Echoes in the Hills of Alabama
“What were you doing in Birmingham, Alabama this past weekend?”
People are curious. I assume their curiosity was piqued by the dust being blown off my cobwebbed Instagram account. (I am trying to get with the times.) A steady stream of posts of my son and myself ranging from our stop at the Huddle House for breakfast to us standing with Rick Burgess and Andy Blanks in the foyer of The Church at Brooks Hills. Its no wonder why people were interested in what the Bounds boys were up to.
So, what were we doing? We were growing closer to God and each other! At Christmas, my wife gave us the wonderful gift of tickets to the Make Ready Weekend held at The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL. Make Ready is an “interactive discipleship weekend for fathers and their children.”1 Honestly, I have never been to an event quite like this one. The goal of this weekend was to see “dads and their children embrace the roles God has called them to and grow closer in Christ as a result.”2The event was sponsored by YM360, Iron Hill Press, and Burgess Ministries.
Make Ready featured a great lineup of speakers. Rick Burgess, from the nationally syndicated Rick and Bubba Show, was the punch-in-the-gut-challenge-you-to-commit-to-discipleship preacher and Andy Blanks, publisher and founder of YM360, was the nuts and bolts how-to teacher of the event. My legal pad overflowed with quotes and ideas concerning discipleship as I gleaned from these two men.
However, my favorite portion of this event was the Dad/Student sessions. The rubber met the road in these small settings. The Make Ready Weekend Event Notebook provided was more challenging than anything. In one section of the notebook, we studied Ephesians 6:1-4, which states,
Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. Ephesians 6:1-4 (NLT)
Can you imagine a dad sitting across from his son asking him to share how he may have “frustrated him” instead of empowering him in the Lord? It was difficult to be open but freeing when all our cards were on the table. We found liberty in our relationship to share.
This liberty was not only found by us but by several more. After lunch and our discipleship session, I walked around on the campus seeing multiple holy huddles. Around every corner, a dad and child(ren) were gathered studying and praying together. It was a fantastic sight to see!
This weekend was amazing! I heard some excellent preaching/teaching, I even got to get my picture taken with Rick and Andy, but I have to say my favorite memory was captured at breakfast during one of our discipleship session in the photo below.
Rick and Andy thank you for this moment. I am, and will ever be grateful, for you helping me to refocus on the most important ministry in my life, being a dad. A shout out of appreciation to Iron City Worship for preparing our hearts with song, to The Church at Brook Hills for allowing us to gather in their facilities, and to all those behind the scenes. Also, thanks to my amazing wife for being a huge Rick and Bubba fan and getting us tickets for Christmas. God bless you all! Finally, my request to God is may the tear-filled prayers, which were uttered in the hills of Alabama echo throughout the land and turn the heart of fathers back to their children.