Reflections for the inner life.
Thank you for taking the time to watch this important short film featuring a friend of mine, John Marsh.
John is from Opelika, Alabama. So is my dear friend, pastor and mentor, Dr. Bill Dudley. Bill was my wife's childhood pastor. He later married my wife and I, baptized all three of our children and I was blessed to serve in ministry with him during a special season of our life at Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church. Bill Dudley was the first person I'd ever known from Opelika and he spoke of his hometown with a fondness and special appreciation I envied.
John and I first met a couple years ago in Nashville at an artist retreat. Over the course of several days together, we were often seated together at a couple meals or on a bus traveling between historic homes and event venues around the Nashville area.
Conversation was natural and easy. I attribute much of that to John's own transparency. The time with him marked me for sure and I've continued to savor the connection.
Meeting John Marsh and getting to spend some impromptu time together was a real treasure. His kindness and his vision remind me of my great friend Bill, who invited me into a sweet friendship that fostered an enduring trust and vulnerability.
I can safely say that Bill Dudley has been someone who invited me to bring my weary heart to the front porch of our friendship, and together we would trust Jesus to bring healing and wholeness into the lonely places. He saw beauty where I only saw brokenness.
These two men from Opelika have very different stories but the aim of their life's work has been dedicated to restoring broken places. The integrity of their mission begins in the seat of their own lives. Their kindness and accessibility are incredibly disarming. Both would not take credit for work only God could accomplish.
Earlier today, John sent me a link to this new film that features a taste of he and his wife's story. I was in tears as I watched. What a gift to individuals or couples in difficult seasons of life who are hanging on by a thread.
"Their story as a couple mirrors the story of a city once neglected and now reclaimed. Through a vulnerable recount of their past tumult, the Marshes share how healing in their broken lives became their inspiration to bring hope to others.
John and Ashley Marsh are the proprietors of The Marsh Collective, a conglomerate of business ventures dedicated to resurrecting the city of Opelika, Alabama."
If you are inclined, please pass this along to a friend who you think might appreciate watching this. Trust me, John and his wife are the real deal. They are living proof that we are loved beyond any measure of performance or attempt at perfection.
May you also sense the kindness of God through the kindness and tenderness of my friend John.
Thank you John and Ashley for sharing your story. And for your vision to bring healing and wholeness to communities and cities!
ST. AUGUSTINE OFFICE