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Category Archives: Healing

Tragedy in Dallas: What Can I Do?

What a nightmare in Dallas! Police officers taking to the streets at a ‘Black Lives Matter’ march to protect the people’s ‘right to demonstrate’,  when the unthinkable happened. A lone gunman (supposedly) from an elevated position shoots eleven and kills five! Purportedly because he was upset by a couple of recent incidents where black people were killed by white cops.

This scenario has become all too familiar in our country. It’s a phenomenon that was virtually unheard of a generation ago. I remember as a kid when the guy went up in the tower on the University of Texas campus (Aug 1, 1966) and began shooting. Before the day was over, Charles Whitman, an engineering student, had shot forty-nine people, sixteen of them fatally. (starting earlier in the day with his wife and mother) Then there was the Post Office shooting in Edmond, Oklahoma. (Aug 20, 1986) A disgruntled worker entered the post office and began shooting. In roughly fifteen minutes twenty people were shot….and fourteen of them died.

These tragic events have become all to common in America. They’re happening at such an alarming rate that, as a culture, we don’t have time to recover from one to the other. Adding to the problem is the perception (maybe just my own perception) that the current administration is determined to fuel the flames of racial tension. There are a number of things that must change if this trend is going to be turned around. I’m certainly no expert, ….but I care, and it’s something I think about. There’s some practical things that we, as individuals…and Christian individuals more specifically, can do. But, first, a few things that would certainly help the dilemma.

  1. As a society we need to come to the realization….and the conclusion that “All Lives Matter”, and then flesh it out! As simple as that seems….it’s not being done.
  2. It seems that there’s an agenda to divide us all. “A house divided can’t stand”. We need to resist the temptation to be divided
  3. There needs to be more ‘voices of reason’ rising up among the black community. It’s just my opinion but there needs to be more Ben Carson, Allen West, David Brown (Dallas Police Chief) and David Clark (Sherriff, Milwaukee)….and less Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan.
  4. Responsibility in the media; Stop politicizing every. single .thing.! Stop giving airtime to race-baiters and hate groups.
  5. We need the help from the highest office! Racial tension is the highest since the 60’s! My opinion again, but not only are we not getting help…Obama is adding fuel to the fire.
  6.  The church needs to ‘rise up’!  We should be the voice of truth and reason during these uncertain times. The answers and solutions for the world’s deepest problems should come from the church! It’s gonna take a lot of help from the Lord to sort this one out! *We can’t be uninvolved!

I’ll write in Part 2 the things we can do as individuals. America has been the greatest nation on the planet. We’re at a juncture. What we do here will determine our fate for generations. It’s that important!

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Prayer Changes Things!

It was the message on a little plaster of paris wall hanging at my Grandmother’s house in Wheeler, Texas. (My Mom’s Mom) I never knew my Granddad, he was killed in a motorcycle accident earlier in the year that I was born. That left her to raise 3 kids who were still at home. (2 older ones already married) She was an incredible person, in my opinion, and I’ve grown to appreciate that more and more as I’ve gotten older and understanding more of what it takes to raise a family.

One of my favorite things to do was to stay overnight, or a few days, at her house. I still vividly remember bedtime at her house. There were two beds in her room…one for her and one for Herman, my uncle, her youngest son. (only 3 years older than me) There’d be a story or two before we all fell asleep and they were always good ones. *(Herman always tried to tell a scary one..so we’d sleep with a butcher knife under our pillow for safety! lol) One story she told me when I was 3 or 4 years old was of an ‘old, old Grandmother by the name of ‘Mamaw Teak’. Well, that name ‘stuck’ and I called her that for the rest of my life.

When you’re a single mother with 3 kids in a small town you just have to do what you have to do to make ends meet. I remember her working at cafes and cleaning houses for people and then coming home completely worn out…but then cooking one of the best meals that you could possibly imagine. One of my most memorable Christmases was when Herman, my brother Monty and I all got our “Rifleman” rifles. We maintained a high level of justice on that block and kept the bad guys at bay in Wheeler, Texas for a good long while!

I think, somehow, the importance of prayer was imparted to me back in those days. That’s one of the things we’d do every night that I was at her house. And looking back and assessing her situation….I think she lived by it! They lived a simple life, a good life….but a simple life. And they got by,…I believe, by the provision of the Lord.

There’s a lot more to say on the subject of prayer. But simply put, “Prayer Changes Things”! 

*When my Grandmother passed on, I asked for this little plaster of paris wall hanging. It means a lot to me!

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Mad at God?? ….happens all the time!

I hear it pretty often from people. Because of how their life is going, or because of something that they’re convinced that God mishandled on their behalf….people do find themselves mad at Him….sometimes very mad. And I’ve seen a few, what I’d call, extreme cases where the anger lasted a lifetime. It seems sad to me but at the same time I can kind of understand how someone could end up there.

I’ve never been mad at Him. Doesn’t make me any more mature, or any more spiritual, than anyone else….I just haven’t been mad at Him. Somehow, some way I’ve known, as long as I can remember, that God is good. Remember now, that’s coming from someone who didn’t grow up in church and didn’t have a whole lot of orientation about God at all. I’ve thought about it quite a bit and I guess it boils down to a couple of things for me. 1) It was imparted to me from my Mom & Dad. I’m certain that this is true, although I can’t tell you when, where or how….it just happened….and I’m eternally grateful to them for it. 2) It’s just, simply, a revelation from the Father Himself. Personally….I think it’s a good combination of both.

I’ve had a great life, but with just as many ups and downs as the next guy. And I guess if I’m being honest, here, I’d have to say that a lot of the downs were, either directly or indirectly, self-inflicted. But not everyone’s hardships are self-inflicted such as the loss of a child or a parent. And these things can leave us wondering if God has let us down.

Well, He didn’t let you down….no matter how convinced you are of that. It’s totally against His nature as a Father to do that. I remember vividly nearly 22 years ago when our family lost a little boy. It was devastating to put it mildly. But right in the middle of our grief He spoke clearly to my spirit, “Andy, if you could see the big picture, you’d know everything is OK.” It immediately brought peace. He always knows just the right thing to say at just the right time.

I had a friend tell me recently that upon the loss of his dad that he immediately blamed God and turned his back on Him for 4 or 5 years…only to find out after that time that God didn’t give up on him…He just loved him more. 

Maybe you’re reading and you have something that you’ve been mad at Him about. (it could be consciously or subconsciously) I can tell you that God can take you being mad at Him a lot longer than you can take it. He’d love to give you His perspective on your indictment against Him….but you’ll have to be open for it.

If you’ll run to Him,….He’ll help!

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That One “Nut Job”!

It’s been a ‘phenomenon’, I guess you could call it, that’s been going on my entire life. I remember even when I was a kid it was happening with me, and I just keep on finding myself in the same scenario over and over again.

I’ve made this statement, or a variation of it, at least a hundred times down through the years. It went something like this: “I could go to Dallas Cowboy Stadium where there’s a hundred thousand people….and if there’s one ‘nut job’ there, ……he’ll find me!”. It’s a true story and it’s happened with me more often than you’d believe.

It was a few years ago, and after it’d just happened again, (don’t remember when or where but it did happen) that I made that same statement again. But this time it was different….I mean, really different! Immediately on making that statement, that ‘still small voice’ of the Lord spoke ever so clearly to my spirit saying, “I know, Andy….that’s a ‘gift’ I’ve given you!” I’m telling you it was a ‘gut-check’ of epic proportions! And as that thing captured my entire attention He followed it with, “I don’t trust those kind of people with just anyone!”. 

I don’t know if you can grasp the complete gravity of what the Lord said to me. But, for me, it was one of those, “stop you dead in your tracks”, kinds of things. In fact I can’t remember any other time in my life that His word to me was any clearer and life-altering than this one thing. It totally changed my entire perspective on that ‘phenomenon’, literally, in a moment of time! All of a sudden I saw ‘those people’ like the Father sees them….and it changed everything!

My heart was broken…..in a very good way, by how I’d viewed all those people down through the years before. And since that day I can’t even tell this story without being brought to tears.

So, they’re still coming, maybe with a greater frequency than ever before,….but everything has changed for me…..and in turn….maybe them, too!

I think you’ll like this one, too:

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It’s  ‘Atmospheric’, …..There’s No Question About It!

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“It’s Not Your Job to Fix Them!”

It’s been about 7-8 years ago when some very good ministry friends on the west coast contacted us about helping a young man. They described his dilemma, which was totally off the charts, for me. Our friends asked us to pray about allowing him to come to Sayre for a period of time in an effort to help him overcome his addiction. We’ve done this kind of thing fairly often over the past 20+ years with a pretty impressive track record. I say that with all humility. And I’d admit that even though we had a good measure of success, when the Lord is involved….we have very little to do with the results.

We’re often asked….“What kind of program do you have?” Our answer is always, “We don’t have a program”. Not a thing wrong with programs as long as they’re working but we just don’t have a program. I do believe that what we do is pretty important, though. It’s so simple that most people, especially the professionals, would scoff at it…but it just seems to work. We bring those in that the Lord sends our way. We develop a relationship with them, and we consider them part of our family. They do what we do, they go where we go; they’re involved with us in about everything we do. And it’s just pretty amazing the transformation that happens in nearly all of them.

We picked up the young man from the OKC airport and our hearts were immediately joined to his. He was a very likable, personable young man. He opened up and began to talk to Daryle Perry and myself about his problem. He was more deeply involved in sexual activity (50-60 different partners in the previous month!) than I’d ever even heard of before….and he wanted to be free. As he and Daryle talked it began to go through my mind as to ‘how’ we could help him. I’d been involved in ministry a lot but this, well this was way beyond anything I’d ever been exposed to before. I began to agonize over it and I started to worry that we were way in over our heads on this one. Almost as soon as the worry ‘set in’, I heard the ‘still small voice’ of the Lord say, very clearly to my spirit, “It’s not your job to fix him….It’s your job to love him. I’ll do the fixing”! 

That word from the Lord brought some immediate peace to me. So, that’s just what we did….we loved him. He remained here in Oklahoma with us for 6-8 months. He was a hard worker, everyone loved him (literally no one knew what his problems were or why he was here. We stay true to the idea of confidentiality!). The time came when he believed he was free from his addiction and we felt very good about it as well. We were blessed by his time here and became very good friends with him. After he left we stayed in contact with him and still chat occasionally.

I think it’s a very liberating thing for us to all understand (especially ministry people!) that it’s not our job to ‘fix them’…..but it is our job to love them! It really makes all the difference!

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Do You Have Enough Faith?

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

I started seeing that bumper-sticker when I was a kid, and I still see it every now and then….and it still makes me laugh. Oh, I get what they were trying to say and at a distance it sounds like a totally sensible and wholesome thing to do. I can relate to the whole “Co-Pilot” thing a little bit. In fact there was probably a time in my own life that I thought, Him being my co-pilot would be a very legitimate, and smart thing to do. I mean, if you haven’t had Him along at all….putting Him in the passenger seat would definitely be better than nothing at all. But when you think about it, it really doesn’t make much sense at all. In fact,….and especially if you’re thinking long-term, if He’s your Co-Pilot….it might just explain why things aren’t going so well!

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say…..If you actually created the  Universe…by just ‘speaking it into being’, like He did, then you shouldn’t have to sit in the ‘second seat’ for anybody…..anytime! And seriously….right here’s where the problem exists. We think we can bring the Lord along with us, and into the situations and events in our lives and everything should be OK. But in all actuality….He should be the One piloting ‘this thing’ (your life!). You and I are really not qualified to run our own lives….and if we’re smart we’ve already figured that out. And, why would we?? He is the ‘Author and Finisher’ of our faith; He knows the beginning from the end; He’s the Alpha and Omega. And……..He knows so much more about us…and our lives than we do.

So, all I’m saying is, we need to change seats! Let’s let Him get in the Pilot seat where He belongs and let’s, you and I, just scoot on over and be content to ride ‘shotgun’!

If you liked this….you’ll like this one too!

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“Go to God First”

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

That’s the most profound prayer I ever prayed. It’s not very professional sounding but I hadn’t had much practice when I prayed it! It was exactly 31 years ago today when I sat on the edge of my bed out on the ranch in the Texas Panhandle. I came home from a trip to Oklahoma City with a close friend. I dropped him off an hour from my house and headed home. I don’t know any other way to describe the 60 miles from there to home except to say that I was weeping (I don’t even use that word) uncontrollably. My marriage was over and I had about every problem that you could imagine. I got to my house, out there in the middle of nowhere, went in the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror….and hated everything about me. I saw myself turning into something that I knew better than. And I went in my bedroom, sat on the end of my bed…..still weeping, with no hope….. and said, “God, if you’re out there….You’ve gotta help me!” 

I have a great family….always supportive. And, I’ve always had a lot of good friends, I mean really good friends, ones you could ‘count on’.…but I was in a place in my life where no one could really help me but the Lord. At the time I thought it was the worst time in my life….but looking back it turned out to be the best…..even though I didn’t know it at the time. 

I knew nothing about trusting God; I knew nothing about walking by faith but I was in such a messed up place in my life that, out of desperation, I, just kind of blindly, put my trust in the Lord. It was the right thing to do!

One of my problems was over with overnight; it was supernatural, miraculous, really!  ……the rest of my problems were not over with overnight! I’m grateful to the Lord for fixing that one thing….but I’m more grateful to Him for ‘not’ fixing all the others that way. I’m afraid if He would have….it would’ve been like it had been the previous ten years. I’d run to Him when I was in a jam in my life…and when that set of circumstances was over…I was back to ‘my own way’.…never having any kind of real relationship with the Lord.

He had no good reason to rescue me….but He did! It’s a longer story. I’ll tell the rest of it somewhere along the way but the most important thing is that…..whatever’s going on with you….He has the answer and He’ll help you now. 

Maybe all you can say is, “Help”! Turns out, that’s enough! He’ll hear….and He’ll help! That….I’m sure of!

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A “Disposable” Relationship

 

 

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