The Leaf, January 2012

Life Happens

I started this blog on New Year’s Eve. I had high hopes and great expectations of a new, fresh start. I would write a little every day, read through the Bible in a year (3 chapters a day and 5 on Sunday), cut my calorie intake to a reasonable amount, and not yell at the TV during football games. I even bought a new devotional book for Doris and I to do together. (The pages are falling out of Jesus Calling.)

Then life happened. Mom was put in the hospital, had emergency surgery, intensive care, and just yesterday admitted to a rehab center. My brother-in-law was also admitted to the hospital, underwent a battery of tests, and only last Monday released. On top of that there have been clients to see, year-end reports to begin, budget meetings to attend, and emails to answer. I have been sleeping in hospital chairs, updating FaceBook, previewing nursing homes, and wolfing down Big Macs from behind the steering will. I am 31 chapters behind on my Bible reading. The devotional book has not been opened (though we have gone back to Jesus Calling about every day), and I am just now picking up this blog again.

Stuff doesn’t always fall into place the way we anticipated it would. Schedules fall through, budgets get out of whack, goals get set aside, and we get lost in the morass of the mundane. We are swallowed up by life and it’s only January 12. Not only does that happen for the New Year but it happens for the new you. We decide to be different. Stop an old habit. Start a new one. Change a relationship or change ourselves in a relationship. The intentions are good but BAM, life smacks us in the face and before we know it we are right back to business as usual and living under the weight of regret. Sound familiar? It sure does for me. In fact, the older I get the more it seems that life is winning.

Two things some to my mind this morning, first Jesus is not surprised by that. He anticipated it. Remember the conversation with Peter on the seashore after an early morning fish fry. I love Peter. He is the king of big plans and good intentions. “I’ll follow you anywhere Lord.” “Give me a sword, they won’t get by me.” “I’ll never deny you Jesus.” Even on this morning he is declaring, “Lord, after all this, I’m your guy. I love you. I’ll take care of your business for you.” And Jesus says,” Peter, when you were young you went where you wanted to go but the older you get, the more life dictates the direction of things for you.” (The gospel according to me.) He says. “You will reach a point where others will pick out the clothes you will wear and even make you go places you do not want to go.” (John 21) Things are only going to get more and more out of your control, He says. And brother, He was right.

My calendar seems to fill itself up. My schedule for the day begins screaming at me the night before and my To Do list shakes me awake at 3AM and says, “You’ve got no chance of getting this stuff finished.” I pile on top of that a healthy (actually unhealthy) dose of should haves, and oughts, and I am pretty much sunk before the boat ever leaves the dock. Frustrating to me maybe but not surprising to Jesus.

Which leads me to the second thing, also from Him, He has a plan for all of that. In Matthew 6 He is wrapping up the Sermon from the Mountain. It has been a good talk about blessings and staying focused on the right things. I am sure a lot of people are standing there saying, “Hey, I’m going to do this stuff. A whole new way of living for me. I’m putting a plan in place and this time next year you aren’t even going to recognize me. I’ll be a lean, mean Jesus machine.” Jesus gets that from them and He says this, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (Matt. 6:34 MSG) Pretty good advice, huh?

Listen, plans, and dreams, and goals, and even New Year’s Resolutions, aren’t bad. They help us focus. They challenge us. They can be agents for change. But be prepared. Life is going to happen. It may come at you in ways you never expected. It may be doing that now. You only have one job. Look for what Jesus is doing around you and in you right this minute and plug into that. Tomorrow we’ll figure out the next thing to do but for today, just me and Jesus. The 12 Step crowd says “Living one day at a time. Accepting life on life’s terms.” I can do that. I’ll try to catch up on my Bible reading. I’ll get some of my running in, and Doris and I will get to the devotional book later. But for now, take a deep breath and see God at work. And revel in that….while you’re at it, have a BigMac. Mike



The next Marriage Covenant Weekend at Beersheba Springs Assembly is planned for February 24-26, 2012. This is your invitation to join us for this fun filled weekend. We are registering couples now and need to hear from you if you are interested.

Here is some more information about the Weekend.

The Agenda:

Session One: Friday night 7PM

“Finding Out Who We Are”

“Former Things – The Baggage We Bring”

Session Two: Saturday Morning


“Facts or Feelings”

Session Three: Saturday Afternoon

“Family Meeting”

“Fireproofing Your Marriage”

Session Four: Saturday Evening

“Failure and How I Achieved It”


Session Five: Sunday Morning

“Faithful Fellowship”

“Forever Covenant”

Finishing up with Sunday lunch

Marriage Covenant Weekend:

This fun weekend is filled with testimony, interaction, and teaching on the covenant of marriage. Space is limited to 12-14 couples in the Turner Lodge at Beersheba Springs Assembly. Meals are prepared in the lodge by the participants. The sessions begin on Friday night at 7PM and end Sunday after lunch.

Registration is by check for $205.00 per couple. Please make your check payable to: Restoration and Renewal Ministry, and mail them to 2450 Thompson Road, Murfreesboro, TN 37128.

(There will be some additional expense for shared food preparation.)

Click on this link for a brochureabout this Marriage Covenant Weekend

For more information about Beersheba Springs Assembly, copy the following into Youtube: laLH-xWGVfM or go to


What Happens At An Intensive?

An INTENSIVE is a one week, deeply focused, therapeutic event at Branches. The goal is to do in a short period of time through intense counseling what might otherwise take months or years. Clients begin early on Monday morning and conclude on Friday afternoon with a daily regimen of counseling, support groups, EMDR, inner-healing prayer and much more. It is truly life changing.

INTENSIVES are appropriate for non-using addicts needing to strengthen their recovery, persons with depression or anxiety issues where they have become stuck, couples in crisis, and a number of other hurts, habits, or hang-ups that need a boost for forward progress.

In both November and December our INTENSIVES will be the 2nd week if the month. That is November 7-11 and December 12-16. Give yourself or someone you love the gift of healing in 2011. Call Branches for more information about an INTENSIVE. (615) 904-7170.


A New Year, A New Home for Branches at the Beach


Less than a month ago, we had sent out a newsletter asking each of you to pray for some specific needs that we have. I am excited and pleased to let you all know that God is providing above and beyond. We now have our own beautiful office space. A three room suite, upstairs in a nice quiet location. Just off of US 1, south of town. We have had a couple people volunteer to assist in office duties during office hours, as well as a copy/printer and furniture have been donated to Branches. We are overwhelmed with God’s faithfulness and provision, and extremely grateful to each of you for your prayers and support.

Our new address is:

150 Kent Rd.
Suite 1B
Saint Augustine, FL 32086



We have a new idea at Branches to continue to meet needs. So many times in the counseling office we have other “auxiliary” issues come up, things like finances, diet, etc. So, we are going to begin to offer this kind of counseling every Friday. We will have a financial planner, a nutritionists, and an inner-healing prayer counselor. The counseling sessions will be $50 each and will not be scholarshipped but we believe very important needs can be addressed. As other needs arise we will add counselors. Call for more information.


Groups Again In January
We believe in groups at Branches. Support Groups, Instructional Groups, and Accountability Groups. There are a number of groups ongoing dealing with addictions, depression, and other issues. Here are some groups ready to begin in January. Sign up today.

 Co-dependency Support Group is a 6 week group Monday, 6-7pm. We’ll cover topics like codependency, boundaries, self esteem, rebuilding trust and more. Also, we’ll just plain encourage and pray for each other! Interested? For information email

Another needed group is Anger Management. Often a court ordered group this is always helpful for teens and adults alike not handling stress and frustration appropriately. This group will meet Monday from 7-8pm, led by Bill Robinson. If you are interested in a the class call Branches and get on the list.
The most often asked for group is Dealing With Depression. Tracey Robison, our clinical director, will lead this incredibly helpful group Tuesday at 7pm. Sign up today.
MENtoring is men’s Bible study and support group for men of all ages and backgrounds. We meet Thursday morning at 6am. Bring your Bible and an open heart.
Other groups ongoing:
– Samson’s Men’s Accountability (Monday 7-8pm)
– CR Step Study (Saturday  8-10am)
Prayer List

— Please pray for our friends Zach and Jake Harvey, two young military heroes.

—Pray for the family of Charlene Her mother passed away in December.

–Pray for our dear friend Florence McKay.

–Pray for my Mom who is recovering in a rehab center.

–Pray for Jamie Isabell who is doing mission work in China.

-Pray for families in distress and for reconciliation where there is disconnect.

–Pray for Tracey Jones, a wonderful young lady that needs healing.

–Doris and I have a specific need and appreciate your prayers.

-Pray  our pastor’s wife, Kimberly Waldron.

–Pray for every counselor and client at Branches.


God’s Kiss

I was sick a couple of weeks ago. (I’m going to milk that for as much sympathy as I can.) Really sick. Couldn’t get out of bed. Couldn’t play with Jon-Mical. Couldn’t play tennis. Sick.

For a week Jon-Mical came over and my bedroom door was closed. Finally after a week I was out and ready to go back to life. The first day Jon-Mical came over and greeted me with a huge smile. Then heasked, “PoppyC, are you not sick anymore?” I said I wasn’t but he wanted to be sure. “Are you not a little bit sick?” When I assured him I was good and well he asked, “Then can I have a kiss?” Did that make my day or what?

I told them that story at the beginning of SIMPLY FREE but it reminded me of something. As wonderful as Jon-Mical and his kisses are there is something even better. God’s kisses. With God’s kisses it is just the opposite. God says, “Are you sick?”  “Are you really sick?” Then how about a kiss.” When I am at my very worst Gods’ desire is to reach down and plant a big juicy one on me. And that makes my day. Wherever you are and whatever is “wrong” with you today just let Him draw you very close and kiss you, He loves you that much.

For more ramblings from Mike go to his blog. It’s fun. It’s too the point. And hopefully it is a Word from God at the right time.

Be Restored

February 17th & 18th
Mark your calendars and save the date. Start spreading the news,

bring a friend, your small group, tell anyone and everyone!

Be Restored is a FREE conference of healing and hope centered on the recovery stories of plain, everyday people like you and me. Surrounded by praise and prayer, centered around testimonies of deliverance from addictions, depression, anxiety and brokenness that inspire us to believe.

The conference begins on Friday evening and ends Saturday afternoon. There is incredible worship music, great break-out sessions, powerful speakers, and the fellowship with other believers from all over who have gathered to experience the anointing of God.

Please pray for us as we prepare, and plan on joining us as excitement is building about this years conference. For more info call (904) 392-1000.

Be Restored will take place at

Family Worship Center

located at

2040 State Road 207

Saint Augustine, FL 32086


We are full blown, open for business at the St. Augustine office we call Branches at the Beach. In February we invite you to Be Restored, the Florida version of Simply Free. We will plan at least one Intensive there this winter. We are growing and becoming but if you live in north Florida or south Georgia and need to find healing, remember Branches at the Beach.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.