Tag Archives: love


On September 2, 1992, just before 8a.m. I walked into Music Theory 101 a week late to Mobile College with no books.  So, I asked the prettiest girl in the class if I could share with her.  Praise God she said, “Yes.”  But He already knew she would.  His sovereign hand had been guiding us to this moment. The many ways God gently, or not so gently, corrected us and kept us heading to this point is simply miraculous.  Here is a little taste of what our life has been like these past 20 years.

And, if you haven’t read or heard it before, here is our story:

My Bride

Sonya and I met in Music Theory 101 on September 2, 1992, during the first semester of our freshman year at the University of Mobile (it was called Mobile College then).  I was late getting to school that year because I’d been touring with a musical group, had no books for my first day of classes, and needed to share with someone.  Naturally, I asked the prettiest girl in the room.  When the class was over, we introduced ourselves and I said something dorky like “My name is Brian, but my friends call me Odie.”  Yes, my college nickname was Odie, but that’s another story.  Incidentally, Sonya never called me Odie.

I was dating someone from that tour long distance at the time so Sonya and I just “hung out.”  We quickly became good friends and soon would call each other “best friends.” We went to the 1992 Homecoming dance together as well as every concert we were required to attend as music majors.  In fact, if the seat next to one of us was vacant, people would leave it vacant for the other.  Many people asked if we were dating and we denied it everytime.  We were just good friends.

Now, about that homecoming.  I would learn much later that a significant event took place the night before at the talent show.  I had practiced for weeks on a jazz band solo called “Nichole.”  Sonya listened many times, so we nicknamed it “Sonya.”  (I know, very creative, but it helps in a minute).  It was a very mellow yet emotional fluegel horn solo.  As I played it that evening with the jazz band behind me, Sonya sensed that we were going to be married some day.  While I would like to believe that I wooed her with my very passionate performance, I don’t think it had anything to do with the way I played the song.  God was speaking.  Now, that was in October.  Sonya committed to be patient and let God work.  She began to pray that He would either remove her feelings for bring me around.

Somewhere around that time Sonya asked me to come to church with her on a Sunday when she was singing.  Wow!  She was amazing.  Little did I know how blessed I would be by that voice in the future.

Fast forward to Valentine’s Day 1993, my girl friend from Texas came for a visit so, I asked my best friend if she would provide accommodations.  For some reason S0nya politely declined to help.  But I found a mutual friend of ours who would let her stay the weekend. While staying with our mutual friend in the dorm, my girl friend asked “So what’s with this Sonya chick?”  Apparently, I’d been talking about her quite a bit.  Our friend reassured her that we were only friends.

Fast forward to March.  We continued to grow closer and closer.  I drove most Thursday nights to her home in Daphne, where she lived with her parents, to watch Seinfeld and Frazier.  (Now you know why we quote so many lines from Seinfeld.)  Then, she went on a date.  Not with me.  Someone else.  The best part of it was that I encourage her to go!  When they schedule the second date, I began to feel differently.  Oh yeah, I was still dating a girl in Texas.  But I didn’t like this idea of Sonya dating.  Our time was threatened and he like to put his arm around her.  He began to talk about their “relationship.”  To my relief, Sonya quickly began to confess her lack of enthusiasm for the relationship and I obviously encouraged her to end it!

Spring Break ticket

April 1993 came quickly and with it, the Spring Banquet: an off campus event with a catered meal and dancing.  (I believe it was the first one with dancing – lucky for us.)  Sonya did not want the aforementioned young man to ask her to it so we agreed to go together.  Three days before the dance, my girl friend from Texas broke up with me.  I was heartbroken and my best friend came to comfort me.  We sat on the front steps of my campus house (girls were not allowed inside – it was a baptist school!) and she consoled me with sweet words and side hugs.  Now I know that inside she was smiling and just a bit giddy. She confesses to also feeling a little guilty, thinking that all of her praying about our relationship had finally worked and now I was upset!

Because we were just “friends” we had agreed to go to the Spring Banquet as a part of a 5 person group.  Two couples and a single guy named Eddie Gross.  The other couple made new plans, so Sonya, Eddie , and I went to the Banquet together in my Blazer.  We began the night dancing like friends with a safe distance between us.  By the end of the night, I’m not sure there was any distance between us at all.

first date - Spring Banquet

I took Sonya to her sister’s apartment and walked her to the door on the second floor.  Eddie, who had not said a word from the back seat the entire time, stayed in the car.  There was a awkward hug followed by a quick, glancing peck on the lips from the clumsy guy not sure what to do.  Not knowing what to do I tried it again.  I mean, this was my best friend.  I’m a guy.  I don’t know how to read “signals.”  I can’t sense feelings.  That’s when Sonya took things into her own hands.  As I turned to leave she said “Wait,” wrapped her arms around my head and did it right.  Boy am I glad she did!  It really was magical.  We say that was were we crossed the “platonic line” – April 3, 1993.

The transition to “dating” couple was pretty seamless.  We had really been dating for several months without actually dating.  I see God’s hand in it all.  We became best friends first.  We are still best friends.  As people noticed us holding hands, some would actually cheer.  Most just said they already knew we would be together.  Some asked when the wedding would be.

The next December, I took Sonya back to the apartment door where her sister once lived, reinacted our first kiss, and proposed to her.  That was January 8, 1994.  We were married on December 30 that same year.


Sonya is my best friend.  She is an incredible wife.  She has given birth to five amazing children who remain to be amazing because they have such a wonderful mommy.  She has been through the dreaded Seminary years with me as well as a very tough ministry stint.  I couldn’t have done any of it without her.  And those of you at Lynwood know that my ministry now would not be the same without her.  She sings and leads, which means that most Sundays she gets all five children to church on time to be in her spot by 8:00 a.m.  Our kids have such fun with her.  She brings laughter to our family.  Her smile is captivating.  There is no one like her and there is no doubt, God created and molded us for each other.  She’s my soulmate.  Thank you, God, for my wife.  And thank you, Sonya, for listening to Him.

I Love You!


First Date - before  

more pics:




my favorite person in the whole land//the birthday girl

Today is a big day. It’s the anniversary of the day my favorite person in the whole land took her first breath.

## years ago my bride was born in New Orleans, LA.  Her parents were in seminary.  Her father studying to be a pastor.  They ate at Pancho’s Mexican Buffet often because it was cheap.  We figure that’s why she likes mexican food so much.

But she’s not a Louisianian (is that what you call them?), oh no, she’s really from LA.  Lower Alabama.  Well, that’s where her family is from.  As a pastor’s kid she lived in rural Alabama and mainly in Fort Walton Beach, FL and Tampa, FL.  But I don’t really think she’s a Floridian either (I’m pretty confident about that one). Together, we’ve lived in Mobile, AL, Louisville, KY, Little Rock, AR, Gadsden, AL, and now Cape Girardeau, MO.  Following God is one crazy, awesome adventure.  And just over a year ago began the next leg of that journey.

And after a wild year, I have to say that I’ve never been prouder of her than I am right now.  This year has been crazy.  Lots of sickness.  Two house payments.  A dog.  Thousands of miles in the car for weddings, anniversaries, and funerals. A miscarriage.  And last week,

all night in the Children’s Hospital in St. Louis with a child with a mysterious swollen knee. Has she been tired?  Oh yeah.  Has she been upset?  You bet.  But she clings to the knowledge that we are in God’s will and that His plans for us are the best.  And that even when He leads us through testing, fire and water, and crushing burdens, His ultimate goal for us is a place of abundance (Psalm 66:10-12). Her faith never waivers.

I love her more than words can say.  Way more than my actions usually show.  Her kids adore her.  Way way more than their actions usually show! She is a precious jewel and a woman after God’s heart.  She’s my favorite person in the whole land.  She’s my friend and my wife.  I am so blessed.

Oh, and did I mention that she’s hot?


well done…

Today, another saint has joined the praise of our Savior, right there before His throne.  But, where do I begin to describe Mary Nell Bozeman?  She sang like a song bird.  She served selflessly.  She loved wholeheartedly.  She was a mentor to many, many people.  She was a mom to many.  A grandmother to many (especially two special little kids in NC).  She was honest.  Oh yes, she was honest even when you didn’t want her to be.  You never doubted what she was thinking.  You could disagree with her and still be friends.  You could depend on her.

She served God at MeadowBrook for many years.  She sang in the choir.  Directed the choir.  Taught kids about Jesus and music.  Taught them about praising the Lord.  Taught Sunday School.  Mentored hurting women.

She was a great friend to Sonya and me.  She loved us and our kids.  She will be missed.

But if there is anyone I know who heard the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant,” it’s Mary Nell.  And I know she heard them this morning.  Praise Jesus.


and God knew

This past week I spent some time on the phone with a dear friend in Alabama.  He, and his wife, have been waiting on the Lord for a long time.  As I spent time on my knees for him, God reminded me of Isaiah 40 – that incredible picture of our God and the promise for those who wait on Him.  I prayed for us as well – still waiting on our house in Alabama to sell.

Then, this morning, while reading through the bible, I noticed something I hadn’t before.  A great little phrase in Exodus.  Chapter 2. Verse 25.  In the ESV, just before the calling of Moses, it says,

God saw the people of Israel – and God knew.

For hundreds of years the people of Israel were enslaved.  For hundreds of years they waited.  For hundreds of years they cried out to the Lord.  Not sure if He would answer.  Not sure if He would deliver them.  Did He know what was going on?  He knew.  And He had promised.  Egypt was not their inheritance.  Not the promised land.  God had a plan and He knew.  He knew what was going on.  And He knew what He was going to do.

And…He knows.  He knows what my friend is going through.  He knows and He knows what He’s going to do.  He knows what we are going through and He knows what He’s going to do.  Why does He tarry?  Why does He delay?

With Israel, He waited to display His glory and His might.  He waited to deliver a mighty nation that had grown as He’d promised.  He waited so that He could give them riches and plunder that they had not battled for.

In chapter 3, God says things like, “I have seen,” and “I know.”  Then He tells them what He is going to do.  In the end, they get to plunder the Egyptians.  Plunder?  That what the ESV says.  Usually you see that term after a military victory.  This time, it will be after a mighty move of their God.  Our God.

So we wait.  Our friend waits.  But we know this, God knows.  He knows what’s going on.  He knows what He’s going to do.

Are you waiting?  God knows.

To Him be the glory forever and ever.  Amen!!!


the difference between me and “them”

I love the Psalms.  They express worship.  They speak of God’s attributes and character.  His holiness, His awesome majesty, His great power, His unending mercy, His lovingkindness.  They show the sinfulness of man.  The wickedness of the human heart.  The struggle to follow God.  The temptation of the world and the lure of evil.  They pretty much cover everything.  They even expose the pride and bigotry of the fleshly mindset.

It was Psalm 5.  I was reading it and loving those opening verses.  The plea for God to hear.  The worship of sacrifice.  Then the description of evil men.  They’re despicable.  Evil.  They don’t please God.  Then, the psalmist turned the attention on himself.  Well, kinda.  He really didn’t focuseon his actions or character.  Well, take a look at verses 4 – 8:

You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell. The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who do wrong. You destroy those who tell lies; bloodthirsty and deceitful men the LORD abhors.

But I, by your great mercy, will come into your house; in reverence will I bow down toward your holy temple. Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies– make straight your way before me.

Psalm 5:4-8 NIV

Did you catch what he said (emphasis mine, of course, I’ve never heard my MDiv friends discussing the bold type in Hebrew)?  “By Your great mercy…in Your righteousness.”  The focus is all on what God has done and who He is.  He is righteous.  His mercy has granted us access to His house and the privilege to boldly approach His through.  Then, the contrast hit me.  The only difference between David and those guys in verses 4-6 is God’s mercy and God’s righteousness.  We all know that David’s actions were just as bad as those other guys at times.  But God’s great mercy made the difference.

So what about me?  I see those “other guys.”  Often, they don’t look like me.  They don’t act like me.  They certainly don’t act Christian.  Then again, I don’t always act Christian either.  What’s the real difference between me and them?  Nothing to do with me.  It’s God’s great mercy.  I have it and they need it.  So why do I so easily look on them with judgement?  That’s the battle.

Lord, help me to see all people as Your precious, treasured creation.  Help me to be ready with love, a helping hand, and the gospel message.  Thank you for Your great mercy.  Without it, I would be lost and doomed for destruction.  Your lovingkindness knows no end.  Thank you.  Amen.



Ellie declares her love…

…for her daddy!!!


casino gambling//how will we respond?

So, Cape Girardeau voted to accept casino gambling yesterday.  Pastor Mark has already addressed the biblical, spiritual, psychological, social, and financial aspects of gambling in this article, so I’m not gonna hit those here.

Here is my question: if the gaming commission chooses to allow the casino in Cape, how are we, the church of Jesus Christ, going to respond?  Will we tuck our heads in the sand?  Will we cry about it for a while then go on like nothing is changing?  Will we stand and point condemning fingers at everyone who enters the casino?  Or…

Will we put our arms around the one who just lost his pay check?  Will we offer hope to the one who just lost his family because of his addiction?  Will we reach out to the families missing a father or mother who can’t stay away from the lure of “hitting it big”?  Will we welcome the one who just lost everything so that we can introduce them to the one who can give what’s most important?  Will we embrace the opportunity to show His love and advance the gospel?

In Job 42:2 Job says to the Lord,

I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

If we believe this, then we know that God’s purpose can’t be stopped by anything.  Let’s seek to live it now.