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Category Archives: Friendship

“You Didn’t Put a Mojo on Me, Did Ya’?!”

Years ago after we’d moved to Oklahoma and started the church I had a lifelong friend call me late one night. My friend was a brawler, didn’t mind a good fight and had been known to conspire one up if it didn’t happen naturally. I doubt he’d ever been to church anywhere before. No criticism about that but, understandably, he just didn’t have much spiritual orientation at all. I could tell he was really bothered about something but he wouldn’t say, just what, over the phone. It was past 11 pm and he said he really needed to talk to me. So, no big deal, pulled some clothes on and headed on over to his house. He had all kinds of questions for me about the Lord. Some I could answer, some I couldn’t. He was very sincere. After a couple of hours we were winding up our visit and the subject of salvation came up. I’m not a pressure guy by anyone’s standards. Jesus didn’t do it….so I ain’t gonna do it either! But, I was quick to thoroughly explain the Biblical plan of salvation to my friend when he asked. At the end of our conversation I asked him, “Well, do you want to be born again?”. He was really struggling for an answer and it took him thirty seconds or more to say, “Well, I know I should but I just don’t think right now’s the time”. “You know I just bought this bar, and all, and I just don’t think the timing’s right”. I said, “OK, no problemo. Let me know if you ever want to talk about it.” He agreed and I asked him if I could pray for him. After I prayed we said our goodbyes and I went home.

About two weeks later my friend called again, this time past midnight. He started out, “You know, I bought this bar. I’m making more money than I’ve ever made in my life…..but something just ain’t right.” “I don’t know what it is but I just keep thinking about the Lord, …..and that ain’t like me at all.” I said, “Well, you know He does love you, and He’s just probably trying to prove it to you.” Then……..he finally got down to the real reason he called me. He said, “You know the other night when you prayed for me?” I said, “Yeah”. He said, “You didn’t put some kinda mojo on me did ya’??!” He was serious as a heart attack! I just busted up laughing. I said, “Son, the Lord’s got a mojo on you!” I explained to him that it’s just how the Lord works. My friend eventually gave his life to the Lord, sold the bar and is walking with the Lord today. 

When I tell that story today I still laugh! But the truth of the matter is that, whoever you are…and wherever you are spiritually, the Lord does have a mojo on you! Not the kind you’d normally think about though. Certainly not a demonic spell or anything in the neighborhood of that. But, He’s out to get ‘ya, alright. ……and just like I told my friend, “He just wants to prove to you how much He loves you!”

You might like these, too:

Click on the highlighted link

I’ve Never ‘Led’ Anyone to the Lord, and I Ain’t Planning on Doing it Anytime Soon!

Have a Nice Day, Lord!

You Can Only Do What You Can Only Do!

 

 

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“Uuuh,….. We Don’t Have a Program”

When we started Trinity Fellowship nearly 32 years ago the Lord was faithful to show us what He wanted us to help Him build….and how He wanted us to build “it”. We had no preconceived idea(s) as to what it should be or how it should look. So, we were dependent on what we believed He was saying to us. That only makes sense when you understand that our lives are to be lived by faith. One of the things, early on, that seemed to be clear is that we would be an organism (not organization) the Father would use to set people free. That freedom would include everything from freedom from sin, addiction, and faulty thinking to freedom from lifeless religious bondage as well.

Looking back through the years it seems clear that the Lord has definitely kept His part of the promise, as He always does. One of the things that’s been extremely rewarding has been the steady stream of people who have come to Sayre to find that ‘freedom’. We’ve built some amazing friendships with folks from all over that we would have otherwise never had the privilege of knowing.

One particular case in point happened not too long ago when a person we didn’t know called about a friend who had experienced a moral failure in his ministry. We didn’t know the person who called but we had been referred to him by someone we both knew.

When he called he was understandably full of questions such as, “What do y’all do?”, and “What’s the Cost?”, and “How do you do what you do?”. I tried my best to answer all those questions and finally, he asked, “Well, what kind of program do you have, anyway?” My reply must have taken him completely off guard; “Uuuh, …..we don’t have a program.” It’s really true there’s not a program per se here…but what we do produces long term results.   We’re not batting a thousand but we’re doing pretty good. Here are some reasons why;

  • We first bring them into our ‘circle’. It’s not an inner circle because inner circles are, by nature, exclusive. We’re inclusive!
  • We let them be a part of whatever it is that we’re doing at the time. If we’re on a ministry project they come along and they might even help if they’re willing. We never apply pressure on them to do that but the door’s always open for them to participate. If we’re going to lunch, they go. If we’re going to a basketball game, they go too. We let them know that they’re an important part of our family.
  • We let them see the ‘real’ side of us. We refuse to put up the facade of perfection. Truth is, we’re far from it. Besides, it’s just not our style!
  • We’re learners…..and we help to develop that trait in them, by seeing us do it, while they’re here.
  • We spend quality time with them. We swap stories. We listen to their story. They listen to ours’. It’s a great way to build long-term relationships. And, that’s what we’re all about.
  • We help them to understand the Father’s love for them. We encourage them to connect relationally with the Father and we explain how easy that is.
  • We treat ’em like VIP’s…….’cause they are!
  • But more important than all the other stuff….we just love ’em. It never fails, you know! It’s undefeated! And, it always works!
  • The Lord always does His part…..which is just about everything!

But, program, …..uuuuh …..we don’t have a program.

Audio Version:

Interested in a little ‘binge’ reading?? Try these:

Do You Have Enough Faith??

The People That Nobody Else Wants

Simplicity! It’s All I Have to Offer

It’s Not Your Job to Fix Them!

A Place Where People Get Well

 

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Thanksgiving, It’s a Holiday to Remind Us

The very first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621. It began as a harvest festival thanking God for their bountiful harvest of crops. It’s been celebrated nationally since 1789 after a proclamation by George Washington. And, it has been a ‘federal holiday’ every year since 1863 when Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”. Don’t you love that! I fear that sometimes we take for granted the fact that our great nation was founded on Biblical principles.

I wrote a blog awhile back titled, The ‘Magic’ Words. You know, the magic words “Please”, and “Thank You”. They really are words that have power, words that show gratitude, words that could, and should, pull us out of any attitude of ‘entitlement’ that might be lingering. We’re conditioned by our flesh to just automatically look at ‘what we don’t have’ rather than seeing what we do have. And, anytime we’re in that mode, true happiness is just another elusive dream that, seemingly, cannot be attained.

So, I think Thanksgiving should be, (among other things like food, family and fellowship), first and foremost a time to stop and just think and reflect on all that we do have. If you’re having a hard time thinking of some of those things…here’s a little list to help you get going.

I’m thankful that God exists; that He’s ‘real’…and that He’s a Father, Who ‘handpicked’ me to be His son! I’m thankful that He really, really loves me, in spite of all my shortcomings! I’m thankful for His grace…and that He’s already judged me to be righteous which is obviously not based on my conduct and behavior. I’m thankful for His amazing ability to rescue me no matter how serious, or impossible my situation might look. I’m thankful to the Lord for my family!

I bet the Lord appreciates it when we say thanks, whether we ‘say’ it in our words or our actions. I think Thanksgiving is a good time to remind ourselves of all that we have to be thankful for!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! 

Maybe you’ll have some extra time the next few days for ‘binge reading’! Check out these ‘holiday blogs’, and pass ’em along to anyone you think’ll be interested!

“Freedom’s Just Another Word” …… But It’s a Whole Lot More Than That!

Room at the Inn?

Thanksgiving ’15 – One That’ll Stand Out For Us From Now On!

Labor Day Out on the ‘Ol ‘Lazy J’

Definitely Our Most Memorable New Year’s Day!

 

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You Can Only Do What You Can Only Do!

I was having a conversation with a good friend a few weeks back. He was lamenting, so to speak, about some decisions he’d made 10 years or so ago that really affected some people in a negative way; people who he cared about and were important to him. He’s very sincere about doing the right thing; he’s determined to do things that are right and just. He used the best judgment he had to  make his deliberations and his decision. But the decision left the other party feeling hurt and betrayed and my friend has been carrying the weight of this for several years now.

I’d be surprised if  most of  us didn’t have some situations in our past that ended up like that. Situations, that if we were to have the chance for a do-over, we’d definitely take a different course of action. But, here’s the thing;  It’s a fact of life; You can only do what you can only do! We’re faced with all kinds of dilemmas in the normal course of our lives. And, if we’re trying to do the right thing we can only do what we know to be the best thing at that particular time. As we grow in the Lord, we grow in grace….(if we’re not growing in grace….we really aren’t growing in the Lord!) and as we grow in grace we have a deeper, more profound….and actually simpler way of handling our relationship dilemmas, and decisions. We become much more understanding with people, ….as well as, much more patient and forgiving. It’s a natural progression for anyone who’s really trying to follow the leadership of the Lord.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that when the heart is correct the Lord, somehow, has a way of causing good to come from it.….even though we might feel like we mishandled a situation at the time. It seems that He nearly always honors a ‘clean’ heart. Oh, and on the good side, if you can look back and see some of those things that you know you’d handle different today….it’s just good, solid evidence that you’re growing, progressing and maturing!

So, don’t fight your head or beat yourself up too much about those things…..You can only do, what you can only do!

If you have any such incidents that you’d definitely do different today, tell me about  it.

Check these out, too:

If God Has Your Heart, He Can Get Your Feet Where They Belong!

Redirecting!

“I Keep A Close Watch On This Heart Of Mine”

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“Greatest Misses”

I’d love to have titled this one, “Greatest Hits”. But, as a rookie and aspiring writer, I doubt I’ve achieved that status yet. Maybe, someday! In the last year and a half I’ve written nearly three-hundred blogs. That’s not much writing for a ‘real’ writer but for a guy like me it’s fairly significant. I’m a ‘learner’; you’ve read that in my blogs more than a few times. I’ve learned a lot in this little stretch of time….and most of what I’ve learned are the things I’ve learned about myself. I have wanted to write things that would be helpful to others but found that some of those things have helped me, most of all. It just does something when you ‘write down’ your feelings and opinions. I highly recommend it for everyone, it’s therapeutic!

One of the things that’s been interesting are the blogs where I really thought I ‘nailed it’. I think,  as a writer, you kinda know if you got it done…..or not. But some of those that I thought I did my best work on at times happened to be ones that didn’t get read all that much. I get that. I’ve learned that people like stories. And, it’s a nice surprise when one just ‘takes off’ and gets read by three or four hundred people. Then there are a few that were just fun to write and still fun for me to read again. I’ve listed several of my “Greatest Misses” and if you have the time you might check ’em out. I’ve also included a few that still make me smile. Hope you enjoy ’em! If so, “Share” ’em with your people! Thanks for taking the time!

*Click on the highlighted link to read:

Identity Theft

Relational Equity

You Got To Me Too Late

If God Has Your Heart, He Can Get Your Feet Where They Belong!

Retaliate!!

Virtual Reality

Weapons of Mass Construction

God Is My Co-Pilot! ……and therein lies the problem!

That ain’t all the “Greatest Misses”! I’ve got a ton of ’em!

…….and just for fun:

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

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

There’s Just So Much of This Stuff in Life We’re Gonna Have to Learn the ‘Hard Way’!

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Relational Equity

Equity: In finance, equity is the difference between the value of the assets and the cost of the liabilities of something owned. For example, if someone owns a car worth $15,000 but owes $5,000 on that car, the car represents $10,000 equity.

Anytime we make a payment into our investments we are building equity. I’ve been paying on my home loan for years. I’m at the point now where I can almost see the end of it. So, I’ve got a lot of equity in my home. In the last year or so our local economy has tanked. I have a friend in the banking business who recently told me that there were 200-300 homes in our area for sale. There’s a good number of those folks just walking off from their homes…..and the loans attached to them. Not a good situation for anyone involved. It does make sense, though, that if you have a lot of equity in that home that you’d do everything in your power to somehow make the payments. Yep….too much equity to just walk away from.

In the same way we make investments in possessions, property and the like, we also make investments in relationships. And every time we interact with someone else….we’re building equity; ‘relational equity’. Julie and I had our first date in 1967, we got married 10 years later, to the day. Next January we’ll have been married 40 years….but together for 50! That’s a lot of equity! A lot of relational investment…and way to much to walk away from. (not that we’re thinking about it! lol)

Relationships are important. They’re challenging, to say the least, but the greatest joys in life come through our relationships. They can also be a source of heartbreak too….but they’re still well worth the investment. We have to take the chance, the stakes are too high, there’s too much to gain! And, besides…..”it’s not good that man should be alone”! Engage…interact, stay hooked and build equity!

It works the same way in our relationship with the Father. Every time we interact with Him we get to know Him more. That’s building relational equity! And the more we ‘know’ Him the more we will, naturally, love Him. If you want your life to be as rich as it can possibly be…..start building relational equity today…..with people…..and with Him!

Check these out, too:

Loyalty – A Forgotten Virtue

A “Disposable” Relationship

‘Betrayal’ – Nothing Easy About It!

The “Only Thing” That Really Works

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Why I Don’t Watch Christian TV

Let me first say that I’m not trying to influence anyone in any way. To watch….or not to watch…that’s your own business. And if you’re getting blessed by Christian TV….watch on!! I’m just stating my own opinion. And my reasons for not watching may not be valid for you in the least. When my life first ‘made the turn’, so to speak, back in November of ’84 I did watch quite a bit of Christian TV. I even watched Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker some. I did find them to be a little peculiar but, what the heck, I did learn a few things by watching their show. Same with Paul and Jan Crouch; peculiar people but no big deal at the time. And I do believe that lots of people were blessed through their TV ministries, even though I didn’t send my $100 for the little bottle of ‘holy water’ from the Red Sea.

But the further I went the less I watched TBN, The 700 Club and shows like that. For the most part, at least for me, it started feeling un-authentic, a little too much put-on, and way too theatrical for my liking. I would catch Jack Hayford from time to time, which was always good. There were a few others who weren’t ‘regulars’ that I’d try to watch if I had the chance. But it wasn’t too long that I found myself not watching Christian TV programming at all. (Been about 20 years now) And now if I’m surfing through the DISH channels and happen to cross one of those networks it just seems that I’m now further and further away from where they are and what they’re saying…..and from what I believe and perceive the Lord is saying to me. 

But the clincher for me came a few years back when someone very close to me was contacted by one of those TV shows. It was one of the most highly acclaimed ones….and one that you’d surely know if I had the liberty to disclose it. This person’s life has been one of the most, if not THE most, dramatic conversions and transformations that I’ve seen in all my years. And after several phone interviews with my friend and then with me….they declined to do the story. Why?? Because, according to their representative, his conversion and transformation didn’t fit their grid of how it should happen. Tragic….in that this person’s life….and his story could have made the difference in hundreds, if not thousands who might’ve seen the TV show.

I left that situation discouraged and, to tell the truth,….about half ticked off. It was obvious to me that they were completely out of touch with what often happens out here in the real world. There’s no formula and there’s no set way for someone coming to the Lord. There’s millions of different scenarios and I wouldn’t argue the validity of any of them. “Any man who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved”.

The cynical part of me would say that if my friend would’ve just said, “I was at the end of my rope, on drugs and ready to commit suicide and I turned on the TV and the  “- – – – – – Show” was on and I fell down on my knees and cried out to God.”, that they would’ve done the show as quickly as possible.

So, don’t get me wrong….I think there might be a place for Christian TV….but it needs to be authentic, it needs to ‘not’ be about money, and it needs to be relevant for what the Lord is saying and doing in our generation.

Check These Out:

Virtual Reality

Quit Telling Me What The Problem Is!!

It’s Not Too Late to Make a ‘Mark’ With Your Life!

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The ‘Magic’ Words

Not sure when I first heard it; I’d guess about the time I started to school, maybe before. But, someone taught me, what they called, the ‘magic’ words. “Please”…..and “Thank You”! I think they really are magic because when you use them and use them with sincerity, some amazing, even magical results can happen.

I was having a visit with a friend a few days ago who had been trying with all his might to help someone very close to him. Beyond helping his friend by giving him some life-giving, Godly advice, he’d helped him financially with bills and expenses….not to mention a lot of time he had willingly invested. But he had made the observation that his friend had never, even one time, said “Thank You”. The absence of a ‘thank you’ left my friend feeling used and unappreciated. That’s not really how you want to feel when you set out to help someone. And now the lack of a ‘thank you’ now and then has left their relationship on slippery ground. It’s tragic but it happens all the time. A little ‘thank you’ goes a long ways!

“Please”, that other ‘magical’ word seems to be equally as important to me. It’s amazing the doors that are apt to open when we just add that little word to our requests. Both those ‘magic’ words have the potential to totally change the outcome (in a positive way!) of just about any conversation they’re used in. When those magic words land in the ears they almost always do something simultaneously in the heart of the person who hears them.

I’m still not sure who it was that told me that those were ‘magic words’, but today…50 some years later, I’m grateful to whoever it was. I can honestly say that they’ve made a difference for me. I don’t think it’s ever too late to learn the ‘magic’ words.

We oughta start using them more…..and teaching others to do the same…..and then watch the magic happen!

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It Takes a Village to go Back to Back…..to Back to Back!

Never before in the history of the UIL, (the University Scholastic League is the organization that creates rules for and administers almost all athletic, music, and academic contests for public primary and secondary schools in the state of Texas. It is the largest organization of its type in the world.) has any Texas high school’s athletic teams won back to back State Championship Titles in two separate sports. Never before, that is, until this past weekend in San Antonio when the Canadian Wildcats  won their second consecutive State 2-A Championship in basketball…..to go along with their two consecutive State Championships in football!

Consider the fact that every public school in the state of Texas competing in a variety of sports for no less than 106 years….this feat has not been accomplished. A few others came close, but just couldn’t close the deal. Understandable!!

■ Dumas: Class 3A 1961-62
■ Duncanville: Class 5A 1990-91
■ Southlake Carroll: Class 3A 1992-93
■ Everman: Class 3A 2002-03
■ Cayuga: Class 1A 2009-10
■ Idalou: Class 2A 2010-11

Last year when Canadian won their State Championship in football, and then followed that with their basketball championship, they became only the 7th team in 105 years to accomplish that feat. In the past two years they have amassed a 24-0 (Football & basketball combined!) playoff record on the way to their titles. 

The highly regarded Harris Ratings System that has been ranking every football team in Texas since 1963, tagged the 2015 Canadian team as the greatest in small school football history. In sharp contrast their basketball team got off to somewhat of a slow start this season losing two games to district rival Stratford. But they peaked at just the right moment to do what’s never been done before!

“It Takes a Village”, a book written by a certain current presidential candidate, focuses on the impact individuals, and groups outside the family have, for better or worse, on a child’s well-being, and advocates a society which meets all of a child’s needs. And while I disagree with the book’s premise that a ‘village’, or community, has more of a responsibility to raise up a child than a family (totally disagree!). I would agree that in the case of the Canadian Wildcats….it has literally taken a village to produce this amazing group of young men!

Canadian has been behind their young people (not just the athletes) maybe more than any town I’ve ever seen. That didn’t recently just start happening….It’s been going on for awhile! And while it takes a high-level of athleticism to accomplish what they’ve accomplished….it can’t do anything but help when you know you’re not just competing for a trophy….but an entire community.

I’ve written a couple other blogs about the Wildcats and each time I’ve deliberately left out the names of individuals who are the ‘standout’ athletes in terms of yards gained, or points made. I’m stickin’ with that here, too. You can look ’em up and make them heroes if you want to. Nothing wrong with that, in fact. But in my opinion, if you’re going to start recognizing individuals….you’re going to have to recognize several thousand who have had a profound effect on the success of these teams. 

So, I’m congratulating the whole Village! The athletes, of course, coaches, all the support staff, but also parents, grandparents, pastors, churches, school board, school administration, teachers, student body, merchants….and an innumerable number of fans, many of which don’t live in Canadian and never even went to school there!

The whole ‘Village’ has made an incredible investment in these teams,(if nothing more than their sheer support)…..to the degree that we all consider them “Our Team”

Click here to read Amarillo Globe News Report

You’ll want to check out my other blogs @ the Wildcats, too:

Fist Fightin’, Pool Shootin’, Gun Fightin’…and Bull Ridin’! …….and I Guess, Now, High School Football!

All-Time Favorite Sports Franchise – Canadian, Texas Wildcats

Canadian Wildcat Update

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“What’s The Father Telling You?” Part 2

If you didn’t read “What’s The Lord Telling You?”Part 1.…you really should read it before reading Part 2. *(click on highlighted link).It has been an interesting journey in learning to ‘walk out’ the things the Father has put in front of us. It’s always challenging, never boring and the amazement of it still mystifies me today. When the Lord said He would be bringing people in here from all over ….He meant it! Most are still here. Some have come and gone (just like He said!), and others are yet to come. My own take on what the Lord is doing in that is that He has brought, and is bringing, them here to catch the DNA of the house (Trinity Fellowship). Then the natural, or should I say spiritual, thing that happens is that they become a positive influence wherever they may go imparting that same DNA in their own realm of influence.

I’ve grown very close to many of the people who have  arrived here as a result of the Father’s plan. They have become like family to me and it’s hard to imagine how it’d be without them in my life. Most of them look to me as their pastor and some would also say that I’m a spiritual father to them. Either is a huge responsibility and one that I’d never take lightly. But their first disappointment with me happened when they would bring their life’s problems or dilemmas to me. And, rather than give them an easy answer, my response would nearly always be, “What’s the Father telling you?”. Some of them would even admit, now, that it made them mad when I would ask that question. 

It’s never been my way of skirting the issue or passing the buck. But looking back on my own life it’s been those things that the Lord has ‘said’ to me that has made the biggest transformation in my life. It’s the things He’s ‘said’ that has caused the church to flourish and be the influence it is. But even more important….when I ask them the question it has caused them to go to the Lord themselves! And rather than me being some kind of spiritual guru for everyone….they’re all learning to hear the Lord for themselves! And to tell you the truth, I’m totally convinced that the Lord likes it this way above every other way imaginable!

Think about it this way; If you have kids, would you want to talk to them about the important things in their life….or would you rather have someone else talk to them for you?!! Well, God is the perfect Father….and He desperately wants to talk to you!!

What’s He telling you?!

PS-Most of those would now say that it’s the very best thing I’ve done for them!

*Maybe some of them will ‘weigh-in’ and let you hear it from their own perspective!

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