to our resolutions.  The 7 pounds I gained from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day has served to make dieting a top priority in my life.  While weight, reading, saving, and time considerations often dominate the top of our list, there should also be some more lofty goals somewhere in the mix.  Instead of only considering what we may lose, save, or manage, how about considering some things you would like to finish, start, or even create?

It is difficult to be different.  If you want your situation to change, you must change.  The failure to be different is what usually trips up our resolutions.  John Maxwell said, "You'll never change your life until you change something you do daily."  It is at this point, daily change, that I believe you will find #TheWalk most helpful.

#TheWalk is not about doing more, but doing less.  It is not about meeting life goals as much as it is about doing something different daily.  No matter how big or how small the objective before us, there is only one way it can be accomplished; one step at a time - walking!

#TheWalk was born at the beginning of 2014 out of my own frustrations of having great ambitions, but feeling as if I had accomplished very little.  While praying through Psalm 119:133 God opened my eyes to a revolutionary principle that has changed my life - steps.

Rather than asking God to help me arrive at certain destinations or to accomplish certain long term goals, I now ask God one simple question each day, "What step do you want me to take today?"  Breaking life down into steps has made me more content and effective in everything I do.  I believe #TheWalk can do for you what the journey of preaching and writing it did for me - #TheWalk helped me be different.

Here is a short excerpt from the book that I hope you will find to be helpful.  I pray you will have a great 2015 and that you will consider adding #TheWalk to your book list this year.

_________________________

Honestly, I’m not a big fan of the circus.  Even though there is a lot going on in the three rings, something about the chaos of it just doesn’t hold my attention.  Trapeze doesn’t do it for me.  If you are a circus clown and you are reading this book, I’m sorry to offend you, but what you do in the circus doesn’t connect with me.  However, I would love to know how so many of you get in those little cars.  Other than that, I’m not a fan of the clown.  The dog trainer part of the show is absolute torture for me.  They are about to fire a man out of a canon.  Do the circus people seriously believe that a poodle hopping through a hoop is supposed to psyche me up for the human cannonball?  Get the little dogs off the floor and let’s see a guy fly through the air like a missile.  I see dogs everyday.  Missile men - not so much.   
There is one point of the circus, however, that grips me.  Bring out the lions and the tigers, and I’m all in.  Those massive majestic animals are mesmerizing.  Put a guy in there with the real potential of being mauled right before my eyes - I’m all over that - from a safe spectator distance, of course!
Have you ever noticed that the lion tamer takes only two things into the cage with him?  He takes a whip, which I can understand, and a chair, which I cannot.  Yet in that infamous image of the lion tamer that is etched in our minds, you see only two things in his hands, a whip and a chair. 
Most of the time when we watch the lion tamer work his craft, we are excited by the whip, but think little of the chair.  But the chair is the most important element of all.  The whip has little to do with influencing the animals.  
With the whip, the lion tamer controls the crowd.  We love the crack of the whip and, as humans, we are sympathetic to the sting.  Indiana Jones may do it for humans, but Indy does nothing for lions.  The whip may capture our attention, but it is with the chair that the lion tamer controls the beast.
Lions have an impeccable ability to focus.  When the end of the chair is extended toward a lion, the lion becomes almost paralyzed. Now, instead of focusing on one thing, the leg end of the chair presents the beast with four.  The otherwise perfectly focused animal doesn’t know what to do next.  He has too many choices to make.  
A powerful creature out of focus is ineffective.
I find myself like the lion a lot of times.  I have so much in front of me that I lose focus and become ineffective.  I find myself looking at the leg end of the chair way too much.
In a lot of ways, it is easy to become confused and paralyzed in your walk, wondering what to do next.  You have too many things in front of you at one time.  This is why priority is so important.  When it comes to your walk, the first thing determines everything.  With so many things in our vision, how does one possibly narrow it all down to one thing?  The good news is that God has made it an easy choice for you.  Remember, God has ultimately called you to do only one thing, walk in a way that pleases Him.
Jesus said it like this, “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” - Matthew 6:31-33 (ESV)  
What we eat, drink, or wear is the leg end of the chair.  Jesus teaches us that if we can get those things in the right order of priority and make the one thing the main thing, all of those other things God will provide.  Remember, He is the provider for those who walk with Him.
That word seek, Jesus uses in the passage, means “to walk with focus.”  It describes investigation and searching.  You can’t seek several things.  There is an old proverb that says, “He who chases two rabbits captures none.”  The only way you can truly seek something is to get it down to one.  

If you could get four or five things out of your face and bring one thing into focus, it would help you go further.  Why, because according to Jesus in Matthew 6:31-33, the first thing determines everything

 
Get your copy of #TheWalk today:  

Continue reading
213 Hits
0 Comments

Into the Woods - A Pomo Scrum Beneath the Trees

Over the weekend I made one of my rare visits to the cinema.  Sightings of Sasquatch, a chupacabra riding a bicycle, or Nessie doing the backstroke at Loch Ness are as likely as sightings of me at the movies.  Why?  It costs too much, people eat pop corn like horses feeding from a trough, and the whole thing takes too long.  Our most recent selection, Into the Woods, sported each of these dreaded elements of the cinema; a $50 family price tag, a family of stallions with a barrel of endless pop corn seated just behind us, and a 2+ hour runtime.  Apparently we have lost the art of telling a story in less than half a day.
My synopsis of Into the Woods: your favorite childhood fairy tales in a rugby scrum beneath the trees.  My wife called it Les Miserables Disney style as nearly all of the dialogue of the seemingly never to end movie is sung.  I imagine it will be one of those movies that I don’t particularly enjoy while everyone else on the row may be giddy as girls about it.  In fact, my youngest said it was her favorite movie.  Congratulations Into the Woods, you have unseated Night at the Museum 3 which held her top movie spot for a whopping four days.  Enjoy it while you may, given her track record you will be unseated on her next romp to Regal.  When it comes to movies, she loves ‘em and leaves ‘em.
I will spare you the synopsis and the details of a critical review.  I am not a movie critic by trade and PluggedIn.com is more than adequate to offer the christian version of At the Movies.  I am a preacher and so it should come as no surprise that I view movies as messages.  Movies are culture sermons.  As such, Into the Woods has a lot to say to us.
The film is the latest installment of what seems like a lingering decade of revising our favorite fairytales.  Some of it has been done in jest, taking our familiar heroes and villains and recasting them in new worlds and situations.  For me, Shrek was best at this.  Like Shrek, many films have come along to poke fun at the genre of the fairytale all together.  I love the satire when the magical, all is good life meets the real world.  The princess has been most often the butt of the joke.  Amy Adams in Enchanted was a prime example.  
But then we have a long list of compelling revisionary tales that have been popping up on stage, television, and on the big screen such as Wicked, Mirror Mirror, Maleficent, and GrimmInto the Woods is the latest edition that seems to be carrying forward the conversation with our culture; asking an important question.  Who is responsible for evil and how do we solve it?
There is a side of me that enjoys these reimagined tales.  From a purely storyteller perspective I give the writers kudos.  I am not one who would chide our culture’s storytellers as being uncreative; attributing this rash of revisionism to a lack of originality.  In fact, I would think as a storyteller that these revisions are somewhat courageous.  Who else would dare to take these iconic tales and dare to tamper with them?  In some ways it is like an artist adding paint to Mona Lisa.  You would have to be an idiot with a brush to try such a thing.  But these storytellers have pulled it off.  Why?  Because our culture has given them permission to rethink the stories.  Postmodernism has been an amusement park of revisionism in every field from history to morality to math.  We don’t even solve problems like we once did.  
Yet permission for revision doesn’t just come as a style choice of this young century.  Revisionism is a necessity in a culture that has flushed away absolutes and intentionally blurred the lines.  Postmoderns want to think all they do is good.  Tolerance is a false utopia and in a strange way, our new fairytale. 
All is well in our tolerant, fairytale garden utopia until we have a clash with the real world - where there is such a thing as evil whether we want to believe in it or not.  Everyone is fine in the scrum in the woods, the homosexual, the atheist, the hedonist, the pluralist, and the rest of us until a giant comes stomping through the trees.  A madman guns us down in the theater.  A terrorist kidnaps and kills girls in a school.  Isis beheads a journalist.  It is here that the crisis of relativistic culture begins.  Instead of asking what is evil, we are forced rather to ask, who’s to blame? 
Like the rest of the revisionist fairytale films, Into the Woods casts both hero and villain in new light.  It is ironic that these films begin to explore the flaw of relative morality - as much as we want it to be so, all we do is not good.  Evil exists and it is coming to destroy us.
The revisionist fairytale films are redemptive in the sense that they are willing to admit the faults of the heroes and heroines we once accepted uncritically.  In the former telling of the fairytales we overlooked that at times they lied a little, stole some, ignored the oppressed, and were subtly greedy.  However, where the films fail is in the moral direction they explore this idea.  True to postmodern form, instead of heading in a subjective direction and exploring the heart of the hero a more objective path is taken.  Postmoderns blame societies, never individuals and so heroes are what they are, not because of what they have done, but because of the advantage they are given.  Our princes and princesses no longer triumph due to the power of absolute good; no, they triumphed because they had the greater advantage to manipulate the circumstances.  They had more money, more resources, more favor, more looks.  They were deeply flawed but ultimately they won because they were favored.  
In the revisionist fairytales the villains are also re-cast in new light.  The villains, once thought to be unquestionably and absolutely evil, suddenly become more like us.  They are not as distantly dark as we once deemed them to be.  Once the warlords of darkness, in the revisionist tales these sinister characters are merely underdogs who sold their souls for the sake of survival.  Their hearts were broken.  They were bullied and embittered.  They didn’t turn their world dark out of malice, they did it out of defense against the cool kids.  
Because postmodernism is essentially amoral, there is no longer a narrative of whether good can triumph over evil.  The morality play has been assassinated in the postmodern era.  These are no longer stories of morals, but of advantages.  The princess with all the looks and a decided advantage created the witch.  This is the postmodern fairytale. 
The revisionist fairytale asks us not to condemn the villain but to sympathize with them.  Villains are only the by-products of what it costs us to be prosperous.  Things may appear to be snazzy in Camelot, but there is a darkness brewing somewhere that Camelot has created as a consequence.
Into the Woods promotes this idea brilliantly.  As the giant approaches to crush our flawed cast of less than virtuous victors of situational ethics, they are left to introspectively mourn their mistakes in the woods.  As each of them considers their own role in the making of the giant, an important question enters the equation - true to the form of the film - given to us in song - do we really have to kill it?  After all, it is our fault that there is a giant coming to kill us.
This same tune is being sung in all of our media.  The terrorist is not evil, he is an embittered victim of imperialism and capitalism.  He would not even be here if it were not for the prosperity of our Camelot.  Who’s to blame?  And so our President apologizes to the world on our behalf.  Dear dark world, please excuse the mess we have created.  You hate us and its our fault.  Every crisis from Isis to Al Queda, from a gunman in a theater to the looter in a riot in the streets - none of it evil, but each of them only a giant in a fit of rage that we have created in our prosperity. 
In Into the Woods, the giant comes only because we interfered.  Jack climbed the beanstalk and tampered with the giant’s world.  And now, here she comes.  If you haven’t seen the film, this may not make sense, but trust me when as I reiterate my synopsis - the film is your favorite fairy tale characters in a  rugby scrum beneath the trees.  Had Cinderella not wished to be a princess, had Jack not been forced to sell his favorite cow by his somewhat abusive mother, had the baker not been childless, had Red Riding Hood not been gluttonous, had the witch not been hoodwinked by the baker’s father, had his father not stolen the magic beans - there would have been no stalk that connected our world to that of the giants and we would have lived happily ever after - had we merely been content to leave well enough alone.  Every choice made so that a wish may come true.  Every wish that comes true does so at a cost to someone else. 
What’s the answer?  We have to kill the giant only because we were not brave enough to do what we should have done in the beginning - kill the wish!
If movies are culture sermons, the closing scene of Into the Woods was an indictment of our culture’s hopelessness.  All we are left to do is retell the story - classic postmodernism.  There is no real solution, only regret and confusion.  Cinderella should have stayed a lowly abused house maid.  Jack should have been content to be poor.  The baker should have remained childless.  Red Riding Hood should have stayed home.  
The Bible was way ahead of film in teaching that prosperity should not come at the hands of oppressing others (Zech 7:10, Prov. 22:22-23, Jer. 7:5-7).  There is a right way to rise.  True, our wish should not be another’s nightmare.  The film is right in this, greed and manipulation are false paths to prosperity.  Yet the film fails to see that we need to instead be blessed by God as we walk in His ways.  The key to the rise is to repent of evil, not to negotiate with it, apologize for it, or to socialize a society thinking somehow we will level the playing field and starve evil into extinction.  The films portray our situation powerfully, but fail to solve it morally - evil is not the by-product of economics, but it is rather the by-product of a sinful soul.  Thus, it is solved only one way, not economically, socially, or circumstantially -  but through heart change.  
The key to a more peaceful world is not more tolerance in the scrum beneath the trees, but repentance.   
The Bible has a very clear view on evil that is in conflict with postmodern film.  A person may be victimized, in a past life she may have been a good witch who had a tough go of it back in the day at Magic High with Glinda, but there is no valid excuse for evil.  Instead of seeking to place responsibility on others and blaming them for the evil that is done, we are to look at ourselves and come to a place of honesty about what we have become.
The Bible finds only two solutions for evil.  It must ether be crushed in righteous judgment or the evil one is offered a place of grace in repentance and faith.  Evil does not go away if you apologize to it.  Evil is not in the woods, it is in us.  All of us are capable of foolish choices, ignoring the plight of the oppressed, and the pursuit of the ultimately selfish wish - we are capable, but we are also culpable for our actions.  
Postmodernism and her films fail in thinking that people are never the problem, but rather the situation.  In Into the Woods it is almost as if the whole thing is caused by the magic beans.  It is not the existence of greedy or embittered people that brings evil into the world, but it is rather the existence of those cursed magic beans that promise prosperity.  This is why postmodernism blames the gun instead of the gunman.  People are not evil, situations are.  
In its assassination of the morality play, postmodernism has become a naive fairytale indeed.  Isis is not going to climb back up the vine just because I say “I’m sorry.”  The school house gunman was not created by the gun manufacturer.  Taking away his weapon will not change his heart.  He does what he does not because of the cool kids.  He does what he does because he is evil.  In its refusal to call anyone evil or to celebrate anyone good, postmodernism rather teaches we are the product of Camelot.  Yet the Bible teaches that we are not the products of our culture, our culture is the product of us. 
In the end we are not left in the scrum beneath the trees to retell a pointless story and blame ourselves for what others do, but we are left with the gospel.  The gospel is the story that Christ has entered our situation to change our hearts.  The prince, the princess, the baker, the witch, the giant, all of us are confronted with a profound truth.  The Son of God has come into the world to confront evil people in one of two ways: by grace or by judgment - we have a choice - either repent or perish.  We cannot absolve ourselves in apologies for the existence of giants; pointlessly singing beneath the trees.  We must face the truth.  Evil is evil and it is in us.  We do not need another false narrative to sing; we need to be redeemed.
Continue reading
154 Hits
0 Comments

Ten Things I Learned about Suicide, #'s 6 and 7

Continued from a previous post: http://www.feelmyfaith.com/2014/12/ten-things-i-learned-about-suicide-1-5.html

6.  Parents who have lost children through suicide want you to say their child’s name and talk about their child’s life.


    During our interview time, Mike mentioned that his son is one of three young men who had died untimely deaths in their family.  Mike tragically lost two nephews.  One was killed in a car accident and the other was lost when a tornado hit a high school in Enterprise, Alabama in 2007.  
    Mike said that when he is around friends and family, people will freely share memories of the other two boys, but will seldom mention his son.  There may be various reasons, but whatever the reason it reveals a common problem, people don’t know what to say.
    Mike looked at our congregation on that Sunday and said, “Say their names.  Parents who have lost children through suicide want you to say their names.”  People who have lost loved ones through any manner of death find healing through the sharing of memories and the recollection of stories.  For those who have lost someone through suicide, it is just as healing for them to hear those stories and to have their names mentioned and missed.  Family members and friends don’t want you to ignore their loss, they want you to talk about it, ask questions, and share memories.  The freedom of conversation lets them know you are with them in their trial.

    7.  Grief after suicide is different than grief after other forms of death.
    No one survives life.  Death comes upon us in various ways and at various times.  Some die young.  Some are very old.  Some lose their life after long battles with sickness or disease.  Some people’s bodies just break down.  Some people are lost suddenly and tragically in accidents.  There is a common patter of grief shared in almost all of these instances, but for those who lose someone through suicide, the process of grief takes on a different form.
    After the death of a loved one grief is often objective.  We wonder if our loved one suffered in their final moments; or perhaps we wonder what their life would have been like if they were allowed to continue living.  With suicide grief is greatly mingled with guilt.  Grief takes on a much more subjective tone as loved ones struggle to answer a seemingly impossible question; why?  
    Many times there is a great deal of blame.  People may blame themselves or one another.  Suicide often brings with it emotional strain that tests friendships, familial bonds, and even marriages.  With suicide there is confusion and anger at the one who took their life, but the person is no longer there to help bring resolution.  Suicide is not only the end of the conversation, but it as stated in a previous point, it is the end of possibilities.  
    For those contemplating suicide, Mike mentioned that one often thinks his or her death will bring relief or resolution to a problem.  Mike said the reality is otherwise.  He said that his son struggled with depression and other problems from the time he was a teen, but those problems were no comparison to the problems his suicide has brought upon his family.  Mike said his son’s death was only the beginning of problems; and those problems continue even 11 years later.  

    Grief after suicide is severe.  For those contemplating suicide, the toll on one’s family needs to be considered before you make a tragic mistake.  For those helping a loved one heal after suicide, it must be understood, this will be a long road full of unanswered questions.  In this case we may not be able to offer solutions, but to do what the Bible says and merely to help bear one another’s burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2).

    Continue reading
    161 Hits
    0 Comments