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.

 

It’s Not Ok to Pretend to be Ok

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For those of you that know me personally, you know that the last several months to a year of my life have been pretty hectic on a personal level. Depending on the day, it’s sometimes hard express my feelings to those around me. Not because I am afraid of what people will say, but because we live in a world where it’s not cool to not be ok. The sad truth is today’s generation is only about showing the “good stuff”— They don’t want people to know they don’t have it all together. It’s ok to hurt. It’s ok to be stressed out. But it’s not ok to Pretend to be Ok.

In dealing with hurt, pain and a lot of unanswered questions the last year of my life, there are 3 things I’ve learned and I want to share with you.

  1.  It’s Ok to Not Understand—Trust Me this is something I know all to well. There will be somethings in life that will not come with an answer. There will always be things that we aren’t going to understand but it’s ok to not understand. My grandmother told me recently “It’s ok to not understand, sometimes that the first step to becoming ok”. It’s not wrong to admit you don’t understand.
  2.  Cry— It’s not just for babies. There is nothing wrong with crying. End of story. Let it out!
  3. Stress— It’s a part of life. If you don’t get stressed you should probably see a doctor. I’m not saying it’s ok for stress to consume your every thought and every move, but it’s gonna happen. I think one of the biggest things I’ve learned recently is that stress will only last as long as you allow it to. Don’t let stress control you.

Remember, It’s Not Ok to Pretend to be Ok.

-EGC

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.

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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