One Christmas morning in elementary school, young Mike Branch was surprised with a gift he never thought to ask for but loved at first sight. Under the tree he found an old mechanical typewriter, rescued by Santa from a repair shop to make the holiday seem fuller on a family’s tight budget. His mother threw down the challenge: She would teach him to use his gift if he committed to learning touch typing (typing without looking at the keys). He agreed, and still remembers the hours spent plunking the keys with his fingers hidden under a towel.
That providential gift inspired a job in newspapers, a career in magazines, a position in marketing, and a tool to point to the glories of God through true stories found in life’s everyday moments.
Like you, Mike has felt the hurts and healing of God’s hand shaping him time after time. In college his pattern of stealing led to a decisive showdown with God where he learned the healing power of repentance. Other hurts have continued to test his roles as friend, husband, church leader, business partner, parent, and grandparent – because hurting is one part of life designed to keep our need for a Savior and Comforter front and center.
Mike and his wife have four children and thirteen grandchildren, all of whom God uses to make their daily lives richer and their knowledge of Him fuller.
About the Book
How did the idea for these stories begin?
Several years ago an individual at Mike's company started an email group to distribute a daily Nugget – a quick expression of God’s word sown among anyone who wanted to join the list. The group grew, and he joined as a recipient. Then God, in His providence, opened the door to his becoming a contributor. Most of the stories you find in True Stories are a few of those insights that God spoke into his heart to share as Nuggets through the years.
God has woven together His creation with stories. More accurately, stories are the way we speak of thoughts and actions expressed within God’s creation of time. Stories may serve to illustrate a point, but more importantly they are a language and form that naturally reflect God’s dominion over His world from beginning to end. Every story is His story, in which He has chosen to include us. Each story points to Him in some way – even those little moments that become routine to us. Have you noticed the stories you tell yourself, the ones a little voice whispers in your own ear? “God loves you.” “God doesn’t love you.” “You can do it.” “You can’t do it.” You might like to read Story Time, one of the stories in this book.
Why is there so much scripture in these stories?
Long ago, God inspired people to write down His story in particular words. He used vastly different people writing in vastly different time periods. By His Spirit, He directed people to compile them into one book, to set down in one place our need for Him and His provision for us. They are the basis of everything we know about life and God. To build any story without His story would be like building a house without a foundation. No matter how magnificent the house might appear, it would lack substance and ultimate worth without the Word of God – and it would fall. These stories only point to His story, because His story is the only hope for healing our hurt.
What does that tagline mean, “Future-Minded Stories for People with a Past?”
Everybody has a past – some parts beautiful, some parts shameful. God has seen it all. It’s easy to wallow in the history we wish could be purged, especially when we are hurting. It’s tempting to second-guess whether the life, death and resurrection of Christ is sufficient for our particular past. So God points us to a certain promise. He reminds us that He Himself declared, “[My saving work] is finished.” Our desire is to remind you of that future, and help fix your mind on it.
I am hurting. Is it OK to cry?
Yes. Crying doesn’t mean that you don’t have enough faith. Crying doesn’t mean you are failing at joy. Crying doesn’t mean the devil has won. Crying doesn’t mean that God is suddenly frowning on you. Instead, crying means that you are sad. Crying means that you are up close and personal with the world’s broken parts. Crying often means that you are sharing God’s perspective on creation, experiencing His lamentations. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to hope. It’s okay to cry and hope at the same time.
It's Okay to Feel the Crash
Why do we feel so much pain when somebody else dies?
It's almost like we were passengers in their life when it crashed hard.
Bumps. Bruises. Pierced heart.
Receive your free download of this insightful article.