Wednesday, October 01, 2008


As I get ready for bed tonight I am struck by the way God has worked over time in our lives through the ZOE ministry. Our first ZOE conference was in 1997. Over time we have invested much of our lives into this ministry. However, I feel we have gained so MUCH more than we ever gave. The ZOE singers have been family to us. We've grown up together, gotten married, raised kids, traveled, sung at weddings and funerals, laughed, cried and lived life together. What a tremendous gift that has been.

Then I am struck by the people we've met and fallen in love with over the years through traveling with ZOE...people like Eric Noah Wilson (our Executive director), Lex and Sandra Henderson, Jeff Walling, Tim Castle, Josh and Kara Graves, Julie Danley, Bruce and Taylor Morgan, Lee Smith, Brian McLaren, Leonard Sweet and others. Each one has touched and changed our lives.

I can't forget Joe Smith. Joe was a huge ZOE supporter from Arizona. He fought a very hard battle against cancer. I still miss him. There have been times I have wanted to pick up the phone to call Joe and had to stop myself. Honestly, he's still in my address book after 5 years. I can't bring myself to delete him. I won't forget that last time we were together when we sang out there. We both knew we wouldn't see each other again in this life. Joe was such a blessing to me and so MANY others.

Tonight and tomorrow men and women are flying into Nashville from all over the country to share a weekend together and worship. Stephen is here. Mike Cope is here. We have family driving in from Minnesota (Gail and Chris and kids). There will be guest speakers, special music, art displays, powerful messages, CD releases, and lots of great times. But the best part of all of it will be the people. Friends will reunite, new friendships will be formed, hearts will be encouraged and community will break out. What an awesome thing!

I remember back in early 2001 when we chose "Deep Calls to Deep" (an exercise in lament) as our CD title and conference theme that year. Little did we know that only a few weeks before that conference 9/11 would hit. I had a similar feeling this month watching the chaos of the economy, gas prices, and our political craziness and remembering our theme this year... "Fearless". We have a lot of fear around us right now. People are losing money, jobs, marriages--you name it. I think God knew what He was doing when this theme emerged last winter. We need this word. I cannot wait!


Tim Castle said...

I'm really going to miss being in Nashville this weekend. It has been one of my favorite things to do each year. But I will be with all of you in spirit, and lifting you up in prayer. We'll definitely see you in Fresno.

Rick J said...

Tim's sentiments are mine as well. God bless!

julie said...

Brandon, I will miss being there. Thank you for loving me through the years. You have ministered to me in so many will never know.

annie said...

I feel the same way as Tim. Your post makes me so sad to miss this year, especially!

I'll be praying that the whole conference goes smoothly & hearts will go home warmed to the core!

See you at Pepperdine, or maybe I can manage one of the other Zoe locations.

cwinwc said...

I wanted to say thanks to you and Zoe for helping us on our journey. 3 years ago a number of us from our church in Central Florida attended Zoe in Nashville. One of our party was of the non-clapping belief so the Conference was a stretch of faith for him.

We were so inspired that prayed that God would open doors. 3 years later we have a blended service of instrumental and a-capella worship. The young man was against clapping now sings with both Praise Teams.

God bless you and Zoe in the upcoming conference. Maybe we can come next year.

Josh Graves said...

Thanks for using your creative gifts to bless so many with the healing balm of music.

Great to spend time with you tonight.


Gary Musick said...

Thanks for inviting me to the conference tonight! I was truly blessed by the music and the message. These are crazy times for most of us, and fear is so pervasive and paralyzing. Tonight's message made me realize how freeing God's grace can be. I might even sleep tonight for a change!

Renee said...

I am too amazed at how God orchestrates the weekends, yet again i am reminded that he knows the plans he has for me!!! Why am i always surprised. I agree with Jeff Waling, next year should be called Peace and Prosperity!!