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Category Archives: Dead Religion

A Prophetic Dream and A Defining Moment

God has a broad variety of ways He can speak to us. If you think about it and understand that He’s a Father, you’ll understand that He always wants to communicate with us. It really comes down to us tuning into His frequency, if you will, and receiving by faith what we hear. God is not limited to speaking to us in an audible voice. I know plenty of people who say they’ve heard Him that way, and I believe them.  But the Bible lists numerous other ways He speaks to us, and some of those include dreams and visions.

I can’t say I’ve had a lot of prophetic dreams; maybe a few dozen, in the years I’ve been learning to walk with the Lord. But the ones I have had were very profound and life-altering, to say the least. One such instance happened nearly 32 years ago. We had moved off the ranch in the Texas Panhandle and were just a month or two deep in starting the church. In the dream, it was if I was in a classroom with about 15 people in it. They were all sitting in those desks like you used in high school. All of these people were reaching out for me and moaning and groaning in a very defeated and agonizing tone as if to be crying out for help. On top of that, they were all covered with some kind of bluish, green substance. One of the women toward the front of the classroom reached out for me but as she did her arm just broke off and crumbled like a piece of brittle pottery. Another man got up and started toward me but as he stood his leg broke like the woman’s arm and he fell to the floor. I walked up to another person, still in his chair, to pray for him and I put my hands on his head. When I did I noticed that the bluish-green substance (the best description I can give is that this substance had the texture of that blue cue stick chalk used to play pool, but it was also damp) had a terrible smell to it. A smell so bad in fact that it was making me sick to my stomach. I should insert here that nothing makes me sick enough to throw up. Only done that a few times in my whole life. In fact, my family knows if I start throwing up they better call the undertaker! lol In my dream the smell was making me sick enough to throw up. It was at this point I woke up. I sat up in bed as quickly as I possibly could and actually gagged for about 30 seconds. I didn’t throw up but I came as close as you can without doing it. That was the end of the dream.

At that precise time I had no idea what the dream might mean but the next morning the Lord began to give me some specific insight into what it meant. He showed me the brittleness of the people in the dream represented what dead religion does to a person. It makes us rigid and fragile. (as opposed to supple (teachable) and strong) The hopeless nature of the people in the dream was a result of what religion does to us, without the life-giving component of a relationship with the Father. The blue-green substance was also the residue of religious mindsets that smother the life out of us. I believe the sickening smell I experienced is exactly what the Lord experiences when we are bound up by lifeless religious thoughts and practices…..but have no relationship with Him!

The Lord spoke very clear to my spirit in His still, small voice; “Andy, My people are smothering and dying because of dead religion. I’m sending you to deliver my people from that bondage and to set them free.”

That’s been years ago but still very fresh in my mind. Looking back, it now seems crystal clear to me that it’s what my life is supposed to be about. That dream has served to form me and shape me into ‘who’ the Lord wants me to be, ……and ‘what’ He wants me to do. And, looking forward, I believe I can trust Him to continue to carry out that mission through me and the people He’s assembled here…..if we’ll simply keep on being obedient to Him.

Try out the audio version:

A couple you might like:

Mexican Food and Prophecy! They Go Great Together!

A Place Where People Get Well

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You Got to Me Too Late!

If you’re a regular reader of mine you already know I don’t have  much tolerance for people telling other people that God’s mad at them. And I have a grand total of zero tolerance for preachers taking the ‘good news’ and turning it into a bunch of religious rules….that for the most part they can’t even keep, themselves! Dead religion is a cruel taskmaster and it leaves the children of God feeling like they’re never good enough. That’s a problem of the highest order!

I think what gets under my skin the most is the fact that God is so grossly misrepresented. He’s often portrayed as having an unreasonable attitude toward us and almost impossible to please. God is, first and foremost, a Father. And, fathers are loving and nurturing to their children. It just comes natural to us dads, and God is so much better a Father than we are. When He’s misrepresented it can cause one to avoid coming to Him because of a preconceived fear of rejection.That’s very serious….and it must really make Him sad. It has to stop!

When I came to the Lord in 1984 I was at a very low point (actually the very lowest in my entire life!) in my life. He had no good reason (from my perspective) to take me in. I’d done absolutely nothing to warrant His favor or to expect Him to answer my desperate cry of, “God, if you’re out there, you gotta help me!”…..But He did!

My relationship with the Father began right there, really kind of unbeknownst  to me. I didn’t even know that to have a relationship with he Father was anything you should, or could, do. But in those days I found Him to welcoming toward me; I found Him to be gracious, forgiving, encouraging, nurturing and full of love toward me. That’s how I know Him!

So, don’t be pulling that, “God’s mad at you”, stuff on me. (or anyone else for that matter!) Do us all a favor….and back off! It won’t work…..you got to me too late!

Check out these related blogs:

The Fear of the Lord…..Let’s Get It Right!

“God, If You’re Out There, You Gotta Help Me!”

If You See God “Wrongly”…….You’ll Never See Yourself “Rightly”!

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You Can Live in the Past if You Want To…..But There Is a ‘Downside’

II’s not rare to see people who are living in the past, in fact it’s pretty common by my experience. By ‘living in the past‘ I mean that most of a person’s entire focus is directed on what’s happened before. There are those who live in the regrets and failures of the past…but then there are also those I see from time to time who live in the victories and triumphs of the past. Obviously focusing on victories and triumphs would be a more pleasant thing than focusing on failures…..but either way……..there’s a downside.

I was talking to a friend recently who talked a lot about the ‘bad things’ (his own words) he’d done in the past. He was constantly saying about himself things like….“I don’t deserve for God to bless me”, “I know I’m not good enough”, “I’ve done a lot of bad things”. You don’t have to look far to find those that are hung up on their past. And then on the other hand I often hear those who, for instance, had a successful career in sports and much of their talk is about how good they were. In most cases it was probably true but I’m pretty sure to be focused, even on the glory days, has a downside.

I’ve had my own issues and temptations to ‘live in the past’. And for me it seems mostly centered around mistakes I’ve made and regrets of  not doing things different than I could/should have. It can be a recurring thing for me so I have to discipline myself to ‘not stay’ in the past for very long periods of time or it becomes extremely counter-productive….to say the least.

But the most tragic thing I see of people living in the past is that if your focus is ‘back there‘, so to speak, you are missing out on something today! Our joy and contentment can never be fully experienced if we’re focused on the past. And even more serious is the reality that if you’re missing out on something today….your future is severely impaired.

Most everyone would agree that God has a plan for their life, and for those living in the past…….if something doesn’t happen to cause them to re-focus they’ll surely miss their destiny. We need to learn to live in the ‘now’! It might be profitable to glance back every now and then and learn from our mistakes but we should get our focus back where it needs to be as quick as possible…….and that is on the Lord….and His plan for our lives!

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The Most, “In Your Face” Verse in the Whole Bible!!

I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about it or not. I have. The Bible is full of timeless wisdom from cover to cover. There are plenty of verses that challenge our humanity……but none as ‘in your face’ as this one: “Love Your Enemies”! Whoa! Now, that’s out there. In fact is’s so far out there that most of us never really seriously consider whether or not it’s true because it goes ‘so’ against our natural tendencies.

I’ve said many times before (quite a few times in my blogs) that the greatest challenge for the church…..and the greatest challenge for us as individuals is whether or not we are loving like He did. I get all kinds of feedback when I write about it. Some agree with me when I say that He wants us to love like Him. It’s my opinion that it’s the #1 priority of the Father for us love like He does. Some, however, don’t agree. Their argument is that there’s no way that we could love like He does. It’s a logical argument considering the magnitude of His love toward us. How could we possibly match that kind of love??! Well, I believe, He wants us to do just that! We most likely have opportunities right now to to practice up on.

If we are going to love like He does there are a couple of things to consider. These couple of things will give us a very clear indicator of ‘where’ we are in the process of loving like Jesus. 1) Matthew wrote in his gospel, “What good is it if we just love those that love us?”, “Even the tax collectors do that.” So, one of the ‘acid’ tests of our love is whether or not we’re loving those that don’t love us. You know, it’s like one of those “You Are Here” signs at the mall. How we answer that challenge is an accurate read on where we are where our love is concerned. 2) “Love your enemies”. I mean, nothing tests our humanity any more than the mandate to do this. And while, to do it is a good thing for your ‘enemy’.….you have more to gain than they do. Could it be that it’s more for you than for the other person??    I think it probably is.

While all the things we do in obedience to the Lord are important, I don’t think any of them are as important as “how we love”.”Love your enemies”! It’s in your face, alright…..but it’s undeniable proof that we’re becoming ‘like’ Him!

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I Fought the Law….and the Law Won!

You’ve surely heard that old song; I remember it from when I was a teenager. I had no idea who did the song until I looked it up. It was written by Sonny Curtis of “The Crickets” (Buddy Holly’s Band). They recorded it in 1959 not long after Buddy Holly had died but the song went absolutely nowhere. It’s still a good song if you ask me.Turns out it was later done, and brought to popularity by Bobby Fuller in 1966 (click any of the highlighted links to watch video). There’ve been others who recorded it more recently if you’re interested: The Clash or Green Day and at least a dozen others. 

Well so much for a little trivia but this blog’s not about the song but about the song title. If you’re a regular reader of my blogs (and if you’re not….WHY ain’t ‘ya?! lol) you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I’m a music lover. I see a song title from time to time and think, “Now that’d be good blog title”. That’s the case with “I Fought The Law and the Law Won”.

There’s a growing controversy in religious circles today over ‘grace’ versus ‘law’. It’s no small controversy by anyone’s standards. In fact my opinion is that it’s one of the main, and most important, issues facing the church in this critical hour. It’s no new argument; It’s been going on since Jesus showed up. In fact, He’s the one that ignited the whole controversy to begin with….and it has only escalated since. Jesus ushered in this thing we call ‘grace’. It wasn’t just a teaching He did. No, it was much more than that. Grace displayed His very nature…and the very nature of the Father. And today, just like it did then, it ticked off the religious legalists to no end!

The Jews in Jesus’ day could not digest this grace thing. They were sticklers for the Law. They knew it well and even though they couldn’t keep the Law (no man could keep the law; no one has ever been made righteous by the Law; if you violated even one facet of the law you were guilty of violating the ‘whole’ law), it didn’t stop them from trying to enforce it on everyone else. But Jesus was doing something entirely different. It was centered on lovenot just an ordinary, superficial kind of love but a love that is unconditionalindestructible and life-giving!

The Law says that you have to keep the long list of good things to do to be accepted by God. But grace says that you’re already accepted and valued by God, Himself. You’re His Sons and Daughters, by His own choice. It’s not a result of your own doing but because of what Jesus did! He has already ‘fulfilled the Law’! (because you and I couldn’t!)

You can attempt to keep the Law but you won’t get it done! If you ‘fight the Law’….the Law always wins…you always lose!

The only way you can win….is to accept, and live in, what’s already been done for you! That’s what we call GRACE!

*You might want to check out one of my previous blogs: “It Ain’t Grace’s Fault”

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25,000; Twenty-Five Thousand; 25K; 25 Large!

That’s how many “Views” I’ve received on my blog, “The Way I See It”, since January 1 (25,145 as of this post!). I’ve posted 130 times. Whoever you are, where ever you are….I appreciate you taking the time to read the blogs! It’s my deepest desire that the blog has blessed you in some way. Give me some feedback! What are your favorite blogs? Mention two or three that have helped you in some way. Hit the “Share” button on FaceBook so your FB friends can access the blog.

Listed below are the Top-Ten Blog Posts ranked by how many times they’ve been read. If you haven’t read them….do it now! If you have….you might want to read them again. I’ve also included a few that are some of my very favorite. *By clicking on the red link you can go straight to that blog. I’d like to grow the, “The Way I See It”, family so I’m asking you to “Share” when you like a post and recommend that your friends become “Followers”.

Lady Gaga, Little Monsters & Jesus!

All I Know is God Loved John Very, Very Much!

VIP #4 – Paul Luchsinger

VIP #1 – Booger Bryant

Quit Telling Me What the Problem Is!

Bless the Lloyd!

“Keith” – It Was a Short Friendship….But a Good One!

Branson to Cherokee – The Longest Night I Ever Spent

Maybe You Should Quit Whippin’ Your Own A#$!

You’re Not Welcome Here!

………..and a few of my very favorite ones.

“Obviously, I’m God’s Favorite”!

You May Not Know This, But I’m Kind of a Big Deal!

It Ain’t Grace’s Fault!

Tee-Ball…..The #1, Undisputed, Very Best Team Sport of ‘Em All!!

How Gunnar Payne Changed the World!

……….or if you just need a good laugh!

The ‘Baddest’ Dang Turkey in Arkansas!

That Whole, “Greet the Brethren With a Holy Kiss” Thing, is Waaay Overrated!!

Just Some Friendly Advice: Always Approach a Possum With Extreme Caution!!

Thanks again for reading the blogs!! Weigh in on your favorites and spread the word!!

THANKS!!   

AT

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It’s Always Been About The Encounter!

I made a recent FaceBook post stating, “If your Bible reading doesn’t eventually lead you to an encounter with the Father, you might be wasting your time.” It’s a statement that I believe is 100% true. It’s a modern reflection on what Jesus said a couple thousand years ago; “You search the Scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life, but you’re not willing to come to me that you might have life.” In His day the Pharisees were sticklers for the Law, but rejected Jesus as God’s Son…and as a result had absolutely no relationship with Him.

The scene is much the same today, especially in the Bible Belt. Reading and studying the Bible, as disciplines, have been elevated over having an interactive relationship with the Father. Now, don’t misunderstand me here; I love the Bible. Reading, and studying it, can be a very good thing, but it was never meant to be a substitute for our relationship with the Father!

I got a lot of ‘pushback’ from the post.…mostly from well-meaning, but ‘over-churched’, self-appointed Bible scholars who, somehow, believe they are the sole guardians of the Truth. I believe that is much in part due to the fact that even though people agree, in principle, with pursuing a relationship with the Father that reading the Word could never be a waste of time. It’s sad that many people can’t think outside their “Bible Belt” mentality! The bible was written in such a way as to ‘entice’ us to engage with the Father in relationship…and if we don’t do that we’re missing the point!

It’s always been about the encounter!

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What’s Love Got To Do With It?

I’ve always liked Tina Turner. Well, way back in the day it was Ike & Tina, but you know that whole story. I just caught a piece of her song from 1993, “What’s Love Got To Do With It?”, on XM a few days ago. And I thought about that question and how it relates to the church of the 21st century. There are plenty of challenges facing the world today; plenty of challenges facing us as Americans….and plenty of challenges facing us as individuals. But as I see it (That’s the title of my blog, “The Way I See It”...and if you’re not already a “Follower”, you should be!) there’s no greater nor more important challenge, especially for the church, than….”Are we going to love like Jesus did?”.

Today the church in America has it all; Majestic, million-dollar buildings to hold churchgoers; Sound systems that cost into the thousands; Worship teams that exude professionalism; Expository preaching/teaching using the Hebrew and the Greek; Ministry teams that know how to get ‘er done….and lots of other important things. I need to say right here that I’m for all those things to a degree.….and as long as they’re not excessive but used in a way to bring honor to the Father and to bring everyone closer to Him.

But in the final analysis, those things are bound to dim in the light of the more important issue; How did we do at love?? Every time I say we should be learning to love like Jesus did I get plenty of ‘pushback’. Don’t have time to argue that point but if you disagree you can keep on fooling yourself and be part of the problem rather than part of the solution Lots of people argue that there’s no way we could possibly do that. I disagree. It’s not an easy one by any stretch….but because He encouraged it Himself….it’s doable. We should ‘wade-in’ with the opportunities that we have to love….right now!

So you ask, “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” 

ONLY EVERYTHING!

**(click on the highlighted links for more information)

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Are You A ‘Kingdom’ Person? Part 8 – Doers of the Word

A kingdom person, in my opinion, see things different than your normal Bible-Belt church person. And, as a result of how they see things it totally changes their activity and behavior. They’re concerned…..and very aware of the Father’s plan for the world….but more specifically….His plan for them and how they fit into His big picture!

Kingdom people are ‘doers of the Word’! The regular church guy is more concerned with ‘getting fed’ than he is in doing anything with the Truth that he’s been fed! My experience in 30 + years of ministry is that the people who are whining about not being fed….rarely ever do anything with what they are fed! Babies have to be fed……adults feed themselves!

What does it mean to be a doer of the Word?? Well, for starters, kingdom people take it personal when the Bible says, “Signs and wonders will follow them that believe”, and “We were created in Christ Jesus for good works”, “Whoever believes in Me and the works that I do, he will do also” The regular church guy believes that stuff happened in Bible days but doesn’t really happen anymore. Makes me wonder, when did God stop doing those things?? Then there are others who believe the miraculous still takes place but believe that it is through someone else, somewhere else or at another time. But the ‘kingdom’ person takes it personally and believes it for himself/herself now. They also understand that you can’t just ‘go rogue’ with this stuff. Nope, they have a keen understanding that they must follow the lead of the Holy Spirit if anything significant is going to happen. But they also know that when they are led by the Holy Spirit and follow His lead in obedience that the ‘sky is not the limit’!! The stage is set for the miraculous! Kingdom people are ‘doers of the Word’!!

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You’re Not Welcome Here!

In 1988, our last year on the ranch out in the Texas Panhandle, I was taking care of 2500 head of cattle for a guy from Throckmorton, Texas. He’d leased about 30 sections of the Urschel Ranch north of Canadian. I’d make the 35 mile trip from where I lived three times a week and check the cattle there. There was one pasture that had a perfect view overlooking the city of Canadian, Texas. The Lord started dealing with me about praying for Canadian, which I did nearly 3 times a week that entire summer. I had no idea that He had plans for us to plant a church there.

After we left the ranch and moved to Oklahoma I continued to pray for Canadian. 13 years later He started speaking very clearly to us about planting a church there. We felt like the ‘right’ thing to do was first go the the local Ministerial Alliance (made up of all the pastors of the churches there) and tell them of our plans. Well, the response we got was NOT what we hoped for…..by a long shot! Now, get the picture…I was born in Canadian, Texas, and lived in Hemphill County most of my life. Donald Hill (who was going to Pastor the work) was born there and lived there his entire life. Of the other pastors there, the longest tenure of any of them was about 4 years. They were very rude to us, to put it mildly. At one point one of the pastors asked why we thought we needed to plant a church there because, as he said, “We’ve got plenty of churches here”. When I said, “Well, we believe the Lord has told us to”. Then he replied, “Well, that doesn’t impress me at all.” He went on to say, “Yeah, you hear about the kid on TV who says the Lord told him to kill his parents”. I’m thinking….“well, that’s a perfect analogy of what we’re trying to do here!” lol Very rude!

There was one particular pastor who kept fairly quiet. He wasn’t necessarily friendly but he wasn’t rude, either. We found out later that he called the pastor of the same denomination in Sayre. He told him, “These guys came to Canadian saying they are going to plant a church here. There’s been half a dozen groups in the last 10 years try to do that….and they’ve all been gone overnight.” The pastor in Sayre told him, “Well, these guys won’t be gone overnight!” The Canadian pastor asked, “So, what do you think we need to do about it?” The Sayre pastor replied, “You need to welcome them into your town.” “What do you mean, we need to welcome into our town”, he asked. “Because if you’ll welcome them into Canadian…..every other church in town will be better because of them!”

I can’t tell you how good that made me feel. I think it’s primarily due to the fact that we’ve prayed for the other churches in our town for, now, 26 years….and the Lord honors that!

Oh, and that church, The River, is now 14 years old and, true to form, all the other churches in town are better because of The River. And Donald Hill, one of my old beer drinkin’ buddies, is the longest tenured pastor in the city! 

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