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Category Archives: Health

Sharpen Your Saw!

Have you heard the story about the two guys who were pitted against one another in a wood cutting contest? They both were given brand new chain saws, all the fuel they needed and the rules were that they would cut firewood for eight hours and the one that had cut the most wood would receive a cool million dollars. That’d be enough to motivate just about anybody.

There was a twenty foot curtain between the two woodcutters and enough downed trees to keep them busy for a long, long time. The starter fired his gun and the cuttin’ commenced! They were going at it with everything they had. One of them never let up. The only time he stopped his saw was to refuel. But there were plenty of times that he noticed that the other guy’s saw wasn’t running at all. That just made him that much more determined to cut more wood. After a few hours he was getting weary but he still kept cutting, determined to win that million dollar prize. He could hear the other guy’s saw part of the time but part of the time it was silent….so he knew he must be a long ways ahead of him with his growing pile of firewood.

The contest went on for, seemed like forever. It finally came down to just a few minutes left before the end of the eight hours. The one woodcutter was utterly exhausted but was confident that he was way out in the lead. He never stopped cutting all day; only stopped three or four times to get a drink but immediately went back to work. He was feeling pretty good despite being completely worn out. He knew there was no possible way the other guy had cut as much wood as he did. Too much time with the saw not running. He was already thinking about what he’d do with that million dollars!

The official signaled the end of the contest. It was now time to drop the curtain and see who the winner was. When the curtain dropped the determined, exhausted…but confident woodcutter was totally dumbfounded! He couldn’t believe his eyes! The other guy had cut nearly three times the amount of firewood as he had. How in the world could that happen!?

He had to ask, “How could you have possibly cut that much more firewood than me?” “I never let up; I never took a break; I just barely stopped long enough to get a drink of water”. And, all day long I noticed quite often that your saw wasn’t running.” “What were you doing all that time that your saw was silent?”

The other woodcutter calmly replied, “I was sharpenin’ my saw!”

About everyone I know is doing all they can to keep up in life. For most there’s no lack of effort and hard work. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if we’re winning or not. But it makes sense in this day and time to learn how to work smarter, not harder. You should ask the Lord what that means for you. The details will be different for each of us but there’s no doubt about it……….we all need to sharpen our saw!

Here’s the audio version:

 

 

 

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“Hug-A-Thug”

Over a year ago I got involved with the Beckham County Drug Court. I guess you could say I’m an unofficial member of the DC team. Drug Court is a pretty amazing thing if you ask me. (Click here FMI) I have developed some great friendships with a lot of the participants that are in the program. It’s one of the highlights of everything I do these days to see these folks overcome their addictions and become productive members of society. I can’t speak for all the Drug Court programs in Oklahoma but I can definitely vouch for ours’! The success rate for these men and women to ‘get well’ is pretty darn good. I believe that can be attributed to the entire Drug Court Team, which includes the Sheriff, DA, County Judge…as well as others. But what seems to be the shining star of the whole program is the support that the DC participants give to one another. It’s pretty amazing. Very often all it takes is just someone who’ll love you and believe in you. More often than not….that makes the difference.

The Drug Court program is not without it’s criticizers, though. There are plenty of people who don’t much care about it’s success. Seems a little bit crazy to me. There are those out there who’d rather see these people go straight to prison and I guess I can kinda see where they’re coming from. But, I’d always like to see someone get another chance. And if they blow it in Drug Court….prison it is!

Some of the detractors like to mockingly refer to Drug Court as the Hug-a-thug program. I cringe a little bit if I hear that but you know what they say, “haters gonna hate”! I was thinking about their little moniker (hug-a-thug) a few days ago and I came to a conclusion or two. What if a hug for these people really did make a difference?! What if, maybe for the first time in their life, they could actually believe that someone cared?

I don’t have to sit long in DC to realize how good I’ve had it. I’ve never had to wonder if my Mom & Dad loved me. I didn’t have to grow up with them being the ones who introduced me to, and gave me drugs. I never was kicked around from family to family because no one really wanted me. So, yeah….I’ve had it good. Doesn’t take too long for me to start having a heart to see these folks do good. I’m a fan! …..and if I can help… I will!

Back to that hugging thing; I come from a long line of huggers. It’s something we’ve always done in our household. Probably came from my Mom’s side of the family. You see them….they’re gonna give you a hug…like it or not. I guess it’s contagious. But there really is something about a hug, something profound, something real and something, I think, that could really be important! There’s even scientific evidence that hugs are healthy for us….both physically and emotionally!

Here’s some scientific evidence of what a hug can do: *(thank you David Clark!)

A. Activates antitoxin hormone that can fill us with joy
B. Allows for more patience
C. Remedy against stress and anxiety
D. Strengthens self-esteem especially in children.
E. Releases the dopamine hormone responsible for good motivation
F. Helps alleviate pain or a bad moment
G. Communicates emotions without saying a single word
H. Helps preserve immune system
I. Helps balance central nervous system
J. Is an example of love, affection and unity

So there’s the evidence!

What’re we waitin’ for…….”Let’s hug some people!!”

You’ll want to read these too:

It Feels Good To Be “Believed In”!!

Drug Court

Prison Prayer Project

Party at the Prison!

VIP #7 – Rick Hudson

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Simplicity! It’s All I Have to Offer

It has been about 12 or 13 years ago now. I had found myself in the company of several guys who headed up some very effective ministries. Ministries that are operating ‘under the radar’ as I call it. They’re not your typical Charisma Magazine poster boys at all. They’re more of what I’d describe as being kind of like John the Baptist. Some are very controversial figures because of their relevant, but edgy, message on such things as the kingdom of God, grace, the prophetic, signs and wonders, the finished work of Jesus and ministry to the poor. I consider them all to be world changers. A very unique bunch of men, to say the least!

As we got together periodically and grew to be great friends it was easy for me to see how the Father had equipped them for what they were giving their lives to. I could clearly see what they brought to the table. But the more we got together I began to wonder how I got in the picture with these men. And, while I learned a lot from each of them I couldn’t see anything of value that I was bringing to the relationship.

When I questioned the Lord about that I felt like I heard Him right off. “Andy, you bring ‘simplicity’ to the table”. That made a lot of sense to me. He went on to show me that there’s a great need in the whole Body of Christ these days for simplicity. I remember in those days clearly hearing from the Lord, “Andy, I’m about to bring the significance to simplicity that it’s always deserved!

When I think about simplicity, I immediately think about Jesus…and how He did the things He did. He was God in the flesh, He had all wisdom….in Him was all the fulness of the Godhead (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) in bodily form….yet His teaching was so simple that even those who didn’t nearly have it all together could understand it. 

That’s my goal….always has been. I’ve been an avid student of the Bible now for over 30 years. I know enough Bible that I could show up on any given Sunday and teach something that only the hardcore Bible hounds could really understand but it doesn’t appeal to me at all. I’m not trying to impress anyone with my Bible knowledge! My goal is, I think, the same as Jesus’……teach it in such a way that no one can miss the Truth!

There’s a lot more to be said about ‘simplicity’. I’ll do it along our way. I’ll leave you with this great quote from Leonardo DaVinci: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”!

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

Looking back I guess all our Thanksgiving get togethers have been good. There has always been lots of food….good food! And always lots of family, ours’ is a big one….and they’re all in the neighborhood, so to speak. In fact, I don’t know many that have it as good as I’ve got it. I have my folks, in their ’80’s; I have 5 kids….and 8 Grandkids (soon to be 9!) and all of them, except one little Granddaughter, live within 5 miles of me! I think about it most every day….and every time I give the Lord a little brief,….but extremely heartfelt, “Thank You”.

There’s at least a dozen of Christmases that stand out for one reason or another...like year before last when Clay proposed to Chelsea with the whole family present. And there are some more when our own kids were little that stand out. But thinking back, and even though our Thanksgivings have been good….I can’t really remember one that stands out from the others. This year, however, will be different. It’ll be one that will stand out for me…and I expect, all of the Taylor Crew for as long as we all live.

The newest little Taylor boy (Cole & Kelly), Knox River, arrived just a few days ago. He came a couple of weeks early…and not without some major, even life threatening complications. His mommy’s vision became blurry, and her sister-in-law who just happened to be a nurse checked her blood pressure which was way too high! She insisted that they head to the hospital, 35 miles away. They rushed her in immediately, did an emergency C-section, and discovered that her uterus had ruptured. The doctor told the family that it was the first time he’d seen that in 18 years.  And in a more recent case….the baby was saved….but not the mom! We were told that the margin of safety for Kelly and little Knox was no more than 3 minutes! They gave both Mom and baby only a 50/50 chance! It was that close!

So, today as they prepared to leave the hospital for home, and I got to hold him for the first time, I was brought to tears thinking of the ‘little treasure’ that we have.…and what, otherwise, might have happened.

Yep, we’ve always had a lot to be thankful for. . We’re extremely grateful to the Lord for all the ways He’s blessed us. But this Thanksgiving will hold a special place for us forever and ever!

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It’s A Different Kind of Love!

Just as strong,…..just as pure, just as perfect…..it’s just different! I’m talking about the love I have for my three daughter-in-laws, Kristy, Kelly….and Chelsea! I don’t know how to accurately explain it….I just know it’s different. After I came to the Lord in 1984, and after I learned the incredible value in prayer….I’ve prayed for my kids….even before they were born…..and especially after they were born. One of the things that I prayed specifically for them, even when they were just toddlers, is that the Lord would cause that “one”  special person on the planet that they were to be married to, and spend the rest of their lives with would gravitate toward them at precisely the right time in their lives. I prayed that they would love my boys, be Godly, genuine girls of integrity, beautiful on the inside and out, that they’d have a ‘heart for the Lord”, be great, loving, nurturing mothers….and women of prayer, and be the perfect partner/friends for my boys. (and Cameron too)

When these beautiful girls showed up on the radar screen, the Lord did more than just answer my prayers. He really ‘over-delivered’!  And as high as my expectations were as a dad…..they totally exceeded them. They are all such a fit in our family. In fact….I told the boys when they were dating them that if this didn’t work out….the girls stayed and they’d have to leave! lol

They’re raising some phenomenal kids, (all except Chelsea….who’ll have her first, a daughter, in January! *Can’t hardly wait!) handsome, pretty, smart….and teaching them all the right things as well as instilling in them, genuine character….something that you don’t find often in this day and time. I’d be fiercely protective of them if the need were to arise and I’d do for them anything that they’d ask of me.

They’re, all three, amazing ‘gifts’ from the Lord to our family.…and I love them with an incredible, almost indescribable love. It’s a different kind of love.

*Incidentally, Kelly….just two days ago (11/22/2015) had her third baby….our 8th Grandbaby!! A little boy, Knox River Taylor!

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These are “Our Girls”, Kelly (Cole), Chelsea (Clay), Cameron (Our Daughter), Kristy (Clint)

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VIP #9 – Art Harris

I first met Art Harris in October of 1988, our last year on the ranch north of Allison, Texas. I had been taking care of 2500 head of cattle for Art’s cousin from Munday, Texas. Art came down that day that we gathered the cattle. We were busy weighing cattle all that day and I didn’t get to visit a lot with Art ……but enough to know that I liked him a lot. Art had grown up in Seymour, Texas and was one of the best athletes to ever graduate there. He played football and basketball where he was a standout in both sports. He’s still known, admired and idolized around those parts just simply as, Art Lynn.

When we moved across the line into Oklahoma and we needed to find a bank I looked for Art…..and after I found him he would be our banker for the next 27 years. In that time we became very good friends. I’ve said often that Art was the last of the ‘old time’ bankers. That kind of banker that believed in you as a person and loaned money based on that premise. In fact, he actually loaned millions of dollars on exactly that! We bought a several houses (rental properties) over the years and just called Art after the fact. It was never a problem.

By 1997 Art had become a VP and loan officer and was heading up the branch in Sayre. We started Trinity Fellowship in a home and then moved to a small building on the south end of town. When we grew to about 35 people (on a good day) we started looking for another place. We landed on Walter Merrick’s property two miles east of town on I-40. The Merrick family was gracious to allow us to use the property with no rent from ’92 to ’97…..which was a good thing because we had no money

The property became available for purchase and there were some very interested people who had the means to buy it. But we felt that the Lord wanted us to have the property. After a lot of prayer we decided we should try to buy. I remember vividly sitting in Art’s office and telling him that we wanted to buy the property. Art said “Yes”, and the rest is history.

Why do I tell that story?? I tell it because Art Harris believed in us when there wasn’t much to believe in. In two years we had the property (100 acres on I-40) totally paid off. Art started coming to church with us along about that time and our friendship deepened even more.

A couple of years ago Art was diagnosed with cancer. It was a tough diagnosis with the doctors giving him 6 months to live. I was there at his house when he arrived from Oklahoma City after getting the discouraging news. We prayed and he vowed to fight it…which he did. There was a mixture of reports from the docs over the next year, some good …..some not. Three of us went to Dallas in December to watch the Texas state football finals games. Art tired easy and didn’t have a lot of energy but it was a great trip, nonetheless. It was only a few months later that he was promoted to heaven.

When I look back over the years since I’ve known Art it’s very obvious how much he’s helped the Taylor family……and the Trinity family, as well. There’s hundreds of stories out there just like mine….of people that Art believed in. and gave them a ‘leg up’.

He was my Friend! There’s no question about it for me…..Art Harris is definitely a VIP! …….and you wouldn’t have to look far to find a lot of other people who think so too!

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VIP #7 – Rick Hudson

I first met Rick Hudson in the office of the Sayre, Oklahoma City Manager, Jack McKennon. Jack had invited me down to meet the newly hired Prison Warden. Jack, being a part of out Trinity Family, knew that we’d been praying for several years about the new prison here. We had also been praying that the upper-level management personnel would be born-again believers. So to me it was a big deal to meet up with the new warden.

I remember vividly that meeting that day. After we did our introductions, handshakes, etc., I told Rick, ‘I’ve been praying for you for three years.” After I left the office that day I wished that I hadn’t said that to him. I thought….that’ll probably scare him off…..but it didn’t. It wasn’t long after Rick moved here that his entire family began to come to church with us. Rick’s family consisted of his wife, Jan; two daughters, Kealan and Taylor, and a son, Cooper.

Rick made it possible for us to take a team into the prison and pray over the entire facility. It’s a great story….but it’s for another time. Rick and I quickly became the best of friends. I had a Friday afternoon small group consisting of Jack, the City Manager, a retired executive banker of one of largest banks in Oklahoma, a young man who secured oil leases, a farmer……and Rick. Rick would often stay after our meetings and we’d have some great talks. I remember one day our meeting subject was prayer; Rick stayed after the meeting that day and said, “Andy, I want you to teach me how to pray.”. I encouraged him to start coming to our regular Wednesday morning prayer time, which he did. In fact, he hardly ever missed after that day. I remember telling him that this prayer thing is more “caught”, than “taught”. And he caught it! A month or two after that conversation I asked him to pray at one of our small group meetings and he prayed as if he’d been doing it for years……and it was ‘real’, not just a bunch of words.

We spent a lot of time together and I really got to know Rick. HIs job as Warden, of the largest prison in the state up to that point, was not ‘just a job’ to Rick. He put his whole heart and soul into it, always believing he could make a difference in the lives of the, better than 1500, inmates in the North Fork Correctional Facility. Some of the first inmates to arrive were from Wisconsin. And there was one of them who was infamous for causing trouble. He’d been locked up most of his adult life and had caused problems in every facility he’d been in, including inciting riots. We’d pray for this guy every week….because Rick believed that he was salvageable and ‘worth it’! He cared about the future of this lifelong troublemaker. 

In my whole life I’ve never seen anyone in a leadership position that received as much respect, honor and loyalty as Rick did from his employees. They all knew that he was deeply concerned about them, and he would often invite me to meet with him and someone who was going through a rough time. Simply put….his employees loved him and they knew that they could trust him.

Rick left us about 14 years ago as a result of a brain tumor and it left a huge ‘gap’ for all of us here…….me especially. It’s hard for me, even today, to write through the tears. I do take solace in the assurance that I’ll see him again soon. I just don’t ‘get it’ sometimes…..how those who have such a knack of making the world a better place have to go so soon. But again, I take comfort in knowing that the Father has it all well in hand.

Rick Hudson…..I wish you could have known him like I did. You’d totally agree that he was a VIP; and not just with me…..He was a VIP with every person who ever came in contact with him!

Rick & Kids

**If you enjoyed this post…..you’ll surely like this one too: “Party at the Prison”  (click on red print)

PS-There’s a lot of my regular blog readers that knew Rick. I know that your comments and feedback would be treasured by Jan, Kealan, Taylor and Coop.

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