Thursday, July 29, 2010

Bryan Turner Benefit Day!

Calling all Crafters, Bakers, and Generous Donors!!!

Where my crafters at!??! I know you're out there, and I know you are ready and willing to help the Turner family.

We are in the process of getting the Bryan Turner Benefit Day on the books. It will likely be in late August or early September, so I wanted to give you time to get to work. University Baptist Church will be hosting the event. We are planning to have a craft sale, bake sale, live bands, bounce house, food, drinks, and even a silent auction if we are able to obtain some desirable items from generous donors. All of the proceeds of the day will benefit the Bryan Turner Family Fund.

I don't know about you guys, but there are very few things that get me more excited than crafting, but crafting for a good cause is one of them!

Let me know if you plan to make some items. Let's brainstorm. We don't want to have too many duplicate items. Variety is "spice of life." (Anybody remember that commercial?)

If you aren't a crafter but can whip up a mean brownie, let me know! Join the bake sale crew!

Perhaps you do not fall in any of the above categories. Feel free to place yourself in the position of generous donor. You can donate by purchasing crafts, food, or other items at the benefit day, or you can donate items of value for the silent auction.

I have set up an email address dedicated to this day, Feel free to email me there if you have something you'd prefer to discuss privately. Once we get the date settled, I will probably create a Facebook group for organizers and participants, as well as a Facebook event page.

If you attend a church or are part of a ministry that worked with Bryan Turner and would like to be your local coordinator, please contact me. I need all the help I can get!

I am so excited to be able to bless the Turner family and remember Bryan with a day of family-friendly fun!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

In Memory of Bryan Turner

Over the past several days, there has been a great deal of reminiscing. I suppose that is one of the beautiful things about death; our memories... and the fact that something stirs up in us to share them.

I can't help but imagine myself in Joy's position and become utterly overwhelmed by the weight of it all. Most overwhelming in my mind would be the responsibility of sharing my husband's legacy with my children. They wouldn't have the opportunity to see for themselves what a wonderful, sacrificial, loving, godly father they'd been given. How could I possibly convey it to them? No words will ever replace the actual man, but we have words and memories to share. Perhaps our sharing will give Bryan's sons a glimpse into what a wonderful, sacrificial, loving, godly father they'd been given as well, and how he touched the lives of all who knew him.

Quincy and Bryan became friends a long time ago. In fact, it was so long ago that Quincy's memory is fuzzy at best. Hopefully Paul can come along and clarify, because Quincy is quite jumbled on the subject. Bear that in mind as you read.

Quincy first remembers seeing Bryan playing in the orchestra at First Baptist. He played percussion and could be seen for miles because of his streak of bright blonde hair. I guess this hairstyle garnered him the nicknames "Skunk," and "Two-Tone Turner."

I must say, I have mad respect for this classic hairstyle. Not just any guy could pull it off.

They later officially met through a mutual friend, Paul Young. Bryan was a couple years older than Quincy and was part of FBC's College & Career Ministry. When Quincy moved up from the high school department, they became friends. Bryan (keyboard/acoustic guitar/vocals) was a talented musician, as were Paul (drums), Kim (bass), and Dave (bass). Quincy (guitar) was more of a novice, but they adopted him nonetheless. They began leading worship as a back-up band for the ensemble in the College & Career Ministry on Sunday mornings. 

The story gets really unclear at this point, and I don't want to slander anyone. I'll just say that if anyone was in the wrong, it was clearly NOT Bryan, or my husband, or Paul. ;) It seems that there were "artistic differences" between this band of "rockers" and the ensemble with whom they were paired. The band and ensemble parted ways, the band emerging victorious. I like to envision this and other future tiffs like a rousing game of king of the mountain. They led worship on their own from that point. 

Somewhere around that time, these three guys adopted the name "Psalm 150 Funk." Quincy says that he and Bryan came up with "Psalm 150" (I think it was actually a really old school Hebraic worshipper, possibly David, but whatever...) and that Paul added the "Funk." (I really enjoy saying "Paul added the funk.") Back then, they took hymns and traditional songs and made them "funky." They weren't a white-boy funk band. Maybe if they would have tried harder?. :)

Quincy told me a funny story of how frustrated these guys often found themselves when trying to practice at  First Baptist. They were often told that the room and sound board would be unlocked, and the air conditioning and lights would be on, only to find that these things had not happened. I guess Bryan got so frustrated one week that he stuck a wooden doorstop into the case around the sound board to break it open. Quincy then took apart the lock mechanism and hid the pieces in the ceiling. (I find this story hilarious, by the way. I can't really imagine my husband, or Bryan, doing anything remotely wrong.) Quincy calls this a classic incidence of doing the right thing in completely the wrong way. You see, their hearts were really for worship. They just wanted to practice and praise the Lord in the best way possible. They found themselves frustrated and did something silly. Our children will undoubtedly do the same kinds of things someday. Hopefully in reading this, Bryan's boys will know that their Daddy made mistakes. And mistakes are okay. That's how we learn. 

Quincy told me another funny story of a time that their band went to Daytona Beach to lead worship for a retreat. On the car ride there, my husband spent the entire trip blowing up this massive killer whale float. Upon arrival, Bryan immediately jumped off the dock and onto the whale, bursting its seams and rendering it useless. Bummer!

(The aftermath. Quincy is so sad.)

It seems there was a change in leadership and trouble finding the balance between "loud" and "too loud." Again, it is obvious that these three young whippersnappers were always in the right, and "the man" was just trying to keep them down. Quincy was in and out for a season, attending another local church. Apparently he actually dated other people before me, and one of them influenced his church of choice. I am as shocked as you. 

Eventually, Quincy was reunited with Bryan and Paul at University Baptist Church. Both Bryan and Paul were teaching at University Christian, and this was part of the reason they'd begun attending the church. Bryan taught Bible and always loved God's Word. Bryan was playing keyboard and helping with worship at that point. Paul was playing drums. Dave was playing bass. Trent (a new introduction) was playing guitar. 

Those of you in the church will understand that this transitional time in worship was the beginning of a raging battle, in which musicians of the time (and even now) found themselves embroiled. Apparently this is not the first time this battle has occurred in the church. I guess the transition from high church to hymns was just as heated. I suppose this overarching argument is another one of those "doing the right thing in the wrong way" situations. I'm sure that as Bryan and the others involved helped UBC to adopt this contemporary praise style for a season, there was a lot of difficulty and strife. I can tell you without a doubt that Bryan's highest priority was always that people come to know Jesus. I'm certain that his motivation was that if a more modern worship style would draw people who would not otherwise engage, he would do whatever it took to spearhead that transition. 

Psalm 150 Funk began practicing their original songs on Tuesday nights after the praise band had concluded their practice. Quincy said that their practices were always a lot of fun. They would always play around and be silly. A lot of times, they would do a Bible study together, usually with Bryan or Quincy leading. There was a running joke that Bryan could always pull a Bible study out of thin air ("Thin air" is nicer than the actual jokes they made.). During practice, Bryan would often run back and forth from the stage to the sound board, making adjustments, and feeding his love for wires. Quincy said that Bryan was the kind of guy who realized that there was one wire that could accomplish the job but would find a way to use ten instead. It was one of those things that the guys ribbed Bryan about but also found admirable. Bryan was resourceful. He could figure things out and make it work. He was an out-of-the-box thinker. (Jesus Bus, anyone?)

While at UBC, Bryan met and fell in love with the beautiful Joy Cornwell. 
Joy was always supportive of the band, attending their shows, and manning the video camera. Quincy also said she was always trying to set him up with somebody. (I forgive you, Joy.) The Cornwell home was continually a gathering place for friends. Quincy says that he feels like the Cornwells loved and welcomed Bryan to the family immediately. It wasn't long before Bryan and Joy were engaged.

At their wedding, Quincy said he remembered that everyone left the room but he and Bryan. Right before they were supposed to go down front, the two of them prayed together. Quincy said that was really special to him, and special to Bryan as well. He remembers Bryan thanking him for staying behind and praying with him.
(Mr. and Mrs. Bryan Turner)

(Psalm 150 Funk at the wedding. Trent Anderson, Dave Benson, Bryan Turner, Paul Young, Quincy Richardson)

Bryan and Quincy always really connected spiritually. They were cut from the same cloth in this respect. They both love God more than anything, and they love to talk about Him, and about His Word. Because of that, I know that Bryan's friendship was one of Quincy's most cherished. He said that Bryan had a way of always making you feel like he was listening. He was engaged and involved. He genuinely cared. He was a look-you-in-the-eye, hug-you-tight kind of guy. 

Eventually the contemporary service at UBC went the way of the dodo, but by this point, Psalm 150 Funk was regularly playing at local and church events, retreats, and Murray Hill Theatre. The guys continued to practice together on a weekly basis. Bryan was usually late, but he was Bryan. He had this puppy dog way about him, and they just couldn't stay mad at him for it. Quincy also said that the guys would tease Bryan about the wheel on his keyboard. I guess he had settings for each of the songs that the band performed but always had trouble finding them. They'd watch and wait as Bryan busily spun the wheel on the keyboard. Quincy was laughing as he said to me, "Bryan, come on. We've been playing the same ten songs for a year and a half!" The guys also razzed Bryan because they were all trying to be this cool Christian rock band, but Bryan would show up in a Polo shirt, tucked into a pair of Dockers, with a pair of boat shoes. Bryan was who he was. (My husband seriously has no room to judge wardrobes though. See below.) 

Quincy says that for Bryan, the band was least about being a cool Christian rocker than anyone else. Bryan just wanted to praise God. Bryan loved Jesus, music, and his friends. Quincy feels like that was really the extent of it for him. He was just a humble guy using his talents for the Lord, not necessarily trying to be admired or famous because of it. We could all learn a thing or two from that.

Bryan was a show-up-at-the-gig-two-minutes-before-starting fella. I guess Quincy and Paul bore the brunt of setup and tear down, while Bryan was lovingly oblivious. From Quincy's account, it just seems like Bryan was a busy, "something shiny" type of guy. Usually Bryan's "something shiny" was a person who needed to know about Jesus. Can't fault him for that. What if we lived our lives like Bryan, dropping anything at any moment, to share hope with whoever needed it?

At one point, Psalm 150 Funk had become Murray Hill's most recommended band for local events. They were very busy. I guess a bit of burnout started to set in. They eventually decided to take a break for the summer. This was when Quincy and I met. I suppose one could accuse me of Yoko-ing the band, and due to my own overinflated self-importance, I'll take the blame. Not really. :) Their first scheduled practice to reunite after the summer was on September 11, 2001. We are all aware of the tragic events of that day. Practice was put on the back burner, and sadly, Psalm 150 Funk's reunion practice actually occurred just the other night, in preparation for Bryan's funeral. It will not be the same without him.

Quincy and I were engaged in August 2001 and married in May 2002. Bryan coordinated and handled the music for our wedding. We weren't very traditional, and "the Funk" pretty much rocked the house. 

(At our rehearsal dinner. Dinah Robinson, Brent Chapman, Wally Bowden, Joy Turner, Bryan Turner)

Shortly after we were married, I remember going to Bryan and Joy's house to hang out. They showed me videos of Psalm 150 Funk, as I'd never seen them play. I remember them just being so sweet and welcoming. They both were and are the kind of people who can just make you feel at home. I remember them giving us marriage advice, as the sage newlyweds that they were. :) I specifically remember Bryan saying to "always live beneath your means." 

Unfortunately, God took us and the Turners to different places in ministry and we have never really served at the same places since our marriage. We've seen each other here and there, and participated in lots of events with them. I remember attending Bryan's Surprise 30th Birthday Party. I remember visiting Joy just after Benjamin was born. 

Quincy was part of another worship band, Ascension (, along with Jamie Miley (another of Bryan's good friends). Ascension played Christmas carols in Northside neighborhoods on the Jesus Bus with Bryan. Bryan coordinated an Ascension event at UBC. We were always in and out of each other's lives.

I know that Quincy has a long list of cherished memories with Bryan, but I will tell you mine. Our second baby was stillborn in November 2008. We decided to have a birthday celebration for him, to see friends and family, and because it would be the only birthday party he'd ever have. Bryan and Joy came. They didn't have to do that. I remember Bryan doing what I've already mentioned above. He looked me in the eye. He was engaged. He genuinely cared. I remember getting a tight hug from him. He was present. He was there. Joy was right alongside him and matched his encouragement. It takes a special person to show up in your darkest hour and just be there. Bryan was that kind of guy.

Bryan was a lover of God. He shared Jesus wherever he went. He was kind and compassionate. He genuinely cared about other people. Bryan was a devoted friend. He was quirky and sometimes absentminded. Bryan made mistakes. He wasn't perfect, but he would point you to the One who is. Bryan was silly and funny. Bryan loved wires. He rocked the two-tone haircut and later, a pair of Dockers. He loved his wife and kids. He loved God's Word. Bryan exploded whale floats and often ran late. He was a good man, and many people loved him.

Joy, you are blessed among women to have been loved by such a man. Even if you'd known this tragedy was coming, I know you would have chosen the last ten years with Bryan anyway.

Benjamin and Timothy, what fortunate little boys to have been born to such a father. I have no doubt that his legacy will impact you forever and that you will bear the fruit of generational blessing. I am sorry that you did not get more time with him. I trust that your Heavenly Father knows what is best. I know your daddy did. I pray that you grow into men who will take your daddy's place in the kingdom, sharing Jesus without fear, loving others without holding back, and living lives that honor our God. 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. - Romans 15:13

Thursday, July 15, 2010

On Grief

Grief makes you feel stretched thin. It makes your heart heavy. In its thickest fog, it is blinding. You cannot pull over and wait for it to lift. Your life goes on. The world feels like fiction, like walking around a movie set. Nothing seems real. Time sits still.

Then it fades. You get caught up in something else, and you have an instant when your loss is not on your mind. It is like playing in the ocean as a child. You get caught up in the moment with your friends, and you completely forget that waves are lapping at your back.

That's when it happens. An enormous wave overcomes you, out of nowhere. You find yourself coughing, sputtering, and gasping for air. Your eyes are burning. You can't breathe. You weren't expecting it at all.

I remember a specific moment like this after we lost our son. I had been to the grocery store a week or so after losing him. I was driving home. Ephraim was chattering away in the backseat. The thought then occurred to me that my second little boy would never be sitting back there with him. I wept. Chris Tomlin's "Amazing Grace" came on the radio. " God, my Savior, has ransomed me..." I wept. My shoulders shook. My lungs heaved with breath. I was overwhelmed. I was not prepared. One cannot be.

This has been a hard day. My husband had to say goodbye to a friend. My heart is just shattered for his family. Fortunately, I also know what this family is all about... or who. The Turner family loves Jesus. Bryan lived his life in passionate pursuit of our God. His family did and will continue to do the same.

Our God will envelope his wife, lift her head, sustain her, give her unnatural peace and irrational hope. Our God will hold her close when the unexpected waves crash over her. Our God will be her husband, her love, and her comfort. Our God is her all in all. Our God will cover her boys in His fatherly love. Our God will be glorified through Bryan's death, as he was in every moment of Bryan's life. Our God will be lifted high.

I know that God's glory was Bryan's highest purpose. I know his family will find comfort in glorifying God because it is what Bryan would want them to do. I know that his wife and children will be strengthened, comforted, and brought close to the Father. I know that God draws near to the brokenhearted. I know He is in their midst.

I know that grief is hard.

I know that we can help.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I am going to beg again for financial help for the Turners. I'll warn you in advance that this won't be the last time.

Imagine yourself in this situation. You are a mother with 2 young sons. Your family's primary breadwinner has been taken from you, and it was completely unexpected. You are devastated. And on top of the crushing emotional grief, the reality of finances weighs heavy. Please join with me to lift this part of the burden from her shoulders. She has enough to carry.

This is pure religion.

Please donate to the Bryan Turner Family Fund at Community First Credit Union. If you cannot make it to the bank, you can mail your gifts to Community First Credit Union, Post Office Box 2600, Jax, FL 32232. The check must be made payable to the Bryan Turner Family Fund.

(I will be brainstorming some creative fundraising ideas in the coming weeks. Tell me your ideas, and join with me.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rubber Meets Road

Those of you who've known me awhile know that I don't mind asking for money when it's for a good cause. I've got a good cause for you.

Bryan Turner.

He is his family's primary breadwinner. Momma friends, I know it is really difficult to even imagine the financially dire situation most of us would be in if our husbands were hospitalized and unable to work. Well, this isn't imagination. This is real life. Please help take the financial concerns off Joy's plate. She should not even have to give this aspect of her life a second thought.

Acts 2:44-45 - "All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need."

Acts 4:32-37 - "All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.
Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet."

This is the body. This is our job. 

There is an account set up at Community First Credit Union, The Bryan Turner Family Fund. Please give. Make a sacrifice and help this Momma.

John 13:35 - "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." 

Love is a verb.

So let's not just PRAY for Bryan, let's PAY for Bryan. And may God receive all the glory for His people doing what He's called us to do, bear each other's burdens.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Gaping Wounds

Our injuries feel fatal. Our hearts are gaping wounds. We don’t know how to hope. Our fingernails scrape the edges of our faith as we sink into the pit. We cry out for help. We are desperate for confidence. We ache for the power to fight. Despair smothers us.

Our God pulls us out.

The King cleans the muck from our faces and raises our heads. The King. The Almighty. He loves us. He bends down to us. It is He who kneels low and wipes the mud from our eyes. It is He who gently thumbs the tears from our cheeks. It is He who washes our feet. It is He who teaches us to walk again. It is He who binds us up. It is He who fills our gaping wounds with His healing tears. It is He who makes us whole again, and again, and again.

It is He.

This has been such a hard day. We continue to pray the miraculous for our friend. We pray hope and peace. We pray God’s tangible presence. We pray that His Name be lifted high. We pray that rivers part, bushes burn, and mountains move. We pray. We pray. We pray.

Small Enough, by Nichole Nordeman

Oh, Great God, be small enough to hear me now.
There were times when I was crying from the dark of Daniel's den;
And I have asked you once or twice if You would part the sea again.
But tonight I do not need a fiery pillar in the sky.
Just want to know you're gonna hold me if I start to cry.
Oh great God, be small enough to hear me now. 
Oh great God, be close enough to feel You now.
(Oh great God be close to me)
There have been moments when I could not face Goliath on my own.
And how could I forget we've march around our share of Jerichos.
But I will not be setting out a fleece for You tonight.
Just want to know that everything will be alright.
Oh, great God, be close enough to feel You now.
All praise and all the honor be;
To the God of ancient mysteries. 
Whose every sign and wonder turn the pages of our history.
But tonight my heart is heavy,
And I cannot keep from whispering this prayer.
Are You there?
And I know You could leave writing on the wall that's just for me. 
Or send wisdom while I'm sleeping, like in Solomon's sweet dreams.
But I don't need the strength of Samson or a chariot in the end...
Just Want to know that You still know how many hairs are on my head.
(Are you small enough?) 
Oh, great God, be small enough to hear me now. 

This is all that I can say right now.