Happy 100th Birthday, Brother Preston!

When my family moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, in the summer of 1970, we visited several local churches before we found East Ridge Baptist Church. Once we joined, my family fell in line and got involved in the ministries there. That’s where I learned what church was all about.

Its pastor, C. Henry Preston, had already been at East Ridge Baptist Church a LONG time when we arrived. To me, an uninitiated youngster, Brother Preston was (nicely put) a senior citizen  .  .  .  I must have thought,  How could this stately, older gentleman — so much older than me — have anything relevant to say to me?

Little did I realize how much of an impact this man would have on my life!

In the white-cathedral-ceilinged sanctuary (second pew, piano side), I sat under Brother Preston’s preaching. It was there God made clear His calling on my life. I began to listen to this preacher, took notes, found myself hungrily wanting to understand. I often went home and pondered the things I’d heard.

From there, the Holy Spirit used the scriptures and influence of certain people in my path (my Sunday School teacher, Debbie McMahan, for one) to convict me of my sin. I remember praying in my bedroom one Sunday afternoon as a 12-year-old girl to accept Christ as my Lord and Savior. This came after hearing a sermon that morning I knew was aimed straight right at me! Not long after, I went forward and was baptized by Brother Preston in believer’s baptism.

I got involved in the church’s youth ministry, sang in youth choir, went on mission trips—all things contributing to my new believer-growth.  And all the while, Brother Preston maintained his constant, ever-faithful preaching of God’s Word.

Brother Preston retired from East Baptist Church after 37 years of service there and went on to preach interim positions at other local churches in the Chattanooga area. Al and I asked him back to East Ridge Baptist Church to perform our wedding ceremony in October 1980.

As a believer now much further along in her walk, I can truly appreciate how much I learned under Brother Preston’s ministry . . . how much of his teachings are ingrained in my understanding of God’s Word. . . how much of Al’s and my ministry is based on the foundations we both received under his preaching!

Tomorrow, September 14th, Brother Preston turns 100 years young. What a milestone and what a blessing this godly man has been to SO MANY, MANY PEOPLE! When he gets to heaven, I’m sure God will say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!” (I can’t wait to hug him and tell him myself in person someday. . . .!)

Happy 100th birthday, Brother Preston! And may our gracious God bless you with many more!

P.S. Check out this link I found to an interview of Brother Preston in a Chattanooga newspaper today that will give you a real flavor of the man:


Lookin’ up,







A Mother’s Celebration: Guest Blog by Katie Young

This is a guest blog by a childhood friend of mine, Katie Young. She has a powerful story for us about battling a child’s addiction and God’s amazing grace through it all.

Katie and I attended the same schools, elementary through two years of college. During those years we played LOTS of sports together. My dad coached our elementary softball team–check out our team picture, circa 1972.  That’s Katie #6,  front row, extreme right, (pitcher) and me #9, second row, second from the end (catcher).  We were the Comets, the MIGHTY, MIGHTY COMETS!!

Welcome, Katie, to From the Church House!


My name is Katie Young. I am a Registered Nurse and the mother of three wonderful sons. I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Life is not easy. Christians battle the same adversity as non-Christians. Many times, as a Christian, we may feel as if we have more diversity. The major difference is that we, as Christians, have a Heavenly Father Who guides us, comforts us, loves us, and wants good things for us.

With that said, I would like to share my personal story of Celebration. Celebration usually brings to mind special events such as birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, and holidays. Celebration can also represent the end of adversity. The calming of a storm. The unveiling of God working in our lives and the lives of our loved ones.

This past fall, I received the type of phone call that no parent ever wants to get. My oldest son (he respectfully asked I don’t use his name) was on the other end of the line. I could hear fear, anxiety, and sadness in his voice. My son had been away from home for eight years. He graduated from college, where he excelled, and was six months away from completion of medical school. He began to tell me about the lifestyle he had been living. A way of life that he had successfully hidden from his family. He was an alcoholic and a drug addict. He had refused to take a drug test at the hospital where he was working and was facing being expelled from school after many years of hard work. He explained to me that he had been drinking heavily since he began college. For the last two years he had been using cocaine.

I do not have to tell you that I was devastated. I felt physically ill. My child was facing a disease that would certainly take his life if he continued to live this way. My first thoughts were of fear that he may die. Next, I felt tremendous guilt. How could I not have known this was happening? What did I do wrong as a mother? And then, for a brief moment I was angry at God. How could He let this happen to a smart, handsome, hard-working young man?

Addiction is a disease.  A disease that begins once a person makes a poor decision to use an addictive substance to alter mood. As with any life-threatening illness, he needed medical attention. My son, being at an all-time low, physically and mentally, agreed to enter alcohol and drug rehabilitation for three long months. Rehab is not like we see it on television. Successful rehab is hard work. Admitting that you are powerless. Admitting that your decisions and behavior have hurt those you love the most. Admitting that your life is out of control. Admitting that only a “Higher Power” can help.

My son had been saved as a young child. He was raised in church. He read his Bible faithfully when he lived at home. During his college days and after, he had grown away from God. Like many young people, he didn’t find time for religion. Yes, he still believed in God, but he was living a very worldly lifestyle.

During his stay in rehab, he had a renewed faith in God. He became much closer to the Lord than he had been in many years. He attended church, read his Bible, and trusted Jesus to overcome his addictions and to give him strength! God’s wonderful grace had given my son what he needed to beat alcohol and drugs and gave him hope for the future.

Today, my son is clean and sober. It has been nine months now. He still lives one day at a time, but with the help of his Savior, I feel sure he can succeed. He is back at school under frequent monitoring. He is again celebrating life, and as his Mom, I am celebrating my life, his life, and God’s grace for us all!!

During this storm, I had doubts about how this could ever turn out to be anything positive. But with God’s help, it has turned out the way He always knew it would. With my son sober and walking a closer walk with Him, I can’t think of any better reason to celebrate!

In closing, I would like to share a powerful prayer from Joel Osteen:  Thank you, Father, for Your resurrection power at work in my life. Today, I give you my broken dreams, disappointments, failures, and setbacks, trusting that You will breathe Your life into me. I trust that You have a good plan for my future, and You are leading me into total victory in Jesus’ name. Amen.



Lookin’ up,