Farewell Sister Brisco

23 years, that’s how long Sister Brisco has been a part of my life. She’s known me since diapers. Literally. And I can honestly say, she’s had a HUGE part in molding me into the person I am today.

Saundra Brisco (Sis. B) has been in children’s ministry for 50 years. She stared in ministry when she was just 16 years old. This past Sunday, we celebrated her 23 years of ministry at my home church, Montgomery First. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say, I didn’t think this day would ever come— Sis. Brisco is retiring. Of course, you can’t leave us until we throw you one over the top Farewell reception complete with over a thousand balloons, bagel bites and a slit walking clown.

As a child I remember Saturday morning Easter egg hunts, parents night out, spring break trips to Butts Mills Farm and even Kids Camp. I remember the first solo she gave me in a baseball themed program. I thought I was hot stuff in my white and red baseball tee. I even remember the time she had me dress up like a toy soldier and glued fake side burns on my cheeks for Christmas. Ouch! We’ve made lots of memories through out the years, Too many to count. But through those memories have come a lot of teachable moments.

If there is one thing that I would have to classify as ‘The Biggest Thing Sister Brisco Has Taught Me” it would be: How to Love People. I’ve had the privilege of serving under her ministry, working side by side with her week after week. We’ve even traveled the world together and I can honestly say she’s the same person in Montgomery, Alabama as she was in South Africa, Ecuador and Guatemala. Her heart for kids is something special. I can vividly remember standing outside a elementary school in South Africa in 2009, dusty dirt roads, kids running around who haven’t eaten in days, showered in probably weeks, but it didn’t matter. She saw someone who needed love, and that’s what she gave them. Wether it was a hug, prayer or even a smile– She could’ve cared less about what their background was, the color of their skin or how well dressed they where or what they smelled like. She once  said to me “Evan, Happiness comes when we learn to love others.” Talk about ah-ha moment, in the middle of Africa at that. I’ll never forget it. Today I find myself loving on those who are in need, who may be different from others and it’s credited to her and the values she spoke into me at an early age.

Speaking of traveling together, boy have we done our fair share together. From Kids Crusades, field trips and overseas adventure we’ve been side by side. I LOVE telling people about the time Sis. B decided to wear white pants on our 16 hour flight back to the states from South Africa and spilled diet coke on them 45 minutes in our flight—she had a bing brown stain for hours. Or the time we were in the Canary Islands and she didn’t like the tuna casserole the sweet church ladies offered her, so she pretended to eat it and threw it in the bushes. They saw her plate was empty so, they brought her more. You know what she did next, she threw it in the bushes again, and they brought her, yet another round. We laughed for hours. I could go on and on with stories, life lessons and memories we’ve shared but I’ll save those for my trip to visit you at the beach.

Sunday night I overhead people saying “It’s bitter sweet. We hate to see her go.”, but I say it’s all sweet and no bitter. We’ve laughed together, cried together even hooted and hollered. We’ve done life together but For now, I suppose two inadequate words will have to do: Thank you. Thank you for accepting me, loving me, teaching me, laughing with me, and most importantly praying for me. Thank You for being an inspiration not only to me, but those in our church, our city, our state and even the world. I won’t say “Goodbye”, I’ll just say “Until we meet again.”. I Love You Sister Brisco.

Pizza, Instagram, Comparison and what I’ve learned

This past weekend I packed my bags and went to hang out with my long time friend Brandon and his family—  They live Niceville, Fl.  The change of scenery was just what I needed.  Who knew there was such a place.  Ok, Ok! I know what you’re thinking because I thought it too… “Are the people of Niceville really nice?” I mean, they not mean. LOL

During my 4-day adventure, we spent a lot of time eating— Pizza, Hibachi, seafood, and even Chick Fil A. I’m stuffed thinking about it. By the way, If you’re in the area, you have to try the buffalo chicken pizza from Domonics. SO YUMMY! We even threw in some Alabama football too (he’s a HUGE fan). Y’all know I could care less, but I watched with a smile. You’re welcome, Brandon. But I think what I loved most about my time there was our conversations. It’s always fun to catch up and reminisce on old times, but it’s also fun to meet new people.

Greyson, Brandon and Amy

While in Niceville, almost as soon as I arrived, I met this sweet gal that attends their church. The following day we met again and it was as if we had been friends for years. Ok, not years, but months. Haha. She introduced me to her group of friends, but it was the way she introduced me that made me stop and think. “This is Evan. He has 5,000 followers on Instagram and a Youtube Channel.”  At first I laughed, thought it was comical and cute, but the more I thought about it, I couldn’t help but think, “is this what our world has come too?” Living in what people call the “Millennial Generation (myself included), we too often define our lives by the number of followers we have or the amount of likes we get.

Social Media has created this idea that “it’s okay to pretend to be okay.” We post only the pretty stuff.  The stuff that makes us look good. The stuff that makes people think we’re living a perfect life, but the reality of it is, we aren’t. We’re humans. We struggle. We hurt and most days we don’t have it all together.

As most of you know, over the last few years, I have been through some pretty rough patches in life. I never in a million years thought I would see the day my parents called it quits on their marriage. It hurt and it hurt deep. I’m known as the funny guy, the guy who makes people laugh, the life of the party if you will. It was during the darkest hours of my life, I lied to people. I pretended to happy, but deep inside I was hurting. I needed someone to talk to, but instead, I turned to the internet where I pretended to be ok.

During that time period of my life, one of the most important things I learned was that “Comparison is the Enemy of Self-Worth”. I realized that I was too worried about what others thought of me. I used social media (“Likes” and “Followers”) to validate who I was. I was more focused on my image being tarnished.  I learned the hard way that comparing myself to others and their accomplishments made me feel inferior. I let the disease comparison burry itself in me.  It destroyed who I was— my self-worth and my confidence.

Comparison will eat you alive if you let it, yet so many of us do. We compare our success, talents, job titles, relationships, looks and even our cars and house.  Genesis 1:27 says, “God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”  No one can take this away from us. We were created in the image of God and that alone is something to be proud of. Be who God created you to be.

 

Evan’s Favorite Things– Day 5

2015-12-14_0004 I know, I know. I’m a couple days behind in posting this. My deepest apologies. My trip to New Orleans was much more fast paced than I expected. Friday (the original day this post was scheduled for) was go, go go with a full day of site seeing, eating and a fancy wedding.

View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/egcchristmas

Speaking of New Orleans…Today’s Favorite Thing is one that I took with me on my trip. Every southern gentleman needs a monogrammed duffle bag, right? I LOVE my chocolate brown rolling duffle from You Name It! Their located in Montgomery, Alabama across from Faulkner University. The bag retails for $78.00. View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/egcchristmas Last but not least, and Possibly my most Favorite Thing… Greater by Steven Furtick, lead pastor of Elevation Church in North Carolina. Steven states that “most believers aren’t in danger of ruining their lives. They’re facing a danger far greater: wasting them”.  I couldn’t agree more. Often times we find ourselves getting stuck in boring, powerless life ruts and are mislead lead into thinking that’s what Christ has called us too. Thankfully that’s not the case.  “Baseline living is not okay. Not for a believer in Jesus. There’s a price to pay for Christian complacency” say Furtrick. The book expands the the biblical story of Elisha to give you the confidence to know that nothing is impossible with God, the clarity to see what step is next.

This book is a quick and easy read. It’s almost impossible not to read through the book in a couple of day. I had to pace myself so I could really think about the points and arguments he was making. If you’re looking for a book with some instant take home points that you can apply the moment you open this book, than this is the one for you. As I was reading it, I thought of several folks I know would benefit from the read.  View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/egcchristmas To enter the last day of Evan’s Favorite Things is simple. Subscribe to my blog (on the right hand side of the blog homepage under the “Video” section), make sure you click the confirmation email or it doesn’t count. Once you’ve done that pop back on over here and leave a comment in the post.

We’ll be posting the winners of Evan’s Favorite Things on Wednesday. Don’t forget to share, share share. If you post on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and use the hashtags #evangcooper #evansfavoritethings, it just might increase your chances.

If you’re just joining in on the Favorite Things fun there’s still time to enter. Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3  | Day 4 

 

Evan’s Summer Camp Adventure

I know it’s December. It’s cold outside, well kind of. We do live in Alabama. The holidays are upon us so I thought what better way to remember the warm summer weather than a trip to Summer Camp. America, I Present…  2015-07-14_0001 This past June I took a trip down memory lane. Some of will know what I’m talking about, most of you won’t.  2015-08-02_0007 When I was younger I lived at Springville Camp. My Mom was the concessions and staff coordinator during Bro. Greg Kelley’s time as DYD. We grew up at camp. If my memory serves me correctly Mom started when I was about 8 0r 9? Actaully I don’t know, I could be completely wrong but who cares, that’s besides the point. No matter my age I LIVED for summer time. You couldn’t get me to camp soon enough.  2015-08-02_0010 2015-08-02_0013 Camp Springville holds many memories for me personally. I made tons of friendships and even developed a few crushes the 9 years we were there. Hey Tenly Sue, Hey!  2015-08-02_0008 2015-08-02_0004 I think one of my most favorite things about summer time was meeting and getting to know the staff. We stay in touch with a number of them still today (Thanks Facebook!). There a few that have made lasting impressions on my life, a few that a wasn’t too crazy about and a few that are no longer with us, but no matter where they are in life now, they were a part of mine once and I am forever grateful for that. From Lice check every Monday… 2015-08-02_0011 to late night waffle house runs, there was never a dull moment. 2015-08-02_0001 Oh, can we have a moment of silence for those sequin aprons? Yes America, I’m the responsible one. I sewed each and every sequin on those aprons by hand. The Springville Camp and Conference center kitchen ladies are gold. Some of the sweetest folks you’ll meet. I LOVED spending my summers with them.  2015-08-02_0002 2015-08-02_0003 Some of those staffers we see on a regular basis and are apart of our everyday life. Who would’ve thought?  2015-08-02_0016 2015-08-02_0014 2015-08-02_0009 Camp Memories are memories I will cherish forever. I don’t particularly miss the matching t-shirts and the scorching hot summer days but everything in-between…. what I would’t give somedays to go back to those times.  2015-08-02_0012 I hadn’t been back to Camp Springville since our last summer of 2008. So this past June, I figured it was time to take a field trip. I called Steve Mason (the camp director) and asked if we could come up and spend the day… without hesitation, he said “Come On”.

A LOT has changed since my time away. But if there was one thing that hadn’t changed, it was C-7. My home away from home. Oh the stories that room could tell if walls could talk.  View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper Campers sill hang their lake drenched clothes out to dry. View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper The pavilion hill is tougher than ever, View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper and the Team Spirit is still alive and well. View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper  I went to Summer Camp with the intentions of trying some of the activities that 1), I was too afraid to try as a 12 year old or 2.) weren’t there when we were. I still have yet to find the “amphitheater”. View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper The river front was booming. TONS of new activities and I was ready to tackle them all. View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper Clearly I wasn’t a fan of the lifejacket or the water activities in general… View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper but I was a beast on the rock wall. Well kind of. It’s actually a lot harder than it looks, but I haven’t been working on those bulging biceps for nothing. View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper and most importantly it IS possible to spend the day at summer camp and look fashionable.  View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper As if the picture weren’t enough… you know this post wouldn’t be complete without a video of my adventurous day. Enjoy! 

Evan’s summer camp adventure from Luke Lindgren on Vimeo.

A HUGE thank you to my “Production Team” for braving the heat and spending the day with me. I couldn’t have done it without you.  2015-12-07_0001