In Ten Years

Everyone has done it. Someone along our path has asked us where we want to see ourselves in five or ten years. I suppose this was asked most of me during my last two years of high school. At one time, I wanted to be a symphony orchestra conductor. I remember another time when I wanted to be governor of Tennessee. From what I can remember from 2010 (my senior year of high school), I was planning on being a nurse specializing in geriatric care. I wanted to be married with 2 kids and a house somewhere in West Tennessee or North Alabama (very close to home).

So here I am ten years removed from high school. I’m 27 years old, married with 3 kids. I graduated college with a music education degree. After teaching for 3 years and leading worship bi-vocationally in my home state of Tennessee, I now lead musical worship full-time at a church in Georgia…a place I never thought I’d be! So now that we’re at this stage, where do I see myself in ten more years? I know for sure that I’ll be 37, married for 14 years with at least 3 kids. One of them will be a fresh teenager with the others not far behind. But what about the unsure?

As far as my family is concerned, I hope that I will have listened to enough people, read enough books, and followed God’s leading to be 10x the husband and dad I am now. I know there is still a lot to learn. I REALLY hope that I’ll have finished my master’s degree by then, putting it to use in conferences, retreats, and maybe even some undergraduate programs in church music and worship leading at institutions of Christian higher education. I’d like to think that I’ll have remained at my current job, seeing significant growth from eleven years of labor. With the current trend among millenials in the work force, longevity at one job is rare and I’d like to be an anomaly of that trend. With that, I’d love to be in financial stability with a home big enough for our family. By financial stability, I mean debt is minimal with the exception of perhaps a mortgage or car payment. I hope that I will have traveled to places I’ve never been, checking off more states on my bucket list to visit all 50. Places I’d really love to visit in that time would be Washington D.C., Boston, New Hampshire, and the American West. My siblings will be older and most likely married with a couple of children, so I can’t wait to see what my future nieces and nephews will be like.

Where do you want to be in ten years?

Wins & Losses (February 9-15)

Wins

  • Our first week at home with Grant was not exactly what we expected. He did great, but due to sickness in the home of our babysitter, the daily routine was off. There was only one day where Becca had him by herself at home (and then he spent most of the morning with me after I suggested Becca go get her nails done!). He’s doing well sleeping, eating, and socializing as much as a newborn can. The only thing he doesn’t seem to like is diaper changes and that’s to be expected. The girls are taking to him very well and Reagan loves to talk to him.
  • My day was made last Tuesday when I got to go and visit Reagan’s preschool class. Her class has been showing love to our church staff and I was assigned to her class. After they sang me a few songs, we took a picture and they presented me with a construction paper snowglobe they had made with the sweetest note on it. However, the highlight of the whole visit was when I first arrived and every single child walked up to me and gave me a bearhug. Several came 2-3 times! I was so happy to be loved on by the preschoolers. It really is amazing how much joy can be brought from young children. Time spent with them is always joyful and I’m so glad they are a ministry arm of FBC Gray.

  • Valentine’s Day? We stayed home, went to the local park, and ate philly cheese steaks for supper. That’s what you do when you have small kids.

Losses

  • We have been watching Poldark for the last several months. I absolutely loved the PBS program, but we had to wait a while after season 4 to view the final season on Prime Video. The season itself was fine, but the series finale was so strange. In my opinion, there was so much left undone that either needed to be tied up or given another season to bring some conclusion to everyone’s circumstances. When shows are brought to an expected end (as opposed to sudden cancelation), there needs to be closure for everyone. I thought the same thing with Chuck, which we also finished recently. Everyone but the main characters received closure and it was up to the audience to determine how it ended for the couple. Nothing frustrates me quite like a series finale with unfinished business. I won’t discount Poldark because of the ending because it really is a wonderful show. But when you know your time is up, finish well.
  • Rain, rain, and more rain! Our area of the country got soaked and flooded this past week. It feels like it rained every day without pause. My old stomping grounds in Tennessee got even more than us. It appears that we might be done with the bulk of these winter showers, and I’m glad to see them go! Muddy yards, stinky dogs that have to be taken out, and dirty cars are enough!

Wins & Losses (January 26-February 8)

If you follow me on social media, you know it’s been a WILD two weeks in our house. So here’s two weeks worth of Wins & Losses.

Wins

  • After many months of waiting, our son made his arrival Tuesday afternoon. Grant Mitchell Brasher was born on February 4, 2020 at 4:57pm. He weighed in at 8 pounds, 4 ounces, and was 20.75 inches long. Becca did a phenomenal job laboring and both are doing extremely well at home. We had EXCELLENT care at the hospital and highly recommend it if you’re in the middle Georgia area looking for labor & delivery. We are SO grateful to our family and friends that helped out while we were in the hospital and at home. My folks held the fort down with Rea and Dee while the in-laws stayed after to help us get situated at home. We’re now being loved on even more by our church family and we can’t tell you how blessed we are to be where we are.
  • My Sunday nights are spent with kids 1st-5th grade. We sing for most of the hour that we’re together, but I also spend time teaching them the New City Catechism that our entire church is doing on Sunday nights. After teaching several weeks on God’s law (not easy), it was time to talk about innate sin (also not easy). I’d been wondering if the kids were getting any of what I was saying until I got an answer I wasn’t expecting. I posed the question, “Why would God even create Adam and Eve when He knew they were going to sin?” One of my older kids piped up and said, “It was all a part of the plan.” She was alluding to what we had discussed earlier of how we can’t know God’s grace and mercy unless we had done something wrong. Since our entire creation is for the purpose of knowing God fully, we must know His grace and mercy. Therefore, we had to sin to know His grace and to know the love of Jesus. It was a special moment for me that I’ll never forget.
  • What a great Super Bowl we had last week! The Brashers didn’t go to a party this year, but enjoyed it from the comfort of our home. Since the Titans are in the AFC, we pulled for the Chiefs. I loved that the game was a real football game. No team ran away with the points and it was a neck-and-neck game the whole time. Demi Lovato CRUSHED the national anthem, too. Halftime was controversial (duh). But Becca and I enjoyed watching the many talents of Shakira. Say what you want about the performance; Shakira is a CRAZY talented musician and showed it that evening. I love the Super Bowl and how it’s one moment of the year where just about every American is in sync with one another.

Losses

  • One of the shake-your-head moments in the life of a worship pastor is when you program a song that you’re certain everyone knows, and then you’re faced with the reality that you may be the only one that knows it. I’ve known “Praise My Soul, the King of Heaven” for years. Both times now that I have programmed it, it falls on somewhat deaf ears. I have no idea how I’ve known it and no one else has. It’s a beautiful hymn that is not sung enough. I guess I’ll just hold on to that one until someone asks for it again.

The Perfect Dream Vacation

When we began our Thursday night small group last year, we asked each other a few questions to help the group get to know one another. One of those questions was everyone’s idea of a dream vacation. We heard places like Bora-Bora, Grand Canyon, Jamaica, and Alaska. This just happened to be a writing prompt for January and it’s something I love to talk about. I’ve been to the beach, the mountains, New York City, Canada, Europe, and other places. But one place that has always fascinated me is the great country/continent of Australia.

Since Australia is roughly the size of the continental US, there’s a lot of area to explore. The first place on my list would be Sydney. The most famous city down under, Syndey is bursting at the seams with culture. Its harbor scene is picturesque and who could forget the Sydney Opera House? From there I’d move up the coast to the small city of Cairns. While Cairns itself isn’t all that interesting, the rainforests and beaches surrounding the city are breathtaking. Its relatively warm year-round climate makes it a great place to go any time of the year. This also gives easy access for scubadiving at the Great Barrier Reef. The ocean and marine life has always been a point of interest to me. Scubadiving among the largest coral reef in the world and all the ocean life that surrounds it would be a dream come true. On a side note, I actually was offered an opportunity to do this in high school when I was added to a list of Who’s Who Among American High School Students. But $3,500 for the trip just before going to college didn’t seem like the best investment at the time. Plus, the whole thing turned out to be a borderline scam.

                                                 

At the top of the state is Kakadu National Park. Kakadu is the place to go to see Australia in its most natural, unaltered state. This ENORMOUS park covers 7,646 square miles (about half the size of Switzerland) and was originally occupied by the Aborigines. Rock art by the Aboriginal people can be found just about anywhere in the park. The scenery is beautiful and the fauna within the park is so vast that you just might see every native Australian animal in this one park alone. To round out the trip with a legitimate exploration of the Australian outback, I’d head south to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. This is much smaller than Kakadu, but what it lacks in square mileage it makes up for in popularity. When people think of the Australian outback, Uluru is where their mind goes.

                                                     

 

Where would you go for your dream vacation?

 

Wins & Losses (January 19-25)

Wins

  • MLK Day was special for me this year. I, along with our church staff, marched with our friends and neighbors in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day March to the courthouse. It started behind my house and marched about a half mile to the courthouse where they held a program. It was cold and I had the time of my life. I loved being around those people and they never made me feel like I was out of place. The gentleman who spoke is a new pastor to the area and man, did he PREACH. He did a phenomenal job and we all marched back to the starting place with vigor. I’m so glad I did that this year and look forward to doing it again next year.
  • Although Grandparents’ Day is officially in September, the preschool that Rea attends holds a special day for grandparents in January. Mom, Dad, and Grandmother traveled 7 hours to see Rea in her Grandparents’ Day preschool program. Mom and Dad received the award for traveling the farthest and then they enjoyed cake and ice cream afterwards. The girls loved having them around and I did too. We had a great visit and I can’t wait to see them again when we’ll have welcomed a new addition to the family.

Losses

  • After a stunning series of games in the postseason, the Cinderella story of the Tennessee Titans came to an end in the AFC Championship. What many thought would be one more upset sending them to the Super Bowl ended up with a disappointing loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. It was enjoyable to watch them defy expectations and make a statement to the professional football world. The Brashers have been Titans fans since the very beginning and we’ve loved watching them. With all the hype this year, I’m really looking forward to a great season next year.
  • Potty training for the eldest child still has not come to an end yet. Progress is there, but not fool-proof yet. Y’all pray for us.
  • And as you can probably tell, BB3 still has not made his appearance. Just when we think he might be ready to come out, he bluffs and we all sigh. We need some “If it would please the King” prayers to get this child out.

Worship Song Review: January 2020

Song #10: “Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery” from Matt Boswell

This is my favorite modern song being sung in churches right now and has been for five years. I was first introduced to it in 2015 when visiting churches in the Memphis area. My mentor and college professor was the minister of music at the church we eventually joined and had introduced this song to the congregation. Becca and I took notice immediately. Despite the fact that the epistles often speak of the mystery of Christ, not many songs sing about it. Christ is a mystery. We can know a lot about Him, but we will never know Him in His fullness while here on earth. Maybe not even in heaven just because he is that glorious. But this song sings of the mystery of His birth, His death, His resurrection, and how unconventional it all was. The poetic work of the text is phenomenal. By that, I mean it’s clear that a lot of thought was put into this song’s lyrics. It’s strophic, meaning that it’s written in the form of a hymn so it’s very easy to learn. It can be used with the smallest or largest of instrumental ensembles and there is nothing sweeter than hearing a congregation sing this song at the top of their voices.

“Come behold the wondrous mystery, Christ the Lord upon the tree; in the stead of ruined sinners hangs the Lamb in victory.

See the price of our redemption, see the Father’s plan unfold: bringing many sons to glory, grace unmeausred, love untold.”

Song #11: “Glorious Day” from Kristian Stanfill & Passion

What a fun song this is! I sang this for the first time during a period of ministerial rest at Living Hope Church in Piperton, TN. I’ll admit I was a little taken aback by what seemed like the shouting of “and I ran outa that grave!” But just as soon as I was, I realized that it was a victory chant of being set free from sin and made alive in Christ. It’s definitely a song geared more towards churches with a less formal atmosphere and rhythm/band-driven music. I’ve been able to utilize both my rhythm section and horn section with this song. The text harkens to Ephesians 2 that says “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world…But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…and raised us up with Him…” As I’ve said before, the best songs are those that can stand on their own, quickly and clearly backed up by the Word of God. So there you go.

“I was buried beneath my shame. Who could carry that kind of weight? It was my tomb ’til I met You.

I was breathing, but not alive; all my failures I tried to hide. It was my tomb ’til I met You.

You called my name and I ran out of that grave! out of the darkness into Your glorious day!”

Song #12: “King of My Heart” from Bethel Music

I have to be careful with this one. First of all, I’m always skeptical of anything from Bethel. The church has some questionable theology, so you always have to take a good look at their songs to see what they say before you choose them for a worship service. When it comes to “King of My Heart,” there is no heresy. It’s pretty easy to sing and quite catchy. But if you’re looking for some solid, rich theology in a worship song, keep looking. This one is pretty shallow. Again, there isn’t anything inherently wrong with the song textually. It just doesn’t go very deep. For example, the entire chorus says, “You are good oh” 8 times and the entire bridge says, “You’re never gonna let me down” 15 times (that’s only if each element is sung once). The verses are a little better, but not by much. This isn’t a song I’d completely reject for a Sunday morning worship service, but I’d make sure it was paired with something that took the believers deeper in theology so they aren’t left needing/wanting more from the music.

Wins & Losses (January 12-18)

Wins

  • An incredible amount of nesting was completed over the course of the week. New bottles were washed, sanitized, and put away. New baby clothes were washed, dried, folded, and put away IN THE SAME DAY. The nursery was cleaned and organized. The carseat was installed in the minivan. Other elements of the house were cleaned to help us get ready for the arrival of BB3. The hospital bag is mostly packed save for in-the-moment items like toiletries and changes of clothes. With all this stuff ready, he should just come on now.
  • Lately, I had been getting lackluster with my blogging habits. For a while, the only thing I posted was Wins & Losses. In October, I began the monthly series of Worship Song Review. To me, it didn’t seem like blogging was worth it if the content could be viewed on my social media profiles. All that changed when I discovered a website that had writing prompts for every day of the year. I don’t plan to post every day and some weeks may still only see a Wins & Losses post. But I’m looking forward to writing about a variety of subjects in the future thanks to these new prompts.
  • We had unusually warm weather last week. While most of the days were filled with rain, a few days with sunshine gave us the opportunity to be outside in a t-shirt and jeans. I like for months to have proper temperatures, but some enjoyable weather is always welcomed no matter the month.

Losses

  • After much prayer and discussion, I decided to withdraw from Southern Seminary this week prior to the start of classes. This has been something that’s been on my heart for several months and I felt God telling me that seminary was not where I was supposed to be. I am grateful for the teaching I received, but sincerely feel God leading me in another direction. I love SBTS and would recommend it to anyone looking to further their theological education, specifically those wanting to be pastors and Bible teachers. I’ll have more information about my path forward in the next couple of weeks.

Logan’s Top 5 Social Media Tips

Social media rules the world. It’s amazing to know that less than 20 years ago, social media was a foreign phrase. How could they possibly go together? And yet, here we are in 2020 with more social media platforms than we care to think about. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Pinterest, MySpace (it’s still there), TikTok, Google+ (may it rest in peace). I would even consider YouTube a social network simply because of its ability to connect people around one thing: videos. So as you spend portions of your days on social media, here are five tips from one who has been on social media for 12 years.

1. Limit how many social media (SM) profiles you have.

At one time, I had accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Google+, and MySpace. I’ve since trimmed it down to three. Don’t have more accounts than you can manage well. You’ll find yourself overwhelmed by them. I’ve even known of instances where two people would be having electronic conversation on three different platforms at the same time. Can you see how that might go bad?

2. If you know you’re going to get mad about something upon opening SM, don’t open it.

I’ve said this to way too many people. Within moments of pulling up a SM app, they are fussing about something they’ve seen. Some celebrity or politician or leading figure had an opinion with which the user disagreed and they felt the need to let the world know about it. If you absolutely know you’re going to get angry at someone within minutes of opening social media, stay off. Get your mind together, realize that you don’t have to respond to everything, and understand that SM is not a place to find joy. It has its perks and it has its flaws. That’s how it goes.

3. Don’t use SM for professional communication.

Once upon a time, I thought email was on its way out the door. Since we had text messaging and it seemed every SM platform had messaging capabilities, I knew email would soon falter. But when I was in college, I learned that professional non-verbal communication had its best friend in email. Paper trails save lives, folks. Use a professionally-crafted email address to have communication with colleagues, professors, superiors, and anything outside the familiar. SM messaging is directly linked to your personal profile. By using SM for professional communication, it becomes extremely easy to mix the personal with the professional.

4. If you are part of a group, follow the rules.

These days, SM administrators have to set guidelines for their groups and pages. Usually, it it pretty universal stuff like “no profanity” or “no direct attacks on members of the group.” So if you happen to be part of a group or page that prohibits soliciting, don’t try to sell ItWorks, jewelry, or any of your other stuff on there. That’s what your profile and pages are for. And if you do, don’t get upset when you’re removed from the group. Rules are meant to be broken. But I’m a rules guy. Follow the rules of the game, or get ejected from play.

5. Make a positive impact.

We are all on this earth for a short amount of time. God has placed all of us here for a reason. Some of us have ways of spreading joy through our humanitarian efforts, others through influence, and some even through random acts of kindness. But we all have the capability to spread joy on SM. In a cesspit of negativity and rage, throw out something positive. Don’t make it trite. Be sincere. Encourage someone and mean it. Don’t gloat about yourself, but lift up one another. Make the world a better place, one tweet at a time.

It’s a Small World After All

Okay, I’m sorry I got the song stuck in your head. Really. I am.

 

Last week, I spent two days in north Georgia with music ministry leaders, paid and volunteer, from all across the state of Georgia. This is my second year singing with the Jubals and I was looking forward to building more relationships and having fellowship with those I’d yet to meet. This year, I was asked to accompany solo auditions. This gave me the chance to really get to know some of the other guys in the group, especially those that hold official positions with the group.

You. Would. Not. Believe. How. Small. This. World. Is.

I met so many men with Tennessee connections that I almost couldn’t believe it.

  1. The administrator of the solo auditions graduated from the same high school my FIL graduated from in East Tennessee. Additionally, he was the minister of music at First Baptist-Bolivar about 40 minutes from where I grew up. He did some adjunct work at Union University, my alma mater, and knew several of the professors I know. While teaching freshman theory, he taught a ministry partner of mine who now serves a church in Chattanooga. And during his vocational ministry, he led worship for a revival at First Baptist-Selmer, my home church.
  2. One of the soloists spent 4 years in Memphis serving at Richland Baptist Church.
  3. Another gentleman graduated from Union in 1966 with a double major in music education and pharmacy (WHAT) and was a band director at Chester County High School in Henderson, about 30 minutes north of where I grew up (I also served a church in Henderson during my college years). AND GET THIS. He was a music intern at First Baptist-Selmer while he was in college. I was a music intern at First Baptist-Selmer when I was in college!
  4. At dinner one night, I met Greg Williams. Until the early 2010s, Greg was the minister of music at First Baptist-Jackson. He and I bonded of our mutual friendship with Chris Mathews (my mentor, college professor, and the guy who married Becca and me) and the Edmonsons with whom I lived during my final semester in college.

Honorable Mention: In line for dinner one night, I eavesdropped on a conversation going on behind me. The guy introduced himself and told what church he was from. The church (First Baptist of A***, Georgia) was a church I applied at and phone interviewed for. I figured it was best that I didn’t interrupt that conversation.

Wins & Losses (Jan 5-11)

Wins & Losses

Wins

  • Fresh off their stunning victory against the Patriots, the Titans defied the odds once again and knocked off the No.1 seeded Baltimore Ravens to secure a spot in the AFC Championship. I have been a Titans fan for years, and though I haven’t watched many games in the last several years, I’ve always kept up with them. They really are a hit-or-miss team, but they’ve certainly got something going for them now. I’m excited to see what this team does when they play in the AFC Championship. Titan Up!!
  • 2 days in the mountains with fellow ministers of music was a blessing for my soul. The 2020 Sons of Jubal retreat was a great time of singing, fellowship, testimony, and time in the Word. Aside from learning music with the fellas, I was called upon to accompany for solo auditions this year. I was elated to receive the email asking for my service because as much as I love singing, leading worship, and conducting, making music with other people while I’m at the piano is my favorite. This also gave me a chance to get to know more guys in the group and you wouldn’t BELIEVE the connections I made with several of them. I’ll be working on another blog post this week detailing just how small this world is regarding the wonderful promised land of West Tennessee.
  • People have been so gracious in helping us to prepare for the birth of our son. Not many people receive showers after their first child, even if the gender is different from one child to the next. Our church is giving us a basket shower throughout the month of January. This is a shower where folks drop off gifts at their convenience, and we pick them up at the end of a week. This boy is certainly set for at least the first year of his life and we are so grateful for friends that will celebrate with us.

Losses

  • As we inch closer and closer to the due date for Brasher Baby 3, Becca gets more uncomfortable by the day. She has difficulty sleeping, feels terrible, and really just has a rough time doing things around the house like laundry and taking care of the girls. I help as much as I can, but it hurts me to see her feeling lousy. This isn’t to say that delivering a baby will make all this go away because babies bring on their own set of adjustments. But the quicker this kid comes, the better we will sleep. That’s how that goes, right?