Hidden History from the Secret City Revealed

Mr. Keith McDaniel, author, teacher, documentary filmmaker, owner of Secret City Films, and Knoxville Film Festival Executive Director and Mr. Ray Smith, City of Oak, Tennessee Historian, have much in common and have worked together on several projects over the years combining their many shared skills and unique talents to bring history to light and alive. 

I was honored (and yes, of course terrified) when they recently hosted me as a guest on their program Hidden History: Stories from the Secret City and invited me to share a bit of the story and progress on my journey to write a book on the integration of Oak Ridge, TN. (Video below.)

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Did Jesus Really Die on Good Friday and Other Fascinating Questions

We rob ourselves when we skim the surface of scripture rather than exert the effort to dig deeper for the treasures of truth embedded in God’s Word. Bible study leader and award-winning author Stephanie Pavlantos mined God’s Word to bring us a greater understanding of the intersection of Old Testament prophecies about Jesus, (God incarnate, the Messiah) and His New Testament fulfillment. Stephanie brings to light the fascinating Hebrew religious law and culture, the many intricate events leading up to, and the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Did Jesus really die on Good Friday? What is the significance of the Passover feast and the Passover lamb? See God in the details, how He overlooks and wastes nothing and much more in this faith building thought provoking presentation. And there’s more!

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Moonlight, Streetlights and Stage Fright

Moonlight spilled across the page and streetlights twinkled below when I penned my first piece, a poem, at nine years old from the lofty perch of my 14th floor bedroom windowsill. The opening line read: “Tis the time when the north wind doth blow.” 

My latest poetic endeavor is a rap song. Yes you read that right. I said I’m writing rap. And no, I’m not sharing it today. And yes, I’m as surprised as you are. 

But, “He is not a tame lion.” 

Jesus calls us to run toward fear which tries to thwart obedience to our call, to honor Him and serve others with the gifts He gives.

So, wide eyed and trembling, I showed up to present a poetry workshop with friend and award-winning poet and writer Patricia Tiffany Morris at the kind invitation of Writers Chat in honor of #PoetryMonth. 

For those who claim they don’t like poetry—this post is for you too! You just may change your mind with this collection featuring several authors.

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My Interview with Civil Rights Icon Ambassador Andrew Young

What an honor and a delight to speak to Civil Rights Icon Ambassador Andrew Young and share this video interview with you. Ambassador Young was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s trusted friend and top strategist in the #CivilRightsMovement. He celebrated his 90th birthday on March 12th, 2022. (Happy Birthday Ambassador Andrew Young. Thank you for your example and lifetime of service to our country and the world.) 

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Ray Smith: Secret City Historian, Veteran, Police Chaplain Emeritus

Ray Smith is a man of many missions, a man of many hats and he wears them well: Secret City historian, U.S. Air Force Vietnam veteran, Chaplain Emeritus, having served the Oak Ridge Police Department for 23 years.  Mr. Smith is also an engaging storyteller, author, videographer, Tennessee Historical Commission Commissioner, teacher, photographer, documentary producer, multi award-winning citizen, church elder, father, and devoted husband to his beloved wife of 57 years.

I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Ray Smith in May 2021 when he gave me a tour of the Oak Ridge History Museum as part of my research trip for the book I’m writing on the integration of Oak Ridge in the 1960s. What a delight to discover he was a police chaplain as I’m about to embark on a series featuring law enforcement officers from around the country.

Mr. Ray Smith’s achievements resemble what would take several men a lifetime to accomplish. He calls himself retired but shows no signs of slowing down. I’m honored to host this brave, humble hero in this video interview and share his stories, insights, and resources with you. Enjoy.

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Michael Duncan ~ Author, Pastor, Master of the One-line Sermon

He calls himself “a sinner saved by grace. A pastor who has fought against dragons and won. A sojourner going from here to there with a story to tell.” I call him the master of the one-line sermon. Once again, I’m honored to host Pastor Duncan, husband, father, preacher, speaker, poet, musician, US Air Force Veteran, and author of the newly released book, For King and Crown: Conversations on the Christian Life. Don’t miss this video interview—it’s gold.

A disciplined life is born of effort, not excuses. — Pastor and author Michael Duncan

Think not yourself a Christian if you hate the righteousness God loves and love the sin He hates. — Pastor and author Michael Duncan

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Shine or Whine

Sometimes I take God and His blessings for granted. Complaining comes more naturally than thankfulness to our fallen nature. 

Culture tends to extol self-gratification and self-promotion and chase materialism. The Bible calls Christians to amplify Jesus and serve others. If we focus on our lack, we can fail to see and experience the blessings we possess. Why live as paupers when God calls His children to partake of the richness of Christ?

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Part 2: A Conversation with U.S. Army Chaplain, Special Needs Parent and Writer Brad Lee

Welcome to Part 2 of 2 of A Conversation with United Army Chaplain, Special Needs Parent, and Writer Brad Lee. In this video segment Chaplain Lee is joined by his wife, Lori and they share more about life as a military family with six children, one of whom has Downs Syndrome and Autism. Lori gives insights on how we can support military wives and parents of special needs children and more.

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Part 1: A Conversation with U.S. Army Chaplain, Special Needs Parent and Writer Brad Lee

It is my honor to introduce you to United States Army Chaplain, Brad Lee. Chaplain Lee is a husband and father of six, and a writer with a forthcoming book inspired by his journey with his young son who has Downs Syndrome and Autism. 

In Part 1 of this two part conversation, Chaplain Lee shares the road that led him to become a chaplain in the U.S. Army, some of the adventures, challenges, and opportunities he encounters as he serves our country and our soldiers, as well as some powerful thoughts on and wise counsel to our nation. 

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#FaithOverFear from the Perspective of a Mom, Nurse, and Teacher

There’s only one explanation for Robin—Jesus. And also for her sons Miles and Jake. Robin and Jake are nurses currently caring for Covid19 patients. Miles serves as a teacher in Malaysia. Robin is also an award winning author, speaker, and leader of Higher Ground Outreach ministry for incarcerated women. What an honor to interview them during Teacher and Nurse Appreciation Week and in time for Mother’s Day, and to share their timely and timeless, inspiring and joy filled stories with you in these two videos and the article that follows.

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